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DISCLAIMER: I don't own Psych. And that's okay. Because I really believe that Steve Franks has got it covered way better than I ever could. He just has to make sure that the show never comes to an end, and I will be fully content with his reign.

I've had this idea in my head for a while. More than just a while, actually. A couple years, at least. When I first watched 4x3, I thought, "Oh, man, I so wish Juliet wouldn't have picked up on Shawn's clue so quickly, because I would have loved to see Shawn get ransomed for Buchard's treasure. (I know, I'm so nice.) I thought for sure that someone would have written a fic about it, so I searched everywhere but couldn't find it. By everywhere, I mean on fanfiction . net and PsychFic, so maybe not everywhere, per say. So I decided I would write one myself. And for some reason unknown to me… I didn't. I never, ever got around to it. Until today. Because last night, I re-watched the episode (for like the fourth or fifth time) and finally resolved that I was going to write this story as soon as humanly possible, darn it! But then I fell asleep, so I'm writing it now. :) All that to say, this has been a long time coming, and I'm super excited about it. Hopefully, it'll turn out as well as I hope. Please read, review, and enjoy! :D
Author's Chapter Notes:
I don't remember if any of the bad guys were actually named in the show (besides Mark), and I'm not going to go into the greatest detail trying to describe them the way they were in the show. I'm not even entirely sure how many there were, but I'm thinking about three of each group of Jack's ex-partners. So I'm going to go with that. And I know, I know, I just watched the episode last night, but give me a break. Poetic license, or maybe laziness. I dunno; I've heard it both ways. :) Enjoy. And obviously, there will be spoilers for this episode, as well as some minor ones for "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark" and "Psy vs. Psy". :)
Shawn Spencer was pretty sure that his Uncle Jack was supposed to be the "fun uncle". After all, what other kind of uncle would pose as his dad on career day at school and weave a bunch of swashbuckling treasure hunting stories, armed with his charm, awesome hair, and chocolate coins? Or that would leave pennies lying around to give the world a little more good luck? Or that would show up after years of silence with a treasure map to a French pirate's lost treasure and a promise of a fifty-fifty split? All of that was pretty fun.

Leaving Shawn and Gus, unarmed and alone in the woods, with two sets of armed bad guys (would it be sets? Groups? Flocks? Herds? Clans? No, Shawn was pretty sure sets made the most sense, although clans would sound way cooler.) on their tail, bad guys who, it was important to mention, hated Jack for being their partner and them abandoning them for somebody else, and who wanted the gold that Uncle Jack thought he was making off with (Shawn had managed to switch the gold in the bag with rocks during a slight lull in the chase through the forest, and now he had a bit of the gold in his coat, while Gus had the rest), however, did not strike Shawn as very fun at all. In fact, it was downright un-fun.

Add to that that the guys were now saying unpleasant things about how they should "take the nephew, and ransom his ass" for the gold, and you get a ridiculously fun-less sandwich with a very unhappy Shawn Spencer in the middle, with a side of freaked out Gus, hold the "fearless".

"We don't have a choice," one of the fake agents agreed. Now there were four guns trained on him and Gus. Two of the thugs were gone, and Shawn vaguely recalled hearing a few of them muttering about getting the car, so he presumed that was where they'd disappeared to. Shawn exchanged a nervous look with his best friend but when he addressed the remaining bad guys, he projected bravado that he didn't feel.

"You always have a choice," he pointed out. "Ransom Gus's ass instead." Gus shot Shawn an irritated glare, which Shawn promptly ignored. Of course, he didn't want them to take Gus, but picking on his partner was the best way for Shawn to keep the situation light, keep a clear head, and, perhaps most importantly, stall for time. "Or you could switch it up. Ransom half my ass and half his ass."

Shawn thought that his newest idea was rather clever, but apparently the men facing them did not agree. "Shut up!"

Shawn was actually silent for a bit, nervously chewing on his bottom lip. Come on, Jules, he thought desperately. Where are you? Usually, when the situation came down to something as serious as this, help would come almost magically, usually in the form of Lassie and Juliet, sirens blazing and guns pointed, ready to save the day.

But they didn't come.

The goons were now talking amongst themselves, trying to come to an agreement about how they were going to go about getting the gold back from Jack. Shawn didn't like the dark looks they kept sending his way, and as much as he hoped that they had veered away from their ransom idea, he had a sinking feeling that if help didn't come soon, he might be in a lot of trouble.

Gus leaned in closer to Shawn and muttered, "Just give them the gold."

Shawn shot his best friend a withering look. "What? Why on earth would I do that?"

"Because," Gus said, glancing anxiously at the arguing treasure hunters, "they want to take you and ransom you for it. Give it to them now, and they'll leave us alone."

Shawn puckered his lips in thought. "I don't think so," he whispered back. "After all, these guys don't seem to be nearly as friendly as Uncle Jack said they'd be." He remembered his uncle's words: "Don't worry. They won't hurt you if they know you don't have the gold. I know what I'm talking about." Either he actually didn't know what he was talking about, or he'd really screwed Shawn and Gus over. Shawn desperately hoped for the former, but he had a pretty strong feeling that his uncle had known that they wouldn't be entirely safe with these guys, even without the gold. "If they get what they want, they'll have no reason to keep us around, especially now that we know the agents are frauds, and Mark and his cronies know how good I am."

"You think they'd kill us once they get the gold?" Gus asked, eyes wide.

"I wouldn't put it past them. I think we should play it safe for now, try to stall—"

Shawn's rushed whispers were cut off abruptly as the barrel of a gun was shoved into his face. He looked up to see Mark smirking down at him, his greasy black hair falling into his cold, hard eyes. "Having a nice chat?" he asked, glaring stonily at the captives.

"Oh, you know," Shawn said lightly. "Making plans for this weekend. You guys seen the new Taken movie, yet? We're thinking that a treasure chest of Spanish gold might just cover all our tickets. We might even be able to get some Red Vines!"

Gus hissed for him to shut up just as Mark's gun found its way right under Shawn's chin. Shawn tilted his head back, swallowing heavily at the feel of the cold metal resting on his exposed skin. He'd been held at gunpoint before, but this was different. Even when the crazy, fake FBI psychic chick had put her gun to his temple, it hadn't been this terrifying. "You've got some nerve!" Mark hissed, digging the tip of the gun into Shawn's neck a little bit deeper.

Shawn quickly masked his fear with the last thing the bad guys wanted to hear – another sarcastic comment. "Oh, my bad," he said, and he was pleased to hear that there was only a tiny warble of fear in his voice, "are you not a Red Vines kind of guy? I bet you like chocolate. Lemme guess – you'd prefer peanut butter M&Ms with your popcorn and drink, am I right?"

Shawn thought he heard Gus mutter something worriedly about him being an idiot, but he had a hard time paying attention as the gun slid from under his chin to rest on the underside of his jaw, right under his left ear. "One more word, and I will shoot your friend," Mark promised, and suddenly the gun wasn't pressed to his jaw anymore, and it was pointed right at Gus's forehead. Right between his eyes. Shawn's heart skipped a beat as Gus's breath hitched. Come on, Jules, Lassie. Where the heck are you guys?

"We're running out of time; where are they with that car?" the fake Spanish government agent that was really from Argentina and seemed to be in charge (Shawn decided to dub him Seņor Che until further notice) reminded Mark. Shawn glanced over at him and saw that his gun, as well as the rest of the men's guns, was still trained on Gus and him. Crap. There was no way he could try anything now.

"Right," Mark said. Keeping his gun trained steadily on Gus's sweet, chocolaty, magic head, he looked Shawn dead in the eye and said, "This is how it is going to work, Psychic. You are going to come with us. We're going to leave your friend here with a message for the police and your double-crossing uncle. They'll have forty-eight hours to get the gold to us – we'll contact them about when and where the exchange will take place, and if we get what we want, we'll return you, unharmed. If not…" Shawn wanted to say, You'll let me go anyways, because you really have a heart of gold beneath all of that muscle and frowniness and hair grease? but he wasn't about to do or say anything that would put Gus in any further danger. This was a tricky situation, because Shawn really needed to keep these guys occupied until the incredibly late detectives showed up, but he couldn't stall without running the risk that his best friend would get a bullet to the brain. These guys were desperate, and they were serious. It was a vicious cycle. "…you'll be reunited with your family in pieces."

Mark finally lowered his gun from where it was leveled at Gus's head, but there were still three guns on them. Still, Shawn took this as a sign that his best friend was no longer in immediate danger, and he began to talk again. "That doesn't sound good. My family in pieces? I thought you were threatening me, not them."

"No, you'll be in pieces," Mark growled, the look in his eyes suggesting that he was seriously considering skipping to the "pieces" part right now.

"Ooooh," Shawn and Gus intoned. "I gotcha, I gotcha," Shawn said, grinning nervously. "Man, you really gotta watch those misplaced moderators."

Gus, ever the grammarian, gave his best friend a withering look and corrected, "It's misplaced modifiers, Shawn."

"I've heard it both ways."

"Shut. Up." The gun was back, this time the cool barrel was resting on Shawn's forehead.

"Really, dude? Again with the gun?"

Mark didn't have time to answer, for at that moment, the dark sedan that Seņor Che and his pals had been following them around in roared into the clearing, kicking up rocks and dirt as it screeched to a stop. One of Seņor Che's men was driving, and one of Mark's goons was in the passanger's seat.

"Oh look," Seņor Che said in his Argentinean-not-Spanish accent. "Looks like our ride is here."

Shawn tilted his head slightly, trying to ignore the cold metal against his head, as he looked behind him. He peered past an anxious Gus, his keen eyes searching desperately for any sign of backup. But there was no cloud of dust indicating that a car was approaching, no rustle of the foliage, no distant sound of sirens or an engine. One of the men had opened the trunk of the sedan, and he stood waiting. Shawn shifted his gaze to Gus, even as he was pushed roughly toward the truck, the gun still at his head. "Gus, buddy," Shawn said as he and his captor reached the trunk. "Take care of my hamster, Billy Zane, Jr."

"You don't have a hamster, Shawn."

"But if I did—" Shawn's newest attempt at stalling was abruptly cut off when something – the butt of the man's gun? – slammed into the back of his head. Over the buzzing in his ears, Shawn vaguely heard Gus shouting something. Shawn felt himself wobbling slightly as white dots danced in front of his eyes, and then another blow landed, this one behind his ear. This time, he pitched forward, falling head-first into the trunk, unconscious.

***

The trunk was shut, all six bad guys loaded into the car, their guns trained on the distraught Gus until the car peeled away, disappearing into the distance – but not before Gus was able to get the first few letters and numbers of the license plate. He considered trying to follow the car on foot, but it had vanished, and Gus had no way of knowing which way it had gone, so he opted on walking back the way he had come and trying to find help, doing everything that he could to keep his mind off the image of his best friend being kidnapped and shoved into a trunk while he just stood there, unable to do a thing to help.

Ten minutes after Shawn had been taken away, three police cars, led by Lassiter's vehicle, sirens blazing, met up with Gus several feet down the road from the clearing. They screeched to a halt, and Lassiter jumped out, his gun at the ready, as he approached the haggard and worried Gus. "Guster? What the hell are you doing here? Where's Spencer?"

Juliet was just getting out of the passenger's side as Gus shook his head sadly, and she was just in time to hear him reply, "I'm sorry. They took him; I couldn't do anything to help him. They drove off, and they're long gone by now."

Juliet's brow furrowed in concern. "Who took him?" Lassiter asked. "The fake agents?"

Gus nodded. "And the other guys – Mark and his men."

"Wait – they teamed up?"

Gus nodded again in response to Juliet's worried question. "They thought that Jack had the gold," he explained, trying in vain to keep his voice from shaking slightly, "and so they took Shawn as a hostage to get it back. They're giving us two days to get it back to them, or they'll…" He trailed off, his ominous silence speaking louder than any verbal explanation could.

"That's not good," said Juliet. Behind them, some of the officers were getting out of their cars, trying to figure out what was going on and why they'd stopped so suddenly.

"No, really?" Gus snapped sarcastically, feeling guilty for his sarcastic response almost as soon as it left his mouth. Juliet was one of the only real friends he had on the force, and she was (almost) always really patient with him, and he really didn't like being facetious with her.

Juliet either didn't notice or didn't care, and she went on, her blue eyes glinting in worry. "I mean, that they've joined together. It's going to be a versatile environment, because obviously neither group trusts the other one, and everything could go sour in an instant, especially with the prize that's at stake. And with Shawn right in the middle of it…"

"Wait," said Lassiter. "You said they thought he had the gold."

Gus nodded, secretly impressed that Lassie had managed to catch on so quickly. "We switched out the gold with rocks while we were running through the forest," he explained. "Shawn's got some of the gold in his pockets, but most of it's with me. I didn't trust him not to lose it, plus I have bigger pockets. You never know when you might need pocket space," he concluded wisely. "It's a cautionary measure of mine that Shawn has never understood."

"Strangely enough, I get you," Lassiter said. "I always have extra pockets sewn into the inside of my jackets. You know, so I have more room for my firearms."

"Brilliant," Juliet said hastily. "But don't you think we should focus on Shawn? Gus, tell us exactly what happened."

"Well—"

"On the way," she amended, heading for the car again and waving for the waiting officers to get back in their own vehicles. "We should see if we can pick up a trail."

"If we don't find anything, we'll take it from there," Lassiter added. "Come on, Guster. Time's wasting."

***

Shawn woke up to a pounding headache, in a small, dark, stuffy, cramped place. In fact, it was so dark that he didn't realize how small it was until he tried to sit up and ended up whacking his head – again – on the cold metal lid to his prison. He then tried to stretch out, but he hit metal barriers on both sides, and that, coupled with the humming of an engine, the sensation of movement beneath him, and the way he kept sliding around whenever the movement shifted to the left or the right, led him to the conclusion that he was in a trunk, which, in turn, jogged his addled memory and reminded him about what had happened. Uncle Jack, the treasure hunt, Jack's betrayal, the detectives' not showing up in time, all the guns and threats and something about misplaced moderators – modifiers, whatever – and then… they'd knocked him out, and left Gus behind as some kind of walking, talking, grammatically correct ransom note. And to top it all off, Shawn didn't even have his phone. He'd allowed Gus to hold on to when they were running through the forest, because it had fallen out of his apparently far too shallow (according to Gus) pockets four times during their ultimately doomed escape attempt, and Gus had finally snatched it away to put in his deeper, more secure pockets for safekeeping when it had almost ended up sharing the same slimy, muddy fate as Gus's Puma.

Crap.

Shawn wasn't sure how long he'd been out, but they seemed to be on a fairly straight road now, because he hadn't been thrown against either side of the trunk in at least two minutes. Grateful at least for this small mercy, Shawn took the moment to try to work past the pounding in his skull and brought his hand up to the back of his head, wincing when he felt the sting and touched something wet. Great. He was bleeding. For a short moment, he imagined Gus right there in the trunk with him, telling him to lick it. Then he kicked Imaginary Gus out of the trunk, because it was getting cramped, awkward, and way to close for comfort with both of them crammed into the trunk. He made a mental note to tell Gus (imaginary or otherwise) that he might need to lay off the donuts for a while.

Shawn thought that he might have been hit a little too hard on the head, because his mind was wandering off into different directions, and he really needed to focus. He forced himself to stay on topic (something that he had never been good at), and tried to remember everything his father had taught him about being locked in a trunk.

"What you would do, is you would kick out the back taillight. That way, you can create a hole so that you can look out, see where you are."

"Okay, Dad," Shawn whispered. "Let's do this." It took a couple of tries, because his foot's aim wasn't that great, especially since they turned a corner right as he was trying to kick it out the first time, which sent his whole body careening to the right, crashing into the side of the trunk with an "oomph!" Finally, though, he managed to kick out the taillight and sent it skittering down the road. Shawn blinked at the sudden light that invaded his formerly dark prison, the bright sunlight making his headache worse than it had been to begin with. He was surprised, because after being knocked out and waking up in a dark trunk, he had had no idea what time it was, and he was relieved to find out that it was still light outside, but was not so thrilled to discover that they were on a lonely, unfamiliar road with trees all around and no distinct landmarks that he could. He hadn't been missing for very long, but he hoped that Lassie and Jules had found Gus by now and that they were well on their way to finding him. That didn't mean he wasn't going to do his very best to escape in the meantime, however.

He squinted his eyes against the light and tried to find the little cord with the light-up handle that they installed in trunks as a safety precaution, but it was nowhere to be found. He groped around with his fingers, but he couldn't even find the cord without the handle. At long last, he was able to locate the tiny wire that had once been connected to the handy-dandy trunk opener, but after fumbling with it for several long minutes, Shawn was forced to conclude that it had been snapped off so much so that he would never be able to get the stupid trunk open. Twisting around, Shawn also noticed with annoyance that there were no crowbars or anything else that he might be able to use to lever the trunk open. He stared longingly through the small opening where the headlight had once been, coming to the grim and inevitable conclusion that he was, indeed, stuck.

For the first time in his life, Shawn wished that his Uncle Jack had just stayed wherever the heck he'd been and not come back into his life – because right now, his "cool" uncle was doing much more harm than good.
Chapter End Notes:
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