Tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap.
“What?” the psychic asked his best friend, momentarily stopping the knocking of his office chair against Gus’s.
“I know you’re trying to tempt me into racing you. Well it’s not going to work; not this time.”
“Even if I do this?” Shawn held up his hand, then pulled the lever on the side of his chair dramatically, lowering himself a few inches. This tactic usually worked when trying to persuade Gus into their SBPD chair races, but apparently not today.
“Fine.” Shawn pretended to give in for a few seconds, then pointed behind his best friend. “Labradoodle!” Gus turned his head while Shawn exclaimed, “Go!” and sped into the hallway, giving himself a head start.
“Oh no you don’t!” Gus too spun his chair away from the desk and onto the “race course”, legs pumping fast as he attempted to catch up to Shawn.
Soon they were side by side, both going way over the speed limit for desk chairs in the station. (Yes, Lassie had set one: it was zero miles per hour.)
“Ha ha! I’m still ahead!” Shawn gloated as they made their way towards the “finish line”.
“No way! I’m beating you by at least a fo- AAAH!” Gus’s statement was cut off abruptly by both of their chairs colliding with something (or someone?) else. Hard!
Shawn kneed himself in the eye rather painfully and groaned. Yup, that was gonna black. He soon forgot about his injury however, when he saw a petite junior detective curled up on the floor next to him. Juliet’s blonde hair had fallen over her face, blocking the tears of pain forming in her eyes from view. Shawn noticed that a heel of one of the stilettos she was wearing had broken in the fall, but by the sound of the scream that had escaped her mouth when they had crashed, that was the least of what Shawn should be worried about.
“Jules!” He exclaimed. “You okay?”
Gus too, was soon kneeling next to the “psychic” and gazing down in concern.
Juliet made a sound somewhere in between a sob and a whimper, rolling over so that both boys could see her left arm bent awkwardly beside her. It was already starting to grotesquely swell.
“Oh shit, Jules…” Shawn trailed off, at loss for what to do or say in the situation. He turned to Gus, who was trying to keep his lunch down at the moment. “I don’t think she’s okay man.”
A few hours later Juliet was situated in a hospital bed, her arm splinted and in a sling. Shawn and Gus had driven her there, although the latter had begged her no matter how bad the pain was not to throw up or bleed in the back seat. “It’s a company car,” he had said. Juliet then proceeded to scream at him, effectively shutting both boys up. She felt a little bad about that. But still, Juliet was at least a bit justified, right? Damn Gus, worried about his car while she was in agony because of him.
Juliet adjusted her sling as she continued to remember the drive to the hospital, letting out a small gasp at the pain the movement brought. Stupid arm. For that matter, stupid sling. Juliet had never had to wear one before, and she wasn’t enjoying the experience much. The weight of her arm kept pulling it down, but it hurt to adjust it to the correct position. Not to mention that she could already feel the strap chafing at her shoulder. At least she would only have to wear it for a couple of days before she got a cast. Although from what Juliet had heard, it probably wouldn’t be any more comfortable.
“Hey Jules.” Her thoughts were interrupted by Shawn and Gus entering the room.
“Hi guys,” she greeted them, although the pain still flaring from her broken arm had sapped away most of her cheeriness. The rest of the day understandably hadn’t been the greatest. Doctors had poked and prodded at Juliet’s injured limb, then given her medication that made her feel groggy.
Still a bit wrapped up in her thought’s, Juliet’s gaze flicked up to Shawn’s face, for the first time noticing the dark bruising.
She gasped. “You got a black eye?”
Shawn waved his hand dismissively. “Just an itty bitty one. How are you feeling, Jules?”
“Okay.” She shrugged, wincing as a contradiction to her last statement.
Both boys gazed at her sympathetically, Shawn sitting down in the chair by her bedside.
Always a detective, Juliet noticed the look in their eyes. They obviously felt guilty for hurting her, and there was no way she could stay mad at them. Nevertheless, Shawn still started to apologize.
“Look, Jules, we’re really really sorry we broke your arm,” he said, Gus nodding in agreement. “So we’ll pay whatever this is costing you medically. Medical wise?”
“Wait, what?” Gus asked, not even bothering to ponder his best friend’s grammar predicament as he usually would. “We are not paying for this Shawn!” He whispered rather indiscreetly. “Broken bones are expensive!”
After a quick argument in hushed voices, both boys turned back back to Juliet. “Just tell us how much it’s gonna cost, Jules,” Shawn asked, his best friend looking unhappy about the outcome of their quarrel.
“About 5,000 dollars,” she started, but before getting a chance to say that she had insurance that would cover pretty much all of it, Gus turned Shawn around, and they started to bicker again.
“Guys!” Juliet interrupted, “I have insurance; no one has to pay anything. Besides, I wouldn’t have let you do that.
“Oh, oh good.” Shawn said after a moment, looking relieved and a little stupefied. “I mean, five Gs…” he whistled. “That’s like how much the Blueberry cost, right?”
“The Blueberry cost 10,000 dollars,” Gus corrected.
His best friend considered that. “Okay, so you could buy like half the Blueberry with Juliet’s arm. Jules, give me your arm I need to buy half a car.”
“He’s joking,” Gus assured her, as if she hadn’t spent enough time with Shawn to know that. “But he has a point: 5,000 is a lot for just a broken arm. Why so much?
Juliet bit her lip nervously. She was hoping to avoid this subject. “I- I sort of need to get surgery.”
Surgery. The S-word. Big and scary. Truth be told, Juliet had never had surgery before. Hell, the closest she had ever gotten to breaking anything before now had been when she sprained her ankle at the age of seven. Really, despite her dangerous job, Juliet didn’t get hurt often. Or sick, due to her strong immune system. She was careful, she was good at what she did, and she was proud of the fact that she didn’t have many scars to show off. Ironically, all it took was a psychic detective, his partner and two desk chairs (one of them was Juliet’s desk chair, actually) to snap her delicate little arm in half.
“Jules! Earth to Juliet!”
Juliet blinked, coming out of her own thoughts to Shawn waving a frantic hand in front of her face.
“You okay, Jules?”
“What? Uh- yeah, fine,” she stuttered. “Sorry, were you saying something?”
Gus frowned. “Maybe I should get a doctor,” he suggested, mistaking her distraction for pain.
“No, guys, I’m fine.” Juliet assured them. “Really.”
“Gus,” Shawn said abruptly, cutting into the silence that had followed the junior detective’s words. “Why don’t you go get Jules some Jell-O.”
Gus started to protest, but Shawn interrupted him. “How about strawberry? Does strawberry sound good to you, Jules?”
Juliet shrugged, gasping in pain as she jostled her broken arm again. She really had to stop doing that. Luckily, the boys were too caught up in another whisper argument to notice. Apparently Shawn won, because Gus gave Jules a little wave and left.
Once he was gone, the psychic scooted his chair closer to the bed, his hand going to his head. “I’m getting something here… I’m getting fear. No, no, more like dread. Jules, you’re a lot more scared of this whole surgery thing then you’re letting on, aren’t you?”
Juliet sighed. She couldn’t put anything past Shawn, could she? “Look, it’s- it’s just I’ve never had surgery before. And the idea of it is a little, well… freaky. Someone putting you to sleep and cutting into your body…” Juliet shuddered. “And I know that I’m probably going to be fine, but until then I have a whole nother day to sit in a hospital bed and get worked up about it. Like a kid waiting to get a shot.” (Although Juliet had a feeling that surgery might be a little worse then a shot.)
Shawn gazed at her sympathetically as she spoke. He had a look in his eyes that Juliet had only seen once before, when she had been hurt in the Tancana incident. It seemed to make her heart swell and stomach turn at the same time, if that was possible.
“You know, surgery’s not all that bad, Jules.” Shawn started in an attempt to comfort her after a bit of a silence, the same worried expression still plastered on his face. “I mean, sure, you’re a little sore afterwards, but there’s definitely an abundance of get well cards to go with it. If you’re good I’ll get you one of those dark chocolate Hershey’s bars you love so much and that giant teddy bear in the gift shop downstairs. I’ve named him Albert, although if you wanted to change it I suppose that would be okay.”
Juliet cracked a smile. Shawn watched her let out a small giggle, although not for long. Silence encompassed them again, and with it came the anxious look, melting back onto her face: the hesitant chewing of the bottom lip, the crinkling of her forehead that Shawn found completely adorable. She fidgeted with the pad on the strap of her sling, sliding it up and down her chest.
“Hey.” Shawn put his hand on Juliet’s, guiding the pad back up to her shoulder where it should be. He left their hands touching for a little longer than necessary, and she smiled at him weakly.
“Juliet, can I show you something?” Shawn asked, abruptly, his tone suddenly serious.
“Sure. What is it?”
“I-” Shawn paused, considering what he was about to do. Was he really going to tell Jules his biggest secret? (Well, besides the psychic one of course.) The only people who knew about it where those who had been there; he had never told anyone! But Juliet, she just looked so distressed. So hurt. And it was all his fault. Despite how cute Shawn found her nervous “bitten lip, furrowed brow” look, he didn’t want to see her like that. He wanted to do anything to make her feel better. He wasn’t sure if telling her would, but… Shawn sighed making his decision and taking the plunge, pulling back his flannel to expose the scar.
Juliet leaned forward from her half sitting, half lying down position in the hospital bed to get a better look. She gasped. “Shawn is that-”
He nodded in confirmation. “Heart surgery.”
Oh my God, Shawn that’s- that’s awful!” Juliet stuttered after a moment, taking a few seconds for Shawn’s words to process in her head. The hand the wasn’t stuck in a sling flew to her mouth. “How old were you?” This time she spoke in a whisper.
“Around fourteen. Well… maybe fifteen. Wait, no, I was fourteen, almost fifteen.” He said it like it was no big deal, but the look in his eyes gave him away. The expression on Juliet’s face told Shawn that she had more questions to ask, and he didn’t really want to answer them, so he got straight to the point. “So basically that just proves that-”
“That I’m an idiot,” Juliet interrupted softly.
That comment caused a silence to fall over the pair, and Shawn’s mind spun. She felt like an idiot? What on earth did that mean? Was she feeling stupid for never noticing the scar before, especially since the nature of her job was paying attention to detail? Because, he always hid it pretty well, nothing she should blame herself for. Shawn finally got up the nerve to ask, “Juliet, what the hell are you talking about.” It wasn’t as much a question, but a steely statement telling her that there was nothing in the world she should feel bad about.
“I’m an idiot,” she simply repeated. “I am because look at me Shawn! Here I am bitching about my stupid broken arm, an injury that children sustain every day, while you had heart surgery at fourteen. I can’t even imagine…” Juliet drifted off, looking near tears.
Shawn was a bit taken aback. He had never heard her swear before, and the only time he had ever seen her this upset was after the Tancana incident. It was quite a bit unnerving. Looking at Juliet this way, with a tremor setting in her lower lip, big blue eyes getting more moist by the second, Shawn could suddenly her as a little girl, sad and in need of a hug. He would have given it to her too, along with a sweet kiss to make her grin, except for the fact that Shawn knew he was probably more likely to get a slap in the face than a smile.
“Oh Jules.” Instead of giving the hug and kiss he desperately felt she needed, Shawn simply brushed a stray hair from her face, searching for the right words of comfort. The silence persisted on for over a minute, letters floating around in the fake psychic’s mind, forming the exact combination to explain his thoughts. “Look, Juliet...” the use of her given name matched the seriousness of his tone. “Juliet, when our chairs collided with your poor, delicate little body it injured both of us right? My knee hit my eye and I made a sound that was far from manly, because dammit, that hurt like hell! Still doesn’t feel too good right now. But Jules, compared to your arm all snapped in half and twisted that was nothing. I might as well have gotten a paper cut. Just like if we’re comparing your arm to my heart it looks like nothing.”
“So you’re just confirming what I said,” Juliet stated softly, “that I’m stressed out over nothing.”
“No, no, Jules, you’re not getting it.” Shawn thought he had made himself pretty clear, but apparently she needing a little more detail to follow his thinking. “What I’m trying to say is that there will always be something that is worse than your pain, and no matter what it is there will always be someone who’s been through more. But just because that is true, it doesn’t mean what you’re going through, physical or emotional, doesn’t hurt. Hell, I complained to Gus for so long over my black eye that his sweet brown ears almost fell off, and I didn’t feel a tad of remorse. You can’t beat yourself up for hurting Jules, it just doesn’t make sense.”
For the first time Shawn saw understanding towards what he was trying to say flicker in Juliet’s eyes, her gaze softening.
“A problem is a problem,” she nutshelled, “it doesn’t matter what you compare it to.”
Shawn smiled slightly, nodding. “Now you’re getting it. You see Jules, the point of me telling you this was not so that you would feel bad, because there’s absolutely nothing to feel bad about, but so you would understand that if my wimpy fourteen-year-old self can survive heart surgery, Jules you will be just fine. Not to mention that you are probably one of the strongest, bravest, and most intelligent people I have and will ever meet.”
Juliet obviously couldn’t help but smile, a blush creeping up to her cheeks as she said, “Thank you.”
Shawn understood that the simplicity of these two words held much more than they appeared. She was not only thanking him for the compliment, but also for being there for her. For telling her his deepest secret just to alleviate her fears.
Smiling back, Shawn asked, “So you feeling better now?”
“Much.” She said truthfully, nodding.
“Good. So what do you say Jules, should we hug it out?”
Juliet shrugged and held out her good arm, falling into the pseudo psychic’s warm embrace. He rubbed her back soothingly, hand brushing over the sling’s strap. Shawn stood up as they pulled away. “I should go see where Gus is with that Jell-O,” he said, the awkwardness after that intimate moment arising. “I’ll be back.”
Shawn shouldn’t have been surprised to find Juliet asleep when he returned to her room, Jell-O cups in hand. It was getting late, after all, and she had had a long day. The way her head had fallen over her chest as she snored lightly was adorable to Shawn, as well as the edge of the blanket clutched in her small hand to keep it from falling down. Seeing her this way only served to further provoke Shawn’s image of a much younger Jules. In his head she was sleeping on sheets depicting She-ra, or maybe Xena, the warrior princess, instead of these drab white hospital ones. Just a sweet little blonde girl snoozing away those Miami nights. The thought reminded Shawn just how little he knew about Juliet, but wanted to. What was her childhood room like? Did she like Disney or Pixar? Had she always had cats? What exactly was her relationship with her brothers? All of these he’d have to ask her when she woke up, as well as what bed sheets she’d slept on.
Shawn found himself walking up to the bed, lowering it to a more comfortable sleeping position so that Juliet wouldn’t have to be sore anywhere but her arm tomorrow. Then, almost on impulse, he leaned down and pressed his lips to her sling-bound arm, silently willing the kiss to heal her, even though he knew that was impossible. Going for the lips next was Shawn’s first thought, but he decided against it. That moment was too special (Juliet was too special) for it to happen when she was asleep and injured in a hospital. So her forehead was what received a kiss, short and sweet. He jumped when she shifted slightly and murmured something incomprehensible, but soon realized that she wasn't awake: just talking in her sleep. Shawn smiled.
“Get well soon Jules.”
And then he was gone.