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Story Notes:
Written for the What If? challenge on the forums! The rules were to take any episode from the series and change one thing about it as a springboard for a fic, with no limits on genre/length/etc.

And yes, I know it’s a short, but that’s all that really seemed to work when I sat down to write it, so that’s what you get. O:)

Unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine.

Standard disclaimers apply.
It had come as a surprise that the boat was being towed by a car and not motoring out to sea. So much of a surprise, in fact, that Shawn and Gus had temporarily forgotten about the smugglers who were undoubtedly still nearby. Of course, they quickly remembered when the men reappeared, but by then it was too little too late.

The shorter of the two men seemed to be the one in charge, judging from the way he’d done most of the talking every time Shawn and Gus had encountered this dastardly duo -- which really was just the once out on the water, and now here, but that was every time even if it was only twice. And now, he was the one drawing the gun and pointing it right at Shawn.

Shawn glared as the weapon waved in Gus’s direction. He had to do something to get the attention back on himself, and so, naturally, he said the first thing that popped into his mind. “All right, guys, I'm just gonna be honest because that's usually the best policy, right?” Not waiting for an answer, he continued, “I'm a psychic.”

“You're psychic?” the gunman repeated.

“Yeah,” Shawn replied. “So I know you guys weren't really on your way to Monterey, and I know you weren't stranded.” He was pretty sure Gus was giving him that silent look that meant to shut up and quit talking, but something about the bad guy never lowering his weapon was a great motivation to keep the man’s finger off the trigger. “In fact,” Shawn added, “you were in a desperate search for the wreckage of the Rocananantee!”

“That was nowhere near close,” Gus corrected him. When Shawn glanced over at his friend, he could see the side eye of disapproval that Gus was giving him.

“I really hate that you said that,” the man growled. He turned to his partner. “Do we shoot ‘em?”

The partner shrugged. “I don't know yet,” he muttered back in response.

“You don't know yet?” Shawn latched onto the uncertainty. Jules was tracking them. If he could just keep the smugglers talking long enough… “Well umm, I'll tell you what else I know!” he offered. “You found your wreckage from a plane that everyone assumed escaped but actually went down in restricted waters, which is why your booty was so tough to find!”

Both of the smugglers’ eyes opened wide in surprise at that, and the talkative one’s expression hardened a moment later. “They’re cops, man!” he exclaimed to his partner. Then, before either Shawn or Gus could set the record straight, his finger tightened on the trigger.

Shawn barely had time to see the explosion of the muzzle flash or register the bang of the shot before something -- the bullet, he corrected himself -- hit its target.

It was as if someone had pressed the slow-motion button on the scene in the next instant, because he felt the impact in his lower right side but then stood there, frowning in confusion at the absolute lack of any feeling. It didn’t even seem like he was moving, and a glance to Gus showed his friend’s face frozen in horror. Then Shawn turned back to the smugglers, noting their grim looks, and then the slow-mo ended as suddenly as it had begun.

GASP

Shawn sucked in a lungful of air as he stumbled backward at the full impact of the shot. It was nothing as dramatic as in the movies, where the victim of a gunshot is thrown back against whatever surface is behind them. Rather, this felt just like a harsh punch that resulted in his teetering on his feet for a moment. He felt as if he couldn’t catch his breath, as much as he tried, and he sank to his knees as he gulped for more air.

Breathe,he told himself. Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe, BREATHE.

Then the searing pain hit, ripping through his side and wrapping around his insides and making it that much harder to get oxygen in his lungs. Every breath felt like fire, but something inside of him knew that he couldn’t survive if he stopped breathing and refused to entertain the idea.

His hands went to his side and clenched against it. It was an instinctive response, as much an attempt to quell the pain as it was a little voice in the back of his head reminding him that he probably should try to keep as much blood as possible inside his body.

Blood… Shawn glanced down, almost as an afterthought, and blinked at the red that was already coating his fists. From somewhere up above him came a noise that he was pretty sure belonged to Gus and his “iron stomach” -- and Shawn then realized that he’d missed whatever had occurred between the shot and the current moment. He frowned deeply; that was disconcerting. Shawn didn’t like having missing gaps in his memory. He wasn’t used to it; usually, he noticed everything around him. Thinking back, he was pretty sure his friend had yelled his name, and he was also pretty sure he had heard the shorter smuggler ordering Gus to stay put, but that was about all Shawn could recall.

And then to add to his confusion, he suddenly found himself staring at the ceiling, wondering exactly when that had happened since the last thing he could remember was swaying on his knees.

Shawn blinked again, and the room faded in and out, various colors weaving across his vision, and he hissed through his teeth at the pain. His mind was spinning, and he grimaced as he focused on the only thing he could remember at the moment: keep pressure on that wound.

Huh. That sounded suspiciously like his dad. He was never going to tell Henry about the little voice in his brain that repeated his dad’s various lectures over the years, but that didn’t exactly matter right now. Shawn was just glad his dad had decided to teach him first aid as much as he did, ‘not that you’ll ever get shot but just in case.’ He’d have to complain later about Henry having jinxed his life with that statement.

“Shawn!”

That wasn’t Gus’s voice. And why were there suddenly so many more echoes in this warehouse? That didn’t make sense.

“Kid! Open your eyes!”

Someone was patting his cheek firmly enough that Shawn couldn’t ignore whoever it was, and he acquiesced by squinting one eye open. “Huh?”

Henry’s face filled Shawn’s vision. “Oh thank God. Shawn! How are you feeling?”

“You really asking me that?” Shawn muttered, teeth still clenched together.

There was suddenly sharp pressure on his side, and Shawn hissed at the unexpected addition to his pain.

Henry grimaced in sympathy. “I know, I know. I’m sorry, but we have to stop this bleeding.” He glanced down, then back to his son’s face. “Ambulance is on its way.”

Shawn just swallowed and nodded, closing his eyes as he tried to concentrate on something else, anything else. But then there was a hand on his cheek again, prodding him again.

“Don’t fall asleep on me, Shawn,” Henry pressed.

Making a face at the order, Shawn looked around slowly. “Where’s Gus?”

Henry smiled gently. “He’s fine; don’t worry. Juliet is taking his statement.”

“We get the bad guys?” Shawn asked. He just wanted to shut his eyes and ignore everything, but he knew his dad would never let him, so he pressed on with the only other subject on his mind at the moment.

“Yeah.” Henry nodded. “Yeah, we got ‘em, Shawn.”

“How is he?” A new voice broke into the conversation just then, one Shawn recognized immediately.

He grinned. “Lassie!”

“He’ll be okay,” Henry answered the head detective’s question. “Where’s that ambulance?”

“Should be here any minute,” Lassiter responded. As if to agree with him, the shriek of sirens echoed around them just then.

“Wait, Lassie!” Shawn called, coughing and then wincing at the effort. His vision was starting to grow gray again, but he needed to say something before he lost it. There was no way he was passing up an opportunity this golden.

The detective raised an eyebrow in anticipation of whatever Shawn was about to say.

“Lassie... I believe you'll find that whatever your missing smugglers had… diamonds, right? Perhaps in the boat.” Shawn grinned despite himself.

“What are you talking about?” Lassiter demanded.

“I'm helping you!” Shawn exclaimed, ignoring the warning look on his dad’s face. “I told you. It's a two-way street.”

Lassiter blinked. “Spencer, you’re an idiot. Save your strength.” But even as he said the words, Lassiter was turning back for the boat with a look of intent curiosity on his face. Then he paused. “Hold on. How did you--”

Shawn grinned. “A little bit of this,” he winked, “and a whole lot of that,” he added with a wiggle of his fingers.


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