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Story Notes:
Happy birthday, Mira!

Set mid- to late-series (specifically where doesn't matter). Based off a title/plot idea from The Name Game on the forums.

Not betaed by anyone other than us, so we blame our muses for any errors. Standard disclaimers apply.

"They say you're going to die next."

"I'm sorry?" Shawn whipped around, blinking in surprise as he took in the sight of a little blond boy who had suddenly appeared beside him in the popcorn aisle.

The kid, who couldn't have been more than five years old, stared back at him with a serious expression in his brown eyes. "They say you're next."

Shawn frowned. "'They'?"

"The ghosts." The boy nodded.

Before Shawn could do more than just blink in response, a woman rushed around the corner and swooped in on their conversation. "I'm so sorry," she said apologized, nearly tripping over her words. She put a hand on the boy's forearm and leaned down to look him in the face. "Johnny! I told you to stop doing that!"

"So he, uh," Shawn cleared his throat, "does this regularly?" He glanced at Johnny, who was still watching him with the same look, then back to the woman.

She nodded in embarrassment. "I'm sorry," she said again. "His cousin let him watch some ridiculous movie last week, and now he's convinced he can talk to ghosts. He's been causing all sorts of trouble ever since."

"But Mom," Johnny protested, his tiny voice rising in pitch slightly. "They -- "

"Really, honey!" his mother scolded. "Stop it right now!" She glanced back to Shawn and offered another embarrassed half-smile, then retreated out of the aisle as if she couldn't get out of there quickly enough, pulling her son along with her by the hand.

Shawn watched them go, a frown creasing his forehead. One minute, he'd been weighing the merits of kettle corn over butter popcorn, and the next, he was being threatened in a manner belonging to a horror movie rather than the sunny streets of Santa Barbara. If he were superstitious, he'd be worried -- but he only pretended to be psychic. He didn't actually believe in that kind of stuff. And kids had vivid imaginations, so the mother's explanation made perfect sense. But still --


The voice beside him made him jump slightly, but he quickly recovered and turned to grin at Gus. "Hey, buddy!" Shawn held up two boxes. "What kind do you want?"

Gus raised an eyebrow. "What's going on?" he asked, clearly not convinced by the overly-eager smile Shawn had plastered on his face.

"What?" Shawn laughed, immediately wincing internally at how it sounded to his ears. His best friend knew him well enough he wouldn't let it go.

And sure enough, Gus didn't look convinced. "Shawn," he said sternly.

"Okay, fine," Shawn gave in with a sigh. He glanced from one popcorn to the other, then tossed them both into Gus's shopping cart. "Some ghost just told me I'm going to die soon."

Visibly paling, Gus gulped. "What?"

Shawn rolled his eyes. "Come on, buddy; as if!" He put a hand on the front of the cart and tugged it down the aisle toward the check-out line.

"What do you mean, 'as if,' Shawn? You can't just joke about stuff like that! You saw an actual ghost? What did it look like?"

Arching an eyebrow, Shawn smirked. "He was white and friendly and introduced himself as Casper."

Gus's eyes had started to widen slightly, but as Shawn's sentence progressed, his friend huffed a sigh and rolled his eyes.

Shawn laughed and clapped him on the shoulder before Gus had the chance to say anything. "Gus, don't be that bowl of pineapple I left in your desk drawer last week. It was just a kid who told me a very vague and generic 'they' said I was going to die next."

They were now next to the conveyor belt, and Gus began unloading groceries onto it. "Shawn, this is no laughing matter. And 'next'? That doesn't even sound a little unnerving to you?"

"Dude," Shawn shook his head as he reached into the cart and pulled out a pineapple, "I'm sure he just watched too many scary movies. I'm a psychic. If anyone is going to hear about his impending doom ahead of time, you know it's going to be me."

"Shawn, you're not -- " Gus broke off as he noticed the young African American woman behind the register watching him. He smiled self-consciously as if wondering how much she had heard of his and Shawn's conversation. "Hello," he greeted.

She nodded once with a curious frown. "Hey," she replied slowly as she reached for the first item on the counter.

Shawn elbowed his friend in the side as he put his popcorn on the belt. "I'm sorry," he told the cashier. "My friend just gets nervous when he's hungry. Sometimes he even gets the hiccups."

"I do not!" Gus shot back, glaring at Shawn then turning to smile at the woman again. "Don't mind him. I'm Gus, by the way. And you are?"

In response, the girl tapped her name tag. "Working," she told him, still sounding unimpressed as she scanned the last item. "Cash or card?"

A few moments later, the two friends were walking out of the store, each with several bags in hand. Shawn was grinning widely.

"Dude, she shut you down!" he exclaimed gleefully.

"You don't have to keep reminding me, Shawn," Gus shot back. "And don't think I've forgotten about this ghost business. That kid said you were going to die, Shawn. Die!"

Shawn made a face. "Gus, just because you keep saying it doesn't mean -- "

But that was as far as he got.

Out of nowhere, a black sedan came speeding around the corner and hopped the curb, right where Shawn and Gus were standing near the edge of the sidewalk. Absorbed as they were in their conversation, the screech of tires on asphalt was their first clue anything was amiss.

Shawn was ahead of Gus and directly in the path of the vehicle. He dove aside, catching a quick glimpse of the driver as he jumped out of the way. The car didn't even stop as it blew past the spot where Shawn had been standing.

"Shawn!" Gus yelled, rushing forward the moment the truck was gone. "Shawn, are you okay?"

His friend sat up and shook his head to clear it. "I'm okay, Gus. I think." He held his arms in front of him to examine them, then patted his head and torso down. "Yeah... everything seems to be in the right place." He frowned at the scrape on his right elbow. "That's gonna leave a mark."

"What was that driver thinking?" Gus exclaimed, glaring after it. "He didn't even stop! Must have been texting," he grumbled, moving over to pick up Shawn's bags from where he'd dropped them.

Shawn climbed to his feet and ran a hand through his hair. "I could have been killed!" he agreed indignantly.

"Shawn -- " Gus's eyes widened.


"You don't think... Is this what that kid meant?"

Shawn made a face. "Gus, it was just a careless driver. Nothing more, nothing less. Okay?" When his friend still didn't look convinced, he reached over and took his now-scuffed bags from Gus's hands. "Aw man," he said, looking inside. "My pineapple!"

"Shawn!" Gus stepped back, a look of indignance crossing his face. "You almost died, and all you're worried about is that your fruit got smashed? You could have gotten smashed!"

With a sigh, Shawn held out the now-leaking paper bag. "Gus, I'm fine. But now we gotta get this home and make smoothies! Come on!"

"Oh no you don't!" Gus protested, his frustration half-forgotten with this new threat. "You are not getting juice all over my company car! Do you know how hard it is to get sticky liquid like that out of the carpeting? And I do not need another fruit fly infestation either. I just got them taken care of from when you left that open fruit cup in the backseat last month."

"Gus, don't be one of Chris Jericho's crazy fangirls. It'll be fine. This bag looks like it can hold at least five minutes' worth of leaking pineapple juice."

"Go get another pineapple inside if you want, but that is not entering my car," Gus insisted.

Sighing in defeat, Shawn went back into the shop for another pineapple. Gus followed closely behind him, listing every single way it could possibly be a ghost and every spirit theory that came to mind. By the time they were back out in the sunshine, Shawn was understandably a tad annoyed at his best friend.

"Look," he huffed, turning to face Gus. "There is no such thing as ghosts, okay buddy?"

"You don't know that, Shawn!"

"Yes, I do!"

"No, you don't." Gus gestured to underscore his point. "Just because you faked a seance once doesn't mean there aren't actual ghosts out there -- that you've possibly offended with your whole psychic charade!"

"Look, I'll prove it to you." Shawn ran up ahead to where a ladder stood next to a shop front window. There was no one using it at the moment, but a bucket and a handful of tools had been left balanced on top of it. "It's bad luck to walk under a ladder, right? So if a 'ghost,'" he waggled his fingers in air quotes, "wanted to kill me, it'd really like me doing this --"

Gus's eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare."

"Dare what?" Shawn smirked. "This?"

And then, before Gus could protest any further, Shawn bent down and ducked under the ladder.

He made it underneath without incident, then stepped out the other side. Grinning, he winked at Gus. "See? Not a problem. No bad luck; no ghosts!"

But no sooner had the words left his mouth than one of the items perched on top of the ladder, a large silver squeegee, toppled off and landed squarely on his head.

"Ouch!" Shawn yelped in surprise, hand flying up to cover the injured spot. "Gus, stop laughing!"

"I'm not!" Gus's eyes were wide as he glanced around. "Shawn, if that wasn't a ghost, then what just happened?"

Shawn frowned. "Uhh, I think a window washing tool just hit me in the head, Gus. Pretty sure that was obvious. Or are you going to insist an angry spirit just grabbed the squeegee and tried to murder me by bopping me on the head with it?"

"Shawn, don't joke about this," Gus scolded. "Seriously, you could have been killed!"

"By a squeegee?" Shawn blinked.

"You never know!"

"Gus, don't be that last cookie no one wants to take," Shawn said, shaking his head and starting back down the sidewalk. Glancing around, he absently noted the crew working on one of the storefronts nearby. "Aren't you the one who's always telling me there's no such thing as ghosts?"

Gus scowled. "Don't play, Shawn. You really could have been killed! Not to mention that truck nearly killed you just a few minutes ago! And right after you'd been warned you were going to die!"

"Come on, Gus." Shawn spread his arms and turned to walk backward, facing his friend. "Do you really think some ghost's out to get me? Really? Why would one want to in the first place anyway?"

"Are you seriously asking me that?" Gus arched an eyebrow.

Before Shawn could retort, he saw his friend's eyes grow wide. He was moving even before Gus's shout of, "Shawn, duck!" met his ears.

A split second later, the air echoed with a metallic crash as a large piece of something silver crashed to the ground right where he'd been standing. The fact that the piece of the sign had a large, cartoon-ish pineapple on it was not lost on Shawn. He also noticed the quick flash of a figure running out from behind the crane that had been hoisting the sign just a moment before the incident, but then one of the crew ran over to help him to his feet. When Shawn glanced back, he realized he'd lost where the figure had gone.

"Sir, are you okay?" the man who appeared to be the foreman of the crew asked, pulling Shawn's attention away from the observation for the moment.

"I think so," Shawn replied, inspecting himself and then brushing off his pants as he determined nothing was seriously the matter. Of course, he'd landed on the sidewalk and probably bruised himself in the same places as a few minutes before, in front of the grocery store, but nothing was broken or falling off, so he'd be fine.

Not that he wouldn't milk this for all it was worth from Gus later. That was a given.

"I don't know what happened!" the man was saying as Shawn turned his attention back to him. He was starting to ramble like people do when they're making a panicked attempt to smooth things over. "We were just getting that piece of the sign into place to install it, and I'd stepped out of the crane for just a second to check how much more to move it!"

"You should be ashamed of yourself," Gus scolded, crossing his arms.

"I thought I had locked everything in place," the man continued to try to explain. "I always double-check that!"

Shawn gave Gus a look and then turned to the crew member. "Look, I'm fine. No harm done." He glanced up to wave at the two workers on the scaffolding in front of the store. "Just maybe don't leave your keys in the crane next time you get out," he offered with a wink, then turned and trotted off down the sidewalk.

"Shawn!" Gus ran to catch up with him. "You're just going to walk away? You could sue that guy for what happened!"

"And give my dad a year's worth of lecture material about being careful and watching my surroundings for rogue dangers?" Shawn rolled his eyes. "Not a chance. Besides, I'm fine!"

Gus wasn't ready to give up that easily. "You almost weren't! What if you hadn't gotten out of the way sooner?" He gasped. "Shawn, what if --"

"Not a ghost, Gus," Shawn interrupted.

"How did you know that's what I was going to say?" Gus demanded.

"Please, Gus; we've been friends since we were five. And it's pretty much the only thing on your mind right now."

Even with their bickering, Shawn and Gus might have chalked up the strange occurrences of the day to just that -- strange occurrences -- if not for what happened next.

Well, not next next, although that was strange enough as well.

"Lassie!" Shawn exclaimed happily, causing Gus to glance up in surprise.

The head detective did not look as happy to see the two friends as Shawn did to see him. "Spencer! Shut up!" he hissed back.

Shawn looked the other man up and down, tilting his head in puzzlement. "Um, Lassie, why are you dressed like a Chuck Noland impersonator? Is Comic-Con in town and nobody told Gus?"

"Spencer!" Lassiter snapped, still keeping his voice low. "I happen to be on important police business, if you must know. Don't go broadcasting it to everyone in sight!"

"Ohhh." Shawn grinned and tapped his temple. "I gotcha, Lassie. You're undercover! What should we call you instead? Wilson?"

Catching sight of the look on Lassiter's face, Gus poked Shawn in the side. "Come on, Shawn; we have errands to finish, and I'm pretty sure --"

But that was as far as he got before someone from behind started screaming Shawn's name. Confused since Lassiter was already standing in front of him, Shawn turned around and yelped as he was faced with a red-faced man waving a stick. "Gus is a shield!" he shouted and ducked behind his friend.

"What? No!" Gus whirled around in an attempt to avoid the weapon now swinging dangerously close to his head.

Somewhere in his and Shawn's frantic circling of each other, their feet got tangled up. The next second, Shawn crashed to the sidewalk, his head impacting with a thud that clenched at Gus's stomach.

"Shawn!" he wailed.

For a minute, all Shawn could see were little spots of light amidst the darkness swirling in his vision. He could feel the concrete under his back, but it felt strangely distant, like he'd lost his sense of space. Whatever Gus was saying sounded like it was coming through a tunnel from a million miles away.

Then things slowly started to clear, even though it took a lot of effort and felt like he was having to force his way up out of the tunnel Gus's voice was echoing down. Shawn blinked, willing the world to come back into focus. When it finally did, he squinted into the too-bright afternoon sunlight as his friend's words registered with him.

Or, well, his lack of words.

Gus was babbling senselessly, apparently trying and failing to keep himself from sobbing over Shawn's body.

Shawn sat up a bit, rubbing the back of his head. "Gus! Buddy, I'm fine! Stop crying and help me up, will you?"

Gus's face immediately sobered up. "Oh okay," he said, offering a hand.

When Shawn finally was on his feet, he glanced around blearily. There was still something of a fog to everything, but he quickly took in the fact that Lassiter was cuffing the guy who had rushed them.

Or, well, rushed him. Shawn was still confused about that one. But then, suddenly, memories started flashing through his mind from earlier. First, there was the truck... then the crane... and now...

"Wait... hang on. I know you!" Shawn exclaimed.

Gus and Lassiter looked at him incredulously. The criminal in Lassiter's grasp glowered darkly.

"You... 'know' him?" Gus repeated.

Shawn nodded. "He's been following us all day! He's probably the one who caused all those 'accidents,' not some ghost! See, I told you," he added, turning to Gus.

"But why was he following us in the first place?"

"Oh, he's the guy I thought might have committed that murder Lassie and Jules are working on," Shawn replied with a wave of his hand. "Cecil McFadden."

"What?" Gus and Lassiter both asked.

Lassiter glared at the criminal in front of him. "And he was trying to get you out of the way so you couldn't prove it was him."

"But we all know I'm too fabulous to go that easily."

"Are you sure it wasn't just your huge ego cushioning everything?" Lassiter muttered.

"You just wouldn't die!" The exclamation from the man in cuffs took all three of the others by surprise.

Shawn blinked. "Well, I happen to like staying alive, thank you very much."

"No! But I tried! Every single opportunity I had, I tried! When the car didn't work, I just knew the crane would work, but no! Somehow you just wouldn't die!"

"Okay, that's enough," Lassiter interjected. "You're under arrest for attempted murder, not to mention that original charge of murder you were trying to evade. Looks like it isn't your lucky day."

"No, it's his," McFadden muttered, still watching Shawn. "How... how did you manage to survive every time? It was like... you had the craziest luck ever."

At that, Shawn smirked and tapped his temple. "I'm a psychic, dude. I think that trumps any death plots from criminals." He winked. "You really should do your research before trying to kill off someone who's supernaturally gifted."

McFadden made a face but didn't say anything as Lassiter escorted him toward a car parked on the street.

"Spencer, I expect to see you in the station this afternoon for a statement," Lassiter ordered sternly as he put the murderer in the backseat, then climbed in the front and pulled off down the road.

When the two men had left, Gus turned to Shawn. "Dude, we both know you're not actually psychic," he said skeptically. "And what about the whole 'ghost' thing? If McFadden was out to keep you from accusing him of murdering Roy, where does that little kid come in?"

An image of McFadden talking to someone on his cell phone popped into Shawn's head at the question. "Gus, you know how kids are," he replied.

Gus raised an eyebrow.

"McFadden was on his phone at the grocery store; little Johnny just overheard him. And, since he was so obsessed with that movie his mom didn't want him watching, his little brain just thought it was another story!" Shawn grinned. "At least he was considerate enough to give me a warning."

"Okay," Gus said, nodding slowly. "So that explains most of it... but what about the ladder, Shawn?"

"Hmm... maybe it was a ghost after all."

Gus hesitated for a minute before he caught Shawn's grin and realized he was joking. "That's not funny, Shawn!"

Wiggling his fingers in the air, Shawn whistled and then ducked away from Gus's elbow. "Sure it is!"


"Tell you what, Gus. I promise I will keep an eye out for any more spooky happenings for the rest of the day, okay?" Shawn winked. "Now come on; let's go marathon a couple of seasons of The Twilight Zone."


"Doctor Who?"

Gus paused in thought, then reached out to return Shawn's fistbump. "You know that's right."

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