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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Santa Barbra 1985


“...Jason Poyle.”

Shawn, with a name tag that read Sleuth Detective, poked his head around the corner. Gus and he had found an old deer cap like Sherlock Holmes, and Shawn was now using it to spy on his father.

Henry didn't notice his son watching him, still on a business call that had come during lunch. It had been almost an hour, and his dad had been supposed to take him to Gus's over twenty minutes ago. His mother had spent almost as much time making sure that Henry remembered to take him. Obviously, she didn't spend long enough on the subject before going to get her hair and nails done.

“Yes, I understand that it's been seventy-two hours, and that he wrote an email to explain what happened, but I don't think it's that cut and dry.”

Shawn could hear some murmuring on the other end of the line. Only getting one side of the conversation was rather difficult to follow. Young eyes wandered to fall on the extension line only ten feet away.

Silently picking it up, Shawn held his breath, waiting for his dad to start yelling.

“Henry, I think the boyfriend just left, like he said. There is written proof that-”

Surprised by the sudden voice, Shawn almost dropped the phone, covering his mouth with his hand to keep from making a sound.

“Suddenly just appeared when we told the girlfriend there was no proof that he'd left willingly? She doesn't want us investigating, Karen! She wants us to forget this whole situation – and if he did leave willingly, why won't he answer his phone?”

Shawn realized that his father was talking to his partner on the force, Karen Vick. Shawn liked Karen when she'd stopped by a couple times for dinner.

“I...suppose you have some points there. Look, I'll send out another BOLO on him and his car, but nothing came back on the last one. It's been almost a week...”

“Yeah, and some cases go twenty years without getting solved. If this guy is dead in a ditch somewhere, his family deserves to know what happened, and I think that girlfriend of his, Kelly Waters, is involved!”

Shawn gasped, both his father and his father's partner falling silent.

“Shawn...are you on the line?” Henry demanded suddenly, Shawn slamming the phone back on the receiver and bolting for the door.

It was too late for him, though, when Henry suddenly appeared in his way, scooping his young son up with one hand and keeping the phone in his other.

“Karen, I'll call you back later. Keep me updated, alright?” Henry hung up without saying goodbye. Shawn gulped.

Sighing, Henry moved into the living room, setting his son down on the couch and the phone down on the table.

“Where's Gus?” Henry crossed his arms, not even realizing he'd just incriminated himself.

Shawn stared back at him, pouting.

“Shawn, where is Gus?” Henry demanded.

“Probably at his house. If he's still waiting for me to go to the amusement park,” Shawn watched as for just a second, realization spread across Henry's face, but then it was gone again, masked over by his father's angry face.

“That's no excuse for eavesdropping, Shawn! I was talking to my partner about things that you don't need to hear,” walking back to the table, Henry picked up the phone and came back, handing it to Shawn.

“What's this for?” picking up the phone, Shawn looked back to his father.

“Call Gus. If he's still at home, tell him your grounded and won't be joining him.”

“What?! That's not fair!” Shawn cried, but Henry simply waited.

“I'm not calling him!” Shawn tried again, setting the phone down beside him.

Henry waited.

“But we've been looking forward to this for weeks! They were tickets that Gus got for his birthday!” Shawn already knew his father wouldn't budge on his position.

“Shawn, what do you do when you make a mistake?”

Shawn groaned. Henry stood, arms crossed, waiting for an answer.

“You learn from it.”

“And?” Henry prompted.

“You keep going and don't make the same mistake twice,” Shawn mumbled.

“Good, you were listening. Now, call your friend and tell him you made a mistake. Maybe next time you won't make it again,” Henry spoke as if these words should be humbling Shawn, but Shawn merely snatched up the phone and dialed bitterly.

Gus's mother answered.

“May I speak to Gus please?” Shawn mumbled.

“Sure, hon,” Mrs.Guster could be heard shuffling through the house, calling for her son.

“Shawn, where are you? We've been waiting for half an hour!” Gus cried.

“My dad grounded me. I won't be coming.”

“What did you do now?” Gus asked, confused.

“I've got to go. My dad's waiting. Have fun at the park, Gus,” Shawn hung up before Gus could reply again, looking at his Father forlornly.

“No TV or friends for a week, Shawn. Go up to your room and study those police books I got you,” Henry pointed up the stairs.

“It's not fair! You're never fair! No wonder Jason Poyle doesn't want you to find him!”

With that, Shawn darted up to his room, slamming the door behind him, leaving his father half shocked in the living room.


Shawn was still curled up on his bed when he heard his mother come home. Even though he couldn't hear what anyone was saying, he could guess just as well. Upon coming home, his mother would find Henry alone in the kitchen, and ask when she needed to pick Shawn up. Henry would explain Shawn was home still, grounded.

Then, his mother would argue about grounding him for everything, and Henry would demand to know why she doubted him so much as a father.

After about ten to twenty minutes of this, his mother would get fed up and...

“Goose?”

Right on the money, Shawn glanced over his shoulder, his mother silhouetted in the doorway.

“Hey, Mom,” he sighed, turning back around.

“I'm sorry, hon. I should have just taken you myself,” and his mother did truly sound sorry.

Shawn said nothing as his mom came and sat beside him, petting his hair.

“I didn't mean to. I just wanted to know what was so important that it was taking so long. He just totally forgot all about me,” Shawn mumbled into the pillow. Softly, he heard his mother sigh, somehow knowing that she didn't want him to hear that.

“I know, Goose, I know.”



Present


“Shawn, don't use that sugar! It's so bad for you!” his Aunt scolded, setting a bowl of sweetener in front of him. Shawn bypassed both and picked up the cream, winking at his Aunt, his coffee steaming in front of him.

“Wasn't planning on it,” Shawn laughed.

“Hey, Goose,” his mother breezed into the kitchen, planting a kiss on top of Shawn's head.

“Morning, Mom,” Shawn grinned at her.

Aunt Jenny handed his mother another cup of coffee, which his mother promptly put three large scoops of sugar into, just like she'd done all week.

“Do you really have to go back today, Shawn?” his Aunt asked him.

Shawn laughed. “I've already been here a week – those cases won't solve themselves. Plus the Chief called last night and needs me back by tomorrow.”

“Besides, Jenny, he's only a few hours away. This new place of yours is absolutely gorgeous; I'm sure you can coax him back here again,” Madeline teased, exchanging her laugh for a light cough.

“You alright, Mom?” Shawn stood up, but his mother waved him off.

“Fine, probably just a cold,” Madeline smiled again, taking a long sip of her coffee.

“I suppose you're right, Mads. And you two better not be strangers! This new place cost me an extra thirty grand, and I made sure it had space for company!” Aunt Jenny shook her head in a what-can-you-do sort of manner.

“An extra thirty grand?” Shawn inquired.

“Yes, there was another offer that came in just after mine. It ended up turning into a silent bid war – you know, where you both write down your offers and the high one wins. The people that lost weren't too happy about it, either. At least, that's what my real estate agent said, but I'm sure she tells that to everyone,” Aunt Jenny shrugged.

“Yeah, they do things like that,” Madeline agreed.

“What takes the cake is that it was an extra thirty before accounting for the fact that the basement is going to need redone. The water damage is causing the floors to start cracking and pushing up against one another.”

But it is the perfect location for your job, and has two beautiful guests rooms for us to come visit!” Madeline raised her cup of coffee in cheers, Shawn and Jenny following suit. Shawn grinned; his mother always knew how to spin things towards the brighter picture.

“Thank you both so much for helping me move – it means the world to me. And tell Gus that I expect him next time you show up to visit!” Jenny smiled.

“I hereby promise not to be a stranger so that I can come mooch food off you in your fancy house – with one Gus in tow,” Shawn grinned, earning a small, teasing slap from his mother.

“I promise too, Jen! And Shawn, tell you what, I'll be stopping through Santa Barbra on my way out of town next week – I'll stop by and have supper with you,” his mother stood, grabbing her purse, “I'm going to be late, I'll see you later! Love you, hon.”

“Love you too, Mom,” Shawn stood up and gave her a quick hug and kiss on the cheek, sitting back down as she headed out to her current temporary office.

“Your mother has always been a busy one,” his Aunt chided lightly, setting a plate of toast and eggs in front of Shawn.

Shawn grinned. “Thank you. And yeah, she always has been.”

“You know, you two are a lot alike.”

Shawn turned towards her curiously, “How so?”

“You both love traveling and moving around. If not enough is changing, it starts weighing on you guys,” his Aunt shrugged, moving to place both her mug and his mother's mug in the sink.

“Yeah. I suppose your right,” the words weren't heavy with the weight of sorrow, but simply tinted with a hint of disappointment.

Shaking his head to try and clear the feelings, Shawn noticed his Aunt's tight lipped frown that quickly turned back to a smile when she noticed his gaze.

“Hey, I'll be back to visit again! I just promised I would!” Shawn laughed, coming around to put his dishes in the dish washer and to give his Aunt a hug.

Scoffing, his Aunt hugged him back, smiling brightly again. “Oh, I know! I always let goodbyes get me down. Go on, get your things together, I'll see you out the door.”



One Week Later


 

“Hey, Mom, don't know if you dropped your phone or something, but I'm waiting at the restaurant still. Call me back.”

Shawn frowned, putting his phone back in his coat pocket. Normally he was the one standing people up (usually because of a case), not the other way around. It was especially worrying when the late person was his mother – when his mother said she'd meet him somewhere, she showed up.

The waiter had already stopped by three times asking if he was ready to order, and each time, Shawn said he was waiting. At this point, he was now being pitied, the waiter dropping off a drink “on the house”, clearly having decided Shawn had been stood up and that Shawn was simply in denial.

Considering his mother was now an hour late, Shawn was starting to believe it, too. Groaning, he pulled his phone back out.

“Dad? You haven't happened to have heard from Mom, have you?”

“Shawn, why would I have heard from that woman?” Henry snorted on the other end of the line.

Too concerned to make a witty retort, Shawn simply got to the point. “Mom is an hour late. She was supposed to meet me for supper.”

“Oh, so you meet your mother willingly for supper, but not me?” Henry was failing to grasp Shawn's point.

“Well, maybe if you answered your phone a little nicer, I'd have supper with you more. I need to go find Mom,” hanging up before his dad could say another word, Shawn dialed his mother again. It went straight to voice mail. Taking another approach, Shawn dialed the only other person he could think of that might know his mother's whereabouts.

“Hey, Shawn!”

“Aunt Jenny! Hey, sorry to bug you-”

“Oh, Shawn, you're never a bother!” his Aunt interrupted him.

“Thanks, Aunt Jenny. But you haven't happened to hear from my Mom have you? She was supposed to meet me for supper, but she's late and not answering her phone,” Shawn was trying not to sound worried, but it must have come across, his Aunt taking her time answering.

Finally, after a long minute, his Aunt spoke. “I haven't heard from her since she left last week, hon.”

“Maybe I'll try the hotel, see if she got checked in okay.”

“Yeah, she's probably just a little jet lagged from running all over the place. I bet she just forgot, hon.”

“Thanks, Aunt Jenny. I'll let you know what I find.”

“Alright. Talk to you later, hon!”

The call ended.

Sighing, Shawn asked for the check, downing his drink in a single gulp.



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