5 Things Juliet Learned about Shawn by PapayaK
Summary:

Summary = Title + ShawnWhump x ShulesGus

COMPLETE


Categories: Season Characters: Gus, Henry, Juliet, Karen, Lassiter, Maddie Spencer, Shawn
Genres: Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Warnings: Graphic Violence
Challenges: On Your Marks, Get Set....WHUMP!
Challenges: On Your Marks, Get Set....WHUMP!
Series: None
Chapters: 10 Completed: Yes Word count: 16637 Read: 19678 Published: June 26, 2014 Updated: July 06, 2014

1. Prologue by PapayaK

2. What She Learned from Lassiter by PapayaK

3. What She Learned from Gus by PapayaK

4. What She Learned from Maddie by PapayaK

5. What She Learned from Henry by PapayaK

6. What She Learned from Chief Vick by PapayaK

7. What Shawn Heard by PapayaK

8. Interlude by PapayaK

9. What Shawn Learned about Juliet by PapayaK

10. And So It Goes by PapayaK

Prologue by PapayaK
Author's Notes:

NO, YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THIS TO GET THE REST OF THE FIC.  SKIP IT NOW IF YOU WANT TO.

**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.**

Never thought I’d write a ‘5 things’ fic.  But if you read my author’s notes, you will quickly notice that many things about my writing surprise me.  I don’t know why that is – but I kind of like it.

At first I just wanted to write my version of the ‘Jules learns Shawn’s not psychic’ thing because I was never satisfied with it in the show. 
Then I realized there were a few other things I wanted to address – 4 more things to be exact. 
Then I needed a reason why everyone would be having these odd, somewhat out of character conversations so I put them all at Shawn’s ‘death bed.’ (‘Cause who has normal conversations at a death bed??) 
Then I needed a reason for Shawn to be in that death bed…
And then I needed to pull it all together, make sure Shawn survives – without it be too cliché, and finally - tie it all up neatly with a pretty bow. 

That’s how the story got so long…

This is 5 things Juliet learned about Shawn

It needs a little set-up.

Here’s the situation as we join our friends:

Our fabulous crime fighting team just took down some really bad guys.  The case did not go well, and in the end it looked like the bad guys were going to win.  The only reason they didn’t is because Shawn did something completely desperate and heroic.  He took down the bad guys and saved the lives of his friends – at great cost to himself:  He got shot in the head and is now in a coma, on life support, and no one knows if he’ll wake up or not.  (btw - this is not a death fic)

As expected, his friends and loved ones spend those days keeping watch over him – trying to keep hope alive.  These are five of the conversations that take place at his bedside. 

Each of the first five chapters contains part of the story of what put him in the coma and one of the conversations.

Juliet, Lassiter, Gus, Henry, Maddie, and even Chief Vick are all present at different times on different days.  Obviously whoever is speaking is present, but feel free to put anyone else in the room that you would like, because I’m not going to spend a lot of time on setting the scene.  This is about thoughts and feelings.

This is set somewhere in season 6 – established Shules.

I hope you like it. (It’s is not a death-fic)

Oh – and this is not a death-fic.

What She Learned from Lassiter by PapayaK

oO0Oo
What She Learned from Lassiter
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“Where did he learn to shoot like that?” Juliet asked no one in particular.

Henry answered softly, “I trained him from when he was little...” A pause as the memories flowed by, “He had some real natural talent - Never saw anything like it.”

“You taught a child to shoot?  Why?” Slight incredulousness from Juliet, whose family had been more likely to feed and pet the deer than hunt, kill, and eat them. (Although she had to admit they were delicious)

Henry just looked at her – it wasn’t unusual to teach children about guns.  It made them safer – not less so, especially when there were guns in the house. 
Of course, like everything else he had taught Shawn, he’d taken it further than the average dad…

Lassiter joined the conversation, “I have a guess- Focus.”

Henry snorted.

Juliet looked back and forth between them. 

Gus just rolled his eyes – he’d known about the gun training sessions – but had never been allowed to participate.  His parents would have shot Henry Spencer themselves for letting him touch anything so deadly.

Lassie continued, “I would make a guess that Spencer was even more hyperactive as a child?”

Henry nodded slowly – clearly wishing for some of that activity from his son at the moment.

“Learning marksmanship –especially learning it to that level…” The head detective still couldn’t believe the amount of pure talent he had witnessed from the ‘psychic.’  He’d never even seen Spencer hold a weapon, and had fully expected him to grasp the pistol’s handle gingerly between thumb and forefinger and get rid of it as quickly as possible.  He certainly hadn’t expected to see him grab, check, load, and fire it multiple times without missing once – always moving as if the weapon was simply an extension of his body.  “It takes an incredible amount of focus.”  Lassiter wasn’t consciously doing it, but talking this way was a distraction – a comfort to the sad group.

“And he thought it was cool,” Henry added.

“So he was motivated to practice.” Lassiter nodded to himself, “I wasn’t all that different as a child.  Learning to control your breathing, even your heart rate… studying angles, wind… it’s physics, really.  And the more time you spend doing it, the better you get - and not just at hitting a target.”

“It was the first time I saw him voluntarily stay still for more than ten minutes.”

“He’s good, I’ll give him that.” Lassiter concluded begrudgingly, “Not as good as me, though.”

Henry looked at the detective out of the corner of his eye and smirked, “Are you sure about that?”  But then his smile faded as the next natural thought occurred: I hope you get the chance to test that theory…  He didn’t speak it; it was too depressing to say it out loud.

The look on the head detective’s face said he’d heard it all the same.

oO0Oo
Warehouse

oO0Oo

“Really, Lassie?” Shawn asked silently as he leaned lower on his bike, trying to urge just a bit more speed from the Norton, “Really?!?  You pick today?  This time?  This case??”

Shawn Spencer had worked with the SBPD for over five years now, and in that time he’d learned a few things.  He’d learned just how far you can push a Head Detective with a bunch of psychic nonsense before he actually takes a swing at you – or arrests you – or any of the things he’d threatened over the years.  He liked seeing just how close to that line he could walk.  He liked it very much.

He’d also learned how long it took them to actually do something about one of his tips.  He’d measured the proportions of how much urgency and clarity he gave, coupled with the degree of severity of the crime and weighed it against how long it took them to react.  He had it down to a pretty accurate system. 

(And people said he couldn’t do math…)

Except today. Today Lassiter – or maybe it was the Chief who had chosen this time to respond faster than expected.  Much to Shawn’s dismay…

In this particular case, he really should have had at least another thirty to forty-five minutes before Lassie and Jules arrived at the warehouse.  Gus was probably with them, since the last place Shawn had seen his buddy had been in their company.  He gritted his teeth as he tore around another corner.

If they went into the warehouse now, they would be walking into a deathtrap!

If they walked in forty-five minutes from now, Shawn would have had time to take care of a few things and it would have been a bad-guy-trap instead.  He’d seen so much in the last twelve hours; So much evidence that these guys were killers and needed to be stopped.  He had everything he needed to put them all away for life.  But he needed another thirty to forty-five minutes (at least) to put his plan in motion.

He wasn’t going to get it.

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

End Notes:
Please review if you liked it - or have any thoughts...
What She Learned from Gus by PapayaK

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What She Learned from Gus
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When Shawn roared up outside the warehouse he could hear the firefight already going on inside.  He leapt off his bike and ran

The only thing that remained in his favor was that he knew the building far better than anyone inside.  He entered unseen and climbed to the catwalk above to get a better view of who was where.

He was looking for the leader, Tyler.  If you stop him – you stop them all.  But he saw two members of his gang first.  They were shooting at Jules.  She was down behind some shipping crates desperately shooting back.  She was keeping those two criminals, plus a third, he now noticed, pinned down.  She was holding her own for the moment, but was also horribly out-matched.  The bad guys had her out-numbered and they had better position.  It was only a matter of time.

Gus was with her and he seemed to be bent over her lap.  Shawn panicked for a moment thinking Gus had been shot – then he stopped breathing when he realized it was Juliet who was bleeding and Gus was trying to bandage her leg. 

It was horrible to think that either of them had been hurt, but thankfully it didn’t seem too serious from his vantage point.  He hoped he was right.  He wanted to go to her, hold her, and take care of her but he couldn’t.  Instead he had to somehow turn the balance of the fight in her favor.  

At least Gus was with her.  Shawn smiled grimly in respect for his queasy friend as he worked his way silently above and behind the third shooter; Gus couldn’t stand the sight of blood – but his buddy always managed to do whatever was needed when necessary.

Eyeing the distance between himself and the criminal, he grasped the lower edge of the catwalk with both hands and swung off and down.  He used his momentum to kick the shooter in the shoulder, causing him to drop his weapon.  Shawn hadn’t intended it, but the guy’s head fortuitously slammed into the fork lift he’d been hiding behind hard enough to knock him out. 

Raising his eyebrows at the sudden advantage, Shawn thought to himself, ‘One down – five to go.’  He dropped silently to the floor and went after the pistol, ‘Unless I find Tyler first…’ 

He had to save Jules and Gus.  And where was Lassiter?

Now standing in the position previously occupied by their fellow gang member, Shawn had no cover to shield him from the remaining shooters. 

But neither did they have cover from him.

His father had taught him that a cop uses his weapon only as a last resort – and even then – never shoot to kill if you can possibly avoid it.  The thigh or the arm are preferred targets for subduing a perpetrator.

That just wasn’t going to cut it today.  Shawn had no intention of killing anyone.  But he also had no time to clear and disarm each one and no way to restrain any of them.  So he needed to be sure they were down for the count and unable to shoot.

He scooped up the discarded pistol and quickly shot both men in the upper right chest.  Away from the heart, but if he hit a lung, he wasn’t going to complain.  And since both of them were right handed – they should now be unable to even hold, much less fire a weapon.  One of them got off a couple shots at him in response before he went down, but he missed in his surprise that bullets had suddenly come from the spot his fellow gang member had been a moment before. 

Shawn was unharmed. 

‘Three down – three to go...’

oO0OO
Hospital
oO0Oo

“He looks… peaceful…” Juliet mused softly.

Gus snorted, causing her to look at him in surprise.

Gus relented, glancing in her direction, “Shawn? Peaceful?” he shook his head.

Grateful for the lightness Gus had brought to the room, Juliet played along, “He’s in a coma…” she ‘reminded’ him.

“Mm hmm – and he’s havin’ an adventure in there.” He said nonchalantly, gesturing vaguely towards his buddy’s heavily bandaged head.

“What?” She asked.  Mostly she just wanted to keep this conversation going.  It was the first time in days she hadn’t felt like crying.  A very Shawn-like happiness had come over her with Gus’s words.

“If there is one thing I have learned about Shawn over the years, it is that he is never still.  You’ve seen him.  He can be sitting quietly, but some part of him is twitching or bouncing.  And even if he does manage to keep his body still, his head never quits.  He is always having an adventure…”He paused as a memory hit him, “Do you know, one time- fourth grade, I think- our class got in big trouble:  Mr. Allen made us put our heads down for a whole hour he was so mad!  I thought Shawn was going to explode.  But he didn’t.  He sat more quietly than anyone else.  Then after school, he spent two hours telling me all the adventures he’d had while I was bored out of my skull!”

Juliet smiled at him, and the pair were quiet, thinking about what just might be going on behind the bandages, the ventilator and the too pale skin.

Then Juliet broke the silence, “Gus, can I ask you a question?”

They were both still looking at Shawn.

“Sure, Jules.”

“How do you put up with him?”

Gus snorted again, “Are you kidding?  He puts up with me.”

Juliet looked at him with more than a little disbelief.

“Sorry – I forget, sometimes, how people perceive us; as if I’m the one who’s all mature and responsible and he’s the crazy one.”  Gus was grinning ironically at his buddy.  “Shawn makes everyone think he’s the annoying one because he likes it that way.  Believe it or not, I’m a lot more annoying to him, than he is to me!” 

Juliet’s brow crinkled.  She was fascinated and a little disturbed by what Gus was telling her.  This wasn’t at all what she had expected.

“Not everyone gets me and Shawn at first.”

At that point Gus grimaced and frowned at Juliet, “Aww – now you got me all sad again.  Usually Shawn picks it up at times like this and makes some stupid comment that totally distracts me from whatever horrible thing is about to happen.”

Juliet had to agree.

They sat in silence for a moment; both wishing Shawn would suddenly wake up and utter some random non-sequitur.

When it became apparent he wasn’t going to, Juliet tried her version of a ‘Shawn distraction,’ “Doesn’t it drive you crazy that he never introduces you by your real name?”

Gus chuckled quietly and slid Juliet a smile that told her he was grateful for the effort, “You mean like ‘Lavender Goombs?’ or ‘Nick Knack?’  Yeah- It’s so annoying… well, it was…   When he first started doing that I wasn’t expecting it.  It used to drive me crazy!”

“What changed?”

Gus took a deep breath, “Do you remember arresting Duane Ross?”

Juliet frowned in thought, “Wow.  That was a long time ago.  But yeah, I remember.  That was one of your private cases-“

“One of our first.”

“Yeah, only it went horribly wrong.”

Gus huffed a short laugh and agreed, “It started out as a missing pet!  Turned into a psychotic murder…”

“I remember – he came pretty close to killing Shawn.”

“Not really.  Shawn kinda wanted you to think that so he’d look more like a hero.”

They shared a smile at that.

Then Gus continued, “But he did try… He tried to kill both of us.”

“I didn’t know he went after you, too!”

“Nobody knew.” Gus responded, “It was never really an issue ’cause he couldn’t find me.”

Juliet frowned, puzzled.

“He never came close to killing me because he couldn’t find ‘Elliot Sparklepants.’” Gus let that one sink in for a moment before continuing, “There’s a good chance I would be dead right now if Shawn had introduced me by my real name.”  He paused thinking of how amazed he still was at his friend’s abilities.  “I never know who’s going to believe him and who isn’t, but Shawn always does… well – almost always.”

“Wow.” Was really all Juliet could add.

Gus moved to sit down in the chair next to Shawn’s bed and looked at his best friend sadly, “That night, the night you arrested Ross?  After you and Lassiter and everybody had all gone home, Shawn sat down across from me there in the office.  Our desks were still new…  He looked at me very seriously -and you know how rare that is for Shawn...  He told me he was sorry.  He was sorry for all the times he had gotten me into trouble.  He said, that as long as we were part of Psych, he couldn’t promise to keep me out of trouble but…” Gus had to pause, and swallow hard before continuing, “But he told me… He promised me that if I was ever in trouble he would get me out of it…  Or die trying.”  Gus shook his head.  He had to pause for a long while before he could speak again. 

Juliet waited patiently and ignored it when Gus swiped at his eyes, “I’ll never forget it… And neither has he.”

Juliet was quiet in respect for a friendship so deep, she could not even imagine it.  She loved Shawn, and she knew he loved her, but what he shared with Gus was unique.  It would never – should never be duplicated, and she was okay with that.  Actually, she was proud of that.

“That’s why he’s here,” Gus spoke quietly, gesturing at the hospital bed.

Juliet frowned to herself.  She should have known.  They all shared some pretty intense guilty feelings.  After all, Shawn was lying there in that coma as a direct result of his efforts to stop Tyler and get them all home safe.  But she should have realized that Gus would take it harder than anyone.

“It’s not your fault, Gus.” She almost whispered.

“I know!” The protest came out in that sing-song way the friends shared. “It’s Tyler’s fault!  I get that.  It’s just…” There was another long pause, “I don’t want this to be the time he dies getting me out of trouble.”

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

End Notes:
Review if you liked
What She Learned from Maddie by PapayaK



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What She Learned from Maddie
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“He loves you very much, you know.” Maddie announced matter-of-factly.  She did not look at the woman standing beside her.


Juliet was shocked to hear Shawn’s mom make such a statement and wondered for a moment if she was the intended recipient.


Maddie simply continued, “My Goose never does anything half way; especially when it comes to relationships.  It’s one of the reasons he’s taken his time maturing to this level.”


Juliet frowned as she was reminded that Maddie was a psychiatrist of some sort.  But before she wanted to think about the statement that had begun this little conversation, she wanted to understand a little better, “This level?” she prompted.


“Gus is the only person Shawn has ever really let in.” Maddie did not take her eyes off her son’s face. “Until you.”


“Me?”


Maddie smiled softly, “Forgive me, but Shawn is a fascinating subject- although I may be biased.  I’ve studied him all his life.  And there is so much IN there;  So much to him that most people never see.  And few people have ever taken the time to look…  I did.  I can tell what he’s feeling, although it isn’t easy since he’s become so good at hiding it.” Then she grimaced – almost as if she was in pain, “At least, I used to be able to tell – when he was a child - before I left...” Juliet could well understand the regret in Maddie’s voice.


“He’s changed…” the older woman mused softly, “Now I think Gus is the only one… But maybe Henry can… Maybe you…” Why had she left?  If she had known how short Shawn’s time would be…  We always think we have all the time in the world, but those we love can be taken from us in the blink of an eye. Juliet’s voice pulled her back to the moment.


“And he feels something for me?”


Maddie finally turned and smiled at her, tears clear in her eyes, “You know he does.  You know that he loves you.  I just don’t think you realize what you’ve been given.”


“What I’ve been given?”


“His heart, his life, all of him…  I’ve never seen him like this before.”


“But Abigail-“


“Abigail was an experiment.  Don’t get me wrong- he was completely sincere with her.  He liked her very much, and I believe he was prepared to commit to her.  But I think, in reality, she was his practice round.”


“Shawn would never treat someone like that.”


“Of course not.  Not intentionally- As I said, he was sincere with Abigail.  But he loves you.  He didn’t know if he was capable of being in a real relationship- so he had to find out. 
He couldn’t take that risk with you.  If the relationship with Abigail didn’t work out, he would be disappointed, but he could handle it.  And maybe on some level he knew that it couldn’t… But not so with you.”


Juliet raised her eyebrows and took a deep breath, “No pressure…”


“Honey, I’m not saying you have to stay with him forever – You don’t have to be right, you just have to be willing to be wrong...  You both need time to figure this out.  I just wanted you to know what you’re getting into.”


Juliet just looked at her, not knowing whether she should be pleased or worried.


“Get ready to be treated like a princess… and then a Greek goddess… and then a person…” Maddie smiled, thinking about the habits of Spencer men.  “He loves you so much.  More than he can say.”


oO0Oo
Warehouse
oO0Oo


Shawn hated guns - hated his ability to use them.  But sometimes there was no choice, and this was one of those times. 


The crate behind him splintered and he ducked- turning towards a new threat.


“Spencer!!” Lassiter shouted a warning at him from another part of the warehouse where he was pinned down by two more of the gang.  One of whom had just turned and was shooting at Shawn.


Because he had turned toward Shawn, he’d exposed his back to Lassie.  The head detective took him down.  Shawn nodded his thanks and ran.  ‘Four down…’  But before he could get into position to take out the fifth man, he heard a yelp and saw Lassie fall.  He swore.  If he’d been a split second faster… but he didn’t have time to worry about the detective now.  He rounded the end of the row of crates and fired without breaking stride.  The fifth man dropped.  But he wasn’t Tyler either.


James Tyler was the ring leader of the gang- the mastermind behind their killing spree.  And he was nowhere to be seen.  Shawn briefly paused to think, he closed his eyes and raised a hand to his temple- where was he? He couldn’t let Tyler get away or the whole thing would just start all over again.


He vaguely registered the sound of approaching sirens and had to smirk at the irony: Lassie and Jules had gone into a dangerous situation without calling for back-up.  (Never mind the fact that they didn’t call for back-up because they didn’t know the warehouse was dangerous – Shawn hadn’t told them.  But in his defense, it wouldn’t have been if they’d given him more time!!) Shawn had called it in for them from his bike on the way there. 


He hoped they’d all get the chance to laugh about it later.


Then it hit him.  There was a small door in the far side of the warehouse.  It was on the opposite end from any of the gang’s activities and so Shawn had guessed they wouldn’t have seen it.  But it was the only possibility left.  Tyler must have known about it.  Shawn ran.  If he could beat Tyler to the exit he could stop him.


He succeeded.


oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo



What She Learned from Henry by PapayaK
Author's Notes:
Here's the big one... I hope you like it.

oO0Oo
What She Learned from Henry
oO0Oo

Juliet was uncomfortable.  And not just because the man she loved was in a coma.  She was uncomfortable because of his father.  Henry had come in and sat down nearly an hour ago without saying a word, and had neither spoken nor moved since.

She understood.  Of course she understood! His only son was in a coma.  And she knew that he’d just spent the morning at Shawn’s apartment, doing preliminary preparation for clearing out all of Shawn’s earthly belongings.

What did she expect him to do?  She still didn’t know him all that well.  She did know that the Spencer men were not big on sharing their emotions, but she felt she should say something to break the silence…

She watched him as he took a deep breath and beat her to it.

“Can I tell you a story?” He asked.

She was taken aback by the question, “Um… of course, Mr. Spencer.”

“Henry.” He corrected before continuing, “It’s a long one, and I’m not sure I should tell it.” He spoke without looking at her, “Shawn certainly wouldn’t thank me.”

Now she was really puzzled, “Maybe then…”

“But I think I have to.” Then he closed his eyes and looked profoundly sad for a moment.

Juliet waited quietly.

When he opened them, he turned, and looked her in the eye, “I spoke to the doctor just before coming in here.”

Juliet swallowed, suddenly afraid.  This could not be good news.

Henry took a slow, deep breath and spoke on the exhale, “He’s getting worse, Juliet.  I’m sorry.” He looked away, his eyes finding his son’s still face. “The doc says one, maybe two weeks.”

Juliet’s hands went to her mouth.  She couldn’t speak- couldn’t breathe.  Her heart had stopped.

They had known that it was possible that Shawn would never wake up, that his injury was too severe to survive, but there had been a chance…  They’d all been hanging on to the chance that – given time – Shawn would heal and come back to them.  But if he was getting worse…

If he was getting worse, then there was no chance.

“They don’t think he’ll wake up, and – forgive me – but I think I have to tell you…”

Juliet no longer cared what Henry had to say.  If Shawn never woke up? What else could possibly matter?  If he never looked into her eyes again?  If he never again said something so funny she had to laugh no matter how dire the situation?  If she never again heard him say ‘Jules’ as only he could?  If he never solved another case? Never put finger to temple again? 

She stopped her thoughts of ‘never again’ and tried to listen to Henry’s story.

“The story is about a little boy… an amazing, incredible little boy.” Henry began softly, a gentleness in his voice Juliet had never heard before.

But she didn’t want to listen.  She didn’t.  How could she?  How could she listen to some stupid story at a time like this? 

How could Henry tell her a story now?

Oh.

He was telling it because he’d just learned his son was dying.

She had better listen then…

“He taught himself to read before he turned four.  He tried to hide it from his parents- what three-year-old does that?  They found out, though.  And they were so proud!” Henry stopped.  He had to swallow a few times before he could continue.

“His dad didn’t show it though – couldn’t tell him how proud he was – If he could read at such a young age, how much else could he achieve?  His father, jerk that he was, only pushed for more.  His son was going to be great.”

“Didn’t work out quite that way, though.  In Kindergarten he did okay, his grades were average.  His parents got called in plenty of times for behavior problems – never for commendations…”

“First grade was worse.  In first grade, he took – you know – that state test thing and he failed.” Henry chuckled ruefully, “I don’t think he got a single answer correct.  But he had this teacher… she was getting a degree in working with gifted kids or some such – whatever.” Henry waved a hand dismissively.  “She took him aside after the test and asked him about it.  He thought she was pretty, so he told her.”

“Told her what?” Juliet asked curiously.

Henry paused, and when he continued it was with humor and pride in his voice, “He recited all thirty questions perfectly, from memory, including all four possible answers, and he told her the correct answer for each one.”

Juliet’s eyebrows rose in amazement.

“She was impressed.  She tested him more – found out he was brilliant – genius level - off the charts… And he had a highly functioning – what most people call a photographic memory.  He could look at any set of facts – at anything – and remember every detail perfectly.”

Then Henry frowned and studied his hands, “But he didn’t care.  He was embarrassed by the attention.   Don’t get me wrong – He loved attention – but not the attention he got for being smart – for being good.  Never that… He could never- would never concentrate long enough to put down a right answer.”

With a sigh he continued, “That summer this teacher got him into a special school.  He hated it.  Gus hated it.  But it was the best thing that ever happened to him.  At the end of that summer he had learned to play the game:  The game of school.  He had learned the rules, and he knew how to get just enough of the answers right so his grades were good enough to get him into the things he wanted – sports and such.”  Henry just shook his head, a wry smile on his lips.

“With that level of intelligence, everything was a game.  Life was a game.  But that wasn’t enough for his dad. 
His dad wanted him to be a cop. 
So he trained him.  From that summer on, he trained him to use his special skills and abilities.  Drilled him every day.  Taught him to see details, clues that others miss; trained him to use a weapon; to be physically fit; Made him think.

“The boy hated it but the father believed that, one day, he would thank him.” There he stopped, gritted his teeth, and growled, “The father was an idiot.”

“Henry…” Juliet chided gently.  She knew, obviously, who Henry was really talking about and it hurt her to see how he blamed himself.  Especially since she believed that Shawn would thank him. 

If only he’d have the chance.

Henry held up a hand to silence her.

“The harder the dad pushed the more the son rebelled.  Eventually he even,” Henry paused, not sure he could get all this out to her, “He even arrested his son one night – a last ditch effort to get him to understand that there were bigger things at stake… 
not too long after that, his parents split and that was the last straw.  He got on his bike and left town.”

Henry had to pause again.  He was staring at Shawn’s face.  His body tense.

“I didn’t think he would ever come back.” He whispered.

Then he roused himself and continued his story.

“His wife gone; His son gone; the father had nothing but painful memories -so he left, too.  A few years later he heard from a buddy that the boy had come back to town, so he moved back too- He hoped he might have a chance to reconcile.  He knew he had to find a way to accept his son as he was:  He would never amount to anything.  He never went to college – in spite of the fact that he could have had a free ride to any school.  He never held a serious job.  Never held ANY job for more than six months – and that was for a girl…”

It hurt Juliet deeply to hear Henry talk about Shawn this way, but she also understood.  She had never known so much about him before.  She now understood their odd relationship much better.

“There was one thing that remained constant though.  One habit he had kept from his father’s training.  One… urge… he couldn’t resist.”

Juliet raised her eyebrows in curiosity in spite of the fact that Henry still hadn’t looked at her since telling her that Shawn was dying.

“He solved crimes… He called in tips.  He would watch the news – read the paper – and just from that, he would solve cases for the police in whatever town he happened to be that week… got paid for it too, more often than not – reward money.  It was almost a compulsion for him.  His father should have been proud of that, too – but he only saw how much more his son could have been.”

Henry then looked at Juliet, pain clear on his face, “But then?  Then something happened that no one could have expected…” his voice trailed off.  He looked at her as if trying to decide if he should continue.  But then his hand touched a lump in his pants pocket and he took a deep breath.

“One morning, this young man – this aimless drifter – walked into the Santa Barbara police department to pick up his reward for a recent tip, and got a surprise instead:  The head detective grabbed him and took him to interrogation.  This crime had been too big – this tip had been too accurate – AND the criminal had a partner who’d gotten away.  The head detective was convinced this kid was in on it.  He was this close to arresting him.” Henry held up a hand, thumb and index finger less than an inch apart.

“Well – it wasn’t the first time the kid had found himself on the wrong side of the cops.  And he’d always been able to talk his way out of it.  Plus – this was the SBPD – and there was no way he was going to spend another night behind its bars.  Once had been enough.”  Henry laughed ruefully- without humor-as he spoke, acknowledging his part in this lie.

“He was absolutely desperate to get away.
He knew he was going to have to come up with something really good this time.” Henry swallowed and looked at Juliet as if begging for forgiveness.

Juliet had stopped breathing.  She already knew what he was going to say, so she said it for him, “He claimed he was psychic,” she whispered, “He wasn’t…”

Henry nodded slowly.

She put a hand to her lips, “He wasn’t… He isn’t… But… But then…”  ‘Why are you telling me this?  Why are you telling me this now?’ she wondered.

Henry spoke again, more strongly now since the worst was over and the next part was of utmost importance. “He was desperate.  And it made sense.  He was good enough that anyone who didn’t know would believe he was psychic.  And that day – that very moment - something inside him changed.”

“It took a few days for anyone else to notice it, even longer for anyone to believe it.  But he knew from that moment his life would now be different.  Suddenly, for the first time, he had a future.  He had a goal.  He had a life.”

“And yes, it was a life built on a lie – but that hardly mattered when what he was doing mattered.  He was finally doing what he had been born to do.  He was doing good.  He was making a difference - a real difference.  He was helping people.  He had found a way to use and to be everything his father had wanted for him – well, almost everything – while still being who he wanted to be.” 

“His best friend at his side, he put down roots; he took out a lease; he kept himself in business for years instead of months.  He was putting criminals behind bars- some of the worst criminals California had ever seen.  He was good at it.  And-” Henry smiled sadly, nodding to himself, “and he was having fun.”

Henry paused, wondering how his own ego – his own plans for his son’s life had gotten in the way of his son’s joy… He shook it off and continued.

“And when the head detective got a new partner, he didn’t know her from Eve – why would he let her in on the secret?  He didn’t know if he could trust her. 
And later – when he knew that he could – he was afraid.  He couldn’t risk losing this new life he had built. 
And later still – when he knew that he loved her – he was terrified.  He couldn’t risk losing her.”

Juliet felt frozen, like her blood had stopped flowing.  On top of the news that she was losing Shawn forever, she was trying desperately to process all that Henry was telling her.  She was angry.  Yes, she was furious.  And she was hurt.  How could he lie to her for all these years?  How could he?  
But Henry had just explained how. 
And WHY?  Why would he tell her this now?  What difference could it possibly make since she was never going to be able to talk to Shawn again?

But Henry wasn’t finished: “The night before…” He had to swallow again before continuing, and Juliet vaguely recognized how terribly difficult this must be for him, “The night before… this,” he gestured at the still form in the bed, “happened - he came to talk to me.”

He turned fully in his seat to face her, really looking at her for the first time since he’d begun his story, “He was nervous – you know how nervous he can get – he couldn’t sit – he couldn’t stand still...  He told me he wanted… He needed you to know.  He couldn’t go on anymore.  He wanted to share everything with you… or nothing.  The lie was killing him. 
The better he got to know you, the more he understood how much he was hurting you.  He couldn’t do it anymore.  He was going to tell you.  And if you hated him… If you left him… well… He was finally ready.  He was ready to risk everything for just a chance at spending the rest of his life with you.”

Juliet gasped softly – she’d had no idea…

Henry hadn’t stopped looking her in the eye, the words now poured out of him, “He told me he had been trying to reach your dad, but he couldn’t find him.” Henry’s earnest eyes met her puzzled ones.  He explained: “He wanted to ask for your hand.”

Henry reached into his pocket and pulled out a small jewelry box.

Juliet gasped again, glad she was already sitting down – she was beginning to get light headed.

“He couldn’t get ahold of him,” Henry continued, “So he decided to ask me… stupid, I know.”

“No…” Juliet breathed, staring at the box.

“Of course I said yes, absolutely, what took you so long…”

Juliet smiled slightly at the compliment.

“It took him so long, because he couldn’t do it without telling you the truth.  And he didn’t know how.  He hated it.  He hated himself for letting it go this far.  He didn’t see how you could ever forgive him and he didn’t really think you should.”

“He was at a crossroads.  He knew that if he told you, you had every reason to leave him – but he couldn’t lie to you anymore, Juliet – and he wasn’t going to lie to his wife.”

“His wife…” Juliet whispered, trying to breathe through all of this.  It was total overload.

“That night…” Henry began.

And Juliet suddenly remembered:  She had completely forgotten about the hours leading up to that devastating night that had left none of them unscathed, and Shawn in a coma. “He wanted to go for a walk that night.  He was terribly nervous; he could barely get the words out… I had forgotten…”

Henry nodded, “He was going to tell you that night, and he had this in his pocket… just in case.” He reached across the bed and put the small box into her hand.  He gently closed her fingers over it.  “I don’t know what you would have said.  And I don’t need to,” He was careful not to meet her eyes, “It doesn’t matter now...  
It was my mother’s ring.  When she died she left it to Shawn to give to whomever he…” Henry’s voice dropped to a whisper, “But now he won’t…”

Clearing his throat, he looked up and continued with a stronger voice, “What I do know is that he would want you to have it.”  He looked away, having placed the box safely in her care, “Do whatever you want with it.”

She opened the small box and studied its contents.  Tears began to stream down her face.  Not because the ring was beautiful, although it was, but because for a moment, for the first time, she truly understood who Shawn Spencer was – wonderful, infuriating, amazing, unbelievable Shawn Spencer.  She loved him more than she ever had.  And he was about to be taken from her forever. 

He wasn’t going to wake up.

Henry was now standing. “I hope I did the right thing.”

Juliet was nodding fiercely, unable to speak. 

A small part of her recognized that this was a father losing his son and she should say something to that, but she couldn’t.
She was completely adrift in a way only Shawn could send her.
An even smaller part knew that Henry understood the effect his son had on people.

“I’ll let you alone for a bit.” He took one more look at his son, silently asking his forgiveness, turned, and left.

Juliet got up and stumbled to Shawn’s side.  She sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over and gently kissed the corner of his mouth, carefully avoiding the tubes in his throat.  Then she lowered her forehead to his shoulder and wept.

Later, when she could breathe again, she sat up and looked at him. 

One word filled her mind – the same word that always encompasses every tragic moment: Why?  Why did he have to die?  Why was she learning all of this now?  Why did she have to feel such anger and hurt and betrayal…and love? All at the same time?

“Why, Shawn?  Why didn’t you let me in?  Why didn’t you tell me?”

oO0Oo
Warehouse
oO0Oo

Shawn rounded the corner and stopped, panting, hands on his knees due to his sprint, but blocking the door, just as Tyler emerged from between two rows of stacked crates. 

When his quarry appeared, Shawn straightened; the pistol heavy in his hand.

Both men raised their weapons simultaneously.  

Both men fired. 

Later, Lassiter and O’Hara would claim they’d only heard one shot.

In that instant, time stopped and Shawn was transported:

     ‘It’s kind of like a movie camera,’ he heard his dad’s calm, comforting voice. ‘Remember when you wanted to know how they made that video of the hummingbird’s wings you saw at school?’
     ‘Yeah – they speed the camera way up when they film it so when they play it back normal speed, you can see the wings move,’ he’d answered, proud that he’d remembered the cool stuff.
     ‘Exactly,’ his dad responded, tapping him on the head with one finger, ‘that’s what your brain does when it’s scared.  It speeds way up.  That was why you could see everything when Gus crashed his bike.  Good thing, too, right?’
     He’d nodded his nine-year-old head.
     ‘You could tell the doctor everything that happened.  And now Gus is going to be okay.’
     He’d been glad when his dad had wrapped a strong, reassuring arm around his shoulders.
     ‘You did good, Shawn.’ 

Time resumed.  He was scared.  His brain sped up.  He watched.  In slow motion.

He didn’t watch his bullet.  He knew exactly where it was going: Tyler’s upper right chest. 

He watched Tyler’s bullet.  And then he cursed the cruel fact that while his brain could speed up enough to see the bullet, his body was unable to speed up enough to get out of its way.

He realized where it was headed, please pardon the pun, and wondered why - why – if your life was supposed to flash before your eyes – why did he get the stupid hummingbird story?  There were a lot of other memories he would have preferred revisiting before he died.

And then everything went black.

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

End Notes:
Thanks for reading and please review if you enjoyed.
What She Learned from Chief Vick by PapayaK

oO0Oo
What She Learned from Chief Vick
oO0Oo

“The shooting’s stopped,” Gus said breathlessly.  He really wanted to go find a quiet corner so he could throw up.  He had Juliet’s leg wrapped tightly in bandages and he’d made it through that – but the white bandage was quickly turning red and Gus’s stomach was also quickly turning.

Juliet was slightly dizzy – but the adrenaline was still pumping, and she’d been trying to get out of her hiding place and clear the rest of the warehouse ever since her three adversaries had been taken down by the most unlikely of shooters: Shawn.

“I didn’t know he could shoot!” She protested rather randomly.

Gus grimaced, “Oh, he can shoot.  He just doesn’t want to.”

They heard the sirens then and Juliet looked at him for a moment before continuing, “Help me up.”

“Just a minute?” Gus asked tremulously. 

Juliet understood, and nodded, and Gus was back in only a moment, wiping his mouth discreetly.  She smiled gently and suggested, “Let’s go find our partners, okay?”

Gus nodded and drew her arm around his shoulders as the two of them moved out.

At that moment, the building was swarmed with rescuers, but the pair managed to shake them off momentarily and continue on their search.

They found Lassiter first, the wound in his arm already being bandaged and they were reassured when they heard him protesting – wanting to join them…

Knowing he was okay and would join them as soon as he was allowed, they continued on.

But then they reached the back corner of the warehouse. 

They saw two people motionless on the ground.

They watched the rescuers run to them.

The paramedics reached Tyler and immediately went to work.  Shawn’s plan had succeeded: all the criminals were still alive and each would stand trial and see justice for their actions.

But Shawn?

Shawn…” Juliet had gasped as her adrenaline deserted her and she sagged against Gus. 

He grabbed Juliet and held her up, but he didn’t know he was doing it.  A near-by paramedic noticed and took her weight from him, helping her to sit on the floor while he began examining her leg.  But for Juliet and Gus the world had narrowed to three beings – everything else fading into a grey-white blur: the two of them – and Shawn.

Shawn was crumpled on the floor, unmoving, unconscious, his head and face covered in blood, a puddle of it beneath him like some kind of grotesque halo. 

They held their breath as – surrounded by caregivers as he was – a single person quickly reached two fingers towards his throat and pressed.

Time.  Action.  Life.  Breath.  All were suspended for one, eternal second. 

And then it all crashed down: “He’s got a pulse, people.  Let’s move!”

And Shawn disappeared in a flurry of care.

oO0Oo
Hospital
oO0Oo

“Did I ever tell you I met him when he was little?”  Chief Vick came and sat in the chair next to Juliet.  She’d heard the latest, dismal prognosis for their resident psychic, and had felt compelled to talk to her friend. 

The young detective glanced at her in surprise, “Really?  No – you never mentioned it.”

Karen smiled fondly at the memory and joined Juliet in gazing at the still face. “When I first became a cop, I was partnered with Henry for a while.  I didn’t get to know him very well at the time.  We were only partners for a few months and then he made detective.”  She paused and shook her head, “He taught me a lot, though.  He was a great teacher – tough, though… very tough.” Then she chuckled, “There have been several occasions where I have sympathized with young Mr. Spencer. “

“He can be demanding.” Juliet agreed.

“Demanding is right! Did you ever see them play ‘How many hats?’”

“What is that!?  I’ve heard it mentioned, but no one ever explains.” Juliet complained.

“It’s really quite - amazing - is the only word...” The Chief spoke softly, remembering, “I only saw it once, but I’ll never forget it.” And with that, she began her story.

“It was an unusual day.  We were right at the end of our shift, and Shawn’s school happened to be between us and the station so Henry asked if I would mind if he picked his son up on the way back.  As it turned out, not only did we pick him up, we ended up taking him out for ice cream.” She grinned, remembering, “He was so charming – even at that age.”

Juliet smiled sadly, wishing she could ever be on the receiving end of that charm again.

“He was pretty hyper that day, and I think Henry wanted him to settle down, so he told him to close his eyes.  Shawn didn’t want to, but he couldn’t complain too much with me there.” She paused, looking at the eyes that would now remain closed forever, then sighed and continued with her story, “Henry proceeded to ask him all kinds of details about the room: what sign had been taped to the front window when we came in, what color were the bar stools, which light was burned out –We hadn’t been there even five minutes, but he answered every question perfectly.  And then Henry asked, ‘how many hats?’  Shawn had to think about that one for a bit, but then- without ever peeking- he started to list off and describe every hat in the place.  He did a better job of it than I could with my eyes open.” 

“Wow.” Juliet commented softly.

“He is - has always been – hyper-observant and he remembers everything.”

Juliet heard the undertones… and suddenly got a little angry, “Wait.  Are you saying you knew he wasn’t psychic?  All this time?”

Karen squirmed a bit at that, “I wouldn’t go so far as to say I knew… Let’s just say I didn’t really care whether he was or not.” She continued after a short pause, “Every cop is superstitious to some level… but I never…”

“Did Shawn know you didn’t believe him?” Juliet interrupted.  She was almost angrier at Karen than she had been at Shawn.

It was finally hitting her that there had been others lying to her – Henry – who at least had the decency to tell her… Gus, of course, had to know… and now Karen?  But Karen Vick was her boss.  And in spite of herself she wanted to know the answer to the question she’d just asked.

Karen considered, “I think… maybe he did.  But like me, he didn’t really care as long as I continued to allow him to consult. – I told him… I told him the very first time I hired him that I ‘needed a miracle… or a facsimile of one.’  And I told him I’d better not find out he was lying.  I think he got the message.”

Juliet’s quick detective’s mind was filling in all the blanks.  Interim Chief Vick had stepped into a very unstable position and had needed all the help she could get at the time.  Juliet would have done the same thing in her shoes.  And it was largely due to their psychic consultant that the department had been so successful under her guidance that the ‘Interim’ had been removed.

Another thought occurred to Juliet, “Weren’t you under an obligation, as an officer of the law, to prosecute him? – if you didn’t believe him?”

The Chief surprised her by laughing, “You know – I spent more than one sleepless night on that question.  But when it came right down to it – there was only one charge I could possibly bring: Obstructing Justice…”

“…And he never did that.” Juliet nodded, mostly to herself.

“Quite the contrary, don’t you think?” Karen asked her. 

“What about fraud? – He took money from the department under false pretenses…”

Karen nodded; a small smile on her face, “He did… but Legal had a handle on that from the beginning.  When they drew up the contract with Psych, they weren’t exactly comfortable paying a psychic.  Supernatural things don’t set well with lawyers, generally.  So they made it quite clear that we would be paying him for his results – not his methods… No - The only thing we had… have to worry about, is if his secret ever gets out to the general public.  It’ll be like vultures on a dead yak.”

Juliet nodded, “Every lawyer…”

“Every lawyer within a hundred mile radius will be challenging every case the SBPD ever closed – probably even ones Mr. Spencer had nothing to do with, and – I hate to say it – but we can’t afford that.  Literally.  It would cost the department thousands if not millions in legal fees.”

Juliet could feel her anger dissipate as she came to understand her Chief’s position.

“But I don’t keep his secret because of the money, although that would be enough of a reason.  I keep it because I owe him,” The Chief said quietly, “More than you know.”

Juliet looked over at her, questioningly.

“Do you remember the day the mayor called to make my position permanent?”

“Of course.”

“That was all him.”

"Excuse me? I thought it was because the Mayor's preferred candidate was caught in a… ohhh." It suddenly hit her – those incriminating photos had to come from somewhere. She'd just assumed it was some private investigator – and she'd been right: only it wasn't just any private investigator, it had been Shawn.

It had been Shawn, taking care of those he cares about - as usual.

She thought about the implications of that for a moment. That meant that he had somehow learned (not psychically, she had to remind herself) that Chief Vick was going to be replaced, and he had set about finding a way to stop it – without anyone ever knowing. Not even Gus must have known, because she could remember Gus chiding Shawn for not being more concerned about the chief.

"Mmm hmm," the chief smiled, tears in her eyes as she remembered the sneaky, conspiratorial smile he had sent her way that day in her office. He was always so alive. It was so wrong that he lay there, pale and unmoving – dying.

She forced herself to continue, "Everyone thought he was being insensitive, but he wasn't - just the opposite.   He knew – even before I'd given my ultimatum- that it was all going to be fine. Sometimes I think he really might be psychic, but I know he is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I've had the honor to know." And she swallowed, and wiped carefully under her eyes.

She left Juliet's side and moved to Shawn's. Taking his limp hand in hers, she said softly, "I don't care what the doctors say. Come back to us, Mr. Spencer, the department needs you." Laying his hand down gently, she turned to leave, only pausing to rest a hand on her detective's shoulder, "I am sorry I didn't tell you. I didn't think it was my place." And she left.

Juliet looked at Shawn, accepting the fact that maybe; just maybe the lie wasn't all on Shawn.  Maybe she should have suspected. 

She spoke quietly, “It wasn’t her place. It was yours."


oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

End Notes:
In case I didn't mention it... This is not a death-fic.
Please leave a review if you're enjoying the story.
What Shawn Heard by PapayaK
Author's Notes:

And we jump back to the first few chapters…

oO0Oo
Shawn’s Been Listening… sort of
oO0Oo

“Where did he learn to shoot like that?”

I was going to tell you, Jules. 

I was.

I was going to tell you everything.  All of it.  All the stuff my dad taught me, whether I wanted to know it or not.  I was going to tell you.  I wanted to tell you.

I really wanted to tell you.

I’m not psychic.  I’m not psychic.  Why was it so hard to say?  It’s not like “I’m Batman.”

Why didn’t I tell you?

o0o

“How do you put up with him?”
“…He’s the crazy one… Shawn makes everyone think he’s the annoying one because he likes it that way.”

Thanks, Gus.  Make me look like a jerk.

I’m sorry, Jules.  The truth is: I don’t know how he puts up with me.  I don’t know how you put up with me.  I don’t know how anyone ever puts up with me.  I can’t believe I was going to ask you to put up with me for the rest of our lives.
What was I thinking? 

Why would I do that to you?

“I remember – he came pretty close to killing Shawn.”
“Not really.  Shawn kinda wanted you to think that so he’d look more like a hero.”

Yeah.  It’s true, I guess… All I ever did was lie and mislead you.

“I never know who’s going to believe him and who isn’t, but Shawn always does… well – almost always.”

Sweetheart, I knew you would believe me.  I knew you would because you are good - truly good inside. 

o0o

“It’s one of the reasons he’s taken his time maturing to this level.”

Mommm!  Telling my girlfriend I’m immature?  I’d be mad – except it’s true.

“I may be the only one who can tell, he’s become so good at hiding it.”

Yep.  Hiding it.  Hiding everything.  I’m sorry, Jules.  I’m so, so sorry.  I wish I could hide now.  Actually that’s sounding like a pretty good idea.   Maybe I will…

o0o

“It’s a long one, and I’m not sure I should tell it.” Henry spoke without looking at her, “Shawn certainly wouldn’t thank me.”

Shut up, Dad.  Shut up-shut up- shut up!  I’m the one who’s supposed to tell her.  I’m supposed to tell her.  I want to tell her. 

I was going to tell her. 

But I guess I missed my chance. 

Now I’ll never tell her. 
She’ll never forgive me.  
Maybe it’s better this way. 

“He’s getting worse, Juliet.  I’m sorry.” He looked away, his eyes finding his son’s still face. “The doc says one, maybe two weeks.”
“They don’t think he’ll wake up, and – forgive me – but I think I have to tell you…”

Did I mention? SHUT UP, DAD!
I’m not dying.  I can’t be.  ‘Cause that would be…  I’m not.  I’m just… not.
Just shut up.

“His parents got called in plenty of times for behavior problems – never for commendations…”
“Everything was a game.  Life was a game”

I took YOU seriously, Juliet, very seriously.  I told you the truth about how I felt about you…  But it doesn’t matter now. 

I was going to marry you, Jules, if you’d have me.  I was going to settle down and make a life with you at the center of it.  You would be the sun and I would just be thankful to be in your orbit.  But now…

I destroyed all chance of that. 

I wonder what North Dakota is like this time of year? Never been to North Dakota – but fracking sounds fun.  What is fracking anyway?

“He would never amount to anything.  He never went to college – in spite of the fact that he could have had a free ride to any school.  He never held a serious job.  Never held ANY job for more than six months – and that was for a girl…”

Shawn Spencer – disappointment extraordinaire.  I owe dad an apology, too, I guess…  He was right all along.  
But by the way?  I owe him an apology – I’m not going to give him an apology.   I’m going to leave. 
As soon as I get out of this stupid bed, I’ll go… He’ll understand.  Actually – he won’t – but he won’t be surprised.

Why is everything getting - fuzzy? 

“He claimed to be psychic… He wasn’t…”
“He had a life, and it was built on a lie.”
“He was having fun - why would he let her in on the secret?”
“He couldn’t risk losing this new life he had built.”

That’s not true.  That is categorically untrue. 

I just didn’t understand in time. 

I would risk anything – no - everything for you, Jules.  But I understand if you wouldn’t risk… anything… for me, right?  In fact? You shouldn’t.  After what I did to you?  If someone else hurt you like I have I would hunt them down and…

You shouldn’t forgive me, Jules.  Why would you? Why should you? 

You shouldn’t.

Why is it so dark?  It was ‘hospital white’ just a minute ago… I… Oh never mind.

You won’t take a risk with me.  I won’t let you.  I’ll let you go instead. 

I have let you go, Jules. 

I’ve done it before… three times!  The first time was just stupid:  “I don’t want to miss out on the prize…”
The second time was an accident of timing: “I can’t go to dinner with you, Jules.  I’m already on a date…” 
But the third time I meant every word: “Have an amazing trip, okay? Promise me…”

I, Shawn Spencer, here-by let you go, Juliet O’Hara, so that you can be happy. 

Please be happy.  That’s all I ever wanted: your happiness.  I’m sorry that I let my desire for happiness get in the way of yours. 

Please be happy.

Maybe things that ‘don’t come easily’ aren’t supposed to come at all.

Did they move my bed?  Why do the voices sound like they are coming from so far away?

“He was at a crossroads.  He knew that if he told you, you had every reason to leave him – but he couldn’t lie to you anymore – and he wasn’t going to lie to his wife.”

Speak up, Dad!  I can barely hear you.

It’s over.  Crossroads is right, Dad.  I made a wrong turn.  It’s over.  Good-bye, Juliet.  Good-bye, one true love of my life.  I only hope you find happiness after I’m gone.

Why is it so dark?

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

Interlude by PapayaK

oO0Oo
Interlude
oO0Oo

Henry and Maddie stood at the foot of Shawn’s bed, facing the rest of the group.  Lassiter, Juliet, Gus and Chief Vick all stood, leaned or sat in various places, different degrees of expectation on their faces.

Henry cleared his throat and began, “I had a long meeting with Shawn’s doctor this morning, and he’s asked me to make a difficult decision.” Seeing the panicked look on Juliet’s face he held up a hand, “No – not that one…” Taking a deep breath to try to dispel that thought, he continued, “I’ve discussed matters with Maddie and we feel that each of you should have the opportunity to weigh in.  You…” he waved his hand in a circle towards the group, “We- are all - Shawn’s family.”

He paused and looked at Maddie who offered him a small smile of encouragement.  He took a deep breath and continued, “As you all know by now, Shawn’s condition…” he cleared his throat, “Shawn’s condition has deteriorated and continues to worsen.  He won’t…” Henry stopped, stared into the distance for a moment, unable to finish the thought: ‘wake up - ever.’

He swallowed hard and tried again, “The doctor informed me this morning that there is an experimental procedure that could - just possibly - save Shawn’s life.”

At that, everyone in the room looked up at him – far too much hope on their faces.

He raised his hands in caution, “There is a small chance that it would allow the damage to heal, and Shawn could make a full recovery.  A very small chance.  You all need to understand that this procedure has only recently been approved for use on actual patients.  It’s been done twice so far, and neither patient survived it.”  He made eye contact with each of them at that point, making sure his words sunk in.

Realistically – the doctor says the best outcome we could hope for would be Shawn surviving the procedure with moderate to severe brain damage.  And it may only give him four to six months to live – which, while it’s better than four to six days, isn’t much. 
But there’s also a very good chance – in fact - it’s most likely that he wouldn’t make it off the table.”

There.  He’d said what he needed to.  He let the others digest the information, thankful that he was dealing with people who were – either by nature, training, or experience – not inclined to hysterics.  He knew that he himself was a little too accomplished at hiding his true emotions – his failed marriage and strained relationship with Shawn bearing witness – but it sure came in handy at times like these.

Looking at each face he saw four different reactions.  Karen and Lassiter both looked like they felt out of place.  They shouldn’t.  Henry knew that Shawn would want them here.  But clearly neither one wanted to speak. 

Juliet was obviously thinking furiously, weighing the chances, the pros and cons.  She would have something to say in a moment.

Gus’s reaction surprised him.  He was frowning, deep in thought, and he didn’t look like he had an opinion to share.

Juliet gathered her thoughts, “If there’s a chance – we have to take it.  Shawn would want us to – I know it.”

Henry nodded at her as he tended to agree, but cautioned, “It could kill him.”

She shook her head, “What? Four days sooner than expected?  I’ll risk those four for a chance at four hundred,” her voice was desperate.  She looked around at the others, especially Gus, “Does anyone seriously think we shouldn’t try?”

No one spoke.

Henry watched Gus for a few beats but accepted that, for whatever reason, the young man had nothing to add, and he wasn’t going to push.  “Okay.” He nodded at them, “Maddie and I tend to agree with Juliet.  I’ll tell the doctor to go ahead.  The procedure needs to take place as soon as possible to give Shawn the best chance, so they’ll go ahead first thing tomorrow morning.”

At that, Gus’s head popped up and he stood, “Forty-eight hours.”

Henry frowned at him.

“Please.  Tell them to give it more time.” Gus was completely serious, although no one could fathom what point he was trying to make.  Gus wasn’t usually this forceful with his words, especially with Henry.  He was always calm, subtle, encouraging to everyone.  The fact that he was making what sounded very much like a demand, caused Henry to consider.

“Gus…” Henry protested.  They wanted to give Shawn every chance, and the doctor had cautioned against any delay…

But his son’s best friend was adamant.  “Please.” He looked straight into Henry’s eyes.

“Okay.” Henry frowned, “Thursday morning, then.”

Gus nodded, “Thank-you,” and left, five pairs of eyes staring after him.

oO0Oo

The next two days seemed both eternal, and far too short.  Each member of Shawn’s ‘family’ dealt with the new information differently.  Maddie and Henry stayed at the hospital.  The only time they left Shawn’s side was when one of the others wanted a moment alone with their son to say good-bye.  Lassiter and Vick each visited briefly.  Juliet was there as much as she could possibly get away from the station.  Unfortunately, it was a busy time for the SBPD and a case had just landed on their desks.  There was no one else available to take it and so Lassiter and Juliet reluctantly went to work. 

Gus was conspicuously absent.  They tried to reach him, but he wouldn’t answer his phone.  And before they could do anything about it, Thursday morning arrived, and so did Gus.

Henry and Maddie spent their last moments with their son and then left his best friend alone with him.  Gus stayed until the staff came to prep him for the procedure.

By 7am they were all in a semi-private waiting room, waiting. 

At 9am a nurse came in, “My name is June and I am assisting with Shawn’s operation.  I just wanted to let you know that so far everything is going fine.  The doctor expects that this will take at least ten hours, so please make yourselves as comfortable as possible, and contact one of the nurses at the desk if you need anything.  I will try to give you an update about every two hours, but don’t worry if I’m a few minutes early or late.  Are there any questions I can answer for you right now?”  She smiled gently at all of them, but when no one spoke she nodded, “I’ll see you in a couple hours.” And she left.

A short time after that, Chief Vick and her detectives had to leave to attend to their responsibilities.  They apologized and said they’d be back as soon as they could.  Both the Chief and Lassiter looked at O’Hara, wishing there was some way to allow her to stay – to convince her to stay.  Carlton had offered to take this case solo, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

Gus took it upon himself to make sure that Henry and Maddie had food, coffee - anything else they needed.  It gave him something to do.  Something to think about.  He still couldn’t tell them where he had been for the last two days.  He could barely think about it himself.

At 11am June returned and spoke a slightly different version of the same words.  It didn’t matter what she said because all anyone heard was: ‘Shawn’s still alive.’

At 1pm ‘Dean’ arrived to tell them that June’s shift had ended and he would be taking over.  Shawn was holding his own, and the surgery was proceeding as expected.

The same thing happened at 3 and again at 5pm.

At 5, Henry questioned the fact that the ten hour mark had passed.  Dean nodded understandingly and said that sometimes things take a little longer than expected, and they needed to hold on to the fact that Shawn was hanging in there. 

It was well after 6 and Henry had given up trying to appear calm.  He had been pacing for the last hour and was about to explode when he saw the door to the waiting room open.   Expecting to see Dean, his heart stopped when the doctor walked in and sat down at the table.

“Please forgive me, but I’ve been on my feet for a while,” he said as they joined him at the table.

“How’s Shawn?!!” Henry demanded – he couldn’t care less if the doc had sore feet.  Was his son still alive?

The doctor smiled, “The procedure went better than expected…”

His voice trailed off as Juliet happened, at that moment, to burst through the door already talking, “I’m sorry – I wanted to be here by five but I couldn’t get… away…” Her voice trailed off as she realized who was in the room.  She looked at them with wide, questioning eyes.

“He’s alive,” Henry said, as Gus pulled out a chair for her.  She sat down on it rather hard as if her knees had just given way.

“I was just saying that the procedure went much better than I had hoped.” The doctor continued, “Shawn came through it like a champ, but…”

Gus got up and walked away from the table rubbing a hand over his scalp.

“It’s that young man that you really have to thank.” The doctor nodded towards Gus.

Everyone stared at him, but he kept his back towards them.

“Gus?” Maddie asked softly.

When Gus didn’t respond, the doctor continued, “As you know, this procedure is new – and until today - has been unsuccessful.  Mr. Guster may have changed that.  He informed us of a new drug – also recently approved for use – that could potentially stabilize a patient sufficiently to survive this type of surgery.  We all – including Mr. Guster – had our doubts, but he was… convincing.”  The doctor smiled, “I personally believe that new medicine saved Shawn’s life.”

Juliet hugged Maddie and grabbed a handful of tissues to share with her.

Henry buried his face in his hands.

Gus kept facing the wall.

Henry looked up, he wanted to say something to Gus, but he knew the doctor wouldn’t stay long.  He wanted as much first-hand information as he could get, “What’s the prognosis?”

The doctor nodded, “That depends on Shawn, now.  As I said, things could not have gone better.  I believe his life is no longer in any danger.  There remains the risk of brain damage, but we won’t know to what extent or duration until he wakes up.”
He took a deep breath and continued, trying to use as little medical jargon as possible, “The human brain was not designed to withstand what we just put Shawn through.  There will be quite a bit of swelling in several areas which may affect his basic abilities like hearing, vision… speech… or… It could affect his ability to think – he could wake up with the mental acumen of a two-year-old.   And again – the effects may be temporary and only last until the swelling goes down, or they could be permanent.  We need to be prepared for either.”  He stood, “He’ll be unconscious for several hours yet, and visitors will be strictly limited.  Get some rest.”  And he left.

Henry stared after him, murmuring to himself, “Surgeons are not known for their bedside manner...”

Juliet got up and went to Gus, still crying, “Gus?  Why didn’t you tell us?” She hugged him from behind, resting her head on his shoulder.

Gus shook his head without turning around.  He was trying desperately to get his own emotions under control.  Finally he turned and collapsed onto the couch, Juliet sinking down next to him, “I knew about that procedure, and I knew what Shawn’s chances were...  I didn’t know.  I didn’t know if the drug would really help.  I didn’t even know if the hospital could get ahold of any.  It was hard to get everyone to agree to try it – but I’d read all the research – I did a presentation on this for the company last month - and I thought… I thought that if there was a chance… even a slight chance that it would help Shawn…” 

Juliet just hugged him, and kept hugging him, “Thank-you, Gus.” She whispered.

Henry moved over and put his hand on Gus’s shoulder, “Thank-you,” his voice was rough.

After a moment, Gus broke free and stood. “Don’t tell him.”  He stated, moving away.  He didn’t actually know, at that moment, if anyone would ever tell Shawn anything, as they still didn’t know what condition he would be in when he woke up, but he made the demand anyway.

“Why not?” Maddie asked incredulously, “You saved his life, Gus!”

“Doesn’t matter.  Just… don’t.  It doesn’t work that way.” Gus told her and she backed off – her son’s friendship with this man had been fascinating to her and she’d never completely understood it, but she respected it.

Then Gus smiled a small smile, “Don’t worry.  I’ll tell him when the time is right.”

Everyone was grateful for his apparent confidence that Shawn would return to them as himself.

What other option was there… really?

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

End Notes:
Thanks for reading, please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter. Papaya
What Shawn Learned about Juliet by PapayaK

oO0Oo
What Shawn Learned about Juliet
oO0Oo

“He’ll be unconscious for several hours yet, and visitors will be strictly limited.  Get some rest.” The doctor said, and he was gone.

‘Every hour, one person for five minutes - no more.  And that’s only if his condition continues to improve.’

Those were the rules. 

Karen and Lassiter waved their right (if it could be called that) immediately.  They could visit when he was feeling better. 

No one else in their little group even considered giving up their right.

Early the next morning, the first visit was allowed and everyone, even Maddie, agreed it would be Henry’s.

oOo

He paused in the doorway to look over the situation.  At least that’s what he told himself.  The truth was he was suddenly terrified.  Which was ridiculous, he knew: this was his son - his son who needed him; but what if his son was no longer ‘there?’

Never one to be held back by fear, he dismissed thoughts of having to spoon feed Shawn for the rest of his life, and walked into the room. 

He surprised himself by smiling when he realized that in spite of the heavy bandages, he could tell his son’s head had been completely shaved.   Always so proud of his hair, Shawn was going to hate that!  It was also encouraging that Shawn actually looked better than he had before the surgery.  The tubes in his throat were gone, and his color was better.

Henry maneuvered himself carefully around the machines to where he could see his son’s face.

Shawn surprised him by being awake when he walked up.

Henry closed his eyes briefly as relief washed over him in a powerful wave – he hadn’t thought Shawn would ever open his eyes again. 

All else suddenly forgotten; he made his way to his son’s side and put himself where Shawn could easily see him.

“Shawn?” he inquired softly.

Shawn was looking around at the room as much as he could without moving his head, his expression one of pure bewilderment; but when Henry came into his field of vision his wandering gaze stopped and focused on him.

“Hey, kid.” Henry said softly.

His son blinked.  Bewildered turned a corner and merged with puzzled.

Gently taking Shawn’s hand in his, he asked, “How do you feel?”  Henry still could not quite shake the doctor’s concern that Shawn was brain damaged – somehow less than he had been.

As soon as he saw Henry speak, his son frowned slightly, opened his mouth slightly and closed it again. 

“Can you hear me?” Henry asked, worried, remembering some of the doctor’s other concerns.

A deeper frown.  A slight shake of the head, and a wince. 

A lightness suddenly came over Henry.  While he fully accepted the fact that Shawn’s head shake could just be a twitch – a random muscle spasm created by a damaged mind, he also saw a familiar intelligence in his son’s eyes.

Henry mused, ‘if that head shake was in response to my question, then Shawn’s reading lips – and that’s pretty aware for someone who’s supposed to be brain damaged.  Although being deaf isn’t good; it’s a sight better than the other.’ 

Still frowning, Shawn’s mouth opened and closed again a few more times, his tongue moving as if he were trying to speak but couldn’t quite remember how.  His blinks were quickly becoming slower and longer, as if his eyelids were becoming unbearably heavy.

Henry smiled gently.  Convinced that Shawn’s mind was intact, he reached forward with one hand and cupped his son’s face gently.  Shawn’s eyes focusing on him once more, he spoke reassuringly, “It’s okay, son.  You’re tired.  Don’t worry about anything.   Just rest.”

When Henry said that, Shawn’s eyes closed.  Henry sat watching him breathe for 2.4 more minutes before the nurse came in and he was gently encouraged to leave. 

He left to report his good news to the others.

oO0Oo

An hour later, Maddie sat for five agonizing minutes, holding Shawn’s hand.  Praying he would wake up again.

He didn’t.

After Maddie’s visit, Gus, Juliet, Henry and Maddie again, all cycled through without any reaction from Shawn.

Gus’s next visit- for some random reason - made the cut.  He’d been sitting next to the bed for two minutes when Shawn started blinking.  He leaned forward, “Hey buddy.  How’re you doing?”

Shawn turned his head a tiny bit towards Gus, wincing, as even that bit of motion was painful.  He blinked a bit more, and then frowned at him.

Gus straightened a bit, “Can you hear me?”  They’d been concerned after Henry’s report – in spite of the doctor’s reassurance that these things were to be expected.

But Shawn nodded once – so slightly – if Gus hadn’t been watching closely, he’d have missed it.

“Can you talk?”

Shawn looked at him, and for a brief second, Gus could have sworn there was an eye-roll.  There wasn’t – but he was sure it had been implied.

Gus – suddenly energized – pulled his chair closer, “Dude.  This is cool.  Blink once for yes, two for no?”

Then he held his breath.  This was it.  This was the moment.  Was Shawn back?  Or wasn’t he?

Shawn blinked. Once.

When Gus’s five minutes were up, Shawn was asleep – or unconscious - again, and the nurse gently ushered him out, but he was thrilled.

He hurried to the waiting room to tell them that Shawn was back and as feisty as ever.

“He remembers everything.  He knows his name and who’s president and he remembers everything that happened,” he said, smiling excitedly.

“You got all that from three minutes of yes or no blinking?” Juliet asked in disbelief.

“I know Shawn,” said Gus.

And there it was – the doubt.  The disbelief.  Henry and Maddie seemed to accept his words (joyfully) but Juliet couldn’t help it, what if Gus was just seeing what he wanted to see?

Juliet tried not to show her disappointment.  Her turn was in less than an hour.  Was there any chance Shawn would wake up for her, so soon after?  She needed to see for herself that Shawn was okay.  None of the things she had learned about him would mean anything if his mind was gone.

Before she knew it, it was her turn.  She went in and resumed her spot at his side.  He didn’t wake when she took his hand.

“Shawn?” She asked gently, hoping to rouse him from wherever he was. 

When he didn’t respond she took a deep breath, “Well, If you’re not going to talk, I have some things I’d like to say to you, so how ‘bout if I do the talking for both of us?” Then she whispered, “Sorry I don’t have a crawly snake for you…”

Pausing as if to listen to his response, she continued, “I don’t know if you heard, but Henry told me you’re not psychic.”

Then she continued in a ridiculous parody of Shawn’s voice, “You’re kidding!  I can’t believe he did that!”

Then she stopped.  She’d been trying to lighten things for herself, but it wasn’t working.  “See? We both remember things…” She sighed. 

“He did a good job, your dad.  He’s a good story teller.  Every time I think, ‘Why?!?’ – well, he told me why.  Every time I wonder how you could lie like that to the police - he explained that too.  But when I ask myself, ‘how could you lie like that to me?’  Well, he tried – but it’s not quite enough, Shawn.”

“I get that you were scared – terrified is the word Henry used – that you would lose me… but why didn’t you trust me?  Do you really not know me?  I obviously don’t know you.”

“I don’t know who you are! 
You’ve been lying to me about your very identity ever since we met!  I’m hurt, Shawn.  And I’m angry with you.  And I’m angry that you are lying there and you can’t answer for yourself.  I’m angry that you may never be able to answer for yourself.  I’m…”

She was angry with herself for the tears that threatened to fall.  She swallowed them, “There’s one thing you need to understand, Shawn – so listen up.  I thought… I thought we were headed down the right path.  Now I’m not so sure… But-” She squeezed his hand with both of hers and looked up at his closed eyes, “I love you.  I do.  I thought knowing how you lied to me would change that, but it hasn’t.  I’m hurt… and I’m angry… and I’m still in love with you.”

She grimaced at his bandages and looked back down at his hand, “and not just because you almost died.

“You lied, but there are too many things that I know are true:  You’re kind and you’re thoughtful.  You have a sweet, caring, mature part of you that you only let me see occasionally.  You make me laugh.  You have an ironic way of doing anything to find the truth while lying to the world the whole time… You help people – you save lives… And for all you pretend to be silly and immature – there is a depth to you that I could spend a lifetime exploring…”

“You and I?  We’ve had a setback.  A big one.  But I think maybe that’s okay.” Then she smiled gently, “From now on, we are going to spend a lot of time getting to know each other… all over again.  For real this time.  I am going to show you that you can trust me – no matter what.  And you – you’re going to tell me the truth.  Finally.  About everything!”

“Detective?” came the gentle reminder from the nurse.

Juliet nodded at her and turned back to Shawn, already rising from her seat, but still holding his hand.  She shook her head at him and whispered, “Who are you, Shawn?  I am looking forward to meeting the real you.”

And she left.

Shawn didn’t wake for Henry or Maddie or anyone else, either.  They were terribly disappointed, although the doctor was surprised to hear he had been awake at all.

But the every hour cycles continued, and the last visit of the day would once again see Juliet at Shawn’s side. 

The next morning – assuming Shawn had a good night – the tight restrictions on visitors would be a lot more relaxed.

She went in telling herself not to hope.  He hadn’t woken up last time, and he probably wouldn’t wake up this time.  She sat down, took his hand in both of hers and studied it.  She had already said most of what she wanted to tell him, but she would love the opportunity to say it when he could actually hear her.

Then she felt a slight movement in the muscles of his hand and she looked up and into his eyes.

“Shawn!” she exclaimed joyfully.

“Jules,” he whispered, barely audible.

He spoke. 

He recognized her and said her name. 

She couldn’t help it, she began to cry.

“Juless… Don’t... S’okay…” His voice was so weak and soft she had to lean forward, her hair brushing his cheek, just to hear him say, “M’sorry… so… so…sorry.”

Not sure what he was talking about, she tucked the offending hair behind her ear and asked, “What are you sorry for, Shawn?  You saved my life.”

“Lied… t’you,” he whispered with breath stolen from the very grip of death and it tore at her.

She looked into his eyes and saw everything.  Whether it was pain, mental or physical instability, or simple love and honesty, they would never know, but for once he let her see - he showed her everything he was.

She saw his pain and his regret. 
She saw his desperate need to lie and his even more urgent need to tell her the truth. 
She saw his desire for her and his decision to let her go.

“No,” she breathed softly to him, “No, Shawn.  Don’t let me go. Don’t give up yet. Don’t. Please.”

Then she knew.  She knew what she needed to hear and what he needed to say: “Tell me,” she encouraged gently, “Say it.”

He looked at her for a very long time, his eyes travelling over her face, his expression unreadable.  Then his mouth moved as if he were trying, but couldn’t quite get the words out.

Juliet waited, watching, their faces inches apart.

And finally: “I’m… not… psychic.” He whispered.

Juliet smiled softly, sadly, “I know.” She whispered back.

He continued to study her, his eyes the only thing he was capable of moving.  His eyes that suddenly looked a little moist.

How could she?  He remembered hearing his dad tell her his secret – that wasn’t the mystery.  The question was: How could she forgive him?  How could she not hate him?  How could she accept what he had done and still smile at him? 

Was it possible she could still love him?

How did he – Shawn Spencer – end up with such a perfect person?

And then a nurse’s hand was on her shoulder and she realized that she was over her time.  She was being guided, gently but firmly, towards the door.

She looked back once at Shawn and saw that he was still awake and aware and he was watching her.  He was unable to do anything else, but his eyes followed her until she was out of sight.

oO0Oo
TBC…
oO0Oo

And So It Goes by PapayaK
Author's Notes:
I admit I was waiting for someone else to post something so '5 Things' wouldn't be at the top of the 'most recent' list - How are you supposed to know that I actually updates...

Oh well. Here's the last chapter. I hope you like it.

oO0Oo
And So It Goes…
oO0Oo

The night passed quietly if not restfully for all of them.

In the morning, Shawn was moved to a regular room and once he was settled, regular visiting hours applied.  His parents spent every moment in his room with him, and he was awake for brief periods and ‘visited’ with them.  He was still in a great deal of pain, and talking took an incredible amount of effort, so he was given heavy medication which meant he wasn’t exactly chatty, but he was healing. 

The detectives were still working on their case, so they were limited in how much time they could spend with Shawn.  But Juliet and Lassiter stopped in during breaks and Shawn tried to give the head detective a hard time about his arm being in a sling.  He was also doing his best to deflect any mention of his heroics in the warehouse, which everyone took as a good sign.

Even Chief Vick stopped in to see how he was doing.

Juliet maintained a certain distance, which hurt – Shawn would have given anything to have her arms around him, but he understood. 

He knew that he had hurt her deeply and that knowledge was even harder to bear than the space between them.

The fact that it was not a cold separation was a miracle, and so he marveled at her from a distance and loved her even more.

His main goal now was not to leave for parts unknown, - who cared what fracking was?  But to get better so that he could, once again, pursue her. 

He had every intention of winning her back just as quickly as possible.  He was as nervous about it as a teenager on his first date, but knowing that she still loved him made all the difference in the world.

He would never hold anything back from her ever again.

oO0Oo

The next day, Gus didn’t visit until the afternoon.  He’d had to be at his other job that morning for some mandatory something-or-other, but after lunch he stopped by, and with his help, Shawn was able to convince Henry and Maddie to take a break.  The two hadn’t really left the hospital in days – and that was just silly now that Shawn was getting better.

Once they were gone, (Shawn carefully did not think about where they went – or whether they went anywhere together) Gus opened his briefcase and took out a Gameboy which he wordlessly handed to Shawn.  Then he withdrew and set up his laptop, stealing Shawn’s bed table to set it on, and he began to type. 

Gus smiled quietly to himself as he wondered how many times they had done this same thing for each other – in different ways – over the years.  When one of them needed it, the other was… there – just – there – for the other.

Shawn had done this for him in more ways than he could count.

Gus remembered doing this for Shawn when his friend had been sick; or sick with worry about his parent’s fighting; or just wounded from life that had been too much for his unique mind.  Gus had showed up like this and given him an excuse to just exist – silently – in his company.

The two sat together in quiet companionship.  Gus typed, and listened.  He looked up occasionally when the beeping of the game stopped as Shawn dozed.  But the afternoon passed in relative peace.

At dinner, Shawn’s mouth spent just as much time complaining about the food as he did eating it.  The nurse who checked up on him shared a smile discreetly with Gus because both the eating and the complaining were very good signs.

After the half-eaten food had been taken away, their peaceful camaraderie resumed briefly until:  “Gus, I’m bored.”  His voice was still soft, and it had developed a gravelly quality which Shawn personally thought was pretty sexy, but the important thing was that he could make himself heard and understood.

Gus smirked before looking up at his friend, secretly impressed with how Shawn’s language skills were improving so quickly, “You want the tv remote?”

Shawn shook off the suggestion.  He wanted to talk, “I can’t believe this, Gus.  This is just horrible.”

He said it so despairingly that Gus frowned and worried, but he needn’t have.

“They shaved my head,” Shawn complained bitterly.  “I know I have an incredibly well-shaped, manly and beautiful skull, but my hair - my hair was the envy of all!!”

Gus tried not to smirk, “It’ll grow back, Shawn,” he observed calmly.

“I know!  But sometimes weird things happen – like it comes in curly – or red.  I don’t want to be a ginger, Gus!  What if I have to deal with being a ginger for the rest of my life?”

“You can always dye it.”

“Then I’ll have to worry about my roots showing and that is just too girly for words. – No, Gus.  I couldn’t stand it.”

“You’ll be fine, Shawn,” Gus replied drily.  “How’s Juliet?”  He tried to change the subject.

“Yeah.  How about that?  She knows and she doesn’t hate me.”  Shawn mused softly, wonderingly, “I’m pretty sure she should hate me.”

“Me too,” Gus agreed calmly, causing Shawn to suck his teeth and glare at him.

“You two gonna – you know – work things out?” Gus asked quite seriously.

Shawn gave that some serious thought, and then responded, “You know?  I really think we will?”

Gus smiled.  That was – in his mind – as it should be.

Shawn took the conversation in a new direction, “Did you know Vick knew?  Apparently she knew all along-” Shawn shook his head, “Should’ve seen that one!”

“She’s the Chief for a reason,” Gus mused, “She sees through lies on a daily basis. Plus she knew your dad.”

“Yeah – I kinda forgot about that.” Shawn smiled ruefully, “She looked a lot different to me when I was ten.  She was a grown-up then, now she’s a person.”

“I’m pretty sure she was a person then, too.”

“You know what I mean.”

“And she’s not going to arrest you?  Or me?”

“Nope.  Says we didn’t actually break any laws.  Can you believe it?”

“I guess technically, lying isn’t illegal.”

“Exactly.  Neither is keeping secrets.”

At that comment, Gus became just the tiniest bit uncomfortable, “Exactly.”

“Guh-uss…?” Shawn drew out his name expectantly.

“What?”

Shawn just looked at him.  They both already knew.  It was – after all these years of being best friends – almost impossible to keep a secret from one another.  Shawn could occasionally keep one from Gus, if he really worked at it, but Gus (excepting the spit-ball incident of ’87) rarely succeeded – especially not when Shawn had help.

“Who told you?”

“Dude.  The doc stopped by earlier.” Shawn shook his head, “He is really excited about becoming famous because of this.” He gestured at his head.  “You’d think my being alive and kicking was something of a side benefit!  But he may have mentioned that a certain pharmaceutical rep had something of an assist.”  Shawn smiled, “Are you gonna be famous, too?”

“You’re not actually ‘kicking’ yet, Shawn, you can barely move.” Gus pointed out, deftly deflecting the attention.

“Gus.” Shawn’s voice softened and he looked at his buddy seriously, “You saved my life.  Thank-you.”

Gus just looked back at him in recognition of a fact they both knew better than their own names:
If there was a way – any chance - for one of them to help the other – it would be done.  Always.  No matter what the cost.

Never mind that – at least in this case - Gus would not have needed to save Shawn’s life if Shawn hadn’t saved his first…

Then he got up, came over and sat on the edge of Shawn’s bed.  For a moment, Shawn thought he was going to get hugged, but he needn’t have worried.  Gus snatched the Gameboy away, saying dismissively, “It’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last. Now give me that.  I gotta make sure you haven’t beaten my high score.”

Shawn grinned and tried to grab it back, but he was far too weak to make any real attempt, of which Gus took full advantage.

“It’s my high score!” he protested.

“No, it isn’t Shawn.” Gus argued, pulling the game out of reach, “And this doesn’t begin to make us even.” And suddenly they were not talking about the game.

“Yes - it - does! – augh!” Shawn leaned forward to take one more swipe, but that was just a little too much for his head and the pain that had subsided to a dull throb suddenly spiked.  He lay back and closed his eyes, his lips pressed tightly together as he rode out the pain.

Gus paused for a moment in concern, watching to make sure Shawn didn’t need help. 

When his breathing evened out and the heart monitor slowed down again, Gus’s forehead smoothed and he stood and carried the Gameboy back to his former seat. 

Shawn peeked at him, frustrated that he hadn’t won the Gameboy back through sympathy.

Gus forced a grin that claimed he hadn’t just been reminded of how close he’d come to losing his best friend.  He began to play, “Let that be a lesson to you.”

Shawn opened his eyes and glared.

“Plus? I think Juliet likes gingers…”

“Gussssss!  They SHAVED my HEAD!”

oO0Oo
FIN
oO0Oo

 

End Notes:
Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Please leave a review if you enjoyed the story. Thanks, Papaya

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