"Family and friends of Shawn Spencer?"
Fear seared through Henry's veins. He'd been waiting to hear those words for what seemed like a lifetime. Henry nearly choked on his words. "Sh-Shawn?" Henry forced out, not even caring how desperate he sounded. "Is he okay?"
"Yes," said the doctor, without hesitation. "He's going to be just fine."
"Thank god," whispered Henry, feeling relief wash through him. The four of them sighed in unison, the tension from moments before dissipating instantly. The doctor's words echoed in Henry's head and he felt the feeling return to his body. Gus shut his eyes and mumbled a relieved laugh. Fresh tears ran down Juliet's face and she sank down to the hospital chair beside her, whispering, "Oh, thank god." Relief washed lines of stress from Lassiter's face and he placed a gentle hand on Juliet's shoulder.
"How is he?" asked Lassiter.
The young doctor continued, "Mr. Spencer was—"
"Shawn." said Henry quickly, knowing how much Shawn hates being called Mr. Spencer. "His name's Shawn."
The doctor smiled kindly, and said, "—Shawn was very lucky. The bullet struck him in his right shoulder, rupturing his subclavian artery," he said, then seemed to realize none of them would know his doctor-talk and he amended, "an artery below his collarbone. It's not incredibly common for a gunshot wound to hit that specific artery, but it resulted in dramatic blood loss. He received medical assistance rather quickly," said the doctor quickly, watching worry creep back into Henry's eyes, "and was given a blood transfusion to restore the loss." Every word hit Henry hard. Ruptured artery. Blood transfusion. Henry felt tears threaten to return, but he fought them. He never cried, and now he was going to cry twice in one day?
The four were quiet as the doctor shifted his eyes back down to the clipboard. "He has no fractures or nerve damage, which is very good news. The injury to his side resulted in two broken ribs and seventeen stitches, but should heal in a matter of weeks." The young doctor, who's name tag read Dr. Daniel Bauer, Henry realized, adjusted his glasses as he flipped a page on the clipboard. "He has a severe concussion and lacerations on his head, but no skull fracture." He looked up to the silent, almost stricken group, and lowered the clipboard back to his side. "It's overwhelming to hear," he said solemnly, "but, given time, Mr. Spen—Shawn will be just fine."
"So…" said Juliet in a small voice. Another tear fell down her cheek and she hastily wiped it away. "Shawn's going to be fine?" she asked unnecessarily, as if she just needed to hear the man say it again.
Bauer smiled and nodded. "He'll be bruised and sore for a few weeks but he'll be good as new."
"Can we see him?" asked Henry. He needed to see Shawn—he needed to know for certain that his son was okay. He couldn't help flashing back to the hours before, with his shaking fingers on Shawn's neck, unable to find the pulse. It was the most terrifying moment he'd ever experienced.
"They're just finishing up his surgery," said Bauer. "He'll be taken to a room within the next half an hour. You can see him then. He'll be unconscious; the anesthetics should wear off in a matter of hours and he'll wake up when he's ready."
"How long can that take?" asked Gus, and Henry saw unshed tears in Gus' eyes. His son's best friend had a depressed appearance, giving Henry chills; Gus' clothes were wrinkled and stained, much like his own were. Gus' eyes held a tired darkness, making Henry wonder what he must look like right now.
Bauer shrugged at Gus' question. "It's different with every person. Shawn's body went through a lot of trauma. He could wake up in one day or six, it's all related to how his body heals." Bauer shifted the clipboard in his grip. He gave the four a kind smile. "I'll send a nurse out when Shawn's been moved."
Henry nodded absently. He sank down into the hospital chair behind him, his legs burning from his constant pacing over the past few hours. He hadn't even realized how badly his muscles were screaming. Or how tired he was. Henry dropped his head to his hands and tried to rub the exhaustion from his eyes.
The past eleven hours had been enough to match all the stress he'd been under during his years as a detective. Possibly even outmatch it. Henry felt the vice-grip loosen in his chest and he heaved another sigh of relief.
Henry felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up. Lassiter was looking at him with a kind of concern Henry had never before seen from the man. "He's okay," said Lassiter quietly, and Henry nodded.
Shawn was fine.
His son was going to be okay.
"Jules, c'mon, what are you waiting for?"
Juliet gave Shawn an uncertain glance. He'd stopped walking a few feet in front of her when he realized she was no longer following him. Feet refusing to move, Juliet looked around the shallow, wooded area around her. Shawn had driven her—she was still getting used to his Norton, trying to decide if the chills it gave her were from excitement or mortal fear—a half an hour from her apartment to somewhere on the outskirts of town. He'd pulled over to the side of the road and parked. This stretch of road was deserted. To one side of the road was a clear stretch of grass. To the other was a slightly wooded area, trees lining the road. The setting sun shone through the scattered branches. Shawn had headed straight into the hollow forest, but Juliet stopped short.
Shawn cocked his head in confusion.
Juliet pointed to the sign in front of her. "It says 'No Trespassing,' Shawn, I don't think we're supposed to be here." The old wooden sign had fading black ink. It looked years old. The wood has splintered and eroded but the words were clear.
Shawn' confusion morphed into amusement. He laughed and said, "Of course we're allowed to be here, Silly, I put that sign there."
Juliet's jaw dropped. It looked so real. "Shawn—?" But Shawn had already turned and headed through the trees.
"C'mon, Jules!" he called. Juliet sighed, feeling a slightly cool breeze shift the hair around her face. She rubbed her bare arms and walked past the sign, following Shawn down the sloping land, glad she'd swapped her heels for sneakers before she left her apartment.
Shawn was waiting for her not too far away. He was leaning against a tree, a thin twig in his mouth like a toothpick. He raised an eyebrow at her in a seductive manner. "Sexy, right?"
Juliet laughed, walking up to him, pressing her hand to his chest, pushing him against the tree. The look disappeared from Shawn's face in surprise. Juliet took the twig out of his mouth and traced it lightly down his cheek. She leaned close to him, raising her eyes to his, her lips close to his skin, and whispered, "I'm better."
"Not going to argue with that," whispered Shawn, his hand tracing her waist, sending chills down Juliet's spine.
Juliet smiled and released him, looking around the trees. Rays of orange and yellow shadowed around them. It was a beautiful sunset and the end of a gorgeous day. "Okay, Shawn, you told me you wanted to show me something. What is it?"
An almost childlike excitement jumped into Shawn's eyes and he pushed off the tree and took Juliet's hand in his. "This way."
Shawn bounded through the trees. Juliet let him tug her through the forest, her interest piqued. After less than a minute of walking, pulling Juliet along behind him, that the trees thinned and opened up.
They were standing on almost cliff-like ground. The ground came to a stop five feet from where Juliet stood, and dropped off into one of the most incredible views she'd ever seen. The ocean was spread out in front of her. The sun was setting directly before her, shining deeply, reflecting the colors over the calm waves of the water. There were no boats, people, landmarks, anything in sight. Just water for as far as she could see.
Juliet shook her head, awed. "Shawn…" she whispered. "Shawn, this is beautiful." She tore her gaze from the horizon and looked at him. The sunset shadowed part of his face, giving him a soft look. He'd been following her gaze, staring out toward the horizon, but he looked at her and smiled. Juliet shook her head, saying, "How did you find this place?"
Shawn looked back toward the horizon. "A long time ago," he said, though not quite answering her question. He strode up to the very edge of the cliff and Juliet's breath caught.
"Shawn, be careful—!" she said quickly, but he just winked, and jumped off the edge.
"Shawn!" gasped Juliet, running up to the edge. She peered down, terrified, but Shawn was standing five feet beneath her, laughing. The beach wasn't far beneath the ground she was standing on. Juliet glared at Shawn as he pulled himself back onto the little ledge and he sat on it, his legs dangling over the ground below. He laughed at her expression. "Oh, come on, Jules, I was only kidding."
Unable to hold onto it, the glare slipped from Juliet's face and she sighed, sitting next to Shawn, close enough that their shoulders touched. Even after all the weeks they've been together, Shawn's touch was enough to skip her heart. Another breeze shifted the air, sifting through her hair and ruffling Shawn's. Juliet shivered at the coolness, and Shawn felt it.
"Aw, babe," he said, concern clouding in his eyes. He quickly shrugged out of his hoodie. He draped it around her shoulders and she smiled as the warmth hit her bare skin. "Better?" he asked, and Juliet smiled. The jacket smelled like him. She pulled it tight around her.
"Almost," she said, and Shawn leaned close to her and kissed her on the cheek. Juliet felt a chill as his lips touched her skin.
"Now, better?" he whispered, close to her ear, his breath tickling her skin.
Shawn straightened and they both turned back toward the sun. Juliet shook her head, feeling as if she were looking at a painting. "God, Shawn, how did you find this place?"
"By accident," he said with a shrug. "I found it when I was fifteen. I used to sneak out of my dad's house a lot. I always went at night, right after he fell asleep. I'd climb through my window and get on my bike—bicycle-bike, didn't have the Norton yet—and just take off. Of course, my dad was a cop, so he figured it
out soon enough. I'd always come home with a sno cone from 7/11 just to throw him off." Shawn laughed softly, and his hand found Juliet's and he intertwined his fingers with hers. "I fell off my bike one night up there," said Shawn, gesturing to where he parked the Norton. "And… voila." He said, gesturing to the sun.
"So, you come here a lot?" asked Juliet, surprised to see Shawn so… sober. This wasn't a Shawn she was used to seeing.
Shawn shrugged. "Less now than I used to." Juliet watched another breeze ruffle Shawn's hair. He kept his gaze fixed on the horizon and said distantly, "I come here to… clear my head."
Juliet cocked her head. "For cases?" she asked.
Shawn hesitated. "Not exactly. I…" he hesitated again, seeming to have trouble choosing his words. Juliet barely ever saw Shawn struggle with words. He eventually said, "Well, my... psychic brain gets a little haywire sometimes."
Juliet blinked. Shawn had never talked about his psychic abilities with her. Sure, he'd mentioned feeling vibrations from cases and visions of victims and criminals, but she'd never heard him actually talk about how it works. "What do you mean?" she asked gently.
Shawn must have realized that he was starting this conversation, and he hesitated again, giving her a sheepish expression. "It's… it's nothing. It's… complicated."
Juliet tilted her head. "Try me."
Shawn dropped his gaze to their intertwined fingers. He paused for a while, then raised his head, and said, "I get a lot of… vibrations. Feelings. Sometimes more than one at a time." Shawn shook his head. "Half of them don't even mean anything to me. It's just enough to give me a headache." He looked back at the water, watching the calm waves. "Sometimes it's just nice to be alone, you know, where I'm not around anything that could trigger a vision."
"Oh." said Juliet. Definitely not a Shawn she was used to. With Shawn being so animated with his visions for the SBPD, she never would have thought there were downsides to his ability.
Turns out she knew a lot less about her boyfriend than she thought.
Shawn gave her a smile, as if reading her mind. Which, Juliet realized, could very well have been the case. "Don't worry, Jules. I didn't even want to mention that. I just wanted to show you this place. I thought you'd like it."
Juliet smiled looking at the sun. "Shawn," she asked suddenly. "What do these… feelings… feel like?"
Shawn was quiet for a moment. Quiet long enough for Juliet to turn away from the ocean to look at him. He was looking at her, his hand to his head in his trademark I'm-having-a-vision pose. "That's… That's funny that you mention that," he said in a strained voice, one that Juliet had been accustomed to while listening to him relay his visions. Shawn released his hand with a soft grunt of effort. "Well, that's strange."
Juliet's heart picked up a little. She never ceased to be amazed with Shawn's ability. "What is it?" she asked eagerly.
His eyebrows creased. "I'm sensing…" he said, giving her a quizzical look. "That you really want to kiss me right now."
Juliet gave Shawn a mock-glare, almost positive that he just made that up to get her to kiss him.
But she couldn't help thinking how damned right he was.
"Ha ha," she said. "Very funny."
"Well, am I wrong?" asked Shawn, eyebrow raising. His fingers traced circles on her arm, sending tingles down her skin. Juliet met his eyes, feeling herself leaning toward him until their lips were inches apart.
"I'll let you know," whispered Juliet, feeling Shawn's hand gently brush the hair away from her face, and his arm wrap around her waist. Juliet met his lips and kissed him, letting herself melt into the warmth of his skin and the passion in his kiss.
Juliet jolted awake.
Her back was killing her and she quickly realized why. She was curled up awkwardly in an uncomfortable chair. Her knees were pulled up to her chest and her head had been resting on the back of the hard back of the chair. She nearly fell off the chair as she tried to right herself. Lifting her head, Juliet felt a painful kink in her neck. Then she remembered the bruises, and she rubbed her neck gently, the tender skin agitated by the position she'd slept in.
It was dim in the room, only lit by a small lamp on a table somewhere behind her. The cool air made her shiver. It took Juliet a moment to remember were she was.
Oh, she thought, her eyes finding the familiar walls of Shawn's hospital room. Juliet sat up in the chair. The other two chairs in the room were empty and she briefly wondered what happened to Gus and Henry. How long has she even been asleep? She didn't remember falling asleep. Juliet looked around, her gaze resting on Shawn. She felt her heart drop in her chest. Shawn seemed to look even worse than he had when she'd first seen him after his surgery.
Thirty minutes after Dr. Bauer had come into the waiting room to talk to them, Henry, Gus, and Juliet had made their way into Shawn's room. Lassiter had mentioned something about needing to get back to the station. He left a few minutes after Bauer had given them Shawn's news. The walk to Shawn's room had been agonizing and seeing Shawn was a shock. Hours beforehand, Juliet had seen him in the forest, of course, but the lighting had been dim, she'd been solely focused on keeping him safe and he'd been awake—he didn't seem as… weak.
Shawn lay on the bed, his chest slowly rising and falling. His right arm lay in a sling across his chest, slightly shifting with his every breath. Shawn's eyes were shut. Juliet felt her chest tighten at the sight of his face; the bruises seemed even darker now then they had in the forest.
Shawn's blankets were pulled up to his chest, but Juliet could just imagine the bandages wrapping around his torso, remembering the sickening wound on his waist.
And the gunshot wound.
Juliet hadn't seen Shawn in the parking lot the moment he'd been shot. The man had choked her, and at the time she'd been convinced he'd managed to crush her windpipe. She barely even realized it was Shawn who'd pushed her out of the way of the bullet. Juliet had seen the pool of his blood after he'd been rushed to the hospital. The entire car ride to the hospital, Lassiter drove in silence. Juliet had never seen him so ashen. She'd seen the grotesque stains on Gus and Henry's clothes and hands. It was terrifying.
Juliet shivered, hearing Gus' words echoing in her head. That bullet wasn't meant for him. Gus was right. That bullet hadn't been meant for Shawn.
It had been meant for her.
Juliet rubbed the sleep from her eyes, feeling a sharp stab of guilt. Shawn had taken that bullet for her. He'd sacrificed his own life for her.
Juliet suddenly thought back to the dream she'd just woken from. She had been thinking about that day with Shawn a lot the past few days. Juliet fingered the blankets on the bed, tracing her fingers across the material. She didn't know how she was supposed to feel.
Shawn lied. He lied to her for five years straight to her face. And the worst part?
He did it so easily.
She'd believed him without a doubt. From day one, she'd never doubted Shawn's psychic abilities. Juliet wasn't sure if Lassiter had ever been on board with the idea that Shawn was actually psychic, and she was sure Vick was at least on the fence, but with Shawn making progress, what was it to Vick if she truly believed it or not?
Juliet felt foolish. Shawn had paraded around his visions for years and Juliet felt so utterly stupid for believing them. She was a detective for goodness sake, and she couldn't even catch one of the hundreds of lies Shawn's told over the years.
Her emotions quickly moved from foolish to fear. If Shawn could lie this easily to her about this, what else had he lied about? The fact that he was so damned good at it was the worst of it. He could tell her any number of lies and she'd probably believe him. How was she supposed to trust him after this?
Juliet's eyes dropped to the bandages peaking out from underneath Shawn's hospital gown. Shawn had saved her life. Juliet remembered the moment she found him in that forest. She remembered just how out of it he was—how confused and disoriented the concussion had left him. He'd been in so much pain that he could barely sit up. How the hell he managed to get himself out of the forest in time to save her, Juliet didn't know. Her eyes traces his face, following the bruises, trying to imagine just how much pain he'd been in. Getting himself up and out of that forest must have been pure agony, and yet he did it anyway.
And she's sitting here, telling herself that she can't trust him.
Juliet dropped her face to the blankets, feeling a headache pulse behind her eyes, her conflicting emotions too much to handle. She couldn't deal with it; she didn't know how.
Hearing the door open to Shawn's room, Juliet lifted her head from the blankets. Gus walked through the doorway, holding two coffees in his hands. He gave her a concerned glance when he saw her. "Juliet, everything okay?"
Juliet straightened, rubbing her eyes again. "Yeah, I just... fell asleep." She looked around the room, forgetting that she hand't even looked for a clock. The sky was still dark outside. "What time is it?" she asked.
"Almost five in the morning." Gus shut the door carefully with his foot, balancing the coffees in his hands. "Lassiter went back to the station around one o'clock to finish interrogating those… bad guys," said Gus, turning back to Juliet. "You fell asleep around twelve-thirty. We didn't want to wake you."
Gus handed Juliet a cup of the steaming coffee and she took it gratefully. She had barely eaten the day before. "Thanks." she said, taking a sip. It was a little bitter for her taste, but she wasn't about to be picky. "Where's Henry?" she asked, taking another sip, the hot liquid singing her tongue. She quickly realized that swallowing hurt. Juliet rubbed her neck again, wincing.
"Mr. Spencer went home to change," said Gus. "He's stopping at Shawn's to pick up clothes for when he's discharged." Gus took a seat beside Juliet, his gaze falling to Shawn's still form. Pain sparked in Gus' eyes. "I can't stand seeing him like this."
Juliet didn't say anything. She didn't know what to say. After a moment, Gus turned toward her. "You know I didn't mean what I said earlier, right?" he asked softly.
Juliet nodded absently. "It's okay, Gus. I get it." And she did. They were all worried about Shawn, all just looking for someone to blame.
"I don't blame you," said Gus, and Juliet read the sincerity in his eyes. "Not for any of this," he gestured to Shawn, "or even what happened with you and him." Gus paused, seeming to try to choose his words. He looked almost guiltily at Shawn, as if he was afraid Shawn would hear what he said. "I'm not really sure what I'd do with that bombshell Shawn dropped on you. It's… It's got to be a lot to take."
Juliet held her face in her hands. "I just don't know, Gus." she said, shaking her head. "I don't know what to think."
"Do you still love him?"
The leap her heart made in her chest answered the question for her. "I do," she said softly, her eyes tracing Shawn's features as he breathed quietly beside the two of them. "It's just… I've only ever known Shawn-the-psychic, you know?" she said, looking at Gus. "I feel like I don't know who he is anymore."
Gus nodded, but said, "He's still the same Shawn, Jules." He set his coffee down on the table. "He's a bonehead. You knew that already." he said with a smile. Juliet tried to reciprocate his smile, but it didn't come.
"Juliet, why don't you go home and get some sleep for a few hours?" he suggested gently, reading her exhaustion. "These chairs are ungodly. Shawn'll still be here when you come back."
Juliet hesitated, then nodded. She stood up and said, "I'll probably have to stop at the station for a few hours tomorrow, but I'll come back here afterward." With one last glance at Shawn, Juliet picked up her jacket and headed out of Shawn's room, letting the door shut quietly behind her.