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Chapter 14

Pain.

That was the first thing he knew. It was faint and vague, and couple that with the exhaustion that felt like he'd been asleep for the majority of a decade, it was uncomfortable to the max.

Shawn's journey to reality was slow. His awareness crept back to him, as if he were rising from deep underneath water. Sounds were disjointed echoes. Breathing was suddenly a chore, requiring more effort than usual. Everything felt heavy and sore. Nothing made sense. Especially the fact that the closer he came to waking, the more it seemed to hurt.

It took even longer to convince himself to open his eyes. For some reason, he couldn't remember why everything hurt. That was definitely worrisome—he usually remembered everything.

Curiosity winning over the pain, Shawn finally cracked his eyes open, and things blurred into view. He was staring at a very white—an almost familiar, pristine kind of white, he thought—ceiling, and his surroundings seemed to come back to him in pixels. The air was cold, stale and an aroma hit him almost instantly. An aroma that was all too obvious.

Hospital.

How did I get here? wondered Shawn, confusion flooding into his thoughts. He slowly turned his head, then cringed, wondering why his head felt so heavy. The hospital room came into view, the familiar, almost cliché-worthy wires and machinery beside his bed, the bare walls, with a vague patterned wallpaper as if someone had tried (and failed) to make the room seem homey. There was a table beside his bed with a clock, but it wasn't facing him. A few scattered pens and two paper coffee cups were sitting atop the table.

Shawn's eyes shifted from the table to two chairs beside the bed. One was empty.

But the other was not.

"Gus?" whispered Shawn, surprised at how hoarse his voice sounded. He weakly cleared his throat, cringing as his head pounded. Gus was sitting, his head leaning on the back of the chair, his arms hugging himself. He was asleep.

"Gus," whispered Shawn, trying again to get his friend's attention. Maybe Gus knew why he was in the hospital. But Gus only snored softly in his chair.

Shawn blinked away his exhaustion. Even though he woke up, he didn't know exactly what his body's plan was. He was incredibly tired. He felt sleep tugging at him, threatening to pull him back into oblivion. Shawn fought the exhaustion. He had to at least figure out what happened.

Shawn's eyes found the nightstand again. He scanned the cluttered tabletop and a sluggish idea occurred to him.

Shawn started to lift his right arm, but sudden pain stopped him. His face screwed up in pain, and he immediately relaxed the muscles. He gave himself a moment for the pain to subside, and he looked down at himself. His right arm was in a sling. His eyebrows shot up. What was his arm doing in a sling?

And why did it hurt so much?

Curious, Shawn lifted his left arm. It rose from underneath the blanket and he held his hand in front of his face, turning it slowly before his eyes, but it seemed unscathed.

Even more intent on waking Gus, and finding out just what happened to him, Shawn reached his left hand toward the nightstand, wincing as he jostled his injuries. He clenched his teeth, thinking bitterly, hasn't this place heard of painkillers?

His fingers fumbled on the tabletop, and he eventually grabbed hold of one of the pens. He pulled it back to the bed, relaxing his arm, leaning against his pillows and sighed, pain vaguely pulsing through him. After a few shallow breaths, Shawn looked slowly back toward his sleeping best friend. He grasped the pen tight in his good hand, and begging that he was truly over his past case of the yips, Shawn tossed the pen at Gus.

It hit him in the chest. It wasn't a forceful throw—a pathetic toss, more than anything—but it was enough to startle the man awake. It surprised Shawn how much effort it took to execute the simple movement. Gus shot upright in the chair, his eyes shooting open, his head whipping around. It took him a few seconds to see Shawn.

Gus' eyes lit up, looking more excited than Shawn ever remembered seeing him. "Shawn!"

Shawn gave him a tired smile, feeling the exhaustion weigh down his words. "Hey, buddy."

Gus straightened, any traces of sleep instantly erased from his face. He slid to the edge of his seat, obvious thrill in his voice. "You're awake!" Gus didn't wait another second to hit the call button beside Shawn's bed. Even disoriented, Shawn had a feeling that Gus probably didn't need to press it twenty-seven times.

"Yeah…" said Shawn, slowly examining the hospital room again. "'Bout that…" He tilted his head back to his friend, feeling it increasingly harder to keep his eyes open. He tried to shake the weariness off, at least until he got some answers. "What am I doing here?"

Gus' face fell instantly. "You don't remember?"

Remember what? Shawn slowly shook his head, stopping when he remembered his head hurt. Pain treaded behind his eyes and Shawn raised his good hand to massage his temple. His fingers quickly ran into the stitches on his forehead, and his eyes widened in deeper confusion. "Did something… happen?" he asked, his voice still barely a whisper. He cleared his throat again, trying to strengthen it.

Gus bit his lip. "Well…" he said hesitantly. "You were… kidnapped. From a cab."

It came to him instantly, like suddenly remembering a dream that had slipped his mind. All at once, the cab flashed back to Shawn's mind. The accident. The money. The van.

The parking lot.

Shawn's eyebrows shot up as it came back to him. "Oh." he said, the memories coming back, yet a bit disjointed and fuzzy. "Right." His face screwed up in confusion again. He couldn't remember anything after… after…

"Jules," he said suddenly, his head whipping to Gus, ignoring the lingering headache. The man.

The gun.

"Is she okay?" asked Shawn breathlessly, his voice still barely above a whisper. He tried to pull himself up, desperately whipping his head around the room, as if she was somewhere inside. Pain erupted in his shoulder and side, and he fell back, his good hand clutching his now-burning shoulder. Both injuries singed simultaneously, competing with each other in waves of pain.

"She's fine," said Gus quickly, his hands on Shawn's good arm instantly, pressing him back down, and Shawn felt relief wash through him as the pain slowly dulled. He sighed from the exertion of his dwindling strength. His eyes suddenly snapped opened. If Juliet was fine after the man fired the gun…

"Am I okay?" he asked suddenly, his eyes dropping back down to the sling.

"You're pretty banged up," said Gus, concern evident in his eyes. He sat back in his chair, seeming satisfied that Shawn wasn't going to launch himself off the bed. His concern made Shawn the slightest bit uncomfortable. Shawn didn't like it when people worried about him.

Gus gave him a smile, seeming to sense Shawn's discomfort. "But the doc said you'll be good as new in a few weeks."

Shawn's eyes dropped back to the sling again. He pieced the fractured memory together, uneasiness rising inside him. "Did I get… shot?"

Something dark slid into Gus' eyes, but he blinked it away. He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Yeah," he said. "The bullet hit you in the shoulder."

Shawn caught what Gus wasn't saying. And it was bad.

Shawn titled his head toward the other side of his room, catching sight of a window. Sunlight streamed through the blinds. He turned back toward Gus. "How long have I been… out?"

That concern was back in Gus' eyes. "A day and a half."

Shawn's eyes widened. He missed almost two days. He eyed Gus. Gus' clothes were wrinkled and…

Shawn gave Gus a look, feeling a déjà vu moment coming. "Is that my shirt?"

Gus rolled his eyes, as if that was the last thing Shawn should have been worried about. "Well—it was my shirt before it somehow ended up at your place." Gus shook his head. "I told you to stop stealing my stuff, Shawn."

Shawn couldn't hide a smile. It really had felt like quite a while since he'd quipped with his best friend. He definitely preferred Gus arguing with him then worrying about him.

Gus shrugged, dropping his lecture with his own grin. "Your dad stopped by your place the night you were…" Gus hesitated, then cleared his throat. "…admitted. You know, to get you some clothes for when you're discharged. I didn't want to leave you, so he brought me some clothes to change into. Mine were kind of… ruined." Gus wrung his hands around each other uneasily.

Shawn felt his exhaustion returning, mixing with a sudden tension at the mention of his father. "So… my dad's here too?"

Gus looked around the room, saying, "Yeah, he was here all day. He must have gotten up when I fell asleep." He turned back to Shawn. "Don't fall asleep yet, Shawn," he said, and Shawn wondered how obviously tired he looked. "Your dad's gonna want to talk to you."

Shawn groaned. "That's never good." Shawn shut his eyes. "Pretend I never woke up."

"No, not like that," Gus assured him. "He was pretty… worried."

Pushing away the exhaustion, Shawn cracked his eyes open again. "Oh."

"I mean," said Gus, "you've been out for about two days. Doc gave you some heavier painkillers in the beginning."

"Speaking of which," mumbled Shawn, feeling the pain creeping up in intensity. "Can I get some more of those?"

Gus' eyebrows furrowed in concern. Shawn hadn't meant to bring concern back into the equation. "The doctor didn't want them to mess with your concussion," said Gus sadly.

Almost as if on cue, the door opened and two hospital personnel walked inside the room. Shawn didn't recognize either one, but even through his headache, he managed to catalogue them. The male was a doctor, whose name tag read Dr. Daniel Bauer. He had messy dark hair and tired eyes, telling Shawn that the man must have worked through the night. He was on the younger side and walked with a sort of acquired confidence, as though being a doctor his age had required him to grow up much faster than he'd been ready to. The woman behind him was a nurse, wearing a name tag that was half-hidden, only showing her first name: Alyssa. She was shorter than Bauer and carried a clipboard with her, seeming to be in her late thirties. A sparkling ring sat on her left hand and her eyes had a vague light to them. Recently engaged.

Shawn rubbed his eyes as Bauer walked up to him and smiled. "Mr. Spencer, it's good to see you awake." He gestured to himself. "My name is Dr. Bauer, this is one of our nurses, Alyssa Walker."

Shawn couldn't help himself. "Congratulations on the engagement."

Alyssa blushed. She shot an incredulous glance to Bauer, then back to Shawn. "How—"

Gus gave Shawn a look that was between annoyance and amusement, when he said, "He's… psychic."

Both raised their eyebrows. "Psychic?" asked Bauer. He nodded, turning to examine the monitor beside Shawn's head. "That's interesting." He nodded to himself, and Shawn fought the urge to shut his eyes. Bauer caught it. "Stay with us for a few more minutes, Mr. Spencer, we just want to examine your faculties for a moment. Then you can rest." He took the clipboard from Alyssa, who was still eyeing Shawn with interest, twisting her new ring around her finger. Bauer looked down at the clipboard and back at Shawn. "Do you know your name?" he asked.

Shawn almost rolled his eyes at the simple question. "Shawn Spencer."

"Do you—"

"Shawn!"

The four turned to the now-open door. Henry Spencer was standing in the doorway, a coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He almost dropped both when he caught sight of his son. A smile spread across his worn-expression and he rushed to the bedside, throwing the newspaper on Gus' lap.

Shawn blinked lazily at him, feeling it even harder to stay awake. "Hey, Dad."

Henry smiled, and reached out, putting a hand on Shawn's good arm. "Hey, kid."

"I'll take this as a sign that your faculties are in working order," said Bauer with a grin. He dropped the clipboard to his side. "You have two broken ribs and gunshot wound that seem to be healing properly and shouldn't give you much trouble in a few weeks." Shawn shifted on the bed, and Bauer asked "Are you feeling any discomfort?"

Shawn nodded, then—again—felt that same pain shooting behind his eyes. He needed to remember not to do that. "A bit," said Shawn, through clenched teeth.

"I'll see what we can give you," he said sympathetically. "With head injuries, we don't want to give you too much of anything that can mess with the injury. It would be best, for the time being, at least, that you stay away from alcohol and any illegal drugs—"

"Can… Can I still eat pineapple?" asked Shawn quietly, blinking his eyes back open.

Bauer laughed. "I'm naming drugs, Mr. Spencer. Pineapple is not a drug."

"Sure acts like one," said Shawn with a lazy grin.

"I hear that," agreed Gus, and Shawn weakly formed a fist with his good hand and Gus connected it with his own.

Shawn's arm fell back to the bed and it wasn't long before a blissful unconsciousness took him again.


"Shawn?"

Shawn reluctantly opened his eyes, waking up cautiously. Consciousness came with pain. His head throbbed dully, and Shawn cringed, turning toward the voice. The room blurred back into view and Shawn wondered how long it had been since he'd first woken. Luckily, he wasn't feeling as exhausted as he'd been the first time he woke up. He was still tired, but he could focus easier this time. Looking over, Shawn realized Gus was no longer next to him, and neither was his doctor or nurse. Instead, it was...

"Hey, Dad." said Shawn tiredly as he examined his father. Henry looked slightly more worn than usual, and Shawn instantly caught notice of a bandaged cut on his father's forehead that he hadn't noticed earlier. I have got to figure out what else happened that day, thought Shawn vaguely.

"Shawn," whispered Henry. He gave Shawn a smile—the kind of genuine smile Shawn had probably only seen a few rare times in his life. "How are you feeling, son?" The kid-gloves were definitely on.

Shawn tried to shrug, but a sudden jolt of pain erupted in his shoulder. He shut his eyes, clenching his teeth, berating himself for forgetting that moving was painful.

"Easy, Shawn," said Henry, shifting involuntarily to the edge of his seat, seeming to want to help but not know how.

"Peachy…" lied Shawn, bringing his good hand up to rest on his shoulder.

Henry shook his head to himself, and if Shawn wasn't mistaken, he felt like he almost saw tears brimming in his father's eyes.

But that was probably just a trick of the light.

"God, kid," Henry said quietly, "you really scared me."

This was way too serious for comfort. Shawn swallowed his emotions and tried to ignore the look in his father's eyes, saying, "Worse than the… the time I tried to wash your truck with rocks?"

Henry's eyes hardened, just like they always did when Shawn cracked a joke at a bad time. "Shawn—"

"Or when… when I thought the bait from your tackle box were gummy worms?"

"Shawn—"

"Or—"

"Shawn!"

Shawn cut off his words in surprise. He hadn't heard that tone from his father in years. It was the tone of voice that immediately preceded being sent to his room, and Shawn almost waited to hear his dad say just that. And even more shocking, Shawn realized what he'd seen in his dad's eyes was not a trick of the light after all.

A tear fell down Henry's cheek.

Henry shifted backward in the chair, seeming just as uncomfortable as Shawn felt. Henry looked back at Shawn, and whispered, "You weren't breathing when we found you."

Shawn carefully shifted on the bed, mirroring his dad's discomfort. "Dad, I'm fi—"

Henry didn't let Shawn finish. "Do you have any idea how terrifying that was?"

Shawn didn't know what to say. He caught himself before he shrugged again, glad to save him from the pain the movement would have punished him with, and instead mumbled, "I'm sorry."

Henry sighed, and laughed humorlessly. "You don't have to be sorry, son." he said quietly, rubbing a hand over his face. "In fact, I think this is the first time I can't even tell you that you should have been more careful. Or you shouldn't have put your nose somewhere it didn't belong." Henry shrugged. "Trouble just seems to find you, kid."

Shawn couldn't argue with that.

Shawn shifted himself up on his pillows, trying to push himself up. Pain quickly rushed up to meet him, and he froze mid-movement, cringing.

"Shawn, what are you doing?"

Henry's arm was suddenly on Shawn's uninjured shoulder. Shawn slowly turned. "I'm… going home." said Shawn simply. He was awake. He could—maybe not painlessly—move.

And a hospital was the last place he wanted to be.

"Shawn," warned Henry, pushing Shawn back to the pillows, and Shawn reluctantly complied, too tired to fight the pressure. "Two more days."

"But Dad-!" Shawn shut his eyes, leaning back on his pillow.

"Shawn," said Henry tiredly, and for some reason, the soft plea was enough to stop Shawn's complaints.

For now, at least.

"Look, son," said Henry, shifting uncomfortably. "I know that I… I don't say this often enough, but—"

"Dad, it's okay," said Shawn, not wanting the situation to become his dad's version of sentimental. That always ended up awkward. "You don't have to—"

"But I do, Shawn." said Henry. "As terrifying as that moment was to watch you run into that parking lot and…" he trailed off. Shawn fiddled with the edge of the blanket. "I was really proud of you, Shawn." He looked at Shawn and Shawn raised his eyes. "You saved her life, Shawn."

Shawn shifted his eyes back to the blanket, feeling that knot in his chest tighten again. "It doesn't matter."

"Shawn—"

"Do you think she'll forgive me?" he asked so quietly, Henry almost missed it.

Henry sighed sadly. "I'm the wrong person to ask, Shawn. I've never been… good at the relationship stuff."

Shawn shook his head, ignoring the dull pain at the movement. "I'm such an idiot," he whispered. He shut his eyes.

"Yes, you are," said Henry, and Shawn's eyes opened again.

"Thanks." he said shortly, wishing he hadn't brought it up.

"But she knows that," said Henry, resting his hand on Shawn's good arm. "She fell for that idiot."

Shawn didn't respond, his gaze dropping again.

Henry averted his eyes from Shawn. "What your mother did all those years ago, leaving you and me… It hurt, Shawn." Shawn raised his eyes again, meeting his father's. Henry had never mentioned the divorce with Shawn before. At least, not like this. "And it hurt for a while. But, eventually, I forgave her. And I still love her, Shawn," he whispered. He paused, then said, "You weren't there, in the waiting room. You didn't see her, son. You didn't see the look in her eyes." He gave Shawn a soft grin. "It's not over yet, kid."

Shawn looked at his father, willing himself to believe the words. He sighed, resting his head back against his pillows and shut his eyes, feeling his father ruffle his hair, letting himself fall back into sleep.


Carlton Lassiter was tired.

No, It was more than just tired. He was exhausted. Definitely sleep-deprived. Most certainly aggravated because of the lack of sleep.

That, and a particular psychic who gave him the work that made sleep the lowest on his list of priorities.

Lassiter knew he had a scowl branded on his face. He knew that was his usual look, and he knew that it was even deeper today. It had grown and sharpened over the years due to both practice and the added help of the aforementioned psychic, but the past few days had made him seem positively murderous.

The last time Lassiter had truly slept was the night before Shawn had been taken. The day Shawn was missing felt like the span of at least three days to him. Once the doctor had given news of Shawn's condition, Lassiter went straight back to the station where interrogations were waiting. He didn't have to drag Juliet down for that—he knew enough to let her be for at least the night. Still, he didn't know what happened between her and Shawn… romantically… he cringed just thinking about it. He didn't even know if he wanted to know. But, regardless of what broke them up, Juliet clearly still cared for the idiot. In some strange, impossible way, it seemed to Lassiter, she cared about Shawn. He'd spent that entire night with interrogations, getting as many solid facts down for the case as he could. The remaining kidnapper—Javier—did a lot more talking than he'd expected, making Lassiter's life a little easier. Not by a lot, but it certainly helped. Usually, Lassiter reveled in beating the answer out of suspect—metaphorically, of course… usually—but that night, he was far too stressed to enjoy it. He just wanted it done and over with.

The next morning, he still hadn't gone home yet. Juliet had come into the station sometime during the afternoon. Her eyes were red and she had exhaustion written into her features. Lassiter himself was beyond sleep deprived, but her exhaustion was a different type of tired entirely. He didn't pry. He didn't ask her anything. He just handed her half of the paperwork and they worked in silence to finish closing the case. By the time they'd finished, it was about six at night, and Lassiter was starting to feel his exhaustion hit him full-on. And that was when Vick sent him home.

So, concluded Lassiter needlessly in his thoughts, he was tired.

He slept in this morning, gladly catching up on his sleep, but his phone woke him around noon. Lassiter had been ready to chuck the device across the room when he picked it up, but he didn't; it was a message from Gus.

Shawn was awake.

Not that he would admit it to anyone, but those words had Lassiter feeling like a small weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It surprised him. He'd hated the kid since the day he met him. But… Lassiter was also human, and it was a human response to feel relieved to know an innocent—maybe not incredibly innocent, but close enough to be generally defined as innocent—civilian was okay. So, that was probably it. He was just… acting like a normal human.

Yeah… that somehow sounded way better in theory.

Either way, Lassiter somehow found himself walking through the familiar white walled-hospital a few hours later, donned in his usual faded-black suit, sporting a scowl he could probably trademark as his own.

Because he wasn't here to see Shawn as a friendly visit, no. He was here for work.

Lassiter stopped outside of Shawn's room. Lassiter pushed the door open and walked inside.

Gus was sitting next to Shawn. Henry wasn't in the room, but Lassiter remembered Juliet mentioning that Henry and Gus were taking 'shifts' with the recovering psychic. It must be Gus' turn to babysit the psychic.

Gus looked up as Lassiter walked into the room, and to say he was shocked was an understatement. "Lassiter?" he asked, incredulous, closing his magazine of something Lassiter read to be Safecracker's Monthly.

"Gustor," nodded Lassiter. He looked to the bed. Lassiter hadn't seen Shawn since the parking lot, and even then, it wasn't much more than a glimpse of pooling blood. Now that he saw the psychic up close, Lassiter was momentarily shocked. His eyes ran over the darkened bruising on Shawn's face, to the faint stitching on his forehead. The kid had definitely taken a punch. His gaze dropped down to Shawn's arm, resting protectively in a navy sling. Shawn's eyes were closed, and he was pale and still. He didn't look like someone who had woken up.

"How is he?" asked Lassiter, the words surprising him. He'd been prepared to come in, ask his questions to the healing psychic, and get out.

He hadn't planned on caring.

Gus swallowed his shock at seeing the detective, and said, "He's better. Just sore."

Lassiter's eyebrows kneaded. "I thought you said he was awake, Gustor." He eyed Shawn's still form again.

"He—He was," said Gus skeptically, giving Lassiter a once-over. "He's asleep. What do you need, Lassiter?"

"I need his statement." said Lassiter simply. He raised the notepad and file in his hands.

"Can't you do that after he's out of the hospital?" asked Gus, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm doing him a favor," said Lassiter. "I only have to make him relive this once and the sooner I do, the sooner he can forget what happened."

Gus seemed surprised. Lassiter almost did too. Lassiter had always liked getting statements as quickly as possible to ease the pain for the victims.

And now that caring thing was back.

No, thought Lassiter firmly. Spencer is nowhere near a friend to you.

Gus looked over Lassiter's shoulder, as if waiting for someone to come in behind him. "Is Juliet coming too?"

Lassiter shifted his stance. "No." He had wanted to skip this part of the conversation.

Gus' face fell. "She's not going to visit?"

"Look, Gustor," said Lassiter with a sigh. He'd point blank asked Juliet if she wanted to come to the hospital with him. But she'd just looked back down at whatever she was working on and mumbled something about having to finish it. "I don't know what crap went on between Spencer and O'hara, and I don't want to. But she's obviously still not over it." Gus sighed and Lassiter lifted his notepad. "Now, do you mind?"

Gus gave Lassiter a small glare, then lifted himself from the chair and left the room.

Lassiter slowly took more steps toward Shawn's bed. The psychic's silence was unnerving. It was a welcome silence, of course, compared to the yammering he usually got from the kid. He took a seat in the chair Gus had vacated. Silence, yes. But the stillness?

That was a bit too much.

Lassiter sighed, realizing Shawn wasn't just going to wake up on his own. He cleared his throat. "Spencer."

Shawn didn't move.

Lassiter narrowed his eyebrows and raised his voice a notch. "Spencer."

Shawn's head tilted. It took a moment for consciousness to return to the younger man. Shawn's eyes fluttered open after a few seconds, and he sluggishly took in his surroundings, his gaze landing on Lassiter. His features twisted in confusion. "L'ssie?" he mumbled sleepily. He rubbed his eyes with his good hand. He suddenly sunk warily back into his pillows and eyed Lassiter suspiciously.

"What?" snapped Lassiter.

"Are you…" began Shawn, and Lassiter was surprised to hear the slightly rough tone of his voice. "Are you here to... finish me off?"

Lassiter gave him a look. "What? No, Spencer, what makes you think that?"

Shawn blinked. "Opportunity." He gave the room another scan. "No… witnesses."

"Shut up, Spencer," snapped Lassiter, and he pulled out his notepad and clicked his pen. "I'm here to take your statement."

"Pineapple is the national fruit of New Zealand."

Lassiter fought the urge to roll his eyes. "Not just any statement, moron, I'm talking about what happened to you the other day. We can't charge anybody with anything unless we have written proof that these crimes were—"

"Yeah, yeah," said Shawn, waving his good hand slowly, dismissing Lassiter's words. "I know how a statement works, Lassie, I was just trying to diffuse the tension. You seem uptight. More uptight than usual."

"I'm just tired," said Lassiter, clicking his pen. "Look, Spencer, I don't want to be here any more than you want me to be, so let's just get this over with."

To Lassiter's surprise, Shawn didn't have an argument for that. He just leaned back on his pillow and absently massaged his shoulder. Lassiter felt a twinge of pity, but he quickly discarded it. He looked down at his file. "Okay, Spencer, tell me everything you remember."

"It's not a very clear picture, Lassie," said Shawn seriously, his voice lacking the amusement it had moments before, and he realized it was laced with a mixture of exhaustion and pain. Lassiter had always wished Shawn would take things seriously and ,well, grow up. But the sudden lack of playfulness from the psychic was just… wrong. Shawn cleared his throat and said, "Maybe if you told me what you know, it could help fill in the gaps."

"Well," said Lassiter, "I spent five hours with the last kidnapper of yours in an interrogation room—"

"Last?"

"The other two had been killed."

"Killed?" asked Shawn, eyebrows shooting up. He obviously didn't know anything about the other side of what happened.

"Yeah," said Lassiter slowly, "the last living guy. Name was Javier Blitek. Sang like a bird when I told him we had him on the attempted murder charges of your father and Gustor—"

"The what?!" exclaimed Shawn, eyes widening.

Lassiter sighed. This meeting wasn't going to be as in-and-out as he'd hoped. Lassiter—as quickly as he could—relayed everything from his side of the story, beginning with he and Juliet checking out the scene of the accident, to the cab station, and finally to the chase through the woods. Shawn had been uncharacteristically quiet throughout Lassiter's monologue. "And then you… ran into the parking lot." finished Lassiter, feeling like leaving out the end of that story.

It didn't take as long for Shawn to give his statement. He only seemed to remember the vaguest details, what with the concussion messing up his mind. Luckily enough, Shawn was able to match the name for one of the dead kidnappers—Trent. They'd ID'd the man as Trent Wahler.

"The other man's name was Jared Kenner." said Lassiter. "He, Javier Blitek and Trent Wahler were soldiers for the U.S. Army. They'd stolen weaponry from—"

"—the Forces and sold them through the Indian cab driver I ended up calling," finished Shawn, nodding. "I had a vision," he explained. "In the van. I just don't get one thing. My driver, Juan, said that he'd traded the weaponry for the money but then lost it at the station. Who took it?"

"We held this scrawny kid—Hal—in the station all night. He turned out to be the nephew of the owner—Ian Halling— of the cab station. When we caught up with Uncle Ian, we eventually got him to admit he'd found the black market money and took it for himself, hiding it in his office where he thought no one would find it." Lassiter shrugged. "And no one would have if you hadn't gotten yourself kidnapped."

Shawn raised an eyebrow. "Is that a… compliment?"

Lassiter mirrored his incredulity. "Not even close." He shut his file, having gotten all the information he needed. He stood, then hesitated. "Spencer… you took that bullet for O'hara." He looked at the psychic, his scowl gone. "That was…" He trailed off, and instead of finishing it, he started to walk out.

"That was what, Lassie?" asked Shawn as Lassiter reached the door. "You can't leave me hanging like that."

Lassiter looked over his shoulder. "It was brave, Spencer. It was something that I'm sure a lot of self-respecting officers would not have done."

"Lassie…" said Shawn slowly. "Was that a compliment?"

Lassiter grasped the door handle and hesitated, looking back over his shoulder. "Only inside this room."

And with that, he left.


Shawn watched Lassiter leave, and he laid his head back on his pillow. But before the door had even fully shut, Shawn saw a familiar dark-skinned hand shoot in between the door and doorframe, catching it. Gus walked into Shawn's room, looking back in the direction Lassiter left.

Gus jabbed a thumb weakly behind him. "Did Lassie… talk to you?"

Knowing by now that shrugging—or any movement of his head—would hurt him, Shawn just said, "Yeah. And he didn't smother me with a pillow or anything."

Gus raised his eyebrows, as if impressed. He took a seat beside Shawn's bed.

"Lassie told me you were almost murdered?" asked Shawn, eyebrows hitching upward.

Gus shrugged. "Uh—yeah. The bastard tried to kill me and your dad. But Lassiter shot him in the arm before he could."

"A near-death situation?" said Shawn, impressed. "I'm so proud of you, buddy." Shawn felt his serious-Shawn-moment come before it did. "Thanks for coming after me."

Gus smiled. "No problem, Shawn. I know you'd do the same for me."

Shawn grinned. "You know that's right." Again, the clock was nowhere near to facing Shawn, so he asked, "What time is it?"

"Almost eight," said Gus, settling himself into the chair, pulling out a fishing magazine from underneath him, looking at it quizzically. It was unmistakably Henry's. Gus tossed it on the empty chair, looking back at Shawn. "How are you feeling?"

"All better," said Shawn instantly. "Can I go home now?"

"Shawn," said Gus in a warning tone, "you know the doctors want you to stay here until at least tomorrow night. It's only one more day—"

"But, Gus," whined Shawn. "I've already missed, like, three days out of my life, here!"

"Shawn, you once spent a full week sitting in your front yard watching the grass to see how fast it grew."

"That was different, Gus, I was trying to prove to my dad that it grew far too slowly to make me cut the lawn every single week. And I was right."

Gus rolled his eyes. "Shawn, you're hurt. Have you forgotten what happened to you?"

"No," sighed Shawn, pressing back into his pillows, trying to fend off a headache. "I haven't. And being here isn't helping me to forget it."

Gus didn't reply. He shifted in the chair uneasily.

There's been something eating at Shawn ever since he'd opened his eyes. "Do you know if she's going to…" Shawn hesitated, his eyes drifting to a loose thread on his blanket, then said, "visit?"

"I…" began Gus, hesitating, sitting back in the chair. "I think Juliet got… held up in the station."

"Oh—right," said Shawn absently, not meeting Gus' eyes. He wanted to believe his friend's lie, but Gus' tells were all too obvious to Shawn. Just this once, he wished he didn't notice.

"She was here," said Gus, and Shawn's eyes rose quickly to meet Gus', and he ignored the sharp pain at his temple. Gus gestured the chair beside Shawn's bed. "She stayed all through the night when you were admitted. She didn't leave until I told her to."

Shawn's eyes travelled back to the loose thread. He fingered it with his good hand. "But she hasn't… since I woke up."

"Shawn—"

"Is she still… mad?"

Gus opened his mouth to reply, then closed it, seeming unsure how to choose his words. But that was enough for Shawn to get the gist.

"Shawn," said Gus finally, "Juliet isn't mad, she's hurt. I think she just needs time."

Shawn didn't reply. Gus put a hand on his arm. "I'll be back in the morning. Seven am sharp. I'll wake you up whether you want it or not." He gave Shawn a smile.

Shawn returned it, half-heartedly. "Thanks, buddy."

Shawn watched Gus leave, and settled back into the bed, trying to get comfortable. But that was the problem. It was impossible to find a position that didn't put strain on either his shoulder or his ribs. Shawn gave up, and shut his eyes to the semi-darkness, hating the silence. He wasn't as exhausted as he was before, and his thoughts were starting to gain speed, but he tried to fight them. He didn't want to think.

Juliet didn't show. The ache in Shawn's chest was suddenly back, competing with his other injuries. Shawn tried to convince himself that her showing up to the hospital and staying in his room the first night meant something. It must, right? She wouldn't have stayed if she didn't care.

Of course she cares, a voice in the back of his mind told him. Of course she cares about you. That's why what you did hurt her so badly.

Shawn shut his eyes again, drawing his good arm over them to block out the light from the window. He kicked himself, for what seemed like the millionth time that week. The last thing he'd ever wanted to do was hurt Juliet. He fell in love with her five years ago, and he'd only ever wanted to be the one to protect her from anything that would hurt her.

And he'd failed, in the very worst way.

Juliet was the only one who'd believed him from the beginning. She had undying trust in him.

And he broke it.

Shawn sighed. Of course, weeks into his relationship with her, he'd considered telling her the truth. But he couldn't see how that conversation would go well. He couldn't very well just take her to dinner and casually let her know that he's been lying to her for the past five years. And what if she'd never found out? Was he seriously going to keep up the psychic charade forever?

He just wanted her back. His desire to hold her was so, so strong that it seemed to tie an even tighter knot in his stomach. He wanted her forgiveness, so badly, he couldn't think of anything he wouldn't do to get it back.

Shawn's arm fell back to his side and he blinked his eyes open. He couldn't stay here. He couldn't lie in this place for another second while his thoughts tortured him.

Shawn lifted his head, glad to feel less heavy than he had twelve hours ago. He pressed his good hand into the stiff mattress of the bed, pushing himself a few inches off the bed.

The pain was sudden and he didn't expect it. Shawn clamped his mouth shut to stop the groan of pain that threatened to escape him. He held himself up, leaning heavily on his good arm, the pain in his side quieting to a subdued burn. Shawn took a breath, then pushed himself up higher until he was in a sitting position. Glad that he didn't have any injuries below the waist, Shawn slowly shifted his legs off the bed, his good arm pressing firmly against his side. He moved cautiously, and luckily, the motion wasn't enough to jostle his ribs too much.

Shawn sat on the edge of the bed, and suddenly felt better than he had in a long time. Freer. He'd been confined to the van, confined to the apartment, and now confined here. The impersonal atmosphere of the hospital was suffocating. He just wanted out.

With one sweep of the room, Shawn located the clothes that his dad brought for him peeking out of the drawer in the nightstand by his bed. He slowly and cautiously pulled himself to his feet.

He was getting out of this place tonight.


Juliet stood in front of the doors to the hospital. She was hesitating. Stalling, really, if she were being honest with herself.

It was almost nine o'clock at night now, and the sunlight was fading. There weren't many people outside, but visiting hours were almost up and they soon would be, and the last thing Juliet wanted was a dozen strangers asking her why she was frozen solid, standing in front of a hospital.

Gus had called her just after eight in the morning. She'd been sitting at her desk in the station, filling out the last of the paperwork as she and Lassiter finished up the cases Shawn had ended up solving. The day beforehand, she'd been swamped at the station, the interrogations and statements required to close the cases seemed countless. Shawn was still unconscious yesterday. She'd kept her phone next to her in case Gus texted her with an update, but none came.

Not until this morning.

She didn't even have a whole lot of paperwork left. She could have left at noon and visited him. She could have gone with Lassiter. Easily. So very, very easily.

And yet here she was, her feet teetering on the sidewalk in front of two very simple doors.

She wanted to visit. She did. She was thrilled when Gus called, thrilled that Shawn was okay and conscious. She still did care about him, of course.

But she hadn't talked to Shawn for days. It wasn't as if she could strike up a casual conversation with him. She was still upset about what happened. That hasn't gone away. Though… Shawn did just sacrifice his own life for hers. Was she really going to just ignore that?

Juliet sighed audibly, making a decision and pushed through the doors to the hospital. She walked numbly through the lobby and rode the elevator to the second floor—Shawn's floor. Juliet had just stepped off the elevator when she heard a familiar voice.

"—is that? You just let him walk out?"

Juliet turned the corner, finding herself in the reception area of the second floor. Henry and Gus were facing a male doctor about a foot taller than each of them. Henry's face was red with frustration. Juliet hurried over.

"Henry?" she asked, and the three turned to look at her. "What's wrong?"

"Shawn left," said Gus worriedly. "His room is empty."

"We let him leave," said the doctor quickly, as if trying to make sure Juliet knew he wasn't losing track of patients.

"He was supposed to be discharged tomorrow!" said Henry, glaring at the doctor again.

"Yes, Sir," said the doctor, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "But, legally, we can't force any patient to stay here if they don't—"

"So you just let him leave?!"

"We contacted you as a courtesy," said the doctor. "Please—"

"He left an hour ago," said Gus to Juliet, cutting off the argument. "He's not home, he's not at Psych—"

"With traumatized patients, some need some time alone," said the doctor in exasperation. "You know, to clear their heads after everything they've gone through."

Clear their heads.

"Oh," said Juliet, revelation dawning on her. The three looked at her. Juliet cleared her throat. "I think I know where he is."

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