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Chapter 7

"Follow me, Jules, just watch what I do."

Shawn swung a leg over his motorcycle, mounting it in the natural movements he'd become so accustomed to. He grasped the handles, revving the engine gently. He looked back at Juliet, standing in her driveway, her arms clasped behind her back, her sneakers digging absentmindedly in the dirt, biting her bottom lip. He almost smiled at her shyness.

She was nervous.

"Jules," he said, drawing out her name playfully. "Come on, Jules, you can do it. One foot in front of the other." He took one hand off the handle bars and patted the seat behind him. "Right here. Right behind me. You know you want to."

Shawn watched hesitation flash through Juliet's eyes. She was tempted, he could see it. He could feel it.

"Shawn…" said Juliet, taking a step toward the bike, but still wavering on the edge of her driveway. Seeming to make a snap decision, she waved a hand, shutting her eyes and taking a step back. "I'm sorry, Shawn. I can't ride one of these things, I—"

"Juliet," said Shawn gently, reaching out and taking her arm gently. "I want you to ride with me. Just once. There's… there's something freeing about riding one of these. I want you to know what that's like. That feeling is almost as good as the feeling I get every time I look at you." Shawn watched Juliet melt just the smallest bit at his words and he smiled. He gazed up at her expectantly, giving her his best puppy-eyes. Juliet sighed, tugged her arm from his hand, and grabbed the helmet off the back of the bike.

"That's my girl," said Shawn, grinning, slipping on his own helmet. "Now just put your leg over—yeah, just like that." He waited, looking back as Juliet mounted the bike behind him, sliding up to sit right behind him. He felt her warmth against his back, sending chills down his spine. "Now," said Shawn, "you can put your arms around—"

"I know this part," she said with a grin, slipping her arms around his waist. Those same chills traveled through Shawn's veins. He felt a strong heat pulse through him. Smiling, he put his hands back on the handlebars.

"Hold on tight," he said to her, starting up the engine and kicking back the stand. He felt Juliet's arms tighten around him, making his heart speed up a little. He hit the gas and smoothly pulled away from her house, driving down her street. He felt her press herself into his back, and rest her chin on his shoulder. Shawn turned down the next street, seeing the wind tousle Juliet's hair in the corner of his vision. He felt her tight hold on him relax a little.

"Not that scary, is it?" asked Shawn, turning slightly toward her.

"No…" said Juliet after a moment, adjusting her grip on his waist, sliding herself closer to him, her knee brushing against his.

Shawn laughed, heading down a busier street. He gained speed and took the next turn a bit faster than before. He felt Juliet cling to him, her hands shifting, holding him tighter, and her fingers grabbed the front of his shirt. He turned back toward her, a hint of mischief in his eyes. "Are you ready for some real fun?"

Juliet seemed to read his mind. "Shawn—" she warned, but he'd already made the decision. He turned onto the ramp, heading up toward the thruway.

"Shawn!" exclaimed Juliet. He gained more speed, ready to merge into the traffic. The wind caught his shirt and it rippled in the breeze. He felt Juliet's quick heartbeat against his back.

"Trust me, Jules!" he shouted over the sound of the wind.

"Okay," he heard her whisper, so close to his ear he felt her lips on his skin. Shawn reached the end of the ramp, and he shifted into the left lane, getting up to speed. He felt the bike vibrating with power beneath him, and Juliet's arms hugging him tightly. Shawn reached speed. Juliet's hair whipped in the wind. The bike glided seamlessly out of the lane to the next, as Shawn weaved through traffic, feeling weightless. He laughed, the pure freedom let loose in his chest. He turned slightly toward Juliet.

"How you doing, Jules?" he shouted.

She put her lips to his ear again, sending tingles down his skin, whispering only two words.

"Go faster."

Shawn laughed, giving the bike more gas, feeling her laughter vibrate through him

A door slammed shut, jolting Shawn awake. His eyes shot open, and he whipped his head around. He felt dazed.

Shattered.

Where… where was Juliet? Shawn glanced wildly around, angering his headache, but he didn't care. Juliet had been there. Her arms had been around him. Her chin on his shoulder. Her lips on his neck.

Someone grabbed Shawn's chin and yanked it back around. Shawn grimaced as pain laced through him. He faced a dark-skinned man, with contempt and fury in his eyes. His face was an inch from Shawn's. Tattoos trailed down the man's skin. Shawn breathed harshly through the foul-tasting gag in his mouth.

Where was he?

What happened to him?

"What you looking for?" sneered the man.

Shawn shut his eyes. It had only been a dream. He'd only been dreaming about the day he went riding with Juliet.

Juliet.

Shawn felt his heart drop deep in his chest. Memories staggered back to him. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have lost the only one who ever meant a damned thing to him? How could he ruin everything?

Shawn shut his eyes, willing himself to fall back into the memory, to feel Juliet against him, her heat at his back, her whispers in his ear—

"I said," said the man, shaking Shawn's head, bringing Shawn's headache back, full-force. Shawn reluctantly faced the man. "What were you looking for?"

Shawn stared at the man. He didn't know what the man wanted from him. He was gagged; it wasn't as if Shawn could respond. Shawn tried to pull away from the man, but the man's grip tightened. He jerked Shawn's head. "Don't even think about trying something." He let Shawn go. Shawn's head fell to his chest, and he shut his eyes, willing the pain to disappear.

Where was he?

His curiosity overwhelmed the pain, making Shawn crack his eyes back open. He surveyed his surroundings.

He was in an apartment. In front of him stood a wall with a single window that showed nothing but sky, telling Shawn he was far too high up to think about escaping through the window. That is, if he could manage to free himself.

An old TV set stood in the corner, and a ratty couch across from it. Another doorway for a bedroom was beside him. Looking to his left, Shawn made out a sink, fridge and stove. He was in the kitchen. The only light came from the window. It was bright, which meant he either hadn't been unconscious for long, or he'd slept through the night.

Shawn assumed the door was behind him—the door he'd heard slam. Wait… did he hear a door slam? He couldn't remember. Glancing back in front of him, Shawn watched his captor pace.

Right step. Limp. Right step. Limp.

Shawn squinted. The man was limping. That was important… That was important to know. He could deduce something from that.

But… what?

Shawn cursed his concussion for what seemed like the millionth time that day.

"You were injured."

"They wouldn't let me fight. I gave up everything to fight for this country. We all did."

Shawn blinked. That's right… memories flooded back. Javier said that he and his buddies had been soldiers who'd gotten injured. Shawn watched the man.

Right step. Limp. Right step. Limp.

The man had hurt his left leg somehow. Shawn saw it now: the man had a weakness. Shawn had an advantage. This man couldn't run. So if Shawn could find a way to free himself…

This man couldn't chase him.

He also didn't have a gun. Shawn blinked a few times, trying to clear the haze of his vision. He felt more awake now—more in the moment, yet at the same time felt it wavering, as if it could just slip away. His mind felt unhinged.

The man, remembered Shawn, getting his mind back on track. What was this man's name? It had been mentioned…

Trent. Trent was what Javier had called him. Shawn's first thought was that Trent and Javier didn't seem like very badass, bad-guy names. But… these men weren't always bad guys, Shawn remembered. They were good guys at one point.

Probably.

Trent wore dark denim and an old, baggy sweatshirt, his hands thrust in the pockets. Shawn tried to read the front of the sweatshirt, but the words didn't form. The concussion left his vision just too blurred.

But why didn't he have a gun? wondered Shawn. Wouldn't he be carrying a weapon if he was put on watch for Shawn?

Shawn looked down at himself, for the first time, wondering what was restraining him. The thought hadn't even occurred to him to check, and he kicked himself for the stupidity.

He was sitting in a chair, his wrists bound behind him. Shawn looked down, surprised to see dark stains on his jeans. Dark red.

Blood.

Shawn's eyes traveled from his jeans to his shirt, and he realized that blood was staining the front of his shirt, across his side. He blinked. Had he hurt himself there too?

Almost as if to answer his question, Shawn's side burned harshly. He cringed. What happened to him?

Oh, thought Shawn, a theory forming, duh. He had been in a violent car crash without any seatbelt whatsoever. It would have been ridiculous to think he'd only sustained a head injury.

There didn't seem to be much wrong with his legs, or anything below the waist for that matter. It must have just been hitting the windshield. That sounded about right. He'd probably gotten bruised ribs, if not broken. And somehow he'd cut his skin.

Shawn fidgeted with his wrists. It felt like tape binding them behind him.

Shawn looked cautiously at Trent. The man was still pacing, staring at the floor, and every now and then out the window. What happened to his buddies?

Shawn reached with his fingers, trying to find something in reach to cut the tape. He only found his back pocket, but he didn't carry anything sharp with him. The only thing in his back pocket was his phone—

Shawn froze, his fingers stopping at his back pocket.

His phone was there.

Hope seared through his veins. If could just get free, he'd be able to call for help.

Oh, and take out the man pacing in front of him.

Shawn sighed.

He could do it.

Tape. Tape was easy. That's what Shawn's father had told him.

"Whenever it comes to zipties," Henry had said years ago, "all you have to rely on is lateral pressure. You lift your arms over your head, then snap the ziptie over your chest."

"What about ropes and stuff?" Shawn remembered asking.

Henry had laughed. "Son, if you get tied up with rope, you better hope you have something sharp lying around or your kidnappers suck at tying knots. You want to hope they'll go with Duct tape. All you have to do is wiggle right out of them."

Shawn tugged at the tape. It was tight. But Shawn had escaped from Duct tape before and he could do it again.

Shawn struggled with the tape, watching Trent stop his pacing to go look out the window. He was waiting for something.

Shawn yanked harder on the tape, barely holding in a cry of pain as he jostled his side. His face contorted in pain, and his head throbbed simultaneously. He bit the gag, clenching his teeth, but regretted it immediately. The gasoline odor was suddenly strong again and Shawn cringed, holding his breath. He could do this. He twisted his wrists. Trent had just chose that moment to turn back to Shawn, and Shawn ceased his movements, his breath halting in his chest. His heart hammered. Trent's eyes narrowed.

But then Trent simply looked back out the window, Shawn's struggles apparently having gone unnoticed by him. Shawn let out a heavy, inaudible sigh and tugged at the tape, harder this time.

He could do it.

It took almost four minutes of struggling, having to stop twice as Trent turned back toward him, but the tape finally gave away. Shawn sighed in relief, feeling the tape slide off his right wrist. He looked back up at Trent, who had resumed his pacing. Floorboards creaked under the man's weight. Shawn hesitated.

He was free. How was he supposed to take out Trent? Well… Shawn considered, watching the man. Trent was injured—though still trained in combat—but he was unarmed. The odds didn't look great. And yet… what other choice did he have? Shawn took a breath.

Here goes nothing.

Grasping the side of the chair with his right hand, Shawn lunged forward, swinging the chair around and, with as much force as he could muster, slamming it into Trent's left side. Both Shawn and Trent crashed to the floor, Trent howled in pain as the chair struck his bad knee. Shawn's head swam violently as face met cold, hard floor and he gasped harshly through the gag. His breath hitched in his chest, and suddenly he was immersed in a painful coughing fit wracking through his body, the gag making breathing nearly impossible to draw in air. Something clattered to the ground beside his head and Shawn recoiled involuntarily, vaguely making out what it was.

A knife.

So Trent had been armed after all.

Head still spinning, aggravated by the cough attack, and suddenly on the verge of nausea, Shawn shoved off the ground with a shaking hand. He pushed himself up, ripping the foul gag out of his mouth, letting loose a cry as his side seared in pain from the strain of his efforts. Trent writhed on the floor, clutching his leg, in clear agony. Not wasting another second on the floor, Shawn stumbled to his feet.

But he wasn't expecting the room turn sideways.

He fell into a row of cupboards in the kitchen, knocking over something on the counter and it shattered on the ground. Shawn groaned, grasping the edge of the counter as gravity betrayed him, threatening to pull him back down. His head burned and his side throbbed, new bruises forming, but he pushed himself away and stumbled to the door, just barely catching the frame. His side ached sharply and his hand flew to it, trying to suppress the pain. He groaned at the unwelcome pressure and immediately let go, grasping the doorframe again, heaving through his lungs, running thin on air. He lifted himself, righting his balance, barely noting the blood on his hands, staining the doorframe.

Shawn reached for the doorknob. He nearly missed it; things were much closer than they seemed in his confused mind. Shawn grabbed the handle and thrust it open, hurrying unsteadily into the hallway, hearing an aggravated, pain-filled groan from the injured man behind him.

Shawn shut the door behind him, instantly overcome by an intense dizzy spell. Shawn was suddenly falling against it, accidentally crashing his head on the hardwood. Something close to a whimper escaped him as he dug his heels into the floor and pushed his weight against the door to keep himself from falling. If he fell now, he would never get himself back to his feet. Blinking his eyes open again, battling the war of shooting pain in his head, Shawn shoved himself away from the door and stumbled a few steps down the hallway, trying to ignore how the very floor seemed to shift beneath him. Identical doors stood out all around him. He stumbled more steps down the hallways. Doors. His heart hammered. They all looked the same. Was he actually moving? More doors. Same doors. His world tilted suddenly, and Shawn threw an arm out before he struck the wall again, barely catching himself.

Phone.

Shawn stopped dead, his heart freezing in his chest. His phone. He had a phone.

Shawn's abrupt stop seemed too much for his mind to understand, and he crashed into the wall. Keep moving, said a voice in the back of his mind. Shawn pushed himself off the wall, vaguely seeing a set of stairs at the end of the hallway.

He grabbed his phone from his back pocket, hitting the keys with shaking fingers. He blinked. The screen was blurry. And bright. Too bright. Shawn cringed. He lifted his phone to his eyes, angering his headache further, able to make out a few numbers, and he dialed the first number he thought of.


Gus was quiet.

Gus was accustomed to quiet. He's grown accustomed to it over the years. He was comfortable with it. He enjoyed it. After spending years with a best friend like Shawn, someone who could talk at almost literally a mile a minute, silence becomes something of a luxury for people like Gus.

But there are always exceptions.

And now was one of them.

Gus sat still in the passenger seat of Henry Spencer's truck. He gazed out the dusty window, noting a few small spiderweb cracks along the windshield that Henry ought to get fixed. His eyes centered on those small details, and the specs of dirt on the windows, and the faded evergreen scent of the car—from an old car-freshener that Gus couldn't quite locate—for the past twenty minutes, because for the first time in his life, Gus was experiencing the horrors of an awkward silence.

Deciding that he couldn't stare at the cracks in the windshield forever, Gus slowly shifted his gaze to his best friend's father. Henry stared at the road, traveling slightly under the speed limit, seeming a bit dazed. Gus knew that feeling and knew it all too well.

Worry.

"So…" Gus said, deciding that was the best way to break the silence. But though it took him a good few minutes to work up the courage to break it, it seemed Henry didn't even notice. Gus sighed and decided to go head first.

"You're worried about him, too, huh?" asked Gus. He watched as Henry seemed to shake out of his daze. The car started going a bit faster, traveling up to the speed limit, and Henry shrugged.

"I don't think there was a time I wasn't worried about that kid." said Henry, shaking his head.

"Do you think he'd leave Santa Barbara again?" asked Gus.

"I don't know." said Henry. He gave Gus a glance. "I also haven't talked to him much before the past few years. There's a gap in his life that I don't know much about. You'd probably anticipate his moves better than I would." Henry sighed. "But, yeah, I'm a little worried. The day I tell him I don't want him riding a motorcycle, he goes out and gets that piece of crap he rides now. I tell him his curfew is at eleven and I catch him sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night for sno cones." He looked at Gus incredulously. "Sno cones! I don't even know what place sells sno cones at two o'clock in the morning." Henry shook his head.

Gus was about to reply when Henry took another turn, making Gus realize that Henry was driving nowhere near where Gus had parked his Echo at the crime scene.

"You missed the turn," said Gus, gesturing to the opposite direction with a jab of his thumb. "Like twenty minutes ago."

"I know," said Henry absentmindedly, and instead of turning around, pulled swiftly into a parking space. Gus looked at Henry quizzically. Henry had driven to the Psych office.

"Uh…" began Gus, but Henry was already out of the car and heading toward the office. Gus unbuckled his seatbelt and got out of the truck. He skipped up the steps. "What are you—?"

"You said you checked here for Shawn?" asked Henry, grabbing the door handle.

"Yeah—" said Gus, "I checked on my way to the SBPD to get our Psych check. Here, I have a key," said Gus, opening the door. "He hadn't answered this phone all day, either."

Henry waited for Gus to open the door, then walked in before Gus. Gus followed him. The lights were off, the daylight offering enough brightness for them to see. Henry walked through the empty reception area, through the doorway. Half-hoping to find Shawn asleep in his office chair or the couch, Henry poked his head through the doorway.

But it was empty.

The office was quiet. Calm. Two things Henry had never experienced standing in his son's office. Henry walked to Shawn's desk, surveying it. A notepad on the corner of the desk with a doodle drawn on the page of a cartoon dinosaur stepping on a town, two and a half empty cups of yogurt, a half-drunk bottle of beer, and something sticking out underneath his laptop. Henry picked it up. It was—

"My debit card!" exclaimed Gus, snatching the MasterCard from Henry's fingers. Gus glared from the card to Shawn's desk. "I thought I lost this!"

Henry sat down at Shawn's desk, the swivel chair squeaking softly under his weight. Henry opened Shawn's laptop. The screen flashed to light. The laptop seemed to take a moment to catch up with real time and then a photo materialized on the screen.

"What are you looking for?" asked Gus, safely depositing his card into his wallet. He looked over Henry's shoulder at the photo on the screen. It was of Shawn and Juliet at Lassiter's wedding. Henry heard Gus sigh behind him.

"I shouldn't have left him here alone," said Gus quietly, guilt creeping into his tone. He looked around the desk. "I mean, look at this!" he exclaimed, picking up one of the yogurts. "He's gone on a yogurt binge. And it's pineapple. God, he's worse than I thought. This is intensive comfort food." Gus shook his head, setting the cup back on the desk, looking at the rest of the desk. He gasped. "And beer? Ugh, that combination sounds disgusting." Gus wrinkled his nose.

"I told him this psychic crap wouldn't end well," said Henry, rubbing his face, looking at Gus. "That kid never learns."

"He does," said Gus, jumping to Shawn's defense. "He means well. I mean, we've closed over fifty cases. That's gotta mean something."

"And he could have done that by getting the education and badge like every other detective out there." Henry shut the laptop like a snap. "But, because's he's Shawn, he finds the most backward way of shoving himself in the door—"

"That doesn't change what he's accomplished," said Gus, suddenly offended. "That doesn't change the lives he's saved. I've known Shawn almost just about as long as you have." Gus shrugged, shifting his gaze to the Psych title on the window. "Maybe he's got a backward way of doing things, but… at least he's doing them. And he's doing them damn well." Gus didn't know where the sudden protectiveness came from. But he wasn't going to stand around and listen to one more person's irritation with Shawn. He just wanted to find wherever the hell his best friend was.

"Yeah," said Henry, after a moment, standing. "Maybe he does." He looked around the office and sighed. "Well, let's get your car."

Henry and Gus turned to leave, when Henry's cell phone rang. He didn't stop as he pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open, muttering a greeting distractedly. But he heard a heavy pause on the other line, followed by a single word that made him stop and Gus run into his back.

"Dad."


"Dad." Shawn barely choked out the word in his relief to hear his father's voice. His voice was weak. Strangely weak. When did it get so hard to breathe?

And when did that wall get so close?

Shawn grunted as he fell into the wall again. He barely caught himself this time.

"Shawn?" was Henry's curt reply.

"Unless—" said Shawn, pressing against the wall, pushing himself toward the staircase with his back against the wood, seeming to find this a better idea than walking. Most of his weight was against the wall now, and Shawn felt a sudden relief that he didn't have to defy gravity anymore. "Unless you have another kid," continued Shawn, "then—then I'd hope you—you'd assume I'd be the one to call you—to call you Dad." Somewhere in the back of his mind, Shawn knew he should be concerned with the fact that that simple sentence was enough to make him breathless. He hesitated on the wall, trying to catch his breath, barely registering Henry's next words.

"Shawn," He was annoyed. That was his I-don't-have-the-pateience-for-your-antics-today tone. That was Henry's usual tone when speaking to Shawn. Except, of course, when Shawn had gotten shot. Henry had been much more patient then. Shawn blinked, stopping his train of thought, realizing Henry had just said something. Shawn swallowed.

"You—you say something?" asked Shawn.

"Shawn," sighed Henry, his tone even more aggravated. "Where the hell are you? Gus has been calling you."

Shawn shut his eyes, continuing to push himself to the staircase. He was almost there. Maybe a few more feet. Shawn opened his eyes and blinked a few times, trying to rid himself of the blurriness. Maybe more than two feet. Or less.

Was the staircase moving?

"I—" said Shawn, breathing hard, realizing he was already out of breath. "I—I don't—don't know. I don't know where—where I am." His head pounded, and Shawn nearly dropped the phone in an effort to place a hand to his temple.

"Do you know—where I am?" asked Shawn, delirium clear in his voice. Why was he delirious again?

"Are you drunk?" asked Henry. He wasn't worried. He was still annoyed. Despite the fear that was driving him, Shawn felt his heart drop a little. Here he was, kidnapped and hurt, and his father was annoyed with him. He didn't even care.

"I—I don't know where I am," repeated Shawn, wondering if the stairs were actually getting closer or if he was moving toward them. He couldn't remember.

"Shawn, how much have you had to drink—?"

"Doors," said Shawn suddenly. He passed more identical doors. Maybe if he described them his dad would know where he was. Shawn gazed at them, shifting himself painfully across the wall. He was slipping. Shawn froze, suddenly hearing a thud from somewhere not too far from him.

Trent was getting up.

"Doors…? Shawn—"

"I think they're—moving," said Shawn suddenly, watching them waver in his messed-up vision. "But—that could easily be the—the concussion talking."

Shawn felt for the first stair. He couldn't tell if it was there or not. And the last thing he wanted to do was fall down a flight of stairs. He took a shaking breath. Ready to step down, hoping that he was right.

He was.

But he also wasn't ready for the stair to give away underneath his weight.

Shawn cried out, his free arm lashing out to grab the railing, cursing the old, rotting wood. His heart jumped into his throat but Shawn didn't fall; he'd caught the rail. He balanced himself, blinking, the adrenaline clearing some of the delusion from his mind.

He was kidnapped.

He was being chased.

He was in the middle of a phone call.

"Dad," gasped Shawn, mentally berating himself. His entire walk down the hallway had been surreal. He gazed around the staircase, his vision still blurry and vertigo still claiming him. But fear had struck clarity in his head. "Dad, I need—I need help. Call Lassie. Call Jul—" Shawn stopped mid-sentence, unable to form her name. Something stung in his chest, and at the same moment, his footing suddenly betrayed him.

He grunted as he hit the ground, barely keeping a hold on the phone. His side burned and he slid down the rest of the stairs, trying desperately to pull himself onto his hands and knees. He put the phone back to his ear.

"—awn?"

"…Da—ad?" croaked Shawn, thoroughly winded. He lifted his eyes, squinting through the blurriness. He was facing another hallway—one that looked exactly like the one he'd just left.

"Shawn!" Henry's voice was concerned now. About time, thought Shawn. He crawled forward on his hands and knees, unsteady as he held the phone with his left hand. He felt carpet under his fingers. He heard Henry repeat himself, louder. "What are you talking about?"

"I—I don't remember all-all of it," whispered Shawn, trying to clear his voice. "They don't like me very much. Though I doubt I should care if my—if my kidnappers like me," he forced out, at the same time his arms gave out beneath him and he fell forward. He grunted, hitting the ground hard. "They said th-they want to use me as—as ransom—"

"Shawn, please tell me you're kidding." Said Henry suddenly, his voice low. Serious. "This is another one of your jokes. It's a prank. And if it is, you need to stop it right—"

"It's not a joke!" hissed Shawn through clenched teeth, his side protesting at Shawn's attempt to get back to his feet. He'd gotten his sneakers under him, trying to lift his body off the ground. But he felt so heavy. So heavy.

So tired.

"I—I got out of the room," said Shawn, trying his best to keep his eyes open, as he continued trying to right himself, "but he's not—he's not unconscious, Dad, he's still up there—"

Shawn heard Henry talking to someone. Finally, Shawn had leveled himself back on his hands and knees, but the swimming in his head was overpowering. He leaned against the wall beside him. It was chilled. He pressed his head against the wood, letting it soothe the ache. He knew he shouldn't stay here. He needed to get out.

But the cold felt so good...

"Shawn," interrupted Henry, and Shawn reluctantly opened his eyes. "Gus and I are on our way to the police station. Do not hang up this phone. We're going to get a trace on your call. Run."

It took Shawn a moment to reply. "I can't."

Henry was dead silent. It took a moment for him to ask, "Why not?"

"I—can't really—see—straight." whispered Shawn.

"Shawn—" Henry's voice was urgent. Shawn almost thought he sounded angry. But what did he do wrong this time? He never intended to get himself into trouble. He didn't want to deal with this. He had enough to deal with. Losing Juliet had almost flipped a switch him him, killing his motivation. His strength. His anything.

"Shawn!"

Shawn blinked his eyes open. Henry was calling his name. No, wait that wasn't Henry, that was someone else he knew…

"…Gus?" whispered Shawn in confusion. He hadn't called Gus.

"Yes, Shawn!" said Gus. "Shawn—"

"I called my—my dad," said Shawn absently, rolling his head across the wall, trying to find the coldness again. "Was I—was I talking to you the whole time?"

"No, I'm with your dad," said Gus quickly, "but Shawn—"

"With my—my dad?" asked Shawn, puzzled. "D'you guys hang—hang out often?"

"Shawn," said Gus exasperatedly. Almost fuzzy. What was fuzzy? "Please tell me you—you weren't in a car accident this morning."

Shawn opened his eyes. Gus definitely sounded fuzzy. And suddenly, Shawn realized it wasn't Gus that sounded off.

It was the phone connection.

Shawn took a breath, thinking back to Gus' question, hearing the connection stutter, and he finished his answer.

"No," he told Gus.

Gus heaved a sigh on the other line.

"It was a cab."

And then the line went dead.

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