He writes two letters before he leaves. One he addresses to his parents. It says: I've gone to the library for the next week or so, lots of studying to catch up on. He signs it, your dutiful son, and hopes to distract them from the fact that he's run away with the sheer ludicrousness of the thought.
The second letter he writes is for Gus. All it says is: I'm going treasure hunting with Uncle Jack. How cool is that?
He leaves them side-by-side on his bed before he goes out the window.
Of course his father reads them both, but Shawn had been expecting that.
Shawn scrolls through the contact list in his phone, before stopping at Lassie-Face, Fancy Pants and hitting Send.
"Is there any particular reason you're staking out my place?" he asks.
Lassiter is across the street in his Crown Vic, wearing dark shades and a press-on mustache that looks like it belongs in a low-budget western. Shawn supposes he thinks that counts as a disguise. "I don't know what you're talking about," Lassiter says.
"Even if I wasn't psychic," Shawn says, "I can see you."
"You're not psychic," Lassiter snaps.
"Then you really are the worst undercover officer Santa Barbara has ever known," Shawn says. "Seriously, what are you doing? Because you've been following me all day and it's starting to creep me out. Of course, I did find it really amusing the way Gus never spotted you. I even pointed you out that one time and he thought you were a freakishly tall Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Hey, there's an idea! Next time, wear a bowler hat."
"Spencer," Lassiter snaps. "Just--okay, fine, I've been following you."
"You don't say," Shawn says.
"I can't tell you why," Lassiter continues.
"So you're on official business, then?" Shawn asked. "You know, it's impossible to keep secrets from a psychic."
"I've got plenty of secrets from you," Lassiter snapped.
"Name one," Shawn says.
"I--that would entirely defeat the purpose, Spencer," he says. "If you don't know I’m certainly not telling you."
"Is it that you used to have a pet bunny named Snowflake?" Shawn asks. "Because I already know that."
"How did you--" Lassiter breaks off. "Look, for your edification, it was Mrs. Snowflake," he says, and hangs up on him.
Shawn stares down at the phone in disbelief, before hitting the speed dial again. "I can't believe you hung up on me," he says. "And Mrs. Snowflake? Really? That's even worse. That's almost as bad as that time you worked at the Weinerhouse and wore the hot-dog costume for three weeks in April of 89."
The other end of the line goes silent for a moment. "That never happened," Lassiter says after a moment. "I never did that."
"I've got pictures," Shawn says. "I'm telling you, Lassie, you don't have any secrets from me."
"Then why am I following you?" Lassiter asks. "If you know everything, you shouldn't have to ask."
Shawn snaps his phone shut, annoyed because he doesn't know why Lassiter is following him around looking like a cross between Chaplain and Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Not yet. He's just contemplating sneaking out the back to lose him when his phone rings. "Did you decide to go with the bowler hat?" he asks.
Shawn freezes at the sound of the voice, and leans back on his couch. "Jack," he says, wary and still a little hurt. It's the first time he hasn't called him Uncle Jack in as long as he can remember, but he can't bring himself to do it now.
"Hey, kid," Jack says. "I wanted to apologize about what happened, and I'm sorry I didn't meet you--but god you're clever, Shawnie. You always were."
"I didn't even need to be psychic to know you were going to double-cross me, Jack," Shawn tells him. He sits up straighter, watching Lassiter outside. Suddenly Lassiter's presence makes a whole lot of sense. "Let me guess," Shawn continues, "you just got off a flight back into Santa Barbara."
Jack laughs. "You know, I half-believe you really are psychic. Yeah. I'm back. I thought I'd come see you."
"I wouldn't recommend it," Shawn says. "The police are watching my apartment."
"We can meet somewhere," Jack says. "We need to talk. Anyway, they can't pin anything on me."
"You've got about a dozen partners doing five-to-ten that were more than happy to sell you out," Shawn tells him. "The police have been looking for you since you left, and dad wasn't exactly happy with you, if you know what I mean. He didn't sugarcoat things."
"When has he ever?" Jack asks. "Look, kid, I really need your help."
"If I say meet me at the Red Robin," Shawn says, "what are the chances this time you'll show?"
"I'll be there," Jack says, and hangs up.
Shawn watches Lassiter sitting across the street, and then draws the blinds and starts for the back door. He walks to the nearest bus stop, because Lassiter would have heard his motorcycle.
He doesn't know why he's bothering, but he goes. He always does. Shawn's often worried that he was to Gus what his Uncle Jack was to him.
This inability to say no bothers him, and he consoles himself with the fact that the last time he saw his Uncle Jack, he's pretty sure he came out on top.
* * * * *
Shawn sighs. "I'm sure you'll talk your way out of it," he says. "Like you said, I doubt they can pin anything on you. Anyway, the gold is safe in a museum. There might have been a manhunt if you'd gotten away with it."
"You're not serious," Jack says. "You actually gave it to a museum?"
"They love me there," Shawn says, and sucks up a deep gulp of chocolate milkshake. "I got them a dinosaur, too."
"Do you realize how much gold that was?" Jack asks. "That was the find of my life."
"You didn't find it," Shawn reminds him.
Jack lets out a breath and leans back in the booth. "Fair enough," he says.
"What are you doing here?" Shawn asks him.
Jack bites his lip, before leaning across the table to meet his eyes. "Do you remember that time I went looking for that treasure in Australia?"
"The time you took me with you?" Shawn asks.
"If by that, you mean that time you stowed away on my flight and my own brother charged me with kidnapping, then yes, that's what I'm referring to," Jack says wryly.
"Those were good times," Shawn tells him.
"Well, they're coming back to haunt me," Jack snaps.
"Hauntings happen to be a specialty of mine," Shawn says, "but I'm assuming you're not referring to actual ghosts?"
"No," Jack says dryly. "I'm actually talking about a lot of mercenaries with guns."
"In that case," Shawn says, "I suggest you seek help elsewhere. I'm not much help in the mercenaries with guns department. In fact, as a rule, I tend to avoid them."
"You also tend to get them chasing their tails," Jack says. "You were doing it when you just nine-years old and you seem to have only improved on it since."
"I don't know what you're asking," Shawn says.
"Just do your thing, work your magic," Jack says. "I need to find something, fast, or they're going to kill me. You're psychic, right? Or close enough. I need you to find it for me."
"Are you going to tell me what it is?" Shawn asks.
"I think it's best if I don't," Jack tells him. "The less you know the better."
"How does that make sense to you?" Shawn asks. "You know what, never mind. No. The answer's no. I think you should go to the police and sort this out and let them know that someone's after you."
"You want me to turn myself in?" Jack asks incredulously. "What's happened to you, Shawnie?"
"I grew up," Shawn says. "You should try it."
"You think you're grown up?" Jack asks.
Shawn slurps up the last of the milkshake. "Maybe just when compared to you."
"I'm not turning myself in," Jack says. "I don't have that much time, and I really don't have time to waste explaining to them why I haven't done anything wrong."
"I'm sure it would especially hard to do considering all the things you actually have done wrong," Shawn says.
"You're starting to sound like your father," Jack snaps.
Shawn pauses for a moment, but the insult doesn't bother him as much as it would have even a year ago. Now he thinks he'd rather be compared to Henry than to Jack. He takes out his wallet and starts counting out the money for the check. He considers paying it with his last gold coin just for spite, but he stops himself. He drops a penny on the counter in front of Jack instead.
Jack shakes his head. "I still can't believe you gave all that gold away."
"You left me for dead," Shawn says. "I think I still have the moral high ground in this situation."
"If I thought they would really have hurt you--" Jack starts.
"You would have done the same thing," Shawn says. "It's okay. I get it now."
"Look, whatever you're doing, I don't want anything to do with it," Shawn says. "I don't want to follow you around anymore. I just don't. I've got a life of my own."
"I need your help, kid," Jack says. "Sixty, forty, huh? What do you say? I never offer that to anyone."
"I'm going to my dad's for dinner," Shawn tells him, grabbing his jacket and getting up to leave. "You're welcome to come."
"Is that a yes?" Jack asks hopefully.
Shawn laughs and looks away. "That was a no," he says. He isn't surprised when Jack doesn't follow him out the door.
* * * * *
He's glad he decided to make his stop when he walks up his father's driveway and sees Lassiter sitting on the front steps. He's taken off the mustache and he's soaking wet and scowling.
Shawn hides his surprise behind his back, and smiles widely at him. He's soaking wet, too, but Shawn doesn't mind it and it shows. He's the one still standing out in the rain, but Lassiter's the one that looks miserable, dripping wet on the top step of his father's back porch.
"Fancy meeting you here," he says.
Lassiter's eyes narrow. "God damn it, Spencer," he snaps. "You knew I was tailing you."
"Which is precisely why I went out the back," Shawn says.
"Did you not consider that maybe I had a good reason?" Lassiter demands.
"A good reason?" Shawn asks. "What, you mean, like my Uncle Jack showing back up?"
Lassiter's eyes narrow impossibly further. "I don't care one way or another about him," he snaps. "He's an idiot, but he's smalltime."
"Stakeouts and tailing me? Seems like a lot of effort for smalltime," Shawn says. "You didn't even have anyone following me when the phantom of the Spelling Bee was out for my blood."
"I didn't like you then," Lassiter snaps, and then seems irritated, with both Shawn and himself, for admitting to that much.
Shawn steps forward, and pulls his arm from behind his back, dropping a bowler hat unceremoniously on Lassiter's head.
Lassiter doesn't even seem surprised. He just sighs, and takes it off. "Where did you get this? How did you know I would be here?" he asks.
"One of these days, you're going to have to stop asking me questions like that, and just accept that I know and see all," Shawn says.
"Yeah, don't hold your breath," Lassiter tells him, and just for that Shawn doesn't invite him in.
Lassiter follows him inside anyway.
* * * * *
"Actually, he just followed me home," Shawn tells him. "I call him Lassie. What do you say? Can we keep him?"
Henry snorts, but says nothing, and Lassiter's trying to shake the water out of his hair, which really is too easy for Shawn to comment on. He has certain standards he has to uphold to. He doesn't take shots made this easy.
"Seriously, not that I'm not glad to see you, Lassiter, but what are you doing here?" Henry asks.
"Oh, I was telling the truth," Shawn tells him. "He was following me. He's been following me all day."
Henry glares at Lassiter. "Why are you following my son?" he demands.
"Because your brother is back in town," Lassiter says grudgingly.
Henry tenses, before turning to glare at Shawn. "What's he gotten you into now?" he demands.
"Gee, Dad, don't jump to conclusions or anything, you wouldn't want to strain yourself," Shawn says.
"Come on, Shawn," Henry snaps. "Used to be, Jack got in trouble, he came to me--but that changed, when? Your first year of high school? Earlier? Somewhere along the line you became his go-to guy for fix-its, and it was cute when he was off on his little weirdo treasure hunts but last time he almost got you killed--"
"You might want to take a breath," Shawn interrupts.
Henry glares at him, but he can't help sucking in a deep breath after his long rant. Shawn nods. "Okay, continue," he says.
"This is serious, Shawn," Henry says. "I'm through protecting Jack. If you know where he is--"
"I don't," Shawn says. "I think it's all the pennies he carries around with him. The copper interferes with the spirit realm."
"I thought that was iron," Lassiter says.
"What are you, the spirit police?" Shawn asks, then frowns. "Huh. Does that figure of speech still work when you actually are with the police? It kind of loses its kick. Let's try again. What are you, the spirit Nazi?"
"Enough," Henry says. "Shawn, I want you to promise me you're not going to let Jack get you involved in another of his schemes."
"Oh, please," Shawn says. "Like I have time for his schemes. My schemes are a full-time job, and then I've still got Gus's schemes on top of that. I barely sleep as it is."
Henry frowns, but nods. "Good," he says. "Then let's eat."
Henry made baked potatoes and pork chops, but Shawn doesn't have much of an appetite. He moves the food artistically around his plate and tries to ignore the two stares baring down on him as his father and Lassiter discuss fishing or lures or something equally as thrilling, and Shawn just tunes them out, or tries to, and thinks back to Australia.
"Do you remember when I went to Australia?" Shawn asks suddenly.
His father drops his fork and looks at him like he's just hit him with a sucker punch. "What?" Henry asks.
"Australia," Shawn says. "Because I was thinking about--"
"No," Henry snaps. "We're not talking about this." He pushes back from the table and gets to his feet.
Shawn's eyes widened. "I just--"
"We're done here," Henry snaps. "You can let yourselves out." Henry slams his way into the kitchen and then back up the stairs. Shawn watches him go and pushes his plate away from him so he can rest his head in his hands.
"What the hell was that?" Lassiter asks.
"He had a bad experience at The Outback Steakhouse once," Shawn tells him quietly. "He hasn't been able to talk about Australia since."
Lassiter's eyes were narrowed. "Spencer--"
"Hey, since you're already stalking me and everything," Shawn says, "do you think you could give me a ride home?"
* * * * *
"My security system is state of the art," Shawn says. "You don't have to do that."
Lassiter looks skeptical. "What security system?"
Shawn lifts a small red thread. "I put this on the door handle. If it's missing, then I know someone's been here."
"That's ridiculous," Lassiter says.
"High tech is overrated," Shawn says. "Take your Nelson security service. Do you know they have a master override code in case they need to deactivate your system? You just enter 0097643 and the whole thing shuts down."
"You're making that up," Lassiter says, but he looks nervous.
"Try it sometime," Shawn tells him. "By the way, love the new place."
Lassiter looks like he's trying really hard to just ignore him, because if he acknowledges him then he might have to kill him. He holsters his gun and doesn't meet his eyes. "I've been meaning to upgrade anyway," he says.
Shawn holds out his red string in a gesture of goodwill. "Here," he says. "You can have mine."
Lassiter actually laughs, and Shawn breaks out in a grin. One laugh from Lassiter is worth like twenty laughs from anyone else, because Shawn always has to work that much harder to get them.
Shawn drops the string on the end table when Lassiter refuses to take it from his hand, and sticks his hands in his pockets. "You probably need to be getting home," he says.
Lassiter shakes his head. "I'm keeping you under surveillance," he says. "Since you already spotted me, I might as well be comfortable while I do it."
"I never said I would make it easy on you," Shawn says. "Anyway, isn't it against the rules to crash on the couch of the guy you're spying on? I'm sure it must be in some rulebook somewhere. That just seems like good sense."
Lassiter looks away again, kind of shiftily, Shawn notices. He watches him speculatively. "The Chief didn't tell you to watch me," he says, in sudden realization. "She doesn't care about Jack."
"I put out the APB," Lassiter admits. "When it came in that he was back in Santa Barbara, I thought I'd keep an eye on you on my time off."
"What, watching football like a normal guy was too boring?" Shawn asks. "You had to tail someone instead?"
"When have you ever watched football?" Lassiter asks.
Shawn looks offended. "I never said I was a normal guy," he says. "Anyway, they play America's Top Model reruns at the same time, what do you expect me to do?"
"Look, last time this guy showed up, you were tied up, nearly kidnapped, shot at, almost killed," Lassiter says, and he looks frustrated. Shawn's pretty sure that it's really bothering Lassiter that he cares.
"That's almost sweet," he says. "But as you can see, I'm fine. I told Jack I wasn't going to help him this time."
"Well, that's--wait, you saw him?" Lassiter snaps. "God damn it, Spencer, how could you lie to me about this?"
"To be fair," Shawn says, "you didn't actually ask. It's only lying if you ask. If you'd said, hey, did you meet your Uncle Jack at the Red Robin and let him know the police were looking for him, and I said, no, of course I didn't--then that would have been lying."
"Perfect," Lassiter snaps. "That's just perfect, Spencer. He's going to be out of town again before we get near him."
"That was kind of the point," Shawn says.
Lassiter pauses. "Do you realize what you're saying to me? What you're admitting to?"
Shawn holds out his hands, wrists up. "You going to arrest me for aiding and abetting, Lassie? Do you want to take me in?"
Lassiter looks frustrated. "No," he says. "Vick would never press charges, anyway."
"But that's not why you won't do it," Shawn says with certainty.
"Don't think you know what I'll do," Lassiter tells him.
"I know what everyone will do," Shawn says. "It's one of those neat little fringe benefits of being psychic."
Lassiter grabs the collar of his shirt and slams him into the nearest wall. Shawn goes limp to absorb the impact, because he's expecting it. Lassiter always starts manhandling him when he loses his footing in the verbal portion of their interactions. "That's assault, you know," Shawn says. "It's just lucky for you I'm not going to take you in either."
"Sometimes I think I hate you," Lassiter tells him, and he sounds strangely breathless.
"And the rest of the time?" Shawn asks.
"The rest of the time, I want to do this," he says, and kisses him.
Shawn wants to forget all about Uncle Jack and his countless fifty-fifty splits and those pennies he leaves behind like breadcrumbs everywhere he goes. Shawn's always thought it would be best just to forget, as people who remember everything always do.
He figures distraction is the next best thing, and so he kisses Lassiter back. He'll worry later about the fact that this was one thing he hadn't actually seen coming.
* * * * *
As much as Shawn liked to build his reputation up as a late sleeper, Gus knows that most of the time he never makes it to bed at all.
Gus doesn't look up when he hears the footsteps. "We got any new cases, Shawn?" he asks.
There's a weird, almost strangled sound, that doesn't seem Shawn-like at all, and Gus looks up. Lassiter is standing in the doorway wearing nothing but a pair of four-leaf clover covered boxers, eyes wide, and Gus can't help it--he lets out a girly little scream and backs away.
Shawn comes in right behind Lassiter, already fully dressed and looking wide-awake. "Oh, Gus, you're here," he says, like nothing's wrong at all. "Good. I was afraid it would be awkward when you found out Lassiter and I were totally doing it."
"Oh my god!" Gus shouts. "Shawn, what the hell!"
Shawn looks over at Lassiter. "I think he's taking it rather well," he says.
Lassiter's eyes were still wide and he was backing away. "I have to...um...go find my pants," he says.
"They're hanging from the ceiling fan," Shawn calls after him.
"I think I'm hallucinating," Gus says. "Or else this is a really bizarre nightmare."
"Dude," Shawn says. "You have nightmares like this? I bet Freud would have a lot to say about that."
"Shawn," Gus snaps. "You and Lassiter don't even like each other."
"I happen to like Lassiter a lot," Shawn says. "I like him even better since last night."
"I don't want to know!" Gus shouts.
"Well, you asked," Shawn tells him, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"I changed my mind," Gus says. "New policy. I don't want to know anything ever."
Lassiter comes back in, and this time he's thankfully wearing clothes. Still, Gus knows what's under them now, and that's something he could have gone his whole life just fine without.
"I have to go to work," Lassiter says. "I, uh, that is to say--"
"You don't think we should tell anyone," Shawn finishes.
Lassiter looks at the floor. "Well, we do work together, I think it would make people uncomfortable and I--"
"I already texted Juliet that we were completely in love and getting married next Tuesday in Massachusetts," Shawn says. "I really wish you'd told me earlier that you wanted to keep things quiet."
Lassiter lets out a breath. "You're kidding, right?"
Shawn grins at him widely. "Hard to tell, isn't it?" he asks.
Lassiter steps forward almost like he wants to kiss him goodbye, but shifts awkwardly as he remembers Gus is there. "Just be careful, okay?" Lassiter demands. "If he contacts you again, don't meet him, just call me and let me know."
"You know that just because we slept together that doesn't mean I'm going to do what you say now, right?" Shawn asks. "If anything, I'll probably want to annoy you even more. I hear make-up sex is all the rage."
Lassiter rolls his eyes and then pushes past Gus out the doors. Shawn grins into his coffee and Gus pushes the palms of his hands into his eyes like he can erase what he's seen.
"Lassiter?" he asks when the door slams. "Seriously? Lassiter? Carlton Lassiter? Carries a gun? Wants you dead?"
"Turns out he likes me," Shawn says. "I'm starting to think everyone likes me. I should have my own show. I'm a lot more loveable than Ray Romano."
Gus looks wary. "I'm starting to think maybe you do have some kind of freaky psychic powers," he says. "Last time I saw you and Lassiter together he was about to punch you out."
Shawn shrugs. "I was as surprised as you," he says. "But the man can kiss."
"Too much information, Shawn," Gus snaps. He drops the newspaper on the table. "Are you going to tell your dad?"
"I think I'll just wait for him to find out on his own and completely freak out," Shawn says. "I think that'll be more fun."
"Tell your father, Shawn," Gus says.
"You heard Lassiter," Shawn says. "We're not telling people. I've never been anyone's dirty little secret before."
"You're not," Gus says, and frowns. "If that's how he's going to be, Shawn, then end this before it starts."
Shawn laughs. "Now, what would be the fun in that? When this ends, I'm thinking there's going to be fireworks. I'd rather not miss them."
"It's your funeral," Gus says. Then he pauses. "Hey, wait, what did Lassiter mean by 'if he contacts you'? If who contacts you? Are you sleeping with more people I don't know about?"
"Dude, get your mind out of the gutter," Shawn says. "He was talking about Jack."
"Jack? Uncle Jack?" Gus asks.
"No, Cracker Jack," Shawn says. "I stole his toy surprise and now he's pissed."
"Shawn," Gus snaps.
"Yes, Gus, Uncle Jack," Shawn says, and rolls his eyes. "He's back in town."
Gus looks wary. "You're not doing anything stupid, are you?" he asks. "Aside from Lassiter, I mean."
"No, pretty much I'm just doing Lassiter," Shawn says. "I told Jack I wasn't going to help him. He's looking for something. It's all very mysterious. He wouldn't even tell me what it was, just that it has to do with Australia."
Gus's eyes narrowed. "Oh, you mean that time you ran away and ended up in another country?"
"Everyone seems to have their own spin on what happened," Shawn says defensively. "It was all very innocent. Lots of kids run away. It's all part of growing up."
"Yeah, lots of kids pack up a little suitcase and make it three blocks, Shawn," Gus snaps. "Lots of kids don't stowaway on planes and end up in Australia."
"I didn't know that the plane was going to Australia," Shawn protests.
"Doesn't make it better, Shawn," Gus says.
"Well, regardless," Shawn says, "the point is that Uncle Jack's trying to find whatever it was he was looking for then."
"But you're not getting involved, right?" Gus asks. He sounds wary. He knows Shawn well.
"Of course not," Shawn says. "I haven't been thinking about it at all."
"Good," Gus says, and he sits back at the table with his newspaper.
"Although," Shawn says, "Jack did hint that some people might be out to kill him."
"And I'm thinking this is kind of my fault, what with it kind of being my fault he didn't get whatever was in Australia that first time--"
"So maybe if I just took it on like a little side project, you know, in my free time, which is like, the twenty hours a day that I don't spend hanging around the Psych office, and--"
"No, Shawn," Gus says. "You're not doing this again."
"I'm not saying I'm going to work with Jack, or even trust him, but what would it hurt, really, to just do a bit of research?" Shawn asks.
"You don't do research, you don't even really investigate, you just show up places and stumble on things, and when Jack's involved lately that means men with guns. So no, Shawn," Gus says. "Forget about it."
Shawn glares at Gus over his coffee. "You know that I especially don't have to do what you say, right?" he asks. "We're not even sleeping together."
"True, but unlike Lassiter, I have your father on my speed-dial," Gus says, and turns to pick up the newspaper again.
"You wouldn't," Shawn says.
"I just can't decide where to start," Gus says. "With Lassiter, or with Jack?"
"Fine," Shawn says petulantly. "I'll let Jack handle this one on his own."
"Good," Gus says.
If Gus wasn't still so off balance from seeing Lassiter in his underwear, he probably would have remembered that Shawn never gave in that easy.
Shawn rides in the back of Jack's jeep. He hides under the tarp with his Knight Rider suitcase and falls asleep until they come to a screeching halt at the airfield.
Jack is distracted talking to his partners, something about a million-dollar deal, so Shawn climbs out of the car and then right into the plane. There's a stack of crates in the back, and he moves behind them and lies down.
Jack finds him sleeping next to the box of knock-off designer jeans when they're halfway there. He laughs so hard that he wakes Shawn up. Shawn was dreading this part, but all Uncle Jack does is smile and say, "You're lucky I think this is really funny," and "I hope you know your father's going to kill me."
It's the first time Uncle Jack offers him a fifty-fifty split. And it's the first time he lets him down.
Henry doesn't look happy to see him. He stands in the doorway blocking the way in just like he had that first day Shawn found out he was back, and he feels eight years old again, with his hand caught in the cookie jar.
"Are you going to make me stand on the front steps all day?" Shawn asks.
With a disgusted snort, Henry turns and walks into the house, leaving Shawn to follow him. "I thought we had a deal," he says. "I thought we weren't ever going to talk about Australia again. It's worked for years."
"Exactly," Shawn says. "It's been years. You can't still be mad. I was just a kid. Kids do stupid things."
"You kind of broke the scale of stupid things that kids do, Shawn," Henry snaps.
Shawn glances at the pictures on the mantle. All of the pictures of Jack are gone and have been since their latest treasure hunt. Henry had this habit of packing people away. Madeleine's pictures have been sitting up in the attic for ten years, and Shawn sometimes wonders if his father put his pictures away in those years they didn't speak, though it's not something he's ever going to ask.
"Jack's in trouble," Shawn says, and pulls his eyes from the mantle. There are lots of pictures of Shawn on the mantle now, and that's comforting at least. He knows his father keeps the newspaper clippings in the top drawer of his desk.
"I don't care," Henry snaps.
"Yes you do," Shawn says, following on his heels. "You do care, and so do I, and it doesn't matter that we don't want to. That's just family, right? Love until you hate."
Henry snorts. "That's definitely the Spencer definition, isn't it?"
Shawn ignores him. "I don't remember much about the trip home," Shawn says. "And it's weird, because I hardly ever forget anything. I need you to fill in the blanks."
"I wasn't there," Henry says. "As I recall, you snuck out in the middle of the night and got in Jack's jeep. We found your little notes the next morning. You were probably halfway over the Pacific by then."
"I mean after you came and got me," Shawn says.
"I didn't stick around much after I got you," Henry says. "If you're asking what kind of trouble Jack was in, I honestly don't know. It wasn't him I was worried about at the time."
"So you don't know if he ever found what he was looking for?" Shawn asks.
Henry laughs. "Has he ever?" he asks.
Shawn has to admit, his father has a point. "Yeah, okay, thanks," he says.
"Anything else?" Henry asks.
Shawn considers letting him know that he slept with Lassiter last night, but he decides to stick with Plan A. "Nope," he says.
Henry nods. "Good, because I have to go to the Home Depot."
"Okay," Shawn says, "but one of these days I'm going to stage an intervention. Eventually you're going to have to acknowledge that you have a problem. No one needs that many power tools."
"Goodbye, Shawn," Henry says, and ushers him out the door.
Shawn starts back towards his bike, and his phone rings. Caller ID says Uncle Jack. He almost doesn't answer, but only almost. "Yeah?" he says.
"Okay, you win," Jack says. "I'm sorry. And I'd tell you what I was looking for, but I don't know. You're psychic, right? Can't you just divine it?"
"I thought we already had this conversation," Shawn says. "I'm pretty sure I said I wasn't going to help."
"I'll hire you," Jack says.
"You don't have any money," Shawn says.
"Well, whose fault is that?" Jack asks.
Shawn sighs. "Go to the police," he says.
"Shawnie--" Jack says.
"I'm not going to help you unless you do," Shawn says.
Jack's answer is the dial tone when he hangs up. Shawn hadn't really expected anything else.
* * * * *
And if Lassiter doesn't want anyone to know, then Shawn's not going to tell anyone. Contrary to popular belief, Shawn's really good at keeping secrets. He's just so good at it that no one thinks he has any.
Shawn decides that since he has no one available to distract him, he might as well look into Jack's case. It's not like Gus actually made him promise, or cross his heart, or anything. He unlocks the door to the Psych office and throws his coat on Gus's desk, before dropping in front of his laptop.
Shawn glances up. Jack is leaning against the window, looking at the floor. Shawn's starting to wonder if maybe Gus is right--his secret to detective work seems to be that the answers come and find him.
"You did well for yourself."
"Fifty-eighth job was the charm," Shawn says.
Jack shakes his head. "You're not kidding, are you?"
Shawn crosses his feet up on his desk and leans back, twirling a pencil between the fingers of his right hand. "What are you doing here, Jack?"
"I want a chance to explain," Jack says. "You didn't seem interested on the phone, so here I am, like a real client." He puts two-hundred dollars on Shawn's desk. "I'm guessing that should cover at least a consultation?"
Shawn barely looks at it. "I don't want your money," he says.
"Shawn, please, will you just listen?" Jack asks. "This concerns you, too. You were there."
Shawn watches his uncle carefully for any signs that he's being deceived, but he doesn't see any. He picks up the two hundred dollar bills and holds them out. "Keep your money, I'll take your explanation as payment instead."
"Does that mean you're taking on my case?" Jack asks.
Shawn nods slowly. "It means I'm going to listen to what you have to say," he says. "Then we'll talk."
Jack takes his money back, folding it and sticking it in his back pocket. "I was young and stupid, okay?" he says. "I made it out like I had a lot more to do with that job than I actually did, and I was never searching for treasure. All I was supposed to do was pick up a package, hold it for a couple days, and then drop it off at the airfield. My cut was only 2%, and they never even told me what it was."
Shawn frowns. That at least answered why his uncle wouldn't tell him what he was supposed to find. "Sounds simple enough. What went wrong?"
Jack snorts. "You did, kid. Henry showed up the day I was supposed to drop the package off. When I didn’t show they thought I double-crossed them."
Shawn glances away. "I remember that. You and Dad fought."
"Yeah, he knocked me on my ass," Jack says. "Look, I don't blame him, or you. I know I should have taken you right back, you never should have been involved in any of this, but I had a schedule to keep." "I wanted to go with you," Shawn says, unable to let all the blame rest with Jack.
"Of course you did," Jack says. "But I was supposed to be the grown up."
Shawn changes the subject, because he knows Jack is right. "So what happened? Couldn't you just tell them it was a misunderstanding, give them the package?"
"That's the mystery of it," Jack says. "The package I picked up, it was this small wooden box, when Henry and I fought, it got knocked off the table, it fell open."
"So you did find out what it was? What was in it?" Shawn asks, dropping his feet off the desk and leaning forward.
"Nothing," Jack says. "It was empty. I tore the whole motel apart. There wasn't anything there. I think someone double-crossed me first, wanted me to take the blame for it. I don't think I ever picked up what I was supposed to."
"How did you get away from the mercenaries?" Shawn asks. "If you didn't have it?"
"They finished the job Henry started," Jack says wryly. "Knocked me around a bit, then took everything. And I mean everything. They even took the pennies from my pockets. They said not to leave town."
Shawn grins slightly. "I assume you were on the first flight back to the States?"
"You bet your ass I was," Jack agrees. "I don't know how they tracked me down again, it's been what, over twenty years? But they caught up with me in Peru, and I got the first flight to Santa Barbara that I could. Only trouble is, if your police friends could find out I'm here, then so can they."
"You really think they've been looking for you for twenty years?" Shawn asks.
"No, probably not," Jack says. "More likely than not I just made a deal with the wrong guys, and they reported back to the crew I used to work for back then. They still think I screwed them over, they think I've been living the high life or something."
Shawn nods. This changes things, because now he knows he really is partly to blame for what's happened. He still remembers his father yelling--his father dragging him from the room to get them on the first flight back. Jack hadn't come to visit for years after that.
"Will you help me?" Jack asks. "Will you take my case? I got no one else, kid."
Shawn knows there's only one thing he can do, so he nods. "Yeah," he says. "Okay, I'll try, but this isn't going to be easy. If this thing, that we don't even know what it is, was stolen over twenty years ago before you ever picked it up--then I don't think we have any chance of finding it."
"Can't you just, I don't know, ask some spirits?" Jack asks.
Shawn rolls his eyes at Jack. "Jack--"
"Right, of course not," Jack says. "Cause you're not psychic, you've just been brainwashed by Henry the super cop. I don't think telling me how many hats the mercenaries are wearing is going to help."
Shawn crosses his arms. "I can do more than that, but let's be realistic. The easiest thing for you to do would be to get out of town, so why haven't you? You're good at running, Jack. You picked a strange time to stop."
"Okay, okay," Jack says, and bites his lip before turning away. "I may have reason to believe that they're going to be coming after you."
Shawn frowns. "Why would they be coming after me?" he asks. "I was a kid when this happened. I didn't even see any of the men you were working with."
Jack winces. "I may have told them that you could find what they were looking for," he says.
Shawn feels suddenly nauseous and gets to his feet. "Right," he says. "Yeah. That makes sense. Why wouldn't you tell them to come after me? What better way to keep them from coming after you?"
"It wasn't like that," Jack protests. "This is why I'm here, Shawn. I wasn't going to just leave you for them to come after, but this is why we've got to find it, don't you see? It's the only way we're both getting out of this."
Shawn knows what he should do. He should call Lassie the way he had been warned to, let him know what was going on. Jack could be free to run as far as he wanted if Shawn had police protection, but then he'd most likely never see his uncle again, and who knew how long Shawn would have to look over his shoulder.
Shawn sighs and turns to face Jack. "Start again from the beginning," he says. "I need to know everything."
"Aiden Prost was the mastermind," Jack says. "He's the one that sent the mercenaries after me now."
"Mastermind?" Shawn says. "Then I'm assuming what you were picking up was stolen?"
"Of course," Jack says, as though that had been a given.
"Okay, okay, that's good," Shawn says.
"How is that good?" Jack asks. "That it was stolen only makes it harder to find. We're dealing with criminals, Shawn."
"Yes, but we have Google," Shawn says, and starts up his laptop. "We need to see if there's any reports of something stolen from shortly before we went to Australia."
"You can do that?" Jack asks.
"I can try," Shawn says. "Gus is our resident Googlogist, but I don't think asking him to help in this case is going to go over well."
Shawn finds a website on major events in Australia in 1987, and clicks on the page. "Robberies, where are the robberies? Since when is burglary not a major event? Who even cares about who was married in December of 1987? They're probably all divorced by now anyway."
Jack leans over his shoulder. "Maybe we should try the newspapers?"
"Wait, wait--" Shawn says. "Here's something. An article about a robbery in Adelaide, some $1,000,000 dollars of stolen goods were taken from Arnold Cramer's home on Tuesday, March 11th 1987."
"That was what? The week before our trip?" Jack asks.
Shawn shakes his head. "Less, even. We went on the 15th. Your deal was for a $1,000,000, wasn't it? That wooden box you picked up--was it smaller than a breadbox?"
"Definitely," Jack says. "It was about the size of a ring box. Maybe it was a diamond?"
"Maybe," Shawn says. "Or maybe he over insured it and it's not worth that much at all." Shawn glances up when he hears a car door slam, and looks out the Psych front window to see Lassiter coming to the door, wearing his huge aviator glasses and looking less Charlie Chaplain, more James Bond, than he had yesterday.
"Uh, you're going to want to go out the back," Shawn says. He tosses Jack his keys. "Go to my apartment, okay? I'll meet up with you later, but trust me, you don't want Lassie finding you here. He likes you even less than he used to like me."
"Got it," Jack says, and starts towards the back room. "I really appreciate this, Shawn, and I know you're not going to tell the police anything, right?"
"If you know, then why are you asking?" Shawn asks, before heading to the door to let Lassiter in. Jack frowns, but disappears before Shawn reaches the door.
"Lassie!" Shawn says. "This is a surprise."
Lassiter leans forward, looking inside the office suspiciously. "You weren't answering your phone," he says. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"I always have time for you, Lassie, I just forgot to turn on my phone," Shawn says, before seeing what Lassiter was carrying, and breaking out into a huge grin. "You brought me a pineapple smoothie?"
Lassiter holds it out almost shyly. "Yeah. We . . . uh, we need to talk."
Shawn grabs the pineapple smoothie and sucks up enough of it to give himself a brain freeze. "You're not breaking up with me, are you? That would have to be a record. Even my relationships usually last longer than twenty-four hours."
"I'm not breaking up with you," Lassiter says, pushing past Shawn with a roll of his eyes. "What I'm here about is whether or not there's something here that can be broken."
"There's lots of things in here that can be broken," Shawn says. "I just destroyed Gus's Red Phantom figurine last Tuesday. Of course, I told him it flew out the window, but I don't think he believed me."
"What?" Lassiter asks. "No, I mean what are we--are we . . . is this a thing? Are we--do we want to, that is, I mean, do you think--?"
Shawn grins. "Are we going steady, you mean?" he asks. "I don't know. Let me borrow your letterman jacket and class ring and I'll consider it."
Lassiter glares at him. "Is this all just a game to you?"
"Absolutely," Shawn says.
"Right," Lassiter snaps. "Then I guess that answers my question. Enjoy your smoothie, Spencer."
Shawn moves in front of him, splaying himself out in front of the door before Lassiter can leave. "Don't you listen to Wayne Fontana? Game of Love? What about the recent rendition by the adorable Michelle Branch and Santana? Everything's a game. That doesn't mean I don't take it seriously. I'm very serious about my gaming, just ask Gus. He's still bitter that I totally kicked his ass at Mario 64. I played it through like five hours straight."
"Spencer," Lassiter says, sighing and running a hand down his face. "I have no idea what you just said."
"Yeah, but that's--" Shawn breaks off. "First dates."
"What?" Lassiter snaps.
"I'm really good at first dates," Shawn says. "They always work out. Most people don't like first dates, most people think they're awkward, or whatever, but I love meeting new people, I can be whoever--but then if you go out with them again, then suddenly they already know who you are."
"You're still not making any sense," Lassiter says.
"Basically I'm trying to say I'm really bad at relationships," Shawn says. "I'm great at making friends. Not so good at keeping them. Gus is the one constant exception to my rule--except I think things have been kind of different here, with you and Jules and Buzz. I don't want to screw it up."
"You're babbling," Lassiter says, but he's grinning.
"I know," Shawn says. "I'm a babbler. It's a talent. I could probably build a whole tower."
"We haven't actually had one, you know," Lassiter says.
"Had one what?" Shawn asks.
"A first date," Lassiter says.
"Oh, I guess not," Shawn agrees.
"What do you say? Eight tonight? Mario's?" Lassiter asks.
"Mario's? Really? You know Lutz likes that place, right?" Shawn asks. "Juliet says the bread is good, but she also liked Lutz, so I'm not sure we can trust her judgment. How about my place? I can make us something."
Lassiter thinks about it. "Okay," he says. "I didn't know you cooked."
"I have an Easy Bake Oven and everything," Shawn assures him.
Lassiter sighs. "I'll bring some food, I'll cook," he says.
"You can cook?" Shawn asks. "With like a real oven?"
"A little, and I'm just guessing, but that's probably more than you," Lassiter says.
Shawn grins. "Well, it's got to be better than Mario's. It's a date."
* * * * *
This is personal. This is between him and Uncle Jack. Shawn has the worst feeling that this is going to be their last great adventure.
But Shawn knows that there's no chance of getting Gus to lend him the car either, just because the last time he had he may have inadvertently become involved in a street race (Gus hadn't seemed to care that he'd won it), and been told he was never to be in the car unsupervised again.
Which is why he's ended up back here.
Henry glances up as he hears the sound of Shawn's motorcycle, and steps out of the garage to meet him. "Two visits in one day?" he says. "Either you're feeling nostalgic or you need something. I'm betting on the latter."
"That's because you have no faith," Shawn says. "How was the home away from home?"
"It was fine," Henry says. "They were having a sale. I got a new wrench set."
"Damn, that was going to be your birthday present," Shawn says. "I was going to get the neon colored set, you know, the little hot pink one, then the medium green one, the large is a brilliant blue."
"They don't make wrenches in neon, Shawn," Henry snaps.
Shawn snorts. "Yeah, well, maybe not at the Home Depot."
Henry heaves a sigh. "What do you need?"
"Just wondering--you planning to go anywhere else today?" Shawn asks.
Henry goes from weary to suspicious in two seconds flat, and crosses his arms. "Why?"
"Can't a son be curious how his father spends his day?" he asks.
"Uh huh," Henry says. "Shawn, you only ever come here for three reasons--one, for food, two, for help on a case, or three, because you want to borrow something. Or steal something, as the case may be."
Shawn frowns, mostly because it's true. "Okay, fine, I need to borrow your truck," Shawn says.
Henry laughs. "No," he says.
"Fine," Shawn says. "In that case, I'm going to keep driving my motorcycle, and hey, maybe I'll forget my helmet."
Henry glares at him. "I know you're not serious," he says. "I'd report you and you know it."
"We won't have to find out if I'm serious or not if you give me the keys to your truck," Shawn tells him.
Henry is understandably suspicious. "What do you need it for?" he demands.
"I have a date," Shawn says, which is true. The truth is always the best bet with his father--Henry is one of only two people he's never been able to fool. It doesn't mean he can't arrange the truth to suit his needs, however, and it just so happens that he's something of an expert at that.
"Really?" Henry asks. "Who is she?"
"Why, a lovely Lass," Shawn says, using a rather exaggerated Irish accent.
Henry narrows his eyes. "I need it back by tomorrow," he says. "And I want it washed."
Shawn thinks about the terms. Mostly he needs it for tomorrow, but he can always bring it back at 11:59 PM. "Deal. I'll scrub the whole thing with a toothbrush," Shawn says earnestly. "I'll wax it bumper to bumper."
Henry sighs, reluctantly handing over the keys. "At least take it through the carwash, alright?"
"Sure thing," Shawn says, starting for the truck.
"And try and keep it in one piece!" Henry shouts after him.
* * * * *
"Hi, how are you today, oh, I'm fine, Gus, thanks for asking, what's that you say? Why no, I didn't--" Shawn struggles with the cellphone, trying to keep his eyes on the road while he holds both sides of his and Gus's conversation.
He checks the rearview nervously for any patrol cars, or boyfriends, since technically speaking he's not actually supposed to answer his phone in the car anymore, but he refuses to wear one of those ridiculous earpieces that makes everyone look like they're talking to the voices in their heads.
Shawn doesn't need a hands-free phone for that, he does it just fine without one.
"Okay, hi, Shawn, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Gus snaps. "Is that better?"
"You're so accusatory," Shawn says. "What gives?"
"You're working the case!" Gus yells. "I thought we had a deal?"
"I'm not working the case," Shawn says, not even stumbling over the lie.
"You know what I'm looking at, Shawn?" Gus asks. "Your laptop. You know what's on it?"
"Um, my super cool Miami Vice screen saver?" Shawn guesses. "Or no, wait, I switched it to Sponge Bob, didn't I? He gets no points for fashion sense, but you got to love a guy that lives in a pineapple under the sea."
"It's a site about Australia, Shawn! In 1987!" Gus shouts.
"That's strange," Shawn says. "The internet has the oddest things. Did you know that I once found an entire website dedicated to the making of hand-knit sweaters for squirrels?"
"Stop being ridiculous," Gus snaps.
"But it's the truth!" Shawn protests. "Though don't ask me how they get the sweaters on the squirrels, because that part wasn't explained. And trust me, squirrels aren't easy to catch."
"Can we focus?" Gus demands. "Why are you working the case you said you weren't going to work because your deadbeat uncle is going to get you killed if you do?"
"I know I've said this before, but you're like the best nut-sheller that ever lived," Shawn says.
"Shawn!" Gus snaps.
"Okay, fine, yes, you found me out, detective, I'm working the case--but things have changed," Shawn says. "Let's just say it's in everyone's best interests if I get this solved as quickly as possible."
"What do you mean by that?" Gus demands. "Shawn, where are you?"
"I'm on my way home," Shawn says. "I'm meeting with Uncle Jack, and then I have a date with Lassiter at eight, because he's going to cook me dinner."
"Lassiter is going to cook for you?" Gus asks disbelievingly, momentarily distracted.
"I think he was afraid to let me cook," Shawn says. "Which is his loss, because I'd planned on making my specialty."
"Your Easy Bake Oven Pineapple Upside-Down Cake?" Gus asks. "That's not dinner."
"It's delicious," Shawn says. "Delicious trumps nutritious."
Gus pauses, apparently realizing that Shawn has led him entirely off topic. "That's entirely besides the point," he says. "How could you not at least tell me you were working this case?"
"Because you would get all touchy and worried, kind of like you are right now," Shawn says.
"You need to tell Lassiter everything," Gus tells him. "It's for Jack's own good."
"I'm not turning him in," Shawn protests.
"This is something I need to do, okay, Gus?" Shawn says quietly. "And it's something I have to do alone."
"No, it isn't," Gus says.
"I'll call you after my date, okay?" Shawn says. "Don't worry, I'll be fine."
"I don't like this, Shawn," Gus says. "Things are different now, you don't have to--"
"I'm home," Shawn says, cutting him off. "Gotta go." Shawn clicks his cell phone off before Gus can say anything else.
He'll have time to make this up to Gus later. Right now, he has a twenty-year old mystery to solve, preferably before Lassiter shows up for dinner.
Right. No Problem.
* * * * *
"How do you know he was a cop?" Shawn asks.
"Maybe psychic powers run in the family," Jack says, "or maybe it was that he was driving a Crown Vic and packing heat, and might as well be wearing a neon sign that says 'boy in blue.'"
"Okay, fair point," Shawn says.
"Did you tell him I was here?" Jack asks casually.
"Yep," Shawn says. "SWATs outside. I'm wearing a wire."
Jack grins. "You must drive Henry nuts. I can't tell you how much I love that you're his kid."
Shawn sighs and drops down beside him. "I want you to pick up where we left off. Tell me about Aiden Prost."
"He's here," Jack says. "He was at my motel when I went to get my stuff. I must be pretty important if he came all the way out here."
"Or what he's looking for is," Shawn says. "Do you have any connections with Prost's guys?"
Jack shakes his head. "They're all new, hired guns. Prost is the only one I recognize, and he's very bad news, Shawnie."
"Exactly what did you tell them about me?" Shawn asks, not really sure he wants to know.
"They caught up with me in Spain," Jack says. "I had to tell them something."
"I thought it was Peru?" Shawn asks. "And you still haven't told me what you said to them."
"Just that I had a nephew that was a psychic, and that you could find the item for them," Jack says carefully. "I didn't tell them where you were."
"No, you just led them right here," Shawn says, slinking down into his seat. "Okay, here's the game plan--I borrowed my dad's truck, tomorrow I want to do some surveillance. Do you know where Prost would be hanging out?"
Jack shakes his head. "No, but he shouldn't be hard to find. He'll be at an upscale hotel, and he always checks in with his real name. He hasn't ever been convicted of anything, because he hasn't ever been caught."
"Okay, good," Shawn says, and tosses him the truck keys. "Go find him."
"What, now?" Jack asks. "I have something I need to take care of."
"So do I," Shawn says. "And you can't be here for it. I've got a date."
Jack breaks into a wide grin. "You made a date at a time like this? You've got style, kid, I'll give you that."
"Just don't let anything happen to that truck," Shawn says. "If my dad knew I let you drive it he'd kill us both."
"Don't worry," Jack says. "I'll be back before you know it."
"Don't be back too soon!" Shawn protests. "I said I have a date, right?"
Jack laughs and goes out the door, and Shawn wonders how he gets himself into these things.
* * * * *
Shawn opens the door to find him standing there nervously, holding a pineapple with a bow around it and a bottle of wine. Shawn brightens, grabbing the pineapple from him. "You've brought me pineapple twice in one day," he says. "It's amazing how quickly you learned the way to my heart."
Lassiter looks uncomfortable, and clears his throat. "Can I come in?"
Shawn nods, and notices the grocery bag that Lassiter had swung over his arm. "What did you bring?"
"Just the basics," Lassiter says. "I thought I'd make shish kebab."
"I hope you know you're completely spoiling me," Shawn says. "Kitchen's thataway." Shawn points Lassiter in the right direction, and then closes the door before following him, and hopping up to sit on the counter to watch.
Lassiter had already kebabed the shish, and so he starts to pre-heat the oven. "So what have you been doing?" he asks.
Shawn thinks frantically for something he could have been doing. The trouble with Lassie is that he's the other person he's never been able to fool. "Just hanging out with Gus," he says after a moment.
"Really?" Lassiter asks vaguely, as he puts the kebabs in the oven and hits bake. "That's strange."
"How so?" Shawn asks. "I'm always with Gus."
"Guster called me earlier, he said he hadn't seen you since this morning," Lassiter says.
Shawn frowns. "What was Gus doing calling you?" he demands.
Lassiter gives a wry grin. "He wanted to grill me about my intentions with his best friend."
"Are you serious?" Shawn asks. "That's not really like Gus. It's not like him to lie either."
"Hmm, no?" Lassiter asks. "Then it must be you."
Shawn glances away. "I plead the second," Shawn says.
"The right to bare arms?" Lassiter asks.
Shawn frowns. "I swear they keep switching them around just to annoy me. I mean the one where I don't have to say anything that will get me into trouble."
"You know that's as good as a confession, right?" Lassiter snaps, and his amusement seems to have faded entirely. "Jack's still here, isn't he?"
"He's my uncle," Shawn says softly.
"I'll take that as a yes," Lassiter says. "Spencer--"
"Shawn," he says. "You can call me Shawn, you know."
"When I'm mad I'll call you Spencer," Lassiter says tightly.
"You always call me Spencer," Shawn protests.
"So stop making me mad," he says.
"What do you even really have on him?" Shawn asks. "He's smart. None of your charges would stick anyway."
"So he should turn himself in," Lassiter says.
"You don't know Jack--" Shawn frowns as he realizes what he's just said. "I don't mean that in the Kai Taschner sense, I mean you don't know him."
"You're doing it again," Shawn says.
"I need you to promise me you're not going to be involved in this," Lassiter says. "Whatever this is."
"Hypothetically speaking," Shawn says, "what if I were already too involved to get out of it?"
"Then you need to tell me everything, right now," Lassiter says. "And we'll get out of it together."
"And Jack?" Shawn asks.
"I don't care about Jack," Lassiter says.
Shawn nods, seemingly coming to a decision. "Right," he says. "And that's why I can't tell you."
"Shawn--" Lassiter starts, but cuts himself off as he starts to smell smoke. He turns to see a thick black fog coming from the oven, and hurriedly reaches over to shut it off. He grabs a mitt and opens it, coughing as more smoke comes rushing out. "What the hell?"
Shawn leans over his shoulder. "This is why I prefer Easy Bake Ovens," he says. "So much easier to maintain."
"What the hell is that?" Lassiter demands.
"That's kind of a long story. Needless to say the moral is that it's not really a good idea to try and bake soup. I'm pretty sure that sticky stuff on the bottom there is Campbell's Mushroom, but it might be the Chicken Noodle, it's kind of hard to tell now that it's all black and charred." Shawn coughs and then backs away. "I thought it would just kind of, I don't know, disintegrate on its own."
Lassiter sighs. "Okay, so no kebobs, they're all black," he says. "I guess we'll have to order in."
Shawn reaches for the take out menus on the top of his refrigerator, and just starts to hand them over when he sees Jack right outside his kitchen window, waving his hands and trying to mouth something to him. Lassiter turns to see what's caught his attention, but Jack's already ducked out of sight.
"What?" Lassiter asks.
"I think all this smoke is making nauseous," he says. "I'm sure I can't eat. You should probably be going." Shawn starts leading Lassiter to the door.
"What? We haven't even eaten," Lassiter protests. "And we still need to finish our discussion--"
"And we will," Shawn says quickly. "But remember what I said about first dates? That they're always great and the relationships never work?"
"Yes, but," Lassiter starts.
"Well, I'm trying something different," Shawn says. "This has been a horrible date. Like the worst date in the history of ever. I think that's a really good sign. Have a great night!"
Shawn pushes Lassiter onto the front steps and shuts the door. Lassiter immediately starts pounding on it, and Shawn reluctantly opens it again. "Are you serious with this?" Lassiter demands.
"What, did you expect me to put out on the first date or something?" Shawn demands indignantly. "I'm not that kind of boy."
Lassiter blushes hotly. "We already--"
"We weren't dating then, that was different," Shawn says.
"You're completely insane," Lassiter says disbelievingly.
"Yes, but you knew that going in, so you only have yourself to blame," Shawn says. "What do you say, try again tomorrow? We can go to Mario's if you really want to."
"You honestly think we should attempt this again?" Lassiter asks.
"All the best relationships have horrible first dates," Shawn says. "My father spilled beer all over my mother the first time they went out, and then she threw up on his shoes."
"Your parents are divorced," Lassiter says.
"You've entirely missed the point of my heartwarming story," Shawn tells him. "Drive safe." He shuts the door on Lassiter's disbelieving face with a wince, then watches through the peephole as Lassiter bemusedly makes his way back to his car.
"This better be good, Jack," Shawn snaps. "I probably just ruined my shot."
Jack comes into the room, leaning against the wall. "You're actually dating that guy?" he asks disbelievingly.
"Yeah, I know, I'm dating a guy," Shawn says, and flops back down on his couch. "Commence the shock and awe."
"It's not the guy part that shocks me, Shawnie," Jack says. "He's a cop. Your dad know about this?"
Shawn raises his eyebrow. "Of course not."
Jack smirks. "Can I tell him?"
"No, you can't tell him," Shawn says. "It's going to be a surprise."
"What, like a birthday present? You want to give him a heart attack?" Jack asks.
"He likes Lassiter," Shawn says. "I'm pretty sure he likes Lassiter more than he likes me."
Jack laughs. "Sure, when he's just some cop, but when he starts being some cop that's doing his kid, well, my money's on Henry kicking his ass."
"You haven't got any money, and anyway, you haven't been around dad for awhile," Shawn says. "He wears white fluffy robes and watches Oprah now. My biggest worry is that he'll want us all to have group therapy."
"Seriously?" Jack asks.
"Probably not group therapy," Shawn admits. "But the Oprah thing is true. I've caught him more than once, and that 'it just came on' excuse only works so many times."
Jack laughs. "Oh, how the mighty have become metrosexual."
Shawn tilts his head as he watches his uncle. "I thought you were going to find Prost, Jack? You haven't been gone more than two hours."
Jack's smile fades and he looks away. "Change of plans. I need you to pack a bag," he says. "We're getting out of town. I got a friend with a plane, we'll be out of the country by tonight."
Shawn laughs. "I know you're not serious."
"Oh, I'm serious," Jack snaps. "These guys are going to come after you. You think I can stop them? I'm not leaving you behind again, so we're going, okay? End of discussion."
Shawn shakes his head. "No, I don't run anymore, I haven't for awhile," he says. "Let me call Lassiter back here, explain to him--"
"Yeah, that would go over well," Jack says. "He'll lock me up before you can open your mouth, and probably stick you in protective custody."
"He'd help us," Shawn insists. "He's a good cop."
"Which is exactly my problem with him," Jack says. "It's not forever, Shawnie, okay? But trust me, we need to go, and we need to go tonight. If you stay here--if you stay, they're going to grab you and do god knows what."
"So go," Shawn says quietly. "I'll give you a head-start, and then I'm calling Lassiter."
"You're going to call the cops on me?" Jack demands.
"You tell me that people are coming after me, and you don't think I'm going to call the cops?" Shawn asks. "I'll tell the police I don't know where you are. That's what I've been doing all along. What more do you want from me?"
"I want you to come with me," Jack snaps. "Do you know how hard it was to arrange for a flight to Australia?"
"Australia," Shawn echoes vaguely, and then laughs with disbelief. "This isn't about protecting me at all, you just want me to go find your treasure."
"Shawnie--" Jack starts, but he's cut off by the sound of someone pounding on the door. Shawn frowns and glances towards it.
"Uh oh," Jack says. "Looks like your boyfriend's back."
Shawn gets to his feet and pulls open the door. Lassiter isn't there, but two very large men are, their expressions displaying what appears to be Goomba-level intelligence. Shawn glances back behind him, but Uncle Jack is long gone. He can hear the slight click as his back door opens and shuts.
"Oh, I really should have seen that coming," he says, as he turns back around. Without bothering with hello, Goomba number one knocks him flat with a sucker punch.
On the upside, Shawn decides as consciousness slips away, at least if he dies, those are pretty appropriate last words for a psychic.
"You are in so much trouble, kid."
Shawn's eyes widen as he sees Henry standing at the door, and he takes a startled step back. "Uh, hi, Dad, you're looking really well. What brings you to Australia?"
"You're asking me?" Henry demands, before dropping to his knees and pulling Shawn into a hug. "If you ever do something like this again, Shawn, I swear to God--"
"I just wanted to find some treasure," Shawn protests. Henry takes him by the hand and pulls him over to Jack. Jack backs away the same way Shawn had.
He holds out his hands and grins. "Hey, brother, look, I was going to bring him--"
Henry knocks Jack to the ground with one punch, and he crashes into the table, sending everything on it to the floor. "You're lucky I'm dropping the kidnapping charges," he says, and starts pulling Shawn back towards the door.
Shawn pulls away once, to pick a penny up off the floor, before Henry reaches back to lift him up into his arms and take him away.
Jack was always leaving pennies for Shawn to find.
Lassiter sighs as he taps his fingers on the steering wheel. He's been home for fifteen minutes, but he hasn't gone in. He can't shake the feeling that something is wrong. Shawn's explanation about first dates needing to be awful had a certain kind of Spencer-logic to it, but Shawn wasn't one to push an audience out the door.
"You're actually going to drive back over there, aren't you?" he asks himself.
He starts up the car, knowing that he is. He wouldn't have to if Spencer would ever answer his damn phone. He tries calling him again, using his handy hands-free earpiece, but there still isn't an answer.
Lassiter gets to Shawn's apartment in record time, barely resisting the urge to use the siren. He's just in the middle of convincing himself that he's overreacting when he realizes that Shawn's front door is wide open.
He carefully pulls out his weapon and walks to the door, stepping inside with it held straight in front of him. "Shawn?" he calls.
Everything looks exactly as it had when he left, except that the kitchen is mostly cleared of smoke, due to the open door. Lassiter wonders if that's why Shawn has it open, but Shawn isn't here, and the lies he keeps telling himself that everything is fine aren't quite working anymore.
He searches the whole apartment, but he finds no trace of Shawn, or of anything else. He steps back outside, closing the door behind him and glances down the street. He doesn't see Shawn's motorcycle, but thinking back, Lassiter can't really remember seeing it the first time.
His first instinct is to call Guster, but from his earlier conversation with him, Lassiter doesn't think he's in on the loop with this. So he calls someone else instead, someone familiar with both Shawn and Jack.
"Spencer," a voice snaps.
Lassiter frowns. "Henry," he says. "Have you seen Shawn?"
"Who is this? Lassiter?" Henry sounds confused.
Lassiter winces, as he realizes Henry's probably never heard him call him Shawn before. "Yeah. I stopped by at his place to ask for his help with something, but the door was open and he's not here. Is he with you?"
Henry is silent for a moment. "No, he's not with me. I haven't seen him since he came and borrowed my truck. He's probably with Jack, damn kid never listens to a word I say."
Lassiter rubs his forehead. He's worrying about that too, but there were worse people out there than Jack. That Shawn is just off with Jack is his best case scenario. "He all but admitted to me that Jack's still in town," he tells him.
"He did?" Henry asks, sounding surprised.
"Yeah, and I still left him alone," Lassiter says, angry with himself. "Okay, Henry. Don't worry. I'm going to contact the station, we'll find them."
"You need to come and get me," Henry snaps.
"Henry--" Lassiter starts. "I'm going to treat this officially. I'm going to have to have Jack brought in. I'll keep Shawn out of it as much as I can, but this is the quickest way--"
"I know, I get it, and my truck has GPS," Henry snaps. "You want to find him or not?"
* * * * *
"Finally," Lassiter says when Juliet answers the call.
"What?" Henry says. "You're the one that drove here."
Lassiter shakes his head at him, trying to listen to Juliet. "I need a BOLO for Jack Spencer. Yes, I know, but I need it now. Shawn's probably with him."
"We already talked about this," Henry says.
"In fact, put out a bulletin for Shawn, too," Lassiter says. "Missing person. I know it hasn't been twenty-four hours, O'Hara, but there's special circumstances, just do it, okay?"
"O'Hara?" Henry snaps. "Who the hell are you talking to?"
Lassiter hangs up the call and pulls the car out into the street. "I was on the phone."
"I don't see a phone," Henry says. "Wait, is it one of those weird earring things?"
"It's not an earring," Lassiter says. "But yes." He looks over at Henry. He's holding a handheld GPS locator. "Do you know where he is?"
Henry's jaw tightens. "Machado airfield," he says.
Lassiter switches on the siren and steps on the gas. "We can be there in seven minutes," he says. He glances back at the device in Henry's hands. "You have your own GPS system on your truck?"
"You've met my kid, right?" Henry asks. "I've got it on my boat, too. I'd put it on his motorcycle except he'd find it in five minutes."
Lassiter nods. "Yeah, I've often wanted to have him tagged with GPS myself," he says.
"That's an odd thing for you to say." Henry leans back against the door, watching him carefully. "What's going on with you and my son?"
Lassiter keeps his eyes on the road. "I don't know what you're talking about," he says.
"Since when do you stop by his place? Get worried about having left him alone? Or call him Shawn?" he asks. "Anyway, funny thing, Shawn told me earlier he had a date tonight, and from the sound of it, he was with you."
"Henry," Lassiter starts.
"Contrary to what my kid seems to think, I'm not stupid," Henry says.
"I don't know," Lassiter says after a moment. "That's the truth."
"But it's something," Henry says.
Lassiter gives a slight grin. "It's Shawn," he says. "It's always something."
Henry sighs and looks out the window, and Lassiter spares him another glance. "Is this going to be a problem?" Lassiter asks.
"Shawn does what he wants," Henry says. "It doesn't matter what I think."
"It matters to me what you think," he says. "This is complicated enough. If you--"
"Look, Lassiter--I spent the first eighteen years of Shawn's life trying to control every single thing he did. The day he graduated high school he didn't even show up to his ceremony. Kid could have been valedictorian if he wanted, but there I was, sitting there waiting for them to call his name and he'd already gotten on that damn bike and disappeared," Henry says, looking out the window.
"You know what that taught me?" Henry asks. "What I've learned since then? It doesn't matter what he does, just so long as he's here, so long as he's happy. You make him happy, you won't have a problem with me."
Lassiter nods, speeding up as he sees the airfield in the distance. He really doesn't know what to say that.
"I don't think I need to tell you what'll happen if you make him unhappy," Henry says. "But if you need an example, just wait until I get my hands on Jack."
Lassiter pulls the car to a stop, catching Jack in the headlights as he starts running towards a plane. "That might be sooner than you think," he says.
* * * * *
Shawn feels a little like he's underwater. He can hear voices, but they all sound very far away. Shawn recognizes it as the kind of feeling he always gets when he's put under anesthesia at a hospital.
The bastards drugged him.
Shawn keeps his eyes closed, focusing on everything around him. He remembers when his father used to blindfold him so he would focus only on sound and smell and touch, and he can feel the ropes around his wrists, his arms pulled awkwardly around the chair.
He hears someone's footsteps approaching, and then someone slaps his cheek. "Hey, psychic."
Shawn finally opens his eyes. He's in the middle of a warehouse, and by the sounds of boats, it isn't that far from the water. There are only two men, and they're the same guys from his apartment, only now they're carrying guns.
"You awake?" the taller one asks.
"Why is it that you guys are always tying me to chairs? Would it be so hard to tie me to a sofa? Maybe a nice futon?" Shawn winces and tries to twist his wrists, but there's no give in the rope.
The slightly less tall one steps forward and hits Shawn across the side of his head with his gun. Shawn lets out a startled cry, but keeps his eyes open. He notices the guy's keys half sticking out of his pocket, with one of those picture frame key chains with a boy's little league picture in it.
"Nice," Shawn says. "What would your son think if he could see you now?"
Slightly-Less-Tall-Guy glares at him. "I don't have a son," he growls.
Right, Shawn thinks, and winces, because these guys were bad guys, and those were probably the keys to their stolen car. If his head wasn't pounding so hard he would have taken that into account.
Shawn thinks quickly, noticing the man's tattoo--a name above a broken heart.
"Not that you know of, maybe," Shawn says. "When was the last time you saw Shelly?"
Slightly-Less-Tall-Guy's eyes widen, but his partner is both more professional and skeptical, and steps beside him. "Ignore him," he says. "He's not really psychic."
"It's easy to be a skeptic," Shawn says to him. He thinks back to that punch and his stinging eye, the way he bounces a little on his feet even when he's staying in the same place. "But I bet you're just bitter that boxing career never took off."
Tall-Guy glares at him. "The only 'psychic' vision you need to be having is the one that tells us where the item is."
Shawn laughs. "The 'item'? Are you for real? You don't know what it is, either! Prost must not trust you much, huh? Well, I don't deal with Goombas. Take me to Bowser."
Slightly-Less-Tall-Guy looks pissed. "How do you know about Prost?"
"Hello? Psychic? Isn't that why I'm here?" he asks.
"You're here because Jack said you'd be able to find the item," Tall-Guy snaps.
"Yes, because I'm psychic, but I need to draw from things to be able to divine any information. You don't even know what you're looking for, so you're no help," Shawn says.
"You're not seeing Prost," Tall-Guy interrupts. "You either tell us where it is right now, or we're going to call Jack and tell him you're dead if he doesn't show up."
Shawn shakes his head. "I hate to break it to you, but if that's your plan, it sucks," he says. "Jack's not going to come for me. He's probably already out of the country."
Tall-Guy hesitates. "We know you're his nephew," he says.
"Yeah, I am, I just think you're overestimating the value he puts on that," Shawn says.
"You'd better hope I'm not," Tall-Guy says.
* * * * *
Jack irritably tries to push his brother away. "Henry, what the hell?" His eyes widen when he sees Lassiter's gun. "Woah, hey, I'm unarmed! Henry?"
"Where's Shawn?" Henry demands, getting to his feet.
Jack starts to follow and Lassiter steps closer. "Stay where you are and answer the question."
"I don't know," Jack says. "I was going to call you from the plane. I think my old partners grabbed him."
"You're going to have to do better than that," Henry snaps.
"Henry?" Jack says again, looking hurt. "No, no, hey, they won't hurt him. He doesn't know anything. When they figure that out they'll let him go."
"Come on, Jack, you know better than that!" Henry shouts. "They're not going to just send him on his way with an apology. They're going to kill him. Do you understand that?"
"Henry, you don't--" Jack breaks off as his cell phone starts ringing.
"Get it out," Lassiter says. "Nice and slow."
Jack carefully pulls his phone from his jeans pocket and glances at the display.
"Who is it?" Lassiter demands.
"Its them," Jack says, and doesn't need to explain more. Henry grabs his arm and pulls him to his feet.
"Answer it," Lassiter says. "Find out where Shawn is."
Jack nods and answers it. "Jack here."
Jack tenses at Shawn's voice, it sounds a little off, faint. "Shawnie?" he yells. Lassiter and Henry both more closer. "Hey, kid, you okay?"
"I'm fine. There's a couple guys here that want to talk to you," he says. "You're going to want to be on that flight."
Jack hears a man yelling in the background. "Shawn--" he starts.
"They want me to tell you where I am," he says. "They both say you need to come alone."
"Just give me the address," Jack says. "I'll be there."
"You already know where you need to be," Shawn says carefully. "I'm at Prost's warehouse at the docks. You know it?"
"Yeah, kid, I know it," Jack says.
"Hey, Jack, you know that birthday present, the one for my dad? Do you know where it is?" he asks. "Because you really need to check in on it--"
Jack winces at the sound of a slap, and then someone else is on the phone. "You have an hour. You're not here by then, alone, your nephew's dead."
There's a click and then the dial-tone starts up.
"What was he talking about?" Henry demands, moving away from where he was trying to listen in. "What does my birthday present have to do with anything?"
Jack shakes his head. "He was talking about Lassiter. He was asking me to call the cops. He also just let us know that there's only two men with him."
"Do you know where he is?" Lassiter demands.
Jack doesn't answer right away. "What are you going to do? Because if you send in the cavalry you're only going to get him killed. I need to go there alone. I can get Shawn out."
"No," Lassiter snaps. "Not going to happen."
"I get that you don't trust me," he says. "But if you go in there, guns blazing, Shawnie's going to get caught in the crossfire."
"And you're just getting that?" Henry yells, stepping forward and shoving his brother back. "You're the one that put him there!"
"I didn't think they'd do this, I didn't think they'd hurt him!" Jack shouts.
"That's the problem, you never think about anyone but yourself," Henry snaps. "So help me if you get him killed, Jack--"
Jack goes pale, and starts shaking his head. "No, that's not going to happen, look, I can do this. You have to let me fix this."
"Its too late for that," Henry says. "All you need to do is tell us where we can find him."
"The Prost Warehouse at the docks," Jack says. "I can show you where it is."
"Only place you're going is a cell," Lassiter says.
"Henry already gave the reasons why that's a bad idea," Jack says.
"I think I'd remember that," Henry says.
"It's like you said, they'll kill him the moment they don't need him. You go in there to take them in, then they're going to make sure he doesn't make it out of there alive," Jack says. "If I go in there alone, he's still good as leverage."
"And what are you going to do once you're in there?" Henry demands.
Jack looks up to meet his eyes. "I'm going to trade myself for Shawn."
* * * * *
Juliet is taping a wire to a surprisingly reserved Jack. Normally he would have taken his chances with the beautiful detective, but Jack can only think about Shawn in there, and that look Henry had in his eyes; hatred almost, though mostly he thinks it was made up of fear.
"I don't either," Lassiter says, "but if we go in there blind, Spencer could get killed."
Vick reluctantly nods, and turns to Jack. "You go in there, and get them to come out. We have the warehouse surrounded, once they're past the threshold, you get down."
"Try and get them to leave Shawn there," Juliet says, "or at least make sure he knows to get down after you make it out of the warehouse."
Jack nods. "I got it." He looks over at his brother. "Henry?"
Henry just walks away, continuing his worried pacing. He refuses to look at Jack.
Jack takes a deep breath and turns back towards the detectives. "Okay, let's do this."
The detectives and SWAT all slip into the shadows. Jack can see the occasional glare of light from a sniper's scope, but for the most part they've all disappeared. He walks down the dock to the warehouse and then knocks loudly on the side door.
The door opens quickly, and a hand reaches out to grab him and pull him in. The door slams and locks behind him, and Jack adjusts his shirt, his hand rubbing absently against the tape and wire.
There's two men, just like Shawn had said. Jack unconsciously gives them similar nicknames to Shawn's. He dubs them Tall and Taller.
"Well, what do you know?" Taller says. "You do care. Your nephew here's been telling us how you wouldn't be coming."
Jack turns to look at Shawn. He feels a little sick when he sees the surprise in his nephew's eyes. It doesn't say anything good about him if he can surprise Shawn Spencer, psychic extraordinaire, just by doing the right thing. "He should know better."
"You were supposed to get out of the country and call the police!" Shawn yells. "How much plainer could I have been?"
"Don't worry, Shawnie," Jack says, "I've got this."
Shawn glares at him and sinks in his chair. Jack can see his wrists have been worn raw where he's been pulling at the ropes.
"Do you have the item?" Tall asks.
"Not here," Jack says. "I can take you to it, but Shawn stays here."
Taller laughs. "I don't think so. We finally found something Jack Spencer cares about that isn't gold and shiny. From what my boss says, that's quite a feat. I think we'll keep our advantage, if you don't mind."
"Yeah, well, I do," Jack snaps. "And you're not getting anything while Shawn's your hostage. Trust me, my own life will be incentive enough for me to do what you want."
"How about this, instead?" Taller asks. "How about, he doesn't get medical treatment until we get what we came for?"
Jack frowns, looking back to Shawn. He runs his eyes over him, but he doesn't look hurt. "What--"
Before Jack can finish his question, Taller has already lifted his gun and shot Shawn point blank.
Jack lets out a cry of protest, but it's too late. He moves towards Shawn as the police start coming in through all the doors, alerted by the gunshot. They're all shouting for Tall and Taller to lower their guns. Jack ignores them all and pulls his knife from his boot, slicing the ropes around Shawn's wrists down the center and catching him as he falls forward.
"Stupid, that was stupid," Shawn tells him faintly. "You should be in Australia."
"No, I should have been here," Jack says softly. "A hell of a lot sooner than I was." He carefully lowers Shawn to the floor and then looks up. Tall and Taller are on the floor being cuffed and Lassiter and O'Hara are both running towards him. He can hear Henry yelling from somewhere. "Hey, stay with me."
The bullet hit him in the left shoulder. Jack's pretty sure that's a better place than certain others if you had to be shot, but it's bleeding heavily and he's having trouble seeing that as a silver lining. He pushes his hands down on the wound to stop the bleeding and Shawn lets out a groan.
"Did they get 'em?" Shawn asks. "Tall-Guy and Slightly-Less-Tall-Guy?"
"Tall and Taller?" Jack asks. "Yeah, they got 'em."
Henry comes running in and kneels beside him, shoving Jack's hands away to try and stop the bleeding himself. "Shawn?" he says.
Shawn looks confused. "Dad? How did you get here?"
Lassiter drops down on Shawn's other side. "We were with Jack when you called," he explains. "You doing okay?"
"Oh, I'm great, s'just a flesh wound," Shawn says, and then laughs a little crazily. "Always wanted to say that."
"Shawn?" Lassiter says. "Shawn, stay with me. O'Hara's already called for an ambulance."
"Hey, hey, kid, keep your eyes open," Henry demands.
Shawn presses his eyes shut anyway, because there are too many voices, too many directions to turn. He always thought if he ever got shot it would be a lot more heroic than this. Maybe valiantly jumping in front of the bullet to save someone else, or a good old fashioned western style shoot out; being used for target practice while tied to a chair was just disappointing, really.
"This isn't going to make a good story at all," Shawn complains.
"Shawn, we need you to focus," Henry says. "Can you do that? This is nothing. You're going to be fine."
The paramedics come rushing in and Henry, Jack and Lassiter reluctantly move out of their way. "He was shot at close range," Jack tells them.
One of the paramedics nods before turning towards Shawn. "Hey, can you tell me your name?"
"Judd Nelson," Shawn says.
"It's Shawn Spencer," Henry corrects. "And that's an attempt at humor, not brain damage."
"They might have believed me, you know," he says. "I could have gotten the star treatment." Shawn grins slightly, before wincing as the medic presses down a bandage and prepares to move him to the gurney.
"Nobody here remembers Judd Nelson but you, Shawn," Henry says gently, worriedly watching as they lifted his son onto the gurney. Shawn bit his lip till it was bleeding to keep from crying out.
The paramedic grins slightly at the banter. "It's always a good sign when there's still a sense of humor," he says. "We'll get you to Santa Barbara General and have you patched up in no time."
"Good," Shawn says, "because there's a new Top Model tonight, and I forgot to program the TiVo."
"It's probably going to take a little longer than that," the paramedic says, before glancing at the crowd. "Is anyone riding with him?"
"Yes," Lassiter, Jack, Juliet and Henry all say at once.
The paramedic gives them a wry grin. "Sorry, guys, only room for one."
Lassiter glances at the others, before nodding at Henry. "Call us as soon as you know anything?" he asks.
"You'll be the first to know," Henry says, and follows the paramedics and Shawn as they rush out of the warehouse.
Lassiter lets out a sigh, staring at his hands, which for some reason seem to be shaking. Juliet looks shell-shocked and startled, her hair falling out of her normally picture perfect bun. "He's going to be fine," she says, and then again, like it's a mantra or a personal prayer.
Lassiter just reaches for his cuffs and then pulls Jack's arms behind his back to read him his rights. It isn't as satisfying as he had imagined it would be.
* * * * *
Vick had finally gotten irritated with them both and sent them home to sleep, reminding them that the suspects would still be there in the morning for them to interrogate. Lassiter offers to take O'Hara home, but he can't go home himself. He drives to the hospital after he drops her off.
He finds Henry pacing in a hallway. He's washed his hands but the cuffs of his shirt are dried with blood, and the knees of his jeans are even worse.
"Have you seen him?" Lassiter asks.
Henry shakes his head. "They're still fixing him up, but it was a through and through, missed anything vital. They say he's going to be fine."
Lassiter nods dazedly, and drops into a chair in relief. He is just about to ask if Henry has called Guster when he hears the man's voice coming from reception, demanding to be helped in frantic tones. "His name is Shawn, Shawn Spencer, he was shot! How many gunshot victims do you get?"
Henry lets out a sigh. "I finally had to call him," he says. "I was going to wait until Shawn could tell him he was fine himself, but the media got hold of the story and I didn't want him to see it on the news."
Henry starts down the hall. "Gus," he calls softly.
"Mr. Spencer," Gus says, running over, and stopping short when he sees the blood. "Oh my God. Shawn, is he--"
"He's going to be fine," Henry assures him quickly, and Lassiter notices that he looks a lot more composed now that he has someone else to keep calm.
Gus nods finally, and then goes stiff. "In that case, I'm going to kill him."
Henry lets out a slight huff of air that might have been a laugh, and shakes his head. "Get in line, kiddo."
Henry leads Gus to a chair and pushes him into it. Gus passively allows it, and Lassiter looks away, leaning his head back against the wall as Henry resumes his pacing.
It takes about another fifteen minutes before the doctor finally comes out. Gus is on his feet in a flash, but Henry reaches him first. "How is he?" he asks, as Lassiter gets to his feet behind him.
Lassiter is close enough to hear the answer, but he stays as far as back as he can.
"He's doing very well," the doctor says, and gives them a wry grin. "He's been conscious most of the time. He's by far the funniest gun shot victim I've ever treated. We put him on a morphine drip now, so he might be a little out of it, but one of you can go sit with him if you'd like. It's after visiting hours, but in a case like this--well, we understand that it's good for both the family and the patient to be together."
Henry nods, and glances back at Lassiter. "I have to go back to the station," Lassiter says quickly. "You go ahead." Lassiter turns around and presses his eyes shut, feeling dizzy. He needs to see Shawn, somewhere deep down inside its all he can think about, but that scares the hell out of him and he's not sure he can face up to it.
Henry shouts his name before he can turn the corner and Lassiter looks back. "You know this isn't your fault, right?" Henry asks.
Lassiter nods and then keeps walking away. Henry runs a hand down his face and turns to Gus, who is practically vibrating with anxiety. "Gus, maybe you should--"
Gus shakes his head. "You should go, Mr. Spencer. I'm going to stop by the gift shop for Shawn."
Henry gives a wry grin as he reads between the lines. Gus won't say it with the doctor still standing right there, but he knows that he'll find a way into Shawn's room just as soon as the coast is clear. "Okay," he says.
Gus seems to hesitate. "If he's awake--tell him, I mean--"
"Gus," Henry says. "You know what I said to Lassiter? That goes for you too. This was not your fault."
Gus laughs distractedly and looks at his feet. "I knew what he was doing."
"You think I didn't?" Henry asks. "When has anyone ever been able to stop Shawn when he has his mind set on something?"
"Yeah," Gus says, and casts a look down the hall where he knows Shawn's lying in some bed. "I still think I'm going to go to the gift shop."
The doctor, who has been discreetly staring at the wall, nods as Gus walks away. "He's in Room 283," he says, and leads him down the hall. "Please try not to upset him."
Henry hates how easy it would be to do. He and Shawn argue at the best of times, but he feels strangely unable to lecture him at the moment. He's in a hospital gown, with his left arm secured to his chest in a sling and an IV coming from the right. He has his eyes shut and he doesn't stir when Henry drops down in the chair beside the bed.
Henry feels his chest ache and decides again that he won't be calling Madeline. She won't be able to get here to see him and he knows he wouldn't be able to handle that, to know his son was hurt but not reassure himself he was still here.
Henry places a hand on Shawn's forehead, and he opens his eyes. He pushes his hair back and kisses his startled son on the forehead. "You scared the hell out of me, kid," he says.
"You say that like it's my fault," Shawn says tiredly.
"Well, if the shoe fits," he says. "Gus is at the gift shop, probably buying them out. I think he feels guilty. I told him not to, that it was entirely your own fault."
Shawn laughs, before wincing in pain. "Gee, thanks, dad."
"Lassiter was here, too," Henry says quietly.
"Really?" Shawn asks, looking away, going for casual.
"Yeah, he seemed pretty upset," Henry says. "Which makes me wonder just how long this thing between the two you has been going on."
Shawn winces. "You know, huh? You going to lecture me on my bad decision making again?"
"I think it's one of your better decisions, actually," he says. "I plan to recruit him in my ongoing mission to keep you out of trouble."
"But I thought you would freak out!" Shawn protests. "You're supposed to be all medieval and unreasonable!"
"You think I didn't already know about the two of you?" Henry asks, raising an eyebrow. "I've known for awhile."
Shawn frowns. "But we just started seeing each other," he says.
"Yeah, well, that's why you'll never be quite good as me," Henry says. "I'm always going to beat you to the punch, kid. Get used to it. I've known since the first time I saw the two of you together. And even if I hadn't, 'a lovely lass?' You practically told me yourself." Henry leans back in his chair and smiles softly. "Why don't you just get some sleep, huh?"
"You're being too nice," Shawn says, and looks suspicious. "Oh, god, I'm dying, aren't I?"
Henry rolls his eyes. "No, you're not dying, Shawn, but you almost did--and don't think I don't have a lecture all planned and ready, just as soon as you get out of here. But for now, for now, I just want you to sleep."
Shawn hates to do as he's told, but the drugs are pulling him back under, so he just nods and then sleeps.
* * * * *
Gus leans further over him. "I brought you this," he says, and sets the teddy bear beside Shawn's good arm.
Shawn starts to worry about his friend's sanity. He notices that at least three of the balloons are giant pineapples, and he can just make out the form of his father, snoring in the chair in the corner of the room. "Hey, Gus, you know I'm going to be fine, right?" he asks quietly.
Gus's eyes are wide and crazy. He's wound the ribbons from the balloons around his wrist three times, and Shawn is starting to worry that he's been standing there, this whole time he's been asleep.
"You got shot, Shawn," Gus says. "You've been shot, you're in the hospital."
Shawn nods. "Yeah, Gus, I know that. Maybe you should sit down?"
Gus looks like he's getting angry that his words aren't having the proper impact. "You've been shot," he says again.
"It was just a fl--"
"If you say flesh wound, I will kill you, Shawn," Gus interrupts. "This is what happens when you take on cases without me."
"This is what happens when take on cases together, too," Shawn protests. "It's just that we usually both end up tied to chairs."
"You've never been shot before," Gus says, and Shawn's pretty sure he's going for angry, but he just sounds scared. "Never again, okay? You don't shut me out, Shawn. Not ever again. I don't care how stupid what you're doing is, I should be right there with you, being. . . stupid."
Shawn nods. "Okay, Gus," he says.
Gus drops into the chair by the bed. "I don't think I've ever been that scared in my life," he says. "You were kidnapped by trained killers!"
Shawn frowns. "They were amateurs," he says. "One was probably just a car thief, the other was a burnt out boxer. They didn't even know what they were looking for."
"Well, the police got them, that's what matters," Gus says. "They'll probably be going away for a long time."
Shawn shakes his head. "Probably not," he says. "They're probably making a deal right now to flip on Prost."
"Lassiter and O'Hara won't do that," Gus protests. "They're not going to let these guys get away."
"Not away, maybe, but they'll have to give them something, because Prost is the one that's behind all this, and we still haven't figured out what he's looking for," Shawn says.
"We're not talking about this now," Gus says. "Possibly not ever. It's over with, Shawn."
Shawn bites down on the rest of the questions he has. He'll save them for his father in the morning. There's one left that he can't wait on, however. "Where's Jack?"
"He's in a cell, Shawn, what do you think?" Gus asks. "Hopefully he'll be there for quite awhile too."
"He tried to help me," Shawn says.
Gus leans back in the chair, looking suddenly tired, all of his adrenaline finally running out now that he's seen Shawn up and talking and alright. "He didn't do a very good job," he says.
Shawn watches as Gus falls asleep. "That's not the part that matters," he says.
* * * * *
Lassiter hovers near the door, trying to see in the room. He catches a glimpse of Shawn's hand, before turning to look back at Henry. "No complications?"
Henry shakes his head. "Everything looks fine. Either the shooter knew where to shoot him that would do the least damage, or Shawn got lucky. Personally, I've learned never to underestimate Shawn's luck."
Lassiter gives a slight grin. "Where's Guster?"
"I sent him home," Henry says. "He didn't sleep all night, he was convinced something was going to go wrong."
Lassiter nods. "But nothing has," he says again, just to be sure.
"No, everything's been fine here," Henry says, and then adds causally, "you been to the station?"
"Yes," Lassiter says. "The two mercenaries are talking. They're more than willing to give up their boss. Some Australian named Aiden Prost. Jack used to work for him twenty years ago."
Henry runs a hand down his face. "And Jack?"
"He's talking too," Lassiter says, "but what we can actually charge him with is fuzzy. He's an accomplice to the original theft, but that took place in Australia twenty years ago and we have no evidence. As for the debacle with Bouchard's treasure, despite his partners trying to put the blame on him, they were the ones caught with the smoking guns."
Henry shakes his head. "Jack's slippery, always has been. He's never been arrested, you know. Not once. I would have done it myself if I could have ever pinned anything on him, but the closest he ever came was when I filed kidnapping charges against him."
Lassiter frowns. "Kidnapping charges?"
"Shawn stowed away on his plane, ended up in Australia. And all Jack does about it is leave a message on my machine, saying hey, Shawn's with me, we're looking for treasure, he'll be home soon," Henry says. "I about killed him."
Lassiter doesn't know if he means Shawn or Jack, and doesn't ask. "He ended up in Australia?" he asks instead. "I thought you were too angry for it to be just a grudge against the Outback. You must have been furious."
Henry snorts. "Well, with Shawn and Jack, I kind of always expected the unexpected, but yeah, I was pretty furious. I forgave Jack eventually, though. I'm not sure I can forgive him for this."
"He's still being held at the station," Lassiter says after a moment. "If you wanted to speak with him."
"I'm not sure I trust myself to see him," Henry says. "Shawn said something to me, god, was it just yesterday? He said we love until we hate. He's my brother, and I love him, but I don't want him in my life. Not after this."
Lassiter nods. "I just thought--"
"No, I know, and I do, I need to speak with him," Henry says. He downs the rest of his coffee and then turns back to look at him. "Do you think you could stay with Shawn? I don't want him to wake up alone."
Lassiter frowns. "Has he been disoriented? Anxious?" he asks in concern.
"Hardly," he says. "He just has a thing about hospitals. The minute he's alone he'll check himself out. Shawn had to have his tonsils out when he was eleven, morning after surgery, Maddy and I went to get coffee, came back and he was gone. We found him across the street at the Baskin Robbins, eating ice cream in his pajamas."
Lassiter gives a slight grin. "How did he pay for it?"
"Didn't have to. Damn kid said it was his birthday," he says, and starts to walk away. "They gave it to him for free."
Lassiter watches as Henry disappears around the corner, and then carefully enters the room. Shawn's sleeping when he enters. He spent about an hour watching Shawn sleep that first night together, and even then Shawn had been moving, sighing and turning and even laughing in his sleep. He's too still now. Lassiter hopes it's just the medication.
He sits down in the chair and puts his elbows on the edge of the bed, resting his head in his hands. "You ruin everything, you know," he says softly. "Nothing's gone right since the moment I met you. Everything I thought I knew--" Lassiter looks up, but Shawn still isn't moving. "You aren't who I thought you were," he admits after a moment. "You're--"
"--incredible?" Shawn guesses.
"Infuriating," Lassiter snaps, trying to hide his relief as Shawn opens his eyes.
"Ingenious," Shawn corrects.
"Ignoble," Lassiter says.
"You can't just make words up," Shawn protests.
"I didn't make it up, Shawn," Lassiter pauses, once again at a loss of what to do with the incredible, infuriating, ingenious and ignoble Shawn Spencer. "You know, if you didn't want to go out with me, there are easier ways to break a date."
Shawn gives him a faint grin. "I had to make sure our date was really really bad," he says. "This way our next one is bound to be better."
"Our next one, huh?" Lassiter asks.
"This time, I'll make dinner," Shawn promises. "You'll be amazed by the things I can do with an Easy Bake Oven."
"Right now you just worry about getting better," Lassiter says, going for stern.
"I'm on the good drugs," Shawn says. "I'm feeling no pain."
"That's not going to last," Lassiter says with a frown. "Trust me, getting shot isn't any fun."
"You've been shot?" Shawn asks.
Lassiter nods. "It was my third year on the force, drug dealer," he says. "I got shot in the leg."
"Three inches above your left knee," Shawn says. "I saw the scar."
Lassiter looks startled. "Yeah," he says. "That's some memory."
"Knife gash across your right arm, right below the elbow," Shawn says, closing his eyes. "Those scars on your collar bone and right above your heart, car accident, right?"
Lassiter frowns, narrowing his eyes. "Yeah. Car chase. I went through the windshield."
"Gotta wear your seatbelt, Lassie," Shawn says. "It's the law."
"How do you know all that?" Lassiter asks. "I mean, I know we--but the lighting was awful and you--"
"Psychic," Shawn says. "I really need to get that embroidered on all my shirts. People keep forgetting."
"You're not psychic," Lassiter says. He leans forward. "If you were, how could you have let this happen?"
Shawn glances over at him. "I don't see the future, Lassie," he says. "Not that kind of psychic."
"Convenient," Lassiter says.
"Not really," Shawn says. "It'd be a lot more convenient if I could see the future."
"But you can't," Lassiter says. "Because you're not psychic, and the truth is, I don't think I even care anymore, because that you aren't just makes what you do that much more amazing. . . it's just--you have to start being more careful. Okay? Because you don't know everything."
"Careful's my middle name," Shawn says. "Well, one of them. I go by many middle names."
"This is serious," he says. "This can't happen again, you understand? Do you know how terrified I was? I couldn't do my job, Spencer, I was so goddamned worried about you I didn't care about anything else."
"Everything worked out," Shawn says. "You did your job exactly how you were supposed to, and I did what I had to, too."
"That's just it, you didn't," Lassiter snaps. "When you threw me out the other night, Jack was there, wasn't he?"
"I couldn't tell you," Shawn says softly. "I wanted to, but I couldn't. Jack's family."
"You could have been killed," he snaps.
"You could be killed every day you go to work," Shawn says. "It doesn't stop you."
"But it's my job, I signed on for this," Lassiter says. "You don't know what you're getting into."
Shawn laughs. "Oh, believe me, I've got a pretty good idea. You forget, I grew up with cops. And maybe you chose your job, but my job chose me."
"You're not going to give me some speech about your psychic calling, are you?" Lassiter asks.
"No, I meant the detective part of psychic detective," he says. "For the first time in my life I feel like I've got a purpose. You read my file. Before this, I'd never held a job for more than six months."
"You're good at it," Lassiter says quietly, almost quietly enough that Shawn couldn't hear.
"What was that you said?" Shawn asks, eyes widening.
"I said you're good at it," Lassiter says grudgingly.
Shawn grins widely. "Wow," he says. "That's almost as nice as that time you told me that I astound you."
Lassiter frowns. "I never said that."
"Yes you did," Shawn says. "And then you fell off your barstool."
Lassiter's eyes widen in horror. "I thought that was nightmare," he says, and then he seems to realize something. "Why haven't you never teased me about that?"
"Because I didn't want you to say it wasn't true," Shawn tells him.
Lassiter leans over and kisses Shawn gently. "It was true," he whispers. "And if you ever tell another soul I'll deny it until my dying day."
Shawn pulls Lassiter back when he moves away, kissing him again. Lassiter is more than happy to comply, until Shawn lets out an involuntary hiss of pain, and he moves away with a frown. "You okay?" he demands.
Shawn nods, but leans back against the bed. "Yeah, but you know what I really want? Another one of those pineapple smoothies."
Lassiter furrows his brow. "You want me to go get you a smoothie?"
"Aw, Lassie, that's so sweet of you!" Shawn says, and smiles. "Could you? I think they were selling them in the cafeteria here."
Lassiter reluctantly gets to his feet. "I've been warned about the Baskin Robbins incident, you know," he says.
Shawn rolls his eyes. "You know, my dad's turned into quite the gossip. Also, I think he's becoming senile. It's best you don't listen to him."
"Shawn," Lassiter warns.
"I'm not going anywhere," Shawn promises.
"Okay," he says after a moment. "I'll be right back."
Shawn gently pushes himself into a seated position, leaning forward to watch Lassiter leave. Then he pulls Lassiter's cell phone out from between the sheets, a little surprised he'd managed to sneak it out of the detective's pocket without being caught, considering his current one-handed condition. He makes a mental note for later reference that Lassiter zones out during make out sessions and dials Juliet.
"O'Hara!" he says, in his best Lassie-voice. "I need you to track something down for me, A.S.A.P!"
"Shawn?" Juliet says. "Oh my god, are you alright?"
"Aw, come on, Jules, that was a pretty good Lassie impression!" Shawn protests. "You could have at least pretended not to know it was me."
"Shawn," Juliet says again, this time slightly exasperated. "Are you okay? Why do you have Lassiter's phone? You're supposed to be in the hospital!"
"I am in the hospital," Shawn says. "And so is Lassiter's phone. He left it here."
"He takes that phone with him everywhere," Juliet says suspiciously. "I'm pretty sure he sleeps with it."
"Okay, so maybe it got caught on my fingers when my hand innocently found its way into his pocket, and I thought I'd give you a ring while he went to get me a pineapple smoothie," Shawn says.
"Now I know you're lying," Juliet says. "He'd never buy you a smoothie."
Shawn grins. "You caught me," he says. "But listen, Jules, I need a favor."
"I don't like the sound of that," Juliet says.
"It's nothing," Shawn says quickly. "It's just a tiny little favor. It's like hardly a favor at all. I just need to get a hold of someone. Can you get me a phone number?"
"What's this about?" Juliet asks hesitantly.
Shawn pretends not to hear her. "He lives in Adelaide, Australia. His name's Arnold Cramer. I just need the number."
"Are you still working this case?" Juliet demands. "Because we're taking care of everything, Shawn, you just need to get better."
"I'm good, Jules, I'm resting and everything, what can one phone call hurt?" he asks. "I won't even need to get out of bed."
"I don't know, Shawn," Juliet says.
"Jules, this is important," Shawn says earnestly.
"Okay," Juliet says after a moment. "I'll let you know if I find anything, but no promises, okay?"
"You're the best," Shawn says, before ending the call. He sets the phone on the dresser and lies back, tapping his fingers impatiently against the railing on the bed as he waits for Lassiter to come back.
* * * * *
"You're O'Hara, right?"
She looks up, startled, pushing the notes away. "Mr. Spencer! Yes. Uh. Can I help you with something? Is Shawn okay?"
Henry nods. "Yeah. I'd like to see Jack."
She frowns. Jack was still sitting in one of the interrogation rooms awaiting Lassiter's return, and sending in family wasn't exactly proper procedure--but nothing about this situation had been ordinary.
"Lassiter suggested it," Henry says, after a moment. "I won't be long."
Juliet nods, and pushes away from the desk. "Your conversation, I mean, it will be monitored--"
"I should hope so," Henry says.
"Right," Juliet says, letting out a breath. "This way."
"Thanks," Henry says.
"Shawn seems like he's doing really well," Juliet says conversationally. "He sounds like himself."
"You went to see him?" Henry asks.
"No, he--" Juliet cuts herself off, and then smiles. "Yes."
"Is that a yes or a no?" Henry asks suspiciously.
"Oh, look, we're here," Juliet says quickly, opening the door. "Try not to take longer than ten minutes, okay?"
Henry nods and moves past her. Jack glances over at him. Henry notices the shoe print smudges along the floor against the back wall and figures Jack has spent most of his time here pacing. "How's Shawn?" Jack demands instantly.
Henry feels something inside lighten slightly. He may still be far from forgiving his brother, but that he's been here worrying about Shawn and not himself helps. "He's going to be fine," he says.
Jack nods. "Good, that's good," he says. "I should be out of here soon, so I can see him."
"I wouldn't make any plans," Henry says. "They're not happy with you."
"They don't have anything on me," Jack says, biting at one of his nails. "They know they don't. They're just holding me for as long as they can."
"They're going to charge you," Henry says. "They're just trying to decide on what."
"You need to talk to them, Henry," he says. "You know I didn't mean for any of this to happen."
"You never do, Jack," Henry says, and drops down into one of the chairs.
Jack moves into the one across from him. "I need to see Shawn," he says. "Shawnie will understand, he always does."
"You want to know why I was always so hard on him?" Henry asks quietly. "I saw so much of you in him. Good looks, charm, sense of humor--ability to talk himself out of trouble. I was terrified that he was going to end up like you."
Jack gives a sly grin. "So you thought you'd turn him into you instead?"
Henry ignores him. "But it turns out, I shouldn't have worried," he says. "He was never going to end up like you. Because all that stuff you have in common, it's only the good stuff. Shawn got only the best of all of us, so he's never had your cruel streak."
"I'd like to tell you to stay the hell away from my kid," Henry says, "but he loves you. Probably always will. You're always going to be his Uncle Jack. That's partly my fault. I thought it would be good for him."
"So I won't tell you to stay away from him, but listen to me very carefully--he ever gets hurt because of you again, it's the last thing you're going to do." Henry pushes up from the table and spins towards the door.
"Henry, wait!" Jack calls. Henry pauses at the door, but doesn't look back. "I'm sorry. I really am."
"Yeah, you always are, Jack," Henry says, and looks at the floor. "But being sorry's the easy part. It's what you do in the first place that needs to change."
Henry goes out the door, and this time Jack doesn't call him back.
* * * * *
Shawn immediately snatches the smoothie out of Lassiter's hand when he notices the hesitation. "Of course," he says. "Pineapples have amazing medicinal powers. Once a man was stranded on a deserted island with nothing but pineapples, and he lived to be a hundred and thirty five. True story."
"That's not a true story," Lassiter says.
"No, it's not, but it could be, you never know," Shawn says.
Lassiter frowns when he sees his cell phone, and reaches out to grab it. "How did--"
"Hey, wait!" Shawn protests. "I'm expecting a call."
Lassiter glares at him. "From who?" he demands. "You're supposed to be sitting there quietly doing nothing at all."
Shawn slurps up half the smoothie. "Dude, do you know me at all?"
"You were shot, Spencer," Lassiter snaps. "You're going to stay out of this from here on out, understand?"
"You're really hot when you get all authoritative," Shawn says.
Lassiter opens his mouth to retort, but his phone rings before he has the chance. He answers it quickly, ignoring Shawn's attempt to grab it. "Lassiter."
"Is it for me?" Shawn demands.
Lassiter ignores him. "Got it," he says, and hangs up the phone. "That was O'Hara."
Shawn brightens. "Did she get it?"
Lassiter narrows his eyes. "Get what?" he asks.
Shawn glances down at the smoothie. "Those new shoes she's been wanting?"
Lassiter shakes his head. "She was calling about Prost," he says. "He just booked a flight back to Australia. We're going to pick him up before he can get on it. Are you going to be okay here?"
"Go," Shawn says. "I'll be fine."
Lassiter hesitates. "Stay out of this, Spencer, I mean it, okay?"
"How stupid do you think I am?" Shawn asks. "Do you really think I'm going to follow you to hunt down some crazy Australian criminal mastermind?"
"I never know what you're going to do, that's what worries me," Lassiter says.
"Well, rest easy," Shawn says. "I promise I'm not going after Prost. I'll leave that entirely to you."
Lassiter nods, then shyly leans down to kiss Shawn. "Be good," he says, before rushing out the door to meet with O'Hara. He's back in a moment, coming to a stop near Shawn's bed and glaring, and holding out his hand.
Shawn reluctantly hands back the cell phone. "It fell out of your jacket," he tells him.
"Incorrigible," Lassiter says, heading out again.
"Inventive!" Shawn shouts after him, only half-heartedly, depressed at having lost the cell phone. Shawn leans back in the bed and closes his eyes for a moment. His shoulder is throbbing dully, but it was mostly still being muffled by the pain medication.
He's just considering maybe going ahead and doing that sleep thing when Shakira's Whenever, Wherever starts chiming from the closet to his right. Shawn grins. That was the ringtone he had made specific to Juliet's phone calls.
Shawn wrestles with the IV and eventually manages to get on his feet, moving along the wall to open the closet. His jeans and shoes are neatly folded on the shelf, but his socks are missing. He's pretty sure they threw away his shirt. He sees his cell phone and snaps it open.
"Jules?" he says brightly. "Did you get it?"
"Yes, Shawn, but I don't see how this is going to help," Juliet says, and she sounds rushed.
"Are you on your way to get Prost?" Shawn asks.
"Yes, how did you--nevermind," Juliet says. "Can you please just tell me why you need this number? What's going on?"
"I don't know yet, I don't know if it's going to tell me anything at all," he says.
Juliet sighs, and Shawn can tell she's giving in. "Do you know the country code?" she asks.
Shawn snorts. "61. Who do you think you're talking to? I was an international telemarketer for like three whole weeks once."
"Right," Juliet says, and Shawn can practically hear her rolling her eyes. "The number is 8 8479 5530."
"You're amazing, thank you," Shawn says.
"I know," Juliet says. "But you really need to be resting."
"I am," Shawn says.
"You are going to tell me what you're up to, right?" Juliet asks suspiciously.
"I promise, I will," he says. "It's just not quite clear, yet, Jules, I think the injury is inhibiting my abilities. That's why I've got to do some actual research."
"Just please be careful, Shawn," Juliet says. "Let me know if you find anything. Don't do anything on your own, okay? You need to stay in the hospital and get well."
"It's going to be fine, Juliet," Shawn says. "I'll call you later."
Shawn ends the call, and quickly dials the number Juliet gave him, reciting it over in his head so he won't forget. A man answers on the third ring. "Yes?"
"Mr. Cramer?" Shawn asks. "I'm a consultant for the SBPD here in Santa Barbara, California. We may have located some information relevant to some stolen goods of yours."
"What have you found?" Cramer asks immediately.
"Well, that's why we're calling, sir, we're not quite sure," he says. "We have some persons of interest in custody that may have been responsible for the robbery, but we haven't been able to find any record of what was taken and they claim they don't know."
"It was a penny," Cramer says.
Shawn pauses. "Excuse me, sir? I don't think I heard that correctly."
"A penny," Cramer says. "A proof 1930 penny. There's only six of them in existence. If I still had mine, it would be valued at over a million dollars."
Shawn remembers what his Uncle Jack said, They even took the pennies from my pockets. "Mr. Cramer? I'll have to get back to you," Shawn says, and hangs up the phone.
Getting dressed is a little problematic, but eventually Shawn manages to get into his jeans, and push his sneakers on. He doesn't bother to tie them. He half tucks in the hospital gown to make himself presentable, but it's basically a useless effort.
He looks at himself in the mirror and frowns. His hair is sticking up with a serious case of bed head, and with his hospital gown acting as a shirt and his untied shoes he looks a little like an escapee from the Psych ward. "Great," he says to himself. "I don't look crazy at all."
Shawn grabs his teddy bear and the balloons, but he has a lot of trouble holding onto them, and figures that the giant teddy probably makes him look that much more psychotic.
Shawn leans against the counter at the reception desk, trying not to breath too heavily and ruin the totally fine vibe that he's going for. "Hi," he says. "Shawn Spencer. I need to check out."
The nurses' eyes are wide as she watches him. "Are you due to be released today?" she asks suspiciously.
"I don't generally wait until I'm released, I like the express checkout," Shawn says.
"Mr. Spencer, you were shot," she says quietly, leaning forward like it’s a secret that maybe he doesn't know.
"I know," Shawn says. "The crippling pain in my shoulder is a dead giveaway, but I'm going to be just as well off somewhere else as here, and no offense or anything, but I'd rather it were somewhere else."
Her eyes narrow. "Let me get the doctor," she says.
"No, that's not--" Shawn breaks off because she's already gone. She's back in a record time with a tall man trailing behind her.
He eyes Shawn speculatively. "What seems to be the problem here?" he asks.
"I'm checking out," Shawn says.
"You need to stay here at least another day," the doctor protests.
Shawn shakes his head. "I'll sign whatever you want me to, but I've got to get out of here. Don't worry, I'm going to rest at home, drink plenty of fluids, call you in the morning. I know the procedure."
The doctor frowns, but nods to the nurse. "I really don't think this is a good idea," he says. "But if you're going to insist--is Mr. Spencer's prescription ready?"
The nurse nods. "I'll get it."
Shawn signs on the dotted line. "I won't be alone," he says. "And I can promise you that someone will drag me back here first sign of a problem." Shawn grins. "Thanks for saving my life by the way, have a balloon."
Shawn gives him one of the pineapples, and the doctor stares at it bemusedly. The nurse comes back with Shawn's prescription, and he sticks it in his pocket before starting for the exit. He wants to make his escape before they can change their minds.
He pauses when he sees a little girl asleep in one of the rooms, and slips inside to leave the bear in the chair in the corner with the balloons tied to its wrist. Eventually Shawn makes his way out of the hospital, and he drops down onto one of the benches to call Gus. "I need you to come pick me up," he says without preamble.
"Shawn, where are you?" Gus demands.
"Outside the hospital," Shawn says. "I'm starting to attract strange looks. Can you get here fast?"
"Get back in the hospital, Shawn!" Gus shouts.
"I have something I need to do, and it's probably stupid, but I'm doing it anyway, and you said I had to let you come with me when I did stupid things," Shawn says. "So. Come pick me up."
"That's not exactly what I said, Shawn," Gus snaps.
"No, what you said exactly was 'I don't care how stupid what you're doing is, I should be right there with you, being stupid,'" Shawn says. "So come pick me up."
"You know I hate it when you quote me," Gus says. "I was stressed. I was under duress. You'd just been shot. I didn't know what I was saying."
"No take backs," Shawn says. "Gus, seriously, I need a ride. Come pick me up."
* * * * *
"How did you escape?" Gus demands.
"Dude, I wasn't locked up in the psych ward, and you're allowed to check yourself out of the hospital," Shawn says.
"Well, you certainly look like an escaped mental patient, you're still in the hospital gown, Shawn!" Gus snaps.
"Yeah, well, my shirt was cut off me and thrown away, and anyway, it's surprisingly hard to get dressed with one arm strapped to your chest. I can't get this stupid sling thing off," he says.
"You're not supposed to take it off! You got shot!" Gus shouts.
"Yeah, and I'm going to have a really awesome scar, what's your point?" Shawn asks. "Also, you know you're totally going to have to help me get dressed, right?"
"I’m not helping you get dressed, Shawn. Why don't you just call your boyfriend?" Gus asks.
"Because Lassiter would have tied me to the bed, and not in the fun way," Shawn says.
"I don't want to know that, Shawn." Gus stares straight ahead, stiff and angry. "You just keep all that time you spend with Lassiter to yourself."
"Wait, is that what this is about?" Shawn asks. "You're jealous that I've been spending time with Lassiter?"
"You called him your partner, Shawn," Gus snaps.
"Yeah, once, like two months ago, Gus!" Shawn says. "Look, I assure you, Lassiter is an entirely different kind of partner than you. You're irreplaceable."
Gus gives a slow smug grin, and adjusts his tie. "You know that's right," he says. "So am I taking you home?"
Shawn shakes his head. "No, we've got to go to my dad's house," Shawn says.
"You're going to stay with your father voluntarily?" Gus asks with disbelief.
"No, Gus, I just need to go there, and then leave again," Shawn says. "All you have to do is drive there."
"But your father isn't home," Gus says. "He went to the police station."
"I know he isn't home," Shawn says. "He's the last person I want to see right now. He's probably going to freak out a little when he finds out I checked myself out AMA."
"You checked out AMA?" Gus asks shrilly. "Shawn!"
"They said it was the only way I could leave," Shawn tells him. "What does that even stand for, anyway? Awesome Man Assaulted?"
"Against medical advice," Gus says. "It means you need to still be in the hospital."
"Well, it's just advice, Gus," Shawn says. "It says so right in the acronym."
Gus's jaw tightens. "Do you even realize what happened to you?" he asks. "You were--"
"Shot, yes, it's been established, Gus," Shawn says, and pulls a little pill bottle out, shaking it, "but it turns out you can get the good drugs to-go."
"You still need to be in the hospital, Shawn, what if it gets infected?" he demands.
"It's not going to get infected," Shawn says. "And if it does, the hospital is like five minutes away."
"It's eight minutes away," Gus protests. "Eight minutes, Shawn."
"Did you drive all through Santa Barbara with a stopwatch or something? How do you always know the exact time in minutes from one place to another?" Shawn asks. "You're like some kind of savant."
"I have a very accurate internal clock," Gus says. "And eight minutes can mean life or death."
"I'm pretty sure you can't die of infection in eight minutes," Shawn says.
"You're missing my point," he snaps. "This is a bad idea."
"Yeah, but it's fun, right?" Shawn asks. "I would have gone crazy in that hospital."
"You're crazy to have left it," Gus argues.
"Well, crazy either way," Shawn admits. "But at least this way I'm not bored."
Gus glares at him as he parks at the back of Henry's house. "What do you need? I'll go get it," he says.
Shawn shakes his head. "No, I have to get it," he says. "And I need to grab one of my spare shirts."
Gus continues to frown, but eventually nods, and runs around the car to help Shawn out. Shawn tolerates his fussing with bad grace, and eventually succeeds in pushing him away. "Dude, cut it out!" Shawn says.
Gus glares at him, then steps back and crosses his arms. Shawn lets out a breath, and glances out of the car. He gets a little dizzy looking at the ground, and it really shouldn't look so far down for such a small car. "Okay, fine," Shawn says. "Help me up."
Gus gives him a very smug look and then gently pulls him up by his right arm. Shawn leans back against the car and waves him away again, pointing at the porch light. "Key's on top of the light," he says.
Gus walks over and reaches up to grab it. "Doesn't seem like Henry to leave that there," he says.
"He didn't," Shawn says. "I like to leave spare keys all around the house. He finds them and gets rid of them. It's one of our little games."
"That's messed up, Shawn," Gus says.
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't have to do it if he would just give me my own key," he says. "But he wouldn't, so I went to a locksmith and had twenty of them made. He still hasn't found the one under the welcome mat, but he found the one I buried in the garden, how hilarious is that?"
"You're going to feel bad if some robber finds a key and robs the house," Gus says, opening the door and leading the way in.
"I might feel bad for the robber," Shawn says, "because Henry keeps tazers and stun guns hidden all over this house the way I do keys in the backyard, and I'm pretty sure he still sleeps with a gun under his pillow."
Gus snorts as they walk into the house, and Shawn pauses at the bottom of the stairs and looks up. "Um, Gus?" he says.
Gus glares at him. "You can't get up those stairs, can you?" he demands. "Damn it, Shawn, you need--"
"Help," Shawn interrupts. "So are you going to help me up or not?"
Gus moves to Shawn's uninjured side and gently helps him climb the stairs, despite the glare he gives him the whole way up. Shawn drops down onto his bed when they reach his room and closes his eyes. "Oh my god," he says, "I think my dad added a few extra stories to the this house since I've been here last."
"No, it's just that you've been shot--"
"You seem kind of stuck on that," he says, and waves a hand towards his closet. "Can you find me a shirt?"
Gus walks over to the closet, pulls a blue and white checkered button down shirt from the closet and throws it on the bed beside Shawn. Shawn nods gratefully. "Okay, now put it on me."
Gus's eyes widen disbelievingly. "I'm told you I'm not dressing you, Shawn," he says.
Shawn pushes himself up off the bed. "Are you going to make me walk around like this?" Shawn asks. "Because I will, Gus, and I swear, if you don't help me I'm going to break out my Lenny."
"No Lenny, Shawn!" Gus snaps. "Fine. Okay. Whatever. Turn around."
Gus unties the hospital gown and then pulls open the velcro sling, carefully pulling it off. Shawn lets out a faint cry and Gus glares at him. "Shawn, you need to be in the hospital."
Shawn keeps his eyes closed and motions towards his checkered shirt with his good hand. "Just help me get the shirt on," he says.
Gus carefully helps him lower his arm and put the shirt on, checking the bandage to make sure he hasn't bled through, and then does up the buttons before putting the sling back on. "You're nuts, you know that, right?" Gus says. "What's so important that you can't stay in the hospital one more day?"
"I told you, it's boring there, Gus, and it smells awful, and the food is gross, and the television only gets three channels, and the sheets are rough, and--"
"Okay," Gus interrupts. "You don't like hospitals. I get it. But this isn't something you can just walk off."
"You can't sleep it off, either," Shawn says. "Okay. Now tie my shoes."
Gus looked down at Shawn's shoes. "You have to be kidding me," he says.
"This is what best friends are for, Gus! To help you move, and tie your shoes, and help you hide the bodies," he says.
"I'm not helping you with any bodies, Shawn, that time at our thirteen year Reunion was the absolute last time," Gus says. "And I'm only going to tie your shoes because you're stupid and got yourself shot. This is a one time deal."
"I didn't actually get myself shot," Shawn says. "It was more that I was at my apartment, minding my own business, and then I woke up tied to a chair being shot."
Gus frowns at this story as he kneels down to double-knot Shawn's tennis shoes. Henry had told him what had happened, but Gus had been so worked up that he only understood about half of what had been said. "You mean you weren't out investigating?" he asks.
"No, I was inside my apartment investigating," Shawn says. "But the point is, they were already coming after me before I did anything, Jack--" He stops himself before he finishes that sentence, deciding he doesn't want to tell anyone what Jack had done, not even Gus. "Jack said that they knew I was with him on that trip to Australia."
"You were just a kid," Gus says, standing and dusting off his hands. He tries not to notice that there are specks of dried blood on Shawn's jeans. "You didn't know anything."
"They didn't know that," Shawn says. "Anyway, that's not important."
"What is then? Why are we here?" Gus asks.
Shawn scans his shelves, before grabbing up a small Knight Rider KITT replica, and starting out of the room. "This is why we're here!"
"KITT?" Gus asks incredulously, following him out. "How much pain medication are you on?"
"Not enough," Shawn says, "but if you're implying that I'm less than my usual brilliant self, I can assure you that's not the case."
"No, I'd say you're definitely your usual self," Gus complains.
Shawn takes the steps slowly, not waiting for Gus to help, and puts his hand against the wall when he gets dizzy about three steps from the bottom. He can feel himself starting to fall forward and his eyes slip shut, and then someone's grabbing his shirt and helping him down the last steps before he can fall.
Shawn opens his eyes, and then wishes he hadn't. "Uh, hi, Dad," he says.
"What the hell are you doing here, Shawn? I left you sleeping at the hospital," Henry snaps.
"Well, I guess that's why I'll always be a little better than you," Shawn says wryly. "I was faking."
Henry looks up the steps and glares at Gus. "You're supposed to be the one with sense, Gus," he snaps.
"Hey, Gus didn't have anything to do with it," Shawn protests. "I checked myself out. Turns out, you're allowed to do that when you're a grown up."
"Yeah?" Henry demands. "Then how'd you manage it?"
"Oh, that's a good one, Dad, you should go on Leno," Shawn says.
"You're going back to the hospital, now, Shawn," Henry snaps.
"No, I'm going to the police station," Shawn corrects.
Henry laughs. "No, you're not," he says.
"You really think I won't find a way to get there on my own if you try to stop me?" Shawn asks. "I managed to get all the way to Australia when I was only nine."
"God damn it, Shawn," Henry snaps.
"I'll take that as a conciliation, if not a graceful one," Shawn says. "I promise I'll call you to let you know how it all works out. Gus! To the Psych-mobile."
"Hold on," Henry snaps. "If you're going to do this, then you're going with me."
"But--" Shawn starts.
"And then you're going to come back here and you're going to stay with me until you heal up," Henry says. "Or I'm taking you back to the hospital right now, even if I have to have you committed."
"You'd need cause!" Shawn protests.
"Trust me, I've got plenty," Henry snaps. "Don't think I didn't tape that news segment of you shouting about Moo Goo Gai Pan, and I've got a dozen others just like it."
Shawn frowns. "Fine, you can come, but one, I hope you know that's creepy, and two, there are rules; no interrupting, no questions, no mocking. And this is the most important one--no giving away the ending."
"I don't know the ending," Henry snaps. "Because the case has already been solved. The bad guys are all locked up and they've gone to pick up Prost."
"That's only half the case," Shawn protests, gesturing with KITT. "You're just going to have to wait and see with everyone else."
Henry nods at the toy car. "What's that for? A prop for one of your little psychic episodes?" he demands.
"Did you already forget the no mocking rule? Do we need to go over them all again?" Shawn asks.
"I never agreed to your rules, Shawn," Henry says.
Shawn sighs. "Whatever. Are we going to take your truck?"
"What do you think, Shawn?" Henry demands. "My truck is still at the airfield. Jack stole it."
Shawn's eyes widened. "Oh, right. Yeah. Um. About that--"
Henry pauses, watching his son suspiciously. "Shawn?"
"I-may-have-given-him-the-keys," Shawn says quickly.
"Shawn!" Henry yells, biting his lip before he can see any more when he sees Shawn go a little pale. "Don't think we're not going to talk about this."
"It's not even my fault," Shawn says. "I had a date. Uncle Jack was cramping my style. I had to get rid of him somehow."
"Later, Shawn," Henry demands. "You're not up for one of our discussions right now."
Shawn's just about to protest when he realizes it would be kind of stupid to argue for his right to be yelled at, and he nods instead. "The Psych-mobile it is, then."
"Stop calling my car that," Gus says.
"You know you like it," Shawn tells him, and Gus would have snapped back at him if he hadn't seen Henry reach out to grab Shawn's arm to steady him when he stumbles.
Gus decides to let this one go.
* * * * *
Shawn scans the police station. He sees a man getting fingerprinted. Short, with glasses, and a two thousand dollar suit. "There's Prost," he says.
Juliet comes running up to him. "Shawn! Shawn, are you okay?" she asks. She looks like she's using all her self-restraint not to leap over and hug him, and Shawn grins.
"I'm fine, Jules," he says. "How are things here?"
"Good," she says. "The two mercenaries that grabbed you are going to testify against Prost. He's going to go away for a long time."
"That's him, huh?" he asks, nodding over at the man.
Juliet nods. "Yes. We got him in the airport terminal."
"Not very impressive," Shawn says disappointedly. "I was expecting like one of those really big curly mustaches, or maybe really dark bushy eyebrows. A fedora."
"An eye patch?" Gus suggests.
Shawn points at him and nods. "Or an eye patch," he agrees. "Maybe a peg leg."
"He's not Bouchard, Shawn," Gus says.
"The eye patch was your idea," Shawn says defensively. "I was only going with the theme."
"You don't have to be a pirate to have an eye patch," Gus argues.
"But you have to be a pirate to have a peg leg?" Shawn asks. "Since when? I'll have you know I used to know a very nice insurance salesman who had a peg leg. His name was Clarence and he led a perfectly respectable life, except for the part about him being an insurance salesman. But the peg leg had absolutely nothing to do with that."
"Guys," Juliet interrupts. "Let's focus. I'm sorry that you're disappointed, but I assure you, that is him. Now are you going to tell me what you're doing here? The case is over, and you should be in the hospital."
"Yeah, like we haven't tried telling him that," Henry mutters.
Shawn ignores him. "The case isn't over yet; you may have caught the thief," Shawn says, "but what about what was stolen?"
Juliet frowns. "Shawn, that would be great, but we really--"
Shawn ignores her, and hands Gus KITT.
"Wait, is this--?" Gus starts.
Shawn nods. "Yep," he says.
He frowns. "Why--?"
"You'll see," Shawn says, and then looks around the precinct until he spots Lassiter. "Lassie! Hey, where's Jack?"
Shawn goes still when Lassiter meets his eyes, looking very unhappy. He takes a step back into his father as the detective makes a beeline for him. Henry rolls his eyes, but reaches out to steady him.
"What the hell are you doing here, Spencer?" Lassiter demands.
"What I usually do here," Shawn says, with only about half of his usual bravado. "Solving a case."
"Excuse us for a moment," Lassiter says, shooting a wide fake grin at the others before leading Shawn away, a lot more gently than he usually would.
He waits until they're alone in the hallway before crossing his arms and staring the other man down. "I left you at the hospital," he says.
"I left the hospital after you left," Shawn says.
"What? I thought we were stating the obvious," Shawn says.
"You said you were going to stay there," Lassiter snaps.
"No, I said I wasn't going to go after Prost," Shawn says. "Although after seeing him, I'm fairly confident I could take him even in my injured state. I think even Gus could take him."
"You need to be resting," Lassiter says. "You can make things worse on yourself by doing too much too soon."
Shawn nods. "I know, and I'll rest, I will, but Lassie, please," he says, "this is important. I can't explain exactly why."
"You look like you're about to fall over," Lassiter hisses. "You need to be in bed."
Shawn goes from serious to teasing in two seconds flat, and gives him a full-blown grin. "Well--"
"A hospital bed," Lassiter says quickly. "So don't start."
"This won't take long," Shawn insists. "I just have to unravel a twenty-year old mystery and recover a million dollar stolen item. It'll take me ten minutes, tops."
Lassiter tiredly pinches the bridge of his nose. "Ten minutes?" he says.
Shawn nods. "Yep."
"Okay," Lassiter says, and looks at his watch. "Go."
"What?" Shawn asks. "No, everyone has to be here for this. Go round up the others. And find Jack. He needs to be there. It's his case too."
Lassiter sighs with resignation. "Jack's in interrogation room two. I'll bring everyone there."
Shawn nods, and when Lassiter heads back he goes to the interrogation room. Jack looks up when he enters and breaks into a grin, jumping to his feet. "Shawnie!" he says. "Should you be out yet?"
Shawn gives a faint grin in return. "Are you kidding? No hospital can hold me."
Jack carefully hugs him, putting a hand at the back of his neck and being sure not to put any pressure on his left side. "You okay, really?" he asks, pulling back.
Shawn nods. "Yeah, it's fine," he says. "Everything's going to work out, Jack. Trust me."
The door opens again, and Henry and Gus come in, followed by Lassiter, Vick, and Juliet. "Mr. Spencer," Vick says. "While we're all very glad that you're feeling so much better, we're a little confused about why you aren't still in the hospital."
"It's because he's a moron," Henry says helpfully.
Shawn closes his eyes and brings his right hand to his temple. "No, it's not that I'm a moron, it's that I just solved this case," he says, and lowers his hand. "I know what was stolen."
Lassiter frowns. "Even if you figured out what it was, this all went down twenty years ago, how are we supposed to find it?"
"Oh, ye of little faith," Shawn says, leaning forward to grip the table. He tries to make it look like it was a psychic episode, but Henry and Lassiter both move closer in case they needed to help keep him on his feet.
Shawn takes a deep breath and pushes back off the table. "It was simple, really, once I had the whole picture. All this time, Prost thought that Jack was the one that stole from him, but he wasn't. I was."
Jack's eyes widen. "What?"
"I was there in Australia, and please keep in mind that this was back before my powers had fully formed, so of course, I didn't realize what was going on--" Shawn says. "You see a penny, you pick it up."
"What are you talking about, Shawn?" Juliet asks.
"It was a penny," Shawn says.
"What was a penny?" Lassiter demands.
"The stolen merchandise, that's what everyone's been looking for--a little copper penny. A proof 1930 penny, to be exact. Six of a kind. They never told Jack what it was, so he never knew he lost it, and I never realized that I found it." Shawn moves a hand to his head again, closing his eyes. "It wasn't actually worth a million dollars twenty years ago, but Cramer had over-insured it because he knew that it was a very good investment, and he was right. It's worth over a million dollars by now."
"Wait, it was a penny? And you had it? You found it?" Lassiter asks in disbelief. "What happened to it?"
"Gus?" Shawn says, turning towards his friend.
Gus obediently holds out the KITT model, and Shawn reaches out to pull the stopper out from the undercarriage. Pennies come raining down to scatter all across the table. Shawn gives them a once over and then points one out. "There," he says.
Shawn watches as Lassiter carefully picks it up.
"I thought Jack had left it for me to find," Shawn says. "I saved every penny he ever gave me."
Jack looks shocked. "You've had this, all these years?" he asks.
"Yeah. Just think, my father always told me I didn't know how to save money," Shawn says. "And here I've had a million dollars in my piggy bank all the time."
* * * * *
Jack glances over at him, and lets out a kind of disbelievingly laugh. "I can't believe it's been right there all along," he says. "All these years that I've been looking--and it was right there."
"I think you're missing the point," Shawn says quietly.
Jack just shakes his head. "We could have split it fifty fifty," he says. "Christ, kid, what were you thinking handing that over?"
Shawn looks at the floor. "That belongs to someone, you know that right? It was stolen. It doesn't belong to me, and it doesn't belong to you, it never did."
"No, it never did," Jack says. "But it could have."
Shawn sighs and looks back up. "You know I brought some of the gold to Red Robin," he says. "I was planning to give it to you, but you never showed up."
"But you know what, Jack? Maybe it's better this way, maybe it's better you didn't come," he says. "I don't think having it is going to make the difference you think it will."
"Money always makes a difference," Jack says.
Shawn bites his lip. "You should probably get out of town again, lay low for awhile."
"I'd love to," Jack says. "I'm kind of in jail."
"Don't worry, the spirits are telling me that it won't last," Shawn says. "I just have one question. Would you really have traded yourself for me?"
"In a heartbeat," Jack says. "I never wanted you to get hurt. Even if you don't believe anything else, you have to believe that."
Shawn nods. "Yeah, I do," he says, and reaches for the door. "I hope that some day you find what you're looking for."
"Hey, kid," Jack calls. "Catch."
Shawn turns back around, and snatches a penny out of the air.
"It's 1946, the first year they started using tin since 1942," Jack says. "It's not worth much."
Shawn grins, sticking the penny in his pocket. "That all depends on how you measure it, Uncle Jack," he says.
* * * * *
"But that wouldn't have been anywhere near as dramatic," Shawn protests.
Lassiter shakes his head. "You're insane," he says.
"Impassioned," Shawn counters.
"Idiotic," Lassiter says, and steps closer, backing Shawn up until he hits the wall.
Shawn grins at him widely. "Idealistic," he says.
"Impertinent," Lassiter snaps.
"Intelligent, interesting, insouciant, insightful, intriguing, intrepid, intuitive, impressive," Shawn says. "I'm best friends with Gus, I can do this all day."
Lassiter leans forward and kisses him to shut him up. Shawn grabs onto Lassiter's holster to steady himself and kisses back. "I'll make it up to you. I'm going to make you the best pineapple upside-down cake that there ever was," he promises, before kissing Lassiter again.
Lassiter jerks away abruptly at the sound of someone clearing their throat, and they turn to see Vick and Juliet standing at the end of the hall.
"Hey, Lassie?" Shawn whispers. "I think they know about us."
Vick rolls her eyes and throws up her hands. "I saw nothing," she says, before wandering off.
Juliet grins at them like she thinks they're the cutest couple ever, and Lassiter groans and leans his head against the wall beside Shawn's ear as she heads off with a pleased spring in her step that promises nothing good. "This is why I didn't want them to know," he whispers.
Shawn laughs. "They would have found out eventually," he says. "It's better this way. I don't know how well I can control myself around you."
"Who would have noticed the difference?" Lassiter asks. "You've been throwing yourself at me since we met."
Shawn grins. "Way I remember it, you're the one that swept me off my feet."
"Shawn," Henry snaps, coming around the corner with Gus. "We're leaving. You promised."
Shawn frowns. "I didn't promise, exactly--"
"Shawn!" he shouts.
"I'm coming," Shawn says quickly, before turning back to Lassiter. "I'm going to stay with my dad for a couple of days. I'd get out of it, but he threatened to have me committed."
Lassiter grins slightly. "I have to wrap things up here," he says. "Do you think it would be okay if I came by later?"
"No," Henry snaps. "Now, Shawn."
Shawn places a hand on the back of Lassiter's neck to pull him closer. "There's a key hidden under the welcome mat," he whispers, before pushing away from the wall to follow his father and Gus out.
Henry waits until Shawn reaches him and then takes his arm to gently lead him to the doors.
"Hey, guys, wait," Juliet calls, running after them. "Did you know that there was a reward for the penny?"
"What?" Shawn asks.
"Yeah, I just spoke to Cramer, he's really excited to have his penny back. He wants to give you $30,000.00 Australian dollars. That's what? Still a lot right?" Juliet looks thoughtful. "Or is it like Yen?"
"That's like $20,000.00 dollars US," Gus says.
Shawn turns to his friend in disbelief. "Do I even want to know why you know that?" he asks.
"I like to keep up on the current exchange rates," Gus says defensively. "There's nothing wrong with that."
"Yeah, except you've never been out of California," Shawn says.
"I've been to Mexico, twice, Shawn," Gus snaps.
"Well, I stand corrected, obviously your knowledge of the Australian exchange rate is entirely relevant," Shawn says.
Henry moves in front of him. "Wait, so this guy's just going to give Shawn all this money?" He gives her the same look of frustration he'd given the cashier when Shawn was the 1,000,000 customer in line at the super-market.
Juliet nods. "The reward has been offered for the last twenty years," she says. "He says the penny is more than worth it."
"Huh," Shawn says. "I guess it was good luck after all."
* * * * *
Gus puts his in his saving account. Henry buys a new boat. Lassiter puts a down payment on a house that's close enough to his father's place for Shawn to make foreboding prophetic statements having to do with the show Everybody Loves Raymond, and how if the Barones have taught them anything it's that it's a very very bad idea to be that close to the in-laws, but Lassiter ignores him and Shawn is secretly grateful when he does.
Shawn uses his own cut to bail out Uncle Jack. Jack doesn't show up in court, so he doesn't get it back.
But Shawn had been expecting that.
"I can't believe you ran away to Australia! My parents said if I ever did anything like that I would be grounded until I was thirty," Gus says. "Did you at least find some treasure?"
Shawn pulls out a penny and shows it to Gus. "It's an Australian coin," he says. "From 1930, Gus!"
"A penny?" he says incredulously. "This isn't treasure! This is hardly worth being grounded until you're thirty."
"Dad only grounded me for two months, and Mom's pretty sure she can talk him down to one," Shawn tells him. He tosses the penny up and catches it, before sticking it in his back pocket. "There were mitigating circumstances. I didn't realize that I was going to Australia, so this isn't really a leaving-the-country offence. It's more just stowing away with intent to cross state-lines, and that time I tried to hitchhike to Reno so I could go to the Circus Circus I only got grounded for two weeks."
"You only made it three blocks that time before your dad's partner picked you up, so it was hardly the same," Gus says. "Anyway, one month, two months, twenty-one years, it doesn't matter, it's still not worth it."
"You're wrong, Gus," Shawn says with a grin, "it was totally worth it."