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Five Times Juliet O'Hara Broke Up With Shawn Spencer (And One Time She Didn't)

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1. Juliet Can't Do This Anymore

“I can’t do this anymore,” Juliet said, but no one heard her.

A few feet away, Shawn was enacting an elaborate psychic “vision” for Lassiter, with Gus’s assistance. Juliet wasn’t even certain what the point of the vision was, aside from making the vein in Lassiter’s forehead throb, since she already had the suspect in custody.

“What the hell is he doing?” the suspect in question, one Muriel Polaski, asked, squinting at Shawn, who appeared to be performing the last act of Die Hard, with Gus doing the Bonnie Bedelia part.

“I have no idea,” Juliet admitted, and turned her attention back to Muriel. She had already read her her rights, but Muriel had waived them, fully admitting that she had shot her longtime boyfriend.

“So Muriel, tell me what happened. Why did you shoot Brian in…in the…”

“In the ass,” Muriel confirmed, smirking. “I shot him in the ass.”

“Right,” Juliet said. “Tell me why you did that.”

“Because he never listens to me!” Muriel snapped. “I told him and told him not to spend any more money on lottery tickets, but he didn’t listen, and now we can’t pay the electric bill. I told him not to bring his buddies home after work all the time because they eat us out of house and home, but he brings ‘em anyway, and somehow it’s my fault when we run out of beer! I told him that I didn’t want to talk to my sister anymore because she’s a conniving bitch, but then I find out he invited her over for Thanksgiving!” Muriel looked down at her hands. “I didn’t plan on shooting him, but I just got so goddamned tired of him not listening to a word I said that I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do SOMETHING to get his attention.”

“I think you got it,” Juliet said dryly.

“He’s going to be okay, isn’t he?” Muriel asked anxiously.

“The paramedics said he should be fine, although it’s going to be very painful for him to sit, or walk, or, well, do anything for the next few weeks.”

“I wasn’t really trying to hurt him. I just wanted him to…” she trailed off miserably.

“Take you seriously?” Juliet provided quietly. “Listen, just for once, to what you were saying? Stop ignoring what you want because he thinks he always knows what’s best?”

Muriel looked back up at her, nodding. “Yeah. All of that.”

Juliet looked back over at the trio of Shawn, Gus, and Lassiter again. Judging by the way Shawn was clutching at Carlton’s watch, her partner had been cast in the Alan Rickman role, and they were finally at the end of the scene.

“I sympathize,” she told Muriel. “But I still have to charge you with assault with a deadly weapon.”

A patrol car took Muriel away, and Juliet rode back to the station with Lassiter, who spent the drive telling her about the cooking class he and Marlowe were taking together. He sounded so happy these days, and it made her happy to hear it, but it also seemed to highlight to her how not-happy she was lately.

She wished she could pinpoint it all on finding out that Shawn wasn’t psychic. That he was, in fact, a very observant fraud. That had been a shock, a body blow, a revelation that she didn’t think their relationship could ever recover from. She still wasn’t sure that it could.

But her own misgivings had started even before that. There was the way Shawn ignored her when she said that she didn’t want to see her father, and while she knew that his insistence had to do with his relationship with his own father, Frank wasn’t Henry, and she wasn’t Shawn, and if she didn’t want to see her deadbeat dad then that was her choice to make, not Shawn’s to make for her. She looked down at her lap and saw that her hands were clenched in fists so tight that her knuckles were white. Months later, and the memory of Shawn’s utter cluelessness to what she wanted in relation to her father still made her furious.

It terrified her to think just how much her charming, manipulative, con artist dad had in common with her boyfriend.

And then there had been Shawn’s jealousy when he thought she was cheating on him during the Internet dating case, when, in front of a roomful of her coworkers he had said that had been “Jezebel-ing it up” with all of Santa Barbara. Such a nice, old-fashioned way of suggesting that she was slutty, right in front of her boss, her subordinates, her peers. What must they think of her?

Right. They couldn’t think anything good, because when the mayor had held a special ceremony praising the department, Shawn had jumped onstage and taken all the credit for everything the department did. He had thought it would be funny, he told her when she called him on it later, but he had been the only one laughing.

And on top of it all, finding out that he had been lying to her since the day they met. That he had gone to bed with her while lying to her. Moved in with her while lying to her.

She was shaking. God, she thought that she had moved past all this. Shawn had promised not to lie anymore, and she had agreed that there were certain things she was better off not knowing. Something about Muriel Pulaski’s frustration had triggered all of the anger and sadness Juliet had been trying so hard to repress. It was probably not healthy that she sympathized so much with a woman who had shot her boyfriend in the butt.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she whispered again, and Carlton glanced over at her.

“Did you say something, O’Hara?”

She sighed. “Let’s just get to the station and wrap this case up.”

At the station, she watched as Muriel was fingerprinted and photographed, and as the woman was taken away to a holding cell, she paused in front of Juliet. “I don’t regret it, you know,” she said. “I’m sorry if he’s hurting, but he hurt me, too. I don’t regret it.”

“What was that about?” Carlton asked.

“Girl talk,” Juliet said absently.

Shawn was waiting for her at her desk, and as she watched him pick a file up and flip through it, she realized what she had to do.

“Let’s talk for a minute,” she said, and led him into a little-used file room.

“What’s up, Jules?” he asked cheerfully, and she took a deep breath, because she knew that this was going to hurt him, and she knew just as strongly that if she didn’t do it soon, she was only going to become angrier and sadder, and, well, she PROBABLY wasn’t going to shoot him in the ass, but it didn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility either.

“I’m sorry, Shawn, but I can’t do this anymore.”

“What?” he asked, puzzled. “What can’t you do anymore? What are you talking about?”

“This, Shawn,” she said, gesturing between them. “You and me. I can’t do it anymore.”

“Jules, no,” he said worriedly, taking her hands in his. “I thought we were past this. Tell me what I can do to make things right, and I’ll do it. Anything.”

She gently pulled her hands away and crossed her arms in front of her chest, a defensive gesture she knew he wouldn’t miss. “It’s not about you, Shawn, or what you’ll do for me. I know you would have told Chief Vick because I asked you to, and I appreciate that, I really do. But this is about me, and what I can live with. And I can’t do this anymore.”

“Tell me what I need to do to fix this.”

She shook her head sadly. “You can’t. You’re not listening to what I’m saying: this isn’t about you, it’s about me. I can’t do this, Shawn. I don’t think that I have the ability to pretend that I think you’re psychic every time we work on a case together.”

“Jules,” he said desperately, reaching for her, but she took a step back before he could touch her.

“That’s not the only reason Shawn. Sometimes…I hate to say this, but sometimes I feel like you don’t listen to me, or respect me enough to take the things I say seriously.”

“Juliet, I respect you, I respect you more than anyone I know! I can’t tell you how sorry I am if I haven’t done enough to make you see that, but I can promise you that I’ll try harder to make sure that you know every day how important you are to me. You have to believe me.”

He sounded so earnest, so sincere. It made her want to crumble, give in, let him put his arms around her and feed her sweet words about how things would be better from now on, but she was struck with a sudden memory of her mother giving in to her father when he begged for forgiveness, promised to do better, and how in the end her mom had always regretted giving him another chance, because it led to nothing but pain. Juliet shook her head again, feeling warm tears sliding down her cheeks.

“Shawn, how can I believe you? You’ve lied to me every day since the moment we met."

"I have NEVER lied to you about the way I felt about you. Jules, you have to trust me about that. I love you."

"But the way you feel about me isn't the only facet of our relationship! I believe you when you say that you've always been honest about that, but that doesn't cancel out the fact that you did lie to me about so much else." Finally, she felt a low burn of anger cut through her sorrow as she added "And Shawn, how can you possibly ask me to trust you when you've never trusted me?”

For once, Shawn looked really, truly shocked. “How can you say that, sweetheart? I love you, of course I trust you! I’d trust you with my life!”

“No, you don’t. I shared everything about myself with you. I gave you everything I had. I never held anything back, because I loved you so much, and I trusted you. But you were ALWAYS holding back from me. You never trusted me enough to tell me the most amazing things about yourself. I want to be in a relationship with someone who thinks of me as an equal partner. I thought for a while that was what we had, but I was wrong. I could never be your partner, because you never let me close enough to know the real you.”

“I never meant to do that, but maybe you’re right, maybe I did,” he admitted, his voice choked with emotion. “But it’s different now, Jules! You know everything. I’m not holding anything about myself back from you anymore. We can still make this work.”

“No,” she said. “I’m sorry, Shawn, it’s too late. I can’t do this anymore.”

She turned and walked out of the file room, ignoring his pleas for her to stay, and, grabbing her purse out of her desk as she went, she kept walking, out the door and down the steps, and for the first time in months, she felt free.

2. Juliet, The Vampire Slayer

“Did you think you were the only one who had secrets?” Juliet asked. Shawn’s mouth was hanging open, which wasn’t a good look on anyone, but she understood; the first time she had seen a vampire, she had been shocked too.

They were standing in the middle of the largest graveyard in Santa Barbara, a stake in her hand and a pile of dust at her feet. Nearby, a blonde woman about Juliet’s age nodded approvingly.

“Good job! I was hoping that the whole cop gig had kept your reflexes sharp.”

“I don’t understand,” Shawn said weakly.

Juliet sighed impatiently. She had tried to explain before the trip to the graveyard, but Shawn hadn’t listened. Nothing unusual about that, a tiny voice in the back of her mind piped up.

“I told you. I met Buffy when I was still in college. There was…an event. A trigger.”

“A spell,” Buffy injected helpfully. “It was way cool.”

“Right. A spell. It activated women all around the world who were potential vampire slayers. I was already on track to being a police officer, and at first I thought the increase in strength that I was experiencing was because of all the working out I had been doing. But it turns out that I was a slayer.”

“A slayer,” Shawn said blankly.

Buffy stepped in closer, smirking slightly as she recited “A girl born with the strength and skills to fight the vampires and stop the spread…you know, I had a pamphlet made up to explain all this. I can leave one with you if you like.”

“Anyway,” Juliet continued, “Not long after I started noticing that something about me had changed, I met Buffy and her friend Willow. They explained to me what had happened, and spent a few weeks with me training me to, you know, slay vampires.”

“Right,” Shawn said. “So that…” he gestured at the pile of dust in front of her.

“Yeah,” she confirmed. “Vampire. Buffy offered me the opportunity to come with her and help recruit slayers around the world, but my dream was to be a police detective.”

“And,” Buffy said, “my dream was to help the slayers we had created live the lives they wanted. It wasn’t always that way,” she continued softly, looking pensive. “That Juliet wanted to be a cop was perfect, really. It meant that she could use what she had learned to help people, and to fight a different kind of evil than I’m able to focus on.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about this sooner!”

Juliet stared at him in disbelief and he backtracked quickly.

“I mean, I know I’ve kept things from you. But vampires and demons and the hot women who kill them? How could you not tell me?”

“How could you not know there was something different about me?” she countered. “Do you think crossbow training is standard at the police academy? Did you never wonder why I could bring down criminals that Lassiter couldn’t? For that matter, didn’t you think it was strange that I believed so easily in psychic powers? It was because I knew that the supernatural world existed.”

“You’ve been using a crossbow?” Buffy asked perkily. “Awesome. I have some really choice ones, if you ever want to try them out.”

“I’d love to,” Juliet said, linking her arm with Buffy’s as they started to walk away.

“But Jules,” Shawn said helplessly, “where are you going?”

She stopped and turned around. “I’m sorry Shawn, I did try to explain all of this earlier. Buffy needs my help fighting a demon in Anaheim. After that, I’m going with her to the slayer academy she helps run. I’ve been thinking for a while that I wanted to explore the slayer side of myself more thoroughly, and Buffy showing up now makes me think that this is the right time for that.”

“But sweetheart, what about us?”

Juliet stepped away from Buffy, who started examining gravestones in an imitation of not eavesdropping.

“Shawn, I’ve known for a while that this wasn’t going to work out between us. There have been too many secrets and lies between us. I guess that’s my fault as much as yours, and I’m really sorry, but I think this gives us the chance to make a clean break and move on.” She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll miss you. Say goodbye to Gus and Henry for me, and take care of yourself.”

“But…what about your job? And what about Lassiter? He’ll kill me if you suddenly disappear!”

“I’ve already talked to Chief Vick about taking a leave of absence. And Carlton knows all about this,” Juliet said. “I mean, we’ve been partners for nearly seven years! Of course he noticed that I was different.”

She was already moving away from him, back to Buffy.

“Are you sure you can trust him to keep this private?” he heard Buffy ask as they walked away. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that ex-boyfriends do not always act in a rational way. Willow could make him forget all of this if you think he’ll be a problem.”

“No,” Juliet said, glancing back at him one last time, “Shawn is surprisingly good at keeping secrets.”

3. Arrest

“Are you sure about this?” Lassiter asked.

“It’s a little late to be asking me that, isn’t it?” she replied, watching as the officers handcuffed Shawn and Gus. “I thought you would be happier about this.”

“It’s a complicated situation. They’ve done a lot of good.”

“I know,” she acknowledged. “I know that they have. But our job is supposed to be about upholding the law and finding the truth.”

The truth that the surveillance operation she had set up in the Psych office had revealed was not only the fraud concerning Shawn’s “psychic” abilities, but also that their latest investigation had included breaking and entering and tampering with evidence.

“Jules!” Shawn’s voice was shaking with fury. “How could you do this to me?”

“I’m sorry that things had to end this way,” she said sadly. “But you shouldn’t have lied.”

4. The Man in the Hat

“So,” Raylan said, idly stroking a finger down Juliet’s arm, “the guy you dumped the glass of beer on in the bar tonight. He your boyfriend?”

“Ex,” Juliet said. She had a feeling that she was going to regret this later, but at the moment she felt loose-limbed and content. If she had been a cat, she would have been purring. “I broke up with him weeks ago. He’s having trouble accepting it, hence the beer tonight. I shouldn’t have done that, but he can be so damn frustrating. He’s never been that great about listening to me. There was this one time, when I told him I didn’t want to see my dad…” she sighed, stretched. “Never mind.”

Raylan kissed her shoulder. “Father issues,” he said sympathetically. “Believe me, I understand.”

“Shawn thought he understood too because he and his dad didn’t speak to each other for years, but he didn’t get it. My dad is a conman. I don’t want him in my life, but Shawn dragged him into it no matter what I wanted.”

“Mine was a crook too. He died in prison.”

She sat up, leaned over him so that she could see his face. “Oh my god, I’m sorry. Why are we talking about this?”

He ran his hand down her back and she shivered a little; yeah, there was going to be a round two before she let him go. Maybe a round three and four as well. If she was going to regret this, then she planned on making it worth her while.

“My fault. I started it by asking about your ex. I apologize in advance because I understand that this might not be what you want to talk about right now, but I have to ask: is he really psychic?”

She frowned. “Do you believe in psychics?” she asked, instead of answering his question.

He hesitated before answering. “No, not exactly, but I did meet a woman not long ago who seemed to…know things. Things she couldn’t have known.”

She nodded understandingly. “That was what I thought about Shawn for a long time, but no, he’s not psychic. Finding that out was actually what led to us breaking up. I couldn’t stand that he lied to me for so long. And it wasn’t just him! His best friend and his dad lied to me all along too! My dad’s a liar, my brother’s a liar…it’s like they all belong to this club, and there’s a giant “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door.” She smacked Raylan on the arm. “Why do men do that?”

“Hey, don’t take it out on me,” he said. “I like girls in my clubhouse.” He reached up and tangled his fingers in her hair, cupping the back of her head to bring her in for another kiss, rolling them over so that he was on top this time.

Juliet could not believe she was doing this; she had barely known Raylan Givens three days. He had come to town to assist in a manhunt for an escaped prisoner. They had found common ground immediately, having both worked in law enforcement in Miami, and had spent some time gossiping about mutual acquaintances. She was normally much more cautious about this sort of thing, but somehow, knowing that he was leaving Santa Barbara and going back to Kentucky the next day freed her up to act on impulse and sleep with him. She figured that her desire to do so probably had something to do with how he was pretty much sex on two legs. It wasn’t just her either; Shawn, Gus, Lassiter, hell, even Chief Vick, had all been staring at him with stars in their eyes ever since he first walked into the station. The man just had something. Maybe it was the hat.

“Hey,” she said, when he moved from her mouth to suck at the soft skin under her ear, “when you came into the station on that first day, you looked at me like you knew me. We didn’t meet before, did we? In Miami? I’m sure I would remember you.”

He propped himself up on one elbow, looking her over. She felt her skin prickle all over in response to the heat of his gaze. “No,” he said. “We’ve never met. You just look a lot like a woman I arrested once. Well, actually, I shot her. Only woman I’ve ever shot. She’s alive, though, serving her sentence.” He grimaced at the disturbed expression on Juliet’s face. “Sorry, this is worse pillow talk than the caring and sharing about our dads. If it makes a difference, I only shot her because she had drugged me and was about to steal my organs to sell them on the black market. Up until that point, I liked her.”

“Well,” Juliet said faintly, “I can see how something like that might change your opinion of a girl.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, and went back to the business at hand, lowering his head to lick at a bead of sweat on her breast. She gasped, wrapped her legs around him to pull him in close again.

“Hey,” she whispered again, “when do you have to leave tomorrow?”

“I need to pick up the prisoner at your station around noon. You don’t have to worry, you know,” he added, “I won’t tell anyone about this. It won’t get back to that ex-boyfriend of yours.”

“Oh, he’ll know,” Juliet said, and of this she was very certain. She would make sure to leave the collar of her shirt open enough so that he would see the love bite Raylan had left earlier, and she planned on staying the entire night in the cheap hotel room, so that she would be forced to wear the same clothes she’d worn the day before. Other people, like Carlton and Chief Vick, might notice too, but she could live with that. “No one will have to tell him. He’ll see me tomorrow, and he’ll figure it out.” And maybe, maybe, he would finally believe her when she said that they were through.

She reached up and dragged Raylan down to kiss her again. She didn’t feel like talking anymore.

5. Nancy Drew Never Sang Back-Up

“Jules,” Shawn pleaded desperately, “please reconsider.”

“I’ve already accepted the position, Shawn. My mind is made up,” Juliet said, packing away the last of the clothes in her closet.

“I don’t get it,” he said, and for once he sounded angry, “You and me and Gus and Lassie…we made a difference, Jules! Why do you want to break up our team? ”

She noticed that he had stopped asking why she wanted to break up with him, which he had been doing non-stop since she told him that she had accepted a job with the Carmel police department as a detective, and that she didn’t want him to come with her, no doubt because he was tired of hearing her long list of reasons. Sitting down on the edge of her bed, she looked up at him and sighed.

“For one thing, it’s going to be easier on both of us if there’s some distance between us. And for another thing, we aren’t a team, Shawn. We never were.”

“How can you say that?” he asked in disbelief.

Because in a real team, half the members wouldn’t hold onto a secret that the other half wasn’t allowed to know, she thinks, but she doesn’t say that.

Instead, she said “I can’t lie to the people I work with all the time, but I don’t want or expect you to give up Psych for me. If you did, it would only be a matter of time before you started to resent me for making you give up the job you love. Besides, you were right when you said that you did good work. Asking you to tell the Chief before, that was a mistake, but it was one I made because I can’t live every day with this kind of deception,” she took a deep breath to steady herself before continuing, “but you can live with it. You have for years now. And I’m not judging you for that Shawn, I’m really not, I know you had your reasons. But I can’t do it.”

“Jules,” he said softly, “I know it’s asking a lot of you. I understand that. But please, can’t you consider it? For us?”

“I always wanted to be a detective, you know,” she said abruptly. “I played Nancy Drew with my Barbie dolls. When I was a twelve, I had a crush on Hercule Poirot. I told my guidance counselor in high school that I wanted to be a police detective, and she helped me map out what I would need to do to make that happen. I always knew that this was what I was meant to do.”

Shawn looked confused. “Sweetheart, I know. You’re an amazing cop, that’s why I don’t understand…”

“You said we were a team, but we’re not. It’s more like we’re a band. You’re the lead singer, and the rest of us are just your back-up.”

“No!” Shawn said, stricken. “That’s not at all —”

“Yes,” she said gently, “it is. Shawn, I need to know what kind of detective I can be without you there to solve the case first. I need to succeed or fail on my own. You…you’re so good at this. You were born to this. I’ll never know what I’m capable of unless I don’t have your skill to fall back on. Looking back over the years since I came to Santa Barbara, I think I’ve always been too willing to ask you for help when I get stuck. I need to find out what I can do when you’re not around to bail me out.”

“But Juliet, I WANT to be able to help you. What good are the skills that I have if I can’t use them to help the people I love?”

She felt unexpected tears well up in her eyes, and she looked away from Shawn and out the window, where she could see the moving van pulling into the driveway.

“You use those skills to make the world a better place, just like you always have,” she said, willing her voice to remain steady. “I have to do this, Shawn. I used to be so sure of myself, so sure of what I wanted to do with my life, but ever since I found out —”

“Please don’t make this about that.”

“I have to! When I thought you were psychic, it meant that you were solving the cases based on information I couldn’t hope to have. But when I realized that you were working from the same clues that I had, it made me question everything that I thought I knew about myself. That’s why I have to get away from you, Shawn, so that I can figure out who *I* am again, because I don’t know anymore.”

She stood up, wiped a hand across her eyes. Shawn looked shell-shocked, but didn’t offer any further protest as she walked down the stairs to the front door, to let the movers in.