Shawn couldn’t take it! He didn’t want to be a cop, he never wanted to be a cop, and at the rate his father was going, he never would be! It was a Saturday, and his father had just left for work. The last two days were a nightmare, and Shawn knew he needed to leave.
2 days earlier
He was leaning in, just about to make the moves on the boy in the passenger seat when there was a sharp rap on the window and an outraged “Shawn!” from outside. He flinched and immediately looked over his shoulder to see his father standing outside in his police uniform, and shining his flashlight into the truck.
Shawn flinched back from the harsh light, putting a hand up to block it out as his father wrenched the door open and forcibly dragged him out of the truck by his outstretched arm. He knew he was going to be in trouble when he stole (read: borrowed) Henry’s truck even though he told him earlier that he couldn’t borrow it to take someone out on a date.
Meanwhile, his date was, rightly, freaking out because, as far as he knew, a police officer that knew his date by name just physically dragged him out of the vehicle. He freaked out even more when Shawn merely looked dejected, and glanced at him with a pitying look before walking over to where the man was telling him to stand. The police officer used his radio to call for a tow truck, and then he looked back at the passenger in the truck.
Shawn watched as his father told the boy to get out of the vehicle and head home before starting to handcuff Shawn. He watched sorrowfully through the back window of the squad car as his date asked his father for a ride back to his house because his phone was dead. He knew the next few hours weren’t going to be good as he watched his father fail at hiding his smug smirk as he told his date to start walking, and that this was a life lesson because he should’ve thought about what he was doing before going on a date. “With another boy” was silent, but they all heard it anyway.
His father got back in his car and started to drive away, trusting that his truck would be picked up soon. He was silent the whole car ride, and Shawn just kept getting more and more nervous. He was scared of what Henry would do when he got home, but as his father kept driving, he realized they weren’t heading towards home. He groaned quietly when he saw the police station around the corner, and finally understood why he was cuffed.
They pulled into a parking spot dedicated to police cars, and his father got out and went around the back and opened his door to drag him out. He led Shawn into the police station, and told the officer at the front desk that he needed to book a suspect and leave him in the cells overnight. The officer made a face when he saw that the arresting officer had his son in cuffs, but Henry had always told everyone that he was a bad kid, messing up in school and not listening to him at home, so they didn’t question him.
Shawn was led to the booking desk where they did everything except fingerprint him, because, even though his father wanted to scare him, he didn’t actually want to answer any questions about why he arrested his son, and if he wasn’t fingerprinted then he wasn’t in the system. After he answered all the questions they needed to know about him for the report, he was taken to The Cages.
‘The Cages’ was the term everyone used for the holding cells in the back. They could hold up to five people in each cell, and they were divided by sex. The next cell to be opened only had one man in it, and Shawn felt his father falter in his steps when he saw who it was he would be putting Shawn in with, but in the end he kept moving.
He hauled Shawn over to an officer he hadn’t met before and added Shawn to the log book before shoving him into the cell with the one man. The officer, a rookie, Shawn realized by the lack of accoutrements on his uniform, seemed uncomfortable with Shawn being put in the cell he was in, but when he looked at the name Henry wrote in the log book next his own as the arresting officer, he shut his mouth. Henry made sure Shawn was locked in, told him he would pick him up in the morning, and then just walked away.
Shawn looked around his cell, spotted an empty bench, and sat down. Once he was as settled as he could be on an uncomfortable metal bench with no padding, he looked up to evaluate his cellmate, and didn’t like what he saw.
The man was jittery, a little too jittery, and he had what Gus would call ‘crazy eyes.’ He licked his lips when Shawn made eye contact, and then slowly ran his eyes down Shawn’s form, making him very uncomfortable. The man had stringy brown hair, a little on the long side, and he was tall. His face was narrow, oily and pock-marked, and his bushy eyebrows did nothing to help his look. He had a drab red shirt on that had certainly seen better days, and it had more than a few questionable stains — which was saying something given Shawn was very good at identifying stains. He had on khaki cargo pants with ragged hems, and what Shawn believed to be no name tennis shoes that were probably white five years ago, but now were the yellowish color smoker’s fingers took on after years upon years of smoking.
An hour went by with the only movement being the man’s tongue as he licked his lips, never taking his eyes off Shawn, and his shifting from foot to foot. Shawn spent his time sitting there keeping one eye on the shifty man while focusing the rest of his incredible brain power on worrying about what his father was going to say to him when they finally got home.
Then another officer arrived to take the place of the rookie as the shift changed, and Shawn groaned inside, because he knew this officer, and nothing good could come from it. This man was short, squat, and supremely lazy. He didn’t stand when he could sit, and he didn’t sit when he could sleep, especially while on the job. He could also usually be found in the break room dozing next to a half-eaten box of doughnuts, even when he was supposed to be at his post. He really should have been forced into retirement years ago, but he was life-long drinking buddies with the Chief, so his pension grew as steadily as his belly.
The rookie looked at Shawn as the new officer took over, and when the man merely glanced at who was in the cells before huffing at all of them and walking towards the break room for “coffee”, he stayed behind.
The shifty man got excited when he saw the older man leave the room, and started to move towards Shawn, but jerked to a stop when the rookie officer moved towards Shawn as well, and kept an eye on the man as he settled into a chair outside the cells purposefully close to the fifteen year old. The rookie made sure to keep his hands near his taser as he sat down, and kept eye contact with the shifty man until he looked away and went to sit down on a bench on the other side of the cell.
Once the man sat down far, far away from Shawn, he moved his hands back to his lap and introduced himself. He told Shawn that he didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone with the man, so he was going to stay with him until either Shawn was removed from The Cages or a competent officer took his post. Shawn knew the next shift change wasn’t until the next morning, but he was grateful, so he didn’t say anything. They began to talk, and kept talking long into the night. The rookie never seemed to get tired, keeping one eye on the man the whole time, and whenever the man shifted, the rookie purposefully moved his hand back towards his taser as a warning.
As the night went on, the stories they shared moved from general niceties, to school, to work, to family, and then the conversation seemed to dissolve at around 2am into completely random topics. They spoke about anything and everything, and learned a lot about each other that night.
The next morning, Henry came back to collect Shawn, and saw that he was leaning against the bars of the cell whispering to the new rookie on the other side of the bars. They both looked tired, Shawn more than the officer, but they kept talking until Henry stepped up to unlock the doors. He grabbed Shawn by the arm and pulled him out of the cell as he eyed the rookie who had stood up when he spotted Henry. The elder police officer asked him why he was still there, and followed that with a lecture on going home and actually doing productive things, like sleeping, instead of wasting time on Shawn, not letting the rookie get a word in edgewise. Once he finished talking, he hauled Shawn out of the station, blind to the glare the young officer leveled at his back, more specifically, the tight grip he had on his son’s arm.
Shawn’s father drove him to school in his squad car and dropped him off. When Shawn told him that he needed his backpack (that was still in the truck) because he had two tests today that he needed to look at his notes for, and had homework due in every class, Henry merely shrugged and told him he should have thought about that before he went out on a school night.
That day was a bad one because his date from the night before completely avoided him, going so far as to turn the other way when he saw Shawn walking down the hall. He got weird looks for wearing the same clothes as the day before, and he got sent to the Principal’s office by all of his teachers to be yelled at when he told them that he didn’t have his homework to turn in. None of his teachers really liked him because he never seemed to pay attention in class, and rarely turned in his homework, but he always aced their tests, so they liked to take it out on him by sending him to the Principal’s office for every violation so it would turn up on his school record. He also avoided Gus that day, which was even harder because he usually couldn’t go a day without talking to his best friend and secret crush.
He took the bus home after school, and immediately went upstairs to take a shower because he stank of prison B.O. After that, he decided he should probably make it up to his teachers, so he emailed his homework to those that he knew would accept it, and decided to actually do and turn in all of his homework for the next week. He felt that he had been slipping these last few weeks, worrying on hiding his crush from Gus and how he was going to tell Henry he thought he was gay. Well, at least one of his problems was taken care of. Kind of hard to think your kid is straight when you catch them about to kiss another boy.
When 8pm rolled around he heard his father pull into the driveway, and he nervously watched from his window as he got out of his car and stalked into the house. He winced when he heard the door slam, and cringed when his father bellowed out an angry, “SHAWN! Get you ass down here now!”
As he made his way downstairs, he braced himself for a lot of yelling, and was therefore caught completely off guard when Henry clipped him on the side of his face as he stepped off the last stair, and fell to the ground from the strength of the blow. He was dazed and started to dissociate as his father hauled him up by his collar and started to rain punches down on his body, all the while screaming something about gays and fags. His father had never hit him before, only yelled and slammed his hands on tables, so all of this was a shock.
His father dropped him on the floor again and kicked him a few more times before crouching down in front of his son. He grabbed Shawn’s face and slapped it a few times until Shawn managed to look into his eyes before he whispered, shaking his son intermittently, “You are not gay. You never will be a gay. I will kill you myself if I ever find you even looking at a boy and thinking those horrible, disgusting thoughts. No son of mine is a fag.”
With that, he dropped Shawn’s head again, stood up, and walked away like nothing ever happened. Shawn lay there for a few more moments before he heard the tv turn on, and he slowly moved to get up and drag himself back upstairs. He made it to the bathroom, and breathed shallowly a few times before he lifted his head to look at himself in the mirror. He winced at the amount of blood covering his face, and at all the red marks starting to turn darker as blood pooled at each site of proof of his father’s anger. He realized he was crying only due to the streaks of blood streaming down his face. He tried to wipe the lines of blood away, but they only smeared across his face even more instead of rubbing off. He flinched when he looked at his eyes, not because of the black eye he knew was already forming, but because his eyes looked dead. In that moment, he knew, if he stayed in his father’s house, Henry wouldn’t have to kill him for being gay, Shawn would do it himself.
In the next moment, he realized that he just thought of killing himself, and he knew he never wanted to feel that way again. He had a lot to live for — he told himself it was because he had a long future ahead of him, but in his heart he knew that wasn’t his real reason to keep on living. Gus was.
That night, he slowly took his clothes off and took another shower, this time to wash off all of the blood. When he got out, a few of the wounds started to sluggishly bleed again from being scrubbed too hard in the shower, so he went searching for bandages. In the back of one of the drawers in the bathroom, shoved behind and under everything else, he found some makeup his mother must have forgotten when she left them five years ago, when he was ten. He set the pot of skin colored stuff to the side and took out the bandages to wrap up some of the worse cuts, and once he was done, he went back to looking at the makeup. It said foundation on it, but when he put a bit of it on the back of his hand it covered up a steak of blood from one of his cuts that he missed when washing off. As he looked at the mirror again and saw the forming bruises, he decided he could use the stuff to cover up his face at school on Monday. It was fall, getting towards winter, so he could get away with wearing long sleeves outside, even though it was California. He would get some weird looks, but he knew it would be better than everyone seeing the bruises and asking what happened.
He went to sleep that night mourning the loss of his father, because after tonight he could never call Henry his father again. That man lost that right the second he lay his hands on his son in anger.
The next morning, Shawn woke up and immediately groaned in pain when he tried to sit up. His torso hurt badly, and he hoped nothing was broken because he couldn’t even begin to think of figuring out how to heal that. His sides were a dark purplish blue, and his arms weren’t much better given how hard Henry had gripped his arms in the past two days. He didn’t even want to see his face today, knowing it would not be pretty.
As he slowly heaved himself up from laying down to sitting on the side of the bed, trying to psych himself up to stand, resentment started to bloom low in his gut. Who was Henry to tell him what to feel? Who he could or couldn’t love? Who was he to affect Shawn so much so that, for a moment, he hated himself so much that he saw no problem with killing himself! Shawn had always been confident, and rarely doubted himself. If he messed up, then he messed up. Why feel guilty when you can fix it? But now? Now he was questioning himself every step of the way. Worried about how to not set Henry off again. He didn’t want to live a life like that — always afraid that his next step will be the wrong one.
He didn’t want to live like that.
He refused to live like that.
Henry always told him he was raising him with the sole intention of turning his son into the best cop he could be. His eidetic memory was only ever an opportunity Henry thought to use to raise his son in his image. This led to the “games” of Shawn’s childhood. The ‘how many hats?’ and ‘tell me about them?’ games were Henry’s favorites. In any restaurant they went, they would order, and while it was being made Henry would continuously quiz Shawn on how many hats were in the room, and what the lives of the patrons were like. If Shawn got one thing wrong, he couldn’t have dessert. If he got two or more wrong, when the food arrived, Henry would have it boxed up while he ate everything on his plate in front of his son, and then Shawn would have to give his food to a homeless person on the street. Another “game” Henry liked to pay was the ‘escape game.’ He would lock Shawn in the trunk of a car, and then drive around for a bit, going over speed bumps, taking sharp turns, and driving over rough terrain, and Shawn would have to escape the trunk of the moving car. To do that, though, he had to get out of his bonds. That meant that, first, Shawn had to learn how to get out of being tied up with ropes, duct tape, zip ties, and handcuffs.
All of these games, though, only led Shawn to resent cops more and more as the passed. If these games showcased what being a cop meant, then Shawn would rather be a traveling circus clown making less than minimum wage than become a cop.
In the end, the ‘games’ he played growing up, and the discovery that Henry was a homophobe, led Shawn to the only sound decision the fifteen year old gay son of a police officer cold come up with: he had to run away.
He refused to live in fear of Henry for the rest of his life. Shawn knew the statistics, the abuse was only going to get worse. Even if he renounced liking boys, Henry would only find something else to take out on his son. He knew it would never stop now that the floodgates had opened, so the only solution was to get away. Gus would tell him to tell his mom, or to tell Gus’ parents, but his mother had left and never looked back, he didn’t even know how to get in touch with her, and Gus’ parents would tell the police. Also known as Henry’s coworkers. The people that Henry had spent the last five years complaining to about his no good son. Yeah, that would go over well.
Therefore, Shawn started to plan. First, he would need somewhere to go. Second, he would need a vehicle not associated with him to get to his destination. Third, he would need a new identity to take up immediately so that he would not be linked to “Runaway Shawn Spencer, white, 15 year old male, 5’6”, 120 lbs, blond hair, green eyes, last seen at home.” Lastly, he would need something to throw Henry off his scent, even if for a little while. Scratch that, lastly was telling Gus, because he was not going to abandon his best friend.