Shawn was working late on a case at Psych. He just couldn't figure out how a man in prison was able to kill someone in another state. He was probably looking at this all wrong, although he wasn't entirely sure how else to look at this.
He heard the door open, and he turned around to see Dr. Chapel standing just inside the door.
"Doc, what's up?" Shawn asked.
"We need you back at the Warehouse."
"Now's not a good time, and besides, I'm not Caretaker anymore. I figured that once I gave that up I wouldn't see the Warehouse again."
"You know that's not true," Chapel said. "The Warehouse doesn't tend to let go." He walked closer. Shawn noticed how tired and worn he looked. "But we really need you to come back. The Warehouse needs to talk to you."
"It's trying to cope with some stuff, and it's not doing it on its own. It needs to talk with someone."
"Can't it talk to Leena? That's her whole purpose," Shawn said, standing and moving to the case board to take another look at the collection of photos.
"Leena's dead," Chapel replied. Shawn turned back.
"What? No. She can't be dead. You're kidding, right?" He tried to laugh. Chapel shook his head sadly.
"No. I'm not." His voice cracked. "Artie was whammied by arguably the most powerful artifact in existence. It split his mind, and the evil half took control. Leena go in the way of his plans, and he shot her." His voice broke, and he looked away.
Shawn sat down heavily in his chair. "She's… gone? She was the Warehouse's outlet… She kept it sane…" He bit back the tears.
"We need someone to talk to the Warehouse," Chapel said. "It desperately needs an outlet, and as a retired Caretaker you can talk to it on levels we can't."
"Why can't Mrs. Fredrick do it?" Shawn asked in a broken voice.
"She has, but the Warehouse needs someone who doesn't share its pain as a Caretaker does. It's hard to explain, but we need you."
"When are you heading back?"
"Tomorrow morning. Bring Gus if he can get time off. The Warehouse likes him a lot, and having him around will help you."
Shawn shook his head. "No. He won't get it." He picked up the phone and dialed Gus's number.
"Shawn, why are you calling me at one in the morning?" Gus demanded tiredly.
"Gus, I need to go back to the Warehouse. Something's happened."
"Is it serious?" Gus was wide awake now.
"No, but I have to go tomorrow morning. I need you to stall the Charleston case until I get back."
"When will that be?"
"I don't know. A few days?"
"I'll do what I can. I'll say you spent some time in total sensory deprivation to heighten your visions."
"Sounds good," Shawn said hollowly. "I need to go."
"Shawn, are you okay?"
Shawn took a long time in answering as he tried to get everything under control. "Yeah. Fine." He hung up.
"I'll pick you up at eight," Chapel said, turning to go. Shawn watched him go, feeling that it was unfair that he was able to punch such a large wet hole through his week.
The Warehouse was just where he had left it, but he could feel that it was different emotionally. So much had happened that the Warehouse was forever changed. Shawn met eyes with the Warehouse agents as he walked in. He didn't say anything as he reached the door to the records room, placed the changer on the lock, and then entered into the heart of the Warehouse, closing the door behind him.
"Are you sure this will work?" Steve asked Chapel, who nodded.
"Absolutely. Warehouse 2 actually pioneered this. Warehouse 2's Caretaker died, so a new one was selected. He was a good Caretaker for several years, but his wife was killed by an artifact, and he decided to retire. So he chose his successor and transferred over his duties. He got away from it for a while, but then he came back and apparently just spent hours upon hours down in the Stacks, talking to the Warehouse. The agents noticed that it kept the static down, and the Caretaker said that the Warehouse felt better. It provides an outlet. I would think we can replicate the results."
And down in the Eldurnari, Shawn and the Warehouse grieved together.
Shawn spent over twenty four hours in the Eldurnari, talking with the Warehouse. He told it about his complex relationship with Lassiter. He told it about his calling as a fake psychic detective. He told it about Karen and Juliet. It told him about Artie and Mrs. Fredrick. It told him about its relationship with the Regents. It told him about its long career. There was nothing new they could possibly say since sharing such an intimate connection, but it was important to spell it all out. So they did.
Shawn opened himself up to the old soul of the Warehouse, and as it reached in and touched his heart, he felt completely at home. He had forgotten what it was really like to have the Warehouse inside every ounce of his being, and it felt right. Why had he given it up? He couldn't come up with an adequate answer. He could feel Mrs. Fredrick as part of the Warehouse, and he welcomed her psychic imprint.
But this wasn't his. It broke his heart. He wasn't truly Warehouse 13. He was an outsider who had happened to be Caretaker for a day.
But this was his. He suddenly understood and saw it with a crystal clarity. It had always been his. He had a very vital function. He was the ex-Caretaker, nothing more, nothing less. He always had been the ex-Caretaker, even before the Warehouse had contacted him for the first time. The Warehouse had Marked him at birth for the task. It had always been there, deep in his bones. The Warehouse didn't let go of people it Marked. It never let them escape. He knelt down on the hard stone floor and thanked the gods for just that.
He could go now. The healing process was completed.
He walked slowly up the spiral stairs and paused at the top, watching the beautiful Nordic symbols dance on the walls.
He had a case to get back to.
He pushed the door open and walked out into Arties office. The others were waiting, and he smiled at them, nodding. He slipped the changer into his jacket pocket and turned to go.
"Will we see you again?" Myka asked.
"I would assume so. The Warehouse has this habit of bringing its people back." He noticed when they caught the subtle context. "The old girl will be fine for a while. Don't worry. It shouldn't need its ex-Caretaker for a while."
"You bonded again, didn't you?" Chapel asked quietly.
"Yes. It's impossible to explain. I'm not its Caretaker, just its ex, but it's let me all the way down." He smiled, his inner peace reflected out. "Now then, if I don't get back to Santa Barbra soon, Gus will have to really get creative. If you will excuse me…"
"Wait," Artie said. He walked over and handed Shawn a little metal case.
"A Farnsworth?" Shawn asked.
"Yes, just in case we need to contact you or vise versa."
"Thanks! I'll have to put this with my other secret government keep-sakes." He laughed and slipped it into his pocket.
The others walked over. "Can't you at least stay long enough for some diner pie?" Claudia asked. "I don't think we got to properly thank you for being Caretaker why Mrs. F and I were incapacitated."
"I do like pie," Shawn admitted and led the way out. He didn't need to stay. The Warehouse was with him again, and it sat like a warm flame in his subconscious. It would tell him if it ever needed him to come back, and it would welcome him if he ever needed to come back for himself.