A/N: It's short, it's sweet, it's kinda funny and to the point. Most notably, it's the end. I just wanna take a moment and thank everyone who's stuck with this story. It didn't turn out exactly like I'd wanted it to and I know it took a LONG time, but if there is one thing I'm happy with, it's the last line (Don't skip down and read, please) but that line, that LAST line, well, the last TWO lines; I've had that planned since like, chapter 2. Which is so not important and I think I'm delirious. But anyway; go ahead and read the end. And let me know what you thought, huh?
Chapter Twenty-Four: And They All Lived Happily Ever After. (Well, Shawn Had To Meet With the Lawyers and Gus got Wasted. But Other Than That….)
A Few Weeks Later…
The new deal went something like this;
Terms and Conditions of Shawn Henry Spencer's Continuing Employment for the Santa Barbara Police Department (Amongst Other Things)
Shawn Henry Spencer is not allowed to leave the state without informing at least one of the following parties: Burton Guster. Carlton Lassiter. Henry Spencer. Juliet O'Hara. Karen Vick. Buzz McNabb. (Stipulation: Mr. McNabb only qualifies as a valid candidate if he, in turn, informs one of the aforementioned parties. If he fails to do this the blame will fall primarily on Mr. McNabb, but also on Mr. Spencer, for whatever he did to make Buzz not tell)
Exceptions can be made in the case of an extreme emergency. I.e.: Jamie Tabitha Henderson (Shawn Spencer's maternal Aunt) falls unexpectedly ill and Mr. Spencer is unable to contact anyone on the list before leaving. (Stipulation: Mr. Spencer must contact one of the aforementioned parties immediately upon his arrival in whatever state this dire emergency has taken place in. Or on the plane, if at all possible)
Shawn Henry Spencer is under no circumstances allowed to leave the country without informing at least TWO of the following parties: Burton Guster. Henry Spencer. Karen Vick. Carlton Lassiter. Juliet O'Hara.
Exceptions can be made in the event of a national disaster. If all of the United States floods, is set on fire, taken over by Aliens or anything else that one might typically see on a made-for-TV movie and Mr. Spencer is physically unable to contact one of the aforementioned parties due to separation, death or the Aliens taking over the phone lines, then this contract will prove itself void.
Or, if Shawn Henry Spencer is recruited by the CIA, FBI or some other official government agency and asked to leave the country for a short amount of time without informing friends and family for their own safety.
If any government agency approaches Shawn Henry Spencer and requests he leave the country for any extended amount of time then the government is just going to have to take it up with the SBPD, because that's not allowed.
We reserve the right to add to and/or alter this agreement at any time. Although anyone mentioned in this agreement can suggest alterations, all alterations must be cleared by at least TWO of the following people: Burton Guster. Henry Spencer. Carlton Lassiter. Karen Vick.
Shawn Henry Spencer may refuse to concede with any guidelines brought forth by this agreement as well as any alterations that may or may not be made in the future. He may discuss with one of the aforementioned parties his grievances with any part of this agreement and work with them to make it more to his liking. However, if a mutual decision cannot be met then Shawn Henry Spencer needs to hire himself a good lawyer, because there's no way we're leaving this room until he signs it.
All terms and conditions will be legalized by the state of California and set into motion upon the legal signature of Shawn Henry Spencer and two witnesses.
Shawn Henry Spencer:
Shawn couldn't really say that he blamed them. But he did think that the notary and the three lawyers were a bit much.
After their little escapade at Corky's, Henry didn't think it was such a fantastic idea to take Shawn to a bar ever, ever again. Even if Shawn told his father over and over that the chances of that same set of circumstances repeating themselves were next to nothing. Henry wasn't taking any chances.
Carlton had thought the whole idea of a double date with himself and Shawn, and Guster and Juliet, was a horrible idea in the first place. It hadn't seemed much more appealing after Shawn had dropped the bomb about his dad coming also.
"And, well, he kinda didn't wanna be the only 'grown-up' there, so he mighta invited the Chief," Shawn informed him as they were getting ready to leave that night.
"Don't worry, Lassie. It'll be a hoot." Shawn grinned, standing behind his lover - as he stood in front of the mirror, buttoning up his shirt - and resting his hands on both of Lassie's broad shoulders.
"You're lucky I love you," the older man grumbled.
"Yeah," Shawn smiled, "I kinda am, huh?"
It wasn't a bar, per se; it was a bar and grill, restaurant…thing. It had real live waitresses and a basketball game playing on all the TV's in every corner of the room. It was more like a racetrack lounge than anything else.
Shawn felt immediately at ease.
It was hard to miss their group. They'd managed to acquire the largest booth in the place, slightly to the left towards the back, and Shawn grabbed Lassiter's arm and pulled him in that direction the second he spotted them.
"About time." Henry grumbled.
"Says the man who's always ten minutes early," Shawn jibed, "Scoot over."
And soon they were all seated in the booth. With Shawn at one end and Gus across from him at the other. Lassiter was in between Shawn and Henry, who was next to Vick, who was next to Juliet who was pressed suspiciously close to Gus, given the size of their table.
You would think something like this would have been more awkward – all six of them at a restaurant together – even if you ignored the drama that had gone down just a few weeks before. They all more or less worked together and Karen was, more or less, everyone's boss.
Yet she's the one who got the conversation going with, "So I was watching this John Cusack movie last night…" and it had just gone from there.
The margaritas probably helped them out a bit, too.
"You remember that time in high school," Shawn was saying to Gus, "That thing with the bungee cord and my dad's wrench?"
Gus laughed, but Henry had a different take on the matter. "It cost me two hundred dollars to replace those windows," he pointed a finger at the two grinning thirty year olds, "Come to think of it, you never did pay me back for that."
"Hey, look," Juliet interrupted their stroll down memory lane and managed to hide her own grin by saying, "Food's here."
The conversation kept up during their meal and by his second margarita Shawn was pretty damn sure that this was the best idea he'd ever had.
"Dude," he leaned over a little to talk to Carlton quietly, "My dad's drunk, Jules is tipsy, Gus is wasted…how are we getting home?"
"We?" Carlton responded, taking a bite of his seafood platter, seemingly at ease with everything going on around him. "Me and you came together. I'm not drinking. We're covered. I don't know about the rest of them."
Shawn thought about it, but ended up just grinning to himself. Yeah, well, there were always Taxis. Or cabs. Maybe Taxicabs. He still hadn't quite figured that one out.
"Oh, God," Jules gasped between bites of her chicken salad, "Do you remember that case with the boat guy?"
Karen giggled a bit and Lassiter snorted. "Drunk and disorderly conduct on a boat. We didn't know if it was our case or the Coast Guard's."
Laughter filled the air around them. Shawn was happy with the whole damn world right about now. And margarita number three was safely crashing home.
"How about dessert?" Henry posed the question to the table.
"Ice cream!" Gus shouted, and was immediately shhhed before he started laughing uncontrollably.
"Dude," he slurred, pointing at Shawn, "You've got this nose…" And then he was laughing again.
Shawn couldn't help but laugh along with him and soon the whole table was up in arms. "Man, I haven't seen you this wasted since senior prom."
"Me?" Gus chuckled, tears running down his face, "Dude. You threw up in the limo."
"Limo? What limo?" Henry asked, bewildered by this information. "Shawn, you never said anything about a limo. Come to think of it, you also never explained why you didn't come back for two days after the prom was over."
Shawn bit his lip but Gus just kept laughing, "Dude…that was the Mexico border…adventure number one."
All eyes– except Gus's, since his head was currently in his hands as he was still laughing so hard – turned to Shawn.
The fake-psychic said the only thing he could think of, "What, you're gonna listen to him? He's wasted."
It was nearing midnight before they'd calmed down as a group. Henry and Vick were getting tired of the younger bunch and were talking quietly amongst themselves. Gus was passed out on with his head on Juliet's lap, the rest of him curled up in the booth; she was rubbing his bald head absently, staring off into nothing.
Shawn had snuggled somewhat into Lassiter's side and was sipping a cup of coffee, trying to get sober, knowing he'd probably end up driving someone home. The older detective had his arm around Shawn's back and was stroking light circles on his side.
Shawn looked at the group of people around him. These people that he saw everyday, all the time. They meant the world to him and Shawn was happy right now, mostly, because he knew they were happy, too.
And just maybe because he'd gotten everything he'd wanted as well.
So he sat cuddled up next to Lassiter, watching them all and he knew that for the first time in a long time, all was well.
Shawn reviewed that last thought of his and snorted to himself lightly, earning an odd glance from his lover, father and boss; to which he just shrugged slightly and smiled.
All was well.
What a classic way to end a story.