A/N: Sorry to make you guys wait for the update... kinda slipped my mind. Heheh. Anyway, thanks to PsychFan81692, raindropsX, and winged-monkey for your awesome reviews last chapter! Thanks so much! Enjoy this!
GENRE: FLUFF, ROMANCE
CHARACTERS: SHAWN, JULIET, HENRY, GUS
'Cause when push comes to shove,
You taste what you're made of.
You might bend 'til you break
'Cause it's all you can take.
On your knees you look up,
Decide you've had enough.
You get mad, you get strong,
Wipe your hands, shake it off,
Then you stand.
Rascal Flatts, "Stand"
"Come on, Shawn, you can do this. I know you can."
Henry Spencer chuckled silently as he took another sip of coffee, watching the pair interact in front of him. Juliet O'Hara stood at the end of the bars, urging his son forward. Shawn muttered something under his breath as he readjusted his grip on the bars. The blonde giggled and blushed, but merely urged him forward again.
Henry's glance flicked over the couple. Juliet was relatively healed up from their captivity almost seven months ago, although her shoulder was still in a sling from her last surgery to restore her mobility. Her fingers were now permanently a little crooked, and she had needed to get three new teeth implanted in the back of her jaw.
Shawn's recovery had been much harder. The elder Spencer felt his stomach lurch slightly as he stared at his son, his mind conjuring up the image of him lying bruised and battered in a hospital bed, seemingly hooked to every machine possible, fighting just to stay alive. Two of his ribs had punctured his left lung - one from Rodriguez's beating, and one from when medics were forced to perform CPR to get him breathing again on that warehouse floor. His elbow had been shattered, his jaw broken, his left eye damaged, and both legs severely broken. There had been a hairline facture in his skull, and massive internal bruising throughout his body. His spleen had ruptured on the way to the hospital, and was promptly removed.
He watched, a lump in his throat, as Shawn took a tentative step forward. Juliet smiled and clapped encouragingly along with the physical therapist. Over the last few weeks, Shawn had been undergoing intense physical therapy, trying to regain the use of his legs. It was a miracle he had even reached this point.
Both Henry and Gus had spent long nights in the hospital, keeping vigil at both Juliet and Shawn's bedsides. Somehow Lassiter and Vick had managed to get the pair in the same hospital room. Juliet had been released from the hospital a week and a half after the ordeal, but it had been another week before Shawn had awoken from his deep coma. Henry's back was just starting to recover from those endless hours in the hard plastic chair.
The former policeman took another sip of his coffee as he watched Shawn take another step forward. He knew it wouldn't be long before Shawn would be moving around like his old self. He would probably always have the faintest of a limp, but Henry knew just how stubborn Shawn could be when he wanted to do something.
"Henry, I really think he's trying to walk!"
Henry glanced up as his wife scooped up the seven-month-old baby and settled him on her hip. "He just started crawling a couple months ago, Claire. He can barely stand. I think it's going to be awhile before he can walk." "But you even said he's a quick learner," Claire pointed out, setting a giggling Shawn in his high chair. She tickled his stomach, and the boy squealed with delight. Chuckling, she made sure he was well secure in his seat before she moved to prepare lunch for the three of them. "Most babies can't stand on their own until they're almost a year old, Henry." "He
Henry glanced up as his wife scooped up the seven-month-old baby and settled him on her hip. "He just started crawling a couple months ago, Claire. He can barely stand. I think it's going to be awhile before he can walk."
"But you even said he's a quick learner," Claire pointed out, setting a giggling Shawn in his high chair. She tickled his stomach, and the boy squealed with delight. Chuckling, she made sure he was well secure in his seat before she moved to prepare lunch for the three of them. "Most babies can't stand on their own until they're almost a year old, Henry."
"Heis a quick learner. But it will still take a lot of effort for him to be able to walk. Especially if his body's not physically ready yet," Henry replied, moving so that he was crouching down in front of the high chair. Shawn grabbed his outstretched finger shyly. The kid was just starting to warm up to him, and it took a lot to get him to laugh for his father.
"I wouldn't underestimate him, Henry," his wife responded, setting a plate with his sandwich on the table. "After all, he is his father's son."
"How's it going?" a voice called.
They all turned to see Gus walk into the room, a large Styrofoam cup in his hand. "Just great! I think I'll be able to compete in the Boston Marathon next week - maybe even win!" Shawn replied sarcastically.
"He's doing great," the therapist filled with a smile. "I'm very impressed."
"Well, I may have a little extra motivation for him, then," Gus said with a sly grin, moving so he was standing by Juliet and waving the cup in the air.
Shawn grinned. "Is that pineapple?"
Juliet snatched the cup from Gus' hand and took a long sip. "Mmmm," she sighed with content, smacking her lips. "Yep!"
"Jules! I'm hurt!" Shawn exclaimed, taking a hand off the bar to put it over his heart. "That's mine!"
"Mmmhmm," Juliet answered distractedly, taking another long draw from the straw. "Then I suppose you should get over here and have some," she added with a grin.
Henry and Gus both burst out laughing at the incredulous look on Shawn's face. Then a determined look crossed his features, and he smirked. "Fine, then."
"I should be back in a few hours. There's some leftover lasagna in the fridge for you, and I just fed Shawn, so he should be fine. I would expect he would fall asleep within the next hour or so," Claire declared, slipping on her jacket. A slight look of confusion crossed her face as she slid her hand inside her jacket pocket. She pulled out a small plastic police car and laughed. "Here you go," she added, handing the toy to her husband.
"Okay. Have a good time," Henry declared, opening the door for her.
She smiled brilliantly at him and kissed him softly. "Thanks, hon," she whispered. She glanced back over at the boy seated in the middle of the living room floor. "Bye, Shawn!" she called, waving.
Shawn cooed and laughed, wiggling his fingers back at her. Henry couldn't help but smile at the sight. He closed the door as Claire headed out for the car, then turned back to face his son. "Looks like it's just you and me, kiddo," he declared.
Shawn blinked up at him owlishly, his hazel eyes wide. Henry took a step forward, then paused when he saw Shawn's gaze move to the toy still clenched in his hands. He glanced at the car. "You really like this toy, huh, kiddo?"
Shawn cooed in apparent agreement. Henry watched with some amusement as a resolved look set across his tiny face. He crawled to the nearby table, then used it to hoist himself up to his feet.
Henry cocked his head in surprise as the tiny child took a wobbly step forward, his chubby fingers still resting on the table. The elder Spencer got down to his knees slowly, holding out the car. "Come on, son. Come on," he encouraged softly.
Shawn hesitated, his eyes flicking from his current position to where his father was. If Henry didn't know better, he would've thought Shawn was calculating just how much effort it would be to walk the distance without the support of the table.
At long last, he took a small step forward. His hands left the table, wobbling in the air as his body teetered dangerously. His face set in determination again, and he took another shaky step.
Henry felt a grin spreading across his face. "That's it, Shawn. You're doing great!"
The tiny Spencer took another step, more confident this time, then began moving forward more quickly. With another six steps, he was almost within Henry's reach. He stretched his tiny arms towards his father, but the movement threw him off-balance slightly. His eyes widened comically as he started tipping forward.
"Gotcha, kiddo," Henry exclaimed, lurching forward slightly to catch his falling child. "Nice work, buddy," he complimented, cradling the boy to his chest and handing him the car. Shawn took the car, beaming up at his father, his eyes shining.
They all watched in astonishment as Shawn lurched forward another four steps. He winced slightly as he paused, then moved forward again. Juliet let out a small sound of shock as the pseudo-psychic reached her, wrapping a hand around her neck and jerking her forward. Any protest was quickly silenced as their lips collided.
Henry shook his head ruefully as Gus rolled his eyes at the pair, snagging the smoothie cup from Juliet as she moved to wrap her good hand around his neck. The therapist chuckled, then said to the pair not involved in a lip lock, "She obviously provides a lot more motivation than I'll ever be able to."
Henry chuckled, his eye catching the glint of light reflected off the ring on Juliet's finger as the pair broke apart. "Nice work, buddy," he called. Shawn glanced at his father, his eyes shining with delight, just as they had been thirty years ago.
A/N: So... that's one previous order of serious Shules angst, combined now with some cute Shules as well as a heaping helping of dad-crush. It appears that your total is 1 review. Please pay at the box below. Thanks for reading!