Epilogue (I) – Sorry seems to be the hardest word
A week in the hospital. A week!
And Shawn was pretty sure that his father had had him declared incompetent to make his own decisions during that time, because no matter how often he asked one of the nurses to bring him the papers he needed to discharge himself AMA, those papers had never arrived in his room. Oh, the nurses had smiled, nodded and patted his hand. "Sure honey, I'll have them brought here in a moment."
Yeah, right. But nobody had brought him the papers.
And with the healing wound in his side, he hadn't been up to any stealthy sneaking down corridors and out the hospital.
So he had been stuck in that place for a whole week!
Well, five days after he woke up actually, but that was a whole working week. More for some people.
And that was not the worst part. No, the worst part was that he had been stuck with hospital food and the occasional healthy side-dish his Dad had brought him for the entire time. Fruit salad. Sandwiches without cheese or mayonnaise. Who was supposed to survive on that?
Gus had tried, Shawn had to give it to his friend. Gus had tried each and every single day to smuggle something edible into Shawn's hospital room. But Henry Spencer had mutated into a bouncer, and Shawn's hospital room had become his own personal nightclub. He had even frisked Gus once. Frisked, like a suspect before the arrest!
Whatever Gus had tried to smuggle through to his friend, Henry had confiscated it. Burritos, burgers, tacos, coffee and smoothies, none had made it as far as Shawn's bed. Well, they had made it to the side of Shawn's bed, where Henry had eaten them up while Shawn could only watch. His Dad hadn't needed to worry about where to get his food while his son was in the hospital, he had been living la vida dulce while Shawn had been stuck with thin tea, overcooked vegetables and greyish meat.
But now he was out of the hospital again, out of the clutches of Henry 'Hawkeye' Spencer, and life was looking good again. Though the extra large pizza he was currently carrying up a flight of stairs wasn't meant for him. Well, not entirely at least. Which was why it was only half Hawaii, and half pepperoni and extra cheese. After all, not everybody was a fan of the delicious flavour.
Shawn had received frequent visitors during his stay at the hospital. His Dad and Gus of course, and Juliet and Lassiter, though Shawn suspected that Lassie had only come because Jules had dragged him along. Officer Allen had been there, and other patrol officers Shawn was friendly with. Even the Chief had dropped by twice. Only one person had been suspiciously absent, and Shawn was about to remedy that.
It had been ridiculously easy to figure out when to best catch him alone. Shawn's stealth mode might still be hampered by the stitches in his side, but his brain was working perfectly fine, thank you very much. It had been a matter of a few chosen moments of sneakiness and advanced private detecting to figure out on which day of the week young Mrs. McNabb had her book club meeting. It was today. Which meant that tonight was the night to set some things right.
Shawn reached Buzz' apartment and juggled a little with the pizza box to get his hand free. He knocked on the door and waited.
A few seconds later the door opened and Buzz stood in the doorway. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt advertising a local gym, and the expression on his face when he saw Shawn was astonished, to say the least.
"How…I mean, what are you doing here?"
Buzz wasn't really meeting Shawn's eyes, and Shawn didn't like the awkwardness. It was about time that changed again.
"I was in the neighbourhood. Can I come in?"
Buzz hesitated for a moment, then he nodded and stepped aside to let Shawn into the apartment. It still looked the same it had done the first time Shawn had been here, the night that psychopath had tried to kill Buzz. There were some touches of a female presence all over the rooms, different pictures, plants here and there, but Mrs. McNabb hadn't completely rearranged the whole interior of the apartment.
As Shawn set the pizza box down on the living room table, something brushed against his ankles. He looked down and saw the little boy cat, which had turned out not to be a boy cat at all, rub against his legs.
"Hey there!" Shawn picked the cat up and rubbed the animal behind its ears. "Somebody has grown a lot since I last saw you."
"Yeah, and she also had a litter of kittens since."
Shawn put the cat back down and looked at Buzz, who was watching him with a raised eyebrow.
"So you were in the neighbourhood and you just happened to have a pizza with you?"
Shawn smiled. Buzz might seem a bit slow and gullible at times, but he definitely wasn't stupid.
"Yeah, I lied about that. I wanted to drop by. I wanted to talk to you about what happened."
Buzz sighed and gestured for Shawn to take a chair. Shawn had gone through this conversation in his head before, over and over again, but that didn't exactly help him right now. Not really.
Chief Vick wasn't stupid. She had been there when Shawn had given his official statement, it had been one of the two times she had visited him in the hospital. And she had immediately understood that Shawn couldn't have gotten the evidence from the Hankinson case without the help of a cop.
Shawn hadn't wanted to incriminate Buzz, not at all. He had wanted to keep him out of this completely, after all he had promised Buzz that there wouldn't be any trouble for him. But Chief Vick hadn't left him a choice. She had told Shawn in no uncertain terms that either he'd tell her who had helped him or she'd get it out of Erin Brickowski. Shawn hadn't had a choice, because he already knew that Brickowski would only incriminate him all too gladly. It had taken ten minutes of haggling with the Chief, but finally he had told her about Buzz involvement, under the condition that he'd not receive a formal reprimand for letting a civilian into the evidence room.
The Chief knew what Shawn's behaviour had been about, but Shawn wasn't stupid. He knew that in her position she couldn't just let Buzz' behaviour slide. Buzz had broken the rules about handling evidence, he had made it possible for a civilian to get access to valuable evidence. No matter that it had been Shawn, no matter that he was a consultant, no matter that Shawn had lied to Buzz.
There had been no formal reprimand, no entry in Buzz file, nothing. But Juliet had told Shawn about the ten very uncomfortable minutes Buzz had been forced to spend in the Chief's office, listening to her explaining the details of evidence procedure and why it was so important to him as if he were a rookie on his first day. It had been a thorough dressing down, and Shawn just knew that it had been horribly uncomfortable for Buzz.
Buzz shifted slightly in his chair. "Listen Shawn, I'm really trying to forget that all this even happened."
"I know. I just…I need to explain to you why I did what I did."
Buzz shook his head. "I might not have been involved in the case, but it was pretty hard to miss the talk at the station over the past weeks. I know that this guy Dorn was forcing you to do these things. It's all right, really."
"No, it isn't. I used you, and I got you into trouble even though I promised I wouldn't. You're my friend Buzz, and that's not what friends do." Shawn drew a deep breath. "It was about my father. That psychopath had me jumping through hoops for his own sick pleasure, and he threatened to kill my father if I didn't play along. He was watching me, and I couldn't tell anybody about it. What I said back then, about that night when that guy was trying to force you to hang yourself…" He shook his head and looked Buzz straight in the eye. "I crossed a line. I was desperate, and I was scared. I'd have never brought this up under any other circumstances. And I'd have never tried to use it to make you do anything for me under normal circumstances. I'm sorry that I did. And I'm sorry that I lied to you, and that you got into trouble because of it."
Buzz sighed. "I know Shawn. It's all right, I told you that."
"The Chief dressing you down for a whole ten minutes is all right?"
Buzz only shrugged, but there was a smile on his face. "When you leave the academy and start going on duty, that's one of the first things you're told. Sooner or later you're going to screw something up, and sooner or later you're going to end up in the Chief's office for it. Nobody's got the perfect track record. It had to happen sooner or later, and at least I got to help a friend for it and nobody got hurt. I simply have to make sure that it won't happen again. And it won't."
Shawn smiled. "So we're good?"
Buzz nodded. "Sure."
"No hard feelings?"
Buzz laughed. "Not unless there's pineapple on this whole pizza."
Shaw flipped back the lid to reveal the half-Hawaii half-pepperoni pizza and Buzz got up from his chair.
"I'm going to get plates and napkins. Do you want a beer?"
"No thanks, I took the bike. But I'll take a soda if you have one."
"One soda coming right up."
Shawn leaned back in his chair and smiled. Now this whole nightmare was finally over.
Epilogue (II) – The Call
From somewhere, there came music. Groggily, Shawn turned over in his bed and pulled the pillow over his head, but to no avail. The music continued. Shawn pulled the pillow away and started to sit up in his bed. Only then did he recognise the song.
From one moment to the next, Shawn sat bolt upright in his bed, heart beating fast in his chest as the thoughts swirled through his mind.
But that couldn't be. Roger Dorn was still in the hospital, and he was under twenty-four hour guard.
A guard who was sitting outside his room.
And there were telephones in the hospital, who said that they had thought about cutting Dorn's phone line?
Was Dorn even awake yet? Shawn didn't remember being told about that, only that he was still alive and that they were waiting for his condition to be stable enough to transport him to a prison hospital.
He might be awake.
And he might be calling.
Hesitantly, Shawn stretched out his hand and picked up his cell phone.
Even if it was Dorn who was calling him, there was nothing the psychopath could do. He was stuck in a hospital bed, he couldn't get out. He couldn't hurt his Dad or Gus.
"Hey Shawn." Not the mechanically distorted voice Shawn had come to associate with that particular ringtone, but a high-pitched girlish voice.
"It's Sandy. You might not remember, but we met in Bob's Pub about two weeks ago and you gave me your number. I know that it's late, but I thought if you don't have any other plans, we might get together for a drink?"
Shawn checked the clock on his bedside table. It was 11:35 pm.
"No offense Sandy,
but it's a little late for that. How about we talk some other time?
"Good night, Shawn."
Shawn disconnected and sank back into his pillows. He stared at the phone in his hand while he waited for his heartbeat to slow down again.
He really needed to change that ringtone.
A/N: Anothe story finished. Thank you all so much for the reviews. The next one is ready to be posted, just keep your eyes open in a day or two. Thanks a lot.