Story Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

WARNING: This story deals with very strong subjects. I actually had it in MATURE for a few days, but the problem is that it will remain buried there. In addition, it seems so many of the "M" stories are Slash- and this one isn't, which makes me think a lot of people who don't read those sorts of stories may never check that section. So, there's my excuse. I did my best to keep the descriptions non-graphic as possible- so bear with me. If a chapter does lean on the side of overly intense, I'll attach warnings at the header. I'll probably stick this back in the other rating again at some point- but for now, I'd like people to see it.

Thanks for your understanding.

"When was the first time he hit you?"


Drip drip


Drip drip

"He… he never…"

Soft hands grasped his skull, caressing at first, then suddenly curling to pull his head back sharply. His own hands clamped down on the arms of the chair, slow runnels of blood trailing coldly down his fingertips to patter on the concrete below.


Drip drip


Drip drip

"When was the first time he hurt you?"

One hand released his scalp to drag short nails across his bare chest, his breath hitching in response. "I… he didn't…"

The hand rose to touch his lips, halt his denial. He kept his eyes shut tight, no longer pulling at his restraints. The other hand loosened from his hair now, following the path that the previous fingers had traced, delicate and teasing as they skimmed his flesh.

"When was the first time he touched you?"

He shook his head, barely noting the light sting in his arm. His thoughts were already so muddled… and it'd been so long since he'd seen daylight.

"He w-wouldn't…" But he couldn't be certain… not anymore. A flicker of something… groping hands… fear and shame… But he had no context… he couldn't remember when, he wasn't certain who...

"I don't… I don't know…"

The fingers pressed more firmly, the tips digging in slightly as they danced lower… flirting over his belly. His muscles jumped, over-sensitized and tight. It was getting so hard to think.

Suddenly, the hands were gone, and he gasped at the abrupt loss.

But the voice was still there.

"When did your father molest you?"

He couldn't be sure anymore… he couldn't be certain of anything… it was so confusing. He knew, some part of him knew, that his father would never do that… he'd die first. But a newer part… a part that was finally listening to the seductive whispers that never stopped… that didn't let him sleep… that didn't ever rise above a soft croon…

They were starting to make him believe.

He closed his mouth tightly, his lips trembling at the words he was holding in. He didn't want to… he wouldn't… he couldn't…

And then the touch returned, and he leaned in hungrily.

"Tell me. The first time he touched you, you were nine. Say it. The first time he touched you, you were nine."

He tried to shake his head again, only to feel those delicate nails digging into his temple. His cry was thin, having endured this so many times. But it was also defeated. And as the voice panted breath against his ear, he no longer tried to turn away.

"Tell me. The first time he touched you…"

A single tear slid down his cheek. "…I was nine…"

The hand rested warmly against his heated skin, the thumb brushing away the distressed moisture.

"That's good Andy. You've made an excellent step forward..."


Shawn munched from the paper bag clutched in his right hand. Of all the crime scenes he'd snuck on to, the best ones had to be those that occurred near food vendors; particularly if they offered something like praline-coated almonds. He crunched another nut between his teeth, moving the bag sideways so that Gus could retrieve a handful. Gus, however, seemed to have reached his quota the moment the came in sight of the body. Oh well, his loss. Another couple of sweetened nuts disintegrated under his molars.

Chewing quietly for a few more minutes, he let his eyes drift around the scene, noting the direction of the blood spatter. Really, though… other than the body… it was one of the cleaner homicides he'd viewed. She must have been killed right where she was sitting, single gunshot, close range. Given the angle, she'd been seated while her killer sat or crouched next to her. She may have even known the shooter considering there were no other wounds, nor any signs of forced entry on the front door.

"What have I said about bringing food to a crime scene!"

Shawn looked up to see Lassiter bearing down on him.

"Only if I bring enough to share?" He hefted the bag. "Would you like a nut Lassy?"

In answer, Lassiter shot out his right hand and clutched the front of Shawn's shirt, dragging him in a cloud of whimpered protests to the exit. Gus followed benignly, his hands shoved in his pockets.

"Sorry Spencer, but you aren't on the guest list." said the detective as he shoved him out the front door.

Shawn tried to smooth the stretched fabric of his shirt with one hand, pouting at the less than stellar result. "I'll have you know this is a vintage garment!" He yelled in his best tattle-tail whine.

"Please Spencer, Fragglerock? Now if it was something like, oh… I don't know, a Bullitt 'T', there might be some validity to your claim." With a tight, almost smile, the Head detective turned on his heel and strode back inside.

Shawn remained standing where he was, half facing Gus while his eyes followed the older man back inside. "Dude, did he just say Bullitt?"

Gus was raised his brows. "Does Lassiter strike you as a Steve McQueen fan?"

Shawn bit into another nut. "He does now…"


The office phone was in mid-ring as they pushed through the door. Shawn walked past it casually, flipping through the mail, as Gus gave him a dark look and grabbed the receiver… only to be met with a dial tone. "You know, for someone who complains about the bills, it might help to be available when clients call."

Shawn held an envelope up to the light briefly before tearing it open. "Don't be prickly, that's why we have voicemail. Besides, it was probably my dad. He's already left two messages on my cell wanting me to help him shingle the roof or something."

Gus had the office phone to his ear, playing back the recording. "You sure he said 'shingle the roof'?"

Tearing the credit card offer in half, the other man shrugged. "Okay, I didn't actually listen to the messages yet… I was sorta caught up in trying to get us on a murder case…"

Gus shook his head, hitting the delete button on the recorder. "He wants us to come over for dinner tonight."

Shawn nodded, walking around his desk to drop into his chair, propping his feet up on the edge, his heels resting on the same spot as always, where the varnish had grown dull from repeated scuffing. "Like I said, dinner."

"Well, you'll need to apologize to your dad for me… I have a date." Gus ignored the sudden thunk as Shawn's feet reconnected with the floor. Sliding down into his own chair, he adjusted his tie before jogging his mouse to wake up the screen of his computer.


He looked up nonchalantly, brows raised and eyes half-lidded.

"Gus, when did you get a date?"

His friend shrugged. "I don't know Shawn, maybe last Wednesday when we were at that murder suicide."

Shawn dropped his chin, staring intently. "You're dating a cop?"


"Ooo- was it the medical examiner? She was pretty cute…"


"Well who else was…" His jaw fell open and he suddenly grinned toothily. "The forensic chick? Gus that's awesome!"

The other man smiled smugly, breathing on his knuckles and polishing them on his chest.

Their fist bump, however, was interrupted by the office phone as it began ringing again. "Your turn." Said Gus as he turned back to his laptop.

Talking two long strides back towards his desk, Shawn caught it mid-ring. "Psych, Shawn Spencer, resident psychic speaking."

Only the light hum of the lines met his greeting. Frowning, he pulled the phone away for a second before bringing it back to his ear. "Hello?" Nothing. Assuming the call must have dropped, he started to hang up when a tinny voice emerged from the speaker.


He lifted the phone quickly again, sitting down on the edge of his desk. "What can I…"

"…don't… don't let…" The voice faded out to breathing… then stopped completely. A moment later it disconnected. Perplexed, Shawn slowly placed the phone back on his desk.

"That was somewhat disturbing…"

Gus didn't glance up as he stood, grabbing his coat from the back of his chair. "What's disturbing?"

Shawn scratched the nape of his neck. Then he shook his head quickly, blinking it away. "Nothing, dropped call or something. So what time you picking up Cindy CSI?"

Gus checked his watch. "Two hours, and her name's Esther."

Shawn stepped in from of his friend, holding up his hands. "A piece of advice from a concerned second party? Don't ask if she wants to see your sample case."

He really wasn't too surprised when Gus simply glared at him before brushing past and heading for the door.


The sky was a brilliant orangey-pink by the time the two men placed their supper dishes in the sink and retired to the darkened porch, clutching a chilled beer apiece; Shawn's second and Henry's third. The shadows were thick around them. Henry considered flipping on the light, but it was sort of nice to just sit there in the dark, shrouded by the deepening night.

Dropping comfortably into the deck chairs, they stretched out to watch the water bubble over the sand a hundred yards from the back of the house. A few subdued couples wandered near the water, and one guy tossed a Frisbee for an excited lab.

Taking a small sip of the bitter refreshment, Shawn yawned softly.

"Any new cases this week?" Asked Henry. After nearly two years, the question had become almost a ritual. Sometimes, if the case was tough, the question opened the door to asking for help. If the case was solved, it gave Shawn the chance to gloat. After so many arguments and tense stand-offs regarding the kid's chosen livelihood, Henry had finally given in a little- knowing it just worked better if he initiated the subject himself. And for the past six months- it really did seem to be working.

"Not really anything the cops feel they need a psychic for. There was a murder suicide last week- some guy shot his dad…" he glanced over, and Henry raised a brow at the odd expression.

"That was the DA I read about in the paper right? I met the guy once- real asshole."

He pretended not to notice the way Shawn was clearing his throat. Finally, controlling his twitching lips, Shawn spoke again. "I thought I might pick up a case today, but it was a fairly standard murder, single gunshot, victim likely knew the killer… I'd be surprised if I was called in…"

"So you'll probably mope and flail around the station until the let you in on it, right?" He hadn't meant to let his voice get hard, hadn't meant to feel so annoyed. He sighed, setting his nearly empty bottle on the wooden floor next to his chair. It was always harder to keep the sarcasm at bay when he'd had more than two beers. Not that is was an easy task anyhow when it came to his son.

However, tonight, Shawn didn't really seem to have noticed the words thrown at him. Instead, it looked like something was weighing on him- his eyes focused inward.

"What's on your mind?"

Shawn shifted, pressing a palm into his temple and rubbing gently. "Nothing really…"

They both jumped when something smashed behind them. Henry stood quickly, staring at the open back door. "That was from inside…"

Shawn stood then too, setting his bottle on the railing. "You still keep your extra gun taped under the sink?" His words whispered softly.

"Yeah I… how did you…?" Shaking off the inquiry, Henry turned back around. "Just stay behind me okay kid?"

Sliding up close to the open door, Henry dropped low, peering stealthily around the corner. He could sense Shawn creeping silently up behind him, also crouching. Good man.

His eyes picked out the source of the crash immediately. On the floor, five steps in from the open door, the glass bowl that had held the potatoes had been knocked from the table. It was the only thing that had been disturbed. Glancing back at Shawn, Henry gestured for the younger man to stay back while he checked it out. Scanning both sides of the door, he eased himself inside. Only after ascertaining that the room was clear did he look down at the shattered bowl. Clumps of pulverized glass and potato were scattered across the thin rug. It suddenly occurred to him that the crash shouldn't have sounded so sharp unless… He whirled, eyes wide, just as his son was stepping into the room.

"Shawn, get dow…"

Shawn's body jerked suddenly, and he gasped out a sharp cry. Without pausing, Henry grabbed him to pull him to the floor when he felt something strike his shoulder. By now, Shawn's body had grown limp, and Henry felt his own strength sapping as he pulled his son away from the opening. Reaching up to his shoulder, he found something sticking into his skin, and pulled it free.

It was a dart.

Though his body no longer wanted to remain upright, he still struggled with Shawn's form, managing to roll him onto his stomach and see the same type of dart jutting from his back. He wanted to pull it free, but his arms were dead, hanging like meat at his sides. And then he was slumping to the side as his bones turned to gelatin.

His eyes blinked slowly, his peripheral vision dimming as colors washed out of the room.

And as he slid towards that dark tunnel, as he turned his head drunkenly towards the open door, he thought he saw a thin dark shape entering the house…