Epilogue – Until Further Notice
Gus knew that something was wrong.
Oh, a lot of things had been wrong over the past weeks, ever since that evening when Henry Spencer had called him during his date with Kendra.
Gus had been shocked at what had happened. The whole story about Shawn and Lassiter being caught by those guys and brought into the woods to die was bad enough, but that wasn't what had shocked Gus so badly. He and Shawn had been in tough spots during cases before.
No, what had really made an ice-cold feeling crawl down Gus' spine had been the look on Shawn's face as he had told them about the shooting. His friend's voice had been so incredibly detached as he recounted the events, and his face had been a closed up mask that had betrayed no emotion. But worst of all had been the eyes. True enough, Shawn had kept his head bent during his recounting of the story, but Gus had caught glimpses of his friend's eyes.
Shawn had told him once about the small signs ins body language that betrayed liars. Back then he had said the one thing that always spoke the truth were a person's eyes. And Gus didn't need his friend's superior observational skills to see that something had been missing from Shawn's eyes that day. They had been dull, nearly glazed over, without their usual sparkle and the promise of upcoming mischief. They had looked like a shop's window after the 'closed until further notice' sign had been put up. Empty.
Shawn had killed somebody.
Justified or not, self-defense or not, Gus knew how badly this was affecting his friend.
But the really bad thing was that Shawn simply closed up. Except for that one time in the hospital when he had informed Chief Vick of the events, Gus hadn't heard Shawn talk about it again. Not once. He had tried to prompt, had tried to make Shawn open up about what had happened and how badly it affected him, but no matter what he had tried, Shawn had blocked it all off.
Shawn's normal coping process involved acting out. Shawn had never been one to keep silent about his problems, at least not towards Gus.
But this time, he had acted as if nothing had happened.
He had given his statement at the police station, he had sat through Chief Vick's long-winded reprimands, he had silently accepted their four-week ban from the police station.
Maybe that behavior scared Gus the most, because the Shawn he knew would have immediately tried to figure out ways around that. The Shawn he knew would have seen it as nothing but yet another challenge he needed to overcome.
This time, Shawn had just silently taken it.
That fact scared Gus more than he cared to admit.
And honestly, the others weren't exactly helping.
Gus understood their motivations, he did. Chief Vick had to act in her role as Shawn's boss when she had temporarily banned from the station. Juliet was up to her throat in work now that Lassiter was out of commission. And Lassiter, while he had a lot of time on his hands, would certainly not make a step towards Shawn on his own.
Gus didn't even want to think about Henry Spencer's behavior, otherwise he'd only get angry.
What neither of them seemed to see was that right now, Shawn needed them. Gus didn't know exactly what he needed them to do, but he definitely needed them. Shawn had always been a person who depended far more on the people around him than he ever let on.
Gus didn't know why Shawn wouldn't confide in him. He was the one person Shawn was closest to. But then again, this was way out of his scope of experience. Maybe that was it. Maybe Shawn didn't want to burden Gus with what had happened, and maybe he thought that Gus wouldn't be able to help him because Gus simply couldn't relate to what had happened. But there were others in Shawn's life who could relate to what he was going through right now.
Chief Vick and Juliet were cops. So was Lassiter, and he had been there, for crying out loud. He knew what had happened, he had seen it happening. If anybody knew what Shawn was going through, it should be him.
And Mr. Spencer had been a cop for decades. He knew what having a gun pointed at you felt like, and he knew what it was like to raise a gun against somebody else.
But the Chief and Juliet were burying themselves in their work. Lassiter was sulking because of his suspension. And Mr. Spencer didn't get his head out of his ass – again.
Gus had watched all this go on for two weeks, but now he was royally fed up with it. If he didn't manage to draw Shawn out of whatever hole he was currently sinking into, he'd have to resort to other means. No matter whether Lassiter or Henry Spencer liked it.
Shawn had had more than two weeks to try and deal with things on his own. Enough was enough.
So Gus took the day off at work and drove to his friend's apartment.
Nobody answered when he rang the bell, but that didn't surprise him. It wasn't the first time that Shawn didn't open the door for him because he was silently brooding about something, and Gus had come prepared. He pulled the spare key Shawn had given him out of his pocket and unlocked the door.
It was locked, so Shawn wasn't home. Hesitantly, Gus entered Shawn's apartment and took a look around. Nothing seemed out of place; everything was tidy.
Gus stopped short.
Everything was tidy.
Shawn was a slob. His apartment was never dirty, but there were always traces of occupation clearly visible. A dirty dish in the sink, a pair of shoes kicked off carelessly, dirty socks in front of the bed.
But this time, Shawn's apartment was immaculate. No dirty laundry, no dirty dishes, nothing. Everything was exactly where it was supposed to be.
Gus quickly went through the rooms, trying to figure out why exactly he was getting such a bad gut feeling about Shawn's apartment being so tidy. After all, Shawn had spent most of the two previous weeks here, maybe he had gone on a cleaning binge.
But that was it, Gus realized. Shawn didn't go on cleaning binges, no matter how much time he had on his hands. He tidied up when it was necessary, but he most certainly didn't bring everything in such an order just because he was bored.
Gus opened up the refrigerator. It was empty except for an unopened glass of olives and two bottles of water. No fresh fruit lying around – no pineapple anywhere in sight. In fact, nothing perishable was anywhere to be seen.
Gus' heart started beating fast in his chest and his gut tightened. Quickly, he hurried out of the apartment, locked up and sprinted back to his car.
He had waited too long, he should have known. He had waited, had hoped that somehow, things would turn out all right, and now it was too late.
But maybe, just maybe it wasn't too late yet. Maybe there was still one chance.
Gus didn't particularly care about the speed limit as he drove his car through Santa Barbara's mid-morning traffic. He reached the beach promenade and the Psych office in record time and quickly got out of the car. He didn't bother with locking the car, because as soon as he got out his eyes fell onto the sign at the office's front door.
Slowly, as if the sign would jump at him and bite him, Gus approached the door and put his key into the lock.
The office door, too, was locked. Gus turned the key, opened the door and stepped into the office. The first thing he did was tear the sign down. Then, with the piece of paper balled up in his fist, he went over towards his desk and sat down heavily in his chair.
There was a post-it note on his desk. It hadn't been stuck to the desktop, but instead had been pinned to the pricks of Gus' cactus. If he had needed any hint that this was a note from Shawn, that would have been it.
Gus reached for the note and pulled it off the plant. It was just what he had expected. Short, to the point, and final.
I'll let you know where I am as soon as I do.
Gus bent forward and with slightly shaking fingers smoothed the sign he had torn from the front door out so that the two messages lay side by side. To the left, Shawn's message to Gus. To the right, the sign from the door.
Private Psychic Detective
Closed until further notice
Gus leaned back in his chair and stared unseeingly at the empty desk facing his.
He had been too late.
Shawn was gone.
Yes, I know I promised you a long story. And I will hold true to that promise. After the Easter Holidays (which means some point next week), when I will start posting the sequel.
Never worry, the sequel is also finished already, and it will start up right where this story left off. But since the next story is going to go into a different direction altogether (while continuing this storyline), I thought it best to split it up into two stories.
In the meantime I'd be eternally glad if you let me know what you thought of this story. Thanks a lot!