What I Didn't Know
Tag to Daredevils. Shawn and Henry have a chat.
Henry was just finishing up at the sink when he heard the distinct sound of a motorcycle. He dried his hands and waited to see if it would roar by or stop. As the motor wound down, he smiled. An impromptu visit, interesting. When Maddie arrived Shawn had been downright hostile. Then something happened and it was like the kid was just avoiding him. When he called about the box and then they talked at the reunion, he could see a little difference in the kid.
He was broken from his mental wandering by a knock on the front door, so he went to answer it. There stood his son staring at his feet, hands buried deep in his pockets. "Shawn," he said. "This is a surprise."
When Shawn looked up at him, Henry noticed hard lines were etched into his brow, replacing his normally cheerful look. Something was wrong. "Hey Dad. Can I come in?" Shawn asked softly as he glanced down again.
"Um…yeah, sure," Henry said, backing away to let him in. He watched Shawn head into the kitchen. The kid stood by the back door, staring at the beach. "You want a beer?" he asked as he went to the fridge, hoping to spark a conversation.
"Nah, driving." was the quiet answer. What happened? He wanted to ask outright, but his natural inclination was to read his son's body language. The hunched shoulders, the dull gaze of the eyes, Shawn had come to him to unload. He just had to wait the kid out. He'd tell him when he was ready.
"It's nice out. Want to sit on the porch?" he suggested to Shawn's back. Shawn nodded and opened the glass door. Henry followed and sank into the chair next to his son. "So, you working on a case?"
He heard the big sigh and took a swallow of his beer to allow time for Shawn to collect his thoughts. "Just finished one up," Shawn said quietly.
"Shouldn't you be bouncing around then?" Henry said, mentally smacking himself. But instead of the irate reaction he was expecting, Shawn just chuckled and leaned his head back against the chair.
"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Shawn's somber words really had him worried now.
"What happened?" Henry said, no longer able to stand the suspension of not knowing what put his son into this state.
Shawn picked his head up. "You know who Dutch the Clutch is?"
"Some daredevil yahoo. What about him?"
Shawn shook his head and then continued, "His son hired us to find out who was sabotaging his stunts. And we figured it out."
Henry waited for more, as he looked over at Shawn, he realized that the kid was leaving the explanation there. "So, who was it? Some rival, manager with a big insurance policy on him?"
Shawn sat forward, elbows resting on his knees. "Dutch, it was Dutch." He said it so quietly that Henry almost didn't hear him.
"He was trying to kill himself," Henry said with disgust, "Didn't you say he had a son? What a…"
Shawn exploded out of his seat. "Don't say it! Don't say it!" He suddenly turned away, gripping the porch rail with his hands.
"Say what? That the guy was a coward. Shawn, suicide is not a man's way to die, especially not if you have a family."
"He was doing it for them," Shawn said and he turned back toward Henry. Henry opened his mouth to refute that, but the unshed tears shining in Shawn's eyes stopped him. Shawn closed his eyes. "He's sick, dying. He's all they have. So he took out an insurance policy. If he died naturally, they get nothing. But if he died during a stunt…"
"He was sabotaging his stunts to provide for his family. But that's crazy. Why would he sacrifice himself like that?" Henry said stunned. Shawn snorted and turned back toward the water. He leaned his head against the wood post.
"Do you ask yourself that question often?" Shawn said. The question was soft, but had an edge of a bitter note to it.
Henry stared at his back. What? He put down the beer bottle and moved closer to the edge of his seat. "I'm not sure what you mean kiddo," he said honestly.
Shawn looked at him. He could tell he was trying to read him, seeing if his old man was holding back. Henry really wished he knew what Shawn was alluding to. "Why didn't you tell me it was her? Why did you let me think that you ended it?" As the angry questions left his son's mouth, Henry was shocked by the hurt he saw in the hazel eyes.
"Shawn, you were a kid. You didn't need to know who left who. It was over, we didn't think it would matter who ended it," Henry said.
"That's bullshit and you know it," Shawn said angrily as he pointed an accusing finger toward Henry. "You knew I was pissed at you. You knew I blamed you and you let me do it. Why? Why would you that?"
Henry looked up at Shawn. He watched in awe as one lone tear slid down his son's cheek. He needed to tell the kid. "I…I couldn't let you hate her. You both were so close. If you knew she left you, you would have been devastated. And you all ready hated me, so I figured…" Henry stopped.
"You had no right to do that!" The angry tone brought Henry to his feet.
"To do what Shawn, protect my son from thinking that his mother abandoned him?" Henryasked angrily.
"No, from deciding how I was going to feel!," Shawn said. He turned away, paced down the porch and then back at Henry. "Sure, I would have been mad, hurt that she left. But do you understand how angry I was at you? All the things I did to spite you," he said angrily.
"Yes Shawn. I'm painfully aware of what happened," Henry said quietly, sitting back down in his chair.
"Oh no! We're not done with this, Dad!"
"What do you want from me Shawn? You know what happened. What else could you possibly want to know?" Henry said with a tone that was quiet yet frustrated.
"Why? Why would you do that? Why would you risk our relationship? Sacrifice all that?" Shawn asked angrily.
"To save our family, to save you," he whispered. He saw the incredulous look on Shawn's face. "I knew you didn't want to follow in my footsteps. I pushed you too hard, practically dared you to rebel against me." Shawn just stared at him, so he pushed on. "Like I said, you and your mother were so close, even when you were a teenager. You never talked back to her, never rebelled against her. All your aggression was against me. I couldn't stomach tarnishing that. So I let you believe that I was the one that ended it. If your mother told you different, fine. But I wouldn't be the one to do that."
"Dad, I threw away everything you ever taught me. I stopped talking to you for years, because you didn't want me to be mad at Mom. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard," Shawn said angrily.
Henry chuckled sadly. "But I knew you'd get over it eventually. That you would be back."
"It still doesn't explain why you'd take that all on your shoulders," Shawn said.
"I thought I trained you better than that," was all he said. Shawn was quiet for a few minutes and then joined his father sitting again.
"Does she know that you still love her?" Shawn asked quietly.
"Does it matter?"
Shawn chuckled. In his best dad impression, he said, "You don't answer a question with a question."
Henry smiled, but fiddled with the bottle of beer. "I'm not sure it makes a difference now. It's water under the bridge."
Shawn laid his head back against the chair. "It makes a difference to me."
Henry looked over at him, laid a hand on his forearm and squeezed gently. Then stood up and headed to the door. "Should I throw some steaks on the grill?"
Shawn smiled from his seated position. "Sounds good Dad."