A/N: More experiments in narration and pacing. Again, please feel free to critique as hard as you'd like. I'm never going to improve without it.
This was inspired by a Sugarland song, on their newest album, but I can't tell you which song until the end as it will ruin the plot! The title is from a line from the song though, so I suppose if you know it well enough you'll get it.
The Top Gun/Ravine idea comes from Collegekid06's "What Doesn't Kill You...Probably Isn't Much Fun..." It's not exactly the same, but the premise is.
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. No money is being made from the work on this site. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Where you sad, where you scared…Warning: Angst and Character death!
With All I Have Left
Gus sat down in the empty chair, glancing at the tipped over shot glasses and empty bottles already on the table. He frowned deeply as Shawn downed another shot glass full of something that was probably strongly alcoholic. "That stuff is poison, you know. You're going to end up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning if you don't slow down."
The glass was dropped with a clink onto the table. It didn't shatter or roll. It just laid there, crystalline dead weight, on the table.
"I screwed up," Shawn muttered, eyes blank and unfocused as they looked at the glass. "I screwed up so bad. I can't fix it."
"You didn't screw up, Shawn," Gus sighed, folding his hands in his lap. It was obvious that Shawn wasn't listening, but he had to try. "It was an accident. You couldn't know. The car spun off the road. That's all. No one is a fault here, except maybe the weather."
Shawn rolled his eyes upward, and for a moment Gut was afraid his friend was going to pass out. He didn't, he just seemed to be addressing the ceiling. "I should have gone too. I was just watching a movie. Whatever I said, I was only watching a movie. You always dropped things when I asked."
"With more or less a fight," Gus smiled, a little sadly, knowing the ceiling would not answer. "You would have been killed if you'd gone too, you know. How would your dad have dealt with that?"
Shawn lowered his head, laying his hands spread eagle on the table. They sat, deathly still, for several minutes until Shawn spoke again. "Do you remember just after we saw Top Gun for the first time? When we rode our bikes right after?"
"And you decided you needed a braver RIO guy," Gus couldn't stop a breathless little chuckle from escaping, "so you pushed me down the ravine. I couldn't forget that! I had to get ten stitches."
"I'm sorry, Gus. I've always been sorry about that."
Shawn shifted forward, and the glasses rattled like the wind through skeleton trees. A few fell over, lifeless, and Shawn didn't bother reaching to pick them up. "I should have said it more. I don't remember even saying it all. But I was sorry. Every day when I looked at that cut, I was sorry."
"Shawn, you snuck me pineapple every day. I knew." Gus shook his head. "It probably would have creped me out if you had. It would have made it seem so much worse if you were bothered by it."
There was a tomblike silence again, a stillness that was frightening when Shawn was in the same room, which stretched for several minutes. Shawn started fiddling with one of the glasses on the table, rocking it back and forth. "There was a lot of stuff I should have said but never did, wasn't there?"
Gus watched the glass to, dreading its inevitable fall. "We're all like that, Shawn. I know you're thinking it makes you a bad person, but it doesn't."
"I still owe Jules an explanation. I'd been hoping she'd call, you know. That's why I didn't go." Shawn groaned, running his free hand over his face while the other held the little glass in place on its edge. "That sounds awful. I flaked out because I hoped she would call because I'd let the air out of her boyfriend's tires."
"You what?" Gus didn't know whether to laugh or growl in frustration.
"I wanted to delay him. Make it so she got stood up, and she could call me, and we'd go do something. Like last time. And it sounds so horribly shallow when I say it aloud."
"Yeah it does," Gus muttered, shaking his head again. "It turned out to be a good thing, though, Shawn, because you're here."
"I'm sorry." Shawn was talking to the glass again, rolling it around and around on the seam of the bottom of the glass. "I want to have him hear me say that."
"I know you're sorry," Gus muttered back, keeping his hands clenched like a trap in his lap. "Everyone knows you're sorry. If you could change it you would, Shawn, nobody doubts that but you."
The glass was swirling, slipping from the loose finger grip.
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre," Gus muttered to himself, a poem mostly forgot from senior English, dead-leaf brown eyes following the glass on its journey, "the falcon cannot hear the falconer…"
"It might have been different if I'd gone," Shawn stated, suddenly sounding sure. "I might have said or done something that made it different."
"You can't know that," Gus sighed, finally sitting back fully in the chair. "Please let it go, Shawn. You can't know that."
"Spencer!" The booming voice filled the bar, breaking the cold awful silence and Shawn jumped. The glass fell on its side, rolled off the table, and fell to the floor. It shattered.
If Shawn noticed he did not acknowledge, and he smiled up a little lop-sided at the man striding towards them. "Hi, Lassie. Care to join me for a drink."
"No. O'Hara's been looking all over for you." Lassiter didn't look any different, but it seemed to Gus that he was warmer than usual. Living ice, if such a thing were possible. "She says you hung up and disappeared after she called."
Shawn fell silent again, studying the drinks on the table.
Gus smiled at him a little sadly, sympathetically. "Things fall apart…"
Lassiter sat down in the empty chair, righting the bottles that had fallen almost automatically. "Come on Spencer. You're drunk, and everyone is out of their mind with worry about it."
"I'm sorry, Lassie. I'm sorry it happened." Shawn wasn't really looking at the detective again, his face too pale in the harsh white lights. "Do they all know that?"
"Yeah," Lassiter looked uncomfortable, and he stood again. "Yeah they know. Guster knows it too."
"Gus is dead," Shawn muttered, hands shaking violently against the table. "And I'm sorry."