Slight spoilers for Scary Sherry: Bianca's Toast and The Old And The Restless.
Sophie had been teasing Shawn.
It had been no mistake that she'd left they key behind. She'd done it just to torture him, Shawn knew she had. If it had really been a lucky break for him, it would never have fallen to the ground just three inches out of reach!
He'd tried every way possible. He'd stretched out his legs, he'd tried to reach with his arms, he'd stood and tried to walk over to it… No matter what Shawn did, that stupid damn key remained just three inches away.
Shawn had nearly given up four times already – but each time, he'd either remembered the excruciating pain he'd experienced while Sophie had watched with a smile, or that stupid voice in his head that really did sound like his dad began yelling at him until he tried again, just to get it to shut up.
But this time, that was it. There was nothing more he could do. He might as well just give up – and nothing the Dad-voice said could make him try again!
Of course not. Should've known you'd give up. Congratulations Shawn, you've officially given up for the last time, because you sure as hell aren't going to have another chance like this before they kill you.
"That's not what it's like!" Shawn protested to the empty air. "There's no way to reach it. I'll just hurt myself."
And there it is. Once again, you're looking right at the solution, but you just can't commit yourself enough to find it. Think Shawn, imagine that it isn't you down here. How would a man escape from here? Close your eyes and think!
Shawn was closing his eyes before he even realized what he was doing, picturing the basement in his head. No, he'd been right. There was nothing anyone with his reach could do. The pulley was locked, so he couldn't pull any more chain loose and get closer that way; nothing else was in reach and he had no way to extend his reach; and the chains simply wouldn't let him get close enough. He'd already tried, but even when he'd gotten closest – sitting down and stretching his legs out as far as possible – he'd reached a point where the chains were taut. If he reached any farther, he'd be cutting the handcuffs even deeper into his own flesh.
You're looking right at the solution…
Shawn opened his eyes, blinking incredulously. "You want me to slice open my wrists? Yeah, great plan, Dad!"
It took several moments of silence before Shawn realized that he was alone; he'd been talking to himself the whole time.
"Great, now I'm going crazy. Well, here goes…" Shawn took several deep breaths, stood, and walked to the end of his leash. Then he closed his eyes, braced himself, and pulled.
The pain was excruciating, and Shawn couldn't contain a moan of pain as he felt the metal digging deep into his wrists – but his foot was stretching out farther, farther… There! Against his toe, the edge of the key. Shawn braced himself against the pain, lifted his foot, stretched it just a little farther – ohgodohmyhandsohgodithurts – and pulled the key back with him as he retreated back into comfortable territory.
Shawn panted hard, trying not to make any noise from the pain, though tears were once more streaming from his eyes. Finally, he recovered enough to pick up the key.
It was hard to unlock the handcuffs, but after five minutes Shawn managed to do so, spitting the key out of his mouth and onto the ground. Of course, now he had to actually pull the handcuffs off.
He dared to glance down at his arms, still bleeding.
The metal edges of the cuffs were embedded deeply into his skin on the top of his wrists; almost the entire widths of them were underneath his skin.
Shawn took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and pulled free. Like pulling off a band-aid; quick and painless.
Or not. The cuffs actually stuck from a moment, almost glued in place by Shawn's own blood, so it took him several seconds longer than he'd anticipated. Shawn was biting his lip so as not to make any noise and attract Sophie's attention from upstairs, and by the time he was done, he was bleeding from there too.
Shawn thanked god that he made it a habit to wear two shirts, as he ripped his top shirt with shaking hands, and clumsily tied pieces around each wrist, relying heavily on his teeth.
Hey, he thought as the blood from both his lip and from tying the knots ran down his throat when he swallowed to hold in a gag, I finally drank my own blood. Gus will be so happy.
Then he was bent over again, vomiting once more.
Five minutes of gagging and puking later, Shawn wiped his mouth and stood cautiously, slowly walking over to the slanted door. He checked the padlock. Yep, it was locked.
Shawn spun and headed for the shelves of tools, pausing next to the axe he'd seen earlier. Sure, why not?
Picking it up, he tried not to let it remind him of the last time he'd held an axe – taking it from Jules, wary of the crazy look in her eyes – but failed and sighed. He hoped that the others were all okay, even if he was selfishly glad that they all had to worry about him now, after that morning. They probably all felt guilty…
Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Shawn headed back to the slanted door, and lifted the axe, trying not to notice how his upper arm muscles were screaming and dying as he did so.
"Here goes…" Shawn muttered, swinging as hard as he could into the lock, then instantly freezing at the loud noise. After several tense minutes he relaxed, realizing that no one had heard. Reaching forward, Shawn examined the lock… Yes, it was broken.
"Yes!" he cheered in a whisper, then cautiously opened it and climbed out, shading his eyes to look around and find out where he was.
Shawn looked around at the empty landscape, then turned back to examine the farmhouse behind him. Complete with a barn over to the right. And no cars. So maybe he hadn't been in Sophie's basement. He was pretty sure she'd have mentioned living on a farm outside of the city.
Shawn looked around one more time, happy to notice that the van wasn't here, which meant that at least Sophie and her brothers were gone – for now, anyway.
Then he sighed, and began to walk along the road.
Almost fifty minutes later, Shawn was still walking – well, limping. In the basement his limp from his ankle hadn't been a big deal, but now…
He wasn't sure how far he'd hobbled, but he was pretty sure he wasn't going to make any Olympic records. Not to mention, it was beginning to get dark, and not a single car had passed him yet.
Shawn sighed, leaning on his ordinary-stick-turned-walking-stick as he continued to hobble along the highway. Maybe someone would drive by. Or maybe he'd run into one of those emergency phones. They had those every few miles, right?
Only ten minutes later, it finally happened. Shawn heard something, and spun to look; it was headed in the same direction as him, so it couldn't be Sophie returning.
He waved his arms in the air, beginning to hobble out into the road. "Hey! Hey, stop! Stop!"
The car screeched to a halt right in front of him, and a man leapt out of the drivers seat, fury in every line of his face.
"What the hell were you thinking? I could have killed – oh my god."
The reason he stopped was because he had seen Shawn properly for the first time – taking in his bruised face, ripped shirt, and most of all, his arms, covered in bloody streaks and with blood-soaked pieces of cloth tied around each wrist.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" The man instantly rushed forward, reaching an arm around Shawn to help him hobble to the car. "Come on, I'll take you to a hospital."
He helped Shawn into the passenger seat – and then had to buckle him in because Shawn's arms couldn't reach up that high. Shawn leaned his head back against the headrest, closing his eyes, as the man walked around to the driver's seat and started up the car.
After a few minutes of silent driving, he glanced at Shawn, and finally introduced himself. "I'm, uh, George. What the hell happened to you? Are you okay?"
Shawn opened his eyes, and slowly turned his head. "Do you have a cell-phone?"
George fumbled with his belt for a moment before passing a little black phone to Shawn. "Here. What's your name?"
Shawn was already dialing. "Shawn Spencer."
He was dimly aware of the guy gasping, saying something about the psychic that was kidnapped, but all of his attention was focused on the phone pressed to his ear. One ring, two rings –
The familiar voice of Juliet O'Hara was like a cool, healing breeze. Shawn instantly felt better. "Jules, it's me."
There was a tiny pause, and then she spoke, her voice filled with relief and worry. "Shawn."
7:01PM, Police Station
The moment, Juliet spoke Shawn's name, the office erupted with noise. Henry, Karen, and Lassiter all leapt to their feet and began firing off questions, and Gus walked over to Juliet, trying to take the phone from her.
She was still trying to talk to Shawn. "Wait, I can't hear you – let go! – No Shawn, not you… I – can you stop? – Just a second Shawn. Shut up!"
Juliet's voice was so loud and commanding that everyone instantly froze, and she gave the entire group a quick glare before speaking back into the phone. "Okay Shawn, we're good. Where are you?"
A short pause, then she spoke again. "Are you sure this guy's safe?"
Juliet relaxed, hearing Shawn's familiar chuckle. "Yeah. He's taking me to the hospital. But just in case he murders me, I saw his license plate. 1967GH."
Juliet scrabbled around on the Chief's desk and wrote that down. "Wait – the hospital? Are you okay? What happened?"
Shawn's voice over the line became less amused, taking on a serious tone she had only heard a handful of times in the two years she'd known him. "They took me to a barn out here, and had some fun with me. Then they left, but they dropped the key to my handcuffs, and I managed to get out. But Jules – I'm not hurt too badly, I swear. Just a few little ouchies. But I know who they are. It's a girl and her two brothers. Sophie Brooks, Eric Brooks, and Jake Brooks, okay? They live somewhere in Santa Barbara. She's going to med school here."
Juliet shook her head. "You had a vision?"
Shawn's voice was sad. "No. I used to date her, about two and a half years ago."
Juliet felt a sudden stab deep in her chest, but she just coughed and nodded. "Right." Suddenly not wanting to talk to Shawn anymore, she turned and handed it to Henry. "Here, you talk to him. I have to go."
Lassiter raised an eyebrow at her, and Juliet said, "He gave me names. Come on!"
Without any further conversation, the two left.
Same Time, Car On Highway
George didn't even pretend he wasn't trying to eavesdrop. After all, he had an injured psychic in his car! He had a right to be excited!
"Dad?" The man's voice instantly lost the soothing, happy edge it'd had during his conversation with 'Jules', whoever that was. "Okay, don't start yelling at me! You were there, I couldn't have gotten away, you know that!"
There was a long pause, then the psychic spoke again. "Wait. You – you seriously aren't blaming me for this?" Another pause. "Yes, I know I was kidnapped! I just – I don't know, I figured you'd be angry at me for not escaping sooner, or having my phone with me, or something."
George rolled his eyes. Wow, this guy had some serious issues with his dad, it sounded like.
"Okay, Dad, fine. I'm on my way back, I caught a ride – what? …Yes, I hitchhiked! What, would you rather I hobbled my way all the way back home through the night letting the cars – and cell-phones, might I add – pass me by? …No, he's not going to hurt me! And besides, I already gave Jules his license plate, so you can track him down just in case. Happy?"
George nodded to himself. Serious issues.
"No. No, I'm fine. I just said hobbling because – I'm fine! No, really, I'm okay Dad – look, I'll see you at the hospital, okay? Just – tell everyone hi for me."
Shawn quickly flipped the phone shut before his Dad could answer, and rolled his eyes.
"Christ… Thanks dude."
George shrugged. "No big deal. Why didn't you tell them you were hurt?"
Shawn licked his lower lip, and George winced when he saw it was bitten through. "Well, they just would've been even more worried. They'll find out when I see them, and if I told them I was hurt now, they'd think it was something life threatening. It's not. It just – "
The car hit a large bump in the road, and Shawn's hand shot to his side as he whimpered, biting down on his lip and closing his eyes.
George looked at him with concern, mixed with smugness.
"Yeah, you're just fine."
7:20PM, Sophie's House
It didn't take long for Lassiter and Juliet to find the Brooks' house, and in less than half an hour, they had pulled up and were going in, handcuffs ready.
Juliet knocked on the door three times, then stepped back with a polite smile.
When Jake Brooks opened the door, he was met with a gun pointed at his head, and cuffs snapping over his wrists.
"Jake? Who was at the door?" Sophie walked down the hallway curiously, frowning when she didn't receive a reply. "Jake?"
The door was open, and Jake was nowhere to be found. Sophie began to get worried, and hurried over to it.
The next thing she knew, a blonde woman was standing there, gun pointed at Sophie's face. "Hands up!"
Sophie's eyes widened, and she slowly complied, trying to think of a way out of this. "W-who are you?"
The blonde was none-too-gentle as she snapped handcuffs on Sophie's wrists and let her to the car.
"I'm a friend of Shawn's," she hissed, bumping Sophie's head on the car door as she shoved her into the backseat. "Oops, did that hurt?"
Sophie groaned as she was shoved in next to her brother and the door was slammed shut. There was no way to open it from the inside. "Dammit," she growled. "This is all Shawn's fault!"
Back in the house, Lassiter and Juliet proceeded with caution, looking around for the last brother. They found him watching cartoons in the living room. He glanced up at their approach, and nodded when they told him to hold up his hands.
He went peacefully, and as they left the house, Lassiter could swear he heard him say, "We deserve it."
"Just a few ouchies?! Shawn, your wrists are cut practically to the bone!"
Shawn squeezed his eyes shut, gritting his teeth at the sound of Juliet's loud voice. "But Jules, I didn't want you to worry!"
She glared at him, crossing her arms over her chest as she stepped back to allow everyone else to speak to Shawn for a little while.
Gus walked up to Shawn without a word, and handed him a pineapple-shaped stress ball. "Use this next time, okay?" He knew his friend's moods well, and knew what the day must have been like for him. Shawn grinned at him, and no more words were needed. Gus sat down in a nearby chair with a smile.
Henry, too, gave Shawn a pineapple – though this time it was a real one, that he put on the bedside table. "Shawn – this wasn't your fault." He smiled at his son. "You did everything you could've, and… I'm proud of you."
He patted Shawn on the hand, then turned and left, pulling a stunned Gus along with him. Shawn stared after him, amazed and confused.
"What, it only took getting kidnapped? I should've done this years ago," he muttered to himself, then blinked as he noticed he was alone with Juliet, who was still glaring at him.
"Oh come on Jules, you're not really that mad, are you?"
Juliet continued glaring at him as she approached. "Yes, Shawn, I really am that mad. If you ever," she leaned down close to his as she spoke, "Ever, get yourself kidnapped again, I promise you I will never forgive you."
Shawn frowned. "Hey, that wasn't my – "
He was cut off as Juliet leaned forward and kissed him directly on the lips. Shawn instantly complied, kissing her back, until she finally pulled away.
She blinked, then looked down at Shawn, a soft smile spreading across her face. "God, I was so worried about you, Shawn."
Shawn was speechless with surprise; he'd finally gotten the kiss he'd been wanting. "But – Jules – "
She smiled at him again, and he stopped himself, simply smiling back. "This wasn't a mistake, right? Because I'm pretty sure I could have just dreamed that if it was; it doesn't need to have ever happened."
Juliet shook her head at Shawn, still smiling. "No, it did happen. It wasn't a mistake, Shawn."
Shawn's smile grew ear to ear. "I think you just turned my day around, and let me tell you, that is a major accomplishment."
Same Time, Hallway
Gus frowned at Henry. "What are you doing?"
The man just shrugged. "That girl's got some things to say to my son." With an enigmatic smile, he turned and strode away, leaving Gus confused and alone in the hallway outside Shawn's room.
He glanced around, then peeked through the little window in the door, his eyes widening when he saw Juliet bending over Shawn's bed, definitely not talking.
"Oh my god!"
Shawn smiled as he heard Gus' voice filter into the room, and waved at his friend before he ducked out of sight. Juliet laughed, and despite the fact that he was aching all over, Shawn couldn't get rid of his smile.
He didn't think he would ever be willing to do this day over again. But he might agree to concede that it was, despite its utter horribleness… worth it.
He turned his head and met Juliet's eyes again.
Yeah, it was definitely worth it.