Summary: Gravity has to bring them together eventually. Shawn/Jules.
A/N: First completed Psych fic. May have some small errors that I didn't pick up on in relation to the show. Different from originally planned… Also, it's way longer than I had originally intended, but I hope it doesn't drag.
It's her laugh that does it. Her nose crinkles up and her eyes are so alive, and he swears that if this isn't love, it's definitely the closest he's ever been. He's never felt this way before; he's growing to enjoy every single moment with her, even when she's scowling and turning him down yet again.
But it's her laugh that does it, and suddenly he's tired of waiting and hoping and dreaming. He's too tired to play this silly game, this charade in which they dance around the issue, a tango of two remarkably stubborn people.
They're celebrating over a case well done, and she's laughing at something he said, but he can't remember what. Suddenly, completely disregarding the fact that Gus and Buzz are watching, Shawn leans in and kisses her lips. It's not quite sweet, but it's definitely short. It's just long enough for her to conquer her surprise and kiss back.
But she doesn't.
Instead, she stiffens with some emotion he's afraid to recognize. Fear? Embarrassment? Betrayal? And things just spiral downward from there, because then he has to pull away, has to see the expression on her face. The smile is gone, her eyes are so wide it could be comical, but it's not funny at all. The world has turned upside down and made a fool out of him.
Recover, recover, recover, he thinks frantically. He's always been good at cleaning up his messes, but his brain is frozen solid. What happened to his quick wit? And God, she still hasn't said anything. She's barely even blinked in the last seven seconds.
"Uh, Shawn…?" Gus is snapping him back from the brink, but it's no use. The fight or flight response is taking hold, and for once, Shawn finds himself opting for flight.
"I've gotta go." he says, practically stuttering. He pushes past a shell-shocked Buzz, and starts speed-walking out of the police station. Intended destination: A lonely place far, far away from here.
"Shawn…" Jules calls out, but it's halfhearted. He wants to look back, he really does, but he can't stare into her eyes and see a total…lack of emotion meant for him. No, this can't be love or anything like it, because she feels nothing in return. That much has been made obvious.
Gus is behind him, which is also obvious. He's calling out something, but Shawn can't listen, can't focus on anything besides moving one foot in front of the other. There's pain with each step, and when he's finally outside, the sky is way too blue and sunny to fit his mood.
A dreary, miserable grey would be far more appropriate.
He reaches Gus's car, folds himself into the passenger seat, and waits. Gus catches up shortly and gets into the driver's seat. He shuts the door with a little more force than necessary. His first words are, predictably, "What the hell was that about, Shawn?"
Shawn can't look at him. Jules is emerging from the station now, staring straight at him, straight through him. He doesn't understand what he sees; her emotion is completely guarded, indecipherable. She mouths something to him, and if he wanted to, he could replay it back in his head and figure it out. He doesn't want to, doesn't try.
"Please, Gus." says Shawn. The sharpness of his voice surprises even him. "Just drive. Let's just go."
Gus, God bless him, doesn't question it, doesn't argue. He can tell that Shawn is too far gone to handle any more. A best friend at his finest. But he does shoot a regretful look towards Jules as he pulls the car out of the parking lot. She clearly wants them to stay, but they're already leaving. They're leaving her behind, and Shawn is relieved.
When they're out on the main road, the silence between them becomes more noticeable. Gus fidgets uncomfortably. Finally, "Wanna talk about it?"
No. No. No way. "Yeah."
Gus looks at him, now really concerned. In the entire history of the world, only a brave few have ever answered that question with a yes, and most of those were women. Shawn in particular always says no to this type of thing.
So this puts them in entirely new territory. Gus struggles through shock. Flounders. "Okay…so, uh, what was that about?"
"I don't know, Gus…I just wanted to kiss her, to try for something. Finally make it all come together. She looked so happy, so cute, you know…?" Even as he says it, Shawn knows he sounds like a total wuss. He also feels so exposed, so vulnerable. He hates it, but he needs someone to help him understand, and Gus is the only one who can even come close.
And if their roles were reversed, Shawn knows it would be different. He'd never let Gus live it down if he acted like such a love-struck imbecile, and it's in this moment that Shawn knows without a doubt that Burton Guster is truly the better man. The better friend.
Because Gus just nods like he knows the feeling, and questions, "You like her that much, huh?"
Shawn nods solemnly. Gus sighs. "Shawn…she really wanted to talk to you. We should've stayed."
"I couldn't talk to her."
It's the end of the conversation. They both know there's nothing more to say. Gus looks worried. This is not the usual happy-go-lucky Shawn. This is dark Shawn, emotional Shawn. The façade of confidence and energy has been torn away and tossed aside.
Gus drops him off at his apartment. He offers to stay and hang out, maybe play some video games, but Shawn politely rejects. "Thanks, that's okay. I'm good. Talk to you later."
Which must scare Gus terribly, because since when has Shawn ever been polite? He frowns. "Don't do anything irrational, Shawn." he tells him.
Shawn rolls his eyes. Gus takes it as a good sign and waves goodbye.
When he's gone, Shawn paces like a caged animal. He's antsy, even more than usual. He wants to grab a beer, even though he's never been much of a drinker anyway. He wants to drown himself with liquor, swallow the bottle in an effort to forget the kiss that wasn't returned. But he doesn't bother.
On a whim, he checks his cell phone. Four missed calls from Jules. It's ironic, because he hasn't been avoiding her, his phone has just been on silent. He didn't even realize it.
She probably hates him now. She's probably so frustrated, she's taking it out on a target at the shooting range. The mental image of her putting bullet holes in a sheet (most likely imagining his face in front of it), makes him smile slightly, but it feels tight and hurts his face.
He's a mess.
Hours pass, and nothing really changes. He eats some stale chips, then throws the empty bag away. He takes a shower and lets the water burn his skin. It feels nice. After getting dressed, he turns on the television and stares as reruns of Seinfeld play. It isn't funny, but he's not watching anyway. He could use one of those delicious catnaps right about now, but his body is too tense and his foot won't stop bouncing against the floor.
This is the lowest he's ever, ever been. He didn't even know it was possible for him to react so strongly.
An abrupt knocking on his door brings him out of his self-reflection. It's her, of course. Jules. "I know you're in there, Shawn. Please open up. Please?"
She's not going away any time soon. He can hear the determination in her voice. The stubborn girl can't even let him sulk properly.
He sighs, pastes an artificial smile on his face, and braces himself. This will hurt, he's sure of it.
He opens the door. "Hey, my fair Jules! To what do I owe this fine pleasure?" his voice is forcedly cheerful. She holds back a cringe - she must hear the pain through the fake.
And he'd always thought he was a good actor…
Jules bites her lip like she's nervous beyond all reason. Her hands, used to being so steady with a gun, shake a little. She doesn't wait for invitation, she just walks in, walks past him. She surveys his place with anxiously curious eyes, then collapses onto his couch.
He watches, strangely amused but still wary. He closes the door and decides to perch himself on the couch as well - on the opposite side. The space between them screams overused metaphor. It still feels far.
"I could get you something to drink…" he offers.
She doesn't look at him. "Shawn, I'm sorry."
So much for beating around the bush, he thinks. And now, he's sure that this will be the moment in which his heart breaks. She will say sorry and continue on to tell him that she thinks of him as just a friend. Nothing more. Or she'll give an excuse as to why it couldn't work anyway, why his last few months of scheming and dreaming have been in vain. He has no hope for any better outcome.
"I'm sorry." she repeats. "I've always really liked you, and maybe it is time we tried for...a relationship..."
The words are unexpected, and truth be told, he's too scared to believe them. "Don't do this, Jules." his voice is straight and serious. He has no more energy for games.
"I don't want this to be forced. Please, don't trick yourself into feeling something for me if it's just not there. I'll be fine if you don't feel the same way. Scout's honor." He attempts a smile. It falls flat.
"Shawn…I didn't trick myself into feeling something for you. I've been doing the exact opposite." she's looking straight at him now. Trying to convince him.
She cuts him off. "Shawn! Listen to me. I wanted to kiss you back today, okay? I was just surprised and nervous and scared. I know this'll come as a shock, but relationships are not my strong suit. It just freaked me out." Her hands flail, her voice is high - she's trying really hard to get her point across. "And I really thought you knew..." she admits.
Could it really be this easy?
He wants to deny the truth of her statement, because he's terrified of an uncertain future, but her eyes tell all. She wants to give this a try, because she likes him and cares about him and wants to see him happy. She wants to be happy, too.
In this instant, he can almost feel the earth tilt. In this instant, he can almost feel gravity pulling them together. It's also pulling them forward, far past the avoidance and tension that had always kept them on edge around each other.
It's a scary and wonderful moment in which everything finally falls into place.
Shawn believes it can work, and suddenly he's back in his element. He feels light and energized and real. He scoots closer to her, and there's no more distance keeping them apart. He kisses her, sweet and slow and nervous. But she kisses back this time, runs fingers through his hair, and it's perfection.
When he pulls away, she's blushing and smiling. He chuckles. "You sure kept me waiting long enough, my fair Juliet. If I had known that all it would take was for me to kiss some sense into you, we'd probably be happily married by now..."
She just shakes her head and smiles. "Shawn…"
Before they say their goodbyes, they make plans for a real date.
Gus stops by the next day, most likely to check on him. He seems braced to repair an emotionally broken friend, but Shawn just smirks at his arrival, and forces him inside for video games and pizza.
They play Call of Duty Four even though Gus hates that game. While they're playing, Gus attempts a casual approach to the Jules situation. "So, are you and Juliet cool then?"
Shawn grins. "Yeah. She came over, and we talked. And we're totally dating now, by the way, so hands off, Guster."
"Oh, no way!"
"I know. We totally made out and, well, you know. It went a little further." Shawn winks suggestively.
Gus laughs - he can see through it. "Liar."
"Truth is in the eyes of the beholder, Gus. Always remember that."
"I'm the loser with a girlfriend, so there." he sticks his tongue out.
"Still a loser. And next time you're a romantic wreck, I'll just let you fall apart, how 'bout that?"
Shawn turns serious in an instant - he even stops and pauses the game. Gus raises an eyebrow. "About yesterday," starts Shawn, suddenly feeling the need to express his overwhelming gratitude. But it's hard; sincerity has never been his forte. He doesn't look at Gus's face, he prefers to stare at his shoulder. "Thanks for that. I know if it had been me on the other side…well, I probably wouldn't have been as understanding…"
Gus blows it off. He has no time for sentimental Shawn; there are video games to be played. Scores to be settled. "I don't believe that. If I looked as pathetic as you did yesterday, I'm sure you'd be there for me." Gus holds out a fist without even thinking, and Shawn bumps it with his own. It's an automatic response. Shawn still doubts the validity of Gus's statement, but smirks anyway.
He leans in a little closer to his friend. "Hate to burst your bubble, but you always look that pathetic, Gus." His eyes are mischievous, sparkling.
Gus punches Shawn's shoulder. "I highly doubt that, Shawn." he says. He adopts a high pitched, girly voice. "Oh, Juliet, my one true love! I neeeed you!"
"Please. Don't ever do that again. That voice is just scary, Gus." Shawn deadpans. He un-pauses the game and smirks again.
Life is good.
A/N: It's really long, I know. I almost cut out the last scene with Gus, but…I was too attached to it. Anyway, thanks for reading. Reviews greatly appreciated.