A/N: First off, this was originally supposed to be a one-shot, but it was kind of long, so I split it up into three smaller chapters. So don't worry, unlike my other stories, this is all typed up so I can get the other two chapters to you fast.
Disclaimer: I don't own psych now, but I will once my plans for world domination are put into effect.
"Yeah, 'uh-oh' is right. What are you doing?"
Shawn hated it when his dad asked him that, especially when they both knew what it was that he was doing and that he shouldn't be doing it.
"Reading comics," Shawn finally mumbled, looking away from his dad.
Henry sighed and shook his head, he would deal with that later. "And what should you be doing, especially after that C that you got on your last test?"
"Studying," Shawn answered sullenly.
"That's right," Henry said, going over to where Shawn was sitting on the floor and picking up the comics that were strewn about. "Where do you keep getting these? You know what, no, we'll deal with this later. I have something more important that I need to talk to you about. Come here," Henry sat on the edge of Shawn's bed and motioned for his son to come and sit next to him.
"Great," Shawn groaned.
When Shawn sat down, Henry waited until his son was looking at him, before he began.
"Shawn, do you remember our talk about responsibility?"
He better, Henry recited it to him enough that he would catch Shawn mouthing it along with him as he gave it.
"Yes." Shawn rolled his eyes, looking away.
"Good, keep it in the back of your mind, while I tell you about this. Do you know what goals are?"
"Yes," Shawn said, looking back at Henry. They hadn't discussed these before.
"Do you have any goals?"
"I want to be the first kid on Mars," Shawn blurted out instantly.
Henry opened his mouth, and then closed it.
"And I want to make a new flavor of pudding," he continued, "I'm thinking cheese."
"No, Shawn—Shawn, stop. I meant something realistic. Like finishing high school and going to college or the academy. Or something that will make you a better person, like deciding to compliment someone everyday for…a month. Those types of goals."
"I don't have anything like that," Shawn admitted.
"Well now you do. Your goal is to pass your next exam, and get to high school to finish it. Got it?"
"Okay," Shawn said. He should have known that this would be some sort of ingenious trick to get him to study.
"Good," Henry said, standing up. Once in Shawn's doorway, he turned back and held the comic books up. "We'll talk about these later."
Sometimes, Henry truly didn't know what was wrong with his son. Two days prior, he had come over, insisting that he needed Henry's truck for a case. After making his son do a few menial chores around the house, he gave him access to the truck. He hasn't seen either one since.
"I didn't give you the truck to keep, Shawn," Henry growled into the phone, leaving his fifteen message. "And stop avoiding me."
It was Saturday morning, starting on the third day, straight, that Shawn had kept his truck. Henry had been planning on fishing today. It may have been drizzling outside his house, but the weather forecast said that it was going to be clear near were he liked to fish.
Without his truck, Henry couldn't go fishing, he couldn't run any errands, and because of the rain, he couldn't work on any of his outdoor projects. He needed to do something. He didn't like to be idle. He didn't want to be idle, he hadn't done anything really important or constructive for the past two days. Usually when Shawn would borrow the truck, Henry would see, or hear from, him shortly after. He had been waiting for the case to wrap up, or for Shawn to call and ask for more help. But neither had happened, and now Henry needed to do something to occupy his hands, and his mind.
As he thought about it, Henry remembered that he had been wanting to clean out the attic for some time now. There was no time like the present, he decided. Besides, what else did he have to do?
Working in the attic was good for Henry. He finally felt like he was doing something and he enjoyed the work. There was nothing better than a job well done. Something that he knew his son wouldn't understand.
As Henry was shifting some boxes, an old photo album that was sitting on top of them fell and exploded with photographs as it hit the ground. Grumbling, Henry sat one of the boxes down and started collecting the scattered photos. Most of them were of Shawn when he was a kid. Once all of the photos were shoved back into the album, Henry decided to take a small break and have some lunch.
There was almost no more food in the house, because Henry had been planning on shopping the day Shawn had run off with his car. With a sigh he opened up the fridge to see if he had any leftovers. He had a bit of fish left that he had cooked up earlier, and since that was pretty much the only food left in his house, he took it out and tossed it in the microwave. Then he went over to the drawer where he kept his silverware. He had just looked down into the drawer, but stopped when something bright caught the corner of his eye. Looking down, Henry saw a bright pink, folded up piece of paper stuck to his boot.
He hadn't noticed it earlier, so it must have fallen out of the photo album, Henry thought, as he peeled the paper from the bottom of his boot. It was strange though, that a pink piece of paper would be in Shawn's old photo album.
Crumpling the paper in his hand Henry went over to the trashcan to throw it away, when he suddenly stopped. He remembered this paper!
Henry was home for lunch. It wasn't often that he was able to do this, but he wasn't in the middle of any case. All that was waiting for him back at the station was paper work. Lot's of paper work.
At first, when Henry entered the kitchen, he didn't notice Shawn, but when he turned around, after pouring himself some orange juice, he saw his son sitting at the table, writing something.
"What are you working on there?" Henry asked.
Looking up at his dad, Shawn answered, "I'm writing a to-do list."
"Really?" Henry asked impressed.
"Yep," Shawn said, scribbling something down.
"Not that I'm not impressed that you took our conversation last night seriously Shawn, but why are you writing it on that?"
Shawn looked down at the bright pink piece of paper and then up at his dad. "Mom gave it to me. I couldn't find any paper."
Henry shook his head. Of course Maddie would give him pink paper.
"Can I see what you've written?" Henry asked.
"No!" Shawn shouted, quickly. "No one can look at this but me."
"Fine," Henry said, holding his hands up in a sign of surrender. "As long as you complete everything you write on that list, I don't care."
"Good," Shawn replied. Then he just stared at Henry, before finally looking back down at the paper and writing something else.
Could this really be that same list? Henry looked around him, as if he expect Shawn to suddenly appear out of nowhere (he had been known to do that) and accuse him of snooping. But that was ridiculous, Henry thought. Besides, if Shawn didn't want Henry to see it, then he never should have thrown it away. Not even a week after Shawn had written the list, he had come home angry about something and had thrown his list away, grumbling that it was stupid and that he couldn't even do the first thing on it. Henry had had a long day that day, so he didn't confront his son about his lack of ambition, but Maddie had just smiled and pulled the paper out of the trash.
"He might feel differently about it later," she said, slipping the paper into the photo album for safe keeping.
He hadn't really been all that curious before, but now Henry wanted to know what his ten year old son had written all of those years ago.
He started to smooth out the crumpled paper when the microwave dinged. Startled by the sudden sound, Henry almost dropped the paper. Cursing himself, he went and got his food.
"Not doing anything wrong," he growled, throwing his food on the table and then sitting down.
He shouldn't…he didn't, feel guilty about looking at the list. He hardly doubted that Shawn would even remember it. Besides, he was Shawn's dad and he had a right to know what was on the paper.
Henry opened the paper and just at first glance, without reading anything, he saw a short list (five or six items) with a box next to each item, and not one thing had a check.
Henry looked at the first item listed.
□ 1. Be a happy person.
Henry blinked a few times. He didn't want to admit it, but that first item surprised him a bit. Not only had he expected something a little more superficial, but Shawn was one of the happiest people he knew. Shawn was happy to the point of annoying. Why had he thrown the list away, saying that he couldn't do the first thing on the list?
Henry wasn't puzzling over what the answer could be, for very long.
Shawn had been upset the day that he had thrown the list away. The kid probably thought that to be a happy person, you always had to be cheerful. Didn't think that he could have an off day. He hadn't looked at the big picture and had given up.
For a second Henry considered just crumpling the list up and throwing it away right then. He didn't really want to read a monument to his son's stupidity or failures…but…it hadn't been a failure. He had completed the first thing on the list. Even if it was subconsciously.
"Okay," Henry said, "I'll give you that."
A/N: hope you enjoyed, part 2 will be put up shortly