The first time Shawn Spencer referred to himself as a psychic, it had been to get out of a sticky situation. He'd seen the lie as a quick solution to a problem that had looked likely to end in jail time for him. It had been that or admit that his father's "training" had paid off and that he was smart and observant. And not some slacker who couldn't hold a job like he'd so cleverly led everyone around him to believe.
After all, he was Shawn. Mr. Fun-Time, obscure-reference, pineapple-loving, wise cracking guy.
Not Mr. Smart, reasonable, would-make-an-excellent-detective, had-a-proud-father guy.
And he'd very much wanted to keep it that way. So he'd kept up the charade longer after being released from custody. Because not only did the veil of "psychic" allow him to dance to his own rockin' Duran Duran-inspired tune, but it also allowed Shawn to do something that he actually loved and was great at. The fact that he was able to fulfill one his childhood dreams of being a private detective, without having to be a cop, made the whole deal even sweeter. And his father's irritation over that fact had only made it that much more appealing.
But truth be told, and much to his chagrin, Shawn had his father to thank… blame, whichever, for his "gift." If it weren't for Henry's constant training (in other words, torture), he wouldn't have become… whatever he was. Fake psychic, detective, hyper-observant, the title didn't matter, because he was all of the above.
And in the end, it all boiled down to his father's lessons in How To Be A Good Cop 101 and Hyper-Vigilance For Future Detectives 208. He'd taught his son to notice and mentally catalogue anything and everything at all times. And even though Shawn had fought his father every step of the way, the lessons had sunk in. They'd shaped him and made him into a brilliant detective.
Even if he would never admit that out loud.
Shawn knew that that was all there was to him and his "psychic" abilities. He knew that it was only a matter of him using his senses in a way that other people didn't. And he couldn't help that. That was just how he was. But despite that knowledge, there were some things he just couldn't explain away as simple observation. There were some things that Shawn just knew for no other reason that, he just did.
And even though Shawn knew that what he did for the SBPD was nothing more than clever detective work, there were times when he thought he might really have psychic powers after all…
They'd been working on a really dangerous case involving the smuggling of antique Faberge Eggs.
When they'd first been offered the case, Shawn had scoffed. He'd thought it would be as easy as downing a pineapple smoothie in three and three quarters gulps (minus the brain freeze). After all, who would want to smuggle Faberge Eggs? Wheezy old collectors who lived with twenty cats? And really, how much of a threat could they present?
When he'd first mentioned the case to Henry, Shawn had made a few witty jokes about the case. One or two had been about the Faberge Eggs and those who would be interested in smuggling them. And then there'd been one brilliant crack about how quickly he'd solve the case.
Caught up in his own laughter, he hadn't been prepared for his father's reaction.
"No, Shawn. Take yourself off this one." Henry's voice had been harsh, final. He'd objected to other cases Shawn had taken in the past but never so strongly. "I worked a case like this when I was still on the Force. It was bad news."
Shawn and Gus had exchanged shocked looks, unable to understand the older man's anger. "Dad, chill. It's just some old, ugly, ceramic eggs. What could be so dangerous about that?"
Henry had clenched his jaw together and exhaled loudly through his nose before pointing at his only son. "It's not the eggs, Shawn. It's not 'wheezy, old collectors.'" He'd paused, looking from Shawn to Gus to make sure he had their attention. "It's the Russian mob. And the eggs are used for drug trafficking." Henry had let the words hang in the air and locked eyes with his son until the tension had become unbearable. "Get yourself out, Shawn. You too, Gus." Though he'd addressed Gus, he hadn't looked away from his son.
But despite his father's warning, despite his insistence that the case was dangerous, Shawn hadn't listened. He'd stayed on anyway.
And Gus, ignoring his better judgment, had stuck right by his side.
Almost three months later, the case was still active, and despite Shawn's "psychic" investigations, they weren't much farther along than when they'd started. But today… today Gus had stumbled upon something that had the potential to be big. He'd decided to run it back to the station while Shawn continued pouring over their notes and papers. It was one of the few times he'd actually read one of the police files.
About twenty minutes after Gus left, Shawn decided to make himself a much needed pineapple smoothie with the new retro food processor he'd bought off eBay.
It happened as he was crossing from the fridge to the counter.
Out of nowhere, Shawn had felt as if his whole left side had been rammed by a bulldozer. Taken aback by the sudden pain, he gasped in shock. Before he could move another step, his left arm began to burn and throb uncontrollably. And his neck felt as if it had been whipped around a few times like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
As he frantically searched for an explanation, his cell phone began to ring. Fighting against the ever-increasing pain, he fumbled around for the cell. He was just able to make out "Dad" on the screen before flipping it open. By then, he'd hobbled over to the counter and was clinging to it for support. Shawn didn't get a word out before his father's voice rumbled out of the receiver.
"Shawn, Karen just called me. Gus has been in an accident." He could hear the anger and worry in his father's voice, and it unnerved him. "She thinks it was the Russians."
The phone slipped out of his hand, and just as quickly as it came, the pain was gone.
Before Juliet would agree to marry Shawn, she had insisted that they sit down and have a very long and serious talk about what they wanted in life. Things like where to live and what to drive. Of course, they'd talked about things like that in the year and a half they'd been dating but never really seriously.
Shawn had wined and complained about it, wanting to know why she wouldn't just answer his proposal.
Juliet had placed her hand on his cheek so that she had been able to keep his attention. "Shawn, my parents have been married for over thirty years. And that's what I want." Even though he'd quit squirming, the blonde hadn't moved her hand away. "If we're going to do this, I want to be absolutely sure."
The seriousness in her voice had been enough to convince him that this was something he had to do if he really wanted to marry Juliet. And he'd very much wanted to do just that. So he'd quietly sat down at her table and waited for the conversation to begin.
At first, Shawn had been a little nervous, but after a while, he'd relaxed. The more they talked, the more it seemed as if they were perfect for one another. Right away they decided that they wanted to live in a house, not an apartment. A big yard was a must, and a location near water was preferable. One thing that Shawn had declared that he'd wanted to do was grow pineapples in their backyard. Juliet had rolled her eyes, but he'd made her promise that they would at least try.
Cars had been a little more difficult. Juliet had hated Shawn's bike, but he'd refused to give it up. They had managed a compromise when Shawn had promised that she could pick out their next new car. And he'd promised not to say one single word about what she chose. Even if it did end up being pink. (They'd both known he wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut, but they'd agreed.)
The only real sticking point had been kids.
Juliet wanted two or three. She hadn't really been sure which. And Shawn… He didn't want kids at all. The idea had terrified him. His worst nightmare had been him turning out to be the same type of father as his own. And he would do everything in his power to stop that from happening.
When he'd told Jules he didn't want children, her face had fallen to the ground. But instead of looking away, she'd continued to stare at him as if she were looking for something. "But Shawn, you're great with kids."
"I can't turn into my father, Jules. I won't put some poor kid through that." Shawn's voice had been low, and for once, completely devoid of any humor.
"What? Your father is great!" Juliet's voice had been filled with surprise.
From an outsider's point of view, Henry would come off as a wonderful dad. Henry had showed up when he was in serious trouble and treated his friends decently. But Shawn wasn't an outsider. And he'd known better. He could have told Juliet what his childhood had been like, what his father was really like. But to do that, he'd have to admit that he wasn't really psychic.
And he couldn't do that.
"I don't understand, Shawn." The confusion in her voice had been palpable.
"It's just… My father may seem great. But he really wasn't." As Juliet continued to stare at him, Shawn had thought about the time his father wouldn't let him get a piece of chocolate cake until he told him how many hats were in the diner.
"Well, there's nothing saying that you have to be like him." Juliet's voice had been hopeful, encouraging. "I know you Shawn. Once you really put your mind to something, you don't give up." She'd reached out, and placed her hand over his. "If you really don't want to be like your father, you won't be."
"Right. You're right." Shawn's normally vibrant eyes had dropped to the kitchen table. He honestly hadn't known how he was going to handle kids. But Jules was right. He didn't have to end up like his father. He would just do the exact opposite of everything Henry had done. He could do it, and he would. Because, in the end, all that had mattered had been making sure Jules was happy. "However many you want is fine with me, Jules."
"In that case, yes." Juliet's voice had been bright and chipper. "I'll marry you, Shawn Spencer."
A year and a half later the topic of children hadn't come up again. Not that they both hadn't thought about it. They'd been too busy working, planning a wedding, and being newly weds. There just hadn't been any time to broach the subject again.
One morning, Shawn woke up earlier than normal for no reason at all. The sun was beginning to rise, causing their bedroom to glow softly in the morning light. Juliet was still asleep, and the rising sun cast brilliant pink and red hues across her face. His wife's blonde locks were tussled, and her lips were parted slightly, completely relaxed. To Shawn, she'd never looked more beautiful.
Very gently, he pushed a few of the hairs out of her face before kissing her on the forehead. As his lips pressed into her warm skin, something came over Shawn. A strange feeling that absolutely everything was right with their world. And it was then that he just knew.
Later that morning, when Juliet stumbled out of the bathroom, a shocked look on her face and a pregnancy test in her right hand, Shawn just looked at her and smiled.
When Shawn had been younger, and his dad had been tough on him, he'd comfort himself with thoughts of how his father would pay. How karma would catch up to Henry for yelling at him, forcing him to be something he didn't want to be, and for every other mean thing Henry had ever done to him.
Some of his favorite scenarios had included aliens, the slime monster that he was convinced lived in the sewers, and the mystery meat in the school cafeteria.
Once in a while, when his dad had been extra tough, Shawn had thought about trying to bribe the monster with a hot fudge and Pop Rock sundae. But he never did. Shawn might have wanted to, but he hadn't been able to. As mean as his dad might have been to him, he hadn't deserved to suffer the wrath of Mr. Slimy.
Over the years, Shawn's fantasies changed but one thing remained the same… He never wanted his father to get hurt. Henry might have been covered in a coat of stinky, purple goo, abducted for a few days, or dipped in mystery sauce, but that was it. Nothing more.
The thoughts were nothing more than childish fantasies meant to soothe Shawn's bruised feelings.
As he grew older, his father got worse and was harder on him. The scenarios he'd clung to comfort when he was little changed from monsters to irritated monkeys and other animals. He'd probably have stuck with Mr. Slimy, but Shawn was sure he'd moved to a new sewer.
But nothing Shawn could ever come up with would be as terrible as "natural causes."
As much as Shawn resented his father, he never thought of a day when Henry no longer be there. Sure, they fought and hassled, and Shawn never really felt as if he had his father's approval, but he didn't want him dead.
The day it happened, Shawn was home, working on his book. He'd long ago been out-ed as a fake, and now he was writing an account of his time as the lead psychic for the SBPD. Ironically enough, it had been his father's suggestion that he publish the story, saying that maybe someone would get a laugh out of it. Even if it would be a guide to getting through life without doing an honest days work and getting away with fraud.
He'd just finished the chapter about the Faberge-Egg-smuggling Russians when he was overcome with a heavy feeling of separation, as if an important part of him had suddenly vanished. It was then, as the bile began to rise up in his throat, that he knew his father was dead.
Rushing to the bathroom, he'd just managed to flip open the toilet lid before the contents of his stomach came up. The acid burned his esophagus and mouth, reminding him of the time he'd gotten food poisoning from mixing Pop Rocks, hot fudge syrup, Mello Yello, and tainted pineapple together when he was nine. Even though Henry had yelled at him for eating bad fruit (the candy, syrup, and pop were supposed to mask the taste), he'd stayed up all night with him.
With his head hanging over the white porcelain bowl and a mixture of stomach acids and bile dripping from his lips, he thought about all the time he'd fantasized about Mr. Slimy going after his father. Shawn didn't look up when he heard Juliet enter the room.
"Shawn…" Her voice was tentative. Apparently someone had called and told her the news. He hadn't even heard the phone ring.
"I know, Jules." He could do little more than whisper. And when she knelt down on the tile and wrapped her arms around him, Shawn felt the tears begin to fall down his face.
Shawn Spencer knew he wasn't psychic. But there were times like Gus's accident, Jules' first pregnancy, and his father's death, when he wasn't so sure. If it had only been those three times, he might have been able to write it off as intuition, but there were others. Like how he'd known when Lassie had been shot in the line of duty and the whereabouts of Buzz when he'd been kidnapped.
But oddly enough, he never told a soul about these experiences. He never breathed a word about the things that he simply could not explain. Because there were sometimes, when Shawn thought that might just be a little psychic after all.
Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- This was originally written for my beta, Quack. She's the one responsible for all of my commas. Without her help, my writing would be unreadable.
- Quack: Thank you so much for all of your help. And not just with the grammar either. I hope you like this!
- Reviews are love.