When Shawn woke up in the Psych office to find Nat watching him, he almost expected it.
"Does this place still get the Universe cable network?" he asked instead of the more pertinent question of 'Did I die again? And is it going to stick this time?'. Nat grinned lightly at him and shrugged.
"It's your place. You tell me."
"What can you tell me?"
Nat sat down next to him, still smiling contentedly. "They're going after the Hunter, you know. Do you want to watch?"
They turned on the television. It was tuned into a familiar house.
"I knew I was missing something," Shawn said as the final puzzle piece clicked into place, "Luthor cared about Justin…they had a link. Couples do, I think. But Mr. Rivers…his link was twisted under his grief. And the letter. I saw it and I forgot. It wasn't Mr. Rivers who killed his son."
"Was it the Hunter?" Nat asked, pulling a bag of popcorn out of nowhere as he stared at the screen, though it was pretty calm at the moment. The sun had just set, but somehow they could see everything as clear as day.
"Don't you know?" Shawn asked.
"Dude, I told you, we don't know anything. We aren't psychic." Before Shawn could start on his big reveal, there was movement on the screen. Charles de Winter melted out of the shadows and approached the screen.
"So it was the Hunter," Nat said, sounding satisfied as he munched on his popcorn.
"No," Shawn answered, stealing a handful for himself, "No…it was his hydrogen. He was hiding his canisters in plain sight, mixed in with the others…I thought at first it was just an accident. But he called Rivers a theif."
"So it was the dad," Nat said then, as they watched Charles crack open a window and climb inside. The picture zoomed in to follow him into the house.
"I didn't say that," Shawn said, rather enjoying himself despite being almost dead. It was hard to feel frightened in this place, it seemed cloaked in a deep sense that, come what may, everything was alright.
And then there was a woman screaming. The plump smiling woman he had noticed earlier in the photos. Mrs. Rivers.
"She hated the fact that her son was gay. She saw the hydrogen canister and she switched it for the balloon. She was angry…furious…but she was undecided. She decided to leave their fate to God…if the hydrogen ignited or didn't ignite, it was out of her hands."
On the screen, Charles de Winter had his gun in one hand and a canister in the other. He advanced on the woman, and Shawn felt a tendril of anxiety for the first time since he had arrived to the astral Psych office. He didn't really want to watch another person die, even if they were a murderer. Nat must have felt the same way because he was suddenly grabbing Shawn's arm and peaking through his fingers.
And then the cavalry arrived.
"Aha! I knew he'd figure it out!" Shawn exclaimed proudly as Lassiter led the charge into the room, weapons raised. But the anxiety grew worse. Because as much as he didn't want to watch a murder killed, he really didn't want to watch a friend.
Lassiter knew what he was doing. Shawn found himself hunched like Nat, peaking through his own fingers. The popcorn fell to the floor and then vanished, forgotten by both.
It was over in seconds, though it felt like longer. While Lassiter led the way straight on, Jules came from behind. Charles de Winter managed one eratic shot and then he was down and being handcuffed. And Lassiter was lying on the ground. For a long five minutes, Shawn forgot to breathe. Luckily he didn't have to.
And then Lassiter sat up, pulling at his shirt. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. He was wearing a silver bullet proof vest. No one was dead. Not Lassiter, not Jules, not Mrs. Rivers and not de Winter.
"Yes!" Nat cheered, throwing suddenly there again popcorn into the air. Shawn dropped back into the couch, breathing deeply. The arrests unfolded on the screen. Nat and Shawn watched them for a moment before Nat began to squirm with boredom.
"Want to watch American Idol?"
They watched it until Shawn felt something change.
"Are you dying?" Nat asked, looking somewhat alarmed, even though Nat was already dead and didn't seem to be finding it a great calamity.
"I don't think so. It feels like I'm waking up."
And Shawn opened his eyes. His friends, his family were by his bed. And all their colors were bright, and everyone was very much alive.
It's nice to be able to say that. The End.
Author's Note: This is really the end now. I don't think there will be another sequel. Thank you for sticking with it…or for joining it for the first time, in which you can be grateful that you missed my ridiculously long stretch of sudden writers block. If you want to find out what I was working on in the meantime (and missed the first author's note) check out The Wishing Stone by Mir Foote at Amazon. If you like adventure with spaceships and pirates and aliens and super powers, then ignore the fact that it's juvenile fiction and dive right in. Or if you prefer something free, you could look at my other penname (Dayja) where I have mostly Sherlock fics. It really is nice to finally finish this project. I'm free! So thank you again for reading, especially if you review.