"Hi mom, hi Danny, it's me, Shawn. If either of you are there, don't pick up, please. It's easier for me if I just say this to a machine. I'm really sorry for all the troubles I've caused since I came back, especially to you, Danny. I'm sorry for what I did with Nikki. I really am, but I don't expect you to forgive me. And I am really, really sorry for whatever it was I did to you. I don't know how I do it, I don't know what it is, but I never meant to hurt you. I don't expect you to forgive me for that either, at least not anytime soon. And mom, I'm really sorry for hurting Danny. And you're probably worried about me right now. Wondering where I am. But you don't have to worry. I'm at a safe place. I'm not okay, but I'm not hurt. So you don't have to worry about me anymore. I don't know when I'll contact you again, but I want you to know that I love you. Both of you. I hope that you can both forgive me sometime, and I don't want you to worry about me. I just called to say that I'm sorry. I wanted to tell you that I love you both, and I wanted to say goodbye, seeing as I just left without saying that. So here it is. Goodbye"
A deep breath and a beep, and then…
"Hi mom, hi Danny, it's me, Shawn. If either of you…"
Susan Farrell sighed deeply as she listened to the phone message for the umpteenth time. She had lost count a while ago. Glancing at the digital clock on the DVD player, she saw that it was 2:23 in the morning. She was supposed to be in bed. It was a good thing tomorrow was her day off. Danny had gone to bed a while ago. Whether he was actually asleep or staring at something (the wall, the ceiling, the picture of him and Nikki…) she had no idea. And she didn't plan on finding out any time soon.
Susan had almost gone through this once before. It had, obviously, been very different back then. The circumstances were much different. Back then, Kyle, her nephew, had been found unconscious but physically unharmed on a beach next to a couple of six-packs and the remains of a fire, and the only evidence that Shawn had actually been on the beach were his car, statements from others, and his spit on some of the bottles. Now, Shawn hadn't mysteriously disappeared. He had run off after a fight with Danny, and he hadn't come back. Susan actually thought that even though he hurt Danny, Shawn would come back after driving around for a while. She had no idea where he would go, but he would probably come home in the middle of the night or something. That hadn't been the case. Shawn drove away while Susan tended to a weak Danny nearly two days ago. She had been unable to contact him on his phone, and she had, in a panic, called Tom for help. He hadn't been able to do much, but then, when Susan came home from work one night, when Danny was out with some friends, there was a message on the answering machine.
It had been from Shawn.
Danny came home a little before midnight to see his mother crying in the living room, and she had played him the message. He hadn't said anything during it, or afterwards either. He tensed a little and looked hurt, but just walked up to his room afterwards, and Susan barely heard him mumble, "I'm off to bed". Since then, she had played the message over and over again, wanting to hear Shawn's voice. He sounded so sad, so upset. And the way he said goodbye made Susan's heart break. He said it like he didn't expect to see her or Danny for a very long time, if ever again. When Shawn last disappeared, she had kept on calling him on his cell phone, wanting to hear his voice. She knew he would never answer, but she just wanted to hear him again.
She had called him even more after the police declared it to be a cold case, and told the family that there was a high possibility he was dead, seeing as there was no trace of him anywhere.
The message ended, and Susan made the machine play it again.
"Mom?" her head snapped up to the doorway, and saw Danny standing there. Danny, also known as her last son. Her last really remaining son. She had been very protective of him after Shawn's case was declared cold.
"What?" she said.
"What are you doing?" Danny asked. He didn't sound overly tired, nor did he look it, so Susan suspected that he had not been asleep.
"Nothing really" she replied.
"How many times have you listened to that?" Danny asked, gesturing to the answering machine.
"I've lost count" Susan replied.
"Why do you keep on listening to it?"
"I want to hear his voice"
"After what he did?"
"Danny" Susan sighed. "I lost Shawn once, and I lost him for three years. I got him back again, in the exact same condition as I remembered. But back then it wasn't his choice. This time it was. This time, I'm not sure I'll ever get him back"
"Sure you will" Danny immediately said, wanting to comfort his mother. "Sure you will"
"You don't know" Susan said. "And you don't want him back. I don't know exactly what happened between you two, but you don't want him back. I know that much"
"I may not want him back now, but I'll probably start missing him at some point" Danny said and sat down next to Susan. "And even if I don't, then he'll probably come back anyway"
"I want to think so, but…" Susan mumbled. "But I don't think Shawn's coming back again. I don't think he can bring himself to come back"
Danny didn't say anything to that. He just put his arm around his mother and let her cry on his shoulder. He wasn't too sure Shawn was ever coming back as well. Shawn was probably scared of what would happen if he did, and scared of himself as well.
Danny was a little scared of Shawn. Then again, who wouldn't be after what Shawn did to Danny? He had nearly been killed by his brother. Shawn didn't seem to know exactly what he was doing or how it happened, but it happened. And it scared Danny to get the life sucked out of him like that. It had been scary when he saw Shawn doing it to Brad, but it was even scarier to experience it.
Danny sighed. Susan was right. He didn't really want Shawn back. Not right now, anyway. Not after what he had done to him with Nikki. But Danny also knew that while he didn't really want Shawn to return, then there was still a part of him, buried deep down, that still loved Shawn and wanted him to come back and be his big brother again.
Susan wanted Shawn back with every fiber of her body, and Danny wanted Shawn to stay away for maybe a few days more. But he still wanted Shawn back at some point.