A/N: Another exercise in Shawn whump!
Summary: Shawn's Big Reveal doesn't go quite the way he planned. Gunfire can do that. Stupid bad guys.
Disclaimer: The Psych characters don't belong to me. But, if Shawn did . . . duuuude. I'd be a happy woman.
"So, This Is Dying (I'd Rather Be Eating Pineapple)"
Shawn's about to do his Big Reveal when The Bad Guy, understanding that he's been caught, completely breaks the rules by pulling out a gun. Clearly he hasn't been around for the last four years, because this, right here, is obviously not gun-pulling time. As any small child could have told him, this is when The Bad Guy starts spouting futile things like, "This is ridiculous," or "I would never" or "You're going to listen to this . . . this . . . lunatic, this crazy handsome madman with the most beautifully sculpted hair I have ever seen." It's all in the Five Stages of Being Revealed as a Criminal. Only after going through the Denial Stage is The Bad Guy ready to pull out the hidden gun, and that's only if he's particularly gung-ho. Usually, he just runs. Of course, this part never works out very well for The Bad Guy, but then again, he's The Bad Guy. That's just pretty much how it goes.
This week's Bad Guy, however, is a rebel, a maverick, you might say, unless you were Shawn of course, in which case you would say that the only real maverick is Tom Cruise and that this guy is just the plastic wrapper getting in the way of a delicious Twinkie. Shawn can't believe this is happening to him. He'd prepared for a full fifteen minutes for this particular Reveal—it was going to be spectacular; it was going to make Lassie weep, even—but more importantly, only Shawn's allowed to break the rules. This has been well established; Shawn's even put it on fliers and hung them around the station. It's simply unacceptable that this . . . this minor character is trying to steal the limelight from him. Unacceptable, dammit.
Unfortunately, The Bad Guy still has a gun, so Shawn only has time to say, "Hey, that's not cool—" before The Bad Guy starts shooting and everyone starts ducking, Shawn included. Going down, he manages to hit his side pretty hard on the small desk in the motel room, which is just great. Now he's going to bruise—he's told Gus; he's an easy bruiser; it's a curse, having such perfectly flawless skin—and damn, if it doesn't really, really hurt.
Shawn looks up in time to see The Bad Guy take one in the chest—Juliet's shot him, the gun actually smoking a little as she holds it—God, that's hot. The Bad Guy's dead before he hits the ground, and Shawn scrambles to his feet. He fully intends to do his Big Reveal anyway—screw The Dead Bad Guy, trying to ruin this moment for him—when he hears Juliet gasp. Shawn turns around to see what's wrong.
Juliet's taken a step toward him, her face almost ashen it's so pale. Shawn stares at her, putting the clues together—Gus, from somewhere behind him, yelling his name; Juliet, mouth open like she wants to say something but can't find the words; the pain, suddenly just searing through his stomach, so much worse than anything that could be caused by bumping into a piece of furniture—
He knows before he looks down, but he looks down anyway (he always looks) and sees the blood pouring from his stomach . . .
"Hey," Shawn says and falls forward.
Shawn's nine years old when it happens. He hears the phone but ignores it—Thundercats is on TV, and he has already told everybody that he's ever known (and several that he doesn't) that he won't be interrupted, not if the whole world is about to explode, not even if David Hasshelhoff and K.I.T.T. come roaring up the driveway. But then he hears his mother gasp, a small, quiet, rush of air, and Shawn turns to look at her and everything changes.
Mom's skin, already fair, grows more pale as she listens. The fingers on her left hand tremble. She fiddles with her wedding ring unconsciously. Her eyes grow bright. Wet. Scared.
She locks eyes with Shawn and then quickly turns away, murmuring on the phone so that he can't hear what she's saying. But he knows what she's saying. He knows in the way that she hangs up the phone, how she leans against the counter, palms pressed flat, fingers spread wide, straining. He knows when she turns around and looks at him, her lips pulled upwards in a grotesque parody of a smile, her eyes full of things that he knows that she knows that she can't bring herself to say out loud. He can't say these things out loud, either. He can't ask the question that he already knows the answer to.
Shawn asks, "Mom?" and Mom says, "We have to go the hospital now, Goose."
And they go.
They find Dad sitting on a gurney, holding a white cloth to his head. The cloth isn't really white anymore. Mom nearly knocks Dad down, she hugs him so hard. Dad's clearly startled by her reaction, the tears on her own face (and Shawn's too). "Maddie . . ." he says, touching her cheek.
Mom says, "They just said there was a shooting, that you'd been hurt . . .".
"I'm fine, honey, I'm fine. Hit my head on the floor and the damn doctors want to keep me for observation. They have their heads up their asses—"
"Henry." A quick look to Shawn, as if he hasn't heard (or said) such language before, and Dad just looks grumpy when he says, "Well, they do." He looks at Shawn again, smiling kind of gently. It looks weird, and not just because Dad isn't exactly a gentle and fuzzy guy, but also because of the blood that's staining his scalp, his hair, his neck. It frightens Shawn, all that red. It can't be normal. You aren't supposed to have that much blood outside of you. "You were pretty scared, huh?" Dad asks him.
"No," Shawn lies instantly, and Dad's eyebrow raises. He watches his son for a second, but he doesn't call him on the lie. That can't be a good sign. Dad must be really, really sick.
"You aren't dying, are you?" Shawn asks.
"No, son, I'm not."
And for some reason, that makes Shawn burst into tears, even though he should be happy. He doesn't WANT his dad to die. He doesn't understand why he's crying. He expects Dad to be mad about it—Dad has very definitive ideas about when a boy is allowed to cry, and Shawn doubts that this is one of them—but Dad doesn't yell. He doesn't even look angry. Instead, he leans down to where Shawn is standing, and Shawn thinks maybe Dad's going to hug him, or wants to, but in the end all he does is give him a dollar.
"There's a candy machine in the cafeteria," Dad says. "Why don't you get yourself something?"
Shawn takes the dollar hesitantly and walks out of the room. He hears his mother whispering,
"Henry, would it physically kill you to say 'I love you,' just once to the boy—"but he's out of earshot before he can hear anymore. The cafeteria is on the basement floor. He takes the elevator down, buys himself a Charleston Chew, and then promptly charms a nearby nurse into buying him another one. (He never exactly said that he was an orphan, so he can hardly be held accountable for her misunderstanding, can he?)
On his way back to his parents, Shawn sees a brunette woman lying on a gurney. Her stomach is bloody and awful. He can't begin to wonder what could have caused that. He watches as the doctors work on her, as the nurses scramble for somewhere to put her. There are a lot of people in the ER tonight. They have no rooms. There are too many sick people.
Shawn stares at the bright red blood, dripping off the gurney to the floor. Gus, he knows, would faint dead away, but Shawn just watches with wide eyes. A nurse comes up behind him, puts her hand on his shoulder. "Don't look, sweetie," she tells him. You don't need to see that."
The nurse says her name is Caroline. She takes him by the hand and they start walking back to his parents. She says that the woman is going to be fine, but she doesn't look at him when she says it. Another nurse rushes up, looking frantic. She needs Caroline's help for something.
Shawn says he can find his way by himself, and Caroline smiles uncertainly at him before leaving. Shawn doesn't go back to his parents. He walks right back the way he came and watches the woman on the gurney. He knows he shouldn't look. He knows, but he always looks. He has to look. He has to SEE things.
The woman opens her eyes and turns her head. He sees her and she sees him.
She stares right at him and then right through him and the doctors rush her away really quickly.
When he goes back to his parents, Mom asks, "Are you okay?" and Dad asks, "Find anything good?" and Shawn shakes his head to both questions.
The first thing he's aware of is his father's voice, words on top of he words that he can't seem to separate. You were pretty scared huh get that ambulance here now find anything we've got a man find anything good he's been shot there's a candy machine in the abdomen in the cafeteria it looks bad Spencer open your eyes dammit why don't you get yourself something . . .
"Don't want candy," Shawn murmurs. "Dad . . . . I don't . . ."
"Shawn!" That's Gus, not Dad, and Shawn opens his eyes. Gus is right above him, which seems weird. His eyes are all huge . . . he's probably been watching scary movies again. Shawn's told him, no more Goosebumps on Cartoon Network for you, but Gus never listens. People should listen to him more. Dad never listens . . . Dad only hears what he wants to hear. Shawn doesn't know where he is. He tries to look past Gus's shoulder to find him. There are a lot of people running around. Juliet's kneeling next to him. She's got her jacket in her hands, holding it down firmly to his stomach. The red is making the gray black. Something seems kind of wrong about that. Shouldn't red and gray make more of a pink, or at least a grayer red . . reay? Gred? He doesn't know.
"Shawn!" Juliet says, and he looks her in the eyes. Her eyes are almost as big as Gus's. Her hair . . . well, it's not horrible; it's Juliet, after all, but it really is a mess. He wants to brush those blonde strands away from her face. Shawn thinks about doing that, but he can still hear his dad somewhere (I needed it fucking yesterday) and he starts searching for him again.
"Shawn, can you hear me? Look at me, Shawn; say something."
It seems really important to her, so Shawn says, "Jules," and she looks relieved. (I don't care what kind of catastrophe happened on the 101. Get me a godamned ambulance already!) Shawn can't remember why his dad needs an ambulance so badly. Did he hurt his head or . . . wait, that was years ago. "Jules, where's—"and then he tries to get up.
It turns out to be a pretty dumb thing to do.
For starters, he totally fails to even lift his head up, like, eight inches. The pain in his stomach just explodes, like a bomb, like a volcano, like. . . something else that explodes a lot. Maybe it's like a hot dog, the ends that burst if you let them boil a little too long. He thinks things have burst inside of him. Balloons. Red balloons. Juliet gasps again, that whispering of air (We have to go to the hospital now, Goose) and Gus pushes down on his shoulders, keeping him in place, keeping him still. He can't keep Shawn's eyes still, though.
Shawn looks at everything around him, trying to find something to focus on other than the pain. He can't focus. There's too much going on. All those officers, running around . . . the TV's still on . . . he had planned to turn it off, knowing that it could screw up his Big Reveal . . . the tail end of a Geico commercial, that creepy, British lizard . . . now it's a rerun of The Cosby Show . . . the lights in the room are flickering; it's a pretty crappy motel . . . hamburger wrappers under the bed . . . pineapple on the dresser . . . full ashtray even though it's a non smoking room . . . Shawn can hear phones ringing . . . people talking . . . Bill Cosby laughing . . . people outside, motel guests, with their big sunglasses and shorts, like this is all some big tourist attraction . . . hats . . . some of them are wearing hats . . . and he can hear his father, but he can't see him, and he really, really wants to see him; he thinks that he needs to see him . . .
"Four," Shawn whispers. "There are four hats."
He opens his eyes and Gus is crying and he doesn't know why.
"Shawn," Juliet says, and she sounds pretty desperate, but he can't keep his eyes on her even though he's had no trouble doing such a thing in the past. There's just . . . so . . . much . . . black, shiny shoes walking up . . . Dad's voice, "How's he doing?" . . . but when Shawn looks up, Lassiter's there. He's got a phone in his hand, and he turns away to yell some more, using language that shouldn't be used in front of small children or Bill Cosby. Naughty, naughty, Lassie, Shawn thinks. Someone's gonna have to pay to the curse kitty. He's yelling about ambulances again. Funny. He thought Dad was the one screaming about ambulances.
But he remembers that Dad wasn't here, when he was going to do his Big Reveal. Dad doesn't really care about his Big Reveals. He calls them theatrics. He calls them childish.
He's not proud of you, Shawn remembers. He's not here. He's fishing today. This whole time, he's mistaken Lassie's voice for his dad's. And . . . wow. That's just . . . creepy.
His mom would probably have some kind of insight on that. Psychologists always have insight, and sometimes their theories are uncomfortable, sometimes painful, sometimes wrong, but the good ones like to listen to you talk. He thinks that might be why he likes his mom more than his dad. He likes to talk. He likes attention. Cops only like to listen to you if you're confessing your guilt.
Shawn's guilty of stuff. But his Dad's guilty too . . . and his Mom, although he won't admit it . . . at least not out loud . . . everyone's guilty of something . . .
Shawn opens his eyes again. He didn't realize that he'd closed them. Something might be wrong with them anyway. He can't see as much as he could before. Things are dark, around the edges, and that's scary. He needs to see stuff. That's how he works. That's his process. He can't even see the pineapple on the dresser.
Maybe it hadn't really been there in the first place. His dad hadn't been there in the first place. Maybe the pineapple was like his dad, some kind of gunshot induced hallucination. He thinks he remembers getting shot now. He remembers the blood pouring from his stomach, like the blood had poured from that girl's stomach, like it had poured from his dad's head. But maybe he didn't get shot, because the pain doesn't hurt so bad anymore. He doesn't feel so much anymore. Maybe that had been a hallucination too.
What he does feel, and this isn't imaginary, or at least he doesn't think it is, is cold. He's really, really cold now. Also, possibly, he's wet. Maybe he fell into some water? Maybe he's floating, like in a pool? That could be. He feels a little weightless . . . but he's shivering. He shouldn't be here.
"It's too cold to go swimming," Shawn murmurs, and for some reason, that makes Lassie look really angry.
He must really want to go swimming. Shawn hadn't really pegged him for a swimming guy. After all, it's hard to wear a gun in your swim trunks. Shawn doubts Lassiter even goes number one unarmed.
"Spencer, hold on!"
Hold on to what? There are no sides to this pool. Floaties? Gus used to have floaties, these awful, bright pink things that Shawn loved to tease him about. He hasn't thought of those things in years. Maybe he'll tease Gus about that now. Or maybe he won't, cause Gus looks a little stressed. Anyway, Shawn isn't sure he feels up to teasing anyone. He's teeth are starting to chatter. He wants out now.
"Gus," he whispers. "Help me out. It's too cold. I'm cold."
Gus's face kind of crumples, like wrapping paper, balled up and thrown away. His tears are drip-dropping on Shawn's arm. Shawn should say something to cheer him up. That's what friends are for. That's what Shawn's always been good for, a moment, a lifetime, of levity. He makes Gus laugh. He loves making people laugh.
He can't think of anything funny, and this, more than anything, tells him that something's really wrong.
You aren't dying, are you?
When he closes his eyes again—and really, it's just for a second—all this hallucination/swimming/crying your eyes out stuff is just leaving him exhausted—he hears Jules and Lassie saying his name ("Shawn!" "Spencer!" "Shawn!" "Spencer!"). It's actually pretty funny. He tries to laugh, but he starts coughing. He coughs pretty hard, actually, and he's starting to worry that he can't breathe when he feels someone lifting him up from behind. Someone's cradling him, wrapping their arms around him. Rocking him. It feels nice. His mother used to rock him like this sometimes, when he was young and very tired. He doesn't think that this is his mother. Actually, he doesn't think that this is a woman. Maybe that should weird him out, but somehow it doesn't. Whoever's hugging him has warm skin. Shawn's still cold, but this is better. He feels better. He feels safe.
"Come on, Shawn," Gus whispers, right into his ear. His sobbing is louder now, tears pouring down Shawn's neck. "Don't play, Shawn. Come on."
"Coming," Shawn murmurs, and he is; he's coming; he's going . . .