Author's Note: I am still working on The Waiting Room and What It's Not, but this plot bunny bit me in the throat (I do love Monty Python's The Holy Grail) and demanded to be written. The motorcycle gang mentioned in this story, the Devil's Rays, is completely fake, and I actually made them up as I was typing this author's note a third of the way through the story. If there is a gang with such a name, please don't kill me. I'm know nothing about gangs at all, especially not yours. That's probably why most of the info on gangs here is most likely wrong.
"What's your name, hon?"
The long-haired man in his early twenties looked up from his whiskey at the bartender. Normally, the risqué clothing and suggestive tone to the tall blonde's voice would've inspired him to come up with some flirtatious remark, but today he just wanted to drink.
"Ain't got one," he said solemnly, his strong accent, fresh out of Kentucky, drawling out the words easily. Staring at his drink, he saw her surprised expression out of the corner of his eye. She was called by another patron and moved down the bar. The young fighter had almost three minutes of uneventful staring-into-his-whiskey-as-though-it-answered-life's-questions before he was disturbed yet again.
"So how much fun is it to be in a motorcycle gang?"
The man nearly choked on his whiskey. That wouldn't do. This was good whiskey, top shelf. He didn't want to waste good whiskey. Swallowing carefully, he turned to the individual sitting next to him.
Perched on a bar stool that was at least three quarters of his own height a young boy stared at the long-haired man. The boy looked to be barely nine or ten, far too young to be in this bar, even though it was only three in the afternoon. The boy's eyes were a bright hazel with strong green tones, and they were shining in the dim fluorescent lights of the nearly empty bar. His light brown hair was casually disarrayed, and as the man stared at him in a state of shock the boy bounced a bit on the stool and darted his eyes around the bar excitedly.
"What makes you think I am?" The long-haired man asked cautiously, inconspicuously looking around the area to see if anyone had heard the youngster's inquiry. The boy's face broke out into a wide smile that lifted the man's failing spirits despite his depression at his setting; Santa Barbara, California, was a long way from the Kentucky town he'd called home for the last decade.
"Well first of all you have a motorcycle," the boy stated, grinning. "And it's wicked awesome, by the way." The man felt the corners of his mouth lifting slightly at the undisguised enthusiasm in the boy.
"You have three knives on your motorcycle and a switchblade in your pocket."
The man's hint of a smile disappeared as he looked around again, wildly this time, to make absolutely sure no one could've heard the boy. "Get outta here!" He muttered viciously. The hazel eyes widened, but the boy didn't move to leave.
"Shawn! Come on!" The man twisted his neck too far and slipped on his stool; quickly righting himself he inspected the second person today who'd snuck up on him.
This boy was shorter than the other, but looked to be about the same age. This one was black, with an almost bald head and wide, scared eyes. He was wringing his hands and looking around nervously, as though someone had heard his urgent whisper.
"But I still have two reasons!" The first boy, Shawn, complained. He looked pleadingly at the other boy, then at the man, who ran the hand not holding his whiskey through his hair. When there was no response from the man, Shawn grinned and motioned for the other kid to pull up a chair. The nervous boy did so, eyes flashing to the man every few seconds. The man just took another sip of his whiskey, begging mentally for the kids to go away.
"Thirdly, your accent is from Kentucky, and your helmet is black with a blood-red sun on it. That's the symbol for the Devil's Rays from Lexington."
The man was flabbergasted. "How did you know that?" He asked quietly, leaning in toward Shawn. "Who told you?"
The wide grin faded a bit as the man stared into the hazel eyes intently. "My dad taught me accents and I looked up the gang symbols 'cause they're cool," the boy gulped. "And the fourth reason is that you scare me a bit."
The man leaned back, contemplating the strange child before him. He didn't believe, really, that Shawn had figured all this out himself, but there was something about the boy's open face and air that said he was telling the truth. As he inspected Shawn curiously, the other boy got fidgety and started tugging on Shawn's sleeve. When the man spoke the second boy flinched in his chair.
"How did you know all that stuff? Is somebody feedin' you lines? Who are you two?"
Shawn looked positively affronted. "I'm Shawn Spencer and this is my best friend Bruce Wayne. And I'm telling the truth!"
The man snorted. "Unless you're Batman in disguise, boy, that ain't yer real name." He smiled at the nervous child, hoping the teasing but friendly tone in his voice would relax the kid.
It seemed to work. Glaring at his friend, the wide-eyed boy insisted in an uppity voice. "My name's Burton Guster." Smiling at the man, he continued in a nicer tone than he'd used with his friend. "But you can call me Gus."
The man finally let a smile cross his face, the first real smile he'd made in over two months. He ruefully shook his head the boys' foolishness. "Now why would you boys talk to someone you think's in a gang?"
Shawn's eyes widened again and he bounced on the seat the tone of his voice rising with his enthusiasm. "Because motorcycle gangs are the coolest thing ever! We want to be in one when we grow up, right Gus?" He turned toward the other boy excitedly.
Gus was disdainful. "Speak for yourself, Shawn. I want to be a doctor, or better yet, a pharmacist."
"What?" Shawn whined, seemed to forget the presence of the long-haired man. "Gus, that is the most boring thing ever! Nobody wants to be a pharmacist! Everybody wants to be something cool like being in a motorcycle gang!"
"That's not quite true," the man said, putting a stop to the boys' quibble. "A lot of the guys I know- knew," he corrected himself, sobering a bit from the mood these boys had instilled in him, "they didn't want to be in a gang. The wished they'd stayed in school, made sumthin' of themselves. And most of them either ran or took drugs. You boys know not to take drugs, right?"
Both boys nodded. "Shawn's dad's a police officer, he told us all about drugs!"
The man's eyebrows raised in surprise. "Your father's a cop?" He asked Shawn.
Shawn scrunched his nose and stuck his tongue out a bit. "Yeah," he admitted, rolling his eyes.
"Then you outta be a cop too. That's a good profession, a good thing to be."
"I don't want to be a cop. They have to follow lots of rules and they never have fun. You have fun in a biker's gang!"
The man sighed and took another sip of his whiskey, letting it sear his tongue and cheek before swallowing it. "It's not as fun as you think, son."
Shawn's head tipped to the side curiously. "Why did you quit? If you were still in the gang you wouldn't be on the other side of the country. Dad told me," he responded to Gus' questioning look.
The man considered the question for a minute before answering. "I wasn't willing to go as far as they wanted me to."
Shawn and Gus stared at him seriously for a few moments before Gus asked quietly "Did you kill someone?"
The man looked him in the eye for a few seconds. "No."
Both boys relaxed for a moment. Until…
"But I could have."
They looked honestly afraid, and Gus' mouth fell open. The man considered for a moment that it may have been a mistake to tell them that. On the other hand, they were barely ten years younger than he was himself. And if the energetic joker was serious about his career path, it wouldn't do the boy any harm to see what really lay at the end of that road.
"Why didn't you?" Shawn asked. He didn't look like he disagreed with the choice, but was merely curious. If he hadn't been, the man would've refused to answer the question.
"He didn't deserve it. Criminals deserve to die if they're threatenin' somebody else, but that guy was a good man. The gang didn't care 'bout that, though. They just wanted his money."
There was a silence, but it wasn't awkward. Shawn looked contemplative, and Gus was staring at the man as though he were a particularly interesting comic book. The man flagged the bartender down and she refilled his shot glass, looking curiously at the two boys. He gave her a reassuring smile which was hesitantly returned before she moved away.
"You lied to her," Shawn said suddenly.
The man looked up from his fresh drink. "What're you talkin' about?"
Shawn sat up straight again, having seemed to forget about the previous conversation. "You said you don't have a name, but everybody has a name." The man didn't respond. "So what's your name?"
The man chewed on his lip for a few seconds before he realized what he was doing and forced himself to stop. That was an old habit, one that he'd sworn he would leave behind with the Devil's Rays. "Eliot," he finally answered.
"Is that it?" Gus asked. When the silence continued, he kept talking. "Is that your first name or your last? Because I go by my-"
The glass door to burst open and Eliot jumped in his seat. When he saw the uniform of the man who'd entered the bar his hand flew toward the switchblade in his pocket. Quick as a flash Shawn's ten-year-old hand shot out and grabbed Eliot's. The ex-gang member looked hard into Shawn's eyes and the boy held the stare with matching strength.
Gus, noticing that the man who'd entered was frantically looking around and blinking his eyes to adjust to the new light, jumped down from his stool. "Hello Mr. Spencer," he said politely.
Enlightenment hitting with the name, Eliot relaxed his hand and his gaze. Shawn nodded slightly then jumped down himself. "Hey dad!"
The man with the ridiculous haircut stormed over to the boys. "Where were you two? Do you have any idea how close I was to sending out a BOLO for you?"
"Gus and I got lost in the mall and decided to see if you were in here."
Shawn's infectious smile was apparently not going to help him out of this. "Shawn, I wouldn't be in a bar while I'm supposed to be taking care of you and Guster. And you're not anywhere near old enough to be here without supervision."
"But we did have supervision!" Shawn insisted.
Shawn's father rolled his eyes as a pained expression overtook his face. "Who did you annoy this time, Shawn? If you tried to buy alcohol again you're not going to that monster truck rally-" he put up a hand to forestall Shawn's protests "and I don't care if you cleaned the attic. You have to learn responsibility, son, and that means not running away from me in the mall and going into a bar." Mr. Spencer turned to Gus. "And you, Gus. I know you know better than to follow Shawn's crazy ideas. Can you tell me what happened?"
Gus looked up at Mr. Spencer and started to explain. "We did get lost in the mall, and when we came out we saw a motorcycle and thought it was really cool, so we came in here to see whose it was, and-"
"You boys can't just run around asking for the owner of a motorcycle!" Shawn's father sounded exasperated. "The owner of that probably doesn't want to explain his choice of vehicle to two ten-year olds."
Eliot thought this would be a good time to step in, as both Shawn and Gus were looking rather down. "It's all right, officer," he got off the stool and smiled at Shawn's father, who noticed him for the first time. "The boys were just admiring my bike. You've got a very bright son there." He gestured at Shawn, who grinned.
Mr. Spencer looked slightly apprehensive at the long-haired, leather-jacketed man who had been talking to his charges for an unknown amount of time. "I hope they didn't bother you at all…" He trailed off.
"Eliot," Eliot answered the unspoken question. "And they've been very… entertaining." He finished with a quirky smile, one that hadn't shown itself since before the gang.
Mr. Spencer rolled his eyes again. "I'm sure they have. Thanks for looking out for them, Eliot." He turned to go, holding the shoulders of both boys, then looked back. "They didn't have any alcohol, did they?"
Eliot laughed, another rare event. "No, sir, they're smarter than that," he winked at the boys, who both grinned back at him.
Mr. Spencer led Shawn and Gus out of the bar, and Eliot could hear the lecture starting up again as the door closed. Eliot smiled and sat back on the stool to finish of his whiskey. A few moments later, the glass door opened again.
Unsurprised, Eliot turned to see Shawn poking his head through the doorway.
"I hope you find the rest of your name!" The boy smiled that overwhelming smile and left.
A few hours later, Eliot drove down the highway toward Los Angeles and considered the events of the day. He'd met two great kids and told them the first name he'd chosen to take, having left his old name behind with his old life. He'd thought 'Eliot' would be enough, not planning to give another soul even that much of himself. But the kids had a point. Everyone has to have a name.
"Eliot Spencer," he grinned, letting the wind flow through his hair. His helmet had been mysteriously left behind.
Please review my first Psych-Leverage crossover! And tell me if you think Little Shawn and Gus are totally awesome!