A/N: No, I was not abducted by aliens. ;) I sincerely apologise for the ridiculously long wait for this chapter. I actually started writing this the day after I posted the last chapter but RL never gave me time to write. Next came the teensy weensy problem that I realised I had no idea how to write 'action' scenes. Yes, this is the Shawn whump chapter. I hope it makes up for the long wait and isn't too terrible.
A major thanks to those who are still interested in this story!
Sunlight was streaming in through the window and he could feel its warmth before he even opened his eyes to see it. Shawn slowly blinked his eyes open, hoping beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wouldn't end up blinded by sunlight immediately. Not only was he not blinded but he also felt warm for the first time in what felt like years (an exaggeration considering he'd only been really sick for a couple of days but that was neither here nor there).
He looked around, momentarily stunned to not see his father's living room but his old bedroom instead before he remembered. Henry had argued that if he could do hill treks for a couple of hours then he could climb the stairs to his bedroom instead of lying around taking up space on the couch. And yes, those were his father's words, not his. He grudgingly had to admit that the bed had been a lot more comfortable, making the journey up the stairs worth every agonizing minute. Shawn liked the fact that he could actually make the walk up the stairs sound a lot worse than it actually was. When it came down to it he'd managed walking up without the need of hand holding or any coughing attacks or dizzy spells.
Being in his old bedroom did have the disadvantage that any time pieces were either very well hidden or not present at all. Shawn craned his neck backwards only to be met with an eyeful of sunlight. That was exactly what he'd expected when he'd just woken up. He groaned and slapped a hand over his eyes before slowly making his way out of bed. Momentarily he'd been sure he was feeling much, much better, but his journey to the vertical proved him wrong. It was at least a small relief that he wasn't feeling worse. His chest still felt too tight and the marching band was still being a little too merry in his head but at least he could stand up without falling over.
It didn't take him long to find his discarded hoodie which he'd carelessly thrown to the side the night before. A quick trip to the bathroom and a little longer trip down the stairs later and Shawn was making his way slowly to the kitchen where he could hear the sounds of breakfast on the way.
"Karen called," Henry said as soon as Shawn stepped foot in the kitchen. Shawn didn't doubt that his dad had been able to hear him before he saw him but a traditional morning greeting would still have been appreciated.
"Good morning," Shawn retorted as he slumped down in a kitchen chair, running a hand through his hair and wincing slightly at the lack of attention it had received these last couple of days. "What did the Chief want?"
"She said you might like to know that they got the guy," Henry answered with his back turned as he popped two pieces of toast in the toaster.
"The guy from the woods?" Shawn asked, feeling much more awake already.
"She didn't specify," Henry said simply, still with his back turned as he returned to the stove. "They apparently got a fingerprint match off of the scene you and Gus discovered during your little adventure yesterday."
Shawn rolled his eyes and leant back in his chair with a sigh.
"You're still mad about that?" He questioned incredulously. "I thought we talked about it already."
Henry didn't answer but instead merely shot a glare at his son over his shoulder. Apparently his dad was still itching to lecture him about something and his great escape with Gus yesterday still held excellent potential.
"So, we caught a bad guy, that's pretty good," Shawn said, trying to sound as enthusiastic about this as possible in the hopes that his father would take the bait (like his poor defenceless fish) and change the topic.
"Yes, Shawn, it's terrific," Henry retorted as he spun around setting a plate of food down in front of Shawn with a little more force than necessary. "Eat your breakfast."
Shawn slowly turned his gaze to the plate in front of him, squinting slightly as he eyed it closer.
"Don't you have any –" Shawn started but Henry quickly cut him off.
"Cereal? No, you're not eating cereal for breakfast."
"That's cool," Shawn said smoothly, "I prefer it for lunch anyway."
Shawn smirked and did his very best to keep from chuckling out loud as he watched his father abruptly turn his back again, his shoulders tensing while his hands clenched and unclenched. Shawn looked back down at the plate, eyeing the – was that egg? – with some suspicion. True, nausea had not shown its face again, but Shawn wasn't exactly willing to put it to a test. He glanced back at his father who had apparently managed to keep his anger and frustration at bay and was now shovelling food onto his own plate. He still didn't look to happy, meaning there was no way Shawn was getting out of eating this…mush.
"Did the Chief tell you anything else?" Shawn asked after a while of silently poking at the food, realising that there was still something bothering him about this case. There was the very high probability that it was simply because he hadn't had a chance to do a wrap-up, thus not having a full picture of this case, but it was hard to just put it away simply because he was told that they'd caught the bad guy.
"To tell you to get better," Henry said offhandedly, not taking his eyes off his newspaper.
Shawn shot a false smile at his father, pretty sure that it came out more as an annoyed grimace. It was fairly obvious that his father was reluctant to give him any more information giving Shawn no other option but having to investigate on his own to find out the whole truth about this case. There was just one little problem.
He had to get out of the house.
"What are you doing today?" Shawn asked innocently, simultaneously poking at what he assumed was egg, though he hadn't actually had the nerve to try it yet.
"Nothing," Henry said curtly.
"When's your poker game?" Shawn said with the same light tone as before.
"Tonight," Henry answered, looking at Shawn briefly as he spoke.
"So, why aren't you going?" Shawn did his best to sound interested instead of desperate.
Shawn already knew what the answer was going to be when his father took the time to carefully fold his newspaper before laying it aside and turning to look at Shawn with a slight smirk.
"I'm not leaving this house just so you can sneak out."
"Don't be ridiculous," Shawn chuckled quickly, "I would never…"
Henry shut him up with one look.
"I informed Gus of this as well," Henry said, earning Shawn's attention again.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Shawn questioned, his brow furrowing slightly in confusion.
"I told him that under no uncertain terms is he to drive you anywhere."
"Can he walk me?" Shawn quipped humourlessly, not even bothering to try to hide his annoyance at his dad's interference.
"He can't answer calls from you," Henry said with a false sweetness to his voice that had always been able to make Shawn's humour dissipate, leaving only room for frustration.
"I'm a grown man, dad," Shawn said, desperately trying to keep his tone civil, "you don't have to baby-sit me."
"No, but someone has to," Henry retorted as he picked up his plate and walked over to the sink. Shawn momentarily thought about throwing his plate at his father but was unsure how that would prove maturity.
"You are absolutely right," Shawn said finally, "but I'm sure the fishing rod and the hook will be able to watch over me just fine."
Henry turned around slowly and Shawn took great pride in the fact that his father's face was again turning a fine sheen of purple. His father held up a hand towards Shawn long enough for Shawn to notice how it shook slightly, before Henry slowly and steadily walked outside. Shawn looked towards the door, still seated at the kitchen table, wondering if his father was actually out to get the fishing rod.
By the time Henry returned indoors, Shawn had left the kitchen and had deemed the staircase a little too daunting task and instead settled on the couch, looking around the familiar room and trying to find something that could catch his attention and maybe distract him a little bit from the tightness in his chest that had crashed the party.
Shawn didn't hear his father enter the living room and didn't notice him standing in the doorway, his mind occupied with trying to find the piece of the puzzle that was bothering him so much about this case. It was too simple. Too clean. So what, he and Gus stumble across the possible murder site and the next minute the cops have arrested the culprit? It was never that easy.
"You are trying to figure something out," his father's voice snapped him from his thoughts and he turned his head a little too quickly to the side making black spots momentarily dance before his vision but he managed to ignore it until it settled.
"Who's cooler? Batman or Superman?" Shawn inquired with mock sincerity without missing a beat.
Henry's eyes narrowed slightly as he regarded his son, trying to figure out what was going on inside his mind. He had been the sole person besides his mother in the past who'd accomplished the task of nailing exactly what Shawn was thinking about, so Shawn didn't doubt that given enough time his father would figure it out, or maybe he had reached the same conclusion about the case as soon as Chief Vick had told him but he just wasn't sharing. That wouldn't be a shocker.
"You used to like Superman better," Henry commented lightly as he stepped further into the room.
Shawn nodded thoughtfully, mulling the thought over.
"Both have weaknesses," Shawn said offhandedly, his mind not fully on the topic at hand.
"And?" Henry prompted, now standing next to the couch, looking down at Shawn with a slight smile on his face.
"Batman is pretty cool, though," Shawn said. "More badass." Henry raised his eyebrows slightly at that comment as though wondering exactly where his son was going with this. "But Batman wouldn't really be Batman without Alfred."
"Your point being?" Henry asked, now regarding Shawn with some interest.
"Alfred helps, like a lot, right?" Shawn said, his words coming out quicker than his parched throat and burning lungs would accept but he coughed quickly and carried on talking regardless. "That doesn't make Batman less good; that just makes him better. Having that help, or sidekick, makes him better."
"Shawn, where are you going with this?" Henry questioned as he sat down on the armrest of the couch.
Shawn bounced slightly on the cushions of the couch before his dad put a steadying hand on his shoulder. Shawn supposed he was worried about the springs.
"Superman has awesome powers, but Batman…" Shawn chewed slightly on his bottom lip in thought before looking up at his father. "He had help."
"Yes, Shawn you already established the fact that Alfred helps Batman," Henry retorted wryly.
"What? What are you talking about? I'm not talking about Batman and Alfred," Shawn spoke as quickly as he was able, still trying to bounce on the cushions even though his father continuously stopped him. "The killer. You said the Chief said they got one guy. There are two guys, there has to be."
"And when did you reach this conclusion?" Henry asked but his tone suggested that this was something he had suspected as well but Shawn decided to play along.
"Did you tell the police?" Henry asked.
Shawn shook his head slowly and he heard his father sigh as he pushed up from the couch, leaving Shawn alone as he walked back to the kitchen.
"Are you sure the Chief didn't say anything else?" Shawn inquired, having to repeat the question when he realised that his father hadn't heard him.
"Karen and I agreed on something," Henry said as he reappeared in the doorway. Shawn already knew this wasn't going to fall in his favour. "You are not going on anymore nature adventures," Henry continued, pointing at Shawn sternly, "you are to focus on getting better."
"That why you won't allow me to talk to Gus?" Shawn asked quietly, a slight note of bitterness to his voice.
"It's for your own good," Henry said and turned around to go back to the kitchen before stopping and adding, "and for Gus's."
Shawn glared at his father's retreating back, briefly considering sticking his tongue out at the man but came to the conclusion that maybe that would be a little too childish. Being under house arrest did nothing to still his whirling thoughts; in fact, it only seemed to aggravate his need to do something. His body obviously disagreed because he was dangerously close to tasting carpet when he pushed upwards a little too quickly, having been lulled into a false sense of security earlier when he'd felt marginally better. He caught himself on the armrest of the couch before he lost his balance completely, although he still ended up sitting on the couch again instead of in the intended standing position.
Shawn huffed a sigh and glared at his legs and then the couch. Apparently it had been a very bad idea to fall asleep on his bike during a rainstorm in the middle of the night. He hadn't even told Gus. An argument with his father gone slightly worse than usual was the cause for his current condition. He'd been mad. Scratch that; he'd been livid. Their arguments hadn't been as heated as of late but there must have been something in the water that night because both of them lost their temper quickly. Shawn refused to say that he'd run off. He'd left. Granted, yes, he had driven a little hazardously but his trustworthy Norton had stayed on the road and he'd come to his senses after an hour. He'd stopped somewhere in the middle of nowhere with the intention to just sit there for a little while. Sleep had claimed him shortly after that, and it hadn't been long before the rain had started. Thankfully it hadn't rained very long before he'd awoken to officially declare it a very sucky evening.
With a deep breath that tickled his throat and lungs, Shawn forced himself to his feet and, staying on them this time round, shuffled towards the kitchen to find out what exactly his father was doing. Yes, he was bored.
"I can take care of myself," Shawn said, meaning the words even though he'd said them offhandedly for the past five or six hours. His father put the crossword section of the newspaper down with one quick motion, causing Shawn to jump slightly from his seated position on the kitchen table where he'd been moping for the past twenty minutes. To halt his father's undoubtedly heated words, Shawn quickly continued, "What I mean is that, you enjoy your poker games and I'm probably just going to be sleeping anyway, so I won't need a babysitter. Didn't you say yourself earlier that my fever had gone down a little despite my extracurricular activities yesterday?"
"I am going to the poker game," Henry said finally as he picked up the newspaper again.
"You are?" Shawn questioned in surprise.
"Yeah, I figured if I lock all the doors it's going to make it a little harder for you leave as soon as I'm out the door," Henry clarified, his eyes fixed on the crossword puzzle he was trying to solve, but Shawn didn't miss the sly smirk tucking on one side of his lips.
"You're…you…" Shawn halted to clear his throat, "You are going to put me in lockup?" He narrowly resisted the "again" that was sitting on the tip of his tongue.
Henry chuckled slightly at Shawn's incredulous tone but kept his eyes on the crossword, placing the newspaper on the table to fill in a word.
"Seemed like a viable solution," Henry said with an air of superiority that made Shawn feel fifteen years old again, itching to start a fight but knowing that it wasn't the best idea. Instead he bit his tongue to keep from snapping at his father.
"That's great," Shawn ground out sarcastically as he pushed away from the table and stubbornly walked out of the kitchen and climbed the stairs to his bedroom, knowing full well that this completed the look of petulant teenager but at least he refrained from slamming the door. It just closed with a slightly louder sound than normal.
By the time his father left Shawn had fallen asleep for a few hours but had inconspicuously made his way downstairs just as Henry was going out the door. He waited on the staircase until he heard the door close and then made his way down as quickly as he dared. He checked the door in the kitchen first.
The door in the living room was the next one for inspection.
He had actually been serious.
Shawn fished out his cell phone which he had shoved into the pocket of his hoodie earlier just to make sure his father didn't decide to confiscate it. He didn't waste time in dialling Gus's number, but was thoroughly disappointed when Gus apparently headed Henry's warning and didn't answer his call.
"Help!" Shawn yelped frantically when the phone went to voicemail. "I'm being held against my will! I'm in desperate need of immediate rescuing."
He ended the message and instantly re-dialled Gus only to get the same result.
"Gus, my dad will never need to know," Shawn pleaded desperately, but it seemed that his father had been more convincing because he still didn't get a response from his best friend.
In a huff, Shawn cast the phone at the coffee table in the living room, watching as it skidded momentarily across the surface before it settled as he dropped down on the couch. Shawn turned his head round to send a deadly glare at the locked door leading outside to freedom. He hadn't actually been planning on sneaking out until his father had told him he was going to lock all of the doors. It had been the restraining factor that had made Shawn feel as though the walls were closing in around him and he simply had to get out. The urge hadn't been this strong as long as he had choice.
Shawn halted his inner ramblings and turned his head towards the kitchen. There was no way his dad was back after only five minutes and he never forgot anything either, so why was Shawn certain he had heard something?
He pushed himself up from the couch and slowly moved into the kitchen and stopped once he was inside, looking around for the source of the noise he'd heard. Nothing seemed amiss. Everything was in the annoying neat order as before his father left which reminded Shawn that one thing he could at least occupy himself with was rearranging everything in the kitchen. Yeah, that could be fun.
Shawn snapped back to attention when his gaze was drawn to the kitchen door. His eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at the door handle.
It was definitely moving.
Shawn was caught in a moment of uncertainty on the account on whether to charge towards the door and open it or slink back into the relative shadows of the living room. Not moving was definitely out of the question, mostly because not moving was never an option for Shawn and he wasn't about to make it one now.
He took one hesitant step forward before stepping back quickly again, grabbing the newspaper his father had left on the kitchen table. Fully equipped with safety gear, Shawn made his way back towards the door, the handle now still but he was not about to take any chances. Maybe Gus had come to bail him out after all.
It was first when he reached the door that he realised that his excellent and flawless plan was neither excellent nor flawless as he had momentarily forgotten that his dad had locked him in, so he was incapable of hauling the door open and whacking the unsuspecting visitor over the head with the folded up newspaper. He tucked on the door handle a few times before letting go of it with an annoyed huff.
He sniffed as he turned his attention to the window, pressing his face against it in an effort to see through the darkness outside, but was irksomely unable to make out anything. Shawn shook off the shiver that ran down his spine and instead tightened his hold around the newspaper as he slowly retreated backwards into the living room, keeping his gaze fixed on the kitchen door in case the door handle should spring back to life.
He didn't hear anyone moving up behind him.
He yelped in surprise as he was suddenly jerked backwards by a strong arm lodged across his throat. Instinctively gasping for air he found he could not draw a breath. His fingers frantically scraped and pushed against the arm cutting off his air supply but to no avail.
His memory went into overdrive as he desperately searched for anything that could be of some assistance. He tried shoving his weight backwards but his attacker was taller, stronger and he was only capable of loosening the deadly hold a fraction before it tightened again.
His mind flashed to movie night a couple of weeks ago; Jules had joined them and they had somehow ended up watching Miss Congeniality 2, even though this was nowhere near an eighties film.
That was entirely unhelpful.
Shawn dug his fingers into the cloth of his attacker's sleeve, heaving and tucking to dislodge the pressure that was literally squeezing the life out of him.
Shawn highly doubted that singing would be of any assistance in this situation, especially considering he couldn't even breathe. Unless singing the remixed version of Kung Fu Fighting would somehow magically make a kung fu fighting panda materialise, singing was not helpful.
He tried to gasp in a breath as he continued struggling desperately against his attacker's strong hold, only managing to begin to draw in a wheezing breath before this too was cut off.
And then it clicked.
His movements were sluggish at best but Shawn hit each mark with as much force as he possibly could, though he barely heard his attacker's growl of pain as the pressure around his throat disappeared. He lurched forward, stumbling to his hands and knees, as he simultaneously wheezed and coughed making it near impossible to gulp in much needed air.
He didn't have time to stay on the floor but damn it he couldn't breathe. He gasped and wheezed, trying desperately to force in a breath even though his throat felt like it had closed off completely. His body was shaking, his arms barely able to keep him from falling completely to the floor, but it was pure survival instinct that forced his body to cooperate long enough to get him stumbling back to his feet, immediately crashing sideways into a wall as a body slammed into his. He yelped in pain and was momentarily dazed as his head struck hard against the wall.
Shawn shoved as hard as he could against the attacker and it was forceful enough to make the other stumble backwards and away from him. Shawn looked frantically towards the kitchen, knowing the door was locked giving him no chance of escape. He assumed his attacker had somehow come through the living room but there was no way he would be able to get to that door as that would mean getting past the intruder.
He ducked just in time and the fist that was meant for his face hit the wall behind him, earning a growl from the other man. Shawn saw his opening and bolted for the stairs, jumping up the steps, stumbling but catching himself before he fell. He flung open the door to his bedroom, barely getting inside before slamming the door shut and leaning his whole body against it. He looked down at the keyhole but knew there wouldn't be a key. His father had long since confiscated it to prevent Shawn from locking the door. Right now Shawn really wished he hadn't.
His eyes flew to the small bedside table and he whined in frustration, knowing full well it wouldn't be able to hold the door for very long, but he charged towards it, not caring if anything fell off it in his hurry to get it in front of the door. Just as he'd placed the table under the door handle he pushed his back up against the door, feeling it shaking when a body slammed against it from the other side.
Shawn frantically searched the small room, his eyes landing on the window. With an apprehensive look at the door handle Shawn flung himself across the room, his breath coming in short, rapid bursts. His hands were shaking as he tried to get the latch on the window to open. There was no way his father would have thought to lock this window as well. There was simply no way.
He threw his body at the window but his relief at it finally opening was short lived as at that moment the door to his bedroom flew open, sending the bedside table crashing to the floor.
His attacker was masked. He hadn't noticed downstairs but he could see him a little too clearly as he stood in the doorway to his childhood haven, completely and utterly uninvited. It looked as if he'd drawn a nylon sock over his face, making his features completely indistinguishable. He was a walking cliché for masked intruders, dressed completely in black, including his gloves.
It only took the other man a second to orient himself to the new surroundings, and Shawn was shoving at the window just as he launched across the room. Shawn had no idea how his elbow connected with the attacker's face, but he didn't want to question it because it bought him valuable seconds in which to at least try to get out of the house through the window. Too bad he hadn't hit very hard.
He let out a half-strangled yell when hands suddenly clasped hard around his ankles and heaved him away from the window and down on the floor. His elbow missed in its second attempt at whacking the man in the face, Shawn being on the receiving end instead of something hitting his jaw. Hard.
Shawn had a moment to shake his head dazedly, wondering if his head had been rattled because that would certainly explain the rather peculiar noise he was hearing. He blinked hard a couple of times and his vision cleared just in time to see something racing for his face.
Shawn rolled to the side and just narrowly dodged the blow aimed towards him. He ground his teeth together against the pain letting itself known throughout his body, but pushed through it enough to gather his feet under him just in time to be slammed to the floor again, again followed by that peculiar noise.
He'd landed facedown on the already throbbing side of his face, but it didn't take him long to force his body to get the hell out of the way before the next blow landed. Shawn rolled quickly onto his back and kicked out hard, the motion followed by a pained grunt. He had no idea where he'd hit but he didn't care as long as he'd managed to hit something.
He managed to get all of the way to his feet this time without getting knocked down again and just long enough to register the item his attacker had used to bludgeon him with.
That was his Furby!
Shawn realised that he must have kicked harder than he thought because his attacker was still doubled over in pain and had dropped the Furby. Not daring to waste a second, Shawn quickly grabbed the Furby and took one step back before throwing it at his attacker, watching as it sailed through the air with a euphoric squeal before hitting its mark. His aim really was better.
His attacker was now clutching the back of his head where the new pain had blossomed. Somehow during their struggle they had got turned around putting Shawn closer to the door than the window. He didn't hesitate.
His legs moved faster than his brain was capable to register leaving him terrifyingly close to flying down the stairs Furby-style instead of running. He misjudged the distance at the last step sending him crashing face first to the floor at the bottom of the stairs. As much as he would have liked to stay there and moan in pain, he pushed himself to his feet with a groan, his right leg shaking in protest. He'd apparently hit his knee harder than he first thought, because damn it that hurt. He dared a quick glance over his shoulder, wishing he hadn't when he saw the other man come stumbling out of his bedroom.
Shawn charged for the living room door hoping beyond all hope that this was the way the intruder had come. His body screamed in protest, but he pushed through it, seeing no other option but getting to that door. He coughed hard, feeling his chest tightening, sending black spots dancing across his vision.
The door was open.
He could see it. He could feel the evening wind drifting through it.
The sliding door was barely open enough for him to get through but he hardly noticed as his left shoulder caught on the doorframe, only that it resulted in bringing him further out of balance. He caught himself on the railing on the porch before jumping down the steps and onto the lawn, barely registering the wetness from the grass seeping into his socks.
The wind was knocked out of him and in seconds his face was pressed into the wet grass, a hand holding tightly across his neck, while a knee was definitely placed firmly on his back. Shawn tried to jerk his head backwards but the hold on his neck was relentless, making it impossible to move and inch. He jerked again when he felt hot breath on his face as his attacker leaned closer, whispering three words that had Shawn convinced that he had to get out of here now.
"They deserved it."
Taking advantage of his attacker's closeness, Shawn jerked his right shoulder back quickly, narrowly missing the other man's nose, who'd had to shift to avoid the hit. The slight relieve in pressure on his neck was enough. He didn't care about elegance, only survival, as he twisted, rolled and hit and kicked his way out from underneath the man.
He half-crawled, half-stumbled away, knowing that he had to get his feet under him; that he had to move. He was somewhat ready the next time the man tried to tackle him and slammed his elbow back just in time to catch the man in the gut, giving him a few more precious seconds to try to get his body to cooperate. His vision was already swimming and movement only made it worse. His chest was way too tight for comfort making it even harder to breathe.
Shawn made it halfway across the lawn this time before a hand roughly grabbed his left arm and yanked him back causing him to yelp in pain at the strain it put on his shoulder. However, he used the movement his attacker had forced to slam his right arm into the side of the other's head. The man growled and shook his head briefly and Shawn barely had time to register the loss of pressure on his arm before a fist slammed into the left side of his jaw.
He didn't feel it when his body hit the ground. He blinked dazedly up at the stars overhead, feeling strangely weightless. His hearing had disappeared, allowing him only to hear the rush of blood in his ears, and he didn't know if his vision had been messed up too because he was pretty sure there had only been one attacker before. Now, two faces were leaning over him, but just as his brain caught up with him long enough to count to two, the figures morphed into one again. He blinked again, trying to get his vision to focus a little better.
He tried to sluggishly throw a fist at the other man, but his aim was way off and only earned him another hard punch to the face. A breath caught in his throat and a cough was forced from his chest, making him a little too aware of the pain radiating off his body.
Someone was tapping him none too gently on the cheek and his vision zeroed in on the covered face inches in front of his own. Sound returned then almost as if a switch had been flicked. He'd seen the man's lips move underneath the nylon sock but hadn't listened to the words.
"Hey!" The other's voice was rough and he was still tapping slash slapping him, apparently not satisfied with Shawn's attentiveness. Shawn did his very best to focus and it seemed the man was finally satisfied as the slapping stopped only to give way to a firm hold around his jaw, locking his head in place to stare directly at his attacker. "You listen. Consider this a warning. My father is out of jail or bad things are gonna start happening to people you care about."
Shawn twisted in the man's grip, but he didn't let go. He looked back up at the man and confusion must have shown on his face because his attacker elaborated.
"You were in the woods. You and that other guy. You've proven to be a liability." Shawn tried to shake his head, not liking where this was going at all. "Whether you die or not is not important. Either way this will serve as a sufficient warning."
Shawn barely had time to register the words before the hold on his jaw was released and a searing pain erupted in his gut. He wanted to cry out in pain but he couldn't even draw in a breath to yell. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to move. It hurt to think.
I know. I'm not actually justified to have a cliffhanger after such a long wait. I will do my very best to get the next chapter up quickly - meaning at least loads quicker than this one. ;)