The last few rays of sunlight gleamed across the headstones at the Santa Barbara cemetery. The green tent from the funeral had been taken down hours before and all the friends and family of the departed had said their good-byes and had gone off to mourn in their own personal ways. The only one that remained was the departed, Shawn Spencer. He sat on the ground in front of the freshly dug earth staring at the dates on the headstone. He'd been sitting there all day. No one had talked to him. They'd all talked to the headstone. No one had patted him on the shoulder to console him. They'd all consoled each other with hugs and murmured words of sympathy. This is why it surprised him when a hand gently touched his shoulder. He turned to see a young woman behind him. She sat down next to him and looked at the headstone herself.
"It's time to go Shawn." She said still looking at the headstone. Shawn turned to look at her. She looked back at him with her clear blue eyes framed by dark curly hair. "It's time to go." She repeated. "The sun has almost set."
"Well what if I don't want to go?" He asked being stubborn. The woman laughed a little. The first sign of amusement Shawn had seen all day.
"You don't have a choice." She said as if explaining things to a five year old. "Everyone has to go sometime."
"But, I don't want it to be over." Shawn whispered, as he tucked his knees under his chin. "There's so much more that I could have done. So many more cases I could have solved."
"The cases will still get solved." The woman reassured him. "Lassiter is more than capable of solving cases. He learned a lot from you."
"Psh, he'll never admit to that." Shawn said trying to laugh through the tears that threatened to spill down his face. "Stupid jerk didn't even show up to the funeral. I bet he thinks I wouldn't notice. All he ever does is yell 'God damnit Spencer' at me when I mess up or get into trouble or when he's annoyed at me which, seems to be all the time." The woman put an arm around Shawn's shoulders.
"You know why he's not here. He's in the hospital still. The doctors almost wouldn't let Juliet come today." Shawn sniffed loudly.
"He still could have tried." The woman smiled again.
"He did." She motioned over to the side of the cemetery where Carlton Lassiter was being helped across the grass to the headstone. Shawn jumped up out of the way, thinking briefly that if he was still alive his knees would be killing him for sitting there so long. Buzz McNab helped Lassiter in front of the headstone and then retreated to give the detective some privacy. Lassiter looked worse than Shawn had ever seen him. He was in a wheelchair, with his right arm in a sling. His face was scratched and Shawn could make out a world record bruise blooming above his left eye. Lassiter sighed heavily as he sat there in front of the headstone, inches from where Shawn himself had been seated.
"You're a stupid idiot." Lassiter said breaking the silence. It was loud enough to not be a whisper, but he wasn't yelling. "Stupid psychic detective, who managed to get everyone in trouble, including me," Shawn stood motionless beside the headstone as Lassiter let himself go. "You should have waited for backup. You should have never gone on that case. You should have let me take care of that bomb." Lassiter's voice rose with every statement. Unlike the mourners before he hadn't been there to console and be consoled by Shawn's other friends and family. Lassiter thought about what he actually was to Shawn. He wasn't family, Hell no, he wasn't family. He never considered himself to be a friend, at least not one that went over to play video games and eat pizza. He sighed again and winced as his rib cage protested. He'd nearly had to threaten to shoot someone in order to get a temporary release from his prison his doctors were passing off as a hospital. Lassiter sat there in silence for a while and then reached up with his good hand to gently brush away the single tear that fell. "And as stupid as you are, were." He corrected himself midsentance not really wanting to, but it was a natural reflex. "You were a good detective, and I'll miss," He paused and looked around to see if anyone was listening. "I'll miss you and all your stupidity." He gave up trying to fight the tears and just let them fall. He sat there in silence again. "God damnit Spencer." He finally whispered. It was his usual greeting to the psychic, but this time none of the sarcasm, rage or dislike radiated from the statement. Only regret, disbelief and sadness.
Lassiter waved over to McNab to signal he was done. McNab was silent and didn't look at all his usual cherry self as he wheeled Lassiter back to the van parked on the curb. Shawn sat back down gently rubbing his hand over the impressions left by Lassiter's wheelchair.
"Shawn it's time to go." The woman repeated. Shawn shook his head.
"I don't want it to end."
"Very few people do, especially people as young as you." She said. Shawn looked into her blue eyes again. They were the kind of eyes you'd see on a really old person, wise eyes, but hers seemed ageless.
"What are you, some kind of guardian angel?" He asked.
"Something like that." The woman said, smiling a little.
"Well good job and all that." Shawn said waving his hand at the headstone. "Looks like you're going to get fired or demoted or something." The woman gave him a small smile.
"I'm not your guardian angel Shawn." She said. "I'm his." She pointed across the cemetery where Lassiter was sitting in the wheelchair waiting for McNab to help him back into the back of the hospital van. "We never know when our time is up, but Lassiter still has some work to do. Now come on Shawn. It's time to go." With that they slowly faded away with the tiniest rays of sunlight that remained. Before they were completely gone Shawn turned and waved to Lassiter.
Lassiter sat staring at the spot where Spencer was buried. He briefly saw a flash of plaid and denim before McNab stood beside him.
"Everything alright sir?" He asked looking over to where Lassiter was staring. Lassiter blinked a few times.
"Yeah, Buzz. Everything's fine." He said deciding the sun must have been playing tricks on his eyes. "Now easy." He said as Buzz and the nurse from the hospital started to put him into the van. He shot one last glance back at the headstone. "God damnit Spencer." He whispered one last time.