Title: Jumping on Cars with Criminals

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: I have been working on this since "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark" aired but have been rather slow about it. Now that new eps are about to start up again, I wanted to get this out there. It's my first attempt in the Psych fandom, though I do sort of hope these characters come my way again. They were a blast to write. So thanks to geminigrl11 who introduced me to the show and gave this a beta, as well as sendintheclowns, who also gave this a read through. It's a better piece for them :)

A/N: This will be three chapters and an epilogue. I will probably post every other day.

Summary: Maybe this was a little more serious than Shawn had thought, because running around for hours and jumping on the hood of moving cars with untreated bullet wounds was dangerous, wasn't it? Wasn't it?


As far as cases went, this one was not exactly as awesome as he'd hoped.

Sure, it'd had a stellar start. What with ice cream trucks and mechanics named Garth Longmore. Those were the details of fantasies, no doubt, and he was all for a little peril to make the reveal that much more magnificent, but this? Was not really what he'd counted on.

Okay, so jumping on the hood of a car had been kind of awesome, because really, how many people could say they jumped onto the hood of a moving vehicle? But given the way he was feeling right about then, he was pretty sure he knew why people didn't make a habit of it.

He kind of hurt, especially when there was already a hole in his shoulder--make that two holes, one in the front and one in the back, which was nice in a symmetrical kind of way but really not so nice in terms of pain, blood loss, and pain. Times two.

And besides all that, while he appreciated the windblown look, speeding down the highway at sixty miles an hour was a little too much for his regularly tousled 'do.

Maybe he could borrow a mirror.

Right after he stopped bleeding.

Though, maybe before, if it didn't soon. He certainly didn't want to die with hair like this.

Of course, all of that required movement, and right about then, he wasn't sure that was going to be possible. The only thing keeping him upright was Lassiter's semi-pristine car, and even so, vertical was getting to be quite a challenge.

Diesel and Rodriguez really needed to hurry up. Being Paul Walker was just as bad as he thought it'd be.

He panted, trying to figure out if there was a way out of dying as Paul Walker with bad hair. With no possible options, he looked at his father and Lassiter and sort of hoped they might have a solution.

Lassie did have a nice way with handcuffs and his father had the whole menacing thing going on, as if it were possible to kill a perp from a staredown alone. Which, come to think of it, maybe he could.

Just wait until his dad learned that that guy wasn't the one who had put a hole in his shoulder.

But he had given Shawn the head wound, which might explain why it hurt so much to think. Usually, he could put two and two together and come up with five, but right about then, he was only coming up with three, and a scant three at that.

One: this was serious enough for Lassie to be pissed on his behalf and dire enough that his father looked like he was sucking on a lemon.

Two: this was serious enough that Gus had agreed to his car being part of a police chase. Gus' secret aspirations to be Vin Diesel aside, company cars were not things Gus risked willingly, and though he had refused to allow Shawn to jump on his hood, the fact that he had allowed it to go that far at all did not seem to bode well for Shawn's current state.

Three: this was serious enough for his head to spin and for his stomach to churn. Cliche, perhaps, and he'd read Mentalist fan fiction that detailed it in far less melodramatic terms, but there was really no other way around it. It was a toss up at this point which would come first: throwing up or passing out, and if he had his pick, he'd have to pick passing out if only because it was far more impressive.

And there should be a four, but it was sort of hard to come by: maybe he had been wrong. Maybe this was a little more serious than he'd thought, because running around for hours and jumping on the hood of moving cars with untreated bullet wounds was dangerous, wasn't it? Wasn't it?

"Shawn?" a voice asked.

"Shawn, are you okay?" another one asked.

Shawn blinked, and squinted up. His father was there, a hand on his arm. And Gus was there, too, looking just like dehydrated St. Bernard. Mouth open, big puppy eyes, but no drool. Gus really needed to work on the drool.

Ha. That was funny. If he could only find a voice to make the joke.

"Maybe we should sit down," his father suggested, and that's when five really clicked into place.

Five: his father was suggesting. He wasn't ordering, he wasn't mocking, he wasn't doing anything begrudgingly. His dad was worried. No, scratch that, his dad was scared.

As his knees crumpled, Shawn slid down the side of Lassiter's car, only half aware of the hands reaching for him. He ended up awkwardly on his backside, pressed against the warm metal.

Someone swore. Someone else called his name.

Shawn blinked, once and twice, slowly and evenly.

"I think he's bleeding again," Juliet's voice said.

"Damn, he's got a fever," his father joined in.

"Oh my God," Gus said. "That's a lot of blood."

And that was six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. There was a reason first aid skills required pressure and why healing usually involved sitting still. Because anything could jostle open a wound and an untreated wound was a great place for infection to settle in.

All of which led Shawn to conclude that no, this case was not so awesome and that adrenaline and psychic visions could only get him so far. Ice cream trucks, Garth Longmore, and jumping onto cars: one through ten, and Shawn came to the big conclusion, not that anyone was listening to him anymore, but this one was a doozy. Perhaps one of his best, though the bad hair certainly was a hindrance.

And the reveal: Shawn Spencer was a victim of his own brilliance. Just smart enough to figure it out, and not quite quick enough to escape it. He could only stall so long and he could only run so far and he could only jump on so many cars before pain and blood loss caught up with him. All that excitement and drama and he just ran out of steam in the end.

"Shawn, can you hear me?"

"Ambulance is on the way."


And point one hundred and fifty two? When the lights go out, they really go out, and that was all Shawn had left to say.


The guy shot his car.

Not just his car. The company car. The guy shot his company car.

Sure, he was in good with the boss now, but good enough to cover the cost of repairs? Gus highly doubted that, which sort of made this dude not his favorite person in the world.

Not that Gus commonly liked criminals. Criminals were too illicit, always breaking laws and cursing. Probably in front of children. And they probably didn't eat their vegetables, which would explain why they kept making stupid decisions. People with vitamin deficiencies probably couldn't make as good of decisions as people who ate their leafy greens.

Gus ate his with a side of orange ones daily, too. Preferably carrots. For his eyesight.

And to be safe, a vitamin or two. He got them wholesale at work.

So maybe he should have seen this coming when Juliet decided to commandeer the thing.

But damn, the thought of being Vin Diesel was kind of appealing.

Or had been, until they were left in the dust with nothing more than a fleeting view of the action.

Because the guy had shot his car.

"They shot my car!" Gus said, and okay, so it wasn't his brightest statement ever, but leafy greens or not, this wasn't a situation Gus was actually prepared for, not even on the most extreme days of running Psych with Shawn. There were the interesting days where Gus got to play backup forensics and there were the annoying days where Shawn just wanted to scream and yell a lot for effect and then, apparently, there were days when his best friend got shot, kidnapped, and then proceeded to jump on the hoods of cars.

He was going to have to talk to Shawn about eating some more vegetables. Otherwise, Gus might have to start crushing up vitamins and putting them in Shawn's pineapple smoothies and see if that helped improve Shawn's questionable decision-making skills.

"Damn it," Juliet said next to him, slamming her hand on the steering wheel. "They're getting away."

"Because he shot my car," Gus said.

Juliet frowned, keeping a steady hand on the wheel. The Echo lurched unsteady as it limped down the road. Squinting, Juliet looked out the window. "Can you see anything?"

Gus squinted, too. The chase was still going on up ahead, though it was getting hard to see. But maybe those carrots were working because Gus saw the truck swerve and smoke before Lassiter's car spun to a halt.

His eyebrows rose. "I think it's over."

Juliet straightened, vying for a better look. She pressed down on the gas, urging the damaged vehicle on.

Gus hated to think what this was doing to the rims, because he'd read the manual about what to do in case of blowout, and, while Juliet had done a rather spectacular job of easing the car to a slow pace, continuing to drive on a flat tire was likely increasing the damage.

But as much as Gus hated that this guy had shot his car (his company car), he sort of hated that he'd shot his best friend more.

No, Gus definitely hated that more.

He wouldn't let Shawn jump on his hood but he sure as hell wasn't going to sit by the side of the road in his company car while his best friend was possibly bleeding to death.

"Do you think he's okay?" Gus asked, because he had to know. And Juliet was a cop. She would know.

Juliet, however, swallowed in a way that was entirely not reassuring. "I don't know," she admitted softly.

Which was all Gus needed to hear because it was everything he didn't want to hear. It was time for Fearless Guster to make an appearance, because if Shawn could pull a real Paul Walker and leap on the hood of a moving vehicle, then Gus could get out of his bullet-riddled car and straight into the heart of what was surely to be part of a crime scene.

Before the car even stopped moving.

Vin Diesel could eat his dust and weep.

Gus maintained that bravado for all of five seconds, until he actually saw Shawn. His best friend was leaned up against the side of Lassiter's vehicle. At first, it was hard to see around the commotion of the arrest taking place, but when Gus got his first look--his first good look--he could see that Shawn was looking more than a bit worse for wear.

Not that it should have been surprising, but it still kind of was. After all, this was the Shawn who had been lamenting his fate as Paul Walker. If Shawn was joking, then Gus had believed that he couldn't be that bad off. Because that was a very Shawn thing. Get shot and kidnapped and all of that and still be okay enough to be a generalized pain in everyone's asses.

Gus saw it happening before anyone else did, because Gus was Shawn's best friend. He did know the guy better than anyone else--even better than Mr. Spencer himself. Gus knew when Shawn was about to launch into a ridiculous "psychic" reveal. Gus knew when Shawn was going to get him irrevocably into trouble. Gus knew when Shawn was lying to him and Gus knew when that lie was going to be more problematic than entertaining. Gus knew when Shawn was going to hit on a girl and Gus knew when Shawn's patience was all used up. Gus even knew when Shawn was about to let loose with a deadly round of gas that would clear them both out of the Psych office for hours, possibly even days.

So, yeah. Gus knew Shawn pretty damn well and Shawn was about to pass out.

He saw it in the way Shawn couldn't quite push himself upright. He saw it in the way Shawn couldn't quite form a smile. He saw it in the way Shawn's eyelids blinked slowly.

But before Gus could do anything about it, Shawn was going, and it was just like Ninth Grade Health when they showed the video of a woman giving birth. It was the only time he'd seen Shawn freaked out by a woman and though Shawn later started a rumor that he'd actually been poisoned by a fellow student--which, frustratingly, everyone believed and when Gus tried to tell people the truth, they all suspected that he'd done it, which had been simply no good at all. Of course, Shawn had leveraged the entire situation to his advantage, totally obscuring the fact that he'd be freaked out to begin with, and leaving Gus with the annoying job of cleaning up the mess.

He'd been mad at Shawn for weeks, but watching Shawn go right down the side of Lassiter's car, Gus couldn't help but wish that they could fix this with as little as smelling salts and a well told lie. Because this time Shawn wasn't freaked out, he was passing out, which was enough to freak Gus out like no other.

Gus was fast, but not fast enough, and he was somewhat relieved when Mr. Spencer seemed to notice Shawn's predicament. Mr. Spencer suggested that Shawn sit down, and, in typical Shawn fashion, he followed the rules but with his own twist that made it by the book and completely not.

Instead of sitting, Shawn slumped with all the grace of a sack of potatoes, going boneless against the side of the car as he crashed awkwardly toward the pavement.

Gus was fast, but Mr. Spencer was closer, but neither of them were quite there in time to stop Shawn's descent, and the young psychic wound up pressed uncomfortably against the car, limp and pale.

Mr. Spencer was cursing and Juliet let out a gasping exclamation and all Gus could think about was why the hell he hadn't gotten to that salvage yard a lot quicker. Because as fast as he was now, Shawn was already shot and limp against the side of a police car on the side of the road and best friends didn't let that happen.

But apparently, they did. Because there they were. Gus was standing there, completely useless, and Shawn was breathing fast and strained, blinking hazily into the California sun.

He looked terrible. Worn and weary and, oh, God--

"I think he's bleeding again," Juliet said next to him and her voice shook, worse than it had at the police station, like she knew this was bad, this was bad, this was very, very, very bad.

Mr. Spencer didn't turn to acknowledge her, but kept his eyes on Shawn. It would have surprised Shawn how gentle his dad was--but the steady, soothing movement of Mr. Spencer's hand on Shawn's brow was more than a little obvious and something Gus had known all along.

They were alike, Gus knew. Smart and stubborn, right and wrong, and they both cared about each other more than they would ever admit. The only thing that annoyed either of them more than each other was the thought of something happening to the other and Gus wondered if they'd ever figure that out.

Or if their constant bickering and one-up-manship was just another way of saying I love you to those who experienced sensory overload on a day to day basis. Gus knew that when his nose was working overtime that other things tended to take a back seat, so maybe a photographic memory and a keen eye to the unusual and weird really did screw with one's ability to behave like a normal person.

"Damn," Mr. Spencer muttered. "He's got a fever."

Of course Shawn had a fever. Gus had taken first aid classes and was even certified as a first aid responder in three states. The key to any wound was proper cleaning. Preferably a thorough washing followed by a steady application of antibiotics.

Shawn had a gunshot wound, and an untreated one at that, and with running around and jumping on the hoods of cars, he was a prime candidate for an infection.

They needed to see the wound.

Gus was about to suggest that when he really got a look at it. In all the commotion, he hadn't taken the time to really look for it, but suddenly it was all he could see.

There was something like duct tape over the thing (which would do absolutely no good since it wasn't secured firmly over the wound) and worse, it was bleeding again.

A lot.

Gus' stomach churned. He'd been forced to look at dead bodies, even forced to touch and carry some of them from time to time, and while that was getting somewhat easier, this was Shawn. And it was Shawn's blood. He didn't like it when Shawn flaunted paper cuts in front of him, and this was a whole lot more than a paper cut. Even more than the time Shawn got hit in the face with a pineapple and got a bloody nose.

"Oh, my God," Gus said without even thinking. "That's a lot of blood."

True, he prided himself on being the more coherent of them, but that was a lot of blood. It was soaked through the pathetically placed shammy, spreading over the front of Shawn's shirt. And worse, it was coating Mr. Spencer's hands, which meant Shawn was bleeding from the front and back.

Gus thought he might be sick again. Front and back. Entrance and exit. He had been working with the knowledge that Shawn had been shot for approximately thirteen hours but he had not fully grasped how not LOL binshot really was.

The fact that no one had a platitude to comfort him with was a really foreboding sign. Especially since everyone was now acutely preoccupied with Shawn's bleeding wound.

Mr. Spencer was never the epitome of grace under pressure, but he was a consistent force no matter what, and Gus was not surprised that the same held true here. He shifted Shawn carefully, easing him until he was flat on his back then repositioning himself over his son.

"Shawn, can you hear me?" he asked, and it was a mixture of concern and demand, and if the man could control the universe, he would have bent it to fix Shawn right about then.

But Henry Spencer was only a man, no matter how observant and no matter how perfectly he could irritate Shawn. Only a man with bloody hands leaning over his only son.

Juliet kneeled down and hovered before putting a hand on Mr. Spencer's shoulder. "Ambulance is on the way."

"Shawn," his father called. "Shawn."

It didn't take much because Shawn didn't have much left to give. But Gus saw it happening anyway, with a painful clarity. He didn't need a photographic memory to know he'd never forget this. Shawn's eyes rolled lazily in their sockets, passing over Juliet and his father and to the blue sky until they met briefly with Gus'.

Gus wanted to hear a quip. He wanted to hear a snarky comeback. He wanted Shawn to tell him to stop acting like a walrus sucking on lemons. He wanted Shawn to be pissing off Lassiter with some over-the-top reveal. He wanted Shawn to be picking fights with his dad. He wanted Shawn to be flirting but not quite with Juliet.

He just wanted Shawn. Childish, perhaps, but Gus had been Shawn Spencer's best friend since they were five years old. That was too long and it'd be too hard to break someone else in and damn it, Shawn was his friend.

Gus was a pharmaceutical salesman. Not Vin Diesel. Only Shawn could make him believe otherwise.

Mr. Spencer puckered his mouth tersely, not looking up from Shawn. "Do we have an ETA on the paramedics?"

Juliet stood again, squinting toward the horizon. "Backup was already in pursuit," she said. "Let me ask."

She moved by Gus toward the other side of the car where Lassiter was forcing their bad guy into the back seat.

"Gus, give me a hand," Mr. Spencer barked at him.

Surprised, Gus looked back down. Mr. Spencer was craning his neck to look at him, giving a jerking nod back down to Shawn.

"Gus," he said again sharply.

Fumbling, Gus moved forward. "What do you need?"

"I need you to hold this," Mr. Spencer said.

At first, Gus thought he must have meant something else. Mr. Spencer needed him to hold his bag or a bottle of water. Maybe a phone or a spare taco or something like that.

But Mr. Spencer had none of those things. Confused, he cocked his head. "But--"

"The wound, Guster," Mr. Spencer snapped, using one hand to drag Gus to his knees. "I need you to put pressure on it."

Gus felt like flailing. "But you're doing a really good job," he stuttered out, trying not to look at the blood on Mr. Spencer's hands.

"And you can, too," he said. Then, before Gus could protest, Mr. Spencer directed Gus' hand down hard, pressing it on top of the soaked shammy with a surprising force before sitting back on his heels.

Gus felt himself want to lurch, but realized that he couldn't. Because now it was his hands on Shawn's shoulder--on Shawn's bullet wound--which mean that it was up to him.

Oh, God, it was up to him. He had to keep Shawn from bleeding out, right here, right now, it was just Gus and Shawn, which was how these things usually started and ended but Gus wasn't sure he could handle this. Any of it.

Not getting called out in the middle of the night. Not traipsing around town in his fireman pajamas. Not going on high speed chases. Not getting shot at in his company car.

And definitely not putting pressure on his best friend's bleeding shoulder on the side of the road.

He was going to say that--he really was--but when he looked up, Mr. Spencer was around the side of the car, pulling out the radio. Juliet was trying to stop him and Lassiter was yelling something about protocol and Gus heard Mr. Spencer seething in the most frightening voice he'd ever heard, "You listen to me, we have an officer down. Yes, an officer down, and we need paramedics now. No--not in five minutes. Now. And if you don't get them here now, I will come down and put his blood on your hands. Literally. Do you understand?"

Gus certainly understood, and he swallowed hard and pushed down harder.

Juliet was asking something and Lassiter was yelling and Mr. Spencer was fuming and Shawn was--

Shawn was bleeding.

Gus looked down--really looked--which he had been subconsciously avoiding because, really, this was not Gus' area of expertise.

He didn't need to be an expert to know that Shawn looked awful. And it wasn't even the paleness and it wasn't even the blood, though that certainly didn't make Gus feel any better--no, it was the stillness. The absolute, terrifying stillness.

Shawn was never still. He didn't know how to be still. He was always moving, always going, always doing something. Something like jumping out of trunks or making veiled phone calls or jumping onto cars. Shawn had to move, because Gus needed someone to keep up with. Without Shawn setting pace, Gus was too often stagnant in these things. Sure, he could learn how to pick locks and he could read comic books, but when it came to taking chances, going outside his comfort zone--that was all Shawn. It was why Shawn was a perfect best friend, not that Gus would ever admit it.

Well, maybe he would. Today, anyway. Just for the day. If Shawn would just wake up.

Gus heard sirens somewhere off in the distance and Mr. Spencer was kneeling next to him, Juliet right behind him. Mr. Spencer was focused on Shawn, which was about right, and Gus wondered if Shawn would be surprised by that. Juliet looked at Gus, though, her eyes a little wide and her expression worried. "How is he?" she asked.

Gus swallowed, looking at Shawn again. Shawn looked much the same, maybe even worse, with a pallid complexion and blood-soaked shirt.

But this was Shawn. Shawn Spencer. Fake psychic, screw up son, best damn friend ever: he defied logic and common sense and worst-case scenarios. If he could make the police believe he had a sixth sense, if he could make his impossible-to-please father proud, if he could get Gus to take his company car on a high speed chase--then Shawn could do this, too.

"He'll be fine," Gus said.

"He's bleeding all over the damn pavement," Mr. Spencer interjected. "Where the hell is the damn ambulance?"

Bleeding all over the pavement, fine--well, whatever. Gus was pretty sure he'd heard it both ways.

"Dude," a weak voice broke his thoughts. "Are you crying?"

Surprised, Gus looked down. Shawn was still mostly limp on the ground, but his eyes were slit open, staring glassily up at him. "Shawn," he said, eyes widening. "Oh, my God. You're okay."

Mr. Spencer leaned over, almost making Gus fall over. He put a steadying hand on Shawn's arm. "Hey, kid," he said with a softness that belied the utter panic Gus knew lurked inside. "You just need to sit tight, okay?"

Shawn raised his eyebrows marginally. "Another brilliant idea, Dad," he murmured. "Since, you know, I thought this might be a good time to pull out the song and dance routine I was going to pitch to Gus for Quarter Black."

Mr. Spencer made a face. Gus shook his head. "No dancing," he said. "Just singing. Dancing limits our appeal with a broader audience."

"But is awesome," Shawn insisted. Then he winced, shifting a little.

"Whoa," Mr. Spencer said. "Keep still, remember?"

Shawn looked confused for a second. "Gus, why are you pushing so hard?"

"So you won't bleed to death," Mr. Spencer interjected.

Gus nodded readily, adjusting his position.

Shawn grimaced. "So if I'm the one in pain, why are you crying?"

"I'm not crying," Gus said, lifting his chin proudly. "You know I get bad hay fever sometimes and the pollen count must be off the charts."

"Are we going to kiss next?" Shawn asked.

"I don't kiss men."

"You kissed Bob, the cable man."

"I was six," Gus said. "And he'd just fixed our cable in time to watch the U.S. Open. You know I wanted to be Boris Becker back then."

"Exactly," Shawn said.

Mr. Spencer groaned as the sirens grew louder.

"So why would I kiss you?"

"Isn't that a first aid thing?"

"That's CPR, Shawn," Gus said. "You only use it on victims who aren't breathing."

Shawn nodded a little before his eyes lost focus, his head lolling a little.

Mr. Spencer cursed. "Shawn," he said, shaking Shawn a little. "Stay awake."

Shawn made a face, and his eyes roamed. "That hurts, Dad."

Mr. Spencer set his face grimly. "That's the point."

There was yelling behind them, and the sound of the siren was almost deafening, but Gus didn't dare move. Shawn was still bleeding on the side if the road after all, and Gus was pretty sure he was so scared that he couldn't move, even if he wanted to.

Shawn blinked blearily, looking at Gus one more time. "I'd kiss you if I had to," he said, quite seriously. "Unless you ate onion rings at lunch, man. Those things are lethal. Like deep fat fried time bombs that explode all night long."

"You're the one who can't handle them," Gus said.

Shawn giggled lightly, closing his eyes. "Better pucker up," he said, his voice trailing off again.

When Gus realized that Shawn was, in fact, passing out. Which, perfect. Gus' company car had holes in it, he'd lost a day of work, he hadn't slept since yesterday, and Shawn was still effectively bleeding to death on the side of the road. To make things worse, he was manipulating Gus into feeling guilty for not kissing him, even though that would be entirely inappropriate, both as man friends and given the fact that Shawn was, in fact, still breathing.

That was so like Shawn--difficult, frustrating, and ultimately impossible to stay angry at.

"Medics are here," Mr. Spencer said.

A hand shook his shoulder. "Gus," Juliet said. "You can let go now."

"Sir, we can handle this."

"Gus," Mr. Spencer said. "You've done everything you can. Let them work."

Gus shook, looking up. There was a medic behind him, all dressed in navy and carrying a supply case. Mr. Spencer looked like he was about to kill something and Juliet looked like she might cry.

If only Shawn could see this.

Gus swallowed hard.

He would go anywhere with Shawn, sometimes under duress and usually with much complaining, but he knew his place. Having to relinquish it, for any reason, was hard.

Really hard. Harder than trying to hold back an eye roll every time Shawn said he was psychic.


Feeling numb, Gus let the pressure go, shifted back onto his heels as the paramedics swooped in. Gus recognized some of the lingo, and he certainly could identify much of the equipment. It might have been kind of awesome if it hadn't been all for Shawn.

Come on, Gus. Don't be a soggy bag of potato chips. Geek out while you can.

But it didn't make sense why the bag would be soggy, because the bags were some kind of aluminum derivative or something. They didn't get soggy. Unless of course Shawn was referring to the chips and not the bag, which meant that Shawn must have missed that lesson on properly placing the adjective to improve overall clarity in English class.

Unless I'm really talking about the bag. Have you ever tried to open one of those bags when they're wet? Not easy, my friend. Knowing what salty goodness awaits you and fumbling with the bag is simply a horrible plight.

But that wasn't what Shawn meant, and Gus knew it.

How can I be sure?

Because this was a conversation in Gus' head. Damn, he needed to tone down his inner Shawn voice.

Touche, my friend. Touche.

Though it wasn't a hard argument to win, since Shawn was still unconscious on the pavement. His shoulder was bandaged again--heavily this time, with what Gus easily recognized as a pressure bandage, and another paramedic was positioning a backboard next to Shawn. With surprising efficiency, Shawn was rolled and eased back down, the board under his back.

It was just like Gus had read about. Down to the strong Velcro used to keep Shawn in place before they lifted it into the air and place it securely on the gurney.

Even Mr. Spencer's reaction, a cross between fretting and angry, was a textbook example. He had a steady hand on Shawn's good arm, keeping pace as the medics moved to the ambulance. "I'm going with you," Mr. Spencer demanded.

There was no room for argument, and the medics, to their credit offered none. Gus could only watch in morbid fascination as Shawn's pale visage disappeared behind the doors. The sirens started up again, splitting through Gus' consciousness viciously, before the ambulance pulled away.

The ambulance was gone. Shawn was gone. And Gus was left at a crime scene, alone, with no means of transportation to do anything.

Lassiter was standing by his car, radio in hand. He looked grim and more than a little weary as he kept casting glances at the prisoner sequestered in back.

It was Juliet who stood next to him, seemingly equally stunned, and Gus didn't have to have a photographic memory to know there was something to that. From her bizarre questions at Shawn's apartment to her shaken phone call during Shawn's abduction.

Dude, you're speculating about my love life now? Really?

Shawn just needed to shut up, that was all.

I will when you will. Literally.

Shawn could be so juvenile.

And Gus can be--

A soggy bag of potato chips, Gus was already aware.

So do something about it.

Gus intended to, he really did.

So you're still standing there why?

Because he was alone, with blood on his hands, and he was lonely and scared and tired.

The ambulance was out of sight now, and Juliet was running a hand through her hair, muttering something about paperwork.

That was well and good for Juliet, but not for Gus. He had his responsibilities in order. Since the car was already a lost cause, it was time to focus on Shawn, even if that meant hitchhiking all the way to the hospital.

Really? In my shirt?

Gus had to smile. Yeah, in this shirt. In any shirt. Be it Shawn's or Gus' or Lassiter's or even Juliet's.

Because that was what friends did.

No, that was what brothers did.

You're getting all sappy on me.

Gus certainly was. And Shawn would be alive long enough to chide him for it as often as he liked.