Universal truths of the day: Psych isn't mine. Reviews are love. Pineapple is delicious.
The day that Shawn is supposed to graduate is the first time he manages to actually fool his dad. It will remain one of few.
It has been two weeks since Henry arrested his son. In theory, Shawn shouldn't even be staying with him, since he moved out with his mother. That only lasted a month or so, though, before Shawn had half moved back in.
Shawn moved back in because he loves his dad, even if he can't admit it. He wanted to be just like Henry when he was a kid, and part of him still does.
He realized, later, that the reason Shawn fooled him is that he didn't actually lie. He has a hard time admitting that it's also because he's lost a little of his sense of his son in the last two weeks. This is the most disconcerting consequence of arresting his son: Shawn has been eerily silent and only speaks when it's truly necessary.
Shawn wishes his mother wasn't out of town on business because he would have gone back to her place. Still, he wishes even more that he didn't have to avoid speaking to his dad, just to avoid wanting to cry.
Apparently, Shawn feels this is necessary. "Gus is freaking out about his speech."
This is true. Gus is, in fact, freaking out.
"I'm going to head over that way."
This is also true. When Shawn leaves the house, he does head towards the Gusters' place.
"I'm sure they wouldn't mind giving me a ride, but Gus will probably want to go early."
Another true statement. What Shawn doesn't say is the implied "I'll see you there" because that would be a lie.
Shawn leaves the house, and Henry is left alone. This is just another sign of how the Spencer family has broken. All three members will arrive at graduation seperately. Madeline is flying in just in time for the ceremony.
Shawn walks normally in the direction of Gus's house, but as soon as he knows his father can't see the remainder of his path, he ducks into a hollow in a bush, and waits.
Henry waits until it is closer to time. Shawn is right that the Gusters will have gone early, and he knows they will save him a seat in the audience. He heads out in his old truck, and, passing the Gusters' he notices that the car is gone.
Shawn watches until his dad is out of sight, and then waits even longer to make sure Henry isn't faking him out. Then he steps free of the bush and heads back toward the house.
When Henry arrives at the graduation, Madeline isn't there yet, but the Gusters have saved him a seat, as he expected. He slides in and asks, "How's Gus doing?" "Burton is probably better with Shawn there," says Winnie, who doesn't really care for Shawn, but still acknowledges that her son needs him. What Henry doesn't know is that Winnie is assuming the Shawn just arrived, with Henry, while Henry thinks she means that Gus calmed down when Shawn got to their house.
While Henry is settling in at the graduation, and Gus is quietly freaking out entirely without his best friend, Shawn is grabbing the backpack he packed earlier out of his closet. He stuffs in the cash he keeps in his bedside table, which he hadn't packed yet because his dad would have noticed.
Madeline finally shows up, just a little late, and Henry doesn't see Shawn walk in. He thinks this is just because his ex-wife distracted him, not because Shawn isn't there to be seen.
Shawn pulls the lock box out from under his dad's bed, removing the important Shawn related documents his dad keeps in there and adding them to the backpack. He grabs his tooth brush on his way downstairs, then piles some food into the bag too. He still doesn't have much because people who plan to wander the country have to pack light.
Henry sits through the graduation. It is dull, but he has lived through much longer stakeouts, so he's fine. Madeline starts fidgeting halfway through the first speech, and he resists the urge to roll his eyes at this evidence of where Shawn's attention span, or lack thereof, comes from.
Shawn writes two notes before he leaves the house. The first reads, "Dad, I'm sorry, but I can't…(here there is a blotch where Shawn left the pen on the paper too long, trying to decide what to write)…I just can't. He doesn't say he loves his father because Spencer men don't do that, and because since the incident two weeks ago he isn't always sure it's true. He leaves this note square in the middle of the kitchen table.
Gus's speech goes well, as everyone but Gus knew it would. Henry is a little surprised when Shawn doesn't pull a prank in the middle of it. By the relief on the principal's face at the end, so is she. She gets up to begin reading names and shaking hands, but it's a long way to S for Spencer, so Henry settles in to wait.
The second note reads "Gus, buddy, was the speech totally awesome? I knew it would be, Mr. Most Likely to Succeed. Sorry I wasn't there to hear it, but I had to go. Don't let my dad guilt you. Just remember, you actually didn't know anything this time, and you couldn't have stopped me. I'll send a postcard or something. You're the best friend a guy could ask for." He signs this one in huge looping script, slings the backpack onto his shoulder, and pushes his bike to the Gusters house, where he sticks the note in the mailbox. He knows that Mr. Guster checks the mailbox every time he comes home, even on Sundays, even when he's checked it three or four times already that day, so they'll find it right after graduation.
It is only when the call of Shawn's name goes unanswered that Henry realizes the "I'll see you there" was only implied, and implications aren't strong enough evidence. Madeline turns to him in confusion, but she doesn't blame him because she doesn't actually know about the arrest. He and Shawn have a strict "don't call Mom" policy which applied to both times he got shot on duty, the time Shawn was hospitalized with pneumonia, the time Shawn crashed his motorcycle and landed in the ICU, and this. Even with his one phone call, Shawn didn't contact his mother. Sometimes he wonders how much Shawn knows about Madeline not particularly wanting children, and those are the only times he wishes he hadn't taught Shawn to read people so well. He makes plans to interrogate Gus, then immediately scraps them when Gus, who is sitting on the stage, looks instantly worried at Shawn's no-show. If even Gus doesn't know, Henry doesn't think he'll find Shawn until he wants to be found.
Shawn closes the Gusters' mailbox, kick starts his bike, and turns to look back at his childhood home one last time. He can't really see it, but with his memory he doesn't need to. It is this, that he won't forget the good stuff, no matter what, that makes him able to leave the bad parts behind. He roars off down the street.
When Henry and the Gusters get back from graduation, they find Shawn's notes immediately, just as they expected. His son is gone, and he knows the kid doesn't want to be found. He can't really do anything about it, even though he wants to because Shawn is legally an adult, and there is no sign of foul play. This wasn't how he wanted to let his son go. He hadn't wanted to let him go at all.
Shawn rides. He rides a long time. The only downside to living on the west coast, he thinks, especially literally on the beach, is that it's physically impossible to ride into the sunset.
A month and a half later, Henry and Gus receive postcards from Shawn on the same day, with pictures of Chicago. Gus's rambles on about the awesomeness of the open road, makes a reference to an eighties movie, addresses him by some bizarre name and generally sounds like Shawn. Henry's reads simply, "I'm okay."
AN: Hope you enjoyed. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. I apologize if anything regarding the above incident rebels against canon, I haven't seen every episode.