Sometimes the best way to lie was to simply tell the truth. It was one of Shawn's specialties, actually, the ability to spin so many to tall tales that when something he said inevitably rang true, nobody would even bat an eye. He was a modern day boy-who-cried-wolf, and he prided himself on it. He prided himself on the fact that even when the wolf was real, no one would come running.

So when Abigail asked if he and Gus were together, and Shawn had joked that the man granted the superlative of Leland Bosseigh High's Class of 1995 Most Likely to Succeed would never go out with a schlub like him, they had all laughed. Shawn had laughed the hardest, his smile crinkling up toward his eyes in a way that suggested that he found himself hilarious, which in fact he often did. Because this time the joke was on Gus, and it wasn't a joke at all.

It was both a gift and a curse that Shawn's "psychic" abilities (or rather, his keen observational skills coupled with years of training - he'd heard it both ways) came with something akin to NASA-grade gaydar. A gift, for the obvious reasons, and a curse because it had made it very clear to him from puberty onwards that Gus wasn't, nor would he ever be, interested - pink shirts and impeccable penmanship be damned. It was a fact that Shawn had reconciled himself to a long time ago, and so Shawn reacted by doing what he did best - hiding the truth in plain sight. Thus while Shawn spent his teen years going gaga over the likes of Val Kilmer and Judd Nelson, Gus had never suspected a thing. He just shrugged them off as man-crushes and agreed that yes, Kilmer's performance in Real Genius was totally boss.

So while Gus was busy fawning over girls who usually wouldn't even give him the time of day (except for the one who married him. But in her defense she was really, really drunk.), Shawn was out flirting with waitresses... and waiters, and water ski instructors ("What? You thought I got that job because I was qualified?", Shawn would smirk), and anyone and everyone else who was young and pretty and maybe just a little bit lonely. Shawn could always spot the lonely ones - he just looked for the faces that reminded him of what he saw in the mirror each morning. Picking out loners in crowds was another one of his specialties - he could always tell when a smile looked a little too forced, or a laugh rang out a little too loud.

And then one day Shawn met the king of the loners. Yes, this guy was carrying the mother load of loneliness, more than Shawn and his divorced ex-cop father combined. Shawn could read it off the man before him like other people read books. The way he fidgeted too much with the band encircling his left ring finger, the way he flicked his partner's ponytail as his glance darted quickly back and forth to make sure no one was looking, the fact that he seemed far too straightlaced and by-the-book to ever try something as illicit and licentious as adultery, yet this woman was clearly not his wife, and of course that telltale smile and laugh all combined to tell a story. It was the story of a weary police detective who had been separated from his wife for a long time - and not by choice, from the looks of it - and was now struggling not to drown in a sea of his own misery. Shawn had heard that story before - had practically grown up on that story like some other kids grew up on Goosebumps or the Baby Sitters' Club. And so Shawn resolved, like he usually did when he encountered pretty, lonely people, that he was going to do whatever it took to cheer the man up.

Four years later, he was still trying. What had started out as a challenge and what Shawn sometimes liked to think of as a public service (self-serving though it might be) had grown into something more. It was an obsession now, an addiction even, and it wasn't even about getting the grumpy detective into bed any more (though Shawn certainly wouldn't say no if he offered). Just getting Lassiter to smile was exhausting enough. Shawn couldn't figure him out. The hot lady cop - Lucinda, according to the transfer papers that Shawn probably, no, definitely wasn't supposed to see - was long gone, as was the detective's now-ex wife, and it didn't take a psychic to see that this guy was batting for both teams, so to speak. The gaydar never lied, and besides, Shawn could see the way he looked at that naive rookie McNab, who was young and pretty but also very very married, and not in the way that Lassiter or Shawn's dad had been married. At least, not yet.

He wondered whether it could be as simple as the fact that Lassiter only wanted what he couldn't have. And Shawn had made it clear to him that he could have him, any time he wanted. He had done so by lying in plain sight again... and again and again, with a love note that was not a love note ("Lassy - On the alpine highway of life, you are my all weather tires."), with a slap on the ass and a not-so-subtle declaration that he thought the detective was "so sexy right now!", and with an impromptu lap dance that he knew they both knew wasn't part of any vision. Gus and the rest of the station could brush it all off as Shawn being Shawn, but if Lassiter hadn't figured it out by now? Well then, he was an even shittier detective than Shawn liked to tell people he was.

And speaking of Gus, for the first time in a long time Shawn hadn't looked at Gus every day and wished that things could be different. Sure, if Gus magically woke up one morning and announced that he liked boys after all, Shawn would have taken him down to the county clerk's and forged his signature on a marriage license so fast he wouldn't have time to say "you know that's right." But he didn't think about it nearly as much as he used to, and that was saying something. He had expected the day when he just couldn't take it any more to come about three years ago, the day when he'd climb back onto his motorcycle and head off again towards bright lights and adventure and another round of pretty, lonely people. Yet to his surprise, that day never came. The bike was parked out in the street now, starting to rust and practically begging for another long-distance ride, but for all of Shawn's claims to be able to speak to inanimate objects, he couldn't hear it at all.