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Mexico

"I'm never trusting you blindly again. I learned that at the Mexican border. Twice!" - Gus, Pilot

"Every time you try to do something nice for us we end up sad." "Or injured!" "Or in Mexico!" - Grady and Nico, Gummy with a Chance

"I cannot believe I let you get me into trouble at the Mexican border. Again." Gus turned to level his most lethal glare at Shawn. Or he assumed it was his most lethal, he'd never had cause to use it on anyone except his best friend and Shawn wasn't affected in the least.

"Hey," Shawn said jovially, "at least we have company this time." He looked past Gus to smile at the two teens sitting beside them. "What are you in for?" They'd been left on a bench in an office on the Mexican border. Officers would occasionally come in and take someone from one of the other benches lined up in the room. Gus wasn't really sure whose custody they were in and he didn't want to just yet.

"We trusted," the chubby one said emotionally. "We trusted and our only reward was watching that trust be smashed into tiny little pieces!"

"I know what that's like," Gus muttered.

"Well it's nice to meet you anyway," Shawn said and reached around Gus to shake their hands. "I'm Shawn and this is my partner -"

"Gus," Gus said emphatically. "My name is Gus. Do not go lying to these boys that my name is Quince Quint or Eustace Scrubb or Mackenzie Stalls or something."

"Awwww!" the chubby one said and smiled widely at the lithe one. "He mentioned Narnia and me in the same sentence!"

"He didn't mention you! He mentioned your character."

The chubby one deflated a bit at that and the lithe one turned his back on him to face Shawn and Gus.

"I'm Nico," he said, "and this is Grady."

"Pardon my asking," Gus said, "but what did you mean 'his character'?"

"Gus!" Shawn said, smacking Gus in the shoulder. "I am the psychic here, why not just ask me what he meant?"

Gus met Shawn's gaze for one long moment before turning back to the teens. "As I was saying, what did you mean?"

"You're a psychic?" Grady asked excitedly.

Gus sighed heavily.

"Yes," Shawn said, "but that's not how I know you're the stars of So Random. Honestly, that Mackenzie Stalls sketch was genius. You guys have got to do more of those."

"The head of the studio doesn't want us to," Nico said. "He says it encourages bad blood between our shows."

"Yeah! That's why there needs to be more!"

"Shawn," Gus said warningly, "do not go encouraging these kids to do something stupid."

Shawn went on as if he hadn't spoken. "Mackenzie Falls is lame! It's so contrived and repetitive. The last time someone made me watch it I splashed them with my drink every time someone mentioned 'the Falls.'"

"You still owe me the dry cleaning bill for that jacket, Shawn," Gus pointed out.

The boys began slapping each other excitedly. "That's what we do!" they exclaimed.

"Of course it is," Gus sighed.

"It is so nice to meet some fellow actors who share my hatred for the Falls," Shawn said, smiling.

"You're not an actor, Shawn."

But it was too late, the boys had already begun freaking out.

"You're Chad!" Grady squealed.

"Sorry about the name, man," Nico added solemnly.

"I was too," Shawn said with a small shrug.

"So wait," Nico said, "you're an actor and you're a psychic?"

"Oh yeah," Shawn said. "I'm also a model, but only non-face work. I like to keep it hush-hush."

Gus scoffed while the boys nodded, seeming to accept this explanation.

"What can you see about us?" Grady asked, full of awe.

Gus smirked at Shawn, waiting to see what he came up with.

"I can't see exactly how you got here," Shawn intoned, lifting his hand to his head, "but I can see that …"

Shawn cocked an ear, pretending to listen to the spirits. The boys leaned closer and Gus pushed them off with a cry of, "Shawn!"

"A girl did this to you," Shawn said, dropping his hand.

The boys exchanged confused looks and for a moment Gus thought that Shawn had finally been wrong. Then the boys' eyes widened and they turned to say, "She did!"

"It's because of her," Nico explained, "that we gave Chad another chance!"

"Wait," Gus said, "is this Chad Dylan Cooper?"

"Yes!" the boys snapped.

"Ugh," Shawn said distastefully. "Who is this girl?"

"Sonny," Grady muttered.

"Sonny from the show?" Shawn asked. "She seems so sweet!"

"She is! But she's also dating Chad," Nico said, his face twisting into a sneer on the name.

"Ew," Shawn said.

"Our thoughts exactly," Grady agreed.

The four sat in silence for several moments before Gus said, "I think Chad Dylan Cooper is the greatest actor of his generation."

The boys gasped, pulling back so far they slid to the end of the bench.

"Dude," Shawn said, then, more quietly, "I think you may have broken the kids."

Grady lifted his arm up, one finger extended, then brought it down accusingly. "Lies!" he yelled, drawing out the word.

"Shawn! Gus!"

"Nico! Grady!"

All four of them turned to see two blondes striding towards them. The women walked down the empty aisle in front of theirs so they could more easily stare all four of them down. When they stopped before their respective groups they paused and turned to each other with confused expressions that made the men wonder if they'd been having a similar conversation while waiting to be let in.

"Tawni! Thank goodness you're here!" Grady said.

"Did you bring it?" Shawn asked.

Juliet sighed and pulled a thermos from her bag. Shawn took it eagerly, drinking the pineapple smoothie with all the gusto of a man trapped in the desert for weeks.

"What did I tell you two about trusting Chad?" Tawni demanded. "Do you have any idea how hard it was to get the two of you out of here?"

"Relatively easy?" Nico guessed hopefully.

"I had to ask Dakota for help!" Tawni said. "Now I owe her one! Do you have any idea what that little monster could make me do?"

"Oh, Tawni," Grady said, "we're so sorry."

"I don't want to hear it!" Tawni declared. "Now chop-chop! I want to be back in LA before sundown!"

The boys hopped up at her order, eager to avoid a tongue-lashing.

"You too," Juliet said, waving Shawn and Gus up. "Tawni's been nice enough to offer us a lift back to Santa Barbara in her helicopter."

"It's not actually mine," Tawni said kindly, then turned back to the boys, her voice hardening, "but if I have to owe Dakota Condor for its use I'm going to use the heck out of it! Now, march!"

"Dude," Shawn said quietly as they followed them out of the room, "you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"How does a tiny little girl like that sound so scary?"

"Oh yeah. She's a horror movie waiting to happen."

"Oh!" Tawni cried happily, whirling to face them. "You think I'd be good in horror movies? I've never really thought about it. I can do a good blood-curdling scream though."

"Can't we drive back to Santa Barbara?" Gus asked Juliet.

"Nope. Your rental car's already been returned to the agency and I got a ride with Carlton."

"And he left already?" Shawn asked.

"He said he'd drive me down here, but if I still insisted on saving you, we'd all have to take the bus."

"But Jules," Shawn said, imagining a trip trapped in a small space with Tawni.

"Don't start," Juliet said. "She's not as bad as she seems. We had a really nice talk outside."

"Did it involve you telling her to yell at us on your behalf when we all get in the helicopter so you can keep your status as the 'nice girl'?"

"Actually," Juliet said with a smirk, "she offered. Now hurry up. You wouldn't want to keep her waiting."


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