Thanks for all the love in the reviews, guys! Here's the second half! :D
"There! Theretherethere— Carlton, STOP!"
"I see it," he said as he applied the brakes and pulled the wheel to bring them onto the shoulder. They were still moving a little bit when she jumped out and as soon as he had the car in park he joined her, running around the front of his car to where the two limp forms were stretched out in the sun.
He felt a rush of panic that they were too late and cursed the meeting with the mayor that they had been in that had run over—and, more importantly, that had forced him to silence his cell phone. If it had been on, they would have known sooner and—
"I've got a pulse!" O'Hara said, then breathed a sincere prayer of relief. "Oh thank God! Shawn! Can you hear me?" She started slapping his cheeks and after Carlton was sure he felt a flutter under his fingertips he did the same to Guster.
"Shawn! Come on! Open your eyes for me!"
A groan and a grimace and then Spencer gave in and cracked his eyelids, revealing a hint of hazel underneath.
"Jules?" he croaked.
"Dammit, Guster, wake up!"
Spencer's head flopped to the side and he stared at his friend, almost immediately trying to push up for a better look. "Gus?" His attempts to speak must have used the last of the moisture in his mouth because he began hacking and coughing, curling up against the effort to make his lungs work.
Carlton scowled at the way Spencer's already red face—and, yeah, that was going to be a really painful sunburn—darkened with an influx of blood from the stress of not being able to breathe. His hand flailed out and Carlton grabbed it, bracing the younger man as best he could until Juliet returned with a bottle of water from the car.
She and Carlton levered Spencer up. "Shawn," she said in a voice meant to calm. "You have to breathe. I can't give you water if you're coughing. You'll choke."
He nodded and made an effort to quell the spasms that stole his breath and hurt a lot if the look on his face and the tears gathering in his eyes were any indication.
She rubbed his back and Carlton glanced at Guster, but there was nothing they could do for him at the moment. Spencer was conscious and in more immediate distress.
Finally he managed to get a good deep breath and overcame the coughing. He sucked in a few smaller desperate breaths as O'Hara coached him through remastering what should have been an involuntary reflex. When some of the blood had drained from his face and his shaking was more from shock than coughing, she placed the mouth of the bottle against his lips and tipped it up slightly.
Shawn lurched forward in an instinctive attempt to get more of the cool liquid, whimpering when she pulled it back.
"Take it easy or you'll puke. Sip it, Shawn."
Shawn didn't seem to be able to do that, though, so she just held it out of his reach and dribbled water into his open mouth a little at a time. She stopped after a bit and they eased him back down, his eyes closing as he panted.
"Gus?" he managed after a minute or two.
"He's alive," Carlton said. "We need to get both of you back to a hospital."
Shawn nodded and tried to push up again.
He gave it his best shot, but it was only with help from both Carlton and O'Hara that they were able to get him up and into the back seat of the car, O'Hara going in first to pull him in the rest of the way.
Carlton opened the front door long enough to adjust the air conditioning to high and aim the vents properly, then left O'Hara to cradle the barely conscious Spencer while he went back for Guster, hauling him into a fireman's carry and depositing him in the front seat. Another minute to secure the seat belt and shut the door, then Carlton rounded the front of the car and got behind the wheel.
O'Hara was murmuring to Spencer in the back seat, running fingers through his hair to soothe him in between more sips of water, but she met her partner's concerned gaze in the mirror. Carlton said nothing, but nodded and maneuvered the car around in U-turn, then floored the gas back to town.
Shawn lost consciousness shortly after they got into the hospital. He really tried to stay awake, but it just wasn't happening. It was probably okay, though, because Lassie and Jules had found them and he and Gus were going to be okay.
So he let go and fell back into the black.
When he regained consciousness again, he was aware of two things: He wasn't thirsty, and he was cold. He took a moment to savor both of those, then opened his eyes.
He was still in the hospital, still in the ER in fact, but the rest of the bustle of the ward was blocked off by a curtain. An IV ran into his arm, saline and electrolytes probably, and he'd been stripped to his shorts. Now warm-ish ice packs lingered in slightly awkward places, but he was no longer unbearably hot, so he guessed that was okay.
He blinked and pushed up slightly when he realized he heard familiar voices in the cubicle next to his.
"Hello?" he tried to say. He ended up coughing again and winced as it pulled on muscles sore from his last attempt to evict his lungs.
The curtain was ripped back and he saw Juliet and Lassiter talking to Gus who was set up much like Shawn—only with a sheet pulled up to his waist. Shawn wondered how one managed to get one of those.
Then he realized Gus was awake and his eyes locked on his best friend's.
"Hey," Gus said, waving briefly.
"Hey," Shawn said, relaxing back against the bed as it sank in that they were both okay. They'd survived.
"Shawn!" a concerned voice said, and then Juliet was there next to him, Lassiter appearing behind her after a moment.
"How are you feeling?" the latter asked and Shawn couldn't help the quirk of his lips.
"Concern, Lassie? I'm touched."
Something dark and angry flared in Lassiter's eyes. "You were almost dead when we found you," he said bluntly. "Whether or not I like you, I don't want you dead. Most of the time," he added when Shawn raised an eyebrow.
Shawn let the brow drop and smiled again.
"Thank you." His eyes flicked back to Juliet to include them both. She returned it as she flicked a sheet out and let it settle over him.
"I'm just glad we made it in time. Which, by the way..." She slapped Shawn's arm above the IV.
"Ow!" he protested, though he was glad she'd done it on the part of his arm that wasn't a painful red and covered in a clearish green goop that was probably an aloe gel of some kind. It felt awesome, though—except the sticky part.
"What were you thinking, Shawn?" Juliet demanded.
"He wasn't," Gus said with a dark look.
"Not when he suggested that you two go after the thief yourselves," Lassiter agreed. Then his head bobbed to the side. "The text to inform me of your location, however, was surprisingly intelligent."
Gus' brow furrowed as he looked at Lassiter, then his gaze shifted to Shawn. "What?"
"Shawn sent me a text announcing his stupid plans and giving me the road you two intended to take," Lassiter explained. "That's the only reason we found you."
"Then what took so damn long?" Gus demanded, anger shifting.
Lassiter ran a hand through his hair, but it was Juliet that explained, looking guilty.
"We were in a meeting with the mayor and both our phones were off. We didn't get the texts until we got out and turned our phones back on."
Shawn shrugged. "Better late than never, right?"
Gus went back to glaring at Shawn. "Why didn't you mention this? If you knew help was coming, we should have stayed at the car."
"I didn't want to wait? It was a nice day for a walk?"
"It was not—"
"But mostly, I didn't think it would take that long. And then I began to think they hadn't gotten my messages at all—that or something had happened to them too—and waiting around for help that might not come didn't seem very smart either." Shawn shrugged. "I'm sorry, Gus."
Gus sighed and shook his head, his anger melting away. "It all worked out in the end, I suppose."
Shawn smiled, relieved. "Yeah, it did! That's the spirit." Then he snapped his fingers. "Oh, hey, the thief is—"
"We know," Lassiter said. "Guster had a, uh, note, in his pocket."
Shawn blinked, then laughed. "Oh yeah. His 'will'."
Gus glared. "I thought we were going to die, Shawn!"
"Gus! I'm offended! You didn't have enough faith in me?" He pouted.
"No, Shawn! I know you too well for that! Besides, you were hallucinating."
Shawn arched an eyebrow. "I was not—"
Shawn groaned and slid down into his bed at the sound of his father's voice.
Juliet and Lassiter smiled and started backing away. "We'll just leave now," she said.
"Jules! No, wait! Aw, come on!"
The curtain separating their cubicles from the main ER area was ripped back and Shawn flinched and tugged the sheet upward as if it might shield him.
Lassiter waved with a little grin and they escaped as Henry launched into a tirade. Gus bravely stepped up and tried to take some of the heat, but it only drew attention his way and then the shouting was being delivered in equal portions to both of them.
Shawn sighed and settled in for the long haul, glancing over at Gus to see he was looking back. Shawn smiled and Gus shook his head, but he returned it.
Truth be told, for a while there he'd had his doubts they'd get out of this one alive. But they had, Jules and Lassie coming to the rescue as usual and, okay, maybe it hadn't been one of his best ideas. So he let his father yell and lecture and vent his concern.
And while he was busy with that, Shawn plotted how best use this to con his dad into making him pineapple upside down cake.
The end! Yay! \o/ Review, plz&thx.