The moment Shawn stepped into the bedroom, Gus was at his side, checking him over.
"Shawn? You okay?"
Are you okay?" Gus repeated, speaking a bit more slowly.
"What? Yeah, I'm fine."
"Then how come you look like somebody smacked you with a Louisville slugger?"
"They kinda did. A mental one, anyway" Shawn replied distractedly. "Geez, sit down, willya? They wouldn't hurt me, you should know that by now."
Reluctantly, Gus perched on the edge of the bed. Shawn found himself starting to wander again, shook his head slightly and claimed the chair instead. "You think that's a… dom thing? Freaking out when we're not in the same room?"
"I don't know. Anyway, I did *not* freak out. I was worried… that's all."
"Whatever, dude. Look… downstairs, a few minutes ago… I, uh… I found out something… about myself."
"Yeah. Go on."
"It's not that easy, man. This thing I found out… it's pretty weird."
"Weirder than everything else that's happened this weekend?"
"Maybe. Buzz started talking about my dad and how, if he messed with me again, he'd be seeing a side of Buzz that Henry never knew existed. He was all strong and protective and… it flipped my sub switch. Just a little."
"Can't half flip a switch, Shawn. It either is… or it isn't." Gus corrected, sitting up a bit straighter.
"Okay, okay. It was on like Donkey Kong. That's why I came up here. To, uh… to ask you if you thought maybe you…"
"I won't know 'till it happens. I'm with Buzz as far as your dad is concerned, though. If he tries to push you around or intimidate you once we get home… well, he won't recognize me either."
"Seriously? You really mean that?"
"Every word. I may not be ready to take on all the stuff this dom thing is about, but the least I can do is make amends for all the times I didn't stand up for you. You won't ever have to face him alone again, Shawnie. I promise that."
Shawn shivered minutely and fought hard against the call of his heart. His mind had always served him so much better and he was loathe not to trust it now, but he found he simply had no strength to resist. Shaking even harder now, he rose, crossed the three or four feet that separated him from his best friend and fell to his knees in front of Gus once more, instinctively dropping his chin to his chest. Gus reached out and touched the other man's head, shocked that his hand was steady.
"I don't understand this, Gus. I can't… I tried not to, but…"
"It's okay. It's only been a couple days. There's no way we can get it all straight yet. Buzz and Carlton… they'll help make sense out of it for us."
"It's just so weird. In the back of my mind, this voice has always been there, you know? 'Listen to Gus. You won't get in trouble if you listen.' I couldn't stand one more person telling me what I *had* to do, *had* to become… so I drowned it all out with the jokes and imitations and ideas for more stupid stunts. I said I trusted you, but I don't think I ever really did… and I'm sorry." He finished, so softly that Gus almost couldn't understand him.
"No, buddy. Henry didn't show you what trust was. How were you supposed to know? No apologies for things that aren't your fault, okay?"
Shawn collapsed forward, trembling, breath hitching so hard it sounded painful and Gus held him tightly, both arms wrapped around his back. Eventually, Shawn calmed and was able to shift up and sit beside Gus on the bed.
"I guess. Some. Never tell anybody that just happened. Understood?"
"Tellin' your dom what to do? I don't think it works like that, Shawnie." Gus teased. The other glared, to which Gus' typical reaction was immediate retreat, in order to avoid tension between them. This time, however, he felt an unfamiliar urge rise up and demand that he follow its wishes, so instead of backing off, he stared Shawn down. To his shock, less than a minute later, his friend's gaze slid toward the floor and stayed there.
When Carlton entered the room a few moments later, Gus and Shawn both breathed quiet sighs of relief, knowing that the conversation about what had just occurred would likely be delayed.
The tense expression on the other sub's face made Gus concerned as well and he quickly spoke up.
"What is it, Carlton? He back again?"
"No, it's somebody else. Buzz wanted me to stay with you while he deals with it."
Shawn glanced at Gus, eyebrows raised, clearly conveying a question.
"Yeah, but I'm going with you."
Both men moved to the window and peered out. "You recognize him, Shawn?"
"Kind of. I've seen him with my… with Henry a few times, but I never met him. Henry's talked about him, too." Shawn recalled, abruptly shifting back into his earlier fury as he realized what his father had done in response to Buzz forcing him to leave. "He consults for the department. He's a psychiatrist!"