Disclaimer: Do I hafta? :(

A/N: Yes, I'm back. I know it's been a year since I've updated this story and for that I am truly sorry. It has kind of been a crazy year. I would explain some things but it would take a while and I'm sure you guys just want to get to the story. Plus, it's 6 am here. Way past my bedtime. But, rest assured, I'll never leave my stories or you guys for so long again. Promise. I less than 3 you guys!

Reviews are love!

Chapter 6: Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

"Really? Are you trying to kill me?" Shawn cried in frustration as his phone continued to play the (by now hateful) ringtone. "Oh, come on, Gus!"

It had to be his best friend who kept calling. No one else Shawn had ever met was that persistent.

"Maybe my battery will run out soon," Shawn muttered. He was actually slightly cheered by that notion. After all, he honestly couldn't remember the last time he'd charged his iPhone.

This happier train of thought was interrupted as Shawn heard what sounded like something grainy sifting through the cracks of whatever part of the building was above his head. He automatically cast his eyes about searchingly, even though he knew it was still too dark for him to see anything.

It sounded like the excavation team was really going to town on the rubble up there. There was definitely some dust and debris being shifted around in what was left of the building.

Shawn frowned, uneasy. He really hoped those guys knew what they were doing.

Henry Spencer stood to one side of a squad car, his posture rigid and his mouth pulled into a taut line as he stared at the cell phone in his hands. He had no idea where in the world Madeleine was, only that she was not answering her phone. He had debated even calling her at first, not wanting to worry her unnecessarily about Shawn, but finally he'd decided that, regardless, she needed to know what was going on. Of course, it would help if she picked up the damn phone once in a while.

He sighed deeply, flipping the phone closed and tucking it into his pocket. He couldn't waste any more energy on his ex-wife right now; Shawn needed him more.

You better be ok, Shawn, Henry thought as he folded his arms tightly and stared at the destroyed building. Because I owe you a major ass-kicking for this.

"-right here, Detective. You see?"

Juliet tore her gaze away from the building to see her partner nearby talking with a man in a hard hat.

"I see. So what does that mean?" Carlton queried, narrowing his eyes as he studied the blueprints the man was holding.

"Well, we're a little worried about the structural stability of the southeast corner. It seemed to be holding up well, and we were hoping to go in from there, but now things appear to be shifting somewhat." The man took off his hat briefly, wiping his forehead with the back of one hand. "To put it honestly, I don't think it would be wise to risk putting anyone down there. I hate to say it, sir, but odds are your man is already dead. I would bet killed instantly." He shrugged then. "Sorry, I just don't think it's worth it."

Juliet brought her hands to her mouth with a strangled gasp. It was the first anyone had voiced her worst fears. Somehow, the idea just seemed to be much more… possible now that it had been said aloud.

"Now look here," Carlton growled, drawing on every inch of his lanky 6'1 frame as he stepped menacingly into the other man's personal space. "A man's life hangs in the balance and that's what you choose to say about it? Well, let me tell you something. You don't get to decide if something—someone—is 'worth it' or not. You don't have that right. Just who the hell do you think you are?"

"Detective, I-"

"Shut up," Carlton interrupted. "I'm not finished. Now, here's what's going to happen next. You're going to get your sorry act together and do your job. You will come up with a plan, preferably in the next five minutes, of how to get into that building. You will then proceed to go in there, find my man, and bring him out so that he can get the medical care that he undoubtedly needs. And if I hear you raise one more doubt about any of this, I will personally see to it that you never work in this county again. Am I clear?"

"Yes, but… look, Detective, I'm just being realistic here."

"No, you're being an ass!" Carlton blew out a frustrated breath as he realized that he was repeating Guster's earlier words. "Get out of my sight."


"I have a gun."

The other man scuttled away and Carlton turned with a huff, only then noticing Juliet where she stood a few feet away.

"O'Hara?" He took a step toward his obviously upset partner. "You ok?"

"Me?" Juliet shakily reached up to wipe away a lone tear that had escaped and sniffed. "I'm fine, Carlton. I just… He's not right, is he? About Shawn?"

Carlton gave a long sigh. "No," he finally answered, decidedly. "No way. Spencer's way too stubborn for that."

"Got that right," Gus chimed in from behind them, his voice soft. He gave Lassiter a small half smile, obviously no longer harboring hard feelings against the detective. "He can be downright pig-headed when he wants to be."

"Yep, well, that's Shawn for you," added Henry, as he walked up to join them. "He's never been the greatest at doing what's expected of him. Sometimes, that can actually come in handy."

As the building around Shawn creaked and groaned with increasing frequency, he was beginning to grow more nervous. More and more dirt and debris had begun to fall around his head, and he squeezed his eyes shut on instinct, just before an entire face-full of the stuff dropped.

"Ugh!" Shawn spat and spluttered and coughed, trying to get all the debris off his mouth and nose as it continued to rain down from above. With his hands still trapped, he knew he had to keep his airway clear. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, the beats speeding up as his adrenaline rose and he struggled to keep his breathing even.

Suddenly, the ground seemed to rumble, and the screech of abused metal sounded from above.

Shawn knew what was happening. The wreckage was shifting.

"This is going to be really, really bad," he mumbled, and braced himself.

A/N: Annnnnnd... another clifffhanger! Dun dun DUN! But the next chapter is half written and will be up in a few days, so don't worry.

Or do worry. As for myself, I personally love worrying about Shawn. Why do you think I read so much h/c? XD