Title: A Mess You'd Wear With Pride
Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: I have been watching through the earlier season of Psych and just finished with S4. As I watched, I became more aware of how Shawn's character has shifted ever since his encounters with Yin and Yang. The overriding influence of those cases is what inspire this very introspective and angsty fic. Beta'ed by the ever-wonderful geminigrl11. Title borrowed from the song "I Go to the Barn Because I Like the..." by Band of Horses.
A/N 2: I used quotes from a wide number of eps. Some may not be 100 percent accurate since I did the majority from memory (and my memory is not super amazing like Shawn's is). I think they're still close enough to track, though.
Warnings: Spoilers for S3 and beyond, including up through S5.
Summary: Shawn's never completed anything in his life, and sometimes now seems like a hell of a time to start.
Yang says, "Is there anything more satisfying than a solid ending?" She doesn't say Shawn has to like it.
Yang says, "That's what people really want: to feel complete." She doesn't say that sometimes being complete isn't being happy.
Yang says, "I complete things." She doesn't say exactly how, though (and Shawn's not sure he wants to know).
Yang tells him this while she holds the remote control for a bomb strapped to his mother. Yang tells him this after sending him on a chase around Santa Barbara with some innocent girl's life at stake. Yang tells him this over a bucket of popcorn in a drive-in theater.
This is why Yang kills people. She doesn't leave loose ends.
Yang is crazy, of course, and one sick puppy to boot. Shawn often tries not to think of her in the weeks and months after.
(Tries not to think of her smile, her laugh, her pleading eyes. Yang says, "I want you to like me.")
Because Shawn caught her. Shawn put an end to her story. To their story.
But somehow, it still feels incomplete. Like something's missing.
(Like everything's missing.)
And Shawn doesn't know what to do with that.
His mom says, "Sometimes I have the worst realizations." She doesn't say she wouldn't do it again.
His mom says, "I thought of all people you would be okay." She doesn't say that she thinks he'll get there someday.
His mom says, "I was worried I'd never have another chance." She doesn't say when she'll be back when she leaves town again.
Shawn tells her its okay. Shawn tells her he understands. Shawn tells her they'll keep in touch better this time.
Time makes liars of them both.
Juliet says, "Please, just let me stumble through this." She doesn't say just how scared she is to be here with him, to be here with him.
Juliet says, "Sometimes the best things, the richest things, aren't supposed to come easily." She doesn't say she actually expected them to, after all this, she really expected them to.
Juliet says, "Get out there. She's not going to wait forever." She doesn't say that she's not talking about Abigail.
Shawn knows it already. Shawn knows it and goes to Abigail anyway.
(Yang says, "That's what people really want: to feel complete.")
Shawn started something with Abigail a long time ago, and if Shawn's learned anything from this, it's that some stories really do need to be told.
Garth Longmore says, "Shut your mouth." He doesn't say he doesn't want to shoot Shawn (again).
Lassiter says, "Good work, Detective." He doesn't say that he was worried they'd find Shawn's corpse in a ditch or a shallow grave in the woods.
Gus says, "Juliet was probably just playing along." Gus doesn't say that it wouldn't make a difference.
Shawn takes a shot in the dark and it doesn't change as much as he thinks it might have. Because the bullet goes in and out, clean through, and it's a puckered scar that he'll brag about but never really talk about again.
Because Shawn says, "I'll be fine." He doesn't say that he's not quite sure what that means.
Abigail says, "This isn't what I meant." She doesn't say what she did mean, although the body hanging from the ceiling speaks for itself.
Abigail says, "I'd ask you to come with me." She doesn't say that the offer doesn't mean anything because they both know he won't go.
Abigail says, "I'd say that's not fair." She doesn't say that she wishes it was, and Shawn really wishes she would.
Shawn kisses Abigail at the airport. He stands and watches the plane taxi down the runway, watches as it takes off into the air, watches until it's nothing more than a speck in sky, until it's gone altogether.
Juliet says, "It's not that simple." She doesn't say if it will be again, because Shawn's accused her brother of murder, Shawn's flaunted his relationship with Abigail all over the station, and Juliet has her breaking points.
Juliet says, "You're just jealous of his hair." She doesn't say that she still likes Shawn better than Patrick Dempsey any day of the week, even after everything he's put her through.
Juliet says, "Shawn, don't come any closer." She doesn't say that she wishes that it didn't have to be that way or that she's afraid that she'll hurt him this time (almost as much as he's hurt her).
And Shawn thinks she looks beautiful, even worried and in her hospital gown. Shawn thinks he's wasted enough time, because it's been four years. Shawn thinks he could love her, and thinks now is the time to say it. After all, Shawn's the kid who turned over the box of cereal to get the prize first.
But Shawn's also the kid who left the first most beautiful girl he ever met on the end of a pier, just to watch her walk away.
He leaves Juliet in a hospital room and she's going to be fine, but in the end, he thinks it's kind of (completely) the same thing.
Gus says, "If all the life-threatening things over the last for years haven't been enough..." He doesn't say that he's enjoyed most of those stunts or that he'd do them all again as long as Shawn was right there next to him.
Gus says, "I have a secret girlfriend." He doesn't say that he's ready (more than ready) to settle down.
Gus says, "I was begging." He doesn't say he thinks he's running out of time to find the one.
Shawn isn't happy that Gus is alone again. But he's also not not happy, and he's not sure what that says about him. Some things end. Some things begin. But he wants to think of Gus as the ever-present constant to his ever-changing life, even if that's not fair at all.
Lassiter says, "Sweet Justice, Spencer." He doesn't say that Shawn drives him crazy because he's right when it counts.
Lassiter says, "We do real police work." He doesn't say that Shawn does, too.
Lassiter says, "I don't want to be you, not even for a day." He doesn't say that even if he doesn't want to be Shawn, he might tolerate (like) having Shawn around.
Shawn likes having the last word and with Lassie, it's just too easy. And as fun as it is to make fun of him, it's even more fun try being his friend, and someday he thinks they might just consider each other that.
Yin says, "I have good news and bad news." He doesn't say that he enjoys them both equally.
Yin says, "You can't save them both." He doesn't say that Shawn shouldn't try.
Yin says, "I'm doing you a favor." He doesn't say that he doesn't care if Shawn likes him, but just that he respects him.
On the pier, Shawn sees Yin. Sees him, could touch him, could end this once and for all, and lets him go instead.
Because there are consequences to Shawn's choices. There are repercussions from his actions. If he can save someone else, he'll sacrifice himself this time. Shawn will lose so Abigail can win. Shawn will lose so Juliet can win.
Shawn will lose and Yin walks away.
(And somewhere Yang is laughing. She's laughing and saying, "I complete things." And Shawn doesn't say that he wishes he could, too.)
And Yin walks away.
Shawn says, "This is my fault." He doesn't say that he's not just talking about Yin's game.
Shawn says, "It's Jules. We know where she is." He doesn't say that it's the hardest and easiest thing he's ever said.
Shawn says, "The only way I can not be there for Juliet is if you are." He doesn't say that his heart is breaking to make that choice.
Shawn trusts Gus. He trusts Lassiter. He trusts all of them, and he hates that he has to trust them with the thing that should have always been his responsibility.
(Yang says, "I complete things.")
This time, it's Shawn's turn to finish what he's started, one way or another.
Gus says, "You want something from the snack machine? You know they have Bugles." Gus doesn't say that anything Shawn needs-Bugles, coffee, a listening ear-Gus will always be there.
His dad says, "There's no chance in hell." He doesn't say that Shawn's never had a say in that-school, training, dating, work-Shawn's never had a say in that and that's a threat as much as it is a promise.
The Chief says, "It's not your fault." She doesn't say who is to blame and they all know it doesn't change how things feel.
It means more than Shawn can express, to have people who will stand with him. He's spent a lot of his life on his own, looking for his own thing, and now after five years of this, he's beginning to realize that Psych's more than a cool job, it's a life. These people are his family.
Lassiter says, "I'll be going to get my partner now." He doesn't say that he blames Shawn for going after Abigail.
Lassiter doesn't even think it, but he doesn't have to. Shawn already has.
Yang says, "I think we can help each other out." She doesn't say how that would work.
Yang says, "I never said I didn't have a dance partner." She doesn't say what song they were dancing to.
Yang says, "You ain't seen nothing yet." She doesn't say what's coming next (and Shawn never even had a clue).
She's crazy. Locked in a solitary ward of a mental institution. She looks forward to a red ball during exercise and makes googly eyes at a round little nurse who checks on her.
But she writes books that get published. She dedicates her life work to Shawn, making him more famous than he ever would have been on his own. She gets to live all her fantasies, within her secure, white walls.
She's crazy, but Shawn wonders if he's the one who's being punished even after all this time.
Abigail says, "I'm more than a kindergarten teacher." She doesn't say who she is with him.
Abigail says, "If I let myself, I could fall..." She doesn't say she doesn't love him already.
Abigail says, "Call me if you ever stop chasing psychopaths." She doesn't say she doesn't want to be with him and she doesn't even say goodbye.
Shawn looks at her and remembers when they were teenagers. Remembers her standing on this pier, looking at her watch, looking out across the water, pulling at her ripped pocket, waiting for him.
Shawn shows up, fourteen years too late, but he's still here.
Shawn says, "You inspire me." He doesn't say how hard that is to admit, how scary it is to say out loud.
Shawn let her go the first time on a pier and he'll do it again. He'll save her and he'll pick her and he'll offer her everything and still let her go.
(And Yang says, "That's what people really want: to feel complete. I complete things.")
Shawn says, "You inspire me."
Abigail doesn't say anything at all.
His dad says, "You've got to earn your way back." He doesn't say that five years of cases (and a lifetime of never trying hard enough) just won't cut it.
His dad says, "You afraid of a little competition?" He doesn't say that it's always been a contest, ever since day one.
His dad says, "You're sloppy, kid." He doesn't say that Shawn's still pretty damn good.
Because his father doesn't offer praise. He doesn't offer much in the way of comfort, either. But after all this time, Shawn knows that his old man is worse than he is: too proud to let go. Shawn will never be good enough but neither will his dad, and they'll share that for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes it's not what they say. Sometimes it's what they do. And his dad hugs him on the pier, a steady hand in his hair, and he hires Psych for just enough cases to keep them afloat.
Shawn says, "I think my dad is starting to like me." He doesn't say that maybe he's known that for awhile.
Shawn says "But I was right." He doesn't say that it was still a lucky guess.
Shawn says, "Why is everyone wrapping up this case but me?" He doesn't say that he's scared he's losing his touch.
Shawn says, "But I want to be happy, too." He doesn't say that he's afraid he's used up all his chances and it'll never happen now.
Sometimes Shawn feels like he's coming apart at the seams, that he's barely flying by the seat of his pants. He's one step from disaster and two steps from heroics, and it's always a toss up which way it's going to fall.
Sometimes he's not sure which way he wants it to fall. Because he has over fifty cases solved for the SBPD and Yang is twiddling her thumbs in a mental institution.
(Yang says, "Our story. That we created so beautifully together.")
But Yin walks free, and Abigail is going to inspire the world, and Juliet's hair is darker, and Gus wants a girlfriend, and his father has a job at the police station, and Shawn is drinking while listening to Twilight-knockoffs all night in the Psych office.
(Yang says, "I complete things.")
Shawn's never completed anything in his life, and sometimes now seems like a hell of a time to start.
Juliet says, "I literally just made plans." She doesn't say she'd rather go with Shawn.
Juliet says, "I stayed the night." She doesn't say that this is how it felt to see Shawn with Abigail.
Juliet says, "I guess it will remain an open case." She doesn't say that she already knows the answer and just wants to hear him say it, too.
Shawn knows he's had his chance with Juliet. Shawn knows he could have kissed her after catching the bounty hunter, he could have held her hand forever in the roller rink, he could have made his move a hundred times.
Shawn could have apologized to Abigail at the drive-in and gone back to Juliet. He could have told Juliet the truth in the hospital room and gotten his prize. He could have gone to the clock tower to save Juliet and told Gus to find Abigail. He could have done a thousand things, and now it's too late.
Because Shawn wants to be happy.
But he wants her to be happy more.
Shawn says, "They say these trips are once in a lifetime, and that they're even better when you have someone to share it with. And you do." He doesn't say he's sorry for letting her get away, or even that he wants her to pick him instead.
Shawn says, "Take pictures of moments. Capture them here, and hold onto them here." He doesn't say that that's what he's trying to do now, trying to remember them as they could have been, as he still wants them to be.
Shawn says, "At least that's what I would do." He doesn't say that's what he should have done all along.
Shawn's going to say something else, but Juliet kisses him, for one long, perfect moment. They're suspended, in who they were, who they are, who they could be. There are fireworks and singing violins and they're on a bridge made by wolves and listening to Curt Smith serenade them all the while.
(Yang says, "That's what people really want: to feel complete.")
Declan comes down the stairs. He kisses Juliet on the cheek. She laughs.
Shawn says, "Good luck with that, man." And he doesn't say anything else as he walks out the door.
Shawn says, "You're dead to me." Shawn doesn't tell Gus that he hopes he finds the girl of his dreams.
Shawn says, "That man in the corner makes no sense!" Shawn doesn't tell his dad that he's sorry for being a pain in the ass.
Shawn says, "You were this close." Shawn doesn't tell Lassiter that he thinks he's a good cop.
Shawn says, "Have a great time, Jules. Promise me." Shawn doesn't tell Juliet that his heart is breaking right there in Declan's living room.
Shawn says, "You're a knock-off of a knock-off." Shawn doesn't tell Yang that he thinks she might have been right about some of it.
Shawn says, "I let him go." And Shawn doesn't even keep a list of things to tell Yin when (yes, when, always when) he catches the son of a bitch.
And Shawn doesn't let himself look back. Doesn't let himself tell his dad he understands about the divorce. Doesn't call Abigail and beg her to reconsider. Doesn't even tell Juliet he wants her to stay.
This is a sign of strength, he tells himself. Yang got to him, Yin beat him, but Shawn isn't bowing to that. He still stands strong.
But it's harder than it used to be.
Yang says, "I complete things."
Gus says, "I can't believe I'm single."
His dad says, "You burned a lot of bridges."
Lassiter says, "How does it feel to be so wrong that you are now a walking joke?"
Juliet says, "It's two weeks, Shawn."
And Yin doesn't say anything. Just looks at him and looks at him and looks right through him.
It's still Yang he hears, though, louder than the rest. "That's what people really want."
No loose ends.
There are a lot of loose ends in Shawn's life that he can't tie off. Sometimes, when he tries, they just unravel further, pulling and spinning out of control until he's frayed around the edges.
Much more and he thinks he might come completely undone.
(Yang says, "Do you want to know how it ends, or do you want to be surprised?")
Shawn takes cases, and catches criminals. Yang lives in a cell and waits for exercise time. Yin is out there, somewhere and Shawn doesn't forget that (can't forget that). Shawn vets Gus' girlfriends and commiserates on his breakups. He butts heads with his father, and wins more than he loses. He eggs Lassie on, but still shares the glory. He stays in Santa Barbara and Juliet goes to Amalfi, and Shawn just knows there's a lot of him left to give, a lot of him left to go, and no matter how much they all take with them, he hopes there's enough left for himself.
And knows that even if there's not, he'll keep pretending there is.
And pretend well, so well that no one will (hardly) notice.
Because Yang was good. Yin is better. But Shawn knows (hopes) he's better than them both.