AN: This was meant to be an response to a challenge I found on the Psychfic website, but I think it turned into something completely different, and a bit darker than I thought it would. I'm a little nervous about posting this, but I'm sure you guys will tell me what you think about it. So, here it is...

It was so dark.

He heard a noise and flinched, curling in on himself even more.

There was so much pain.

The door was pushed open, illuminating a wide patch of the floor, and falling on his face. He winced at the light, barely noticing the pain when he was lifted from the floor.

When he was returned to the room, he was barely conscious. Was this the fifth day? Sixth? He'd lost track, especially since he hadn't seen daylight except for the times he was taken from the room.

He was hungry. And he was sorry to say that a pineapple smoothie simply wouldn't be enough this time. Though that did sound good. Really good.

He was drifting. He had been doing that a lot lately. It was very hard to keep track of time, of himself, in this dark hole.

He wasn't making it out of here. Not alive.

He had nothing up his sleeve: no phone, no Swiss Army knife, no witty comments. Well, correction, he had witty comments; he just couldn't say them out loud. He'd lost his voice somewhere between… ahh…overuse and a few bouts of near strangulation.

Where was he again? Oh yes, no tricks to pull. His friends had no idea where he was. He was alone, stuck in this dark room until Cort was finished with him, or the door magically unlocked…As long as he was on that track, a magic carpet to carry him out of this dark cave ala Aladdin would be wonderful, with a magic genie to fulfill his wishes. Though technically this wasn't a cave. No Shawn, it's nowhere close to being a cave. Caves are outside. You're inside. He could almost see Gus rolling his eyes.

He really shouldn't have come searching on his own, but Gus had been heading to a conference, his father had been fishing, and Lassie and Jules were following their own leads. But seriously, this guy was selling drugs! And he was targeting kids! There had actually been two deaths already, and everyone wanted to catch this guy, this Cort Holland. Shawn had been careful, he had parked a good distance away from the factory that he thought Cort had taken up shop in, had trekked up to one of the windows after making sure there were no guards looking his direction, and gotten several mental snapshots to use in his next "vision." Too bad he totally missed the two guards coming up behind him; but in his defense, those guards were supposed to be on the other side of the building for the next five minutes, before they came back to his side.

Stupid hunch. Well, it was a great hunch, but it was stupidity on his part for not telling anyone where he was going. If you'd become a cop, you would have had back-up. Shawn gave a soft snort as he imagined his father crossing his arms as he said that statement. Maybe you were right, Dad.

He heard a noise at the door and sighed wearily. Apparently Cort had had a bad day, and when Cort had a bad day, Shawn's day got even worse. He'd already seen the guy once today, did he really have to go back out?

He frowned; actually, he heard a lot of noise outside his door. Shouting, swearing…Was there a fight going on?

The door swung open to reveal two figures. One of them swore softly and walked a little further into the room. Shawn just remained lying on the floor, too tired to lift his head, which made it difficult to see who was walking towards him. Not until the man stooped in front of him, did Shawn finally see who it was. He blinked, the only sign of surprise he was able to muster at the moment. Huh. Officer Kellan. Older cop, family man. Shawn had always liked him.

"Sir? Are you okay?"

The other officer found a light switch outside of the room and flipped it on. Shawn blinked rapidly as his eyes adjusted. Really? Did he just call him that? Did Shawn look like a sir? And for that matter, did he look like he was okay? A slight smile crossed his face and the officer jerked in surprise as he bent down to get even closer to Shawn.

"HOLY-! Call an ambulance! Now! It's Spencer!"

He heard footsteps running closer and shrunk into himself even more, afraid to see who would come next.

"Sweet Justice…" Lassiter said quietly as he entered the room.

Another voice, this one hesitant, afraid to even hope. "Is it-?"

It was the voice of an angel; one that Shawn had prayed he would get to hear another time, one that Shawn had been afraid to even replay in his mind because it hurt even worse than the physical pain just to imagine it. Jules.

She stepped further into the room at Lassiter's confirmation, both of them replacing Officer Kellan, so that they kneeled right in front of Shawn. Shawn's gaze took in Lassiter's worry and surprise, and Jules' shock, his gaze lingering on her eyes, which were filling with tears. But she was tough, and his Jules didn't let any tears fall.

He closed his eyes, refusing to look at them again, ignoring their pleas for him to respond.

This was a hallucination. Nothing more, nothing less. Shawn had accepted his fate, little that he liked it; but he knew he was not escaping this place.

After a few days of being here, it had been so easy to imagine Gus' voice, his father's, and Lassiter and Jules' voices, but he refused to do so for long. Shawn knew it was a very thin line to tread, to fantasize that his friends were near, to having a hallucination. Shawn didn't want that; he needed to keep his mind intact. His body was already broken, but his mind was not.

Not until now, that is.

"Shawn, please, open your eyes."

Because this couldn't be real.

"Spencer, you need to answer us."

Shawn almost snorted. Fat chance of that happening anytime soon. However, if this was a hallucination, then maybe the end was in sight. And if Shawn opened his eyes, his last moments could be with his friends.

He opened his eyes, vaguely wondering when Gus and his father would pop up.

"Shawn…" Jules lifted her hand to touch him and Shawn flinched.

Both detectives stiffened, but Shawn didn't care. Don't touch me. Don't. When you do, and I don't feel you, the hallucination breaks. I'll be alone again.

"Spencer, we're not going to hurt you." Lassiter spoke slowly and softly and Shawn rolled his eyes at the man before returning his gaze to Juliet. To his angel. Strange that Gus hadn't shown up yet.

Lassiter sighed, relaxing slightly. "He's going to be fine," he muttered, a small smile crossing his face for a second.

Maybe this wasn't a hallucination. Could it be real? He took a breath, steeling himself for what he had to do. His hand lifted, heading towards Juliet's face. Don't…move, he pleaded silently; and miraculously, she understood. He ignored the way his hand shook; he didn't even notice it anymore. He hesitated, his hand hovering over her cheek, his gaze focused solely on that point. He would know in the next second.

He closed the distance. And his hand met her warm face. A small smile crossed his face, actually staying there. He could feel her. This was real, she was real. He opened his hand, so that his palm was touching her face, a full smile stretching his cheeks for the first time since he had been kidnapped. He turned his gaze from her cheek to her eyes, still smiling.

Lassiter cleared his throat and stood up, turning away from them rather quickly. And Jules, she was smiling too, although her smile was tinged with sadness. She nestled her face into his hand, not tearing her gaze from Shawn's when Lassiter returned, warning them the paramedics were there.

His smile fell, though, when the paramedics pushed their way between them. They were blocking his view of Jules, making him lose contact with her, and he didn't like it. They were checking him, pressing on areas that had long since been bruised and broken. His back arched in pain, his mouth stretched wide in a silent scream at the agony that their hands had increased.

Lassiter was yelling, threatening to shoot them if they weren't careful. Jules was pleading with them to stop, her voice breaking in distress. And then, the paramedics finished transferring him to a stretcher, and the agony decreased slightly. Shawn was looking for her; she had to be nearby still, somewhere. His hand was searching through the crowd of bodies, reaching…until finally she grasped it, and she reappeared. Shawn smiled again. Hello, Jules.

The paramedics were asking questions, and Lassiter was doing his best to answer them, but it wasn't enough. "Shawn? I need you to do me a favor." Anything, Jules. You know that. He nodded slowly, answering her plea.

"I need you to answer some of their questions. They need to know how to treat you…" She dropped off as Shawn's face turned sorrowful. Ah Jules, you ask the one thing I cannot give. I wish I could.

Shawn pointed to his throat and shook his head. One of the paramedics moved closer, and so did Jules. He wished she hadn't, especially when he saw how much it upset her. He didn't know for sure what they saw, but could imagine it well enough. Bruises in the shape of fingers, rope burns…He had especially despised those sessions.

"What is it?" Lassiter asked, and Jules turned to explain. The explanation was too soft for Shawn to hear, but he heard Lassiter's reaction to it quite well.

"I am going to SHOOT them! No McNab, let me go!"

Shawn smirked. Good ole Lassie.

"Okay, we're moving him," One of the paramedics said, and Shawn was being wheeled away. Out of the room. Past the area where Shawn had been tortured. Outside of the factory. Shawn was looking at the sky, awed. He was outside, and it was beautiful. He felt another huge smile stretch his lips and he turned his head, his gaze colliding with Jules'. Isn't it incredible? Her face softened into a smile when she saw his joy.

They were separated as Shawn was lifted into the back of the ambulance and this time Shawn wasn't as worried. She would join him as soon as they let her. He could still see her clearly; everything was fine. He felt a surge of irritation when the paramedics cut off his shirt. He had struggled back into the shirt the other day, hoping it would keep out the chill and provide a layer between the dirty floor and his wounds. It had taken a lot of effort to get it back on, and Shawn didn't appreciate them taking it off now. His smile dropped when he saw Lassiter and Jules staring at him, new horror crossing their face. What? His gaze dropped and he took in the bruises, the knife slashes, the burn marks…Ahh, now he understood. Well, at least they hadn't seen his- "Are those whip marks on his back?"

Shawn rolled his eyes. Had this paramedic never heard the term Doctor-Patient Confidentiality? Seriously, dude? He looked back at Jules, who was now grasping the arm of a pale-looking Lassiter for support. It's okay, Jules. It's over now. Don't worry. He held his hand out to her, beckoning for her to come to him. He saw her take a deep breath before she climbed into the ambulance and grasped his hand. His brow furrowed as he saw her lose the battle. One tear fell from her eyes, making its slow trek down her cheek. Shawn reached his hand to cup her face, using his thumb to wipe away any trace the small tear left. His mission complete, he smiled.

Then he closed his eyes, as his hand fell from her face, and he gave in to the darkness that just wouldn't let him escape.

AN: So this is either a one-shot that got out of hand (much longer than I had intended) or the start of a hurt/comfort story. I haven't decided yet. Please, let me know what you think.