I know, I know, I'm evil and I killed Juliet. It seems to me that I've written more sad fics for this fandom than fluff, and I've come to realize that the more fluff there is in the show, the more angst I feel compelled to write in my fanfiction! I know, terrible. LOL. But the sooner I get this done, the sooner I can go back to fluff. Hopefully... *stares at xpsychxssjs* So break out the tissues and enjoy!
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Four days after his wife's death, Shawn stared at the chapel looming in front of him. With help from his best friend and his dad, he had managed to make Juliet's funeral arrangements. He had cried more times than he could count while making the plans, but somehow he had gotten through it.
He opened the door of the backseat and lifted his daughter's carseat out of the car. Numerous people had offered to babysit her, but Shawn couldn't bear the thought of parting with her, even if he was leaving her with family. Not yet. And no one had forced him to.
He glanced at the watch on his wrist, then carried his daughter into the chapel. He had purposefully arrived an hour early, so he could say goodbye to Juliet privately. He had even refused to let Gus accompany him, because he needed this.
The chapel was empty and silent, and a lump formed in Shawn's throat as his eyes fell on the casket in the front of the room. He walked to it slowly, his footsteps heavy. Finally he stopped, and he gently set his daughter's carseat on the floor. Then he leaned over the casket and studied his wife's pale features.
"Juliet..." He sniffled as he reached down and ran his thumb along her cool cheek. There were times when he still clung to the frail hope this was all a dream. But those thoughts were banished as his fingertips touched her skin. Void of any warmth, pale but strangely serene... He choked on a sob.
His grief was overwhelming, and as he cried, Shawn rested his head against Juliet's and clasped her hand in his. How was he going to make it through her funeral, watch as they lowered her into the ground and covered her with dirt? How could he find the words to say goodbye to the woman he had been willing to die for? He wasn't sure that he could.
The baby began to fuss in her carseat, and Shawn reluctantly let go of Juliet's hand. Then he crouched down in front of his daughter. Her little face was red and her fists flailed as she started to cry. "Hey..." He unbuckled her and lifted her from the carseat, settling her against his chest. "Shh..."
Shawn turned around, holding the baby closer as Lassiter came into the chapel. "The service doesn't start for an hour..."
Lassiter rubbed the back of his neck. "I know. I just...wanted to see Juliet..." He swallowed a hard lump in his throat.
Shawn studied Lassiter's face. "Go ahead. I have to get her diaperbag." He gently patted the baby's back.
Lassiter watched the younger man leave with his daughter, and once he was gone, he went to the casket at the front of the room. The baby's carseat was on the floor beside it, and he looked at it for a minute before he trained his eyes on his partner.
"O'Hara..." He scrubbed a hand over his face. His head pounded and his mouth was dry from last night's binge, but he had pulled it together for today. He was not an emotional man, but right then, he would have done anything to be in the casket instead of Juliet. No one would miss him.
He leaned over, and after a long moment of hesitation, he kissed her forehead gently. "You were the best partner I ever had," he whispered, pulling a gold cross from his pocket and laying it beside her, out of the view of other mourners. He wasn't religious, but it gave him a strange sense of comfort, knowing it was there.
"I'm going to miss you like hell." He finally pulled back and stumbled away from the casket, sitting down just as Shawn returned to the chapel.
For a moment, Shawn considered sitting far away from Lassiter. But it wasn't his fault Juliet was dead. And he was hurting, too. So Shawn sat down beside Lassiter, shifting the baby to his shoulder.
Lassiter watched the baby girl, and some of his grief ebbed. "She's beautiful, Shawn."
"Thank you... Carlton." Shawn nuzzled the baby's head. He was certain that if he didn't have little Juliet, he would have lost his mind by now.
Reaching out, Lassiter hesitated a brief moment before running his fingertip along the baby's cheek.
Shawn sighed wearily. "I just... want her back."
"I know." Lassiter moved his hand to Shawn's shoulder and squeezed it. "I want her back, too."
His shoulders trembled as a tear rolled down his cheek. A sob bubbled up in his throat.
Sensing her father's upset, the baby started to whimper.
Momentarily drawn from his grief, Shawn focused on the baby and patted her back. In his darkest moments, at least he had her. He had Juliet's daughter. So, in a way, he would never really lose Juliet.
The two men lapsed into silence, both focused on the baby girl cuddled into Shawn's shoulder.
By the time others began to arrive, Shawn was a wreck. He recognized some members of Juliet's family, and he couldn't bring himself to look at them. But he could feel their grief as clearly as he felt his own.
To his surprise, Lassiter stayed by him as mourners filed into the room. Gus was among the first, and he sat down beside Shawn as well.
Juliet's mother and father arrived soon after, and they went to Juliet's casket. Then they turned around and stopped in front of Shawn.
Shawn could barely bring himself to look at Juliet's parents, and he held his little daughter closer.
Lauren O'Hara stared longingly at her granddaughter. "Shawn..."
Finally Shawn looked up, and he was overwhelmed by the grief he saw on Lauren's face.
Lauren held her arms out. "Can I hold her...?"
For a moment, Shawn felt irrationally afraid. He didn't want to hand over his baby to anyone. Then he reminded himself that this was his mother-in-law. Juliet's mother. He stood up and placed the baby in her arms.
As Lauren held the baby, Daniel O'Hara looked at his son-in-law, grief bright in his eyes. "We got here as soon as we could..."
Shawn nodded. Her parents lived in Miami, halfway across the country. It had always troubled Juliet that her mother was so far away during her first pregnancy. "I understand, sir."
"We can't stay, but..." Lauren started to cry softly. "We had to see our granddaughter."
Daniel reached out and grasped Shawn's shoulder. "Is there anything you need, son? Anything at all?"
Other than his wife back in his arms, safe and sound? Shawn shook his head. "We're fine." As fine as they could be, given the situation. It had occurred to him that he would need more stable work, so that he could provide for his little girl. But they would get through this, somehow.
Daniel nodded, and Lauren reluctantly returned the baby to Shawn as the service began.
As the priest began to speak, Shawn closed his eyes and tried to focus on his breathing. He could feel Gus to his right, and Lassiter to his left. Little Juliet was quiet and comforted as she snuggled into her father's chest.
Gus kept an eye on his best friend, and when Shawn started to shake, he gently squeezed his shoulder.
Lassiter also noticed Shawn's shaking, and he spoke softly. "Breathe, Shawn."
Shawn shook his head, and suddenly it was too much. He got up and stumbled out of the chapel, taking the baby with him.
Gus grabbed the baby's carseat and followed after his best friend, while Lassiter motioned to the other mourners not to follow.
Not caring who saw, Shawn emerged from the chapel and into the sunlight. He couldn't do it. He couldn't go through this, then watch Juliet be lowered into the ground, never again to see the sunlight. And he couldn't leave her there.
Henry Spencer was getting out of the car when he saw his son emerge from the chapel, and he frowned. "Shawn?"
Shawn didn't hear his father call his name. He didn't hear anything, except his own heart beating furiously against his ribcage.
Henry ran to catch up with Shawn, who seemed dazed and lost. He finally caught up to him and grabbed his shoulder. "Shawn!"
Shawn turned around, and Henry felt his own heart break.
"Shawn..." Without hesitation, Henry drew his only son into his arms and held him tight, careful of the baby between them.
With a soft groan, Shawn buried his face in his dad's shoulder and cried.
Gus and Lassiter walked outside, and when they saw Shawn clinging to his dad, they stood back. Gus held onto the carseat with both hands, and Lassiter stared at the ground.
Henry held his son tightly and ran a calloused hand over Shawn's hair. "It's going to be okay, son," he rumbled softly. "It's going to be okay."
But Shawn didn't think it would ever be okay again.
A/N: *ducks flaming sporks* By the way, while writing this, I was listening to Justin Moore's If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away. Give it a listen! Thanks for reading, and please review!