Ryan deftly avoids talking to Juliet for exactly fifteen hours.
From six 'o clock in the morning to noon, there is a standoff between an enraged, drunk husband holding his wife hostage with a kitchen knife and half of the SBPD, trying to coax the man in letting his wife go. Juliet and Lassiter are obviously too preoccupied to even think about supernatural forces or escaped not-murderers and Shawn's eyes are flashing back and forth from the Santa Barbara police force to the woman being held hostage. Overall, Shawn's too busy to even play into Ryan's anxiety and half of the city of Santa Barbara is distracted so actually…this is pretty decent.
Ryan spends his free time drinking cup after cup of black coffee so by the time the hostage situation is resolved he's so hyped up what he says to Shawn is rushed, hurried and one long run-on sentence:
"Hey, Shawn so guess what while you were doing that saving the citizen routine and all that I was really bored so I had a bunch of coffee and oh my god have you ever had just plain coffee it's so much better than pouring in all the cream and sugar and-"
"Ryan!" Shawn cuts him off. "Dude. Chill. Firstly, I can't tell you how wrong you are about black coffee. Black coffee is the equivalent of…Val Kilmer's latest movies. Secondly, we need to get some actual nutrients in you."
Ryan looks at Juliet, who looks like she might perhaps be approaching them. "Uh-oh, detective, ten o'clock!" he quickly ducks behind Juliet's VW.
Shawn hits the ground just as quickly.
"Dude – how are we going to get out of here?" Ryan questions frantically.
Shawn slowly smirks. "I've got a plan."
Turns out, Shawn's plan is to stalk Gus at his work until he begrudgingly takes off for "lunch" and they reconvene everything that's gone on the past few days.
Gus listens intently for the entire speech, which is extremely surprising, but manages to get a dig in at the end. "So you guys are breaking the law without any qualms about the fact that oh, we work with the police department?!"
Ryan, who's been running on anxiety and caffeine for the past few hours, shoots Shawn his signature look.
Shawn throws up his arms. "What was I supposed to do?"
Gus rolls his eyes. "Hm, you know, I can see your point clearly, Shawn. Allowing a murderer to run away under an alias to a place where no one will find her was obviously the right decision. I would have had no insight to offer had you asked for help."
"She's not a murderer!" Shawn protests. "Well…not really."
"She still killed Sam!" Gus retorts. "For normal people, once you kill them, they don't come back!"
"It was an accident! He's fine!"
"Are you even hearing yourself right now?"
"Are you?" Shawn demands. "There are things going on bigger than us. People can move things with their minds. Some girl barely older than a teenager can resurrect people oh, and by the way, I can see the future! Maybe it's time to get off your I'm-so-reasonable high horse and look around!" his chest is heaving with the declaration and after a moment he looks startled that he's said that.
But Gus looks guilty and looks down at the table.
Shawn says in a gentler voice, "Gus, there is some crazy stuff going on right now and it wouldn't be right not to include you." He slowly smiles, letting his best friend know he doesn't mean any true harm.
"Will we break any laws?" Gus asks, though he already knows the answer.
"Will I go to prison for any of this?"
"It's quite possible."
"Will there be any necessary running from evil people with superpowers?"
Shawn looks to Ryan, who nods his assent. "That is also very possible."
Gus grins. "I'm in." he knows Shawn had been busy with all the supernatural business over the past weeks and he forgives him. He'd spent those past few weeks just thinking, really and doing actual work. And the truth about actual work? Boring. Besides, the questions he'd asked Shawn? Those were typical components of a regular Psych investigation.
Shawn and Gus politely tell Ryan they need some best friend alone time to reminisce or whatever down at the docks and Ryan all too cheerily tells them to go on ahead.
Honestly, he's probably going to have a panic attack right in the Psych office and he doesn't want an audience.
See, Ryan's all calm and collected because his life is calm and collected. He designs web pages and lives in a one-bedroom apartment! He watches Law & Order and eats ice cream out of the carton.
But then suddenly he was vaulted into supernatural beings and powers and running and rescuing and law breaking and being a badass. A completely terrified, shaking in his boots when no one was looking badass – but a badass just the same.
And he kind of needs to take a minute and let it out.
He stumbles into the office, ready to sit down and watch Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni show off their BAMF detective skills. He tosses his keys onto Gus's desk, pulls off his jacket, whirls around and is face-to-face with Juliet.
"Holy crap!" he jumps nearly a foot in the air. "What the hell? How did you get in here?"
Juliet looks at him like he's overreacting. "I have a key." Which is entirely possible, duh, given that Shawn's her flimsy boyfriend.
"Okay…" Ryan edges around her nervously. He knows he's looking at this in entirely the wrong way because Juliet is not an evil supernatural monster (as far as he knows) but considering what he did last night with Shawn – letting a possible murder suspect, who turned out to be the murderer but not really, go free, aided entirely by him, Shawn and an awesome nerd named Dennis – it's probably not a good idea to be in such close proximity. After all, he's not too good at lying.
"Where's Shawn?" Juliet asks curiously, taking notice of the way the office has basically been turned into a serial killer's basement, with papers and maps and photos lining the walls with Shawn's random notes and doodles scrawled in the corners.
Ryan glances down at the sundry mess of items on Shawn's desk, hoping for one of those chew it over with Twix moments. But no such luck. "He's hanging out with Gus."
Juliet nods and then continues to pace her way around the office, stopping on a photo of that not-murderer chick, Aubrey, that Shawn had written possible healer on in red Sharpie.
Juliet spins around to face Ryan like she's just suddenly remembered about the not-murderer. "What happened last night?"
"Last night?" Ryan repeats lamely, because oh, hell, Shawn's left him here to deal with this.
"Yeah." Juliet looks like she's resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "What happened? The girl ran away? We'll have to report that. I can do that right now, actually, since they'll be separate."
Oh, craaaaaap. "Uh," Ryan sits down because he won't be going anywhere. "Okay."
Juliet pulls out a small notebook and a pen and oh, no he's in it now. What'll he say? He never rehearsed any of this with Shawn!
"So. Tell me exactly what happened last night, starting with when you arrived at my apartment." Juliet has a look in her blue eyes like maybe she's enjoying this. Look, it's not his fault that she's been caught up in work and Shawn's been too busy sneaking around being a true clairvoyant and whatnot! He makes web pages for women selling kitten calendars, damn it!
"Uh…" Ryan fidgets in his chair. How does he even begin to explain that he and Shawn disguised themselves as nurses just to try and glimpse the sort-of-murderer? How does he say that the sort-of-murderer is actually a murderer but also not really, which is why he's slapped the title 'sort-of' on her. Ryan knows Juliet knows about the supernatural stuff going on but it's Juliet. She's not really that good at taking things the way he and Gus have to. "Well, you see…"
And that is blissfully when, of course – Ryan's life is flipped upside-down once more.
Someone seems to just shimmer into view and with a few rapid blinks; Ryan can see a pretty tall, thin man with short brown hair and a scowl on his face. Either he just teleported in this room or I'm seriously hallucinating to get out of saying a report.
Juliet just stands there like a deer in headlights so the evil, maybe-teleporter guy turns to Ryan and demands, "Where is Shawn Spencer?"
"Uh…" Oh, Ryan. Perfect day to lose your grasp on a solid vocabulary. "HE's…uh…not here."
The mystery man's brown eyes narrow with suspicion. "Well then, do you know where I can find him?"
Ryan's mouth opens and closes like a goldfish. "Actually…"
"Right here." And there's Shawn familiar voice and Ryan wants to hug him for arriving just in time. He must have had some psychic vision or something because there's no way Shawn and Gus reconciled their friendship in the span of eight minutes.
"Ah…you're Shawn Spencer?" the man's lip curls upward in disdain. "You seemed…different in the photos I've seen."
Shawn recoils. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"You've…put on a few pounds."
"I've been working out!" Shawn says defensively.
The man tilts his head as if to say, are you sure about that?
"Who are you?" Gus asks, suddenly by Shawn's side.
"My name's not important. I have business with Mr. Spencer." And just like, the man's hand is on Shawn's shoulder and they disappear from view.
There's a startling sensation of feeling like he's being submerged underwater and dragged across sand and dropping into a middle of a wheat field. And then Shawn opens his eyes.
He is in the middle of a wheat field.
"What…the hell…" he mumbles, a hand pressed against his eye.
"Shawn Spencer." That voice, attached to that crazy man, is back.
"Dude – could you like…not?" Shawn whines. "For one second, okay?" he squeezes his eyes shut tight, fighting back the start of a headache and the vertigo that came with teleporting a million miles away from Santa Barbara.
There is a blissful silence for a few moments and then Shawn looks up. "Okay. Continue?"
The man sighs at Shawn's behavior. "My name's Joel. I'm here to warn you."
"Warn me?" Shawn scoffs. "You should have done that a year ago! Back before strange men were teleporting me away to the middle of nowhere!"
Joel rolls his eyes. "You're not prepared. You need to be."
Shawn groans. "Prepared for what?"
Joel rounds on the psychic, spinning so that his leather jacket flutters. "Let's just acknowledge your utter stupidity first, okay? The fact that you're a psychic and know nothing about this actually kind of ruins my monologue."
Shawn mumbles something incoherent.
Joel ignores him. "I've been watching you – you aren't being too careful with how you're handling everything in Santa Barbara."
"A man with telekinesis was right out in the open! You let a suspect get away!" Joel exclaims.
"Okay, firstly – how am I supposed to control all of this?! I didn't ask for this…this job that's just been forced on me! I don't know what the hell is going to turn up the next day!"
"Which is exactly why I'm here." Joel's voice is suddenly steel. "You need to learn to know when everything is going to happen…before it does. Right now all of your visions are good for is random, scattered, manipulated moments."
"Isn't that what the future is?" Shawn asks dryly.
"I'm serious. You need to use your abilities. The right way."
Shawn, still sitting in the middle of the field, feeling ridiculous, asks, "Yeah? And how am I supposed to do that, exactly?"
"Come with me. My brother has a setup in Canada. We can reconvene there." He looks ready to grab Shawn's arm and move them again but Shawn pulls away in disgust.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?! You show up out of nowhere, teleport us away, go off about how I'm doing a crap job at being what I am and expect me to jet off to Canada with you? With no regards to the fact that, oh, I have a life back in Santa Barbara?" his chest is heaving, frustrated and also slightly relieved that he can get these feelings out finally.
Joel hesitates, looks down at the ground. "Shawn…I can tell you everything you want to know but first we have to get to a safe place." He again reaches for Shawn's arm but he pulls away.
"No! You're going to tell me what's going on!"
Joel looks into Shawn's eyes, reluctant and finally huffs out a sigh of annoyance. "Okay. I'll give you a rundown. Ready?"
Shawn slowly nods.
"I'm being hunted. You're being hunted. All of us. The Gifted ones. They're fast, dangerous and known as The Department. They want power. They want superpowers. And they'll do anything to get it. I've been scoping you out for a week now and I've seen some suspicious eyes. They're waiting to close in on you and then one day…you'll just disappear."
Shawn looks confused.
Joel elaborates. "Over time, more and more of us have emerged. You thought you were the only one? There was the telekinesis guy and the healing girl but there's also me and you and thousands of others out there. Some are hiding, which is damn good. For others…" he looks pointedly at Shawn. "They're right out in the open."
"What do they…use our powers for?" Shawn asks faintly.
Joel shrugs. "They experiment. Test our abilities. Try to maximize it. Use it for interrogations. Keep us locked away for years in isolation."
"And…it's not legal?"
"No." Joel shakes his head. "I was lucky to get you when I could. One of my old friends that escaped told me she heard your name floating around the facility."
"And you just came here to get me?"
"Someone had to. You're lucky it's me. I can get away fast. Now…" he reaches for Shawn once more but Shawn shakes his head.
"You don't understand…" he says quietly. "I have Juliet and Gus and my dad and Ryan…I can't just…they'll wonder…I have a life."
"You won't if you stick around much longer." Joel stops his frantic pacing, looks seriously at Shawn. "I can help you. I can show you how to get stronger. But we need to do that in a protected environment. And yours? Uh, not exactly secret with your 'psych detective agency'."
"How…" Shawn speaks around a suspicious feeling in his throat. "How do I know I can trust you?"
Joel looks at him for a moment and then pulls up the sleeve of his jacket, revealing a long, jagged scar that runs on past his elbow, traveling up towards his shoulder. "That's where they ran a knife on me. Tried to get me to reveal the location of my friend Damien. Had me drugged up pretty good, too. But I got away."
Shawn just stares, his mind racing with how to interpret this all without panicking.
Joel, impatient, blurts, "Okay, fine, I can give you…a day, tops to say goodbye. You got that? A day. We need to get you out of California."
"But…" Shawn can't stop, can't help but revert back. "What about Jules? And Gus? And my dad? The SBPD?"
Joel's voice is cold. "You'll have to leave them behind."
"I…I can't just leave. What will I say?"
Joel shrugs. "Whatever you want to."
Shawn shakes his head. "I'm not agreeing to this. Not yet. We're going to go back to Santa Barbara and you're going to spew some story about how you're my long-lost cousin or whatever, okay? Don't tell anyone yet." He rises and Joel claps his hand on Shawn's arm.
"You'll have to, eventually." He says, and they disappear out of view.
Ryan, Gus and Juliet are all doing their own variations of panic inside the Psych office.
Ryan is standing at the glass board, marker in hand, scrutinizing the contents like maybe somehow he will find out who that man was, Gus is frantically flipping through the stacks of papers on Shawn's desk, searching and Juliet is canvassing the room over and over, clutching her cell phone. She's called Lassiter and Chief Vick, because they're one of very few people that know about all the supernatural occurrences but they have yet to arrive.
Suddenly, the room shakes and Shawn and the mysterious man shimmer into view.
Ryan just stares, still holding the marker; Gus drops the folder in his hands and Juliet freezes, mid-stride, about to begin to canvas the room once more.
"Uh…so…little misunderstanding …" Shawn clasps his hands together and looks at the group in the room. "This here is a, uh…" he glances at Joel, thinking fast. "A, uh…close friend of…"
"We met at summer camp." Joel finishes lamely.
Gus arches an eyebrow and looks over at Ryan, who looks back at him like, don't ask me and Juliet just sort of stands there in a bewildered silence.
"So, uh…" Shawn looks from Gus, to Ryan and over to Juliet. "Who wants lunch?"
While Shawn and Joel hang back outside the diner, Juliet, Gus and Ryan cram themselves into a booth and begin whispering furiously.
"Is anyone buying that crap story?" Ryan demands as soon as their butts hit the seat.
Gus shakes his head. "I would have known who that is; I've gone to summer camp with Shawn since we were eight years old."
Juliet nods in agreement. "He's been secretive lately but he would have told us about him. He teleported into the office."
"I wish I could say that's the weirdest thing that's happened in the past few months." Gus mumbles.
"Well, we'll just get Shawn alone and ask him." Ryan says casually.
Gus eyes his best friend outside the window. "He doesn't look like he's about to let up anytime soon."
Shawn and Joel sidle into the place and Juliet pulls back from her hunched over position on the table when she sees them. "We'll talk about this later," she promises.
"Hey, so…how is everyone?" Shawn asks uncomfortably, clearly trying to dissuade the tension as he slides in next to Juliet and throws an arm around her.
"Dude, seriously, who is this?" Gus blurts, looking directly at Joel. Something about the guy is giving him a major danger vibe.
Juliet glares at him and Ryan averts his eyes.
"Um…" Shawn coughs. "What are you…talking about Gus? It's Joel…my friend from camp. You just don't remember because-"
Gus interrupts him with a cadence of voice that Shawn has never heard before. "Cut the crap, Shawn. Whoever the hell that is, he isn't from summer camp. I've never seen him before and neither have you. We've come this far trusting each other. Why are we stopping now?"
Shawn's eyes widen with surprise and just as he is about to respond he hears a muffled curse from Joel. He looks over at the teleporter, who has just made eye contact with a suspicious man in the back of the diner, cell phone firmly clamped to his ear.
"It's them." Joel hisses and Shawn jumps out of the booth as the man with the phone takes notice and begins speed-walking towards them. Joel reaches for Shawn to get them out of there but Shawn pulls back, looks at Ryan, Gus and Juliet with intense eyes. "I'll explain everything later but right now we've gotta get out of here!"
They all scramble to get out and Ryan trips in his haste, dropping to the floor. The man, already on their heels, grabs him by the collar of his shirt, hoists him to stand and turns to face Shawn, Joel, Juliet and Gus, who all stop in their tracks.
From his jacket pocket, the man pulls a gun and points it directly at Ryan's ribcage.
At the point, the people in the diner scream and flee, knocking over tables and chairs in their haste.
"Come me with me and nobody has to leave in a body bag." He says crisply, eyes trained on Joel and Shawn, who both stand frozen in fear.
Shawn looks over at Ryan and then stops. Because suddenly, he's not in this moment. He's five steps ahead. He's watching himself, Joel, Juliet and Gus. The man's still standing there, gun pointed on Ryan, when Joel lunges forward. A resounding shot fills the room and Joel goes down. The man then swivels around, pointing the gun at Shawn.
Shawn shakes himself free from the vision and sees Joel's foot rise a centimeter above the floor and holds his arm out, blocking him from going any further.
"Wait," he says thickly. "Don't." he thinks about what Joel said back in the field, thinks about the way he needs to orchestrate this. Ryan's in danger. Everyone is in danger.
Joel shoots Shawn a glare. "I don't have time for this." He's a blur, a motion, jumps from one place to the next, wrestles the gun away from the man and pushes Ryan to Shawn's safety.
"Go! Get out of here!" he screams. "I've got this!"
And Shawn pulls his friends – and himself – away from the chaos.
"I…I don't understand…" Juliet looks at Shawn in confusion.
Shawn's just explained the entire situation, from beginning to end, leaving out no details. He's exhausted and weary and just plain…sad. He doesn't want to do this – he really, really doesn't. But it's like everything has just kick-started it all in motion and he can't help but think of his best friends, his girlfriend…his father. Everyone will be affected by his decisions.
"You can't just…leave." Ryan shakes his head. "We can think of something – we'll protect you!"
Shawn looks down at the floor. "But see, it's my job to protect you now. What happened back there – you could have died. We got out of there – but how many times will that happen? I can't stay in California – I need to run." He says it with finality, as if this is actually it, which…it is. It's unbelievable, undeniable, but this is the end of his time in Santa Barbara. Six years. Damn. Just when he thought he was in a secure job.
"We could go with you!" Juliet says in desperation, her eyes frantically searching Shawn for a way out of this but he gives nothing.
"I can't let you do that, Jules," he says quietly. He can't possibly have her uproot her entire life, her safety, for him.
There's a moment of chilling silence and then Gus's voice breaks the barrier. "So that's it, then? Just like that? You're going to get up and leave? How will we know where you're going? Will we be able to contact you?"
Shawn sighs, rubs a hand over his face. "I can't confirm anything. All I know is that Joel has connections somewhere in Canada."
"Canada?" Ryan echoes.
"What…what are you going to tell everyone?" Juliet asks.
Shawn shrugs. "Maybe it's best if I just…slip under the radar."
"Shawn…" Juliet reaches for his hand.
"I'm sorry," he says and moves out of her grasp.
In his five and a half years gallivanting around as a psychic for the SBPD (and various other clients that had stumbled into the Psych office) there had always been an opportunity to run.
Shawn had never actually counted on his act to work (let alone turn into something real). He'd never expected to extend roots and find stability. If anything, he thought he'd get a year out of it at the most. Then he could go off to the next city, the next state that would hire him for some menial job that didn't require a resume.
But one year turned into two and two rolled into three until it didn't feel strange anymore to walk into the police station and see Buzz and Juliet standing there at the water cooler. He liked the ability to draw everyone's attention to him and get paid for it.
His departure had always been a possibility – tiny modicum of doubt that presented itself whenever he was feeling most vulnerable. He'd never actually planned on it but now…
Here is he, backpack dangling off one shoulder, Ryan, Juliet, Gus and his dad standing in front of him and an odd sort of ache in his chest like maybe his clairvoyance should have given him a little insight on when all of this was going to happen.
Joel's standing off to the side, waiting expectantly, hands in his jeans pockets. He'd managed to get away from the agent back at the diner, but just barely. He'd popped back into the Psych office around ten PM and nearly scared the crap out of Ryan, who was reorganizing their filing system. He has a look on his face like he half feels bad for Shawn, half wants to get the hell out of there.
Henry is staring him down, all glares and silent declarations and soft movements that are actions his words will never convey. Shawn wishes there is some way to hold onto this, this version of his father that is so rarely seen and so often something he yearns for.
His gaze floats to Ryan. Ryan, the most malleable guy Shawn knows. He's been such a gigantic help throughout all this that not even forty jerk chicken dinners will make up for it. He's there whenever Shawn needs him – albeit not always so easily – and acts like a freakin' second dad. But in a way, Shawn is also his counterpart, the one that loosens him when he's too wound, the one that acts like a total idiot to merit a smile and he wonders what Ryan will do when he's gone.
Then there's Gus, who unconsciously brings a wave of guilt onto Shawn every time he looks at him. Gus was and is his best friend, staying despite the supernatural occurrences and whatever the hell else. Gus sort of got lost along the way and he's glad that he managed to get his friend back in on the action but he still feels a bit…guilty about keeping him in the dark for so long. Because Gus is the unconditional friend, the one that doesn't care if he sees you completely wasted and covered in snow from an unfortunate collision with a sled and a plow truck (long story). Gus is the one he goes to whenever anything is amiss. And now he's got to leave him behind.
And of course, the last person in the group, the one that's surprisingly still here…Juliet.
See, in the beginning, Juliet was unattainable. A beautiful woman, a good detective and sensible. She wasn't about to let someone like Shawn corrupt her. But over time their friendship became more and suddenly they were exactly where Shawn wanted them to be. But then happy times turned into psychic visions and Shawn just kept moving farther and farther away, until their relationship was hardly one at all. Shawn feels even guiltier than he does about Gus because Gus expects him to be flimsy and not answer phone calls when he should and be a bumbling idiot. But Juliet expects different, sees Shawn as he presented himself to her all those years – romantic, serious when he absolutely has to be…hers. And Shawn wants to be all he can for her, really, he does, but right now there is just no room. He's got to be son-Shawn and best-friend-Shawn, faux-psychic-Shawn and real-psychic-Shawn and somewhere along the way, boyfriend-Shawn didn't make the cut.
So he looks at Juliet with sad eyes because he's giving all of this up and it's just not right, not yet, to be leaving something behind that feels like it's just getting started.
But he has to leave to protect this group of people and honestly, anyone else that's ever associated themselves with the psychic.
He hasn't felt this sure, this determined about something since the Ying-Yang thing with his mom.
Gus speaks first. "Are you sure about this?"
Shawn laughs ruefully. What a loaded question. "Twenty-eight percent or so," he jokes, not missing the way his friend's eyes light up for the briefest moment.
"We could help you," Ryan offers, eyes darkening a little at the idea of Shawn doing this all on his own.
Shawn shakes his head. "You guys will be safe once I'm gone."
Henry just looks at his son and Shawn doesn't need to read his mind to know what he's thinking – don't. But he has to leave, has to go on a new path where no one and no certain thing will be affected by him. It's the only way to avoid any more guilt.
Juliet is the only one that isn't uttering a single word. She's just standing there, eyes brimming with unshed tears, arms by her sides. Shawn wishes that the both of them can say exactly what they want to but even the words he had rehearsed are caught in the folds of his fear.
He looks back again at Ryan, who is wearing his typical expression of what do you think you're doing? He and Gus are a lot like Shawn and Gus, 2.0. Ryan can be impulsive and calculating and Gus can be the one that pulls back the reigns, finding the almost miniscule clues with an air that has you wondering how he does so. Shawn knows (and really knows) that Gus and Ryan will soon realize their combined strengths and create something unique. He knows they will be okay.
He also knows that his father will throw himself into police work. He will file and type hours into the night, fueled by sheer determination. Henry won't be okay with Shawn's decision but he will find some pat of him that can uncover supernatural cases without wincing at the thought of his son.
Juliet's future is a kind of zig-zag pattern. She'll hop around, unsure, for a really long time. She may or may not date other people but in the end she'll wait for Shawn.
"When will you come back?" Jules asks and it's a desperate question, pleading and Shawn wishes he has a straight answer.
"I don't know," he admits. "But I will come back." he then looks over at Ryan, Gus and Henry and they take the hint and back away a few feet.
Shawn reaches for Juliet's hand. "Hey – look at me."
Juliet looks up.
"I love you, you know that?"
Juliet's eyes start brim with the tears again.
"I know I haven't really been there much for you and this is kind of the worst thing ever to do to a relationship." Shawn continues.
Juliet lets out a nervous chuckle.
"So I have to end this," Shawn says gently, watching the way Juliet's eyes blink rapidly and she steps backwards. "I have to end this because I don't know when I'll be back and it's unfair to you to leave you here waiting."
Juliet doesn't say anything – can't say anything.
"I love you," Shawn repeats. "And I promise that I'll come back someday. But I don't want you to be alone."
Juliet pulls Shawn into a hug and whispers, "I love you too." She steps away because Henry is coming over and he plants himself right in front of Shawn, seemingly ending their conversation.
"You're an idiot," he says simply.
Shawn grimaces. "Yeah, I know."
But his dad cuts him off as he wraps him in a tight hug. "Just be careful, okay?" he asks.
Then there's Gus and Ryan, who both awkwardly joke about the Psych office and how they might just take cases and Shawn nods his assent like he actually thinks they can do it. Gus slips Shawn his "emergency" DQ card and tells him to use it sparingly. Ryan shyly asks about updating Psych's webpage and yes, of course he has free reign to do so – he's practically a consultant anyway.
Once everyone's doled out their hugs and warnings and gifts and apologies, Shawn straps his bag on his shoulders and walks over to Joel, wanting to joke about his departure with everyone, say something cheesy like "catch ya on the flip side" but for once, he has no words. He just raises his palm in a silent goodbye and everyone else slowly waves back before he latches his grip onto Joel's shoulder and allows himself to be pulled away.
A/N: Geez, guys! I'm sorry it took so long to update! My summer has actually been kind of busy! Thank you all, every single one of you, for your kind words and encouraging praise! Without you this story wouldn't even be around! It was a fun ride. :) I may or may not make a sequel, that's kinda still up in the air. But I like to give you guys an open ending. THANK YOU EVERYONE! Virtual chocolate-chip cookies for you!