Author's Note: Wow, it's finally done! I was so excited to write this chapter! Shules fans will be happy; I tried to stay close to the characters, but as you know this is what I wish would happen, so it would never be exactly like on TV. But if wishes were fishes... Also, the conversation between Jules and Shawn is a mutated form of the first time they met in "Spellingg Bee." I actually looked up episode transcripts because I'm a geek. Enjoy, and thanks so much for reading!
Disclaimer: Not mine la.
What will I be without her?
What if I don't want to be just me anymore?
Gus, she's become like half of my heart now.
The thoughts swirled around my brain as I fought for some sort of coherence. The whole world was wavery and dark, and I felt very light. And cold.
"Am I dead?" I thought, frightened for a moment. Then, I heard the tell-tale beeps of a heart machine, and I knew I was in the hospital. I groaned, that was even worse than death.
I opened my eyes, fully expecting to see Gus or an angry-looking father staring down at me. Instead, I beheld an angel. Juliet was sitting by my bedside, curled up and sleeping in a hospital chair. It was early morning; I could tell by the way the sun slanted through the window. It lit up her blonde hair like a golden halo, and my breath caught in my throat.
"You're so beautiful," I whispered quietly.
"It's the beautiful ones you've got to watch out for." Gus's voice made me jump; I turned my head the other way and met his worried face. Beyond him, Lassie jerked about in another restless dream. Great, just great. I was stuck in the hospital with Lassie.
"What happened?" I asked warily.
"You apparently got run over by a car," Gus whispered back. "Shawn, I was driving around for hours when I finally got a call that you were in the hospital. Of course, I was driving then, so I couldn't pick up the phone. Do you know how terrible it is to get a hospital voicemail?!"
I rolled my eyes; Gus's voice was getting incrementally louder, and I didn't want him to wake Jules until I had found a few more things out. "Mr. Romano?"
Gus sighed. "He's fine; I dropped him off as soon as I could, then went out looking for you."
I nodded, then asked another question. "Why is Juliet here?"
"She's on your call list, dummy."
"Oh. Does she... does she know?"
Gus frowned. "I don't know; it was weird, though," he whispered quietly. "She was here when I got here, but she barely acknowledged my presence. She was making calls most of the night; I'm not really sure what's going on but I don't trust her."
I cringed. It sounded bad all around. "Whatever happens, buddy, I'm sorry I got you into this mess."
Gus grinned (it was his good-friend grin that said it really didn't matter because we are friends) and said back to me, "It's alright. There's no need to be sorry."
"Who's sorry?" came the distant voice of Juliet.
Gus gulped. "I'm... um... gonna go get some coffee," he stated. Then, he darted towards the door; it was the fastest I'd ever seen him run.
"Coward!" I called out, then I turned my head towards Juliet. "We've got to stop meeting like this," I quipped.
Juliet smiled wanly; it was the first genuine smile I'd seen on her face in a while. Her blue eyes met mine; I felt like my heart was going to stop beating. I tried to hold her gaze but couldn't; finally, I looked over her shoulder towards the wall.
"You know," I said, unnerved by the silent way she kept... gazing at me (at least I'd like to think of it as gazing), "You didn't have to curl up in a hospital chair. I mean, I have a bed, and I wouldn't have minded if you wanted to stretch your legs out..."
"I've become quite proficient at sleeping in hospital chairs," Juliet stated mildly. "It seems I've spent a lot of time doing it lately."
"Well, I suppose one does acquire the technique then..." I floundered, searching for more words to say. I found none.
"What happened to me?" I asked finally, unwilling to sit in silence any longer.
"You have a mild concussion, though it is pretty much gone by now, and your leg got broken in three places... it was pretty bad, can you not feel that cast? It goes up the entire length of your leg."
I frowned; I had been lying down, and hadn't seen my leg yet. Nor could I really feel anything at this point. "Must be some good drugs I'm on," I said pensively, "if it's broken in three places and I can't even feel it."
Juliet shrugged. "You'll feel it soon enough; the doctor is weaning you off of your surgery meds today and tomorrow. What I want to know, though, is when did you take up jogging Shawn?"
I felt the world crash down. Did she know? Well, even if she did, I'd try to make a valiant attempt at an explanation. "Just last night; I was trying to loose a few extra pounds."
"Hm," Juliet said quietly. "I would have pictured you more as an elliptical user, not a jogger. Must have been some pretty intense jogging to distract you from watching the road."
I nodded wearily. "It was intense," I said quietly.
"Shawn..." something in her eyes pleaded with me.
I took a deep breath. "The truth?"
"The truth. Please."
I winced; I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff. If I told her everything... then there went the investigation. There went Juliet's and Lassiter's badges. There went the Chief... and there Gus and I went to jail. But it I told another lie... I'd loose Juliet forever. Period. End of story. Besides, Juliet was a good detective. She'd figure this out soon, if she hadn't already. All she needed to know was that I was in the area of the drug bust, and she'd piece two and two together. And strangely, above all that, there was this one longing thought that cried out, "I don't want to live a lie anymore. I want to be free!" I took a deep breath, locked eyes with Juliet... and told her the whole story. I started with the first drug bust, and just went on from there. I explained the entire week to her; even the parts that had nothing to do with the drug bust, even the parts about the shack in the woods and my past... I left nothing out. I told her more than I'd ever told another living soul, even Gus.
Finally, I came to the end of my story. I felt numb, yet at the same time terrified. What would Juliet think of me? Would she reject me forever? Who'd want a jerk as messed up as me? Juliet just stared, her face unreadable. What was going on in that mind of hers?
"Do you still like pineapple?" she asked.
That was the last thing on earth I expected her to say. "Yes... it's my favorite food in the world," I answered cautiously.
Jules reached under her chair and pulled out a small cooler bag. She unzipped it and pulled out a pineapple juice. She then pulled out a straw, and with the bearing of a master magician she proceeded to make a crawling snake with the straw wrapper on my bedside table. When it was done, she poked the straw through the cup and handed it to me.
"Can I get a name to work with?" she asked.
"Shawn..." I replied, still not sure where this was going.
"Well, it's very nice to meet you Shawn." Then, in a much lower-pitched voice, she said, "It's nice to meet you too, Juliet. I'm sorry we have to meet under such circumstances; lunch is on me when I get out. So, what do you do for a living?"
It dawned on me then, but I just smiled and watched Juliet with wonder in my eyes. Juliet grinned at me, and replied in her own voice, "Well, I'm a detective working for the S.B.P.D. And what do you do, Shawn?"
"I also work with the S.B.P.D. as a Private Consulting Detective," Juliet continued in her low voice. "Funny we haven't met before. Hey, I like your jacket, I like it..."
"Okay, can I stop you here?" I laughed. "First off, in your portrayal of me, I sound like I'm an eight-grade jock hyped up on steroids."
Juliet grinned. "Well, in my portrayal of you, you only have an eighth grade education."
I reached out and caught Juliet's hand. "You never forgot our first conversation," I said happily. "You remembered it almost to the exact wording."
"Apparently, you didn't forget either," Juliet stated, squeezing my hand back.
I was silent for a moment, reveling in the simple touch of her hand. "What did I do right this time?" I asked after a long moment. "Technically, I still lied to you about the bust, and though it all came off okay there was a big chance that it wouldn't."
Juliet leaned closer, the intensity in her eyes drawing me in. "It was the way you did it, Shawn. This last time, you only really put yourself in danger (Mr. Romano was already in over his head, so he doesn't count). This time, you set everything right and gave all, one hundred percent of the credit to the police force. You took none of the credit yourself. You changed from who you were... and made it clear so I could see the change. Then, when I asked you for the truth just now... you gave it all to me. Everything I wanted to know; I could see you kept nothing back. That's all I wanted in the first place, Shawn. I wanted to be your other half... without the secrets as a wall between us."
I smiled; Jules was so lovely, inside and out. "No more walls," I said quietly.
"No more walls," she agreed.
"Are we good?" I asked meekly.
Juliet leaned in then and kissed me. I opened my eyes wider in surprise, then she pulled herself back and stated, "We are so good."
After a moment, her cell phone rang. She took the call with her back to me, and I immediately felt suspicious. Is this what Gus had been talking about? Where was Gus, anyway? His excursion had turned into an awfully long coffee break.
Jules finished up with her call and turned back around. Mischief practically oozed out of her; I wondered what was up. "The Chief and Mr. Reed Brown are coming in right now," she stated. "Just lie back and let me and the Chief do all the talking, and you'll see what is going on."
Five minutes later, Lassie's and my hospital room was literally crowded with people. There were the two of us, then Jules, the Chief, Gus, Mr. Brown, and apparently my father was in on this too... whatever it was. Lassiter had woken with all the noise, but was remaining his usual sullen self. He didn't seem too thrilled when I smiled my brightest smile and called out, "Good morning!", but then he never seemed happy about anything except guns and the Civil War.
"Detective Lassiter, Mr. Spencer, glad to see you are both awake and on the road to recovery," the Chief stated kindly. She then looked at Mr. Brown with a demeaning air, as if considering a lesser being. Mr. Brown looked as though he wished he could be anywhere else.
"I'll make this brief, as you are both still recovering and need your rest" the Chief stated. "Mr. Spencer, the department owes you a debt of gratitude for what you did for us on our 'undercover mission.' You see, Mr. Brown, sometimes we use our liaisons to the police department in very unique ways; Mr. Spencer, in pretending to be a psychic on the streets, gained the confidence of our two informants Brandon and Connie (who, by the way, we are offering full amnesty to), which was something we as uniformed cops never would have been able to do. Once he had their trust, he turned them over to us, and we were able to track down the rest of the drugs. He also provided Detective O'Hara with the correct time and place of the drug drop, which turned out to be of immeasurable value. As Henry Spencer can tell you, Mr. Spencer has been of value on several cases. You see, having someone pretending to be psychic on the streets actually gives you a lot of mobility; people generally trust Mr. Spencer more and come forward on more things than they usually would have. Working in tandem, our dynamic police force (made up of both uniformed and private consultants) is able to put away hundreds more of criminals a year, more than any other city can boast."
Mr. Brown frowned and looked as if he wished he could melt into the floor. "I wish you would have told me of your undercover mission... I could've closed this case up in a day and been back in Palm Springs playing golf."
"We couldn't be sure you really were who you said you were," my dad quipped. "After all, high-ranking drug families have access to state files and could have fudged your credentials. It's been done before."
"For everything to work out perfectly, you had to be kept in the dark. There was just no other way," the Chief intoned.
Reed Brown sneered in annoyance. "Well, not everything ended up perfectly; you did have an officer get shot!"
"And I'd get shot again if I had to," Lassie snapped back. "You don't hear me calling in a complaint; I'd give my life in the line of duty."
Reed Brown raised his eyes to the ceiling, as if pleading, then said (almost in desperation), "Well, what about Mr. Spencer Junior. How did he end up in here?"
I frowned and was about to say something when Juliet said sweetly, "Oh, this is a totally unrelated case. He was injured while going for his jog last night; he forgot to look both ways across the street."
"Something you failed to teach me," I stated, looking mock-accusingly at my father.
Amusement tempered with some irritation danced in his eyes. "Well, hopefully this experience has taught you better than I did."
Reed Brown shook his head and said, "Well, I'll be going back to I.A. headquarters and will be writing up my report... but you people could have saved me a lot of trouble if you had just let me in on everything at the very beginning. Next time, don't mess around with the investigation officer; he might not be as forgiving as I am."
"And our report?" the Chief pressed, looking intently at Reed.
"It appears to me that the Santa Barbara Police Department is working at standard operating procedure. No recommendations will be made, except to be more open with working with the I.A."
"Note taken," the Chief stated warmly. "Now, don't you have a plane to catch?"
Reed Brown rolled his eyes. "Yes, I'm going already."
"Come on, I'll drive you," the Chief answered, practically shooing Mr. Brown out the door. Right as she crossed the threshold, however, she turned back towards me and gave me a wink. Then, they were gone.
"Did the Chief just do what I think she did... for me?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes, she did son, but don't make that a habit for her," my father replied. "You are still going to take the private investigator test and become a liaison that way; we're not risking anything like this again."
"You got that right," Gus stated from the corner, tired of being ignored. I smiled at him and held my fist up for a fist bump. He bumped back, and we grinned in triumph. Juliet sat by my side, her smile lighting up her face like a floodlight. Even my father looked happy, though I'd just fulfilled his worst nightmare... again.
"You did good, son," my dad stated, and he ruffled up my hair with his hand. I was mildly embarrassed, but actually now that the giant heavy weight was off my heart, it felt kind of nice. My dad cared about me... and finally could show it. And I realized, with some small surprise, that I cared back as well.
"What the hell is going on?" a really confused Lassiter asked next.
The room broke out into giggles, and Juliet said, "Oh, I forgot; I haven't told you much yet."
"Told me much?! What's been going on, you didn't tell me anything at all!"
Jules smiled craftily. "Well, you were really loopy when I explained everything to you last... what do you last remember?"
"You pounding my back... it hurt!"
I blinked. "Lassie, I resent your tone towards my girl over here."
Gus smiled, then said, "Dude, I'm outta here. I need some shut eye!"
"Me too," my dad stated. "See you later son. Goodbye, Lassie!"
Lassie looked at my dad in shock while he and Gus strode away. "He just called me Lassie," he said astounded. "Oh gosh, that awful nickname is sticking!"
"It fits you," I said, grinning. "After all, you are as faithful as a dog... you saved the love of my life's life."
Lassiter scowled. "That being said... someone please explain to me what is going on here!"
Juliet smiled and moved her chair so she was sitting in between us. "Get comfortable; it's a long story. It began in a pizza shack with one bold woman who would do anything for her father... and one brave man who turned his life around for the one he loved."
Juliet's story took the better part of the day. It wasn't long before she was interrupted by hospital staff coming around to do morning duties, and so Lassie and I kind of listened to it in parts. It was amazing though to hear the events from her perspective; normally, she was so no-nonsense (and I was all nonsense), that to hear her loosen up and tell a story, not just the facts, was wonderful. She weaved in everyone's role, from Gus's role in helping hold down the fort to my role in the drug bust, to the Chief's role in beating Reed Brown. She even wove in Lassiter being shot, and she did it so well (highlighting his heroism) that I thought Lassiter would burst with pride. I could see it cost Jules something to keep her voice so steady; there were tears in her eyes, but she held herself together with a composure that befitted a diplomat, and the story went on. By the time she finished, it was the end of the day. Lassiter was passed out, and I was smiling contentedly at the love of my life, pondering how the events had panned out.
"So, where do we go from here?" I asked curiously.
Juliet mock gasped. "So serious a question, Shawn!" she laughed. "Not very much like you, I'm afraid."
I rolled my eyes. "I'll be snarky like Dr. McCoy in Star Wars if it pleases you... what?"
Jules's eyes were wide as saucers. "Shawn, don't ever mix up Star Trek and Star Wars!" she cried in mock dismay. "I mean it! It's a dangerous thing to do!"
I grinned at this carefree side to my gal. "Really, like you would know the difference," I griped.
"I'll have you know I grew up with Star Trek, so-to-speak," Juliet retorted. Then, her goofy mask fell away, and she was all serious. "Promise me Shawn, that you will never do anything that stupid again, okay? Promise me that you'll never keep a secret from me again either... because I don't think I can handle going through this again. Promise me?"
I looked into those eyes, and found the other half of myself in them. I knew then that this was a promise I could, and more importantly would keep. "I promise," I stated sincerely. "Unless... it is a gift."
"Or a surprise trip..."
Jules rolled her eyes.
"Or a special date..."
Jules smacked me gently on the head.
"Ow... okay. I honestly promise, Jules."
She smiled at me. "Seal it with a kiss," she dared.
I reached out, picked up her hands, and kissed her palms. "I seal it."
We sat for a moment in silence as the hospital room darkened around us; the night light-settings were on.
"We make a great team," I stated enthusiastically. "I mean really, who else could have taken down a couple of gangs in a week? In fact, when I get my P.I. degree... certificate... thing, you and I should be partners."
"Don't tell Lassiter that; he'll beat you to a pulp if you try to steal me away. You know I'm one of the only people who keep him sane."
"Don't tell Lassiter? Isn't that like keeping a secret, Jules? You know, I just promised you..."
I felt Jules smack me again, lightly on the arm. I grinned; the future looked pretty good. Not that I'd know for sure, because I wasn't really psychic... but of course now everyone knew! I didn't have to pretend anymore... and because of that, I was now finally free.