It was late, some time past midnight, when Shawn started to stir, digging his head into the pillow and shrinking away from the foe that was tormenting him. His breath hitched once, twice…and then he groaned. Soft and strangled, the sound spoke of a deep fear and desperation that was only ever betrayed in slumber.
The only time he dreamed like this was when they were handling a difficult case with a criminal mastermind similar to Yin. Considering their most recent case had been…methodically brutal, to say the least, she'd been expecting it.
She didn't know why they had to target him, why the psychopathic criminals and obsessed serial killers had to make his intelligence and skills a curse instead of a gift, and it was nights like these that she wished he would quit. Quit his job as psychic detective and consultant to the SBPD, and remove the bull's-eye that sat so clearly on his back. She knew, though, that taking himself out of those positions would not discourage the criminals from challenging him, but make him more vulnerable without the SBPD acting as a close ally and backup.
Shawn tossed and turned, soft murmurings of "No…no, please. Not…not her. Not her," twisting her heart. His usually friendly, carefree face creased in horror, his mouth pulling down at the corners. "No…Please. Take me…"
He dreamed of her and Abigail, of what they'd gone through the night they'd been taken. She loved that he hadn't forgotten one woman's terror even as he fell in love with another, but hated that he took both of their pain as his own and would never forget it, never let it go.
Sometimes his dreams took a darker turn, either for the two women or for himself. Sometimes, in his dreams, Yin listened to his plea and took Shawn instead.
Gus had told her Yin had promised Shawn something "far more colorful" than death by a mysterious drug in a syringe, and Juliet had dreams about that, too. Much like Shawn, she begged to be taken instead. Despite her pleas, however, Yin never took her. He chose Shawn, each and every time.
She knew why her subconscious played out each dream that way. Besides it being herworst nightmare, Shawn was the purpose of Yin's hunt. He was obsessed with Shawn, despite his denials. If he'd gotten his hands on Shawn, he never would have let him go.
"Thank you…thank you."
And every time Yin took Shawn, Shawn thanked him.
She closed her eyes, grief and guilt overwhelming her. Dream or not, Shawn would be grateful that both she and Abigail were safe. He was selfish in all the funny, irritating, immature ways when it wasn't important, and selfless in all the ways that she wished he wasn't, when it counted and his safety and well-being were at stake. He was worth so much, but he would give himself up in a split-second if he so much as thought someone he cared about was in danger. It was a trait that both exasperated her and had made her fall in love with him.
His movements stilled, his breathing growing slower as he faced things in his nightmares she prayed he never did in real life.
He never made a sound after Yin took him, no matter what it was he was experiencing in his dream. Never. One time he'd gone so still, grown so pale, breathed so shallowly, that she thought… She'd been left panicking—a dream couldn't kill a person, could it?—shaking him until he'd surfaced with a gasp.
He never did tell her what Yin had done to him that time, his eyes haunted and hollow when she pushed for an answer, a look that only ever surfaced when Yin was involved.
It didn't matter if what he was seeing was something a nightmare conjured for his tortured mind. Yin and his game had been very real, the something far more colorful that had been planned a very real possibility. Far more colorful…those words were burned in her mind from Gus' statement, threatening and promising and more frightening than any threat made to her, and they echoed in her dreams.
She slowly reached out to smooth the furrow between his eyebrows and he sighed, coming out of his dream enough to recognize her and her touch. It was just a simple caress, but it calmed him; she calmed him.
"Jules," he breathed, and turned towards her, capturing her hand with his and drawing it to his chest.
She didn't try to pull free. He slept better when they were close, and so did she. Instead, she slid towards him, humming as she fit herself just beneath his chin and finally relaxed. His heart thrummed a frantic rhythm against her fingers as she rested her hand on his chest, but already it was beginning to calm as she nestled into him.
"I've got you," she whispered into the hollow of his throat. Her lips brushed against his skin and he shivered, wrapping his arm around her and pulling her closer. "I've got you." Tonight, tomorrow, forever.
She smiled when his arm tightened around her waist protectively, silently returning the promise she had made to him. His meaning was clear.
They had each other.
AN: I promise, Broken has not been forgotten. Among other things, like real life, it's just been a little hard to get what I see in my head down onto paper. I hope you accept this short story as a promise that I have not deserted you, my Psych-o family. ;-) I always enjoy reading your thoughts, if you'd like to leave a comment... :-)