AN: I've been staring at this story for about a year, unable to deny the truth that it is mostly a pointless, plot-less excuse for whumped Shawn, and I haven't been able to bring myself to post it. But when is a better time to share something (read: pointless, plot-less excuse for whumped Shawn) with you all than the holidays?
(Do we really need a reason for whumped Shawn? Please say no.)
"It's not right…"
The voice was sinister in its lack of malice, coming from a man who was so far removed from reality, so focused on creating what he mistakenly believed would be a masterpiece, that he didn't realize what he did was wrong. Shawn gritted his teeth, willing himself to say nothing, knowing his sarcastic comments had only shortened the man's patience earlier.
"There's just something wrong about this picture."
"Could be the artist," Shawn offered lightly, consequences be damned. It couldn't get much worse, and it was sad that he believed he really wasn't tempting fate to think so. He was already hanging from the ceiling, bruises and blood trailing across his body. Okay, so hanging from the ceiling was a slight exaggeration. His hands were already getting tingly from being held above his head, but at least his feet were firmly planted on the ground.
"No, no," the man refuted softly, rubbing his chin as he thought. He tilted his head, eyes narrowing as he circled Shawn. "And it's not you, either. Not really. You are the perfect model, my friend. There's just something off about…" He waved his hand at Shawn as he continued to walk around him.
"Could be that you kidnapped me," Shawn suggested. "Could be the fact you got a little happy with…setting the scene. If I'm such a perfect model, what was with the violence, dude? And where's my shirt?" His expression darkened as he glared a silent threat at the artist. It was bad enough he was in this situation to begin with, but he had to suffer through it clad only in his jeans, too?
The man smiled enigmatically at Shawn's glower as he responded. "I had to."
Shawn was going to kill his father for telling him to take this case.
"You are my Mona Lisa, Shawn. You are. The setting's just not quite right yet." The artist gently laid his hand on Shawn's cheek, and Shawn jerked away, repulsed.
"Don't touch me," he hissed, holding himself rigid when the man didn't remove his touch.
"That's it!" The man yelled, a look of rapture on his face as he studied Shawn.
"No, no it really isn't," Shawn argued, trying to shrink away from him. The chains that wrapped around his wrists jangled as they refused to let him move far, and he twisted his hands again, desperately searching for a weakness, for a way to break free. It was useless, however. Despite the many, many times he'd watched Avengers, he had yet to discover his inner Hulk, and the chains remained intact.
"It is! You're familiar with the Sistine Chapel, correct? The glorious paintings on the ceiling?" The artist didn't wait for Shawn's answer, moving ahead to explain the painting in enthusiasm. "Michelangelo created over 300 Biblical scenes for the church, but there is one, of Adam and God reaching for each other, that I find absolutely fascinating. You see, it isn't just two unmatched figures reaching for each other. It is God, mighty and powerful, straining for a lazy human. Adam barely stretches out his arm to meet his Maker. But God…" The man trailed off and Shawn swallowed, nervous at the look of wonder on the other man's face. "The detail in His arm as He reaches for His creation is…is…" He shuddered, his eyes closing, and Shawn felt his fingers begin to tremble at the man's ecstasy. The artist slowly opened his eyes, a smile lighting his features as he looked at Shawn. "It's magnificent. It's what you need. You're just…standing there. There is no tension, no action, no emotion in it."
"I can give you emotion," Shawn forced out past a dry throat, feeling as if his situation had just gone from very, very bad, to much, much worse. He shook his head in irritation. He really had been tempting fate earlier, hadn't he?
The man grabbed a length of rope and crouched at Shawn's feet to tie them to the grate below him.
"Not anger," the man finally answered as he stood and walked away. "Or not just anger," he corrected himself, turning to glance briefly back at Shawn. "It's…everything! Anger and fear and helplessness and pain and courage. It's why I chose you, Shawn! You are so expressive; every little emotion you feel crosses your face for all the world to see, if they just take a moment to look. I'm giving them that chance! By drawing you with all of those emotions, I'm giving them a gift by letting them see it, study it, trace it! You are magnificent in your emotiveness. You are perfect!"
The man paused by the wall, hand hovering over a button, and Shawn looked up, stomach sinking as he followed the trail of chains up to the hook they were connected to. He had a sick feeling he knew what that button controlled. "No!" He gasped, just as the man pressed down. There was the whirring of a machine, a clanking of chains, and then Shawn was slowly being pulled up, up…
At first it was just uncomfortable, until his feet lifted from the ground and the slack ran out of the rope. Then it started to hurt, more and more…
"Stop. Stop!" He cried out, fear making his breath short as he felt his body begin to stretch. He shut his eyes, mouth pursed as fire began to burn in his arms and legs.
"Better!" That artist said, as he stopped the machine. "Much, much better!" He walked around Shawn again, muttering to himself before he reached out to brush his fingers against Shawn's arms. "Can you see? The startling definition to your arms? The muscles stand out in clear relief now! And your face! But…" He trailed off, his fingers brushing against Shawn's stomach, and he shook his head.
"Don't touch me!" Shawn tried to flinch away, gasping at the pain that little movement caused.
"It's not quite right. Better, but I think it needs a little more…" The artist walked back to the button.
The machine whirred again, and Shawn groaned as his body was pulled further and further. Too far, too far, too far…
"Stop!" He cried out again, but the man let it continue, until Shawn's head snapped back, his jaw clenched tight, his eyes screwed shut against the pain that travelled across his whole body. "Please!" He finally begged in desperation. Too far, too far, too far! His low moan turned into a strangled yell as his shoulder gave a sick pop and slid out of joint.
"Yes!" The artist exulted as he shut off the machine. The excited snapping of a camera underlined his pleasure at the image Shawn suddenly made. "Yes," he whispered, suddenly running his hands down Shawn's torso. "Now…you are even more perfect."
Too lost was Shawn in the haze of pain to notice the huskiness in the man's voice, but he felt the touch. Felt it and shivered, whimpering as the movement jostled his body. There was a click as yet another picture was taken, and Shawn felt heat sweep across his body as his anger swelled. He was not something to be manipulated and tortured just to create an effect or project an emotion. The scathing words he wanted to say, however, were tossed aside in favor of another whimper. It didn't matter. The so-called artist wouldn't have stopped anyway. Not when he was this obsessed.
"Here we go," the man whispered as he took a seat on his stool and picked up his pencil.
The slow scratching of pencil against paper was strangely lulling, but it did nothing to distract Shawn from the pain. He wasn't sure how long it took for the cramps to start, but when they did, they attacked with a vengeance. Shawn couldn't stop the tears that leaked from the corners of his eyes.
He gave a low curse, voice trembling in fear, pain, and helpless rage.
He had unthinkingly moved when the first cramp crossed his leg, crying out when that slight motion sent waves of agony up and down his body.
"Magnificent," the artist had breathed, and Shawn cut off the moan that had been ready to escape, refusing to give him any more satisfaction.
He was never going to forgive his father. Simple case his perky little a-
"After all of the other models, I have always had the urge to continue, to do another piece of art," the man had stood and was in front of him now. Lost in the fire that raced across his body, Shawn had somehow missed the man's movement. He just barely held back a flinch at their close proximity. "But when I saw you, I knew. You would be my last creation. You will be my final masterpiece, Shawn. My seventh model, the best of them all."
"That's why you're not…not wearing…a mask," he whispered, eyes widening in sudden understanding. Each of the man's other victims had been unable to provide the police with a description of the person that had taken them, saying a black mask had hidden the features of their attacker. The man's change in routine had bothered Shawn since he had noticed it. He had dismissed his worry, assuming, hoping, the man had just grown tired of not being recognized for his work. The assumption had fit the narcissistic, over-confident persona of the man. The absence of the mask in combination with his confession just now, however, told Shawn a different story. "You're…you're going to…to kill me."
"I'm sorry, Shawn, but no one else can have you. You are mine, my perfect masterpiece." The hands were back, tracing the path of a cramp, possessive in their light touch. Shawn forced his eyes open to glare again, surprised they'd slipped closed without his knowledge.
"Don't …" He broke off with a gasp, the cramp viciously tightening his chest and stealing his breath.
"Truly Shawn, the possibilities you give me are astounding. I will be most upset when our time together ends."
He couldn't breathe, he couldn't move, he couldn't think. It felt like the bones in his other arm were grating together, the tendons cracking as they stretched and stretched, and he knew it would soon give out, too. His whole body was cramping, his feet, his legs, his chest, his arms. He thought he'd felt agony when he'd been shot, but he'd been wrong, wrong, wrong. This was all over, everywhere, it was everywhere!
He was sure he screamed when the machine started again, but he didn't know, not for sure, consumed as he was by his misery.
There was something cold trailing across his body, something that made him shiver and give a low sob at the movement. "Stop…please…"
"I have to do this, Shawn. The thought of you being discovered by someone else, some…half-witted, flash-in-the-pan artist, someone who is not me nor someone of my caliber, is my worst nightmare. To have you and your perfect visage desecrated by someone not even worthy of looking at you makes me sick. I have to protect you from that."
Shawn pried his eyes open, blinking back moisture as he stared down at the knife that was now resting against his chest.
"Do not worry, my friend. Your drawings will be my most famous, and for as long as people see them, you will be granted immortality. It is my gift to you."
Shawn looked from the knife to the man's eyes, shaking his head slowly at the remorse he saw. Was this how it would end for him? Murdered by a man who claimed he was an artist and that his drawings were gifts?
He wanted to fight back, verbally, since he couldn't lash out with his fists; but he couldn't even find the words that would describe his absolute disgust for the man and his masterpieces.
Instead, he started to laugh, a deep chuckle that ended with a guttural groan as his body shook. His chin slumped to his chest, too heavy to hold up. "Your…drawings are nothing more…more than glorified stick figures," he said, voice thin and halting as he gasped for air.
The artist narrowed his eyes in anger, but just as quickly as the emotion came, it was gone, and his lips twitched up in a smile. "And now bravado. Like I said, Shawn, your emotions are intoxicating. I wish I had more time with you."
The knife dug into his skin and Shawn took in a stuttering breath. He lifted his head slowly to look down at the artist, forcing a smile to his trembling lips as he continued. "And when…I..get out of here…I'm going to burn…all of your so-called…masterpieces."
The artist scoffed, until he felt the cool metal of a gun barrel against his neck.
"Don't…move," Lassiter growled.
The next few minutes passed in a mixture of black and blurred color, unconsciousness wrestling for control as he was slowly, carefully, lowered to the floor and as hands gently grasped him and placed him on a stretcher. There was a pinch in his arm and then the pain that had been his only focus for so long wasn't as all-consuming as before. His father and Gus pushed through the crowd and Shawn smiled a shaky smile of relief at them both before glaring half-heartedly at his father.
"Your fault," he scowled, relaxing as his father began to gently run his fingers through his hair.
His father quirked an eyebrow at the accusation, his hand stilling for a brief moment as Shawn gave a soft whine, the pain meds not enough to let him ignore the cramps still ravaging his body. "I am not responsible for the actions of a criminal, Shawn, no matter how much you'd like to blame me for this." The words were gruff, but Shawn still noticed the slight tremor in his voice that suggested his father wasn't quite as calm as he pretended to be.
He wanted to reassure his father, wanted to say something annoying that would tell him he would be fine, but there was a small hand suddenly resting against his cheek, distracting him with its softness. "Jules…" he sighed before he let the empty darkness win.
Henry, Lassiter, and Juliet each stared in horror at the sketches the artist had carefully spread across his worktable. Juliet reached out to brush a gentle finger against the tear trailing down Shawn's face in the second picture, pulling her hand back before it touched the paper and curling it into a tight fist as Henry finally spoke.
"Burn them," he choked. "I never…I never want Shawn to see them, I never want that…that man to see them again," he spit out. He spun around and walked away before they could answer, his shoulders heavy with the weight of the images he had just seen and the memory of his son hanging from the ceiling, waiting for death.
It was two weeks later that Henry received an envelope in the mail, a feeling of foreboding twisting his stomach and raising the hair on his arms when he saw the return address was for the prison.
He is so marvelous, the note said.
And below those words was a sketch of his son.
AN: I hope you all are having a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
P.S. All comments you might leave will be squealed over-I mean, very much appreciated. :-P
Do please forgive me for the (pointless, mostly plot-less) story. ;-) Stay safe, friends!