I do not own Boys Meets World or any of the characters in it, I'm just borrowing them to feed my muse
SINS OF THE FATHER
Shawn's hand hesitated at the door to the trailer. He had spent the afternoon at Cory's studying and playing a game of two on two Basketball with his brother and father. Then they had headed off to Chubbies, where he had struck out with not one but two girls and let Cory win at least one game of pool in front of Topanga. Finally his two best friends had snuck off for some alone time, before Topanga headed off to visit her parents in Pittsburgh, and Shawn had headed home.
From inside he heard the tell-tale noises that his father was home. For a moment he hoped maybe tonight would be different; his father would be sitting in front of the television finishing off last nights pizza. He'll ask Shawn about his day at school and he and his father would watch the last couple of innings of the Phillies ball game together before heading to bed. Maybe. He sighed and opened the door.
Chet Hunter was collapsed over the table, surrounded by empty beer bottles. A few cans littered the floor and the place reeked of booze. Shawn's heart sank and he dropped his school bag on the floor, the scene before him had become more common place since his mother had walked out on the pair for the second time in a year. His instinct was to leave his father and retreat to his bedroom, but he knew he wouldn't be able to sleep if he didn't at least check on his father and move him to a more comfortable position on the couch. He walked over to him, picking up the empty cans and putting them in the trash on the way.
'Dad' his tone was hushed as he approached. Shawn placed a hand on his fathers' shoulder, not wanting to startle him. 'Dad, are you okay?'
Chet gave no immediate response so Shawn shook his shoulder gently until the older man grunted and turned toward him, bleary eyed.
'What' The gruff response.
'You should go to bed' Shawn observed his father's slightly confused expression. 'You fell asleep at the table'
Chet grunted and Shawn put his hand out to steady him as his sluggishly stood up.
'I don't need any help' He slurred as he shook Shawn's hand off.
Shawn moved back as Chet stepped forward, but was soon at his side again as his father stumbled. Grabbing Chet by the arm he attempted to guide the larger man across to the couch, knowing the bedroom was too far away in his unstable condition. His father was less than appreciative and once again shook off the helping hand. This time he lost balance completely and fell to the floor.
'Damn it boy!' He tried to immediately get up but struggled to find his feet and knocked into the table, sending the bottles rolling to the floor.
Shawn winced at the outburst, moving to steady his father once again. He stilled as his father's breath hitched and he heard him mutter his mother's name. 'She left me…Why'd she leave me Shawny?' Shawn could only manage a shrug as he swallowed back the lump of emotion in his throat.
'C'mon, Dad' Shawn gripped his father under the arms and started to pull him toward the couch.
'I need a drink' Chet stated, turning back to the kitchen.
'No you don't, Dad' Shawn once again tried to guide him to the living area, tightening his hold.
Chet's anger began to flare and he fixed his gaze on Shawn. 'You…' He spat 'She left me…And you're still here.' The disappointment aimed at Shawn was like a stab to the heart. 'And I need a drink' Chet's struggle against Shawn's grip became more determined.
'Dad…stop' Shawn tried to reason with the man 'You need sleep, not anymore beer'
The sudden surge which swept through Chet caught Shawn by surprise.
'You don't tell me what to do!'
With the verbal outburst Chet swung his arm back. His elbow caught Shawn in the face and he fell backwards. He struck the corner of the coffee table with his side before landing heavily on the floor winded and seeing stars. As his vision cleared Shawn thought he saw regret in his father's eyes, but this quickly turned to anger. Chet grabbed a handful of the boys' shirt.
'Look what you did!' He pointed to a broken lamp, which had smashed as Shawn had fallen into the coffee table. Chet was still in a red haze and twice backhanded his son across the face. Shawn yelped and still out of breath attempted to calm his father.
'S…s…sorry….Dad, I'm sorry'
Chet merely stared at Shawn, still clutching him by the shirt. Shawn's heart hammered in his chest, his breath was coming in short gasps, as bursts of pain radiated from his face and his side, and he tasted the tang of blood in his mouth. Seconds later Chet released his grip.
'Waste of space.' He simply spat at Shawn, before turning back to the kitchen.
As his father opened the fridge door to get another beer, Shawn scrambled to his feet. Pain shot through his ribs making him wince, but he ignored it, as he quickly made his way to his room. Locking the door behind him Shawn collapsed onto his bed and sobbed into his pillow.
Shawn slept very little, worried that his father would have a further outburst during the night or that he would fall and hurt himself. In the morning Shawn snuck through the trailer, pausing to collect his schoolbag and glance at the still sleeping form of Chet on the couch before walking out of the door.
He wasn't sure why he even bothered turning up at John Adams High, but the routine of going to school was something else to concentrate on. He opened his locker, burying his head inside so that he didn't have to make eye contact with any of the passing students.
'Hey Shawn' Cory arrived at his locker 'Topanga phoned from Pittsburgh, apparently, Guacamole isn't a country in South America so we may have to change our travel plans for our year out adventure…'
As Cory continued talking Shawn rested his head against his locker. Maybe if he closed his eyes for a minute, everything would be normal and last night would just be some kind of nightmare. The throbbing pain from his ribs indicated otherwise.
'…And Australia has mammals with no pants…but they still have pockets, what do ya think of that Shawn?...Pockets, but no pants.' Cory had been unloading books from his bag during his monologue and only now realised how quiet his friend was. 'Shawny?'
Shawn realised Cory had stopped talking and stepped back from his locker to face his friend
Cory immediately saw the cut to Shawn's lip with an accompanying bruise to his cheek.
'Shawn, what happened?'
Shawn faked a smile 'This?...oh, I …um tripped over Mad Mike's cat taking out the garbage and smacked my face into a trash can'
He briefly made eye contact with Cory before darting them away again.
'Mad Mike's cat, huh?' Cory wasn't buying Shawn's story for a second.
Shawn kept up the pretence.
'Yeah, Mrs Mad Mike thought the noise was a cat fight and chucked their leftover dinner all over me…' Shawn tried to ignore the growing look of concern on Cory's face 'not sure if Ou'der Mac 'n' Cheese is gonna be a big hit with the ladies'
He faked smiled again, hoping Cory would change the subject.
'Shawn…' Cory wasn't about to let his best friend fob him off.
The bell rang before either could continue and, as Cory followed Shawn into Mr. Turner's class, he noticed how he was using his arm to cradle his chest and frowned.
Jonathan Turner finished writing the notes for that days lesson on the board as the students entered the classroom. He half smiled knowing, as he turned from the board, the last two stragglers would be Cory Matthews & Shawn Hunter, probably deep in a philosophical discussion on the health merits of Ben & Jerrys. That smile soon faded when he saw the bruised face of Shawn gingerly sliding into his seat. Followed by the worried face of Cory, who gave an equally concerning shrug when Turner raised a questioning eyebrow at him.
Shawn's plan had been to keep his head down, get through the day and then find somewhere to crash until his father had calmed down. He realised his misjudgement as he could feel Turner's eyes boring into him. Cory he could handle, his friend would never betray his trust. Jonathan Turner however was going to start asking the kind of questions which Shawn was going to have to lie about, and when he had taken Shawn in the previous year, Turner had got remarkably good at catching Shawn out in a lie.
Shawn fidgeted in his seat as Turner set the class some work and made a beeline for him. He felt a hand on his shoulder and tried not to flinch at the touch.
'Is everything okay Shawn?'
Turner wasn't surprised as Shawn quickly obfuscated with a story about a stray cat and a trash can, then diverted by asking if he could skip reading Lord of the Flies if he had already seen the Jeff Goldblum version. Turner had to rein in the rest of the students giggles at the comment and promised himself a chat with Mr. Hunter at the end of class.
Shawn did his very best to be invisible for the rest of the class. He could feel Turner's gaze on him throughout and Cory was being less than covert in dropping various items to look back and check on him every few minutes. Shawn began to feel flush, knowing that eventually one of the two was going to confront him with questions he didn't want to answer; couldn't answer. He wasn't sure he really understood what had happened himself. His father had drunk himself into a stupor on more than one occasion. He had even threatened Shawn once or twice. He had not however lashed out at him before with such callousness or said such hurtful things. Shawn felt sick.
Glancing at the clock Shawn was already moving out of his seat seconds before the bell rang. One of the advantages of having a seat in the back row meant he was out of sight before either Cory or Mr. Turner had turned around. He snuck into a bathroom with an out of order sign as the throng of students started to mingle through the halls heading to their next class. He lent against the sink and glanced at himself in the mirror, the large purple bruise surprised even Shawn. He closed his eyes at the image of his fathers' face, which he suddenly saw staring back at him, anger flaring in his eyes. His stomach rolled and Shawn turned and lurched toward the nearest stall where he prompted emptied its contents.
After a few moments of dry heaving, Shawn collapse back against the stall. He gripped his side and grimaced as the effort caused pain to flare through his injured ribs. Slowly he pulled himself up and ventured back out into the bathroom. He noticed his pale appearance and could feel the slight sweat on his brow. He lent over the sink as his ribs continued to ache and lifted his shirt slightly to inspect the injury. He winced as he ghosted his fingers over the vivid black & blue bruising caused by the impact of falling into the coffee table. From the doorway there was a sudden gasp. Startled Shawn dropped his shirt and flicked his head up to face Cory, who had just entered the bathroom.
'Oh, My God, Shawn.' Cory couldn't help the exclamation at his best friend's injuries. 'Now are you gonna tell me who did this to you?' He asked, eyebrows raised. 'And none of this crap about tripping over a cat'
Shawn thought about fobbing Cory off with another bullshit story; walking into a door perhaps.
'….& don't try to tell me you walked into a door either'
Shawn's eyes narrowed at Cory. Sometimes, he was sure the kid could read his freaking mind.
'Cory…' he started and looked at Cory's expectant and worried face. He shook his head not really knowing how to continue.
'It was your Dad, wasn't it' Cory stated and watched as Shawn shifted, his eyes suddenly becoming very interested in a spot on the floor. 'Shawn, you have to tell someone.'
'No, Cory!' Shawn looked up at his friend in defiance. He took a couple of steps forward until he was close to Cory and waved a finger in his face. 'And you'd better not say anything!'
Cory didn't back down.
'Or what, Shawn…' He was well used to Shawn's bravado, especially when it concerned his family. 'You'll hit me?'
Shawn flinched at the remark. He had no intention of hurting his friend. Coming to school had been a big mistake and now all he wanted to do was get the hell out of there. He took another step forward to walk past Cory, but the boy moved to remain in his way.
'Get out of the way, Cor' Shawn sighed.
Cory shook his head 'No way, you need help Shawn' Cory knew if he let Shawn walk out now, there was a good chance he would never see his friend again. 'Maybe Mr. Turner can…'
'No!' Shawn cut him off, once again trying to push past Cory to the door.
Cory put his hand out to stop Shawn, catching his injured side. The hiss of pain from his best friend caused Cory to wince in sympathy.
'You're hurt Shawn,' Cory could see Shawn looked pale and clammy 'I think you need to go to hospital.'
'I'm fine' It was an automated response, said through gritted teeth, as Shawn dealt with the ripples of pain in his ribs the accidental contact had caused.
Not put off, Cory continued. 'I'm getting Mr. Turner.' He turned to leave the bathroom and fetch the teacher. Shawn grabbed Cory's arm.
'I said no!' The desperation was evident in his voice.
'Why?' Cory was beginning to lose patience 'Tell me why not Shawn?' He pulled his arm free.
Shawn just looked at Cory, trying to figure out what he could say to get the teenager to leave him alone.
'I thought after last year, you and Mr. Turner were buddies.' Cory tried to appeal to Shawn
'We were' Shawn sighed
Cory continued 'You know he'd want to help,' pausing before adding 'he cares about you.'
This cut into Shawn.
'That's not fair' He raised an eyebrow at Cory for pulling the guilt card. Then his eyes flicked to the ground once more. 'I screwed up and Jon's better off out of it'
Cory's raised a questioning eyebrow 'What do you mean?'
Shawn shrugged 'It's my fault' He looked at Cory, sniffing to keep his emotions in check 'I…screwed everything up…'
Cory remained puzzled, but all the while Shawn was talking he hoped to persuade him to let someone see to his injuries.
Shawn continued '…And I don't want Jon finding out'
'Don't want Jon finding out about what?'
Both boys' heads jerked toward to door to the bathroom, which Mr Turner had just stepped through.
Jonathan Turner's heart had sunk when he had turned around from the board in class and seen an empty chair where Shawn had been sitting. The kid was never far from trouble, but the bruises and Cory's concerned brow were an indication of something far more serious than the pairs' normal shenanigans gone wrong. He and Cory had separated to check the usual hiding places and now, upon hearing that Shawn wanted to actively keep the truth from him, Turner's level of concern had gone up considerably.
'Right, I want the truth' Turner mustered his best authoritative tone. 'What happened?'
His question was aimed at Shawn, but Turner flicked his eyes between him and Cory. Knowing the latter was the more likely to spill during even the mildest of interrogation.
It didn't take long to be proved right.
'His Dad hit him' Cory stated quietly.
Shawn shot a look of venom toward his friend.
'Your Dad did that to your face' It was more of a statement than a question and his heart sank at the notion of Chet hurting his own son.
'And I think he bust some ribs too.' Cory volunteered.
'Cory!' Shawn was disappointed 'Some friend you are.'
Cory knew very well of Shawn's habit of hiding behind their friendship when things got tough.
'Yeah, Shawny...I am your friend' Cory stated simply. He knew that he was doing what was best for Shawn, whether he realised it or not right now.
Turner flung a look of appreciation toward Cory.
'Shawn?' He still needed to hear the truth from the teenager himself.
'I don't want to talk about it' Shawn kept up his defences.
'Tough' Two could play this game, and Turner was determined to get through to Shawn.
Shawn looked Turner in the eye and realised he was in full guardian mode and Shawn was fast running out of energy. His ribs throbbed, his head ached and his skin was burning hotter by the minute. He sagged slightly against the sink behind him.
'I just want to get out of here'
Cory flinched at his friends' pain and rapidly deflating bravado.
'Fine' Turner stepped forward 'I'll take you to the hospital and we can talk after you've had someone look at you'
Shawn shook his head 'I'm not going to the hospital'
Turner placed his hands on his hips and sighed at the teens' stubbornness. He noticed Shawn keeping a guarding arm across his side and had an idea.
'Where do you want to go?'
'Huh?' Shawn wasn't sure he had heard the teacher right.
'You don't want to go to the hospital, so where do you want to go?' Turner asked again.
Shawn looked between Cory and Turner, not sure why the sudden change of tact and what the ultimate plan was. Cory looked just as confused as he was.
'Bus station' he ventured.
'Okay' Turner said and reached into his pocket, his hand returning with a wad of cash. 'I'll even pay for the ticket.'
'Fine' Shawn agreed hastily, but remained wary.
'Um…Mr Turner…' Cory frowned at the sudden turn of events. 'I'm not sure…'
Turner raised a finger at Cory to silence him.
'Okay Shawn, you win… I'll take you to the bus station…and I'll pay for the ticket to wherever you want to go…' He gestured Shawn forward, stepping away from the door.
'Glad we could come to an understanding' Shawn started to get cocky, even though in the back of his mind a little voice was practically shouting 'It's a trap!'
Cory was dumbfounded. Turner couldn't possibly be helping Shawn run off. This was a bad plan. This was the worst of bad plans. This was the worst of bad plans by any plan maker…ever.
Turner held out the bills for Shawn. The teen stepped forward and held out a hand to take the money. At the last second Turner let go and the dollars fell to the floor.
'All you have to do is pick up the money'
'What?' Shawn was once again confused.
'You want to get out of here?' Turner asked
'You want to catch a bus out of town?'
'Yes' Shawn answered again.
'Then bend down and pick…up…the money'
'And there it is!' Shawn and Cory's minds both exclaimed as they belatedly came to the realisation of what game Turner was playing.
Cory raised half a smile at Turner for playing Shawn at his own game.
Shawn, however, narrowed his eyes in anger at the teacher and then looked at the money on the floor.
'You want to run out on the people who want to help you…' Turner continued his point 'The people who care about you…'
Cory watched Shawn set his jaw, the way he always did when someone told him things he didn't want to hear…or believe.
'…you want to run out on your problems into a world that doesn't give a damn… 'Turner sighed '…then go ahead and pick up the money.'
As he finished, he resigned himself to the fact that this was the only way to get through to Shawn. And that Shawn, being Shawn, would play it through to the end.
Shawn noticed his breath hitch. 'Damn, Turner.' And his eyes sting from the threat of brimming tears. 'Damn, him and his emotional mind games' He took a breath and tried to bend forward.
The pain flared in his side before he had lent more the a few inches. Shawn let out a small whimper.
'Shawn..' Cory's worried voice close by.
Shawn continued with his futile attempt until the pain turned to a jagged white hot poker in his body. He couldn't stop the yelp as he pitched forward. He was surprised when, instead of crashing face first into a hard floor, he fell into a pair of arms.
Turner had hoped Shawn would finally see sense and give in, though it wasn't a complete shock as the ever rebellious teen defiantly leaned forward to reach the money. Two strides was all it had taken to catch the boy as the pain finally became too much.
'You're not my father.' Shawn asserted at the teacher.
'No' Turner assured 'I would never lay a finger on you'
There was a flicker of understanding in Shawn's eyes, moments later he collapsed into unconsciousness.
Shawn became aware of voices in his immediate vicinity; people asking his name, his age, what had happened. He felt hot. He felt pain; emanating from his side. He felt sick. Opening his eyes with a groan and leaning forward from his lying position he muttered 'gonna hurl' and someone quickly shoved a dish in front of his face. His vision blurred as a hand guided him back to a lying position when he was done. A male figure was at his side, pushing his sweat covered bangs out of his eyes.
'Dad?' He tried to get his eyes to focus on the figure as a man's voice tried to calm him.
'Are you his father?' A nurse queried to the man at Shawn's side.
Jonathan Turner shook his head slightly.
'Then I'm afraid you'll have to leave'
Hearing this in his fevered state, Shawn grabbed Turner's arm.
'Dad…don't leave me.'
Turner exchanged a determined look with the nurse. He wasn't going anywhere.
Reassured, Shawn seemed to calm down and drifted back into unconsciousness.
When awareness returned to Shawn, things were much quieter and the white hot pain in his side had been replaced by a dull throb. He slowly opened his eyes. Looking around he saw white walls and sterile smells invaded his nostrils. He was in hospital. A small private room, evidently. Shawn raised an eyebrow at the notion of having his own room. He was in the middle of figuring out how he had got to where he was, when his eyes fell upon the man asleep in the chair next to his bed; Jonathan Turner.
'Mr Turner?' his voice was little more than a whisper. Shawn coughed to clear his dry throat and tried again. 'Jon?'
Turner woke up to a croaky voice calling his name.
'Hey…Shawn' he stood immediately to be at his bedside, pouring a glass of water and handing it to the teen. 'How are you feeling?'
Shawn took the glass and gratefully took a sip, the cool water soothing away the dryness.
'A little sore' he admitted. 'What happened?'
He remembered arguing with Turner at school, but had no recollection of how he ended up in hospital.
'You collapsed Shawn. You were bleeding internally.' Turner remembered the panic he had felt as Shawn's condition had deteriorated suddenly.
Turner couldn't help but smile at Shawn's habit for understatement.
'You frightened the crap out of me.' Turner conveyed the emotions of the last few hours in his eyes. 'Don't do that again'
'Sorry' Shawn realised he had hurt someone he cared about. Again.
Turner saw the guilt flash across Shawn's face before the teen covered it with his usual mask.
'What happened, Shawn?' If he was going to help the teen, he needed to hear the truth.
Shawn sighed, his eyes shifting.
'Dad's been hitting the sauce pretty hard lately, he was passed out at the kitchen table when I got home last night, it was my fault…' Turner frowned, but didn't interrupt Shawn. 'I shoulda let him sleep it off.' Shawn shifted in the hospital bed, wincing slightly as the movement pulled at his injury. 'I tried to help him to the couch but he was unsteady on his feet and he fell over…and…um…he…' Shawn cleared his throat 'He…Um…kinda flipped out.' Shawn dared a look at his teacher, to gage his level of 'pissed off' and saw the older man clenching his jaw.
He continued 'He clocked me with his elbow as he was trying to get up & I fell pretty hard on the coffee table….It was an accident really.'
Turner could tell by Shawn's tone he didn't fully believe that, and he himself certainly didn't.
'That's crap, Shawn & you know it' Turner couldn't help the outburst, he was just so angry at Chet letting the teen down, again, and hurting him so badly.
Shawn winced at the scolding, which the older man instantly regretted, given recent circumstances.
'Sorry' He lay a hand on the boys' shoulder. 'It's just…he is the adult here Shawn and he's responsible for his actions, not the other way round'
Shawn bit his bottom lip as he tried to control his emotions.
'When I fell, I knocked over one of mom's lamps…she'd bought it at a garage sale, cleaned it up, made it look like something from Pottery Barn…It broke.'
Shawn ran a hand through his hair
'Dad got real mad…he started shouting…he…um…'Shawn hesitated and felt Turner squeeze his shoulder in support. 'He smacked me a coupla times.' Shawn could sense Turner clenching his jaw again even though he was focusing on his own lap. 'It was my fault'
Turner tried to reason with Shawn, he needed him to understand that he wasn't to blame.
'A broken lamp is no reason to hit your son'
Shawn shook his head.
'It wasn't about the stupid lamp' He looked at Turner, who looked confused. 'Mom left us…she walked out because she couldn't handle living with her screw up son anymore…' Shawn choked back a sob as tears filled his eyes '…Dad blames me…' he shrugged 'and he's right.'
Turner couldn't believe what Shawn was saying, as the teen's emotions finally got the better of him. He pulled Shawn into a hug as he broke down, careful not to jar his injury, and inwardly cursed Chet Hunter.
Turner waited for Shawn's sobs to subside before pulling him out of the hug to face him.
'Listen to me Shawn…' the teen wiped his eyes 'None of this is your fault...' He emphasised his point with his best 'trust me I'm a Teacher' face.
'Whatever problems your parents were having, it has nothing to do with you…it's not okay for your father to blame you…and it's definitely not okay for him to hit you…' Turner kept his tone authoritative as he wanted to make sure Shawn was getting his point, but he softened his voice with his last statement 'You're not a screw up…You understand?'
Shawn nodded, still sniffing, eyes red. He half smiled
'Can I get that in writing, for the next time I'm flunking Mr Feeny's class'
Turner knew Shawn's joker side was his mechanism for dealing with anything emotional, but after what the teen had just been through he'd let it slide, this time.
'I'll even laminate it' He offered.
There was a pause between the pair as Shawn summoned the courage to ask the question which had been in the back of his mind since he'd woken up.
'Jon…' He started and hesitated biting his bottom lip. Turner waited for the teen to continue without prompting. 'Where's my dad?'
Turner had known this would be a question Shawn would ask sooner or later. Somehow, he still wasn't quite ready for it. He frowned slightly.
'Shawn, he …um.…'
'He took off…' Shawn cut in 'Didn't he'
Shawn didn't need to hear the words, he could tell from the look on Turner's face it was the truth. Before either could continue however the door to the room opened.
'Hope you're up for visitors' Amy Matthews entered carrying an armful of magazines and a basket of food stuffs, followed by Alan, Eric, Morgan & Cory.
Turner flicked Shawn a 'we'll finish this conversation later' look and soon Amy was fussing over the teen while the rest of the family engaged in conversations with varying degrees of banter and sarcasm.
A few days later Shawn was released from the hospital. He, Turner and Cory went to the trailer park and the now empty lot where his home had been. A couple of black bags were stacked at the edge containing some of Shawn's belongings.
'Guess it just about sums things up…' Shawn gestured as he opened one of the bags which contained some of his clothes. 'My whole life in a couple of bin bags' He ran a hand through his hair and bit his bottom lip as he toiled with his emotions.
Cory shared an apprehensive glance with Turner then picked something out of another bag as a distraction.
'Well, this is nice'
'Cory, it's trash'
'Don't say that Shawn….' Cory held up the item, an old stuffed cat and queried '…a family heirloom perhaps?'
Shawn rolled his eyes at his friend.
'No, I mean, it's trash.' He pointed to the bag Cory had been rummaging through next to one of the trailers.
'Mad Mike's trash….' He couldn't help a smile '…and that's Mad Mike's cat'
He watched as his friends face dropped.
'He sent it to be stuffed when it got run over by Mrs. Finkleman's electric buggy and then used it as a door stop.'
Cory stared at Shawn.
'This… is a dead, stuffed cat?'
'I'm holding a dead, stuffed cat?' He said with increasing disgust.
'Yes Cory, you're holding a dead, stuffed cat' Shawn added with a smile.
Cory immediately dropped the animal back in the bag and held out his hands.
'If you'll excuse me I'm going to ask Mrs. Finkleman for some bleach and a wire brush'
Exasperated, he walked toward one of the trailers and muttered that it would be just his luck if he caught the plague, or rabies, or toxoplasmosis and a couple of other obscure diseases, which made Turner shake his head at the teenagers ability to retain such detailed information about animal diseases but not to a question in his class, of which he had provided the answer moments before.
Shawn chuckled at his best friends' unique ability to over-react, wincing slightly as the stitches pulled in his side.
Turner started to gather Shawn's belongings. He noticed an envelope attached to a piece of cardboard with some scribbled writing as it fell to the ground. It was addressed to Shawn
'Um, Shawn…' He held out the item 'I think this is from your dad.'
Shawn took the note, raising an eyebrow when he saw the piece of cardboard was actually part of the packaging from a six pack of beer.
'Pabst Blue Ribbon…he only drinks this stuff when he's already emptied the fridge'
Turner inwardly winced at the thought of Shawn watching his father drink himself into oblivion to obtain that knowledge.
'You want some privacy, Shawn'
Shawn shook his head 'No…that's okay, stay'
Turner nodded as the teen read the note aloud.
'Shawn, I tried my best but you and I both know I ain't no good at this father business, I crossed a line & I'm sorry for that,' Shawn swallowed the lump which formed in his throat and felt Turner's comforting hand on his shoulder. He continued 'you'll be better off with that teacher fella…Dad.'
Shawn opened the enveloped and pulled out some official looking forms which had been signed by his father.
'These are guardianship papers'
Shawn frowned slightly at the implication and handed them to Turner, who glanced through the details.
'Chet has signed away his custody rights…' He paused, meeting Shawn's uncertain eye. 'He wants me to become your full time guardian….all I have to do is sign'
Turner realised this was a big deal for both himself and Shawn. The teen certainly had a history of acting out when things were out of control in his life and Jon realised the stability he could provide would go some way to help. In those few seconds of contemplation Jon knew it was the right thing to do. He had come close to becoming the teens guardian once before and this time he wasn't going to let Shawn down.
'What do you think, Shawn?' he asked, trying to read his body language.
Shawn hesitated, keeping his facial expression impassive.
'Three weeks and then you get sick of me?' He asked, his face breaking into a sly smile.
Turner breathed an inward sigh of relief.
'Oh, I'm sick of ya now Hunter… but I'm still making the offer' He countered as he had once before.
Shawn smiled back at his teacher and friend, knowing for the first time in a long time things in his life were about to improve.
'We'd better go rescue Cory from Mrs Finkleman's….before he becomes the next door stop in the trailer park'
Turner placed an arm around the teens' shoulders as they gathered up the bags and walked off to search for Cory.