1. Excuse Me, Miss, Need Some Help Carrying that Cosmic Destiny? by Jade Eclipse
2. Thanks, but I Already Have a Job by Jade Eclipse
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. (Even this disclaimer is property of the managers at Psychfic.) This is a crossover with Angel, but no real knowledge of it is needed to understand this. I'm a little nervous about characterization, here, so constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. I tried to post this on Psychfic as well, but couldn't get it formatted right, so here it is. Two parts, second half will be posted within a week. Again, forgive my semi-colon addiction. I can't help it.
Shawn sees her as she comes in through the bar door; he’s only half a drink in yet so he’s not slurring his words yet and his judgment is still perfectly clear, and he checks her out unabashedly. She’s somewhere in her twenties, with jeans that might as well be painted onto her generous curves and heeled boots that add an extra swagger to her hips as she walks. Her shirt is well-tailored, tightening around her waist and opened a few buttons at the top to show off her undeniably appealing neckline. She has a blunt nose and wide lips, smooth skin that’s coated in a glorious golden-brown summer tan. She saunters up to a stool and drops into it, tossing her stylish purse down on the table in front of her. The girl’s used to all eyes being on her and it shows, but the way she keeps her head straight rather than tossing the bar a haughty look just screams small-town diva who’s been chewed up and spat out by a big town. She probably went to L.A. the instant her feet hit the ground, and found that she had trouble standing on her own without her parents’ money holding her up. But there’s more depth in her eyes than just the weariness of a princess tossed in among the rabble – she moves almost like some of the cops Shawn knows, confident not only in her beauty but in her ability to take out anyone who looked at her wrong.
She crooks a finger at the bartender, places an order, and scruffs a hand through her hair – thick brown curls with attractive highlights, and if the purse weren’t a knockoff and the shoes weren’t department bought, Shawn would have thought she’d had a professional makeover that morning.
Intrigued, bored, and lonely, he takes his drink and gets up, crossing the floor so he can slip into the seat beside her. “New to town, huh?” he asks.
She looks up, flicks her eyes over him, and smiles tightly, lips together. “Passing through,” she says, and thanks the bartender as her drink is delivered. She turns her body just a bit from Shawn, but the dismissal is clear.
Unfortunately, he can be persistent when he wants, as much with potential dates as with cases he wants in on. “So where are you from? No – don’t tell me: small town, not far from L.A. Prom queen, left immediately after high school…”
“Good guess,” she says, not sounding impressed. “It’s also true for, what, seventy percent of California? If you’re trying to dazzle me, you’re going to have to work a lot harder than that, buster.” She has very expressive eyebrows; they form triangles over her eyes every time she places extra emphasis on a word.
“Only because you were living up the cliché. For the record, I think you can do much better than acting,” Shawn finishes. No reaction. She sips her drink and twists to survey the bar, free hand rubbing at the back of her neck. “You’re waiting for someone?”
“Eventually,” she answers. “Not sure who, yet.”
And, cue introduction. “Well, you’re in luck! Shawn. Shawn Spencer.”
Her eyes give him another appraisal. “I’m gonna have to let you down easy, buddy. A year ago, sure, I’d be thrilled to meet someone like you. The hair, the designer stubble, the actual use of color in your wardrobe… it’s nice, and, any other time, I’d be happy to give it a try and see if I could break you of your double-layered polo habit, here. But I don’t have a lot of time right now.”
Shawn frowns down at his shirts for a second, then looks up at her suspiciously, searching for a badge or the hint of a gun. “Tell me you’re not on the job.”
She takes it the other way, squawks, “What?”
He winces. “No, no, not like that. You’re way too classy and selective for that. I have this tendency to meet girls when they’re on stakeouts. It happens. Well, once. I’m not…” he raises a hand vaguely towards his temple… “I’m not getting the ‘detective’ vibe from you, but I thought I’d check.”
“Vibe?” she repeats. He starts to arrange his features into an ‘Oops. Did I say that?’ expression, the preface to his psychic explanation, but she just shakes her head. “No, I’m not a detective. But I am here on business, and then I’m leaving, for good, so, skedaddle.” She gives him a toothy smile, and even with the sarcastic edge, it’s stunning.
“Hey, even if you’re not sticking around, it can’t hurt to meet some new people, huh?”
“Trust me, Shawn Spencer, you don’t want to be the person I’m here for, okay? It’s this thing with doors. One closes, one has to open and all that jazz, so I have to find a door, and the problem is that I’m having trouble picking a new door because I’ve been that door, you know, and so I can’t help but feel sorry for the next door, since, honestly? Being an open door isn’t all that great!”
“O-kay. You do know that made no sense, right? I’m not holding it against you; I’m an expert in nonsense, but I thought you should know.”
“Never mind. I’m going to ruin somebody’s life, so get lost before it’s yours.”
“Wow. Okay. Not a detective… I don’t suppose you’re a psycho criminal who’s going to try to kill me later, because you’d be amazed how often that happens to me.”
She smirks, but this time it’s almost soft. “Believe me, I know.”
He’s making headway, and it’s about time. “Good! So, let me buy you a drink.”
And, just like that, he’s back to square one. She huffs, reaches into her purse, and brings out a pen, then snags a napkin and starts scribbling. “Here, look. You can have my number. Give me a call some time.” She uses her radiant smile again, downs her drink, drops a bill on the counter, and starts to glide off.
Shawn glances down at the napkin, then at her retreating back. “Hey, wait!” he scrambles for his wallet, pays for his own tab, and shoves both wallet and benumbered napkin into his pocket as he jogs to catch up with her just as she’s leaving. He walks beside her as she heads down the alley beside the bar. “We haven’t gotten to the best part! See, the best part is where I get to buy you a drink, and then we talk and get to know each other, and share our darkest secrets, and then when the night is over I’ll say something like, ‘Well, it was nice to meet you; shame you’re leaving,’ and you’ll say, ‘Yeah, Shawn, I had a really great time, and you’re awesome and funny and handsome, and I actually really like the polos, so we should totally get together for dinner before I leave town.’ And so we’ll have dinner, and after dinner we’ll argue about who’s going to pay, because you’re a modern girl but I’m trying to be chivalrous, and then we’ll settle on splitting it, and by then we really like each other, and so maybe one thing leads to another, and…”
She’s stopped and turned to face him, her head angled and a line appearing between her brows as she regards him, but she hasn’t stopped him and she isn’t running away anymore, so he finishes, “And doesn’t this sound like a great plan? We’re hypothetically already having a great time!”
“I don’t have time for dinner,” she says. “Although, if I did, I’d totally let you pay. And it would be some place nice, too, because, hey, you’re lucky I’m even eating with you – hypothetically. But, look, I don’t want to… You seem… It’s not… Oh, you’ll do.”
And then she takes two quick steps and she’s kissing him, hands in his hair and teeth clacking against his with the suddenness, her body warm as it’s pressed against him, and he puts his hands on her waist to draw her closer and leans into the kiss, her mouth moving hungrily, almost desperately, and it does occur to him that he’s standing in an alley making out with a girl he just met, but weirder things have happened to him. (A lot, actually.) Her mouth is hot and he can taste her sour amaretto on her breath, and the night is going pretty good if he dares say so himself.
When she pulls back, he feels something like a static shock, and his lips are tingling, and he smiles at her and breathes, “Or, we could skip the dinner. That’s okay, too.”
She looks at him, all sad dark eyes, and puts her hand on his shoulder and says, mostly to herself, “Last one, had to make it count.” Then she quirks one corner of her mouth upward gloomily and says earnestly, “I’m really sorry, Shawn.”
And she walks away, and he’s left standing there, slightly winded, with her gloss staining the sides of his mouth and the air cold where she used to be, and he calls after her, “So, I’ll call you!” just as she vanishes around a corner.
He doesn’t call. He means to, but then there’s this freakin’ awesome case he and Gus land, and that sucks up all of his attention and he doesn’t have a lot to spare pursuing Miss Spontaneous Kissy-Face for a couple of days, even though he does want to follow up on that. He’s completely okay with the occasional trampled metaphor and cryptic dodging if it means he gets the random hot smooches, too.
Ironically, it happens in the middle of his newest he/she/it/they-dunnit! vision at the police station. He’s standing on the top of Lassiter’s desk, because it amuses him to watch the detective turn various shades of purple as the pseudo-psychic leaves muddy sneaker-prints all over important paperwork. This vision has made him go ‘mute’ just because he decided it would be amusing and he’s playing a game he calls psychic charades, which is a lot more fun when Gus isn’t at a conference and is rather standing there with all the answers, but Buzz and Jules are really enthusiastic and some of their guesses are just plain hilarious.
He’s trying to figure out how to mime ‘the gardener was stalking her and he did it when he found out she got engaged to her boyfriend’ when the room decides to buck beneath his feet and then spin itself around suddenly, colors blurring together. He winces for real this time, the heel of his hand coming up to his head, and Juliet offers, “He hit his head! Headache! Concussion! Um… brain freeze! Hat hair!”
“Hat hair?” Chief Vick echoes incredulously, and Shawn sees Juliet blush prettily just before there’s another needlepoint pain driving into his brain just behind the ocular cavity, and he groans out loud. “Mr. Spencer?” Vick prompts, and he decides he really ought to get closer to the ground in case he really falls over.
He puts his foot back to use Lassiter’s chair as a stepping stool, and then the vertigo swells up and a supernova explodes behind his eyes and his heel slides right off of the edge of the chair and the pain ignites just seconds before he cracks his head on the wall, his teeth snapping closed hard, and then he’s a twitching, shuddering mass on the tiled and not particularly clean floor of the Santa Barbara Police Department.
He can hear himself gasping, and, embarrassingly, whimpering as the images assail his brain. Heat like fire travels up his skin, and he can see a girl with dyed red hair, copper highlights catching in the streetlamps, can sense her fear, can smell lingering metal and see the attacker; the attacker has honest-to-goodness fangs, god, and yellow eyes and a scrunched nose, there are deep ridges on his forehead and Shawn can taste ash and old blood, so strong it makes him want to gag, and the girl’s broken her wrist and he can feel it, and the address drops into his head like he’s known it all along, and some instinct has him screaming it out, and he comes back to reality just in time to hear himself say, “—god, oh, god, oh holy crap, oh, my head, you have to go, you have to hurry, you have to help her, he’s going to kill her, you have to… oh god, my head.”
He sucks in a wheezing breath and remembers where he is, lying on the floor with one arm flung out as if to anchor himself to the world and every single officer in the vicinity staring at him, with expressions that run the range from confused to concerned to annoyed to freaked out. The back of his skull his throbbing and he’s bitten his tongue, but he just licks his lips and fixes his eyes on the Chief and says, “Did you get the address?” He is surprised to find his voice is shaking, and only then does he notice that the rest of him, too, is trembling with aftershocks that just won’t stop. He forces himself to sit up, and Juliet puts her hand on his shoulder and helps him, nervous and worried, her lips thinned into a grim line.
Chief Vick’s jaw is sagged open, but then she snaps it shut and anger flashes in her eyes. “Mr. Spencer, this is going too far—”
“Did you get the address?” Shawn demands. She starts to respond, but he cuts her off frantically. “You have to get someone over there before he kills her! You don’t have long, m-maybe ten, uh…”
“All right,” Vick says, watching him cautiously. “I’ll send someone over.”
“Her name’s Susanne,” Shawn supplies as Vick talks into her radio. “She’s a software engineer. Her hair’s red, but I think it was originally kinda brownish. She’s wearing a blue sweater and her socks don’t match – one is lime green and the other is white with purple stripes. She has clay under her nails; I think she potters. Um, pots? Potteries? Jules, help me out, what’s the verb for ‘makes pottery’?” He would probably sound more like his normal self if he didn’t still sound so strained, his voice an octave higher than it usually is.
“Shawn…” Juliet begins.
“I thought you couldn’t see the future, Spencer,” Lassiter says, and even his customary doubtful tone is laced with something – not concern, exactly, but wariness, and a bit of bemusement.
“I don’t,” Shawn answers honestly. “This has never happened before.” He brightens. “On the plus side, maybe I’m just hallucinating!” He grins at everyone, and their frowns deepen.
Vick finishes on the radio and says, “Mr. Spencer, I want you to get checked out by a doctor.”
He waves a hand sloppily and almost bops Juliet on the nose. “Nah, I’m fine now.”
“Mr. Spencer, you just suffered what looked like a seizure, so I don’t want to hear it.”
“I’m fine. I have a bruise, but no concussion. Not only will I be able to tell you how many fingers you hold up, I can tell you before you hold them up.” He gives her a charming, smug grin, and she puts her head to the side humorlessly, but she also gives a bit. “Seriously. Now. I need some painkillers. There are some in Lassie’s second drawer if that helps. I need some water. And then I’m going home.”
“I don’t think so! You’re insane if you think we’re letting you ride your bike right now,” Lassiter scoffs. To save face, he quickly concludes, “You’d just crash it, and then I’d have to fill out the paperwork.”
“At the very least, I’m calling Mr. Guster to take you to your apartment,” Vick tries to compromise, shooting Lassiter an admonishing look for his last comment.
Shawn shakes his head. “No use. He’s in a conference, his phone will be off.” He struggles to his feet, and Juliet and Buzz both help him to straighten up. “Thanks,” he tells them, prodding the back of his head gingerly for the bruise.
“Then I’m calling your father. Someone needs to watch you.”
Shawn cringes. “You can’t! It’s against my contract!”
“You don’t have a contract, Mr. Spencer.”
“It’s an unwritten contract. Implied. We have this silent agreement, Chief, and one of the statues of that agreement is that you don’t call my father.”
“Statutes,” Buzz corrects under his breath.
“What did I say?” Shawn asks. “But the fact stands. Don’t call my dad on me. I’m thirty! Don’t be a tattle-tale-ing used piñata. I just need a little nap.”
Vick nods reluctantly. “You’re sure this has never happened before?”
Shawn shrugs helplessly. “It’s possible that the spirits are being especially insistent. Or, I might be wrong.” He’s not panicking, which is weird on its own, but he’s decided to reserve all judgment until after he’s determined what’s going on, because right now he can’t see any preferable outcome, so he’s going to wait until he knows which direction the bad news goes in. Then he’ll freak out appropriately. “If I’m staying, I need to go to the break room couch. I might want to pass out, and I don’t want to on the floor. It’s a back thing; just not good for my spine,” he confides.
Nobody knows quite what to do, so he ends up in the break room after swallowing two Advil from Lassiter’s Spencer-is-here-today stash. Juliet escorts him quietly, and when he lies down she brushes his hair back and her face is drawn and then he slips off into sleep still looking up at her distraught face.
Vick shakes him awake moments later and says, “They found her. Her name’s Susanne Fielding. She’s all right. The assailant got away, but he was shot twice. She’s safe.” Her hand is still on his shoulder. She sounds hesitant. She sounds tired.
He says, “Oh.”
He says, “The Jennings murder. It was the gardener.”
She nods. She says, “Tell the spirits to back off my psychic a bit.”
He’s not headed for a straightjacket. He didn’t have a seizure. Susanne is alive when she would have been dead.
Lassiter gets roped into driving him home, and he is silent the whole time. When he gets there, Shawn locks the door, takes off his jacket, and throws up. He rinses out his mouth when he’s done with dry heaves that leave him shaking he stares at his reflection and says, “Huh.”
He thinks about static electricity in the warm air of Santa Barbara. He thinks about doors.
He thinks about almond-flavored alcohol and ‘I’m really sorry, Shawn,’ and he fishes out the napkin that he never read. Cordelia Chase is scrawled on it, and her number. He dials.
It rings twice before he gets a recording that says, “We’re sorry. The number you have entered is incorrect. Please hang up and try again.” He recognizes her voice, though, so he waits. He is rewarded one minute later, when she says, “Hi, Shawn. If you’re listening to this, then I feel extra guilty, because it means you’re a guy who actually calls, and that’s pretty rare. I know you want answers, but I can’t meet you, so this’ll have to do. See, I’m actually kind of dead. Or, not kind of. Just dead.
“Let me explain.”
She talks. She tells him about her visions of people in danger. She tells him how she got them from a man who loved her, a man who died. She tells him about demons, about vampires and witchcraft and werewolves and shape shifters, about a great force she calls The Powers That Be (Shawn’s ‘spirits’ by another name) and about the people she worked with. She tells him how she died, skipping over the details, and how she came back, first to deliver a message to her old boss, and then to pass on the visions. To open a new door. She tells him he should contact the man who was her boss – who is not actually a man, but rather a vampire turned heroic crusader – and she leaves him contact information.
She finishes with another apology, and, “Someone has to do this. It was me, and now I guess it’s you. I’m really sorry.”
It’s the longest voicemail answering message ever. He hangs up before the beep, tosses his phone onto his couch. He sits down.
He starts laughing, and isn’t sure how to stop.
Shawn Spencer leaves four voicemails on Cordelia Chase’s cell phone.
“Really? Really? You couldn’t just turn me down for dinner; you had to give me psychic mono? I can take ‘no’ for an answer! And your explanation is crap. How do I get rid of this? There has to be some sort of return policy. Why me? What did I ever do to you? Fine. You know what? Our hypothetical date is off. Consider us hypothetically broken up. Jerk, using your distracting awesome kiss and the really low cut shirt to give me the motion-picture migraines from hell. Thanks; thanks so much. Oh, and saying you’re dead just to avoid the guilt trip isn’t cool.”
“You know, making my living as a psychic and all, I can appreciate the irony of my being a skeptic. I can even appreciate the irony of something like this happening to me, in a careful-what-you-wish-for sort of way. But this is not funny. Got it? Not funny. ”
“Okay, so you’re actually dead. I read your obituary. It’s nice, as far as obituaries go. And there’s a picture! You look pretty. So you win that one, I admit. But it’s still not fair. Now I’m not just lying to everyone but Gus and my dad, because now I am kind of psychic, so… So I’m half-lying to everyone, which is really confusing for me. But you don’t care, because you’re dead. Lucky you. And I’m still not calling your boss, so there. Nyah.”
…is not from Shawn Spencer. It is from a man in Idaho who was trying to reach his insurance company, and he says only, “Lady, what are you on?”
Shawn’s next not-so-pseudo vision is an info-dump about Cordelia’s boss, this guy named Angel. And now Shawn really doesn’t want to call a guy with that kind of a back-story.
Too many, too much. Shawn has been laying low for a week, dodging questions from either the police or Gus. Gus is angry, thinking Shawn overdid his act, and he hides concern beneath of bluster of disapproval. Since he thinks that Shawn deliberately fell off a desk, he gives a lengthy speech about how Shawn could have cracked his skull open and died. He blames Shawn for being immature and irresponsible, and he gets more and more into it the more concerned he gets, and he gets more and more concerned the longer it goes on without Shawn interrupting by brushing it off in favor of smoothies or witty pop-culture references. He’s too busy trying to figure out how to say ‘Hey, Gus, guess what: I’m psychic!’ in a way that doesn’t sound like, ‘Wolf! Wolf! Seriously, wolf! Wolf, for real this time! I mean it; wolf!” He’s coming up with nothing.
A bit late in the game, he shakes it off and says, “Dude, I’m fine. Relax, man; it was one of my best visions ever. Let’s go grab some ice cream. We can eat it really fast, and whoever doesn’t get brain freeze wins.”
Gus makes a face, but his lecture is successfully derailed. “That’s a terrible game, Shawn.”
They play it anyway. Gus wins three rounds, Shawn wins two, and they argue over the fifth until they either have to resolve it in a draw or call in a neutral judge to determine the outcome.
Shawn sets his ice cream down, though, and launches into the explanation, which somehow comes out in the way he most vehemently rejected during the mental trial run, “Gus? The reason I fell off the desk is because I had an actual vision. I got it from this dead girl, who wasn’t dead when I met her – or, she was, but she wasn’t. But she wasn’t undead, either, don’t worry; it wasn’t a mummy curse. Or a zombie. Or a vampire. Or a ghost. Or anything else like that; and, actually, all of those are apparently real. She was just temporarily not-dead any more, so technically she was alive. And she made out with me to give me her psychic visions, and now—”
Gus flicks some ice cream at him. “Don’t even try to weasel your way out of this, Shawn. I’m still annoyed with you.”
Shawn scrapes the glob of ice cream off of his shirt with his finger and sticks it in his mouth, much to Gus’s mortification, and grumbles, “Wolf.”
When he can’t ignore them any more, he shoves some necessities in a bag and grabs his spare cash, and he stops by Psych to pick up some things he’s forgotten there and he runs into Gus on his way out the door.
He covers up his half-beat of immobile surprise by saying, “Gus! Good, buddy, you’re here. Lock up for me, would you?”
But Gus is more perceptive than Shawn gives him credit for, and his eyes gravitate inexorably to the bag dangling from Shawn’s left hand, and when he meets Shawn’s gaze again his expression is accusatory, and Shawn tries to look away before he can see the hurt there but he doesn’t manage it in time. “Going somewhere?” Gus demands heatedly, because of course he already knows the answer from the guilt Shawn is projecting in neon letters, probably with some shrieking alarms and a couple of those zig-zaggy underlines. Maybe a shadow effect. Definitely capital letters. “You’re taking off, Shawn? Now?”
“No, I’m not taking off,” Shawn protests, though he isn’t sure right now.
“You know what? Fine. I knew this would happen, Shawn. When this first started, I kept telling myself, there’s no way he’s going to stick with it. Thanks, Shawn, for proving me right. Again.”
“Gus!” Shawn says. “I’m – I’m not! I’ll be back; I just have a trip to make!”
“Whatever, Shawn,” Gus says, brushing past him. “I’ll lock up. But you’re not sticking me with the fee for breaking our lease. That’s all on you.”
“But, Gus!” Shawn cries. Gus goes into the office and closes the door emphatically behind him. Shawn sees him move through the room, and he calls uselessly, “But I’m coming back!” He vacillates for a second, uncertain whether he should go after his friend or finish up his detour to L.A. so that he can come back when Gus has cooled down, and when Shawn has proven his point – because it’s one thing to argue about how he’s going to come back and then still have to leave, and another to leave and then actually come back. And right now, he just doesn’t know.
Shawn has always been one to avoid awkward conversations, so he just slings his bag onto his bike, kicks off, and roars down the road.
He does it right, this time. He stops by the police station and makes up a story about an annual psychic convention, and launches into an elaborate description of star-patterned tablecloths and how they wear robes but voted against the pointy hats. He’s making up voodoo terms in long strings of irreplicable syllables when finally Chief Vick just cuts him off and tells him to take as much time as he needs, but to let her know when he comes back so she can call him if anything comes up.
He grins, and on his way out he tells a joke to Buzz, he flirts with Juliet, he annoys Lassiter, and he flashes Officer Allen a knowing smile. Then he’s on the highway.
He doesn’t say goodbye to his father. He doesn’t mean not to; it’s just habit.
Some things don’t change.
The air is sweet and warm, it beats against his face through the visor in his helmet, and because it’s still early there are almost no other drivers on the road. It’s beautiful enough to be cliché, with the wide-open road and the blue, blue sky. He doesn’t know what to expect now that he’s gone all vision-tastic, and from what he’s seen of the world Cordelia used to be a part of he’s not sure it’s for him. But he kind of has to try. It’s – god, it’s a mission. He’s been chosen. (It’s not as cool as in the movies. Actually, it’s rather crappy.)
It’s not a long drive – not even a hundred miles; he’s done longer in a day. But forty minutes in, he apparently makes a decision without even thinking about it, and he steers the bike onto the shoulder and breaks before he puts an intention behind his actions, and he pulls out his cell phone and dials from memory, still sitting on his bike.
“Hi! So I guess there’s not a lot of weight to the sleeping-in-coffins stories, huh?” He chuckles, and the voice on the other end becomes somewhat sharper.
“Who is this?”
“The spirits apparently want us talking, General Fangful, and they can be pret-ty demanding when they want to be. My name’s Shawn Spencer; I believe we have a mutual acquaintance in one Cordelia Chase.”
Silence, broken only by heavy breathing – which prompts Shawn to wonder why a vampire is breathing – and then, “You better explain yourself. Fast.”
“Sure thing. The spirits – powers, whatever – have elected me as their new messenger. Well, not elected. It wasn’t even hiring. It was more of a draft. I’ve tendered my resignation letter, even printed it on Central Coast stationery with bullet points that look like little leaves and everything, but they’re just not accepting it. They want me. And, I mean, who could blame them?”
“If this is some kind of joke…”
“Nope! Believe me, it’s really not funny where I’m sitting. This one’s all on the spirits. They noticed you were short one sexy brunette psychic and decided to put me on the payroll, whether I wanted it or not. So, anyway, I was on my way to L.A., and I got to thinking… See, you’ve got your big, shiny, important mission, right, and that’s great… But I’m starting to think I have one of my own. I mean, I’m not stopping the end of the world on a yearly basis, or anything, but what I do is important, too. And, really, I don’t see why this relationship won’t work long distance, right? I can be vision boy – or, psych man, let’s go with that; so much cooler – and I can just give you calls to pass along the message. I don’t have to be there to tell you this stuff. So, yeah. I just called to let you know I’m not coming, but keep your phone on.”
Another pause, and then, “You better not be messin’ with me.”
“And if I am, you’ll come rip my intestines out through my throat. I know; I got the Cliff’s Notes on you. Which is another reason I’m heading the other way. Nothing personal, I just don’t like pointy things, and really I’m no good with demons, either. It’s not you, it’s me.”
Angel huffs out a strangled laugh. “Good. So you know what’ll happen if this turns out to be a lie again.”
“She says hi,” Shawn tells him, even though she didn’t. He can divine plenty from Angel’s voice, and he knows it’s the sort of thing he should say.
“Yeah. I know.”
“Okay, then. Talk to you next time I get a psychic drill through my brain.”
A little less hesitant now: “Okay.”
“Oh, and: love the coat, man.”
He hangs up, takes a moment to bask in the sunshine and think, holy crap, I just had a conversation with a friggin’ vampire, and then he turns his motorcycle back around and drives back up the road to Santa Barbara, his head gloriously light, like he’s just woken up from a long, uninterrupted sleep, warm and content and trouble-free.
He dumps his stuff at home, calls his dad and suffers through the expected berating, because of course Gus has told Henry that Shawn was leaving. Shawn pins it all on Gus, just because it’s easier, says his friend misunderstood and that he’s not going to take off, and the rest of his dad’s tirade sounds a little less tirade-y and a little more relieved. He makes himself dinner, and in the evening he drives to Psych. He turns on all the lights, putting a smoothie on Gus’s desk while he sips his own, his feet up, the TV on to keep his mind occupied. He knows Gus will drive by some time before nightfall, either to check up on the place for one last time (seriously, even if they installed a burglar alarm Gus would still be all paranoid-pants) or to give himself fuel for a Shawn-you-jerk mental rant.
He gets an extra heads-up when he sees Gus’s silhouette through the door just before Gus himself barrels in, holding a potted plant over his head and fully prepared to bash in heads of any trespassers. He stops short when he sees Shawn, who swivels to face him with a blank look on his face. Shawn frowns. “Did you steal that plant from the dentist’s next door?” he asks.
Gus’s surprise disappears. “Shawn?” he asks.
“You know, I don’t think it’s ethical to sacrifice a poor innocent plant just because somebody might have broken in,” Shawn says. “Plants are living, too.” He jerks his thumb towards Gus’s desk. “Brought you a cupful of fruity deliciousness. And, look! They had green bendy straws.”
Gus finally lowers his arms, sets the plant down by the door, and says, “I thought you were leaving.”
Shawn grins his you’re-so-silly grin. “Yeah, but I told you I was coming back.”
“You told the Chief you were taking time off!” Gus accuses.
“I am.” He spreads his arms. “Two words: Road trip. One more word: awesome. Come on, you and me, we’ll go some place totally cool and make up fake names for everyone we meet just to see if they’ll call us by them.”
“You do that anyway, Shawn.”
“Oh, yeah. Regardless. I already called your work and booked a week off.”
“You did what? You can’t do that, Shawn! I’ve never taken a sick day. I’m saving up my vacation time. I’ve won Most Punctual every year since I started – or, I did, before you came along with your psychic detective agency and gave me a perpetually ailing cat and a line-dancing grandma.”
“See, you’ve already broken your record. What’s the big deal? Do I need to repeat the third word again? Awesome, Gus. How can you turn down awesome?”
Gus’s jaw works, and he crosses to his desk, warming to the idea and trying badly to hide it. “Well…” he says, and Shawn fights to keep his triumphant smile from breaking through. “I guess, since you’ve already booked the time…”
Shawn fist-pumps the air. “Yes! It’ll be great, Gus.”
“But!” Gus says, lifting one finger sternly. “It’s going to be relaxing. Not crazy. Not dangerous. We’re not going to Mexico. In fact, we’re not going to the border at all, so no Canada. I’m not going near the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains. And no Indianapolis, either, Shawn. And if we get arrested even once, I will stock your fridge with nothing but overripe pears and vegemite for the next year and a half.”
“Year and a half, that seems awfully random…” Shawn muses, but at Gus’s look he gets back on track. “Oh, right. Deal. Icky, icky vegemite and mushy, mushy pears.”
“Just remember this, Shawn: I know all your secrets.”
For now, Shawn settles for nodding pensively. Before they leave on their super-awesome road trip, Gus has him call Henry to tell him, and Gus insists on drawing up an itinerary and stocking up on emergency supplies (who says Shawn needs to grow up? He has a best friend who is often grown up enough for twelve Shawn Spencers.) But later on, Shawn says, apropos of nothing, “About that…”
And he explains. He asks Gus to listen and he tells the story and he plays Cordelia’s voice mail message to back it up. Gus, who has always been more accepting of these things, is skeptical for about four miles, and then he says, “Okay. So, what now?”
Shawn adds another reason to his unwritten list of Why Gus is The Best Friend Ever of Any Best Friends That Ever Were in the History of Best Friends, and then another two miles go by and Gus starts gloating about how he was right all along about ghosts and mummies and such. They argue about it good-naturedly, and then less good-naturedly, and then Shawn folds his arms and tries to do the silent treatment even though it comes off as pouting, and by the time they get to their next destination they’ve both forgotten the argument and are back to fist-bumping and trying to figure out whether or not Shawn should try to get paid for this new psychic gig.
They pass it off easily enough, as a further advancement of Shawn’s abilities. The next visions he gets are easier to ride, though still unbelievably painful, and he and Gus have no trouble spinning some tale about how seeing into the future is more taxing than just seeing into the present. People buy it. It actually seems to add more credibility to Shawn’s act than before, and fittingly so. The visions are mostly useless for cases (Shawn is delighted with the fact that he’s often a better psychic when he’s not being a psychic,) but occasionally he’ll be able to send officers off to prevent crimes before they can happen. The spirits are weirdly accommodating with sending not only supernatural visions but a few ordinary ones, too. It gets to the point where people are used to it, such that there are always painkillers and water for when he surfaces, and someone is waiting to radio it in if necessary.
He’ll either rattle off the details of everything he’s gleaned, or he’ll smile up at Vick and say, “Sorry. Message for someone else.” And he’ll pull out his cell phone and go through the same routine he does with the cops with Angel or one of his friends, supplying details and answering questions, with the addition of attempts at long-distance flirting with that blue-haired girl he sometimes catches glimpses of in his visions.
And that’s that.
Shawn Spencer, (semi-)psychic (and otherwise just eerily observant and really, really good at detective reasoning) detective (unofficial.)
Cordelia Chase gloats as much as it’s possible for a higher being to gloat, and says, “See? I told you I’d pick a good one.”
“Luck of the draw,” one of the others grumbles, as much as it’s possible for a higher being to grumble.
(And the only real problem, head-splitting migraines aside, is that they neglect to return the dentist’s potted plant.)