Even amongst the chaos of shouting, glass shattering and gunfire, Shawn perked his head up where he knelt beside Gus, raised his brows in causal interest and said, "Yes, buddy?"
"GET ME OUT OF HERE!" Gus practically squealed. His heart was hammering in his head, lodged somewhere in his throat, his stomach was in knots and he was this close to hyperventilating. Because they were in the middle of a warehouse that quickly became a war zone after Shawn called Lassiter to pick up their perp, but didn't realize their perp had just as many friends as Lassiter's team, and didn't want to go down without a fight.
A fight that Gus and Shawn were caught in the middle of.
A bullet whizzed past Gus' ear, and he nearly screamed as he flattened himself down. "SHAWN!"
But Shawn wasn't listening to him. He was watching something intently, with that look on his face that is always so un-Shawn-like. And even though Gus sees it all the time working cases with him, it still astounds him the sheer difference of character.
"Shawn!" shouted Gus again. The gunfire was more infrequent now but not enough to settle his nerves.
"Three," said Shawn quietly. Then, "Two."
Shawn looked at him. "Lassie took down every shooter except one. We're in the clear. Give it like eight more seconds. Nine, tops. Then we'll be free to celebrate with some tacos."
Gus' eyes bugged out. How could he even possibly be thinking of something like that in a situation like this?! "Shawn, we could die!"
Shawn snorted. "You're not going to die."
"I almost die all the time!" exclaimed Gus angrily.
Shawn was looking back over the boxes and he suddenly stiffened. "Shh."
"You don't even care, do you?" sneered Gus, his fear choosing the words.
"Gus," said Shawn in a low voice, "shh."
"Don't you tell me to—!"
But Gus watched Shawn shut his eyes and Gus suddenly heard the heavy silence in the air as the gunfire was eerily absent.
All silent, except for the cock of a gun.
The last shooter walked around the boxes, closest to Gus. He aimed his gun at Gus' head.
His panic halted.
Everything went still.
And Gus' recurring nightmare of the past two years was suddenly staring down at him.
Gus closed his eyes.
Heard the distinct sound of a scuff of sneakers.
Then a gunshot, so loud it rang his ears.
But he felt no pain.
His eyes shot open.
He immediately looked down at his chest, expecting to see blood.
But he was untouched.
He wasn't shot.
Not a moment later, the shooter still standing in front of him was tackled, and wrestled to the ground, as Lassiter fought him for the gun.
Gus shakily got to his knees. "Th-that was close," he whispered. "Shawn, you—" Gus turned, ready to scold the living daylights out of his supposed best friend.
But Shawn wasn't sitting behind him like he had been.
He was lying on his back, a few feet away.
Gus' anger was immediately replaced by shock. And then, fear.
A lot of fear.
He jumped to his feet and slid to Shawn.
Shawn was blinking rapidly, breathing hard. His hand was gingerly pressing over his side, and blood streamed through his fingers.
He was shot.
Shawn was shot.
"LASSITER!" yelled Gus, whipping his head around to see the detective slapping cuffs on the shooter. He shoved the man away and looked in Gus' direction. "I thought I told you two to—" He caught sight of Shawn on the ground. He paled and ran. "SOMEONE GET ME A BUS! NOW!"
"Shawn," said Gus hollowly. Shawn was shaking. He blinked heavily. More blood was inching across the floor. Too much.
Shawn smiled. "T-Tol'... tol' you..." He winced.
"Nonono," said Gus. Pressure on the wound. Without bracing himself, he pressed down over Shawn's hand.
Shawn cried out, and this time Gus felt him trembling. Shawn blinked even heavier.
"Shawn!" Gus shook him a little, watching his eyes blink back open. "Stay with me! Told me what?"
Shawn blinked lazily. "Tol' you..."
"Shawn—" breathed Gus.
"Tol'..." slurred Shawn. His head fell toward his shoulder.
Lassiter suddenly appeared at Shawn's other side. "What the hell happened?!"
"He—he got shot, I don't know," stammered Gus. "He… he was talking a second ago, I don't—"
Lassiter quickly pressed two fingers to Shawn's neck. Waited. Gus' heart threatened to suffocate him.
"He's alive," said Lassiter, and though good news, sent an even hotter line down Gus' body, at the prospect that that fact could change any second. "Keep pressure on that wound, Guster!"
Gus nodded, watching the warm blood slip through his fingers. So much blood. Too much blood.
Hotness trailed down his cheeks.
Sirens wailed behind him.
People were talking.
Someone moved him.
Everything was garbled.
Gus couldn't hear or see anything.
Because for the first time in his life, Gus saw Shawn Spencer still.
The warehouse was two blocks away from the nearest hospital, so the paramedics reached Shawn just in time to prevent cardiac arrest. But for as still as Shawn had looked, he never once stopped breathing or lost his heartbeat.
He was in surgery, and they still had yet to hear anything else.
Henry paced from across the room. Gus sat by himself in silence. Terrified, lonely silence.
But as much as fear coursed through him, so did something else.
Gus kept replaying the moment.
Scuff of shoes.
The realization came hours ago, but Gus couldn't fathom it. Couldn't accept it.
When Gus found Shawn on the ground, he was further behind Gus than before the shooter showed up.
Scuff of shoes.
Did he try to run?
Gus' hands twisted around each other.
He wasn't the only one to wonder the same conclusion, every time Gus relayed what happened to an officer.
He tried to leave me.
Gus rubbed his face.
Gus was startled as Juliet sat beside him, holding out a steaming cup of coffee. "You doing okay?"
They were in the hosptial waiting room.
Gus didn't say anything.
"We caught the man who…" Juliet seemed as unable to say it as Gus was to think it. "He's going away for a long, long time."
Gus nodded distantly.
"I came to see you," she said quietly, making him look up. "I needed to show you something."
She pulled a laptop from her bag and opened it, typing. Then she flipped around the screen to him. "There was a security camera in the warehouse. This… is a video of what happened," she explained quietly.
Gus' brows kneaded. "I don't think I—"
"Watch," she said quietly.
Gus, reluctantly, did.
It was a video of the warehouse, shot from a fuzzy security camera. Gus could see himself and Shawn taking cover behind the boxes. He watched as the shooter found them, and aimed his gun at Gus himself. Gus felt his heart skip a beat.
Then, he saw what he only heard before; Shawn moved.
Gus' chest tightened, waiting to watch him run.
Shawn jumped to his feet, arms wide, almost threateningly. The moment he moved, the shooter shifted his gun.
And in that moment, even with the fuzziness of the camera, Gus saw it.
And the gun fired.
Shawn collapsed backward and not a moment after, Lassiter ran into the frame and tackled the shooter.
Juliet closed the laptop.
Gus stared into space in shock.
"He saved me?" whispered Gus.
Juliet nodded, and if Gus wasn't mistaken, he wasn't the only one with moisture in his eyes.
The surgery was a success, and after stitching the wound, healing some internal damage, and a blood transfusion, Shawn was deemed in stable condition.
Gus waited until Shawn's room was empty before visiting him.
Guilt was swimming in his veins, both from the fact that that bullet had been meant for him and how could I think Shawn would do that to me?
Gus walked into the room.
Henry went to get some food, which guaranteed Gus a few minutes alone with Shawn.
But he wasn't expecting to see Shawn awake.
Gus halted, suddenly wanting to run straight back out the door. "Shawn," he said instead. He felt the tension rise like a tidal wave. "Y-You're up?"
Shawn blinked lazily from the bed. "Waiting for my dad to leave," he said with a smile. But it faltered. "What's wrong?"
How can he always TELL?!
"Nothing," said Gus quickly, taking a few more steps into the room. "I… I was just worried about you. I'm.. I'm so glad you're okay, Shawn."
Shawn gave him a serious-Shawn smile. "Thanks, buddy. But that's not it; I know it's not. What's wrong?"
Gus cursed him in his head.
"I…" He trailed off, unable to phrase it.
"You thought I ran?"
Gus' head snapped up. Shawn was wearing a smile but there was no warmth in it.
"N-No," stammered Gus. Since when was it so hard to talk to his best friend? "Of course not, I…"
"It's okay, buddy," said Shawn, a little warmth crawling back into his face somehow. "I told you."
"Told me what?"
"Told me what?" repeated Gus, echoing his own words.
Shawn shrugged with a slight wince. "Told you I wouldn't let you die."
His eyes burned.
"Gus," said Shawn seriously, sitting up an inch higher with an even tighter wince, making Gus flinch toward him, but Shawn held up a hand. "Look. I asked you to do Psych with me, and that wasn't just asking you to fund it and find clues with me. It was asking you to put yourself in danger." His gaze locked into Gus', unwavering. "From day one, I promised myself I'd never let you get hurt. And I stand by that promise."
Gus couldn't find words. "Shawn…"
"I want you to know that you're my best friend," said Shawn, "and I'd be happy to take a bullet for you. I'm happy I took this one. Because if I didn't, you would have had to. And that isn't cool."
"Shawn," Gus cut in. "I'm sorry I didn't think…"
But Shawn shook his head. "It's fine. Really. I know I say a lot of things. A lot of things… usually for the punchline." That gaze deepened. "But when it comes to you being okay, I'm dead serious, Gus." He looked down at himself. Then amended, "I'm severely maimed serious."
Just then, the door opened, and Henry walked in with food. He looked from Gus to Shawn -
who was now acting asleep.
"Did Shawn wake up?" asked Henry eagerly, the tone of a speech in his voice. "Cause if he did—"
"No," said Gus, sitting in one of the chairs. "Not yet."
Henry looked at him, then Shawn, then sat down and ate. Through a mouthful of sandwich, muttered, "Well, once he does, he's gonna have it. How stupid did he have to be to go in that warehouse?"
Silence fell for a moment, until...
"It was my idea," said Gus suddenly, making Henry look up. "Shawn wanted to call Lassie from the car, and I said we should go in the warehouse. I didn't know they had guns. It's my fault."
This wasn't true - as Gus wanted to call from the car - but when Henry's Speech Face - red, tight, angry eyes - lit up, Gus understood why Shawn was pretending to sleep.
And it seemed Henry was geared up to yell, because he didn't stop for a second to question Gus' supposed out-of-the-blue bravery.
"Gus!" roared Henry. "Do you have any idea how stupid—"
You take a bullet for me, I take a bullet for you.
Gus listened to the rant, and snuck a look down at Shawn, whose lips were quirked the smallest bit into a smile.