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Psych fic: Somewhere Between Unsure and a Hundred 1/1

September 10th, 2010 (11:13 pm)
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Title: Somewhere Between Unsure and a Hundred

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: I am currently in love with all things Psych. The mid-season finale left me flailing, so this is what resulted. The song "Hundred" by The Fray inspired the title and the overall gist of Shawn's mood. It's a pretty perfect description of Shawn and Juliet as they left off.

A/N 2: Thanks to sendintheklowns , who has been so fantastic in letting me squee excessively over this show. She also provided a wonderfully quickly beta. She will always be the Gus to my Shawn :)

Summary: Gus couldn't say for sure, but he was fairly confident that this was not going to be a good day. Tag to "One, Maybe Two Ways Out."

 

-o-

So this is where you are and this is where I am
So this is where you are and this is where I've been
Somewhere between unsure and a hundred.

-from "Hundred" by The Fraye

-o-

Gus couldn't say for sure, but he was fairly confident that this was not going to be a good day.

Not only did he have an actual meeting to go to at work, but the water bill arrived a day late, so it exactly coincided with the cable payment, which always left him in a crisis of conscience. They weren't exactly hurting for cash, but given their excessive spending habits, they weren't exactly perfectly liquid either and Gus found it easier to handle paying one bill at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of zeroes he had to fill out on his checkbook ledger.

And it was always easier paying for what they needed first. While Shawn would argue that cable was a basic human right, Gus knew that paying the water bill was more important, and paying both on the same day made him ache, right in the wallet.

Literally a pain in the ass.

So no, this was not shaping up to be a good day. Even less so when he got to the Psych office and found that Shawn wasn't there yet.

Now, it was true, Shawn wasn't known for his punctuality. Or his sense of time. Or even his sense of decency, politeness, or general awareness. But even if Shawn wouldn't admit it, he was mostly living out of the Psych office these days, so finding him there in the early AM was pretty normal, though usually Shawn was either asleep or playing a zombie-eyed game of Halo on an unnatural autopilot mode that Shawn could only achieve after four hours of continuous play and inhaling three cans of Mountain Dew, preferably while standing up.

Although Gus did not necessarily approve of Shawn living in the office (because how did he really manage to bathe in a sink with nothing more than hand soap?), it was something he'd come to expect.

Especially since finding Shawn in the office meant that Shawn wasn't out doing something stupid. Like picking up spies or getting shown up by impossibly rich, attractive, benevolent and perfect fake criminal profilers. A present Shawn was annoying, but an AWOL Shawn was a recipe for disaster.

True, sometimes, it turned out wonderfully and resulted in free pancakes for a year or a mysteriously paid for subscription to the fruit of the month club.

Most of the time, however, Shawn's absence indicated impending misfortune, usually leaving Gus with a maxed out credit card and another blight on his once-good name.

And, besides, Gus had really been hoping to find Shawn this morning. After all, his so-called best friend had ditched him with the bill at Red Robin the night before-without even saying that he was leaving. One second they were contemplating what flavor malts to order, the next Shawn was talking about making a phone call and was gone.

Gus was used to being stuck with the bill, but being stood up was not cool. Countless phone calls (some with threats, others with bribes, and a few with distracted ramblings) had failed to uncover Shawn's location. Shawn owed him an explanation, an apology, and 15.97 plus tip.

All for the best, though. Gus needed to sleep on his anger so he wouldn't want to strangle his best friend.

The fact that Shawn still wasn't there and that he hadn't even called?

Was weird.

Another reason why Gus knew this wasn't going to be a good day.

Gus tried to go about his normal business without thinking about it too much. He checked his email, looked to see if they had any appointments or cases lined up, and double checked his sales route that he had to hit before his morning meeting. He even made a cup of coffee in the coffee maker Shawn had purchased to replace the humidifier he'd ruined, purposefully oblivious that Gus didn't actually want a coffee maker, but a way to keep the office pleasantly moist in the dry months.

Though, he had to admit, the coffee was pretty good.

He was about to call it a morning when the front door opened and Shawn waltzed inside.

Gus glared. "You're late."

Shawn cocked his head. He was dressed-the same clothes as yesterday-and he was holding two ice cream cones in one hand and had a stack of papers tucked under his other arm. "I didn't realize we had a morning check in time," he said. "If so, then I don't think I'm late, I'm just very early for tomorrow."

Gus darkened his glare to a glower. "I was worried about you," he said.

Shawn's expression melted into a smile. "Aw, Gus, I'm flattered," he said. "But remember how we talked about not being exclusive? We are allowed to see other people, just on the side. No significant eating with others, but casual conversation and even the occasional cup of coffee is not considered cheating."

Gus's glower tempered to annoyance. "You disappeared on me," he said curtly. "One moment we were going home from Declan's, the next you ran out from Red Robin without even getting dessert. You never leave without dessert. What happened?"

Shawn seemed to consider that, licking absently at one cone before shifting the papers under his arm to his desk. "I have discovered that there is a human limit to how much ice cream one person can consume," Shawn said with another decisive lick as he transferred one cone to his now-free hand. "A malt, however delicious they might be at Red Robin, would have been overkill."

Gus made a face. "You do know you're eating ice cream before nine AM, right?"

"Indeed I am," Shawn said, swiping his tongue across one listing cone. "I have also discovered that said limit resets itself after midnight. Sort of like Cinderella's fairy tale, only without the mice and pumpkins. Do you want one?" He held out the unlicked cone.

Gus was duly suspicious, because contrary to Shawn's creative excuse, ditching Gus at Red Robin had been more than a little odd and a lot rude. Shawn had been acting entirely weird yesterday-for the past few weeks, really. Ever since Declan showed up and especially since Juliet went for him. And then all of that weirdness was magnified to the nth degree after they'd stopped by Declan's place yesterday to say thank you.

Declan's place. Juliet.

Ice cream before nine AM.

It was all starting to make sense. The look on Shawn's face when Gus came down after Declan bought the hotel. Juliet's forced smiles when Declan told her the good news. Shawn's bolting, his elusive night. The gorging on ice cream before work.

Gus had asked last night, of course, but Shawn hadn't wanted to talk about it. Which should have been a dead giveaway right then and there. Shawn always wanted to talk. About anything. And everything. And especially nothing. But now he was ditching Gus and buying ice cream before most people could finish their coffee.

"Something happened yesterday with Juliet, didn't it?"

Shawn gave a fair approximation of an oblivious look. "I'm sure lots of things happened yesterday with Juliet," he said. "For instance, I think she may be asking Declan's pastry chef to make her extra cupcakes on the sly. I've noticed frosting on her desk at work, and I'm pretty sure those aren't department-issued flavors."

Gus shook his head, refusing to be distracted. "I mean between you and Juliet," he said. His gaze narrowed slightly, a little suspicious. "When I was upstairs with Declan, what were you doing?"

"Are you not going to take the ice cream?" Shawn asked. "Because if it melts, I will lick, and I cannot promise where my tongue will go."

Gus's eyes zeroed in on the cone. Two scoops. One looked to be vanilla, the other some kind of coffee cream. Leaning forward, he snatched the cone, taking a comforting lick as he settled back in his chair. "You didn't do anything stupid, did you?"

"I considered eating all four scoops myself," Shawn replied, meandering over to his desk. He sat down heavily. "But wisely decided to ration my ice cream over the course of the day to avoid overdosing before noon."

Gus took another satisfying lick. "I mean with Juliet."

Shawn shook his head, rocking back in his chair and taking a bite off his top scoop. "I don't think she'll be needing any ice cream," he said. "I imagine Declan will be taking his pastry chef with them on their trip. Two weeks, a hotel to themselves, and a man following them with creme brulee. Sounds a little like heaven, doesn't it?"

Gus was trying to decide if he liked the coffee or the vanilla scoop better and suddenly wished there was a caramel swirl on the cone.

But, unlike Shawn, he was able to maintain actual thought while dreaming about food.

Sometimes.

Fortunately, this was one of those times. "Shawn, you ditched me at Red Robin. You show up in the morning with ice cream. And this is after you had an actual serious Shawn moment and confessed to me that you couldn't imagine being happy without Juliet. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that something happened."

"Maybe not rocket science, but I think a degree in astrophysics would help."

Gus stopped mid-lick to level a fresh glare at Shawn.

Shawn sighed. "Nothing happened," he said, sounding a bit exasperated now. "I mean, what could have possibly happened? I feel one way and everyone knows it. Jules left this morning for the most romantic two weeks of her life. So, clearly, all evidence points to nothing. Absolutely nothing happened."

Shawn didn't get truly upset often. He held grudges, this was true, but was rarely malicious about them.

But right there? Shawn wasn't just holding a grudge.

Shawn was hurting.

Something had happened at Declan's yesterday. Something big, and the fact that it hadn't changed anything was what was sending Shawn into a tailspin.

Gus pursed his lips, eyeing Shawn critically. "So you're telling me that you disappeared on me, bailed on malts, ignored my phone calls, and showed up this morning with ice cream because nothing happened?"

Shawn feigned innocence. "Okay so I may be a bit moody, but I hear that's common for everyone as they age. We're not children anymore, Gus, and men go through menopause, too, even though they do not get much credit for it."

"You're 32," Gus said with a shake of his head. "You're not going through menopause."

"A second puberty, then?" Shawn asked hopefully.

That did not even warrant a response. "Shawn, what did you do?" Gus asked flatly.

Shawn rolled his eyes. "I didn't do anything."

Semantics. Still biting Shawn in the ass.

Gus tilted his head. "What did Juliet do?"

That was the question. Shawn flinched, ever so slightly. His face was staidly composed, chin raised imperceptibly. "She left for the beach."

"Yesterday, Shawn," Gus pressed. He was sitting up now. "What did she do yesterday?"

For a moment, it looked like Shawn might stay defiant. But instead, his shoulders slumped. "She kissed me," he said, looking away. "I was lying to her about going to Declan for help and then I was giving her photography advice and talking about fuzzy pictures of espresso and she kissed me."

Gus stopped licking his ice cream cone to stare. "She kissed you?"

"Planted one, right on the lips," he confirmed. "No warning, no nothing."

Gus waited for more.

For once, not even the sound of his own voice seemed to make Shawn want to continue.

"So what happened next?" Gus prompted finally.

Shawn sighed, shrugging one shoulder as he looked forlornly at his cone. "You saw the rest. Declan came down, bought a hotel. We left. She left. I'm here eating ice cream, and she's on a beach somewhere in a private hotel. End of story."

End of story.

End of story?

Not hardly.

"But she kissed you," Gus said.

Shawn looked at him again, and Gus could see now that his eyes were tired. "And she left with Declan," he said. "I don't have to be psychic to figure it out."

"Maybe she's confused," Gus suggested. With all the back and forth between Shawn and Juliet over the years, they were both due a little of that.

Shawn laughed slightly, looking away again. "There's nothing to be confused about," he said. "Declan's amazing. He's funny, he's rich, he would do anything for her. Declan can buy hotels and fly helicopters and pay off Curt Smith to hang around for a week. It's pretty obvious, really. Even for you before nine AM."

It was true, Declan had...well, everything. It was hard not to like the guy. It would be hard for any girl to resist. To an unknown outsider, in a contest between Shawn and Declan, it was pretty clear who would win.

Except for Declan's eyebrows. Shawn totally had the edge in the eyebrow department.

But Gus wasn't an unknown outsider.

And he had to think Juliet wasn't either. At least, that was what he'd thought before.

But Juliet still left. She kissed Shawn and left. She gave him everything he wanted and then walked away.

In short, she just broke Shawn's heart.

Gus hadn't actually thought it was possible. He'd seen Shawn upset before, perhaps even emotionally distraught when he'd found out that drinking Gatorade wouldn't help him dunk on the basketball court. And when Abigail had left him, Gus had known things had been particularly difficult.

But nothing to make Shawn skip out on malts at Red Robin, ignore phone calls, and show up with ice cream before nine AM.

No, this-this was a level of hurt Gus hadn't seen before. And he knew Shawn. And he knew Shawn wouldn't want to talk about it, so he'd talk about anything and everything else to compensate. Problem was, Gus wasn't sure which course of action made him a better friend: forcing Shawn to talk about it or playing along with Shawn's little games of denial along the way.

Because after all these years, after all the almost hook ups and near dates, Juliet had kissed him and walked, without as much as another word to justify it all.

There was harsh, and then there was harsh.

The thought of it made him want to find Juliet and chew her out. Her own confused feelings be damned. Kissing someone and going on vacation with the perfect man anyway? Was cruel and unusual. She deserved Declan's big bushy eyebrows.

Collecting himself, Gus said, "Shawn-"

But Shawn swiveled in his chair, getting to his feet before finishing off his cone entirely. "It's not important," he said, licking his fingers clean. "What is important is that you cosign the lease on our ice cream shoppe."

Somehow, this time, Gus couldn't bring himself to make the joke. "You know, we can talk about this."

Shawn picked up the papers from his desk, blinking at Gus. "And we will," he said. "In great detail, I promise. After all, I am very curious to know if you want to go with a 1950s theme or a 1800s vibe. I'm thinking of calling it Shawn's Ice Cream Emporium. Because the word emporium is rather spectacular."

Gus frowned. "That's not what I'm talking about."

Shawn shrugged. "Well, I'm open to suggestions," he said, tossing the papers at Gus. Then he paused, the facade dropping for just a moment. "We can talk about it over lunch. Del Taco?"

Gus met his eyes, understanding. Shawn had already said more than he normally would. The fact that Shawn had said anything at all was a sign of growth that Gus couldn't deny. And even if it wasn't fair, there wasn't much else to say. Shawn wanted to be with Juliet, but he wanted her to be happy. He wasn't going to stand in her way, not even when he wanted to.

It was actually almost noble. To let her kiss him and still let her go. Gus wondered absently what Clive Prescott would say about this understated chivalry.

But even if Shawn was growing up (slowly but surely), there was only so much maturity either of them could afford to use in one day. Between Shawn's confession about Juliet two nights ago and his emotional clarity in the office this morning, Gus knew this was about as much as Shawn was capable of dealing with at the time. This was a conversation they might have someday, but Gus knew it couldn't be today. Not if Shawn was skipping out on malts and buying ice cream before nine AM.

No, all signs pointed to Shawn barely keeping it together, and if Shawn was barely hanging on, Gus wasn't about to pry his fingers off until he fell. After all, Gus couldn't afford funeral arrangements in this present economy.

When they couldn't talk about it, they could eat their way into distraction. Some coping mechanisms never changed, and Gus really didn't want them to. Sometimes being a best friend meant being a best friend. Even if Gus really wanted Chinese today, he could handle Mexican for Shawn's sake. The guy was nursing a broken heart, after all.

Gus just hoped his best friend knew the sacrifices he made.

Gus nodded. "Del Taco," he agreed.

Shawn's stare lingered a minute more. Then his face broke into a grin. "The paperwork is pretty standard, from what I'm told. Just be sure to sign everywhere it's highlighted and initial every page and every third paragraph, just to be sure. And twice on every fifth page."

Gus rolled his eyes as Shawn made his way out the door. "Where are you going exactly?"

"To see if I can rustle us up a case," he called back. "We'll need some way to pay for the juke box I want to drop down from the ceiling."

Gus rolled his eyes again, with a snort this time as he glanced at the papers.

Which looked oddly legitimate. Like a real mortgage.

In Shawn's name.

In Gus' name.

From a bank.

"Oh my God," Gus said. Shawn had actually bought an ice cream shoppe.

He looked up, gaping after his best friend, who was long gone by then.

Part of Gus understood. Shawn was hurt, probably even grieving-in Shawn's own unique Shawn kind of way. He didn't know what to do with real emotions, especially a broken heart. When it came to dealing with Juliet, the ice cream shoppe was the only dream strong enough to do the trick. Shawn needed this. He needed his best friend to understand.

But the rest of Gus?

Wanted to know who the hell approved Shawn for anything resembling a loan before banks even opened.

Papers in hand, Gus stuffed the rest of the cone into his mouth before charging after his friend. "Shawn!" he called, almost tripping over his feet as he hurried out the door. Some kind of bad day, indeed. For both of them. "Shawn!"

 

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: September 12th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)

Apparently I don't have any Psych icons so you must make do with poor Sam.

Can I say how happy I am that you've ventured into this fandom and brought me along for the ride?

This tag is made of awesome and ice cream :)


Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: September 18th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
shawn made of win

You know, I can help you remedy the icon situation...

And I'm glad you've come with me. I don't know if I can write without you :)

Thanks!

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