There's now a podfic version, read by unadrift
He writes two letters before he leaves. One he addresses to his parents. It says, I've gone to the library for the next week or so, lots of studying to catch up on. He signs it, your dutiful son, and hopes to distract them from the fact that he's run away with the sheer ludicrousness of the thought.
The second letter he writes is for Gus. All it says is, I'm going treasure hunting with Uncle Jack. How cool is that?
He leaves them side-by-side on his bed before he goes out the window.
Of course his father reads them both, but Shawn had been expecting that.
Shawn scrolls through the contact list in his phone, before stopping at Lassie-Face, Fancy Pants and hitting Send.
"Is there any particular reason you're staking out my place?" he asks.
Lassiter is across the street in his Crown Vic, wearing dark shades and a press-on mustache that looks like it belongs in a low-budget western. Shawn supposes he thinks that counts as a disguise. "I don't know what you're talking about," Lassiter says.
"Even if I wasn't psychic," Shawn says, "I can see you."
"You're not psychic," Lassiter snaps.
"Then you really are the worst undercover officer Santa Barbara has ever known," Shawn says. "Seriously, what are you doing? Because you've been following me all day and it's starting to creep me out. Of course, I did find it really amusing the way Gus never spotted you. I even pointed you out that one time and he thought you were a freakishly tall Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Hey, there's an idea! Next time, wear a bowler hat."
"Spencer," Lassiter snaps. "Just--okay, fine, I've been following you."
"You don't say," Shawn says.
"I can't tell you why," Lassiter continues.
"So you're on official business, then?" Shawn asked. "You know, it's impossible to keep secrets from a psychic."
"I've got plenty of secrets from you," Lassiter snapped.
"Name one," Shawn says.
"I--that would entirely defeat the purpose, Spencer," he says. "If you don't know I’m certainly not telling you."
"Is it that you used to have a pet bunny named Snowflake?" Shawn asks. "Because I already know that."
"How did you--" Lassiter breaks off. "Look, for your edification, it was Mrs. Snowflake," he says, and hangs up on him.
Shawn stares down at the phone in disbelief, before hitting the speed dial again. "I can't believe you hung up on me," he says. "And Mrs. Snowflake? Really? That's even worse. That's almost as bad as that time you worked at the Weinerhouse and wore the hot-dog costume for three weeks in April of 89."
The other end of the line goes silent for a moment. "That never happened," Lassiter says after a moment. "I never did that."
"I've got pictures," Shawn says. "I'm telling you, Lassie, you don't have any secrets from me."
"Then why am I following you?" Lassiter asks. "If you know everything, you shouldn't have to ask."
Shawn snaps his phone shut, annoyed because he doesn't know why Lassiter is following him around looking like a cross between Chaplain and Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Not yet. He's just contemplating sneaking out the back to lose him when his phone rings. "Did you decide to go with the bowler hat?" he asks.
Shawn freezes at the sound of the voice, and leans back on his couch. "Jack," he says, wary and still a little hurt. It's the first time he hasn't called him Uncle Jack in as long as he can remember, but he can't bring himself to do it now.
"Hey, kid," Jack says. "I wanted to apologize about what happened, and I'm sorry I didn't meet you--but god you're clever, Shawnie. You always were."
"I didn't even need to be psychic to know you were going to double-cross me, Jack," Shawn tells him. He sits up straighter, watching Lassiter outside. Suddenly Lassiter's presence makes a whole lot of sense. "Let me guess," Shawn continues, "you just got off a flight back into Santa Barbara."
Jack laughs. "You know, I half-believe you really are psychic. Yeah. I'm back. I thought I'd come see you."
"I wouldn't recommend it," Shawn says. "The police are watching my apartment."
"We can meet somewhere," Jack says. "We need to talk. Anyway, they can't pin anything on me."
"You've got about a dozen partners doing five-to-ten that were more than happy to sell you out," Shawn tells him. "The police have been looking for you since you left, and dad wasn't exactly happy with you, if you know what I mean. He didn't sugarcoat things."
"When has he ever?" Jack asks. "Look, kid, I really need your help."
"If I say meet me at the Red Robin," Shawn says, "what are the chances this time you'll show?"
"I'll be there," Jack says, and hangs up.
Shawn watches Lassiter sitting across the street, and then draws the blinds and starts for the back door. He walks to the nearest bus stop, because Lassiter would have heard his motorcycle.
He doesn't know why he's bothering, but he goes. He always does. Shawn's often worried that he was to Gus what his Uncle Jack was to him.
This inability to say no bothers him, and he consoles himself with the fact that the last time he saw his Uncle Jack, he's pretty sure he came out on top.
Jack is sitting in the back drinking a Strawberry milkshake. Shawn orders chocolate just to be contrary and won't meet his eyes. "How much trouble do you think I'm in, really?" Jack asks.
Shawn sighs. "I'm sure you'll talk your way out of it," he says. "Like you said, I doubt they can pin anything on you. Anyway, the gold is safe in a museum. There might have been a manhunt if you'd gotten away with it."
"You're not serious," Jack says. "You actually gave it to a museum?"
"They love me there," Shawn says, and sucks up a deep gulp of chocolate milkshake. "I got them a dinosaur, too."
"Do you realize how much gold that was?" Jack asks. "That was the find of my life."
"You didn't find it," Shawn reminds him.
Jack lets out a breath and leans back in the booth. "Fair enough," he says.
"What are you doing here?" Shawn asks him.
Jack bites his lip, before leaning across the table to meet his eyes. "Do you remember that time I went looking for that treasure in Australia?"
"You mean that time we went together?" Shawn asks.
"If by that, you mean that time you stowed away on my flight and my own brother charged me with kidnapping, then yes, that's what I'm referring to," Jack says wryly.
"Those were good times," Shawn tells him.
"Well, they're coming back to haunt me," Jack snaps.
"Hauntings happen to be a specialty of mine," Shawn says, "but I'm assuming you're not referring to actual ghosts?"
"No," Jack says dryly. "I'm actually talking about a lot of mercenaries with guns."
"In that case," Shawn says, "I suggest you seek help elsewhere. I'm not much help in the mercenaries with guns department. In fact, as a rule, I tend to avoid them."
"You also tend to get them chasing their tails," Jack says. "You were doing it when you just nine-years old and you seem to have only improved on it since."
"I don't know what you're asking," Shawn says.
"Just do your thing, work your magic," Jack says. "I need to find something, fast, or they're going to kill me. You're psychic, right? Or close enough. I need you to find it for me."
"Are you going to tell me what it is?" Shawn asks.
"I think it's best if I don't," Jack tells him. "The less you know the better."
"How does that make sense to you?" Shawn asks. "You know what, never mind. No. The answer's no. I think you should go to the police and sort this out and let them know that someone's after you."
"You want me to turn myself in?" Jack asks incredulously. "What's happened to you, Shawnie?"
"I grew up," Shawn says. "You should try it."
"You think you're grown up?" Jack asks.
Shawn slurps up the last of the milkshake. "Maybe just when compared to you."
"I'm not turning myself in," Jack says. "I don't have much time. I don't have time to waste explaining to them why I haven't done anything wrong."
"I'm sure it would be especially hard to do considering all the things you actually have done wrong," Shawn says.
"You're starting to sound like your father," Jack snaps.
Shawn pauses for a moment, but the insult doesn't bother him as much as it would have, even a year ago. Now he thinks he'd rather be compared to Henry than to Jack. He takes out his wallet and starts counting out the money for the check. He considers paying it with his last gold coin just for spite, but he stops himself. He drops a penny on the counter in front of Jack instead.
Jack shakes his head. "I still can't believe you gave all that gold away."
"You left me for dead," Shawn says. "I think I still have the moral high ground in this situation."
"If I thought they would really have hurt you--" Jack starts.
"You would have done the same thing," Shawn says. "It's okay. I get it now."
"Look, whatever you're doing, I don't want anything to do with it," Shawn says. "I don't want to follow you around anymore. I just don't. I've got a life of my own."
"I need your help, kid," Jack says. "Sixty, forty, huh? What do you say? I never offer that to anyone."
"I'm going to my dad's for dinner," Shawn tells him, grabbing his jacket and getting up to leave. "You're welcome to come."
"Is that a yes?" Jack asks hopefully.
Shawn laughs and looks away. "That was a no," he says. He isn't surprised when Jack doesn't follow him out the door.
Shawn makes a stop on his way to his father's house, and doesn't even mind when it starts to rain and he still has to walk. It almost never rains in Santa Barbara, and Shawn likes things that don't happen much.
He's glad he decided to make his stop when he walks up his father's driveway and sees Lassiter sitting on the front steps. He's taken off the mustache and he's soaking wet and scowling.
Shawn hides his surprise behind his back, and smiles widely at him. He's soaking wet, too, but Shawn doesn't mind it and it shows. He's the one still standing out in the rain, but Lassiter's the one that looks miserable, dripping wet on the top step of his father's back porch.
"Fancy meeting you here," he says.
Lassiter's eyes narrow. "God damn it, Spencer," he snaps. "You knew I was tailing you."
"Which is precisely why I went out the back," Shawn says.
"Did you not consider that maybe I had a good reason?" Lassiter demands.
"A good reason?" Shawn asks. "What, you mean, like my Uncle Jack showing back up?"
Lassiter's eyes narrow impossibly further. "I don't care one way or another about him," he snaps. "He's an idiot, but he's smalltime."
"Stakeouts and tailing me? Seems like a lot of effort for smalltime," Shawn says. "You didn't even have anyone following me when the phantom of the Spelling Bee was out for my blood."
"I didn't like you then," Lassiter snaps, and then seems irritated, with both Shawn and himself, for admitting to that much.
Shawn steps forward, and pulls his arm from behind his back, dropping a bowler hat unceremoniously on Lassiter's head.
Lassiter doesn't even seem surprised. He just sighs, and takes it off. "Where did you get this? How did you know I would be here?" he asks.
"One of these days, you're going to have to stop asking me questions like that, and just accept that I know and see all," Shawn says.
"Yeah, don't hold your breath," Lassiter tells him, and just for that Shawn doesn't invite him in.
Lassiter follows him inside anyway.
Henry looks as startled as June Cleaver to find he has an unexpected guest, and Shawn watches in amusement as he hastily sets Lassiter a place. "I wish you would tell me when you bring friends, Shawn," he says.
"Actually, he just followed me home," Shawn tells him. "I call him Lassie. What do you say? Can we keep him?"
Henry snorts, but says nothing, and Lassiter's trying to shake the water out of his hair, which really is too easy for Shawn to comment on. He has certain standards he has to uphold to. He doesn't take shots made this easy.
"Seriously, not that I'm not glad to see you, Lassiter, but what are you doing here?" Henry asks.
"Oh, I was telling the truth," Shawn tells him. "He was following me. He's been following me all day."
Henry glares at Lassiter. "Why are you following my son?" he demands.
"Because your brother is back in town," Lassiter says grudgingly.
Henry tenses, before turning to glare at Shawn. "What's he gotten you into now?" he demands.
"Gee, Dad, don't jump to conclusions or anything, you wouldn't want to strain yourself," Shawn says.
"Come on, Shawn," Henry snaps. "Used to be, Jack got in trouble, he came to me--but that changed, when? Your first year of high school? Earlier? Somewhere along the line you became his go-to guy for fix-its, and it was cute when he was off on his little weirdo treasure hunts but last time he almost got you killed--"
"You might want to take a breath," Shawn interrupts.
Henry glares at him, but he can't help sucking in a deep breath after his long rant. Shawn nods. "Okay, continue," he says.
"This is serious, Shawn," Henry says. "I'm through protecting Jack. If you know where he is--"
"I don't," Shawn says. "I think it's all the pennies he carries around with him. The copper interferes with the spirit realm."
"I thought that was iron," Lassiter says.
"What are you, the spirit police?" Shawn asks, then frowns. "Huh. Does that figure of speech still work when you actually are with the police? It kind of loses its kick. Let's try again. What are you, the spirit Nazi?"
"Enough," Henry says. "Shawn, I want you to promise me you're not going to let Jack get you involved in another of his schemes."
"Oh, please," Shawn says. "Like I have time for his schemes. My schemes are a full-time job, and then I've still got Gus's schemes on top of that. I barely sleep as it is."
Henry frowns, but nods. "Good," he says. "Then lets eat."
Henry made baked potatoes and pork chops, but Shawn doesn't have much of an appetite. He moves the food artistically around his plate and tries to ignore the two stares baring down on him as his father and Lassiter discuss fishing or lures or something equally as thrilling, and Shawn just tunes them out, or tries to, and thinks back to Australia.
"Do you remember when I went to Australia?" Shawn asks suddenly.
His father drops his fork and looks at him like he's just hit him with a sucker punch. "What?" Henry asks.
"Australia," Shawn says. "Because I was thinking about--"
"No," Henry snaps. "We're not talking about this." He pushes back from the table and gets to his feet.
Shawn's eyes widened. "I just--"
"We're done here," Henry snaps. "You can let yourselves out." Henry slams into the kitchen and then back up the stairs. Shawn watches him go and then pushes his plate away from him so he can rest his head in his hands.
"What the hell was that?" Lassiter asks.
"He had a bad experience at The Outback Steakhouse," Shawn tells him quietly. "He hasn't been able to talk about Australia since."
Lassiter's eyes were narrowed. "Spencer--"
"Hey, since you're already stalking me and everything," Shawn says, "do you think you could give me a ride home?"
Shawn doesn't remember asking Lassiter up for a night cap, but somehow he's right behind him as he unlocks the door. Then he's pushing in front of him with his gun out and searching the house, Miami Vice style.
"My security system is state of the art," Shawn says. "You don't have to do that."
Lassiter looks skeptical. "What security system?"
Shawn lifts a small red thread. "I put this on the door handle. If it's missing, then I know someone's been here."
"That's ridiculous," Lassiter says.
"High tech is overrated," Shawn says. "Take your Nelson security service. Do you know they have a master override code in case they need to deactivate your system? You just enter 0097643 and the whole thing shuts down."
"You're making that up," Lassiter says, but he looks nervous.
"Try it sometime," Shawn tells him. "By the way, love the new place."
Lassiter looks like he's trying really hard to just ignore him, because if he acknowledges him then he might have to kill him. He holsters his gun and doesn't meet his eyes. "I've been meaning to upgrade anyway," he says.
Shawn holds out his red string in a gesture of goodwill. "Here," he says. "You can have mine."
Lassiter actually laughs, and Shawn breaks out in a grin. One laugh from Lassiter is worth like twenty laughs from anyone else, because Shawn always has to work that much harder to get them.
Shawn drops the string on the end table when Lassiter refuses to take it from his hand, and sticks his hands in his pockets. "You probably need to be getting home," he says.
Lassiter shakes his head. "I'm keeping you under surveillance," he says. "Since you already spotted me, I might as well be comfortable while I do it."
"I never said I would make it easy on you," Shawn says. "Anyway, isn't it against the rules to crash on the couch of the guy you're spying on? I'm sure it must be in some rulebook somewhere. That just seems like good sense."
Lassiter looks away again, kind of shiftily, Shawn notices. He watches him speculatively. "The Chief didn't tell you to watch me," he says, in sudden realization. "She doesn't care about Jack."
"I put out the APB," Lassiter admits. "When it came in that he was back in Santa Barbara, I thought I'd keep an eye on you on my time off."
"What, watching football like a normal guy was too boring?" Shawn asks. "You had to tail someone instead?"
"When have you ever watched football?" Lassiter asks.
Shawn looks offended. "I never said I was a normal guy," he says. "Anyway, they play America's Top Model reruns at the same time, what do you expect me to do?"
"Look, last time this guy showed up, you were tied up, nearly kidnapped, shot at, almost killed," Lassiter says, and he looks frustrated. Shawn's pretty sure that it's really bothering Lassiter that he cares.
"That's almost sweet," he says. "But as you can see, I'm fine. I told Jack I wasn't going to help him this time."
"Well, that's--wait, you saw him?" Lassiter snaps. "God damn it, Spencer, how could you lie to me about this?"
"To be fair," Shawn says, "you didn't actually ask. It's only lying if you ask. If you'd said, hey, did you meet your Uncle Jack at the Red Robin and let him know the police were looking for him, and I said, no, of course I didn't--then that would have been lying."
"Perfect," Lassiter snaps. "That's just perfect, Spencer. He's going to be out of town again before we get near him."
"That was kind of the point," Shawn says.
Lassiter pauses. "Do you realize what you're saying to me? What you're admitting to?"
Shawn holds out his hands, wrists up. "You going to arrest me for aiding and abetting, Lassie? Do you want to take me in?"
Lassiter looks frustrated. "No," he says. "Vick would never press charges, anyway."
"But that's not why you won't do it," Shawn says with certainty.
"Don't think you know what I'll do," Lassiter tells him.
"I know what everyone will do," Shawn says. "It's one of those neat little fringe benefits of being psychic."
Lassiter grabs the collar of his shirt and slams him into the nearest wall. Shawn goes limp to absorb the impact, because he's expecting it. Lassiter always starts manhandling him when he loses his footing in the verbal portion of their interactions. "That's assault, you know," Shawn says. "It's just lucky for you I'm not going to take you in either."
"Sometimes I think I hate you," Lassiter tells him, and he sounds strangely breathless.
"And the rest of the time?" Shawn asks.
"The rest of the time, I want to do this," he says, and kisses him.
Shawn wants to forget all about Uncle Jack and his countless fifty-fifty splits and those pennies he leaves behind like breadcrumbs everywhere he goes. Shawn's always thought it would be best just to forget, as people who remember everything always do.
He figures distraction is the next best thing, and so he kisses Lassiter back. He'll worry later about the fact that this was one thing he hadn't actually seen coming.
Gus lets himself in about seven A.M. He starts the coffee, he reads yesterday's paper that Shawn had stolen from him and sits at the table. He knows the coffee will wake Shawn soon, but he's a little surprised that he's not already up.
As much as Shawn liked to build his reputation up as a late sleeper, Gus knows that most of the time he never makes it to bed at all.
Gus doesn't look up when he hears the footsteps. "We got any new cases, Shawn?" he asks.
There's a weird, almost strangled sound, that doesn't seem Shawn-like at all, and Gus looks up. Lassiter is standing in the doorway wearing nothing but a pair of four-leaf clover covered boxers, eyes wide, and Gus can't help it--he lets out a girly little scream and backs away.
Shawn comes in right behind Lassiter, already fully dressed and looking wide-awake. "Oh, Gus, you're here," he says, like nothing's wrong at all. "Good. I was afraid it would be awkward when you found out Lassiter and I were totally doing it."
"Oh my god!" Gus shouts. "Shawn, what the hell!"
Shawn looks over at Lassiter. "I think he's taking it rather well," he says.
Lassiter's eyes were still wide and he was backing away. "I have to...um...go find my pants," he says.
"They're hanging from the ceiling fan," Shawn calls after him.
"I think I'm hallucinating," Gus says. "Or else this is a really bizarre nightmare."
"Dude," Shawn says. "You have nightmares like this? I bet Freud would have a lot to say about that."
"Shawn," Gus snaps. "You and Lassiter don't even like each other."
"I happen to like Lassiter a lot," Shawn says. "I like him even better since last night."
"I don't want to know!" Gus shouts.
"Well, you asked," Shawn tells him, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"I changed my mind," Gus says. "New policy. I don't want to know anything ever."
Lassiter comes back in, this time he's thankfully wearing clothes. Still, Gus knows what's under them now, and that's something he could have gone his whole life just fine without.
"I have to go to work," Lassiter says. "I, uh, that is to say--"
"You don't think we should tell anyone," Shawn finishes.
Lassiter looks at the floor. "Well, we do work together, I think it would make people uncomfortable and I--"
"I already texted Juliet that we were completely in love and getting married next Tuesday in Massachusetts," Shawn says. "I really wish you'd told me earlier that you wanted to keep things quiet."
Lassiter lets out a breath. "You're kidding, right?"
Shawn grins at him widely. "Hard to tell, isn't it?" he asks.
Lassiter steps forward almost like he wants to kiss him goodbye, but shifts awkwardly as he remembers Gus is there. "Just be careful, okay?" Lassiter demands. "If he contacts you again, don't meet him, just call me and let me know."
"You know that just because we slept together that doesn't mean I'm going to do what you say now, right?" Shawn asks. "If anything, I'll probably want to annoy you even more. I hear make-up sex is all the rage."
Lassiter rolls his eyes and then pushes past Gus out the doors. Shawn grins into his coffee and Gus pushes the palms of his hands into his eyes like he can erase what he's seen.
"Lassiter?" he asks when the door slams. "Seriously? Lassiter? Carlton Lassiter? Carries a gun? Wants you dead?"
"Turns out he likes me," Shawn says. "I'm starting to think everyone likes me. I should have my own show. I'm a lot more loveable than Ray Romano."
Gus looks wary. "I'm starting to think maybe you do have some kind of freaky psychic powers," he says. "Last time I saw you and Lassiter together he was about to punch you out."
Shawn shrugs. "I was as surprised as you," he says. "But the man can kiss."
"Too much information, Shawn," Gus snaps. He drops the newspaper on the table. "Are you going to tell your dad?"
"I think I'll just wait for him to find out on his own and completely freak out," Shawn says. "I think that'll be more fun."
"Tell your father, Shawn," Gus says.
"You heard Lassiter," Shawn says. "We're not telling people. I've never been anyone's dirty little secret before."
"You're not," Gus says, and frowns. "If that's how he's going to be, Shawn, then end this before it starts."
Shawn laughs. "Now, what would be the fun in that? When this ends, I'm thinking there's going to be fireworks. I'd rather not miss them."
"It's your funeral," Gus says. Then he pauses. "Hey, wait, what did Lassiter mean by 'if he contacts you'? If who contacts you? Are you sleeping with more people I don't know about?"
"Dude, get your mind out of the gutter," Shawn says. "He was talking about Jack."
"Jack? Uncle Jack?" Gus asks.
"No, Cracker Jack," Shawn says. "I stole his toy surprise and now he's pissed."
"Shawn," Gus snaps.
"Yes, Gus, Uncle Jack," Shawn says, and rolls his eyes. "He's back in town."
Gus looks wary. "You're not doing anything stupid, are you?" he asks. "Aside from Lassiter, I mean."
"No, pretty much I'm just doing Lassiter," Shawn says. "I told Jack I wasn't going to help him. He's looking for something. It's all very mysterious. He wouldn't even tell me what it was, just that it has to do with Australia."
Gus's eyes narrowed. "Oh, you mean that time you ran away and ended up in another country?"
"Everyone seems to have their own spin on what happened," Shawn says defensively. "It was all very innocent. Lots of kids run away. It's all part of growing up."
"Yeah, lots of kids pack up a little suitcase and make it three blocks, Shawn," Gus snaps. "Lots of kids don't stowaway on planes and end up in Australia."
"I didn't know that the plane was going to Australia," Shawn protests.
"Doesn't make it better, Shawn," Gus says.
"Well, regardless," Shawn says, "the point is that Uncle Jack's trying to find whatever it was he was looking for then."
"But you're not getting involved, right?" Gus asks. He sounds wary. He knows Shawn well.
"Of course not," Shawn says. "I haven't been thinking about it at all."
"Good," Gus says, and he sits back at the table with his newspaper.
"Although," Shawn says, "Jack did hint that some people might be out to kill him."
"And I'm thinking this is kind of my fault, what with it kind of being my fault he didn't get whatever was in Australia that first time--"
"So maybe if I just took it on like a little side project, you know, in my free time, which is like, the twenty hours a day that I don't spend hanging around the Psych office, and--"
"No, Shawn," Gus says. "You're not doing this again."
"I'm not saying I'm going to work with Jack, or even trust him, but what would it hurt, really, to just do a bit of research?" Shawn asks.
"You don't do research, you don't even really investigate, you just show up places and stumble on things, and when Jack's involved lately that means men with guns. So no, Shawn," Gus says. "Forget about it."
Shawn glares at Gus over his coffee. "You know that I especially don't have to do what you say, right?" he asks. "We're not even sleeping together."
"True, but unlike Lassiter, I have your father on my speed-dial," Gus says, and turns to pick up the newspaper again.
"You wouldn't," Shawn says.
"I just can't decide where to start," Gus says. "With Lassiter, or with Jack?"
"Fine," Shawn says petulantly. "I'll let Jack handle this one on his own."
"Good," Gus says.
If Gus wasn't still so off balance from seeing Lassiter in his underwear, he probably would have remembered that Shawn never gave in that easy.
Shawn rides in the back of Jack's jeep. He hides under the tarp with his Knight Rider suitcase and falls asleep until they come to a screeching halt at the airfield.
Jack is distracted talking to his partners, something about a million-dollar deal, so Shawn climbs out of the car and then right into the plane. There's a stack of crates in the back, and he moves behind them and lies down.
Jack finds him sleeping next to the box of knock-off designer jeans when they're halfway there. He laughs so hard that he wakes Shawn up. Shawn was dreading this part, but all Uncle Jack does is smile and say, "You're lucky I think this is really funny," and "I hope you know your father's going to kill me."
It's the first time Uncle Jack offers him a fifty-fifty split. And it's the first time he lets him down.
Henry doesn't look happy to see him. He stands in the doorway blocking the way in just like he had that first day Shawn found out he was back, and he feels eight years old again, with his hand caught in the cookie jar.
"Are you going to make me stand on the front steps all day?" Shawn asks.
With a disgusted snort, Henry turns and walks into the house, leaving Shawn to follow him. "I thought we had a deal," he says. "I thought we weren't ever going to talk about Australia again. It's worked for years."
"Exactly," Shawn says. "It's been years. You can't still be mad. I was just a kid. Kids do stupid things."
"You kind of broke the scale of stupid things that kids do, Shawn," Henry snaps.
Shawn glances on the pictures on the mantle. All of the pictures of Jack are gone and have been since their latest treasure hunt. Henry had this habit of packing people away. Madeleine's pictures have been sitting up in the attic for ten years, and Shawn wonders if his father put his pictures away in those years they didn't speak, but it's not something he's ever going to ask.
"Jack's in trouble," Shawn says, and pulls his eyes from the mantle. There are lots of pictures of Shawn on the mantle now, and that's comforting at least. He knows his father keeps the newspaper clippings in the top drawer of his desk.
"I don't care," Henry snaps.
"Yes you do," Shawn says, following on his heels. "You do care, and so do I, and it doesn't matter that we don't want to. That's just family, right? Love until you hate."
Henry snorts. "That's definitely the Spencer definition, isn't it?"
Shawn ignores him. "I don't remember much about the trip home," Shawn says. "And it's weird, because I hardly ever forget anything. I need you to fill in the blanks."
"I wasn't there," Henry says. "As I recall, you snuck out in the middle of the night and got in Jack's jeep. We found your little notes the next morning. You were probably over the Pacific by then."
"I mean after you came and got me," Shawn says.
"I didn't stick around much after I got you," Henry says. "If you're asking what kind of trouble Jack was in, I honestly don't know. It wasn't him I was worried about at the time."
"So you don't know if he ever found what he was looking for?" Shawn asks.
Henry laughs. "Has he ever?" he asks.
Shawn has to admit, his father has a point. "Yeah, okay, thanks," he says.
"Anything else?" Henry asks.
Shawn considers letting him know that he slept with Lassiter last night, but he decides to stick with Plan A. "Nope," he says.
Henry nods. "Good, because I have to go to the Home Depot."
"Okay," Shawn says, "but one of these days I'm going to hold an intervention. Eventually you're going to have to acknowledge that you have a problem. No one needs that many power tools."
"Goodbye, Shawn," Henry says, and ushers him out the door.
Shawn starts back towards his bike, and his phone rings. Caller ID says Uncle Jack. He almost doesn't answer, but only almost. "Yeah?" he says.
"Okay, you win," Jack says. "I'm sorry. And I'd tell you what I was looking for, but I don't know. You're psychic, right? Can't you just divine it?"
"I thought we already had this conversation," Shawn says. "I'm pretty sure I said I wasn't going to help."
"I'll hire you," Jack says.
"You don't have any money," Shawn says.
"Well, whose fault is that?" Jack asks.
Shawn sighs. "Go to the police," he says.
"Shawnie--" Jack says.
"I'm not going to help you unless you do," Shawn says.
Jack's answer is the dial tone when he hangs up. Shawn hadn't really expected anything else.
- - - - -
Gus is at his pharmaceutical office, and his father is at the Home Depot, and he doesn't trust himself to go to the station. Shawn's a good actor, he could play Lassiter easy, act the same that he always does, but he's pretty sure that Lassiter's reactions would give them away.
And if Lassiter doesn't want anyone to know, then Shawn's not going to tell anyone. Contrary to popular belief, Shawn's really good at keeping secrets. He's just so good at it that no one thinks he has any.
Shawn decides that since he has no one available to distract him, he might as well look into Jack's case. It's not like Gus actually made him promise, or cross his heart, or anything. He unlocks the door to the Psych office and throws his coat on Gus's desk, before dropping in front of his laptop.
Shawn glances up. Jack is leaning against the window, looking at the floor. Shawn's starting to wonder if maybe Gus is right--his secret to detective work seems to be that the answers come and find him.
"You did well for yourself."
"Fifty-eighth job was the charm," Shawn says.
Jack shakes his head. "You're not kidding, are you?"
Shawn crosses his feet up on his desk and leans back, twirling a pencil between the fingers of his right hand. "What are you doing here, Jack?"
"I want a chance to explain," Jack says. "You didn't seem interested on the phone, so here I am, like a real client." He puts two-hundred dollars on Shawn's desk. "I'm guessing that should cover at least a consultation?"
Shawn barely looks at it. "I don't want your money," he says.
"Shawn, please, will you just listen?" Jack asks. "This concerns you, too. You were there."
Shawn watches his uncle carefully for any signs that he's being deceived, but he doesn't see any. He picks up the two hundred dollar bills and holds them out. "Keep your money, I'll take your explanation as payment instead."
"Does that mean you're taking on my case?" Jack asks.
Shawn nods slowly. "It means I'm going to listen to what you have to say," he says. "Then we'll talk."
Jack takes his money back, folding it and sticking it in his back pocket. "I was young and stupid, okay?" he says. "I made it out like I had a lot more to do with that job than I actually did, and I was never searching for treasure. All I was supposed to do was pick up a package, hold it for a couple days, and then drop it off at the airfield. My cut was only 2%, and they never even told me what it was."
Shawn frowns. That at least answered why his uncle wouldn't tell him what he was supposed to find. "Sounds simple enough. What went wrong?"
Jack snorts. "You did, kid. Henry showed up the day I was supposed to drop the package off. When I didn’t show they thought I double-crossed them."
Shawn glances away. "I remember that. You and Dad fought."
"If by fought you mean he knocked me on my ass, than yeah, we did," Jack says. "Look, I don't blame him, or you. I know I should have taken you right back, you never should have been involved in any of this, but I had a schedule to keep."
"I wanted to go with you," Shawn says, unable to let all the blame rest with Jack.
"Of course you did," Jack says. "But I was supposed to be the grown up."
Shawn changes the subject, because he knows Jack is right. "So what happened? Couldn't you just tell them it was a misunderstanding, give them the package?"
"That's the mystery of it," Jack says. "The package I picked up, it was this small wooden box, when Henry and I fought, it got knocked off the table, it fell open."
"So you did find out what it was? What was in it?" Shawn asks, dropping his feet off the desk and leaning forward.
"Nothing," Jack says. "It was empty. I tore the whole motel apart. There wasn't anything there. I think someone double-crossed me first, wanted me to take the blame for it. I don't think I ever picked up what I was supposed to."
"How did you get away from the mercenaries?" Shawn asks. "If you didn't have it?"
"They finished the job Henry started," Jack says wryly. "Knocked me around a bit, then took everything. And I mean everything. They even took the pennies from my pockets. They said not to leave town."
Shawn grins slightly. "I assume you were on the first flight back to the States?"
"You bet your ass I was," Jack agrees. "I don't know how they tracked me down again, it's been what, over twenty years? But they caught up with me in Peru, and I got the first flight to Santa Barbara that I could. Only trouble is, if your police friends could find out I'm here, then so can they."
"You really think they've been looking for you for twenty years?" Shawn asks.
"No, probably not," Jack says. "More likely than not I just made a deal with the wrong guys, and they reported back to the crew I used to work for back then. They still think I screwed them over, they think I've been living the high life or something."
Shawn nods. This changes things, because now he knows he really was partly to blame for what's happened. He still remembers his father yelling--his father dragging him from the room to get them on the first flight back. Jack hadn't come to visit for years after that.
"Will you help me?" Jack asks. "Will you take my case? I got no one else, kid."
Shawn knows there's only one thing he can do, so he nods. "Yeah," he says. "Okay, I'll try, but this isn't going to be easy. If this thing, that we don't even know what it is, was stolen over twenty years ago before you ever picked it up--then I don't think we have any chance of finding it."
"Can't you just, I don't know, ask some spirits?" Jack asks.
Shawn rolls his eyes at Jack. "Jack--"
"Right, of course not," Jack says. "Cause you're not psychic, you've just been brainwashed by Henry the super cop. I don't think telling me how many hats the mercenaries are wearing is going to help."
Shawn crosses his arms. "I can do more than that, but let's be realistic. The easiest thing for you to do would be to get out of town, so why haven't you? You're good at running, Jack. You picked a strange time to stop."
"Okay, okay," Jack says, and bites his lip before turning away. "I may have reason to believe that they're going to be coming after you."
Shawn frowns. "Why would they be coming after me?" he asks. "I was a kid when this happened. I didn't even see any of the men you were working with."
Jack winces. "I may have told them that you could find what they were looking for," he says.
Shawn feels suddenly nauseous and gets to his feet. "Right," he says. "Yeah. That makes sense. Why wouldn't you tell them to come after me? What better way to keep them from coming after you?"
"It wasn't like that," Jack protests. "This is why I'm here, Shawn. I wasn't going to just leave you for them to come after, but this is why we've got to find it, don't you see? It's the only way we're both getting out of this."
Shawn knows what he should do. He should call Lassie the way he had been warned to, let him know what was going on. Jack could be free to run as far as he wanted if Shawn had police protection, but then he'd most likely never see his uncle again, and who knew how long Shawn would have to look over his shoulder.
Shawn sighs and turns to face Jack. "Start again from the beginning," he says. "I need to know everything."
"Aiden Prost was the mastermind," Jack says. "He's the one that sent the mercenaries after me now."
"Mastermind?" Shawn says. "Then I'm assuming what you were picking up was stolen?"
"Of course," Jack says, as though that had been a given.
"Okay, okay, that's good," Shawn says.
"How is that good?" Jack asks. "That it was stolen only makes it harder to find. We're dealing with criminals, Shawn."
"Yes, but we have Google," Shawn says, and starts up his laptop. "We need to see if there's any reports of something stolen from shortly before we went to Australia."
"You can do that?" Jack asks.
"I can try," Shawn says. "Gus is our resident Googlogist, but I don't think asking him to help in this case is going to go over well."
Shawn finds a website on major events in Australia in 1987, and clicks on the page. "Robberies, where are the robberies? Since when is burglary not a major event? Who even cares about who was married in December of 1987? They're probably all divorced by now anyway."
Jack leans over his shoulder. "Maybe we should try the newspapers?"
"Wait, wait--" Shawn says. "Here's something. An article about a robbery in Adelaide, some $1,000,000 dollars of stolen goods were taken from Arnold Cramer's home on Tuesday, March 11th 1987."
"That was what? The week before our trip?" Jack asks.
Shawn shakes his head. "Less, even. We went on the 15th. Your deal was for a $1,000,000, wasn't it? That wooden box you picked up--was it smaller than a breadbox?"
"Definitely," Jack says. "It was about the size of a ring box. Maybe it was a diamond?"
"Maybe," Shawn says. "Or maybe he over insured it and it's not worth that much at all." Shawn glances up when he hears a car door slam, and looks out the Psych front window to see Lassiter coming to the door, wearing his huge aviator glasses and looking less Charlie Chaplain, more James Bond, than he had yesterday.
"Uh, you're going to want to go out the back," Shawn says. He tosses Jack his keys. "Go to my apartment, okay? I'll meet up with you later, but trust me, you don't want Lassie finding you here. He likes you even less than he used to like me."
"Got it," Jack says, and starts towards the back room. "I really appreciate this, Shawn, and I know you're not going to tell the police anything, right?"
"If you know, then why are you asking?" Shawn asks, before heading to the door to let Lassiter in. Jack frowns, but disappears before Shawn reaches the door.
"Lassie!" Shawn says. "This is a surprise."
Lassiter leans forward, looking inside the office suspiciously. "You weren't answering your phone," he says. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"I always have time for you, Lassie, I just forgot to turn on my phone," Shawn says, before seeing what Lassiter was carrying, and breaking out into a huge grin. "You brought me a pineapple smoothie?"
Lassiter holds it out almost shyly. "Yeah. We . . . uh, we need to talk."
Shawn grabs the pineapple smoothie and sucks up enough of it to give himself a brain freeze. "You're not breaking up with me, are you? That would have to be a record. Even my relationships usually last longer than twenty-four hours."
"I'm not breaking up with you," Lassiter says, pushing past Shawn with a roll of his eyes. "What I'm here about is whether or not there's something here that can be broken."
"There's lots of things in here that can be broken," Shawn says. "I just destroyed Gus's Red Phantom figurine last Tuesday. Of course, I told him it flew out the window, but I don't think he believed me."
"What?" Lassiter asks. "No, I mean what are we--are we . . . is this a thing? Are we--do we want to, that is, I mean, do you think--?"
Shawn grins. "Are we going steady, you mean?" he asks. "I don't know. Let me borrow your letterman jacket and class ring and I'll consider it."
Lassiter glares at him. "Is this all just a game to you?"
"Absolutely," Shawn says.
"Right," Lassiter snaps. "Then I guess that answers my question. Enjoy your smoothie, Spencer."
Shawn moves in front of him, splaying himself out in front of the door before Lassiter can leave. "Don't you listen to Wayne Fontana? Game of Love? What about the recent rendition by the adorable Michelle Branch and Santana? Everything's a game. That doesn't mean I don't take it seriously. I'm very serious about my gaming, just ask Gus. He's still bitter that I totally kicked his ass at Mario 64. I played it through like five hours straight."
"Spencer," Lassiter says, sighing and running a hand down his face. "I have no idea what you just said."
"Yeah, but that's--" Shawn breaks off. "First dates."
"What?" Lassiter snaps.
"I'm really good at first dates," Shawn says. "They always work out. Most people don't like first dates, most people think they're awkward, or whatever, but I love meeting new people, I can be whoever--but then if you go out with them again, then suddenly they already know who you are."
"You're still not making any sense," Lassiter says.
"Basically I'm trying to say I'm really bad at relationships," Shawn says. "I'm great at making friends. Not so good at keeping them. Gus is the one constant exception to my rule--except I think things have been kind of different here, with you and Jules and Buzz. I don't want to screw it up."
"You're babbling," Lassiter says, but he's grinning.
"I know," Shawn says. "I'm a babbler. It's a talent. I could probably build a whole tower."
"We haven't actually had one, you know," Lassiter says.
"Had one what?" Shawn asks.
"A first date," Lassiter says.
"Oh, I guess not," Shawn agrees.
"What do you say? Eight tonight? Mario's?" Lassiter asks.
"Mario's? Really? You know Lutz likes that place, right?" Shawn asks. "Juliet says the bread is good, but she also liked Lutz, so I'm not sure we can trust her judgment. How about my place? I can make us something."
Lassiter thinks about it. "Okay," he says. "I didn't know you cooked."
"I have an Easy Bake Oven and everything," Shawn assures him.
Lassiter sighs. "I'll bring some food, I'll cook," he says.
"You can cook?" Shawn asks. "With like a real oven?"
"A little, and I'm just guessing, but that's probably more than you," Lassiter says.
Shawn grins. "Well, it's got to be better than Mario's. It's a date."
onto part two