- Text Size +
Story Notes:
This is SERIOUSLY updated from the one posted in the Secret Santa 2017 story. I blame my muse for hitting me over the head with ideas at the last minute.
Author's Chapter Notes:

I posted both chapters at once.


This story can technically take place any time after season 5 and before mid season 8. I don't think I have any spoilers in here to warn about either.

*I do not own Psych*


Shawn stumbled down the dark streets of Santa Barbara, alone and terrified. Not to mention he was in the worst pain he'd felt since, ever.

He did his best to keep pressure on the seeping wound. He didn't want to bleed out, or leave a trail for the murderers to finish the job. He wanted to see how bad the damage was, but the street lamps only illuminated him enough to make his formerly blue and white striped shirt currently tied around his waist look almost tar black.

Shawn wasn't sure how much further his injured body would carry him, but he hoped it would hold out just a little longer. Long enough to get to the only place he knew no one would find him. Not even his friends.

As he trudged on, Shawn reflected on how messed up his situation was, and how much he'd messed up the whole situation to begin with.

It all went so very, very wrong.

I really hate it when Gus is right...


Thirty Minutes Ago:

"Ow! What was that!?

"You, stepping on my toe!"

"Well it's dark, Shawn!" Gus griped as they felt their way along the hallway. "Why are we even here anyway? The police should be doing this and you know it."

"The reporter's girlfriend came to us, Gus." Shawn pointed out. "Besides, Pay Per View Wrestling isn't going to pay for itself, and Brock Lesnar is going against John Cena next week. You wanna miss that?"

"No. I just think there's a way to watch wrestling and not get arrested for breaking and entering. Other people do it all the time."

Footsteps in the room above them cut short Shawn's snarky reply as they both paused and tried not to breathe. The large Victorian house was in the richer and older part of Santa Barbara. Though the house may be big, but Shawn was sure the walls were paper thin.

They were already starting to hear voices as they ascended the stairs.

"Mr. Krumpin please. I swear I didn't tell anyone."

"Isn't that contrary to what you do? Aren't you supposed to tell everyone? That's what a reporter does right?"

The stair beneath Shawn creaked, and they both froze in place again. Shawn waited with wide eyed terror as Gus started to panic.

"I knew we shouldn't be here. I knew it, I knew it."

"Gus, have I ever steered us wrong?" he gave his best friend a hurt expression.

Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for Gus, the black man had long since been inoculated against Shawn's charms. "You mean besides Mexico?" Gus asked through slitted eyes.

Shawn tisked and finished climbing the stairs, keeping half his attention on his argument with Gus. "Why do you always have to bring up Mexico? I have no shame for trying to re-home an abused donkey."

"It was a mule, Shawn. Besides, there's plenty wrong with it when it's the Tijuana mayor's prize winning mule!"

"It needed to be back in its natural habitat!"

"Mules don't have a natural habitat, Shawn! They're man made hybrids that don't occur in the-"

"Shhhh." Shawn put his finger up to his mouth. He'd heard movement on the other side of the door but apparently Gus' super senses stopped with his nose, because he continued;

"Don't shush me, Shawn. You know how much I hate it."

"Hey, you hear that?" The Hispanic voice was coming from under the door five feet to their left. "It sounds like there's someone out there. We better hurry this up."

"Why don't you go and check it out if you're so concerned, Martino."

"I'm just staying, why are we wasting time with this reporter? Just kill the cabrón and get it over with."

This was sounding more and more like the reporter they'd come to find; a man named Ray Andela from the Santa Barbara Sunrise Press who'd gone missing the day before. His distraught girlfriend had showed up at Psych, begging them to look into her boyfriend's disappearance. She'd given them this house to start at.

It was the house of business man Gordon Krumpin, and it seems she was right.

With deductive skills that spot on, it seemed like she should have been a detective too. That or she'd already known where her boyfriend was and sent them instead of the police to go get him.

Shawn didn't like the thought of that. It was too close to a set up for him to be comfortable. "Gus, I've got a bad feeling about this."

"No no! I swear no one knows! Don't do it! The cops won't find out anything I-!"

A sickening smack cut off the man's words, and both men flinched, having enough experience to know, that the reporter wouldn't be getting up anytime soon.

"Go back downstairs, let's get out of here and call Lassie and Jules."

Gus nodded emphatically and they slinked backwards towards the stairs, and freedom, hoping that whoever was inside wouldn't come bursting out the door to meet them face to face. Just in case though, Shawn hit the speed dial for 911. He couldn't risk speaking to Jules and letting them know where he was, and had to count on the emergency number's tracking system to find them.

"Who the hell are you guys!?"

They both turned to see an officer half way up the stairs pointing his gun at them. The man had dark eyes, a long nose and short but gelled brown hair. He was also wearing a beat cop uniform.

"Wow, you guys are fast." Shawn whispered in a hurried tone, "You need to call in back up. I'm pretty sure they just killed a someone in there..." He trailed off.

Something wasn't sitting right.

The officer had gotten here before he'd even dialed. As efficient as the Santa Barbara police were, crime scene teleportation machines were a few years off. That meant the officer had been there before and had most likely heard the murder himself.

The officer moved closer, still tracking them with his firearm, and Shawn got a better look at him.

Two things about this cop caught his eye instantly; The first was his gun, which wasn't police standard issue. It looked like his personal weapon. That alone wouldn't trip his suspicions, but coupled with the fact that even though the man had the SBPD patch, he was missing his actual badge.

It was obvious, to him at least, that the officer did not want to be recognized.

Oh man, we are so dead.

To make matters worse, and as a credit to his own stupidity, he hadn't told anyone where they were going. He had to do something, fast! Using the element of surprise, Shawn sprung forward and pushed the cop into the stair railing, dropping his phone in the process but managing to get down the stairs.

"Gus run!" He hoped Gus was right behind him as he hit the door and opened it wide.

That's when something slammed him into the door jam, bouncing him out of the foyer, and rolling him down the front steps.

"Shawn!" Gus' cries barely register above gunshots that echoed though the area. Shawn saw some hitting the cement around him and he quickly scrambled to the bushes next to the steps. As the shock wore off and the pain set in he realized that his stomach is bleeding.

He'd been shot.



Just put one foot in front of the other, c'mon man. Shawn pushed himself to make it up the short walk of the small white house. Considering who lived here, the yard and house looked completely respectable, and not at all indicative of the eccentric owner. As he went up the sidewalk, he double checked the address in his memory, only once having spied it on a clipboard at the station.

Satisfied, he made his way to the door and knocked, leaving handprints of blood on the white door.

Loud barks sounded as lights came on in a clear path leading to the front door. Shawn saw the curtain in the window sway before the porch light came on.

Come on! Please let me in!

The last thing he wanted to do was to bleed out right on the doorstep. He gripped the railing tighter with his free hand, willing himself to keep standing.

Finally, a white haired, balding man stepped out, taking a good look at him. "Shawn? It's 3am and... is that blood?"

"Woody." He gasped out, before collapsing forward onto the surprised coroner.

The last garbled thing he heard before completely losing consciousness was Woody calling over his shoulder to someone inside the house. "Max! Looks like we got company!"


"The deceased is Ray Andela, age thirty six. Reporter for one of the local rags that keep popping up." Carlton pointed at the body with his pen. "Blunt force trauma. According to initial reports, he was meeting Krumpkin for an exposé of unsanitary cooking practices in area businesses. Sounds like BS to me."

Juliet looked up from the body long enough to correct him. "It's Krumpin. He owns at least one restaurant in town. It could be plausible." She watched one of the analysts bag the bloody candlestick holder.

"I'm just saying, who has a meeting at two in the morning to talk about washing your hands after you go to the bathroom?" He nodded to the door at the female officer interviewing Gordon Krumpin. "Let's get this over with."

Gordon was talking fast, and was clearly upset, but Juliet wondered who wouldn't be upset if someone was just murdered in your bedroom. "Mr. Krumpkin, can you tell us what happened?"

The man registered slight annoyance at the butchery of his name before he explained, "He just burst in and hit Ray on the back of the head! Never seen anything like it. The man was completely crazy!"

"Were you and the victim alone at the time of the break in?" Carlton questioned. Juliet hoped they'd have another witness, or it would be a very hearsay argument. One man would blame the other and they'd have to do some serious digging and waiting on forensic evidence to crack this one.

"Yes, we were alone! We didn't stand a chance. I'd be a goner too if they hadn't tripped my house alarm."

Carlton looked up from his writing. "Them? There was more than one?"

Gordon nodded, "Yeah! Him and his friend even attacked the officer who responded to my house alarm."

That caught Juliet's attention. "Did you recognize either of them?"

Gordon only shook his head, but the female officer responded, "Before he left, Officer Finley Terry said they took one of the suspects into custody. The other escaped on foot. We have units looking for him now. According to him, the perp might be shot, so he probably won't get far."

"Okay, let's go." Carlton led the way out and Juliet followed, keeping an eye on Gordon. Though he seemed shook up about the whole situation, something didn't seem right. Carlton thought so too or he wouldn't have mentioned it earlier.

As they were leaving, one of the techs was bagging up a phone that caught Juliet's eye. "Carlton look!"

Her partner glanced over at the unmistakable green cover of Shawn's phone. "Aw crap."

Juliet ran back up the stairs to the other female officer. "What's the name of the man in custody!?"


Gus sat on pins and needles in the interrogation room. He was waiting for someone to walk in any minute telling him they'd found Shawn's body and that his best friend was gone.

The last time he'd seen Shawn was after he'd burst from the bushes and ran down the street. The officer had gone to shoot him in the back, but Gus had screamed to run and pushed the shot out of the way at the last moment. That's when more officers showed up and he'd been cuffed and stuffed here.

He shuddered to think what would have happened to him if backup hadn't shown up. The officer's gun had been inches from Gus' head when the cruiser pulled up and two more cops stepped out.

The murder in the officer's eyes was unmistakable as Gus was put in the back of the cruiser, but the thing he wanted to know was; why?

Gus had no idea what had set his friend against the officer in the first place, but he tended to trust Shawn's judgment when it came to people, for better or for worse. He also was certain Shawn would never assault a cop if there wasn't something very wrong.

As it was, he'd been there at least a half hour and he hadn't seen anyone except the cop that ki- shot Shawn. Gus didn't ride to the station with him, but he sure was right on his ass as he got there. The officer had even tried to interrogate him, and wouldn't let him have his phone call.

However, after Gus had asked for his lawyer, he'd stopped and there was nothing he could do but wait and glare.

There's something seriously wrong with that guy.

The door to the interrogation room burst open a few seconds later, Carlton and Juliet rushed in, their faces flushed white in stress and fear.

"Get the hell out of here, Terry!" Carlton lashed out, at the man responsible for shooting their friend.

He quickly left, without another word.

"And don't even think you aren't getting questioned when we're done here." Carlton added for good measure before the door closed.

Gus stood up, the chains holding his wrists to the table didn't let him get far. "Juliet, Shawn is-"

"We heard on the way. They haven't found him yet." Juliet explained, and the soul crushing tension Gus didn't know he'd been holding on to lightened somewhat. "I'm going to go out. I've got to call Woody to examine the body, but I wanted to make sure you were okay." She un-cuffed him and grabbed out her phone before heading for the door.

"O'Hara do you think you need to sit for a while? I could call Strode." Carlton stopped her with his hand on her arm. Gus was glad he was watching out for her so much. It didn't take Shawn's observation when it came to seeing how close the two detectives were.

Juliet shook her head. "No. I have to do this."

Carlton nodded and took the chair opposite Gus as she closed the door behind her. He immediately started in on him. "What the hell did you think you were doing? Breaking into someone's house? You're lucky you aren't dead, Shawn could be dead, and a reporter sure as hell is dead."

Gus hung his head in shame. Flaunting just outside the law was Shawn's deal, but he'd gone along with it all the same. "We got a job from a woman named Vanessa Maestri. She said her boyfriend was missing and the cops wouldn't do anything about it yet because it had only been a few hours. Before he left he told her if he wasn't back to send help. She said he was going to the mansion."

Carlton wrote down the girlfriend's name and continued, "Did you know that the owner of the house is saying you and Shawn killed Ray Andela?" He leaned forward, seemingly gauging the reaction to the news.

Gus' heart dropped and the soul crushing tension returned tenfold. There is no way. No one would believe that, would they?

"That's a lie! We heard him get hit while we were outside the door."

"You see our problem, Guster? You were the ones breaking into his home! What would a jury believe? You guys just happened to break in during a murder?" Carlton stood and shook his head. "You guys really screwed up this time."

"You can't believe we killed that guy!" Gus protested.

"It doesn't matter what I believe, Guster. Even Officer Terry gave his initial statement said he showed up because of the tripped alarm."

Gus hung his head, realizing just how deep the crap was that he was in. "What if Shawn is found? What if he backs up the story? If we have the same story, it would give us credibility, right?"

"If we locate Spencer, we'll take his statement. If they match, that could help your case." Carlton admitted. "So we'll just have to make sure he is found safe and sound, won't we?"


"Somebody find that psychic and kill him!" Gordon shouted as he paced the room. He couldn't believe the stupidity of some people. All they had to do was shoot them, and it all would have gone to plan.

An older Mexican gentleman, his associate Martino Forester, stood to the side as the businessman berated the officer in front of him. Another woman, Vanessa Maestri, stood close by as well. She'd at least done her part by getting the pair of patsies to the house, but Officer Finley Terry was another issue.

"You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn could you Finley? All you had to do was kill them and Ray's death would have been written off as just another victim of breaking and entering. One. Simple. Thing!"

Officer Terry looked properly chastised, so Gordon let the issue drop for now. He'd probably have to kill the failure later, but for now he might still prove useful.

"Can you get to the one in custody? What's his name? Bruno?"

"Burton. Burton Guster. He's Shawn Spencer's partner, he's pretty cute, and gullible." Vanessa offered up when Officer Terry couldn't remember.

"Okay then. Now that everything has gone to pot, how can we get him and make it look like an accident?" Gordon asked snidely.

Officer Terry finally offered up some information. "He has friends in the precinct. Powerful ones, including the Chief. It would probably be easier to find Spencer and finish him off, if he isn't already dead."

If it were only that easy. Gordon frowned. The man was like a ghost. They'd followed the blood trail four blocks before it stopped completely. They figured the guy had probably gotten into a car. Seeing how Shawn's phone was currently in an evidence bag in lock up, it might have been a stranger's car.

They'd even checked all the hospitals, and still nothing. He could also be dead, and they're worrying for nothing. They just didn't know, and Gordon hated not knowing.

"Then what, amigos?" Asked Martino in his Spanish accent. "Just let the justice system eat his partner alive?"

Officer Terry nodded. "That's the plan. If Burton has no collaborative evidence, he's done for and his detective friends know it. I heard one of them say as much. If Spencer isn't found, it's his word against ours."

"Why not just kill him, eh? Slip in, one to the dome, pay a prisoner to take him out. I'm sure there's a caballero who has it out for these two that will be happy to do the job." Martino offered. "I could have it done within a day or two."

As tempting as the offer was to Gordon, it wasn't the smartest at the moment. It would look highly suspicious if the one suspect was ‘offed' before the day was up. "No, it would raise too many questions right now. We need them to focus on him so they'll keep their eyes off of us."

Martino nodded, seemingly understanding where he was coming from. "Then what am I going to tell the cliente Gordon? We're getting a shipment in today and the Mexican mob is nervioso as it is."

Ah yes, the clientele. The Mexican drug lords didn't pay as well as the African butchers that Julian Drake had in his back pocket. However, Julian and his front man Jerry Carp had gotten stupid and sloppy. It's why he's going to rot for life in a federal prison and Jerry was dead as a doornail.

It wasn't much for his operation to set up some legit businesses of their own and fill the power vacuum left in their wake. Besides, the price of getting the packages through customs as well as the money to ship them all the way across the Atlantic was ridiculous. Here, so close to the Mexican border, all they had to do was wait for their customers to come to them.

His competitor's fate was oddly enough thanks to Shawn Spencer himself, but Gordon couldn't afford history to repeat itself either. So he'd taken the initiative to kill those two painfully annoying birds with one stone.

He found a way to use the duo's weakness for jumping in head first against them.

Problem solved.

"Tell them things are going according to schedule and not to worry." He turned to the officer, "Finley, stick close to the investigation. If they start getting close, come to Martino or me." He then addressed Vanessa. "You can play the grieving girlfriend. See if you can get close to Guster. Get him to open up and see if you can find any place Shawn might be hiding."

"You got it. I'll get him talking." Vanessa crooned before sauntering out.

Finley simply nodded and headed out as well. He knew he was in deep with Gordon at the moment and seemed smart enough not to dig himself deeper.

"Martino, when you call the buyers, also mention we'll be ready for their shipment as soon as they arrange payment." Gordon ordered, "As for me, I'm going to clean up my bedroom."


Woody hung up his cell phone and cast a worried glance at Shawn, laying just inside his doorway and still out cold. He'd barely had a chance to drag him inside before the phone had rung and he'd gotten order from Juliet to come in right away. He needed to examine the victim of a murder that Shawn was accused of.

"Shawn, a murderer?" He laughed to himself, as he walked to his bedroom and grabbed something plastic to put under his unexpected guest. "There's no way."

As he headed back to the living room, that little voice itched in the back of his mind. What if it were true? Should he go to the police? Is he in the house with a madman? It made sense now why Shawn came here instead of going to the hospital.

He was on the run.

A cold nose to his exposed ankle brought him out of his thoughts. It was his dog, Max.

He was a brown and white corgi mix Woody had rescued from a crime scene. The owner, hired muscle for one of the many gangs running in Santa Barbara, had been put in one of his body bags and hauled off. He'd looked down and he couldn't stand to see those soulful coffee colored eyes staring expectantly up at him. So, against his better judgment, and police regulations, he took the little guy home.

"I can't feed you right now, bud. I have to get Shawn on the couch." Bending over, he lifted Shawn off the ground with practiced ease. He'd had to lift ‘dead weight' many times before due to his career, and it kept him in fairly good shape.

However, it wasn't something he'd talk about when a date asks about his physique… again anyway. Telling a woman that you lift dead bodies around for a living is a one way ticket to Singles-ville; the place where you end up living with a stolen dog and an unconscious friend in your foyer.

Laying Shawn on the couch got a reactive groan from the psychic and it brought Woody's attention back to his bloody stomach. He slowly unwrapped the ruined shirt from Shawn's midsection. Out of habit, he did his best to pretend that Shawn was already dead. No malice intended, he just had an easier time in general not having a living person dependant on him to save them.

It's why he became a coroner in the first place; he tended to fall to pieces with the stress of having someone's life in his hands.

From what he could tell, there was no exit wound or blood on the back of Shawn, so Woody knew the bullet was still inside. From the looks of the hole it was either a .38 Caliber or a 9mm. He couldn't see the bullet off hand but from the look of the wound it might just have to stay in there for now or Woody would risk Shawn losing more blood.

He ran to the bathroom with Max hot on his heels to grab some clean towels. He needed to see the damage better to know exactly what he needed to do. "It's been a long time since I worked on a live patient." Woody explained to his dog as he grabbed some alcohol and peroxide from his medicine cabinet. "They never usually complain of silly things like bleeding out from a bullet hole."

Woody had gotten in the habit of explaining what he was doing when the dog was around. It wasn't like he believed the dog could understand him, but he seemed to respond to his voice, and it was nice to have someone to talk to that could answer back.

Max merely cocked his head and looked at him inquisitively before following him to the couch.

After cleaning away some of the dried and oozing blood, Woody realized the bullet went at an angle through his right side and he had no doubt that Shawn's pancreas and at least some intestines were hit. If he didn't get stabilized soon, bleeding out would be the least of Shawn's worries.

Perioperative shock if it hit the large intestine. Blood pressure loss if any arteries were nicked. "Damn it, I need more gear." He muttered. Either way it seemed he had to head to his office. He also couldn't leave Shawn here alone for long, or without letting his friend and patient know that he would be back shortly and not to move.

Woody patted Shawn's cheek, "Shawn! Shawn can you hear me?" After getting no response he went with plan B. He took Shawn's hand and squeezed the skin between his fingers. Shawn stirred and instinctively pulled his hand away.

"Shawn! Wake up!"

"Wha- Woody?" Shawn blinked, obviously not quite conscious yet. "Am I dead yet?"

"No, but if you don't get to a hospital soon you might be." Woody pulled back the bandage and pointed to his wound. Shawn looked at it groggily, seemingly surprised at how serious it was. "The bleeding stopped, but the internal damage could be extensive."

Shawn shook his head and even the small action looked painful. "No! No hospitals. They'll find me."

Woody's eyebrows rose. He never took Shawn to be paranoid, this must be really bad. "Who will find you?"

"A cop shot me." Shawn, tried to sit up more and gasped, his hand going to his stomach. "He wasn't there because we called. Maybe a hired guard, but why?" His eyes seemed to go far off. Woody had seen that look many times before.

"Shawn, you aren't making any sense, and you really shouldn't move."

The psychic moved to his side anyway, with a groan. "I think we were ambushed, Woody. If they know I'm alive, they'll be back to finish the job."

Woody wrung his hands. Shawn hadn't said anything yet that cleared him of being a murderer. In fact he'd confirmed that it really was a cop that had shot him as Juliet had said. He didn't want to be involved with aiding a murderer, but he considered Shawn a friend and knew he had to help if he could.

"I know some people. They can get you out of the country…"

"No." He shook his head. "Gus is in danger. They got him and it's my fault."

"Shawn, Gus is at the precinct being charged for murder." Shawn seemed to look visibly relieved and horrified all at once. "If they find you, they'll charge you too." Woody looked at his watch. He really had to go and meet the detectives at the precinct or they'd think something was wrong.

"What? Who's murder? The reporter?" Shawn asked, "Wait a minute, we were framed?"

"I don't know Shawn, but I have to go. Juliet asked me to come in and do the autopsy. I'll be back as quick as I can, with more supplies too." Woody explained. "Max will keep you company. I won't be long." He looked to the kitchen. Usually he'd offer a guest food but with the circumstances he figured Shawn would prefer hunger over septic shock.

As he went to rise, Shawn reached out and grabbed his arm, his features full of pain, but his eyes clearer than they had been. "Please, let me know what you find, and if you can, get a message to Gus. I don't know who the officer was, or if he was even an officer. Gus needs to be careful."

That seems easy enough...

"And don't tell anyone else I'm here."

...aaaand that won't be easy. Woody was almost certain that he'd crack like an egg if anyone asked him directly where Shawn was, but from what Shawn said, it was life or death.

"Please, Woody."

With a sigh, Woody closed his eyes and nodded. "Alright, I'll try." When he opened them again, Shawn was once again asleep.

Oh my God, what did I just get myself into?


Juliet was livid when the coroner ended up arriving twenty minutes late. Especially after he'd given a lame excuse about how he had to thrown in a load of laundry at the last minute.

Juliet's heart was in pieces over the whole situation. As it was things didn't look good for Psych's case.

Their interview of Officer Finley Terry had yielded no new information. He kept claiming he was in the area and got a call about the house alarm. He was new to the force, so he hadn't recognized who Shawn and Gus were. He said Shawn attacked him and he shot in self defense.

She wanted to believe that Shawn and Gus were innocent, but it seemed the coroner's examination and the fingerprints from the candlestick were the only things that she could think of that could lead to clearing Shawn's name.

"For the love of God, Strode, when we tell you to come in right away, we don't mean screw the pooch and saunter in when you feel like showing up." Carlton gave the coroner a piece of his mind.

"Well, it's not like he's getting any deader, am I right?" Woody's grin disappeared when he realized his joke had fallen flatter than Carlton's pressed suits. "Well, let's get this party started."

As Woody started examining the body, those present; Chief Vick, Carlton, and Juliet, shared an awkward silence that could only be from waiting to see if your boyfriend, and co-worker had killed the man in front of you.

"Did you notify Henry?" Chief Vick asked, breaking the horrendously awkward silence.

Juliet nodded. "He's on his way to talk to Gus. The lawyer isn't coming for a few hours."

"Good. Let me know when he gets here. I need to speak with him before he goes off to search for Shawn. I don't want him arrested for obstruction of justice while his son is AWOL and possibly seriously injured."

Juliet took a deep breath, trying to keep her composure. Her boyfriend is gone and no one had any idea where he went, if he's alive, if he's hurt, or if he's a murderer. A hand slipping into her own and squeezing it reassuringly was the only thing keeping her emotions tethered and professional.

"Thanks, partner."

Woody seemed to have notice the exchange and paused his work to address her. "I'm sure Shawn will be fine. You know how he is."

Wow, from Woody that was almost, actually, comforting. Juliet gave him a smile.

"I mean, being shot in the gut is painful, but with the proper medical treatment it is completely treatable."

Juliet's smile was instantly gone.

"What? No one said he was shot, let alone in the stomach." Chief Vick pointed out.

"Well, no I mean… there's no way I could know something like that, right?" He chuckled nervously. "I was just giving an example. Don't mind me." Woody put his head down and was now concentrating really hard on his work.

If Juliet didn't know better, she'd think Woody was hiding something. She narrowed her eyes at him.

"Would you just stick to the autopsy and keep your opinions on Spencer to yourself?" Carlton grumped, seemingly done with the coroner's odd behavior.

A few minutes later he seemed to have finished. "Alright, the victim was struck from the front by a long, blunt, object with an edge. Maybe a bed knob or a…" Woody trailed off when he looked to his left and saw the candlestick in the evidence bag. "Or one of those."

"Wait, did you say he was hit from in front, not the back?" Carlton clarified. Juliet remembered Gordon's accusation as well. He said Shawn had approached and hit Ray in the back of the head. Not the front.

"For sure. The killer would have had to have a ten foot reach to make this wound on his front from the back." Woody confirmed, "Though, I still wouldn't rule out a circus performer with a freakishly long arms."

The three officers stared at him in shocked disbelief. How could he be so clueless at a time like this? She was two seconds away from giving the out of line coroner an ‘O'Hara style' ass chewing.

"I mean, I'd believe that before I believed Shawn did this, am I right?"

It seemed to hit them all at once that Woody's attempt at humor, albeit inappropriate humor, was his own worry for Shawn showing through. There was no telling for sure with him, but that's what Juliet was going to chalk it up as. It was hard to read the man on the best of days, but at least he seemed to have a good heart.

Juliet looked at her watch. It was almost 5am. She should get Gus to a cell so he could get some sleep, and see if Henry needed anything before they headed out to talk to Ray's place of employment.

Being a newspaper they were most likely open already.

"Alright, keep me informed detectives… and Mr. Strode, let me know if you find anything else in your examination. We need to be sure we have the right culprit." Vick gave him a serious stare before leaving.

Juliet and Carlton followed right after, leaving the coroner to his work.


If there was a hell, Henry Spencer felt like he was in it. Not only was his son missing and presumed injured, he had to watch Gus make bedroom eyes at the victim's former girlfriend. So much for a relaxing morning of fishing…

"I just hope your friend is going to be okay." Vanessa stated, leaning closer to Gus while sitting on the edge of the interrogation room table. "Where do you think he could have gone? Especially if he's hurt."

Gus smile faltered and he looked at Henry, probably realizing how inappropriate he'd been by the look on the elder Spencer's face. "Uh, I'm not sure. Everyone he would have gone to for help is here."

She was getting too nosy for Henry's taste.

"Look, no offence lady, but why are you even interested? I'm sure you can wait for news at home just as well." Henry stated roughly. He had to get Gus back on track, and it would be neigh impossible with a pretty face around. "I need to talk to Gus. Alone."

If looks could kill, Henry figured he'd be six feet under ten minutes ago with the one Vanessa gave him. "Alright. I'll go." She walked to the door and winked at Gus, "Goodbye, I'll see you later."

Henry waited a minute after she was out the door to start talking to Gus. He'd gotten the scoop on what happened before the woman had walked in, but hadn't gotten to discuss anything about Shawn, and what Gus saw when he'd disappeared.

As soon as he stepped in the door, Karen Vick was already telling him to let the police handle everything, they'd find him soon... blah blah blah. He thought with as many times as Shawn had been in trouble, and with how many times he'd gotten that same lecture, that she'd know it wouldn't do any good. Shawn was his son, and his responsibility.

He was going to find him.

"Gus, are you sure you saw Shawn get shot?"

"Yes, I'm sure. There was blood on the ground leading to the bush when I came out, then I saw Shawn run for it."

"Well, did you see which way he went?"

Gus leveled his gaze on Henry, "This is Shawn we're talking about. Since when does seeing which way he went mean he actually kept going that way?"

"Fair enough." Henry rubbed his head, unsure of what to do next. He never thought that all the training in stealth and staying under the radar would backfire so badly as to have him running from the law and leaving himself high and dry while injured.

He looked over to the door just in time to see it creak open and Woody stuck his head in. "Is now a good time?"

"No not really Woo-"

"Great! I'll only be a second." He scuttled inside, looking over his shoulder then running to the two way mirror, cupping his hands to see if anyone was on the other side, watching. "Okay, I think the coast is clear."

Woody pulled Henry over to Gus, and leaned in. Henry hoped whatever the coroner wanted was worth it, and not just another creepy anecdote about his last autopsy.

"I know where Shawn is."

Dumbstruck, Henry was at a loss for words. Of all people, why the hell would he know?

"OH MY GOD! Where is he? Is he okay!?" Gus tried to stand, but he was still cuffed to the table.

"Ssssshhhhh! Seriously, you never know who is listening." Woody chastised Gus, "He's in hiding. He told me not to tell anyone where he was, but he's okay and he swears he didn't do it." He looked at Henry, seemingly hoping that the worried father would take his word as gospel and just let it go.

He was wrong.

"Of all the selfish, hard headed, stupid things my son has asked you to do, this is the one that you decide to listen to?" Henry grabbed Woody by his white coat and pulled him closer.

"I can't Henry! I promised. Besides, I have to go. Shawn is currently doing his best impression of Mr. Orange from Reservoir Dogs, and it really isn't pretty." Woody chuckled nervously, taking Henry's hands from his clothes.

"Wait, wasn't that Steve Buscemi? Didn't he get away clean?" Hope blossomed in Henry's chest.

"No no no. Steve Buscemi was Mr. Pink. Tim Roth, is Mr. Orange." The coroner corrected.

Who the hell was that?. Shawn and Gus had made him watch that damned show a few years prior and he had a hard time keeping everyone's characters and color names straight.

Gus piped up, "Wasn't Mr. Orange the cop that got shot in the stomach."

Henry's jaw clenched and he whipped to face Woody, who pursed his lips nervously.

"Strode, you're telling me that my son is shot and bleeding out at your house while you're standing here making movie references!?"

"Well when you put it that way it sounds horrible and insensitive."

"That's it. I'm going to kill you myself." Henry lunged for him again but Woody backed away quickly to the other side of the table, behind Gus.

"Henry, please trust me when I say it's for Shawn's own good. He thinks that a cop may be in involved in this and if they know where he is they'll kill him or Gus to hide what he knows." Henry stopped and Woody took advantage of the pause in the attack. "If he's right, you may also have someone watching you."

Henry shook his head, not wanting to believe Woody, or believe how much danger his son was in if he was right. "Do you have any proof of this? Any at all?"

"The way that Shawn acted at the house. Something about the cop set him off." Gus paused, looking Henry in the eye. "He was scared Mr. Spencer. Real scared."

Looking down, he finally let it sink in. If he rushed in and saved the day, he could be putting Shawn in danger of being discovered. He wouldn't be surprised if the Chief had put a tap on his phone just in case Shawn called too. So even if the honest cops found Shawn, the one or ones that wanted him dead would find him that way too.

 On the other hand, if he didn't do something, Shawn could very easily die of his wounds anyway, and then where would they be?

Henry simply nodded his consent. He didn't trust himself not to call out this whole plan as bullshit and force Woody, kicking and screaming if necessary, to take him to Shawn so he can see how bad he was with his own eyes.

"I have to go. I'll meet you back here after I'm done, then we can see what we can find out. I promise I'll take care of him as if he were my own son… if I had a son. I have a daughter you know. I'm even 80% sure that she's mine." Woody beamed and hurried out the door.

Gus watched him leave, no doubt reflecting on Woody's words, as Henry was doing himself. "That man's life a whole lot of messed up."

"Yeah, tell me about it."

Enter the security code shown below: