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It's a Gift (8/?)

Ok, I'm really nearing the end and I might have a title. Please read and let me know what you think.

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven





"Shawn, what is it?” Alan asked.

“I’ve got a theory about the murder.”

“Theory? You never have theories,” Gus admonished.

“OK, hunch, then. Head back to the office. We need to do a little research.”

“I thought we were going to help track down Janine.” Gus took the next turn that would take them back to the office. “You were the one who said she was in danger.”

“Let the police handle that. We’re going after a murderer.”

“And just how to you plan on doing that?”

“Let’s just say I’m ready to go back to the across clues.”

“While I appreciate your taking my advice, isn’t this just a bit--”

“Decisive?” finished Shawn.

“Rash? Ill-advised?” continued Gus.

“Idiotic?” Alan completed. “You have no proof. How can you accuse someone based on a hunch?”

“I’ve worked with less,” Shawn said.

“As you don’t actually keep reports, there’s not record of your procedure.” Which was true. Most of the information on his cases was taken from police reports and newspaper articles along with later reflections from Shawn himself.

“I’m not planning on making accusations just yet. The hunch should get us the proof or at least a reason for a search warrant.”

“Nothing illegal at all,” Gus affirmed in a tone that seemed to add this time.

Gus had barely turned into the parking space before Shawn was out and running for the office door.

“That’s the fastest I’ve seen him move since I’ve been observing,” Alan commented as Gus turned off the car and they got out.

“He must really be on to something.”

They stepped into the office to see Shawn rolling a clear Plexiglas board across the floor. “You really have one of those?”

“It helps make the mental,” Shawn tapped his head, “physical.” Shawn began scribbling on the board in marker. On one side was an outline of the thefts and the other side was what was known about the thieves (or burglars). Alan watched Shawn work, fascinated, while Gus was on his laptop, most likely doing some pharmaceutical work. He knew some back home might not find this as glamorous as, say, getting into a tavern brawl alongside Shakespeare or going up against the Red Baron, but to Alan, it was all about meeting people you read about and getting a chance to seem them as real.

The phone rang, pulling Alan from his reverie.

“Tell Jules to bring the files with her!” Shawn called to Gus.

Gus picked up the phone. “Psych Investigations, this is Burton—Hi, Juliet. Yeah, sorry about that. We’re following up on a lead. No, he won’t tell us what but he believes the files will help. Yeah, okay.” He hung up the phone. “She’s on her way.”

“What did she have to say?” Alan asked.

“She wanted to know why we didn’t join them at the department and she also has some news to share, but not over the phone.”

“I believe this information will help confirm my ‘hunch’.”

“Are you going to fill us in on that?”

“Can’t you find out, Mr. Mind Reader?”

“Yeah, I could, but I don’t like doing it without permission.”

“Then you’ll just have to wait until Jules gets here—unless you can figure it out before then.” He smiled and flopped onto the couch.

Alan was not one to turn down a challenge if there were any chance of him winning. He looked over the list; what was taken, from where they were taken, from whom they were taken, and who did the taking. They had been trying to connect the thieves to the thefts, but what if the connection was between the victims? The thieves weren’t random either. There had to be a connection there as well. That was Shawn’s hunch: he knew what connected the thieves to the thefts. He looked over at Shawn who was tossing a plastic green squeaky frog into the air. He had to be so wound up, holding this information inside.

“Shawn, will you quit that? I’m trying to concentrate!”

“Sorry, Gus. You know how much I hate waiting.”

“Your wait’s over,” said Alan as he looked out the window. “She’s just pulled up.”

“Great!” Shawn jumped up and went to greet her at the door.

“Time to show off in front of the cute girl?” Alan asked Gus.

“You got it. He’s always flirted with Juliet and he still does even though he has a girlfriend.”

Alan wracked his mind trying to remember. Right, Abigail, the one that got away in high school. “Why hasn’t Shawn mentioned her?”

“She’s away teaching in Africa.”

“Ah.” Alan wanted to pursue the line of enquiry, but Shawn returned with Juliet in tow.

“Hello, Juliet,” Gus and Alan said in near unison.

“Hi, guys.” She set the file on Shawn’s desk then spotted the board. “This is pretty detailed. I thought with the visions…”

“It helps make the mental, physical,” Gus said.

“The visions aren’t always clear, so writing them down helps,” Shawn added with a glare at Gus for stealing his line. “We’ve also added what we remembered from the files. Thanks for bringing them, by the way.”

“No problem. Have you put anything together?”

“Why don’t you take a seat and tell us what you didn’t want to say over the phone.” Alan helped her to a chair. He could feel Shawn’s eyes burning into his back. [Keep your hair on. I’m not poaching, just being polite. You can reveal your theory when we’re done.]

Juliet settled into the chair and pulled out a notepad from her purse. “We finally got the list of owners of the safe deposit boxes. The Chief had officers go over it while we were out. One name stood out: Dominic Altieri.”

“Who just happens to work for Jacaruso,” stated Gus.

“Did he say what was in the box?” Shawn asked.

“No, but he didn’t deny it was bonds when questioned. It seems to support Carlton’s execution-style murder.”

“It does, doesn’t it?” Shawn agreed with a smile.

“You don’t believe it was the mob.” Juliet smiled indulgently. “Okay, just what is this theory?”

“We’ve been going at it all wrong,” Alan said before Shawn could speak. “We were trying to connect the thieves to the thefts. So we tried to see what the victims had in common and then the same for the thieves. And if our connection is the same…”

Juliet looked at Gus. “I thought you said Shawn didn’t tell you.”

“He didn’t. This is the first time I’m hearing it, too.”

“I challenged Alan to figure it out just after you called. I didn’t think he’d catch on so quickly.”

“And I did it without any psychic vibes,” Alan told him, letting Shawn know no prying was involved.

“So what’s the connection?” Juliet wanted to know.

“I have suspicions, but this is all Shawn.”

“Thank you. Now, the vision I had in the car—well, it was more of a flash, really—was of a courtroom. I couldn’t see any faces or details. I did hear a series of verdicts which were mainly ‘not guilty’ or ‘case dismissed’.”

“So you think that’s the connection?” Gus asked. “All the victims got off on their trials?”

“I do recognize some of the names,” Juliet admitted.

“Lassiter said the DA’s office has been trying to get Jacaruso for ages,” added Alan.

“Wait a second. You’re saying that someone in the DA’s office is behind this?”

“There’s always one that’s gung-ho to get the evil-doers,” said Shawn. “One that feels that justice must always be served. I have a feeling that this person had a hand in each of these cases and couldn’t stand to see them get away with it. That’s why I wanted to see the files again. I think all of our thieves had priors and got off completely or with a lesser sentence in exchange for the thefts.”

“I think it’s time we double-check some facts here.” Alan grabbed some files and passed them around.

“Already my first three files have the same name,” declared Gus. “Bradley Lynch.”

“Same here,” said Juliet. She closed the file on her lap and looked at Shawn. “To accuse someone in the DA’s office, we need more than just circumstantial evidence. We need something like DNA connecting him to the victims and thieves or to Anne Wright’s murder. We need a smoking gun.”

“Jules, are you channeling the Chief right now?” She only stared at him. “Seriously, that could have been her.”

“Juliet is right, Shawn,” said Alan. “You can’t go accusing government officials without concrete proof, especially a lawyer.”

“I’ll tell the Chief and Lassiter about this and see if we have enough for a warrant.”

“If not?” asked Gus.

“We’ll simply have to watch him, wait for a slip-up.”

Alan looked at Shawn, knowing waiting was his weak suit.

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