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It's A Gift (12/13)

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven




Alan moved his feet out of the way as Shawn stormed out of the kitchen and sat on the other end of the couch. A quick look into the other room showed a silently fuming Henry. “You’ve got to understand his position, Shawn. He’s concerned about you and probably doesn’t trust you to be alone. Can’t say I blame him.”

“Yeah, but I’ll be fine on the couch. I don’t want to put you out.”

Alan knew that Shawn for some reason didn’t want to be beholden to his father for any reason—probably because Henry would hold it over him at some point when he wanted a favor. He saw that Henry had moved closer and was leaning against the doorjamb behind them, listening. “There is another solution. You and I both sleep down here. Do you have a recliner or something else that can be used as a bed?”

“The best I can do is a sleeping bag and some cushions.”

“That’ll work.” He made to stand. “Just tell me where--”

Henry pushed him down. “I can get it. I’m not that feeble.”

“I didn’t mean to imply that you were. It’s just that it’s my idea and I thought I should do it.”

“You were just shot and you don’t need to exert yourself.” Henry left the room.

“You know, I think you’re the first house guest I’ve brought over that he’s actually taken a liking to.”

“But is it my cooking or the fact that I kept his only child from being shot?”

“Oh, the cooking, most definitely.” Shawn smiled.

Alan was glad to see Shawn back to his relaxed, self-deprecating self. “OK, you get the couch and I’ll take the floor.”

“I can’t let you do that after what you did. I’ll take the floor.”

“Shawn, you’re the one with the head injury and seriously, will you be able to sleep on a floor comfortably? I can get some sleep almost anywhere.”

“Fine.” He threw up his hands in surrender.

Henry returned with the sleeping bag. “You have to teach me how you win an argument with him without shouting.”

“Yes, please do.”

“It’s simple. I know Shawn really wanted the couch himself, but was trying to be polite by letting me have it. I just confronted him with the truth of the matter and that I was fine with it. No shouting required.”

Henry looked at the two of them and shook his head. “Good night.” He headed upstairs.

“Good night, Henry.”

“G’night, Dad.”

Alan got up from the couch and began to set up his “bed” with one hand. Along with the sleeping bag, Henry had brought a cushion from a deck chair. He subtly positioned it so he could keep an eye on Shawn and make sure he didn’t try to sneak out.

Shawn settled on the couch and handed Alan one of the pillows. “Not to sound petty after you got shot for me and all, but why did you do that for someone you barely know?”

“Because things aren’t supposed to happen that way.” Remembering how perceptive Shawn was, Alan tried to cover up his little gaff. “Why should the good guys get shot and the bad guys get away with it?” he added. Please leave it at that, Shawn.

“Have you ever had ‘what if’ moments?” Shawn asked. “Sometimes I wonder if I’d be a different person if my parents hadn’t divorced; if I’d be married with kids if I hadn’t chickened out on that date with Abigail.”

“That’s a pretty deep subject for the time of night.”

“Near-death experience can do that. And then you wonder if one little decision affects the world and time and…stuff.”

“I’ve a friend who’s into the who temporal physics thing with causality and paradoxes. He says that there are some things that can change and others that can’t.”

“So how do you tell the difference?” Shawn turned his head to look at him.

“Why would I need to know?” Alan asked, thankful the lights were out.

“’Cause you’re a time traveler.”

“Time travel? You know that’s all theoretical now.”

“Yeah, right now, but not the future where you’re from. It all adds up. You knew exactly where to find me both on the pier and the bank, you use the past tense and say that’s not how things happen, all that stuff you can do and that ID things that’s blank yet shows people what they expect to see.”

Alan knew the time for bluffing was gone. Shawn had already figured it all out. “Did you tell anyone else?”

“No. It all came together while getting checked out at the scene. Are you really allergic to all antibiotics?”

“Don’t want to find out. Last time I had some, I was out for two days.”

“So, are all diseases eradicated? Are you living in an Utopian society where robots do all the work?”

Alan chuckled. “It’s not The Jetsons, I can tell you that. There’s still disease as there’s always something new out there.”

“No Utopia, then.”

“If it were, there’d be no need for a Military.”

“You’re really a colonel?” Shawn asked around a yawn.

“Yes. We can talk more tomorrow, but let’s try to grab some rest while we can, okay?”

“Mm-hm.”

Alan smiled and soon drifted off himself.

*

Alan woke the next morning to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. He sat up and looked into the kitchen to see the two Spencers having an amicable conversation. He stood, slipped the sling over his head, and walked into the kitchen as he adjusted the material around his arm. “Good morning, gentlemen.”

“How’s the arm?” asked Henry.

“A little stiff, as to be expected.” He poured himself some coffee. He looked at Shawn. “You were sleeping well whenever I checked.” He sat at the table.

“You kept waking to check on me? You keep going up in my estimation, Colonel.”

“That was part of the deal, wasn’t it?” Alan closed his eyes as his sipped the coffee and let it slide down his throat. He opened his eyes to see Shawn and Henry staring at him. “Sorry, coffee like this is hard to come by where I’m from.”

Shawn looked at him knowingly but didn’t say anything.

“Right,” said Henry. “Once you finish and freshen up, we need to get down to the station. Karen is waiting on our statements.”

They entered the station about an hour later and were welcomed by applause. Shawn would have stayed to milk the adulation had not the Chief called them into the conference room.

“Thank you, gentlemen, for coming down this morning.” She sat at the end of the table. “How are you both feeling?”

“Not too bad,” answered Alan. “It’s just inconvenient.”

“Shawn?”

“Not as light-headed as last night. A good night’s sleep was definitely beneficial. I had forgotten how comfortable that couch was.”

“You slept on the couch? Why not a bed?”

“We had to compromise due to Shawn’s stubborn streak,” answered Henry. “It worked out pretty well.”

“Just like a sleepover.”

“Okay.” The Chief pulled out a pocket recorder and set it on the table. “I’d like to get your statements now. Shawn, if you’d go first.”

Alan listened as Shawn gave a detailed account of what happened which impressed him. Being in the Military, he knew the more succinct and clear a report, the better. It showed that even though he acted like a buffoon most of the time, Shawn was always paying attention. He also knew when to keep calm and still as proven when he had a gun to his head.

Henry was beaming with fatherly pride but would deny it if asked where Shawn could hear.

“Thank you, Shawn. Refreshingly precise.” The Chief turned to the older Spencer. “Henry, your turn.”

As Henry relayed his part in the adventure, Alan continued to watch Shawn. That’s why I’m here, after all. The younger Spencer seemed surprised when he heard what his father had done for him. [I don’t know why you’re surprised. I heard he’s done this before when you were missing.]

[Really, he told you about that?]

[Everyone brought it up, mainly because they were pissed that you went off alone again.]

“Colonel, do you have anything to add to Henry’s account?”

“Well, as we were together the whole time, my story isn’t any different.”

“You weren’t together the whole time,” said Shawn. “I mean, you were the only one who jumped in front of a bullet.”

Alan glared at him but Shawn just gave him an innocent look. Alan sighed. “I had a feeling that Lynch wasn’t going to go down quietly, leaving Shawn in the middle. I saw an opportunity and I took it.” He looked at the Chief. “I know I promised not to interfere in your investigation, but I couldn’t stand by and let Shawn get shot.”

The Chief smiled. “At that point, in my mind, the investigation was over. We had our criminal.” She stood and headed for the door and they followed. “I’ll just get these transcribed and then I’ll need your signatures.”

As she opened the door, everyone lingering outside immediately remembered work that needed their attention. Only Lassiter and Juliet remained.

“It’s good to see you’re both okay,” said Jules.

“A good night’s sleep helped,” replied Shawn.

“Colonel, I didn’t get to tell you when it happened, but that was one amazing rescue.”

“Thank you, Detective,” said Alan, keeping the formality. “I’m sure you would have done the same given the chance.”

“Well, of course,” he blustered.

“We’re going for coffees,” said Henry. “Care to join us?”

“Thank you, Mr. Spencer,” said Jules, “but we need to finish up paperwork from the case.”

“OK, your loss.” Henry went for the door.

“Call when the Chief needs us,” added Shawn as Alan pulled him away.

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