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The Gift

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Summary: Gus has an accident and is determined to change his life, but life has an even bigger change than he could've imagined planned for him. [A Psych fic]

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > PsychNatalieKushnerFR1549,088022,63311 Aug 0619 Aug 06Yes

With Friends Like Shawn...

LEGAL A/N: Psych and all characters belong to Steve Franks, Tagline Pictures, NBC Universal Television Studios, GEP Productions and USA Network.


1: With Friends Like Shawn…

1984




“Mr. Guster,” a cloudy, distant voice called. Darkness was all that eight-year-old Burton Guster could see at first before the world slowly brightened around him. “Mr. Guster, wake up.” The soft, displeased voice quickly turned cruel with a snap. “Mr. Guster!”

His dark eyes popped open as he saw a pudgy woman in her sixties with curls of blondish-gray underneath an Anaheim Angels baseball cap standing firmly in front of him with her arms crossed. The teacher glared at him sharply through her dark-rimmed glasses. He glanced over and saw a line of twenty-seven other eight-and-nine-year-olds gazing at him with snickers and smiles. Sitting on a wooden bench on the edge of a baseball field, Gus straightened out, pulling his weight from the brick wall behind him, as he blushed like a red cherry.

“You may be new at this school, Mr. Guster,” the teacher – Mrs. Vaughn or something to that effect – hissed, adding to his embarrassment, “but here we don’t allow our students to sleep through P.E.”

An overweight boy with red hair and freckles burst out into laughter beside him, chuckling through his braces. “Wipe the drool off your face, fartknocker!” the boy, Carter McMahon, blurted out as the rest of the glass erupted into laughs.

After quickly wiping his face off, Gus stared down at the ground with shame. This had to be the worst day of his life. Not only was it his first day in the Santa Barbara Public School System, but he came to school with different colored socks, he was late trying to find the right classroom, and he had lost his lunch sack to the red-haired fat kid that had now just humiliated him in front of the whole class. It had been a horrible day that followed a horrible night – he was so nervous the night before that he had thrown up all over his bedroom and spent most of the night awake in the bathtub.

And now here he sat in the middle of P.E. with three hours left before parents picked their children up from school: tired, hungry, embarrassed, and wishing desperately he could just go home.

“Mr. McMahon! That’s no way to speak!” Mrs. Vaughn snapped. “If you’re through being the class clown, you have to be the catcher again. It seems Jessica Thrash has some sort of allergy to the glitter we used in arts and crafts. You’ll take her place while she’s in with the nurse.”

Gus looked over at the field to see the other third-grade class waiting impatiently in the sun at base. He’d almost forgotten his least favorite game – baseball. Not that there was anything wrong with the sport itself, just wrong with the fact that he had to play it. And that he failed miserably every single time.

Carter McMahon stood up and sauntered over to the base, picking up the glove left behind, and put it on like a pro. Carter was infamous for being a marvelous baseball player, despite his inability to run very fast. He cracked every pitch so hard with the bat that the other children scrambled to catch it and allowed more than enough time for Carter to jog through every base.

“Mr. Guster,” Mrs. Vaughn announced. “You’re at bat.”

He immediately broke out into a nervous sweat. This was definitely the worst day of his life. Solitare he could do. Jump rope he was practicing with his cousin. He was an awesome speller. But baseball was his weakness. Gus glanced over and saw all the other children staring at him.

“Hurry up, Buster,” Carter sneered. “Don’t take all day!”

“It’s… it’s Guster,” he stuttered as he stood up from the bench and walked slowly to the base.

“Whatever, Duster,” he laughed. Half of the class behind him joined in on his laughing, even though it wasn’t even that funny. Duster? Is that the best he can come up with? Gus thought as he arrived at the base. “What are you doing?” Carter snapped. Gus glanced at him with a confused expression.

“Mr. Guster,” Mrs. Vaughn chimed in with frustration. “Get a bat.” More chuckling broke out of the class, as now the other class on the field was laughing too. With a sigh, Gus walked over and grabbed a bat from the glasses-wearing, farsighted bat boy.

Gus walked back over to the base, holding the bat up awkwardly, and before he had time to look at the pitcher a ball flew past his arms and into Carter’s glove. “Strike one!” Carter shouted.

“What?” Gus protested. “I didn’t even have time to—”

“Mr. Guster, watch the ball!” Mrs. Vaughn declared. Gus looked over at the pitcher as she let another ball fly right past him. He swung the bat like a lumberjack, but he was a mile off.

“Strike two!” Carter announced. “Nice going… uh… Custer!” Gus glanced back at him with an angry face, then turned around and faced the blonde-haired pitcher, Jan Haynes, and saw her pulling back a fireball.

Gus gripped the bat furiously as his dark eyes narrowed on the white ball. He was gonna hit it. He was going to show that doofus behind him and all the other mean kids that nobody messes with Burton Guster’s name. The ball dashed towards him like a rocket as he pulled the bat back, keeping his eye on the ball. He was going to obliterate that tiny little ball. Obliterate. O-B-L-I-T—

A blunt force suddenly cracked the back of Gus’ head.

The next thing he knew, he was on the ground. He opened his eyes to see both classes and both teachers standing over him with the one of the school nurses over him. “That was a pretty bad hit you took,” the smiling nurse said to him. “You’re lucky that bat didn’t do any more damage.”

“Can I go home?” Gus asked weakly.

“Aw,” the nurse grinned warmly as she stared down at him with pity. “No, I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s only another two hours and fifty minutes.”

Lying there on the ground, he felt like he was about to cry, which would've only furthered the embarrassment. The nurse grabbed his arms and pulled him up to a stand. He looked over to see Carter rolling on the ground near the dug out away from the crowd, still laughing.

Mrs. Vaughn turned to a young boy with blonde hair in a bowl cut and dirt covering his clothes. “Mr. Spencer, is there anything you’d like to say?”

Eight-year-old Shawn Spencer looked up at Gus with an apologetic expression. He shrugged with sincerity in his green eyes. “I promise, man… I was totally aiming for Carter.”

“Mr. Spencer!” Mrs. Vaughn hissed. “That’s it, mister, you’re going to see the principal! Again! For the second time this week!”

“Aww, please, Mrs. Vaughn, don’t call my dad,” Shawn pleaded.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t,” the teacher declared.

“I’ll give you one reason why I tried to hit Carter with a bat,” Shawn bargained, pointing at Gus. “He stole this kid’s lunch! And look at him; it’s not like he needed it!”

“Are you calling me fat, Spencer?” Carter barked, not laughing anymore. “Is that why you and your little friend tried to hit me with a bat?”

“Oh, wait,” Gus declared. “I… I didn’t want to hit you with a bat…”

“Yeah, we think you’ve got a bat up your butt, too!” Shawn challenged.

In a flash, Carter was stomping his way across the field headed for both of them like a Mac truck. “I’ll kill you, you little freaks—” Both Gus and Shawn were tackled by the giant third-grade monster as the three boys rumbled and rolled in the dirt – kicking, punching, biting, anything that would take down the opponent. The two teachers and the nurse jumped into the fray and pulled the three boys apart.

With bruises on his face and a throbbing skull from the bat injury, Gus knew that this was the pit of his despair. This was as bad as it could get.

“All of you are going to the principal’s office!” Mrs. Vaughn shouted.

No, this is as bad as it gets, he realized.

Before he knew it, his shoulder was being pinched by Mrs. Vaughn as she dragged Gus and Shawn through the baseball field towards the principal’s office, holding both of them by the shoulders. Gus pulled his mind away from the impending trouble and the aching of his limbs as he glanced over at Shawn to find a smirk on the boy’s face. Even though this kid was about to get him into the worst trouble he’d ever been in, he did defend him after all… or at least tried to.

“Thanks for having my back,” Shawn whispered to Gus as the two of them were pushed towards the principal’s office. “I knew you were a cool dude.”


2006


At the Psych Headquarters in Santa Barbara, Shawn Spencer was leaned back in his chair with his legs up on the desk in front of him and a box of noodles in front of him. He gazed up at the television set as he mindlessly flipped through stations. The front door opened as Burton “Gus” Guster walked in through the door with a frustrated, annoyed expression as he saw Shawn lounging in the chair.

“Hey, man, you’re late for work,” Shawn said, lifting another box of noodles up for him to see. “But I got you Lo Mien anyway. Hope you don’t mind that I ate some of yours too because I wasn’t sure if you were coming back. Didn’t want any to go to waste.” Shawn pushed another fork-full of noodles into his mouth as Gus glared at him with an unsatisfied face.

“Sorry, I’m late, Shawn,” Gus sighed. “But, you see, I had to walk here from the bus stop seven blocks away. It seems I had to take the bus today because apparently somebody took my car last night and forgot to tell me… or even return it.” Shawn remembered his mistake as Gus continued on with his sarcastic banter, “I’d go to the police with my problem, but it seems that my car is parked right outside of this office.” Gus stared at him bitterly as Shawn gazed back at a loss for words.

“How strange,” he responded.

Gus rolled his eyes and closed the door behind him, grabbing the half-eaten box of noodles from the desk and sat down in the other chair. Shawn was already digging in his pocket as he pulled out his cell phone. “Hey, listen to these new ringtones – tell me which one I should use.”

Gus took his flip phone, then glanced up at the TV. “What are you watching?” he asked, staring strangely up at the television set.

Buffy,” Shawn answered as he took another bite.

Gus looked over at him with a strange expression as he set the phone down. “You actually watch that?” Shawn turned to him with an offended look.

“Gus, it’s one of the most brilliantly-written, witty, and painfully-underappreciated shows in television history,” Shawn explained as he looked back at Sarah Michelle Gellar on the TV screen. “Plus – one word: girlfights!”

Gus scoffed as he shook his head, and opened the box of noodles. He stared down at the empty box. “Shawn!” he snapped. “Did you eat all of these?”

Shawn looked over at him, stunned. “Wow. I was hungry.” Gus shot him a glare as he slammed the box down on the desk and stood up angrily. “Dude, what’s your problem today?” Shawn asked with confusion.

“Which part?” Gus snapped. “The problem of not having a car or not having a lunch?”

Unaware of what the fuss was about, Shawn held out his box to Gus. “You can have mine if it’s gonna bother you that much.”

“Don’t bother,” Gus sneered. “I’ll go get my own.” He turned around and glanced out the window, past the giant blue PSYCH logo, and saw his Toyota Yaris parked out front. It was from this angle that he could see the giant dent across his front bumper. “Shawn!” Gus said, his heart nearly stopping. “What happened?”

“Oh, I was totally going to fix that,” Shawn said, coming to a quick stand. “I just wanna say that it was not my fault—”

“It’s a company car!” Gus exclaimed. “Do you understand what I’m gonna have to pay for that?”

“It’s not that bad.” Shawn tried to diffuse the situation as he walked up to the glass, examining the dent from the inside of the office. He turned around and faced Gus with a hopeful expression. “It was just a tiny fender bender. We’ll put some paint on there and you won’t even notice.”

“My company will notice!” Gus answered. “My paycheck is gonna notice!”

“I’ll help you pay for it,” Shawn shrugged. “It’s not a problem.”

“Oh, you’re gonna pay for all of it,” Gus threatened as he turned around and pointed at Shawn. His sudden flash of anger made him nervous as Gus stepped towards him menacingly.

“Dude, you are making too big a deal out of this,” Shawn pleaded. He picked up a lamp off of the desk. “I don’t want to have to use violence against you, but you’re leaving me no other option.”

“That lamp is broken, Shawn!” Gus hissed, annoyed. “You broke that, too, when you were playing with it, remember? Just like you broke my mom’s vase at my house and like how you broke my last Bluetooth headset!”

“Last two,” Shawn quietly submitted.

“What?”

“Last night your new one kind of fell on the floorboard of the car and—”

“Shawn, give me that!” Gus snapped as he reached over and grabbed the metal part of the lamp near the light bulb and yanked it out of his hands, exposing the wiring. All of the muscles in Gus’ arms suddenly jolted and squeezed together as electricity flew through his hand and across his chest. He felt himself falling to the floor and blacked out right before the collision.
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