Word Count: 1,950 words.
Notes: Shawn/Gus, written for everysecondtues as part of Sweet Charity. (I actually --- I've been writing a much longer story, but since it doesn't look like it's going to get finished this year, I wrote this in the meantime.) Title from the Queen song 'You're My Best Friend'.
Summary: Shawn flails around in the dark, thinking about Gus.
Shawn has needed Gus forever, but he's always been afraid Gus doesn't need him. No, it isn't so much fear as an absolute certainty. Gus doesn't need him, never has, maybe never will, and most days he can get away with pretending he doesn't care, but there are those other days, those impossibly long, fraught with internal monologue and echoing self-loathing nights where he thinks --- son-of-a-bitch, he thinks way too much.
Gus has always been super together, and nerdy enough to be crazy smart, but cool enough not to let it show to everyone. Gus has a great family and lovely work colleagues and is not even close to lacking in the looks department --- is so damn hot he could be an alternate fuel source for the greater part of California. He's good at talking to people and necessary manipulation and fitting in, and really, Shawn's always known he's spent their lives being more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to Gus and all social matters, the evidence is clear. Gus managed to get married without Shawn. He founded an awesome a cappella group without Shawn. He attained a well-paying job without Shawn.
So when it comes down to it, Shawn is superfluous with a flashing neon 'flu' in Gus' life; all slimey and feverish and the bringer of aches and pains. And if, for instance, Gus' life were to be in danger at any moment and he'd need rescue? Shawn knows he'd only be there because of him, so that renders that point of usefulness well and truly moot.
But Gus, for all his complaining and endearing disapproval, has never once turned his back on Shawn and uttered the utterly true and totally devastating, "I don't need you."
There's been one or two occasions where Gus has abandoned him for someone else, but that's literally one or two occasions and while Shawn holds a grudge --- can't not --- he knows that this doesn't exactly make a pattern, not even a splodge of colour. It's just kind of there.
No, instead of saying he doesn't need him, Gus has put up with everything that's ever been thrown at his head, has suffered through Shawn pushing him to do things he really doesn't want to do (because he has to mean something, right? There has to be a reason they're friends?) and coming up with insane schemes for the hell of it, and monopolising most seconds of most days. He's stayed by Shawn's side the entire time --- except for those years Shawn knew he had to let Gus live his own life because he was in a Bad Place, and it was all Henry's craptacular fault anyway. (Maybe also Madeleine's, but he won't think that, he can't, still, even after discovering the truth. Or rather, being told, point blank.)
Shawn's always been afraid Gus will realise he doesn't need him, because he really doesn't seem to know.
Gus uses his togetherness to provide Shawn with stability, whether that be regular meals, or a day that follows some form of routine, helping him hunt for an apartment they can both fit into. He uses his smarts to do the books, research, know things ordinary humans should never know. And his coolness to, well, just be awesome. His family is slowly but surely learning to accept Shawn, the work colleagues don't seem to matter, and Gus must be insane, because he kisses Shawn like he thinks he's so hot he could be his own gas giant (and you know, in anything other than Gus-related neurosis, maybe he is.) Gus doesn't seem to care that his relationship with Shawn takes up all his time, or prevents him from meeting more valuable and practical people, or means he won't get married again unless they move states or the douchewaffles in charge get a clue by four.
Shawn knows all of this --- he's seen it, time and again, but people who say they love him have a habit of leaving, even after a long time, and Shawn isn't sure he can handle that pain ever again. So he clings. He tries to inject his presence in Gus' life with meaning, even if that means endangering it. And he angsts, stupidly, Jesus Christ, so stupidly, in moments like these, lying beside Gus, their legs entwined, all tangled up and warm in the covers. There isn't a damn thing logic or common sense can do to stop him from it. It's not like he's ever had either of these qualities in spades anyway, he's always relied on Gus to --- and there he goes again.
He groans, rolls further onto his side, muffles his head in the pillow, but he can't drown out the voice in his head, no matter how he tries.
"Is there any reason you're playing Dance Dance Revolution in bed? Is this a new thing I need to be concerned about?" Gus asks, voice sleep-thick and rich, with only an edge of irritation, which is really very magnanimous, for Gus, late at night. He hates it when he doesn't get a full eight and a half hours.
"Sorry," Shawn says, genuinely mortified he woke Gus up, knowing there's no coming back from that, except, maybe, making some cocoa with huge marshmallows and whipped cream and sprinkles.
"Can't you sleep?" Gus asks now, sounding concerned, which kind of tears Shawn's heart into teeny tiny pieces, screws them into a spit-ball and launches it at the ceiling.
"No," Shawn admits, because he might as well be honest, he's woken Gus up through ridiculous frettery.
Gus reaches over and turns on the lamp, the lampshade making the room glow all yellow and golden, except for that bit at the top that's green. He peers at Shawn with deep, heavy-lidded eyes that have gunky sleep stuff at the corners and further hints of worry.
"Having Mr Yang nightmares again?"
Shawn shakes his head. No. No, that would be understandable. Rational, even.
"Is your shoulder hurting?"
Also not paranoid and/or delusional as far as reasons to not be asleep go. Shawn sits up and ensures Gus is the one who gets the covers, contrary to his usual actions that ensure no one does.
"I'm going through a patch of insomnia, that's all. You want a drink? I'm gonna go make some cocoa, settle me down."
"That isn't a good idea. The theobromine and sugar combined will probably keep you awake several more hours. Why don't I give you a massage instead?"
It's tempting. When Gus touches him, Shawn's mind does tend to shut down for a while, let him concentrate on the sensation of skin against skin, the shiver and the tingle, his breath coming out all soft and hushed like their movements together are sacred.
"Okay," he says, the greatest understatement of the century.
Gus chuckles, the sound warm enough for Shawn not to lament his lack of late-night super-sweetened goodness, because, hey, he already has it right here. Gus waits until he wriggles further down the bed, then helps him flip onto his stomach. His palms glide over his lower back, rubbing in concentric circles, each circle getting more firm, kneading at his flesh, until it's his fingertips in a point, easing at the hours of wild thoughts and sillier accusations, giving him that tactile connection they didn't have for over two decades, unless a fistbump and the occasional punch count. It's rhythmic, steady, smooth and gentle; it's everything Gus is in his life.
Shawn knows this is still no form of equity, him take, take, taking and Gus giving him everything he could ever want, but Gus is murmuring, low and encouraging, slowing down the cogs that are normally insistently whirring. Shawn thinks he might just sleep. The light shining through his eyelids goes off and he starts to drift.
"I really love you, you know," Shawn says, feeling Gus slide down and draw in close. Gus has a hand splayed on his back and a foot between his legs. He's breathing so air brushes Shawn's cheek, comforting in all the right ways.
It's the first time Shawn's said it. He hasn't let it slip before, not even after sex. It's always seemed too raw, like it should be protected --- saying it might make Gus disappear. But he wants Gus to hear it from his own lips, not just inference, so he has to say it.
Gus doesn't say anything for a moment. Shawn's senses surge alert like they're attached to firecrackers, and he gazes into the dim light. Gus is staring at him, lips parted in what looks like shock, eyes filmed over with something Shawn can't distinguish.
"You didn't know that?" Shawn asks, because he always assumed Gus knew, even if he hadn't said it, he had to know, didn't he? It was obvious.
"I knew," Gus says, collecting himself. "I never thought you'd trust me enough to say it."
The words tumble out of Shawn's mouth like cookies from a jar, and he doesn't even think about pausing for breath. "It's not you, of course I trust you, you're the only person I do trust, you're the only person I've ever trusted with anything. It's me, I don't trust myself. I don't trust in my ability not to push you away and ruin this."
Gus frowns at him. "Nothing you could do would push me away, and I am well aware that saying that is potentially hazardous to my health, but, Shawn, I could never leave you. I wouldn't know what to do without you. I wouldn't be alive."
"You were alive without me before. In college."
"I survived without you before. There's a difference." Gus' brow crinkles again and then clears. "Is this why you couldn't sleep?"
"A little bit."
"Maybe a lot."
"I sometimes forget that beneath that shell of bravado and bragging, there's an idiot inside."
Shawn snorts. "Thanks."
Gus brings the hand that was on his back up to his cheek, brushing against it with his thumb. He edges closer. "No, really, you're a fool."
"I get the point."
"I don't think you do. I love you, Shawn. More than anything. I always have. I loved you that first day you dared me to eat worms, to yesterday, when you dared me to eat four-day old Fries Quatro Queso Dos Fritos. I love everything about you, even the things I pretend to hate, but you are not allowed to bring that up if I'm telling you I don't want to be involved in a case, or a practical joke on Lassiter, or Henry's amateur theatrical production of Othello, understand?"
"I think so? I may have gotten confused toward the end there."
"Let me spell it out for you in terms you'll appreciate."
Gus kisses Shawn like he never wants to stop kissing him, like he needs Shawn all the time. And Shawn thinks, well, okay, just because he thinks he's superfluous, doesn't mean Gus does, as evidenced by his hand sliding over his abdomen and under his waistband. And even though, if Gus had any sense, he would see how he was so much better than Shawn, he doesn't and doesn't seem to be about to understand that any day soon, so they may as well make the most of it. And then he thinks stop thinking, aided greatly by Gus' tongue against his, hand slowly making him hard, and litany of sensual murmurs that make his head spin.
Shawn has needed Gus forever, and he's beginning to realise he may be wrong about Gus not needing him.