Nightmares, Shawn knows, are part of the job.
He remembers his dad telling him that when you’re a police officer, you see humans at their absolute worst. Their lowest point. You see the homes where the floors are literally dirt and the children with dull eyes are barely hanging on while their parents are in a stupor. You see car accidents where the top half of the body is in backseat while the legs are still in the driver’s seat. The overdosing drug addict you’ve responded to three times already.The wellness checks where a family member finally thought to ask for for their grandparent or parent, just to find they’ve been dead for three days already. The ones where you think it can’t get worse and then it does.
Shawn knows that intellectually. Some of the cases he’s consulted on have been fairly gruesome. Jules, he knows, has seen worse and experienced worse. She’s tough, she has to be, but she’s also got one of the softest hearts Shawn has ever seen. The nightmares don’t come often but when they do, they’re not pretty.
Sometimes they’re about the times she was taken hostage. She dreams of falling, of air rushing past her ears in a roar, waking up just before she hits the ground.
Other times it’s about Lassiter, of times he’s gone out on his own without back-up (and Shawn’s been there when she’s read him the riot act for doing that, it’s not pretty) and getting hurt or worse. She sometimes dreams of something happening to Karen or Shawn or even Gus and Henry.
The worst ones, though, are from her days of being a patrol officer.
“It was a gang shooting,” she confesses quietly into Shawn’s shoulder. She’s pressed into his, face hidden. Shawn strokes her hair and doesn’t say anything. “These two gangs had been having it out for weeks and it seemed like nothing we did could stop them. Locking up their members just moved the fighting to the prison. The leaders refused to meet and talk it out. Increased patrols just got our guys shot.”
“I responded to shots fired one night,” she continues. She’s grip his shirt tightly and Shawn pulls the blanket up higher over them. “They’d just had a fire fight. It must have been a small group because we could see them running when we pulled up. But there was one just lying on the ground, blood everywhere.” Her breath hitches. “He couldn’t have been more than sixteen, too young to have been involved in anything like this and he looked up at me, terrified, and he says to me ‘I don’t want to die.’”
“Jules,” Shawn says softly. “You don’t -”
“I tried to stop the bleeding. I tried to stop it but I couldn’t,” Juliet continues. Her voices is breaking on a sob. Shawn holds her tighter. “He wasn’t able to hurt anyone at that point. There was ambulance coming, but we both knew how this ended. He asked me if I’d tell his mom how much he loved her. And to tell her she had to get his little brother out.” Shawn’s shirt is damp.
“Did you tell her?” Shawn asks. Juliet nods into his chest.
“She called me a pig,” she says. “Her son just died and the only thing she could think of was that there was a pig in her house. Her other little boy was standing in the corner, crying.”
“Oh, Jules.” Shawn’s voice is sad. His arm around her tightens. “I’m sorry.” She pinches his waist.
“You know I hate it when you say that,” Juliet mutters. “I picked this job. I love this job and I don’t need you to be sorry for anything that happens while I work.”
“Yeah, I know, babe,” Shawn says quietly. “You think you can go back to sleep?” Juliet is quiet for a moment before she shakes her head.
“Not after this one,” she answers. Shawn sighs, pressing a kiss to her forehead before pulling away.
“Come on,” he says. “I’ll make you Mom’s hot chocolate.” They stand and Shawn presses a light kiss to her forehead.
“With sprinkles?” She asks hopefully and she looks so beautiful in her over-sized T-shirt that Shawn knows she pilfered from him and tousled hair, even with her red-rimmed eyes, that he can’t help but press a kiss to her lips as well.
“With sprinkles, you overgrown child,” he promises and ignores her sputtering as he heads for the kitchen.