last01standing: ([SGA] Sheppard)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: Walking Dead Girl
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I have no claims to either Pushing Daisies or Psych.
Summary: Upon seeing the specter of her supposedly dead niece, Lily Charles calls in a psychic. [PD/Psych crossover]

Notes: Written as part of Sweet Charity for [personal profile] strangevisitor7 who asked for a Psych/PD crossover

Walking Dead Girl

Upon seeing the very solid form of a dead relative, people on the whole tend to have one of two reactions. The first is immediate rationalization where one goes through all the logical reasons why the unfortunate apparition could not possibly be real. In the case of Chuck’s Aunt Lily, this reaction could have gone like this; Charlotte Charles is dead. I attended her funeral. I saw her buried. Therefore there is no possible way I could have seen her. However, Chuck’s Aunt Lily fell into the second, rarer category. In this category, when gazing on the visage of a deceased loved one, the brain accepts the image as reality and moves to the only logical explanation; I’ve just seen Charlotte’s ghost. In the case of Charlotte Charles’s alleged ghost, of course, neither was true. The girl named Chuck had been resurrected by the Pie Maker, her childhood sweetheart and was now living in hiding.

Aunt Lily however knew none of this.

Which is why upon viewing the fantastic, she did the only logical thing.

She called a psychic.

At the time of the phone call in question, psychic Shawn Spencer, is twenty-nine years, twenty-nine weeks, twenty nine minutes and twenty nine seconds old. He is in fact, taking note of this rare moment of synchronicity like he takes note of all life’s incongruities. At the moment he answers the phone, he is simultaneously memorizing the license plate of the car passing the office, thinking of four different ways to annoy his colleague, Detective Lassiter and wondering if he should have Chinese or Mexican for lunch.

“Psych,” Shawn says, picking up the receiver. “Shawn Spencer speaking.”

“You’re someone to talk to about communicating with the other side?”

Shawn straightens up a little in his seat. The cases that involve communicating with the other side are his favorites. He loves throwing himself into character. He loves the aura around séances, ghosts and hauntings. He loves watching his best friend and business partner Burton Guster squirm at his antics. “I assure you, ma’am I am an all purpose psychic. Communication with the spiritual realm is one of my many specialties.”

In truth communication with the spiritual realm was not one of Shawn Spencer’s gifts. In point of fact, psychic powers were not part of Shawn’s gifts. Shawn Spencer was in fact, a fake psychic, a charlatan. His so-called powers were product of a photographic memory extreme extrapolation skills and training from a police officer father. Still, fake or not, Shawn Spencer is the most successful psychic on record. He has solved every single case that has been presented to him. That was in fact, Shawn’s secret--he wasn’t a psychic, he was just an excellent detective.

The girl called Chuck has a secret as well and unfortunately for her, secrets tend to be short-lived when Shawn Spencer is on the case.

Burton Guster, known to his close friends simply as ‘Gus’ was precisely thirty years, three weeks and fifty-two minutes old when his phone began play Scherzo, the ring tone signifying a call from his best friend, Shawn. Burton Guster was in the unfortunate position of having two jobs vying for his complete attention. The first was the extremely stable sales route for Central Coast Pharmaceuticals and the second, the far less stable job of looking after his best friend’s psychic escapades.

“Hey Shawn,” he says, on the way to the car.

“Dude, we’ve got a case,” Shawn starts without preamble. He’s talking quickly in his usual slightly manic tone that commands Gus’s attention and interests. “There’s an old lady who wants me to communicate with her dead niece. Thought she saw a ghost last week. I’m thinking we make the day trip to Couer d' Cours and put on a show.”

“What if she actually did see her niece’s ghost, Shawn,” Gus hisses into the receiver. “Spectral apparitions are a well documented phenomena. I do not want to go pissing off some dead girl’s spirit.”

“Could you be any more lame?” Shawn asks. Gus can hear the tell tale clack of computer keys over the line. “Hey, Gus, I just googled our esteemed client and got a hit. Have you ever heard of the Darling Mermaid Darlings?”

As a matter of fact, Gus had heard of the Darling Mermaid Darlings. He’d seen them perform nearly twenty years ago and had been positively entranced by the performance. Gus had always found synchronized swimming soothing to watch.

“Oh my God,” Shawn says on the phone, voice crackling with laughter. “You totally have heard of the Darling Mermaid Darlings. Gus, you are such a little girl.”

Gus glances to his metal brief case full of drug samples and then to his car and he already knows which job will win his attentions for the day. “Shawn, I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

The result of this meeting with Shawn is of course a road trip wherein Gus will be expected to drive, pay for gas and procure lodging. Gus keeps a little black book with all of these expenditures organized by date and relevance to the case. This April, he will write all of the expenses off on his taxes just like he had the year prior. Shawn, being Shawn, will not file taxes.

Gus plugs the address into his GPS as Shawn grabs a stack of internet printouts for research and automatically moves to the passenger’s side of the car dubbed ‘The Psychmobile.’ Neither of them have packed, but for Gus, spontaneous road trips with Shawn have become such a standard occurrence in his life, that he keeps a duffel bag with a spare change of clothes for both himself and Shawn, a roll of twenties and a first aid kit in the back of his car.

“Hey Gus,” Shawn says, flipping through one of his pages. “Looks like the mermaid twins aren’t our only celebrities on this case. Guess who their supposed ghost would be?”

“Lonely tourist Charlotte Charles,” Gus answers immediately. “She was found drowned off the side of her cruise ship almost six months ago.”

“Dude!” Shawn says. “You totally just stole my thunder. This was supposed to be my big revelation.”

“Shawn, it was all over the news. The Darling Mermaid Darlings were all set up to make a comeback tour in her honor but then they had an inexplicable cancellation. Something about needing more time to grieve.”

“My God, Gus! I bet you only know that because you had comeback tickets. What kind of man wants to go out and watch middle-aged women perform synchronized swimming in mermaid outfits. Now if they were twenty and wearing tiny little bikinis, I might cut you some slack, but come on—“

“It was a big deal,” Gus says defensively. “It was all over the news.”

“Whatever,” Shawn mumbles, turning back to the various news clippings. “Looks like Charlotte Charles lead a pretty tame life up until she was murdered. Parents died young and she got shipped off to live with her aunts. She had a business making honey for homeless people. She was murdered on the cruise ship and a few days later, the murderer was killed by her aunt when he tried coming to the house. Six months later there are ghosts rumblings. Why not earlier?”

“I don’t know Shawn. Maybe the ghost didn’t show up until now?”

“No,” Shawn said thoughtfully. “First of all, ghosts don’t exist, second they tend to appear either immediately or you know, on twenty year anniversaries. This ghost is acting out of character. It’s not like she’d have much to hang around for. Her murder’s a closed case and she lived with two crazy mermaids.” He shook his head, look of concentration fading back into its usual cheer. “Dude, how do you think I should play her at the séance.” He affects a high-pitched falsetto, “Oh, auntie Lils! I just want you to be happy for a change. Let me go...”

“You know you shouldn’t be mocking the dead, right?” Gus says, keeping his eyes firmly on the road. “They could turn out like Scary Sherry and—“

“Scary Sherry wasn’t real,” Shawn says. “We made her up when we were kids!”

“That’s completely besides the point.” Gus grumbles.

A sign reading Now entering Couer d' Cours flies by on their right.

There is a wildly eccentric flavor to the town of Couer d' Cours. Out here, all the colors seem brighter, the people more exaggerated. Shawn takes the town in with the same critical eye as he takes in everything else. “Doesn’t really look like a ghost’s usually haunt does it, Gus?”

It doesn’t and Gus knows it. “Something is seriously messed up here.”

“Don’t be a spoil sport,” Shawn chides. “It’s more fun that way.”

When they reach the house of the Lily and Vivian Charles, Shawn takes one look and tells his partner, “You do realize we are walking into the house of a crazy person, right?”

The house did in fact have the odd sort of eccentric appearance of its owners. It had bright green siding, a somewhat cluttered porch and a vaguely ethereal glow emanating from the windows.

“Come on, Shawn,” Gus says. “I’m sure they are perfectly nice people.”

When they reach the front porch, Gus reaches for the knocker and raps twice. Shawn is getting into his psychic mode, fingers pressed to either temple. After a moment the door opens, but the person who opens the door is most definitely not one of the Darling Mermaid Darlings. He’s tall and lean with a long black coat, neat brown hair and wide brown eyes. Shawn’s fingers dropped from his temple and he stared at the man with barely concealed shock. “You’re definitely not Vivian Charles,” Shawn says finally.

And the man at the door was of course in no way Vivian Charles. In fact, the man at the door was none other then the Pie Maker, come to deliver the girl called Chuck’s weekly pie to her grieving aunts. The Pie Maker, completely bewildered now opened his mouth, closed it and opened it again before saying. “In no way shape or form am I required to identify myself to you and for that matter, who are you and what are you doing here?”

Shawn gives Gus a look. Or, more specifically, the look. The one that says in no uncertain terms, this guy is hiding something. “I’m Shawn Spencer,” Shawn says in his oddly measured, I’m-testing-you tone of voice. “I’m a psychic.”

Even Gus notices how the Pie Maker pales, how he looks alternately terrified and baffled.

Shawn smirks. “Got anything to say for yourself, Spunky? Because we’ve got to see a mermaid about a ghost.”

“I see no reason you should be bothering these nice ladies about ghosts which are not real and are in fact very much a part of the grieving process,” the Pie Maker nods curtly and practically runs back to his car.

Shawn, watching him carefully notes his exact height and weight, the car’s license plate and an unidentifiable plastic contraption in the front seat the likes of which Shawn has never seen before. Gus nudges him in the side. “So, what do you think about that guy?”

“Definitely hiding something,” Shawn confirms.

From the foyer, a petit lady with a pitch black bob calls, “Lily, the psychic and his friend are here!” She leads them both to kitchen, smiling in a vacant sort of way that seemed to suggest she wasn’t quite all there. “Would either of you like some pie before we begin? Ned just dropped it off for us, sweet boy.”

Eying the pie, Shawn makes the unconscious leap between the skittish man at the doorway and the pie box reading The Pie Hole. “Unfortunately,” Shawn says. “Me and my partner here are both deathly allergic to all flavors of pie.”

“Oh!” squeaks the shorter of the two. “What an entirely unfortunate condition to contract. Ned’s pies are one of the best parts of our week.”

“Ned’s pies,” Shawn says thoughtfully. “Did dear Ned start delivering these pies around the same time your ghost showed up?”

“Yes,” growls Lily. “How did you know that?”

Shawn taps the side of his head. “Ma’am, I have a gift.”

“Is she here now?” Aunt Vivian asks breathlessly.

Shawn raises his hands to his temples in his patented fake psychic vision mode. “I’m sensing another prescience. It’s Charlotte she’s here. She wants you to know she’s all right. She just wants you two to be happy.” Something crosses Shawn’s face and he drops the aura almost immediately. “I’m sorry,” he says. “I appear to be blocked at the moment. I’ll tell you what. Me and my associate will come back at the same time tomorrow to see if we can make better contact with your Charlotte. No extra charge.”

“Why, that would be lovely,” Vivian says. “We don’t get many visitors.”

Ignoring Gus’s bug eyed look of indignation, Shawn hauls him out of the room. When the get back in the car, Gus voices his protest, “Shawn what they hell is that. I have work tomorrow! I thought you said you were going to do the séance and get out of there.”

Shawn stares at the road. “There is something wrong with this case.”

“Since when is this even a case, Shawn!?”

“Seriously man! Pie and then creepy, creepy old ladies with obvious personality disorders and well, most of what’s bothering me is the skittish guy in the trench coat, but there is definitely something wrong with this whole ghost scenario.”

“There was something that smelled a little funny in that house.”

“There!” Shawn exclaims. “See! The super sniffer never lies. Now let’s go find this Pie Hole and do some hard core snooping.”

“So this Ned guy,” Shawn says. “He’s not in Charlotte’s life. And then wham. She dies and he’s sending the grieving Aunts pie every other week. Not to mention the fact that when he goes to the funeral home to see the body, the director of the funeral home dies. I called Jules and got her to pull some files. This Ned character turns up all over bizarre death scenes.”

“Shawn,” Gus says, watching Ned smile through the Pie Hole’s window. “As weird as he is, he doesn’t look like the stone cold killer type.”

Shawn shrugs. “Because all killers look the part. Apparently he works with a private investigator, Emerson Cod. The guy seems a bit on the sleaze bag side, but it’s legit.” He watches the movements inside the Pie Hole. “Hey, you want some pie, Gus?”

“OK,” Gus spits, “now you want pie? What happened to the fake deathly pie allergy?”

“Come on, Gus,” Shawn says, pushing open the car door. “That was before I knew it was actually his pie shop. He’s got the FDA keeping him from poisoning us plus, pie! There is no bad here.”

They each order a slice of triple berry pie with a tall glass of milk and a tiny blonde with a big bust asks them if they need anything else. Shawn smiles at her, automatically taking not of her appearance and her flirtatious smile. “I’m sure it’s berrilicious,” he says.

The waitress giggles as she turned to leave. “If you need anything else boys, just give old Olive a shout.”

Shawn leans out of the booth, watching the way her ass moved under her green dress. Gus clears his throat. “Berrilicious, Shawn? Really?”

“Shut up,” Shawn mutters. “I was distracted by the possibly evil pie! I’m off my game.”

“Damn straight you’re off your game,” Gus says, taking a bite from the pie for emphasis. He chews thoughtfully for a moment and then he grins. “Hey you know this isn’t half bad.”

Shawn takes a bite of his own pie and washes it down with a gulp of milk. “Not half bad?” he asks. “This is God’s greatest gift to pastries! Gus, we’ve got to stock up for holiday time. I’m sure Lassie would appreciate something berrilicious in his life.”

“You do realize you’re never going to get that word to stick right.”

Shawn frowns around another bite of pie. “Really? I think it has a ring to it. The more you say it, the more fun it gets, berrilicious, berrilicious, berrilicious, berrilicious.” He shrugs. “What do you think the secret ingredient is?”

Gus bends in close to the pie and takes a sniff. “This stuff smells a little off. Kind of like the thing I smelled at that old lady house.”

“Maybe the secret ingredient is crack,” Shawn muses. “You know what, no. I don’t care as long as—“

There is a sudden flurry of motions in the back and Shawn falls silent in favor of eavesdropping. Two people emerge one after the other from the kitchen. The first was obviously nervous, babbling in a high pitched voice about a murder and an ice pick. The second was distinctly feminine and mildly annoyed. When Shawn catches sight of the owner of the female voice, his jaw drops to the floor. He’s on his feet before Gus even has a chance to process the scene.

“You!” Shawn says, pointing wildly toward Ned. “You’re—I don’t know what you are but it’s creepy! And you.” He turned toward the girl with an oddly calm look crossing his features in spite of the situation’s insanity. “You’re supposed to be dead.”

The girl called Chuck was of course not dead having been restored to life by her childhood sweetheart, the Pie Maker. Prior to that precise moment, the only other living soul who knew the truth regarding her untimely demise was private investigator, Emerson Cod.

“Whoa,” Gus says. “Back up a second, Shawn. That’s the dead girl?”

“Yes!” Shawn says, voice raising an octave. “Yes, Gus that’s the dead girl. I did my homework on this one. Dead girl, strangled, drowned, buried and now apparently a zombie.”

“Olive,” Ned calls and waits a second for the blond to emerge from the kitchen. “Olive, we’re closing early tonight. You should go home.”

“No problem,” Olive says, grinning. “If you like I can stay behind and help you tidy the place up.”

“It’s all right, Olive,” Ned says, eyes never moving from Shawn and Gus. “Me and Chuck have got it.”

“But I could—“

“Olive,” Chuck says lightly. “We’ve got it.”

Olive closes her mouth, and stalks out of the Pie Hole, glaring at Ned and Chuck the whole way. “Oh,” Shawn says. “You’ve gone and her mad. You should really apologize.”

Flustered, Ned opens his mouth, closes it and then opens it again. Despite this, he does not matter to utter a single syllable.

“Who are you people anyway?” Chuck asks.

“I am a psychic,” Shawn declares, pressing his fingertips to his temple. “And you, Charlotte Charles, were supposed to have crossed over to the other side. You were put to rest.”

“What did you do?” Gus asks, deeply unnerved by the entire situation. “Bury an empty coffin? Because that’s just sick.”

“How did you find me?” Ned asks as Chuck’s eyes turned to him, open wide.

Shawn taps the side of his head. “What part of I’m a psychic didn’t you understand?”

“Ned, who are these people and why were they looking for you?”

“We were hired by your aunts,” Shawn cuts in. “I was supposed to be establishing a link with the other side to see why your ghost had been hanging around, but something was blocking me. Now, I want to know why you’re not currently maggot food!”

“Ned was—I mean I was—well at least I was supposed to be but,” Chuck squeaks, caught off guard
Mildly panicked. Ned finds his voice quick enough to stop her before she spilled all her secrets. “She’s in witness protection program.”

“Oh,” Shawn says, settling down. “All right. That makes sense. Why the hell didn’t you just say that upfront?”

Ned raises an eyebrow. “Because she’s in witness protection?”

“Your aunts think you’re dead,” Gus says. “That’s just messed up. I mean if you can’t even see them to let them know you’re all right.”

Chuck’s eyes start to well up. She looks Ned, makes a move as if to grab his hand, but reconsiders. Watching the exchange, Shawn clears his throat. “I know it’s not the same, but if you need to get a message, to your aunts. Me and Gus can totally help you out. We told them we’d be back tomorrow.”

Through a haze of tears, Chuck smiles. “I’d like that.”

The next morning, the charlatan and his partner returned to the Charles residence to pass the girl called Chuck’s message onto her grieving aunts. It was the first time since the charlatan’s charade had begun that Burton Guster was able to watch his antics without suffering a considerable amount of anxiety and guilt. For as Shawn relayed Chuck’s message and Gus watched the smiles crossing the faces of aunts Lily and Vivian, he couldn’t help but think they were doing the right thing.

And later that night in the Pie Maker’s apartment, the girl called Chuck would sleep better then she had in months.