Word Count: 2,680 words.
Summary: Lassie isn’t evil, Shawn thinks, as he runs down the road. He’s just misguided. Like a train.
Lassie isn’t evil, Shawn thinks, as he runs down the road. He’s just misguided. Like a train. He’s been set down the wrong line, and instead of heading en route to Awesomesauceland has ended up at Primnproper. It was a heist. A whole bunch of criminals came and stole the carriage holding Lassie’s sense of humour, imagination and willingness to share. But he isn’t horrible. Shawn actually likes him. In the same way he likes liquorice. It’s kind of never sweet enough, always leaves him with a weird taste just at the back of his mouth, and it turns his tongue black. But whenever he sees it, he just has to have it. It’s a fascination. Shawn’s not stupid enough to think it’s anything less or anything more.
He turns the corner, feeling the burn in his chest from too much running and not enough breathing. Stops suddenly, zigzags off to the side, into a small alleyway between The Golden Goose (where the char kway teow – Number 15, is to die for) and Larry’s Laundromat (where Shawn once made a yellow shirt orange using only one red sock and the power of his mind), and flattens himself against the bricks, taking in some much needed air.
“Come out. Now. I can hear you.”
Damn. Does the man never give up? Evil? No. Horrible? No. Persistent? Hell yes. Shawn is weighing up his odds of managing to scale the wall at the end of the alley when the crunch of footfall arrests his attention and he spins to see Lassiter, angry eyes and pumping legs, heading straight for him. He’s in pale blue t-shirt (Shawn never even thought Lassie owned a t-shirt, so that’s a surprise), and faded black jeans. His hair’s soaking wet, with the drips running over his collar and a little on his shoulder, suggesting he didn’t bother with a towel.
“Please stop,” Shawn’s able to squeak out, before two hands pin him so close to the wall he can feel each groove in each singular brick digging into his back.
“I’m going to kill you, Spencer. I’m going to draw my gun and shoot you dead.”
“There’s no need! I surrender!”
“Why were you spying on me?”
“I wasn’t spying.”
“Yes, you were. When I take a shower, I expect it to be a private affair between me, myself, and the tiles of my bathroom. I do not expect to see the reflection of a pseudo-psychic in my mirror.”
A quick flash of the beauty spot on Lassiter’s left buttcheek flickers into Shawn’s mind and he finds himself licking his annoyingly dry lips. A sudden thought about how to distract Lassiter comes with it, but he dismisses it immediately, because this is not Joanie Loves Chachi and he very much doubts Lassiter’s the type to start singing “You Look At Me”.
“I don’t want a flimsy excuse.”
“Will you settle for an excellent excuse? An extravagant excuse, with examples and examination of extremities? “
“I wasn’t spying, I was just walking around your house...”
Lassiter narrows his eyes. “Ahuh.”
“Trying to work up the courage to come and talk to you.”
“Wow, did you go through training to hone this high level of questioning skill, or…?”
Lassiter lets go of Shawn’s shoulders and he knows he should be happier than happy at this, but instead he feels a little sad. Just an eency, weency bit, but still, he’s totally heading towards crazy central on The Lassiter Express.
“I came to assure you that I wouldn’t say anything to the Chief about seeing you the other night.”
Lassiter squints even more, and seriously, Shawn did not know that was possible, he’s almost got his eyes closed. “Seeing me?”
“Yeah. I mean, I wanted you not to feel worried, because I am actually scary good at keeping secrets. Daphne in fifth grade? She killed the class hamster and I never told a soul. Except for now, of course, which I suppose isn’t the best defense…” Shawn tails off, knowing he’s rambling, which is something he never consciously means to do when he’s around Lassiter, but does anyway.
“I still have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Hades? You? That really tall blond guy with the grabby hands and scar on his left cheek which I sensed was acquired in a brawl about two or three years ago?”
“You won’t tell the Chief I was on an SBPD sanctioned undercover operation to bring in Tony Twinkletoes Torrino?” Lassiter scoffs. “Go ahead. I look forward to it with fervour.”
“… you were there on official police business?”
“Yes, yes I was. This shocks you?”
Shawn grits his teeth, thinking he’s come this far and is still possessed of most of his organs. “I thought you were there on personal business.”
“You thought I was gay?”
“What you lack in fashion sense you make up for in aggressive masculinity. You know, like a leatherdaddy. You had some kind of mancrush thing going on with my Dad when you two were fishing buddies --- your picture is still on his fridge, by the way --- and don’t even get me started on your reaction to the Feds… the hot psychic chick? Nothing. The dude with the muscles and the superiority complex you were practically salivating over, every second of that entire case.”
“His name was Ewing. And I did not have a crush on him, I wanted to be him.”
“Oh, so be him, not be in him? Gus always says I add inappropriate prepositions at inopportune times.”
“I amend my previous declaration - I will kill you with my bare hands.”
Lassiter goes to move forward, his hands poised to circle around Shawn’s neck, and Shawn stares up at him with nothing short of completely misplaced craving. And that’s when Lassiter stops what he’s doing and takes an abrupt step back, pulling one arm up until his hand is resting on his hip and the other to tug at his earlobe in worried frustration.
“It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself not to get sucked in by you, you manage to get me acting like a fool. I don’t know what you have against me, but I wish you’d find another chewtoy to mangle and spit out.”
“Have against you? I don’t have anything against you. If anything, I wish I could have something against you.” Shawn closes his mouth with a snap, aware that he’s now hurtling over 88MPH towards DANGER with a capital GER.
“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
Never was there a time more perfect for half-truths. “I can’t bring myself to hate you, and yet, I feel I should. You have the amazing coppery abilities I wish I had. All I’ve got are charms, good looks, poise, psychic visions and an array of attractive and well-fitting clothes. You’ve got respect, you have majesty.”
Shawn’s mind is traitorous again and reminds him of Lassiter’s majesty. The unexpectedly well-toned muscles (he should have factored that in when it came to the chase), the appendectomy scar, the tattoo. God, the tattoo, he’d temporarily forgotten the tattoo --- a small, black hammerhead shark, just above his hip, where rivulets of water were cascading down to meet the floor. When he comes to, Lassiter’s staring at him in disgust.
“If I find you within a hundred yards of my house again, I am going to cuff you, make no mistake.”
Lassiter walks off and Shawn sighs. Maybe he’s the evil one. The horrible one. He thought it was perfectly innocent, him going there to be supportive and well-meaning, but he did linger. Loiter. Would possibly have been lecherous, if given half the chance. Perhaps, just perhaps, Shawn is the misguided one --- who, yeah, still has a sense of humour and imagination and willingness to sometimes overshare --- but no real idea of who he is, or what he wants. Because it really seems like he wants Lassiter, and that’s just wrong.
Two weeks later Shawn isn’t having much success. In anything. He puts this down to his Dad flaking on him when he invites him into the woods for a little Father-Son happy happy fun time, with ‘smores and extra graham crackers, and rocks getting wedged under tents so that waking up every two hours is a blessing. He also thinks Gus contributes, what with his obsessive need to “do” the budget and command Shawn stop getting Del Taco for lunch. And then, of course, there’s his work for the SBPD, which under any other circumstances would be fantastic because he’s pretty much constantly on the clock, but this time sucks to high heaven because he’s pretty much constantly on the clock with Lassiter.
And it’s not like Lassiter’s pleased about this. Oh, no, Lassiter’s the least verbally communicative Shawn has ever seen him --- unless clenching your fist until every knuckle (even the ones in your other hand) clicks --- is relegated to verbal communication just by dint of being really freaking expressive.
Shawn has tried to start no less than nineteen conversations since they were forced to band together on stakeout as Jules works undercover at the art gallery that once housed the infamous “Man with an Orange for his Head” sculpture by André Kellich. Shawn’s tried to solve the case single-handed --- having borrowed the plans for the art gallery from the council and surveyed all possible entry and exit points, broken into the curator’s house to discover more about his lead suspect, and dressed up as an Artiste, including sequins, bows, and a sash of strategically placed purple silk. Shawn’s tried to stop imagining Lassiter naked (although it isn’t imagination, because he knows, it’s merely visualisation, and considering the fact he has his own personal pan and scan, he can go for hours.)
But, in all of these things, Shawn has failed. The conversations never went anywhere, a curious silence pervading the car. What you see is what you get when it comes to the gallery, and mostly that’s not a lot. The curator couldn’t possibly care less for the stolen sculpture. Silk can fly off in all kinds of directions with the tiniest puff of air. And his brain is a cruel, malevolent part of his body, that conspires with another, tormenting, malicious part of his body, to keep him constantly on edge and agonisingly aroused for the greater part of the day.
Shawn has never been one to pine. When he wants something, or someone, he generally goes out there and gets it. Or, it would appear, him. But he’s hesitant. He can normally charm people. He’s won awards all over the country for his abilities to dazzle and delight. But Lassiter’s never been anything but wary of him and he knows that a lot of that has to do with the fact he’s pretending to be psychic, but it runs deeper than that and he doesn’t really know what to do.
“Look, Lassie, I’ve gotta come straight with you, man.”
“Are you sure that’s the right use of terminology there?”
“Nothing. Please continue. I await enlightenment.”
Shawn cracks his neck to one side and tenses his abdominal muscles. “I don’t think Jules is going to solve this case with us outside. We need to be in there, doing something.”
“I would agree with you, however that’s not what you wanted to say,” Lassiter states with authority.
Shawn swallows quickly, glances at his hair in the side-view mirror, and smoothes his hand down his thigh. “Honestly. I know I didn’t do all that well in my own covert operation, I’m perfectly willing to admit my faults, but I think we need to get in there.”
“The Chief forbade me from taking action without clearing it with her first. And as you know, it’s her son’s third birthday today. So I guess everything just has to keep rolling along. But that still isn’t what you wanted to say.”
“You’re obviously dying to tell me what I was wanting to say, so I give you permission. Hit me with your best shot, Benatar style.”
“You think I’m hot stuff,” Lassiter says with a smile that about melts Shawn’s eyes.
Any other time and Shawn would spin that on its head, confirm it to deny it, hell, he’s flirted hundreds of times before. But he’s nervous, and on the back-foot, and Lassiter’s staring straight through him. “What? I so do not.”
“Spencer, I may not be gifted with the gab like you. I don’t wobble around, waving my hands in the air. I certainly don’t claim to be able to see people’s futures and pasts without extensive questioning. But I am, first and foremost, a detective. I, too, can read people. I, too, can sense how they’re feeling, through body language and the things they don’t say. And you? Haven’t been able to look me in the eye since you saw me showering. But you have been able to stare at my ass.”
Shawn’s mouth is dry. His nostrils are flaring. There is no escape. “Lassie…”
“I…” Shawn can’t finish the sentence. Can’t finish any sentence. He’s incapable of coherency.
“Funny. I’ve rendered you speechless. Is this a new world record?” Lassiter smirks. He Goddamn smirks. “So it was wishful thinking,” he continues. “When you saw me in Hades, you thought that was your chance. But I rejected the idea out of hand, telling you about the case. I informed you, quite rightly, that I never had a crush on Ewing. And I shattered your hopes.”
When confronted, Shawn’s initial reaction is to bolt. He goes to open the car door, but Lassiter is swift. He presses a hand against Shawn’s chest, his thumb a firebrand as it touches the skin at Shawn’s open collar.
“I don’t have to sit here and listen to you mocking me,” Shawn bites out.
“Why not? I take it all the time,” Lassiter snaps back. He softens his tone and his thumb strokes lightly against Shawn’s neck. “But I’m not mocking you.”
“You’re being Mr. Mockingbird of Mockingtonville, Mockota.”
“You can be a wiseguy all day, or you can listen. I’m trying to ask if you want to come see the inside of my house, as opposed to the brickwork.”
“Well, I already have. The bathroom wasn’t the first window I looked in on. And you should really think about getting opaque glass or something, because I’m telling you, it’s the clearest view I have ever seen.”
Shawn finally brings himself to look into Lassiter’s eyes. They’re warm and hold promise. He ducks his head forward. “This is my way of saying yes.”
“Could you find a more direct route?”
“Just say the word, ‘yes’. You’ll find it’s surprisingly easy. Other alternatives might be ‘yeah’, ‘I’d like that’ or, for a more Spencerish response, maybe ‘wahey’.”
Shawn tones down his usual flair and only goes for a three second round of Jazz Hands. “Wahey.”
“Good. Now that we’ve cleared the air, how about we completely contradict the Chief’s orders and go help Detective O’Hara?”
“I’d like that.”
“You know, I prefer the Wildcat Lounge on Sunday nights. So, if it all works out with us having a couple of beers tonight, maybe we can go catch a show?”
“You’re just being annoying again, aren’t you?”
Shawn follows Lassiter out of the car, grinning to himself. Lassie isn’t evil, Shawn thinks, as he runs down the road. He’s just mysterious. Like a spooky ghost train. He has all of these legends said about him, which only ever appear to be sort of true sometimes. Takes regular detours into Awesomesauceland, though mostly to scare resident denizens. Has probably lost some carriages along the way, but magically gained some new ones, because he’s just that cool. And Shawn likes him, a lot. And is kind of hoping his tongue will turn black. And will ask Lassiter about the tattoo about the same time he gets to lick it.