Word Count: 2,436 words.
Notes: Shawn/Lassiter. Title from the song "Down with Love".
Summary: In the past month, Lassiter's had seven failed first dates and Shawn feels bad because he feels great.
In the past month, Lassiter's had seven failed first dates and Shawn feels bad because he feels great. He feels bad because, deep down, in the cockle region of his heart, he wants Lassiter to be happy. Not the completely and utterly miserable he's proved himself to be time and time again. And he feels great, because, equally as deep, but a little to the left, he wants Lassiter to be happy in his presence, preferably alone, in a bed, with the lights dimmed and a bottle of pineapple schnapps at the ready.
This is why Shawn's followed Lassiter to the bar and watched him get steadily more drunk. He hasn't intervened. Yet. He doesn't want to take advantage of Lassie while he's vulnerable, but at the same time, it's like the ideal moment. He's not going to do anything creepy, he's just... going to talk. Talking is good. It's boss. They'll talk and maybe Shawn will convince Lassiter that what he wants to do is a fantastic idea and they should do it when he's more sober. Or, even, completely sober. Because that could totally happen.
Shawn sits in the corner, hiding behind a giant zombie punch, twirling the blue decorative umbrella that came with it between his fingers. His eyes never leave Lassiter, hunched over the bar, shoulders taut and head bowed down. He's waiting for the right opening, but he doesn't really know what that is.
"You know, you might find it more illuminating talking to me than staring at the back of my head."
Oh. Right. That opening. Shawn walks tentatively forward and slides onto the stool next to Lassiter, the punch swishing in his glass mirroring the feeling in his stomach. "Hey Lassmeister, how's it hanging?"
"It's not. I have nothing left to hang." Lassiter takes another large swig of beer and bangs it against the countertop. "Maybe you could explain something to me, Spencer --- why don't people like me?"
Shawn presses his tongue against the roof of his mouth. He doesn't like to kick people when they're down and it's not like what he'd say would be true for everyone anyway. He tells the version of the truth he's most comfortable with.
"People do like you. It takes a while to get to know you, but, you know, once you do --- there's liking there. There's lots of liking. Jules thinks you're awesome, she told me so, the other day."
"O'Hara showed active revulsion at the mere suggestion of dating me."
"You didn't ask about dating, you asked about liking. It's an entirely different kettle of hot water."
"Okay then, I'll rephrase. Why don't people like me enough to want to date me? Because at first, I was convinced it was them. However, I happen to be finely tuned to the nuances of evidence, and the mounting substantiating facts that it might be me have become more than circumstantial."
"There were too many syllables in that paragraph. All I heard was 'want', 'to', 'date' and 'me'. And since that comes across as a question, I'll give you my answer. Yes."
Lassiter blinks a couple of times, his forehead crinkled up and his tongue resting at the corner of his lips. "Huh?"
"You just asked me out on a date and I accepted. It was a magical moment, much as you'd see on Degrassi Junior High. I'm Spike, by the way."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Spike a girl?"
"Yeah, much as I appreciate your attempt to bring levity to my pity party, I don't think it's going to work out. You can go back to your booth."
Shawn squares his shoulders and gives his most brilliant smile. "Nope. We have a date to go on."
Shawn stands and begins to tug Lassiter off his stool. "Lassilicious. Listen. Just once, okay? One date. It won't kill you. Especially since you're packing. You see the slightest hint of danger and by all means, pull out your firearm, shoot, file a VP135, and be done with it."
Lassiter sighs. "I knew you'd do this. I knew it and yet I still invited you over here. I don't know what's wrong with me."
"I call it the Shawntasm. Your head feels light, you feel giddy, your blood pumps five times the acceptable speed..."
"No, that's not it."
"I think you know I know it is."
"Where are you taking me?"
"An awesome, awesome place. You'll love it."
Shawn continues to drag Lassiter towards the door, his stomach twirling into knots. This isn't what he had planned. This isn't remotely close to what he had planned. To be honest, he didn't really have anything planned, which is true to form, but slightly terrifying. He tries to think of awesome, awesome places, but the only one springing to mind is the crook of Lassiter's elbow and how warm it is against the palm of his hand. And then he has an epiphany. A sudden vision of a place Lassiter is guaranteed to like.
"You don't mind riding pillion, do you? I have an extra helmet."
"I have my car."
"Your car can wait for us here. Tell it we won't be too long and not to eat all the popcorn."
Shawn hands Lassiter the bright yellow helmet and smirks as it's taken with a resigned head-roll and whine. His smirk widens as he gets on the bike and feels Lassiter's hands wind around to his front, his arms tight against his sides.
"Hold onto the handle, Lassie. This is gonna be Shawntacular."
"Please stop using your name as a superlative prefix. And I'm not holding onto your handle."
"You're right. That's a bit much for a first date. We'll reserve that for Wednesday. Hey, you know what, this is brilliant. You don't have to worry about having to meet my parents, because you already have!"
"Just hurry up and start the Goddamn bike."
The engine purrs and soon they're away, the crisp lash of wind against Shawn's neck and solid warmth of Lassiter at his back. This is even better than he imagined; Lassiter's coercion wasn't nearly as time-consuming as he thought it would be and he doesn't seem too disturbed that they're mostly only material away from an intimate sex act. On a bike. Heading out of Santa Barbara.
Half an hour later they're there. Shawn flourishes with wide arms and Lassiter quirks an eyebrow as he looks.
"I'm sorry I don't speak your secret language, but what's that supposed to mean? What is this place?"
Shawn reflourishes dramatically. "Step in and find out."
Lassiter grimaces and Shawn wonders if he has the capacity to look even more disgruntled. He could probably manage it. He could probably manage to look irritated while having the time of his life, and okay, so Shawn kind of entirely wants to find that out first hand.
He follows tight against Lassiter's back and confirms that the club is the same as last time; chocolate brown parquet and detailed woodwork, 30s-style chairs and tables. A trumpet-player is on stage, playing in the style of a young Louis Armstrong.
Lassiter steps forward and something that could almost be a smile curves his lips. "Is that Stardust?"
Shawn doesn't know the titles, but he could scat away to the tunes. "I guess so?"
"It was a travesty Willie Nelson was ever let near this song."
Lassiter draws a chair back and it scrapes loudly along the floor, but he doesn't seem to hear it, his eyes fixed on the stage. Shawn watches him in glee; the way Lassiter's whole body seems to relax, his jaw no longer tensed, his lips parted.
The song goes on for several minutes and Lassiter rolls himself back, legs extended in front of him, as Shawn's gaze flickers from him to the other people in the club. There's a couple who've just gotten engaged in the corner; a blonde girl with pink cheeks and newly adorned ring. It's a size too small and she's trying not to let it show. The guy's forgotten about his coffee and is about to sweep it off the table, too full of looking at his fiancée to care about anything else. There's a group of jazz fans close to the stage, the kind of jazz fans who are actually devoted as opposed to beret-wearing neophytes like the college students at the back of the room. They don't talk until the music ends, and then it's with an easy abandon, like they've been here a hundred times before, and will be a hundred times again.
"Did you want a coffee?"
"Do they serve beer?"
"No, it's prohibited."
"Come on, this is a speakeasy, even if alcohol was prohibited, it wouldn't be in here."
Shawn gazes. "By me. I prohibit you from drinking any more alcohol. I want you sober."
"In case we have to make a quick getaway."
Lassiter frowns, but in the kind of way that suggests he's only frowning for frowning's sake. Shawn orders them coffee and cookies, not feeling in any way as comfortable as Lassiter so obviously is.
"How'd you hear about this place?"
"A case last year. It involved a rebel alpaca and two rare jazz records."
"There's never an easy answer with you, is there?"
"Okay, so I might have been exaggerating. It was a picture of an alpaca, but I'm sure he would've been a rebel, if given half the chance."
Lassiter goes so far as to give the hint of an actual grimace-free smile. The band strikes up again just as their coffee comes. And this is nice. This is more than nice. This is the kind of alone-time Shawn's always been convinced they could never really have, even though he's always wanted it. He's half-expecting Chief Vick to call, tell them they have a case --- or rather, tell Lassiter, and have Shawn tag along because he's decided it's his life's mission to help the police by showing them up. But maybe Lassiter has his cellphone off. Or maybe he's just lucky. Perhaps, this one time, he gets what he wants without any uncool consequences.
"I'm really glad you decided to come," Shawn says, and the sincerity makes his voice muted, no grandstanding, or showboating, or overly ostentatious behaviour.
Lassiter raises his eyebrows. "There was a choice?"
"You could've punched me."
"I... am not that violent. I may sometimes be tempted and Lord knows you've deserved it on several occasions, but no, I wouldn't punch you."
"Have you been punching your other dates, because that might explain why they don't call back?" Shawn regrets the question when he sees Lassiter close up again, his chin jutting forward and his Adam's apple bobbing.
"Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do. Establish a common reference point, discover something unique to the date, be warm and friendly and buy the drinks and --- not all of us are as charming as you. We didn't get straight-As in how to interact with everyone and anyone and win them over. We can't all wear sparkling masks of 'awesome' and 'yay', okay? Your dating tips are all very well, they work for you, but I'm..." Lassiter stops and flails. "I'm who I am."
Shawn can't get his words out quick enough. "That's not what I was --- I'm serious about this being a date. As in us, dating. You and me. On a date. Together. I'm not trying to give you advice, or being the resident court jester, or whatever else thing you think I must be doing."
Lassiter looks disbelieving. "Really?"
"So this is me ruining yet another opportunity. Great." Lassiter sighs again, his head tilted to one side and Shawn wants to kiss him then and there.
"No, you're not. I'm spending time with you, of my own free volition, because I like you. For who you are. Is that so very weird?"
Lassiter twines his fingers together and he doesn't look at Shawn's face. "It's a little weird."
"But you'll accept it for what it is?"
Lassiter leans forward across the table, still not looking. His voice is soft. "That depends. Will there be a second date?"
Shawn nods, trusting that Lassiter will see the action in his peripheral vision. "As many as you want. You're calling the shots. And that's possibly the only time I'm ever going to say that and mean it, so savour it while you can."
"Let's just see how the rest of the night goes. It's usually about this time that the other people I go out with start looking for the exit signs."
"If you become any more self-pitying, I may need to kiss you, just to shut you up."
"My pet turtle died last week. Speedy Gonzales was speedy no more."
"I'm not joking."
"And the Chief said I better find myself someone soon, because my depression was throwing me off my game. So I pretended to be happy for the day and I still made grave, terrible errors."
"Kissing coming in three, two, one..."
"I rolled my ankle on the way to the bar and it really hurt."
Shawn can't stop himself from grinning at Lassiter's ill-concealed deviousness and slants towards him, heart thumping and fingers outstretched to stroke against his jaw. He presses a light, chaste kiss to Lassiter's lips and is more than a little happy when Lassiter kisses him back like he's been wanting to kiss him for a while.
"I find you extremely frustrating," Lassiter says honestly, after they pull away from each other. "But it's the kind of frustrating you can't get enough of."
Shawn grins. "Like sudoku, or a mochachino - is it coffee with a hint of chocolate, or hot chocolate with a hint of coffee? I just don't know."
"I was thinking more a high speed pursuit. You know it could be lethal, there's someone getting away with an inexcusable crime, but at the time it's really quite entertaining with the lights flaring and the siren blaring and having to use all of your reflexes."
"That does sound like me. I hear I'm quite the catch."
They order more coffee and settle closer together as the band plays 'All of Me' and Shawn congratulates himself with a celebratory under-the-table solo high five.
In the past month, Shawn hasn't had any failed first dates. He's only had one date and so far it's gone really, really well, so Shawn feels great and excited and not even slightly bad. The cockles of his heart are warmed and all's as it should be.