Word Count: 3000 words
Notes: Shawn/Lassiter. Fourth wall breaking. everysecondtues is responsible for a line in this story.
Summary: Lassiter brushed a calm and reassuring hand down between Shawn's shoulder blades. "It'll be okay, Spencer. We have our best and brightest working on the case. You're freaking out over nothing."
And so it turned out Lassiter liked to cuddle. His hand rested on the small of Shawn's back and he nuzzled into the smooth skin at the juncture between Shawn's neck and shoulder. His hair was soft and he was wearing hardly any cologne, just a soft, almost clinical aroma filled Shawn's nostrils. Shawn closed his eyes and moved with the ebb and flow of Lassiter's breathing, feeling warm and safe and comfortable.
--- No, wait, that's unfair isn't it? It's cruel to start a story at the end. That's like beginning with the part where Duckie tells Andie to run to Blane. Without the context, it's impossible to fully enjoy the scene, or understand the significance. So, okay, there needs to be a set up. ---
2 Hours Earlier
It was raining. Like, really raining. Metaphorical cats and dogs, and maybe a hippopotamus. Shawn was doing that thing he used to do when he was a kid, staring out the window with his head resting on his hands, bent forward over his desk. He was glum. Rain went on his top 8 list of 'annoying meteorological phenomena', just underneath earthquakes and cumulonimbus clouds.
"I don't think I've ever heard you be this quiet for this long," Lassiter said, his shoes making a soft scuffling noise against the polished floorboards and his shirt cuffs rustling as he methodically rolled them up.
"Clearly you've never seen me play charades," Shawn returned absent-mindedly. "I once performed the whole of Wagner's Ring Cycle for the benefit of my college roommates. It was epic, spanned for three days, had me eating steak through a straw. They still didn't get it."
"You didn't go to college."
"Yes I did."
Lassiter got that tight look on his face he'd get when he was about three puffs away from blowing his stack. "No, you didn't. You had to give Chief Vick your entire work history and there was no college mention anywhere on it."
"Exactly. Work history. I went to UCSB for a total of nine weeks. I wanted to go to the University of Nevada, Reno, but Dad was still super possessive --- though, thankfully, not for long. He renounced me soon after that. Are you satisfied? Placing each little fact into its own compartment in the Spencer file in your head? 'cause I'm tired of talking."
Lassiter perched on the edge of Shawn's desk. "Someone didn't eat his mellowcakes this morning."
Shawn glared and resumed staring dispassionately out the window. Every droplet of water looked like it was mocking him, sparkling with the light from nearby streetlamps and cascading down to the ground. There was a figure across the road, hurrying along, trying to drag his jacket up over his head to shield himself. Shawn took in his faded jeans, scruffy blue windbreaker, and digital watch. He was probably a couple of years younger than Shawn, not much more than a kid. So young.
"Forgive me for losing my sense of humour. That tends to happen to people in dire circumstances."
"We'll get a call soon. You just have to wait."
"I don't wait. It's not in my make-up."
Lassiter rolled his eyes. "Just some salmon pink lipstick and black eyeliner, huh?"
"Don't joke, Lassie, it doesn't become you."
Lassiter sighed deeply, his brow creasing and one hand moving up reflexively to rub his forehead.
--- That's still not enough, is it? You're wondering why Lassiter was there in the first place. You want to know about why Shawn was feeling so depressed and where the hell Gus was. Right. ---
3 and a Half Hours Before That
"I don't think this is a good idea, Shawn."
"Relax Gus, it'll be fine. We're getting paid, remember?"
Gus gave a dead-eye stare. "We're meant to be private investigators, not armed guards."
"Well, that's okay, because we're not armed." Shawn spun around in his seat, his smile brilliant; bright enough for a toothpaste commercial.
"I'm not calling Lassiter. You know this. Every single time I'm told to do something, I don't, it's that simple. We don't need him anyway."
"Are you ignoring him after the diving incident? Because it wasn't just Lassie who saw you naked, we all did; I've had the misfortune of seeing you naked on many occasions, Shawn, and it hasn't changed my attitude towards you."
Shawn composed himself with remarkable elegance. "This is not about Little Shawn's sparkling debut, but thank you kindly for bringing that up, again."
"That water certainly wasn't cold, because you did not need any help in the up department."
Shawn jumped to his feet and began to bounce from side to side, one hand on his temple. "Oh, oh, I'm sensing something. Why yes, it's you shutting up. This is guaranteed cash, Gus. More than we usually make a month. I'm not running away from this."
"That makes a change."
It took another twenty minutes before Shawn could safely manoeuvre Gus out of the office and into the Psychmobile and in the time it took their conversation had spanned from the Dalai Lama to Kristy Swanson's portrayal of Buffy versus Sarah Michelle Gellar's (Swanson won because she got to say lines like "My secret weapon is PMS".)
"I just want to reiterate that I'm annoyed with you."
"Do people ever iterate? Or is it like 'gruntled', or 'hibition', or 'crepancy'? Words which should exist, but don't."
"Iterate itself means to perform again. Reiterate means to perform repeatedly, which I should not have to do. But forget that. You're just trying to distract me. I'm not happy, do you hear me, Shawn?"
"I hear you, loud and clear. Plus, a little pitchy."
Gus didn't turn from the wheel to glare at Shawn, but Shawn could tell he really, really wanted to. Instead, he drove to the address they had been given and made snappy comments about the building.
"This looks like a warehouse."
"That's because it is a warehouse."
This time, Gus did glare, and it was with the anger of a thousand rabid marmosets. "Why do you do this to me?"
Shawn didn't have an answer. They got out of the car, Gus' patent leather shoes making a clicking noise and Shawn's sneakers making no noise whatsoever. Shawn flipped his sunglasses down over his eyes to stop himself from squinting against the glare of light against cloud cover, but squinted anyway because that's what he did when he was being observational.
The warehouse was newly abandoned, paintwork still pristine, but windows cracked. It looked like someone had scaled the drainage pipe at some point, there were black lines which could be scuffmarks.
Shawn began the quick walk towards the building, expecting Gus to follow. When he realised Gus hadn't, he spun around, his arms extended wide and his expression indignant.
"Why aren't you coming?"
Gus heaved a deep sigh and walked forward, every footfall sounding like it took the weight of the world.
Shawn would have celebrated over his success, but his attention was arrested by the warehouse door opening, seemingly by itself. It was creepifying.
It was also a trap. As soon as Shawn had stepped through the door, he was knocked out cold by something large and possibly wooden, judging by the clunking sound against his head. When he woke up some ten or so minutes later, Gus was staring at him worriedly, and they were both being looked down at by a man Shawn recognised as having recently lost his job as a waiter thanks to Shawn's tip about his petty theft of patty melts; something he had figured out working on an entirely different case involving the cook's daughter.
His name was Bryan, and he was holding a gun.
"Hey, Bryan, great to see you again. You're looking good. Healthy eating must be working wonders for you."
"Shut up. You're not here to talk. You're here to listen."
Bryan's face grew steadily more and more red as he spoke, until he was almost crimson. Or maybe brighter than that; more of a cadmium red or vermillion. Shawn used Gus' arm for leverage and hoisted himself up, for once paying attention to the dramatic monologue.
"You think you're hot stuff, working for the SBPD, solving crimes with your 'amazing psychic powers'. But you're not. You're just like every other scumbag on this planet, doing his best to make his own life better, screw the little people. That's all humanity ever does --- hurt others to gain for themselves. There is no greater good, there's only greater gains for individuals. Well, I'm sick of you and your lack of ethics or basic morality. I'm sick of being a little person."
"Normally, I'd probably launch into the Patrick Stewart speech around now, talk about why we're all still worth it, but something tells me you're completely crazycakes, so, instead I'll just ---"
Shawn spun on his heel and began running, his chest constricting and his blood pumping, and he thought Gus was right behind him, but when he turned he saw that Gus was being held by Bryan, the gun to his head.
"You come any closer, Spencer, and your friend gets it."
"You don't really ---"
"Get out. Now. Run to your little office and wait for my call. I'm taking Mr. Guster hostage."
Ordinarily, Shawn wouldn't freeze up at moments like this, but ordinarily, this didn't happen, so he didn't have an appropriate barometer to gauge his behaviour against. He stood stock still, mouth gaping and bile rising in his throat.
Gus' eyes were wild and frantic. "Go, Shawn. Please. Get help."
Twenty Minutes Later
After running for what seemed like forever, Shawn finally found a working payphone, his finger slipping as he stabbed at the numbers. "Lassiter? I really need you right now."
"Oh, really? What for? Is this the same as that time you were getting psychic visions from a pair of manpris that said you needed my opinion on whether they made your ass look fat?"
"What? Say that again, slower, and with more diction."
"Gus has been taken hostage and I have no idea how to save him."
An Hour Or So After That
Shawn clicked the play button for the sixteenth time.
"Place $4 million cash in unmarked bills in the blue garbage can at De La Guerre Plaza by 9pm or Burton Guster gets it. I don't want any funny business. And by funny business, I mean you, Spencer. Get one of your cop friends to make the drop."
It didn't sound any different the sixteenth time, but Shawn rewound for number seventeen.
"It was all my fault, Lassie. He didn't want to go. I made him."
Lassiter brushed a calm and reassuring hand down between Shawn's shoulder blades. "It'll be okay, Spencer. We have our best and brightest working on the case. You're freaking out over nothing."
"Nothing? Nothing? He's my best friend. I should be out there, looking. I should have known Bryan wouldn't stay at the warehouse."
"You remember what he said, don't you? You'll just make it worse."
"I should have run and grabbed the gun."
"And got the both of you killed?"
"That was never going to happen. I know that now. Bryan was planning on me running. That's why Gus had to be there."
Lassiter raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"The guy who hired us, he was very insistent on the inclusion of Gus. At the time, I just thought he had a crush, because Gus is a gay-magnet, probably due to his keen fashion sense. And I... I forced Gus into going. This was never really about me, I was never in any danger, this was about getting to me --- getting to the SBPD."
"Okay, so you made a stupid mistake."
Shawn hit his clenched fist against the table. "I should have known."
"Look, unless you really were psychic, there was no way you could have known. And since we're both aware you're not really psychic --- there was no chance."
"Please do not be placating me and insulting me at the same time, Lassie. It's my pity party and I'll cry if I want to."
"I'm sure O'Hara will call with information soon."
Shawn started to feel stinging at the back of his eyes. "... what if she doesn't? What if Gus is... "
"He'll be fine. Seriously. Just... come here."
Lassiter wrapped his arms around Shawn and there was nothing the pseudo-psychic detective could do but melt into the touch.
--- There. Are you satisfied? Now you have some idea of how we got to Shawn and Lassiter snuggling. Except. That first scene wasn't the end scene. ---
A Half Hour After the Scene We Started With
The phone rang. Shawn pulled away from Lassiter, his heart racing in a combination of lust and fear, and maybe a little surprise.
"We've found them," Juliet was saying. "The actor Bryan hired to trick Shawn was very accommodating once we convinced him he could co-operate or spend years behind bars. We need you here right away."
She gave the address and soon they were away in Lassiter's car, driving towards yet another abandoned warehouse, this time on the other side of Santa Barbara. Shawn found himself wondering how there were so many disused buildings, surely squatters would have taken residence as opposed to leaving the concrete and brick masses to the rat armies? But his mind was soon diverted by wondering how Gus was, hoping against hope that he was all right.
They stopped the car several yards away from the warehouse, Shawn doing his best not to jitter as he cast a glance over several police cars, officers in bullet-proof gear with weapons trained, and Jules holding a megaphone. The rain battered down and Shawn's hair plastered against his forehead.
"Come out, Bryan, we have you surrounded."
Shawn couldn't say he thought that was the smartest thing to shout. He probably would have gone with, 'I have your money right here. Please, please, please give me my friend intact. Did anyone ever tell you you look stunning in blue?'
The door to the warehouse opened, again seemingly by itself, and Gus came hurtling through. Bryan was nowhere in sight.
There was blood seeping from a wound in Gus' arm. Shawn's stomach lurched when he saw it and he went rushing forward, his hands outstretched.
"Shawn." Gus' voice was ice-cold and he pointed to his blood-stained shirt. "You're going to pay for this."
Shawn flailed. "What, how, huh? Doesn't it hurt?"
"Of course it hurts. But it's just a scratch. I snagged it on a rusty nail. I need to get a tetanus shot. You'll be paying for that too."
"Gus, I --- am so sorry. I'll never let anything like this happen again."
"Damn right you won't. Next time I say no, Shawn, I mean no. If there is one thing I never want to sit through again, it's four hours of listening to some guy incessantly complaining about his life. If I wanted to hear such miserable stories, I'd watch the Lifetime Network more frequently. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go home to change. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Wait! You don't hate me for putting your life in danger?"
"My life was never really in danger. The gun wasn't loaded. I'm surprised you didn't notice that, but maybe you were too busy running. What I need right now is some alone-time. We can talk about this later."
Shawn stared at Gus' retreating back, his confusion whirling around inside his head like clothes in a spin dryer. Gus was okay. More than okay. And he was merely ticked off; not furious, nor close to death, nor intent on never seeing Shawn again. It was madness.
By the time Bryan was caught, Shawn was past caring. His nerves were frayed and his head pounding like a hundred elephants dancing to techno, and all he really wanted was to go home. He held onto Lassiter's sleeve and begged for a ride.
They stopped outside Shawn's apartment block and Lassiter was kind enough to take him to his door. Shawn lured him inside with promises of coffee and pineapple cobbler.
"You were there for me, when I needed you."
Lassiter shrugged one shoulder, purposefully avoiding Shawn's gaze. "It's my job, Spencer."
"I don't think I could have got through this without you," Shawn said, rasping on the 'through'.
He didn't know how to appropriately thank Lassiter, so he let his body do the thanking for him.
--- Okay. We're almost at the end. There's just an action-filled scene left. Be thankful I'm not ending on "and then they done sex." ---
"Shawn, what're you doing?"
"Oh really? What exactly might you be writing when we have a case to work on?"
"It's a story. It isn't finished yet. I'm still polishing the paragraphs."
"And so it turned out Lassiter liked to cuddle ... What? Did I just read right, or are you going insane?"
"Gus, don't be such a grumpy MacGuffin. It's a perfectly innocent narrative about two people growing closer in extreme circumstances. I used the names of people I know because I couldn't be bothered making up fake ones."
"Making up fake names is one of your favourite past-times. You do it when you don't have to. You even do it in your sleep. Wait, how long is this story? Did I just see my name? There was blood seeping from a wound in Gus' arm. No, you didn't. You used me as a pawn in your story about you and Lassiter hooking up? That's not cool, Shawn. That's not even close to cool."
"Would you prefer it if I reversed your roles? Because I know a lot of chocolate-laden euphemisms."
"I'm not happy, do you hear me, Shawn? I'm coming across as --- as a harpy. I am not that bitchy."
"Well, you are, sometimes. Like, you know, right now..."
"Suddenly they were kissing, with hands in places and Shawn plastering Lassiter against the wall? Oh hell no."
"That part isn't finished yet."
"I revoke your friendship card. You are no longer allowed to call me in the middle of the night, expect me to pay for your meals, or drive my car. Understand?"
"I said, understand?"
"Yeah, I understand. I think you're wildly wrong, but I understand. Hey, you wanna read the one about Chief Vick and Jules? It's awesome with extra awe."