Title: Later Days (1/7)
Pairing: Shawn/Lassiter, Some Gus/Juliet
Rating: NC-17 overall
Length: 35,260 overall
Disclaimer: I do not own Psych or any of its characters. I only borrowed them for a short period and returned them in pristine condition.
O'Hara, on her way to evidence, stopped at the volume and tone of Lassiter's voice from across the hall. She could see Lassiter's back, and just over his shoulder were Shawn and Gus, apparently making an excuse for being in the station or something of the like. She surreptitiously opened the only folder in her hands (containing photos of a mailbox that had been repeatedly run over by a two wheeled vehicle) and casually walked into hearing range between the three men. Now only a few feet and one large support beam separated her from her furious superior.
"It's been weeks since we've had a gig Lassy," Shawn's impertinent voice interrupted whatever Lassiter had been saying. "You've been in the station all week. Everyone else is off doing busy cop stuff, and you have done nothing but answer phone calls and create a rut in the tile by pacing back and forth from your desk to Vicks office." He pointed to the floor as if the impression were actually visible. "I know you have something big and I want in."
O'Hara peeked around the beam to see Lassiter with his arms on his hips and Shawn with smile that was most likely sarcastic but trying for sincere. In reality Shawn considered it his cutest saccharine smile that would have all the young pretty things throwing their undergarments at him. Although when he was around Lassiter, it never seemed to come out right. Shawn suspected it had something to do with Lassiter's aura of Angry Puritan or Intolerance to Young Pretty Things.
She heard Lassiter give a defeated sigh. "Well, since it's you? There has been this epidemic of crushed mailboxes lately. All my best men are on it, but we are just so stumped. Please Psychic," Lassiter grabbed Shawn by his shoulders, "help us." Shawn rolled his eyes at the Detectives sarcasm, and Gus pursed his lips to avoid a smile. It was hard for Shawn to hide his disappointment; he was, after all, a young pretty thing. "I sent O'Hara out on the case, she should be far away from here. Go find her." He turned Shawn around and pointed in the opposite direction of where O'Hara actually was.
O'Hara, not being on the case, (actually, no one was. Lassiter sent her to make copies and put the rest in evidence until something new came up. Crushed mailboxes were pretty low on the detective list, even for the wealthiest most paranoid Santa Barbara citizen.) felt a little angry about being used as an excuse to get rid of Shawn and Gus, but remained hidden. She only eavesdropped in the first place because Lassiter was in a murdering mood and Shawn had not been around the station for quite some time. His sudden appearance and Lassiter's foul temperament combined to create something explosive. O'Hara sent some pity Gus's way. Gus's only relief at this point were the currents of cold air from the skitzy air conditioner now being blown on the nervous sweat collecting on the back of his naked skull.
Shawn, not in the mood to be dismissed so easily, clutched his temple and cried out "Boyfriend!" He swung wildly around and grabbed Lassiter by the belt. "Ex! The boyfriend did it. His…his…" Shawn's face grimaced and he tugged harshly at the belt buckle. Lassiters hands gripped Shawn's wrists and tried to wrench them off.
"Let go of me!" If Lassiter were facing O'Hara, she would be surprised to see a flush of color across his usually pale cheeks. Gus gave his friend a warning Shawn! Stoppit! before Shawn abruptly let go.
"It's the ex-boyfriend. He threatens her over the phone to return his inherited belt buckle. Not for its monetary value, but for its sentimental value. His ex is being vindictive and is holding onto it as some form of petty punishment. He used his motorcycle to ram her mailbox; the front should have dents in it and some turf should still be in the tires." Shawn wasn't even breathing hard, unusual for his visions, and Lassiter had a very annoyed look on his face.
O'Hara, smiling, wrote in the margins of the file to check out ex-boyfriend's garage.
"That was awfully prompt and specific for your visions Spencer. Which spirit helped you out this time?"
"The grandfather of course. He just wanted to make sure his lucky belt buckle got back to his grandson." Shawn had solved the case before he even knew the police were involved. She was an attractive client who wanted someone to psychically look into the whereabouts of her French poodle, Brie, and she did point out: "Yes, like the cheese." She of course told him about her mailbox troubles. Shawn did some digging, met the ex, came to a conclusion, and found the poodle, which was in a storm drain just outside her front lawn. The whole point was solving the case, which was easy. The ex said he was vacationing on a fishing boat during the mailbox raid, but it was his visiting brother that was sunburned. Credit card trail led by family, how quaint. Shawn threw in the grandfather spirit bit because who else would leave tacky heirloom belt buckles to their relatives?
"Funny." Lassiter had a smile on his face that turned wicked. "According to the records, he only had a grandmother, and it was through her that he received his inheritance. His grandfather was just a drifter who caught a young lady's eye and took off soon after." After a moments pause Shawn, who was starring at Lassiter, looked away to Gus, who shrugged, and faced Lassiter again. A bull riding, stud clubbing, belt buckle wearing grandma was unexpected.
"Spirits are funny things Lassy. Sexless most of the time, poor things. I was only making an assumption," Shawn countered, sounding serious. "Wait, look, that's not why I'm here," he said, waving his arms to illustrate the point. "I want on this case. I can help." Shawn stepped up into Lassiter's personal space and stage whispered into his ear "Oh Detective, I'll do just about anything." Lassiter shoved him away, giving Shawn a strange look for why he was speaking in a heavy southern drawl.
"No," Lassiter replied, poking Shawn in the chest. "I'm serious, I don't want to see you sniffing around Spencer. It's just a routine case that I need no assistance whatsoever. Especially the psychic kind."
Lassiter made for a quick exit, ignoring Shawn's last high-pitched comment, "Detective, how could you possibly say no when I'm offering my beautiful unsullied flower?" A few people milling about raised their heads and watched in mild amusement as Lassiter stormed off.
Gus had to give Shawn a stern look over that one. "Not funny dude. I'm going to be seeing that exchange every time I close my eyes."
"Try to not let it lead to a disorder okay." Shawn leaned over to the left so far that his top half was almost parallel to the ground. "Juliet my sweet, can you please come over here for a moment?"
Silence, for a second, until O'Hara walks out from behind the pole looking only mildly ashamed.
"How did you know I was there?" Shawn rolled his eyes and shrugged, clearly saying Psychic, Duh. He really just smelled her Ellen Tracy Classic perfume when the lazy air conditioning kicked in during his spat with Lassiter. Shawn never thought an old girlfriend's weird fragrance would help him out in situations like these.
"Since you're here and not so far far far away as Lassy alluded, I could use some help. What can you tell me about this recent case?"
"Nothing?" Shawn and Gus questioned in unison.
"Seriously, I'm not in on it either. Carlton got a few calls, went into Vicks office where she yelled at him for a good hour, left, came back, and returned to wait by his phone. That was several days ago. Carlton is just waiting for an important phone call." She cut between them and handed the report to Gus. "Take that to evidence on your way out please. Carlton won't be gone long, and I don't want to be around if he returns and you both are still here." With that O'Hara left, stopping at the end of the hall to buy a soda from the vending machine before presumably exiting the building.
"She's always seemed like an Orange Fanta kinda girl," Gus said fondly, tucking the folder under his arm. Shawn made an agreeing noise, watching O'Hara's departure with peaked interest.
"Lassiter waiting for a phone call of unimaginable importance, Juliet being left out of the loop, and Vicks displeasure with Santa Barbara's finest only solidifies my inkling of something major going down," Shawn whispered, grabbing Gus by the lapels of his suit jacket, wrinkling his melon flesh colored shirt underneath.
"Let go." Gus smoothed down his shirt and gave a pointed stare. "What's with you lately? You said I had to come to the station today and so I called off work," pointing angrily at Shawn's chest he continued, "I was only here to be buffer between you and the Detective!"
"I didn't want you here to be between the good detective and I. That could become all forms of awkward. You're my…" Shawn rolled his wrists, "moral support! Here to watch my back and all other accompanying pieces of me." The pointed look morphed into an annoyed look, which was marginally better.
"Not funny. Don't bring me along next time you decide to up your little courtship with Lassiter. I enjoy it as much as he does."
Shawn shushed loudly, pressing his finger to his lips. The occasional passerby didn't even look their way. "It's not courtship! It's me entertaining myself, like Lassiter would ever take me up on an offer. Look, that is not why we're here today. It's because--"
"Because you were bored," Gus interrupted. "You came here to find a case to fill the time. I know because I called the Shop and they said you quit a week ago. You have no cases, so you seek short-term employment. Your short-term employment has run its course and now it's back to cases." Shawn rolled his eyes, mouthing, "Not true," or something wildly inappropriate like "fuck you." Both were possible.
Deciding that the middle of a hall in a police station was not the best place for such a conversation, Guster took a right toward evidence (He still had an obligation to fulfill). "What's with solving that case anyway? You hardly put on a show for the police. Do you want to be arrested?"
"Man, I'm not even going to get paid for that one."
"Dude." Gus gave him an incredulous look. "Focus please."
"It wasn't a big deal. Some guy just wanted his property back and he had some anger issues."
"It's going to become a big deal if Lassiter finds out you're not a…" Gus paused as a group of uniformed officers passed by. He whispered, "a psychic."
"He's not an idiot, he already knows. He just can't prove it." Shawn graciously opened the door to evidence. The polite gesture was ruined when he stuck his foot out and Gus almost fell on his face. "Anything else you want to lecture me about?" Shawn asked while giving his best shit-eating grin.
"Actually, yes." Gus counted off using his finger: "Stop calling me from work, leave Lassiter alone, vacuum up your chip crumbs you left all over my floor, and get out of here. There are no murders, crimes, or cases that need to be solved. Things are quiet for once and lets just enjoy it." Leaving the file with the clerk at the evidence desk, Gus went straight for the exit sign, dialing his office with his cell phone.
Shawn shouted to his retreating figure, "That's advice! Not a lecture!" He had every intention of leaving the station after that, but Gus was only half right when he said Shawn was bored and only looking for something to do. He did have a feeling that something big was going to happen. His only evidence was Carlton's reluctance to tell Shawn anything. That was actually pretty normal, as Carlton will go to extreme lengths to keep him away from all of his cases, but for some reason it seemed like the Head Detective was trying too hard. Threats and yelling about how it was cop business and a psychic was not needed were there, but today they were just a formality. It could be touching in its own screwed up way. When Carlton was in Shawn's face, stressed and tired, he sounded genuinely serious when he told him to stay away. It would be in everyones best interest for Shawn to just go home and watch Animal Planet, but he was not someone known for doing 'best interest things.'
Lassiter, after looking behind his desk, around the corner, and down three different hallways, did he relax. He had already drunk his weight in sweetened coffee today and was not looking forward to seeing Spencer's face every time he returned from the bathroom. He was irritable from staying inside all day waiting by his damn phone.
After Vick's disagreement about how this situation should be handled, Lassiter was not up to enforcing his decision onto his partner or any other fellow comrades. This was Lassiter's job and his job alone. His phone rang shrilly as soon as he sat down on his swivel chair. His hand hovered above the cheap black plastic for several more rings before he picked it up and answered with a gruff "Lassiter."
"It's done. You're going meet Simon tonight at Port Barrington."
"Wait, I need to know--"
"Don't be late," the voice interrupted, followed by a click.
"Dammit!" Lassiter shouted, hanging up with more force than necessary. Port Barrington was a bar that was clean, stocked, and served the best steak and fries this side of the state; it also had the luxury of being four hours away from the station. Lassiter grabbed his jacket that was casually slung over the back of his chair and stormed off.
After a wonderfully unnecessary four-hour drive, the sun was sinking and the evening gloom had settled over the highway bar. Parking perfectly straight in a crooked lane, Lassiter straightened his jacket and surreptitiously felt his gun and holsters. He glared into the surrounding wooded area, already hating the direction this meeting was taking.
He had been to this particular bar twice in his life. Both times with his wife, who felt it appropriate to stop by when leaving to visit family. He's had little reason to return until now. Walking through the nostalgic western swinging doors, Lassiter scoped the place. Bartender behind the counter wiping fogged glasses, two men in a corner booth pouring over a beat up journal and several newspapers, the younger looking one typing away on a small white decaled laptop, and one patron nursing a drink on one of the many empty bar stools.
Lassiter sat down on a stool and motioned for a drink. A beer was placed in front of him, so cold that condensation was collecting and sweating off the bottle. The man a few stools down grabbed his drink and moved to sit next to the detective.
"Simon I presume," Lassiter said, uncapping his bottle and taking a lazy drink from it.
"In the flesh." Simon's cloudy amber drink rippled as he took sips from it. "So what are you going to offer in exchange? I happen to know about you detective, and you know many people who would greatly appreciate it if you helped them out." Simon turned to face Lassiter, an obnoxious grin plastered on his face, "Carlton."
"First, you don't call me Carlton," Lassiter had grown somewhat fond (secretly of course) of Shawn's obnoxious grin, but Simon had none of the traits that Shawn possessed, mainly good natured humor behind it. Simons smirk was just an asshole smirk. Shawn's smirk said something behind the lines of "I'm going to make trouble, and it's going to be great." Lassiter found it weird he was even comparing the two.
"Second, I am not going to do anything for you or your people." The affronted look on Simons face almost made up for the whole week of doing nothing but waiting by his phone. "You see, I know what you're doing and it's not going to work. Calling me at the station, dangling tasty bits of information in front of my face, making me wait by my phone," He paused as he took another gulp from his beer, "and lets not forget making me drive for several hours to a bar in the middle of nowhere. That one is my favorite, by the way." Simon said nothing, but had sweat lines in the crevices on his forehead to complement his frown.
"You are trying to put me off, pander me along, lead me on a leash like a little inbred cocker spaniel, take your pick. You try to make me think that I need your trashy little backstabbing info so bad that I'm willing to do anything for it." Lassiter exhaled loudly and pointed his finger while still clutching his beer bottle, "You. Called. Me. You," a jab with his index into Simons chest "a member of some family, a prince among low-class penny-lifters, a coadjutant of crime, whatever, call the Head Detective to rat out some fellow members so the police can kindly and safely remove them and your competitors." Lassiter leaned in so he was uncomfortably close and talked softly. "I can walk away right now and I won't think twice about it."
The Detectives intimidating manner abruptly changed. He smiled (It was scary) and clapped Simon on the back. "So you can tell me what you know and I decide if it is worth my time to bring them down, or you can say nothing, pay for my drink, and I'll leave, no harm no foul. Turning on your companions to capture your foe is tough business."
Simon, realizing his mouth was open, snapped it with a clack. "I really didn't think any of the cops around here actually knew what they were doing," He said sorely, shooting down the rest of his drink and grimacing. "Fine. We'll talk business. I can give you enough to bring down Teleski, Mount, and Susanna, but you have to go in and take Blaine yourself, I could never touch the guy. I can get you an audience with him, and help build some trust, but other than that you're on your own."
"I want Connie. He slipped out of jail last year because his lawyer threw out the only evidence we had." Poisoned fruit falling from poisoned trees can be such a bitch.
Simon ordered a refill when the barkeep made his way toward them, and waiting till he was out of earshot before answering with a resounding "No." Lassiter stood and took half a step toward the door before Simon grabbed him and pulled him back onto his stool. "Fine, okay!"
"And Kass," Lassiter demanded. Simon's forehead scrunched and some sweat dripped over an eyebrow, making him flinch. He was already blinking his beady little eyes out, Lassiter thought the sweat might help lubricate them so he could stop looking like a blinking nervous twit.
"Kass would kill me and everyone he even suspected. There would be blood in the streets!" His tone became pleading, "Not Kass. I'll get you everyone else. Take it or leave it." Lassiter suspected that if he tried to leave again Simon would reconsider. It was almost unnerving how desperate he was to get rid of Blaine. He must be putting some real stress on Simon's business, smuggling or whatever illegal activity he was doing. Lassiter thought it over while Simon gulped his drink. Whatever illusion Simon had that he was in charge of this conversation disappeared with every murky shot. He was drinking nervously. Lassiter calmly mulled his beer while he made his decision.
"Fine. Call Karen Vick and spill your little guts out, then set me up with Blaine. If everything goes according to plan, they all get arrested at the same time and never know the wiser. You can keep on doing whatever the hell it is that you do."
Simon let out a relieved breath and promised to contact the detective soon. He left money on the counter (enough to cover Lassiter's tab as well) and put on his hat.
"Oh, one more thing," Lassiter grabbed Simons arm to halt his departure, "Do tell your employer to stay out of police business after this, because I will be taking names the next time we cross paths, okay? I am not stupid enough to believe you set this all up, and I'm not inclined to doing you anymore favors."
Simon swallowed, his fat adams apple bobbing, and left quickly, the doors clapping together loudly in the quiet bar. Untying his tie and opening his shirt at the collar, Lassiter took a breath. Collaborating with organized criminals to bring down opposing under-bosses was extremely risky business. He knew Vick gave very good advice when she was screaming in his face about the dangers of what he was thinking of doing. It was dangerous, stupid, and had little chance of success without some bloodshed, but Lassiter's inner cop would not allow such an opportunity to bring down untouchables to go to waste. Protocol and multiple partners would just muck things up, so going solo was the only way for the sting to work.
Speaking of unforeseen dangers, Lassiter pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number. He didn't hold the phone to his ear. He just dialed a number and held it against his knee. No sooner did he lower his phone than a happy little diddy began playing behind the bar counter. It was a midi version of "I'm Blue" followed by a thump and a curse.
"Spencer," Lassiter called.
"Lassyface," Shawn replied, sheepishly peeking over the counter and rubbing where he bumped his head. "How long did you know I was there?"
"The whole time. Honestly Spencer, parking your bike behind bushes?"
Shawn grinned. "I didn't think you would notice it. I'm flattered."
"Tire tracks you idiot. The only bikers who drive this stretch of road are Hells Angles, and they never ride alone. One set of tracks into dense woodland is a mite suspicious."
Shawn vaulted over the counter, ignoring the little hinged countertop exit. "How much did you pay the barkeep?"
"Coke, John," Shawn ordered before turning to Lassiter. "Nothing, I use to haul slate for John here a few years back when he worked construction. Said I could spy for free." His drink was set before him, and Lassiter made no comment about the tiny umbrella hanging on the rim. "So about this big case you said wasn't happening, are you going to not tell me about it?" Shawn scooted his stool closer so his knees were touching the detectives. Lassiter glared at the intrusion but did not move.
"The only reason I didn't kick you out first thing was because the snitch would've run if he knew he was being tailed."
"How polite of you."
"Make me," sticking out his tongue would be immature, so Shawn twirled his umbrella instead. "Since you won't tell me anything, I'll just have to psychically glean it from you." He shook his hands and tried to place them on Lassiter's head.
"Touch me and you lose a thumb." It was a weak threat, and Lassiter had been having a very trying day. He gulped the last few dregs of his beer and stood to leave.
"You aren't even going to stay and listen to my compliments about you?" Lassiter stopped at the doors, one hand holding it open. He looked over his shoulder with an impatient nod of the head. "That was pretty smooth back there Lassy, didn't know you had it in you." Shawn shouted to him as he left "You should have been a lawyer. Could have made more money!" He waited until he heard Lassiter's car start up and drive away. He whipped around on his stool and drank his Coke in a sullen silence. It did not go as well as he thought it would.