This is probably one of the weirdest things I'm ever going to write, but it just has to go down onto… some form of writing. It's inspired by a very odd little episode of Futurama that made me cry like a little baby. SO, here we go.
Disclaimer: I own none of the recognizable characters and very few of the non-recognizable ones (there's only one). This is purely for play, no pay.
It wasn't that he didn't expect it. Carlton Lassiter always expected someone to pull a gun in one of these stand-offs. What he hadn't expected was Shawn Spencer's unending need to be in the middle of things. Of course, he should have expected that as well. Even now, as Shawn stood to his right, blathering on about the use of pineapples in a certain muffin recipe he'd discovered the past week, trying in any way whatsoever to get the gunner to drop his weapon, Lassiter wanted nothing more than to turn that perfect ninety degrees and slap that stupid psychic grin off the idiot's face.
It never came to that. The gunner was pissed. Far beyond pissed, really, and Lassiter found that out the hard way when he motioned for O'Hara to circle around to the back. The perp's gun hand rose, steadied. The man aimed, and fired. Right at Shawn. Lassiter tried to lunge for the psychic, but it was too late. The younger man collapsed before Lassiter could get to him, red blood spilling over his chest far too rapidly for the detective's liking.
He could hear hollering, someone yelling for help, and realized after a while that it was his own voice yelling. He was calling for O'Hara to finish cuffing the guy. He wanted someone to get him an ambulance as fast as possible, but no one seemed to be moving fast enough for him. No one. He hated it.
Four weeks. Four weeks ago to the day, Lassiter had watched as Shawn Spencer's life had spilled out on the floor before him. Shawn died that day, and now, after all the reports and the wake and the funeral, Lassiter sat alone in his new apartment, the one the psychic had helped him find when O'Hara invited all the ex-cons to his house and caused him to be without a home for a few weeks. Had it not been for Spencer, he'd probably still be living in a hotel room. Even a year and a half later.
Lassiter leaned back on his couch, nestling himself into the cushions and turning the game on. He hit mute and took a sip of his beer, quietly reminiscing the last few days he'd ever spent with Shawn.
"Hell of a life, eh?" a voice cut in.
Lassiter turned, glancing around sharply and trying to find the source of the voice. When he turned around, he caught a glimpse of Shawn leaning over the couch cushions and smiling at him, hair rumpled in a "just woke up" way.
"Spencer!" Lassiter yelped, backing away from the man behind the couch with pure terror written on his features.
"Whoa, Lassy!" Shawn came around the couch and gently put his hands on Lassiter's shoulders, holding him steady and smiling all the while. "It's okay. It's just me."
"But, you're dead," Lassiter gulped, forcing the words out past chapped lips.
"So says the coroner."
"Then, am I dreaming?"
Shawn nodded softly, pulling Lassiter into a hug and sighing.
"Yeah, buddy. You're dreaming. And, as much as I know you love seeing me, I gotta ask you something."
"Name it," Lassiter breathed, wrapping his arms around the younger man.
Lassiter gasped in air, sitting bolt upright from his couch and gazing around with frightened eyes. When he recognized that it was, in fact, his living room, he calmed down and stretched.
"Must've been the stress," he muttered, glancing to where Shawn had been sitting just seconds before in his dream. It had felt so real. And it hurt how real it felt. He wanted it to be real, to have actually had some time to talk to Shawn. To tell him… How much he missed him.
Shaking his head, he stood and checked the time on the cable box. Four in the morning. It seemed as good a time as any to get up. If he even tried to go back to sleep, he probably wouldn't wake up in time for work anyway. Besides, a few early hours never killed anybody. Having decided, he moved to his bathroom stripping off the clothes from the day prior and got into the shower to get cleaned up and ready for the day.
When O'Hara finally came into the department building at somewhere around eight, Lassiter was on his third cup of coffee and had taken a break from the paperwork for the day (he'd written all the reports necessary for yesterday, including apologies for both himself and O'Hara on that last little fiasco down at the local convenience store) and was leaning back in his seat, legs propped up on his desk in a very un-Lassiter fashion.
It produced a gasp from O'Hara at least. This made Lassiter smile as he dropped his feet and glanced up at her.
"Morning, O'Hara," he greeted her, passing a few files across the desk. "Need your signature on those and they'll be ready for the chief."
O'Hara took the papers and stared them over before setting them back on the desk and nodding.
"Let me get my stuff put away and I'll get right on that," she said cheerily. "You know, Carlton? You're in a far better mood today than you've usually been."
"I had a nice dream last night," Lassiter admitted. "I know it was a dream, and it was so terribly brief, but I saw Shawn. And… I guess it felt good to have that little bit of semi-closure, even if only in dream form."
O'Hara nodded slowly. "I guess so," she muttered, casting her eyes downward. "I wish I'd had a chance to say goodbye."
"Me too," Lassiter sighed. "Even in my dream, I couldn't say goodbye. He told me to wake up before I could."
"And did you?"
"I had no choice."
O'Hara sighed and nodded briefly before moving to the break room to get some coffee and then to her desk to drop off her purse and other things. Lassiter turned back to his case files and shrugged off the sudden sadness that had fallen over him upon realizing how far from a goodbye he truly was.
Why do I even care? It's Spencer. I mean, sure I didn't want him dead, but I barely even tolerated him, so what's with these dreams and this overwhelming sadness at the loss.
The little voice in his head that would have been his wife, were they still together, would tell him it's because he has a heart and cares, but Lassiter quickly dismissed this idea for another sip of his coffee. Anything to not hear her voice in his head.
It was late at night again. Lassiter was lying awake in his bed, tossing and turning and praying for something to help him fall asleep. Nothing was working. Hell, he'd even tried counting sheep again, like when he'd been a child. When that didn't work, he shoved himself off his bed and wandered out into his kitchen. The smell of freshly brewed coffee met him halfway there and he stopped in the doorway of the dining/kitchen area. Glancing in past the table, he saw the kitchen lights on and two steaming mugs of coffee sitting on the dining table. As he rounded the corner all the way, he saw Shawn come into the dining area with cream and sugar.
He watched as the psychic placed the cream and sugar dishes on the table and waited for him.
"It's not gonna bite, Lassy," Shawn said after a moment. "I figured you'd want some coffee. Can't fall asleep, might as well stay awake. Isn't that your motto?"
"Often," Lassiter said, sliding into a chair. "You're back."
"Of course, Lassy. Why, I haven't left."
"You were buried. You left."
"Perhaps physically, detective. I am a psychic, you know."
Lassiter poured creamer into his coffee, measuring it with his eyes and forcing himself to not look at the younger man.
"What if I tell you I still don't believe you're psychic?"
"I'm here Lassy," Shawn grumped. "What more do you want?"
"I want you alive again."
He didn't mean for his voice to catch as it had. Nor did he mean for the tears that started in the corners of his eyes to actually fall as he spoke. But, both happened, and he finally locked eyes with the psychic spirit.
"And I just want you to wake up," Shawn said, placing a hand on Lassiter's cheek. "Please?"
"No, if I wake up, I'll lose you again!" Lassiter reached out for Shawn's arm, to use it as an anchor to the dream…
And woke up back in his bedroom.
The shout rang through the bedroom, quite possibly waking the neighbors as it did so. Lassiter didn't care. He looked at the clock on his bedside table and saw that it read four in the morning yet again. Cursing vehemently, he stood and shuffled out to the kitchen. This time, there was no smell of coffee until he started the pot. Growling, he snatched up his cell phone and called the first number that came to mind.
Henry Spencer picked up on the other end, his voice tired, but in no way stating that he'd been sleeping.
"What is it, Carlton?"
"Sir?" Lassiter gulped as he tried to speak. "I… uh… I need to know. Was Shawn really a psychic?"
An angry Hmmph came from the other side of the phone before Henry's soft, "No."
"Then… he couldn't… talk to me, in my dreams?"
"You miss him, Carlton. So do I. I dream about him still. Mostly about him causing me grief and making my life a living hell, but I do dream about him."
Lassiter sighed and nodded, seeming to get it. "I suppose so."
"Take it easy, Carlton," Henry whispered. "You're taking this too harshly. Maybe you ought to see someone about his death. That might help."
"How'd you…?" Get over it?
"I didn't. I told you, I still see him in my dreams and I wish to God I could hold him again. I may have acted like an ass to him, but he was my son. Is my son. Never won't be. No matter how long he's dead."
"Thank you, sir… I guess I just needed a little…"
"Closure? We all do."
The phone went dead, leaving behind a dial tone and a stunned Lassiter. He closed his phone and set it on the table as he went into the kitchen to doctor his coffee.
"Another early day, Spencer. Thanks."
Lassiter was sitting in the chair at the therapist's office. Chief Vick had told him that a week or two of visits with the doctor might help him get past these dreams. It was the third meeting, and Lassiter already knew the only thing he was curing was his compassion for therapists.
He sat back in the chair, staring at the ceiling and waiting for Carol to return from whatever it was she was doing. He would just as soon call the doctor Jameson, as it was her last name. Or even Dr. Jameson. But she refused to answer to much else than Carol, and it made Lassiter feel awkward. He rarely referred to people by their first names in the professional business.
"Hell, you always called me Spencer," Shawn said, suddenly at his elbow.
"Oh, God! Spencer, don't do that!"
"See," Shawn chuckled. "Like that."
Lassiter shook his head and stood to meet the psychic eye to eye.
"Why do you keep coming back to me like this?"
"Because I care," Shawn said matter-of-factly, resting his hands on the detective's shoulders. "That's all."
"Care? You care about me? Why not badger O'Hara. I thought you two were pretty much between the sheets by now."
"Wrong on that one, Lassy. Jules and I aren't, and were never, a couple. We're friends, strictly. I… sort of had my eyes on someone else all this time. But…" He trailed off.
"But, what, Spencer?" Could it be that Lassiter was sort of hoping that he was that one Shawn's eyes had been on?
"But, the man I love won't wake up…"
"What? What are you talking about? You keep saying this… wake up business."
Shawn rested his head against Lassiter's chest and nodded briefly.
"I love you, Lassy. I have for a while now, but I never said anything coz I always thought there'd be time. Now, I don't have that time anymore. Please… wake up. Just… Just wake up."
The first sound that came to his ears as he stumbled into the realm of the awake world this time was a constant beeping. It was steady, beating out a rhythm like a heart. The second sound was a soft whimpering voice, begging for someone to wake up.
Lassiter turned his gaze to the voice and saw Shawn Spencer sitting by the hospital bed, head bowed in a sort of prayer and whispering nonstop.
"Please, wake up, Lassy. Just wake up for me. I gotta tell you. I have to. Please wake up."
"I-" Lassiter's voice caught in his throat and he swallowed dryly before trying again. "I'm awake, Spen- Shawn."
Shawn's head snapped back and he stared at Lassiter wide-eyed for a moment. The stubble that was usually so artfully placed about his cheeks and chin now gave him a rough, almost homeless look. His gray-green eyes were hollow and glazed inside deep, sunken eye sockets.
"Shawn, you look terrible. What happened?"
Shawn grasped onto Lassiter's arm then, pressing his lips to the fingers of his hand and shaking his head.
"Oh God! You're awake!"
"Yes, Shawn," Lassiter agreed, amused. "I'm awake."
"I… I thought you'd never wake up," Shawn continued, moving to place a soft kiss to the corner of Lassiter's lips. Before the detective had time to react though, Shawn had leaned away again to take in the full sight of the bed-ridden man.
"That guy," he began, "shot at me. You screamed to get down and leapt at me, Lassy. All I heard was the gunshot and your yell. Then I felt you slam into me and go limp. He shot you. You… You lost so much blood. The doctors tried and tried, but you went into a coma and-"
"Coma?" Lassiter stared over at Shawn with a confused gaze.
"Yeah. You were in a coma for about five weeks, Lassy. I've been in and out of here as much as I can, just… trying to wake you up. I figured, if I might be able to get you to hear me… You might come back."
Slowly, Lassiter blinked and let out a soft sigh. He reached his free arm up and wrapped it around Shawn's neck, pulling the psychic to him in a brief hug.
"I heard you."
I had to…