I actually really like Juliet, but I just couldn't really find a useful part for her in this. D: Tragedy! So this is like the most cliche-ass Psych fic ever. Sry guise. Enjoy anyway!
Head Detective Carlton Lassiter, humble ten-year veteran of the Santa Barbara Police Department, had undoubtedly perfected the most effective glare ever used in the business. It came in handy while grilling suspects, freezing criminals where they stood, and especially, he noted, in convincing his new rookie partner O'Hara to get him a venti with three creams and four sugars.
Why exactly this award-winning glare was not working on one Shawn Spencer, however, currently sitting on his desk and destroying the meticulously ordered papers of his latest case, was a frustrating mystery Lassiter was relatively sure no Head Detective would ever, ever solve.
O'Hara stood uncertainly next to Guster, Spencer's friend and business partner. How he dealt with Shawn on a daily basis, Lassiter couldn't fathom; and for that, he had earned a grudging respect, offset by the fact that he worked in a psychic detective agency with said Spencer.
He leaned back in his desk chair, crossing his arms. "Look, Spencer. We are still actively on the trail of this homicide, and I've got every base completely covered. We are not in need of your help, we do notneed your input, and we certainly do not need you cavorting around my office, wasting any more of my time than you already have." He rubbed his temples, feeling the familiar Spencer-induced headache making its grand reappearance. "And for the last time, get off my desk!"
Shawn faked a look of indignation.
"Aww, Lassy." he said reasonably, pulling a knee up to his chest and knocking down several pens and a paperweight. "I only ever get involved when it's obvious you need my help. It isn't my fault that every case you work on happens to fall under that category."
Lassiter distinctly felt his hands twitch as he suppressed the urge to strangle Spencer on the spot. "You only wanted in on this case when you found out it was about the murder of an ex-pornstar!" He hissed. "You're just going to have to get your jollies elsewhere this time, Spencer." Lassiter tried to busy his hands with picking up his fallen pens and paperweight.
Shawn raised his eyebrows, apparently unaffected. "And yet, the spirits are telling me there is something more to this case." Even Gus looked tempted to roll his eyes. "Plus," Shawn added as an afterthought, "Chief Vick already gave us permission to work on this case with you and Jules."
The unlucky paperweight landed on the floor again with a heavy thunk. Lassiter looked up at Shawn, still sitting on his desk, in horror.
"How in the hell did you manage to convince her that I needed your help?" Lassiter managed, whirling over to Juliet. Her guilty stare and refusal to quite meet his eyes affirmed that she had already been informed of the situation.
"Well, it was easy, really." Shawn drawled, catching eyes with Lassiter as he set the paperweight back onto his desk. "I simply told her we needed to take a long, hard, penetrating look into this particular homicide."
Lassiter's eyebrows rose into his hairline as Shawn leaned over to grab the end of his tie. "And that we needed to plunge deeper and deeperinto the specifics of this case." Shawn's obvious word emphasis caused Lassiter to involuntarily clench his jaw. He couldn't exactly figure out why keeping eye contact with Spencer was suddenly so difficult; although Gus had openly turned away, actually rolling his eyes this time, and Juliet was biting her lip to contain what appeared to be laughter.
"You know," Shawn continued, his hand creeping further up Lassiter's tie. "Getting a firm grasp on the...private parts. Of the case."
There was something about the half-lidded look Spencer was giving him that made his chest feel a little funny. That, and probably because Shawn's fingers had reached the knot of his tie and he was not about to see where this was going.
Shawn pitched forward slightly as Lassiter stood up suddenly and aimed his ineffective glare at him.
"Look, Spencer. I don't even care what you told her at this point. Just don't..." Lassiter's nose wrinkled as he mentally went through a thousand less-than-pleasant warnings for the moron who had just been caressing his tie a moment ago. "...mess anything up. And for the love of God, get off my desk!" He stomped out of the room, not before nodding to O'Hara, who followed him out quickly.
He missed the genuinely wounded look Shawn threw after him, who watched until the back of his and Juliet's heads disappeared. Gus gave a resigned sigh.
"I really hope you know what you're doing with this one," he said, starting out of the office. "And it better involve a little more good old-fashioned sleuthing this time. I was sneezing for weeks after last case."
Shawn smirked, feigning a look of innocence. "It paid, didn't it? And how I was supposed to know you were allergic to baby powder?"
Gus rolled his eyes. "Come on, already." And with that he left the office, leaving the door open.
Shawn sat for a moment on Lassiter's desk, alone in his office. He noticed the paperweight sitting on the edge of the desk, watched light bend through it and cast different shapes on the polished wood. He frowned at it and pushed it off the desk, making his way out of the office and letting the door close shut behind him with a click.
"So, where are we going?" Gus asked, sitting in the passenger seat of the trusted Psychmobile.
"Why, to the victim's house, of course." Shawn said, making a right after looking at an address written on his arm.
"So you really do have a plan?" Gus sounded truly impressed.
"Hmm? Oh, no, I just really wanted to work on a case with an ex-pornstar in it. Lo mein, buddy?" Shawn offered, waving a half-eaten carton in front of Gus. "I got chopsticks right here."
A pause followed as Gus stared at Shawn with a look of pure outrage. "You're telling me you tied us into another case—" Shawn nodded, "—where we aren't actually needed—" Shawn nodded again, one hand on the steering wheel and the other shoving noodles into his mouth, "—because you wanted in on a case with a stiff from a skin flick?"
Shawn pouted. "Well, when you put it that way…" Gus was still glaring. "Ah! And here we are." Shawn said, breaking the Psychmobile and double-parking in front of what he recognized as Lassiter's car.
It was a pleasant little apartment complex with tall trimmed bushes, a neat little garden, and stepping stones to the front door. Shawn and Gus followed the address they were given and found the room number. The door was already open and they stepped inside to the general bustle of the investigation.
"A gunshot to the back of the head?" Lassiter was saying, talking to another policeman, who nodded.
"Did they find a gun?" asked Juliet, pointedly looking away from the body on the floor.
"They didn't, actually." said the other officer, frowning. "So the killer must have brought it with them and then left with it."
A quick survey around the room highlighted some glaring evidence that Shawn quickly filed away. The screen behind the closed window was completely shredded by a small hole in the middle. "Just about bullet size," he thought smugly. A creeping suspicion drew him over to the window unnoticed, Gus following him tentatively.
Shawn lifted up the window and then kicked the wall underneath. To his satisfaction the window slid back down to the sill with no resistance.
"Ah-ha!" he whispered triumphantly to Gus. "You see that?"
"Yes, Shawn, the window has a weak frame. Impressive. Now what does this have to do with the case?"
"It has everything to do with the case!" Shawn cried indignantly. When Gus stared at him blankly, he lifted up the window again.
"Look," he said, pushing it above the hole in the screen, "the victim was shot in the back of the head, right? And her body's right near the couch, so she was obviously sitting on it facing away from the window, which is right behind the couch." Gus cocked an eyebrow, still looking expectant. Shawn pointed to the complex of various buildings that could be seen from the window. "Anyone could have shot her from a distance on one of those. It would have gone right through the screen, and WHAM! With the right amount of force…" Here he kicked the wall again, Gus's eyes widening in realization as he watched the window hit the sill again.
"Pretty slick, huh?" Shawn said, grinning. But Gus's face went from a happy recognition, however, to a thin-lipped, unreadable expression rather quickly.
"Gus?" Shawn questioned, concerned at the sudden change. Gus kept flicking his eyes to something, his jaw set. "Geez, Gus, you look like you're having a seizure. What—"
"May I ask," Intoned an icy voice, "Why you are standing here and kicking my crime scene?"
Shawn slowly turned around to find a livid Carlton Lassiter standing behind him, hands clenched. "This seems to be happening a lot lately," mused Shawn to himself. Glancing quickly at Gus, Shawn decided to go for his favorite way out of trouble.
"Oh!" he cried, stumbling backwards into Lassiter in a sort of Victorian faint, his hand over his eyes. Most of the people in the room turned around to look, and Juliet stepped up next to Lassiter, crossing her arms.
"Oh, Detective!" he whispered dramatically, clasping at the front of Lassiter's shirt and causing the older man to roll his eyes heavily, turning to Juliet and raising a meaningful eyebrow in what was clearly implying the thought: We work with him? Juliet only shrugged.
"I'm getting such potent, negative vibrations from this window!" Shawn gave an extravagant gasp, "It's like an outlet straight to the key of the murder!" With one last shudder he slumped into an extremely theatrical faint, all the while held by Lassiter.
Lassiter looked highly unconvinced. "Spencer—" he began heatedly, only to be interrupted by Juliet: "Lassiter!" she gasped, pointing to the frayed screen behind the window. Lassiter was immediately distracted, spinning around to look.
"A bullet hole?" In his enthusiastic inspection Lassiter dropped Shawn ungracefully to the floor, ignoring the resentful "hey!" from below.
Lassiter pushed up the window and carefully examined the torn screen. "This is definitely a bullet hole," he announced. "…and the force from any bullet would have pushed the window down," he added after a moment's pause, hitting his fist against the frame and watching it fall. Shawn frowned at Lassiter's blatant disregard for his helpful hint.
"But there's no balcony outside." Juliet said, perplexed. "And we're on the seventh floor. So it's…" she trailed off fretfully.
"…perfect for a sniper rifle." finished Shawn.
Lassiter was up to his neck in police work. There were three empty coffee cups on his desk, two in the trash can, and he had already seriously considered asking Chief Vick to invest in an intravenous coffee drip. Even O'Hara had looked frazzled as of late. This case, dubbed the "Skin-flick stiff" (by Spencer, naturally) had gone virtually nowhere in the past five days. Nothing frustrated Lassiter more than a potential cold case, except for maybe the presence of the aforementioned Shawn Spencer.
"Laaa-hhaassy!" rang the familiar tone.
And speak of the devil.
"Oh no," groaned Lassiter, putting his head in his hands.
Spencer traipsed into his office looking like a kindergartener presenting a parent with a new picture finger-painted in arts and crafts. He stood directly in front of Lassiter's desk. Lassiter hid his paperweight behind his computer.
"What…do you want, Spencer?" Lassiter asked, deciding it would be pointless to ignore his company any longer.
Spencer smiled broadly, looking annoyingly self-satisfied. "So I see you've finally decided to accept my help after all."
"As long as you don't actually start channeling the porn star, anything goes." Lassiter would have smiled at his own joke if he hadn't felt so outrageously stressed out. He would have taken information from a goat, at this point.
But Spencer had turned surprisingly serious. "Look, Lassy. I think we're in danger of a serial sniper, here. The spirits are telling me so."
Lassiter lifted his head to Spencer slowly, unable to process what he had just heard. "We haven't had a lead on one murder in five days and you think we've got a serial killer? Because some spiritssaid so?" He laughed at the pure irony of it all. "Look, Spencer, you've been a great help to the station for awhile now—" Lassiter said this carefully picking his words, and avoiding any mention of himself personally, "—but you honestly have nothingto back you up this time. Not even a cat."
Shawn looked almost touchingly determined. "But the cartridge!"
Lassiter looked up quizzically. "The cartridge?" He had either gone insane from lack of sleep or OD'd on coffee, but the detective was relatively sure he had no idea what Spencer was talking about.
It seemed that Spencer was desperate enough to drop all pretenses of his psychic powers. "Yes, the cartridge used from the rifle. It was a .338 lapua magnum, right?"
Lassiter shuffled a few of the papers on his desk and squinted at the information Shawn had been given copies of. "Yes, but I don't see how—"
"You don't just buy a .338 lapua cartridge. You buy a whole box of them." Spencer said, as if this explained everything. Lassiter heaved a sigh.
"You don't just go out and buy one cartridge, ever, Spencer." he said, surprised at his own patience.
"But especially with a .338 lapua!" Shawn retorted. "They aren't exactly cheap, upwards of 200 bucks a box. Why pay that much money for a big box of bullets and only use one?" Before Lassiter could let this sink in, Shawn continued, "And why even use a sniper rifle when a normal gun would take half the time and leave less of a footprint?"
An apprehensive silence filled the air for what seemed like a long time.
"Your father certainly taught you a lot," Lassiter said quietly, after awhile.
Spencer started, giving Lassiter an expression the older man was relatively sure he'd never seen grace his features before.
There was another pregnant pause before anyone spoke again. "You might've made some good points," Lassiter began, ignoring how vexed Spencer was looking, "but it's been five days since the last murder. I think by now—"
Juliet burst into his office suddenly, Gus close behind, cutting his little speech cold.
"Lassiter! Shawn!" she said, gasping as she tried to catch her breath. "There's just been another sniper murder called in at the same apartment complex!"
Lassiter caught eyes with Shawn, and for once, saw absolutely no trace of smugness.
The drive to the crime scene had been a blur, and Lassiter hardly remembered the turns and screeches his car had made in his fevered rush. The station was thankfully close to the complex and Lassiter was hoping against hope they would get there before the sniper made off.
The recent scene with O'Hara and Guster running into his office minutes ago was replaying infuriatingly in his head. He could see his partner's alarmed face as she flung the door open, her eyebrows knitted together in anxiety. He could hear the sudden commotion of the entire station, atmosphere packed with pure chaos.
He could see something else, however, curiously unrelated. It was Spencer's face, distraught and wounded as he argued with him before his desk. It was Shawn's face drained of color after Juliet ran into his office with the unnerving message. It wasn't often – well, never, really – that Lassiter could remember Shawn showing a face that wasn't completely self-secure. Knowing what he did of Spencer, it had simply never occurred to him that the fake psychic could ever truly be troubled. And this troubled him more than he liked to admit. As he finally reached the apartments, he hurriedly pushed it down to the back of his mind, screeching to a halt and grabbing his gun from his holster.
Lassiter cursed at the wailing sirens of the other approaching police cars. If it wasn't blaringly obvious from the flashing lights and squealing tires, the police were here. It was like giving the stupid sniper a warning ahead of time to hightail it out of there.
The tumult caused by all the noise had caused the tenants in the circle of apartments to come out of their rooms, curiously peering over their balconies with their children and their families. Lassiter cursed again, this time much more loudly.
"Everyone!" He hollered upwards as the majority of the police cars came to a stop. He ran over to the closest police car and grabbed the megaphone out of the astonished officer's hands. "Everyone!" he called again, "Please return to your apartments immediately! This area is extremely dangerous! Return to your apartments, lock the doors, and close the curtains! Immediately!"
The sudden rush of the apartment tenants hurrying into their rooms comforted him for a short moment, until he saw Spencer and Guster running towards him.
"What the hell do you think you two are doing here?" he growled, cutting of whatever Spencer was about to say. "This area is dangerous toeveryone! Neither of you have had proper training in self-defense or firearm safety, are you trying to get yourselves killed? Second-hand lessons from your father don't count!"
"It's our job too!" countered Spencer. Guster had an unexpected look of resolve in agreement with his friend. Lassiter couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Jobs aren't about magically showing up last minute and saving the day," Lassiter snapped, "And they aren't about letting yourself get killedover something someone else can handle." Neither Shawn nor Gus said anything, eyes wide. "I'm not about to risk whether or not the sniper is still here Both of you need to get somewhere safe right now."
"But I need to—" Shawn began before Lassiter cut him off again, turning around to Juliet. "O'Hara!" he shouted, catching her attention. "Get them out of here." he ordered, nodding his head towards Shawn and Gus, who still looked greatly distressed.
Juliet ran over, managing to pull Gus off into a police car. "Spencer, follow her. And stay low," Lassiter commanded, kneeling down behind a car, gun prepared.
But Shawn didn't move. Lassiter noted, incredulously, that Spencer was instead running over to him, ignoring O'Hara's frantic calls. Lassiter didn't even have time to get mad before he noticed a figure flash behind the trimmed bushes near the front of the first apartment building. The figure of a man, down on his knees, holding a long narrow rifle, and aiming right at—
"Spencer, get down!" Lassiter bellowed, racing towards the younger man who had instantly frozen in his tracks. The sharp sting of what he assumed to be a lucky miss burned the top of his shoulder seconds before he toppled over with Spencer, hitting the ground and remembering last second to put his hand under Shawn's head. He cringed as he felt his knuckles scrape the asphalt.
Just beyond the bushes, Lassiter noticed the panicked beeline the sniper was making for the opposite direction. He unconsciously noted that pushing Shawn's knee up to his chest and using the straightened leg below the joint gave Lassiter just the right steadiness and leverage to aim precisely at the retreating sniper's torso. Two rapid shots from his gun echoed loudly, and the sniper's frenzied getaway was brought to a halt as his figure collapsed to the sidewalk.
The surrounding officers dashed over to the fallen body as Lassiter let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.
"Gee, Lassy," came a weak voice from beneath him, "you could've at least bought me dinner first."
It was around now that Lassiter crashed back to reality, and noticed that he was still on top of Shawn, pushing his knee up to his chest. Shawn's chest was heaving up and down with the whirlwind of the recent scuffle. Thinking about it, Lassiter reflected, in any other circumstance, this would have certainly been a compromising position. Even Shawn, who was still managing his goofy smile, had the dignity to look a little embarrassed. If there was anything else in his expression, Lassiter chose to ignore it.
Gus had put up an epic escape struggle with Juliet around the time the sniper had fired his shot, and now, victorious, tore across the asphalt to Shawn and Lassiter, who sprang apart like children caught with their fists in the cookie jar. Juliet followed him closely behind, looking equally worried.
"For God's sake, Shawn!" Gus cried reproachfully, finally reaching them. "Running across the pavement like that, you might as well just put on a damn sandwich sign that says 'Shoot me, I'm an idiot.'"
"Oh, like you weren't out there with me!" Shawn countered, bristling. About to add more, he stopped when he heard Juliet's sudden gasp.
"Your shoulder!" she cried upon seeing the mostly dried blood staining Lassiter's shirt. "And your knuckles! We need to get you bandaged up." She was already dragging him off ("O'Hara, for god's sake, I'mfine!") before Shawn could say anything.
"You really owe him this time," Gus said, after a silence.
Shawn hadn't yet taken his eyes off of Lassiter's retreating form.
It had been maybe three hours after everything had resumed relative balance again, and Lassiter again found himself at his desk. The sniper, after he woke up from being treated in the hospital, turned out to be some crazy nutjob with a grudge against the landlord in the first apartment building. When she had denied him permission to house in her apartment after she learned he had been dismissed from the military for severe mental instability, he decided his next best option, naturally, was to kill her. And every other tenant in the building. He had been trained in using a sniper rifle in the army, bought a big expensive box of bullets, aimed for the landlord, got the wrong floor, and killed the ex-porn star instead. The second murder was another failed assassination attempt. Although, the killer had reasoned, he was going to kill him eventually, too.
The whole thing, frankly, made Lassiter want to tear his hair out. At least, he rationalized, the jackass would have a one-way ticket to the slammer first thing after he recovered. That, or life in the loony bin.
Lassiter inspected the newly applied bandages to his knuckles and shoulder, and decided to use the sudden peace and quiet to finally relax. No whackjob snipers, no unanswered questions, no Spencer—
Or perhaps he had spoken too soon. "Luck of the Irish, my ass," Lassiter thought dryly, now fully convinced that someone had it in for him. He stood up as Shawn sauntered into his office.
"The case has beensolved, in case you weren't present at the time." Lassiter started, before Spencer could speak. "So unless you came in here to tell me you're resigning from your job, I suspect you're going to waste my time." Lassiter frowned slightly, looking around behind Shawn. "And where's your sidekick?"
But Shawn brushed off his comments quickly. "Gus doesn't have anything to do with this." The sudden subdued tone Spencer had taken on piqued Lassiter's interest, and he let his sarcasm drive boil down to a low roll.
Lassiter waited a few moments for Spencer to elaborate. Shawn was instead clasping his arm to his chest; nervously shifting back and forth from his heels to his toes. A little self-consciously, Lassiter noticed that Shawn was staring at the bandage on his knuckle. And he had that funny look again, the one that looked sad and regretful and something else altogether—
Carlton didn't exactly remember when Shawn had grabbed the shoulder straps for his gun holster and sloppily crashed his lips into Lassiter's own. The few heated seconds afterwards, however, with Spencer desperately grasping onto his shoulders and kissing him with wild abandon – those he was pretty sure he'd remember later. Right from the unexpected softness of Spencer's lips to the dull sting in his injured shoulder where he was being grabbed.
Surprised at his own reluctance, Lassiter set his hands on Spencer's shoulders and pushed him away.
"What the hell are you doing, Spencer?!" he gasped, working to catch his breath after lip-locking with the bewildered looking young man in front of him.
"I…" Shawn looked to be at a loss for words. "I meant…what I meant to do was come in and thank you, and apologize…" he trailed off, scratching his arm and looking down at the floor.
"And this led to you to swapping spit like a sex maniac, how?"
Shawn flushed red. "Fine! So I guess I should apologize for that too!" Lassiter was taken aback by the unexpected resentment rising in his voice. "I apologize for trying to help, I apologize for getting in the way, I apologize for always causing you problems, and for getting you hurt while protecting me, and now every time I see your bandages I feel like total crap—"
Lassiter didn't like this. Somehow, in his favorite daydream, Shawn finally admitting all his faults didn't end with him feeling like a huge jerk.
And before he could really process it, he was pulling Shawn back towards him mid-rant, pressing them together with his hand on the small of Spencer's back and kissing him with more force and enthusiasm than he had ever recalled with his ex-wife. Shocked at first, Shawn slowly began returning the kiss as Lassiter swung him around to push him against the desk. A quick gasp catching for breath from Spencer allowed Lassiter to push in his tongue, searching the inside of Spencer's mouth while the latter wrapped his arms around his neck.
Both stopped abruptly as a loud clunk sounded throughout the office. Lassiter looked down. It was his paperweight.
He still had Shawn pinned against the desk. He stared at him, double-checking to make sure he hadn't been hallucinating. He blinked. Shawn didn't disappear. And Lassiter, for once in his life, had absolutely no clue where to go from there.
"So," said Shawn, grinning, breathing heavily to catch his breath. "Dinner sometime?"