A/N: Apologies for the lateness! Happy (belated) Valentine's Day!
Disclaimer: I don't own Psych or its characters, etc.
Juliet rounded the corner and paused, confused, wondering why there was a small crowd of people surrounding her desk. Approaching them, she asked curiously, "What's going on?" Everyone around her grinned as they backed up, giving her a clear view of her desk. "Oh," she said slowly, raising her hands to her cheeks as she felt herself blush. Bright reds and pinks assaulted her vision; a huge pile of colorful, shining, and sparkling hearts of all sizes covered her desk. Picking a few up, Juliet examined them momentarily and then cringed as she heard a familiar voice behind her.
"What in the hell is going on here? O'Hara?" Lassiter dispersed the onlookers, and then froze as he realized what they had been looking at.
Juliet was startled by the expression of pain and loneliness that appeared briefly on the Head Detective's face. Mortified, she opened her mouth to say something, but Lassiter turned and walked away without another word. His clenched fists and stiff shoulders did not escape her notice. Hurriedly, she removed the many bits of paper, stuffing them into a drawer. Sighing, she got to work, trying rather unsuccessfully to forget Lassiter's reaction.
Returning from lunch, Juliet groaned as she saw the pink from across the station. Rushing to her desk, she glanced around frantically and quickly hid the large stuffed heart from view. Spotting Buzz nearby, she beckoned him over and asked if he had seen who delivered the heart. Buzz shook his head, but said he was pretty sure it hadn't been there a few minutes ago when he passed her desk. She sighed in relief. Maybe he didn't see it, then. Thanking Buzz, she sat down, pondering what to do. After a moment, she grinned as an idea came to her. Picking up the heart, she flinched as it started to sing. Pushing it out of view again, she pretended to ignore the strange looks she was getting. Once it had stopped, and she was sure no one was looking, she crept over and placed it in the center of Lassiter's desk. Walking swiftly back to her own desk, Juliet returned to her paperwork, waiting impatiently for Lassiter to appear.
Carlton strode down the hallway, trying to ignore how he was feeling. I used to love Valentine's Day…when I had someone to share it with. Shaking his head to clear it, he didn't notice the heart on his desk until he was standing right in front of it. Stunned, he stood still for a moment, staring at it. Hands shaking, he reached out and picked it up, clenching it a little too tight.
"I want you to want me…I need you to need me…I'd love you to love me—" Carlton threw it in a drawer and slammed the drawer shut, trying to block out the sound. When he was sure it had stopped, he opened the drawer cautiously. Lifting it lightly, with only his thumb and index finger, he placed it back on his desk and sat down to examine it. After staring at it for a few minutes with a completely baffled expression, he suddenly grinned. Delighted, he tried to guess who could have given it to him, then frowned when he realized he couldn't think of anyone. Pushing it to the edge of his desk, he started to fill out a stack of paperwork, glancing up every few minutes to gaze at the heart again.
Juliet tried not to giggle as she watched Lassiter's reaction when he found the heart. Pleased, she wondered if she'd be able to help him smile again soon. Getting an idea, she asked one of the officers to find a reason to lure Lassiter somewhere else, and then she went to the basement of the station and wandered around aimlessly for a while. Finally, too nervous to wait any longer, she practically skipped back up the stairs. As she neared her desk once more, she clapped her hands gleefully. A fuzzy pink teddy bear stared back at her from on top of her computer. Quickly, she grabbed the stuffed animal and snuck over to her partner's area. Setting it on his keyboard, she dashed back to her seat and buried her nose in her papers.
Irritated, Carlton marched back from a wild goose chase, considering writing up a certain officer for blatant…well…there had to be something he could charge him with. Noticing O'Hara comfortably seated and scribbling away, he wondered crossly why things like that never happened to her. I am the head detective here! I'm supposed to be beyond such trivial matters! And furthermore…why is there something pink on my desk again? Eyeing the bear, feeling even more confused than before, he carefully picked it up, hoping to avoid any more unwanted surprises. The white heart on its tummy had two words written elegantly in red cursive: Be Mine. Carlton blushed slightly. Who on earth…? His stomach dropped as an unexpected thought crossed his mind. What if this is all just a prank? Is somebody messing with me? Depressed again, he put the bear in the drawer and put the heart in as well. Sighing, he lifted his pen once more.
Juliet watched Lassiter breathlessly, hoping to see him smile again. It's just so unexpected when he does that I usually miss it; this way I know when he's going to. But he didn't. She giggled when he blushed, but her smile faded as his unhappiness became quite evident, and he hid the gifts from sight. Perplexed, Juliet wondered what was wrong. Suddenly, it hit her, and she raised a hand to her mouth. Oh. Maybe he thinks it's a joke…how am I supposed to convince him that it's not? Wait… She slapped herself on the forehead. It kind of is a joke, isn't it? Since I'm the one sending them… Now what am I supposed to do? Sighing, she decided that at the end of the day she would tell him the gifts had been from her. I wonder who's giving them to me? I hope whoever it is doesn't know what I've been doing.
Shawn crept into the station again, doing his best to remain unnoticed. Hiding behind a column, he peered around it to ascertain if Juliet was at her desk. Since she wasn't, as soon as he was sure no one was watching, he crept over and placed his last gift on her chair. Grinning, he rushed back outside and rode off on his motorcycle. I wish I could have seen Jules' face when she found the presents, but I don't want to spoil the surprise and have her see me. It'll be worth it when…if…she comes tonight. Daydreaming about what would happen when Juliet showed up at his door later, Shawn entered the Psych office with a lopsided grin and a goofy expression on his face.
"What are you drooling about?"
Shawn stumbled and broke out of his trance. "Huh?"
Gus raised his eyebrows and pointed to Shawn's chin.
The pseudo-psychic sheepishly wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and blushed. "Nothing."
Gus rolled his eyes and turned back to the computer screen. "So," he asked offhandedly, "Are you going to ask Lassiter to be your valentine?"
Shawn choked. "Wh-what?!"
"Are you going to—"
"No, I heard what you said! I mean, what are you talking about?!"
"Dude, don't even try to deny it. It's completely obvious."
His face red, Shawn sputtered, "I-I don't know what you mean."
His friend faced him again. "Really? I find it hard to believe that it's all just a joke to you." When Shawn didn't reply, Gus sighed and started counting off on his fingers. "You touch him every chance you get, you sit in his lap, you write him a note signed hugs and kisses--"
"Hey! It said H&Ks!"
Gus raised his eyebrows again, and Shawn conceded.
"Fine! Okay, well when you put it that way of course it's going to seem like—"
"When I put it that way? Shawn, it is that way. Look, maybe you really didn't realize it, but that's how it is. It's okay, you know. There's nothing wrong with you liking Lassiter…although if you do try to actually do something about it we may have to leave town…"
Shawn glared at him. "Gee, thanks for that, buddy."
"Come on, Shawn, you know I'll support you with whatever you decide, just be careful okay?"
Shawn shuffled his feet. "Yea…okay, but seriously…I don't plan on going after Lassy. Jules is the one I like."
Gus just smiled.
Ignoring him, Shawn glanced at the clock and sat down with his gameboy, trying not to think about their conversation, and hoping the time would pass quickly.
Walking alongside her partner, Juliet got increasingly nervous as they approached their workspaces. What if there's another gift? I can't let him see it on my desk! Desperate, she stopped and pointed behind them, saying excitedly, "What's that?!"
Carlton whirled around, but, seeing nothing, turned back to find O'Hara gone. What the hell?
Juliet ran to her desk, grabbed the bouquet of flowers off her chair, deposited it on Lassiter's, and ran back to meet him. "S-sorry!" she gasped, slightly out of breath. "I forgot something."
Carlton looked at her like she was crazy. Before he could say something, they arrived at his desk.
"Oh!" Juliet exclaimed in mock surprise. "What pretty flowers!" They really are nice, she thought as she looked at them. I don't regret giving them to Lassiter, though. He needs them more than I do. Smiling at his expression, she walked back to her desk yet again, quite proud of herself.
Standing where O'Hara had left him, Carlton stared, bewildered, at the bouquet. Looking closer, he spotted a card inside. Finally! Maybe a clue to what's going on here. Reaching out to grab the card, he hesitated for a moment and took a deep breath. Picking it up, he sat down and slowly opened it.
Happy Valentine's Day! I've been thinking about you a lot, and I would love to see you tonight at seven. Even if you just want to be friends, that's okay, but if you're willing to be something more, so am I. You know where I live – hope to see you there!
Juliet's jaw dropped as Lassiter's face turned beet red. I didn't notice the note! What does it say? Oh no, I hope my name isn't on it! I wonder if it says who it's from? Why is he reacting like that? She bit her lip and looked down swiftly as he glanced around. I hope I didn't mess everything up. I was just trying to help him be happy. Her curiosity overcoming her fear of being discovered, she peeked up again. Lassiter was nowhere in sight. Confused, she leaned over her desk to inspect the hallway. Still nothing. Cautiously, she tiptoed over to the flowers. She was disappointed when she couldn't find the note. He must have taken it with him. Feeling slightly miserable, she slumped back down in her seat.
Carlton looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, watching the water drip down his face. Turning the faucet on, he cupped his hands and splashed himself again. Grabbing a paper towel, he dried off and took the note out of his pocket. Happy Valentine's Day…H&Ks…Shawn… He shook his head, utterly confused. Once again, he wondered if it was all just a joke. He wouldn't put it past Spencer, but then again…there were all those times… Oh come on! He was just messing with you! He didn't actually mean any of it…did he? That thought kept him busy for a few minutes, then something else struck him. What about O'Hara? I thought he was enamored with her. If this were all just for fun, wouldn't he have given her something? I didn't see any gifts on her desk…only those paper hearts, and they don't really mean anything… Stuffing the note back in his pocket, Carlton exited the bathroom and went straight to the chief's office. After speaking with her, and easily getting her permission to take the rest of the day off, he removed all of the Valentine gifts from his desk and placed them carefully in a bag. Putting the bag in his car, he drove to his apartment, still torn over what to think…or do.
Shawn agonized over whether or not to wear a suit. Finally, since he didn't know whether Juliet would be coming as a friend or a date...or not at all…he dressed simply in his normal jeans and one of his favorite green shirts. Not being much of a cook, he decided to order Chinese. At six forty-five, he glanced at his watch, as he had been doing impatiently every few minutes. The food will be here in about half an hour…I hope she comes soon. Jittery, he paced around the apartment, stopping every once in a while to inspect the wrapping on the box of chocolates he had bought. Getting increasingly nervous as seven o'clock approached, he gave in and cut some pieces of pineapple, devouring them happily. At exactly 7:01 the doorbell rang. Butterflies in his stomach, Shawn opened the door.
Carlton didn't quite meet Shawn's gaze. "Uh…hi Spe-Shawn."
"What—" Just as Shawn started to ask Lassiter what he was doing at his door, he noticed the heart-shaped box in the detective's hand. Oh God. He's here for… Shawn gulped uneasily. I don't think Jules is coming.
When Shawn didn't finish speaking, Carlton glanced up. Seeing the look on the other man's face, his stomach dropped. Oh God. He wasn't expecting me…so it was-- "Oh. Never mind."
Just barely spotting the look on Lassiter's face right before he turned and started to walk away, Shawn made a split-second decision.
Turning back, Carlton couldn't keep the surprise from his face. Shawn beckoned to him and held open the door. Hesitating for a moment, Carlton decided to take a chance. Nervously, he slipped past Shawn and into the apartment, blushing as their arms touched accidentally.
Shawn's mind whirled as he remembered the conversation with Gus. He was right. I'm actually okay with this. Is Lassiter, though? I guess he must be since he's here, but…man, this is so weird. I don't really know what to do… Awkwardly, he offered Lassiter a seat at the table, and then excused himself momentarily.
As soon as Shawn left the room, Carlton sighed in relief. He wasn't sure how to act around the other man. I still can't believe I actually came. What happens now?
"What? Why? What's going on?"
"Dude! Lassy's here!"
"Here! Here at my apartment! When I answered the door I thought it would be Jules, but it was him! I think somehow he ended up getting all the stuff I left for Jules!"
"Wait…let me get this right. Lassiter…is at your apartment…as your date?"
"Y-yeah. Pretty much…hey! Stop laughing! It's not funny!"
"You don't sound sorry."
"Shut up. So what am I supposed to do?"
"What do you want to do?"
"I-I don't know. I mean, you were right before…I think I do actually like him…but I wasn't expecting this at all. What if he hates me?"
"Shawn, he came to your apartment for Valentine's Day. He doesn't hate you."
"I guess not…"
"Just…talk to him. Tell him how you feel. And call me if we need to start packing."
"Sorry, sorry. You'll be fine, Shawn."
"You really think so?"
"Yeah. Now get out there."
"Okay. And Gus?"
"Anytime. Oh, Shawn, before you go…"
"Juliet doesn't know the gifts were from you, right?"
"I don't think so…why?"
"Uh…would it be okay if I tell her they were from me? Since you're with Lassiter?"
"I guess you might as well."
"Okay…thanks. Good luck."
Hanging up, Shawn took a deep breath and left the room.
Carlton tensed up again as soon as Shawn reappeared.
"Sorry about that," the younger man said apologetically.
Carlton waved it off, saying, "It's alright."
They stared silently at each other for a moment, neither sure what to say.
"So…" Carlton started, clearing his throat.
Shawn sat down in a chair across from him.
"I didn't know…" the detective tried to continue. Why am I so nervous? It's just Spencer.
"Neither did I, really," Shawn replied honestly. "I didn't realize until…recently…how I really felt."
"How do you feel?" Carlton asked quietly, looking him in the eye.
Shawn flushed. "Well…I…I like you. A lot."
"Like me how?" Carlton pressed, needing to hear it.
Opening his mouth to speak, Shawn realized he had no idea what to say. Hands shaking, he did the only thing he could think of. Leaning forward, he whispered, "Like this," and gently pressed his lips against Lassiter's.
Carlton's heart leaped into his throat. The kiss was brief, but it left him tingling, and wanting more. Shocked, he realized he had actually enjoyed it.
Inspecting him carefully, Shawn asked, "So…I take it you feel the same way?"
After only the slightest hesitation, Carlton nodded.
Shawn grinned in relief, and Lassiter smiled back at him.
Both men jumped when the doorbell suddenly rang.
"Oh! The food!" Shawn exclaimed. "You do like Chinese?" he asked anxiously.
"Absolutely," Carlton responded reassuringly.
Most of the tension between them faded away during the meal, especially after Shawn challenged Lassiter to a chopstick contest in which both men failed horribly, dropping food all over. When they had finished eating, Lassiter helped Shawn clean up, laughing with him as they found several morsels that had somehow ended up halfway across the room. Leading Lassiter to the couch, Shawn told him to wait there, returning seconds later with the box of chocolates. After removing the wrappings, he reached into the box and pulled out a piece. Grinning, he waved it enticingly in front of Lassiter's nose. Lassiter rolled his eyes and opened his mouth, letting Shawn place the chocolate on his tongue. As Shawn reached into the box again, Lassiter put a hand on his arm, stopping him. Shawn looked up at him, puzzled. Lassiter removed the wrappings on the box he had brought for Shawn and took a piece of chocolate from inside, offering it to the younger man. Smirking, Shawn ate it messily, a bit of caramel dripping out of his mouth.
Carlton reached over and wiped it off with his thumb, pausing as he suddenly realized what he was doing. He felt his face heat up when Shawn flicked his tongue out and licked the finger.
Grabbing Lassiter's hand, Shawn put the thumb in his mouth and sucked the caramel off, trying not to laugh at the other man's expression.
Carlton's eyes widened at the physical response Shawn's action caused. When he pulled his hand away, Shawn frowned, and then froze as Carlton leaned toward him. His heart pounding, Carlton brushed his lips over Shawn's. When he felt Shawn respond, he lifted his hand unconsciously, placing it on the stubble-covered cheek. Hesitating, he briefly considered the fact that he was kissing a man, and then accepted it. Wondering what Shawn was ready for, he let the tip of his tongue glide along Shawn's lips. Shawn opened his mouth immediately, allowing their tongues to meet. Eventually, they pulled apart to breath.
Shawn grinned at Lassiter contentedly. Who would have known? Pushing him against the cushions, Shawn turned around and sat in his lap, snuggling back against his chest. When Lassiter wrapped his arms around him, Shawn placed his own hands in the detective's, intertwining their fingers. After a few minutes of comfortable silence, Shawn tilted his head up to look at Lassiter and asked shyly, "Hey Lassy?"
Carlton smiled down at him. "Yes?"
"I guess this means you're my valentine, right?"
"I'd say that's a pretty safe assumption."
Shawn grinned as any worries that were still lurking around dissipated.
Carlton's eyes glinted wickedly as he added, "Unless of course—"
"Shut up," Shawn whispered roughly, tugging on his tie. Laughing, Lassiter obliged.