Disclaimer: I do not own Psych. If I did Carlton and Shawn would be getting it on in the interrogation rooms all day long.
This story is inspired by The Old and the Restless. Mainly by the scene where young Shawn is sitting on the beach with his grandfather. No spoilers.
Carlton sighed as he walked along the almost vacant beach. He despised nights like these where sleep evaded him. So, instead of tossing and turning all night, he decided that going for a walk might help him clear his head and get some sleep.
It was hard to clear his head though when he and O'Hara were working tirelessly on a cold case from three years ago, one that they had finally gotten a lead on. The cold case was a murder of a young girl and the whole crime had become engrained in Carlton's mind.
The girl had been so young...and he couldn't understand how someone could have killed her and so...viscously.
Carlton shook his head, banishing the images away and continued to walk along the shore. He focused on his breathing, hoping that the old meditation trick would help him relax somewhat.
He looked ahead and noticed a long figure sitting close to the shore, gazing out over the dark waves. As Carlton got closer to the figure, he noticed a familiar head of untameable hair that could only belong to Shawn Spencer and tried to suppress a groan.
Figures. I take a walk to try and expel the chaos from my mind and I just so happen to see one of the main sources of it, Carlton thought bitterly.
He squared his shoulders, prepared for Shawn to try and pull him into some inane conversation. He could only imagine what half-baked conversations the pseudo-psychic could start at four in the morning.
Carlton approached Shawn but the young man didn't seem to notice him. He stood a few feet away and looked Shawn over.
He was focused intently on the beach and water before him. He just sat there, taking everything in. Shawn was completely relaxed and was radiating a feeling of complete calm.
Carlton had never seen him this way. Every time he had encountered Shawn, be it at the station or on the street, he was almost humming with pent up energy. Not like now...
He looks so serene.
Carlton didn't know why he did it but he sat himself down next to Shawn and joined him in looking out over the beach. They sat in silence and Carlton was starting to think that the younger man hadn't even noticed his presence.
"Hey, Lassie. What brings you out here at his, should-be-sleeping-so-you-can-fight-crime-tomorrow, hour?" Shawn asked the detective, never once moving his gaze from the pitch black water.
He didn't even look at me. So, how did he know it was me?
"I knew it was you because you're the only person I know who makes horrible police station coffee smell good," Shawn stated simply.
"Sure, Spencer," Carlton said sarcastically. "Let me guess, you saw me out of the corner of your eye?"
Carlton rolled his eyes. "So what are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be getting your beauty sleep?"
"Nah," Shawn said as he shrugged. "I'm pretty enough as it is. So, I might as well let people who need the beauty get their fair share, right?"
"You didn't answer my first question."
"Correction, you didn't answer my question so I'm not going to answer yours," Shawn smirked and looked at Carlton, removing his gaze from the ocean for once.
The psychic's eyes were filled with their usual light and humour. Carlton couldn't help but look into their hazel depths.
"I'm out here because I couldn't sleep. So, why are you out here?"
"I'm beach gazing," Shawn replied, refocusing his eyes back on the water.
"Beach gazing? What's there to gaze at, at four in the morning?" Carlton asked confused and curious.
"Hm? Not much right now but there was a lot of different things to gaze at earlier. Right now though, just the water and the sky."
Shawn let himself fall backwards into the sand and stared up at the dark night sky that was speckled with stars. The same serene calm washed over him as he stared at the stars.
Carlton followed his gaze and looked at the night sky. It was beautiful and he could feel a sense of calm was through him.
"You said there was a lot to gaze at earlier?"
"Exactly how long have you been out here, beach gazing?"
"Um..." Shawn paused as he though it over. "What time is it now?"
Carlton checked his watch. "Four-thirty."
Shawn nodded to himself as he thought it over. "I think I got here about seven. Yeah, that's about right since it was just after closing up the office for the night that Gus dropped me off here."
"You've been here since seven last night?" Carlton asked incredulously.
"What the hell, Spencer! That's over nine hours! You'll be lucky if you don't catch your death," Carlton yelled at the younger man as he shrugged off his jacket and tossed it at Shawn. "Put that on before you get sick."
Shawn pushed himself up and back into a sitting position and wrapped the detective's jacket around his shoulders and buried into the warmth still lingering behind.
"Thanks," Shawn said sincerely. He hadn't realized how cold he was until he had put on the jacket and had been surrounded by Carlton's heat.
"Don't mention it, Spencer," Carlton spoke a little calmer now. He was thankful that he had worn a sweater underneath his jacket because even with the sweater on he could still feel the harsh bite of the cold weather.
Carlton suddenly wondered how exactly Shawn had managed to spend nine and a half hours out here without feeling the cold.
"So, you've just been sitting out here all this time or did you just end up sitting here after getting bored with chasing Beach Bunnies around?" Carlton asked curious as to why someone like Shawn, energetic and always moving, would sit in one spot for over nine hours.
"Yeah, I've just been sitting here. There's only one person I'm chasing after," Shawn said honestly and looked unwaveringly at Carlton as he said the last part.
They stared at each other for a moment, hazel eyes locked with ice blue, before Shawn looked back out over the dark waters. Carlton studied the psychic's features for a moment longer before following his gaze to the water.
"Why?" Carlton asked after a few minutes of silence.
Shawn didn't respond immediately intent on letting Carlton wait for an answer even if he hadn't realized he was doing it. The young man titled his head and caught eyes with Carlton once more. "Why am I beach gazing?"
The detective could only nod in response, completely entranced by Shawn's hazel eyes. He could barely stifle a wince when the hazel depths clouded over in sadness.
"My grandfather and I used to sit on a bench at the beach, just outside my dad's, and just stare out and watch the people on the beach. It annoyed my dad to no end especially when my grandfather would take me to the beach when I was supposed to be doing my chores," Shawn paused, a huge smile on his face.
The sadness in his eyes faded a little but it didn't vanish completely. "He was such a great guy. I always used to wonder how such an awesome guy, like my grandfather, could have had such a strict-by-the-rules son, like my dad. I guess the awesomeness in the Spencer family skips a generation."
Carlton nodded at that, fighting a smile as Shawn huddles further into his jacket. "You miss him a lot, don't you?"
Shawn looked up at Carlton, surprise evident in his eyes. "How'd you...?"
"The way you talk about him. It's like you're conjuring up a memory as you talk about him. He must have meant a lot to you," Carlton said softly.
"Yeah, he did. He was one of the few fun things in my childhood that my dad couldn't warp into some kind of lesson on how to be a good detective."
"How do you mean?" Carlton had always known that Henry wanted Shawn to be a police officer but he never heard Shawn really talk about it.
"Let me put it this way," Shawn said as he collected his thoughts. "Most things that a kid would find fun, my dad would somehow manage to turn it into some sort of lesson that would relate to standard police training. Or he would discredit it and say it wasn't like that in real life or misrepresented the real aspects of being a cop. Like comic books."
"Yeah. They were unwelcome in the Spencer house because "they make cops look like idiots who would rather flash a signal in the sky than do real police work." To quote the great Henry Spencer," Shawn said nonchalantly.
"Yup. So it annoyed my dad when my grandfather would tell me to use my imagination," Shawn stopped and looked at Carlton. "Sorry, I didn't mean to go off about my dad like that. I know that most of the officers and detectives in Santa Barbara are like in love with my dad or something."
Carlton snorted at that. "Not everyone."
"Oh?" Shawn asked his eyes wide and bright as he looked at Carlton. "You aren't one of my father's fan boys?"
"Huh. I would have pegged you for one."
"Your father was a remarkable officer but he's retired now. Not much too um... "fan boy" over when he's not on the force anymore."
"Oooh, I'm so going to tell him you said that," Shawn teased.
"Don't you dare." Carlton joked back.
It shocked him that he was actually enjoying his conversation with Shawn. Usually the conversations that he had with the younger man were annoying and left him with wanting to shoot Shawn. It amazed Carlton how much Shawn could annoy him yet at the same time work his way under his skin.
"So, do you go beach gazing all the time?"
"Nah, only once a year really. At least to the extent where I will sit in one spot almost all night. I'll sit and gaze once in awhile between cases or on a slow day, though."
"Only once a year, though like this," Carlton stated.
"Yup, only on the anniversary of my grandfather's passing. Helps me cope with missing him as well as helps me remember him," Shawn said a reminiscent quality to his tone.
"Oh," Carlton said softly. "I'm sorry I didn't realize I was disturbing your reminiscing. I'll leave you to it." He suddenly felt bad for intruding upon Shawn.
The detective rose from his spot on the sand and brushed quickly at his clothes, to get rid of any remnants of sand and turned to leave. He had only managed to take a step before he felt a hand encircle his wrist, anchoring him in place.
"Stay," Shawn stated quietly, not really asking the older man and not ordering him either. But Carlton could detect a bit of hope in the pseudo-psychic's voice.
"I... I don't want to intrude," Carlton managed to get out, looking at anything except Shawn.
"You're not. So stay." He tugged Carlton's arm insistently.
"Okay, okay. I'll stay."
Carlton sat back down on the beach and sighed. Why the hell do I let him order me around? He thought angrily but when he turned to look at Shawn, his anger ebbed.
Shawn was staring right at Carlton and there was a vibrant smile playing across his handsome features. "Thanks."
"Um... My pleasure."
They sat there quietly, both of their attentions once more focused on the beach spread out in front of them. Out of the corner of his eye, Carlton saw Shawn stand up and move to stand in front of him.
"What is it?"
The psychic said nothing in response to Carlton's question. Instead, he knelt down in front of the detective and pushed his legs apart and crawled into the space between them and turning around so that his back was pressed against Carlton's chest. Shawn then grabbed his arms and placed them around his waist. He snuggled into the warmth coming off of Carlton's body.
"Shawn?" Carlton asked, completely confused at the younger man's actions.
"I really looked up to him, you know," Shawn sad and there was just a touch of sadness in his tone.
"Yeah?" Carlton tightened his grip on Shawn, not fully aware that he had done so.
"Yup. He always told me to make my own choices and not to take life too seriously. He told me to travel the world and to meet interesting people. To have adventures, because one day I was going to wake up and realize I was too old to do anything really fun."
Carlton smiled. "So, I guess I have him to thank for you turning into the annoying, crazy, energetic, world traveler that you are, huh?"
"Don't you mean, 'you have him to blame?'" Shawn asked as he arched his neck to try and look Carlton in the eyes.
Carlton thought it over before he answered. Yes, Shawn could annoy him to no end... But there was just something about him that called Carlton to him. Some kind of connection that he just couldn't explain. "I meant what I said."
Shawn snuggled deeper into Carlton's embrace and shivered slightly. Even with the detective's jacket on and wrapped in his arms, the chill had yet to leave his body.
"Come on, let me give you a ride home. You'll be extremely lucky if you don't get sick," Carlton said seriously, leaving no room for argument.
"Fine. I think ten hours is long enough. I'll probably be finding sand in places there shouldn't be any for like the next two weeks," Shawn joked as he stood up and offered his hand to help Carlton up.
"I don't need to know where you'll be finding sand, Shawn," Carlton quipped. "Come on."
The drive to Shawn's apartment was too quick, at least that's what Carlton thought. When they arrived Shawn slipped out of the passenger seat.
"Thanks for the ride," Shawn said through the open car door. "Night." He went to close the car door but paused. "Oh right! Your jacket."
"Keep it, Shawn," Carlton said seriously.
"Yeah, I know where you work and... Now I know where you live," Carlton said jokingly and dropped Shawn a wink.
Carlton waited for Shawn to close the car door but the younger man made no move to do so. He was about to say something when Shawn got back into the car, knelt on the seat and kissed Carlton softly. It was chaste, slow, and sweet, nothing like how Carlton would have thought the younger man would kiss someone.
Shawn pulled back and smiled brightly at Carlton before scurrying out of the detective's car, closing the door, and running to the door to his apartment building.
"Good night, Carlton," Shawn yelled back over his shoulder to the detective as he entered his apartment building.
Carlton sat frozen in his car for a moment. Stunned that Shawn had just kissed him. He shook his head to clear it before driving home. He was finally sleepy and ready to get to bed so that he could arrest some criminals when his shift started in – he checked his watch - In four hours.
When he got home, he changed and got into bed. Carlton felt completely exhausted and he didn't know if it was thanks to his walk on the beach, the pleasant conversation, or... Shawn's good night kiss.
As he felt sleep started to claim him, Carlton had no doubt in his mind that it was Shawn's kiss that finally allowed him to relax and get some sleep.