Katey bit her lip. "Hey, Shawn?"
"Do you want to go out sometime?"
Shawn looked at her, taken aback. "Your house just blew up and you're asking me out on a date?"
A flash of realization crossed Katey's face. "Oh god, did I really just do that?" Embarrassed, she covered her face briefly with her hand. A slightly hysterical giggle escaped her, followed by several more.
Shawn watched her, concerned, as she continued to laugh a bit too loudly.
"I'm sorry," Katey gasped through bouts of laughter, holding her hand up. At some point, tears welled up in her eyes, and the choking laughter turned into sobs. Her shoulders shook with emotion as she tried in vain to stop crying.
"Whoa, whoa, it's okay," Shawn said, moving closer and putting an arm around her. "What's wrong? You're fine."
Katey turned towards him, pressing her face against his chest as she continued to cry.
"Shh, shh," Shawn tried to comfort her, holding her close.
After a while, she finally pulled back far enough to be able look at Shawn again. Shawn reached a finger up and wiped at the tear tracks that covered her cheeks.
"Sorry," Katey apologized again, voice hoarse. "I just…" Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she barely managed to hold them back. "My house, and my uncle…my uncle is dead! I just saw him this morning, and now he's gone! I can't believe I--" she stopped and looked away from Shawn.
"What?" Shawn asked.
Katey pulled out of Shawn's hold on her and clenched her fists in her lap. "Before the police got there, my dad called me. I met him at the house…right after he had found the—the body. And he started telling me his stupid story and I yelled at him. He'd just found out his brother was dead, and I yelled at him! God, what's wrong with me? Who does that?" Angry tears coursed down the side of her face as she spoke.
"Katey, you can't blame yourself. A horrible thing happened, and you didn't know how to react." Shawn reached out and took one of her hands in his. She tried to pull away, but he held on tightly.
They watched the flames lick the wood of the house, sending sparks out over the yard. Sirens sounded in the distance. The wailing sounds increased in volume, and then a fire truck emerged from around the corner of the street. The wheel in front twirled merrily, sending red light reflecting off parked cars. As firefighters jumped out with equipment, yelling information to each other, another fire truck came up behind the first, followed by an ambulance and several police cars.
A paramedic rushed over to Shawn and Katey and asked calmly if they were injured. Katey mentioned the scrapes on her arms and legs, but quickly directed his attention towards Shawn. The paramedic examined Shawn's head as he tried to stay still.
"Ow!" he winced and jerked slightly as the paramedic touched a particularly sore spot, causing a sharp flash of pain. The man's white gloves came away stained red.
"You're bleeding?" Katey exclaimed. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't know," Shawn told her honestly. "It hurt too much to touch it."
"Can you get up?" the paramedic asked him.
"I think so," Shawn affirmed. Bracing himself on the bumper of Gus's car, he tried to push himself up. Katey grabbed his arm and helped. Shawn wobbled a little, so the paramedic took his other arm, and they escorted him over to the ambulance.
Shawn was sitting in the ambulance with his legs hanging over the side, holding an ice pack to the back of his head, when Sam ran forward from one of the police cars.
"Dad!" Katey called out, relieved. Leaving Shawn, she hurried over and threw her arms around him. Shawn smiled and shifted his gaze, letting them have their moment. Squinting in the bright white and red lights, he tried to see if anyone else he knew had come.
Suddenly Lassiter's car pulled onto the site, screeching to a halt. The detective jumped out and looked around wildly, not bothering to shut the door. Shawn's breath hitched at the expression on Lassiter's face. He was about to call out to him when Lassiter caught sight of him. After holding perfectly still for a brief moment, he started to walk slowly towards Shawn in what appeared to be a daze.
Shawn attempted a grin to reassure him, but it didn't quite work, coming out more as a slight twitch of his lips.
Lassiter finally reached him. Stepping close, he lifted a hand silently to Shawn's face, and then jerked it away before allowing himself to touch.
Shawn kept quiet for once.
"I thought--" Lassiter's voice broke.
"Lassy, I'm fine," Shawn said softly.
Lassiter stared at him and then moved closer, crowding into Shawn's space.
"Hey, you're in my bubble," Shawn tried to joke.
Lassiter put a hand to the side of Shawn's face and tilted his head upward carefully. Leaning in, he kissed Shawn softly, as if checking to see if he was okay. Shawn responded evenly, letting him take the lead. At the first sign that Shawn was kissing back, Lassiter lifted his free hand to the other side of Shawn's face and kissed him in earnest, moving his lips against the younger man's with a hard passion that seemed to carry something extra, more intense than their usual exchanges.
Still holding the ice pack to his head awkwardly with one hand, Shawn wrapped his other hand around the back of Lassiter's neck. The closeness gave him a sense of relief that he hadn't realized he'd needed. When the detective finally pulled back, Shawn let his arm slide away regretfully.
Lassiter brushed the back of his hand against Shawn's cheek. "Don't you ever scare me like that again, Shawn."
Shawn put his hand over Lassiter's, carrying it down and letting their arms drop as their fingers intertwined. "Sorry," Shawn said earnestly.
Lassiter's eyes showed relief and his face finally seemed to relax. Recovering, he pulled his hand out of Shawn's grip and looked around nervously. Fortunately, it seemed as though everyone else was too preoccupied to have noticed anything.
After being examined more carefully, it turned out Shawn didn't even have a concussion. The paramedics cleaned the wound on his head, bandaged it up, and sent him on his way. Someone must have called Gus, because he called Shawn frantically, and it took Shawn more than a few minutes to convince his friend that he was fine.
Mere moments after that conversation had ended Henry called him. That call came with a scolding, but Shawn could distinguish the worry that lined his father's voice. Henry insisted that he stay with someone overnight, even though Shawn assured him that it was unnecessary. Grumbling a reluctant agreement, Shawn hung up with the promise to check in again the next day.
When the topic of who he would stay with came up, Shawn protested, but then got an idea.
"Hey Katey!" Calling her over, he suggested that since she now didn't have anywhere to stay, she ought to stay over at his place. Unless, of course, she had changed her mind about sleeping in a cell at the station.
She rejected the second option immediately, but hesitated over his offer.
"No funny business, I promise," Shawn told her. "Don't want my bandages coming off; that would totally mess up my hair!"
Katey managed a laugh, and finally agreed. After saying goodbye to everyone for the second time that night, they headed over to Shawn's apartment. He offered her the bed, but she refused on the grounds that it was too awkward, opting to take the couch instead. Since she didn't have a change of clothes, Shawn lent her one of his clean t-shirts and a pair of sweatpants. They parted, both yawning widely.
Once he had gotten into bed, however, images from the day started to filter through his mind, keeping him awake. He watched the shadows of the trees outside wave creepy branch hands across his ceiling. It had been a strange day. Eventually he drifted off into a fitful sleep.
Shawn woke the next day to the smell of coffee. He sniffed the air in confusion, forgetting momentarily that he had a guest. Then he heard soft humming coming from the direction of the kitchen, and he remembered. He pulled a pair of jeans over his boxers and picked a shirt at random.
Katey smiled at him as he emerged from the hallway. "Hey. I made breakfast; hope you don't mind. I'm a bit of a morning person."
Shawn covered a yawn with his hand and rubbed at his hair briefly, careful to avoid the bandage. "No problem. The breakfast part, I mean. The morning part could be an issue."
They shared a quick breakfast, Shawn deciding on orange juice rather than coffee. He only had the coffee for certain…guests that sometimes stayed over. While Katey was still finishing, Shawn excused himself to go to the bathroom. He was washing his hands when there was a knock at the door.
"I'll get it!" Katey called.
Shawn dried his hands quickly and made his way to the door. Lassiter stood on the porch, looking at Katey as though she had just murdered his dog.
Shawn realized she was still wearing his clothes. He grinned and decided to let Lassy think what he wanted.
"Is Sh—Spencer here?" Lassiter asked Katey curtly.
"Hey, Lassy!" Shawn said cheerfully, walking up behind Katey and purposefully putting a friendly hand on her shoulder.
The action didn't escape Lassiter, and he clenched his jaw, but refrained from saying anything about it. Instead, he abruptly started a new topic. "The Chief wanted me to check on you," he practically growled, emphasizing 'Chief' as though only her direct orders could have gotten him to come. "If you're all right, she wants you at the station in case we need your help."
"Right-o," Shawn said excitedly. "I'll be ready in a few minutes. What about you, Katey?"
"Yeah, that works," Katey agreed, smiling briefly at Lassiter before leaving them alone at the door.
"You gonna come in or what, Lassy?" Shawn asked.
Lassiter glared at him. "I am not waiting for you, Spencer."
As he turned away from the door, Shawn called after him, "I'm all right, by the way."
"No, really?" Lassiter muttered, not turning, but saying it loud enough for Shawn to hear.
Shawn shrugged and shut the door. Soon after, he and Katey were on their way, Katey back in the clothes she had worn the day before – now the only set she owned. Gus's car was surprisingly undamaged, except for a few scratches.
When they arrived at the station, Gus was already there, talking with Juliet and Sam.
Gus turned at Shawn's call, scowling at him. "I had to take a bus to get here, Shawn. A bus."
"O-kay," Shawn responded. "Well, good for you, buddy."
"I want my car back. Now," Gus said, not low enough to be a whisper, but enough that the others didn't hear.
"Aw, come on, just a few more days," Shawn pleaded. As Gus prepared to answer, obviously negatively, Shawn put a hand to the back of his head and pretended to wince.
"That is so not going to work," Gus informed him sternly. His expression softened though. "You are okay, right? Where did you stay last night?"
"Yeah, I'm good," Shawn assured him. "My place."
"Shawn, you were supposed to stay with someone! Your dad said--" Gus stopped guiltily mid-sentence.
"Aha! It was a conspiracy!" Shawn said. "What are you guys, partners now?"
"I just wanted to make sure you'd be okay," Gus told him. "I thought maybe you'd take Henry more seriously than me. Apparently I was wrong."
"Oh come on, Gus! Since when do I actually listen to my dad?" Shawn shook his head in disappointment. "And I thought you knew me." Before Gus could respond, Shawn added, "Besides, I did stay with someone. Well, Katey stayed over with me."
Gus choked and started to cough.
"Whoa, buddy, you okay? Something go down the wrong esophagus?"
Gus glared at Shawn as he finally recovered. "There's only one esophagus, Shawn."
Shawn shrugged. "I've heard it both ways."
Ignoring his response, Gus dragged him away from the others, who had been listening in amusement. When they were out of hearing range, Gus hissed, "I can't believe you slept with her!"
"Katey!" Gus said in annoyance. "I told you to stay away from her!"
"Gus, I'm hurt that you have that little faith in me," Shawn answered, putting a hand to his chest in mock disbelief. "I'll have you know that she's the one who came on to me."
"I don't care, Shawn! She's not emotionally stable right now, and this is only going to end badly for both of you."
"Oh don't be a gloomy jellyfish," Shawn reprimanded him lightly. "Nothing's gonna happen. It's not as if it's anything serious. And because I know you'll keep bothering me otherwise, no, I did not sleep with her. We were perfect little adults. You would have been proud."
Gus looked at him suspiciously.
"Scout's honor," Shawn said solemnly, holding his hand up.
Gus didn't look reassured. "Well, you better keep it that way."
"What are you, my mom?" Shawn rolled his eyes. "I can take care of myself, you know."
"I beg to differ," Gus said, before turning away and walking back towards the group.
Shawn followed, but he had barely managed to greet Juliet and give her a smile, when Katey pulled him away this time. Shawn smirked as Gus scowled at them.
"What's up?" Shawn asked Katey, leaning nonchalantly against a wall.
Katey hesitated briefly. "Well, I was just thinking…you know that question I asked you last night?"
"Question?" Shawn was puzzled for a moment before he realized what she was talking about. "Oh, you mean--"
"Yeah," Katey interrupted. "Um…it still stands. I'm really sorry if I freaked you out a little before – I didn't mean to start bawling like that." Her cheeks tinged a slight pink in embarrassment.
"It's okay," Shawn said. "Happens with Gus all the time – I'm used to it."
Katey raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
Katey grinned. "Anyway, what do you say?"
Just then, there was a loud bang from one of the officer's desks, and several people started shouting at once. Shawn and Katey whirled to look, and saw Buzz covered in pink and red confetti. Officers around him chuckled as Buzz gave a lopsided grin. Apparently when he had opened the small package on his desk, it had sent the confetti flying out. Buzz's wife came out from where she had been hiding, and hurried over to give him a hug, saying, "Happy Valentine's Day!"
Buzz's face lit up and he thanked her happily. Around them, things settled down again.
Shawn and Katey turned back to face each other. "I completely forgot about Valentine's Day," Shawn remarked.
Katey's face fell. "Me too. If you don't want to go out with me today it's fine. I mean…if there's someone else you had in mind…"
Shawn's gaze slid back towards the rest of their group and rested briefly on the blond head that was Juliet. As he turned to look back at Katey, he noticed that Lassiter was back at his desk.
Katey noticed the long pause as Shawn looked at the Head Detective. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know--"
"No, no, it's fine," Shawn assured her, making up his mind quickly. "It'd be awesome to go out with you."
"For real?" Katey's eyes lit up. "'Cause I kind of got the impression there was someone else…"
"Yeah, totally. It's nothing serious," Shawn said, waving his hand as if to brush her words away.
"Well, I guess if you're sure."
Shawn nodded. "Tonight at seven okay?"
"Yeah," Katey agreed. "I actually know this really great restaurant…"
They continued to chat as they made their way back to the group. Lassiter ignored them as he walked by with a stack of papers.
"Hey dad, guess what?" Katey said, smiling at Sam. "I've snagged myself a Valentine! Guess all that bad luck from yesterday is turning around now."
"Shawn is your Valentine?" Gus asked in disbelief.
Katey nodded. "Yep."
Juliet looked down at the floor, seeming slightly disappointed.
Shawn averted his eyes awkwardly, feeling bad. Maybe he should have asked Jules after all. He just hadn't wanted to get her hopes up. As he turned his head, he noticed that Lassiter had frozen in place a few feet away and was staring towards them. When his eyes met Shawn's, his face took on an expression that made Shawn feel as though his heart had just fallen into his stomach. Oh god, had Lassiter wanted…?
The detective turned abruptly and walked away, dropping the papers on his desk as he passed it.
Shawn felt cold all of a sudden. Keeping his gaze on the retreating man, he excused himself vaguely from the others, promising to be right back. Without waiting for a reply, he set off after Lassiter. When he reached the detective, Lassiter had his back to him, facing the one-way mirror of one of the interrogation rooms.
"Lassy?" Shawn ventured.
Lassiter's fists clenched visibly from where they were resting at the bottom of the mirror. Slowly, he turned to face Shawn. His face was stiff, as though he was trying to hold something back. "I can't do this anymore," he said coldly.
"You know what I'm talking about, Spencer," Lassiter said sharply, a spark of anger burning at the edge of his words. "This. This thing that we have. I don't even know what to call it, but it sure as hell isn't a relationship. Not when every single time I see you you're trying to get someone else in bed with you."
Shawn sighed, his previously good mood falling away quickly. "Lassy…I told you when we started this…"
"I know what you said," Lassiter interrupted. "And I was fine with that at first. Meeting you at night for a quick screw, keeping us a secret the rest of the time while you flirted with anything that moves. But I thought that maybe, just maybe, after all this time, you would have caught on. Not even because of your idiotic ploy as a psychic, but because anybody with half a brain would have."
"Hold up," Shawn said heatedly. "Your job is the reason we had to keep quiet. Don't even deny that if it was me or the job you'd drop me like that." He snapped his fingers as he spoke the last word.
"Fuck you, Spencer," Lassiter said furiously.
"You say that now," Shawn taunted.
Lassiter glowered at him.
"What, it's not good enough for you anymore?" Shawn continued. "Why does everything have to be so serious with you? All the time, it's 'Spencer, stop flirting,' 'Spencer, I want you all to myself.' What am I, just a possession to you? I can't have any fun on my own?"
Lassiter's eyes glinted darkly, and he lifted a clenched fist. His face twisted with emotion, and he finally burst out, "It's because I love you, goddammit!"
Shawn stared at him in shock.
Lassiter clenched his fist tighter, until it turned completely pale. Wavering without any kind of outlet for his anger, he turned suddenly and smashed his fist against the wall. He let his rage out against the cement until his knuckles were raw and bleeding.
Shawn stood watching in silence, frozen and unable to move. He had to say something, do something, make him stop. But he couldn't. And long after Lassiter had fled the scene, Shawn stood there, still going over what had happened.
When he finally made his way back upstairs, Juliet told Shawn that Lassiter had located the last suspect and had gone off to interview him. "I was going to tell him to bring you again, but it seemed like something was bothering him, so I didn't mention it. I hope that's okay." She gave Shawn a questioning glance, which he ignored.
"Well, I guess that's Lassy for you. Always trying to get everything done by himself…one man team…" Shawn let his words fade away. Never wanting attachments, he thought to himself. Or maybe that's me. After all, Lassy had never given up on his ex-wife—always hoped there was a chance it wasn't over…
"Shawn?" Gus interrupted his thoughts.
"Huh?" Shawn focused on his friend.
Shawn rubbed a hand over his eyes briefly, trying to erase the scene with Lassiter from his mind, at least temporarily. He pasted on a grin. "Yeah…yeah. I was just thinking."
"About what? You seemed pretty preoccupied," Gus said.
Shawn came up with something quickly. "Well, you know how you have to cut up a pineapple to get to the good part? What if they made something that would make it easy to take the whole pointy outer part off in one go? Or, even better, if they could just make it all edible?" Actually, that was a good point. "Aw man, now I'm hungry."
Gus rolled his eyes. "And here I thought maybe you were being serious for once."
"Gus," Shawn reprimanded. "I'm always serious about pineapples!"
After a few more minutes of friendly banter, Sam stood up. "Well, I think I'm going to go home now. It's not Friday anymore, so it should be easier to avoid any bad luck coming my way."
The others exchanged glances. "I don't know if that's a good idea," Juliet said.
"Why not?" Sam asked, puzzled.
"Uh, well…" Juliet hesitated.
Katey finished for her. "Dad, this whole thing might not be related to Friday the 13th at all. Someone could be going after us for some reason."
"And until we know who that might be, it would really be safer for you to just remain here," Juliet added.
"Don't be ridiculous," Sam said, dismissing their words. "Who would want to go after me?"
"The people on the list you gave us?" Shawn suggested.
Sam sighed, but he took his seat again.
They sat silently for a while, and Juliet finally excused herself, citing paperwork as justification.
Gus got Sam started on superstitions again, and Shawn looked at him in amusement. "What is it with you and all this crazy stuff?" he asked Gus.
"It's not all crazy," Gus insisted.
Shawn shook his head and turned to Katey. "So, what do you usually do for Valentine's Day? Anything special, or is that the boyfriend's job? Not that I'm saying I'm your boyfriend, of course, but if you had one—"
Katey laughed and held a hand up to stop him. "When I was a kid, my parents and I made each other cards, and decorated the dining room table with hearts and candy and stuff the night before. Then when we woke up in the morning, we'd come out and open them all. Since my mom died, though…" she shrugged. "Not so much. Although…there was this one gorgeous glass-blown figurine that she gave me when I was fourteen…I still put that out every year." Her face fell. "But not this year."
"Why not?" Shawn asked. "We could go get it…unless, oh…was it at your house?"
"No, it was one of the things that was stolen," Sam interjected.
Katey nodded sadly. "It had more sentimental value for us than anything, but it was definitely worth something. My mom even paid to have a specific inscription put on the front of the base. It said 'I love you' and then 'Always, Mom,' underneath. The lettering was filled in with gold paint; it was really beautiful."
Sam reached out and took her hand. She smiled at him gratefully. "If I could get any of the stuff back, that would probably be the one I would want most."
Shawn closed his eyes and put several fingers to his temples, thinking. Something about those words had seemed strangely familiar. He ran them through his head, trying to figure out why.
"Shawn?" Katey said, noticing his look of concentration. "Are you getting a vision or something?"
Letting his body shudder, Shawn acted his part. "I'm getting something…was the figurine a cupid? Holding a bow and arrow, with a pink heart behind him?"
Katey's mouth fell open in surprise. "Yes! That's it! How did you know? You can see it?"
"I can definitely see it," Shawn said, his eyes still closed. "And something else…Christmas!"
"Christmas?" Sam repeated, confused.
"Today's Valentine's Day, so…holidays?" Katey suggested.
Shawn started to shout out random words. "Santa! Bad! List! Stockings!"
"Bad list…like the nice or naughty list?" Katey questioned.
"And stockings," Sam added.
"Coal!" Gus said suddenly. "You get coal in your stocking when you're on the naughty list!"
"Todd Cole!" Katey exclaimed. "It's Todd Cole? Is he the one that has the figurine? Wait, does that mean everything that happened yesterday was him, or just the burglary?"
Shawn let out a gasp and pretended to collapse onto the floor. Katey helped him up, and he took a couple deep breaths before speaking. "It was all Todd Cole," he told him. Everything made so much more sense now. "He killed your uncle, and robbed your dad's house, and either set the explosives in your house or hired someone else to do it, because last time I checked most accountants don't know how to make bombs. Also, I'm pretty sure that guy crashing into your car was a set-up too," he said, directing the last comment towards Sam.
"But the dog that howled…" Sam protested.
"Do any of your neighbors have a dog?" Shawn asked.
Realization crossed Sam's face. "No. And I almost never see anyone walking a dog around there."
Shawn nodded. "Cole knows you. He knows about your superstitions, and he took advantage of them to draw attention away from himself."
"Wow," Katey murmured.
"I'll tell Juliet," Gus told them, before walking off quickly to find her. Soon after, they reappeared, and Juliet questioned Shawn briefly before calling Lassiter.
When Lassiter arrived, he acted more coldly towards Shawn than usual, but the only hint of their earlier encounter was his now bandaged hand. His questions were sharp and to the point, and as Shawn answered them, he found that he was unable to meet the detective's gaze, afraid of what he might find there.
"Look, Spencer, this is nothing near solid enough to get us a warrant. We can't just go traipsing up to Cole's house and expect him to let us in."
Shawn eyed the others around them, and decided to take a risk. Grabbing the sleeve of Lassiter's shirt, he pulled him out of view and hearing range.
"What the hell, Spencer? Let go!" Lassiter reprimanded him angrily, but Shawn knew that if he had really been trying to get away, he would have been able to easily.
"Lassy…" Shawn took a deep breath. "Okay, don't tell anyone about this because it will totally ruin my reputation--"
"Seriously," Shawn insisted. "Here's the thing…I actually saw the figurine in the house. When we were there."
Lassiter's posture stiffened and he grew serious again immediately. "What?" he said sharply.
"I saw the figurine in Todd's house," Shawn repeated slowly. "With my own two eyes. It wasn't a vision."
"It never is," Lassiter muttered. "Fine, that might be good enough. This better not be a trick."
"It's not, I swear. Cross my heart and hope not to die," he said, making the motions.
Lassiter turned abruptly and walked away. Shawn watched as he shouted out orders to several people and then picked up the phone at his desk.
Soon after, they headed off to Todd Cole's house. Gus, Katey, and Sam had been ordered to remain at the station, and Shawn only weaseled his way into coming by convincing the Chief that they might need him. Lassiter didn't seem too pleased, but he chose to ignore Shawn rather than causing a commotion. Normally, Shawn would have been happy to argue with Lassiter and the Chief, but he didn't particularly want to confront Lassiter at the moment.
When they reached the house, Shawn was pushed to the back and then forgotten as detectives and officers streamed ahead of him.
Just after Juliet had shouted "Clear!" from the kitchen, Todd Cole appeared from his bedroom, looking bewildered. His eyes focused as he saw the scene in front of him, and he stuck his hand behind his back briefly before walking forward. Shawn noticed the movement, but was unable to get a word in as Lassiter started to question him.
Todd hadn't really even gotten a chance to say anything, when Buzz emerged from a room holding Katey's figurine carefully in both hands. "Detective Lassiter," he said, drawing Lassiter's attention to it.
Lassiter's eyebrows lifted in surprise, and he turned back to Todd. "You didn't even get rid of the evidence? What kind of moron are you? Did you really think you were going to get away with this?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Todd said, looking puzzled. "I've never seen that before in my life."
Shawn stepped forward. "You know, for a guy with such great hair, you're not a very good liar."
Lassiter spun around, an expression of annoyance clear on his face. "Spencer—"
Taking advantage of the diversion, Todd whipped his hand behind his back and then brought it back around, this time with a gun in his grip.
Shawn cursed silently as Todd quickly pressed the muzzle of the gun against Lassiter's head. Todd must have put it in the back of his pants when the police first came in. The police hadn't been training their weapons on him because they were either busy searching for evidence, or they had obviously thought that Lassiter had it covered. Plus, it sure hadn't seemed like Todd was planning anything violent. It's always the ones you least expect, Shawn thought. Well, on the violence front, at least. He had been suspicious from the beginning.
"Nobody move, or I blow his head off!" Todd shouted.
The officers who had managed to get their guns up in time kept them trained on him. The others watched grimly as the scene played out in front of them.
Shawn and Lassiter stared into each other's eyes. The anger had fled the detective's face, leaving a grim mix of fear and determination instead. Shawn's heart started to punch at his chest as though it was trying to get out. Even if he wasn't ready to admit to himself yet that something had obviously changed between them, there were some things he just couldn't control. And his body was telling him exactly what his mind refused to.
"I mean it!" Todd yelled. "I'll--"
"You'll what?" Shawn interrupted, finally shifting his gaze to Todd. He stepped closer. "No really, you'll what? Shoot him? Then what? What good would that do you?"
Todd pressed the gun harder against Lassiter's head and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
"What are you, a fish?" Shawn said mockingly as the man's mouth closed and opened again.
"Shawn!" Juliet hissed in warning.
"Shut up!" Todd said to Shawn. "Or I'll do it. I swear to god, I'll do it."
Ignoring Juliet, Shawn continued. "Oh come on, Todd. If you were really going to do it you wouldn't have to swear. What, you think the gun you're holding isn't convincing enough?"
Todd's finger tightened on the trigger and Lassiter tensed. Shawn heard several sharp intakes of breath.
"It's over, Todd," Shawn told him, taking another step closer. "You're not going to get your job back, and you're definitely not going to get out of this room. What is shooting him going to get you? Nothing, that's what. Zip, zero, zilch."
"Don't come any closer!" Todd warned him. But his voice trembled slightly, and he had lost most if not all of the confidence he had displayed earlier.
"Give it up, dude. Just let him go," Shawn said carefully. "Turn yourself in now, and you might get to spend the rest of your life in a nice place where people feed you regularly and you still get to work every day."
Todd's grip on the gun faltered as he listened to Shawn's words. Shawn let his gaze slip to look briefly at Lassiter. The detective's jaw was clenched tightly as he looked back.
"Seriously. Think about it," Shawn urged, turning his attention back to the man with the weapon.
Todd shifted slightly, and then, in one swift move, he shoved Lassiter forwards and jerked the gun up to his own head, placing the muzzle against his neck.
"No, don't!" Shawn said, throwing his arm out.
Lassiter spun around, using the momentum of Todd's push to his advantage. Hurling himself forward, he grabbed at Todd's legs just as his finger moved against the trigger. Lassiter's tackle jerked Todd off balance, causing the gun to slide across his neck and hit his shoulder. The impact forced his finger, and the gun fired over his shoulder into the wall on his left, barely missing an officer who dove out of the way just in time. As Todd hit the floor, the gun skidded out of his hand, and another officer rushed up to secure it while Lassiter flipped Todd around and handcuffed him roughly.
Everyone in the room seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief. While Lassiter dealt with Todd, Juliet approached Shawn and proceeded to admonish him.
"You never antagonize the person in control of the situation, Shawn! Never! Especially when they have a gun pointed at someone! What were you thinking?"
Shawn scuffed his shoes against the floor. She actually seemed pretty mad. "Um, I was thinking that I really didn't want Lassy to end up in little bitty pieces all over. I mean, come on. I wouldn't have anyone to annoy anymore! And it's so much fun when he gets his angry face and then uses some form of violence against me, you know?"
Juliet stared at him. "Unbelievable. You do realize that he could have died, right? Because of you. I hope you can live with yourself, knowing that." On that note, she turned her back on Shawn and hurried off to make sure her partner was indeed all right.
Her words sank into him like knives, telling him what he already knew. Yeah, so maybe he had acted rashly. But he hadn't known what to do! The only though that had crossed his mind was that Lassy was in danger and he had to help him. He had to. There hadn't even been a choice involved. No choice. The words echoed in his head as he left the scene and somehow made his way back to the station. No choice, no choice, no choice…
When he arrived, Lassiter had already passed through with Todd, so Katey, Sam, and Gus had figured out what had happened. Katey and Sam looked relieved, and seemed to be considerably calmer than before as they talked. Shawn kept back, not wanting to intrude, and having issues of his own to think about. At some point, Katey looked up and saw him.
Shawn met her gaze. Brown eyes sparkled back at him. They were pretty, he couldn't deny that--warm and friendly. But they lacked something. He thought about another pair of eyes. Hard blue, filled with an intensity that often left him breathless. He could look into those eyes forever, and be sure that he would never completely understand what they were trying to say. Shawn blinked suddenly, bringing himself back to reality.
Katey gave him a small smile, and Shawn got the feeling that she had somehow figured something out. Standing up, she made her way over to him.
"You okay?" she asked. The tone of her voice and the look she gave him told Shawn that that wasn't her real question.
"Right as rain," Shawn answered, trying to sound cheerful. He pursed his lips in thought. "Although…I'm not really sure how it's possible to be right as rain. I mean, rain doesn't go left or right, it goes down. Then again, if wind blows it… Unless it's right as in right or wrong. Can rain be wrong?"
Katey shook her head in amusement. "You're a very strange person, Shawn."
"I like to say unique and distinctive," Shawn said lightly. "One of a kind, like that Pinta Island tortoise. You can call me the Lonesome George of Santa Barbara."
Katey raised an eyebrow at him. "I can honestly say I have no idea what you're talking about."
Shawn shrugged. "Me neither. I blame Gus."
"Like I said, very strange," Katey repeated, grinning.
Shawn grinned back at her, and then let it fade. "Listen, Katey…" he trailed off.
"You want to cancel our date for tonight, don't you?" she said calmly.
Until she said it, he hadn't really been sure what he wanted. But there it was, and like before, it wasn't really a choice. Never had been.
"Yeah, I guess so," Shawn admitted, to himself as much as to her. "I'm sorry."
Katey smiled. "No worries. It seemed like you weren't completely sure anyway. And now that Todd Cole is in jail, well, I kind of feel like I should spend some time alone with my dad. I think this whole thing has affected him more than he's letting on."
"And what about you?" Shawn inquired.
"I think I'm a lot like my dad," Katey answered simply. She held her hand out to him. "It was nice to meet you, Shawn Spencer."
Shawn took her hand and shook it warmly. "You too. I'll see you around."
They parted, and Katey left the station soon after, her arm held comfortingly around Sam's shoulders.
After saying goodbye to them, Gus came over to Shawn. "So…it's been sort of crazy the last few days, hasn't it?"
"You have no idea," Shawn said with feeling.
"You gonna stop avoiding me now?" Gus asked.
"I haven't been avoiding you!" Shawn protested.
"You were clinging to her like a piranha," Gus informed him dryly.
"I resent that! I am in no way, shape, or form, anything like a piranha!" Shawn paused. "Maybe a shark. Ooh or a sting-ray!"
Gus rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Shawn. I'm going home now; you want me to give you a ride in my car?"
"Nah," Shawn answered. "I actually have something I've gotta do here. I'll see you tomorrow, though. Miami Vice marathon?"
Gus bumped fists with him. "You know that's right."
Shawn sighed as Gus left. Now what? He was pretty sure now of what he had to do, but the how wasn't quite as clear. After a while, his stomach grumbled, and, realizing that it was as empty as his head was of helpful thoughts, he took a break to eat at Tom Blair's Pub. With all the excitement earlier, he hadn't gotten a chance to eat lunch, so it was sort of a late lunch slash early dinner. He tried to come up with a word for it. Lunner? Dinch? How had brunch turned out okay? He finished his meal and then headed back, still unsure of what he was going to do.
As he peered lazily around the station, his gaze fell on the Valentine's Day card on Buzz's desk. He snapped his fingers as an idea came to him. After snatching a pen and a sheet of paper from someone's desk, he found an empty room and sat down at the table. The paper stared back at him blankly as he clicked the pen in and out against the side of his head, trying to think. Finally, he bent over and scribbled several lines in the middle of the page.
Lassiter was helpfully absent from his desk when Shawn walked by, so he set the now folded note in the center and then found a nearby vantage point where he could wait. Hours passed. The case must have had Lassiter really busy. Somewhere else, apparently. Shawn sat for a while, and then stood again. He left twice to visit the bathroom, but brought the note with him both times just in case. He wanted to be there when Lassiter saw it.
Juliet came over to apologize, and they talked for a while before she left for the day. It was getting late, but even though Shawn was getting increasingly impatient, he knew this was one thing he just had to sit out. Officers from the afternoon shift headed home, and those who worked the night shift came in and then set out on patrol.
When Lassiter finally reappeared, Shawn almost forgot to hide. Ducking back behind the wall, he stopped fidgeting and watched apprehensively as the detective arrived at his desk.
Lassiter hesitated briefly when he saw the note, before reaching for it and unfolding it. As soon as he saw the first few words, he sat down.
Shawn ran through what he had written as Lassiter read it.
First of all, I'm glad you didn't die today. That would've sucked.
Second, I'm sorry for not figuring it out earlier.
Third, I'm always going to flirt. That's just who I am, and you know it. And you know I know you know it. And I…well, you know.
Anyway, I get it now. And I've made up my mind. If you still want me…
It was taking Lassiter a while, and Shawn suspected he was re-reading. A smile tugged at the detective's lips, and he quickly lifted a hand to smooth it away. "Spencer!" he said suddenly, in his angry voice.
Shawn quickly pulled his head out of sight. Had he seen him?
"Spencer, I know you're there!"
Shawn grimaced and then stepped out into the open. "Oh hey, Lassy! What's up?"
Lassiter beckoned him forward threateningly.
Shawn sidled up to him. "Something wrong?" he inquired innocently.
"Yes, something is very wrong here," Lassiter said. "Look at this." He gestured towards the note with one hand, but kept it positioned in front of him so that Shawn had to stand behind him in order to read it.
Shawn rested his hands on the back of the chair and leaned in over Lassiter's shoulder. "Ooh, Lassy, who's that from? You have a secret admirer?"
"That's the problem," Lassiter said sternly. "It's not signed. Tell me, what kind of idiot doesn't sign something like this?"
Shawn peeked around the now empty station before placing his left hand on Lassiter's shoulder and leaning in further, until his face was right next to Lassiter's. "Maybe it's signed in invisible ink," he suggested.
Lassiter leaned back slightly. "Invisible ink?"
Shawn slid his hand down until his arm was resting across Lassiter's chest possessively. "You know," he whispered warmly by Lassiter's ear. "The kind where you don't even need to expose it."
"Why's that?" Lassiter asked.
Letting his right hand settle on the other side of Lassiter's chest, only lower, Shawn explained, "Because it's only invisible to the people who don't already know what it says."
"Yes, Lassy-face?" Shawn said, trailing his right hand slowly down Lassiter's stomach.
"You're full of it," Lassiter told him.
"Are you just now figuring that out?" Shawn fiddled with the waistband of Lassiter's pants.
"No," Lassiter said, stopping Shawn's hand as he tried to move it even lower. "Just making sure you know."
Shawn pouted as he struggled against Lassiter's grip.
Lassiter finally turned his head to look at Shawn. Shawn moved back a little so that they weren't cross-eyed.
"You really mean it?" he asked quietly, searching Shawn's face for confirmation.
"I do," Shawn answered, smiling.
Lassiter smiled back genuinely. "Well in that case…" he stood up quickly, letting go of Shawn's hand and grabbing his suit jacket off the back of the chair. "I think we need to find a better place to continue this…conversation."
Shawn grinned. "Or we could just stay. I mean, this is a great desk you have here." He smoothed his hand along the top. "If we move your computer and all these papers…" he trailed off, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"We are not having sex on my desk, Shawn," Lassiter said firmly.
"Whoa there, cowboy, when did I say anything about s-e-x? You're the one with the dirty dirty mind."
Lassiter grabbed Shawn's arm and dragged him away from his workspace. "We're leaving. Now."
"Spoilsport," Shawn said sulkily.
As soon as they got outside, Lassiter pulled him to the side of the building and shoved him against the wall. Lovingly, of course.
"Careful, Lassy! You'll bruise my awesomely model-like skin!" Shawn protested.
Lassiter rolled his eyes and swiped at Shawn's head. "That's for earlier. And don't think I'm letting you off easy after what you pulled at Cole's house."
"Promise?" Shawn said, smirking.
Lassiter stepped forward, pressing up close to him. He put a finger under Shawn's chin and lifted it up slightly. "Absolutely."
Shawn looked into his eyes. The color was hidden in the darkness, but he saw it anyway.
"And this…is for choosing me," Lassiter said. As he kissed him, it was with the same intensity that showed in those eyes every time he looked at Shawn.
And Shawn knew that he had made the right choice, the only choice. Because really, there had never been a choice in the first place.
A/N: Sorry for the delay! I totally meant to finish this Friday night, but after the season finale I couldn't concentrate on anything, let alone writing. And then of course FFnet was stupid and wouldn't let me log in for what, 3 days? I really struggled to write some of this because it's definitely out of my normal comfort zone. I just felt like it fit in, and it needed to be said. Also, for the record, this fic is a whopping 13,000 words total, give or take a few: longer than all but one of my other stories. Woot! Anyhoo, hope you liked it! Thanks again for reading, and extra special thanks to all my reviewers!