The Dah-Ling Store-It-Yourself
Note: Takes place shortly after Lassie Did A Bad, Bad Thing.
Warning: This may end up being slash, and at the very least, it's probably going to be Shawn/Lassiter preslash, so be warned!
x x x x x
"I think I should sue for false advertising," Shawn said. "That movie had absolutely nothing to do with pineapples!"
Lassiter tried to ignore him, but Spencer was being even more obnoxious than usual. He didn't know what the fake psychic was even doing here; they hadn't called him in on a case since what had happened with Drimmer.
Lassiter finally bowed to the inevitable and glanced up to where Spencer was regaling Buzz with the virtues and pitfalls of something he called a 'bromance.' His hair was sticking up and his eyes were kind of wild, but there really wasn't anything out of the ordinary about that. He couldn't seem to stop moving, and was bouncing on the heels of his feet, an unzipped hooded sweater falling a little further off his shoulder with each bounce, revealing a faded Knight Rider T-shirt underneath.
Lassiter noticed Juliet and Guster standing nearby watching the show as well, and he walked over to join them. "What the hell's wrong with him?" he asked. "He looks even more...him, than usual."
"Shawn hasn't slept in two days," Gus said wearily.
Juliet scrunched up her face. "Why not?"
"I have no idea," Gus said. "Shawn usually only sleeps about three to five hours a night anyway, but his insomnia's gotten worse lately."
Juliet frowned in sympathy. "Is this a side effect of his gift?" she asked.
"No," Gus said with a sigh. "This is just because he's Shawn."
"Lassie!" Lassiter groaned as he was spotted, and Shawn came running up to him. He had an unopened Red Bull stuck down the waistband of his jeans. "You haven't called us in like a week! I'm going to start thinking that you don't want me around."
"I don't want you around," Lassiter said. "And even if I did, you just got out of the hospital from that thing with--"
"I was in the hospital for like five minutes, they gave me aspirin and blinded me with a pen light, and that was two weeks ago," Shawn said in a rush. "I'm ready to solve crime."
"Well, there's nothing for you right now," Juliet said gently. "Maybe you should go home and get some rest."
"What is this?" Shawn asked, looking from Juliet to Lassiter and back again. "I didn't do anything wrong, you know!"
"No one is saying that," Juliet said softly.
"This time, anyway," Lassiter muttered to himself.
Shawn's eyes narrowed in his direction, and Lassiter knew he'd caught ever word. "For your information, this wasn't anything new. Lots of people have tried to kill me before, going back years and years. I'm convinced that Carlton Baker was poisoning my Hi C in third grade, and that's not all, Marty Stein--"
"Carlton was not poisoning your Hi C, Shawn," Gus interrupted.
"You can't possibly know that for sure," Shawn told him.
"Regardless," Lassiter broke in hotly. "None of them were people who were supposed to protect you. This is different."
"It isn't," Shawn said. "Come on, you guys know you miss me, at least a little, right?"
"Spencer, I wouldn't want your help on a good day," Lassiter said. "And this looks anything but like a good day for you. Go home."
Juliet smiled sadly. "We'll call you soon, okay? Just get some rest."
Gus waited until they had walked back to their desks before turning to Shawn. "Okay, let's go."
"Did you see that? I think we just got broken up with! That was the don't call me, I'll call you, we'll get together, really, brush off that means they aren't ever going to call us again!"
"Shawn, calm down, that isn't what they said at all," Gus said. "Seriously, lets just get you home so you can sleep."
"No, you go," Shawn said. "I wasn't finished talking to Buzz."
"Shawn—" Gus started, obviously not happy about the thought of leaving him here. "You need to leave Lassiter alone."
"Who said anything about Lassiter? I said I was going to talk to Buzz," Shawn said.
"I know what you said," Gus said, and sighed in resignation. "Just be careful. Call me if you need me to bail you out."
"Of course! You know you'll always be my one phone call," Shawn called after him. Shawn waited until Gus was out of sight before wandering back towards Lassiter's desk.
He'd mostly been kidding about Juliet and Lassiter giving them some kind of permanent brush off, but only mostly. The incident with Drimmer had changed things, Shawn knew. It's not that it bothered him personally, he handled it fine, he was over it already.
But he knew that Henry had been giving Vick hell about letting Shawn get involved in the first place, and she was reluctant to let him take on another case. Lassiter was, of course, quick to jump on the bandwagon and try to lock them out. Shawn was going to have to be his usual brilliant, indispensable self if he wanted to get back on the SBPD payroll.
It wasn't going to be easy to do while sleep deprived, but that was why the world had Red Bull. He cracked open another one, and jumped back, startled, as it was ripped from his hands before he could take a sip. He was jittery like an addict as he watched, as if in slow motion, the beautiful blue and silver piece of mastery drop into the trash can at his feet.
"I think you're wired enough, don't you?" Lassiter asked, dusting off his hands casually.
Shawn gaped sadly at his Red Bull, looking up to protest the cruelty against energy drinks, before getting sidetracked by what he saw laid out right in front of him. He bit back a grin, and looked up to meet Lassiter's eyes. "Don't take it out on the Red Bull just because one of your arrests escaped from prison," he said.
Lassiter frowned as Shawn pulled another Red Bull from god knew where, and made a show of popping it open and drinking it half down in one go. "Is that supposed to impress me, Spencer? It's all over the news, you could have heard about it anywhere," Lassiter said.
"I don't watch the news anymore," Shawn said. "I've been boycotting the media since they fired that adorable weather girl. I did, however, notice that you left the case file open on your desk."
Lassiter lunged forward to close it and put it in a drawer, and then he grabbed Shawn's arm and led him away. "Since your better half isn't here to take notes, I'm going to need you to listen very carefully to me, do you understand, Spencer? Nod if you do."
Shawn obediently nodded, all the while staring at where Lassiter's hand gripping his arm like he couldn't understand where it had come from.
"This is not your case, this is not going to be your case, and you are not going to involve yourself in this case," Lassiter snapped. "This man is dangerous. You're not going to go near him. Are we clear?"
"No, not really," Shawn said, prying his arm away from Lassiter's hand to meet his eyes. "Actually, I'm confused."
Lassiter let go of his arm and reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "I don't think I can make it any clearer, Spencer."
"No, I understand the instructions," Shawn said. "But...are you worried about me? Because usually you just say, none of your shenanigans! Or get the hell out of here, Spencer, before I arrest you for solving my case! Which always makes that little vein in your forehead throb. But now you're all, stay out of it because he's dangerous! And I'm just terribly confused because it sounds a little like you care."
"I apologize if I've given you that impression," Lassiter said. "I assure that's not the case. I just want you to stay out of my way, okay? And also, I've never said shenanigans."
"That's a bold faced lie," Shawn said. "You said it just now."
Lassiter was itching to grab Shawn again and toss him from the precinct, but the images of Drimmer knocking him around were a little too fresh in his mind, and he wanted to avoid any semblance of similarity. He opened his mouth to ask again, as politely as he could, for Shawn to just stay out of this, when his answering machine clicked on.
He hadn't even heard his phone ringing, but he goes white as he registers the voice.
"Hey, Lassiter, guess who? I'm gonna make you see what you've done. If you're really the cop you think you are, you'll meet me back where it began, alone this time."
Lassiter finally sprung into action, leaping to grab up the phone. "Riner? Riner!"
Shawn was watching him carefully. Cyril Riner was the name of the man that had escaped, Shawn had seen that much in the file before Lassiter had taken it away, along with some pictures of footprints and the murder weapon, a blood stained revolver. "Back where it began? Where is that?" Shawn asked.
Lassiter was still clutching the phone, like holding onto it could catch the man that had just been on the other end of the line, and he looked up, bemused, when Shawn spoke, like he had forgotten he was there. As if he was just coming awake, he slammed the phone down and stepped back over to Shawn.
"What did I just say?" Lassiter demanded. "Stay out of this, Spencer."
Shawn frowned. "You're not going alone, right?" he asked. "You're going to call in the Marshals and the Helicopters and all that, right?"
"Riner's left me a dozen messages since he escaped last week," Lassiter said. "We've done the whole Marshals and Helicopters thing, he's always gone when we get there."
"But you're not going alone, right?" Shawn asked again. "Because that would be stupid. Hey, I've got an idea! You should take me!"
Lassiter frowned. "Come with me, I want to show you something." Lassiter headed off down the hall, and intrigued, Shawn followed him. They went into one of the lesser used records room, and Shawn didn't remember ever visiting it before.
"What's in here?" he asked, and he started to turn around when he felt something cold go around his wrist. He glanced around, disbelieving, as Lassiter handcuffed him to the nearest file cabinet.
"I just know you weren't going to listen when I said to stay out of this," Lassiter said.
"Lassie!" Shawn protested. "You can't just handcuff perfectly innocent people to things! There's a law!"
"I'm preventing you from obstructing justice," Lassiter said, heading towards the door. "Be thankful I'm being generous enough not to just arrest you."
"Hey! Hey, wait!" Shawn protested, but Lassiter had already shut the door, and Shawn could hear the click as he locked it, too.
Shawn bit his lip and pulled absently at the cuff, glancing around to see if there was anything he could use to pick the lock. He could always call Gus and tell him that he really did, kind of, sort of, need him to come bail him out, but he didn't really want to give him the satisfaction, and Gus would never let him follow Lassiter to wherever it was he'd gone.
Shawn grinned as brilliance struck, and pulled his cellphone out. "Hey, Buzz? Can I please see you for a moment in records room C?"
Buzz was cautiously poking his head in a moment later. "Should you be in here?" he asked, before his eyes followed Shawn's arm up to its wrist, where it was attached to the file cabinet. "Why are you handcuffed to the file cabinet?"
"Funny story," Shawn said. "I was testing whether or not my powers extended into the realm of magic, and started practicing a Houdini act. You know, locked room, in handcuffs, miraculous escape!"
"Cool!" Buzz said, delighted. "Do you want me to lock the door again?"
"Well, actually, it turns out my powers are pretty much confined to the mental realm, and so now I'm stuck," Shawn said. "You got a key for these things?"
"Oh, sure," Buzz said. He pulled out his key ring and unhooked the cuffs. Shawn brought his arm down gratefully. "You should probably have started a little smaller. My nephew has these trick cuffs, they keep him happy for hours."
"I think this marks the end of my magical career, sadly," Shawn says. "I'll stick to clairvoyance." Shawn started to head out, before pausing and turning back to face Buzz. "One more thing, you know that Riner case?"
"Sure," Buzz said, nodding enthusiastically. "It was one of Lassiter's biggest cases. It was all over the news when it happened. You don't remember? The Dah-Ling Darling? I just can't believe Riner's escaped."
Shawn scanned backwards through his memories, and then it clicked. He remembered hearing it on the news a couple of years ago, a security guard had been killed in a robbery attempt. "The murder at the Dah-Ling Store-It-Yourself," he said, starting from the room. "Thanks, Buzz! You've been a great help!"
"No problem!" Buzz called after him. "Hey, are these Lassiter's cuffs?"
Shawn kept moving, and pulled out his phone to call a cab. Gus had given him a ride here, and Shawn had planned to just walk home, but now he didn't have time. He was probably running out of it already.
He knew he should probably find Jules or Chief Vick and let them know where Lassiter was, but Shawn had a feeling if he sent in the cavalry Riner would simply disappear as he apparently had before.
Lassiter might have a shot if he was really there alone, or mostly alone. Shawn would be his back up, whether he wanted it or not.
x x x x x x
The murder at the Dah-Ling Store-It-Yourself had been an open-shut case, and so Shawn had never really taken much interest in it. The proprietor's daughter, dubbed by the press as the Dah-Ling Darling, had caught the murderer red handed and held him at gunpoint until the police could arrive.
She'd been the media's darling for fifteen whole minutes at least, admired partly because of the courageous act, and partly just for being drop dead gorgeous.
Shawn was having trouble remembering too much about the murderer. The case itself had been rather uninteresting. Riner had been trying to break into one of the storage units, he'd been caught by the guard, and had shot him in a panic. The media hadn't much cared for any of this. They'd pointed all their cameras at Ava Dah-Ling, and her tearful accounts of her harrowing experience, her testaments about the need to avenge the guard whose name she probably didn't even remember, and even Shawn couldn't remember, thinking back.
Shawn had the cab drop him off at the corner and walked down the street towards the Store-It-Yourself. The fence was starting to rust, and there was a crooked "No Trespassing" sign hanging off the gate. Shawn looked past it to the building.
It didn't look like the building had received much use in the two years since the murder. The giant neon sign on the roof had seen better days, and like a kind of reverse Wheel of Fortune puzzle, it was missing most of the vowels. The building was covered with a lot of graffiti, which in some ways was reassuring. No one seemed to have any trouble bypassing the fence.
Shawn glanced down at the lock, only to see that it was hanging unlatched. When he reached out to poke the fence, it swung open wide. "Spooky," he said.
Shawn cautiously stepped inside, suddenly wishing for Gus, so that Shawn could pretend to be the brave one. Gus always made it easier to look manly, because it wasn't hard to one-up all that running away and girly screaming. It was much harder to be brave out here in the dark, all alone, with a crazy gun-wielding maniac somewhere nearby.
And then there was Riner to worry about, too.
Shawn walked down the first alleyway, reading off the numbers on the compartments. He closed his eyes for a moment, going back to Lassiter's desk and the open file. He remembered seeing a number on the orange storage compartment door right beside the shot of the footprints—number thirty-six.
He was at fourteen. He glanced down the row, but couldn't see anyone else, so he moved down to the next row, and then the one after that. He found compartment thirty-two, and followed it down. Compartment thirty-six was standing open, the garage-style door pulled all the way up to the ceiling. Shawn peeked around inside, but it was just an empty space.
He started to turn around again, when someone grabbed him from behind, putting a hand over his mouth and dragging him into the compartment. Shawn was just about to start biting and kicking and screaming in Gus-inspired fashion when he recognized the aftershave. He reached up to pull the hand off his mouth, and gasped for breath.
"I usually expect dinner before I let anyone get to second base," he said.
"Shut up, Spencer," Lassiter said, spinning him around so they were face to face. "What the hell are you doing here? How did you even get out of the cuffs?"
"Please, like that was ever going to stop me," Shawn said. "Now, if you'd put me in an airtight coffin and dropped me into the deepest depths of the sea, then maybe you might have been rid of me."
"I'll keep that in mind for next time," Lassiter snapped. "As for now, I get to drag you out of the area instead of tracking down a very dangerous suspect. Good work."
"But you don't," Shawn protested. "I'm here to help!"
"Keep your voice down," Lassiter snapped. "You're a civilian, Spencer. I'm the first to admit, sometimes I forget that, but if these last weeks have taught me anything, it's that you don't belong here."
"You never forget that I'm a civilian," Shawn argued. "You remind me like every five minutes."
"Okay, maybe it's just the part where you're included in with the people I'm supposed to protect and serve that I forget," Lassiter said. "But we're going back to the station, and this time? This time I'm pressing charges."
"For what?" Shawn demanded.
"Trespassing," Lassiter said.
"And you're doing what?" Shawn asked.
"I'm an officer of the law," Lassiter said.
"Well, you left the gate open, and I was a concerned citizen," Shawn said. "If anyone's going to be in trouble with Vick over this, it's you, and we both know it."
"We'll see," Lassiter said, and started to drag Shawn back towards the exit.
Shawn dug his heels in. "Wait," he whispered. "I think he's here—I think we're being watched."
Lassiter glared at him, but knew better by now than to ignore a warning from Shawn, fake psychic or not. He pulled out his gun and pointed it to the ground. "Stay here," he said, before scanning the ally. He did a quick perimeter, walking to the end of the row, and then shook his head. "There's no one here, Spencer."
He turned back around when Spencer didn't answer. Riner was standing behind the psychic, holding a gun underneath Shawn's chin, pointed straight up.
"I think I found him," Shawn said.