Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I also don't own Cops or Honey Bunches of Oats.
Characters: Henry Spencer and Carlton Lassiter
Summary: Episode Tag/ Missing Scene to Lassie Did A Bad, Bad Thing. I loved Henry's "raised by wolves" line so much, and wondered if I could get a glimpse of what goes on in the Henry Spencer household after Shawn and Gus leave, with Henry and his new baby-sitting charge, Lassiter!
Author's Note: Yay, it's another episode tag/ missing scene! :) Minor Spoilers for Season Three's Lassie Did A Bad, Bad Thing and for Season One's Game, Set, Muurder! One Shot/ Short.
As always, reviews, feedback & comments are very welcome and greatly appreciated. Happy reading!
When It's More Than You Can Bear, Let The Silence Fill The Air
A Psych story
"One day, one day, Shawn," Henry intoned, waggling his finger at his son. He glanced over his shoulder, catching a quick glimpse of Lassiter drinking out of his cereal box, before turning back to Shawn to be assured of his son's response.
Then it hit him, suddenly, what exactly he had seen and he hopped off of the bar stool to confront his unwelcome house guest. "What? Were you raised by wolves?!" Henry yelled at Lassiter, who froze momentarily with the box of Honey Bunches of Oats poised in the air for another big gulp.
Lassiter stared back passively, seeming unaware that he had invaded Henry's personal space in any way. He shrugged, having some decency to appear sheepish, though not for long. Part of the problem was that both men had grown accustomed to the life of the bachelor, and were thus not used to sharing their stuff. Neither man was going to budge on this concept; Lassiter seemed to have no problem making himself at home in other people's spaces while Henry fought the urge, nearly losing the battle several times in the span of a few seconds, to drag Lassiter to the door by his ear and throw him out into the street, mainly because he wanted to reclaim his space and be sole ruler of his domain.
"Come on, he's a fellow officer in trouble," Shawn's voice buzzed annoyingly in Henry's conscience.
As much as Henry wanted to deny this fact, it was undeniable. The man in front of him was a shell of his former self, his hair flattened as if he just gotten out of bed, with such a sharp sadness in his eyes that Henry nearly relented. He was wearing a casual shirt under his suit jacket when he was a strictly dress shirt and tie kind of man. Fine, he's depressed, Henry grumbled to himself. But that's all I'll give him.
"Well?" Henry demanded, resisting the urge to stomp his foot to hurry along some explanation.
Instead of words, Lassiter glanced at the box in his hand and then pushed it towards Henry as if to offer him some.
Henry's face purpled with anger and he spun on his heel to avoid doing something that would surely get him arrested. His fists and shoulders tightened on the way out of the kitchen as he heard Lassiter munching on more cereal.
Lassiter was barely aware of Henry's movements, though he had been distracted from his munch-fest by Henry's shouting. With every bite, he could feel his life slipping. In the back of his mind, he was reminded that he had been brought here by Spencer and Guster who were, well, at least Spencer was, understandably worried about leaving him anywhere alone. Not like himself at all, he had not been able to protest, choosing instead to stare out of Guster's back seat windows as the scenery rushed by, ignoring any upfront chatter from Spencer and Guster. He had no idea if they had even been talking to him, but if so, he hadn't heard a word.
A peculiar emotion sat in the back of his mind with the others, among it this belief that Spencer had in his obvious innocence to this crime. But that the consultant was apprehensive about leaving Lassiter to his own devices— it was almost as if he had taken on this case as if there wasn't a speck of animosity between the two of them, as if there had never been. Lassiter made a face, coming back to reality for a moment, and put the mostly empty cereal box on the counter. He took in his surroundings, realizing for the first time since he'd walked in the door that he'd been dropped off here to be baby-sat by Henry while Spencer and Guster were out trying to clear his name.
Abruptly, he sank down to the kitchen floor, sitting with his back against the pantry cabinets, resuming his staring off into space mode, this time doing so without stuffing food into his mouth. How did all of this happen? I was in blithe spirits, in glory that I earned, that I deserved. . . .
As furious as he had been over the turn of events last night, he would never, ever take something like that into his own hands, as if he had the right to just—
Henry had come back when he heard Lassiter talking, realizing quickly that the man was speaking to himself as if in a trance. He paused at a corner to the kitchen, watching the younger man sitting on the floor. Despite his long legs and arms, folded up as he was, he looked very small.
"I would never, ever," Lassiter mumbled softly to the floor. "Even if he was a scum sucking bastard . . ."
Henry frowned hard, knowing begrudgingly that Shawn was right— Lassiter needed a guardian for now. He'd rather it not be him, but there wasn't anyone else, and the sooner the case was solved, the sooner this crumbled man would be out of his domain. Henry sighed under his breath, and left to give Lassiter some space.
* * *
Henry couldn't spend too much time upstairs because the thought of Lassiter devouring everything in his kitchen gnawed at him with annoying frequency. He had found that he couldn't relax as much as he'd like in his bathtub, his muscles knotting up again before the water had even dipped in temperature to lukewarm. Henry knew these were petty thoughts, but hell, this was his house. And because Lassiter was not his son, Henry could not threaten to take away privileges to keep him in line, or to follow the house rules. (Well, these had applied mostly when Shawn was still a boy; now, Henry just didn't have to open the door.)
Henry dressed in a usual ensemble of jeans and a much too loud Hawaiian shirt, foregoing his exfoliating lotion out of nervousness as to what kind of trouble his house guest was getting into downstairs.
The Cops theme song blared at him halfway down the stairs. "Jesus," Henry muttered under his breath, calmly taking the rest of the stairs at an even pace. He caught sight of the back of Lassiter's head; the demoted Head Detective had propped himself up in the middle of Henry's couch, where Lassiter's suit jacket was now draped across its back.
"What are you doing?" Henry blurted out, seeing the remote in Lassiter's hand aimed at the screen. A TV menu was up, and Lassiter was selecting every box with Cops in it.
Lassiter turned his head slowly, as if he couldn't see Henry very well. "I'm Tivoing Cops." He turned his head back to the screen just as slowly.
"Unbelievable," Henry growled behind him, shaking his head. Why do I agree to do my son these god awful favors?
Trying to ignore Lassiter, Henry walked to the kitchen, horrified to find a mess of scattered cereal across the floor, along with three, no four, granola bar wrappers, an empty milk carton sitting on the counter, and various other staples he looked for greatly depleted or missing. He spun around, glaring at Lassiter as he sat on the couch like a statue. Henry clenched and unclenched his fists a few times, talking himself down from grabbing his stun gun out of the birdhouse and doing something very bad with it with a count of twenty, since ten wasn't cutting it.
There was never a time he had behaved so poorly in front of others . . . then again, he had never been accused of murder in front of his colleagues, the Chief of Police and the FBI. He had never had his badge and guns confiscated. He had never been investigated, or had to consider a forced retirement from police work. Goddammit, stupid conscience, Henry lamented. Without a word, he got out a broom and a dust pan to clean up the mess.
After he was finished, he was determined to not allow Lassiter to ruin all the enjoyment he had of living alone. After getting out a beer for himself, Henry went to the living room, plopping down on the couch next to the younger man, wondering how long it would take him to get the hint to move over. For a long while, Lassiter didn't seem aware that Henry was sitting right next to him, and then he shook his head, glancing at his surroundings with a miserable look on his face. Then he scooted to the left, ending up next to arm rest.
A rustling under Lassiter's feet caught Henry's attention, and he glanced at the floor, frowning sharply when he noticed three open bags of snacks, with one bag turned onto the carpet under the coffee table, little carmel corn munchies marching like ants underneath. He sat back, struggling to curb his annoyance.
"So, we're watching Cops?" Henry asked rhetorically. He took a swig of beer.
"What?" Lassiter mumbled, seeming to notice for the first time the remote was still in his hand. "Cops? Yeah, I was watching Cops." He set the remote down on the couch, next to him, but it wouldn't take that much reaching for Henry to get it into his possession.
Though Henry mostly focused on the screen, he couldn't ignore the great big lump of sadness sitting at the other end of his couch. He wasn't sure if he should say anything, especially when he feared the only words that would come out his mouth would be negative, berating ones. And, no matter how much of a jackass Lassiter was being, he probably didn't deserve any more harshness. Henry decided the best course of action was to keep his mouth shut, and pretend he and the young Detective were some kind of— fishing buddies, yeah, that would work. They had even gone fishing once, and it actually hadn't been an unpleasant day. Lassiter had stayed quiet most of the time, and it had been— agreeable. Henry smiled to himself; it was a much better experience than any of the times he'd tried to take Shawn past age six.
For his part, Henry would like to side with Shawn in the belief of Lassiter's innocence. He had not seen any evidence, or heard both sides, but he had honed Shawn's observational skills, grilling his son time and time again until Shawn whined or cried about how he didn't want to do it anymore. But still, the tasks of counting just "how many hats" had made him a pretty good . . . cop wannabe. Henry shrugged. Besides, in all his time as a Santa Barbara cop, Henry had never seen a murderer who was this depressed after a kill. Remorseful, sure; guilty, absolutely; some tears here and there, yeah, but this? Henry stole a glance at Lassiter, remembering this figure on the floor in his kitchen.
Yeah, he's innocent, Henry decided, focusing back on the screen. He's innocent 'cause there's no way I'm getting talked into watching him for another day.
* * *
Barely having noticed Henry's presence, Lassiter did notice the protruding silence of the empty house. He had tried to use Cops to distract himself, but it just made him long for the job he no longer had, and also increased his hurt. Now, with Henry gone, Lassiter kicked off his shoes, curling up on the couch with the silence resting on him like a blanket. He'd taken his cell phone out of his jacket pocket, setting it by his head, ready to act should anyone call.
It hadn't rung all day, save for the times Spencer or Guster had tried to get a hold of him. He'd ignored those calls immediately, having nothing to say.
I'm a mess, Lassiter thought idly, staring into space. It's only been . . . a single day, and I've lost everything.
The day had faded into night, though he hadn't really absorbed much since he'd been brought here. Or much, really, since he saw O'Hara had been assigned a new partner— from that point on, he felt the sharp jab of reality to his gut again and again: the life he knew was gone. And with the only witness dead, he didn't stand a chance in hell. Even with Spencer and Guster trying . . . whatever the crap it was that they were doing to get him out of this.
When the text message arrived in his inbox, he didn't question it, didn't think that one thing could be off. On the way over to his apartment, he never asked himself once why Spencer would want to meet at his place, or even why he would sign the text message with only "Spencer" and not some stupid nickname.
He stood up fast, lightheaded with a rush of hope, ignoring some of the uncharted relief as he shrugged into his shoes, grabbing his jacket and pulling it on. His old life was calling him, and he needed to get back to it as soon as possible, see what he'd missed in the last twenty-four hours. It was reckless errand, but Lassiter didn't consider any other option. He was only rushing forward, ready to regain the present since his yesterday had been stolen.