Thanks for reading, reviews are always welcome, and I still don't own these characters…
One day after bust…
"I don't even know if you can hear me," a familiar, female voice filled his ears, but he couldn't quite remember who the person was. It felt like he was floating on a sea of clouds, a small voice telling him that was damn near impossible. That voice, however, was too weak and he'd much rather listen to the other voice.
"Carlton, you missed a huge bust. Two major mob bosses were arrested along with a well-known hit man. It would have guaranteed you Vick's job when she stepped down." The voice was quiet for a moment; he missed it the entire time.
Finally she started talking again, tears in her voice, "I…I need you to wake up, Carlton. Y…you are a fighter, you can get through anything. Just wake u…up. Please…"
He tried, he really did, but the clouds decided he had had enough of the woman's company and whisked him away to a void of blackness…
Two days after bust…
"Getting shot sucks," a new voice drifted through his ears, another familiar one. His brain tried to supply the name, but it was too much work so he cut it off. The drifting feeling was back, albeit a tad weaker, and once again his brain tried to tell him that was impossible. The other voice pushed the weaker one away.
"Shawn told me it sucked, his father told me to avoid it, even Juliet told me it wasn't fun. I mean, they should all know, they were all shot at least once. And you have been, too. Not me, not until recently. A bullet to the leg. To my right leg, meaning I can't drive until the stitches get taken out. I tell you one thing, if Shawn wasn't hurt he wouldn't be allowed to touch my car.
"Shawn was shot, again. I know what you must be thinking 'three times in a month, can't he avoid a fricking gun for ten seconds.' McGee, he's the psycho hit man Juliet told you about, had blown the boat we were on up. Shawn believed we were dead and attacked McGee. McGee had been holding a gun, it had gone off, and Shawn ended up shot… again. He's been in and out of consciousness, mostly out. I thought you'd want to know…
The guy's voice grew farther away, darkness engulfing him once more…
Three days after bust…
"I have to thank you, Detective," another new voice, making him wonder if these people had outside lives. This one was gruffer than the previous male's voice, held some subdued authority in the depths. He tried to remember who this person was but gave up after six seconds-he really didn't see the point in trying to remember.
"You saved my son from that car. It wasn't fair that you were hit, and it's not fair that you're stuck in this semi-comatose state, but Shawn's alive because of you. It's the cop in you, Lassiter. You find my son annoying, but you still put his life before yours. And for that, I am forever grateful to you…" he tried to hold onto the man's voice, but he was already being swept away by the blackness.
Four days after bust…
"Do you know how much paperwork this case took?" another female, sounding so familiar, but he was unable to put a face to the voice. "A ton. Four different guys were arrested, four different case files I had to dig up, and four different transfer papers I had to draw-up. Harrison's, or Bennett's, man alone-Nick Manning-was wanted in sixteen different states for everything from insurance fraud to murder. The states are hashing out who gets him. I could care less as long as he's put in jail."
She was quiet for a few moments making him figure her voice had drifted away like the others. Then she started speaking again, "They said y…you should have been awake by now." She wasn't exactly crying, but she was trying hard to keep her voice from trembling. "Come on, Carlton. Wake up. I know you can. Wake up…" she barely got the words out when her voice started to drift away. He was out several seconds later…
Five days after bust…
It seemed like an eternity since the last time he was actually aware of his surroundings. His body felt blissfully numb, but no longer felt like it was floating amongst the clouds. And it's not possible to do that, his mind snapped at him making damn sure he understood that. He was, however, laying on something soft. A bed? It wasn't his bed, though, he knew his mattress and this most definitely was not his mattress. Where am I, he asked himself, more than a little confused.
There was something across his face, sitting in his nose. He tried to move his hand, get it out, but another hand grabbed his.
"I'd keep that in there, Lassie," a familiar voice said, a small smirk could be heard amongst the tone.
"Spencer," he whispered trying to peel his eyes open. It took a few seconds, but he finally succeeded. The stark white room was bright, making his eyes slam shut again. He groaned, pissed at the light for trying to blind him.
"I'll close that," Spencer said. There was a loud groan as the 'psychic' stood up and Lassiter heard shuffling feet. He heard the sounds of a curtain being drawn, the light blocked off, and the shuffling feet of Spencer returning.
"You can open your eyes now," the 'psychic' informed him. Lassiter complied, just in time to see Spencer lower himself, very slowly, into the wheelchair he had just vacated.
"W…what happened?" Lassiter asked his voice still a whisper. He was very, very, very aware of the fact that his throat was really dry and how thirsty he was.
"You need a drink," Shawn asked avoiding Lassiter's question. He grabbed for a remote, pressing the button to raise Lassiter into a sitting position. The change in position made Lassiter's briefly nauseous, but it passed without any sudden appearance of bile.
"They always seem to have water by the bed in every show, but real life they just don't think that far ahead." Shawn pushed himself to his feet, a flash of pain crossing his face and disappearing just as fast. He shuffled across the room, entering the bathroom.
"I technically am not supposed to be getting out of the chair," the 'psychic' called from the open door, the sound of water filling the room. "Something about pulling stitches and needing rest. Apparently getting shot and drowning are enough reason for a doctor to banish someone to a wheelchair. I mean, really? I have legs, they do work."
Shawn came back, a glass of water held in his hands. He handed it to Lassiter, the detective taking the glass between his slightly shaking hands. He took a sip, enjoying the liquid that rolled down his throat. Taking a second, much larger sip, resulted in a coughing fit and Spencer snatching the glass out of his hands.
The coughs wracked his body, making everything hurt despite any drugs in his bloodstream. He could hear Shawn talking to him in a slow, soothing voice. After a few seconds, Lassiter wondering if he had broken anything already hurt, the coughing calmed and eventually stopped.
"Slower sips next time," Shawn suggested giving Lassiter a ghost of a smile. He settled back in his chair, a hiss of pain managing to slip through his lips.
"What happened," Lassiter repeated, giving Shawn a hard stare.
"What's the last thing you remember," the 'psychic' asked his face serious and… if Lassiter wasn't mistaken… slightly guilty.
"Um…" Carlton let his mind wander, trying to break through the fuzziness of the drugs. A flash hit him, "I was sitting on the station steps." He closed his eyes, hoping that would help. "Um… I heard tires squeal, looked up, and saw you…" and the rest was gone. "That's it."
"That's it?" Shawn's eyebrows rose, his eyes face torn between believing him or not.
"That's it," Lassiter repeated. "Did I stop the car from hitting you?" his mind flashed back to a voice, a male voice he couldn't remember the name to, saying, "You saved my son from that car. It wasn't fair that you were hit, and it's not fair that you're stuck in this semi-comatose state, but Shawn's alive because of you."
He couldn't help the panic that crept up on him. If he was hit by a car, if that voice was telling the truth, then he could be permanently out of work. He was nothing without his career, his job the only thing keeping him semi-grounded in this wacky world. It may be hard, and Spencer may annoy the crap out of him, but being a cop challenged him every day. And without that challenge, he was just doomed to be another average Joe-Smhoe who hated their life and wanted out.
"Lassie relax," Shawn said quietly, his hand hesitating over the detective's shoulder. "You're going to be out of work for a few weeks, but your days of being a cop are far from over." Sometimes that really bugged Lassiter, Spencer's knack for knowing what others were thinking. He had a feeling it wasn't one of his 'abilities'-or lack thereof because Lassiter would one day figure out how he does it-just his annoying habit of paying attention. Plus, the heart monitor had spiked slightly with his near panic attack.
"Your knee is a little screwed up, but your doctor is pretty sure some therapy will make it good as new. You have a concussion, so your lapse in memory isn't uncommon, and you cracked six ribs. You should count yourself lucky; it could have been a hell of a lot worse."
Lassiter was quiet for a moment, taking in what Shawn just said. He was right, it could have been worse. He could be dead or in a coma. But he was curious; he needed to know why the car hit him in the first place. So he asked, "Why did I get run down?"
Shawn's face fell, his eyes downcast. This was the question he had been dreading, Lassiter could tell. He needed to know, before he passed out. The drugs were starting to pull him under, his eyelids feeling heavy and a haziness taking over his brain.
"Spencer," he growled losing patience fast.
"The car was trying to hit me," Shawn started and began talking. He told Lassiter everything, in perfect detail. Despite the fog threatening to overtake his brain, Carlton could see everything as if he experienced it himself. A part of him actually wished he did when Shawn finished.
"That should have been my bust," he mumbled partially glad O'Hara was in on the arrests. At least someone he had helped sculpt into the cop she was, was involved, and not just a bunch of officers who didn't deserve the credit.
"Yeah, it should have," Shawn agreed eyes still glued to the floor. Lassiter could tell the younger man blamed himself for what happened, felt a guilt that he should not be feeling. He had never been the comforting type, but he was going to try. "As pissed as I am that I got ran over for you, and believe me you will owe me, I can't allow you to take the blame for this."
He held up a hand, cutting the 'psychic' off. "No buts. You see, I was the one…" Lassiter couldn't believe he was about to admit this. He had forbidden himself from saying anything, but desperate times called for desperate measures. He cleared his throat, continuing, "I asked Vick to call you in on the Bennett case. I was stuck, needed the help, and…"
"You kicked your pride to the curb and had The Chief call me," Shawn finished a small smile on his face.
"Y…y…yes," Lassiter managed to say, his voice a whisper. He cleared his throat a second time, aware of his still slightly dry throat, and said, "You want to blame someone, blame me." He yawned, his body losing the fight with the drugs.
"You'd better get some sleep," Shawn said lowering his bed. He rolled toward the door, Lassiter's eyes following him.
"Hey," the detective called making the 'psychic' freeze. "You tell anyone I admitted needing your help I'll shoot you." Shawn smiled slightly before opening the door and wheeling out into the hall. Lassiter was asleep before the door closed.
1 month later…
Juliet stood in front of her bathroom mirror, trying to decide if she should wear her hair up or down. He had told her several times that he liked her hair both ways, but she was still convinced that he liked one way better than the other.
A knock at her door made her look away from the mirror, eyes glancing down the hall. He was there, he was there and she wasn't ready. Her hair wasn't right, she was wearing sweatpants and a tank top, and she wasn't wearing any make-up.
"Crap," she whispered as a second knock filled the apartment. She backed away from the mirror, racing down the hall. Her bare feet shuffled across her carpet, making her even more aware of how she wasn't remotely ready.
"Jules," he called through the door, knocking a third time. "If you want me to come back…" she pulled the door open, taking in his appearance. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a blue tee-shirt. He had on a black jacket, having left his brown one across her couch a few nights ago. In his hands were a pizza and a bottle of soda. He grinned down at her and said, "I realized asking you to dinner, ten minutes ago, in a text message, was far from a fair warning. So, I brought this." Juliet knew he wasn't telling the whole truth, there was no doubt he had already gotten the pizza before he called. She didn't mind, eating-in beat spending another minute in front of her mirror.
"That's fine," she replied with a smile.
"Shawn do I have to keep standing out here," a familiar voice said as Gus came into view. "Juliet's neighbors still haven't forgiven me for waking them up at three in the morning."
"I brought Gus, too," Shawn said giving her a sheepish grin.
"Come in," Juliet responded stepping back to let the two in.
Her's and Shawn's relationship was very complicated to Juliet. He had asked her to dinner about two weeks after Abigail's killers were caught. It had been in the hospital cafeteria, both having just finished visiting Lassiter, and ended with a quick hug. Juliet knew it hadn't been a real date, Shawn still hurting over Abigail's death, but it was the beginning of him showing up at her doorstep every other night with take-out. A few times he brought Gus, but most of the time he was alone. And each time, he would give her a peck on the cheek before leaving.
She wasn't exactly sure what they were, was waiting until Shawn was ready to discuss their relationship. It was his call, she was already invested, he just needed to make a move. There was a fifty-fifty chance they were a couple, but there was also a chance they were just friends. Either one would make Juliet happy; she just liked hanging out with Shawn… and Gus apparently.
"What kind of pizza is it?" Juliet asked, already having a vague notion, following the two friends into her kitchen.
"A third pepperoni, a third sausage, and…" Gus trailed off. Shawn quickly picked up where he left off, "A third pineapple. I call it pineroniausage pizza. It'll one day be a delicacy."
"Where," Gus snorted. "Unless you plan to make your own country…" a look crossed Shawn's face, Gus and Jules knowing exactly what that look meant. "No, Shawn, we will not help you start your own country."
"Oh, come on Gus. It could be called Shawntopia. The flag could be lime green with a pineapple in the middle. A smiling pineapple, who is waving, and wearing sunglasses…" he kept rattling off what his flag would look like, Gus rolling his eyes after every new feature.
After a few more minutes of Shawn's talk of Shawntopia they sat at the table. Gus opened the box, allowing Jules to take the first piece. While they ate, Jules brought up Central Coast and let Gus rattle on about his other job. Her eyes were on Shawn, watching him carefully. Despite his battle to become Old Shawn, New Shawn would rear his head at odd intervals; like he was at that moment.
Shawn was looking down at his plate, picking at his pizza. He was brooding, his mind a million miles away. She had asked him, a few times, where his mind went, but he hadn't been as forthcoming with an answer as Jules would have wanted. Sometimes she wondered if he still blamed himself, for what happened, but he was keeping mum. He had told her, the day after he was shot, that 'I figured it'd get easier, seeing her killer behind bars, but it didn't. Not really.'
"Earth to Jules," a voice said making her jump. She looked around to see Shawn and Gus looking directly at her, questioning expressions across their faces. She shook her head, clearing away all of her thoughts, and said, "What?"
"I said, 'would you like another piece?'" Shawn said turning the pizza box toward her. She shook her head, letting the two guys finish it up.
Once they were done with the pizza, three slices-one with each topping-sitting in her fridge, they watched a little television. There was a Matlock marathon on, the only thing all three could agree on. They watched six episodes of the show, not paying much attention. It wasn't until the beginning of the seventh episode that Gus checked his watch and jumped up.
"I have to go. I have to get up early tomorrow." Grabbing his jacket he limped toward the door, the bullet wound still bothering him, and was gone before Shawn could protest his sudden departure.
Juliet and Shawn exchanged quick looks, both smiling and shaking their heads. They returned to Matlock, watching two more episodes. As the ending credits rolled after the ninth episode, Shawn stood up.
"Leaving?" Jules asked trying to sound mildly curious and not majorly disappointed.
"My dad doesn't like it when I get in too late," Shawn replied pulling his jacket on. He had been staying with Henry until he could get back on his feet; Juliet was mildly surprised they hadn't killed each other, yet, or at least attempted to get the other arrested.
She stood, following him to the door. She opened the door for him, expecting the usual peck on the cheek. What she wasn't expecting was him taking her face between his hands and lightly kissing her on the lips. It only lasted a few seconds but it felt much longer. He pulled away from her, backing out the door.
"See you tomorrow," he said and headed down the hall. Jules watched him go, waiting until he disappeared down the stairs before closing the door. Alone she started jumping, whispering over and over "Yes, yes, yes." It wasn't until the woman below her hammered on her ceiling with her broom that Juliet calmed down. She flipped her television off, creeping down her hallway toward her bedroom. That night, she fell asleep with a smile on her face.
Lassiter heard a knock on his door. He stood, grabbing his crutches from the floor. He situated them under his arms, swinging them around so he faced the front door. He clicked his way across the room, reaching the door in a matter of seconds. He was getting better at using the crutches, not having had to use them for almost a decade.
He opened the door to find no one. He growled in annoyance, contemplating the demise of those damn neighborhood kids. He went to close the door, but found an envelope stuck to it with one word written across the front: Lassie. He peeled it off, recognizing the handwriting, and closed the door.
He clicked across the living room, sitting down on his couch. He put his crutches back on the floor, still staring at the envelope. He flipped it over, opening it up. Inside were five scraps of paper, written out in the same handwriting, all in different colored construction paper. There was also a hastily written note:
For saving my life I have decided to do something nice for you. In your hands are five 'No Shawn for the day' cards. Yes, I know they are written on paper not cards, but you get the idea. Just hand me one card the day before and you won't see me the next day. Just remember, don't use them all in the same week. You only get five…
Anyhoo, I'm going to go, I have a country to create,
Thanks for the rescue; I hope this repays my debt,
Head Psychic Consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department and Lassie's Hair stylist
(Seriously, you should let me give you some tips. You totally need them.)
Lassiter rolled his eyes at the note, shoving 'cards' and letter back in the envelope. Yes, he would use Shawn's ludicrous idea; a day without Shawn had always been his dream. But Spencer had another thing coming if he thought this would repay his debt. Lassiter needed his car washed, his lawn mowed, his hedges clipped, his house repainted…
He grabbed a pad of paper and a pen off the coffee table, quickly jotting down his ideas and several more. Shawn's debt would be paid when he did everything on the list: every single thing. And with a smile Lassiter kept writing. Maybe I can get up to one-hundred items by the end of the day, he thought with a chuckle. That would be awesome...