Lassiter Learns How to Bend
Rating: MA for M/M, oral sex
Warning: Shassie Slash. Takes place after Lassie Did A Bad Bad Thing. Contains spoilers for that episode.
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.
Summary: Lassiter is alarmed at finding himself attracted to Spencer following the Drimmer incident. He visits a friend in San Francisco, looking for advice, but Spencer has tailed him. Lust overtakes them in the gayest city in the world, but can their relationship survive returning to Santa Barbara?
Note: I had not visited San Francisco when I wrote this story and relied on websites to give me a sense of the Castro district. Some of the bars mentioned are now closed, and some have changed names and/or clientele.
In the name of Sweet Lady Justice…why does this have to be happening to me now? Lassiter wondered. It wasn't enough that Ernesto Chavez had been shot in his custody, or that he'd been framed for the murder and nearly lost his career. No, now his mind and body were rebelling against him, indicating the beginnings of an inevitable decline into madness and dementia. In a way, the whole thing could be blamed on former detective John Drimmer. It was his idea that Lassiter's fake suicide note should portray him and Spencer as lovers. That idea had somehow wormed its way into his subconscious and laid eggs.
At first he'd become focussed on whether people thought the idea was credible. His discussion with O'Hara over lunch in the break room had not put his mind at rest.
"Nobody would have believed that fake note, right?" He frowned down at his Enchirito instead of looking at her directly.
"Maybe," she said around a mouthful of chicken taco, then swallowed. "Drimmer was pretty clever. The note would be in your handwriting, and it would explain why Shawn's always been so uninhibited with you around the station. I mean the guy sat in your lap. He doesn't do that to me."
"I could maybe—maybe—see people thinking that Spencer was gay, but me? Would you have bought that?"
"Well…." O'Hara looked around the room as if desperate for something to change the subject. "Our job could be said to attract people with certain repressed impulses, Carlton. There's a reason one of the Village People is a cop. There's the uniform, and the homosocial atmosphere—not every station has as many women as ours does, you know."
"But I've been married. To a woman."
"So was Elton John. And Rock Hudson."
"Okay, fair enough. But even if I were some sort of late-blooming homosexual, why would I choose Spencer of all people? He's irresponsible, he's socially embarrassing, and he's an attention sponge the likes of which I have never seen."
"Opposites attract?" While Lassiter continued to frown at his lunch she continued. "Look, Drimmer was just grabbing for the first thing he thought would make people uncomfortable and not look too closely at your deaths. Let's move on."
But Lassiter wasn't moving on. In fact he was kind of fixated. He kept going over in his mind all the reasons that this imagined relationship was absurd. But instead of putting his mind at rest it was reminding him of a line from Hamlet he'd learned in college, while dating an actress: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." It was not reassuring.
It wasn't that he hated Spencer. Lately he'd developed quite a respect for him. Sure, Spencer was annoying, but he was good at what he did. Much of what he did was ridiculous, but whatever was behind the façade was solid. Plus, Spencer had been on his side through the whole Drimmer fiasco, and even the Chief and O'Hara had been giving him some looks on that one. Spencer had trusted in his innocence, and that meant something. Exactly what it meant, he wasn't sure.
Since shooting Drimmer he'd been having a recurring dream in which he hadn't reached the gun in time, or had plunged his hand into the bowl to find nothing but peanuts. The dream ended with Drimmer shooting Spencer, and Lassiter woke in a cold sweat with a sense of anger and loss that felt out of proportion to the situation. Several criminals had tried to kill Lassiter. It was part of the job that every police officer accepted. He didn't take it personally. That Drimmer had tried to kill Shawn enraged him in a way that was unexpected and tinged with a protectiveness that went beyond his basic duty to the general citizenry of Santa Barbara.
Maybe, he thought, I've got post-traumatic stress. True, he didn't have any symptoms other than the nightmares and the obsession, but it was a condition that medicine was still trying to understand. Just in case it wasn't PTSD he'd forced himself to return Spencer's blue plaid shirt, which he'd borrowed during their investigation into the Chavez shooting. He had made a point of not smelling it before tossing in the washer, but it bothered him that he'd wanted to.
It didn't help any that Spencer was clinging to him like a piece of Velcro. He kept showing up with presents. He brought him lunch and coffee. He 'just happened' to have an extra almond croissant. He seemed to be standing even closer to him than normal. And every time Lassiter had looked he'd caught Spencer watching him with those disturbing eyes of his. Lassiter firmly believed that eyes should be a specific colour, not vary from blue to green to hazel according ones clothing choice.
While frustrating, Spencer's behaviour made a kind of sense. Being that close to getting shot in the head was probably a new and upsetting experience for him. He'd been treating police work as a hobby, and now it had almost gotten him killed. And since Lassiter had been pretty heroic under the circumstances, it was understandable that Spencer felt safer around him. Lassiter actually had to stifle the impulse to reach out and comfort him sometimes. But such an attempt would be awkward and likely to be misunderstood, he told himself. He was pretty sure that if he just waited it out Spencer would get back to his carefree irresponsible self.
And then there had been the Cruickshanks case. A woman had been found bludgeoned to death in a storage room at the back of her store. The room was a warren of narrow aisles between towering shelves of boxed stock. Lassiter had been recording the scene of crime details in his notebook. Spencer had been spinning around like a dervish, muttering something about the Wicked Witch of the West.
O'Hara approached, carrying a bloody shoe in an evidence bag and said, "Can I get through, please?" Lassiter pressed up against the shelves to let her by, and Spencer had done the same but instead of moving next to Lassiter he'd squeezed right on top of him. O'Hara was momentarily bottlenecked, but fought her way free and out to the car. The problem was that in those few seconds, Spencer's backside pressed firmly against Lassiter's front side. And in the immortal words of George Costanza, it moved.
Since that moment, every second Lassiter spent near Spencer had been torture. At first he was preoccupied with the immediate repercussions. Had Spencer noticed? Surely not. If he'd noticed he'd have said something smart-mouthed, like "Is that a nightstick in your pocket?" He'd given Lassiter a look, though. He was certain there'd been a look. It wasn't confusion or disgust or annoyance. It was almost as if he'd never met Lassiter before and couldn't figure out how he got into the store. That, of course, made no sense. As time passed and Spencer didn't mention the incident, his anxiety grew. Clearly he would mention it at some future point, probably when Lassiter was surrounded by co-workers. Maybe in front of the Chief.
Lassiter had combed through his mind for some explanation of this physical reaction. It doesn't mean I'm attracted to Spencer, he'd told himself. It's been so long since I had sex that I'd become aroused by a strong breeze. Maybe I was responding to O'Hara. She's an attractive woman. Or maybe this is a suicidal drive of some kind leading me to sexually fixate on the person who could most easily ruin my career. None of the explanations offered any comfort. He found himself wishing that he'd had some youthful same-sex exploration to fall back on. Maybe then this sudden infatuation wouldn't be so alarming. As it was, the closest thing he'd had to a gay experience was having a poster of Steve McQueen from The Getaway on his wall for a year and a half in junior high. The Cruickshanks incident left him hyper-aware of Spencer's presence and vaguely horny every time the psychic was around. It was as if the fake suicide note had become a prophecy that Lassiter's body was determined to fulfil.
Worst of all, Lassiter couldn't be sure that Spencer wasn't reading his mind—or whatever it was that he did. He had always been touchy-feely around the station, particularly when he was in the grip of a 'vision.' But in the week after the Cruickshanks case each touch seemed to taunt him with some secret knowledge. Spencer had touched Lassiter's face and held his hand there for what seemed like forever, claiming he saw visions of yellow brick roads and tiny little people. He'd placed his hand on Lassiter's chest and suggested he come to Emerald City with him and ask the Wizard for a heart. It was alarming and arousing, and more than a little confusing. He'd only seen the Wizard of Oz once, as a child, and he didn't remember much beyond the singing munchkins and the terrifying flying monkeys. Spencer's whole song-and-dance made more sense later, when they had arrested the victim's neighbour, who Lassiter had to admit, did kind of resemble Margaret Hamilton.
Despite being a fraud and a flake, Spencer got results. But the kind of results he'd been getting lately were entirely too problematic. Maybe if Spencer kept a normal distance, he thought, the sexual tension could re-submerge into whatever dark recess of his psyche it had come from.
He tried verbally rebuffing Spencer, but his orders to stay off his desk, stop touching him, or remain outside the imaginary hula-hoop of personal space were ignored. Most recently, Spencer had walked up casually behind him, placed both hands on his shoulders, commented on how tense Lassiter was, and started massaging him with surprising skill. Lassiter's physical response was to lean into the massage, but his mental response was anger that Spencer had again ignored his boundaries and did so in full view of his co-workers.How many of them are thinking Drimmer had it right? He wondered. Hell, even I'm wondering if he had it right.This kind of speculation could undermine his authority in the station. This whole Spencer thing had to stop now.
Lassiter spun in his chair, grabbed Spencer by the back of the neck and pulled him off to a secluded corner near the stairs. There was no reason everyone had to see this.
"You just don't get the message, do you Spencer?" Lassiter backed him up against the wall and leaned in. "This is my workplace," he said through gritted teeth. "I'm in a position of authority here. Why can't you just respect what I do, even if you can't respect me as a person?"
Shawn was smiling, as if the whole thing was a joke. I should have known this couldn't be solved without violence, Lassiter thought. He grabbed Shawn by the biceps and slammed him against the wall. That was a little too hard,he said to himself, but then stifled the thought. Better too hard than not hard enough.
"Leave. Me. Alone." Lassiter looked Shawn in the eyes so he couldn't misunderstand or laugh off the message. He saw surprise, and a large helping of hurt, but Spencer wouldn't get the message if it were less blunt. "Stop following me. Stop touching me. Just stay—away." Lassiter punctuated this last word with a second slam into the wall. This time Shawn actually winced, and Lassiter felt guilty as he turned and walked back to his desk, leaving Spencer rubbing his bruised arms and looking after him with confusion, surprise and something Lassiter might have recognized as curiosity.