Four o'clock is the worst time in the morning.

Disclaimer: I own season one on dvd. that's it. and it's region one, so i can't play it on my stupid laptop right now. :(

AN: this is kind of angsty and depressing, which suits my mood of late. probably will add another chapter soon, if this gets good reviews and such. I'm not sure if this is Shassy or not. i guess it could be read that way, and i'm not sure where it will go in the next chapter. if i bother with one. so, whatever floats your boat.

It's four o'clock in the morning. Shawn is sitting in his office. He hasn't slept in two days. Insomnia is actually the norm for him. That, and mild depression. Not that anyone would believe him if he told them. He always had to be cheerful. The funny guy. He surrounded himself with people who didn't know him at all, because he could barely trust people he'd known all his life.

He was always the smartest guy in every room. He remembered everything in vivid detail. He could make connections that went over everyone else's heads. He figured out early on that it was better to blend than be special. He covered for his abilities with a lackadaisical attitude. In school he was great, but not amazing. He was careful not to get results that would shock and astound his teachers. He only put his hand up occasionally, and he cultivated a personality he knew would be popular.

His father took advantage of him. No, not like that, but he took advantage of what he could do. Training him. Making him 'play games'. Memorise laws. Escape from handcuffs.
His father knew all about his IQ, his memory, his mind, but instead of telling the teachers, getting him the guidance and support he needed, he decided to make his kid a super-cop.

Shawn was always getting into trouble, and pulling crazy stunts, because he was bored. Because he wanted the other kids to like him. They didn't know he was a freaky genius, so at least they didn't stuff him in lockers and beat him up.

Now, Shawn is lying to people he trusts with his life on a daily basis. Gus is the only person he trusts with his mind, and even then, he still has to crack the jokes, act the fool, so Gus won't be creeped out. It's funny. He's lying to everyone and it came around because he tried to tell the truth. Tried to finally use the skills his father pounded into him. But, when he tells the truth, no one belives him.

It's easier to believe in magic. Easier to believe in psychics. Easier to take him as a fool. No one believes that there could be a genius behind the facade.

It's four o'clock in the morning. Shawn is standing outside Lassiter's house. He hasn't slept in four days, not counting that cat nap at the office. He's had a few drinks. And not pineapple daiquiris, he's been on the hard stuff.

He's staring. He knows he is. But...why does Lassie hate him? All he wanted to do was help. And yeah, he got that he was a bit annoying, but Lassiter... he really hated him. Shawn takes a swig from the bottle. It's because he's a liar. Lassiter knows. Not knows, knows. But he has an inkling. A suspicion.

Shawn is fed up of hiding. He's been doing it all his life. Yeah, he is the funny guy, but he's also the genius. He's buried that part of himself so deep, he almost believes it himself when he acts like an idiot.

He could tell.

He could tell Lassie.

Jules believed in him. He could never tell her.

Chief Vick would pretend not to hear, and go on giving him cases.

He was an expert in human behaviour. He knew Vick cared about results. Not to the point that she'd disregard the safety of her team, but she would continue to use him, even if he told her the truth.

Buzz would be disappointed.

Lassie though, he might arrest him.

He might punch him.

And scariest of all, he might understand.

Because Lassie wears a mask too.

It's four o'clock in the morning. Lassiter is lying in bed, looking at his ceiling. He wonders why ceilings aren't more interesting. Maybe he should paint a mural up there or something. Then he wonders when Spencer infected his thoughts. His doorbell sounds.

It's four o'clock in the morning and Spencer was at his door. He had a bottle of whisky in his hand. He could barely stand up straight. Lassiter leaned his forehead on the door. He couldn't let the psychic (fraud) wander around in that state.

It's four o'clock in the morning and a tipsy Shawn Spencer has just walked into his living room. Lassie had to coax him in. Shawn had been nervous. Withdrawn. He didn't babble or blather. He didn't mention pineapples. Lassie considered bringing a bottle of whisky to work with him if it made the other man shut up.

Then he looked. He really looked at the man before him. Dark circles under his eyes. Clothes rumpled, and probably worn for several days. The smell of alcohol which permeated everything. Much more than one bottle of whisky's worth.

"What the hell happened to you?"

"I've been thinking."

"Well, stop it at once. I know they say the first times the hardest, but this is ridiculous."

"I'm not psychic."


"I don't have visions. The 'spirits' don't talk to me."

"Are you confessing to fraud?"

"I'm not a psychic." He took another swallow from the bottle. "I tried to tell you when you arrested me that one time. But you didn't believe me. No one ever does."

"I knew it. I knew you weren't psychic. How do you do it? A source?"

"I have an eidetic memory. An IQ of 179. I can read 20,000 words per minute. No one believes me. I've been a clown so long..." he trailed off. When he looked up Lassiter was surprised to see tears in his eyes. "I don't know where I am anymore. If I'm still me. I've been hiding for so long."

"Spencer... why do you do it?"

"I thought... I thought I could help. Make him happy, but still living my life. I fell on the cover story when you didn't believe me, and I knew I could make it work. Why not?" Shawn shrugged. "A compromise. For him. You're going to arrest me now."

"Why would I do that?"

"You hate me." Shawn answered like it was obvious. "You hate me, you hated me from the moment you first saw me, and it's not fair. All I ever did was try to help." His voice faded to a whisper.

"Spencer.... sleep it off."

It's four o'clock in the morning. He hasn't slept in days. A blanket is being laid over him, and a hand brushes through his hair.

Lassie's sofa is surprisingly comfortable.

He sleeps. The other sits and watches. Talks him down from nightmares. Pours out the rest of the alcohol. Wonders at the man behind the mask.

It's 8 o'clock in the evening, and he's slept right through. Lassie called Gus. The Chief. O'Hara. Even Spencer's dad. He let them know that Shawn had flu and would be off. And that he'd given it to Lassiter, so he'd better stay off too. Don't want to infect anyone.

When Shawn awakes, he smells chicken soup.

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