Rating: M for M/M oral, anal, rough sex, kink.
Pairings: Shawn/Lassiter, shades of Gus/Juliet
Warning: Shassie slash, drug references,
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 and O'Hara go undercover at a gay resort and run into some unexpected friends. Sequel to Lassiter Rides the Pineapple Express.
Note: At the time of this writing the real mayor of Santa Barbara is Helene Schneider, but I needed a fictional mayor to fit my plot. As far as I can tell, having seen seasons 1-3, the Psychverse hasn't named their Mayor, although they do mention he's a man. I've taken the liberty of naming him after Roday (Rodriguez). Also, according to the wisdom of the interwebs, Lassiter's buzz cut wouldn't actually have helped him pass drug testing, but I used it anyway.
Carlton Lassiter opened his copy of The Courier. His arrest of jewel thief Rodney Gibson had made page three. A smile broke across his pale face. Gibson would rot in a holding cell until his trial or until he made the $50,000 cash bond, whichever came first.
Good, Lassiter thought, that creep won't see a piece of furniture that isn't bolted to the floor until the trial.
He pulled a pair of scissors from his desk drawer and cut out the article, 'Mayor Rodriguez Praises Quick Actions of Top Cop.' It even had a picture—a stock photo The Courier had taken of him a few years ago. He'd have to add that one to his scrapbook.
Lassiter was on a roll. He'd wrapped up a forgery case, solved a hit and run and stopped a jewel robbery in progress. Sometimes, immersed in his paperwork, entire minutes would go by in which he didn't think about brownies, Shawn Spencer or the intimacy that had occurred between them in his bathroom. He was trying very hard to forget it all—especially the kissing in the bathroom part. But every morning, when he went in to shower, it played through his mind in screaming Technicolour.
I can't even be legitimately angry at him, he thought, since I was the one who kissed him. Spencer had refused to go any further. He was a perfect gentleman, Lassiter thought grimly. Although it aptly described Lassiter's own approach to dating—a man should be a gentleman—he felt uncomfortable being on the receiving end of it. Every way he looked at the situation, it was his own fault. Shawn's behaviour was exactly the same as it had always been—outrageous and flamboyantly sexual—but still normal for him. It was Lassiter's own behaviour that was the anomaly.
It was the marijuana, he'd told himself firmly. I wouldn't have done any of that if it hadn't been for that.
Lassiter knew this was true. If he hadn't been high he wouldn't have been mesmerized by his eye contact with Spencer. And the pot had caused the weird time warp that seemed to prolong and deepen the feeling of intimacy. And if the drug hadn't lowered his inhibitions, he definitely would not have kissed Spencer. He could still feel his soft lips, tasting vaguely of pineapple slurpee.
And if Spencer hadn't kissed me back, he thought, I wouldn't be wondering if I'd be willing to do it again, without the drug.
Lassiter wasn't sure he was ready to find out the answer to that question.
His paperwork on the Gibson case completed, Lassiter considered making a trip to the gun range. He loved the range. Emptying a few clips was relaxing and helped him think. The fact that civilians couldn't get in unless accompanied by a police officer was an added bonus. He wasn't consciously avoiding Spencer. Except when he was.
He'd spent the first few days after the brownie incident sitting at his desk with a knot in his stomach, waiting for Spencer to walk in. He'd imagined dozens of ways the fake psychic might reveal the events surrounding the Vince Gabriel case to the station. His most frequent fantasy involved Spencer bursting into songs from Reefer Madness, the Musical. When Spencer hadn't shown up Lassiter had begun to dread their meeting even more.
He tried to think of Spencer's absence as a positive development. If I'd known it would make him stay away, Lassiter joked to himself, I'd have kissed him years ago. Sure, he was puzzled as to why Spencer hadn't visited, texted, or even called. And he may have dialled his own cellphone from work a few times to make sure it was still functioning properly, but that didn't mean he missed Spencer.
He'd spent the past two weeks following up on leads and tailing suspects—anything to get him away from his desk. When a woman had called with an anonymous tip about a burglary he'd spent hours staking out the targeted jewellery store. His fieldwork had netted Gibson. Despite this success, his mind seemed to cycle inevitably back to Shawn Spencer, and why he wasn't barging into the station and going into one of his acrobatic 'visions.'
When Lassiter wasn't at work he was often at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club. His pledge numbers in the Cancer Run had gotten him a free month-long membership and he was taking full advantage of it. He went to cardio boxing classes on Tuesday and Thursday. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he did weight training and swimming. He'd dropped some body fat and gained some muscle mass and he was feeling more energetic. And best of all it provided two hours every day when he was not only blissfully Spencer free but had no anxiety that he would suddenly stroll in. By contrast, every moment at the station was torn between worrying when Spencer would show and wondering why he hadn't.
Detective O'Hara was particularly upset by Spencer's absence. The day before she'd accused him of having done something to upset Shawn and make him stay away. He didn't think he'd scared him off with his awkward advances, but he couldn't tell her that.
Chief Karen Vick stepped out of her office. Her brow was creased, indicating deep stress being held in check. He'd seen it on her before, and lately he'd seen the same expression in his own mirror. Chief Vick caught the eye of detective O'Hara at her desk.
"O'Hara, I need to see you in my office in two minutes. It's about that undercover assignment." Vick hurried off down the corridor.
"Undercover?" Lassiter stood and looked at O'Hara where she sat writing up paperwork on a blood sample from a smash and grab downtown. "You're going undercover?"
"Yeah. I'm on special assignment next week. I was going to tell you about it over lunch. How do you feel about going to that Indian place over on State Street?"
Lassiter loved undercover work. And the fact that it would remove him from the station was certainly a bonus.
"O'Hara," he said in a friendly tone, "let me give you the wisdom of my twelve years as head detective. Going undercover requires a certain…strength." Lassiter warmed to his subject, oblivious to Juliet's pursed lips and unreceptive eyes. "The ability to become the character without losing yourself in the role—that's the product of experience. And you don't have undercover experience."
"And what exactly would you call my stint as Mary Lou Baumgartner?"
"You mean the case where a little girl almost murdered you with an axe and Spencer and I had to rescue you?"
"That is completely unfair. I would have taken her even if you hadn't shown." She glared at him through narrowed eyes. "But if you want to go along that's fine with me." A smile creased her lips and was quickly quashed. "Quite honestly, I didn't think you'd agree to do it. I figured I'd have to team up with McNab."
"McNab? What undercover experience has he got?"
"I wasn't thinking of him for his experience." She spotted Chief Vick returning. "But now that you're offering, I won't need Buzz. Let's go." She led the way across the bullpen to Vick's office. The chief was sitting at her desk looking over the contents of an open folder.
"Good news, Chief. Carlton wants in on the undercover assignment."
"He does?" Vick's look of surprise might have warned a less enthusiastic man that something was amiss.
"I do." He smiled down at Vick. "I've got a clear desk and I'm happy to provide O'Hara with the benefit of my experience. You may remember that my undercover work broke the Sunnyside Mall Gang."
"I read about that case," O'Hara said. "Wasn't that a gang of shoplifters that turned out to be junior high students?"
"Yes." Lassiter's clamped his lips into an eerie smile. "But we wouldn't have known that if I hadn't gone undercover at the mall."
Not every assignment can take down a hardened jewel thief, he reassured himself. At least some of those kids had been sentenced to mandatory counselling.
"And I heard that you were quite convincing during your stint with Mrs. Fields," Chief Vick said quickly, lowering her face so Lassiter couldn't see the amusement in her eyes. "Now if we could turn to the case at hand…."
"Of course." Lassiter stood straight and put his shoulders back, ready to serve the public good. "I can play any role you need, Chief—car thief, drug addict, pimp, fence. I've also got a pretty good European kingpin. I do an accent." Lassiter gave a moment's thought to his recent buzz cut. Whereas this might have been a barrier to undercover work in the past, criminals of all types now wore buzz cuts as well. He blamed Dominic Purcell. Add a few fake tattoos and he'd pass just fine.
Lassiter ran a hand ponderously down his cheek and neck. "If you need me to grow a scruffy beard or a handlebar moustache I'll need some advance notice. Although I have a good collection of face wigs for my Civil War re-enactments." He pointed a long finger at Vick, "Oh! Maybe an imperial." He raised an eyebrow and waited for approval.
Chief Vick looked at Lassiter warily.
"Does he know the details?" she asked Juliet.
"Oh that won't matter to Carlton," O'Hara said. "A true detective just becomes the character. Isn't that so?" She turned her sunniest smile on her partner.
"Absolutely," he assured them.
"Well, I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to seeing that," Vick said. She pressed a button and spoke into the intercom.
"Officer Allen, please tell Mr. Rodriguez that we're ready for him."
Moments later the door opened and a stocky blonde man in his mid thirties wearing jeans and a dress shirt entered the office.
"Detectives Lassiter, O'Hara, this is Timothy Rodriguez." Lassiter stepped forward to shake his hand.
"Rodriguez. Like the Mayor," he said.
"Just like the Mayor," Rodriguez said, his voice tinged with amusement. "But please, call me Tim."
"Mr. Rodriguez owns a resort, Casa de Orgullo, on Cachuma Lake, twenty miles northeast of the city."
"Valuables have been going missing for about three weeks now," Rodriguez said. "Most people misplace a few things on vacation. But some of the items that went missing recently were fairly valuable and we got suspicious." He sat in one of the chairs and hung his head. "This week a Patek Philippe watch was stolen from one of the cabins. The owner is a personal friend of mine. I've talked him into keeping a lid on it for now, but he only agreed to on the condition that I being in the police."
"Mr. Rodriguez is hoping we can send two officers to the resort, one posing as a guest and one posing as an employee," Vick said.
Lassiter's brow furrowed. As much as he might enjoy the getaway, the assignment didn't make sense. Sending two of the city's best detectives to catch a petty thief wasn't his idea of effective use of police resources and he didn't think it was Chief Vick's either.
"Twenty miles northeast. That's outside of our jurisdiction, Chief. Why not hand this off to the Sheriff's Department?"
Vick's eyes flicked quickly to Mr. Rodriguez before answering.
"Mr. Rodriguez is the Mayor's son. We've been asked to help out as a personal favour."
Lassiter nodded. If Chief Vick needs to stay tight with the Mayor's office, so be it.
"I hate to think it's one of my employees," Rodriguez said. "Most of my staff has been with me for years. But it's the only conclusion that makes any sense."
"Don't worry," Lassiter said. "O'Hara and I have our share of experience with interrogation. Load them all into a bus or a van and bring them here. We'll find your thief."
"I need a quiet investigation," Mr. Rodriguez said. "Casa de Orgullo is a resort for gays, lesbians and bisexuals. My clients come for a romantic getaway in a natural setting. A scandal would be bad for business."
"Oh." Lassiter's stomach dropped. So that was why O'Hara was so amused. It was as if the universe was conspiring against him.
"There's another issue as well," Vick said. "Which makes it more desirable that this assignment be done with discretion."
Rodriguez looked at the floor and rubbed the back of his neck.
"I'm not out to my dad. He knows I run a resort but he doesn't know the details. I'd like to keep it that way if I can."
"I assure you that our officers will do their best to solve this crime quickly with a minimum of publicity." Chief Vick walked Rodriguez to the door and said goodbye. O'Hara left but Vick held Lassiter back with a hand on his arm.
"Can I speak with you a moment?" she asked.
"Sure." Lassiter suddenly felt like he was being called to the principal's office.
"Listen Carlton," Karen Vick said softly, "You've made no secret about wanting my job."
"Oh I do." He brightened. "Why, are you thinking of retiring? Spending more time with Iris?"
"No." Vick smiled. "And try to rein in your enthusiasm when you discuss my retirement. I'm not there quite yet, thanks."
"Of course." Lassiter tried to backtrack. "You're still a…vital woman with all your faculties. You're not even menopausal yet, are you?"
"What? No. Jesus, Carlton." She gave him the look. "Given that you'd like this office someday I shouldn't need to tell you that not outing the mayor's son can only help you reach that goal."
"Oh. I see." He could already imagine it: the mayor at home, expressing his frustration at trying to find a suitable replacement for Vick. Then his son saying, "What about this Carlton Lassiter I've heard so much about? He seems like a good choice."
"You're absolutely right, Chief. I need to bring my A game to this thing. Solve it in a couple of days and win the political support that will help me down the line."
"I'm glad we understand each other."
Lassiter nodded and returned to his desk. I'll just have to put my sexual issues on the back burner, and get the job done, he thought. It's not like it'll take very long. A couple of days, really. Two weeks, tops.
Later, in a booth at the Asuylas Restaurant, O'Hara looked thoughtfully at Lassiter over her aloo gobi. As amusing as it had been to watch him push his way into her case, she was having regrets.
"Listen, Carlton," she said hesitantly. "While I appreciate that you have more experience with undercover work, I don't think this is the right assignment for you. You're kind of…." She paused.
Kind of what? Lassiter wondered.
"…naïve about gay culture. Casa de Orgullo isn't like other assignments."
"Well, I can't say that I know much about homosexuals, but that's nothing that a few hours with Wikipedia can't solve." He tore off a piece of garlic naan and dipped it into his bharta.
"Here's a tip, Lassiter. Don't call them homosexuals. You sound like you just arrived in a time machine from the fifties."
"Oh, and I suppose you're an expert?"
"I'm passable. I've got a gay cousin and we've been to Pride Week in San Francisco three times and to the Pacific Pride Festival twice. I've done the AIDS walk several years running. I watched all five seasons of Queer As Folk and I've been to a Celine Dion concert."
"And if you were going undercover as a gay man that would be really useful," he said sourly. "Hey—maybe you could go undercover as a drag queen."
"Very funny. I don't think it'll be so hard. Everyone has some same-sex attractions. I'll just use that as the basis for building my cover."
"You really think that?"
"Sure, we're all a little gay, somewhere in the back of our psyche. Freud posited that we all start—"
"—But what does that mean?" Lassiter interrupted. "Do you think we can just shift gears like that? Change horses mid-race? I just don't see it happening."
"I'm not talking about marrying Ellen here, Carlton. I'm talking about drawing on personal experience to build a convincing cover identity. Isn't that what you do?"
"Of course. I'm just saying that imagining being gay, or having fantasies, or experimenting a little under exceptional circumstances…that's all well and good." He took a deep breath and continued. "But actually having a relationship is a whole other thing. A relationship …that's—What I'm saying is that acting gay and actually being gay are two very different things."
"You know what? You're right. I don't know what dating a woman would be like. You win. You're the expert on lesbians."
"I'm not saying that. Although now that you mention it, I have watched Personal Best and I met Janet Reno at a golf tournament once."
"Janet Reno isn't a lesbian."
"Now who's being naïve?"
"I don't know how we got off on this tangent," she said, frowning. "I'm just saying, if you want to back out of the assignment I'm sure Vick will understand."
"Oh, I see what's going on here." Lassiter narrowed his eyes and smiled at his partner. "You're hoping I'll drop out so you can go with McNab. The two of you, off together in a secluded cabin, away from the station and prying eyes…."
"What? Buzz? No. No! He's not my type."
"Take my advice, O'Hara. Workplace romance is a bad idea. Trust me, I know."
Suddenly Shawn's head popped up over the back of the booth.
"I couldn't help but overhear your conversation there, Lassie, and I have to disagree about workplace romances. I think they add a lemony twist to the cool iced tea of crime fighting."
Lassiter's body tensed. How long had Spencer been there? How much had he heard?
"What are you doing here?" He didn't believe for a minute that this was a chance meeting.
"What? A guy can't like channa masala? Also, I have it on good authority that they do samosas with a great red chutney sauce."
Lassiter's mind raced. Spencer had chosen this moment to finally show for a reason. He'd selected a time when O'Hara was present. Was he planning to tell her about the kiss? Or the pot? Oh God, was he going to sing?
"Like I said," Shawn continued, "I heard about your new assignment. If you need a crash course in gayness then look no further than yours truly."
Lassiter tried not to read that statement as a sexual invitation.
"Having watched Less Than Zero does not make you an aficionado of gay culture."
"Ouch. Lassie! That hurts. It was Threesome and I saw it like, five times."
Lassiter turned and gave Shawn the stare that had broken dozens of hardened criminals in the interrogation room.
"Okay, fine, it was Mannequin and I saw it a bazillion times. Happy now?"
"Spencer! What did I tell you about trying to hone in on every case we do. If the Chief thinks your 'skills' are required she'll call you. Until then, keep your nose out of police business."
"Come on, what's with this us-and-them talk?" Shawn draped an arm casually across Lassiter's shoulder. "At least let me loan you my DVD of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Maybe take you out for a mani-pedi. My treat."
Lassiter stood and put some distance between them.
"Spencer, we don't have time to be wasting with mani-pedis. We have work to do."
"Fine, but don't come crying to me if your rough cuticles blow the whole operation."