A/N: Okay, so I adore this idea in theory; it just seems so sweet to me. Of course, that could just be my undying love for swing music and slow dancing—Glenn Miller is my favorite artist (tied with AC/DC, of course). Anyway, since I can't sit on a finished chapter for long, here's the second half and conclusion to this story. Enjoy!
When Lassiter disappeared over the top of the stairs, Shawn turned awkwardly around in the foyer. The elder detective's home was pretty much what Shawn had expected after seeing his last apartment: sparsely decorated, without a speck of dirt to be seen. There were no pictures on the walls, though he had a suspicion that the wanted board from his old place was around here somewhere.
It was a lonely sort of place, without any of the personality a home had when someone really lived there. Shawn felt a pang of sadness for the detective; he obviously didn't spend much time at home, or have anyone who cared enough to bring little trinkets and pictures into the place. To live somewhere so sterile was Lassiter's style, without a doubt, but that only added a little charm to Shawn's surroundings. There was a difference between sterile and institutional, and Lassie's place was toeing the line.
Even though they didn't get along in public, Shawn knew that he and Lassiter really didn't hate each other. Actually, Shawn liked Lassie quite a bit. There was just something about the way he didn't eat up every word Shawn said that drew the fake psychic in. The only other people in his life that had ever treated him that way were related to him, or Gus, who was his brother in every sense except genetically.
It was annoying, to be sure, but just as often, it was a refreshing change. Lassie's resistance to his natural charms meant that Shawn actually had to try, and despite what Henry thought, he really enjoyed a challenge. That was part of what had kept Psych in business for so long. Of course, the challenge was only appealing if the results were worthwhile, and unlike the menial tasks his father put him up to, the challenge Lassiter presented was definitely worthwhile.
And that made what was happening now even more interesting. There had been undeniable chemistry between them since the first time they'd met, even though Lassie had done a much better job of repressing himself. (Shawn had a feeling he had a lot of practice with repression.) There was always that faint twinkle in his eyes whenever Shawn started his psychic flailing, and though it was usually paired with a mouth set in a hard line, that look in his eyes spoke volumes about what Lassie was actually feeling. You know, windows to the soul and all that.
Usually, Shawn was the one to initiate and lead whatever could be considered flirting; that was a large part of what made this sequence of events all the more intriguing to Shawn. Based on every previous interaction they'd had, he'd expected Lassiter to swiftly and mercilessly cut off any of his suggestions that they should go dancing. It was just the detective's style, nipping things in the bud before he let himself get too invested in any one relationship or idea.
When the detective hadn't immediately shut him down, he'd expected him to at least drive away without a word. He hadn't thought Lassie would order him to get into the Crown Vic. Well, maybe he'd thought about the lanky detective ordering him around in a few of his overly thought-out daydreams, but that was something else entirely. None of those fantasies had involved being ordered into the front seat of Lassie's car, just to be chauffeured around.
When they'd passed the last possible street that could've led to a dance club, he'd expected that Lassiter was taking him home. He wouldn't put it past Lassie's obsessive tendencies to know exactly where Shawn's latest apartment was. That was why his current location surprised him so much. Lassiter's home wasn't the last place he'd expected the night to end—that distinction went to the Fortress of Solitude—but it was pretty far from where he'd expected to be.
He'd always figured it would take more work than this to get himself here, yet here he was, invited in by Lassiter nonetheless. He hadn't even had to break in with Lassie's security code or Hide-A-Key.
Now he just wanted to know where the night was going to go. Sex seemed unlikely, but he wasn't willing to count it out just yet; Lassie just seemed like more of a traditional sort of romantic, with lots of dinner dates and reluctant kisses before anything remotely sexy happened. Shawn was willing to bet the detective could be broken of that habit without much effort.
Never mind that Lassie was being awfully compliant tonight, so much more than usual that Shawn briefly thought he might have been replaced by a pod person. The look in his eyes was one hundred percent All-American Lassiter, though. He'd almost hoped it would be a little more difficult than this, finally getting Lassie. Not that the only thing he liked about the older man was the challenge, because Lassie totally had that whole tall, dark and handsome thing down. The challenge was just something Shawn rarely had, and he liked knowing that he could meet a challenge.
A challenge which was strolling down the stairs right now. Shawn turned to face the older man, who was holding a CD case in one hand and wearing a small but smug smile on his lips.
"You actually stayed," Lassie commented, eyes darting around the foyer. Probably thought Shawn had broken something. The implication didn't even concern the fake psychic; he just shrugged.
"You said I wasn't supposed to move, so I didn't," he explained, fully aware of his habit of completely disobeying orders. The disbelieving expression that momentarily flitted across Lassie's face, even if it didn't last for more than a fraction of second, was all the vindication for his nearly unnatural behavior he needed. That smug smirk was there again in an instant, the detective's eyes roaming over Shawn.
"Well then, Spencer," he murmured, voice tinged with a pleased tone. "Follow me." The taller man turned and made his way into the nearest adjoining room, which was presumably the living room. The media center on the far wall was a dead giveaway, unless Lassie had a seriously skewed view on what a home office looked like.
Lassiter walked over to the sound system, pushing the CD he'd retrieved from upstairs into a stereo and hitting the play button. Shawn moved silently to the doorway, transfixed by the unfolding moment. Soft instrumental music filled the room after a second, and as the song and artist registered in Shawn's mind, Lassie looked slowly back to him, eyes dark with something Shawn couldn't quite recognize, at least in his fascinated state. For once, his brain was almost completely shut down, and he didn't mind. Now didn't seem like the time to put much thought into anything at all.
"Glenn Miller, Lassie?" he murmured, voice much heavier than he intended. It wasn't easy to control his voice when the older detective was watching him with those stormy blue eyes. Part of him wanted to start rambling off random facts about the saxophonist and his orchestra, but something inherent in the moment made him decide to keep his mouth shut. This moment was somehow different from every moment they'd ever had before; there was no joking, no teasing, no avoiding the latent sexual tension. This moment was real, and Shawn couldn't bring himself to ruin it, not when there were so few real moments in his life.
"Moonlight Serenade," Lassiter replied quietly, offhandedly, never once breaking eye contact as time around them seemed to slow to a halt. Shawn's breath hitched in the back of his throat, a distinct voice in the back of his head practically screaming that something really, really important was about to happen, something he'd been working at for a long time; another mentioned that things like this only happened in cheesy chick flicks, but the rest of his brain (at least the parts that were still functioning) smothered that voice with a pillow.
If this was a movie, the camera would've cut to a wide shot, showing the distance between them. The music would've played in the background, softly scoring the drama of the moment while leaving enough silence to convey the anticipation. The longing looks across their faces would've been enough to let the viewer know that, even though there remained a physical distance between them, the emotional distance had long since vacated the room.
But this was reality. He didn't have the 1080p high def experience; all Shawn could see was the intensity in every part of Carlton's expression, and feel his own heart suddenly beating its way out of his chest. Oh yeah, this was definitely real.
Then time seemed to hit the play button, and everything was in motion again. Lassiter crossed the room in three long strides, pulling Shawn close with a hand on each of the younger man's hips. At this point, the shock Shawn felt seemed to only be a distant echo, utterly overshadowed by the elation that filled his chest and the simultaneous calm that descended over the rest of his being from simple proximity to Lassiter. Challenge or not, this was exactly what he wanted right now. There would be plenty of time for challenges later.
Instinctively, even though he knew it kind of made him the girl, Shawn wrapped his arms around Carlton's neck.
Right on cue, the older detective began to lead them in small circles, perfectly in time to the slow music. Maybe he'd taken lessons in the past, or maybe he just had a natural rhythm under all that gruff manliness. Shawn liked to hope it was a combination of the two. Regardless, it added a whole new layer of interest to Lassiter, a strangely romantic and sweet side he'd never exhibited at around Shawn before. The fake psychic's interest was piqued, but he did his best to focus only on the moment, taking in every detail so he could relive this later, just in case this was a one-time only thing.
He'd never given much consideration to this kind of music before, but listening to it now, he was willing to give it a real chance. It was romantic, if not a little sad, and genuinely lovely in its own right. If it was what Lassiter liked to dance to, Shawn was pretty sure he could learn to love it.
Carlton's face, usually pulled into an annoyed and weary expression, now reflected only the sweet sadness of the song and the aura of calmness that had seeped into the room. Shawn had never seen the detective this free, this informal, and decided that he liked it. He met Lassie's eyes, still stormy but lacking the tension from earlier, and, with absolutely no control over his actions, smiled dreamily. Lassiter matched this with his own small, content grin, a look that rarely graced his features but Shawn resolved to see as often as possible. It really, really suited the taller man.
Pleased, Shawn relaxed against Lassiter's body, the vague scent of cologne and gunpowder overwhelming his senses in a way that was wholly welcome. Combined with the rapid heartbeat he could hear beating through Lassie's ribcage, he didn't have enough brain power to devote to processing the rest of the world. No memorizing the scratched-in patterns on the end tables, no counting, alphabetizing and critiquing the DVDs on the shelves, no dredging up memories of his first awkward slow dance in high school. Nothing but the blissful peace of Lassiter and the distant sound of Glenn Miller. For once, he was completely at peace.
He could get used to that.
That and the way Lassiter's long, lean body felt pressed against his. All those long morning jogs the detective took really did a world of good for his physique.
They stood in Lassiter's living room, moving in languid circles, for longer than Shawn could really remember. Remotely, somewhere in the depths of his mind that could still process non-Lassiter related thoughts, he knew the moment couldn't have lasted much more than three and a half minutes, since the song wasn't any longer than that. He didn't want to consider that thought for much more than a second, though, because it meant that this was a finite event; he preferred to think that this was going to last forever.
Unfortunately for Shawn's delusion, they came to a stop as the song ended, room filling with a jarring silence, but they didn't immediately pull apart. Frankly, Shawn wasn't ready for the moment to end. Lassie could regain his good senses at any moment and throw Shawn out, so he wanted to enjoy it while it lasted. Sure, it had been building up to this for a long time, but that didn't necessarily mean it was an instantaneous thing. Carlton could realize what was going on and launch into a full-blown heterosexual freakout at any second now.
The longer they stood in their quiet embrace, the surer Shawn was that the freakout wasn't going to happen. At least, it wasn't going to happen tonight. What was going to happen tonight, Shawn had no clue, but he did have a few ideas. Really, anything besides the sudden declarations of how wrong this was that would signal the onset of a freakout were okay with him.
Eventually, Lassiter did step back, if only slightly; his arms remained firmly placed over Shawn's lower back. He made eye contact with the younger man and smiled. Shawn tried smiling back, but was pretty sure he just looked dazed. He sure felt dazed. The loss of such intimate contact with Lassiter and increasing lack of sleep were a bad combination when it came to coherent thought.
"Are you okay?" Lassie asked amusedly. Shawn just nodded, distracted by searching the older man's face for clues as to where this was going. All he saw was contentment and a pinch of sleepiness.
"I'm fine." The fake psychic brushed off the question without a thought. Instead, he gave up his facial search and nodded between the two of them. "What is this?" Lassie just raised an eyebrow.
"Dancing. You're the one who wanted to do it, Spencer, and this is how I dance. None of that bumping and grinding nonsense like at the club." Shawn smiled, mental acuity slowly returning to him.
"Well, I enjoyed it," he replied, a rarely used hint of sincerity gracing his tone as he watched the still darkened blue of Lassiter's eyes. Boy howdy, those eyes... He could spend the rest of his life just watching those eyes, especially when they were lit up by a smile on Lassie's lips. "They're not exactly my usual moves, but I could definitely get used to it."
"Good," Lassiter said, eyes never leaving Shawn's. Both men stayed frozen like this for a moment, just watching the other for any signs of what to do next. Shawn knew exactly what he wanted to do, but that was only going to happen if Lassie wanted it too. By the look in his eyes, he almost certainly wanted the same thing as Shawn right now. He just had to go for it; for once, the fake psychic was letting someone else take the lead.
Then the detective seemed to find whatever he was looking for in Shawn's eyes, a quick smile dashing across his face before he leaned in toward the younger man. A fresh thrill spread through Shawn's chest as his eyes drifted shut and he tilted his own head up. This was happening, finally happening, and all he could think was that is was about damn time.
He could actually feel the heat of Carlton's breath, the brush of his lips, before the moment came to an unforeseen and screeching halt, all thanks to the yawn rising through Shawn's throat. He tried biting it back, but it was too insistent on escaping; Carlton noticed this and peeked one eye open curiously.
"Tired?" he asked rhetorically, a small grin quirking his lips. Shawn tried shaking his head, but the close proximity of Lassiter made that kind of difficult. The detective was practically speaking into his gaping wide mouth. "Yeah, you're tired."
"Nuh-uh," the younger man childishly managed to get out. As Shawn opened his eyes and let his yawn fade, Carlton leaned back. The moment was over, that was for sure, and the fake psychic felt a small pang of loss, but the grin on Lassie's face helped to ease that. "I'm not tired, no way. I'm wide awa-" Another small yawn seemed determined to undermine his point, and widen the grin Lassiter wore.
"I'm just going to assume that you're lying to me and move on," Carlton said. He stepped back further, finally letting his hands fall away from Shawn's back. The young man watched him as he crossed the room and turned off the stereo system, more enthralled than usual with the way Lassiter moved. He turned slowly to face Shawn, eyes once again stormy and full of a conflict Shawn couldn't quite place.
"What now, Lassie?" he asked, trying to break the sudden silence in the air. "Going to drive me back home, tell me you'll call in a few days but never actually call?" Lassiter raised an eyebrow in response.
"What kind of man do you think I am?" he replied, half offended and half amused. He approached Shawn again, gently pushing him through the doorway with a firm hand on his back. The psychic allowed himself to be led out of the room, fascinated by where this was going. Lassie was just full of surprises tonight.
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Shawn asked back, earning a glance from the older detective. It wasn't that he actually had anything bad to say about Lassie—pretty much the opposite, actually—but it was just comfortable giving him a hard time. It was how things worked.
They started to ascend the stairs, Shawn's curiosity spiking as it occurred to him that Lassie was taking him to a bedroom. Or maybe the bathroom. It was too late to be showering now. Even the wonder of hot water couldn't keep him awake for much longer. So probably a bedroom. Maybe Lassie's room, maybe a guest room, but hopefully the former. Really, really hopefully.
"You know, if I were to say what kind of man you are, I'd say you're a tall, sexy cop man who probably knows exactly what to do with handcuffs," Shawn added to break the quiet. A hot flush turned the tips of Lassiter's ears red in a way Shawn found absolutely adorable, but he still smiled vaguely.
"Maybe." His eyes darted to Shawn, running up and down his body in a way the psychic couldn't have missed. So Lassie really was considering using those handcuffs on him. Fantastic. Just not tonight, he noted as his eyes drifted shut without his permission. Carlton was right, he was tired, preposterously so. That probably came with the whole 'staying up for fifty-three straight hours to help solve this case and build a pretzel stick Taj Mahal' thing.
(Gus kept telling him not to waste their snacks on silly architectural scale models, but Shawn would totally rub it in his face the day he got the blue ribbon at the country fair.)
They reached the top of the stairs, all thirteen of them, and turned into the first door they came to. It was here that Lassiter finally let his hand on Shawn's back drop away as he moved to the closet on the other side of the room. He pulled the door open and rustled through the clothing Shawn couldn't see for a moment, giving the younger man time to take in their surroundings. It was hard to tell, but he was pretty sure that this was Lassie's room. There wasn't much to even let you know this place wasn't for sale; only the few bottles of cologne on the dresser and the slightly mussed look of the bedspread gave Lassiter's presence away.
The detective turned around, unexpectedly tossing a pair of plaid flannel pants at him.
"You can sleep in these," he said, pulling a pair out for himself along with a cotton t-shirt. Shawn glanced to the pajama pants in his hands, then back to Lassiter, who was watching him with raised eyebrows. "If you're modest, I can turn around." The psychic looked between the pants and Lassie one more time before grinning and expertly whipping his belt off and shucking his pants. The flannel pants went on a little slower, giving Lassie time to enjoy Shawn's legs and boxers. He may have been tired and a little stunned by the whole situation, but he still knew how to tease like an expert.
Lassiter swallowed hard as Shawn finally got the pants all the way to his waist, glancing down to the way the fabric pooled at the shorter man's feet; to hide his interest, he turned around and began to remove his own belt and tie. Shawn took his turn watching Lassie undress, marveling at the sinewy muscle of his bare back and arms when the button-down work shirt came off; he felt the sudden and desperate need to play with the curly chest hair he could see.
A quick glance over his shoulder put a fresh smirk on Carlton's face; he pulled off his work slacks and folded them neatly into the closet. He took one long, tortuous moment to stretch in only his boxers, showing off the full length of his body and tone of his lean figure to the rapt psychic. Then, with practiced ease, he slipped his own pajama pants and cotton shirt on and turned to face Shawn, who was openly staring.
"You going to stand there all night?" he asked sardonically, one eyebrow raised. As he moved to turn down the bed, Shawn's brain slowly clicked back into gear.
Lassiter was letting him sleep here, in Lassiter's bed wearing Lassiter's pajamas that smelled just like Lassiter.
This was something he'd been trying for over the last few years, this man-crush that Gus said would never go anywhere. They were too different, too antagonistic, Gus had said. It might work for a few nights of angry passion (which he never wanted to hear details about, ever, as he'd repeatedly mentioned), but in the long run, it could never work. It wasn't anything more than frustration taking the form of sexual tension.
Well, Gus could go be a crazy nonsense-monger somewhere else, because Shawn was totally in Lassie's bedroom, wearing pajamas, after a night of more dancing than arguing, with exhaustion giving them almost no chance of having sex of any form. This was (hopefully) a good indication of something more, a sign that they could have something real.
Without really thinking about it, Shawn moved to the side of the bed Lassiter wasn't currently standing over and slipped himself between the very soft covers. The detective flicked off the lights and moved into bed next to him, snuggling in close to the younger man with a comfortable ease that could only come after being up for nearly twenty-four hours and not really caring anymore. Shawn wasn't complaining; he melted right into the older man's touch.
"Night, Shawn," Lassie murmured, voice already thick with sleepiness. The fake psychic just smiled; the first relentless waves of exhaustion also began to settle over him, and the overlap between that and the warm comfort of having Lassiter next to him was enough to push him dangerously close to what could be called fresh pineapple. Or bliss, whichever you preferred.
"Don't call me that," the detective attempted to growl back, but it sort of lost its edge when he sounded so peacefully tired. Shawn just managed to hum in response, tension soaking out of his body as unconsciousness floated ever closer.
He had absolutely no idea where this thing between him and Lassiter was going from here, though he did have some very well thought-out fantasies he'd enjoy putting into play if it made it past this dancing/snuggling/sleeping scenario. Maybe things would be different in the morning, but for the moment, Shawn was willing to take what he could get. If it turned into a challenge again in the morning, then so be it. Lassiter was worth the fight.