Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money is being made from this story. Or in other words: Psych? Not mine. The characters? Not mine. Santa Barbara? REALLY not mine. When in doubt, assume it's not mine and that I'm not making money off it.
WARNINGS: mild whump (mild torture), some angst, unasked-for body modification; will be a spoiler (if you squint) for "Bounty Hunters!" in a later chapter
Author's Note: I almost hesitate to call this a "story." It's more a collection of situations and scenes that make me happy onto which I pasted something that is second-step-cousin-twice-removed to a plot. Motivations are laughably thin, but hey, at least they're there. That's better than nothing, right? Also, after finishing this story (a few weeks ago - I like to let stories stew before I post them), two stories have emerged that have minor similarities to this one. One is "Shocking, Isn't It?" by WhiteKingdomAngel and the other is "Hopeless" by Syncop8ed Rhythm. I did not borrow or take inspiration from these stories, but if you like some of the themes in mine, you might also enjoy those two.
"I'm telling you, I didn't take the kid!"
Shawn and Gus watched from the observation room as Lassiter interrogated a burly biker guy. Jules was standing next to them, impassive as her partner pressed the suspect, pulling out all the stops to get him to confess.
More importantly, Lassiter wanted to find out where Jacob Cobb, 6, was hidden. The boy had been missing for three days, and the chances of ever finding him and getting him back to his parents were plummeting. Shawn almost didn't blame Lassie for being so hard on a guy who was, in the end, only suspected of kidnapping the child.
"You had both motive and opportunity," Lassiter hissed. "Do you honestly expect me to believe that you didn't do this?"
True, the biker dude, Michael Stokes, did work with the kidnapped kid's father, and he WAS holding a grudge against the man, but...somehow it just didn't ring true to Shawn. There was something about the way the Stokes was acting...or, rather, not acting. He was telling the truth about his innocence, Shawn was sure of it. The problem was going to be getting Lassie to agree.
"I don't know what you believe, I just know that I didn't take the kid!"
"I don't know, Jules," Shawn said - convincing Jules was generally easier than convincing Lassiter, and it was a good first step. "This guy doesn't seem like the kidnapping type."
"People are capable of anything, Shawn," Jules returned implacably. "Besides, Lassiter's right, he had motive, means, AND opportunity."
"Yeah, but kidnapping a kid? The guy's got a kid about the same age as Jacob."
Juliet shrugged, but when she spoke Shawn could hear the beginnings of doubt in her voice. "He's not being charged, Shawn, we're just questioning him."
After an hour of getting nowhere, Lassiter apparently had lost patience with Mr. Stokes. At one point Lassiter had gotten close enough that Shawn was starting to wonder if he was going to bite the man, but then the tall detective spun on his heel and left the room, joining the three of them in the observation room.
"I'll get him," Lassiter grumbled under his breath. "I will. It's only a matter of time."
"If he's the right guy," Shawn put in. He suppressed a cringe when Lassiter turned his laser-eyed glare on him, instead meeting the angry blue eyes calmly. "You don't know for sure, not yet."
"Don't know for sure?" Lassiter echoed, his tone knife-sharp. "He was the last one to see Jacob, AND he hates the kid's father. Besides, look at him!"
Shawn didn't glance into the observation room - he knew what Stokes looked like. Leather pants and vest, tattoos covering his arms, shoulders, and neck, some impressive piercings...sure, the guy didn't look like he'd be on the cover of GQ any time soon, but that didn't REALLY mean anything...did it?
"He's a tattoo artist, Lassie. If he didn't look like he just stepped out of a biker movie, no one would trust him." Shawn used his most soothing voice, hoping that it would calm the irate detective, though in the past it had usually had the opposite effect. There was a first time for everything, right?
"You know what, Spencer? I don't have time for your crap today. You aren't needed here: go home."
And with that, Lassiter turned and left the room, Juliet, after an apologetic glance back at Shawn, following close behind.
Shawn looked at Gus, who shrugged, then back at the man sitting calmly in the interrogation room. His spine was curved, his head dropped down onto his chest like it was too much work to sit upright. He looked the very picture of depression.
And there wasn't a thing Shawn could do about it.
"We need to solve this case, Gus," Shawn repeated as he collapsed into his desk chair. "Lassie's got the wrong guy."
"I don't know, Shawn - Juliet was right: motive, means, and opportunity. It's the police trifecta."
"Yeah, but it wasn't him." Shawn fell silent, staring fixedly at some point beyond Gus's head. Gus sighed to himself. Dealing with Shawn's antics was a constant test of temper and endurance, but in some ways, Gus preferred the craziness to this focused calm. Serious Shawn always meant something was wrong.
Unfortunately, there wasn't anything Gus could do - Shawn was focused on the case. Gus watched his friend until the grey-and-gold eyes blinked and shifted to re-examine the file on his desk, then shifted his attention to his own work. Keeping track of Psych's money was almost an exercise in futility with Shawn at the wheel (or even riding shotgun), and it took far more of Gus's attention than it should have.
Twenty minutes later, Gus was still deeply entrenched in the books when Shawn suddenly shouted "Got it!"
"What?" Gus asked, blinking as he came up out of the accounts like a salmon surfacing. "Got what?"
Shawn was already on his feet, gathering up the file on his way out the door.
"I know who took Jacob and where he is! Call Lassie; he needs to meet us there."
Gus grabbed his jacket and phone and followed his friend out the door. Sure, he wasn't going to finish the bookkeeping that day, but finding a lost kid was definitely worth it.
Author's Note(yes, again...sorry): I've been having a hard time trying to figure out what color James Roday's eyes are. So, in this story (and any others I might write), I'm going with grey and gold. That's the closest I can come to what I've seen, and I'm sticking to it.