Title: Out of the Closet and into the Frying Pan
Rating: G so far
Pairing: Shawn/Lassiter; overtones of Gus/Juliet
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. [Thank-you to Psychfic dot net for the disclaimer].
Summary: Lassiter breaks the law and learns more than he bargained for.
Note: Thank-you to the people who let me know that the file I initially uploaded was broken and made no sense. :)
Lassiter slipped the lock pick set into his pants pocket and turned the handle on the door of the Psych office. The lock had been easy enough. Security obviously wasn't a priority for Spencer, but he was surprised that Guster hadn't insisted on a higher quality system.
I guess we know who wears the pants in that relationship, Lassiter thought.
He stepped inside and closed the door behind him. He had now committed criminal trespass. But some things had to be done, however distasteful. Breaking section 603 of the California Penal Code was the lesser of two evils when compared with allowing Spencer to have his way with the Santa Barbara Police Department. Solving the mystery of how he was pulling off this psychic act was worth bending a few rules. Or committing a misdemeanor, as the case may be. Sargeant Joe Friday wouldn't have searched a suspect's room without a warrant, but then he didn't have someone like Spencer pushing his way into all his cases and making him look like a fool.
He went directly to Spencer's desk, identifiable by the toys, half-empty packs of red vines, and notepad full of doodles. By contrast, the other desk was a neat and orderly workspace. There were times when he wondered whether Guster might not be the brains behind the whole Psych operation, and just be using Spencer as a front, like a magician used flash paper to distract the audience from his sleight of hand.
He pulled open a drawer and began to rifle through it. It contained five copies of People magazine. Spencer had drawn glasses and beards on the celebrity faces and written mocking comments in the margins. He stuffed the magazines back inside and moved to the next drawer. It contained a game of Ants In The Pants and a copy of the crime section of The Courier, three weeks old. Spencer had scrawled notes on each story. "They should ask Mr. Hernandez about the broken window." "Mrs. Carpenter isn't really a witness." Another read simply, "The clerk did it."
Lassiter wrinkled his forehead and glared at the paper.
Is Spencer keeping track of cases we've solved? He wondered. And if so, why is he writing his notes in the newspaper?
Then he noted that one of the stories identified a criminal for a case that was still open – the theft of a city-owned sculpture.
No. It's not possible, Lassiter thought, alarm beginning to rush through him like a fever. Spencer couldn't have written these notes before the crimes were solved. The crime section isn't a Sudoku. You don't just sit there and solve it over breakfast.
Suddenly he heard voices and the jangling sound of keys.
Damn! They were back too early. His previous scouting missions had clearly indicated that when Spencer and Guster left their office they were gone an average of 20 minutes. This was barely five.
He stuffed the newspaper back into the drawer and closed it as quickly as possible, cursing Spencer for being so unreliable as to interrupt his break-in. Lassiter glanced about desperately, spotted what he hoped was a back door, and went through it just as Shawn and Gus entered the office, arguing. It took only a moment for him to realize that he had just stepped into a large storage closet.
He muttered a word of which his mother would not have approved.
"No Shawn," Gus was saying as he entered. "Danny Pintauro was the kid from Who's The Boss. He came out as gay in 1997. You've confused him with Jeremy Miller, who played Ben on Growing Pains.
"Are you sure?" Shawn asked.
"I'm sure." Gus nodded. "The Growing Pains kid is married to a woman."
"Maybe I'm thinking of the other brother," Shawn said.
"No, you're not," Gus said. "The other Weaver son was Kirk Cameron. He went on the O'Reilly Factor and talked about how he opposes same-sex marriage. So I don't think he's gay. Unless you're arguing that everyone who dislikes gay people is secretly gay."
"Well they are," Shawn said. "How else do you explain where all the gay people with no style or sense of humour are? They're in church and congress, texting obscene messages to their male underlings."
"I don't even think you agree with what you said." Gus wrinkled his brow and stared at his friend.
"I still think it would make for fun television," Shawn said. "One's a proud gay man and the other's a repressed Christian homophobe. But they're roommates. Hilarity and sexual tension ensue. We could call it One Way or Another. It could go on after re-runs of Touched By An Angel."
"Your premise is artificial and forced," Gus objected. "Why wouldn't they just realize they're incompatible and move out?"
"I don't know." Shawn shrugged. "Maybe they've been sentenced to live together by the courts."
"What court does that?" Gus asked.
"Joe Pesci was sentenced to live in his own tenement in The Super," Shawn said.
"That was a punishment for his being a slumlord," Gus responded. "What kind of court sentences you to live with someone specific?" He shook his head. "It makes no sense."
"I think we could work out the bugs." Shawn leaned back in his chair, put his feet up on the desk, and pulled a red vine from its package. "I'll hammer out a treatment and we can email it to that cousin of yours who interns for CAA."
"He's my second cousin," Gus corrected. "And he's trying to get attention for his own scripts." Gus didn't add that if he were going to tap his cousin for a favour it would be to pass along his own idea for a weekly crime drama set in pharmaceutical supply company. "You know," he added. "You only come up with these ridiculous sitcom ideas when your personal life is in a slump."
"It's not a slump," Shawn said. "The tide ebbs and flows. We wax on and wax off. Although lately it has been more waxing off than on."
"That is, without a doubt, one of the crudest metaphors I've ever heard you use," Gus said.
"Who says it's a metaphor?"
"Everyone has dry patches now and then," Gus said. "I've had some." There was a pause before he added, "Back in high school."
"Yes," Shawn said, "but there were good reasons for your dry stretches in high school, Gus. Mine is inexplicable."
"What reasons?" Gus frowned.
"I have two words for you: Hammer Pants."
"That was one time!" Gus objected.
"You still wore them. And they were like Kryptonite to women."
"I think you've misunderstood how Kryptonite works, Shawn," Gus grumbled. "But don't try to make this about me. I'm happy with my love life. It's you that's having a slump."
"Actually, there is someone I'm kind of interested in," Shawn said.
"Well, then you should ask her out," Gus suggested. "I don't want to sound like Henry here, but you're not getting any younger."
"It could complicate our working relationship," Shawn said.
"Is it Juliet?" Gus demanded. "Because I distinctly recall declaring dibs on her."
"Gus—" Shawn began, but he was cut off quickly.
"No Shawn! I said dibs when we were at the Spelling Bee. You heard me just fine, and we both know it. You can't rightfully ask her out unless I relinquish my dibs. Those are the rules."
"It's not Juliet. It's actually not a girl at all. It's a guy."
Gus was silent for a few moments, then took in a deep breath and slowly let it out again.
"Please say it isn't me," Gus said evenly.
"It isn't you."
"Thank-you Jesus!" Gus let out a long sigh and Lassiter heard the squeak of his office chair as Gus collapsed into it.
"It's Lassiter," Shawn said, his voice perfectly deadpan.
"Is this a joke?" Gus asked, taking the words directly from Lassiter's own mind. "I did not just hear that."
"I like him. He's got dreamy blue eyes and he carries a gun. What's not hot about that?" When Gus didn't reply Shawn added, "Come on! Admit that you see this. He's smart, brave, and hot. Hell, he's a plane crash and a few operations away from being the Six Million Dollar Man."
"First of all," Gus said, "We're nowhere near the point where we could make an injured astronaut into a cybernetic agent. There is some promising research involving connecting computers to the human brain, but that means we're closer to making a Robocop."
"I doubt that Lassiter has even seen Robocop," Shawn said. "Although he would probably admire the precision of his shooting."
"Second of all," Gus added, "you should just forget about liking Lassiter because Lassiter hates you. Actually hates you. As in, I think he'd like to hit you really hard."
"I didn't say our relationship wouldn't have stumbling blocks."
There was a long silence, broken by Gus' laughter. "I get it. Okay, Shawn, you win."
"Win what?" Shawn asked innocently.
"You do this every few years," Gus said. "You get all excited about some guy just to remind me that you claim to be bi."
"That's right, claim. You never go through with anything. In all the years I've known you I've never seen you go on a date with a guy. Not one date."
"I've slept with guys," Shawn said.
"Sure you have," Gus said skeptically. "I'd be willing to bet that the last time you shared a bed with a member of the same sex you were both wearing footy pajamas."
"Those are making a huge comeback for adults," Shawn protested.
"Let's just say that I accept your fictional bisexuality," Gus said. "So you can drop this imaginary crush on Detective Lassiter and go back to being the shallow skirt chaser that we both know you are."
Gus turned on his computer and began to check his email. Shawn opened a drawer and pulled out a copy of People.
"Gus, dude, you've got to stop moving my stuff," Shawn said.
"I haven't touched your stuff," Gus said.
"Liar liar pants on fire." Shawn held up the magazines. "These were arranged in order of Kelly Osbourne's weight loss and they're all out of order now. Thus, like James Caan with the penguin that always faces south, you've been undone by your lack of attention to detail."
"I haven't touched your copies of People," Gus said. "You're finally losing your mind. Or someone's Gaslighting you."
"That might be a helpful statement if I knew what it meant."
"It's a movie," Gus said. "Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer. Her husband tries to make her think she's crazy so he can get her money. It's a classic. A young Angela Lansbury plays their maid and—"
"You know what I could go for right now?" Shawn cut in, sounding distracted. "Lime popscicles."
"Really?" Gus said, hesitantly. "I don't want to spoil dinner. It's the third Wednesday of the month. That means burritos and watching The Wire on DVD."
"There's always room for burritos. I'm going to the 7-11 for a popscicle right now. Come with me."
"I'm fine," Gus objected. "Research actually shows that eating something sweet before dinner impairs digestion."
"I'm buying," Shawn offered.
"Let me grab my jacket," Gus said as he shut down his computer.
Lassiter waited until the office had been silent for at least two minutes before he stepped out of the closet. Forgetting his initial mission entirely, he walked quickly to the front door and slipped outside. He didn't stop until he was two blocks away, at which point he leaned against the shingled wall of a take-out stand and breathed while his mind reeled.
Lassiter's thoughts were still in hyperdrive two days later, when Shawn Spencer and Burton Guster strolled casually into his crime scene on the West Beach boardwalk, eating corndogs.
"So help me Spencer," Lassiter warned, "If you get food in my crime scene—"
"You'll what?" Shawn asked, smiling. "Spank me?"
Lassiter had to bite his lip to hold in his retort, instead muttering "you wish" to himself once Shawn was out of earshot.
As Lassiter looked at the man who lay crumpled on the smooth concrete he had difficulty keeping his mind on the job at hand. Sure, he saw the blunt force trauma to the front temple, the overturned garbage can, and noticed the injuries to the victim's knuckles that suggested a struggle. And he noticed the food stains and smell of stale alcohol on the vic's clothing, which said "bar fight" to him. But he was doing it all on automatic pilot.
His brain was more interested in going over what he'd heard Shawn say in the Psych office Wednesday night. Could Spencer have known I was there the whole time? He wondered. Could everything he said to Guster have been some kind of joke? He could imagine the two of them holding in their laughter and pointing to the closet as they said their lines to one another. Or is it possible that Spencer really does have some kind of a crush on me?
"Hey Lassie!" Shawn suddenly appeared at his shoulder, corndog free, peering down at the corpse. "Ow! That must have hurt. Reminds me of that scene from the Untouchables."
Lassiter walked over to a refuse bin nearby and looked inside, hoping to see a discarded weapon. Whatever had dented their vic's scull had been big and heavy, like a pipe. He'd have to get a uniform to collect the trashbag and go through it back at the station.
Shawn followed him. "I sense this was a barfight," he said, placing his hand to his temple.
"Great guess, Braniac," Lassiter muttered. His tone was sour, but inside he couldn't help wondering if Shawn had meant any of those things he'd said about him being smart, brave and hot, or if it had all been a joke at his expense. He could see Guster in his peripheral vision, but he didn't seem amused. He seemed more intent on not looking over at the body.
"Dude! Nice comic book reference," Shawn said.
He slapped a hand onto Lassiter's shoulder and left it there. It immediately became the only thing Lassiter could think about. Was this one of Spencer's usual shoulder slaps, he wondered, or did it mean something? Had they all meant something? Had all his inappropriate touching been an attempt to communicate sexual interest?
By the time he pulled his focus back Guster was mid-sentence. "But in all fairness," he was saying, "Brainiac has a twelfth level intellect."
"Right," Shawn agreed. "And I'm level five, maybe six, max. "Still, I didn't know that you'd been getting your geek on. You and Gus should hit the convention circuit together. You wouldn't happen to have one of the classic Star Trek uniforms in your closet, would you?"
"No," Lassiter replied, wondering if the reference to closets was coincidental or meant as a hint. "I don't dress up in fake uniforms," he added.
"Unless it's the civil war," Shawn said.
"The Civil War actually happened, Spencer. Those uniforms are real."
"Fine! You win. I accept that wearing a replica uniform for a war you weren't actually alive for isn't playing dress up. Happy now?"
"Not really." He walked around the body, removing himself from Shawn's touching range. "Let's all try to focus on the body, shall we? I'm thinking he came from a bar or restaurant around here. We'll get a couple of uniforms to canvas the area."
"Or, we could just ask his spirit," Shawn said cheerfully, and leaned in close to the body. "What's that?" he asked the corpse, "You say you went to…" Shawn's nose twitched, as if he were either smelling the body or impersonating a character from Bewitched. "…the Union Ale Brew Company on State St." Shawn stood up again. "He says their Coconut Mocha Imperial Stout is to die for. Not that he intended to literally die, of course."
Lassiter grimaced. "Does he happen to say who killed him?"
"No," Shawn admitted. "He was pretty drunk. Claims it was all a blur. Although he does mention that his wallet is missing."
"Great." Lassiter sighed. How does Spencer know these things? Still, they'd have found out about the missing wallet once the coroner gave them the go-ahead to search the body. "If you're done we'll try some actual police work and trace his movements last night."
"No problemo, Lassitero." Shawn joined Gus at his spot several yards away from the body. "We'll do it Carlito's way and interview some barflys."
"I haven't seen that movie," Gus said.
"Barfly, or Carlito's Way?" Shawn asked.
"I've seen both," Shawn said as the two men walked out off in the direction of State St. "And let me just say, they were no Corky Romano."
By Friday evening Lassiter was writing the report on the DB they'd found on West Cabrillo. Spencer had been correct. A visit to the Brew Company had turned up a credit card slip, a name for their vic, and a witness who saw him get into an argument with two men who left just after he did. The descriptions matched two perps known to the department and they cracked within an hour of questioning, each blaming the other and insisting they'd intended to scare him, not kill him.
Criminals are stupid, Lassiter reflected, not for the first time. Being hit several times in the head with a heavy flashlight would certainly be scary, but only an imbecile would expect it to be non-lethal.
The paperwork completed, Lassiter collected his belongings and drove to Tom Blair's Pub for a late supper and enough alcohol to quell the Spencer-related clatter in his head. He hid himself in an isolated corner booth where he could have time and space to work out what was really going on and what, if anything he ought to do about it.
As he ate a large order of fish and chips and drank his second glass of scotch he realized that the idea that Spencer might really see him as akin to Steve Austin wasn't unpleasant. In fact, it was kind of thrilling. He'd loved The Six Million Dollar Man as a kid. He'd even had the action figure with the bionic eye you could look through. But he'd never seen himself in Steve Austin. He'd always figured he was closer to Frank Pembleton on Homicide: smart and ambitious, but not very well liked. Steve Austin was heroic, handsome, and a morally sound citizen. The way he'd been willing to put his feelings for Jaime Sommers aside in the face of her amnesia and crippling headaches was truly inspiring. And filing reports was certainly more interesting when he made bionic "dunna nunna nunna" sound effects in his head.
Being the subject of another man's homosexual attraction wasn't quite so comfortable. It wasn't that he was homophobic, exactly. It was just that such a situation had never arisen before—although he'd dated an actress in college and suspected that some of her male theatre friends had looked at him a little longer than was customary between men. If the issue arose he'd always figured that he'd be respectful but firm in explaining the futility of such a crush. He'd certainly been on the receiving end of enough "I like you as a friend" conversations with women to know how they went.
But Spencer was a special case. From their first meeting he'd breezed past all the normal social and physical boundaries. Spencer's physicality seemed to be part and parcel of his whole psychic act. And when his complaints about working with him were ignored it became easier to tolerate his bizarre behaviour than put a stop to it. Lassiter had to admit, Spencer's unbelievable solve rate was also a factor. If he hadn't been so good at closing cases it would have been easier to set boundaries of some kind.
And his touchy-feely nature seemed to be catching. Lassiter had been more physical with Spencer than he'd been with any other male since his days on the high school wrestling team. True, most of their close interactions had been to prevent Spencer from compromising evidence, annoying key witnesses, or otherwise embarrassing the SBPD. But while necessary, it was still intimate. Maybe his actions had awakened some kind of interest in Spencer.
My God, he thought, did I bring this on myself in some way? Have I been leading him on?
"Why so glum Detective?"
Lassiter looked up to see Shawn Spencer standing in front of his table, holding a large colourful drink garnished with an umbrella and a wedge of pineapple.
"Spencer. Why am I not surprised to see you here?"
It's as if just thinking about him makes him appear, Lassiter thought. Like the devil. He tried not to look as if he'd just been caught doing something he wasn't supposed to, despite feeling exactly that way.
"I know you can't stand the thought of being separated from your gun, Lassie, but is it really a good idea to be drinking while wearing a loaded weapon?" Shawn asked. "I mean, you're no Martin Riggs, but better safe than sorry, right?"
Lassiter glared at Shawn. "I'm not drinking," he explained. "I'm having a drink. There's a difference. And there's no way I'm removing my gun."
"If you say so." Shawn squeezed himself in next to Lassiter. "Skooch over, Lassie. We'll have our drinks together and then I can pour you into a cab."
Lassiter shuffled himself further along the seat, if only so Shawn's body wasn't pressed so firmly against his own.
"I don't need to be poured into anything, Spencer. I can handle my liquor just fine."
"I don't doubt it. I, on the other hand, am a girl drink drunk. Two of these Blue Hawaiis and I'm under the table."
Lassiter tried not to take that as a sexual innuendo.
Lassiter awoke the next morning with a massive headache and a dizzy, queasy feeling that permeated his entire body. He opened one eye and peered at his digital clock, grateful that he had the day off and wouldn't have to drag himself in to work in this condition. He groped a hand along the bedside table and grabbed a glass of water. Hydration was the key. Now if he could only make it to the medicine cabinet and down some Aspirin.
He sat up in bed and as his sluggish mind took in his surroundings his headache became the least of his worries. Shawn Spencer, clad only in a tight pair of boxers, lay sprawled on the mattress next to him, snoring lightly. Lassiter stood up and slowly backed away from the bed, moving as silently as possible. He darted down the hall and into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind him. As the adrenaline coursed through his system he barely felt the pain of his hangover. Instead he felt a new type of pain as his brain tried to piece together the events of the previous night, searching for some evidence that would help him believe that he hadn't just had drunken sex with Spencer.
He took a hot shower and examined his body for bites or nail marks. He was clean. As he was toweling off he heard the sound of Spencer, moving around in the kitchen. He wrapped a towel around his waist and then threw on his bathrobe for good measure.
Better get this over with, he braced himself. Better deal with it here than at the station.
He unlocked the bathroom and stepped into the hall.
Shawn looked up from the kitchen table, where he was eating a bowl of Lassiter's Cherrios. "Good morning, Sunshine!" he said. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"How should I be feeling?" Lassiter asked. His tone was cold, almost curt.
"You know, I expected you'd be nicer," Shawn said. "Maybe even kind of grateful." He shrugged and dug into the cereal.
"Grateful? Are you joking?" Lassiter glared at him across the table, arms crossed and shoulders tense.
Shawn looked at Lassiter and chewed on his lower lip. "What do you think actually happened last night, Lassie?"
"I think it's pretty obvious," Lassiter said. He crossed his arms, realized this was a defensive body gesture, uncrossed them hurriedly, and then put his hands on his hips.
"You were drunk," Shawn said. "I brought you home and put you to bed. It was late. I was exhausted and I crashed here."
"And that's it?"
"That's it." Shawn pointed at him with a milky spoon. "I'm getting the feeling that you think I'm some kind of date rapist."
"Last night wasn't a date."
"Whatever." Shawn shrugged. "My point is, you were smashed. I wouldn't have touched you with a ten-foot penis. Nothing happened. So you can relax."
"Seriously?" Lassiter frowned, hardly daring to believe it was true.
"Yes. Trust me, Carlton, if we'd had sex, even clumsy drunken sex, you'd remember."
"I would. Of course I would." Shawn's use of his first name seemed to confirm his words. Suddenly Lassiter felt guilty for having assumed Shawn would take advantage of his inebriation.
"You didn't really think we had, did you?" Shawn asked, laughing. "'Cause that would mean that all it takes to get you into bed with me is a few too many scotches. And all jokes aside, alcohol just lowers inhibitions, it doesn't turn you gay."
"I have to go." Lassiter felt overwhelmed by all the conflicting thoughts in his now pounding head.
"This is your apartment," Shawn pointed out.
"Then you have to go. I'll call you a cab." Lassiter looked for his phone, but wasn't even sure where his clothes were.
"No, it's okay." Shawn grabbed the bowl in both hands and drained it quickly. "I'll flag one myself. " He grabbed his jacket from the arm of the couch. "I hope you feel better." He paused in the doorway. "Oh, you probably won't remember, but I made a stop on the way here. There's a present for you in your freezer."
Once Shawn was gone Lassiter strode to the freezer and opened the door, unsure of what he expected to fine. There, nestled between the frozen dinners and a back-up revolver, was a lime popscicle.
He knew I was there, in the Psych office, he thought. He knows that I know.
Lassiter sat down at the kitchen table and lay his head on his arms. He felt worse now than he had when he woke up.