Something that would not let me sleep until it was finished. Character death, with Shules and Lassiet if you squint hard. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Shawn Spencer was a happy man.
Rolling over in his bed, he snuggled up to his sleeping girlfriend and wrapped a strong arm around her. Juliet slept peacefully, a small smile gracing her beautiful lips.
He ran a hand over her thick blond hair, then scooted lower in the bed, until he was looking at Juliet's stomach. Barely noticed by the untrained eye, a small swell was beginning to make itself known in her abdomen. He lifted her shirt and rested his lips reverently against her skin.
Juliet made soft noise in her sleep.
As softly as he could, Shawn whispered, "Hi in there." Juliet was four months pregnant, and Shawn was still grappling with the news. They had been using birth control, and since they were both so young and still getting used to one another, they hadn't discussed children yet. But deep down, Shawn was excited about their child nestled in her womb.
The alarm went off, and before Shawn could sit up and shut the offending thing off, Juliet's eyes fluttered open.
He reached over her and slammed his palm against the clock. "Go back to sleep, Jules," he coaxed. Ever since her news, he had become more practical, more protective of his woman, and now his child. With every day that passed, it became more obvious that she was carrying his child. And with each day, his concern grew. What if she went out into the field and was injured? What if Lassie screwed up and didn't protect her like he was supposed to?
He stroked her skin lightly with his thumb. Juliet was stubborn and wouldn't even hear of taking leave yet, but he still worried. It wasn't just her anymore that she had to think of. She had to protect their baby, too.
Juliet sat up, resting a hand on Shawn's dark head. "I have to get ready for work, Shawn."
He sighed. "Jules, stay home today. You shouldn't be pushing yourself so hard right now."
She kissed his forehead. "I'll be fine, Shawn." It seemed that they had this argument more and more lately, as she got further along in her pregnancy. She understood his concerns, but she wasn't ready to leave the field just yet. Chief Vick was still trying to find a suitable replacement for Carlton, and the man did not adapt well to change.
He groaned as she climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom. "Jules, this may be my first kid, but isn't your line of work... I don't know, dangerous?"
She huffed as she closed the bathroom door behind herself. "I'll go on desk duty as soon as Chief Vick finds my temporary replacement."
Shawn groaned again, this time louder and more exaggerated. "Are you kidding me?"
"No, and if you don't stop whining, I'll lock this door."
The inviting tone behind the threatening words revealed her mood to him, and he scrambled out of the bed.
"Good morning, Carlton."
Lassiter looked up to see O'Hara holding out a cup of coffee and a brown paper bag, and he arched a dark brow.
Juliet rolled her eyes. "Just take it."
He took the coffee and the bag, watching as she eased her pregnant body into her chair. As much as pregnant women unnerved him, he couldn't disguise his curiosity about her condition. He had always wanted children. Victoria not knowing that was one of the many things that led to their failed marriage, and he really couldn't fault her for that. He had never told her. There were many things he never told her.
Juliet turned on her computer, not missing the way her partner watched her. He had asked more questions about her pregnancy than she ever thought he would, and she found it oddly comforting to know he cared to even ask.
Before either of them could speak, Chief Vick stepped out of her office, a file in her hand.
"Lassiter, O'Hara. Need you two to go speak with a witness downtown."
Lassiter shot up and took the file from Vick, while Vick studied Juliet. "You sure you're feeling up for this, Detective?"
Juliet waved off the chief's concern. "We're just talking to a witness. I think I can handle this, Chief." She got to her feet and walked out of the squadroom.
Chief Vick watched her, worry bright in her eyes. "Watch her, Lassiter," she said quietly.
He glanced at the chief before hurrying after his partner. Of course he always watched her back.
The ride to the home of the witness passed in silence, much to Juliet's relief. They pulled up in front of the building and got out of the car.
Even though they were only going to speak to a witness, Lassiter felt something chewing at his gut. And his gut was almost never wrong. So he took the lead and found the correct apartment. Putting on his best gameface, he reached out and knocked on the door.
"Jake Andrews, this is Detective Lassiter, of the SBPD. I need to speak with you."
There was a shuffling inside, followed by a muffled scream.
Juliet and Lassiter grabbed their guns, and Lassiter took a step back, then kicked the door open. They both rushed into the apartment, guns drawn and bodies tense.
"SBPD! Put your hands up!"
At that moment, time slowed to a crawl. Andrews' eyes were wild, and he held a gun in his hands. There was a woman on the floor by his feet, weeping softly.
"Drop your weapon!" Lassiter shouted, his eyes burning as he trained his gun on the other man.
"You drop yours!" Andrews trained his gun on Juliet.
Lassiter only had a moment to react. Grabbing Juliet with one hand and shoving her behind himself, he pulled the trigger of his gun with the other at the same moment Andrews fired his own gun.
Juliet watched, horrified, as Andrews collapsed to the floor. There was a quarter sized hole in his head, and his eyes were wide and fixed. "Oh, my God..." She reached out and grasped Lassiter's arm. Andrews' shot must have gone wide. Shawn was never going to let her forget this. She holstered her gun with her free hand. "We have to call this in, Carlton."
He didn't respond, and Juliet let out a frightened shriek when he collapsed back against her.
She managed to grab him, and together they slid to the floor. "No!" Moving fast, she pulled out her radio and called for help. Then she quickly pulled Carlton's shirt open to find the source of the flowing blood.
There was a large hole in his chest, just above his heart, and she quickly ripped off her jacket. Then she shoved it against the wound in his chest.
He groaned in pain, shifting in her arms. "Bastard shot me..." he ground out, his jaw clenched in pain.
"Shh... Hold still, Carlton. Help is coming."
"I'm fine," he muttered. "Don't need... a bus."
The blood was rapidly soaking her jacket, making her stomach queasy. "Why the hell did you do that, Lassiter?"
He shifted, grunting in pain. "Wasn't gonna... let him hurt my partner..." he managed, his voice thick with pain he could not hide. That would be unforgivable in his book.
She held him tighter, shaking her head. "You're an idiot, Carlton."
He let out a slow breath, his big body shuddering. His vision was fading, and he was having difficulty regulating his breathing. "Make sure... Spencer treats you right..."
Her light blue eyes filled with tears. "Carlton, please don't do this. Just hang on a few minutes. A bus is coming."
"Detective O'Hara," he said sharply. He started to cough.
Juliet panicked when she saw the blood trickle from the corner of his mouth. Holding him with one arm, she moved her other hand away from the gunshot wound and wiped the blood away from his mouth. The gesture was intimate, tender.
His eyelids flickered shut when she touched him, and without thinking, he grasped her hand and held onto it like a lifeline.
His blood was now soaking her clothes as well as his, but she didn't care. This was a man she had spent the last seven years bonding with, arguing with, and standing beside. She knew the best and the worst of him, as he did her. They were close in a way that even most married couples weren't, and yet they had never been physical. There had been the occasional hug in a moment when one was in most desperate need of comfort, and this moment now as she cradled him to her and tried her best to keep him alive.
He coughed again, shaking violently in Juliet's arms. Already he felt lightheaded from blood loss, and he knew that the bus was at least four or five minutes out. As stubborn as he knew himself to be, he didn't think he could last that long.
As if reading his thoughts, Juliet held him tighter, as though that act could anchor him in place. "Stay with me, Carlton. Just hang on."
His head lolled against her shoulder. If this was the way he was going out, it wasn't such a bad way to go. He had protected his partner and the unborn child she carried, and taken out a dangerous suspect who had intended to kill all of them. No, that wasn't a bad way to go out at all.
Her bloodstained hand came up and gently cradled his head. "Hang on, Carlton," she whispered, but he heard the defeat in her voice. She wanted to believe otherwise, but they both knew the reality of the situation. The bus wasn't going to make it in time.
The pain ebbed, and his eyes closed again. With what strength he had left, he slid his arm around her and held onto his partner as tightly as he could manage. He wasn't afraid of death, but he was afraid of the unknown that awaited him.
"Stay with me, Carlton."
This time her voice seemed distant and faded, as though she were speaking to him from a great distance. But she was right there, her head against his as she held him like a small child in need of comfort.
Without thinking, she kissed Carlton's head and buried her nose in his thick hair. Faintly she could hear the wail of an ambulance in the distance, and some small part of her prayed they weren't too late. "Do you hear that, Carlton? They're almost here."
He let out a deep sigh, and Juliet waited for him to take another breath. But he didn't.
By the time the paramedics arrived, they were too late. They found Juliet holding her partner's body, rocking back and forth slowly as her lips moved in silence. It took both paramedics to pry Lassiter out of her arms, and when they finally did, she folded in on herself.
Her partner had taken a bullet to save her, and she had been unable to save him.
And now Carlton Lassiter was dead.
Shawn ran into the hospital Vick had directed him to, out of breath and terrified. Fifteen minutes ago, he had gotten the call to get down to this hospital as fast as he could. He didn't know what had happened, but Vick had said that an officer down call had been made from the scene she had sent Lassiter and Juliet to.
He could hear Gus running behind him, but for once, he didn't wait for his best friend. He had to know Juliet was okay. He had been trying her cell phone ever since hanging up on Vick, and she hadn't answered.
Gus ran after Shawn, his own heart racing. He didn't know what was going on, but he knew Shawn was afraid. In fact, he was terrified. He had never seen his best friend move with such a sense of urgency.
Shawn rounded a corner, and he nearly hit his knees at the sight in front of him.
Juliet was pacing the floor, her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach. She didn't see Shawn until she was enveloped in his arms.
Shawn crossed the floor and pulled Juliet into his arms, burying his nose in her hair. She was covered in blood, but she was alive and breathing. He groaned and slid his hand up her back. "You're okay," he breathed, choking back a sob. "You're okay. I've got you."
She stiffened, but forced herself to relax in her boyfriend's arms.
After a few minutes, he pulled back a little and looked her over. His hand absently brushed against her swollen belly. "What happened, Juliet?" he demanded anxiously.
It was then that Gus noticed Lassiter was nowhere to be found. Then he took in the blood that covered Juliet, and his stomach lurched.
A shudder went through Juliet's slender frame. "He's...he's dead," she whispered, her voice thick with tears that would not fall.
His face fell. "Oh, no..." He pulled him back to her, feeling ill. His emotions were a mix of concern, fear, guilt, anger and happiness. Happiness that Juliet wasn't dead, anger for his happiness, and sadness that Lassiter was dead. He had never seen eye to eye with the older detective, but he was good to Juliet, and semi-tolerant of him. Shawn respected him, and he knew that Juliet loved him like a brother.
Juliet buried her face in Shawn's shoulder and closed her eyes tightly. As long as she was in Shawn's strong arms, she was completely safe. Nothing bad had ever touched her while she was in his embrace.
Shawn gladly held her tighter, still reeling from the news. He couldn't help running his hands over her again. Once he was satisfied that she was not injured, he met her eyes. "We're going home," he said firmly, cradling her face in his hands.
She leaned into his touch. "Shawn, I can't... I have to give my statement-"
"Later." He pulled out his phone and called Chief Vick. "Chief? It's Shawn. I'm taking Juliet home with me. She can give her statement tomorrow." He closed his phone, then wrapped an arm snugly around her shoulders and began walking her toward the exit. "Let's go."
She reluctantly followed, absently tugging at her stained shirt. She was still in shock, and all she wanted was to take a shower and curl up in bed.
Shawn led her to the car, and after dropping Gus off at the Psych office, he drove Juliet back to their apartment.
She was moving on autopilot, focusing on her breathing as he led her upstairs and into their apartment. Once inside, she began stripping her clothes off as she headed into the bathroom.
While she showered, Shawn ordered a pizza for their dinner. By the time the pizza arrived, Juliet was still in the shower. So he took the pizza into their room and waited for her.
She finally emerged from the shower, red and exhausted. Without getting dressed, she slipped between their sheets and buried her face in a pillow.
It was then that Shawn realized she hadn't cried at all, and he frowned. With a soft grunt, he snuggled up to her side and rested a hand on her back. "Jules, I'm so sorry..."
Her shoulders shuddered. "Leave me alone, Shawn."
He shook his head. "Not going to happen, sweetheart. You just lost your partner." He could only imagine how he would feel if Gus died...or if he lost her. He began stroking her hair slowly, his hand gentle and loving.
"Shawn..." Her voice was a weak whisper.
"You can cry, Jules," he encouraged, sliding between the sheets with her. "You don't have to be strong all of the time. That's why I'm here."
A soft whimper escaped her lips.
He gently drew her into his arms. "You're so strong, sweetheart. But Lassie would understand."
"He took that bullet for me, Shawn," she finally choked out. "And he died in my arms."
"Baby..." He pulled her firmly against his chest. "My Jules..."
For a moment, she struggled against him. But his grip was strong, and she finally collapsed against him. Burying her face in his chest, she started to sob as she clutched his shirt in her fingers.
He nuzzled her hair and ran one hand up and down her back. He didn't speak a word as she cried. He simply held her.
She cried for what felt like hours, until no more tears fell. Then she lay there, trembling in Shawn's arms and sniffling.
When he felt her tears ebb, Shawn pulled their blanket tightly around her and cuddled her much smaller body against his. Later, there would be time to talk. She would tell him what had happened, and he would be there to listen and understand. But for now, he would simply hold her.
As she relaxed in Shawn's arms, her eyes slowly drifted shut. Her energy was drained, and her grief profound. She snuggled further into his arms and finally allowed sleep to pull her away.
Shawn stayed awake long after Juliet's breathing evened out. Because of Lassiter, Juliet and the baby were safe. He had given his life to save both of them, an act of heroism far above and beyond the call of duty.
Shawn closed his eyes, stroking Juliet's hair.
"Thank you, Carlton."
A/N: Say it with me now: Awwwwwwwwww! Thanks for reading, and please review!