Shassie fic with the appropriate amount of angst and hint of possesion.
Part of the "Amputations" series
Carlton had never had an easy life.
Well, OK, his childhood had been idyllic and he used to look back on it fondly.
School was a hellhole, where people made fun of him for his name and his ears and (later on, in college), his prematurely greying hair.
His marriage was even worse, he had chained himself to a beautiful woman who out to be a harpy with an even crueler father.
When he divorced, his relationship with his mother had fallen apart, and he couldn't even think back to those beautiful, carefree days of his childhood.
Was it any wonder he had taken refuge in his job?
Even before things started going sour, Carlton had been dedicated to his job. He wanted to be the best police officer he could be, and then the best detective.
And when the anger at home, at his wife, at his goddamn life, got to be too much, well, the firing range was always open. And if Carlton was especially lucky, a violent case requiring some chasing and shooting came up.
No one questioned him anymore when he took the 'grunt' work from the officers anymore; maybe they could sense he needed it. Or maybe they were scared. He didn't really care.
Carlton's life was slowly falling apart, and he knew he couldn't stop it. So why try?
And then Shawn had entered his life.
Shawn, the loud, rambunctious, flamboyant, silly psychic.
By that time, Carlton had given up hope for himself. He would turn into this lonely, bitter old man, the guy who hung around the cop station long after he retired because he had no friends to entertain. He accepted it.
But Shawn called him Lassie, and involved him the the strangest cases.
Carlton hated him (at first). Shawn was everything that Carlton could have been, if his childhood hadn't ended so suddenly. He was everything Carlton wanted to be, and Shawn shoved it in his face, all without meaning to.
Shawn had a best friend who would do anything for him (or were they more than friends? Carlton had caught himself wondering late at night..), he could capture and keep people's attention without having to yell. People instantly liked him, instantly trusted him.
Yeah, Carlton hated him, but he had to keep him around. Whenever Shawn was there, Carlton found himself rising to meet the challenge. He was wittier, he was quicker, he was more alive.
Carlton had found himself, embarrassingly, referring to Shawn (only in his head, of course) as the one ray of sunshine in his life.
Something about that younger man attracted him, he had to admit it. It was the same kind of animal magnetism that he seemed to ooze to everyone, but Carlton felt that only he was so strongly affected.
Because he and Shawn could be the same, one day. They could've been, if Shawn had stayed and did what his father had wanted him to do and had lost his sense of childhood fun.
They still could be, if something happened. If Gus died, maybe, or Psych failed, or anything, really. Someone like Shawn couldn't act like that without being incredibly fragile underneath. One little thing could push Shawn over the edge, show him the pain of life, turn him bitter and resigned. Just like Carlton.
And Carlton wasn't going to lie, he had thought about maybe initiating that event. Watching everyone withdraw from this new Shawn and then being there, stealing his attention for himself.
But he would never do it. Some of it was his instincts as a cop, the ingrained need to follow the law.
But most of it was the need he felt to protect Shawn. He didn't want Shawn to end up like him, he couldn't take it. The world had enough bitter Carltons, it needed happy, useful Shawns.
If the ray of sunshine in his life was snuffed out, what would happen to Carlton?
And so he knew he would always protect the younger man, no matter the cost to himself. So he smiled when he and Juliet started dating, he went along with his crazy hunches.
But if Shawn ever needed him, if Shawn was ever in danger of losing his youth, his outlook...
Well, Carlton would be there. He wouldn't be able to help it, and, maybe, just maybe, things would be better after that.
Maybe Carlton could have his own ray of sunshine, but he doubted it.