Disclaimer: you know. Not claiming any kind of ownership of any psych-ness. Though I do now own a Detective Carlton Lassiter Talking Bobblehead.
Summary: I always thought there was a missing scene from the end of Shawn Has The Yips, some aftermath to what Lassiter went through—and here it is. Seriously, this popped into my head this afternoon and commanded itself to be written down. One-shot. (REALLY.) Friendship between Lassiter and Juliet.
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She was shaking.
She was standing in the stall of the ladies' room at the police station, shaking.
She been here twenty minutes already, trying to get herself under control, but it wasn't working.
It had been okay, after Carlton subdued Salamatchia and she knew he was all right. It had been okay driving back to the station, and she was glad he didn't object when she insisted Gus ride back with him in his car. It had been okay, because he was okay.
But as soon as she sat down, after Salamatchia had been processed, she began to feel the fear creeping through the relief; as the adrenalin wore off, so did the okay-ness.
Carlton had been seconds—no, a mere moment—from death. He had looked at her, when Salamatchia demanded she drop her weapon, with an expression saying do it; better I die than you three, and he'd looked weary and sick because he knew it was a pointless act for Salamatchia to kill him, but there was nothing to be done about it.
Not that he'd given up—never that—but rather that he trusted her to follow through and bring Salamatchia in even if it did have to be over his dead body.
When the tears began to burn her eyes, that's when she went to the ladies' room.
When she couldn't bear not to see him again, that's when she came out.
She went to his desk, where he sat staring at his computer screen. Somehow she knew his brilliant blue eyes—oh, God, so vivid this afternoon in the cemetery as he gazed at her—weren't seeing anything at all.
Putting her hand on his shoulder gently, she was unutterably relieved that he only sighed and relaxed (rather than withdrawing, standing, asking her brusquely what she wanted). He relaxed under her touch, and that took the edge off her fear.
"Carlton," she said softly.
He closed his eyes for a moment, still. "Yes."
He flicked his screen off and got up, no hesitation. Jacket, keys.
They walked out together and she let her hand brush against his in the lot, and without a word they got into his car and he started driving. She didn't ask where they were going and was sure he didn't know.
He finally stopped at a park near the beach and got out. On this gray day there were many empty benches but they never got that far; she caught up with him and tugged at his wrist and he turned and she put her arms around him and he hugged her back.
She breathed in his scent, his aliveness, feeling his heartbeat where her head lay against his chest, and Carlton held her and let her hold him, and the cool air swirled around them scented with salt and sea and sand and life.
And… that was better.
It was best.
When her eyes burned with tears again, they were tears of happiness, because he was still here with her, and letting her be with him.
Carlton's arms tightened around her and he sighed. "Just another day, O'Hara."
God forbid. "Let's not have another one like this for awhile, okay?"
She could almost feel his smile against her hair, and imagining it was as pleasant as it would have been to see it, but she didn't want to lift her head from the solid, real, vital warmth of his chest.
"Thank you," he said so softly that she nearly didn't hear him.
She squeezed him hard, knowing he meant for being here now and not for saving his life, because she hadn't; he'd done that himself while she stood by helpless.
"Thank you, Carlton," she echoed.
For being here now.