Slings And Arrows, Or, How Lassiter Broke His Collarbone
Regular watchers of psych remember that Lassiter wore a sling for several episodes in Season 2 without ever giving a reason why. The story is the writers thought it would be amusing to not link Tim Omundson's real-life broken collarbone to any event in Lassiter's life. But fanfic writers wouldn't be fanfic writers if we didn't have curious 'what-if' minds, right? So I got to thinking: why would Lassiter keep this secret? Maybe he was embarrassed because it was stupid or questionable, maybe he was asked not to reveal why (by whom?)… or maybe he was injured while helping someone else out and had a reason not to be a hero. I decided to give several possible explanations. And because Lassiter would never reveal his secret to someone he couldn't trust completely, it also gave me an excuse for writing established Lassiet. :-)
Rating: T / Disclaimer: duh, not mine.
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== EXPLANATION ONE ==
Juliet traced a line from Carlton's throat across his left shoulder and down his arm, leaning in to kiss him, liking the smile which lit his blue, blue eyes. "It's our anniversary, you know."
"Three months," he agreed. "Best out of the last decade, hands down. Actually, ever."
For that, she gave him another kiss, and a whisper about feelings being mutual.
"I think we should exchange gifts," she announced. "But not objects."
His dark brows went up. "Do elaborate."
She clambered on top of him, grinning. "For my gift to you, I will do that thing you like me to do which you don't like to ask me to do but really you don't have to worry because I actually like doing that thing very much."
Carlton laughed, and looked titillated, which was her first goal. "And for my gift to you—"
"Wait, don't say it. I already have something special picked out."
He ran his hands down her back to her derriere, smirking. "I thought you said you didn't want objects."
"This isn't an object. It's information."
Frowning now, he tilted his head back and eyed her with mock suspicion. "I'm not your informant, O'Hara."
Juliet tried not to laugh. "Nothing like that. Well, maybe. I want to know how you broke your collarbone four years ago."
Carlton grew still, but he wasn't angry; just surprised. She waited semi-anxiously, rubbing his shoulder lightly, hoping to soothe if that's what he needed.
"That was a long time ago," he finally said, "and it's stupid."
"Was it illegal?"
"No, just stupid." He let go of her, flinging his arms out by his side, sighing. "I was a bit more high-strung then."
Juliet smiled. "Yeah, I guess you were." She let him slide her off of his body, and they lay side by side under the quilt he pulled up to cover them. "But you're different now, and you're finally mine, and I'd really like to know, and I won't think it's stupid."
He was skeptical. "You might. And what do you mean finally? I wasn't exactly playing hard to get."
"Oh, you were impossible to get. You didn't want to be gotten. You were—"
Cutting her off with a kiss, he quite effectively distracted her for a few moments before setting her free. "You really want to know."
Shaking his head, he rolled onto his back again. "I fell."
"Well… that's not stupid."
"I fell into my own broom closet."
"That's not stupid either. It's… well, it's odd, but not stupid."
"I lost my balance while shooting at a squirrel."
"Carlton." She had to laugh. "What? You're a crack shot. You don't lose your balance." Then it hit her. "Wait. You were shooting at a squirrel in your house?"
He closed his eyes, letting out a deep breath. "I was standing on a stool at the window to get the best possible angle to hit the little bastard squirrel who was at the time defiantly and presumably deliberately mocking me out in the back yard. But I was too cocky. I shot, underestimating the effect of this balance shift on the stool; it went over, I went over, and the next thing I know I'm driving myself to the ER in incredible pain."
Juliet dissolved into laughter.
Carlton grinned. "Dammit, woman, this is very serious. I had to wear that sling forever. My shoulder still aches whenever I see a stool."
"Oh, I'm sorry, I am; it's not funny. It's not." She wiped her eyes. "It's not. Really. How did you keep the details a secret, though?"
"I never had to say how it happened. All the department needed to know was that it was a broken bone, I was off duty and not on any substances when it happened, and what the timeframe was for recovery. Until this very moment, I never told a soul the truth about the circumstances."
She was suitably honored. "You know, it's really not funny. You could have hit your head and knocked yourself out. You might have been even more seriously injured."
He said dryly, "Or the squirrel might have witnessed the whole thing."
"Um. Did you hit the squirrel?"
One eyebrow went up. "Am I not a crack shot?"
"Consider the question unasked." She scooted closer and kissed him slowly, loving the feel of his smile against her lips. "You are the crackest crack shot there is."
"Crackest?" he repeated.
"Crackest." She kissed his left shoulder. "Thank you for telling me. I hope you would have told me even if I hadn't promised to do that thing you like."
His smile was slow and tantalizing. "I think I would have. I can't be bought that easily, you know."
"Oh, I know."
"Now, if you had offered to do it twice, well… I am only human."
"Hush up, crack shot." She started down under the quilt. "See you in a bit." She paused and smirked. "That is if you don't pass out from ecstasy." The last thing she saw before the quilt covered her head was his grin.
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== EXPLANATION TWO ==
Carlton's long legs were stretched out across the sofa, but Juliet wanted to be close to him, so she simply tapped on his calf and he looked up from his book, smiling at once. "Sorry," he said, moving so she could sit. "And hello," he added, as she proceeded to invade his space.
Achieving what she wanted without even speaking, Juliet lay half on him, his warm arms enclosing her, his book forgotten when the kissing started.
The kissing usually led to other things, but right now she was happy just to cozy up to him. "I hope I didn't interrupt a crucial scene in the book."
"Well, it was only Appomattox, so I already know how it ends." He nuzzled her temple. "You smell wonderful."
"So do you," she said, settling her head on his chest. "Like coffee and warmth and beautiful blue eyes and Irish spring and love."
His low laughter was a pleasing rumble against her cheek. "Organic ingredients, all. And no animal testing."
"None," she agreed. She shifted a little to fit better against him, and didn't miss the slight wince which crossed his lean face. "You okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Shoulder's a little sore. Rainy days," he said, gesturing to the gray view from the window.
She remembered something she'd long wanted to ask him, and hesitated.
"Yes?" he prompted. "I know that look, O'Hara."
"What look is that?"
"It's the Detective O'Hara look."
"I learned that from you, you know."
"Why do you think it scares me?" He laughed when she scowled at him. "That look's scary, too. What's on your mind?"
"Okay, I was going to ease into this but since you've mocked me—"
"It wasn't mockery," he protested. "I was admiring my work."
"Egotist." She let him kiss her anyway. "Four years ago, give or take."
"Four years ago?"
"Four years ago. You. Arm sling. Secrecy."
He made an 'ohhh' face and gazed at her speculatively. "What about it?"
She thumped his chest lightly. "Carlton Lassiter, I have been wondering about it all these years and if you're going to tell anyone, you should tell me, because I'm your partner."
"Yes you are. You're also my best friend, as well as the love of my life," he said with a smile.
"And those, yes, but also—okay, that's all I've got." She laughed. "Tell me. Please."
"I shouldn't," he said solemnly.
"Carlton," she pleaded. "Don't toy with me."
"Okay, okay. I was working a private case."
Juliet drew back and frowned. "What? What private case? You don't do private cases."
"It was a private case," he repeated. "It was a very small operation. Vick was the only one who knew about it."
"What? She told me she didn't know how you broke your collarbone either."
He smiled. "Yeah, she did."
Juliet was incensed. "And you both kept it from me?"
"We were both embarrassed. It didn't go the way we planned and we agreed to keep it quiet."
"Well… well… what the hell happened?" She was annoyed but also more curious than ever.
Carlton sighed and closed his eyes for a moment. "Her husband was out of town and she thought she had a peeping Tom. She wanted to handle it herself if possible but with Iris still a toddler, she didn't want to engage the perp on her own."
"Handle it herself? Like how?"
"I didn't ask. I just agreed to help her out. She knew I could be trusted to be discreet, and—"
"Wait, wait. Why was discretion so important? There's no shame in having a peeping Tom. And unless she was planning to kill the guy instead of arrest him—oh my God, wait. Did she want you to kill the guy?"
He laughed. "No. O'Hara, just let me tell the story."
"Fine!" She sat up, arms folded, pouting. "Sue me for having a curious mind."
"Settle down, girl." He put his hands behind his head. "Karen's master bedroom was on the second floor, and for a couple nights in a row she was pretty sure she'd seen someone watching her from the tree next to the window. But with Iris there, she didn't want to charge outside with her gun, and she didn't want to call the cops until she knew exactly what she was up against. So she asked me to come stake the place out."
"I'm with you so far," she said grudgingly. "I still don't see why it had to be a secret. She's the chief of police! Let all peepers beware!"
"The chief of police was willing to be discreet for the sake of her neighbors," he countered. "She thought it might have been one of the teenagers in the area and she hoped they were all basically good kids."
"Okay. So then what?"
"The plan was simple. I hid in the yard and watched the tree, and eventually did see a shadowy figure climbing up. I couldn't see much, but I radioed her that he was in place. She moved closer to the window to confirm he was watching her—she said she could always spot his eyes—and told me to proceed with Phase 2."
Juliet interrupted. "She didn't have yard lights? Motion sensors?"
"Yard lights, yes, but they had to be turned on from the first floor. The other times she spotted him, he was gone by the time she got downstairs—and remember, she didn't want to go outside as long as she was alone with Iris."
"Why not leave the lights on all night until her husband got home?"
Carlton sighed. "The lights were too bright for the neighbors, and she didn't want the neighbors worked up until she knew who the peeper was. Are you going to let me tell this story or not, detective?"
"I am letting you tell it! You're just leaving stuff out." She was surprised when he pulled her back against his body to kiss her, but surprised him by taking the opportunity to straddle him on the sofa. "Now you can't go anywhere until you've told it all."
His grin was lascivious. "Why in the hell would I want to go anywhere?" He reached up to start unbuttoning her blouse, and she slapped his hands away lightly, making him laugh. "Sorry, I can't help it."
"Tell a good enough story and you can unbutton anything you want," she promised.
"Stop interrupting, and I will."
"Seeking information is not interrupting."
"Seeking to unbutton your blouse," as he tried it again, "is not delaying the telling. Much." He managed to get the top two undone, but she leaned back, capturing his warm hands and holding them down by her thighs. "Stop. Talk."
"Phase 2," he said with mock exasperation, "meant that I approached the tree quietly. I could hear the leaves rustling so I knew he was up there, and when I was at the base, I shouted 'out of the tree, bonehead!'"
"Well, he came down all right. Hit me in the chest and knocked me back with enough force to slam me against a stone bench by the fence." His blue eyes reflected remembered pain. "I heard the bone crack."
Juliet's heart twinged. "Oh, Carlton," she murmured, and bent to kiss him. Pulling his shirt open a little, she trailed kisses along his shoulder, tasting his skin, trying to heal the long-ago hurt.
Carlton sighed and slid his hands under her blouse, recapturing her mouth with his and making her forget the rest of the story until the blouse was completely off and she realized he had done it again.
Still, she had to laugh at the expression on his face—half lust, half sly victory, half awareness that he was in trouble. "Nice try, you big con artist."
"Oh, come on. I can't help it if you're incredibly sexy."
"Peeping Tom," she said sternly. "No more touchy feely kissy licky until the rest is out."
"You kissed me," he pointed out. "The licking was just a bonus."
"Carlton, stop tempting me. I will not be deterred!"
He linked his hands behind his head again, trying to look innocent. Juliet's gaze fell to his chest where she'd opened his shirt, and the curls of dark hair there made her want to do some extremely illicit things which would only start with licking. But she toughened up and glared at his sea-blue eyes with renewed zeal.
"All right. He knocked me down and sat on my chest for a minute, staring at me. Then Karen made it to the light switch, the yard lit up like a stadium, and he took off like a shot."
"And you couldn't go after him because of your broken collarbone."
"No," he said dryly, "I didn't go after him, because he was a bobcat."
"A… what? A bobcat?"
"Yup. Karen saw him too."
"So there was no peeping Tom?"
"Apparently not. Well, not one we could arrest, even if we could have caught him."
"So…" She was still puzzled. "Why the secrecy?"
He rolled his eyes, a little chagrined. "O'Hara. We were both embarrassed. Vick felt terrible because I got hurt and stupid because it was only a bobcat, and I felt stupid because I didn't take enough time to figure out what exactly was up the tree and did I really want it bandied about the station that I'd been ready to cuff a wild animal? No. Thanks, but no. We both looked like idiots."
"Oh, come on! That's too harsh. It could have happened to anyone like that. It could have happened to her husband!"
"Yeah, well, it didn't. It happened to the chief of police and her head detective, and we both had enough professional pride to want to keep this our little secret."
Juliet still wasn't satisfied. "So she took you to the ER?"
"No, I wouldn't let her. She didn't need to drag Iris out that late to sit in an ER with me, and I was able to drive."
"Sure you were."
"Sort of. The point is, I got there and I didn't pass out."
She raised her eyebrows.
Carlton sighed. "I might have passed out in the ER. But I'd skipped dinner that night, so I—"
"Come on, it was four years ago. I'm all better now. It was one stupid night of macho moronitude and it's over." He pulled her down for a kiss. "Can we get back to the licking?"
Juliet glared at him, but her ire was fading. "It wasn't macho moronitude. Well, driving yourself to the ER with a broken collarbone was pretty moronic."
"Baby," he soothed her, "relax. If things had been different between us then, I'd have called you first. I almost did anyway, about halfway to the hospital. And you were the only person I even thought about calling."
That was something. And it made her all melty when he called her 'baby.' "Okay. I'll let it go for now."
"Good. Besides, you promised I could unbutton anything I wanted to, and those are button-fly jeans, aren't they?"
"No," she laughed, "they are not."
"Sure? I could look harder. Maybe with my tongue."
"Carlton…" She sighed as he nuzzled her throat, letting him ease her out of her bra.
"Come on," he murmured as he continued nuzzling. "It's touchy feely kissy licky time."
Juliet tried to resist. "Sure you wouldn't rather go back to your Appomattox book?"
"Maybe later." Fingertips on her breasts. Goosebumps. Other bumps. Not just on her.
"You know how this ends, too, you know." She was having a little trouble catching her breath.
"Maybe, but there's never enough touchy feely kissy licky in those Civil War histories. I much prefer our little explosions, and would you stop talking now and let me make love to you?"
She thought she could do that… and it turned out she was right.
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