Disclaimer: psych isn't mine, and I don't want it. I just want Lassiter. Is that so wrong?
Summary: The conclusion of a murder case goes a little differently than expected when one of the witnesses decides she has a few things to say about Shawn. [I have to admit, as much as I respect Shawn's abilities, I do love it when things don't go his way. Don't know where the idea came for this, and I think it could easily be a standalone. If it goes anywhere beyond this chapter, it fer sher will be Lassiet.]
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Shawn Spencer wrapped up his big reveal, pointing dramatically to Isabella's husband as the killer.
This stunned Isabella, threw the extended family (twenty-three of whom were in the room, along with half a dozen SBPD officers, Juliet, Chief Vick, Henry Spencer, Guster of course, and Lassiter) into an uproar, and left Lassiter with his usual sense of unease.
Spencer was usually right—usually, once he'd settled on the third or fourth this-is-absolutely-the-guy culprit—but every now and then he was wrong, and it was never in a quiet place with just a few witnesses. No, it was always like this: a throng. A throng vs. the SBPD.
And where there's a throng, things will go wrong.
Next to him, Juliet sighed. "Always has to be the drama king."
Lassiter glanced at her, surprised. She'd been making more comments like that lately, and it was taking an inordinate amount of self-control on his part to not flat-out ask her when she was going to give up on her boyfriend ever acting his age. It startled him sometimes to realize he was only seven years older than Spencer. Was he that old? Was Spencer that childish? Hell, O'Hara seemed older than Spencer, and Spencer had five years on her.
He stepped forward into the emotional melee and handcuffed Raul, reading him his rights and then passing him off to McNab before taking another look at Spencer. "Done?"
Spencer shrugged. "Probably. Gus? Did I leave anything out?"
Guster shrugged too. "No, I think you hit the high points."
Spencer extended his arms to the room full of Isabella's absolute closest and now completely distraught family and said magnanimously, "It's been a pleasure reading you all. Sorry to disrupt your lives, but, then again, Raul started it. Ciao!" He headed for the door—his usual approach: stir the pot, let everyone else deal with the cleanup—but came to a stop when Silviana stepped into his path.
Silviana was Isabella's older sister, and she had been quietly observing them all week long as the investigation wore on. Somewhere between 50 and eternal, she had large dark eyes; her long dark hair was coiled into a bun and she wore dangly silver earrings with a red lace shawl: it was all deliberate, Lassiter understood, to project an image. Their background check on her turned up several run-ins with the law regarding fortune-telling enterprises, but nothing had stuck.
"You," she said with quiet force to Spencer, "have been here with your police friends for days, making pronouncements. 'Reading' people, as you put it."
"That's what I do." He tilted his head back as if surprised she would even speak to him. After all, the case was finished. He was done. There was lunch to be acquired.
"I don't entirely understand the nature of your relationship with the police department," she went on.
Chief Vick interrupted. "Mr. Spencer is one of our consultants."
Silviana gave her a long look. "And yet... he seems to think he is in charge, and you seem to... let him be in charge."
Lassiter's own irritation was enhanced by the irritation now clearly being experienced by Karen Vick.
"His methods are unorthodox," the Chief finally said.
Spencer grinned. "Hear that? It's all good."
"It wasn't a compliment." Vick glared at him, and then said politely to Silviana, "He gets the job done and we make allowances for his often..."
"Insulting," Lassiter muttered.
"Juvenile," Henry Spencer muttered.
"Idiotic," Juliet whispered, and Lassiter was positive no one heard it but him.
"Dramatic," Vick interrupted with A Look to all of them. "Dramatic behavior. Is there anything else?"
"Not for you," Silviana said, almost in a dismissive manner. "But for you," and she pointed to Spencer with one red-tipped fingernail, "I do have a request."
"Name it." He could afford to be magnanimous; he was the crime-solving hero, or so Lassiter imagined he thought of himself.
"Allow me to read you."
Oh, this ought to be good. Lassiter leaned against the edge of Isabella's desk, making himself comfortable. Juliet glanced at him and for a second he thought he was in trouble, but after a second she came to perch right beside him. Interesting.
Spencer obviously couldn't resist the temptation for more attention. He grinned at Silviana. "Bring it. But keep in mind, my visions are special, honed, and highly detailed."
Silviana smiled. "You have a photographic memory."
"No, I don't," he said too quickly. "My gift is not... of the brain."
Lassiter bit back laughter. Silviana was amused, but he dared not look to see Juliet's reaction.
"That is," Spencer qualified, "it's not... physio... somatical." He glanced at Guster. "Is that what I mean?"
"No, Shawn. Can we go to lunch?"
"I mean it's not something a doctor could find if he dissected my brain," he tried again.
Silviana waved it off. "I understand what you're trying to say, although you're lying. Lying comes very easily to you, doesn't it?"
"So you say." Spencer lifted one hand to his temple. "Maybe it's you who does the lying."
"Said the liar," she said mockingly. "It only takes a short time observing you to see how things are in your life."
Now he seemed annoyed. "You don't know anything about my life."
"Yet you came in here a week ago, spent perhaps three minutes speaking to each member of my family, and presume to know all about us?"
"Yeah, but you're stereotypes!" he retorted. "You're the classic big Italian clan, half-gypsy, half-mob, half-spaghetti-makers and half-spaghetti-eaters, and—" he stopped talking suddenly as he realized at least twenty-three people were glaring at him (even Raul, who was still in the room, the officers having stopped the removal once the sideshow started), and half the SBPD present was clearly wishing he'd shut up. "...and of course I would think that only if I weren't a highly evolved and worldly person capable of seeing all the nuances and flavors which make up such a diverse group of truly unique individuals."
Silviana's eyebrows went up. "As I said, lying comes easily. Shame you're not better at it." She circled round him slowly, looking him over from head to toe. "Shame you're not a better dresser, too, but I suppose there is a place for sloth in society."
Beside him, Juliet definitely, no mistake, made a muffled sound of amusement. Lassiter couldn't help but stare at her in wonder.
"It's casual. And casual is the only look to have," Spencer insisted. "It goes with everything."
Henry Spencer tugged at his tie. Guster smoothed his pristine shirt. Silviana fluffed her shawl discreetly.
Spencer, Lassiter thought, just looked scruffy.
"It especially goes with laziness," Silviana purred.
Ohhhhhh... really, this was a hell of a lot more fun than the usual wrap-up and arrest.
"Are you done yet? Because I can get personal insults from that guy," Spencer said, pointing at Lassiter.
Silviana cast her dark gaze his way, but it was merely curious. "We'll come back to him later if necessary. Right now we're talking about you."
"Well, hurry it up. Gus gets weepy if he doesn't eat regularly."
She reached out and poked his stomach lightly. "Then it appears you never get weepy. Do you spend the money meant for shaving and laundering on food?"
Uh-oh, Lassiter thought. Getting mean now.
She changed tack before Spencer could get out a protest. "You are a narcissist who has no healthy relationships. Not even with food."
"What? Now I know you're on crack," he shot back. "That chocolate magic-head over there has been my best friend for thirty years, my father... speaks to me... most of the time, and I have the love of a wonderful woman, much cooler than you. Those all sound like relationships to me, sister!"
"I said healthy relationships." She glanced at Guster. "I don't know what issues your friend has which cause him to submit himself to your whimsical mistreatments, but it's probably not too late for basic therapy. Your father, well, he is your father. As for the wonderful woman, perhaps you only have this relationship because she is wonderful, and not because you deserve her. You know what they say," she added with a feline smile. "She will always be wonderful, but you may not always be her boyfriend."
Spencer couldn't help but look toward Juliet, and Lassiter was astonished that rather than defend Spencer (or give Lassiter a preemptive 'shut up' glare), she only met his gaze impassively and waited for Silviana to continue.
It didn't seem that Silviana was surprised by the direction of Spencer's gaze, and Lassiter reminded himself she'd had a week to watch them all.
"I'm pretty sure that's not what they always say," Spencer huffed.
"Agree to disagree." Her tone was still so very mocking. Lassiter was fascinated. "The truth is, everyone in your life is just a bit player. You are forever the star. You crave the spotlight. You will do anything, belittle anyone, tell any lie, maintain any illusion—anything to ensure attention will come your way in the end. Yet I cannot deny that clearly you are intelligent and clearly you excel in your discoveries for the police." She nodded toward Vick. "I've read about him in the papers, and notice he usually fails to mention anyone in your department. One would think he did all the work."
Guster chose that point to defend him on. "You know reporters edit quotes. Shawn gives credit where it's due. He even mentioned me by my correct name in the article about our last case."
Silviana turned and studied him, almost sadly. "And after all these years you consider that a coup, instead of a given?"
Spencer said, "Wait a minute. There's nothing wrong with taking credit for a job well done." He pointed at Lassiter. "That guy lives for credit. I don't see you hassling him."
Lassiter fidgeted, feeling heat rising in his face, but the truth was he'd worked too hard too long to get where he was to not want credit for his achievements.
But again, Silviana had an answer for Spencer. "He may well take credit for his work, but I don't believe he's known to take credit for anyone else's work."
"Well, I don't—" He stopped, looking at Guster. Guster was uncomfortable.
Henry was equally uncomfortable. Vick was looking down. Juliet sighed. Lassiter marveled.
"They know... they know they get credit in my book." Spencer tried to rally. "Look, the important people in my life know they're important and how they're important."
"Yet who is important?" She made another slow, deliberate circle around him. "You are solitary. By choice. There is no equality in the relationships you have with your friend and your father."
Spencer was foundering. "Well, ask my girlfriend. She'll tell you she's my equal."
Silviana scoffed. "If she were honest, she would say no such thing. She has a far closer and much stronger relationship with her partner than she does with you." She looked over at them for a moment and added curiously, "And more promising, too."
Whatever she said next was lost to Lassiter, because he was flooded with warmth and confusion and an awareness that everyone, for at least a second, had stared at him and Juliet, except for Juliet, who like him had stared only at Silviana.
Spencer shook his head, confused and annoyed and trying to respond to many many different attacks at one time. (At least that's how Lassiter would have been reacting.) (Dammit, that meant he was actually sympathetic to him. Crap!)
Henry and Vick seemed to recognize the show needed to come to an end; they both strode forward into the war zone; Henry grabbed Spencer's arm and shoved him at Guster, and Vick spoke firmly to Silviana. "We'll be leaving now. As fascinating as your analysis of Mr. Spencer is, you two can take it up on your own time. Detectives, officers—" Her manner was clear, firm and not to be disobeyed.
"Wait," Spencer said, turning at the door. "Wait. I think you're a fraud, Silviana, who likes attention just as much as you say I do, which is of course completely wrong." He glanced around, saw no support, and went on. "I think you've spent the week waiting for this moment. So, given how completely wrong you are about me, let's see if you can read anyone right. At all. Start with him." Again, he pointed at Lassiter.
Silviana frowned. "What is your obsession with this man?"
"I've been wondering that myself," Henry muttered.
So had Lassiter, but he'd always put it down to the simple fact that Spencer was genetically predisposed to reject all authority, and if there was one thing Lassiter was sure of about himself, it was that he had authority down pat.
"I am not obsessed with Lassie," Spencer protested. "Show of hands, SBPD, if anyone—anyone at all—thinks I seem the least little bit obsessed with Lassie!"
The entire contingent of SBPD employees raised their hands. Beside Lassiter, Juliet most definitely laughed, and her hand was pretty damned high up.
Lassiter grinned at Spencer. "You really thought that one would go your way?"
"Worth a shot," he mumbled. "Anyway, let's hear it, Silviana, if that's even your name." To Guster, he whispered, "Is it her name?"
She did not wait for Guster's answer. "Silviana Graciela Mona Lisa Pastorino. That is the name on my birth certificate. My married name was Nesca."
"Nesca," he repeated. "Right. Coffee."
"You're thinking of Nescafe," Guster hissed.
Silviana sighed. "I no longer remember the point of this conversation, but I believe you wanted me to in some way humiliate myself or your superior."
Spencer's eyes narrowed. "He is so not my superior, Mrs. Hot Beverage."
Juliet cleared her throat. Lassiter just let it ride.
"Oh, but he is. He is better-behaved, he is better-dressed, he is better-informed, and he is better able to conduct himself like an adult in mixed company, and I, Mr. Spencer," she said in a very low voice, leaning in close, "don't even like him." She gave Lassiter an apologetic glance. "Take no offense. I do not like very many men. You do have remarkable eyes and I might make an exception for you, if only to cause this man to have a stroke."
Lassiter thought for a second and finally said, bemused, "Uh... no offense taken?"
He was surprised to feel Juliet touch his arm, and when he looked at her, her other hand was over her mouth, she was laughing quietly, and the look in her eyes said she was absolutely not laughing at him. Curiouser and curiouser.
At last, however, Silviana seemed to have tired of Spencer. "If there is nothing else, I think we shall part ways here. You to your strange and narcissistic world, and I back to my family, for though we may be an ethnic stereotype, Mr. Spencer, we do have each other to rely on—without question."
He really didn't know what to say; his stumped-ness was obvious. Finally, he muttered, "Except for the murdering part. Come on, Gus, it's Frito pie day at Harley's." He walked out fast, Gus hurrying after him.
Lassiter glanced at his co-workers: Vick, Henry, Juliet. He wasn't sure what to think himself, and was hoping they had all forgotten Silviana's remark about his relationship with Juliet. No one seemed inclined to offer commentary—not even Lassiter, who recognized that no matter what he thought of Spencer's methods, and no matter how entertaining Silviana's attack had been, the man was still a representative of the police department and so it wouldn't be prudent to hug Silviana on his way out.
But he was smiling, just a little, as he and Juliet got into the Crown Vic and headed back to the station.
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[What do you think? Stand-alone, or more?]