Disclaimer: Actually, you know what? I do own psych. In my MIND. Yeah. That'll hold up in court.
Summary: One-shot Lassiet. An off-the-cuff snark by a suspect causes Juliet & Lassiter to "think on" things between them. Shules exists, Marlowe doesn't, because although I like her, I don't know what to do with a character we never see. Set immediately after S6 Shawn & The Real Girl. Spoilers, but nothing dramatic.
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"Well, look at you two! Mr. and Mrs. Policeman!"
Spoken mockingly, the words lingered in the air even as Gianukos stampeded on with his attempt to derail their investigation.
They were standing shoulder-to-shoulder, palms down on the table; in fact their hands were touching but neither moved to separate, and neither reacted outwardly to Gianukos.
But both of them thought about it.
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Lassiter spent two hours at the shooting range, imagining each target was one of the obstacles to finding any sort of peace with himself. Coincidence, surely, that the targets all looked like him in his mind. He'd expected them to look like Spencer, but the truth was he only felt homicidal about Spencer when the man-child was in front of him, pushing his buttons. The rest of the time, he was easy to put aside.
"Mr. & Mrs. Policeman."
Yeah… he liked the idea. The snarky little ass hadn't meant it as anything other than a put-down, but Lassiter saw beyond it to the implication that he and Juliet were a team, formidable in their own right, opposites matched perfectly.
He'd never expected that kind of partnership in his life, certainly not with a woman. He'd always figured a woman would either get tired of answering to him or get tired of him, period, and he'd be partnered with men of crankiness equal to his own, never having to be 'friends' or anything more than on-duty compatriots.
But then he'd also never expected to fall so damned hard for her. For anyone.
Juliet, who was jealous of any woman who looked at her boyfriend… Spencer.
All right, so the next target did look a little bit like the gel-head, but he eased up and shot him in the shoulder instead of between the eyes, because even in fantasy-land, he couldn't do anything to hurt Juliet.
What's it gonna be, pal? Keep pining for a woman who will never be yours, or learn to be content with the best partner and friend you've ever had?
Like he had a choice. It was always going to be both, until he dropped dead or someone faster on the draw took him down in some blazing gunfight which would mark him as yet another dead hero of the SBPD.
Except the way his luck went, he was more likely to fall in the shower and break his neck. Very heroic.
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Juliet had been drinking. Not her usual style, drinking alone, but the sangria was refreshing even as it let her wallow, and she needed a break from being sensible and steady.
Shawn would have gladly suggested something insensible, but his insensible activities generally involved the television, Gus, and food, and tonight she couldn't concentrate on television, didn't want to have to fight Gus for a place on the sofa near Shawn, and wasn't in the mood for street vendor delicacies. Or, really, the pair of them to begin with.
"Mr. & Mrs. Policeman."
She sighed, swirling the red sangria in the glass.
The feel of Carlton's hand against hers on the table, and his shoulder touching hers, when Gianukos said those words (and set off an entirely different set of alarms from the ones already going off merely because he was a suspect) had not faded.
Neither had the words.
Juliet liked those words. She liked what they implied, although of course Gianukos hadn't intended them that way.
She liked realizing, and accepting, that she and Carlton were… together… in a way she couldn't compare to any other relationship in her life.
Shouldn't she have that kind of relationship with her boyfriend?
Stretching her legs out on the sofa, she took another swig of sangria and thought about it.
No. You don't have to be best friends with your boyfriend. It's nice if you can be, but people fall for each other, and stay with each other (if they do) for all sorts of reasons, and there's no golden set of rules for how a couple must be.
Truth was, if Shawn continued to resist making even a half-hearted attempt to grow into his actual age, she could imagine not being with him.
Not flattering to him, no.
But even though there'd been many, many times she'd wanted to smack Carlton upside the head with the entire California Penal Code, she could imagine him being in her life forever.
Very easily. And much more intimately. Which thought made her shiver in an exceedingly pleasant way.
Still not flattering to Shawn.
Probably confusing to Carlton.
She finished off the glass and had another. Then one more, which she drank more slowly.
She'd had many late-night conversations with herself about Carlton over the years. All of them ended with he's your partner; stop thinking of him that way or you have Shawn; stop thinking of Carlton that way or how in the hell do I stop thinking of him that way?
More confusing: why had it driven her bonkers to see the reality show girl making moves on Shawn? Of course he couldn't tell her to back off; he was undercover. Granted, he was only undercover by choice and hadn't needed to pose as a contestant in the first place to complete the investigation, but then Shawn never did any (ridiculous) thing half-way.
The second half of the glass gave her the answer, and it was flavored with anger.
You put too much into putting up with his quirks to tolerate for even one second the idea of him being cavalier about your relationship, let alone about the concept of honesty.
And then, during his big reveal, when he proved he'd told the stupid girl he had a girlfriend and felt the need to color it with a commentary about their sex life (which they barely had, really, given her schedule, his insistence that they socialize with Gus, and the amount of high-carb food he consumed which made him too sleepy half the time), he had to do so in front of half a dozen people, including Carlton. Great. Swell guy.
Wait; that had been Carlton's voice in her head.
She shrugged, because he was right, and finished the sangria. There was enough in the bottle for one more glass… and it really wasn't like her… but…
Dammit, you would rather have Carlton. Just admit it, girl.
She emptied the bottle into her glass.
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Lassiter was in bed, hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling and thinking of Juliet, and wondering if he could stop thinking about her long enough to maybe, just maybe, get some sleep.
When the phone rang—one a.m.—he was almost grateful; now he could get dressed and go to a crime scene and get past this millionth bump in the you-really-have-to-get-over-her road.
But it was Juliet.
"I know I didn't wake you." Her voice was low.
"No." Don't ask me why. "What's up?"
"We are. Listen, Carlton, I've had an entire bottle of sangria, mostly on an empty stomach, and I freely admit to not being in full control of my faculties."
He sat up in bed, already swinging his legs over the side. "Where are you?"
"I'm in the hall outside your apartment. May I come in?"
He disconnected and rapidly closed the dim distance between his bed and the front door to his condo, and sure enough, Juliet stood there in the hall, dark blue eyes huge and intense, golden hair mussed, and if he wasn't mistaken, lavender pajama pants visible under the long tan coat she wore.
He held out his hand, and she took it so he could pull her inside and lock up again. "You okay?"
"Nope," she said calmly, and went through to sit at his table, lit by the light from the patio.
He sat in the chair next to hers. "What's wrong?"
"I need to ask you a question, Carlton, and I could have asked it over the phone but I decided it should be in person, because I want to see your face when you answer. I want to see the truth of it in your eyes." She smiled. "Your beautiful blue eyes can't lie to me."
Lassiter swallowed. "I try not to lie to you at all."
"I know." She put her hand over his lightly, and he felt it all the way to his toes. "And I know you, so if we're on the same track at all, then you really weren't sleeping and I know why. But I could be wrong. I mean, I could be."
He felt a tingling awareness of something like an electrical current between them, something profound and puzzling and personal and perfect, but then she was tipsy and it was one a.m. and for every time she was wrong about something, he'd been wrong a dozen times.
"What's the question?" Huh… seemed he was whispering.
She turned in her chair to face him fully. "If I broke up with Shawn and asked you to marry me, would you say yes?"
Lassiter's heart took a vacation from beating, and then resumed as if it had been shocked back into life by a cackling mad scientist.
Juliet watched him, and he knew she could read his every single scattered thought; she'd always been able to see through any defense he put up.
She added softly, "Yeah, it's the sangria talking. But it's only reading out loud what's already in my heart, Carlton."
Her hand was still on his, and his was trembling.
"If you say no, I go home and we pretend this never happened. But if you're going to say no, make it because you don't feel that way about me. Don't make it about the job or life or expectations or fears or the past."
He stared at her, and she reached over to claim his other hand as well.
"It would be nice if you said something," she prompted.
"Yes," he said.
Juliet's smile lit the room. "Yes?"
"Yes, you would marry me?"
"Yes," he breathed, and pulled her to him for a kiss. A glorious first kiss with a glorious woman who laughed and kissed him back, her mouth as sweet and hot and delicious against his as he'd always imagined.
"Mr. Policeman," she whispered against his throat.
"Mrs. Policeman," he murmured back, hands in her soft hair, feeling hers slipping into his, and reveling in the knowledge that Gianukos' words had gotten to her too.
Almost made up for the guy being innocent.
(Oh, who was he kidding; he'd have been happy to know Hitler said the words if it led to Juliet being here now.)
Juliet kissed him again, cupping his face and smiling brilliantly. "I'll be back when it's done."
"I'll be ready." So very damned ready.
He walked her to the door and they paused to kiss again, and again he was in awe that their rightness as improbable partners included their rightness in each others' arms.
"It might be before breakfast," she teased.
Lassiter grinned. "Bring it, Mrs. Policeman."
It was the first time in his adult life he could ever remember lying awake the rest of the night simply because he was happy.
So yeah, he thought again, bring it.
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Juliet got home safely and flung herself onto her bed, smiling.
Oh, Carlton. I am so bringing everything you can possibly take from me.
She snatched up her phone and called him. "Did I say I love you? Because I do."
He sighed with what she knew to be contentment. "I know that now. Did I say I love you?"
"I knew it already," she said impertinently.
"Sangria makes you cocky, O'Hara."
"Yeah," he said with another sigh. "Lucky me."
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