A/N Fair warning, I've been awake since 3:30 this morning. I was having this really bizarre dream and there was a baby cheetah in it, and the baby cheetah attacked my ear and I woke up. So the part from Shawn's POV is all written with far too little sleep. Which, actually, is easier to write on too little sleep. I know I should have waited and posted this tomorrow when I can edit with a well-rested eye, but I've got RL suckiness going on tomorrow and the last thing I'm going to wanna do is edit. I could use a little review love to help out? Not extorting reviews, just asking.
Carlton stared at the evidence in front of him. The answer was in there somewhere. Why couldn't he see it?
He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He couldn't see it. He needed a fresh perspective, a new set of eyes, an opinion he could trust. He hated to say it, but he needed Psych in on this one. He and O'Hara had been working on it for too long; they were missing something and Carlton had a feeling that it was something right in front of his nose.
He stood. The station was far too quiet at this time of the night, and Carlton had sent O'Hara home some hours ago with a promise that he'd leave soon afterwards, a promise the both of them knew that he'd break. He found the quiet suddenly stifling, so he gathered up the relevant files and headed out to the one place where he knew that quiet was the last thing that he'd get.
The lights were on in the Psych office. Carlton let his car idle outside for a few moments. He could see that the TV was on, but he didn't see Guster's car in the parking lot. Spencer had pretty much moved into the office citing that it had more room for him to maneuver on his crutches, and he never cooked, so why did he need a real kitchen anyway? Carlton didn't know why he was surprised to see that Spencer was awake. The nightmares of a shooting victim were never so easily shaken.
Carlton continued to sit in his car, engine running, and he stared at the lit-up window. This whole situation had such a terrible sense of déjà vu, that he couldn't bring himself to turn the key and open the door. This was how Spencer had almost died; Carlton, at his wit's end, had turned to the fake psychic for help. He'd arrived at the office in the middle of the night, when Spencer had been the only one there. That time, Carlton had been frustrated, his hands tied by his position as an officer of the law. He'd gone to Spencer specifically because as a civilian, he could go places and talk to people that Carlton couldn't.
This time is different, Carlton told himself. I don't need Spencer in the field. I don't need him in harm's way. I just need him to look at some files.
But despite what Carlton tried to tell himself, he just pulled out of the parking lot and headed home. It was against the law to idle more than three minutes, after all.
"Carlton, Shawn just had a vision." O'Hara's was talking quickly the way she did when they were on to something. "He saw… well he said that he saw a Gypsy singing Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"… but that got me thinking about a cab driver."
Carlton hated being on the phone while driving, but sometimes it was unavoidable. "We checked the records of local cab companies, O'Hara. There was no record of our vic."
"But what if it was a gypsy cab? Like in Shawn's vision?"
Carlton felt an odd clenching in his stomach. "It's a thin enough lead. Won't be easy to track down."
"But it's something, right?"
"Yeah. Yeah, it's something. I'll meet you back at the station."
Carlton hung up with O'Hara and dialed a second number. "Heyyy, Lassie! What's shakin' bacon? Did Jules call you?"
"Yes she did." Carlton didn't know why he suddenly felt so angry. "I sent O'Hara home to get some rest, Spencer. She's gotten little enough in the past few days."
"Hey, you could have had it straight from the horse's mouth, but you just sat in your car, listened to some grooves, and left without even saying hello."
So Spencer had known he was there. "You could have come outside and said something," Carlton snapped without thinking.
Spencer laughed. "That's what I love about you, Lassie. You don't cut anyone any slack. You were gone well before I could get my gimpy self out there."
Oh. Oh god. "Jesus, Spencer, I'm sorry."
"Oh, don't ruin it now, Lassie. You forgot didn't you? Tell me you forgot."
Yes, he had. He had no idea how, but for a moment, Carlton had completely forgotten that Shawn Spencer was anything other than his usual annoying self. "Spencer…"
"No one else can forget. It's like all they think about. I can't get away from anyone without them asking how I'm getting along, and how's physical therapy been going, and did the doctor's say when I'll be able to walk on my own? But not you, Lassipants, because you forgot."
"When you annoy me, Spencer, it tends to distract me. That's the definition of annoyance."
"No, the definition of annoyance is something that annoys. The definition of annoy is-"
"Are you on dictionary dot com right now?"
There was a moment of silence that answered Carlton's question for him. "I think I'll buy you that crystal ball for your birthday."
"It's called deduction, Spencer. The rest of us don't feel the need to hide it behind theatrics." Besides, Carlton was sure that Spencer's idea of a crystal ball would translate into a snowglobe of some description. He gave a small shudder. "I'm a well-trained detective that knows you far better than I wish to."
"So in other words: Elementary, my dear Lassie? Look at you getting your Sherlock on. Benedict Cumberbatch even has your eyes."
"I'm not even going to pretend to know what you're babbling about."
"Your loss, Lassie. Your loss. Don't forget my smoothie the next time you swing by."
"Spencer, I bought you a smoothie. The right flavor and everything."
"That wasn't a make-up smoothie. That was a smoothie to broil me into your conspiracy."
"I think you mean embroil," Carlton corrected, but he couldn't shake the image of Spencer roasting on a man-sized grill.
"I've heard it both ways."
"Spencer, broiling is something you do- you know what? I'm not even going to bother." Arguing with Spencer was like running into a brick wall. Repeatedly.
"Catcha later, Lassie. Call me when you catch the bad boy. I'll bake cookies."
As Carlton hung up the phone, he couldn't help but wonder how Spencer was planning on baking him cookies with no oven. As far as he knew, Guster had gotten rid of the Easy-Bake Oven after the pineapple upside-down cake incident.
Then he gave himself a little shake. Why was he worried about cookies when he had a murderer to catch?
Shawn hated to say it, but he'd been a little hurt when Lassie didn't come into the office. He thought they'd bonded over Law & Order and smoothies and going to the gym with no juice bar. His mom would say that they'd bonded over shared trauma. Whatever, bonding had happened. There had been bondage.
Err, not bondage-bondage. But turning the verb bond into a noun by adding –age. The way Buffy did. That kind of bondage.
Okay, he really needed to stop thinking about bondage, because now he had entirely inappropriate images in his head of Lassie in leather.
Although the man could probably pull off a pair of leather pants rather well. With an open button-down. And wearing his gun holster. But holding the gun. Standing aloof in front of a sunset, with some tall, leggy blonde hanging off of him. He could totally be on the cover of a cop romance novel, the kind that Jules liked to read but always pretended that she didn't.
… He really needed to start going easy on those pain pills.
Shawn had always considered himself to be straight. Definitely and totally and completely straight. As an arrow. Well, maybe not as an arrow. Maybe more like a fork. Which was totally straight until you came to the stabby, pointy bits. Gus said those were called times or something. Anyway, that's what Shawn was. Straight as a fork- bent at the right times.
Because there had been that college kid in San Francisco. And that blackjack dealer in Vegas.
Okay, so maybe Shawn was just fairly straight. A one on the Kinsey scale. Able to consider other men as attractive. And sure, he'd always objectively been able to see Lassie as an attractive man. But there was a major difference between that and imagining the man wearing leather pants. And there was a major difference between imagining the man in leather pants, and imagining wearing leather pants on the cover of a romance novel. And thinking that cover would be smokin'.
He needed to get out more, Shawn decided, because the only people he'd really seen lately had been his parents and Gus and Lassie. Out of all of them, Lassie was the only one Shawn could even think about in that way because his parents- ewwww. And Gus was his best man friend, never more. Ever. Even if they were the last two people on the planet. Even if Shawn was going through Pon-Farr and would die if they didn't and Gus was the only suitable mate in the entire universe. (Though Shawn considered that he might be willing to sacrifice himself if the situation was reversed, if only to save Gus' life. He was sure that he'd be thoroughly traumatized, and Gus would owe him more than he could ever repay. And then some.)
There was his personal trainer (or physical therapist as Lassie would always correct him) but she had already proven immune to his charms and therefore was unsuitable as a between-the-sheets kind of friend. There were the other people at the gym (physical therapy), but that was just depressing. And what was really depressing was that that was the only place Shawn was going these days. No wonder he was hung up on Lassie in leather. He was becoming a recluse, a shut-in, a hermit. He needed to meet the people, to press the flesh, to tan. In the morning he'd go…
… Nowhere. He couldn't. He couldn't ride his motorcycle, not the way he was now. He couldn't ask Gus to drive him, because he would and Shawn knew that since Psych was out of commission as long as he was, it wasn't fair of him to ask Gus to leave work. He couldn't walk anywhere, because Shawn hated the looks that he got around here. They all knew him and they all looked at him with that pity in their eyes, and always tried to help him whether he needed it or not.
Lassie could drive him somewhere, but if Lassie had come to Psych, it meant that he was having a lot of trouble with the case he was working on, and wouldn't goof off until it was solved. Shawn wished he had come in, because Shawn had had an epiphany and had just been about to call him (of course he'd been following the case; he was a hermit now. He had nothing better to do.)
Shawn considered calling Lassie and making him come back, but it hurt that he hadn't even turned the car off. So instead, Shawn called Jules.
"Jules! Yes I know what time it is. No I… I assumed having a pillow fight with a coed in a slinky negligee, but…Yes, actually, I do think I'm funny, but that isn't the point… Jules. I had a vision! Of a woman. She's a thief, no she's a tramp, no she's Cher!... No, Cher isn't the killer, Jules, that would just be stupid… And she's singing- something. I can't quite- it's something about a parking lot. But where? In paradise? Why would someone put a parking lot in paradise?... Yes. You're looking for a gypsy cab!"
Shawn hung up with a smile. Soon Lassie would be free to drive him somewhere so he could stop thinking about Lassie. Yes, Shawn knew what that sounded like. But desperate times called for Lassie to save him. Or something like that.
A/N Okay, so at least we're veering in a Shassie direction, right? And Shawn is disturbingly easy to write on too little sleep. I was also never very adept at mysteries, so any crime-solving will also be kept fairly vague.
Any other BBC Sherlock fans out there? Yeah, I totes knew it was the cabbie from the beginning. Still love it though. I cried at the last episode. Full out sobbed. And I knew how it would end, too.