Summary: Lassiter, trying to keep Shawn away from a case he's been barred from, follows him right into a bad situation. Juliet and Gus now must find them before it's too late.
Rating: PG, for some naughty language.
Pairings: Shawn/Lassiter (pre-slash), Gus/O'Hara (friendship)
Disclaimer: As ought be obvious, I own not that which is Psych, nor the characters therein. Verily, it is in ownership of one Steve Franks, and USA Network television broadcasting.
Authors Note: Wow, I made a liar out of myself, didn't I? I said I'd have the second part up in less than a week, and two-months later (almost to the date) I finally get this up. Major apologies. I should have known better than to post the first part during the first week of classes. Third part won't take as long.
By this point in his life, Shawn had given up on keeping track of how many times he'd had the wind knocked out of him, or even listing them by severity; no, by now he was listing them by the strangeness of the situation in which it happened. This was definitely in the top-five.
“Who has a trapdoor-to-metal slide dealy like that in their house these days?” He cried between breaths, trying to catch his breath. “Seriously! What is this, a medieval castle?”
Lassiter groaned, not bothering to make eye contact as he sat on his knees, holding his left arm to his chest. “Medieval castles didn't have... that.” He said, making a general wave at the shoots exit hole roughly ten feet above them. Shawn inwardly cringed at the sheer drop they just had.
“Sure they did,” Shawn retorted defiantly, pushing himself to a better sitting position against the glass wall, flinching as his sore body protested. “Dracula's castle, King Arthur's castle... The Winchester Mystery House?” Even Shawn knew that was a stretch.
Lassiter sighed and shook his head, mumbling something about San Jose. Without another moments hesitation, the detective hefted himself to his feet, still favoring his left arm. Shawn watched as the man, taller than Shawn himself and taking up about a third of the glass cell, reached his right arm up only to come short of touching the lip of the tank. Even on his toes, he could only barely reach it. Undefeated yet, he turned his gaze down on Shawn.
“Give me a boost.” Lassiter said sternly, making no room for argument.
Shawn, seeing no other alternative, propped himself against the glass wall and pushed himself to his feet, the joint in his right knee grinding painfully as he did so. Letting out a yelp of pain, he dropped back down to the bottom of the tank, holding his knee gingerly, letting out little sounds that did nothing to make the pain go away.
“Oh, what now?” Carlton asked, unamused.
Shawn hissed through his teeth. “My knee!”
Lassiter paused a moment and furrowed his brows, trying to decide whether or not Shawn was sincere. “What did you do?”
“Oh, I don't know, Lassie!” Shawn barked sarcastically. “Maybe I decided to give someone a piggy-back ride down the slide from hell?”
“Well, why in the hell did you come to this house anyway?!” Lassiter cried, his voice echoing loudly in the small space.
“Maybe I'm just a fan of Freddy Krueger, Lassie-pants.” Shawn said, doing his best to distract the detective from going down that particular path of conversation.
Lassiter looked as if he were about to burst a blood vessel. “What does that even have to do with-- You know, I am real sick of your... your...” Shawn watched as Lassiter fumbled over adjectives in his mind. He internally started taking bets with himself, two to one Lassie would go with 'crap', ten to one for 'shenanigans', or the far reaching but most hoped for choice, one-hundred to one 'tomfoolery.'
“Bullshit!” Lassiter finished, catching Shawn off guard.
“Whoa there, Lassie-face.” Shawn chided playfully, impressed. “Who taught you that word?”
Lassiter's face twitched, almost cutely if it weren't so full of rage. The detective didn't respond, though, but instead turned his back on Shawn to further analyze the scene. As Lassiter began his analysis, so did Shawn.
First thing he noticed was how good Lassie's pants looked today. Specifically in the ass region. The clean-cut detective look was definitely a good fit for him. Second thing he noticed was the lack of handcuffs on the detectives belt, nor was it anywhere within the tank. Turning his head to glance behind him, he saw that it had overshot the tank and landed near the center of the basement. Third thing he noticed was how barren the basement actually was. Seriously, did this family not believe in a maximized use of space?
But going by the forth thing Shawn noticed, a hose attached to the wall, and the fifth, a drain in the center of the room, it made some sense why there was nothing else down here with them. This also explained the water tank, but not the slide. Unless the basement acted as an awesome in-house pool for awesome pool parties in the summer.
The sixth, and most important thing, Shawn noticed was the creaking in the floor above them. Someone was home, and by the sounds of it they were making a bee-line for the basement door. Lassiter seemed to notice it as well and turned to anxiously watch the door.
The sounds of a lock unclicking snapped through the basement, barely muffled by the glass of the tank, and with some effort the door was pulled open-- the wooden floor beneath it probably swollen from years of wet magicians going through it.
A woman's voice, a sharp and abrupt voice that Shawn knew by the name of Mrs. Majourie Laurs, called down. “Hello? Is someone here?” Shawn could only see below her knee, the roof over the stairwell cut of his field of vision. “I have the police on the phone!”
Lassiter, quick like a dog excited to see its master, or a prison rat trying to get good with the guards, stepped forward-- narrowly missing Shawn's hand-- and called back. “Mrs. Laurs! This is Head Detective Carlton Lassiter with the Santa Barbara Police Department.” At that Majourie began to descend the steps. “I apologize for the situation, but I was in pursuit of a suspect-- of sorts-- and we, uh... Well, we fell in here.”
Majourie reached the bottom of the steps, her dark eyes gazing down her sharp nose at Shawn, a look of irritation on her face. Shawn's own eyes flickered to her hands crossed over her chest, a glaring lack of a phone. “Well, then,” she said. “I guess this saves me a call.”
“So you think Lassiter and Shawn are what, now?” Gus asked, still trying to catch up with Jules' theory. The moment he arrived at the station she began to barrage him with questions and ply him with information to bring him up to speed. Unfortunately his brain was still in pharmaceuticals-mode, not private detective-mode just yet. Not to mention that it just didn't feel quite right, it being only Juliet and himself. Somehow it felt like cheating. But, their respective partners absences was the reason why he was here.
“I think they're working the Laurs case without me. Us.” Juliet corrected herself. “I'm thinking that Shawn got a psychic hunch, and Lassiter is baby-sitting him, for lack of a better term, and trying to keep this off-record so Shawn doesn't get in trouble.”
Gus quirked an eyebrow. “And you really think Lassiter would just do something like that?”
Juliet's shoulders sunk and she turned away, frustrated. “I know, it just doesn't add up.”
She sat behind her desk, cradling her head in her hands. “I've got nothing to go on. And you haven't talked to Shawn all morning, so no leads there.”
Gus shrugged apologetically. He'd only rarely seen Juliet this frazzled. It wasn't a great look for her, he thought to himself. So often she was struggling to show she was in control, that she was a detective to be reckoned with. And she was. It something Gus had always noticed but never commended her on-- mostly because it'd be just plain weird to bring up like that. But seeing her this, well, frustrated was a bit unsettling, to put it lightly.
It may have been pretty out of character for Lassiter to disappear without notice, but not for Shawn, Gus knew. So if the two of them really were together, for whatever reason, and in trouble like Juliet feared, than it may be up to Gus' extensive experience with Shawn to get them a lead. So it was best to just dive right in.
“Okay,” Gus said, sitting in the chair opposite Juliet, “let's start going over your case and I'll try and see where Shawn's head is at.”
Juliet pursed her lip for a moment, considering. After a moment she nodded, a slight smile pulling on the corner of her mouth, and fished a folder out of her desk.
“Shawn, damnit! Cut it out!” Of all the moments for Shawn to choose to go into one of his stupid psychic fits, Carlton thought to himself, now was the plain stupidest time for it.
Grasping his head and moaning more dramatically than an overzealous theater student reenacting a ghost scene from A Christmas Carol, Shawn gradually managed to ease himself up the glass walls of the cell, making sure not to put any pressure on his wounded right leg. “Majourie,” he called, his voice echoing off the glass walls and making Carlton's ears hurt, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news.”
Majourie casually took a few steps forward, arms still crossed, an amused expression beginning to crack her face. “Oh, pray tell?”
“Your son,” Shawn went on, “he has stepped through the white light into the great beyond.” All things considered, Carlton had to admit, Shawn looked almost legitimately bereaved. But this was far beyond inappropriate, even for the so-called-psychic.
“Shawn, shut your trap.” Carlton clasped his good hand on Shawn's shoulder and pulled him back, making Shawn stumble backward, putting pressure on his bad knee which gave way beneath him. He collapsed with a sharp, pained gasp. At least it shut him up for the moment. Carlton would not feel bad for that much, though he hadn't intended to hurt him.
Majourie frowned. She casually let her gaze drop to her feet, where the handcuffs laid. “Don't worry about your friend, Detective Lassiter,” she said as she crouched slowly, scooping the handcuffs off the floor. “Your friend is nowhere near as good a psychic as he likes to pretend he is.” Carlton couldn't agree more, though a part of him still felt the urge to defend Shawn for some reason. Majourie stood and, putting the cuffs in her pocket, turned back toward the steps again. “My son is definitely still alive.”
“Yes,” Shawn said, going to push himself back off the floor, but Carlton shoved him back down. Shawn glared at the detective for a moment before going on. “But he is still unconscious, we are bonded psychically.”
“Actually, he woke up this morning. We had a nice conversation over cheese sandwiches at the hospital.” She laughed. She stepped to the side of the stairs, and opened a closet door that led under the staircase.
“Then he's taking a nap!” Shawn replied defiantly.
“That,” Majourie laughed, “is more than likely.” She wrestled a metal ladder out of the closet.
“Shawn, I forbid you from speaking until we leave Mrs. Laurs home.” Carlton said. He used his best growl, even. The one that got results with most perps. Only Shawn was nowhere near similar to any perp, suspect, or hoodlum Carlton had ever come across. So it'd only be fitting that even his best growl wouldn't work.
“He is showing me something,” Shawn continued, his fingers pressed to his temple and his eyes screwed shut.
Carlton sighed and rolled his eyes. “I sincerely apologize for this, Mrs. Laurs. I assure you he will be punished for--” Shawn shushed Carlton loudly.
“I'm seeing something!”
Majourie propped the ladder against the tank, and raised it so it reached the top. “Don't worry, detective. I'm curious to hear what he says.” Carlton rolled his eyes, but didn't stop Shawn.
“It's Max!” Shawn cried, eyes still shut. “He's... He's walking? Max, where are you walking? He's walking for... five-thousand miles. He's walking on air-- no, he's walking on sunshine! Whoa-a-oh-oh!” He sang. “No, sorry, he's still walking. On the clouds?”
“Your head's in the clouds,” Carlton muttered to himself.
“No. No! NO!” Shawn, as quickly as he could manage, scootched his back up the wall of the cell. “Clouds, rain, falling... Falling! He's falling into water!” His eyes flew open. “The fall wasn't accidental, he was supposed to fall into a tank of water!”
“Which,” Carlton interjected, “we already knew was supposed to be the big finale for his show, the part where the trap-door opens and he falls into the water and it raises so he can do his last trick. Only things got changed last minute and he didn't seem to have been aware.”
“Exactly, Lassie!” Shawn hobbled forward, patting Carlton on the shoulder, only serving to further irritate the detective. Carlton was so going to enjoy arresting Shawn after all of this.
Majourie grabbed the hose, which was coiled against the far wall, and pulled it across the room toward the tank. Good, Carlton thought, they could use it as a rope to try and get out, if his arm could handle it. She walked to the front of the cell, hose draped over her shoulder, a coy smile on her face. “Go on, Mr. Psychic.”
“Max didn't know about the changes because someone, his long-time stage manager,” Shawn cocked his head pointedly at Majourie, “never informed either her son nor his lovely assistant, Danielle.”
“Oh, this is entertaining,” Majourie said, surprisingly cool-headed after being accused of murder again, Carlton thought to himself. “Are you hearing all this?” She asked the detective. He simply nodded.
“You were tired of having a go-nowhere amateur magician for a son, weren't you? Still lived at home with mom, a man in his thirties! I mean, I can understand why you'd want him out of the house, but isn't murder just a bit permanent?”
Carlton stood back, feeling helpless to stop the train wreck before him. He watched as the other two stood silently, eyes locked, separated only by the glass partition. Majourie's face was still screwed up into that twisted, sharp smirk.
Finally, she spoke. “Okay, Mr. Psychic. I'll give you that much, I did want him out of the house. That's pretty obvious, I'd think. But why, in your twisted little mind, would you think I'd want to murder my own son?”
“Well, that's it, really,” Shawn said. “What better way to get yourself quickly off the suspect-list than to have a weak motive? Not to mention he was constantly siphoning all the money you earned working your medical billing job to finance his magic tricks. Oh,” he seemed to switch gears, “and you work medical billing. That right there is reason enough to drive someone to murder, I'd think.”
Finally having had enough, Carlton piped up. “Mrs. Laurs, if you'd just toss the hose in and we'll get ourselves out.” He said as pleasantly as possible. He even included a tight smile to boot.
Majourie acknowledged Carlton, and began to ascend the ladder. “Well, Mr. Psychic,” she said as she reached the top. “I have just one more question for you before I let you out.”
Shawn smiled up at her. “Shoot.”
“If you think I tried to kill my own son, how in the world do would you think I'd be capable of pulling it off? I mean, clearly the drop itself wouldn't have been enough to do the job, and I surely wouldn't want to simply injure my own son. Having to take care of an injured child would have the opposite affect of killing him, wouldn't it?”
Carlton, not caring to hear Shawn's explanation, motioned for Majourie to toss the hose in. She ignored him.
“Well,” Shawn said, smirking still, “it was the chain, wasn't it?”
“You mean the chain that saved his life?” Majourie asked. Carlton motioned again for her to toss the hose in, to no avail.
“Unfortunately for your plans, wasn't it? See, he landed on the chain, his pants catching on it, swinging him back so he hit his head on the corner of the stage, and rather than falling the eleven feet and cracking his skull open, the pants managed to keep him suspended in the air.”
“Yeah, I know,” she said, unimpressed and more than a little annoyed. Carlton was getting irritated about being ignored by this point. He just wanted to get out.
“Yeah, and you also know just how precise his act usually is. He's been practicing these routines for years, every day-- hence why the floor under the door at the top of the steps is so swollen with water, because he'd never dry off before coming up. He was like a robot, like Terminator Blaine, or Chris Angel-bot, which you totally counted on.”
“I will!” Shawn beamed. Carlton really wished he wouldn't. “So it was that precision you had hoped for after all these years. And so it'd only happen that he'd be off his marker just a bit this show, the one show you wanted him to be at the top of his game. So instead of falling and snagging his neck around the chain, breaking it, or at the very least flipping him backward so he'd brain himself on the concrete below; he wound up stepping on the chain and, well, you know the rest. Just like a son to break a mothers heart, am I right?”
Carlton was beyond mortified, for two reasons. First off, this was just a horrible thing to witness. An amateur like Shawn going about, tracking mud all over his investigation-- which, plainly, he'd be thrown off of when this was all over, if he wasn't thrown off the force as well-- and accusing a mother of trying to murder her own son. That was horrible. What was worse was that Carlton totally had the same theory, but was still trying to pull the evidence together to prove it. This jackass just ruined a week's investigation in a ten minute monologue.
Majourie's face was undecipherable. She simply stood at the top of the steps, staring down at Shawn. After a few moments she seemed to break out of her trance. “Yup,” she said, “you are.”
“What?!” Carlton cried, bewildered. Shawn let out a whoop, and threw his hand in the air for Carlton to high-five. He was left hanging.
Rather than tossing the hose into the tank, Majourie instead fixed it in a little notch at the top of the tank. In one quick motion she pulled the doors over the top, and using the handcuffs she locked the handles together.
“WHAT?!” Carlton cried out again, enraged on top of being bewildered. “Hey! HEY!” He called to Majourie.
The woman crossed the room to the spigot and put her hand on it, pausing for a moment to turn and look at Shawn. “I have to apologize, Mr. Psychic,” she said. “You're too good.”
With that, she turned the hose on full blast, showering the two men with cold water.
At least it wasn't a total bust, Juliet thought to herself as she and Gus left the performing arts building. The owner had, in fact, seen Shawn the night before. Shawn had said he was consulting for the police on the Laurs case, and just wanted to poke around for a bit. Probably more psychic hunches, Juliet decided. It really looked like he couldn't help himself when they came over him.
So, they could place where Shawn was up until nine o'clock the previous night, at least. The owner hadn't seen Lassiter, though, but so long as they could find one they might be able to find the other. The building owner did, though, give a very helpful clue; as Shawn was leaving, he mentioned that he was planning on talking to Danielle, Max's magicians assistant.
“That was a long drop,” Gus said suddenly as they walked along parks path, the late-morning sun casting shadows through the trees that stood over them.
“It's a wonder he survived that,” Juliet agreed. She'd read the reports, how his pant leg got caught up in the chain and kept him from completing the fall. It was just unfortunate that he hit his head so hard on the stage floor, splitting his skull open and putting him into a week-long coma.
If the mother, Majourie Laurs, that sniveling jackass of a woman-- Juliet wasn't usually prone to thinking so ill of people, but this woman just rubbed her the wrong way-- hadn't had Shawn kicked off the case it might've been solved already. It was his premonitions that led them to the clues that turned this from an accident into an attempted murder investigation; the trap-door latch that was tampered with, and the irregular placement of the chain that wound up saving Max's life, as if it had been recently moved further center for nefarious purposes.
Lassiter, though he'd never admit it to Shawn, Juliet knew, had taken the information Shawn had given and built up a scenario which utilized the chains placement as a potential murder-aid, which he had been double-checking facts on, last Juliet knew. It was insane, but surprisingly plausible.
Juliet unlocked the car doors and got in, Gus taking shotgun. “So what, to the assistants place?” Gus asked.
“Yup,” Juliet agreed.
Juliet knocked on the door of the large two-bedroom house, complete with a perfectly manicured front-garden and cobble-stone driveway. A deep blue sedan was parked in said driveway, which belonged to Max's assistant, Danielle. Just as Juliet was about to rap on the door again, a woman opened it.
She was in her mid-twenties, and had the sort of strong features that befit a model but look awkward in person. She also carried the vacant stare Juliet always imagined models had. “Can I help you?” Danielle asked.
Juliet flashed her badge. “Detective Juliet O'Hara with the--”
“SBPD, yeah.” Danielle interrupted. She looked back and forth between Juliet and Gus, her expression unreadable. “Wow, hey, so what's up?”
“I'm here about Max,” Juliet continued, trying to keep a professional veneer.
Gus coughed to get Juliet's attention, smiling big.
“Oh, and this is my civilian consult, uh...” She'd always wanted to try and pull what Shawn always did with Gus. Shawn had given the man so many alias' on record that his file-folder was bigger than many actual criminals, without having any actual criminal record to speak of. She quickly sifted through a list in her mind, but seemed to take too long before coming up with anything good.
“Burton Guster,” he offered his hand to Danielle. The girl didn't take it, but smiled coyly instead. Juliet inwardly rolled her eyes at the girls attempt at flirting.
“You wanna come in?” She asked, her eyes locked on Gus. Juliet decided right then that she wasn't a big fan of Ms. Danielle, either.
Juliet and Gus followed the girl into her home, its modern industrial interior a stark contrast to the houses ranch-style exterior. She led them into the living area and motioned for them to take a seat on the geometric catastrophe that was meant to be a couch.
“I don't mean to be rude,” Danielle said, “but you both knocked as I was about to use the bathroom. Sorry, but just hang here and I'll be back in five minutes, okay?”
Juliet nodded, keeping a professional face. Gus, though, nodded a bit more flirtatiously than Juliet thought appropriate. Seriously, Juliet thought, get a handle on yourself. The girl is going to the bathroom. She really hoped Gus wasn't into that kind of thing, that sort of information might just put a damper on their working-relationship.
As the bathroom door click shut, Juliet pulled her phone out of her pocket to make a call. But she couldn't bite back a comment to Gus. “Please, stop flirting with my witnesses, okay?”
“That wasn't flirting, that was me being nice.” Gus fought back.
“That was flirting,” Juliet said, looking through her phones address book. “Trust me, I know what it looks like.”
“Oh, really. And by the way, what was with forgetting my name back at the door?”
Juliet shot Gus a look, hitting dial on the phone. “I did not forget. I was trying to pull a Shawn.”
“What's 'Pulling A Shawn'?”
“Hold on, I'm on the phone.”
Shawn's phone lit up, Juliet's face appeared on it, and the chorus for Frankie Goes To Hollywood's song, 'Relax', blared through its speakers. Only Shawn couldn't hear it. It was on the basement floor, behind the tank where he couldn't see.
Not that it mattered, because he couldn't even reach it, none-the-less hear it over the sounds of water pouring into the water-torture cell.
And the shouting match he was in the middle of with Lassiter.
Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 3