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: I'll keep this brief; I'm still catching up on this series, so while I did do my research I may be misrepresenting some basic information; apologies in advance. Also, this is un-beta'ed but I'm looking for someone for the next two parts which are currently being written. Any takers?
It was actually almost a let down, Lassiter felt, how easy it was to tail Shawn Spencer. He had expected, hoped for even, more of a challenge from the self-proclaimed psychic. A little dodging on the highway, maybe some deft evading, anything on Spencers part to show he knew he was being followed; to prove his 'psychic' prowess.
Oh sure, the con-man would probably say something like 'That's just not how it works, Lassie-face' or something equally pseudo-charming. But Lassiter knew that there were only two types of people who had charisma like that: sociopaths, and amateur magicians.
Speaking of the first, Spencer, donning his helmet and a leather jacket far too warm for this mid-summer heat, leaned his motorcycle into a corner on the highways exit ramp. If Lassiter's predictions were correct, the two-wheeled death trap would carry him into a residential neighborhood, and ultimately land him at 1428 Elm St.
And, as if the detective were psychic himself, his prediction didn't take long to come true. “Predictable,” Lassiter growled.
Shawn swung a leg over the motorcycle and tugged his helmet off, the mans hair as messy as ever-- no more, no less. Lassiter pulled his unmarked vehicle behind a bulky SUV a few houses down, so that even if the man did posses some sort of sixth sense, the other senses wouldn't notice him too easily.
The detective watched as the younger and, as such, inexperienced man stood in front of the house he had been expressly directed not to be anywhere near. Well, not this address specifically, but certainly anything related to the particular case he was chasing after; including, but not limited to, the city's performance art building, any suspects, friends, or family related to the victim, and above all else to not come near the mans home. Well, mothers home where the thirty-something magician lived.
Carlton had a particular loathing for amateur magicians. They lived in a land of make-believe, where rules were meant to be broken, and a sleight of hand combined with a wink and smile could relieve you of your wallet with all too much ease. Sure, in most cases it was harmless, and the wallets would be returned. But amateur magicians usually never earned much money on their own, and as such often employed their developed skills for less honorable trades.
Hell, the entirety of performance arts was a breeding ground for crime.
So it was only a matter of time, really, that a case like this would appear. And it was only a matter of time that Spencer's antics would get him booted from a case that he was all too eagerly swooping in on. Carlton smirked at the thought. Score another prediction-come-true for the not-so-mystical detective Lassiter.
Of course it was the victims mother, Majourie Laurs, that had not so subtly requested Shawn off the case after being more than unimpressed by his hokey cries of 'attempted murder!', even if Lassiter had already been thinking the same already. This, the very mother who owned 1428 Elm St., the house that Spencer was casually strutting up the front walk of. Carlton hated that strut, it meant that the man was up to something.
With a groan, Lassiter quickly stepped out of the car. It was one thing to tail Spencer to see if he was going to do something stupid. It's a whole other deal to just let him go ahead and do it.
Just as the detective shut the his car door, mentally gearing up to tear his prey a new one, a familiar crescendo of tones sounded out. Absentmindedly, Lassiter patted his pockets for his cell as he made his first step toward the house, just as Spencer coolly rapped on the door. Irritation struck him though when the sound emanated again, this time from behind him, from within the car.
For a moment he considered letting it go to voice mail, but after quickly weighing the options decided it was better to apologize to a grieving mother for a morons mistake rather than have to explain to the chief or his partner why he hadn't shown up to work yet today, and apologize for the moron in question.
With a huff, Lassiter turned his back on Spencer, who was still patiently standing by the door like a good boy, and quickly opened the door again. He snatched his phone, quick to note the name O'HARA on the archaic LED screen.
“What.” Curt and to the point, the greeting for the detective on the go.
“Lassiter, it's O'Hara. Where are you?”
“I don't have time for chit-chat. I've got to stop our resident psychic from doing something stupid.” As if reminding himself, the head detective turned his head to back toward the house just in time to see the 'psychic' in question not-so-stealthily duck around the side of the house.
“Mother of... I am so going to nail him right now,” he snarled through clenched teeth before snapping the phone shut on his confused partner, and tossed the phone back into the car.
The detective cursed himself for losing time on this chase as he rounded the side of the house. Spencer was a sneaky little bastard, Lassiter had to admit. By this point, he could be anywhere. He could be rummaging around garbage cans in the back yard, on the roof, or... judging by the size ten sneaker laying in the uncut grass below the open window, the idiot just may very well have gotten inside already. Lassiter couldn't help but roll his eyes.
The window was higher than the others along the wall, meaning it probably led into the bathroom, which also meant that Carlton had to be careful when he climbed through as it would probably be pretty cramped and full of hard, sharp surfaces. Gripping the window sill, he planted one foot on the wall and with a small push lifted himself up to peak inside the room. Bathroom, indeed.
“Detective Carlton Lassiter with the Santa Barbara Police Department, in pursuit of a suspect,” Carlton rushed out as he hefted himself through the tight window, though not so loudly in case Spencer were nearby. Protocol came first, even when chasing an imbecile.
Lassiter stepped into the hallway and veered left. It didn't take any psychic ability to figure which way Spencer had gone, just cold, hard reasoning skills. The front of the house held the kitchen, dining and living rooms, meaning the bedrooms would most likely be in the back. And bedrooms held personal secrets, clues if you will, that could crack a case wide open. Clues that could be gathered through proper channels by a detective, and shouldn't be tampered with by a lawless slacker in jeans.
It wasn't as if Shawn's antics were fruitless, in fact over the years the Santa Barbara police department had gone from grudgingly accepting to downright accustomed to Shawn's asinine flailing about and insane ramblings. When it came right down to it, nine times out of ten, if not more, the man brought results. But it wasn't the results that bothered Carlton Lassiter so much, it was the general ambivalence to protocol. Rules were set down, rules some people had studied most of their adult lives to learn; but then in comes this rambling idiot throwing out the psychic card left and right when all he was doing was what any well trained police officer could do if they had half the intelligence of a lab rat.
It was that disregard for the rules that was going to get Spencer in all the trouble he deserved, finally.
Following the sounds of rummaging, Carlton poked his head through an open doorway, leading into what looked like some sort of combination stage magicians office and storage room of the damned, complete with a gaudy Vegas-style area rug littered with props and receipts. There, at the desk, stood Shawn Spencer, riffling through an open drawer. Caught, red handed as they would say.
Lassiter let an unnaturally true smile crack, then quickly suppressed it. He'd have time later to gloat, and gloat he would. He stepped into the room and unhooked the cuffs from his belt, letting them jingle loudly. Spencer practically jumped out of his skin at the sudden intrusion of sound in what he thought, Lassiter presumed, was an empty house. This moment just couldn't be more delicious.
“Lassie-face!” Spencer said, his all-purpose smirk on his face, but worry registering in those beady little eyes of his.
“If you'll notice,” Lassiter said nonchalantly, blocking the doorway with his bulk, “I don't have my gun drawn right now. But only because we've known each other so long.”
Shawn's mouth twitched. “Why, uh, would you have your gun drawn, out of curiosity?” He asked.
The detective cocked his head and smiled, a toothy predatory grin. “Well, that's just usually how things go when I arrest someone for breaking and entering, not to mention the obstruction of justice charge you'll probably get hit with for this little misadventure.” Lassiter raised the cuffs to eye-level and jingled them playfully.
The panic washed over Spencer's face. “Oh, wow, Lassie! What makes you think I'm that kind of a guy?”
Lassiter stepped forward slowly. “Center of the room, turn around and hands behind your head.”
“Come on, Lassie-face! I'm sure old Mrs. Laurs won't appreciate walking in on the two of us--”
“Shut it, Spencer.”
“Okay,” Shawn said as he turned and raised his hands behind his head, “but the safeword is 'pineapple'.”
Lassiter rolled his eyes and stepped to the center of the room, the floor beneath him creaking as it shifted. Old houses for you. “Away from the desk, slowly back up.”
Shawn slowly walked backwards, the floor creaking loudly as he did, hands behind his head. Lassiter reached for Shawn's first hand to bring it behind his back and cuff him, only suddenly it seemed as if Shawn was getting a lot shorter very quickly.
Before the detective could register what was going on, Shawn had twisted himself and grabbed onto the detectives arm, pulling the larger man down with him as he dropped into a hole that Lassiter could swear wasn't there before.
“That,” Juliet O'Hara said as she stared at her phone, “was weird.”
Having been partners with the ineffable Lassiter for several years now, Jules was pretty used to the snark and his abrupt, if not rude, way of conversation. But that brief call, as she had said, was a bit on the weird side, even for him. Just what did Shawn have to do with Lassiter's being over an hour late for work?
“A detectives job is never done,” she sighed to herself. Whatever it was, it seemed to just be getting interesting, so calling Lassiter back, or even calling Shawn, might just get in the way of whatever game they were playing. Whatever was going on, she probably didn't want to be a part of it. Not yet, anyway.
But with Lassiter out, there was only so much she could do on her own. Vick had made it pretty clear that their focus was meant to be on the Max “The Magnificent” Laurs case, until they saw it through. And being just a junior detective, she wasn't exactly able to go and do any field work without her partner.
The man was going to be the death of her.
Correction, after another hour of paperwork, boredom was going to be the death of her. It just wasn't right that Lassiter was out there having some adventure with Shawn, and she was stuck in her office, crossing the i's and dotting the t's on an affidavit for their previous case, one involving copious amounts of cocain and several nuns in cuffs. It had been the saddest thing Juliet had ever seen, if you didn't count all the dead people.
After a moments debate, Jules picked up her office phone and hit speed-dial two-- button one sent her to Lassiter's office phone. The phone rang a few times before sending her to her partners voicemail.
“This is head detective Carlton Lassiter with the SBPD. Leave a message with all the pertinent information, including your phone number, and I will get back to you.”
“Hey Lassiter, it's O'Hara. Call me.”
Not bothering to cradle the phone, she hit the button to start a new call and pressed speed-dial three. The phone rang a few times before a familiar voice spoke.
“Hello?” Jules rolled her eyes and paused a moment, not wanting to get fooled by this trick again. “Psych! Shawn-bear, not there, leave a message!”
“Shawn, what the hell is going on? Call me.” She went to put the phone down, then paused. “It's Jules, by the way,” she added quickly.
After hanging up she leaned back, trying to decide the best course of action to take next. This called for some serious deductive thinking. Her only real clue so far was that Lassiter had been after Shawn, for reasons unknown. Shawn was about to do something stupid, which to be honest wasn't anything out of the ordinary. But the guy was a psychic, so he ought to know when any trouble was coming, right? But it was very uncharacteristic for neither to answer their phones.
Juliet did her best to quell the tightness of panic beginning to build in her chest and throat. Water, that's what she needed. She stood and, grabbing her empty mug, made her way across the floor to a water cooler.
Lassiter hadn't shown up this morning, which was beyond out of the ordinary. He didn't declare his intentions, which meant that nobody else might know where he was headed. Shawn wasn't a part of any cases, so-- wait, if Lassiter were trying to stop him from 'doing something stupid' then...
“Oh god,” she sighed to herself as she reached the cooler.
“What's up?” McNab asked, sipping water from a little paper cup. Something about the tall officer just put Juliet in a less-crappy mood.
Juliet leaned forward and started to fill her mug. “Nothing. Hey, have you heard anything from Lassiter today?” She feared the answer would be 'yeah, he said something about Shawn getting back on the Laurs case' which would be bad for everyone involved.
McNab took a moment to think. “No, can't say I have.” Juliet felt relief seep through her. “Haven't seen him at all today, is he supposed to be here?”
“Yeah,” she said, letting go of the tab on the cooler and crossing to the other side of the man to let another woman have her turn. “I called him, but I didn't find anything out.” She sipped. “You don't know where Shawn Spencer might be, do you?”
McNab shrugged. “No, he and Gus usually just go straight to you two when they come in.”
Gus! Why hadn't she thought of him? She beamed a smile at the larger man, “Good man, Buzz!” She dashed away to her desk, leaving a confused officer in her wake.
She almost felt embarrassed having to pull up the file on Gus just to get his phone number. Lifting the phone to her ear, she dialed as she read. It went to voicemail immediately.
“You've reached Burton Guster, leave a message after--”
She hung up and eyed the next number on the list. After a moment of debate, she figured it was important enough to try him at this number.
The phone rang once. “Thank you for calling Bentham-Mills Pharmaceuticals, how may I direct your call?”
“Hi, this is detective Juliet O'Hara with the Santa Barbara Police Department. I need to speak with Burton Guster if he's in, please.” She said with her police voice. She'd quickly grown to learn that having a naturally sweet voice tended to have people not take her seriously; but if she spoke quickly and sternly enough, and let her natural politeness seep through, people generally assumed she meant business.
“Sure, one moment please.”
The meeting had been going swimmingly so far, Gus decided. He had the home-town advantage, as the reps from Brooks Pharmacies agreed to take the meeting in the Bentham-Mills office rather than their own, meaning he could easily show them around their facilities on their way out. Their three representatives were neatly tucking away the gourmet panini's they had been offered for lunch. More importantly, Gus' powerpoint presentation went off without a hitch. In fact, they were just about to get to pricing. All in all, so far a very tidy meeting.
And so, of course, it would happen that Grace from the front desk would lightly knock on the door before peeking her head in. “Mr. Guster?”
Gus looked at her, trying to mask his panic. “Grace! Hi, we're in the middle of a meeting here, can this wait?”
She looked at the representatives who watched her back, smiling politely. “Sorry, but it's important." Then, hushed, "The police are--” Gus rushed her out the door before she could finish, and turned to the representatives with a huge smile.
“Sorry, excuse me for just one moment please.” He shut the door and turned toward the petite woman. “Okay, first, please never mention the police in the middle of a meeting,”
“Sorry.” Grace ducked her head solemnly.
“It's alright, just never again.”
“What's going on?”
Grace bit her lip. “It was a detective, Juliet O'Hara. She wants to speak to you.”
“Did she say it was important?” He knew that was a dumb question. Unless Shawn was behind this.
“Not directly, but it was implied. She was really stern.”
Gus nodded and sighed. “Okay, just tell her I'm in a meeting but I'll be with her shortly. I've got to patch things up here.” Grace nodded and went back to the front desk. Gus, after letting a shiver overtake him to release his tension, turned and marched back into the meeting room.
“Hey, so sorry about that,” he apologized.
One of the representatives who seemed to be their head rep, a woman named Carissa Cloonan, gave a curt laugh that sounded more like a choke. “The police, huh?” They all laughed.
Gus nodded and, rubbing his hands together, decided now was a good time to finally let the police work for him. “Uh, yeah. Detective O'Hara with the Santa Barbara PD. I do civilian consultation for them sometimes on some of their bigger cases.” He smiled big, doing his best to sell this.
The trio of reps faces lit up, impressed. “That's very interesting, Mr. Guster. So I assume you really know your stuff.” She smiled, and leaned forward on her elbows, making her look like a gargoyle. “But of course, you already proved that, didn't you?”
Gus smiled again, this time a bit more genuinely. “I do pride myself on my knowledge of our products,” he said. Then, switching gears, “But if you'll forgive me, this is an urgent call. Please, finish your panini's and look over our pricing charts, and I'll return--”
“No need,” Carissa said as she rose, the other two representatives following suit. “This is an important matter, and you have a civic obligation to take this call. We'll take the pricing charts with us, and if you'll be so kind as to email me a copy of your presentation we will get back to you within the week with our decision.” They filed toward the door, stopping before a bewildered Gus.
“It's been informative, Mr. Guster,” Carissa offered her hand, which Gus took. A grin stretched tightly over her face. “We'll see our way out the door. Don't want to upset your detective friend with your tardiness.”
Gus flopped into his chair. He blew it! He blew the sale! God, his boss was not going to be happy to hear about this. Brooks Pharmacy was finally expanding to the west coast, meaning they'd need a supplier for their stores in this region. Meaning a lot of money would be coming in. A portion of which that could have gone to Gus, had he gotten the sale. Which he totally didn't, going by the way things ended. He blew it.
No, the police blew it for him.
Speaking of whom, he lifted the phone to his ear and dialed the front desk. “Hey, it's Burton. Go ahead and put her through, please.”
Line one lit up, and Gus switched over. “Hi, Juliet. What's going on?”
“Have you heard from Shawn at all today?” Of course it would be about Shawn.
Gus sighed, “No, Juliet, I haven't. You all do realize I have a day-job, right? One that I go to sometimes when I'm not around you all. One I'm at right now!”
There was a pause on the other side of the line. For a moment, Gus thought maybe he had been a little too harsh, though he still felt totally justified in his frustration. Then again, there was no way she could have known he was in a meeting like that.
Before he could say anything else, she cut in. “I'm sorry, Gus, but this may actually be important. Lassiter hasn't shown up all day, and last time I talked to him he was on his way to go, quote, 'nail Shawn'.”
Spencer let out a harsh 'oomph' as Lassiter crumpled on top of him. Their descent didn't end, though, but carried them sideways now, down a metal shoot. The duo clutched at each other, trying to understand what was happening, but a moment later their world was flipped around again as they found themselves airborne once more. But only for a moment.
A sharp pain shot through Lassiter's left arm as he landed face down. All things considered, the detective was actually glad to have landed in Spencer's lap, which offered a nice cushion against the hard bottom of their sudden prison.
The two of them took a moment to allow themselves to adjust again to stillness, their brains still rattling from their journey.
Lassiter was the first to compose himself, pushing himself to his knees with his good arm. It didn't take long to survey their surroundings. The first thing he could deduce was that they were, in fact, in a basement, which in and of itself was a bit peculiar considering the rarity of basements in Santa Barbara. The only thing more peculiar, though, was the fact that the two of them had somehow landed in what could only be described as a very tall, relatively narrow, glass aquarium from hell.
“What in the hell is this?”
“I think,” Shawn wheezed, still trying to catch his breath, “it's called a Chinese water torture cell. Incredibly un-PC.”
Lassiter closed his eyes against the pain, both in his arm and throbbing in his head, and counted backwards from ten. Leave it to Shawn Spencer to get them stuck in this kind of insane situation.
Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Pt. 3