Shawn wasn't all that surprised by the knock on his door that night. It'd been a busy day and he knew he'd be getting lectures over it for at least a week. His dad had already given him his. Gus' turn would come whenever Gus finally started talking to him again (probably around lunchtime tomorrow). The chief would give hers the next time Shawn made it into the station.
With a sigh, Shawn opened the door, already expecting to see the man on the other side. "Lassie, what not a surprise," he said unenthusiastically. Lassiter merely scowled at him before he pushed his way into the room. "Come on in," Shawn muttered sarcastically as he shut the door behind him.
"O'Hara's coming back on Monday," Lassiter said gruffly. Shawn turned to him and smiled genuinely. The detective was busy glancing around the room.
"You're welcome, Lassipidus." Lassiter finally made eye contact, if only to glare at him. Shawn held his gaze steadily. It'd been awkward between them the past few weeks without Juliet around to act as a buffer. Lassiter's enforced overexposure to another member of the Spencer family probably hadn't been helping things. The whole situation was starting to wear on Shawn.
"Look, Lassiter, I..." he began, hoping to come up with something to clear the air.
"You moving?" Lassiter interrupted, giving a meaningful look to the duffel bag and cardboard box in the corner by the door.
"My lease is up tomorrow," Shawn explained. "Apparently they've already rented it out to an actual drycleaner. Go figure."
"Where's the new place? An abandoned arcade?" Lassiter sounded part teasing, part honestly curious. Shawn shrugged when the detective's eyes landed on him again.
"Dunno yet. Gus'll pretend he doesn't notice I'm sleeping on his couch for a couple of weeks. Something'll turn up by then." Lassiter's perpetual frown deepened as he stared at the pile again. After a long moment, he took the few steps necessary to bend over and pick up the bag. Without a word, he straightened and started for the door, Shawn gaping after him. Lassiter didn't turn back until he'd opened the door.
"You coming or what, Spencer?" he grunted out. To anyone else he would've sounded annoyed, but Shawn heard the underlying tone of uncertainty, as if he wasn't quite sure he actually wanted to be asking.
Lassiter let out a gust of breath as Shawn tackled him into the wall next to the door and kissed him. It took a moment, but soon Lassiter was responding, dropping the duffel with a THUD so he could wrap both arms around Shawn. They were both a little breathless when Shawn finally eased up on the assault.
"You're not drunk are you?" Shawn panted. Lassiter shook his head slowly. "Stoned? Saying this under duress because some voice on the line that sounded oddly like Kiefer Sutherland told you not to leave the phone booth but you did anyway and now you live each day in fear..."
"Spencer..." Lassiter grumbled. Shawn shut him up again with another kiss.
"We'll end up killing each other," Shawn murmured against his lips. It felt a bit weird to inhale another man's snort.
"Spencer, you're gonna give me a heart attack someday, whether we live together or not." Shawn froze. Up until that point, he'd been assuming Lassiter had just been offering to let him stay with him until he found a new place of his own.
"You want me to move in with you," Shawn said slowly as he pulled back. Lassiter looked at him in confusion, looking thoroughly adorable with his lips puffy and his hair mussed, all thanks to Shawn's hard work. He frowned at Shawn as he finally seemed to process what was going on.
"What? Did you think I was just offering to drop you of at Guster's?" Shawn heard the anger creeping into his tone and he hurriedly kissed the other man again.
"Let's go home, Lassie," Shawn murmured, giving Lassiter's necktie a tug. "I've heard 'Welcome Home' sex can be pretty hot. That's where we do it on the Welcome mat, right? Do you even have a Welcome mat, Lassie? Ooh! I saw this totally awesome one at Home Depot the other day! It looked extra cushiony..." Lassiter rolled his eyes as he gently pushed Shawn away but he was smiling, just slightly, when he bent to reclaim the duffel.
It wasn't the first time Carlton had come home to find Shawn Spencer lounging on his couch. It wasn't even the first time Shawn had shown up without the aid of a gun-wielding crooked cop. Actually, it'd gotten to be almost normal to come home to an occupied couch.
"Feet off the table," Carlton said, more out of habit than actual annoyance, as he set his keys on the table by the door and reached to begin undoing his shoulder holster. He wasn't surprised when Shawn didn't make a move to comply.
"Jules okay?" Shawn asked softly. Carlton spared him a glance as he put the gun in its usual drawer. They'd all been worried about O'Hara the past few weeks. Shawn, especially, had been paying close attention to her well-being.
"She's fine," Carlton assured him. "Coming back to work on Monday." He moved around the room to sit heavily on the other end of the couch.
The two men sat in silence for several long minutes. The past few weeks had been awkward, both men trying to figure out how to interact with one another again. The sex was easy enough, always had been, but the talking part, the existing in the same room fully-clothed part, had always been tricky and whatever progress they'd made before had all but vanished in the time Shawn had spent with Abigail.
Carlton rubbed at the bridge of his nose, trying to ward off the headache he could feel brewing. It'd been a long, hard day. Without O'Hara, everyone's workload at the station had gone up, especially his. A nice, big scotch sounded amazing, but he didn't even think he had the energy to make it across the room to the bar. Shawn was staring at him when he let his hand drop.
With a sigh, Carlton asked. "What do you want, Spencer?"
"A sequel to The Breakfast Club entitled something like The Lunch Committee. Some say it shouldn't be done, but I say, who do those people think they are?" Carlton let out a groan as he titled his head back to rest against the couch. He'd just spent the last few hours alternately easing his partner out of a panic attack and convincing her she's ready to fully return to the job after a traumatic encounter with a psychotic serial killer. He really didn't need Spencer's antics on top of that.
"I got kicked out of my apartment," Shawn said softly after a moment. Carlton opened his eyes and turned his head enough to look at him. Shawn's gaze was somewhere off across the room and Carlton followed it to see the duffel bag and boxes piled in the corner. At first, it didn't seem that big a deal. Carlton wasn't home all that much, anyway; and more often than not, Shawn was with him when he was. But something in his gut clenched when he recognized how big a step it would be for two men who argued more than they agreed. The sex was great, sure, but half the time it was fueled by frustration. At least a quarter of the time after that could be blamed on alcohol and/or painkillers. Not exactly the hallmarks of a healthy relationship.
Shawn was watching him again, Lassiter could feel his gaze on him. If he hadn't been so damn tired he probably would have worked up the energy to shout at Shawn for just assuming it'd be okay if he moved in. But Shawn hadn't unpacked anything. Even his jacket was still on, zipped up and ready to go the moment Carlton said no.
And that's when Carlton realized Shawn expected him to say no. He was going out on a limb just to see if it'd hold his weight and fully expecting to find his ass back on the ground. It was a bad idea, a terrible idea, even, but Carlton Lassiter had never been one to back down from a challenge.
Lassiter stood with a grunt, telling himself his knees only creaked because he'd spent too much time at his desk that day (it definitely had nothing to with the age thing). He took a deep breath before he spoke.
"Long day; I'm headed to bed," he said. He hesitated only a second before he turned and held out a hand to Shawn. "You comin?"