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Strict Machine

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The DJ swings from pop and hip hop to country and back to techno dance with each song, obviously catering to a diverse audience of horny, desperate, and lonely individuals. Shawn doesn’t really mind any of it, except possibly the country, but even those songs are probably chosen for their slow, sexy beats and not for any lyrics about friends in low places, or whatever else country songs are about.

Normally, at this point, Shawn would consult someone else on the subject, someone who was probably an expert on the twanging heartbreak and manly muttonchops of Conway Twitty, someone like Lassi, but first of all, even though half of the Santa Barbara PD was in the club with him—the male half—Lassiter isn’t among them, and then secondly, well, the last thing Shawn would ask Lassiter in a place like this was if he likes country music.

It’s probably some kind of victory to admit that he’d have to ask at all, since unless he breaks into Lassiter’s car and goes through whatever 8tracks or cassettes Lassi is hiding in there, which Shawn has not even once—seriously—thought about doing, no matter how often Lassi leaves his keys on his desk when he gets up to get coffee or to use the men’s room, there’s no other way he’s going to find out.

Of course it doesn’t feel like a victory. But since Gus had absolutely –“No, Shawn. No, Shawn, no way”—forbidden him on pain of weeks of pouting Gus silence from doing anything else as stupid as following Lassiter to Hornstock’s office, he’s going to have to settle for not knowing.

It isn’t like he needs to know. Like he has to know. Like there is this overwhelming, crazy itch inside whenever he thinks about that day, or that he gets cold all over in a blue-lips, Titanic sort of a way when he thinks about Lassiter, like he is even thinking about Lassiter and icebergs one second and then in the next moment dreaming of floating in the warm, azure water of Acapulco Bay, which is possibly the only thing in the world bluer than Lassiter’s eyes when he’s about to come.

Nuh uh. Because those are bad thoughts from bad places. And because it is none of his business. That’s what Gus had said, and Shawn had nodded, so it must be true. So he hasn’t been pondering it in the moments between ordering Chinese food to help Jules feel better and curling his wig to lip-sync on national television, or while he’s watching Lassiter work so hard to keep Shawn out of his way that he’d solved eight cases in a row.

Smiling. Happy. Without Shawn. Walking past him with a relaxed and easy stride, actually looking at Shawn only to lift an eyebrow, as though Lassiter had to remind Shawn that he doesn’t need him around to solve cases, or for anything else. And all the jokes in the world couldn’t get around that, the realization that it might just be true.

That that hurt, that it stung to see Lassiter giving someone more than his usual tight smile, well that was all just proof that continuing to think about Lassiter’s stomach muscles and what they might look like, or twisting Lassiter’s ties around his wrists, or Lassiter pulling him against his body the way he’d yanked Hornstock closer to kiss him—those were bad thoughts that Shawn should scrub right out of his brain with a big sponge and that Dutch cleanser stuff his dad kept under the kitchen sink.

Luckily, Shawn happens to be in possibly the best place in the world for trying to forget someone.

Bootycall, off Fourth Street and Redwood Boulevard, down past the disused train tracks and the old cannery that was now an-eighteen-and-over dance club.

Shawn can see some of those eighteen-and-overs, lingering by the back door, hoping that somehow that Larry the gigantic bouncer wasn’t going to see them trying to sneak in. Once upon a time, he may have been one of them. He may have even gotten past Larry a time or two. It might have been because of the way he’d struck up a conversation about Larry’s sick cat—the hairs on the black shirt, the vet bill in his back pocket—but whatever the reason, Shawn had gotten in then and had gotten a big favor now, so he gives the teenagers a grin and aims another wave at Buzz before he steps back inside.

“Not really his scene,” Shawn explains to Larry the second the door is fully closed, as though they both just hadn’t seen a blushing Buzz go running for his car, probably to call his new wife and confess that he’d been dragged to a dirty strip club by the boys at the station.

It isn’t exactly an official bachelor party, seeing as it was after the wedding, and Shawn isn’t sure how they’d all even ended up down here, in a club a little more expensive than most cops could afford. He is sure that it hadn’t been Buzz’ idea, and that he’d better get back in there before Gus gets kidnapped and forced to work in the sex industry as a masseuse—masseur? Whichever one’s a guy.

The beats are loud even in the back by the dressing rooms, which are a jumble of makeup and feathers and jeans and t-shirts, because of course Shawn has to peek. Samantha’s mirror is filled with baby pictures and Blue’s Clues, which is somehow incredibly sad and makes him turn away—but the moment Shawn passes through the beaded curtains he can make out the actual lyrics, something by the Pussycat Dolls of course, and cliché though it may be, it doesn’t stop Shawn’s eyes from darting up to one of the stages and then getting glued there while Miss Kittie herself crawls around on all fours, a furry black cat tail dangling between the globes of her perfect, round ass.

For a second Shawn can barely catch even a glimpse of her shiny, black G-string, how it disappears, almost cutting into her delicate, lusciously pale skin, dipping down to emphasize that soft, smooth bit of skin right under a woman’s belly button, making his mouth dry and his pulse throb in time to the music, but then she spreads her legs wide and falls backwards, and oh yes, she is a flexible kittie.

Shawn twists his heads almost upside down to keep watching her, her pouting, red lips curved into a distant but inviting smile as she arches her back and draws attention to the sparkling skin of her flat stomach, to her small yet still flawlessly enhanced breasts, her nipples just covered in these sexy little paw-print shaped pasties that just make a man want to rip them off and replace with his hands, his mouth, maybe just his tongue.

Of course, if he moves his gaze on, if he makes himself, he’ll also notice the small tattoo on her shoulder, a butterfly that means she is, or was, a dreamer, and if he can get his attention past her firm, glistening thighs as she twists her hips, he might also see the wadded money shoved into her garter belt, or the spot on the cat-ears headband she’s wearing where the fake fur is wearing thin. Then he might wonder if she has to buy her own costume, and there goes that fantasy right there.

It’s like he wants to distract himself. But that would mean he wants to be miserable and frustrated, and no one wants that. That would be like saying that while younger Shawn would have enjoyed himself in here, slightly older Shawn was starting to consider chasing after Buzz. Both ideas are obviously insane.

It’s hot. Shawn glances in the general direction of the back door but moves on.

The room is as humming as it can get in a place like this where men tend to stay awkwardly quiet, though it’s still pretty early in the evening. The music is blasting, and the bartenders are mixing drinks, but it’s the ladies doing all the talking. The guys are sitting there in an aroused silence that’s almost embarrassing to watch when he’s not a part of it. Especially the guys from the station, though they at least let out an occasional group-shout when they do a round of shots. Of scotch. Shawn had had one and could still taste it, biting and smooth.

He could also still feel all the slaps on his back that they’d given him for doing it, and Gus had managed to slip away before he’d gotten any more than one, but Shawn was probably going to have bruises in the morning from the masculine bonding he’d been forced to endure.

Okay, so perhaps Shawn had suggested this place knowing that they served liquor here, so the girls, as per the city’s laws, wouldn’t be fully naked and the security would be extra tight in case things got out of hand. It was going to be awkward enough at the station tomorrow without the memory of watching these guys jerk off in some dark, sleazy strip club—sleazier strip club, since they were all sleazy; they were strip clubs. But this is the kind of place that had plenty of nice bathrooms for many purposes other than the obvious, and probably other kinds of room as well, but Larry and the guys had probably figured out these were all cops by now, so that shouldn’t…come up.

Shawn is not laughing a little about that as he walks back over, skipping past the group from the S.B.P.D. to where he’s got a small table with just Gus, dodging a very friendly cowgirl with a seriously gravity-defying rack and the petite blonde cheerleader that Gus has been eyeing since they got here, currently giving some guy a lap dance.

She winks at him and Shawn winks back, because it’s not just her smile that’s perky. Also because Gus glares at him and Gus is so adorable.

“He escape?” Gus asks in the loudest stage whisper ever, looking like he wishes he could follow after Buzz—at least until his gaze strays back to the blonde who is so Cheerleader Fantasy that it’s not funny. Maybe she really had been a cheerleader when she’d been in high school, which was about five years further back than she would probably claim it was. But who is Shawn to judge? Though he might tell her to lighten up on the eyeliner.

Kittie’s done apparently, because she leaves for a break as that song ends, and there aren’t enough people here yet for all the stages to be occupied, so when a new song starts up, a new dancer comes out on the same stage. Conveniently located next to the pack of drunk and horny cops pretending they can afford to hand out wads of money and generally acting obnoxious enough that Shawn’s almost wondering if it’s time to remind them that they’re police officers, but so far none of them have crossed a thin, blue line. And anyway, it’s not his job to make sure that they remember theirs.

Shawn doesn’t know the song, though it sounds like something out of a car commercial and somehow also like something out of his dirtiest spanking-it fantasies at the same time, and the girl…woman…stripper-goddess, be she Cinnamon or Diamond or Porsche, comes out in black leather and a studded bra with a riding crop stuck inside her garter, long and sleek down the side of her thigh. The cops’ cheering falls off into hot silence, Gus makes a little noise, and Shawn is swallowing very, very slowly.

There’s a dollar in his hand before he can think better of it, and let the guys from the station stare at him, he doesn’t care. And sure, yes, Shawn usually thought that going to a strip club was like going to the mall with no money; he just didn’t see the point now that he wasn’t eighteen and actually talked to and slept with people, but hey, as the heavy beat to the song is telling him, he might just be in love with her. Or those handcuffs dangling from her slender hips.

She doesn’t smile even though she comes closer, and Shawn lets his fingers trail against the riding crop as he slips her the bill, his chest tightening when she play-frowns at him for it.

Someone groans and for a second Shawn thinks they are commenting on what he’s doing so he looks up. But while the newest rookie has apparently been dared into a waving a twenty to bring Shawn’s stern, raven-haired beauty over to him, a few of the men are looking elsewhere and muttering, so Shawn turns around just in time to see Lassiter approaching.

Lassiter is still in the suit he wore to work though he’s unbuttoned the jacket, evidently for the occasion. That undoing a few buttons is what Lassi considers dressing casual probably doesn’t even surprise Gus. The only surprising thing about it—if Shawn doesn’t count how closely he watches Lassi’s fashion choices, and he doesn’t because according to Gus he is not really interested in Lassiter, he’s just out to make trouble—is that Lassiter had accepted someone’s invitation to come down here for the makeshift bachelor party. But then, this was all for the sake of some manly cop bonding, and maybe Lassiter understood the ritual. Maybe he’d even had his own party like this when he’d gotten married.

Shawn is not wondering about that however. He’d promised Gus.

Lassiter is glancing around him at the tables and booths filled with both men and dancers and his jaw is locked tight and he’s—shocker—frowning as he makes his way over. But Shawn doesn’t trust Lassiter’s frowns anymore; they don’t always mean that Lassiter is furious, sometimes they mean the opposite of that, and thinking about it means Shawn’s the one who ends up scowling.

He narrows his eyes, stepping away from the stage without really noticing, waiting for Lassiter’s attention to go right past Blonde Cheerleader Fantasy, which it does, like she’s not even there. Which is good because Shawn had almost started to doubt himself, and because…because it just is.

Instead Lassiter finds the group of his fellow officers still clustered around one side of the main stage. He pauses, and then his gaze flies around, to the side, where it stops, because he sees Shawn. Or he sees Gus. Or he sees the hot dancer behind Shawn and that’s really what he’s looking at before he clenches his jaw.

It’s hard to say, Shawn too busy dealing with this weird, unsettling feeling of panic, this icy-hot sensation of Arctic seas and South American beaches running through his veins that keeps happening to him lately, and just when he thinks he might puke up lemon drop shots all over the don’t-look-at-it strip club floor he tears his gaze away and steps back and returns his gaze to their leather-clad stripper who…wow…took off her studded bra when Shawn wasn’t looking.

It’s exactly how he felt the first time he saw naked breasts up close, the first time he’d French kissed a boy, only it’s been years since then and maybe it’s some sort of recurring sickness. Both of those events had led to Shawn getting mono in 11th grade, and then Gus getting it from Jess after she’d broken up with Shawn—and Steve—and really, he couldn’t ask now if mono can come back because Gus still held that whole threeway-makeout-session-mono debacle against him, refusing to even listen to the slightest scandalous detail.

“Why am I not surprised to see you here, Spencer?” Lassiter remarks from behind him, his voice low, and for a heartbeat Shawn considers not turning around because something that is in all likelihood non-mono related flutters inside of him, making his legs shuddery and weak, and though Lassiter can’t see it, it takes a lot of work for Shawn to whip out a smile.

Lassiter had gone from not speaking to him to smug and not shy about it and yet still not really speaking to him, and while Shawn wasn’t really happy about either option, he really wasn’t happy about the reason, even if it means that Lassi is approaching him now.

He didn’t know what he feels about the reason, really, his muscles taut and his body throbbing to remember Hornstock pinned underneath Lassiter on that desk, Hornstock stretching and moaning under each sure thrust from Lassiter, Lassiter’s skin as pink as a fresh and tasty Gala apple, his eyes bottomless pools of anger and need, his voice rough.

Concentrating enough to relive the moment only made the image sharper, hi-def digital quality pictures of Lassi fucking another man’s brains out, and if anyone had asked Shawn his thoughts about something like that a few months ago, he would have shuddered theatrically and pretended to gag.

He isn’t doing that now, and no matter how much he insists it’s all Lassi’s fault, Shawn’s not even convincing himself. Because he’d looked even though Gus had told him not to. And he’d visited the station everyday since then and watched for the slightest signs, and he doesn’t think Lassiter has gone back there, but still he can feel his drinks churning in his stomach because he doesn’t know for sure.

Nothing is sure anymore, and that is Lassi’s fault. For wanting Hornstock at all, for making him beg, for telling him to beg and for saying Shawn’s name as he did.

Shawn glances around again, once, taking in with one look just how uncomfortable Lassiter is—adjusting his tie, his belt, his gaze skimming over Shawn to the stage before siding back to Shawn. He still has the dark circles under his eyes that have been there for the past few weeks, something still eating him up inside, all of it more obvious now that it’s after hours and he’s given in enough to undo those few buttons. Shawn turns back around before his brain can try to work out just how a man can be so uptight, and lacking a sense of humor, and be such a serious dork in his blue suits that make him look like he’s always about to charge into some Civil War battle reenactment, with his hair always gelled down into the same wave above his eyes, and still it’s all Shawn can do not to drag him away from places like this and crawl inside his cheap suit while Lassi is still wearing it.

Not only is it insane, it’s also not fair.

And no, he doesn’t need his father to tell him that life isn’t fair. He’d found that out at thirteen, and again a few weeks ago.

And that’s the reason he doesn’t make a joke the way he would have before about Lassiter imagining Shawn here, and he keeps his hands to himself, and his eyes away from Lassiter unless he’s sure Lassiter’s not looking back. Lassiter probably prefers it that way, because he’s completely stopped making threats, stopped telling Shawn to get out of the station, stopped noticing him altogether. Shawn feels his smile getting heavy, and just like in the station with Lassi walking by without even glancing to him to call him a fake and tell him to get lost, he feels the joke he should be making just…slip away.

He studies their current dancer instead of talking, since she’s doing so much work for their attention, the long leg curling around the pole, the slap of the cuffs against her skin as she twirls, cradles that pole between her thighs. It’s strong enough to support her, and she lifts herself briefly, slowly kicking out one leg.

Lassiter is straight behind him; Shawn can hear each breath he takes. For some unknown and completely unrelated reason, this makes his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth and he takes a deep breath or two before he can talk.

“Anything for Buzz,” he offers lightly and totally fails at controlling his shiver when Lassiter speaks again, and Lassiter ought to be over with the guys right now instead of over here torturing Shawn.

“Where the hell is McNab anyway?” Shawn definitely can’t turn around now, because Lassi sounds almost pleased, and that is so not what he should be in a place like Bootycall. He’s never even attempted to imagine Carlton Lassiter in a place like Bootycall, and now that he’s here and Shawn’s eyes are filled with sweaty, bare skin and his back warm with Lassiter’s body heat, he’s thinking he might just get to see it.

But not if Buzz isn’t here.

Gus is so lacking in trust. There’s no way this can be a bigger mistake than following Lassi to Hornstock’s office.

“Around,” Shawn answers, almost swallowing his tongue, and waves a hand vaguely. He had a drink…somewhere… But at his seat, next to Gus’ seat, at their little table, there’s only Gus’ beer. Shawn stares at it right as Gus takes his eyes from the stage for the first time a few minutes and sees Shawn with Lassiter. There’s an expression of absolute disbelief on his face before he scowls.

“Actually, Lassiter…” Gus tries, for Shawn’s own good, Shawn knows, but still his mouth is moving. He plops down in the chair next to Gus and rolls his shoulders and doesn’t look up so he can keep talking.

“Maybe in the back somewhere…” he lets his voice trail off suggestively just enough to bring a confused frown to Lassiter’s face. Lassi glances around the room and snorts.

“That doesn’t sound like McNab,” Lassi remarks, his tone disapproving, and Shawn knows his eyebrows go up. “But neither does coming to a place like this.” Lassiter’s voice drops, and the impression that he’s disappointed in Buzz for suggesting this place gets stronger. But Lassiter just shrugs a moment later and the light’s too dim for Shawn to tell if he’s blushing or if it’s just the heat making him red in the face. It’s like Lassiter is thinking about pursuing that thought, and then his gaze wanders to the side. He stares at Shawn for a moment as the music slides into something else dirrrty enough to have two extra r’s, and then he turns his head, his gaze lighting on and then following the skinny figure in the punked-out schoolgirl outfit as she works the room, or maybe just her ass in the tiny skirt.

Shawn stays absolutely still in his chair. When the girl’s out of sight, Lassi stares down at him, and Shawn doesn’t think it’s the heat bringing the color to his cheeks, or making him breathe through his mouth. Shawn’s own breath locks painfully in his chest and he breaks first, blinking. Lassiter turns on his heel without a word of goodbye and approaches the other men from the station on the opposite side of the stage, and even from here Shawn can see the few moments of Awkward as they all realize that the Head Detective is there and try to straighten up and muffle their jokes.

Maybe they had invited him thinking he’d never show. Lassiter certainly looks like he regrets coming. He doesn’t look as sour as usual, but there’s a momentary flash of something lost in his expression and then it’s gone, and Shawn’s feeling it again like he felt it when he’d first found Lassiter drunk at Tom Blair’s, this need to get up, to escape, or to curl around Lassiter and mess up his hair, to take Lassi away from here with him.

He looks down instead, because Lassi has spent weeks convincing him that he doesn’t need Shawn around, so why should Shawn help him now?

But he blinks when he hears the massive shout and realizes as he looks back up that they’ve all done another shot and the men have mostly settled back into ogling and drinking.

Shawn’s eyes would be watering. Lassi looks like he handled the belt of scotch fairly well, but then Lassi likes his mellow, aged scotch. It’s a manly cop drink for a manly cop-type bonding ritual. Maybe that’s why Shawn had gone for lemon drops tonight instead of his usual. Lassiter would probably sneer at lemon drops, no matter how much they taste like candy.

Unless Hornstock ordered them. On a date. A date with Lassi. Ordering drinks…no. Letting Lassi order for them both, even if he didn’t want scotch. Never once suggesting that Lassi might like to try some lemony, sugary vodka in convenient shot form.

“Shawn.” Gus interrupts his thought and Shawn drags his eyes away from Lassiter being pushed into shot number two and goes for distraction and innocence all at once.

“Don’t worry, Gus, someday when you get married I’ll throw you a bachelor party way cooler than this one.” Leaning his head to the side is flirting, and as always unfair as it makes Gus twitch. “I’m totally your best man, right?”

Gus opens his mouth and shuts it again almost too fast to see and snatches up his beer before Shawn can do more than tilt his head and give him a silent “Dude?” But whatever is weirding Gus out, and coincidentally making him look almost guilty, it’s also keeping him quiet.

It gives Shawn the opportunity to sink back in his chair and drop out of sight for a song or two, to maybe help people forget that he was even there while he tries to breathe normally and stop shaking. He keeps his eyes on the stage, which gives him a nice view of some very expensive chest augmentation, as well as some incredibly over-waxed eyebrows, and if his gaze happens to go beyond the ladies dry-humping the big shiny pole to the group on the other side of the stage, well, no one else is likely to ever notice.

Buzz’ bachelor party group doesn’t seem to notice the groom is gone. But they’re fast approaching the glassy-eyed and silent portion of the evening. Most of them are sitting down now, except for the few still handing out bills.

After the initial drink, Lassiter stays on the edge of the crowd. He smiles tightly once or twice, when someone says something to him, then he nods at the stage and moves while their attention is back on the current stripper. His eyes are moving as much as the rest of him, glancing around a few times as though he’s looking for Buzz so he can buy him a drink and then get the hell out of there. He winces whenever the other men get too loud, and by the time someone orders another round he takes his glass and moves a few feet away to an unoccupied table.

Shawn thinks about leaving again, buying the guys another round they don’t need—putting on Gus’ credit card of course—and then slipping out, heading someplace quieter to try to do the forgetting that tonight was supposed to have been about.

“He doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself either,” Shawn remarks even if Gus is going to tell him to stop watching Lassiter. Lassi’s not even pretending to be having a good time. Shawn’s feet kick to remind him of his whole leaving plan, but he’s still not moving. “Maybe I should arrange another rescue,” he offers hopefully, waiting, but Gus isn’t saying anything.

Shawn turns and stops, his mouth open, knowing exactly what he’s seeing but doing a double-take anyway, because yes, that is Gus with Blonde Cheerleader Fantasy in his lap. Gus is giving her his biggest smile, and the way she’s rocking slowly she must be urging him to root for the home team.

He looks away for a second and then blinks and looks back, because, whoa, he hadn’t thought Gus had it in him.

“Dance?”

Shawn’s neck actually cracks as he turns around, and then he’s lifting his eyebrows. It figures, he thinks distantly, because he and Gus are not being drunk and rowdy, and Gus is a tempting bit of man meat in his bright work suit and Shawn’s not half-bad to look at either in his t-shirt and royal blue zip-up sweatshirt. They both also still have most of their money left.

“Well, hello,” he offers Naughty Schoolgirl. She’s got black, smudged eyeliner and sparkly, pointy bracelets with a matching collar to accessorize the tiny white shirt and lacey white underwear that her plaid skirt doesn’t even come close to hiding. Her hair is in pigtails and she has two tattoos. One just barely hidden by her collar and the other…he’d seen that on the inside of her thigh when she’d passed by earlier. It looked faded; it was cheap or a few years old.

“Dance?” she asks again, and runs her short, black nails along her bright, red mouth.

It’s amazing how fast he can get the money out of his pocket.

“Never seen you in here before,” she turns around immediately and sort of bends over, circling her hips at the same time. The skirt rides all the way up as she does and it’s just lace and skin and the ink of her tattoo. Shawn’s eyes narrow before he can help himself, even while he’s thinking about licking the sweat from the back of her thigh, maybe running a finger up higher, slow at first, before bending her over the table.

It’s the kind of thought to make him shudder in a good way, like panting for breath after coming hard enough to strip paint.

“Well, you wouldn’t have unless you’ve been working here for about ten years.” Nope, no problems with his tongue now. Working just fine as long as he keeps his eyes on Naughty’s ass and that sexy little chain running around her waist connecting to her belly button, and doesn’t wonder if Lassiter is getting a dance, or an eyeful of this, what Lassiter would think if he saw Shawn work her legs apart and spread her out underneath him on the stage, if he told her to beg and called her the wrong name.

She hasn’t even touched him yet and he’s not allowed to touch her. But Shawn leans back and puts his feet further apart on the floor and lets his mouth hang open, just a little. Okay, so it falls open, just a little. It’s almost the same thing.

“I only work during the summer, paying my way through school,” Naughty remarks, slapping a hand softly against her ass and then dragging her hand back along her body, pulling up the skirt a little more as she does. Shawn digs his fingers into the arms of the chair and swallows, because even her clichés are hot.

“Just getting back after a few years off?” Shawn asks and immediately winces. This is all Lassiter’s fault. He looks over before he can help himself, bringing his eyes back when Naughty goes still for a moment and then twists around to frown at him.

“I’m continuing… I had to…take some time off, get my head together.” Naughty tells him slowly and turns around to stand over him. Shawn obediently leans his head all the way back and admires the view. Naughty puts those short, dark nails along his cheek and slides down into his lap in one motion. Holy pineapples it feels good. “How did you know?”

Her lap is hot and tight, lace panties right over his pounding dick but he still tries a smile. He thinks about saying it’s the thigh tattoo. It’s the Cal Bear; she went to Berkeley, at least a few years ago anyway. Also there are healing track marks in one of her arms. He settles for shrugging, licking his lips when she arches back because she honestly had been a naughty, naughty schoolgirl.

And bendy. She stretches all the way back, offering him her breasts, still constrained by her dark bra and her thin white shirt, and her fingers go to the button and the little bow where it’s tied. Shawn follows her hands up, glancing up over her and catching another glimpse of blue.

His skin feels hot, prickling with goose bumps at the same time.

“I’m a psychic?” He whispers, his face stinging when he realizes he’s asking, bringing his eyes back down to her flat stomach and keeping them there. Naughty sits up, her hands still working her shirt, taking her time, but she snorts.

There’s something just so refreshing about her disbelief.

Shawn fishes another twenty out of his pocket, shifting his hips up against her at the same time, purely by accident, and hands it to her.

“For your son. Or whatever.” He waves the gift away the moment she takes it, flicking his gaze to her face, then away, not to Lassiter, but he’s breathing hard, and he rubs his hands down the sides of the chair. He really doesn’t want to see her look of amazement, not when all he did was pass by the dressing rooms and put two and two together about which stuff was hers.

“You know,” Naughty remarks, after a pause, and Shawn looks up, to her mouth, which is as red as Lassiter’s had been after he’d bitten it, breathing hard into Hornstock’s ear, his lips parted and wet when Hornstock had dropped his head to suck at his neck and Shawn inhales sharply; he isn’t supposed to be thinking about that. “You don’t seem to be getting much out of this,” she goes on, giving a little hip-twitch that drains all the blood right out of Shawn’s head. His dick is hard and his entire body is on fire. How she thinks that he’s not moved by her performance is just beyond him.

But Naughty jerks her head back, tossing her hair or gesturing toward Lassiter and this time Shawn’s the one who twitches. “And your friend seems lonely.” She winks and leans in while Shawn’s frowning at her. Her lips touch his ear like she knows exactly what he’d been remembering, her tongue too, hot, wet, with a hint of metal that means a piercing. Shawn’s brain short circuits for a moment to just. Hot. Metal. Wet. Pink. Mouth.

“I’m a psychic too.” Naughty laughs against him and Shawn snaps out of it enough to know that he’s blinking and probably close to drooling.

He stares at her once she pulls back and then feels his vision shift, refocus on Lassiter, alone at his table. Lassiter angles his head to the side before Shawn can meet his gaze and then he leans back to take his scotch in one gulp.

He’s leaving, Shawn can tell that from the gesture, from his frown, and feels his heart beat in uneven, frightened kicks against his ribs. He jerks, and looks back at his new favorite stripper. Then his face twists into a frown to match Lassiter’s.

“Lassi?” He doesn’t even know why he’s pretending, except he does, so many reasons, but she doesn’t know him and after too many long, loaded seconds, he gives up. Lassiter never pretends anything. Not ever. Not even once. He’d tried, and both Hornstock and Shawn had witnessed his failure. “We’re not friends. I…don’t know what we are.” No way would he ever admit that to anyone else. Not even Gus, not yet.

“Should I keep him company? I ought to give you your money’s worth.” Naughty—Samantha—wonders. The answer in his head is an immediate and startlingly loud NO, because he can’t watch that again.

He opens his mouth then shuts it. The music changes, something less seductive and more direct, rough, not quite rap, and Shawn recognizes a song from the radio, the kind of thing Lassiter would probably blush to hear and then dismiss with a snort.

Shawn looks up and Naughty slides off him in one smooth motion.

He swallows cool air, looks over, but Gus isn’t watching him; Gus is biting his lip and the blonde woman in his lap the only thing that exists in the world. Shawn’s skin is cold, his lap empty.

Naughty flips her skirt back down and slinks around the stage. There’s a twist in her hips that wasn’t there before, for Shawn, and when she reaches Lassiter, she doesn’t ask.

Her hair is dark, but her lips aren’t as full as Hornstock’s. It doesn’t matter. Lassiter has time to sit back and frown and jerk his head in a confused negative motion, and then she’s straddling his lap, all smooth motion and just way too close for Shawn to like it. He’s twitchy, fired up just thinking about whatever shocked words burst out of Lassiter’s mouth when she settles on him, the anger, the frustrated Catholic swearing.

He’s wriggling in his seat. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to send Naughty somewhere far, far away, back to Berkeley, anywhere else, so he can take her place astride Lassi, kiss his pursed, softening mouth and rock them both to sweet, orgasmic oblivion.

But she’s pretty, and enough of a bad girl with her piercings that she knows what he wants to see, how to work it so she gets it. And Lassiter likes naughty, piercings, had said so, or something close enough to it, a long time ago when Shawn had sat in his lap too. Lassiter likes them just a bit bad, outside the rules, for the same reason he loves his cuffs, and Shawn shifts his feet on the floor as he watches Lassi’s jaw drop, his eyes flash and narrow.

Shawn had halfway almost seriously considered a tongue piercing once, if only for annoying his dad and also giving awesome head reasons, and wonders what it would feel like now, to stick out his studded tongue and have Lassi look at him like that. He shudders at just the idea, his mouth falling open, and even with an impossibly hot girl in his lap Lassiter looks right over at Shawn. Shawn swallows and Lassiter’s hands curl around the arms of the chair, as though he knows the rules of this place after all, as though he’s thinking the same secret, dark thoughts about Shawn that he always has, even when Shawn hadn’t wanted to notice.

The song is asking a direct question, and Shawn already knows the answer, but he watches anyway, putting a hand on his thigh when Naughty just keeps popping her hips out, pushing herself back and forth along Lassiter’s lap, soft, hot thighs pressed inescapably tight to a rigid, pulsing cock, so good, not good enough, not unless he pushes back up, and he can’t, and when Lassiter finally clenches his jaw hard, she reaches up to her shirt again.

Shawn can imagine how it falls back once it’s untied, the way her breasts are dying to fall out of her tiny black bra, the way her belly-chain is jingling, tinkling like bells while she rubs those lace panties back and forth, and maybe she’s not wet, maybe it’s her job, but Shawn is gasping for air, and hard, because Lassiter is too. Shawn knows that without being able to feel for himself, from Lassiter’s face, the memory slicing through him.

Lassiter is all frowns and dark pink lips, scorching blue eyes still aimed right at Shawn before Naughty reaches for her front clasp on her bra and then he snaps his attention back to her.

Shawn can’t tell if she’s talking, can’t see anything but the taut, aroused stiffness in Lassiter’s posture, the grasping motions of his fingers, and he hasn’t pushed up yet, but he will. Because he hasn’t told her to go either.

Shawn is possibly shaking, sliding back in his chair as though it will ease the sharp, ache building in his spine. His upper lip tastes like sugar and salt.

It’s not dark enough in here. He has to open his mouth to breathe, letting himself be loud because Lassiter can’t hear this time. The song is terrible, wannabe gangster, but Naughty rolls her hips to it, and Shawn knows what Lassiter wants and how he wants it, but he’s mouthing the words anyway when Lassiter drops his head back and looks at Shawn. Threats. Promises. Two different words for the same thing. Lassiter’s eyes are bright and dazed, his mouth soft in a way that makes Shawn lick his lips again.

Lassiter is aroused and blaming Shawn for it. Like he had before when Shawn wasn’t even around, and Shawn can’t take it anymore. He jumps up, pushing himself away from the sight, moving, because he has to. He thought he wanted to see it again, but that was a lie.

“That’s right, Spencer, beg me.” That is the truth. A real memory, not in his mind at all, even if it makes no sense, because he would have, God, he would have, still would, if Lassi would let him. Lassi has to know that. That Shawn doesn’t know why, but he would beg, he’d stay, he’d put on that little skirt and straddle his lap if he wanted, and still he was over here alone.

The idea is painfully new and raw, more than a little humiliating, and Shawn’s up before he can think better of it, ignoring the look Naughty tosses him over her shoulder, the blue eyes on him. Gus is still off in Lap-dance Land, the other cops distant and quiet, the music too loud.

He owes Naughty more than another twenty, wishes her good luck, but he can’t stay here like this. He walks away, halfway to the bathroom before turning, stopping when he’s hidden by a smaller, second bar to look back, not really surprised at himself because Shawn hadn’t been able to resist temptation yesterday and certainly can’t resist it today.

Naughty is turned around now, grinding her ass in Lassiter’s lap, against Lassiter’s cock, sweaty and firm against something impossibly hard, and Shawn’s mouth goes dry, because he can see the sweat on Lassi’s forehead from this distance, the tight hold Lassi has on the chair.

He realizes, faintly, that his legs aren’t going to hold him up much longer.

He orders a shot of vodka without looking away and flinches at the abrupt end to the song, the DJ mumbling something into the mike for the first time, actually introducing dancers, which means it must be peak hours now.

Naughty is sliding off, disappearing with a cool smile for Lassiter, but Shawn keeps his eyes where they are, on the stunned hunger in Lassi’s face and the way his eyes search the room and land on Shawn’s empty chair, on the sweet hard-on tenting Lassi’s pants.

Shawn swallows, and with another look around, Lassiter gets up. He stumbles for a second and Shawn feels him, clumsy, dizzy, aroused as he’s moving stiffly around the stage, barely glancing up at the new pair of dancers.

The air is rasping in and out of Shawn’s lungs as he watches, because he knows where Lassiter is heading now, what he’s going to do, and he swallows his vodka and moves to follow him, pushing away the silly Gus-voice in his head, listening to the itching of fake psychic impulses, the collection of minute, hard facts that he hadn’t wanted to face, to the jumping pulse in Lassi’s neck, the constant sweep of his eyes over Shawn’s body, his face, Hornstock’s anxiety to see them together.

The hall is dark, narrow, and Shawn has to squeeze past a few men acting like they hadn’t been doing what they’d obviously just finished doing as the leave the bathroom. He can hear his own breathing, dry in his throat as he pushes the restroom door open and quickly cases the room. There’s a sink, a urinal, and two stalls, both painted brown. The lights are steady, old-fashioned bulbs, and the whirr of a fan doesn’t drown out the Britney Spears playing out front, or take away the way this room smells of sex and come just as much as the area around the stage.

The sink and the large mirror above it are both opposite the door, reflecting the two open stalls, reflecting Lassi, standing still in front of one and staring hard at Shawn in the mirror.

His mouth twists before Shawn can say a word and he sends his gaze away only to bring it right back up. His eyebrows twitch down and Shawn feels his feet moving as he comes into the room, his hands reaching behind him for a door lock that isn’t there.

“What do you want, Spencer?” Lassi’s voice is gruff, quiet, and any other time Shawn would have remarked that that was a ridiculous question to ask a man heading into the restroom. But he’s just staring at the shimmer of sweat along Lassiter’s neck and his tongue’s doing its whole stuck to the roof of his mouth thing again and he can only breathe out when Lassi jerks his shoulders and moves like he’s going to step back and close the door.

He should play it cool, smooth and teasing like he would have done—had done—with anyone else.

Lassiter is frowning and distracted, hard and lean and unbuttoned, the smallest bit rumpled from having a hot, half-naked woman writhing in his lap. Shawn’s mouth is so dry that vodka is just a memory.

His face is hot, getting hotter, but he’s not drunk. He can’t look at himself, so he keeps his eyes trained on Lassiter’s reflection, and then Lassiter himself as he floats forward. Lassiter steps back once, almost does it again; Shawn can see his hand grasping the stall door, but even with what is undoubtedly a rock-hard erection Lassiter stands his ground. It’s his eyes that ask questions, that say they wouldn’t trust his answers anyway. Maybe that’s why Shawn puts out his hands and lets them trail down the metal sides of the stall as he sinks down to his knees.

Chapter Text

He should make a joke, say something. He opens his mouth and catches a glimpse of Lassiter, and he could be made of stone, a tall, gangly, marble tribute to Irish cops with strong hairlines, except for the flush of color in his face and the way his fingers are pulling so tightly at the walls that they are turning white. Shawn chest tightens until he can’t breathe either, not until he looks away, and he waits, flinching, but there’s no violence directed at him, or about to be directed at him, and the heat is coming off Lassi in waves

Lassiter’s practically backed up against the toilet, Shawn stares at his legs, the boring color of his pants, the bits of wadded and probably sticky toilet paper on the floor, on Lassiter’s shoes. For a second he’s not at all sure what he’s doing there. Then he looks up again.

“Having some kind of vision, Spencer?” Lassiter is sneering, trying to sneer, only he’s gone gruff and soft again, and while ordinarily, Shawn would have taken a sneer as a sign to either stop or press harder, he’s hearing something else in Lassiter’s deep, careful breaths and the synthesized pop beats thumping through the walls.

Lassiter’s eyes are wide, and he’s not moving.

If Shawn looked at his own hands he’d probably see them shaking, as upset as the little screaming Gus voice in his head asking if he’s really about to do this, but the little Gus freaks and runs away when, shaking or not, Shawn curls one hand around Lassiter’s calf and slides it up.

“Spen…Spencer…” There’s a warning being pushed out from between Lassi’s clenched teeth, and seriously, Lassi has put more effort into telling McNab to disappear. Shawn scoots forward and makes one hand two, a little surprised that Lassiter isn’t wearing sock garters, really surprised that he hasn’t been kicked away since there’s only one pair of JCPenny’s men’s pants between his hands and Lassi’s skin. “I’m not in the mood for one of your games.”

Lassi sounds breathless, and Shawn glances up through his eyelashes in the middle of his amazingly coy and therefore irritating to Lassiter and therefore brilliant, “What are you in the mood for, Detective?” and immediately chokes on the words. Because it’s all there. For the second it takes for Lassi to shut his eyes and turn his head Shawn feels himself frozen, his skin on fire, leaving him scorched and shivering just like before.

He memorizes the look, because he can’t help it, because some part of him wants to, and because he thinks that it’s possible that Hornstock has never seen it. At the thought he can breathe again, slow and warm, and he’s all heat now, inside and out, okay, that’s new too, but he’ll try to understand it later. Much, much later. After he’s drawn out that incredible expression on Lassi’s face again, when he’s standing in the shower at home and thinking about this as he slips a finger in his ass. For now he’s already moving on.

He lets himself lean forward, keeping his eyes on Lassiter’s face when he touches his mouth to his hip and holds it there. He’s close, his cheek nearly touching the erection Lassi hasn’t even attempted to hide and when he breathes in he smells scotch and sex.

“Lassi.” The name slips out before Shawn even realizes he’s talking, so he turns, pressing his mouth to Lassiter’s stiff cock. It pounds against his lips, sweet and strong, and Lassiter’s fingers leave the walls to dig into his shoulder. To touch him. For a second it hurts, bruising him to the bone, keeping him still, and then Lassiter’s fingers loosen, and the pain drifts out, throbbing, and Shawn’s chest is tight as he breathes in, smelling salt and musk, he’s so hard too, even before the heat of Lassiter’s hands on him. He’s not sure he can wait, not sure he won’t do something drastic until Lassi realizes that Shawn’s right here, ready, willing, and so totally able.

Lassiter is looking at the wall of the stall, and the fabric of his pants is so cheap it dries out Shawn’s lips but he moves them anyway, his eyes stinging from how he’s staring.

“Please.” He knows he doesn’t say it out loud, that’s only the way his mouth is curving around Lassi’s dick, in the way he sucks once or twice to see Lassi’s jaw clench, to see his mouth fall open. He’s not talking, but his mouth is offering things anyway, needing Lassiter to know just how good it will be, how much better it will be than anything else he’s ever had. It has to be. Shawn’s shoulder aches under Lassi’s hand, his neck is already sore, but all he can think about is Lassi’s face.

Lassi still hasn’t pushed him away even though Shawn’s intentions couldn’t be more obvious. He wants to suck Lassi’s dick, he wants Lassi’s cock in his mouth and his hand just like that, firm and angry on his shoulder, his mouth softly open, while he groans and comes. He wants Lassiter to know it’s him, to say it.

The thought burns as much as Lassi’s glare and Shawn ducks his head. His palms are flat against Lassi’s legs and he moves them up, resolutely not acknowledging any possible trembling as they go for Lassi’s belt buckle.

Lassiter’s breath hisses out, making Shawn wonder if Lassi is looking at him again. He pops the buckle free and focuses on buttons. Lassi has on boxers; for a moment Shawn’s fingers find the elastic, tug at it, and Lassiter’s fingers twist in his shirt, slide free to curl around his shoulder.

“Spencer.” Lassi pushes out his name, not angry, and Shawn licks his lips, twisting up into Lassi’s hand, panting a little as he pulls down the zipper and he’s got a face full of plain cotton boxers, stretched to the limit by Lassi’s cock and he can’t help himself.

He’s sucking through the fabric, one hand coming up to squeeze the shaft, and his tongue is slick even through the material. She got him like this, and while Shawn appreciates lace panties as much as the next guy, he doesn’t want them anywhere near this. He strokes hard, hard because she’d been soft, because Lassi wants hard, and bad, and slutty with a side of good, and Shawn can so be all those things.

His hands can’t decide, push the boxers down or just push them open, but his mouth isn’t moving, so he goes with door number two, sliding away sticky fabric and running his tongue along hot, shivering dick. Lassiter jerks, surprised, Shawn’s too busy sucking him off to reassure him, and yeah he doesn’t need to talk now anyway. Lassiter’s the one trying, grunting and breathing out short, shocked versions of his name, his last name, and the manly-distance thing shouldn’t be so hot, except it is with Lassiter’s hand curving at the back of his neck, urging Shawn on when his mouth keeps trying to tell him no.

Lassiter saying his name is easily something he could listen to at least every day for year, possibly even more than that. He curls his tongue and pushes, just a little, at the head of Lassi’s dick, swallowing eagerly when Lassiter repeats his name in a shocked gasp and slides his free hand from the wall to Shawn’s other shoulder and spreads it wide.

Shawn kneels up to meet it and puts his other hand out, clutching hard at Lassi’s hip when fluid coats his mouth and wets his lips. He’s shaking, shaking against Lassiter’s steady legs, and that’s not fair either, not even a little, and he’s rocking forward in the next second, hungry, his lips meeting his fist before he slides his hand away.

Lassiter’s legs hit the toilet and Shawn presses forward, swallowing around the thick cock deep in his mouth, holding just for a moment, all he can, Lassi as deep in him as he can get unless Shawn stands up and gets Lassiter to fuck him against the door.

He’s dizzy at just the thought, anxious for it to happen, hot. He swallows again, and pulls back at the soft word that Lassiter totally just said, his dick jumping in his pants, his heart loud in his ears.

“Yes,” Lassi growls, and the admission is so close to begging that Shawn ought to be smiling. But he’s not leaning back to ask Lassiter to repeat that, he’s not even glancing up. He’s closing his eyes and running his tongue in little circles on the underside of Lassi’s cock, his hands are grasping for bits of Lassiter’s clothes, scrambling for more when Lassiter says it again, low and furious.

“Yes.” Lassi acts like he’s the one down on the floor and Shawn thrusts up into nothing, not even his own hand, not daring to take a single finger away from the warm, solid body in front of him. Lassiter sounds angry, and Shawn’s mouth can’t stop, sucking where the blood pounds the heaviest, dragging along silky hot skin, covering his lips in something so sweet he shivers.

He was doing something. Something important, something about begging, about someone else, but it obviously wasn’t that big of a deal, not now that he had Lassiter shuddering and pushing into him, saying his name.

Lassiter’s twitching, his skin damp, and Shawn can feel the heat at his neck, Lassi looking at him, watching him, eyes heavy and blue, and whatever he’s thinking outside of oh-God-yes-Spencer-keep-sucking-my-cock, Shawn’s not going to ask.

He just wants this. He wants to keep sucking his cock, to stay down here. Or screw the door and Shawn will turn and crawl around and let Lassi fuck him on the dirty floor. He aches at the idea, spreads his legs and grunts, knows why Hornstock invited Lassi back for another round even when he knew about this, because Lassiter’s fingers are holding him tight, tight enough to hurt, but he’s not yanking Shawn forward by the ears, he’s not doing anything but letting Shawn lick him like a banana and pineapple flavored popsicle and squeezing at his neck and shoulder, just rough enough to burn.

Lassiter is shaking now, trembling with the kind of dark impulses that leave Shawn tongue-tied and weak. He pushes, urging Shawn back down onto his cock, pulling in a startled breath when Shawn lets him and swallows around the thick weight again. He’s looking, but Shawn closes his eyes, moaning in his throat when Lassi eases him back and all he’s swallowing is the lingering flavor of Lassiter.

“Is this…” Lassi’s voice is husky, like he’s been sucking cock that Shawn doesn’t know about, but he bites off the words. He’s frowning, Shawn knows, and moans again as he leans forward, anticipating Lassiter now, letting himself be led, be mouth-fucked on the floor of a strip club bathroom. “This what you want, Spencer?” Lassi asks him, pausing to make sounds like he’s licking his lips.

Shawn squeezes his eyes shut for a second, because he knows what Lassiter really means, what he’s asking, that there’s probably disgust in his face. Something flares up tight and hot behind his eyes, arching him up from the floor, and he’s breathing hard, too loud, embarrassing, but Shawn stretches his hands up, pulling at Lassiter’s shirt, pawing at his waist when the sound makes Lassiter hesitate again. Lassi’s fingers curl at his nape, spread through his hair, hard, then soft, and with each tug Shawn hears himself moaning again, knows he’s shaking. Something pricks at his eyes and he opens them.

He’s still pushing up into the air, shuddering at the firm grip Lassiter has on his neck, stretching his mouth and swallowing, letting Lassiter do what he wants, and he doesn’t have to do anything but slide both hands to Shawn’s head and Shawn’s changing position for him, firming his lips until Lassiter is groaning and urging just a little faster.

“That’s right, Spencer,” Lassi breathes out, just like before, and heat shivers down Shawn’s spine. He grunts, jerking forward instantly in a way that leaves his face burning, bright heat streaking through him. He doesn’t need to be told, he sucks and swallows, imagines himself wearing Lassi’s darkest tie around his eyes, imagines them anywhere else, his world nothing but Lassiter’s hand at his jaw, in his hair, the rough voice telling him to beg. He is begging, licking and drooling, and choking on it, barely able to breathe when firm hands guide him gently to exactly what he wants.

He puts a hand back, a few fingers to keep him from choking, then softens his mouth. If he closes his eyes, he still wouldn’t miss anything, wouldn’t be anywhere else, and he’s humming at the thought, his dick pounding as Lassiter fills him again, and he can’t look up, not until Lassiter inches him back, but the body under his hands is tight and Lassiter is arched over him, watching him with piercing blue eyes and an open mouth, and Shawn doesn’t think he could get out the “Give it to me, Lassi” even if his mouth hadn’t been full. That drowning in heat sensation is back and making him grunt and shiver and he’s staring up and Carlton is tall and unbuttoned and his hands twist in Shawn’s hair and he clenches his jaw and frowns before he grabs Shawn tighter and thrusts into his mouth.

Only a few times, because Naughty Schoolgirl was hot, because Shawn was good at this, but even just a few times, not quite hard enough to leave marks, just hard enough to make Lassi growl his name, is all it takes to have Shawn hungry, sweating as Lassi grabs him and holds him as he comes deep in his throat. Shawn’s eyes are wide, and he blinks when he realizes that his eyes are open after all, that he’s staring, memorizing every last glimmer in Lassiter’s gaze.

He’s panting when Lassiter finally relaxes enough for him to fall back. He waits, then works his jaw a few times; it’s sore, used, and his throat feels like he’s swallowed scalding hot coffee. All he does his lick his lips; they’re as on fire as the rest of him, his whole body buzzing. He’s still looking up, though the polite thing to do is look away, but he doesn’t feel polite, he feels edgy and though he ought to put a hand down to his lap and finish things as quickly as possible he just sticks both his hands on the floor and tries to keep his head up.

He just blew Lassiter in a bathroom. A strip club bathroom. Which is breaking all kinds of indecency laws that Lassi can probably quote, but his lips are stinging, his head swimming, and he might explode if Lassiter even looks at him. It’s all so…surprising. Unexpected, in a horribly real sort of way.

That burning ice streaks through him for a moment, and he’ll have to ask Gus if this pain in his chest means he’s having a heart attack. And so young too.

Lassiter draws in a long, steadying breath as his hands fall away, and Shawn shudders as they leave him but finally pulls his attention down, away. He pushes up and bounces to his feet, using too much energy because he bounces off the walls too, and it’s weird that he doesn’t feel that at all because the stall is shaking but it’s definitely something to think about after he runs out to the little blue car and jacks off enough times to keep himself from embarrassing himself on the ride home, until he can look Lassiter in the face at the station and not taste come in his throat, biting and smooth.

“Feel free to use the facilities now, Lassi!” he blurts out, forcing a grin on his face that he directs at an interesting bit of profanity carved into the metal wall, then spins on his heel toward freedom, towards the outside world, where he can get in the car and go away and never, ever tell Gus that he just got Lassi to fuck his mouth. Because Gus will be very disappointed in him, and also might try to kill Lassiter, which would lead to some complications since Gus isn’t too great at the ass-kicking department and Lassiter is, and Lassiter is going to snap out of his post-orgasmic bliss in a moment and remember that he’d just had sex with a man he hated no matter how much he also wanted him, and he is going to hate Shawn some more for that, and also think Shawn is a man of easy virtue, so yes, leaving is definitely wiser than staying.

He can see his reflection in the mirror and turns away from it right at the blur of motion behind him, and then he’s gasping way too loudly and falling as he gets yanked back by his sweatshirt against Lassiter’s hard, lanky, yet somehow incredibly sexy body and one long arm reaches out to pull the door closed and slam the little lock into place.

Shawn barely manages a confused squawk and then Lassiter’s hand is at his lower back and he’s being pressed between the door and Lassiter and all the blood in his body is now in his dick, which is currently hard enough to hammer nails and being crushed against the door like the rest of him. That this is turning him on…there’s really no point in trying to deny that. But he’s still confused, and turns his head as much as he can to listen to the pissed-off, labored breaths from behind him. They tickle his ear and slip down under his shirt to caress his back.

Forget the car, he might embarrass himself right now.

One of Lassiter’s hands stays firm at his back, the other pushes between Shawn’s dick and the door and Lassi grunts, once, shocked, to feel Shawn’s hard-on, or maybe it’s the way Shawn lets out a little whimper at how good it feels.

“Is there something wrong, Detective?” he manages, his heart beating too fast, his hips already rocking forward toward Lassiter’s hand, which is still confusing, because—clearly—Shawn was supposed to be making his exit and Lassiter was supposed to be deep in denial by now. Instead there’s a creaking noise as Lassiter adjusts his stance, his shoes sticking to the floor maybe, and Shawn’s already shivering before Lassiter leans in just that much more, half-expecting to hear a deadly-soft question like, “Going somewhere?” that meant that Lassiter was all about talking about what had just happened instead of being properly appreciative to have gotten a blowjob at all.

“I’m not going to be able to chew gum for at least two days,” Shawn complains to back up this theory, looking as pitiful as he can when he’s shoved against a flimsy metal door and Lassiter can’t see his face, which isn’t pitiful enough apparently, because Lassi nudges him forward and oh, oh yes, those are Lassiter’s teeth against his ear.

“What is it with you and bathrooms, Spencer?” Lassiter demands, completely ignoring the hand he still has curved over the obvious bulge in Shawn’s jeans, completely ignoring the way that obvious bulge in Shawn’s jeans twitches when he talks. It is possibly the hottest Lassiter has ever been, and Shawn has spent weeks—okay months—monitoring Lassiter’s Hot or Not scale.

He breathes out, staring at the splotch of painted over graffiti by his nose and does not try to rub himself off discreetly into Lassiter’s palm. Because he’s wearing jeans and that would lead to painful chafing, and also Lassiter getting angry and moving to breathe into his other ear, and even Lassi can’t miss how much he’s shivering and arching his head back.

“You know this really…” Shawn coughs and angles his head again, exposing his throat, giving an all-over shudder when Lassiter takes the hand from his back and places it on his neck, his thumb brushing along Shawn’s spine. His other hand moves too, pressing close to Shawn’s dick, his fingers flicking open the button at Shawn’s waist.

Every muscle in Shawn’s body tightens and he turns the exposed part of his face to the door. He’s inching his hips forward again, trying to focus, to not think about Lassiter touching his dick, only it seems that’s exactly what Lassiter intends on doing. “This really isn’t necessary.”

“Shut up,” Lassiter snaps immediately and Shawn hears his teeth click as he closes his mouth. And some part of his brain is thinking—weird, right?—but most of him is just dizzy and flushed and straining to get closer to the thumb that keeps drifting slowly down to touch Shawn through his jeans.

And now that he’s not supposed to, he could totally talk again, about just about anything. About Naughty and her son, or eggplant sandwiches, or Britney’s little meltdown, or the way that Lassiter always combs his hair, and what it might look like if he let Shawn brush it a different way, just about anything but the fingers tracing the rigid length of his dick, gentle even with the rub of the denim.

“So you were just going to run out of here, and I was supposed to let you? That the idea, Spencer?” Lassiter doesn’t seem to have a problem talking either. Shawn wets his nicely stretched and sore mouth and inhales sharply when Lassiter finds his zipper and pulls it down in one motion.

He’s moving his feet out before he can stop himself, spreading his legs and gasping when Lassiter presses closer against him for a moment. He puts a hand on the door, not anywhere even remotely close to the lock and handle, and feels carved letters under his palm.

“Well?” Lassiter demands, teeth at his ear, a hand pushing apart his fly, and Shawn holds tight to the door. He counts his breaths, closes his eyes, and arches back with his head up when Lassiter realizes Shawn is also wearing thin, soaked boxers.

“You told me to shut up,” he answers smartly, even if he makes a little hitching sound between his words that’s probably Morse code for “do me, Lassi”. He knows because his heart is pounding out the same rhythm. It sounds a lot like the music outside.

The hand at his neck tightens, the other sliding to his hip, and Shawn gulps in air as he’s spun around and forced against one side of the stall, his back to the metal, his front facing Lassiter, and he’s got his eyes closed before he can think of why.

He’s breathing hard and he’d blame the fear, but one of Lassiter’s hands goes right to his stomach, pushing up his hoodie and the t-shirt underneath that. He spreads his fingers wide over Shawn’s skin, tickling through the soft trail leading down, and there’s that same hitch in Lassiter’s breathing.

“Since when do you listen to me?” Lassi’s voice rises at the question, all disbelief and shock, and then he just goes quiet. He pauses for just a second, a second only someone like Shawn would notice, and then that beautiful, warm, strong hand at his stomach drops down to push at his jeans, not all the way down, just enough to get down to business. And Shawn is so ready to be all business. He feels air on his hips a second before he twists away from the wall and into Lassiter’s hand, which is curled around him and gripping just right.

It’s hot. Hot in a sexy way, in a temperature way, Shawn doesn’t really know, or care, if anyone asks. But he’s itching and his skin is damp, not nearly as damp as Lassi’s palm and he’s reaching out, slapping a hand behind him to the metal and then leaning forward.

There’s heat, rough fabric at his mouth, and Shawn opens his eyes, instantly learning the weave of Lassiter’s suit jacket, blinking to realize he’s leaning against Lassiter’s body. He jerks upright, just missing Lassiter’s chin, stopping dead when he feels the same warmth at his back, coming forward to hold his hip. His bare hip, sticky with sweat, and so warm already that the heat from Lassiter’s hand makes him shudder.

It’s not like he’s about to fall down, he doesn’t need someone to hold him steady, even if it feels awesomely, amazingly good to have Lassiter stepping forward again, putting the wall to Shawn’s back, surrounding him with the hot body hidden by JCPenny’s finest. His fingers curl, grasping at Lassiter’s waist, fingers and hands he hadn’t even known were on Lassiter’s waist, but there they are. And…he really wasn’t sure when that had happened, but Lassi’s not complaining, so he splays his fingers and lets them creep up under the jacket, flicking his eyes up at last when his wrist brushes against Lassi’s tie. He shudders again.

All he can see is Lassiter’s neck, his Adam’s apple, some of his ear and a little tuft of black hair with one or two grays. Grays. Shawn stares at them with his mouth falling open then moves on, dropping his head to put his mouth under Lassiter’s ear when Lassiter changes his grip and strokes him.

“Well now I want to hear something from you, Spencer,” Lassiter growls, shivery wet breath across Shawn’s throat, and Shawn shakes, nods his head against Lassiter’s shoulder, and bites his lip in a failed attempt to stop the ohyespleaseLassi that slips out of his mouth anyway because Lassiter has long fingers, and he feels like they’re on every inch of his dick, or they should be, or they will be, and he can’t wait.

Lassiter snorts against his ear, stirring his hair, and the hand at Shawn’s hip grips him hard for a moment, relaxing a second later to smooth over the skin there. Shawn twists his head to bury his face in Lassiter’s shoulder, hating the jacket, lifting a hand to push it aside so it’s just Lassiter’s dress shirt under his mouth, with no sign of the holster. Weird. He’d always imagined the gun and holster in his recent fucked-by-stern-Head Detective fantasies.

The Head Detective would have worn a holster to a strip club. Lassiter hadn’t.

“Not that.” Lassiter shakes his head and pushes his thumb under the head of Shawn’s cock, and it’s pleasure so pure and hot that Shawn’s knows he’s talking long before he can hear or understand his own words and all Head Detective fantasies are banished forever. No more tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth; there’s a nonstop flow of yesyesLassi’s and justtellmeandIwill’s, with his fingers clenching over and over on Lassiter’s chest, his hips pushing forward into his hand.

His legs are spread but still trapped between Lassiter’s, and if Lassi presses closer, Shawn could rub himself off on Lassiter’s firm, flat stomach. The fabric of his shirt is surprisingly soft, the buttons ridiculously easy to pop free, and Lassi never slaps his hands away when Shawn thinks he’s going to.

He’s got a t-shirt on underneath, but without removing the tie Shawn can get enough of the buttons undone to expose a patch of chest hair, springy and different, itchy in a different way against the pads of his fingers. He leaves his hand there and puts his mouth back on Lassiter’s throat, sucking a kiss to the soft skin and then gasping when Lassiter stops stroking again to push against the head of his dick, his vision going angels and fireworks for a moment. The angels are dressed like they work at Victoria’s Secret, and the fireworks spell out Lassiter, but it’s the kind of message even Shawn can’t ignore.

“I wouldn’t,” Lassi is growling into his hair, and Shawn’s not entirely sure he’s not imagining the words. “You’re so…”

Shawn moves his whole body before Lassiter can finish, sliding forward just a moment at Lassiter’s sudden indrawn breath, feeling the shudder under his hands when his body comes into contact with his, hip to hip, chest to chest, for a second, long enough for him to feel the pounding against his side, Lassi aroused again, not hard but swollen, getting there. He tilts his head back and gets a look at Lassiter’s pink cheeks, the adorably confused frown, and then Lassiter focuses on him, and something about this frown makes Shawn push himself back against the wall, not blinking once as he stares back. He thinks it’s very possible that his mouth is hanging open.

He’s drowning, soaking in heat just from a look, and later this will probably seem Twilight Zone, but his arms are already reaching around Lassiter as Lassi steps back into Shawn’s space, his eyes closing when Lassiter’s lips brush his cheek, his hair. His hand wraps tight and hot and he’s beating Shawn off slow when it ought to be fast, making him writhe against the metal, against his body, but Shawn doesn’t care, because he’s not really bendy, and he doesn’t have perfect, fake tits or a law degree, but he’s here right now, and he’s getting Lassiter hard again, and he’s so much better for Lassiter than anyone else, he’ll do whatever, and Lassi knows it, loves it, loves this, loves…

Lassiter’s still waiting, still stroking him slow as though he doesn’t see Shawn jerking and thrusting away from the wall, like he can’t hear Shawn gasping into his skin. He can, he sees, he knows, because he’s shaking too, holding Shawn as much as he can with one hand, his lips sliding back and forth through Shawn’s hair, but he’s still waiting, and Shawn scowls and sucks in air, trying to think, to know what he’s supposed to say.

The answer hits him like a ton of bricks, or like a sometimes-overbearing Head Detective determined to keep him away from a crime scene. He can’t breathe, can’t move until it bursts out of him, and then he’s grabbing fistfuls of Lassi’s shirt, his jacket, his chest hair maybe, his legs going weak and his toes curling.

He says it, whispers, “Carlton” into the smooth black and gray hair that his fingers have been itching to disturb, then curls tight around his lean body when Carlton presses him hard to the wall and slides his hand away to thrust his whole body against him.

“Carlton,” he says it again, the way he’d said it outside Hornstock’s office, tries it out, gasping it at all the rough friction, the quick, encouraging words at his ear. For one agonizing, fabulous second he’s floating in Lassiter’s arms and then he’s arching away to come hard, his throat dry and raw, his whole body the best kind of quivering mess.

He doesn’t think he should be standing, but there are these warm bands around his shoulders, his side, and this pounding, kind of like the sounds from outside, only closer, fast and strong and just like his own heartbeat now that he thinks about it, and it takes a few seconds—minutes—of blinking to see that he’s still close against the metal wall, and that Lassiter’s arms are around him, holding him up.

His body gives a quick, violent shiver when Lassiter inches his head up and breath trickles across sensitive, wet skin. Shawn curls his hand at the feeling, blinking again to notice that his hand is cupping the back of Lassiter’s neck, that there is fine, dark hair teasing his palm. His moves his fingers, brushing the collar of Lassi’s white shirt, smoothing out where it’s flipped partly up.

“Okay,” Lassiter whispers, making it almost a question, and when Shawn leans back to frown at him, he’s got that line between his eyes, but he arches an eyebrow anyway. And really, that would sting if Shawn could feel anything but little orgasm aftershocks and Lassi’s skin under his hand. Lassiter swallows, then jerks his head in sort of a yes or no but you’d better answer me gesture that seems too uncomfortable for something out of an interrogation. Shawn shuts his mouth, waiting for the attack, and Lassi grunts.

“You all right, Spencer?” His gaze travels around, down mostly, and Shawn realizes half a heartbeat later that he’s staring, and that he probably looks like one of his dad’s gross hooked fish. Except gross hooked fish don’t blush, and Shawn is definitely feeling heat spreading across his face.

“Worried about me?” Shawn wants to know, so what if his mouth still isn’t working properly? It keeps wanting to say Carlton’s name and it takes him a second to force it say something less…incredibly embarrassing. He has a reputation to uphold here, even if he can’t fully stand up on his own yet and what he does say comes out breathless and soft when it’s supposed to be teasing and flirty. He’s going to have to see a doctor, because nothing is like it’s supposed to be anymore, and once he stops staring up into Lassiter’s eyes, he’s so going to check into that.

Lassiter doesn’t answer anyway, only continuing to frown at him, and that’s something else that’s new—aside from bathroom sex and the sound of Carlton in his mouth and Carlton’s lips moving in his hair—this silence between them. Silence at all. It makes Shawn jittery, the vodka should have made him slow but everything is spilling over, everything but all these words that he had stuck in his throat before that are back now. Words that don’t make any sense, which is why he’d ignored them in the first place, and Lassi is firming his lips and scowling, looking too frustrated for someone who had just had mind-blowing sex, like his tongue is glued to the roof to his mouth too, except that Carlton Lassiter has never had a problem before telling Shawn exactly how he feels, so that’s not it.

It’s the awkwardness, the moments-after awkwardness, that’s all, and they both just need to hear the usual lies and goodbyes so they can get on with their lives. But neither of them moves until Shawn curves his fingertips against Lassi’s skin again, and Lassiter’s eyes widen, startled, and something too light to be air pushes out of Shawn’s mouth, and then there’s the sound of someone entering the bathroom and they’re both jerking their attention to that.

“You’d better get the hell out unless you want to end up in a maximum security prison for the rest of your sorry life, provided I don’t beat you to death first!” The door’s swinging closed even before Lassiter gets out the full threat, his face totally red and his eyes wide like he just remembered that the two of them are in a bathroom, and it’s probably wrong that Shawn feels like he could laugh, because that was pillow talk from Carlton Lassiter, so he ducks his head back down, peering up where Lassi can’t see it, waiting for Lassiter to push him off now that he’s coherent again.

Lassiter looks around, once, his mouth forming a thin, displeased line, but then he drops his head to where Shawn can read his expression, and his hand moves, sliding down between them. Shawn blinks once or twice when Lassiter’s hand touches him gently, putting his dick back into his pants for him and then zipping his jeans carefully part of the way up. He can’t do anything about the come everywhere and doesn’t really try other than yanking Shawn’s t-shirt down. He’s still frowning and Shawn wriggles against his hand with a small sigh.

His undone belt buckle is pushing into Shawn’s ribs. Shawn drops a hand and pats it, only to feel Lassiter move to adjust his own pants, moving the buckle just as the metal starts to get painful. Shawn twists slightly again and holds back his gasp at the sharp little shock from the contact, his body trying to demand more already.

Lassiter had been warming up for a second serving of Spencer-loving when they’d stopped, and all sorts of naughty thoughts pop into Shawn’s brain, like if instead of leaving and pretending this never happened, they take Lassi’s car back to Lassi’s place for some more freak-a-leek. He’s not really sure how to go about getting that, what he might have to offer, but it’s totally worth considering.

“Spencer, why…?” Lassi starts, pulling Shawn away from his badgood thoughts, but coughing abruptly at the end and scowling in some other direction, some of the tomato-red fading. “Where did you…?”

“You like?” Lassi can’t see Shawn fluttering his eyelashes, but he can feel the heat from his face against his neck, and Shawn can’t stop his fingers from toying with the ends of Lassi’s hair, now that they’re there, from following around Lassi’s collar to the knot at the front of his tie, down to the end. He only stops at the shirt buttons, debating whether or not to straighten them, if he can get Lassiter to say yes to what all of Shawn is saying that Lassiter has to say yes to.

Lassiter coughs, drawing Shawn’s eyes back up the familiar line between Lassiter’s eyebrows, the one that says Shawn has left him confused—or dazzled—once again. He’s got creamy white and pink cheeks, and his eyes are blazing.

That would be a definite yes, Shawn thinks, dizzy, breathing out carefully as his hands curl. One little offer and Lassi is his. He didn’t have to do anything.

His face is burning and he pushes forward another inch, lettings the word fall out without putting much thought into them.

“Because that’s just a start, Lassi. I am a very talented boy.” His scruff probably scratches against Lassiter’s ear when he whispers that, but Lassiter only leans back to study him, his face twitching into a different frown for a second, worried, unhappy.

But Lassi only swallows and clears his throat and gets his stuff together enough to sound pissed as he steps forward and Shawn finds himself back against the stall, Lassiter’s hands resting at his hips, squeezing a little.

Shawn is buying Buzz the best late wedding present ever, something better even than Little Boy Cat.

“Oh really?” Lassiter’s growl is something Shawn has definitely gotten used to no matter what Gus says. He’s totally grinning now that Lassiter can’t see it, warm and gasping just a little when Lassiter pins him again, and this is so much better without the whole S.B.P.D. looking on and Lassiter actually trying to kill him. Lassi is hard and lean, and something that feels a lot like his mouth is trailing down Shawn’s throat while he makes small, fierce noises, the kind of noises that usually mean violence and suspects apprehended, but now just mean Lassiter might be smiling, he might be happy.

Light-headed, Shawn closes his eyes while he thinks about stripping that suit off Lassi the way he’d rip the wrapper off a candy bar, getting Lassi to strip it off for him, but settles temporarily for moving his hands up, threading through the sweep of dark hair at the back of Lassiter’s neck, getting close to his collar with it’s edge of faint sweat stains.

“Better than Hornstock?” Of all the hundreds of words still jammed in his throat, those slip out, small and thin, and Shawn opens his eyes, shivering as Lassiter freezes.

The hands holding him fall away and when Lassi straightens up Shawn flashes back to the image of marble, a big, tightly furious Lassiter statue and he’s got his hands up, out, his mouth moving to deflect whatever Lassiter’s about to throw at him, but Lassi is quiet and somehow that stops him short.

“What was that?” Lassiter asks him carefully, out of breath and waiting, and when Shawn finally widens his eyes innocently and meets his gaze, he flinches. Shawn’s heart is beating louder than the music outside, too loud, and it takes him too long to try a shrug and a smile, trying to downplay it even when his small grin makes Lassi step back. There’s disbelief etched into every line of his expressive face, his skin so pale that now Shawn can see where his stubble left marks on his throat. “How did you…?” Lassiter waves a hand and cuts himself off and Shawn can see the exact second that Lassiter remembers Shawn is a psychic. A fake psychic, even if Lassiter can’t prove it yet. He shakes his head and when Shawn tries to step forward he snaps his eyes up with a look so hard that Shawn can actually feel it and falls back until the whole stall is shaking.

It’s all there in that look, what he’d thought he’d wanted. Disgust. Scorn. Hatred.

He’s unsteady on his feet, grabbing his sweatshirt and yanking it closed and Lassiter’s eyes dip down to the stains that Shawn can’t completely hide. His mouth tightens and Shawn hears himself trying again, burning to hear how loud he is, wondering why he’s smiling when his smiles have never convinced Lassiter of anything before. They just make Lassiter’s face twist into something bitter and sour before he turns.

“No. Lassi. Lass. It’s not…” Like that, except Shawn isn’t sure what it is, because he’s not drunk but he might be sick, and Lassi should not be leaving. This isn’t what he’d wanted at all. He may have made a mistake.

“Save it.” Lassiter shoves the door lock open and steps out. Shawn barely has time to dodge the swinging door and then he’s out too, watching Lassiter wince away from his own reflection, from Shawn’s. He turns without doing up a single button, his hair a mess, toilet paper on one shoe, making Shawn’s hands curl just looking at him.

“I…this is all just a game to you, isn’t it, Spencer?” Lassiter demands, waving a hand around them, at the bathroom or the larger room outside. He moves but stops when Shawn trails after him. “Don’t.” Lassiter gets out the one word through his teeth and shakes his head, yanking at his suit jacket, not seeming to notice just how quickly Shawn’s body obeys the command, the way Shawn’s eyes widen when he instantly stops. “Just…stay here…” For the first time Shawn pulls at his sweatshirt, because Lassiter doesn’t add the rest, doesn’t have to. His fingers pull on the jacket again, wrinkling material designed not to wrinkle, and then he rubs at his neck, the hickey Shawn just gave him not fully formed yet. He looks up at Shawn and Shawn is just cold, cold all over, ready to throw up and shivering.

A hint of frozen blue is all Lassiter gives him before he disappears out the bathroom door and the music gets so loud that Shawn can’t hear if he says anything else.