Shawn moaned happily when he collapsed on to the big, plush couch in the Psych office. His whole body ached and not in the pleasant way that it usually did after a night of loving with Lassie. Today he ached because he spent the entire day with Gus trying to track down an arsonist. They had some luck in their hunt but Shawn still needed a bit more before he could pull off a worthwhile reveal.
"So tired," Shawn whined loudly. "Why didn't I just go straight home?"
Shawn pouted as he lay on the couch and stared at the ceiling. He couldn't really remember why he had come back to Psych. The young man gave up on trying to remember and rolled onto his side and made himself comfortable.
"Might as well catch some Zs until Carlton is off work," he yawned and smiled sleepily at the thought of the detective.
They had started seeing each other, in a more private manner than how they saw each other at the station, about five months ago. It had thrown Shawn for a loop when it had happened. He had almost gotten shot five months ago and after everything had been squared away, Carlton had pulled him away from the scene and kissed him within an inch of his life up against the alley wall. At the time, Shawn had been so stunned that he had just stood there and let Carlton kiss him. But when the detective had pulled away and Shawn saw the look of regret, self-doubt and leftover fear in Carlton's ice blue eyes, Shawn had surged forward and returned the heated kiss.
Since then, the two of them had become almost inseparable in their off hours and they maintained their unusual but normal work relationship. No one at the station knew and they wanted to keep it that way. Normally, Shawn would openly express his relationship to anyone who would listen but he didn't want to cause Carlton to lose his career. So the younger man did everything in his power to keep their relationship quiet. He still flirted with Jules and suspects – which usually resulted in hot jealousy sex – and poked fun at Lassiter.
Shawn's thoughts on his relationship with Carlton petered off as he succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep on the couch. He was completely unaware of the person dressed in black that lurked outside and watched from the window as he fell asleep.
Shawn woke slowly and snuggled back into the couch. He would have sunk back into the dark abyss of sleep if the room hadn't been so hot. He shut his eyes tight and maneuvered himself into a sitting position.
"Damn it Gus," he cursed out loud as he rubbed at his closed eyes. "He always leaves the heat on too high! You'd think that after knowing me for over twenty years, he'd know that I only like to be hot during sex and at the sauna. Geez."
Finally Shawn opened his eyes and had to snap them shut against when they started to sting due to the smoke in the room. Carefully, he cracked them open and took in the Psych office. The office was engulfed in smoke and fire.
The pseudo-psychic immediately dropped to the ground before he opened his eyes fully. He was slowly starting to panic. He had to find a way out of there. The fire was starting to spread and most of the exits were blocked off by the flames.
Got to get out. Got to get out! Shawn thought desperately. The window! Break the window and then I can get out.
Even though he knew that it was unwise to do so, Shawn took a deep breath and stood up. As quickly as he could he found Gus' desk lamp and hurled it at the window that overlooked the beach. The lamp broke the window but not enough to do him any good.
Shawn's lungs began to burn and he started to feel lightheaded. He collapsed and hit the floor and barely missed hitting his head on the coffee table. By some stroke of luck, he was within reach of the phone. Shawn used the last bit of energy he had left and grabbed the phone and pressed speed dial one. As the phone rang, Shawn felt his consciousness start to slip away.
"Detective Carlton Lassiter, speaking."
Thank God for Lassie's strong work ethic.
"Carl...ton..." That was all Shawn was able to get out before everything went black.
Carlton groaned in annoyance as he sunk into his chair and saw the amount of paperwork that awaited him. He hated days like these. The ones that dragged on and on and that were only made worse when he could only look at Shawn and not touch him. Carlton and O'Hara had spent most of the day going to and from numerous crime scenes and interviewing what seemed like thousands of people.
"This backlog of cases is going to kill me," Carlton growled in frustration.
In all his years as a cop and then a detective, Carlton had never experienced such a flux in crime. The number of crimes had increased in the last three weeks but thankfully a majority of them were less serious crimes, arsons and robberies mostly and others that didn't result in any loss of life. There was very little in the ways of worse crimes, such as murder. Though in Carlton's book, a crime was a crime and it didn't matter if there was or wasn't any loss of life.
Carlton diverted his attention from his mountain of paperwork to see O'Hara approaching his desk. "What is it?"
"I just thought I'd let you know that I'm heading out now," she said sweetly and smiled at the head detective. "You should head home as well, you look completely beat."
"Gee, thanks O'Hara for those oh-so kind words but I have work to do," Carlton snipped and returned his attention to his computer.
He heard O'Hara sigh and then the clicks of her heels as she walked away. He knew that he shouldn't be so hard on her but crime never rests and neither did Carlton. No matter how much he'd rather be resting at home with a certain psychic wrapped tightly in his arms.
Carlton smiled only slightly as he continued to type up his reports. It was funny how he had disliked Shawn at the start of younger man's job with the police, almost to the point of hate. Though, Carlton had never hated him. But now, the two of them were lovers and had been for the last five months.
That night five months ago, when Shawn had almost gotten himself shot, something had snapped in Carlton. As soon as the scene had been cleared, he had dragged the psychic away and kissed him. When he had realized that Shawn was still and unresponsive, he had backed off and had thought he had blown everything. But then Shawn had returned the kiss with even more intensity.
After that, it had been a little awkward for Carlton. He hadn't been in a relationship since well before his failed marriage and especially with a man. But there was just something about Shawn that made Carlton want to be with him, no matter what.
The sudden sound of his phone ringing brought Carlton's mind back to the present. He looked at his report and saw that he had yet to type a single word of it. Carlton sighted and answered the phone.
"Detective Carlton Lassiter, speaking," he said professionally.
There was a beat or two of silence and he was just about to hang up when he heard something. It was faint but Carlton hadn't missed it.
The detective sat up straight and pressed the phone to his ear more firmly. He listened carefully and hoped to hear something, anything else but he heard nothing. Carlton couldn't figure out who would be calling him at the station this late. Juliet as already gone for the night, Chief Vick was in her office, and Shawn –
Please don't let it be Shawn!
He checked the caller I.D. and noticed that it was indeed Shawn and he was calling from the Psych office, which was odd since he should have been at home.
"Shawn! Shawn, can you hear me?" Carlton yelled - panicked - into the phone, not caring in the least about who might overhear him. There was nothing but silence on the other end of the line.
Something was wrong, terribly wrong and Carlton could feel it. Without a second's worth of hesitation he slammed the phone down, grabbed his keys and raced to the Crown Vic. He couldn't get the car started fast enough and when he did he sped out of the station's parking lot, sirens blaring and lights flashing.
He had never been so thankful to be a cop in his life. The drive from the station to the Psych office usually took fifteen minutes but Carlton made it in less than four. When he reached the building, he got out of his car and gasped in horror. The entire building was on fire and Shawn was still inside!
Carlton was frozen in place. All he could do was stand there, almost as if time had stopped. He could only focus on the flames as they licked and burned the Psych office. Carlton wanted to scream and do something, anything, but he was completely numb. Suddenly, everything that Carlton had learned to do in these situations came rushing back. He grabbed for his radio through the open window of the Crown Vic.
"Control, control. This is detective Carlton Lassiter. I have a building fire on Cress Road. I repeat: I have building fire on Cress Road. Possible civilian trapped inside. Send immediate fire and rescue support and an ambulance."
When he received the response from dispatch, he cursed. The officer had given him an ETA of ten minutes. The fire was spreading and Shawn was in there. He didn't have ten minutes. Carlton couldn't wait around and let something happen to his Shawn.
He ran to the front door of Psych and reached for the handle. Carlton pulled his hand back with a curse of pain when he burned it on the metal knob. Not knowing what else to do, he ran to the window and looked in. It was hard to see through all the smoke but that didn't stop him from searching for Shawn.
He finally spotted Shawn. He was in the middle of the office and was unconscious. Thankfully, the psychic was somehow sheltered from the flames by the couch and coffee table. The furniture acted like a makeshift barrier of some sort but it wasn't going to last long and neither would Shawn.
"Shawn! Shawn," Carlton yelled but the injured man didn't even move. "Hold on... hold on..." he whispered to himself as he searched for a way in.
It was then that Carlton noticed the small break in the window and a desk lamp on the ground a few feet away. He moved over to the small break and used the butt of his standard issued nine millimeter to smash in the rest of the window. Once there was enough space, Carlton maneuvered himself into the building through the broken window. He sucked in a lungful of smoke and began to cough violently. The detective pulled down his sleeve and used it to cover his nose and mouth.
There was no response. Carlton trudged further into the building inferno. He spotted Shawn and raced towards his lover's unconscious form. Carlton crouched down and carefully rolled Shawn on to his back. The detective checked for a pulse but a sudden burst of flame near them halted his search for life.
Carlton picked Shawn up and carefully put the unconscious man over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. As quickly as he had managed to get into the burning building, Carlton got himself and Shawn out. He maneuvered the younger man off of his shoulder and into his arms and got them a safe distance from the fire before sinking down to the ground with his back against the side of his car.
Carlton was comforted by the sounds of the sirens in the distance. He breathed deeply as he sat there with Shawn's head pillowed on his shoulder. He ran a hand through Shawn's hair and let it travel down his face and across his jaw before it settled on the young man's pulse point.
Carlton let out a breath when he felt the faint flicker of a heartbeat beneath his fingers. "Thank God," he whispered.
The sirens were loud now in Carlton's ears. He watched, completely detached, as the firefighters raced to stop the fire from spreading.
"Shawn," Carlton whispered again. He shook the pseudo-psychic softly to try and get some form of reaction from him. "Shawn, you're safe now. C'mon, wake up!" He was pleading but he didn't care. He just wanted Shawn to wake up.
Carlton looked up at the paramedic that had materialized at his side. "Yeah?"
"Can you tell me what happened to him?" The paramedic nodded his head towards Shawn.
Carlton told the paramedic everything; the phone call, rushing over to the scene, going in to save Shawn, everything. The paramedic nodded as he talked before signalling for a gurney.
"Detective, we have to take him to the hospital now," the paramedic said softly. Carlton's grip on Shawn did not loosen. "You can follow after I take a look at you and you talk to the firefighters. Don't worry; we'll take good care of him."
Carlton reluctantly let his grip on Shawn loosen and watched as two other paramedics loaded him onto the gurney and then into the ambulance. He only looked away when the ambulance was out of sight. He knew that they would take good care of Shawn. He sat there numbly for a few minutes before getting into police mode. The sooner he was done here, the sooner he could get to the hospital – To Shawn.
By the time he was able to leave the scene, Carlton was borderline murderous, he was so angry. He had had to spend thirty minutes talking to the fire chief about what had happened, what he saw inside the building, and whether or not someone else could be in there. Before he had to suffer through that waste of time, he had gotten berated by Chief Vick for going into a burning building and for not waiting for back up.
When all of that had been squared away, he had gotten his hand bandaged by a paramedic because of a mild burn. Then he had gotten into the Crown Vic and just before he left he heard Chief Vick say "Good work, detective." That had lessened his anger only by a bit. Carlton just tried to focus on making it to the hospital without killing every slow driver that cut him off. He was sure that some Higher Power was testing him. Thankfully, he made it to the hospital without resorting to violence.
"Excuse me, I'm detective Carlton Lassiter," Carlton said as he flashed his badge to a nearby nurse. "I need to talk to the man who was brought in about an hour ago from the building fire on Cress Road."
The nurse seemed to think about it for a minute before her eyes brightened. "Oh! You mean, Shawn?"
Carlton had to grind his teeth together to stop himself from growling at the nurse. "That must be him," he lied. "What's the room number?"
"Oh, he's just right down the hall here. Follow me," she said happily. The detective followed her to Shawn's room. "Shawn, you have a visitor," she called into the room softly and moved to the side so Carlton could enter. A quiet sound of acceptance met his ears as he entered the hospital room.
He heard the door close behind him and was thankful that they had some privacy. Carlton walked to the side of Shawn's bed and took in the younger man's form as he lay there in the bed with his eyes closed.
"Hey Carlton," Shawn said quietly when he opened his eyes and looked up at the detective.
"Hey," Carlton replied softly. "How are you feeling?"
"Stir-crazy! I hate hospitals."
Carlton smiled at the whining tone in Shawn's voice. He couldn't tear his eyes off of the younger man. He looked so small and pale in the hospital bed. "What did the doctor say?" Carlton asked him.
"Nothing serious. I just have a mild case of smoke inhalation. They had me on oxygen for half an hour after I woke up and everything seems to be okay," Shawn said in a casual tone. As if he was just talking about the weather and not something that could have killed him. "I just have to be aware of any changes over the next twenty-four hours and if something changes I have to come back."
Carlton had to keep his hands clenched at his sides to stop himself from reaching out for Shawn. He just wanted to make sure that he was really okay. As if reading his mind, Shawn shifted over in the hospital bed then reached out and pulled Carlton until the detective sat down on the bed. As soon as Carlton was settled, Shawn snuggled into his side. He smiled when he felt an arm wrap around his waist and pull him closer.
"Shawn," Carlton started. "I was so... terrified when I got to the Psych office and saw it up in flames and I knew you were in there." Shawn was alive and safe, but the fear still lingered with Carlton as they sat there together.
"I'm sorry, even though I didn't start the damn fire or anything but I'm still sorry I worried you."
Carlton smiled and pressed a gentle kiss to Shawn's forehead. "S'ok. Can you tell me what happened?"
"All work as usual, Lassie."
"The sooner I get your statement, the sooner we can go home."
"We?" Shawn's eyes went wide with hope.
"Yup. You're stuck with me for the next couple days. I asked Chief Vick for a couple days off," Carlton elaborated at Shawn's quizzical look. "Now, tell me what happened."
Shawn snuggled further into Carlton's side. "Well, I got home around seven and decided to take a nap while I waited for you to get off work. Gus and I've been working this serial arson case to help out with the huge backlog of cases for the Chief and I was totally exhausted.
"Then I woke up because it was way too hot in the office. When I opened my eyes, the place was engulfed in flames. I tried to find a way out but couldn't so I tried to break the window but that failed. The last thing I remember is grabbing the phone and hitting speed dial. Then I must have passed out."
Carlton nodded as he took mental notes that he would have to pass on to the Chief when he got home. "Did you and Gus make any progress on the arson case?"
"The spirits are still whispering to me about that," Shawn smirked.
"Shawn, that's not funny. The fire at Psych is related to the case. There's no way it was just a giant coincidence. The guy you are looking for probably set fire to the office to throw you off his trail or get you out of his way. They're connected, so drop the theatrics," Carlton growled.
"Alright, alright. We know who's behind the arsons. I just haven't figured out the motive behind it," Shawn said seriously.
"Who's doing it?"
Before Shawn got the chance to answer, Carlton's cell phone went off. He looked over at Shawn before answering. "Lassiter... Yeah? Excellent... Thanks, O'Hara."
"What'd Jules say?" Shawn asked as soon as Carlton had flipped his cell shut.
"They got the guy that torched the office. Apparently, the guy was just lurking around and watching. O'Hara even had a few witnesses who said that the guy had been lurking around the area for a few hours and checking out the surrounding buildings. He confessed to all of the recent arsons," Carlton said happily.
"That's great!" Shawn cheered. "Does that mean that we can go home now?"
"Yes, just let me go grab the discharge papers from the Nurses' station."
Before Carlton had even moved to get up the nurse from earlier walked into the room and placed the papers on the table. "Well, you're all cleared to leave, Shawn. Take care of yourself because neither I nor your boyfriend, want to see you here ever again." With that said she turned and left with a small wave.
Shawn laughed. "See you soon," he yelled after the nurse. "She's sweet." He smiled when he saw the faint blush that coloured Carlton's face.
"Not a word Shawn," Carlton warned as he stood up from the bed. He grabbed the papers and passed them to Shawn.
"Carlton, what happened?" Shawn wrapped his fingers around the detective's wrist when he noticed that bandage wrapped his lover's hand and wrist.
"Hm? Oh," he said when he noticed that Shawn was wondering about his palm. "It's just a mild burn. I got it when I tried to get in to Psych to save you. Nothing serious but the paramedic just wanted to be cautious."
Shawn brushed gentle fingers over the bandages. "I'm sorry," he whispered sadly, his eyes filled with guilt.
"Hey, hey, come here," Carlton said softly as he pulled Shawn up off of the hospital bed and into his arms. "You didn't do anything to cause my injury, okay? I would willingly let myself get injured again if it meant I would be able to save you. Okay?"
He kissed Shawn then, a slow, searching kiss that vibrated with a quiet intensity. Carlton poured everything he felt for Shawn into the kiss and tried to make Shawn realize that he would do anything for him. Shawn broke the kiss and gasped into Carlton's mouth. The two of them stood there for a few beats to catch their breaths.
"Yeah, I'm good," Shawn assured Carlton. "That's the second time today that my breath has been taken away but it's the first time today that I've actually enjoyed it."
Carlton had to stifle a laugh, "Come on. It's time to get you home and into bed."
"Wait," Shawn said seriously, "I don't have to stay in bed. I just got a bit of smoke in my lungs. I'm fine to be up and about doing things."
The detective looked over his shoulder at the younger man. "The doctor may not have ordered you to stay in bed but you're going to be spending the next few days in bed anyway...with me."
Carlton strolled out of the hospital room with Shawn hot on his heels. When his lover fell into step beside him, Carlton wrapped an arm around him and pulled Shawn close. The fire didn't do any lasting damage to Shawn but Carlton would be damned if he let anything hurt him again.