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Count the Seconds

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The stopwatch is warm in Shawn's hand, his finger on the button. He places himself back at the scene, closes his eyes and clicks ---

One second.

"I'm seeing someone. It's coming through so clearly…"

"The murderer?" Lassie snaps.

Six seconds.

Shawn doesn't bother to nod, or send Lassie off after the killer who's gone outside for a smoke under a police escort because the cops think he's a witness who can tell them all about the killer. Which he can, of course. Let the guy finish his cigarette. He's not armed and he's a little wispy guy, even if the startled look of recognition he'd given Shawn when they were introduced made Shawn shiver for some reason. Arresting him can wait a moment.

This is Shawn's moment, after all. Golden time. Everyone watching him. Such a fucking rush…

"I'm seeing colors. Bright colors. Experience the rainbow. Mm, I'm feeling the Skittles love, Lassie. I like to fill my mouth with all the green ones I can fit in there -- my record's forty-six --and let them --"

Twenty seconds.

"Spencer!" Lassiter growls, his face darkening. So sexy, that growl.

"Focus, Shawn," Gus hisses in his ear, still sounding shaky. The woman on the floor is a mess, her face obliterated by blood, but even if it was cleaned off, she wouldn't be recognizable. Gus is freaked and a dark part of Shawn gets off on that, being the brave one. He throws up sometimes, later, when no one's around, hot tears leaking if it was a bad one, but at the scene he's ice-cold, baby.

"Colors," he says again, musing, drawing it out. Juliet's focused on him, totally into him, and he loves that as much as Lassiter's barely held together impatience, because Lassie might hate him, but he can't look away, can he? "Lots of colors. And smells, God, the smell's so strong…"

I mean, come on, he's giving it to them here…the same way the killer gave it to him, leaving so many clues at the other two scenes that match the ones here and add up to a cryptic crossword completed in ink.

Thirty seconds.

"Paint?" Juliet hazards. "Oil paint, maybe?" She's so bright. His golden Juliet.

Lassiter's gaze sweeps around the apartment, noting every piece of artwork in the room. Shawn sighs, but before he can speak, Lassiter surprises him. "The walls. They're fresh. Painted recently and by a professional. That faux-marble effect's not easy." He flushes. "Or so I've heard. Wasn't that the case at the first crime scene? She'd redecorated a room as a nursery?"

"Yes!" Shawn declaims, his fingers pressed lightly against his temple, his other hand pointing dramatically at the door. "Painted by the killer. He uses his job as a way to meet his victims --"

A shot rings out, a sharp, flat boom Shawn feels in his teeth, his bones, his heart as it skips a beat, and a moment later he hears, "Officer down!" and Lassiter and Juliet are running past him, pushing by, ignoring him.

Forty-two seconds.

Shawn clicks the stopwatch and stares at it, then clicks it again and says quickly, "Lassie, the killer's the decorator, the man who just left, and he knows I know it's him, so you should hurry."

Six seconds, maybe seven.

Not enough time for Jerry Evans to lull McNab into relaxing, to grab his gun, to shoot him and try to run.

Buzz is going to make it and Evans was captured two blocks away by a fire-breathing Lassie with cold, flat eyes.

It doesn't matter.

Shawn puts the stopwatch down, raises his fingers to his head, shapes them just so, and whispers, "Bang".