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Dirty Little Secret

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It started out innocently enough. The letters were a harmless bit of fun, just the two of them keeping up with each other, learning about one another. Shawn told him about his cases; Despereaux told him about his crimes. They traded off stories both new and old. The best responses came when Shawn told him about their childhood adventures and all the trouble he and Gus had gotten into over the years.

One letter asked, Still looking for trouble, aren't you, Shawn?

Maybe he was. Maybe trouble suited him. When things got more personal, he certainly didn't complain. The phone number had been hastily scrawled on a sticky note with an invitation to text him whenever it was convenient.

It hadn't been exactly convenient, but he'd been unable to sleep, and Gus wasn't picking up. He'd butchered Despereaux's name so badly in the first text that the response – at early, early in the morning yet still completely patient – was simply Please. Call me Pierre.

They'd gone back and forth for several hours until Shawn fell asleep with his phone in his hand.

Busy now. Case work. :) Shawn should have known better. The texts became more frequent. Asking for details, which he withheld because he didn't want to talk about the case. Pierre's teasing almost made him ignore his phone when it went off. But stakeouts could be so boring even with Gus there to debate with him about the quality of the action movie genre as a whole. Watching a suspect. Think hes our guy. Been here forEVER tho. :(

I do hope he's worth looking at, then.

Shawn took a sneaky look at their target as he downed a burger in about three drooly, disgusting bites. He has the table manners of a really rude caveman.

Not someone you take home to meet the family?

Def not. He sneaked another peek. There was also the matter of him being a cold-blooded murderer. He had nice eyes if nothing else.

Shame. Hard to find a good man these days. Shawn smiled and continued typing responses. It was hard to keep up both conversations at once even for him. It wasn't long before Gus interjected.

"Who are you even texting right now?"

"Lassie," his default response was quick, and the justification came just as easily. "Keeping him updated on our guy's movements. You know how he gets if he's out of the loop."

Gus shook his head, "You don't smile like that when you're texting Lassiter. Ever."

"Sure I do."

"Maybe when you're teasing him."

"I can tease and inform, Gus. It's my signature move." He grinned, and Gus rolled his eyes, putting his hands back on the wheel while he stared down their bad guy.

Am I your dirty little secret, Shawn?

Do you want to be? Before he could get a response from Pierre, their suspect walked out of the building. He saw the Echo and was immediately running away. Shawn tucked his phone in his pocket, yelling, "Go, Gus, get him!"

He didn't think to check for the answer until hours later when Lassie and Jules finally told him to go home, that he'd done enough to prove the suspect's guilt. He went home bruised, exhausted, and has shimmied out of his jeans before remembering his phone. He looked at the message on the screen and couldn't keep himself from grinning. I think I already am.

The flirting didn't stop, but it didn't escalate either. He looked forward to the texts that were meant to fluster him that only made him grin and respond in kind. Pierre was a master of avoiding the direct subject except, amazingly enough, when Shawn told him he was on a case. Then, it was like a challenge issued, and of course Shawn met it, checking his phone every time he felt it buzz again.

Have you ever been ravished, Shawn?

I do hope not. Should like to be the first.

Imagining you stretched out on a bed. Making it hard to focus.

I like the sound of that. Don't you? I don't even have to do anything. Just imagining you there. Naked. Entwined in smooth sheets.

You'd be a living breathing work of art. All mine. And I wouldn't even have to steal you.

Or would I? Do you have someone down there who already owns you? Would I have to come and take you to keep you for myself?

Think I would. Think I'd risk it all just to steal you away.

"What the hell are you doing?" Lassie was peeking over his shoulder, and Shawn quickly moved his phone down where it couldn't be seen, trying not to blush like the teenager he felt like. "We've got a case to work. Focus or get out."

"He does this," Gus shook his head. "Gets wrapped up in somebody and can't stop."

"Gus, don't be that one light that makes a bzzz noise no matter how many times you change the bulb."

"Who is it?" Jules asked, earning her a brief glare from Lassie. "Come on, Shawn, who's the new girl?"

"I fail to see how that pertains to the case at hand." He pointed out defensively, putting his phone in his pocket and grumbling when it buzzed and he couldn't check.

"Gus? You must know."

"Nope." Gus crossed his arms. "Got no idea. Not sure I want to." Shawn had to give him that. He probably wouldn't want to, which was why Shawn had kept it to himself.

"Great. Glad we had gossip time. Can we catch a jewelry thief now or are we going to spend all evening talking about Spencer's love life?" Lassie sounded about as angry as he usually got when one of the other members of the team started seeing someone new. Shawn couldn't blame him – he'd broken up his last affair just after they met and apart from occasional dates, Shawn wasn't sure he'd seen anyone else on a more permanent basis. The sexual frustration alone had to be killing him.

Lord knew what it was doing to Shawn, and he had someone. He had a dirty little secret. You cant text me things like that and not follow through.

Oh, but I could. A gentleman would never ask for more.

Im not a gentleman.

What are you then?

A slut. He tried not to grin too widely when the phone started ringing not a minute later. He hadn't heard Pierre's voice since they'd parted ways the first time. Shawn's heart sped up, thumping in his chest as he answered. "Thought that might get you."

"I don't waste my time with sluts and whores, Shawn." His voice was steely, just as low and dangerous as it had been at the hotel when Pierre had realized that Shawn had tracked him down yet again. "You mustn't call yourself either, or I'm afraid this is over."

Shawn wasn't entirely sure what this was, to be honest. But he knew that he didn't want to lose it. "What should I call myself then?"

"A work of art. A masterpiece, even. My masterpiece."

"Isn't it usually the artist who gets to say that?"

"Tell me your painter, your sculptor, your author who brought you to life in strokes of color, in the fall of a hammer. In words. Tell me who they are. And I will destroy them." Shawn's breath caught in his throat. "Erase them. Until you are mine and mine alone." He tilted his head back against his pillows, baring more of himself to the man that was a country away. "Do you understand?"

"Yes," he breathed. Shawn was suddenly, painfully aware of the distance between them.

"Good," Pierre's voice lifted back to his normal tone. "Now get some sleep. I do believe you have bad thieves to be putting behind bars tomorrow."

"And if I want a good thief tonight?"

Shawn could practically hear the smile in his voice, "Then, I suppose you'd better dream one up."

"Despereaux," he pleaded softly.

He counted the brief hesitation as a win, but it didn't change the inevitable response. "Sweet dreams." He dreamed after the phone call ended. He dreamed of hands roaming and blue eyes piercing through him and whispered promises as skin touched skin. Shawn dreamed that he buried his head in the crook of his lover's neck, his teeth digging into his skin as he was entered. He felt filled, whole, like he'd found something he'd been missing all along.

"Mine," the word echoed in his head, and it wasn't until Shawn woke to the blaring of his alarm that he realized it was Lassiter's voice.

It wasn't the first time he'd fantasized about someone he worked with, and it wouldn't be the last. He'd taken care of himself in the shower, unable to keep his mind from filling in the blank space with both Pierre and Lassie no matter how hard he tried.

Work was, surprisingly, not awkward at all. Even the texts from Pierre couldn't make him distracted. They got done with the case remarkably early, and he and Gus had the entire afternoon to themselves. Shawn began texting back in earnest while they sat around the Psych office.

"Who is it, anyway?" Gus finally asked. "You've been at it like this for almost two weeks now, Shawn. It has to be someone you actually like."

"Oh." He set his phone aside and considered lying. "Well, Gus, relationships are complicated animals, and I don't really think this is going anywhere. It's just a bit of harmless fun."

"It's someone I know."

"Yeeees."

"It's Juliet."

"No!" Shawn said suddenly. "I mean. We have our thing, yeah, but it's just. A thing. You know?"

"No, Shawn, I don't." Gus glanced up from his laptop. "If you like her, you should tell her and just get it over with already. Don't sit there and send flirty texts to each other while we're all trying to get work done."

"Did you see Jules touch her phone at all in the last few days?" Shawn demanded, flopping down in his chair. "It's someone else."

"Who?"

"Who isn't important?" Shawn tried, but Gus had on his very determined face that meant he was going to get to the bottom of Shawn's bullshit one way or another.

"Girl or guy?" Shawn was thankful every day that his best friend thought nothing of his bisexuality and hadn't after that initial moment of realization in high school when he'd seen Shawn making out with a football player while drunk at a party. He was also thankful that Gus knew the Snickers trick worked even when Shawn was drunk and had used the candy bar to lead him safely away before Shawn could make even worse decisions with Bulk Musclemass.

"Guy."

"Someone I know?"

"Yep." He leaned back in his chair, fiddling with his cellphone while waiting for Gus to continue narrowing down suspects.

"Someone at the station?"

"Nope."

"Someone from school?"

"Wrong again."

"Someone we met on a case."

"Getting warmer."

"Someone we arrested for a case?"

"Gus!" Shawn frowned at him accusingly before breaking out into a smile. "How'd you guess?"

"Shawn!" He glared. "Don't you think it's a bad idea to go dating criminals?"

"I have an arrest record. By that theory, you'd never let me get any."

Gus rolled his eyes and leaned forward on his desk. He glared. "A murderer?"

"Dude, no. Of course not."

"All right then." He leaned back in the chair. "You gonna give me a name or am I going to have to keep going down the list?"

"I could do this all day," Shawn confessed with a grin.

Gus sighed, "Yeah, well I can't. I'm gonna have to go do real work soon, so if you could cut the suspense already, I'd really appreciate it."

Shawn bit his lower lip and thought it over. It'd be easy to lie and get away with it, but this was his best friend. And if he intended for this to keep going – and he might, for all he knew – then Gus should be the first person to find out. "It's Despereaux."

"What?" Gus was staring at him. "Are you joking?"

"Do I look like I'm joking, Gus?"

"You always look like you're joking, Shawn." He had to give him that. "Look, I don't care who you date or anything. Just. Be careful, all right?"

"When am I not?" Gus shook his head and didn't answer, grabbing his box of samples and heading for the door. "Gus?" He called after him. His friend paused for a moment, and Shawn grinned. "I'll be fine. I promise." Even if it ended badly, he would be. He always was.

The flirting continued along with the occasional late-night call that always somehow ended before he wanted it to. "You're not in prison anymore," he observed quietly one evening, his phone laying on the pillow next to his head. "Why?"

"I haven't been since our early contact, and you ask me why now?"

"I want to know now."

"If I tell you not to worry, will it do anything?"

"It'll make me think you escaped from prison."

"I pulled a few strings. I cheated the system. Surely you can't fault me for that? You've been doing the same thing for years now." Pierre assumed he wasn't psychic, and Shawn didn't feel like correcting him. Why bother? Pierre was so far away.

"No, I guess I can't." He didn't feel bitter or angry about it at all. It felt right. Why shouldn't he have feelings for someone who was like him, who didn't respect the law? What was it there for anyway except for his exploitation and profit? Except when he thought like that, Shawn could see Jules, could see Lassie in the back of his head. Could see his father reminding him that the rules mattered for a reason. "I think I'm gonna head to bed."

"You're cross with me."

"I'll be over it in the morning." He wasn't sure if he was lying or not.

"If you're not, I shall have to send you something to cheer you up." Shawn smiled and bid him goodnight.

He was over it by morning, but the gifts started all the same. If he hadn't enjoyed being spoiled so much, he might have said something about it. There was something just... nice about it. Nice about having things sent to him and not having to wonder about where they had come from or if reciprocation was expected. Pierre had gone out of his way to tell him that it wasn't. The pictures – of Vancouver, of people in Vancouver who Shawn couldn't help but analyze, with glimpses of Pierre in the reflection of the nearby window – were like a touch from far away. The pair of tight jeans were something a bit more sexy.

He wore them to work one day, couldn't really help himself, and he had loved, loved, the way Lassie's eyes had dipped down, casually curious before shooting back up to Shawn's face. As if he wouldn't see. As if he wouldn't know. His next psychic vision that day was a call back to some of his more involved ones and he'd ended up in Lassie's lap, arms draped over his shoulders.

And if there was a small part of Shawn that saw it as revenge for Lassie invading his dreams and his fantasies, he kept that to himself. Even though he told Pierre the rest. "You did all that just to get him frustrated."

"He was looking."

"Let him look. But he mustn't touch. I'm not a jealous sort of fellow, but you. You could drive me to it." Shawn thought that he might try to as he fell asleep that night, listening to Pierre read aloud from the book he'd been reading before Shawn had called him to tell him how much he enjoyed his present.

The next one that came was a round-trip ticket to Vancouver for a week along with a promise for a fine hotel and time to be spent with one Pierre Despereaux. The plane was to leave in three days.

He shouldn't have been surprised with the amount of resistance he got from everyone. The people closest to him all seemed to assume the same thing, but Lassie was the breaking point. He cornered Shawn in the station on his last day after he helped to set them on the right path towards a clever psychopath. "You're going to chase after Despereaux." It was true, but it wasn't in the sense that Lassie thought. "He's dangerous, Spencer, and if he had the ability to get himself out of prison, do you have any idea what he could do to someone like you?"

"Gosh, Lassie, I didn't know you cared." He fluttered his eyelashes and was glad when Lassiter's features hardened. "I'm a big boy. Can take care of myself."

"Don't call me when it goes badly."

"Fine. I won't." It shouldn't have frustrated him as much as it did, but everyone except Gus thought he was going to chase down Pierre just to put him behind bars again. Gus thought he was going to get himself hurt or kidnapped or worse.

"I'll be fine," he told every single one of them, though part of him was reluctant to believe it himself. He didn't know why.

He just knew he was excited.

I'll meet you at the hotel was the only response he could get from Pierre no matter how often he texted that day, and the shuttle ride to it was almost agonizing. He wasn't sure what he wanted to find.

It was an extremely expensive place, he knew that from the moment he saw it on the outside. He'd guessed Pierre's alias correctly – wouldn't be any fun if there wasn't part of the game involved – and he was sent up in the elevator until he thought he might die from anticipation. Shawn almost bolted down the hall once the doors opened, leaving the dinging elevator behind him.

He rapped excitedly at the door and dropped his suitcase when it opened. There were arms around him, a warm mouth pressed against his. Somehow, in the back of Shawn's head, something was still reluctant, confused as to how he'd ended up here. The rest of him though, the part that grabbed back at the expensive suit, that moved his tongue softly against the other one gently exploring his mouth, that made him dizzy with excitement – that part of Shawn wondered why else he would come to Canada except for the kiss of a high-class art thief.

When Pierre broke it off, Shawn managed to find words enough to say, "That better not be how you greet everyone or I'm gonna be mad."

"Was going to say something similar to you." He smiled and hugged Shawn closer for the briefest moment before letting him go and reaching over to pick up his suitcase.

Shawn stepped inside the hotel room and had to force himself not to say 'Wow' out loud. He'd been in really nice hotel rooms before, but even this surpassed expectations. It almost made him feel dirty to see how clean and expensive everything looked. "Did you have a decent flight?" Pierre asked as he moved Shawn's suitcase to the bedroom.

It was domestic. Normal. And Shawn found that he didn't really mind at all. "The in-flight movie was sooo boring. Spent the entire time wishing I wasn't alone."

Pierre swept back into the room, his eyes gleaming, "I would have brought you a companion if it wouldn't be counterproductive for all other intents and purposes."

Shawn got his first good look at him since he'd seen him. His blonde hair had grown out some, though he kept it carefully groomed away from his face. He'd lost weight since he'd last seen him, and as if he'd noticed, Pierre commented, "Prison's a wonderful place for getting into shape, if nothing else."

"Decent recreational activities?"

"Minimum security. Can get away with so much more than you'd expect." They slowly crossed the room to each other, and Shawn subconsciously straightened Pierre's clothes from where he'd rumpled them before. His fingers smoothed over the wrinkles, and when he dared to look back up at Pierre, he found the man watching him with a delighted expression. He leaned forward slowly, leaning his forehead lightly against Shawn's. "I'm glad you came."

"I'm glad you invited me."

The last time they'd met face to face, he'd been gloating about sending the great Despereaux to prison. The sudden shift felt somehow wrong in a way he couldn't account for. His stomach tied into knots, and Pierre laughed. "Don't be so nervous, darling."

"I guess I don't know why I'm here. Why you wanted me to be here."

"I wanted to see you. And when you're rich, you can afford to fulfill those whims as they come." Pierre's hand caressed gently over his shoulder then massaged at his neck.

"I'm a whim?"

"A fancy, yes." Shawn almost frowned. "But fancies have a way of sticking with us longer than we mean for them to." His nose nudged against Shawn's, their lips hovering only a few inches apart. Shawn was drowning in blue, in the feel of his heart beating so loudly. He closed his eyes and reveled in the feel of Pierre 's fingers on his neck, on his other hand as it slipped around his waist to press at his back. Where their foreheads met, and how they were inches apart now after spending so long so far away from each other. So why should he be hesitant now to close that distance?

He wriggled his arms up, clasping his hands behind Pierre's neck before he leaned in and kissed him. It was slow, exploratory, the two of them standing in the middle of the room, pressed against one another. He smiled against Pierre's mouth before kissing him again. It felt nice. It felt more than nice, really. It had been so long since he'd been truly and utterly infatuated with someone like he was a preteen with his first crush. He'd had feelings for others, certainly, but they didn't do this to him.

"We've got a dinner reservation we need to make it to." Pierre murmured as he nuzzled at Shawn's neck, kissing and nipping gently as if too much stimulation might break him. "But when we come back, I am going to fulfill every promise I've made you. If you like."

Shawn chuckled, "We'll see how you feel after you've seen me eat."

"You had better be on your best behavior, hadn't you, Shawn?"

"Of course."

It was remarkably tame through dinner. The restaurant was pleasant, nothing too fancy but something nicer that suited the both of them. Dinner conversation lulled on their mundane lives, but it somewhat picked up once they began to point out their fellow patrons, daring the other to find what they could not. Pierre was good at pricing clothes, jewelry, telling about a person as if they were his mark for a theft. Shawn could tell about them as people, knew everything as he usually did. It was fun. They went for a walk through the lit streets, Shawn leaning closer to Pierre for warmth as the Canadian air began to nip and freeze, and they kept playing, murmuring answers and laughing as they went.

"Getting cold," he remarked as he snuggled closer.

"Should we head back somewhere and warm you up?" Shawn must have tensed because Pierre laughed softly, his arm hooking around Shawn's waist. "Nothing so obscene if you don't want to."

"A gentleman never asks," Shawn reminded him with a smile.

"I am not always a gentleman, Shawn." There was something about the smile he returned, the dangerous edge that reminded Shawn what Pierre was capable of. What he had done. What he had promised. It sent a thrill down his spine, and he couldn't resist grinning and grabbing for Pierre's hand, dragging him gently back the way they'd come, where Pierre had a driver waiting to take them back to the hotel.

"No touching," he warned as they slid into the seats. "Until we get back to the room." Shawn tried not to be too disappointed, but this was something else to him. Pierre was leering at him, his body tense, wanting but held back. It was the sexiest thing Shawn could think of, and it was driving him mad to force himself to stay away.

The elevator ride wasn't much better. He gripped the support bar and tried his best to keep himself grounded. Pierre smirked at him, asking in a low voice, "Problem?"

Shawn decided to cheat. He arched his back and tossed his head backwards, pushing his body towards Pierre as invitingly as he could. He breathed deeply, letting him hear the hitch in his breath. "No problem at all." He peeked at Pierre whose eyes had darkened as he stared. "You?" He asked with a half-laugh.

"None whatsoever." They walked at a decent pace down the short hallway to the room, and Shawn noticed the smallest, beautiful tremble of Pierre's hand as he slid the keycard into the door. He held the door open for Shawn, and the moment he stepped inside, Shawn started. Pierre held up his index finger to tell him to wait. The Do Not Disturb sign swung from the knob, and all the locks slid into place. He turned to face Shawn again, and he barely had enough time to memorize that look on Pierre's face before he took the two steps to cross the distance.

The kisses were brief, biting, rough as Pierre's hands worked quickly to press under his shirt. They were like ice against his skin, pressing against his abs, melting up onto his chest. His nails dug in like fire, and all Shawn could think was that he needed more. They parted long enough for him to tear his shirt up over his head, flinging it to the far side of the room.

Pierre gave him a shark-like grin before he attacked again, his body pressing Shawn back towards the bedroom. He pressed him against the doorframe, one hand with its fingers buried in Shawn's hair while the other palmed his hardening erection through his jeans. Shawn moaned into Pierre's mouth, pressing against his body while his own hands fumbled at the buttons on his shirt. He'd managed to get Pierre unbuttoned before he started going dizzy from the multitude of sensations as Pierre finally let up, pushing him gently into the bedroom. Even that little bit of force caused Shawn to stumble, and when he regained his balance, he found himself staring at Pierre who suddenly seemed to loom.

His eyes narrowed, and he growled, "Take off your clothes, then get on the bed."

Shawn wasn't sure if he'd ever felt so exposed as his hands worked quickly at belt, undoing it and the fly on his jeans before he began to press them down, over his hips and down his legs before kicking them and his shoes and socks off. His briefs followed quickly, leaving him bare except for the chain around his neck.

"Who gave that to you?" Pierre asked, advancing on him as Shawn slid onto the bed.

"I bought it for myself." But he could remember a moment, just a brief moment some time ago, when he'd been in danger and someone – someone, everyone, Lassie – had grabbed the back of his shirt and pulled him back, had grabbed the chain and let it tear into his throat. It had been sore for the next several days. How else did he know he was still alive? He shook his head quickly, trying to rid himself of the memory and took it off. He didn't need to feel safe here. He had something else.

Pierre was still completely clothed save for his untucked and unbuttoned shirt, which Shawn felt was completely unfair as he climbed onto the bed. He expected to be kissed like he had before, with force. Somehow, this was better. Pierre moved slowly on top of him, pressing him into the mattress with slow kiss after slow kiss that somehow burned even brighter than their frenzy before.

Pierre's mouth left his, wandered down his neck, to his collar bone, to his chest. He took one of Shawn's nipples into his mouth, sucking on it, using enough teeth for him to feel an electric shock of pain that felt so nice that Shawn moaned softly. His mouth wandered down over Shawn's abs, and he paused long enough for Pierre to nuzzle below his navel. "Stay," he whispered, his hands rubbing the inside of Shawn's thighs.

He pulled away, off the bed, staring at Shawn alone in the massive bed. Shawn couldn't help but tease, pressing his hips and his ridiculous hard on up slightly, his back arching just off the bed. He pressed his head against the pillows, writhing in subtle movements while his fingers and toes clenched at the blanket, searching for something to grab onto.

Pierre's voice was quiet as he tugged off his blazer and his shirt, setting them to the side, "Try as you may, you'll never convince me. You aren't a slut." Somehow, his smooth accent and negative disposition towards that word sent chills through Shawn. Pierre slid the rest of his clothes off, his eyes seldom leaving Shawn's body.

"You, my dear, are a work of art." He walked, naked, back towards the bed, his hand ghosting just above Shawn's skin. He smiled slightly as Shawn pressed his body up into his hand and it grew into a grin when Shawn whined as he moved away.

"Pierre. Please."

"Soon." Shawn felt warm all over, warm from the body that should have been pressed against his again already if he wasn't taking so long. Pierre quickly searched through his own luggage before picking things out and walking back to the bed. He set the condom and the lube on the bedside table before moving back onto the bed to kiss him again. His hands wandered over Shawn's torso again, one of them eventually venturing up to lay lightly on top of his throat. Shawn wondered if he could feel his pulse pounding in excitement, pounding for him.

"Do you want this?" He asked as his hand dipped down and wrapped around Shawn's erection, thumb smearing precome over the head.

Shawn's hips pressed towards the contact. He breathed, "God yes."

Pierre chuckled and murmured, "Good." His hand moved over Shawn's erection, the dry friction making him gasp quietly. If he'd been moving with any sort of quickness, it would have been uncomfortable, but instead it just made him want more. Shawn needed more. He leaned up slightly, catching Pierre's mouth with his, his hands grasping at Pierre's back. His nails dug into his shoulders at the next stroke, this one moving a little quicker, promising more.

"Give me a moment," Pierre said, pushing Shawn slightly back down on the bed. He reached over to the bedside table and grabbed what he'd left there. "You're sure?" Shawn nodded enthusiastically, and Pierre smiled. He set the condom to the side where it wouldn't be in the way and grabbed one of the hotel pillows, instructing Shawn to lift up so he could set it beneath him to give a better angle. He popped open the cap on the tube of lubricant.

Shawn saw his hand venture down and felt the press of the cold gel between his cheeks. He spread his legs to help Pierre along, trying not to shiver too much as a finger probed gently at him with the accompanying, "Good." Slowly, it pressed against him, and he tightened instinctively against it.

"Sorry."

"Don't be. Just try and relax. Let me in." He kept his eyes open, kept them focused on Pierre. His face was calm, concentrated on him. It was easier to relax, knowing that this man would take care of him. Wouldn't harm him. He trusted that. The finger breached him, and Shawn bit down on his tongue. "Have you done this before?"

"Not in a while."

"I'll be gentle." Pierre's eyes flicked up to meet his, grounding him, keeping him safe as the finger began to move. It thrust shallowly, tugging gently on the tight muscles. The odd sensation quickly became something pleasant. Then, the second finger pushed in, adding more lubricant, slowly stretching him out. It burned slightly, and Shawn kept himself from tensing again as they explored inside him. It seemed like ages that they moved, scissoring, stretching, thrusting every now and then to get his attention.

Pierre found his prostate and thrust his fingers against it. Shawn's eyes snapped closed, stars exploding in his head. "You like that?" Again, and Shawn's hips bucked slightly, almost dislodging him if not for Pierre quickly reaching up to hold him down. His fingers ran over the curve of his hip bone, tightening their grip whenever Shawn dared to move. Pierre hummed soothingly and went at it again. Shawn moaned and shifted as best he could, grinding down on Pierre's hand. "Could keep doing this to you," Pierre said. His fingers continued to press and rub in both places until Shawn thought he was going to lose his mind. "Until you come."

Shawn shook his head frantically, forcing his eyes open to let Pierre see the full amount of his displeasure. "Why not?" Pierre said with a smile, thrusting against his prostate again and making Shawn jerk beneath him.

"Want you," he insisted, swallowing dryly and forcing himself to say it again. "I want you."

"What do you want?" A third finger pushed into him, and Shawn lost his ability to form coherent thoughts much less voice them out loud. He fell back, breathing hard. He kept trying to grind down, groaning in frustration when Pierre held him still. For a moment there was simply the noise of the slick fingers moving against him. "Hmm? Shawn?" Pierre was smiling like he was the devil, and Shawn thought he might just be.

He forced himself to form the sentence and said it as deliberately as possible. So there could be no mistakes. "I want you to fuck me." He gasped as Pierre moved his fingers suddenly at the declaration. Shawn pressed towards him and tried to take them deeper, moaning roughly, "Please."

Pierre nodded and slowly withdrew his hand. Shawn felt suddenly empty and leaned up on his elbows to watch as Pierre reached for the condom. He watched as he tore it open and slowly rolled it onto his rather lovely-looking penis. Shawn wanted to get a closer look, touch, taste of that particular part of Pierre's anatomy, but he was quickly distracted by Pierre squirting lube into his hand and rubbing it along his erection.

Shawn wriggled slightly with anticipation as Pierre slid back up to where he was on the bed. He positioned Shawn's legs and hips how he wanted them and pressed against Shawn's hole. "Ready?" Shawn nodded quickly. Pierre smiled down at him, one hand rubbing fondly at Shawn's hip again while the other held himself in position. He slid forward.

Shawn's eyes snapped closed, and he forced himself to breathe. Both of Pierre's hands were now on his hips, his thumbs rubbing comfortingly, giving him something to focus on other than the pain. He'd forgotten how much that could hurt at first. The extensive preparation had helped, certainly, but he still hadn't been totally prepared in his head. Amazing how his fantasies never had that particular aspect of it. "Shawn?"

"Adjusting," he managed. "If you go slow. I'll be fine." Pierre slowly pressed into him, stopping when Shawn made a small noise of discomfort. They sat like that for a minute before Shawn experimentally pushed slightly back against him. He shivered at the feeling. One of Pierre's hands reached up to touch his mostly flaccid penis, and Shawn grimaced.

"Natural reaction," Pierre said. "We'll soon fix that." He thrust forward into Shawn whose eyes opened to find Pierre looking down at him. Pierre began to stroke him slowly, timing his thrusts with his hand. Shawn began to react – his penis began to swell and harden again, he felt that warmth that he'd been craving earlier. A particularly nice movement on Pierre's part had him lifting his hips to greet the thrust and there. That was it. He moaned and repeated the movement when Pierre thrust into him again. It rubbed against his prostate, the force sending tingles down to his toes.

Shawn wrapped his legs around Pierre's waist, and he grinned when it allowed him to pull him closer, filling himself up more. He clenched slightly down on Pierre's erection, laughing quietly as his eyes closed and he shuddered. Pierre rubbed tortuously beneath the head of his penis, and Shawn thrust up against his hand, groaning. His fingers clenched in the bedding beneath him, desperately holding on.

Their pace sped up, Pierre's hand bringing him quicker to the edge. He hated that Pierre remained upright, refusing to lean over where Shawn could get at him with his mouth and teeth and hands. However, the way his eyes moved over Shawn's body – as if he might miss something important, like he was memorizing every single detail (and God knew Shawn was) – was somehow worth not being able to touch. It helped that Pierre wasn't at all shy about touching him, his hand slickly working his erection while Shawn continued to push up into his hand and into his thrusts.

Pierre's pace began to stutter, and his free hand pressed hard enough into Shawn's hip to hurt as he thrust deeper, desperately seeking his release. Shawn angled his hips up and groaned deep in his throat as the wild thrusts made him lose all coherency. Shawn came, Pierre's hand continuing to stroke him, encouraging him through it. He could feel come cooling on his stomach while Pierre continued moving inside him. Shawn was hypersensitive, but he pushed back, giving him friction until Shawn got him to the point where his eyes screwed closed and he bit back the only unintentional noise he'd made the entire time in bed. The strangled moan sent a bolt of heat down Shawn's spine, and he curled his legs in, pressing as much against Pierre as he could manage.

They lay like that for a moment, with Pierre inside him, with Shawn feeling filthy and loving it in a way he couldn't quite explain. Not that he was in much of a mind to explain anything, really. He felt the incessant need to cuddle which wasn't anything new for him, but he had no idea how well that would be taken.

Pierre leaned over and stroked Shawn's face, smiling, looking absolutely thrilled with him. "Still a work of art?" The question slipped out of him before he could hold it back.

"As priceless as a Van Gogh." He kissed him gently, and Shawn couldn't stop part of his brain from pointing out that if there was anyone in the world who could put a price on the priceless, it was Pierre. Slowly, he sat back up and pulled out of Shawn who felt empty. The pain from before was long forgotten – if the end result was that delicious climax, then Shawn wondered what else there was worth existing for. Pierre scooted to the edge of the bed and removed the filled condom, tying it off. "Sit still. I'll be right back."

Pierre disappeared into the bathroom, and Shawn heard the sound of running water. No doubt he was washing up, and Shawn could only hope that he was going to get the same treatment soon. It was only a matter of time before he either fell asleep or started toying with the line of ejaculate on his body.

Pierre reappeared with a wet cloth that ran warmly down Shawn's skin. He let himself be cleaned up. Pierre's tendency to pamper him certainly had its perks. The warm cloth wrapped around his spent penis, wiping him off, and it wasn't arousing or sexual, which Shawn found odd. It was just nice. Nice to be taken care of. Everything about it was nice and sexy in its own way. Shawn thought he could maybe get used to it.

Pierre vanished again to put the cloth back in the bathroom, and when he came back, he climbed back into bed with Shawn. It was almost instinctual to seek the warmth of the other body beside him, fitting himself against the other man. He closed his eyes and reveled in their contact. Eventually, he felt blankets being drawn up around them, and he fell asleep nestled happily next to Pierre.

 

The next day was fairly pleasant. Shawn would have been content to spend it all in bed, but Pierre had other ideas. They got up early and went out on the town, enjoying each other's company even if walking was slightly uncomfortable. It wasn't until about lunch that Shawn had the realization that he knew almost nothing about Pierre, and it was his turn to ask probing questions, most of which were avoided the same way his had been.

"What's it matter where I come from or what my family's like or what my favorite heist was?" Pierre asked him quietly. "All that matters is here, now. Us."

"If you believed that, you wouldn't have asked me the same questions," Shawn pointed out, but he let the subject drop. It was too nice to spend the day with his fingers entwined with someone else's, stealing kisses whenever he could get away with it. He wasn't going to ruin that.

"I did want to ask you about the man you mentioned the other day. The detective who couldn't keep his eyes off you." It was thrown so casually at him that Shawn responded in kind.

Shawn shrugged, "Lassie? He's not bad. Little too uptight and real quick to pull his gun. He's... not actually bad at what he does. I tell him he is." Shawn shook his head, smiling slightly, his hand squeezing Pierre's. "He's fun to make fun of."

"What's he think of you?"

"He hates me," Shawn said with a laugh before pausing to reconsider. "Actually..." Their teasing hadn't been venomous in ages. When he was in danger, he knew he could count on Lassie to show up just in the nick of time to save his ass. When Lassie thought he'd be in danger up here, he'd actually maybe looked a little concerned. "Maybe. Somewhere way deep down in that tiny, cold heart of his, maybe he likes me. Just a little." He grinned because it was new. Exciting almost. He'd never really thought about it before.

Pierre smiled down at him, swinging their joined hands as they walked. "Well, then. That's good. Don't you think?" There was something slightly off about his smile, something that reminded Shawn of the previous evening in a way he wasn't entirely sure he liked.

Shawn wondered if he'd said something wrong, but found that he didn't really care. Pierre being possessive had always been Shawn's favorite joke in the texts and calls, but seeing it was something totally different. He especially loved the way he drew Shawn closer to him as they walked, finding excuses to touch him, to make sure that no one watching them doubted for a second who belonged to who.

The sex that night was rough and mindblowingly awesome. It felt like Pierre's hands were everywhere on him, refusing to leave one single piece of skin unexplored, untouched, unmarked. By the end of the night, he had a bite mark blooming on his neck, scratches down his chest that ached and would show for a day or two more. There were bruises on his hips from Pierre's hands, and Shawn wasn't entirely sure he'd be able to sit down completely comfortably for a little while. But when he finally came, it was like he was flying with only Pierre keeping him from floating away.

"Thought you said you weren't possessive," Shawn murmured when Pierre slid his arms around him, nuzzling at the bite mark he'd left in a way that was more like a reminder than an apology.

"I also said you might just be the exception."

"Might have to make you jealous more often." Shawn yawned and snuggled close, closing his eyes. He dreamed of nothing, but he woke when Pierre slid out of bed in the middle of the night. He watched with half-open eyes as Pierre walked across the room, fiddling with Shawn's phone then his own. Shawn was tempted to sit up and ask what he was doing, but he knew Pierre when he was being sneaky. He'd seen enough of that to know that he'd have to snoop around himself whenever he could.

Chapter Text

He woke in the morning when Pierre was in the shower and took his opportunity to hobble over to the table where they'd both set their phones the night before. Pierre's password was surprisingly easy to crack, and Shawn looked quickly through his texts. The last one was:

I'm about to steal the most valuable thing I can get my hands on. Catch me if you can, detective. -Pierre Despereaux

He put Pierre's phone back down exactly the way it had been, picking up his own and curling up in bed. He had four unread messages. All from Lassie.

are you tracking despereaux?

is he planning on stealing something? if you know his plans you need to tell me im serious

im on my way last seat on the next flight

damn it spencer

He wasn't quite sure what to make of the last one, but he felt like he should hide it when Pierre came back into the room. He didn't, of course. Nothing would make him seem guiltier, and he wasn't guilty. But he wasn't going to give himself away either.

"I'm afraid I've got a bit of business to attend to today, Shawn." He looked good half-dressed and wet from his shower. Shawn pulled himself out of bed and walked the distance across the room with a smirk. He couldn't help but notice the way Pierre's eyes lingered on the marks he made. Shawn wanted to be furious, but he just couldn't be. Not with him.

"Going to leave me all by myself?" He pouted then smiled deviously. "Who knows what sort of trouble I'll get into."

"Oh, I can imagine." Pierre touched his forehead to Shawn's then leaned forward to give him a brief, chaste kiss. "Don't get into too much. For my sake, if nothing else."

"I'll try, Pierre," Shawn grinned. "But trouble just seems to find me. Whisks me away and off to new adventures."

Pierre smirked and nodded, "Need to finish getting ready. Should be done by this evening. We'll go out to eat and go find something fun to do."

"That isn't sex?" Shawn looked as disappointed as he could manage.

Pierre's smirk widened slightly. "Never said that." Before Shawn could pull away, he kissed him again then pulled away himself to keep getting ready. Shawn felt like he blinked and Pierre was out the door, leaving him alone.

Shawn got ready quickly, and by the time he was out of the shower, dressed, and preened, his phone was ringing, and he had two missed calls from the same number. He picked up, and didn't have enough time to say so much as a hello before there were words growled in his ear, "Where the hell are you?"

Shawn wanted to smart off, to be flippant and make him angry. It'd be fun if he were angry. But it didn't feel fun today. He said the address, and the next question caught him off guard. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah. Yeah, Lassie, I'm fine. A little bit sore, but I think I'll survive."

"Sore? Did he do something to you?"

Fucked me into next Friday. Until I couldn't see straight. Until I forgot my name and forgot you existed. "Who? Despereaux?"

"Yes, Despereaux!"

Shawn laughed and lied, "No. I went ice skating. Not a good idea alone, by the way. Hurts like hell when you don't know what you're doing."

"Have you seen him?" Lassie was getting demanding without brushing him aside. He thought something bad had happened. The realization that he was taking this entirely too seriously forced Shawn to be honest.

"Yeah, I have."

"And?"

"We chatted. Had dinner. It was a good time."

"Spencer," Lassie growled warningly, and Shawn wished he was in the room, wished he was with him right then so he could tell him the full story in explicit detail just to see him get red-faced and flustered and angry.

"Yes?"

"Stay where you are."

He went down to the lobby, munching on the offered breakfast while waiting for Lassie to arrive. When he saw the first shuttle arrive, he was glad no one was there to see him excitedly searching the crowd of passengers for the familiar detective. When he wasn't there, Shawn sank down in his seat and continued nibbling at the banana he'd selected for the finale of his extensive breakfast.

The next one had on it a pale cop with a grimace and a stern stride as he walked into the building. Shawn was on his feet before he fully realized what he was seeing. It shouldn't have been surprising – of course Lassiter would follow him. He'd been doing it for years, so why not now? But it was, somehow, a pleasant surprise. He tossed the banana peel in the trashcan and quickly made his way into the lobby.

Lassie pulled off his sunglasses and blinked in the artificial light. When he saw Shawn, his expression softened just slightly as he crossed the room to him. "Why weren't you answering my texts or calls?"

"Was asleep. Then you were on a plane. Then I was in the shower. It was all a really terrible set of inconveniences. Why're you here?"

"I got a text last night from Despereaux saying he was going to make a move on something valuable. He called me out, I'm going to put him behind..." His voice trailed off as his eyes shifted, and Shawn saw where they landed and almost swore beneath his breath. Lassie growled, "Behind bars," as he grabbed Shawn's elbow and steered him out of the middle of the lobby to a nook with payphones. "What did he do to you?" Lassie growled.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Shawn wasn't sure why he said it. Maybe to force Lassie to grab his chin, pulling his head up and to the side so he could get a clear view of the bite mark that was still red against Shawn's skin.

"Tell me what he did to you, Spencer."

Shawn jerked his head out of Lassiter's grip and glared at him. "He paid for me to come up here. He's paying for the hotel room. We had a wonderful date, and we got a little frisky. Happy now?"

Lassie's jaw dropped. "You're dating him?" He sounded so disgusted that, for a moment, Shawn thought of drawing back and hiding where Lassiter couldn't find him. Then, in an instant, it changed. Who was he to judge who Shawn dated?

"Yeah. You know what? Maybe I am. Is that a problem?" He lifted his head and met Lassie's eyes without blinking, as if winning a staring contest would make it all better.

Lassie looked like he was about to say something, then thought better of it. He closed his mouth, and his eyes narrowed. "No. Unless you're helping him commit crimes, then no. It isn't."

"Good."

"You will help me find him, though. Before he steals whatever he's going to steal."

"No," Shawn snapped, "I will not. I'm not helping him. I'm not helping you. I'm staying out of this."

"You are aiding and abetting a petty thief-"

"Not your jurisdiction. I'm not sure how nicely vigilantes are viewed up here, and it would be nothing for me to tell the police what you're up to instead of informing the authorities." Lassiter almost looked upset with him. Shawn wanted to let him be.

"Spencer," he moved in Shawn's way before he could make a mistake. "If you've seen anything."

"The only thing I've seen, Detective Lassiter," Shawn's voice was low enough to sound almost like a purr, "is the ceiling of my hotel room. Extensively." He saw Lassiter's eyes widen just slightly as he sauntered around him. "We've been busy." Before Lassie could react, Shawn bolted for the elevators as one began to close, making it inside with a woman and her two kids. He mashed the button for his floor and ignored the yells from the other side of the door.

He made it to their room and locked the doors like it meant he was safe. Shawn paced the length of the room, trying to think. Lassie would chase Pierre. Lassie might get his hands on a gun, make a stupid decision, no more art thief to flirt with and kiss and sleep with, and that wasn't acceptable. Or Lassie could go chasing Pierre and get caught doing something he shouldn't and get in trouble.

Some part of Shawn reluctantly acknowledged that he needed to keep them both safe. His phone went off in his pocket, and he checked the last text from Lassie.

next outgoing shuttle in 5 mins quit being a child and do your job

Shawn shook his head and texted back.

Youre sposed to be a good detective. You find him. :) Show me you can do something right for a change.

He was glad when he didn't get a reply. He came down to the lobby again after he was sure the shuttle had left. He texted Pierre and asked for directions to get to him, surprised when he got an answer along with Lunch?

At the restaurant Pierre had picked, Shawn couldn't keep himself from saying, "I know you texted Lassiter to make him come chasing after you."

"I know you were messing with my phone this morning." Pierre nodded towards the chair which Shawn took as a seat. "I never smudge my screen."

"You never leave fingerprints." He hadn't meant to have quite the admiration in his voice that he did, but that dark, sexy expression flashed across Pierre's face and made Shawn feel tingly and excited again.

"I do hope you aren't too sore today."

"A bit, yeah. I'm surprisingly springy, though. Hard to knock me down for long." Shawn grinned. It wasn't a lie – he hurt and was sore in more ways than he could keep up with. And it somehow felt so very good.

"I didn't take you hard enough." Pierre smiled over his glass of water. "I shall have to try harder." He took a sip, and Shawn tried to ignore the surge of attraction that was telling him to forget about Lassiter completely.

However hard he tried, he just couldn't. "Why did you call him? He doesn't mean anything to you. He's just a friend to me. Just a coworker, really."

"Yes. And I want to see what he's capable of."

"What are you planning to steal? Can you tell me that or do I need to figure it out too?"

"If I told you, it would defeat the purpose of the game. You could give him hints, help him cheat. None of that, Shawn." Pierre was looking at him with interest. "Though, if you could best him, I wouldn't be above rewarding you."

"Reward me? With what?"

"My solemn promise to remain ever in your boundaries. Never again will I contact someone from your life without your explicit permission. If you wished me to be a, ahem," he smirked at Shawn, his eyes glittering, "a secret forever. I would leave that up to you."

"Seems like that should be a given in the first place, don't you think?"

"Yet here we are."

They ate lunch together, falling back on their game which Shawn played a little more aggressively than he had before. He beat Pierre to most of his usual punches, forcing him to try harder to outwit him. If anything, the challenge made him want to beat Pierre again, to force him to realize that Shawn wasn't a toy.

"I've got preparations to make." Pierre gave him a goodbye kiss. "If you see your detective, tell him I'm waiting." He swept out the door.

He texted Lassie with directions to the restaurant, but when he showed up, Shawn didn't pass the message on. "I'm gonna help you find him. Because he's been a jerk and needs to lose."

"Whatever. I don't care. Let's just go."

Shawn followed the tracks Pierre had left, knowing that he'd left them for him. There were little hints that were difficult even for him, and he couldn't help but feel a surge of pride when they found the last hint that Lassiter had found all by himself. They got out of the cab at a residential building, and they raced up the staircases to the fifth floor where Pierre said he'd be.

Shawn tripped on the third floor, his knee cracking against the step in front of him. He hissed through his teeth and climbed the next two flights, slowly making his way to the apartment where he knew Lassie should be claiming his victory.

He heard the hum of voices and paused to catch his breath. Shawn leaned against the wall and listened. "There was never any crime to be committed, detective. I merely needed to see your dedication."

"My dedication is putting criminals like you where they belong." Lassie was practically snarling.

"Yes, you've made that quite clear. There was another matter that I wished to discuss, while we're alone."

"Stay away from me. Stay on that side of the room or so help me."

"Very well. I wanted to ask as to your intents to Shawn."

"What?" Shawn grit his teeth and forced himself to remain quiet. "What about Spencer?"

"I know precious little about him, you see. But I've found that he's quite... appealing. The thing is, while I may be a great many things and have crossed many lines in my time, I do believe that the human heart and its inclinations are somewhat sacred. He's infatuated with me, there's no doubt about that."

"Please, I don't need to hear-"

"Yes, you do," Pierre's voice was sharp, commanding, silencing Lassiter. "He may fancy me, Detective Lassiter. But whatever feelings he has for you... He spoke of you and came to the realization that you didn't hate him."

"Of course I don't," Lassiter's voice was quiet, almost too quiet for Shawn to hear.

Pierre pressed on, "When he realized that, when he said it out loud, Shawn looked as if he might be in love." There were a few seconds of terrible silence. Shawn felt like he should interrupt, should point out that Pierre was wrong, but the words caught in his throat. "And if he is, and if you harbor similar feelings for him, then I will not stand in your way."

"Why would you think that I could possibly have feelings for Spencer?"

"The text I sent you was vague at best. A challenge which you could have easily ignored because you must have realized that even if you caught me, it wouldn't change anything. Even if you had me arrested, I'd be free before you got off your plane. I would be willing to bet most – if not all – of my money that you came running after him. Not me."

Shawn pushed off the wall and walked slowly back to the stairs, limping with his hurt leg. He collapsed there on the ground, arranging his limbs to make the fall look organic and he called out, "Guys? Help?" He focused on his leg, focused on the pain from the fall.

"What did you do, Spencer?"

"I tripped while chasing you up here." He added, "Twice," in case there was blood on the step below. He glanced towards the dark room, almost expecting Pierre to come walking out too. He didn't. Lassie helped him stand, looping Shawn's arm up over his shoulder. They maneuvered back down the stairs slowly to the car that was waiting for them. "Did he leave this?"

"It'll take us back to the hotel." Lassiter sounded like it was going to kill him to accept any sort of help from a criminal, but he helped Shawn inside. After the car began to pull out, Lassie asked awkwardly, "You don't need to go to the hospital or-?"

"No," Shawn said quickly. "I don't think so" They rode in relative silence for quite a while until Shawn finally asked, "Did you see Despereaux?"

"Yes."

"Did you stop him?"

Lassiter continued to stare out the window. He finally said, "I think so. Yes." Shawn wanted to ask more, to keep pressing him for details and why and how. He wondered what Lassie had said after he walked away.

They hobbled him up to the hotel room where all of Pierre's luggage had seemingly vanished. Paid through Saturday x was written neatly on a sticky note on the clean bed. Shawn sat on the edge of it, hissing at the pain in his leg. At the pain all over him.

"There should be a first aid kit somewhere around here. I'll need to see the injury."

"You want me to take my pants off, Lassie?" Shawn grinned as Lassiter looked away. He wished Lassiter had given him a reaction. The lack of one made his chest feel tight. Lassie went into the bathroom to search for the first aid kit, and Shawn reluctantly pushed down his pants. His left leg was smeared with blood from a small gash just below his knee.

The warm cloth that washed the blood away was somehow so vastly different from the one that Pierre had used to clean him up after their first time. That one had been kind, had felt like he was being pampered and spoiled. Lassie, on the other hand, seemed wholly focused on his work, his hands holding Shawn's leg in place without trying to press or change what they'd had for far too long. Shawn wanted him to, wanted him to just say whatever he'd said to Despereaux and then it could be over.

The medical bandage was wound around his leg firmly to stop the bleeding and to stop him from bleeding all over the bed. Shawn expected Lassie to take some sort of advantage of the fact that Shawn was in his briefs, exposed for him, but there was nothing. "That work?" He glanced up until his eyes met Shawn's eyes and never wandered anywhere else.

Shawn wiggled his toes. "Yeah. Think so. Thanks, Lassie." He waited for something to give, but it didn't. Lassiter removed his tie and took off his shoes and socks, but other than that, he remained distant. Shawn toed at his bloody pants before deciding that he really didn't want to put them back on. He opted to limp over to the closet where his bags were stored, grabbing clean jeans and sliding them on. "I'm decent again," he said.

"That'd be a first." Shawn wanted to smile, but there was no heat in it. No teasing. Lassie was still lost in whatever he was thinking about, and Shawn thought it best to leave him to it. He picked up his phone and dragged himself into the other room, collapsing on the couch and ignoring as more than half of his body screamed in protest of his carelessness.

There were no texts from Pierre on his phone, no explanation for why he had suddenly picked up and left, leaving him alone with Lassiter. Nothing. He was just expected to go along with it. The hell with that. But every text he typed out didn't sound right, didn't convey exactly how much he needed Pierre to be with him. To take Shawn away from this like he had when he'd sent the plane tickets in the mail. Steal him away.

He eventually settled on something, at least.

Leaving without even a kiss goodbye is p damn rude. Dont stop using good manners now.

He didn't get a response. Shawn sighed and stretched out on the couch, letting his eyes close. Lassiter must have said something to convince Pierre to leave him alone at least for a while. He could text him in a few days, tell him that Lassie was boring him, get another chance. Never make him jealous, never make him doubt. Because this was ridiculous.

He turned the television on, rolling on his side and flipping through the channels until he found some sort of soap opera to keep his attention for an hour or so. About ten minutes in, it cut to a blonde woman with sizeable breasts explaining that she couldn't figure out who she loved more: the bad boy who was probably going to break her heart when his life of crime and dangerous living caught up to him or the straight-laced do-gooder who was obviously the sensible choice but offered her no excitement or magic.

Shawn smiled as she explained why both were perfect in their own way. He started chuckling when she demanded from the character who had said basically nothing during their entire bit of screen time how she was supposed to choose between two types of perfection. Shawn started laughing so hard that his sides hurt and his body began to ache when the one line the blonde's friend had was, "Well, who makes you the happiest?"

Lassiter walked into the room as Shawn continued, his laughter only broken by small pained noises that only made him laugh harder. Lassie stalked across the room and grabbed the remote, clicking the TV off. "I was watching that," Shawn said.

"Now you're not. Amazing what happens when you lose remote privileges."

Shawn sat slowly up, wincing just slightly at the movement. He glared, "And why did I lose them? Have I been bad?" Lassiter was watching him, trying to come up with a reason and failing. "What did he say to you?" Shawn demanded suddenly, pushing himself to his feet. "Or better yet. What did you say to him? Why is he gone?"

"Believe it or not, this isn't my fault."

"Oh really? Then where is he, Lassie?" Shawn stood up as straight as he could, commanding Lassie's attention. Demanding an answer. "If he didn't leave because of you, then why did he leave?"

"The man's a crook, Spencer. He's a liar and a womanizer on top of being a criminal. He got what he wanted, and he left. Because that's what bad men do."

Shawn growled, "And what do you think he wanted from me, Lassiter?"

"Whatever hole you made available to him, I'd imagine." That stung as hard as a slap, and Lassiter wasn't done yet. "By the way? Great work on being the most expensive whore in Vancouver. Do you get a trophy or a medal for sucking and fucking the most expensive cock you could get your filthy hands on?"

Shawn punched him. It wasn't his brightest move – he had a pretty decent punch, but he was in no position to actually start a fight. His fist smacked against Lassiter's chest, and he stumbled back a step then glared at Shawn. The corner of his mouth twitched into a smile, but his eyes were cold with a hint of something that almost looked like hatred. Lassiter moved back across the room quick as a flash, punching Shawn once, twice, and a third time, driving him back. The blows hurt, but they felt good. They burned Shawn's anger away, let him feel something beyond the faint realization that he'd either been used or abandoned. Possibly both. Lassiter's fourth hit made him lose his breath, and Shawn's reaction was instinctual. He dropped to his knees and curled up as tight as he could, protecting himself from the onslaught, making himself a smaller target. His leg flared with agony, pulsing as he held still.

He could hear Lassiter breathing heavily above him. His feet shifted, bringing him back to Shawn. He hated himself even as he whimpered. "Spencer," he said softly. He saw the distance Lassie was keeping out of the corner of his eye. Giving him space. Letting him feel safe. "Spencer, I'm- I'm so-" Shawn slowly breathed, waiting for whatever came next. Lassie's voice was weak, "Are you all right?" Shawn closed his eyes and nodded, hoping Lassie could see and understand. "I'm going to help you stand up. Is that okay?"

Shawn murmured, "Yes." Lassie approached him slowly, knelt, and Shawn felt his hands on his back and holding onto his elbow. Slowly, he uncurled, feeling the pain in his chest, keeping his eyes closed. He didn't want to see.

"Taking you to the couch," his voice was so quiet, so unsure. It sounded almost upset. Lassiter sat him down, and Shawn kept his eyes closed, hoping that it was over. "I'm going to go. For a while." Then there were footsteps and the door closing behind him.

Shawn wasn't sure how long he sat still, his eyes closed. Lassie's eyes blazed in his mind, that look of hatred sinking deeper than any ache or hurt possibly could. He was wrong – he had to be wrong. Pierre hadn't invited him here just to sleep with him. And even if he had, Shawn had wanted it. He could have taken sleeping wherever Pierre wanted him to, could have paid his own way up. Lassie was wrong. He wasn't a whore. He wasn't. And even if he was, why should it hurt that badly?

When he opened his eyes, the room had turned orange, the bright sunset shining in through the window. Shawn remained curled up slightly, his hand rubbing over the places where Lassie had hit him. If he closed his eyes, he could feel them standing out like new wounds, like deep cuts that would scar over and hurt like hell while they did.

Somehow, he began to drift away, his breathing slowed. His hands stopped moving, and his brain reached for the nearest sensation it could grab. Shawn's memories of the previous evening flashed through his head, elongating as he fell into a half-sleep.

Pierre's hands had touched every part of him. Left nothing unexplored, nothing without a slight ache from the pressure, from the need to be felt and for Shawn to remember. The places where he'd been punched were soothed by hands roughly pressing him down as Pierre's mouth claimed his, as Pierre claimed him. Shawn's brain ran the memories together until he could feel hands moving everywhere, inside of him, rubbing him, hurting him. Teeth dug into his neck, fingers bruised his hips. The pleasure and pain had mixed, both desperate, both driving him wild until it had all peaked.

And then Pierre had left. Shawn's eyes opened to the darkening room. He had left, and he had left Shawn like this. Claimed, aching, needing him to touch and hurt even though those hands might never touch him again.

Shawn tried to not think about it, but he'd never been exceptionally good at distracting himself once he got stuck. He buried his hands in his hair, rubbed at his neck, even pressed against the fresh injuries to make them hurt, but they all left ghostly afterimages in his brain, his hateful brain that could remember everything forcing the hands over him again. Shawn shuddered and closed his eyes, trying to block everything out. It made the memories worse. He tried to watch the television, but the first commercial break had him almost screaming out of frustration and anger. It wasn't fair. What was he supposed to do?

He heard the knock at the door, and, for a moment, Shawn hoped. He bolted to the door, his limp making him trip and stumble. He opened it quickly and wanted so badly that it was hard for him to realize that it was Lassie. Who looked haggard and worn down and worried. Before he could even process it, he said, "I'm sorry." He was staring down, away, ashamed.

"Sorry?" Shawn forced a smile. "For what?"

Lassie swallowed and forced himself to speak, "For hitting you. Hurting you then- then leaving like a fucking coward. If I can't look you in the eye after doing something that terrible, then..."

"Look at me." Shawn demanded softly. Slowly, Lassie dragged his eyes up, the last few inches seeming almost to pain him. He even paused for a second and breathed in before forcing himself to look. He wanted to tell him that it was okay, that they were fine. Instead, what came out was, "Help."

Immediately, whatever guilt was riding on Lassiter's shoulders seemed to lift, and he nodded quickly, eager to prove himself. Shawn stepped inside, Lassie just behind him. "What do you need me to do?"

Shawn paced, his limp slowing him slightly, and he spoke quickly, "I don't know. It's just... I can't get it off of me." He paused and looked to Lassie, desperately needing him to understand. "It's everywhere. His hands, mouth, everything." Lassie flinched but said nothing, allowing Shawn to continue. "Like I can't get him to go away. I don't know what to do, but god it's driving me out of my head."

"I know what that feels like," Lassie's voice was soft, reassuring. "I felt the same way after my wi- after Victoria left. Like she was everywhere. Like I couldn't forget." Shawn felt even more pathetic – Lassiter's marriage had lasted years. He'd had a crush and two rounds of sex, and he was lost.

"Did it go away?"

He shrugged. "Eventually. I found my way to cope with it, and it just... went."

"How?" Shawn hated how needy he sounded. "Please, Lassie, I can't keep feeling like this." He looked reluctant, and Shawn pressed on. "Come on. I'll drown myself in alcohol if that's what it takes." The sharp look he got almost made him smile. "Not the drunken, surly sort of cop, are you?"

"No. I'm not." Lassiter glanced towards the bedroom and took a deep breath. He looked like he was about to refuse.

"You owe me," Shawn blurted out, his hand going to his hurting chest. "For hitting me. Help me, and we're even."

Lassie looked like he'd made a decision he was going to regret. "Fine." He turned and walked towards the bedroom, reaching into his back pocket. Shawn saw the flash of silver, heard the slight jingle of metal as Lassiter twirled the handcuffs around his finger. He gulped and followed slowly after him.

He peeked inside the bathroom for a moment, and Shawn thought it was his usual paranoia, his need to know everything that was going on at once. He saw Lassie nod before he moved back into the room. "Before we do anything, you need to promise me that you'll tell me to stop if you want me to."

Shawn tried to tease to hide his nervousness, "Kinky stuff, Lassie?" Lassie didn't smile. He was taking this seriously. Shawn was grateful for that. He needed that.

He said, "Do you want my help or not?"

Shawn nodded immediately – he did. He needed Lassie's help. Needed Lassie to get rid of the phantom touches that his brain continued to play over and over again, that refused to leave him alone. "I'll tell you. If it gets too weird or too much or whatever, I'll keep you updated."

"All right. Stay here. I'll get everything ready." He vanished into the bathroom, leaving Shawn by himself. He heard the sound of the bath running after a few moments, and he began to get nervous. This wasn't quite what he'd been expecting, though he had no idea what he'd been expecting anyway. He supposed there was some part of him that expected them to sleep together, and then he'd wake up the next morning feeling like a new man with a new crush to deal with. And that'd be the end of that until they got back to Santa Barbara where it would inevitably end. Then they could both go back to being occasional coworkers, and it would all be over. Shawn wasn't sure if he liked the thought of any of that.

"Spencer," Lassie's voice didn't call or ask – it ordered. Shawn slowly slunk to the bathroom. Lassiter was leaning over the tub, his fingers testing the water's temperature. He flicked the water off his fingers and stood. He glanced towards the shower, and Shawn's eyes were immediately drawn to the shower head that had a small, elegant curve downwards in the middle before it curved up again where the head was attached. Nestled in the curve, delicately balanced, were the handcuffs. "Remember," Lassie said, "you can back out whenever you like."

Shawn thought that he probably should. Should stop whatever this was now before he was completely at the mercy of the person who had looked at him with that absolute hatred, who had hurt him his fists and his words. It would easy to say it. So easy. Haha, no way. I'm out. Game over. Instead, he looked back to Lassiter. "Tell me what to do."

Lassiter's smile seemed an equal mix of nervousness and determination. Gently, he said, "Several years and too many cases overdue on that, Spencer." Shawn's apprehension melted at that. This was Lassie. Lassie who could be mean, yes, could get angry. But this was the same Lassie who gave as good as he got when it came to their teasing. Lassie who Shawn could always count on to show up with his gun and control, to take over when Shawn needed him to, to get things done. Shawn could trust him.

He grinned. "Better enjoy it while you can, Lassie. Not sure I'll listen when we get back to the real world."

"You never do." His expression softened, and he looked down at the water again as it ran. Lassie said, "Take off your clothes."

He didn't look. Not as Shawn pulled his shirt over his head or took the chain off from around his neck. Not when he reluctantly reached for his pants. He paused, wondering if he should stop, should leave it be. But there the touch was again, just when he thought he'd forgotten about it. He couldn't keep himself distracted forever. He'd proven that already. Shawn kept his eyes on Lassiter as he undid his fly and slid the zipper down. Lassie didn't move, didn't react at all. Shawn took a deep breath and hooked his fingers in his jeans and underwear and slowly pulled them down.

Fully unclothed, Shawn stood still. He drew himself up and waited. For his next order. For Lassie to look. To make fun of him and sneer and call him a whore again. Lassie nodded towards the tub, "In. Hands up." Shawn stood in the warm water and slowly lifted his hands towards the shower head. "Remember. You can say stop whenever you want."

Shawn nodded and focused on his hands as Lassie closed the cuffs around his wrists. Lassiter tested them to make sure they weren't too tight, nodding slightly with approval of his own handiwork. Shawn watched as Lassie leaned down and pulled the tab on top of the faucet. Warm water cascaded over Shawn, drenching him. "Can you breathe?" Shawn nodded. "Speak."

"Yeah, I'm fine." He closed his eyes and waited for something. Waited for the water to rinse away all the negativity and the touching, but it didn't. He stuck his head under the water and tried so very hard to push it all away. He concentrated on the sound of the water rushing around him, and he almost jumped when he felt the hands – very real, very not ghosty – pressing against his back.

Lassie's hands worked at his shoulders and back. Shawn pressed back against them, groaning softly as they worried at a particularly tight muscle. He tried not to be too disappointed when they left, and then he felt the fingers in his hair, drawing him back out of the water. "Stay." He felt cold wetness in his hair and, for a moment, Shawn's vanity dictated that he protest. He made an unhappy noise, and Lassie halted, waiting for him to tell him what was wrong. Shawn decided to wait and see what he was up to and said nothing.

Lassie's hands began moving through his hair, and Shawn understood. He closed his eyes and reveled in the press and tug as Lassie slowly worked the shampoo up to a lather. He rubbed it into Shawn's hair, combing his fingers back and forth, moving slowly, thoroughly. Shawn wasn't sure when the last time was that he'd felt this relaxed. It commanded all of his focus and attention, and then the hands were gone.

"Forward," Lassie murmured, his hand pressing lightly against Shawn's neck to help him lean into the water. The suds washed out of his hair, down his shoulders, down his body and swirled down at his feet. Lassie moved his hand away, leaving Shawn bereft of touch when he was craving more.

He wasn't alone for long. The hotel washcloth began to scrub at the back of his neck, over his shoulders, and slowly inched down his back. Lassie took his time, the cloth rubbing meticulously at his skin, sure not to miss an inch. When he made it to the bottom of Shawn's back, he changed and began to work down Shawn's left side. He paused at the finger-shaped bruises on his hip before covering them with the cloth, twisting it gently against them as if he could wash them away. He expected them to stop, but it didn't. The cloth kept traveling down the side of his leg before Lassie began to wash it as well. "Foot up," he commanded. Shawn shifted and did, trying to suppress his giggles and wriggling while Lassiter washed his foot. "Ticklish, Spencer?"

Shawn was only dimly aware that he could say stop and have it instantly end. Instead, he tried to escape. "You're gonna make me fall."

"You're going to make yourself fall." But Lassie let go of him. He tugged lightly on the other foot, and was much more careful this time not to send him into a fit. Lassie took care of his other leg, skirting his bandaged injury, and slowly worked back up his other side. Again, he stopped at the bruises and paid special attention to them. Shawn wriggled slightly when the hands disappeared again, trying not to seem too disappointed.

He felt warmth at his back and tensed, suddenly aware – and how had he not realized it before? – that Lassie was just as naked as he was. Naked, suddenly pressed against Shawn, with his arms around Shawn's torso. One of his hands braced on Shawn's stomach, holding him still while the other took the washcloth to his throat. Shawn tilted his head back onto Lassiter's shoulder, and he managed to turn enough to get a look at the detective. He was focused entirely on his hand that was cleaning Shawn, washing Pierre's touch away. His fingers pressed and rubbed at the bite mark, the pain making Shawn groan unhappily.

"I've got you." It was totally unnecessary. Completely and utterly pointless. Shawn contemplated sliding the handcuffs from their place and using his newly taken freedom to grab Lassie and let him know how grateful he was for it. Lassie moved down to his chest then extended to take care of each arm as much as he could. He unintentionally flattened against Shawn, and Shawn's eyes widened when he realized that Lassie was aroused. This – Shawn helpless in handcuffs letting himself be touched and cleaned – was turning him on. He wriggled back slightly against his new discovery. Lassiter's hand that had held Shawn in place suddenly tightened, pulling him closer, forcing him to stop.

He hissed low, a warning that had to be heeded: "Stop. Now."

"But Lassie-"

"No. This can turn into a cold shower very easily, Spencer. Let me do what I said I was going to do, or I'll turn it on cold and leave you here." Shawn bit his lip and nodded. But when Lassiter came back to his body, he didn't move away. He scrubbed at Shawn's chest and rubbed the cloth against his nipples, stopping before it turned into anything beyond cleaning. He trailed down to his abdomen, forced to move the hand holding Shawn long enough to scrub firmly at that spot. He replaced his hand quickly and continued to trail lower.

The next destination was obvious. But Lassie still felt the need to murmur in his ear, "Is this all right?"

"You're golden, Lassie." It should have been sexy when the washcloth wrapped around him. It should have been the prelude to something else, something more but Lassiter showed the same consideration he had for every other part of Shawn's body. That was it. He washed the intimate parts of Shawn's anatomy, then his hands dropped down.

The washcloth moved over his ass, and Shawn couldn't help but wiggle slightly, earning him the smallest smack. "Stop that."

He tugged gently at the handcuffs to make a show of trying to get closer. "Ooooh. A little harder."

"Behave, Spencer." He could feel Lassiter's breath hot on his skin, and then the cloth pushed between his cheeks. Even the gentle brush against his hole made Shawn stop moving altogether, his eyes clamping shut at the ache that throbbed through him. For all his pretending, last night had definitely left him with a little healing to do. A direct touch made him bite down and hope that Lassie didn't push further.

Lassie's hands drew away again. He stood and pulled the curtain back before leaning around to shut the water off. Before Shawn could feel too cold, there was a towel patting at him, rubbing against his skin, pleasantly drying him off. He opened his eyes to watch as it moved around to his front, watching Lassie – naked, wet, dripping, hard Lassie – as he continued to focus on Shawn's body. When he finished, he found his own neatly-folded pile of clothes and fished out the key that released Shawn's wrists.

Shawn stood there, stripped bare in so many different ways, unsure of what he should do next. He began to dry his hair, the only place Lassie had neglected, pondering the detective as he too began to dry. "What now?" He managed after a moment.

"Did it work?" Shawn closed his eyes, but the closest image to mind was Lassie's hands, Lassie caring for him, Lassie making him care.

"Yeah," he blinked his eyes open and wrapped his towel around his shoulders. "It did."

"Then we're even." Lassie finally glanced at him, scowling. "And you never tell anyone that this happened."

"Or what?" Shawn asked, slowly stepping out of the shower. "What are you afraid of? They'll be jealous of us and our man time?"

Lassie's eyes narrowed. "If you tell anyone – and that includes Guster – I'll make you miserable." He turned away towards his pile of clothes and began to get dressed. "If you can keep him a secret from all of us for however long, you can keep this."

"Secret implies I went out of my way to not tell you." Shawn shrugged and went for his own clothes. "You never asked, or I would have. But now I know you're invested enough in my love life that you need to know when I start seeing someone. This is how we learn, Lassie."

"I am not invested in who you sleep with."

"Liar," Shawn drawled. "But that's fine. I lie to you too."

Lassiter chuckled as he buttoned up his shirt. "Starting with that whole psychic bullshit."

Shawn did his best to look offended. "That hurts, Lassie. I am very much psychic." He sauntered close, his jeans still undone, shirtless, offering an invitation if Lassiter would pull his head out of his ass and just go for it. "And the vibes I'm getting off you right now..."

Lassiter turned to look at him, slightly smirking. "Are they the 'Don't make me kick your ass, Spencer' vibes? If not, I think your little radar needs adjusting."

"You'd beat me up after that?" Shawn gestured towards the shower. Lassie slowly nodded. Shawn sighed dramatically and moved away to pull the rest of his clothes on. "That's cold. And after I got you nice and hard, too."

The thought suddenly hit him that Lassiter had said he'd done the same thing to get rid of his wife's touch the same way Shawn had needed to get rid of Pierre. Suddenly, he envisioned Lassie standing in that shower, handcuffed, at someone's mercy. God. "You've done that before."

"Nope," Lassiter ran the towel over his handcuffs and put them back in his pocket.

Oh. "But. You said you found a way to cope with it."

"I started having sex with my partner." Lassiter said. "Vigorously." He tossed his towel onto the ground, and looked at Shawn through the reflection of the clouded mirror. "I thought this would work for you – that's all." He swept out the door before Shawn could protest, shutting it and any comments Shawn could make behind him.

Shawn quickly fixed his clothes and bolted after him as quickly as he could manage, suddenly very interested in the devilish part of Lassie's brain that came up with that. He limped into the main room as Lassie managed to get comfortable on the couch. Shawn was about to ask a million questions, but paused at the look on Lassiter's face. It was his 'been on a case for days without sleep' face – worn down, desperately in need of whatever sort of peace he could have. Tired.

Shawn slowed down, knowing that if he tried to keep up the energy, then so would Lassie. He was always trying to keep up. He slid onto the other end of the couch as Lassiter toyed with the remote then pushed it his way, still trying to reconcile for what he had done before.

Shawn picked it up and twirled it idly in his hand. "I never got a text from anyone saying that you'd caught the guy."

"We haven't. O'Hara enlisted Guster for his pharmaceutical knowledge. They were trying to find concrete evidence to make an arrest last I'd heard." Shawn remembered Lassiter checking his phone earlier while hunting down Pierre. He'd grimaced and tensed, obviously angry that he was far away from his real priority. Lassie had abandoned a case to come chasing after him. If Pierre was correct. If. "You were right. About it being someone with a history studying medicine. Some crazy person with access to sedatives and drugs."

Shawn knew he had been right – he usually was, after all – but it all seemed to sink in. It was in the way Lassiter refused to relax, sitting stiff and unyielding, his expression hardened and focused. Still working in spite of his physical removal from the case. Shawn knew it well – his father had been the same way when Shawn had been younger. He still didn't understand why anyone would willingly subject themselves to it day after day. He thought that they must care a lot more than he did. "They'll find him. Jules'll take him down before he hurts anyone else."

Lassiter looked at him sharply. "Don't."

"Don't what? Tell you the truth?"

"Don't tell me meaningless things to make me feel better," he grumbled. "I should be down there helping."

"Then why don't you go home?" He phrased it like that intentionally, made sure to make it clear that if Lassiter left, he'd be going home Shawnless. Lassie shrugged and said nothing. He looked at the black TV screen like it was the most fascinating thing in the room. Shawn blinked as the realization hit, "Oh."

"Oh what?" He sounded almost bored.

"Because it's too early to go back. Because you lied to get permission to come up here in the first place." He never took vacation time, that was well-known. If he had told Chief Vick that he was coming to Vancouver to chase down Despereaux, she wouldn't have permitted it and would have handed the case over to the local authorities. If Lassiter told anyone he was coming up here to get Shawn, it would have only led to more questions.

"I lied to get permission to take off the case. Karen can't tell me that Canada's off limits."

"She could if she thought you were going to do something stupid." He winced slightly and quickly veered to a different subject. "So what did you tell them?"

"Why should I tell you?"

"Well. If I'm involved in it, I'll need to be able to back your lie up. And anyway, someone could possibly ask questions." He shrugged. "I'd rather have an answer ready."

Lassiter was looking at him like he didn't already know that Shawn was a liar at heart. Of all the people at the station who called Shawn out on his bullshit, Lassie was the one who stuck to his guns until he had to believe him. He knew, and yet he still looked somewhat disappointed. "I came to Vancouver to help a friend. Said that they seemed like they were getting into something shady, but I didn't know what. Just that there was reasonable concern."

"Jeeze, Lassie." Shawn leaned back and stretched. "They're going to smell that one a mile away." He grinned. "Everyone knows you don't have friends except for us."

"You're lucky I still feel bad about earlier, Spencer. But still. Don't push your luck." Then, "And you aren't my friend."

It stung, yes, but Shawn had known that already. Lassiter didn't have friends – he had coworkers that he tolerated, fellow hobbyists that he knew but rarely got close to, and his work. He sighed and flipped on the television, frowning at the news that had taken over the channel from earlier. He went quickly through the channels, making a note of everything as quickly as it flashed on and off before his eyes. "Do you even know what you're flipping through?"

"Yep." And Shawn did. Most of the time. There were a few unidentifiable shows in the loop, but he wrote them off as probably Canadian that he'd look at again later if he felt like it. He pressed the Channel Up button a few more times, completing the circle, landing on a cop show. He tossed the remote back on the couch and pushed himself up. He made his way to the bedroom, leaving the door open as he made his way to the bed and flopped down on it.

He hadn't exactly brought anything to keep him occupied – he'd thought that he'd be busy and distracted enough without. Shawn tried not to be too bitter about the turn his trip had taken – sharing the bed with someone he was immensely attracted to had somehow morphed into sharing a hotel suite with Lassiter who seemed to be doing everything he could to confuse the hell out of him.

He closed his eyes and called the shower back into his head. Had it really all been that impersonal, unimportant? Something they would pretend never happened as they continued to be around each other at least on a weekly basis? It seemed impractical even to him. He almost wished he hadn't gone along with it, had said no and left it at that. Too little, too late.

Shawn supposed it would have been easier to deal with if he wasn't completely aware that the act itself had been an apology for Lassie's misconduct. And, maybe, just the slightest bit begging that Shawn never tell that Lassiter's temper had broken loose. He'd punched a consultant. Wouldn't look very good on his record, would it?

Some tiny part of Shawn's brain told him to fire off a text to Jules telling her everything. Get revenge for Lassie getting in the way. He squashed the thought quickly and rolled over onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. Shawn sighed, tempted to go out and get into some sort of trouble for the sake of doing something when he heard a faint noise from the other room that warranted investigating.

He wasn't sure what he'd expected to find, but Lassiter stretched out on the couch, his eyes closed, snoring every now and again when he inhaled deeply was definitely not it. Shawn watched him for a moment, feeling almost like he'd intruded on something he wasn't supposed to. He asked quietly, "Did you even bring luggage, you idiot?" Of course not. He'd run up here in a hurry, had barely been thinking. Last seat on the next flight.

He slipped back into the bedroom and ferreted about in the closet until he found an extra pillow and blanket. He put the blanket over Lassiter, careful not to disturb him too much. The pillow was harder, and his eyes blinked open, unfocused, half asleep. "Shhhh," Shawn said quietly. "Just giving you this, then I'll be out of your way." He'd barely stepped back when Lassie rolled over and went back to sleep.

"I guess when you turn off, you crash, huh?" His voice was quiet, not eager to wake the sleeping detective up. He found a pen and sticky notes by the room phone and wrote a quick note, leaving it stuck to the coffee table. Gone for a bit. I'll be back soon. He made sure he had a keycard in his wallet and made his way down to the lobby.

He found a small room just off the lobby where he could buy overpriced things that a hapless tourist might forget in their urgency to pack at the last minute. Shawn snagged a toothbrush for Lassiter and grabbed several mini-bags of various chips and candy, noting the rumbling in his stomach that reminded him that he hadn't eaten anything since his lunch date with Pierre.

His hands almost full, Shawn made his way back up to the room to find Lassiter awake, the blanket wrapped around his shoulders as he peered blearily at Shawn's note. "Should've given me a time," his voice was slow, his speech sleep-slurred.

"Didn't even leave the building." Shawn fumbled with all the different things in his hands and managed to toss the toothbrush onto the table. "Noticed you didn't bring anything with you."

"Oh." His head dropped at the realization. "Shit."

"It'll be fine," Shawn insisted airily. "You've already proven you can fit in my clothes – we'll make an emergency shopping run tomorrow, grab you some clothes and stuff. It'll be fine."

"Haven't worn your clothes."

"Yeah you did. Your place was a crime scene, remember?" Lassie glanced over at him, blinking slowly.

"Oh."

"What woke you up?" Shawn asked, approaching quietly as if a sudden noise might somehow make him more alert.

Lassiter sluggishly shrugged. "Got uncomfy."

"Ah. Let's get you to bed, then?" He put the junk food down. Lassiter shook his head. Shawn sighed, "Why not?" Lassie mumbled something, and Shawn shook his head. "A little louder, Lassie."

"Dun wanna sleep in the bed you've had sex in." Oh. "'nd I don' wanna sleep with you either."

"You'd rather sleep on the 'uncomfy' couch than be in the same bed with me?" Lassie nodded, his expression sleepy but serious. "If we put pillows between us so there's no surprise snuggles? Heads at different ends?"

"No."

"Then let me take the couch."

"No."

"Are you more stubborn when you're half-asleep?"

"Yes." Shawn fought the smile off that was threatening to plant itself on his face. "Victoria hated it. Couldn't talk to me 'bout anythin'." He hung his head glumly. "Wanna sleep."

"Then sleep. I'll keep quiet." Shawn backed towards the bedroom.

"Spencer." A little less sleepy this time, like a thought was trying to force itself out while his inhibitions were low enough to own up to it. "I don't hate you."

"I don't hate you either, Lassie." He closed the door and realized that he'd forgotten his snacks, but it had such a nice finality to it that he was willing to shuck his clothes down to his underwear and crawl into bed with his stomach growling.

The bed felt too big, too lonely, and he wished he had someone to share it with.

Chapter Text

He heard the sound of water running, and Shawn's sleepy brain began to fill in details – handcuffs, warm water cascading over him, an even warmer body pressed against his back. He hummed quietly and kept his eyes closed, reliving the memory from the safety of the pocket of warmth he'd created in the bed.

It didn't occur to him for a few minutes that he probably could sneak in, make another offer to Lassiter now that he'd had a long sleep to think it over. Shawn wondered if he was thinking about it now and grinned devilishly. But he didn't move. Too comfy, and, knowing Lassie, he'd get angry. Shawn didn't want to start the day off like that.

Shawn wanted to start the day off with pancakes or waffles or something delicious because his stomach was not all too pleased with him when he went a few hours without eating and half a day was obviously some form of torture.

He slowly slid out of bed and rummaged through his clean clothes, noting that either he'd had someone come in and steal exactly one pair of jeans and one shirt or Lassie was taking him up on his offer. Shawn dressed himself and heard the water turn off. He walked by the bathroom and tapped on the door, calling out, "Stop being all sinful and naked and such. I'm hungry."

He grinned when Lassiter snapped back, "Then go downstairs and eat something, Spencer."

"I don't want to go alooone," he whined, snickering quietly when he heard Lassie swear under his breath. "Besides. You've got the only mirror in the suite."

"You're going to breakfast."

"Not looking like this, I'm not. C'mon, open up." He twisted at the knob and wasn't too surprised when it didn't give way. Of course he would lock the door. Probably expected something like this. Clever Lassie. "You locked the door."

"For a good reason, apparently."

"After yesterday?"

"Yesterday doesn't give you a right to impose on my personal space."

Shawn laughed. "I've been imposing on your personal space since day one, Lassie."

"Hence the lock." He could pretend to be angry, but Shawn knew him well enough to hear that there was no rage in it. They were in comfortable territory – could be back in Santa Barbara, back at the station. Though, he had to admit, the topic was a bit off from that. He imagined for a moment that they were in a sitcom, the crazy roommates who never got along. That made him the annoying, childish one who constantly got on the uptight one's nerves. Perfect. He knocked again quickly until Lassie finally groaned, "Just shut up. I'm coming."

Shawn waited until he heard the lock turn over and he wrenched open the door to let the words out, "Aww, Lassie. You lied to me." Lassiter blinked in confused which quickly turned to a pointed glare. Shawn swept in to grab his comb to get his hair into decent condition, trying not to look too pleased by Lassie's silence.

His eyes ran quickly over Lassiter, trying not to smile at seeing him in more casual clothes than he'd ever wear if given the choice. He'd chosen the familiar shirt that he'd worn once before. He did remember, or he'd gotten lucky with his choice. Shawn was betting on the former.

They danced around each other in the enclosed space to get ready. They started brushing their teeth around the same time, and Shawn couldn't help but claim, "I win!" after he spit his mouthful of toothpaste out. Lassiter rolled his eyes and nudged Shawn out of the way lightly with his elbow.

Shawn had three pancakes topped with an obscene amount of fruit and syrup, a muffin, and a banana which ended up being pointless. How was he supposed to try and fluster Lassie if he insisted on watching the boring news and weather while eating a boring bowl of Cheerios? Pierre's money was being absolutely wasted on him. Just wasted.

He almost expected that thought to hurt, to make him sore and sour, but Shawn had woken up on the right side of the bed and had eaten far too much. Yesterday reached out, tried to drag him down, but Shawn was quickly distracted. He had a chance, here. A chance to convince Lassie that it was okay to wear clothes that weren't button up shirts, slacks, suits, or polo shirts. He could do something for the betterment of Lassie-kind. And all he had to do was not let yesterday hang over him like some dark omen. It seemed like a good idea. He finished off the banana and said, "You know, we need to get you clothes."

"Spencer-"

"Paid through Saturday. We've got like three days left, and I didn't bring enough clothes to keep us both covered up that long. Sooo unless you want to go through the alternative, then yes, we need to go grab you some clothes."

"Alternative." Shawn wondered if Lassie thought he'd actually shy away from spelling out all the potentially naughty details for the scenarios that ran around his head day and night. If he did, he was dead wrong.

"Neither of us wears clothes for the next two days, then we both have something clean-ish to wear on the flight home."

There was maybe just a slight change in his skin tone, something pink to his ears and the back of his neck, but Lassiter didn't flinch. "Think I'll pass."

"Clothes shopping it is."

There was a disappointing lack of tacky shirts at the small clothing store Shawn picked out. He'd thought of maybe putting Lassie in something with an animal print or horrible zig-zaggy pattern. No dice. Shawn almost sighed at the mundane choices, but he took what pleasure he could out of Lassiter's half-grimace as he continued to search through rack after rack of clothing. He hadn't exactly meant to pick a place where nothing in Lassie's preferred style would dare make an appearance. But he'd take full credit for it.

"Lassie!" He pulled out a bright orange shirt that he wasn't sure anyone could pull off decently. The fact that the low v-neck would expose quite a bit of Lassiter's chest hair was just a bonus. "What do you think?"

"Absolutely not."

"You could at least try it on before giving it that level of derision." Shawn knew he wouldn't go for it. Still. Insisting was part of the game.

He'd barely even touched a thin pink and white striped sweater when Lassiter growled, "You know. I've been dressing myself perfectly fine for at least three decades now."

"Perfectly fine in whose opinion?" He tossed a light blue shirt at Lassie, who caught it reflexively before shooting a glare at him. "Same color as most of your shirts back home. You will survive without a collared shirt for a day. I promise."

Shawn realized a little too late that he'd revealed that he kept track of Lassiter's wardrobe, and he almost wished he didn't have to keep up the psychic gimmick. The fact that he just remembered was a lot less weird. "Whatever. Fine."

Lassiter picked out a red t shirt off of a shelf, but he'd barely managed to lay it on top of the blue shirt before Shawn tugged it out of his hand and raced down the shelf, his fingers tapping down the colors until he found a black one in the same size to throw back at him. Lassie's eyes narrowed. "You can have this one if you keep that one."

"I don't need three."

"Three days. Unless you want to wear dirty clothes on the plane." Shawn made a disgusted face. Lassiter turned away from him and grabbed another red shirt off the shelf. He didn't put the black one back. Shawn let him grab other essentials without his input, waiting patiently by the door. After he paid and was out the door, Shawn grinned. "See? Not an apocalyptic event to listen to me, was it?"

"You'd be surprised."

"Nah, probably not. Would be a boring place if we couldn't cause the apocalypse."

"We?" Lassie scoffed. "Don't drag me into this."

"You didn't have to listen to me, Lassie. You're just as responsible as I am, really."

"Would you have let me walk out of there without enforcing your annoying opinions down mine and everyone else's throat?" He raised an eyebrow.

"Psh. Are rainbows caused by Skittle factories?"

"No."

"Dude. Lassie. Come on. Everyone knows that." Shawn saw the faintest hint of a smile, and it made him press on. "Just like everyone knows that clouds are actually made of cotton candy. The most perfect batch ever made floated right out of the candy machine and into the sky. There's some guy in Switzerland. That's all he does is makes clouds."

Lassie rolled his eyes but didn't argue with him. He pointed out as they walked along, "He's been busy, then." Shawn looked up at the puffy clouds that filled the sky and laughed.

They dropped the bags off at the hotel room, and Shawn took the chance to ask one of the employees in the lobby where they could go to find some fun. They cut through most of the touristy crap quickly, and Shawn got the recommendation and address for an arcade. "No."

"Air hockey, light guns, racing games, I'll even let you beat me at pinball if you're nice to me on the ride over." Shawn tried not to appear too pleased when Lassiter's prideful, competitive side had him glaring through his sunglasses.

"You won't 'let' me win anything, Spencer."

All in all, it wasn't a bad way to waste a few hours. Shawn almost died laughing while watching Lassiter play Crazy Taxi while trying to still be a technically good driver. He lost multiple times at every single light gun machine except for the one that refused to pick up Lassie's gun at all. Which he still counted as a technical victory, by the way. Their game of air hockey got so heated and physically violent that Lassiter sent the puck arcing off the table and frisbeeing through the air at least twice.

Shawn won that one – Lassie's phone started to ring, and he had to leave his goal unattended to field the call. He'd barely said "Lassiter" before Shawn slammed the puck into his goal, earning him a glare as they moved away from the table to let the gaggle of nearby kids claim it. Lassie mouthed "cheater" at him while he listened to a high pitched voice Shawn assumed belonged to Jules. Shawn tried to get closer to listen to the conversation, but Lassiter pushed him gently back and walked away from him.

Shawn sighed and found an unoccupied pinball machine to keep him busy. He'd lost his first ball when Lassie made his way back to him. "What'd Jules have to say?" He lost his second try quickly when he caught Lassiter's expression out of the corner of his eye. He was smiling – not in his normal threatening or condescending way but seemed genuinely happy. He could have guessed and been right, robbed the moment, but Shawn kept silent. Shawn let him have it.

"O'Hara and Guster caught the son of a bitch before he could hurt anyone else. There's evidence enough to convict him, and Guster found a witness who can verify that the he was stealing the drugs he used to kill his victim. They got him." Lassiter never looked that happy after they solved a case, but Shawn was willing to leave it alone for now. The small grin was nice to be stuck with for a while.

"Good for them."

"Yeah." Lassie's eyebrow raised. "You know I'm going to want a real match of air hockey, right? With no cheating."

"Sure thing. I mean. If you can handle being beaten again."

The good mood stuck around. They were politely asked to leave the arcade when the smack talk over the air hockey table got a little heated. And personal. But Shawn couldn't help but notice that even though Lassiter had ample ammo for recent events, he steered clear. Instead, he preferred to shout, "Sense this, psychic!" in the voice that usually meant someone needed to put their weapon down before Lassie started firing.

They found a pizza place for lunch where Shawn waxed poetic about all the exciting flavors Lassie was missing out on by insisting on only having boring old pepperoni. Shawn got him to try a slice with pineapple on it, and had been unsurprised and amused at his insistence afterward that pepperoni pizza had worked just fine for him for years and he'd stick to it, thank you very much.

Shawn tried to be gracious to a point, conceded that he had picked the arcade so that Lassie should have the next choice. The suggestions had been limited: museum, fishing, firing range. Boring, boring, and no.

"Any better ideas?"

"Duh. Yes. Plenty. Come on." And Lassie did.

They ended up back at the hotel sometime after dark, after Shawn had convinced Lassie to try a nearby Chinese place to hilarious results. Teaching him how to use chopsticks had been an adventure and a half all on its own, and if he felt like he was grinning way too much as Lassie's clumsy hands, he didn't care enough to stop. The texts arrived towards the end of an experiment that was having surprisingly good results.

Come back to the hotel room. Alone.

I need to talk with you.

Lassie was talking about how he had heard of someone who could kill people with chopsticks or other utensils, but Shawn wasn't listening. He put on his best smile and pretended, but every single thought of his was getting back and finding out what Pierre wanted to see him for. He'd left. That was supposed to be the end of it. The fact that it wasn't made him feel a ridiculous number of conflicting emotions that he wasn't quite sure what to do with.

In the hotel lobby, Shawn paused. "Hey, can you wait here for a minute?"

"Why would I do that?"

"Because I asked nicely. And I'm gonna let you have a few minutes away from me which I know you've got to be dying for." Lassie peered at him suspiciously. "Come on. Let me have this."

Lassiter nodded then jerked his head towards a series of doorways nearby. "Probably a lounge or something down there. I'll let you have your time." No matter how hard Shawn tried, he couldn't feel something definite about the conversation he was heading towards. It hurt, obviously, to be left like that with no explanation. But at the same time, he was excited to see Pierre again. Even if it was just for a moment.

He unlocked the door and stepped inside to find Pierre sitting casually on the couch next to the folded blankets and pillow Lassiter had used the night before. He glanced up, eyes glittering in the half-darkness of the city night, and when he saw Shawn, he immediately stood, nodding his head in a slight bow. A hundred questions raced through Shawn's head, a hundred answers needed to fill in the blanks. He settled on, "Hey."

"Hello yourself." Shawn let the door close behind him and walked halfway across the room before stopping. "You must have questions."

"Well, yeah. A lot of them, actually."

"As have I." He walked towards Shawn but paused, leaving some distance between them. "But you can go first. You aren't a patient man."

"No, I'm not." Shawn took a deep breath and sorted quickly through the chaos in his head. He may not have a lot of time before Lassie came up after him. He wasn't sure how much time he wanted. "Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why did you do all of this? Why invite me up here and spend that time with me only to call Lassie and have him follow up? So you could leave? Was I that boring or terrible or what?" He tried to smile, to make it look like it wasn't bothering him. He chuckled, "Was Lassiter right? Because if you just wanted sex, all you had to do was ask."

"It wasn't about the sex." Pierre's mouth had hardened into a slight scowl. "And I'm very fond of you. I didn't lie about that."

"Then why? I thought we were having a good time, Pierre. Then you text him out of nowhere knowing that he'd follow."

"I didn't know that you'd side with him." He shrugged and sighed. "Shawn, I told you the rules."

"Rules you knew I would break. And I didn't side with him."

"You could have easily let him track me down himself. Stayed out of it. Let him go it alone and let us settle this without your interference. But you didn't. Did you?" His tone demanded an answer which Shawn was only too happy to give.

"No."

"Why?"

He didn't like the tables being turned on him, but it wasn't his first time being interrogated, and he had seen a lot scarier things than Pierre Desperaux. "Because. It's Lassie."

"Which means what, exactly? To you?"

Shawn hadn't quite considered that, but the answer was easy enough. "We watch out for each other. It's what we do back home. It's what we have to do. And how was I supposed to live with myself if one of you hurt the other one when I could have been there to help? It wasn't like you gave me an opening to go with you, either." He sighed. "Why did you want him here? What did you want to prove? That you're better than him? He tried to track you down while you were in the States and failed. You won."

"It wasn't about him, Shawn."

"Of course it's not," he snapped. Pierre's eyes widened slightly, and Shawn was sure his face was getting red with frustration. "It's about me, but I want you to stop dancing around the question and just ask already."

Pierre took a deep breath and contemplated him for a moment, and Shawn wondered if he'd crossed a line. Slowly, however, he said, "Are you in love with him?"

"What do you think?" Shawn shook his head and held his hands out from his sides.

"I think you care for him."

"Of course I do. I may even have stupid mushy feelings about him a little. You should have seen him smiling today, and you'd understand that. But I mean. I liked this. I liked us. It was fun." Was. Past tense. He flinched when he heard himself say it. That was it, then. They'd barely been in the same space for four days, and it was over. Just like that.

"I liked it too." Pierre smiled sadly. "I'm sorry I ruined it."

"I don't think you did." He waited for some sort of reassurance that it – any of it – wasn't his fault, but it didn't come.

"I should get out of your space," he said with one final look around the hotel room. "Goodbye, Shawn."

Pierre had made it almost to the door when Shawn turned around and asked, "Don't I get a kiss goodbye?"

The playful smirk that got thrown back at him made him grin in return. "I suppose so." They crossed the room to each other. "It'd be pretty damn rude otherwise, don't you think?"

"Oh, absolutely." Shawn tilted his head up to meet Pierre's mouth with his own. It was wonderful, soft, mostly chaste, but – Shawn felt – far, far too brief. Their arms had gone around each other, and they held one another close.

After a moment of simply touching, enjoying the closeness one last time, Pierre smiled, "This is the part where you declare you've fallen madly in love with me. We run off to a cabin in the Canadian countryside and live our lives happily retired from our respective lives of crime."

Shawn shook his head. "Not this time. I'm sorry."

"I was afraid you'd say that." One of Pierre's hands ran gently, soothingly up and down Shawn's back. "Maybe we'll get a chance to try again."

"I'm looking forward to it." And, like that, it was done. Pierre's hand stroked his back gently one final time, and they let go of each other. He slowly made his way towards the door, and Shawn watched him until it closed behind him. He made his way slowly to the couch and sank down. He thought that he should text Lassiter and tell him it was okay to come back up soon, but he was content to revel in the quiet for a few minutes. He tried to tell himself that it was for the better – that he wouldn't be able to continue Psych or spend time with the people he liked if he were up in Canada or running around the world with Pierre. It was obviously never going to work. Then why had he hoped so hard that it might?

He heard the lock on the door beep, and Lassiter ran into the room, clutching a keycard in his hand. Shawn knew he would have gotten the card from Pierre, would have seen him downstairs. Possibly confronted him, though it hadn't been nearly long enough for Lassie to attack him the way he'd been wanting to since before Shawn had even met either of them. In the darkened room, he only saw Shawn sitting on the couch, hunched over with his head lowered. "Spencer?"

What was he supposed to say? Hey, Lassie, I chose you. I don't know why. Surprise. Lassiter spoke again sharply, "Shawn."

"Yeah, Lassie?" Light flooded the room, and Shawn's eyes closed automatically against the sudden change. He heard Lassiter walking closer towards him.

"Are you okay?" The question was a blunt and honest emotional inquiry, and Shawn hadn't been quite prepared for that. Not from him. "Did he do something to you?" Lassie's low, angry growl had Shawn smiling faintly. "He said you were fine, but if he was lying, I'll hunt him down, I swear-"

"Lassie." Shawn leaned up and got a good look at him. His body was tense, his hands curled into fists. His glare and snarl were, for once, not aimed at Shawn. It was almost endearing in a way. "I'm fine. It's over."

"He didn't do anything untoward or inappropriate?" His eyes narrowed, and Shawn laughed. "He didn't hurt you?"

"No. He didn't." He leaned back on the couch and clasped his hands behind his head. "But thanks for caring."

"Yeah." He added quietly, "No problem." He seemed awkward as he settled on the other end of the couch after moving the blanket and pillow.

Shawn knew it was a long shot – getting Lassiter to talk about anything was like trying to open a jar that had been rusted shut, and if it was about his feelings? The jar's lid had been superglued down too. But he had to ask. He had to know. "When you ran into him at the apartments. What did you two talk about?"

"It isn't important."

Shawn sighed and looked at him, refusing to take the easy route away from this. "Lassie, he thought – he thinks – that we've got something going on. That's what this entire ridiculous thing was about."

"Did you tell him we did?" Lassiter turned to look at him finally, and Shawn shook his head.

"No. Psh. Of course not. I liked what I had, why would I make up something about us?" Shawn pulled his legs up onto the couch so he could turn and face Lassiter fully. "Something happened when you two were alone. I'm not even sensing that. It's so obvious on its own. And I feel like I have a right to know."

"If I tell you, will you let this go?" Lassiter growled

"Depends on what you say, I guess. Same as anything else."

He sighed and kept his head straight, recounting quietly as if someone might overhear. "I ran in. Wasn't thinking, wasn't looking, and he was just behind the wall out of the entrance hall. I demanded to know what he was there to steal. The apartment was empty and I realized that we – I – had been led." That had to sting. Lassie was weaponless, and being alone with anyone he considered one of his enemies without his gun, having been trapped by them, had to be extremely difficult to deal with.

"He said that he wasn't there to steal anything. He just wanted me to prove myself. And to tell him..." Lassiter closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and plunged in. "He wanted me to tell him about you. If I had feelings," the word was bitter, hateful, "for you."

Shawn knew that. He had heard that much. It was the next little bit that mattered. "And?"

He snapped, "You have to ask?"

"Apparently." He raised an eyebrow and saw Lassiter's body lower as if all of the air rushed out of his lungs.

"I lied." He looked Shawn directly in the eyes, refused to blink away. "I lied and told him that I did. Told him I couldn't get you out of my head. I lied because I wanted you to be done with him. You were checking your phone every five seconds in the middle of a case, Spencer. You never take anything seriously, so I lied." Shawn's throat closed, and he could feel himself getting warm with anger. "He called me on it."

He said weakly, "What?"

"He said I was lying, that he wanted a real, honest answer, and I was about to give it to him. But then you." He looked away for the first time, glaring at an undefined spot in the room, just away from Shawn. "You called out for help, and I was almost across the room before your voice even stopped. He stopped me. Stopped me and looked me over and told me he had a driver downstairs who would take us to the hotel or the hospital and that he'd get out of our way. I could've punched him."

"You didn't?"

"You weren't exactly specific about what was happening, were you?" He turned his glare back to Shawn. "I had to get to you. To make sure-" Lassiter shook his head and lowered his eyes almost guiltily. "He saw that."

"And he made an assumption."

"Yes. He did." Shawn said nothing but sulked as Lassiter pushed himself to his feet and vanished into the bathroom. He heard the sink running a few seconds after the door closed, and when Lassie emerged, his face was slightly wet from where he hadn't toweled off all the way.

Shawn had to know. They'd come this far, and he just had to. "So what was the deal with the shower thing?"

"Spencer," he snipped warningly, but Shawn lurched to his feet and crossed his arms.

"No. If it wasn't an excuse to get off on me in handcuffs, then what the hell was that about?"

"I owed you."

"It's more than that." Shawn's eyes narrowed, took in the way Lassiter's shoulders lifted as if bracing against the inevitable. "You could've tried anything else. Hell, even told me to go wash myself off, but you had to do it. You were involved."

Lassiter's voice was flat, "What do you want me to say, Spencer?"

Shawn threw up his hands in frustration, "I don't know, Lassie. You admitted you tried to sabotage my relationship, that you may have actually succeeded, so I guess I want the truth." For a moment, there was nothing, and Shawn added quietly, "You don't lie. That's not you. Don't start now."

"So you're allowed to lie and get away with it? Just you."

"I don't lie to hurt other people." He hadn't meant to sound that defensive, but the slight change in Lassie's body language – the slouch, his head lowering slightly – made him feel like he was right. And they both knew it.

"I thought..." He started and failed, shaking his head quickly. "I just. Was trying."

"Trying what?" Shawn lifted his head, squared his shoulders, tried to be in control. His demand was soft but a demand nonetheless.

"To prove that it wasn't. That he was wrong. That I didn't."

"That failed." He was pushing it. He could tell he was. Lassiter was starting to tense up, the tips of his ears starting to go pink as he began to get angry. Shawn suddenly decided that pushing him was exactly what he needed to do. "It failed so hard, didn't it, Lassie?" He smirked at the slight twitch between Lassiter's eyebrows. Like he was fighting not to seem angry. "Because you like me."

His head and shoulders snapped up, and he snarled, "Spencer, stop."

Shawn grinned, and he didn't back down. "You've totally got a thing for me!" He laughed and kept going, "You came up here because you were worried about me, and that nasty Lassie-look I got when you showed up was because you- god!" He kept laughing until his jaw hurt from grinning and his sides hurt. "You've been just as confused as I have, haven't you? Noooo idea how to deal with what was going on in your head. How long's it been going on? How long have you wanted ME?" He yelped the last word as Lassiter walked quickly across the room and grabbed onto the collar of his shirt, pulling him close, glaring threateningly down at him.

"Spencer," he growled. "Stop talking."

"God, Lassie," he reached up to wrap his fingers around Lassiter's wrists, "just kiss me already."

Lassie breathed, blinked, and the anger was gone. "No." But his grip didn't loosen, and neither did Shawn's.

"Why not?" Shawn smirked. "At this point, what do you possibly have to lose?" His eyes flicked about, trying to take in every detail, trying to figure out if he was pushing the wrong buttons. "Why do you see something you want and push it away? Why not just go for it? What's the worst that can happen?"

He met Lassiter's eyes and felt like he was drowning in the intense blue gaze, "Everything." He let Shawn's shirt slip out of his fingers.

"And the best?" Lassiter looked away, but Shawn didn't let go. "That's not you, is it? No, you're the worst case scenario guy. Always prepared for every disaster. Careful. Planned out." He gave his most winning smile. "I'm the impulsive one. But..." Shawn considered, "You've played nice. Fair. So if you really, really, really don't want... Y'know. Me. At all. Speak now or yadda yadda and all that."

Lassiter blinked at him, processing. He swallowed, and he remained silent. Shawn moved his hands up from Lassiter's wrists, over his shoulders and behind his head. Gently, he led him down and pressed their lips together. His eyes fluttered closed, and for a moment there was nothing, just unresponsive coldness that made Shawn's stomach almost turn into a black hole. Then, Lassie's head tilted slightly beneath his fingers, his lips adjusting to fit better against Shawn's. Shawn licked lightly at his lips as a reward and quickly pulled away.

Lassiter was staring at him, blinking like a deer caught in the headlights of a very large truck. "Oh come on, Lassie. I'm not that bad."

Lassie's tongue peeked out, running quickly over the area that Shawn's had and he slowly, tentatively, shook his head. "No." Shawn's response was quick – he pulled his hands away and stepped back, giving him some space. He turned to head for the bedroom, but he'd barely made it a step before Lassie's hand grabbed onto his shoulder. His eyes were closed, as if keeping them open, as if seeing might make it worse. "Wait, no. I meant. No. You aren't."

Shawn grinned and turned around, ready to walk towards him and have another go, but Lassiter kept his hand up, kept him at a distance. "Wait. I need time, Spencer. Shawn. No more. Not tonight."

Shawn shrugged and nodded before turning and bouncing back towards the couch. "I picked the show last night. You get the remote tonight." Lassiter made his way carefully over and took his seat. Lassiter settled the channel on a game show, and they both relaxed as well as they could while shouting answers competitively over the actual contestants.

Chapter Text

Shawn stretched out in the large bed, silently complaining again that he didn't have someone to make it less lonely. At least not yet. He had spent too long the previous evening thinking about the kiss which hadn't even been technically good or enjoyable except that it was Lassie and that somehow made a difference. Shawn kept trying to convince himself that it wasn't going to lead anywhere. But every time he reached the conclusion that no, it wouldn't, he was being ridiculous, he couldn't stop himself from remembering. Every single word Lassie had said, every single look he'd given Shawn, everything he had been tolerant of since arriving in Vancouver and, hell, even in Santa Barbara, and it all added up to the same conclusion: Shawn had to at least try.

He got up, showered, shaved, dressed, and groomed all in relative silence. He hadn't bothered to check and see if Lassiter was still in the other room. He trusted him to be. He trusted that he hadn't taken off in the middle of the night while Shawn slept. However much he trusted, Shawn was still suspicious when he finally peeked into the next room.

"About time you got up." Shawn was moderately surprised. He'd half expected a repeat of the night before – they had never quite shaken the awkwardness that had settled on them except when they'd finally said their goodnights. However, Lassiter was settled in on the couch, a brochure in his lap. He glanced up briefly to look Shawn over before he went back to flipping through the apparent stack that he'd stolen from the lobby that had been sorted into several piles on the coffee table.

"Could've woken me up," Shawn pointed out.

Lassiter shook his head. "And enable you to complain all day about how much you hate waking up early? I know better than that, Spencer." He put the brochure in one of the piles and picked another up and spread it out in his lap. Shawn made his way over and settled down on the couch next to him. He scooted closer to get a better look at what Lassie was up to, which earned him an amused look that Shawn wasn't sure how to interpret. "Far left should interest you."

Shawn glanced at the table and grinned when he saw what Lassie had been pointing out. "The aquarium?" Lassiter nodded and watched as Shawn quickly snatched up the brochure to look through it.

"You can pet the dolphins. Lassie," he could tell that he was starting to get too excited. He looked to Lassie who was slightly frowning.

"Appointments for that are booked weeks if not months in advance." He almost sounded apologetic. Shawn's grin widened all the same because he was suddenly so very sure that Lassie had called and checked. Just for him. "Besides. I don't know if you can be trusted around them even with proper supervision."

"You wouldn't keep a man from fulfilling his one and only childhood dream, would you?"

"Try me." Lassiter's voice sounded challenging, but he seemed amused. "Riding a dolphin? Really?"

"I know your embarrassing childhood fantasy too, Lassie." He saw immediately that he'd hit a sore spot – Lassiter's eyebrows lowered and he looked away. Shawn continued carefully, "Old Sonora wasn't that bad, I guess. Mine's probably more ridiculous." Lassiter continued to pretend to be busy eying the largest of the stacks as if it might suddenly get up and crawl away. "Besides, look how you turned out. All rough and ready lawman. Keeping the streets all safe from outlaws and such. Cattle rustlers." Lassiter's eyes closed and his shoulders shook slightly as he held back laughter. Lassie was laughing for him. Shawn beamed and leaned slightly against him, earning him a faint nudge in return. Shawn didn't move, and when Lassiter went back to looking over the brochure he had spread out, he didn't demand his personal space back. He was even smiling.

As exciting as dolphins were (and as aggravating as a group of school children getting to touch them and toss them fish when Shawn totally had dibs), he spent most of the aquarium trip glued to Lassiter's side. Or, well, dragging Lassie excitedly from exhibit to show to exhibit again. He seemed content to follow Shawn's lead, rarely complaining and never in a way that sounded truly unhappy. And when they stopped at each new place, Lassie was just as likely as Shawn to edge slightly closer even when the crowds weren't quite as thick.

"Splash zone."

"Spencer, no."

"Oh yes." When he dug his heels in, Shawn grabbed his hand and dragged. "There's no point to sitting around a show like this if you aren't willing to get soaked."

"Animals doing tricks aren't good enough for you?"

"Psh, no." Shawn settled them in seats near the tank. "You can teach any old dog to roll over." He managed to get an interested half smile.

"Just how to roll over?" He felt Lassie's hand move, his fingers flexing for a moment before they settled in between Shawn's. There was the briefest flash of insecurity on his face, as if he'd done something wrong, but it was quickly wiped away. He never blinked in the face of danger. That he wavered at all when faced with this was fascinating to Shawn.

"Depends on the trainer." Speaking of trainers, the handler for the whales appeared, and the show quickly began. Shawn's devious plan to get Lassiter wet and make the pale blue shirt of his hopefully see-through didn't quite work the way he wanted it to. It was hard to sulk about his plans being foiled when he was so intently focused on memorizing the hand on his, the tiny twitches of Lassiter's fingers, what it was he reacted to, everything he could. "A complete disappointment," he sighed later. "Not one little drop. Rain would have been less disappointing."

He didn't miss Lassie's now free hand twitching slightly, the fingers curling. His mind was obviously elsewhere. Shawn had his hands in his pockets so that Lassie wouldn't see a similar reaction from him. "Stop whining, Spencer." He was trying to sound agitated and failing.

"But the big bad whale didn't splash us." He put just a little extra whine in his voice just to see Lassiter stiffen slightly. His hand lashed out and grabbed Shawn's arm, wheeling him to face him.

"The bathroom is right over there. So, unless you want me to march you over to it and hold your head under the tap, you'll stop whining." He didn't sound angry or Shawn might have taken it as an actual threat. He did look quite serious, though, and that was enough to make him pause.

"You know I'm not being serious, right?"

"No."

"Oh. Still haven't figured it out, detective?" He smiled, but Lassie's eyes narrowed. Shawn's shoulders dropped as he sighed. "Lassie, I really liked all of this, I just like giving you a hard time, too. You'll know when I'm really unhappy."

His grip on Shawn's arm loosened and fell. "Because you'll hit me." It wasn't even a question, and that made Shawn's gut twist.

"No more hitting unless it's agreed upon by both parties."

Lassiter chuckled, "Consensual fistfights?"

"Only if you promise to pull back a little." He reached up to rub at his chest where Lassiter's last hit had landed, wincing slightly. It didn't hurt anymore, but his memory still smarted.

"Or I could teach you how to not punch like a girl," he pointed out, but the corner of his mouth had curved upwards. Shawn almost sighed with relief. "I do mean that, by the way," he added. "You keep getting into trouble. Wouldn't kill you to actually know how to fight."

"I know." And if there was anyone capable of making him pay attention long enough to learn, he supposed it was Lassie. "But that's Santa Barbara stuff." If this relationship? lasted that long. Granted, if he messed up big between now and then, he wasn't sure Lassie would miss out on a chance to beat him up.

"Fair enough. Where to next?"

Shawn glanced around the aquarium and hummed quietly as he made his decision. "I think we're done here." Then, quickly, "Lunch? I'm starving."

 

"I never want to look at another fish." Shawn couldn't quite tell if that was meant to be a dig at his excitement about the aquarium or if it was because they'd eaten so much seafood that even he felt like he was about to pass out. He was betting on the latter, but you could never tell with Lassie. "Ever. I'll give my rod and bait to Henry and never set foot on another boat so long as I live."

Shawn collapsed on the couch and kicked off his shoes, "Keep talking."

"Why?"

"One, you'll put me to sleep, and I could use a nap." Lassie swiped at his feet, knocking them off the couch and giving him a place to sit. "Two, I can tease you when you get bored and remind you that if you go fishing that makes you a liar liar pants on fire." Lassiter was quiet for a moment, and Shawn couldn't resist poking at him with his toe. "Lassiiie. Come on. Talk to me."

"About what?"

"Anything except work."

"All right. Fine. How about the fact you haven't pulled a fake psychic stunt since you've been up here?"

"Work." Shawn answered flippantly.

"You." Shawn peered up at him and sighed, wriggling back on the couch so he could sit up and have a good bit of distance between himself and Lassiter.

He almost hated how easily the lie filled in itself, the truth mixing seamlessly in his head. "I see things a lot. Even when I'm around the station or home or the Psych office, whatever. The visions – the smaller ones, the not so important ones – I suppress. No reason to mention them, not like anyone understands and I don't want to be a burden on the people I care about."

"Last vision you had."

"Waitress at the restaurant has a kid, no husband, and she's leaving that job as soon as she can make it as a freelance artist." Lassie nodded and looked like he still didn't believe him. Shawn shrugged and leaned back, watching him in the ensuing silence. "You want to know what I saw about you? The first time we had that staredown in interrogation?" No answer. Lassie didn't even look at him. Shawn sighed and remembered everything he had seen. "Uptight. All business on the outside, have to be to be the youngest Head Detective the SBPD has ever seen. But you were having your fun too, weren't you? Your partner was your outlet. She gave you freedom, a safe place away from every other terrible thing that happened in your life. You wanted more – not more partners, no, but more fun. More outlets. The only thing that kept you tame was your pride. Your need to be the best. Ambition and just a hint of greed."

"You took all of that away." It wasn't an accusation but a statement of fact.

"I did." He hadn't realized at the time what it had meant, that single outlet that he'd blocked off forever. He didn't know – couldn't have known – that the departure of Lassiter's lover would take away everything but the work. He couldn't have known that he would end up caring. "But I gave you something too, didn't I?"

"Spencer," Lassie sighed, his hands clasped in front of him, "look. You changed everything."

"And?" He pressed after a few seconds without anything to go on.

"I hated you for it. I had every reason to. But you turned out to be useful. And..." He gritted his teeth like it was hurting him to say, "Fun. In a way that is still somehow so incredibly annoying." He sighed, "But I don't think I'd trade it. Or you." Lassie finally looked at him, unsure, cautious. His eyes searched Shawn's face, and he finally asked quietly, "There's no chance you're going to take a nap now, is there?"

Shawn shook his head. "Not at all. But I would really, really, really like to try that kissing thing again. If that'd be okay with you."

"I don't suppose you'd brush your teeth before you did."

"If you'll do the same for me, fish breath." That got him a chuckle before Lassiter stood, looking him over with a slight smile.

"Race you." He was off before Shawn had a chance to respond. They crowded around each other in the bathroom, Shawn frantically cleaning at his teeth while Lassie's meticulous approach at least had a hint of urgency to it. Shawn was thinking of punching him if he didn't show just a little eagerness. If Lassie approved it first, of course.

He rinsed out his mouth and slammed his toothbrush down victoriously. "I beat you even when you have a head start!" As Lassiter finished up, he continued, "Not really a new thing though. I mean, that's been pretty much the standard since we met."

"Spencer," Lassie said patiently as he set his toothbrush aside and Shawn sidled up closer to him. "Shut up."

Shawn smirked. "Make me." He got to see a brief hint of a tentative smile before the small gap between them closed. Shawn tilted his head up, catching Lassie's lips with his own. Shawn followed his lead, let him decide when to move. He allowed himself to be pressed into the cabinet, the sharp corners digging into his back as Lassie leaned into him. He opened up obediently when Lassie's tongue asked for permission, moaning softly when Lassie's slid against his. It was a much better experience the second time around and pleasantly clean-tasting, too.

Lassiter broke off and looked Shawn over. Shawn thought he was trying to make a decision, and he certainly wanted to help with that. He reached behind him and braced his hands on the counter, jumping and sliding up. The height put him about even with Lassie. He hooked his fingers into the front of Lassiter's shirt and dragged him in for another kiss, his other hand going over Lassie's shoulder to rub his neck affectionately.

Lassie's hands clasped behind Shawn's back, a clear indication that he didn't see himself going anywhere else anytime soon. Shawn's legs went around Lassie's waist, ankles crossing and tugging him closer to the counter, closer to Shawn. Shawn's fingers rubbed firmly at a tense spot on Lassie's neck, and his head jerked up, groaning quietly. Shawn quickly took his chance to kiss at his exposed neck. He grinned against the skin, and quietly, tauntingly, he sang, "You kissed a boy and you liked iiit."

He felt Lassie tense and Shawn sighed, backing off, worried that he had somehow already managed to push Lassie farther than he meant to. However, he barely managed to get a look at the downright mischievous smile on Lassie's face before he muttered, "Yes I did." Shawn pulled him in again.

Lassie's hands settled on Shawn's back, slowly making their way beneath Shawn's shirt. They spread out on his lower back, palms pressing Shawn forward against him. Shawn shivered at the contact and he pressed back into the touch. It did occur to him, though, that he was sitting right on the edge of the counter. "Lassie," he said softly, interrupted by another quick kiss before he pulled away. "'m gonna fall."

"Suggestions?"

"Couch."

"Bed."

"Deal." They parted long enough to walk into the next room, but one of Lassie's hands stayed on his back, pushing up and urging him faster as they moved on. "Didn't think you'd want to go here this quickly."

He grumbled, "I really hate that couch." When they made it to the bed, Lassiter kicked off his shoes and pushed Shawn gently towards it. Shawn jumped gladly on it, bouncing lightly as Lassie climbed on the bed. For a moment, he hesitated, and Shawn stretched out, his shirt riding up enough to show a little skin. Lassie saw the invitation and crawled slowly up on top of him. He began to flick the buttons of his shirt open, exposing the white undershirt beneath.

"So. Have to ask." Shawn kept his hands away and let Lassie explore on his own. "How long have you known?"

"Known what?" He pulled Shawn's shirt off and tossed it across the room. His hands rested gently on top of Shawn's undershirt, slowly traveling down to the bottom again.

"That you wanted me." Lassiter paused, his fingers just at the bottom of his shirt, edging the top of his jeans.

"Dunno," he said, his fingers dipping beneath the shirt to run over Shawn's skin. "Realized one day that you flirting at crime scenes with witnesses or suspects wasn't just pissing me off anymore." He shook his head, chuckling slightly at himself, "Thought I was out of my mind." His hands roamed upward, slowly exploring the revealed skin as he pushed Shawn's shirt up.

"For wanting me?" He raised an eyebrow.

Lassiter shrugged and didn't answer. "What about you?"

Shawn leaned up and pulled his undershirt off, tossing it in the same vague direction as his other shirt had gone. "Started looking forward to annoying you on cases. Felt more like flirting than actually flirting. Kept finding reasons to touch you."

Lassiter's smile was slow, easy, devious. "Who's touching now?" One of his rough palms grazed one of Shawn's nipples, and he pressed up into it. Lassie pushed him down again, leaning over to kiss Shawn again. He pressed against the nipple with his thumb then tweaked it gently. Shawn gasped against Lassie's lips. "You like that? What about the other side?" Shawn moaned at the increased pressure, leaning up slightly to try and kiss Lassie again. It landed on his chin, and he fell back as Lassiter moved down. His mouth attached to Shawn's neck, sucking on it, his teeth digging in just slightly. His hands reached up to catch Shawn's arms before they could move down to interfere.

Shawn groaned in frustration. "C'mon, I wanna touch back."

"You've had years," Lassie said, the words humming against his skin. "Years of touching me whenever you wanted. Doing whatever you wanted knowing that I couldn't say or do anything in return. You can take a minute or two of this."

Shawn sighed and relented, leaning back down and letting Lassiter continue his tortuously slow exploration of Shawn's exposed skin. Lassie gave him a brief, soft kiss, a small thank you, before he ducked down again. His mouth started following his hands, trailing light kisses and nips down his chest and abs. His thumb smoothed over the line of hair that ran downward, stopping just below the tip of his jeans before running up again. "Not playing fair," Shawn grumbled. Lassiter laughed.

"Nope." He kissed one of Shawn's nipples, and Shawn's momentary distraction meant that he lost track of one of Lassie's hands until it pressed at the top of his jeans, too close and too far from Shawn's slowly hardening erection. "Someone taught me to cheat. Wonder who that was."

"Dammit, Lassie." Shawn growled and pressed up, trying to get the hand to wander down just a little bit. He reached down to show him the way, but Lassiter's hands caught his. His fingers twined with Shawn's, and he pressed their joined hands down on the bed. Shawn glared and pouted even as Lassie's thumb rubbed gently at his hand.

Lassiter leaned over to kiss him again, then murmured softly, "Tell me what to do."

Shawn smirked. "Roll over." Lassie chuckled and leaned up before rolling over onto his back. Shawn quickly pushed himself up and leaned over Lassiter. He pushed his shirt up and over his head then took it and tossed it off the side of the bed. He drank in the sight, trailing a finger from his collarbone down his chest and stomach. He looped his arm around Lassiter, snuggling close to kiss him again and enjoy the feeling of skin touching skin. Shawn lay next to him for a moment, his hand trailing slowly across Lassiter's chest and then down to toy with Lassie's belt, unhooking it easily. Shawn asked quietly, "Do you want-?" He tugged lightly on his pants, earning him a quiet groan.

Lassie nodded and murmured quietly, "I want you." Shawn grinned and leaned up to kiss at his jaw and neck while he reached down to undo Lassiter's pants. He ran his finger along the outline of Lassiter's erection, pressing the fabric against him. His throat moved beneath Shawn's mouth.

Shawn leaned back to peek up at him. Lassie had his eyes closed, eyebrows drawn together as if he were in a deep concentration. His mouth was a hard line, and Shawn stretched up to kiss the corner of it. His hand slipped underneath Lassiter's boxers and teased a finger down his shaft. He frowned slightly when Lassiter jerked his head away from Shawn as he choked back a moan. Shawn nibbled gently at his earlobe and murmured, "Come on, Lassie. Make some noise." Shawn wrapped his fingers around Lassiter's erection, feeling the hot, heavy flesh pressed against his palm. He stroked him slowly. When that got him nothing, Shawn kept encouraging, stroking him with each word. "Say my name."

"Spenc-"

"No," Shawn growled and bit down on his earlobe. Lassiter gasped, and Shawn licked the teeth marks apologetically. "Not that."

Shawn sat up, intent on pushing Lassiter's pants and boxers out of the way. Lassie grabbed his jeans to stop him. "Shawn." He pulled gently, leading him to sitting over his chest. Lassie's hands quickly moved his pants out of the way. Shawn helped him push his jeans and briefs down, shimmying until he could kick them off the bed. He grinned at the mess they were making of the room, but a gentle "Shawn" got his attention again. The word sent warm air rushing across the head of his penis, and he'd barely registered the feeling before Lassie's tongue brushed him.

He looked down in time to see Lassie's face screw up at the taste, his tongue flicking out as if trying to get the taste away from his tongue. Shawn laughed. "You get used to it after a while."

The icy glare that Lassiter shot him made Shawn shiver. "And exactly how much practice have you had?" His voice was roughly demanding, dangerous, his interrogation voice.

Shawn had to tease him. "So much. You wouldn't even believe. I'm so good on my knees, Lassie. So good." He rocked his hips forward slightly, grinning down at Lassiter.

He had expected a number of different things – his brain was firing away scenarios like crazy, trying to anticipate and prepare. But somehow, Lassiter sliding his mouth down his erection hadn't crossed his mind. "Fuck." He gripped the headboard and forced himself to hold still as Lassie's tongue mapped him out. Lassiter sucked gently in, pushing his head as far down as he dared. Shawn's mouth kept running without him asking it to. He'd managed to come up with about seven new nonsense syllables before Lassiter's mouth let go of him. Shawn was about to slide down and reciprocate, but Lassiter's hands spread out on his ass, massaging his cheeks and tugging him closer. Shawn arched towards him, keeping his death grip on the headboard as Lassiter mouth and tongue went back to toying with him. Shawn moaned as Lassie's mouth slid down, breathed harder as his head bobbed several times, and whimpered when he finally pulled away. "Not bad," Shawn managed, perfectly aware that he was breathy and desperate.

He slid down Lassiter's body and quickly pushed his jeans and boxers down to reveal his hard on that rose to greet Shawn like it had been waiting for him. Shawn bit back a laugh, hoping that Lassiter wouldn't notice. "Something funny down there?" He almost sounded worried somewhere beneath the arousal.

"Not at all. Just getting a good look at you." Shawn lifted his eyes to Lassiter's face as he settled his hips on top of him. "Making new friends." He rolled his hips, his moan sounding with Lassie's as their erections rubbed together. Shawn repeated the movement and stretched out over Lassiter, bracing his hands on his chest, fingers combed into his chest hair.

Lassie's hands gripped Shawn's shoulders as he thrust up to meet him. Their delicate balance had them going clumsily slow, their breathing getting heavier with each electric touch. One of Lassie's hands smoothed up his shoulder a neck before resting on Shawn's jaw. He guided Shawn up to meet him on their next thrust, catching his mouth for a brief kiss. Shawn ground his hips down, making Lassie groan "Shawn" against his lips.

"Yeah, Lassie," Shawn panted. His speed increased, and Lassie followed his lead, using what little leverage he had to increase their friction. "That's it. That's- god yes."

Lassiter's hand went to the back of Shawn's neck while his other hand dipped between them. Shawn stilled his movements enough for Lassiter's hand to wrap around them both. Shawn thrust into his hand, against Lassiter and dug his nails into his chest on accident at the heat that suddenly clouded his head. "Fuck. Shawn." Lassie panted and quickly kissed him. "Again. Move again go."

"Impatient?" He tried to laugh like he wasn't as equally turned on. Lassie answered by pressing his hips up, sliding his erection against Shawn's and his hand down them both. Shawn's breath stuttered out of his body, and the challenging look on Lassiter's face was full of promise. Either Shawn could quit teasing and get on with it or Lassiter would be more than happy to take charge.

They found a rhythm together after a few slow attempts. Their bodies were getting slick with sweat as they began moving, thrusting, grinding harder and faster against each other. Shawn's eyes kept trying to close, to narrow his focus only only the heat and electricity that coursed through his body. He forced them open, to memorize everything up until his hands slipped.

Shawn's chest slammed down into Lassiter who – damn him and his lovely perfect wonderful terrible need to protect everyone but especially Shawn – dared to stop. Shawn butted his head against his chest, his hands coming back down to rest on the bed. He kept his head down against Lassiter's skin, kissing and licking at the salty skin. "Go. FuckinggoLassie."

Shawn closed his eyes and began thrusting against him again, keening when Lassiter's hand tightened around them, his own movements driving Shawn wild. Lassiter's other hand was on one of his on the bed, the fingers settling between his. Shawn felt the heat pooling between his legs, his testicles beginning to tighten. "Lassielassielassielassie I'm about to- gonna- fuck, Lassie"

"I know," Lassie panted, "Me too." He felt Lassiter's body tensing beneath him and Shawn fit his teeth around his skin and bit down as his hips pumped helplessly against Lassiter. "Shawn!" He came, the ejaculate shooting up and catching both of their stomachs. His hand and body stilled as his penis twitched against Shawn, but Shawn did not, desperately trying to push himself towards his climax. Lassiter let go of himself and paid full attention to Shawn, his hand stroking him as Shawn thrust into his fist. "Shawn. Shawn, you're so close." He whimpered and nodded against Lassiter's skin, pressing his forehead against him. Shawn begged.

"Let me come, Lassie, please let me."

"God yes, Shawn, do it."

"Don't stop. Don't fucking stop, don't." Lassiter's wrist twisted on the next upstroke, rubbing just beneath the head of Shawn's penis. His other hand came up to rest on the back of Shawn's neck, fingers pressing into him possessively. Shawn's body jerked and tensed as he came all over Lassie's hand and all over Lassie. He focused on breathing and on the hand on his neck that was keeping him grounded as he slowly came down. "Oh my god," Shawn breathed. "Lassie. That was. Oh my god."

Lassiter laughed, massaging Shawn's neck as he slowly pulled himself up and off, rolling carefully onto the bed beside him. "That's what it took?"

"Huh?" He peered up at Lassiter, his face pink from the exertion, his hair dark and damp with sweat.

"All this time, and that was all I had to do to make you stop talking." Shawn stuck out his tongue at him before snuggling contentedly closer. Lassie had never particularly seemed like a cuddling sort of guy, but he looped his arms around Shawn's shoulders and drew him closer, nuzzling his nose into his hair for a few minutes. "Really need to clean off."

"Filthy, dirty Lassie."

"Half of this is yours."

"The clean half." Lassiter's other hand reached up and brushed through his hair and it wasn't until a moment or two after it dropped back to rest on his stomach that Shawn realized what he had done. "You son of a bitch!" Shawn pushed himself up to glare down at Lassiter who raised his eyebrow, his face completely serious.

"I'm sorry, Spencer. I don't listen to sluts with come in their hair." Shawn was torn between continuing to glare at him and laughing – it evened out at a flat, sarcastic chuckle. "Not a bad look for you."

Too fondly, he admitted with a half smile, "You either." After a moment, he bit his lip. "Maybe we should both get clean?"

"You read my mind." He expected some sort of scathing comment to follow, some jab at him for not actually being psychic, but Lassiter only stretched out and nodded idly towards a box of tissues sitting on the desk on the far side of the room. Shawn fetched it and slapped Lassie's hands away when he tried to grab them. Shawn took his time cleaning up the majority of their mess before he grabbed Lassie's hand and pulled him up out of bed and towards the bathroom.

They dressed in their rumpled clothes and curled up on the couch together, cuddled up close as the TV droned on. Shawn thought that he'd finally found a reason for CSI marathons – it was had all of the teasing and competition of a case without any of the work or investment. That meant they could both mumble their guesses lazily as the episode went along and spend the rest of it criticizing and making each other laugh. Shawn thought he liked laughing with Lassie more than he liked anything else including the awesome sex. Though he wasn't going to say anything definitive on that yet until they had a few more rounds just to be sure.

"We're going to need to move eventually," Shawn sighed and nuzzled against Lassiter's neck. "For food."

"Not a bad plan. If I watch another episode of this, my brain is going to turn to mush." Before Shawn could give him a witty comeback, Lassiter's hand pinched at his side, causing him to yelp. "No cute comments on that, Spencer."

Shawn shrugged in defeat and peered up at Lassiter from beneath his eyelashes. "You think my comments are cute?" He leaned up to kiss his cheek. "You say the nicest things."

Lassie smiled in spite of himself and kissed Shawn gently. "Food."

"Order in pizza. Half pineapple, half pepperoni."

"Sounds good."

"Then we seduce the delivery boy. Or girl. You know, since we swing both ways and all." He grinned at the stern-faced detective who leaned away from Shawn, his hand gripping Shawn's jaw and forcing him to look at Lassiter.

"Two things. One. If we're doing this," his thumb brushed affectionately across Shawn's jawline, "we're doing it exclusively. Do you understand?" Shawn nodded, and Lassiter smiled in a way that somehow didn't reach his eyes. "Two. I don't swing both ways."

Shawn blinked in confusion. "Huh? What do you mean?"

"I'm not bisexual." Lassiter's hand caressed his cheek. "My entire life, it's only been women." He shrugged, "Then you came along. And it still isn't men. Trust me, I've tried. Tried looking around and tried to feel something, but if I can't convince myself that they're like you... Then it doesn't happen."

"Like me how?"

Lassiter averted his eyes and dropped his hand down, looking fairly ashamed of himself. "I was trying to figure it out a while back, why I felt the way I did. What it meant, you know. If I might be into guys. I found a video of a man... pleasuring himself. Thought if I made it to the end of the video without a reaction that it meant I was worried about nothing."

"Aaand?"

"He opened his eyes. Stared right at the camera with a stupid smile on his face, with his green or hazel or whatever the hell color eyes and all I could think about was you. You doing what he was doing, and it made all the difference in the world. It's never been men. It's just you." Lassiter dared to peek at him. "Okay?"

"So okay. More than okay. Hot as hell." Shawn pushed himself into Lassiter's lap, kissing him excitedly. He kept smiling at Lassie's tentative relaxation. "You're Shawnsexual. Hetero except for me."

Lassiter laughed. "Shawnsexual. I think that works." Shawn kissed him again and again until his stomach snarled at them both. Shawn pushed himself off of Lassiter who got the number and dialed the pizza place. He placed their order and gave the address for delivery.

The moment he hung up and turned around, Shawn bit his lip. "Lassie? I have a confession too."

"Yeah?" He actually sounded nervous, and Shawn kept himself from smiling and giving himself away. It would have been easy to list off a dozen bizarre fetishes or demands just to push him and see him get paler than usual, but Shawn didn't want that. Shawn wanted him to laugh.

"I'm gay as hell for you. That okay?" He tried to sound a little insecure about it even though he knew the answer already.

Lassie's realization was slow, his smile taking a moment to build. He sauntered back to the couch, held out his hands to Shawn. Shawn took his hands and let Lassiter pull him to his feet. "I think I can live with that."

"You're sure? Absolutely positive?"

Lassiter slid his hands around Shawn's waist while Shawn's arms went behind his neck. "One-hundred percent." He leaned his forehead against Shawn's, and they swayed gently in place until his phone buzzed with a call telling them to come pick up their delivery.

A pizza and several sitcom episodes later and Shawn's fingers began to tease beneath Lassiter's shirt, rubbing gently at his skin. He rested his hand on Lassie's lower back, pressing enough to be noticed without being a problem. He leaned into Lassie's warmth, closing his eyes and focusing on Lassiter's breathing. He felt a soft kiss at his temple and smiled.

The thought suddenly occurred to Shawn that he only had Lassiter to himself for another day. The moment they got back to Santa Barbara, Lassiter would be a cop again, and everything else would take a back seat to that. That was fine, honestly. Shawn could live with that. But what if they got back, and Lassie decided he didn't want this anymore? When they were back around people who knew them, around the cases and stress and everything else? Shawn was just getting started.

He realized that he'd stopped moving, and he heard the click of the TV as it turned off. "What's bothering you?"

Shawn sat up and laughed lightly. "It's nothing, Lassie."

"Don't lie to me." Lassiter's voice was flat, almost angry. "Don't start this off like that."

Shawn kept smiling, forced himself away from the serious topic at hand. "Ooh, this. What's this, Lassie?"

"You know damn well what this is, Spencer." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "No. Nevermind. Fine. If we're going to try a-" He took a breath, swallowed. "A relationship. I don't want to be lied to. Not more than I already am."

Shawn had known. Of course he had, but hearing it out loud, hearing it from Lassiter somehow made him feel like it was incredibly real. Like he hadn't made it all up. Still, at the same time, he couldn't get rid of that nagging feeling. He gave a hollow laugh and pushed himself to the other end of the couch, keeping his eyes down. "I'm worried?" He didn't like talking about his feelings anymore than Lassiter did, but he owed it to him now to at least try.

Gently, Lassiter asked, "Worried about what?"

"About going back. About you deciding you don't want this when we're back in the real world."

"Shawn," Lassiter's voice was soft, tender, "I can't make promises. I don't know what it'll be like when we get back to our schedules and the work and around the people we know. I can't promise that I'll want to be with you." Shawn closed his eyes and tried to block what Lassiter was saying out. "But being an officer's partner isn't easy either, and there's no way in hell you understand that now. You will, and it may be too much. Or maybe there'll just come a day where the relationship ends just like any other. I can't say that it won't. I wish I could, but I can't. But I want to try."

Shawn opened his eyes and looked up at him tentatively. Lassiter was watching him carefully, looking incredibly unsure and worried himself. "I do, too. I really, really do." He kept talking before he could stop himself. "Even if you don't want people to see. I can handle being a secret, Lassie, if that's what you need from me. I mean, I know Juliet won't mind and Chief Vick won't care so long as we get stuff taken care of, but the rest of the SBPD-"

"No," Lassiter moved across the couch to Shawn, his hand tilting Shawn's head up to look at him. "They can deal with it. There's precedent of officers dating consultants. It shouldn't be a problem just because we're both men."

"It's so sexy that you know that." Lassiter didn't look pleased with himself the way Shawn had hoped he would. "Looks like you have something to tell me, Lassie."

"You don't want to know."

"Oh, yes, I do."

"Back when you first started working for us, I did an extensive background check which included both of your parents. Your mother worked as a psychiatric consultant multiple times on Henry's recommendation."

Shawn slowly grinned. "Family tradition? Awesome. Means Dad can't get on my case when he finds out."

Lassiter chuckled slightly, "You know. When I told Victoria that I ran a background check on all of the members of her family after our first date, she slapped me."

Shawn broke out of Lassiter's hold and leaned forwards, draping his arms over Lassie's shoulders. "I think it shows that you care." He kissed the tip of Lassie's nose. "But if you really want to be slapped, just let me know. Anything for you, Lassie."

"Anything?" Lassiter asked in a low voice, and Shawn was simultaneously worried and incredibly interested. He swallowed and nodded. Lassie leaned forward to give him a prolonged kiss. When he broke it, Shawn was dizzy from needing to breathe, made dizzier still by the murmured "Noted" that made him want to throw himself at Lassie and kiss him until dawn kissed the sky.

Lassie seemed to have a similar idea. He sat over Shawn's lap, continuing to kiss him, his hands wandering over Shawn's clothed chest. Shawn's hands got beneath his shirt, running up his back, enjoying the feel and taste of Lassie without thinking or worrying about anything else. "Lassie?" Lassiter's head dipped down so he could mouth at Shawn's neck. Shawn's breath hitched as Lassie made a small questioning noise in the back of his throat. "What are the plans for tomorrow?"

"Really want to talk about this right now?"

Shawn continued as if he hadn't asked a question, "Last day in Vancouver. Was thinking maybe a real date? Nice dinner, go see a movie, something like that."

"Whatever you want, Shawn." He dragged his teeth across Shawn's Adam's apple, earning him a quiet groan and a small thrust of Shawn's hips up against Lassiter.

"Three guesses what I want right now."

"Pineapple smoothie." He mouthed at Shawn's pulse point, and Shawn's nails dug into Lassiter's back, scratching downward as Shawn threw his head back and arched into the detective on top of him.

"Hey, Lassie. I'm supposed to be the psychic."

"Better up your game. Or when we get home, I'm going to tell everyone the truth."

"The truth?" His eyes fluttered closed as Lassiter sank his teeth gently into his skin.

"About you." One of Lassie's hands rested at the base of his neck, so close to being dangerous, making Shawn breathe harder as Lassie continued to kiss, suck, bite at his neck. "Everything about you. Stand you in the middle of the bullpen like you're evidence and break you down until they know everything. Until they see through all of your lies and see you for what you really are."

"What am I?" Shawn breathed.

He felt the smirk curve against his neck, and Lassiter murmured quietly, "Desperate."

That hit him so hard that it almost knocked the air out of his lungs – it was dead on, a bullseye. A lightning bolt that seared straight through his chest, through all of his layers of masks and lies, right to his heart. Shawn thought it should hurt, knowing that Lassie saw through him so easily, had probably seen through him since the very beginning, but it didn't. It somehow felt so very good. Lassie knew how pathetic, needy, desperate he was, and yet here he was, sitting in Shawn's lap, wanting him even though he knew the truth.

However, he felt that something needed to be said. "I don't want you because I'm desperate."

"That's not what I meant, and you know it." Lassiter leaned away from him, his eyes dark, piercing through Shawn again.

"Just thought I'd clarify. You're pretty high on my list, Lassie." Lassiter smiled and kissed him, slowly moving off of Shawn back to the other end of the couch. With his body where Shawn could see, he noticed that Lassiter was just as hard as he was. Shawn smirked, tilting his head to the side. "Want me to take care of that?"

Lassiter shrugged, looking almost disinterested if not for the dark glitter in his eyes and the faint upward twitch of a smile. "If you want. I think you have some bragging to back up." Shawn grinned like a Cheshire cat and pounced, eager to get his mouth around Lassie and show just how good he was.

Chapter Text

Shawn wasn't sure if there was anything better than waking up pleasantly sore, the person curled around him who made his heart thump loudly in his chest and butterflies flit around in his stomach, who had drawn the evening out and left him feeling sated and cared for and happy. He snuggled back against the warm body, grateful when the arm around his chest tightened, pulling him closer. Keeping him safe. One of Lassie's legs was flopped over his, and his face was nestled gently at the crook between his neck and shoulder.

"Lassie?" Shawn asked softly. "Y'awake?"

"Mm." The hum rumbled against Shawn's back, but he didn't move or elaborate. Shawn's eyes drooped closed, and he basked in the warmth and protection of Lassiter pressed against him. He floated in a state of half sleep, drifting in and out. The memories of the previous evening began to flash through his head, and he smiled at them.

Eventually, he felt Lassiter's eyelashes flutter, tickling at his neck as he cracked his eyes open. A kiss pressed at his shoulder. "Shawn?"

"Mornin'. Sleep well?"

He could feel Lassie smiling even though his voice was lightly accusing, "You tired me out."

Shawn purred, "I'll do it again if you want me to." Lassie laughed, and here, pressed against him, it felt perfect. More perfect than Lassie coming undone beneath his mouth or him losing his mind when Lassie's long, glorious fingers filled him while Lassie murmured soothingly against Shawn's thigh. His laughter was warm, his body moving slightly as the sound rumbled through his chest and out near to Shawn's ear. It was wonderful.

Lassie nipped at the back of his neck, his teeth skinning him lightly. "Maybe later."

"Later." Shawn sighed contentedly in agreement. "We have a date to be getting to first."

"Eventually." Lassie's grip tightened as if Shawn might suddenly disappear. "Could just lay here with you for a while. Keep you." He yawned, and Shawn smiled, closing his eyes and letting himself doze again.

Eventually, they tugged each other out of bed and towards the shower again. Shawn liked showers being a couple activity. Lassiter was good at scrubbing his hair and pinning him to the smooth plastic wall, kissing him until Shawn thought he was going to pass out from the heat and lack of air. Shawn got to massage Lassie's back while his hands braced on the front wall, the water pouring down on him.

It took them ages to get dry and changed because Shawn snapped his wet towel at Lassiter's ass, making him yelp as a pink welt formed. The war had raged in the small room until Lassiter had bent him over the cabinet and snarled, "Don't you fucking move." The steam had cleared enough for Shawn to see his fond smile in the mirror. "Five." Shawn nodded silently and braced himself as the towel snapped through the air.

On three, he held back a moan, and something crashed in the main room of the hotel suite. Lassiter dropped the towel immediately, and they both pulled the last of their clothes on. Lassiter picked up his towel and crept out of the bathroom, as focused and serious as if he was chasing a criminal. Shawn wasn't entirely sure what he intended to do with the towel if someone dangerous was in the living room, but he was willing to bet that Lassiter knew at least one if not several ways to kill someone with one in case it ended up being necessary. His boyfriend was special that way.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Shawn heard the growl and quickly made his way into the room, finding Pierre sitting on the couch like he belonged there.

"It's my hotel room, detective. I've more of a right to be here than you." He held up two tickets and tossed them onto the table. "Thought I'd offer a truce and to pay your way back to Santa Barbara, seeing as how your being here is my fault in the first place. Shawn was complaining before that he'd prefer a companion to fly with rather than go solo." Pierre's eyes slid over to him, observing him keenly. His faint smile was more than enough to convince Shawn that he somehow knew everything they'd been up to since he left. "Hope you have been enjoying the company."

"I have, thanks." He hadn't meant to sound that biting, and the small tilt of his head, the look of disapproval was enough to convince him he'd overstepped.

"I was serious about this being an attempt at peace. I'd prefer to part as friends, if at all possible." Shawn saw Lassie stiffen and knew as sure as he had ever known anything what he was going to do.

"I'll tolerate you. For Shawn's sake. Nothing more than that." He glanced at Shawn. "I'm going to go finish getting ready. If you're going to have some sort of touchy-feely talk, get it over with." He turned on his heel and went into the bedroom, swinging the door closed behind him.

Pierre smiled. "He's about to call the police."

"Yes, he is." Pierre didn't move, settling in on the couch. "Aren't you going to leave?"

"Do you want me to?"

"Well, I don't want you to go back to jail, if that's what you mean." Shawn walked slightly forward, his hands in his pockets. "You escaped once. They aren't going to put you back in minimum security."

"I told you, I didn't escape. I pulled strings. Those same strings can put me back where I belong."

"You don't belong in prison." Shawn frowned.

Pierre laughed, "Tell that to your detective." He rested his hands behind his head. "There's not much of a reason to be out in the open world right now. It's only a matter of time before they call me in for my trial back in your country. There was at least some measure of company there for the time being."

"There's people out here."

"The one who matters is going where I can't follow."

Shawn flushed and laughed. "Flatterer."

"Not idly." Pierre sat up and leaned forward. "Will he be cross if you write to me?"

"Probably." Shawn glanced towards the bedroom door where Lassie continued to hide away. "Haven't gotten to have angry sex yet. Bet he's a pro."

Pierre laughed stiffly. "You torment me."

"I'll write and flirt as much as he'll let me. That's a promise."

Pierre pushed himself to his feet, and Shawn heard the thunder of feet down the hallway. "He's going to keep you on a short leash eventually."

Shawn grinned. "God, I hope so." Pierre started laughing and didn't stop until someone on the other side of the door barked for them to open. There was a flurry of activity as men and women in uniforms put Pierre in handcuffs. He winked at Shawn the moment they clamped around his wrists, and went willingly without even a slight struggle.

The moment the room was clear of uniforms, Lassiter opened the door to the bedroom, looking as unaffected and level-headed as ever. "You know we both knew what you went in there to do, right?" He wasn't sure whether he was joking or if he was slightly angry that Lassie wouldn't just do it where Shawn could see.

Lassiter shrugged, "Of course you did. But he's your friend, not mine. His last few minutes as a free man should be spent in the company of someone he enjoys."

"I'm still going to be his pen pal," he said, making sure that it wasn't phrased like a question.

Lassiter nodded, "I know. But if I find out you've been giving him explicit details about our sex life, you're going to be in the dog house for a very long time. You understand?"

"So." Shawn pondered. "Go behind your back to tell him all the naughty details. Got it." He beamed brightly, unfaltering even at Lassiter's glare and scowl. "Lassie, I have to tell someone about how fantastic you are in bed or all this pent up adoration is going to just fester into terrible, life-threatening, fluffy ulcers."

"That's a risk I'm willing to take." Shawn poked his lower lip out in a pout. "Go finish getting ready."

"What are the plans for the day?" Shawn asked as he bounced towards the bathroom to get ready.

"We're going on a date, remember?" Shawn tried not to grin too much as he went about the rest of his routine. He'd seen Lassie trying to pick up women before, knew how... interesting the detective's idea of a good time could be. Shawn trusted him. If not to make it romantic, then to at least make it entertaining, and what more could a guy want?

Entertaining, yes, that was definitely the angle Shawn saw more of, watching gangly, giraffe-limbed Lassie wobble on skates like he had no idea what he was doing. The roller rink was warm which was probably the reason Lassie had chosen it as neither of them had warm clothes to head out on ice. The lights were dim save for the flashy, colored lights that danced across the floor. Danced like the other skaters, like Shawn in his roller skates as Lassie attempted to find his balance.

He understood the appeal immediately – he had used the same trick himself on Jules not that long ago. Shawn let Lassie's fingers twine with his, giving him a lead and someone to grab onto if things went south. There was more to it though, more about seeing Lassie wobbly and unstable. It made him vulnerable, gave Shawn the power and control that Lassiter normally kept carefully guarded. It was sweet in a way. And entirely too trusting. He was practically bouncing in his rented skates, wanting to abuse it. Skate circles around him until he got mad enough to lose his balance and meet the ground or swan after Shawn with a certain grace and stern determination.

The idea of Lassie as a swan wasn't entirely without merit, Shawn thought. He could imagine a younger Carlton with gangly limbs, sourpuss scowl. He wondered how much he'd have to bribe one of Lassie's family members for just one picture, so he could see a glimpse of the fish-out-of-water duckling to compare to this. His detective. Shawn laughed lightly at the thought, which happened to coincide with Lassie accidentally scraping his wheels the wrong way, clinging to Shawn as he righted himself. "Don't laugh," he growled, his cheeks and ears pink with embarrassment.

"Not laughing at you," Shawn reassured him and squeezed his hand.

After a moment of contemplation, Lassiter answered, "If you don't start again soon, it's going to be really odd when we get home."

Shawn laughed again as they continued to glide along. "The looks on all of their faces if we started playing nice with each other in public."

"We're in public now. Or do you only show off when it's people you might see later?"

"Well, I mean. Definitely a perk." Shawn shrugged. "I can start showing off, if that's what you want."

"Does that qualify as part of the date?" Lassie was smiling, but there was something worried in his eyes.

"Have you met me?" Shawn replied with a carefree grin. Lassie gave a small nod, a concession. Shawn grinned, letting go of his hand long enough to see that he'd gotten the balance and rhythm down right. He sped up slightly before circling lazily around Lassiter. He came close, stretched up to murmur in his ear tauntingly, "Catch me if you can." Knowing he would probably still have Pierre's text saved into his phone. Knowing it would bring up questions. Knowing that it meant hell yes, he'd chase.

He took off across the rink, waiting until he was sure he had some clear space before he looked behind him. Lassie was glowering in the way that usually meant Shawn was going to be shoved up against something and not always in a bad way lately. He was moving, figuring out how to work his long legs, and yes his Lassie was definitely a swan. Shawn grinned and took off, giving it his all. At their first turn, he cast another glance back, but Lassiter was a quick learner with the right motivation. Shawn laughed, hoping he could hear over the din of the rink. Halfway down the lane, he cut through the mostly unoccupied median, turning around quickly to get a good look at Lassie's momentum kept him swinging past Shawn.

His turn wasn't exactly graceful, but he did make his way back towards Shawn, moving quickly as if he expected Shawn to take off the moment he got close. There was a blink of confusion the closer he got while Shawn didn't budge. Shawn smiled and held his hands out, swinging to the side after Lassie's fingers and palms slid against his. Shawn pivoted, swinging Lassiter around him and slowing him down all at once.

Shawn let go of his hands before sliding his own around Lassiter's waist, dragging him close. "Not everything has to be about competition, you know."

"No?" Lassie smiled tentatively.

"Nah, of course not. Competition means a winner and a loser." Shawn shrugged, peering up at Lassie with an easy smile. "But everyone's looking at us right now, and we're both winners." Lassiter's eyes flicked away, confirming what Shawn already knew. There were a few people watching, sure, curious about the two men holding each other in the center of the rink, but almost everyone was continuing on their way. But that didn't matter. "Carlton," he said gently, and immediately, his baby blues were back on Shawn, startled. Shawn chuckled, drew it out, one of his fingers skating up and down Lassie's back, "Caaaaarlton. Be a showoff with me."

Lassie's hands came up behind Shawn's neck, fingers threading into his hair as if he might suddenly disappear. He pressed his mouth against Shawn's, a searing kiss that made the skating rink feel a hundred time hotter than it had been just a few seconds before. Someone cheered, and by the time they parted, there were a significant number of eyes on them. Lassie kissed him softly one more time. When they parted, Lassie's fingers loosened. "Come on, Spencer. I paid way too much for admission and rental skates to just stand here and put on a show."

"If we put on a good enough show, maybe they'll tip us." Lassiter's hand squeezed the back of his neck for a second, a mix between affectionate and possessive that made Shawn beam even brighter.

"Behave, Shawn." There was something about Lassie's smirk that made Shawn realize that he didn't expect Shawn to behave any more than he expected the sky to turn purple or Santa Barbara to be buried under a foot of snow when they got home.

"Yes, Lassie," he agreed. For the time being. Misbehaving could come later. For now, he was content to hold hands and skate. They had two more races. The first had been all competition, Lassie claiming that he had it down enough to keep up with anything Shawn threw at him. Shawn had proven him wrong. Skating backwards meant distracting Lassiter by making faces at him. Distracted Lassie quickly became wobbly Lassie.

The second had started when Lassiter had given him a light shove, just enough to upset his balance before skating off as fast as he could. Shawn chased him for a good ten minutes, always letting him pull away at the last second until he finally had the chance to slam him against the wall near the entrance. He pinned Lassie there, pondering aloud, "This feels somehow familiar. But not quite right, you know?" Lassiter laughed, and Shawn continued, "Liiiiike... I don't know, Lassie. I can't imagine why me pushing you against a wall would feel almost wrong. Natural balance of the universe is off-kilter." He let up and rolled a few inches back.

"I think it was when we started the whole kissing thing," Lassie pointed out.

Shawn shook his head. "No, no. It's not right at all. Quick, handcuff me! It's the only way to make it right."

Lassie smiled but shook his head. "Let's try to keep it PG-13 in public, Shawn."

Shawn gave a fake gasp, his hand flying to his chest as if his delicate sensibilities had been horribly offended. "Carlton Lassiter! All I was suggesting was that maybe you would want to put those shiny bracelets on me for a few minutes until we restored the natural order."

Lassiter's eyebrows raised, "And after I did, there were going to be absolutely no filthy, lewd, or otherwise inappropriate sexual advances or suggestions?"

Shawn shrugged, no longer trying to look quite so innocent. "Well, you know. Depends."

"Oh?"

"Certain factors. Psychic vibes affecting my judgment and amount of Lassie-loving I want at any given moment. Could have ranged anywhere from 'Okay feels better give me a kiss and let me out' to 'take me in the restroom you studly stallion'."

Lassiter's eyes narrowed, but his tongue peeked out to wet his lips. Shawn kept his face serious, but it was difficult not to grin and sing and dance at the victory. Any sort of concession on Lassie's part was starting to feel like a better win than beating his Dad at their Christmas game. "There are kids here, Spencer."

"I think Biology would be a lot more fun with lessons like that. Or would it be Health? Why not both? I think I would have stayed in school if education included a little more unf, you know?" Shawn allowed himself to smile. "C'mon, Lassie, let's keep kids in school."

Lassiter sighed with a slight smile, "You're ridiculous."

"And you love it."

"You're irritating." He pushed slightly off the wall, rolling towards Shawn, closing the gap between them quickly.

"And you're sweaty."

"So are you."

"It looks so much better on you though."

Lassie leaned close to him, mumbling in his ear, "Careful, Spencer. People are going to start thinking you're not as vain as you look."

"Lassie, please." Shawn glanced up at him. "I'm every bit as vain as I look. Why else would I want you to look at me like I'm the sexiest thing you've ever seen?" Lassiter shook his head, frowning. "See, it could be anyone. But it's not. It's you. Honest, blunt, grumpy Lassie. And if you can look at me like you maybe like me, then I know you mean it." He shrugged, beaming. "What more could an narcissist want?"

"Someone to feed you endless amounts of praise and worship, no strings attached."

"Booooring. Been there, done that, never went back for seconds." He skated towards the exit, Lassie not far behind him. "You, on the other hand. You make me work for it. Which means you're not boring at all. Not compared to them."

"Going to take back every time you've called me a stick in the mud?"

"Psh, no." Shawn laughed, "You're still a stick in the mud. Just. A fun one. With a party hat."

They found a bench to sit down on for a little while, resting while they watched others roll around in the dark. Shawn was surprised when it was Lassiter's hand that slid across the bench to touch his, resting his fingers just lightly over Shawn's. It felt comfortable. Natural. Like neither of them had any hangups about this at all. He liked that, honestly, but it made him doubt. Like it was too easy now, which usually meant something was wrong. Easy was never how it went, especially not after the drama from the last week. Something in him whispered that it was his normal phobia of commitments finally peeking out, making him think that he didn't deserve this or that it shouldn't be working when it was. He tried to hold onto that rational thought, forcing himself to calm.

The silence felt suddenly uncomfortable, and Shawn reached up with his thumb to run over one of Lassie's fingers. "You're handling this all really well." Lassiter glanced at him, confused. "The whole us thing. I mean, I'm glad. No freakouts, no weird boundaries. You've been really cool about it, Lassie."

Lassiter continued to peer at him for a moment before something in his expression shifted into understanding. "I know that may not be normal, but-"

"No, no," Shawn quickly assured him. "It's better than normal, it's great, but..."

"Shawn," he murmured in a low voice, silencing Shawn instantly, the words caught in his throat. "If I do something, I do it right. I give it everything I can."

"I know," Shawn admitted softly.

"Always." He shrugged and tried to look like he wasn't bothered, even though Shawn could tell he was. "So if you're waiting for me to have some sort of sexuality or relationship panic, it's not going to happen."

Shawn ventured, "But if you did, you know I wouldn't be upset, right? Wouldn't take it personally and all that?"

"Been through it already."

"What?"

Lassiter gave him a slight smile. "Why do you think I told you I needed time after you kissed me the first time? I dealt with it. Thought long and hard about it. Got the 'what the hell am I doing' out of my system. And decided that you were maybe right. If I see something I want, something that could make me happy, then why shouldn't I go for it?"

The pit of doubt in Shawn's stomach widened, "You think I could make you happy?"

"You've put more gray in my hair than my divorce and the entire criminal population of Santa Barbara put together. I can't count the number of clips I've unloaded at the shooting range to try and get rid of my anger and frustration because of you. And I'm not going to say it doesn't matter because it does. Because it's part of you and part of what you do to me." Lassiter's fingers curled around Shawn's. "And if I didn't like that, if I didn't like you, I would have told you to stop before you kissed me. I would have stopped all of this before it started."

Shawn scooted slightly closer to him on the bench, which wasn't quite as subtle as he could have hoped for thanks to the skates still on his feet. "I'm sorry. I'm being ridiculous."

"Par for the course." Shawn elbowed him, but he smiled.

"I just like this. And I'm scared that it's gonna mess up, and that's usually when I run away with my tail between my legs."

"We're human, Shawn. We make mistakes. Some of us more than others." Shawn went to elbow him again, but Lassiter's arm came up, knocking it aside. He pinned their hands down again and pushed his head forward until he was hovering just a few inches from Shawn, eyes gazing into his levelly. "But if you run? I'll chase you down. Cutting ties with me and pulling a disappearing act isn't going to work. I'll want answers, and I'll do whatever it takes to get them. So if you think it'd be a good idea to take off without accounting for yourself, think again. I won't let you."

Shawn looked away, "Know my playbook already, Lassie?"

"I know what I've seen and what I won't tolerate. I know what'll hurt me. And I know that this conversation is proving that we can talk about our problems like adults in an adult relationship are supposed to."

"Marriage counseling teach you that?" He saw the small line form between Lassiter's eyebrows and instantly regretted it. He wanted to push himself forward, press his lips to that line and smooth it away.

Stiffly, Lassie said, "It did. It taught me that things like this need work and compromise if they're going to last."

Shawn lowered his eyes and ducked his head slightly. "Probably helps if one of the partners isn't a jackass."

"Probably." Lassie's lips brushed his forehead in a light kiss. "But two jerks might be able to make it work."

"It's worth a shot." Shawn closed his eyes for a moment, reveling in the closeness between himself and Lassiter. Eventually, Lassiter released the pressure on their joined hands, letting his arm wrap tentatively around Shawn's waist. Shawn leaned into him, nestled his head on Lassie's shoulder. "Could get used to you like this."

"Same for you."

"I'm behaving normally," Shawn insisted, resting his hand on Lassie's thigh.

"You're quiet. And serious some of the time, which is weird. No psychic visions. More touching, though, oddly enough." Shawn skated his hand higher with every item on the list, grinning as Lassie's voice lowered in warning. "Keep testing me, Spencer, and I will handcuff you at the movies tonight."

"We're going to the movies?" Shawn beamed, wondering how early in the proceedings he should reveal that he knew how to get out of handcuffs. Then again, the idea of staying in them was tempting. See how long it would take before he could convince Lassie to forget the movie and public indecency laws. Forget himself and all his rules. Or, Shawn considered, he could behave himself and enjoy the company and the movie, but where was the fun in that?

Lassiter nodded. "If you want. There's an independent theater that's playing old Westerns. If you're into that sort of thing."

"Dude, yeah! Those used to be one of the few things I could watch with my Dad that didn't end with us fighting."

"Good," Lassiter brightened. "There's one I wouldn't mind seeing at 3:10-ish."

"Perfect." Shawn slowly leaned away. "Want to go for a few more rounds around the rink before we give these awful rentals back for good?" Lassiter nodded, and after a few minutes of readjusting and relearning what he'd already forgotten, they were back on the floor, taking it slow and easy, letting everyone else pass them by.

They found a nice burger joint for lunch even though Shawn was adamantly against non-American burgers. He ended up with a chili dog instead which meant, sadly, no hot dog innuendos due to the large mess he was making even just trying to eat it with a fork. Even a liberal use of napkins hadn't been enough to clear it all off. Lassiter had rubbed Shawn's cheek with his thumb to brush off the last of it, and Shawn caught the finger before it strayed too far. He popped Lassiter's thumb into his mouth, licking off the last of the chili before giving him a cheeky grin. "Spencer," the quiet warning only made Shawn's grin widen.

Shawn liked the movies. He always had. Before he knew every plot, every character, and before every detail screamed at him, so fake and demanding that he memorize and remember – before all of that, it had been like magic. The world melted away until there was nothing else, and he had loved that. Some of that magic still remained. The escape was still there, though it had grown less tempting over time. When Shawn finally got a real taste of the world, he quit wanting to have so many visits away from it. Still, Shawn liked the distraction and not just for himself. Lassie's eyes had trained on the screen from the moment the lights dimmed, aware but not responding to Shawn's observance of him.

If there was anything this trip was getting him used to, it was seeing Lassiter unwound, calm, and casual. Relaxed. Shawn had seen it before, of course, but never for so long. It would almost be a shame to put him back in the tense stress of his every day life. Then again, not. No matter how calm he was, when they were out in public, Lassiter's eyes were constantly on the move, even worse than Shawn's, taking in everything. He was made for the life he'd chosen.

Shawn was still terribly nervous about introducing this – the way Lassie's arm went around his shoulder while Shawn's hand rested on his leg, intimate without teasing, touching for the sake of touching – to their lives back home. There wasn't any escaping that. Not with all the movies and TV shows in the world. Shawn realized sometime around the first on-screen death that he was the one having a freakout while Lassiter, the uptight control freak, had somehow made his peace. It was almost hilarious, and he bit back giggles, which earned him a good shushing from the rest of the audience. Three hipsters, six older people, and one young couple who were sitting right in the middle of the theater, hands kept chastely to themselves.

"What's so funny?" Lassie's whispering voice tickled, breathy and soft in Shawn's ear.

Shawn pointed out quietly, "Guy on the left keeps touching his gun even though he's supposed to be relaxed. Actor's way too into it."

"Some people have a particular attachment to their weapon."

"That guy's playing you?" Shawn moved his hand up to Lassie's side, pressing against his ribs, against the empty space where a gun should be. Lassie took a breath, and Shawn could feel it beneath his hand. He imagined the holster, the Glock beneath his fingers, cold and hard. Lassiter's first defense, deadly, dangerous, just there. Lassie kept his eyes forward, but his body didn't lower. He tensed and held still. Shawn ran his fingers gently over the area, tracing the holster from memory. Every single time Lassiter had drawn his gun in the heat of a case, every time he took his jacket off to reveal the dark straps cutting across his crisp shirts. Shawn remembered it all. Shawn looked up at his face, colored by the bright light of the screen. His jaw was clenched, eyes closed, paying attention to Shawn's hand and nothing else. Lassie didn't breathe again until he was done. Shawn leaned into him, his hand settling again on Lassiter's thigh, his heart hammering in his chest.

He watched the rest of the movie, but his brain buzzed with the memory, playing it over and over and over. The cowboy shot the bad guy, kissed the girl, who cared at all when that amazing something had just happened? It was just a moment, really, a snapshot, but it felt like more. It felt like porn, like sex. Hot, dirty, private. Shawn filed away a dozen mental reminders to investigate further. By the end of the movie, he filed a thousand more.

That intrigued him beyond everything else. The desire to learn and know everything about Lassie had suddenly consumed him. He wanted to know everything, and not in his usual head-tilt-eyes-narrow-see-everything sort of way. Shawn wanted to talk, explore, test and retest until he had the entirety of Carlton Lassiter memorized, mapped out. Then, he thought maybe he'd want to do it again.

And Shawn couldn't remember anyone else ever doing that to him.

It made him patient. Had him grinning throughout dinner at a nearby restaurant, someplace quietly nice without being stuffy. The anticipation was worth it the way shiny wrapping on Christmas morning never had been. He knew what he was getting, but he didn't know everything. The excitement had him wanting to burst into little girly giggles every time his lanky-legged Lassie accidentally nudged him beneath the table. As it was, he was content to nudge back, watching every time as if it was the first as Lassie's eyes dragged themselves back to him.

Shawn talked. He filled the entire conversation in himself about whatever came to mind, and Lassie didn't stop him. He didn't interrupt him or switch gears, just watched with amusement as Shawn either realized he should probably breathe and/or eat something. In those rare silences, Lassie filled in with stories of his own, often briefly related to whatever tangent Shawn had been going on about before.

Around the time they'd both paid their food, Shawn realized that for the last ten minutes or so, Lassie's eyes had quit their constant paranoid surveillance of the world at large. They zeroed in on Shawn, watched him intently. As if he could find all of Shawn's secrets too. Shawn wanted him to, wanted Lassie to want to know him. More than that, Shawn wanted to make him work for it. Shawn wanted to keep him on his toes, keep him guessing. Keep surprising him because surprising Lassie had always been one of the best parts of his job, and it wasn't going to stop being fun anytime soon.

"You give all your dates the suspect leer, Lassie?"

Lassiter blinked and sat up, attempting to look like he hadn't been staring at Shawn as he sipped the last of his drink. "No. Of course not."

"Good." Shawn grinned. "Just me, then?"

"That wasn't the suspect leer."

"Oh, it so totally was!" Shawn insisted almost a little too loudly. He saw a few people glance their way and dropped his voice back down to a reasonable level. "That's the look I always get before you shove me into something."

"So? You're not usually a suspect. Just an annoyance." Shawn felt like he should be offended, but there was something gentle, almost fond about the word annoyance.

"I get my own Head Detective stare?"

"Apparently so."

"Gosh, Lassie." He fluttered his eyelashes. "You know how to make a boy feel special." Lassiter flushed slightly which only deepened at Shawn's laugh. Shawn reached out with his foot, touching the inside of Lassiter's leg gently. "That's a good thing. By the way."

"I know that," he mumbled. "Don't talk down to me, Spencer."

"I'm telling you the truth."

"Are you?" Lassie's eyes met his, and Shawn felt as if he couldn't breathe. He knew Lassie saw through him. He always had. It was part of the attraction. But this was different. Shawn half expected a quiet order to follow, a snappy Close your eyes, Shawn. Followed, inevitably, by How many hats are in the room?

"Two." He hadn't realized he said it out loud until Lassie's eyes widened.

"Two what?"

Shawn went on, almost as if the order had been given. "There are two hats in the room. Boy in the far booth is wearing a baseball cap, and the woman with her girlfriend by the window has a sunhat with a flower in it stuffed inside her purse."

Lassiter's eyes narrowed as if trying to piece together the puzzle. Shawn's breath caught in his throat. "Does that matter?"

"No." It never had. That was why Henry picked it. It wasn't supposed to be noticeable or important enough to notice, and now he had to. "I'm sorry. It's a really dumb party trick." He grinned as best he could. "Something I did when this all," he put his fingers to his temple before letting it drop away, "started."

"Tricks aren't going to impress me." Lassie was peering at him, looking almost concerned.

"I know." Shawn sighed. "I'm not trying to. It just slips sometimes."

"Like all of your other ridiculous bids for attention?"

"Yes, Lassie, exactly like those." He hadn't meant to snap and instantly regretted it. Lassie's eyebrows lowered, and Shawn looked away.

"Shawn." His voice was gentle, patient.

"It was something my dad taught me to do." He let the admission hang there. The total admission of his gift, his curse, and his lie, and he waited for Lassiter to ask for – no, demand – an explanation, but there was only silence. Shawn slowly peeked up, guiltily expecting rage or realization, but Lassiter looked normal. A bit perplexed but nothing more.

Slowly, his hand slid across the table until his fingers brushed Shawn's. He looked up, met Shawn's eyes, but said nothing. Lassiter could do silence, could remain quiet without speaking and let the nothingness speak for itself. It wasn't so easy for Shawn. "We should get out of here."

"And?"

"Go for a walk. Or something." Shawn's fingers slid between Lassiter's, lacing their hands together. "Really, Lassie, do I have to think up everything?"

Lassie gave him a half-hearted glare for a moment, eyes narrowed and eyes flicking slightly as if he was trying to think. Slowly, his expression melted into a faint smile that had Shawn's stomach doing flips. "Come on, Spencer."

Lassiter led him out into the street while he kept holding his hand.

"Where are we going?" Shawn asked as they stepped outside. He followed Lassiter's lead down the sidewalk.

"Nowhere," Lassie said, and Shawn almost didn't believe him. But the longer they weaved among the evening crowd, Shawn realized that he had probably been telling the truth. Their pace wasn't hurried, and he didn't seem to have any particular goal in mind. Their connected hands were warm, and Shawn was aware that he might as well be clinging to Lassie for how tight of a grip he had on his hand. He loosened slightly, but Lassiter's eyes immediately turned to him, curious and almost slightly worried. As if Shawn had somehow had enough.

Shawn pressed against him and leaned his head on Lassiter's shoulder, grinning brightly. "Going nowhere, huh? Looks like an awful lot of somewheres around here."

Lassie squeezed his hand. "I don't have a destination in mind."

"Aimless wandering?" Shawn's eyebrows raised. "Careful, Lassie, or I'll start thinking you know how to turn off." It wasn't true. Try as he might, Lassiter was still intently focused on the world around him, unwilling to be caught off guard if he could avoid it.

"And here I thought turning on was more your thing." He said it so casually that Shawn almost didn't catch it. His eyes were turned away from Shawn, his throat moving slightly as he swallowed. He looked almost embarrassed. Embarrassed but pleased.

Shawn leaned up to murmur softly in Lassie's ear, "Oh, it is. I'm pretty good at it, too."

Lassie looked down at him, the corner of his mouth lifting in a smile. "I know."

Shawn was the first one to break the stare, eyes flickering down to Lassie's lips for a moment when his tongue peeked out to wet them. "Y'know. You're not so bad at it yourself."

"No?" Shawn's feet would have stopped if Lassiter hadn't kept them walking. Their murmured conversation was starting to get to him. He thought suddenly about the movie theater and began wishing for a magically safe, quiet place where they could hide for a little while and do something fun. The hotel was too far away, and Shawn somehow doubted that Lassie would be down for taking over a small shop's bathroom for nefarious sexy purposes.

Which was a shame, really. Shawn was going to have to teach Lassie the joys of semi-public sex someday.

"Not at all," Shawn said. "You've got the gift, Lassie."

"The gift?"

"Mhm." Shawn leaned on him, looking up at his face and trusting Lassie to steer him out of harm's way. "The gift of hotness."

"Spencer," he said warningly, but Shawn kept talking.

"Like what happened at the movies. It shouldn't even matter, right, but just the way you reacted. The way you are. It does things to my sensitive little imagination." He could hear the start of another protest, but Shawn ignored it. He realized while he talked that Lassiter was steering them away from the larger crowds. It felt like permission to continue. "Thought about my mouth on your holster. Keeping it there while you do deliciously terrible things to me." Lassiter's pace had begun to slow almost to a halt. "Then you'd think about it at work. Every time you drew your gun, you'd be thinking about me."

"You're a distraction enough." His voice was low, rough. It sent a pleasant chill down Shawn's spine.

Shawn reached to press a kiss to Lassie's jaw. "Not nearly enough. Not until you realize you really can't get me out of your head." He nipped gently at the skin and made a quiet promise, "I'd drive you crazy if you gave me the chance, Lassie. And you'd love it."

Lassiter breathed, "Shawn." He glanced down at him, his pupils widening as he did.

"You left your holster in Santa Barbara," he pouted dramatically.

Lassiter turned Shawn towards him and pressed a warm kiss to his mouth. He mumbled against Shawn's lips, "I'm sure you can come up with something equally filthy."

"Already have." Lassie kissed him again.

"I'm not surprised."

"You will be," Shawn promised, giving him a brief peck on the lips before pulling away. Lassiter gawked for a moment, eyes scanning Shawn's face as he tried to figure him out. Shawn reached up with his free hand, combing his fingers into his hair, pulling him down gently. He leaned forward and touched his forehead against Lassie's. "I don't actually have any devious plans," he admitted softly. "I just really like that look on your face."

"I'm sure we can come up with something." His smile was almost sinister. "We've got all night."

Shawn still wasn't entirely clear how they made it back to the hotel room. They'd started kissing and touching almost immediately after Lassiter's declaration. It was maddeningly slow. Lassie set the pace, refused to give Shawn what he wanted by speeding up. There had been a cab ride, he thought. They hadn't stopped. Lassiter had given the hotel's address and put his mouth behind Shawn's ear, mumbling too quietly to be heard by the driver, occasionally stopping his long monologue of intents with a kiss to the sensitive skin.

Shawn lost it at "I want you every way that's possible and some that aren't."

"Never say never, Lassie," Shawn said, his voice low and breathy. "We won't know what we're capable of until we try. And try. And try again."

"Where's all this dedication when it's time to get work done?" Lassie nibbled at his ear. "Double standards, Shawn."

"When work starts whispering dirty things in my ear, I'll take it more seriously." Lassiter mouthed at his neck, and Shawn started squirming as they pulled up outside of the hotel. His hands left Shawn long enough to pay the cab fare and then they didn't stop until they were up at the room. Shawn fumbled with his keycard, almost dropping it and cursing his clumsy hands. Lassiter's hand continued to venture beneath the edge of his underwear, fingers tracing the curve of Shawn's hip while his other hand pressed beneath Shawn's shirt, fingers groping at his chest.

It took him two tries to steady his hands, and the moment the door opened, they both spilled inside. Lassiter quickly moved to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob as he closed the door. He had barely slid the lock into place when Shawn pressed against him, trying to devour Lassie with needy kisses. Lassie's hands pressed through his hair while Shawn started undoing his belt.

Shawn missed Lassiter's mouth and hit his chin, his neck, following a trail downwards, pressing his wet mouth against Lassiter's shirt. He dropped to his knees and pushed Lassiter's pants aside. He's barely registered Lassie's slightly interested erection before he leaned forward, pressing his mouth over his boxers. He could feel it getting warmer, swelling on his tongue, in his mouth. Lassie's hands were in his hair again, his breath heavy and shuddering out of him while Shawn sucked him in. "Spencer," he whispered. Shawn nipped lightly at the hot flesh before he went back to making obscene moans around Lassie's trapped penis. At the small shock of pain, Lassiter's hands tightened in Shawn's hair as his hips thrust forward. Shawn's hands tried to move around his mouth, eager to free Lassiter of his barrier of clothing as quickly as possible.

Lassiter started rocking his hips, hissing quietly at the drag of cloth over his sensitive skin. Shawn tried to be more careful as he freed him, but his eagerness worked against him. He had just managed to get a lick over the bare head, the faintest bitter taste of Lassie on his tongue before the hands in his hair tugged him away, just out of reach.

Shawn arched towards Lassie's erection, trying to press his mouth and tongue towards him. "Ask for it," Lassiter ordered, his voice a low growl. "Ask nicely, Shawn."

Shawn peered up at him, trying to look as innocent as he could manage. "Carlton," he dragged his tongue across Lassie's name like it was the most obscene, sexy word he could come up with, "will you let me blow you?" He strained against Lassiter's grip, gaining enough ground to get a good swipe over the head, pressing his tongue against him. His erection twitched against him, and Shawn moaned before Lassie yanked him back, forcing his head up.

"No," he said in a steely voice.

Shawn felt suddenly lost. "But I asked nicely, Lassie."

"You did, yes."

"Then why?"

Lassie rocked his hips forward, keeping just out of reach. He smiled wickedly. "Because life's not fair." He pushed him back and knelt quickly, attaching his mouth to Shawn's throat while his hands pushed Shawn's shirt up, exposing his skin. "I was thinking we'd try something different." He rubbed his thumb on one of Shawn's nipples, letting his fingernail catch on the skin. He grinned at the groan as Shawn wiggled uncomfortably in his tightening jeans. "I'm guessing you brought certain items in your luggage."

Oh. Shawn felt a bolt of heat race through his body. He nodded and whimpered. "If you want."

"I want. I want so bad, Lassie."

In a more serious tone, Lassiter added, "You'll have to help me. I don't want to hurt you." Shawn nodded enthusiastically. "We take things slow. Carefully."

"Follow procedure?" Shawn whined softly when Lassie pulled his mouth away from his neck.

"If you can for once."

"I can. I'll be so good." Shawn promised just before Lassiter kissed him harshly, pressing him back until Shawn was spread out on the floor. Lassie leaned over him, his bare erection still begging for Shawn's attention while Lassie's tongue tangled with his. Shawn reached out for it, getting his fingers just around it for a light, teasing stroke before Lassiter pushed them apart.

"Bedroom. Get what we need."

"Yes sir, Lassie, sir." Shawn whispered. Lassie kissed him again before pulling away and helping him to his feet. Shawn had barely managed to fish the lube and condoms out of his luggage before arms wrapped around him, a completely naked Lassie pressed against his back. One of his hands slid around to Shawn's front, diving into his jeans. The first tentative brush of fingers had him leaning against Lassie, whining in the back of his throat until he could feel a toothy smile against his neck. Lassiter's hand ran deeper, his palm pressing against Shawn's shaft. His fingers toyed with the head, slicking with a small bead of precome. Shawn whimpered and thrust forward, craving more stimulation that he knew he wasn't going to get just yet.

Lassiter's hand worked itself free and set to ridding Shawn of his clothes. He took his time, his hands teasing over the exposed skin as he pushed the clothes away. Shawn clutched onto the condoms and lube like they were his lifeline, letting Lassie explore to his heart's content until he was finally bare.

His hand reached down one final time, flicking an airy touch across the tip of Shawn's penis, a rumbly chuckle sounding over his shoulder at the slight twitch of his erection. "Bed," he ordered gently before stepping away.

Shawn stumbled over for a seat and looked just in time to see Lassie licking the taste of Shawn off his fingers. "Told you you'd get used to it."

"Getting there." Lassie climbed up onto the bed, and Shawn took the chance to let go of the items in his hands. He reached up to touch Lassiter, moving his hands up his thighs to his hips and up his chest until Shawn had his shoulders. He pulled Lassie down on top of him, moaning at the feel of the body suddenly pressed against his. He licked and bit at Lassie's mouth, his hands running down Lassie's back. The dig of his nails had Lassie making a desperate noise into Shawn's kiss.

"Tell me what I need to do."

Shawn tossed the lube at him, surprised by Lassie's trained reflexes that were still in their prime despite how turned on and distracted he was. "Open me up. Or you. Whichever way you want."

Lassiter blinked at him, and Shawn realized that he hadn't really considered that option. "It'll be quicker if you do me. You don't have to try the other. Take time, think it over later. But right now, come on." He thrust up against Lassiter, causing them both to groan at the friction.

"Is there anything different from yesterday?"

"Yeah." Shawn nodded eagerly. "Don't make me come. I'll let you know when I'm ready." Lassie looked nervous, and Shawn smiled at him as what he hoped was more reassuring than predatory. "I trust you to take care of me, Lassie. Trust me back."

Lassie's expression shifted towards determined and he popped the lid open on the tube of lubricant. Shawn leaned back against the blankets and spread his legs wider to give Lassiter easier access. He felt a wet finger circling his hole, teasing him gently until Shawn let the tenseness flow out of his system. The intrusion was easier than it had been the last two times, and a second finger joined the first after just a moment.

Lassie stretched him in that same meticulous manner he did everything that he wanted to do right. He was careful, cautious, infuriatingly and wonderfully slow as his fingers slowly fucked Shawn open. A third one joined the slow preparation until Shawn pushed back on them. He circled his hips, grinding on them. The unspoken command was instantly heeded.

Shawn was definitely going to have a thing for Lassiter's hands before too long. Because those fingers could reach and weren't shy about exploring inside of him. By the time Lassie's fingers crooked to gently brush his prostate, Shawn was dying to be touched. The next touch was more deliberate, a soft rub that was so good and not nearly enough.

He found Lassie's name in his mouth again, spilling over without his permission. It would have been easy – and enjoyable, too – to lie back and let Lassiter bring him to the edge again. He knew how to do it, and last night's practice had certainly taught him some valuable pointers given how quickly Shawn was starting to not care about the second act. Some part of him held onto it, and he babbled, "Carlton. Carlton, stop. You can stop."

Lassie's hand stilled immediately, and his eyes were drawn up to Shawn, carefully searching to make sure he was okay. "I'm good," he assured gently, reaching down to brush his hand along Lassie's arm. "We're good."

"You're sure?" Shawn nodded and breathed deeply as the fingers slipped out of him. He sat up and watched Lassie roll the condom on, but Shawn snatched the lubricant away before Lassie could get to it.

"Let me." Lassie nodded in agreement, watching Shawn with hunger in his eyes. He squirted a generous amount into his hand and stroked Lassiter's erection, covering it. Lassiter's hips began to pump excitedly towards him, and Shawn's fist tightened into a better grip. Lassie thrust a few more times before he closed his eyes and pulled himself back. "God, Lassie. You have any idea what you're doing to me?"

"I think so." He moved tentatively closer to Shawn and paused, seeking permission. He traced a finger up the underside of Shawn's erection, earning him a breathy moan. "If this is for me."

"All for you," Shawn answered instantly. He spread his legs just a little bit more. Lassiter looked down intently, lining up and taking deep breaths as if he were performing some elaborate, intricate work that required his full attention. He reached down to cup Shawn's ass, dragging him closer. "Wait!" Shawn said suddenly. He reached above his head, grabbing a pillow and situating it below his hips. "It'll help. Sorry about that. Keep doing what you're doing."

Lassie swallowed nervously and nodded, returning his focus to where he was pressing for entry. Shawn felt his hesitation and reached up again, gently brushing his hand up Lassie's chest, "If I don't like it, I'll tell you." Lassie's eyes closed, and Shawn felt him draw slightly back. "Lassie?"

"I want to. But what if..." He licked his lips and swallowed nervously again.

"Hey." Shawn said gently. "I can get off on a ton of other things if this doesn't work. It's not the end of the world." He smirked. "But I've never known you to back down from a challenge."

Lassie nodded with a firm smile. "Ready?" He shifted his hips forward again, pressing against Shawn.

"So, so ready." At the first breach, Shawn threw his head back, his hands grasping at the blankets. He closed his eyes, a quiet groan shuddering out of him at the flex and burn of Lassie entering him. "Slow," he reminded quietly. He breathed deeply, cracking his eyes open to find Lassie closed. His hands were steady on Shawn's hips, the harsh dig of his fingers the only indication of how this was getting to him. He kept inching in. Shawn quietly said, "Lassie?"

Lassiter's eyes blinked carefully open, his pupils large as he focused on Shawn. He made an unintelligible questioning noise. "C'mere," Shawn held out his hand. Lassie leaned closer to him, his hands skating up Shawn's body. Shawn's fingers buried in Lassie's hair, dragging him closer. He kept pressing into Spencer, the sudden movement making him shift forward faster than he wanted. Shawn cried out softly, pressing his open mouth against Lassiter's who bit his own deep groan back with gritted teeth.

"Lassie," Shawn breathed softly. "Lassie. Carlton."

"God," he dropped his head to Shawn's shoulder, his hands bracing him on the bed.

"Close enough." Lassiter giggled, tittered quietly against Shawn's skin. Shawn tilted his head towards him, pressing his mouth against Lassie's temple, hands still brushing through his dark hair. The first movement was almost too small to be noticed, Lassie's hips jerking forward slightly, seeking out friction and Shawn's heat. Shawn gasped, his grip tightening on Lassiter's hair. He rocked his hips, asking silently for more.

Lassie obliged, pulling his hips slightly away before rolling them forward again. Shawn pressed his body up, mouthing at Lassie's ear. "Want you. Want so much. Want."

"Need," Lassie whispered quietly into his skin. It burned deep into Shawn, heat spreading quickly through him, getting hotter every time Lassiter thrust into him.

"Need," Shawn agreed breathlessly, moving his body with Lassie's. He buried his head against Lassiter's neck when he brushed his prostate, feeling sparks of pleasure jolting through his body. He moaned desperately, feeling himself getting harder. His erection brushed Lassie's stomach after a harder thrust, and Shawn's hands flew to his back. His fingers clutched, nails digging in. Lassie groaned, his tongue slipping against Shawn's neck.

Shawn felt one of Lassie's hands running down his side. Shawn begged softly, "Touch me, Lassie, please."

"Greedy, Shawn," Lassie said softly. Shawn felt a kiss press beneath his ear. Lassiter's teeth dug into his shoulder as his hand closed around Shawn's erection. Shawn's eyes snapped closed, his fingernails digging harder into Lassie's back. A rough moan tore out of his throat as Lassie buried himself deeply inside of Shawn.

They stilled for a moment, Lassie licking gently at the reddening teeth marks. "Sorry."

"Don't be," Shawn said with a weak laugh. "I wanna feel this all over tomorrow."

"Shawn," Lassiter whispered faintly.

Shawn murmured in his ear, "I wanna feel you all over me. Until I can't think of anything else." He nuzzled against his temple, whispering, "Drive me crazy, Carlton."

"Fuck," he breathed, reaching for the lubricant. He slicked his hand and put it back around Shawn. Shawn nipped lightly at his skin, grinning as he thrust up into Lassiter's hand.

"That too," He gave a breathy giggle at Lassiter's ensuing growl before his hips snapped up and in, driving into Shawn. Shawn laughed, moaned, thrust, kissed, nibbled, licked, groped, scratched, and kept doing his best to give Lassie more. To drive Lassie harder towards his climax the way he was pushing Shawn quickly towards his with his tight, slick fist and his erection pumping into him without mercy and his teeth that kept making new marks alongside the others. And his own rough, quiet, low laughs and moans that had Shawn's head spinning and heart hammering a frantic pace in his chest.

Shawn cried out pathetically when Lassie slowed his pace and stilled his hand, using the one still braced on the bed to push himself up. Shawn whimpered and writhed in the agony of riding close to the edge. He whined softly, "Lassie..." Lassiter shifted his weight so he was balanced on his legs, using his now free hand to brush fondly through Shawn's hair.

"I wanted to see," he explained softly, sounding almost lost as he continued his slow pace. "Wanted to just see you like this. Fuck, Shawn, do you know how..." He closed his eyes and forced himself to stop and breathe. His eyes fluttered slowly open again, looking Shawn over hungrily. "How fucking gorgeous you are?"

Shawn flushed at the praise, forcing himself not to whimper as he asked, "Do you? God, Lassie, you. Right now." He laughed gently, his heavy breathing making it shudder out of him. "Wanna keep you."

In an instant, Lassie was back on top of him, his mouth connecting with Shawn's for hungry kisses while he began to speed his pace up again, speeding them both towards the edge. "Need to keep you," he corrected against Shawn's mouth as he set their final, brutal pace.

Shawn started saying Lassie's name, every variation he had ever thought of flashing through his head, the list coming undone as he did until every thought and word was "Carlton" or "Lassie". They screamed at him as he moaned them into Lassie's mouth. He gave in to the fireworks exploding in his head, sparking and flashing pleasure through every part of his body as he came.

By the time he was capable of rational thought again, Lassie had pulled out of Shawn and was leaning over him, watching him with something that almost looked like worry. Shawn attempted a cheeky grin – it came out lazy, contented. "Well. Was it good for you?"

"Are you all right?"

"Mmm," Shawn considered. "I can't remember my name or what year it is. So yeah, I'm doing great." He laughed at the suddenly serious expression on Lassie's face. "Did you come?"

"A minute or two before you did."

"Wow," Shawn said, tracing his fingers through the come that had streaked on him. "I was losing my mind a minute or two before I actually came." Lassiter caught his hand with the one not holding the condom and brought it up to his mouth, licking his fingers. Shawn purred, "Carlton Lassiter: Head Detective, sex god."

Lassie chuckled and bit down lightly on his fingers. "You're a mess."

"I'm your mess." Shawn shot back lazily, stretching out contentedly. "Means you've got to clean me up."

"Physically, okay." He leaned over and kissed Shawn gently, leaving the bitter, salty taste in his mouth. "Metaphorically? That'll take a while."

"Again," Shawn said, leaning up to kiss him again before he could escape. "I've never seen you back down from a challenge."

Lassie laughed gently and pushed himself up off of Shawn. "Shower, Shawn."

"You too," Shawn insisted as he slowly inched towards the side of the bed.

"Oh," Lassie smiled deviously. "I know. I've got a mess to clean up." Shawn wobbled as he stood, his muscles aching in protest of their recent stress. Lassie caught him and steadied him before he could fall.

 

"Shawn."

"Mmmph."

"Shawn," Lassie repeated quietly, his hand running gently up Shawn's back. "Wake up."

He buried his head against the warm body that he was wrapped around. Lassie's chest hair tickled warmly at his face. He mumbled into it, "'m 'wake."

"Our flight's in three hours."

"Good. Can sleep." He tightened his arms around Lassie and listened to his breathing, letting the rise and fall lull him.

Lassie laughed warmly, "Shawn. You need to wake up."

Shawn finally opened his eyes and leaned up, resting his chin on Lassie's chest while he peered up at him. "Someone kept me up late."

"Round two was your idea," Lassie reminded him gently.

"Oh." Shawn smiled sleepily. "Right." He yawned and stretched out, pressing more of himself against Lassie. His aches were almost unpleasant, edging towards uncomfortable. "'s your job to say no to my bad ideas."

"Wasn't a bad idea."

Shawn laughed quietly. "Can I get that in writing? Gonna frame it and hang it up in my living room. Or in the office."

"I'm sure Guster will appreciate that."

"Think Gus'll just be happy I'm not giving him details."

"Ah."

"If I don't give him details." Shawn amended, laying his head back down on Lassie's chest.

"Don't," he said sternly, but Shawn had closed his eyes and was attempting to drift off again. Lassie's hand slid down his back, curving over his ass cheek. He patted it gently, but the movement made Shawn groan. Round two had been a great, fantastic, awesome idea, but it had left him with some definite soreness. "Up," Lassie ordered gently.

"Nuh."

"Spencer," he growled, making Shawn laugh again.

"Don't think that's gonna work as well anymore." He peered up from his place on Lassie's chest. "Was more convincing before you turned me into a chew toy." He had gotten a good look at the large bruise on his shoulder last night – red and covered in shallow marks from Lassie's teeth.

"You squeaked," Lassie said, lightly defensive. He snapped his teeth together in a quiet click before he smiled. Shawn chuckled, rubbing his hand up and down Lassie's side. Shawn sighed happily, letting his hand wander south. "Shawn," he said warningly.

"Just touching."

"Can wait until we're home."

"In eight hours?" Shawn pouted pathetically. "Oh. Unless we have some fun on the plane?" Lassie rolled his eyes and leaned back. "You're the only person who can sulk about maybe getting off." He nipped at Lassie's chest as he pulled his hand away.

"A little anticipation won't kill you."

"It might," Shawn said with another yawn. "Do you want me to be horny for the entire flight home?"

Lassie raised an eyebrow, his hand coming forward to rest in the small of Shawn's back. "Yes." Shawn buried his head against Lassie's chest again with a quiet groan.

"You're heartless, Lassie. Absolutely heartless."

"A little." Lassie spread his hand out on Shawn's back, fingers splayed to touch as much of him as possible. "I'll make it up to you." Shawn peeked up at him, grinning at the promise, but Lassie's expression remained serious. "But only if you get up."

Little bribes of touches and kisses and promises for what they'd do when they got home got them dressed and packed and to the airport. Before they got on the plane, Shawn stole a kiss as if it might be their last. "Let's stay," he suggested, wanting to keep his feet here in Vancouver, wanting to keep them exactly how they were.

Lassie slid his hand against Shawn's, curling his fingers around Shawn's. He kissed Shawn gently for a long moment. He leaned his forehead against Shawn's and offered, "Let's go home."

Shawn gave a dramatic, heaving sigh. "All right, Lassie." He leaned back and beamed. "I get the window seat, right?"

Lassie chuckled. "Figured you would." Shawn tugged at their joined hands as he bounced towards the loading line. Lassie walked beside him, smiling as Shawn babbled excitedly along.