A.N. - Dear Readers, Reviewers, and Followers -

This is the last chapter.

My god, this story was only supposed to be ten chapters. Ten! Then it took on a life of its' own and I have never felt so rewarded from writing any other story in my life! Thank you, SO MUCH, to ALL of my amazing and wonderful reviewers! This has been a labor of love and has stretched me in so many ways.

Thank you, again, for all of your kind words and support! I would do a shout out, but there are too many people to name for me to do so, so just another huge THANK YOU for all of your reviews.

This pairing is near and dear to my heart and I am glad that you were able to enjoy the journey with me.

Lots of love,
NephilimEQ


Chapter 45

It took them a little over four months to plan the wedding, and when the day finally came…well. Yeah. Stuff happened.

Of course the day of the wedding was a time-management nightmare. And, of course, one of the things that had gone wrong somehow had to do with Spencer forgetting to call the band that was supposed to be there in the first place. Instead, Gus was going to be filling in on stage with the two other members of his trio, doing covers of popular songs. Yay.

Also, the seating had gotten so screwed up, they'd had to do away with the name cards. Guests were just going to have to seat themselves, like adults should be able to do anyway, Carlton thought to himself. Shawn was the one who'd insisted on the name cards in the first place.

And he'd just gotten more bad news.

"Whaddaya mean the chef isn't here?!" Carlton fumed. "He told us he'd be here at six-thirty! It's nearly seven!"

Juliet shrugged and said, "I just got a phone call from the caterer saying something about a late birthday party, and that he'd be here as soon as he could. The reception's not until eight, Carlton. There's plenty of time."

"Time?! Time is the one thing I don't—where are you going with those flowers?"

The florist paused in his rush.

"I was told that they wanted them on the tables…"

The head detective groaned, and then snapped, "No. They go along the walls. We have the pineapples on the tables! Along with the candles and the gold, not yellow, napkins." He paused and saw someone else passing by (also in a rush) carrying a large load of plain white string lights. "Where're you taking those?"

The girl, who looked no more than eighteen, glanced over at the florist and his predicament and then gave the older man a hopeful smile and guessed, "Uh…not to the reception area?"

He nodded.

"Exactly. It's the pineapple lights. The ones on the back of the truck."

She nodded and scampered off.

Juliet gave him a look, arching an eyebrow and crossing her arms over her pale green silk dress that showed a generous amount of shoulder.

"Okay, don't you think you're being a little harsh, Carlton?"

"No," he curtly replied, pivoting on his heel and beginning to pace. She rolled her eyes at that and walked over to him and gently said, "Everything will be fine if you just stop worrying about the details that aren't going to matter in the long run." He stopped pacing and looked back at her.

Juliet smiled.

She stepped towards him and adjusted his tie as she gently reminded him, "You're getting married today, Carlton. Enjoy it."

His tension eased…and then McNabb showed up.

Twenty-five minutes later, they started the ceremony. It went off without a hitch.

Well, without a hitch might be exaggerating it a bit, but who cared. Sure, Gus was already crying in the first row, even though no one else was, and Carlton had to change into a black suit jacket instead of his white one that he'd wanted to wear because someone (McNabb) had spilled champagne all over it, and Spencer senior had nearly knocked over Carlton's mother while showing her to her seat…but yeah. Other than that, things were going well. Too well.

They now stood up at the front, and Lassiter swallowed, nervous, as Shawn began his vows. If anything was going to go embarrassingly wrong, it would be this.

"Lassi," Shawn began, holding his fiancé's hands, while the head detective tried not to roll his eyes, "If I had a nickel for every time I thought about you, people would be like, 'What are you doing with all those nickels? That's too many nickels.' And they would be wrong. I mean, sometimes you're a hot mess. Emphasis on the hot part. And the mess," he added. "Not gonna lie, you're kinda crazy sometimes, but I sort of love it anyway. Whenever you threaten to shoot me, it makes me smile because I know you care enough to waste a bullet on me."

He paused, and Carlton bit his lip, wondering if the entire thing was going to be like this. From the corner of his eye, he saw Juliet suppressing a laugh and he couldn't help but silently roll his eyes as Shawn started again.

"Sometimes when someone is talking, I almost immediately lose interest," Spencer confessed. "That rarely happens with you, though. You're always the exception to my rules."

"What rules?" Lassiter couldn't help but prod, and soon-to-be husband grinned and noted, "See? You get me, Lassi."

He took a deep breath and carefully said, "I…I know I'm weird, but sometimes it makes you laugh, and that just makes me super happy." He squeezed his hands. "I don't mind being alone, but I'd rather be with you, and for me that's saying a lot!" Carlton nodded, and Shawn continued. "I mean, when I'm with you, there's no such thing as a bad day. Okay, that's not true," the fake psychic amended. "I still have sucky days. Every time I'm away from you, my heart is like, 'Well, this sucks.' But, when you're around, the days suck a lot less. Talking to you is my favorite part of the day. Aside from when I'm sleeping. And when I'm eating. Talking to you is my third favorite part of the day," he finished, and Carlton was about ready to slap his hand over Shawn's mouth, force the minister to marry them, and drag him to the reception. He wasn't sure how much more of this he could take.

But he didn't. Instead, he let Shawn finish.

"To put it into words you can understand, I pretty much only feel comfortable when I'm around you. You're like the sweatpants of my life." The older man was certain he had a hole in his tongue at this point from biting down so hard. "I can't get you out of my head, which is now becoming a problem because I have other things I need to be thinking about! I mean, I can't imagine my life without you. And I have a very active imagination, so I should totally be able to do it! But I can't."

At this point, Carlton felt something inside of him warm to Shawn's words. They were ridiculous, but they were honest and they were his, and Carlton wouldn't have it any other way.

He finally finished with, "To be honest, the only thing I'm really afraid of is annoying you to the point where you don't want to talk to me anymore. And I really hope that never happens."

God, now they were both tearing up, but Carlton kept his tears from falling, as did Shawn.

Gus sniffled loudly.

The minister turned to Lassiter, motioning for him to speak. He nodded, swallowed, and started.

"Spencer…Shawn," he corrected himself. "I couldn't stand you the first time I met you." The younger man actually smiled broadly at that, as if proud of himself, and several people in the audience laughed. "You were a constant thorn in my side and I knew that I wouldn't be getting rid of you anytime soon." He paused and licked his lips. "But now, I'm glad that I didn't get rid of you. Despite your faults, which are many," he added, to more laughter and a shy shrug from Shawn, "You've made a difference in my life."

He grasped Spencer's fingers firmly in his own and gave him a soft look and said sincerely, "Thank you. Thank you for showing me that people aren't just case numbers, and that love can happen more than once."

At this point, he could plainly see several people openly crying, Juliet wiping at her eyes with black streaked tissues, and the detective had to swallow back his own tears that threatened to surface.

No. He would not cry.

"I'm…I'm not exactly good with words. So, I'll just say this: *'Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.'"

He paused, and then stuttered, "The…the words aren't mine. But they're the truth. Loving you has been madness. But…I hope that it always stays that way. A little bit crazy, but together. No matter what."

Shawn's eyes glistened and a single tear escaped. He pulled a hand back to reach up and quickly brush it away and replied, "Oh, look, I'm sweating from my eyes, how 'bout that," and a susurrus of laughter spread through the wedding party, breaking the tension, and Lassiter smiled and nodded, grasping Shawn's hand once more.

He looked at the minister.

Everything after that, was a blur. They each repeated the words, exchanged rings, kissed, and then the next thing Carlton knew, they were at the wedding reception, which was outside with small pineapple lights strung up everywhere, with pineapples on each of the tables. Spencer had insisted, and Carlton didn't really care, so pineapples decorated practically everything, but tastefully. The night had just fallen, giving everything a pale gold glow, just that side of reality.

What brought him out of his reverie, however, was the sound of Gus at the microphone.

"Hello, everyone. For the first dance of the two grooms, we will not be singing. This was chosen by the one and only Shawn Spencer, now Lassiter. Here's to you two."

Carlton groaned as Guster turned to the sound system and pressed play, fully expecting the Chicken Dance song or some atrocious eighties song to come out of the speakers…and felt slightly confused as he heard the opening chords of the song. It sounded instrumental, almost like soft rock. What was this?

The fake psychic gave him a sly look as he grabbed his hand and lead him to the floor.

Was it a trick?

He put one hand around Shawn's waist, while his other one grabbed his hand…and then his breath caught in his throat as he heard the words.

I'm a ne'er do well, runnin' off black gold, it's high time I pulled over and walked around a while. I've seen the porcelain shell, your exoskeleton, and I feel like we walk well together. Because in the end, we are friends and lovers…**

Very gently, feeling slightly overwhelmed, he moved so that Shawn's hand was on his waist, and his left hand cupped the younger man's right shoulder. He lost himself to the song and that was when it hit him. They were married.

It was real.

It had happened.

They were married.

And he was the happiest he'd ever been.

"Shawn," he whispered into his ear.

"Yeah?" his new husband whispered back, his lips brushing against his neck.

His voice faltered slightly, and then he managed to murmur, "Why'd you pick me?"

Shawn's fingers gently squeezed his waist and he replied, "There were a lot of reasons, Lassi…like, sometimes I get in a mood where I'm just like, 'everything here bugs me'. And when that happens, you're the only one I want to be around. That's one reason. Another, is that you never put up with my crap."

"True. Anything else?"

Spencer let out a soft sound that wasn't quite a laugh.

"Well…you make me the best version of myself."

Carlton held him a bit tighter at that point, pulling him closer, and Shawn leaned into it, both of them enjoying the closeness. They were quiet for a long time, until…

"So…why'd you pick me?"

The head detective rolled his eyes and replied, "No idea," and the psychic laughed and pulled back enough so that Carlton could see that his green eyes were shining. Yeah, he still wasn't entirely sure why. The best and the worst all in one spastic, pineapple scented package.

He leaned back in and whispered in his ear, "When do you want to leave?" Carlton could feel him grin against his jaw, and Shawn replied, "After we drunkenly inhale some frosting, I think."

Carlton snorted and said, "It's called cutting the cake, Shawn," and, just as he'd hoped, the younger man replied, "I've heard it both ways," and he smiled. Yeah. He'd picked the right person to spend the rest of his life with.

Shawn Lassiter.

It had a nice ring to it.


THE END

*Quote by Louis de Beneires

** "Friends and Lovers" by Incubus (seriously, an astonishingly perfect song for these two!)