Lassiter's Inferno

Summary: Lassiter and Shawn, adrift in a vast ocean. After a narrow escape from a burning fishing trawler, a storm blows Det. Lassiter and a critically-injured psychic out to sea, where they can only hope for rescue. Time is running out quickly—especially for Shawn.

Disclaimer: Still don't own Pysch.

"Here, drink this."

Shawn turned his head weakly, eyes squinted nearly shut against the harsh sunlight beating down on them. "No," he whispered, voice nothing but a hoarse puff of air escaping cracked lips.

The life raft bobbed sickeningly under them.

"Spencer," Lassiter growled, though the effect was dampened by his own voice breaking. He pushed the neck of the half-empty water bottle against Shawn's lips insistently.

"You," Shawn gasped, averting his face again. "You…you…"

"Damn it, Spencer, do you want to die?!" Lassiter sat back on his haunches, straightening his swollen, shrapnel-ridden leg to take the pressure off of it, and capped the bottle without taking a sip for himself.

Shawn shivered in the heat, curling the fingers on his good hand. He didn't answer, pinched expression relaxing a modicum as Lassiter moved away.

Lassiter clenched his teeth, casting his piercing gaze out across the vast expense of the Pacific Ocean. Still no sign of land or vessels.

They had been stranded for two days with one bottle of water between them. The oars, emergency radio, and first aid kit had been lost when the storm capsized the raft; it was sheer luck that Lassiter had managed to right it, get a semi-conscious Shawn back into the raft, and snag the bottle before it disappeared with the rest of their supplies.

Lassiter couldn't be sure how far out they were, or whether the coast guard had organized an S&R. If the others on the destroyed trawler had been discovered dead, the likelihood was that they were searching for Lassiter's and Shawn's remains around the wreckage.

Breathing heavily through his nose, Lassiter scrubbed a hand down his sunburnt face. He scooched closer to Shawn and gently picked up his arm. The other man didn't react—not a good sign, considering how bad off he was.

Acrid smoke stung his eyes and lungs, blinding and suffocating him as he stumbled towards the door of the engine room. Everything was on fire. The room tilted dangerously.

"It burns! It burns!"

He paused, just shy of escape.

"Ahhhhh GOD! It burns! Uh-uh-uhhh!"

He moved towards the agonized voice.

Choked sobs—a faltering, desperate grasp at Lassiter's hip. "Please!"

Lassiter shook his head sharply, and the memory faded. His racing heart slowed incrementally, and he realized he was still holding the grotesquely-mangled arm. The detective gently lifted a corner of bandages, which had once been Lassiter's jacket. He hadn't been able to cover all of the wounds, forcing him to leave some open to bake in the elements. Shawn's battered body was deeply afflicted; only his head, one arm, and parts of his legs had escaped the explosion and ensuing inferno relatively unscathed.

There was nothing Lassiter could do for the pus-filled blisters. There was nothing he could for any of it, really—not the leathery-looking 3rd and 4th degree burns, not the broken bones under the skin, not the cuts and scrapes that had occurred when Lassiter had torn Shawn free from the wreckage and manhandled him to the life raft. The storm had borne them away from the trawler, still slowly imploding and sinking into the dark, churning waters, taking all the other occupants with it. The water had washed away the clinging smoke, cooled and soothed both their skins.

For while, at least, before the rain began to sap away their body warmth. Lassiter had held the sobbing and writhing Shawn close to him, under pretense of conserving and sharing heat as well as to prevent the other man from slipping overboard as the sea buffeted them.

Lassiter gently laid the arm down again, deeply perturbed at Shawn's stillness. Then he moved to the other end of the raft, only a few steps away, and knelt down. Bracing one arm against the side, he quickly calculated which way was east, and began paddling the raft with his hand. It probably wasn't doing any good. It only tired him out, weakened him. His arms were still rubbery from his last efforts.

He didn't give up until his body was burning beyond endurance. Lassiter flopped down, craning his neck to glance at his civilian charge. Shawn was still unmoving. Lassiter would rest for a few minutes, then try to wake him and give him some water.

He needed it, damn him. Stupid, selfish bastard.

"They're leaving," Lassiter hissed anxiously. "Where's the goddamned Coast Guard when you need them?"

Shawn peered around the freight cargo behind which they were hiding. "A cruise liner was taking on water earlier. Maybe they're a little preoccupied, Lassie."

"That's what lifeboats are for," Lassiter said dismissively. "This is serious!"

"It's not like they killed anyone," Shawn said. "They're just diamond smugglers."

"Soon they'll be cocaine smugglers!"

"Slippery slope is a fallacy," was the dry reply.

Lassiter pounded his fist against his thigh as he watched the criminals load the last of their crates. "That's it," he said decisively. "Spencer, stay here."

"Are you crazy?" Shawn hissed, grabbing him. "Dude, even I know we can't catch them, not without backup."

Lassiter shrugged him off and crouched low, stealthily hurrying towards the trawler.

Water slapped against his cheek. Sputtering in surprise, Lassiter jolted awake, looking around. He'd been asleep for a few hours at least, judging by the sun's position. The detective lifted his head, digging a finger into his salt-encrusted, stinging eyes. His leg was so swollen it would not bend at the knee. Not good.

A quick look around revealed that their position in approximately the middle of nowhere had not changed.

Lassiter dragged himself over to Shawn to check on him. Grunting and groaning sorely, he managed to push himself into a sitting position. To his surprise, Shawn turned slightly towards him, puffy eyes slivering open.

"Spen—" His voice gave out instantly, and Lassiter suddenly realized just how parched he was. Shawn, who'd not had a drink for longer than him, was definitely in a much worse state. Lassiter uncapped the water bottle and held up against Shawn's lips. "Drink it," he mouthed, though he wasn't sure how aware the younger man was.

Shawn let his jaw fall open just enough to admit a thin trickle, and then slowly swallowed. Lassiter took advantage of the opportunity and fed him a few more sips. He pushed aside the niggling voice that told him that Shawn wouldn't make it, not for much longer, that Lassiter needed to conserve the water for himself. Instead, he wet his mouth and put the bottle out of sight, pointedly refusing to check how much was left.

Another desperate scan of the blue horizon.

Time was running out.

"Time's running out," Shawn whispered into Lassiter's ear, startling him.

The detective whipped around, glaring. "I thought I told you to stay."

"You can't go in without backup," Shawn shrugged. "Everyone needs a partner. Jules isn't here, and neither is Gus! We gotta stick together, cos what are we?"

"We are not anything. You are a consultant, a guy who tipped us off to the smugglers' location. I am the arresting officer. I don't need you anymore."

"Sorry, the correct answer was 'home team.' Rocky V."

Lassiter shot him a look that clearly said not to test him. Shawn stared back unflinchingly.

The sound of the trawler motoring to life distracted them.

"Time's up," Shawn said.

"Breathe, Spencer," Lassiter said, forcing his voice out of his raw throat. "Ride it out. Ride it out."

Shawn wheezed horribly, eyes squeezed shut and good hand clutching at his chest, as though something were pressing down on him. Lassiter, in an attempt to ground or comfort him (in his dying throes?), stroked his crusty hair back from his reddened forehead.

"Relax," he continued, straining his nearly nonexistent voice to be heard. "Try to relax, Spencer. You'll be okay. Just breathe. Ride it out."

After what seemed like forever, but was probably only a few minutes at the most, Shawn's spasm ended, and he lay trembling and gasping with Lassiter leaning over him to block out the last of the sun's rays. Lassiter felt the world weighing him down.

He raised his head, feeling muscle and tendon stretching painfully, and looked solemnly at the setting sun. It was a beautiful view. Lassiter was seized with the sudden desire that Shawn see it, too.

Repositioning was slow and painful. He nearly aborted his actions, seeing that Shawn was beginning to lose consciousness again, but the determination returned in full force. Lassiter propped the dying man up against him, gently turning his face towards the purpling sky.

"I used to watch the sunset with my sister," Lassiter whispered in Shawn's ear, hoping he could hear.

Shawn did hear it, and responded haltingly, catching his breath between words. Lassiter strained to hear it: "…t' watch…wit' mum…'n' da…Pretty…"

"Yeah…It is."

When the sun had set completely, Lassiter turned his gaze upwards towards the twinkling stars. It was a view that couldn't be found in the city. Amazing how everything could be so very wrong, but the world kept turning.

His eyes slipped closed.

"My psychic senses are tingling. Something's wrong."

"Shut up, Spencer." Lassiter ducked further behind a stack of crates, pushing down on Shawn's head to keep him from popping up and giving away their location. He looked back at the shrinking harbor.

He could hear the smugglers nearby, discussing some kind of plan. Lassiter was too far to make out the words. He needed to move closer whilst maintaining the element of surprise. Before he could move, Shawn grasped his sleeve.

When Lassiter turned to glare, Shawn gestured towards the doorway nearby. Lassiter supposed it to be the engine room entrance, though the door was missing. They could disable the engine somehow, stalling the trawler and giving the Coast Guard more time to arrive and help apprehend the criminals.

He nodded shortly and peeked out from the hiding place. The group had edged closer to the bow of the ship, their backs to the stowaways.

Lassiter motioned for Shawn to stay hidden, signaled that he would go and deal with the engine. He was not surprised when he heard the soft patter of Shawn's sneakers following close behind him. There was no time to argue it, though, so Lassiter let it go and ducked into the room, shooting a furtive glance over his shoulder. He grasped the cotton fleece of Shawn's jacket as he passed the threshold and dragged him close enough to whisper: "Keep watch, Spencer."

Shawn grimaced, but took Lassiter's place at the door and peered around the edge of it.

The head detective made his way towards the boiler in the hopes of somehow safely dismantling or crippling it. As long as the trawler was dead in the water, the Coast Guard would have an easier time of finding them. Lassiter was sure he could take out the suspects hand-to-hand, as long as they came one-by-one to investigate the boiler…

Now that he thought about it, Lassiter stepped back, fuming at himself, that was far too dangerous. Especially considering a civilian had followed him aboard.

He turned his glare on Shawn, who was already staring at him curiously.

A shadow moved behind him.

Inwardly cursing, Lassiter's hand grasped towards his holster—but too late. Shawn stiffened at the cold, hard barrel of the AR – 15 assault rifle at his back, and he automatically raised his hands in surrender. Catching the dangerous glare of the assailant over Shawn's shoulder, Lassiter reluctantly abandoned his Glock and raised his hands as well.

"We've got guests!" called the smuggler.

Hurried footsteps brought the rest of the group to gawk. They broke out at first in laughter to see them caught, but quickly sobered and demanded, amongst themselves (as though Lassiter and Shawn could not hear nor speak) to know who they were and how they'd gotten onto the trawler without them knowing.

A prod motivated Shawn to step fully into the room and stand beside Lassiter. As he neared, he gave the detective a conspiratory look, and Lassiter made his best don't-you-dare eyes.

But to no avail.

Before Lassiter could figure out what Shawn was planning or how to gain control of the situation, Shawn had whipped around with a karate yell, slapping the rifle to one side. Lassiter quickly flung himself to one side to avoid the spurt of bullets as they rang out, ricocheting against the metal of the boiler. The hiss of steam behind him was all the warning he needed to drop and cover his head.

A split second later, everything had gone to hell.

Acrid smoke stung his eyes and lungs, blinding and suffocating him as he stumbled towards the door of the engine room. Everything was on fire. The room tilted dangerously.

"It burns! It burns!"

He paused, just shy of escape.

"Ahhhhh GOD! It burns! Uh-uh-uhhh!"

He moved towards the agonized voice.

Choked sobs—a faltering, desperate grasp at Lassiter's hip. "Please!"

The hand moved to clench his jacket as Lassiter, with the superhuman strength that attended adrenaline, shoved the debris aside. Another touch on his shoulder, his arm, a slap on the cheek—

And another, harder slap.

Lassiter grunted, squinting up at the figure bent over him. Long strands of blonde hair, caught in the winds of a helicopter's blades above, swept across his sunburnt nose like needles. Sound began to return: the chop-chop-chop of the helicopter, people shouting to be heard over them, and, more importantly, the person hovering at his side and screaming his own name.

"O'Ha…" he rasped.

But she disappeared, replaced by rescuers intent on securing him to a backboard before lifting him onto the Coast Guard's lifeboat. With great effort, Lassiter managed to lift his head and look around. At the bow of the boat, he spotted Chief Karen Vick and her sister, Barbara, organizing the S&R—or rather, the Rescue, now.

Another movement caught and drew his eye. An EMT was steadying another gurney, which was being winched up into the copter. Shawn.

Overwhelming relief flooded Lassiter's chest.

Then he was out again, for a well-deserved rest.

End.

A/N: Yep, I should be studying for the GRE I have to take Monday morning, yet here I am, writing fan fiction. Good times.