AUTHOR NOTE: Sorry for any odd formating. I'm using the Fanfic app since my laptop died and it keeps adding random (extra) breaks between paragraphs and any attempt to fix them isn't working.

Dusk had fallen, taking with it most of the day's warmth. Shawn sat in the sand, bare feet buried in the cool wetness left by the ocean, knees drawn up, arms resting lazily upon them. He could make out a few stars, most of them drowned out by the city lights, and for a fleeting moment he wanted to be up there rather than in Santa Barbara. Then he thought of Lassiter and his mind shifted, a faint smile playing across his lips, and his heart going pitter-pat. Absently, he toyed with the bandage on his wrist, regret threatening to dull his mood.

Shawn hated the moment of weakness, what it said about him, and now how others perceived him. Yet, had he not lost his judgement for that brief second maybe he wouldn't have found the courage to tell Lassiter how he felt. Everything happened for a reason, that was his mother's philosophy, and maybe, as foolish as he found it, hurting himself was the breakthrough he needed to silence the unease in his mind.

At least, that's what he chose to tell himself.

Shawn leaned back, sinking his hands into the sand. Soon he'd have to move or worry about wet pants, the tide licking at his feet as it rolled in, the waves teasing the beach. The wind off the water was refreshing. He exhaled slowly, muscles relaxing, getting lost in the rhythmic lull of the ocean.

Everything had changed in his life. Okay, well, maybe not everything, but a fairly decent chunk of it. Gus was still his best friend and his dad was still uptight yet well-meaning and he could always count on Jules. Really, the only change was the dynamic between him and Lassiter. The older detective. The cantankerous man who drove him crazy. As outspoken and silly as Shawn considered himself, he never once thought in a million years he'd find the courage to speak the words in his heart.

And the kiss!

Heat flushed his cheeks just thinking about it. It still seemed mostly like a dream, one of his fantasies cooked up while hanging out in the office waiting for a case. He sucked in his bottom lip, closing his eyes as he recreated it in his mind, the feel of Lassiter so close, the taste of him, the mere way Lassiter invaded all his senses. If only Jules and Gus hadn't shown up when they did. Where might things have gone had they been left alone? Would they have stumbled inside, caught up in the heat of the moment and... A tingle worked its way down his spine and swirled in his stomach. Would they ever make it that far? Would anything actually ever transpire between them? Could the animosity between them translate into something more?

The idea was a touch terrifying.

Him and love, two things that didn't necessarily jive.

"Figured I might find you here."

Shawn startled, throwing a look over his shoulder. Lassiter stood a few feet away, tie loosened, but his beloved gun ever present on his hip. Lassiter and his gun, a perfect match, inseparable. If only he could be as loved by the detective. To be loved... Can I consider any of the relationships I've had in the past to be that quality, to have reached that point? Do I even know what love is? How does one define love? What's the difference between love and infatuation? Am I infatuated with Lassie or... Shawn closed his eyes.

"You look like you have something on your mind," Lassiter said, his tone betraying no emotion.

When Shawn opened his eyes he was pleasantly surprised to find Lassiter had settled in the sand beside him. To see him there, completely in dress slacks, button down shirt, and dress shoes, sitting in the sand, it was so un-Lassiter Shawn imagined the memory would be forever imprinted on his mind. He also wished he could snap a quick picture because no way was anyone ever going to believe this, they'd want proof.

"Maybe I do."

"Do... Is it, you know..."

His heart sank. Of course that's the first place Lassiter's mind would go, confirming one of Shawn's fears. Now every time he had a problem they'd go back to his one miatake, bring it up, keep the guilt alive and endless. Unless he kept things to himself, which is what got him into this month to begin with.

"Dammit." He curled his fingers into the sand, scowling. "Is that all anyone is ever going to think now? Do I look like I'm out getting ready to off myself or something? Why am I going to do, stab myself with a seashell? I made a mistake. Let it go."

"Spencer... I... I'm sorry."

His shoulders slumped, any and all fight going out of him, the sudden burst of anger dissipating. "Maybe I'm just tired."

"It has been a rough day or so."

"Yeah." He'd drawn his knees up again, hugging them close and resting his chin on his arm. The conversation lulled, but Shawn's mind continued to race. He wanted to screw up the courage to ask Lassiter the most important question of his life, but the words got stuck in his throat. He'd already confessed his feelings so why was he finding this particular inquiry impossible?

"Look, I came out here to check up on you, though now that I say I guess it sounds wrong and exactly what you're getting on about. I'm sorry." Lassiter stood, brushing the sand from his slacks. "I'll leave you to your thoughts." He turned to walk away, pausing to add, "If you need it, please don't be afraid to reach out again. I'll come, Shawn. Just like last time."

He started off, his words taking time to sink in, shock swirling around Shawn. Had he heard the detective right? Did Lassiter just say he'd always come running? His heart began to beat faster, each breath quicker than the last. Lassiter... Shawn jumped to his feet, finally finding the courage to say what he he'd wanted to since earlier on Lassiter's porch. Before Gus and O'Hara arrived to ruin the moment.

"Carlton!" he shouted, stopping the detective dead in his tracks. He rarely used Lassiter's first name.


"Go out with me." He made it a statement, not a request, question, or God forbid, a whiny, pathetic request. The ensuing silence threatened to do Shawn in. Surely it must have lasted no longer than a minute or two, but to him it seemed like forever, as if he were a kid waiting up for Santa. He thought it was simple enough, a yes or no answer, so why was Lassiter taking so long to answer?