I've been rewatching Law and Order, and oh boy the ideas it has given me for some Psych stories. Haha. This story isn't blatantly shippy, but if you stand on your head and read it backwards, you'll find hints of Shules and Lassiet. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: not mine.
It was sheer idiocy.
How could Vick have thought it would be a good idea…
His thoughts were jumbled, disjointed, stuck on repeat and skipping every other word.
Juliet O'Hara was a moron.
The scene before him unfolded in slow motion, and still somehow all too fast. Belazi went from calm to terrified to enraged as he raised his gun.
The breath was knocked out of him as Juliet slammed into him, the gunshots blinding his senses.
Three bodies hit the floor.
Rolling over immediately, Lassiter made sure Belazi was neutralized before calling for backup. Help was confirmed and he dropped to his knees beside his partner. Blood pooled beneath her and she smiled up at him, clearly in shock.
"It's okay, Carlton. I'm okay."
How could she be so stupid? He found the bullet wound and peeled his jacket off, pressing it tightly to the wound to stem the blood flow. The pressure made his partner cry out, cracking his heart. "I'm sorry," he heard himself mutter. "Have to keep the pressure."
And he did. He held her in place until help finally arrived, and he didn't let her go until they were in the hospital and he was racing alongside her stretcher as medical staff rushed her toward the OR. When they finally reached the double doors where he knew he would be stopped, he leaned over and whispered into her ear, squeezing her hand as tightly as he dared.
Then she was gone and he was standing alone in the hallway, covered in blood. His partner's blood.
Vick came striding down the hall, her face pinched in concern. Behind her he could see Spencer and Guster, both men eerily quiet and concerned. Before she could speak, Spencer stepped around her and came toe to toe with Lassiter.
"What the hell happened?" he demanded, his eyes wide and angry.
The older man shoved a hand through his hair. "Belazi pulled on us." Beyond Spencer he could see Guster's face go pale. "O'Hara… She pushed me out of the way."
Realization dawned in Spencer's eyes. The next thing Lassiter knew, he was against the wall, his face throbbing. Spencer was holding his hand and swearing.
"Why didn't you stop her, Lassiter?" the younger man shouted as Vick pulled him back. "How could you let her get shot?"
Guster grabbed his best friend and tried to console him. "She's gonna be okay, Shawn. Calm down." He began urging Shawn away, despite Shawn's spirited protests.
Vick finally stood in front of her head detective, a concerned look on her face.
"Carlton. Start from the beginning."
When her doctor finally emerged, she found the waiting room filled with officers and detectives who were all waiting for word on Juliet. Unfortunately she was all too familiar with the sight. "She's going to be okay," she said immediately, and a collective sigh of relief swept the room. "I need to see Carlton Lassiter."
Lassiter immediately stood up, his eyes stormy and tired. "That would be me, Dr."
Nodding, she motioned for him to follow her into the hallway. "I'm Dr. Bailey-"
"Skip the introductions, Doc," he interrupted bluntly. "How is my partner?"
Nodding perfunctorily, she glanced at the clipboard in her hand. "Ms. O'Hara was quite lucky. The bullet nicked her liver and caused some damage, as well as considerable blood loss."
How the hell was that lucky, Lassiter wondered numbly.
"But the damage could have been considerably worse," Dr. Bailey continued, regarding Lassiter carefully. "She handled the surgery well and she needs to stay for observation for a few days. But as long as she does not develop an infection or a different complication, she will be fine."
Fine. Juliet was going to be okay. He cleared his throat roughly. "So she… can I…"
"Normally I would say no visitors for tonight. But I understand she is a detective, and we always try to extend certain privileges to the Santa Barbara Police Department." She turned on her heel and motioned for Lassiter to follow her. "As I said, she's lost quite a bit of blood."
"Some of the other detectives are donating blood," he mumbled. He already had. It was almost ritualistic. Any time there was an injured detective, everyone donated blood while they waited for word on their fallen brother or sister.
"Excellent." She led him upstairs, to the Intensive Care Unit.
His stomach fell again at the sight of glass doors and gravely sick or injured individuals. O'Hara was here. She was one of them.
"We're going to monitor here for tonight, then move her into a private room in the morning." She stopped in front of one of the doors. "Remember, Detective, she's going to be fine. I'll let the nursing staff know you are allowed to stay with her." She pushed the door open and ushered him inside.
Breaking away from Bailey, Lassiter moved to his partner's bed. To his amazement, her eyes were slightly open. Screw pretense or those god awful boundaries he had erected. He reached down and carefully closed his fingers around hers. "O'Hara…"
She blinked tiredly and struggled to focus on his face. "Carlton…?"
"I'm here." He sank down into the closest chair, never letting go of her hand.
"You...you're okay…" Her fingers tightened on his. "You're okay."
The relief in her eyes confused him. Why was she so… "Of course I am. You pushed me out of the way," he muttered angrily.
If she noticed his anger, she gave no indication. "I had to," she murmured, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "You're my best friend…"
Before he could retort, the door opened again and Spencer rushed into the room.
"Jules," he breathed, coming around her bed to grasp her free hand. "You're okay…"
"What are you doing, Spencer?" Lassiter growled, frustrated at the sudden intrusion. Logically he knew he had no right to be so angry, but he wanted just a few minutes with his partner before he would have to share her with the rest of the world again.
"Chief Vick helped me get in, since you didn't," the younger man snapped, his eyes fiery.
"Shawn, Carlton…" It was obvious she was struggling against sleep and Carlton immediately refocused on her. "Please...I want you both here…"
His shoulders slumped at her declaration, while Shawn looked triumphant. "Alright, O'Hara. We'll stay. You just...try to relax, okay?"
Shawn's expression shifted just a little and he looked contemplative. "Yeah, Jules. What Lassie said." He clasped her hand between his own.
The older man begrudgingly gave Shawn a nod of appreciation. "Rest, Juliet." His thumb absently stroked her knuckles as he watched her eyelids flutter.
When she slipped back into sleep, Shawn let out a relieved breath and settled back in the stiff chair. "She means a lot to me too, you know?" he said quietly. "I know you two are partners, and my dad is always talking about how I'll never get the relationship you two have."
Damn right, the older man thought, not for the first time thanking Henry Spencer.
"But she's important to me, too," he repeated, his voice cracking slightly. "I'm sorry I hit you. Shouldn't have done that. But she took a bullet for you, man. She could have died!"
"You think I don't know that, Spencer?" Lassiter retorted, keeping his voice low and one eye on the monitors by Juliet's bed. "Do you think I wanted her to do that? We're detectives. We put our lives in each other's hands every day. She...she just beat me to the punch. But don't think for a second that I wouldn't die for her if it came down to it." He would not hesitate. And it was not just about being partners, or even friends. He loved her.
Their eyes met and both men suddenly found a new, if albeit begrudging, respect for each other.
Shawn looked away first, to the sleeping woman who meant so much to them both. "These chairs are crap, but I'm gonna close my eyes," he muttered, leaning back into the stiff chair.
"Good idea." Lassiter glanced at the monitors again. He had no idea how to read them, but they remained the same so he hoped it was a positive thing. He started to pull his hand away from Juliet's, but a surge of something rushed through him when she tightened her grip on his hand in her sleep. Desperate to reassure her, and not break his promise, he wrapped both hands around hers and squeezed gently. The chair was already as close to the bed as he could get it, so he sank back into the chair as best as he could. It would hurt like hell in the morning but that did not matter.
All he cared about was his best friend lying in the hospital bed next to him.
Sometime around dawn, Juliet reluctantly stirred from the healing peace of sleep. The bullet wound burned and her mouth was dry and gross. As her eyes focused, she quickly realized she was not alone. To her left, she saw Shawn sleeping, contorted in a way that she was sure would leave him with a few painful knots when he woke up. She turned her head to the right and saw Carlton sleeping in the other chair, his tie undone and his hair uncharacteristically ruffled. Her hand was wrapped tightly in his and she gave him a soft, affectionate smile.
The door opened and a young nurse entered the room. On seeing Juliet awake, she gave her patient a bright smile. "Good morning, Juliet. How do you feel?"
"I'm fine," she whispered, her eyes still on Carlton's face.
The nurse set about checking her vitals and making notes on a chart. "These gentlemen have been here with you all night. They're very fond of you."
A tired smile tugged at Juliet's lips. "They are… Carlton is my partner...and Shawn's my friend…"
"Hmm. We'll have to chase them out a little later, but for now they're fine." Once she had everything she needed, she gave Juliet her next dose of pain medication and left the room again.
As the medication began to take hold and her breathing evened, Juliet looked at Shawn and Carlton again. They both must have been tired because neither man stirred during the nurse's visit. She smiled tiredly and squeezed Carlton's hand as she slipped back toward sleep.
The two most important men in her life were there beside her, keeping her safe.
She was going to be okay.
A/N: Thanks for reading this, everyone. It was a lot of fun to write, and I suspect a few more stories like this are inbound. I have a very big weak spot for partners (Law and Order Criminal Intent, Law and Order SVU, Walker Texas Ranger, CSI, In Plain Sight...) and I can never go long without writing some kind of story for a pair of partners. Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know what you thought of this. Happy reading!