A/N: This is technically my second fic that fixes Shawn and Juliet not talking about the lie detector scene, but hey, two cakes!
Title comes from Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately" (1989).
Happy Valentine's Day weekend, y'all!
Juliet leans back against Shawn on the couch. It's been a crazy few days, dealing with the ambassadors and Shawn's obsession with diplomatic immunity, and their secret relationship finally coming out at work—there's a lot on her mind, but what she can't stop thinking about is a certain moment in the interrogation room yesterday, when Shawn had said something she hadn't expected.
Okay, he'd said a lot of things she wasn't expecting in there. But there was one moment in particular that she couldn't stop thinking about, when he'd blurted out that he loved her, and she'd watched the needle on the lie detector keep plugging along, not even wavering, verifying the fact that he meant it.
She'd asked him, this morning, if they should talk about it, but he'd grown embarrassed, awkward, avoiding the conversation. And then they'd been interrupted by Lassiter, and the moment had passed.
She knew he hadn't meant to blurt it out like that, that it had taken him as much by surprise as it had her. And she knew Shawn, knew that things like this were a really big deal for him, that he moved slowly with advancing relationships. After all, it had taken them a whole five years to actually be together, even though she'd known that she was ready for at least three of those years. So she knew he probably wasn't ready to say it to her directly.
But the thing was, she loved him. She'd been wanting to say it for a while, had felt the words almost blurting out of her own mouth on a few occasions, and even if he wasn't ready to say it back, she wanted him to know. But she knew she'd have to tread carefully. She didn't know how he was going to take it, and the last thing she wanted was for him to get scared and retreat.
But then again, he might surprise her. Lord knew that Shawn Spencer was always surprising her. And if she was ready to say it…well, then maybe it was time. Before she can talk herself out of it, she opens her mouth.
"Shawn?" she asks. She's nervous, somehow, even though she shouldn't be. He loves her, she reminds herself—he admitted as much, in front of Carlton, even, of all people—and moreover, she knows without a doubt that she loves him. But maybe it's that that actually worries her, actually makes her nervous. She's ready to say it, no beating around the bush, say it straight to his face, even if he isn't ready to say it back.
She pulls away from where she'd been leaning back against him, cuddled into his chest, and turns to face him. "I know you said you didn't want to talk about what happened the other day-you know, with the lie detector."
Shawn swallows, looking nervous, and she holds up her hand. "And that's fine," she continues. "You don't have to. I know it's a lot, and this is fast and everything."
He nods, but he still looks uncertain.
"I just want you to know that it's okay," she tells him. "It's okay that you're not ready to say…those things…to me yet."
He frowns, still looking worried. "Jules…"
"No, wait," she says. "I mean it. It's okay."
He sighs. "It's not that I didn't mean it," he hesitates. "And it's not that I don't want to," he says. "But I didn't want it to come out like that." He takes her hand in his, squeezing it. "But I just…I wanted to do this right, Jules, and I don't know…how."
She smiles gently. "It's okay. I don't need to hear those words. Not until you're sure you're ready to say them."
He looks at her, a trace of worry still in his eyes. "You're serious?"
She nods, smiling at him. "I am. Because, Mr. Spencer, you know what's even more important than telling me you love me?"
"Bowling really, really well?"
Juliet laughs. "Well, that goes without saying."
"I should never have turned down that sponsorship from Lego," he says, shaking his head. "I'll have Gus call them first thing in the morning, re-negotiate our deal. Even if I do have to wear shoes made out of Legos, at least my bowling talent will finally be recognized on a national scale."
She laughs. "It's about time. But I was thinking about something else that's more important than telling me."
"Ah. Diplomatic immunity?" he asks, in his poor imitation of the guys from Lethal Weapon 2.
She frowns, pretending to mull it over. "The Lethal Weapon 2 guys aren't Russian, Shawn. And seeing how diplomatic immunity didn't work for you or our perp this week…"
"I still find it completely unfair that they put me and Gus in custody for commandeering that car," he says. "We offered that man our Which Wich stamp card, which is more than an equitable trade. In fact, we got cheated in that deal-."
She cuts him off. "Shawn," she says, trying not to laugh. "I was thinking of something else. Something not sandwich-related. Something more important than saying you love me?"
"Yeah?" he asks, his voice turning more serious.
"Yeah," she says. "I was talking about showing me," she says. "And you've done that. You have told me."
He thinks for a minute. "Have I?"
"Well, not in so many words," she admits. "But haven't you?"
He frowns. "Unless you count that phone call…"
She gives him a look of mock exasperation. "Not what I was thinking of. But you've definitely shown me, Shawn, ever since we got together, but even before that."
And suddenly she's thinking back on it, too, a thousand memories flooding her mind.
Shawn rushing in, when they were trying to prove Carlton innocent, stopping her from digging through the trash can to find a clue before digging into it himself. "I got it, I got it, that's dirty."
The way he'd looked at her at the martial arts studio, a crooked half smile curving his lips, affection and pride in her shining in his eyes. The way he'd called her, earlier that day, knowing before even she did that it was time for her to return to the job she adored, ignoring her protests that he should call Lassiter instead, "I need you for this."
Even before all of that, the little things—tiny things—things she didn't even understand until she added them all up, began to see a pattern. The way he noticed her, always, when she seemed invisible to everyone else in the station, in a room, like how he always, somehow, was ready with a "bless you" when she, herself, had barely noticed her own sneezing, how he'd always listened to her, followed up on her ideas, respected her as a detective when no one else would.
There was that night in the darkened station, the two of them, when he'd leaned towards her, almost kissed her—she'd wanted him to kiss her, though she'd chosen not to allow it—and he'd instead pulled back, recognizing how emotionally exhausted she was, and chose, himself, to be mature, to respect those boundaries, not to give in to what they both had wanted. That moment had still left her dreaming (and daydreaming, though she'd never admit it) about "very close talking", about him, for weeks.
Then there was the way he'd taken the fall for her mistake, her stubbornness, during the roller derby case, or how jealous he had been when she'd started dating Cameron Luntz, how he'd tried to set it up and make everything right for her with Scott Seaver, even when she could see how hard it was for him.
There was that moment in the hospital, when she'd almost died, after he'd done everything he could—been chased by a dog after driving two hours—to find her an ultimately unnecessary cure, when he'd started to say something, started to admit to her what she already knew, started to admit that his feelings matched her unspoken ones. He'd pulled back, but after everything he'd done for her that day, that didn't matter as much as it might have. He'd shown her already what he couldn't quite form the words for.
And then he'd shown her again, a few months later, in the sadness written in his eyes in Declan's foyer, his voice gentle and soft as he tried so badly to be happy for her when she knew how much he hurt, how much his heart was breaking. "Take pictures of moments, because that's what matters."
"Is that right?" he asks, smiling, interrupting her reverie, a hint of teasing in his voice.
She nods in mock sincerity. "I'm afraid so." She thinks for a second, and another moment comes to her, this one much more recent. "See, I seem to remember a certain speech on a certain bridge about a motorcycle…"
Shawn frowns, looking suddenly a little guilty, like he's afraid he's disappointed her. "I didn't buy a car," he says slowly.
"No," she agrees, "you didn't. But you did sell your bike, and that's a pretty big deal."
He nods, but he still looks a little sad. "I want to show you," he says after a moment. "But I-I can't do the Amalfi coast stuff, Jules."
She opens her mouth, wanting to tell him that she doesn't want that, doesn't need that from him. He's already so much better than the Amalfi coast ever could be.
"Although," he continues, before she can speak, mischief appearing in his eyes, "we did totally get to make out on a bridge built by porcupines."
She laughs. "That we did."
He smiles, but the mischief turns to apprehension again. "I know—I know the way all this," he gestures between them, "has happened is a little unusual, but I don't take it for granted, Jules. I want to do this right. I still can't believe that this is really happening, after all this time, that you actually want me."
He stresses the "me" like he always does, and it makes her giggle as usual. It's so very Shawn, and suddenly she needs him to know that that is the only thing that matters to her.
"Look, it's not conventional," she says gently. "But I've had conventional, and even when I had it, all I wanted, all I could think about, was you."
He smiles, a certain shyness appearing on his face. She loves this shyness. It's a side of Shawn even she rarely gets to see, and it always feels like a special gift when she does.
She looks at him, at the hopefulness, the joy in his eyes. "And the thing is, Shawn? All that time that I wanted you? You—this—is even better than I imagined. It's so much more."
His face flushes, but he's still smiling, his eyes shining at her, and she knows—having seen the look in this man's eyes when he looks at quatro queso dos fritos, and knowing it doesn't hold a candle to the look in his eyes right now—that he meant what he said when he was hooked up to the lie detector.
"I know you might not be ready to say it," she says. "Like, actually say the words. But Shawn, I am." She pulls him closer to her, until their lips are almost brushing against each other, a reminder of a moment—so long ago now—when she'd first begun to realize the depth of her feelings for him, when she'd had the longest day of her life, but he'd had her back and then respected her boundaries and, in the midst of it all, also made her feel a wave of longing and affection unlike any she'd ever known. She'd known that day, even though she wasn't ready to articulate it, wasn't ready to really pay attention to it, that this man could love her, and she him.
"Shawn, I love you," she whispers, her lips brushing against his ever so slightly, the faintest whisper of a kiss.
She feels his breath hitch. "Jules," he breathes, and then he's kissing her, much more than a whisper this time, and once again, she recognizes in it the words that he's not ready to say. They're in the fragile reverence in the way that he holds her, the way his fingers gently cup her cheek, then slide into her hair. His kiss is gentle, a faint trace of the shyness she recognized in his eyes earlier lingering in it, but the passion in it is still unmistakable, as if to remind her of what he said earlier in the interrogation room—I've been fighting this thing for years—and impress upon her the meaning of this for him, how much she matters, how badly he wanted this, and for how long.
She was right; she doesn't need him to say the words, not when he kisses her and holds her like this. This leaves no room for doubt-he is saying it, in his own Shawn way, just as the words came out in his own way in front of Lassiter.
When at last they break apart, he rests his forehead against hers for a moment, their eyes still closed, as they both try to catch their breath. After a moment, he pulls away, and she opens her eyes to look at him, seeing in his eyes a look that she recognizes—an almost frantic look, a hint of desperation, but beneath all of it—encompassing it—a deep affection… and love.
She smiles encouragingly at him, waiting for a minute.
"Jules, I-," he starts, and he falters a little, the trace of fear in his eyes growing a bit more pronounced, but he still looks determined. But it doesn't matter. She knows exactly what he means.
"You love me," she says, more of a statement than a question, but the hint of the question still hangs in the air between them, a very small part of her still hoping desperately for confirmation, even after all the ways he's shown her.
He smiles, pulling her towards him and pressing a kiss to her temple. "Yeah," he says, his voice gentle. "I do."
He kisses a line down her cheek, from her forehead to the corner of her mouth, and then he takes a deep breath. "I love you, Jules," he says softly.
And then it's her turn to pull him towards her, trying to infuse in her kiss every rush of love she's felt for him over the last several years, making up for all the times they just weren't ready, when their timing was wrong or someone else got in the way. She tries to hold him with the same gentle affection, the same reverence with which he always holds her, so that he knows how much this—he—means to her, how much he always will.
She kisses him slowly, gently, lovingly, because there's no need to rush, not when she loves him and he loves her, and after over five years of being so close but never quite getting there, they've finally gotten around to saying it.
After all, she may not have needed the words—but it feels pretty damn amazing to hear them.
A/N: Gosh, this got mushy, but it's Shawn and Juliet, so I have absolutely no regrets. I hope you liked it! Thanks very much for reading! Please let me know if you have any thoughts on this piece, I always really love to read them!
Happy Valentine's Day! Hoping to have another Valentine's Day-related piece out soon, but we'll see if that happens…