Genre: Romance, Friendship, Humor
Summary: You just have to know how to handle him.
A/N: Another idea I got from s_c. She is the BESTEST. <3
Disclaimer: I do not own Psych or the characters.
Carlton sighs as Juliet fills up his cup with steaming coffee. It’s been two hours already and despite the desire to avoid the agony of needing to pee and being unable, he needs the caffeine or he won’t be awake long enough to appreciate that he doesn’t have to go.
He thanks Juliet in a mutter and she smiles as his face opens up a little in surprise as he takes his first sip. "Your favorite blend," she says, pleased with herself, and spins the top back on the thermos.
"I won’t ask how you know that," he says and she grins as his eyes close with the next sip.
"And I won’t remind you that I’m a detective," she replies primly, taking a bite out of a snickerdoodle.
He shoots a look at her and a voice pipes up from the backseat, "Hey can I get one of those, Jules?"
Their heads snap around in unison and for a moment she simply gapes, Carlton spluttering furiously beside her. Shawn Spencer grins innocently back at them, leaning forward with his shoulders hunched up near his ears in an appealing way that Juliet forces herself not to admire.
"Spencer what the hell do you think you’re doing here?" Carlton finally snaps, incredulous. "This is a stake-out! Get the hell out of this car now!"
"Shawn this was really dumb, even for you," she says and he leans back a little, his brow creasing. She’s not sure if what she said actually hurt his feelings or if he’s just milking the situation for what it’s worth as usual and it irks her that she feels guilty anyway because to truly hurt Shawn Spencer’s feelings would tear her up inside.
"I can’t leave," he says, pouting at them. "Someone will totally notice a guy sneaking out of a car that’s been sitting here for two hours."
"You’ve been here the whole time?" Carlton demands, face flushing red.
"Well yeah, Carly. I’m not dumb enough to sneak into your car when you’re already on a stake-out. Give me a little credit guys," he says, rolling his eyes.
"I’ll give you something all right," Carlton growls and then snaps grudgingly, "Fine. You can stay. But I swear to God Spencer, if you screw this up, I will throw you in jail."
"Aye, aye, sir," Shawn says, snapping a backwards salute.
Carlton grumbles and sinks down a little further in his seat.
"So," Shawn says brightly, leaning forward again, "how ‘bout that cookie?"
~ * * * ~
"But section 213 clearly states that in specific cases—"
"You’re absolutely right, Jules, but clause 6-B45 negates it in that particular instance. Nice try though."
Juliet frowns at Shawn’s legs, which are the only part of him she can see because he’s lying flat on his back in the backseat with his feet pressed to the ceiling, much to Carlton’s irritation. "How do you know so much about police code and procedure?"
"Have you met my father?"
Juliet has only had the barest of contact with the elder Spencer, but everything about the man had screamed cop so it’s really the only explanation she needs. In the backseat, Shawn sighs and his hands appear, fingers stretching toward his toes.
"What about—" Carlton starts and he is immediately cut off by the psychic.
"No, not in this case. Maybe if it were a holiday."
"You don’t even know what I was going to—"
"You were going to say, ‘What about subsection a? Doesn’t that negate clause 6-B45?’ To which I replied…"
"Maybe if it were a holiday," Carlton reiterates, looking disgruntled. "Fine. That’s probably true."
Shawn snorts and sits up, his feet swinging down to the floor. "Probably true?"
"Would you give him another cookie or something, O’Hara?"
She obediently hands the psychic another snickerdoodle and he grins, popping it into his mouth. A moment later he’s leaning over the middle of the seat, reaching into Juliet’s bag to pick through the contents.
"Spencer that is not inconspicuous! Get back in the backseat!"
"Shawn stop! Sit back, I can get you what you want," she says, giving him a gentle, but firm push on the shoulder. He flops back onto the seat with a heavy, melodramatic sigh. "Now, what did you want?"
"Nothing, I was just looking," he says, and slides sideways a little, fingers searching out the seatbelt.
"God," Carlton grumbles, "It’s like being on a stake-out with a five-year-old."
Shawn draws out the seatbelt for the center seat until it’s at its maximum. He buckles it and then draws his fingers along the belt from one side to the other, looking for all the world as though the texture of the belt moving between his fingers is the most fascinating thing in the world. Then he begins tightening it slowly. Carlton’s teeth grit together.
Juliet recognizes the psychic’s need to do something, anything, to expel some of the energy that has obviously built up inside him. Her nephews suffer the same affliction when trapped in a single space for too long. He needs to use his hands.
The seatbelt is drawn out to its maximum again with a high whirring sound and Carlton’s knuckles begin to turn white on the steering wheel. "Shawn," she says and reaches into her purse, pulling out a small brush. She holds it back to him with a commanding movement. "Play with my hair."
"You have a brush in there?"
She rolls her eyes and waggles the brush, which Shawn still has not taken. "You heard me. Play with my hair." Her partner is looking at her like she’s gone completely mad, and she’s getting ready to chuck the brush at Shawn’s head when another hand finally takes hold of it.
"I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t want you to," she says, resisting the urge to roll her eyes.
"I don’t believe this," Carlton mutters. There’s another long moment of hesitation and then Shawn shifts forward and begins tugging at the hair tie holding her bun in place. She winces.
"Not so hard," she chastises.
"Sorry." His yanking becomes gentle, awkward plucking, but he’s still pulling her hair, now it’s just in tiny clumps, which is even more painful.
"Ouch! Okay, hold on. Clearly you need a lesson on how to properly remove a hair tie," she says, waving his hands away.
"Seriously, it’s that bad?" he says and Carlton grumbles something unintelligible, stuffing another brownie in his mouth. She chooses to ignore him; he’ll be grateful later. "No one’s ever complained before," Shawn adds with a slightly petulant lilt to his voice.
Juliet smirks and says, "Well apparently these ‘no one’s haven’t had any nerves in their heads."
"So how do I do this?"
"Slide a finger between the hair tie and my hair. Then gently pull it over the bun. It should come off pretty easily after that." Shawn does as ordered, sliding a finger in place with a little bit of wiggling and then he slips it over the bun, one hand resting warmly at the crook of her shoulder to give him leverage.
She can hear the grin in his voice when he says, "Like that?" and her hair falls down around her shoulders.
She smiles. "Much better." He puts the brush at the top of her head to start combing and she stops him with an, "Ah ah ah!" Carlton shoots her a look from where he is hunched on the other side of the car, glowering out the car window at the house they’re supposed to be watching. She raises an eyebrow at him in return.
"What?" Shawn says. "I was just going to—"
"I have long hair, Shawn," she replies patiently. "You can’t start at the top or the tangles will get so bad you won’t be able to brush it. Start at the bottom and work your way up."
"Up; okay then…" Pulling her hair up over the seat, he begins brushing at the tips in short strokes and she smiles again as he puts a hand above where he’s working, to hold her hair in place. It helps absorb some of the tugging. He’s quiet as he works and she grins at Carlton out of the corner of her eye, raising her eyebrows as if to say, "See?"
He acknowledges the look with a vaguely impressed roll of his eyes.
For several minutes there is silence as Shawn works diligently on her hair and Lassiter looks more at peace than he has in an hour. Juliet relishes the feeling of someone else playing with her hair; she hasn’t had that luxury in a long time. Finally Shawn has combed through all of it and he puts aside the brush, exchanging it with his fingers which he runs through her hair, sending wonderful tingles into her scalp. "It’s so soft," he comments. "Like strands of…of… I don’t know. Something really soft." Carlton snorts and she can feel that Shawn has leaned in closer. "Smells good too," he says appreciatively.
"I love the smell of this shampoo and conditioner," she gushes.
"I can see why. You must not use hairspray," he observes, continuing to run the blonde strands through his fingers.
"No." Her nose wrinkles. "It makes it crunchy. Why would I want crunchy hair? A few loose strands are no big deal. What do you use?" she asks curiously and turns to look at him.
Carlton groans. "Are you really going to discuss this? Really?" They ignore him.
"What, in my hair?" Shawn says.
"No, in your beard. Yes, in your hair." She reaches for his hair and then pauses, glancing at him for permission. He bows his head to give her better access and she takes the opportunity, running her fingers through it. She’s surprised at how soft it is, and how little product residue she feels. "Wow, what do you use? It feels like there’s hardly anything there."
Shawn grins and says, "Styling wax. I used to use gel, but like you said, it makes your hair crunchy and I’ve discovered that it’s much more tactilely friendly when it’s soft."
Juliet snorts out a laugh and turns back around. "You are so single-minded." Turning a curious eye and a mischievous smile on Carlton she asks, "What do you use?"
"I refuse to be dragged into this discussion," he says, gaze fixed determinedly on the house. "Not happening."
Shawn leans toward him, peering at the detective’s dark hair and says, "Betcha it’s mousse."
"That was my guess too," Juliet agrees.
"This is ridiculous," Lassiter complains. "We do have a job to do, O’Hara."
"Can I braid it, Jules?" Shawn asks curiously, drawing his fingers around her ear and then down the length of her hair. "You can walk me through it, right?
"Sure, it’s easy," she says and Carlton mutters, "Easy for you to say…" and eats another brownie. "You just have to separate it into three chunks, and then overlap them, one after the other."
"Three chunks, okay." He runs his fingers through her hair a few more times as though he’s studying it, readying it for the process and she can’t help but smile. His fingers cut through the curtain of her hair, tips brushing the back of her neck and sending tingles down her spine that turn her muscles to mush. He takes his time separating her hair into three even portions, carefully stroking each separation occasionally to widen or narrow it slightly. It amuses her how much concentration he puts into the simple act of forming a braid.
She’s completely relaxed by the time he begins struggling to intertwine the locks of hair into something resembling a braid. Occasionally he mutters a curse under his breath and then he reverses whatever he’s just done, stroking the lock of hair three times before trying again. It’s sweet how hard he’s trying. As he gets further down the plait she can feel his confidence increase and by the time he’s pinched off the end, his grinning face is framed in the rearview mirror.
"There," he says and the proud quality of his voice brings a smile to her face. "I did it."
She reaches back to check his work, gently patting down the length of the braid and murmurs her agreement. It’s a bit loose, but it’s a serviceable plait; good for a guy. She reaches the end of the braid, and her fingers touch Shawn’s own large, warm ones. His hand twitches slightly, sliding beneath hers and for a moment her palm is warm against the back of his hand.
Then Lassiter sits forward abruptly, his hand going for his holster and he says sharply, "We’ve got action! Spencer—stay here!"
The braid unravels in their hands and she’s out the door after her partner.