Genre: Romance, Friendship
Summary: It's hot in Santa Barbara. Really hot. So it's no surprise (or, at least, it shouldn't be) when Shawn arrives at a possible crime scene in a bathing suit. What Juliet doesn't anticipate is how he coaxes her into a bathing suit of her own.
A/N: A really, really late entry for Shulesathon 2009.
Prompt: swim suit
For Mia, because she loves the Triple Threat as much as I do. <3
Disclaimer: I do not own Psych or the characters.
To say that Juliet was flustered when Shawn showed up at the latest crime scene in nothing but a pair of swim trunks, flip flops, and his sunglasses was a bit of an understatement.
She had gawked. Open-mouthed.
And she could honestly say that it had partly been in shock at his audacity. She was more reluctant to admit that it had primarily been astonishment at just how good he looked with a sheen of sweat coating his barely-clothed body. And the red shorts inspired all sorts of Baywatch related associations that she really didn’t want to consider in the presence of other people; particularly when those people were her co-workers.
He had grinned at her as her partner barked, “Spencer! What the hell is wrong with you? You can’t wear a bathing suit at a crime scene!”
Now they were standing side by side near the water, watching and waiting as divers worked to locate the body some beach-goers had spotted amidst the pylons of the pier.
“I can’t believe you came to a crime scene in a bathing suit, Shawn.”
He smiled lazily. “We’re in the middle of a record heat wave, Jules. And we’re on the beach. It’s not like I wore one to somebody’s house.”
“But you would,” Gus put in from where he was watching the divers work. His toes were nearly in the water. Even he had put away his usual suit and traded it in for a pair of shorts and short sleeves.
Juliet had to admit Shawn had a point. She was in her lightest shirt with just a pale blouse and she was still stiflingly hot.
“Dude, even Lassie is sweating,” Shawn said and they all glanced over to where Lassiter stood on the beach behind them, muttering curses and shaking his shoes. “I didn’t even know he was capable.”
Juliet had to stifle a smile because she had wondered the same thing not long ago.
“I think they found it!” Gus exclaimed and took a step forward, right into a wavelet. He made a disgruntled noise, pulling his foot back and Shawn smothered a laugh behind his hand.
They waited as the divers emerged out of the water, pulling out their mouthpieces.
“Well?” Lassiter demanded.
The lead diver pulled up his mask, his mouth twitching in strange expression. Juliet watched him apprehensively. He shook his head and said, “Ah—no body. Just this.” He gestured and the diver behind him held up a half-deflated blow-up doll.
Shawn snorted and nearly choked on an attempt to stifle a bark of laughter. Juliet struggled to fight back her own smile.
Lassiter growled. “Well, that’s just fantastic.”
“No body is a good thing, Carlton,” Juliet reminded him.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled. “Let’s go. I’m getting heat stroke over here.”
“Actually, Jules is gonna stay with me and Gus,” Shawn called.
Juliet opened her mouth to protest, but Lassiter was already stalking back through the sand, waving his hand dismissively. Shawn grinned at her. Part of her suspected that he had planned the whole thing.
“Now that that’s taken care of, let’s go swimming!”
She smiled and shook her head. “I don’t have a swimming suit, Shawn.”
“Neither do I,” Gus pointed out.
“That, my friends, is why God invented the boardwalk.”
~ * ~
A half an hour later both she and Gus had acquired brand new swimwear and Shawn had retrieved three large beach towels from the Psych office for their use.
The suit she had purchased was a simple, modest (for a bikini) two-piece in a variety of teals and blues. As soon as she had exited the store, Gus' gaze suddenly grew extraordinarily steady. She was both amused and exasperated that his eyes didn't drop below her neckline even once.
Shawn, however, had given her a brief up and down, declared her, “Kosher,” and then proceeded to “sneak” glances at her the entire way back down the boardwalk. He had even collected a little additional color along his cheekbones. Their reactions were both flattering and embarrassing.
She had also purchased a sarong and a cheap bag to carry her clothes in, because while she didn’t mind walking around barefoot, it felt a little weird walking around with a bag in just a bikini. Especially with Shawn and Gus there.
Gus was now dressed as fully as Shawn was, wearing just a pair of plain black flip-flops and a pair of medium-length swim trunks decorated with a swirling abstract pattern in lime green and black. He, like Shawn, topped it off with a pair of slick black sunglasses and Juliet had to admit that he did look great. She wasn't remotely surprised to see girls doing double-takes as he walked past.
That wasn't to say Shawn wasn't getting plenty of looks, but he had to work harder to get that attention. Gus was fairly oblivious to what was going on around him, but Shawn flashed smiles and said hellos. He even winked at a group of teenage girls, which sent them into a fit of hysterical laughter.
Juliet shook her head. Shawn was something else.
Maybe an alien, like Carlton suggested.
Funnily enough, despite the fact that Shawn had to work to get the attention of those girls walking past, Juliet, on the other hand, couldn't seem to keep her eyes off of him. Even when they were walking down the beach and she had been staring at the waves, imagining how amazing they were going to feel on her overheated skin, her gaze had eventually strayed toward Shawn until, instead of the waves, she was watching the the slow ripples of the muscles in Shawn's back.
Realizing what she was doing, she'd flushed and had been immensely grateful when Shawn finally declared a spot fit for their use. He dropped the things in his arms in a pile on the sand before rubbing his hands together vigorously. “Dude, this is going to be awesome.”
She and Gus were unable to disagree. They put their things down in a slightly less haphazard manner and then Shawn was grinning at them, pulling at Juliet's wrist and using two fingers to snap the back of Gus' waistband. He yelped.
“Last one into the surf is a colorblind rainbow!”
“That doesn't even make sense, Shawn!” Gus shouted, but raced after him all the same.
Juliet finally broke into a grin as the two friends sprinted through the sand, throwing slaps at one another and yelping whenever one of the wild smacks hit home. She trotted into the surf almost thirty seconds behind them.
“Jules,” Shawn said, sounding wounded, “you're the colorblind rainbow.”
“I can live with that,” she said breezily, pushing into the water between the two men. “Colorblindness runs in my family.”
“Really?” Gus said, curiosity thick in his voice. “That's interesting. What kind? Red/green, yellow/blue, or full colorblindness?”
Juliet turned back toward them and caught Shawn's eyes down around the waterline, which was currently lapping at the curve of her hips. His gaze drifted casually further out and she hid a smile, deciding not to call him on it. She wanted to enjoy the sun and the water. “Green, mostly, but my brother Sebastian—he's completely colorblind.”
“Wow,” Gus commented.
Shawn flicked a little water at Gus, who glared in response and then before Juliet even had time to realize they were coordinating something, they rushed her. She shrieked in surprise and delight as Shawn's arm wrapped around her ribcage, Gus grabbing her around the calves and hauling her off of her feet. “All right,” Shawn called, and she could hear a mile-wide grin in his voice, “In one, two, three!”
She swung forward and they released her at exactly the right moment, sending her flying up over the waves by at least a good foot or two. She shrieked again, flailing wildly and landed with a tremendous splash.
When she managed to fight her way back to the surface, they were laughing, congratulating one another with chummy handshakes. “Oh, it's on!” she said and dove toward them.
For the next hour they rough-housed like teenagers and Juliet felt more at home than she had since moving to Santa Barbara. Finally, exhausted, they waded in to the shallows collapsing in a heap of tangled limbs before quite making it out of the surf.
Juliet lay panting and grinning with her head on Shawn's stomach, feeling the vibrations of his breathless laughter, Gus sprawled across both of their feet, wheezing for his lost breath. “Oh my—god,” he panted. “I haven't had that much fun in awhile.”
“And you say—I'm a—bad friend,” Shawn said, lifting his head to peer over her.
“I'm really glad our vic was a plastic blow-up doll,” Juliet agreed. There was a moment of silence and then all three of them burst into loud, body-wracking laughter. It didn't stop until tears were streaming down Juliet's face and both Shawn and Gus were whimpering in pain, trying vainly to breathe while they were still bursting into small fits of giggles.
“It's too bad Lassie had to miss this,” Shawn commented, when they had finally managed to sober up a little.
“Mm,” Juliet agreed. “Next time we'll have to ambush him.”
“I'm up for skinny-dipping,” Shawn said blithely. “I'm sure if we could get Lassie in the water we could strip him.”
Juliet snorted painfully even as Gus groaned, “Wonderful, thanks, Shawn. I really needed that mental image. Augh.”
The conversation fizzled out into comfortable silence again until a few minutes later when Gus pushed to his elbows. “Aw! I forgot about my camera! Hang on—”
He got to his feet and hurried off up the beach, leaving Shawn and Juliet there in the sand, alone.
“Thanks, Shawn,” Juliet said. “I'm really glad we did this.”
Shawn smiled. “Anytime, Jules.” His knuckles grazed the curve of her shoulder and suddenly she was struck by how easy this was. How natural it felt being close like this to Shawn, having Gus nearby.
“I got it!” Gus dropped down in the sand beside her and Juliet pulled herself upright, grinning at the sound of Shawn's groan.
“I don't wanna. I'm comfortable.”
“Get up you big whiner. We're taking a picture whether you want to or not!” she said, smacking him lightly on the stomach.
He flinched, the movement pushing a slight grunt out of him and his eyes rolled around to focus the power of one of his pouts on her. Fortunately Juliet had a nephew-borne immunity to them.
“I don't wanna!”
“Shawn!” she and Gus snapped and Shawn tried and failed to hide a grin as they dragged him upright by his arms.
Juliet pulled them both close, fighting a shiver as Shawn's fingers slid around her hip.
“Say cheese!” Gus told them.
Photo-taking rapidly dissolved into a wrestling match and pretty soon they were shouting and vying for control of the camera, using whatever moves it took to get it. Juliet couldn't stop laughing because she could hear the shutter going off every time they touched it and she could just imagine how hilarious some of these pictures were going to be.
At one point, Shawn flung the camera into the air in an effort to keep it out of Gus' hands and it landed with a wet thock in the sand to their left. Shawn's eyes went wide. “Oops.”
“Good thing it's waterproof,” Gus said and then grinned at them as he snatched it up, snapping off several shots like machine-gun fire.
The camera war continued until Juliet was coated in sand like a she was being prepared for someone's oven, sweat clearing thin trails of the grit down her neck and on her back. When she plunged back into the surf, the two boys followed.
This swim, as the sun sank down toward the horizon, was more leisurely with a lot less raucous splashing and playfighting. Shawn and Gus talked about something—Juliet wasn't even entirely sure what, but she liked the sound of their voices, not bickering and vying to see who was going to be the man on top as usual, but just talking. Calm and contemplative.
It was refreshing and incredibly soothing.
When darkness started to settle down in earnest, Shawn shepherded she and Gus out of the water rambling about catching colds and nocturnal jellyfish. Juliet thought the mother-henning was sweet. She and Gus shared looks and little smiles while Shawn fluttered around them, corralling them toward the Psych office.
“I had a really great time, guys,” she told them when they arrived. “Thank you.”
Gus gave her a brief squeeze. “Seriously, Juliet. Anytime. Shawn's not kidding.”
Then, after a half-second glance, which Juliet did notice this time, Gus said, “I'm going to go change. My shorts are still wet and they're chafing.”
Shawn shot him a dirty look. “Thanks for the play-by-play, dude.”
Gus shrugged as he stepped inside and called over his shoulder, “I was just being honest!”
“Next time don't be quite so honest!” Shawn yelled back.
Juliet smiled as he turned back to her, shaking his head. Butterflies suddenly began spawning in her stomach until they were fluttering out gale-force vibrations. She realized abruptly that if Gus hadn't been there, that would have made a pretty good date.
Shawn registered in her thought patterns again and she looked at him, blushing without completely understanding why. His arms were crossed, hands crammed under his arms. “I'm...” he trailed off as though trying to find the right words before finally settling on, “...really glad that you came with us.” The sincerity in his voice was both terrifying and utterly exhilarating.
“Me, too,” she replied and flushed at how quickly the words had come out.
A lopsided smile crossed Shawn's face. “You'll be okay getting home?”
Juliet pursed her lips around a smile. “I'll manage.”
He held up his hands. “Just making sure. You never know when a rogue wallaby might come after you.”
“Good night, Shawn,” she said, poorly stifling her amusement.
Instead of doing the same, Shawn reached out, grabbing her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze, his eyes locked on hers.
The difference between Shawn and Gus, between Shawn and every other guy she'd met in the last three years hit her like a brick to the face.
“Good night, Shawn,” she whispered, but for some reason, she didn't move.
Shawn waited, his eyes searching her face. “Jules?”
She swallowed and then...
Shawn took a tentative step forward. “Jules?” He reached forward, fingers curling around her wrist, so close to the skin she could feel him in the tickle of the tiny hairs.
She just stared back at him wordlessly.
“Jules,” he whispered, head angling to the side. The butterfly storm became an F5 tornado in her gut.
“Shawn,” she finally whispered in return, her voice nearly inaudible. Then Shawn's hand was around the back of her neck, searing against her skin, his other hand pulling her toward him by the waist. Their lips brushed—no pressure—just like they had that night in the station.
Shawn's forehead pinched. “Juliet,” he murmured and the longing in his voice made Juliet's chest ache. “I want this,” he whispered. “I want this so bad I feel like I'm going crazy. But...”
His head tilted down, their foreheads touching and he breathed into the space between them, “I need you. As a friend, or something else, I just—I need you. So I can't—I can't—”
Juliet took his face between her hands and kissed him.