Title: Exhale
For: Psych
Pairing: Shawn/Lassiter
Rating: PG-13 at most
Warnings: language, S.4 spoilers,
Summary: written for [profile] psychflashfic as a sequel to Inhale. Same prompt: what are you wearing
Disclaimer: not mine, etc etc etc.







It was a small shock to see Spencer and Guster in the Chief's office when he and O'Hara walked in. The Chief had to have called them in, it was the only reason Carlton could think of for the Dynamic Duo to suddenly appear after a week without a glimpse of them.

Considering Spencer's boredom levels and the way he spent money, the absence couldn't be because they didn't need the work. Most likely it meant that they had—Spencer had—been avoiding the station. That was...interesting.

Spencer had obviously been grandstanding as usual, but he paused in his bragging as Carlton followed O'Hara into the room and closed the door. Just a small hitch, like he was holding his breath, until he realized that he wasn't done boasting about his psychic prowess, but to Carlton it was like a whole new Spencer. His eyes came up, met Carlton's before quickly flicking away, and then he was talking again. Carlton doubted anyone else had noticed. He probably wouldn't have, if he hadn't been occupied with tormenting Spencer. Obsessed with his new hobby might be a better term—turning Spencer in a hot, speechless, quivering mess.

It was better than therapy. Carlton hadn't felt this good—excited, interested, turned on—in years. It couldn't have gotten any better—well, Spencer could have returned some of the sentiment, or given Carlton an answer—but so far he wasn't saying no and part of Carlton wasn't sure that he'd know what to do if Spencer finally did say yes.

Not that he was thinking about that. For now he was just about the chase, and wondering how far he could push it before Spencer would finally put an end to this.

“Though I don't think you're going to get much of anything from me,” Spencer was explaining, turning to stand in front of the Chief's desk, with his attention, for all appearances, solely on Chief Vick. Then he spoke again. “The spirits are distracted. What are you wearing, Lass? Are you an Aqua Velva man?” he asked without turning to see Carlton's reaction, though O'Hara did as she came to a stop between Spencer and Guster.

Carlton hesitated, but clenched his jaw without answering and took up position in the back of the room, leaning against the wall by the door. He crossed his arms and even managed a smile. O'Hara's eyebrows went up before she faced the Chief like Guster and Spencer were doing.

“That is not Aqua Velva, Shawn,” Guster butted in, with the attitude of an expert. Carlton ignored that the way he ignored Spencer's comment. It was mild by Spencer's standards, and missing something when Spencer wouldn't look at him. He supposed that was what Spencer had to say now that he'd actually gotten Carlton's attention after years of obnoxiously vying for it.

But following his new policy of simply observing without engaging—verbally—with Spencer, Carlton leaned back to watch and didn't answer. Spencer's shoulders went back, his hands fell to his sides, curled up, as though he was aware of being observed.

Carlton liked that—Spencer noticing that he was watching. He didn't understand everything here, like why Spencer had been running since Carlton had started this, unless Spencer wasn't used to getting chased, or he'd never expected Carlton to flirt back, but it was amusing anyway to see Spencer on the defensive for once. Arousing, he had the thought again. Mostly because he knew it couldn't possibly last.

There was a small pause and then the Chief moved on, frowning at Carlton's silence but then forgetting about it. O'Hara seemed just as confused, but focused back on the case.

Carlton could have spoken, could have said something about Spencer being irresponsible. But it would have given Spencer a chance to take another poke at him, and Carlton was...Carlton was ready to accept being Spencer's target, but only if it at least meant some benefits for him in return.

That could mean just getting Spencer back from time to time, or just indulging in some flirting of his own. Because that was what Spencer had been doing, for years now, even if the man was too immature to ever act like an adult. Somewhere around Spencer's second year of “business” Carlton realized that, if they had been on a schoolyard, Spencer would have been aiming spitballs at him and following him home. Though he'd thought then that Spencer was only doing it to fluster him and had ignored it.

Carlton was generally awkward about that kind of thing but he'd been pretty sure he hadn't been meant to respond. Spencer did some form of pigtail pulling with everyone, from Guster to O'Hara. It didn't mean anything.

That idea had lasted until Spencer had repeatedly broken into Carlton's house and showed up on two of Carlton's dates and at three Reenactments. The last straw had been when Spencer had brought his girlfriend to the station. As though talking about their sex life—loudly—whenever Carlton had walked by hadn't been completely obvious and obnoxious—the girl should have put Spencer in his place and Carlton was still amazed she hadn't. But by the time Spencer had dragged the poor woman to a crime scene it had been clear that Spencer was either out of control or had absolutely no idea what he was doing. Or possibly both.

It figured the the moron would be completely inexperienced at adult relationships. Idiot probably wouldn't even know how to make a move that didn't involve picking on someone.

The first time Carlton had done it in return, in his way, in this way, just to show Spencer up, shut him up, Spencer's eyes had widened in absolute and real surprise, and for one moment he'd been speechless before he'd laughed too loud and hurried away.

After a victory like that, there'd been nothing for it but to keep going.

Carlton had started with the kind of stares across a crowded room that might have been the stuff of romances but which usually meant a restraining order. They had obviously unnerved Spencer...in a good way. He'd gotten louder, and bouncier, without ever once directly commenting on them. No, “Lassie, stop being an Esther Molester” or “Lass why are you looking at me like you just ate a dozen freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and I'm an ice cold glass of milk?” Nothing but silence and his chest heaving and red staining his face.

Carlton had invaded Spencer's space next. He'd found he liked that too, especially after all the times Spencer had done it to him. Carlton had at least had kept his hands to himself. So far.

Though the breathing a week ago...that had been an accident. Spencer had smelled...surprisingly good. Carlton had leaned in, only to press for more when Spencer had allowed it. Spencer had stood in front of him, breathing hard. He'd smelled like clean sweat and shampoo and Caribbean spices mingled with pricey cologne. Carlton had found the scent at the mall the next day, bought the smallest bottle he could afford, worn it every day this week waiting for Spencer to come back.

Spencer had smelled it on him the moment Carlton had walked into the room, even if it the scent was different on Carlton, mixed with gun oil and leather and coffee.

The Chief was talking, a steady, serious flow of words. Carlton already knew the details of the case so didn't add anything but he saw their puzzled looks when he didn't argue against Spencer's presence. Their confusion grew when Spencer tried to argue against taking the case.

Guster put an end to that. Then Chief pulled out the file, intending to hand it to Guster, but Spencer—for all his talk—snatched it. That was when Carlton moved.

He walked up behind Spencer and reached over the man's shoulder to flip a page.

“Right here, Spencer.” He spoke in the barest whisper and watched the fine hairs on Spencer's neck stir, watched Spencer shiver. He felt it. He could have purred. Who needed the Civil War?

“I think I can figure it out, Lass,” Spencer spoke tightly, but didn't say anything smartass when Carlton snorted softly. Just mumbled a small addition that Carlton wasn't certain he understood. “...Eventually.”

Whatever Spencer meant, he wasn't stepping to the side, or having another “vision” that would allow him to slip away, though there was room, the man could move. When he didn't, when he just stared down at the file and let O'Hara start to point things out in a pleasant murmur, Carlton moved again, put a hand down, to his side, then let it brush Spencer's back. There was another shiver, but not a comment, not a step. Just a tiny shudder and the sound of Spencer's breath catching.

It was better than scotch, or closing a case, or any damn cookies, to know that this made Spencer quiet at last. Not even a gun in the man's face could do that.

Spencer's shirt was thin. Carlton reached with his other hand again, turned another page, tapped his finger over a photograph. The inside of his arm felt hot, so close to the other man. Spencer's head went down to follow Carlton's gesture, and Carlton moved his other hand to Spencer's side, next to Spencer's arm, just out of the Chief's line of sight. He let it linger so Spencer would know it wasn't an accident.

He caught part of the look Spencer gave him, a sideways, stunned look, before Spencer's eyelids dipped. A moment later they were up again. Then Spencer turned to look at Guster, or just turned, angling his chin up at the same time and pushing his body back. The man was practically pressed to him, his back to Carlton's chest, shivering minutely with every breath Carlton took.

Spencer's eyes were on Guster, but his neck, his skin, was under Carlton's mouth, and he still hadn't moved to get away. In fact he'd leaned back to allow this, speaking silently in a way that Carlton hadn't known he could.

He'd won. The thought blankly followed Carlton's first one, that Spencer was waiting for Carlton to make the next move. Carlton opened his mouth, but all that came out was a long, shaky exhale. The kind of exhausted breathing that a man did after he'd chased down a suspect for miles on foot.

He wasn't crowing, he wasn't even smiling. He was just standing there, enjoying the barely there, right there sensation of Spencer, inches from him and pressing back.

Then Spencer's hand swung down, to just touch his. He let it linger, and Carlton breathed out again—sighed—into Spencer's ear, over his throat. It was a shock, a moment of stillness as Carlton realized that Spencer had no intention of moving, of moving anything but his head, which he lifted so that Carlton's mouth had to graze his skin.

Victory be damned, there was nothing to do but let him.


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