Stir Crazy by Texasartchick
FeatureSummary:

Head Detective Carlton Lassiter thought Shawn's request seemed innocent enough—"Give me a ride in your car."

Life would still be simple and good if his answer had just been "NO."

And now he's stuck in the middle of nowhere with one injured and extremely annoying fake psychic pestering him with no hope of rescue any time soon.  That is, if they can manage to make it out alive...without killing each other first.

And YES, Shawn gets whumped something fierce.  He'll never know what hit him.

This one story is answering four challenges at once.  I'm nothing if not ambitious.

 

Awards:
Categories: Season Characters: Buzz, Juliet, Karen, Lassiter, OMC, Shawn
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, General, Humor, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: None
Challenges: Wet, Stuck in the middle, Trapped, Lassie Saves the Day
Challenges: Wet, Stuck in the middle, Trapped, Lassie Saves the Day
Series: None
Chapters: 8 Completed: Yes Word count: 67532 Read: 60738 Published: November 19, 2009 Updated: February 01, 2010
Story Notes:

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Note To Self—Don't Give Rides To Spencers by Texasartchick
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.  I do not own any of the characters of Psych and am not affiliated with the show or USA Network.  The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.  I do not own nor am I associated with the I-Phone, Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla", "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics, or "I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit.

*AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This story takes place after my three previous Psych Fan Fiction stories "Choose It Or Lose It", "It Can Happen", and "This Stalker Thing Kind Of Sucks".  Events affecting the Lassiter/Shawn dynamics that take place in both of these previous stories are mentioned in this one.  You might want to read them first.  Doing so is not a requirement to understand what is going on in this one, but it will help alleviate any confusion that might occur when the references pop up.*  

ENJOY!  Please be kind enough to review.  All feedback, good or bad, is welcome.






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Head Detective Carlton Lassiter was not a happy man.  Not that his demeanor could ever be described as cheerful on a regular basis, but tonight he was even more perturbed than usual.  No, at this particular moment, downright pissed off was an accurate assessment of his mood.  Shawn Spencer might even go so far as to claim his 'panties were in a wad'.  Shawn Spencer.  The man who just happened to be the reason for his foul mood.  

The man sitting next to him in the front seat of his car.  As if 'man' was an accurate description of him.

Lassiter glanced over at Spencer and wondered yet again how he'd been duped into the eternal man-child's little scheme.  It had to be a scheme, because Spencer certainly couldn't consider this fun.  No person in their right mind would categorize driving up a steep, dark, winding, deserted mountain road at night in heavy rain and a brisk wind as a good time.  But then again, this was Shawn Spencer's idea, after all.  What the hell was he thinking when he'd roped Lassiter into this?

"What the hell were you thinking when you roped me into this?"  Lassiter blurted out.  

Shawn continued listening to music through the earphones that were plugged into his iPhone.  He was bouncing in his seat and singing along loudly to the Blue Oyster Cult song "Godzilla" in an entirely off-pitch voice.  Lassiter thought he sounded worse than the most talentless American Idol rejects.  He reached over and unceremoniously slapped the headphones off of his head.

"There goes Tokyo—hey!  Come on, Lassie!  That song is a classic!"  Shawn sounded truly offended.  

"Not the way you're butchering it, Spencer," Lassiter ground out between his clinched teeth as he returned his hand to the 3 o'clock position on the steering wheel.  "I'll ask you again.  What the hell were you thinking when you roped me into this!"  He pressed down on the accelerator a little more as the incline of the road became steeper.  

"I told you, Lassie.  The spirits are sending me vibes like crazy that there are criminal activities going on at this place.  Possibly even nefarious schemes afoot."

Lassiter turned the windshield wipers up to their highest setting to combat the heavy rain and shot a withering glare at Shawn.  "You know that psychic crap doesn't work with me, Spencer," he seethed, rapidly losing patience.

Shawn winced.  "Oh yeah, right," he replied.

The Detective returned his eyes to the road as he carefully drove around several large rocks and a thick patch of mud spilling off of the shoulder and into the roadway.  His annoyance level only increased when he checked his watch and realized he was now going to be late for an important rendezvous back at the PD.  "No more bullshit.  What are we doing up here?  If you expect me to continue hauling your ass up this mountain, then I damn well want to know why."  

Shawn knew from the Detective's tone of voice that he was certainly not pleased.  Well, he was never pleased with anything, but that was beside the point.  Shawn's mind raced as he tried to come up with a decent sounding excuse.  Because he sure as hell wasn't going to tell Lassiter the truth, which was that Shawn had found a brochure for an unusual 'theme' ski lodge up in the mountains surrounding Santa Barbara and he wanted to check it out due to sheer boredom.  Gus was out of town for the fall pharmaceutical exposition—in Vegas of all places—and Juliet was visiting her sister in Bakersfield to get acquainted with her newborn niece.  Shawn made a mental note to get sweet revenge on Gus somehow.  He still hadn't figured out how Gus kept his credit card hidden long enough to prevent him from secretly buying an accompanying Vegas trip of his own.  Shawn needed an excuse so he wouldn't have to tell Lassiter he'd dragged him up this mountain side because he didn't have any other playmates in his virtual sandbox at the moment.  He didn't feel like being strangled by one of Santa Barbara's finest this evening.

"I told you, Lassie.  It involves a really important case," he lied, trying to stall for a little more time.

"Quit stalling and give me the real reason why we're up here," he replied curtly.

Damn it.  'So that's what it feels like,' he thought.  He hated it when Lassiter did that, turning the tables and guessing what he was thinking.  He was wrong on cases at times, but there was a reason Carlton Lassiter had earned his title at such a young age.  The Head Detective was no idiot, and had a pretty good sense of when people were lying.  There were times he hated the fact that Lassiter knew his secret, because it meant he couldn't just use his patented 'the spirits told me so' excuse.  This was certainly one of them.

"Seriously, Lassie.  I have reason to believe the manager of this ski resort is engaging in criminal activity."  Shawn let the statement hang in the air, hoping the deliberately vague answer would placate the Detective's curiosity for the moment.

"What kind of criminal activity?" he demanded.  

Damn it!  He just couldn't let things go, could he?  No, he had to be the big bad Dick-tective!  "Um, I think they're deahhrrringg bruuggs," he said as he wiped his hand across his mouth and deliberately made his last words unintelligible.  

Lassiter's brow furrowed in confusion.  "What the hell did you say?"

"What, you didn't hear that, Lassie?  The old dog's ears aren't what they used to be?" he mocked, trying to throw Lassiter off by making him angry.

"Uh huh," Lassiter said, knowing full well Spencer was stalling.  As he turned his eyes back to the road something about the passing landscape caught his eye.  He leaned forward and looked out the windshield at the steep incline to their right as he passed another area where grey mud had washed across the highway.  He noticed the mountainside looked almost barren, with only a smattering of small bushes and fresh saplings covering the area.  He glanced down to his left at the sharp drop where the land fell away at a steep angle, finding only the remnants of burned tree trunks and new shrubbery in a large swath of scorched earth cleared by wildfires over the summer.  Even the grass was short.  He did not like this.  He did not like this at all.  He suddenly realized they were driving through mountain terrain that had suffered widespread fire damage to the plant life, and the rain was coming down even harder now.  As a matter of fact, he was about to tell Spencer where to cram his supposed case and began looking for somewhere to turn the car around.

Lassiter was looking ahead for a spot wide enough to turn around the large sedan when Shawn leaned forward in his seat.  He was trying to reach his headphones from where they'd landed on the front floorboard of the car.  As he stretched forward, Lassiter caught a glimpse of the top half of a brightly colored brochure sticking out of the back left pocket of his jeans.  Curious, he was about to reach for the pamphlet when Shawn sat back in his seat.  He unbuckled his seat belt and leaned forward again, this time unencumbered by the safety device.  Lassiter immediately took advantage of Spencer's position and snatched the paper from his pocket just as his fingers curled around the head set.

"Hey!  What the hell are you doing, Lassie?"

"Just a little detective work, Spencer.  What have we here?"  Lassiter slowed the car and turned on the interior light to look at the cover.  It was an advertisement for the "Hot Beds Honeymoon Hotel and Ski Resort", and showed several buxom young women dressed in skimpy "ski bunny" outfits standing in front of gaudy neon lights.  Bright multicolored text on the front proudly proclaimed 'a heart-shaped hot tub and vibrating bed in every room!'

"What the...SPENCER!  You dragged me all the way up here for this crap?!?"

"It's not 'crap', Lassie!  It's a resort made entirely of awesome!

The car's interior filled with the sound of creaking leather as Lassiter's hands tightened around the steering wheel into a death grip.  He was trying to take out as much of his anger on the wheel as possible in a desperate attempt to avoid throttling the idiot beside him.

"Look at this, it even has vibrating beds!  I've always heard about those, but I've never seen them in real life.  They're like an urban legend, I didn't think they actually existed until now.  It's kinda like finding Bigfoot!"

"SHUT IT Spencer!  Just shut the hell up!"  Lassiter growled.  "I cannot believe you...no, never mind.  You really are that stupid."

"Stupid?  Lassie, there's hot babes and heart-shaped hot tubs in our near future!  It's a cheesy pop culture nirvana for two single dudes like us, I tell you!  Look, they even have a condom machine in every bathroom, and—"

"God DAMN IT Spencer!  Do you ever stop and think before acting on your hair-brained ideas?  Do you have any idea where we are right now?"

"Umm...in the mountains?"

"In mountains that have been scorched by wildfires all damn summer!"

Spencer shrugged.  "So?  It's not on fire now, so let's go Lassie!"

"It's raining, Spencer.  Just like it has been for the last three days!  Did you even bother checking the weather report?  It's going to rain like this the rest of the week!"

"Great!  Again—no fire!  And that means we'll have nothing to do but stay inside all night with beautiful women."  He wiggled his eyebrows, held up the brochure, and pointed to a ski bunny as if to prove his point.  "I'll bet there's even one that will put up with a certain Mr. Grouchy Pants tonight," he added suggestively.  "Ooh, show her your badge!  Chicks dig that!"

Lassiter snatched the paper out of Shawn's hand, crumpled it in his fist with a growl, and tossed it in to the back seat.  Shawn stuck out his bottom lip and pouted as he watched it bounce off the 'pleather' covered cushions and tumble to the floor.  

"Do you have any idea how dangerous it is driving up here right now, you fucking moron?!?  Don't you know the combination of steep mountains coupled with heavy rain makes the perfect conditions for landslides?  If I'd realized where we going I never would have agreed to this!"  He spotted a road sign up ahead that read 'Turnaround - 5 miles.'  He gunned the engine, determined to reach that turnaround area as fast as possible and get them the hell out of there.  "Now I am turning this car around, and taking my happy ass back to Santa Barbara ASAP!  And you are coming with me whether you like it or not!"

"But Lassie, that metaphor is totally inaccurate.  You're not really happy, and I'm sure your a—"

"Even if I have to handcuff you to the door and drag you along for the ride!"  He fixed Shawn with a vicious glare that let him know he meant every word he said.  "And by the way, I'm damn well going to make sure that both my time and the city's gas money for this little trip comes out of your next paycheck from the department," he added with a snarl.

Shawn fell silent and moped as he slouched in his seat.  The only sound filling the silence was the roar of the car's engine and the soft swish of wipers sweeping the spattering rain off the windshield.  Becoming increasingly bored, Shawn decided it might be fun to activate the lights and sirens while they sped along the dark road.  After all, even Lassiter liked driving fast with his emergency lights on.  Who didn't like brightly colored blinky flashy lights?  Deciding it might lighten the mood, he reached for the controls mounted on top of the rise in the center floorboard.  Lassiter saw the motion out of the corner of his eye, and smacked his hand away with hard *slap*.  Shawn's hand bounced off the square black metal frame housing the electronic controls with a hollow *thunk*.  

"Oww!"

Lassiter turned to face Shawn just as the car came over the crest of a hill.  "How many damn times have I told you not to—"

"LASSIE LOOK OUT!"

Lassiter instinctively hit the brakes as he immediately scanned for danger ahead.  That's when he saw it.  A massive section of the roadway directly in front of them had been washed away along with part of the mountainside, creating a giant, deep gap in the pavement ahead.  The Crown Vic slid towards the hole on the slick mud-covered pavement at a frightening speed.  Lassiter jerked the wheel to the right in an attempt to stop the car by hitting the mountainside, but the front end only veered slightly and continued the downhill slide.  The car was out of control and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

"Spencer hang on!"

Lassiter quickly removed his hands from the steering wheel, crossed his arms across his chest, and drew his legs in to the base of his seat.  He crossed his ankles hoping to prevent his long legs from being broken against the floorboard upon impact.  Shawn turned in his seat and barely managed to click his seat belt's buckle home before the vehicle sailed off of the pavement and into the void.

*WHAM*

The nose of car dropped and smashed into the other side of the gap, impacting with tremendous force and deafening sound.  The vehicle slammed to a halt, throwing the two men hard against their seat belts in a violent jerking motion.  The side windows exploded in a shower of glass and the windshield shattered into a series of web-like cracks.  Spencer yelped in pain as the car dropped and came to rest pointing nose-down into the hole at an extreme angle, with the rear wheels bouncing against the ragged edge of the broken pavement above them.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, everything stopped.

Rain began dripping into the car through the broken side and rear windows.  Lassiter exhaled slowly, releasing the breath he didn't even realize he'd been holding.  He slowly began moving his extremities, first wiggling his fingers and toes, then gradually flexing his arms and legs.  He was relieved to find that nothing felt like it was broken.  He looked over at Shawn and saw he was still mostly held in place by his seat belt, but he was clutching his left leg, is face contorted in pain.  

"Spencer!  You all right?"  He wiped away the water that was rapidly dripping onto his face and turned towards his companion.  

Shawn's teeth were clinched and his face was turning red.  He finally exhaled sharply as he gritted out, "No!"  He inhaled again and gasped in pain.

Lassiter tried to unlatch his seat belt but he couldn't depress the button.  The car was positioned so it was standing almost directly on its nose, causing his body weight to put so much tension on the belt it was nearly impossible to unbuckle.  He pulled out his pocket knife, braced his knees against the dashboard, held on to the steering wheel with his left hand, and sliced through the seat belt.  He caught himself as he fell forward and immediately began maneuvering himself towards the other side of the car.  Lassiter used the back of the seat to haul himself up so he could plant his feet on the dashboard and stand in a half-crouched position.  He began checking Shawn for injuries and immediately saw what was causing him such pain.

Shawn's left leg was pressed against the now twisted metal housing surrounding the car's electronics in the center console.  The sharp metal edge had torn a huge slash in the front and side of Shawn's leg just below the knee.  Blood was beginning to soak through his jeans around the wound.  Lassiter produced the small high powered tactical flashlight he used for building searches from of his inner jacket pocket and took a closer look.  Holding the light in his mouth, he carefully cut away the fabric around the wound and leaned in for a closer inspection.  The metal edge of the housing had ripped a deep gash into Shawn's leg that was about five inches long.
 
"Damn."  Lassiter pursed his lips and put his hand on Shawn's shoulder.  "Spencer, it's not safe here.  We have to get out of the car."  As if to confirm his statement, the car creaked and shifted slightly as the earth around the vehicle continued to move.  "I'm going to cut your seat belt and get you out of here.  Do you understand?"

Shawn nodded in understanding as he finally started breathing somewhat normally again.  "Okay.  Just...with as little pain as possible, please!  This kinda hurts, man!"

"I'll try."  Lassiter positioned himself in a crouch beside Shawn and helped him pull his legs up so his feet were planted on the dashboard.  Then Shawn braced his left hand on Lassiter's shoulder as the seat belt was cut away.  He hissed in pain as more of his weight briefly came down on his left leg, then he pushed himself up as Lassiter reached down and grabbed hold of Shawn's right foot.  "Climb out of the back window Spencer."  Lassiter pulled up on Shawn's foot, stood up as much as he could, and lifted him towards the broken back window of the car.  He grunted as Shawn's other foot accidentally hit him in the face, then a few seconds later, stepped on the top of his head.  He finally managed to haul himself out the back window and onto the car's trunk where he hopped down and sat on the pavement.  The heavy rain soon had his clothes soaked through.

Lassiter reached down and found the hand mike for the police radio.  He knew they were well out of range, but he figured it was worth a try.  He immediately keyed up the mike and tried calling for assistance.  "Unit eleven ten to dispatch, do you copy."  The only response he received was static.  "Unit eleven ten to dispatch, do you copy!"  Nothing.  He tried several more times before finally giving up.  He went ahead and pressed the emergency button on the radio even though they were well out of range just in case dispatch could happen to pick it up.

He tossed the useless handset aside and turned his attention to the rest of the car.  Lassiter turned off the headlights, windshield wipers, and everything else he could find that might drain power from the battery.  Then he removed the keys from the ignition, and used the single spare 'lockout' key he kept in his pocket to turn the ignition to the 'auxiliary' position.  At least that way the GPS device would function until the battery died, hopefully allowing the SBPD to get a fix on their general location.  Then he crawled out of the car, pulled himself up onto the trunk, and jumped up onto the pavement.  The car had already sunk another three feet by the time his feet hit the road.

Lassiter pulled out his cell phone and tried to dial 911.  Hearing only a beeping noise, he looked at the screen of his phone and found it wasn't getting a signal.  "Spencer, try your cell phone."  He moved back to the slowly sinking back end of the Crown Vic and tried to open the trunk.

Shawn pulled his phone out of his pocket and tried to dial Gus's number.  Then he tried dialing Juliet, his dad, and 911 in rapid succession.  It was useless.  "I've got nothing, man.  No signal up here."

No matter how hard he tried, Lassiter couldn't pop open the trunk of the car.  The key turned in the latch but the lid wouldn't raise.  He examined the trunk and found the force of the impact had apparently bent the frame of the car, resulting in the body panels being shifted out of alignment.  The trunk was wedged closed.

"Spencer, give me a hand with this.  We need to get in here," he said impatiently.

Shawn hobbled over and the two men worked together to try and pull open the trunk.  Despite their combined best efforts, it just wouldn't budge.  

"Damn it!" Lassiter yelled as he slammed his fists down on the car.  Shawn sat down on the pavement as Lassiter paced in frustration.  They were both soaked to the bone and the temperature was in the mid-fifties.  Add the brisk 15 mph wind, and it was becoming extremely uncomfortable rather quickly.  

"What the hell do we need out of the trunk so badly, anyway?" Shawn asked.

Lassiter pointed to Shawn's leg.  "First aid kit for starters!  Road flares, blankets, things we really need right now!" he yelled.  The rain was starting to come down even harder and it was becoming more difficult to hear each other without shouting.  The wind was starting to pick up as well.  "We can't stay here, Spencer!  We have to find a place to stay for the night!"

Shawn threw his hands up in the air.  "Dude!  Do you see a Holiday Inn around here?  Cause if you do, please let me know!"

Lassiter strode over to Shawn and knelt down in front of him.  "We have to move, Spencer.  We have to get out of the rain.  Now if I bandage this up, do you think you can walk?"

Shawn winced.  "Do I really have a choice?"

Lassiter shook his head.  "Not really, no," he said in his usual blunt tone as water cascaded down his face

Lassiter pulled out his pocket knife, a Gerber folder with automatic opening, and pressed the button to pop open the nearly four inch black matte finish blade.

"Damn Lassie!" Shawn gaped in surprise.  "Is that thing even legal in this state?"

"It is for cops," he smirked, obviously pleased with his choice in weaponry.  He cut off the lower portion of Shawn's left pant leg and cut two long strips out of the fabric.  He folded up the remaining portion into a thick square, placed it over the large diagonal gash, then used the two strips to tie the pad tightly in place.  "The pressure should at least keep it from bleeding too badly.  Let's get going, Spencer."

Lassiter looped Shawn's left arm around his shoulders and helped pull him to his feet.  Shawn gingerly tried putting weight on his leg and found it was quite painful, but he could walk on it with a limp.  "Okay, I'm good."  

Shawn started down the road, but Lassiter steered him towards the steep slope by the left side of the highway.  "Uh, Lassie?  The nice even pavement is that way, dude."

"Spencer, don't you remember the drive up here?  There was nothing along that road for at least the last twenty miles.  No houses, no business, not a damn thing.  Our best chance to find shelter fast is straight down the mountainside.  It's going to be pretty rough terrain, but this way we significantly cut the distance we need to go by moving in a straight line.  We have to cut distance any way we can because you won't be able to go far on that leg."  He looked over at Shawn, who was gazing down the steep hillside with apprehension.  "Besides, I remember a pretty rocky area with several overhangs a few miles down.  If we can't find a building, at least we can hole up under one of those and dry out.  Think you can handle it Spencer?"

Shawn gulped.  "Uh...yeah, I guess so..."

"I can't carry you down, but I'll help you as much as I can.  Just be careful, Spencer.  Watch where you step.  I mean it."  Lassiter maneuvered them to the edge and found a spot where the ground wasn't quite as steep as the other areas.  It even had a few bushes for handholds.  He helped Shawn over the guard rail and clasped his wrist as he lowered him down as far as he could before letting go.  Then he crossed the railing himself, and they began slowly working their way down the steep hillside.





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Buzz McNab bounded up the steps in front of the police station as fast as his great legs would carry him.  He clutched the black plastic pistol case in his hands securely, feeling very protective of the shiny new treasure inside.  He'd just picked up the custom made Springfield 1911 .45 caliber pistol from the gunsmith, and he could hardly wait to get to the firing range to test it out.  Actually, Buzz was just as excited about who was going to be joining him on the range tonight as he was to be breaking in the new gun.  

He'd been elated when the Head Detective had seen him reading up on custom pistol builders in the local area, and struck up a conversation with him about which gunsmiths and weapons were superior in quality.  Buzz saw the gun enthusiast's eyes light up when he'd mentioned he was in the market for a premium .45 caliber.  Being an expert in firearms, Lassiter had promptly volunteered to be his guide into the realm of high quality handguns, and insisted a custom 1911 was the best way to go.  When Buzz placed the order, he'd asked if he'd like to help him break in the new gun.  Buzz had never seen the man say yes to something so fast in his life.  He still couldn't believe the stoic Head Detective had actually smiled when the invitation was tentatively extended.

Buzz arrived on the gun range and staked his claim to two firing lanes.  He set the case down on the shooting platform and checked his watch.  Thirty minutes until Lassiter was supposed to meet him here.  To pass the time, Buzz pinned up targets and set out black markers for marking hits on the paper.  Then he opened up the case and ran his hand over the chrome plated Springfield's custom cherry wood grips, tailored to perfectly fit his large hands.

'Detective Lassiter will love shooting this!' he thought, secretly overjoyed to have found common ground with someone he looked up to so much.





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It was slow going, but Shawn was managing surprisingly well.  Ever the trailblazer, Lassiter had insisted on climbing down first with Shawn following close behind.  He'd claimed he wanted to go first because he liked to see ahead of him at all times for 'tactical reasons.'  What he didn't tell his companion was that he really did it so he'd have a chance to try and block the descent if Shawn's wounded leg gave out and he accidently fell.  He was also trying to spare the younger man the rather unpleasant cascade of mud and small dislodged rocks that were currently raining down upon his head.  Shawn sure as hell didn't need any more cuts or bruises—his current physical state was already bad enough.  So he'd decided to just shut up and take a few lumps so his injured companion didn't have to.  

Lassiter's quiet nobility had an unintended side effect that he found extremely annoying—since Shawn wasn't busy preventing rocks from pummeling him, he'd decided to occupy himself by singing theme songs to every police television show he could possibly think of.  

And Shawn Spencer had a photographic memory.  He also watched a hell of a lot of TV.

"Duh da da da, daaa daaaaaaa!  Da da duh da, daaaaaaaaaaa!"  

Lassiter recognized that one as "Hawaii Five-O" immediately.  He had to admit, he was impressed by the sheer amount of material Spencer was able to recall.  Who the hell even remembers the theme song to "Policewoman" anyway?  Or "Adam 12" for that matter?  He reluctantly admitted to himself that he was secretly pleased to hear the "SWAT" theme again, which was one of his favorite shows as a child.  But he would never admit to enjoying hearing Shawn Spencer sing anything.  Not to anyone.  Ever.  Not unless he was actively being tortured.  

They'd been crawling and clawing their way down the steep hillside in the mud and pouring rain to Spencer's chorus of police show theme songs for well over half an hour when Lassiter noticed a change in the terrain.  The hillside wasn't as damaged by fire as it had been farther up the mountain.  The fires must have started somewhere around that point and the wind-driven flames traveled uphill.  There were large patches of grass and a few pale, unmarred limestone rocks under his dirt-encrusted fingers now instead of the constant presence of gray, ash-filled mud and burned remains of trees.  The incline they were traversing was also, thankfully, starting to level out a bit.  Lassiter paused and used his flashlight to peer into the darkness beneath him.  He found the steep angle of the land flattened out about sixty feet below their current position.

"Spencer!  We're almost there!"  Lassiter wiped away a fresh face full of mud and batted away a golf ball-sized rock before it could smack him in his right eye.  He looked up to see Shawn had perched himself on a rocky ledge and was leaning back against the hillside.  His face was contorted in pain and he looked exhausted.

"Just—give me a second—Lassie!" he panted between labored breaths.  "I need to stop for just a minute!"

Cursing under his slightly winded breath, Lassiter climbed back up and planted his backside on the soaking wet grass behind the charred remnants of a tree stump next to Shawn.  "Well maybe if you'd quit singing that TV Land crap and actually save your breath, you wouldn't be so damn tired, Spencer."  He turned off the flashlight and put it back in his pocket to save the battery, then turned his face to the pitch-dark heavens and secretly cursed the day God created rain.  Christ this sucked!  Good thing his watch was waterproof.  He wiped the droplets of moisture from the face and checked the time.  They'd been wandering around after the wreck in the drenching rain for almost an hour.

Shawn winced and carefully stretched out his injured leg.  Lassiter noticed immediately and crouched by his side to check the wound as Shawn suddenly broke out in song.

"Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory..."

Lassiter pressed his lips together hard and frowned.  "Great!  A song about rain," he grumbled as he spat out a mouthful of rainwater mixed with the mud washing off of his face.  "Thanks a lot, you asshole!"

"Well you said I should quit singing 'that TV Land crap', I'm just following orders.  You are the Head Detective, after all!"  

"Just shut the hell up and hold still, Spencer!"  Lassiter carefully peeled back the remnants of Shawn's pants leg to check the bandaging.  The material covering the wound was, of course, soaking wet with water and covered in mud.  It was also soaked through with blood.  There was a little bit of blood training down Shawn's calf, but so far the pressure of the tight bandage was keeping blood loss to a minimum.  Even so, Lassiter knew Shawn probably wouldn't be able to walk more than another hour at most with the severity of the injury.  

Lassiter returned to his seat behind the tree stump.  "We need to find shelter, and fast.  The temperature is dropping, and you sure as hell can't go on forever like this."

Shawn nodded.  "Yeah, I know."  He pulled his navy blue plaid flannel outer shirt around himself a little tighter even though it did absolutely nothing to keep the biting wind from chilling him.  

"Well, at least the ground levels out just up ahead.  At least that's something."

Shawn crawled over to the edge of his rocky seat and crept over the side.  "Well, no time like the present, then!  Let's hurry up and get down there!  I'll race you to the bottom, Carly pants!  Whoever wins gets first dibs on a hot shower whenever we finally get the hell out of here!"  Shawn began scampering down the hillside before Lassiter could dislodge himself from his perch and find solid footing.  

"Hey, Spencer!  Slow down and be careful!  This isn't a race damn it!"

"I thought we just established that it was!  Ooh, it's just like that Blake Edwards movie The Great Race!  I'm The Great Leslie with my amazing, although currently rain-soaked hair, and you're the bad guy Professor Fate!  You even have the super cool villain's black spiky eyebrows, too!"  He continued to scurry down the steep slope while Lassiter struggled to catch up.  

"Spencer, Goddamn it, slow down!"

Shawn's response was to start singing again as loud as his tired lungs would allow.  "Oh I love a rainy night, it's such a beautiful sight!  I love to feel the rain, on my face, taste the rain on my lii-iiiips!"  He had his eye on that beloved flat ground, that terrain that was easy to walk on for an awesome injured dude such as himself, and he just wanted to get this climb over with as fast as possible.  In his mind, the sooner it was done, the better.  So he was determined to ignore the pain, suck it up, and just do it.  

He'd descended about twenty feet and was working his way down over a small rocky outcropping with a tiny shrub beneath the overhang when he heard something that caught his attention.  It sounded a little bit like air escaping a balloon.

'What the hell?'  Curious, Shawn pushed the plant aside and peered into the dark space underneath the rock.  Two small sets of beady black eyes stared back at him from behind black masks.  Shawn immediately recognized them as creatures he considered as evil incarnate.

"AAAAHHH!  SATAN'S LITTLE HELPERS!"  Shawn let out an ear-piercing shriek that rivaled the best B-movie scream queens as the mother raccoon hissed and swiped at him with her paw.  He jumped to the side in a panic in an effort to avoid what he was absolutely sure to be claws infested with rabies and God-knows-what-other-nastiness, his arms pin-wheeling to maintain his balance.  Shawn's right foot landed on a loose rock.  It sank beneath his weight and rolled out from under his sneaker, causing him to lose his balance and topple over backwards.  'Oh shit!'

Lassiter watched in horror as Shawn began tumbling head-over-heels down the mountainside.

"SPENCER!"

Shawn brought his arms up and clasped his hands together behind his neck in an attempt to shield his head from the rough terrain.  Falling backwards, his back hit the ground first, then his feet, his side landed on something hard and he continued to roll, picking up momentum as he went.  His ribs impacted with a tree trunk, knocking the wind out of him as he bounced off, slammed into a rock, and cartwheeled down the steep incline with frightening speed.  He finally reached the bottom of the forty foot expanse and rolled to a stop, his motionless body coming to rest in a crumpled heap.  

Lassiter frantically picked his way down the mountainside as fast as he could without falling himself.  It wouldn't do Shawn any damn good if he broke his neck as well.  He quickly scurried past the rocks and trees, jumping the last seven feet onto a patch of grass.  Lassiter pulled out his flashlight and ran over to Shawn, terrified by the possibility that he may have just witnessed his mission turn from a rescue into a recovery.  

Shawn lay face down on his right side in a puddle of muddy water.  His eyes were closed, his arms were still up near his head, and his right leg bent awkwardly underneath his left.  Lassiter crouched down beside his motionless form and lightly touched his left shoulder.  He was relieved to hear a low pained groan.  It meant that Shawn was still breathing.

"Spencer!  Can you hear me?"  

Receiving another groan as a response, he carefully rolled Shawn over onto his back.  He had no choice but to move him because finding shelter was now more imperative than ever.  Lassiter tried his best to protect Shawn's head and neck as he rolled him over.  As soon as he was on his back, Lassiter noticed the awkward position of his right leg and immediately recognized that it was broken below the knee.

"Lassie?"  Shawn's pain-filled eyes fluttered open briefly as he raised his head.  

"What?"  Lassiter peered down at him with concern.

"I think I won the race, Professor," he joked with a weak smile.  "First dibs on that hot shower..."  Shawn's voice faded away as he passed out.





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End Notes:

That's the end of chapter one.  Hope you enjoyed it!  The whump continues in chapter two.  Poor Shawn will never know what hit him.

For all those who have read this far, THANK YOU!  I live for feedback, so please, by all means, leave a review.  It's really appreciate it if you did.  

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