Psychics Are People, Two - 2021 by ZedPM, DinerGuy
Summary: The Psych gang has met many criminals during their careers, but Laura Peters was one of a kind. Now she's back and history seems to be repeating itself.

Rewrite of our fic from 2013. We decided to leave that version up for the memories, but this is a new and complete version.
Categories: Season Characters: Gus, Juliet, Lassiter, Marlowe, OFC, Shawn
Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor, Mystery
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 6 Completed: Yes Word count: 14892 Read: 2701 Published: January 14, 2021 Updated: January 14, 2021
Story Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. 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.

Welcome to 2021 Everyone! All it took was eight years for Deej and Zed to get together again and put out a completed fic. We hope you enjoy!

1. Chapter 1 by ZedPM

2. Chapter 2 by ZedPM

3. Chapter 3 by ZedPM

4. Chapter 4 by ZedPM

5. Chapter 5 by ZedPM

6. Chapter 6 by ZedPM

Chapter 1 by ZedPM
Hello, everyone!

It's me! I know what you're thinking: this website looks a whole lot like my other one. I assure you, however, that it is completely different. All the pictures on here are legitimately taken; I didn't hide behind any bushes. I also deleted the fanfic section.

You might be asking yourself, 'Didn't you get put in prison two years ago?' or 'Did you ever get Detective Lassiter's blood out of your favorite dress?' or, my personal favorite, 'How did your therapy go?'

It's true that I, Laura Peters, was a resident of the state psychological center. The state of California decided that completing a therapy program there would be acceptable retribution for the things I did two years ago. (And yes, I did get my dress clean. Hydrogen peroxide and cold water work wonders.)

But back on topic. I'm going to come as clean here as my dress now is. I don't have a crazy obsession with the psychic detective Shawn Spencer anymore. I no longer have 1,000 adjectives to describe his hair, and I no longer fantasize about our wedding. I think he and Detective O'Hara make a lovely couple, and I am perfectly happy for them.

After kidnapping Head Detective Carlton Lassiter of the Santa Barbara Police Department and landing myself in a boatload of trouble, I had a time of inner reflection and realized the error of my ways. There is only one person who deserves all the attention I had previously been bestowing on Shawn Spencer and much, much more. (I'll give you a hint: his name begins with Carlton and ends with Lassiter.)

Please take a look around the site and bask in the epicness that is the finest, most amazing, most wonderful head detective in the entire history of the SBPD.

~ Laura

P.S. Aren't his eyes amazingly blue?

chyspsych

"I'm sensing something great and powerful!" Shawn Spencer shouted to the surrounding crowd. He was standing in the middle of the civic center, where the state gymnastics finals were being held that weekend. Only five minutes earlier, Susie Andrews, the state qualifier for the balance beam, had been preparing to start her routine. Then Shawn had run onto the floor.

"Spencer! Get out of the way!" Lassiter yelled from the sidelines.

The police were in full force due to threats on all the gymnasts' lives over the past week. None had been carried through except for a collapsed pommel horse that had put one of the competitors in the hospital with a broken ankle. Despite their best efforts, the department had been unable to catch the person responsible.

"Give me three minutes." Shawn held up three fingers at the detective. "Gina Madison got that much time for her floor routine, and, although I won't be ending mine with a double axel, I think I deserve just as much time."

"That's an ice skating move, Spencer," Lassiter snapped, avoiding the weird look Juliet gave him.

"I've heard it both ways, Lassifrass," Shawn laughed.

"Shawn, hurry up," Gus whispered. He glanced around nervously at the parents, who were giving the duo threatening looks.

"Although great and powerful, I'm not referring to the Wizard of Oz," Shawn continued, narrowing his eyes as he spotted the civic center's head janitor. The guy had been hanging around all weekend, and yet Shawn hadn't seen him cleaning a single thing. Plus, whenever any of the events had been going on, the guy was always at the next event on the list, claiming to be checking the area for spills. Shawn focused on the name embroidered on the uniform shirt; it was the same last name as one of the gymnasts participating in the competition. "Our friendly neighborhood janitor hasn't been here for the epic vaults or bar routines." Shawn pointed his finger at the man. "He's been here to create a sensational week of stories for the newspaper and to help his granddaughter advance in the finals."

If the panicked deer-in-the-headlights look hadn't tipped the cops off, the all-out sprint for the nearest exit definitely did. Juliet clotheslined him before he got there and had him in cuffs by the time Lassiter hurried over, closely followed by Shawn and Gus.

"And to think, these are only twelve-year-olds," Gus tsked.

><

It was well past dark when Lassiter finally made his way home. Before Marlowe, he would have spent the night at the station finishing his reports. Since they'd gotten married, he tried to make an effort to get home every night to see her.

He grabbed the mail from the box in the lobby and quickly glanced through it. A small purple envelope between the electric bill and the bank statement caught his eye. There wasn't a name on the return address, but it was addressed to him. Frowning, he quickly opened it and almost fell up the stairs.

How did she know where he lived? He thought he'd made it clear to her there was to be no contact. Swearing under his breath, he shoved the purple envelope into his jacket pocket. There was no reason to worry Marlowe with this nonsense.

He turned his key in the lock and was relieved to see his wife in the kitchen with a plate of food ready for him.

"I heard your car in the parking lot." Marlowe gave him a warm smile. She put the plate of food on the table and motioned for Carlton to sit down. "How was your day?" she asked, giving him a quick kiss.

"Long," Lassiter mumbled. The concerns he had felt in the hallway were fading as he breathed in the smell of home and Marlowe's lasagna. "How was yours?"

"Busy." Marlowe ran her fingers through the hair on the back of Lassiter's head. "I got packed for this weekend, made sure you had some dinners in the fridge. Oh, and we're going to Erna's for dinner next Sunday."

Lassiter nodded as she was talking. He'd half-forgotten she was going out of town to visit a girlfriend for the weekend.

"Carlton." Marlowe broke into his thoughts. "Is everything okay? You seem distracted."

Lassiter jumped and thought about the purple envelope in his pocket. "Everything's fine," he gave her a half-hearted smile. "I'm just going to miss you this weekend." He gave her another smile and took a big bite of dinner before she could ask him again.

She didn't seem to fully believe him but decided to let it drop for the time being. "I'll miss you, too, but I'll be back before you know it." She reached out and grabbed his hand, giving it a squeeze.

><

Lassiter was on his third cup of coffee when the Psych duo waltzed into the station the next day. He rolled his eyes as Spencer stopped by O'Hara's desk first. "If you're looking for your check, Spencer, the chief said it would be another day or two. I know she called you about it; you shouldn't even need to come back here," he snapped, piling his reports together.

Shawn laughed and shook his head. "Lassie, I always need to come back here, if only to kiss the fair Juliet's hand and wish her well. You've been working her hard this week, and I haven't gotten to see her."

Lassiter growled something under his breath and headed for the front desk to drop off his reports.

"Be nice to Carlton, Shawn." Juliet patted her boyfriend's arm. "Marlowe's out of town for a few days. Plus, he's been under a lot of stress lately."

"I can't imagine why," Shawn commented. "Unless it's because he's been binge-eating those chocolate-covered almonds he thinks I don't know about." He cocked his head to the side. "Which, unless Lassiter can eat a Costco-sized container of those in three days, there have to be some left." He headed for the head detective's desk.

"Shawn, remember what happened the last time you snooped in Lassiter's desk," Juliet warned.

"What? I invited convicted criminals to his birthday party? Oh wait… that was you." Shawn grinned at her and started looking through the drawers. No almonds, but the bottom left drawer was locked.

"That's weird." Juliet frowned. "He usually only keeps the top middle locked."

"So, what's he hiding besides snacks?" Gus asked. He had gone to help Shawn, the promise of food motivating him.

"Clearly, Lassie takes his snacks as seriously as we do," Shawn said, now moving on to searching through the pen holder on the desk for something to pick the lock. Then he grinned. The small screwdriver embossed with the NRA logo looked like it would work just fine.

"Not true," Gus clarified as Shawn started fiddling with the lock. "We have a whole desk for snacks."

"You know that's right," Shawn grunted, finally getting the drawer open. Sitting on top of the pile of paperwork in the drawer was the half-full container of almonds, which Gus quickly snatched out of Shawn's grasp. "Hey!" Shawn was prepared to fight Gus for the candy when something caught his eye.

Underneath the almonds was a manila folder. There was no label on the folder, but he noticed a purple envelope sticking out from the top. "What is this? Does Lassifrass have a secret admirer?" He snatched the envelope from the folder.

"Shawn, it's illegal to go through someone else's mail." Gus reminded him, tossing a handful of chocolaty goodness in his mouth.

"It's illegal to open, but this seal, my friend, has already been broken." Shawn waved the card in the air. His eyes widened slightly as he took in the handwriting on the front.

"What is it, Shawn?" Gus asked.

"Well, I mean, I only saw her handwriting once..." Shawn flipped the card upside down and looked at it more closely.

"Who?" Juliet prompted.

"Spencer! What in the name of Sweet Lady Justice are you doing? Don't go through my stuff!" Lassiter was back. He snatched the card from Shawn's hand and crossed his arms to hide it from view.

"Lassie," Shawn tried to calm himself. "Can you please explain to me why you are in correspondence with one Laura Peters?"

"Laura Peters?" Gus repeated, his voice slightly higher pitched than a moment before. "You mean the crazy girl who stalked you and kidnapped Lassiter to convince him of how awesome she thought your hair was?"

"Yes, kidnapped, stalked, shot, concussed, and generally assaulted Lassiter," Shawn clarified. "And, for the record, my hair is awesome." He frowned, putting a hand protectively to his head. "Lassie, you do remember all that, right?"

"So what? She sent me a card," Lassiter shrugged noncommittally. "People in prison send me cards all the time." He avoided meeting the looks being shot his way. "It doesn't mean anything."

"Why haven't you said anything about it?" Shawn asked. "That card was addressed to your apartment! And what else was in that file?" He started to dig in Lassiter's desk again.

"I told you. I have received letters from convicted criminals before," Lassiter snapped. He grabbed the rest of the folder from the drawer and slammed it shut. "And it's none of your business who sends me mail and who doesn't, Spencer. Now stop interrogating me; I have better things to do with my afternoon." He hugged the folder to his chest and stalked off before anyone could ask him more questions.

Juliet watched him go. "Shawn, he hasn't been this defensive about anything since his divorce. I'm worried about him."

"Me too, Jules. Me too," Shawn murmured. "Gus! To the Psych cave! We have some research to do."

><

Juliet stayed at her desk trying to finish the gymnastics case report, but she couldn't shake the feeling there was more to Lassiter's story than he was telling her. After an hour of writing the same line over and over, she sighed and turned off the computer. There was no way she would get anything done with Carlton on her mind.

Taking a chapter out of her partner's book, she grabbed her gun out of the desk and headed for the shooting range. Maybe pretending one of the targets was Laura would help clear her mind.

She headed down the stairs and turned the corner. "Lassiter?" She was surprised to see her partner sitting in the alcove just outside the range. "What are you doing down here? Hiding?"

He scowled at her. "No, I just don't need people prying into my personal life and hovering over me because they're worried."

Juliet rolled her eyes at him. "We're not hovering, but we are worried." She sighed and sat down next to him. "Carlton, that girl is dangerous. She almost killed you last time."

"Getting shot in the arm is hardly life-threatening," Lassiter started to argue.

"But getting beaten over the head twice, chloroformed who knows how many times, and subjected to emotional duress before being shot is." Juliet was stern with him.

Lassiter let out a sigh. "O'Hara."

She braced to be on the defensive, and he sighed again.

"Juliet, I know it might seem like I'm being flippant, but you've seen how Spencer and Guster reacted. I don't need a three-hour production of what might happen played out in the station." He grabbed her hand. "I've got more than just myself to think about this time. I have Marlowe's safety to consider too."

Juliet squeezed his hand. "I just think you letting Laura communicate with you is a bad idea."

"I'm only keeping the letters to be on the safe side. I'll need evidence if there's a need for a restraining order."

"When there's a need," Juliet corrected him. "And what do you mean 'letters'?"

"There have been a few." He admitted. "They started showing up here. One every other week or so. Plain white envelopes. But this one came to the apartment last night." He showed her the inside of the folder. It was a pile of newspaper clippings and a dozen or so cards, eleven on white envelopes. The handwriting on all of them was the same as the one Shawn had found.

"That's more than a few," Juliet still wasn't convinced.

"I've informed her of my marriage. I told her there's no need to keep writing." Lassiter was trying to reassure her. "I'm taking this very seriously."

"Just keep me in the loop with her," Juliet insisted.

"I will," Lassiter stood up, wincing as his knees protested. "Now, are we going to shoot something, or are we going to go home?
Chapter 2 by ZedPM
"She has a whole site set up for Lassie!" Shawn was staring at his computer screen, his face a mixture of amusement and disgust.

It had taken almost no time to track down the site. Laura hadn't been any more creative with the site name than before; ShawnSpencer.net had been replaced by LassiterRocks.com. A quick Google search for "the great Detective Lassiter" had returned the site in its top three search results.

"I mean, the only condolence is the lack of short stories," Shawn mused, clicking through some of the photo albums.

"How was she released after only two years?" Gus was reading over Shawn's shoulder.

"Who cares? The bigger question is how we break it to Lassie that he's got his own stalker site?" Shawn frowned as he came across a picture of Lassiter accepting an award for the Salamatchla case. "Can we print out the site and post it all over his desk? Show up at his apartment with balloons and a condolence card?"

Gus wrinkled his nose. "It might lack some of the stories, but it's still just as creepy. I agree; Lassiter should know."

"Can we tell him tomorrow? I was planning on watching the Jake and the Fatman marathon this afternoon. That's why I wanted to wrap up the gymnastics case yesterday," Shawn protested, reaching for the remote.

"Fine," Gus huffed, grabbing the remote first and turning on the TV. "But only because I love me some William Conrad."

><

Lassiter was somewhere between fast asleep and half-awake when the peaceful quiet of his dark apartment was interrupted by a loud banging on his door. "Sweet Justice!" He was tempted to ignore the banging but quickly gave up on that idea when it persisted even louder than before. "I'm coming!" he yelled, stumbling through the living room and nearly tripping over the coffee table in his haste to get to the door. He checked the peephole, groaning as he saw who was on the other side. "Spencer, so help me, I will have you arrested for disturbing the peace if you don't stop it this instant!" he snapped, yanking open the door.

Shawn and Gus pushed their way in the moment the door was open. They were clinging to each other like they were scared out of their minds. Lassiter took a step back before they could latch onto him as well. Judging from their expressions, it was a completely plausible possibility.

"Lassie!" Shawn was relieved to see the detective unharmed. He paused. "Are those really your pajamas?"

Lassiter looked down at his red and blue plaid flannel pajamas. He crossed his arms defensively. "They were a birthday gift from Marlowe. She likes me in plaid."

"They look really fuzzy." Shawn reached out to run a hand along Lassiter's sleeve.

Lassiter smacked the hand away and took another step back from the duo. "Did you two show up at my place before dawn to compliment my sleepwear, or am I under the influence of drugs again?" The detective still hadn't fully woken up, and he was in no mood to deal with the current situation.

"Here's the thing," Shawn began slowly. "We were going to tell you yesterday, but then we started watching Jake and the Fatman because Gus loves him some William Conrad."

"You know that's right." Gus gave his friend a fistbump. "Then, when that was over, we watched Criminal Minds, and the episode was about a stalker who killed his victims in their own homes. We realized that waiting another minute could put your life in serious jeopardy."

"And since we couldn't actually call Thomas Gibson if anything happened to you, and Gus isn't really tall enough to pass as Shemar Moore, we decided we had to come over and tell you," Shawn added.

Lassiter's head was hurting just listening to the babble. "Jeopardy?"

"I'll take people who have stalker websites for 500, Alex!" Shawn exclaimed. "You have a stalker site! Laura Peters made you one! I found it yesterday."

"You should take comfort in the fact that there are no stories of matrimony on it," Gus tried to console the detective.

On the ride over, Shawn and Gus had been placing bets on Lassiter's reaction. They had come up with dozens of possibilities, but complete apathy was not on the list.

"You don't look concerned," Shawn observed, eyebrows arching in surprise.

"Why would I be concerned about a girl who has completed her state-ordered therapy?" Lassiter went back to his kitchen to start making his coffee.

Shawn shared a look with Gus and then followed the detective into the next room. "How did you know Laura completed her therapy?"

"That was posted on her website..." Gus trailed off.

"Lassie!" Shawn connected the dots. "Bad Lassie!" He shook his finger at the detective. "You do not look at websites dedicated to yourself."

"You didn't seem to have a problem with it last time," Lassiter told him calmly. He was staring intently at the coffee maker, willing it to brew faster. "Laura Peters lives in Sacramento. She's being monitored by the authorities there. There is no danger of me being kidnapped again. I appreciate your concern, Spencer, Guster, but I am completely safe."

"You might as well just say 'Good day, sirs' and put us out on the stoop," Shawn rolled his eyes. "Look, where is your laptop? Let's fire it up, and we'll take a peek at what the creepster herself has posted. Maybe it'll be five dozen pictures of your eyes." He batted his eyelashes at the detective for emphasis.

"If you promise to leave and not show up at the station for the rest of the day, I will play along." Lassiter headed for the spare bedroom he was using as an office.

"Unless the chief calls us in for a case," Shawn clarified. "Then we will definitely still show up because Gus is obsessed with us being able to pay the bills."

"She won't," Lassiter muttered, ignoring the faces Shawn and Gus were making at each other. He opened the laptop and clicked a bookmark link in his browser. The website loaded up, and the trio was greeted with a picture of Lassiter. The caption read, "I'm Sexy and I Know It."

"That's awkward," Gus whispered to Shawn.

Lassiter ignored them and clicked to close the picture. "See, nothing out of the ordinary." He pointed to the wall of text.

Shawn squinted and leaned closer to the screen. "Dude, that's not the same text that was there last night."

"What?" Lassiter turned back to the computer.

><

My Dearest Detective,

Don't think I don't know that you're reading my every post, Carlton. I know enough about you to realize that anyone who signs up for the forum as "Glockinator269" is probably you.

I'm a little hurt that you haven't reached out to me even though I've sent you multiple letters and postcards. You're obviously intrigued by the fan club. I can't blame you. Maybe you don't have any free time now that you're a married man.

We can talk about your marital status later, but, for now, just know that I think we would make a great couple.

<

"Great couple? Who is she, Dr. Phil?" Shawn snorted in laughter.

"How did you even find out about the website?" Gus looked over at Lassiter.

"Sometimes I google myself," the detective shrugged. Hoping his apprehension about Laura's latest note didn't show on his face.

"You can set up alerts," Gus informed him. "In case anyone tries to steal your identity."

"Who would want to be a remarried Irish detective with a civil war collection?" Shawn frowned. Then he turned and grinned at the detective, who was massaging his temples, trying to get rid of the headache that had started the moment the duo had burst through his door. "So, Lassie, when's breakfast?"

"There isn't one," Lassiter started pushing them towards the door.

"But Marlowe could make us her strawberries and cream waffles," Shawn was not deterred by the frown on Lassiter's face. He paused and looked around the room. "Speaking of our favorite reformed criminal. Where is Marlowe?"

"Marlowe is out of town for the weekend visiting a friend," Lassiter informed them, pushing them towards the door. "Now get out!"

><

It had taken Lassiter over half an hour to get Shawn and Gus out of his apartment. Even after telling them Marlowe was gone, the duo seemed convinced Lassiter would be making them waffles.

"We like powdered sugar on them," Shawn was still protesting as Lassiter shoved him into the hallway and shut the door, throwing the deadbolt just in case.

Lassiter glared at the door for a moment as he realized he was never going to be able to get back to sleep. He resigned himself to getting ready for the day, grumbling under his breath about psychic shenanigans. As he drove to the station, he tried very hard to forget about Laura Peters and her ridiculous website. Yes, he had made an account on the stupid thing, but that was only to keep closer tabs on a known sociopath. He hadn't posted or looked at the photo gallery… much. And he hadn't been on it in months.

By the time he reached the station, trying to forget about the website had only succeeded in making him more and more irritated by it. Several hours later, he was still grumbling under his breath as he filled his mug with fresh coffee when McNab appeared beside him. "Any new cases?" Lassiter growled at the rookie.

"Nothing yet… I mean the usual reports of shoplifters and vagrants-"

"If I wanted to be bored for the rest of the day, I would be on the radio myself." Lassiter cut him off and headed for his desk. "At least I can catch up on some of these reports."

He had barely sat down when Juliet appeared in front of him; she had the same look on her face she'd had when Spencer had accidentally spilled a smoothie down the front of her new white blouse. "Is there anything you'd like to tell me?" she asked him.

Lassiter ducked his head and busied himself with the pile of paperwork on his desk. "Not anything that I can think of."

"Maybe something about a website?" Juliet prompted.

"I hear the National Basset Hound Society updated their webpage," Lassiter commented, trying to be conversational.

"Carlton!" Juliet yelled at him, attracting the attention of the entire bullpen.

"Has Spencer been here?" Lassiter glanced around as if the psychic would be hiding in the conference room or under his partner's desk.

"He called me after you kicked him out this morning," she replied, her voice lower but still exasperated.

"It was four in the morning, and he wouldn't shut up about waffles!" Lassiter protested.

"I don't care about waffles!" Juliet glanced around and then grabbed Lassiter's arm. She half-dragged him into the conference room. Once she shut the door, she turned on him again. "You've known for weeks about the website." It wasn't a question; it was a direct accusation.

"I've been monitoring it," Lassiter sighed.

"Why didn't you say anything yesterday?" Juliet's irritation was gone, replaced by genuine worry.

"Because it's just a dumb website, and, technically, she isn't breaking any laws."

"You still could have said something." Juliet half-reached out like she wanted to hug him and then put her arms back at her sides. "I don't like her."

"She stalked your boyfriend," Lassiter scowled. "Of course you don't like her."

"She almost killed my partner," Juliet snapped at him. "That seems a bit more important."

Lassiter opened his mouth to reply, then shut it again. Letting out another sigh, he held out a hand. "I promise that, if she contacts me again, you will be the very first person I tell. Deal?"

"Deal," Juliet bypassed his hand and hugged him.

"Can we go finish that paperwork now?" Lassiter asked, pulling away before anyone happened to look in. "I'd like to have a clean desk before the next case."

"After you show me the site." Juliet raised an eyebrow at him.

"Sweet Lady Justice; I should start charging for this," Lassiter grumbled but followed her out to the bullpen and pulled up LassiterRocks.com. "See, nothing terrible."

Juliet pushed him out of the way and scrolled through the site herself. "It does sound a little scary, though," she observed after a few minutes of reading.

"Well, so do those emails that threaten to curse you if you don't forward them within 24 hours or people saying they're going to die if they don't get something they want," Lassiter responded. "It's just harmless internet jargon."

Juliet shook her head. "I'm not completely convinced."

"It'll be fine," Lassiter assured her. "Just be grateful there aren't any stories. Plus, no one has organized any phone and email campaign to get you to appreciate me more."

"I appreciate you already," Juliet scowled at him.

"Laura Peters doesn't live in Santa Barbara anymore," Lassiter assured her. "The worst she can do is email me pictures of kittens."

But, although the detective sounded sure of himself, even he had to admit there was a slight bit of doubt starting to nag at the back of his mind.
Chapter 3 by ZedPM
Dear Lassitarians,

Lassitarians sounds like a political party... maybe we should all write in Carlton Lassiter for the election this year! Lol, I digress. Let's get back to the matter at hand: Carlton Lassiter visiting this site.

Detective, I hope you aren't disappointed to see a lack of stories; you seem like the kind of man who would appreciate those. But my therapist said that living in the fictional realities of my writings wasn't a healthy mental environment.

Remember how I said I wanted to talk about your relationship status more? Carlton, I know this may sound odd, but those hours we spent together in the basement of my cabin, watching my homemade documentary on Shawn Spencer, connected us in a deeply spiritual manner. You're the only one I can see being with for the rest of my life.

I know there might be people in your life trying to convince you not to trust me, but I've changed! I promise! Right now, I'm just a single girl trying to find a good man. I'm sure you can understand.

<

"What does she mean by 'deeply spiritual'?" Gus was leaning over Shawn's shoulder and staring at the computer screen.

"It's probably the kick to the face I gave her when she tackled me on the stairs," Lassiter grumbled from his desk. He was leaning back in his chair, arms crossed and a scowl on his face.

As soon as Juliet had seen there was a new letter posted on the site, she had called Shawn and Gus down to the station. She was prepared to give Lassiter an intervention and block the site on the station's system since he didn't seem to be taking it seriously, but she wanted to be rational about the whole thing.

"What's the matter, Lassie?" Shawn glanced up at him. "Irritated that we're invading your own personal stalker site? Maybe Laura has a bedroom in her new house with pictures of your face plastered all over the walls."

Lassiter threw his empty Starbucks cup at the duo and then went back to scowling.

"Fine, I'm just going to call you Grumpy Smurf," Shawn smirked.

"Zip it, Spencer," Lassiter glared at the psychic.

McNab came over at that moment. "I don't mean to interrupt," he had an envelope in his hands, "but the chief wanted me to give this to you guys if you stopped by today." He handed the envelope to Gus.

"Our check for the gymnast case," Gus observed. "Thanks, Buzz," he gave the rookie a fistbump. "Now we can go see the traveling Irish step dancers next month."

Buzz grinned. "I forgot they were coming to Sacramento for St. Patrick's Day. Those guys are so cool!." He turned back to the front desk.

Shawn shook his head and placed a comforting hand on Gus' shoulder. "Gus, we can go to the Lord of the Rings show some other time. I hear it's magically delicious." He kept a straight face until he said the last line, and then he started laughing.

"Lord of the Dance, Shawn." Gus corrected his friend, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Irish step dancing is a revered tradition," Lassiter snapped at him.

"Exactly," Gus nodded. "Maybe I'll just take Lassiter with me; he appreciates talent."

"He doesn't appreciate me," Shawn protested.

"I appreciate you," Juliet put a hand on his shoulder, calming him down.

"You guys can have your weird dance date," Shawn rolled his eyes. "It's not like I wanted to go to Sacramento anyway." And then he froze.

"What is it, Shawn?" Juliet studied her boyfriend's face for any clues.

"I just thought of another reason not to go to Sacramento," Shawn half-laughed as he looked at Lassiter. "Laura Peters is currently living there."

"That city has almost half a million people living in it, Shawn. I doubt we'd run into Laura." Gus crossed his arms. "You're just jealous."

"Jealous?" Shawn repeated. "I don't want to get within a six-hour drive of a convicted psychopath, and that means I'm jealous? I hope we all remember what happens when you play along with Laura's schemes."

"People get hurt," Juliet whispered.

Shawn nodded. "Exactly. Lassie gets shot, and I find out more information than I ever needed to know about the world of fanfiction. I still have nightmares about those fake weddings." Shawn's voice was getting louder and louder. "So you guys go see your red-headed, tight-wearing prancers, and I will stay right here and eat Cheetos while watching The Voice."

"I haven't even accepted Guster's invitation to see the show," Lassiter mumbled. "Look, if you three are done with trying to meddle with my life, I'd like to get back to my job." He grabbed the stack of reports from his desk and headed for the peace and quiet of the conference room.

Thankfully, O'Hara seemed to take the hint and didn't bother him for the rest of the day, and Lassiter was able to finish his work quickly. He picked up some Chinese on the way home and gave a sigh of relief when he unlocked the door to his apartment. He flipped the light switch by the door and immediately dropped the brown paper bag holding his food on the ground and drew his service weapon.

"Is that any way to treat a guest?" a quiet feminine voice asked from the couch.

><

"Miss Peters," Lassiter leveled his gun with the young woman curled up on his couch and reading one of the magazines from his coffee table. "This is definitely in breach of your parole."

"I know," Laura admitted. "But I tried doing things legally. Didn't you get all of my letters and website posts?"

Lassiter wasn't sure if the look on her face was pain or if she was trying to flirt with him. He lowered his gun, but just slightly. He'd let his guard down with her once before and had paid for it”quite painfully. "I did get those posts. Miss Peters, I'm a married man. I'm not looking for a relationship right now."

Laura gave him a pitying look. "Married? To that criminal?" Her tone was patronizing, as if Lassiter were the biggest idiot on the planet. She picked up Lassiters' wedding photo from the table next to the couch. "Red is such a tacky wedding dress color," she sighed, shaking her head.

Lassiter could feel his headache from that morning returning. "How did you get in here?" He changed the subject. He wanted to avoid talking about Marlowe with this psychopath.

"Your super let me in," Laura smiled brightly. "I guess he thought I was your sister."

Lassiter holstered his gun. "Miss Peters," he began.

"Laura, please; call me Laura." She was sitting on the edge of the couch now, her attention fully on him.

"Miss Peters," Lassiter repeated firmly, "you need to leave before I have to arrest you for parole violation and unlawful entry."

Laura was immediately out of her seat and in his arms. "You can arrest me anytime you want, Detective." She gave him her best seductive face.

Lassiter fought the urge to handcuff her right then and there, but only because doing so would give her exactly what she wanted. He moved to the side, putting the overstuffed armchair between them. "I'm flattered that you find me attractive, but don't you think you're a little young?"

"Carlton," Laura looked hurt. "Age is just a number. Didn't you feel the connection we had when we first met?"

"The connection of the drugs you used on me or the gun you pistol-whipped me with?" Lassiter drawled sarcastically.

Laura just smiled, twirling a lock of hair in her fingers. "You're so sexy when you're angry." She gave a happy sigh. "I like your new haircut, too." She reached out a hand to touch him.

"Miss Peters," Lassiter was beyond concerned at this point. "I suggest you leave now. This is your last chance before I have you brought down to the station and booked for trespassing and harassment. I mean it. You can't come here. You can't contact me. You can't contact my wife."

Laura looked like she wanted to protest but then took a deep breath and smiled sweetly. "Oh, Carlton, you'll learn." She headed for the door. "I guess I should respect your wishes, though." She paused with her hand on the knob. "It was nice seeing you."

Once the door shut behind her, Lassiter lunged for it and flipped the deadbolt as quickly as he could. He checked the peephole to make sure she wasn't standing outside. He probably should call O'Hara and tell her about Laura's visit, but the last thing he wanted was another intervention with Spencer and Guster in tow.

Looking at the Chinese food spilled all over the floor, Lassiter swore under his breath and went to the kitchen to scrounge up something else for his dinner. If anything, he supposed he should at least be thankful Laura had left without much of a fight, but it worried him that she had been able to get into his home so easily. Then he remembered how scatter-brained his new building super was”and Laura did sound an awful lot like Lauren, who was on his emergency contact list.

Laura Peters was not a criminal mastermind, he reminded himself; she was just a disturbed young lady with a weird sense of humor. And more importantly, she was also gone, and he had given her an ultimatum. Marlowe would be home tomorrow, and everything would go back to normal.

><

"Do you think Lassiter would actually go to the show with me?" Gus was browsing through the website for the Lord of the Dance tour. "Tickets are going fast, and I don't want to buy two tickets and then have no one to go with."

"Dude, no one cares about Michael Flatley," Shawn looked over from his desk. "Besides, if you want to see real Irish Step Dance, you just have to watch The Luck of the Irish when it's on the Disney channel."

"That movie is terrible," Gus protested, making a face.

"I didn't say it wasn't," Shawn shook his head. "But that bad guy leprechaun could dance pretty well."

"That was a double, and then he was tricked by a seventh-grader into living in Lake Erie for the rest of his life." Gus argued.

Silence fell over the two of them. Then Shawn asked, "What do you think Laura sees in Lassie? I mean, I know she's crazy, but still…"

"It is kind of weird that she's so focused on Lassiter now," Gus agreed. "She was about ready to kill him last time."

Shawn sighed. " I guess we'll never know. The fangirl's mind is a scary place that I would much rather not venture into again."

"When did you venture into one before?" Gus frowned.

"You know… that one time when I wrote NCIS fanfic."

"You mean when you wrote a story about Lassiter dating the goth chick, and he almost sued you for libel? Yes, I remember that."

"But he didn't," Shawn clarified. "And I currently have thirteen reviews on that little piece of creative writing."

"Lassiter told you to pull that off the internet!" Gus looked panicked. "If he finds it, he could still sue you. And by you, I mean us, which would end up just being me because you have no assets."

"I do too have an asset!" Shawn pointed to his backside indignantly.

Gus made a face. "Are we going to IHOP or not? Because I've been craving waffles ever since Lassiter didn't give us any."

"You know that's right." Shawn was out the door. "Shotgun!"

><

Lassiter still hadn't been able to shake the unsettled feeling in his stomach that Laura Peters had been in his apartment. The first call he made the next morning was to his building super with strict instructions that no one be allowed inside his apartment unless they had a warrant or his death certificate and a notarized letter from the state confirming his demise. He was running on three hours of sleep and his second pot of coffee when he finally made it to the station just after seven. He was hoping it would be a quiet day where he could go about his routine without any spastic psychic visions or any peep of Laura Peters.

Laura Peters was quickly becoming the ugliest of swear words in Lassiter's vocabulary. He had managed to keep all thoughts of the night before out of his head as he filed paperwork and reports. Juliet had taken the morning off for a doctor's appointment, and everyone else in the station thankfully left him alone. It was lunchtime before he bothered to look up from his computer. The mail had come, and there was a postcard from Laura in his pile. It had a picture of downtown Sacramento on it and a short inscription.

Carlton, isn't the city nice? I bet you'd make a great addition to their police force if you decided to move here with me. <

"I promise to be home tomorrow," Marlowe assured Lassiter over the phone as he locked the car after getting home from work. "The tow truck just took his sweet time getting me back to the repair shop." Her voice washed over Lassiter. He was feeling more relaxed than he had been since Shawn had found the Laura Peters file in his desk.

"I know, baby," he sighed. "I just miss you."

"And you'll see me tomorrow." She reminded him.

"I need you." Lassiter wanted to tell Marlowe about everything that had happened, but it definitely wasn't a conversation to have over the phone.

"I'll see what I can do," Marlowe could hear the soft and squishy Carlton she knew and loved. "I love you."

"Love you too," Lassiter started to unlock the door as Marlowe ended the call. He was so distracted hanging up with Marlowe he didn't realize his door wasn't locked to begin with.

Lassiter barely had time to register his living room lights were on before his world went dark.

><

Carlton!

Good to hear everything is running ship-shape in Santa Barbara. From what I read in the papers, you've got your hands full with that psychic. I can't believe Karen is actually letting him hang around.

I did swing by that address you gave me. Honestly, dude, it looks abandoned. There's three weeks' worth of newspapers on the steps, and the curtains are all drawn. What have you gotten yourself into?

Susan and the kids are all doing great. Eve is going to high school in the fall. Time sure flies! Hope things are going well in your personal life. I hear you married a con. You'll have to fill me in on that story when we have time.

-Brian
Chapter 4 by ZedPM
Checking to make sure no one was watching, Juliet brought up LassiterRocks.com on her computer. She was just making sure Laura was staying as far away from her partner as possible. The best way to do that was through the unsettling fan site, but that didn't mean the entire station had to know.

Juliet waited impatiently for the site to load and frowned when it finally did. The most recent post was a picture of Carlton from when he had busted Chavez. Laura had posted that picture the morning before, citing it as a perfect example of Carlton's hair and detective skills in one single image”what was it with this girl and men's hair?

She reached for the phone to call her partner. Laura had dutifully posted a factoid or picture of Lassiter every day for the past five months. She wasn't going to just stop all of a sudden for no reason. Combined with the fact that Laura had been in Santa Barbara, that one missed post had Juliet on edge. But instead of dialing Lassiter's number, Juliet dialed Shawn's.

As the phone rang, Juliet headed for a quiet alcove where others wouldn't accidentally overhear her phone conversation.

"You have reached the voicemail of Shawn Spencer, psychic detective and pretzel eating contest winner, please leave a message after the beep."

"Shawn, I know that's not your voicemail; I can hear Gus in the background."

"Jules!" Shawn laughed. "I thought you were Lassie calling us."

"Why would Carlton call you on my cell phone?" Juliet rolled her eyes and waited for Shawn's ludicrous explanation. She felt more and more like her partner every day.

"Well, that's a tough one," Shawn sounded distracted on the phone.

"Are you playing ping-pong?"

"Nope, just pong. The Atari is hard to master with one hand." Shawn must have sensed the seriousness in her tone because he paused and then asked, "What's wrong, Jules?"

"Laura Peters hasn't updated the stalker site today, and Carlton told me yesterday that she visited his apartment."

"She's in town?" Gus' indignant voice came over the phone.

"Sorry, forgot to mention I put you on speakerphone," Shawn apologized. "Laura visited Lassiter? In a creepy Ghost of Stalker Present sort of way?"

"He said she came on to him," Juliet relayed the story of Laura's visit to the condo. "Look, Shawn, I don't know if it's all the years I've been working with Carlton or the fact that Laura Peters is a highly successful stalker, but I'm worried about my partner."

"Say no more, Jules. Gus and I will check up on Lassie," Shawn promised.

"Thank you." Juliet gave a sigh of relief. "Let me know as soon as you talk to him."

"Will do." Shawn gave her a kiss good-bye over the phone, and then Juliet went back to her desk to try to focus on her work.

><

"Shawn, do you remember Lassiter telling us he would shoot us on sight if we went by his apartment again?" Gus was staring dumbfounded at his friend.

"I remember that threat involving us asking for waffles," Shawn corrected him. "But Marlowe is supposed to be back, so we might actually get some this time. Besides, his sweet, grandmotherly neighbor always hooks us up with cookies."

"You know that's right," Gus gave him a fistbump, "but for the record, this was your idea."

"Actually, it was Juliet's, but I can't throw her under the bus”or in front of the gun in this case. It's against the boyfriend code."

"There's no such thing as a boyfriend code," Gus grumbled.

"Technically, they're more like guidelines than actual rules." Shawn shrugged on his jacket.

"That's the pirate code," Gus tsked at him.

"I've heard it both ways," Shawn laughed, heading out the door. "C'mon, let's check up on Lassifrass and get some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies."

><

"You boys seem to visit Carlton quite a bit," Erna Greenway commented as she offered a plate of cookies to Shawn and Gus, who were seated on the sofa in her living room. "You'd think after all this time, you'd remember he lives three doors down the hall." She gave them a knowing look as she settled into her own chair with a cup of coffee.

"Gus is dyslexic, and I have that disease where I swap letters around all the time," Shawn explained as he grabbed a cookie from the plate.

"That's what dyslexia is," Gus took a cookie as well. "These cookies are delicious, Mrs. Greenway."

"Please, call me Erna, Burton." Erna looked between the two. "Your visit doesn't have anything to do with the young lady who's been hanging around Carlton's this past week, does it?"

"Young lady?" Gus repeated. He and Shawn shared a look.

"Yes, and too young if you ask me. Carlton is a fine-looking man, but he has a lovely wife. He needs her around, not some floozie in a flowered dress."

"How often has this, uh, floozie been here?" Shawn tried to act casual.

"She was here two nights ago, made a big fuss about forgetting her key, and had the super let her in. You don't think Carlton is having an affair?" Erna asked worriedly.

"Very unlikely," Shawn assured her. "I'm sure it's someone he knows from a case or something."

Gus almost choked on his bite of cookie. "Did you see the young lady leave?" he asked, coughing a little.

"Oh, she was gone by the time I got home from bridge with Margaret downstairs. Carlton was in a tizzy. I went to check up on him," Erna offered the cookies to them again. "He kept checking the hallway and even went down to the lobby, still acting like he was trying to avoid some sort of trouble."

Shawn grabbed two more cookies and stood. "Erna, you have been lovely as always, but we do need to check up on Lass”Carlton."

"You boys be nice to him," Erna gave Shawn a doubtful look as she followed them out into the hall.

"We promise," Gus assured her.

"As nice as we always are," Shawn added, wincing as Gus elbowed him in the ribs.

"Remind Carlton that he and Marlowe are coming over for Sunday dinner next weekend." Erna shook her head and went back into her own apartment.

"It's like old ladies get psychic with old age," Gus whispered as he and Shawn headed down the hall to Lassiter's door.

"Please, Gus, you and I both know there's no such thing as-" Shawn stopped mid-sentence.

The door to Lassiter's apartment was ajar. Shawn could see a suitcase sitting on the floor a little way inside. "Gus, go check it out."

"Oh no, Shawn." Gus looked at the partially-open front door. "The last time I was in this position, I was almost skewered by a drugged Lassiter. I will not go in there."

"Dude, what if Lassie is lying on the floor, bashed over the head by Laura, and he dies because you refused to face danger like a man?" Shawn slowly pushed the door open.

"What if he's not and I die because he has that sword again? Shawn! Do not go in there," Gus hissed. "Call Juliet and let her find Lassie's lifeless body."

"I will call Juliet," Shawn assured him, "from inside the apartment." He put his iPhone to his ear as he slowly walked through the rooms, looking for any signs of Lassiter.

"Shawn! Please tell me Carlton caught a stomach virus and has been too busy throwing up to call in sick." Juliet's worried voice came over the phone mid-way through the first ring.

"Sorry, babe, no sign of Lassie," Shawn sighed as he made a quick once-through of the apartment. "The bed's not made, the coffee pot still has fresh grounds in it. There's also a suitcase here, but, unless Lassie developed a taste for leopard print, I'm guessing Marlowe came home."

"Maybe they went out for breakfast?" Gus was looking around the kitchen.

"Erna, the neighbor lady, also saw a young woman around the building this week." Shawn started looking around the living room for any sign of a struggle.

"Laura." Juliet's voice sank.

"Shawn! You need to see this," Gus called from Lassiter's office.

"Meet us at Lassie's." Shawn tried to stay positive. "Gus thinks he found something. He's not screaming, so I'm ninety-nine percent sure it's not a body, but I will let you know if it is." Shawn put away his phone and hurried to join Gus.

His friend was sitting at Lassiter's computer. "Look at this," Gus pointed to the screen.

"Is it another one of Laura's creepy blog posts?" Shawn quickly scanned the computer.

"No, Lassiter left his email open," Gus explained. "Look at the one he was replying to."

They both fell quiet as they read the email.

"Who is Brian Fulton?" Shawn scanned the message again. "I didn't know Lassie had any friends besides us."

"His email is a department email for the Sacramento PD. It looks like Lassiter asked about Laura's address, and she wasn't there."

"Which doesn't give us anything," Shawn sighed.

"Shawn! Gus!" Juliet's voice carried through the condo a moment before she came into the room with her sidearm drawn.

"You got here fast," Gus observed with a raised eyebrow.

"I used the siren; it seemed like an emergency," Juliet holstered her gun. "Have you guys found anything?"

><

Juliet assigned all of them a room to search. Unsurprisingly, Gus volunteered to check the kitchen. Juliet went back to the bedroom, which meant Shawn was stuck with the living room.

Gus rejoined the others, a bag of Bugles in hand.

"Dude," Shawn made a face. "You're eating Lassiter's chips."

"Food is food, Shawn. These are perfectly good chips!" Gus defended himself.

"What if you get cooties from him?" Shawn opened the door to the bathroom and looked inside.

Juliet raised an eyebrow. "What are you guys, five years old?"

Meanwhile, Gus just shoved another handful of Bugles in his mouth. "Suck it, Shawn; suck it."

"You suck it," Shawn retorted.

"Guys!" Juliet snapped, motioning for them to be quiet.

Gus waited until Juliet's back was turned. "Suck it!" he whispered at Shawn.

Juliet glared at them as she put a finger to her lips and headed for the second bedroom Lassiter was using as an office. She paused in front of the closed door. "I thought I heard something."

"Do you think it's a werewolf? Or Laura?" Gus asked.

"Either of them needs a silver stake through the heart," Shawn reminded him.

"Silver bullets, Shawn," Gus corrected.

Shawn shrugged. "I've heard it both ways."

"Shh." Juliet checked her sidearm and pushed past Shawn to stand next to Gus at the door. "Do you think it's Carlton?" She hoped she didn't sound as worried as she felt.

"I wouldn't put it past Laura," Gus shook his head.

"Can I have a gun?" Shawn asked from the doorway to the room they had just previously left.

"Ready, Gus?" Juliet ignored Shawn as she tightened her grip on her weapon and moved to stand to the side of the door. Gus prepared himself to throw the door open.

"Can I at least count down?" Shawn raised his hand, stretching to reach the framework of the door.

Juliet glared back at him and then nodded. "From three."

"Three." Shawn was really hoping they weren't going to see Lassiter in any compromising or extremely grisly scenarios. "Two."

"One!" Gus finished counting. He threw the door open while simultaneously trying to get as far away as he could without actually running away. Then he turned to look inside, and together he and Shawn let out a girly scream.

Lassiter could only roll his eyes and groan through the duct tape over his mouth as the two friends hugged each other.

><

"I have a right to be upset!" Lassiter was complaining to Juliet. "Of all the people to find me after I get surprised by a crazy stalker and tied up in my own house, it's those two idiots." He was sitting at the kitchen table, holding an ice pack to his head, and scowling very hard at Shawn and Gus, who were fighting over the single fruit roll-up they had found. "Knock it off!" he yelled at the best friends.

Shawn and Gus froze, both still holding onto the snack.

"It's all his fault!" Gus pointed at Shawn, letting go. "If he hadn't started talking to Laura in the first place, none of this would have ever happened."

"Dude, that was so last year," Shawn half laughed, opening his prize and unrolling it.

"This is very much this year, Shawn," Gus shot back. "Lassie wouldn't have gotten attacked”again”if you hadn't started humoring that crazy fan of yours."

"Is that Marlowe's suitcase?" Lassiter finally noticed the leopard print bag sitting by the front door. "Where is she?" His aches and pains forgotten, he started looking around the apartment.

"I thought you said she was out of town?" Juliet asked.

"She was coming home this morning," Lassiter had been in every room in the apartment twice and was starting to sound a little panicked.

"Maybe she went to get waffles?" Gus asked hopefully.

Shawn shook his head. "Gus, don't be a-" But before he could finish his sentence, the ringing of his phone broke into the conversation.

It rang for a few moments as he scrambled to find where he had left it, and Gus started involuntarily dancing to the song.

"Shawn," Juliet said cautiously. "Why is your phone playing 'Smooth Criminal' by Michael Jackson?"

"Spencer," Lassiter frowned. "Who on earth would you assign that ringtone to?"

"Ummmmm," Shawn glanced over to see his phone on the counter across the kitchen and made a dive to grab it.

Juliet was faster. Her face dropped the moment she saw the name on the display in her hand. "Are you kidding me?" she shouted at Shawn.

"To be fair!" Shawn held up his hands, half shouting over the ringtone, which was still playing. "I am a psychic, and I did know I would need to talk to her again."

"For Pete's sake, stop dancing, Guster!" Lassiter snapped.

The phone stopped ringing suddenly, leaving them staring at each other in the silence.

"If we call her back, maybe she knows where Marlowe is," Shawn suggested, trailing off as Lassiter and Juliet both gave him death glares.

"I don't think she likes you anymore," Gus pointed out. "I doubt she's going to want to negotiate with you."

Shawn chuckled uneasily. "I mean, sure, she's moved on to Lassie, but she did call me just now. Obviously, she wants to talk to me." Then his eyes lit up. "Heyyyyy, Lassie!"

"Spencer," Lassiter was growling at this point. "Keep in mind I haven't really slept for the past two days, my wife is missing, and I'm a very good shot."

"No, I mean," Shawn backed up to put himself more behind Gus. "If you called Laura, you could get information from her."

"That's the worst idea I've ever heard." Lassiter shook his head.

"We could probably check Laura's website and see if there's anything new on there," Juliet suggested.

><

My Dearest Carlton,

I understand things might be confusing for you right now. I hope someone was able to untie you. I apologize for that bump on your head, but you surprised me coming home first last night.

If you're wondering about Marlowe. Don't worry. She's just fine. We're having a little chit chat about you right now. I hope that you can help convince her this marriage was just a stepping stone into the next part of her life. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and kindness on your part to give her the opportunity to become more than just another statistic in the correctional system.

You and I are meant to be together. Why else would I be so drawn to you? Looking forward to talking to you soon.

XOXOX ~ Laura
Chapter 5 by ZedPM
"Maybe there's a way we could convince her to trade Marlowe for Lassiter…" Shawn's brain was thinking through all the possible scenarios they could use to do this. Most of them involved suitcases of cash and handcuffs.

"Trade?" Juliet sounded horrified.

"Yeah, but obviously we wouldn't actually trade Lassie," Shawn clarified. "We would arrest Laura."

"Or shoot her," Gus added. He shrugged at the looks everyone else gave him. "I'm just saying. That girl is crazy, and therapy didn't work for her."

"Clearly," Lassiter grumbled, rubbing the back of his head where Laura had hit him. He glared at the friends, then looked over to his partner. He didn't want to admit it, but Spencer's plan wasn't horrible. Especially if it would save Marlowe from being in the grasp of that psycho.

Juliet did not look happy one bit. "I don't like it, Shawn. Too much can go wrong."

"But how else are we going to find Lassie's wife? It's not like Lassiter can just go out and get another one. Who else would make him less grumpy? Who else would make us waffles?" Shawn argued.

"Why are you so obsessed with her waffles?" Lassiter shouted to get Shawn to shut up. He sighed as he turned back to his partner. "O'Hara, I hate to admit it, but that might actually be our best plan."

"Carlton…"

"It'll be quicker than trying to trace her some other way," he reasoned. Then he turned and pointed at Shawn and Gus. "But if either of you so much as thinks about repeating anything I say in the next thirty minutes, I will end you."

><

It probably looked like the scene out of some FBI movie Spencer had watched too many times. O'Hara was poised with a pad and paper to take notes of the conversation. Spencer and Guster were sworn to silence, although Lassiter would have preferred to use some of the duct tape Laura had left behind.

Bracing himself, Lassiter hit the dial button on Spencer's phone. The screen showed he was calling "Crazy Stalker Girl: Do Not Answer" for a few seconds, and then Laura's overly-chipper voice came over the line.

"Shawn," she greeted, "I'm so glad you returned my call. I need your help to get Carlton untied." She sounded cheerful, but Lassiter could feel the chill fill the room as she spoke.

"I don't think we need to really talk about Spencer," Lassiter replied.

"Carlton!" Laura's voice immediately perked up. "You're okay! I'm so sorry I had to leave you like I did." Then she paused. "Where is Shawn?"

"He and Guster are probably off getting a snack." Lassiter gritted his teeth and tried to make the next sentence sound as natural as possible. "I stole his phone. I had to talk to you."

"Oh? What did you need to talk to me about?" She was trying to play it cool; Lassiter could tell.

Lassiter couldn't look up at the other three people in the room. He could imagine them fighting back laughter or resisting the urge to vomit. He was definitely feeling the latter. "I… needed to talk to you about…" He could feel his stomach churning. "About us." And then he pulled the phone away from his ear as her squeal reached decibels he thought only dogs could hear.

Laura cleared her throat. "That's so good to hear, Carlton. I wanted to talk to you, too!" She sounded like she was about to cry.

"So, uh," Lassiter cleared his throat. "When can we meet up? I can slip out the back right now, and they'll never know."

There was a moment's pause before Laura spoke again. "How do I know they're not making you say that?" she asked slowly.

Spencer looked panicked. Guster had to clamp his hands over his mouth to keep from making any noise. O'Hara looked ready to kill something.

Lassiter closed his eyes and tried to imagine Marlowe as he slowly said the next words. "Love is the only thing that would make me say that."

It sounded as if Laura was going to hyperventilate on the phone, but, miraculously, the stalker girl recovered. "There's a diner on Elm and 6th. I'll be at the booth at the end."

"Laura, sweetheart," Lassiter felt now was the time to play this card. "Don't you think Marlowe would get in the way of us being together?" He swallowed as he tried to banish unwanted images from his head. "When we meet up at the diner, let's kick her out. And then we'll be together forever. Just you and me."

"What if she tries to follow us?" Laura sounded unsure.

"There's no reason for her to. I'll explain everything to her. You've shown me the light." Lassiter couldn't believe she was buying this.

"Meet me at the diner in two hours. We can discuss it then." Laura sighed. "I love you, Carlton."

"Love you too," Lassiter gritted out, and then the call ended.

Before Juliet could ask him what their next move was, Lassiter dashed for the bathroom and promptly threw up.

><

"How many hats?" Shawn mused to himself, thinking about all the diners he and his dad had gone to when he was a kid.

"What?" Gus glanced over at him.

"Nothing," Shawn shrugged. "This diner seems really far away from Lassie's place."

"Maybe they have good coffee," Gus snapped. "You do realize we'd be able to see a lot better if we weren't all the way over here?" He pushed another branch out of the way so he could see where Lassiter was sitting. The two of them were in the bushes of the park across the parking lot from the diner.

Shawn shook his head. "Here is fine, Gus. No way am I going to be close enough for her to decide to stalk me again."

Rolling his eyes, Gus sighed. "Fine. You'd just better hope Juliet doesn't get mad that we're over here."

"Relax, Gus, she just said to wait outside. This is part of outside." Shawn narrowed his eyes as he saw a small silver car pull into the parking lot. A familiar-looking brunette popped out and headed for the door. "That's weird," he commented.

"That she looks so normal?" Gus asked, pulling the branches in front of his face again. Even though they were yards away from Laura, Gus still looked worried, like she might suddenly spot them.

"No…." Shawn was looking in the direction Laura's car had come from. "There's nothing over there but a golf course."

"Actually, the golf course is putting in a bunch of new houses." Gus shrugged, satisfied that Laura wouldn't be able to see them once she was inside of the diner. "They're really nice, but nothing's finished quite yet."

Shawn gave him a funny look.

"What? I looked into them last year. I thought maybe it was time to be a homeowner instead of renting."

"A construction site would be crawling with workers, though," Shawn shook his head. "There's no way Laura is that dumb. I mean, she's crazy, but she's still smart…. sometimes."

"No, but the city shut them down," Gus told him. "The back end of the subdivision backs up to the woods. There's a nesting pair of goshawks there that are protected. They have to wait until the chicks leave the nest before they can do any more construction work."

"Which, of course, you know," Shawn raised an eyebrow at his friend.

"Ornithological discoveries are made every day, Shawn. You have to keep current," Gus defended himself.

But Shawn's wheels had been turning, and he looked at Gus as the pieces all fell into place. "Which means it's a perfect spot for a crazy person to hide out! Let's go check it out."

"And leave Lassie here?" Gus didn't look convinced. "What if Laura goes full-on crazy stalker and kills him?"

"She's had plenty of chances this week to kill him, and she hasn't…. yet. Besides, Juliet can save him," Shawn assured him. "But if we find Marlowe now, we can lead Lassie and Jules to her."

Gus raised an eyebrow. "With one of your 'visions,' right?"

Shawn grinned. "Isn't that how we've always done it? I'll even let you be Magic Head again if you want."

><

Lassiter's stomach was in knots. He couldn't get the uneasy feeling out of his head. He remembered what it was like to be held hostage by Laura. The endless videos and incessant talking. What was she even trying to tell Marlowe? That Lassiter was going to leave her? He had gotten to the diner early to make sure he would get the right booth. He just hoped they would be able to get a location out of Laura.

The girl with the flowered dress slipped into the booth across from him. "Carlton, I'm so glad you came." She smiled at him with bright eyes. Her cheeks were flushed, and the excitement was written all over her face.

"Laura," Lassiter tried to keep a civil tone. All he really wanted to do was to slap cuffs on her, but not knowing if Marlowe was safe or not made him pause.

"I hope your head doesn't hurt too much," she looked at him with concern.

"It's fine," he shrugged, trying to give her a convincing smile. "Nothing a good night's sleep won't cure. Where's Marlowe?"

Laura's eyes narrowed. "She's fine… why do you want to talk about her?" She reached across the table to grab his hand. "It's just about you and me now."

It took all of Lassiter's willpower not to pull away from her. He clenched his hand around hers, trying not to make it too tight. "Right, us."

"I think a fall wedding would be nice. I mean, the colors and the leaves. Maybe we could do it up by Lake Victoria." She grabbed for his other hand and paused. "Why are you still wearing that?" She pointed to his wedding band.

Lassiter looked down at the plain silver band on his left hand. "Ummm," he hadn't even realized he'd been wearing it.

"She's not that great, you know," Laura told him. "All she's been doing is crying and saying she loves you. Well, guess what? I love you, too." She slapped him hard across the face.

Lassiter wasn't sure what surprised him more: the stinging of his cheek or the fact that Laura was out of sight before he could even get out of the booth.

He scrambled out of his seat and bolted for the door, but he still missed Laura's car completely. He threw his hands in the air and turned to look for his partner.

"Carlton!" O'Hara caught up with them. "Did she tell you where Marlowe was?"

"No," Lassiter looked disheveled and almost scared. "I just hope she doesn't hurt her."

"We won't let that happen," Juliet assured him. "Maybe Shawn will be able to figure something out psychically."

It was a testament to how worried and tired Lassiter was that he didn't make any comment on the psychic comment. "Where are those two?" He looked around the parking lot for Guster's blue car and frowned. "You did tell them to stay here," he remarked almost questioningly.

"I told them to stay outside," Juliet trailed off, looking around as well. She had a bad feeling about what was going to happen next.

><

Gus had the cruise control set at 10mph as he and Shawn looked at the half-built houses of the Coral Ridge Estates subdivision. "Are you sure Laura would be here?" He sounded skeptical. Most of the houses barely had anything more than wood framing. There wouldn't be any protection from the rain or the wind. Laura might be crazy, but Gus doubted she would want to be cold and wet all the time.

"Positive," Shawn was also looking at the houses. "Let's go around the block again. Maybe we missed something."

"We should check the map at the model home," Gus told him. "Just to make sure we're not just going around in circles. All these houses look the same to me."

"Gus, that's it!" Shawn slapped Gus' arm and started rocking back and forth in his seat in as much of a victory dance as he could manage while sitting in the car. "She's got to be using the model home! No one else will be there if the whole construction project is on hold."

"Great, let's call Lassiter then," Gus handed Shawn his phone from the cupholder.

Shawn shook his head. "We have to make sure first. Do you want to face Lassie if we're wrong about it?"

"True," Gus gulped. He could imagine all the ways the head detective might try to get back at them for being wrong about where his wife was being held captive by a crazed stalker girl with a history of violence and distracting him from actually finding Marlowe. "But we can't pull up in the car. Laura will recognize it right away," he pointed out, easing to a stop next to the curb. They were just around the corner from the model home, and he wasn't about to get any closer.

"Jackal mode." Shawn nodded. "Through the back." He opened the car door and started half-running, half-shuffling across the ground. He flattened himself against the nearest house and motioned for Gus to follow him.
Chapter 6 by ZedPM
It had been a very, very long weekend for Marlowe. First, her girls' trip had ended with a flat tire and a flat spare. Then she'd finally gotten home, and, instead of the warm arms of her loving husband, she had found a strange girl sitting on her couch. Then the girl had drugged her, taken her somewhere else, and tied her to a chair. All the while talking about how Carlton wasn't in love with Marlowe.

She sighed and looked around the room. The TV was across from her; thankfully, it was finally off. It had been playing endless hours of interviews Carlton had done over the last twenty years of his police career. Not that she didn't love Carlton, but listening to him detail his arrests for 12 hours a day was wearing on her.

To her left was the door. It was probably locked; she was sure of it. Behind Marlowe was the one window in the room, one she couldn't even look out of. She didn't know if it was raining or sunny or anything.

She tried getting out of her restraints again. Maybe she should have listened to Carlton when he'd wanted to teach her how to dislocate her thumb to escape.

Suddenly, there was a crash behind her as the window broke. Marlowe jumped as she felt broken glass spray against her back.

"Marlowe?" Shawn Spencer's voice called through the window. "Gus, get the ladder! I know she's in there."

"I am going up the ladder first, Shawn!" Guster was also there. "No way will I climb up this rickety old thing without you stabilizing the bottom."

"Wait, then what about me?" Shawn sounded offended.

Marlowe was relieved to hear familiar voices, even if it was the psychic detective duo and not Carlton.

"You'll live," Gus assured Shawn. His voice got louder as he ascended the ladder. "Marlowe!" His expression quickly filled with relief when he saw Lassiter's wife. He climbed over the window sill, hurried over to her, and started untying the rope around her hands. "I'm so glad to see you!"

"Hi, Gus." Marlowe gave him a big smile. "Thanks for rescuing me."

"I helped, too!" Shawn protested, scrambling over the window sill as well. "I figured out where you were. Lassie stayed behind to distract Laura."

"Who is that girl, anyway?" Marlowe was rubbing her wrists where the rope had dug in a little. "She's convinced Carlton loves her."

"She's crazy," Gus stated.

"Challenged in the romance department," Shawn offered with a shrug.

"Crazy," Gus said again with a firm nod.

Shawn smirked. "I do know that she'll be spending the rest of her life behind bars instead of in blissful Lassie-trimony."

Gus made a face but didn't have a chance to respond before a crash came from outside the window. All three hurried over to see what it was.

"I told you to secure the ladder, Shawn!" Gus looked down two stories to where the ladder they'd used to get inside was now lying on the ground. "How are we going to get back down?"

"How was I supposed to know we would have gale-force winds?" Shawn asked. "Besides, we can just take the stairs." He walked over to the door and tried to open it.

It didn't budge an inch.

"I think Laura installed a lock on the outside," Marlowe told them.

"That's alright," Shawn tried to remain calm. "We'll just call Lassie and Jules and they can unlock the door." He patted in his jacket pocket for his phone. They were empty, he frowned and then flashed to a memory of his phone sitting in the cupholder in the blueberry… right next to Gus' phone.

"I don't suppose either of you have a homing pigeon?" He tried to keep it light hearted, but the realization that all three of them were now stuck setting in.

><

"How are we going to find any of them?" Lassiter was pacing around the parking lot. It had been almost half an hour since Laura had slapped him in the face, and there was no word from Spencer or Guster. Both he and O'Hara had tried calling them, but everything was just going straight to voicemail.

"We'll think of something." Juliet was trying to keep her partner and herself calm at the same time.

"It'll take too much time to go back to the station and track their phones," Lassiter was thinking out loud as he continued to pace.

"Wait!" Juliet pulled out her own phone. "I put Shawn's iPhone on my Find My iPhone last week. He keeps losing it when he's at the office." She pushed a couple of buttons. "That's weird," she frowned at the screen. "It says they're in the middle of a field."

"There's no way Laura would have had time to bury their bodies. Not in a half-hour." Lassiter shook his head.

"It's the only clue we have," Juliet sighed. "Let's go check it out."

><

"Shawn, I can't pick a lock from the other side of the door," Gus explained for the fourth time. "It's probably a slide lock or a deadbolt, anyways." He was sitting on the bed, wishing he had remembered his phone.

"What if we pull the door off the hinges like Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean?" Shawn countered.

"Wrong kind of hinges," both Marlowe and Gus said at the same time.

All three of them froze as they heard footsteps on the stairs. Before Shawn could figure out a plan, the door flew open, nearly hitting him as he suddenly stepped backward.

"You must be some kind of witch!" Laura was yelling before the door was completely open. "How else do you explain the spell that Carlton is under not to see how perfect we would be together?"

Laura's normally calm and put-together appearance was no longer there. Shawn had only seen her this upset when he'd rejected her in the basement of the cabin.

There was a slight pause then as Laura looked around the room and realized that not only was Marlowe not tied up but Shawn and Gus were there as well.

Laura screamed.

Gus screamed.

Shawn screamed.

Laura punched Shawn in the face and then ran back out of the room, slamming the door behind her. They all heard the lock slide back into place and her footsteps disappear down the stairs.

"Dude!" Shawn turned to Gus, holding his nose. "I think it's broken." He pulled his hand away to look for blood.

"It's not broken," Gus replied, shaking his head, although he still winced in sympathy.

"Are you okay, Shawn?" Marlowe asked, handing him the box of Kleenex sitting next to the bed.

"My modeling days are over," Shawn moaned, moving to sit glumly next to Gus on the bed.

"You're a hand and foot model," Gus reminded him.


"Oh, right." Shawn pulled the Kleenex away from his face, noting that it was free of blood. "Besides, Laura really doesn't punch that hard."

Whatever he was going to say next was interrupted by a rustling sound on the other side of the door.

"It's her again!" Gus jumped off the bed and looked around the room for something to defend himself.

Nose forgotten, Shawn positioned himself by the door, ready to pounce on Laura when she came in again.

The door swung open, and Shawn struck. His fist made contact, and both he and his target yelped in pain.

"What in the name of Sweet Lady Justice, Spencer?" Lassiter fell back against the doorframe and almost knocked Juliet down the stairs.

"I could say the same thing to you, Lassie!" Shawn shook his hand out, rubbing the knuckles. "You sounded like a crazy stalker chick."

"Carlton!" Marlowe grabbed Lassiter in a tight embrace as she buried her face in his neck.

Lassiter shot Shawn a glare over the top of his wife's head and then turned his attention to comforting Marlowe.

"Shawn, Gus, are you two okay?" Juliet had holstered her weapon and was checking the two of them for injuries.

"Laura punched Shawn in the face," Gus said matter-of-factly.

Shawn pointed to his nose to underscore his best friend's statement and frowned pitifully.

Juliet looked at Shawn's nose carefully. "I think you'll live," she determined, giving him a hug and a kiss.

"Barely," he muttered.

"Where's Laura?" Gus asked, looking around as if she would be hiding under the bed.

"We saw her drive away as we parked next to your car," Lassiter explained, still holding tightly to Marlowe. "I figured it would be better to save you than to go after her."

"Lassie, man, that's really touching," Shawn started to say and then realized the detective's attention was only focused on Marlowe when he said the second part. "I guess we'll just give you guys some space," he motioned for Gus and Juliet to follow him downstairs.

"Yeah, before you punch Lassie again," Gus nodded.

"Or because they're married." Juliet rolled her eyes. "We'll be downstairs, partner."

Lassiter nodded briefly, acknowledging her. He waited until O'Hara had herded the two consultants down the stairs before he spoke. "Baby, I am so sorry to get you all mixed up in this." He looked Marlowe in the eyes. He could see tears and frustration and fear all in one look.

"Carlton, there's no way to know this was going to happen." She squeezed his hand.

Lassiter dropped her gaze for a moment.

"Or was there?" She furrowed her brow.

"I…" Lassiter sighed. "I wanted to tell you, but it never seems like there was a right time. This girl," he waved towards the stairs. "This Laura girl kidnapped me a few years ago and somehow convinced herself that I was in love with her. She sent some letters and emails, but I didn't think it would get dangerous again."

"You knew?" Marlowe reached up and put her hand on his cheek. "Carlton, we made a promise to protect each other. How can I protect you if I don't know when something's going on?"

Lassiter leaned into her hand. "I promise that you will know the next time."

"I hope there isn't a next time," Marlowe sighed. "Now, can we go home? I haven't had a shower since I left Ventura."

"Yes." Lassiter smiled for the first time in a long time. "We also have to change the locks on the apartment. Just in case." He slipped an arm around her waist.

"Just in case of what?" Laura's voice broke into their conversation.

Lassiter looked over to see the stalker standing in the doorway.

"Carlton, I'm so glad you came to see me. I'm not really sure how you figured out where I was staying, but I'm sure you'll tell me." Laura was smiling at him as if she hadn't given him a death glare and slapped his face only hours before. "Now that you're here, we can tell Marlowe together."

"Tell me what?" Marlowe half-laughed. Now that Carlton was by her side, she was feeling more confident about her situation.

"It's so sweet that you think he's in love with you." Laura gave Marlowe a look of pity. "Carlton, tell her."

"Laura, I am in love with my wife." Lassiter slowly moved his hand from around Marlowe's waist and rested it on the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.

"But I'm going to be your wife," Laura insisted. "Then you'll be in love with me." She pulled out a gun of her own and pointed it at the Lassiters.

"Laura, please." Lassiter remembered how this had played out the last time. He'd let Spencer do the talking and ended up getting shot. Thankfully, Spencer wasn't here this time, but that didn't mean Laura still wouldn't shoot him.

"Please, what?" Laura was more focused on Carlton than Marlowe, which was good. Lassiter could work with that.

"Let's let Marlowe go downstairs, and then you and I can talk," Lassiter suggested. He held both hands out in front of him, trying to placate her. He took a couple steps away from Marlowe. Not any closer to Laura but just distancing himself from his wife.

"Why can't you say what you want to say in front of her?" Laura asked accusingly, her gun following Lassiter as he moved.

Lassiter tried to quell the upset stomach he always got when he had to flirt with Laura to throw her off guard. "You know there are things that husbands and wives can only say together." He wasn't sure, but he thought Laura took the spasm in his right eye as a wink because she slightly lowered her gun.

"Carlton, I'm so glad you're starting to see that I'm the better woman," she half-spoke and half-purred, taking a few steps closer to him. She winked back at him, but, before Lassiter could try to disarm her, Marlowe took her chance.

While Carlton had been distracting Laura, Marlowe had managed to grab the decorative pineapple statue from the bedside table. Using as much force as she could muster, she used the pineapple to hit the crazy stalker on the back of her head.

Laura's knees buckled, and she fell to the ground.

"He's my damn husband." Marlowe dropped the pineapple on the ground and looked over at Carlton.

Lassiter immediately kicked Laura's gun out of her reach. There was a commotion on the stairs then as Shawn, Gus, and Juliet all came into the room again.

"We heard the thud," Gus explained quickly.

"What is Laura doing here?" Shawn frowned. "I totally missed her coming back."

"Backup is on its way," Juliet informed her partner, relieved to see the others were all right.

"I don't think Laura's going to get out on probation this time," Gus tsked.

"Not if I have anything to do with it." Lassiter reached out for Marlowe's hand. "Baby, you were fantastic. That was a heck of a swing." He was quite proud of his wife for helping him take down Laura. "And you know that all that stuff I said was to just throw her off. I didn't mean any of it."

"We made a promise." Marlowe smiled at him. "I know you're all mine."

><

The Chief has ordered Lassiter on a one-week vacation from work. She had said vacation, but Lassiter knew exactly what the threatening look in her eyes meant. He supposed he deserved it. He had run an unauthorized and unofficial investigation all while using department resources. He was just glad Marlowe was safe.

The time off had actually been nice, but now it was Monday. He was ready to go back to work. He straightened his tie in the bathroom mirror and headed out to the kitchen for his coffee, stopping short when he saw Spencer and Guster seated at the kitchen island.

"Good morning, Lassie." Shawn grinned at the head detective through a mouthful of waffles.

"Morning." Lassiter's good mood had suddenly vanished. "What are they doing here?" he asked Marlowe as she handed him a cup of coffee.

She gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Shawn and Gus offered to help Erna move her new couch in, and I couldn't let that go unrewarded."

"They also brought me to pick up my partner." Juliet was also sitting at the island and trying to hide the laughter in her voice.

"Plus," Shawn finally swallowed his bite, "we had to make sure you were over your breakup with Laura."

"The breakup for a relationship that never existed." Marlowe shook her head. "We're both over that girl. Aren't we, baby?"

"Very much so," Lassiter agreed. "Now, if you'll excuse us, O'Hara and I have criminals to catch."

"And you have a couch to move." Juliet pulled on Shawn's arm to get him out the door. And out of Marlowe's hair for the day.

"Love you, Jules." Shawn gave her a quick kiss. "See you tonight."

Lassiter gave his wife a kiss, and the two detectives headed down the stairs.

"You know, Gus," Shawn said thoughtfully watching them leave. "I'm with Juliet, and Lassie is with Marlowe. I feel like Laura understands that now." He looked sideways at his friend. "But there's always you."

"Don't even go there, Shawn." Gus shook his head and started walking away. "She's into old police officers, too. Why don't we set her up with you dad?"

"Dude, that's just wrong." Shawn wrinkled his nose and headed down the hall after Gus. "Why don't we just agree to never talk about her again?"

"Fine by me." Gus gave Shawn a fist bump. "Now, how big was this couch we agreed to move?" he asked as he stared at the ginormous sofa outside Erna's door.

The End
End Notes:
That's all, folks! Thank you so much for reading. If you read the first incarnation of this story, we hope it was a worthwhile wait for the finish. - Zed and Deej