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 Underoos, the iPhone, "The Six Million Dollar Man", or Superman.
*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 dynamic 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.
Buzz McNab stared forlornly at his watch yet again, the disappointment in his expression unmistakable. Lassiter was over half an hour late. He checked his phone for what seemed like the hundredth time only to find no missed calls or new messages. He stared down at the shiny, chrome plated, custom built beauty he'd so proudly left displayed in the open box on the firing lane shooter's shelf, ready for inspection by his commanding officer. 'I guess he really doesn't like me if he blew off a chance to shoot a gun like that,' he thought to himself. Feeling like he'd been stood up on prom night, he slowly closed the case and gathered his belongings. As he unloaded the magazines and began placing the live rounds back in the box, Buzz's thoughts turned in another direction.
'Detective Lassiter willingly spent his free time giving me advice on having this gun made. He wouldn't pass up a chance to shoot it without a good reason. Be nice and give him the benefit of the doubt, you big doof.'
Buzz collected his property and made his way back up to the main floor of the police station. He pulled out his phone and tried dialing Lassiter's cell phone again. It went straight to voice mail, which meant that his phone was probably turned off. 'Or he's blocked my calls,' Buzz thought, self-doubt creeping into his mind yet again. He waited to hear the prompt telling him to leave a message, but instead heard an automated response from the message system.
"Sorry, that voice mail box is full."
Buzz immediately started to worry. Lassiter never let his voice mail fill up like that. Work was as sacred as religion to him, and he always made sure his fellow officers could contact him without fail in case he was needed on a scene. Fearing he might look foolish, but deciding he no longer cared if he did, Buzz made a detour to the night Sergeant's office who was in charge of patrol. He knocked on the open door and greeted Sgt. Bona with a smile.
"Hey, Sergeant Bona! Do you have a minute?"
"Sure, Buzz! Come on in and have a seat," he replied with a friendly smile of his own. "So, what brings you over to patrol? You finally decide to join us here on the 'dark side' of the force?"
Buzz laughed. "No, I was actually hoping to ask you for a small favor."
"Sure, Buzz. How can I help you?"
Buzz looked over at the large flat screen TV in the corner of the office that showed a detailed electronic map of the city. Dozens of little red dots were moving around on the lines representing the various streets. "I was wondering if you could use the GPS tracker in the squad cars to give me the location of a particular officer. Or, more specifically, an officer's car."
Sgt. Bona's brow furrowed. "Someone go AWOL, Buzz?"
Buzz shrugged. "You could say that."
"Who's car am I looking for?" he asked as he pulled the tracking system's keyboard and mouse in front of him.
"Umm..." Buzz looked a little embarrassed. "Head Detective Lassiter," he said a bit sheepishly. "He was supposed to meet me on the shooting range but he never showed up."
Bona did a double take. "Detective Lassiter? You want me to locate his car?" He raised his eyebrows. "Why the hell do you want to get a fix on him of all people?"
Buzz nodded. "Yeah, I know, I know. I'm probably just being stupid. But I can't reach him on his phone. It's turned off and his voice mail is full. That's not like him."
Bona frowned. "Yeah...yeah, you're right, the guy lives for work. He'd never be without a way for the department to contact him. Even if he was on a hot date with a supermodel, he'd bail if a dead body turned up." He paused, then added, "Don't you ever tell him that I did this. He'd kill me if he found out I was spying on him." He turned towards the screen and began a search for the GPS device in Lassiter's car. "If his car is turned on I can find it." After about a minute, the patrol Sergeant examined the display with a concerned look on his face. "That's strange...Detective Lassiter's car isn't in the city, it's up in the mountains to the East. And...well, that can't be right."
Buzz began to worry. "What do you mean, 'can't be right?'"
"Well, according to this, his police car isn't on the road. It's about forty feet off the highway. This has to be a glitch caused by the terrain. It could be from interference caused by the mountains, the heavy rain in the area, or—"
"Or maybe it's reading the signal right and his car isn't on the road." Buzz began dialing his cell phone. "Maybe he had an accident," he said, the distinct sound of worry creeping into his voice. After three rings a familiar cheerful voice answered.
"Hello, Juliet O'Hara."
"Detective O'Hara? I'm sorry to bother you, but—"
"Hey, Buzz! How are you?"
Buzz liked talking to Detective O'Hara, she was always so bright and friendly. So he absolutely hated to bring up work while she was on vacation. "Um, well, I need to ask you a question. Have heard from Detective Lassiter recently? Like, within the last hour?"
"No, haven't heard from him, but I'm on vacation so that's not unusual." She paused, then asked, "Oh, Buzz, I'm sorry. Did he cancel your plans to go shooting tonight?" Juliet's voice was laden with sympathy for the big man, peppered with a hint of irritation towards her partner.
"He told you about that?"
"Oh yeah, he's been looking forward to it all week. Wouldn't shut up about it yesterday, he bragged about getting to shoot your new .45 all damn day. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was his new gun, not yours." After a moment Juliet ventured, "Buzz, is something wrong?"
"Well, he didn't show up tonight. And he hasn't called—"
"He didn't show up? To the shooting range?" Now Juliet sounded worried.
"No, he wasn't there. He hasn't called me either. His phone is turned off, and the voice mail is full."
"Buzz, where is he?" she demanded, the apprehension in her voice clear as day. "Where is my partner?"
"Buzz!" Sergeant Bona pointed to the red dot on the screen representing Lassiter's car. "His car just moved another five feet in the last few minutes, it's going away from the road." He turned to face Buzz, his face creased with concern. "It's moving down the mountain—sideways."
Buzz felt his gut do a flip. "Detective O'Hara, I think we have a big problem. How fast can you get here?"
"Who the hell ever heard of a wilderness area without any fucking sticks?!?" Lassiter bellowed into the wind-driven rain. He'd searched high and low for over fifteen minutes for any broken tree branches, fence posts, discarded rails, or even small trees he might be able to break apart and use for a splint to stabilize Shawn's broken leg. But all he'd been able to find were burnt tree stumps, small bushes, a few small weak new trees, and an abundance of smaller twigs. His hopes were raised when he did find some branches scattered on the ground, but they were either charred from the fire or very old. The brittle wood broke and crumbled when Lassiter tested it to see if it was sound enough for the job. The few saplings in the area were small and green, too flexible to provide any rigid support.
Unable to find anything he could use to make a stretcher or even a simple leg splint, Lassiter had been forced to move Shawn as soon as he woke up and continue their search for shelter. They were both soaking wet, the temperature had dropped to below fifty degrees, and the unrelenting wind felt like it was driving the damp chill into straight into their bones. Lassiter knew he had to get Shawn out of the elements as fast as he possibly could. In his weakened and badly injured state, hypothermia would set in quickly and probably kill him. So having no other choice, he'd maneuvered Shawn onto his back as carefully as he could, and began carrying him 'piggyback' style down the mountain.
The flat land had turned downward into a hillside again, but not nearly as steep as before. The angle was still sharp enough that Lassiter had to turn around, face the ground, and occasionally put down a hand to safely negotiate the terrain.
Lassiter was quite disturbed by the fact that the normally talkative Shawn was so quiet. He was clinging to Lassiter's neck as best he could without letting his arms ride up to strangle him, but the older man could tell that his grip was starting to weaken. He could also feel him beginning to shiver slightly. Lassiter was busy exerting himself, so maintaining normal body temperature wasn't nearly as much of an issue for him as it was for Shawn at the moment. And he knew that moving around with an unsupported broken leg was extremely painful no matter how careful he tried to be. Shawn had stuffed a wad of Lassiter's suit jacket into his mouth and bitten down in an effort to keep his cries to a minimum. But with Shawn's head buried in his shoulder and his face so close to his ear, Lassiter couldn't help but hear the whimpers of pain.
He would rather be subjected to Spencer singing the theme to "The Six Million Dollar Man" again.
After what seemed like an eternity, which in reality was probably closer to fifteen minutes, the ground had thankfully started to level out again, and Lassiter was able to stand upright and walk relatively normally. He'd used the belt clip on the flashlight to attach it to the collar of his jacket and turned it down to the dimmest setting of three lumens in order to preserve the battery. It provided them just enough light to make their way through the dark without stumbling over the rocks and debris scattered within their path. Lassiter could see they were finally getting into an area that had trees again, so his hopes of finding material for a splint were starting to rise. He paused for a moment to catch his breath. Lassiter realized that Shawn had slipped down as his grip started to loosen, so he hitched Shawn up onto his back a little higher in order to get his thighs up over his hips again, making it easier to support his weight.
"Mmmff!" Shawn let loose a muffled yelp of pain as the motion jostled his leg.
Lassiter winced in sympathy. "Sorry." He spit out another mouthful of rainwater, helped Shawn readjust his grip, and started walking again.
They had been walking another ten minutes when Lassiter paused and turned, scanning the ground yet again for any materials to use for a splint. They were coming up on a forested area that appeared to be only partially burned. And, unfortunately, it appeared the ground was about to drop off sharply again just beyond where the trees started. Lassiter continued searching the area as he walked towards the tree line. Shawn's head suddenly perked up.
"I know you're hurting, Spencer, but we have to keep going."
"No, stop, I see something! Off to the left, turn your flashlight up!"
Lassiter grabbed the flashlight off his collar, turned it up to full power, and followed Shawn's directions. "I don't see anything Spencer, maybe your eyes are just—" That's when he saw it, about forty feet to his left. The object was tremendously difficult to see in the dark as it was painted black—how Shawn noticed it, he'd never know— but it was probably one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen in his life. And he'd almost walked right past it in the dark.
It was the hand pump for a water well. And that meant there was probably a house or some sort of structure next to it.
Lassiter began searching the wooded area frantically, sweeping his light over the trees. He looked up and saw one strange looking tree in particular that seemed to be almost perfectly straight and had no branches. No, it wasn't a tree...it was a telephone pole. And there was a wire leading down from it at a sharp angle towards a group of trees to his left. He hurried over to the area where the wire disappeared into the foliage, worked his way through a thick clump of bushes, and found the wire's destination. A small wooden cabin.
"Oh, yes!" Lassiter shouted. It was a damn good thing they'd found it now, because Lassiter was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to carry Shawn down that drop-off anyway. He picked up his pace and moved as fast as he could towards their newfound shelter, eagerly anticipating being warm and dry again.
As he drew closer he noticed there were no lights on inside. The cabin looked to be old but in pretty good shape and of sound structure, the roof appearing solid and in good repair. Lassiter walked up to the small covered porch, turned around, and carefully set Shawn down on the short set of steps leading up to the well-constructed platform. Shawn leaned back against the boards as Lassiter bounded onto the porch.
"Hello! Is anybody home? We need help!" Lassiter pounded on the door, hoping to wake up whoever might be inside.
"Hey! Try not to scare them to death, Lassie!" Shawn admonished him as he clutched his leg in pain.
"Santa Barbara Police Department! I'm a police officer and we need assistance! Open the door!" he ordered in his official Head Detective voice as he pounded on the door again.
"Oh yeah, that's much better. Very subtle. Nice going, man!" Shawn wrapped his arms around himself in an attempt to control his shivering.
Hearing no sounds of movement inside, Lassiter used his flashlight to peer into the crack of the door. He could see what appeared to be two dead bolts, but only the one with the keyhole on the outside of the door was locked. That meant someone had locked the door from the outside as they'd left, and there was probably nobody home. He tried the doorknob but the door, of course, wouldn't budge.
Shawn laughed. "We're out here freezing to death in this pouring rain from hell, I've got a broken leg, we happen to find what's probably the only cabin within a one hundred mile radius, and the damn door is locked?!? How's that for irony?" He laughed and pulled his arms closer around himself. "Not like there's a ton of burglars around here or anything!"
"Shut it, Spencer." Lassiter drew his gun, took step back, and kicked in the door. It took him only a few seconds to clear the small one room structure and confirm there was no one inside.
Lassiter came out to the porch as he snapped the thumb break closed on his holstered gun. "No one's home," he said flatly as he crouched on the stairs beside Shawn.
Shawn looked up at him and broke into a grin. "C-c-captain Obvious-s-s..." he laughed through his chattering teeth.
Lassiter wrapped his right arm behind Shawn's shoulders, slipped his left arm underneath his knees, and carefully lifted him off of the stairs. Shawn's face contorted in pain and he hitched in a breath as his broken leg shifted yet again. "C-c-c-carrying me over t-the thr-r-reshold? R-r-r-r-eally, Lassie? W-w-where's my r-r-r-ring?" he joked as Lassiter carried him through the doorway and set him down on the bare wooden floor. Shawn fell back against floorboards as Lassiter used his flashlight to look around inside the dark room. After about a minute of rummaging around interspersed with the clattering noises produced by Lassiter's search, Shawn heard the distinctive sound of a match strike as dim light flared briefly inside the room. After a few seconds the room brightened with a warm glow as Lassiter walked over holding an old oil lantern by its wire handle. He set the lantern on the floor next to Shawn then walked over and shoved the front door shut, forcing it back into place.
Lassiter turned to look down at Shawn as he took stock of their situation. They were both muddy and dripping wet, and Shawn was now shivering violently. Now that he had a better light source, Lassiter could see several cuts, scrapes, and small holes in his clothing that had obviously been obtained during his fall. The knuckles on both hands were badly scraped and bleeding from using them to shield his head as he tumbled down the hill. He had to immediately provide first aid for Shawn and get him warm and dry as soon as possible. They were out of the elements now and the wind was no longer a factor, so he decided that stabilizing the broken leg was most imperative. If the broken bone tore a major blood vessel inside the leg, it would kill Shawn. It had already gone too long and been moved around enough without being immobilized. He looked around the room for anything he could use. It was only about thirty feet square, so there wasn't much to see.
There was a simple yet sturdy wood frame twin bed with a thick down mattress and plain wooden headboard in the back right corner of the room. A wooden chest sat at the foot of the bed, and Lassiter could see a couple of long storage boxes underneath the bed's low frame. He continued scanning their surroundings and saw a neatly stacked pile of wood cut to small size to the right of the door against the front wall. A couple of yellow rain coats hung on wall pegs just above the stack of wood. An old, black, well-used wood burning stove was in the middle of the back wall to the left of the bed, and there was a sturdy writing desk with the lid closed and a small wooden chair and folding table in front of it against the left wall. Various crates, tools, and equipment were stacked in the back left corner of the room next to a large set of cabinets. Lassiter was considering breaking apart the wooden chair when he saw a pair of wooden crutches poking up from behind the rest of the equipment pile.
He quickly strode over to the corner, pulled out the crutches, and brought them over to Shawn where he knelt down and began to disassemble them. He unscrewed the bolts holding the adjustable center poles in place and pulled them free of the frames. He walked over and opened the chest at the foot of the bed. Finding spare blankets and bedding inside, he pulled out a folded flannel sheet and set it on the ground next to the disassembled crutches. He looked around again and noticed an old horse bridle hanging on a nail in the wall above the desk. He inspected it and found the headstall was almost torn in half, but the chin strap and other leather parts were still in good shape. He removed the chin strap and another long piece of leather with a buckle on one end, then dropped to his knees beside Shawn.
"Take off your belt, Spencer," he ordered. He unclipped his badge and began to remove his own black leather dress belt.
"Damn, Lassie. N-not much f-f-for foreplay, huh?" he quipped. "Not until I get t-t-that ring, man!" His teeth were still chattering, but not quite as badly anymore now that they were out of the wind.
Lassiter had his belt off already and was punching extra holes in the leather with his knife. He went to retrieve Shawn's belt, and found it was still around his waist. Shawn's trembling hands were so numb he couldn't work the buckle. Lassiter leaned over him, unlatched the buckle, pulled it off of his waist, and punched extra holes in it as well. Then he moved next to Shawn's right leg, removed his shoe and sock, and picked up the knife.
Shawn watched nervously as Lassiter sliced up the leg of his jeans and cut off the fabric near the top of the thigh. The soaking wet cloth landed with a *plop*on the floor as he tossed it aside and picked up the belts. He carefully maneuvered them underneath Shawn's leg, positioning one just above the knee and the other down near the ankle, and placed the thinner bridle straps in the middle just above and below the break in the bone. Then he carefully lifted Shawn's leg just enough to slide the wide top portion of the disassembled crutch underneath his calf, laid the folded flannel sheet on top of the frame as padding, and set his leg down again. He wrapped the fabric around the sides of the leg, placed a pole on either side, and cinched the belts and straps just tight enough to hold everything in place.
'Well, that wasn't so bad,' Shawn thought. 'It always looks like it hurts when they do it in the movies.'
Lassiter kneeled on the floor between Shawn's feet and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly as he looked down at the floor. Then he set his jaw and fixed Shawn with a determined gaze. "You ready for this?"
Shawn frowned in confusion. "Ready for what? I thought you were done."
"I haven't even started yet," he replied.
Uh oh. Shawn did not like the sound of that. He didn't like it at all. "What are you gonna do, Lassie?" he asked in a warbling voice. Suddenly he wasn't so sure he wanted to hear the answer.
"This fracture is displaced. I have to set the bone."
Shawn laughed nervously. "Hey, don't joke about that, man. It's not funny."
"You know I wouldn't do this if I didn't have to." Lassiter continued looking at Shawn, his gaze holding steady. "This is going to hurt."
Shawn felt his stomach drop and he swallowed hard. "You're kidding, right? You have to be kidding..."
Lassiter placed one hand on his ankle and flattened his other palm out over the break in the bone.
"Oh, shit! You're not kidding! Lassie, wait!"
Lassiter paused and looked up at Shawn.
"Lassie, come on, man. Can't it just wait until we get to a hospital? Where they have these cool things called painkillers and sedatives? And doctors?"
"We don't know how long we're going to be here, Spencer. It's supposed to rain like this the rest of the week so it could be several days before we're rescued." He sighed, and for a moment Shawn saw a hint of sympathy flash across the Detective's face. "There's no choice. I have to do this now. Bite down on something if you have to."
Shawn watched in horror as Lassiter looked down at his leg and tightened his grip around his ankle. "Oh, no, no, no! Wait, Lassie, no no nonono..." Shawn was desperately trying to stop Lassiter before he could accomplish his goal. Screw what was good for him, this is going to hurt! Not knowing what else to do, Shawn sat up and frantically made a 'T' with his hands as he cried, "TIME OUT!"
Lassiter stopped and raised his head again. His expression was hard, as if it was set in stone.
Shawn knew this wasn't going to end well. But he still tried to prolong the inevitable.
"Come on, Lassie, can't we talk about this? Really, let's wait just a few hours, maybe the rain will let up?" Shawn pleaded. He was trying really hard not to cry. Or panic. Neither one would be very helpful right now. "I mean, we can just wait until morning, and see how the weather looks, and—"
"I'm sorry, Spencer."
"Lassie. Please just waaaAAAAAHHHHH!"
Lassiter pulled hard on Shawn's ankle to spread the broken ends of the bone apart, then released the tension and pressed down with his palm to realign the edges of the break. Shawn's fingers clawed at the floor as he felt the bones in his leg shift. He couldn't breathe, the air in his lungs having left in a rush as he screamed in agony. He finally sucked in a huge gasping breath as tears squeezed out of his eyes. 'It's over! It's over, it's okay, you did it,' he thought to himself.
That's when Lassiter tightened the first belt.
"GGAAAAAHHHHH!" His leg exploded in agony again as Lassiter clamped his hand over the bones to hold them in place while cinching the belt tight. Shawn's back arched off the floor and he writhed in excruciating pain. A weight settled onto his left thigh and something was pushing down on his chest. He forced his eyes open, and through tear-streaked vision he saw Lassiter sitting on top of him. He'd shifted around so his left leg was on top of Shawn's left thigh and his right knee was in his chest, pinning him to the floor.
"Damn it, Spencer, you have to hold still! I don't want to do this again!"
Then Shawn realized there were three more belts to go.
"Oh, God! NooooaaaAAAAAHHHHHH!" Lassiter pulled the second belt tight, and Shawn's heart was pounding so hard, he thought he was going to die. He sucked in another breath, panting hard, trying to wish the pain away. "Oh God Lassie stop please just stop..." Shawn begged breathlessly as Lassiter made quick work of tightening the two middle straps.
Shawn's leg erupted in pain as Lassiter's fingers pressed into the swollen flesh around the break, probing along the bone to make sure it was properly aligned. Shawn's vision started to turn white around the edges and his ears began to ring.
"Oh God yes, please pass out, just let me pass out so I can't feel this any more, just...please...pass...ple..."
Chief Karen Vick strode up the steps of her police station and through the front doors with purpose. "All right, people! I want the most up to date information on the situation, and I want it now. McNab!"
"Yes, Chief?" Buzz materialized at her side with a clipboard in hand.
"What's the situation, Officer?"
"Detective Lassiter didn't show up for our appointment at the shooting range tonight. I got a little worried, so I had Sergeant Bona track the GPS on his car, and we found that it went off the road at this location up in the mountains to the East." Buzz walked over to a large flat screen monitor that had been set up in the conference room 'command center' and pointed to the dot representing Lassiter's car. "It started out up here, then gradually moved down to here, where it appears to have stopped for now." The icon showed the car's location to be about sixty feet off the road. "We can't reach him by cell phone and his car's radio is too far out of range for our dispatch. But I asked the Sheriff's Department in that area to have their dispatch scan for our frequency because they use the same communications equipment we do. They did manage to pick up a signal." Buzz paused, then said, "The emergency button for his car radio has been activated."
"Damn it..." Vick looked around at the officers crowding the room. "Can anyone tell me what the hell Detective Lassiter was doing up there? Was he working on a case?"
Buzz shrugged his shoulders. "No one knows, Chief. He didn't have a case that we know of, and it's not like he talks to people about personal stuff. Well, no one besides Detective O'Hara."
"She's still on vacation, isn't she?"
"No ma'am, she's on her way in right now."
Chief Vick sighed. "All right, I want to know if we actually have eyes on his car. What resources do we have on the ground in that area?"
She turned and leveled a stern glare at the much larger officer towering above her, causing him to shrink back. "And why not, McNab?"
Buzz swallowed nervously. "Because that area has been evacuated of all emergency personnel due to landslides. The wildfires over the summer were pretty bad in that region, and a lot of the vegetation stabilizing the ground was burned away. Those conditions combined with the heavy rain have produced a lot of landslides. Several portions of the road leading into that location have been washed away, Chief." He shrugged helplessly. "We can't get up there right now."
"What about aircraft?"
Buzz shook his head. "Flying in the mountains at night is dangerous enough as it is, and it's raining really hard up there right now. No way we can get a helicopter or plane in the area tonight. And based on the forecast, tomorrow is doubtful too."
Chief Vick put her hands on her hips and set her lips in a firm line. This is not what she wanted to hear. "Give me some good news, Officer McNab. What do we have working for us?"
"Well, I took the liberty of calling the Department of Fish and Game, I thought maybe they could help. There are a couple of Game Wardens living in Santa Barbara that work the area and know it pretty well, they're on their way over here right now."
Vick nodded in approval. "Good thinking, Officer McNab. Way to use available resources." She was about to turn away, but paused and addressed him again. "Speaking of available resources, give Shawn Spencer a call. I want everyone we have working around the clock until Detective Lassiter is found."
The last thing he'd been aware of was searing, white hot pain coursing through his leg. But now, as Shawn came to, he realized the pain had faded to a mild, dull, tolerable ache. He was warm and dry, and it felt like he was lying on something soft. 'Maybe I'm in the hospital?' he wondered. He opened his eyes and found himself staring up at the wooden rafters supporting the roof of the small cabin. 'Nope, no such luck.' He realized with some amusement it was the first time he'd ever wanted to be in the hospital.
He was lying flat on his back in the bed, covered up to his chin by a thick, warm quilt with both of his feet propped up. He tried to sit up but pain immediately shot through his ribs on his right side. He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, falling back weakly against the soft mattress as his entire body protested the simple motion. He was sore everywhere. He heard the faint squeak of rusty hinges and the soft *clink* of a small metal door swinging shut. The floorboards creaked as heavy footsteps made their way towards him and stopped directly to his right.
Shawn opened his eyes and saw Lassiter standing next to the bed. He had taken off his jacket, shoulder holster, and tie, rolled up his sleeves to his elbows, and was holding a plastic water bottle in his right hand. Judging by the pleasant warmth coming from his right that was beginning to fill the chilly cabin, Lassiter had managed to fire up the wood burning stove.
"Hey, Lassie," he greeted him weakly. He noticed that Lassiter's mud stained clothes were no longer dripping water, but were still wet enough to cling to his body, leading Shawn to guess that he'd been unconscious for about an hour, maybe less.
He kneeled down next to the bed with a look of mild concern softening his usually harsh features. "How's the leg?"
Shawn cleared his throat. "Not too bad."
Lassiter nodded. "I found two chemical cold packs in the cabin's medical supplies. I've got one on your leg now." He produced a small white pill bottle from atop a wooden crate he'd evidently pulled over next to the bed to serve as a table. "Also found some Advil, it should help some." He opened the bottle and shook three pills into his hand, then set the bottle down again and picked up the water. "Sorry, Spencer. It's all I've got. It's better than nothing."
He cracked the seal on the water bottle, dropped the pills into Shawn's mouth, then slid his hand behind his neck and raised his head. "Drink at least half the bottle, Spencer," he said as he brought it to his mouth. "We will not add dehydration to your list of problems." Shawn was pretty thirsty anyway, so he wound up drinking more than half before indicating he'd had enough.
Lassiter set the mostly empty water bottle on the crate next to the bed and stood up. As he walked back over to the corner by the stove, Shawn took the opportunity to become more familiar with his surroundings. His clothes, including several strips of cloth cut from his now completely demolished jeans, were hanging from a clothesline strung across the corner of the room in front of him. They weren't nearly as muddy as they had been last time he'd seen them so apparently they had been rinsed off before being hung up to dry. The small folding table had been set up next to the desk and Shawn could see the parts of Lassiter's disassembled Glock arranged neatly on top. His sneakers were set out by the floor underneath the stove to dry in the warm air and...Shawn's eyes snapped back to the clothesline in front of him. He stared wide-eyed in horror at one item in particular. 'Oh no...'
There, dangling in front of him, was his underwear.
Shawn ran his hand down to his hips and felt nothing but bare skin. "Ohhh!" he groaned and squeezed his eyes shut, sinking down into the bed and wanting to just disappear.
Lassiter immediately reappeared by the bed holding another fresh bottle of water. "What is it? What's wrong?" he asked, mistaking Shawn's pained expression as being caused by physical discomfort.
Shawn opened his eyes, looking up at Lassiter like he'd just eaten something foul. "Dude...Lassie...you totally saw my junk! Not cool!"
Lassiter rolled his eyes and set the water on the crate as he shook his head.
"Hell, I've got a broken leg. Maybe you should put your gun back together and put me out of my misery now," he lamented.
Lassiter planted his hands on his hips, his posture clearly indicating he was quickly becoming annoyed. "Your clothes were wet, Spencer."
"So? You'd rather I let you die of pneumonia?"
Shawn scoffed. "Pneumonia. Embarrassment. The result is the same." Shawn frowned. "Dude, you don't take a guy's underwear. Major violation of man code. At least be honorable and leave the tighty-whities, man."
"White?" Lassiter raised his eyebrows and glanced back over his shoulder at the colorful garment in question. "Isn't that a pair of 'Superman' children's underwear?"
"They are adult Underoos, Lassie! And I'll have you know, they are quite fashionable."
"Quit bitching about your kiddie briefs and man-up, Spencer." Lassiter narrowed his eyes and stared down at Shawn. "It's a survival situation. Deal with it." Shawn pouted while Lassiter took a few deep breaths and paced beside the bed. After a few moments he decided to change the subject. "We need to know for sure exactly how badly you're injured. Since you're awake, you can tell me if anything else hurts. Now...do you have any other injuries?"
"Just my pride."
"Will you stop?" Lassiter ran his hand through his short hair in frustration. "Damn it, Spencer! If you're hurt anywhere else, I need to know about it now. We sure as hell don't need any surprises out here. So quit screwing around and tell me if you're having any pain." He fixed Shawn with an annoyed glare. "If you say nothing, I'll just assume the answer is no." He stood there looking down at Shawn for several moments waiting for an answer. Hearing only silence, he turned on his heels and began walking back towards the stove.
"My ribs," Shawn began hesitantly. "On my right side." His declaration caused Lassiter to stop and turn around again. "And, um...maybe my right shoulder, too."
Lassiter crouched down beside the bed again. "How bad is it?" he asked. Suddenly he didn't seem angry anymore.
"It hurts pretty bad when I breathe too deep," he admitted reluctantly. "My shoulder isn't too bad, it's just a little sore, that's all."
Lassiter pulled the quilt down to Shawn's waist and leaned in to take a closer look. He placed his large hands on Shawn's right shoulder and lightly pressed on an area that he thought might be a little swollen. "Does that hurt?" Shawn shook his head, so he continued. "Relax your arm." He slowly raised Shawn's right arm, then moved it to the side, carefully manipulating the shoulder joint while looking for any signs of damage.
While Lassiter worked on his shoulder, Shawn took the opportunity to check himself over. Now that the quilt had been removed, he could finally see the extent of his injuries. His right side had a huge bruise on his ribcage that was already a nice mix of purple and blue. He saw various other minor wounds along his arms, chest, and stomach, as well as some small bruises that would certainly darken over the next few days. All of his cuts and scrapes had been thoroughly cleaned and either covered with bandages or treated with what he assumed was antibiotic ointment. Both of his hands were bandaged with gauze wrapped over the knuckles.
"Any pain when you move?" Lassiter asked as he slowly rotated Shawn's arm.
"Not really. I mean, it's a little sore, but not much."
"If it gets any worse, let me know and I'll put it in a sling." Lassiter raised Shawn's arm and moved down to his ribs, gently running his fingers along his side. Shawn winced when he pressed on the extremely tender area as he felt for breaks in the bone. "Sorry," he apologized when Shawn flinched.
After a few moments of intense scrutiny he came to a conclusion. "Ribs are definitely bruised. Probably cracked, but nothing is displaced. Try not to move around too much." He lowered Shawn's arm and placed it back along his side. "Any other pain, Spencer?" he asked as he stood up.
"Everything is sore, Lassie. I kinda fell down a mountain, remember?"
Lassiter sighed and leaned over the bed. "Fine. I'll check everything, then. We need to make sure you don't have any other breaks or joint damage."
As Lassiter continued his examination, Shawn couldn't help but notice how cold the Detective's hands were. The cabin was only beginning to warm up, and he was still wearing his wet clothes. He wasn't shivering but he still had to be extremely uncomfortable. Finding no injuries in his left arm, Lassiter pulled the quilt back up over Shawn's shoulders, walked around to the foot of the bed, and pulled his left leg out from under the covers.
"That gash is pretty bad, Spencer," he explained when he noticed Shawn staring at the heavy bandages wrapped around his leg. "A piece of metal from the console broke off inside the wound and was lodged in there pretty deep. I dug it out and cleaned it as best as I could. Just be glad you weren't awake for that." He raised Shawn's leg and continued his inspection.
"What?" he replied without looking up as he squeezed Shawn's ankle.
"I never thought I'd say this outside of a nightmare, but you need to take off your clothes."
No answer. He pressed on Shawn's knee.
"Lassie, I'm serious, man. Your clothes are wet and you need to take them off. Actually, you should have done that already."
"I've been busy, Spencer," he stated firmly as he flexed Shawn's leg at the hip.
"You'll get that 'new mona' you warned me about if you don't."
"It's 'pneumonia', and I'm fine," he insisted as he placed Shawn's leg back under the covers and started walking away from the bed.
"Hey, Lassie. In case you haven't noticed, I'm pretty banged up here. I can't do...well, much of anything, really. I mean, I can barely reach over there and grab that bottle of water."
Lassiter stopped with his back to Shawn, his hands planted firmly on his hips.
"I'm kinda depending on you to get me out of here. I can't afford for you to get sick right now. I need you to be one hundred percent. So strip it, Lassman."
After a brief pause, Lassiter turned his attention back towards Shawn, regarding him with a heated glare through narrow eyes.
"It's a survival situation, Detective. Deal with it."
Deciding he couldn't argue with his own logic, Lassiter walked briskly over to the chest at the foot of the bed, flipped open the lid, and pulled out a plain wool blanket. He was pretty damn cold, and actually looked forward to ditching his soaked clothing. But he sure as hell wasn't going to tell that to Spencer. He walked over to the desk, placed the blanket on the seat of the chair, and kicked off his shoes and socks. He paused as he started to unbutton his pants and cast a glare back over his shoulder.
Shawn sighed and pulled the quilt up over his head. "I promise not to look, Lassie. Your petite flower's honor is perfectly safe," he said, his voice muffled under the covers. "Like I want to remember that image for the rest of my life," he muttered to himself.