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Story Notes:
Madditer Madditer Madditer! I ship Madditer! And it is all Luna's fault for putting the idea in my head when she knows I ship everything! (Well, not everything. Everything within reason...)

This is just a fluff piece. It's a short little one-shot that I wrote just to please myself because I think I'm all alone in the Madditer ship world... :-) Disclaimer: I do not own Psych, nor do I own any of its characters, settings, trademarks, or related material. Psych and all related materials are the property of their respective owners. The plot and original characters of this story are my intellectual property. I am not associated with Psych, its creators, or any involved parties. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Thanks to BlkLunaDragon for making me ship it!

Quick side note: Shawn makes a bit part in this, but it's only a tiny cameo, so he's not listed as a character. Forgive me. :-D
It had started innocently enough. Or so he'd thought. He didn't really know how it happened, when he thought about it. He'd hated her at first, just on principle. Then he'd come to be comforted by her, and trusted her. And then he'd hated her again.

That was all in the first week he'd known her.

It had been years since he'd seen her last. She didn't come to Santa Barbara often, and he couldn't blame her, since she had good reason to stay away. If he'd had the option to move away, he probably would have done so himself. He hadn't seen her in years, but he'd thought about her every day since their last meeting at the end of that one torturous yet glorious week. The way her blonde hair framed her face. The shape of her nose. Her voice, so soothing that he could just drift away on it to some far off place and never come back. And that figure! For a woman of her age, she was shapely. She was beautiful. And most of all, she calmed him, and he loved that the most.

Not that he ever used the word "love," not even in his private fantasies. He thought often of talking to her again, of meeting her again, and all the things he'd say. Heaven knew he'd said far too much during that first week; he'd opened up his soul in a way that he'd never done for anyone else, not even Victoria.

Especially not Victoria.

But no, he never thought of love. In fact, it took him six weeks of being plagued by dreams and distraction to figure out just what it was he was feeling. He hadn't felt such emotions in so many years that he'd forgotten what the sensation felt like. He'd forgotten what it was like to have a crush.

That's what the feeling was, what the idle daydreams and haunting images by night amounted to. Just a simple infatuation, just a school-boy crush on an older woman.

Sometimes, when he was all alone and sleeping in the middle of the bed with no one but his Beretta for company, he daydreamed about the feeling someday being more.

That heated, adrenaline-packed crush was without a doubt the reason he was so anxious the week before she came back to Santa Barbara. So much time had passed since their first meeting, and now he had to wonder if she'd remember him at all, and if she did, what her impression of him would be. He wanted to impress her; he realized that now. He'd been so silly and stupid the first time, and when he found out that she'd be returning for another stint of working in his city, he was filled with a burning desire to please her and show her that he was more than just some dumb cop with insecurity issues and bad childhood memories.

He wanted to show her that he was a man, a real man, with coherent thoughts and valid emotions and the capability to appreciate and respect a woman of her abilities and figure---er, stature.

For the week before her arrival, he practiced his little speeches in the mirror every morning while he combed his hair, and he experimented with different suit combinations and different hairstyles. A little gel here, a little combover there. He let his facial hair grow out, but then he changed his mind and shaved it off. His preening stopped when O'Hara asked him if he was seeing anyone.

"No," he'd said. "I don't have anyone."
He left it at that, with no further explanation, and made sure that his preparations were more discreet after that. Not that he had much time left.

The feeling was nice, that feeling of having someone to look forward to and someone for whom to work hard. He loved to work, and working to make himself better, and for such a special woman, was an influence that was almost as calming as sensing her presence when she listened to him. He'd missed having a woman in his life, and even if this woman turned out to be nothing more than a daydream, he enjoyed having her for a while.

He barely had time to breathe when the day before the day she arrived was upon him.

And suddenly he realized that if he wanted those daydreams to even resemble reality in the smallest, most platonic of ways, he needed to step up his game. So he bought her a gift.
He didn't get her much of anything special; more of a trinket, really. He bought her a swan necklace from a peon place called Bling Crosby, not for any particular reason, but just because he thought she might be the type of person who liked swans. He spent half an hour in the Wal-Mart trying to decide what color gift bag to put it in. He settled on a deep blue, not for any particular reason, but just because he thought she looked like the kind of person who might like a deep blue.
He knew he was doing too much guesswork, and this kind of fuzzy math wasn't his preferred method of getting things done, but guesses and daydreams were all he was living on.

And then he took another deep breath, and he was standing right in front of the wooden door that separated him from her, deep blue package in hand and Beretta at his side, praying that she liked swans. He knocked, and her voice came calling through the door.

"Come in," she called. She sounded just like before. Her voice was still so calm and so soothing. He wanted to bathe in it---in a perfectly appropriate, respectful way, of course.
He opened the door and stepped in, hoping that his terror didn't show through his mask of casual indifference but knowing that it did.
"Hello, Carlton," she said. She was smiling, and that gave him a small measure of relief, since most people who had met him once never smiled when they met him a second time. That meant he couldn't have made such a bad impression the first time around.

"Hello, M---" He started to say Maddie, the name he'd crooned so many times during those distracted fantasies, but he caught himself just in time and said, "Mrs. Spencer. I, uh, took the liberty of, uh." He couldn't figure out a way to land the plane, so he finished by stuttering and saying, "I hope you like it." He handed her the deep blue package and sat down on the couch beside her chair, not for any particular reason, but just because he thought he might faint if he didn't.
Correction: he wouldn't have fainted, but he might have rested his eyes for a moment and ended up falling backward slightly. Which would have been just as embarrassing in front of this beautiful woman.

This beautiful woman who happened to be Shawn Spencer's mother. And Henry Spencer's ex-wife.
That was a lot of baggage, and for the first few days after that first week of knowing her, he wasn't sure if he would ever be willing to take on that kind of baggage. Not from that horrendous, annoying, maddening family.
But he'd come to realize, after those six weeks of being nightly haunted by her voice and advice and not knowing why, that he was just as bad, or probably worse, than anything Henry Spencer had offered her.

But he wanted to offer her more. He'd thought about that voice and heard it in his head for so long. Maybe he was romanticizing. Maybe he was imagining all the feelings and all the memories of his short time knowing her. Maybe he was completely wrong about everything, and maybe she didn't like deep blue or swans.

But Lassiter had never been the romanticizing type.

Of course, he'd never been the romantic type, either, but for once he wanted to change that, and for once he regarded that change as being positive.

Which was why, as he sat on their couch, he held his breath as she held his little gift bag in her marble-sculpted hands.
"Oh," she said, smiling again, "thank you, Carlton, but this wasn't necessary."
"No, I assure you, ma'am, it was," Lassiter replied. "I, uh, wanted to apologize."
"Apologize? Whatever for?"
"For answering every question in character as Tom "Gunny" Highway from Heartbreak Ridge. And for searching this room for bugs while it was currently in your use. And for requesting to pat you down and asking you to submit to a polygraph."

She chuckled, which only gave him something new to fantasize about, and said, "Well, apology accepted. Should I open it now?"
With her right index finger, she peeled off the bit of Scotch tape holding the gift bag closed and unwrapped Lassiter's token. "Oh, this is beautiful, Detective. Thank you. How did you know that I love swans?"
"Lucky guess," he said, the relief spreading across his face in a full-fledged grin.
"They remind me of my son," she said as she reached behind her neck to put the necklace on.
Lassiter's grin evaporated, leaving behind his natural neutral expression, the one he wore to disguise all emotion.

After fiddling with the clasp for a good minute, she asked, "Would you mind helping me put it on?"
"I'd be happy to." The smile creeped around the corners of his mouth as he reached over, his arms around her shoulders and her head bent at an angle that caused it to come tantalizingly close to touching his chest, and secured the necklace around her. He allowed himself the luxury of letting his fingers "accidentally" brush the nape of her neck before letting go and letting the heart-pounding moment fade.

He could kiss the next six weeks of sleep goodbye.

"Thank you," she said. "I really appreciate this." Her golden smile returned to light up his day once again. "What would you like to talk about today?"
"Anything you'd like me to talk about," he replied, nodding his head to show her how obedient he could be to her commands. "Any question you ask, I'll answer."
"Not in character?"
"Well, why don't you start by telling me all about that Beretta. Is it new?"
Lassiter's face lit up and he pulled it from its holster to give her a closer look. "Yes, actually. I got it from a guy I know down in Yorba Linda..."

The next thing he knew, he was laying flat on his back on the couch with his shoes in the floor and his feet on the armrest, just like last time, with no memory whatsoever of how he had gotten there.

How did she do it?

A couple of times, he'd caught himself rambling and thought about changing the subject, but each time he'd shrugged it off and kept going, sensing that the ever-lovely Madeleine didn't mind to listen. And he had gone for so long with no one to listen. How had he ever lived before without someone like her, who was kind enough to listen and never complain?

"Well," she said, after what seemed like too short an interlude. "Time's up for today, I'm afraid."
"What? You're joking," he said, heart sinking.
Correction: His heart was plummeting.
"No," she said, "Time really is up. But don't worry. You'll see me again. I'm here all week."
Lassiter couldn't stop a sigh from edging out of his throat as he laced his shoes back up.

"I find it hard to believe that you'll miss me that much," she said. "The last time you came to see me, you were so upset that I'm Shawn's mother that I thought you'd never want to walk in here again. Not that you were so keen to come in the first place."
"I'm sorry," he said, feeling ashamed to have let her down so much before.
"Ah, don't be sorry. Let bygones be bygones."
He nodded. "I suppose I'll be seeing you around." He cleared his throat and scooped up the handgun that he'd almost forgotten, sliding it back into its rightful place at his side. His empty, woman-bereft side.
"I suppose you will."

The look she gave him was one of those wise, mysterious, knowing glances that are always praised in movies but that nobody ever uses in real life. With a shock intense enough to have been lightning, it dawned on him that she knew everything. She knew everything all along. All along, she'd been reading between the lines and dissected his thoughts and figured out his dirty little secret: that he had a silly little boy-crush on Madeleine Spencer, 55-year-old divorced police psychologist, the mother of his greatest rival.

A thousand colorful curses flew through his head. Swans? Deep blue? Apologies?
What had he been thinking? Now he was forever have to face her, every time she came back, and tell his little stories and sit on her couch, knowing that she knew that he was stupid enough to dream over her like a ten-year-old with an overindulgent woman teacher. What an embarrassment! And of course Shawn Spencer was going to find out about it somehow, just like he always did...

"I'll just be going now," he said, unable to keep the curt edge of out of his voice as he spun on his immaculate, polished heels and wrenched the door open by its traitorous brass knob.

Maddie watched in silent amusement as Lassiter transformed from giddy, obedient subject to angry, moody cop in a matter of seconds. Out of all the clients she'd seen over the years, she'd never seen anyone with mood swings quite as frequent, dramatic, or just plain funny as his.

Of course she'd known what he had been up to the entire time. She wasn't stupid. In fact, she was quite certain that the entire department knew. Lassiter was cunning and a little sweet in his own way, but subtle he was not. The too-shiny shoes, the brand-new suit, the gelled hair recently dyed a deeper black, and of course the cute little necklace wrapped up with such care had all given him away right from the instant he'd stepped into the room.

He was endearing, of course, in the way that a big-eyed, floppy-eared and floppy-jowled puppy dog was endearing, and she couldn't stand the idea of hurting his feelings, so even though she still hadn't quite figured out just how she felt about a possible unprofessional relationship with a client, she decided to throw the puppy a bone.

"If you'd like to talk more, perhaps you'd like my telephone number," she said, freezing him in mid-step with his foot hovering over the threshold. "That way, you'll know how to contact me if you ever have anything you want to discuss that you can't fit into a session."

Though she'd been amazed at the speed of his turn as he faced the door moments ago, she found the rapid pace at which he turned to face her again astonishing. Even more astonishing was the giant, bursting grin splashed across the lanky man's face. She couldn't help but smile again for at least the fifteenth time since he'd come to see her. How he could go from somber to thrilled in a split second, she would never know.

After she wrote her phone number down on a scrap of paper, she watched him fold the scrap precisely in half and crease it with a perfect straight line before he tucked it into his breast pocket.

After that, he didn't seem to want to move. He stood there staring at her with wide, childlike eyes, blue and innocent. When the moment grew awkward, she said goodbye, and he left without a word, walking down the hallway. She kept watching him as he went, and about halfway to the end of the hall, he abruptly jumped up and shouted "Yes!"

She covered her mouth to stifle a laugh, not wanting to let him know that she'd seen. Goodness, how cute!
She was still looking at him (and contemplating their age difference) when her son's voice tugged her back to the real world.

"Hey, Mom!" Shawn said, ambling toward her, thumbs in his belt.
"Hey, Goose!" she said. "What brings you down this side of the hall? Come to visit your lonely mom at work?"
"Actually, I was on my way to take a nap in the room that conveniently shares an air vent with this one." He pointed to her room, the room where she always did her psych evals.
"Goose," she scolded. "All this information is confidential!"
"Don't worry. I'm asleep! I can't hear anything."

She could tell right off that he was lying. She and his father both always knew when Shawn was up to something.

"Did I miss Lassie?" he asked.
"Yes. You'll have to listen in on his private session another time."
"That's a shame," Shawn said with a grin. "Is that necklace new?"
"Yes, it is."
"From Dad? Please tell me he's not that cheap."
"I'll never say."
"Ooh, Mom, can I eat lunch with you today? I'll bring churros!"
"Twelve o'clock, on the dot. Don't be late," she teased.
"I won't," he replied, and they both knew full well that he would.

Her little Goose walked on past and down the hallway, and if anyone had been watching, then at first glance, that someone would have thought that she was looking after her child. But in all honesty, she knew her son could take care of himself; she'd raised him well, and she had confidence in him. No, she was actually catching one last glimpse of Detective Lassiter as he rounded the corner, suit coat flapping after him.

For all his quirks, flaws, and bad childhood memories, she thought, Lassiter really did cut a handsome figure.

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