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(White) Collar Optional (11/?)

Title: (White) Collar Optional
Fandom: Psych, White Collar
Characters: Shawn, Gus, Peter, Neal, Henry, Juliet, Lassiter & Vick with cameos from Mozzie, El, Diana & Jones
Word Count: 1266
Rating: PG-13
Overall Summary: In New York, Peter and Gus search for what happened to Neal and Shawn. In California, Shawn and Neal escape a little too easily, making them wonder if Ridley has other plans.
Notes: Okay, I'm finally posting the sequel to Psychic in the City. It's still unfinished so posting will stay with Wednesdays until further notice. I'd also like to thank my three betas snowflakie06, slytheringurrl and the_moogie

Ein Deux Tre Cuatro Pyat' έξι sju dziewięć nove deset




Lassiter leaned back in his chair and took a swig of his lukewarm coffee. The preliminary forensics report from the house revealed nothing to confirm Spencer’s story that Ridley had held them there. He had garnered some strange looks when he had handed over the cereal flake, but they analyzed in anyway. According to them, it couldn’t have been out more than two days. It supported Spencer’s account, but no ties to Ridley.

He was rubbing his eyes when O’Hara sat at her desk.

“Still no luck?” She placed a bear claw on the desk in front of him.

Lassiter stared at the offending pastry, sitting on its little paper plate in the middle of his file. He couldn’t get to the documents without moving the sugar-laden confection.

“I know you haven’t eaten,” she said. “You can’t live on coffee, no matter how hard you try.”

He rolled his eyes at her mothering, but picked up the pastry and took a bite. It was heavenly! He schooled his features so O’Hara wouldn’t know how much he enjoyed it.

“So?” she prompted.

Lassiter swallowed. “There was nothing in that house to tie it to Ridley. I know Spencer’s not holding back. We found everything just how he said. It begs the question why? Why did Ridley abduct the two of them in the first place? Why bring them to California, especially knowing this is where Spencer’s from?”

“Maybe he wanted them to take the fall?”

“Then why make it easy for them to get away? I’m starting to agree with Burke’s theory that Ridley wants to discredit Spencer.”

“Do you think he wants us to doubt Shawn and that he was held at that house with Caffrey?”

“The FBI has footage of Ridley taking them at gunpoint. Can’t pretend that didn’t happen.”

O’Hara thought for a moment. “He could say the whole thing was their idea. He took the chalice while Shawn and Caffrey were in another part of the museum creating an alibi with the camera. Ridley takes them to where they can split the money from the sale of the chalice and go their separate ways.” She sighed. “That sounds stupid out loud.”

“No, it could be a credible theory – if it weren’t Spencer.”

“Carlton? You’re supporting Shawn?”

“When he first showed up, I wouldn’t have put something like that past him. Now, I think he has too much here to just walk away.”

The look on her face was the one she always had right before she started hugging. Thankfully, McNab arrived at that point, saving him from being squeezed.

“Detectives, going by the criteria you gave me, I’ve narrowed down two possible buyers for the chalice. One’s in Fresno and the other’s in Palm Springs.”

Lassiter grabbed the files from the overgrown puppy’s paws. “Now we’ve got a concrete lead.”

“Yeah, outside out jurisdiction,” stated O’Hara.

Lassiter started walking towards the Chief’s office. “We’ll talk to the Chief to see if she can flex some political muscle so we can interview these guys.” Outside the office, he realized his partner hadn’t followed. “C’mon, O’Hara. If we wait too long, we’ll lose him.”

She said something to McNab before joining him. He knocked on the office door, heard a muffled “enter”, and opened the door.

*********************

When they had walked out of Psych, Shawn had headed for the vendors. Neal had pulled him by the arm, virtually spinning him 180 °. “What the hell?”

“We have a very small window. C’mon.” Neal had hurried him towards the Blueberry.

Shawn had grinned. “But what about your promise to Gus?”

“I said you wouldn’t drive away. I didn’t say anything about myself.”

Now they were on the highway headed towards Palm Springs. Neal was enjoying himself behind the wheel; something about “invigorating”.

“Do you get to drive in New York?”

“Only when I can get the keys from Peter.”

“So, no.”

“No. A lot of walking. This makes a change. I think it’s my first real road trip.”

“I think this is my first road trip I didn’t instigate. I didn’t even have to drug you.”

“You didn’t.”

“Slipped ‘em into his Frosty and he didn’t wake up until Palo Alto. He was so pissed, we argued in texts.” He pulled out his phone to check for angry texts.

“It’s a new phone. Did you get the numbers in?”

“First thing. He’s gone to Dad and Peter by now. They’re probably already after us.”

“Ah, that’s if they can figure out which way we went. Two different directions and only one car. I don’t think they’ll call the police on us.”

“It depends on how mad Gus is. This is a company car and I think it’s fitted with low jack.”

“And you didn’t think to tell me?” Neal sighed. “It’s too late now to disable it. They’ll know which way we’re heading – if they remember.”

“Oh, he’ll remember. Hopefully, we’ll already have things in hand.”

They drove on, the radio the only sound. They’d barely gone a mile when Neal spoke. “What’s the plan?”

“I thought you had one since you’re doing the driving.”

“I thought you were faking the zone-out to ditch Gus.” He chuckled. “I was following your lead.”

“When you offered to take me outside, I went along.” Shawn looked over at Neal. “We need to come up with a code word.”

“We still have time.”

Shawn thought on what the two of them could do alone, unarmed and without backup. Schtall! I’m good at running off at the mouth and Neal, well, he’s a retired professional. “We play the buyers against each other,” he said. “It’s a small community and they’d know each other and compete.”

“We can say he’s inflated the price.”

“Yeah, but will he believe us?”

“Shawn, I am hurt.” Neal put a hand to his heart. “This is my raison d’être.”

“Plus ça change…”

“Did you speak French?”

“Calm yourself, Gomez. I picked up a few things on my travels. I’m not just a pretty face, you know.”

“So, your whole…thing, that’s just an act?”

“As a former criminal, would you have worried about a guy who flaps his arms about and makes 80s references? If I started acting serious all the time, people would expect it and that’s just not me.”

Wow, he had never really explained his actions like that before. The closest had probably been the first time they had gone up against Yang and he had told Gus that he needed the jokes to keep him from going crazy. It was a major defense mechanism. Like DefCon 5. He had been getting more serious recently. He could attribute it to being with Juliet, but if he really had to pinpoint when it started, he’d say when Mary died in his arms. Up to that point, he could distance himself but that moment made death “real”.

A sign at the window caught his eye. “Our exit’s coming up.”

“Okay.” Neal spared him a glance as he switched lanes. “You ready for this?”

Shawn shut the door to the introspective and moody part of his brain and let the spontaneous bits have full control. “Oh, yeah. You and me are gonna run circles around these guys.”

“I thought the only running you did was away from the guys with guns?”

Shawn laughed. “That’s the kind of running I do the most.”

With the tension eased. Shawn felt a whole lot better. The mopes were gone and he was about to confront a criminal in his lair. What could possibly—A whole hell of a lot, actually.

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