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14 December 2007 @ 11:43 am
Fic: Hugging Theory and Shell Rot  
 Title: Hugging Theory and Shell Rot
Pairing/Characters: Lassiter/O’Hara
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,055
Spoilers: Nope
Summary: Lassiter's mother was one of the wire monkeys in Harry Harlow's experiment, apparently, so he doesn't know how to respond to O'Hara's touchy-feely ways.  Especially when it's all over vehicular turtle homicide on the freeway.
Was "Feel her breath on my face" an intentional nod to "She's Like the Wind?": Not at first, but when I reread it, I almost wrote "Her body close to his."
Lassiter's mother once told him that the maximum time limit on a hug was two seconds, using the "one-Mississippi" method. “Any more than that is coddling, and people don't need more coddling than they already get in this life."
His mother said this to him when he was six. He had broken his leg.
So it wasn't that he found hugging unpleasant. It was that he believed there was a time limit. If he, at the age of six, could be weaned from maternal affection, he saw no reason why the rest of the universe couldn’t adhere to hugging standards.
O'Hara had been hugging--no, clinging to him--for the last 5 minutes and 43 seconds. He was watching the wall clock near Interim Chief Vick's office. O’Hara was also snuffling into his shirt collar…which was better than the wailing she had been doing into his shoulder.
O'Hara had run over a turtle. Not that she'd meant to. But it was the freeway. And it was a turtle.
He felt he'd run through all of his options during the tense commute back to the office: he'd tried explaining the braking distance and evasive actions needed to avoid a turtle at 70 mph; he'd tried explaining that box turtles generally have shorter lifespans than, say, large sea turtle; he tried saying, in a voice he barely recognized as his own, steeped as it was in panic and a tightness that started in his esophagus and ended somewhere around his toes, "O'Hara, please please PLEASE don't cry."
What seemed to be working now was sitting on the corner of his desk while she leaned her face against his shoulder. He'd rubbed her back for a bit while she hiccupped, but then he'd had to stop because he accidentally touched the bottom of her ponytail. When he murmured "Sorry," it caused her to wrap her arms around his neck.
That was not the result he had intended. At all. “He was just so little!” she wailed.
He rolled his eyes. He just wanted her to be happy. And stop crying. Mostly the latter.
He was relieved it was after-hours and there were only a few uniforms meandering around the front. Embarrassed, he murmured “It’s okay,” into the crown of her head. To his surprise, it sounded less exasperated than he’d been feeling, and more…
He was unwillingly pleased by the feel of her fingers curled around the base of his neck, an area lately touched only by his barber, a 58-year-old man named Don who didn’t clip his nails nearly often enough.
He wasn’t sure how he felt. Damn this infernal hugging. Why won’t she stop?
 “I know this is unprofessional,” O’Hara said into his collarbone, nearly reading his thoughts. In fact, he was inclined to agree with her and almost said as much. But agreeing with a woman’s self-depreciating opinions, he had learned, was never, ever the right thing to do. Ever.
Especially when wondering what your partner does to keep her hands so warm and satiny, willing her pinkie finger to curl closer to your earlobe.
He shook his head in the negative but said nothing. He tried to think: what would Spencer do?
Spencer would, naturally, make her laugh with one of his “jokes.”
He began to feel panicked. Joking didn’t seem appropriate. And he really hadn’t proved to be good at it in a workplace setting. Or with women.
I’m probably not very funny, he thought to himself.
Just make something up, dude, a voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Spencer.
“Maybe it had shell rot.”
There was a long silence. Damn it. In the future, Lassiter, don’t try to joke. Not until you get this whole “humor” thing figured out. And definitely don’t listen to anything that sounds like Spencer. You should know better.
“What?” O’Hara said into his chin.  Her breath on his face made his muscles freeze and his heartbeat accelerate uncomfortably. This situation had gotten entirely out of control. This was why his mother had put a time limit on hugging. This was why he had always failed to make his ex-wife feel better about anything, but especially being married to him.
But he had to commit to this. Power through. “Shell rot. Maybe he only had days to live and he…chose to end it quickly. Or it could have been late-onset tortoise dementia.”
“Those aren’t real diseases, Carlton.” The words were disbelieving. But in her voice, there was something.
She was playing along. And she had stopped crying. And she had pressed her pinkie into the back of his earlobe.
It was the worst, best thing that could have happened. Next to O’Hara having hit a kitten or a baby duck, he imagined.
“I read about it…in Reptile Health Quarterly.
“That’s not real either.”
“You’re right. It’s a monthly publication. Sorry.”
He looked at her then (finally) and saw her sparkling face, wet with tears, dashed with a quirked smile. His nose was touching her forehead. It felt like heaven.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “For helping.”
He felt flushed. He couldn’t be blushing. That was something a teenager would do. “Well, I’m glad I could…” But he wasn’t sure what he had done, besides channel Spenser’s inane sense of humor and take advantage of O’Hara’s weakness to wallow in the joy of coddling her.
His mother and Interim Chief Vick would have been most displeased. Spencer…well, he imagined Spencer would be torn between displeasure and a sort of begrudging respect for the amoral aspect of it all.
Her hands slipped away and she took a step back. She was still smiling.
He felt like he was six again. But instead of his leg breaking, it was his professional resolve. He wished she would stop looking so…was it adoration? It couldn’t be. Whatever it was, it was making dimples appear, and those dimples were crushing him like…
Oh, that was terrible. Like that turtle. He didn’t think O’Hara would appreciate that (he had to admit clever) attempt at humor.
He clapped a hand to each of her shoulders and shook her a little, trying for professional camaraderie and distance.  “Well, then. Okay. See you tomorrow, O’Hara.”
In response, she threw her arms around him again.
Someday he would get around to explaining his mother’s theories on hugging to her. Though not today.
kopernik: flowerskopernik on December 14th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, this is so cute and sweet and completely, beautifully plausible.

Reptile Health Quarterly, hee hee. CUTE OMG.
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter O'Hara Hugjesshelga on December 14th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
I totally had to do research for this story! I was convinced turtles were amphibians!

(I was terrible in science.)

Melissa: Psych: Lassiter & Julietcomfy_slippers on December 15th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
...he saw no reason why the rest of the universe couldn’t adhere to hugging standards.

That sounds SO very Lassiter to me.

“I read about it…in Reptile Health Quarterly.”
“That’s not real either.”
“You’re right. It’s a monthly publication. Sorry.”

That amused me greatly. :)

This was a cute fic, and I could picture some of this actually happening on the show, so I'd say you did a good job with writing this. :)
Jingledunce: Psych Juliet Takes the Leadjesshelga on December 16th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Thank you!
The Loyal Fox: Your Romeothe_loyal_fox on December 17th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
Oh sweet jesus XD I have never read a Psych fic this IC.
But...gah! It's so cute! This totally made my bad-day. Thanks for sharing it!
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter and Juliet's Christmas Hujesshelga on December 17th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
No problem! LOVE your icon!
The Loyal Fox: Your Romeothe_loyal_fox on December 17th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! =D Made it two nights ago <3
trogdor...WITH MAJESTY!!!tricki_nicki on January 11th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Okay. You are now officially my favorite Lassiet Fic Author EVER. :D It's adorable how in character this is, I can picture it happening so well.
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter Juliet Stern and Rosyjesshelga on January 12th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
Ha! Well, don't expect too too much. I'm not very reliable as far as production! But thanks!
(Deleted comment)
Jingleduncejesshelga on January 14th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
Hee! Thanks!
irlandesakirlandesak on January 19th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
So this is where the awesome Lassiet fic has been hiding. Not only was this good but it brought the kind of satisfcation that I get from only perfect fic--the kind of fic that gives me more of my ship than the show does yet could very much work as a scene in the show.
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter O'Hara Hugjesshelga on January 19th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! What a great compliment.

But it's no "Peaches!" That's for sure. Stupid show. Why are they baiting us?!?!
Hidden Willow: SV // Kristin Kreukhiddenw on January 20th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Well, since you mentioned She's Like The Wind, you know I just *had* to have it playing while I read this fic ;)

I'm not quite sure but I think this is the first Psych fic I've ever read. And I have to say you've spoiled me for other writers. You just have spot on characterizations. I buy everything they say and everything Lassie thinks. Like the show, the fic is cute and funny and just makes me feel warm.
Jingledunce: Office Jim and Michael Islands in the Stjesshelga on January 20th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
I have, hands down, one of the worst, least ironic addictions to lite FM ever. I want to CLAIM I didn't intend to name-check "She's Like the Wind," but I'd be denying my true nature.

Thank you for all the compliments; I try to aim for funny, even when Lassiter, by nature, is supposed to sort of be a failure at being intentionally funny.
Uther Pendragon's Loyal Wench: lassiet 01firthgal on February 16th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
OMG!!! You... astound me. And I am kicking myself for having missed all these perfect fics when they were first written. This one put an embarrassingly huge grin on my face and gave me that warm fuzzy feeling that I love, and it was so perfectly in character, and I love that Lassiter couldn't resist his giddiness at the fact that O'Hara touched his earlobe, and how he's completely uncomfortable with intimacy and usually screws it up, but with Juliet it felt so right for him, and best of all, he didn't screw it up. THIS IS WHY THEY BELONG TOGETHER!!! OMG! Perfect in every way. Also, I love that Juliet was so broken up about running over a turtle. Hee.
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter Juliet Golden Glowjesshelga on February 17th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
OMG!!! You... astound me.

Hee! Nice ref.

And glad you enjoyed it! I love thinking about Lassiter actually winning at something emotional for once.
Baconfatthebaconfat on March 31st, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh this just reduced me to squee and hearts. ADORABLE. I love your Lassiter -thoughts, they're fabulous nad fabulously crazy and socially inept and adorable. ♥ ♥ ♥
She was mean and she had seashells in her hair!: psych; huggy hugsdollsome on July 9th, 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
akjldfad;klfjad! Oh, JEEZ. This is like a sparkly gem of sparkly awesomeness. Edward Cullen wishes his sparkly skin could dazzle like this fic. Or, um, something.

But, oh, this was just the cutest, most delightful concept ever. A turtle. (At the line where it got revealed that that was the source of her devastation, I died a little. AWESOME.) And I just have to say that you write the most genius Lassiter POV I could ever even conceive of. Every single detail, the way he thinks and the way he perceives ol' Jules, is just so spot-on that it makes me want to, like, pound my fist emphatically against a flat surface and go, 'Yes! YES! Exactly!!'

I haven't literally done this yet, but I'm starting to suspect that it might only be a matter of time. Such is the strength of your power.

I’m probably not very funny, he thought to himself.

Just make something up, dude, a voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Spencer.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Jingledunce: Psych Looking Very Marriedjesshelga on July 9th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
Yay! Thank you, thank you for getting hooked on them. And I was SO glad to see you watched "There's Something About Mira." The coffee drinking! The mad dash out the door! The "you can time me!" interrog-off!
Gwynevere1gwynevere1 on January 20th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
So, I decided to check out some of your other Jules/Lassie fics. Lassie's Mommy Issues in this story WOULD EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!

Also: “Shell rot. Maybe he only had days to live and he…chose to end it quickly. Or it could have been late-onset tortoise dementia.”
Sometimes, it really *is* the thought that counts.
Jingleduncejesshelga on January 20th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
Heeeeeee! Thanks!

And I really wish they would bring Lassiter's mother back. I love that actress.
The Little Detective :'Dlil_detective on January 21st, 2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
:'D oh man...this is so well written...you did a great job capturing their personalities!
Adorable fan fic :3 i can't wait to read more from you~~
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter O'Hara Hugjesshelga on January 22nd, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Thank you, thank you!
The Little Detective :'Dlil_detective on January 22nd, 2009 11:30 pm (UTC)
your very welcome!
hiro: ♥ federinka ♥hiro_chan on December 13th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
this is so frigginn adorable <3333.

I've read a couple of your lassiet fics, and bwah, they're all so well written and in character and so goddamn adorable in an awkwadly adorkable way that only lassiet can achieve <333.

much love to you and your fics, here's hoping you're still writing them... :).
Jingledunce: Psych Lassiter O'Hara Hugjesshelga on December 13th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your very kind feedback. I haven't been writing much lately, I'm afraid, but I'm sure others have!
trascendenza: fifth element: plavalaguna: sing ittrascendenza on January 23rd, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
Oh, Juliet! How do I love you so. Of course she'd react this way to running over a turtle, and of course he'd be totally at a loss for how to deal with the hug of great Julietness (while secretly loving it). <3
(Anonymous) on May 3rd, 2010 12:58 am (UTC)
Juliet crying after running over a turtle...how unbelievably in-character.

Yetm it was the way the details unfolded in the story which gave each plot point it's zing. Carlton's unfortunatly non-affectionate upbringing running smack into Juliet's affectionate (or at least free) physical touching, is sooooo perfect. Because you KNOW Juliet's Mom hugged her all the time.

:-) Yay for adorable Lassiter inner-dialogue. I love that even though she's hugging him, he's still feeling uncomfortable and has to warm up to it...then when she pulls away, now he's ready for extended hugging!