Author: JillianCasey PM
A continuation of Dangerous Game. Highly recommended that you read that first. Beckett tries to figure out where she wants things to go with Castle. Meanwhile, a serial killer fixates on Beckett.Rated: Fiction M - English - Suspense/Romance - Kate B. & Rick C. - Chapters: 27 - Words: 114,200 - Reviews: 1,007 - Favs: 714 - Follows: 258 - Updated: 05-15-10 - Published: 12-27-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5615844
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: And so it begins. This chapter is quite long. Most of them will be, I think. Hunted is going to be one hell of a ride for Beckett and Castle. Buckle up, everyone :) Oh…and I own nothing related to Castle. It all belongs to ABC.
"You had hot shower sex this morning, didn't you?"
The coffee in Kate's mouth rocketed out, spattering all over the table and the Caesar salad in front of her. Some of it even came out of her nose. God, it burned. Kate stared up at Lanie Parish, medical examiner and best friend extraordinaire, who was sitting across the table from her in their favorite dumpy diner. If it was possible, Lanie's eyes would've burned a hole through Kate.
"Maybe not hot shower sex," Lanie said next, her expression thoughtful. "Maybe just run of the mill, pre-work, bed sex."
Kate shook her head. "Lanie…"
"Girl, don't you dare deny it. You waltz into the crime scene this morning with that look on your face, and you expect me to believe you didn't get lucky this morning? Nu uh. Not buying it." Lanie pointed her fork threateningly at the detective sitting across from her. "Spill it."
Kate looked down at her salad. "I wouldn't know what to spill."
"Why don't you start with the name of the mystery man?"
Oh God. It sounded shocking even in her head. She was sleeping with Rick Castle. Having mind-blowing, incredibly hot shower sex with Rick Castle. Because yes, she'd had shower sex that morning. Hot shower sex. Really hot shower sex.
It had been three weeks since her and Rick's truth or dare game had gotten out of control and culminated in a night that left Kate's muscles sore for days. They still hadn't been on a date. Not what Rick called a "real date" anyway. They saw each other all the time. Aside from work, they spent the majority of their nights and weekends together. Alexis was usually somewhere in the mix as well, since she was so over the moon that Kate Beckett was a more personal and less professional part of her father's life. Most of their time, however, was spent either in Rick's loft or at Kate's apartment. Public places were off limits until they figured out what exactly they were, because the moment they stepped out into public together the tabloids would have them married and pregnant. It bordered on frustrating for Kate, but she couldn't really complain. The only reason they weren't official was her.
It wasn't like they were prisoners in their own homes, though. They had too much fun to think of themselves as trapped. They had managed an incognito trip to the Museum of Natural History, because Rick was a closet history buff and Kate liked the Egypt exhibit. They'd had two movie marathons with Alexis as well, marathons that mostly consisted of Kate trying to focus on the movie while Rick let his hands roam free under the blanket. They had dinner together almost every night; Rick was a sinfully good cook. And, of course, there'd been quite a bit of sex. Great sex. But not a real date yet. No flowers. No PDA. No mention of the terms boyfriend, girlfriend, dating, or relationship.
It was Kate's choice. She knew that one word from her and Rick would be ready to have the talk. He'd wanted to have it after their first night, but Kate had sidestepped him. She'd been sidestepping him ever since. He didn't ask a lot; he seemed to know that pressuring her was a bad idea, so he settled for a casual reference every now and then. Nevertheless, she could read it in his expression. She didn't want to sound arrogant, but she knew it. Just knew it. Rick wanted her to be his girlfriend. He wouldn't have let her anywhere near Alexis if he didn't. The question was did she want to be his girlfriend?
The only problem was she was fucking terrified.
"Hello? Earth to Kate."
Kate looked up at Lanie. "Huh?"
Lanie smirked at her from across the table. "The sex is that good, huh?"
Kate rooted her fork through her salad. "Not everything is about sex, you know. Just because you're a sex fiend-"
"I'm a sex fiend? Girl, you must be out your damn mind!" Lanie stabbed her fork in Kate's direction again. "You better tell me that man's name before I fork it out of you."
Kate leaned back in her seat and sighed. "I can't, Lanie."
"And why not?"
"Oh, God. It's not FBI man, is it? Kate, you know you deserve better than that-"
"No," Kate interrupted. She waved the idea off with a flick of her hand. "I don't even know if Will is still in New York. It's not him."
"Well then who is it? What's the big secret?"
Kate broke eye contact and looked out the window next to their booth. She didn't like keeping things from Lanie. Lanie certainly never kept things from her. But things with Rick were so…good. Really good. She didn't want to mess them up. She didn't want any pressure to put a label on anything, or to let him in any faster than she already was. She just wanted things to stay exactly as they were. Things at work were no different than they had been before the game. Kate had warned Rick explicitly that nothing was to change, and he'd held up his end of the bargain beautifully, annoying habits and inappropriate innuendos included. Outside of work, things were simple. Laughter, time with each other and time together with Alexis, and sex. It didn't get much simpler than that.
"Oh. My. God." Kate looked back at Lanie as the M.E.'s fork clattered onto the table. Her eyes were the size of dinner plates. "Its writer boy, isn't it?"
The hot flush that overpowered Kate's face suddenly was answer enough, and she knew it. She leaned over the table. "You can't tell anyone."
"Please. I wouldn't do that. But it's him?"
Kate sighed. "Yes. It's him."
Lanie squealed, actually squealed, and Kate rolled her eyes. "It's about damn time! When was the first time? Last night?" Another blush crept over Kate's cheeks. She shook her head. "This weekend?" Today was Monday. Kate shook her head again. Lanie's mouth fell open a bit. "Last weekend?" she tried again. Kate bit her lip and made a guilty face. "Kate!" Lanie cried. "How long have you been sleeping with him?"
"Not long. Only like three weeks-"
"Three weeks?" Lanie repeated incredulously. "You've been sleeping with Rick Castle-"
"…for three weeks? And you didn't tell me?"
"Yes." A sudden look of hurt crossed Lanie's face and Kate felt a stab of guilt. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I wanted to. But at first, I wasn't sure it would last. I mean, he's Castle, right?"
"But he hasn't hit the road yet?"
"And neither have you."
Kate sighed. "No."
"So you two are like…dating."
"No," Kate said forcefully. "We're not dating. We're…having fun."
Lanie knit her eyebrows. "Did he say that?"
"No. I did."
Lanie crossed her arms over her chest and eyed the detective across from her interestedly. "Let me get this straight. You've been sleeping with him for three weeks but you two aren't in a relationship because you don't want to be?"
"It's not that I don't want to be. I'm just…"
"Scared?" Lanie supplied.
Kate shook her head. "We work together, Lanie."
"So if we put a label on this, that means the label could come off someday. Which would make things really awkward at work."
Lanie shook her head. "No. That's bullshit. When he got into your mother's case you had no problem kicking him off your team and out of the precinct. You'd do it again if you had to. This is something else."
Kate scoffed. "Something like what?"
"Something like you like him. A lot. You're not afraid of how a potential break up could affect work. You're afraid of how a potential break up could affect you."
The shrill ring of Kate's phone stopped Lanie from finishing her thought. Kate reached for it. "Beckett. Really? Okay. Be right there."
She hung up the phone and looked at Lanie. "Duty calls." She dropped a twenty on the table.
"We're finishing this later," Lanie warned.
Kate sent her best friend a smile as she got out of the booth and headed for the door. "Whatever you want, Dr. Parish."
"I know where you live!" Lanie called after her. She was answered by the door to the diner slamming shut. Lanie picked up her fork and rooted around her salad. "Three weeks," she muttered to herself. "Damn sex fiends."
Mark watched from across the street as Detective Kate Beckett exited the diner with a smile on her face. She really was a beautiful woman. His eyes swept over her wolfishly, trailing up her long jean clad legs, over the toned midsection hidden by her coat, and rested on her face. Her hair blew in the wind and she brushed it out of her eyes absently, then returned her hands to her coat pockets. She weaved her way in between the people on the sidewalk purposefully, and he had to walk a bit to keep up and not lose sight of her.
His eyes still rested on her face, her head. The mind inside of her head captivated him. So many solved cases, so many accomplishments. She was brilliant. She could've been anything; her savior complex had pushed her into the police academy. Such a shame. She could've been great. There was so much going on inside that pretty head of hers. He wanted to be inside her head. Wanted to see how it all worked, see how she viewed the world. He had a pretty good idea. But he wanted to know it all.
Something about her made his heart thump faster. Maybe it was the memories. Maybe it was his plans for the future. Mark curled his fingers into a fist, wishing he could curl his fingers around her instead. Soon. Soon the world would know her as a different kind of muse than it currently did, and soon she would be on her knees begging him to save her again.
In the meantime, there was another Kate waiting for him.
"The day she died, Tracy Stanton made six phone calls. Three to her husband, one to her mother, and two to an unidentified number that's untraceable." Esposito handed Beckett the copy of the phone records. "We're going to look at some other angles; see if we can figure out who owns the phone."
Kate scanned the numbers. "Good. Show it to her husband and her mother, too. See if they recognize it."
Esposito nodded and then Ryan stepped up. "We got a hit on the license plate of the green Chevy. Belongs to a guy named Marco Salvatore. He's got a record. Possession with intent to sell, some assault charges. Want us to bring him in?"
"Yes. Do that now. We can do the number recognition later."
The boys nodded and disappeared, off to bring her a new suspect to interrogate. Kate sat down at her desk, still eyeing the phone records.
"I had a daydream that you had your wicked way with me in the break room."
The voice in her ear was low, throaty. Kate didn't turn around, but found herself smiling as she looked down at the phone records. The smell of Rick's cologne filled her nose. "Oh yeah? In your dream did I tell you there are cameras in there?"
"Yes. But you didn't care because you just had to have me right then and there."
Kate smirked and finally turned her head to look at Rick, who was leaning over her shoulder. His face was close, close enough to make her heart thump a little bit faster. "Because you're so irresistible, right?"
He grinned. "Well that's what you were thinking this morning. You know, in the shower right before you-"
"Don't finish that sentence," she warned, holding up a finger. He stopped, held her eyes meaningfully for a second, and then plopped into the chair next to her desk. Kate turned back to her phone records.
"Where are the boys going?"
"To bring me a suspect to interrogate."
"Yesss. I love interrogations."
Kate didn't answer. After a moment Rick casually lifted his feet and rested them on the corner of her desk. Kate promptly shoved them off, but didn't look up from her papers. Another few seconds passed in silence as Kate put the phone records down and reached for some other papers. She could feel him watching her just as much as she could feel her heart thumping a step faster than normal.
"Castle." She still didn't look at him.
"It's creepy. Stop it."
She knew he was pouting. A faint smile tugged at her lips. She tried to resist, but she couldn't. At last, she looked up at him. She leaned toward him, setting a piece of paper on her desk where he could see it. She pointed at it. "Look at this." As soon as he leaned forward and they were both looking at the paper, Kate lowered her voice. "Is Alexis still going to the Student Council lock-in?"
"And your mother?"
"With Chet. You want to have dinner? My place?"
"Are you cooking?"
"Would you find it sexy if I did?"
She stifled a grin and shuffled the papers so they were looking at but not really seeing a new one. "Make me dinner, and I'll make it worth your while."
Kate was pacing around the interrogation room, weaving a story that Castle would've been proud of. Rick's eyes were on her every step of the way, enthralled, but she was more concerned with the suspect, Marco Salvatore, at the moment.
"So you killed her," she finished. "You stalked her, and you killed her."
Salvatore shook his head. "You got it all wrong, lady. You're pretty and all, but you don't know shit."
Kate was tired of the come-ons. Salvatore had been after her since she'd walked in, thinking it would throw her off her game. All it did was piss her off. She was a bit worried about Rick though; judging from the way his jaw tightened every time Salvatore said something inappropriate, he was trying his very hardest to keep his mouth shut.
Kate stopped next to the table and crossed her arms over her chest, looking down her nose at Salvatore. "Marco. Can I call you Marco?" She didn't wait for an answer. "Listen, I've got half a dozen witnesses who saw your car outside of Tracy Stanton's apartment every day the week before her murder. They even saw you outside her building the day she was killed."
"I told you, I wanted to talk to her."
"What do you care?"
Kate gave him a haughty smile. "You know, it doesn't really matter if you tell me. I've got a witness in holding. He knows exactly what you wanted to talk to Tracy about. In fact, he knows all kinds of things about you. He's very talkative. Maybe I'll just talk to him."
She lifted a shoulder carelessly. "Maybe. Guess you'll have to wait and see."
She was headed toward the exit of the interrogation room when Salvatore called after her. "Wait." Kate turned around expectantly. "It was about money. She owed me money."
"You were her dealer?"
"No. I just knew him."
Kate started toward Salvatore again. She planted her palms on the stainless steel table, leaned down inches away from Salvatore's face, and looked him straight in the eye. "Don't lie, Marco. It pisses me off."
"You know I could do better things to you than piss you off. Things you'd really like."
She caught Rick shifting in his chair out of the corner of her eye. She didn't blink. "Why don't you start with the name of Tracy's dealer?"
"How about I get you out of those clothes first?" Salvatore raked his eyes over her figure, and Kate felt a rush of vomit pushing against her throat. God, he was disgusting. Salvatore met her eyes and grinned. "You know with an ass like that-"
She saw his hand darting toward her, ready to grab her ass, but she was too quick for him. Her hand flitted out, caught his wrist, and used it to pull his arm behind his back the same way she would if she were cuffing him. She shoved and his face went careening forward, smacking against the stainless steel table. She tugged his wrist and heard a satisfying crack, followed by a yelp of pain. She leaned down and put her mouth by his ear.
"Next time you want to grab someone's ass, I'd recommend choosing a woman who isn't a cop." Salvatore was blissfully silent. Kate straightened and let go of his wrist. "Enjoy your night in a cell, Marco. We'll talk tomorrow."
She headed toward the exit, walking sideways so that she could keep an eye on Salvatore. It was a good thing, too; he rose from his chair as soon as she let him go and headed toward her. She knew that Esposito and Ryan were probably already bolting for the room, but they wouldn't make it before Salvatore got to her. Kate set her feet, ready for the attack, but as Salvatore pulled his fist back and sent it lurching forward, Rick was suddenly in between Kate and Salvatore's fist.
The fist connected with a sickening crack and Rick staggered backward, his hands flying up to clutch his face. Kate was distracted momentarily, but she couldn't miss how Salvatore's eyes settled on her instantly. He started for her, and she ducked another punch before sweeping his legs out from under him with her foot. He was struggling to his feet again when the door to the interrogation room burst open and Esposito's booming bass voice roared.
"Freeze! Hands in the air!"
Salvatore stopped. Ryan hurried forward, slamming Salvatore onto the table and cuffing him with way more force than necessary. Once Salvatore was cuffed, Kate turned to Rick.
He was hunched over, still holding his face. Kate put a hand on his back and leaned down toward his face. "Castle? You okay?"
He straightened and she did too. He had a hand over his left eye, but his right eye squinted at her. "Ow."
She tilted her head sympathetically. "I know. What were you thinking, jumping in front of him like that?"
"He was coming at you-"
"I'm a cop, Castle." She watched as Ryan shoved Salvatore toward the door. "I can handle myself."
Kate sent him a look. She knew exactly where he was going, and Esposito was still in the room. Definitely not the time. Rick fell silent and looked at the floor. Kate felt bad; he was only trying to protect her. It was completely illogical, seeing as she was an armed cop and he was just a novelist, but the intention was sweet. And God he was cute when he was all hurt and dejected. She put a hand on his arm. "Come on. Let's get you an ice pack."
"So I was really chivalrous, right?"
Kate rolled her eyes as she got the ice pack out of the freezer in the lounge. She didn't know why they kept ice packs in there, but they did. Lucky for Castle.
"Yes, Castle. Very chivalrous."
She smirked at him as she walked toward him. He was leaning against the counter in front of the espresso machine, still holding his face. At least he wasn't wincing anymore; now a goofy, lopsided grin dominated his face.
"Yes. Very brave."
Kate batted Rick's hand out of the way, lifted the ice pack, and pressed it against his face. He squealed. Kate grinned and lifted her eyebrows. "What were you saying about manly?"
"It's cold," he pouted, giving her his best puppy dog face.
"Well, you should've thought about the consequences of your actions before you dove in front of the stalker guy trying to punch me."
"Hey, I was trying to protect you. Some creep comes at my…" he trailed off. Kate felt a flush rise to her cheeks and she moved her gaze from Rick's eyes to the ice pack. Rick shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "He was all over you," he murmured after a minute.
Kate met his eyes again. "Lots of suspects are all over me, Castle. It's part of the job."
"I don't like it."
"You don't have to. It's not your job, it's mine."
She looked back at the ice pack again. She didn't know why she sounded so irritated. Rick's hand was suddenly on the small of her back, pulling her flush against his body. "Kate. Can you look at me please?"
She looked at him and held his eyes as she wriggled free of his hand on her back. "Work," she muttered.
He sighed and lowered his hand. "It's not like I don't know you can take care of yourself, okay? You could kick that guy's ass to Mars if you wanted to."
Kate nodded. "Okay."
"Beeeecks," he called. His voice was low and affectionate, the kind of voice that he used when he was trying to coax her into doing something that she thought was ridiculous. "Don't be mad at me, okay? It was just a reaction." He trailed his hand over her cheek. "Besides, your face is much too pretty for a black eye."
She finally smiled. She moved the ice pack and lifted her fingers to press against the shining bruise forming around his eye. "You're going to look like a raccoon," she observed.
"Are you okay with sleeping with a rodent?"
Kate shoved him, but she was smiling still. She put the ice pack back on his face. The door to the lounge suddenly opened, and Kate scooted a more socially respectable distance away from Rick while still holding the ice pack to his face. Captain Montgomery appeared, looking frazzled.
"Beckett. You…" he trailed off and stared at the detective and the writer, puzzled. "What happened?"
"I got punched," Rick answered.
"By you?" Montgomery asked, looking at Kate.
Kate laughed. "No. Although I can't say I haven't thought about it…" Castle pouted and Kate smirked. "It was a suspect," she clarified.
Montgomery stared at Kate like she'd grown a second head. "And you're icing it for him?"
Oh shit. Kate shifted into panic mode, but as always Rick was smooth and ready with an excuse. "Guilty conscience. It was sort of her fault."
Montgomery nodded, but Kate couldn't ignore the way his eyes were darting between her and Rick. She cleared her throat. "Did you need something, Captain?"
"I just got a call from the 15th precinct…they've got a body. 125th and Chester. Pretty gruesome."
"Okay…is it related to Tracy Stanton's case?"
"No, but the detective in charge is asking for you. They want you over there now."
Montgomery slid his hands into his pockets. "Apparently the killer left a note addressed to you. Specifically requesting you, in fact. Get your ass over there. And take the boys and your wounded shadow with you."