A/N: Hello there world! I haven't written for Castle in a while and I wanted to stretch my writing legs a bit. I forgot how much I love writing about these two idiots. Be warned, there's lots of fluff ahead. Please review!

. . .

Kate remembers that first coffee like it was yesterday.

And honestly, it was a little creepy.

She had noticed the way he carried a notebook with him wherever he went, how he scribbled in it when she approached a crime scene or interrogated suspects or look through files or breathed. A few times she found paperwork on her desk with the corners ripped off because he had left the damn notebook in the breakroom and he just had to write the idea down before he forgot it.

So of course she noticed the way he studied her. He really wasn't all that subtle about it. More than anything though, it was just maddening. She complained about it once, and he just shrugged and smiled at her in that way that made her blood simmer (with anger, she told herself over and over again).

"It's a necessary evil," he said. "As magnificent as my brain is, it would be impossible to get all the details right without writing some of them down. It's the details that separate the great writers from the people who write naughty stories for the back of women's magazines."

"Oh, really? That's what sets them apart? And here I thought it was that those magazine writers actually have to work every week."

He feigned shock. "I'm wounded detective. I'll have you know that I work all the time." Those too blue eyes stared into hers, then scorched a quick trail over her before they returned to her face. "I'm working right now."

She knew he had been watching, she just didn't realize he was actually paying attention.

And then one day he walked up to her and handed her a grande skim latte with two pumps of sugar free vanilla. There was even extra foam, just the way she likes it and he brought her a bear claw.

(She had no idea it would be the first of many. She had no idea that cups of coffee to chase away bleary eyes at early mornings crime scenes would turn into mugs handed to her with a kiss, her body warm and tangled up in their bed.)

When he handed her that first coffee, she thought their partnership was almost over. The cover art had been made-she will never tell him her username on that fansite, never, even though he still begs her to tell him to this day-and he was finishing up the last few chapters.

Kate wouldn't admit it, but she would've be sad to see him go. He lived everyday like it was an adventure and even if that was far from the stark reality she lived in, it certainly made her days a little more interesting. For that, she was grateful. Annoyed, too, but grateful.

And if she was really being honest with herself, it was more than that. It was the fact that Castle looked at her and knew her mood from the way her shoulders were hunched. It was the fact that he could tell what she was thinking from the cadence of her voice. He knew that she was thinking because of the furrow of her brow. He saw every emotion reflected in her eyes. He knew how she took her coffee.

Richard Castle was beginning to unravel her and she hadn't even realized it.

Every move she made was worthy of his notice, a brush stroke in this masterpiece he was creating in her image. It dawned on her one day that she had walked into his life without warning or preamble and in a room full of people he saw something in her that no one else did. It was a thought she tried to ignore, the idea that she was special to him. But when she would notice him writing in that notebook or when she caught him looking at her in that way that made her heart try to beat its way past her ribs those thoughts would wrap around her chest like a vice.

Maybe he sees what he wants to see. Maybe his fascination with her is partially rooted in a fantasy, with this idyllic version of her he's created clouding his mind.

But maybe not.

Sure, he was notorious for being a playboy. Before she had even met him, she read about his antics in the papers. She knows how he is with women-hell, everyone in this city who reads the gossip columns knows how he is with women. It's a fact that she reminded herself of every time they shared a moment that was less than professional and verged on intimate and she traitorously thinks that she's never seen him look at anyone else like this. This Richard Castle, the man she knows, is not the Richard Castle of page six.

This Richard Castle was becoming something to her.

He handed her that first coffee and she didn't skip a beat. He made his usual smartass comment, they had their usual battle of wits all the way up to the crime scene and then their work began. There was a moment though, however brief, where she wondered what all of this meant. Where all this bantering and crime-solving and not-quite-but-almost flirting and coffee would take them.

She'd just have to wait and see.

(And oh, how she does.)

. . .

Hope you enjoyed!