Out of the box
Beckett's hand clenched into a fist around her pen. Drawing in a deep breath, she let it out in a slow stream through pursed lips.
One. Two. Three…
Maybe it was her own fault, but in all fairness, when she had handed their suspect off to Ryan and Espo and told them to put him in the box, this is not what she had intended.
Four. Five. Six…
And Castle. Her fingers tightened even more, the plastic casing of the pen creaking under her grip. Beckett shot a baleful look over her shoulder to the man next to her. Castle was vibrating with glee.
Seven. Eight. Nine…
It had taken a pointed snap of his name to keep him from popping a bag of microwave popcorn for the interrogation.
She paused. Lungs empty of air. Her suspect blinked back at her, eyes wide with feigned innocence. No, ten wasn't long enough. Maybe if she counted to fifteen.
Castle let out a strangled noise, caught between a cough and a laugh, and Beckett puffed out her new breath. Screw meditation.
"Mr…" Kate started, the rest of her sentence dying on her lips when she shifted in her chair. The fingers of one hand flexed around the pen, the other traced the page of her notebook. She searched for something, anything to make this feel more comfortable, to give her back her control. Give her that damn guy with the puppet over this lunatic any day. "I'm sorry, could you please state your name for the record?"
The man across the table blinked again. The black diamonds painted on his face distorted when his brows rose and his bright red lips turned down into an exaggerated frown. He lifted one hand to his ear, while the other knocked on the invisible wall in front of him.
It was everything in her to keep her head from slamming down on the table. Castle's excitement echoed in her memory.
Beckett. Beckett. Isn't this great?
No. No, it wasn't great. Why the fuck did their suspect have to be a mime?
"Sir," she started again, drawing in another calming breath and pasting on a placating smile. "Sir, if you could please just state your name for the record."
The mime lifted his arms, shoulders rising in a shrug, before pushing his hands out to push against the invisible walls.
"Maybe you should let him out of his box?" Castle leaned over to whisper in her ear. Oh, she really hoped the boys weren't recording this from the observation room because she wanted nothing more than to reach over, grab the black beret that was perched perfectly on the damn mime's head and strangle her husband with it.
"Bubbles," Castle interrupted, pointing down at the file, and Beckett's jaw clenched. "According to his website, he goes by Mr. Bubbles."
Beckett took in the mime's frown, the teardrops painted down his cheek. Bubbles, right. Fine. The forced smile was starting to strain her cheeks but she'd play along. "Mr. Bubbles, could you please tell me where you were last night between eight and ten pm?"
The man stood and twisted an invisible knob, lifting his leg to take an exaggerated step out of his box. Beckett sighed. When he started to pantomime a scene in front of them, Castle shouting out guesses like it was a game of fucking charades, she gave up.
Her pen landed on the yellow legal pad in front of her and she slouched down in her seat, her fingers working in a futile attempt to massage away the migraine pulsing in her temple.
She drew in another breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. The frustration still boiled up through her veins but she managed to mute the whimper that threatened to escape. Meditation breathing worked in yoga.
"Mr. Bubbles, sit down!"
Another phrase she never thought she would utter.
The mime froze in his place, stricken, before opening the door to his invisible box and sliding back into his chair. And Beckett gave a strained smile, picking up her pen.
"Beckett, no need to yell. Mimes are mute not deaf."
The pen snapped in two between her fingers.
"What?" Castle twisting in his chair, puppy-dog expression trained on his wife.
Breathe, Beckett. Nice. Slow. Calm. Breaths.
Turning, she looked at her husband, cheeks pink, apology lacing her voice. "Could you please go get me another pen and a cup of coffee?"
Mr. Bubbles, motioned at them from across the table, mimicking chugging something from a glass. She didn't even try to contain her eye roll.
"And Mr. Bubbles a glass of water?"
Castle scooted out of the room with a quick nod and Beckett turned back to their suspect, clicking her tongue against her teeth. He wanted to play this game? Fine. It would be a cold day in hell before Kate Beckett got bested by a mime.
She levered herself from her chair in one smooth, deliberate motion and reached over to squeeze in the sides and top of his invisible box. The mime's mouth fell open in surprise– his arms squashed into his sides, his chin pressed to his chest.
With a smug smile Beckett dropped back into her chair.
"You're thirsty? Don't worry, I'll let you out. Just as soon as you start to talk."
A/N: Because all Stana wants is for Beckett to interrogate a mime, dammit! For you ladies on Twitter. Thank you to Molly (Muppet47) for the beta and the comedic stamp of approval.