A/N: When it comes to the darker elements of storytelling, outlets of much needed levity pour in from all sides during the early drafts. For me, that's simply a part of the process. Call it a defense mechanism of the heart, or the consequence of picturing the characters as my partners-in-crime as opposed to merely moveable parts. I allow the crazy to pour in as it pleases and then cut it later in editing to a dedicated 'blooper' file. Most stories I write have one. I keep 'em to chuckle over later on lazy rainy days, but also to remind myself that no ambitions of serious storytelling will ever seperate me from peers in the fandom who focus on the fluffier stuff. At the end of the day we all want crazy wonderful things for our two principal characters.

After discussing all of this with a friend last night while we were watching the Castle FanFic Stream, I decided/was-belligerently-ordered to add a final, belated section here for a handful of the many silly tid-bits that cropped up throughout the writing of Secret. Maybe it'll become a new tradition for my tales.

"But this past year working with you..." she trails off with an sweep of her gaze to encompass their surrounds. "I've had a really good time."

Even though she's caught him off guard, bemused him with their sudden seclusion from the others, the author doesn't hesitate to broadcast agreement with mirrored lifts at the corners of his mouth. "Me too."

It's like gasoline poured over a fire, fueling her sputtering flame of courage. In fact her smile threatens to spill wide open and leave her stupefied before him. The detective manages to plow onward, "So I'm just going to say this—"

"Uh," Castle interjects with a lofted hand and index finger, a rueful curl at his lips. "I'm sorry. Interruptions, I know, right? But that beer bottle your holding has been sweating like a dripping faucet this whole time, and the condensation is..." He lowers his eyes meaningfully. Her white dress shirt has a wet blotch situated neatly over her left nipple.

Beckett scrunches her lips around a hidden smile while glancing down at it. "I'm more nervous than I thought about this dialogue. Leaky nervous. Gimme a break here, would ya? It's our big moment."

"Oh, I don't blame you. I blame the crew. Who's department is leaky nipple anyway? Make-up, special effects?"

The detective snorts and glances up impatiently with her hands lofted from her sides, "Little help here, author!"

"For real. This isn't a pregnancy fic. Put a clamp on that thing and let's go."

"Aw." He turns to look at her in surprise, and Beckett swats his shoulder. "Shush, you. I like kids. Especially when they're just visiting," she stipulates discreetly close to his ear, and her companion chuckles deeply. "What's the hold up here then? What do you need?"

"You're the hold up. We're looking at the ice cream, not pizza or beer. Pick a flavor already." He reaches in after chiding her and pulls out a pint of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yum. She hesitates a moment as another female shopper pauses at the next glass door over, smirks, and points Castle to a tub of plain chocolate on the bottom shelf.

"Simple, but delicious," he affirms, leaning over to reel it in.

The detective clicks her tongue at her neighbor, garnering arched eyebrows in reply, and cants her head to the bent author's backside. Checkout needed in frozen foods. Without warning she snags her companion at his hips and bumps at him with a few thrusts of her pelvis. "Aw, yeah. Here's a little rocky road for you, baby."

"Hey, dammit." He swats ineffectively backwards at her right hip. "Stop that!"

"That ain't my name. Say it!"

Castle growls, dropping the pints and pulling himself upright and out of the cooler doorway to scowl at her.

The detective falls to lilting laughter, and so does the woman shopping nearby. Rick's mantling upset only elicits further, tear-inducing gales of it from both of them. "Oh god," Kate gasps at length. "I'm so sorry. That was less OOC in my head. Go again. I got this, I swear." She hustles at him with shooing waves of both hands. "Go, go, go."

"Jesus, Castle..." Beckett murmurs, and turns onto a wide, private road in good repair. The slope proves less extreme than it appears. The grounds encompass at least five acres, maybe six. The wooded west, which they're approaching from, seems to be the lesser. She already knows from a picture Castle showed her on his cell that the east goes all the way down to the sands of a private beach. Largely open lawn unfolds to the south. A few isolated stands of trees are visible here and there. The northern sprawl hosts an L-shaped leg of the home, a two-story, four-car garage with the same wood-shingled exterior as the rest of the place. "Should I pull in there," she asks uncertainly, "or out front?"

The passenger, nose buried in his cell phone, looks up at her. "Huh?"

She blinks back at him and frowns. "The car? In the garage, or out front?"


Beckett shakes her head at him. "Seriously? You're ruining our flow."

"Naw," he drawls, but with some uncertainty as he looks out the windows for himself. "We're, uh, transitioning."

"No, this is part of the scene."

"Is it? That's, uh, my mistake then. My bad."

"Your bad?" She huffs and gesture to his phone, "What the heck is so fascinating that it comes before our AU?"

The author shifts on his seat with a slant of his lips, a sure sign that his tank of excuses is running near empty with the warning light on. Honesty is his chosen recourse. "Another AU actually. That fic-rec at the end of this chapter? In my defense, this is good stuff. I get to be a fireman in this one. I'm buff."

"Yeah? Well in this one you pay atten—wait. Buff?"


The detective looks at the house ahead and back at him. "How buff?"

"I'm tight," Castle replies, nodding and grinning to have led her into distraction. "And I've got a tattoo."

Beckett moistens her lips unconsciously, and taps at the steering wheel with the fingers of one hand a moment. "What's the rating?"

"You mean...do we get it on?" She rolls her hazel eyes with a shake of her head that finishes with her facing the driver's side window. "Because—spoiler alert—yeah, we sure do. And the writing involved, up to and including that scene?" He kisses his fingertips with a smack of his lips in illustration.

Screw it. She leans over. "Lemme see."

"No way. Get your own, nosy-Nancy."

Beckett eases the tension in her neck with a roll of her head upon it. She's peripherally aware of her co-star swishing his arms outwards and inwards a few times at chest height, flapping stretches to loosen his shoulders. They gradually settle and she confirms her place on her marker, facing the phone set to ring and start their scene.

In the idleness of the wait, the man at her back, easily bored, reaches out and snaps the stretchy waistline of her boyshorts against her backside. With a hiss, she whirls, slapping at his chest. "Stop it, fucker."

The man only grins though, arms lofted in a half-hearted measure of self-defense. "That one reviewer was right. You do swear a lot. Especially the f-bomb. What's up with that?"

Kate shrugs, but with a sudden thought her gaze narrows into playful slits. "Hey, speaking of that four-letter word..."

Castle lifts his brows above arrested blue-eyed attention.

"Did you know the first draft of this chapter had us starting out at night?"

"No," he answers, frowning a touch like a kid picked last for kickball. "Wait. Night as in tonight, or a continuation of last night?"

"Last night," she replies with a wide smile.

He wets his lips and takes a deep breath. "That was a good night for us."

She hums approval. "Yes, it was."

"What, uh—what was the scene?"

"I woke up to pee."

"Again with that? Sounds like the writer has a kinky fetish."

"Well, it's not like there's a paragraph detailing it, Castle. That's just what woke me up. Anyway," Beckett continues pointedly, turning to face him fully for easier communication, "I go downstairs for a glass of water afterwards."

"That seems a bit counter-productive. Ah, nothing. Go on, please."

"While I'm standing at the sink, I hear sounds coming from your room."

Rick grimaces, mantles just slightly, and looks away. "Well, it was a good night for us, but it wasn't exactly what we could call a finisher in terms of satisfaction. There would be noises from my room afterwards."

Kate guffaws two distinct high notes of humor, leaning into him with her hands braced at his chest. "Not the kind of noises I'm talking about. You're having a bad dream. I dunno it yet when I hear you, but I figure it out once I make my way in there."

"Am I lying there bare-assed?"

"Well, yes, but you're covered. Mostly. You're thrashing and all. It's a nightmare."

"And you wake me up."

"Not right away," she teases, and leaves it there.

The other arches a bored eyebrow at her delay, crossing his arms. "Is that supposed to be a cliff-hanger? I don't need to hear this."

"Oh, you want to though."

"Says you."

"Says me. Damn straight. It's h-a-w-t hot."

The man's eyebrows arise again in surprise, but he immediately scrunches his lips in a show of doubt. "Last night was hot too, and look how that ended." She lifts one shoulder carelessly and turns away. "Okay, fine. Please tell me more."

Smirking with satisfaction, the woman conceals it as she turns halfway back to view him askance beneath an arched eyebrow of her own. "I suppose I could, sure. If you can promise me that you just snapped me in the ass for the very last time."

A cocky smirk eases into place upon the author's features. "You might want to be a little more specific with that stipulation. I can imagine there being a time and place for some ass-swatting in your bed, detective."

Oh. Er...one moment.

"Barring a mutually accepted context," Kate clarifies at length with a swoop of her eyes to one side and away from his broadening grin.


The phone rings.

"Aw," Castle complains immediately. "No way! Don't you dare answer that. This scene will wait."

"Well, I did promise..." She leans away to snatch up the cordless receiver, shushing him with a swish of her hand in the air when his mouth falls open in preparation to wail. "Lanie?"

"Um...yeah. Am I—I think you've missed a few lines there. Unless there's been an edit?"

"No, no, you're good. Just gimme ten more minutes, okay? I gotta finish something first."

"Oh? Fantastic. I've got a warm meatball hoagie over here and it's the bomb. Do your thang, honey."

Kate blinks at the phone, but shakes her head and sets it to one side. "Where was I?"

Castle huffs impatiently and checks his watch. "First draft. A scene from last night. Nightmare," he mutters, "coincidentally enough."

"Right," the woman replies. "So, there you are tossing and turning," she confides, stepping back into him and lowering her voice as if keeping it just between them. "And I sit down next to you on the bed and reach out to smooth your hair. It's kinda sweet really. You calm down, but don't wake up."

"Nice," Rick agrees, but remains unimpressed. "I can see why it was cut though. We already have a nightmare scene slated."

"Yeah, well, after I get you calmed down...I wake you up." She glances around them both, prompting him to frown in bemusement and do the same. "With a blowjob," she finishes in a stage-whisper.


The detective startles away from his shocked bellow, laughs. "Yep."

"Are you serious?"

"As a heart attack."

"I'm gonna have one right now!" the author fumes. "Why the hell did that get cut out of the final draft?"

"I dunno."

"You better not be screwing with me about this." She laughs again, a belly-deep unfurling of amusement. He catches onto the double-entendre quickly, but it only seems to worsen his despair. "That is so messed up."

"Yeah, it kinda is. I mean," she reaches for him, stroking his right arm soothingly, "if this had gone as originially planned?" The detective tip-toes to rest her chin at his shoulder, her mouth at his ear, "I'd have a piece of you inside me right now. 'Cause, you know, I'm no quitter, babe." She's never seen a man so torn between arousal and desolation.

"Welp, I do quit," her co-star declares and throws his arms up, stalking off.

"Hey, our scene! Aw, c'mon."

Nope. He thumps out the double deck doors with a rattling crack of them against the wall to either side and without so much as a backwards glance before they rebound closed. Oops.

"Alright, enough," Beckett voices as she follows after him. The truck bleats behind them as the officer locks up in their wake. Her eyes skim the mundane exterior of their destination without discerning its function before they lower to her companion again. Far from intimidated, he looks only perturbed by the delay of her cross-armed halt upon the sidewalk. "Say whatever you want to say to me, John. I'm serious. Let's get it out of the way right now. I've got enough on my mind without you tip-toeing around whatever thorn is stuck in your butt."

The Sergeant doesn't merely not reply. He doesn't even react.

Beckett eases in closer and he blinks at the advance. Slowly, she reaches out for him.

"What're you—

She touches down and rubs a circle around the crown of his smooth-shaven head, closes her eyes. "I wanna pony."

The man barks a note of laughter, but swats her away with an attempted scowl. "Lamps are for wishes, dummy. Bald heads are for luck."

"You married a Genie. Close enough."

"You're getting close enough to a harassment suit."

Beckett exhales a swift puff of a breath, nods more slowly in agreement. Then tilts her head somewhat, recalling what Castle said about the Sergeant's father being the lead on the case, how it has lingered with the family to this very day. "You didn't mention where you weigh in on that."

John stares at her for a long moment. She watches with her muscles tensing in apprehension as his gaze softens in a swift and subtle display of sadness. Then he turns slowly away, moving to the cabinets.

With a mock snarl the detective lunges forward and springs onto the man's back. He stumbles forward a step with a grunt of surprise, but he's too big for her meager weight to move far. "That's bold eyeballing coming from an OC," she growls, tickling at his ribs and earning an immediate yelp of laughter. "That's right, tough-guy, you're fodder at my whim!"

Between unmanly squealing giggles and a brutish shaking of his body in attempts to dislodge her the man howls, "Get off!"

Kate gasps and swats his shoulder, "I'm your best friend's girl, you heathen. Get off indeed. I'm telling. You're toast, red shirt."

He parks behind the sleek and newly dubbed 'Connie'. Beckett meets him at the driver's side door before he can even close up after himself in a lunging crush of a hug and a fierce kiss that dissolves wondering about her reception one way or the other for several seconds. He's dimly aware of her capturing and slowly lifting one of his hands partially into place over the pert, yielding curve of her left breast. The galloping of the heartbeat beneath the flesh gradually arises through the mind-numbing haze of eroticism.

Castle startles lightly when Beckett starts squirming and laughing against his mouth. He sighs, but grins too with good-natured patience as they come apart—for the fourth time.

The detective sobers slowly, massages a palm gently against her breast. "Damn it," she huffs, and quivers with a final trickle of humor. "Sorry. Again. It tickles!"

"See? You're doing it wrong," John calls over, but the taunt only earns an amused eye-roll from Rick.

"Just...try to use only your fingers," Kate suggests. "It's when your palm scrapes against me that I lose it."

Her partner's eyebrows soar, but he swallows what comes to mind first, coughs once, and nods a few times in quick succession. "I'll, uh, try, yeah."

They reclaim their places from the start of the paragraph and enact the movements again, delving into the moment of tense emotion bound to reigned passion. So far so very good. She slides his hand onto her breast again and for a moment he thinks they have it. And the next Kate jerks back as if she'd been fondled by a live wire.

"Ugh," she grunts, bending at the waist to catch her breath with one hand sheltering her overly sensitized mound and the other braced supportively on a knee.

Castle, blinking, fumbles the words through swollen lips begging for take six."Damn, really? I swear I used my fingers!"

"Y-yeah, you certainly did." Beckett mantles subtly and shakes her head with a swirl of her dark hair.

John chortles from nearby. "Wow. Sounds like it went too right that time. I rescind my questioning of your ability."

"Quiet, you!"

Even that light dims in places. It deepens to oranges and reds that ebb and surge in time to the slow churning of the tempest in the valley's center. The lifeblood of the planet is drawn inexorably out. Striations of it glare out from the impossible funnel like great slashes of eyes, winking and vanishing only to reappear in new places. It flows up into the sky and crawls out into the clouds like networks of veins, or lightning that struck with customary brilliance and forgot to fade afterwards. Instead it lingers and pulsates with the glow of magma from below, waxing and waning to the ceaseless, soundless churning of the maelstrom.

An elbow in his left side jars the author out of his thoughts. John arches an eyebrow at him.

"What's up?"

"Hey, yeah. Um, listen, is that the imagery you really wanna go with?"


"Do you hear yourself? I mean...it could be creepy. Or it could be the mentality of a guy who's still a little bent out of shape about a certain scene getting edited out. A whirlwind...sucking stuff up?" He slants his eyebrows in disapproval and then jabs a hand with the fingers curled towards his cheek a couple times, tonguing the other cheek in the obscene imagery associated with fellatio.

"What?" the author squawks. "You're the only pervert within a hundred frigging miles who could come up with...with that..." He blinks, following the man's gaze over to Beckett.

She grins broadly at him. "Dessert." And then winks shamelessly with a clicking of her tongue.

"I can't work like this," Castle grumbles, stalking back down the dirt road.

A miasma of oil and diesel fuel arises from the John Deere tractor parked centrally and covered by a canvas tarp. The brush and field mower is still hitched to its rear from the last time Rick tended to the property. Not a rustle or creak disturbs the thick drape of silence lain over the place.

Castle makes the other two startle sharply when he bursts into song. "She thinks my tractor's sex-ey-eey. It really turns her oooon!" He kicks the heel of his shoe against the dirt and turns, two-stepping up against Beckett to nudge shoulders.

She lifts a long-suffering gaze towards the ceiling. "Why God? Why me?"

"She's always starin' at mee-eee, while I'm chuggin' along." He bumps her hip with his, then again, and again. She snarls and pushes at him roughly to nearly no effect, except that they're close enough for him to bump her in the ass with his pelvis. Sonofamotherfuc

"She likes the way it's pullin' while we're tillin' up the land. She's even kinda crazy 'bout my farmer's tan. She's the only one who really understa-ands what gets meeee. She thinks my tractor's sexy!" Ignoring him doesn't help either, it only makes her an easier target for him to bump, bump, bump at like a goddamn dog humping her thigh.

Worse, it allows a resigned bubble of laughter to burst free of her.

"Real professional," John comments with a grin, gasping for a breath and wiping at one eye.

"I feel for your plight," the detective murmurs, so quietly Rick strains to hear clearly. "But I invited you here to realize exactly what I can see you've finally gotten through that thick skull of yours." The officer's gaze is on her now. They gape wider still if possible, filled to overflowing with a visceral skittishness, as if he were primed to flee but tethered by the woman's seething anger. "I feel for the others in this town too," she hisses, and lifts onto her toes before the man. She kisses his cheek—

And the swift little sneak turns into it, so that before she can check herself they're mouth-to-mouth instead. She tugs back in surprise with a little popping sound, blinking at his sudden grin. Um?

"Meh, heh, heh," the Sergeant cackles tauntingly to them, and turns to hustle back down the corridor with his 'prize' secured.

"Bastard," Kate accuses with a disgruntled twitch of her nose.

"Ah, let him go," Castle offers mildly. "Our shippers will hunt him down wherever he tries to hide."

"Love doesn't necessarily imply innocence."

Kate arches an eyebrow. "I sure hope not. I still have lots to show you, and precious little of it's gonna be innocent."

"I'll believe that when I damn well see it," he snaps, but then his eyes widen in surprise at his own outburst.

"Oh-ho," the woman expels, half laughing, half sympathizing. She pats his chest consolingly. "Poor guy. That editing business really bothers you, huh?"

"It's not funny. We're already M-rated. I mean, come on!"

Beckett smiles despite herself. "It's a little funny."

He turns away from her and prods at the floor a bit with the toe of his shoe. She watches his broad shoulders lift with a deep breath and then fall. When he turns to face her again seriousness has claimed sole residence.

"Aww," she issues quietly. "I'm sorry, you're right. It's not that funny. Um," she casts about for a better means of soothing him. "There's supposed to be a sequel...or something. I'll definitely suck your cock in the sequel, okay?"

"Will it, Kate? Will it be okay? This writer...I'm not sure he's reliable. I think we need to get our agents on this."

"Uh...our fictional agents? For our fan-fictional careers?"

"We can do better, that's all I'm saying. Our UST was award-winning! You and me? We deserve...w-we deserve chezchuckles!"

"Do you maybe wanna sit down? You look a little peaked."

"No, I do not," the man fumes, stalking back and forth across the cavern floor before her. "I want Advent Calenders, Kate. I want the Beth Series. And...damn it, woman, I want you to say 'piqued' not 'peaked'. We don't even have a beta. That just furthers my argument!"

"Seriously, Castle, stop. You're gonna agitate...him. And with a nom de guerre like that? I don't think it's gonna end especially well for us. Let's just chill."

"You chill. I'm walking. Hear me up there, you hack? I. AM. OU—