Forget the World

"Did you just kiss me? In a dumpster?" Caskett Semi-AU

A/N: This takes place in a fictional future world - the same universe established in my fics The Heart Wants What it Wants & The Illusion of Perfect, though this story is independent. It is not required, though recommended, to read those fic.

There are 3 Parts


"Okay, Castle, you ready for this?" Detective Kate Beckett glanced back over her shoulder at the man finishing the snaps on his bullet-proof vest. She'd be in trouble with her captain if he knew she was handing out NYPD safety gear to a civilian—a Defect, no less—but she also wasn't supposed to be bringing him inside and that rule wasn't stopping her. If he was going in, he was going in protected—and he was going in. Not that he'd obey her "stay in the car" request even if she voiced it; he hadn't since their first week working together.

With his vest now secure Castle lifted his head and grinned at her. "I was born ready, Beckett."

"Yeah?" She threw back at him as she checked to make sure the clip in her weapon was secure. "What about last week when you jumped on the roof of the vehicle when that dog ran out after us?"

He gave her a serious look. "You know that dogs can smell Defects—they were bred to!"

"Shepherds were; that dog was a poodle."

"We don't know what that dog was," he insisted, still serious.

She merely gave him a teasing shrug but then quickly cleared her mind of any jokes; a situation like this needed to be taken seriously.

This was not the first time nor would it be the last that a murder investigation had led Kate to an unsavory building in the abandoned factory district. With all the technology that came along with the dawn of the twenty-second century, large factories such as the one before them were rendered obsolete. Robots could complete the same tasks in less time and half the space. Plus, with all the efficiencies in shipping, storage warehouses were also required minimally, which was just as well, because many of the large old buildings were converted into desperately needed block housing. In heavy metropolitan areas like New York, almost all the unused warehouse space had been converted thusly, but small sects of two-hundred-plus year old buildings still existed, intact enough to remain standing, but in need of too much work to be converted—at least not yet. Kate found in her experience that criminals tended to congregate in these areas that remained unmonitored by the city's extensive robotic surveillance network and thus they felt at times like her second home.

On that particular day, she and her partner were investigating Michael McDonald, their most interesting person of interest suspected of shooting a mother-daughter duo in a robbery gone wrong. As the crime scene was downtown, they had security camera footage, but the assailants face was blocked by a high jacket collar, sunglasses, and a baseball hat. The computer system had labeled McDonald, who had priors for assault and battery, as a sixty-two percent match. That low of a number was far from conclusive and certainly not enough for a conviction, but it was enough for an interview. Unfortunately for them, McDonald was a transient individual without an official address. According to the database, his known associates had been picked up at that abandoned location for drug possession so they were giving it a shot.

Upon arriving at the unfavorable location, Kate made the call to suit up in their protective gear as the place was triggering her gut instincts that something was amiss. It was also the reason she chose to bring her unconventional partner along with her; she needed the second pair of eyes.

"Okay, just be as quiet as you can be, okay?" Kate whispered to her partner. He held his index finger and thumb up in front of his lips and twisted them in a mock locking motion. She nodded and then led the way into the building.

Hugging the side wall, Kate intended to sweep each of the rooms, but unfortunately there did not seem to be any rooms. Immediately inside the door the building opened up like a cavern with walkways running the perimeter one and two stories above them. She didn't like this set up as it put them at a severe disadvantage, but she had no choice if she wanted justice for their victims.

Twenty steps in, she reached her first problem. She held up her closed fist, signaling to her partner that they were stopping and then took a moment to consider her options. She had come upon the first stairwell leading upstairs, which was fine, except that in order to pass the stairwell, she needed to walk around it towards the center of the room. That, she feared, would take her in the danger range if anyone was hiding on one of the two balconies above, but she didn't have much choice if they wanted to search the building.

She gave her partner the signal to move and she cradled the butt of her weapon tightly as she took one step in front of the stairs. She waited. Three seconds passed and she took another step. Again, she waited. Nothing. Feeling slightly more confident, she took steps three and four, but that was when it all fell apart.

The moment she reached the midpoint in passing the stairwell, bullets began to rain down from above, digging into the concrete at their feet and ricocheting off the metal stairwell behind. Kate fired blindly upwards while yelling out, "Castle! Move!"

"To where?" he responded.

She reached back and yanked the front of his vest, pulling him forward and ducking down behind the stairwell, which provided only a minimal amount of cover since the stairs were open-backed, but it gave her a moment to think.

"Out the way we came?" he suggested, but she shook him off.

"They know we're here, but we don't know how many of them there are. If there's more than who's up there, they could be waiting out there for us—they'll assume we'll try to get back to the car."

"Okay then—Jesus!" he cursed as more bullets rained down. "That's an auto."

"I know." She grunted out. Though the government had made a valiant effort to destroy all automatic weapons in the country, a few were still smuggled in each year, which meant these criminals were guilty of more than just robbery and potentially homicide.

Using a momentary break in the barrage of bullets, Kate stepped forward and fired up towards the ceiling. She heard a grunt in pain and the heavy thud of metal-on-metal, which meant she had hit someone, but she had no idea how severe the hit was or how many others there were. Sliding back into the safety of the staircase she swept her eyes over the room before making a decision. "Okay—there." She pointed to a doorway across the warehouse perhaps seventy feet away. "We'll run up and then straight across; I'll cover you." She whispered the plans to him.

"But who will cover you?" he replied. "And we don't know what's out there; it could be a trap!"

"But we know what's in here—and we need backup. C'mon."

Pressing her body as tightly to the wall as she could Kate crept her way forward seventy feet until the doorway was directly in front of them. Seeing as no more bullets flew in their direction, she guessed the assailants hadn't realized their change in position due to the overhang of the catwalk. This worked in their favor; they had maybe one to two seconds of advantage before the bullets began flying once more. "Okay," she said in a hushed tone, looking at her partner. "On my signal, you run." He gave her a hesitant look, but then nodded. Kate held up her fingers in front of her face, counting down: 3, 2, 1…

When she revealed a fist they sprinted out across the warehouse as she emptied her clip upwards towards the original source of the bullets. As predicted, return fire happened when they were halfway across the room, but somehow she managed to dodge all of the bullets. Just moments behind her partner she burst through the double doors, out into the unknown.

Even as a young child, Kate Beckett knew she was special. Elite; she was Elite. At the time of her birth, nearly forty percent of all babies born were classified as such, so she was not unique, but still Elite. She had beautiful porcelain skin, shimmering hazel eyes, chestnut brown hair that always curled perfectly to frame her stunningly gorgeous face. She went to a school for all Elites and was given the best education Manhattan could offer. She was destined to be a lawyer like her parents and she had dreams of making the world an even more perfect place. Then, in just one moment, that beautiful, perfect, Elite life was stolen.

On an otherwise ordinary January evening, Kate's mother was murdered, gunned down on the street at random using an illegal weapon. Despite the fact that the crime took place in perfect view of one of the city's many cameras, the computer algorithms designed to make crime solving more efficient were unable to identify the assailant and thus her mother's murder remained unsolved. Horrified and distraught by this information, Kate immediately vowed to devote her life to returning the justice system to its roots, because computers couldn't solve everything; computers weren't human.

Fortunately for her crusade, by the time she was out of college and entering the police academy, the mayor and commissioners agreed with her; the computer algorithms were determining that too many crimes were unsolvable and they needed to rehire teams of police officers and detectives. As she was highly motivated, Kate quickly moved through the ranks and became one of the youngest female detectives in the entire history of the NYPD. Despite her success, the department still faced heavy negative backlash from many years of unsolved crimes, thus several divisions, particularly homicide, were assigned an imbedded reporter.

The first imbedded reporter Kate met was a man named Thomas who she believed was around the age of her father. He was a gritty, well-worn reporter who was interested in only the facts. She felt they got along reasonably well, but she was also not a lead detective at that time so his presence affected her minimally. She only dealt with Thomas for a few months as lead before a heart attack forced him into early retirement. Shortly thereafter Kate was introduced to Richard Castle.

When Castle walked into her homicide floor wearing a rumpled sport coat and determined expression, Kate could see immediately that he was not an Elite. In slang terms: a Defect, meaning his DNA was not as pristine as hers; not even close. Thomas had been one, which wasn't shocking given his age, but she estimated Castle to be just a few years older than her despite the rugged appearance of his face. Given her upbringing, she had rarely interacted with Defects, or Normals as they were more politely called, around her own age, but she had no prejudice against them. As long as they could get along professionally, she had no problems with him no matter his birth status. Unfortunately, within a few days it became painfully obvious that they would not get along professionally.

Unlike Thomas, Castle was not happy with simply receiving her end of day reports and asking one or two questions at maximum. He was insistent upon reviewing her paperwork in detail, traveling with her to crime scenes and, worst of all, sitting in on interviews with her. At her captain's instruction, Kate was forced to placate him so long as he did not actively hinder investigations. For a while, she searched for ways he was hindering in order to kick him to the curb, but there never were any. He was unbearably annoying, but also helpful—irritatingly helpful.

As the months wore on, Kate's irritation dissipated as she got to know her assigned reporter better. Yes, he still irritated her, but she learned his heart was in the right place. He genuinely wanted to ensure that the crimes were solved; that justice was brought to the victims—personally, if that's what it took. For nearly six months she was confused by how devoted he was to pouring over the details of every case even though The Times only printed the same minimized facts they did during Thomas's era. Then, one night while they reviewed financial documents and ate Thai noodles he revealed the truth: his mother had been murdered.

Castle explained that his mother was an actress who also worked in a casino to make ends meet. One night she slept with one of the men who regularly joined her table, a man whom she did not know at the time was associated with one of the mobs that ran the seedy underbelly of New York. When she told her one-time lover of her pregnancy, he immediately denied the child was his, and so Martha Rodgers raised her son alone until he was sixteen. Unbeknownst to him, his mother had fallen on hard times, and was in debt to the gambling parlor she worked at. When she couldn't pay back what she owed, she was beaten at the order of the man whose child she bore, now running the casino. Though she would ultimately die from her injuries, Martha made it home to say goodbye to her son and tell him to stay far away from the casino and the life she couldn't escape.

Though he'd wanted to go to the police, he'd kept the promise he made to his dying mother and gone off to one of the state orphanages until his eighteenth birthday when he began taking college classes, trying his best to make his way through a world in which he was already dozens of steps behind. He explained to her that he wished to ensure justice for others, because he could not do so for the most important person in his life.

Castle's story nearly reduced Kate to tears and for the first time in her life she confessed in a voice just above a whisper, "I understand; my mother was murdered, too."

From that day on, their shared tragic experience bonded them, and they worked side by side to solve crimes. Within a year of their partnership, the Twelfth precinct had the highest solve rate in the city because of their diligent work. Of course due to the fact that virtually all her colleagues were Elites and thus had been taught to look down upon Normals from birth, they still faced internal struggles, but Kate stood loyally by her partner and always would. She trusted him and they had each other's backs through countless close calls; she only hoped that days' would not need added to the list.

"What now?" Castle called out when they both reached the temporary safety of the street beside the warehouse.

"Left; turn left!" she responded. Directly in front of them was another warehouse building that had no obvious point of entry and she knew going right would take them back to the car and what she feared was an ambush. In her mind, by going left they could hopefully find some safety that would enable her to call for backup; unfortunately she had been wrong.

The rear side of the building they approached was blocked off by a high metal fence topped with barbed wire; they were trapped. Castle jumped up on the fence, clearly intending to scale it, but gave up after a few seconds and turned around clearly searching for a way out.

"Shit, I don't…"

"Are they coming?" he asked when the sound of stomping feet could be heard more clearly. She shrugged and shook her head, feeling in her back pocket to make sure her spare clip was readily available. In her mind it was becoming increasingly more likely that they would need to shoot their way out of this.

"Get behind me, Castle."

"No wait—there!" He grabbed onto the sleeve of her button down and tugged towards her left side. When she looked, she saw him pointing towards a rusted dumpster pushed up against the side of the warehouse across the alley. It certainly would not provide much in the way of protection, but it was the best option they had, and all they needed was enough time for backup to respond.

She gave a brief nod and then jutted her chin in the direction of the dumpster, indicating that he should move towards it while she bracketed the butt of her weapon with her fists and slowly backed in the direction her partner walked. By the time she reached him, he'd opened up one half of the lid and squatted down in order to give her a boost into the metal can. Thought it was difficult to clamber inside while keeping her gun trained on the building with the criminals inside, she managed and then she held her stance while he joined her and they both sank beneath the closing dumpster lid. Only then did Kate wonder about the dumpster's level of cleanliness.

Pushing that thought quickly from her mind, she passed off her gun to her partner and he held it at the ready while she retrieved her transmitter and pressed the silent panic alarm, not wanting to risk speaking in case the assailants had already reached the alley. Evidently her partner did not share the same concerns.

"Will this thing stop bullets?"

"Probably not," she replied as she could see bits of light filtering in the corners of the dumpster where it had rusted through.

"Then we should get low—in case they start shooting."

Knowing he had a point, she regretfully reclined against the floor of the dumpster and he settled down half on top of and half beside her. She was about to flag his move as inappropriate as there was enough space for them to lay side by side even if it was a tight squeeze, but then she heard the side door of the opposite warehouse bang open and her body tensed. Reaching for her gun, she cradled it with the muzzle facing up, just in case they had unwanted visitors.

"Where'd they go?" she heard one of the men ask.

"Fled if they knew what's good for them," another said.

"Wait man, slow down. Shit."

"God, quit whining—you're barely bleeding."

Kate pursed her lips as she listened to the men's argument. So she had wounded one of them, but not seriously, which was unfortunate. Now all they could do was wait quietly and hope backup arrived at record speed.

For a brief few minutes, Kate though their hiding trick had been successful as the footsteps sounded like they were moving away from them, but she also realized the problem with that. If the men assumed they returned to their vehicle, it bought them a few minutes, but once they found the vehicle empty, they would presumably return to the alley. She briefly considered returning to the warehouse and attempting to flank them, but that plan had two problems: one, she had no idea if they could get in that warehouse door from the outside, and two, she had no idea if any assailants remained inside; it was just too risky.

As she lay on the base of the dumpster with her partner, Kate strained her ears to listen for the distant sound of sirens, but she couldn't hear any, so she huffed out a frustrated breath and took a moment to shut her eyes. She felt her partner's hand squeeze her side as he lay with his arm draped over her hips. For the briefest of moments, this action caused her heart rate to slow to a more average pace. Then, she heard the echo of voices return to the alley.

"Where the hell did they go?"

"No idea. Maybe—hey, what's that over there?"

"The dumpster?"

"Fuck," Kate heard her partner breathe as she thought the exact same word. That was it; the moment she hoped would not come. If they used their automatic rifle on the aging hunk of metal, they were both surely doomed. Their only hope was—


She heard it—the distant echo of sirens. It was very distant, in fact, but help was coming, they only needed to hold out. Just as she contemplated popping open the dumpster top and firing out a few warning shots, their hiding place was met with a barrage of fire. Kate winced, bracing for what she feared was the inevitable hot slash of a slug across her flesh, but it never came. Instead, her partner rolled his body completely on top of her, shielding her even though he had absolutely no business doing so. She could hear the pings of bullets as they ricocheted off the sides of the metal can and the brick building beside it, but none of them pierced. Still, she knew they fought a battle only with time, until as suddenly as they had started, the bullets ended. At that time, she could hear the sirens loudly; backup had finally arrived.

"Are you okay?"

The husky voice of her partner almost startled Kate and she gazed up at him wide-eyed. "I…" Her voice drifted off as her gaze met his and the pad of his fingers brushed against the hollow of her cheek. Despite how dark it was in their metal hideout, she could see that his azure eyes were wrought with concern and—she swallowed hard—perhaps even a little bit more.

"I'm, ah, fine. Are…" her question evaporated into the air as Castle shifted above her, slipping one of his knees in between her thighs. Surprisingly, she let him and even more surprisingly, her instinctive response was to lift up her hands and grip his sides. "What-" But her question was lost to the universe as he quickly dipped his head and brushed his lips against hers.

Kate sucked in a surprised breath through her nose and didn't reciprocate the kiss, but instead squeezed his sides hard. He pulled back and instantly began stammering, "I, um, I'm…."

She blinked at him, momentarily ignoring how flustered he sounded while her brain processed the facts. "Did you just kiss me? In a dumpster?" They had never kissed before—barely even hugged, but she would have been lying if she said she didn't like the way it felt with his body hovering over hers.

"Shit." He cursed and shook his head, rolling away from her as much as the tight dumpster space would allow. "I didn't—I mean, I just—I was-"

"We need to get out of here." She cut off his rambling while pushing herself upright. Moving so she was kneeling on the metal floor of the dumpster, she used the flat of he left hand to pop the lid up ever so slightly. In doing so, she could see uniforms cuffing the men, who now lay flat on the ground, and knew it was safe to emerge.

"C'mon," she told her partner, pushing back the dumpster lid in one swift movement. "Let's get out of here."

With that, she stood and began to clamber back towards the ground while trying desperately to forget about the tingle that remained on her lips and the swirl of heat between her thighs.

"Okay, c'mon in. Just give me a second to find everything."

"Kate…seriously—you don't have to do this."

As she moved through her apartment, flicking on lights and kicking off her shoes, Kate ignored her partner's resigned sigh. She had listened to his resistance during their forty-five minute commute back to her apartment through rush-hour traffic and she refused to acknowledge it any more. Of course she was going to bandage him up and there was absolutely nothing that would change her mind.

Rolling up the sleeves of her button-down, Kate walked into the bathroom and began rummaging through the cabinets to make sure she had everything she needed. When she only found regular-sized adhesive bandages, she chewed on her lip momentarily and then returned to the kitchen to check her spare first aid supplies and then discovered exactly what she needed. "Okay," she called out to the man still awkwardly waiting in her foyer. "C'mon back."

Though he had been to her apartment several times before, Castle still traversed the hall as though it was a museum where obnoxious sirens would go off if he accidentally touched one of the many pieces of décor. Kate watched him move with a sad little shake of her head. As of late he'd been so confident around her—barely even acting as though they were of different classes. She liked that part of him, but she also acknowledged the setbacks of that afternoon.

After emerging from the dumpster, Kate had been too busy reporting the events to her colleagues to take a good look at her partner. When she finally searched for him, she found blood staining the front of his pale-blue button down. Knowing how his body had shielded hers, she was initially terrified that a bullet slug had clipped him, but soon found that was not the case. Evidently, while climbing out of the dumpster Castle had somehow managed to cut the inside of his arm on a rough edge. He didn't recall it happening, only knew that it had happened when he saw the blood on his shirt after unfolding his crossed arms.

Knowing the dumpster was a filthy not to mention rusty object on which to injure one's self, she tried to march him over to the EMT's that had arrived in response to her emergency call for help, but he dug his heels in and refused with a sad, "No, don't bother; they won't want to help me." Immediately, Kate's heart sank.

If Castle had been gravely injured, the NYPD's on-call EMTs would have been required to help him, but given that his injury was on the minor end of the spectrum, she understood his hesitance; they would certainly give him a hard time. She knew that with some glaring or perhaps a sharp word or two the men would treat him, but they wouldn't be kind about it. Their assistance would probably come with derogatory comments beginning with their overdramatic double-glove move (since many Elite's chose to continue the untrue rumor that Defects were unclean and all harboring diseases). She couldn't blame him for not wanting to subject himself to that, so instead she simply told him to wait in the car so she could return him to his apartment.

As he must have been very distracted, he didn't recognize the way they were traveling until they were almost halfway there. When he asked her what she was doing and she simply said, "I'm taking you home to clean up your arm since I doubt you have bandages at your place." He began to rebut immediately but could not confirm he had bandages. Or peroxide. Or any other first aid supplies. She silenced him by insisting that her partner was not going to die of an infection of her watch, and he remained tight-lipped for the rest of their ride until the new security guard in her building gave her a bit of difficulty when she went to pull her car into the underground garage.

Kate had lived in the Elites-only apartment complex for nearly a year before she met her partner. Of course Defects were not barred from the premises, but they could only enter if they were an approved visitor of a resident. Though this was technically the rule, all the residents knew the invitation policy was strongly discouraged, thought Kate didn't care at all. She invited Castle to dine with her or visit her to work on a case on several occasions and flashed her badge if anyone gave her a hard time. That evening was no different, though she knew the exchanged singed the ego of her friend.

Though she had never hated Defects, Kate would admit to looking down on them during her teen years. It wasn't an excuse, but she chalked it up to being a product of her Elite environment. By the time she entered the academy, she felt she grew out of it, but it truly was Castle who had altered her view entirely. He was kind and loyal, sweet and thoughtful, and had one of the biggest hearts of anyone she'd ever met. She positively hated when anyone looked down on him; he didn't deserve any of it.

"Okay, let's take a look at that arm."

"The bleeding's stopped, Kate; it's f-"

"Don't say fine." She interrupted sharply. "God only knows what twenty-first century germs you've got on you now." She beckoned him forward and gestured for him to hold out his injured arm. He presented her his left one and she examined the cut through the rip in his shirt. The scrape was perhaps three inches long, but it looked surprisingly deep. More concerning, it seemed very close to the vein running the length of his forearm.

After laying out her supplies on the countertop, she unbuttoned the cuff of his shirt and began pushing it up his arm, but it bunched too much at the elbow and she was not able to access the entire damaged area. Humming to herself she said, "You're going to have to take your shirt off; I want to make sure it's all clean."

"No this is fine."

She gazed at him a bit incredulous. "What?"

He peeled back the edge of his shirt until it seemed to be painfully tight on his elbow. "It's fine see? You can get to the cut."

She planted her left fist on her hip and twisted her lips. "Why are you being a prude all of a sudden? Take off your shirt."

"There's no need. Here; I'll just do it myself."

As he reached out for the bottle of peroxide and a cotton ball she studied him, trying to assess his strange attitude. Not two hours earlier he had kissed her in a shocking move. Considering how he had been the one to put his lips on hers she could hardly believe he wasn't interested in her romantically. So why was he afraid to be shirtless in front of her? In the grand scheme of things, that seemed so minor—not to mention stupid. Had the situation been reversed, she wouldn't have hesitated to remove her top, particularly since it was in the name of safety.

Now annoyed, she moved her hands quickly forward and began undoing the buttons on his shirt beginning with the one right below his collar. By the time he protested with, "No, Beckett, stop," she'd already unbuttoned three buttons and caught a glimpse of what he'd been trying to hide.

"Oh Castle," she breathed out, tugging at the right side of his shirt to reveal the angry red and crinkled skin on his pectoral. The "D" was branded deep into his flesh and it made her stomach lurched in her gut. Raising her gaze to his embarrassed-looking face she said, "You were attacked?"



"I was twenty."

"God." She breathed out. That had been a little over a decade earlier, at the height of the anti-Defect movements. Cruel men were trolling the city at night, jumping and branding defects as a mark of shame. The Defects were typically also beaten for good measure. Eventually, all the assailants were caught and punished for their disgusting acts of hate, but she knew hundreds of men and women had been left permanently scared and injured in their wake.

Kate brushed her index finger over the brand and then moved her hand to cradle the underside of his jaw before saying, "I'm sorry."

He shook his head and then forced out a smile. Dropping the cotton ball he held onto the counter, he finished unbuttoning his shirt and said, "Let's just finish this so I can get out of your hair."

She waited until his shirt was on the floor of her bathroom before leaning down to assess his wound. The edges were rough and jagged and it was deeper towards the front, presumably because of the pressure forced down on it. She honestly though he could have used stitches, but also knew he would refuse them, so she merely set to work on dabbing his wound with the peroxide-soaked cotton ball and watching the way his tendons flexed as he hissed out in discomfort.

After she'd thoroughly cleaned the area, she tossed the cotton into the trash and picked up the cap from the peroxide and the bottle itself. As she screwed it on, she watched her partner carefully examine his wound. He prodded the area with his thumb, winced, brought it closer to his face, and then grimaced. In doing so, she could see his bicep and shoulder muscles flex and felt the swirl of heat return to the apex of her thighs.


For nearly two years Richard Castle had been had been her partner, but more importantly her friend. He knew more about her than anyone else—more than she'd ever allowed anyone to know—and she knew about him as well. She knew about his attempt at novel writing that had failed when no one was interested in publishing a Defect's work no matter how extraordinary it was. She knew about his struggles in the wake of the death of his only parent, and how much loneliness he suffered. She understood his drive to do good and find justice in the world perfectly as it was one she possessed herself.

For two years they had been side by side, working cases and fighting their way through tough circumstances. They'd faced gunfire, bomb diffusions, and once even almost freezing to death in an industrial freezer. They'd come through the other side of all those events as friends and partners, but when he kissed her he had for the first time opened the door to something more.

When it came to Kate's love life, there wasn't much story to tell. Elite men were physically attractive, but that was about where it ended. Their personalities and their hearts left something to be desired. She had no interest in them, but the man before her was different in so many ways. Their relationship would be taboo, that was certain, but after surviving yet another close scrape together her brain just kept asking, "What are you waiting for?"

"You know," she began, setting the peroxide back on the counter, "we were both lying in that dumpster; we're probably coated with twenty-first century germs."

"Well yeah but—" His voice cut off the instant his eyes locked with hers and he swallowed hard, presumably at the animalistic way she was staring at him. "What…"

"I just think." She reached her hand down until she felt the metal belt buckle on his pants and began to tug it open. "We should probably shower sooner than later."

"Kate, what—what are you doing?" he stammered out, taking half a step back from her.

She smiled and lowered her gaze so she could focus on unbuckling his belt, and undoing the button and zipper on his pants. "You tell me—you're the one that kissed me."

"I…that was…heat of the moment…"

"Was it?" she returned. Though his arms remained stiff, he did not stop her from unfastening his pants. They dropped to the floor with a thud and then, with the quirk of her lips, she tugged at his boxers until they dropped as well, getting stuck rather comically around his knees.

Turning her back to him, she reached into the glass walk-in shower and cranked on the faucet. She then began to shed her own clothing—dress pants and a button down blouse—and had both half undone before she turned back around to find Castle in the exact same position. "What's wrong?" she half-laughed at him.

He blinked. "This…this is probably a bad idea."

"Probably." She agreed as she stepped out of her pants. She shed her top then her bra with utmost casualty. Walking back to the bathroom counter, she pulled open one of the drawers and retrieved a black clip which she held in her teeth while she twisted her hair into a bun and secured it with the clip. "But," she continued, reaching out for his hand, "we're going to do it anyway."

A minute later, they were both inside the glass confines of her shower. While she adjusted the temperature of the spray, she felt his hands gently graze at her hips and smiled. Spinning around, she looped her arms around his neck and grazed her damp fingers gently through the hair at his nape. She felt his body shiver beside hers so she rose up on her toes and pressed a gentle kiss to his lower lip.

"How long have you wanted to do that for?"


She grinned. "I'm sure."

She was about to lean in for another kiss when he stepped back and pressed himself against the tile wall. Shaking his head at her he said, "What are we doing? This is…"

"Rick," She began, using his first name for one of the first times ever. "Do you want this?"

He waited ten seconds and then nodded, though he was clearly hesitant.

"Then stop thinking."

With that, she stepped forward, rose up on her toes, and claimed his mouth as her own.