A/N—So this is clearly not in canon.
I tried to stay true to their characters as they were in each season and episode. Since this is the pilot, I tried to closely mirror character behavior back then. I will try not to let it diverge too strongly, but obviously it's a departure from the real storyline. I hope you'll forgive this foray into mildly AU stories.
I really enjoy going back and seeing how they were, and how things changed.
The first is a two-part story.
Season 1 Non-Canon
Near the end of the pilot (before the final scene in Montgomery's office)
Flowers for your Confusion Part 1 of 2
Castle certainly doesn't have a perfect track record, but he isn't shot down by women all that often. And as he sees Kate Beckett walking away after saying their "final" goodbyes for the second time, he knows he has to figure out a way to keep their story going. He's known her a few short days, and that simply isn't enough. This isn't how it ends, it just can't be.
Usually, he can charm his way into a woman's favor, at least enough to get a date, and in those rare instances when he can't, he quickly cuts his losses and moves on. He can't tell why, but this time, the woman is worth a little extra effort.
Beckett is damn tired, and all she wants is to finish her paperwork and go home. Cases can be draining, but having to deal with that idiot writer made it so much worse. He is absolutely exhausting, a pig, a womanizer, a small-time bad boy who thinks he is funny and charming.
She reminds herself that she's disgusted by him, trying to dismiss the twinges of excitement she felt more than once when he was near her. That is the thing that really bugs her, she doesn't want to find him attractive. And she doesn't…mostly. Her rational mind and her self-respect abhor him, despise everything he stands for, but her body and her hormones don't seem to understand the objection. It is infuriating, feeling irate and captivated at the same time. She takes a cleansing breath and reminds herself that it doesn't matter because he is gone, out of her life. Forever.
Kate also had the satisfaction of having the last word, something she suspects few people get with Mr. Richard Castle. She could feel the jolt of exhilaration that emanated from him when she whispered, 'You have no idea,' in his ear. After his constant flirting and suggestiveness, he was the one drooling over her. "I won," she says aloud and alone at her desk, trying to bask in her victory.
Typically after closing a big case she has a few days off. She plans on sleeping and sitting in silence for at least the next 24 hours.
She leaves the station when she's done and goes directly for the corner store so she can get a decent bottle of wine and a salad. She is going to soak in her tub, drink her wine, and fall asleep curled up in her coziest robe while her skin is still warm from her bath.
In line at the store, wine in one hand and pre-packaged salad in the other, she hears that voice. Closing her eyes and shaking her head, she hopes it's paranoia. But she hears it again, and notes that it's drawing closer. All at once, she is repulsed and excited.
He grabs the base of her bottle while her fingers are locked on its neck, refusing to let go of her prize. He critiques the label and inquires loudly, "You call that a bottle of wine?"
"Castle!" she nearly cries, "Go. Away."
"Don't you think New York's finest deserves a finer bottle of wine?"
"It's good. I like it and it doesn't break the bank."
"Good? It's barely serviceable. Try this one," he suggests, handing her a different bottle.
Just one look and she says, "So you're here to rub it in my face that even though my job is more important to society than yours, I make a tiny percentage of what you make?"
He isn't offended, pondering for a moment and then replying, "It's interesting, really. You think your job is more important to society, where as some people, I'm not saying me, but some experts, would argue that literature is a manifestation of civilization itself, as well as a result of it."
She half rolls her eyes, too tired for full exasperation. "Like the water and diamond paradox," she concedes, "water is necessary to sustain life, and costs little. Diamonds are completely unnecessary, but highly priced."
"Huh," he gloats, "I'm the diamond in this scenario? Thank you. Really it's difficult to compare the importance of things that are significant to humanity in such different ways. Vastly different, but, yet, our worlds can intertwine if we allow them to. Maybe the lesson to be learned is that truly beneficial things happen when our worlds co-mingle."
She turns in line to face him, wondering how in the hell it is possible that it is taking so long to get to the front of the queue.
"Why are you here?" she asks. After all that paperwork and this case, she is completely spent, and she doesn't have the patience for his bullshit.
"I was thinking…What if we take this bottle of wine, the one that won't leave you with a tinny aftertaste tonight or a horrid headache tomorrow…and debate the whole cops versus writers, diamonds versus water thing over dinner. My treat."
"Dinner and wine?"
"Sounds like the date I already turned you down for earlier, doesn't it?"
"I said 'debate' not 'date.' You may want to consult with your favorite otologist about that hearing problem."
She places her packaged dinner and bottle of wine on the counter to pay for it, and Castle adds his bottle. "I'm not paying for that one," she tells the clerk.
"I've got it," Castle announces, grabbing jerky and a chocolate bar from the mini-shelf near the register and flashing a grin as he hands over a large bill.
"You're lecturing me on wines but you eat that crap?" Kate gripes as she takes only her bottle in hand.
Castle quickly hurries after her when she tries to disappear while he finishes his transaction. He takes her bottle of her wine from her hand, opens it because it's a screw-top, and shakes his head with disapproval. He takes a big slug of it, and makes a horrified face accompanied by a mock gag. "This is for your own good," he explains before he pours the contents into a storm drain.
"I could arrest you for that!" she yells at him.
"I think we've already established that I have friends in high places. But…I think we've also established that I'm more than happy to play with you and your handcuffs. I'm game if you are."
"This whole thing actually works on some women? Says a lot about the woman who typically interest you."
"Come on…one meal. Or maybe you're afraid you won't be able to resist me? I get that a lot."
"Can't resist shooting you, maybe," she sarcastically counters, proud of her retort.
"I don't usually ask twice."
"So three times is pretty much impossible?"
"Good. Then that means we're almost done here."
"One dinner. Good wine. It's not a date, it's…curiosity."
"I'm fun. And you're miserable. You seem like you could use a little excitement. I think, if you give me a chance, I can put a smile on that gorgeous face…along with a few other, more interesting expressions," he says as he steps very close, close enough to kiss her without having to lean much farther.
"Keep standing in my space," she taunts, "I've been doing a lot of close quarter combat training, and I'd love to see what my latest move could do to your testicles."
"Tempting," he begins to tease, but she turns and starts walking down the street.
He lightly jogs after her with his bottle of wine, holding it out for her.
She stops, turns toward him, and says, "This is important enough to you to ask twice, even three times, but when I ask why, you can't be serious. You're all jokes and avoidance. Have you ever considered that after having to pry information from suspects every day, I'd enjoy open and forthright conversation?"
"I don't want to make it too easy. Where's the fun in that?"
"I like men, not boys. I like a guy who isn't afraid to say what he really thinks and can talk to me without acting like a horny teenager showing off in front of his friends."
"Goodbye, Castle. Again," she says, pivoting on her heels and walking swiftly away.
"You're the most interesting person I've come across in a long time," he shouts. "The truth is I'm intrigued."
She doesn't turn back to him, but stops walking so he can catch up.
He speaks, as bluntly as he can, "It's not a date. Not unless you want it to be. I mean it. You're surprising. People rarely surprise me."
During those seconds of honesty, she almost caves, because she thinks maybe there is more to this guy than bravado and pickup lines. But she decides he's probably just trying another angle to get in her pants.
"How about this…tell me what you need," he demands.
"What I need?" she sneers.
"You, or the precinct? What do you need that the higher ups won't buy you? Better computers, body armor? Smart board?"
"You're trying to buy my time like a prostitute?"
"Do you make every man work so hard to buy you dinner, or just me?"
He flashes that smile, not the cocky one, the playful one, and that same excited twinge bounces through her. This guy is dangerous, and it both draws her in and makes her want to flee.
"It isn't prostitution," he continues when she fails to answer. "Think of it like one of those charity auctions. I'm willing to donate money to the charity of your choice and I fully understand that sex is not guaranteed. So tell me…what's the charity?"
"You think you can read me so well. You figure it out. If I agree that it's something I care about, I'll go. If not, you go away. And the charity gets to keep the money."
"Challenge accepted. I'll make reservations."
"No matter what happens or what you do, there is absolutely no way I will sleep with you. Do you understand?"
"You have my word, I will keep my hands entirely to myself. Until midnight. If you stick around after that…well I can't promise anything," there it was, that bad boy smile, lifted eyebrow, and dancing blue eyes that fill her with a combination of extreme irritation and arousal. She is starting to hate those two conflicting feelings together.
"You know what, it doesn't matter. You'll never think of something that will convince me to go. This date…will never happen."
"Saturday. I'll pick you up at 7."
Her lip curls a little at what is either his gross overconfidence or extreme optimism. "I'm not telling you where I live!"
"Fine. You pick me up at 7," he answers, still completely undeterred in spite of all of the signals she's giving him that there is absolutely no way she will EVER be interested. She starts to walk away, and hears him behind her shouting, "I'll see you Saturday night, Detective Beckett."
She waves and keeps going, eager to get away from this guy, get home, and finally unwind before she chooses to draw her weapon.
When she finally sits down with her (his) bottle of wine, she's forgotten that it is the one he picked out. She takes a sip of her glass and sighs, "Dammit," when she tastes it. As much as she didn't want to like it, she does. It is really good.
Saturday morning she stretches in bed as she wakes, convincing herself that she's relieved that she hasn't heard anything from Castle. She assumes he hasn't figured out a way to win her over, or he'd be gloating by now. On some level, she is a tiny bit disappointed.
She hears a knock at the door while she's drinking her coffee a short while later. She is fully prepared to see Castle on the other side, uselessly trying to look through her peep hole, but it isn't his face she sees. She doesn't recognize the person, but she does recognize the uniform.
"Detective Kate Beckett?" the deliverywoman asks.
The woman holds out the packages and waits for Beckett's signature before hurrying off to her next drop.
Kate quickly takes the packages inside and puts them on her table.
She cautiously opens the first parcel, a flatter, rectangular shirt box. Inside there are a number of documents, and at the top, a handwritten note. 'If you like it, be at my door by 7 tonight. If you don't…well I'd say this is goodbye, but we both know I'm probably not going away that easily.'
Suddenly filled with a thorough burst of irritation because his note makes her chuckle, she slaps the lid down on her table. She sees documentation proving that he renegotiated and paid several medical bills for the family of a fellow officer whose wife has been fighting stage three cancer. Of course the other cops at the station do what they can to take care of their own, but the bills have been rapidly piling up.
Although Castle sent Kate the proof, the donations were not made in his name. In fact, all funds were signed by 'Your Family at the 12th.' At the very bottom of the package, he scrawled his address and the words, 'Hope to see you.'
The other package, of course, contains a dress.
Kate is in Castle's elevator, wondering what in the hell she is doing. It's not yet too late to turn back. She is playing with fire, that is certain. Taking comfort in the fact that she made the rules clear, she approaches his apartment. The door cracks open before she knocks, and she prepares for him to revel in his victory. Before she can even see him, she cautions, "No matter what happens, I will absolutely not have sex with you tonight."
Her eyes fall upon the shocked gaze of Castle's mother as the door opens fully. The older woman's hand hovers over her chest with surprise, but she nods and states without missing a beat, "Well, I'll have to manage my expectations accordingly."
"I am so sorry," Kate genuinely offers. "I thought you were—"
"Oh please. It's not a problem."
"That message was meant for someone else."
"I assumed as much. I've heard far worse when answering the door for my son," Martha chuckles as she waves Kate into the apartment. "And might I say that you look radiant."
"Thank you, I—"
"Detective Beckett," Castle's daughter says as she approaches. "Hopefully this time you aren't taking my dad in for questioning?"
"Not yet," Beckett answers, "but it's hard to imagine he won't get himself in trouble at some point."
Castle's women are watching her, and Kate wonders what they think of all of this. Do they see her as his latest attempted dalliance, a faceless addition to a crowd, soon to be forgotten? Do they think maybe she's somehow different? Not that it matters, Kate reminds herself, because this dinner will be a one time occurrence.
His daughter is smiling at her, like maybe there's more to say, and Kate is both intrigued and nervous to hear what the teen's thoughts are. Alexis somewhat enthusiastically begins, "So Detective Beckett, Dad tells me—"
"Where are you two headed to tonight?" Martha interrupts, casting a cautionary glance toward Alexis that makes Kate wonder exactly what the man has said.
"Even such an exquisite dress doesn't do you justice," Castle compliments as he enters the room. He knows he sounds confident, but the way she looks is disarming enough to make him feel a little self-conscious.
She nods at his words, and he realizes that even though she's decided to show up, she isn't really sold on the idea of an evening with him. He hears Martha say, "In spite of all evidence to the contrary, he really was taught to be a gentleman."
"By whom?" Castle counters, grabbing his jacket and draping it neatly over his arm. He turns to Beckett and gestures to the hall. "Shall we?"
"Might as well get this over with," Kate wryly replies as she exits.
He absolutely cannot resist, even while his family is watching him, but when Kate walks away, his head tilts to admire the view. He yelps an "ouch" and rubs both of his arms when Martha and Alexis each smack one side. He whispers, "Don't wait up," to them, and hurries after Kate.
"He'll be home before midnight," Beckett sings from the hall. That woman has fantastic hearing.
He takes long strides to catch up, meeting her at the elevator. He watches as she stares at the indicator lights without attempt to engage him at all. He would talk, after all, he is amazing at filling silence with words, but he's too busy obsessing over whatever is going on in her head.
"It was very nice…what you did for that family," she evenly states as she gets on the elevator and he leans against the wall behind him, just beyond the point where they'd touch.
"I'm glad you liked it," he replies, studying her. "And that it was enough to convince you to show up."
She turns toward him, her arms crossed in front of her in something he's quickly dubbing her 'cop stance.' The dress, hair and makeup don't mitigate her no-nonsense toughness. "There's one thing that doesn't add up," she says.
"Why didn't you tell them who it came from?" The question is meant as an accusation, but as she awaits his answer, her expression is softly quizzical.
"Does that matter?" he replies, failing to anticipate the question.
"Honestly, the gesture was nice. But the reason I showed up was the gesture coupled with the fact that you didn't even want credit for it. You had the chance to play the hero, to get a date and some pretty sincere gratitude from a family and the precinct. But I'm the only one who knows."
"So it is a date?" He grins, hoping that she'll be irritated enough to drop the whole thing. She isn't though, so he knows he has to continue. He clears his throat. "You seemed uncomfortable with the idea of going out. I figured if I admitted where the money came from, people may ask you why, which would only make you more uncomfortable. Besides…you're the reason it was given, you are part of the 12th, so it was accurately signed. I did my research. I know about all of the things you organized to help that family."
Seeing a little softening in her eyes, he feels a flash of hope, but he also feels more vulnerable than he wants to beneath her stare. No wonder people break when interrogated by her.
To direct the conversation, he turns, leaning his shoulder against the wall as he whispers flirtatiously, "And the very last thing I want you to feel tonight is discomfort."
Her expression sours and she quickly exits the elevator the moment it's open, and he's already sad that the closeness is broken, but relieved that he doesn't feel her eyes boring into his head anymore.
Their dinner is lovely, candlelight and impossible-to-get seats at a place where she suspects they know him all too well. When he isn't acting like an over-confident playboy, the conversation is pleasant. She still hasn't let on what a tremendous fan she is, and part of her is interested in sitting across from the author she's long admired. Although she certainly won't say that to him.
Once again, he occupies seemingly contradictory places, both appearing self-absorbed and incredibly attentive. When he asks her a question, he hangs on her answer, leaning his chin on his fist and waiting quietly and patiently for the response. Each time she's finished, he doesn't jump on the opportunity to speak, but seems to wait an extra moment or two just in case she may say more.
He discusses the choice of wine with her rather than imposing one, and doesn't try to order for her. He's still over-the-top, a bit too much for anyone she'd voluntarily date, but he's less obnoxious than he seemed during the case. His complete attention feels a little intoxicating.
They finish the bottle of wine, but it doesn't seem like he's trying to get her drunk, and really she figured that would be his move. He doesn't try to talk her into sex or grope her beneath the table. As much as he's suggestive, he's careful not to overstep, never instigating any unwanted contact. In fact, he seems to be more of a gentleman than not.
He's midway through a story when he pauses, tilts his head and says, "I have a fantastic idea."
Standing, he signals to the server and offers his card to pay.
"We're leaving?" she asks. "Right now?"
"We'll get dessert later," he replies. When she scowls, he adds, "I'm referring to ice cream. I have a place."
He's grinning like a kid at Christmas, as he takes her to the vehicle that will chauffeur them to the next location.
Once in the car, he sits right next to her, slightly in her space, but she's not going to move away. She's going to hold her ground, refusing to be intimidated by him. Looking at her intently each time she speaks, his hands remain folded across his lap. His legs have fallen open, with the wide deportment of a confident man. When the car hits potholes or they turn, she feels his knee brush against her, but that's the extent of their touches.
When they arrive, he gets out of the car first, extending a hand to help her from the seat to the sidewalk. She takes it, and as she stands and finds herself close to him, she realizes just how wonderful he smells. Unlike the rest of him, the cologne he wears is subtle, and she finds it alluring. He puts his hand against her back, politely just below her shoulder blades, but it's skin against skin, and her head swirls for a moment. She hurries toward the door, not paying attention to where they're going as much as she's inwardly chastising herself for her physical reaction to someone she wants to be repulsed by.
Once they're inside, it looks as if they've stepped right into another world. Castle talks to the relatively disinterested attendant, and she hears the kid tell him, "Just the two of you? If you're looking to impress your girl, pick a different room. No one solves that one."
"Wait! Solves what?" Beckett questions.
"I love a challenge," Castle smirks, glancing over his shoulder at her and reminding her that he hasn't lost interest.
"Wait," she states, remembering that he's leading her down a hall and she's still not certain where she is. He really throws her off her game. "What are we doing? Is this some weird role play thing, because I haven't agreed to—"
"Escape room. You know, they lock us in a room and we try to solve a mystery to get out. I figure that's our kind of evening."
"You're essentially making me work without getting paid?"
"We can discuss compensation when we win."
The attendant takes them to the end of the hall, and says, "Listen, pal, we've had rocket scientists and doctors in here, six of 'em at a time, and they couldn't figure it out. You might want to start with—"
Beckett steps in front of Castle and says to the kid, "You think we can't do it?"
"No offense, lady, but—"
If she wasn't interested before, she definitely is now. She's still in the attendant's space, not so far from his nose, and says, "Let me in the damn room."
"Whatever, lady," the kid gripes. "You have two hours."
They walk in and she hears the heavy locks click shut behind them. Without a moment wasted, she drops her purse and dives into the case.
She feels like it shouldn't be fun, but it is. Few of her dates are as intelligent, handsome, and articulate as he. Between the pair, some puzzles are solved quickly, but others make it clear there's a reason why no one ever escapes this room in the time allotted.
Before tonight, she would have thought a date like this was an awful idea, a way for people to end up fighting, but it is perfect for the two of them. It shows her how incredibly well suited they are to working together when motivated. He seems serious as they work through the hurdles, both set on proving they can solve the room no one else can.
They know they are nearing the end, and she is dying to tell that boy outside that they may not be scientists or doctors, but they can solve a mystery better than most. They are hovering over a cypher they found in a false-bottomed desk drawer. She can feel her hair brushing Castle's cheek, they are that close. Occasionally their fingers brush over the symbols. Kate has been dead focused on solving this, but now, suddenly, she's entirely distracted by him. His face is stoic, full of intent wonder, eyes moving as he thinks. For some reason, his cologne smells even better than it did before. His jacket fabric is so smooth, she tempted to rub her arm against it a little more. Why in the hell didn't he act like this while they were working together a few days ago?
She is a professional, though, and even through the distracting journey her hormones are leading her on, she suddenly sees through the cypher, and shouts at the same time that he does, "The light!"
They smile, faces so damn close that it's hard not to think of what could happen. She sees his devilish smile begin to bloom. His eyes drop to her mouth, and completely without thought, her lips part. Gaining control over her rogue responses, she jumps away and looks at the lamps up on the ceiling. Castle checks the one nearest him while she evaluates the one closest to her, but neither contain the key they need. Glancing at the timer on the wall, she knows they have eight minutes left, and she will not fail this challenge.
She jumps off a chair, moves it under the large fluorescent light in the center of the room before she steps up on the table. "Get on the chair," she orders Castle.
He does, his flirty affect returned as he stands in front of her. "Yes, ma'am."
"Stay on the chair, and I'm going to hop on your shoulders."
He faces her, offering his hands for support and leers, "Hop on."
"Turn around," she replies, her hand clasping over his head to turn him around so he isn't facing her.
"Killjoy," he mumbles, groaning when she hops off the table and kneels on his shoulders.
"Hang onto my legs."
"If you insist," he replies, his hands sliding up her thighs in a way that makes her feel flushed, but he keeps them locked in a relatively polite position.
She silently reproaches her hidden desire for his hands to roam a bit more disobediently. It feels like the only time he's ever listened to what she's told him.
"Got it," she exclaims as she removes the cover and finds the final tiny key wedged in the corner of the fixture.
"Beckett," he cautions as she leans too far to one side and his balance is compromised.
The chair slips from under him and he falls onto the table, Kate tumbling onto him. "You alright?" she asks immediately.
He rolls from his side, and she finds herself perched on his abdomen, her knees on either side of him. Kate braces for a scandalous comment. His hands have found a resting spot on her hips, but he just stares. She notes the way her fingers are splayed across his chest, and it feels way too familiar. But for some reason, she has yet to run. His voice sounds so low it's almost not his own, and he says, "You are so…" but he stops abruptly, helping her up before righting himself and smoothing his suit.
"Care to finish that thought?" she questions a bit proudly.
"Ah, right," he starts, seeming a little off his game. "Athletic," he responds. "You are very athletic."
"Right," she smirks, going to the door and putting the 10th key in its place.
When it pops open with three minutes to spare, the pair walk out into the hall. The attendant approaches, looking just as bored and disinterested as he did earlier. That didn't squelch her sense of victory at all as she finds herself openly celebrating the way she sometimes wishes she could at the precinct. She turns to Castle and lifts her palm for a high-five. He's smiling at her in a way that's far more sweet and triumphant than lecherous. He accepts the high-five, but his hand doesn't pull away when it should. Two of his fingers slide between hers, and his thumb brushes up her palm. She wishes it didn't make her feel tingly.
He still hasn't let go. "Ready for a little celebration?" he asks.
She quickly manufactures disgust she doesn't exactly feel and pulls her hand away.
"They have champagne flavored sorbet, for that traditional celebration vibe…" he leans closer like he's about to share a secret. "Personally, though, you can't go wrong with chocolate. Or chocolate marshmallow. Rocky road. Anyway," he shakes his head. "Obviously you can choose your own flavor."
"What are you talking about?"
"Dessert? Ice cream? Remember?" his tone drops to a whisper. "Unless…you are hoping to celebrate in some…other way?"
She scowls, summoning the full power of her cop-facing-suspect glare. "Ice cream is fine."
"Suit yourself," he cheerily responds, still completely undeterred by her chronic thwarting.
She watches him walk away for a moment before she joins him, wondering if Castle is more complex than what he seems.
-Up Next-Part 2 of the Pilot "Date"-