Guilty As Charged

"Don't you ever feel guilty?" Kate eyes him critically. Her head is propped up on her hands, her elbows planted firmly on her desk. Sunlight bounces off her hair causing it to glow brilliant red.

Next to her, Rick deposits his mug of coffee on top of a stack of files and runs his now free hand over his mouth. A tiny trail of coffee seeps into the documents from the bottom of the mug. "What about? Oh! No! You didn't find that porno magazine I left on your desk – completely by accident, might I add – the other day?"

"That was you!"

He cringes. And then just as quickly his face lights up.

"What?" she asks.

"Do you want to punish me?"

Her glare is answer enough. Smirking, he pushes his hair back, letting it slowly ruffle through his fingers.

"I would but I think you'd get too much out of it and that would defeat the purpose."

"Oh really?"

There's a lull in the conversation at the back of the room followed by a sudden burst of laughter. Someone calls out a dirty joke resulting in more laughter that eventually fades and the cops gathered there continue to talk.

Rick puffs out his chest proudly. "Is that so?" he adds.

Kate rolls her eyes. "So do you?"

"Feel guilty?"

She nods.

"What about?"

"You books," she explains. "The fact that there's a serial killer out there, killing people how you killed off the characters in your books."

"Oh," he says. He taps his chin with one finger. An oddly serious expression replaces his smirk.

"Guilty as charged," he admits. "As totally cool as it is..." Shrugging he retrieves his mug, revealing the circular stain now a permanent fixture in the top file. He takes a sip. Steam still rises from the drink and the aroma is strong enough in the air to almost taste it. It's a heavy clang that splits the silence when he puts it down once more.

His eyes meet hers; no one has looked at her with such sadness in a long time. Her throat tightens. "Right," she says. "It... must be tough."

Letting out a sigh, Rick nods. "Yep. It's really tough. Really, really. To the point that I think you should come out to dinner with me. You know, to make me feel better."

The moment the cocky grin spreads over his face, Kate narrows her eyes. "Sure Castle. Just let me get my coat." She reaches out and picks up the coffee stained file, cringing at the damage. Opening it, she saves the documents within and trashes the file. She starts writing on a new file.

"You're not getting your coat. I'm thinking you don't want dinner."

"Whatever gave you that idea?" She glances up and is met with startling blue eyes and a childish pout. "Noooo! No, you don't. Castle!"

"I'll go get your coat for you," he says suddenly. He stands up and dangles her keys in front of her face. "And then I'll wait in the car."

"What? How did you get my-?" He's gone before she can finish the question. There's more laughter from the cops and one yells across to her, "how's the babysitting going?"

Glaring, she finishes writing, sets her pen down and shoves the documents into the new file. Her coat lands on her back – thrown there by Rick, she assumes – as she's sliding it into place with the rest. "If this is how it's going to be," she mutters under her breath, "he's paying. And not just for dinner."

fin.