"Hey Castle," Beckett holds up a shiny white coffee cup, "Coffee?"

Never one to turn down an invitation from a lady, the writer wanders over to the break room, "Detective, to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure? Usually I'm the one bringing you coffee."

"So suspicious Castle. It's coffee not one of your mysteries."

"No? Look at the time detective. Not even 9am and if I'm not mistaken that's what's known as a smile on your face."

The sight of Rick Castle leaning against a door spinning yet another story is one that Beckett rarely tires of, "Was there supposed to be a point in there somewhere?"

"My point is you don't smile until after either your third cup of coffee or 10am whichever comes first. So that leads me to believe…"

"Yes," always curious when it comes to a certain mystery writer, Beckett gives him her full attention.

That she stops emboldens Castle to move closer, searching his muse's face for clues, "You had a date last night."

Unimpressed Beckett rolls her eyes, "Look Castle, do you want this coffee or not?"

Thwarted by her poker face, he's unsure if he's hit or missed his mark. Castle gently yanks her hand and his cup away from the shelf they were heading to, "I'd love a cup. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Now, go wait in the conference room Castle." She doesn't need to look at him to know he's not going anywhere yet. He's never been good at following directions the first time.

"C'mon, tell me. Who's the guy? Do I know him? No, I would know if I know him."


"No I wouldn't know him or no there's no guy?"

"No," she pauses just long enough to keep him guessing, "there's no guy."

"That leaves only one logical conclusion." Castle's standing behind her, so close he feels her hair on his cheek and her back against his chest, "You're just happy to see me this morning."

Beckett turns around much slower than she needs to, letting her body linger as it barely brushes against his chest.

That she's even closer now takes him by surprise. The serious look on her face undermined by eyes that are more than ready to play.

This game of theirs has become as much of her daily routine as the coffee she's getting. Like the coffee, she looks forward to it. Needs it for her day to be complete. Leaning even further into the mystery writer, she pokes his chest, "Conference. Room. Now."

"Yes maam" Mission accomplished. Castle turns on his heel, devilish grin intact. Not a minute later, he's sitting in the conference room admiring the very nice view of Beckett walking towards him.

Stopping behind Castle, Beckett unceremoniously sets the coffee cup on the table, "Here"

"Thank you"

Still behind him, she lowers her voice, "It's the last cup I'm ever making for you."

Her breath tickles his ears as he takes a sip, "That would be tragic. You made it just the way I like it."

Choosing the seat closest to him, Beckett raises an eyebrow without saying a word. She's been looking forward to this for days and plans on relishing every minute. She hopes her silence strengthens the upperhand she's sure is already hers, at least for the moment.

"As much as I love being anywhere alone with you, why are we having our coffee in here instead of out there?" As usual, not being able to put his finger on what Beckett is up to is driving Castle crazy.

Satisfied his suspicion is efficiently heightened, Beckett opens her mouth to speak but not before Castle interrupts her.

"You wanna make out?"

"Maybe," she bites her lip loving the mix of hope and shock on his face, "in your dreams."

"Oh, you're always in my dreams Detective. We make out and more. Much more."

Damn him and his smug smile. She hates it when he does that. Switches the leverage without even seeming to try.

"Are we plotting revenge against Esposito and Ryan?"

"Revenge? For what? What did they do now?"

"Never mind. Do you…"


There it is. The no he despises. The one that tells him she's through playing.

"We need to talk."

"I KNEW IT!" In an instant Castle is perched on the arms of Beckett's chair, his face inches from hers.

The look in his eyes is unmistakable. How is it possible she's lost control of this conversation already? Leaning against the back of her chair, she runs her hand through her hair, "Knew what?"

"I knew that you had some ulterior motive for being nice and offering me coffee so early in the day." That his tone is one of triumph is no accident. In their game, every victory counts no matter how small it seems.

"Look, like I was saying, I need to tell you something and you have to promise me you won't freak out."

That quickly, his newly acquired advantage is slipping away. His opponent has neither flinched nor acknowledged that he was right. "Me. Freak out. Never."

Beckett looks at him incredulously, "Really? Let's see if any of these ring a bell…violin teacher, vampire bites, book releases, deep fried twinkies, proms. Should I continue?"

"That won't be necessary. In fact, I already know exactly what you're going to tell me."

Beckett shifts in her chair suddenly feeling the need to create more space between them, "You do?"

He leans towards her, pulling her chair as he does, "Yes. You're finally ready to admit that I'm the Ying to your Yang."

Breaking his gaze she looks to his lips as she moves forward so they're nose to nose, "How did you know?"

"It was only a matter of time."

Castle's words are barely out before Beckett pushes him back into his seat, "If you mean only a matter of time until you completely lost your mind. You're finally right."

"You really are mean, you know that?" Castle's sitting back arms crossed, pout firmly planted across his handsome features.

A victory smirk plastered on her face, Beckett takes a hard earned drink, "What can I say? You bring out the best in me."

He loved and hated moments like this. There were few things in life he detested more than losing. On the other hand, these consolation prizes were too good to pass up. The sexy smirk that inevitably ended up on her face and the knowledge that he'd have another opportunity to even the score very, very soon made it bearable, "So what is it that we need to talk about?"

"First, you have to promise."

"Fine." Castle places his elbow on the table and sticks up his pinky.

"You're kidding?"

"Not at all. Pinky swearing is as good as a handshake."

"Yeah, when you're 10 Castle. Adults shake hands." Against her better judgment, Beckett holds her own pinky out to him and he captures it without hesitation.

"There's nothing childish about it. You do know that the person who breaks a pinky swear has to cut theirs off. There's nothing more serious than that."

"Well, for your sake, I really hope you don't need that pinky to type."

His twinkling eyes burn into her as he lowers his voice, "Now spill."

Beckett returns his gaze with a glare as she rips her pinky away from his vice-like grip, "Alexis came to talk to me."

"Really? When was this and how did I not know about it?"

"Saturday. You don't know everything Castle."

True but nobody ever said he had to like it, "I know I shouldn't have let that doctor talk me out of that GPS implant when Alexis had her tonsils out. Exactly what did you two have to talk about?"

Beckett hesitates. The concern in his blue eyes giving her second thoughts, "Sex."

Castle spits out his coffee, "WHAT!!"

"First, ewww." Glad she's wearing brown, Beckett wipes the coffee off of her shirt, "Second, you promised."

"I know but that was before I knew my daughter was talking to you about," looking around he whispers, "S-E-X."

"No need to spell Castle. I'm quite familiar with the subject." She laughs, always amused by Castle's paternal reactions.

Castle gets up and starts pacing, "I don't trust him"

Her eyes follow him, "Who?"

"Whoever. Any of them. All of them." He stops by the door, arms crossed, eyes set in a glare, "Boys!"

Beckett puts her hand up to her nose trying to suppress yet another laugh. Not an easy task since uncomfortable, off balance Castle is one of her favorites.

"This is not funny detective."

"You're right. I'm sorry." If it were anyone else, she'd be more empathetic but after all the torture Castle's put her though he more than deserves a little payback.

"I don't believe you are sorry detective. So was there more to that story or are you just amusing yourself with my misery?"

"It is awfully amusing."

The impact of the hurt look he's giving her is diminished by the ridiculous sight of him standing in the corner with his arms crossed like a child in timeout.

"Oh stop being so dramatic Castle. Look, Alexis came to me with some questions."

"Questions? Isn't that what health class and the internet are for?"

"Relax. It's not like Alexis is having sex tomorrow, I think you're safe for now."

Castle cringes. For the first time in their relationship, it's him wanting her to stop talking, "Let that be the last time you use my daughter's name and the words safe and sex in the same breath."

"Anyway, she asked if I could take her to the gynecologist for birth control."

A million scenarios overloading his brain, Castle's certain his head just exploded.

Beckett's fascinated. She didn't know a person's eyes could open so wide, "All these years you did realize it was a girl you were raising, right?"

"Yes. Of course."

"With girl parts."


"That would one day require a visit to…"

He covers his ears, "ALRIGHT. ALRIGHT. ALRIGHT. That's enough." Castle stands up and resumes his pacing. "I just thought …"

Beckett sips her coffee watching Castle from the corner of her eye, "She'd be a virgin forever."

"Ahhhh! I think my ears are bleeding."

She jumps as he practically sits in her lap so she can look at his ear, "Are my ears bleeding?"

"No, not yet anyway."

Familiar with that tone and that look, he quickly removes himself so he is beyond her reach.

"Take it easy Castle. We both know everyone has sex sooner or later."

"See that's where you're wrong."

"Okay, I highly doubt Alexis is joining a convent."

From his spot in the corner, the words slip from his lips like a promise, "After today, don't be so sure."

Sometimes she wonders how long it will take for him to realize that he doesn't have much reason to worry. Alexis is smart, sensible and in no rush to grow up faster than she has to. Truth is, he should count his blessings that Alexis isn't anything like the teenager she was. "Well, at least you're not freaking out."

"I think now's a good time for you to follow through on that promise to shoot me."

"And put you out of your misery. I wouldn't dream of it Castle." To say she's enjoying watching Castle squirm is an understatement. Beckett wonders what ridiculous theories are running through his mind. For a second, she even considers asking before dismissing that as a terrible idea.

"You are an evil woman Kate Beckett." Castle exhales, "So what did you tell her?"

"That I would talk to you and if you were okay with it, I'd help her with whatever she needed."

Castle stares suspiciously, the phrase whatever she needed repeating in his head, "I am not happy about this…."

With that statement, Castle dashes Beckett's earlier hopes that he would be reasonable enough that the serious voice would be unnecessary, "Castle."

"Wait. Let me finish." He takes the seat beside her, "I am not happy about this, but I am happy that we have you."

Shocked, Beckett sits up straighter.

Castle knows she thinks he misspoke. She's wrong. He had absolutely no doubt that both he and little Castle are better off with Kate Beckett in their lives. How could they not be? He is a more balanced, serious father. His daughter finally has a strong, independent woman to use as a role model and, apparently, a confidant. He always wants to be the first one Alexis came to but in his heart of hearts, he knows that can't be so. It makes him feel better knowing Beckett is on that list for her.

The man in front of her is one of the few that leaves her speechless. His seriousness always managing to catch her off guard. Had he really said 'we'?

"I mean it. Alexis and I are very lucky to have someone like you in our lives to care about us." Once more, he closes the distance between them. This time placing a gentle kiss on her cheek.

"Uh, thanks Castle, I, uh…"

Esposito opens the door, "Am I interrupting anything?"

"Yes." She closes her eyes to avoid seeing the satisfied grin that she's sure is on Castle's face.

"No."Of course, his answer is really yes. It always is. He continues watching Beckett as she turns her attention to Esposito, her cheeks a beautiful shade of pink.

Smiling, Esposito shakes his head confident one day Beckett and Castle would be on the same page. In the meantime, he had no problem enjoying the show, "Well, whatever you guys are up to, wrap it up. We just got a call. Lanie's already out there."

Still a little nervous, Beckett clears her throat, "We're done here. Thanks Esposito."

"You okay bro? You look like someone just took away your laser tag set."

"I wish." Castle's slouched against the chair again. The high of his stolen kiss replaced by the realization that his little girl is growing up faster than he'd like.

Beckett laughs, her own embarrassment happily forgotten.

Standing up Castle grabs their still full mugs, "You're really going to need to stop laughing."

"Ya know Castle I would. Thing is, I really just don't want to." She pats him on the cheek as she walks out. One day soon she's going to need to talk to Esposito about his timing.