Kate's in the breakroom getting a cup of coffee when Castle sees his opportunity. Everyone else seems ridiculously busy with whatever it is cops do when a case is closed – paperwork, he assumes, and can't understand who invented a form for something as simple as getting out of the cruiser – an no one pays him any mind as he stands and makes his way to her side. She looks up at him, coffee cup in hand.
"Break the curse yet?" she asks, sipping at her coffee.
"Nope," he replies, because it's true and because, though she doesn't know this yet, he needs her help, cooperation and, well, assurance she won't kill him.
He'd managed to keep from reacting when Cawca Te, the Mayan they'd had in holding, told him the only way to reverse the curse. He had no idea how he'd managed it, considering he was putting his life in danger to save his life, but he'd managed to simply look back at Beckett and nod quickly. But the actual action was easier said than done.
"What are you waiting for?" she asks, a smirk playing across her lips. "I thought it would be your first goal once we drove Mr Te to the airport."
Castle shrugs, surprised at how natural it seems. Here he is, about to risk getting shot, and he's actually rather calm about it? Well, on the outside at least. His heart hammers against his chest on the inside, almost making it difficult to breathe. "I kind of need your help."
"My help?" she says in surprise, one of her eyebrows rising skyward. "You need my help to get rid of the curse. This is too good to be true."
"Oh, come on," he replies, unable to resist taking the bait. "Your life would be dull without me around."
"No, my life would be calmer without you around," she shoots back and he finds himself taking comfort from the banter as he steps minutely closer. Better do this slow, so he doesn't spook her and get slapped before he can break the curse.
"Well," he bargains. "Think of how much more annoying I'd be if I was still cursed."
She pauses for a moment, considering his point. "You've got me there. But if you get mortally or fatally injured because you're cursed then you're out for longer than it takes to change your pants."
"Thank you, for that lovely reminder," he says with a wince, remembering the dog and the good pair of pants. It had been a little humiliating to walk out of the precinct with his underwear showing. All of a sudden, the age-old adage of wearing clean underwear had made perfect sense.
Her eyes are shining with humour and for the millionth time since he's met her, he can't help but get a little bit lost in them. He knows she has no idea of how deep his attraction – feelings – run, or how truthful he'd been the first day they'd met. He knows she chalks his flirting up to just that, that she misses the undercurrent of honest sincerity, the true pull of attraction. Apparently, though, others can see it because that's the only logical explanation he can come up with for Cawca Te's curse-breaking advice.
"I don't know, Castle. I think there's a number of officers around who quite enjoyed seeing your underwear."
He's stepped even closer, just barely into her personal space, but she's still leaning nonchalantly against the counter, that playful little smile tilting her lips. He's transfixed and he knows it.
"So," she says, "How do you break the curse?"
He glances away for a split second. "You have to promise not to shoot me."
Kate's eyebrow arches upwards. "Why would I want to shoot you?" Then her eyes narrow. "What do you have to do to break this curse, Castle?"
He sucks in a deep breath, gathering his courage. "This."
One hand goes to the cup of coffee in her hand, the other goes to the back of her neck, holding her head as he leans in and presses his mouth to hers. He'd meant it to be quick, to just end the curse so he can move on and so things between them won't be awkward, but he should have known better. Still, he forces himself to pull back because after that, knowing that one kiss isn't going to be enough for today and maybe even forever, he wants to make sure that she knows though that first kiss may have been to break the curse, he's now merely taking advantage of what the curse has snapped within him. He's always wanted her and Cawca Te's advice has suddenly become the catalyst.
Kate's eyes open slowly as he presses his hips against hers, holding her in place as he removes the coffee cup from her hand to set it on the counter. "Castle-"
He meets her eyes, noticing they're a little blurry, he leans in again, kissing her with meaning this time, and less fear. He threads his fingers through her hair, his other hand, linking their fingers against her hip. Her free hand is still hanging limply beside her, but she's not a passive participant in this kiss. She's responding and he can feel her body stretch towards his. Her free hand comes to rest on his waist, fisting in his shirt as their kiss heats. After a few moments, however, he remembers they're in the breakroom and that he wants to make sure she knows that the first touch of their mouths may have been to break the curse, but after that… well, he was merely taking advantage of a good thing. So he lightens their kiss, pulling back to break the kiss before pressing a last quick, soft kiss to her mouth.
They're both breathing heavily as her gorgeous hazel eyes open on his. His hand slides out of her hair to trace over her cheek. She chews her lip and looks away from him and he cups her chin in his hand, pulling her gaze back to his.
"Oh," she says, and he can see the confusion in her eyes, the worry, the wariness. She bites her lip and he knows she's putting up walls, knows exactly what she's thinking. "I see."
"No," he replies. "No, you don't."
It's the forcefulness of his voice that makes her shut up and he knows that. He's never stern with her. His seriousness is always overlaid with something else, if only to protect himself. Because he's aware that Kate isn't just another woman and he's known that from the moment she turned him down. She can hurt him, so he hides his real attraction under playfulness and he always has, just in case she's serious with her annoyance. This time, though, he realizes that her reaction to him is enough for him to allow some of her seriousness through. Maybe not all of it, because he knows he's intense in everything he does, but especially when he feels and he knows that if he really wants her, he has to pull back.
He glances away for a moment, gathering himself, before he locks his eyes back on hers. He knows this is his chance, possibly his only chance.
She chokes out a little laugh, darting her gaze away. "I get it. To break the curse you had to kiss me. So there you go. Your curse is broken, Castle."
He doesn't respond, just feathers his fingers over her cheekbone. Her hand is still clenched in his shirt and their other hands are still entwined, like she's forgotten about them. But it means she's still anchored to him, that her sharp attention is still consumed by what they're doing, by what they've done.
"I'd like to do it again," he says.
Her brow wrinkles. "Get cursed?"
"No," and he can't help the little chuckle he releases. "That was not fun. I'd like… I'd like to kiss you again."
And her eyes snap back on his because she knows he's not playing this time. There's really no flirtatious tone to his voice. It's too quiet, so not Castle and there's a new awareness and girlie shyness that threads through her. He knows that for Kate… It's not about what he does say, it's what he doesn't say and he knows that not making a joke about it, honestly telling her, gives her the chance to see past the façade he's been putting on to protect himself. Still, he's a words guy and as much as he knows his actions are important, he knows his words are too.
"I want to take you out, Kate," he says and he feels her body soften a little. "I want to buy you flowers, I want to hold you and I'd definitely like to kiss you again."
She's silent as she continues to chew on her lip, taking him in, watching him carefully. His fingers stroke over her jaw, down her throat, but he keeps his eyes locked on hers.
"Okay," she says finally, nervously.
He can't stop his boyish grin and as stupid as it is, he feels a little bit like the nerd that just got the head cheerleader to say 'yes' to prom. Still… "Okay to what?"
Her shoulders heave with the breath she takes. "All of it, I think," she responds.
"You think?" he teases, unable to stop himself from reaching out to tuck her hair behind the shell of her ear. He knows she's scared, has always known that if things ever came to a head like this that her fear was something he'd have to seriously consider. "Let me take you out, Kate."
"Because I helped you break the curse?"
He knows despite the joke in her voice, the tentative smile means she's actually serious about the question, nervous about his motives. He smiles in response, this time a real, true smile. "Because I want to."
She searches his face before her smile turns genuine but shy. He remembers this Kate from their shakes and burgers night. "Okay."
"Excellent," he breathes, his smile wide, genuine and probably a lot goofy. He doesn't care though because Kate Beckett has just agreed to go on a date with him. So he leans in and kisses her again despite the fact that they're in the breakroom and anyone could come in. When he breaks the kiss, he steps away, tugging on her hand. "I know a great place we can go and I know you haven't eaten since your bear claw this morning."
Her eyes widen. "Now?"
"Yes now," he replies. "Do you really think I'm going to wait for you to change your mind?"
As she gathers her things and he all but bounces on the balls of his feet he can't help but think that despite the bad days he's had from the curse, it turned out in his favour after all. Kate's agreed to a date with him and that makes up for all of the humiliation.
Castle kissing Beckett as a way to break the curse has been floating around in my head FOREVER. I'm so glad I finally got it out.
Hope you enjoyed it too.