"You know… I could probably interrogate this guy for you…"
Beckett rolled her eyes as Esposito snorted, amused.
"Think so, Castle?" Ryan asked, looking over from the suspect in the interrogation room and obviously just as amused as the other two were.
"Yeah. I went to the forum, I know how to do it now."
"There's more to it than that," Beckett told him. "It takes practice to do it right. Not enough pressure and the guy won't take you seriously. Too much and he starts crying."
"Or gets angry and clams up," Esposito added.
"I could do it," Castle pressed, eagerly. "Seriously."
"You're not a cop, Castle," Kate reminded him.
"Which is why I can get away with it. He'd just be talking to a regular Joe like him."
Beckett rolled her eyes again, clearly not impressed. Some things never changed.
"I'll be back in a few minutes," she told them as she opened the door and left.
"Guy goes away for a week and comes back thinking he's Dirty Harry or something," Esposito said, looking at his partner.
Ryan nodded, watching as Beckett entered the room next door and walked over to the suspect they had sitting there. He checked the sound system to make sure that they were recording everything that would be said – and to make sure that those in that room wouldn't hear them, of course – and then turned away from the window and looked over at Castle as well.
"Not Dirty Harry," Castle corrected. "Maybe one of the guys from Miami Vice or something like that, though. I did do pretty well at the shooting part of the convention, after all."
"And the Crime Scene part," Ryan added. In the week since Castle and Beckett had returned, they both had heard pretty much everything there was to hear about the convention. Most of it from Castle. But there were some things that they hadn't heard, and had been forced to try and figure out on their own. Which they'd done. Now all they needed was verification of the information they had gathered.
"So what's going on between you and Beckett?" Esposito asked completely out of the blue. The best way to interrogate was to keep someone off guard, after all. Every cop knew that.
Castle was startled by the abrupt question. Startled enough that he actually knew suddenly what a deer in the headlights felt like. He looked at both of the guys in the room, trying to get his brain – which normally was a truly amazing thing – to at least come up with something to say. What it came up with wasn't all that amazing.
"What do you mean?"
"You and Beckett," Ryan answered. "What is going on between you?"
"Well, not nothing. Something."
"Something?" Esposito pressed. Both he and Ryan were completely expressionless, not giving Castle any indication of how they felt – something cops were very good at doing, after all.
"Would you stop that?" Castle asked, annoyed at suddenly sounding like an idiot. "It's something."
"We're…" he floundered for the right words, knowing that he wanted to make it sound as amazing as it was – without making it sound like he was bragging or being arrogant. Neither would be true in this case. "… Seeing each other…"
"Since when?" Ryan asked.
"Since you guys pulled that Westin trick on her and she had to share my suite with me. One thing led to another and we…"
"Saw each other?" Esposito asked.
Now he frowned again.
"Is it serious?"
"I don't know. Yes? No? We're not ordering a cake, if that's what you're asking."
"No," Esposito told him. "We didn't think you were. But it's easy to tell that something is different. Beckett's practically glowing and you've got a goofy grin on your face every time you see her."
"You know what she means to us, right?" Ryan asked.
Castle nodded, looking away from them and towards the window where he could see Kate leaning over the table at the suspect she was interrogating. The guy's upper lip was sweaty and he looked nervous. Rick smiled without even realizing he'd done it.
"Yeah. I know."
But she meant just as much to him. He didn't say it aloud, however.
"You're a good guy Castle," Esposito told him, surprising him enough that he looked away from Beckett to glance over his shoulder. The detective wasn't smiling. "If you hurt her, we'd be forced to do things that would certainly end the friendship."
Castle smiled, despite the dire warning. He didn't mind. He loved the fact that the guys were worried enough about Beckett's happiness that they'd threaten him.
"I'm not going to hurt her."
"You'd better not," Ryan said. "She's like my sister."
"I've seen your sister," Castle reminded him. "She's way better looking than your sister."
Esposito snorted, and Ryan looked over at him, annoyed, before turning back to Castle.
"I'm just saying…"
The door opened before he could finish that statement, and they all froze when Beckett entered, brandishing the paper in her hand. She started to say something about the fact that she'd managed a confession from the suspect in almost record time, but the guilt on the faces of the men in the room brought her up short.
"What's up?" she asked.
"Up?" Ryan asked.
Beckett's eyes narrowed, suspiciously.
"Is there an echo in here?"
Castle grinned, glad that they were on the receiving end of the interrogation now, and not him.
"The guys are buying us dinner," he said into the quiet of the room.
"We are?" Ryan echoed. "I mean, yeah. We are."
"To welcome you guys home," Esposito added with a big, phony smile.
Beckett knew that wasn't the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but since there wasn't anything she could do just then to find out what really was, she just smiled and nodded. She'd find out eventually. If Castle didn't tell her, she'd get it out of one of the guys.
"That's nice. How about Gregory's?"
She turned and left, and Castle followed. Ryan turned to his partner, who reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill and handed it over.
"I told you."
Ryan grinned, and pocketed the twenty, looking at Castle and Beckett as they walked down the hall, not touching but very comfortable together.
"The Westin trick works every time…"
"Just for that, you're buying dinner," Esposito told him, brushing by and heading for the door.
Ryan frowned, frozen in mid gloat.
Esposito just grinned and continued down the hall. A moment later his partner followed.
Author's note: So I know you guys were expecting more detail after the fact, but again, the story was about the convention and it's over, so it was time to end it. I hope you enjoyed it; I really did like writing it. I'll almost certainly write another one when I figure out what I want to write about, but between then and now the next story I write with almost certainly be a Stargate one – probably a Campers since I miss Ian. But let me know what you thought about this one, if you would. And look for more eventually!