Title: Treasure Hunt
Summary: Digging for buried treasure was harder than it seemed.
Notes: Missing scene from 3x03, Under the Gun. (If you haven't seen it, I'm not sure this fic will make much sense). Way to talk about sweaty hugs and not even let us see them, Castle writers!
Castle couldn't stop twitching nervously. "Are you sure we can't run the sirens?" he asked.
"Castle, for the last time, absolutely not. And if you can't relax so help me I will turn this car around."
He knew there was the possibility that he was being slightly irritating, and he knew that of all the days, this was not the day for it. He knew that it was a tiny bit immature when he'd whined at Beckett's insistence that they stop at Home Depot to buy shovels. "It's a graveyard, Beckett! There's gonna be shovels everywhere. That's what people do at graveyards – they dig!" he'd said while she glared at him. He knew that he probably shouldn't have kept insisting how much more efficient this trip would have been on a motorcycle – he'd have no problem sitting behind Beckett, he'd told her, his eyebrows wiggling – even after Beckett had pointed out that they if they actually found a huge chest of treasure, it would have been difficult to secure it on a bike. But he forgave himself, because, one, it was thirty million dollars of buried treasure, and two, he always liked to think that his absolutely ridiculous behavior could distract Beckett, at least a little bit. And his nefarious plan of distraction was half working – she spent less time with that far away, disappointed look and more time rolling her eyes or smiling at him patronizingly.
For both the distraction factor and, oh, the thirty million dollars, he couldn't stop himself from squeaking excitedly when they finally reached the graveyard.
"This is so cool," he said, running to the trunk and grabbing the shovels as Beckett calmly stepped out of the car. "It's even better now that we might not get shot at." He bounced on his toes a bit, waiting impatiently, clutching a shovel in each hand. When Beckett was upset or unhappy, everything about her became measured – her breathing would grow deep and even, her steps would get slower and more regulated, her voice would become more monotone. Castle found it more frustrating to deal with than any of the screaming hysterics of the women from his past, but maybe, he considered, he just felt differently about Beckett than he did about his erstwhile lovers.
"You know, Beckett," he said as they headed out toward Gunn's grave and she started looking a little too thoughtful, "you, me, a crisp fall evening, a graveyard, no dead bodies, the potential to find millions and millions of dollars – some might call this the perfect date."
"You do realize that if we find anything we will be returning it to its rightful owners."
"You are no fun at all. It's okay, though, I'm sure you can figure out something to give me that's worth fifteen million dollars." He took a couple sideways steps, looking her up and down.
"Really, Castle? Fifteen million dollars?"
"I figure that's the relative worth of a picture of you in your tight black leather on that Harley. A big picture. Poster-sized."
Beckett smiled and shook her head. "I'm glad you're not an art collector. I think you'd be getting scammed constantly."
"Only for pictures of you, Beckett," he replied, trying to keep his tone light.
She glanced at him, her eyes dark and full of something indescribable, but she looked away too quickly. "Two up, six over?" she asked, and he realized they were standing beside the hole in front of Gunn's grave.
They paced the two headstones up easily, but then they both stopped, looking from side to side. Castle cocked his head. "Over right or over left?"
Beckett pressed her lips together. "Well, the six on the tattoo was to the right of the two."
"Right it is!" Castle said a little too quickly before speedily pacing out the six to the right. It was important, in times like these, to keep momentum going, not to spend time thinking about the fact that you were semi-randomly wandering around a graveyard to find buried treasure, not to spend time thinking about the fact that the man you'd idolized and loved had stabbed you in the back.
"Look at that," Castle said, "George Underly. Like Under the Gun. It's a sign!"
"Well, it's better than nothing," Beckett replied, hoisting her shovel.
Five minutes in, Castle was cursing the day he'd ever heard of treasure. "I was not made for a life of manual labor, Beckett," he moaned. His back and shoulders were still twinging from the digging two hours ago, he already had a four or five blisters on his hands, and, weirdly enough, his left elbow wouldn't stop throbbing.
"Fading on me already?" Beckett asked. She'd already dug about six times as much as him.
"Hey, all you had to do earlier was stand around and point your gun. I've already put in some time in the trenches."
"Well take a little break, Castle. God forbid you get a callus on your silky-smooth writer's hands."
"Not fair," Castle said, and kept digging, albeit very slowly. "I'll have you know my silky-smooth writer's hands are worth more than this treasure."
"Lucky for the treasure, it's less of a pain in the ass than you," Beckett retorted.
They were both silent for a while, rhythmically pressing their shovels into the dirt, scooping upwards, flinging earth into piles at the side of the grave. Castle kept pausing, stretching his shoulders, cracking his back, but every time he glanced at Beckett, she was in the same position, hunched over, digging frantically, her jacket long-since discarded over the tombstone. Her shirt was streaked in dirt, her pants were covered in dirt, her cheek and forehead were smudged with dirt. Droplets of sweat dripped tantalizingly down her neck, past her clavicle. Her face was flushed, her breathing too fast, and yet she never broke her near-frenetic rhythm.
"You know," Castle finally said, taking maybe his sixteenth or seventeenth break, "I don't think there's a body down there, dead or alive, that's waiting for us."
"Your point?" Beckett bit out.
Time to try a different tactic, Castle thought. "I was still really in love with Meredith when she cheated on me. And it was with a struggling director, which you think might trump struggling writer, except God he was really just hideous. To this day I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't gotten Alexis."
Beckett briefly stopped and stared at him. He could tell, even in the faint light of the flashlights that they set up near the grave, that she was debating how to respond. "That must have been tough," she said quietly.
He leaned his back against a wall of dirt, watching her carefully. "It was."
She looked at him for a moment, turned her back to him and put even more force behind her digging. He watched her for a minute. He could have pushed the issue, brought up that bastard Royce, mentioned the phone call between them that he knew would haunt him for weeks, hell, years to come, but instead he just picked up the shovel and stood next to her and kept digging, because nothing he could say or do would make it right for her. Not even murdering Royce in his sleep, he told himself for the hundred and tenth time that day.
"Hey. I think I found something," Beckett said after they'd been digging for long enough that Castle's arms were burning with liquid fire and chest stung with every breath.
"Oh thank God. I was five seconds from flinging myself face-first into this grave just to stop the pain."
"You are a girl," Beckett said, digging around what clearly revealed itself to be a knocked-about chest. "Here, help me lift this out."
They each grabbed one edge of the chest and pulled furiously, finally wrenching it free. Beckett knelt in the dirt, pushing at the lid.
"I think it needs some more leverage," Castle said, kneeling next to her and working his fingers along the crease. Finally, the top snapped free.
The jewels would have been spectacularly dazzling in the daylight; in the dim beams from the flashlights, they shone darkly, mysteriously. "We are awesome," Castle breathed, grinning.
He turned to Beckett, because he could never go longer than three or five seconds without glancing at her when she was around. She was closer to him than he'd thought, two or three inches away, and shorter than him, since they were both on their knees and she wasn't getting several inches from those completely ridiculous heels. She turned to him a fraction of a second later and did the one thing he would have never, ever expected of her – shuffled forward until her knees were brushing his and wrapped her arms around his waist.
She was bathed in sweat and covered in dirt and so was he, but he didn't think there was much he'd trade for this sticky, gritty hug. Her face was pressed into the side of his neck and her body was trembling slightly; he could feel what might have been hot tears starts to slide down his skin. He wrapped his arms around her and moved his hands in small, slow circles over her back. Eventually, the maybe-tears stopped, but she stayed still in his arms, her muscles slowly relaxing against his chest.
He knew that eventually they would get up, they would drag the far-too-heavy treasure chest back to the car, they would lock it somewhere safe back at the precinct until they could return it, they would go to their respective homes and shower off the dirt, they would return to work the next morning and studiously never mention goddamn Royce again, so he made sure to memorize this moment, the feel of her breath on his neck, the warmth of her body in his arms, the gritty, alive feeling that came from kneeling in the dirt in a graveyard, hugging Beckett.
I love getting reviews!
Also, I'm obviously still writing "Fractured;" I just wound up writing this one missing scene after (the slightly heartbreaking) Under the Gun.