All righty then: this is yet another Esposito-&-Lanie oneshot to go with my stories "Keep Your Finger On The Pulse," "Downbeat," "Gambling With Fate," "Got Me Trippin'" and "Revealing Actions," but you certainly do not have to read all of those to understand this one. (Though I would definitely enjoy it if you did, and so would you, I hope. ^^ )
The way I'm picturing it, this takes place after Espo and Lanie have started seeing each other (and I haven't written my version of that yet, FYI), but before they've told anyone about them (all though Beckett already knows, via "Revealing Actions," and just kept the information to herself, figuring they'd tell when they wanted to).
Anyway, I just went with what came to me on this one, so that's why my rating is a tad higher than usual…eh, just read it. Enjoy - and I do not own Castle.
The front door of Lanie Parish's apartment burst open. No, no, that was an understatement: the bolt actually broke off, noisily and uselessly, swinging around from the hinge like an object with nothing better to do. The neighbors might complain about the way she was coming home with her man, but Lanie didn't care in the slightest. With all their Matar Paneer cooking smells and their hundred-decibel arguments and their barking dogs and screaming babies at all hours of the night, they could damn well allow her this and get over themselves.
She gasped a bit when she felt Javier's hands grip her waist, and marveled somewhere in her head at just how quickly (and easily) he'd swirled her around. Once they'd moved out of the way, he slammed his back against the door, and it caved to him the same way she'd always imagined some unlucky perp would have to, shutting with a bang and making it so that they were officially, finally alone together.
The doctor pulled her mouth (lipstick? What lipstick?) away from his long enough to allow a wide, instinctive grin to spread over her face. She studied his face the way a person might admire something gorgeous and impractical they'd seen in a store a thousand times and finally, finally bought. Breath short, she panted, "It's about damn time."
"Oh, hell yeah."
And gentlemen, start your engines. Lanie's hands plastered themselves on either side of Javier's neck, and he arched it to meet her mouth with his as fervently as he possibly could. (And for the record: that's what I'm talkin' about! crossed her mind with about a thousand exclamation points.) She returned every move he made as good as she got, and he made a little surprised noise when he seemed to realize that he really was pinned against that door. That's right: Lanie Parish could handle tough men.
She was also considerate (as well as indulgent), and after a few moments of caging him against the door, she switched to an unbreakable grip on his shoulders and he took that opening, taking the reins and twirling their dance so that his back was to the room. From there, there was no driver or passenger: the stumbling-into-the-living-room thing was entirely mutual.
On one of the brief breaths they took out of their session, Esposito gasped, "That was the longest week in the universe. Swear if I'd had to make one more lame excuse I'd - "
"Yeah, yeah, you don't, don't make it longer," Lanie shushed; and just in case that didn't work she crushed her mouth against his for the seven-hundred-fiftieth time in the past four minutes.
The boy learned fast, and definitely didn't need telling twice. Lanie felt his arms wrap around her lower back and cinch her against him, pressed so close that air molecules would need some serious good luck to fit between them. Now this was her language. She trailed her hands down his arms, up his back, nails digging just enough to drive him crazy…and then she decided to hell with these barriers! Right about the time his hands had drifted their way to her hips, she buried her fingers in the gaps between the buttons on his shirt, gripped, ripped, and got that the hell out of the way.
"Good girl," he murmured, moving to leave a kiss on her jaw, her neck, her collarbone.
"Mm, knew I liked you…"
…And then fate flipped them the bird. Emitting shrill ringtones from her kitchen counter and his jacket by the door, both their phones went off.
It was kind of like Dr. Horrible had just deployed the Freeze Ray. Or thrown ice water on them. They pulled apart. Lanie looked at Javier. Javier looked at Lanie.
And then he spun away in a move that looked like he was doing anything to try to keep from throwing himself out the window. "Damn it! God! De todos los tiempos, usted tiene que payasear mí, qué hice para merecer este, qué se equivoca con este cuadro!"
Lanie eyed him. All that had come out at about a mile a minute. "…You need help there, or…?"
"I got this."
"Ohh-kay. Just checkin.'"
Javier ended his windmill/rant - actually, you could describe it better by comparing it to the way a catcher throws down the mitt after being fouled - by storming toward the poor front door. He bent over and snatched his jacket from the rug, where it had been cooling its heels since Lanie had peeled it off him mere minutes ago. While she went for the kitchen, he rummaged through each pocket that revealed itself, hitting pay dirt on the third one.
The beep of 'accept,' and he pressed it to his ear. "What?" he barked. Didn't bother with the on-duty greeting, didn't check the caller I.D, didn't care who it was, just wanted to press play on that which had to pause in public. And for a moment, there was no answer (you freaking kidding?), so in about half a second he let his current inner rottweiler talk again. "Hey. Yo. I'm talkin' to you. What the hell's up with this, huh? You got about fifteen seconds before this phone finds a happy new place embedded in the wall and your chances of gettin' ahold of me before Monday drop lower than a snowman's chances in hell, comprende? Talk. Now, now, now, now, n - "
"Whoaaa, hey, holy leaping Firefly, Batman! Relax buddy! It's me, Ca - "
Behind the kitchen counter, Lanie's eyes rolled ceilingward. "Ah. Yep. That does explain a lot," she muttered dryly, before Javier shot her a look, waving his hand and miming plugging his ear with the other. "Fine, fine," she relented, raising her palms and her eyebrows and going to pick up her own phone.
"Ah, yeah, it's…it's me," came through Esposito's cell. "I…who was that in the background just now?"
Javier's mood wasn't about to go buddy-buddy. He'd be laying down ice until all interruptions ceased to be, thank you very much. As it was, he wedged the phone between his ear and shoulder, re-flipped his collar, and tried (completely fruitlessly) to see which buttons he could salvage. If there was a scene he had to show up on, it'd probably be nice if he closed his shirt first. Castle was lucky to even get a short answer. (Automatic, too.) "TV. What."
"You sound out-of-breath. Everything okay?"
"Yeah. Treadmill. What."
"Really? Hey, would you recommend one? Because I was thinking of getting - "
"Castle. What," he repeated.
"What…what? I…ohhh. Murder. Right. Well."
Esposito's eyes made a circuitous trip of their own. Wedging the phone on the other side, he held up the string-decked front tails of his shirt and stage-whispered to Lanie across the kitchenette. "Why'd you have to kill it? I liked this shirt."
"Oh, like you didn't want me to," she hushed right back. And like I didn't want to. All damned week.
He edged around her to rummage through her kitchen drawers for something to rig it with. Paperclips, safety pins, somethin.' "Well duh, but not the point. I gotta show up like this at a crime scene, it's on you," he mock-warned.
"No it's not, that's what's wrong here," the M.E. deadpanned, but she let him by.
Javier half-tuned back in to Castle's monologue, which had yet to hit a stopping point; apparently he thought someone was listening. "…and so really I just wanted to know how you would feel about that. It'd be really terrible poetic justice if one of the subjects of my own series was to shoot me or stuff me in a sausage grinder."
"Feel about what," Esposito bit off, getting old, slowly…
"…About…you know, the…thing I was just saying about writing in Ochoa's military experience? Heavily modified from yours, of course…thought I'd…get the green or red light before Black Pawn's talons have their wicked way with the manuscript…"
Esposito cut him off. "So there's no murder."
"What, right now? Oh, God no. Is that why you thought I called? Ha! Whoo. Seriously, like Beckett would let me do that. Get outta town."
Oh, looking at the detective was a really interesting sight right now. It was kind of like the nostrils of a bull at the InspiRed campaign on the sheer bottled kinetic energy of Montezuma's Revenge. "…You called me…on a Friday night…to…" Stop, stop right now before you kill him, Ryan won't forgive you if this man doesn't put out another book. Esposito exhaled. "Bye, Castle."
"So is that a - "
Aww, disconnected, what a shame. Tossing his cell onto Lanie's counter, Javier looked at the doc herself, who was putting her home cordless back in its cradle. He pointed at it. "What was that all about?"
"Ah, that." Dr. Parish let a half-grin slip onto her lips, about the same time as she slipped her arms up around Esposito's neck. "Turns out that was just Ma checkin' in. I just let it go to voicemail, nothin' to it."
Damn the powers-that-be that made the woman's grin his Kryptonite. Esposito adopted one of his own, his arms snaking around the good doctor's little waist. His voice made a smooth transition to low and mischievous. "And at the same time, too. What are the odds, huh?"
Lanie smiled up at him, echoing, "What're the odds, all right…"
"Think she'll catch on…? Friday night, her little girl at home all alone…or maybe not alone…"
"Well, that's for us to know and her to never - and I mean never - find out," Lanie winked back. Ever the go-to-it girl, she took the gentle laugh from the back of his throat as a cue to tiptoe up and kiss away its escape route.
Just like that, class was back in session…he tipped down to ease the gap on her, steady hands running up her arms, and her own hands found his shoulders under the fabric of his collar. She slid it back and all the way down his arms until finally that useless shirt crumpled from his wrists to the kitchen floor. Now we're in business.
Until… "Mm; wait wait wait wait…" When he pulled back just a bit, Lanie felt some serious surprise coming on here, but all Esposito told her was "Hang on one sec." It wasn't until he picked up his cell, popped off the back plate, and removed the battery that it all made a lot more sense. Especially the part where he chucked all three pieces over the counter onto the living room floor. "Okay. We're good," he said with a grin…and then with no warning he bent and scooped her up in both arms, one under her knees and the other around her back, feeling her cling on tighter around his neck.
Lanie laughed, as richly as she ever had. Her mood playful, she kicked her legs like a giddy teenager in the quarterback's grasp as she was carried off toward the back of the apartment.
Mm-hm: hallelujah for the weekend.
Across town, both phones were hung up. Beckett was just setting her corded receiver down in its base, while Castle lightly jostled his already-idle iPhone in his palm. After a moment, she folded her hands, rested her forearms on her desk and leaned forward, never having been big on waiting for results.
"What did you get from Esposito?"
Castle looked up at her, eyebrows inching north of his head. "What did Mrs. Parish say?"
"I asked you first."
"Why should I have to go first?"
"Because you're the one who bet against me," Beckett said, applying a bit of her 'do not question' tone. "Now. What did Esposito say?"
Castle leaned back in his deskside chair and sighed, but he wasn't dumb enough to keep up the stalling. "He never really gave me an answer about the whole book thing," he reported. "That's actually about the point that he hung up on me…"
Not patient enough for the long version, Beckett nodded and hand-motioned for him to get on with it. "That's okay, that was just your decoy for calling."
"Easy for you to say," the writer muttered. "You don't have to write the books. I really was asking…"
"Right." At least he took hints well, when he chose to heed them. "Anyway. Even I'll admit that I had to have been interrupting something - he was a little short-of-breath and opened with a rant that proves that not all the right people are writing for Leno anymore - but it turns out I just caught him mid-workout." Macabre-Master shifted his weight in the chair and tugged at his cuffs, staying comfy. "I don't blame him," he agreed. "I don't like it when people bother me during an epic duel for the Omniverse, either."
Swords or lightsabers? Beckett considered asking, but she let it pass, shaking her head like she was a beagle and her disappointment was a flea collar. "After work? On a Friday night?" she wondered aloud. "I don't buy it…what did he say he was doing?"
"Session on the treadmill," Castle stated, no small note of triumph in his voice. With an equivalent expression, he held out his open palm and waggled the fingers around it. "I do believe that means your suspicion was…what is that word again…? Oh: wrong, Detective Beckett. Pay up."
But Beckett just held up a palm of her own, which she then used to bat his hand away - and his confused look brought a smirk to her face. (Well, that and the satisfaction of a sweet victory.) "Don't reserve the crown just yet, Castle. He was lying to you."
"Uh…in the immortal words of Little Arnold: whatchu talkin' bout," Castle inquired, face straighter than John Mayer.
Beckett decided to enjoy this and take plenty of mental pictures for later. She lifted her hand and ticked back a finger for each point. "He doesn't use a treadmill. He doesn't own one. He doesn't live near any gym that has them. If he's going to get a workout in, he'll do it before he comes in and he always goes to the benches, or for a run in the real world. Perk of being armed. In all the years I've known him, it's a little hard not to pick up on things - I think I'd know." She almost had to laugh - if Esposito was going to come up with a lie to cover where he really was, what a stupid one to pick! - and she capitalized on Castle's gypped-looking expression. "There were background noises, weren't there?"
"…There were, as a matter of fact," Castle pouted. Not too overtly pouty, of course, but enough to be clear that he didn't like losing.
"Uh-huh. And what were these background noises?"
"…Talking. Which…I'm now guessing was not the TV."
"Uh-huh." Yep, she was definitely enjoying this, studying Castle's burned-puppy look to score it into her brain for eternity.
He desperately grabbed for the last straw. Metaphorically. "Well what about Mrs. Parish? What did she say when you told her you were concerned about Lanie being overworked and asked her to check in? What did she say when she called you back?"
Now was indeed the time to smirk good and wide. "Oh, she called her, all right. Right about the time you were 'interrupting' Esposito. And here's the thing." Here came the kicker. The very definition of the upper hand, Beckett held out her palm, open, confident, and waiting for its pay-up. "She said it went straight to voicemail."
"…Damn." When was he ever going to win one of these? Heaving a sigh, Castle leaned to the side in his chair, jimmied out his wallet, dug inside and laid a crisp twenty-dollar bill in Beckett's palm. The grinning detective pocketed it, and Castle couldn't help but think that Esposito owed him the whole story…and a new twenty bucks.
So clearly Beckett used her pre-existing knowledge to make a little scratch money off Castle, eh? It's all fair game. XD And, yes, har har, kudos if you caught the references to other Fillion projects…but the 'Firefly' one wasn't actually a fourth-wall breaker: there's actually a Batman villain called Firefly. It's just a fun - and intentional - coincidence. XD
Anyway, at some point I plan to write [my idea of] what finally happened to get Lanie and Esposito together…but for now, they wanted out, apparently, and so did Caskett. So I hope y'all enjoyed it. ^^ (And yes. I did say it's a ONESHOT. Fin.)
Also, as I say on every chapter of all my stories: if there's anyone (ages 14 and over) interested in joining a Castle roleplaying forum, check out the bolded paragraph in my profile. Thank you.
That said, I'd LOVE to see you all review: it absolutely does make my day to get reviews, and it's extremely helpful for me, so please do. I'd love to know what were your favorite parts, etcetera.
Peace and love, all. (And, ApollaCammi: see? No disowning necessary. XD Thank you and you're welcome. ^^ )