Author: Cartographical

Title: Why Not Said She

Summary: Beckett goes to dinner with Castle at the end of the pilot.

Notes: Originally written for veils' prompt: "they went to dinner at the end of the pilot" over at LiveJournal community Babbles in the Fictorium (Rewriting History: Comment Fic Meme).

Disclaimer: Nothing Castle-related belongs to me. Title is from e.e. cumming's "may i feel said he."

"We could go to dinner. Debrief each other." He winces almost as soon as the words leave his mouth. Debrief each other. Good Lord.

"Why, Castle? So I could be another one of your conquests?" He can't tell if she's amused at his offer or just ramping up to kick him in the balls. He doesn't let himself back away.

"Or I could be one of yours."

She tilts her head slightly and catches her lower lip with her teeth and it's almost painful to look at her, a solid, breathing embodiment of every cop fantasy he's ever had the pleasure of entertaining and several that he hasn't even dreamed of yet. Say yes say yes, he mentally urges her.

"I'll pick you up at seven," she says, after considering for far too long. "Don't be too fancy."

She spins on her heel and walks toward the flashing lights with loose arms and swinging hips as he tries and fails to stop an idiotic grin from plastering itself on his face. Lucky him, Detective Beckett is not one for looking backwards.

Dinner is at some nondescript place with chipping Formica tables and really amazing crispy fries. Castle has always had a thing for women who will go ahead and order a burger and a milkshake without perseverating over calorie counts. He's also well on his way to developing a thing for lanky brunettes with lip-biting tendencies.

She was wearing her same black pants and blue button-down when he met her in front of his building – "Real cops get to do paperwork after the big arrest, Castle," she'd explained as he'd looked her over – and she hasn't stopped talking about Mr. Hendricks, the case that'd rolled across her desk yesterday, since they'd first gotten into the car. To be fair – they haven't stopped talking about the case (and he'd teased the details out of her in the first place with some fairly deft verbal maneuvering). They keep catching each other's thoughts, so that he'll begin a sentence and then she'll carry it for a while and bounce it back to him before she picks it up again, threading through timelines and suspects and potential murder weapons.

Castle considers himself fairly sexually experienced in the realm of the spoken word. He flirts with women all the time at book signings and premieres. He's had plenty of lust-filled conversations in bars, ballrooms, airplanes, what have you. He'd even engaged in some toe-curling phone sex when he and Gina were married and one or the other was out of town. And, okay, he admits that it's a little disturbing, but he has never been so excited (yes, a little sexually – because hello, when he's talking to Beckett he can see her - but it's more than that; it's a cerebral buzz that fizzles from his brain through his biceps and fingertips and stomach and calves and makes him feel alive) during a conversation as he is now, building theory over murderers with Beckett.

"I'm sorry," she says during a brief lull, waving half a fry in front of her and looking, suddenly, almost embarrassed. "I get a little caught up sometimes."

"No," he replies, vehement. "It's good. Amazing, really. Extraordinary."

She opens her mouth, shifts slightly, reaches up and pushes her hair behind her ear. "You say that to all the girls you attempt to solve crimes with?"

"Only the ones who are excessively gorgeous and brilliant."

"Don't push your luck, Castle," she says, but it takes her a minute to meet his eyes as she slurps thoughtfully at her milkshake.

She stops the car in front of his loft and all his careful plans and prior experience abandon him with absolutely no warning.

Want to come up and have a cup of coffee? is what he wants to say, because that is what he says to beautiful women with whom he's just eaten dinner, but it's not what he says to beautiful women with whom he's just discussed bludgeoned corpses over burgers, to beautiful women with whom he's already stupidly enthralled. "I really want to see you again," he finally bleats.

With a small smile, she tilts her head questioningly at him. "Is this a prelude to your asking me upstairs? Because, no offense, Castle, but I thought you'd have a smoother game."

I have an excellent game, he thinks, affronted, just not for the sport I seem to be playing right now. "You wound me, Detective. Make it up to me by letting me buy you dinner tomorrow?"

She rolls her eyes. "Look," she says, suddenly direct, "worry about tomorrow later." And then she unbuckles her seatbelt and leans across the center console and kisses him, hard and brief. "Now, are you going to invite me up for coffee?"

"Yes," he growls.

Hours later he awakens to see her padding silently around the room, the small, blue throw from the foot of his bed wrapped around her otherwise alluringly naked body. She already has her black pants clutched in her right hand, and she is just tilting over awkwardly so that she can grab at her pale lacy bra (which seems to have landed halfway behind his dresser) while still holding up the throw and keeping a hand on her pants.

"No no no no," he moans from the bed. She turns, and the dim glow of New York City ambient light streaming in from the windows is enough for him to make out that she's arched an eyebrow at him. He realizes he's still sprawled out, naked, on top of the covers, but this is no time for modesty. "It's –" he glances at the clock – "three twelve in the morning. Come here." He rolls to the left and nudges the covers aside.

She heaves a sigh, her chest rising and falling appealingly under the throw's fabric. "Look – Castle –"

"You're really not going to call me Rick? After… that?" He moves his hands in a vague gesture over the bed and at the wall and towards the bathroom (oh, God, that shower).

"Fine - Rick. You don't need to pretend this is anything other than what it is." She bobs her head and smiles a little. "It's okay. I get it."

"You don't," he breathes. "Just, look, just stay. Please."

But she's back to hunting for her shirt and all he can do is slide into jeans and walk with her to the kitchen and make her a cup of coffee and try not to creepily stare at the soft swell of her lips, the gentle sweep of her hair.

"Tomorrow?" he asks as she walks to the door.

"I don't know when I'll get out of the station," she says. He must look pathetic, because she blows out a breath and continues, "Just call me sometime after six. If you want to."

She tilts up and brushes her lips briefly against his before she steps into the hall. "Until tomorrow, Detective," he calls to her as she walks towards the elevator.

She spins, still in motion, and walks backward for two steps. "'Night, Rick," she calls back.

He makes it until exactly 11:58am, at which point he strolls into the precinct, staggering under the weight of seven full bags of Chinese takeout.

"Lunch for everyone!" he announces jovially. He deposits the bags in front of Esposito, who shrugs and starts to pull out cartons of rice as a cluster of cops quickly crowds round.

"Castle," he hears her hiss as he saunters up to her. She's staring at him in a way that makes him afraid of imminent castration. "What the hell are you doing here?"

That is not what you said last night, his inner twelve-year-old replies, but he's coached himself for this moment and he controls his baser impulses (the second of which, singing through his veins, is to grab her and drag her into the informal interrogation room – the one without the two-way mirror – and have an encore of the previous evening).

"It's Mr. Hendricks," he announces and watches as the set of her jaw loosens slightly, watches as she tilts a millimeter toward him.

"Well?" she finally prods, rolling her eyes, but the corners of her lips rise ever-so-slightly in what he chooses to construe as a tiny smile.

He turns to the murder board, a sudden, overwhelming feeling of belonging pressing in on his chest. "I have a theory."