AN: New story time! This one is a Casketty Valentine's Day kind of thing. Yes, I know Valentine's Day is over...but most of the story is actually set after Valentine's Day. :) Nothing that happened in the last episode is included. I guess that's about it. I hope you like it! :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle!


He liked her. She liked him. He wouldn't admit it. Neither would she. They would flirt, they would laugh, they would comfort each other. He would look at her when she was working, she would look at him when she didn't think he'd notice.

The tension was thick enough to cut with a knife and Lanie Parish was sick of it. There was only so much that a woman could take, and Castle and Beckett had pushed her to her limit. Her phone vibrated in her hand and she smiled like the Cheshire Cat when she saw the message.

He's on his way ;)

Grabbing her purse and jacket, the medical examiner was out the door. She texted back while she waited impatiently for the elevator.

Perfect. Meet you there? M coming?

Her phone buzzed again a moment later.

Of course. You think she'd miss this? See you soon.

This was going to be perfect. Lanie Parish was nothing if not a romantic, and this scheme was absolutely perfect. It was go time.

A Few Days Earlier…

"You have to come."

Kate Beckett didn't even look at him as she kneeled down beside the body. "Do you really think it's appropriate to discuss your Valentine's Day party at a murder scene, Castle?"

"Ooh, party?" Lanie piped up. "Do tell."

"It's only my Valentine's Day extravaganza." Castle beamed, drawing the attention of everyone except Kate. "Tonight, my place, nine o'clock until whenever. There will be lots of alcohol, chocolate, love, and maybe even some strip poker." He winked at Kate, who'd finally turned to give him a disapproving look.

"Man, why are you just telling us now?" Esposito asked, looking offended. "Maybe I had a surprise in mind for my woman."

Lanie raised an eyebrow at him and he smirked.

"We weren't going to have it this year because Alexis was upset over her break up with Ashley." He shrugged. "Then they got back together so we decided the party was back on."

"It sounds fun. You know I like me a good party." Lanie looked at Esposito. "What do you say, Javi?"

Esposito blushed. How many times had he asked her not to call him Javi at work? "Sounds fun to me."

"We'll be there." Lanie smiled, addressing Castle but staring at Esposito.

"Ugh, the eye sex. Get a room." Ryan groaned. Esposito glared at him.

"Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but can we focus on him?" Beckett motioned to the dead man lying in between them.

"Forgot about him." Lanie brushed her hair back and went back into professional mode. "Looks like there's some rope burn around his neck along with the two bullet holes in his chest. He was probably restrained before he was shot."

Lanie kept talking, but Castle tuned her out and focused on Ryan. "Are you coming? I'm sure Jenny will have fun. No one can resist a Castle party." He grinned.

"I don't know." Ryan looked slightly uneasy. "Jenny's been kind of angry lately. Wedding stress, ya know…"

"I've been married twice." Castle placed his hand on Ryan's shoulder. "I understand your pain all too well. But, if you give her a romantic gift and take her to my party she's guaranteed to thank you. Immensely." He gave him a knowing look.

"Alright, I'll ask her. You may be right."

Castle grinned. Three down, one to go. Kate Beckett would present the biggest challenge. She wasn't exactly the party type, but she had to come. It just wouldn't be Valentine's Day without her. However, he was Richard Castle and he had a plan.

It was in the car on the way back to the precinct when he put his plan into motion.

"You could bring Josh, you know." He said casually.

Beckett glanced at him. "What?"

"Motorcycle Boy." Castle said. "I'm sure he'd have fun at my party."

"Castle…," She kept her eyes on the road, this time.

"What? Why won't you come?"

"Why do you want me to come so badly?"

"You're my partner, Beckett. We spend almost every day together. I consider you one of my closest friends. I want you to come to my party." He said it sincerely, speaking from the heart. He could already see her melting.

"If we finish this case then I'll come if I have time." She said, finally. "But I can't make any promises."

"No promises required." He smiled. She'd be there, he could tell by the look in her eyes. She wouldn't miss it for the world.

*Castle~Castle~Castle*

Just as he knew she would, Kate Beckett came to his party. She showed up around 9:30 and just about knocked the breath out of him. The woman was stunning. The dark red strapless dress she was wearing should've been illegal. He was definitely stealing her away from Motorcycle Boy for at least one dance.

"Beckett!"

He shouted over the music and made his way through the crowd. The entire room was bathed in a dark red light, setting a mood that was just inappropriate enough. He grinned when he finally got to her.

"I knew you'd come!"

She shrugged. "We solved the case and I didn't have anything else to do."

"Where's Motorcycle Boy?" He asked, not really wanting to ruin the mood but unable to douse his curiosity.

"He's not coming." She said, looking away. "We aren't, uh, together anymore."

"Oh." He blinked. "Kate, I'm so sorry." And he really was. He had been insanely jealous, but Josh made Kate happy. She deserved to be happy.

"Don't worry about it." She smiled. "Now what's there to do at this party, Castle? I expect to be thoroughly entertained."

His lips curling into a suggestive smile, Castle grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the crowd of people. "If entertainment is what you want, then entertainment you shall get."

*Castle~Castle~Castle*

It was nearly one AM and most of the party crowd had thinned, Alexis noted. Ashley had left a few hours ago, and not long after so had her other friends. Martha had left with some guy, giving Alexis a discreet wink and some mental images she did not need.

The music was no longer exciting and fast paced. It was slow and romantic, and only two people were dancing. Her dad and Detective Beckett. She couldn't help but smile as she watched them. They were adorable.

"Are you looking at who I'm looking at?"

Alexis jumped, not expecting anyone behind her. She put her hand on her chest. "Oh, Lanie, you scared me."

"Sorry, hun." She leaned against the kitchen counter beside Alexis, her eyes never leaving Castle and Beckett."Those two are frustrating beyond belief."

"They really like each other."

"No, sweetie. They're so in love that it makes Cupid sick to his stomach."

"I think it's sweet." Alexis glanced at the older woman. "It's like they're in a movie. So in love but both so oblivious."

"Romantic, yes, but unbelievably annoying. I just want them to make little Castle and Beckett babies already." Lanie sighed. "They're coming over…let's hide!"

Letting out a squeak of surprise when Lanie's arm hooked around hers, Alexis didn't bother to fight as Lanie dragged her back the hallway. The ducked into a room and both peered out just enough to see Castle lead a slightly tipsy Beckett into the kitchen where they'd just been standing.

"Why are we eavesdropping?" Alexis whispered.

"Why not?" Lanie answered. "Shh, they're talking!"

"I'm actually glad I came. This was fun." Beckett was leaning against the counter while Castle rummaged in the fridge, eventually emerging with two bottles of water. He handed on to her. "Thanks."

"I'm glad you came too." He smiled at her. "The party doesn't start until Kate Beckett walks in."

She snorted. "You really couldn't think of anything better than that to say?"

He shrugged. "Just stating the truth."

"Really, though, this was just what I needed. Getting broken up with on Valentine's Day is bad enough but this made up for it."

"Josh doesn't know what he's missing." Castle moved closer to her. It may have been the alcohol they'd both consumed or maybe he just decided to man up, but he reached forward and brushed some of her hair away from her face. "You're extraordinary."

Lanie made a high pitched squealing noise of excitement and Alexis elbowed her to get her to be quiet. The two of them were transfixed on the scene before them.

"That's so sweet, Rick. Thank you." She smiled. When had they gotten so close?

"Not a problem, Kate."

They were literally inches away from each other, both of them so, so close to making the first move and locking lips.

"I…," Beckett's voice was shakier than usual, her eyes flickering from his eyes to his lips. "I think I should go."

Nodding, Castle pulled back a little. "Yeah, uh, probably. It's late." He smiled and offered her his arm. "Care for an escort, milady? I'll walk you out."

When the two of them were a safe distance away, Lanie let out a squeal. "Did you see that? Oh my God, did you see that? They almost kissed!"

"And he called her extraordinary, and they used each other's first names!" Alexis couldn't help but smile. "That was so close."

"So close!" Lanie repeated. "Now, do you see why I said they were annoying? Imagine witnessing this kind of flirting every day. It makes me insane. Just ask Javier."

"They both obviously like each other, why can't they just admit it? What's the problem?"

"Little Castle, you don't even know the half of it." Lanie began. "Your dad doesn't want to try something and have Beckett say no. She not exactly the wear-her-heart-on-her-sleeve kind of person. You saw how long it took for Castle to get back on her good side after he dug into her mom's case, and then again after the Hamptons debacle. As for Kate, she's terrified to be hurt. The poor woman's lost enough in her life. She doesn't want to lose your dad as a friend. Risking their friendship for a relationship that could end badly isn't her kind of thing."

Alexis thought about that for a moment, then sighed. "That's stupid."

"Tell me about it."

"Lanie, I have an idea." Alexis turned to the ME. "Why don't we do something like, I don't know, set them up on a blind date?"

"You know, Alexis, I like how you think." Lanie's lips began to turn up in a smile. "It's time to put plan Caskett into motion. You in?"

"Definitely."

"Oh, this is going to be good. Writer Boy and Detective I'm-All-Business aren't going to know what hit them."


AN: Like it? Hate it? Think it's worth continuing? Please review :) This story looks like it's going to be about three chapters total. I hope you liked it! And I almost forgot, CASTLE TWO-PART EPISODE STARTS TOMORROW! Who's excited? :D