Holy crap! Do you see the number of reviews up there? Sixty freakin' reviews! Oh my god! Thank you all so much, you have no idea how much that means.
And it's late, unbelievably so, so I'm sorry if I missed typos. I promise I did proofread, but my overtired brain was bound to miss something.
And now for something totally unrelated to this story. For anybody following Kamikaze, you'll be getting much more frequent updates starting Monday. Spring break starts this weekend! Woohoo!
Rick trailed closely behind her as she made her way into the morgue, masterfully spinning the story of his first sci-fi convention. He was making it extremely hard to repress the grin that was fighting to break out. Nobody would guess that the charming playboy was a nerd at heart. She had to say, it was kind of cute.
"What do you have for us, Lanie?" Their latest case was definitely Beckett flavored. A man dressed as Spock had been found stabbed at a Star Trek booth of the New York Comic Con with his hands and feet zip-tied.
"A couple things, actually. First of all, there was a note in one of his hands." Lanie handed them a bag, a small piece of paper inside. The note was one word, but it didn't serve to answer any questions. Traitor.
"Traitor?" Her brow furrowed and she could practically hear the wheels in Rick's head turning, the cogs squeaking in protest at having to keep up with his creative imagination.
"This case just gets better and better." She heard Rick murmur from behind her. That slight contemplative tone he got whenever he was working a theory clear in his words.
"Mhm," Lanie moved on before he could venture too far into conjecture, "and I made a mold of the stab wounds. It's was a knife, seemed like one that would be used for close combat, with a blade that was seven inches long. I thought I'd seen the knife before so I double-checked and it turns out it's a KA-BAR knife, used by the military, just like the one in Javier's apartment." Rick's head shot up, eyes scanning Lanie's.
"KA-BAR?" He questioned, his tone suggesting he was onto something.
"Uh, yeah." The medical examiner raised an eyebrow, unsure as to where he was going with this. But she just turned to him, her eyes searching his for any answers the might hold.
"What, Castle?" She could feel the thrill coming over her, the thrill of building theory with someone who understood her train of thought so well that, when they were on a roll, he could finish it for her.
"Well, in Star Trek there's a knife called the KaBar combat knife used by the Federation for combat and survival. It was based off of the real KA-BAR knife. That could explain the note. His killer thought of himself as Federation, someone who served justice." Castle crossed over to the other side of the examination table to look at the note again, tracing his fingers over each letter as if it would help him understand. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to.
"Were you a fan, Writer-boy?" Lanie's amused grin was hard to miss considering it was probably taking up more than half of her face.
"Loved it, Lanie. I just had a marathon this weekend, it was awesome." That familiar sparkle in his eyes was on full display. She grinned as he looked at her over the M.E.'s head.
She sneakily stole another handful of popcorn from his bowl, smiling when his reflexes were yet again too slow to slap her hands away. Grinning triumphantly, she began to eat her prize, munching on the salty treat as she leaned back into the comfortable couch. The elaborate high-speed starship chase played on the screen, complete with colorful lasers and cheesy sound effects.
"I like Spock." She said, tilting her head to the side when one starship did a flip to avoid a white beam.
"You would like Spock, Kate." He nudged her arm with his, causing her to drop several piece of popcorn onto her lap. She turned to him and frowned.
"And why is that?" Her tone was as much hesitant as it was defiant.
"Because he's logical, he doesn't like to base things on conjecture. He follows facts, going where evidence leads him." He explained, pointing to the screen as if it would emphasize his point. And a very good point it was.
"Plus, his ears are pretty cool." She joked, watching as one of the ships was hit and its passengers began shouting out orders.
"I'm calling you Spock from now on." He smiled, his eyes crinkling at the sides. She found herself smiling too. She wanted to reach out and run her fingers down his cheek, drawing random patterns. She wanted to trace the outline of his lips. She bet that they were still as soft as when they'd kissed all those years ago. She shook her head, clearing her mind of those thoughts. Ever since that conversation with Lanie those kinds of thoughts seemed to meander into her mind more often, distracting her at the most inopportune times. Like now, when he was expecting a response and all she could do was stare blankly at his lips.
"Oh, no you don't, Kirk." She moved to grab more of his popcorn, hand darting out without warning. But he was quicker this time, grabbing her wrist and tugging so she fell onto his lap instead. She turned and glared up at him though it seemed to have no effect, the grin still painted onto his face.
He raised an eyebrow at her and flicked a piece of popcorn at her, landing right in between her eyes. Rolling her eyes, she exhaled loudly and settled her head onto his thigh. After a few moments he lowered the bowl so it was even with her head, shaking it in silent offering. She smiled and reached out, snatching a handful.
"Mother wasn't too happy with the loud sounds of the futuristic final frontier not allowing her to get her beauty sleep." He smiled and she chuckled, remembering Martha's complaints all too well.
"I thought she moved in with her boyfriend or something?" At his questioning look, Lanie elaborated. "Kate told me." He nodded, moving so he was leaning against an unoccupied examination table.
"Her version of moving in is her being there for half the week and at the loft for the other half." He shook his head, sighing exasperatedly.
"She says it helps her stay mysterious." She interjected, laughing just as she'd tried not to when Martha explained her reasoning for being at the loft all the time. Lanie smiled, shaking her head amusedly.
"Smart woman." And she was.
As soon as Alexis opened the door Rick was off and running. One moment he was sitting at the table, spearing carrots with his fork while debating with Martha over whether she made him make her cocktails for breakfast very often as a kid, and the next he was zooming out of the room, the rest of his food forgotten.
"Pumpkin, Kate let me drive the car today!" The childlike glee in his voice had her biting her lip to repress a grin as he raced to greet his daughter at the door, telling the story of how she let him drive during a high-speed chase through the overcrowded streets of the city for what was probably the seventy-eighth time in the past hour.
"He's happy, Kate." She looked up to find Martha staring at the father and daughter hugging, a far away look on her face. She probably should've known right then what Martha was talking about. Maybe she did but didn't really want to confront it, especially with his mother. But, for whatever reason, her brow furrowed in confusion.
"Yeah, well, the combination of Alexis, it being his turn to pick the movie tonight and me letting him drive today is probably responsible. He's had a busy day, we'll have to have him in bed early tonight." She caught a small chuckle in response to her joke before Martha's expression turned more serious.
"It's not just that." The actress said, playing the part of the wise elder perfectly. Her smile faded, she never thought Martha would bring this up, much less with Rick and Alexis in the next room.
"What?" She opted to play dumb for a while longer, hoping she could stall long enough so that either Rick would come back or Martha would drop it.
"We both know you're not stupid, Kate. Stop pretending that you have no idea what I'm talking about." Martha started to smile, as if she was reliving an old memory. She wasn't sure what prompted the change. Whether the redhead saw something in her eyes or those old stories of Castle coming from a family of psychics had some truth to them. She was betting on the first. But whatever it was, Martha took it as a cue to continue.
"Richard's had a lot of relationships. He's had more than I can remember and I know that's a hell of a lot of baggage. I know it's scary, terrifying really. But I've been around for each relationship he's had, for each 'She's the one', every 'We broke up' and 'I don't know what to do'. And, Kate, I've never seen him this happy. I've never seen him so comfortable with being himself around someone who isn't Alexis or I. I've never seen him so natural. And trust me, that's the biggest guarantee you're ever going to get." Her breath caught and she knew she wasn't masking her surprise very well.
She choked back the usual denial, telling herself that maybe, just maybe, Martha was right. Maybe she should take the chance, jump off the ledge and trust that he would catch her. If there's anything she and Rick had, it was trust. She trusted him to help her catch those who robbed people of their lives, she trusted him to be there for her day in and day out, hell, she trusted him to keep her alive. And whether she wanted to or not, somewhere along the line she started trusting him with her heart. She opened her mouth to reply when he sauntered back into the room, Alexis tucked under his arm.
"Now I believe it's my turn to pick, ladies." He smiled and gestured toward the sofa with his free arm. She just smiled, getting up and making her way over to the living room.
"I believe it is, Rick." She said before letting herself fall onto the couch, snuggling further into the cushions.
She leaned against the examination table behind her, Rick standing by her side. He was close enough for her to smell his cologne, distinctly earthy. She turned slightly and realized just how close they were. Her mind started to wander, her eyes coming to settle on his lips. She was startled out of her reverie when he spoke.
"So did you do anything fun this weekend?" The question was accompanied by an eyebrow wiggle and suggestive smirk.
"Writer-boy, wipe that smirk off your face before I smack it off." At the stern look on the dark-haired medical examiner's face the smirk immediately disappeared, replaced by something a little more fearful.
"I'll take that as a yes." Lanie shot him a glare and he immediately turned sheepish, his hand coming up to scratch his neck lightly in an attempt to look innocent. She smiled at the antics but the expression immediately disappeared when Lanie's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. "What is that?" She didn't have to elaborate. They all knew what she was talking about.
He sprinkled the cheese onto the thick layer of sauce as she piled the mushrooms high. Working as a team they quickly finished both pizzas in record time, him moving to get the wine and her beginning to toss the salad. It was familiar. It was natural. He moved to roll his neck and she heard a loud crack.
"Getting too old for sleeping on the couch?" She teased, adding the cucumbers. He sent a glare her way before pouring a glass of wine for each of them.
"Maybe if someone hadn't decided to use me as a human pillow I would have been in a more comfortable position." He smirked and she blushed, remembering all too well how they'd woken up that morning. Sometime during the Star Trek marathon she'd fallen asleep, head resting comfortably on his thigh. Apparently he'd finished the marathon alone before decided she just looked to peaceful to move, resolving that sleeping on the couch wouldn't be that bad. They'd woken up in a completely different position. Him half-sitting and half-lying down while her head rested on his stomach, one arm snaked around his waist holding him close.
"You better not get married again, you wouldn't survive being in the doghouse so much." She laughed as she pulled the salad dressing out of the refrigerator. Well, dressings. The man had about twenty different kinds of salad dressing in there, saying that way it never got boring. She wasn't sure he could ever be boring.
"If I found the right girl I'd do it in a heartbeat." He looked at her and smiled. But that wouldn't have made her heart flutter – yes, actually flutter – if he just hadn't looked so damn sincere. She was sure there was a deeper meaning to his words. She was sure of it. Yet she ignored it.
"Speaking of which, how did that date go?" She winced when she realized that she sounded just a little jealous. Okay, maybe more than a little. She prayed that he'd miss it. He didn't.
"Now I may not be an official detective but I do believe that I have some talent for deducing. And, if I'm not mistaken, I do believe I detect some jealousy, dear detective." He smirked at her before handing her a glass of wine. She rolled her eyes but it was only a half-hearted gesture. Because he was right, he was completely right and she wasn't sure what to do about it.
"In your dreams, Rick." She responded, buying herself some time. She knew where this response would lead. HHHHHe was more predictable than he thought.
"Every single night." He winked at her like always but she picked up on something different this time. It wasn't just sexual innuendo. It wasn't just the blatantly obvious come-on she'd come to expect from him. It was so much more than that. It was truth. She looked into her glass, swirling the red liquid and searching it for her next move. Finally, she decided.
"What else do you dream about, Rick?" She looked up at him, biting her lip not only because she knew it drove him crazy but also because she was damn nervous. He looked like a deer caught in headlights, unsure of which way to run. He didn't know where she was going with this, whether it was teasing or so much more. So he stood there, unable to decide. And that was just fine with her. This would be easier if he was just as unbalanced as she was.
"Do you dream about me?" She wasn't sure where the seductive tone had come from but she welcomed it fully. She stepped forward until she had him pinned between her body and the counter. And for the first time they both seemed to notice the height difference between them. They were both barefoot, her head only coming up to his chin. She used it to her advantage. Looking at him through her lashes as she blinked innocently. "Hmm?" She heard him gulp before moving for the first time since her game had begun. He nodded.
"That's good." She plucked his wine glass from his hand. Surprised it hadn't crashed to the floor considering how loose of a grip he had on it; she placed it on the counter behind him. Her hands followed the glass, resting on the counter as she stepped forward and put her body flush against his. She heard him gasp and it took all of her self-control not to grin.
She rose up on her toes so she could look into his eyes. He was surprised, that was easy to see. It was also fairly easy to tell that he was hesitant. Nervous over whether she was just teasing him or nervous because she'd overstepped she wasn't sure. She desperately hoped it was the former.
But hidden in his deep blue eyes was something else, something she didn't expect to see. Sure, there was desire but she was used to that. She was used to the lust and the pure want. But she wasn't used to this. This was completely different, something she suspected he didn't usually let himself show or admit to. She understood completely. She wasn't even ready to name it, much less admit to it. Her lips were resting just above his, too far away and too close together at the same time.
"Because I dream about you." And then all she could feel was fire. A tingling flame in her toes that made them curl. A slow burn in her heart, something she could see herself getting used to all too quickly. A raging wildfire – fast and hot – everywhere else. Her lips attacked his, pressing firmly against his and urging him to respond. And respond he did, his tongue making quick work of her defenses and exploring her mouth. His hands were in her hair, fingers tangling themselves in her curls in an effort to keep her anchored to him.
And her hands were not idle, slipping under his shirt to caress his chest. They circled his waist and pulled him closer to her with a fury she didn't know she possessed. Her mouth left his, trailing kisses down his jaw line to his ear. Latching onto his earlobe she nibbled gently before releasing him. She lingered there, making sure he could hear just how breathless she was, before peppering his neck with hot, wet kisses. She grazed her teeth over his pulse point and smirked at his groan, repeating the action before continuing. When she reached his collarbone she bit down slightly before sucking on the same spot, savoring the sounds he made.
But it wasn't long before he got impatient, pulling her mouth back to his for a searing kiss that had her glad she was using the counter to support some of her weight. The absolute need to feel him close to her was overwhelming, and so she obeyed. She grinded against him, moaning when she felt the undeniable evidence of his arousal pressed against her stomach. Their world was narrowed until everything was touch and sound. Moans and sighs flowed freely, though she wasn't really sure whom they were coming from. Their hands explored, becoming familiar with every aspect of the other's body.
"Bed." Her mouth disconnected from his for all of a second before they were fused together again. He picked her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist, her fingers rooting themselves in his hair. Blindly, they made their way to the bedroom; driven by desire and that emotion neither of them was ready to face yet.
She opened the door and motioned for him to go through, smiling at the look he gave her. That smile turned into a full-blown grin when she looked back to see the suspicious look on her dark-skinned friend's face.
"Kate, did you give him that hickey?" Lanie's voice was a mix of excitement and astonishment. She laughed, throwing her head back and grinning uncontrollably.
"I only took your advice, Lanie. I marked my territory." And with that, she walked through the doors. Looking back just in time to see Lanie's face break into a large grin. It was hard to miss considering it probably took up more than half of her face. Turning toward the elevator she saw Rick waiting for her, a grin of his own etched onto his face. She smiled back at him, eyes sparkling with a newfound happiness.
"I bet you wanted that to happen." He said as they made their way into the elevator. They stood much closer than socially acceptable, though that had always been normal for them.
"What?" The doors closed and she turned to look at him.
"You wanted Lanie to see it." He said, leaning against the back wall.
"That's the point of marking you, Rick. All women see." The elevator doors opened and she sauntered out, looking back over her shoulder to see him still standing there with a silly grin on his face.
And there it is, the conclusion.
What did you think? Please, please, please review. I really do love it and it really does make my day when I find even one review waiting for me when I check my email.