Hello! This is my first ever Castle fic, and I'm hoping I'll be able to write more than a one-shot this time. This is a pretty short installment and doesn't really get too far into the plot, but I enjoyed writing it nonetheless. Hopefully you enjoy it as well! Reviews are always appreciated.

Chapter 1

"Thanks, Castle."

Kate Beckett wrapped her hands around the warm cardboard coffee cup, breathing in the intense aroma of the roast that was made, as always, exactly as she liked it. She smiled at Richard Castle and took a long swig. It was a simple ritual, him bringing her coffee every morning, but it was one that Kate had come to look forward to as soon as she awoke. At first, it had simply been about the coffee – the more expensive brews that Castle would pick up, the way he always seemed to know exactly when she needed a caffeine boost – but lately, Kate had found a certain anticipation growing inside her around the time he would usually arrive. An anxious, happy feeling upon getting to see his face again, feeling the gentle brush of their skin against one another as the coffee passed from hand to hand.

"So," Castle said, taking a seat in his chair beside her desk, "what are we up to today?"

Kate forced herself to turn away from him and rediscover the numerous files littering her desk. She picked one up, opening it and making a slightly disgusted face as she replied, "Paperwork."

Castle frowned. "That's all? Well, let me know if you need any help." He leaned back in his chair, stretching his legs out in front of him and crossing them at the ankles. He took a long gulp of coffee and then rested his hands behind his head, lightly closing his eyes.

Fighting back a smile, Kate tried to return to her paperwork. She had expected him to go home once he heard there wasn't a case for them today – that's what he would have done before. But in the past few weeks, Kate had noticed him sticking around the precinct longer than usual, showing up when he wasn't really needed to provide company and warm beverages. And in these past few weeks, Kate felt herself being drawn closer and closer to Castle.

It had started with the bomb scare, really, when they had almost died together in a freezer and when he had saved their life at the last possible second by pulling a foolish Castle stunt. That's when she truly realized that things, as they had been, needed to change. That was several weeks ago, and it was also several weeks ago that Kate had ended her long drawn out relationship with Josh, the distant surgeon. Kate had been mildly surprised at her lack of reaction to the breakup; she had felt a little empty afterward, but ended up going over to Castle's apartment that same night, eating ice cream and watching Star Wars into the early hours with her favorite writer and his daughter.

That's how it continued, then. Kate spent more and more time with Castle, ordering in Chinese and playing poker when they both should probably be catching up on much needed sleep. And honestly, Kate had had more fun in the last few weeks than she had in the last several years.

She signed off on one more file, bringing her out of her brief reverie. She looked up as she moved the file from one side of her desk to the other, and couldn't bite back her smile when Castle opened one eye to the sound of her movement. He grinned, straightening up in his chair with a sort of leap and resting his elbow on her desk. Kate had figured he wouldn't be able to stay in his relaxed position for very long.

"I'm kind of bored," Castle said, absentmindedly twisting a pen around in his fingers.

"I'm kind of working," Kate retorted, snatching the pen away from him.

He fidgeted in his seat, looking for something to keep him preoccupied.

"You know," Kate began, "you can go home if you want. I can call you if we get a case."

"Why would I want to do that, Beckett?" Castle watched her as the corners of her mouth turned upward ever so slightly and she returned to the papers in front of her. "Can I help you with any of that?"

Kate bit her lip for a moment, scanning over what she still had left to do. Technically, she was supposed to fill all of this out herself, but it would hurt if Castle took care of the easy, tedious stuff...

"Here," she said, handing him a stack of yellow file folders. "Copy the information here into the boxes there."

Castle grabbed back the pen she had taken from him early and bent over the files, getting straight to work. They sat in a companionable silence, the only noise the soft scratch of pens on paper. After several moments, Kate's phone buzzed and woke them from their haze of paperwork.

"Beckett," she answered. Castle watched her as she listened to the dispatch officer.

"Good morning, Detective. We've got another case for you..."

Kate began to jot down the address of the crime scene, but stopped after writing two digits, her face falling and her heart clenching. "Okay, we'll be right there." She said softly into the phone, her voice taking on a different tone – cautious, almost scared?

"What's the matter?" Castle said, the change in his voice matching hers. His eyes were soft as he stared at where her pen had stopped writing.

Kate swallowed. "We've got a case."


"And the murder took place in your apartment building."

Castle fell silent, his brow furrowed in what Kate assumed was worry. After a brief moment, he found words. "Which apartment?"

"74B... three doors down from yours."

"That's close." Castle's voice was cold and he didn't meet Kate's eyes. She reached out, impulsively, gently touching his arm.

"I'm sure there's no connection to you." She said, trying to reassure herself as much as him. It was true, she thought fiercely, trying to be convincing inside her head. Murders happen in New York on a regular basis, as disturbing as that is. The chances that this murder is connected to Castle just because it occurred in his apartment building was a million in one.

"Right." Castle said, nodding and still not meeting her eyes. As much as she tried to fight the feeling, Kate felt her heart ache a little as Castle rose and pulled on his coat, his movements void of the usual energy he displayed when they worked together.

She followed him as he led the way towards the elevator. As the sliding doors opened, she gently grabbed his elbow. He turned back to her, eyes still dull.

"Hey," Kate said, "It's a case. Just a case. Like any other."


Thoughts? I'll have another chapter up sometime within the next two days, hopefully.