this is based on the spoilers from marlowe about the upcoming l.a. episode. i am the biggest fan of it happened one night, and this wouldn't leave me alone. unfortunately, now that it's done i have to return to researching speakeasies and 1920s slang. adieu.

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Hate has always struck him as a very strong word. Not one to use in everyday situations, for the most part. And there aren't many people in the world that Richard Castle has outright hated, but right now Mike Royce is ranking pretty highly on the list of people who he has, despite being recently deceased.

He found Beckett sitting in the smaller bedroom of his hotel suite about half an hour ago, the photo Royce gave her on his final visit to the precinct resting in her hands.


"You doing okay?" he asks, perching on the edge of the other bed. When she looks at him, her eyes are wet.

She tries a smile, and a tear spills down the line of her nose. "I lied to you."

He's confused.

"That day at the precinct. I wasn't keeping him on the phone just for the trace. I didn't make any of those things up." Her voice hitches and she wipes the back of her wrist across her nose. A move he'd find uncivilized on anyone else. On her it's only heartbreaking.

"I'm sorry." The words come out sounding like they don't mean anything; they do nothing to bandage the wound that re-opened the moment she got that call. Detective Beckett? We just found Mike Royce's body.

Beckett shrugs, swipes a knuckle over the edge of her eye. The photo slips through her fingers to the floor.


She hasn't said anything in a while.

Castle picks the photo up, gazes at the younger, smiling Beckett. He clears his throat, shifts. "I actually may have... guessed that you weren't being truthful."

She looks up from her fingers that are idly twisting together.

"Even I couldn't make up a story that gut-wrenchingly believable in such a short amount of time. I bet you could be a bestseller if you tried."

Her smile is drier this time, though still laced with the melancholy thought of what his words mean. He tries to bring her back to the present, add a little more levity. He leans toward her, keeps her gaze on him.

"You know we haven't really eaten today, do you want to... order room service?" His eyebrow waggle sells it, he thinks, when he gets the eye-roll he hoped for and hops up, holds out his hand to her.

She balks. "Do you mind if I stay in here, Castle? I'm... tired."

Not entirely convinced, he nods nonetheless and goes out to the other room to call room service.

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When he comes back in she's lying down, arm over her face. He shifts awkwardly, wonders what he should do. He isn't used to this Beckett, motionless and passive, something so completely different than the self-assured confidence she usually exudes. She looks vulnerable when she's asleep, and he can't help flashing back to when her eyes were last closed in his presence, her frozen body immobile against him. Suddenly there is a need in him to reach out and touch her, confirm that she is warm and alive. Then her fingers scratch an itch over her rib, and he relaxes slightly knowing she's awake, nothing's wrong. Ice retreats to the shadows.

"What do you want? It's kind of unnerving when you just stand there."

He shakes his head and looks at her bag on the floor, clothes spilling out already (he had guessed she'd be much more of an orderly type, but since when has she ever been less than surprising?), and thinks about his belongings sitting alone in the other room. He's already certain he won't leave this one unless she kicks him out.

"Should I put a blanket up between the beds?"

She lifts her arm, gives him a look. "Are you planning on being Joshua or the Israelites?"

"That depends; do you know how to play a trumpet?" He's always oddly impressed by how film savvy she is.

Her arm drops again. "There are two bedrooms, Castle."

Pretending he didn't hear that, he walks up to her, stands at her hip. "Do you want anything?"

She sighs, and he thinks maybe she might not answer, or ask him to leave her alone.

"Honestly—no, you know what?" She moves, gets up and faces him, her eyes dark. There is always something terrifyingly alluring about Kate Beckett, her eyes able to pull someone in without them even realising until they're caught in her trap and writhing hopelessly against their restraints. And her current proximity is increasing the need to desperately squirm by the thousands. She looks at his mouth. "I want to catch the dirtbag who murdered my T.O. so I can try and forget this ever happened."

"Forget?"

She glares, and her voice timbres low, throaty. "You have a problem with that?"

For some reason he can't bring himself to answer, all he can focus on is the wild, raw look in her eyes, the electric heat he can feel coming off her.

Too many things have happened for her to forget them all. Too many tragic moments are painted across her history to pretend they don't exist. She thinks too much about everything, too, lets unnecessary guilt weigh on her already burdened bones. The empathy he feels for her must show on his face because she squeezes her eyes shut and bows her head, takes a step toward him.

"Castle." When she looks up again she's suddenly too close and the air is too thin. He sucks in a breath.


"Castle. Thank you for being there."

"Always."


There is too much at stake for him to be okay with what he knows she's about to do, but her gaze is paralysing.

When she touches her lips to his he thinks he must have dreamed it, the feeling gone almost before he has a chance to experience it. She says nothing, but she doesn't need to. She can take him down without breathing a word.

"This isn't a good idea." He tries a warning, struggles one last time even if it's futile. She thinks this will make her feel better, and he cares for her too much to let her suffer, even if it makes him a bad person. Loose with his morals. Unfortunately for him, regular laws don't seem to apply where Beckett is concerned.

She kisses him again, harder, but he pulls away.

"Beckett..."

The step she takes forward is measured, precise, almost liquid. He is immediately reminded of a tigress, and he's pretty sure that makes him cornered, helpless prey.

"Castle, for a second pretend that I'm not some vulnerable child who doesn't know what consequences are, okay?" The last word is a growl and he lets it sink in, teeth into flesh, her allusion into meaning.

He kisses her back.

There is a kind of animalistic hunger to the way she responds, claws at his shoulders and pulls him into her, her tongue searching across his lips and then into his mouth, her body snaking up against his. She starts hauling at his shirt, pulling it from his pants and raking her fingers across the skin she finds. The red lines her nails leave sting deliciously and he hisses.

He feels dizzy, her teeth clashing against his, catching against his lips and her hair spilling over his shoulders. She moans when he runs his hands up her back, pressing herself to him more firmly, almost climbing his body in her urgency to feel more of whatever it is she is drinking in from him.

Pulling him down on top of her, she tugs his shirt over his head and her own follows, her hands moving down to yank at his belt.

"You know," he says against her lips, "I once knew a man who kept his hat on until he was completely undressed."

"Castle, shut up." To punctuate her request, she rolls and pins him with her weight. She swivels her hips, grinds down, and all he can do is groan his acquiescence into her mouth, his hands sliding up the slender span of her ribs. This is not how he expected it to go, not the languid love-making he had imagined so eloquently in the recesses of his fantasies. This is Beckett turned predator, carnal because of her hurts, and he feels as drugged as she is by it. She shoves his pants down his legs and awkwardly peels off her jeans, kicks her underwear off her ankles and literally all the breath disappears from his lungs when she straddles him again. He jerks involuntarily and she grins, thighs gripping his hips as she grinds down again.

It's hard to comprehend, naked Beckett above him, whimpering as he thrusts messily through the material of his boxers. All he feels is damp heat, the grip and shift of her hands across his chest, her teeth scraping against his neck. Something inside him coils, winding tight and sinuous.

Finally, she pulls his boxers away and his head slams back into the pillows as she grabs him, takes him into her and lets out a shuddering breath. As she starts to move, rocks her hips, he tries to slow down time, make this infinite. His hands go to the smooth planes of her back and he pulls himself up to change his angle, feels her breath catch against his neck. There is something about this that feels ancient, archaic, the art of sex crossing millennia and they are a part of it; stirring through something primeval.

She throws her head back and his lips find her jumping pulse, the threading chords of her throat. Quaking against him she is prehistoric and revolutionary and prophetic all at once, the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

He comes hard and fast and when she collapses into his lap shaking, her whole body throbs as her lips drag lightly over his shoulder. He lies back, cradles her over him and waits for her breathing to steady, even out. She doesn't say a word, but doesn't move a muscle either. Soon, she falls asleep, and follows not long after.

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During the night she must have woken up because they're under the blankets and she's sprawled over the other side of the bed when he awakens. He's pleased that she's still there (and secretly pleased that she doesn't appear to have bothered with pajamas).

Her phone rings, shrill in the quiet of what still seems to him like the early morning. She stirs, grumbling even while she's still mostly asleep. Turning over she stretches her arm across him, and he grabs the phone and gets it the rest of the way to her hand.

"Beckett." She rests her head back on the pillows and rakes her fingers through her hair, voice husky from sleep.

When he creeps closer to her she raises a drowsy eyebrow but doesn't stop him, doesn't protest when he slides a hand across her stomach and his head disappears under the blanket.

"No we haven't—n-not really."

He has to give her credit, she only falters momentarily when he drags his tongue across a nipple, though her free hand does shoot down to grip his hair, and her thighs slide apart to let him slip between them. As she keeps talking he moves lower, his hand following the trail his mouth leaves. He kisses her hipbone, the top of her left thigh; he finds her clit with his teeth and then sucks and hears a breath steal down her entire body, sucked sharply into her mouth.

"No, sorry, I just—hit my elbow on the nightstand."

He smirks.

"Thanks, Lanie."

Shit. "You're talking to Lanie?" His alarm is muffled but apparently the M.E. hears it anyway. There's a sharp kick to his side and he grunts.

"No, it's just Castle. No, Lanie."

He can imagine where that emphatic denial came from. No, Castle is not going down on me while I'm on the phone to you, don't be stupid. No, we didn't have mind-blowing sex last night and then sleep in the same bed so Castle could go down on me while I'm on the phone to you—

It hadn't registered that she'd hung up, but suddenly both her hands are tight in his hair and her heel is digging in just below his ribs again, her meaning obvious. He obliges and before long she is thrashing above him, moaning breathily, her hands clutching at his head. Without the barrier of his skin or his mouth she is vocal, keening when her orgasm hits and she breathes almost in sobs as she comes down from it.

He pulls the covers back and she sits up, resting her head against the headboard. He wants to kiss her badly, her hair tousled and her eyes closed, her breath still coming in pants, but he doesn't know if she'll let him. He simply watches her instead, elbows holding him up. She cracks an eye and leans over, presses her lips to his briefly before sitting up properly. He doesn't really know what to say.

"Castle, when my feet touch the ground... that's it. We don't do this again, we don't tell anyone it happened."

His mouth opens to protest the several problems he has with her logic (there's no forgetting what she looks like naked, there's no forgetting the feel of her around him, nor the fact that he's pretty convinced he's seriously in love with her by now), but then he shuts it again, rubs a hand into his eye.

"What happens in LA, right?"

It makes his heart hurt to say it, and it may break it completely if he's not careful. She nods, and the smile she gives him before she gets up shows almost as much pain as he feels.

Watching her shrug on a robe and head for the bathroom, he resolves to do everything he can to make sure they absolutely do it again, and next time they do it right. He collapses back into the bed, catches the faint scent of her shampoo in one of the pillows.

He smiles despite himself, and quietly, he hates Royce a little less.