This is my first fanfic for Castle. I love this show and needless to say, I love Caskett.

This story is set somewhere between 'Knockdown' and 'Setup.'

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle or anything affiliated with it.


Friday night in New York City. The stuff dreams were made of, endless possibilities stretched out before you. Unless of course, you were all alone.

Richard Castle, murder mystery writer extraordinaire-slash-amateur detective was seated at a corner booth in the Old Haunt, the bar he owned, hunched over a notebook with a glass of scotch beside him.

His Friday nights had used to be the highlight of his week when he was younger, with ritzy parties, free-flowing booze and hot, drunk women who seemed unable to resist the Castle charm. He never would have believed he'd ever end up like this. In a bar. His bar. Alone.

Of course, he tended to run with a different crowd these days. Nearly three years of 'research' at the 12th Precinct, had yielded much more than technical police procedures and forensic jargon. It had also brought him to one of the best groups of people he'd ever known.

Kevin Ryan and Javier Esposito, the tight-knit twosome who had accepted him into the fold, and treated him like one of the team right from the beginning. Captain Roy Montgomery, an old-school cop with an appreciation for fine scotch. Lanie Parish, who was living proof that a medical examiner wasn't always cold and creepy but rather, sassy and smart.

And of course, most importantly of all, his inspiration, his muse, Kate Beckett. The sexy, streetwise, tough-as-nails detective that had started this whole thing in the first place. Ever since the first moment they'd met at the launch party for 'Storm Fall' he could tell she was special. Something about her fascinated him, drew him in and managed to spark him out of his writer's block slump. By the end of that case, he'd known exactly what he had to do. And one quick call to the mayor, and a few weeks later, Nikki Heat was born.

Friday night was their night. The night the whole team headed out to the Old Haunt to kick back and relax with unlimited free drinks (he should have bought a bar years ago) before going their separate ways for the weekend. It had become a ritual over the last few weeks.

But tonight, things had taken a different turn. The captain was attending his niece's dance recital, Ryan had plans with his fiancée, while Lanie and Esposito (when were they going to realize everyone knew about them already?) were both mysteriously 'busy.'

As for Beckett, he was not really sure how she planned to spend this Friday night, though he suspected Dr Motorcycle Boy was heavily involved. She'd been in a suspiciously good mood as she'd left earlier, smiling, and bidding him a cheerful goodnight.

It had taken all his self-control to manage to smile back, as he felt the usual twinge in his gut. It was not that he didn't want her to be happy, of course he did, he just didn't see why she couldn't be happy without including Josh. But he knew better than to make any comment or judgement on her personal life. Been there, done that, and he'd nearly lost her in the process to boot. He would do everything in his power to avoid putting himself through that again.

So he behaved himself, and waved her off as nonchalantly as possible while trying hard not to think about her flinging herself into Josh's arms, and the pair of them roaring off into the sunset on his damn motorcycle, or God only knew what else.

Maybe he should buy a motorcycle. He imagined himself roaring up to the precinct on a shiny black Harley-Davidson and throwing out a few extra engine revs for Beckett's benefit. Then he was disgusted in himself. Was he really so threatened by Josh that he wanted to copy him now?

No. He would not sink that low. If it happened that speed machines were the way to Kate Beckett's heart he'd do it the Castle way. He'd take her for another spin in his Ferrari, not in the city, somewhere he could put all that horsepower to good use. That ought to get her adrenalin pumping. Plus, a car was a lot more comfortable then a motorbike. Enclosed, private. Just in case.

But his pleasant daydream fell apart when he reminded herself it was never going to happen. She was taken. She was happy. That was that. And so there was no point sitting around the precinct thinking about her and being miserable.

But when he'd arrived home it was to find his mother and Alexis both out, and so nothing to distract him from his grim thoughts. And so he found his mind consumed by her again. Beckett, Beckett, Beckett. She was all he could think about, so he'd come here hoping that the noise of the bar might be able to help him concentrate and he could use this time to get a little work done.

But of course, when you were trying to take your mind off your forbidden object of desire, trying to compose a sex scene between characters based on said object of desire and yourself, probably wasn't the best course of action. It was just too easy to mix up the fact and the fiction in your mind. The few lines he had managed to write were riddled with cross-outs, mostly where he'd accidentally written 'Beckett' and 'Castle' instead of 'Heat' and 'Rook'. He really shouldn't let himself get so distracted while writing, what if one day one of those little mistakes found its way into a book? She'd kill him.


"Boss!" Callum the new bartender called out to him from across the room. He rolled his eyes. Callum had only been working at the Old Haunt for two weeks and so seemed to have endless questions. Normally, Oliver, Castle's duty manager and second-in-command would have dealt with it, but it was his night off.

Sighing, he got up from his table and walked over to the bar.

"What it is, Callum?" he asked when he reached it.

"Someone here to see you," said Callum, pouring a beer but forgetting to tilt the glass sideways so it filled up with foam.

"Beckett," thought Castle at once. Maybe a body had dropped. Maybe she'd just been in the neighbourhood. Maybe she and Josh had finally broken up and she needed a shoulder to cry on. Maybe she'd come to confess her undying love for him.

Maybe not the last one.

But the other reasons weren't that far out of the realm of possibility, right?

"Where is she?" he asked, peering through the dim lighting up and down the bar.

Callum chuckled. "It's not your hot detective friend," he said. "It's a guy."

Castle tried to conceal his disappointment. "OK," he said. "Where is he then?"

"Right here." A new voice broke in to the conversation from his right. Turning towards the speaker, Castle was surprised to see none other than Dr Motorcycle Boy himself. He must have been standing right next to him the whole time. How had he not noticed?

Well in truth, he knew exactly why. He'd been busy looking for Beckett. Probably best not to mention that though.

"Castle," Josh greeted him, coolly.

"Davidson," he matched the other man's tone. "What are you doing here?"

Of all the people he didn't want walking into his bar, Beckett's boyfriend was pretty close to the top of the list. This was supposed to be his sanctuary, not another place where he'd have to endure watching the two of them together and pretend it didn't bother him in the slightest. It was hard enough at the precinct, but at least there he could go and hang out with Ryan and Esposito when it all got too much.

"I'm looking for Kate," said Josh. "I'm finished for the day and I wanted to see if she wanted to go out. I thought she'd be with you."

"I thought she was with you."

"Well, she clearly isn't," said Josh, scornfully. "And she's not answering her cell. Do you have any idea where she might be?"

"She said she had plans."

"With who?" asked Josh, his voice taking on a certain edge now.

"Whom," Castle corrected him, partly out of habit, and partly for the pure pleasure of taking Mr Perfect Doctor down a peg. He suppressed a smirk as Josh scowled at him. "And how am I supposed to know what's she's doing tonight? You're her boyfriend, isn't that supposed to be your area?"

"You see a lot more of her than I do. You two are practically joined at the hip." Castle could hear the accusation in the statement.

"I'm her partner," he said, coldly. "And I'm writing a book about her. Of course we spend a lot of time together."

"Perhaps a little too much," said Josh, spitefully.

Castle took a deep breath to try and calm himself. He was tired of this. Tired of sitting back watching her go out with asshole after asshole without saying a word. Will, Demming, Josh. They were all the same. They all thought that they had the right to try and cut him out of her life. That their relationship, three years in the making, was something that could be discarded as easily as throwing away trash.

And eventually, both Will and Demming were out of the picture and God willing, Josh would soon go the same way. But he, Rick Castle was still here. True, he and Beckett had had their ups and downs. The incident with her mother's case had nearly destroyed them. And then there was the fiasco with Gina and the Hamptons, which had been a huge mistake. But they'd got through it, and they were closer than ever. And he'd never repeat the same mistakes again. He was here until she ordered him away.

And even then, all she had to do was say the word and he'd be back by her side in a heartbeat.

Always.

He was here to stay, whether Doctor Motorcycle Boy liked it or not.

"Josh, if you have something you want to say, say it," he said, matching Josh's accusatory tone. He'd always made an effort to be polite to him up until now, for Beckett's sake, but the hell with it, Josh wasn't the only one who could play dirty.

"Do you think I don't notice the way you look at her, Castle?" said Josh. "Whenever I'm at the precinct, there you are, hovering around her, hanging on to her every word like a lovesick puppy. I always suspected there was something more between you than partnership, but I didn't think that Kate would be the kind of girl to cheat on me behind my back."


Kate Beckett walked into the Old Haunt after spending the evening with her dad. It was his birthday so she'd treated him to dinner at a little place around the corner from her apartment. It had been so good to see him; it had been over a month since the last time.

Once he'd left, she'd been faced with the prospect of a free night. Usually, this would be the cue for a nice hot bath and one of Castle's novels (she was currently rereading A Rose For Everafter,) but for some reason she didn't want to be alone tonight.

She had two options. Call Josh, or call Castle. Logically, since she'd seen Castle only a few hours ago, she should really call Josh whom she hadn't seen all week. But to be honest, she really wasn't in a particularly 'girlfriendy' type of mood at the moment. All she really wanted was just to relax and unwind, rather than go to Josh's apartment, which carried with it certain expectations. Castle hadn't mentioned any other plans for tonight so she figured he'd probably be at the Old Haunt. She'd go pay him a visit, they could knock back a few drinks, play some darts, bicker a little. And then maybe she might think about giving Josh a call.

She tried not to feel guilty about her decision. It wasn't like she was blowing Josh off exactly, more like postponing seeing him. And there was nothing untoward about going for drinks with her best friend; it was a perfectly natural thing to do on a Friday night.

Right?

She looked towards the bar and spotted Castle leaning against it, talking to a guy with dark hair. When she looked a little closer, to her very great surprise, she recognised him. Josh. What was he doing here? She hadn't expected to face both of them at once.

This was the last place in New York she would have ever expected to find her boyfriend. Castle had made no secret of his disdain for him, and she wouldn't have put it past him to tell security not to let him in at all. And as for Josh, he had never really understood her close relationship with the writer. Yet, here they were, drinking and chatting away like old friends.

Although, now she looked again, the conversation didn't look all that friendly. Both men were glaring at each other and speaking in low, hard tones. She knew it was none of her business, but she couldn't help being curious about what exactly they were talking about.

"-the kind of girl to cheat on me behind my back," Josh was saying.

She saw Castle roll his eyes at him. "You really don't know her at all, do you?" he said. "If you did, you would never have said that."

"We've been dating for six months," retorted Josh, defensively. "Of course I know her."

Suddenly Kate understood. They were talking about her, the only common link between them. Part of her wanted to go over and break it up, but she was also deeply curious. Why did Castle look so serious, instead of his usual cheerful self? Maybe should hold off a little longer, and find out.

"Do you know her favourite colour?" asked Castle. "Her favourite cocktail? Which section of the paper she turns to first?" At Josh's blank look, he shook his head sadly. "You don't know anything about her," he said. "If you did, you'd appreciate just how lucky you are."

Suddenly his tone had changed to become warm and sweet. She wondered if he always talked about her that way, with such tenderness.

"I knew it," said Josh. "You want her for yourself. All this time, you've been trying to turn her against me. Well do yourself a favour and back off, man! She's with me, so get used to it."

Kate had never seen this side of Josh before, angry and vindictive. She supposed it was because they'd never really had a fight, because they simply didn't see each other enough, with the exception of a night together here and there. She'd been hoping they could avoid any deeper feelings; this was ultimately a relationship of convenience. Apparently, not anymore.

"I'm not trying to break you two up," said Castle. "She's happy with you." There was a long pause. "But be good to her, Josh. Don't break her heart."

"Or what?"

"Ask someone at the precinct what happened last time somebody tried to do her harm," said Castle, smoothly.

She had a sudden recollection of him launching himself through the air, and beating the crap out of the man who had tried to kill her as they went to rescue Ryan and Esposito. She'd been surprised at the strength and ferocity of the blows, and how quickly he'd overpowered the hardened criminal. And then, a few minutes later he was sitting in the back of am ambulance complaining about his sore hand, back to his old self again.

It was like he went into a different headspace when things like that happened; his sole purpose was to protect her, and managed to summon up strength neither of them knew he had. While she was grateful to him for saving her life on multiple occasions, she wished he wouldn't be quite so willing to put himself in danger. His family needed and depended on him, and she never wanted to have to look Alexis in the eye and tell her that her father had died because she wasn't able to look after herself.

"What did you do, poke someone with your pen or something? Josh asked, scornfully. "Ink them to death?"

She expected him to launch into a long and detailed description of everything that had happened that night, but he merely caught Josh's eye.

"Treat her right, and you won't have to find out," he said. "Do we understand each other?"

The two men held each other's gaze for a long moment, before Josh stood up, draining the rest of his beer.

"I'm out of here," he said. "If you see Kate, tell her I'm looking for her."

She quickly turned around to face the bartender, hoping Josh wouldn't notice her as he left, really not wanting to have to explain why she was sitting here eavesdropping on their conversation. Luckily, Josh strode out of the Old Haunt without a backward glance. She'd call him later.

She waited a minute to make sure he was really gone, before getting off her barstool and walking the few feet over to Castle whom was moodily sipping at his scotch.


"I hope you paid for that drink," she said. "I know the owner, I'll have you thrown out."

He turned around and his face lit up with a smile as he saw her. Perhaps it was a by-product of the conversation she'd just overheard but she couldn't help drawing a comparison with Josh. She didn't remember him ever looking so happy to see her.

"Hey," he greeted her. "I thought you were busy tonight."

She shook her head. "Just dinner with my dad. It's his-"

"Birthday," Castle supplied. "I remember you telling me it was this week."

She'd never tell him so, but she liked the way they could finish each other's sentences. She'd never known anyone else who was so on her wavelength before she'd met Castle, who could keep up with her theories while the rest of the squad was running to catch up. Sometimes when they were building theory together, it felt like they were sharing the same mind. It had never been like with anyone else.

Now that she thought about it, nothing about her relationship with Castle was like anything she'd experienced before. When they'd first met, she couldn't imagine how she could possible handle him being around all the time. Now, she couldn't imagine things without him. Both times he'd left the team, she'd missed him so much she could hardly bear it. She'd come to rely on him so much, her right hand, her other half (as far as crime solving went.) He'd been helping her through ever since her mother's death, even though he didn't know it.

If anyone had told her a few years ago that her favourite author would become her partner, and later, her best friend, she wouldn't have believed them.

"Well, Dad's gone home now," she said. "And I could really do with a drink. I was hoping the owner might be able to help me out with that."

He smirked. "I believe I know of this owner of which you speak. I hear he's quite the handsome devil, devastatingly charming, rapier-sharp wit-"

"Arrogant, conceited, a terrible taste for fatty snacks."

They smiled at each other.

"Callum!" Castle called out. "Get this lady a drink would you?"

"Yes, boss." Callum sidled up to Beckett. "What'll it be, Detective? Beer? Scotch? Wine?"

"Actually, I feel like a cocktail," she heard herself saying, before she could think. She couldn't resist this chance to put Castle's supposed knowledge of her to the test.

If he suspected something, he didn't show it. Instead he grinned at her and then turned to Callum. "Bring her a mojito, Callum. Extra lime."

She tried unsuccessfully to hide her smile, as he winked at her. Josh be damned. Tonight she was going to spend time with the man who knew her better than anybody else, who understood her like no-one else could, who looked out for her whether she wanted him to or not. The man who, if she was honest with herself, was the one she really wanted to be with at the end of the day.

Someday.


I hope it wasn't terrible. I'd like to hear what you thought, even if just to say you hated it and I should be banned from writing Caskett fic for life. I won't know if you don't tell me!