Disclaimer: I don't own Castle.

Prompt #50: Partners - Castle and Beckett, Heat and Rook. It took a killer to bring them into being, and several more to forge an unbreakable bond.

Words: 876

They met at his book signing.

He was bored and wanted something different. A bestselling novelist who'd just killed off his leading character, he hit a rut and was just coasting on his fame. He wanted inspiration, and when it walked up behind him, he couldn't contain his excitement. Finally, a new playtoy.

She was investigating a murder that was definitely something different. When she saw that crime scene straight out of one of her favorite author's works, she could barely contain her excitement. When she did meet him, she couldn't contain her disappointment. Just a playboy.

The writer and the detective. Together they solved a murder and caught a killer who would've easily gotten away with it. That's how he sold it to the mayor to stick close to her, "research" for his newest character.

This was how Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook were born.

It's hard to tell when they started to care beyond the scope of their partnership.

Before her, the only women that mattered in Castle's life were his mother and his daughter. Every other female was either his publicist, an ex-wife, a muse, or an adoring fan. As such, he had no problems with simply sleeping with said women once and not thinking about it. But when he started feeling differently about Beckett, a woman he was physically attracted to and viewed as a muse, it startled him. And to his surprise, he wanted something more with her.

Before him, Beckett never let anyone close enough to matter. Sorenson, Demming, Josh - they knew and loved her, but none of them really knew her. Knew the reasons behind what she did, knew why she pushed them away once they came close to her walls. But with Castle, she realized that he'd been pulling her walls down one brick at a time. And to her surprise, she didn't shy away.

After a few close brushes with death and saving each other's bacon more than a couple times, those feelings started to grow even more.

This was how Heat and Rook evolved into more than just "a detective and her journalist."

Love is a difficult emotion to label. It's also difficult to determine when simple friendship becomes love.

It was during that time Beckett stood on that bomb that the question first came up. "Who fell in love with whom first?"

Castle likes to think she fell in love with him that first day. All that playing hard-to-get, rebuffing his advances so harshly, threatening and causing actual bodily harm - it's like how a little kid teases the one they like. But when her harshness softened to playful, when threats turned to taunts, and she started throwing innuendo like fastballs, Castle realized then that he was falling for her, not the other way around.

Beckett likes to think he fell in love with her that first day. All that flirting, the juvenile comments, the blatant cockiness of a man used to women swooning in his wake - the trademarks of a playboy who found a new conquest. But when his comments matured, when cockiness stopped being haughty, and his flirting made her smile instead of snap, Beckett realized that she was falling for him, not the other way around.

This was how Heat and Rook fell in love.

When he got down on one knee and proposed on their swings, her heart nearly stopped. He loved her, that she knew, but after Meredith and and Gina, was he willing to do it again? With her?

When she gave him that shocked look as he held up that ring, his breath caught in his throat. She loved him, that he knew, but she'd said it before, she was "a once-and-done kind of girl." Would she be his?

Their eyes met, a host of emotions swarming between the blue and brown gazes. Shock (mostly her), confusion, hope (mostly him), panic, and love (from them both).

There was no Heat or Rook here. Just Castle and Beckett, standing on the edge of something they both want, but are unsure if the other shares the sentiment.

He's writing the newest draft for Data Hack late one night in his study when he looks up. She's brewing coffee in the kitchen while perusing her latest case file when she glances over his way.

Their eyes meet, but not on each other. No, they land the line of hardback tomes that dominate the bookshelf between them. Because of them, Rick Castle has a loving wife, three wonderful children alongside Alexis, and as magical a life as one could hope for. Because of them, Kate Castle has a devoted husband, two beautiful daughters and a darling son, and a life she'd never thought possible.

Each hardcover depicts a familiar sexy silhouette. Each volume contains a different adventure. That shelf will forever remind them of how Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook have come a long way and become far more than simple characters. How fiction could be based off reality so well that reality itself took a few pointers.

That is how Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook will forever be remembered.


And that concludes this Fifty Things collection!

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