Disclaimer: I don't own the show or the characters or, sadly, the actors.

A/N: I have, clearly, lost my mind to start another story.


Detective Kate Beckett gingerly sidestepped the debris that surrounded their latest victim – trash, papers, a pool of blood – to survey the body itself. "Someone did not like this guy."

Lanie Parrish glanced up at her friend with a grim smile. "Yeah, no kidding." She gestured toward the visible injuries. "Multiple stab wounds from head to toe. Gunshot wounds to the abdomen. And, if that weren't enough to kill him, his throat was slit pre-mortem."

"How can you tell?" Kate squatted near the victim's shoulder and peered at the deep gash across his neck. She winced; it looked like his head had practically been severed from the force of the assault.

"By the quantity and pattern of the blood spatter," Lanie cocked her head in the direction of the opposite wall. "I'll know for sure after an autopsy, but this is my guess as to what killed him."

"Geez," the voice boomed from behind her. "Can we say overkill?"

Kate blinked an eye roll and couldn't stop a wry grin. "Castle. I wondered if you were joining us today."

He shot her a comical grimace, holding out his hand to help her stand to her feet. "Yeah, sorry about that. I was in the shower when you called. And then I got … distracted … and didn't check the messages until about half an hour ago."

She wondered what sort of distractions he'd encountered – if they were of the female variety. Her jaw clenched almost imperceptibly.

"Don't sweat it," she tried to brush off the jealous twinges that tugged at her heart. He arched an eyebrow, and she got the impression that he wasn't buying her nonchalance.

Before he could say anything, Esposito appeared at her side, his notebook flipped open. "Our vic is John Brennan – 56 year old Caucasian male, investment banker, divorced, no children."

"Is this his house?" Kate twisted her neck to scan their surroundings.

Esposito nodded. "Yes. His housekeeper – she's downstairs with Ryan – says that he's lived here for the past 5 years, ever since he separated from his ex."

"And the safe?"


Kate stared at Castle for the interruption, but he went on, hesitantly undeterred.

"Technically, it's really more of a vault. Floor to ceiling, bank model… but we can call it a safe. It's fine." He hurried through the last phrase, drawing a reluctant smile and head shake from Kate.

"And the vault?" she asked again.

Esposito wiped the smirk off his face at her glare and consulted his notes. "Yep. Housekeeper says he keeps some money, some bonds, some jewelry that belonged to his mother, even some gold bouillon in there."

"Well, it's not in there anymore."

"No," Castle agreed, standing behind her to peer over her shoulder into the empty hole in the wall. "It certainly is not."

"So… those must have been some distractions this morning," Kate teased casually (at least she hoped that's how it sounded) as they left the crime scene and headed for her car.

When he looked at her curiously, she explained, "Not only were you late to a body drop, I don't see my coffee."

He leaned against the passenger door, arms crossed, lips pursed, knowing gleam in his eyes. "Well, well, well, Detective. Are you… jealous?"

"Hah!" She felt herself blushing in spite of her denial, a smile tugging at her face. "You'd like that, wouldn't you, Castle? For me to be jealous of your latest conquest."

Heading around to the driver side of the car, she couldn't stop herself from adding, "Although, if I were the type to get jealous of how my partner spends his time, I would probably also be the type to point out that, clearly, I was the last thing on your mind this morning."

As if. He nearly laughed out loud at the thought, then thought better of it, turning instead to look at her over the top of her car.

"I don't suppose Serena Kaye finally agreed to go out with you last night?" For some reason, she could not shut up. Staring at his shell-shocked face, she just kept talking. "Maybe she stayed over… you decided to save water by sharing the shower, then headed back to bed…bada bing, bada boom."

He raised his hand to cut her off, then did a double take, and asked with sardonic amusement, "Did you just say 'bada bing, bada boom', Beckett?"

Averting her eyes, she shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe."

She opened her door stiffly and slid behind the wheel, forcing Castle to duck his head to catch her eye. When the engine sprang to life, he quickly opened his own door and followed her in, placing his hand over hers before she could switch from 'Park' to 'Drive'.

"Detective." His low voice felt like an intimate caress, and Kate fought against the shiver that rocked her from temple to spine. "Kate."

Her eyes darted to his, and her breath caught as he held her gaze. "I got distracted by an impromptu game of laser tag with Alexis. I didn't have anyone over last night. And, on the very remote chance that I did, it would not be Serena Kaye."

"Why not, Castle?" Why in heaven's name could she not quit talking? Seriously, Kate. Shut up! "You can't tell me you didn't like that game of tonsil hockey you two were playing."

Despite the fact that her vocal chords were determined to ignore the cries to be silent coming from her brain, she was proud of herself for keeping her tone light.

"Kate. I'm a guy. There are two things we can't resist."

"Only two?"

"Well… possibly more than two. But for the purposes of this discussion…" He counted off the short list with his fingers. "Boobs. And a woman with boobs who is willing to play tonsil hockey with us."

Kate fought the urge to glance critically at her own chest, settling instead for crossing her arms and trying to appear unaffected by his admission.

"But," he was saying, "I didn't enjoy it as much as you are afraid I did."

"Afraid?" She shifted indignantly in her seat to glare at him. "What do you mean by that?"

He shrugged. "I'm just saying … Serena made it very clear to me that she thought I was unavailable."

Kate's eyes narrowed with suspicion. "Why did she think you… ?"

"I don't know, Kate. I thought you knew." He grinned disarmingly at her, loving the way her lips parted in surprise. "You two were talking, I came up, you left. She told me that she would ask me to her hotel room, except…"

His voice trailed off for dramatic effect, bristling Kate's irritation with this whole line of discussion. When he continued, his voice had lowered several octaves. "Except she said that she didn't take things that belong to someone else."

"Well, I don't know what she meant by that," Kate huffed, twisting back to face the road and putting the car smoothly into 'drive'.

"That's okay," Castle smirked. "I do."

See that little review link just down there? I'd love for you to click it and let me know how insane you think I am for starting another story... or something you liked about this chapter, either one lol.