As it turns out, at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, she does get called to a scene. He answers on the first ring.


He's whispering and he sounds a little breathless and she wonders what he might be doing. Jealousy flares briefly in her gut before she remembers his words on Christmas Day. I don't want anyone else.

She trusts him.

She's trusted him with her life and her back-up piece. When Raglan had asked in that diner who Castle was, that had been her answer: He's someone I trust.

"Hey Castle, whatcha doing?"

No doubt now. Not in this man. Just curiosity, despite the fact that she should just get to the point.

"Laser tag," he says quietly. "Trying not to give away my position."

Ah, that explains it.

"So what's up? You two still coming over tonight?"

Just as she is about to answer, she hears movement and a mumbled "oh sh-" from Castle, followed by some beeping and a familiar groan.

"What happened?"

He laughs over the line.

"The boy shot me."


"One and the same," he confirms. "We were discussing Ender's Game and one thing led to another."

It turns out that "the boy," as they have come to call his daughter's new boyfriend, is a lot like Castle himself. Kate's been teasing him that girls are drawn to men like their own fathers. That thought horrified him until she reminded him of two things.

He makes her think of her dad, as she told him last weekend. And he himself is a good man.

She decides they don't really have time right now to get into why he's playing laser tag with Drew, not when there's a fresh homicide waiting for them. Or for her at any rate.

"We've got a body, you want in?"

"Yeah, I definitely want in," he says, his voice becoming more distant the longer he speaks. She assumes he's set the phone down so he can start taking off his laser tag gear. It's strangely intimate.

"So I'll pick you up in twenty?"

He lets out a soft grunt, and she pictures him reaching around to unstrap his vest. Heat flares in her belly.

"I can meet you there if it's easier."

She should agree and give him the address. Should, but won't. She needs to see him. As soon as possible.

"I'll pick you up," she says firmly.

"Okay," he replies, and his voice sounds like he's smiling. "I'll have coffee."

A/N: This is me giving in to peer pressure. At least it's not drugs, right? Here's a little teaser of the next segment of the Minnie-verse, to be titled "Warm and Fuzzy." It'll be its own new story, but we can consider this the prologue, since it's not quite long enough to warrant its own chapter. The full first chapter should be up tomorrow, so keep an eye out for it!