He had no idea what was going on.
Actually, he had the slightest idea. He understood the basics of baseball: there were two teams, 9 players on the field at a time; the home team plays the field and the away team goes up to bat first; the point is to hit a little, round white ball with a round bat (which he knows for a fact is quite difficult); you then run around the bases to score points, and then, as with every other sport he could think of besides golf, the team with the highest number of points wins.
But it was July, and it was hot, and Kate Beckett was standing beside him in a tiny pair of denim shorts and a snug Yankees jersey, her hair in a ponytail under a navy blue Yankees hat with sunglasses on her eyes and he was finding it hard to focus on anything else. They're playing the Mets, he thinks, all he knows that the Yankees are winning, because Kate's kissed him three times in public, quick, hard, kisses that he was never prepared for but left him wanting more, and the guys behind them wouldn't stop complaining about how the umps totally wanted the Yankees to win and their team wasn't getting any calls.
He'd offered to get them a box, so they wouldn't have to deal with other people, and they'd have air conditioning, but she said no. The charm of baseball games, she'd said, was being around other fans.
So here he was, sweating his ass off in the sun, a beer in his hand, trying to ignore the jerks behind him that discovered their only sense of enjoyment, other than getting drunk, was trying to get a rise out of him.
The Yankees were up to bat, but he couldn't be bothered to try and figure out which player, not when Kate was tense on the edge of her seat. Castle heard the crack of the bat, followed Kate as she and the rest of the crowd got to their feet, throwing a fist in the air as the ball went flying over the left field fence. Kate cheered, turning to him with a smile on her face. He smiled back, though he could care less who won, and they settled back into their seats. He offered her a swig of his beer, hers gone since the beginning of the inning, and she took a gulp before handing it back to him.
"Oh, ain't that cute?" he heard one of the guys behind him say to his friends.
He turned to Kate and saw her raise an eyebrow, but didn't comment.
"You're a Yankees fan and you can't afford to buy your girl a drink?" the other said, "What? You spend all your money on her?"
Kate stiffened, but again, said nothing, so Castle didn't either.
"What's the matter, baby?" the guy continued, "Don't like that your man's got no money?"
"Hey," the one said suddenly, "If we pay you as much as the Yankees are paying the umps, can we have you, baby?"
They were drunk. Castle knew they were drunk, but he refused to let that one slide. He looked back over his shoulder, his mouth set into a firm line.
"Don't talk about her like that," he said.
He turned back around but the men behind them whistled before they started laughing.
"Oh… don't talk about her like that," one of them mocked, pitching his voice high.
The other mimicked him.
"She's a lady," he drawled, "You don't talk about a lady like that."
The batter at the plate hit a popup, the second baseman catching it easily and tossing it into the crowd to end the inning.
The men behind them swore loudly, and Castle couldn't help but smirk.
Oh Karma, how lovely you look today.
Rick stood up, stretching backwards as Kate stood up next to him, sliding around him, her chest bumping against his as she shimmied past.
"I'm going to get a drink. Want another beer?"
He picked his up, shaking his beer slightly before shaking his head.
"No, I'm good."
She raised an eyebrow at him.
"Don't think that you're going to be taking sips from mine."
He scoffed, "You drank from mine."
She shrugged, "You offered."
"And you wouldn't offer?"
She bit her lip, trying to fight back a smile as she reached into her back pocket, pulling out his wallet.
"Maybe if you're paying for it."
His eyes widened, wildly patting his pants as she laughed, pressing his wallet against his chest.
"How do you do that?" he said, not sure if he should be concerned with the amount of things she could take from him without him noticing or turned on because she just had her hand in his pocket and the possibilities are endless.
"You're too easy," she laughed, turning to walk up the concrete stairs, "Be back in a minute."
He smiled at as she walked away from him, shoving his wallet back into his pocket and sitting back, reclining in his seat.
He heard the guys behind him shift in their seats.
"Damnnnnnn," one of them drawled.
"Those are some legs."
Castle clenched his hands into fists, fighting the urge to turn around.
"With a body like that, I would gladly give her all my money."
He felt them lean forward, and smelled them lean forward, more than he heard them move forward.
"How the hell did you manage to score that?" the first one asked, nudging his shoulder, knocking himself slightly off balance as he did so.
"Yeah," the other laughed, "She's gotta be like… 15 years younger than you or something. You paying her, old man?"
Castle clenched his jaw, but didn't bother turning around, angry at himself at the wave of doubt that swept through him.
She was younger than he was. Not 15 years younger, but young enough. And maybe he didn't always remember that because she was far more mature than he was, but he never forgot how attractive she was.
Seriously. She was a knockout.
She could have anyone she could ever possibly want, and she chose him.
He didn't know how he finally got her, but he was lucky. So lucky.
But he's also getting older, and his knees have started cracking when he bends down, and she teased him about his non-existent gray hairs, and he can't go for nearly as long as he wishes he could or as long as she is capable of going (he knows this for a fact) and he always feels guilty about that though she assures him that she's happy (he tries to make it up to her the best he can).
What if she gets bored?
The rational part of his mind knows just how absurd that sounds. They've been together for over a year. They'd talked (vaguely) about marriage and the future and he knew that she loved him or else she wouldn't be with him.
But the irrational part of his just keeps kicking the rational part of his brain in the face, his thoughts running away from him.
He should start running more.
He felt fingers brush over the top of his ear and he jumped, his eyes snapping up to Kate as she looked down at him, two bottles of water laced between the fingers dangling by her side, her brow furrowed at him. He smiled at her, and her eyes flashed to the men sitting behind them, who had conveniently shut up in her absence, and he shrugged, reaching out to take one of the water bottles from her hand.
She slid back around him, her fingers gliding over the skin of his ear before sinking down into her seat.
He was being stupid.
She loved him.
He heard a throat clear from behind him and he stiffened in his seat, nearly growling as he rolled his eyes.
Kate looked over at him, her eyebrows rising in shock.
Apparently she heard him.
"Okay sweetheart. Real talk," one of them said, leaning down to put his face between theirs, "what do you possibly see in this guy?"
"Yeah," the other said, leaning down between them as well, "a girl looks like you? She could get anyone. Why the old man?"
He watched Kate inhale deeply, her eyes narrowing behind her sunglasses as she quickly turned around, whipping one of the guys in the face with her ponytail.
"Do you want to know?"
The men nodded, completely oblivious to the fact that the game had started again, Castle's eyes locked on Kate.
"I don't know if you can handle it."
The men scoffed.
"Of course we can."
"He likes to talk."
All three men looked at her, confused, and Kate just bit her lip.
"He likes to talk," she said again, "He knows how to use his –" she paused, her lips parting slightly as the soft, pink tip peaked out from behind her teeth for just a moment, sliding over just the bottom of her two front teeth before it disappeared again.
" – tongue."
The two men stared at her mouth, slack jawed, and Castle had to swallow roughly, his mouth suddenly dry.
It was the alcohol. It was the alcohol she'd had and the fact that these two punks were drunk off their asses and probably wouldn't remember but he felt the heat shoot straight through his spine, his hands clenching into his fists.
She could not say things like that around him and expect him to be okay.
Because she knew just how much he loved tasting her - all of her - to the bitter perfume behind her ear to the salty sweat across her collarbone to the all the way down to the bones in her ankle and every single millimeter in between.
His mind flew through memories of just how much he loved having her – that time on the kitchen counter, on her bathroom sink (his knees were sore for days), and of course the hundreds of times he's gotten a taste of her in his bed –
He shook his head, blinking quickly
Her lips parted slightly, her chest hitching, and he swore he could see her eyes darken behind her sunglasses.
Oh, screw it.
He took her hand in his and pulled them up so they were standing, sliding out of the stands and towards the stairs. She listed towards him, her fingers wrapped tightly around his fingers.
He paused for a moment before he made his way up the stairs, unable to help himself, and took out his wallet. He threw a 20 at the two men still staring at Kate before smirking at them.
"Have another beer," he said, "It's on me."
Kate chuckled under her breath and he felt her breath puff through the sleeve of his jersey onto his shoulder. His need resurged with a vengeance and he pulled her up the stairs.
They barely made it outside the stadium before she pulled him to a stop, tugging her towards him with a sharp pull on his fingers. His lips found hers immediately, pressing them together as he wrapped his free hand around the back of her neck, angling her to him. She moaned against his lips, a deep, rich, sexy thing that should be illegal to do in public and he broke away from her for only a moment.
He felt her smile against the weight of his lips and he took the advantage, sliding his tongue past her lips to slide against hers and he groaned at the taste of her, always changing from day to day but never a disappointment.
"Next time," he mumbled against her lips, refusing to stop tasting her, "I'm getting us a box."
"Mmm," she moaned, nodding against his lips, trying to press herself even closer to him, "I'll let you."
He let it go on for a few more moments, until his head was spinning with nothing but the thought of her taste before he pulled away, tugging her gently towards the parking lot.
"We need to get home."
"Why?" she said, her voice clearly mocking, "You think you're going to score?"
He looked back at her to find her smirking.
He stopped them again, turning around quickly so they were chest to chest, leaning down so he could suck her earlobe into his mouth, his tongue teasing the skin.
She a little gasp burst past her lips, her hands coming up to clutch the front of his jersey.
"See," he chuckled, "I'm totally in scoring position."
She groaned against him, pushing against his chest at the terrible pun, but led her towards their car anyway, a little bit quicker than she normally would.
And here we have Richard Castle up to the plate, he's batting over .500 for the past year, isn't that impressive, Jim? He's got the best record of his entire team at the 12th and that's saying something. Bases are loaded, two outs. The first pitch, and he swings and he gets it! It looks deep. It's going… going… Gone! Unbelievable! Richard Castle hits another grand slam. The crowd is going absolutely wild.
"Are you okay?"
Castle froze, his inner monologue ceasing immediately.
She smirked at him, pulling his keys from his pocket and unlocking the car.
"You were hissing something," she said, "Almost like you were cheering quietly…"
His eyes widened momentarily, but wisely, ignored the comment, getting into the car.
"Let's go home."
He had a different kind of game on his mind now.
1. I miss baseball.
2. Baseball puns are my favorite
3. I'm marking this as complete. Over a year later, I just have no idea what else to do with this fic. I've been trying to stay creative, but I think this might be all I have left in me. To everyone that's stuck around and kept reading, even though I hardly ever updated this series, I cannot thank you enough. I just feel like this story passed its prime months ago, but I figured I'd try to give you one last go. It's been a pleasure.