Just a little addition to The Blue Butterfly, because we all know we couldn't get enough of it :)
Thanks so much to eitoph for her awesome beta-ing skills, hope it all makes more sense now :)
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine...but I'll have it if no one else wants it...?
He flicks through the pages of the diary again and again. They have the whole story now, so naturally, the writer in him wants to go back and analyse all the clues to Joe and Vera's life together hidden in the yellowed pages of the old journal. His eyes dance over the words, becoming a movie in his mind, he and Beckett playing the lead roles.
He finds himself watching her, hunched over the paperwork of the case, writing reports and signing away evidence and sees Vera, a woman in love.
He knows he should stop staring, but he's seen a whole other side to her today that he just can't shake away. The romantic in her, that sweet compassionate side, came out to play and he's not sure he ever wants it to go away, so he stares at her, hoping that as long as he doesn't look away, she won't go back to button down Detective Beckett, a lost soul hiding in her mother's murder.
He shuffles a little in his seat, trying to get her to look up, to look at him the way Vera looks at Joe. She will not buy in though, and so he stands, coffee in the far reaches of his thoughts, love in the forefront.
She taps her pen against her desk a few times. The cheap plastic hitting the solid wood and making a tap, tap, tap in protest. She won't look up, she promises herself, keeping her eyes focussed on the paperwork in front of her. She will not give into the temptation.
Except that she hears the chink of the ceramic mug against the glass window in the break room and she knows he is calling out to her in his own unique way.
So she looks up to his questioning gaze all the way across the bullpen and nods. Because she does want coffee, she really does. But she also wants the excuse to stare at him as much as he has been staring at her.
Tap, tap, tap.
He's been watching her all day, more than the usual fleeting glance, more than the easily hidden secret look. He has been completely drawn to her, his eyes flitting across her skin, leaving an imagined fiery path from her cheek to her shoulder, from her lips to her chest. His gaze is touching her perfectly and she has found that she can't meet his wandering eyes, she can't bring herself to look at him for fear he will look away.
So when she finally gets the chance, she stares long and hard, constantly berating herself for her lack of self control. She smiles though, she smiles at his obvious ease with the coffee machine, brewing two cups to perfection.
He looks up and she looks back down, dodging each other, she begins tap, tap, tapping her pen again. The mug slides into her view from her left as Castle retakes his seat, his eyes gliding so easily over her. She takes a sip and sighs in pleasure as the caffeine immediately rushes to her bloodstream.
They reach for the diary at the same time, hands bumping, lingering and pulling away. She looks at him, curious, "You haven't memorised it yet?" her voice holds amusement, fascination with his obsession over this story.
He smiles, "There are so many details."
She reaches for it again, her hand closing around the soft leather, "I have to log it as evidence."
He leans back, looking flabbergasted, "What happened to the romantic Beckett who wanted to know all the details before?"
She glares at him, a sly grin building on her lips, remembering his little slip from earlier in the case, "I don't know, Castle. Maybe you could fantasise about her some more."
He lets out a breath, folding his arms across his chest, and grumbles, "I said 'fate'."
She rolls her eyes and continues logging evidence.
It's nearly nine o'clock when they finally leave the precinct, their feet carrying them at a slow pace, a subconscious reluctance to go their separate ways for the night is hanging between them.
An idea strikes him, a crazy, ludicrous idea. He breathes in, slows down, shuffling his feet and then lets out his breath on a loud sigh, "Alright, Beckett," he starts, sounding like a child reluctantly agreeing to eating their vegetables, "You can come back to mine and I'll tell you the big secret about Joe and Vera."
She stops mid-step and turns to face him, wondering what he's playing at, "What secret? I know everything you do."
He grins; she's walking right into it, "Do you?" He challenges.
She doesn't back down, even stands up taller, matches him, "Yeah," she says with force, "I do."
He chuckles, holding his hands up in surrender, "Fine, fine. I'll just keep it to myself then."
She narrows her eyes, suspicious of his words, "I know you don't have a secret, but I also know that you would have more food in your fridge that I do."
He nods, considering her words, "I do have a secret, and yes, I will make you dinner."
Pursing her lips, refusing to smile, she opens her car and gestures for him to get in, "Alright, I'll come over."
He pauses at the passenger door, "But Ryan let me drive," he whines.
To that she just raises her eyebrows.
It's funny really; she doesn't feel nervous.
This whole thing is new, it's different. She hasn't been to his place for dinner since after the bank explosion and that time they'd had Alexis and Martha there to buffer any awkward moments.
Tonight, it's just them.
And he's cooking specifically for her, while she's barefoot drinking a glass of wine.
And his voice is rumbling through the air as he ponders on the love story of Joe and Vera.
And it feels remarkably similar to a date.
Yet, she is not nervous at all.
"They're a movie couple, really. Love at first sight, a scandalous affair, an elopement and a life spent together."
She smiles against the side of her wine glass, "You're a hopeless romantic, Castle."
He turns around from the pan on the stove to gauge how serious she is, "Really? How about you? You've been wrapped up in their story as much as I have!"
She sits her glass down, "Only because you wove their story into something so romantic. I'm sure they're just like any other couple. They fight and they make up just like the rest of us." Then as an afterthought, she adds, "Oh, that doesn't ruin the big secret you have to tell me, does it?"
He shrugs it off, his entire demeanour changing in a split second; he is clearly irritated, "No, Beckett."
She is immediately sorry, yet confused by his hurt. She steps towards him, bare feet padding quietly on the tiles, "It bothers you, doesn't it? That I've been so cavalier about this secret." He doesn't answer her, so she presses, softening her voice, "Why?"
He turns the heat on the stove down, adding cream to the mixture as he stirs, distracting himself, "I've had two failed marriages, Kate. Sometimes it's nice to see a couple who have lasted forever and believe that what they have is true love."
She takes another step toward him, seeing a vulnerability in him that has more often than not been masked by arrogance and a media persona. In another step she can see that he's trying to open up to her, show her what it could be like to be with him.
The realisation hits her like a runaway train.
"The secret you have to tell me, it's not about Joe and Vera, is it?"
His hands still, eyes darkening dangerously, "Not really, no."
She reaches out, places a hand on his shoulder, his body turns to her, "Tell me, Rick."
The wooden spoon clatters to the floor beneath them, neither flinching, so caught up in the moment. He takes a deep breath and she can feel his heart beating so fast between them.
It's only then that she feels nervous.
He swallows, reaching up and placing a hand over the one on his shoulder, "Sometimes I do fantasise about you," he admits.
She lets out a breath she's not sure she knew she was holding. Something in her tells her that he is still hiding something huge, but right now the secret he's handed to her is enough, "Sometimes I fantasise about you, too."
And he is so glad she's not pressing it any further.
The pasta sauce sits between them, forgotten, "You were beautiful in Vera's gowns."
She matches him, "And you looked amazing in Joe's fedora and suspenders."
He grins, "You imagined me in suspenders too?"
"Of course, what 1940's PI is complete without suspenders?"
They laugh together, but the easy feeling in the room immediately tenses up as they simultaneously notice the way her hand has curled up behind his neck. She pulls it away, awareness burning in her eyes. He catches her wrist as she tries to move.
His gaze is burdened, carrying something huge that she's not sure she's ready to hear, not yet, not tonight. She lets her hand rest back at the nape of his neck, pulling him closer, "Hey, it's okay, Rick. One secret at a time."
He nods, his forehead resting against hers, "There's the Kate I like to fantasise about."
She smiles, leaning in a little further, she hesitates just a moment but he holds firm, giving her the courage she needs. In a swift movement, she is pressing her lips against his. His mouth drops open as his senses come alive, gasping, capturing her bottom lip, running his tongue across it, savouring her taste, her intoxicating scent. And then she is gone from his reach, leaning down to pick up the wooden spoon that had fallen earlier, "Just giving you something to fuel the fantasies." She reaches over to the stove and turns the heat back up, "Now, didn't you promise me a meal?"
He breathes a shaky breath, wishing he had her ability to compose herself so quickly. He picks up a new wooden spoon and begins stirring their dinner again, dizzy images of Vera kissing Joe floating around his mind mixing with his new reality.
They don't talk about it, not really. And they won't for a long time. But it's a crackling fire, burning deep beneath his gaze each time he can't look away from her. It's a secret knowledge of something so wonderful.
There are words unspoken hanging between them every day. Secrets untold, his love, her mother's case, but this kiss, and all it entails, is something they have together.
A secret that they hold together.
It's their own Blue Butterfly.
Thanks for reading :)