A fic inspired by Modern Family, and my lovely valentine.

He sees her the moment he steps into the hotel restaurant. She's sitting at the bar, elbow on the wood as she stirs her martini slowly, her hazel eyes lost in the art on the wall. He appreciates her during those few moments- admires how she blends in with the modern design, with the cool steel colors and sheer glass décor.

He knows the black dress she's wearing- he's seen it in their closet- seen it on her. knows from experience that it just wraps around her, knows there isn't a zipper. It just clings to her figure and suddenly he needs to touch it. Touch her.

The way her hair is clipped in a bun, wisps escaping it and forming against her jaw, her neck, her ears.

Touch her.

He slides into the bar stool beside hers, looking at the bartender, the walls, the lights, anywhere but her. He nods to the suave looking kid behind the bar and hopes to god he can stomach whatever he brings him. As he waits for his drink, he lets his gaze settle on her.

She's even more breathtaking up close- the way her bottom lip tucks beneath her teeth, the way her fingers play with her glass, the way her ring glitters when the light hits it right.

She's avoiding his gaze purposely, taking an increasing interest in the bottom of her martini glass, but he knows her, and he knows that smile pulling at the corner of her mouth as he lets the suspense linger.

Best of all, he knows this game she's playing, and she wants him eager. Wants him clumsy over his drink, wants his lame pick up line so she can laugh before she slips him her hotel key.

The truth his she has him exactly where she wants him- she always has. He's wanted her since he smelled her perfume in their bathroom that evening. He's wanted her since her perfume on the bed sheets, on the pillows-

The barman slides him a finger of scotch and he puts a quick end to that never-ending train of thought.

He's wanted her before he ever gave her that bottle of perfume.

He nods to the bartender, grasps the drink and downs it before words can push their way from his mouth.

He's mesmerized by the way her fingers play with the stem of her glass, lazily, like she could be sitting in a cheap dive in blue jeans and cotton and it wouldn't matter.

God, her in cotton- but she's not in cotton.

No, she's in satin and he's already committed to memory the way it feels rippled under his palms when he pushes it up, over, out of the way. Off.

Yes, she has him right where she wants him, and if he gives his stupid mouth time to talk, he's going to prove it.

Moments of silence tick by and she's either truly impressed by his self-control or she's impatient, because her eyes sweep towards him, settling first on the bottom buttons of his shirt before dragging languidly to his face, pausing at his lips for good measure.

When her eyes meet his with a sharp snap, he nearly chokes. He takes the second finger of scotch that's been pushed his way to recover.

"You gonna offer to refill my drink, or what?"

And then he does choke.

He catches the bartender's attention, points to her glass and his. He's going to need more than two fingers- Of scotch- to survive tonight.

"So," he speaks for the first time, eyes still glued to the way her lithe, talented little hands play with the new martini glass. "You come here often?"

He follows her fingers as they lift the glass to her lips, where she hides her grin at the awkward pick up line. She lowers the glass, makes sure to look through her lashes and presses her lips together.

"Only when I'm lonely."

She watches the column of his throat take a leap and bites back the grin that will give her away.

"You?" She asks, when he doesn't manage a reply to that.

It's then she feels his gaze heat up, linger on hers in a way he hasn't let himself tonight. "Only when I'm feeling especially accommodating."

She smiles, lets herself because he's won it. She's overcome with the want of his words, a feeling that's not entirely foreign to her.

"So, if you're feeling so…accommodating," she pauses, sips at her drink, "then why are you here, with me, rather than with your wife?" Her eyes dart towards the silver wedding band on his left ring finger, and follows the blush up his neck.

"The same reason I imagine you're here with me, rather than with your husband."

She hums, low in her throat, tries to tame the smile she's let loose. "what makes you so sure of that, mister…"

"Richard. Just call me Richard." He was pleased hen she blinked, her surprise almost imperceptible. Almost. She should have known better though. He loves writing a good story, but the only one he ever feels like writing is theirs.

She recovered, that smile coming back out to flirt with her lips. "And I suppose you're a Central Intelligence agent between missions, right? Finished with the business, cashing in on the pleasure?"

"Well I'd tell you, but I'd have to kill you."

She laughed at that, completely abandoning her role, letting it bubble out of her. She shook her head- at him, at them, at this, then met his eyes, letting him see the laughter there, too. "Wait here for a moment. I've got to go to the ladies' room. Something about dramatic effect."

He watches as she stands, pulls the crème pea coat from the back of the chair and drape it over her arm.

"You're not going to crawl out of the bathroom window and leave me here, are you? Because two times in one week would do vicious things to my manhood."

She lets her eyes fall indecently low, her bottom lip finding purchase between her teeth as a smile pulls at it. "That idea doesn't sound wholly unappealing, but-" she pauses, meets his eyes once again- "I was rather looking forward to doing that in a less…metaphoric way."

She lingers only long enough to watch his Adam's apple bob in the column of his throat before sauntering off in the direction of the lavatory.

She emerges from the bathroom with the coat on. He watches her walk back to him, taking a moment to admire how the belt of the knee-length coat clung to her frame, tied tightly around her middle. It was dangerously alluring- her in that coat.

She sits in her stool beside him, crowding his space, her purse between them. He nearly jumps when he feels her hand on his thigh, her fingers stroking the inseam of his dark wash jeans.

He almost wore something a little less casual, but that dark look and the way her fingers were curling around his belt loop makes him glad he went with the denim.

He knows what these jeans do to her, knows her wide, dark eyes, knows her smile when she inevitably slides the button through the loophole.

It is her- her fingers on his thigh, her hips brushing between his knees (when did that happen?), her hair in his face and her mouth at his ear.

"I brought you something," her breath is hot against the shell of his ear, her voice hot against everything.

Before he can question her, she reaches into her purse, pulls out something very black and very lacy, and drops it into his lap, pulling away just enough to allow him to process it.

He feels his hands fumble to his lap, and he doesn't even need to look to know what he is holding.

"I – is this– what are you–" She merely purses her lips, undoubtedly biting the inside to hold back her grin at his discomfort.

Without dropping his dumbstruck gaze, she reaches into her purse and drops her dress on top of the lingerie he is clutching.

Standing, she slings her purse over her shoulder, using her free hand to slid her hotel key into one of his still-open palms. She nears him again, flirts with the idea of kissing his still-gaping mouth, but instead mummers her room number and disappears.

It's a few minutes later when she feels the hand on her waist, the firm tug and the warmth of his side pressed against hers. He slips her dress and undergarments into her purse stealthily, and she can't help but smile at the possessiveness of his hand.

His huge hand, long fingers, spanning her ribcage with a strong, virile hold that makes her shiver with need and anticipation and love.

She lovesit when he gets with the program.

She slides her arm around his waist as well, her hand bunching into the back of his white dress shirt, her pinky finger slipping beneath his black leather belt.

The low growl in her ear is all the reward she needs.

They step onto the escalator as one, both eager to get away from the people and the restaurants and to the damn suite already.

She preoccupies herself with the feeling of his breath on the shell of her ear, his fingers playing with the belt of her coat– loses herself in the science of his very own gravitational pull.

Then there is a sharp tug on her coat, and the escalator jerks to a violent stop.

"What the-" she looks down to see the long end of her belt, trapped between the escalator stair and the metal teeth of the machine.

Her hand finds the belt, pulls at it– gently at first but more forcefully when it doesn't budge. "Rick," she grunts, exasperated, when she feels his teeth on her earlobe.

His only response is to hum and tongue her pulse point.

"Castle!" she whispers harshly, and that seems to break through his hypnosis. When he speaks, his voice is low, gravely, and she only has herself to blame.

"Why Katherine-"

"Cut it out, Rick, my coat, it's stuck," Kate indicates her belt. This seems to sober him up a bit, and he suddenly becomes intent on buttoning every last button on the coat, which is awkward and arousing at the same time because he's behind her now and her back conforms to his front so perfectly she's almost okay being stuck here forever.

"Can't you just take off the belt?" he murmurs into her ear as his fingers work expertly.

"No, it's sewn it." She practically grumbles it.

"Sewn in?"

"Yes, Rick, sewn in."

"Shit." He's finished with the buttons and has stepped away from her to examine the damage. She tugs harder on the belt, but it doesn't budge.

There's a tap on her shoulder and she turns to find a man. Behind him, an escalator full of confused and annoyed looking people.

"Everything okay?" He asks, and she just knows she's blushing.

"Um–" the cool, confident woman of before has deserted her, and now she's just a woman wearing nothing but a trench coat stuck on a crowded un-moving staircase.

Beside her, she can feel Rick trying to work the belt free.

"Yes," she manages to blurt out. "I just got my coat snagged." The man bends down to see the damage.

"Why don't you just take the belt off?"

"It's sewn in."

"Oh. Why don't you take the coat off?"

She blushes deeper at this, barely managing a weak "I'm cold."

A few other people have climbed the stairs to inquire as well, and Kate thinks she wants to melt into the metal contraption. She's fending off offers of help when she feels Rick's presence at her back.

"I'm going to find someone from maintenance," he tells her, and she simultaneously loves him for the idea and hates him for leaving her.

"Hurry," she whispers, as she spies a middle-aged woman headed up her way.

He returns what's probably five minutes later but feels like 15 minutes later, cell phone to his ear. "Okay, thank you," she hears him sigh into the phone as he gets closer. "Thank you so much. See you soon."

He hangs up the phone and just as a particularly creepy man suggests she take off the coat, he announces to the small crowd: "Maintenance is on their way, so we got it from here."

Kate smiles meekly and thanks people quietly as they all disperse rather quickly. Neither Rick nor Kate speak until they are alone on the escalator.

"When's maintenance supposed to get here?" She asks, fighting hard not to become overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of the entire situation.

"Maintenance isn't coming," he sighs.

"What?" she practically shouts, before catching herself. "What do you mean they aren't coming?"

"I mean they aren't coming, I just pretended so everyone would go away."

"Well what are we gonna do now, Castle?" she snaps, and he opens his mouth to reply but instead–


This night could not get any worse.

Lanie is a vision in a short red number, Esposito handsome in a complementing shirt with an open collar and no tie. They both stop short at the sight of Beckett practically slumped over the railing.

"Lanie!" Kate forces a smile. This is a train wreck. "What are you doing here?"

"Javi took me salsa dancing," Lanie answers absently, and Kate can see her mind already putting together the pieces of the sight before her. "You're stuck, aren't you?"

Kate says nothing as the other woman's eyes flick from a flustered Kate to a sexually frustrated Rick, and back again. A knowing grin spreads slowly across the doctor's face.

"Why don't you just take the belt off?" Esposito asks, and Kate has to make a physical effort not to roll her eyes.

"It's sewn in to the coat," she explains for what feels like the hundredth time.

"Why don't you just take off the coat?" he asks, oblivious.

"Yes, Kate, why don't you take off the coat?" Lanie repeats, not so oblivious.

Kate fixes her with her best glare. "I'm cold," she states evenly. Lanie's grin only widens.

"Lane, can we skip the part where you make fun of me and get to the part where you help me? Please?"

It is only as Lanie is stepping well into Kate's space, unwrapping her own jacket from her shoulders and transferring it to the detectives, that Esposito catches onto everything.

"Oh my god," he whispers, as his girlfriend uses her coat to shield a very naked Beckett from the world long enough for her to shed the trench coat and slip into hers.

It's significantly shorter, not to mention white as snow, but it will have to do and Lanie has the decency not to giggle as she buttons it up around Kate's thin frame.

"Thank you, Lanie," Kate breaths, relieved beyond belief.

"Oh, you won't ever hear the end of this, sweetie. Starting tomorrow. Right now this man has got to take me home." The doctor hooks Esposito by the arm and practically drags him away. "Oh and Kate?"


"Please try not to ruin that coat– it's a Burberry."

She watches Lanie and Esposito disappear into an elevator, and as the doors slide to a shut, she feels the warmth of Castle at her back once more.

She finds herself leaning into his chest, head falling to his shoulder. When she looks up, her view of his adorably conflicted face is distorted. "Castle," she murmurs, and a frown takes over her features.

"Hmm?" She feels his answering hum as much as she hears it, and it breaks her heart to ruin their night.

"Rick I know we had this whole great evening all planned out but–"

"I gave our room key to Esposito." The interruption is so abrupt she turns around to face him.

"You did?" she asks, and she can feel her heart filling with everything she loves about this man– this man. He just nods, his fingers against the collar of her– Lanie's– coat.

She lets the smile erupt from herself, lets it run rampant in any way it wants because she's so happy.

She rises to her toes, not because she needs to but because she likes the excuse to lean her entire body against his without pretense, and her lips find his.

"Take me home, Richard."

I've got ideas rolling around for a second (smutty?) chapter, but for now, this is where I leave you. Happy Valentines Day!