A/N: This is my first fic in the awesome Castle fandom, though I've watched since day one. It's been years since I've done this at all. Be gentle.

Disclaimer: I claim no ownership. I'd like to, though.

"My equipment is not broken." Castle sighs and tilts back in Beckett's chair, hearing the springs creak as his feet lift off of the floor and his body eases back carefully.

"Bro, that's the only explanation for it." Esposito shakes his head, as if attempting to clear a visual from his mind, but he can't quite let it go as he adds "I just don't get it."

Ryan nods in agreement as he leans back against the desk near his partner. He looks at Castle sympathetically.

"What don't you get?" Lanie asks as she Beckett approach the trio, carrying plastic bags filled with their dinner.

Beckett had decided to drag Lanie along to grab the food, mainly because she wanted to do something nice for her team, and she knew if Castle was with her he'd insist on paying. It had nothing to do with the fact that she found herself being unusually handsy with him tonight; sliding a palm between his shoulder blades to urge him up when he stole her seat twice earlier in the afternoon, finding excuses to exchange papers and pens and files with him just so their fingers could linger a bit during the exchange. It really had nothing to do with that. Nothing at all.

"Nothing." Hearing her mind's word in Castle's insistent voice forces her to join the conversation. "Food smells great. I'm starving." He changes the subject, pulling himself from Beckett's chair and motioning towards it so she can have a seat or plop the bags down. She does both as she eyes the three men suspiciously.

Esposito and Ryan are smirking and Castle just looks downright uncomfortable.

"Castle's equipment is broken." Esposito does the courtesy of repeating the problem for the ladies.

"What equipment?" Kate and Lanie ask simultaneously. Lanie eyes Esposito through suspiciously slanted lids, while Beckett surveys her desk and chair at the mention of anything being broken. She warns that man daily not to touch things. Everything looks fine. Huh.

"His... Little Castle." Esposito provides.

"Alexis?" Lanie asks the question and when Castle groans, Ryan decides to help the process along. Leave it to the Latin Lover to not be able to give a good description here.

"No," he corrects, lowering his voice, "his Joy Stick. Magic Wand? Trouser Snake-"

"You're impotent?" the ME asks, incredulously. She glances over at Kate, who looks a bit horrified and is either staring at the corner of her desk or Castle's crotch. Lanie suspects it's not the desk. "Oh, honey that's not the end of the world. Little blue pills, little white pills, lots of solutions for that problem out there. I know I deal with stiffs all day-oh, bad word choice. But, anyway, I can get you a prescription for something."

Castle drops his head to his hands. Esposito snorts.

"Oh my God. My...everything down there works just fine, thankyouverymuch." Castle was speaking in the direction of Kate, who was now looking anywhere but at him.

Ryan is doubled over with laughter and begins swiping at his eyes as he watches Lanie sock the Latin detective in the shoulder. "That's just mean, Javier Esposito! I thought you were serious. What if people went around saying that you couldn't...rise to the occasion?"

"I'd say that you'd know better." Off of Lanie's sexy scowl, he continues. "Actually, Chica, you're kind of to blame for the discussion of Castle's faulty equipment."

Lanie looks like she might hit him again, so he rushes to explain.

"Okay," he takes a deep breath and nods to Castle who is glaring at him, arms crossed, not amused. "Well, Ryan was complaining because he hadn't gotten laid this week."

"It's only Tuesday," Kate manages to chime in, a little irritated.

Ryan shrugs, unashamed.

"I know, right? See? So, I just let it be known that I was the one really sacrificing myself. I haven't gotten any since December." He grins at Lanie's pleasantly surprised expression. "So, I thought I deserved a little pity from my boys here. Then writer boy has to go and show me up. Don't get me wrong, though. This is not a contest I'd ever want to win." He looks from Lanie to Kate. His girl (ex, but who's counting) has a softer expression, probably at finding out there's been no one else since their breakup. Kate's expression, however, is still a little scary.

"Get to the point, Espo."

"Your boy here hasn't 'entertained' a lady in, what was it Bro, sixteen months?"

"Close enough," Rick mumbles under his breath. Everyone's attention is on him now. Even Ryan has that shocked and appalled look back on his face.

"Yeah. And you're famous. Well, kinda." Castle looks less offended now than the ladies do, so Esposito chooses to address them instead. "Chicks hit on him all the time. And he hasn't had sex in well over a year? You see why we came to the conclusion that he can't get the job done? Makes sense, right?"

Kate can feel the heat of a blush creeping to her chest and face as she realizes she's staring through Castle and he's looking right at her. She can't tell if the warmth is coming because she's offended for him-his virility, hot for him, or just oh so willing to aid him in proving that every bit of him is in perfectly working order right here on her desk. Geez, pull it together, Beckett. She's ashamed that when the notion of him being impotent swirled in her mind, she'd be lying if she said there wasn't a flicker of disappointment, but she mainly thought about how he still had those big hands, thick fingers, sly mouth and she was stuck daydreaming about how they could overcome his obstacle together. Only now there was no obstacle. Never was. Makes her wonder how many of the things stopping them from moving forward are really phantom obstacles too.

And he hasn't had sex in sixteen months? Damn. It's been right around a year for her and there are some times when the urge hits so hard (like today) that she has to walk away and talk herself off the ledge before she just jumps someone's bones. Castle's bones . He has the only bones she's been thinking about jumping for a long time. Even when she had Josh—she's not proud of it, but it was Castle she fantasied about. That was probably the point where she should have known that the relationship with her boyfriend was less than stellar, huh?

Esposito is right about something, though. Castle would have had many opportunities over the last year plus to bed a multitude of women. She'd be lying if the knowledge that the "playboy" could be expunged from Richard Castle's resume didn't send an arrow of pleasing arousal straight to her belly. Could he be waiting for her? In her mind's eye, making love to this man was something that, on one hand seemed inevitable, but was also tucked away into the recurring fantasy category.

"You not hungry?"

Castle is behind her, startling her, his warm breaths caressing her neck as he inquires. He's close. Very close. Too close. She wants him closer. His hands are curled around the top of her chair, tipping her a bit off balance and causing the back of her head to come into contact with his chest as she looks up at him.

"I'm…yeah. Hungry." Good Lord, she wasn't even going for the double entendre, but even she could hear the sex dripping from her own voice. Lanie would never let her live this down. Wait, where is Lanie? And Ryan and Esposito, for that matter. She rocks forward in the chair and feels Castle's fingertips slip down her biceps before he releases her to swing around and drop down into his own chair.

"In there," he nods towards the breakroom, answering her unspoken question. "Eating our share of the breadsticks, I'm sure."

"Knowing Ryan, they're already gone."

"You're right. He's always squirreling stuff away. Jenny must seriously deprive him."

"Apparently, she doesn't deprive him of everything." It is out of her mouth before she can stop it. She's really doing this. Bringing this tête-à-tête back up to see where he'll take it. She grins at him.

"Touché. He's faring far better than the rest of us, it seems. Well, Esposito and I, at least. You and Lanie didn't share—not that you should have. Just, I don't want to assume-"

"Castle, I can't speak for Lanie, but my 'number' hasn't increased in a year, either. And by how delighted to know that Esposito hasn't been Paso Doble-ing himself into another woman's bed, I'd say she's probably waiting on him, too."

"You think they'll make it?"

"I do. She loves him, but she's scared."

"Maybe he's scared too." He offers, a look of hope adorning his features. His eyes are creasing at the edges where they are held up by the beginnings of a smile filling his cheeks.

"Maybe. Maybe they'll find that there's really nothing to be afraid of when they're in it together." She wasn't quite sure who they were talking about at this point, but it didn't matter. This is how she felt—it didn't matter if it was Lanie and Esposito, she and Castle, or two strangers making eye contact across a crowded bar. It took a bullet to the chest, an ill-timed declaration of love, a psychiatrist, and a multitude of 'second' chances for her to be able to peek over top of the pile of rubble that was her wall.

"Speak of the devil. Devils." Castle raises an eyebrow and jerks his head to sway her attention to the other end of the bullpen.

Kate turns around just in time to see the elevator doors closing behind Lanie and Esposito, tucked tightly together. A little further to the left she can see Ryan opening the door to head down the stairwell's exit, familiar bags in hand. "Did he just steal our dinner?"

Castle stands from the chair and bounces on his tip toes as he squints towards the breakroom, seeing nothing but empty tables. "I believe that's an affirmative. Hey, I know it's no 'Del Buon Gusto', but 'La Campagna' is open twenty-four seven and has all you can eat breadsticks."

He sing-songs the last part about the breadsticks, drawling it out temptingly, as if the food is the only reason she'd be enticed to go with him. But, that's where they've ended up, isn't it? And she put them there. Sitting on swings with her essentially telling him to wait until she was darn good and ready and to not push and to stay back and let her lead. That no one was home and to come back later. And he has. He's given her everything, but asked for nothing in return.

"'La Campagna'. Yeah, I know the place. Not a great selection of wine, though."

"Yeah, yeah. You're right. You're probably getting tired anyway, huh? Grueling day."

She hates the crestfallen expression that he's trying to hide behind a smile. She just wants to tease him a little, coax another real smile out of him. "There's actually a place nearby there with great wine. I know the owner. He might let us have a bottle." She leans in closer to him, lips barely brushing his ear. "I think he likes me." He pulls back a little to look at her. He still looks a touch uncomfortable. Oh, for goodness sake, does he still not get it? "Only thing is…we have to be careful…" She twists her fingers around a button on his shirt, fists the fabric in her hand and pushes back on him hard enough for him to stumble a bit as she saunters towards the elevator, tossing her final clue over her shoulder "I hear he might have some faulty equipment."

She laughs, a deep guttural thing, as he catches up to her and rushes to enter the elevator before her, palms flat holding the doors open and preventing her from entering, his broad frame filling the entrance, chest pressed against hers. "You're going to force him to prove you wrong, you know?"

His full smile, all teeth and eyes and fun and love. That's what she's been missing. "I'm looking forward to it, Castle."

Thanks so much for reading. If you've made it this far, I'd love to know what you think. I'm not opposed to writing more. I, actually, have more planned, but only if it's thought of as warranted.