If you're unfamiliar with the show Person of Interest, the premise is that a man named Harold Finch has developed a computer program that analyzes New York City security video feeds and cell phone calls to identify crimes during their planning stage. The program identifies a threat and produces the social security number of the person involved. Two men, Finch and John Reese, a former CIA hitman, go about stopping the crimes before they happen. They have two cops who help them – Carter who helps because she wants to do what's right, and Fusco who helps because he owes Reese. Fusco refers to the network of dirty cops as 'HR.'


It was over. Not because they'd solved it, but because she'd walked away. She had quit her job (though Rick had a sneaking suspicion that Gates will have "forgotten" Kate's resignation by the time her suspension time is over), and he had deleted all of his notes from his smartboard. They'd made it back to her place, where he found that she'd taken down the murder board in her window as well.

They were free.

Castle rummaged through Kate's kitchen trying to find the coffee filters.

"Jeez, Castle, you're making a mess of everything. You shoulda just asked." She smiled, with no malice behind that statement. Those same words would have been biting and hurt-filled only a week ago.

Now, though, she wore his dress shirt unbuttoned and sky blue silk panties and a joyful grin. And he just couldn't help but step in for a kiss.

John Reese's phone rang. He didn't look at the caller ID. It was Finch. It was always Finch. They had another number.

By the time John reached Finch's place, they'd already begun compiling background. This one looked difficult. This one has lots of enemies. This one has even already survived more than one attempt on her life.

They pulled information on her team, her captain, her former captain, and her unofficial partner. Information on her last case. Information on who threw her off a roof just over a week before.

The images filled Finch's screen. The last one was the fake driver's license of the would-be assassin, current alias Cole Maddox.

John let out a heavy sigh. "Shit."

Finch's face immediately quirked in question, "You know him?"

John gave an almost imperceptible nod. "He's like me," he deadpanned. "If he's after her, she doesn't have much time."

"Look, Reese, I can't help you much on this. Everyone's breathing down my neck about you," Detective Carter sighed into her phone.

"Much? So you'll help a little," John questioned.

"Only because she's a good cop. I'll call you if I find anything." She almost hung up when she heard him speak again.

"Do you know her, or just her reputation?" Maybe if Carter knows this Beckett, she'll be a bigger help.

"We've met. I used to date one of the detectives on her team."

"Ryan or Esposito?"

"Huh. You've already done some homework. Esposito."

"Good to know." He smiled when he said it, and she heard the lilt in his voice.

"Why, Mr. Reese? Are you trying to find out my type?"

He let out a quiet laugh and answered, "I will talk to you soon, Detective," then ended the call.

Reese selected another name on his contact list. "Fusco, time to make yourself useful."

The surly detective's lip curled. As if he hadn't been plenty useful to Reese's vigilante efforts. "What now?"

"How deep are you in with HR?"

"Deep enough. Why?"

"Find out all you can on the rumor that there were dirty cops involved in the attacks on Detective Kate Beckett."

"Nikki Heat?" Reese could hear Fusco's surprise.


"That chick detective that got shot last summer? Her so-called partner is a mystery writer. His Nikki Heat character is based on her."

"Sounds like you know a lot about her already." Reese wasn't sure if it was a good thing that this semi-dirty cop might know Beckett.

"Obviously, you've never seen her, or you'd have paid attention to her before now, too. Unless that part of you is as screwed up as the rest of you is." Fusco smirked at his payback for the 'make yourself useful' comment.

Reese ignored him and hung up the phone without another word. Minutes later, he pulled his car to a stop on Kate Beckett's block and began to look for a hidden vantage point.

Rick pulled his jeans on, but didn't bother buttoning them. She'd walked by and ran her fingers across her bare chest so many times in the last week, he'd lost count. And she unbuttoned his pants anytime she had the chance. She seemed to like that look on him. Bare chest with snug, unbuttoned jeans. He was happy to oblige.

His mother was still in the Hamptons, and Alexis had left for her senior trip four days after graduation. They still had three days before she got home, and they intended to spend every minute making up for all the time spent staying quiet and for all the touches not taken. He even accused Kate of trying to set records and of being a nudist at heart.

They were talking, finally talking, and laughing and touching and doing everything they'd wanted for so long.

She strutted up and pressed her lithe body to his, nosing under his jaw. Hooking her thumbs through his belt loops, she purred, "What are these on for? Just so I can enjoy pulling them off again?"

He captured her lips with his, languidly working over them, while caressing her bare back softly, so softly.

"I thought we might go on a walk. Maybe to the farmer's market or a coffee shop?" He nibbled her ear.

"Tired of this already?" she teased.

"Never. But we're running out of sustenance, and haven't been outside for days."

"Ahh. Well, we do need to keep our energy levels up. It wouldn't do for you to pass out from over-exertion in my bed," she murmured, lips brushing just below his Adam's apple.

Rick laughed. As if he'd be the one passing out first from not having food. His fingers caressed her ribs, no longer protruding like they were in the fall, but still not carrying any extra weight.

It had taken him a while to believe it, but he was finally wrapping his mind around the truth that she really had put her case to rest. And she was okay with letting it go. He hadn't seen her this happy, this free, in… well… ever. He'd never seen her look free. Until this week.

He wished they'd caught her shooter. He wanted to put the man in the ground himself. But not if going after him killed Kate. Or if it killed this relationship. He could let go of his desire for vengeance, no, justice, in order to have her. Like this. Smiling and naked in his arms. Alive and in love.

She'd said that, too. Not the night she showed up wet and repentant at his door, threw herself at him, and turned his world on end. She didn't say those words that night.

"I'm sorry, Castle. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Those words, he found, he needed even more than he needed to hear that she loved him. Forgiveness was given, and she took him to bed. They'd hardly left the bed since. They'd moved from his bed to hers at some point, intending to just get her clothes, but instead stayed for two days.

But she eventually said those words. She loves him. She said it… to explain? He couldn't understand why she gave it all up. She acted like he should have known already. That saying it was superfluous, obvious. But when he objected to her quitting her job, she knew he needed to hear the words.

"I can't do it anymore, Rick. I can't… I can't have you find me splattered on a sidewalk or stabbed or shot and be too late to save me. Or have Ryan and Espo show up at your door to inform you that I…. I can't do it, Rick. I can't hurt you like that. It's not a risk I can keep taking. I have to stop, because I love you too much to risk hurting you again." He responded with a crushing kiss full of wonder and passion.

Castle watched her smile, free and unburdened. Not investigating. Safe. And she loves him. Wow.

"So? Farmers market? Coffee? Somewhere else?" He planted a kiss on the top of her head and inhaled deeply, his arms wrapped loosely around her in a tender embrace.

Reluctantly, she stopped trailing kissed across his chest. "Farmer's market. Coffee to go on the way."

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