The stairwell is dank and cool compared to the stifling, sticky heat of the Twelfth Precinct bullpen, the oppressive August day seeping in through the cracks in the foundation, through every brick, making sweat cling to Beckett's skin in any place it can bead, pool. It's making her crazy, honestly, because it's hard enough to think at all in the cloying heat, but add in a heated Castle with an equally heated stare to the mix and she's a goner.
"You need to stop," she spits at him, poking his shoulder with her finger until he's backed up against the wall, metal railing digging into his back. She's actually a little bit jealous of how cool the sleek rod must feel against his shirt, just a hint of relief from the temperature. Focus, Beckett.
He's got one foot on her step, one on the step below, evening out their heights almost exactly. "Stop what." He looks clueless, but his eyes dip down to her chest again, following a bead of sweat as it trails its way down the v-neck tshirt she's wearing. It's loose but clings across her chest from the dampness of her skin, or the swell of her bra, whichever, just enticing enough to be repeatedly catching Castle's attention all day long.
"Stop staring at my boobs like you've seen me naked." The hiss of her voice is enough to make his guilty eyes snap up to hers, but then he's shrugging like it can't be helped.
"You never wear shirts like this at work," he tries to explain. "And I have seen you naked, so it's not entirely my fault if you can tell that I have."
"And you didn't," he continues, sliding his fingers underneath the hem of her shirt to play at the waistband of her black pants, leaning his head too close and suddenly she's mesmerized by his lips. "You didn't even let me touch you this morning, and it's so hot and did you know that I can almost see the top of your bra in this shirt?"
"Then stop looking," she breathes, almost into his mouth and then she's arching into him slightly as his wandering fingers drag the back of her shirt up, letting the air from the stairwell brush against the dampness of her skin, cooling it slightly.
"You should take your shirt off, cool down for a minute." His words caress her lips as he tugs the back of her shirt higher and she finds herself almost nodding, hypnotized by his mouth and his proximity and the coolness of the air most of all, until his devious fingers brush her bra strap and she remembers where they are.
"Stop it!" she swears suddenly, pushing off of his chest and out of his reach, her shirt falling back over her skin, trapping nothing but heat and sweat. Ugh. He doesn't stop though, just follows her to the other side of the small stairwell, pressing her against the wall with his presence alone, not actually touching her.
"Just trying to help."
"It would help if you would stop making me so – "
"Hot?" he finishes for her, leering in an innocent sort of way, if such a thing is even possible. Pretending like he doesn't know exactly what he does to her.
"Hot headed then? Still counts as hot."
"Castle," she growls, her fists wrapping around the thin material of the tshirt he's wearing, to throttle him or something, but then his mouth is slanting over hers, hard. Impossibly, his tongue is hotter than the entire length of his body, sliding against hers in a way that makes her shiver, drinking from his mouth like he's the tall glass of ice water she so desperately craves.
His hands find their way under her shirt again, spreading wide over her sides, her back, playing with that bra he's been fantasizing about in front of her all day long, finally reaching around to grab at the front of it. She gasps into his mouth as he does, arching into his grasp, begging for more as a flash of heat swamps her, making her cheeks pink alarmingly. She feels dizzy, connects with his mouth in a series of quick, sloppy kisses as he slides a knee between her thighs and then everything is too much, too hot, she can't breathe, so she wraps a fist in the hair at the back of his head and pulls.
"Castle," she gaps, tugs again. "Stop, you have to stop." Her hips roll against his thigh even as she begs him to stop touching her, but he must hear the desperate thread to her voice, does let his hands drop to her hips, thumbs dragging circles into the hollows there as he tries to hold her hips still.
He pries one last light kiss from her mouth and then pulls back. "Too hot?" he asks, a slick trail of sweat sliding its way from his temple and down the side of his neck, lingering temptingly over his jumping pulse for a moment. She has to rip her eyes away to keep from lunging for it with her mouth.
"Too hot. Later," she pants, pushing his shoulder just enough to get him to take a step back, and then tepid air is swirling in around her again, the once cool stairwell feeling altogether stifling now. She drops her head into her hands, scrubbing them over her pink face, trying to pull herself together. She is at work. "You want to go get us some coffee?" she asks, trying to shove some space between them before someone has to come take her to the hospital for heat stroke because she couldn't keep her hands off her partner in the middle of a heat wave.
"Coffee?" his grimace is absolute, she can almost see him sweating harder.
"Iced coffee, Castle. With ice cubes."
"Right. Ice cubes." His gaze goes unfocused as he stares at her mouth, the word 'ice cubes' conjuring who knows what image for him. He backs up the steps though, not touching her again as he shoulders his way out of the stairwell, shooting her one last hot look before the door shuts on her completely.
She sighs deeply, leaning against the wall for a string of minutes until she can bear to trek her way back up the stairs and into the sea of bodies awaiting her.
It's about a half an hour later when Castle shows up again, holding two gloriously sweating large iced coffees. He thrusts one out to her without speaking, sucking on his own green straw.
She groans obscenely the second the freezing liquid hits her tongue, sweet with the extra vanilla he always has them pump in for her, perfectly cool as it slides down her throat and down to her stomach. He arches an eyebrow at her as if to say really? but she ignores him, rolling her eyes and pulling herself farther into her desk as Castle starts to plop down into his chair. The second he makes contact though, he shoots right back up because Gates is standing right behind him, snapping her fingers sharply.
"You two, in my office now." She doesn't even wait for a response, just turns on her heel and leaves, office door left ominously ajar for them.
Castle and Beckett share a look between them, both setting their coffees down on their shared desk with some reluctance, the cool beverages so much more appealing than whatever awaits them in the other room. Beckett leads the way, as she always does in the precinct, Castle shuffling into Gates' office behind her.
"Shut the door please."
Castle does the honors, and Beckett can almost hear the air suck out of his lungs as the doorknob snicks into place.
Gates says nothing, just slowly, precisely pulls an 8x10 image from a file to her left, slides it across her desk face down. She nods once, indicating Beckett should pick it up, so she does, lifting it from its corner until she's holding it face up, a grainy but obvious picture of she and Castle staring back at her.
Castle gasps comically behind her, she can almost see him slapping a hand over his own mouth as she stares at the picture – her pressed against the wall in the stairwell, Castle's hands up the front of her shirt, his thigh between her legs. She's arching away from the wall, mouth open over his, one hand fisted in his shirt, the other lost in his hair somewhere on the side of his head that she can't see. They look completely and totally wrapped up in each other, completely and totally caught.
"Sir," Beckett starts, but meets only a raised hand, stalling her explanation.
"I am not interested in why this happened, or is happening in my precinct, but I want to be very, very clear about something here detective, Mr. Castle."
Castle peeks out from behind her just far enough to make sheepish eye contact with their Captain, and suddenly Beckett feels like she's in the principal's office again.
"I don't care what the two of you do on your own time. I don't care about Page Six, or the two of you playing house, or playing footsie, or whatever it is that you are doing, but I expect you to act professionally in my house, or we will have a problem here. Am I understood?"
"Yes Sir, Captain, absolutely, of course, there will be no more footsie or anything going on in your house, cross my heart and hope to – " Castle blurts out and then trails off, catching Beckett's stop glare.
"Of course, Sir. It won't happen again," Beckett finishes for him, cool and professional as always. She turns on her heel to walk out the door, realizes that she's still holding the image of the two of them in the stairwell. Hesitating, she turns a little bit, holding up the picture, but Gates is shooing her out.
"Keep it," she says quickly, looking vaguely nauseated.
Beckett hugs it to her chest, image down as she and Castle make their way back to her desk where she can shove it into a drawer. She sucks down a huge gulp of her coffee, feeling the coolness and caffeine sooth her pounding heart a little bit, settling her. That could have gone much, much worse.
Castle's staring longingly at the drawer she just deposited their uh, sizzling picture into, idly sipping at his coffee until he realizes she's looking at him.
"Hm?" he asks noncommittally. "Did you say something?"
She rolls her eyes at him, pulling herself up to her keyboard.
"I'm wearing a turtleneck tomorrow."