He makes her smile

Disclaimer: nope, not mine. I could never have created a Hamptons house that stunning.

Spoilers: this is set sometime after 5x04, Murder He Wrote

Author's Note: my little offering, post that truly fabulous episode Andrew and co gave us this week. Just a little insight into how the Hamptons might have changed them.

He makes her smile.

And she's not just talking an upward quirk of the lips, she's talking full on, can't hold it in smiling. The type she's always tried to hide from him behind her fingers or her coffee mug, before.

It's not new information for her. It's just that ever since that weekend in the Hamptons, she's found it harder to hold it in. The sheer amount that she feels for him. Particularly in front of her murder board, late at night, when all she really wants to do is shrug into her jacket and let him lead her home with his fingers pressed against the small of her back.

Mmm, those hands.

"Penny for them, Detective," he murmurs, materialising at the corner of her murder board and leaning casually, that oh so soft smile on his lips that she's only seen since they got together. He's such a relationship man, and oh, she loves it. And as her cheeks blush pink and she pushes off her desk to cross the space between them, she knows there's no way that he doesn't know what she's thinking about.

"Moot question, surely," she murmurs, unable to stop the smile from crossing her face as she watches realisation dawn over his.

"So it would appear," he agrees, throwing a glance around the bullpen before risking a quick swipe of his fingers at the hair that's fallen across her cheek. Her skin tingles in response, and she ducks her head for a moment, not even trying to fight the smile.

He's far too close for that.

"Did you get anywhere?" he murmurs, affording her carefully constructed murder board a cursory glance. She sighs, dragging her own eyes upward on a shake of her head. "Will you get anywhere? If you stay here 'til whatever ungodly hour you were planning to?"

It's a good question.

And if she's perfectly honest, the answer is no. Checking witness statements, rechecking financials, there's no benefit to doing either of those into the early hours when she could go home to a glass of wine and the warmth of his arms rather than the faint whisper of his fingers against her cheek when he thinks no one is looking.

"Let's call it a night, boys," she calls as Ryan and Esposito re-enter the bullpen, not bothering to hide her laughter at their animated acceptance of her suggestion. And all the while, Castle continues to regard her warmly, his fingers twitching at his side, itching she knows to reach out to her.

"Stop looking at me like that," she murmurs, reaching past him for a marker to make an arbitrary amendment to the murder board in the name of packing up.

"Like what?" he whispers back, shamelessly grazing her thigh with his fingers as she oh so deliberately invades his space, feeling the warmth of his breath against her cheek.

"Like you've seen me naked, and are planning on doing so again tonight," she murmurs, capping her marker and reluctantly withdrawing from his space.

"Oh but I have, Detective," he murmurs, throwing her a sinful grin as he pulls his jacket from the back of his chair with a flourish. "Well I don't need telling twice," he adds, louder, for effect. "I am out of here."

"Hot date, Castle?" Esposito calls across the bullpen, interrupting his teasing of Ryan with that supersonic hearing they both seem to have suddenly developed.

"Wouldn't you like to know," he answers smoothly, not a hint of reaction on his face as she's reminded that yet again, he is his mother's son.

"What about you, Beckett?" Esposito counters, arms folded and armed with a shit eating grin.

"Wouldn't I like to know about Castle's hot date? Not especially," she murmurs, starting to tidy up her papers. Esposito looks like he's about to continue the line of questioning she knows that he was headed for, but before Ryan can cut in, looking oddly like he's about to change the subject, Castle pulls out those overdramatic acting skills again.

"I'm wounded," he complains dramatically, and she rewards him with the barest of eye contact before returning her attention to tidying up the papers on his desk, making a conscious effort not to listen to the casual banter he engages in with Ryan and Esposito about his fake love life, or lack thereof. She knows it's all lies. Knows it's what they've agreed.

But that doesn't mean that she wants to hear it.

"Don't you boys have something better to do at… ten o'clock on a Friday?" she asks eventually, glancing at her watch. The boys snap out of it and bid them farewell, but she doesn't miss the way that Ryan intercepts the questions she knows Esposito is about to ask before he can ask them.

As she watches them walk away she tries to puzzle it out, but before she can get very far Castle is in her space again, leaning over to pluck her jacket off her chair.

"I thought they'd never leave," he murmurs, shaking her jacket out. "And nice deflection by the way. Your place or mine?" she can't help rolling her eyes affectionately, slipping her arms into her jacket and letting him smooth her collar down.

There's nothing unusual about that.

"I'll meet you at yours," she murmurs, grabbing her phone and keys from her desk and doing her best to look professional. "Half an hour?" His face looks like it all but lights up, and if that isn't the best feeling in the world, she doesn't quite know what is.

"I'll be waiting-" he murmurs, but she cuts him off at the smirk on his face, because she knows that smirk, and she knows what follows it.

"If the next word out of your mouth is any sort of pet name Richard Castle, in front of my murder board, I swear…"

"I plead the fifth, sweetheart," he intercepts smoothly, and damn him, even though she really does hate them, the pet name falling from his lips like it's the most natural thing in the world totally does it for her. She feels her cheeks flushing pink again, even as he raises his voice back to an acceptable level as a group of uniforms tumble into the bullpen. "Until tomorrow, Detective."

"Night, Castle," she murmurs, touching her fingers to the smile on her lips before she even really registers what she's doing. Because she feels too much and she doesn't even need a handshake to know he wants to kiss her anymore, and it just all wants out.

Especially in front of her murder board.