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Hi people. Back with another little oneshot. (And yes, it's JUST a oneshot - so as much as I appreciate Story Alerts, it's not going to do you any good for this one.)

We know that Esplanie are still sleeping together on the show. We know that breaking up was Lanie's idea because she doesn't like the idea of getting married. (If you didn't know that, now you do. Tamala and Jon have said so several times.) But I've noticed that Lanie never passes up an opportunity to pick on Javi, either. Pointed looks, snarky comments, nudging him out of the way, etc. She definitely gives him the Playground Treatment. It's so obvious. She clearly still wants him (hence the "booty calls"), and she's so frustrated about wanting him that his sheer existence annoys her. XD It's adorable actually.

So. I was talking with my friend Marine (that's Hell-and-bliss to you folks), and we joked about locking Esplanie in a closet until they can play nicely. Then she asked me to write that. Now you're reading it. Thanks Marine. Fun as hell. XD

This takes place at some random point during early season 5. I'm shutting up now. Enjoy.

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"All right, that's it."

Castle's voice cut through the exes' bickering match out of nowhere. Javier felt the back of his collar catch before his sentence was even halfway out of his mouth, and suddenly he was being dragged - dragged - wherever Castle had decided they were going.

"Wha- Castle! Yo, man, what the hell-?!"

"Oh, you better get your bestselling paws off of me or I will hunt you down and - "

The second protest was Lanie, and she didn't get to finish either. Javier felt himself being let go of just long enough for Castle to yank a door open, and then both were unceremoniously dumped into the next room. No, no, it wasn't the next room. It was a closet.

"Oh, hell no you don't." Javier was fuming. He felt himself ante right up, taking a threatening step forward, imagining steam pouring out of his ears. Castle made his 'yeesh' face and took one step backward - and shoved the door closed.

"Castle!" Lanie yelled. She sounded just as furious as he was, but it was too dark to see her face; his eyes were still adjusting. "If you don't open this damn door in half a second I swear to everything you call holy that you will be my next autopsy!"

"Not gonna work this time!" Castle called through the wood. Javier heard the lock throw into the catch. On reflex he rattled the handle anyway. Nothing. "You two can come out when you decide you can talk to each other like civil grownups!"

"You're a dead man, Castle!" Javier growled.

"Say what you like, Esposito. You - you don't scare me."

"Oh yeah? I think five inches of mahogany between you and me right now is makin' you brave."

"Castle, this apartment is still a crime scene, you know," he heard Beckett saying out there. "We're gonna have to leave at some point and you're gonna have to let them out eventually."

"Yeah, dude, and when they get outta there, you're on your own, you know," Ryan chipped in.

"Will you guys just-?!" Castle directed his voice at the door again. "I'm tired of you guys being so angry at each other all the time! We're all friends here, at the very least, and I personally think you could stand to remember that. So no, whether you murder me later or not, neither of you are leaving this closet until you make progress! So I suggest? You start talking."

Murder was right. Javier was already halfway through the master plan. He turned on his heel to look at Lanie, and she had her arms crossed tight, her expression a step away from putting a hex on Castle's houses. "Break the door down," she instructed.

"What?"

"Javier Esposito, I have not stuttered a day in my life - you break doors down for a living, you can do it now."

"The hell I can." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "This's hand-carved mahogany."

"Javier."

"Hey, I did not lock us in here! Besides." He cast a quick look around the tiny space, now that his eyes had adjusted to the dark a little more. There was barely room to stretch your arms out, much less achieve any kind of personal space. "No leverage. Couldn't get enough power in it. Best I could do is shoot the handle off."

"So do it," Lanie snapped.

Javier turned a glare on her. "Oh sure, I'll just kill us both," he sniped back. "Ricochet, Lanie, wake up."

"So we're seriously stuck in this closet?"

"Yeah. We're seriously stuck in this closet."

"Oh, that is just fantastic."

"Hey, I'm not exactly jumpin' up and down either." Obviously not. Before Castle had given them the inmate treatment, they had been neck-deep in another pointless bitching match about nothing. He couldn't even remember how it'd begun. All he knew was that, somewhere during the past year, the woman he'd loved waking up next to had become the woman he wasn't allowed to wake up next to. And it was a little friggin' frustrating, to be honest. "Look." Javier held up his palms. He could be the adult here. He would. Really. "Why don't we just wave the white flag; act like we're cool and get the hell outta here."

Lanie scoffed, rolling her eyes, not looking at him. "Sure, no problem, let's just tell Castle right now that we've worked out all our problems in fifteen seconds together. I'm sure he'll believe us and open the door. I think that's the best idea you've ever had; I'm just fallin' for you all over again, Mister Bond."

"A'right, then you know what? You get to come up with somethin'. I'm out."

"What's there to come up with? We're stuck here until Beckett leaves the crime scene."

"'Course we are, 'cause you don't wanna talk," Javier muttered under his breath. He took a step away from her, rubbing at the back of his neck, wishing this was a bigger closet. At least then he could pace. Or pick a corner and stay there.

"Well it seems like talking never does us any damn good anyway," Lanie threw back.

"Yeah, ya think?"

"Javier, I am in no mood."

"You're never in the mood for much of anything, are you - well, 'cept the one thing. That, you've got a lock on. The rest needs work."

Her eyes were narrowed at him. "If this arrangement we've had is that much of a problem for you, why don't you back out of it, Detective? Nothing's keeping you, trust me, you're free to go."

"And she's moved onto flattery," he deadpanned. "Might as well come out and say 'You're pretty much just convenient.'"

"Don't you dare make me out to be the bitch here."

"Oh, I'm not," he fired back. Pointedly.

That was the wrong thing to say. He didn't care anymore, because everything was the wrong thing to say, but nonetheless. Lanie was eye-to-eye with him in two hard steps, and her finger jabbed into his chest like she was trying to make him bleed. "If you want a clean break so bad, then why the hell did you ever agree to this?"

That was it. She wanted it? Fine. "When are you gonna get it through your head, Lanie? I didn't want a clean break. I didn't want a break. I wanted things to stay how they were, you know, back when you at least acted like you gave a damn about actually bein' with me. But hey, the important thing is you're bein' honest now, at least - although while we're at it, why do you even still bother? 'Cause you only seem to want the one thing, and you don't need me for that - "

"You unbelievable dumbass," she cut him off, and even in the dark, he could see how angry she'd gotten, "I am only gonna say this once; I bother because I would rather have you. I never said I wanted you out of my life completely - and you think this is convenient for me in some way? You think I asked for things to get like this?"

"So you want me around, you just don't wanna be with me. How does that make sense, Lanie. What am I supposed to take from that?"

"Welcome to being involved with a woman. I didn't expect to have to warn you it'd be complicated."

"Oh, so we are 'involved' - after all that effort from you, makin' sure I had it clear that we weren't?"

Lanie stepped away from him, shaking her head, sighing like an impatient mother. "Honey, we're as involved as it gets," she said dryly. "That's what this is. That's what you call this mess. Neck-deep-in-quicksand involved."

He closed the gap again, his eyes intense on her. "Then why are you tryin' so damn hard to get out of it? Huh? You don't wanna get rid of me, but you won't let us be us again, either. And you won't tell me why."

"I know," she said, a bit too quickly.

"Are you ever gonna?"

She turned around, giving him a look, though not as vicious as the one from a minute ago. "I'm still mulling. I think you know that."

"Oh, believe me, I know that," he mumbled. Then he exhaled, shoving his hands down in his jacket pockets. At least she'd admitted what he'd already assumed. She'd given a little ground. It was unlike her to give any. He kind of felt like he should reciprocate a little. Extend the olive branch. He shrugged one shoulder, not looking at her. "Anyway, I don't back out 'cause to be honest, I don't see how it's possible. F'you really needed to know."

Lanie looked at him again. "…Oh."

"Yeah."

"So…say I call you…"

"S'like throwin' chum to a shark."

She detoured from the point to wrinkle her nose a bit, arching an eyebrow. "You have the oddest metaphors."

"Just what came to mind first," he shrugged. "Doesn't matter. I figured you should know; now you know. Sucks, maybe, but…when it's you…me saying no isn't really a…realistic option."

"…Well." It was still dark in there, but he did catch Lanie swipe a glance his way. "I'll…I'll keep that in mind."

"And…look, you know I'm not gonna push anything," he sighed. Yeah, he got mad about it now and then, and yeah, he could stomp and shout and act like he had half a leg to stand on, but…did he? No. Not when it was Lanie. Feelings, for him, never just went away, once he got mixed up in them. No matter how long or short she wanted to keep the leash, he'd always be on the other end. "S'pose I should be glad you're tryin' to do this right at all….I'm cool; you do whatever you need to do."

She nodded, looking grateful to avoid a worse escalation. "Thank you."

Didn't mean she was off the hook. "But, come on, can we just agree on one thing? In the meantime? Can you not bust my balls at every single crime scene we ever end up at?"

And one of the Looks was back on her face. "I did not."

"Writer-Boy locked us in a closet, Lanie."

"We are not in this closet because of me."

"The first thing you said when you saw me behind the tape was 'Oh wonderful, you again.'"

Her eyes rolled, but her tone downgraded from defense to a reluctant pout. "Fine…" She looked up at him, looking much less ready to go for the jugular this time. "I apologize…I should be more professional. No matter what happens between you and me, you at least deserve the same respect as Ryan and Beckett… I'll work on that. I will."

Well. Javier had definitely not seen that coming. He finally settled on a nod. Hoping it conveyed a certain…mutual understanding going on, here. "S'all I'll ask. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"Maybe next time we can get through a body drop without havin' to add Castle to the murderboard."

"Ooh, do not remind me of the hurt he's in for."

"To make up for the fact that we can't let on that he actually helped?" he guessed.

"Mmhm."

Satisfied that they'd accomplished enough for one day, Javier lifted his hand - but Lanie's grabbed his wrist before he could knock. She nibbled her bottom lip as her eyes moved to his face.

"Just…" She was drifting in closer. "…as long as we're…already here."

As long as they were already here, they would…what? That? It was nuts, a lot more so once you considered the wolf pack of cops just outside the door. Despite his self-preservation tying to kick in, he still let his hands slide down her waist, intoxicated as she slid hers under his coat. "I don't think that - "

"I don't mean that. I mean this." With that said, she pressed him to the closet wall, her body flush with his as she tipped up, and her lips pulled at his own.

It took him no time to react. Forget intoxication; he was drunk on her, and he reciprocated with all the fervor of an alcoholic. Her hands slid a few inches up the back of his shirt. He twisted her belt loop around his finger. They kissed decadently. It went on like that until their isolated air supply ran thin, and then she took her step backward again, clearing her throat, smoothing out her blouse.

"There. Now we can say we've taken advantage of some random person's closet." She smirked then. "Weren't you keeping a list at one point? I already know, no harm in admitting it now. May as well keep it going."

Javier grinned, just because he had to - and without missing a beat, took a scrap of folded paper and a retractable pen from his jacket lining, carefully pronouncing "Vic's hall closet" as he wrote it down. "Boom." He caught her eye as he clicked the pen and tucked both away. "This's...just for the record, just so you know. Personal posterity."

"Oh, I know." She almost looked like she was close to laughing.

He liked it that way. "So. Anything else?"

"Hmmm…not that I can think of at the moment."

"And, we're cool? For now?"

Lanie smiled. "Yeah. I'd say we're all right."

"'Kay then." He could settle for that. Maybe it wasn't leaps and bounds or anything, but it was another day where they didn't kill each other. Until she decided she wanted an upgrade, that was enough for him. "How 'bout we get outta here?"

"Sounds great."

He smiled at her, and then his inner wannabe-boyfriend switched spots again with his inner 'let-me-at-him' badass. Javier sent the side of his fist twice into back of the door, barking out, "Yo Castle! You can let us out any time now."

"Ask nicely," came the muffled voice.

"Castle," Lanie warned.

"Just one question, for the sake of the jury of my peers - you're not gonna wound me or anything, right?"

"So long as you unlock this damn closet as fast as humanly possible, I'd say the chances of your immediate health skyrocket. You don't, and you're goin' downtown with me. In a bodybag."

"I like those odds." Javier heard the latch turn, and then winced when the door drew all the way back and light spilled in from what felt like every sconce in the building. He scowled dangerously at Castle, who shrank back slightly, despite his tree-ish height advantage, and swallowed visibly. "…So. I, ah, I hope we all have good things to report?"

"Bite me, Judy Blume."

"Well, Judy Blume kept kosher, actually, so."

Javier shouldered past him. Judging from the second 'oof' the writer let out, he guessed that Lanie did the same thing to him seconds later. "Relax. If I was gonna hit you you'd be bleedin' already."

A chipper note jumped back into Castle's voice. "Really? So, can I assume my brilliant-if-somewhat-desperate meddling was a check in the 'helpful' column?"

His eyes passed the author and came to land on his ex-girlfriend/involvement-mate. For about a thousandth of a second, there was a flicker in her eye, aimed right at him. He understood. Then Lanie played her part, arms crossed, withering Castle with a punishing glare. "'Helpful' is not the first word I would use to describe any of your methods, however if you'd like me to broaden my vocabulary for you - "

Castle threw his hands up. "You know what? I tried. You may now resume your hundred-yard stares and backhanded insults." He walked away and left them both standing there, calling back over his shoulder, "Just let me get far enough away before the supersonic boom! Alexis would miss me!" And then he was out in the hall with the rest of the team.

And then Javier was alone with Lanie, and for just a second, they shared a tiny little smirk of victory - both that they'd just duped Castle and that they'd just successfully made out in a closet like teenagers.

Lanie cleared her throat, then, and that was the signal to go back to reality. "Well." She headed toward the door to the hallway, and this time, her tone was teasing, not tormenting. But only if you paid close attention. "You got a job to do, Detective; I suggest you do it."

He grinned. Why not? No one was looking. "Read my mind, Doc," he replied, and strode for the exit himself.

Which wasn't as wide as either of them had clearly figured, because they wedged themselves together trying to pass through the frame, shoulder-to-shoulder.

Javier looked at Lanie. She was giving him that 'Really?' face.

"Okay, that one was me," he muttered. He turned free, backed up a step, and gestured into the room ahead. "How 'bout you go first."

"Great idea."

"And, nobody saw that."

"Not if they wanna live."

Maybe there was more work to this whole 'work in progress' thing than he'd thought.

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There you have it. (And people say love is simple. Psh.) XD

Like always: if anyone's into joining an RP forum, go to my profile page. There are two paragraphs toward the middle that'll tell you everything you need to know. The one in bold and the one with the links.

Let me know what you thought of this one, wouldja? Please? It'd sure be nice to hear what you liked or why. I'm at a shortage of feedback lately (besides Marine, who's a doll as always).

Thanks, peeps. (Did I just say "peeps?" God, I gotta get off the internet.) Peace and love.

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