"You've no idea," Kate whispered in Rick's ear. He shuddered – he might not know exactly what it would be like, but his imagination was running pretty wild already. He watched her walk away – then changed his mind. He began to run after her and caught up just as she reached her car.

"In your dreams, Castle," she said, without turning around.

"In case you hadn't noticed, my dreams have a habit of coming true," he replied, using his hand to block her from opening the door.

Kate began having (another) huge inner debate with herself. She liked him, sure. And Lanie was always telling her she should be more impulsive; live a little. She'd dreamed about him though – wasn't that weird? It wasn't her, anyway. Kate Beckett did not jump into bed with rich, handsome womanisers. She was the one and done type. Or would be, if she ever met the right guy. How will you ever meet anyone unless you take a chance once in a while? asked a voice in her head that sounded a lot like her best friend. While she was thinking, Rick had been talking, trying to persuade her.

"...and it would just be dinner. I can be respectable – some people have even found me to be grown up."

Kate laughed. "I doubt it."

"The three cruellest words you will ever say to me."

Kate grinned. "I doubt it," she repeated. He chuckled.

"Come on, it's just dinner."

Resisting the temptation to say "I doubt it" a third time, Kate gave up fighting with herself. After all, if he decided he wanted more than dinner, she would still be perfectly capable of saying no. And she was wearing a gun.


Rick looked at her, stunned. "You're saying yes?"

Kate laughed again. "Didn't you want me to? I could take it back."

"No! I mean, yes, I did want you to. And don't take it back. I just thought... I don't know. Okay. Great. You want to go now?"

Kate thought about that. If she went now, she'd bypass all the annoying deliberation about what to wear. And she wouldn't have to tell him where she lived. She nodded. Rick grinned from ear to ear – looking just like a little boy on Christmas morning.

"Will you let me drive?" Rick asked as she began to open her car door.

"No," she said with a smile. "This vehicle is owned by the NYPD. It would be plain irresponsible to let you drive it. Actually, I was going to dump it at the 12th and we could get a cab."

"Sounds good," Rick said, getting into the car in the passenger seat. Kate buckled up and set off. Traffic was beginning to build up for the evening rush hour; she wondered if they could walk somewhere from the precinct instead of going back on the crowded roads. Rick seemed like a fancy restaurant kind of guy, but she wasn't dressed for anywhere too posh.

"I've been thinking," he said as they waited at a red light. "It might be fun for me to help out on some more of your cases."

Kate gave him a look. "Don't flatter yourself. And no offence, but I don't think you're suited to being a cop."

"None taken – I agree, I'm far too entertaining. You can't deny I was helpful, though."

"I suppose not. Still. Lucky might be more accurate."

"You'd make a great character in a book, you know."

Kate laughed. "I've already agreed to go out with you, you don't need to lay it on so thick."

Rick grinned. "I mean it. Smart, savvy, sexy – everybody will want to read about her. And I need a new character."

"Why? What's wrong with Derrick?" Kate asked. Rick remembered she hadn't read Storm Fall yet.

"Nothing," he said, but his voice was full of suggestion.

Kate decided not to press him for an answer. They reached the precinct. She had to admit, having him around was kind of entertaining. They got out of the car and she suggested that they walk to Remy's, since it was just around the corner.

"Typical cop, going for a burger. Just don't have a doughnut for dessert, okay?"

Kate laughed. "I'm not a big fan of doughnuts."

"Don't tell me. You only eat salad."

Kate grinned. "Hardly. Come on, if you really want to know what I eat, take me to dinner."

"As you wish," he said. He linked her arm through his. She was surprised, but she didn't take her arm away.

They sat at a secluded corner table in Remy's, chatting contentedly as they waited to be served. Kate had a burger and fries; Rick had the same, but asked them to hold the pickles. Kate laughed again.

"Don't you get ahead of yourself, Castle. We're just having dinner," she reminded him. He winked, and waved to the waitress to order them each a beer.

The beer was cold and refreshing. Kate took a long swig, watching Rick as she did so. Rick was watching her too – and she liked the way he was doing it. It had been a while since she had been looked at in that why by someone she liked. She was too complicated... And Rick didn't know any of it yet. Rick took a swig of his own beer and his eyes smiled at the girl sitting opposite him. She was the first woman he'd met in a long time who was complicated, yet also self sufficient and strong. She hadn't wanted him to sign her chest either. Beckett had... attitude? He'd say 'balls' but it wasn't masculine. She wasn't throwing herself at him, she wasn't interested in the fame or the money. She was interested in (and attracted to, he hoped) the person.

Their burgers arrived and they began to eat. They made polite conversation, laughing with each other, both curious to see where this evening would go. They both had another couple of beers. Rick's hand brushed Kate's when he reached for the ketchup. The polite conversation got deeper. Kate felt like she'd known Rick for years; they had this sparkling connection; her skin tingled when it touched his. It seemed to her that his bright blue eyes saw directly into her soul – and they were windows to his. He was so much more complex than the badboy bachelor the tabloids made him out to be. And yet he was still just as fun.

When they were finished eating, Rick looked sideways at Kate.

"You want to go somewhere else?" he asked.

Kate thought about it. She hadn't been dancing in years. She knew she should say no. She should go home, and go to bed. Alone. She would see Rick again; it wasn't as though this was her last chance. She formed the rejection in her mind, but somehow she couldn't say it. When was the last time you had any fun, girl? Go on, be spontaneous! Kate took a deep breath.

"Okay. But I have to change, I think."

Rick smiled. "We can stop at your place on the way. It must be tough, being a girl."

Kate grinned. "Not really, Castle."

Rick handled the bill. Kate didn't want him to, but he insisted.

"Think of it as a thank you, for letting me work with you on the case."

"Fine. I guess I deserve it, after putting up with you!"

They laughed. "You enjoyed it really," Rick said into her ear as they waited outside for a cab. Kate didn't answer. She waved a cab, and gave her address.

"So that's where chez Beckett is. Not so far from my place, really."

They flopped back together in the cab, leaning against each other. Kate realised they were a bit close, but she didn't want to move. It would be obvious that she was pulling away. Rick put his arm around her, pulling her towards him instead.

"Getting a little friendly, Castle," she said, but she was smiling, and she still didn't move. He fiddled with her short hair, playing with the strands at the side of her face.

"You smell like cherries," he whispered. She giggled – and was completely shocked at herself – Kate Beckett never giggled. Rick stayed close; when the cab got to her building she was kind of disappointed.

"Want me to wait here?" he asked.

He really was a gentleman. "No, you can come on up." She tried to remember how messy her apartment had been when she left it that morning. Not too bad, she hoped. They went upstairs and Kate unlocked the door. The living room was fairly tidy. She took yesterday's paper, and Storm Fall, off the couch, and motioned for him to sit.

"I'll be as quick as I can," she said, He smiled widely.

"If I get bored, you have some excellent reading material."

Kate grinned and went to her room. She opened her closet and wondered what to wear. She'd just have to make a snap decision. She pulled out a tiny black dress. It had a very high neckline, but the back was just lace, and it was very short. Before she could change her mind she took off her work clothes, put on deodorant, thanked whatever it was that had made her shave her legs that morning, and put on the dress. She found some black stiletto heels and a silver bracelet. She put on some make up – far more than usual on her eyes – and shook her hands through her hair. That would have to do.

She looked at herself in the mirror. She hoped Rick would like it. She brushed her teeth and put on some lipstick. She put her drivers licence, credit card, phone, keys, and a little cash into a small purse – she could check it at the club. She wondered where Rick would take her. Then she bit her lip, gave herself a little shake to remind herself she was really doing this, and went out into the living room.

Rick had been relaxing on the sofa, daydreaming. When he saw Kate, though, he immediately snapped to attention.

"Wow," he breathed. "You look amazing."

Kate blushed. She wasn't used to having that effect on people.

"I mean, I thought you looked amazing before but that dress..."

Kate wondered what she had intended to do by wearing it. It was a dress that screamed for a guy to tear it off you. She almost felt guilty, but she changed her mind. She was a grown woman, and no, she wasn't in the habit of having one night stands, but there was no reason why she shouldn't. And who said it would be a one night stand? Okay, that last bit, yeah, it probably would be. But she wasn't entirely sure – she and Rick did seem to have a connection. And she was sick of being sensible all the time. And of being sad. She wanted to live her life; to forget about all the walls she had built around herself when she was nineteen. Even if it was just for one night.

Rick took her to a club she'd never been to before. It looked very upmarket, but the bouncer saw Rick and let them both in for free.

"I forgot you were famous," Kate said, giggling.

"Cruel. So cruel," he said, leading her to the bar. "What do you want to drink?"

She said she would have what he had.

"Risky, Beckett. I like it." He ordered to shots of Sour Cherry, and licked his lips after he'd downed his. She threw hers back and he ordered another two. She was starting to feel even less like herself.

"Want to dance?" he asked, already leading her into the crowd of people in the middle of the room. She felt herself relax easily as she moved with him, and for once she felt at home on the dance floor, rather than self conscious. She didn't even notice as every pair of male eyes in that room locked onto her body. Rick did, but he just smiled. Kate was looking straight at him.

They stayed at the club until it closed. Kate knew she was drunk but she felt mostly in control. Just a little more free than usual. The bartender had called them a car. Kate did a double take at the sleek black BMW that appeared for them, but Rick assured her it was theirs. He gave the driver Kate's address and all too soon they were back at her building. Rick walked her upstairs.

"So – did you have a good time?"

Kate smiled. "Wonderful. Thanks."

"Always," Rick said, bringing his face closer to hers. But he pulled back, uncertain. Kate shuddered; she had been so ready for him to kiss her. She wasn't going to let him walk away now. She took hold of his tie, and turned so he was against the door. Then she crushed her lips to his, running her hands over his body, tasting the cherry flavoured alcohol on his lips. He kissed back for all he was worth – he hadn't been expecting this, but he was definitely enjoying it.

When they broke apart for air, Kate felt the colour rising in her cheeks.

"Why are you blushing?" Rick asked gently.

Kate bit her lip. "Because... I want to do this, more than anything. And that's really not like me."

Rick smiled. "I'm not going to push you. Do what you want to do."

Kate thought hard. "Okay. Will you come in?"

Rick nodded, and took her hand as she let them both into the apartment. She led him straight through to the bedroom, and in a moment they were kissing again.

Kate loved the feel of his body on hers; the electricity as their skin touched made the hair on the back of her neck prickle. When she was lying, tired and breathless, across his chest an hour later, she realised it really had been too long since she'd done that. And she also realised that her head was on Richard Castle's chest, and that she had just had sex with him. Twice. And he was now playing with her hair. Suddenly, she sat up.

"I didn't have sex with you because you're famous. You know that, right?"

Rick laughed. "Yes. And for the record, if you'd only been into me because I'm famous... Actually that'd be a lie. I probably would still have had sex with you. But only because you're incredibly hot and an amazing person."


He laughed again. "You look cute when you're thinking. Come on. Lie down. Relax. You can even sleep if you want."

Kate smiled. She knew he was right. She lay down beside him, trying to feel tired again.

"You're not relaxing, Beckett."

Kate sighed. "It's hard."

Rick smiled at her. "No it's not. But I'll help you..."

She gasped as his hand slipped under the covers – but he was right. It did help her to relax. He pulled her close to him, and she felt the warmth of his body.

"I feel like I owe you now," she murmured. He stroked her back.

"Go to sleep. You can make it up to me next time," he said.

There was going to be a next time. Kate closed her eyes, hoping she had done the right thing. Maybe there wasn't a right thing. She had done what she wanted, anyway. And she felt good. She wouldn't be guilty. There was nothing to be guilty about. She felt great, Rick felt great. They were both grown ups. She sighed, and let herself drift off to sleep. She could over-think it another time.