Oh hey party people,

How we all doing after Monday's episode? Feeling good? Need some fluff to distract you until next week? Well you've come to the right place. This right here is a little birthday oneshot for the delightfully fun, lalaurala-bones (who may or may not have had her birthday an age ago, but heyyyy, better late than never!)

Happy birthday, sweetie! Hope this lives up to the prompt of Castle and Beckett going to the circus. I'll have you know that I've never been to the circus, but this is based on the experiences of my friends :) Take home lesson today, boys and girls, is to never go to the circus in small town Australia.

Thank you to eitoph, that wonderful beta of mine, for a second look at this thing!

Disclaimer: They don't belong to me, I just send them on bad dates.

Enjoy!

..:::..

Clowning Around

..:::..

Castle thinks he's being funny when he says, "Quick, sit down before the precinct calls," because really, what are the odds of it happening again? But in all honesty, Kate can't help but swat him across the back of his head for even putting the idea out there.

"Castle! Stop it!"

He laughs, "What? They wouldn't. Would they?"

She rolls her eyes, taking her seat, "They've interrupted a total of six of our previous dates. I don't want to jinx us."

"Six out of hundreds. It's a small amount, really."

She shakes her head, "Not when it's six in a row."

He shrugs as he takes his seat next to her, she has a point.

"No matter, we're here and so far so good."

She smiles, grabbing his hand, all notions of a ruined date night flying away with ease, "Thanks for bringing me here."

He squeezes her hand, "Of course! You can't go your whole life without ever going to the circus."

..:::..

It's not even halfway through the show and Castle is in hysterics while Beckett is throwing confused looks all around the big top tent, "Is this what the circus is always like?"

Castle takes a few deep breaths, calming himself before attempting to talk, "This is probably the worst circus I have ever seen. I am so sorry that it's your first."

He doesn't sound sorry at all.

Beckett continues glancing around the crowd, "No one else seems as impressed by this as you."

Most of the audience has the same look on their faces as Kate. Castle just pats her hand, "They're probably just not impressed about the whole lack of getting what you pay for. I, on the other hand, am finding great entertainment value in just watching you."

She cracks a grin at that and turns back to the centre of the tent, watching as a dog dressed up as a lion jumps through hoops, while a man rides a horse dressed as an elephant around the ring. "This really is ridiculous, isn't it?"

Castle just starts laughing again, "I can't believe that our first successful date in months is this."

As they continue to watch the show before them, Kate leans over the whisper, "How much do you want to bet there's a man dressed as a bear too?"

Castle shakes his head, "Too easy. I'd go with a dog dressed as a bear. If they think they can get away with the lion costume, then they'd probably think a bear costume wouldn't be too much of a stretch."

Kate shrugs, "I just don't think they'd go with that option."

Castle grins, "Care to make it interesting?"

"Thought you'd never ask."

..:::..

There's a sort of intermission in the show and everyone disperses to either refill their popcorn or to just leave while they still can. In the last 20 minutes there had been a tightrope walker who had walked on a rope that was two feet above the ground, clowns who looked more menacing than funny and a man on stilts who had fallen over and couldn't get back up.

Beckett sincerely suspected that this was an impromptu intermission as a result of the stilt guy who the rest of the performers were still trying to get up and off the middle of the stage area.

She took Castle's hand as he offered it and stood with him in the moving crowd, "I feel sorry for them, you know?"

He squeezed her hand, "Thirty dollars a ticket with a 'no refund' policy and this tent is full; I'd say they're doing alright."

As they step outside into the night air and Castle begins to head for the car, Beckett gives him a little tug, "Still, I'd like to stay to the end."

He takes a step back towards her, cradling her face with the hand not holding hers and placing a gentle kiss on her lips, "Only you would find the pleasure in staying on a bad date."

She leans into him, "It's only bad if you don't make it up to me later," she whispers with a wink, letting his hand go and sauntering back into the tent.

Castle is helpless but to follow.

..:::..

There are drag marks on the ground where they obviously gave up and just pulled the stilt man away and they're clearly trying so hard to keep the show on track with a knife throwing act which seems half decent.

"Kind of glad we stayed for this," Castle says, eyes glued to the man aiming his next knife around the body of his assistant.

Kate smiles, "Told you it wouldn't be too bad." What remains of the audience simultaneously winces as a knife is thrown through the air, landing in the wooden board behind the assistant. A collective sigh of relief runs through the crowd, "I've gotta say though, as much as we've been able to salvage this date, I am picking the next destination."

Castle laughs, "I look forward to what you have in store for me, Detective."

In answer she merely raises her eyebrows and lowers her voice, "We may not even have to venture out of the apartment."

After nearly two years of being together he assumed that he'd be used to her teasing and taunting ways by now, but they still catch him off guard as much as that first whispered, "You have no idea" did. He finds himself gravitating towards her, unable to resist her lure.

She smiles as they lose themselves in their own little bubble, content to just have their private conversation in the middle of a crowded tent. They hear the audience gasp again and barely make out the sound of the dull thud of the knife hitting the board as he leans across the seat to kiss her softly.

"This can't be the worst time you've ever had." Castle says, pulling back slightly, trying to gauge whether he's saved their date.

She rolls her eyes at him, "So insecure."

He chuckles, knowing he hasn't done too badly.

They hear the crowd gasp again and anticipate the thud. But when it doesn't come, they reluctantly turn back to the circus floor. From the side of the stage a man wearing what looks to be the bottom half of a bear costume calls out, "Can someone call the cops?" He shakily pulls off the paws of the costume which are covered in blood, "Someone has killed one of the clowns!"

Kate shoots Castle a look as he pulls out his wallet, handing over a hundred dollar bill, "Can't believe they thought they could get away with a man in a bear suit."

She accepts her money before standing up, pulling her badge from her hip, "NYPD, everyone just stay where you are and we'll get this sorted."

As she's running down to the ring she faces Castle one more time, "That's seven. I am definitely choosing the next date."

..:::..