A/N: This story is for Cartographical. Nobody loves season-one Castle and Beckett quite as much as Jessie ;).

Disclaimer: Not mineeeeee. I'm only doing this for fun.

He found her at the murder board, spikes in her short hair like she'd been running her hands through it all night.

"Get any sleep?" he asked, as nonchalant as he could. He'd gotten the hang of it now: he could show a little concern, but it had to be masked with indifference if he wanted her to answer at all.

She hummed noncommittally - that was a no - and he saw the flash of relief in her eyes when she reached for the coffee he'd brought with him.

"I can't make sense of it," she admitted after she'd taken a sip, her lashes fluttering over her cheeks in pleasure. She was so damn hot, even exhausted and with no makeup on; it was ridiculous. "There's got to be an explanation, Castle, one tiny detail that I'm overlooking, but I-"

She trailed off, clearly frustrated, pinched the bridge of her nose with two fingers. His treacherous hand burned in his pocket, ached to curl around her neck, relieve some of the pressure that wound her shoulders, but she would never let him.

"Maybe we need to take a step back," he said instead, leaning against the desk, as close to her as he dared. "Maybe we should stop looking at the victim, focus on our killer instead."

She turned her eyes to him, a tired brown tinged with curiosity. "What do you mean?"

"Well, we've been assuming that he handcuffed her to the bed, killed her, and then opened the cuffs so he could take her body elsewhere. But if that's what happened - why did he stop? Why wouldn't he dump her somewhere nobody would find her, or at least somewhere where it wouldn't be so easy to ID her? I mean, come on. Her apartment?"

Beckett said nothing, but the press of her lips, the knit of her eyebrows were encouraging enough.

"What if-" Castle couldn't help pausing a second for dramatic effect, and her elbow was immediately at his ribs, nudging an unspoken threat. He had to smother his smile. "What if she was still alive when she got out of the handcuffs? What if the guy she had sex with wasn't the one who killed her? Maybe she was into that kinky stuff-"

"Castle." She was shaking her head at him, but he carried on.

"Yeah, I know, we've got all these statements saying she was a nice girl, always helpful, whatever. But people have hidden layers to them, Beckett - you know that as well as I do."

She still looked unconvinced. "If Clare had a boyfriend she was comfortable enough to have kinky sex with, don't you think she would have mentioned him to her friends? Don't you think some of the neighbors would actually know his face? It just doesn't add up. Everyone thought she was single."

"Well-" he tried to come up with a counter argument, but he couldn't deny that she had a point.

"Trust me, Castle. She might've been willing to let this guy tie her up, but whoever closed those handcuffs on her wrists - that's our murderer right there."

"Fine," he huffed with a sigh. "Then let me come back to my first question: why would he untie her just to leave her there?"

Beckett sunk her teeth into her bottom lip, pondered over that. "Maybe he heard a sound outside and he panicked."

"You'd think if he was the sort to panic, he'd have done so after strangling her, not after releasing her body in order to dump her somewhere."

"Yeah," she agreed absentmindedly, bringing the coffee cup to her lips again. She sipped and he had to look away from the graceful arc of her throat, her skin so pale in the precinct's lights.

Focus, Castle. He could tell the answer was out there, so close; he could almost smell it. If only-

"She got out of the cuffs by herself," he realized suddenly, Beckett's voice echoing his in a strange stereo. He looked at her and saw his own excitement reflected in her face, all that fatigue gone in a second.

But then she frowned, rubbed two fingers to her forehead. "Wait, no. Can't be. Ryan said they were identical to police cuffs, and you can't get out of those without keys-"

"Have you tried?"

She raised her eyebrows and he replayed the question in his head, found himself almost embarrassed. "I mean, I wasn't asking - I wouldn't - what you do on your personal time is none of my - have you?" he gasped finally, defeated by the vision that sneaked its way into his mind, Beckett's slim wrists enclosed in metal and the length of her nude body spread across someone's sheets. His. His sheets.

A sharp tug at his ear had his fantasy dissolving into nothing, and he lifted his hands in supplication. "Ow ow ow," he moaned, squirming to get away. "Beckett. Beckett please, that hurts-"

"Stop picturing me naked," she hissed, and he wondered how she could even know.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he whispered, as if all the heads in the bullpen weren't already turned to them. Thank god it was early; at least Ryan and Esposito weren't here to make fun of him.

Beckett finally released him and he soothed the sensitive shell of his ear with his fingers, swallowed his whine because it wasn't attractive.

"I haven't tried, if you must know," she said in a tone that barred further questioning. "But police cuffs, Castle. Do you really think the NYPD, or any other form of authority for that matter, would risk having criminals escape just because the shackles were faulty?"

Hm. He dropped his hand and started thinking again. Maybe their victim had unnaturally thin wrists that could slip out of handcuffs. Ugh, but they'd spent a good long time looking at that body, and neither had noticed anything. Well, maybe Clare'd found a way to twist her hands so that-

"You know what we need?" he said as he pushed himself off the desk, frustrated at his lack of believable theories. "We need to do research."

"Research." Beckett's voice was anything but friendly.

"Don't underestimate the power of research, Beckett. It's simple: I handcuff you to your bed, you try to free yourself, we figure out what happened. Seeing as we have absolutely no clue who our mysterious killer is, I say that's our best shot at understanding what Clare went through."

A strange little smile played on Kate's lips; for a split second he thought he'd actually convinced her. But then she came closer, brought her body a breath away from his, and he knew something was wrong - something-

"You think I'm gonna let you cuff me, Castle?"

Oh god, oh god, her voice. Her low, erotic, gorgeous voice was doing things to him, things that she would definitely not approve of, and he couldn't remember what oxygen was.

Her hand came up, wrapped slowly around the lapel of his jacket, and he thought yes yes yes oh Kate-

She pushed him away, smiling archly. "Think again."

There was none of that playfulness, none of that teasing smirk two days later, when Montgomery threatened to close the case for lack of tangible leads. Castle said nothing, kept a neutral silence, but when she came to him with her jaw set he couldn't help an inner smile.

"It would just be research for the case," she said.

He nodded.

"You will open the cuffs the moment I say so."

If he spoke she'd hear it all in his voice, how badly he wanted this, and she'd call it off. He nodded again.

"And if there's so much as an inappropriate touch, an inappropriate look, I'm kicking you out, Castle. I don't care about the mayor and the commissioner. You try to cop a feel, I will make your life so miserable that you will run out of here the first chance you get."

Oh, he believed her.

She gave him one last appraising look, must've been satisfied by what she saw, because she turned away to grab her jacket. "My place, half an hour," she said quietly. "Don't be late."

He had it under control. He came ready, prepared, determined to keep his eyes and hands to himself. He wouldn't touch her, wouldn't do anything to make her run; he would cuff her and uncuff her and look away when she tried to get out.

And get enough fantasy material for the next two hundred years.

With a grunt he pushed the thought away, took a deep breath before knocking at her door. She let him in with an easy, "Hey, Castle," graceful and confident as ever, like they did this every Friday. Like it was nothing special.

Like he wasn't walking into her apartment for the first time, intending to handcuff her to her bed. God.

No, no. He couldn't panic. He had this. All he needed to follow her lead, cool and smooth, and everything would be alright.

And it was, surprisingly. She didn't hesitate for one second, not when she grabbed the shackles from her drawer, not when she lay on her bed and asked him whether her position matched Clare. It helped, actually, the clinical conversation about their victim, both of them reminded of the reason they were doing this, and Castle only felt the faintest twitch at his crotch when he clicked the cuffs closed around her wrists.

Then he turned away.

Beckett joked about him not being able to handle it, but there was a genuine streak of relief in her voice that comforted him in his choice. The sounds were bad enough - hearing her gasp as she struggled, the way her breath kept catching in the most appealing way - and yeah, she was right. He couldn't handle it.

There was no reason he should torture himself with something she'd repeatedly told him he couldn't have.

He wasn't sure how much time passed, but she finally gave up and called out in frustration. "Castle, I can't get out. Gonna have to rethink that theory of yours."

Ours, he wanted to correct, because they'd had the same idea, but he kept his mouth shut.

"Well?" her voice came, a little impatient now. "You gonna leave me hanging all night?"

Oh, right. He spun on his feet and realized too late he was completely unprepared for the sight of Kate Beckett stretched out on her bed, her chest rising and falling from exertion, her hair so dark against the cream-colored pillow. Her t-shirt was rucked up, probably from all the squirming, and it uncovered a pale, attractive slash of stomach.


He came closer, sat on the bed, unable to tear his eyes away from her skin. He saw the ripple of muscle in her abdomen, knew she had to be terribly uncomfortable - Beckett was definitely not one for relinquishing control - but she said nothing. Her feet were free: she could've kicked him off her bed, could've jabbed him into awareness. She did neither.

His hand lifted of its own accord, his fingers slowly unfurling, and then the warmth of her was at his palm, so soft and supple. Her stomach contracted and he could feel the core of steel underneath, how fit and resistant she was. He didn't know that he had ever been so turned on by a woman.

Still she kept silent, although he could feel her eyes burning into him. His pinky finger ventured under the waistband of her pants, easily slipping inside, and she made a sound - a sharp, breathy intake of air that had his body instantly responding.

Ah, damn it. He couldn't stop. He couldn't-

He slid his hand down, felt the edge of her panties, and his heart stilled in his chest. Whoa. Lace, Beckett? The material was deliciously rough under his fingertips, the contact so arousing; he pressed his palm into her and looked up at her small, held-up moan.

She was gorgeous. Her eyes were coals in her pale face, so dark and intense that he could feel their heat, her mouth half-open, her lips pink. She looked as if she was trying hard to gather herself - and failing.

Without thinking, he leaned over her exposed skin, pressed his mouth to the ridge of her hipbone.

Kate's body came up with a gasp, sharp and clear. The sound curled around his guts and want spilled inside him; he licked her slowly, savored the string of expletives falling from her lips.

"Oh fuck fuck fuck Castle," she rasped, so beautiful the way her voice broke over his name. He wasn't sure what her meaning was - Castle, stop or Please do that again - but he chose the second one.

He slanted his mouth over her abdomen, pushing her t-shirt out of the way and stroking her sides with his fingers. Her body danced in the cove of his hands, all of her alive against him, and he wanted nothing more than to dive into her, deep, so deep he would never find his way out again.

It had been so long, so long and it felt so good. His lips wandered up, scorching her skin with every kiss and touch of his tongue; he reached her left breast and nipped at her through the thin fabric of her bra, made her eyes snap shut, a growl tremble in her throat.

It was embarrassing. The sounds he ripped from her, the dampness staining her underwear. She didn't want that smug asshole to think - it was only because she hadn't bothered with sex for a while, had been so busy with work. It wasn't-

"Fuck," she grunted again when his mouth opened wet and hot at her chest. His tongue swirled at her nipple, made her body arch; need simmered in her blood, the whole length of her so aware and ready.

Take off my damn clothes, she wanted to say, but it was Castle. Castle. It would never be a good idea.

She struggled to open her eyes, torn between the knowledge that she had to stop this and how very, very badly she wanted it. Him. His teeth grazed her collarbone, sending a wave of fresh arousal through her veins, and then his face was hovering above hers: the yearning in his eyes made a fist in her belly.


He had never-

He'd never let her see before. He'd leered, and teased her, and made a hundred suggestive comments; he'd never actually looked at her like she was everything he wanted, like she held power over his heart.

Ah, damn it. That was the man she'd started to like, somewhere along the way, the man who shone with pride when he talked about his daughter and knew exactly how Kate liked her coffee. It made it so freaking hard to say no.

Made it impossible.

She lifted her head from the pillow and went for his mouth, ignored the strain in her shoulders as she suckled on his lower lip and pushed her tongue inside. He made a sound of pure need, a sweet little moan that she drank from him, and kissed her back, fierce and a little messy, his body settling heavy over hers.

When she was breathless and dizzy with the taste of him, he broke away and feathered his lips at her jaw, nuzzled hotly into her neck. "Kate," he said, and there was such relish, such devotion in his voice that her hips rocked against his without her consent, her wrists straining against the metal of the cuffs.

"Off," she growled, didn't even care. "Take my pants off - Castle-"

He snapped his head up, arousal bleeding dark into his eyes, and when he took too long to respond she parted her thighs wider, dug her foot into his calf.

"You get started already or you untie me, your choice," she managed to say before his mouth was on hers again, harsh and devastating. The press of his chest against hers, the slow roam of his hands on her bare skin drove her crazy; she pushed back with everything she had, teeth and tongue, wrapped her legs around his waist.

He gasped into her kiss, his body bucking wildly against hers, and she grinned, tightened her hold on him. "What are you doing to me," he groaned, and that was good, so good, knowing he was just as undone as she was. She pressed up into the hard length of him, couldn't disguise the hitch in her own breath; it didn't matter, not when he was panting twice as loud as she was.

She rolled her hips, found a slow rhythm that made her chest burn, her insides coil in anticipation. Castle's head was bowed over her neck, his lips at her pulse; she could only see the copper mess of his hair, feel the halted stream of words at her skin. Utterly incomprehensible, and hot as shit.

On the next stroke up Beckett threw her head back into the pillow, so irresistible the way her body wound with need. The pound of blood in her veins told her how close, how close she was, and all of that with her fucking clothes still on-

She hated him.

She closed her eyes tighter and tried to breathe through it, loosen up, but the sharp graze of his teeth startled her out of her concentration, a cry ripped out from her throat.

"You taste amazing," he hummed, his fingers hot at her sides as he slid down. And although a tiny part of her wanted to laugh at the corny words, she had to admit that they worked - they worked - and she was so brittle with arousal it seemed she could break at the touch of his mouth.

His tongue circled around her navel, raised a whine she wasn't proud of, and then he was finally pushing her pants down her legs, chuckling when she contorted to help.

"So eager," he murmured, his eyes flashing pleasure.

She wiggled a leg free and set her foot flat against his open shirt, her heel brushing against his ribs. He arched an eyebrow, leaning forward experimentally, and she pressed back, kept him at a distance. His eyes danced to her flexed knee, maybe noting the muscles at play there, and burned even hotter when he brought them back to her face.

Good. She wanted it to be on her terms.

Her apartment, her bed. Her rules.

"Laugh at me again," she said calmly, "and I swear I'm knocking you out with my bare feet, Castle. Then I'll find a way out of those cuffs and take matters into my own hands."

He parted his mouth, but paused before any words made it out. He seemed to give up on talking then, simply sunk back onto his knees, and with no further prelude he lowered his head to the vee of her legs.