Disclaimer: I forgot last chapter, but I definitely don't own these characters, I just like hijacking them for my own nefarious plans (and Lou's prompts), for a little while

California Dreams

Chapter 2 – A drinking game.

In the end, the landing was anti-climactic, which was probably how everyone preferred it. It took two passes around the runway for the plane to line up correctly with the reduced mobility caused by the engine issues, but the pilot was obviously a veteran and put them on the ground with only slight external damage to the plane. Everyone was shaken, but the fleet of fire trucks and ambulances that rushed in to surround them as soon as they came to a stop inspired a feeling of confidence in the passengers, only reinforced when the cabin crew calmly took charge of each section and guided them safely to the exits, down the stairways and away from the plane. The buses met them once they had been checked by the paramedics and any injuries treated, and took them directly to hotels, with airline staff on board each bus to process their documentation.

Of course, being Richard Castle, he wasn't satisfied with the airline provided rooms at the Aria Resort and Casino they had been bussed to, he had to book the 2 bedroom Penthouse Suite. Now they were ensconced in a corner of the Aria Sky Lounge, an exclusive area just for suite guests, sharing a bottle of Vodka, two full shot glasses waiting on the table in front of them.

"Are you ready, Detective?" Castle asked, that infuriating smirk back on his face.

"Do you worst, Castle." Kate replied, that sultry challenge back in her voice, and she watched Castle noticeably swallow before he gave his first answer.

"Let's start with an easy one. You are a kick-ass Detective First Class at the NYPD 12th Precinct."

Kate drank her shot, and he refilled it silently. When he returned the bottle to the table, it was her turn.

"You are a somewhat famous mystery writer, creator of the Derrick Storm and Nikki Heat books."

Castle mock frowned at the 'somewhat' comment, but drank his shot, then refilled his own glass.

"You initially wanted to become the first female Chief Justice."

Kate downed her shot.

"You have a daughter you dote on, and a mother who lives with you."

Castle drank, after a brief smirk about his mother.

"You started pre-law at Stanford, then transferred to NYU for Criminal Justice."

Kate was grateful he didn't mention the reason for the change, and drank her vodka, before passing her glass to him for a refill.

"You have been married, and divorced, twice."

Castle was not happy with that statement, but of course couldn't refute it. He drank, then refilled. And decided that if she could get personal, so could he.

"You are dating a world-saving Cardiac Surgeon who is often away on Doctors without Borders trips."

Kate didn't reply, but indicated for him to drink. Castle was taken aback, but covered well, and took his shot, but she could still see confusion and curiosity in his eyes. He glanced surreptitiously at her left hand, but there was no ring there, and hadn't been that he could recall, so he wasn't sure why that was not a true fact.

Kate was contemplating her next answer, when Castle's curiosity got the better of him.

"Um, Kate…" She held up her hand to stop him, the agreement being that the facts were all that were spoken until a winner was declared.

"Do you concede the game, Castle?" She asked, knowing he never would willingly concede.

"No, of course not, Detective. What's your next incorrect fact about me?" He had obviously recovered his composure and was back to being cocky again. Time to knock that out of him.

"You are satisfied with short term sexual flings and are afraid of deep long term commitment."

This time Castle was definitely taken aback, raising both his eyebrows in a show of surprise. Not in a million years would he have expected Kate to be explicit in her comment about his personal life. He didn't have to think about it though, he hated the activities that had given him the playboy persona, and he yearned for a long term commitment with one particular person, if only she would recognise it. So he shook his head and indicated that she should drink. Kate in turn was surprised at this, so she raised an eyebrow at him, questioning his response, but Castle just nodded and indicated her shot glass again.

Kate drank, reassured that Castle was being honest about his reputation, and the truth behind it, but still not willing to jump in with both feet. This game was definitely getting interesting, if the gleam in his eye as he refilled her glass was any indication.

"You are a one and one type of girl. Once you marry, that will be it for life."

Kate recalled her comments to him back during their second case, and marvelled again at his near perfect recall of facts that interested him, specifically those that pertained to her – how many other people could quote a conversation verbatim two years later? She raised her shot glass in a toast to him – there's subtext for you, Castle – and drank.

"You have many acquaintances because of your celebrity status, but not so many true friends."

Sadly, Castle couldn't deny this one. There were many who flocked around him for what they could get from him, or just proximity to him, and at the first sign of decline he would be eating their dust. Outside of the precinct, he could name on the fingers of one hand those he would call true friends, and the first and most precious among them was the woman sitting across from him. If anyone else had said this to him, he would have baulked, but he knew she was just stating a fact and not having a go at him, although making him drink was high on her agenda.

As he drank, slightly slower now that they had downed multiple shots, he wondered at her motivation for firstly agreeing to this game, and then giving him answers that would mostly encourage him to drink. When he first suggested it, he didn't actually think she would agree, but he was so very pleased she was playing along. There was also a glint in her eye, something he had not seen before but definitely wanted to see more of. It was almost like she had left Beckett back in LA, and this was Kate, enjoying their banter. Speaking of which, it was his turn.

"You enjoy a hot bath with a glass of wine and a good book after you close a case."

The words were innocent enough, but the smirk on his face and the raised eyebrow gave the comment plenty of innuendo. After a pause where she just looked at him, because she could tell there was more coming, he added "one of mine, of course."

Kate drank, no hesitation. Castle found he was ridiculously pleased she didn't deny reading his books.

There were longer pauses between each answer now, partly as each of them tried to think of something to say that would result in the other drinking, and partly because they were quite happy to just look at each other, exchanging thoughts and feelings without words. Both of them could feel the tension building in the air, just as it had in that LA hotel room two nights earlier, and Kate was determined that this time she would not run.

"Last drinks, folks" the bartender spoke from behind them, and they both startled slightly, having forgotten for a moment where they were. Castle recovered first, lifting the bottle as he asked if they could take it to their suite. The other man nodded, saying he would note it on their tab, and cast a subtle eye over Kate, then nodded at Castle again, acknowledging his good fortune to be sharing drinks with such a gorgeous woman. Castle understood the man-sign but didn't react to it, hoping that Kate had been oblivious. She wasn't of course, but pretended not to have noticed, because she was hoping for exactly what the bartender assumed would be happening.

Castle picked up the glasses in the same hand as the bottle, and extended his other hand to Kate, who took it without hesitation and they made their way back up to the suite to continue the party in private.


A/N: so I was going to finish this story fully before posting it, but I hit a bit of a wall, so please, dear readers, review and let me know what you think. I know where I want the story to go, but how to get there is the worthier part :-p