"Well done, Detective," said Captain Montgomery as Beckett emerged from the interrogation room, where she had just finished overseeing Harrison Tisdale writing out his confession. "You were right to reopen this case."
"Thank you, sir." Beckett hesitated, wondering whether she should say something about Castle and his involvement in the case.
Would she have kept pushing for the truth after they had arrested Kyle Cabot, if not for Castle's insistence? She bit her lower lip, dithering, but it was too late anyway; Montgomery had gone back into his office, leaving Beckett to hide her consternation behind a bright smile for Ryan and Esposito.
"Nice work, Beckett," Espo said.
"Yeah, good catch," Ryan agreed.
She nodded and fist-bumped both of them. "Thanks, guys. See you tomorrow."
Castle was standing beside her desk when she came through the bullpen with the Tisdale file folder. They exchanged awkward smiles.
"Well," Beckett said, putting the file down on her desk, "uh, I guess this is it."
"Yep, looks that way," Castle agreed. "Time for you and Federal Agent Boy to go to dinner, debrief each other." His eyes slid sideways, toward Sorenson, whom Beckett could see talking to another detective at the other end of the bullpen.
Beckett's mouth twisted in distaste. "Yeah, that's not going to happen," she muttered under her breath.
"Sorry?" Castle asked, his eyebrows raised inquisitively.
"Nothing." She gave him a businesslike nod. "It was nice to meet you, Castle."
She couldn't bring herself to offer Castle another handshake, so she simply nodded again and turned away, feeling his eyes follow her the whole way across the room. Her heels tapped sharply on the floor as she strode over to where Sorenson was standing.
"Will," she said quietly, "we need to talk."
Sorenson followed her into an unoccupied interview room, where she closed the door and took a deep breath, steeling herself, before she turned to face him again.
But Will spoke before she could get out the careful sentence she was constructing in her head. "Listen, I'm sorry," he said earnestly, holding out a hand in supplication. "For almost botching your bust today, and... and I'm sorry for everything else too, Kate. I should have told you the job was in Boston. I should have had that conversation with you as soon as I first heard about it."
"Yeah, you should have," she agreed. "Look, Will, obviously this isn't going to work out, so-"
"What? No," he protested in surprise. "I didn't - Kate, we can talk this out. We can fix it."
"I don't think so," she said slowly. She hated the distressed look on his face, and the knowledge that she had caused it... but she wasn't backing down. Somewhere during all the madness of the day, she had come to this decision, and she knew it was the right one. "I don't think so," she repeated. "I'm sorry."
"It's because of him, isn't it?" Will snapped, scowling. "Castle. You're dumping me for him."
"No," she said firmly. "God, Will, you just don't get it. I'm dumping you because you don't respect me - as a person, or as a cop. You've shown that a dozen times over during the past few days."
"I respect you," he insisted. "Do you think he does? Kate, he's nothing but a player. He's played you to a T. He'll just use you and then toss you aside. You think he can compare to me?"
"I told you, this isn't about Castle," Beckett said, hearing her voice rising as the frustration built up. "You don't listen to me, Will. This is about you and how you've been treating me. Keeping important information from me, making decisions about our relationship and my life without even consulting me..." She paused, took a breath, and added heatedly, "But since you brought it up, at least Castle took me seriously on this case. He didn't question my professional judgment or dismiss my concerns about the evidence."
"Oh, please," Will scoffed. "He's just trying to get in your pants, Kate. You should have screwed him when I suggested it the other day. Then you and I could be working on this."
"There's nothing to work on!" She struggled to get her volume under control. "It's over, Will."
"Okay. Fine. But don't think you can come crawling back to me when you realize what a big mistake you made," he sneered.
Beckett let out a frustrated growl and yanked the door open. "Not gonna happen. Have fun in Boston."
She stalked down the hallway and through the door into the stairwell, stopping after the heavy door clanged shut behind her. She leaned against the chilly concrete wall and put both hands over her face, struggling to get her emotions under control. Her pulse was pounding in her ears, her breath coming fast and hard. Her face felt hot and tight with anger.
The urge to go back to the conference room and yell at Will some more was overpowering, but she pushed it down. What was the point? Lanie was right: she should have broken up with Will a long time ago.
She was still grappling with the seething turmoil of emotions when the stairway door opened again, and Castle poked his head in. "Beckett? Everything okay?"
"Wh..." She stared at him, astonished and a little uneasy. "What are you still doing here? I thought you left."
"Oh, yeah..." He waved a hand vaguely as he slipped into the stairwell and let the door close again. "Just saying goodbye to everyone, you know."
Beckett's eyebrows drew together as she looked at Castle for a long moment, her mind whirling.
Then she found herself surging forward, reaching for him, everything else be damned. She grabbed Castle's head and pulled him down to her, fusing their mouths together.
He froze for an instant, surprised, but then he came alive in her arms. He pushed her back against the cold wall and pressed his body against hers, hot and hard, his hands firm on her hips. Their tongues found each other immediately and their kiss was searing, dizzying, almost frantic. Beckett heard herself moan urgently into Castle's mouth as she dug her fingers into his hair and tugged him even closer.
But eventually he wrenched his lips away, sliding sideways to press them tantalizingly against the edge of her jaw before speaking into her ear. His voice was low and husky, sending jolts of excitement through her.
"Don't get me wrong, Detective," he murmured, "I'm perfectly happy to be your rebound guy, but just to be clear, you really did break up with him this time, right?"
"Yeah," she grumbled, trying to pull his face back up to hers. "I really did. And I don't want to talk about it."
Castle succumbed to the tug of her fingers, reclaiming her mouth for another hard, hot kiss that made her knees go weak. But too soon he was pulling away again, and talking again.
"Beckett." She shivered at the way he said her name, raw with desire. But his next words weren't what she expected. "I have a confession to make."
Beckett frowned, confused. "What?" she asked, struggling to think through the haze of lust and frustration.
"I know about the list," Castle said.
She blinked, staring at him as he pulled back just far enough to meet her eyes. "What do you mean? What list?"
"You know." He smirked slightly, his eyebrows wiggling. "The celebrity freebie list. Mister Boring told me about it."
"Oh my god." Beckett pushed him away and covered her face with her hands again, groaning, thoroughly mortified. Her cheeks were on fire. "Why on earth would he do that?"
"I don't know." Castle sounded amused. "We were in the observation room, watching you make Tisdale write his confession - that was awesome, by the way, you were amazing in there-"
"-and out of the blue he just said, 'I'm surprised you haven't slept with her yet,'" he went on, "and I was like, 'uhh, I thought she was with you,' and he goes, 'well I don't know why that would stop you - she's hot, you clearly like her, and you're on her freebie five list.'" He gave a short huff. "Is that guy for real?"
"Unfortunately," Beckett sighed from behind her hands. "I can't believe he told you that."
"I know," he chuckled. "What a dork. Hey, come on, don't be embarrassed."
"That's easy for you to say." She uncovered her face, but still couldn't bring herself to look at him. She felt almost nauseated by the mixture of emotions churning through her. She wished she had a hole to crawl into and hide. Preferably forever.
"Beckett. Hey." Castle touched her shoulder lightly, drawing her attention back onto him. Reluctantly, she dragged her eyes back up to his again. He was grinning, his face alight with mischievous pleasure.
"So who else is on your celebrity sex list?" he asked with evident relish. She groaned again.
"Forget it, Castle. That's like fifth-date territory."
"Fair enough," he shrugged. "I'll get it out of you eventually."
"What?" She stared at him, bemused. That couldn't possibly mean what it sounded like. Could it?
Castle moved closer, slipping an arm around her waist. She had half a heartbeat to wonder whether she should punch him for the presumption, but then he was kissing her again and all thought flew out of her head.
She couldn't resist kissing him back, her hands in his hair, his own hands hot on her back, scorching her skin through the fabric of her shirt. But then her shoulders hit the concrete wall again and she came back to her senses, at least enough to push Castle away, gasping, "Wait - wait."
He pulled back slightly, loosening his hold on her. "Look, I get it," he said, a bit breathless, his deep blue eyes suddenly serious. "You just got out of a relationship like five minutes ago. You don't want to do anything rash."
"Maybe I do," she mused, fighting to clear her head. It was nearly impossible to think past the frustrated lust that had been building ever since she met Castle a few days ago. But wasn't that what Lanie had said she should do - take some risks? "Maybe I want to be another one of your conquests," she said, meeting Castle's eyes with renewed confidence, pulling him closer again.
"I'd rather be one of yours," he answered huskily. "I think it's gonna be great."
"You have no idea," she whispered just before his mouth came crashing down on hers again.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the story. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.