1: Beckett's Costume

It was Halloween, once again, Beckett thought, her shoulders dropping as she shuddered, her fingers crossed, hoping that her shift would break the curse of doom and gloom that surfaced every year, on this fated date, which was mostly spent spreading the ravages of Halloween 'gone wild' in a boisterous attempt at cloaking NYC in full-fledged phantom fear, or so it seemed to her. And it was raining. This was a day that made her very thankful that she didn't have a night shift anymore.

Castle was having a party at the Old Haunt, which he had purchased and then had refurbished, quite beautifully. He wanted to show it off and had decided that Halloween would be the perfect time to do so. It was an apropos venue for the Old Haunt's grand opening week, ending on 'All Hallows Eve' before the hallowed Day of All Saints would begin.

That was all anyone at the precinct had talked about since he had brought it up: she was sick of hearing about it and had no plans to go. His ego had been stroked enough with the fiendish amount of chatter that had gone on and on and on inside and outside of the building.

She was going to go home at the end of shift and draw a hot bath filled with cherry scented bubbles, open the bottle of Beaux Freres, Pinot Noir ''Upper Terrace'' (Willamette Valley) 5 Liter, 2016 that she'd purchased with her bid of half the retail cost at the 1PP gala two years ago, fill her largest wine glass with it, and then slip into her bath and begin to detox from the effects of having been forced to absorb too much Castle everything over the last two weeks.

A DB call came for them at ten and they got there in no time, as it was close to the precinct. It soon turned into a Jack shot Jill in a jealous rage case when Jack confessed, and it was processed by early afternoon. Castle then left to finalize the party arrangements, Kate breathing a large sigh of relief when he did. The rest of the time was spent catching up on paperwork and then the shift was over.

Lanie came in dripping wet as a round of thunder could be heard throughout the floor, she'd come to meet Espo because they were going to get ready and go to the 'party' together around seven or so. She wished them a Happy Halloween – and that was when the trouble started.

Lanie stopped dead in her tracks. Her head spun around so fast to look at Kate that seeing Lanie do that almost gave her a headache, "What, girl? What did you just say?"

"Have a Happy Halloween."

"You! You're not coming? Why? Why aren't you coming?" Lanie asked incredulously.

"I'm tired and now, I have a headache", Kate said: thanks to you, she thought as she put her hand to her forehead and started rubbing it.

"No, no you don't. I'm not buyin' that." Lanie said, shaking her head in disgust and looking at Espo before saying to Kate, "You're coming with us, we'll be at your place at 7:30 sharp and you be ready, ya hear."

Kate groaned and said, "I don't have a costume, so nothing to wear, can't go."

Lanie looked at her with an unscrupulously sinister smirk and slowly said "Oh, yes you do."

"What do you mean by that?" Kate squawked.

"Remember when we were looking for your red leather purse a month ago and went rummaging through your closet? I found that strikingly sexy Talia-al-Ghul costume you had buried in the corner of it. Well, that outfit would be perfect for tonight, don't you think?" Lanie asked as she looked at Kate with a 'don't you dare mess with me' expression on her face.

Kate caved with a heavy sigh. "Ok, I'll do my best to be ready on time, but please plan to come up to get me. I'm not sure I should wear that costume out in public all alone, I'll need some protection."

Espo, who had stayed silent during their discourse, suddenly looked at her and said, "What kind of costume is this? Are we going to need a bouncer?"

"Shut up, Espo," Kate growled.

Lanie looked at Kate and Espo and said, "All right, come on, let's all get out of here. We have a lot to do."

Kate hurried home, deciding on the way that she might as well go all out and try to look as devastatingly desirable as possible, hoping that if she could pull it off Castle would be so affected by her brazen costume that he'd be struck speechless. Without his words to shield him from his often-foolish actions, she was hoping that he'd keep his distance.

She'd already been having trouble restraining her responses to the more than ample amount of attraction she seemed to have for him, and she saw no need to test the waters of her powers of resistance to his constant onslaught of attention and far from subtle advances. She sensed that she was near her breaking point…aw shoot…why try to fool herself: going to this party was a bad idea and she knew it.

As soon as she got into her apartment and had hung her raincoat up to dry, she kicked off her shoes, stripped off her clothes and showered. She put on her make-up with extra time taken for her eyes to make them dark, sexy and smokin' hot, to go along with the black cherry gloss that was coloring her lips. She'd done her hair with exaggerated care: allowing it to slither sensuously down her back, swirling over her neck and shoulders, and offering an open invitation for them to be nibbled on and kissed. She knew that Lanie would fix her hair better if needed. Then she got the costume out to try it on and see if it would still fit, as it had been several years since she had put it on. She was hoping that it wouldn't fit and then she would have an excuse not to go to the 'Haunt' that Lanie would have to accept.

It fit like an expensive leather glove and displayed her figure beautifully. The soft black leather bodice with spaghetti straps showed her shoulders and arms quite well and pushed her breasts up nicely, leaving no doubt about her body being naked underneath. The lacing in the front formed a narrow V with her skin boldly showing through it: starting at her breasts but getting narrower and ending a couple of inches above her navel.

Her midriff was bare. Her supple black leather skirt was a custom diagonal wraparound: dropping below her knees in back but open high at the center of the front where the two sides wrapped across each other, giving a view of her legs stopping slightly more than halfway up her thighs. Her legs looked stunning as the skirt showed them off. The waist of the skirt dropped to a small V at the front, matching the shape of the V ending of her bodice.

The wrap stayed decent where it crossed over her legs, so her exposure limits were thankfully not transgressed. Even with her black leather ankle strap stilettos the outfit stayed within, though barely passing, the code of decency, but was otherwise so sinfully incinerating as to be beyond compare. When Kate was finally done she had become an alluring, tempestuous vision of wanton walking seduction. Castle might be in danger of having a heart attack when he sees me, she thought. Oh, how she loved Talia-al-Ghul and Batman, they made such a sterling couple.

She had just finished getting ready when her ride knocked on the door. She took a deep breath as she opened it and there they were: Lanie coming as Foxy Brown and Espo as Zorro. She laughed with delight when she saw how great they looked, and finally began to think that maybe the night might not go so badly after all. She silently worked at cutting off the whispers of 'bad idea', 'bad idea', 'bad idea', that were fretfully floating through her mind until she finally shut them down and left the lot of them behind.

Lanie checked her over and simply said, "You look breathtaking, absolutely spectacular, perfect in every way. Castle's gonna be speechless."

"I doubt that we could be so lucky," smirked Kate as she turned to look at Espo.

His mouth was opening and closing, and his eyes were glazing over when she looked at him. "Lanie, what's wrong with him?" she asked.

Lanie looked at him and said, "Don't know, you'd think he'd never seen you when you were working Vice, wouldn't you?"

"Do you think this is too much? Maybe I shouldn't go with you or at all?"

"No, Kate, you look wonderful and you've kept within the bare limits of decency, as long as your costume doesn't fail. You should be safe. Grab your trench coat and come on, let's go."

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