The day after the launch party for Heat Wave Ryan waltzes into the station positively beaming, the book tucked securely under his arm.
Esposito quirks an eyebrow at him, trying to bite back a grin and failing miserably. Ryan looks happy this morning and that’s a sight that never fails to make Javier’s guts squeeze a little too tightly, especially when Ryan is smiling like that and –
Javier spends enough time around detectives – and one particularly imaginative mystery writer – to have learned to be discreet about this… thing he’s got for Ryan, and now is not the time to slip.
“Got lucky last night?” he asks casually. It’s usually a sure means to get his mind back into the game – Javier is a bit of a masochist that way – except today the question only makes Ryan look momentarily puzzled.
“What are you talking about? I was with you all evening at Castle’s party.”
Javier sighs. So much for that…
“What are you so happy about?”
“Oh!” The beaming returns and Ryan rolls his chair close to Javier’s, brandishing Heat Wave like a weapon.
“Hey! Watch what you’re doing with that thing!” Javier says, Kevin’s enthusiastic waving making him duck to avoid being hit by Castle’s latest best-seller. It looks rather heavy and Javier doesn’t fancy a black eye.
“We’re in the book!” Ryan crows victoriously.
“Say that again?”
“We’re. In. The. Book.” Ryan sounds particularly gleeful and Javier grabs said book from him, opening it randomly and skimming through the pages.
‘Rook walked her backward toward her bed. When her calves met the edge of it, she let herself do a slow fall back, pulling him with her.’
Javier quickly jumped a few pages ahead – he really didn’t need to know what Castle’s fantasies about Beckett were like. It was already hard enough to look at the man with a straight face when he followed her around like a love-sick puppy all day…
“Dude, you can’t start at the end!” Ryan’s scandalized voice jerks him out of his mind-cleansing and reminds him he’s got other things to ‘thank’ Castle for. “It’s going to ruin it for you!”
Javier rolls his eyes and lets him have the book back. Kevin opens it at the beginning, flipping past the first couple of pages before he stops and points.
“There,” Ryan says excitedly, “See? I’m Raley and you’re Ochoa.”
Javier grimaces. “‘Ochoa’? What kind of a name is ‘Ochoa’?”
Kevin shrugs. “Take that up with Castle. But you know what that means, right? We’re going to be famous! And look, we even have our own nickname – ‘Roach’!”
“A nickname?” Javier isn’t sure he likes the sound of that.
“You know, when you condense our names – fake names – together? Like, for us it would be ‘Ryosito’. Or ‘Esposyan’.”
Javier groans. “That’s awful.”
“No, it’s not! It’s what happens to famous people – like Brangelina!”
Javier is still dubious. ‘Roach’ sounds kinda bad. And kinda gay.
“So what? We’re sleeping together and adopting babies?” he asks, mostly because he can’t help himself. Masochist, remember?
Ryan looks a little unsure for a second.
“Uh. I don’t know? I don’t think so. I’ve only read the first chapter so far. You don’t think– Castle wouldn’t– Would he?”
“Nah, just messing with you,” Javier says with a too bright smile and does his best to ignore the pang of disappointment deep in his chest.
Later that day Esposito catches Ryan hunched over his copy of Heat Wave, furtively turning a page while keeping an eye out for Beckett.
“Dude, you’d better hope Beckett doesn’t catch you reading that thing when you’re supposed to be working the Sokol case,” he says, a little annoyed for no reason he’d like to look at too closely. But really, the book can’t be that fascinating – from the looks of it, Ryan hasn’t even finished the second chapter!
“I’m working!” Ryan protests. “I’m waiting for the warrant to come through. And Beckett got an early copy, it’s not like she –”
“What have we got, boys?” Beckett says, storming into the squad room with Castle trailing after her, and Ryan straightens so fast Javier almost – almost – winces in sympathy.
Back to work.
They close their case that afternoon and catch up on paperwork for the rest of the day, Ryan shooting mournful glances at his book every now and then – not that Javier is paying attention or anything.
Their luck holds and they don’t catch a new case, which means they go home on time for once.
“You want to grab a beer or something?” Javier asks as they leave the station.
“Nah, not tonight.” Ryan grins and Javier just knows what he is going to say next. “I’ve got Heat Wave to read.”
“Christ, you’re as bas as Beckett,” he mumbles, and waves half-heartedly at Ryan’s bouncy “See you tomorrow!”
Great. Now he’s jealous of a book.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
Javier groans and buries his face into his pillow, one hand reaching blindly for the phone.
“Yeah?” he mumbles, expecting Beckett and a dead body on the other end. Instead he gets:
“Castle and Beckett are having sex,” Ryan giggles – actually giggles – and Javier flips back on his bed. “Oh, and you’re married and you’re having sex with your wife!”
Javier rubs his face tiredly and tries to understand what the hell Ryan is talking about.
“Are you drunk?” is all he can come up with.
“In the book! Haven’t you read it yet? Because I’ve got to tell you –”
“Kevin!” Javier cuts him off before he can go on a tangent. “It’s –” he squints at his phone, “– almost 2 am! Go to sleep!”
He hangs up without waiting for an answer and throws his cell phone unceremoniously on the bedside table.
If Beckett doesn’t kill Castle he just might.
Ryan is miserable the next morning, grumbling an unintelligible something about his alarm clock. Not enough sleep, Javier diagnoses and feels righteously vindicated. The man did wake him up in the middle of the night to talk gibberish about a freaking book and if he chose to stay up to read, that’s not Javier’s problem.
But Ryan really does look pathetic, slumped in his chair and staring listlessly at his desk, and Javier is a sucker. So he gets up and makes him a cup of coffee, which Ryan accepts with a grateful smile that does all kinds of things to Javier’s insides.
He goes back to his desk in a much better mood.
It doesn’t take them long to realize that the media frenzy surrounding Castle since the launch of Heat Wave is going to make their job more difficult than it already is.
Everywhere Castle – and Beckett, much to her dismay – go, people gawk and fawn over him, asking for autographs and what not. That wouldn’t be a problem in itself, except the number of on-lookers at their crime scenes is through the roof and a couple of fans even try to break in into the precinct to see the man of the hour and his muse – no one’s ever claimed Castle’s fans were the smartest in the book.
As a result, Beckett is in the blackest mood Javier has ever seen her and his own temper is fraying – Ochoa really is a stupid name. Even Captain Montgomery is starting to look annoyed by all the ruckus, despite Castle’s assurance that it will all die down soon – Connelly is releasing a new book next month.
Ryan seems to be the only one who’s finding the whole thing exciting, showing up with new stories of dates every few days.
And no, Javier isn’t bitter or anything.
Then things get really weird.
They’re going door to door in their latest vic’s building when a squeal from the other end of the corridor makes both Javier and Ryan turn away from the last tenant on their list.
Sure enough, it seems that Beckett has stumbled across a fan of Castle’s.
Two of them, in fact, judging from the level of noises coming from their apartment.
Better them than us, Javier thinks uncharitably, although to be fair he’s remained pretty anonymous. It’s only when he is with Castle that fans make the connection, and Javier has never been more thankful that Beckett’s sense of duty is stronger than her annoyance at the whole circus. She hasn’t started pawning Castle off to Javier or Ryan to get some respite herself, still considering him first and foremost her responsibility, and Javier kind of wants to kiss her for it.
He and Ryan wrap up their own interview and amble back towards Beckett to give her an update on what they found – which is a big fat nothing by the way. They hang back at a safe distance waiting for them to finish with the two girls – women, really – who are still staring at Castle with googly eyes, answering Beckett’s increasingly frustrated questions distractedly.
Then one of them catches sight of them and makes an indefinable sound.
“It’s them!!” she whispers furiously to her friend, jabbing her hard in the ribs.
“Who?” the other asks, still busy gazing dreamily at Castle.
“Roach!!” the first hisses and the other whiplashes so fast Javier’s surprised she doesn’t pull anything. His concern, however, is short-lived.
“Oh my God!!”
Oh, what now?
“I know! They’re so cute!” Here the whisper turns into something resembling more closely to a squeal and Javier winces.
Next to him, Ryan puffs his chest and nudges him with a grin and Javier wants to bang his head against the nearest wall. Or Ryan’s head. Because seriously? Is Ryan actually considering picking those girls up? If he is, Javier is starting to understand why all his dates go disastrously wrong.
“Ladies, focus!” Beckett snaps. “A man’s dead.”
“We’ll wait for you guys outside,” Javier mutters. He takes hold of Kevin’s sleeve and pulls, not letting go until they’re away from this madness.
Later that day Beckett’s banished Castle from her sight and so they all expect an explosion when he pokes his head into the squad room looking rather sheepish.
“Hum, guys? I forgot to mention this but… I’d avoid fan sites if I were you.”
“What?” “Why?” Javier and Ryan ask in unison.
“Castle.” Beckett levels a hard stare at him. “We’re busy.”
“Right. Sorry. Forget I said anything. I’ll just… go then…” He makes a hurried exit and Beckett shoots both Javier and Ryan a warning glare. ‘Not a word,’ it says and ‘Don’t even think about it’ and Javier studiously goes back to their vic’s phone records.
After a couple of minutes he risks a glance towards Ryan and catches his eye.
‘My place tonight?’ he mouths, because he’s a detective and being curious goes with the job.
Ryan nods back and Javier goes back to work with gusto.
It takes Beckett two hours to admit defeat and send them home and an additional thirty minutes to get back to Javier’s apartment. As soon as he closes the door behind them Ryan makes a beeline for his computer. They’ve both spent enough time at each other’s places to be comfortable in the other’s space and the fact that Ryan feels so at home in his apartment that he doesn’t pretend not to know where everything is – or what his laptop’s password is – makes Javier feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
He toes off his shoes and takes off his jacket, making a pit stop in the bathroom to wash his hands. In the other room he can hear Ryan muttering something to his computer, probably telling it to hurry up, and Javier smiles fondly as he grabs his phone and orders a pizza. Then he makes a detour by the kitchen to grab them a couple of beers and pauses.
Why is it so silent all of a sudden?
Javier steps into the living room, not sure what to expect, and finds Ryan sitting very still on the very edge of the sofa, staring at the computer he’s set on the coffee table with an odd look on his face.
“Found anything interesting?” he asks loudly.
Ryan yelps and flails around in an attempt to keep his balance while frantically trying to hide the screen.
“What have you got there, bro?” Javier teases because Ryan is bright red and it’s just too funny. “Porn?”
If anything Ryan gets even redder and that sobers Javier a little.
“It’s all Castle’s fault!” Ryan hisses.
“Castle told you to watch porn on my computer?” Javier says a little dubiously because that sounds a little far-fetched, even for Castle.
“I’m not watching porn!”
“But you’ve just said –”
“I was reading something, okay?”
“You were reading porn?” Again, not Javier’s favourite way to go about things but to each his own, he guesses.
“Will you stop saying that! It’s not porn – it’s, it’s, I don’t know what it is.” Ryan looks so discomfited that despite his confusion Javier can’t stop a grin. He drops into the sofa next to him, handing him a beer and tugging the laptop towards him.
“Well, come on! Share with class.”
“I really don’t think –”
But Javier’s got the laptop now and he wants to know what the fuss is all about. He brings up the page Ryan tried to close and starts to read and –
What the hell?
‘Ochoa pushed Raley against the wall and kissed him passionately, pouring all his pent-up feelings for his partner into the kiss and hoping he wasn’t making the biggest mistake of his life. But then he felt Raley come alive under his hands, wrapping his arms around him and kissing him back just as enthusiastically and –’
Javier reads, feeling a bit numb and a lot paranoid, his own private fantasies exposed for everyone – Ryan! – to see. How do they know? ‘I need to read that book,’ he thinks and then: ‘Didn’t Ryan say I had a wife in that thing?’
For some reason he finds it hard to look away as things become more heated between their two counterparts. In the corner of his eye he is aware of Ryan next to him, squirming and gulping his beer much faster than he usually does and muttering something about the room’s temperature.
Javier shifts – it is kind of hot in here – and says:
“I don’t think that’s physically possible.”
Uh. That’s really not what he was going for when he opened his mouth.
Ryan frowns and leans against his side to see what he is talking about.
“Really? How d’you know?”
“Tried it once.”
Again, not what he had meant to say, but it’s getting hard – ah! – to think with Kevin so freaking close and his mind filled with rather graphic images courtesy of Castle’s deranged fans.
“You did?” Kevin sounds, of all things, curious. “Never had the opportunity myself but I always wanted to try.”
Javier blinks. And blinks again.
Then his brain finally catches up.
“You’re kind of slow, bro. Told you I was open-minded.” Ryan smirks and Javier really wants to kiss the smugness away.
But he is not about to let his partner one-up him. That’s not how they roll.
So he leans close – but not quite close enough, judging from the frustrated look on Ryan’s face –, making an effort to keep his own face impassive.
“How open-minded?” he asks casually.
Ryan’s eyes flash and it’s his turn to get a few inches closer, his lips stopping a breath away from Javier’s.
“Why don’t you find out?” he challenges and Javier makes a show of wetting his lips, his mouth quirking up when Ryan’s eyes dart down to watch.
“Think that’s a good idea?”
Ryan blinks at him, having clearly lost track of their ‘conversation’.
“Huh?” he says wittedly and that’s it – game over.
Javier fills the remaining space between them, his hands coming up to grab whatever part of Ryan he can reach. He kisses him and Ryan kisses him back and Javier feels like laughing because finally.
Castle’s fans, it turns out, have their use after all.
Rick Castle walks into the squad room whistling. He’s signed three autographs on the way in and that never fails to put him in a good mood.
Beckett isn’t there yet or maybe she’s upstairs sweating with an ex-SEAL in the gym – he grins at the thought, conjuring the image in his mind for professional purposes only, of course.
He sits at her desk, ruffling half-heartedly through her stuff. It’s not as much fun to snoop when she isn’t around to go all vengeful goddess on him.
That’s when he notices the thick envelope with his name on it. ‘Fan mail!’ he thinks and opens it eagerly. But instead of the much anticipated letters he finds a couple dozens of pages of Jameson/Heat fics.
Now Castle will admit to knowing the term. He is rather flattered by it actually and he may – or may not – even admit to reading a couple. The NC-17 type. For fantasies sake, you know? Castle is, after all, a red-blooded male with a bit of a crush. And you’d be surprised by what the fans can come up with. Why there was this one story about a snow storm and –
A snicker breaks him out of his thoughts and when he looks up he sees Esposito and Ryan smirking at him from across the room.
His eyes go wide.
“Please don’t tell Beckett!” he whimpers and their smiles just get bigger.
“Tell me what?”
Castle freezes. He is so dead. The sex scene in Heat Wave was one thing but this? She will kill him for this. Dimly he wonders whether he’s got time to eat the pages before she gets to him – all twenty-five of them.
Maybe it’s not too late to get out of the three book deal?
“Nothing?” he tries with an innocent smile, belatedly remembering that the look just doesn’t work on him – or so he’s been told.
Beckett studies him for a few seconds, her eyes going from Ryan and Esposito to him to the envelope still clutched in his hand, and then she sighs.
“You know what, I don’t want to know. We got our warrant, let’s go.”
In the mess that follows as they all scramble to their feet, grab their coats and head for the door, they all seem to forget about him, much to Castle’s relief. Or so he thinks until Esposito sidles up to him and almost makes him jump out of his skin.
“In your next book? I want a divorce,” he whispers and all Castle can do is nod dumbly.