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Midnight Snack

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Beckett left the interview room feeling relief at solving the case, but needing to take a long shower after listening to the perp’s confession. Some people were just so twisted that no amount of therapy would ever fix them.

She walked into the bullpen and saw Castle lounging at her desk. It was a quirk of his that annoyed her, but tonight she didn’t have the energy to tell him to get out of her chair, so she was doubly surprised when he rose to meet her.

“Castle?”

“Is it over?” he softly asked.

“Thankfully, yes,” she replied as she stepped around him and retrieved her purse. “Why are you still here?”

“I thought I might be able to convince you to join me for a midnight snack,” Castle answered with a hopeful expression as he leaned against her desk.

“I just want to go home and relax,” she told him. “And maybe forget about the past few days.”

“Understandable,” Castle agreed with a subtle nod. The case had been a strange and twisted one. It had even left him shaken, so he understood why Beckett wanted to forget about it for a little while.

“But?” she asked her curiosity piqued.

“But what?”

“Where are you planning to get this midnight snack?”

“My place,” Castle simply replied.

“You cook?”

“I can manage simple meals.”

“How simple?”

“I’ve been told my tomato soup and grill cheese sandwiches are to die for,” Castle answered.

“Really?”

“Yes, and my mother and Alexis are away for the weekend so no need to make meaningless small talk.”

“Are you telling me you could sit there watch me eat and not engage me in conversation?” Kate countered with an arched eyebrow.

“You should know me better than that,” Castle quipped with a wry grin.

“I hope so, because that would be a little creepy.”

“I just meant that you wouldn’t have to endure the third degree about the case,” Castle explained.

“What you really mean is that you wouldn’t have to endure the third degree,” Beckett countered with a knowing grin. She had come to enjoy the time she got to spend with Castle’s mother and daughter.

“Guilty as charged,” Castle admitted with a hint of chagrin in his voice. He loved his mother and daughter, but grew tired of their endless questions about his relationship with Beckett. “So?”

“It’s not often that a man offers to cook for me, so I’ll take you up on your gracious offer.”

Castle smiled and held out his arm.

Beckett slipped her arm around Castle’s and allowed him to lead them out of the bullpen.

*&*&*

Castle walked up to his front door with Beckett following a few steps behind him. He stopped and softly groaned when he heard voices coming from inside. His daughter was home and she had invited a few friends over since he had told her that morning he didn’t know when he would be home.

“What’s wrong?” Beckett asked as she stopped and leaned against the wall near the door.

“Apparently, Fate is working against me,” Castle replied with a tight grimace.

“What do you mean?”

“From the sounds of things, it appears that Alexis’ weekend plans have fallen through.”

“Oh...”

“Yeah.”

“Do you have a plan B?”

“I wish I could say I did,” Castle admitted. “All I do know right now is that I don’t want to interrupt what she has going on.”

“And?” Beckett pushed. She had sensed before they had left the precinct that Castle was up to something.

“And?”

“I get the feeling that you don’t want to share me with your family,” Beckett suggested. “Why is that? Are you afraid they’ll reveal something you’re hiding?”

Castle shrugged.

“Are you hiding something?”

Castle sighed and hung his head. He had hoped to tell Beckett that he had developed feelings for her and ask her out on a real date.

“Rick?” Beckett prompted.

“This isn’t exactly the place where I wanted to have this conversation,” he replied as he looked up in mild surprise at Beckett’s use of his first name. “But when in Rome...”

“What are you babbling on about?”

“How long have we been working together?” Castle countered not wanting to blurt out what was on his mind.

“Over six months.”

“Well, in that time I’ve fallen under your spell,” he began knowing it sounded lame as soon as the words left his mouth.

“Even for you, Castle, that’s lame,” Beckett told him.

“Yeah, I know,” Castle admitted as he ducked his head again and rubbed a weary hand along the back of his neck fighting to find the right words and failing. He worked with words for a living and he couldn’t string together the right ones to get his point across. “This isn’t a ploy to get into your pants, I swear.”

“Good,” Beckett said in a clipped tone. She was getting ready to walk away and go home because the conversation was turning creepy and she had had enough of that to last her for awhile. “Because it would get you shot.”

“And I would deserve that.”

“So what are you trying to tell me and failing?” Beckett asked as she stepped closer to Castle forcing him to raise his head and look her in the eye.

“I’ve developed feelings for you and would like to take you out on a proper date some time,” he finally blurted out hoping she wouldn’t shoot him or blow him off by walking away.

Beckett shook her head and softly laughed. “You’re such a goof,” she told him. “I don’t know what to do with you.”

“Take pity on me.”

“Alright,” she agreed.

“So where can we go for our midnight snack?”

“We can go to my place,” she suggested with a hint of a smile. “But you need to keep your hands to yourself.”

“I promise.”

She accepted his vow with a silent nod before turning around and leaving.

Castle quickly caught up with her and placed his hand at the small of her back which she had gotten use to during their time working together.