forwardset

anonymous asked:

Prompt because your stories are awesome! S4 Beckett knows how much Castle is in to anniversaries of any sort and she is trying to make him see she's ready for "them", so she wants to surprise him somehow on the upcoming one year anniversary of their undercover kiss that they never talk about even though she knows the exact night it happened one year prior

Two Steps Forward

Set after 4x13


It takes her eight steps to get to the window of Burke’s office and back to her chair. No matter what shoes she wears, heels, flats, or none at all, it always takes exactly four steps to the windowsill and four steps back.

Except today. Today she’s fidgety, restless, and her normal direct path is anything but, taking her behind her chair instead of around, and over to the bookcases that remind her so much of Castle’s home. Her feet guide her on the own accord, she just follows.

“What’s on your mind, Kate?”

Burke’s question stops her mid-stride, three quarters of the way back to her seat.

“I,” she starts, swiping her thumb over the cardboard sleeve of her overpriced - but necessary - coffee cup. “Last year we kissed. Castle and I, we kissed last year.”

The words spill from her lips, fluttering onto the carpet at her therapist’s feet.

“You did?” Burke asks after a moment, teasing out her thought process, ever patient with her.

Giving him a short nod, she turns away, reversing her path back to the window. “It was to save the boys’ lives,” she qualifies, as if that makes any difference to how Castle’s hands had felt in her hair, how his groan had reverberated through her skin, how the taste of him had been on her tongue for weeks afterward.

“I see. But it meant more than that, I take it?”

Damn, she had walked right into that one, hadn’t she?

“Yes. But it was complicated.”

A part of her wonders if he keeps a tally of how many times she says that. It’s complicated. Like life for the rest of the world is blissful and easy, never without roadblocks or confusion.

“How was it complicated? Walk me through what you’re thinking, Kate.”

Her shoulders sag. “I was with someone else. I wasn’t ready. And Castle and I, we never talked about it.”

Save for the night he tried. The night he tried to remind her of all the things they don’t talk about.

The night she kicked him out, only to have him come back and save her life again.

“So what has it at the front of your mind today?”

“It’s been a year, almost. Almost exactly a year,” she muses.

Burke’s eyebrow lifts, but he waits for the rest of her thought to form.

“I just… I should show him that it meant something. Shouldn’t I?”

The doctor’s head tilts. “It’s important to show the people we care about that they’re important to us, yes, but it shouldn’t be something you feel obligated to do, Kate.”

She slumps, pressing her palm to her forehead. “No, I know. I just - he loves that sort of thing. Random anniversaries, totally off the wall holidays. Last year, he made us celebrate Lost Sock Memorial Day.”

Burke’s lips lift. Yeah, she would give him that, it was funny.

“I think it would mean a lot if I did something, that’s all,” she adds, bringing the conversation back to the dilemma at hand. “Something to acknowledge that it happened and I haven’t forgotten.”

Her therapist nods once more. “Because of your shooting.”

“No. Not the shooting,” she argues, dropping back into her chair. “Not just my shooting.”

Because her partner loves her. Because her partner has made everything about her for the last year - her mom’s case, her quest for justice, her need for space - and she may finally be ready to give something back.

Even if it means making up an anniversary to celebrate with him.


 

Her hands actually shake as she sets up everything on her desk.

Not that everything is much of anything, really. Gates is in the office for the day and the boys are there, too, ready to pounce on the slightest hint that something is different. But she does enough that Castle will notice; there’s a pile of Hershey’s Kisses and a mug of coffee that pales in comparison to what he makes for her near the edge of the desk, and it’s obviously for the man who occupies the chair beside hers.

Then there is the yellow post-it underneath the mug, the scribbled invitation to have dinner tonight. She had written and rewritten it half a dozen times, crumpling each attempt and burying it at the bottom of the waste bin under her desk, before forcing herself to suck it up and stick with the simple request instead of anything more robust.

Yeah, she’s not ridiculous at all.

It occurs to her after the steam from Castle’s coffee begins to dissipate that it is possible she won’t even see him today. It’s paperwork day, wrapping up the reports from the Francisco Pilar case, and her partner is still staunchly avoidant of all the more tedious aspects of police work.

The thought alone is enough to drag her shoulders down.

She could text, could ask him to come in anyway, but that isn’t what they do. It isn’t what she does. She lets him play cop when it’s cool and do his own thing when it’s not; she does not call him and ask him to come and keep her company.

Maybe she should.

That is what today is about, right?

Grabbing her phone, she checks for other messages before pulling up their last conversation. A chuckle escapes without her permission; as of last night, he was still pouting about Alexis putting the kibosh on getting a dog.

Maybe one day a pet will make more sense for them. Both of them.

“Is this for me?”

Her phone clatters to her desk as her head whips upward. He - how is he already here?

“Castle, hey.” She gives herself a mental pat on the back for how steady her voice sounds, in spite of her surprise.

“Hey,” he greets, offering her a soft smile, one that beckons her fingers to cup his face and trace the laugh lines around his eyes. “Brought you yours.”

And one for himself, she notes, but he abandons that in favor of curling his broad hands around her offering.

“Thanks,” she breathes, focusing on lifting the coffee to her lips instead of watching him take his first sip.

She notices him falter, but his smile never fades. If anything, it grows.

“Thanks, Beckett.”

Her cheeks heat at the sincerity in his words. Her coffee isn’t nearly as good as his, and they both know it, but still his gratitude comes without hesitation.

“So,” he starts, clearing his throat. “What do we have today?”

“Your favorite.” She taps a file, quirking a smile at his sigh. “Paperwork.”

She expects him to turn around and make some excuse for why he needs to leave, but instead he slides into his chair at her side and taps the desk.

“Give me something to do?”

The post-it disappears halfway through the day, sometime between the trips to the coffee machine, and for a moment her heart seizes at the possibility that it could be stuck to one of the files she had deposited on Gates’s desk an hour earlier. It’s only when he returns and she spies the yellow sticky note in her partner’s jacket pocket that she relaxes.

He shares the pile of candy with her, nudging one of the Kisses her way every so often and nodding in approval when she slips the chocolate from the aluminum foil. The treat melts on her tongue, a delightful reward for her taste buds, and she watches her partner hum his appreciation for his own Kiss.

She can’t help but wonder what it would be like to taste the chocolate from his lips instead.

“You hungry?” he asks after the silence has gone on a little too long.

“Sure. You buying?”

His eyes crinkle once more. “Of course. What am I getting? Nothing that’ll spoil your appetite for dinner, I hope?”

It’s the first time he has even hinted at her invitation and, though her breath stutters, she plays along. “Oh, I think I can make room, whatever you get.”

Her partner licks his lips. “In that case, I will be back. I guess I should get enough to share, too?”

Beckett casts a glance in Ryan and Esposito’s direction. “Probably for the best.”

They’re both looking a little cantankerous with hunger. It wouldn’t really be fair to eat in front of them.

Castle hums, giving her a lopsided smile. “But, just for the record, they’re not invited to dinner, right?”

Anticipation wells in her belly, quiet flutters of hope that threaten to expand and overtake her sense. No, Ryan and Espo are not invited to the dinner - the quiet, companionable, and yes, romantic dinner - she has planned.

Her head shakes. “No, Castle. It’s a small guest list.”

“Perfect,” he rumbles, rapping his knuckles on her desk. “I’ll be back.”

It takes her all of five minutes to spot the sticky note once he’s gone. Somehow, Castle managed to return it to her desk without her noticing, placing it underneath the remaining two chocolates, and she peels the note away from the surface with care. Knowing her partner, he will probably want to keep it at the end of the day and she won’t be the one to rip or wrinkle it.

Ignoring the rest of the bullpen for a moment, her fingers trace the excited blocks of his letters, his answer, his confirmation that he gets it, what all this means.


I can’t wait.

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