SUMMARY: He’s not really the work late on a Friday type. She ought to know, because she’s here more Friday nights than she’s not.
SPOILERS: For episode 4x09
AUTHOR'S NOTES: A post-ep for "Kill Shot," written for kiss_me_cassie, who prompted a late night at the precinct.
It’s nine o’clock on a Friday night, the night shift is on duty, and everyone else is gone. Everyone except Kate, who’s still at her desk, buried in an incident report that could absolutely wait until Monday morning.
It’s really pretty pathetic, when she thinks about it, which is why she’s trying not to think about it. Pathetic or not, she needs the distraction of work tonight, even more than usual. Dr. Burke wouldn’t approve, but her coping mechanisms are her coping mechanisms and she’s not ready to give them up. She’s doing better, she really is, but it’s not like better is the same thing as good.
“Thought maybe you’d be gone by now.”
She looks up and there’s Esposito, gripping a cardboard coffee cup and leaning against the edge of her desk.
“And miss out on all this exciting paperwork?” she replies dryly.
His mouth twists. “Right.”
“What are you doing here?” He’s not really the work late on a Friday type. She ought to know, because she’s here more Friday nights than she’s not.
“You know,” he says, shrugging lightly. “Same as you.”
She raises an eyebrow. “Paperwork?”
He shrugs again. “Sure.”
He settles down at his desk and she goes back to her incident report, but her concentration’s blown. She ends up staring at the back of his head, wondering what he’s doing here. Whatever it is, it’s definitely not paperwork; he hasn’t even glanced at the stack of case files teetering on his desk. As far as she can tell, he’s just surfing the web, which she’s almost positive he could do at home if that’s really how he wants to spend his Friday night.
It occurs to her that maybe he’s here for her. That he’s checking up on her. Making sure she’s keeping her shit together after everything that’s happened this week.
If it was anyone else doing it she’d be pissed, but for some reason, because it’s Esposito, she actually finds it kind of sweet.
It also occurs to her that maybe he’s not just there for her. After all, he’s the one who put a bullet in Lee Travis. It’s not like it was his first time, not by a long shot, but if anyone’s got a right to feel a little “there but for the grace of God” about this case it’s him.
“Hey, Javi,” she calls out. “You eaten?”
He turns around, his mouth slowly crooking into a grin. “Nope.”
They walk over to the Greek diner around the corner. It’s quiet except for a table full of college students and an older couple in one of the other booths.
Hanging out with Esposito is the exact opposite of hanging out with Castle. It’s easy. Comfortable. Comforting. Neither of them feels the need to talk much, or to engage in one of those relentless verbal jousting matches she always finds so exhausting. It’s sort of exactly what she needed tonight.
Her gaze drifts over to the college students. Their table’s covered with textbooks and laptops and they’ve all got that hungry, wide-eyed look, like they know the whole world’s at their fingertips, if only they can stay awake long enough to puzzle out all the answers.
“You remember being young like that?” she asks.
He snorts. “Pretty sure I was never that young.”
“Yeah,” she mutters. “Me neither.”
His mouth twitches and she looks away, anticipating a question she doesn’t want to have to answer, but he doesn’t say anything. Instead he reaches across the table and helps himself to one of her fries. She shakes her head and pushes the plate towards him.
When the check comes he offers to pay and she lets him, on the condition that she gets it the next time. Which means she’s just suggested there should be a next time. The thought actually makes her smile.
It’s a cool, clear night and they take their time on the walk back to the precinct. She’s not ready for it to end yet. Once they walk back into that building, she’s convinced it’ll break the spell. Everything will go back to the way it was and she’ll go back to feeling miserable and alone.
She reaches out, almost without thinking, and her hand brushes against his arm. “Thank you.”
He stops walking and looks at her, his brow furrowed. “For what?”
Her fingers tighten around the strap on her bag and she shrugs. “For being you, I guess.” She leans forward and kisses him. It’s just a fleeting kiss, and just on the cheek, but it feels huge to her.
His eyes widen slightly and his mouth curls.
She clears her throat and turns away, embarrassed. Considers running back to the precinct. But he catches her hand in his, pulling her back. When she turns around he’s smiling at her, eyebrows raised.
“What?” she says defensively.
He cocks his head to the side. “Nothing.”
She can’t think of anything to say and she can’t seem to move, either. They’re standing in the doorway of darkened nail salon and there are people brushing past them on the sidewalk and she wonders how long they can stay this way before one of them has to do something.
And then he kisses her. A real kiss, on the mouth.
Maybe she ought to be shocked but she’s not. She opens her mouth against his, sighing softly as she feels his fingers curl around her hips. Her hands work their way up his arms, tugging him closer, and for a moment it’s like it’s just them in the world tonight and it’s really, really nice.
Except it’s not just them. They’re standing on the sidewalk around the corner from the precinct and any second now someone’s going to walk by or drive past and recognize them, if they haven’t already.
She pulls away, breathless, and can’t help laughing a little. Not that this is funny, but … well … it’s not not funny. “This is crazy,” she says.
He only draws back a little, meeting her gaze. “Is it?”
He purses his lips, shrugging. “Do you care?”
His smile is slow and seductive. “Not really.”
She shakes her head. He’s totally serious. Which is ridiculous because it’s Javi and he’s not supposed to be looking at her like this and she’s not supposed to be having these feelings. And because this is the part where one of them is supposed to step up and be rational.
The thing is, she doesn’t feel like like being rational.
Her hand moves to his cheek and he leans into her touch as her thumb traces the edge of his jaw. This time she’s not really sure who kisses who first, all she knows is that they’re kissing and it’s so much easier than she thought it would be.
Apparently she doesn’t really care if this is crazy or not.