Disclaimer: All Castle characters are the property of Andrew Marlowe and ABC.

Author's note: Just a little tidbit from my thoughts on the end of "Law and Murder." By the way, the title comes from a line in Forbidden Planet. If you haven't seen it, it really is a great movie!

Rick Castle was on top of the world. The love of his life (he'd admitted to himself a while back that she was just that) had agreed to go to a movie with him. It'd been her idea, in fact! And not just any movie-Forbidden Planet, a true classic of cinema.

Granted, she thought he'd never seen it and was eager to share it with him. Perhaps she wouldn't have offered if she'd known he had the whole film memorized. He knew he'd have to be careful to refrain from his usual quoting of every line.

Though technically, he reasoned, he had never told her that he hadn't seen it. She assumed and he merely let her hold on to her assumption. Still, he doubted that she would see it the same way, so he resolved to keep his mouth shut.

As the elevator reached the first floor and the doors opened, he gallantly offered his arm to the beautiful detective and smiled as she slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow.

They reached her car and separated. He keenly felt the loss of contact, but settled for observing the sparkle in her eyes as she continued to speak animatedly about the movie while they pulled away from the precinct.

Before long they were searching for a parking spot near the theater. He pointed one out, and she zipped into the space. She had apparently exhausted her thoughts on the movie, and they walked in companionable silence to the back of the line for tickets.

Within a few minutes, she was asking for "Two, please," and pulling a debit card from her purse. It had been a long time since Rick Castle had allowed a woman to pay for an outing, firstly because his mother had raised a gentleman, secondly because most of the women he'd dated in recent years were after his money anyway.

This was different, he realized. Though he made considerably more money than his favorite detectives, they treated him as an equal, not a rich celebrity (though they weren't above occasionally taking advantage of his connections and other perks). Kate Beckett, in particular, took every opportunity to remind him that he was not superhuman or above the law, putting him in his place as needed.

But not in a cruel way, he thought. She simply kept him grounded, much the way his mother and daughter did. The three of them were the anchors that prevented him from floating off into the murky clouds of Page Six and bad reality tv shows.

So he let her pay, both for the movie tickets and for the bucket of popcorn, bag of Skittles and box of Raisinets they decided to share.

They settled into their seats in the dark theater, the Skittles in her lap, the Raisinets in his, and the popcorn between them.

As the movie began, he carefully schooled his features into those of someone who had never seen the wonder of filmmaking that was Forbidden Planet. He caught her stealing glances at him from time to time, apparently making sure that he was enjoying the movie. He grinned at her when their eyes met.

"This is great," he whispered. "Thanks for bringing me."

"You're welcome," she returned. "I still can't believe you've never seen it."

Before he could prevent it, he felt a blush rise in his cheeks and a slightly guilty look flash across his face. Her eyes narrowed just a bit, and she smacked him lightly on the arm.

"You HAVE seen it! I should have known."

"I never said I hadn't! You assumed..." he trailed off as he watched her annoyance soften into amusement.

"It's okay, Castle. Even if you did lie to me, I'm glad I had someone to watch it with. It's not really Josh or Lanie's type of movie, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I know. Usually Alexis is pretty good about watching this kind of stuff with me, but she had plans tonight. It's good to know I have another geek to fall back on in my time of need." He winked at her and she put on a look of playful affront.

"Are you calling me a geek, Castle?"

"Well, if the shoe fits..."

She started to say something, but he continued on.

"Mind you, it pretty much completes your status as the most perfect woman in the world."

It was Beckett's turn to blush.

"Does it now?" she asked curiously. "What makes you say that?"

Castle smiled, tilting his head to the side and looking thoughtful.

"Well, let's see... You're as hell..." he was ticking off each attribute on his fingers and grinning as her blush deepened.

"You love're a closet speak another're driven and relentless...compassionate, but have a wicked sense of put up with me..."

"Only because of the paperwork involved if I were to shoot you," she quipped, poking a finger into his chest.

He reached up to capture her finger and held it tightly in his grasp as he watched her worry her bottom lip between her teeth.

"Just face it, Beckett," he said, leaning in and giving her a small smile. "You're perfect."

Her eyes flicked briefly down to their joined hands, then back to his eyes. He could tell she was struggling with what was happening between them. He desperately wanted to tell her how he felt, well, more than he already had, but he also knew that this was not the time or place.

He lowered her hand from his chest and set it on the armrest between them, patting her gently and then leaving his hand next to hers-not touching, but close.

"Anyway," he intoned, turning back to the screen, "just sayin'."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a slight upturn of her lips. He felt her hand move away from his and wondered if he'd gone too far, but no, she was just popping a few Skittles into her mouth. And when she brought her hand back to the arm rest, she entwined her pinky with his.

He hadn't asked her out nor declared his undying love. She was still with Josh. Nothing had visibly changed between them. But he knew, in the deepest part of his heart, that they had just taken one more step toward the inevitable.

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