Happy Birthday, Swingnswirl.
I heard you like Beckett/Denning.
Characters: Kate Beckett, Denning.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this, all characters within are fictional, and no resemblance with real people, institutions is intended. While the math statements are true, I got them secondhand (or thirdhand) from a reputible Science journal.
Disclaimer: I do not own Castle, the characters, or the products from them.
Spoilers: coda to series 2 finale (2.24 "A deadly game")
Author's Notes: this was born from the discovery that sufficiently large numbers (like how lighly Denning thinks of Beckett) cannot be handled by math...not even by P≠NP. (source: _New Scientist_ 14 August 2010)
Things change, people change. Right now, Kate Beckett, NYPD, was standing on the sidewalk at a traffic intersection that, when she was a little girl, had been the proverbial hive of scum and villainy, not the place a good girl went. Right now and for years now, it was clean and scrubbed and full of above-board businesses like McDonalds.
Kate had passed along a message asking to meet, hoping that she wouldn't be turned away or left standing here all afternoon.
"Hey," Tom Denning said, coming up behind her.
"Tom," Kate said. "You got my message." I didn't think you would show. You didn't have to come.
Denning nodded. "I did. And thanks."
Kate hesitated before she said anything - he hadn't said that sarcastically or mockingly or anything like that. It sounded like genuine gratitude. "Thanks?" she repeated.
"Thank you," Tom said.
"Asking to meet me." Before she could object, he pointed out that, "If this were work-related, you would've met me at the precinct, or called me."
This is true, Kate admitted to herself. "I'm sorry," she told him.
"No need to apologize."
"You don't know what I'm apologizing for."
Oh, I can guess. "Doesn't matter. Are you confessing to a crime?"
"Did you put me in Witness Protection?"
"No," Kate said, not entirely sure if her FBI friends could do that.
"Then, like I said, it doesn't matter."
"I was rash," she said. "I made an assumption and -"
"Was perfectly human," Tom said.
"Even though I," Kate started to ask.
Dumped me? "Opted for Castle as a first choice?" Denning asked, reasonably sure that that was what she was about to say. "I'm fine with it."
"Seriously?" Kate asked.
"I know, most guys would kill to be number 1 - the first choice of a beautiful woman."
"You're not 'most guys', but go on," Kate said.
"You're here, talking to me."
"And not with Castle."
The faintest of nods.
"And you haven't asked why."
Castle's why, Denning suspected. "It matters to me, only insofar that it matters to you."
"So if I don't want to talk about it..."
"Then we don't talk about it," Denning said.
"Wow," Kate said. "Most girls would kill for a guy like you."
Denning nodded slowly. "I'm not proud of it."
Kate just stared at him, until it dawned on her that he was kidding - the wisp of a smile on his face was clue enough. "Don't do that to me," she laughed.
"Sorry," he apologized.
"'s okay," Kate said. "So now what?"
So am I. Offering Kate his arm, "Dinner or drinks?"
"Dinner," Kate said. "I'm starving."
"Can't have that."
"Can't have you buying, either."
"Dutch?" Denning asked.
"Sounds like a good start. Though didn't the last Dutch restaurant close a few months ago?"
"I know some people," Tom said, which elicted a smile from Kate, and they walked for a bite.