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21 June 2010 @ 12:47 pm
Fic: Determined Spirits, part 3  
Determined Spirits
Rating: Adult

Part One
Part Two

Because aliens in Castle wasn't enough, now with even more crack!
(bonus White Collar crossover!)

Peter opened the door to let them in and shook Tom's hand. Elizabeth was there and Tom introduced everyone, "Special Agent Peter Burke, his wife Elizabeth... this is Detective Kate Beckett."

"Come in, Kate," Elizabeth invited, smiling, and shook hands with Kate warmly. "Please, make yourself at home." Then she hugged Tom. "And you. I'm glad to see you. It's been too long."

He kissed her cheek. "Thanks for putting up with a work conference."

"Don't be silly. Neal's this way." She took him by the arm and led him to the living room where Neal was waiting.

"Caffery!" Tom laid the human-inaudible command tone over his voice and had the pleasure of seeing Neal straighten in reflexive obedience. Then he grinned easily, coming across the room to clasp hands.


Tom shook his head in pretended rueful amazement. "How the hell did you convince them to let you out of prison again, Caffery? After all the trouble Peter and I went through to put you in the first time?"

"Following your lead," Neal retorted. "Enjoying the good things in life."

Tom laughed. "I never said anything about taking up a life of crime!" he objected. "Are you being good?"

He displayed his ankle bracelet. "Peter's got a leash on me to make sure, but I don't like jail too much, it turns out.'

"Good," Tom said, "Keep it that way." He didn't hide the threat, and saw that Neal knew he meant it.

Neal tossed a little salute and then turned his not-inconsiderable charm on Kate. But she'd been dealing with Castle for long enough to let it flow around her like water, and Tom stepped back to watch in amusement.

Elizabeth handed him a beer, stood close, and murmured, "I'm glad for you, y'know. You two look good together."

He flicked a pleased smile at her and slung his free arm across her shoulders to hug her against him.

"You stealing my wife, Demming?" Peter joked, coming up to them.

"If I am, you've got no jurisdiction 'til we cross state lines, Agent Burke," he retorted and asked her, "You want to run away with me?"

She put a finger to her lips and pretended to think about it. "I already have a cop," she pointed out and took Peter's hand. "I should trade up, not sideways, don't you think?"

"Oh, burn." Peter clinked his bottle against Tom's with his free hand. "That's how we get put in our place, right?"

She kissed him. "I've got some work in the other room. Dinner should be here in half an hour."

The cops and one criminal formed a loose circle in the living room to talk about the case. He saw Neal try the guacamole, and then shake his head slightly to warn Tom. Sodium benzoate was used a lot in food, and it made everything taste like salty aluminum foil.

As lead on the case, Tom presented it to the others and they mulled it over.

"What I can't figure is why these two paintings?" Tom asked. "A Vermeer and Velasquez? And they left the Monet and a Cassatt hanging on the wall? Hell, they could've cleaned the place out, since they weren't in a rush. I don't get it."

"They targeted those two. If I wanted a few paintings by famous artists, and I was willing to pay, the MFA's a good target because it's got lousy security. So my first thought is there's a buyer." He tapped Tom's folder of information. "But there's something interesting about that Vermeer that makes me wonder. Check their provenance."

Tom frowned. These days a bad provenance was of particular concern to many major museums. "Were they looted?"

"I know the Vermeer is disputed for sure," Neal said. "They didn't tell you at the museum?"

Tom exchanged a glance with Kate. "No," she answered. "They didn't mention that." She shook her head and made a face. "Damn it, I hate it when they lie to me."

Tom found his gaze crossing with Neal's then, knowing they both felt the sting. Both of them were lying, every single day, to people they cared about, and no matter how necessary it might be, they both wished they didn't have to.

"The family paid to have it stolen back?" Peter suggested.

Kate shrugged, finishing off her beer. "I hope not, because now the family's an accessory to murder." With a sigh, she leaned into Tom's arm that was stretched out across the top of the couch behind her. "There's no part of this that isn't dirty, is there?"

"Or if you want to get extra dirty, the museum wanted the paintings off their books," Neal said. "They get the insurance money, they don't have to pay off the family or give the paintings back, and if they're clever, they get the proceeds from the black market sale, too."

Tom was always impressed. "That'd be quite a scam to pull. Sills didn't strike me as that smart, but maybe. But, any way we slice it, the only key we have is the security guard."

"And he doesn't fit into any locks yet," Kate added, grimacing in annoyance. "Hopefully we'll get his financials and phone records tomorrow."

The front door buzzed and Peter went to take care of dinner. Elizabeth emerged and went to the kitchen; Kate rose to follow with her empty beer bottle. "Where should I put this?"

"On the counter's fine for now. Want another? Or wine? I'm opening Tom's favorite."

The sound of his name caught Tom's attention, and he eavesdropped to hear what the women would say about him.

Kate said, "Oh? Really? He's got none in his place that I saw."

Elizabeth chuckled softly and pulled a bottle of white out of the refrigerator, starting to open it. "His place, hm? You are special."

Kate frowned a little. "What do you mean?"

The glasses clinked against the counter as Elizabeth took them from the cabinet. "I've known Tom for six years now. And I can tell you some woman must've broken his heart, because I've set him up I can't tell you how many times over the years, and he didn't get past the first date. I started to wonder if he was gay, so I asked him."

"You didn't!" Kate objected, laughing.

Across the coffee table, Neal smirked at him and blew him a kiss. Tom rolled his eyes.

"Of course I did. I wasn't going to keep setting him up with girls if that wasn't what he wanted," Elizabeth insisted. "But he said he wasn't ready. He'd hurt someone badly, he said. Which I doubt, because Tom is far too kind to do that, but I can tell something went wrong that he won't tell me about."

Neal muttered for Tom's ears only, "'Kind'? please. Defender of the queen... "

Tom flipped him off, making Neal laugh.

At that moment, Peter came back, bearing a cardboard box full of containers and paper bags and distracting Tom. "Dinner's here."

No one talked work during the meal, keeping the conversation about the play Neal had seen, Tom's volunteer coaching, and Elizabeth and Peter's anniversary trip. Peter eventually coaxed Kate into talking about Castle, and Tom took that as his cue to bring the dishes to the kitchen. Elizabeth tried to protest, but he grinned and kissed the top of her head, "Relax. I've got it."

Neal followed him into the kitchen bearing the rest of the plates and turned on the water. "You need to destroy that blouse of hers. It's burning my eyes."

Tom grimaced. "I know." One of the red silk panels in Kate's blouse didn't match the others. Worse, it was nothing she could see, since she didn't have the color acuity he did, especially in reds. But it was irritating to look at, especially under fluorescent lights and their flicker.

Then Neal's blue eyes turned serious, and he said, "Mozzie has a package."

Surprised, Tom frowned at him. Mozzie was Neal's 'fixer' friend, and he was the one who had provided Tom with an envelope containing documents with a new name on them. "I have one."

"Just in case. I've spotted three agents in Peter's building so far. They're building up."

"Damn it." Tom liked to think anyone who was FBI had to have been on Earth long enough to be sympathetic to the cause, but it was also likely that they were placed there because they were very loyal in preparation for the Arrival. They were going to cross paths with Tom eventually, given the nature of the work and being friends with Peter. Tom nodded. "Thank you."

"You need to get out of here."

"Not until I have to."

He could see the intent to argue on Neal's face, but Neal gave in, realizing Tom had made up his mind. "I worry about you, John," he muttered.

Tom smiled and squeezed his shoulder. "Don't. Haven't the last ten years proven it's not about me? I'm the first, but it doesn't end with me. We have to stand firm for what we know is true."

The sound of Kate's footsteps made him drop his hand and Neal turned off the water.

She looked from one to the other, a small frown appearing as if she could sense the discussion still hanging in the air. Then she shook it off, handed the last dish to Neal, and appealed to Tom, joking, "Please, come save me. She only wants to hear about Nikki Heat and Castle...."

Smiling, Tom followed her out. For another few hours, he stayed, warm with companionship of friends until he couldn't ignore Kate's hand on his leg anymore. And it took them only a shared glance to decide it was time to go.

* * *

They left the Burkes' apartment building to walk to hers, which was closer. It wasn't that late yet, and the air was still warm and alive with the various smells of the city.

With the memory fresh in her mind of Elizabeth's affectionate farewell, chiding Tom for staying away too long, Kate said, "They seem like good friends of yours."

He knew what she was asking. "Elizabeth sort of ... adopted me as her brother, once she realized I had no family. She's a very giving person, and she's taught me so much. And Peter and I are a lot alike."

"And Neal?" she asked.

He smiled. "Yeah, Neal. He's a little too clever for his own good, and he enjoys making fools of the authorities. I had the case first, and then Peter and I formed a task-force since Neal was stealing securities as well. But I can't stay angry at him, no matter what he does."

"He's very ... likable," she agreed and shook her head, ruefully. "He reminded me of Castle, though at least he only imagines the crimes. I can't believe the FBI went for having a felon advisor."

"It take a thief to catch a thief. Or that's what Peter argued. It was an interesting discussion, I'm told," Tom said dryly.

"I bet." She chuckled, lacing her fingers with his. "I wanted to tell you, when I said that about not liking it when people lie to me? You reacted like I was pointing it at you, but I wasn't. I understand why you can't tell me."

"I wish I could," he murmured and his gaze slipped from hers, to stare off into the distance. "But it's not something you want to hear."

She felt a little chill slip down her spine, and she wondered what exactly Tom had done or been in his former life. Maybe her guess of assassin hadn't been that far off.

But it was over now, she reminded herself. Whatever he'd done, he wasn't that person anymore, and the affection his former step-son and his friends had for him told her more about him than any words.

"I liked seeing you with your friends. It was fun," she murmured. "But I'm tired of being with other cops and having to act professionally around you."

"Oh, thank goodness, it's not only me," he said, so heartfelt it made her laugh and tug on his hand.

"Come on."

In her apartment, she locked up behind them and turned. She barely had time to toss her keys on the table before his mouth was on hers, and she was shoving impatiently at his jacket to yank it down his shoulders.

They dropped bits of clothing all the way to her bedroom. He yanked at her blouse, popping off the buttons and tearing the fabric. "Sorry," he muttered into her neck, not sounding very sorry at all.

Laughing, she pulled it off and threw it to the floor. "So you like it a little rough, Tom?" she purred at him and spun away from his grip to go to her bedside table and fumble around in the drawer, very aware of his eyes on her in her underwear. She'd worn the black set, knowing they were likely going to end up in bed tonight.

She pulled her leather cuffs out and held them up. "Interested?"

Instead of looking intrigued or amused, he went still and his eyes cut reflexively to the door. "I... uh..." he said hesitantly. "I hate to be disappointing, but I don't think I can. They put me in manacles when I was captured. It wasn't much fun." He said the words with an attempt at dry humor, but there was remembered horror in his eyes as he looked away.

"Oh." That stopped her. What had they done to him before he'd escaped? She'd been assuming he'd escaped before they'd done anything, but plainly that wasn't true. No wonder he was anxious about these people finding him again.

But he was also breaking the mood, and she wanted him on her again. So she smiled. "I was thinking more for me. Would that be okay?"

Now he was intrigued. "For you? I... I've never done that. Are you sure?"

She padded closer to him and put her free hand on his chest. "I trust you," she murmured, and lazily let that hand wander down his smooth, taut skin to where the hair started below his navel and the waistband of his boxers. "And a little restraint helps me let go. I want to feel everything." Her fingers traced his shape beneath the thin cotton making his breath catch with surprise. "I want to feel you."

Then she tugged the shorts down his hips, hands sliding down his thighs, until he stood naked before her. Hands stroking back up his body, she went up on her toes to touch her breasts to him and whisper, "I want you to touch me. And make love to me, so hard I can't stand it."

His hands splayed on her hips and waist, holding her close, as his mouth found hers again.

"Anything you want," he murmured. One hand went up her spine and opened her bra, then he pulled back to push the straps down and free her breasts from the cups.

The black bikini panties were the only thing left between them, and his eyes made heated trails across her body, followed by his hands on her ribs and caressing upward to weigh her breasts in each palm. She pressed into the touch, shaking back her hair.

Then, his eyes holding hers as if to be sure she was all right with this, he took the cuffs from her and held them so she could slip her hands inside. Then, one by one, he buckled them, and she shuddered as soon as he fastened the last one, feeling the heat flare deep inside. Oh God, yes, this was going to be perfect.

"Good?" he asked, with enough of a smile he had to know she was better than good.

She seized his wrists and pulled him back toward her bed. "This way."

But on the mattress, he had somehow snatched the linking chain and hooked it to the crossbar of the headboard. And that quickly, she'd lost control when he snapped the clasp and chain together, binding her wrists to the headboard.

She pulled on it, and while there was a little play, she was restrained. Something deep inside lurched and turned over -- it wasn't quite fear, not quite arousal, but looking up at Tom's face, as he watched her in concern, the feeling clarified. She was safe, and it was safe to let go.

She smiled, pulling her toes up the outside of his leg, and licked her lips. "So what're you gonna do with your prisoner, Demming?" she demanded in a low, teasing voice. "Gonna ravish her?"

"Thoroughly," he promised. He stayed still for a moment, raking his eyes down her body and making her want to squirm. So she looked back at him boldly, admiring the play of muscles and skin, especially as he bent forward to capture her lips with his.

His mouth skimmed down her neck to her breasts. She arched her back, letting out little moans at the touch of his hands and lips and tugging to free her hands. Opening her legs to clasp him around the hips, she held him tightly to her, enticed by evidence of his own arousal and trying to get him to rub where the warmth was starting to tingle between her legs.

He kissed down her stomach, squirming lower, and he tugged the wisp of her panties down her legs and off, before sliding his hands back up her calves and knees to coax her legs open for him again. Then, when she could feel his breat and he paused as if to inhale her smell, she shivered in expectation. "Oh, I think I'll have to keep you." She shuddered when his tongue swept delicately across her vulva. She twisted, but her hands were held tight and it made her shudder again.

He was enthusiastic, sucking and tonguing her clit until she could hardly stand it. Without the cuffs or his surprisingly strong grip on her legs, she would've thrashed around, but she couldn't move. She could only endure as he pushed her into higher arousal, letting her plateau and then rise again.

"Oh God, Tom, oh please---" her head jerked against the pillow, control utterly gone into the heat and pressure spinning through her.

And then his tongue pushed inside, sliding impossibly far and she could feel every inch of it, going deeper, touching her with precise pressure and licking. The rest of him, his lips and his face, were pushing against her as well. She convulsed, crying out, as it finally grew too much.

He coaxed her down easy, with gentle touches of his lips until she felt fragile and yet fulfilled. Her pulse was still rapid and she was breathing hard to catch her breath, but it was a beautiful loose feeling.

She wasn't sure she could bear more after that, as aftershocks slipped through her, but she licked her lips and managed to smile at him. "Inside, Tom, I want all of you."

He needed no more invitation, to lift her hips and she wrapped her feet around him. She watched him, as he thrust into her, and when he slammed another brief orgasm out of her, she kept her eyes open to see how the desire engulfed him too, until he was lost in the need for completion.

Then with a groan torn from his lungs, he jerked into her, helpless as his own orgasm swept him. He shut his eyes tightly and hissed something through his teeth.

He lowered himself on top of her, a heavy warmth, and kissed the middle of her chest and one breast softly before resting his head there. She still had her legs wrapped around him loosely, too boneless to move them, as he stirred again to reached to open the clasps.

She brought her hands down to his shoulders to caress his skin with her fingers, skimming over the muscles and down his arms and then to his back.
Combing her fingers through his hair, she closed her eyes to embrace the stillness and the lassitude through her entire body. "Where'd you learn to do that thing with your tongue?" she asked in a murmur. "Because that was amazing."

"I have many talents," he answered and she could feel him smiling against her skin.

She thought of his mysterious past and chuckled. At least doing wicked things with his tongue was something he could carry with him to a new life. "I bet, Demming."

* * *

As soon as he thought he could stand up without embarrassing himself, Tom stirred. "I'm going to get a drink, you want anything?" he asked. She didn't answer at first, so he sat up and started for the bathroom.

Her request followed him in the near dark. "Water, and a washcloth?"

"Sure." He went into the bathroom, filled a cup, and saw there were two washcloths on the rack. "Green one okay?" He dangled it from his hand to show her, unsure if the different colors meant she used them for different purposes.

She frowned in his direction. "That's the green one? I can barely see you. And I sure as hell can't tell which color it is."

He froze, realizing his mistake too late, then had to recover. "I saw it before," he explained with a shrug, but inwardly cursed. He was getting careless. He felt too comfortable around her and forgot to do basic things like turn on a light first.

"Here." He handed her the cloth and then the water cup. He couldn't tell her that he could see her nearly as plain as day with the city lights peeking around the curtains, but he could watch her in quiet admiration. His gaze caught sight of her red silk blouse on the floor, and he smiled a little. She'd never know why he'd torn it, because she couldn't see any difference.

Couldn't see any difference...

He stiffened, realization hitting him like a shock. "That's what it was."

"What? What are you talking about?" she asked in confusion, pitching the washcloth in the general direction of the laundry basket in the corner.

"The case. In the gallery. I think I know what was wrong." He stood up and started gathering his clothes. "I need to go to the museum and check it out."

She laughed softly. "Tom, it's almost midnight. It can wait."

"Oh. Right." He sat back on the bed heavily, disappointed.

Sitting up next to him, she leaned closer so her body heat radiated against his skin, though she only touched his leg. "What's your idea?" she prompted.

"That Monet painting was different."

"Different how?"

"I'm not sure, without looking at it again. But it didn't quite look... right," he answered. That was a lie-- he knew damn well it was different. "I think the thieves swapped it and the one on the wall is a fake."

"Hm, that's a good theory. But wouldn't Sills have noticed?" she asked. "Or someone else in the museum?"

That was the tricky part, because he assumed the colors looked right to humans. It wouldn't be a very good fake if at least the colors and brush-strokes didn't look nearly perfect. "Would he? Even if he wasn't part of it -- which we don't know -- why would he look? The other paintings were taken."

She made a thoughtful noise and rested against him. "So the others were a decoy?" she realized. "The real target was the Monet?"

The heat of her skin against his back suddenly made this case seem unimportant, and his fingers itched to touch her again. He pushed aside his rising desire to focus on the case. "It would be pretty easy to alter a haystack painting to look like a newly discovered one. And sell it for a whole lot of money."

She nodded, her hair brushing his shoulder. "It'd have to be a especially good fake, right?" she asked and he agreed. "So there can only be so many people who can do that work, I'd assume?"

He saw where she was going with that and flashed a smile. "I'll ask Peter and Neal tomorrow. And maybe dig around in my contacts. But first, I should make sure at the museum."

"First thing in the morning," she promised. Then her fingers gripped his shoulders and she pulled him onto his back on top of her. He turned over, pushing up to find her lips with his, indulging in the new heat she'd raised in him.

Her hands curled around his waist as she hummed her pleasure into his mouth. Then when he'd shifted to kiss her neck, she was caught by a yawn. "Sorry. I think we should sleep. You're staying, right?"

"I'm staying," he agreed, though he was starting to realize it was a bad idea. Kate already knew more about his real life than any human ever had. If she found out more, he was going to have to leave.

He pulled the sheet and blanket up over them, and when she turned onto her side, she pulled his arm over her waist, so he could spoon up behind her.

She let out a soft, sleepy sigh and, instead of speaking, tightened her grip on his hand.

The heat of her body so close to his made him drowsy, but also made him want to remember all of it, so he'd have another memory to take out and feel again whenever he needed it.


Crossposted from DW There are comment count unavailable comments over there. Feel free to comment wherever.
Merry F: kara sam bedivanolix on June 22nd, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC)
Eeeee, I love how you mix the hot sex with the plot—that's just brilliant! And a really nice exploration of the differences in the Vs, including some handy ones. ;-)
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on June 23rd, 2010 07:03 am (UTC)
I figured if you're gonna have mildly kinky sex with an alien, might as well be a use for that alieness, right? :)
entertaining in a disturbing way: yeah I ship itlyssie on June 23rd, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
Mmm. porn.

And, um, some plot, too! =D
lizardbethlizardbeth_j on June 23rd, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
,see? That's why I thought I should point out that y'all were missing the hot (or else it wasn't hot, and, I'm sorry, that was impossible that it was JUST ME. Doesn't everyone have a handcuff -- er, nevermind, don't answer that. *g* )

entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on June 23rd, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
I knew there was something I forgot to mention--i love that hot sex doesn't cure things like bad memories about being CHAINED and stuff. <3