Castle Halloween FanFic Competition: Room 217


Another story for out fanfic competition. Here you can find all the stories for the 12th Precinct Castle Halloween FanFic Competition. And here you can find the rules.
You can also find the stories at www.fanfiction.net for a possible easier read.

Story: Room 217

Rating: Unknown
Word count: 1825



                                                                     
Friday, October 26th.


"Tell me why I signed up for this again?" Kate asked, looking out the window.

"Because you love me?" Castle replied.

"No, I don't think that's it."

The Range Rover Castle was driving went around the bend, revealing a large white Neo-Georgian hotel with a red roof.  He parked while Kate looked out the window at the Halloween decorations in front of the plain exterior.

"Is this it?  I thought we were going to a Bed and Breakfast," she said.  For weeks, Castle had been needling her about a getaway, after the Hamptons had mostly been a wash.  She'd finally agreed, though he could tell she was hesitant when he mentioned needing a specific costume.  Flying to Denver and then driving two hours to Estes Park hadn't helped either.

"This is better.  It's the Stanley Hotel."

"Stanley Tucci has his own hotel?"

"The hotel from 'The Shining,' Kate."

"You mean with Jack Nicholson?  Good movie. But isn't that the Overlook Hotel?"

"Kate!  You dilettante!  Choosing a movie over a book?  This is the hotel Stevie stayed in that inspired the novel!"

"This is really meaningful to you, isn't it?"

"It's Halloween!  It's haunted!  We're in Room 217."

"And that's a special room?"

Castle's face fell.  Kate sighed and shook her head.  "Come on, Castle.  Show me where they kept Cujo or whatever."

"Now you're just piling on."

"Maybe a little," she said, grabbing his arm and pulling him along.  "Let's go see what you've gotten us into."

-----------------------------------

The Stanley was much better on the inside, she had to admit.  The lobby and the main drawing room were both huge, covered in ornate wood and turn of the century fixtures.  She let Castle chatter excitedly with the clerk as they checked in.  She wanted to roll her eyes over how they kept mentioning the place was haunted, but everyone seemed to be into it, so she let it go.

Room 217 was beautiful, with thick rose drapes and quilts and green accent pieces.  As Castle paid the bellhop, she quietly moved the portrait of Stephen King from her bedstand to his.  

"You know, The Shining was King's third book," he said, catching her in the act, "but his first bestseller.  I guess some of us don't hit it out of the park on our first try."

"Don't tell me you have a rivalry with King, too."

"No.  Stevie's a good guy.  He actually blurbed my first book.  We're friends. I even tried to be in the Rock Bottom Remainders, but they said no."

"No musical talent?"

"Too pretty."

"Whatever, pretty boy.  Let's go get some dinner, I'm starving."

----------
Early Saturday morning.


Castle sat bolt upright in bed for the fifth time that night, a huge smile on his face.  The Halloween party wasn't until Saturday night, so they'd spent the evening in town having dinner and walking around Lake Estes.  Castle had continued to regale her with the stories around Freeman Stanley and his habit of visiting his guests, even seventy years after his death. 

"Did you hear that, Kate?"

"If you say, 'did you hear that' again, I may have to remove your spleen."

"It sounds like the piano again."

"I'll make you sleep outside."

"In the hall?"

"Outside the hotel."

"Fine," he said, lying back down.  


---------
Saturday Evening...


"You ready?" Kate called out from the bathroom.

"Yep," he said. They had gotten dressed separately, so that each's costume would be a surprise to the other.

Kate opened the door, and Castle had trouble catching his breath.  She was dressed in a tight fitting white blouse and jeans, along with old colt six-shooters in dual thigh holsters, Stetson, and a lasso slung to her belt.  A bright gold star was affixed to her fringed vest.

"Sexy cowgirl?"

"Kate Warne, first female detective in the U.S."

He burst out laughing.  "Oh wow, do we match or what?" He asked.  He was dressed in an old longcoat, bowtie, and bowler.  "I'm Allan Pinkerton."

"The man who tracked down Jesse James.  Excellent. Warne worked for him, you know."

"You told me.  Give you any ideas?"

"Not even close," she said. "Let's go."

They walked arm in arm down to the music room.  The Shining Ball had a yearly Halloween event that sold out months in advance.  Kate figured Castle must have used his writerly reputation (or his ties to Stephen King) to secure the room and the tickets.  Either that, or he'd been planning the whole thing since May.

The music room had been darkened and most of the furniture cleared.  A band sat in the corner, playing traditional waltzes mixed in with more contemporary music as crowds of well-costumed couples danced and mingled. Castle led them around to several couples who seemed to know him, though whether from his celebrity or prior visits, Kate couldn't tell.  But they enjoyed themselves as they talked, drank, and generally made merry.

Per the rules, everyone was dressed in a nineteen century costume.  Kate and Castle had fun guessing what some of the couples were dressed as before finally heading out on the dance floor to do a few turns.  Several people approached them, this time obviously knowing Castle from previous visits, not just his fame.  Kate wondered how regularly he'd made it out here, before she met him.

Eventually, once everyone who knew Castle had come by and said hello, Kate got him on the dance floor alone.

"Okay, Castle, why The Shining?"

"Well, it is Halloween..."

"I get the Halloween angle.  But the man wrote a lot of books..."

"Oh.  Well, I like the parallels."

She raised her eyebrow.

"With you and me," he continued.  "Writer, struggling to find his direction.  He comes here, finds inspiration, creates his best stuff yet, goes on to great things."

"That's very sweet.  Except for the part where you compare me to a building."

Castle shrugged apologetically, then twirled Kate in place.  She gave him the look of disdain for another minute, but she couldn't hold it for long, not while she was in his arms and he was looking at her like she was the entire world.

The band switched to a slower song, and Kate tucked into his shoulder for a slow turn around the floor.

------------------
Two hours later...

"Excuse me," A man dressed as Lincoln said into the lead singer's microphone.  People clinked their glasses until everyone went quiet.  "I am Stephen Marchant, the hotel director.  I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for coming."

The crowd clapped in response.

"And to announce the winner of tonight's costume contest."

"That's odd," Castle whispered into Kate's ear.

"What?"

"They've never had a costume contest before.  I didn't even see where we could vote."

"Hmmm."

"So," Marchant continued.  "Since a mystery writer put The Stanley back on the map once again, maybe tonight's winner is all the more appropriate.  I'd like to congratulate our winner ... dressed as the famous detective Allan Pinkerton and an old friend of The Stanley ... Richard Castle!"

The crowd clapped again, and Kate pulled Castle along to the front of the room where Marchant was waiting.  Again, Castle whispered in Kate's ear, "Not that I don't like winning, but there are a lot of costumes here better than mine."

"Just enjoy the celebrity moment," she said as they got to the dais.  "Be your normal charming self and wave."

Castle looked at her, and shrugged in assent.

Just as he waved, Castle felt something splash down on his head.  In seconds, he was covered in a dark red liquid.  Cheers rose up from the crowd.  He turned to Kate, who had stepped away in time to miss getting hit by the blast.

He looked at her face and could tell she'd been expecting it.

"What was that?"

"Now is the point where you kill everyone with your mind powers."

"Did you set this up?"

She nodded.

"There's no 'costume contest' is there?"

"They like you here."

"You knew about this whole weekend, didn't you?"

"Happy Halloween, Castle."

"Why Carrie?"

"Better than It or Firestarter.  Clowns are always creepy and I can't start fires with my mind."

He chuckled and wiped away some "blood" that had splashed onto her face.  On a whim, he tasted it off of his thumb.

"Why does this taste good?"

"It's cherry syrup.  You know, when I planned this, I thought of a few ways we could clean up, if you're interested?" she asked, licking off some of the syrup from underneath his ear.

"I love Halloween."


------------------
Early Sunday Morning...


Much later, they made their way back down to the party, only to find that the party had passed them by.  Kate checked her watch. It was a little after 2am. They'd been 'cleaning up' for three hours.

"I think we missed the rest of the party," Castle said, standing in the middle of the now empty room.

"Shame, really.  I wanted at least one more dance," Kate said, walking up and around him.

"What we just did seemed very much like dancing to me," he said with a smile, but he pulled her over to the piano anyway.  He held her against him with his right arm, while he reached down to the piano with his left.

"Shall we?" he asked, after playing a few bars of what Kate recognized as a Debussy waltz.  She nodded, and he took her in his arms, slowly dancing her back towards the center of the room.  She tucked herself into him, letting her head rest on his chest, as he rested his on her crown.  For several minutes, they swayed softly in the moonlight to the waltz in their heads.

"The Carrie reference was great," he said finally, "but I think I like the haunted piano more."

"What?"

"Arranging for us to dance to a haunted piano.  Very clever."

"I didn't..." she said, looking up at him, her voice dying when she realized the music she'd been hearing hadn't just been in her head. "Are you messing with me?"

He shook his head no, and she could tell by his look that he wasn't lying.

They broke apart, both heading for the piano as the music abruptly stopped.  They looked around the piano, but there was no one there, no way for someone to have run off. The instrument itself was a perfectly normal, unmodified Steinway.  Castle looked up from the soundboard at Kate.

"Now do you believe in ghosts?"

"What I believe," Kate said, "is that from now on, I get to pick our vacations."

Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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