and so we come to the end

thanks for reading!

part 5 (of 5)

"it's getting hot in here" and yes, some darned plot

WARNING: this chapter might deserve an M rating for language and mature themes


"Kiss me," she whispers. "Or else."

It's been a long week since they first met, and she reads his books and solves crimes and can put him down on the mat in an instant, and he's been dreaming constantly about what he'd like to do with her, where he'd like to be with her, when he'd like to be with her (always), and she's like lightning and he's like thunder and tonight they're going to set the whole world rocking.

He dips to take her mouth, and she bows into him, and then they're sucking and groping and grasping and sighing into each other.

He can feel her sure lips, her searching tongue, her hot hand on his jaw, her shallow breaths against his cheek.

He can hear her heart pounding. Or maybe it's his.

He traces kisses up her jaw, one after another as he exults in the soft slopes of her skin, the give of her body. She threads an arm around him, curls her hand at his neck, tugs at his hair, then plunges beneath his shirt collar with scorching fingers. He doesn't know who starts it, but soon they're trading murmurs, yeses and pleases and gods, and he wants more than anything to make her really lose control, especially if she takes him over the edge with her.

And he needs her to understand that this is already more to him than just kisses and caresses, even if she doesn't want to hear it, even if it hurts her to know how much he already cares. He knows that his words affect her, but he doesn't yet know how much. Time to find out.

"Kate," he whispers against her insistent mouth. "Let me... oh... tell you a story."

She pulls back enough to find his eyes, swallows.

"It's about," he kisses her, "a cop."

She goes still.

He leans in again, holding a firm hand behind her head. He wants to write this story against her lips.

"She's stunning, brilliant, strong," he murmurs. "She works like her life depends on it. And sometimes it's like there's an anchor around her neck, and she has to lift it alone to take even the smallest step." He doesn't give her time to absorb that blow. "One day she meets a writer, a devilishly handsome man who pokes and prods because everything about her fascinates him. He likes to tease her and watch her roll her eyes. He doesn't mind being her punching bag, because he likes the way she touches him. And he wonders about that anchor and that lonely task, and he imagines that someday she might let him help, because he also really likes it when she smiles."

It feels like she's stopped breathing.

He runs his hands over her shoulders, down her back, along her legs, and he's about to have serious regrets about opening old wounds at the worst possible time, and he doesn't blame her when her eyes dart away from him. He doesn't have to be a psychic to know that he's sapping her reserves of courage, cornering her in this small room with his lips and his hands and his heart.

He wishes he could read her mind, though, because suddenly she seems to relinquish whatever mental battle he's begun, and her face relaxes and her eyes unfocus and he doesn't know what's going on anymore but he has a horrible feeling that this is all about to end.

She starts to move away and he protests, tangling his fingers in her short, wild hair.

No, Kate. Stay.

"Castle," she sighs, leaning on the hard consonant in a way that makes him shiver.

He's running through scenarios, but they're all collapsing into the same disastrous ending, and he can't let her leave again. He can't. But he'd promised not to pry. But he wants all of her, down to the last scar. He's still hyperventilating, readying himself for the inevitable, when—

—she turns around, hikes up her dress, and straddles him, her fierce gaze pinning him to the wall.

"Wait," he gasps, grappling past her darkness to recall the unfortunate champagne incident of before. "You're going to get wet."

She bites her lip, leans forward, and growls into his ear, "Too late."

He groans.

When she pulls back to look at him, her eyes are watering, and suddenly she's rolling her hips down onto him, and her head's falling forward onto his shoulder, and she's muttering incoherently, digging her fingers into his neck. And he can't help it, he has to move too, even if she's doing this in spite of the way he's insinuating himself into the most shadowed corners of her life, even if there are glaring shades of fury to her every touch.

It isn't long before she's shoving his hand between their bodies and up her dress, and there he dances his fingertips up the insides of her thighs, dropping heated kisses to her neck and absorbing her every frustrated shift. She's completely wound up, pressing hard into him while he works.

He wants to make her wait. He wants to earn every shudder. But she's too far along and even the totality of his self-control can't compete against Kate Beckett gasping into him for the first time, frantic, pleading with him to finish her.

He does. She's loud. He closes his eyes to listen.

Her final tremor gives way to an odd ringing.

It's her phone.

By the time she hangs up, her face is blank. "I have to go."

"What?" he says. "But, we just, and you, and I thought—"

"I'm on call. Remember?" She's already standing up, pushing down her dress, and running her hands through her hair in an unsuccessful attempt to tame the mess he made. "I told you on the phone that I might not make it," she adds, without a hint of warmth. "But I came, didn't I?"

He shoves the growing ache back where it came from. "Yes," he says, trying for seductive, praying for a laugh. "Yes, you did."

Her mouth twists, and she turns to leave, and he can't let it end.

"Can I see you again?" he asks, wincing as he stands.

She looks back at him, eyes wild and bright. She looks like she wants to say something, but can't.

"What do I need to do?" he asks. "Send more coffee? Write you a book?"

"I just—I have to go," she says. "Murder calls."


The next morning is a Sunday.

He's fast asleep, probably drooling onto his pillows, dreaming of the epic lust and loss of last night. His mattress dips, a soft hand runs through his hair, and he groans something about weekends and hangovers and please, just another hour or three. But then a familiar voice speaks his name, only his last name, and he opens bleary eyes to what must be a dream.

Kate Beckett, in his bedroom, soothing him awake.

She immediately stands up and backs away from the bed. "Alexis let me in," she says.

"Oh," he replies.

She's silent, like she can't figure out where to begin.

"Not that I'm not glad to see you, but..." he trails off, not wanting to have to say it.

"My boss thinks I need you."

His jaw drops.

"Not, no, not like that," she stumbles on. "There was a murder. The body was laid out just like in Flowers for Your Grave, roses on her body, sunflowers on her eyes? And I mentioned your book, and Captain Montgomery remembered your name from the conference program, and he figured out that I've met you."

"Okay," he says, although this is more than okay.

"So he sent me to bring you in—"

"Ooh, are you going to cuff me?"

"No," she says, a little flustered. "You're not a suspect."

"Ah," he says, "I see. I have an incorruptible alibi. You."

She looks away, latching onto the mess of sheets he's pushed to the end of the bed.

"You could have called," he says, and shit, why even question her coming here?

"It's procedure."

Is it really? "Of course," he says.

"Montgomery expects you at the precinct at ten."

"It's the weekend," he protests. "It's early."

"This is my shift."

He backpedals. "Then I can't wait."

She's edging toward the door, so he climbs out of bed, shivering in boxer shorts and a light tee-shirt.

"You could stay for a few minutes," he says quickly. "I'll make coffee. Ooh, or pancakes!"

He isn't surprised by her refusal, but guess who has another chance? Thank you, Captain Montgomery.

He hears Kate Beckett letting herself out of his apartment. The next moment he's tearing through his closet to find the perfect suit, dashing over to the kitchen to turn on the coffee maker, and wondering frantically if he should bring anything, a few signed copies of Flowers for Your Grave, perhaps?

By 8am he's dressed and his hair is perfect and he decides he can't wait any longer to see her again.

He says goodbye to his daughter and heads to work.


Javier Esposito had a good weekend.

Before the body dropped on Saturday night, he'd already fit in some basketball, some video games, even some ladies, and he almost didn't mind when the call came in about a dead woman covered with fucking flowers. Who does that, anyway? Nasty. Then Beckett showed up, champagne on her breath, and she went on and on about how "you don't read, do you" and "obviously, the psycho who did this read a book by some guy named Nick Castle," and then Captain Montgomery called her into his office. She came out looking like he'd demoted her to mall cop.

Now it's early Sunday morning, and Esposito slouches into the bullpen. He skips his desk and heads straight over to consider their sad excuse for a murder board, strewn with the little they'd dug up last night on the vic and the barest bones of a timeline. They have a lot of work to do. There's still a killer on the loose.

That's why he's confused to find Beckett in the break room.

He walks in on a glaring match between her and a tall, strange man holding two steaming cups of coffee.

"I can make my own coffee," she's saying.

"I promise you this is better," the man replies.

They both turn to Esposito, frozen mid-argument.

"What's up, Beckett?" he asks.

"Nothing," she says coldly.

"Who's the civilian?"

"Hey!" the man interjects. "How do you know I'm not a cop?"

"Easy," Esposito says. "Suit, watch, hair. And those baby soft hands. Oh, shit, is it hot in here? Because I'm on fire."

Beckett rolls her eyes. "Detective Esposito, this is Richard Castle, the writer."

"Ah," Esposito says, looking back at Beckett. "What is he? Your new pet?"

"Close enough."

"Captain Montgomery asked me to consult on the case," Castle adds. "After all, I'm something of an expert."

"What, do you have a flower fetish? Because, man, that 'sunflowers on her eyes' stuff is just wrong."

Beckett looks pained. "Esposito, go find Ryan and keep digging into the vic's background."

"Right, boss." He hears her sigh as he saunters out the door.

He could swear that there's something going on between Beckett and that writer. There was some serious sexual energy in the air when he walked in. If they didn't have a real case to solve, he'd investigate these new developments in the personal life of Kate Beckett, ice queen.

Ryan's bent over his desk. "Dude, have you started reading this?" he asks, holding up Castle's freaky book.

"No," Esposito says. "But, I met the author."

"What? Where?" Ryan asks quickly, then has the tact to look embarrassed. "It's actually pretty good."

At that exact moment, Beckett leaves the break room, the writer trailing behind her. They head toward her desk, where she falls into her chair with a long sigh that everyone around here knows is evidence of a dangerous level of frustration. Castle sets the coffees down on her desk, way the hell too close to her computer, and glances quickly around the precinct like he's looking for something.

"What's he doing?" Ryan asks.

Castle finds a chair. He drags it over until it's right next to Beckett's desk. And then he sits. They watch as he rests an arm on the desk inches away from her hands, nudging her rack of thick files. She glares at him, says something. He smirks and answers. He doesn't move away.

Esposito smiles.

Writer Man is wooing Beckett. And she's letting him.

Ryan's quiet for a moment. Then he wonders aloud, "How long do you think 'til she pulls her Glock on him?"

"Nah, come on. Are you a detective or what? Look at them."

"What?"

"Isn't it obvious?"

"What?"

"Forget it, bro." Esposito watches as the detective and her writer continue to bicker. "But for the record? I'd give them forever."