Moment in Time
His fingers were wrapped around hers as she led the way. Castle still couldn't believe it. He had thought it done. Unable to bear the thought of watching her life slip away again, he had walked away. He had deleted the file. Their partnership was no more.
Then she arrived out of the storm, her tears mingling with the rain. She repeated it over and over, "I'm so sorry, Castle, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."
The hunger that had been building in him for four years overwhelmed his senses. He couldn't get enough of her, her taste, her scent. Even the scar was beautiful, a sign that she had survived to come back to him. Perhaps it was a sign that she could survive again, that they could survive again.
They reached the bedroom and she closed the door behind them. He had already opened her blouse and she had pressed his hand against the sign of her strength. Now he wanted, he needed, to see it all. He slipped the shirt from her shoulders to the floor. She undid his buttons as well, needing to touch him without the barrier of clothing. They gazed at each other. They had worked together, fought together for four years, but it was as if they were truly meeting for the first time. He lifted her, still damp from the rain, and gently placed her on the bed, cocooning her beneath the warmth of his body. What he had taken, what she had given when she passed his threshold, had just begun to fill the gaping hole that had been blasted in his heart. He needed it all to feed his famished soul, every part of her.
If he was starving, she was voracious. The need she had denied for so long splintered her carefully erected walls. They met in body and spirit. Fingertips explored and mouths tasted every inch. They came together in a celebration of discovery, fitting as a lock to a key. The climax came with explosive sweetness as still holding fast, they stared at each other in wonder.
Kate lay in Castle's arms, her head, with hair still damp, against his chest. "If we were following stereotypes, this should be your line," Castle told her, gently stroking her skin, "but we left those behind long ago, so I'm going to say it. Talk to me."
"About what?" Kate asked.
"Everything. Who got away and how did you almost die? I want to know everything. I need to know everything, Kate. I need to know how you got here, how we got here."
"The shooter is going by the name of Cole Maddox," Beckett explained. "We tracked him through his car rental and Espo and I went after him. Ryan wanted to tell Gates, to take back-up, but I was afraid that there were more dirty cops out there and someone would let it slip, so Javi and I went alone. It was a mistake, Castle, my mistake. Maddox took Javi down as if he was nothing and you know how tough Javi is. I went after Maddox and he threw me around like a rag doll. He tossed me off the side of the building.
I was hanging by my fingertips, Castle. I saw my life, my world plunging away right then and all I could think about was you. All I could hear was your voice calling to me, telling me to hold on. I wanted to live to be with you."
"Who saved you?" Castle asked.
"Ryan. He told Gates. They brought a squad. He caught me just as I fell Castle. But now Javi won't even speak to him. He thinks Ryan betrayed me by going to Gates."
"Ryan has my undying gratitude, whatever Espo thinks. What did Gates do?"
"She wanted to suspend both of us. Javi took the suspension. I left. I resigned, Castle. I'm not a cop anymore. I don't know what I am."
Castle turned her to face him. "You are Kate Beckett, remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating Kate Beckett. You are the woman I love. The rest of it we can work out together."
Kate could see the truth shimmering in his eyes. She cupped his face in her hands. Burying her fingers in his hair, her lips met his in reassurance.
Castle wouldn't have believed that need could take him again so strongly, so soon, but this was Kate. Every cell in his body called out for her. The want, the yearning of the last four years resurfaced, as a submarine rising for air. They were skin to skin and yet she wasn't close enough. He drank deeply of her mouth, clasping her against him as if he could eliminate any space between them, thinking and moving as a single soul. The loving was slower and deeper, leaving then sated and sleepy, but Kate dozed restlessly, rousing Castle. He could see patches of blue starting to bloom on her arms. She opened her eyes as he feathered kisses over the hurt.
"Maddox really did a number on you, didn't he?" Castle asked. "Are you in pain?"
Kate smiled. "I think my mind has been on other things, Castle, but I am getting a little stiff now."
"Lotta that going around," Castle teased. "But seriously Kate. You've never seen my bathroom. You used the one upstairs when you stayed here before. Did you know I have a Jacuzzi? If Kate Beckett likes hot baths as much as Nikki Heat does, it could take some of the soreness out."
"In the middle of the night Castle?" Kate asked.
"If you need it," Castle answered. "There's nobody here but us to care."
"Kate gazed at the full sized figure in the corner of Castle's sumptuous bath. "I thought you said there was no one here but us, Castle."
"That's just Boba Fett," Castle said. "He won't bother you. He's only interested in collecting his bounties."
"Hmmm," Kate said. "That could be my next career."
"You don't need to think about that tonight," Castle told her, nuzzling her neck and lifting her into the steamy swirling waters. "Just relax."
As Kate leaned back to enjoy the massage of the jets, Castle began to leave the room. "Stay!" Kate called.
Castle returned. "You want me to wash your back?"
"That would be a start," Kate answered.
Castle picked up a washcloth and began to slide it over her slick skin. Kate splashed playfully. "You're getting wet," Kate told him, licking at the drops of water beading on his chest. "Why don't you just join me? You wash my back, I'll wash yours."
"If you think that will make you feel better," Castle replied.
Kate nipped at his lower lip. "I know it will."
Castle climbed into the oversized tub, letting Kate lean back against him, closing her eyes as she sat in the vee of he legs. As the water surrounded them, he rubbed the soreness from her muscles. With the pressure of her against him, the feel of her body under his hands, Castle's growing arousal became obvious to them both. Kate turned, straddling him, her legs tucked beneath her. "Kate, are you ready for this?" Castle asked.
"Castle, you have no idea how ready I am."
Kate awoke before Castle. Propping herself on one elbow, she stared down at his face. Relaxed in sleep, he looked younger, more like a little boy than the father of a newly minted high school graduate. His lashes seemed impossibly long, his hair fell over his forehead. She lightly pushed it back, feeling the soft strands against her fingertips. This was the man who had showed his love for her every morning with a perfect cup a dark fragrant liquid. Quietly, without disturbing him, she slipped from between the sheets and retrieved her blouse from the floor, the only covering of her bare body. She padded to the kitchen to make caffeinated devotion to bring to the man who held her heart.
A/N Thank you for staying with me on this ride. Thank you for all the comments, suggestions, requests, and encouragement. To Guest, a few of these stories did have Castle and Kate together when they weren't in the original. Significant Others and Cloudy With a Chance of Murder come to mind. Tomorrow, barring death or serious injury, I should be putting out the first chapter of Summer Mix. The possibilities are endless and I'm excited. Love, Sally