It's as if everything owned by Kate Beckett was designed for his discomfort. The nasty spring in the Cruiser has a cousin that's taken residence in her couch, and it's just his luck that it digs into the same exact spot, too. Castle shifts around restlessly, growling to himself. It's not just the couch or the damn spring. It's the psychopath obsessed with his creation, who's stalking his muse. She said it's not his fault, that she doesn't blame him, but it doesn't change that she's the one in the crosshairs of an obsessive serial killer.

A small noise snaps his head up, an alert and excuse in one. Back creaking, he sits up, turning his head this way and that in an attempt to hear it again, to locate the sound's source. But all is calm. He thinks maybe his writer's imagination is running away with him again, inventing a noise to follow or a mystery to solve absent the ability to do anything about his real-life case. Perhaps a cool splash of water to his face will refresh him, and he can get a bit of writing done the old fashioned way, as sleep is not looking a viable option.

Lukewarm light from the bathroom warms the hallway, dimly illuminating in rust and sepia the framed photos chronicling all the things she's held dear. Memories. Family. Friends. Even, in group form, one containing him, half-buzzed and smiling broadly with his arm around Ryan as she pushes him playfully. Montgomery must have taken it, and he studies their rare, untroubled faces, remembering the night at a local cop bar fondly. Castle gazes at it a moment longer before shaking the wistfulness from his mind.

The door is open, just a crack.

He listens for a moment, unsure if she's in there or left the light on for him to find his way in the darkened, unfamiliar apartment. Nothing. Pushing it open cautiously, ever-so slowly, he stops cold at what he sees.

Her creamy skin is exposed inch by tantalizing inch as she pulls her top over her head, dropping the shirt onto her counter and pulling her arms above her head, examining herself in the mirror. Castle actually backs up a few inches, has one foot turned to move quietly as possible away from this moment he's intruding on, but he can't seem to make his knees bend right, or tear his eyes away. Her pink cotton bra is a crime; such pretty breasts ought not to be housed so plainly. But to him, it might as well be La Perla as he stands rooted to her floor, watching her turn to and fro.

Nimble fingers skate her sides and ribs, up, up toward the mounds of her breasts. Her delicate hands caress them, to cup the covered curves, critically studying her own image.

Castle struggles for air, balancing the need for oxygen with the need to stay quiet, all underlined by the rational part of his brain that remembers she sleeps with a gun. And besides that, that this is intensely disrespectful and wrong. It's something he's never wanted to be as a man, a person, a friend to her, but the willpower has just left him and he rationalizes it that he's not actually doing anything. Just watching, just his good-bad luck that he stumbled upon this.

Bluefire sparks of desire kindle through him, licking every nerve of his tensed body, betraying the better angels of his nature with baser instinct. His cock twitches, rapidly filling with all the blood that's drained from other parts of his body -– namely, his brain, since it can't seem to find enough energy to move his legs in a helpful direction such as away –- and he bites his tongue hard enough to wince in order to keep from making a sound.

She notices nothing. Practiced feminine fingers find their way behind her, flicking open the clasp of her bra and letting it fall down her thin arms. She throws it carelessly on the pile of her shirt on the counter, and Castle shudders at the view of her breasts. Contrary to his commentary, he's never cared much about size. Anything more than a mouthful is a waste, as far as he's concerned, and hers would make the most delectable mouthful: cream and perfect shape, the swelling tips of her nipples just the shade of vanilla-latte he'd always imagined. He knows they'd be every bit as delicious, if he had a ghost of a chance with her, chance enough to taste.

Which, when this inevitably goes south, he won't. He'll be lucky to leave alive at all. But what a way to go.

Kate cups her breast again, bare this time with stiffened peaks, and it occurs to him that she's not just undressing for bed. She's teasing herself. Arms pulled high over her head and locked behind, she poses like a pinup girl, chest jutting out. His mouth fills with the bitter taste of longing, tinged with fear and self-loathing.

Thumbs circle her areolae while her fingers spread and cage her breasts, teasing the sensitive undersides. Brushing over her nipples, she emits a tiny sound, pleasure restrained but clearly present. They stroke faster, more insistently circling the hard peaks while her fingertips knead the soft flesh beneath them. He can see her legs close tightly, then her abdomen clenches and she doubles up a bit, a sure sign of where all this pleasure is headed.

All at once, she abandons her pursuit as her breath grows harder, and for a split second he thinks he's been spotted, but her distraction is elsewhere. In a haste to divest herself, she flicks the button and pulls the zipper with a loud rasp of teeth unclenching, sliding her jeans down her long legs, panties coming with them. With a perverse rush, his keen attention to detail forces him to notice that the blacklace trimmed powder-pink silk is damp. She's exquisite. Castle unconsciously bites the knuckle of an index finger, needing something to ground what little control he has left. He's painfully hard, aching already to come, and then she bends over to pick up her jeans, showcasing her small but lush peach of an ass to his partial view.

It's positively adolescent, the way his hips buck at that sight.

Spidery fingerpads tapdance down her abdomen, playing around her hips, the kissable-bitable bones outlined in faint shadow there, visible but not unhealthily prominent as he thinks they may have been when they first met. Kate makes the most delicious mmm sound, pressing her fingers there, gripping her own hips as a lover would from behind. Castle's large and weathered hands twitch and flex, wishing they could cover or replace hers.

One lithe foot with each toenail dressed in cantankerous claret picks up, flexes, sending the tendons in her calves. They're strong and more suited in their musculature to a ballerina than a cop, straining and shifting effortlessly under her skin. He can't fucking breathe. It's only worse as he travels upward. Her adorably –- go on, Castle, think it, it is adorable -– knobby knees, remnant scars suggestive of an adventurous childhood of perhaps sidewalk scrapes and bicycle-accident bruises marring them and making them no less beautiful for it. He closes his eyes for strength at the study of the raw power in her thighs. And what's between them?

She turns a few degrees, displaying her uncovered sex to him in the mirror. Smooth and dusty-rose pink, her folds glistening with her arousal even before her first touch, her suckable clit already swollen and primed for touch. His mouth waters for it. He's wanted to taste her since the day they met. Run his then-stubbled cheeks across those thighs and lap at her until she screamed, and then keep going until she finally pushed his head away, too sensitive to continue.

A year later, that fantasy is still never far from the top of his mental inbox, and it returns to him in force now. He watches her caress herself, warm and light pressure over the planes of her abdomen, the fleshy curve of her ass, the coffee-dipped tips of her breasts. Her embrace is light, turned rough and grabby at points, then back again. Is this how she likes a lover's touch? Or would she never feel safe enough with another person to allow them the liberty to manhandle her, trust one enough to be sure they'd stop before the edge of too-far?

He turns away at the thought, mind over matter a little too late, but he'll step back while he can and salvage what willpower he does have, because he needs to be that for her. Safe. Trustworthy. He needs to stop, and he will. Not because it will give him a better chance with her, but because she's vulnerable and scared tonight and by some miracle, she trusts him to watch over her, be her backup. He's betrayed that enough by invading her precious privacy this far.

Heavily, he takes a stonelocked step back, his knees unwilling to work and his gait subsequently stiff. One last look, to memorize the once-in-a-lifetime-because-he's-never-getting-to-see-this-again expression on her face. Her versicolor eyes shutter open and closed, inky pupils black and blown. Her lips, large and worried from the bite of her own teeth, open just a fraction, and he wants to sample the taste of those, too. More than sample, in fact. Feast. He wants her mouth and he wants it now.

Watching her like this is disgusting and wrong. One more step back and his view is gone, but his guilty conscience comes knocking down the door now that some of the bloodflow –- not much, mind -– that went to his cock is released back to his upper brain.

He wishes he wasn't such a loser.


TBC. Please tell me what you think.

Summer '14 Kink Meme
Prompt: They aren't together, but somehow one of them ends up masturbating for the other.