It didn't happen that first night back home. Or the second. Not even that first week. It took another week—and a half—until, late one night, she scooted across the unnerving gap that had grown between them, and finally wrapped her arms around him, her lips colliding with his, professing her love for him with an almost desperate need, as if she was trying to convince herself more than him. It made his heart clench in anguish just trying to contemplate what those two months had been like for her. He could still vividly recall those three torturous months after her shooting when she'd left without a word, cutting him out of her life as she recovered in solitude at her father's cabin. It had been difficult on him, yes… but at least he'd known she was alive.
Letting out a shaky breath, Castle sighed and let his eyes close as Kate snuggled up against his side, draping a leg over his middle as she buried her face in his chest, the wetness from her tears inevitably soaking his shirt. Even after three weeks, she still cried. It pained him that she did, but he took comfort in the fact that she was willing to be so vulnerable with him. It told him that despite her moments of doubt and shaken faith, she was still willing to trust him, that she still believed in him—in them—enough to be so open and honest when they were alone. Regardless of their rocky reunion, and his own gnawing distress at not remembering two months of his life, Castle had to admit that this ordeal, despite being extremely trying at times, had thankfully resulted in strengthening their relationship instead of tearing it asunder.
For a while there, he'd been worried they were broken beyond repair. He had never been so happy to be proven wrong. Yet the startling lack of intimacy since his return had been worrisome.
His lips still buzzed with the intensity and raw brutality of her kiss. It was punishing, unrelenting, like she was staking a claim. And he liked that. He liked that a lot. It was proof that she still wanted him just as badly as he wanted her. Castle gently ran his fingers up and down the curve of her spine, allowing himself the luxury of breathing in her scent. For him, it didn't feel like it had been two months, but he could sense his body's reaction to her presence, a telling thrumming that gave evidence to the long absence he'd had from her side.
Dropping a kiss on top of her head, he stilled his hand, letting his palm rest against the small of her back, fingers gently toying with the hem of her shirt, wanting to feel her skin. It was time they reclaimed their life, worked at rebuilding what they'd lost. He'd missed her these past couple weeks, missed the closeness and intimacy that they had so easily shared since that first stormy night that they had become one. He wanted more than just brief touches, cuddles and kisses, but he was willing to wait, to accept what she would offer.
"Kate?" he questioned in a soft voice, unsure exactly how to pose such a request. He didn't want to push her. He didn't want her to open up for him under some sort of obligation. Castle wanted Kate to want it too. He loved her too much to force her into anything she didn't really want.
"Hmm?" she hummed, blinking her eyes as she arched her neck up to look at him with raised eyebrows, curious.
Castle swallowed, sensing her eyes watching the bob of his throat, her interest and concentration making him uncharacteristically nervous. There was no reason to be. They had never been shy about expressing their desire for one another. But ever since his return home, things had changed… been different. They couldn't just pick up where they'd left off, no matter how desperately he wished they could.
"I… um… that kiss… it was…"
She pulled her bottom lip under her teeth and inclined her head in agreement. "Yes, it was," Kate concurred. She ducked her head, her cheeks turning an adorable shade of pink. When she looked back up at him, though, it was with shame and guilt in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Castle. So sorry it took me so long to kiss you again. It shouldn't have taken me so long."
"Shh," he shushed, wanting to be understanding. "It's okay. You were faced with overwhelming evidence that you could hardly deny."
"But I feel like I let you down," she went on, as if she hadn't heard his reassurance. "When Tyson had framed you, all the evidence said you were guilty, not just of murder, but of cheating on me. Yet I believed you then, despite what the evidence was telling me. I listened to my heart. Because I know you, Castle," she raised a hand up and palmed the side of his face, her thumb tenderly caressing his jawline. "And that… it wasn't you. Just like this. Days before our—what was supposed to be our wedding—you stood beside me and encouraged me not to lose faith in our chance at a happy ending. You never gave up."
"And I never will," he affirmed, tightening his hold around her waist and squeezing her close.
Kate sighed against his chest, and nuzzled into him. "See, that's what I mean. I… I can't believe I actually—for even a split second—thought you could have had misgivings about marrying me."
Castle didn't know what to do, how he could reassure her. This situation was so convoluted and complicated; it was nearly impossible to see a way out of it. Except for one. Love. It was the one constant, the one thing that had never changed. Will never change, he affirmed to himself. Making a decision, he pulled back from her just enough so he could look her in the eye. An electric spark jolted through his body the moment their eyes locked. It made his breath hitch. Their connection was still there, still as strong as ever. Despite everything that had propped up between them, it hadn't diminished.
"Kate… I want… I… can I kiss you?" he asked, feeling that after everything that had happened, he needed to seek permission.
One eyebrow quirked up as she stared at him, and a puzzled expression spread across her face. Kate shook her head. "Oh, Castle," she sighed out in disbelief. "I know things haven't been… normal between us these past few weeks, but you of all people never need to ask permission to kiss me. I love you, Rick. I've never stopped."
He swept a hand up to her face, tenderly brushing back her short brunette strands—something he was still getting used to. But at the same time, the shoulder-length hair reminded him of when he'd fallen in love with her. Kate closed her eyes, easing into his touch as he dipped his head down and pressed his lips to hers. He sighed in relief when there was no hesitation in her response. Their mouths fused together as their fingertips roamed each other's faces, relearning an intimacy they'd always shared.
Kate hummed into his mouth, something low and appreciative, nipping at his bottom lip as she pulled back. She glanced up at him with darkening mischievous eyes, pupils dilated with lust, desire, and love. Placing her hands on his chest, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. And before he knew it, she was reaching down for the hem of her sleeping shirt, tugging it up and over her head, exposing her naked torso to him.
"You're not wearing a bra," he squeaked like a teenage boy seeing a naked woman for the first time.
She pursed her lips and smiled at him deviously. "Took you long enough to notice." Kate leaned back down and captured his mouth in hers, grabbing his hand and pulling it to her chest, encouraging him to cup her in his large hand. He cradled her breast in his palm, flicking his thumb over her hardening nipple as she moaned into his mouth. She fisted his black t-shirt, growling out a command for him to take it off. He obeyed without question.
Shirt gone, Kate's hands dropped to his bare skin, her fingertips remapping the planes and contours of his chest. Her fingers hesitated over the new scar on his side, from the bullet graze, the only evidence left on his body of his two month ordeal. He held his breath, wondering if she'd change her mind and retreat. It was what he expected. It was what the old Kate would have done. But, not for the first time, Kate Beckett surprised him.
Smiling into his mouth, Kate distracted him with her talented tongue as her hand skimmed down low, nudging underneath the waistband of his pajama bottoms. Her nimble fingers found him in no time, wrapping around his gradually hardening length and deftly—with knowing ease—coaxed him to full standing. He groaned into her warm mouth as she continued to stroke him.
"Kate…," he whimpered, gently pulling her hand away from him. She frowned and gazed up at him with a confused expression. "We don't have to do this. You don't have to feel obli—"
"Shh," she shushed him with a finger on his lips. "I'm not doing this out of any obligation or duty. I've missed you, Rick… so much." She paused for a beat before continuing. "I'm doing this because I love you. I'm done holding back from what I want." And then she said those same words she had said to him on that fateful stormy night. "I just want you."
She kissed him, silencing any more objections he might have. She was right. This was inevitable. Pulling back, she shifted on the bed, tugging her sleep shorts down. He followed her example, lifting his rear off the mattress to kick off his pajama bottoms. Kate gave him a devious little grin as she gripped his shoulder and swayed her leg up and over to settle above him, straddling his waist.
"God, you're so beautiful," he murmured, gazing up at her with pure, unadulterated admiration. She beamed back at him, looking so light and free, unburdened by the darkness that had consumed her these past few months. Her confidence restored. Recapturing his lips, she kissed him sweetly as she pushed herself up on her knees. Castle leaned back against the headboard, letting his hands skim down her sides, finding purchase on her hips.
Kate reached down between them and gripped his length in her hand. He groaned as she rubbed his tip against her slick folds, so wet and ready for him. She positioned him at her entrance, and with one swift move, sank down over him. They moaned in unison as they reconnected. Kate's fingernails dug into his shoulders as she rolled her hips down, sheathing all of him in her hot and tight wetness. She bit her lower lip and closed her eyes, letting out a soft whimper of pleasure when he finally filled her completely.
Castle tightened his grip on her hips as they both took a moment to adjust and settle, sharing air as they panted out. "God… Kate, you feel so good," he breathed out, gazing at her with utter awe and wonder.
"So do you," she answered, canting into him, brushing her lips against his as she lifted her hips up just enough to almost release him completely from her body, before she slammed back down on him. She rolled her hips seductively, pulling out little noises from the back of his throat that only she'd ever been able to coax from him. He slipped his hands around to grab her ass, unable to hold back, meeting her thrust for thrust. He gave her ass a playful squeeze and she gasped, smirking down at him, her eyes darkening with undisguised want.
He let his eyes flow over her undulating body, milking in the glorious sight of her body slick with sweat as she swayed and bucked against him. His eyes dropped down to their connection and he groaned, stomach muscles clenching at the sight.
Eventually Kate slowed her intensely vigorous pace, the exhaustion from the last two months and three weeks catching up with her. "Castle?" she pleaded.
He nodded, needing no further prompting. Wrapping his arms around her, he spun them around, gently laying her out beneath him. He ran his hands up and down along her legs as she opened for him, inviting him to return. She let out a whimpering moan of pleasure as he rejoined them. He hovered over her, kissing her as he thrust his hips in a slow and gentle rhythm, making love to her. Kate clutched his shoulders, and moaned into the crook of his neck, encouraging him on as she whispered apologies and love.
Growling, tired of apologies for something neither of them had control over and weren't to blame for, Castle silenced her, claiming her mouth with his in a deep and passionate kiss that said more than any words ever could. The last vestiges of tension in her body faded away, and she relaxed, becoming pliant and delightfully receptive under his touch.
Castle nibbled at her jaw and neck, rolling his hips enticingly as he continued to love her, letting his hands roam up and down her writhing body. Kate's hands did the same, touching him all over, any place she could reach. She whispered her love, caressed his sides, and rested her palm over his heart, smiling up at him with a look of deep affection that had been missing for the last couple of weeks.
Reaching up, she ran her fingers through his hair, tugging him down for another kiss, moving her hips with his as she shoved her tongue into his mouth. His groan was stifled by the battle of their tongues. In the end, she won. His lips tugged upwards, pleased beyond measure that their rhythm had not been lost. They were still so much in sync, so in tuned with one another that it left him breathless, and so very, very grateful. He would have been devastated if the lost months had destroyed their special connection.
"Oh… oh, Rick," she stammered out, her face scrunching up adorably. He groaned as he felt her walls flutter around him. They were both close. So close.
Running a hand up her undulating body, he cupped one of her breasts, gently kneading it before continuing onwards and upwards. He grabbed the side of her face in his large hand, cradling her jaw, and keeping their eyes locked as his thrusts started to grow sloppy.
She mewled softly, like a cat, her back arching under him as she approached the threshold. Castle grunted, jerking his hips, and rammed his mouth against hers, stifling both their moans as they reached that blissfully peak together.
Kate wrapped her arms and legs around him, keeping him settled on top of her, the slick sweat coating their bodies mingling. She let out a contented sigh, tenderly carding her fingers through the soft tangle of hair that draped down over the nape of his neck.
"Thank you," she spoke softly, her voice a little hoarse from their passionate exertions.
"For what?" he murmured, shifting some of his weight off her, but she gripped him tighter, keeping him close.
"For coming back to me," she answered, gazing up at him with watery eyes, so filled with regret and guilt, yet also shining with love. "For loving me. For never giving up on that love. And… for waiting… always waiting."
"Hey," he gently palmed her face in his hand, finally getting her to let him slip off and rest beside her. "I meant what I said… that first night back home… you're the love of my life, Kate. I would endure anything to be with you… to love you."
"Oh, Rick," she sighed, reaching for him. She pressed up into him as she claimed his mouth in another kiss, this one soft and loving. "I love you. And I promise… whatever happened to you, whoever did this to you—to us—we'll find them."
He inclined his head, wrapping his arm around her waist as he pulled her into his side. She came willingly, nuzzling up against him with a happy smile.
"Together," he concluded.
"Always," she agreed, looping her arms around him as she moved up to kiss him again, demanding and insistent, like she couldn't get enough of him.
Castle held no illusions. There was still a lot to work through and overcome, but at least now they'd found their footing again, reestablishing their connection in the most special and intimate of ways. And coming with that was the knowledge and affirmation that whatever lay ahead, they would meet it together.