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Hearts united in pain and sorrow

will not be separated by joy and happiness.

Bonds that are woven in sadness

are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure.

Love that is washed by tears

will remain eternally pure and faithful.

~ Khalil Gibran

The candles on the nightstand flicker, flames dancing in the breeze created by his body as he tumbles off the bed, mouth still gaping. Castle's hands grip her waist before she can even attempt at step toward him and Kate sighs his name, her stomach erupting in a mass of butterflies. She sways on the spot, knees suddenly weak. His arm, strong and thick, circles her back, pulling her in close until she's pressed so tightly against the solid wall of his chest that the buttons of his shirt dig into her skin.

Her teeth scrape over his neck, tongue flicking out to taste the hollow at the base of his throat, and Castle groans, a deep and guttural sound that hits a spot somewhere deep inside her chest, makes her own body vibrate at a frequency she wasn't sure she'd ever feel again. It sets her on edge, makes her frantic. Needy. Her hands pull at his clothes, yanking at the fabric in a desperate bid to reach his skin. To feel him warm and alive and moving under her hands as quickly as possible.

Castle pushes her hands away, his fingers gripping her wrists as he backs her up against the wall. She fights him, her body surging up into him, one leg coming up to wrap around his thigh. The rough fabric of his jeans abrades her skin and she hisses, biting at his bottom lip in punishment. His laugh echoes inside her open mouth and heat pours through her. She burns from the inside out everywhere he's touching her.

Everywhere he's not.

He gathers her wrists together over her head, holding them easily in one large hand, the other skimming down over her throat, between her breasts. God, she loves his hands. The size of them. They way they feel on her. In her. How he uses them to break her apart a hundred different ways and then to press the scattered pieces of her back together, his touch always perfect. Always exactly what she needs.

His thumb circles her navel and Kate shudders, goosebumps rising up along her arms. Castle nips at the angle of her jaw, his teeth sharp and lips wet. Her leg slides down his thigh, falling open for him as his hand skims lower on her abdomen. Teasing them both.

She can smell herself. Knows he has to be able to as well. Has to be able to tell without even touching her exactly how much she wants this. Him. How she missed him. Missed this, their connection.

The tips of his fingers brush the crease of her right thigh and Kate's hips pitch forward, a low whine creeping up her throat.

"Touch me," she breathes, turning to press her nose into his cheek. Her fingers curl around air, clenching, nails cutting into her palms. "Please, Castle. Touch me."

His mouth trails down her neck and then he's pulling back, eyes lit with mischief.

"I could do that," he says, the pads of his fingers gossamer light against her. "Or I could do this instead."

Her arms fall free and Castle sinks to his knees before her, hands dragging over her ribs. His lips blaze a path over her stomach and across the line of her hips, wet kisses that leave her skin puckered and tingling in their wake. He stares up at her with hungry, hooded eyes, the playfulness driven out by lust the closer he gets to the apex of her thighs.

One large palm splays over her lower abdomen and then he's leaning in and the back her head hits the wall with a solid thump. Her fingers fist in his hair as he moans against her, tongue rolling and circling. Together, they lift her leg over his shoulder and Kate cries out his name as he brings a hand up to join his mouth, two fingers slipping snugly inside. She rocks and moans, her body strung tight, chasing the release she so desperately needs. Castle reaches for her breasts, plucking at her nipple as his fingers twist and pump between her legs. He cups his tongue and sucks and Kate implodes, her body crumpling into a quivering pile, mouth open in a silent scream.

Damp fingers stroke over her forehead and Kate's eyes flutter open. Castle has her cradled in his lap, one arm looped loosely around her waist. He gives her a soppy smile, cheeks red and hair mussed. "You okay?"

"Mmm," she nods. "Yeah."

"Sure about that?"

Kate laughs, bracing her hands on his shoulders and pushing herself up to her feet. "You fishin' for compliments, Castle?"

"No," he huffs,clambering up to his feet and reaching for her again. "Just - that seemed pretty intense."

She dodges his grasping hands. Hooking her fingers into his belt, she walks backward toward the bed, dragging him along with her. Castle watches her, curiosity and concern warring on his face.

"Kate -"

Her knees hit the mattress and she releases him, lets gravity pull her down onto the bed. She catches herself on her elbows, thighs falling open, the tips of her hair tickling the thin skin between her shoulder blades. The shadows shift across his face as he stares down at her and Kate widens her legs, bringing on foot up to rest on the edge of the mattress.

"It was intense," she breathes, shifting her weight to her left elbow and moving to cup her breast with her right concern begins to fade from his features as her hand starts a meandering excursion up and down the length of her torso. "Did you feel me, Rick?"

He makes a low, animalistic sound, something between a groan and a growl. "Yes."

"Then you felt it," Kate says, her fingers travelling lower and lower with each trip down her stomach. "How long it's been."

Castle looms over her, his knees pressed against the edge of the bed. "You didn't - While I was gone?"

Kate shakes her head. The need was there. The want. On the nights when he came to her in fantasies rather than nightmares and she woke up soaked with arousal instead of sweat. But she couldn't. She tried once. Tried to close her eyes and imagine her fingers were his. That he was there with her, his mouth pressing hot kisses to her skin while he moved inside of her. But her hands were too small and her mouth was unkissed and she ended up crying herself to sleep, clutching his pillow to her naked chest.

"No." Her fingers dip between her legs and he rocks forward, a hand shooting out to grip her thigh. "And I don't want to now."

Castle's eyes, wide and wild, meet hers. "You don't?"

Kate shakes her head, hips lifting as she hits circles her clit. "No."

The hand on her thigh tightens and she whimpers, her head falling back. The bed dips as Castle leans over her, his fist planted next to her left elbow. Teeth close over her shoulder and Kate cries out, her entire body jerking.

"Tell me what you want, Kate."

"You," she pants, tired of the games. She needs him. Now. She needed him months ago. Years ago. She's tired of waiting. "I want you. Now."

She watches him tear at his own clothes, wrestling with his belt and zipper. His pants barely make it to the floor before he's on her, gripping her by the knees and jerking her bodily to the edge of the bed. The tails of his shirt brush over her stomach and she reaches for it, working on the buttons from the bottom up. Kate scrapes her nails over his chest and they both moan when he slides home.

Castle leans over her, her knees hooked over his elbows, pinning her body to the bed as he sets a punishing pace for them. Kate runs her hands over his body, touching any part of him she can reach, scraping her nails through his hair and over his chest and gripping his ass. Their bodies move together perfectly, falling into old rhythms and patterns as though the last three months never happened.

He breathes her name into her mouth, sweat slicking down the hair at his temples. Kate nods, gripping the back of his neck. "Yes. Now, Castle. Let go. I'm here. Just let go."

With a deep groan, his hips slam into hers a half a dozen more times and then she feels him, hot and pulsing inside of her. Castle stills over her and she twists her hips, grinding until her own release comes, bringing his name and words of love along with it.

Most of the candles have burned out by the time they manage to drag themselves to the bathroom and back twenty minutes later. She crawls into bed wearing nothing but her engagement ring and Castle clambers in behind her a moment later, a heavy arm wrapping around her waist and tucking her into the warm cove of his body.

Her body feels pliable and warm and she melts back into him, lacing her fingers through his and pulling their joined hands up to nestle between her breasts. Castle drags sloppy kisses across her shoulder blade and she shivers. One last candle flickers on her nightstand and she rocks slightly forward to blow it out. Castle's arm tightens around her and she kisses the knuckle of his ring finger, her thumb rubbing lightly across the base.

They're finally home.


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