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AN: This was started based off a prompt from the kink meme. I'm not sure it entirely fulfills the prompt but I hope it conveys the spirit of it. Prompt will be at the end.

'cause without you things go hazy

~ Rosie Golan, Hazy

The storm passes in the night, raging winds mellowing into gentle breezes that blow the last straggling drops of rain softly against the window. Castle wakes to the feeling of a hand at his cheek and fingertips feathering across his forehead. He hums, turning his face into the small palm. Lips follow the fingers, a line of damp kisses that have his lashes fluttering.

"Kate," he breathes when he finally opens his eyes and her face, lit by moonlight and happiness, comes into focus.

"Hey," she grins, propped up on one elbow next to him, the sheets pulled up over her still naked torso. "Have a good nap?"

He can't speak, can only stare at her, heart caught up in his throat. She laughs when he finally manages a nod, leaning down to brush her lips across his.

"Maybe I should have just let you sleep."

"No," he croaks, reaching up to run his fingers over the back of the hand she has resting on his cheek. "Don't wanna sleep through this."

Kate's smile goes soft, the corners of her mouth blurring. Her hair, drying into a wild halo, tickles his chest when she leans down to kiss him again. He catches her by the back of the neck before she can pull away, tongue swirling over her bottom lip. Kate moans and sinks down into him, a pleasant weight against his chest.

"Rick," she gasps as the tips of his fingers skim down the valley of her spine. His heart kicks so hard against his ribs that he's surprised her body doesn't jostle from the force of it. "Sleep if you need to. I'll still be here when you wake up."

"I know," Castle says, even though he doesn't. Not really.

Not yet.

Kate pulls back and he lets her go, hands sliding to the fairly neutral space in the middle of her back. She frowns at him, a sadness in her eyes that makes his own lips turn down.

"You don't though, do you?" She asks, her voice tiny and full of remorse he wants to kiss away. "You don't believe that I'll still be here tomorrow. That I'm not going to sneak out in the middle of the night."

"Kate -"

"No," she cuts him off, shaking her head. The tips of two of her fingers run circles over his chest and Castle can feel his skin starting to tingle from the repetitive touch. "I guess - I guess I haven't done a very good job of proving myself to you."

"You don't have to prove anything to me," he argues immediately, wanting to alleviate whatever pressure she's feeling. Pressure that might send her scrambling out of his bed. Out of his life. "I'm just happy to be here with you."

"Don't do that," she says, leaning down to kiss him. She stops far too soon, her lips hovering just above his. "Don't act like this is some sort of gift."

But it is. Having her here - her naked body pressed up against his as she whispers to him with lips bruised from his kisses and the impression of his teeth still visible on the pale skin of her shoulder - is the most precious gift he's ever received.

"This isn't just one night," Kate assures him, shifting over until her body rests fully on top of his. "This isn't some ephemeral moment. This is real, Rick." Her hands frame his face as her knees bracket his hips. She kisses him, deep and wet, and he moans, hands stroking up and down her back. "Nothing," she breathes, her tongue coming out to lick at the corner of his mouth, "has ever been more real than this."

"Kate," he starts but nothing else will come. All his words have melted away under the intense heat of her body. Her honesty. "Kate."

"I realized something recently," Kate says as she plants her hands on his chest. She pushes herself up until she's kneeling over him, the moonlight throwing silvery highlights across her pale skin.

"What?" he asks, skimming his fingers over her abdomen, momentarily mesmerized by the way her muscles contract under his touch.

Kate's fingers dance over his pecs, the scrape of her nails making him shiver. "My life doesn't make much sense without you anymore."

His hand pauses at the slope of her hip, his eyes travelling up to meet hers. He can't read them in the dim light, can't see how the the amber and jade swirl together or how the skin at the corners crinkles. All he can see are tiny pricks of light reflecting where he thinks her pupils might be, twinkling like stars in the shadows blanketing her face.

"When you pulled away a few months ago -"

"I'm sorry," he interjects, the hand at her hip squeezing. "I'm sorry, Kate. I -"

The tips of her fingers press against his lips, silencing his apology. "Let me finish," she tells him, her hand trailing from his lips to his chin and down the length of his throat when he nods. "When you pulled away, I was confused. I didn't understand why you suddenly weren't there with me anymore. It hurt. And everything - Everything got fuzzy."

Kate's fingers trail fire over his torso, stroking up and down his ribs, around his nipples and navel. His body buzzes with it, her touch and her words. He's never seen her like this, so open and easy. He wants more. Wants to see it every day for the rest of his life.

"Nothing made sense anymore. Without you there - It was like I went color blind. The world was muted. And the worst part -" her hands slip down to caress his hipbones and Castle hisses, struggles to keep his body still - "The worst part was that I didn't know why. Why you didn't love me anymore."

"Kate, I -"

"I know," she cuts him off. "I know now."

Kate's hips start a slow rock in the cradle of his palms and he groans softly at the feel of her against his thigh. Her fingertips dance along the underside of his erection, feathering touches that have him swallowing back pleas for more. She makes a fist around him and his pelvis jerks, instinct taking over.

"But I didn't then," Kate continues, the words jumpy as her breathing accelerates right along with her hips. "I didn't know and then when I figured it out, I was angry. At you." She shifts, rising up to drag him into the heat radiating from between her thighs. Twin moans echo off the walls and Castle grips her more tightly, the ends of his fingers pressing hard into soft curve of her ass. "I was angry because I didn't know how you could doubt me - doubt us - after everything. How could you not know how I feel about you?"

He didn't. He was hurt and jumped to what seemed like the most obvious conclusion. But he knows now. He knows. Castle tries to tell her, tries to find something to let her know he understands, but his words are lost to a deep groan when she leans forward and tilts her hips, bringing him so close to where he desperately needs to be.

"But then I realized -" Her breath hitches when she starts to sink down slowly, her knees sliding away from his hips. "How were you supposed to know you're everything to me, if I never told you?"

Kate's hips roll and he grabs at her, hands reaching up to hook under her shoulders. He tugs and she comes to him easily, falling down over his chest. Castle bands an arm around her waist, holding her close as he bends his knees and pushes up to meet her. His other hand dives into her hair, gripping a handful at the back as she moans into his ear.

"I'm in love with you," she pants against his cheek. He bucks hard, her name a whimper somewhere in the back of his throat. "I'm so in love with you, Castle."

"Love you," he rasps, voice foreign to his own ears. "Love you, Kate."

"I know." Kate plants her hands next to his head and lifts herself up, her nipples grazing against his chest. She caresses his earlobe with her thumb and the intimacy in that one small touch makes him want to cry. "I'm sorry I made you wait so long."

Castle jerks his head, the hand in her hair sliding down to press against her chest, his palm resting over her scar to feel the pound of her heart. "Worth it," he tells her, hopes she hears the truth in the words. "You're worth it."

She is. Even after the pain and fights and thinking on more than one occasion that he'd lost her before he'd ever had her, Castle would do it all again if this is where it ends up, with her body hot and pliant in his arms and her words of devotion ringing in his ears. Her lips taste like forever when she kisses him and he licks at them, his heart full of hope for the first time in months.

"God," she huffs, her voice thready and hips wild. "Castle. Rick."

"I love you," he breathes, lips brushing her cheek. "I'm here. Let go."

Kate buries her face in shoulder, her mouth open against his skin as she groans and writhes. Castle meets her thrust for thrust, his own body spiraling out of control. Crying out, she sinks her teeth into the side of his neck and falls, her body hot and pulsing. He follows her a minute later, hand still pressed against her heart.

She goes limp against him, her breathing ragged and fast. Castle rolls onto his side, gently shifting her body to rest on the mattress next to him. Kate stays close, her hand at his shoulder and one leg slipping between his. With two fingers, he brushes a lock of hair from her forehead. She smiles up at him, wide and so full of love, and his heart stutters.

"We're really good at that," she says and he laughs.

"Very good," Castle agrees. "The best."

Her face grows serious and she shifts, pressing herself into him. "We're gonna be good at more than just that, Castle."

He can't handle the earnestness in her expression, all the promises she's making with her eyes. Ducking his head, Castle molds his lips to hers, kissing her with all he has until she sighs, her body melting in his arms all over again.

"I'm gonna prove myself to you," Kate mumbles into the kiss. "I promise."

"Nothing to prove, Kate."

Her hand comes to his cheek and she pulls back. Castle meets her gaze, finds that same look of determination he fell in love with so long ago. "You spent three years proving yourself to me again and again, Rick." Her thumb rubs a soothing circle against his temple and Castle's eyelids flutter. Kate presses a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth, smiling into his skin. "Now it's my turn."

Prompt: Emotional sex during the night of always. So maybe their 2nd or 3rd round. She tells him how much he means to her etc. So some cute, fluffy, hot smut.

Thanks for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.