A/N Please note: the rating for this, the final chapter, is M.

Castle sleeps on his back; Beckett, on her side. She had spent the last two hours nestled against him, but now she's awake and watching him. She tracks the occasional and very slight movement behind his eyelids, and wonders. How is it that she feels so animated on so little sleep? So full of energy when she has eaten virtually nothing for two days because she was busy eating herself alive? And why isn't she terrified? She had actually said to him, "We have the rest of our lives for that." The rest of their lives? She hadn't leapt from the sofa and made another abortive attempt to flee after saying that? Why?

Because of him. Because of the man who's breathing hypnotically, right next to her. Right. Everything is right. It's spring, so even now, at six thirty, the sun is up. It seems right to be starting something, starting this, in spring. Five hours ago, it would have seemed impossible. Hell, four hours ago. It was barely four hours ago that she had been so enraged that she had broken his front door. She might, if put under oath, admit to having had thoughts about breaking that very door, but for an entirely different reason and in an entirely different way. One that involved the two of them.

Castle had fallen into bed in nothing but a pair of boxers, so his chest is bare. She skims one hand over it, still astonished by how soft the skin is. There is just a dusting of hair on his chest, and a great deal of muscle underneath. She's not waiting any longer. She wants to return to his left nipple, but she's on the wrong side of him for that, so she has to begin with the right. She plants a kiss just above it, and follows that with a sensual swirl of her tongue around and around it. He doesn't react, so she kisses and swirls again. And again. Why isn't he moving? She inches herself halfway across his chest so that her mouth is directly above his left nipple, and she tries again, this time adding a tweak to the mix: kiss, swirl, tweak, kiss, swirl, tweak. His nipples have hardened but he's not awake? She raises her head slightly to check on him and finds his eyes wide open.

"Morning," he says, dreamily.

"You big faker," she says. "I knew you weren't asleep."

"Yeah? What gave me away?"

"This fully aroused nipple." She kisses it again. "Thought I'd start where I started last night."

"But not where you left off," he says, pulling her up until they're virtually nose to nose.

It's her turn to sound dreamy. "Yeah? Where was that?"

"With your tongue halfway down my throat."

She deliberately slithers a little closer. "Is that a complaint?"

"No, definitely not a complaint." He chuckles, and then he stops. He looks into her eyes more intensely—trustingly, lovingly, longingly, hungrily, searchingly, incandescently—than anyone ever has. "That was a hell of a kiss," he says at last.

She blushes a little and whispers, "It was a hell of a night."

"Gonna be a hell of a morning," he whispers back. "A hell of a hell of a morning."

"I hope so. I think so."

"I know so." He runs his palms slowly across her face, stroking her cheekbones with his thumbs, before he moves his hands gently into her hair and draws her down. His lips brush against hers so lightly that it's almost a suggestion of a kiss rather than a kiss itself. He breathes against them, a half-dozen syllables, a sextet of words. "I. Want. You. I. Love. You." The tip of his tongue flicks at her lips. When he increases the pressure almost imperceptibly, she opens for him, and that delectable, commanding tongue slides over hers, exploring every surface, every tooth, every curve and ridge of her mouth. His tongue! He should have a license for what he can do with it—and he hasn't even left her mouth yet.

And then he does. He begins to caress her neck, to run his tongue behind and below her ear, while his hands leave her hair to reach for the hem of the T shirt she's wearing. "We had a deal," he says, briefly abandoning her neck so that he can tug the jersey over her head. He lets it fall on the floor next to the bed as he rolls them over so that she is now on her back. Cupping her buttocks, he raises her up slightly and peels off her panties.

"Yours, too, Castle," she says, reaching for his waistband.

"Done," he says, shoving his boxers off in one move and tossing them to the floor. They are both bare now, both looking at each other from head to foot. "You are unbelievably beautiful. Incomprehensibly beautiful," he says, his study of her body suddenly less leisurely and more extensive than it had been a minute before. His hands, which she quickly learns are as magical as his tongue, work in tandem with his mouth to touch and taste and savor every inch of her: shoulders, collarbones, hipbones, breasts, navel, ribs, stomach, veins, capillaries, moles, freckles, scars.

God, she thinks, my scars. My scars shouldn't be part of this. She doesn't want him to stop at them, doesn't want him to pay them any mind. And he doesn't really. He treats them just as he does every other part of her.

She's short of breath, giddy and scrabbling against the sheet. Fully exposed in a way she has never been with any other lover, she realizes that she trusts him. She trusts him. And then he puts one of his sinfully talented hands on her right knee, nudges her legs farther apart and begins to trace her adductor muscles with his tongue, up along the soft, sensitive expanse of her inner thighs. For the first time in her life she understands what it means to be truly frantic with desire. She's chanting his name, inarticulately begging him, when symbiosis arrives, the greatest symbiosis she has ever experienced, his flattened tongue reaching her clitoris, settling there and pressing down just as he plunges two fingers into her. She comes so hard and so fast that she almost knocks them out of bed.

"Castle," she says, when she finally finds her tongue, wishing said tongue were back in his mouth, or catching the bead of sweat that is trickling down the back of his neck. "Castle. Come here. Holy fucking fuck."

"Not yet," he says, moving up to rest his chin just below her clavicle. He licks his lips. "Holy fucking fuck is next."

She has never laughed that hard in bed before. "Oh, you're smug. You're so pleased with yourself right now, aren't you?"

"Aren't you?" he says.

"Pleased with myself?"

"Pleased with me, Beckett."

"Oh, very. Very pleased." And she flips him, somehow managing in one seamless move to pin him down, her thighs bracketing his. She slants forward, hovering just inches above him, letting her wild hair tickle and tease him before she kisses his bicep, the sexiest arm she has ever seen. She's never allowing him to wear a shirt in private again. "You love what you did to me, don't you?"

"Oh, yeah," he says, making no attempt to suppress a grin.

"What about what I'm doing to you?" she asks as she wraps her hand around his truly—though she wouldn't flatter him by saying that aloud, at least not yet—monumental erection. "I'm responsible for this, aren't I, Castle? What do you think I should do about it? Should I," she draws her tongue from base to tip, "do this? Or this?" She squeezes his balls while taking him a few inches into her mouth, before sucking seductively and releasing him. "Should we take a vote?"

He manages to squeak out a response in the form of a question. "Vote?"

"My vote is for neither. Mine is for holy fucking fuck. And yours?"

"Oh, same. Same here."

"Okay then," she says, taking him in hand and slowly lowering herself onto him. She gasps sharply as he fills her, and he tenses.

"Are you all right?"

"Yes, God, yes. I'm so all right. So right." She begins to rock against him, trying to etch into memory every second and every sensation. Trying to keep her eyes open so that she can watch him watch her. They begin to move like a perfectly calibrated machine, expect that there is nothing machine-like about what they are doing. It's art, really. They read each other as if this were their thousandth time together, not their first, and it is powerfully, blisteringly new. She feels as if she is about to fly apart, and so does he, as if they will fly apart together and float back to earth as one perfect whole.

"I can't hold out much longer," she says. "You coming, Castle?"

"Oh yeah, holy fucking fuck I am." And they do fly apart together, hanging on to each other and not letting go.

Her sweat-slick body is draped over his as he slips out of her. "Oh my god, Beckett," he says, his voice drenched in panic. "Oh my God, no condom. I forgot."

"I don't care. I've got it covered. Which is a good thing because you're not. Covered, that is."

It's his turn to laugh. "Oh, you're good. I don't have the brain cells at the moment to come up with something that good."

"I'm glad you forgot. Really. I'm glad you were uncovered. I didn't want anything between us, figuratively or literally."

He's nibbling on her ear. "What about next time?"

"Not next time, either. You know, Castle, I bet if we did what we just did, only standing up against your door instead, it would fix the hinge."

"I bet you're right. We'd pound it right in there."

"Wanna try it?"

"You're gonna have to give me a few minutes, Beckett."

"That's not a problem," she says, and kisses him with everything she has. "We have the rest of our lives for that."

A/N Thank you all, more than you can imagine. Excuse me while I go try to fix that door.