Sorry doesn't even begin to cover how long this took. Thanks for the support and those who are still with me.

She thought some time alone in the shower would give her some perspective. It doesn't. If anything, it makes this entire situation all the more complicated because she's left alone with her thoughts. Bad ideas and worst case scenarios bounce off the walls of her mind, making her dizzy, and the heat from the shower does nothing to help.

It's been well over an hour since Castle left her apartment, but it's not that late, she thinks. The water cascades down over her tender body, still in pain from the day's events.

She keeps running over everything in her mind, like a CD stuck on replay; Castle confessing his love for her, the case, (thinking about how someone wants her dead has her bones rattling, ready to break down at every creak and click in her apartment) kissing Castle, kissing Josh. It almost seems like an equation and she wishes she could just add everything together and take away the parts she doesn't want to be left with one simple solution, but life's not that simple and math's not that easy.

She's been packing her feelings for him away, overstuffing the closet, sweeping them underneath the proverbial rug for so long that when he stared into her eyes at the cemetery and put his heart out on a line, it was as if that closet door burst, firing out all her feelings at rapid succession. And amidst the rubbish, she found her heart again, and it's beaming and beating with love for him too.

But she can't stop thinking about why he told her. Why didn't he tell her the first time they fought in her apartment when she asked him about not wanting anything to happen to her? He couldn't have just fallen in love with her between then and now. A part of her, a great amount, believes he only told her because he thought she was dying.

Of course she could be going about this all wrong, but her twisted, sleep-deprived mind makes her think that's the only reason he said it, could it be that he didn't mean it? He could still have feelings for her, sure, but that doesn't have to necessarily mean it's love. Right?

It has to be at least eleven thirty now and she's been in here for at least 40 minutes. Turning the water off, she reaches for a towel, and steps out of the shower. The temperature difference is instant when she leaves the bathroom.

She shivers, exhales into the silent air. And she waits beat, takes it all in, the silence.

How many nights has she spent yearning for his touch, his heart, his lips against her own? And now that she knows how he feels, completely, all those nights, all that need hits her at once. But she can't let her body make these decisions for her or she's going to end up with one foot out the door with Castle like she is with Josh.

The short cut is obvious here, but if she wants to do this, she needs to do it right. They need to talk, clear the air and she needs to tell him how she feels. Apologize for Josh and the stupid, stupid game she's played.

Kate's going through her underwear drawer, trying to find something that's not presumptuous, but won't make her seem like a prude either. What happens tonight completely depends on Castle, his feelings, and his explanation for why he decided to tell her he loved her when she was faced with danger.

Before she has time to dress, Josh is back in her apartment, much calmer than he was earlier, but she can still see his frustration etched in the lines of his face, the tension in his muscles.


"Hey, Kate." His voice is raspy, his eyes glassy as they move over her body. Not in a lewd way, but more of a he's happy she's alive way. It makes what she has to do a little harder. "Come'ere."

She doesn't, but he comes for her anyway, wraps his arms around her small frame, and it's not the hug she's been longing for. It's not the hug she wanted after almost having died today and the disappointment she feels wells up inside her so quickly, her eyes start to sting, and her knees want to give out. These are not the arms she craves.

"I'm just so happy you're okay," he whispers into the top of her head.

Kate tears herself away from his arms, holds the towel that's about to fall up with one hand when she does. "Josh, we need to talk."

When she gets to his place there's no hesitation in her knocking on the door. She just does it, has no idea where this sudden burst of confidence came from, but she's going to use it. Especially if he decides he doesn't want to see her.

The door swings open a moment later, revealing her very pissed partner.

"What do you want?"

"We need to talk."

"I think we've done enough of that for today. Don't you think?"

"No, actually. I think we did a lot of yelling," she reasons, taking step forward to move past him into the loft. "And there's something else I need to say."

Castle shuts the door behind her, then turns to face her. Expressionless. "Well go ahead and say it. I'm all ears." His voice is dripping sarcasm, but Kate's next words surprise him.

"I'm sorry."

Castle takes a step back, leans against the front door. "What for? No need to apologize for anything."

"I don't expect anything from you," he continues, turning in the direction of his office.

"Castle, just stop. Okay? I'm sorry not just for letting him kiss me, but for-" He stops and glances back at her, hands in fists at his sides. "-everything."

"You have nothing to be sorry for, Beckett."

"Will you please just talk to me, Castle? I'm sorry, okay! I broke up with him."

Castle huffs, crosses his arms. "Why?"

The threat of tears begin to sting her eyes and suddenly all the fight begins draining out of her. "You know why," she whispers, throat closing up. "Because-I-I want to be with you."

Castle doesn't speak for a few moments, just stares at her slack jawed and hands hanging at his sides.

"But there's something I need to know, Castle." He nods, takes a step back in her direction and Kate takes that as a sign of winning him back. "Why now?"

He flashes her a quizzical look, his brow furrowing as he steps in her direction. "What do you mean?"

"Why did you tell me," she can't bring herself to say the words just yet, the raw truth of I love you still ringing in her ears. "When you thought I was dying?"

"I wanted you to know," he murmurs. "Just in case...I wanted you to know, but I was gonna tell you anyway."

Kate meets his gaze and erases the rest of the distance between them until their bodies are only inches apart. "So you didn't just-"

"Say it to say it? Kate, come on. You had to have known. After everything we've been through together?" He shakes his head, reaches down to grasp her waist. "I needed you to know. I know my timing wasn't the best, but you had to know."

Kate sighs, full of relief, and buries her face in his neck, wraps her arms around him.

"Thank you for coming over," he says.

"We weren't going to leave it like that, Castle."

"No. But you came tonight. I didn't think you would."

She untucks her face from his neck to meet his eyes. He holds her gaze, but doesn't speak. Flicking her eyes to his lips, she leans in to pepper a small kiss to his mouth.

"With this sniper out for my life, the least I could do is let you know how I felt about you in case-"


"Shh," she places a gentle finger across his lips, knowing exactly where he was headed. "I know."

Castle huffs a breath and his hold on her waist grows more secure. "Well, at least tell me how you feel about me."

"Didn't I say that already?" she smiles.

Castle laughs as he responds. "No, nope don't think you did."

"Hmm." Kate takes both his hands in hers and pulls them in the direction of his bedroom. "How about I show you instead?"

As much as she tries, Kate just can't get her breathing under control. She tried to display confidence when she took Castle's hand and led him through to his bedroom, but inside her nerves are constantly wracking her. Her blood is boiling, her skin so sensitive she can feel the heat radiating off his body without even touching him.

She wants to know what he's thinking, if he's just as nervous as she is. After wanting this for so long she's afraid she'll mess it up, screw them up the way she did when she ignored his declaration of love.

Kate turns to him, her heart beating erratically at his close proximity. And as she holds his eyes, she knows exactly what it is she wants.

She wants him to devour her.

They haven't even done anything yet, and already she can feel herself falling over the edge. And he just stares. He's still looking uncertain, as if this is still a bad idea. It's not, Castle, she wants to say. They've already waited so long to do this, and they've come this far, no way is she turning back now.

Kate tugs the strap of her bra down her shoulder and his eyes immediately flick down to her chest. His gaze like a caress to her already sensitive skin and she shivers, the anticipation driving her insane. Her hair gets caught in the strap as she tries to push it down and he moves it aside for her just as she thinks he's going to back out. But something flashes in his eyes, a dark cloud, much like when he first slammed her into her kitchen counter. It's then he backs her onto the bed and all she can think is shit this is really happening.

When she's flat on the bed, she kisses him again and tingles race through her body, a warm fuzziness tickling everywhere he touches. Both her hands cup his face and he groans when she deepens the kiss, the sound heading straight to her core, her back arching when his hands roam the expanse of her stomach, warmth seeping into her skin, causing delicious fires that burn her just right, that leave her a panting aching mess.

Her breathing halts when his mouth travels back to her neck, her fingers tightening around his back. And when he moves down to her collarbone while his hands make work of removing her cardigan, she moans deep and loud. He's sucking on every patch of skin he exposes and it feels so good that breathing seems like such a waste of time. His fingers play at the hem of her jeans, the pads of his fingers tickling her hip bones. She bites her lip, tries not to fall apart at the simplicity of his touches.

He lifts her slightly off the bed to remove the shirt from her back, and with their foreheads kissing he whispers, "you're not breathing, Beckett." His voice is deep, full of lust, the sound pure bliss to her ears.

"Breathe, Kate," he says as his hand travels down her chest, squeezing and palming her breasts through her the black fabric of her bra. Eyes drifting closed, she lets out a shaky breath, but then his hand keeps traveling to the waist of her jeans without any preamble to stop. And her muscles to clench, tighter and tighter the closer he gets to home. When his hand slips past the barrier of her underwear and finds her hot and wet, she keens. Air won't come fast enough, then his fingers are doing an amazing dance inside her and she falls back against the mattress, all pretense of trying to be quiet gone out the door when he starts making her feel like magic.

"Shh," he murmurs.

She can't hear him over the pounding of blood in her ears. Her heartbeat going a million beats a second. Flares of electricity are flying through her as his fingers circle her clit and she grips the sheets, trying desperately not to fall over the edge to soon, but fuck if he keeps doing that she won't be able to hold on. But then he's moving those fingers, the ones casting spells on her body way too soon and she doesn't have the energy to be embarrassed by the whimpers escaping her throat. Let him see, let him see what he does to her.

She groans, desperate to have him inside again, but he just presses his soft lips to hers as if that makes up for the loss of amazing sensation.

Even though her eyes are closed she can still feel the smug smile he's displaying, but when she opens her them he's staring at her in awe and so much love that her heart swells and she's so overcome with emotion that she wants to just tell him how much she loves him, how much he means to her. Instead, she smashes her mouth to his, wraps her legs around his waist and flips them over. Her hair curtains their faces, trapping them together in a world where only they exist. It grazes his shoulders, and he groans when she presses down on his lap. His hands cup her butt and squeeze before traveling up the plains of her back and finding the latch on her bra.

The material slides down her arms and lands on his chest and she notices as his eyes take in her breasts as her chest is bare before him. Both hands come up her sides until they wrap around each breast. Then finally he squeezes, causing her legs to tighten around him and her head to bow. She's waited so long for this, his hands on her body, warm and large, doing wicked things to her and yesss. This is exactly what she wants.

Leaning down to kiss him again, she undulates her hips in tiny little circles against his lap, a guttural groan spilling from his throat as the bulge in his pants grows a little firmer. It spurs her on and she grinds her hips deeper into him, teasing him through the barrier of their pants.

"Kaaate," he husks in her ear, the bass of his voice so deep it reverberates through her veins, bounces around the rungs of her ribs, and settles in her chest.

"Get these off!" she demands, lifting her body to undo his belt. "I need you. Now."

"Oh, I need you too, Kate," he smirks, voice deep and husky. "As you can see."

His voice sends chills right down her spine and it does not help.

Shut up. Shut up. Or she is going to lose it.

Kate pulls his pants and boxers down together and when she sees him there, him, it takes away what little control she has left. She goes to undo her own jeans, but Castle gets there first, bumping her fingers out of the way. He takes his time, letting each tooth on her zipper make the quiet zip until her pants are undone.

"Are you kidding me?" she huffs, pushing his chest away and taking them the rest of the way off. Kate crawls back up his body and kisses that stupid smirk off his face.

Her core grazes his length and she hisses, her inner muscles clenching around nothing.

Taking him in her palm she guides him to her entrance, but Castle flips them over before she can sink down.

His gaze never wavers as he pushes inside and right there in that moment she's never felt more complete.

"Are you okay?" he asks, but she's not listening, too busy staring at the stars bursting behind her eyes.

"I love you," she breathes, undulating her hips underneath him. He's blushing, trying to hide his boyish grin, and she laughs, runs her fingers through his hair. "Let me show you."