Disclaimer: The only part of Castle that I own is the TV on which I watch the show.

A/N There has been something wrong with the FF site for about 24 hours, and it prevents me from responding to reviews or to PMs. Reviews also do not show up on the site as they should. Once the problem has been resolved, I will answer all. Until then, thank you and happy new year.

He's frozen in place.

"Am I interrupting something?" Beckett asks from the other side of the threshold.

He shakes his head just enough for her to infer that his reply is a no.

"Is there anyone else here?"

He shakes his head again.

"Is it all right if I join you, then?"

He nods and she crosses over into the loft. He's still wordless, so she picks up the slack. "So, what are you up to? Getting ready to watch the fireworks? Must be almost time."

This stirs him to action, or at least to speech. "Uh, no, unless you want to? Do you? We can watch in my office if you like. Big TV, or in here. I have, I could make, get us something to snack on. Oh, and drink. While we watch the fireworks. If that's what you'd like. Because then I'd be happy to watch them." He trails off, still staring at her.

"I was kind of counting on us being the fireworks," Beckett says. She winces at the corniness, but he's forced her into it. Besides, given what she has committed to here, she figures she's entitled. She's never done anything this rash in her life. Though truthfully there's nothing precipitate about it, not after all this time.

He's still staring, but he has managed to relocate his manners. "May I take your coat?"

Oh, finally, thank God. She hopes she won't fall into a faint from nerves, with her coat half on. "Thanks, Castle," she says, as she unties the belt. "I'm glad you keep it warm in here, though," she's undoing the five buttons that saved her from public indecency on the way over. "Since I'm sort of underdressed for winter."

The coat is now suspended from two of her fingers, which she has stretched out towards the gaping Castle. She's standing in her four-inch satin heels, dressed in a white silk thong, shimmery lace-top thigh-high stockings, and nothing else. Nothing else but a pale pink satin ribbon sash, decorated with the number 2011 in silver and gold glitter, that runs across her right shoulder, between her bare breasts, and wraps around her waist.

"I'm Baby New Year," she says, and lets the coat fall to the floor.

She knows that he's capable of speech, since he did offer to take her coat (if not follow through), but he's not saying a thing. He is, however, making sound, a kind of high-pitched variable squeal that's reminiscent of the noise a cat emits if its tail is run over by someone in a rocking chair. Except that Castle doesn't appear to be in pain. She keeps watching him, as the squeal mutates into a heavy inhalation, followed by an equally heavy exhalation that's not unlike a death rattle.

"Jeeeeeeeesus," he says on a column of air.

She transfers most of her weight to her left foot, which pushes her right on its heel and thrusts one hip forward. And then she smiles.

"Holy fuck," he says, running his eyes up and down her for the whateverth time. She's lost track and he's probably lost the ability to count. "Holy fucking fuck."

Her smile widens. "That's a lot of religious talk from someone who's probably not thinking saintly thoughts at the moment, Castle."

"You're, you're—"

"I'm Baby New Year."

"If this is you as a baby I can't imagine what you'll look like all grown-up."

"Oh, I'm pretty sure you'll find that I'm already grown-up, Castle."

"You mean, like having grown-up thoughts?"

"Very grown-up thoughts. And if I'm not mistaken," she says, moving her gaze to the front of his sweat pants, "so are you."

He still hasn't touched her, and he's still standing at least two feet away. "How did you get here?" he asks in wonderment.

"I'm dressed like this and all you want to know is how I got here?"

"Oh, Beckett, that's not all I want to know. I just want to make sure no one else saw you like this."

"I took a car service, door to door. Buttoned up from knee to chin."

"Because if anyone else did I would have to find your gun and shoot them. You don't have a gun on you, do you?"

" 'Fraid not."

"But you're definitely packing heat."

"Castle? That's worse than my line about fireworks."

"Don't care."

"Why are we still in your front hall?"

"Because I feel like a teenager and the instant I touch you? Don't think I'll last more than forty seconds."

"Don't care."

"You don't?"

"Nope. Because I'm betting that there's more where that comes from."

If he isn't going to move, she sure as hell is. She's so eager that she wants to launch herself at him, jump his bones, but instead she stalks. When she reaches him, she moves her hands around his neck and draws his face to hers, kissing him with all she's got. It takes very few seconds for him to respond, beginning with him opening his mouth to hers. He pulls her close—and yelps.

"Owwww! What was that?" He looks at the floor where her coat lies in a heap, spies what he just stepped on and picks it up. "Was this in your pocket, Beckett?"

"Yeah," she says and giggles.

"A noisemaker?"

"Well, it is New Year's Eve. And I figured we'd be making lots of noise."

He puts it to his lips and blows, inflating and unfurling the paper tube that reads HAPPY 2011. "You saying this is what we need to make noise?"

"Speak for yourself, Castle. I brought that as a symbolic gesture. I'll be making nosies of other kinds. Assuming you do what I hope you're going to do. To me." And with that she wraps one leg around him, and he reaches around her, grabs her ass and with a small assist has her tight around his waist.

"You're so incredibly soft," he says, pushing her Baby New Year sash aside with his nose to nuzzle the curve of her breast.

She's finding it difficult to concentrate, but moves her hand down to palm him. "And you're so incredibly hard," she murmurs. "How far away is your bed?"

"I've never measured," he answers, gasping as he starts walking them there, "but not close enough."

"I like a guy who's not hung up on measurements, Castle," and she moves her head to kiss him again. By the time they reach his bed they're both breathless.

"You timed this brilliantly, Beckett," he says as he lays her down. "I can see the clock from here. It's eleven fifty-eight."

"You have less than two minutes to get your clothes off. All I have to take off is my sash." She pulls it over her head and drapes it on the corner of the headboard. He leaves his shirt and pants on the carpet and crawls up between her legs.

"Happy New Year, Baby," he says. "I'm starting my celebration with one of these." He takes one of her breasts into his mouth and sucks sensually on her nipple, which is all the impetus she needs to begin making noise. Lots of noise, in a wide range of decibels and colors. Her language is colorful, too, as they begin to explore territory that they'd both dreamed of traveling for a long time.

Later that night, in the early hours of 2011, they're sticky and happy and buzzing with exhaustion. "How do you like the new year so far?" Castle says, kissing her under her left ear.

"Best ever," she says.

"That was a hell of a surprise, Beckett, your coming over."

"Shouldn't have been a surprise, Castle."

He props himself up on one elbow. "Yeah? Why not?"

"Because I promised."

"Promised what?"

"That that we'd get together on New Year's Day. And it's New Year's Day, isn't it? And I'd say we definitely got together, wouldn't you?"

"Oh, yeah. Wanna do it again?"

A/N The moral of this story? If someone knocks on your door, be sure to answer: it could be Baby New Year. Thank you all for reading this. Happy 2016, everyone.