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

Does he wanna come over? Does he wanna come over? Does he wanna come over? Does he wanna come? Over? She asked one question, but it's really five. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

"I'm on my way. If I get there first, I'll wait outside."

"Okay. I'm at the subway, see you in a bit. Bye, Castle."


Much as he loves the idea of seeing her arrive, he doesn't want to be standing in front of her building empty-handed. That's when it hits him: he's been praying that the time for this would come, and it has. He has to make a stop, a really important stop that will mean that she arrives ahead of him, but it'll be worth it. He gets back on his cell and calls Fiorissimo, his one-name, one-man source for exactly what he needs this evening. Yes, Fiorissimo says, he has them. Yes, he can meet Castle in half an hour. Yes, everything will be perfect.

Castle had read about the brand-new variety of rose last spring, and immediately put in an order with Fiorissimo. That was when he had hope, which had then collapsed into hopelessness. But now? Hope is blooming in him like the flowers that Fiorissimo has tended for him all summer at his place in Queens, both outdoors and in, so that with luck some would be in blossom whenever Castle asked. Finally, he's asking.

He runs downstairs to the garage, gets his car, drives across the 59th Street Bridge, turns into the first parking lot on the Queens side, and steps out. Fiorissimo is already there, sitting in his van with two dozen carefully wrapped, perfect pink roses lying on the seat next to him.

"Wow, they're gorgeous, Fi. I can't believe it. Even better than I imagined. They're worth every penny."

"Lotta pennies, Rick."

"I'll say it again, worth every one and more. Don't forget to send me the bill. I can't thank you enough."

"My pleasure, man. I had the fun of growing them. So, she's worth it too, huh?"

Castle's grin outdoes the neon parking sign above them. "More than, Fi. Way, way more than."

He transfers the flowers to his car, but before starting the engine he calls Beckett.

"Hey, Castle. Where are you?"

"On my way. I'm sorry, I suddenly had to do an errand, but I'll be there in twenty minutes."

"No problem. I was just getting a little worried."

"Everything's fine. Be right there."

He drives like a madman, finds a spot half a block from her building, and rings the bell downstairs.

"Castle?" The intercom is scratchy.

"Yeah, can you buzz me in?"


He hears her apartment door open right before he gets to the top of the stairs. He has the flowers behind his back and can just see her head peeking out. "Fourteen minutes? I thought you said twenty."

"I might have gone through a few red lights," he answers, walking down the hall towards her. "Or several. Good thing I know some people in the NYPD."

"Don't look at me," she says, and laughs.

"I am looking at you," he says as he stops at her door. "You're the only person I want to look at."

Her face floods with color, her cheeks almost exactly the same color as the roses he has just brought around in front of him. "Are those for me?"

"That's the idea. You did invite me over."

"Come in. Oh, I need to get a vase. Geez. Two vases, oh and water, they need water. So, water. For them." How was it that she was cool as a spring pond in front of Dimwitty, but is incapable of framing a simple declarative sentence in front of Castle? She drops one of the roses, and when she stoops to pick it the rest of them tumble out of her grasp. She feels a large, warm hand cradle her elbow.

"Beckett, let me. I'll get them."

"Need water."

He has all 24 of them in his arms now. "Right. I'll get it. Just point me to the vases."

"No, me. I need water." She walks disjointedly to the sink, turns on the faucet, and splashes cold water on her face. "Better," she says, blotting her cheeks with a dishtowel. "Oh, the vases."

"Found 'em. Move over a little so I can fill them up."

The space is not quite big enough to accommodate the two of them, and their thighs are forced tightly against each other. Neither one of them complains. Or moves. When Castle finishes the flowers and turns his head towards her, their noses are less than two inches apart. "Kate."


"The roses."

Their noses are an inch apart. "They're beautiful."

"That's their name."

She pulls her head back a fraction. "What name?"

"The flowers. It's a new variety of rose, called Kate."

"Kate? You found roses with my name?"



"I didn't find them. I read about them last spring and had a guy I know in Queens grow them. Just in case."

She's having trouble speaking at all. "Of?"

"This," he says, still looking into those eyes that make him weak at the knees and very strong in body parts slightly to the north. "Just in case of this."

And to the astonishment of both of them, she bursts into tears and drops down on the floor. He stares at her for a moment before sitting next to her. "What's wrong?" he asks, more than faintly panicky.


He cups her chin in his one hand and wipes off her tears with the other. "What's that?"

She sniffles and swallows. "Not Alison."

He feels as if he's tumbled into the middle of Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe Alison Wonderland. He's at sea, floundering around on her kitchen floor with two dozen roses in the sink over his head. "Not Alison?" He wonders how long it will take them to straighten out this approximation of a conversation.

"You didn't bring me roses called Alison, and I'm so happy."

Why would he do that? Oh. "No, I didn't. I—there's an Alison rose?"

"Yeah," she says, still watery but now clear-voiced, if not completely comprehensible.

"How do you even know that?"

"I looked it up. The other night. I looked up things called Alison and then I saw there was an Alison rose. It was another thing I could hate about her."

He can't help it. He starts to laugh, a great, roiling guffaw that rises from somewhere, maybe the soles of his feet, and bubbles all the way up and out, until he collapses against her chest.

And then she starts to laugh, and tries to hold on to him with both hands. Everything from the last awful days is let go, and sails away.

"Beckett?" he says, controlling himself at last. "We have to get up."


"Well, for one thing I'm sitting in the water that you sloshed down here and it's really uncomfortable."

She jumps to her feet, something he envies her as he struggles to get up. She offers him her hand. "I'm sorry, Castle."

"Just water, I'll dry."

"No, about Alison."

"Why are you sorry?"

"Because I acted like such an idiot. But I really hated her. Hate her."

He looks at her, his head tilted to the side as he leans his hip against the kitchen island. "I'm sure you have your reasons."

"She thinks Forbidden Planet is stupid."

"What? She told me she loved it."

"Yeah, well she lies a lot."

He's silent for a while. "You going to tell me about that?"

"No, and forget I said it. Except about the movie. You can't possibly be involved with a woman who's contemptuous of Forbidden Planet, even if she is a dead ringer for Charlize Theron. Another reason I hate her."

"Dead ringer's right, you know. It took me a while to realize it, but she's turned out to be deadly boring. She's not interested in anything. Anything important anyway." He smiles. "You know what else? She'd never say 'contemptuous.' I'm pretty sure she'd have to Google it." His smile disappears. He's not angry, but he looks serious. "C'mere, Kate. Let's sit on the sofa."

She takes his hand and lets him walk her there. She doesn't want to say any more about Alison, and she's afraid he'll ask. A tiny part of her worries that he's leading her to the guillotine.

"You going to tell me why else you hate her?"

She shakes her head. Is the blade sharp? Is he going to lower it on her neck? "That's between her and me."

"So, nothing else?"

"One thing."

He doesn't press; he can wait.

"She had you. I hate her for that." She can't look him in the face.

"You can hate her for something else, if you need to, but not that. You know why?"

She raises her eyes a little. "No."

"Because she never had me. I flirted with the idea, for sure, and she flirted big-time, but that was all."


"Am I going to hear about your talk with her today?"



"You're okay with that?" She looks at him, astonished. "You wanted to go with me, for God's sake."

"I think I'm better off with my fantasy of a cat fight. Over me."

Beckett mumbles.



"No, no, you're not getting away with that. I promise not to ask you about your—chat?—but you have to repeat what you muttered just now. So I can hear it."

"If I tell you, can we not talk about her anymore?"

"Really? You may not believe me, but I'd love not to talk about her, Kate. Ever again."

"Okay." She breathes deeply. "I just said, 'I declawed her'. Satisfied?"

"Oh, very. So, are we clear here?"


"That Alison is out of the picture. And you're in. Please tell me you're in."

"I'm in, Castle. So in I'll never get out. Don't want to. But—" She stops, suddenly deflated.

"But what?"

"Do we have to talk about the summer now?"

"No. We'll work that out another time. That's for another day. And we'll work it out."

Without warning, she gets up from the sofa and runs to the kitchen, picks up the vases of roses and brings them back to the living room, where she sets them on the coffee table. She leans over and inhales deeply. "They smell as wonderful as they look, Castle." And without another warning, not a hint or the faintest of signals, she throws her left leg over his right thigh, and her right over his left and sits down, her face so close to his that he can't bring her into focus.

"No one ever gave me roses before, Castle," she whispers.

"How is that possible?" he whispers back.

"Oh, I've gotten roses before. But not ones with my name. Not ones that someone grew for me. And I really want to hear that story, but not right now."

"Not now?"

"No, now I want to kiss you. If I were a betting woman, and I am, I'd bet you want to kiss me, too. I can feel it in my bones." She wiggles dangerously. "And elsewhere."

"I think I'm going to like finding your elsewhere."

Before he can say another word, she has both arms around his neck and is kissing him as well and as completely as he's ever been kissed. Her tongue is exploring his mouth, and her hands have already abandoned his neck to begin undoing his shirt, stroking his skin as she frees each button. The shirt lands on the floor and he breaks off the kiss just long enough to say, "God, you have the most incredible fingers."

"Thank you, but why haven't you showed me what yours can do?"

She didn't have to ask again, as his went to work—though he'd hardly classify it as work—first to slipping off her blouse and her bra, then to caressing her breasts. His mouth—sucking, licking, devouring—replaces his hands, liberating them so that he can slide her onto her back on the sofa and liberate her of her shoes and pants. She's bare beneath him, except for a wisp of pale pink silk that's masquerading as panties. Her skin is almost the same shade of pink, and she's breathing hard. He looks dreamily, lustily, lovingly, achingly at her, and the only word he can think of to describe her is luminous. That's all. That's it. "You are so beautiful, Kate, so—"

She cuts him off when she lunges at him, bringing his face down, kissing him, filling his mouth and scrabbling at his back. She brushes his jaw with hers and says directly into his ear, "Get your jeans off. Get them off. How can you even," and she palms him, "stand to have them on? They're so tight. God, I can feel you. Hurry up, hurry up."

That's the second request she's made tonight that she won't have to make again. Her hands are already unzipping his Levis while he's trying to toe off his shoes. He manages, through sheer desperation, to rid himself of shoes, socks and pants, and as soon as he has she's pulling down his shorts and, oh, God, her magical fingers can do that, too. She's wrapped around him like some warm life force; he has just enough mental capacity to get those pink panties off her, and now both of him are nothing but skin. Skin to skin. This may be the greatest moment of his life. She's everything he wants.

This may be the greatest moment of her life. He's everything she wants and somehow, some miraculous how, she has him. And he has her. If she were capable of real reflection now, she'd be stunned that for once she wants to toss foreplay aside. She's only vaguely aware of it, because all the rest of her awareness is focused on him. She hooks one foot in the small of his back. "Castle, please, this time I want fast. Fast and hard. Next time slow and all exploring, this time fast, please. I can't stand waiting."

The truth is, neither can he, and there's the third request he's honoring. She promises him a next time. He feels her foot urging him on and he slides over her once, twice, a third time, and in. She makes a noise he's never heard and will never forget, an erotic combination of moan, sigh and scream. Then there are her nonsense syllables, first choppy, then elongated, then stretching into a chant of his name, CastleCastleCastleCastle.

They are as perfectly in synch physically as they are verbally. They're like a perfectly calibrated machine, except there is nothing machinelike about the sex they're having, or about the passion or expression. She is arching up so powerfully, and he is meeting her with such force, that it's remarkable that they don't drive themselves right off the sofa and onto the floor. She explodes; just as the only word he could conjure up to describe her was luminous, so is this. She's explosive, and he's right behind her, which triggers a second orgasm in her.

They're wet and hot and gasping as he rolls her over onto his chest. "Our first time," she finally says. "Cant believe it."

"Didn't feel like it, did it, Kate? It was so new, but it was as if we'd been together forever."

"I know. I know." She stops talking so that her breathing and her brain can slow down and work in tandem. She kisses him in the dip of his collarbone. And then she tickles him, and tickles him some more until he does the same to her and they're both giddy. "S'envoyer en l'air," she says.

"What's that?" he asks, running his hand through the tangles of her spectacularly messy hair.

"It's French."

"I pretty much got that, but what does it mean?"

"To have sex. It means to have sex. It's what I feel like right this minute, Castle. It's a more beautiful way of saying 'flying fuck'."

A/N The end of another story. Many, many thanks to everyone who read it, and especially to those who reviewed—including the anonymous ones whom I could not thank privately—favorited, or followed.