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

A/N This chapter will move into M territory towards the end. If you're not comfortable with that, you can stop before they cross The Line. All you need to know is this: they are very, very happy together.

He's gaping, and how could he not? She's even more beautiful than he's imagined or dreamed, and he's done a lot both. He's still speechless when he feels a tug at the hem of his tee shirt.

"Castle?" she says. "Would you take this off?"

"Of course. Yes. This second." He yanks it over his head and drops it right next to hers. "So," he says, pointing at her discarded Rosie the Riveter jersey, "WE CAN DO IT!"

"No," she says, wrapping her hand around his wrist before he can take off his shorts.


She shakes his arm. "Don't look so tragic. Just the shirt for now. All right? I need to explain."

"I hope you can speed talk, Kate, because. Well, because."

"This wait isn't easy for me either, Castle. I want you so much I can hardly function. But here's the thing. I don't want to have sex with you for the first time in this house. My parents' house. I want you to make love to me and me to make love to you somewhere else. For our first time. Today, definitely today. But now, before we go wherever we go, I want your skin against my skin. I want to feel that, to know just for a minute, but forever, the sensation of that. But if we're completely naked, things will escalate and I don't want that. I mean I do want that, but not here. Not until we're away from here."

Away from here? Okay. They're going together. Kate's going with him. It's good, it's good. It is. He can wait a few hours longer if that's what she wants. And she's almost naked. Beautifully, stunningly, sexily, almost naked. And later today she will be completely naked. With him. They'll both be naked.

Her hand is still circling his wrist when she steps into him and pulls his arm around her. "Just hold me. Please, Castle. Hold me." And then there is no air between them. Nothing. Nothing but skin against skin, at least from the waist up. Her cheek is resting against his heart, and she's aware of how little hair he has on his chest. She knew it, because she'd seen him without a shirt several times over the last few weeks, but seeing it and feeling it are very different. His chest is massive, there must be an acre of skin here, taut but smooth and incredibly soft, and even though he's still she can feel muscles moving under it. "You smell fantastic."

"So do you," he says, his face buried in her hair. Holding her—this warm, delicate, strong, astonishing woman—is thrilling and almost overwhelming.

"We must smell alike. Using the same soap. And shampoo."

"Oh, there are some big differences."

She laughs, and with some difficulty breaks away and takes several steps back. "Serious. Just for a second." She puts her arms out to her sides. "This is me, Castle. You know I'm not perfect, especially with some of the crap I've put you through up here, but my body isn't perfect either, see? I want you to see, because you're probably used to perfect women."

"Looks perfect to me, Kate," he says and moves towards her.

"Stay there, stay there. Look. Here's where they had to open me up." She runs a nail along the angry gash, then touches the tips of two fingers between her breasts. "And this is where the bullet hit me. These scars aren't magically going to go away. They'll fade, but they're ugly, and they're here for keeps. Part of my Independence Day is to declare myself free from them. That I won't let them get in the way of anything."

"But they're what got me here, aren't they, Kate? How long do you think it would have taken us together without this? If you hadn't been so out of your mind on pain pills that you texted me? We might never have happened. Too much time apart, too much hurt. And that's something that I can't bear to think about, especially now." He bends over and picks up her tee shirt. "I can't believe I'm asking you this, but please put this back on. There's only so much I can take, and if I keep seeing your perfect breasts—and they are perfect, believe me—in front of me I might have a heart attack."

She pulls the shirt over her head, but lets it sit crumpled across her shoulders. "You don't think they're too small?"

"No," he says, shaking his head. "They're perfect. I'm aching, and I do mean aching, to get a lot more than my eyes on them. Which I will be doing right this second if you don't cover them up."

"Done." Her shirt is back on, and she's grinning. "Do you want to leave now or get some sleep first?"

"You think I can sleep with your proposition dangling in front of me?"

"Dangling? And by the way, put on your shirt. You're very distracting."

He's in such a rush that he puts it on backwards, and grumbles when he has to straighten it out. "I think there's a Holiday Inn about twenty miles from here. And I'm flooring it. I'll drive so fast it won't even register on Sergeant Nelson's radar."

"No. No, no, no. no. We're not going to a motel. We can go to my apartment."

"Are you serious? I'm not getting in that bed. Not the bed that Doctor Motorcycle Man was in with you. We can go to my place."

"What? No way I'm getting in a bed that's seen all that deep-fried Twinkie action."

"It's a new mattress, Kate. In fact, I got a new mattress after Gina and I broke up."

"Is it the same headboard?"

"Well, yes."

"I rest my case."

"The Hamptons! We can go to the Hamptons!"

"Uh, huh. What's the bed situation there, hmm?"

He starts bouncing on the balls of his feet. "In April I had my entire room redone, including the bathroom. The whole master suite. New bed, everything. Every ghost has been exorcised. It's spectacular, I promise. I've seen it, but I haven't stayed there since it was finished. We'd be the first. For our first. What do you say?"

She holds his pleading look for several seconds. "Sold. Let's go. But we do have to put our pants on."

"Not for long."

Despite it being the middle of the night they change into more presentable clothes; they have a long drive ahead and will have to stop at least once. He makes a Thermos of coffee while she puts a few of her things in a bag. "Ready?" she asks as she comes into the kitchen.


"Don't suppose that Land o Goshen is open yet?"

"Kate, it's two o'clock in the morning."

"I thought bakers started work really early."

"They do, but—"

"Then can we take a detour to Williams? It won't take long. Please. They might have doughnuts."

"I think I've turned you into an addict. Why are you hell-bent on getting doughnuts now, anyway?"

She gives him an open-mouthed stare. "Really? It hasn't occurred to you that those doughnuts are an aphrodisiac?"

He can't help snorting. "You're right. For you, for sure. I just don't think we need an aphrodisiac, do you?"

"For the road, Rick."

"You're killing me."

They turn off all the lights, check the stove, lock the door, and point the car towards Williams. The town is dark, and just as they turn around to get to the highway—a disappointed Kate sighing from the passenger seat—a light comes on in the back of the shop. "Castle, Castle! They're there!"

Leaving the car at the curb, they walk around the building and he taps on the window. "Billie Sue!"

She looks up, a little alarmed, and he waves madly at her. "Rick?"

"Yeah, it's me!"

"C'mon in," she says, opening the door to them.

"Billie Sue, this is Kate Beckett. Her family has had a cabin up here for years. I've been visiting. We're, we work together at the NYPD."

"Pleased to meet, you, Kate."

"Same here, Billie Sue. I have to tell you, your doughnuts have transformed my life."

"She's not kidding," he says. "Where's Luanne?"

"At Mount Scrumptious." She turns to Kate and smiles widely. "That's what we've been calling the bake room since Rick said our doughnuts must have been grown on Mount Scrumptious. It's the little shed behind us, you can see it right through the window. We do the mixing and everything in here, but we keep the deep fryers out there. Lot less hot that way."

"I think I can smell them," Kate says, sniffing happily.

"You do. First batch. Now, you two, not that I'm not tickled to have people drop in, but no one's ever done it at this time of night." There's the sound of a door closing, and another opening. "That must be my sister."

It is, and more introductions follow. "We're here because Kate and I are going on a little trip, just a day or two. We were saying to each other that we wished we had some of Land o Goshen's finest to take with us, and she wondered if you were open yet. And—"

"And by gum we are!" Luanne says. "Not really, but we're here and you're here, so why the heck not? We've only made that one batch so far but you're in luck, 'cause they're cinnamon. Rick says those and the honey-dipped are your favorites, Kate. If you don't mind waiting until four we can have some of those for you, too."

"You're so kind," Kate says. "But we do have to get on the road. If you wouldn't mind selling us a few cinnamon ones, though, we'd be in your debt."

"Not at all, honey. I'll just put some—four? is that right?—in a paper sack for you."

They're on their way to the car, Kate clutching the bag in her hand, when Luanne pops her head out the door. "Psst! Just wanted you to know, those are really good to eat in bed. Enjoy your fireworks!"

"Oh, my God, Castle," she says through clenched teeth. "Are we that obvious?"

"Apparently. You are, anyway."

"Shut up."

"Are you going to eat one of those now?"


"Saving them for bed?"

"Saving something for bed. That's all I'm saying."

She's surprisingly quiet on the road, and he realizes that she's tired. They're both running on adrenaline, but he's much better equipped to take it than she is, at least at the moment, because she's still recovering. "Close your eyes for a while, Kate. I'll wake you."

He doesn't have to. About 80 miles later she sits up abruptly and says, "Pull over for a minute."

He immediately slows down and brakes on the shoulder. It's still early and it's a holiday, so there's almost no traffic. "Are you all right? Are you sick?"

"No, I just woke up and I want to tell you something, but you can't be driving when I do."

"Okay. We're stopped. Parked. My hands are off the wheel. What do you want to tell me?"

"You wanted to know about my lust list. So I'll tell you what's at the top." She reaches across his thigh, spreads her hand over his crotch and squeezes, hard. "That's it, Castle. Number one on two lists."

"Two?" he squeaks.

"Lust list and bucket list. I can kill two birds with one—I hesitate to say it—stone." She laughs and then she stops. When she's sure that he's looking at her, she lets the tip of her tongue show between her lips.

"Holy shit."

"Puis-je conduire ta voiture maintenant?"

"Whatever you said, the answer is probably yes. What did you say?"

"It's French."

"That much I know."

"I said, 'Can I drive your car now?' I don't know what it is in Chinese."

"Sorry, the answer's no, even if you ask in Russian, too. I'm driving the rest of the way."

"How far is it?"

"About half an hour, unless you fail to keep your hands to yourself, in which case we might never get there because I'll drive the car right off the road into a ditch." Later, when they've passed through the middle of town, he says, "We're almost there. Just down at the bottom of this road and to the left."

"You're absolutely sure that your mother isn't there, right?"

"She's on Cape Cod starring in a summer-stock revival Mame, a show she has wanted to do for as long as I can remember. No way she's missing a minute of it. The house is all ours. And speaking of house, here it is."

Theoretically she disapproves of staring, but for this place she makes an exception. "Wow. It's gorgeous. And huge."

"You talking about me or the house?"

That gets him a look, too. She gets out of the car and is about to head for the front door when he takes her hand.


"Aren't we going in?"

"There's something we have to do first. It'll only take a minute." He walks her to the rear of the house, then onto a little path that leads down a grassy slope directly to the beach. He takes off his shoes and rakes the toes of one foot through the sand. "Okay, let's step over this together."

"What was that for?" she asks, after making a little hop with him.

"We just crossed the line in the sand."

"Nice, Castle. I think that's the signal for us to go in."

"Oh, definitely. Can't have you getting sunstroke."

"Not the kind of stroke I'm hoping for, bud."

The master suite is on the second floor, and when he opens the door her mouth falls open. The bedroom, which is done in a variety of blues, sea green, and white, must be 600 square feet, with windows facing east over the water and north over shrubbery and trees. No other house is visible. A queen-size bed is backed up against one wall, with a working fireplace opposite it and one set of windows ten feet away. "You weren't kidding. It's spectacular."

"You like it?"

"I love it. The only thing that surprises me is that you don't have a king-size bed. You, the king of large gestures."

"A king-size bed? Not with you. I don't want to have to travel that far in bed to find you."

"You were that confident that I'd come?"

"Not confident at all." He's very serious. "But I never gave up hope." He trails his hand very gently across her jawline, down her neck and to her collarbone before brushing the piping on her scoop-necked blouse. "Can you raise your arms?" She nods, and he sweeps off the light cotton top. She's still not wearing a bra. There's a breeze coming through the window he'd just opened, and she shivers, her nipples already pebbled. "Are you cold, Kate?"

"No, just happy. Eager. Full of, full of anticipation." She touches his shirt. "This has to go, too." He raises his arms and she pulls the tee shirt over his head and drops it on the floor. "And your jeans." She looks into his eyes as she undoes the button and eases down the zipper. She can feel how hard he already is, but when she takes hold of the belt loops to tug down his pants, she gasps. "Commando? You're commando?"

"Didn't want to take the time to put shorts on," says, shoving his jeans the rest of the way down and stepping out of them. "Especially since I knew I wouldn't be wearing them for long. I'm getting you naked now." When he undoes the drawstring tie on her soft jersey pants, they slide to the floor on their own, and it's his turn to gasp.

"Guess we read each other's minds again, huh, Castle?"

"I guess we did. You know what I'm thinking right now?"

"That you'd like to jump my bones? Because I'd like to jump yours and we're in synch a lot."

If someone with an Olympic-caliber stopwatch were timing them, it still wouldn't be clear who moves first, but the result is the same. Two bodies propel forward into an embrace of such explosive passion that it knocks them onto the bed. She lands on her back, but even his overheated brain is capable of understanding that she can't take the full weight of his body on her, so he rolls them over. They're skin-on-skin again, but this time there's nothing at all between them as they steal each other's breath, tongues slipping from his mouth to hers and back, then moving to lick a spot that teeth have just nipped, hands exploring, caressing, scratching. He rolls them over again, and props himself up on his forearms, leaning over to take one of her breasts in his mouth, and then the other. Each time that he moves, he kisses the scar that was the left by the bullet, and each time he latches on to a breast he sucks harder and longer. She's beginning to thrash around, and push on his head.

"Down," she pants. "Down."

He needs no encouragement, as he scoots towards the end of the bed, nudging her legs farther apart. "You're so wet already," he says, looking up from between her thighs.

"Your tongue. Jesus, I've never felt a tongue like yours. Make me come with just your tongue. No fingers."

Not in his best, filthiest dreams had he heard her ask exactly that. He licks the softest parts of her inner thighs, varying the pressure with each pass, withdrawing to blow softly on her, then running his tongue over her again, sometimes flat out, sometimes just touching the tip to her skin. And then she pulls his hair.

"No more teasing. Just."

This is a challenge he's truly enjoying. His tongue swirls around her center, clockwise, counter clockwise, and her hips are arching off the bed. He licks her center, bottom to top, as slowly as he can. And then he does it again, curling his tongue, flattening it, scooping her out with it, and then he pours the pressure on and she pours into him, her verbal accompaniment a moan that soars to a full-throated scream. She jerks so hard against him he's surprised he doesn't have a bruise.

"Wow," he says. "Wow." She opens her eyes and he says it again. "Wow, Kate."

"Get up here, Castle." She's sweating and breathing hard, but she gives him a kiss. "That was amazing. You are amazing." She kisses him again. "Sorry, my brain's so fried I can't come up with better words."

"Looks like you enjoyed that."

"Looks like you did, too. Licking your lips. So, how did I compare to that chocolate lava cake that you're so proud of? The one you got to squirt."

"That cake has nothing on you, nothing."

"Not to let your head get any bigger, but you're a hell of a chef. That was my first time, to, you know."


"Please don't fist pump."

"I won't."

She has regained enough strength to roll on top of him, and she looks into his eyes. "You know what? We did this backwards."


"We're crossing the finish line, but it's really the starting line, isn't it?"

"Yeah," he says, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Start of something big."

"Speaking of that," she says, taking him in her hand but never taking her eyes of his, "your head did get bigger, a lot bigger. This one, anyway. I can tell. Can I look forward to something hot and molten?"

"You talking about the cake?"



She's inching up his body, nibbling as she goes, and stroking him at the same. Occasionally she abandons the stroking for tickling; her assault is relentless, and so is his, as he goes after her breasts again. "My fingers," he murmurs, as he twists one of her nipples.

"Your fingers? I like what they're doing right now."

"My fingers were very jealous of my tongue before, insanely jealous."

"Right now my tongue," she says, sliding down his chest, "is insanely jealous of my fingers. And I'm gonna do something about it." And with only that as a warning, she takes him in her mouth.

Oh, God, her slippery, hot, sweet, tender, succulent, sucking mouth. He wonders if it's truly possible that your eyes can roll so far back in your head that you can't see. He thinks she's saying something deliciously filthy, she's humming against him, but his ears aren't working, either. And then, what? Where did she go? He feels her legs, those legs he's been wanting around him for three years, pressing against him, her knees like vises against his hips. He opens his eyes. Thank God, he can see. He can see her rising up.

She can see him rising up. She's a little nervous about her strength, but she steadies herself with one hand on his chest, and guides him into her with the other. She moves onto him slowly, because he's big—very big—and she hasn't had sex in months. The slow stretch is a little painful, but exquisite, and she realizes that she has to lean forward, into him, moving her hands over his head to put less pressure on herself. It works, and it brings them face to face as they quickly find a seductively slow rhythm. "Castle," she whispers into his ear while putting her hands on his shoulders. "I can't pull you up. Can you sit up?"

He curls upwards, still inside her, wrapping his arms and legs around her, and she does the same to him. They're sitting on the bed, as close as two bodies can be, slick and almost still. "We're hot glued together Kate, but in all the right places." They can hardly move, and it's exactly what they both want, because it prolongs the moment. They've waited so long, and they want to make this last. When he twitches, she clenches in response, and suddenly he rolls them over so she is on her back. "I have to move, I can't stand this any longer."

"Yes, yes, move," she urges him.

He's thrusting so hard that he's afraid he'll hurt her, and he pulls back.

What is he doing? She sees his expression: he's worried about her. He's worried. She grabs him by the ass. "No, no. Harder. Don't worry. I won't break."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. Castle?" She's scrabbling now, and her body is half off the mattress as she tries to draw him deeper. "I'm hanging on to you, so this would be a great time for your fingers to do the talking."

"They love to talk almost as much as I do," he says, and takes her mouth while pressing two fingers hard at the point where he and she are joined.

That was all she needed. She feels as if she's exploding, yet she somehow manages to speak. "Come, now. Come while I'm still coming."

Her newly manicured nails are digging in to him, and in two thrusts, he's a goner, spilling in to her and collapsing on to her, foggily remembering to bring her into his side. They lie like that, in a sprawl of heaving bodies, until their heart rates and respiratory functions are approaching normal.

"I always knew you'd be indescribable in bed, Kate," he says, pressing his lips against her cheekbone. "But I never knew you'd be so much fun."

"Really?" she asks, and kisses him back.

"You're sextraordinary, Kate."

"And you, Castle? You're sexciting."

A/N: Thank you for your generosity and astonishing support throughout all these chapters. I hope to be back next week with the start of a new story.