Dawn broke crisp and sunny; perfect weather to make her return to the precinct, in her opinion. She had officially been on-call as of midnight, but they'd slept through undisturbed, and when Kate's eyes blinked open with the brightening of the morning sky, she stretched and sighed in contentment. Her mind twirled around a few grand ideas of how they could start their day before her alarm commanded them to crawl from the warmth of her sheets, officially popping the blissful bubble that had been her six-week suspension.

Kate nudged backward into the embrace of her bed companion, eliminating any space between their bodies. Castle, still half-asleep, reacted on auto-pilot, clutching her tightly around the waist and drawing her closer, nuzzling into the soft hairs at the nape of her neck. He hummed against the tender skin, a sound she had come to recognize as one he made when he was he was comfortable and cuddly, like a purring cat. It sent a quiet thrill through her, knowing how good they were together. They hadn't blown up, hadn't become bored, hadn't wavered an inch. They'd only grown closer in the past six weeks, and the ease of it all would scare the hell out of her if it didn't feel so right.

This time, she was determined not to waste a single second questioning what she had here. He'd had been nothing short of the rock-solid partner he'd always been, a loyal friend and an ardent lover, demonstrating his unwavering devotion every chance he got. The weeks had passed in a blur of sex and laughter and companionship, and she'd only fallen deeper than she knew she was capable of. The Beckett of years past, the one who shunned intimacy in favor of keeping one foot out the door, would have run for her life. But the Beckett of today? She had no such urge.

Castle was fully awake now, stroking her belly and cupping her breasts, placing sweet kisses along the long line of her neck, and she was endlessly grateful they'd not worn clothes to bed. She moaned, breathy and turned on, enjoying his curious fingers and his soft lips on her skin. From the start, he'd been an expert on how to touch her; years of observing her almost obsessively had given him uncanny insight into more than just her moods. She had teased him back then, insisted that staring was creepy, but she could admit that she had been oh so wrong about it.

"Good morning, Detective," he growled in her ear, his voice deep and scratchy and sexy from disuse, and a burst of moisture pooled between her legs at the sound. The man had a sinful mouth; the way he used it on her body was amazing, of course, but he was vocal in bed in a way no other lover had been, and it took her arousal to dizzying new heights. He encouraged her to express her wants and needs, while his own words of love and lust for her poured forth, driving her mad in the very best way. "And how are you this fine morning?"

Instead of answering, she extended her arm behind her while she craned her neck, her digits gliding into his hair and tugging him until their lips met. It began soft and sweet until her tongue slid between his lips only to be met by his own, the kiss deepening and wildly spiraling until she had to pull away, gasping for breath as his hand began a blatant exploration of her frame.

The fingers that had just been teasing her nipple began to glide downward, down until his palm rested on her pubic bone. Her pelvis undulated, pushing upward and trying to bring him in contact with the place she needed his touch the most, but he was determined to torment her, drive her up further, keep her on the edge.

"It's a very special day, Beckett," his voice rasped in her ear as he coaxed her body up so he could wrap his other arm under and around her, giving him access with both limbs now. He stoked her lovingly, teasingly, running his hands over her stomach, upward to cup her again, pinching and stroking her nipples until they were tight and almost painfully puckered. He palmed and squeezed her flesh, his lips continuing to torment her neck while he whispered in her ear, "Anything you desire this morning, I'm happy to do it for you."

Groaning breathlessly, she shifted until her ass was grinding into his erection, drawing a grunt of pleasure from his own throat. She reveled in this, in the effortless satisfaction they gave to and drew from each other, and god yes, she knew he'd do anything for her. It made her dizzy and flushed her skin with heat, this connection they shared, the depth of it, the intensity. Never in her life had she wanted someone so completely, not like this. Never like this.

She turned her head toward him until their lips were brushing and they were sharing the same air. "Castle," she murmured into his mouth as he continued to caress her body, one hand engulfing a breast while the other began a slow, sultry slide down her torso until his fingers were coasting between her thighs, delving into the wetness that his attentions had produced. Her hips rocked in time with the perfect pressure of his digits against her slippery flesh, the rhythm sublime and maddening and fuck, she needed more. She wanted him.

"Castle," she somehow managed to pant again, even as he methodically destroyed whatever remaining concentration she possessed with his ministrations.

"What it is, Beckett? What do you want me to do to you?" The words dripped into her ear, his voice rough and pure sex, and she could feel the muscles in her core tighten and clench, needing desperately to be filled. Leaning into the broad wall of his chest, her thighs fell open around his hand in invitation, enhancing his access to her, and he wasted no time plunging two thick fingers into the snug channel of her body.

She cried out at the invasion, the tension in her abdomen building to new heights when his thumb joined in to stroke over her hyper-sensitive nerves. He was already so good at this, unerring in his touch, instinctively knowing when to be assertive and simply take her, but also recognizing her need to be stroked, worshipped, loved.

Her eyes fluttered shut as an orgasm shuddered through her, her short panting breaths and Castle's encouraging words of adoration filling her head, as the prickle of pleasure spread through her all the way from her toes to the crown of her head. She was still breathing through the aftershocks when Castle withdrew his fingers from her, tracing them warm and slick down the tender skin of her inner thigh, until he was gripping her knee and guiding her leg up and over his hip, opening her up even wider. Oh yes, this is exactly what she had wanted...of course he knew. He always just knew.

"Castle, please," she finally managed, her voice hoarse and desperate. He rolled his pelvis forward then, positioning himself so that the hard length of him glided through the plentiful wetness awaiting him.

"Is this what you want, Beckett?" His words had become breathless and a little unhinged, his own need apparent in his tone, and she smiled because it wouldn't be long now. He needed her as much as she needed him, this unparalleled pleasure they could find in each other.

"Yes.Yes. I want you. Right now." She worked her body in tandem with his, rocking back and forth, coating him in her arousal. His gasps and grunts gave him away, the sensation of her slippery and slick against his length a sweet torture, and she reveled in the power she possessed over him. She had no interest in control or domination; she simply yearned to reciprocate his affections, make hers be the only name he cried out in ecstasy.

He gripped her waist to slow her movements, and used the leverage to angle himself at her entrance, wasting no more time before driving himself deep inside her, both of them moaning at finally, finally being united. He held her tight, his front plastered to her back as they stilled and allowed her body to accommodate the intrusion of his, to feel the rightness of their joining. He took the moment of quiet to drop soft kisses to her shoulder and neck, peppering the touch of his lips with declarations of love and devotion to her.

As if sharing a mind, they began to move in sync, him withdrawing achingly slowly, only to snap his hips forward and do a rough slide back into her. Each thrust drew a moan from deep within her chest, out of her head and all control gone at the feel of his skin against hers, his body buried in her own. Maybe that's what was so different about Castle; she could throw caution to the wind with him. She instinctively knew that he would never injure her, that her pleasure and happiness were paramount to him, always. She could let go, be in the moment, no planning or anticipation required. She could lose herself in this man.

His pace picked up, driving into her over and over as the panting in her ear grew louder, creating a breathy chorus with her own. They were both sweaty now, dewy drops of perspiration dripping from one's body to the other, allowing their flesh to glide together effortlessly. One wide, warm hand continued to palm her breast, his fingers teasing the taut peak, while the other ventured down again, unfailingly finding her nerves and coaxing her up and up.

Kate turned her head to the side and captured his mouth for only a moment, their kiss sloppy and unrefined but it enabled her to meet his eyes. They were as black as she'd ever seen them, the faintest halo of blue skirting the edges, and hers had to be a mirror, dark and hungry and possessive of this man in a way she'd never felt compelled for any other. He was hers, just as she was his, and every thrust of his hips drove that message home.

They were both close, their moans and gasps mingling in the scant space between their lips. Castle punctuated each plunge into her body, murmuring you feel so good and God you're amazing, painting her skin with his words. But the energy shifted suddenly when he hummed I love you so much Kate, her eyes flaring wide and her heart beating out a double-time rhythm at his declaration.

He never stopped his movements as his gaze bored into her, willing her to accept and believe the words he hadn't repeated since the night of that awful fight, but he needn't have worried; she already knew the truth of his heart. And as the pleasure began to unfurl and explode low in her belly, she couldn't hold back what she herself knew with absolute certainty. Whatever had prevented her from saying it in the past was swept away.

"Castle. Rick...oh I love you too. Oh god, yes. I love you."

When she gave into her climax, there was no keeping her eyes open any longer, her head thrown back as she moaned his name long and loud. It was powerful, a white-hot bliss that obliterated everything else but for the two of them, her skin ablaze and her mind wiped blank. She could sense his muscles tensing as he gave in to the power of his own release, his chants of devotion ringing out to echo hers. He continued to surge into her until their trembling subsided, a post-coital glow settling upon their sweat-slicked frames and enfolding them in its embrace.

He held her close as their breathing calmed, and when she had her wits about her again, her mind began to wander. Why today? Why declare his love to her this morning when they'd just spent six inseparable weeks doing this very thing multiple times, every day? It wasn't like the opportunity hadn't presented itself before.

She shifted then, disengaging from his body and drawing a soft moan from them both. Turning within his embrace, she had a urgent need to look at him, but one glance into his eyes held all of the answers she sought. In the end, the whens and whys didn't matter; she loved him, and he loved her. Her questions, her curiosity...everything else was irrelevant.

"So Castleā€¦"

His sly, sated grin lit her up brighter than the sun cresting outside her curtains. "Yes, Detective?"

She bit her lip, looking up at him through her lashes, enjoying the tease now that she had the utmost confidence that they were on the same page about everything. She cursed her skeptical nature; how could she ever doubt them? They were extraordinary.

"So, you love me, huh?"

His smile grew impossibly wider, and she marveled at his willingness to be so open, to wear his heart on his sleeve, exposed and vulnerable to do with as she pleased.

"I do. And I have, for a very long time."

She reached up to cup his cheek, his stubble ticklish against her palm, and it occurred to her that she might never tire of touching this man. "Thank you for waiting for me."

"You were worth every second."

She could have thrown her alarm across the room for sounding off moments later, because all she wanted to do was roll him onto his back and climb atop him, using her mouth and fingers and body to express how she felt exactly the same.

Instead, she shifted from his arms and stood up, extending a hand to him.

"C'mon Castle. Let's go shower and maybe I'll show you just how much I love you again."

Written in honor of the Castle Pornado! As always, thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoyed the story, and if you feel so inclined, please let me know your thoughts about it.

Thanks to Alex and J for their always-stellar beta services.