Beckett leans against the door, already berating herself mentally for her cowardice. She presses her hands over her face and sighs deeply.

Thirty seconds ago she was sitting on that sofa in this ridiculous LA hotel suite, watching the emotions move in Castle's eyes, and he was about to kiss her, she knows it. She knew it in the moment, could see it coming. And she wanted it. Him. Wanted him so badly that she felt like her heart might beat its way out of her chest.

So of course, she got up and fled. Her trademark move.

Her hand slides across to the door handle and closes around it, indecisive. The metal feels cool against her sweaty palm. She tries to push her thoughts onto all the reasons why Castle isn't right for her; it's a familiar exercise, and it works about as well as ever, which is to say, not at all. Her memory keeps slipping back to a dark alley and the press of his lips on hers. The curve of his arm around her back. The taste of his tongue. Her face is hot, her entire body is tight with yearning.

She tries to force her mind back onto the case, but even the thought of Royce, all the complicated emotions and memories tied up around him, can't quiet the pounding in her veins. She runs her tongue lightly over her lips and finds she's imagining that it's Castle's tongue. Again.

Before she can second- and third- and fourth-guess herself any further, her hand is pressing down on the handle. The door opens. Her eyes skitter over the room beyond, taking in all the inconsequential details centered around Castle, who is still almost where she left him - standing up now, beside the sofa, staring in her direction.

He doesn't move. He just watches her while she looks everywhere except directly at him for a long moment. But it's as if she can feel the impact of his eyes on her like a physical thing.

Slowly, she drags her gaze up to meet his. When their eyes meet, the electrical current between them closes, completes; she feels the sparks rushing across her skin. The air feels thick, her lungs struggling to pull it in.

Castle takes three long strides across the room, and her arms are rising toward him even before he gets to her. His body slams into hers and their mouths meet and she would swear she could hear the sizzle. She clutches at his shoulders as his arms circle her torso. His lips are hot and sweet on hers, his tongue seeking, and she is already open to him, twisting her tongue around his, a long moan bursting from her throat to be swallowed up in the kiss.

The momentum of his body carries them backward into her room; she vaguely registers the bed hitting the backs of her knees and then she's falling, landing on the bed with Castle on top of her, never breaking the kiss. He's heavy, his warm weight pressing her down into the luxuriously soft mattress, and nothing has ever felt so good. She moans again, dizzy with desire and lack of oxygen as his tongue explores her mouth and his teeth graze her lower lip, hard. At that she shudders deeply, breaking the seal of their mouths just for an instant to draw in a desperate gasp of air before reclaiming his lips and tongue again.

She lifts one knee around his hip and feels him sink farther onto her, all hard hot muscle between her legs, the heat of his body scorching her through the thin material of her leggings. Her entire body is aflame with the finally of it all. Castle's mouth on her mouth. Castle's hands moving across her body. Castle's skin under her fingers when she slides her hands down to his waist and then up under his shirt, and feels him gasp and groan above her.

But abruptly he's tearing his lips away, taking his hands off her, pulling back, sitting up. She blinks, fuzzy with arousal and confusion.

"Beckett." His voice is hoarse; he has to stop and clear his throat and try again. "Oh god. I'm sorry, not like this."

"Castle-" She sits up too, reaching for him, but he pulls away again, shaking his head.

"No. No." He looks at her, wild-eyed, apologetic. "I can't do it like this." A deep, shaky breath. "I want you so much, Kate, god, so much. But I can't, not like this. Not something outside of reality. Not where you can go back home and pretend it didn't happen. Lock it up in some little box. Go back to your safe boring boyfriend and tell yourself it doesn't count." His eyes are pleading with her now. "I'm sorry. I can't. It just wouldn't be enough for me, with you. I...I want more."

The words hit her like a fist. Because of course she knew that he felt that way - though she might not have admitted it to herself - but to hear him speak it so plainly is a whole new kind of shock. Her body still throbs with arousal, but her chest clenches as his words seep into her skin, and she knows what she has to do.

"Wait, Castle. Let me show you something."

He's tensed, ready to get up and walk out, but he waits. A question in his eyes. He always needs the whole story.

Kate slides across the bed and reaches over to the nightstand, fumbling on the smooth surface, finding the small, deeply creased scrap of paper. With trembling fingers she unfolds the two sheets and holds them out toward him.

Castle's forehead furrows in confusion. "Your letter from Royce?" Hesitantly he takes it from her. She can see his desire to respect her privacy doing battle with his overwhelming natural curiosity.

"Read it," she urges softly. "Just the last part, at the bottom." She bites her lip and twists her hands in her lap, suddenly anxious. The instinct to flee is choking her, but this is her hotel room; this is not her city; where would she go?

Still frowning slightly, Castle smooths the paper on his knee and runs his eyes across the bottom of the first page, lifts it to read the rest. Kate doesn't need to look; she has already committed the entire thing to memory. It's clear that you and Castle have something real, and you're fighting it...

He flips back to the first page again, re-reading, then lifts his eyes to her. She sucks in a quick breath at the heat she sees there. Her throat constricts and she has to force the words out, low and raspy.

"The night we found Royce's body ... I must have read that a dozen times. And I talked to Josh. I told him." Tears sting her eyes and she ignores them, lets them fall, because she needs to get this out. "I told him ... that it was over. That I needed to risk my heart with someone, and it wasn't him. It was never him."

She trails off, looking down at her hands. She's reached the end of her courage, the end of her words. In her peripheral vision she's aware of Castle carefully refolding the paper, turning to set it aside.

Then the world spins briefly and she finds herself on her back again, with Castle looming over her. His hip presses against hers, his hands pinning her wrists to the mattress; his face is inches from hers, eyes dark and intent. She takes a deep breath and her breasts brush his chest, her nipples already hard and tingling. He lowers his head and ever so softly kisses the wet streaks that the tears have made down her cheekbones. First one side, then the other. The feather-light brush of his lips makes her shiver.

Then he lifts his head again and stares her down.

"Say it," he demands, his low husky tone vibrating straight through her.

Her mouth is dry, her whole body flushed anew with arousal. She swallows and watches him watching the way her throat moves. She can feel the rigid length of him pressing against her hip. She's intoxicated by the nearness of him, his heat, his smell, the pounding of her blood in the veins of her wrists where he holds her down. She is drowning in him, suffused.

"I just want you," she whispers.

His mouth crashes down on hers again and she gives herself over to it. No more pretenses. She arches her back to press herself into him as their tongues meet, sliding together just perfectly. He's still holding her down by her wrists, so all she can do is kiss him back and roll her body up against his until he releases his hold to run a hand down her side again. Then she can push her fingers into his hair and grip him tightly, tugging him even deeper into the kiss.

He groans into her lips and slides against her body, his leg pressing between hers, his hand wandering more boldly. It slips under her blouse and splays out across her abdomen, fingertips brushing the bottoms of her breasts. Now it's Kate's turn to moan, arching up again, pressing herself into his hand. But he teases, drawing little circles on her ribs with his fingertips. His mouth slides down across her chin and nudges into the curve of her throat, his tongue hot and slick against her jugular. She moans again and her hands go wandering down the back of his neck, across his broad shoulders and the rippling muscles of his back, her fingers suddenly digging in with a gasp as his own hand finally abandons its teasing and pushes its way inside her bra. His fingertips brush her nipple, not gently, and her hips twist in reaction, pressing against his leg.

Licking his way down to her collarbone, he pauses to nip at the jutting bone before lifting himself up slightly, pulling his hand out of her bra. Her eyes fly open at the sensation of loss, but his hands are at the bottom hem of her blouse, tugging. Breathless, she lifts herself up enough to let him pull the fabric over her head while her eager fingers are doing the same with his shirt, revealing an expanse of well-toned chest and stomach that she runs her hands over greedily as he slides his fingers behind her and snaps open the hooks of her bra.

Then his mouth is on her breast and a delicious shock washes through her, the hot wet slide of his tongue across her nipple turning her bones to jelly. She's gripping his shoulders for all she's worth, rolling her hips against his thigh, and he's suckling at her breast, curling his tongue around the hardened peak and tugging lightly with his teeth. Then kissing his way over to the other side and repeating the whole thing. She's dizzy with pleasure and the need to have him closer, even closer. She wants to reach down and push his pants off but she can't focus enough to make her arms work.

"Breathe," he whispers against her breast, lifting his eyes to hers. He smiles up at her, his face flushed, hair tousled, eyes twinkling, and her gut clenches again at what she sees in those eyes. It goes far beyond affection ... and she knows that it reflects what's in her own gaze. The deep breath she takes is rough and raspy with all those feelings they haven't spoken.

"Castle..." she tries, but then his hand is spreading out across her stomach again, and this time instead of up it moves down, his broad fingers sliding into the waistband of her leggings. A shiver of electric anticipation rushes across her skin, raising goosebumps everywhere. He looks the question into her eyes, his hot breath puffing against her chest, his hair fine and soft under her fingertips. She nods, her own hair whispering on the silk sheet.

His hand dips farther down, inside her underwear, seeking. She cries out as he finds his way into the slickness of her. His mouth moves up to her jaw, his deep groan echoing in her ear.

"Oh my god, Kate. You're so wet. How long have you been this wet?"

She's breathless and tingling with pleasure as his fingers slowly stroke lower, but she feels the corners of her mouth twisting upward as she answers with the first thing that springs to her mind - "Since the day I met you."

She feels him tense and shudder against her body at the words, his hand stilling for a moment. He lifts his head and she can see his astonished grin, drawing an answering smile to her own face.

"You are perfect," he breathes, eyes wide. "I can't-" but he cuts himself off by kissing her again, hard and fierce, and his hand in her pants is moving again, slippery-sliding lower and pressing a finger inside her. Her hips lift up of their own accord, pressing urgently against him. Now she manages to get her hands onto the waistband of his jeans, gasping into his mouth.

"Off, off," she rasps against his seeking tongue as he pulls his finger almost out of her and then thrusts it back in again, drawing another gasp from her and a hoarse whimper of impatience as she tries to work the button on his jeans.

"Not yet. Let me..." and he rises up onto his knees, his finger slipping out of her, leaving her empty. Swiftly he's pulling the leggings and panties down her legs, tossing them aside. And before she has a chance to react, his wide, warm palms are sliding across her knees, up the insides of her thighs, pushing them apart. He kisses the inside of one knee and then rubs his face against the tender skin of her inner thigh. The prickle of his stubble rasps against her, making her gasp and jerk, and he smiles again, wickedly. He presses his open mouth against the spot, hot and wet with his tongue and teeth and she knows it'll leave a mark. The thought of Castle marking her there with his mouth sends a hard shudder through her whole body, her eyes drifting shut against the flood of arousal.

"Breathe," she hears him murmur again, and then his tongue is on her and her head slams back against the mattress, a strangled scream escaping her throat. She's flushed and sweaty and writhing, both his hands firmly holding her in place. She can dimly hear herself whimpering, feel her fingers clenching the bedspread, but everything else fades into the distance. All she knows is the sweet torture of his talented mouth.

But as she feels her peak approaching, she rouses from the haze of sensation enough to know that it's not what she wants yet. She reaches down and pushes the fingers of one hand through his hair, tugging lightly.

"Wait," she manages to get out. "I need you inside me."

His head lifts, eyes dark with arousal. "Kate?"

"Now, Castle. Now." Her voice is high and breathy, almost pleading, but the note of command she manages to summon has him surging back up the length of her body, hungry to claim her lips again.

"Protection?" he murmurs into her mouth, and she takes a quick breath, shaking her head.

"Pill," she breathes back, "and I'm clean."

"Me too." Barely has he gotten the words out before she delves her tongue back into his mouth, already addicted to the taste of him.

He lifts himself over her as they kiss, his hips nudging her legs even farther apart. Somehow he has managed to get his pants and boxers off without her noticing. The hard length of him brushes her leg and she groans eagerly, slipping her hand between them to grasp him. At her touch, his whole body shudders. She looks into his eyes and sees the edges of his control.

She's trembling with arousal, with nervousness. This is a point of no return, and she can't deny it. But neither can she deny how much she wants it.

She guides him into position and he slides inside her.

A long "ohh" bursts from her and she fights to keep her eyes open, to keep her gaze locked with his. She watches his mouth fall open as he fills her, hard and hot and everything she has ever wanted. He pushes all the way in and they both still for a moment, just staring at each other.

Then he dips down to brush his lips over hers and bury his face in the curve of her neck. She lifts her knees higher still and digs her fingers into his hips. He takes a deep breath, his chest pressing into her, and then he pulls almost all the way out and slides back in, long and slow. His teeth graze her shoulder and her hips thrust up at him involuntarily, making them both gasp.

He thrusts again and groans into her neck, muttering words that she can't make out. Somehow he is hitting every sweet spot she has, and the feeling of him moving inside her is so good, incredible.

"God, you feel so good," he murmurs, echoing her thought. She wants to reply, but all that comes out is a series of whimpering gasps. She's never been a big talker in bed.

He lifts his head to look at her face again, watching her on the next stroke. She doesn't know what he sees in her face, but it makes his eyes darken even more and he gives her another hard thrust that brings sparks bursting behind her eyelids as they close involuntarily.

They pop open again a moment later when he works one hand under her body, binding his strong right arm around her waist. "What-" is all she gets out and then he pulls her up against him and rolls over, ending up on his back with her draped over him. Somehow he is still inside her, pushing his hips up sharply to emphasize that point, and another whimper breaks free from her throat.

She lifts up, her palms flat on Castle's chest, and stares down at him.

"You like being on top, don't you?" he asks, his eyes twinkling, lips curving in a smug smirk. Her jaw drops in surprise.

"How did you-" She pauses, feeling a blush creep up her neck. It's ridiculous. Here she is, naked, in bed, with Castle buried deep inside her, and she's blushing. Because as always, he sees right through her. He always seems to know.

"I've made a habit of observing you," he says, his smile self-deprecating now, as his hands go sliding up her arms and across her shoulders, down her chest to cup her breasts. "But this is..." He trails off, eyes riveted to his hands. His thumbs swipe across her nipples and she shudders.

"Yeah," she gets out, and rocks her hips against his, arching into his palms. He groans softly. She leans forward again and finds a rhythm, not too slow, not too fast, just right to let her feel every inch of him sliding in and out.

"Oh god," she hears herself whimper, "oh god, Castle-" and she sees him staring at her, enraptured, watching her face as he matches her pace with short thrusts of his hips.

"You're incredible," he rasps. He slides a hand down her stomach and between her thighs, pressing, and that's all it takes. She bursts apart with a loud, helpless cry, shuddering on top of him as bliss takes over her whole body. She's vaguely aware of feeling him groan and writhe with his own climax underneath her.

She collapses onto Castle's wide sweaty chest, gasping. Small aftershocks of the intense orgasm are still rippling through her. After a moment she manages to roll herself off, feeling him slip out of her, the sensation making her gasp again and shudder against the cool sheets.

They lie quietly side-by-side for a few minutes, taking slow, deep breaths. But then Castle rolls toward her, braces himself up on one elbow, looking down at her.

"Beckett," he says softly, and she shivers at the name, at the impassioned tone of his voice.

She forces herself to look at his face. His gaze holds that same look, the one full of that enticing, terrifying emotion she still can't bear to name.

Her mouth is dry again. She licks her lips and tries to figure out what to say.

"No," Castle says before she can, "don't." He lifts his free hand, brushing fingertips across her lips. He seems about to say something else, but instead gives in to the urge to lean down and kiss her again.

She's still anxious, uncertain about what this means for them, but she can't resist. Her arm curves around his neck and she returns the kiss. She can't believe how good his mouth feels on hers, so much better than that time in the alley. She could get lost in this kiss. She could kiss this man forever.

"Don't say it was a mistake," he mumbles into her lips. He kisses her again, deeply and a little desperately. "Don't say it didn't mean anything."

"I won't. I wouldn't," she promises, astonished that he would think, even for a moment - But she hasn't given him much reason to think otherwise, has she?

"Not a mistake," she breathes against his cheek.

He lets out a deep sigh, like a breath he hadn't even realized he was holding, and moves again, kissing his way down her body.

This time she doesn't stop him when his incredible tongue works its way into all her secret places, and his thick fingers delve inside her. She writhes on the bed and gives herself over to it, her second climax rushing up and over her so fast that she runs out of breath and is left panting helplessly, her mind a blank, her whole body tingling from the pleasure.

She dozes then, and wakes a while later to find Castle spooned against her back, his arm snug around her middle, snoring softly into her ear. She can't help a smile at that, and closes her eyes again, enjoying the feeling of peace that his big body provides.

But he snuffles awake after a few more minutes, and nuzzles her neck, sending delicious tingles across her skin. She shifts, just very slightly, and can feel his desire against her rear.

"Mm," he hums against her shoulder, his teeth nipping lightly, making her twitch in his arms. "Is it morning yet?"

"Doesn't look like it," she snorts, glancing at the window. The blinds are mostly drawn, but enough of the sky is visible to see that it's pitch-black.

"Good," he growls, his hand sliding up to cup her breast again, fingers pinching the nipple until it hardens. She moans softly, rubbing her butt against him. She can't believe how easily this man works her up. He just knows.

"Why good?" she manages, twisting her neck around to catch his chin with her lips, sucking wetly until he turns his head and brings his mouth to hers.

"Oh, well," he says after a brief but searing kiss, "because I had hoped to stay here doing this all night long."

Her breath catches at the words. Arousal floods through her; she already feels it dampening her thighs.

"Castle," she moans, reaching behind her, finding him with her hand, bringing his length between her thighs. She slides him through her wetness, biting her lip at the delicious sensation. A groan of desire rumbles his chest, vibrating against her shoulder blades.

A swift thrust of his hips and he's entering her, drawing another high-pitched cry from her throat. His hand slips down across her stomach again and between her folds, touching her lightly, teasing as he rocks into her.

"It sounds so hot when you say my name like that," he murmurs into her ear. She whimpers at the words, the husky tone, the humid sweep of his breath across her face.

"More," is all she can get out, covering his hand with her own, pressing his fingers right where she needs them. "More, Castle."

"So hot," he groans again, "god, Kate, so hot," and his hips speed up in time with his fingers, obeying her request, pressing and rubbing so perfectly that she nearly screams as she goes flying off the edge, bringing him down with her.

Limp, exhausted, she manages somehow to turn herself in his arms, and looks at him through drowsy eyes.

"I just," she sighs, and doesn't even know, but he smiles softly and curls an arm around her.

"It's okay. Sleep."

Her eyes fall shut. She knows that in the morning, reality will come flooding back; there will be difficult conversations to get through, and there's still a gut-wrenching case to solve. But for now, she's here in Castle's arms, and everything feels okay. Royce was right. This was the risk she needed to take.

A/N: I wrote most of this last year; dusted it off and completed it for today's Castle Pornado. I hope you enjoyed it. As always, please feel free to let me know your thoughts.
Big thanks to Meg for beta-reading! *heart eyes emoji*