Kate's father didn't ask her for many favors - he knew quite well how hectic her life was - but she'd somehow managed to clear the time with Gates, a surprise even to her given the short notice, and had phoned Jim back to let him know she'd happily be there for him. She hadn't been back to the cabin since the shooting, but she always treasured any time she was able to spend up there, and given all that'd happened in her life since the summer, a few days of quiet sounded positively heavenly.
"Gates gave you the time off? Seriously? Wow," Rick's voice trailed off in like disbelief, the captain hardly known for her flexibility.
"Yeah, she was surpr-"
"Can I come?" he jumped in, offering his very best impression of an overly eager five-year-old. "Or maybe not," he mouthed as he quickly recoiled. He'd seen that look before.
"First of all, Castle, nice manners," Kate scolded, "and second of all, you promised Alexis you'd be at that event at Columbia on Monday night. You can't just back out. You hardly get to spend any time with her these days as it is."
"Alexis is my daughter, my pal. She'll totally understand," Rick insisted, fooling neither of them for a second.
"Look, Castle, how about we agree not to do anything that bumps me up the list of your daughter's least favorite people, okay?" Kate replied with earnest concern. Things hadn't exactly felt warm between the two of late, at least in Kate's perception.
"Kate," Rick began in soft and sincere tone, "Alexis doesn't dislike you. She just doesn't really know you that well yet, not away from the precinct. But she does want me to be happy, and she does know how happy you make me." His hands slowly circled her waist and pulled her back in against him. "And you do make me very, very happy, Detective." He could almost feel the smile on her face as he pressed a gentle kiss against the flat of her neck. "So, then, can I come?" he asked for the second time, hoping his charms had somehow worked their magic.
"Castle!" Kate snapped as she pulled free of his hold. "Now it's definitely a no."
He pouted admirably for the rest of the night.
The blare of the alarm roused them the following morning, both deliciously groggy from a night of little actual sleep, despite Rick's prolonged tantrum. Kate hoped to get an early start on the road, and he had a meeting scheduled with Black Pawn about continuing the Nikki Heat series that he would've forgotten all about if not for Gina's late-night text.
Kate extricated herself from the bed with a groan and shuffled into the bathroom for a hot shower, left Rick to pull himself together enough to brew the coffee, which, as he finally prepared it, he hoped to be able to deliver to her before she managed to dress for the day. He always treasured those moments.
Kate turned to find Rick standing in the bathroom doorway a little while later, steaming mugs in hand, mouth agape, and he nearly dropped both when her robe tumbled open to reveal her body dressed only in a matching set of black lace lingerie. The entirely unintentional and unintelligible sound that followed, though brief, spoke volumes. "You're doing this on purpose, right?" he managed after a moment of shameless ogling. "You're punishing me for sulking last night by burning this torturous image of you into my brain before you leave me for four days."
"I'm not sure I know what you mean, Castle," Kate purred in playful avoidance, with a smirk in her words that he couldn't see, but that he could definitely hear. "I'm just here getting ready for my day. Maybe you should think about doing the same. The hot water will feel amazing on your skin." She moved towards him, plucked one of the mugs from his hand and leaned in close, the swish of her robe's fabric setting his arm atingle with goose bumps. "Like it did on mine," she whispered, spinning back towards the mirror.
Rick stepped up behind her as she took her comb in hand, having pulled everything from his body he was wearing except his boxers. He drew her wet hair away from her skin and kissed the curve at the junction of her neck and her shoulder, allowing the tip of his tongue the slightest taste of her. "You sure one shower's enough after last night, Detective?" he teased. "What do you say? Care to join me? Water conservation, we can all do our part." He pressed into her, one hand finding rest along the soft of her hip, one drifting gently towards the flat of her belly.
Kate cleared her throat in an attempt to regain the composure it took her no more than a second to lose. "Your newfound concern for the environment is touching," she replied, flirtatiously punctuating the final word for effect. Their eyes met in the mirror, both filled with something neither had the time for. "I'll tell you what," she began, twisting to face his nearly bare form, "you take your shower, you let me finish getting ready, and then I'll give you your bon voyage present."
"Really?" Rick squealed in a pitch thoroughly contrary to the body from which it originated. "Uh, and what I meant by that, Detective," he backtracked in a voice now several octaves deeper than normal, "is that a present sounds just lovely. But, you're the one leaving town. Why are you giving me something?"
Her lips curled up at the corners, but she said nothing, and he had the water running in the shower in no time.
Kate finished readying and left him to do the same, returning to the bedroom shortly thereafter to find him freshly showered, shaved, and dressed. He was a terribly handsome man, she thought as she took him in, his spicy scent filling the room. She headed unhurriedly for him, her hands clasped behind her back, and she brushed the smooth of her cheek along his until her lips found way to the curve of his jaw. He tasted divine, too, tauntingly so, and if the favor she'd agreed to wasn't for her father, right now they'd surely be using up more water than could be found at Niagara Falls. Her arms circled his body and she felt him relax into her.
"I don't care how adolescent this makes me sound," Rick all but sighed. "Four days without this seems impossible."
Kate inched up onto her toes so she could reach his ear. "Check your jacket pocket," she whispered, before running the tip of her tongue across his earlobe.
Rick's hand hastily darted for his side, his fingers pulling from his pocket something black and lacy. "Are these…are you…" His brain was instantly set afire and all he could manage was feeble words.
"Well, you seemed to take a liking to them when you saw me in them earlier, Castle. I had you pegged for more of a satin guy, but I figured y-" The next second his mouth was on hers, the remainder of her thought lost to irrepressible need. After a long moment she pulled back to regroup, already feeling the point of no return looming formidably. "I take it that meant you like your present?"
"You're a cruel and extraordinary woman, Detective Beckett," he beamed. "And while you're gone, please make sure you get a lot of rest. A lot of rest. A LOT. Capital 'A'-lot because you're going to need it when you get back here to me."
"I will if you will, Castle," Kate promised. "And make sure you save us some hot water."