She wakes to sun stained sheets and the trail of fingertips down her arm, a thumb circling at her shoulder.
Kate shifts, her spine popping as she stretches. Her body is loose, liquid and spread out across her bed, and she opens her eyes to the reason why.
Castle is propped up on an elbow, temple against the heel of his palm and bright blue eyes following the path of his fingers. They sparkle in the sunlight when they land on her face, realize she's awake and watching.
"What're you doing?" she mumbles, noticing his body visibly relax.
"Trying to determine how much concealer you're going to need and how long you'll have to wear turtlenecks," he muses, dragging his index finger down the length of a collarbone. She shivers and catches his wrist, dips her chin to try and see what he's talking about.
She can't manage to get a glimpse of her clavicle, but she can easily examine the rest of her upper body, uncovered by the sheet and painted in mismatched shades of marks from his mouth.
Kate groans and drops her head back to the pillow. "You gave me hickeys?"
He chuckles, sounding so delighted by the observation, but not smug. No, too affectionate for that.
"Just a few," he murmurs, slipping his hand free from hers to swipe his thumb high at her neck. "Only a couple of problematic ones."
She huffs and pulls the sheet up from her waist, drawing it up around her chest and trying to suppress a grin as he groans in disapproval.
"It's not like you didn't give me any," he whines, pawing at the sheet. She bats his hand away, lifts on her elbow to mirror him, scanning her eyes over his bare chest with intrigue, and - oh, he's right.
Kate grazes her fingers to his shoulder, brushes over the violet bruise decorating his skin, scales higher to touch the faded marks from her nails only a few inches higher.
"Do you have work today?" he murmurs, interrupting her examination, but she shakes her head.
"No, Saturday's my day off this week."
He gasps. "Mine too."
Kate meets his gaze with a roll of her eyes. "Is that so?"
"Mhmm, so I was thinking..." Castle shifts to lean in closer to her, but pauses, glancing over his shoulder. "Well, first I should get you a cup of coffee-"
"You got up to make coffee?" she murmurs, fingers climbing from the juncture between his shoulder and neck to curl around his neck, favor the fine hairs at the base of his skull again.
"We may be sleeping together now, but I know you still need your morning coffee, Beckett."
He smiles at her, but it's tentative, still a little uncertain, insecure. She tilts her head in question, hoping he'll say whatever it is he's thinking so she doesn't have to ask.
"Speaking of," he begins and Kate bites her lip, curves an eyebrow at him. "Everything we said last night before round two..." he lets his sentence trail, but she finds it easy to pick up where he left off.
"Still stands," she finishes, because it does. She never would have considered entering into a relationship with Richard Castle, especially after the past summer. That was the last time she ever planned to risk exposing her heart to him. Even last night, even as he pinned her to the door and dragged a brilliant orgasm from her with his fingers, she had no intention of taking this further than sex.
They're good at sex, she knew all along that they would be; it should have been enough. But all it took was one time, soft spoken confessions with skipping hearts afterwards, to have her telling him she wanted him too, wanted more, and showing him just how much three more times.
Part of her is still expecting the other shoe to drop, for the regret to flood in, but she's... she feels happy. It won't always be easy, there's no way things could ever be completely uncomplicated between them, but waking up next to him, sharing her bed with him, feels natural. It feels right.
The smile that spreads across his lips this time is one of relief, the tension coiled beneath her hand at his neck unwinding, leaking from his frame. He drifts in to brush that smile to her mouth, tugging a grin to her lips as he kisses her, but he shakes his head when she tries to draw him down, wanting more than a morning kiss.
"Wait, the coffee," he mumbles, cupping her cheek in his palm. "I set the timer for automatic turn off. Don't want it to get cold."
"I don't want coffee right now," she sighs, sliding her fingers through his hair and lacing her arm around his neck. "Want you."
He groans. "That's the sexiest thing you've ever said."
Her grin has their teeth clashing, but he's yanking the sheet tangling between them out of the way, planting a knee into the mattress between her legs-
Her phone begins to buzz. Kate turns away from his mouth at the source of the sound, her brow furrowing.
"How did my phone get in here?" she mumbles. "I dropped my purse in the living room when we-"
"I wasn't sure if you were working, didn't want you to miss a call," he huffs, whining as she unwinds her arm from his neck to stretch for the nightstand.
She brushes a kiss to his jaw while she snags the dancing device from her bag. He may regret it now, but the gesture was sweet, thoughtful.
"Oh, it's Lanie," she breathes, chewing on her bottom lip at the photo of her friend flashing across the screen. "I totally forgot about her last night."
Castle laughs into her cheek. "I don't think she noticed. Too busy making up with Esposito."
"Do you think she knows?"
"Do we want her to know?"
Kate meets his eyes, but he looks nothing more than amused by the dilemma. And a little impatient.
"She can know, but I'll call her later," she decides, dropping the phone back to the nightstand. It's already gone to voicemail anyway.
"Good plan," Castle murmurs, but just as he leans in for her mouth again-
Kate growls and snatches for the phone that's resumed its ringing, swiping her thumb across the screen and bringing it to her ear. "Morning, Lanie. Mind if I call you back?"
"Well, good morning to you too," Lanie remarks sardonically as Castle diverts from her mouth, settles for her throat instead. Kate squirms, but - oh, that feels nice. "What's got you in such a rush?"
Castle sucking on my neck.
"I'm just - busy," she manages to say evenly, digging her nails into Castle's nape. He nudges his nose to her jaw as his chest rumbles, the noise vibrating up his throat and past his lips.
There's a pause.
"Girl, are you the kind of busy I think you are?" Lanie gasps. "Did you take someone home with you last night?" she demands with her voice rising.
Castle huffs, clearly able to hear Lanie's side of the conversation, and steals the phone from Kate's hand.
"Lanie, she'll call you back."
She's barely able to catch Lanie's exclamation of Castle's name before he's ending the call, meeting her gaze with an arch of his brow.
"Was that okay?"
"Little late to ask now," Kate points out, but there's laughter in her chest. "But for Lanie, yeah, that was okay. She'll definitely stop calling for a little while."
"Mission accomplished," he quips, brushing a persistent strand of hair from her cheek. She mimics him, reaching up to comb away the flop of his hair attempting to cling to his forehead.
"We should take this to the shower," she murmurs, scratching lightly at his scalp, grinning as his eyes go wide.
Castle is the one to move first, sweeping in to seal a quick kiss to her lips before slipping towards the edge of the bed. But her breath catches when he turns his back to her.
"Shit, I did that?" she whispers, causing him to pause.
He glances to her over his shoulder, poised on the edge of the mattress with confusion creasing his brow. "What?"
Kate pushes away the rest of the sheets to crawl towards him, pressing her fingertips to the bright red trails down his back.
"You weren't aware?" he chuckles, shifting enough to see her, assure her. "Kate, they don't hurt. You barely broke the skin."
She examines the scratches spanning from his neck to his lower back, nothing severe, just... surprising. She's had rough sex, left her mark on a man, but she's never been quite so overzealous.
"It's actually even hotter, though, if I'm the only one you've done this to," he murmurs, his voice dropping into his throat. She lifts her eyes, catches the lust unabashed and burning through his gaze. "I drive you that crazy, Beckett?"
She splays her palm over one of his shoulder blades, striped in scratches and decorated in the crescent shaped indentions she speared into his skin with every thrust. He drove her higher than anyone else ever has, crazier, and she remembers now, gripping him so tightly, scoring him with the unforgiving sink of her nails, just to hold on.
"Yeah," she muses, drifting in to touch her lips to his shoulder. His flesh ripples beneath her mouth, his chest stuttering, and she grins. "But I thought I had a pretty good handle on it after the last two years."
His eyebrows hitch to his hairline. "Exactly how long have I been driving you crazy?"
Kate moves from his back to slip from the bed, snagging his hand along the way and drawing him up after her. The sunlight is bleeding in through the slits of blinds across her room, dousing his naked body in gold. The natural light illuminates the pleasant surprise and heightening desire in his eyes, highlights the stains of color and trails of scratches across his skin. He's a beautiful man, sweet and sexy and hers. And it no longer scares her so much to admit it anymore, to so openly want him back.
She smiles through her own flush of arousal, relishes the eager bloom of heat, and begins walking them both backwards towards her bathroom.