The Nascent Exposure
The loft was quiet. Too quiet.
Richard Castle did not like silence. It was one of the reasons he talked so much. He figured that it came from growing up backstage. Something was always going on. Always busy. But as he grew up, he discovered that there were times when things just became quiet. Like now.
The case with Scott Dunn was over. Castle was proud of his heroic efforts in saving Detective Kate Beckett, though, yes, he had been aiming for Dunn's head when he'd pulled the trigger. He was actually a good shot, but seeing Beckett lying on the floor with the serial killer poised over her, ready to strike, was not something he could have ever prepared for. His emotions had overwhelmed him, almost like when he saw her apartment burst into flames. Just like then, when he went plowing into the fiery rubble of her apartment, heedless of his own safety, Castle acted fast, almost on instinct, protective.
But now the case was over. Agent Jordan Shaw and her FBI team were gone. And everything had returned to normal. Well… as normal as things could get with Kate Beckett staying over at his loft.
With Scott Dunn now in custody, Beckett had been hesitant about returning to his loft, protesting that she could just as easily go to a hotel. But Castle had insisted, not taking no for an answer. Besides, it was late, and he'd argued there was no guarantee she could find an available room—in a decent hotel—at that late hour. So, however reluctant, Detective Kate Beckett had agreed to spend at least one more night at the loft.
Presently, Castle was lingering in the kitchen, having just finished washing the dishes after the light evening meal he'd shared with the detective once they'd returned from the precinct. Beckett had since retired to the upstairs guestroom. His mother was out, presumably for the entire night. He expected her to return at some ungodly hour in the morning, still wearing the same dramatically garish dress she'd departed in. And Alexis was spending the night at Paige's, which left him all alone in the loft with Beckett.
Not an entirely unappealing idea.
Castle selfishly relished any alone time he got to spend with the gorgeous detective. He had to admit there was more to their unorthodox partnership than research for a book. He had more than enough by now. And, to be honest, which was difficult, it really wasn't about the books anymore. He liked working with Detective Beckett and her team, theorizing and solving cases with her. It was far more fulfilling than he had initially thought it would be.
But there was more.
He'd felt something, deep in his chest, when he'd been standing outside her apartment, watching as it exploded into fire and smoke. Something he wasn't quite ready to give voice. His eyes flirted up towards the stairs as he mulled it over in his head.
"I should probably check on her before heading to bed, make sure she has everything she needs," Castle told himself, talking out loud as if that would reinforce the excuse.
With a quick clip, Castle darted around the island countertop and proceeded to the staircase, nearly hopping up the stairs two at a time, maybe a little too eager. However, he had to admit, there did seem to be more spring to his steps since meeting the alluring detective. She challenged him, defied his expectations, and furthermore, had turned him down. And that was something that a man like Richard Castle was not used to. Yes, he knew rejection, having experienced more than his share when he first submitted his work for publishing, but once he hit it big, he had never lacked for companionship. Yet, Kate Beckett was a different story.
Reaching the top of the stairs, Castle slowed, hesitating a bit, doubts beginning to fester in his overactive brain. Did he really have feelings for the detective? He knew he lusted after her—he made no secret about that—but did he really, truly care for her, and not just as a friend. He knew this wasn't about the challenge of conquering the unconquerable. No. It wasn't that at all. Kate Beckett was not a woman to be conquered. It was beyond that, more… real? Or were his current feelings just a result of the adrenalin from the insane case they'd just closed?
No. He shook his head, deciding it wasn't. But was he in love with Beckett? He wasn't sure. Maybe. Perhaps.
Castle recognized what he was feeling—what he had felt—when her apartment exploded and when Dunn had threatened to kill her. Thinking he might lose her had terrified him, far more than he'd expected. And perhaps that's what drove him up the stairs now.
He was definitely falling for her. Hard. Of that he was certain. Castle hadn't felt this way in a while. He'd loved Meredith and Gina, but not like this. This was different. It wasn't quite up there yet, but he could sense the potential, and that both intrigued and frightened him.
It had been a long time since Richard Castle had done real. As an emotion, love was a scary beast. It brought with it the possibility of heartache and pain. But, even so, he was willing to embrace the feeling and give it a shot. Because the romantic in him acknowledged that the rewards could be amazing, especially with a woman like Kate Beckett.
And perhaps now, with her staying in the loft, and his mother and daughter out for the night, was the only time he would have an opportunity to explore the possibilities of more with the detective.
Feeling more sure of himself, his decision to give voice to his growing feelings now bolstered his previous excuse to check in on his guest. A confident smirk overtook his face as he turned on the upstairs landing to head in the direction of the guest room.
As he approached, Castle noticed that the door was ajar, light from inside spilling out into the hallway, giving him hope that Beckett was still awake and hadn't yet retired to bed. His ears perked up as he drew nearer. His brows knitted together as he heard faint noises coming from within. Pursing his lips, Castle slowed his pace and inched forward, stretching his neck to peek through the gap in the semi-opened door. His eyes went wide and an odd strangled noise almost escaped his mouth at the sight that greeted him.
Inside the guest room, Kate Beckett was sprawled on the bed, naked from the waist down. From his present angle, Castle had a perfect view as she moved her hand between her legs, desperate and needy, fingers sliding and rubbing, working herself up, up, and up. And he could see and hear everything. Castle's face grew hot as he watched unobserved, unashamedly aroused at the sight. He was painfully erect in seconds. She was gorgeous, wet and slick, and the little erotic noises emanating from her mouth would surely haunt his dreams for years to come.
Oblivious to her audience, Beckett continued pleasuring herself, growing more aggressive. One of her hands moved to her breast, palming the soft flesh through her blouse, squeezing, thumb flicking out to tease. Her hips arched up as she plunged two fingers inside her weeping core.
Castle nearly choked at the erotic sight. He watched, stunned, as she groaned, a little louder, twisting her fingers and jerking her hand around so she could flick her thumb across her clit. Her lips were trembling as she mumbled incoherently. He couldn't make out what she was saying, but whatever it was had her quickening the pace of her fingers. Castle's eyes hungrily ate it all up, watching as her body reacted to her knowing touch, the way she undulated and vibrated with it as she approached the climax. It was breathtakingly beautiful. She radiated with it.
Her mouth dropped in a gasp as she orgasmed and she moaned, "Castle. Oh, yes… Castle."
Shit. Had she seen him?
He hastily ducked down, yet was still unable to shy completely away. He couldn't take his eyes off her. Seeing her like this, so open and free—and exposed—was too riveting. And not to mention, insanely hot. After a moment of panic, he realized that he hadn't been spotted peeping. No. His eyebrows rose in astonishment and surprise, dumbstruck by the realization. No. She hadn't seen him. That wasn't what had just happened. He had just witnessed Kate Beckett masturbating while thinking of him.
Castle almost gasped in astonishment at the revelation.
Inside the room, Kate Beckett, still unaware of watching eyes, laid on the bed, chest heaving as she came down from her release. She slowly rubbed her dripping core, hips rotating languidly in apparent preparation for another round.
Castle licked his lips, eyes dropping down to the junction between her parted legs. She was soaked, and if he was interpreting what he'd heard currently, from thinking of him while she touched herself. He wanted to taste her, to pleasure her. He heaved in a deep breath, lust and desire taking over. Any restraint he'd had left once he heard his name tumble from her lips. Before he could second guess himself, Castle shoved the door opened and purposely marched up to the edge of the bed.
Beckett caught the movement of his entry and her eyes jerked up, spotting him. Her face flushed with an odd combination of anger, mortification, and arousal.
"Castle!?" she shouted, near livid, though her voice was still thick with sex and wanton need. "What the hell do you—?"
But he wasn't listening. Lust had seized control. Castle dropped down, knees hitting the carpeted floor as he hastily pushed her hand away and dove in, mouth open and eager. A strangled moan tumbled out of Beckett's mouth as he latched onto her, his talented tongue doing wicked things across her sensitive bundle of nerves.
"Oh God, Castle," she hissed, unconsciously rotating her hips up to give him better access. "Yes. Yes." Her elbows gave out and she slumped back into the mattress.
He grinned, nose pressed into her pubic bone, as he drank her in. His nostrils flared at the scent of her. His erection, trapped in the tight constraints of his slacks, throbbed with need. He ignored it, in favor of focusing on Kate Beckett, and pleasing her. Her protestations died on her lips as his tongue darted out, teasing and determined. Her legs clenched around him, hips rolling in approval at his ministrations.
"God… Castle," she gasped, back arching as her fingers gripped his hair, holding him there, encouraging. "Yes. Oh… yes."
He took that as an invitation, and attacked her with gusto, sucking and nibbling, flicking his tongue out and in. Beckett groaned and squirmed under his intimate touch. He had to grip her hips to hold them steady as he worked her up to another climax. She wrapped her powerful legs around his head as she moaned out his name yet again, but this time as a result of his attentions, instead of her own.
When her body went lax, Castle gently pried her legs from around his head, taking the opportunity to truly admire the beauty before him and the smoothness of her gloriously long legs. He pressed soft kisses along the inside of her thighs, causing her breath to hitch and hips to squirm. Slowly, Castle pushed himself up to his feet, gazing down at the gorgeous image of Beckett sprawled out in front of him, core glistening from her release.
He pursed his lips and swallowed thickly, watching and waiting, still painfully erect. To tell the truth, he was more than a little shocked at his actions. Castle knew that he had crossed a line. Everything would change, and it could never go back. And he was a little afraid of what Beckett might do once she came to her senses.
"Oh God," he mumbled, feeling ashamed, scrubbing a hand down his face. He wasn't that guy. Never that guy. But he'd just… he hadn't even asked permission. "Oh God, Beckett… Kate. I'm sorry… so, so sorry." He turned to leave, guilt and shame at his actions causing his chest to clench almost painfully.
"No… stay," Beckett's hoarse voice called after him. "Don't go."
Reluctantly, Castle turned back around to face her. The detective had recovered from her orgasm and their eyes finally met. He expected anger and accusations, but instead all he saw was need and want. A form of unspoken communication passed between them in that instant. Beckett slowly drew her bottom lip under her teeth as she gave a slight nod. Her hands rose and her fingers beckoned, inviting him to join her on the bed.
Castle kicked off his shoes, and hurriedly tugged his slacks and boxers down. He moved quickly, crawling up on the bed, settling himself between her open and inviting legs. He gazed down, meeting her eyes, a question in his. She stared back at him with large expressive eyes, diluted with arousal, but still clear and knowledgeable.
"You're sure?" he asked, still unsure.
Tentatively, afraid he'd scare her off before they could even get started, despite what had just happened, Castle reached up and gently caressed the side of her face. Beckett closed her eyes and eased into his touch.
"Kiss me, Castle," she instructed in a breathy voice.
He licked his lips, still tasting her on his tongue, before closing the distance and slanting his mouth over hers. Beckett responded, enthusiastically, to the kiss, clutching his biceps as she squirmed with want beneath him.
Pulling back, Castle met her eyes once more. She nodded, her fingertips dancing down his jaw, pulling him back down for another kiss. Her other hand slinked down between them, locating his erection with ease. He groaned into her mouth as she curled her slender fingers around him, guiding him to her entrance.
It was all so surreal. Castle was almost afraid he'd suddenly wake up in bed, alone, with a throbbing erection to deal with. He gave his concerns voice.
"Is this a dream?" he asked, breath heavy.
"Don't talk," came her husked reply.
He looked down at her and nodded, and without further preamble he was buried inside her. She groaned, arching up into him at the sudden deep intrusion. He stroked his hips back and forth, slowly at first, giving her time to adjust. Her breath came in stuttering pants; her body was warm and wet under him. He palmed her breast through her blouse, while he sucked on her neck, knowing he'd leave a mark. Her eyes closed as her hips started to respond to his, rocking with the steady motion he'd set.
"Castle," she gasped out his name like a prayer, soft and pleading. "Oh… Oh, Castle. Yes." Her hands ran down his back and grabbed his ass, fingernails digging into the flesh. She squeezed, hard, egging him on.
He gripped her hipbone and increased the pace, pounding down harder with each downward stroke. Beckett groaned, hooking her legs around him, changing the angle and bringing them closer together. Her arms wrapped around his neck, dragging him down for another kiss, hot and wet. Castle gritted his teeth, jerking his hips harder as whimpering moans of pleasure cascaded from her parted lips.
Beckett held him there with one hand, eyes staring up to meet his while she shared hot breaths with him as her other hand worked its way back down to his ass, slapping his cheek in appreciation and approval of his vigorous pace, before palming the soft muscle and squeezing. Oh, she really liked his ass. Castle smirked, hips jerking a little off rhythm as he stored that information for later use.
She latched onto his neck, leaving a mark of her own, causing Castle to grunt and groan, perfectly fine with her claiming him. He responded by slamming down even harder into her, making her gasp and surge up to meet him. He slipped a hand down between them and flicked his thumb over her bundle of nerves.
"Yes, Castle, yes, like that, don't stop," Beckett breathed out, squirming under him, hips wiggling with pleasure.
She bit her lower lip and rolled her hips in time with his, matching him stroke for stroke. They were in perfect sync. Somehow he'd always known it would be like this. Castle arched his body over her, craning his neck to watch as her head fell backwards into the mattress as the mounting pleasure began to seize control over her.
Beckett quivered and then clenched around him as she came, crying his name in a rough and hoarse voice. Castle faltered in his strokes, jerking and tensing as he spilled inside her.
"Kate," he grunted, nearly collapsing on top of her.
Not wanting to crush her, Castle rolled off, releasing a breath as he flopped down onto his back next to her on the bed. His heart pounded under his chest, stunned at what had just occurred. The room was thick with it, the smell of them and sex, leaving no doubt as to what had just happened.
"Did… did that just happen?" he asked, anyways, breathless.
Beckett was silent beside him. Concerned, Castle shifted onto his side to look at her. She wore an unreadable expression as she laid there, legs still spread wide, one hand gently rubbing her center. It took him a moment to realize what he'd just done.
"Shit, Beckett… I'm sorry," he scrubbed a hand down his face, ashamed. "I wasn't thinking. I should have used protection."
"It's okay," was all she said, toneless.
"No, it's not," he asserted, angry with himself. "I'm a selfish jerk. I got so wrapped up in the moment that I couldn't think of anything else other than—"
"Fucking me?" Beckett cut in, arching her neck to finally look at him. Her face was still unnervingly unreadable. He couldn't tell what she was thinking.
Stunned by her word choice, Castle shook his head.
Beckett finally showed some emotion, her brows lowering in a frown. "Guess you got what you wanted, huh?" she said, sounding defeated. "Another notch for your bedpost. Kate Beckett—conquered."
Castle growled. "No," he insisted. "It wasn't like that. If all I wanted to do was fuck you, then it wouldn't have been so…"
"Vanilla?" she finished with a plaintive laugh. "Yeah, that surprised me. One position. Wow. Not what I expected from the famous Rick Castle. Jokes on me, I guess."
He opened his mouth, but found himself at a loss for words. Kate Beckett was the only woman that could befuddle him so easily. It was so unfair. But then he caught something out of the corner of his eye. Beckett was working hard at suppressing a smile.
"You're making fun of me," he wagged a disapproving finger at her.
Beckett offered a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders as she shifted to lie on her side as well, meeting him with a broad smile, all teeth and gum, and a glorious peal of laughter. "Yeah, well, I wasn't the one spying," she declared with a smirk, playfully striking his shoulder with her hand. "Pervert."
"It was an accident," he defended. "Really." He held up a hand in a supplicating manner, hoping she'd believe him. "I was just coming up to check in on you, see if you needed anything before turning in myself, but then I saw…" his voice trailed off. She already knew the rest.
"Yeah," she grumbled. "We both know what you saw," and then added, in a pointed tone, "and did."
Fuck! He hadn't even thought of it like that. His heart clenched in his chest at the implications. Castle literally shook with revulsion. He was not that man. Never that man.
"Shit… Beckett… Kate," he gasped out, guilt and shame tumbling from his lips. "I'm sorry. So sorry. I wasn't thinking. I… I'm not usually like that," he asserted, trying to convince himself as much as her. "I don't just…"
"Eat a girl out without permission?"
Shocked by the vulgar way she framed it, Castle gasped. But then his eyes narrowed, growing suspicious when he caught the quirk of her eyebrow. It was a familiar gesture he'd often seen during their subtext filled bantering. Was she teasing him? Again!?
"Oh, you're so easy," Beckett laughed, slugging his shoulder.
An audible oof escaped his mouth and he reached up to rub the abused spot. After he'd finished nursing his bruised ego, Castle noticed that Beckett had grown uncharacteristically shy, ducking her head down as she averted her gaze.
"I could have stopped you," she asserted. "But I didn't." Her chest rose and fell as she seemed to gather some courage. By the way her brow furrowed, he knew she was having some sort of internal debate. "The truth," she spoke up, meeting his eyes, "was that I wanted it." And then she clarified, "wanted you."
Castle was flabbergasted. He stared at her in stunned disbelief, unable to fathom what he was hearing. Did Kate Beckett just admit to wanting him? Yes. Yes, she did. He glanced at her, astonished to discover her watching him with a worried and almost timid expression. She was afraid, wasn't she? But of what?
He decided to go with what he had originally intended to tell her when he first came upstairs. "I care about you, Kate," he said, being as serious as possible. This was important—she was important—and he didn't want to screw it up. "You're not a notch on my bedpost. Not someone to conquer. More than just some fling. When your apartment went boom, I was terrified I'd lost you. It made me realize some things."
"It's not about the books anymore," he answered in the only way he could think to convince her of his intensions, honest and sincere. "I don't know what it all means, but I'd like to find out. That is, if you're willing."
Beckett pursed her lips, nose wrinkling adorably as she mulled over his words. "I care about you, too, Castle," she admitted, looking apprehensive. She grew silent, worrying her lower lip. He knew it was difficult for her to discuss her feelings, so for once he didn't push.
Slowly, so not to spook her, Castle reached up to cup her jaw, stilling her movements. He tenderly rubbed the pad of his thumb over the abused flesh of her lower lip. She looked at him with large eyes, the fear evident, yet beneath that was a glimmer of hope.
"It's okay," he assured, offering her a small smile. "I understand."
Beckett's eyes flicked down to his lips before darting back up to meet his gaze. "I know I'm not easy to get to know, but I do care about you, Castle," she repeated her earlier refrain. "More than I let on. Obviously," she let out a self-deprecating laugh. "I mean, come on… it's your face in my mind, your name on my lips when I…" her words trailed off, losing steam.
"Masturbate," Castle finished for her with a smug smirk. "Come on, you can say it. You think of me when you masturbate."
"Jackass," she shot back, rolling her eyes, but smiling all the same. She sobered, though, swallowing past her uncertainties. "But what you said, about this not being some fling. I agree. I like you, Castle… a lot. You make me happy. Make life… fun. And yes, I'd also like to see where this goes."
He smiled happily, and tentatively moved forward to kiss her. Beckett met him halfway, closing her eyes as they shared a rather chaste moment considering what they had already done together. He pulled back, but remained close, bumping noses as they breathed in the same air.
"Despite our present… er… circumstances, I won't push," Castle assured her, gently running a hand up and down her side in what he hoped was a soothing gesture. "I'm willing to wait."
"Thanks, Castle," she nodded, flashing him a grateful smile. "But, I think that boat has sailed. Can't forget it."
"Despite it being a little vanilla?" he questioned, quirking up an eyebrow, purposely using the same word she had use earlier.
Beckett smirked in return. "Oh, it was still very memorable," she said, then lowered her voice to a sultry husk, "for a first time. I hear the second time is always better."
"Oh," Castle grinned. "Is that a challenge, Detective?"
She shook her head, matching his grin with one of her own. "An invitation."
"Then I accept," he rolled her over and slanted his mouth over hers.
Round two was definitely better. And nowhere near vanilla.