OK final chapter. Shout-out to LIGHTNSHADOWS - I hope this doesn't disappoint.

Chapter Four of Four

When Esposito awoke the next morning, Ryan wasn't in his bed anymore. He rubbed a hand over tired eyes and sat up. He could hear the sounds of someone moving around in the kitchen and a heavenly smell was wafting from under the door.

Shouldn't he be in bed with a killer hangover? Esposito frowned and padded out to his kitchen to be greeted with one of the most adorable scenes he'd ever witnessed.

"Morning," Esposito greeted, startling Ryan. The man had been concentrating on pouring batter into a frying pan with his tongue poking out the side of his mouth. He wore only boxer shorts and Esposito's "Kiss The Cook" apron. A streak of flour was smudged across his cheek.

I swear he looks this cute just to irritate me.

"Good morning!" Ryan greeted back way too enthusiastically for someone who had drunk the amount he did the night before.

"You're making pancakes?"

"Yep," Ryan winked at him and Esposito raised an eyebrow.

"Why? And how do you not have a hangover?" Esposito's own head had a distant and expected throb to it. He moved to join Ryan behind the kitchen counter to make himself a coffee.

"I think you know what pancakes mean," Ryan said, wielding the spatula. "And it's the Irish blood – good for hangovers."

Esposito ignored the last part of Ryan's explanation as he was still stuck on the first. Pancakes are the edible way of saying "thanks so much for last night"...Does he think...?

His confusion was answered when Ryan put down the spatula and encircled his waist from behind. Esposito's heart rate went through the roof at the touch and he had to force himself not to relax into his partner's chest and run his hand over the arms that had wound around his stomach.

The embrace was brief as Ryan had to get back to flipping the pancakes. Esposito tried to rein his thoughts in to form a suitable question.

"Kev, do you remember what happened last night?" He asked, turning from the coffee-maker and leaning his back against the counter.

"Of course I do," Ryan gave him a smile, but Esposito wasn't buying it.

"Maybe you could fill me in then because my memory's a little fuzzy," he lied.

"We, uh, we were at Castle's party and we were having fun and drinking those weird grape things and then we got a taxi and then, um..." Ryan faltered a little before a confident smile took over his face as he flipped the pancakes onto two plates. "And then we came back here and went to bed... together. How could I not remember my first night with you, Javi? It was wonderful."

Esposito stared at him in disbelief. Ryan thought they'd slept together. He'd woken up in his bed and just assumed that it was due to more-than-platonic actions. And then he'd felt guilty that he couldn't remember any of it. Unbelievable.

Ryan set the two plates of pancakes on the other side of the breakfast bar and took Esposito's hand. He pressed his lips to the back of his knuckles before announcing "breakfast is served."

"Ryan, I..."

What was he supposed to say? The way he saw it, he had three options: 1) Tell him the truth, that nothing happened between them, 2) Fall into the lie and let Ryan keep thinking what he wanted or 3) Torture him.

As was long-standing tradition, and just the way they did things, he picked option 3.

"I can't believe you stood on the pool table and confessed your undying love for me, bro."

Alarm flashed across Ryan's face quickly before he covered.

"Ah yeah, well, you know, alcohol confidence," he tried to smile.

"And the way you gave me that lap-dance in front of everyone; that was pretty hot man," Esposito shovelled a mouthful of pancakes into his mouth to cover the grin that was threatening to show at the look on Ryan's face. It was a cross between horror and amusement. He laughed awkwardly.

"I may have taken things a bit far..."

"Oh no man, I thought it was sexy when you stripped naked and handcuffed yourself to my bed covered in whipped cream." Esposito's poker-face was good, but it wasn't that good. Recognition replaced the look of horror on Ryan's face.

"Very funny," he dead-panned. "OK, I admit it. I don't remember a lot of what happened last night. In fact, I don't remember anything past getting in the taxi, and then waking up with your arms around me. I'm really sorry Javi, I hate that I can't remember our first night together. I just... I mean... I'll make it up to you OK? There'll be plenty of other nights that I'll etch into my memory with permanent marker," with his apology, Ryan had stood from his stool and placed a hand on Esposito's thigh. Esposito's breath hitched when Ryan lent in for a kiss, but he quickly pulled away before their lips could touch.

"Kevin, nothing happened between us last night," he said softly, looking his partner right in the eye. He couldn't let Ryan kiss him just because he thought he had to. He cared about his partner more than anyone knew and he wasn't about to let a misunderstanding jeopardize what they had, or would have. "You passed out on my bed and I left you there. We didn't..."

The look of dread was back on Ryan's face.

"Oh God," he groaned.

A silence followed that seemed to last forever. Eventually Ryan spoke up.

"I didn't mean to... I just... when I woke up and you were holding me so... oh my God, bro I'm sorry," Ryan hid his face behind his hand.

"It's OK man, I shouldn't have messed with your head like that. I just... wait a minute." Something in Esposito's head suddenly clicked. "You thought we'd slept together, and your response was to act as though it was perfectly OK? You... you'd be OK with... with us?" The realisation hit him like a tonne of bricks. Ryan hadn't run screaming from the room. He hadn't pretended nothing happened. He hadn't gotten embarrassed or angry or anything. He'd made him freaking pancakes and acted like he was happy with the turn of events!

Ryan reluctantly removed his hand from his face to look at Esposito.

"I... you weren't supposed to know. You weren't supposed to find out like this. I was handling it fine and I wasn't going to say or do anything to wreck our friendship, man. I'm sorry. I'm an idiot. I can't believe I was delusional enough to think you wanted the same thing when I woke up this morning. Oh my God," Ryan groaned the last part from behind his hand again.

Esposito couldn't believe it. He sat there, motionless with incredulity, until the penny dropped and spurred him into action. He stood swiftly from his bar stool and grabbed Ryan's wrist to pull his hand away from his face. When Ryan's eyes met his, Esposito could see the fear and worry etched onto his features.

Maybe the apron had planted the idea in his subconscious, but Esposito did the only thing he could think of. He kissed him.

With one hand still gripping his wrist, the other brought Ryan's chin up to meet his lips demands. It was hard and rough and not at all what first kisses in fairytales were made of. But it was them. Esposito's heart was hammering loudly in his chest and when Ryan started kissing him back eagerly, with just as much force, he thought his rib cage may break with the beating.

Ryan was on his feet, one hand moving to the back of Esposito's neck to bring them closer, the other finding his hip and tugging it forward impatiently. Bliss. The way everything clicked into place in his head, in his heart, the only clear thought in Esposito's mind was "bliss".

He slowed the kiss down, savouring the feel, the taste of Ryan. Placing short, soft, butterfly kisses on the other man's lips, he found himself unable to stop completely. He smiled, and felt Ryan do the same.

He eventually did pry his lips away from Ryan long enough to say something.

"You might be delusional about of lot of things bro, but not about this."

Ryan leaned his forehead against Esposito's and closed his eyes.

"How are we gonna make this work?" he asked softly.

"Hey, this is us. We've always worked well together," Esposito replied, grinning as Ryan opened his eyes to look at him.

Ryan smiled and kissed him again. It was way too easy to get caught up in the feel of his lips and the adrenalin that coursed through his veins at every touch from his partner, that soon Esposito found himself pushed up against the counter, his apron shed from Ryan's body, eager fingers now tugging at his shirt.

Esposito reluctantly pulled away. "Wait," he said.

Ryan's face instantly changed from sated happiness to worry and confusion.

"No, no, I just... I need to send a text... before we get too carried away," he told him, stealing another quick kiss. The man was so addictive.

"I'll meet you in the bedroom," Ryan tossed over his shoulder as he sauntered away. Esposito watched him go, feeling quite impressed (and incredibly turned on) at the other man's sudden confidence. The text he sent to Beckett was very rushed.

To: Beckett

SMS: Game Over. Your turn.

He hit send and flung the phone onto the couch before practically running into his bedroom.

He hoped she'd listen. Everyone deserved to feel bliss.

The End

Thank you for reading. Whether you loved it, hated it, or were indifferent to it, please leave a review! :)