Firstly, I want to say that yes, I know this story topic has been done a million times since THAT picture so completely captured our fan-girl (or maybe fan-boy) attentions. But writing it was a little bit of fun, and so I figured that maybe reading it could be a little bit of fun too.

Secondly, you'll notice that this fic kind of puts 3x11 and 3x13 into a blender and makes a smoothie out of them. This happened because back when I heard THE news, I somehow got it into my head that the desirable event would be occurring in 3x11. I realised pretty soon that I had gotten mixed up, but by that time I had already started writing this and I figured, 'what the hell, just go a little AU with it'. So hopefully it still works out okay.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has left me such wonderful reviews for my three other stories. I've been absolutely blown away by your amazing responses, particularly for The Existence Of Magic. I had no idea you guys would enjoy it so much. Although, it does make posting new stories a little more daunting! I really hope I can live up to expectations.

So, here goes.

"Well, it's been a lovely stakeout, Detective," Castle began, pulling on his jacket. "But I'd better go, or I'm going to be late."

Beckett shoved her hands deeper into the pockets of her coat, then slowly looked up at him, her expression unreadable.

"Another date with 'Nikki Heat'?" she asked, her voice cool, revealing nothing. Castle frowned, confused.

"That wasn't a date. She wanted insights on Nikki's character so we got coffee and talked. That's all," he said, then, seeing Beckett's eyebrow arch, he added, "Honestly, Kate. There's nothing going on between us."

Beckett gave a soft snort. "I'm not blind, Castle. I've seen the way you look at her. You don't have to lie to me."

"I'm not lying," Castle said hotly, incensed by her assumption.

Beckett shot him a sarcastic look. "Sure. Whatever you say, Castle," she said mockingly, turning back toward the car. Without looking back at him, she called back over her shoulder, "I'll see you tomorrow. Unless you're too busy, of course."

Swiftly following her, Castle grabbed her arm, pulling her around to face him.

"I'm not lying. There's nothing going on between Natalie and I," he bit out, utterly frustrated. He paused, took a breath, and continued, his face only inches from hers. "But I won't deny that I look at her, or that I'm attracted to her."

Ignoring Beckett's look of victory, he ploughed on, unable to stop.

"You know why she's so attractive to me? Because she's so like you. And the more like you she gets, the more attracted I am to her. But I'm not getting involved with her. I don't want some cheap imitation."

He paused, breathing hard. "I want you, Kate."

Without waiting for a reply, he wound his fingers through her hair and closed the gap between them, covering her mouth with his. For a brief moment she was still, frozen with surprise. Then suddenly she came to life beneath his touch, her arms winding tightly around his neck as she kissed him back hard.

Wrapping an arm around her back, he pulled her still closer, his mouth moving hungrily over hers. She moaned, the sound vibrating low in her throat, sending a flood of fire through his veins. Deepening the kiss, he explored her mouth, tasting and taking, and she responded with a passion just as intense as his own.

Eventually the need for air grew urgent, and for a moment they broke apart, gasping. Then Beckett's fingers clenched in his hair, pulling him back down and fiercely reclaiming his mouth. For some time they were locked together, occasionally coming up for air, but always drawn back together immediately as if pulled by an irresistible magnet.

Gradually, the fire that was fuelling them died down just enough to allow them to think coherently again, and, as always, it was Beckett who came to her senses first. Reluctantly pulling her lips away from his, she leaned against him, breathing hard. She could feel his chest rising and falling heavily against her, and smiled, knowing he was just as affected as she was.

"So, weren't you going to be late for somethingā€¦.?" she asked breathlessly, trying to ignore the distracting warmth of his hands, which had somehow found their way beneath her jacket.

Castle groaned. "Oh, I'm so dead."

Beckett smiled, absentmindedly trailing her fingers through the hair on the back of his head. "If you tell me who's going to kill you, at least you'll have the comfort of being the fastest case I've ever solved," she said unhelpfully, and he laughed.

"It's Mother's birthday today. We're supposed to be having a special dinner, and she specifically made me promise not to be late."

"Oh dear," Beckett responded sympathetically. "You are dead."

"Yeah. I really should go," he murmured, but instead of releasing her, his arms seemed to tighten fractionally around her, and he made no move to leave. For several moments he was silent, his cheek resting gently against her hair as he breathed slowly and deeply. Sighing softly, Beckett closed her eyes, allowing herself to simply rest against him and enjoy his warmth.

Suddenly he spoke. "Why don't you come with me?"

"What?" Beckett asked in surprise, her eyes snapping open.

"Well, Mother loves you. She'd be delighted to have you there. Plus, you are a homicide detective; she wouldn't dare kill me with you around."

"I don't know, Castleā€¦"

Castle sighed. "Well, to be honest, Kate, I'm not sure I'm ready to let go of you just yet."

For several moments Beckett was silent, and Castle wondered if he'd asked too much, too soon. Just as he began to feel a flicker of true alarm, she interrupted his anxious thoughts.

"Well, then we'd probably better get going," she said, pulling back to look up at him with a heart-melting smile.

Looking down at her beautiful, smiling face, Castle experienced a moment of complete clarity and conviction. There was no doubt in his mind that this woman was the love of his life.

With a devilish grin, he drew her close against him, lowering his head so his lips were just millimetres from hers.

"We're already going to be late," he murmured mischievously, his hands sliding up beneath her blouse. "A few more minutes won't hurt."

Well, there you have it. I'm not quite so confident about this one as my previous stories, but it was a fairly quick effort, and I think it turned out okay. As always, I'd love to hear what you think, so don't hesitate to review. Personally, I think there are a few bits that need improvement, so if you have a suggestion, please let me know. But anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to give it a read :)