Epilogue: Part 2

His lips on hers were like coming home from a long vacation. It was the way her own sheets and bed felt beneath her after even the most luxurious hotel. It was a sense of familiarity and comfort that she hadn't realized would affect her the way it was. His predatory aggression as he used selective pressure to entice her mouth open to his plundering swept her out of her reverie as effectively as a bucket of ice water.

This was exactly what she had kept telling herself to avoid for the past two months because they needed to discuss a few things before they jumped right into the deep end. She needed his attention focused on the importance of her concerns for his safety, not on how quickly he could get her out of her dress.

Kate felt the smooth glide of the straps sliding over her shoulders, and then the fabric caught a moment at her hips before pooling around her feet. She almost laughed at her own thought process. Apparently, the answer was pretty damn fast. She couldn't find a moment for the humor, however, as she felt his tongue slide against hers and his hand at her waist caressing the bare skin there. She didn't stand a chance against this kind of onslaught.

As she felt an involuntary moan escape her straight into the warm wet pressure of his mouth, her mind raced. She wanted to push him away and pull him closer; knowing there was more to say, but not realizing until just this moment how much she had missed this.

Putting him off, pushing him away for two months had been one of the hardest things she'd had to do, but the guilt of almost killing him had eaten through her enough to prove distracting. Still, she knew she couldn't let this get any further, because if that gleam in his eyes the moment before was anything to go by, he was going to take this opportunity to prove that he was healthy and virile; to prove he was ready to face a day at the precinct.

She didn't want to have to keep him away, especially when she was finally in a position to admit that it wasn't just coffee and theories that she kept him around for. The problem was that her guilt over him coming to harm because of their work together had nearly consumed her in the past couple of months. There were times that she'd lie in bed for hours with no sleep. It wasn't even the nightmares anymore; they had faded to a tolerable level. It was thoughts of all the ways that he put himself in danger, all the things he could do to get hurt, all the ways that she would be responsible for his death at some point and she wouldn't be able to bear that kind of guilt, not before and definitely not now.

She knew she was being unreasonable. She knew that if Lanie asked Esposito to quit, there'd be no way. She thought for a moment about how she might feel if Castle had asked her to leave her work because he was concerned for her safety. She almost got angry at just the thought, even though it was her own.

She knew that Castle wasn't the goof off that he sometimes came across as. She knew that his work with her team had been far more than research for a long time now. She was also aware that detective work was now a part of his soul as much as it was her own and to ask him to cut that part of himself out was just as much a betrayal as if he'd asked the same of her.

Feeling suddenly shameful, she wanted to tell him as much. Instead, she shivered and her head dropped back as his mouth moved down to her neck to trail teasing kisses and caresses across her skin. As his hands continued their gentle massage of her hips moving slowly upwards, he nipped lightly at the spot he'd marked what felt like a lifetime ago and her thoughts sprung free for a long moment of basking in pure sensation.

When coherent thought finally returned a moment later as he shifted to kiss across her shoulder, she moved her hands down from his hair, wondering briefly how they had gotten there in the first place. With palms flat against his chest she applied slight pressure, hoping he'd get the point and move back so she could look in his eyes.

When he continued, as if single-mindedly on a mission to destroy every one of her senses, she felt her combative side rise up again. If he was going to play hardball, he had picked the wrong person to try and pull a fast one on. Beckett brought her lower body into firm contact with his, eliciting a sound that was almost a whimper from him. As he was now sufficiently distracted, she was able to push a little more firmly against his shoulders and almost regretted the tactic as burning dark blue met her eyes a moment later.

She made sure their lower bodies stayed in contact as she shared his gaze for another moment before she realized that it was the perfect time to lay out the ground rules. "You will stay in the car when I tell you." she informed him of rule number one and punctuated her statement with a quick, but fierce, breath stealing kiss.

"You left me outside alone in a really bad neighborhood." he informed her with a teasing smile and she was suddenly concerned that he wasn't going to take her seriously.

"Castle." she admonished in a stern tone, her eyes boring into his own in what she hoped was a fierce glare even as she wanted to shiver from the sensation of his fingertips slowly moving up her ribs.

His hands stilled at her words and the expression he turned on her had her breath catching in her throat. "As long as you have the guys for back up." he responded softly, as if the request were of some vital importance. Paired with the sincerity and, if she wasn't mistake, fear staring back at her, the request was powerful.

She understood in those few short word that every time she went into something without her, he felt a little bit of what she did when he came with her. Him on the outside worried something might happen to her or him inside with her while she worried about him. It seemed they would be in disagreement and no matter how it shook out one would be left with that feeling of anxiety and dread. Figuring it was little to ask in this situation, she finally nodded her consent to his condition.

Kate leaned into seal the agreement with another kiss that became intense almost on contact as she slipped his suit jacket off his shoulders. Fingers moving before she even consciously gave them permission to, she started to work on the buttons of his shirt as she pulled her lips from his to kiss a trail across his jaw and down his neck.

Her lips, open mouthed and accented with hot ragged breaths, made their way across the exposed flesh as each button came undone under her fingers she continued, "You will work with me to learn basic," she shifted one side of his shirt open and let her tongue trace his nipple, pulling a groan from him before moving to the next button, "nonverbal communication."

His hands flexed against her shoulders where they had come to rest as she pulled his shirt free of the pants they were tucked in and finished off the last button. His response of an absentminded, "Uh huh." was enough of an agreement for her to hold him to later should he chose to conveniently forget this conversation. She accepted the confirmation and planted a lingering open mouthed kiss on the soft hair just below his navel and then trailed over to run gentle kisses along the long thin pink line of his recent scar.

Slowly, she let her fingers and mouth guide her back up his body. Her lips stopped a moment at his collar bone, relishing the subtle sounds of pleasure that spot seemed to bring out of him as her hand continued the upward motion. Sliding beneath his shirt and over his shoulders, she eased the shirt back, following its descent down his arms with a fluttering touch of her fingers.

Bringing her eyes back up to finally meet his, she was unprepared for the depth of emotion that greeted her. Pushing it aside for a moment, because she had more he needed to agree to and it was going to take him being in a vulnerable and less sentimental state of mind. She pressed her body against his, looping an arm around his neck and burying the fingers of her other hand in his hair, she pulled him closer as she pressed her lips to his. She took his quiet gasp into her already open mouth and chased her responding moan back into his with her tongue.

She almost lost her focus entirely as he met her invasion with his own resurgence of passion, snaking a hand up to bury his fingers in her hair and dropping the other to her hip. He used the second hand to pull her tightly against the hard length of his cock straining to escape the designer pants he had worn to dinner. He used the moment of her surprised gasp to move the exploration of each other back into her mouth, pushing his way in with a sudden intensity that was unlike anything that had come before.

This wasn't the aching tenderness of their first time or the heated, angry passion of the second. This kiss was littered with equal parts hope and desperation, as if he were still praying this wasn't a dream, but hedging his bets to make the most of it in the event he were to awaken at any moment. The onslaught of that type of passion had her knees threatening to give out beneath her as he rocked his hips slowly against her own.

It wasn't that she didn't know this was exactly where they had been headed, but the sensation of soft fabric poorly concealing such demanding hardness was a contradicting sensation that threatened to clear away her coherent thoughts. Instead of running from it, she embraced the sensation, shifting her hips to caress him and drawing a deep sound from him that never seemed to leave his chest cavity. The baritone rumble inspired her to repeat the action in the other direction and this time the move was greeted with something akin to a growl before his hand left her hair to settle on her other hip and hold her firmly in place against him.

For a moment, she plastered herself against him, feeling the heat in the press of their two bodies against each other before she stepped back, carefully avoided tangling her feet in the dress beneath her. His eyes, that had appeared hazed and unfocused, suddenly shot to hers with a silent question. Her answer was to grasp his hand as she moved away, stalling his look of disappointment in mid frown and replacing it with a sexy little smile that made her stomach clench.

She had to look away if she was to regain any of the control she had felt slip away a moment before, so she made a conscious effort to lead him into her room. It was with an odd sense of déjà vu that she turned to face him once they were both standing beside her bed. She couldn't fully quell the sudden nervous energy that seemed to zap her normally cognizant thoughts. The last time they had stood in nearly this same position for exactly this reason, had not ended well for them.

Pushing it aside with the knowledge that they had both completely misread that first time together, she looked into his eyes and saw the same feelings pouring back into her from him. "I've missed you." he told her, his voice low and serious as he seemed to force a tentative smile over his concern.

"You've seen me almost every day." she informed him lightly, hoping to shift the mood again, because she couldn't dwell on the past when she was trying to build a future.

Instead of the expected reaction, he dropped his gaze from hers and she could have sworn there was a hint of that vulnerability he tried so hard to hide from her. He was watching his fingers glide slowly over her stomach, but he didn't seem focused on the action, simply using it as an evasion to avoid her potentially destructive words.

She knew it wasn't the time for cracking jokes or trying to stay light. That could come later and at some point things would be as fun and free spirited as that first time had been. Tonight, however, was about opening up and laying the ground work. Something they should have done right that first time, but she couldn't bring herself to think negatively on that experience now that she understood his side of it.

She had ached for him in the knowledge that he had thought her tears were some kind of condemnation of them and what they had shared. She felt the burden of those tears weighing him down for all that time he had bottled the misconception away before the air had been cleared. She felt the burning tug in her gut for all the time they had lost to their own insecurities and their efforts to try and force things back to how they'd been before when there was no going backwards. And she had almost lost him that day with so much left unsaid because she was scared; because she was trying to fight something that she now knew was too strong, too important to back down from.

She felt his hands move up to cradle her face gently and it wasn't until she felt his thumbs move damply across her cheeks that she realized the thoughts alone had brought tears, not only to her eyes, but allowed them to fall. "I missed you, too." she finally told him, her words quiet and strained.

His eyes had been regarding her with tenderness and what looked like discomfort. It was as if her being upset were some kind of physical assault on him. Considering the last time he had seen her shed tears, she could understand his pain, but it didn't seem to be his discomfort he was feeling in that moment, but more a personal reaction to her own pain. "Please don't, Baby." he whispered into the space between them and while not normally a fan of pet names, she felt none of her traditional inclination to correct him. "Kate, did I. . ?"

She cut him off with a firm shake of her head before flinging herself into him, wrapping her arms around his neck and holding tightly while she buried her face in the crook of his neck. His own arms wrapped around her, instantly pulling her in tight as he whispered what she assumed were soothing words against her hair and peppered the top of her head in gentle kisses.

The press of his body, palms firm against the back of her hips, fingers splayed across the small of her back, his scent in her nose, her warm breath against his already heated skin, soft kisses that had no destination or pressure for taking them anywhere but to a place where her tears couldn't reach, it all felt like home. She stood with him a long moment, taking in the sound of their breathing, the feel of their hearts beating against each other where their chests were pressed together.

As she felt the ache in her chest lesson and be replaced with an entirely different ache somewhere far lower, she let her tongue dart out to taste his skin. He stilled beneath the touch of her mouth and she took advantage of his lack of movement to carefully explore the line of his shoulder, the plains of his chest.

He finally joined her exploration after what felt like a torturously long time as if realizing that she wasn't hurting anymore and had worked through whatever had brought it on in the first place. He swept his hands lower to slide beneath the waistband of her panties in a gentle caress, before slipping back out to run up her back. She could tell from his expression that he'd get her to tell him everything eventually. She understood the compulsion to know, because once you know there can be an attempt at reparations or at least preparations can be made to prevent a repeat performance.

It didn't take long for them to divest each other of the last scraps that separated them from one another. It felt like everything was as new and fascinating as their first time and she wondered how long until it became normal or common enough that everything didn't feel new. She hoped it was a long way off, because the thorough exploration his hands were performing was something she could get used to.

She felt as he turned and tried to lower her to the bed, but she fought the urge and instead spun them both and pushed him away suddenly, watching as he bounced back onto the bed, a huge grin spread across his face as he looked up at her. She couldn't hold back from dropping her knee to the bed beside his hip, throwing her other leg over his waist and settling against him.

His eyelids dropped half closed; eyes turning a deep smoky color as his watched her above him. He was drawing short strangled gasps through his slightly parted mouth as her body settled against his. She shifted her hips and felt his hard length against the warm wet slide of her body's reaction to him as she repeated the motion.

His hands at her hips were almost desperate in their plea for more contact, more of the tantalizing friction, more of her, practically begging for her to shift the angle of her movements and join them. But he was only 'almost' desperate and she needed him just a little more out of control before she sprang her last condition on him, before she knew he'd agree to anything just to end the torture.

With that thought in mind she shifted off of him, her movement fluid as she moved her body down his and dropped to her knees between his legs. He was sprawled across her bed where she had pushed him, knees bent over the edge and feet nearly reaching down to the floor. Her movement had apparently surprised him, but she didn't give him a chance to react to her slipping away. While he was still casting a confused look at her for breaking their contact, she leaned into him and used her tongue to tease the tip of him into her mouth.

His gasp was accented by a subtle raise in his hip that sank him further in her mouth, but it was a seemingly involuntary jerk that he somehow pulled back almost as soon as it starting. She followed his hips' retreat, taking more of him in as she languorously trailed her tongue along the underside, flicking it side to side as if the soft tissue running down the middle of all that hardness was her new favorite toy. She reveled in the variation in sensation against her tongue as it danced along his skin and drew out all sorts of sounds she wanted nothing more than to hear again.

A strangled moan, desperate panting, her name, expletives, Castle's apparent new found religion, all of it tumbled out of his mouth like music to her ears. Still, she waited, her efforts focused solely on him in anticipation of that moment when she felt he was most vulnerable and pliable.

His hands had found her hair, not moving her, simply resting there, occasionally stroking or moving it out of her face to watch her. When she felt his fingers clench in her hair, gently pulling her away from him, she almost stopped. His hands moved to either side of her head, trying to guide her up to him. She let him believe she was being compliant until she had released nearly all of him. With the head of his cock still between her lips she flicked her tongue against the spot just beneath where his head met his shaft and he released a desperate whimper.

Kate reserved her triumphant smile as she released him and climbed back up his body, slow and lithe, like a cat stalking its prey. She knew she had him just where she needed him, but tasting and exploring him had made her nearly as desperate as he was. She almost abandoned everything as she found herself astride him again and rocked her pelvis against his. He pulled her mouth to his for a hot and hungry kiss that shook her resolve.

She could feel the wet glide of her body against his cock, but she knew that it wasn't from the way she had lavished attention on him with her wet mouth, it was her own moisture against him. She felt hot and swollen, wet beyond being ready, and she wanted nothing more than to sink onto him. The thought snapped her out of her lusty haze as she began to slide against him with purpose. There was one thing she wanted more and that was his safety.

Her hips moved with purpose, sliding along his length and at the very top of her stroke, sliding back down, the angle of her movement close enough to what they both desired that he almost slid into her every time she moved back down to start the slow motion again. It was so close that a subtle shift in her hips would send him where they both desperately wanted him, but she continued to torture him for what felt like the longest couple of minutes of her life.

"Please, Kate." he begged and she knew he was ready.

"One more condition," she informed him and watched the shocked indignation sweep his features for a moment, but she continued to move against him and he couldn't hold her gaze as his eyes fell shut again, squeezing tightly closed and he gave her a single nod to proceed. "You'll attend and pass the academy before you set foot outside the precinct again." she informed him of her last stipulation for his return, but her tone was far from the stern and serious one she would have liked to say those words in. She was so far gone that she knew it came out raspy, deep and throaty, a request that she hoped sounded sexy and not as odd as it did in her own head.

"Yes." he gasped instantly and she started back up from the base of his cock, feeling the length of him tease her sensitive flesh all the way up as he whimpered again and she wanted nothing more than to join him in the sound. "Oh God, Kate. Anything. Anything."

She didn't know if he even realized what he was agreeing too in his plea to end her torturous teasing of him. As she reached the top of her stroke, however, she took pity on both of them. With a subtle shift of her hips she sank onto him fully in one quick motion.

Everything seemed to still around them in that moment as they both stopped as if unsure that this was entirely real. The rumble of a deep growl emanating from his chest joined the higher pitched gasp from her lips and the simultaneous expression of the moment seemed to set them moving together.

They were both strung so high they burned fast and bright and within only a few short minutes she felt pleasure roll through her, hot and intense. A moment later he swelled and then pulsed right along with her as she collapsed against his chest and they both drifted in the aftermath.

It was several minutes before either gained a sense of themselves, and she wasn't surprised when Castle guided her to lift her head and make her look in his eyes. "You," he told her, his tone both softly loving and sternly reprimanding, something she assumed he picked up from being a parent, "are evil." he finished with a grin that dazzled her.

She knew there'd be struggles. She knew the changes would take their tolls more on some days than others. She knew that she'd still worry and he'd still worry and they'd both probably drive each other crazy with it. She knew that some days she'd probably want to strangle him as much as she'd want to kiss him.

She also knew one thing that made the rest seem like distant insignificancies, "You love it." she responded.

He pulled her back to his chest, holding her close to his heart as his hands moved smoothly against her back and he responded, "You have no idea."


A/N: So, that's it. Sadly, it's the end. I hope you all enjoyed this story, or at least found it an interesting way to lose yourself for a few hours.

Thank you all for reading. I'd like to say a special thank you for each and every comment and message of support. On some days they were the only thing to get me through this story that has proven more difficult than I ever imagined.

At some point I'll go on to the next story, I'm dealing with a lack of motivation, I'm sure you've noticed the drop in frequency for updates. Perhaps hitting 500,000 words was my limit, or maybe I'm just in Summer mode and things will start looking up for a new story once the days start getting shorter again.

I have a crime plot brewing in my head, but it's not a traditionally Castle style crime. There's murder and mayhem, but it's not really a whodunit type, more suspense and action than mystery. I'm not sure if I'll be handing it over to Castle and Beckett to solve. Regardless, I'll be back at some point with more than the silliness that is my current story. I'll see you then.

Until next time.