LOOK WHO FINALLY UPDATED. Longer note to follow (:

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle.

She wasn't surprised to see that he was the one standing on the other side of her door. The moment she saw him, she opened the door and let him all the way into her apartment that no longer felt like home. He walked into her apartment and stood right behind her as she locked her front door. As soon as he heard the lock click into place he gently took hold of her hand and led her slowly to the couch in her living room.

Without words, he sat down on her couch and pulled her down to his side. She wrapped her arms tight around his torso. He buried his head into her hair. They had only been apart for a few hours after their ordeal, but it seemed like it had been days.

They weren't sure how long they spent holding each other when he began to speak.

"I love you," he whispered. The words ghosted across the skin of her neck. It wasn't the first time she had heard the words fall from his tongue, but her skin still puckered with goose-bumps as if it was.

She shifted from where she was sitting next to him and lifted his head from where it was resting against her, placing warm kisses around her pulse point. She moved so she was lying down, dragging him on top of her in the process and brought his face to hers. His eyes were squeezed tight. She lifted a free hand a gently caressed his cheek. His eyes slid open slightly.

The emotion in his eyes made her want to shut hers. She wanted to hide from what she saw reflected in his eyes and never come out of the safety of his arms. He looked tired. He looked haunted and afraid; and it was all because of what had happened to her.

She leaned in, and nuzzled his nose with her own. His eyes slid shut again.

"And I you," She whispered, tilting her head slightly to catch his lower lips softly between her own lips.

He exhaled into her kiss and began to kiss her back. He pushed her into deeper into the cushions of her couch. She could taste his desperation, feel his need in the touches of his hands as they ran up and down her sides. He needed this. He needed to know that she was still there.

Suddenly, without warning, he broke apart from her.

"They can't have you." He breathed.

She looked up at him, her chest heaving, and shook her head at him once she registered his words, "Never."

He shook his head and kept on speaking, the hushed words making it seem as though he was having a conversation with himself. "They've tried to take you from me before, but they can't have you. Not when I've just got you. They can't have you. Not now. Not ever."

She slowly ran her hands down the planes of his chest, his dress shirt no longer crisp and fresh but rather covered in wrinkles and grim. Ever so gently, he took hold of her wrist and slowly brought her forearm up to his face. He stared at the clean white bandage wrapped tightly around the skin below her elbow, remembering how just hours before the site was covered in a shade of red that he never wanted to see around her again.

He leaned forward and kissed it softly, before placing his forehead against it gingerly and breathing in deeply through his nose.

Underneath the smell of antiseptic cream and iodine, it was there. The aroma that was forever ingrained into his memory as a characteristic of her since the first time he noticed it.

The delicate scent of cherries battled its way past the bandages and assaulted his senses. It kept it grounded.

If he could still smell the cherries, it means she's still here. She's still fighting. That bastard that had followed them into that abandoned building and stalked her with a knife didn't win. She had gone with her gut and turned around at the last minute and managed to take him down with a gash on her forearm that required 34 stitches. She was going to be fine. The boys were working on getting a confession out of him, and she was safe at home, a little worse for the wear, but alive.

There was just so much blood.

He had left her alone for just a moment to examine a box that looked out of place when he heard her cry out in pain. He turned around and watched her dropkick her attacker. He ran back to her and caught her just before she hit the ground, biting her lip in sheer agony, gripping her arm with white knuckles.

He had taken off his suit jacket and wrapped it around her arm, worried that the blade may have nicked a vein. He told her everything was going to be fine and he held her tight in his arms as she tried to fight the pain. They had gotten her to the hospital and the suspect was in custody.

He was furious. Who the hell thought they had the right to try to kill her?

She could sense his anger, and suggested that she go back to her apartment alone to give him time to blow off some steam. He initially refused and told her they were going back to the loft where they belonged, but he also wanted to hit something, and he didn't want to do that around her. He drove her to her apartment, walked her up to her apartment and gave her a quick kiss goodbye, and drove over to the precinct. He watched the boys interrogate the man who had tried to kill her for a few minutes. The only thing the man regretted was not finishing the job, but other than that he wasn't talking. Frustrated, he left the observation room with clenched fists and sat down in his seat by her desk, staring into space.

This injury had been nothing like what had happened the year before when she nearly died in his arms. There was no sinking feeling in his stomach that she wasn't going to pull through this one alright. His rational mind knew that she was going to be fine.

But this time it was so much worse, because now she was his. There were no obstructions, no other person to keep them from each other anymore. They were together, and they loved each other, and now that he had her people were trying to take her away.

That was when he realized that he was sitting at the precinct without her and he had left her alone at her apartment. He was at her apartment in ten minutes.

He felt her move beneath him and he was stirred from his thoughts.

"I'm here," she whispered. "I'm here."

He shuddered and gripped her tighter.

"I know."

They held each other for a few moments longer when he felt her shift underneath him. She lifted herself up and started pressing little open-mouthed kisses along his jaw.

He stood up and pulled her up into his arms as he pressed a kiss into her mouth. She immediately responded, standing on her toes to kiss him fully. His hands left hers as he ran them down along her torso and back. She arched into him. He moved his hands again and quickly hoisted her up. She wrapped his legs around his waist to hold herself there. He wrapped his arms around her and began making the way to her bedroom. She buried her face into his neck, kissing the hollow under his ear before taking the lobe between her teeth.

"I love you," she whispered.

He nudged her bedroom door open and laid her down on her bed and gazed at her sweetly, running his fingers lightly along her cheek. He leaned down and kissed her tenderly.

"And I you," he whispered back.

And he intended to prove it.

Oh, I'm a tease.

So... I have no idea where this came from, it probably doesn't make much sense, and I have to go to a floor meeting and wanted to post this at a reasonable time for those who actually want to get some sleep. My challenge for myself was to not use their names at all, but to hopefully still make it sound like them.
Hope you all are doing well!

As always, love it? Hate it? Did I fail at my challenge miserably? Let me know what you think (: