When it came right down to it, they were pathetically addicted. They didn't do the sickeningly sweet couple thing that Ryan and Jenny did. They did their own unique joined-at-the-hip thing. She should have expected it, should have known all along.

When she forgave him after he dug into her mother's murder, when she asked him to stay when he was ready to quit the day she shot Coonan, when she let him win the bet that allowed him to come back after he'd spent the summer with Gina; she should have known that despite all of her protests, she'd always wanted him there at her side and in her head and holding her heart.

Ever since she said she was ready, that she wanted to be more, she knew it would come to this. When she saw Royal the dog as a way to be with Rick outside of work, even though she wasn't ready to date him, she knew that the clock inside her was counting down to the time that she would be ready.

She thought she was; then his simple touch, so unassuming and natural, showing her how Royal liked to be pet, set off fireworks inside her. Or possibly some demolition explosives. She'd held his hand during the bank robbery to give him hope. She asked him to hold her hand when they were handcuffed together to steady herself and bring him with her. Then he held her hand, because of the dog.

No perilous situation forcing their hand, just a desire to touch. Then explosions caused by a circling thumb.

So she began making excuses to see him and touch him and knew it would get out of hand, but she wanted the explosions, she wanted the wall to come down, and when it finally did, they couldn't get enough.

It was completely out of hand. They just got it on in a dark storage room behind the morgue, and she was trying to force the "I just had amazing sex" look off her face and was slightly annoyed that he was more successful at hiding it than she was.

"Hey, Castle, have you ever considered changing your guestroom into an exercise room? Maybe you could put a mat down for some sparring practice at home?"

He laughed.

"How about I just have thick carpet installed so I can sneak up behind you anytime and anywhere I want and, uh, check your reflexes?"

She looked, half-smiling at the mental image of being in his loft anytime, available to him all the time. Him coming up behind her, wrapping his strong arms around her. Huh. Funny, she's really not thinking about grappling. Soft, tender holds, tucking her head under his chin, snuggling, hugging, kissing… yeah, that's a good mental image.

"What are you thinking?" He can tell it's not sparring. He thinks he sees the truth in her eyes: love, future, and family. Cuddling and kids.

She smiles and winks. "Something more than just checking reflexes."

She gives him a soft, sweet kiss and links her fingers with his. "Come on. We've got a case to solve. Then we can go home."

A/N: I figured I needed to wrap this one up, since I haven't gotten back to it. So I hope you liked the end. Please review!