Underneath his child-like exterior lays a smart man who knows his limits, so even in the spirit of the holiday he never planned to try anything. That smart man feared her gun and wished to keep his ear, and other appendages, in tact. He did not want to embarrass her to the point of anger, or severe retaliation.

Therefore, when the clock struck midnight and the people around them begun cheering and kissing their respective partners, he turned to his—work partner, that is—and held up his flute of champagne to clink with hers. He wasn't even going to bother to kiss her on the cheek, ever the unassuming gentleman. "Happy New Year, Detective Beckett. May all of your wishes come true."

She tapped his glass with her own, but instead of drinking any of the gold liquid, she stared at him, watched his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed. He attempted to ignore the heat of her stare but soon enough his eyes met hers.

He noticed a slight change, a fleck of color in her irises that wasn't there before. But, what he also saw was entirely familiar: determination. Her mind, and possibly her heart, was set and whatever she wanted was to be attained at most any cost.

She took a step closer, her high heels making their faces level. He could feel the breath escape from her parted lips, the warmth sticking to his own lips like a sweet perfume, like the sticky condensation on a fogged-up car window. Softly, slowly, her hand that didn't hold champagne rose to his cheek, caressing the smooth, just-shaven skin next to his lips, and the silky skin underneath his eyes with the tip of her thumb. In a swift motion, her lips were on his, and then quickly not, and her hand dropped from his face.

Castle opened his eyes, never realizing that he had shut them to begin with, and sighed, "Kate," in question. His eyes said what he couldn't, words failing the successful writer. "Are…" His voice trailed off, left an incomplete sentence in the air, but she understood the question in his expression. Are you sure?

With a slight nod, barely even perceptible, she answered him. "Shut up, Castle," she whispered, a ghost of a laugh on the fringe of her pointless statement.

By the time the hands of the clock had reached 12:01am, his lips had already reclaimed hers, and his arms, champagne and all, were wrapped around her back.

Passion surged through both of their bodies, ignited their veins in a new fire, a heat stronger than either of them had ever felt before with anybody else. People were staring, he was sure, but neither of them cared. Their cheeks flushed with a warmness that only the other could elicit, not from embarrassment. Her lips parted, and he was about to take things a step further when his mother cleared her throat somewhere in the distance. Kate heard the chorus of Esposito and Ryan coughing.

Just as slowly as she had descended towards him when she first kissed him, their mouths pulled back, but their grips on each other remained.

Breathlessly, she murmured a version of his words. "I hope all of your wishes come true, Castle." Her eyes darted between his. He intercepted the sign, understood the hidden meaning just as clearly as any other instance.

"I hope I can fulfill all of yours too, Kate."