"I quit," Castle slurred, though his voice still managed to be firm. "That is, if I actually worked at the station I would quit, so I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not coming in anymore."

"Wha?" Kate wanted to slap herself for asking something so stupid, but it was two in the morning and she had been mostly asleep when he had knocked on her door. She was still trying to wake up when he was already speaking words that she couldn't comprehend. "Are you drunk, Castle?"

"No – Yes – I mean," Castle shook his head as if to clear it of words he didn't need at the moment and looked back up into her sleepy gaze. "It doesn't matter. I still quit."

"I… I'm afraid I'm not following you," Kate mumbled her confusion as her face screwed up and her head tilted slightly as if to analyze him. "Why don't you come in so I can get a cup of coffee while you talk. Want a cup?"

He followed her in, slightly stumbling on his own feet as he crossed the threshold and traced her steps into the kitchen, but then she froze in place. Kate's whole body went rigid as she turned to look him in the eye.

"You what?" Kate gasped, her mind finally waking up enough to understand his words.

Castle looked torn between relief and tortured that she finally got it.

"I can't watch you almost die again and again…" Castle almost choked on the second 'again'. "It's killing me, Kate. When I saw that guy on top of you with his hands around your neck…" His voice trailed off, but the despair was evident in his voice and his eyes glossed over as he lost himself to that last image.

"But I'm fine!" Kate was quick to point out, closing the distance between them so he could see her. See her alive and breathing.

"Yes, now you are," Castle sighed. "But this was just one of many times I've had to watch as you almost die and I can't do it again. I'm sorry if that makes me weak, but it's the truth."

"It doesn't make you weak," Kate soothed softly, fighting the urge to run her fingers through his hair or to caress the side of his face. She hated to see him so worried and torn.

"I should go," Castle said, avoiding her gaze and fisting his hands at his sides.

"No!" Kate reached out and grabbed him by the arm to keep him from leaving. "Please don't make me beg. You know I don't do begging…" Kate tried to keep it light, but even she could hear the ring of panic in her voice.

"I'm not asking you to do anything but let me go," Castle said gruffly, still avoiding her gaze.

"Well I won't let you," Kate said stubbornly, increasing the hold on his arm.

"What are you going to do? Handcuff me to you so I can never leave?" Castle asked wryly.

"If I have to," Kate grimaced, admitting to herself that she was definitely willing to do as he said. Couldn't he see that she needed him? "If it weren't for you I would be dead fifty times over by now. If you're not there, who's going to save my ass?"

Castle opened his mouth as if to answer and then shut it. "I'm sure the department can find you a real partner."

"But I don't want just any partner," Kate's voice wavered in its strength, but she refused to cry. She was stronger than that.

"Kate… don't do this…" Castle warned softly, the pain evident in his voice.

She couldn't stop herself this time though and she wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her face in his chest. It felt weird to be so much shorter than him without the heels, but it also felt so good. Kate felt him freeze in place before his arms slowly went around her and then held her tightly.

"I – I can't sleep," Castle finally mumbled, his voice sounding choked up, as if he too was fighting back tears. "Every time I close my eyes I see him choking you, but this time I'm too slow and you die and – "

"Shhh, it's okay Castle," Kate rubbed soft circles on his back and held him tight. She murmured reassurances into his chest as he held her tightly.

Finally after ten minutes, Kate slowly pulled out of his arms and took his hand in hers, pulling him toward her bedroom.

"Kate… what – " Castle stuttered as his eyes grew large and his heels dug into the floor so she couldn't pull him any further.

"Trust me," Kate said, her voice soft and worn.

Castle had never been able to turn her down for anything, especially when she looked the way she did now. She looked sad and tired, but oh so determined. It was also then that he took in what she was wearing and his mouth went into saliva producing overdrive. She was dressed in a ribbed tank top that hugged her curves, but she clearly had nothing beneath that since he could faintly make out the outlines of her nipples and she was plaid short shorts that and only seemed to draw his gaze up and down the expansive lengths of creamy skin. Now his legs had turned to jelly and he willingly stumbled behind her as she led them to an open door.

The room was dark, but when his eyes adjusted he saw the furniture in the room was all a light oak color. There was a long dresser pushed up against one wall that had several small picture frames sprawled across it in no particular order and a small vanity kitty corner to that on another wall that had just a few necklaces hanging from the ends of the mirror and a few trinkets on top. The bed was a queen size with a soft looking purple comforter spread across it that looked ruffled from a rough night of sleep. She continued to pull him closer to the bed and when she reached the edge she climbed to the furthest side of the bed and pulled back the covers and giving him a long look.

"You're sure?" Castle asked, trying his best not to stutter or stare too hard.

"Yes," Kate answered simply. "I think we both could use some real sleep tonight. You might not be too comfortable with all of that on though."

Castle looked down and looked a little confused that he was fully dressed, but with a renewed focus he slowly peeled off his flannel shirt and jeans, leaving him in only boxers and his white undershirt. Kate bit her lower lip as she watched him undress, unable to keep her gaze from wondering over his body. He hesitantly crawled into bed beside her and she covered him up with the deep purple comforter. Kate paused for an instant before she curled up into his side and wrapped an arm across his chest so that her head rested in the crook of his neck and shoulder. She took in a long breath of him and smelt whiskey, wood, and a hint of aftershave that made her stomach swish and swirl.

"How do I know this isn't just a dream?" Castle asked, staring up at the ceiling of her bedroom.

"Mmmm, you raise an interesting point," Kate mused quietly. "I suppose I'd have to tell you something about myself that you don't know already."

"I guess that would work," Castle said slowly.

After some thinking, Kate finally spoke up. "Okay, I've got something, but I swear to God if you repeat this, I will kill you…" She waited for his nod that he wouldn't tell anyone before continuing. "When I was nine I begged my mom to let me get a perm…"

A low rumble came from Castle as he laughed and his chest shook under her head. "I think I'm going to need to see picture proof of that."

"I've already had all the pictures burned," Kate pouted at his clear amusement.

"I'm sorry, but it's kinda hard to imagine you with a curly fro," Castle was still laughing and it was starting to get on her nerves.

Unable to think of a reasonable way to make him stop laughing at her, she raised her head and sealed her lips over his to silence him. She quickly pulled back as if burned, both of them breathing a little heavy as they stared wide eyed at each other. After a few seconds, Castle's head jerked up so that their lips were pressed together again, but this time they stayed together as his lips coaxed hers into a sweet dance. Kate could feel her arms growing week from holding herself up over him and flashes of heat coursing through her at his kiss, but before they could give out Castle twisted his hips and reversed their positions so that he hovered over her. Normally Kate preferred being in charge while in the bedroom, but she felt her desire growing exponentially as the heat from his body radiated down into hers. It was something about being prey to his predator that sent liquid heat down to her core and she shivered.

"God, Kate…" Castle moaned into her lips between kisses. "And how do I know this isn't a dream?"

"Mmm, well do you often dream about making out in a bed with me?" Kate asked in a whisper, unwilling to stop kissing him for longer than split seconds.

"Every night," Castle chuckled before moving lower to her neck and gently nipping at her neck and softly grazing his stubble against her soft skin.

The air left her lungs in one shallow whoosh as his lips worked their magic along her throat. Her hands fisted into his thin shirt and pulled his body closer. He groaned into her throat as her body pressed against his and he pulled back.

"I can't, Kate," Castle said huskily.

"Huh?" Kate asked, her mind slow from desire.

"I'm still pretty drunk and if we're going to do this I want to be completely sober," Castle reasoned.

"Does this mean you'll be sticking around?" Kate asked nervously, her fingers playing with the collar of his shirt while she avoided his gaze.

"I don't think I could trust anyone else to watch your back," Castle said grudgingly. "I guess you're stuck with me for awhile longer."

Kate blinked past the tears of relief and happiness and pulled him closer to her so that he wouldn't see the glistening in her eyes.

"If it's alright with you though, I'd really like to stay," Castle proposed softly, uncertain o whether she would say 'yes' or 'no'.

"Of course," Kate rushed. "I couldn't sleep very well actually and I think having you here would really help."

Castle smiled into her shoulder before placing a soft kiss on the bare skin and rolling to lie beside her. He pulled her into his arms so that they lay facing each other with her face buried in his neck and shoulder.

"Thank you for staying," Kate whispered, already feeling sleep pulling her into darkness.

"Thank you for hanging on," Castle whispered back, kissing her forehead before letting sleep overtake him as well.

A/N: I'm sure most of you could tell this was my first ever foray into the realm of Castle, so I apologize for any OOC-ness associated with this first one shot. I want to give a big thanks to ab89us for encouraging me to write some Castle in the first place and for making it so easy and fun. She's created a partner fic to this called "Drunken Confession" that you guys should check out!