a/n: I've been posting over at Livejournal so while I'm not entirely new to Castle fanfiction, I am new to it here. So I really hope you enjoy!
...And realizing that the one place that you feel the most you is when you are lying next to her, just breathing. - Brothers & Sisters
i. June, 2012
There's something familiar, yet oddly strange about reading case files in Castle's bed.
It's her third week here (not consecutively, she does still go home every once in a while) and really, she should have been smart enough to realize that sex with Castle was bound to turn into a relationship whether she wanted it to or not (and for the record, yes she did want it to, but no, maybe the sex wouldn't have come first. Okay, that's a lie. That was bound to come first after three and a half years and millions of harmless come-ons in between.)
It had started innocently enough with dinners here or there, comfort food trucks (or her new favorite, the treats truck), a movie when they had time. Nights at his bar became almost mandatory on Fridays and on several occasions they'd stay hidden in a corner booth, laughing and finishing off the other's drinks as if they'd been doing this mating dance for years (and looking back on it, she knows they were, that it was only a matter of time before this happened.)
Kate was the one who made the first move weeks ago when they had left the Old Haunt, this time hours before it closed. She invited him up and he was in her apartment, undressing her, fucking her quickly and desperately against her living room wall and he had mumbled something like finally, three years, I want you or maybe it was I love you.
Week one had been nothing but sex; an undeniable fear that this was a one night stand (or a seven night stand), a drunken haze, a loaded mess. Castle's hands were on her whenever they had a moment alone and her skin had been branded during that time, a flush that burned through all of her whenever he brushed past her at work, stared a little too long.
The second week, she had wanted to run. He's a writer and therefore an observer and she realizes that he must have noticed that her heels were always placed neatly at the foot of the bed, no matter where they had been discarded to when they entered in a frenzy of lust. She'd find them amongst tangled clothes, one in the living room, one halfway under his bed. She never did use them though, not until morning came or a middle of the night call forced her to leave the sanctuary of his bedroom. She found sleeping with someone else wasn't as stifling as she was expecting after the shooting or maybe it was just him because he was familiar, he was Castle and it somehow made sense in ways that had seemed so complicated before.
So, now she's in week three and there's still sex and sometimes she thinks about getting the hell out of here, but mainly she just finds it…the same as it was before but with orgasms and homemade breakfasts.
"Do you ever stop being a cop?" Castle mumbles beside her. His eyes are closed and his hair is rumpled, but his fingers prance along her bare thigh, smoothing down the goosebumps he leaves in his wake. "You need a twelve step program. Step one, put down the files."
Kate's lips lift in a smile. "And what's step two?"
"Sex with the man who bases his most popular character on you. I need inspiration."
"I can't do my work, but we can do yours?"
He looks so serious when his eyes open staring up at her like he's arguing a case or something even remotely important. "Beckett, my work includes us having sex. Your work includes us getting up at four in the morning to look at dead bodies, which yes, are sometimes awesome and interesting, but I'm pretty sure mine trumps yours."
Okay, he does have a point there.
"I'm almost done. Did you read this?"
"The print out of the blog?" Castle nods. "While you were washing up. You think she did it, don't you?"
His fingers have stopped their trail over her body, his arm now loosely draped around her waist. She leans back against him, feels the brush of his chest against the thin t-shirt of his she's wearing. "I think that Annabelle Leary is an angry woman who found out her husband was cheating and broadcast it online for the entire world to read. It suddenly goes viral to media outlets and the mistress ends up dead. Is it a crime of opportunity, a chance to get revenge and have the heat on someone like Annabelle? Or is it a genius move to assume that as the wife, as the woman who started the blog, no one would suspect her because it's too obvious and therefore she killed her."
"I don't think Annabelle did it."
"Because there was no passion in the murder. It was a single GSW to the head. Annabelle was pissed off, she was upset, but if she was going to murder her husband's mistress there would have been more meaning behind it. Single shot to the heart. Even multiple stabbings in the heat of the moment. This was cold. In my opinion, a woman didn't do this."
"I forget how good you are at this sometimes."
"Well, you're quite good at helping me with my job," he responds. He pulls her hair to the side and his lips are against her ear, hot breath that sends chills down her spine. "You okay?"
She also forgets how well he knows her sometimes, like he's written her since the very beginning. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Liar, liar, pants on fire." Castle cups his hand between her legs and she gasps, her hips involuntary jerking forward. "Oh wait; you're not wearing any pants."
"I get it, Castle. You want to have sex. Your subtlety could use some work."
"I was subtle for three years." She raises an eyebrow at him. "I was! It's not like I ever asked you to have sex with me."
"No, you just wrote about it."
"I had to get my jollies somewhere. Okay, that came out way dirtier than I meant it to." She laughs, but he's still watching her, trying to read her mind. "Kate, if you want to go home tonight, you can. As much as I'd like to, I'm not holding you hostage here."
"How generous of you."
"You sleep with a gun. Odds are in my favor if I let you go."
Kate tilts her head so she's looking at him, and there's a softness to his eyes, an understanding amongst his playful nature. "I'm not good at this, Castle, this whole relationship thing. I've been in them, but this is…different."
"If you're trying to find an out for more than tonight-"
"I'm not. I want to be in this with you, but," she gestures to the file, the information inside, "there are so many complications that we've never discussed, not really. If we're going to do this, then we need to get some things out of the way first."
Castle nods slowly, sliding down so he's at eye level with her. "This is new; for both of us. But before you ask me whatever it is you want to know, you need to understand that whatever this is between us, Kate, is it for me. You're it for me."
"You can't know that. You've had two previous marriages-"
"That didn't work because they were the wrong women."
She swallows the lump in her throat, and she sort of wants to hit him, because really? Does he really think she's ready to hear that she's basically his be all end all?
"Castle, I'm not-"
"I know," he answers quietly. "I just wanted you to remember that. What do you want to know?"
She looks at him sheepishly, "On the topic of your marriages?"
He runs his short nails down her arm, traces the tan line where her father's watch usually resides. "Meredith and I never should have gotten married. We were young, we had Alexis on the way and we did what we thought was best. She cheated on me a year after Alexis was born and if I'm being honest, I was relieved. It gave me a reason to end it without it being my fault."
"Did you ever regret it?"
"The breakup or the marriage?"
"Not really, no. At the time it was the right thing for Alexis and truthfully, I'm almost grateful to Meredith for being the one to end it. Not in that way, but I would have stayed a lot longer than I should have."
"Gina and I made an incredible couple on paper. She's my publisher, I'm her star writer. Dating me, marrying me, it gave her better clients. Patterson went to her, Connelly, Cannell, Lehane. She cornered the market on mystery writers."
"And what did she do for you?"
"She cleaned up my act. I was partying when Alexis was with my mother or with friends. I was getting into trouble and Black Pawn was worried it would damage my book sales and therefore their profit. They stuck Gina on me and she was a bat out of hell. She'd follow me everywhere and when she saw it start to go downhill, she'd reel me back in. It worked between us for a while. Until it didn't. Bottom line is, I convinced myself I loved her until I eventually started to." She sees it in his eyes, this look that he gets now that screams out But I love you more, trust me, please. "A few years ago, when we got back together, it was…familiar. I needed that."
"Because of me?"
"Do you really want to know?"
"I think there are a lot of things that we've kept hidden and it almost destroyed us. So yes, I really want to know."
"I hated seeing you with Demming."
It's blunt, direct and she doesn't know why she's so startled when she had asked for his honestly.
"It felt like it did when Kyra left, and that scared the shit out of me, Kate. Gina was a solution to feelings I wasn't ready to face. When did you break up with Demming? When I came back, he was already gone."
She almost has to laugh at the irony. "About thirty minutes before you left with Gina."
The surprise is written all over his face, the regret, the unspoken promise of what could have been almost two years ago. There's a trajectory to them, a map of points that brought them here and she thinks about it sometimes, about how it would be for him if she had been shot a year into their relationship, about the secrets he had hidden, the lies they'd told.
"I was going to tell you I wanted to come with you to the Hamptons, that I was willing to give it a shot when Gina showed up. It was about four weeks into summer when I stopped waiting for the phone to ring."
"Three weeks for me." Her eyebrow quirks. "After you'd been shot."
"I told you mine, now you tell me yours."
She's tangled between his legs, limbs intertwined and she closes her eyes listening to the night. It's Manhattan and it's never fully silent, but it's a peaceful, familiar sound that lulls her into a state of calmness.
"Anyone in particular?"
"I don't know," Castle teases, "is this when you tell me your number?"
"Do you want their resumes too so you know who to ask about?'
"If you have it handy."
Kate barks out a laugh, eyes opening. "I left it in my apartment. Sorry."
"How did you meet Josh?"
"What difference does it make now?"
"You wanted to have this conversation."
She did, didn't she? Shit.
"I had a day off one weekend and I found myself exploring parts of the city that I used to love as a teenager. So much of the area had changed but this little café I used to love was still there. I started to spend a lot of time there when I could and I'd always see Josh. One day he approached me and we talked."
"And then you started to date him."
"No, not quite."
Castle lifts an eyebrow. "Was I keeping you busy, Beckett? Didn't let you go play with the boys?"
"You were in the Hamptons."
It's a bomb that detonates between them, leaving them alone in nothing but silence.
Kate takes his hand, squeezes it but continues like he's asked of her. "He was interesting; we had a lot in common. I kept going and he kept showing up so we'd sit together and talk. When he asked me out, I declined at first. Said I was too busy with work."
"What made you eventually say yes?"
"It doesn't matter, Castle. Who else do you want to know about?"
"Kate, come on."
She steels herself; she was the one who brought this up (which is ridiculous if she thinks about it because out of the two of them, he's the talker.) "You came back and you were still with Gina. I wasn't...I didn't expect that. I kept figuring that when I saw you again you'd be single and we could give it a shot." She shrugs a shoulder, trying for indifference. "When I realized you weren't, I called Josh. We went out and I liked him. I liked that he was as busy as I was. There was no pressure and I needed that. But it just...it wasn't enough." She steeples her fingers, thumbs pressing down on her pointer fingers. "That night we were in Los Angeles I came out of my room as you were going into yours."
"I didn't know that."
"I never told you."
"It wasn't relevant-"
"I mean why did you come out?"
"The things you said to me when we were sitting there, Castle, how you looked at me. I knew it wasn't fair to Josh just like it wasn't fair to Tom to be with them when I had feelings for you."
"If I had known-"
"Then what? We would have started something a year ago? Aren't you the one who believes in fate and magic and all things having a purpose?"
"You make me sound like I think I'm the Messiah."
She grins. "Don't you?"
He taps her nose with his finger, teasing, and she scrunches it.
"Royce. Did you love him?"
"You have to do better than that. I gave details on Gina and Meredith."
She hates him (loves him.)
"He was the first person after my mother died who made me feel like I was whole, like I wasn't missing out on the world, like I could be something. Losing my mom, Castle, was like losing every piece of myself that made sense. Royce made me feel human again and I loved him for that, for believing in me." She brushes her fingers through his hair, feels the way his breath hitches.
"I believed in you."
There's a change in him; she sees it in the way his eyes dim and it all comes barreling back to her. The three months alone without him, the awkward ways in which they tried to get back on track for almost an entire year. Despite their relationship now and his (sometimes not so) quiet declarations of love, she sees the anger sometimes, this flame that burns and fizzles.
"I couldn't…I didn't know how to be around anyone then. We both made mistakes this past year. We both fucked up."
His fingers are on her scar, tracing the ridged curves, the lines that mar her skin. "I imagined you with Josh that entire summer. Every time the phone rang and it wasn't you. Every time I signed one of those books wondering what the hell I got myself into. You're not the only one in this, Kate. You're not the only one who's been hurt."
"I never said I was. I know I hurt you. But I'm here. I might not be able to…say the things you want me to yet but I'm not leaving either." She clasps her hand between his, brushing her scar beneath nimble fingers. "That day on the swings, why did you forgive me?"
"Because you were trying," he answers simply. "And because I missed you. I was still mad for months after that but having you in my life was better than not."
"And now? Have you forgiven me?"
"We wouldn't be here if I hadn't. Have you forgiven me? About your mother?"
She knew it was bound to come up in the wake of all this honesty. Weeks ago, before the food trucks, before nights at the Old Haunt she never believed she could absolve him. There had been too many lies, too many obstacles. He knew how to break her like no one else and yet she still found herself missing him during those days apart like he was a piece of her, filling in the spaces left empty by her mother. Kate rolls onto her back, staring up at the ceiling, their hands coming undone.
"I've spent so much of the last twelve years living in the past. I don't want to do it anymore. I wish you had told me what you were doing, but I understand you were protecting me. You ever lie to me like that again though, I'll kill you."
"Remember when our foreplay was just you aggravated with me?"
"That wasn't foreplay. I was actually aggravated."
"Oh, Beckett. Who are you trying to kid? It was all foreplay."
She tilts her head to face him. "Are we okay?"
"Haven't you learned by now we'll always be okay?"
"Who knew you were such a sap."
"Not a sap, a writer. Perfect lines are my thing."
"Hm, is that right?"
Kate rolls over until she's straddling him. Castle's hands grip her waist and she's bending down, nipping at his lips. "Write me one right now."
"Do you know what a turn-on it is that you love my work?"
"Don't get carried away. I like a lot of people's work."
His hands tighten in her hair and she bites back a moan when he jerks his hips, pushing inside of her. "It had taken an entire night, but it was all out in the open; the former loves, the now regrettable anger. Rick stared up at Kate, fingers tangled beneath her dark locks, the moonlight bathing her naked body in silhouette. Nothing else in their past mattered, not when this was their future."
"I was expecting you to use Nikki and Rook," she whispers, but her eyes slip closed and she's arching her back, aching for more of him, for all of him.
"Didn't think I had to anymore."
She shatters around him minutes after that, tangled between his legs, eyes closing in exhaustion.
"You going to move your shoes?" he mutters against her hair and she smiles.
For the first time in three weeks, she doesn't think about running.