Sunday, January 8, 2012

3:00 a.m

The electronic key slides effortlessly into the lock, buzzing them in.

It's all white and marble in the foyer of the suite and Castle flips the light, illuminating the space. The shades are left open and from this high up Manhattan seems small, a world easy to conquer. He watches as Kate looks around, the amazement drawn across her features. It's not often he sees the reaction of pleasant surprises in her, but he has tonight, more times than he can count.

"Castle, this is gorgeous." She walks further into the room, past the couch and to the window. She's reflecting back in the glass windows, gazing out into the city, trying to memorize a skyline that'll be nothing but a memory come tomorrow. It'll be her murder board, a place to find answers so different than the ones she's searching for tonight. "You didn't have to do this." She's walking back to him then, and she's smiling. "You didn't have to get Lanie and Espo's room either. Or the honeymoon suite for Jenny and Ryan."

"I didn't!"

"Castle, come on."

"You really do have powers, you know." She's back in his breathing space, leaning against threshold that leads into the bedroom. "I know how hard the three of you work. I thought it would be nice for one night to enjoy the magical parts of the city."

"You didn't even add yourself into that. I'm impressed."

"I know, right?"

She shrugs out of his jacket, dangling it off her finger. "Thanks for letting me borrow it."

He places it over his arm and he's leaning closer to her. Her hair is windblown, her cheeks pink and he can still smell her perfume lingering in the air. "You looked gorgeous tonight, Kate."

He loves watching her when he gives her a compliment, all appreciation and self doubt in the nod of her head. "You don't clean up so badly yourself. $3,500 for the suit, though?"

"I got it on sale. The damage could have been a lot worse."

It's quiet between them – nothing but their breathing – and he should tell her goodnight; it's just past three in the morning, they've had a long day, some other excuse that'll have him tossing and turning on that small couch all night anyway. Kate rests her hand on his chest, over his heartbeat, and he feels like he's written this scene between them before, if only in his mind. She's staring at him and it's that long telling look she gets sometimes, the look that keeps him hopeful for the future. It's different tonight, a glimpse into whom she's trying to allow herself to be.

"We should…" Castle points behind him to the couch. "I'll see you in the morning, Kate." He tilts his head and bends down, kissing her cheek.

He's walking away when she grabs his hand. "Rick," she breathes and he's back in front of her, lips pressed against hers. He's pushing her against the wall; his hands tangle in the waves of her hair. He parts her lips with the tip of his tongue and she's sighing in pleasure. Her body arches against the wall, her pelvis rising and she's slamming into him. He's hard, wanting, and her ass in his hands, firmly in place because otherwise this'll end here and now and she'll never let him live it down.

Kate untucks his shirt and his mouth has moved down to her neck, the dip in her cleavage. She's sweet, not like cherries like he'd expected, but vanilla and he wonders how many foods she'll ruin for him over time. He's undoing her dress and the blue chiffon falls onto the floor in a gathering heap, her right leg wrapping around his ass. She's still in those damn silver stilettos and nothing else but a navy thong that accentuates every curve he's imagined over time.

His mouth is over hers again, fingers trailing when he feels her scar under his fingers. Her heartbeat quickens and he doesn't linger there, doesn't allow her to believe that she's anything less than who she was always meant to be. He palms her breast, rubs his thumb over her hardening nipple and her attention is solely on him, moaning his name into his mouth.

They're moving into the dark bedroom, the lights of Manhattan reflecting over the bedspread. She's bathed in it as she falls back on the bed, and he's standing between her legs, slowly dragging her underwear off. He drops them on the floor and she leans back on her elbows, looking at him. Her eyes are darker than he's ever seen them and she wraps her heels around him, pulling him down on top of her. He's straining through his pants and her lips quirk.

"Works a little better if you have those off," she teases, and her voice is hoarse with desire.

Castle's standing over her, giving her permission, and she unbuttons his pants with slow precision. Her nails skim over his thighs before moving up to his shirt. She's lazy, meticulous, fighting to keep this moment going. His shirt is on the floor then, on top of his pants and boxers that are surely to have been ruined, and he's on his knees, hands sliding up her thighs. Her breathing is labored, and she's gorgeous, all of her. His breath is hot against her center and she nearly arches up into him, fisting the covers for support.

"I was hoping you'd be vajazzled," and it has the desired effect he was hoping for.

She's on her side and she's laughing, and he could spend the rest of his life like this if she allows him.

"In the three and a half years you've known me, what would ever make you think I'd do that?"

He's sliding up her body, on top of her now, settling between her legs. He grazes her wetness and her eyes slip closed as she lets out a moan.

"You'll full of surprises, Beckett." He presses a kiss against her lips. "I was hoping that would be one of them."

He hears one of her heels hit the floor, followed by the other one. The noise distracts him and she's arching off the bed before he realizes it and he gasps as he slides inside of her. Her hands are around the back of his neck, pulling his mouth back down to her and they're unmoving because in all the sex scenes he's written, in all the times he's imagined it, it's never been as right as this.

"Hell will freeze over before I ever do that," she murmurs. He snakes a hand down her stomach, resting it over her center. He slides a finger over her clit and she's biting her lip, squirming underneath him.

"Come on," he goads. "For my birthday one year? Next Christmas? You can write Nikki Heat in studs."

"Speaking of, if the fictional version of me has vajazzling in your next book, I'll kill you."

He rocks over her, simultaneously pressing his finger harder over her spot. She shudders underneath him, but she doesn't let go, doesn't lose the battle quite yet. "I love when you sweet talk me, Beckett."

Kate's lips press against his ear. "I'm not kidding, Castle."

"I got it, I got it. No vajazzling for Nikki Heat."

She laughs, and then she's flipping him over because she'd have to take charge eventually, should have expected it, especially when it came to sex. She's domineering and a powerhouse and she's straddling him, her hair falling around his face. He slides his fingers through it and she's still not moving, just grinning at him.

"All right, where is it?"

He looks up at her confused. "Where's what?"

"The cheesy writer line that must be coming. Something like I want to make love to you or You complete me."

Castle grips his hips and she's tightening around him, losing the breath she's teasing him with. "Who do you think I am? A harlequin romance writer? Nicholas Sparks? I would never say cliché lines like that." He spins her again until she's beneath him, a tumbling game of cat and mouse. "And just for that, you can't be on top."

But she's smug, and she's still smiling, stretching her arms out above her. "Whatever you say, Castle."

He's done with the teasing then and he's moving over her, fast, their verbal foreplay a distant memory. Her hands grab his ass, drawing him further up inside of her and he's so swollen and ready for her that he aches, that he feels her own aching pulsate around his cock. She whispers his name, moans it and he thrusts his tongue in her mouth. They're all hands and movement and she's trembling underneath him. He slides his fingers between hers like he had earlier tonight out on the roof, and he knows she's about to let herself go, can feel as her body slowly begins to lose control. He's swiveling his hips, faster, desperately, and he's watching her, as her eyes change dark into light. Her face contorts in pleasure and she's writhing under him and this alone might have him beating her to the finish line.

She whimpers his name and one hand is back between her legs and he's working every angle on her, drawing pleasure from her and control is no longer hers. She lets go, arching up into him with a strangled cry. Her released desire is all around him and he's not far behind her as he comes, his mouth so perfectly fit against hers that all he can taste is her.

Castle rolls off of her, his leg still fit between hers and his lips are against her neck, licking her heated skin. Her head is on her shoulder, breathing labored, and he'll have to remember to thank Ryan come daylight for having a wedding.

"He was wrapped around her, and making love had found new meaning," Castle says in his most seductive voice.

Against his shoulder, Kate laughs. It rumbles against him. "There it is." She lifts her head, places a kiss on the corner of his lips. "I knew you wouldn't disappoint."

Sunday, January 8, 2012

4:15 a.m

There's a trail of salt around the curve of her belly button.

It had started as an innocent joke; it was supposed to be a shot of whiskey before bed from the mini bar, a drink to cap off the night. She had been lying on the leather chaise lounge that faced the large glass windows and Manhattan, clad in a robe from the hotel room when he had come over with four mini bottles of tequila. She had looked at him, shook her head, and vehemently declined; they weren't doing tequila shooters right now. He made some comment that they had to incorporate Nikki and Jameson's first night into their own and what better way than tequila?

"You're a little too engrossed in your characters, Castle," she had teased.

He hadn't missed a beat. "You don't get to number one without being thorough."

He was kissing her then and it had flashed through her mind that maybe one shot was okay, so she had agreed. He had opened her robe and the salt was around the curve of her breast before she could stop him (or ask where the hell he got salt and limes at four in the morning.)

Currently, he's on his sixth shot; in one minute she'll be on her fifth.

This is really not how the night was supposed to end.

Castle's hand is behind her head and he's drawing the lime from her mouth. The rind drops from her lips and she tastes the tequila when he's kissing her and she is so not gonna be happy when all this alcohol wears off in a few hours.

He's on the chaise next to her now, and she's a cop for Christ's sake who really should not be doing body shots and lewd sex acts in front of an open window (not that anyone could ever see them from up here, a fact that her hazy mind keeps trying to process.) It's her turn and he's handing her the shot glass, the shaker of salt. She pushes herself up and tilts his head back, before licking his lips methodically. She pours salt over them and then she's kissing him, before taking the tequila.

"This was my best idea ever," he stage whispers.

She's shaking her head. "Or your worst."

He reaches on the floor next to them, pulling up both of their phones. "Siri, I've missed you. Talk to me, Siri."

"She's not On-Star. There's not a real person in there."

"You're logical when you're drunk."

Kate rests her head on his shoulder and she's scrolling through his phone for some music. It's too quiet up here and she wants to move, because if she's going to be this ridiculously drunk in a penthouse overlooking New York, she's sure as hell going to enjoy it.

"You're joking, right?"

He looks over her shoulder. "What? I have good taste in music!"

"Castle, Katy Perry? You actually have Tub Thumping on your phone? Do you sometimes write your name as Jameson Rook on things?"

"Like my school books? And I'll have you know that Alexis put Katy Perry on there!" She raises an eyebrow, calling him on his bullshit. "Fine, Alexis hates Katy Perry but do you even understand how much Last Friday Night describes my former life? It's like she lived inside of my brain when writing that. She talks about streaking in the park! I got arrested for that!" His fingers are traveling down her stomach and she sucks in an inhale. His breath is hot on her ear when he whispers, "You remember. You read my rap sheet when we met. It was like foreplay when you had me in that interrogation room."

He brushes his thumb over her clit and she's arching into his hand. "No," she mutters, her eyes fluttering closed. "It wasn't foreplay. I really didn't like you when we met."

"But you like me now?"

Kate eyes his straining erection, rolling over on top of him. "You're growing on me."

"Oh my God, Beckett, that was such a perfect Castle line!"

"I guess you've rubbed off on me." She's laughing, burying her face in his neck. "This is not going to end well."

His phone buzzes and she sees Esposito's name pop up. "Did you text Espo?" she asks. "He says he'll be up here in ten minutes with Lanie. I'm going to kill you, Castle!"

"Esposito texted first! He wants to see the suite."

"And it couldn't have waited until a reasonable hour when I wasn't naked and covered in salt and lime juice?"

He tries to sit up straight, but she's over him, keeping him down. "Okay, don't be pissed at me. It's not like I told him you were licking salt off of me. I'll get dressed, you'll keep the robe on and we will be very, very, very platonic," Castle finishes on a whisper. "They'll never know."

"You really think that's going to work with a cop and a medical examiner?"

"No, but does it make you feel a little better that I at least tried?"

She's really going to regret this in the morning. Kate looks at the phone, lowering herself over him until he's inside of her. He bucks his hips in need and she's breathing into his mouth, biting his lip for a taste of the lime. "You have five minutes before they get up here. Better work fast."

He doesn't need to be told twice.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

9:21 a.m.

"So, let me get this straight," Kate says, taking a sip of steaming coffee. She's leaning up against him in bed, wrapped in the blanket, her head melting into the fluffy white Egyptian cotton pillows. "While Lanie and I went down the hall to get ice, you and Espo decided it would be a good idea to sneak into Ryan's room while they were sleeping, steal his kilt and take pictures?" She casts an eye at the floor. "And grab more candy hearts?"

"We were really drunk," Castle responds by way of an excuse. "I still don't get why I took the kilt though."

"Yeah, because you were clearly making good decisions."

He drags his fingers lazily through her hair. "I was at some point in the night." She gives him a brief smile. "We need to check your phone. Maybe I sent you a text."

"You killed my battery after you kept asking Siri to sing Katy Perry to you. You know I won't let you live that down, right?"

"If she's there to help you, she should be there to sing to you!" Castle reaches over to the nightstand and grabs the corded phone before dialing. "Hi, this is Rick Castle in Penthouse B. You wouldn't happen to have any phone chargers down there, would you?" He pulls open the drawer beside him in obvious command from the front desk. "Oh, I like you, Mondrian. Thank you!"

He's charging her phone, the little apple symbol forming against the black backdrop. The headache continues to pound through his head and he's not sure they're going to move today. The cold air will assault; the little sun that breaks through the clouds will cause pain. Even the coffee isn't helping (although he's never been more in love with a cup than he is right now.) Despite all of that, she's still next to him, acting like this is normal, just another Sunday morning like they do this all the time. She isn't running (which is probably more about the hangover than him) and it might be the only thing he's grateful for in the current moment.

He musters up some enthusiasm. "I can't wait to see what I said."

"You'll always be an excited little boy, won't you, Castle?"

"Isn't that why you kinda like me?" he flirts.

Kate rests a hand on his cheek. "On most days, it's why you annoy me." The coffee is just under her nose and her eyes close. "I think this morning qualifies as our drinking contest. Remind me to never do it again." She's taking in deep breaths, curbing her nausea.

Unfortunately, he relates.

"Got it on," Castle says. "You have two voicemails."

"I can hardly wait," she mumbles.

"Kaaaaate!" Wow, so he was really fucking drunk this morning. "I don't know why you're not answering your phone. Maybe Siri is singing. Esposito and I are going to Ryan's room. I need to get his kilt so I can show you my legs. I'm gonna do a sexy dance for you when I return. No, not you, Esposito. Sh." The message cuts off and he puts on the next one. "Yo girl," Esposito slurs in a loud whisper, "answer your phone. Castle is grabbing the – dude, he's waking up! Get out of the bed! Oh wait, take that picture first!"

And then the line goes dead.

Kate looks at him with a quirked eyebrow. There's amusement playing out over her features. "That would explain why you're in bed with Ryan and Jenny in some of those photos."

"Do you think I did a sexy dance for you?"

"I really don't have an answer for that, Castle."

He stops scrolling through her pictures and bites down on his lip. "Uh oh."

If he had better reflexes in the moment, she wouldn't have gotten the phone away from him. Goddamn alcohol. Her face shows horror and she's shaking her head and he takes her being blindsided to grab the phone back. She's giving him that look again, the one he loves, the one that also scares the shit out of him if he were to ever really do something wrong. "Castle, delete that. Now."

"It's your phone! Besides, look how sexy we are."

He's licking salt off her shoulder in the picture, and she's laughing, pushing him away. It's a little blurry – just a long line of drunken shots that are on both of their phones – but it helps him remember a little, how the lime juice was acidic on his tongue and her skin had been the perfect agent to fix that.

"Castle, come on," she demands, interrupting his thoughts. "These things have a way of getting out there. I am not going to end up on page six with this."

"Can I at least send it to myself before I delete it?"


His finger lingers over the trash icon. "Fine, but I didn't take the picture."


"Stop saying my name like you're gonna spank me." His lips twitch. "On second thought…" She glares at him and he raises his hands in surrender. "Okay, but I really didn't take it! We're both in it which means-"

"Esposito." She buries her face in her hands, and her hair is shifting from side to side as she shakes her head. "Oh God, he works for me."

"You mean with you."

"You know what I mean!"

"I'm sure Esplanie is too drunk to remember anything that happened. If we don't, I doubt they do. They sure caught up to us quickly, by the way."

Kate rolls onto her side, burying her head in the pillow. "I can't believe you still call them Esplanie."

"Easier." Begrudgingly, he deletes the photo. "It's gone. Like it never happened."

The shrill ringing of his phone startles him. "Another reason to get the Windows Media phone is that the battery lasts much longer."

"You're not gonna shut up about this if you get the campaign, are you?"

"Probably not." He looks at the caller ID and grimaces. "Shit, it's Ryan. Be cool." He puts it on speaker. "Hey, man, what's up?"

"Castle, give me my kilt back."

Castle laughs, a little too obviously. "What are you talking about? I'm just getting up. In my suit."

"There were about thirty candy hearts in my bed this morning with a note that read Love you guys, borrowing wedding skirt for a dance. Now I'm not going to ask how you got into our room because you got us a band and a suite for our wedding and I'm not sure I want to know. Just stop holding it hostage and return it."

Kate rolls her eyes, points to the bathroom as she slowly gets out of bed.

"Beware of the tiger," Castle whispers. "I'll have it to you by tomorrow morning, dry cleaned," he tells Ryan.

"Thank you. Are we seeing you two lovebirds for breakfast?"

"Shhh," Castle whispers, taking the phone off of speaker. "If Beckett hears you, she'll draw blood. I'm not sure we're going to make it. There was a lot of alcohol very early this morning. Want to stay in bed. I'll let you know if we're coming down, though."

He tosses the phone onto the bed. The water is running in the bathroom and he turns the TV on, muting it before the sound gives him any more of a headache. He's flipping through the channels, looking for the news, when he stops. She's going to kill him, but if he's gonna die from this hangover anyway, he might as well go out with a bit of fun.

Castle's on the highest level of his newest game of Angry Birds when she comes out and with a trained eye, he watches the expression flit across her features. Her lips lift into a small smile and she shakes her head, climbing back into bed.

"I'm going to kill Madison for telling you that."

"So, Beckett," he says, tossing the phone beside him. "Were you a Zack or Slater kind of girl?"

"I hate you so much right now."

She unmutes the television and the joke is on him because now he's sitting here watching Saved by the Bell and he really should have thought this thing through. There's a tiger mascot on the screen and if he could muster the energy he'd make some joke about it, about how that should be their mascot, but for once he keeps quiet because she'll make him sit through hours upon hours of this crap just to torture him. Kate is on her side, the mug back in her hands, and it's this entirely other side to her he hadn't expected to see, like she's still that girl who came home to a carefree life to watch reruns of a children's TV show.

"Zack," she finally answers, her lips pressed against her mug. "I always liked the troublemaker. Plus, Slater had that mullet."

Castle bites down on his lip, and no, he's not going to do it. He's really not-

"Don't say it," Kate comments, as if she's reading his mind.

"Say what?"

"It was growing out."

"I didn't say anything!"

"Yeah, well, you're not saying it very loudly, Castle."

He sips his coffee; it's getting cold and he's going to need some food soon that doesn't consist of chalky Necco candy. "At least yours wasn't curly," he counters.

He doesn't argue when she smacks his chest in retaliation.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

12:30 p.m.

They're standing in the threshold of her apartment, silently.

She slips out of her heels, throwing them further into the room. They scatter by the couch – the one that she'll spend the rest of the day curled up on – and she turns back to face him. He's smiling down at her, and it reminds her of first crushes, and love, and things she hasn't let herself think about in a long time.

When he had picked her up last night, she hadn't expected the night to end where it did. She hadn't expected to finally give into this with him, to be grateful that she had. It was always daunting in her mind before; if she gave in then everything else would be gone. The drive to solve her mother's murder, the justification that she was giving up her life for reason. But with him, it's different. He keeps her drive alive; he helps balance her when the case starts to take over her life. The truth of their lies is no longer a barrier and she can do this, she can tell him she wants to try it with him.

"Kate…" His voice sounds strained, and she's not sure if it's the hangover or something else. "I just want you to know I'm still not pushing you to get into something you're not ready for and-"

She cuts him off with a kiss. "When you asked me earlier about doing something tomorrow, about being there for my mom's anniversary…no one's ever asked me that, Castle. No one has ever been courageous enough to bring it up to me because they think it'll make it worse or I'll go into a tailspin. It means a lot to me that you asked. I don't know if I am going to be good at this. I've had a lot of relationships that I've screwed up, that I haven't been able to give myself to. I don't want to…I don't want to ruin this with you."

"I never thought I'd be the more functional one in a relationship," Castle teases, and she's grateful for it, for his ability to know what she needs when she needs it.

"It looks like we're doomed."

He rubs his hand over her cheek. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"Letting me in last night. For giving this a shot even if there aren't answers for everything right now."

She's not quite ready to return the words he gave her when she was lying in that cemetery, so she merely nods, hoping he knows, that he understands. "Always."

He's so close to her, and it feels safe and right and exactly what she's been wanting. "I should get home before my mother and Alexis start calling police stations to find out if I've been arrested."

"Can't they just call your cell?"

"It died on our way back here."

Kate's lips quirk. "I guess it's not that magical after all."

"Still lasted longer than yours." He places a kiss against her lips, lingering for a few seconds longer than necessary. "I'll call you tonight."

It's an hour later when she's on the couch with coffee and Gathering Storm (if she's not going to read it tomorrow, she might as well today) when Siri rumbles to life, startling her.

"One new text message from Castle."

She takes the phone off the coffee table. Tell Siri I miss her already. You're right. My phone is lame in comparison.

I bet Lou Diamond Phillips doesn't talk trash about his phone like that, she writes back.

It takes only seconds for him to respond. I see whose side you're really on, Beckett. Check your little purse, by the way.

It's on the floor next to her shoes and she strains to reach for it. She rifles through what little space is in there and pulls out a folded, printed picture of the ceiling in Grand Central Station. He must have gotten it from the hotel lobby when he was paying their bill earlier and in black marker written across the ceiling, it says Tomorrow night? For memories' sake?

She thinks if it was anyone else, she would have declined. It was her place with her mother. But with him, she gets it. She gets that he wants her to find new memories there, to bask in the old ones. He's staring up at her from the back cover of his novel and her eyes well. She blames the lack of sleep, the nausea that hasn't fully faded.

Yeah, she types out. You're still buying me a drink though.

She's back to reading when her phone buzzes again. Let's hold off on the alcohol. Can I persuade you with sex instead?

She smiles, because yes, yes, he can. Deal.

Music selections, if interested:

Wedding dance: You're the Inspiration ~ Chicago

All the songs make sense on the roof: Something Good Coming ~ Tom Petty