He overfeeds her, plying her with seconds of his delicious homemade lasagna and tempting her with tiramisu and never leaving her glass of wine unfilled. It's been a long week, he says, and she deserves this. She doesn't know about the last part, but she has to agree with the first. It has been a long week.

A string of connected murders that stumped them until late Friday afternoon, tension for some unknown reason between Ryan and Esposito that forced her to act as go-between, and a broken sewer line that has made her apartment uninhabitable for a few days. All of it adds up to a very long week.

Now though - now she's feeling pleasantly buzzed. And warm. And, above all, sleepy.

"C'mon," she murmurs, snagging one of his belt loops and tugging him away from the sink where he's been rinsing their dishes. "That can wait until later."

He arches a playful eyebrow, his lips curling in the semblance of a leer. "And where exactly might we be going?"

"Not there," she grouses, rolling her eyes, and then pausing. "Well, yes, there. But not for that."

He laughs and pulls her fingers from the loop, twining them with his instead. "Lead on."

She does, pulling him across the loft and through his office to the bedroom. The door snicks shut behind them and she turns at the sound, finds him already unbuttoning his dress shirt with one hand.

She smirks. "Getting comfortable, are you?"

A tilt of his head answers her as he pulls his fingers from her grasp and completes the job, unfastening the cuffs last.

The detective halts his movements before he has a chance to pull the shirt off completely, bringing her hands to his shoulders and sliding the sleeves slowly down his arms as she leans into his chest.

She feels his breathing stutter when she presses against him, but when the deep blue fabric pools on the floor behind him, he wraps his arms around her, large hands spanning her back, strong fingers kneading her tight muscles.

She melts.

He knows just how to make her boneless, and she sighs into his neck when his hands stop moving and simply rest against her shoulder blades.

"Let's get you into bed," he whispers, and she nods.

He walks her backward until her knees hit the edge of the mattress, and then he reaches behind her, sweeps back the covers, and pushes her down gently to sit.

Her shoes came off as soon as she came back from running errands this morning, but when she reaches down to undo the button on her jeans, his hands are already there, working the metal free and sliding down the zipper.

If she weren't so tired...

But she is, and when he lifts his eyes to hers, she finds nothing but tenderness, nothing but love and concern. She raises her hips from the bed and his fingers trail down the length of her legs, following the worn denim.

He shucks his own jeans quickly, her eyes lazily following his movements.

An odd part of her - perhaps that loopy but not-quite-tipsy part of her - wants to borrow a pair of his boxers so they'd match, white v-neck tee shirts and all. She doesn't ask though, not when he drops to his knees before her, his hands resting on her bare thighs, his thumbs circling near the twin protrusions of her hipbones.

"You okay?" he murmurs, leaning forward to rest his chin on her shoulder.

His breath washes over her ear and she drops her head to press her mouth to his trapezius. "I'm good. Just worn out."

He turns his face then, his lips feathering against her cheek before he sits back on his heels. She takes the cue and pulls her legs up onto the mattress, scooting toward the middle of the bed, making room, her eyes never leaving his.

He watches her for a moment, that little worried crease appearing in his forehead. But he says nothing.

"Well, come on," she finally beckons him, patting the spot next to her.

He rises from his position at the side of the bed, throws a knee onto the mattress and lifts the covers.

She turns on her side, facing away from him as he arranges the thick blankets over their bodies, cocooning them in a bubble of soft warmth, pure comfort.

He wriggles behind her, his hairy calves brushing her smooth ones, the mattress bouncing with his movement. Turning her head to look at him over her shoulder, she lifts an eyebrow. He stops moving immediately and tucks both lips between his teeth - that funny face he always makes when he knows he's in trouble - and she can't help but smile.

"Come here, you," she murmurs, and his eyes brighten.

She reaches back to catch his hand, tugs his arm over her body, curling her fingers around his and settling their hands between her breasts.

He snugs himself tight against her, his chest meeting her back and one foot sneaking between her ankles. He likes to be close, she knows, likes to feel her breathing against him, likes to feel the way she sometimes twitches as she's drifting off.

And she's found she doesn't much mind having his body draped around hers, a gentle furnace that warms aching muscles and soothes old hurts and staves off nightmares.

She sighs, and he nuzzles the back of her head, his breath ruffling the hair along her neck. "Rest, Kate."

She tilts her body further into his, squeezing his fingers. The arm around her tightens, and he brushes the knuckles of the other hand gently along her spine, a lulling motion that quiets both mind and body.

"Don't drool on me, Castle," she whispers, his indignant answer the last thing she hears before sleep pulls her under.

"One time. That happened one time."