I thought this would go without saying, but after three separate flamers who won't sign in so I can defend myself, I guess I have to do it here.
1. THIS IS NOT A STORY ABOUT STANA KATIC. Stana Katic is not Kate Beckett. This is a story about Kate Beckett.
2. Hair is a huge part of Kate's progression as a character, and it's something you notice. As a man who spends his life looking at details, it is logical, almost obvious, that Rick would notice.
3. This is not a story about hair. This is a story about intimacy and progression.

That is all: I don't own Castle.

You wrapped yourself around my heart like I wrapped your hair around my finger.

He had always loved her hair.

Back when he had first met her, it was short. Very short. He had never been particularly fond of short hair on a woman, but it worked on her. She made it work. It brought out her cheekbones, but it also sharpened all the angles of her face. It made her look fierce and strong, like she was carved by Pygmalion himself.

But then she had started to grow it out.

When she had kicked him out of her life, it was fun. She let it flair out away from her scalp. It opened up her face. For the first time since he had met her, she looked truly happy, like she was dropping her guard with every centimeter of hair growth.

When he wormed his way back into her life, it was longer still, and even though he had to admit that the mullet wasn't his favorite hair style on her, he didn't hate it. The color was lighter, and it made her seem lighter. Her hair was still growing longer, and pretty soon she had changed it yet again.

By the time it was falling around her shoulders she was straightening it nearly every day. He knows how terrible excessive heat is for your hair (he does have a teenage daughter after all) but he couldn't bring himself to care. Because when her hair was like that, the light reflected off of it in the most wonderful way. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

Then he left for the summer again and when he fought his way back into her life for the second time her hair was different yet again. It was a little longer, a little softer, a slight curl at the end that fell past her shoulders. She kept letting it grow out until it touched her shoulder blades and let it curl more.

Back when he kissed her in the alley.

After that night, all he wanted to do was touch it again, to wrap her locks around his fingers and just enjoy the feel of the strands against his skin. Because it was just as soft as he imagined it would be. The sensation lit the nerve endings in his fingertips on fire and he was desperate to feel it again.

The only other time he got to was when he had pulled her away from the hangar after she learned about Montgomery's betrayal, and then again right after she hit the ground at the funeral.

He didn't like to think about those times.

When she came back, he sincerely thought that her hair was going to be different, that maybe she would cut it off again in an attempt to distance herself from the past, but it wasn't and she didn't. The first time he saw her again her hair was just like it had been all those months before when he kissed her, and it did absolutely nothing to help his resolve to be mad at her for leaving. He had wanted to lock his fingers in her tresses and pull her close to him, demanding to know why she left him, why he wasn't good enough to help her when he knows she needed it.

But he didn't, and he forgave her.

While she didn't cut her hair, she did wear it differently. She started to pull it back more, tying her hair back into buns and braids. He didn't mind though. It gave him a chance to see her. He watched as she grew stronger, her cheekbones becoming less pronounced on her face as she gained more weight, the way the bags under her eyes became a little less puffy. When her hair was pulled back, she couldn't hide from him.

But when she wore it down? It took his breath away.

He realized that when she left her hair down, she looked happier. Her eyes were a little bit brighter and the way the curls fell around her face made her smile seem just a little bit bigger. Her hair was lighter yet again, more honey than chocolate but he loved it all the same. It still looked soft and it reflected the light in a way that made his throat dry and his hands clench by his side in an effort to control the urge to just reach out and touch it –

"Why did you stop?"

He startles, looking down quickly to the woman lying by his side in bed, her head lying on the pillow near his hip as he was sitting up against his head board. He smiled at her.

"How long have you been awake?"

He had woken up before her, a rare occurrence, but he wanted to let her sleep. She had a long couple of days at the precinct and she really needed to get some rest.

She shook her head, avoiding his question, "Why did you stop?"

He frowned at her, "Stop what?"

Kate lifted her head off the pillow slightly and Rick's hand moved with it.


Had he really been running his fingers through her hair?

"Did I wake you?" He said softly.

He had gotten up a few hours ago but couldn't fall back to sleep, so he had gotten up as quietly as he could and started a pot of coffee in the kitchen. He used the restroom, and within five minutes he was crawling back into bed, not liking to be away from her for too long, with a small notepad and his favorite pen.

The day before, Black Pawn had sent him the final manuscript edit for the latest Nikki Heat novel, The Heat of the Moment. The fact that the book itself was a miracle, his contract extended literally days before the old one expired for at least three more books. With the original four books and the two film adaptations doing, Nikki Heat was by farBlack Pawn's most popular series of all time which, consequently, meant it was their biggest payoff ever.

He had considered bringing the manuscript back to bed with him, but quickly decided against it. Neither of them were particularly fond of bringing their work to bed with them. It happened occasionally: case files scattered on the sheets in front of them as they sat against the headboard, his laptop when Nikki just wouldn't leave him alone, but they tried their hardest not to let it happen often.

And, he thinks, this may technically be considered work, but he really doubt she'll mind.

Because he still hadn't come up with the dedication for the book.

He knew he was going to dedicate it to her. After everything that had happened between them this past year, there was absolutely no doubt. But it had to be something really special. It had to be something that would take her breath away. It had to say "I love you" in not so many words.

She shook her head, his fingers still wrapped around her curls and brought him out of his thoughts yet again.

"Only since you stopped," she mumbled, snuggling closer to him on the pillow, "Please don't stop."

He raised an eyebrow at her, capping the pen with his teeth and putting it on the nightstand with the notepad.

"You like that, Detective?"

As he spoke, he started to move his fingers again, running his hands along her scalp, letting her hair slide over and around his fingers. She sighed contentedly and arched her back off the mattress slightly, pushing herself against him ever so slightly in an attempt to make herself comfortable.

"What were you writing?" she asked softly closing her eyes at the feeling of his fingers in her hair.

"Working on the dedication," he said just as softly, letting his short fingernails scratch against her head lightly.

She hummed, "Doesn't the book go to the printers in like, a week?"

He huffed, but there was no heat behind it.

"You can't rush perfection, Katherine."

He looked down at her, his hands still moving through her tresses as he took in the small smile teasing the corner of her lips.

"It'll be perfect," Kate whispered. She reached out from under the sheet she was curled up in and grabbed his free hand in hers. She brought his hand towards her mouth and kissed each other his fingertips individually before looking up at him, love and adoration making their way through her sleep clouded eyes.

"They always are."

Keeping his hand still wound in her hair, he slid down against the headboard, sinking back into the sheets next to Kate. She shifted slightly so he could lie down comfortably, but he didn't let her get too far. As soon as he was lying down, he rolled onto his side, bringing them chest to chest. His fingers tightened slightly in her hair, cradling the back of her head. He looked at her for only a moment before he closed his eyes and moved her towards him, pressing his lips to gently against hers.

He loved her hair short, and he loved her hair long. He loved it light and he loved it dark. He loved it straight and he loved it curly and he loved it when she braided it or left it flowing down around her face.

But what he really loved about her hair? The thing that really took his breath away? Stopped all coherent thought? Made him want to kiss her and never come back up for air?

He really loved the way it looked against his pillows.

Now if you're going to try and flame me because you still can't separate reality from fiction, I challenge you to actually sign in before you leave a nasty review.