Insomnia

A/N: This has no spoilers, no angst, and no mention of secrets (as there is a trend at the moment to write one-shots with similar stipulations among the fandom fed up with AWM angst…).

He was falling asleep to Conan on his couch when he heard the soft knock.

He thought he'd imagined it—no one would be coming over at this hour.

But a second insistent rapping at his door spurred him to get out from under his warm fleecy cocoon and brave the slightly chilly loft in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. He wished he hadn't left his slippers by his bed.

He peeked through the peephole and blinked. Why was Kate here? And why did she appear to be wearing slippers?

He unbolted the door and opened it, moving immediately out of the way to let her in. She was wearing slippers, and pajamas, underneath her coat.

"Kate?"

He hoped the syllable conveyed his confusion adequately.

"I couldn't sleep."

"So rather than call me or text me or read one of my books, you decided to drive over at ten minutes 'til midnight in your pajamas?"

"I took a cab."

Cryptic as always.

She glanced at him as she handed him her coat, then scuffled her Ugg-clad feet to his kitchen.

"You don't have chocolate milk, by any chance, do you?"

"Uh, no… but I can mix some up in about 30 seconds."

He had followed her to the fridge, and while she pulled out milk, he grabbed two glasses and the Hershey's syrup.

She somehow remembered where his spoons were, and got two of them out.

He was portioning out milk and chocolate, still trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this alternate universe where Kate came over to his apartment in the middle of the night in her pajamas and asked him for chocolate milk. He reasoned that he was probably asleep on his couch, with Conan on in the background, and a "Got milk?" commercial had come up back to back with Hershey's syrup. That must be it-definitely more likely for the stars to align on the TBS commercial lineup than for Kate to be seeking solace from insomnia with his chocolate milk.

They each took a spoon and stirred, the regular clinking of her glass in direct counterpoint to the somewhat haphazard timing of his mixing.

In the end, they were both satisfied with their results at once, and removed spoons to take a sip.

"Nice, Castle. Good syrup to milk ratio."

He likely had a milk moustache as ridiculous as her own right now, but he was grinning at hers anyway.

She looked up at him over the rim of her glass and smiled a slightly confused smile in return.

"What?"

He stepped toward her, closing the distance between them without romantic intent.

"You have…"

"What?"

She was looking self-conscious now.

"You have a chocolate milk moustache."

He reached behind her for a paper towel as she ran her tongue across her upper lip.

It put them at just the right angle, just the right level of uncomfortable closeness. He set his glass down on the counter behind her with a clank rather louder than he would have liked.

He watched her pupils dilate as she looked up at him, saw her inhale intentionally. She set her glass behind her on the counter.

That hand, cold from holding her glass, reached up, brushed his upper lip.

"So do you." She smiled then, the real smile. The one he rarely saw—with teeth and gums.

He stretched his tongue to mimic her earlier actions, but her thumb was in his way. He couldn't really help it if he happened to make contact.

Her smile suddenly melted to something darker when his warm tongue met her cold digit against his upper lip. He figured since he was dreaming safely on his couch anyway, why not go for broke?

He opened his lips and sucked her thumb inside his mouth.

The sound that escaped her lips then could only be described as a groan.

He laved the pad of her thumb, nibbled it between his teeth, suckled lightly, then released it with a pop.

Her expression screamed "Take me now." Though, really he couldn't quite imagine Kate ever saying such a thing. She seemed like the type that would want to have a certain measure of… control… in bed.

"Kate?" His voice sounded strangled, which was appropriate, since he felt like a teenager without a working voicebox right now. "If you don't talk to me, tell me, for example, what the hell is going on, then I'm going to be forced to kiss you. Like within the next thirty seconds. And I really don't want to get punched, or kneed anywhere, or shot tomorrow, but I'm so getting 'kiss me now, chocolate milk boy' signals from you that I have no idea how to interpret."

He had leaned in, was breathing harshly against her cheek as he finished his little rambling speech.

She reached around his neck and pulled him down to her lips.

She tasted like chocolate, not surprisingly, but also like Kate. There was this now-unmistakable flavor. He'd tasted it twice, and that was enough to assign the sweetness, the dark, inviting undertones of her mouth, entirely to her.

She was tangling her tongue with his, one hand gripping the back of his head and the other reaching around his waist to press against the muscles on either side of his spine.

He wasn't so restrained. He palmed her breast through her thin pajama top, reached down and squeezed one cheek with his other hand. She arched into both points of contact, which was why he didn't feel too awkward about reaching under her arms to lift her up. When she wrapped her legs around his waist, he took it as confirmation of his initial hunch. This was definitely the Kate Beckett version of "Take me now."

He ignored the fact that the lights and the TV were still on as he gripped her bottom and crossed the room to his office. He had her on his bed, kicking off slippers and stripping off flannel in less than two minutes.

She was naked, glorious body and ragged scars in stark contrast all on display, somehow both completely unashamed but simultaneously hesitant as she waited for him to join her on his bed.

He had stripped, and was climbing after her, but as he pinned her to the mattress under him with the weight of his hips, he held her eyes.

"Kate, this is insane. I'm really good at insane. And really, this insanity is based on something that's real and reasonable and right."

He took a long breath, calmed his humming, thrumming arousal enough to hear his own voice over its insistent call.

"I love you. And I want you. And both of those things have been true for a long time. If they aren't true for you, you have to tell me now. I can't do this—not with you—if I think it's for nothing. Because it's everything. I want it to be everything."

He must have broken through whatever insomnia-induced haze had drawn her to his loft, because her eyes cleared, her breathing caught in her chest, and she pressed her lips together.

The juxtaposition, his body so intimately pressing against hers but his heart and his mind still floating out in space, was almost more than he could take. He needed an anchor.

"I love you."

Tears welled in her eyes.

"I want you."

She blinked and they spilled over, down and into her hair.

"And I realized tonight that I may never think I'm good enough, so I'm here anyway."

"You are so much better than I deserve."

One corner of her mouth curved upward at that, and he felt like they had just had the most open and honest conversation of their entire relationship.

And then he was on his back, and she was straddling his hips, and he had no idea how that had happened. He kind of wanted to know, like for future reference. Despite his skittish pessimism about her reasons for wanting to be here, he maintained the optimistic view that they would be doing this again. And again. And hopefully again.

She dipped to kiss him, long and slow and deep, and she shifted her hips over his, aligning them.

He opened his eyes, which he hadn't noticed were closed, actually, because he wanted to watch her face.

As she took him inside her, her eyes widened, lips parted from his, breath held. He could feel the tension in her back, in her hips, as he stroked his hands over the skin and muscle.

And then she relaxed. Everything—eyes, breath, flesh—and her hips met his.

He felt the sting of tears but couldn't understand them. For a moment, her image wavered before him, but he blinked and his vision cleared. He couldn't afford to lose one second of this experience—visual, tactile, auditory.

He felt surrounded, encompassed by her body, by her acceptance and her emotions. He couldn't move—he didn't want to break this spell.

But then, of course, she moved. She rose and fell over him, pressing herself tightly against him with each stroke. His hands gripped her hips, tried to pull her down closer. She lay herself flat against his chest, wrapped her legs around his against the mattress, noses aligning, breath mingling, making her tiny, nearly inaudible hitch of breath with each movement of her hips echo in his ears.

She was looking at him—hadn't closed her eyes or burrowed into his neck. He felt as though he was trying to memorize this, one small and apprehensive side of his brain screaming that he might not ever be here again. But when he looked into her eyes, he saw that same anxiety reflected back. Her eyes were darting to his lips, his brow, his neck—she was memorizing too.

Enough of that.

"I don't know about you, but I say we do this again tomorrow."

She stopped her movements and laughed—really laughed. Right there in the middle of making love for the first time, spurred by insomnia and chocolate milk.

He got her attention again by pushing his hips up and into hers, re-establishing their rhythm.

When she got serious again, he could tell by her breathing and the austerity of her movements that she was building up—she was close. At this point, with three years of pent up sexual frustration to spur him on, he was ready when she was.

He reached for her, tugged her down to his lips, even though both of them were so distracted that their kiss was more a meeting of languid lips, another physical connection to anchor them when they fell.

She let out a little high-pitched moan from the back of her throat when he increased the force and speed of his hips as they pressed up and into her. Taking that as a good sign, he thrust harder, desperation for her release driving him more than for his own. He wanted to see her, feel her, hear her come apart around him, above him, with him.

He felt the shift in her—could tell when she was on the brink. Then she let out a little sob that might have been his name, and her eyes fixed on his, and he felt her muscles contract around him. He stroked inside her deep once, then again, then he spilled inside her, her name gruffly on his lips. They had watched each other—seen each other's faces at that moment. He couldn't remember ever doing that with a woman before, certainly not the first time. But somehow he wasn't self-conscious. They had both laid themselves bare. He'd seen the love and the trust in her eyes. He imagined she'd seen the same radiating from him.

As the aftershocks subsided, she did finally tuck her nose against his neck, her breath blowing cool across the perspiration on his neck and chest.

"Kate?"

A few silent moments had passed. He had gripped one of her hands in his, was clinging to it still.

"Hmm?"

He couldn't help the feeling of pride that suffused him as he heard her warm, deep, sated tone. But at the same time, he couldn't help needing reassurance.

"Be here in the morning."

"I think it is morning."

She sounded sleepy, like she was drifting off draped on top of him, naked in his bed.

"Okay, true, but not my point."

He was speaking into her hair, wisps blowing across her neck with his words.

"Are you making me coffee?"

He chuckled.

"Absolutely."

"What if I said I wanted chocolate milk?"

She sounded half-asleep, but still apparently awake enough to tease.

He grinned into her hair.

"Just wake me up early enough, and you can have all the chocolate milk you want in the morning."

"Rick?"

"Hmm?"

It was his turn to sound sleepy and satisfied, because really, when had he ever been so satisfied?

"If I can't sleep tomorrow night, do think you could make me chocolate milk at my place?"

"This working for you? Think I've cured your insomnia?"

"I think it's a work in progress."

And how could he disagree?

A/N: I read a quote that TwistyMaven reblogged tonight and started this story at 11pm my time. "You can't sleep? Me either. Let's can't sleep together." It's now 1:45 AM. I haven't done any editing, didn't do any thinking ahead, so forgive me for those sins. Now, all you writers who read, go write one, too.