Sleepless


Tumblr prompt:

Twistymaven reblogged a quote earlier: "You can't sleep? Me either. Let's can't sleep together." No angst, no secrets. : )-KC


The window reflects stormy eyes, a lined face, messy hair that she knows is greasy from the many times he's run his fingers through it.

He stares out, but his gaze is too focused, fixed on a point she can tell he isn't really seeing.

"Castle," she murmurs in the half-light, but he doesn't respond.

Weary but unable to sleep, she takes in his figure, the slump of his shoulders, the hand twisting aimlessly at one side while the other remains wedged under his armpit, the toes scratching up and down the back of one leg.

He's restless still.

She knows he hasn't been sleeping, has been staying up too late. Writing, he claims, though usually when the story is progressing well he's in a better mood.

The detective calls his name again softly, but his eyes don't waver from the wash of water sloshing against the thick-paned window.

He gets lost in thought sometimes, she knows that. But this seems different than the way he'll occasionally drift out of a conversation and then come back with a start, scrambling for his phone or his laptop or a pen and paper, desperate to get the words out.

She could let him be, could let him work it out on his own. But that's not what they signed up for, is it? They both need their solitude from time to time - yes, even him - but this...this drifting, this wandering isn't like him.

It's the deep sigh that finally decides her.

She pads across the room, quiet but not silent. She's not going to make an effort either to sneak up on him or to startle him, but something in the darkness of the room calls for a light step. When her palm coasts around his side, coming to rest over his solar plexus, he leans back.

"Hey," she whispers, pressing forward to nuzzle into the valley between his shoulder blades.

The hand tucked into his armpit retreats from its hiding place, engulfs hers in a residual heat. "Hey. What are you doing up?"

"Couldn't sleep," she murmurs, her lips trailing along his spine. "What about you?"

He nods, his bare skin shifting beneath her mouth. "Same."

"You haven't been getting a lot of rest lately," she points out gently, her free hand stroking down his side. She can feel his ribs better, she realizes, as though he's lost a little weight.

He shrugs. "Enough."

She tilts forward, presses her forehead to his back. His skin is cool and dry, and when she lets out a warm, moist sigh against him, he shivers, goosebumps rising quickly.

"Come to bed, Castle," she whispers, the hand at his side sliding down to linger at the waistband of his flannel pants.

His fingers curl around hers, trapping her there, nearly wrapped around him. She doesn't mind.

"I will," he promises, lifting the hand at his chest to press his lips to her knuckles. "Soon. You should go back to sleep though."

She tugs herself closer, pushing up on her toes to hook her chin over his shoulder. Not as easy as it used to be.

"Wasn't sleeping," she admits. "Bed was too cold without you."

He lets out a puff of air, his head dropping forward, ruffled hair hanging in his eyes. She can see the frown in his reflection. "I'm sorry."

"Hey, no," she murmurs, turning her lips against his neck. "Not what I meant. I just-"

"You need your rest," he says softly, shaking his head.

She squeezes his waist, not enough to hurt, but enough to gain his attention. "Hush, Castle."

Letting go of him then, she slides around to stand face to face with him, bracing herself against the ledge of the battered window. "Talk to me. What's up?"

He laughs. "Which is it? Hush or talk?"

Her finger digs into his stomach as she rolls her eyes. "You know what I mean."

Scrubbing a hand across his face, he steps forward into the vee of her legs. "I just- I don't know."

She leans toward him, sliding her hands under his arms to cup his shoulder blades and tugging him in until his forehead rests in the crook of her neck.

He breathes against her for a moment, slow, too steady. He's trying too hard. She cards her fingers through his hair. "Rick, what is it?"

"I'll be sixty."

She shuts her eyes, her palm pressing against the back of his skull. "And?"

"Sixty, Kate," he groans. "I'll be sixty by the time she graduates from high school."

"So?" she whispers.

His mouth moves against her skin, makes her shiver. "So what if I can't keep up?"

"Castle..."

He shakes his head, jostles her. "I'm being ridiculous, I know. I'm sorry."

"Nothing to be sorry for," she assures him. "And you are ridiculous, but that's one of the things I love about you."

He laughs then, a real laugh, and straightens his body, sets his hands on her shoulders. His blue eyes pierce hers, the steady sound of rain beating against the glass behind her soothing her, making her sleepy at last.

"Are you sure you want to do this with me?" he asks quietly, his hands drifting from her shoulders to her sides, finally resting on her waist.

She nods. "Pretty sure."

He frowns at her. "Just pretty sure?"

"Eh," she says, shrugging as she tugs his hands to her belly. "I just figured it was a bit late now."

"Mmm," he agrees, fingers stretching over the growing bump. "I suppose it is."

"But..."

He dips his head, but she catches his chin with one hand, doesn't let him look away. "But I'm just afraid that I won't be able to be for her what I was for Alexis."

"Castle," she whispers. "You'll be the best dad ever. You already are the best dad ever."

His eyes shine, and she leans forward, pressing her lips swiftly to his. For a moment he simply rests against her, and she lets him draw his strength.

But when her fingers curl around his neck and his find the hem of his old tee shirt that usually swamps her thin frame, she knows the time for rest is done, at least for now.

"Besides," she gasps as she breaks from his lips, shuddering under the heat of the hand slowly climbing her side. "You're not doing it alone this time. I'll be with you every step of the way."

"Promise?" he mumbles as his mouth meets hers once more.

He swallows her vow, hooking his fingers around the soft cotton shirt and tugging it upward.

She pants when their lips pop apart, twisting her arms to help him in his task. "Come to bed, Castle."

"I told you I wasn't sleepy, Kate," he rumbles, grinning.

She laughs and slides her fingers under his waistband. "Never said you were."