For erspoke over on Twitter, who asked me to write a blackout story based on this picture: 28(dot)media(dot)tumblr(dot)com/tumblr_lx2zoyo0Xr1qz6f9yo1_500(dot)jpg
A hundred degree heat in the middle of April with no sign of letting up for at least a couple of days, the weatherman had said.
Which is how she ends up here, riding the subway with her dour partner. The AC in her Crown Vic is broken and neither of them is particularly willing to sit in her car in the middle of a goddamn heat wave.
Though she can't say this is much better.
"You'd think a little heat would deter the murderers for a while," Castle gripes, wiping the sweat from his brow.
But she doesn't want to hear it. She's tired and hot and it's late, so late. She wants to go home and sink into an ice bath full of denial and pretend like their relationship isn't the most fucked up it's ever been.
"Yeah, well, no one's forcing you to be here, Castle," she grates, wrapping a hand around the metal pole, despite her sitting position. The air is stifling and it presses down on her chest and her head, makes her dizzy. She and Castle are the only ones in the car, apart from a homeless guy who sleeps in his seat in the corner, dead to the world.
She tries to look at him, see through his silence, but the hum and flicker of the lights swims her senses, overwhelms her. She gasps a little sliding her head back to its previous position, rests it against the fist that wraps around the pole.
"You okay?" he asks. If she strains her ear, she might hear the touch of concern laced in his tone, but the slow drone of the car drowns it out.
"'m fine," she murmurs. She yanks at the collar of her tee shirt, needs a little release from the perspiration that coats her body. Her cotton pants help a little, but she wishes she'd worn a skirt or even a pair of shorts. She's desperate enough to sacrifice professionalism.
She lets out a relieved breath as the train slows to a halt in front of their stop. She trails after him slowly, averting her eyes from staring too longingly at his khaki shorts.
She doesn't bother to catch up to him, is content to hang back and keep her distance. The ache within her hasn't bothered to recede. Her heart still clenches at the hard lines in his shoulders, the firm set of his jaw, and the ice in his eyes.
She yanks her phone from her pocket, shoots Lanie a text to tell her that they'll be there in a few minutes. The lights flicker above, glaring over the screen of her phone.
"Is Alexis with Lanie tonight?" Kate asks, shoving the phone back into her pocket.
"No. She and my mother stayed in tonight with some ice cream and a movie marathon," he says almost wistfully.
She rolls her eyes. "I meant what I said earlier. You could've stayed home."
"Is that where you want me? At home?" he asks tersely.
She lets out a huff of disbelief, shaking her head. "Just forget it," she mutters. Her eyes fall to his sides as he tightens his fists, clenching them against his sides.
Makes two of us, Castle.
She steps onto the escalator, her stomach uneasy at the sensation. She takes a deep breath and presses a hand to the railing for purchase, hissing as the hot surface scalds her.
Suddenly, the escalator jerks to a stop and everything's dark as she rocks forward with the motion, colliding with Castle's firm back with a soft "Ooph." She wraps her fingers around his biceps, her heart racing at the sudden contact. He's so warm and firm all over.
He whips his head to her, looking her over. "You all right?" he asks softly. There's no mistaking the concern this time.
She nods, a little breathless, as she fists the soft cotton of his tee shirt in her hands to right herself again.
"Shit," she breathes as she gets her bearings.
"Looks like a blackout," he observes on a sigh.
They're submerged in darkness and she can only barely make out his shape, breathing a little heavily next to her. She wonders if their proximity caught him off guard, too. Her body's thrumming with nervous, sexual energy.
"Think there are people trapped in the cars?" he asks.
"Maybe," she admits, her mind flashing to the homeless man they'd left behind on the car. "Remember '08, though? Only a few of them were out of service."
"I'm gonna try to call Ryan and Esposito before the lines jam."
He curses only seconds later, removing the phone from his ear. "Nothing."
She scrubs a hand down her face in exhaustion. "Must be city-wide."
"Do you have a signal? Maybe we can get a text through to somebody."
The light from her phone makes her wince, flashing her retinas. "Nothing."
"Let's just try to make it out to the street," he offers.
She hesitates in her silence, which he picks up on. "What?"
"I-" she sighs. "I'm really lightheaded. I don't trust myself to make it out of here safely," she admits.
She rolls her eyes. "Yes."
"Even if I lead us out of here?"
She huffs a frustrated breath. "Yes, Castle."
"Looks like we're stuck here, then," he says flatly.
She swallows her frustration. At least he's staying with her. "Yeah." She plops down onto the step, turns her body so her head is resting and she's facing him. She's pissed off at him, definitely, but she's also tired and hungry and—
He's all she's got right now.
"Kinda wish I'd stayed home now," he jokes as he makes himself a spot next to her. She chuckles harshly because it's not funny, not even a little bit, not after their sparring.
"You'd leave me here alone?" she asks, forcing her tone to remain light. She sees his head snap to hers, can't make out his expression, but can feel his glare boring into her face.
"You know I wouldn't," he growls.
She hums noncommittally as she lets her eyes slide closed. Her stomach growls, loud and voracious.
"When was the last time you ate?" he asks.
She racks her brain, her memory flipping through the bottomless cups of coffee and a few sticks of chewing gum to tide her over til she could get her hands on real food.
"Lunch yesterday, I think," she admits. No point in lying to him about it.
"You need to eat, Kate."
She groans. "Yeah, thank you, Doctor." And then, because she can, "I can take care of myself."
He lets out a dark laugh. "Yeah, I've noticed."
Her eyes flick open. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing," he mutters. "It means nothing, Kate."
His surrender socks her in the gut because dammit, she just wants him to fight for them.
Minutes pass without a word from either of them. Her eyes are starting to get heavy and she just wants to sleep and wake up in her own bed with the AC on as high as it'll go. She closes her eyes, can almost feel the cold sheets slipping over her naked body as she falls into a deep sleep, his arms wrapped around—
"I can hear you nodding off over there."
She raises her eyebrows. "How can you 'hear' me nodding off?" she asks skeptically, her mouth widening in a yawn.
She scoffs. "I do not snore."
"Yeah, you do. Just—little noises in the back of your throat." He pauses. "You're drooling a little, too, aren't you?"
She wipes the back of her hand across her mouth, won't give him the satisfaction.
"Come here," he urges.
"You'll get a crick in your neck if you keep that up. Come here."
She groans. "Castle—"
So she slides over a few inches so that her body is pressed against his. The heat rolls off his body in waves and she just wants to sink into him, let his body consume hers in a slow-burning fire.
He hesitates a little, wrapping his right arm loosely across her back to settle at her waist.
"What exactly are we accomplishing here?" she breathes.
She feels him shrug. "I've gotta be more comfortable than an escalator, right?"
Mmm. Yeah. She rests her head on his shoulder, notes the way he stiffens as she can't help but nuzzle into his side a little.
Just a little something to take the edge off.
"Relax, Castle," she murmurs as her eyes flutter closed once again. "Promise I won't bite." And again, because she can, "Hard."
She feels his body relax a little and his hand presses into her more firmly now, a little bolder. She hums at the contact, feels her body responding to his touch.
God, she needs him.
His fingers brush under the lip of her tee shirt, skimming her skin gently. She groans, sliding her hand to his thigh, scraping her fingernails against his khakis.
She feels his breath hitch as she clings to him a little harder, pulls him a little closer.
"Kate, what are we doing?" he murmurs, his breath hot against her forehead, inches from where she wants him.
"When did you stop wanting me, Castle?" she rasps, lifting her head to nuzzle in the crook of his neck. She presses a kiss there, her tongue darting out to lick the salt from him.
He clenches her hip, hard and bruising as his other hand slips under her shirt to slide over her belly, lighting her skin on fire.
His breath chokes at her words as he leans down to press his mouth to a spot above her ear. "Never stopped, Kate," he whispers.
She moans, shifting slightly to press her hungry mouth to his. His response is swift and consuming as he slides his hands up through her hair, angling her mouth just the way he likes it, so he can slip his tongue against hers.
She sighs into him, her blood singing through her veins. It's a little rough, a little desperate, but it's all him, all Castle. The man she loves.
"You have no idea how long—"
"Oh, yes, I do," she whispers between kisses.
"Promise?" he rasps, fisting her hair desperately in his hands as he sips on her neck.
She reaches down to pull him up to her face again. She swipes her thumb under his eye, presses a chaste kiss to his lips, lingering at the line of his jaw as it slips into a slow smile.