Rebuilding


Not against the door.

Not the first time.

So even as every cell in her body screams for her to pull him closer, so close that he goes straight through her and even then it's not enough, she finds his hand. Her fingers tremble, from cold, from left-over adrenaline, from fear, but his are steady.

He's steady. Her stone foundation as everything crumbles around her.

Time to rebuild.

She rocks onto the balls of her feet, urging him in another direction. And he follows. He always follows.

No more.

"Castle," she whispers, voice rough. "You lead." His head dips toward hers, noses sliding past one another as their lips meet. "You lead this time."

He shudders, forehead meeting hers as he pulls her against him. She goes, letting his free hand coast up between her shoulderblades, tangling in her hair. "Kate," he sighs, breath warm as it washes over her face. The tug of his hand is gentle, barely there, but her head tilts back for his lips to coast down her throat, gathering up the words she can't say yet along with the droplets of water.

She wants her eyes to open, to see him, but they flutter shut each time. Overwhelmed with the weight of it. Of them. Instead, she presses up on her toe tips, finding his jaw with her mouth. More. She slides her lips up further, pulling his ear between her teeth lightly, savoring the groan from the chest against hers.

"This way," he manages, taking a gasping breath as he steps back. She sways into him, their bodies magnets that can't bear to be separated. Not now that they know what it's like to be together.

Their feet stumble over one another, refusing to let go of his hand as if she'd fly off without him anchoring her here. He fumbles with the knob to the bedroom, a quick laugh escaping him that she can feel through his back. A flash of lightning illuminates the room for a moment, sending it back into darkness with the following boom of thunder.

But she wants light. Too much darkness already.

She's not sure how he knows but he always does. His hand hits the wall, running along it as he searches for the light switch.

The splash of light hurts. The best things do.

She blinks into it, looking, searching for his outline. His fingers tighten on hers as he swings her around, free hand on the small of her back. The mattress hits the back of her knees and she nearly buckles. He catches her, lowering her gently.

Her head falls forward, coming to rest on his shoulder as he kneels in front of her. She's shaking again, shivering as he unbuttons the rest of her shirt. It sticks on her arms. And they have to release the other's hand, find a way to figure out whose fingers belong to each of them, as he drags the wet fabric over her wrists.

His name is a prayer, a benediction against his collar, her hands inching up to hold his face. And then she can't stop saying it, over and over and…

He quiets her, finding her wrists and holding them lightly. "Shh…"

"Don't leave," she pleads, turning her head down to run her lips over his forehead.

"Hey." He trails his hands up her arms until he can tip her head back up. "It's my room. I'm not going anywhere, Kate." He nudges her onto her back, thumb brushing under her eyes, skimming along the curve of her cheekbone. Smiling as if in disbelief. Memorizing her.

She sees it in his eyes when his palm touches the long scar along her left side more than she feels it. For a moment, the dark of his eyes clouds over and he opens his mouth to say something. She needs to stop him, to inject light back into the blue. "I'm here," she murmurs. "I'm here."

Their fingers weave together, slipping over the brass button of her jeans, and she huffs out a laugh as he slaps her hands away. A gentle reminder of him. There and alive and leading. This time.

But still. She finds his cheek and guides him back to her lips. Even as his warm fingers slide between wet denim and chilled skin, his mouth eases over hers. Every movement reverent and thankful and a reminder to both of them that they're here. They're alive.

And as her hips arch up into his and his tongue traces her lips as she twists one hand in his hair, the other searching along her own skin until she can grab hold of his, the last bit of brick and mortar disappears. Leaving just them.

On the same side.