One Hundred Days of Summer


by Sandiane Carter

"You never call me Rick," he observes rather inanely the next morning.

She's curled at his side in bed, her body warm and pliant and wonderful against his, and really he's not sure he should complain considering the amount of times he got her to gasp - and moan, oh, and whimper - Castle last night. There were variations of it too - god, Castle and Castle, please were among his favorites - and seriously, he's got Kate Beckett in his bed. What more does he need?

"Or, well. Only when you're mad at me," he corrects, part of his brain wondering why he's not just shutting up.

But she smiles against his shoulder (oh, being able to feel her smile) and then she moves, propping herself on her arms and shifting until she's draped over his chest. Her mouth finds his, deliberate and lazy and hot, and he kisses her back, his head spinning a little more with each delicate swirl of her tongue. He's breathless and stunned when she lets go, whispers into his mouth, so softly. "Rick."

She trails her lips over his jaw, the hollow of his neck; he feels a flick of tongue and his whole body jerks, strains towards her, the beautiful length of her legs, the smooth plane of her stomach, the curved brush of a breast against his chest.

She laughs - she laughs - low and intimate, a lovely sound, and she splays a hand on his ribs as if to keep him in place.

"Rick," she murmurs again, and oh god, oh god, he's an idiot - he asked for it - he's never going to survive this. His mouth is open but there's no air going through; he tries desperately to get some oxygen to his lungs, and when he does manage he can't help the sound that goes with it, some humiliating mixture of a grunt and a sob.

Kate's mouth is at his stomach, exquisitely slow as it slides over his belly button, and she does that thing with her tongue again and oh god oh Kate-

"Rick," she breathes, and this time he whimpers, doesn't even care; he might just die anyway, because surely he's hyperventilating now.

She drifts lower, and lower, and her lips are alive and merciless and so warm, burning against him, and he doesn't remember shutting his eyes but the lights are dancing behind his closed lids, beautiful flames coming up and up.

He's never letting her use his given name again.

She stands in his kitchen and although it's nothing new, although she's been here before, there's something different now.

She's different. More relaxed, more...comfortable. Like she lets herself belong.

Kate turns back and smiles to him, looking so inviting, so free, and he hurries forward, his heart thumping painfully in his chest. Can it really be that simple? He kisses her because he can't help himself, just a brush of their lips, and the way she hums makes him want to take her straight back to the bedroom.

She must see it in his eyes; she chuckles and raises an eyebrow, stepping back to settle on one of the kitchen stools.

"Feed me, Castle."

He stares at her for a stunned, joyful beat, the weight of it too much, too good for his poor heart. And then he does as he's told.

It's only when he hears the key turn in the lock that he remembers his lunch plans with Alexis. Shoot. He's been watching Kate tease him with the grapes he found in his fridge, the way she pops them into her mouth, one by one, before she chews slowly with her eyes trained on his, and-

It slipped his mind.

He straightens and takes a step towards the door, hesitates. He doesn't know what Kate-

"Hey, Dad," Alexis offers cheerfully as the door closes. His daughter steps into the living-room, comes to a full stop when she sees he has company. Her eyes flicker from him to Kate and back, probably taking in the casualness of their stance. "Detective Beckett," she says, almost a question.

"Hi, Alexis."

He's so surprised by the easy tone, the lack of guardedness in Kate's voice, that he involuntarily turns back to her. Her green eyes are on his daughter, careful and calm, but so - so open. Everything bare for Alexis to see.

His heart twists, painful but oh, so good. She's in this.

Alexis must come to the same conclusion, because she doesn't say anything more, doesn't comment in any way. She simply tells him, "We still on for lunch, Dad?"

Lunch. Yes.

"Of course," he answers immediately, can't keep his eyes from straying towards Beckett. "Alexis, would you mind - would you be okay if maybe we asked Kate to-"

He's not even finished his sentence when his - his what? His detective, his girlfriend? The word makes him feel funny inside - his partner, then, is already shaking her head as she slides off the stool.

"No," she says with a half-smile. "This is your private father-daughter time. Wouldn't intrude on it."

He wants to argue, wants to say he needs her - needs her always - but she's almost at the door, sliding on her shoes, and Alexis looks pleased and there's obviously nothing he can do.

He's watching with a sinking stomach, expecting Kate to just wave and be off, but she surprises him again. Instead of going straight for the door, she comes back for him, lays a hand over his heart as she leans in and brushes her lips over his cheek. Not his mouth, no, but the long breath she draws in and the time she spends lingering are clear enough.

"Call me when you have time?" she says quietly, and if he didn't know any better he'd say Kate Beckett was nervous.

"Sure," he breathes back, and then she's truly going, peeling the warmth of her body off him and striding confidently towards the door. He meets Alexis's eyes, filled with questions and concern, but he can't focus on that because he can't master the brutal panic that has sprung up in his chest.

No. It's not-

"Kate," he calls suddenly, the urge stronger than any sense of pride he might have left. She's already outside and he rushes after her, yanks the door open, calls her name as he jogs to the elevator.

He comes around the corner and there she is, waiting; she turns her clear, tender eyes to him when she hears his footsteps, and he feels like the biggest moron in the whole history of - of the universe, at least.

He pauses a few steps away from her. Runs a hand into his hair. How does he get out of this one?

"I just-" her gaze is questioning, patient, and his secrets spill out despite his efforts. "I needed to make sure it wasn't - a dream."

Sorrow, desolation flash in her eyes; the next moment she's pressed against his chest, kissing him fiercely, her palms cupping his jaw. There's something rough, almost aggressive in the scrape of her teeth, the desperate slide of her tongue - he knows what she's trying to do, but it's not working.

"Kate," he murmurs the first chance he gets, closing his fingers around her wrists to try and make her stop. She does, and after a moment she steps back, something like a blush spread over her cheeks.

"I'm sor-" she starts, but his fingertips are caressing her mouth to keep her from saying more.

"No," he says gently. "No. I love you. I'm in love with you, Kate. It might just...take a little while to sink in."

That you want me. That I have you.

Yesterday at the same time he was so sure they were over, that they were done, that he was going to be reading an obituary for Kate Beckett soon enough and there was nothing he could do to stop it...

He doesn't have anything against this turn of events, but it does seem too good to be true. Her fingers skitter along his neck, so soft, and he finds himself smiling.

"Okay," she whispers, kisses the corner of his mouth slowly. "Okay."

She gives him another one of those luminous smiles, and he feels his chest breaking open.

"See you later, then."

"I'll call you when I'm done with Alexis," he promises, and watches her step into the elevator that has been waiting patiently all this time.

The doors hum closed and he gets one last look at Beckett's face, all that love shining bright, before she disappears.

He just-

There are no words. No words.