*Post-THE LIMEY. I have no idea where this came from, but it just wanted out. So I wrote it down. I'm somewhat pleased with it. Let me now what you think. No Beta. All mistakes are mine.


Kate startled awake, completely confused and disoriented, finding herself in a strange room. She was lying in a bed—not her own—looking up at a ceiling she did not recognize. And… she was sore, down there, between her legs. She knew that feeling, what it meant. It had been a long time since she'd felt that pleasant ache. But something nagged at the back of her mind.

She struggled to wake more fully, and then it hit her, a throbbing in her head. She clutched the satin bed sheet, and shuddered, finding confirmation of what had probably happened. Kate was, indeed, lying naked in a strange bed, and she could hear the soft steady breathing of someone besides her, a warmth radiating out from his equally naked body.

She closed her eyes as tears threatened. Dear God, what had she done? The last thing she remembered was taking Hunt up on his offer for drinks and knocking back one too many shots of tequila. Oh, please… please say she did not then accept an offer to accompany him to his hotel room. He made a soft noise in his sleep and turned onto his side.

Kate turned her face away, not wanting to look at him. At her mistake. Castle had been distancing himself, doing god knows what with that stewardess, but this… this was not her. She did not do things like this out of loneliness and spite. Especially not when she was finally accepting she was in love with Rick Castle.

Swallowing hard, trying to keep the moan of terror and dread at bay, Kate tried to move, slowly moving the blanket away so she could make a strategic withdraw and get out of here before Hunt woke. The guilt was already coiling up in her stomach. She felt like throwing up. Her eyes flicked up and in the dim light she could just about make out the open door leading to the bathroom. She'd get herself cleaned up, wipe away the evidence and then get out of here. Yeah, that was her plan.

But then, a hand slinked around her waist and tugged her back down. She softly yelped in surprise as her body was pulled into his. Was… was he trying to spoon with her? No. She scowled. She was not having that.

Gritting her teeth, she pried his arm off her and spun around in the bed to give him what for, when suddenly she stopped, her jaw hanging open in shock. The man besides her was not Colin Hunt, but Richard Castle.

"Stay," he mumbled, his voice muffled by his pillow as he scooted closer, his arm tightening around her waist.

The fight went out of her and she went limp, allowing him to pull her against his warmed body. She could smell it, his scent, it permeated—surrounded—her in a cocoon of reassurance and relief. She hadn't made a mistake. She hadn't given in to the charms of another man. She'd ended up with Castle… in his bed… naked…

She frowned, eyebrows coming together as she struggled to work out how this all happened. Waking up in Castle's bed was the last place she had expected to find herself after the previous couple of weeks. Shifting, she brought her hand up to his shoulder and shook him gently.

"Castle," she hissed, trying to wake him up.

"No," he grumbled. "Sleep. Just… one more hour, m'kay?"

Kate huffed and ran her fingers through her tousled hair. Tousled? God… how amazing had their night together been? She'd never had hair like this after… No. She needed answers now. Everything had been odd between them. Their groove… it had been off. And for the life of her—even though she didn't mind finding herself in the present situation—she still wanted to know how she—they—got here.

"Castle, wake up… I… I… I need you to—"

Before she could finish her question, he was rolling her over, pinning her under him, his mouth over hers, tongue stroking her bottom lip and his hand drifting down her side to grip her hip and brush along her thigh. Kate couldn't help herself, a low throaty moan escaped and she gave in for a second, adjusting her legs around him, both overwhelmed and in complete joy over what was happening.

"Mmm, Kate," he hummed, low and approving. "Just can't get enough of me, huh?"

His voice snapped her back to reality, and she placed her hands on his shoulders, pushing him back. He blinked, looking up at her with darkened, lust-filled eyes… oh… and something else. She gulped. Love. It was swimming in his eyes, staring her straight in the face.

"What…," she gasped out, panting. She paused to catch her breath and she glanced up at him, giving him a thankful nod for allowing her a moment. "What… happened? Last night?"

"Oh," Castle pulled away, slipping off her and settling down besides her on his side, using his elbow to prop himself up. He looked over her, his eyes filling with understanding. He gave her a tender smile and he reached up to brush a hand down the side of her face.

"Castle?" she didn't pull back from his touch, but still put a warning tone in her voice. She wanted answers, but she also wanted him to know she wasn't mad about where she'd ended up.

"You were pounding on my door at some ungodly hour, demanding that I speak with you," he said, his eyes gazing away as he recounted his memory of last night to her. "You were drunk. I mean… really drunk."

"And what? I came on to you and you couldn't resist?" she snapped without thinking. She immediately clamped her mouth shut and reached for him, an apology in her eyes.

"No… it didn't happen like that," Castle shook his head and waved off her apology. "Though, I might have somewhat taken advantage… but really, you're right. I couldn't help myself. Not with you. Never with you. Especially when you threw yourself at me, practically commanding me to take you."

Her mouth dropped down in shock. "I… er… I what?"

Castle sighed and rubbed his forehead. "In my defense, I was pretty drunk myself too."

Kate groaned, feeling her own pounding head. "So you've also got a throbbing headache?"

He nodded and grimaced. "Not how I pictured our first time, that's for sure."

Kate laughed. "Tell me about it."

He looked at her in surprise. She raised her eyebrows in challenge.

"What? You think I never thought about it?"

Castle gulped. "No, not really, until last night that is. As I've said before, Kate, you're really a complete mystery to me. One I'll never solve."

She gave a tight grin, remembering that night in L.A. Oh, that was another night that had had the potential of ending like this. "So… um… what else happened before… er… this?" Kate changed the topic back to the events that led to them ending up naked and in his bed, and with the pleasant soreness between her legs, having done a lot more than just sleep.

"Well, you called me out on my behavior… and my comment," he said, hanging his head and looking shamefaced.

"What comment?" she frowned, confused. Everything from last night was still kind of a blur, but she was remembering bits and pieces, most of which brought a satisfied tug to her lips. Kate couldn't believe they'd actually finally jump in and she had trouble remembering. Damn tequila!

"That 'fun and uncomplicated' comment," he looked back up at her, his eyes filled with regret and remorse. "You pushed me back, slammed the door shut and then pounced on me, crying and sobbing, saying that you could be fun and uncomplicated too… as long as it was with me. I wasn't any clearheaded than you, so things just escalated and… um… well, I think you know where things ended up." He paused, gulping. She watched him for a moment in silence before he continued. "I'm so sorry for that. I didn't mean it. I really didn't. You know how much I like complicated. I was just hurt and lashing out."

Hurt? She shook her head. She still didn't get that. What had she done that had hurt him enough to make him want to lash out and punish her? Castle must have noticed the confusion in her expression, because he reached out for her, placing a tender hand on her bare arm and gently caressed her skin.

"I heard you," he spoke softly. "You remember."

Oh… that. Kate pinched her face up and closed her eyes, sucking in a deep breath as guilt welled up inside her. Her chest tightened with the feeling of how hearing that must have felt like to him.

"Why didn't you confront me? Demand an answer?" she asked, keeping her voice calm, thinking it was a reasonable question. And it was.

"In hindsight, I wish I had," Castle sighed deeply in regret. "But I was overwhelmed, and confused and hurt, and I made the wrong interpretation of why you kept that from me. I… I thought it was because you didn't feel the same way and that… that you were trying to save me the embarrassment of having to reject me."

"Oh, Castle," it was her that reached out to him now. She grabbed his face with both her hands, turning her body, lying on her side, and pressed her forehead to his. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Castle. I was never embarrassed about it. Never. Just overwhelmed and confused… and… God, Castle, you idiot… how could you not know I love you?"

His soothing hands running up and down her back stilled and he stiffened. "You… you what?"

Her eyes went wide. Oh… had she not said that last night?

"I love you," she repeated, turning her face into the crook of his neck to kiss his skin where his shoulder met his neck. "I have, for a while now. And I'm so sorry I made you wait so long to hear me say it back. But I do. I love you, Rick."

Castle tilted his head to look at her and she smiled up at him. He smiled in return and then leaned forward to capture her lips in a soft and tender kiss. Kate hummed in low approval, completely stunned at how different this kiss felt compared to any other kiss she had ever had. It was the love, she thought, that made this kiss so unique and different. So special and right. She could feel it in the way their lips danced together, both gentle and eager, tender and passionate.

Breaking away, she sighed and rested her head against his shoulder as they settled back into the mattress, snuggling together like they'd always done this.

The last couple of weeks had been a living hell for her, with him pulling back, and her being completely in the dark as to why. It obviously had gotten better, much better. She smiled coyly, running her lower lip under her teeth.

"We do that a lot, don't we?" she said.

Castle glanced down at her, puzzled. Oh yeah, she'd been internalizing things, not speaking out loud her thoughts. Something she was trying to get better at.

"Hurt each other," she clarified for him. "Unintentionally, of course. But we do."

"Yeah, I guess we do," he agreed. "Oh. And Kate, about Jacinda…"

She groaned, letting her head fall back down on his shoulder. She couldn't look him in the eye about this. That had hurt. It had really hurt. Perhaps that's why she'd accepted a drink from Hunt after having initially declined his offer.

"Nothing happened," he said, startling her out of her brooding thoughts. "It was just lunch, dinner and dancing. Nothing else. I was hurt, and… I guess I was just trying to punish you by shoving it in your face without really facing the problem. I'm sorry."

"Okay," she said, playing her fingers across his chest, and then looking up at him hesitantly. "I guess since we're doing full disclosure here, I should tell you that I went out for drinks with Hunt after you left."

"Oh," he replied. She narrowed her eyes, unable to read his tone.

"Castle?" Kate asked, worried about how he'd interpret it. His track record was not really good right now.


"I may have gone out for drinks with him, but I ended up here… with you," she reminded him, trailing her hand up and down his chest, smiling triumphantly at how he shivered at her touch.

"Yes… yes, you did." Oh, she could totally hear the smug smile on his face.

Kate craned her neck up to look at him, and there it was, that pleased smirked plastered on his face. His fingers brushed down her spine and she shuddered, feeling that coiling of arousal trickle through her body. She shifted, turning slightly to hover over him, the satin bed sheet falling away. His eyes dropped down for a moment and she followed his gaze, seeing that he was staring at her chest… not her breasts… but at the pucker mark that marred her skin.

She smiled sadly, and reached for his hand as she moved into a half-sitting position. He followed, and allowed her to guide his hand to her chest, placing it between her breasts, over her scar. She held his hand there, willing him to feel her heart beating beneath.

His eyes were locked on their joined hands, and he eased out a slow calming breath before glancing up at her. "I really didn't see it last night… I… uh… I obviously was focusing on other things… other areas," he smirked slightly, trying to infuse the moment with his humor, taking away the dark tone that had settled over them.

"It doesn't bother you?" Kate asked, worrying her bottom lip, feeling slightly vulnerable. After all, this was the first time—at least that she was conscious of, and not in a drunken lust-filled rush—that she was baring all herself to the man she loved.

"No, why? Should it?"

She bit down harder on her lip and he kept his eyes locked on hers. He moved his free hand up and cupped her cheek, his thumb rubbing against her bottom lip, tenderly soothing it after she'd so harshly bit down on it.

"It's a badge of honor, Kate," Castle spoke, his voice soft and firm, confident in what he was saying. "Of your courage and strength. You faced death in the eye and you won. You survived… you… you lived."

And then he pulled their joined hands away from her chest and leaned down, tilting his head against her breasts and kissing that spot on her chest. Kate's heart hammered against her ribs.

Oh, so not the response she had expected. What had she done to earn a love such as this? Nothing, that she could think of. She honestly didn't deserve him. But she wouldn't argue with that. No. She wanted him. He did. And if he wanted her… then she wasn't going to complain.

Castle was kissing his way up her chest. His fingers moving to replace where his mouth had once been, spreading out to cup her in his palms, as his lips danced up the slope of her neck and along the line of her jaw. His open mouth claimed hers in a searing kiss that had her curling her fingers into his hair as she held him to her.

She moaned, breathy and hot. "How much do you remember from…?"

"Not enough," he murmured against her lip.

"Want to make some new memories?" she asked, her lips turning up in a coy smile. His eyes lit up, the phrase, so very sexy, tumbling from his lips in a whispered rush.

"Most definitely, yes," he hummed against her throat and kissed her, pulling her back down to the bed.