Kate startles awake, heart pounding, overcome by the creepy sensation of being watched. She flips to her side and startles again at the pair of eyes inches from her face. In the faint light from the opened blinds they are wide and unblinking. Awake.
Oh. It's just Castle.
"I'm sorry, did I wake you up?" Castle's whispering. Like that helps now.
Kate suppresses a groan as she rolls on her back. It's the middle of the night. "Castle, we've talked about this."
"I know, but it isn't creepy staring this time. I'm thinking."
"Oh. Okay." Whatever. She has to get some sleep. She'll never understand how Castle functions without actually sleeping. Kate had known he was a night owl, but until they started sleeping together she hadn't realized he was a borderline insomniac.
When she's awake it makes her heart flip to think about how often he'd shown up for the early morning crimes scenes, even though he was probably exhausted. Shown up and brought her coffee, just to see her smile.
Still, the creepy 4:00 a.m. staring she can do without.
Castle's still whispering. "Don't you want to know what I'm thinking about?"
No. No, she does not want to know. Especially since it is undoubtedly one of three things: sex, which she is powerless to ignore or deny, and will result in even less sleep; something completely ridiculous and random, like aliens, or the theory behind black holes, or the possibility of aliens invading earth via a black hole; or –
"I'm thinking about the security camera."
Or the security camera from the parking garage. He's been trying to talk about it all evening, and she's put him off every time.
Castle scoots closer, his hand sliding against her waist.
Kate closes her eyes and tries to ignore the way his fingers are sweeping up and down her rib cage, his thumb just brushing the underside of her breast. "We just have to get the tape. That's all." Sleep, damn it.
"Is it even a tape though?"
Kate groans. "Castle, I have to sleep." She throws an arm over her eyes to block him out, but now she can feel his hand running rhythmically over her hip. She turns on her side, her eyes still tightly shut; a mistake, because now he is cupping her ass.
Castle tugs at her and nudges closer. "Maybe it's not recorded." His lips feather against her neck. "Maybe it's just for surveillance." Kate suppresses a shiver.
This is payback. Retribution. Waking her up like this in the middle of the night is getting her back for every time she's teased him at the precinct, every time Kate's wound him up with no hope of relief until she decides to pull him into a closet, the bathroom, her car. Sometimes it's hours; hours of feeling his hot gaze on her until she can feel his hands on her skin.
Here alone in the dark it's different. Castle is different. He takes his time.
With no one to catch them, nowhere to be, he is slow and careful and devastating, his tenderness a delicate assault that fills her up and cracks her open, the love spilling out so hard and fast it leaves her breathless and dizzy. There's nothing to stop them, no reason to wait, and once they start she won't be able to quit.
Castle has fallen silent, his fingers stroking dangerously close to the juncture of her thighs. Involuntarily Kate rocks her hips back against his hand, just as he starts to suck lightly on her throat -
Ahh. No. Kate forces herself to be still. They can't do this. She'll be a total zombie tomorrow, and she has to have her wits about her to figure out the whole camera debacle. And deal with Karpowski.
Okay. Change of plan. Concentrate on what Castle is trying to say and perhaps she'll stop wanting to run her hands up his chest, to pull him flush against her and ensure that she won't be getting any rest at all.
"Castle..." Great. Even to her own ears that sounds more like begging.
"Hmmmm?" The sound vibrates against her throat. Castle's fingers are against her inner thigh, and must stop. So hard.
"It can't be just for surveillance." Castle pulls back from her neck, but his fingers…Kate twists her hips, unsure if she's trying to move closer or farther away.
"What?" His hair is flopping in his face. So adorable. Guh. Kate takes a deep breath. Focus.
"The camera. I doubt it's surveillance only. Someone would have to sit there and watch it." Kate tries to ignore the clench in her stomach at the thought of someone actually watching in real time while she and Castle – Ugh. That's a mood killer.
"You're right. If someone had seen it we would have heard by now."
"Not necessarily." Kate feels a slight flutter of panic that she ignores. "Probably no one cares."
Castle pushes up on his elbows and stares down at her. "You obviously aren't aware of the massive underground betting pool regarding our relationship status. We're a big deal."
Kate rolls her eyes. "I know about the bet, Castle. If we can hold off the reveal for another two months Lanie wins big. "
"Really?" Castle is suddenly serious. "You want to wait another two months?"
Kate forces herself to smile. That is not anxiety she feels in the pit of her stomach and they are not talking about this now. "Just looking out for Lanie."
It takes Castle a second too long to smile back. "Well, Lanie's going to be rich. Or, you know, able to go out for a moderately nice dinner." He rolls on his back and Kate is chilled by the loss of skin to skin contact.
Castle is staring at the ceiling. "So, we think this camera is how fancy? Is it your average parking garage security system, or is it like at the airport, with x-ray vision that can see through your clothes?"
Kate scoots closer, suddenly needing to touch him more than she needs sleep. Maybe she's not that tired. "We're talking about the NYPD parking garage, Castle. We don't have the money for cameras that see through your clothes."
"Yeah. Well, they don't need it. We weren't really wearing that many clothes anyway." He turns his head, smiles at her, and something in her relaxes.
Kate moves up against his chest. His arm wraps around her as she lays her head on his shoulder."Not funny."
"A little funny. Someday. Far in the future." He squeezes her and kisses her temple. "Far."
Kate can feel her muscles unwinding, her body sinking into him. "I've changed my mind. That part about the mugger stealing your pants was completely funny."
"I said I was sorry about that. I totally choked." Castle sighs. "I can't believe it. Bested by Karpowski."
Kate reaches up to trail her fingers against the soft skin of his neck. "You let me worry about Karpowski."
Castle grabs her hand and kisses her fingers before rubbing his thumb against her palm. "I don't think anyone knows yet. Really. Ryan or Esposito would have warned us."
"Well. Ryan would." Kate presses her lips to his chest. Just for a second. "Esposito would leave us hanging. Vengeance for not telling him right away."
Castle lets out a laugh as he runs his fingers through her hair. "Lanie would call just to yell at us. She'd be so mad. And, oh God, can you imagine Gates?"
No. Kate doesn't want to imagine what Gates will do. She shakes her head. "That part's not so funny."
Castle pulls back to see her face. "Why?" He brushes the hair off her face, tucks it gently behind her ear. "You're worried about what Gates will say when she knows we're together?"
This. This is why she doesn't want to talk about what happened today.
But surely he's thought…Kate swallows and tries to sound offhand. "Gates will probably try to make you stop shadowing me." She closes her eyes and concentrates on his hand in her hair and not what she's saying. "Make you stop being my partner."
"Kate." He waits until she opens her eyes. "Nothing will make me stop being your partner." He leans in and kisses her, his hand wrapping around the nape of her neck, fingers gentle in her hair, and Kate knows the battle is lost, at least for tonight. Who needs sleep anyway?
The universe is supremely hateful and unfair because Kate's phone rings not five minutes later.
"Ignore it." Castle is still in his boxers, but Kate is naked, the smooth warm length of her stretched out underneath him.
"You know I can't ignore it." She sounds like she wants to ignore it. All throaty and low, and don't the criminals of New York realize they are infringing on his sex time with his girlfriend?
His girlfriend. Kate is his girlfriend, even if he can't tell anyone. And it doesn't matter, it doesn't, because secrets are hot, and she just needs time to get over her worry about Gates. He isn't even going to consider that there might be another reason.
Castle slides his hand down her thigh, pulls her leg around his waist and no, no, don't answer…Damn.
How does she do that? Go from panting in his ear to Detective Beckett in three seconds flat? Castle's still breathing so hard he's afraid the dispatcher can hear him over the phone.
"Thanks." Kate ends the call and sets the phone on the night table.
Castle is still on his elbows above her. "Don't tell me. And don't let me guess. Let's just pretend that didn't happen." Funny how his enthusiasm for early morning crime scenes seems to have cooled since going to one means leaving Kate – however briefly – instead of meeting her. A murdered body, however intriguing the crime, cannot compete with a naked Kate in his bed.
Kate rolls out from under him and he collapses, flipping onto his back. She stands up and stretches, giving him a heart attack from the view, then leans over and lightly slaps his thigh. "Up." Her eyes flick to his crotch. "Or down. We've got a body."
Not fair. Castle rolls over on his stomach, blinking against the light she flicks on in the bathroom. "You think you're so funny. And come back here. We've got time."
Kate sticks her head out the bathroom door. "I don't. I've got to go home and get clothes." She frowns. "Why are you still in bed? Up. Clothes. Now."
"Bossy. I like it." Castle sits up and waggles his eyebrows at her. "You know what'll speed things up? Sharing a shower."
"Um, no. I've fallen for that too many times." Kate disappears into the bathroom, but he can still hear her over the rush of the water. "Hurry! We need time if we're going to get coffee and arrive separately."
Damn it. Castle flops back and sighs. He's changed his mind. Sometimes keeping them a secret is no fun at all.
"Are you sure this is the right address?"
"Because there's no one here."
"I can see that." They're in a long, wide alley. There's one door in the wall at the back, but it's shorter than average and without a number or sign. The place seems totally deserted. No police, no Lanie, no body.
Kate sighs and takes a swig of her coffee. How completely irritating. They needn't have hurried at all.
Castle must be thinking the same thing. He huffs behind her. "We could've totally come together."
Kate turns, ready to laugh, but Castle's disgruntled expression as he surveys the alley makes it clear that somehow he has no idea what he just said. Oh, awesome.
"Shoot." Kate steps against him and looks up from under her lashes as she bites her lip. No use doing things half-way. "You know how much I love it when we come together."
"Oh my God, I can't believe you said that." Castle looks both pole axed and delighted. "I love you so much." Kate can actually see his pupils dilating, his eyes getting hot, hot, and she can't help the smile that is spreading across her face. Yes. Already this morning is better.
Castle reaches out to snag her arm, but she dances past him to the back of the alley, almost laughing. "We're at work, Castle. Control yourself."
Kate thinks she hears him mutter "evil" as he moves up behind her on the stoop, so close she can feel the heat from his body as she knocks on the lone unmarked door.
It's just a precaution. She doesn't expect anyone to answer, so when the door flies open Castle already has an arm around her, his lips against her temple. They jerk apart so fast that Castle trips and falls off the steps.
The guy at the door doesn't seem to notice.
"Are you the police? Thank God you're here."
The man is almost vibrating with frantic, distressed energy. He's about sixty, with glasses and a full head of soft, gray hair. He opens the door wider and steps back. Kate can feel her mouth dropping open, her eyes getting wide.
"Whoa!" Castle almost shouts, and just like that the morning takes a turn for the weird.
Other than the glasses, the man at the door is completely naked.
Thanks again to Jessie and Nic for fixing stuff.:) And to everyone who has stayed with this - The crazy has calmed down so updates should be more frequent. Reviews are always awesome.:)