Inspired by things posted on the Richard Castle website and 'Always'. Because 'Always' inspires pretty much everything.

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It's almost two in the morning when she finally turns the key in the lock, silently pushing the door to the loft open. She toes off her boots, stumbling as she loses her balance and leans back against the wall for support. The loft is bathed in a soft glow of light, silent except for the gentle whirr from the refrigerator and the occasional beeps from Castle's many gadgets lying around the place.

She shucks off her jacket and drapes it over the back of his couch as she makes her way to the kitchen. She wasn't really hungry, but the remnants of the adrenaline coursing through her from the suspect chase earlier in the day and the subsequent interrogation has made her restless and she knows Castle has a cupboard full of junk food waiting for her in the kitchen.

She plucks a grape from the fruit bowl on the island, pops it in her mouth and proceeds to hunt for the snacks – finds them in a cupboard on top of the sink and grins.

Hm.

It's full of her junk food. M&Ms, Skittles, jelly beans … She narrows her eyes at the assortment in front of her and opens up the cupboard beside it. There they were – his junk. Pringles, Cheezels, that bacon flavoured crap he insisted on buying every time they went out shopping. She shuts it and returns to her own sweet snacks, snagging a packet of Skittles and closing the cupboard.

Trust him to give her an entire cupboard of junk food in his kitchen. He thinks he's being so subtle about it all, giving her a cupboard of food, space in the closet in the hall for her shoes – when really, all he needs to do was ask her and her answer will probably be yes anyway. It's not like she's been home much at all over the last few months.

Oh well.

She walks towards his bedroom, past his study and spots her boyfriend cocooned under his sheets, stretched across the entire king sized bed. She contemplates joining him, but realises she's still too wired and strung out to go to sleep. If it were any other day, Beckett would have had no qualms about waking him up and convincing him to partake in more … adult activities to get her tired enough to sleep, but he's just spent the first half of the day with Alexis in Columbia and the second half stuck in meetings with Black Pawn – he deserved his rest.

Backing out of the room, she casts a sweeping gaze along the bookshelves in his study. Pick a book to read? Turn on his TV and catch up on all the shows he's been pestering her to watch? Oh, speaking of catching up – wait.

It hits her suddenly, something she hasn't thought about at all in the last two months they've been together. She thinks back to one of their first cases back from the summer she spent in exile, how he told her she could peruse his collection of comic books whenever she wanted, her exhilaration at the thought that he might have copies of elusive, hard to find issues of the Avengers, or Elektra or the Phantom.

Well, where the hell were they?

She smirks in delight at idea of solving the mystery before her. In all her time at the loft, she has never seen this 'collection' of his. It's not in his bedroom – she's spent enough time in there to know that there aren't any secret nooks and crannies he could hide them in. It wouldn't be in any other bedroom either, since they were upstairs and not as convenient to reach if he needed to read one of them on a whim.

So that left the kitchen, the lounge room and his study.

She swallows another handful of Skittles and walks around his desk, lifting up the lid of his age old laptop. It whirrs to life and she sneaks a glance past his bookshelf wall to make sure the sound hasn't woken him up. He remains motionless and she takes a seat, quickly typing in a web address she would forever deny ever knowing.

She scrolls past his later posts until she finds the one she's looking for. He's uploaded blueprints of his apartment onto his website, detailing his laser tag tactics against his daughter and she finds herself sniggering at his side comments. She finds exactly what she's looking for and lets out a small "Aha!" before closing out of the browser window and putting the laptop back to sleep.

The silly man has a secret lair.

She gets up from the desk and turns to the wall behind it, carefully scrutinising crazy picture of the spiralling staircase and then the shelves below it, lined with even more books. It's full of his own work, multiple copies of each one in different editions. She takes a moment to glance through them all, her sharp detective mind taking in the condition of the books – she really doesn't want to be pulling them all out one by one in the off chance that it turned out to be the key to his secret lair.

She runs a finger through the top shelf just underneath the framed picture, knowing that a reasonable person would have the trick book in an easy enough location to reach. She scans the tops of the books for signs of use, the lack of dust, a misplaced book – but comes up with nothing. She pulls out Hell Hath No Fury randomly and the book comes loose noiselessly. Nope.

One Bullet One Heart was next and just as before it comes away easily and she sighs. She's about to resign herself to the fact that she might have to go through the books one by one when she notices that the spine of Storm Fall was coming apart. She slides her finger across the top of the book and pulls gently. She grins in triumph when the book doesn't budge and she tugs a little harder.

Nothing.

She's confused, but never let it be said that Detective Kate Beckett was one to give up easily. She crouches down low, levelling her eyes with the book and rolls her eyes when she sees the mechanism. She uses her fingernail to pull down the spine of the book, revealing a single red button behind it as it falls away, hanging from a hinge at the bottom of the book.

She presses it and steps back.

The wall groans in protest just as she hears a small click coming from somewhere behind it. She uses both hands to pull at the shelves and the entire wall swings forward easily, picture frame and all. Jackpot.

She nudges her way into the space behind it, feeling against the wall for some sort of light switch and finds one.

When the lights flicker on, she's overcome with a feeling of overwhelming awe and excitement. The room was huge, about half the size of his study and was lined from wall to wall with racks of comics and collectibles and various other paraphernalia that the man must have accumulated since he was a boy.

She swallows her eagerness and starts from the far left side of the wall, taking in all the Fantastic Fours, and X-Men and Avengers – oh and dear God he's got all the Elektras and Daredevils and the crossovers – and the Sais that Elektra uses, her fingers are reaching out to touch the blades when she hears a loud noise and jumps back, startled.

She turns to the entry and breathes out a sigh of relief. Her boyfriend stands at the doorway, still half asleep and half naked, his boxers slung dangerously low over his hips. His hair is mussed and his eyes are blinking rapidly, taking in the scene before him.

"Kate?"

"Um … hi?"

He steps further into his 'lair' and fixes her with an amused smile. "I see you've found my secret lair."

"Not hard, considering your blueprints are published for the whole world to see on the internet, Castle," she says as she pulls down Elektra #1. Castle hurries to her, one of his arms wrapping themselves around her waist and the other reaching out to curl around her fingers that were holding the comic book up.

"Please, please be careful with that," he mutters into her ear frantically. Beckett turns around, letting him take hold of the comic and pulls his face towards hers for a fleeing kiss. He nips playfully at her lips before pulling back.

"Hey! How did you find the secret button?"

Beckett pulls her bottom lip between her teeth. She's so not telling him that it was a fluke, that she just randomly found the loose spine and pulled. "I'm not stupid, Castle. And you're predictable."

"No, no way – you couldn't have figured it out. You just went through all of them didn't you? You touched every single one until you got it, totally random." He's smirking at her maddeningly and his eyes twinkle in delight.

She narrows her eyes at him, disliking how accurate he was, even if he doesn't quite know it yet. She needs a distraction. And the man is very, very easily distracted. She slips her fingers down the waistband of his boxers and cups his ass, pulling him close.

"Your geekiness really turns me on, you know that?" she whispers. "And that Iron Throne over there, lurking in the shadows? You should have told me you had one of them – I've got plans for you – and it. And they don't involve either of us wearing much clothing."

Castle gasps into her ear, his question momentarily forgotten. They are pressed up so close to each other that she can feel the evidence of his excitement against her belly. She lets out an easy laugh and pulls away from him, taking care not to knock over the rotating rack of comics next to them.

"But only if you tell me where issue four of Avengers vs X-Men is. I've been dying to catch up for ages and it's not here, and I can't get to the others until I've read that one."

Castle lets out a bark of laughter and proceeds to pull her out of his secret room, ignoring her protests. "It's in the bedroom, Kate. Was reading it before I went to sleep last night. You can explore my lair some more tomorrow. Right now I want to get back to bed and cuddle with you."

She shakes her head behind his back but says nothing, silently watching him as he resets his trick wall and turns back to her. Her heart soars with fuzzy feelings as she returns his easy smile, her love for him so blindingly obvious that it sends warm tingles through her body. He reaches to thread his fingers through hers, leading them into the bedroom.

He helps her strip out of her day clothes, his hands wandering freely across her naked skin as he sucks on a spot on her neck. Beckett groans, arousal quickly spreading and she tugs him backwards onto the oversized bed.

They're trading open mouthed kisses and he's nestled comfortably between her thighs, so close to completely losing themselves in each other when he pulls away from her, pushing up on his palms beside her head.

"How did you figure out how to get in?"

Beckett growls in frustration, her thighs tightening around him, his hips so deliciously close to where she wants him the most. "You're asking me this now? Seriously Rick? Seriously?"

He thrusts playfully against her and grins. "Answer me and we can get on with this, babe," he says, waggling his eyebrows. His fingers wander downwards and he strokes her tenderly as he revels in the expression of sheer bliss that crosses her features. She's so close and she knows that he knows and his fingers are toying with her, coaxing the truth from her and she tries to stand her ground.

Tries.

"I told you, you're a very – ah, predictable man, Rick. Oh – jeez, Cas – ! I guessed okay, I guessed!"

He kisses her in victory and finally pushes into her, earning him a loud satisfying moan from her.

"Now that wasn't so hard, was it?"

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Are you sniggering at that last line too? Because I sure am. Hah!