Epilogue

Rick pressed his lips against Kate's jaw. Her fingers slid into his hair with a little sigh; her left hand smoothed around his waist, an index finger tracing the small of his back. She was just so damn sensual, so unafraid, so sexy. He couldn't get enough of her and he was utterly delighted that she didn't tell him 'no'. She didn't send him away. Kate had changed. She let him know her; like she was unafraid of what he might see. He had always seen her but now he saw her in different ways; so many layers to the Beckett onion, he wasn't even sure how to describe how it had changed. (She made words jumble up in his head so he wasn't even sure he was making sense anymore. Writing the story helped; it was a love letter. More than Nikki Heat was. So much more.)

If he hadn't had her here (or even just in his life) these last few days, he wasn't sure how he would have coped with killing someone. She made him feel glad to be alive, and not guilty with it. She made him feel incredibly glad she was alive. And that they were together. His actions felt totally justified. And that helped a lot. There was a future he could see, and there were people alive who might not have been if Maddox had somehow dodged that bullet (and he wasn't just talking about Kate or himself).

Rick brushed his lips lovingly down her throat, soaking up the warmth of her skin, her body, the way she half whispered little moans. Unique sounds he didn't know how to define, but that sent thrills through him; made him want to do everything he could to elicit more. More, more, more; he wanted it all. Everything she would give him, he'd take it. The house, the car, marriage, babies, whatever. He was so ridiculously in love with her.

It hurt.

Rick pressed kisses against her skin, soft and warm; she smelt so good. Rick rested there, his nose pressed against her, feeling the delicate jump of her pulse beneath her flesh, the velvety touch of the pads of her fingers against his back. Her nails scratched lightly at his skull and he was hyper aware of all the other points they touched, hip against stomach, even through the bed sheet. Shit, this woman...

He had never loved like this before.

It was Kate. Kate, Kate, Kate. She did this to him. Made him re-write all the rules. Made him want to re-write all the rules. She didn't demand but he would do it anyway. Give her anything. Give her it all.

"You know," he started, moving again, down to her shoulder, pressing a kiss, feeling that slight quiver of her body reacting to him (she picked him!). "There is one other thing we should talk about?"

"Hmm?" Kate hummed, the hand at his back moving to his bicep to squeeze as he dabbed his tongue against her skin.

"Babies. Do you want to have babies Kate?"

He felt the exact moment his words sunk in because she literally froze solid against him, suddenly hard and unyielding. Then he felt the desperate grip of her fingers against his arm, fingers gripping his hair, and pushing him back, away from her. Rick gave a grunt as he pulled back. Her face was aghast. He hadn't quite expected that reaction. But then again, what would he know? They had never even skirted around this one. Not even thinly veiled 'third time's the charm'.

"It's a logical question," Rick told her softly, feeling... hurt or affronted, despite himself, despite trying to be cool. "Considering you asked me to marry you." He watched her throat work as she tried to swallow.

"That's," Kate started.

Rick almost heard her add the 'completely different' part as well, but she didn't. He studied something like real fear in her eyes. He had an irrational flare that this was a deal breaker and panic skittered on the edge his peripheral vision. Ok so she didn't want to have kids. Ok. That wasn't a big deal. He had a daughter; he didn't need to have another. But... he... wanted to. He wanted to. With her.

"Do you?" Kate said instead.

Rick gave a half shrug. Play it down. Backpedal. Don't let her see. Don't let her run. "Didn't really plan on having Alexis. At least when we did," he mused. "Wait," he chuckled (desperate attempt to lighten the mood). "I asked you first." She had almost distracted him, tricked him into answering.

"I'm so glad you can laugh about this," Kate huffed, shoving him harder so he faltered, falling onto his side next to her on the mattress. She escaped the bed, taking the sheet with her, hugging it against her body. Rick caught something like concern on her face before she turned away. He reached for the cover, which was kicked up against the glass, and pulled it up to his waist; this didn't feel like a conversation (he hoped they were going to have a conversation) he should have naked.

She was taking this really seriously.

He had obviously pushed a button.

And he was half sorry that he had pushed too hard, while at the same time hoping, hoping, that she would turn and talk to him. Not run. Not push him out. They had been making progress. Surely after the last few days nothing else would be too hard? Rick waited on her. She had ambushed him with a few things this weekend, and he had made the effort to talk it out with her. "I didn't mean to blindside you," Rick started anyway, hating the silence.

Kate turned to him. "Yeah," she agreed, the vein in her forehead prominent while she thought, hovering by the bathroom door (at least she hadn't run for the stairs). "I just..." She let her eyes meet his and Rick could see the fear was gone but it was replaced with something else. Hurt. Sorrow. Confusion?

Rick moved from the bed, ditching the blanket. His pace wasn't lightening, so she had plenty of warning, but even as he closed in, she didn't flinch or move away. He hugged her tightly and she let him, and god that made him feel so relieved. He had totally underestimated whatever this was. What if she couldn't have kids? He had just assumed... It had never come up... Why would it have come up? "What is it Kate?"

He felt her take a deep breath, preparing herself. "I think about having kids and then I think about my Mom and I just... I don't want to do that to my kids."

Oh.

He wasn't sure what to say to that.

"But god when I'm with you," Kate murmured, pushing her face in close against his neck, melting in against him. "I want to. I really want to. All of that doesn't feel like it should matter."

Rick felt a sharp flare of heat in his guts; an entirely different feeling of want and being wanted. His throat went dry and words escaped him for a second, blinded by that desperate emotional edge to her voice. I want to. I really want to.

"But it's over," he tried, a whisper.

"Yeah that's over but... I'm a cop."

The heat was doused by a heavy stone of dread.

"It's always a possibility. It's happened before."

Rick imagined he could feel her heart beat pulsing the scar that was pressed against his bare chest. Poetic but not real. He was too afraid to even touch it. When they were together he avoided it. It was there between them. He squeezed her tighter. He wanted to say something stupid like 'quit your job Kate. That will keep you safe' but he knew better; they had already gone over that. So he said the second best thing that came to mind: "You'd have to make sure you were careful."

He felt her soften against him and he dared to hope a little (he had said the right thing?). When she spoke, her voice was small, maybe a little unsure, but he heard the glimmer there too. "You really would have more kids?"

"Yes. With you, yes. Yes," Rick murmured.

Kate went silent again. Rick thought about making her look him in the eye; or was it that he wanted to see what she was thinking? But he resisted. He didn't have to push when she opened up anyway.

"I think..." Kate started. She pulled away herself, looked up at him, her hair a deep golden but her eyes dark in the dim light. It was after midnight and later that day they would go home. "I think I want to have kids with you."

Rick broke into a smile, wide and delighted and he didn't even care that he was showing too much. Kate smiled back, tentative at first, then more sure, and so, so beautiful. Then a frown. "But not right now right?"

"No way," Rick agreed easily. "I just wanted to know we wanted the same thing."

"Because we have to work things out. Have time," Kate pressed. Rick nodded vigorously; he understood. Kate gave a smile, a little more sultry; calculating. She traced a finger against his collarbone, making his skin shiver involuntarily. "I want you. Does that count?"

Rick gave her a salacious grin and she looked up at him from beneath her lashes, all sex all of a sudden and he felt a tug in his stomach. "I had a vasectomy," he blurted.

Kate pulled back a little further, looking up at him, concern and surprise on her face. "What?"

"Uh," Rick closed his mouth. "I'm not sure why I said that."

Kate raised her eyebrows in disbelief. "You, had the snip?" Her eyes flicked down.

Rick felt a tingle. "Gina didn't want to have kids..."

"So you got the snip?" Kate repeated, that hard edge to her tone, like she didn't believe him.

"Uh yes?" Rick tried. The words didn't come out jumbled did they? She just tangled him up in side right?

"Then why the hell are we using condoms?" Her face went fierce (his favourite). She pushed up against him, planting her mouth on his, hard. Heat flooded through Rick's face where they touched and his hands automatically gripped at her hips, pulling at the sheet to make her move in against him, anchoring himself. Never ceased to surprise him. Never. She nipped along his jaw, down his throat.

'Um,' Rick groaned. Why? Because... "Kate god. We have to..."

"Have to what?" She asked breathlessly.

"Uh." Something. They had to something. "Sleep." Hadn't they just agreed to do that? Twenty minutes ago. Because tomorrow... there was... something... work.

"Later," Kate huffed.

"Kate," Rick tried again. "What about?"

"I trust you. Do you trust me?" she responded quickly, moving to his ear, tongue already deadly. Rick gasped yes. He could feel his limbs turning liquid.

"I want to feel you."

His knees went weak. Shit.

3.4

Four days and Kate was out of clean clothes (not that she had actually worn much in the way of actual clothes yesterday). Which meant that even though there was no rush to get back to the precinct because Esposito and Ryan were covering for her, Kate still had to get back to the city so she could go to her apartment and change into something decent; work attire. They got up. They had breakfast. They packed. Kate stripped the bed. Rick told her Rachel would take care of that. She gave him a look. Rick pried the bed sheets from her hands and left them in a pile on the mattress. "Seriously," he told her. "Let her do it."

"I don't feel right," Kate folded her arms over her torso. "Just leaving it."

"Well," Rick shrugged. "I pay her to clean up."

Kate's lips went to a thin line. "How do you know her anyway?" She was aware she sounded accusing. She was glad Rick didn't call her on it.

"Old family friend."

Ok so she wasn't expecting that.

"Her mother and my mother met at the beach one day, you know, before the Hamptons got really trendy, got to talking, stayed in touch over the years. Rachel's husband did the renovations on this place. And when he died suddenly, I gave her a little work for cash to help her with her kid."

Really wasn't expecting that.

Rick pressed his palms against her elbows. "Ok?"

"Yeah sure," Kate agreed sharply, maybe a little ashamed that she'd asked, that she'd assumed something else, that he was totally placating her anyway. She saw the slight narrow of Rick's mouth; he wasn't sure what he'd done, but he knew she was... giving him a vibe. She sighed, moved her arms, took his hands, cupped her palms against his. "It's just. I'm not used to just paying someone to do something for me."

"I know. But you get used to it pretty quickly."

Kate narrowed her eyes a little. It was Rick's turn to give that little sigh, squeeze her hands and explain. "Normally, I'd strip the bed and leave the place tidy and take any leftover food to her house. Check in, say hello, say thank you." He gave her a pointed expression, shook her hands to nudge her towards his way of thinking. "But we don't have time today, so I'll text her; she'll be fine. We gotta go right? You don't want to be late for work?"

Yeah ok so maybe that didn't sound soooo bad.

"So we should go," Rick tried.

"Ok," Kate agreed.

3.4

"Ow son of a bitch!" Rick cursed hopping on his right foot, bending over to rub his left toe.

Kate had reached the entrance way, but turned back to him with a half laugh. "What?"

"Stupid-head bastard," Rick went on in a grumble, glaring at the edge of a side table at the bottom of the stairs; accusing.

Kate laughed again as she dropped her bag on the floor. "I don't think I've heard you curse so much, or ever." She micro-paused, gave him a dirty smirk. "Not counting last night."

Rick quirked an eyebrow at her and lowered his tone, "You have no idea. That was completely tame. I'm a writer remember."

Kate gave him a smirk, came forward to slide her hands around his waist, pressing up close against him. She felt the way his breath caught, the way heat flooded through his shirt. "I can only imagine."

"Maybe one day I'll show you," Rick wiggled an eyebrow, ditching his foot to put his arms around her back.

"I dunno," Kate teased. "You forget I work with cops."

Rick quirked an eyebrow again. "I shall stun you with my filthy mouth."

Kate's lips twitched into a smile. "Filthy," she breathed.

Rick groaned, closed his eyes, pushed his hips in against hers. "You can't say... Kate. I can't..." When he opened his eyes again they were a dark blue.

Kate gave him a smirk, pressed a kiss against his open mouth. "Let's go Big Rick." She moved away from him, nudging his shoes towards him to hurry him up. She heard him huff as she turned for the door, spying the photo still resting up against the wall, forgotten. "Don't forget your photo."

"How'd you?"

"You forget, I'm a detective," Kate smirked again.

"Open it," Rick offered, pulling socks on.

Kate figured she may as well while she waited; she liked having her assumptions confirmed. She ripped the brown paper away easily, then picked apart the tape on the bubble wrap. Rick finished with his shoes and stood by as she revealed the image of the storm out over the ocean. She looked up at him, surprised. "You bought this?"

"Yeah," he smiled, pleased with himself.

Kate stood. "This is... You..." She stopped. "You can't just buy this."

"Why not?" Rick asked indignantly.

"It's too expensive!"
"Uh, you do know I'm loaded right?" He gave her his pointed expression, his 'it's obvious' eyes.

"Rick, that's not the point. I can't just accept this."

"Whoa, wait," Rick held up a hand to stop her. He chuckled. "You think it's for you?"

Kate glared at him, using it to hide her embarrassment. "It's not?"

"No," Rick scoffed, stooping down to pick it up, to hide. He had intended it to be for her, but if she reacted like that, then no. He had got it wrong. He'd thought she'd like it. He took the photo to the table he had just stubbed his toe on.

Kate followed him around the corner. "Sorry. I just assumed, wrongly, because I had been looking at it in the... Of course you might like it," she gestured. "I didn't think."

Rick set the photo to lean against the wall, making sure it didn't fall and turned to her. She looked worried. "No. Honestly? I got it for you. But it's ok if you don't want it."

Kate's eyes went a little wide, realisation. "It's not that I don't want it," she started, reaching a hand out to him. He took it, tried to settle his heart; he really shouldn't be so hurt over this. It was just a photograph. She shook her head a little. "No, it is that, Rick. I'm sorry. I just don't feel comfortable with you just buying me something that expensive."

"Money's not an issue," Rick tried again.

"Don't interrupt," Kate huffed.

"Sorry," he murmured.

"I don't know how to explain so let me just... think for a second."

Rick went silent and he waited. She looked at him for a while, then away, around the room. She kept a hold of his hand and they stood there in silence for a moment. Rick might have laughed (slightly awkward) if he didn't also recognise that she was trying really hard to make an effort. The money thing bothered her, he got that, but he didn't get why, and she was maybe going to tell him? That would be helpful. Then he would know how far he could push that line and when she would let him get away with it.

"Ok so. You have a lot of money," Kate started, looking up at him. "And I have not as much." She paused slightly, so Rick nodded that he was following. "So you can buy me things like thousand dollar photographs, but I can't do that for you."

"So then it's not equal."

"Yes that," Kate agreed, her eyes flaring, a spark of agreement.

"I don't need you to buy me things Kate."

"It's not about buying things."

"It's something that I can do for you that you can't do for yourself. It's probably the only thing I can do for you. You're so damn independent," he went on anyway, then stopped, surprised by himself. He didn't know that was in him.

Kate obviously didn't either. She blinked up at him. "Ok." She paused. "But. Ok," she sighed. "I see what you're saying. I get that. But really, this is just too much. It's... there has to be a... a..." She bit her bottom lip, drawing it between her teeth. Rick wanted to do the same. Take her lip between his teeth. "Have to draw the line somewhere ok?"

"Yeah ok sure," Rick agreed quickly.

Kate stepped closer, brought her free hand up to his cheek. "Do you understand where I'm coming from?"

Rick sighed. But yes he did. He nodded. He was overwhelming her. "How about we just leave it here and you can see it every second weekend and at the holidays?"

Kate quirked a smile. "Yeah ok. That's ok. You need something on the walls here."

Rick gave a small smile. He did really. It was time to move on from that almost bitter white-washing of Gina. They had reconciled a few years ago, actually managed to get back to the point of being friends. Sort of friends. Wait if he put Kate's photo on the wall here, did that mean he was... letting her into his Hamptons sanctuary?

Rick gave Kate a quick kiss and an easy smile. "Want to drive?"

"The Ferrari?" Kate asked, eyebrows raised. So she liked to play with his toys, but she didn't want them for herself. He might be able to follow that. For now. "Really?"

"Kinda hot when you drive it."

Kate smirked, "Mm you know I can handle a stick." Rick swallowed hard. Kate stepped back and turned for the door, tugging him along behind her. She got to the door and turned, pulling him into her, back pressed against the wood. "Oh by the way, that's not the only thing you can do for me that I can't."

Rick gave a growl and quickly stepped in close, nudging her body with his. Kate's arms went up around his neck, drawing him down into a hot, wet kiss. Rick growled again, feeling Kate flinch against him, pushing back. He wasn't sure they were even going to make it back to New York at this rate. He steadied her hips with his hands, drawing away slowly, breathlessly. "Have to leave."

"Yeah," Kate agreed on a whisper. "You're going to behave today? When we get back?"

"Total self control," Rick promised.

Kate pulled back her head to look up at him. "If you don't, I'll kick you out myself," she told him, her tone and eyes hard.

Rick grumbled. "So long as you don't tease too much."

"I'll try."

Rick gave a little huff. "Any more?"

"More what?"

"Rules," he grouched. Then he quickly softened his face and tone, caressed a hand lovingly against her waist. He slipped the key for the Ferrari into her hand. Kate tangled their fingers, teased her tongue along his lips, making him groan. So unfair. She got to tease and walk away. He had a hard time walking away, pun intended. But the wait? Oh so worth it. She was worth all of it. Rick broke from her mouth to press a kiss against her jaw, then lower at her neck, nuzzling with his nose; mm she smelt good. He heard her pant in his ear, felt the gentle pressure of her hips pushing against his. "Is there anything else we should talk about?" He gave her an endearing smile, because really, he loved that they had talked, opened up, shared.

"No," Kate answered directly. "This is the last of it."