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She wakes slowly, her body heavy and overly warm. Dust motes dance in the late afternoon sun, a black and orange ballet silhouetted against the wall. She stretches out her dormant limbs, toes pushing against the sheets as she flexes her calves, her right arm spanning out across the mattress, fingers bumping into an empty pillow. Kate sits up and scrubs a hand over her face, tries to shake off the heavy veil of sleep.

This is why she doesn't nap. She always awakens feeling more tired than she was before and ends up spending the rest of the day in a fog. She's told him that repeatedly yet still he insists on pulling her to the bed, intent on making sure she gets the rest he thinks she needs.

You don't have to sleep, Kate. Just close your eyes and lay here with me for a little while.

As always, she'd let him tug her down next him; let the gentle press of his hand rubbing circles over her back lull her to sleep as his chest rose and fell under hercheek. She'd drifted easily, her fingers curled into the front of his shirt, body melting into his as she inevitably gave in and let sleep take over.

Huffing out a sigh, Kate swings her legs off the bed and stands, tank top riding up high on her stomach as the stretches her arms overhead, fingertips straining for the ceiling. She reaches for the yoga pants she'd discarded before climbing into bed, preferring to sleep with her legs unencumbered, but finds them missing. Along with the rest of the contents of her laundry basket. Shaking her head, she grabs a fresh pair of shorts from her dresser and tugs them on before setting out to locate her missing partner.

She finds him in her laundry room, shirtless, transferring tangles of wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. His jeans rest low on his hips and her eyes trace over his back, a lazy hunger stirring inside her chest. Silently, Kate moves toward him, grinning at the way he jumps when her fingers make contact with his waist.

"Are you doing my laundry?" She snakes her hands around to his stomach, lacing her fingers together. His muscles bunch and twist beneath her hands as he bends to toss fabric softening sheets in with the wet clothes before slapping the door shut.

"Yes."

"Why?"

"I was hungry when I woke up." He slaps the button to start the dryer and the hum of the spinning drum fills the tiny room.

"And that somehow led to you doing my colors?"

"You were sleeping pretty deeply," he turns in the circle of her arms, eyebrow raised in victory, "like I knew you would, so I decided to just heat up the leftover lasagna from last night rather than wake you to see if you wanted to go out." Castle runs his hands, still slightly damp from the laundry up her back, fingers spread wide, and she closes her eyes, lets her forehead fall to his chest. "I was trying to eat and write at the same time and ended up wearing most of my snack. Wanted to wash it before the stain set but didn't want to run the machine for just one shirt so I grabbed the stuff out of your laundry basket and here we are."

Kate grins against his skin, trails the tips of her fingers under the waistband of his jeans. "You're doing my laundry." She laughs and he looks down at her, his smiling lips and furrowed brow making her chuckle even harder.

"Me doing your laundry is really that funny, Beckett?"

"Sorry," she gasps, her lungs still spasming with inexplicable joy. "I'm all -" She lifts a hand and flutters her fingers around her head.

"Discombobulated?"

"Yeah. It's not really funny. It's just so - I don't know. Domestic. Waking up from a nap to find you in my laundry room, separating my delicates."

"Hey, there were no delicates involved," he defends, eyes flashing playfully as his hands dip down to cup her ass. "Had there been, you might have walked in on a wholly different scene."

"Really, Castle?" She leans back, eyebrow crawling up to meet her hairline. "My underwear does it for you?"

"It's more the thought of you in them. Or taking them off of you."

Grinning lasciviously, he leans in and captures her mouth, his tongue gliding smoothly over her bottom lip. He groans when she pushes up to her toes and wraps her arms around his neck, pressing her body flush against his. The heat from the dryer and the lingering haze of sleep slow her reactions, make her feel loose and lazy. She rolls her body against his slowly, rocking her hips in the cradle of his broad palms.

"Mmm, maybe I should be domestic more often," he hums, breaking the kiss. His lips skate down her neck, paint a wet line across her collarbone as he pushes on her shorts and underwear. "That seems to be doing it for you."

"Shut up, Castle," Kate smiles, pressing a wet line of kisses across his chest, gasping when he sweeps his hands under her thighs and hauls her up against him. She instinctively wraps her legs around his waist as he turns on the spot, her tongue tracing over the line of his Adam's apple. Castle sets her down on top of the dryer, fingers tripping up to pluck at the hem of her tank, tugging it off and tossing it on the pile with her shorts. The heat of the running appliance seeps through her skin, fuels the arousal flaring in her abdomen.

"You did separate the colors, didn't you?" She drags her fingers down his chest, scraping her nails over his nipples, and watches his stomach clench and ripple as she makes her way to the button of his jeans.

"Do we need to have a conversation about appropriate dirty talk, Beckett?"

Laughing, she cups him through his pants, feels his hips twitch against her legs. "Doesn't feel like you have any complaints."

"No, no. Suggestions, maybe, but no complaints."

Kate flicks open his pants and takes him in hand, pushing the sagging jeans down his thighs with her toes. His eyes slip shut and he cants into her touch, swaying as her fingers dance over him, light and teasing. She works him over slowly, dipping and twisting her wrist until his hips are thrusting shallowly against her, low groans spilling from his parted lips. His hands flutter over her, skittering from her thighs to her breasts and back down her stomach; constant motion and fleeting touches that drive her crazy, make her skin buzz.

"Touch me," she pants against his lips, loosening her grip on his waist and letting her thighs drop open. His fingers are on her instantly; sliding through her arousal, slipping inside of her, making her gasp.

She bites down on his shoulder and he growls, wrapping his free hand around her back and pulling her toward him. Her body thrums in anticipation, the gentle rocking of the dryer a counterpoint to her own internal rhythm. She looks down and watches as he slides his fingers out of her and slicks them over himself before tugging her leg up over his thigh and pushing into her.

Kate leans back and braces her hands on the dryer, her head dropping back on her neck as he thrusts into her. Her heel digs into his ass, pulling him closer, urging him on. The scent of laundry soap and fabric softener fill the room, making the air heavy and sweet in her lungs as she pants out his name. Her body shudders when he leans in and pulls her nipple into his mouth, his thumb dipping down to circle over her clit. She comes hard and fast, legs clenching tightly around his waist as he follows her with a grunting moan before collapsing onto her, trapping her body between his sweaty chest and the still running dryer.

"Okay," she concedes, her breath coming in short pants against his shoulder, "maybe domesticity does work for me."

Grinning, he steps back and helps her off the dryer, his fingers twining with hers as he walks backward out of the almost stifling hot room. "Yeah? Maybe I should do it more often then." He leads her across the apartment, a mischief shining in his eyes. "Do you think they make French maid costumes for men? I should get one. Give you a real show next time."

"There won't be a next time," she warns, her lips curling against her will, "if I open that dryer in half an hour and find all my whites stained pink."

Castle raises their joined hands and point at himself. "Single dad here. I mastered the art of laundry long ago. They'll be fine." He tugs her into the bathroom, hitting the light switch with his elbow. "And if they're not," he mutters, voice barely audible as he turns away from her to flip on the shower, "I'll just buy you new ones and sneak them in."