They ended up skipping the sex part of the shower after their escapades by the pool. As much as they wanted to, they weren't physically capable of making love every second of every day. The couple had simply stood under the water, gently cleansing each other's skin with the shampoo and body wash Castle kept stocked in the large bathroom. Beckett had thought about bringing her own, knowing Castle liked the scents, but she also suspected he liked her smelling like his bath products more. When they eventually bedded down for the night and he held her close, burying his face in her hair and inhaling deeply, she knew she was right. Just like when she wore his shirts, some primal instinct, some pride in marking her as his, filled him.

They'd fallen asleep discussing inane little things that didn't matter, the subject unimportant so long as they were talking together, in each other's arms, in the same bed, breathing the same air. Around two o'clock Beckett had startled into conciousness, the call of an unfamiliar seabird waking her. She'd woken Castle with her mouth and they stayed awake for another two hours, relishing in their final night of vacation.

It's now 10am, and they're already late leaving. Reluctance is heavy in the air, breakfast a slow affair, drawn out by feeding each other berries, pouring their coffee at a glacial pace. They knew the faster breakfast went, the sooner they'd have to say farewell to the bubble of tranquility that the weekend had been. Castle had actually managed to get Kate out of the house a few times and the detective had been completely charmed by the local culture. Due in no small part to the enthusiasm with which her debonair tour guide regaled her.

But all that was done and over with. Bags were packed, a car loaded, and reality eagerly awaited them.

Kate fiddles with the handle of her coffee mug, chewing her lip and frowning slightly as she stares into the dark swirl at the bottom of her cup. Castle unknowingly mimics her, his frown lines a little deeper.

"I don't want to go back," she admits quietly.

He glances up at her and gives a sad smile. "Me neither."

"Think they'd notice if I happen to not come back for another week? Or five?"

"Or forever?"

She inhales sharply.

"Already tried to resign, remember? Didn't work out so well."

"Alas."

They're quiet again.

Castle knows that Beckett is the more responsible of the two. She'll be the one to insist they finally get going but he's not going to do anything to expedite that. He stubbornly stays still, trying to make the moment last. He sighs when he sees her open her mouth to speak.

"I don't like feeling grungy during a long car ride."

He raises an eyebrow. "Ok…"

"I wouldn't mind taking a shower before we leave."

Oh.

His eyes widen in hope and a smile cracks her face.

"Come on," she says, suddenly giddy as she stands and holds out a hand to him.

He flies out of his seat to take it, almost giggling out loud at the rush of happiness that fills him. Just a little more time in his home-away-from-home, and it had been her idea. They make it to the shower in record time despite the stumbling and tripping along the way as they pull and tear at each other's clothes. He has a standing shower that's large enough to fit a group of people if needed, with a broad showerhead on all three sides, creating an all-encompassing spa type feel. Kate takes a step in to turn the nozzle, leaning slightly, water cascading from the walls. It's definitely one of Castle, and now Kate's, favourite indulgences. Castle happily takes the opportunity to stare at her naked backside, his hands gravitating towards it, spanning the smooth skin before squeezing.

"Like what you see?"

She didn't turn around but he can hear the smirk in her voice. He answers by stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her, the evidence of how much he likes what he sees pressed against her.

"You could say that," he murmurs into her ear, taking the lobe between his mouth and sucking. She shivers against him and leans back, her hands covering his on her stomach. She feels him grin against her ear before she's suddenly falling forward, a hefty push from behind propelling her into the still cold spray.

"Hey!" she shrieks, and he cackles in glee.

"Woopsies."

"Woopsies my ass," she grunts, wiping hair back from her face but staying in the spray which is warming by the second.

"I couldn't help it Beckett," he shrugs. "I like it when you're wet."

A devastatingly sexy look comes over her face. "I know," she nods. "It's a good thing you don't know that every time you step into the precinct I get wet for you. I wouldn't want you to be distracted at work."

"Damn it Kate, you can't say things like that!" he whines, stepping forward into the deluge.

"I'm afraid I just did."

"That's all I'm going to be able to think about now. Every time I step off the elevator I'm going to be looking for you, smelling you, wanting you."

"I thought you did that already?"

He pauses and pretends to look deeply thoughtfully. "True."

"Well then there's no harm done."

He advances again, crowding her against the back wall as he reaches behind to slide the glass door shut. "I'm still blaming you if I get distracted and accidentally blow up a printer or something."

"I wish there was something else you could blow at the precinct."

"My my, Detective," he croons, hands coming up to frame her slim waist. "We are in top form this morning."

She glances down and licks her lips. "I'm not the only one."

He laughs and dips his head to kiss her. Her arms wrap eagerly around him, pressing tight as their tongues slip and slide.

"I love kissing you," he moans between touches. Kate makes a noise and kisses him harder, her hands rising up along his slick back to the hard muscles of his shoulders. She squeezes him in warning before she jumps. He catches her thighs as she wraps her long legs around him, grinding her hips forward.

"Woah… somebody's eager!"

"Gotta get my fill," she says leaning back. Her hands move to his chest, caressing, secure in the fact he'll keep her upright without her holding on, safe in his arms.

"I seriously don't know how I'm going to last entire days without kissing you," he complains.

"We did it for several weeks between the end of my suspension and now."

"And every second was torture."

"Well," she bites her lip and rubs her hips against his. "There is this one storage area on level two…"

His eyes grow dark. "You better not be messing with me."

"I'm serious. No one ever uses it."

"Why not?"

She shrugs. "The old maintenance guy used to use it but when he passed away, the next one just… never took it over."

"So it's like a standing shrine to him? You want to desecrate a sacred room?"

"Castle," she admonishes. "It's not sacred, it's just abandoned."

"So it could be full of creepy crawly things!"

She catches his bottom lip between her teeth. "The only thing that's gonna be crawling in there is me, over you."

He tilts forward, his body aligning perfectly with hers, skin to skin. "You know," he muses, a hand leaving her thigh to drift up her side, wandering over to her breast and tweaking a nipple. "You may have initially caught my attention with your hot body." He twists again and her head falls back against the wall. "But it's your amazing, amazing mind that kept me coming back."

"Glad to know I'm not just a piece of ass."

"Oh you're still that." The hand swoops down to palm said anatomy, making her gasp, arousal and steamy hot water making her skin blush pink. "But your mind… besides the obvious brilliance, I sometimes wonder if your dirty gutter mind might rival my own."

"Oh Castle," she shakes her head on a laugh. "If only you knew."

"I'm happy to spend the rest of my days trying to find out."

She stills for a moment, her elegant hand rising to cup his face, stroke her thumb over his cheekbone. She pulls him in and he's lost to her taste. It's a natural progression when her hand skims down between them to grab him in her hand. He doesn't even need to pull away to position himself correctly, push forward and slip into her waiting heat. A groan vibrates between them, the feeling so right, like they were doing what they were born to do.

Steam billows around them in gentle clouds, slowly rising streams of crystalline water, the heat making things slow, lethargic. The entire thing is like a hazy, wonderful dream. The water pounding down on them eases muscles that are sore from all their weekend activities and makes their bodies soft and malleable once more, molding to each other. Kate's lips trail away to his jaw and down his neck, nibbling on the area where his neck meets his shoulder. She makes her way up to his ear.

"So good, Castle," she whispers.

His hips jerk forward.

"Yes," she nods, her wet hair sticking to the side of his face.

"Hold onto me," he commands, and she complies. His hands leave her thighs and run up her back, tracing her spine. He grasps her firmly and pushes his torso off of her, the connection at their hips never breaking. His eyes lock with hers for a moment before meandering down, tracing little, clear rivulets as they smooth down her chest. He leans down and catches one on his tongue, robbing it of its path but taking the task upon himself, following the outline of her breast. Her small nipples are dark and pert, the shock of the cold water when he pushed her in leaving her wired and sensitive. He laps at it gently, reveling in her little gasps and moans. When they grow louder, higher pitched, his mouth grows wide and envelops it, sucking softly at the tender skin. He feels a hand tangle in his hair, not forcing him closer, just holding him steady.

"I wish…" she pants above him. "Wish there was a shower in that storage closet."

He laughs, his hot breath scorching her skin.

"Mmhmm," he agrees, lips and tongue travelling over to her other breast.

"Next time we come here we need to try out the Jacuzzi tub. I love jets."

He pulls away from her slippery nipple with a wet pop.

"How did we not get there this time?" he asks, eyes a little dazed with lust and wonder.

"Little busy with the library. And the bed. And kitchen. And pool. And…"

"Oh, right," he remembers with a grin. "Good times."

"The best," she nods.

He gazes at her, eyes hooded as he rolls his hips. Her eyes flutter shut as a noise emanates from the back of her throat. He does it again and she escalates to a full on groan, her delicate features twisting in pleasure. Her arms move down his waist so her hands can grasp at his hips, his backside, tugging.

"More," she whispers.

She loves the feel of his ass muscles clenching and squeezing as he starts to build power, his feet firmly grounded on the shower floor. Her body begins to bounce with the force of him, back hitting the cool tiles of the wall on every thrust. She brings a hand up to his chest, stroking his pecs, scratching lightly down the smooth skin, playing with his nipple.

"Oh my gooood," she drawls when he circles his hips, pubic bone hitting her right where she needs it most. His head falls to her shoulder, falling to the side until his lips can find her neck, her skin tasting pure and clean.

They build slowly, no longer worrying over having to leave, just lost in one another, the world and its troubles sluicing away with the water spiraling down into the drain. Kate comes with a long, light moan and a sigh, waves of bliss running through her at a bone deep but leisurely pace. Moments later Castle joins her, pushing her hard against the wall, the responsibility of keeping her warm body safe the only thing keeping him on his feet as he pours into her.

She nuzzles him softly when she's ready to stand again and he carefully lowers her, already missing the feel of her legs around his waist. Before she can speak he claims her mouth, his talented tongue working to sooth and calm the heartbeat he can feel racing just under the surface of her skin. Their high dwindles. Beckett is rather impressed that the water is still running hot after all this time. She's surprised that it's Castle who breaks through the silence.

"We should actually wash up," he suggests.

"I suppose," she hums, swiping her tongue across his lips.

"Seriously," he urges, but he kisses her anyways. He keeps one arm anchored around her while the other reaches blindly for his plain white loufa and the bottle of body wash.

"Want me to do your hair?"

"No," she regretfully declines. "I'd probably end up falling asleep. Your scalp massages are pure sin."

He smile softly and brings his treasures with him as he wraps his second arm around her. Using both hands he dollops a portion of the light blue soap onto the loufa and lathers it quickly. Kate sighs when he touches it to her skin, her head falling forward onto his shoulder as she relaxes, lets him wash her back in long, even strokes. He moves up to her shoulders and down her arms before running down her bum, kneeling in front of her to find every inch of her mile-long legs. He clasps her calf and helps her foot off the ground, resting it on a bent knee while he massages the sudsy cleasner over her ankle, her arches. She has to lean against the wall, reeling from the exquisite feel. She makes running in heels look easy but it really does take its toll on her feet.

Her blood sings when he makes his way up her inner thighs but his touch stays gentle, fleeting, not lingering at the apex. He finishes quickly, rubbing her stomach and gently kneading her breasts before her makes it to her neck. The loufa gently circles up to her chin before he lets it fall to the ground. His eyes pierce through her as his hand comes up to her jaw, sliding down her neck, wiping away the little bubbles. She smiles faintly at him, lightheaded with a torrent of emotion. This man makes her feel more in an hour than any other had in the space of weeks, months. A light kiss to her lips brings a close to her cleansing.

She kneels in front of him now, eyes diverting when she comes to his waist, lest she get any ideas and they're delayed even further. She finds the loufa and starts at his feet, treating him to every tender touch he gave to her. When she finishes she gently places the supplies back where they came from then pulls her lover into her embrace. They hold each other until they arrive at an impasse; if they don't stop now, they will surely end up going for more, which is fine with them… but they do know they have to get going. Castle had told his family they'd be back around 3 and it was already 2:45. Granted, the Castle women will probably cackle in glee when they arrived a few hours late, but they didn't need to exacerbate it by being half a day late. Kate feels the beginnings of embarrassment already burn through her at the thought. Castle seems to sense her discomfort and pulls back, cradling her face.

"What's wrong?"

"Just thinking about our impending walk of shame."

To his credit, the writer tries to contain his grin. He fails miserably, and Kate bites the inside of her cheek to stop herself from telling him how cute it is.

"You may be walking, my dear…" he strokes her face tenderly. "But I will be strutting."

She pulls completely out of his arms with an exaggerated eye roll. "Oh god..."

"What? I can't help it. I spent the weekend with the most gorgeous cop to ever walk the Earth!"

"I'm going to ignore the blatant hyperbole there and ask a serious question."

"No hyperb…!"

"Will you be able," she interrupts, "to function properly at the precinct?"

He makes a "Are you kidding" face and she rolls her eyes again.

"I'm serious Castle. They know I was away with my boyfriend this weekend and if we both show up looking like cats who got the cream…"

"Oooh, whipped cream!" he sighs dreamily.

"And my point is made."

She moves to open the door but he grabs her waist and stops her.

"Kate, I'm not going to give us away. Don't worry."

She turns around and sees his handsome face calm and serious.

"I know what's at stake."

She ducks her head. "I know you do."

She looks up and the seriousness is now chased with a dash of pouting. She laughs, shakes her head, and kisses him. When they part he finally lets her exit the shower. He quickly follows, grabbing a thick towel from the rack beside the shower and holding it out for her.

"But when we do eventually tell everyone," he warns as he wraps her in the plush material, patting her dry, "All bets are off. Once the world knows that I'm with Katherine Beckett, I'm going to shout it out at every single opportunity I get."

She knows she won't be able to dissuade him of that. "We'll deal with that when we get there," she concedes.

She might just do some shouting of her own.

Half an hour later they're dressed, dried, and on their way out the door when Castle suddenly exclaims so loudly that Kate jumps.

"OH MY GOD!"

She whirls around, heart in her throat, mind leaping to worst possible scenarios.

"We forgot to write in The Book!"

She chokes on her cry of "Are you ok?"

"Excuse me?" she frowns.

"The Book!" Castle grabs her hand and starts jogging in the direction of the library. "We always write in The Book before we leave. Highlights of the trip and stuff like that."

She freezes, stock still in the middle of the hallway. He's moving so excitedly his hand flies right out of hers.

"Beckett?" he questions, several steps down the hall by the time he halts his forward momentum.

"I, uh…" she stammers. "I think you should go ahead by yourself."

"Why!?"

"Well it's your tradition, and…"

"And I want it to be our tradition now."

"Castle, please, I really think you should go look at The Book by yourself."

He's completely confused as he frowns at her.

"Please."

He senses the weight behind her words and slowly nods. "Okay?" before starting hesitantly towards the double doors.

Kate doesn't breathe until the doors close behind him. Her lungs don't seem to be working; she can only take short, gasping breaths as she backs herself against the wall, sagging lightly against it.

The Book.

I love Richard Castle.

Kate had known in the back of her mind all weekend that this moment would eventually come but this morning she'd honestly forgotten. To be smacked in the face with it so suddenly… She was not prepared. She hated feeling so thrown, so out of control. Logically she knew nothing bad was going to happen but it was a big step for them. For her. She knew he would understand that she'd had to write it before she could say it out loud. The more she thinks it through, the calmer she becomes. She knows it's time, long past time, in fact, that she give him this, that she finally let him in this far. It's not like its big news anyways. She knows she's been making doe-eyes at him all weekend, and if the way she treated his body didn't scream her love... She hears the door handle rattle an instant before she watches it slowly turn. She unconsciously holds her breath as he walks out.

His gaze is on the floor and she bites her cheek to keep from saying something. He moves toward her silently, his head lifting but still not meeting her eyes. She studies his face, searching for any indication of what he's thinking. When he's right in front of her he doesn't stop, keeps moving forward until his arms are around her and she's surrounded by his rich scent, the feel of his broad body. His embrace is all-encompassing, hard yet gentle, tender yet fierce, and she realizes she's achieved something incredible today.

She made Richard Castle speechless.

Kate has to close her eyes against a sudden well of tears. She frowns at herself and buries her head further into his chest, his arms tightening around her. If she feels something drip from his own eyes onto her shirt she doesn't say anything. Finally, she feels a light kiss to her hair. He pulls away, grabbing her hand in the process. She can't decipher all the emotions swimming through his expressive blue eyes, but she knows which one is strongest. The same one that's threatening to overwhelm her. She gives him a tremulous smile.

"Let's go home," he says.

She grips his hand tight and together, they walk out to the car.

The End.


A/N: Finally an actual shower scene! I reference them all the time but I think this is actually the first time I've ever tried to write one… hmm… How did I do? :S I was a bit underwhelmed with this chapter, but I think it's cause I was already distracted by The Epilogue... heh.

I know the first "I love you" should be this grand epic thing… but it just came out in this soft way… and I guess it's technically still unspoken, isn't it, like so much of their relationship… but he KNOWS now. Castle knows-knows. It is inscribed upon the sacred pages of The Book, and in Castle!World, that's just as valid/important/special as outloud; it's written for everyone to see.

Thank you everyone who supported me in my first Castle!Fic; those who followed, favourited, and especially those who took a few seconds to review

If any of you are upset that she still hasn't said it outloud, well… wait for The Epilogue ;)