Another Round

"You do know it's not like a leash," he groaned.

She smirked and let go of him even as he followed her off the elevator, eager and hot; she reached back for his hand instead, but he shook her off.

"Kate," he hissed. "We're still in the lobby."

She turned and raised an eyebrow. "So."

"So, that's a bit conspicuous, isn't it?"

Sigh. Yes. True.

She led the way out onto the sidewalk and happened to brush his arm with hers, managed to drag the back of her hand against his ass. He practically grunted in surprise, shot her dirty looks as they headed - instinctively - for her place.

Not the good dirty looks either. The stop it dirty looks.

She bit the inside of her lip and glanced over at him, reached out to goose him. He yelped and turned to her.

"Kate, we are a block from the 12th. What happened to keeping it to ourselves?"

"I'm keeping it to myself."

"That includes keeping your hands to yourself, Beckett."

"Are you going to maybe share these rules with me, Castle? So I know when I can and can't hold your hand. When I can and can't grab your-"

"Hammer!" he blurted out, smiling weakly at a mother and her little girl as they passed on the sidewalk, and then grabbing Kate by her elbow and tugging her quickly forward. "You're seriously doing this?"

"I already told you, Castle. Seriously doing this," she said, and even though it was so fun to tease, she wasn't. Not now.

He straightened, and his eyes caught hers, and that goofy, overeager smile split his face. She liked that smile. It made her warm; it made her want to grab him by his ears and kiss him.

Well, they were only a block from the precinct.

"Walk faster, Castle. I wanna see if you'll really use apples this time."

"Oh no."

She glanced behind her; he was a full pace away, staring. She smirked, lips pressed together. "You coming?"

"You'll let me?"

"We can have dinner at your place," she sighed, rolling her eyes at him for his reluctance.

"Don't you think it's a little-"

"If you say conspicuous one more time, so help me-"

"Okay, okay. A little noticeable?"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Thesaurus words still count."

"You never come over for dinner."

"Why can't I come over now?"

"Because you never come over for dinner."

She put her hand on her hip and shifted to lean against the kitchen sink. She was tired of her apartment, tired of being cooped up. "I do too! I came over after the bank."

"My mother invited you."

"Oh, like you didn't want me to come for dinner?" she growled.

His lips twitched.

She raised an eyebrow and his twitch turned into a full-fledged leer.

She got it the second before he opened his mouth, but it was too late to stop him.

"I could make you come for dinner."

She rolled her eyes, but just the sound of his voice was a flash of heat straight through her, quick and dirty. And he evidently saw it. How could he not? He knew every face, every look, had studied her these last few weeks like-

"Uh-huh. Think about that, Beckett. Can't come for dinner if you. . .come for dinner." He was already sliding in closer, hand at her lower back.

She sucked in a breath and stumbled into him as he yanked her closer. "That doesn't make any sense."

"To my place. It's filled up with people. But here we're alone, and you've got those candles that smell like you," he murmured, and his mouth was at her ear, glancing at her jaw, skimming her skin.

"They don't smell like me," she got out, opening her eyes wide to keep them from sliding shut.

He pressed her slowly against him and she gripped his arms, gave in to the lean of her body into his.

"They smell like musk," he continued, and she could feel his voice humming in his chest, moving into hers. "Musk and something sweet, something heavy and rich and still-"

She shivered when his mouth opened at her neck, his nose nudging her as he inhaled.

"Still cherries."

Her knees gave out and he was laughing as he caught her.

They didn't have dinner at his place.

"A movie?" he suggested, smiling at her as she came through the door of his loft.

"Yeah," she agreed, giving him back that same smile she'd given him their first morning together, sweet and somehow shy, but with a fierceness behind it that he couldn't mistake.

"It's uh. . .kind of a date then," he said. "The date we didn't have. John Woo and. . ."

She worried at her lip with her teeth, went ahead and gave it to him. "Yeah. It kinda is."

He frowned. "Well that sucks. Our first date is a movie in my loft?"

"It doesn't suck," she laughed, glad for the face he was making if only because it broke the awkwardness. "I think it's sweet."

He sighed but offered her his hand, fingers wriggling, eyebrows raised in challenge.

"Oh, so now I can hold your hand?" she murmured, lifting a half-smile at him.

"Now you can. First date is hand-holding. I think that's the rule."

"You and your rules." She shook her head at him but took his hand, squeezing before she laced her fingers through his. It reminded her of other times, the tug and smile as she led him towards his bedroom, the crush of his grip as he held her down.

"Oh no. No, Beckett. I do not put out on the first date."

She laughed, lifted her eyes from their hands to his face, saw the answering smirk there. "Oh really? I beg to differ."

"I can make you beg," he growled, and used their joined hands to reel her in.

She resisted if only to feel that tug of his insistence, see the flare of need spark behind his eyes. When her hips hit his, everything fell into place naturally, easy, and he swayed with her there, wrapping an arm at her waist.

"When do they get back?" she asked, fingering the edge of his collar.

"Late. Show's over at ten."

She eased her mouth towards his, that quick rush of his breath across her lips like invitation and she parted, their kiss soft and warm and slow.

When they parted, she slid her arm up his chest and around his neck, drew her fingers at his jaw and back to his temple, over and over while she watched his eyes go from tender to hungry and back again.

He was still trying to be good, but she wasn't sure she wanted him to be good.

Their chests brushed as he brought her closer, kissed her again, lightly, his thumb brushing that spot at her neck, his other hand sliding into the back pocket of her jeans.

She took in a breath and made her decision. "Castle?"


"Last time you kinda kicked me out of your bed."

She felt him stiffen and sputter, but she was grinning as she moved in and brushed her fingers over his mouth. He quieted, blinking, protest still in his eyes, but she shook her head.

"How about you let us get reacquainted," she murmured, lifting an eyebrow.

He nodded. "Bed. Yes. Good idea. Where are my manners?"

He was still entirely too cogent for her taste, so she moved in, brushed her cheek against his, turned her head into his jaw for a touch of her tongue to his skin. He clutched her hard but she stood her ground, smiled.

"You know what I like best, Castle?"

She could feel him swallow and the grip of his fingers, feel the tension coiling in him. "What. What do you like best?"

"How especially sinful-"

He sucked in a breath.

"-your sheets are."