Dreams, I have dreams
When I'm awake, when I'm asleep

Brandi Carlile, "Dreams"

He's in her bed.

That's usually how they start now. The dreams.

With Richard Castle in her bed, in various stages of undressing, but always that look in his eyes, hungry, wanting, so dark it burns a hole in her chest.

Tonight he's naked. She can feel his bare hip brushing hers as he hovers, his knee jostling hers, the smirk that slits his mouth open. His lips slant over her collarbone, so hot and wet, his tongue tracing patterns on her skin, and that's enough to have her arching against him, already dripping with need.

She moans, can't help it, a raw, pitiful sound that doesn't even feel like her voice, and his mouth closes over a breast, grazing the soft rise with his teeth before he licks, suckles at her skin.

"Castle," she breathes, pants, her fingers clawing on the sheets. Oh crap, crap, it's so good, he's so good-


His voice is a little off, too much surprise, too much wonder in it, but she can't exactly pay attention, not when his hand has drifted south, caressing the line of her hipbone before it stills between her legs.

"Please," she murmurs, desperate for him, for something, anything.

Touch me.

"Kate," comes his voice again, but it's wrong, too close to her ear when he's really over there, watching her with his fingers brushing-

Her eyes open.

Her bedroom is dark, darker than it was in the dream, and it takes her a moment to get her bearings, separate reality from fiction. It doesn't help that Castle is, here too, lying at her side, their bodies tangled in the sheets, an impression of his knee at her inside thigh that sets her skin alight. Damn.

When she lifts her eyes to him, he's grinning, but it's more pleased little boy, less intent man. Although, when she looks closely, the intent man sure isn't far.

"You having erotic dreams about me, Beckett?" he asks, his voice low and oh, so delighted.

Fuck. Just that word in his mouth, erotic, and the dream plays again in front of her eyes, leaves her body aching.

"How do you know they're about you," she shoots back, and she would maybe regret it if he didn't look so cocky, so confident. Like nothing can get to him.

"Well, you were saying my name," he emphasizes, that annoying smile curling up his lips. "Castle," he mimics, breathy and high-pitched, and she doesn't care that he's so very good in bed - she smacks his chest. Hard.

Even that doesn't faze him. "Ohhh, bodily response," he points out smugly. "That really got to you, didn't it?"

She's going to kill him.

But just then he moves his knee against her thigh, just barely, the slightest shift, and damn, she can't help the startled gasp that escapes her mouth.

The light in his eyes changes, a swirl of dark arousal overcoming the dancing amusement from before, and he presses his lips to the corner of her mouth, slow and deliberate, a long tease.

"So tell me, Kate," he murmurs, the warm fan of his exhales pushing her eyelids shut. "What did I do in your dream?"

Oh. Oh, oh, oh-

He wants her to tell.

Her throat goes dry and her heart pounds, desire thick and hazy in her veins.

"You," she starts, has to clear her voice because it's so raw, already broken. "You licked my collarbone."

He immediately lowers his mouth and illustrates her words, and God, there's something so very intoxicating about having her dream come true, about it happening twice-

"And then?" he prompts, his head hovering at her chest, a dart of tongue to her bullet scar that makes her hips buck.

Crap, can't he just fuck her now? "You," she says, tries to remember, "had your mouth - over my breast-"

The onslaught of sensation when he follows her instructions is just too much, overwhelming; words and thought leave her, desert the ship until she's nothing more than shivering flesh.

It's exactly how it was in the dream, his teeth and then his lips, his tongue, only so much better, so much better, because now it's real.

She aches for more. "And then your fingers," she pants, impatient now, "your fingers between my legs, Castle-"

His thumb skids over her and she sobs out a curse, her whole body rising into his touch, crying for more. He teases her, slowly, and she can't find her voice to tell him she doesn't need teasing, that she's there already, she's been there, trembling at the edge for longer than he knows.

"Like that, Kate?" he whispers, his voice velvet, sliding over her skin. And he dips a finger into her, not deep, not enough, but still - she nods desperately, words coming out at last.

"Just like that, yes, Castle, yes..." The sound draws out forever as he pushes another finger in her, and another, works her so skillfully than in seconds she's already breaking apart against him, her body jerking into the firm circle of his arms, the gentling touch of his mouth.

Oh God, oh God.

Who needs dreams?

Of course, the dreams are not all about his hot body.

The night after her first day back at the 12th, they have dinner at her place and she makes love to him, slowly, the way he likes, everything careful and deliberate, every brush of her tongue and nip of her teeth earning a whimper from him. They fall asleep tangled together in the sheets, her mouth open at his shoulder, his hand cradling her hip.

But when she starts awake, it is full dark; it's the middle of the night and she just, she can't breathe.

The roof again.

It doesn't seem to matter that Maddox is dead, that she's struck her own deal with Bracken, that she's as safe as she can manage for now. Sometimes it all just - comes right out again.

It was Castle this time, dangling from the ledge. It was Castle and she tried to pull him up, oh God she tried, but he was too heavy and her hands were slipping, her hands were-

She fists her left hand on the sheet and hunches forward, tries to get some air into her lungs. A low, keening sound vibrates in her throat, and she hears the rustle of sheets, feels the warmth of his hand at her back.

Great, so she's woken him.

"Kate," he murmurs, his lips ghosting her shoulder, and all breath rushes out of her again, a sob she can't contain. It's stupid, stupid; he's here, he's safe.

Only a dream.

She bites on her lower lip, hard, feels the way Castle's arms wrap around her, so gentle, her back cradled into his chest. She rests her head back against his, her temple at his cheek, drags a slow breath in as a lone tear trickles down her face.

"It's okay," he whispers, holding her close, his arms so strong at her waist. "I'm safe, Kate. Right here with you. Nothing's gonna happen to us."

She swallows the rest of her tears, turns her head so that her nose bumps into his jaw, so she can press a faint echo of a kiss to his neck.

"It was the roof again," she rasps, because he would never ask, and she wants him to know. "You were - hanging from the ledge, and I couldn't pull you up. I tried, but I couldn't."

He brings his hand up to her face, his palm brushing over her cheek, his thumb wiping the wet trail of the tear; she leans into it, touches her mouth to his skin.

"Just a dream," he promises, his lips at her forehead. "Maddox's dead, babe. We're safe."

Her mouth quirks and she's grateful, so grateful for this man, the way his words coax her out of her inner darkness.

"Not your babe, Rick Castle," she says darkly, baring her teeth against his palm.

A laugh startles out of his lips, ripples through his body, and she can see it come to life in his eyes, relief and arousal both, everything he wants to do to her. She shifts in his hold, putting her weight on her knee so she can pivot and face him, and then she opens her mouth at his, drinks him in, this wonderful, wonderful man who loves her so very much.

She runs a hand over his chest, feels the delicious flex of muscle under her fingertips, wraps her fingers around his neck as she breaks from his mouth.

"I love you," she tells him, the words coming from some place deep, rich and full and surprising even her. "Castle, I love you."

He looks back at her, his eyes bright and brimming, that amazing smile that slowly descends to his mouth; his hands cup her face.

"I know," he tells her, so soft, so tender. And then he kisses her again, a languid exploration of her mouth, lazy and wet, that barely-there tease of his tongue dancing against hers like-

-like they've got all the time in the world.