Title: What the Ceiling Lacks

She curls her hand around his ear, fingers brushing through his hair as he lies there, head cradled on her chest, body heavy over hers.

His breath is even and warm and she smiles, shifting a little to find a better balance of heated blanket and breathing. But she's loathe to dislodge him, can't pull herself away from the image of him there, sleeping, totally peaceful. She can't get herself to let go of the fact that he's asleep on her chest, breath washing over her left breast.

If the orgasms and laughter and sheer amazement of their three rounds didn't do it, this certainly will. Because hers are naked, hers are real; his face is smashed into her boobs, not that reporter's. She doesn't need a bikini, and doesn't have to practically maul him to get him into her bed. Though, the mauling can be kind of fun.

She combs her fingers through his hair again and then smoothes her hand across his forehead, thumb brushing over that little scar above his eye brow. He's so handsome, even smashed against her chest and a little sweaty.

She sighs quietly, watching as her breath rustles his hair. He is so handsome, and charming, and, she can admit it now, irresistible. Any woman, every woman, from those she'd have to arrest to those who can't really walk—no one's out of bounds for the scope of his charms.

And he's here, on her chest, snoring now, hand clenched into the sheet that bunches by her shoulder. He's with her. He chose her. And he'll keep choosing her.

She believes that.

She does.

His hand shifts against the sheets, fingers brushing her arm. His huge hands, thick fingers, bulging arms—all of him is just the right size, the right shape, and he uses it to his advantage, makes her come undone, makes her furious, makes her warm.

"Staring's creepy."

She laughs and brings her fingers back to his hair, cupping the back of his skull. "Didn't mean to wake you."

"Didn't mean to face plant on you," he mumbles, his voice gruff with the edge of sleep.

He goes to move and she clutches at his head, completely out of her own control. Damn hands.

He huffs out a laugh against her skin and sags back down. "Make a good pillow."

"You're warm," she offers in return, smiling as he shifts to rest his chin between her breasts, hazy eyes meeting hers.

"Did you sleep?"

She shakes her head and smiles, watching as he glances at the clock.

"Jeez, Kate," he says, bringing his eyes back to hers. So it's 2am. She'll sleep tomorrow. "I know I'm gorgeous, but even for you this is—"

"Not unlike tailing me for four years?"

"Hey now, at least I'm productive whilst admiring your assets," he says, leering at her, she assumes; it kind of comes off as a sleepy smile, and she's horrified to find that even that, even an unintentional act of cuteness, makes her heart flutter.

"I'm resting," she gives back, because she's getting sucked in again—into how much, how terrifyingly much, she feels for this man.

"Can't be very comfortable with me on top of you."

She shakes her head. It's not the most comfortable position ever, but his weight, his warmth—it's perfect. He sighs at her and reaches up to smooth an errant strand of hair from her face. She smiles at him, can't seem to stop.

"Why're you up?" he wonders after a minute.

She shrugs, jostling his head, and grins as he chuckles. "Wasn't tired."

"Then I'm not doing something right," he says, and she laughs as his hand trails down her neck, inching toward where his breath puffs warm over her chest.

"Four and no sleep? I'll die," she protests, but it's feeble, and the glimmer in his eyes tells her he knows. She could go for a fourth round.

"Wouldn't want you to die," he says evenly.

Then quickly, so fast she barely feels it, his lips descend to kiss her scar. And then he's back, boyish and playful on her chest, his big body squirming over hers.

Worrying over the man who waited for her, who tried to knock her out of the way of a bullet, who would have spent a summer helping her heal if she could have let him—She could slap herself.

But as he grins and shifts up to plant his lips to hers, hands cradling her face, elbows bracing him by her head, she hears it, that ever present, niggling voice:

Why me?

He pulls back, like he can hear her, and she smiles, forces it off her face. Because he's there, naked and large and warm over her, with her, and he loves her.

And if she doesn't believe that, doesn't take it inside and squirrel it away into the dark and twisty places, they'll implode.

She believes him.

She does.

His breath washes over her face, lips close to hers, eyes boring into her own. "You're so beautiful."

"You too," pops out, and he laughs.

He smacks his lips against hers then rolls them, grinning into her hair at the squeak of her surprise. They settle back out with her sprawled over his body. She cringes at the cold against her back and then smiles as he quickly yanks the blankets up around them. His arms wrap around her back then, hands splayed wide, hot palms warming her skin.

"Once upon a time," he begins and she grins into his shoulder, laughing.

"Really, Castle? Gonna tell me a bedtimes story?"

"You nixed my more persuasive techniques," he says easily, running the pads of his fingers up and down her spine. "So, once upon a time, there was a roguishly handsome—" he trails off as she giggles into his bare shoulder, her fingers tensing against his ribs.

She can't help it. He's going to tell her a "Castle" story, and it's funny. It's sweet. It's wonderfully maddening.

"May I continue?"

She nods as she calms down, gets herself back under control. "Sorry. Go on."

"Thank you." He shifts under her, probably just to rub as much of him against her as he can. "So, this roguishly handsome writer meets a kickass detective."

"Kickass," she interjects, lifting up to get a look at him.

He's exactly as she expects: A little mussed, a little smug, and a whole lot happy that she's letting him do this. "Kickass sexy detective?"

"Eh," she gives him, laughing as he mock-glares her back down onto his shoulder.

One of his hands strays up into her hair, carding through until he reaches the base of her skull. He drags the pads of his fingers along her scalp and she feels herself practically melting into him.

"The writer, besotted, manages to weasel his way in and follow the kickass detective," he continues, his voice a low rumble over her head. "And after a lot of screw ups and people she just had to date—"

"Me?" she interjects, arching up to glare at him. "How 'bout ex wives and starlets and, oh, don't forget Jacinda. Seriously, who names a child Jacinda?"

He laughs at her. He laughs at her. "Jacinda's got nothing on you. None of them do," he tells her, eyes sparkling. "And as for naming, well, it's not for everyone. I'm lucky I was lucid enough to name Alexis, 'Alexis,' at the time."

She lets her eyes relax, feels the smile creeping onto her face even as she tries to tamp it down. "It's a good name," she says softly.

He smiles. "Yeah. But, I wasn't talking about babies."

They pause for a second, eyes locked. They breathe together, lips parted, words tipping, until he gently guides her back down to his shoulder. At least they're in agreement there. No baby talk. No baby talk for a freakin' long time.

He shifts underneath her, getting comfortable again, and she grins into his shoulder. No baby talk, but the naked talking is damn good.

"So," he begins again. "The writer and the detective finally, and I do mean finally, get themselves together and, well—"

"Get together?" she supplies, rolling her hips once against his, just to hear his deep, growling laugh.

"Yeah. Though, I kind of like, ' have mind blowing, acrobatic, amazing sex.' But yours is good too."

She laughs and nuzzles into him, a movement that she'd normally find far too girly and cute, but she's so warm and happy that she just doesn't care. "Yours is better," she mumbles into his skin.

His lips press against the crown of her head and she takes a deep breath, filling up with him, and his joy, and the fact that they're here, in her bed, talking about their story together. Still takes some wrapping her head around it, to be honest.

"And so, one night, the writer wakes up to find that his girlfriend has been lying there, watching him sleep for a good two hours," he says, and she hears the finality of it.

She waits, but there's nothing more, just the rise and fall of his chest beneath hers.

"That is a terrible end to the story," she decides, pulling back to look at him. "How anticlimactic."

"Well, it could be pretty damn climactic," he argues, trailing his hands up and down her arms, tickling the sides of her breasts.

"You need to amend your story," she tells him, watching the bob of his throat. Yeah, words always do it for him. "It was pretty damn climactic before the writer woke up and found his girlfriend serving as his pillow, watching him, because, let's face it, he is more interesting than the ceiling."

He pouts at her and she holds her ground, going for stern, but probably coming off as besottedly indifferent. "I like the one where you stare at me 'cause you're so desperately in love a little better," he huffs out.

She stills above him, staring at him as he looks easily back at her. She's never said it, not in so many words at least.

But she does.

She does love him.

She loves him enough to worry about other women, and how she can't possibly, ever, be good enough for him—for how long he waited, for how much he cares, for the way that his love completely fills her up and blows her over and knocks her down day, after day, after day.

He just watches her, doesn't push, doesn't prod, and she finds herself frozen, because she hasn't said it. She hasn't, and that's not—

"Makes for a better story, true," she gets out, trying to tamp down the way she feels like it's pouring out of her eyes, erupting from her skin. "Might make for a better reality too, just a little."

"Just a little?" he asks, positively beaming at her. "A little?"

"A lot," she amends as his fingers creep up her sides. "A freakin' lot. Don't you da—"

But he rolls them, trapping her beneath him as he tickles her, face alight and beaming as she wriggles and tries to catch his hands. He gets the best of her though, and only lets up once she's shrieking with laughter, tears spilling down her face.

"Love me a freakin' lot, huh?" he asks as she pants beneath him, spent and flushed and finally free of the ghosts that haunted her earlier in the night with him asleep against her chest.

Because she loves this man, and he loves her right back, loves her so much that she can see it in his eyes now, in the low light that filters up from the street—that golden New York glow that comes through her windows. The glow, his eyes, his hands caressing her sides, gentling her from his attack—they push the words from her throat, up and out of her heart.

"I love you a whole freakin' lot," she agrees, grinning up at him, even as he raises an eyebrow. "You're gonna take issue with the 'freakin',' really?"

His face breaks into an enormous grin and he sinks down onto her, lips meeting hers in a languid kiss.

"Love you a freakin' lot too," he mumbles into her mouth, slipping his hands around her to clutch her body to his.

She believes him.

She does.