A/N – Sorry about the delay in posting! And please note that the rating increases to M for this chapter.

In the end, Kate needed very little convincing. She barely squeaked out. "But Gates…" before Castle kissed her, effectively cutting off the rest of her protest.

After that there were several very hazy minutes that mainly consisted of Kate's tongue trailing along his neck while he managed to work his hand under two layers of clothes to palm her breast.

But it was fine. They only lost five minutes, tops. Castle snapped back on task when Kate slipped her hand down his pants and gasped in his ear that they needed to get out of the hallway.

"Right!" He'd wrenched away and held her at arm's length. It was really, really difficult, because she was Kate and she was standing there practically panting, her pupils huge, her fingers still clutching his waistband like she was going to pull him back in.

And her bra was shoved up. Castle could see her nipples through the white cotton of her shirt. The car, the car, get to the car.

"We need to get to the car."

"That's not going to help, there's still the driver…"

"I pay him not to be scandalized."

"You do?" Kate smiled. She gave him a look out of the corner of her eye, all hot and knowing and … car. Car now. She moved to step past him, her fingers trailing along his stomach. "Maybe you should pay him extra tonight."

Castle sat at Kate's desk, impatiently watching the clock. Five minutes. She'd insisted on a five minute head start so they wouldn't be spotted leaving together. Thirty seconds to go.

Without Kate beside him the anxiety of the past week had returned. This night had almost felt like the last four years; the joy of being with Kate coupled with the frustration of not being with her. Waiting and yearning for her when she was right in front of him.

With one crucial difference. Tonight wouldn't end with them both alone, trapped by their own silence. Castle took a long, slow breath. It was ridiculous, but he was almost nervous, his anticipation and insane want making it impossible to concentrate on anything but her.

Caste jumped up. Suddenly the last thirty seconds were too damn long.

But he'd only made it about five steps before a figure materialized in front of him, seemingly from nowhere.

"Mr. Castle? Are you leaving already?"

Castle grabbed his chest and tried not to have a stroke. Gates. Again. He didn't know whether to be terrified at her apparent powers of teleportation or relieved that she wasn't a ghost. Although if it had been a ghost it would have meant that Esposito owed him twenty bucks.

"Sir!" Seriously, his knees might give out. "I didn't see you there!"

"I was just in my office." Gates sounded extremely chipper. Still under the fruitcake influence, no doubt. "Why are you down here alone?"

Danger. "I was just…just getting my coat." Did he have his coat? Where was his coat? "You're right, I was on my way out."

"How funny. I just saw Detective Beckett leaving as well." Gates stared at him, her eyes not quite focused.

Don't panic. Probably a coincidence. Means nothing. Get out get out. "Yes, well, I have to be somewhere…"

Gates continued as though he hadn't spoken. "So many people leaving early. At least I guess they've left. I haven't seen Detective Ryan or Detective Esposito in at least thirty minutes. And I don't think I've seen Officer Hastings all night."

"Really?" Castle tried to unobtrusively check out the clock and subdue his imminent panic attack. Kate had been gone for six minutes now.

"It's odd." Gates tried to put her hand on her hip but it slipped off, causing her to stagger into the side of the desk. She righted herself immediately, her hair bouncing a little. "Whoopsies! What was I saying?"

"Um." That would have been funny if he wasn't about to freak out. "That everyone seems to have left?"

"Yes." Gates looked thoughtful. "I wonder what everyone is off doing." She laughed. "It almost makes me believe the rumors about secret interoffice relationships going on right under my nose. Maybe everyone is hiding away in the closets with each other."

"Interoffice relationship?" Suddenly drunk Gates was no longer funny.

"That's the rumor."

Castle felt his stomach flip. "Um, sir…I don't think… I mean…" Was his voice higher than usual? "I haven't heard any rumor about an interoffice relationship."

"Really, Mr. Castle?" Gates tilted her head. "Because I heard it was you and Detective Beckett."

The air stopped in his throat. He could feel his eyes bugging, his mouth working like a fish out of water. Words were tangling around his tongue, panic rendering him speechless.

Gates laughed. She laughed. She was enjoying this. Busting them was like a belated Christmas present for her and think, he had to think. "Uhhhhh…" That's not thinking!

Gates leaned in and laid her hand on his arm. For a second Castle wondered if he were drunk, even though he hadn't even had any fruitcake. Or it could be that his panic was making him hallucinate, because she almost looked…friendly? Maybe this was her way of disarming him before she went in for the kill. Like a predator.

She patted his forearm, and for a second her eyes were sharp and clear. "Don't worry Mr. Castle." The corners of her mouth were tilting up, and if Castle didn't know it was impossible and completely out of character he would have sworn her eyes were twinkling. "I'm sure I've had way too much fruitcake to remember any of this in the morning."

Wait. What?

Gates raised her eyebrows knowingly and squeezed his hand. "You have a Happy New Year, Mr. Castle. You and Detective Beckett." With a last enigmatic smile, Gates turned and walked away, her stride steady and sure.

Castle couldn't move, couldn't breathe. He could only stand there, gaping after her, unable to decide if he and Kate were in deep shit or the luckiest people alive.

Castle finally found his voice. "You too," he called after her retreating figure. "Happy New Year to you, too. Sir."

He was going with lucky. Happy New Year indeed.

Kate was just getting ready to go look for him when Castle slid into the limo. He brought with him a swirl of cold that smelled like snow. It would have made her shiver if she weren't already trembling from want and anticipation.

"Come here," he whispered, slipping his hands under her arms, almost rough as he yanked her into his lap before he had even closed the door.

"Castle, wai -" It thunked shut behind her, the automatic locks clicking.

"The driver." Castle grunted, by way of explanation. He already had her shirttail out and was working on the buttons. "The one who is being exorbitantly compensated to remain completely unscandalized."

"Oh. Good." Kate twisted to straddle him. "What took you so long?" The edges of her words stuttered and caught in her throat as she sank down and felt him, hot and already hard.

"Gates. Gates and a Christmas miracle."

That made no sense and Kate was going to have to remember to ask him what the hell he was talking about later. Sometime when he wasn't unhooking her bra.

"It's after Christmas," she managed to gasp. Why was she talking? The buttons on his shirt were tiny and uncooperative.

"A Christmas adjacent miracle, then." Castle's voice was muffled as she gave up on the buttons and pulled his shirt over his head. "A Christmas and fruitcake adjacent miracle."

"Okay." Kate wasn't even trying to understand what he was saying anymore, not with his skin, the heavy planes of his chest, hot under her palms. His warm hands spanned her waist as he pulled her against him to drag his lips down her throat. Kate tried to swallow back a moan. Finally.

Castle shoved at her shoulders and the whole tangled mess of shirt and bra landing on the floor. His thumbs brushed over her nipples before he reached for her pants, and Kate arched her back, the streaks of feeling both too much and not enough.

Castle let out a grunt of frustration, his hands tugging at her hips. "Fucking pants. I hate all of your pants."

"No more pants." Kate recklessly agreed, rising up on her knees to aid in the pants removal process, her efforts hampered because her hand was down the front of his pants. She wrapped her fingers around him and he exhaled in a slow, desperate hiss.

"Kate, I don't…" He threw his head back, his eyes slamming shut as he started to thrust against her palm, a steady, hot slide. He gave up on her pants and slipped his hand between her legs, stroking in time to the roll of his hips. Even through her clothes the sensation was too intense, she was too on edge, had missed him too much.

"Castle…let me…" Kate tried to pull back, because after waiting this long she'd be damned if she came before she even got her pants off, but Castle wrapped an arm around her waist. In one fluid motion he flipped her over so she was on her back beneath him.

For a second she was disoriented, but then everything in her focused on his hands as he finally managed to yank down her pants, his mouth hot against her thigh, and yes… but no, because if he touched her with his mouth this was going to be over immediately.

Kate was gasping out something, one hand clenched at his ear, tugging, but she was right there, slick and hot, and he just had to –

Kate was a ninja. A sexual ninja, because one second he was between her legs, his hands spreading her thighs, and the next she had somehow pulled herself up and over him. He sprawled back against the seat with a thump, Kate once again straddling his lap. Her hand was wrapped around him, her thumb running in circles over the tip, and God, was he fourteen, because he could already feel the pull of imminent release deep in his abdomen.

"Castle, I'm sorry, I can't…" Kate shifted in his lap and then suddenly he was inside her, so tight and wet and Kate that his vision almost whited out. It was everything he had been missing, and he couldn't keep still; couldn't control his movements as he thrust into her, banishing the loneliness and longing of the past week, the past four years, of his whole life before he met her.

God, he can't … Her arms were twined around him, one heel pressed into his lower back pulling him close. Her breasts were against his chest, the taut nipples dragging against his skin with every roll of his hips. Castle could hear his own breathing, gasping as he tried to slow down, to give her control, trying to keep himself from ending it too soon when all he wanted was for it to go on forever.

"Kate." Her eyes were closed, her teeth biting into her lip, and she was so beautiful that he was barely able to push the words past the lump in his throat. He palmed her face almost roughly. "Look at me."

Her eyes fluttered opened, dark and nearly frantic with desire; but it's the love he could see, that she never tried to hide, that pushed him over the edge. Sensation burst from the base of spine, suspending for half a second until it crashed over him, through him, even part of him filled with love for her.

Look at my life, he'd said to her, my dreams come true. But it was moments like this that still seemed unbelievable; buried deep, still jerking and straining against her as she tightened around him and turned to flame in his arms -his- the cries she tried to hold back echoing in his ears.

Kate collapsed against him. Her heart beating so hard he can feel it against his chest. Castle could hear his own in his ears, heavy and hard, again and again. I love you.

Kate couldn't move. She felt worn out, boneless, wrapped up in the warmth and smell of Castle. Home at last.

"It's not enough." He was still moving inside her, small nudges that triggered quivering aftershocks. Her thighs clenched around him. "It just… "

Kate leaned in to kiss him, slow and sweet. Her blood felt thick in her veins. "Took the edge off?"


His face was buried in her neck. One hand was splayed across the base of her spine, still pressing her hips to his. The other was rubbing circles between her shoulder blades, and Kate wasn't sure if she was ever going to able to move again.

"I missed you." She whispered into his hair. "I'm so glad you're home."

"I missed you. Obviously." He pulled back to look at her, his hair flopping over his forehead, his face adorably chagrinned. "That might be a record. Not a record that I'm particularly proud of."

"We won't add it to your stats." She stroked her hand over his head. "But no complaints here." She smiled, stretching a little in his arms. "I feel fantastic."

"Truer words," Castle murmured, his voice still hoarse, his hands sweeping down to cup her ass. "You do feel fantastic. But I'm planning to do better than…" he reached around behind him for her wrist and squinted at her watch. "Oh my God, four minutes?"

"But it was a truly excellent four minutes. And besides," Kate pushed his hair back, tenderness and love seeping through her, "we have all night."

"We have all night." Kate's fingers were cool and gentle, her smile almost shy. A promise.

Castle wrapped his arms around her, hugging her hard, the truth of it hitting him right in the gut. They had all night. They had all year and forever.

"All night, huh? That's a pretty big order." He smiled at her, could feel the tension seeping from his muscles, his body settling. For now.

"I have faith in you." Kate pushed against his shoulders until he was reclining on the seat, her body stretched out on his, her head tucked under his chin. "A little rest, a snack, you'll be ready to go."

"Yes. Luckily there's some fruitcake in the front seat."

Kate laughed. "You didn't."

"I did." Castle stroked the smooth skin of her back, somehow already wanting her again. Wanting her still. "I thought I might need it if I decided to get you drunk and have my way with you."

"Good thinking. If you're especially lucky, maybe I'll wear my Santa Baby dress."

Kate was smiling at him, wiggling her eyebrows. Castle's heart flipped in his chest as he was once again struck by his almost unbelievable reality. He'd just had mind-blowing sex with Kate Beckett in the back of his limo, and she was lying naked in his arms as they went home. Together.

"I'm already especially lucky." He swallowed hard against the sudden knot of tears at the back of his throat. "But I won't say no to that dress."

A/N - Thanks to Nic for fixing everything and generally keeping me from descending into a total fit of nervousness about this chapter. And to Jessie, who I made read an early version of this that she probably doesn't remember because she was delirious with fever. Feel better Jessie!

And to all of you guys. Thanks so much for reading, and for all your awesome reviews. This has been fun.:)