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If there be light, then there is darkness; if cold, heat; if height, depth; if solid, fluid; if hard, soft; if rough, smooth; if calm, tempest; if prosperity, adversity; if life, death.

~ Pythagoras

He can't take it anymore. He needs him gone. Out of their minds, their lives. He needs to be able to close his eyes and not see the smug look on Bracken's face when he'd walked out of the precinct, once again untouchable. It'd taken every last ounce of his rapidly dwindling self control to restrain himself from attacking the bastard in that observation room. He'd wanted nothing more than to throw the man up against the wall, to beat him bloody and raw. To not stop until Bracken was nothing more than a memory.

Kate startles when he stands, a question shimmering in her eyes. Nudging her leg with his knee, Castle steps through the space between the coffee table and the couch, moving closer to her. He needs to touch her, to remind himself that she's here. That it's over.

For now.

He grabs the remote and stabs viciously at the power button, the tiny plastic circle folding in on itself under the force. The television shuts off with a satisfying click and the remote clatters loudly on the coffee table as he drops down next to her, pulling her Union Jack pillow out from behind his back and tossing it down the couch. Her leg is warm under his palm as he wraps his hand around her bent knee and tugs, pulling her body to his. She comes willingly, tossing her legs over his lap and sighing when his arms close around her.

The tension of the past three days has turned his muscles to stone, his spine to steel. He can't relax, even with the comforting weight of her body pressing on his chest. He's suffused with nervous energy. It bubbles in his veins, swirls in his chest. Makes his knees bounce and hands shake. He knows she can feel it, can feel the way his body vibrates and twitches, but he can't control it, can't turn it off. The anger, the fear. It's too much. Always too much.

Her hand is warm against his neck, thumb stroking along the line of his jaw. He tries to concentrate on the rhythm, to time his breathing to the sweep of her skin over his. Angle to chin, in and out. He wills himself to relax, to let it go. There's nothing to be done now. Nothing but sit and wait.

He's so tired of waiting.

"I wanted to kill him."

Kate's nose brushes his cheek as she nods. "Me too."

"From the moment he walked into the precinct, all I wanted was to hurt him. I thought I had it under control but then I saw him and -" His fingers dig into back, pressing hard into the spaces between her ribs. He wants to crawl inside of her, to baptize himself in the endless waters of her strength. "I don't know how you did it. How you threw yourself into a blast zone to save him."

"It's my job. I want him to pay but not like that."

"I know. But when you turned to run - I wanted to grab you. I wanted to hold your hand, to keep you next to me, and watch him burn." Kate presses her lips to his neck, her breath washing over his skin, soft and steady. Alive. "I just wanted it to be over."

"It will be. He'll slip up and we'll get him eventually. We'll do it the right way."

"What if we can't?"

"Castle -"

"He's tried to kill you so many times, Kate." He pulls back, turns to look at her. "He's not going to stop. I can't just sit here and wait for it to happen again."

Kate shifts, twisting her body around until she's in his lap, knees bracketing his hips and hands gripping his shoulders. Her hair burns golden in the dim light and Castle skims his hands up her back, let's the soft ends tickle over the tips of his fingers.

"We don't have any other choice," she says. "This has to be done the right way or not at all. Because if we do that, if we lead a crusade, try to take him down by whatever means necessary, then we become him. I almost did it, Castle," her hands slide up the slope of his shoulders to cradle his neck, "and I don't want that for you. I don't want to put blood on your hands. I don't want you to carry that."

"But you can?"

"It's my burden to bear."

Kate's eyes go wide for a split second when he grabs her by the back of the neck, yanking her body up against his chest. His mouth his brutal against hers and she moans, a rich sound that swirls in the back of his throat, silencing the incessant noise in his head for one blessed moment. Her fingers slide into his hair, nails scraping over his scalp, pulling goosebumps up along his back. He pours it all into her mouth, the fear and anxiety, the desperate need he has to fix this, to make it better for her.

"You shouldn't have to bear it," he pants when she wrenches her mouth away from his, her eyes dark and cheeks flushed. "I want to make this better for you; I want to help you shoulder the weight. But more than that," he cups her cheek, feels the heat of it against his palm as he brushes his thumb over her temple, "I want to make it go away. I want you to be able to live without this shadow haunting you."

"You do make it better, Castle. You make it bearable." She presses her forehead to his, hand still cradling the back of his head. "Even if the shadow is always there, I won't get lost in it anymore. You drive it back."

He catches her lips, breathes in her words. Let's them chase away his own shadows and fears. There's no turning back, no easy out. It scares the hell out of him, sends his blood slamming violently through his body. They're in this whether they like it or not. But they're in it together. He takes comfort in that. The knowledge that she's ready for him, willing to let him stand by her side and accept his love and support.

Kate moans into his mouth when his hands slide to her waist, fingers sneaking under the hem of her shirt, stroking at the soft skin along the small of her back. He loves this part of her body, how the flare of her hips fit so perfectly in his palms, his fingers meeting in the middle, tracing along the scoop of her spine. Delights in pressing his hand against her when they're in public, knowing what he can do to her in private; the way she sighs when he drags his mouth over her skin, dipping his tongue into the shallow dimples, tasting her.

In one fluid movement, he breaks the kiss and pulls her shirt over her head, his mouth falling to her shoulder. Kate's fingers pluck at the buttons on his shirt, her hands nimble and sure. Her pelvis rocks slowly against him, an unconscious rhythm that he mirrors, pressing himself into her on each roll of her hips.

Castle stops touching her long enough to let her slide the shirt from his shoulders and slip off her bra and then he's on her again, his mouth and hands ruthless. He can taste the desperation on his own tongue, does nothing to contain or quell it. He needs this. Needs her. The connection. The freedom. The peace that washes over him every time he holds her this way, feels the way she loves him.

Love.

It's still not something they talk about. He knows she loves him. It's in everything she does. Her words, her actions. He can see it written so plainly across her face, can feel it in the way she kisses him. He's held back since that day in her apartment last May, when he confessed his love and it wasn't enough, but tonight - Tonight he can't.

Kate's hands are at his waist, wrestling with the button and zipper on his jeans. He wraps his fingers around her wrists and tugs, pulling her body flush to his. Letting go, Castle slides his hands up her back, cupping his hands over her shoulder blades and holding her close. Her forearms press into his sternum, hands splayed over his chest, and she stares at him, eyes hazy with desire. Smiling he leans in and feathers kisses over her cheeks, filling his lung to capacity with her. His fingers trail down her back, light and slow, and she sighs, warm breath gusting over his collarbone.

Slipping into the gap he finds between her pants and her back, he nips at her neck and fills his palms with the gentle curve of her rear. His hands shift, pushing her pants and underwear over her hips. Kate stands and quickly shimmies out of her clothes, kicking them to the side as she reaches for his pants again. Castle tenses his legs, lifting off the couch, and she slides his pants and boxers off, tossing them onto the pile with hers before climbing back onto his lap.

She rests on her knees and takes him in hand, running the tip of his erection between her thighs, coating him with her arousal. Castle's hands grip her hips as he watches her sink down over him, her thighs tense, muscles straining under her skin. Kate moans low in her throat when her pelvis meets his, body canting forward to rest against his chest as she starts to slowly rock. The curled ends of her hair whisper over his skin and he shivers, the words shaking loose.

"I can't lose you again. Not to him. Not to this."

Kate shakes her head, mouth smudging over his neck, hands dragging down his chest. "I'm here," she reassures him, her nails pressing into his skin. Marking him with proof. "I'm not going anywhere."

Castle lets his hands roam her body, fingers hitting all the hidden alcoves of pleasure he's discovered over the last eight months. That one patch of skin just under her right breast, the curve of her navel, the backs of her knees. His lips drag over her collarbone, mapping a wet trail from one shoulder to the other. Kate's hips jerk when he sucks at the hollow of her throat and she leans back, hands braced against his chest as she rides.

His name is a strangled cry in her throat when he presses his hand to her abdomen, thumb slipping down to circle her clit. Shuddering, she collapses onto him, her ribs hitching against his as she pants. Castle smoothes his hand through her hair, waiting until she's ready. Her teeth sink into his shoulder and he growls, arms banding around her back.

Leaning to the side, he twists them over, trapping her body under his on the couch. Kate blinks at him, lips tilted up in a smile, hands running hotly over his chest and neck. His eyes flutter closed when she traces her thumb over his bottom lip, the touch so light and gentle that he feels his heart crack, love and light pouring out into his chest, filling up him.

Castle hooks his elbow under her left knee and she digs her nails into his ass, urging him on, her voice never silent, littering the air with moans and curses. Her orgasm hits hard and fast, her body clamping down around him, pulling him deeper as she writhes. His thrusts are sloppy and erratic, lungs burning with the effort it takes just to breathe. Kate's hand closes around his neck and she pulls him down for a bruising kiss, her teeth tearing at his mouth.

"Come on, Castle," she murmurs, her fingers fisting in his hair.

"Kate," he pants, his body skating on the razor edge of control. "I love you. God, I love you so much."

"I know." Her lips slide across his cheek and she holds him closer, opening her body for him. "Let go. I'm right here. Just let go."

With a deep groan, he releases into her, his body spasming until he's empty and spent. Kate slides her leg off his arm and wraps herself around him, holding him to her as she presses soft kisses the sweaty line of his hair. Her fingers trail up and down his back and Castle sighs, the desperation finally abating.

Silently, he stands and holds out a hand. Kate smiles and reaches out, lets him pull her up from the couch. Castle drops a tender kiss to her lips and laces their fingers, leads her into the bedroom. Moonlight pours through the open blinds, bathing the room in a gossamer glow. The sheets are cool and crisp against his overheated skin and Kate slides in next to him, curling herself into his side, open palm resting warmly over his steadily beating heart.


Thanks for reading. And thanks to Aly for the inspiration.

Your thoughts are always welcomed and appreciated.