This scene is intended as a missing scene near the end of 5x13 - "Recoil" - you should expect rather major spoilers for said episode. Also, it wouldn't make much sense if you haven't seen it.

That being said, this is mostly to fix the fact that it bothered me how easily Castle just... accepted what Beckett said to him at the end of the episode that started with a comment fic prompt from LJ that's been lingering in my bookmarks for a while: Beckett/Castle - drunk on red wine

When it's over for the night, paperwork and all, she lets him take her home. At best, they only have a handful of hours before they'll have to go back, which will need to be filled with food and sleep, but he's relieved when she accepts his invitation without giving it a second thought.

There are still tiny shards of glass and metal sparkling in her hair as he guides her through the front door. She smells nothing like cherries and more like gasoline and gunpowder when he leans down to press a kiss to the top of her head and suggests that she use his bathtub. Turning into his chest, she frowns up at him, momentarily confused until he tugs a piece of debris from her brunette waves and shows it to her.

"You ran towards the bomb... remember?" he points out unnecessarily. The panic has died down now, but lingers in the way his fingers quiver as she lifts her eyes to the tiny fragment of something that's been reduced to papery-thin carbon.

The comment earns him a little shove as she chuckles and nods. "I remember," she adds as she presses a kiss to his cheek as he obliterates the bit of debris between his fingertips, wiping the soot against side of his pants.

She lets him fill the bathtub before shooing him out. "Feed me, Castle," she insists and he can't help but smile at the gentle shove she lands against his chest.

When she emerges, dressed in the cranberry-colored leggings she left here last week and one of his t-shirts, he's already started dinner. She takes a seat on one of the stools and leans on the island countertop to watch him cook, shaking loose her damp curls and listening to him pretend to complain that Alexis is still raiding his refrigerator. He pours her a glass of wine and she drinks it like it's water - in heavy gulps punctuated by the swipe of her tongue across her upper lip - and he tries not to force her to talk about it.

By the time their food is ready, she's had nearly half a bottle to his single glass and it's showing on her red-stained cheeks.

They end up on the couch in his office for food and more wine. A full stomach and the feel of Kate Beckett pressed up against his shoulder does good things for his stress levels, but he still can't quite move past just how monumentally terrifying these past few days had been.

He's been trying so hard not to push her. He trusts her in this, he does, but he doesn't want to make anything worse, so they talk about Alexis and the girl's night she had last weekend with Lanie as they eat their dinner. She hates being coddled, but watching her go toe-to-toe with the Senator has burst their little bubble of happiness in a way that nothing else could and he's exhausted from how hard he's been trying.

They finish off the first bottle of wine and he opens another when he goes to kitchen to leave their dishes in the sink. When he fills her glass again, he can't believe the way she's smiling at him. It's all flushed-skin and teeth and crinkling, sparkling eyes. This amazing woman is smiling like she won, like everything is wonderful, and he breaks his own promise to let her do this her way.

"You doing okay?" he asks as gently as he can, filling his own glass as she take a slow drink.

That smile is still there as she sets down her glass and uses her other hand to rake the fall of her hair away from her face, eyes narrowing as she considers her answer. Her hair is starting to dry now - frizzing a bit and fluttering at her shoulders - but there are still dark places on the fabric covering her shoulders where it dripped down.

He's searching her for some sign that she's forcing this, trying to erect those infamous walls between them, but finds none as she leans back into the couch, propping her feet up on his coffee table like she belongs there. "I'm... good. Tired, frustrated, and just... relieved it's over."

Leaning forward, he pours himself another glass of wine, watching her stretch and curl her toes gently. "It is over," he echoes, more than a little surprised.

"You worry too much," she chastises with a weary grin, patting her palm against the top of his thigh before slouching lower into the couch.

He should really just let it drop, but his mouth always works faster than his mind in moments like that and he blurts it out too fast, "But Kate, this-"

Her fingers tighten on his thigh reassuringly as she interrupts him. "I know. And tomorrow? With Gates?" She doesn't have to finish, just tilts her cheek against his shoulder, eyes slipping shut as she shakes her head. Once her fingers loosen and he manages to take a few more gulps from his glass, she adds, "Tonight though, I'm good."

Not sure how to reply, he turns to face her fully, studying the exhaustion that's starting to take over her eyes, and sees none of those fearful emotions lurking there. She looks one-hundred percent Kate, zero percent Detective Beckett and he just can't understand.

"How...? I mean, if I were you I'd be a mess and you're..."

He's gawking at her, he knows. But she tolerates it tonight, lets him look.

Eventually though, she shakes her head and sits up a little straighter as she bites at her lower lip, trying to figure out a way to fix the loop he seems to be stuck in. When she speaks, she softens her words with gentle touches - skimming over his thigh and chest and up to his chin to help him hear what she has to say.

"I did my job today, Castle. That proverbial rabbit hole was right there, tempting me, and I did it. I could have used this situation to get him. To destroy him. But I didn't burn that letter. I didn't let him die," she explains, her voice so solidly sure that he can feel goosebumps racing up his forearms. Incredible, extraordinary, amazing, resplendent; none of these words can fully encompass the strength and beauty and perfection of her in this moment. It leaves him breathless as she picks up her glass of wine once more, taking a heavy gulp before continuing. "I could have let it happen. When I confronted him that first time, I knew that killing him was never an option. I would have ended up in jail and... that would defeat the purpose, you know?"

He nods in acknowledgement when pauses, catching his gaze for a moment as she gathers the rest of her thoughts.

"Nothing has changed, not really. But I today I proved that I am strong enough to walk away. I didn't know if I really was, no matter how much I wanted to be. Especially when it would have been so easy to just...And that is..."

Her words break off and she lets her head fall back against the couch, eyes drifting shut.

When she finally lifts her head, her smile has softened. Sleepy-eyed, she nods in his direction. "It's just a huge relief. Yes, he's still out there. Yes, he's still a threat. And yes, there's still work to be done. But until then? I know now that I can pack it up, leave it behind, and come home with you."

He doesn't realize until she comes half-crawling across the couch that he's grinning at her like an idiot, caught up in her happy, hopeful smile and wistful with affection. Just that easily, she chases his worry off to some darkened corner of his mind. (Isn't that his job?) It will be back in the morning, when they have to face Gates and the Senator and she has to let that bastard walk away. But he's drunk on red wine and her; Seriously, how can he not smile?

"To me?" he asks, mostly teasing as she snuggles herself in against his side.

She just rolls her eyes and leans forward to reclaim her glass, taking a quick sip before responding. "Not the point, Castle."

"Still, I like that part," he points out, nearly spilling his wine when her fingers jam into his ribs in an abrupt and determined poke.

"Just shut up and enjoy it, Rick," she grumbles, but tucks her head against his shoulder anyway.

"Yes, Ma'am," he retorts, wrapping an arm across her shoulders to tuck her more firmly against his side. The familiar scent of her is back - soap and cherries - and it lulls him towards sleep as they sip down the rest of their wine quietly.

It's not long after she takes both of their glasses and sets them on the coffee table that she grows restless, her fingers trailing across the top of his thighs, stirring him back from the brink of sleep with their insistent pressure. His limbs feel so warm and heavy; it's all he can do to let his lips come down to kiss the top of her head.

But then she's uncurling her legs, turning into him until her face is nuzzling it's way across his chest, lifting slowly until her lips find skin. The pleasant tingling tug of them against his stubble is good... way too good and he groans, trying to arch back against the couch as her body moves to half lay over him.

When she finally finds his mouth with hers, it's lazy and a bit sloppy and she ends up pushing her wine soaked breath into him with each wriggling attempt to get closer. She ends up undressing them both with eager but unsteady fingers that fumble with every button on his dress shirt, but it's not until she's naked in front of him and stepping out of her leggings - all flushed skin and half-closed eyes - that he realizes just how drunk she is.

Her eyes are sparkling and glazed in the dim light as she sways towards him, stepping into the space between his knees as he realizes that he's pretty sure he's never actually seen her like this. Even at Ryan and Jenny's wedding she'd barely passed the point of pleasantly buzzed; just enough to leave her fingers warm in his as they danced and to keep that beautiful smile of hers going long after the joy and romance of the actual ceremony ended.

"Kate Beckett, you're drunk," he declares, unable to stop the chuckle that he lets out.

To his surprise, it makes her blush an even deeper shade of pink, her head hanging low to her chest as she tries to restrain a giggle that sort of huffs its way out. "So?" She peeks at him through her wild veil of hair, just waiting for his response. But he's not quick enough and she carries the conversation for both of them. "I feel good, Castle."

"And it's almost four in the morning, and-"

She reaches for him then, cutting him off as she braces herself against his shoulder so she can climb up on his lap, bracketing his hips with her knees. It works for a moment as she ducks her head low enough to slant her lips over his still slack and shocked mouth. But then she sways unsteadily, lands against his chest with a laugh and he just can't deny that she's adorable like this, even if he'll probably refrain from telling her that. Her mouth ends up nuzzled somewhere beneath his chin and he can smell the wine on her breath as shoves her face in tighter, uses it for leverage in an attempt to lift herself back up, hands clinging behind his neck with nearly all her weight.

"Help me out here," she mutters into his chin with a grunt of effort, and he does, bringing his hands higher to her sides until she's upright, eye to eye with him, still plastered with that never-ending grin. He's a little too fuzzy to understand exactly which parts of her are touching which parts of him, but there's plenty of her skin creating friction between his knees and his nose where her forehead comes to rest and there's no denying the warm, wet heat of her sliding against the top of thighs.

"We should really take this to bed," he suggests, proud that he somehow manages to sound coherent with the soft skin of breasts jutting against his chest and her mouth is sliding along his collarbone, leaving a trail of sticky wetness in her wake. She's getting clumsy; nails scratching him unintentionally and her mouth spending far too long on a rather uninteresting patch of his shoulder until he's pretty sure she's zoned out are only a few clues to her quickly declining energy. If he's honest, the wine probably wasn't the best bet considering how little sleep she's been getting.

"Not sleepy," she hums against his throat, even though he can feel how heavy her fingers feel and neither one of them seem to be hitting their target. Her mouth is leaving a trail of wetness everywhere and he doesn't think he's ever seen her quite so graceless. Cute, but definitely not very Kate.

"Maybe not," he agrees, as her nose bumps against his chin before their lips connect, slanting together with a too-wet, too-eager suction. "But I am," he adds a moment later as her teeth dig into his lip, her hands having gone still along his ribs.

Somehow, he manages to gather her against his chest enough to lift her up, carry her to the bedroom. She just keeps kissing him, angling kisses against his mouth and his jaw and whatever she can reach as he dumps her onto the bed when she realizes what he's done and kicks out, arching her back with an impatient "put me down, Castle."

But for all of her tough talk, she's nearly asleep by the time he moves around to the other side of the bed and settles in next to her. The arousal and need is still written all over her skin in the warm pink flush of it and the way she quivers when he draws the blankets up over them both, it will have to wait. Sleep hits them both way too fast and all he can do is wrap an arm around her waist and haul her back until she's spooned against his chest. "Mmmm, tired," she mumbles, settling in.

"I know. You were slobbering on me, Kate," he teases gently, letting his own eyes close as he feels her sink into him and the sheets with a heavy sigh, waiting for her retort that never comes. There is only her familiar scent, the lingering effects of the wine, and sleep.