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AN: There's a song called "First of May" by Jonathan Coulton that I make a point of sharing with as many people as possible on that particular date each year. This was, of course, the next logical step in that process. I highly recommend that you check the song out because, trust me, it's pretty much one of the greatest things you will ever hear.

The tang of salt hits the back of her throat and Kate smiles, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. The caws of the gulls fade into the background and the waves take over, a gentle rush of white noise that slows her heart and calms her mind. She loves it out here. The grass under her bare feet, the fresh scent of the ocean filling her lungs, the cool sea breeze brushing over her skin, making the skirt of her sundress dance around her calves. She feels at rest. Her body relaxed, her mind free to wander, her heart full of the joy unique to these moments of quiet reflection. Peaceful.

A hand wraps around her ankle, broad thumb stroking softly over her skin, and she looks down to find Castle propped on one elbow and smiling up at her. "You gonna stand there and stare at the water all day or are you going to join me in this fabulously romantic picnic I've prepared for you?"

Kate sinks to her knees on the blanket he's laid out. "I'm not sure wine and fruit constitutes a picnic, Castle."

"Sure it does. A picnic is simply a meal eaten al fresco. We're outside and we're eating ergo it's a picnic," he says, holding a grape out for her. With a grin, she leans forward and wraps her lips around his fingers, dragging the grape from his grip with an exaggerated slide of her tongue. Castle's hand falls to her leg, fingers hooking around her bent knee as he watches her chew, a tiny moan of pleasure humming in the base of her throat as the juice, bright and sweet, explodes on her tongue. "That was so hot," he says, voice thick with arousal. "Do it again."

Shaking her head in amusement, Kate turns and lowers herself to the blanket, stretching her body along the length of his, crossing her ankles and pillowing her head on his bicep. Castle grins down at her, his temple resting on the base of his palm and hair flopping down over his forehead. He looks relaxed and happy and her blood sings with delight at the knowledge that she did that. She put the softness in his eyes and the light in his smile.

It still stuns her sometimes, how much his happiness means to her. She'd never considered herself a selfish person before him but she's had to reevaluate that self-assessment during their time together. Of course she'd wanted her former boyfriends to be happy but it had always been an abstract concept, something she thought about in passing but never put any real effort into accomplishing. But with Castle, it matters. Seeing his smile when she brings him coffee, watching the way his eyes light up when she uses her key to the loft, hearing the loud whoop of his laugh when he finds the dirty notes she hides in his pockets - those are the things that are important to her now, the things that spark inside her chest and light the fuse of her own happiness.

Reaching up, Kate presses her thumb to his chin, the pads of her fingers softly stroking the line of his jaw, taking him in. His cheeks are stained pink from the wind, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he squints against the glare of the mid-afternoon sun. Thick fingers run circles over her hip and she sighs, shifting her body closer to his. "I like this."

"I like you," Castle responds, leaning down to drop a wine flavored kiss on her lips.

Kate rolls her eyes and flicks his earlobe. "You're such a sap."

"You love it."

Humming noncommittally, she drops her hand from his face and reaches out blindly for the picnic basket. "What'd you bring besides grapes and wine? Which," she arches a brow at him, smirking, "are basically the same thing, by the way."

Castle leans over her, his body pressing hers down into the blanket as he stretches to grab the wicker basket. The grass shifts quietly under the thin cotton and Kate bites at the exposed side of his neck, smiling into his skin when he groans softly. He drags the basket closer and moves to lean back but she stops him, keeps his body slightly canted over hers with her hand fisted in the front of his shirt.

"The wine is red, the grapes are green. Totally different animals, Beckett."

"Keep telling yourself that." Hooking the fingers of the hand trapped between their bodies into the waistband of his shorts, Kate releases her fist and runs her palm over his chest, nodding to the side with her chin. "What else you got in there?"

The soft pop of separating plastic floats out of the basket and Castle withdraws his hand, a fat strawberry held between his thumb and forefinger. Grinning, he brings it toward her mouth.

"Really? You're going to be that cliché?"

"Not cliché," he says, drawing the tip of the strawberry over her bottom lip. "Classic."

Kate shakes her head. "We're not the leads in a romantic comedy."

"That, Detective, is patently false and you know it." She narrows her eyes at him as he brings the strawberry to his own mouth and takes a bite. "We might not be in a movie," he says, the fruit tucked into his cheek, "but we most definitely fit the formula. First we have the meet cute -"

"Me bringing you in for questioning and subsequently threatening to shoot you is not a meet cute."

"Then," he continues, ignoring her interjection, "we move on to the drawn out period of sexual tension wherein the female lead - that's you," he smirks and Kate smacks him lightly on the chest - "hides her overwhelming attraction and affection for the ruggedly handsome male lead behind biting sarcasm and vociferous denials that absolutely no one believes." Castle finishes the strawberry, tossing the stem onto the grass and moving to comb his fingers through her hair. "Next come a few competing - and vastly inferior - love interests to fill the time where our heroine is hell bent on refusing to acknowledge what's right in front of her face."

Kate rolls toward him and runs her hand down his side, lifting her head to press her lips to the base of his throat. "You're cute when you're jealous."

"So are you," he grins, meeting her in a kiss her before continuing with his explanation."Then we have the high stakes drama, a tragic event- " He pauses for a second, dragging the tip of his index finger through the valley of her breasts. Kate closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, refusing to lose the lightness of the afternoon to those memories. "- where it appears that all is lost for our seemingly star-crossed pair. The third act is filled with miscommunications and melancholia. Long, hazy shots of our duo coveting one another from afar, each too scared of losing the other to make any kind of move even though they both crave more."


"But then -" he says, leaning down to run his nose over her cheek and she can feel the edges of his smile brushing against her skin. "Then we have the climactic, life altering moment. The event that pushes our heroine forward, sends her running - in the rain, of course, because if we're giving into the cliché we might as well do it right - to her counterpart, desperate to finally confess her love. They kiss passionately as the audience cheers and the screen fades to black." Castle presses his mouth to the angle of her jaw before whispering in her ear. "We'd rake it in at the box office, Beckett."

Kate tilts her head into his shoulder, encouraging further exploration of her neck. "I'm not sure how I feel about our relationship being boiled down to a three act romcom plot."

"Says the woman who has picked Valentine's Day for movie night on three separate occasions."

His mouth is a transient fire, burning wild trails over her throat and shoulders, and she swallows a breathy gasp when his teeth scrape over her collarbone."Wanting to watch a romantic comedy and wanting live a romantic comedy are two completely different things."

"Come on, you can admit it." Castle drags his mouth up the column of her throat, tongue dipping into the hollow behind her ear. Smiling smugly at the moan she can't control, he leans back and runs his hand down her stomach. "You liked it. The whole 'will they, won't they' thing. You totally got off on it."

Kate scoffs. "That was you."

"True. But," he walks his fingers across the crest of her hip and down her thigh, bunching up the loose material of her skirt until he can reach bare skin, "you enjoyed it just as much as I did. All that sexual tension; it made you hot." His palm skims over her leg, the light graze of his fingertips pulling up goosebumps with every pass. "You wanted me."

Castle grunts when Kate pushes onto her elbow and rolls them over, climbing up to straddle his thighs. Sliding her hands under his t-shirt, she scrapes her nails over his stomach, grinning when his hips twitch. "You're right. I did want you. But," she continues, pushing the shirt up as she leans over him, "I didn't get off on the 'will they, won't they.'" She tugs on the shirt and Castle lifts his shoulders off the blanket, hair ruffling when she pulls it over his head. Her hands immediately move back to his chest, running over the strong muscles, feeling the heat of his skin as he stares up at her with undisguised lust.

"Yes, you di-"

"No," Kate cuts him off, leaning down to take his earlobe between her teeth, caressing it with the tip of her tongue, "I didn't. Because there was no will or won't." His fingers press into her thighs as she rocks her pelvis against his. "It was a when, not an if."

Castle gives her a grin and a chuckle."Oh, I know." His hands slide further under her skirt, the hem draping over his wrists as he travels up her thighs. "Just wasn't sure if you did." A deep groan echoes in his chest when he reaches her ass and Kate grins into the crook of his neck. "Where is your underwear?"

"In my suitcase." She gasps when his fingers dip down between her legs. "I wanted to enjoy the breeze."

"And enjoy it you have," he drawls, dragging his fingers through her wetness. He tries to leverage his body into a sitting position but she presses on his chest, holding him down against the checkered blanket. "Kate," he whines, gripping her hip with one hand as the other dances between her thighs, "we need to go inside. Now."

"No." Sitting up, she rocks back into his hand and lets her eyes flutter closed. "Here."

Castle slides a finger into her and Kate feels his body vibrate with a laugh when she groans and pushes herself against him. "Picnic sex? Now who's being cliché?"

The sun beats down on her back as she leans forward, hands planted on his chest and her hair falling in a curtain around their faces. "Don't you know what day it is?"

"Uh - the first of May?"

"Exactly," Kate grins, pulling her dress out of the way as she slips one hand between their bodies and reaches for his zipper. "It's officially the opening day of outdoor sex season."

His bellowing laugh turns into a groan when she slips her hand into his shorts. In a smooth motion, she frees him from his boxers and shifts onto her knees, sliding off his hand. Wet fingers grip her hip as she sinks down over him, her dress spread out over his stomach. She rides him slowly, enjoying the crash of the waves and the gentle whisper of the breeze over her skin. Castle pulls his hands out from under the skirt and reaches up, untying the knot of fabric at the base of her neck. The top of the dress falls to her waist and he smiles, hands moving to cup her bare breasts, thumbs sweeping over her nipples as he watches her move over him..

His hands slide around to run over her back and Kate bends down, hands planted on the blanket on either side of his head and her breasts swaying as she picks up speed. Castle cranes his neck to bite at her collarbone and she falls onto his chest, her hips rolling like waves.

Slipping one hand into her hair and the other into the loose waist of her dress, Castle bends his knees and thrusts into her, groaning with each collision of their bodies. Kate grinds against his pelvis and moans out his name when she breaks, her spine going rigid and legs twitching. She gasps when he rolls them over and hooks his arm under her right knee, pulling her calf up to rest on his shoulder as his hips continue to pump wildly.

Kate fists her fingers in his hair and urges him on, whispering into his ear as his movements become tight and sloppy. She digs the nails of her other hand into the small of his back and arches into him, another hot rush of pleasure exploding at the base of her spine. Castle groans out her name and jerks violently, dropping her leg as his head falls into the crook of her neck, his lower body coming to a gradual stop.

Fat white clouds roll across the sky and she watches them, her fingers lazily stroking through his damp hair. Castle pants softly, his lips slowly skimming over her neck and chest. "So," he mumbles, the low pitch of voice making her ribs vibrate, "exactly how long does outdoor sex season last?"

Kate laughs. "Until hypothermia becomes a concern, I think."

Cool air rushes between their bodies when Castle pushes up onto his forearms and takes her mouth in a heated kiss, fingers tangling in the fan of her hair. Grinning, he pulls back, eyes shining brightly.

"I fucking love spring."

Thank you so much for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.