For Ayakafic, who asked for Caskett sexy fun times on the ski trip. Prior to, you know, Castle breaking his kneecap.

Disclaimer: I'm guessing ABC would fire me for this.

Warm Me Up

She's pretty sure her nose is frozen.

And probably her ears and her fingers and her toes as well.

She struggles with the key card, nearly dropping it as she clumsily inserts it into the slot with stiff fingers, the light finally flashing green on the third try.

Castle is right behind her, reaches around her to turn the handle, open the door and impatiently usher her in.

Kate stumbles across the threshold, makes a beeline for the thermostat, then collapses onto the sofa without bothering to discard any of her outerwear. Maybe in a few minutes, once her appendages function again. Until then, she's perfectly content to curl up by the electric fireplace, soak in the warmth that's already beginning to radiate out from the vents.

It was a beautiful day for skiing. The sun was out and there was fresh powder from the snowfall that blanketed the resort last night, and it was definitely the best day they've had so far. But in their quest to enjoy the weather, they might have stayed outside a little too long, cheeks numbed by the wind, masking the cold seeping into their bones, discovered only when they headed into the lodge for a break. Because here, inside and surrounded by warmth, Kate is only now realizing how stiff her joints are, how thoroughly chilled she's gotten from their day on the slopes.

Castle appears to have fared slightly better, though he struggles a bit with removing his boots, working the zipper on his jacket. He deposits his ski clothes in a pile by the closet, crosses to the kitchen while un-tucking his shirt from his ski pants, running a hand through his hair to tame the static from wearing a hat all day. He looks really good even with the unruly hair, adding to the slightly rugged look that's completed nicely by the day's worth of stubble that's accumulated on his jaw.

Kate curls in on herself, the warmth slowly spreading from her core out to her ice-cold limbs, though she's not sure how much of it is from the fire and how much is from gazing at Castle as he works. Her fingers and toes are tingling now as blood flow returns, and it's a horribly uncomfortable feeling but at least it means she'll be functional again soon. Hopefully.

She has a partially obstructed view of the kitchenette in their suite, but she can hear the distinct sounds of mugs being set on the counter, packets being torn open, and water heating. Her suspicions are confirmed when Castle appears three minutes later with a steaming ceramic mug in each hand, light brown creamy liquid sloshing against the edges, dangerously close to overflowing as he makes his way towards her. He sets the mugs on the coffee table, kneels in front of her to loosen her frozen boots, work them off her feet.

While he works, she slowly peels the gloves from her hands, tosses them aside, wiggles her fingers to make sure they're all still in working order.

"Here," Castle offers, placing a steaming mug of hot chocolate in between her palms, steadying it in her grasp before reaching for his own.

She takes a sip of the scalding hot liquid and it burns a bit as it slides down her throat, but it's warm and rich and delicious so she can't be bothered to care.


He smiles, slips into place next to her, shoulder to shoulder as they sip their cocoa, unwind from the day.

The late afternoon sun shines through the open curtains, casting golden streaks across the room, catching the steam that wafts up from their mugs and illuminating the mesmerizing pattern of water droplets. It's calm and quiet, the air still and warm; much needed after flying down the slopes all day.

They sit in silence as the warmth takes over, thawing their joints and relaxing their muscles, a balm against their chapped lips and wind-burned cheeks. The warmth of the cocoa seeps through the mugs, warming their hands while the liquid itself infuses them with warmth from the inside out.

Castle finishes first, sets his mug on the coffee table with a clunk, and gets to his feet.

"Better?" he asks, rubbing his hands together as he stands.

"A bit," Kate replies around the rim of her mug, swallows another gulp of the hot beverage, feels another shot of warmth sizzle through her veins.

A pensive look crosses Castle's face, and then he's heading into the bedroom, on a mission, apparently. Moments later, Kate hears the water running, splashing against the sides of the porcelain tub as it flows from the faucet. He reappears momentarily, silently offers a hand, and she indulges, sets aside her now-empty mug and allows him to guide her to the bathroom.

"A bath, huh?" she murmurs, quirks an eyebrow in his direction.

"Thought you might need the warming up," he says with a shrug.

Kate smiles, squeezes his hand before releasing it to undress. "Only if you join me."

Castle bends to swirl a hand in the water, turns the nozzle slightly to adjust the temperature. "I think that can be arranged."

The water is scalding as she settles into the tub, back against Castle's chest, body perfectly cradled in the contours of his hips, bracketed by his thighs and his arms as he wraps himself around her from behind. She inhales deeply, releases the breath on a slow exhale as she eases down against him, allows the heat of the bath to seep through her skin, percolating into her muscles and joints, stiff from the cold, overused from the last two days of skiing.

Castle is warm and sturdy behind her, a solid presence, and she drops her head back onto his shoulder, closes her eyes.

Relaxation isn't difficult to find now, the soft edges of exhaustion crawling in from all directions, blurring the edges of reality until all that matters is the heat of the bath and the man behind her, cradling her like she's the most precious thing.

She'll never tire of the way he makes her feel. As though nothing and no one could ever amaze him more.

She's still in awe of how much he loves her.

How much she's come to love him back.

She almost misses it at first. Passes it off as the sloshing of the water, the gentle undulations lapping at her skin. But then his teeth scrape gently against the lobe as his tongue slips out to trace the shell of her ear, and she can't stop the shiver that races down her spine, infusing her nerves with warmth and spreading out from there.

"Cold?" he asks, though she knows he knows better.

"Shut up."

"If you insist," he breathes against her, warm exhale dancing over the sensitive skin behind her ear as one hand begins a tortuously slow descent, fingertips dancing down her ribcage, over her stomach, dipping into the crease of her hip.

Kate shudders, subconsciously arches into him as his digits skate across her skin, down and around to the underside of her thigh, to the tender spot that makes her curse when his teeth scrape against it.

Not now, though. Now it's just his hands, skin so soft and smooth in the water, dexterous fingers mapping the contours of her body, every ridge and valley. It's the press of his palm, warm against her leg. It's the tease of his fingertips, dancing around where she wants him most before finally, finally, giving in and gliding over her slick bundle of nerves, igniting the raging fire that's now a permanent fixture in her life, always simmering just beneath the surface.

"Castle," she breathes, arches into him as he sweeps his hand back in the other direction. He's such a cruel tease but she loves it, because while she'll never tire of hot and fast and oh God right now with him, she also knows from experience that long and slow is the most amazing in the end.

He swirls a finger lazily between her thighs, flicking, teasing, pressing just enough to draw forth a gasp, the breathy inhale followed by a sensual moan as he parts her, drags one finger through her folds.

"Oh God, Castle," she pants, back arching, hips lifting off the bottom of the tub, seeking him out, more, more, more, always more.

The arm that's still banded around her torso skims higher and higher, his hand closing over one breast, thumb brushing back and forth against her peaked nipple. His hot, wet mouth seeks her pulse point as he continues his ministrations with both hands, and it's too good, too much yet not enough all at the same time.

He slides into her then, first one finger, then a second, and she presses forward into his hand, placing the heel of his palm in direct contact with her as he moves within her, slow at first, then faster at her silent urges. Her hands dig into his thighs, hard enough that he'll probably have bruises in the morning, but Castle doesn't care, because the noises coming out of her mouth right now are the absolute sexiest things he's ever heard.

He twists his hand ever so slightly, freeing his thumb to slide over her clit, solid pressure where she wants it most, and it's only another few seconds before she's clenching around him, arching into him, the uncontrollable rolling of her hips against his hand sending her crashing over the edge.

It's sudden and it's intense, wracking her body as she lets it wash over her. He works her through it until it's too much, until she's desperately wriggling away from his touch, and only then does he remove his fingers, settle his arms back around her waist.

Kate's chest is heaving, the occasional aftershock rippling through her body, and he cradles her tenderly, welcoming her shaky limbs and racing heart into his embrace. She drops her head back onto his shoulder once more, eyes closed, breathing deeply as she comes back to herself.

God, he's good at that.

It's a few minutes before she coaxes her eyes open, blinking furiously against the bathroom lights before allowing them to slide closed again.

"Warmer?" Castle murmurs, all smug and proud of himself, and she'd berate him for it if she wasn't currently too blissed out to move.

Instead, Kate hums contentedly, hands seeking his on her stomach, fingers slipping between his from behind. Castle squeezes gently, presses a loving kiss to the top of her head as he absorbs the weight of her, limp and sated and trembling.

He'll never stop being in complete awe of the fact that he is the one who is able to do this to her.

By the time they make their way out of the tub and into the monstrous bed, Kate is thoroughly warm and wonderfully content in his arms.

He warms her up again anyway.

("I'd hate for you to get cold again now that we're out of the bath, Beckett," he claims.)

She doesn't complain.

Not at all.