Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 25

He's replaced the dressing on the deep cut, still suggesting she should at least go see a doctor over it. He tells her the other cuts seem to be doing ok considering its less than twenty-four hours since she climbed into his car. He still doesn't know how she came about them and he's not about to push his luck asking her. Some of the plaster strips on the deeper cuts are showing the dark stains of dried blood, but there doesn't seem to be any fresh stains. It's really the deep one which still concerns him although it's looking much better than last night. Soon his hands are massaging the anti-inflammatory gel into her shoulder and upper arm.

The gel is still cooling and soothing, but this time she's much more aware of the effect his hands are having on her and she has to bite her lip and drop her head to hide it from him. When he's finished he heads into his room with the kit and she's left to get herself dressed again. She's got her arm back through the shoulder strap of the bra but is having difficulty in doing up the catch. She's either going to have to take it off completely and do it up round her waist as she did earlier in the day, or …

"Oops, sorry, thought you'd be done by now!"

She glares at him in the doorway. "Castle! Don't just stand there, give me a hand!" she growls. He does the catch up for her and helps her get her arm back into the T-shirt and she's slightly surprised he hasn't made fun of her or tried to make a big show out of it.

"You mind if we go join my daughter for a bit of bonding time, I always like to spend some time with her, especially in the evenings?" She nods, quite happy to let the complicated conversation drop and have some time to herself, let her mind go over the day and work out why she was blabbering to him so much.

"I'll go upstairs …"

He cuts in, surprise in his voice and face "Why go upstairs? Come and watch a film with us"

She's reluctant, and surprised and bewildered by her own wish to do exactly what he's just suggested. She shakes her head trying to clear her brain and he misinterprets it adding "Please? You can't stay upstairs on your own when we can watch something cool down here! I'll even let you choose the film …"

It takes her a second to catch up with him, and just as she's about to blurt out that she hadn't meant to say no, she manages to get a grip on herself.

"Ok" It's about all she can manage right now. He leads her out, a hand gently wrapped round her elbow and she should be shaking it off but she doesn't really mind … and she needs to get away from this crazy man soon or she's not going to know which way is up!

They reach the couch where Alexis is curled up into a corner watching them with a smile and hesitates. He indicates she should take the opposite corner and she sits down, leaving ample space for him in the middle. "So, what shall we watch, any preferences?"

They look through what's available and even though she insists it's up to Alexis to choose they end up going for her pick of Monsters Inc, she's never got round to seeing it and in spite of feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the situation, she's soon laughing along with the others at the on-screen antics.

As the credits roll, Kate becomes aware of the fact that somehow she's tucked her legs under her and has managed inch her way across the couch until her knees are pushed up against his thigh and she's suddenly colouring up for no reason and quickly edging back to her own corner.

She thinks he's unaware of her actions as he hasn't even looked at her and is busy lifting his daughter's head off his lap where she'd ended up resting it. Kate doesn't know when that happened … or her own imperceptible shifting towards him. It must be a dip in the couch … yeah, right Kate!

Alexis is standing and stretching and kissing her Dad and giving her a wave and saying goodnight … and Kate suddenly doesn't want to be left alone in a cosily lit room on a couch with Richard Castle. Every alarm bell in her head is ringing and jarring and she just needs to get up to her room before she goes and does something stupid!

He watches her as she stands up, suddenly all nervous and prickly. He wants to tell her that she can relax, that she's safe here but then she's jerkily waving a hand at him and pointing up over her shoulder and mumbling something about going to bed and thanks for everything, all the time retreating backwards and colouring up.

He decides not to push, he still wants to hear the rest of her story but doesn't want to scare her away, so he settles for a smile in her direction and a "See you in the morning" and just as she's half-way up the stairs he calls out to her to stop, to wait a minute.

Kate turns back on the stairs, nervously wondering what he's about to do or say, but he's disappeared into his study. A few minutes later he re-emerges, grinning as he approaches her. It's not till he's standing a couple of steps below her, hand held out that she realises she's been staring into his rather blue eyes and looking down finds he's holding out the toothbrush and comb she'd used after her shower along with some toothpaste. She ducks her head in thanks, taking the items and jumping as her hand touches his. She hopes he didn't notice and with a thank you quickly retreats up the stairs.

Rick watches her go and sighs. There is something so compelling about her that he has to find out what makes her tick, and yes, she's hot and he'd love to get her into bed but he also knows any move in that direction right now would just scare her off. But at this moment in time ideas are bubbling up in his head and he needs to concentrate on getting them all down.

Almost four hours later he leans back in the chair, laces his fingers and flexes them to stretch the cramp out of them. The document in front of him is still very much in draft form, but the first brush strokes are showing through. He now has a gist of what makes his character behave as she does, the outlines which will contain her actions and reactions, not to mention the extremely hot description of this auburn-haired avenger. With a satisfied smile he saves the document, turns off the laptop, desk lamp and as soon as he's in his bedroom, flops onto the bed, falling asleep without even crawling under the covers.

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