As the sun began to rise, Castle awoke, a naked Beckett lay across his chest. He blinked a few times just to make sure he wasn't dreaming, that this was actually happening. He stayed as still as possible trying not to wake her, and just watched her sleep. She was beautiful when she slept. Not that she wasn't beautiful when she was awake; she was always stunning. He was in constant awe of her beauty. But there was something different about her today while she slept. She looked… peaceful. It was a look he didn't often see on her. She was always worrying about something; always had the weight of the world on her shoulders. But as she lay there, she looked weightless.
He began tracing the patterns on her arm, the bruises from her near-death experience the night before. It killed him that he hadn't been there for her. He should have done more to stop her. But she had survived and she had turned up on his doorstep. Her voice echoed in his head “I almost died and all I could think about was you. I just want you”. It didn't seem real. He had been waiting four years for this moment and he was still in shock. As he stroked her arm, Beckett began to stir. Castle was worried that she would panic, regret her decision, crawl back into her shell, but as she opened her beautiful hazel eyes she stared directly into his and a smile spread across her face. There was no way she could stop it. She was just so happy.
Beckett pulled herself up so that she was face to face with Castle and moved towards him for a kiss. It was softer than last night. Last night there had been an urgency to their kisses; they were full of passion, driven by the pent-up emotions they'd been denying for four years. But today there was no urgency; neither of them were going anywhere. They had all the time in the world. Beckett drew away from him and he looked a little worried. She leaned in and whispered into his ear “Don't look so worried Castle, I'll be back.” She gave him a little smile and stood up.
Her legs were still a little wobbly. She'd been through a lot the day before... Vendettas, near-death experiences, mind-blowing sex. Yes, it had been mind-blowing. There was something to be said for four years of foreplay. As she searched for her clothes, she smiled a little at the memory. What she couldn't remember is where she had taken them off. She saw his shirt on the floor and put it on, thankful that she'd not torn the buttons off. Castle groaned as he watched her put on clothes, but damn, she did look sexy in his shirt. He could appreciate that.
“Where are you going?” he wondered.
“I need coffee. I figure your coffee machine will be as good as anything you buy me from that little coffee shop. My turn to get the coffee.” And with that she left the room heading towards the kitchen. She'd been in his loft enough times to know her way around. She took two mugs from the cupboard and turned on the coffee machine. Just as she turned around she heard a key turn in the lock. “Dad, I'm home.” It was Alexis. And Beckett was only wearing a shirt. This was going to be awkward. Alexis walked into the room and saw Beckett behind the kitchen counter in her dad's shirt and with bed hair. It didn't take a genius to work out what was going on. “Oh... umm... hi Kate.”
“Hi Alexis. Good party last night?” Small talk felt weird in her state of undress but it was the only thing to do.
“Yeah really good thanks. Where's my dad?” She wasn't sure she really wanted to know.
“Alexis, what are you doing home so soon?” He emerged from his room wearing a navy robe. He could have brought her something, but Beckett knew that he was probably just doing this to annoy her.
“Dad, it's almost lunchtime. I said I'd be back by now.” How could it be that time already? He had woken when the sun rose. Had he really watched Beckett sleep for that long? Though to be honest he'd have been happy to watch her sleep all day.
“I'm… gonna go upstairs for a bit. You guys look… busy.” There were definitely some awkward pauses in that sentence. They didn't go unnoticed. As Alexis escaped to her room feeling weird that she'd clearly walked in on something she didn't particularly want to think about, Beckett looked at Castle with judging eyes.
“Seriously? You come out here with a robe on and leave me standing here half-naked.”
“Oh, but I like you half-naked.”
Beckett rolled her eyes, the way she always did when he said stupid things. She felt like nothing had really changed, minus the addition of sex to their relationship. They were still the same old Castle and Beckett; he still knew how to push her buttons.
“I thought you were making coffee?” She rolled her eyes again. The coffee machine was ready, she just needed sugar. Now where did he keep it? Top shelf… of course he did. As she reached up, she could feel the shirt riding up too. She knew his eyes were on her. She guessed it didn't matter so much now that he had seen her naked, but she still felt a little odd being half-naked in his kitchen.
“A little help please?” she asked.
“No, I think you're looking just fine there.” She noticed the word 'looking' rather than 'doing' and turned around to glare at him. “Alright, I'll get it.” He stood up, reached for the sugar and put it down on the counter. She hated being so much shorter than him. She was used to wearing heels around him; the shoes made her feel more powerful. Stood barefoot in his kitchen she felt slightly more vulnerable, but she knew that she was safe with him.
Once she made the coffees she put them onto the table and walked towards the bedroom. “Where do you think you're going?”
“To put some clothes on. I can't stay like this all day.”
“Oh no you don't. I'm not ready for you to be fully clothed just yet.” She looked at him, wondering what he meant by that. He knew what she was thinking.
“With Alexis in the house?” she asked.
“Detective Beckett, that mind of yours.” She looked at him again, confused. “I just want to stare at those legs a little longer.” She gave him a coy smile and walked towards him. She touched her hand to his face, so gently, and ran her fingertips along his jaw-line. She stared so deeply into his ocean-blue eyes she felt like she might drown in them. Not that she'd have minded. He moved closer to her, tipped his head down towards hers and gingerly pressed his lips against hers. Their lips moved against the others in a way she'd never felt before. They fitted perfectly together. It was so natural, it was like breathing, and she wondered why they had never done this before. All the things holding her back before didn't matter in this moment. She finally felt like she had something to live for, something more important than the war she had been raging. Castle was the one who had saved her; he always saved her, more times than he knew. Even before they had met, he had rescued her from a downward spiral and saved her from self-destructing. He stood and watched her running through things in her mind and she realised that she had stopped kissing him. With all the thoughts spinning round her head she had become distracted. “What's wrong?”
“Nothing,” she said. He clearly didn't believe her but he didn't push. That's one of the things she loved about him, he always gave her space when she needed it, he always knew when. He swept her curly hair from her eyes and tried to smooth the worry from her face.
“I love you,” he said again. She smiled and he realised that was a first. Usually she was angry at him for saying it, but now she was ready to hear it. She loved him too, but she wasn't quite ready to say it. She was getting there but she wasn't 100% fixed. He didn't doubt that she loved him though, not after last night. He didn't need her to say the words yet. Not until she was ready. What she had given him, it was enough for now. He smiled back at her and with that cheeky look in his eyes he whisked her up in his arms and carried her into the bedroom. There was not going to be any funny business with Alexis in the house. Not at the moment anyway, not until he had spoken to her (that was going to be an awkward conversation, he thought). But a little privacy for a major make-out session sounded like a good idea.
Castle sat on the bed and Beckett curled up in his arms. At this point he realised he didn't even need the kissing. Just being with her was worth all the past. He thought about all the missed opportunities, times when he should have just grabbed her and told her how he felt. But each of those moments had led them to here… now. She wouldn't have been ready before and it may not have worked out. Fate had brought them together now; right now was for a reason. As he sat there thinking these things over, her thoughts mirrored his. They were always so in sync.
Suddenly he exclaimed “Beckett, don't you have to be at work?” She looked at him with a look he could not interpret. It was a combination of loss and relief.
“I resigned yesterday. I have all the time in the world.”
“But what are you going to do?”
“I don't know yet. I've been so immersed in my mother's case and my shooting that I don't know who I am without it. I guess now I will find out.”
“So are you actually giving that up for good?”
“You were right Castle, it's not worth my life. I need to stop living in the past. Not now that I have a future.”
“Beckett, you don't just have a future, you have a family. Please tell me you'll stay.”
She leant in, kissed him on the cheek and whispered “Always.”