A/N: When I am feeling down about what is happening in a certain studio, I retreat to reading fanfiction. My secret pleasure is reading M stories, because they ALWAYS have a happy ending.

This story was inspired by two of ColieMackenzie's stories, In This Here Reality and Hollow Ground. It's set after Boom, and assumes that Beckett stayed at the Castle loft leading up to and including The Late Shaft. This is my first attempt at smut, so please be gentle

Kate woke with a start, the dream still vivid in her mind's eye, of flames and heat and overwhelming sound. She knew that she would continue to have these dreams for a while, was no stranger to traumatic events in her job as a cop, and had developed a coping mechanism that sometimes worked, although only time would actually succeed in bringing peace to her sleep. One of those coping mechanisms was warm milk, so she headed downstairs to the kitchen. In passing she checked her phone, noticing it was just after midnight, and decided she needed to be quiet if she was not to wake the rest of the household. Didn't need them to hear her now, if her dream self didn't vocalise any of the screams that even now were fading from her memory.

Castle had shown her where everything was in his kitchen, to make sure she could feel comfortable with getting things for herself, as she obviously was not happy about being a guest in his home. Everything was still quiet as she walked into the kitchen, so she got the milk out of the fridge and set to heating a cup in the microwave, careful to open it just before it would sound the ping and probably wake everyone up. Then she sat down on one of the bar stools and slowly sipped the beverage, calming her mind and body for the return to sleep.

She had just finished the milk, and was about to get up to put the cup in the sink, when she heard a noise from the direction of his study. Thinking that maybe he was still up writing, she quietly made her way over to the wall of bookshelves and peeked in, but couldn't see him. The noises continued in a weird rhythm, and in the back of her mind she was starting to identify them but she kept moving forward, through his study door and towards his slightly ajar bedroom door. When she slowly poked her head around the door frame, she was immediately arrested by the sight.

Castle was sitting in the middle of his bed, totally naked. His eyes were pouring tears down his face, and his barely restrained sobs were part of the noises she had heard. In his right hand, he fisted his cock, violently rubbing and pulling himself, and the friction sounds of skin on skin completed the weird symphony curling around her ears. His left hand was flat on the bed, his index finger gently stroking the front of his phone, on which she could see a photo of herself. The contrast between his two hands was startling, and still he continued to punish himself, his face a mask of agony and self-reproach for which she could find no explanation. She remembered he had blamed himself for this serial killer fixating on her, but she had not realised just how deeply he felt his shame, and here he was beating himself up while trying to find release and focussing on her photo, one she didn't actually remember him taking. Oh, my.

Kate wasn't really thinking as she made her way to the side of his bed, surprised that Castle hadn't yet noticed her, but he was obviously deeply sunk into his grief. She debated for only a second before she reached out and covered his right hand with hers; slowing and gentling his violent actions. His eyes rose to her then, but they were still brimming with tears and a little hazy. With her other hand, she reached forward and placed her fingers over his lips, preventing him from speaking, although at that point it didn't look like he was capable of such a feat. He continued to stare at her as she removed his right hand completely, and then helped him to lie down fully on the sinfully soft sheets of his bed. Then she returned her hand to his cock, still hard and twitching, and with soft strokes worked him back up until his breath was hitching and his eyes were rolling back in his head. He still tried to keep eye contact with her, silently asking her questions she was not ready to answer yet, so she placed her other hand on his forehead, smoothing his hair back and rubbing gently on his eyebrows. As her hands moved faster, up and down and over and around, she knew that somehow she had to reinforce the belief that this was all a dream – she was not ready for them in the daylight yet. She moved slowly and positioned herself between his legs, and saw his eyes widen a moment later when he realised what she was about to do. She kept her eyes on him as she took his tip into her mouth, swirling her tongue around and lapping up the juices that had leaked from her careful ministrations. She watched as his eyes totally rolled back and his head fell to the pillows, a sinful groan leaving his lips the only sound in the room. Then she took him fully into her mouth, swallowing and sucking and swirling her tongue, while her hand massaged his balls. It was such an erotic experience, and she was sorely tempted to participate, but he needed the release and the least she could do was give it to him. She could feel his whole body stiffening, a prelude to his orgasm, and a moment later it was confirmed when he reached down for her, into her hair, to try and pull her face up. Even now, he was such a gentleman, and obviously wasn't comfortable about coming in her mouth. Instead, she widened her cheeks and took him deeper, swallowing around his head and sucking hard, feeling him shuddering with release in the next moment. She loved his taste, wanted more, so she sucked and swallowed then licked him clean. He was obviously still recovering when she pulled the sheets up over his hips, then reached up and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead, and left the room without looking back. She had the presence of mind to rinse her forgotten milk cup and put it away, before ascending the stairs to the guest room again. There, she worked her fingers inside herself while pretending they were bigger, thicker and attached to Castle's hand, giving herself the most intense orgasm she had achieved on her own, and allowing her to fall back to a dreamless sleep for the rest of the night.

Castle woke with the sun peeking through his shutters, and his dream still vivid in his mind. Kate Beckett had come to him, had given him the most amazing blow job, then left again. He looked around, searching for some sign that it was not a dream; surely it felt too good to be a dream? His sheets were tangled around his legs, and his phone was still lying on the other side of his bed, although the screen was dark. When he turned it back on, the photo of her he had sneaked at the precinct during one of their paperwork days smiled back at him, exactly as it had been the night before. He was clean, if a little sweaty, although he could still feel her phantom lips around his shaft. He needed a really cold shower.

When he walked out of his study, his mother and daughter were in the kitchen, and Beckett was sitting at the bar stool enjoying her coffee. She turned around when she heard his footsteps, and smiled at him, "good morning sleepyhead" she said, and then turned to continue her conversation with Alexis. He wished the ladies a good morning, kissing his daughter's head and his mother's cheek, not sure if he was crossing a line if he was to plant one on Beckett's cheek too. She still looked a little out of sorts, the shadow of yesterday's events still in her eyes, but she was obviously trying to keep things light for his family, and he was grateful. He was pretty sure it had just been a dream, but he wanted to make sure, so he engaged her in light banter.

"So, Detective, how was your first night in Casa Castle? Did you sleep OK?"

"Yeah, thanks Castle, your guest bed is perfect. Sinfully soft sheets and the mattress is like sleeping on a cloud. All things considered, it was the best night's sleep I have had in quite a while."

"So no bad dreams then? No middle of the night wakings?" He knew he probably sounded inane, but he had started to figure out her tells, and maybe, just maybe he could catch her in one.

Unfortunately for him, she didn't flinch. "Nope, thank god. Slept straight through. And what about you, Castle?" she asked, obviously keen to get the focus off her.

"I slept fine, thank you. Have you had a call from the precinct yet?" Nice deflection there Rick, he chided himself, but he was certainly not going to get into his vivid sexual fantasies in front of his family.

"Not yet, but I think it's time we headed in, I want to catch this son of a bitch before he kills again. Oh, sorry Alexis, Martha, pardon my language."

"Don't worry dear, I can totally understand your feelings, and Alexis and I have heard worse from Richard from time to time. You two be careful out there" Martha admonished, before sweeping upstairs to get ready for her day, with Alexis close behind. Castle looked at Beckett again, trying to see past her wall, but all he got was the strong determined Detective looking back at him. He prepared two to-go cups of coffee and then guided her out the door.

After another long and difficult day at the precinct, Castle and Beckett returned to his loft with some takeout Thai for a late dinner. They ate at the counter, sharing food and simple banter, and when the food was gone Beckett excused herself and went upstairs to bed. Castle looked after her for a while, willing her to turn around, to come back down so he could maybe ask her if her night had really been only about sleep, then shrugged his shoulders and took himself off to bed as well.

It was close to midnight, and Kate couldn't sleep. The memories of the night before were fresh in her mind, causing her heart to beat a little faster, her palms itching to be touching him again, and her pyjama bottoms where moist where they were scrunched up between her legs. After just one night, she was addicted to the taste and feel of Castle's skin, but she couldn't figure out how to get more without admitting to him how she felt, and seeing that smug self-satisfied smirk on his face that she hated. While she had spent enough time with him now to know he was not just that arrogant playboy his press had made him out to be, he was still the famous mystery writer and ladies' man Richard Castle, and she didn't really want to be another notch in his bed post. And maybe once he finally got her into bed, the fascination would be over, and he would move on. She really didn't want that, she had come to enjoy him being by her side, almost like her partner, and she had to admit his insights were sometimes useful, and always amusing. She couldn't lose that, for perhaps only one night of probably mind-blowing sex.

These thoughts whirled around and around her head, not letting her rest, not giving her peace. She reached to her nightstand and only then realised she had forgotten her glass of water, and there were no cups upstairs. She really needed that drink of water, so she would just go straight to the kitchen, get a glass then come back upstairs and fill it from the guest bathroom. She didn't need to go anywhere else in the loft. She wouldn't go anywhere else in the loft.

That lasted only as long as it took for her to walk down the stairs and halfway across the living room, when she heard his voice calling out her name. She startled and turned, but he was not in the study doorway, nor it seemed was he expecting a response, because he continued in a tortured voice, just on the edge of her hearing

"Kate, Kate, no, please, please Kate, please breathe for me love, please Kate, you are going to be ok, please Kate, please…" his voice trailed off into sobs. She couldn't stand there and listen to that, couldn't leave him in the agony that seemed to be a dream that had him in its painful grip. She quickly moved to his bedroom door, where she could see him writhing on his sheets, his arms reaching out towards where she imagined he saw her, and then clutching his head as he moaned her name, and no, in a small broken voice.

Kate made her way to the other side of his bed, the side he was reaching towards, and then crawled onto it, climbing in between his arms and putting her own around him, soothing him with a quiet shushing sound, and rocking him gently hoping to break him out of his dream. Soon enough, she could feel the change as he recognised her there, his arms tightening around her in return, and now his words changed to her name and thank god, over and over again. They stayed like this for a while, and she could sense that he was calming down, so she started placing small kisses on his chest, his collarbone, his neck, anywhere she could reach. He let out an appreciative moan, and then pushed her away slightly, intent on looking at her face. She knew this was dangerous, that she couldn't be found out now, but she also couldn't stop. Now that she was so close, she needed him, needed to feel him, touch him, taste him again. So she unhooked one arm from his shoulder and placed two fingers onto his lips, the same way she had the night before. Then she gently lowered him down onto his back, and straddled him, continuing her kisses, interspersing with licks and sucks, all around his chest and neck, moving up his jaw – that delicious, raspy jaw, that she had been staring at all afternoon, wondering what it would taste like under her tongue – and finally onto his mouth. He didn't hesitate in kissing her back, opening for her so she could explore inside with her tongue, while he did the same, and his hands were exploring her back, her ribs and pushing up the edges of her shirt so he could get to her breasts.

Not a word was exchanged between them, both too afraid that a sound would break the dream, while they explored each other. Kate removed her top, and allowed him full access to her chest, while he was pushing her bottoms down over her hips. She moved quickly to discard them, then climbed back on top, with just a sheet between her and his manhood, standing up proudly without even her touch yet. That needed to change. She took his hands and placed them above his head, where they would not be able to interfere in her plans, then slowly slipped the sheet down over his hips, teasing the edge of his skin as it was exposed with her fingertips. When he was fully naked before her, she took one long look, raking her eyes up from his knees to his face, and then while keeping eye contact with him, slid up until she sandwiched his cock between his stomach and her already wet core. She watched his breath hitch, and his arms reach for her instinctively, so she caught his hands and placed them on her hips, then sat up and back, bringing the tip of his cock into line with her entrance. Castle's eyes were wide, his pupils blown and dark, no blue left to see, and he seemed to be holding his breath. She made him wait only a little while before slowly, so very slowly, lowering herself onto him, inch by inch, drawing a long low moan out of both of them. Once she was fully seated, their pelvis' touching, she stopped a moment, just enjoying the sensation of being totally filled. He was really big, almost but not quite painfully large, and he stretched her so deliciously she thought she could come from just staying still. Obviously he had other ideas, though, because he sat up, changing the angle and pulling a moan out of her, and then slowly shuffled back until he was leaning against the headboard, and able to put his arms around her and pull her in close. He wanted to kiss her again and again and again, this dream version of Kate was his new favourite flavour, and he wanted his fill before she faded again.

While Castle was kissing and sucking on her neck, hear earlobe, her pulse point, any part he could reach, she was slowly lifting up and then down, teasing the both of them with slow, sensuous movements. The slow changed to fast and faster as their heartbeats aligned and sped up, and then he was gripping her hips and thrusting into her with each of her downward motions, and suddenly there was no more thinking, only feeling, closely followed by orgasmic bliss for both of them. Kate collapsed onto his chest and tucked her head into his shoulder, and he wrapped his arms around her to hold her close, enjoy just a moment more of this dream. They slowly slid down the bed until he was lying down, with Kate draped over his chest. Soon, however, Kate knew she would have to move, to leave, and let him believe this was another dream. So she kissed him once more on the mouth, and then lifted off and onto the floor beside his bed. She leaned in to place a final kiss on his forehead, then left the bedroom, walking naked into his study. She waited there in silence until she heard his breathing even out, shivering a little in the cold air, then crept back in to retrieve her pyjamas and remove any other evidence of their night.

The next morning Castle was convinced it couldn't have been a dream, the way she reacted to him, the way she moaned and moved over him, the way her touch made him feel. They say that your dreams only bring up things you already know, and he was certain he didn't know any of those things about her – yet. But oh, how he wanted to. He walked out to the kitchen without his morning routine, hoping to catch her unaware.

Beckett was sitting on the bar stool again, but this morning she had not had a chance to get dressed yet, so she was in a paisley flannelette PJ set, and a white terry towelling robe, neither of which he had seen before, nor had she been wearing last night in his dream.

"Morning Beckett. New PJ's?" he asked, wondering where her cotton pants and t-shirt were.

"Yes, kind of. They are the only ones they had at the store on short notice" she winced a little at the reminder of how much she had lost, but then carried on bravely. "Not exactly my style, but my Aunt Theresa would approve".

"Oh, I bet she would. No precinct today?"

"I am going in later; Montgomery wants to see me this afternoon, make sure everything is correct and complete now that Dunn has been transferred to Sing Sing. Oh, your phone has been buzzing and vibrating for the last ten minutes, someone really wants to get a hold of you" she said, then turned back around to finish her breakfast.

Castle walked over to the coffee table where he had left his phone, and saw 5 missed calls from Paula, his agent. He dialled the number as he walked back into his office, wondering what new media hell she had planned for him. He was pleasantly surprised when it was just an appearance on a late night talk show, although he would have appreciated more than 8 hours' notice. Paula explained that they had a last minute cancellation, and as she had already been trying to get him on there it was a perfect excuse to slot him in. He grumbled but eventually agreed, and told her he would be there that night for the 7pm taping.

When he returned to the kitchen his mother was just on her way out, but assured him she and Alexis would be watching the show. Beckett just smirked and said there were probably no better things on TV at that time of night, then returned to her room to get ready for the day. He was left alone, thinking about the contrast between Beckett, the badass detective who sometimes tolerated him, and gorgeous and sexy Kate who came to him in his dreams and blew his mind. Yeah, dream on Rick, he thought to himself.

The taping went smoothly, and he was flattered that Ellie Monroe seemed to find him attractive and desirable – not that he wasn't those things, but being around Beckett he had kind of forgotten there were other women out there who didn't think he was just an annoying shadow. It was a pleasant change, and he gladly flirted with her, during the show and after the cameras stopped rolling. They exchanged numbers but then he was distracted by the host Bobby Mann, wanting to speak to him urgently about something, and when he was free again, she had gone.

The next day, he found out the host had died of a heart attack, and the man's cautious words of the night before came back to haunt him. He convinced Beckett to look into it, suspicious of the timing of Bobby's death. While they were filling up the murder board, his phone rang with an unfamiliar number, and when he answered he found Ellie Monroe on the other end, holding back tears. She wanted to meet up with him, to reminisce about the fact they were the last two guests on the show. A part of him was still excited that this woman was chasing after him, when Beckett was almost chasing him away, she he agreed to meet with her. He put on his customary smirk at the boys and Beckett when he left to meet Ellie for lunch, missing the uncomfortable cringe that crossed Beckett's face as she figured out exactly what they would be doing – consoling each other. Yeah, right.

Sure enough, he turned up at Ellie's hotel room, to a room service lunch already delivered, and the big king size bed in plain inviting sight. Being the gentleman he was, he wasn't going to jump the woman, wanted to get to know her a little first before sticking his tongue down her throat, although damn it felt good to be wanted as a man. So he indicated the table for lunch, pulled out her seat and then sat himself. They made small talk over the meal, and he realised that she was no Beckett, only talking about her past roles, and acting, and other actors, although she gushed about his upcoming movie about Nikki Heat. He wondered if she was angling for a recommendation for the part, even though she was obviously too short, but then chastised himself for being so cynical, vowing to enjoy the day and see wherever it led. Quite a few times he felt her feet at his trouser bottom, stroking his leg with her toes, pushing his pants higher with each pass. He couldn't help but be a little turned on by this good looking woman, who was obviously trying to seduce him.

After lunch was finished, they moved to the couch, and she sat a bit closer than he was actually comfortable with, almost draping herself over his shoulder and putting her cheek next to his. She toyed with his shirt buttons, slowly undoing them down towards his navel, and then in a throaty voice, she whispered in his ear, "How about I show you what I think Nikki wants to do to Rook?" The words took him by surprise, and he jerked his head around, putting his nose just behind her ear, and copping a lung full of her perfume, which was something cheap and overpowering. Unlike Beckett, the thought arrived in his head without warning, who always smelled like cherries. Wait, what?

Ellie had taken his breath on her ear as encouragement so she had slipped her hand inside his half undone shirt and over his chest, while kissing his jaw slowly, probably aiming for his mouth. He needed to get out of here, needed to think about Beckett's fragrance, which wasn't cherries in his dreams, but how on earth did he do that without offending this woman? Oh, hell, she only wanted him for the part anyway, and he really had to get out of here. Her smell was making him nauseous, and no other woman had ever done that before. He grabbed her hands and pulled them away from himself, then looked her in the eyes and said "I am sorry; I understand you are upset about Bobby's death, but I need to be going. Thanks for lunch, and good luck with your auditions." Then he stood up, collected his jacket and walked out without a backward glance. He didn't imagine the frustrated squawk he heard just as he closed the door, but all he felt was relief. He needed to get home as soon as possible, do some investigating before Beckett got there.

When he returned to the loft, it was empty, and he went straight upstairs to the guest bathroom, and pulled out the toiletries that Beckett had bought at the CVS on the way to his place that first night after her apartment exploded. Even now, that memory gave him a visceral reaction, and he once again thanked whatever god was looking out for her that she had survived. He remembered she had complained the CVS had run out of her favourite shampoo, and so she had to settle for second best, which was something he had rarely seen her do. But then later, she had confided that it was the shampoo her mother had used, and the simple smell was comforting to her this time, although it had taken her a few years before she could buy it again. Sure enough, it was the same alpine smell in her shampoo and body lotion that he remembered from his dream. And as he had never smelt this shampoo before – had never heard of it prior to that night – there was no way it was in his memory. He could explain away the moans and the movements as those another woman may have made, he could maybe explain the feel of her hands on his skin as something he had experienced with someone else before, but there was no way that smell was anything other than real, and if that was real, then maybe Kate coming to his bed in the middle of the night, to make love to him, was also real. He put everything back in its place, and then moved into his office. He needed to know the truth, but he didn't want to scare her off, make her run away, or he would never feel those amazing things with her again. By the time she arrived home, he was ready. But before he could put his plan into action, she confronted him.

"Castle, have you been nosing around my bathroom? Just because this is your home doesn't mean you can go prying into my stuff!" Well, OK Rick, here was a perfect opening for you.

"Yes, I was trying to find a smell that was haunting my memory, filling my dreams." Boy was he glad neither of the red heads were home at this moment.

"Dreams, huh?" Beckett asked, all sass, but he had caught the minute twitch of her face, the slight loss of composure. Now, he had to be really careful if he didn't want this to remain just a dream for eternity.

"Yes, Detective. There has been an elusive alpine scent in my dreams of late, and it was so alluring I wanted to find and identify it, so I could experience it again and again. They have been the most amazing dreams, so real and lifelike, and I am prepared to spend the rest of my life re-living them."

Hi face was earnest, serious to the extreme, no hint of mocking or smug self-satisfaction. She looked in his eyes and could see that he was not talking about the alpine scent, but the woman who wore that alpine scent, his dream Kate. But did he actually mean that? About spending the rest of his life? As he spoke, he was slowly moving towards her, hands by his side but slightly forward, as if he was trying to calm a wild animal – which in a way, he was.

"Really?" her voice came out breathy, and she ached for him to reassure her, to make her believe he wanted her for more than just a one night stand, more than just a short fling before he moved onto someone infinitely more interesting than just a cop.

"Yes, Kate. Really. Be it alpine, or cherries, your scent is the one I want to spend the rest of my life waking up to. Especially if you wake me up the way you have been these last few nights. I don't want any other woman touching me, or tasting me, or making love to me. I just want you. Almost losing you last week made me realise just how strongly I feel about you, and I don't want to waste another minute not being with you."

"Oh, Castle, your words" Kate said, but then the rest was lost as her lips crashed onto his, her body colliding with his strong chest, her arms around his neck while he grasped her hips and pulled her to him. They kissed until they both needed oxygen, and even then they didn't let go, leaning their foreheads together and breathing each other's air, grinning like fools. It was how Martha found them when she walked in, for once entering the loft quietly, although that ended when she saw them in the middle of the living room. She had just two words to say.

"Well, finally!"