She woke soaked. Clammy and stiff, the night deep into the storm. She could hear the wind howling now, feel the creeping sensation against her scalp that meant lightning again.

At that moment, the room flared with it, illuminating Castle asleep beside her, his bulk like a bulwark. She licked her dry lips and planted her hands on the mattress, shifted up. An ice pack slid off her back, but she caught the others before they could fall. Neither her movement nor the tumble of the ice pack had woken him, and she eased upright, collecting the detritus.

Her back was knotted; she tried not to move too fast. Her shoulders were a new ache, and her hands, abraded and raw. She probably shouldn't have fallen asleep with the ice, it'd been left on too long. When she managed to get to her feet beside the bed, she had an armful of mushy and damp gel packs and they chilled her bare breasts.

Kate dumped them all on the floor at the foot of the bed, padded around to the bathroom. At least this time there were no tears. She was stiff, and she hurt, and it wasn't just her skin that was raw. She washed her hands and avoided her reflection, wondered what should happen next.

If this was her job, she would know exactly what should happen next, what came after this. But personally? She was no better at should than she'd ever been. She continued to be lost when it came to the most important things: who, rather than what, she loved.

Her back felt better now that she was up and moving. The stiffness actually kept the muscles from spasming, and she could admit the arnica and ice had done their jobs. And so—

What did she want?

Who. Who did she want.

Kate left the bathroom and stood over his sleeping form on the bed. She touched his hip, the curve of muscle meeting bone, a solid and firm slope under her fingers. He had heft to him, and she appreciated the solidness, the presence. He took up space and pushed for more.

(Just not when it came to them.)

Kate ran her finger down his thigh, watched his skin ripple and twitch in response. Between those thighs, the response was more pronounced, and she had an urge to take it in her hands.

She resisted, sat at the edge of the bed, explored skin with her eyes only, punishing herself maybe, telling herself she awaited consent. They'd never had a conversation about waking each other up. But of course, they'd never had many conversations.

Under her scrutiny, he woke with a little indrawn breath, as if chuckling in a dream, but he was slow to orient. His hand opened and closed in a fist, his eyes half-mast, that flop of hair over his forehead too enticing. She reached in and combed it back, leaned over him to kiss the oil on his skin. She felt his eyelashes against her lips.

"Beckett." And then, "Ah, Kate."

The relish in his voice was tinder. She was already alight. "Can I?" she murmured, skimming her hand over his hip bone, trailing around his navel.

"Can you—Oh. Yes, if you—" He grunted and his eyes closed. She kissed each eyelid, felt him shudder at her touch. She explored first, without looking, kept her eyes on his face, the movement of emotion across it. She watched for reactions, for the intensity of sensation, for what moved him, literally, his hips jerking, his fist clenching.

"You okay with this?" she said.

"I'm sure you know," he rumbled. His voice had a catch in it, either close to grief or close to the edge. She eased off, less tease and more purpose, and he let out a long breath, as if settling into familiarity, a known rhythm.

"You ever imagine this story?" she asked. "My hand for yours?"

"Yeah." His throat worked, his eyes opened. Boldly blue, and the lightning erupted as if to salt them with fire. "Never got it right though. The details." He made a rough noise and grabbed for her wrist. She waited, he breathed, chest expanding rapidly. Loosened his grip and laid his hand instead on her bent knee. "Never could have imag—ah, yeah, that."

"Mm. That?"

His grunt was delicious. The slit of his eyes said he knew he was in her power. She bit her bottom lip to keep her grin from being too ridiculous and leaned in over him to kiss the tight press of his lips.

His breath was fast against her mouth. "Kate." A curse and jolt of his hips. He felt impressive in her hand, ever more impressive as she moved. "Okay, okay." His words tended towards short and sharp now, his eyes so narrowed she wasn't sure he could see her.

And then his hand on her knee shifted, moved unerringly for her. She hissed and turned her head, like that could give her back control of her body's response to him. (Lost cause). He didn't even fumble, he knew exactly where to touch her, how to spread her thighs with one hand, what stroke she liked, where.

"Whoa," he said. "This gets you hot."

She could growl, she was already so worked up. "You think?"

"Being in control," he said. His voice was strained though. They had both abandoned soft and sweet for rough and insistent. She knew he was tipping towards the edge; she could feel the tremor through him, the holding back he attempted and failed, and her own was already so close.

His climax was a stormburst, but he didn't miss a beat, dragging her down over him and pushing his fingers inside her. She felt the pulse of him still throbbing, and then she was spinning off into orgasm.

It took a long time to come back, and even then she wasn't sure she could move. Her shoulders throbbed low key, and they were tangled together, unable to move.

She felt the kiss against her temple and her heart squeezed.

"What's wrong?" he muttered. "You're frowning. You're not supposed to frown when I make you come."

She sighed against his chest, her body slack, as if she'd been drugged. "Supposed to just be for you."

"Definitely was, it was." Wrapped around her too tight, so that she mewled. "Promise…" But he was mumbling into her hair and she was unable to keep her eyes open.