DISCLAIMER: The characters from Law & Order & Law & Order SVU are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf. The characters from Castle belong to ABC and show creator, Andrew Marlowe. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It Takes Two is a collaborative crossover between the shows Castle and Law & Order: SVU. The story takes place after the episode "Ghost" has occurred and encompasses events from Seasons 1 and 2 of Castle and Season 10 of SVU. Parts of the SVU timeline have been altered to fit the needs of this story, but we tried to remain true to the characters and spirit of both shows. Credits: Acathla: Primary writer for Kate Beckett and compilation of the text. Diamond Crush: Primary Writer for Vicky Harrison/Alexandra Cabot, proofreading and final edit.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To CMSVU2010[at]gmail.com

It Takes Two
By Acathla & Diamond Crush


Chapter Eleven: Uncle Bill & Kevin

Later that evening, Alex was sitting in her hotel room and thought about calling her Uncle Bill to see if he was going to be busy during the weekend. She thought it would be a good idea to sit down to dinner with him and his family and let them know that she was home. They were all she had left of her mother's family and she didn't want them to find out via the press that she had returned from witness protection. She picked up the phone and called his office, figuring that he'd still be there working.

Judge Bill Harriman was in his chambers at the courthouse reading the latest motion the defense had submitted for the Cuddy case. He was halfway through the first page of the motion when his phone rang. His secretary had gone home a few hours ago so he cleared his throat and picked up the phone.

"Judge Harriman's phone." Bill said in a gruff voice, pretending to be someone else. It was something he did to mess with anyone who would dare call him so late. His wife already knew not to call after a certain hour.

"Uh, hi, I'm trying to get in touch with Judge Harriman. I'm his niece, Alexandra Cabot, is he in?" she asked with some confusion. It sounded like her uncle but then again, it had been so long since she'd talked to him that maybe she remembered wrong.

Bill Harriman was struck dumb. He knew that voice, so there was no way it was someone playing a sick joke. He knew he was talking to his niece Alex...the one whom the whole family thought was dead, until she popped up for the Connors trial. Problem was, she vanished before even he could see her. Bill took a breath and, in his regular voice said, "This is Bill Harriman, Alexandra is this really you?"

"Yes, it's me Uncle Bill. I'm home, for good this time. I was just calling to see if you and the family are busy this weekend. I'd like to go out to dinner with all of you."

Bill felt tears come to his eyes as he listened to his favorite niece's voice. Alex's mother, his sister, had died thinking Alex was dead and Bill wished she could've lived long enough to see that he daughter was still alive. Bill sighed, "Well Beth is dragging me to this book launch party for one of her clients on Friday night, but we're free Saturday night."

"A book launch? For what author?" When she heard the words "book launch" she immediately thought about Richard Castle.

Bill thought for a moment, he wasn't exactly a fan of the writer but he'd read a few of his books. He was going mostly because it was important to his wife, but also because the mayor had said he'd be there and had asked him to make an appearance, said there was something he wanted to talk about. "Um...some mystery writer, very popular... um... Richard Castle. The new book is called Heat Wave." Bill's memory came through at the last second.

Alex nearly fell off the bed. She couldn't believe her luck. "Um, Uncle Bill, I know this is going to be a huge favor to ask, but is there any way you could swing an extra ticket? I'm a huge fan of his…" She crossed her fingers and hoped that he'd say yes.

That was a bit of a surprise to Bill. "You are? The last book I saw you reading was published in the 1800s Alex. But I think I can get you a ticket, on one condition."

"Anything," she said, her voice filled with excitement.

Bill smiled; he remembered Alex's habit of blindly agreeing to any condition if it meant getting what she wanted. He liked that about his niece, she wasn't afraid of much. "You have to come by the house before the party for a drink and some family time, then ride to the party with us, deal?"

She smiled, "Deal. What time does the party start?"

Bill chuckled, "Just be at the house by 6 and I'll take care of everything, ok?" Bill was already thinking of the third ticket that was in his desk at home. It was originally intended for his daughter, Janice, but she'd been called out of town for a business deal so it was going to go unused until Alex called. Bill felt no guilt about his deception.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you Uncle Bill. You have no idea how much this means. I'll see you Friday at six," she said and then hung up. She got up off the bed and did a mini victory lap around the room. Never had she been so happy, well, not since she and Kate were together last year.

It was about a quarter to six when Alex arrived at her Uncle's townhouse. She stepped out of the car and walked up the steps to the front door. She rang the bell and waited, smiling when a young woman opened the door.

"You must be Ms. Cabot," the young lady said with a smile. "Please, come in."

"Thank you," Alex said. She assumed this woman must be hired help, though when a little boy came zipping into the foyer, she realized that the woman must be the nanny.

The little boy ran around Alex, almost causing her to trip, and said, "Hi cousin Alex! I'm Kevin!"

He stuck out a chocolate covered hand to introduce himself and he had a matching chocolate covered grin. Alex smiled politely and carefully took the boy's hand so she wouldn't get dirty, "Hi Kevin. Is your Grandpa Bill in the living room?"

He nodded and gripped her hand, dragging her into the other room. Alex figured he had to be about four. The last time she saw Janice in 2004, she was just engaged, so she'd never met her little cousin. Kevin let go of her hand and pointed, "There he is!"

Alex smiled and looked down at her now grubby hand, "Thank you, Kevin."

Bill looked up at the sound of his youngest grandson entering the room. He smiled when he saw Alex was with him. He stood up from his armchair and walked over to his long lost niece. "Alexandra, you look wonderful, come here." He held out his arms for a hug.

Alex smiled and hugged her uncle, careful to keep her dirty hand off of his tux. "Hi Uncle Bill, it's good to see you again."

Bill pulled away and saw Alex's chocolate smeared hand, chuckling, "I see Kevin marked you." Bill looked down at his grandson who was standing a few feet away just watching them. "Young man, why don't you go ask Susan to help you get cleaned up? Scoot!"

Kevin giggled at his grandpa, then nodded and turned to leave the room but he stopped at the doorway and turned around, looking right at Alex, "Don't go away, I'll be back, ok?" Bill smiled at the boy's question. He looked at Alex to see how she would respond.

"Ok, I'll stay right here, sweetie. Go get washed up," Alex said with a smile. It's not that she didn't like kids, she did. She even wanted to have one of her own someday if Kate felt the same, but she was also wearing a $700 dress and the last thing she wanted was chocolate stains on it when she met Richard Castle.

Bill watched as Kevin smiled so big it seemed to fill his whole face. The boy ran from the room in the direction of the kitchen with his nanny in tow.

Bill turned to Alex, "As for your little problem, I think I have something here." Bill walked to the sideboard near the far wall and opened the top drawer. He pulled out a box of wet wipes and handed it to Alex, "Ah, here we are, these come in very handy sometimes."

"I'd imagine. Little kids can be messy," she said with a smile and plucked a wipe from the box. She wiped her hand and then tossed the sheet in the wastebasket. "Is Aunt Beth still getting ready?"

Bill smiled, "Yes, she got out of work a little later than usual tonight, there was some sort of last minute emergency she had to deal with at work. Have a seat Alex, I want to hear about how you're adjusting to being back home." Bill motioned to the other armchair that was across from his in front of the fire. He went to the mini bar and poured himself a scotch. "Can I pour you something?" he offered.

"Vodka and tonic, please," she said and then sat down. It felt cozy in front of the fire and she leaned against the back of the chair, careful not to mess her hair. "Well, the one thing I have to say about being home is that it's a relief. I missed the city like you wouldn't believe. Small towns are too quiet for my liking."

Bill poured the drinks and carried them to the chairs. He handed Alex her drink and then sat down. "Yes, I imagine for a city girl like you, a small town would bore you to tears," Bill chuckled, then he sobered, "Still, I'd rather you were bored in a small town than six feet under, you know what I mean?" Bill looked down into his drink for a moment, "I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty or anything but attending your funeral almost destroyed your mother. She wasn't the same after that day...I think she maybe even saw it as a relief when she got sick. Just before the pneumonia took her, her final words were that she was happy that she was going to be with her daughter again." Bill looked back up at Alex, "She went peacefully with a sweet smile on her face. I'm glad you're alive though; I've missed you at the courthouse. Petrovsky's had it a bit too easy these last few years." Bill grinned, remembering how Alex and Lena would clash in the courtroom.

Alex took a sip of her drink, desperate to keep her tears away at the mention of her mother. She kept her eyes down and said, "It almost destroyed me when I found out that she died. I couldn't help but think that if I had been here, maybe she would've fought harder--that she'd want to live for--" She stopped. She couldn't choke out the rest of what she wanted to say and try as she might, a few tears did escape and streak down her cheeks. She took a breath and pushed them back, able to speak after taking another sip. "I'm sure Lena will be shocked when I walk into her courtroom for arraignment. I'm like a bad penny, I just keep coming back," she said, managing a chuckle.

Bill smiled as he thought of the look on Lena Petrovsky's face when Alex walked into her courtroom. He would pay big money to see it. Before he could say that though, Kevin came running back into the room and made a beeline for Alex.

The young boy stood in front of Alex and smiled. "You waited!"

She smiled back, "Yes, I did. All clean now?"

Kevin nodded and held out his hands, "Yup! See?" The boy waved his hands at Alex for a moment then he lowered them and said, with the honesty that only little kids can pull off, "You're prettier than your picture."

Alex chuckled with embarrassment and blushed like a schoolgirl, "Well, thank you. Did your grandpa show it to you?" She didn't think that Kevin would even know who she was, let alone that she was pretty.

Kevin shook his head, "No, my mommy has it at home. She tol' me that you were..." Kevin paused a moment to remember the word his mom had used, "away..." Kevin frowned at that thought then he smiled big, "but you camed back! Mommy's going to be happy!"

"I can't wait to see her," Alex said. "Maybe I can come over to your house sometime, would you want that?"

Kevin smiled really big, "Yeah! I could show you my toys! And you can meet my daddy too! He's really cool!" Kevin frowned a bit and then asked, "Do you have a boyfriend? If you do, you can bring him too, he can talk to my daddy while I show you my toys!"

Bill was watching the exchange between Alex and his grandson and it made him smile. The boy was at that age where he was curious about the world and asked a lot of questions to learn about it. When he asked about Alex's boyfriend, though, Bill wondered how Alex would answer. He'd known for years that Alex was gay and he didn't have a problem with it because he loved Alex no matter what. Bill opened his mouth to say something to change the subject but he was silenced by what he saw in Alex's eyes. He realized that she wanted to answer the question so he sat back and waited to see what she would say.

"Well, honey, I don't have a boyfriend. You see, there are all different types of people in this world and some of them are what we call gay. Gay means that a girl likes another girl or a boy likes another boy. I don't have a boyfriend because I'm gay, do you understand?" she asked, looking at him to see if he was following her.

Kevin was silent for a long time, thinking about what Alex had said. After a few minutes he turned to his grandpa and said, "Like Susan and Wendy?"

Bill smiled and nodded, "Yep like Susan and Wendy." Kevin's nanny was a lesbian who was in a long-term relationship with a Pediatric Surgeon named Wendy. Kevin turned to look at Alex and smiled, "Cool, what's her name?"

Alex couldn't decide how to answer him. She still thought of Kate as her girlfriend, but they'd been apart for a year and she didn't know if things were going to work out once Kate found out the truth. She realized that even if things didn't work out, Kevin wouldn't care. People broke up all the time. "Her name is Kate. She's a very wonderful woman."

Kevin smiled, "That's a pretty name...is she pretty too?" Kevin stepped closer and put his hand on the arm of the chair. He looked up at his pretty blonde cousin as he waited for her answer.

Alex scooped the boy up, the dress be damned. She could tell that he wanted to be close to her and she was more than happy to make that happen. She nodded, "She's beautiful. She is tall like me but her hair is brown and so are her eyes. She has pretty tan skin and she's very sweet."

Kevin rested his head on Alex's shoulder as she described Kate. He looked up at her when she was done and asked, "Will you bring her with you when you come over?" Kevin had spent the last year hearing about his cousin Alex from his mom. In the way that only little kids could, he had known that his mommy really missed and loved her cousin.

Alex ruffled his hair and said, "Sure, kiddo. I'll ask her, but it might be a while ok? I'm going to be very busy for a while since I just got home. But I promise that Kate is going to love you."

Bill watched Alex with Kevin and he loved how great she was with him. He wondered to himself if Alex had any desire to have a child of her own one day.

Right then, Beth Harriman entered the room and smiled when she saw her grandson sitting in her niece's lap. "Alexandra, it is so good to see you."

"Hi Aunt Beth, you look beautiful," Alex said with a brilliant smile. She picked up Kevin and walked over to hug her aunt. "I've missed you."

Beth hugged her niece and smiled at the sight of her holding Kevin. "Thank you darling. I've missed you too. I see Kevin has claimed you as his own." Beth turned to Bill and winked.

"It seems so," Alex said. "He's absolutely adorable." She kissed him on the cheek and then set him down but kept hold of his hand.

Kevin smiled as he held Alex's hand. He was glad that she hadn't tried to let him go just cause the grownups were here. Bill watched his grandson's face and realized the boy had a tiny crush on Alex. Beth noticed it too but she didn't say anything. "Well, I hate to tear you away from each other, but the party will be starting soon and we should get going."

Alex carefully knelt down and smiled at the little boy, "I have to get going now with your Gran and Grandpa, but I promise I'll come by to visit ok? Give me a hug." She embraced the little boy and then scooted him off to his nanny.

Bill watched his grandson leave with a smile on his face. The hug, with the promise that Alex would visit him again, had left the boy in a happy mood. Bill turned to Alex, "Alex, I think you just got yourself a new little admirer." Bill chuckled.

"He's a sweetheart. Janice is very lucky," she said. She could imagine her and Kate with their little boy or girl, a sweet little kid just like Kevin filled with curiosity and awe and none of the weight of the world on their shoulders yet.

Bill and Beth both beamed with pride and love. "Yes he is such an adorable kid. He's our youngest grandchild. Janice is upstate right now for work and his father works for one of the companies downtown, so he goes on several business trips every year. We're keeping Kevin with us while his parents are away," Beth explained. Then she reminded them that they had to leave.

Bill ushered them out to the car that he'd hired for the night so none of them would have to worry about drinking and driving. They settled into the back seat car but before they drove away, Alex looked back at the house and saw Kevin in the window watching them leave, the sadness on his face over watching Alex go, tore a little at her heart. She made a promise to herself that she'd come by to see him again soon.


Chapter Twelve: Nikki Heat Launch Party

Alex was standing in line to meet Richard Castle so that she could have him sign the novel that Kate had left behind in her care almost a year ago. Between Heaven and Hell was an extremely rare find and Alex only found out exactly how rare when she went online to cruise sites that sold rare and out of print books.

Getting it signed would not only add to its value, but it would make it personal for Kate and Alex felt it was only fitting that she be the one to do it. The blonde was dressed in cocktail attire: a gorgeous low-cut purple dress that cinched at the waist and hugged her hips before falling down to her knees.

She had on a pair of black Manolos and her hair was loosely curled in ringlets that fell down just below her shoulders. Her eyes were a smoky gray with purple highlight, which made her blue eyes appear darker in hue. All in all, she looked amazing and she hoped it would be enough to charm Mr. Castle.

Rick Castle was in his element. Sure he loved chasing down criminals with Detective Beckett, but like any artist, his true joy came from the adulation of the masses and tonight was no exception. Rick loved the spotlight and while he was torn between writing a second Nikki Heat novel, which would keep him working with Kate Beckett, and taking over the James Bond franchise, for tonight, he could put that out of his head for a bit and focus on his fans.

Rick looked up from the cleavage he'd just finished signing and was caught in the dark blue gaze of a very beautiful blonde. Rick smiled and turned on the charm, "Hello there, what's your name, beautiful?"

"I'm Alex, it's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Castle. I'm new to your work, but I must say that I've thoroughly enjoyed it," she said with a charming smile. She held out the book she was holding and asked, "Would you mind signing this for a very close friend of mine?"

Rick smiled, "Well, Alex, it's always great to meet a new fan." Rick reached for the book in her hand expecting to see the now familiar Heat Wave cover. He was surprised when he saw that it wasn't Heat Wave but rather a copy of his first book.

Between Heaven and Hell wasn't a well-known title, only really hard-core fans even knew about it. Rick looked up at Alex, "Wow, this brings back memories. Only true fans even know about it. Where did you find this?"

"A bookstore out west. My friend and I were walking by when she spotted it in the window and of course she had to have it. She's the one who got me hooked, so I wanted to come and get this signed for her as a surprise," she said with a grin.

Rick kept his smile in place and said, "Well you both have great taste in books. Whom should I make it out to, you or your friend, or both?"

Rick would've asked this woman out but there was something about her that stopped him. She was beautiful, well spoken, and definitely single if the lack of a wedding band was any indication but there was something about the way she spoke about her friend that raised a red flag. He decided to tone his flirting down, but he still smiled and worked his charm as he got down to business.

"To her, please. I'm planning to get my own copy of Heat Wave signed later," she said trying to flatter him and keep things flowing. "Her name's Katherine with a K…" She thought it would look more elegant on the page if she used Kate's full first name.

Rick smiled and opened the book to the title page. He raised his pen and wrote, 'To Katherine, The best things we can cling to between heaven and hell are good friends and really good books. Don't let either of them go. Love, Rick Castle.'

Rick liked to make each book he signed personal instead of just writing his name on a page. Rick closed the book and handed it back to Alex. "There you go, and when you're ready for me to sign Heat Wave just come find me," Rick winked.

"I will. Thank you very much, Mr. Castle. I'll let you get back to the party now," she said and then headed off in the direction of the bar to get a glass of wine. She took a seat and smiled to herself for a job well done. She slipped the book into her bag and sipped her wine while she looked around at the other guests, checking to see if she recognized anyone.

Rick watched her go and turned to the next person in line. He signed a few more books before he went over to a table off to the side to sit down. He sighed when he looked around and noticed Kate wasn't there yet and he wondered if she'd even show up at all. He knew she didn't exactly like all the publicity that surrounded Nikki Heat and she did whatever she could to avoid it whenever possible.

Tonight, however, it seemed like Kate was going to brave the sharks because no sooner had Castle finished his thought when he heard the paparazzi at the doors calling out, "Hey, it's Nikki Heat!"

The party was in full swing by the time the limo that Castle had sent for Kate pulled up to the party. She hadn't wanted to use it but she'd caved in the end because it was easier than arguing about it.

Kate had chosen a navy blue Herve Leger dress that reached mid-thigh and hugged her body like a glove. It had a decently low neckline that showed off a bit of cleavage and a triangle-shaped cut out in the back that basically prohibited the use of a bra. She'd accented the dress with a chain necklace, dangly earrings, and minimal make up.

Kate took a deep breath and stepped out of the limo and walked towards the entrance. The news media was out in full force and the flashbulbs going off in her face were a bit intimidating, but when one of them shouted, "Hey, it's Nikki Heat!" Kate just wanted to turn and run the other way. Of course she didn't and she made it past the cameras and into the party.

She wasn't comfortable with all that attention and so she looked around for a familiar face. She spotted her Captain and she smiled as she headed in his direction. The cameras didn't follow her thankfully and she was able to have a private conversation with her boss.

Captain Montgomery smiled as he walked up to Beckett. "You clean up nice, Detective."

Kate smiled, "Thank you, sir."

"Castle's going to be happy to see you. Have you read the dedication?" He knew the writer had a thing for Kate, everyone knew it, and the dedication was just more of a confirmation.

Kate was confused, "No. What does it say?"

Montgomery just smirked, "Go see for yourself. Excuse me." He left her to go talk to someone else.

Kate walked over to one of the towers of books and casually picked one up to look at the dedication inside.

On the other side of the room, Rick had spotted Kate and was about to walk up to her when his book agent, Paula, intercepted him. The conversation delayed him a bit, but it was worth it to find out he'd gotten the official offer for the Bond series. He made his way over to Kate then, unaware that someone else's eyes were already on the lovely detective.

Alex was leaning against the bar watching Kate, a smile on her face as she studied the look on the brunette's face as she looked over Castle's book. Alex couldn't believe how beautiful Kate looked in that gorgeous blue dress and her fondness for Castle's latest release reminded the blonde of that day in the bookstore when Kate had found the book that Alex now held in her hand. New or old, she treated Castle's books with equal respect and Alex felt her heart flutter.

When she noticed Castle walk up, however, something inside of her chest tightened. If their proximity was any indication, Kate and Castle knew each other and appeared friendly, a little too friendly. Alex watched them for several moments, a great fear gripping her that maybe Kate hadn't been as honest about her sexuality as Alex had believed and she'd somehow found a way to make her favorite author fall for her the same way Alex had.

Rick slipped in beside Kate and said, "Hey."

Kate was startled from her thoughts and turned, flustered, to Castle, "Hey, I… I was just…" Kate paused, "The dedication is… wow. Thank you." For some reason, Kate found it difficult to admit to Castle that she loved his work…probably because she knew it would go right to his head and he'd take it to mean she was interested in him.

Rick grinned at seeing Kate flustered but sobered up when she thanked him. He felt the need to make it clear the dedication wasn't just words. "I mean it, Kate. You are extraordinary." Rick caught Kate's gaze and held it for a moment.

For those few seconds, Rick saw the possibilities of what he and Kate could have together and it scared him a little. What would he do if things ended badly and he lost Kate from his life forever? He realized that he couldn't let himself go there because Kate's friendship was more important to him than taking a chance at romance with the brunette. He suddenly broke the silence and moved on to a safer topic, "Listen, I was thinking…what if the wife got on to the affair?"

"Melissa Talbot, a killer?" Beckett's tone betrayed her disbelief in that theory.

Despite her tone, Castle ran with it, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Kate thought about it for a second and she had to admit that it did have some merit, "Well, anything's possible. I didn't see it that way."

Castle tried to joke it off, "You're just saying that because you've never been scorned." Castle's tone was confident, but slightly off hand.

Kate wondered if it was that obvious that she was feeling a bit…let down…by the current status of her love life. "What makes you say that?"

"Oh, come on. What man has ever turned you away?" Castle's tone implied that he thought he was giving a compliment.

Kate's mind went not to a man but to a woman: Vicky Harrison. They'd had two weeks of bliss, declared their love for one another, and then, after all of that, Vicky had only sent one brief e-mail before going silent for nearly a year. All in all, it was enough to make Kate feel pretty turned way. In Kate's opinion, that e-mail, coupled with the silence must've been Vicky's way of letting her go. She didn't like it, but there was very little she could do about it.

Kate decided to change the subject once again. She took a breath and said, "So, any word on a certain British secret agent who shall not be named?" Kate knew Castle was superstitious about saying Bond's name until the deal was done.

Castle raised his finger to his lips and then took a quick look around to make sure no one was listening in. When the coast was clear, he leaned in close to Kate's ear and said, "I got the official offer."

Kate couldn't believe it, "Wow! Congratulations!"

Castle demurred, "Well, I haven't accepted it yet."

"But you're going to, aren't you?" Kate knew this was a great opportunity for a writer like Castle. Plus if he was no longer tagging along on crime scenes, she might be able to admit that she was a hardcore fan.

Castle was a little confused, "You think I should?" He'd hoped Beckett would ask him to stay, even write another Nikki Heat book.

Kate played it off, not wanting to let Castle know she'd miss it if she didn't have him around. She didn't want to stand in the way of such a big opportunity. "Yeah, I mean, is there a reason why you wouldn't?"

Castle wanted to be sure, "So you'd be okay if I didn't write another Nikki Heat story?"

Kate gave a small laugh, "Sure, why wouldn't I? It's not like I asked you to write the first one." Kate tried to play it off, not wanting to get into a fight over Nikki Heat, but knowing it might be inevitable.

Castle was a little hurt, "You know a lot of people would feel honored that someone would choose to write a book based on them." He honestly thought that Kate secretly liked the idea of being the basis for Nikki Heat and was flattered that he'd picked her despite her insistence that the opposite was true.

Was he serious? Kate shook her head and scoffed, "You expect me to feel honored?"


"Castle, do you have any idea how much grief I've had to put up with over this Nikki Heat thing?" It was hard enough for her to be taken seriously as a cop because she was a woman, but then Nikki Heat was born and suddenly Kate had to work twice as hard to earn the same respect as her male counterparts. To put it lightly, she hated it.

"Gee I'm sorry." Castle's tone was unapologetic and a little sarcastic.

Kate was frustrated now and a little upset too, "I'm not asking you to be sorry. I'm just…" Kate didn't know how to finish that thought so she started a new one, "Just do whatever you want. That's what you always do anyway."

Suffice it to say that things quickly got out of hand between the two of them and by the end of it Castle only had one thing left to say. "You know what? I'm sorry that you've suffered so much because of me, but I'm glad I know how you feel. I wasn't sure how I was going to say this because I didn't want to hurt you, but the simple fact is, there isn't enough depth to the character, so I'm not planning to write anymore Nikki Heat novels." Of course he was lying, but he was so upset that he just wanted to hurt her feelings as much as she'd hurt his.

Naturally, Kate saw right through his act and replied, "Oh, there's plenty of depth to the character. She just needs a better writer to tap into that." She knew that she was hitting below the belt, but she was so pissed that she just didn't care.

Rick absorbed the blow as Kate stared him down but rather than let it get any more out of control, they both decided to walk away and cool off for a little while.

Castle headed to the table where his mother and daughter were sitting and enjoying the party. Alexis and his mom always managed to cheer him up.

Kate headed to the bar for a drink; she definitely needed one after that exchange. Kate ordered an apple martini and stood at the end of the bar to nurse her drink while she tried to calm down. She was so absorbed by her thoughts, both of Castle's imminent departure from her life and the memory of Vicky's e-mail and how the silence that followed had broken her heart, that she didn't notice it when someone sat down next to her.

Alex could barely contain her smile. She had seen her walk away from Richard Castle looking very irritated and that's when Alex knew that he stood no chance with her girl. She watched Kate for a few moments as the brunette sipped her drink and but when she couldn't stand it anymore, she decided to break the silence, "You look beautiful..."

Kate rolled her eyes and was about to read this woman the riot act when her eyes landed on a painfully familiar face and her voice completely abandoned her. She just stared, open-mouthed, at the one woman she'd prayed for almost a year to see again. It was Vicky.

Kate stood there doing a damn good imitation of a fish before her senses returned to her. She narrowed her eyes, closed her mouth, and then quickly turned around to march to the ladies room. She couldn't handle seeing Vicky, not then, not so soon after her fight with Castle and being reminded that the blonde had, in essence, abandoned her.

Kate stood at the sink in the ladies room, her hands on the counter bracing her, as her head hung down. She was trying to take deep breaths to calm herself, but the panic suddenly returned when she heard the door swish open. She closed her eyes and waited for Vicky's familiar voice.

"Kate?" Alex asked softly as she walked into the bathroom. She walked over to the brunette and lowered her eyes, "Kate, please, look at me… please?" She knew that Kate would be upset, but she needed to look into those brown eyes and explain why she'd been so silent.

Kate took a deep breath and then lifted her head to face Vicky. She arched her eyebrow and stood silently, waiting to see what the blonde had to say. In that moment, Kate decided she wasn't going to make it easy for Vicky to win her back. She was going to make her work for it.

"I am so sorry…" she said, her blue eyes locking with Kate's. "I know you must hate me after almost a year of silence, but you have to believe me when I tell you that I have a very good reason for why it happened."

Kate thought about that and replied in a low voice, "I don't hate you, Vicky, but I can't imagine there's a good reason for cutting off the person you claimed to love for almost a year… for breaking someone's heart."

Immediately the tears came to Alex's eyes, "I didn't mean to break your heart, Kate. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you; I swear on my mother's grave, I wouldn't. Please, let's go somewhere and talk. I need to tell you everything."

Kate almost caved when she saw Vicky's eyes tear up. She didn't want to be the cause of this woman's pain, but then she remembered all those nights she'd cried over Vicky and she straightened her spine. The restroom was empty so she went to the door and locked it.

She turned to face the blonde, "Tell me now. Give me one good reason why I should go anywhere with you and we'll leave. If you can't, I'm walking out alone."

Alex took a deep breath and then gazed deeply into Kate's eyes again, "Because the woman you met in New Mexico and the woman you're standing with right now, they're two different people. When I was there, I was being protected by the federal government from a cartel here in New York City that wanted to kill me..."

Kate looked at Vicky as she thought about what she was telling her and she realized it kind of made sense. Vicky had never really talked about herself during those two weeks, but Kate hadn't thought anything of it at the time. Suddenly something clicked in her mind and Kate asked in a hushed tone, "If that's true then, who are you, really? I mean was everything that happened during those two weeks a lie?" Kate felt her heart crack a bit wider at the thought that she had fallen for an illusion.

"My name is Alexandra Cabot. I was an Assistant District Attorney before I was put into the program. I was moved to New Mexico after I came back to testify against the man who shot me and given a new identity. And no, not all of it was a lie. I was honest about everything that I could be honest about. The only lies were the ones I had to tell."

Kate thought about that for a moment. "Alexandra Cabot. You're a lawyer?" Kate knew there were more important things to focus on but those things were too heavy at the moment. Instead she focused on something mundane.

"Yes, a prosecutor. I worked with Manhattan SVU for four years before I was sent away. I've been with the DA's office for a while longer." She gave Kate some time to absorb everything and then asked, "So, will you come with me so that I can finish explaining everything?"

Kate took that in, recognizing the department the blonde had mentioned. SVU was the sex crimes unit and she knew from what she'd heard that it was a tough unit. Live victims and broken women. Kate took a breath and asked, "Where did you have in mind?

"There's a coffee shop near here. It should be quiet this time of night, especially with the party."

Kate smiled, "Let's go then." Kate unlocked the door and opened it, allowing the blonde to exit first. Kate followed her out and they walked back into the party, but before Alex could take more than three steps towards the exit, Kate remembered the photographers at the front doors and grabbed the blonde's bicep, "Um, Vic--Alex, let's go this way." Kate began leading Alex out the main room and over to a side exit.

Alex smiled and went with Kate, the feel of the other woman's hand on her arm comforting as they made their escape. They walked up to a cab that was waiting by the curb and got in. Alex told the driver where to go and within a couple of minutes, they were outside the cafe. Alex paid the driver and held out her hand for Kate. They went inside and instantly every eye in the place was on them. Alex blushed, "I forgot, we're in formal wear..."

Kate grinned, "Don't worry about it, this is New York, no one will care in a minute." Sure enough the few people in the place soon went back to their business as the ladies headed for the counter. Kate ordered two white hot chocolates with whipped cream and paid the girl behind the counter before they went to a table in the corner. The lady said she'd bring the drinks to their table, so Kate went to sit down and waited for Alex to join her. Once she was seated, Kate said, "Sorry about the sneaky exit from the party but the photographers at the front door make me uncomfortable."

"It's ok, I know exactly what you mean. I used to hate being mobbed outside of the courthouse, but eventually I just learned to keep on walking." She again looked at Kate, "I meant what I said at the party. You look beautiful."

Kate felt herself blush against her will. "Thank you." The she cleared her throat and continued, "But don't think you can compliment your way out of this hole you dug for yourself. You still have some explaining to do." Kate was determined not to give in too easily to this woman and her beautiful blue eyes and gorgeous smile.

"I wouldn't want it any other way," she said, partly joking, but partly serious. She didn't want Kate to make it easy for her because on some level she felt she deserved to fight for the woman she loved. Just as she was about to start, the barrista brought over their drinks and set them down before returning to the counter. Alex smiled, "Just like the first time, huh?"

Kate looked down at their drinks and remembered their first meeting at the club and then leaving to go to a cafe. She smiled, "Yeah except this time I'm not as naïve as I was then. I want the truth Alex, now please." Kate needed to know if woman she had fallen for was the same as the woman that was sitting across from her. Kate was glad Alex hadn't asked any questions about why Kate was at the party and why she avoided the photographers. She wasn't ready yet to reveal her connection to Rick Castle and Nikki Heat.

"Ok. When you came to New Mexico, I'd been there for a little over six months. I got the job at the gallery and they set me up in that house. I didn't have much that was really mine because every time you're moved, you leave practically everything behind. The photos, the movies, the books, those were all mine. I shopped around and did my best to make the place feel like home." She stopped to take a breath and then trudged on, "There were some things I told you that weren't true. My name, obviously, and where I was from. Anything having to do with New York and how I related was also untrue. But the other things, my affinity for Grace Kelly, loving the food in New Mexico, my love for you… All of that was real."

Kate took that in, it seemed to make sense but there was something that bothered her, "So, did you know that you would be returning to your life? Or did you make those promises of us being together here in New York, living together and being happy, knowing that you might be lying?"

"I didn't know 100% that I'd be coming home, but in my heart, I knew that I'd do anything to get back to you. Even if it meant risking my life, I couldn't let you go, Kate."

Kate thought about that, then she got a bad feeling, "Wait, are you still in danger? Did you leave witness protection before the threat was gone?" Kate was suddenly scared that Alex had put her own life in danger to find her. While it had an air of romanticism, Kate knew she'd never want the woman she loved to risk her life for her.

"No, I'm fine, honey. The threat is gone and I'm home for good. In fact, that's all I've been doing since I got back was getting settled into my old life. I'm looking for a place to live and trying to get a job…and trying to find you. It was a little hard without knowing your last name, you know," Alex teased.

Kate took that in. "Um...how um...how long have you been back?" Kate wanted to know how long Alex had waited before trying to find her...not that she had found her, per se. It was more like she'd stumbled onto her at the Nikki Heat party, which brought up another question, "And why were you at the launch party? How did you even manage to get an invitation to the party?"

"I've been back a little over two weeks," she said without feeling bad about it. She had been looking for Kate, but she had no idea where to even start looking and she was grateful that she'd run into her at the party. She couldn't stand being away from her any longer. "And I was at the launch party because I received an invitation. I… have connections..."

Alex's cryptic answer of having 'connections' reminded Kate of Castle's typical smug answer of having 'a guy' in almost every corner of the city, and she rolled her eyes, "Connections? Really?"

"Yes. My uncle is a judge and he happens to be very close to the Mayor. The Mayor is a huge Castle fan, so when my uncle asked him if he could swing a spare ticket, he gladly obliged."

Kate rolled her eyes again as she thought, "Great, the mayor, again." The mayor was the one who'd forced Castle on her in the first place. Kate took a sip of her hot chocolate before she said, "Yeah I know all about His Honor's fetish for Castle. But why would you want to go to a launch party for one of Castle's books? Last time I saw you, you weren't a fan of his." Kate paused, "Or was that one of the things you had to lie about too?"

"No, I didn't lie about that. I wasn't a fan until you turned me on to him. I read through the book you gave me twice and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised the first time around." She reached into her bag and pulled out the book that Kate had left in her care and opened it carefully to take out Kate's letter.

Kate's eyes widened a little as she recognized the book and the envelope that Alex held in her hand. "You...you kept them both, all this time?"

Alex chuckled, "Of course I did. Look at this envelope…I read it almost every night before I went to bed so that I could dream about you once I fell asleep." Then she opened the book to the dedication and said, "This was the real reason I went to the party. I wanted Castle to sign it for you so that it would be yours forever. I hope you don't mind."

Kate reached out and carefully took the book in her hands. She turned it around to read the inscription, 'To Katherine, The best things we can cling to between heaven and hell are good friends and really good books. Don't let either of them go. Love, Rick Castle.'

She felt the tears well up in her eyes and she took a moment to appreciate the irony of the moment. Castle had, unwittingly, nudged her towards Alex. Kate looked up at the blonde and for the first time since she'd seen her at the party, Kate allowed herself to feel all the love she had for her in her heart.

Kate had locked away her feelings for Vicky, or Alex, as a way of staying sane after that e-mail she'd gotten almost a year ago. It was the only way she could still function in her job. But now, she let it loose and realized that no matter what had happened in the past, no matter what lies or misconceptions had existed between them because of Alex's situation in Witness Protection, she still loved this woman and still wanted a life with her. Kate smiled as she leaned forward and, without a word, pressed a light kiss to Alex's lips. It was brief but it was enough for Kate to know that it would be just the beginning. Kate smiled as she pulled away, "Of course I don't mind, it's a beautiful gesture Alex."

"No matter what the situation, my love for you is the most real thing in the world, Kate. Nothing in heaven or on earth is going to stop me from loving you." She took the brunette's hand and squeezed it tightly, "It was like my world stopped when you had to come back and all I did during that time was survive. I had to so that I could get back to you."

Kate smiled and, seeing they had finished their drinks, she said, "I love you too Alex. I never stopped loving you. What do you say we get out of here and go somewhere more...private, where we won't stand out so much in this formal wear, okay?"

"I think that sounds like an amazing idea," she grinned and stood up, following Kate outside.

Kate led Alex out to the street and then pulled out her cell phone. She made a call, only giving her name and the name and address of the cafe before hanging up the phone. She turned to Alex and said, "It'll be a few minutes. In the meantime," Kate grinned and walked backwards to the wall of the cafe. She grinned at Alex and said, "Come here?"

Alex nodded and got very close to Kate, her heart racing the same way it did that night back in Santa Fe. She touched Kate's cheek and said, "I love you."

Kate smiled as she reached out and pulled Alex closer to her. She leaned forward and brought their lips together. Their kiss was like a cool glass of water after a long trek through the desert. Kate quickly lost herself and indulged in the passion she'd been missing for far too long.

Alex held onto Kate tightly, never wanting to let go just in case this was all a dream. She explored the familiarity of Kate's lips, her tongue, her mouth, and everything came flooding back to her. All the passion and desire was there and she was grateful that they were going someplace private because she needed Kate more than she needed her next breath.

In the middle of her haze, Kate dimly registered the honking of a horn. She reluctantly pulled away and glanced past Alex. The limo that Castle had booked for her for the night was sitting by the curb. The driver got out and stood by the rear passenger door.

Kate smiled and turned back to Alex, "Our ride's here. Come on, let's go." Kate neatly stepped aside and grabbed Alex's hand and led her to the limo. Kate nodded to the driver and she let Alex slide into the back seat. She turned to the driver and said in a low voice, "Just take us back to my place ok?" The driver nodded and Kate got into the car. The door closed behind her and the driver went around to the front of the car.

Kate turned to Alex and slid closer, but before Alex could ask where they were going or why they were in a limo, Kate was kissing her again. Kate shifted and straddled Alex, settling into her lap as she put her hands on the back of the seat for balance. Kate slipped her tongue into Alex's mouth and tasted her again, moaning a little as she reacquainted herself with the familiar flavor.

Alex put her hands on Kate's back and touched her skin thanks to the cutout of the dress. The partition was safely up and the windows were darkly tinted, so Alex knew that anything they did would be perfectly safe. She hiked Kate's dress and lightly scratched the brunette's firm thighs while they kissed, her own body humming with anticipation.

Kate felt Alex's hands on her thighs and she felt herself get wet. She broke off the kiss and began running her lips down Alex's neck. Kate was happy to learn that the neck she'd loved to lick and kiss and suck still tasted the same. Kate pulled away for a moment and looked into Alex's eyes, "Baby, I've missed you so much. I want you so bad. I want you in my bed, tonight, please?"

Alex's eyes were dilated from the sheer pleasure of the moment and she nodded, "You don't have to ask, Kate. There's no place else I want to be except where you are and there's nothing I want to do more than make love to you until you can't keep your eyes open any more…"

Kate grinned at Alex's response. She would've kissed her again but she felt the limo slow down then stop. Kate turned and looked towards the window. Despite the tint and it being dark outside, Kate clearly saw the neon sign of the bar that was next to her building. Kate sighed, "Perfect timing, we're here. Come on baby, let's go inside and you can back up your words."

Kate slowly climbed off of Alex's lap just in time for the driver to walk around and open the door. Kate stepped out and thanked him, letting him know she was in for the night so he was off duty. The driver nodded and then closed the car door after the blonde stepped out. He tipped his hat at the women then got back in the limo and drove away. "Come on," Kate said with a smile as she grabbed Alex's hand again and led her into the building. She managed to get the door to her apartment open despite Alex's attempts to distract her.

Once they were inside, Alex took the kid gloves off and pursued Kate, wanting to get her naked and onto the bed as soon as humanly possible. She pinned the brunette against the wall and darted her hand under the dress while her lips attached to Kate's neck. She could feel her girlfriend's arousal through her panties and pulled back to smile, "You're wet… Good." She was about to go back to kissing Kate's neck when a photo on the wall caught her eye.

It was Kate and she was in police uniform. Slowly, Alex's hand stopped rubbing and she was almost frozen, "Oh my God..."

Kate was lost in the haze of her arousal. She began grinding her hips against Alex's hand, smiling when Alex began to rub her through her panties. She was on the verge of complete surrender when she felt Alex stop moving. She heard the blonde's shocked, "Oh my God..." and Kate fought through the haze to ask, "What's wrong baby? Why'd you stop?"

Alex pulled back and looked at her again, "Are you a cop?" The shock was clear on her face.

Kate frowned. The question was just so random. She cleared her throat and said, "Um, I'm a detective actually, but yeah I'm a cop. Why?" Kate didn't understand why Alex looked so shocked. Yeah, she hadn't told her but most people didn't react like that when they found out she was a cop.

Alex pulled away from Kate and went to find the couch. She felt dizzy and needed to sit down before she collapsed right there at Kate's feet. How could this have happened? Alex couldn't figure out how she hadn't realized or maybe…she did and that's what brought her closer to Kate. All she knew was that she had to take a minute to sort this out before they did anything.

Kate watched, puzzled, as Alex walked to the couch. The look on the blonde's face was something Kate usually saw when she had to tell someone that their husband or boyfriend was a serial killer. Kate got nervous and slowly walked over to the couch. She decided Alex needed some space so she sat down in the armchair.

Kate looked at Alex and asked, "Alex, what's going on? Why do you look like I just told you I'm a serial killer who paints clowns in her spare time?" Kate's attempt at levity seemed to fall short so she waited silently for Alex to respond.

"You're a cop," she said quietly. "A detective..."

Kate nodded, "Yeah..."

"Wow. Of all the things in the world I was expecting, this was the last…" Alex said with a weak chuckle.

Kate was confused. She didn't see why it mattered that she was a cop. She remembered then that Alex had said she used to be an Assistant District Attorney before she was put into the witness protection program, maybe that was why she was having a problem with her being a cop. Kate figured that Alex must've had some bad experiences with the cops she had worked with when she was an ADA. Kate sighed, "Alex, can you please tell me why the fact that I'm a cop is bothering you so much?" Kate needed to know the truth.

Alex bit her lip and thought about the best way to tell her about Olivia. She mulled it over for a few minutes and then said, "Well, I used to date a detective and…it ended very badly."

That wasn't what Kate was expecting to hear and it surprised her that, just hearing about someone that Alex had dated, caused jealousy to eat at her stomach. Kate didn't like the thought of Alex being with someone else and she thought back to those two weeks in New Mexico, remembering all the little moments when she saw someone flirt with Alex or look at her in a certain way and how jealous she had felt.

Kate idly wondered if the relationship with this detective was ended by Alex going into Witness Protection, so she asked, "Do you, um...do you still love this detective?"

Alex struggled, "Yes, but it's not…romantic love. We were friends first and I'll always have feelings for her, but I'm in love with you, Kate."

Kate looked away then. While it thrilled her to hear that Alex was in love with her, she couldn't get past the thought that she still had feelings for her ex. Kate was scared that this detective would come back into Alex's life and steal her away...especially if the only reason they broke up was because Alex went into Witness Protection. Kate had to know, "Why...um...why did you break up?"

Alex sighed, "Because she couldn't deal with who she was and I didn't want to be her dirty, little secret. I'm not saying that I expected her to come out on the Jumbotron in Times Square, but she couldn't even tell her closest friends."

Kate nodded. She could understand the frustration that came with dating someone who wouldn't even come out of the closet long enough to tell her friends. Lanie was her best friend and she knew that Kate was gay, but she still liked to tease Kate about Castle's crush on her. Kate took it in stride because she knew Lanie was only messing with her.

Kate knew that if she ever told the guys about her sexuality they'd look at her differently for about an hour, but then they'd go about their business. Castle, on the other hand, would no doubt find hours of enjoyment teasing her with innuendo and crude jokes like a 12 year-old would do, and Castle often acted like a 12 year-old. But she knew that he would be fine with it once he got over his little crush. Kate turned to Alex and smiled, "Well I don't know about a Jumbotron, but my best friend Lanie knows I'm gay and I even told her about you...before you sent me that e-mail."

Alex grinned, "Really?" It made all the difference in the world to her that someone knew about her and Kate and that was enough. She got up off the couch and moved over to the chair to sit in Kate's lap.

Kate grinned up at Alex as she sat down on her lap, "Yeah but um, after that e-mail and the silence, well...I should probably warn you that I spent many nights on Lanie's couch venting about the situation. You should be prepared for an icy reception if or rather when Lanie finds out you're back in my life." Kate felt it was only fair to warn Alex that Lanie held more than just a little animosity towards the woman who had broken her best friend's heart.

"I really pissed you off," she said, a statement, not a question. "I don't blame you. If it had been me, I would feel the same. I did what I could, but my handler watched my every move. I was lucky to get that one e-mail out."

Kate sighed, "I understand now why you did what you did but then, yeah you pissed me off and you also really hurt me. And Lanie, like a good best friend, let me vent and bitch and complain and just...unburden my heart to make the pain a little more bearable." Kate looked into Alex's eyes and leaned closer to kiss her. It was a quick kiss but Kate needed to show Alex that she was on the road to forgiving her. "Baby, I love you and once I explain to Lanie the situation, she'll come around."

"I hope so. I want to be a part of your life and that means getting along with friends and family… It's what I've always wanted," Alex said, leaning in again to kiss Kate, this time much more deeply.

Kate melted into the kiss for a few moments before she pulled away and smiled, "I want you in my life too. I want us to be together, a real couple. But more than anything I want you to be mine again, I want you to make me yours again, like we were in New Mexico." Kate moved her lips to Alex's neck to illustrate what she was asking.

Alex tilted her neck and whispered, "Yes. Anything, Kate, anything. I will make you mine, I promise."

Kate tightened her arms around Alex's waist and began to nibble on her neck.

"I've missed this so much, Kate. All those dreams couldn't measure up to this moment right now," Alex said, her lips growing fuller from the excess blood flow and her eyes growing dark again. She felt like she was on fire and she needed Kate so badly that she was clenching her thighs together just to keep herself from breaking apart.

Kate felt Alex shifting on her lap and slid her hand down from her waist to her thigh. Kate moved her hand down to Alex's knee then slid it back up her thigh, sliding under the hem of Alex's dress to caress the silky skin she remembered. Kate's hand slid again, her fingers coming to rest just above the juncture of Alex's legs. Kate grinned as she felt the heat emanating from her girlfriend and her mouth moved lower to Alex's collarbone to nip lightly. She pulled away when Alex shuddered, "You like that don't you baby?"

"Yes. You know what your touch, your kisses do to me. I can't tell you how many nights I'd wake up from a dream where you were making love to me and I'd find my hand buried deep beneath the sheets…it couldn't compare, but it was the only way I could get relief from the torture."

Kate leaned back in the chair, she looked up at Alex, "The thought of you, in bed, dreaming of me, thinking of me when you were...touching yourself, makes me so hot. Someday soon, I would love to watch you do that but tonight, I want to make those dreams a reality and make love to you all night long." Kate was glad she didn't have to work the next day, though she was still on-call in case something broke in her current case. Even if a call did come in, she didn't have to go down to the precinct, so she planned to spend the next 12 hours, minimum, making love with Alex. "Unless you still want to hold it against me that I'm a cop." Kate said, half-jokingly.

"No, no, as far as I'm concerned, no one is anything tonight. Just take me in your room and have your way with me, I need you," she said breathlessly. She needed to be touched, teased, and caressed; everything that Kate knew how to do.

Kate grinned, "As you wish." Kate nudged Alex to stand and she stood with her. Kate leaned forward and placed a sweet kiss on the blonde's lips before she took a step back and reached behind her. She quickly unsnapped the clip that held the top part of her dress together before she slid the zipper down the back of her dress. With two quick moves, the dress was pooled around her ankles and she stood before Alex in nothing but a black lace thong. It was the only panties she owned that wouldn't leave a line on the dress. Kate smiled at the look on Alex's face, it was...hungry. She turned and took two steps towards her room before she turned to look over her shoulder and said, in a sultry tone, "You coming baby?"

Alex just nodded and distractedly walked towards the bedroom, her eyes glued to the nice little wiggle of Kate's ass as she moved. She stopped just inside the doorway and was again struck dumb when she saw Kate sprawled out on the bed and she nearly lost it. She stripped out of her own dress, her breasts also bare, and her skin was flushed pink.

She walked over to the bed and straddled Kate and the only thing between them was the thin fabric of her matching purple g-string.

Kate looked up at Alex above her. She loved the feeling of skin on skin and she ran her hands along Alex's thighs, caressing the silky soft skin and moving closer to the string of her panties with each stroke. Kate smiled, "I have missed having you this close, seeing you like this. I can't believe you're really here." Kate used one hand to reach up and slide behind Alex's neck to pull her down. Kate let out a moan as their lips connected and she slid her tongue into Alex's mouth, melting into the kiss.

Alex lost herself in the kiss, her body moving all on its own in desperate need of some sort of release. She wasn't reaching for climax, just a little bit of contact to ease the ache. Alex's arousal was painted on Kate's firm abdomen with each stroke back and forth.

Kate felt Alex's arousal on her skin and it drove her close to the edge. In one swift move, Kate flipped them over so Alex was on her back and she hovered over her. Kate broke the kiss and grinned wickedly down at Alex before she began kissing and licking her way down the blonde's neck and chest. Kate's lips closed around Alex's left nipple and she sucked and nibbled on the hardening nub. Kate remembered the last time she had Alex like this in her car the day she had to leave her. Kate was determined to improve on that last time. She wanted to completely wipe away any memory of the cop that Alex had dated here in New York, she wanted to leave no doubt at all that Alex was hers. Kate's lips moved away from one breast to the other, leaving a trail of kisses between them.

Kate's hands made quick work of Alex's panties and she slid two fingers on either side of her clit, squeezing gently. Kate felt Alex's reaction and she grinned. She loved knowing that she could do this to the beautiful blonde.

When Alex felt the pressure on her already throbbing clit, she gripped the blanket beneath her and hissed, "Fuck…" She bucked her hips, her eyes rolling back to look at the headboard, and she tried to keep control. She knew it wouldn't take much for her to come.

Kate lifted her lips from Alex's skin and began trailing kisses down her body while her fingers kept up their gentle squeezing. Within seconds, Kate's lips replaced her fingers and she began to suck on Alex's clit, alternating with her tongue to bring Alex to the brink of orgasm. Kate slid two fingers inside of Alex's soaked pussy and began moving slowly, wanting to draw out the moment.

"Oh Kate," Alex said breathlessly. She lifted her head, which felt heavy with pleasure, and watched the woman she loved working between her legs. She brought one hand up and placed it on Kate's head, running her fingers through Kate's longer locks, twirling a piece of hair slowly while her hips rocked against Kate's hand and mouth.

Kate loved the way Alex's voice sounded and when she began to rock her hips, Kate sped up her fingers.

As soon as Kate's pace increased, Alex found that she couldn't hold back any longer and she let go, giving her body over to Kate's knowing touch.

She felt Alex's orgasm rush forward and she welcomed it. Kate flicked her clit with her tongue and then sucked it into her mouth. Kate closed her eyes as she felt Alex come in her mouth and on her hand.

Alex tossed her head back on the pillow and smiled. Her heart was beating hard and the flush had spread everywhere. She caressed Kate's hair and spoke through her haze, "I love you, Kate..."

Kate smiled as she slid up Alex's sweat soaked body and she loved the feel of their skin rubbing together. Kate trailed kisses up Alex's neck and when she came to the pulse point she sucked a bit, leaving a light mark on the skin. Kate smiled and then moved up to look into Alex's dark blue eyes. Kate held her gaze for a moment before she whispered, "Mine. I love you Alex."

She grinned. "It feels so good to hear you say my real name. It makes me feel complete." She lightly scratched Kate's back and trailed her hands down until she was cupping the brunette's ass. "How do you feel right this second?"

Kate grinned down at Alex, "I feel...happy, whole, sane...I'm here with you and we can be together. But beyond all of that, I feel like if you don't touch me soon, I might just explode." Kate shifted on top of Alex, rubbing against the blonde's toned thigh.

Alex chuckled and nodded, "That's what I thought… Here…" She rolled Kate onto her back and spread out next to her. She ran her open palm over Kate's breasts, teasing her nipples until they were stiff as could be. She lowered her head and sucked one into her mouth while that same hand moved lower and lower until she was between Kate's legs. The brunette was drenched, which made it quite easy for Alex to slide two fingers into Kate's pussy, her thumb resting firmly on her clit.

Kate moaned at the contact and her hips arched up to meet Alex's hand. Kate brought one hand up to Alex's hair and her fingers wound through the strands. "Oh baby don't stop I'm so close..." Kate panted out as she gripped the sheets with her other hand. She knew it wouldn't take much to make her come and she let herself go, surrendering to Alex's touch.

Alex suddenly got an idea and swiftly moved between Kate's legs and replaced her fingers with her tongue, sliding it deep inside of Kate's warmth. She thrust, her hands moving up to cup Kate's breasts as she did her best to make her come into her mouth.

Kate felt a rush of fluid as she felt Alex's tongue slide into her. She arched off the bed and in a very short minute, she felt her orgasm crash through her in waves so intense she started to see spots in her vision.

Alex held Kate's hips to steady her and slowed her tongue until the brunette stopped pulsing. She pulled out and licked her lips, "Mmmm, that's my girl…" She again stretched out on Kate's side and put her hand on her lover's stomach. "You taste amazing as ever."

Kate lazily turned to face Alex and she smiled, "I'll always be your girl, baby. Forever." Kate managed to reach up and bring Alex's face closer and kissed her. When she tasted herself on her lover's lips, Kate smiled into the kiss. She missed this feeling and she decided then and there to do whatever it took to keep this feeling, even if it meant letting go of the pain and moving forward with her beautiful girlfriend. Kate pulled out of the kiss and looked into Alex's eyes, "Alex, baby, I love you and I want you to know that... I don't want to dwell on the mistakes of the past anymore. We're together now and I want us to stay together...if that's what you still want." Kate suddenly feared that maybe Alex had changed her mind about being together. What if tonight was just the blonde's way of absolving her guilt over the silence and moving on, maybe even looking up her ex-detective and reigniting their affair.

"Yes, that's exactly what I want," she said with the biggest smile ever. "I want to stay with you and have this whole life that we talked about back in Santa Fe."

Kate smiled, "That's good because I don't think I can let you go a second time. It nearly killed me to leave you the first time." Kate's voice choked up with tears as she remembered the day she had to leave Alex behind in New Mexico.

Alex couldn't help but tear up too, which made her chuckle, "Stop, you're making me cry." She leaned forward and kissed Kate softly, "We're here and nothing is going to change that, ok? All the rest of it is behind us and we have the rest of our lives to be together."

Kate kissed Alex again and smiled, "Yes we do. Will you spend the night? I want to fall asleep in your arms again, like we did before... Please stay?"

Alex nodded and kissed Kate's forehead, "You got it, baby." She pulled back the covers and got underneath with Kate. She took the brunette into her arms and rubbed her stomach gently. She leaned forward and kissed Kate's shoulder, sucking a little to leave her mark, smiling when she saw the little purple spot and whispered, "Mine..."

Kate smiled as she snuggled into Alex's arms, "Always." Kate nuzzled Alex's neck. She inhaled deeply and, underneath the smell of their mingled arousals, Kate smelled the scent she would recognize anywhere...Alex. "I love the way you smell baby."

"I love everything about you, Kate. Thank you for taking me back into your life. It was the one thing I've been praying for, for so long. If you had turned me away…I don't know how I would've gone on."

Kate cupped Alex's cheek and said, "There was never a danger of me turning you away baby. I meant what I said in New Mexico, you and I will be together for the rest of our lives. You and me, we're meant to be." Kate kissed Alex again.

Alex smiled and then yawned, "Hmm, sorry. That was completely involuntary. How about we get some sleep and in the morning, I'll cook for you after some very fun morning sex?"

Kate snuggled closer, "That sounds like a great idea baby. But I think I'll be the one cooking...maybe I'll even make you Malukuao." Kate wrapped her arms around Alex and closed her eyes.

"I've practiced…I want to show you," she said and then closed her eyes as well. "We can fight over the pans tomorrow. Good night, baby, I love you."

Kate pressed a kiss to Alex's chest, her tongue slipping out for a quick taste before she said, "Good night baby, I love you too." Kate soon fell fast asleep; happy for the first time in almost a year to be wrapped safely in the arms of the woman she loved.


Chapter Thirteen: Alex and Kate the Next Morning

The next morning, Alex quietly snuck out of bed and crept to the kitchen in Kate's robe to start cooking breakfast for her. She had memorized the recipe for Malukuao months before and she made it every once in a while as a special treat for herself. She hoped Kate wouldn't mind her searching through the kitchen for the pans and cooking utensils, but she really wanted to give Kate a nice breakfast in bed. She was able to find everything she needed with very little trouble and started the process, the aroma wafting through the apartment after just a few short minutes.

Kate slowly opened her eyes and rolled over, fully intending to wrap her arm around Alex and snuggle close to her. When she reached out and found nothing there but cold sheets, Kate feared she had dreamt the whole thing. That last night, with Alex had been a dream. Then she noticed the aroma of food wafting through the apartment and she sat up, sniffing deeply. She smiled as she identified the smell of Malukuao and she knew then that it hadn't been a dream, Alex was real.

Kate slipped out of bed and threw on a set of NYPD sweats and silently slipped out of the bedroom and into the doorway of the kitchen. She grinned as she saw Alex at the stove, wearing her black silk robe, paying close attention to the skillet in her hand. Kate felt her heart swell when she realized that Alex wasn't working from the recipe but from memory. Alex had taken the time to memorize her favorite dish and was making it for her. Kate couldn't hold back anymore and she slipped up behind the blonde, wrapping her arms around her waist and placing a kiss on her neck, "Mmmm that smells great but you taste better. Good morning baby."

Alex laughed, "Good morning, beautiful. You can always have me for dessert if you want. I'm definitely up for table sex." She turned off the stove and let the contents of the pan continue to cook with the residual heat so they wouldn't burn while she and Kate were making out. She turned in the brunette's arms and smiled, her face practically glowing as she leaned in to kiss her girlfriend.

Kate smiled as she kissed Alex, her tongue sliding into the blonde's mouth as she tightened her grip on Alex's waist. Kate pulled Alex away from the stove and deftly moved her to the counter next to it. She moved forward and pressed Alex between the counter and her body, liking the feeling of having Alex at her mercy. Kate pulled away from their kiss and began trailing her lips down the blonde's neck, closing her eyes and loving the taste and texture of Alex's neck.

Alex held onto the countertop and widened her stance to keep her balance while Kate kissed her. She chuckled, "We could always have dessert now..."

Kate slid her leg between Alex's, her thigh pushing against the blonde's center and she grinned at the gasp that escaped those perfect lips. Kate's lips trailed lower to nibble on her collarbone, pulling away for a moment to ask, "Would that be so bad?"

"No, bad is definitely not a word I'd use... amazing, definitely. Put me up on the counter, baby, I'm ready for you," Alex said, her hand loosely gripping Kate's hair.

Kate pulled back, grinning, and then she moved her hands to the robe's tie and quickly undid it. She parted the robe and smiled as she gazed once again at the woman she loved, naked before her. She took a moment to truly appreciate her and silently gave thanks for the second chance she was getting with this woman. She leaned forward and wrapped her lips around Alex's nipple, sucking and licking while her hand played with the other breast. She heard Alex moan and she reveled in the sound.

"You're going to spoil me, you know... Once I get used to this, I'm always going to want it," Alex warned. Her hands were gripping the counter harder now, her legs quivering and her chest heaving.

Kate pulled back and grinned wickedly, "Good. I hope you never stop wanting this with me. I want you to get used to this baby. I've got a year of lonely nights to make up for with you." Kate brought her lips to Alex's other breast and sucked on the nipple as she ran her hands to Alex's waist and tightened her grip. Kate pulled her lips away from Alex's breast and, using the muscles she developed in the precinct gym, lifted Alex up and placed her on the counter. Kate grinned and gently pushed Alex back until she was resting on the cabinets behind her and then began trailing her lips over Alex's torso, licking and sucking her way down the perfect body that was on display before her.

Alex leaned her head against the cabinet and looked down at Kate, watching with fascination as the brunette kissed her. It made her feel attractive and desired when she could watch Kate's fervor in action. Her center was already moist and she could feel the increased blood flow coursing to all the important places. She brought her hands up to cup her own breasts and worked them gently as Kate moved lower.

Kate caught Alex's movement from the corner of her eye and she glanced up. When she saw Alex's hands on her own breasts, it turned her on even more. Kate let out a low growl and she placed her hands on Alex's thighs, pushing them open so that she could move between the blonde's legs. Kate leaned down and without hesitation she placed her mouth on Alex's clit and sucked on it. Kate moved her hands to Alex's backside and she tugged her forward, giving herself better access to the blonde's center. Kate moved her tongue lower and slid it inside the blonde, savoring the familiar, musky flavor. Kate faintly heard the sounds Alex was making and they only served to drive her further in her quest to make her gorgeous, sexy girlfriend come in her mouth.

Alex rubbed Kate's back with the soft heel of her foot and moaned, her thighs taut from the sheer delight. She loved doing it in places other than the bedroom and she had a brief fantasy of her and Kate having sex in some public place like a bathroom at local club or in her office at work. Someplace private but just public enough that there was a chance they'd get caught. That thought caused a new burst of moisture to come from inside of the blonde.

Kate lifted her mouth and saw the mark she'd left and grinned. She raised her lips to Alex's ear and said, in a low, lust soaked voice, "Come for me baby, I want to hear you scream for me. I love it when you come with my name on your lips." Kate began to nibble on Alex's earlobe as her hand continued her thrusting, her fingers curling with each inward thrust.

Alex couldn't hold back when she felt Kate's hot breath on her ear and she let her body take over as her mind shut off. She moaned, grunted, whined, and whimpered as her orgasm hit her hard. Just at the peak of her climax, she screamed Kate's named, her knuckles turning white from gripping the counter so hard.

Kate felt Alex's orgasm rush through her and her own orgasm, though not as big, washed over her at that moment. Kate held Alex as they both came down together, Kate resting her forehead on Alex's shoulder and wrapping her free arm around Alex's waist to hold her close.

When she was able to speak again she whispered, mostly to herself though she knew Alex could hear her, "Well...that was a first."

"You came with me?" Alex asked, somewhat sure, though needing confirmation. She was still hazy, but her senses were slowly coming back to her.

Kate buried her face in Alex's neck, a little embarrassed, "Um...yeah."

"Oh my God, that's so… hot," Alex said, caressing Kate's hair. "I didn't even have to touch you..."

Kate grinned, she lifted her head just enough so her words weren't muffled and said, "That's the first time that's ever happened to me." Kate shifted and looked into Alex's eyes, letting all her emotions show, "That's what you do to me baby."

Alex touched her cheek, "I hope I always have this effect on you, baby. I love you so much." She leaned forward and kissed Kate's lips, the essence of her skin and wetness still fresh. She held onto Kate for a long time until her stomach growled and she blushed. "Hmmm, seems you gave me an appetite..."

Kate grinned, "Well then by all means let's feed you because you're going to need your energy today. I don't plan on letting you get much rest today." Kate helped Alex off the counter and she lovingly, if regretfully, closed the robe and tied the sash. "As much I hate covering up this gorgeous, tempting body, if I don't, neither of us will eat anything...or ever leave this counter," Kate smiled.

Alex laughed and hopped down. She went over to the stove and served equal portions of the Malukuao onto two plates. She swaggered over to the nook and set the plates down and then asked, "Do you want coffee or juice? Or milk?"

Kate smiled at Alex's attentiveness and said, "Juice please." She'd save the coffee for later.

Alex went over to the refrigerator and found the orange juice. She took two glasses from the cupboard and topped off both of them and returned to the nook. She sat down and waited to start eating until Kate was seated. "I hope you like it."

"I'm sure I will...provided you read the recipe right," Kate teased her, wondering just how long it had taken Alex to memorize the recipe. Kate picked up her fork and scooped up some of the food, putting it in her mouth to taste it.

Alex watched Kate with anticipation. She had her fingers crossed that the brunette would approve.

Kate swallowed and smiled at Alex, she knew the blonde was waiting for the verdict and while a part of her wanted to draw it out and tease her, she wasn't that mean so she just said, "This is very good, I'm impressed Alex."

Alex grinned like an accomplished child. "Really? I know it's not as good as yours, but I practiced for months to get it just right. It's how I memorized the recipe."

Kate smiled at Alex's child-like glee. "I'm...glad that you memorized this recipe. It means a lot to me that you made the effort to learn it." Kate felt her eyes get misty. Alex was the first person she'd ever given the recipe to and to see that she'd taken the time to learn how to make it made her love the blonde even more.

"Well, I knew I wanted to cook it for you someday. I'm not a very good cook, but I worked at it until I knew I could make you proud. You're my girl, Kate. I love you."

Kate grinned, "I like the sound of that...being your girl." Kate reached out and grabbed Alex's hand, running her thumb over her knuckles.

Alex looked at her and noticed a small tan line on her left ring finger. "You still wear the ring I gave you?"

Kate blushed, "Yeah I do, but not when I'm working. It's far too precious to me to wear it to crime scenes, so I wear it at night. When I go to bed I slip it on and it helps me imagine that you're next to me."

"You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that you've continued to wear it all this time. Someday, I hope to see you wearing a beautiful wedding band on that finger."

Kate's breath caught in her throat. She had an image of standing with Alex in front of a judge and vowing to spend the rest of her life with this wonderful woman and she liked the thought of it. "Yeah? I'd love that, as long I get to pick out a ring for you to wear. I'm sure you remember how much I love to stake my claim on you."

"Yes, I remember. I would wear it proudly every day." She continued eating her breakfast, sipping her juice between bites.

Kate went back to her breakfast, her hand still holding onto Alex's. She loved the feel of their hands entwined.

Kate finished her breakfast and noticed Alex was also done with her food. She picked up both plates and rinsed them off before placing them in her dishwasher. She turned and smiled at Alex and held out her hand, "Come with me?"

"Where?" Alex asked, taking Kate's hand.

Kate tugged Alex out of her chair and pulled her into the living room. She stood with Alex next to the couch and smiled, "I thought we could watch a movie and snuggle on the couch, I want to hold you in my arms like I used to...please?" Kate turned on the puppy dog eyes and even pouted a little bit.

Alex grinned, "Oh, ok…but can I ask a favor first?"

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex's waist, "Name it."

"Can I borrow some PJs? I love your robe, but I'd like to wear something warmer for cuddling," she said, wrapping her arms around Kate and kissing her on the nose.

Kate grinned, "I know just the thing, wait right here ok?" Kate quickly crossed the room and entered her bedroom. She went to her closet and, after moving a few things around, she found the package she was looking for. She took it out of her closet and looked at it, praying that Alex would like it.

Kate went back to the living room and saw Alex standing right where she left her and she grinned. Kate walked up to Alex and held out the brightly wrapped package. "This is for you. I--I bought it for you for Christmas and I would've shipped it to you, but by then I was...well, I was mad at you so I put it in the back of my closet and tried to forget about it. I hope you like it." Kate bit her lip as Alex took the package in her hands.

Alex sat down and tore off the wrapping before lifting the lid and peered inside. It was a pair of ocean blue silk pajamas. She smiled and took them out of the box, "They're beautiful, Kate, thank you!"

Kate let out a breath she was holding. "I'm glad you like them...I got them because they reminded me of your eyes." Kate smiled, "Will you wear them? Are they ok for snuggling?"

"They're perfect," Alex said and kissed Kate on the lips. "I'm just going to go into your room to change, ok?" She stood up and crossed the room to the hall that led to the bedroom. She took off the robe and slipped on the pajamas, her body warming up again after cooling off during breakfast. She realized that her feet were still cold and called out to Kate, "Honey, can I borrow some socks?"

Kate smiled and called out, "Yeah they're in the top drawer baby. Help yourself." Kate went back to what she was doing. She crossed to the linen closet and got out a throw blanket and pillow and then went back to the couch and placed the pillow in the corner so that she could protect her back when she was holding Alex. She placed the blanket over the back of the couch, ready for her to pull it over them, and then smiled at her handiwork. She sat down and waited for Alex to rejoin her.

Alex opened the top drawer of Kate's dresser and was about to take out a pair of socks when she found something very interesting. After a quick study, she lifted it out of the drawer and with socks in hand returned to the living room.

"Kate, what is this?" she asked, holding up what appeared to be an advanced copy of Castle's Heat Wave.

Kate turned around to see what Alex was asking about and paled a little when she saw the book in her hand. She knew then she'd have to come clean about Nikki Heat...because how else would she explain why she had an advanced promotional copy of Heat Wave? Kate cleared her throat and said, "Um...I can explain..."

"I read the dedication…how close are you with Rick Castle?"

Kate frowned, "What does that mean?" Kate had a bad thought, "Are you asking me if...if something happened with Castle?"

"You were his inspiration, he said so right here," she said, opening the book to the hand written dedication. "What does he mean by that?"

Kate wondered how much to explain, but then she realized that if she didn't tell the whole truth, it would cause more problems down the road. She took a breath and said, "Um, you might want to sit down, it's a bit of a long story."

Alex walked over to the couch and sat down. She set the book on the coffee table and looked at Kate. She had no idea if Castle's dedication was innocuous or if there was something sinister behind it, but she opted to hold judgment until Kate explained.

Kate took a breath and began, "Back in March, there was a copycat killer posing his victims to resemble scenes from Castle's books. We brought Castle in for questioning and he was able to provide some information to help our case, but mostly he was just a pain in the neck. In any case, we caught the killer and I thought that was the end of it until my captain called me into his office and told me that Castle loved tagging along during the investigation so much that he got the mayor to put pressure on the captain and...I had to let him tag along indefinitely for...research." Kate paused as she took a deep breath and revealed the most embarrassing part. "He um...he had decided to create a new character, a cop, based on me...that's how Nikki Heat came to exist. I didn't ask for this, I fought it, but obviously I lost that battle." Kate turned away from Alex, not wanting to see her reaction in case it wasn't good.

"So you're…Nikki Heat?" Alex asked in disbelief. She wanted to laugh at herself for assuming Castle meant anything more by inspiration and she did. It started slow and then built up until she had tears in her eyes.

When Kate heard Alex laughing, she assumed that she was laughing at her and she couldn't take it...she'd listened to all the cops' snide remarks and jokes about Nikki Heat and it bothered her but it didn't usually faze her. This, however, Alex laughing at her because of Nikki Heat, was too much so she turned and ran from the room. She ran to her bedroom and closed the door behind her, flinging herself on the bed and burying her face in the pillow to cry.

Alex quickly sobered and ran after Kate. "Honey? Babe, what's wrong?" She knocked on the door, not wanting to just barge in, and waited for a response.

Kate couldn't answer her, she was crying at the thought of being laughed at by Alex.

Alex opened the door slowly and peeked in. She was heartbroken when she saw how destroyed Kate was. "Kate, sweetie, what's wrong? What did I do?" She walked over to the bed and sat down, "Honey, please, talk to me." She put her hand on Kate's back to comfort her.

Kate stiffened at the feel of Alex's hand on her back, but she soon relaxed into the touch; her body couldn't help but respond to Alex. Kate brought a hand up and wiped the tears off her cheek, eventually calming herself enough to say to Alex, her voice still rough from the tears, "Why...why did you laugh at me?"

Alex looked confused, "I wasn't laughing at you, babe. I was laughing at myself for acting like such an idiot. I should've known there wasn't anything romantic between you and Castle, but for a moment I let myself go there and I'm sorry. I love you and you love me, that's the reality." She tickled Kate's back slowly, "Please don't cry, ok? I hate seeing you like that."

Kate took a moment to think about that, "Wait...you thought that there was something romantic going on between me and Castle?" Kate couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You seriously thought that I could be with anyone else after our time together? Much less a man?" Kate felt a hand squeeze her heart at the thought.

"I know. It was stupid. I just got jealous at the thought of you being with anyone else and when I read what he wrote…baby, I was irrational and stupid and I'll never let it happen again, ok?"

Kate took a breath, "Castle is a friend and he's almost a partner of sorts. He's been fairly helpful in solving the crimes and offering a new perspective and he makes my job a little more fun. But there's nothing romantic between us...despite how much he might want there to be. You are the one I love, the only one I ever want to be with, ever."

"I know. Like I said, it was stupid. I guess I'm just scared to ever lose you… I love you so much, Kate. Please, can we forget this and go cuddle?"

Kate smiled, "Yeah, I'd like that."

Alex took her hand and led her back to the living room. She let Kate get settled on the couch and then joined her, stretching out in the brunette's arms. She felt whole again and she reminded herself that she'd never let something so stupid cause her to behave that way ever again.

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex and kissed her neck before she said, "By the way, you are never allowed to tease me about the whole Nikki Heat thing, deal?" Kate tolerated it at work, but she didn't want to have to deal with it at home with Alex.

"Tease you? Baby, I think it's amazingly hot that you're the basis of that character. It means you're great at what you do, otherwise, he never would've picked you," she said, placing her arm over Kate's.

Kate chuckled, "No, it's not amazing honey. Ever since the character's name was leaked, I've had to put up with so much grief...especially after the cover art for the book was plastered all over that Cosmo issue." Kate sighed because she hated that article. But then she remembered something, "Wait, you think it's hot?" Kate thought about that for a moment, "I think I can live with that...just please don't ever call me Nikki ok?"

"Promise. Though, maybe one day, if you're ever comfortable and in the mood, you could play Nikki and I could be a perp…and we could have a little role-play followed by amazing sex. It would be a nice way of owning it."

Kate blushed and kept quiet...with the exception of the whole Nikki Heat angle, Alex had just described one of the fantasies she'd indulged in during their separation.

Kate lowered her mouth to kiss Alex's neck when her cell phone began to ring. Kate sighed as she reached back and picked it up off the end table behind her. "I'm so sorry babe I have to take this, it's about the case I'm working on."

Alex nodded. She knew all too well how these things went. She lay there quietly while Kate talked to whoever had called.

Kate spent a few minutes talking to Esposito about the case and she managed to delegate everything so she wouldn't have to go in to work. She hung up after a few minutes and put the phone back on the end table before returning her arm to its previous resting spot just under Alex's breasts. "Sorry about that, but it couldn't be helped." Kate began kissing Alex's neck in a silent plea for forgiveness. She'd had more than one ex-girlfriend who couldn't deal with her unpredictable schedule.

"You don't have to explain anything to me, babe. I know how it is in law enforcement. Calls can come in any time." She cuddled closer to Kate and smiled, "I'm glad you don't have to go in today. I want as much time with you as possible this weekend."

Kate smiled as she tightened her arms around Alex, "Well...there's plenty of food in the fridge and as long as nothing really important comes up with this case, I have nowhere else to be but right here with you." Kate buried her face in Alex's neck, inhaling the sweet scent of her lover.

Alex sighed happily and reached back to rub Kate's thigh. "Do you want to watch a movie, baby?"

Kate closed her eyes, "Will it involve moving away from you? Because I don't really want to let you go right now." Kate tightened her hold on the blonde.

Alex chuckled, "I could always see what's on TV. The remote is on the coffee table and I can reach that from here." She reached out and picked up the remote, "See?"

Kate smiled, "That works for me as long as I can keep holding you." Kate needed to keep Alex close right then, the misunderstanding and anger from the earlier incident over Nikki Heat was only starting to lessen. "And for the record baby, you never have to worry about losing me. You're stuck with me now."

Alex caressed Kate's hand, "Is that a promise?"

Kate smiled as she lifted her hand and showed Alex her ring finger. The ring she'd given her was resting in its proper place. Kate had slipped it on while Alex was getting changed because she wanted Alex to see her wearing it. "What does this tell you baby?"

Alex grinned and kissed Kate's ringed finger. "It tells me that you're mine and nothing is going to change that." Then she let out a sigh, "I really am sorry about earlier, baby. I never meant to hurt you by being so stupid."

Kate smiled, "It's ok baby. I can see how what Castle wrote in the promo copy could be misconstrued as something more. I'm sorry that I over reacted, I don't normally cry like that."

"It's ok, we all get emotional, especially when we really care." She fell silent for a bit and then said, "I met my cousin's little boy last night before the party..."

Kate grinned at the change of subject, she was thankful for it so she would stop worrying about what had happened earlier. She kissed Alex's neck and said, "Yeah? How old is he?"

"He's four. His name's Kevin and I think he has a bit of a crush on me," she said with a chuckle.

Kate also chuckled at that. "Oh really? Should I be worried?" Kate teased as she tightened her grip on Alex's waist.

"About the crush? No, nothing to be worried about there…" she said, but there was obviously more she wasn't saying.

"I am starting to know that tone. What aren't you telling me?" Kate said, knowing there was more that Alex wasn't saying.

Alex sighed, "I don't want to freak you out."

Kate used one of her hands to gently tilt Alex's face so that she could look into her eyes, "Baby, I am not going to freak out. Please, just talk to me." Kate leaned forward and kissed Alex in an effort to reassure her girlfriend that she wasn't going anywhere.

Alex bit her lip, "Spending time with him made me start thinking about kids…" She watched Kate carefully, waiting for her to react.

Kate looked at Alex and her expression remained neutral as she asked, "Yeah? What, specifically, about kids?" Kate needed to know Alex's opinion on kids before she revealed her own.

"Well, that I'd like to have them…with you…someday?" Alex said, though it came out as more of a question. She wasn't usually this flustered, but she didn't want scare Kate with such serious talk.

Kate slowly smiled, "You...you want to have a child, with me? You want us to have a kid?" Kate silently wondered what she'd done right in her past that granted her this moment. She was in love with a woman who wanted children, just like Kate did.

Alex nodded and visibly relaxed when she saw that Kate was smiling. "Yes. Last night when I had Kevin in my lap, all I could think of was how great it would be if it were our child. A little boy or girl running around, laughing, exploring the world…a little Beckett…"

"That sounds really nice...wait...did you say a little Beckett? " Kate asked, wondering if Alex had misspoken. She felt a jolt of excitement at the thought of Alex and their child both taking her name, but she needed to know Alex hadn't made a mistake.

"Yeah. You don't mind, do you? I want to take your last name, so it would also be our baby's last name…"

Kate was overcome with emotion and in a swift move she flipped them over on the couch and swooped down to kiss Alex. She slipped her tongue into the blonde's mouth and savored the contact for a few moments before reluctantly pulling away. She smiled almost wolfishly and said, "I would love that so much. I would love to have a child with you baby." Kate leaned down and began kissing Alex's neck.

Alex grinned, "I can't believe we're both on the same page. God, it feels so good." She felt like their whole future had just opened up and it made her happy that Kate wanted this as much as she did.

Kate lifted her head and looked at Alex, "I want a life with you, a whole life with kids and maybe even a dog, but mostly, I want to spend every day making sure you never have any reason to doubt how much I love you." Kate went back to kissing Alex's neck.

After a few minutes, Alex took Kate's hand and started guiding it lower. She was moaning softly with her eyes closed. It was warm in the room, but Alex felt hot from Kate's touch.

Kate smiled against Alex's skin when she felt her hand being moved lower. She knew what Alex wanted and she was more than willing to oblige. Kate began moving her lips lower on Alex's torso and when she reached the edge of the silk pajama top she raised her head. She admired how sexy Alex look beneath her and whispered, "I know you just put this on but it's coming off...now, ok baby?" Kate moved her other hand to one of the buttons on the top and hovered, waiting for Alex to give her permission.

"Yes, baby. Please," she said softly, her voice husky. She needed to feel Kate again. It was like she had to make up for all those lonely nights and she wanted to get a jump-start on it. Besides, once Monday came around, she'd be back at work and morning sex would become very rare.

Kate grinned wolfishly and used both hands to quickly remove both the top and the silk pants so that Alex was naked beneath her. Kate sat up and kneeled above the blonde before running both hands down Alex's body, from her shoulders, over her breasts down to her hips and further to her thighs. She loved how soft Alex's skin was. Kate brought her hands back up and cupped Alex's breasts.

She looked into the blonde's eyes and said, "I love you Alexandra Cabot. You're mine once again and I am never going to let you go. We're going to have a life together, I want us to have a family together." Kate glanced down at the breasts in her hands, the nipples had hardened and she could smell the musk of Alex's arousal. She lowered one of her hands to Alex's center and she ran her fingers through the wetness she found there. She lifted her hand to her lips and licked them clean, loving the flavor. "Mmmm...yummy."

Alex chuckled and turned pink, "You like making me blush, don't you?"

Kate chuckled, "That is a nice bonus, but no baby, I love the way you taste, I love that I have this effect on you, that I can make you wet like this." Kate lowered her hand again and repeated the action of licking her fingers clean. She looked Alex in the eyes and saw them darkening to that shade of blue she loved so much. She lowered herself down and took a nipple into her mouth.

Alex gasped, the warmth of Kate's mouth causing her nipple to harden even more. She pressed herself against Kate's thigh and started to rock slowly, her clit desperate for contact.

Kate loved the sounds Alex made when she was aroused, she loved feeling Alex rock against her. Kate moved her mouth to the other breast while her hand slid lower on her body. When her fingers reached Alex's center she could feel the heat emanating from it and she grinned. She loved making Alex react this way. Kate slid her fingers around Alex's clit and squeezed gently, teasingly.

Alex bit her lip and groaned, her hips bucking against Kate's hand. She somehow got her wits about her and moved her hand between Kate's legs, rubbing the brunette with the palm of her hand so that Kate could feel as good as she did.

At Alex's touch, Kate lost her focus for a minute. She lifted her head and closed her eyes as she pressed against Alex's hand, moaning at the increased contact before whispering, "Oh yeah baby...I like that, don't stop." Kate lowered her head and began kissing and licking Alex's skin, slowly moving lower on her body. Kate's hand increased the pressure on Alex's clit and she felt a fresh rush of fluid in response.

Alex liked pleasuring Kate at the same time that she was being pleasured. It made her feel like she was on fire and it kept her juices flowing. She slipped a finger inside of Kate's core and pressed harder with the heel of her hand on the brunette's clit, trying to match Kate's movements.

Kate rocked her hips in time to Alex's movements as she slipped two fingers inside Alex's soaking pussy. She moved up her body and began to suck on Alex's neck, her orgasm rising. She knew Alex was close too, so she kept up her rhythm as she marked Alex's beautiful neck, letting anyone who might see it that Alex was taken.

Alex worked her fingers fervently and when she felt Kate giving over, she let go herself, coming hard with a long, deep moan. She subconsciously kept her fingers moving inside of Kate until the brunette stopped pulsing.

Kate rode out her orgasm and lowered her head to Alex's shoulder. She fought to catch her breath and smiled when she heard Alex was similarly struggling. Kate slowly slid her hand out of her lover's depths and brought it up to her lips. She lifted her head and licked her fingers clean before smiling at Alex, "Mmm...I never get tired of that flavor. I love you baby." Kate kissed Alex, letting her lover taste herself on her tongue.

Alex kissed Kate, but kept her hand firmly between the brunette's legs, continuing to rub her gently, not wanting it to hurt but rather work her back up. She wanted her to come again and she had a plan of how she wanted to make it happen.

Kate dimly registered that Alex's hand was still moving inside her. She continued to kiss Alex, letting herself go and simply responding to the moment.

Alex licked and sucked on Kate's tongue, her free hand cupping one of Kate's breasts while her other hand continued teasing and stroking. She wanted to make Kate come with her tongue, but this was a good warm up.

Kate moaned into their kiss, loving the feel of Alex's hands on her body. She had missed this and for almost a year this was all she craved, to have Alex beneath her, naked and willing. Kate began to rock her hips against Alex's hand feeling the pressure building again. "Baby, stop teasing, I need you," she breathed out, panting.

Alex looked up at her, "Kneel over me." She grinned mischievously and wagged her eyebrows. "I want to make you come with my tongue."

Kate felt a jolt go through her when Alex's request registered and she grinned, "As you wish baby." She kissed Alex one last time before she shifted above her and settled her knees on either side of Alex's head. The blonde had scooted down on the sofa, so she was lying flat on her back and Kate looked down at her, getting even more aroused by the sight.

She gripped the back of the couch with one hand while the other hand rested on the arm of the couch. "Make me yours Alex, please." Kate slowly lowered herself onto Alex's waiting mouth.

Alex stuck out her tongue and started lapping at Kate's clit, tickling it with the tip and then engulfing it by curling her tongue to surround it. She reached around to grip Kate's ass and squeezed.

Kate's back arched at the contact and her eyes closed against her will. She felt herself losing control and she welcomed it. She began moaning, unable to stop herself, and rocked her hips against Alex's tongue, craving deeper contact. "Oh yeah baby, don't stop."

Alex pulled Kate closer and slipped her tongue inside of her, enjoying the warmth and tightness. She thrust as hard as she could, wanting to push Kate over again.

Kate felt her orgasm crest and she gripped the couch, her knuckles turning white from the sheer force of it. For a moment, she honestly thought she was going to fly apart, but soon her body relaxed and she came back to her senses. When she could move again she slithered down until she was lying on top of Alex. Kate buried her face into Alex's neck as she struggled to control her breathing.

Alex tickled Kate's back and kissed her temple, "I love you so much. You're amazing."

Kate lifted her head and looked at Alex, smiling. "You're amazing baby, that was..." Kate couldn't find the words to describe what that was so she shook her head and snuggled deeper into Alex's neck, her tongue slipping out to licked Alex's neck. She savored the salty tang of sweat on her tongue.

Alex was idly enjoying Kate's attentions when she gathered the courage to tell Kate what was on her mind. "Honey, you know what I was thinking? I thought that maybe someday, if we have a girl, we could name her after your mother and mine. What would you think about that?"

Kate froze for a moment when she heard Alex's words. She lifted her head and looked at Alex, "You...you want to...to name our future daughter after our mothers?" Kate had secretly wanted to have a daughter she could name after her mother ever since her mother was murdered, but she had slowly let go of that dream the further she got into her career as a cop, not to mention her many failed relationships. But here was Alex, the woman she loved, telling her she wanted to honor both their mothers by naming a daughter after them. Kate felt tears in her eyes.

Alex felt Kate stiffen and she rubbed her girlfriend's back, "Baby, did I say something wrong? We don't have to do it if you don't want to…I just thought you might, but if you don't, we'll pick something else."

Kate leaned closer and kissed Alex. She savored the contact for a few moments and then pulled back to say, "No baby, you didn't say anything wrong. I would be thrilled to have a daughter with you that we name after our mothers. I think it's a great idea."

Alex grinned, "Really? I just kept thinking that it would be a great way to honor them. Um, I never told you my mom's name. It was Elisabeth, but she used to go by Betty. My uncle always called her Bets." She chuckled, thinking about her mom.

Kate sat up and brought Alex with her, then she shifted until she was once again lying back on the couch with Alex in her arms. They were naked, so she pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and covered them up. She wrapped her arms around Alex's waist and she asked, "Will you tell me about your mom?"

Alex smiled, "Sure. Um, what do you want to know?"

Kate smiled, "Anything, everything. Whatever you feel comfortable telling me." Kate tightened her grip on her girlfriend, sensing this would be a difficult topic.

Alex smiled, a bit melancholy when she thought back on the memories of her mom. "Well, she was the baby. Her parents had my Uncle Bill and she was born a few years later. They grew up in Amherst and she stayed until she graduated from high school… she and my dad met during college. She was a psychology major and he was in business. They got married after graduation and I was born two years later. We moved into the city when I was five and she didn't decide to move back to her old home upstate until after my dad died..."

Kate heard the sad tone in Alex's voice and she began gently rubbing Alex's stomach. "How old were you when your dad died?"

"I was 24. I was away at law school when she called me to tell me that he'd had a heart attack. He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital," she said, her voice somber.

Kate felt tears in her eyes, "Oh baby, I'm so sorry."

"It's ok. It was just one of those things, you know? I loved him very much and he loved me and I wish he could've been in my life longer, but he taught me so many things and I'll always be grateful for that." She took a breath and then continued, "After I passed the bar, I started with the DA's office and worked my way up…my mom was proud, but she always wanted me to find someone so that I wouldn't be lonely. She knew I could take care of myself, but it was me being alone in the city that worried her."

Kate thought about that for a moment. "Did um...did your mom ever meet your...detective from before?" It killed Kate to have to bring up Alex's ex but this was something she needed to know.

Alex was silent for a moment. "Um, yeah, she did. I came out to her after O— after she and I started dating..."

Kate nodded, silently working up the courage to continue this line of questioning. "And um...did she...did she like her?"

"Yeah, they got along," she said with a nod. "They only saw each other a few times."

"Oh..." Kate turned and looked down at the coffee table while she absently toyed with the ring on her finger...the ring Alex had given her. "Do you...I mean...um...well..." Kate faltered a bit but then took a breath and asked, "Would she have liked me? Do you think?"

Alex took Kate's hand and looked straight into her eyes, "She would've loved you, Kate. You're a wonderful woman and you make me happy. You're intelligent, beautiful, funny, kind… I can't imagine a reason why she wouldn't like you."

Kate smiled as she let out a breath she'd been holding. "Do you really think so?"

"I know it. The only thing my mom wanted was my happiness and you make me insanely happy. The fact that you want kids would be like the icing on the top of her cake. I know it's hard wondering about my ex, but I really don't want you to feel like you have to compete with her. That part of my life is over and I'm with you now."

Kate sighed, "I can't help it though. I'm sorry but...I love you so much and I can't help but be worried that she'll come back into your life and steal you away from me. I mean, you had a life with her, you loved her enough to let her meet your mom and...I'm just scared Alex." Kate began to tear up a little at the thought of losing Alex to some faceless ex.

"Honey, if my mom was still alive, I would take you to meet her immediately. I didn't take my ex to meet her for six months. I'd take you right now… Honestly, there's no reason for you to feel intimidated."

Kate leaned closer and kissed Alex. "You would? That's good to know. But it doesn't mean I'm not going to be intimidated by the thought of her swooping back into your life and taking you away from me. I mean, I love you so much, I don't think I'd survive losing you a second time. I barely survived it the first time when I had to leave you behind in New Mexico."

"I know…but I'm not going anywhere. I want to have everything with you, Kate. I want to get married, have a baby, get a place for the three of us…"

"I want that too. I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Kate made a decision in that moment and she smiled at Alex and said, "And if your ex tries to come between us...I will fight for you. And I don't fight fair." Kate leaned closer and kissed Alex.

Alex kissed her back and then smiled, "That's good to know." Then she yawned and cuddled closer, "I'm sleepy after all that amazing sex. What do you say we take a nice nap and then call for take-out?"

Kate smiled and tightened her grip on Alex, "That sounds like a great idea." Kate nuzzled Alex's neck as she rubbed Alex's stomach.

Alex yawned again, but before she fell asleep, she imagined Kate giving her a tummy rub while she was pregnant with their baby and it made her so happy.

Kate watched as Alex fell asleep in her arms and she smiled, thinking Alex looked so angelic when she slept. Before Kate closed her eyes, she pictured a cherubic baby with Alex's blue eyes smiling up at her from the blonde's arms. Kate fell asleep with a smile on her face.


Chapter Fourteen: First Day at Work

Early on Monday morning, Alex woke up about 7:00. She'd set the alarm the night before to make sure that she'd be up on time to make it to her new job by 8:30. She got ready, taking a shower and putting all the final touches on her hair and makeup before getting dressed in a black Armani suit. It was just like the old days again, only this time she had much more hope for her future. She left the hotel just in time to meet the car she had waiting downstairs and instructed the driver to take her to the 12th precinct.

Monday morning, Kate walked into the precinct in an irritated mood. She understood that Alex had wanted to spend the night at her hotel so she wouldn't be late for her first day back at the DA's office, but she hated that it meant she had to spend the night alone.

Kate hadn't been able to sleep very well and she'd had a cup of coffee at home before she even made it into work. When that didn't prove to be enough, she stopped at her favorite coffee shop for a cup of the 'red-eye' coffee she usually got when she had to pull an all-nighter. Without it, she knew she wouldn't make it to noon. Kate walked into the squad room and the first thing she saw was Castle standing by her desk.

Despite the fact that she knew she shouldn't, Kate let her bad mood take over and said, in an annoyed tone, "What are you doing here Castle? Don't you have bigger, more lucrative fish to fry?"

Kate was still a little ticked that he had insulted the character he'd based on her. Especially now that she knew that Alex thought it was hot that the character was based on the detective.

Castle looked up at Beckett and said, "Actually I just left my sunglasses here yesterday."

"Yeah, right," Kate said. She knew the way Castle functioned. He'd often use something innocuous to worm his way into her day and this time she wasn't letting him get away with it. Unfortunately for her, he was telling the truth and he held up the glasses as proof.

She sucked it up and figured that since he was there collecting his possessions, she might as well tell him to take the little Russian nesting dolls he'd given to her with him as well. "While you're at it, don't forget those," she said as she pointed to the dolls on her desk and then she walked away, clearly still upset.

She walked up to Ryan and Esposito and they filled her in what they'd learned over the weekend about their victim. While they were discussing, Detective Karpowski interrupted them to let them know that the victim's Super was on the phone inquiring about the apartment.

Kate thought nothing of the information but Castle found it odd that the apartment was paid up to Friday when the victim was killed last Thursday. He mentioned it to Becket and soon they were off to talk to the building Super who ended up telling them that someone had slipped the rent under his door the Friday after the victim was killed. He also revealed that someone was picking up her mail.

Beckett decided to sit in her car with Castle and wait for the mystery woman to show up for the mail. She had a hunch that it was Talbot's wife who was there to collect the threatening letter she'd mailed to the victim. As they sat in the car talking Kate could feel her bad mood slipping away.

Alex walked into the precinct and was instantly met with several pairs of staring eyes. She resisted her urge to jump under one of the desks and hide and instead walked with her head held high to Captain Montgomery's office. She knocked on the door and waited for him to open it.

Captain Roy Montgomery was at his desk going over the usual paperwork when there was a knock on his door. Since his detectives usually just walked in, he knew this must be someone else so he looked up and said, "Come in."

Alex opened the door and smiled, "Hi, Captain Montgomery, I'm Alexandra Cabot, your new ADA?" She walked in after shutting the door and reached out her hand to shake his. She knew basically nothing about the man, but she hoped for the best.

Captain Montgomery stood up when the lovely blonde entered the room and he smiled as he shook her hand, "Hello Ms. Cabot. I was told you would be starting today. Welcome to the homicide division of the 12th Precinct."

"Thank you," she said with a polite smile. "I've never worked with Homicide before. I'm sure it's going to be quite an experience."

He smiled as he thought about Castle's involvement in their cases, "Oh yeah, it'll be...interesting. I'm sure you'll fit right in. Come on, I'll introduce you to the squad." Montgomery led Alex out of his office and into the bullpen. Ryan and Esposito were at their desks doing paperwork. "Ok guys, listen up. This is Alexandra Cabot, she's our new ADA. Ms. Cabot these are Detectives Ryan and Esposito."

She smiled and extended her hand, first to Ryan because he was closer, then to Esposito. "It's nice to meet you both."

Ryan stood up and shook her hand, a little mesmerized by her blue eyes. He shook it off after a couple of moments and welcomed her to Homicide.

Esposito was a little less mesmerized but still took a second longer than he maybe should have to shake her hand.

Montgomery looked around then asked the guys, "Hey, where's Beckett?"

The guys looked at each other then Esposito said, "They went to talk to the Super of Sokol's building. Should be back in a bit."

Alex looked back at the Captain, "So we're waiting on one more?"

Montgomery smirked and winked at the guys, "Um, one more detective yeah, and one surprise tag along." He wanted to see Ms. Cabot's reaction first hand when she found out Rick Castle was part of the team, so to speak.

She raised an eyebrow, "Should I be concerned about this surprise?" Alex wasn't particularly fond of surprises, especially when it came to work.

Montgomery just smiled, "Concern isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Don't worry Ms. Cabot, it's not bad."

The guys chuckled then went back to their paper work. Suddenly Esposito's phone rang and he answered it, talking to the person on the other end briefly before hanging up. He turned to Montgomery, "That was them, they're on their way back with a suspect. ETA's about ten minutes."

Montgomery nodded and then turned to Alex, "Do you have some time to wait around?"

Alex looked at her watch and nodded, "Um, sure. I don't have to be back at my office until 11:30."

Montgomery smiled, "Good, you're welcome to wait in the lounge. We have an espresso machine if you want a coffee. If you'll excuse me though I have to finish some paperwork. Ryan?"

Ryan stood up and led the blonde into the lounge and showed her the machine. He smiled, "So, um, where did you work before you transferred here?"

"I was with Special Victims over at the 16th, but that was several years ago," she said as she got a cup and placed it under the spout. She pressed a button and the machine whirred to life.

Ryan was impressed, "Special Victims? That's, um, rape victims right?" He shook his head, "Live victims? That's gotta be tough."

"Uh, yeah, it's…a challenge. But it really made me appreciate the little things in life and I'll always be grateful for that."

Ryan nodded but before he could say anything the elevator opened and he glanced over to see who was stepping off. It was Beckett and Castle with a blonde and he smiled. "There they are."

Alex turned and nearly dropped her coffee to the floor when she saw Kate, her Kate walking across the room.

Ryan turned to the blonde and noticed her reaction. He was curious to know why she looked as white as a sheet, so he asked, "Are you ok Ms. Cabot? You look like you've seen a ghost." Ryan, clearly concern, stepped closer.

Before Alex could reply to Ryan, she saw Richard Castle and nearly fainted. This, this was Captain Montgomery's surprise?! She set her coffee down before she burned herself and shut her eyes. Maybe it was all a dream. That's it, she was still asleep in her hotel room and this was some bizarre dream borne of eating Chinese food after nine combined with her jitters over her new job.

Ryan was really starting to get really worried, but before he could do anything, Esposito stuck his head in and said, "Hey, Ryan, Cap wants Miss Cabot to observe the interrogation." Esposito walked up to Alex and noticed she looked a little pale. "Um Miss Cabot, are you ok?" Esposito looked to Ryan, who shrugged, and then turned back to the blonde.

"I'm fine…just having a small hallucination, but I'll be fine in just a minute." She took a breath and opened her eyes and when she didn't see either Kate or Castle any more, she sighed, "Better."

Esposito decided not to push it and said, "Ok well, the Captain wants to know if you want to observe the interrogation, just to ease your way into Homicide."

"Sure, just show me where I need to go," she said with a smile.

Esposito led Alex out of the lounge and across the bullpen, but before they could make it halfway across, Rick Castle and Kate Beckett stepped out of the interrogation room and headed their way. Kate had to tell her Captain that they needed a warrant for the victim's mail and Castle just needed another cup of coffee.

Kate and Castle stopped in their tracks when they noticed Esposito with a blonde and Kate was stunned to see that it was Alex standing there. Suddenly she couldn't move. Castle, on the other hand, didn't have any problem when he recognized the blonde as the same woman from his party.

He smiled as he approached the blonde, "Well hello there, I see you've found me...Alex. How are you?" It was easy for Rick to remember her name because it was so similar to his daughter's name, Alexis. He smiled charmingly and extended his hand.

Alex realized this was really happening and took a breath. She reached out her hand and shook his, "Hello Mr. Castle, it's nice to see you again… Though to be honest, I wasn't expecting to see you here of all places."

Rick just grinned, "Yes I'm helping out the NYPD, you know providing a new insight based on my years of experience with researching for my books." Castle remembered that Beckett was next to him and he smiled, "Alex, this is Detective Beckett, she was the inspiration for Nikki Heat." Castle presented Kate to the blonde, hoping to impress the other woman with his connection to the NYPD in addition to mentioning his latest best seller.

Kate stood there watching Castle hit on Alex and she felt the familiar jealousy bubble to the surface, especially when she saw Alex's hand touching Castle's. She forced herself to pretend like nothing was amiss and said, "Nice to meet you." Then she turned to Castle, "Castle, for god's sake stop bringing up Nikki Heat, it's not cute."

Alex looked at Kate and followed her lead, "Nice to meet you too, Detective Beckett." She was still trying to digest everything that was happening. Honestly, she couldn't believe the odds.

Kate smiled at Alex and asked, "Um, what brings you here?"

"I'm your new ADA. I'm going to be prosecuting your cases from now on," she said, keeping a neutral face so she wouldn't tip anyone off.

Kate had an idea and turned to Castle, "Hey Castle, can you fill the Captain and the guys in on Nurse Do-Right while I talk to...Alex...about a warrant?" Then she turned to Alex, "Can I talk to you in private please?" Kate watched as Castle took the hint and led Esposito and Ryan, who had come out of the lounge, into the Captain's office to tell them about the nurse and the mail.

Once the guys were in the Captain's office, Kate led Alex to the observation room and locked the door behind them. She turned to Alex, "So, this is your new job?"

"Yeah, the DA gave me a choice and I picked Homicide. I had no idea that you'd be here."

Kate looked at Alex for a moment before she glanced around and noticed no one could see them from the outside. Kate stepped closer to Alex, slipped her arms around her waist, and kissed her, quickly but firmly, before she pulled away. Kate smiled at Alex, "I missed you last night."

"I missed you too, babe. I had a hard time falling asleep without you, but I didn't have my stuff and I hated to wake you early just so I could go back to the hotel and get ready. Forgive me?" she asked with a pout.

Kate smiled and kissed her again, "Yeah I forgive you...as long as you spend tonight with me. Bring some clothes for tomorrow ok?" She took a breath and then asked, "So, we're going to be working together huh?"

"I promise. I'll go home and pack some stuff before I go over." Then she nodded, "Yeah. Um, how do you think we should handle this? I mean, do you want us to continue pretending like this is the first time we've ever met?"

Kate thought about that for a moment. She didn't want Alex to think she was ashamed of her or that she wanted to hide their relationship, but she also didn't want Alex to start her new job as 'Kate's girlfriend'. "Um...I don't know, I mean, I love you and I don't want you to think that I don't want them to know about us, but you just started here and I don't want them to judge you as my girlfriend before you've have a chance to impress them as our ADA." Kate paused for a moment then asked, "So, would you be ok with acting like we just met?" Kate hoped she wasn't messing up her chance with Alex by asking her to pretend they were just friends.

Alex pulled away and was silent for several moments as she thought about Kate's reasoning. She turned back to look at the brunette and said, "Honey, I'm not asking you to announce that we're a couple…but I also don't want to pretend like I don't know you. What if I slipped up and said the wrong thing, you know? Can't we just…say we're friends? That we knew each other and now that I've moved home, we're reconnecting?"

Kate nodded, grateful that Alex had thought of that angle. She knew Alex wasn't asking for much and that the blonde would never pressure her to come out if she wasn't ready. Kate realized that this was a turning point in their relationship and if she chose wrong, she could lose Alex.

"How about we stick as close to the truth as possible? We can say we met when I was on vacation in New Mexico and you recently moved back to New York. That way, we don't have to worry about what we say, ok?"

Alex smiled and nodded, "I think that sounds like a plan." She walked back over to Kate and put her arms around her, kissing her firmly on the lips before pulling back. "As much as I hate to say this, we should probably go back out there before they start to wonder what's going on. Do you have plans for lunch?"

Kate smiled, "If you can get me the warrant I need, I'll be all yours for lunch." Kate kissed Alex on the nose, "Deal?"

"I'll get right on it. What's it for?" Alex asked and then reluctantly let go of Kate.

"Well, we need a warrant to open a letter in the victim's mail," she said and then proceeded to fill Alex in on the details about the case. "So, can you get it?"

"Based on what you told me, it shouldn't be a problem. I'll call you once I get it." She pecked Kate one last time on the lips and then walked over to the door and opened it, "After you."

Kate smiled as she walked past Alex, she whispered, "Tonight, I'll show you how much I missed you last night." Kate slipped out the room and headed for the interrogation room. She saw Castle standing outside waiting for her and without a word she opened the door and went in to question the nurse. Castle slipped in behind her to watch.

The day passed quickly and once the warrant came through, Beckett and Castle brought Doctor Talbot and his wife in and together. Thanks to some fancy footwork they were able to get the doctor to confess to killing Eliska Sokol. As it turned out, the doctor has switched Sokol's baby with his own just after they were born and he murdered the victim to keep her from telling his wife that their son, Zane, was actually Sokol's son.

After she sent the doctor to be booked and processed, she brought the victim's ex-husband in to meet Mrs. Talbot in the hopes that they could find a way to raise Zane together. When she saw that they were getting along just fine without her, Kate slipped out and headed for home with a smile on her face.

She was walking down the hallway towards her apartment when she saw Alex standing against the wall next to her door. Kate grinned as she walked up to her gorgeous blonde girlfriend, "Hey baby, waiting for someone?"

Alex smiled, "Yeah. I guess I'm a little early. I kept hoping you'd get off the elevator before any of your neighbors did. I didn't want them to think I was weird for sitting outside your door with a suitcase."

Kate stepped closer and took Alex into her arms. She kissed her and said, "I personally don't care what the neighbors think, but let's get inside before we end up giving them a show ok?" Kate took out her keys and opened the door, letting Alex walk in first.

Alex rolled her suitcase and said, "I'm going to go put this into your room, if that's ok."

"Go right ahead. I'll see what I can make us for dinner. What are you in the mood for?" Kate asked as she closed the door behind them.

"Anything is fine with me baby. You're an amazing cook," she smiled and then rolled her luggage to the bedroom. She set it down in the corner out of the way and then took off her heels, putting them next to her bag. She walked back into the living room and asked, "Do you want to watch a movie after dinner?"

Kate looked up from the other side of the fridge door and smiled, "That sounds good. I've got the makings of a nice pasta dish, why don't you go pick out a DVD while I get started on dinner?"

Alex nodded and then went to the entertainment center to find something. She looked at the selection and asked, "How about The Devil Wears Prada?"

Kate smiled, "Yeah that sounds good. I'll get started with dinner." Kate went back to her task of gathering the ingredients while the bowtie pasta boiled.

Alex popped the DVD in the player and let it load, but didn't press play. She walked into the kitchen and smiled as she watched Kate standing at the stove. She loved that sight. "So, I picked up some wine on the way over. Are we having red sauce or white?"

Kate looked up from the stove where she was preparing the sauce and smiled at Alex, "Alfredo sauce. Is that ok?"

"Sounds great. I picked up a bottle of red and white just in case. I'll be right back." She went to the bedroom and opened her bag, taking out the two bottles before returning to the kitchen. She set the bottle of white down and put the red in the fridge to chill. Then she went to the utensil drawer and pulled out the corkscrew.

Kate watched Alex's movements in her kitchen and smiled at how familiar she was with the layout. It had only been a few days but already Alex looked like she belonged there and Kate suddenly had a vision of Alex living there with her. She could see the two of them making dinner together every night, Kate teaching Alex to cook and then watching a movie or listening to music before heading to bed together. Needless to say, Kate liked that idea. In Santa Fe, they had, in a sense, lived together and Kate wanted that back.

She idly wondered if it was too soon to ask Alex to stay with her, but decided to bring it up later that night to see how Alex felt about it. For now, she turned back to the stove with a smile.

After popping the cork, Alex took two wine glasses from the cupboard above her. She poured two equal amounts and then walked over to hand Kate her glass so that she could take a sip. Alex set her own glass down and put her arms around Kate, kissing her on the neck. "Ryan and Esposito must think I'm crazy..."

Kate smiled, though she was a little puzzled, "Why would you say that?"

"Because I thought I was hallucinating when I saw you and Castle walk into the precinct. Seriously, I thought I was having some sort of weird dream."

Kate chuckled, "And they were with you when that happened?"

"Yes. I had a little moment while I was getting some coffee and they both saw it…" she said, burying her face into Kate's neck.

Kate tilted her head back and to the side to allow Alex better access. "So, why would seeing me make you think you were hallucinating? I know you weren't expecting to see me there but...am I what you would hallucinate? And with Castle, no less?"

"Because it was just…surreal. Honestly, I've had weirder things happen in my dreams after eating Chinese late at night, but think about it, what are the odds of you and Rick Castle walking into the place where I just started work? Not saying I wasn't thrilled to see you, just weirded out."

Kate smiled, "I can see how that would mess with your head. Don't worry baby, the guys won't care that you zoned out for a moment." Kate turned to face Alex and wrapped her arms around the blonde's neck, "I like the idea of working together, means I'll get to see you more." Then she leaned forward and kissed Alex.

Alex smiled, "You think you'll still feel that way after we work our first case?"

Kate looked at Alex, "Why wouldn't I?" Granted, she hadn't really worked with ADAs much. Of the few times she had, it was usually when she had to testify in court and based on that, she was pretty ok with her experiences.

"I can be kind of tough," Alex said, putting on a hard face.

Kate grinned, "I've dealt with tough. Besides, since I don't send cases to the DA's office until we have the right guy, so there shouldn't be a problem. If I can deal with Castle's annoying presence, I can handle you in 'tough' mode, I think." Kate placed a kiss on Alex's neck.

Alex grinned, "Oh yeah? We'll see about that later… maybe I'll have to play a little rough." She tweaked an eyebrow and spanked Kate on the ass.

Kate grinned and lightly bit down on Alex's neck, soothing the mark with her tongue before pulling back. When she glanced down at the mark, all traces of playfulness vanished and she suddenly flashed back to their last morning together in Santa Fe. She remembered that moment in the shower when she'd lost control and bitten Alex. Kate began to lightly shake and she pulled away from Alex, turning her attention back to the stove.

Alex knew exactly what had crossed Kate's mind and she touched the brunette's shoulder, "Honey, don't..."

Kate was spiraling into the past, remembering how she'd hurt Alex and how she'd vowed never to do that again. She was deep in her thoughts when the touch of Alex's hand on her shoulder startled her back to reality and she jumped a little.

Alex rubbed Kate's back, "Kate, look at me please..."

Kate took a breath then and there were tears in her eyes but they hadn't fallen yet. She lowered her head, unable to look at Alex after having bitten her again, leaving teeth marks on her again, even if they were faint.

Alex lifted Kate's chin and looked into her eyes, "Baby, please… come on, don't cry. I'm fine, see?" She touched her shoulder and there was only a bit of faint pink.

Kate blinked the tears away and looked at Alex's neck. When she saw that teeth marks were gone she took a few deep breaths to calm herself down. "I'm sorry Alex. I...I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry I hurt you."

Kate threw herself into Alex's arms and held her tight, her face buried in Alex's chest, well away from her neck.

Alex soothed her, "Shhh, Kate, it's ok. You didn't hurt me. You were just being playful like I was. It's ok for us to do that, baby, because we know the limit…you know what's ok and what's not."

Kate turned her head so her words wouldn't be muffled when she said, "I'm just, scared of going too far. I crossed the line in Santa Fe, and I almost crossed it again. I'm scared that one day I'll lose myself and really hurt you." Kate tightened her grip on Alex's waist.

"Honey, we need to really sit down and talk about this…I don't want you to always be terrified of hurting me," Alex said, holding her close.

Kate thought about that and she knew Alex was right. "Ok, but can it wait until after dinner? I just, I need a little distance between this and talking about it, is that ok?" Kate needed time to fortify herself for such a conversation. She didn't want to hurt Alex ever in any way and she knew that if they didn't talk about this, it would always be hanging over their relationship.

"Of course. Why don't I go set the table and give you some time, ok?" She kissed Kate on the lips and then went to another cabinet to take out some pasta bowls. She set them down next to the stove for Kate and then took two sets of silverware from a drawer and went to the dining room to set them out.

Kate waited for Alex to leave the kitchen before she rested her hands on the counter and took a deep breath. 'I can do this, it's no big deal. We can talk about this and it'll be ok. I can control myself, I can keep myself from hurting Alex. I can do this.' Kate thought to herself. She lifted her head and squared her shoulders before serving the pasta into the bowls. She carried them into the dining room and smiled when she noticed that Alex had also brought the wine glasses to the table. "Let's eat."

Alex smiled and sat down. She topped off both glasses of wine and then picked up her fork, "This looks amazing, Kate." She took some pasta onto her fork and blew on it before taking a bite, "Mmmm."

Kate smiled and began eating. She loved it that Alex had a normal appetite and that she usually loved anything she cooked. Kate took a sip of her wine. "I'm glad you like it."

"I feel bad that I don't cook more. But I'm nowhere near as good as you, as you might already know," she said with a chuckle. She loved Kate and she wanted her to know that she appreciated everything she did for her.

Kate grinned, "I love cooking for you though. It's one small way for me to show you how much I love you." Kate reached out and placed her hand on Alex's.

Alex smiled, "I know, but I just feel like I don't have anything to give back. It's not about keeping score, I know that, but I feel like a bum."

Kate smiled and said, "You came back to me. You could've stayed in Santa Fe after you were released from Witness Protection. You could've come back to New York and avoided me, forgetting about me and going back to your old squad, your ex even, but you didn't. You came back to me. You kept on loving me this whole time...that's more than I had hoped for this past year. I had thought that you had forgotten about me, found someone else, that our time together was nothing more than a fling for you. Especially after the way I hurt you before I left, but you're here with me. That's enough Alex." Kate gently squeezed Alex's hand as she explained.

Alex squeezed back, "I just…when we're together…I want to be able to do things too. I don't always want to bring home take out when it's my turn to cook or whatever. I want to split things equally..."

Kate grinned, "Well then...how about I teach you how to cook? I mean if you want that?"

Alex grinned like she was a little kid, "Really? You'd give me lessons?"

"Of course I would. I think it would be fun...especially with the right incentives." Kate grinned. She was already picturing kisses as rewards for good work...and other sexy rewards for bigger jobs.

"I'd love that, Kate. I could come over a few nights or you could come over to my place and we could practice there. It'd be so much fun."

Kate nodded, silently wondering if now was the time to bring up what she was thinking. "Um, Alex...I was wondering about something...how much longer are you planning to live at the hotel?"

"Um, not much longer. About a week, I guess. Why?"

Kate lowered her head and focused on her plate as she said, "Oh, because, um...I was thinking that it might be...good if you um, moved in here? I know we've only been together a few days this time but in Santa Fe we were together only a few days when you suggested I stay with you. This is like that, except that we know each other better now." Kate stopped talking to give Alex a chance to respond. She stared at her plate as she waited.

Alex took a sip of wine and then spoke in a soft voice, not wanting to hurt Kate's feelings, "Honey, I…I would like that, but…the thing is, I already put a down payment on a loft and…to be honest, I think I need a little bit more time before I can move in with you. I just need to get readjusted to New York and I mean, we can spend time together, but I have to find my feet again…" She touched Kate's arm, "Please don't hate me..."

Kate looked up at Alex, "I don't hate you baby, I never could. I understand that you need time and as much as I would love to live with you now, I can wait until you're ready. I didn't know you already had a place set up. I just didn't want you to keep wasting money on the hotel. So...when you move into this loft, can I come over?"

"Are you kidding? You're going to come over all the time!" she said with a beaming smile. "But I'll make you a deal. How about for the next week I check out of the hotel and stay here? Does that sound fair?"

Kate smiled, "I like that idea. Though it will be hard to have you move out after a week, but...I'll take a week with you here, all the time, with me." Kate lifted Alex's hand to her lips for a kiss. "Since we're done eating, how about we go watch that movie?"

"Sounds good. Though do you mind if I get a little ice cream? You know how I have a sweet tooth. Do you want some?"

Kate's eyes lit up, "Ooh, sounds good, do you need a hand?"

"No, you go get settled and I'll take care of dessert." She stood and gathered both plates and returned to the kitchen to put them to soak and get the ice cream. About five minutes later, she handed Kate a bowl and joined her on the couch.

Kate waited for Alex to get settled on the couch before she shifted closer and rested her head on the blonde's shoulder. With her ice cream bowl in one hand and the remote in the other, Kate smiled at the domesticity of the moment before she pressed play and set the remote down. She looked up at Alex, "I like this."

"Me too, baby. I love doing this, sharing an amazing meal and then relaxing together before bed. I love you so much, Kate."

Kate placed her bowl on the coffee table and wrapped her arms around Alex, "I love you too Alex." Kate sighed in contentment then said, "This is how I always wanted it to be with us. This whole year apart, all I wanted was to have you here with me, snuggling on the couch." Kate turned her head and leaned up to kiss Alex.

Alex looked into her eyes, "Me too, honey. I would snuggle up with the pillow you slept on and I could inhale your scent and it somehow made it bearable. But being without you was so hard..."

"Well at least you had a pillow...I didn't have anything with your scent on it. All I had of you was this," Kate held up her hand with the ring Alex had given her. Kate had slipped it on while Alex went to get the ice cream. "It kept me close to you in my mind, but it doesn't compare to having you right here with me."

Alex set her own bowl down and kissed Kate, her tongue slipping into the brunette's mouth. She wrapped her arms around her girlfriend and was enjoying being close to her, but she noticed that Kate was hesitant. She pulled back and looked into her eyes, "What's wrong?"

Kate turned to look at the movie on the screen. Andy had just gotten the job with Miranda and she smiled at the scene but then faced Alex, "I...it's just...I think we should be careful."

Alex exhaled, "Forever?"

Kate frowned, "Not forever just...I don't know...I just don't want to risk hurting you."

"Talk to me about this Kate. You said we would after dinner…"

Kate sighed, "Remember when I told you about Amber?" Alex nodded, "Well...what I didn't tell you was what happened after I got away from her." Kate stopped, unsure if she could actually say what she'd done.

Alex paused the movie and then took Kate's hand, "It's ok baby, I'm here."

Kate took a breath, "Lanie convinced me that I needed something to help me heal, so I started taking self-defense lessons. I got very...um...well I think the word Lanie used near the end was obsessed. I started doing strength training as well as the fighting moves. When I joined the academy, I would take on anyone who wanted to spar, men, women, it didn't matter. I sent them all limping off the mat. It got to the point where no one wanted to spar with me. I haven't really been in a serious relationship with anyone since then, apart from the occasional date, but I know that I have the strength to seriously hurt you if I lose control. The biting is the least of my worries." Kate had to stop talking, scared that Alex would be angry with her and ready to leave.

"You make it sound like you're some sort of monster… You're strong, you have to be in your line of work, but it doesn't mean that you're going to start throwing me into walls or punching me in the face. That's not you, Kate. I don't care how many people you sparred with, being in a controlled environment where you can let go and being here is different and you know that."

Kate slowly shook her head, "But what happens the next time we're playing around and I forget myself and I hurt you? I don't like the thought that I could do that, I never want to hurt you Alex."

"I'm not a China doll, Kate. I'm tough…" she said with a smile. "So long as you don't plan to bite me so hard that you take a piece of me with you, I can handle the occasional playful bite..."

"This isn't funny Alex. In Santa Fe I almost did break the skin." Kate wasn't ready to joke about this.

"But you didn't, Kate. You knew when enough was enough. I trust you to know that now, too," Alex said, the smile gone from her face. "I mean, if you're telling me that you're always going to feel like this, how are we supposed to move forward?"

Kate thought about that. She wanted to have a life with the beautiful blonde, a family eventually. She wanted to move forward and Kate knew the only way she would be able to do that was by easing into the playful fun. "I don't know. But I have an idea. If you're willing to be patient with me." Kate had a sudden fear that this would be too much for Alex, that she would decide it wasn't worth it and leave her...and in Kate's mind, when Alex left her, it was always to go back to her ex.

"Tell me," Alex said, caressing Kate's cheek, encouraging her to be honest.

Kate took a breath. "I love you Alex, I want us to one day have a family and get married and spend the rest of my life with you. I don't ever want to lose you. I think, I might be able to get past this fear I have if we...take it slowly. Start small and work our way up to the big stuff." Kate smiled, "I liked that little tap you gave me earlier...I think we should start with something small like that." Kate looked carefully at Alex, "What do you think?"

Alex nodded, "I think that sounds like a great idea. We can practice as much as it takes to get you comfortable." She kissed Kate's nose and rested her forehead against the brunette's, "I just want you to feel safe and secure."

Kate sighed in relief and spoke from her heart, "I feel safe when I'm with you, like this. Just us together with no pressure or anything. You and I had a great weekend together, I felt safe with you. It's only when the...kinky stuff comes into play that I start getting nervous." Kate knew she sounded like a boring, vanilla-flavored prude but she couldn't help it.

"Honey, I'll be honest with you, I'm not very adventurous usually. I like the occasional fun like a little spanking or silk scarves, but trust me, I won't put you in a position where you feel uncomfortable. When you're ready to experiment a little with me, we can, but until then, I'm more than happy having boring ol' mind-blowing sex," she said with a grin.

Kate smiled and leaned forward to kiss Alex. She let her tongue slip out and when Alex opened her mouth, Kate slipped her tongue in and deepened the kiss. Kate ran her hand around Alex's waist and pulled her closer, loving the feel of Alex's body against hers. Kate let out a moan at the contact.

Alex started leaning back, pulling Kate with her. She just wanted to kiss Kate and let her know that everything was going to be ok. She rubbed Kate's back, lifting her blouse to gently scratch her skin.

Kate shifted and pressed forward, following Alex down on the couch. Kate placed her hands on the couch to hold herself above Alex as she pulled back and said, "I love you baby." Kate lowered her head and began kissing Alex's neck, being very careful to keep her teeth away as she licked and kissed and sucked on Alex's soft skin.

"I love you too. Never forget that."

Kate smiled as she continued down to Alex's collarbone. She lifted her head and asked, teasingly, "So...did you want to finish watching the movie or...?" Kate left the other option open, letting Alex fill in the blank.

"We can always finish it later…let's go to your room." She sat up with Kate and took the detective's hand. She led her to the bedroom and helped her down onto the bed so that they could pick up where they'd left off.


Chapter Fifteen: Telling the Guys

Two weeks later…

The next two weeks passed in relative calmness. Alex stayed with Kate for a week until her loft was ready and then Kate helped her move in. That first night, they christened every room in the loft and slowly it started to feel like home for Alex. Although they'd decided to have separate spaces for now, they often spent the night at each other's places to help them ease into the idea of living together.

Kate was grateful that things at home were going so well because work was really starting to frustrate her. Castle had taken to hitting on Alex every time they were in the same room together and Kate knew he was doing it on purpose because she'd made the mistake of telling him that she didn't like it. Of course Castle believed that Kate's dislike of his flirting with Alex stemmed from the fact that she was jealous that he wasn't hitting on her, and that made him happy. He wanted Kate to feel like she was missing out.

Kate, unfortunately, had no choice but to let him think that she was upset over the lack of attention because she wasn't ready to tell him the truth. The only thing that kept her somewhat sane was the fact that Alex never encouraged him. She also found comfort when she realized that today was her last day at work for the week and tomorrow night, she'd have Alex all to herself.

They decided to spend the night at Alex's loft and after a wonderful dinner, the two retired to the living room to cuddle on the couch. There was light jazz playing in the background as Kate held Alex in her arms and everything was quiet, at least until Alex's cell phone rang. The blonde slowly reached over to the coffee table to see who was calling and sighed when she saw Rick's picture on the screen.

Kate shook her head, "Don't answer it."

"He'll keep calling until I do. Just give me one second and I'll get rid of him, ok?" Alex slid her finger across the screen to answer, "Hello, Rick."

Castle smiled when he heard Alex's voice, "Alex, hi, how's my favorite lawyer doing?"

"I'm fine. How are you?"

Kate began lightly rubbing circles on Alex's bare stomach as she talked on the phone.

Castle was walking around his home office, "I'm good. I was wondering if you wanted to meet me for a drink tonight?"

Although Beckett had told him that Alex had a date that night, he was confident that the blonde would say yes. Beckett always said that Alex had a date whenever he brought up his plans to ask the blonde out, but there was no evidence she was dating anyone and Alex had always responded well to his flirting, so he knew that Beckett was just trying to keep the two of them apart. Normally he'd take that as a good indicator of Kate's interest, but the more time that passed, the more Castle realized that he was really starting to like Alex and he knew that he wanted to take a chance with her.

Alex closed her eyes and tried to keep from moaning while Kate tickled her. She registered the words "me" and "drink" and she opened her eyes again, "Oh…um, you know, I can't. I'm actually with someone right now… I'm sorry, Rick."

Castle was surprised by her answer, but he quickly rallied, "Oh. Well that's fine. Maybe another night? I promise you'll have fun." Castle wasn't going to give up that easily.

"Well, you see, the thing is, it's getting pretty serious, so I don't think we'll be able to go for drinks anytime in the foreseeable future. I'm really sorry," she said. It was a heartfelt apology; she hated hurting anyone's feelings.

Rick was quiet for a moment and then he said, "Oh, I see. Well, whoever he is, he's a really lucky guy. I'm just going to say goodnight, but before I do, can we pretend this phone call never happened?" He wasn't keen on getting teased by the guys and Beckett if Alex told them about this.

"Of course. I hope you find someone really special Rick. Have a good night…" Alex ended the call and set the phone down. She let out a deep breath and then realized that Kate had stilled. She looked at the brunette and said, "Uh oh…are you going to kill him?"

Kate brought herself out of her fantasies of torturing Castle and looked at Alex, "What?"

"I asked if you're planning to kill him?"

Kate smiled at Alex, "Who? Castle? No baby, that would be way too much paperwork." Kate's hand flattened against Alex's stomach.

"Good, because I really don't want to drive up to Rikers when I want to see you. I would do it, but I wouldn't like it. Besides it was pretty harmless. He just wanted to go out for a drink and he backed off once I told him I was seeing someone."

Kate wasn't convinced though, "He may have backed off but that doesn't mean he'll give up. He'll bide his time, wait until it looks like you're single again or that you were lying about seeing someone and he'll ask you out again. He's like that."

"So what do you want to do? I mean, there's not a whole lot of options short of telling him that we're dating or getting me a fake boyfriend..."

Kate had been thinking a lot about that lately...usually when she had to sit back and watch Castle hitting on Alex: bringing her coffee, complimenting her outfits, and now, asking her out. Kate began lightly rubbing Alex's stomach again as she said, "Well...I've been thinking about this and I was wondering how you would feel about telling Castle and the guys about us."

Alex's mouth fell open slightly and she just looked at Kate. Did she just hear what she thought she heard? "You- you'd be willing to tell them about us?"

Kate smiled as she began to feel more and more like this was the right thing to do. "Yeah I am. I'm not saying we'll tell the whole world because we both have to be careful about our public image, you with the DA's office and me with the whole Nikki Heat thing, but...yeah I want the guys to know about us. Would you be okay with it?"

Alex beamed and nodded, "Yes! Oh my God, yes! You have no idea how much I want this. Just to be able to be honest for the first time and not have to watch what I say or how I look at you…It would be a dream come true, baby!"

Kate smiled, "Good, I'm glad you feel that way. I know it's been hard these last two weeks hiding our relationship at work. It's been hard for me too. I've been so scared of saying the wrong thing or letting my hand linger too long on your arm when I'm making a point." Kate pulled Alex closer, "I want us to be open about our relationship. No more hiding." Kate leaned forward and kissed Alex's lips.

Alex kissed her back, showing all the love and appreciation she felt over Kate's bravery. She pulled back and gazed deep into Kate's eyes, "You can wear your ring to work once we tell them."

Kate smiled, "Yes I can. And I promise I will." Kate kissed Alex again then pulled back and said, "I was thinking that maybe we should invite the guys, Castle, and Lanie over for lunch tomorrow and tell them. What do you think?"

"I think that'd be great. We can have a late lunch here with some nice, light jazz playing in the background and we can order out unless you want to cook. I'll open up this special bottle of wine that I've been saving for a special occasion and we'll just have fun. Sound good?"

Kate smiled, "Yeah I like that. And we can order out, it'll be less stressful that way." Kate hugged Alex closer, "We're really going to do this, right? You sure you want this?" Kate didn't want Alex to feel pressured just because the brunette couldn't keep her jealousy in line.

Alex nodded, the glint in her eyes telling Kate that she was ready, "Yeah, I want this more than I can say, baby. I know that it's a big step and that it might change things for us at work, but with you by my side, we can handle anything."

Kate smiled, "Yeah we can." Kate leaned forward and began kissing Alex's neck.

Alex smiled, pulling her hair back for Kate, but then a thought crossed her mind. "Um, babe, I hate to spoil the mood, but are you sure that you're ready to do this? I got so caught up thinking about me that I didn't even bother to ask you."

Kate lifted her head and smiled, "Yeah sweetie, I'm sure. I want us to be able to be in the same room together without having to worry about saying the wrong thing. I want you to be able to sit on the corner of my desk in your short, tight skirts that show off your gorgeous legs while others are in the room, not just after hours when we're alone. More than anything, I want to let Castle know once and for all that you're mine so he'll stop hitting on you. Seriously, if I have to listen to him flirt with you or ask you out for drinks one more time I am going to hurt him."

Alex smiled and then pulled Kate back to her, "You're not the only one who's glad that's going to stop. His charm was laid on so thick I felt like I needed a shower after talking to him."

Kate giggled, "I know what you mean. Do you know, the first time I met him, he actually said to me, 'if it makes you feel any better, I'd be happy to let you spank me'?" Kate shook her head.

Alex raised an eyebrow, "You know, I should really introduce him to an old friend of mine…he's a big fan of spanking and he might just put Castle in his place..."

Kate grinned, "I like the way you think. Though I don't think Castle swings that way." Kate leaned down and kissed Alex's neck.

"Hey, you never know… look at you and me," she said with a chuckle. She ran her fingers through Kate's hair, "You know, I had a baby dream last night..."

Kate wiggled her eyebrows as she smiled, "Oh really? Want to tell me about it?"

"Well, we were at my mom's old house upstate and little Lis was about six months old or so. She was on her tummy on her favorite blanket learning how to crawl. She was headed in your direction and the way she smiled when she looked at you just made my heart melt."

Kate smiled, her eyes misting over at the image Alex had described. "That sounds so wonderful. I can't wait until we have our family." Kate kissed Alex again, "I want that with you."

"You can teach our little one all about comic books, gourmet cooking, and mystery novels," Alex said with a chuckle.

"Oh count on it baby. Can't have our child go through life not knowing the difference between Marvel and DC," Kate giggled.

"I'll just handle the mundane things like horseback riding and piano playing," Alex said with a chuckle. "She was beautiful…I wish you could've seen. Brown hair, hazel eyes, and her mom's adorable nose…"

Kate grinned, "You do have an adorable nose, though the rest of you is just as beautiful." Kate began trailing light kisses down Alex's neck to her chest.

"No, no…she had your nose, baby… She was yours, genetically. I carried her for us," Alex said, sighing from the pleasant sensation of Kate's lips on her chest.

Kate stopped her kisses and looked up at Alex, "Really?"

Alex nodded, "Yeah. She looked like a very tiny version of you. It was adorable. Maybe it had something to do with seeing your baby pictures the other night."

Kate shook her head, "I knew I shouldn't have shown you those. Oh well, I like the thought of you pregnant with our baby." Kate lowered her head and slithered down a bit to press kisses on Alex's flat tummy.

Alex smiled down at her and ran her fingers through Kate's hair, "Are you thinking about what it's going to be like when there's a little bump down there?"

Kate looked up at Alex, "Yeah...I think you'd look very sexy with a baby bump."

"We have to get through all the un-sexy stuff first like morning sickness," Alex said, making a "yuck" face.

Kate smiled, "I'd gladly hold your hair back and rub your feet and wait on you hand and foot during your pregnancy." Kate moved up and kissed Alex, "I love you so much."

"I love you, too, Kate. I can't believe this is all real and we're actually going to have everything we're talking about…" she said, reaching up to kiss Kate again. After things fell apart between her and Olivia she never thought that she'd have a chance like this again.

Kate dropped a kiss on Alex's nose and said, "Believe it baby. From now on you and me, we're going to have everything we've ever talked about. Nothing and no one is ever going to come between us." Kate sealed her promise with a kiss that quickly deepened.

"How do you think Castle is going to handle it when we tell him tomorrow?" Alex asked after they pulled apart from the kiss.

Kate thought about it for a moment and then chuckled as she said, "He'll probably be crushed for all of five seconds before he starts picturing us together and thinking of ways to incorporate this into his next Nikki Heat novel."

"Oh yeah, I hadn't thought about that…I really hope he doesn't get any bright ideas about introducing a blonde ADA…" she said, totally hoping to avoid that situation.

"Oh I don't know, it might be a great idea. He could call it Legal Heat, you know?" Kate teased.

"You know he's going to want to 'observe' us as research if he does decide to turn Nikki Heat into a lesbian…" Alex threw back.

"Yeah well...not even the Mayor will convince me to let that happen and if he tries well...we can always introduce him to that friend of yours."

Alex laughed, "Oh, Bruno would love him." Then she asked, "How about we forget all the talk of Castle and go take a nice, hot bath before bed?"

"Yes please, I love the way you think. I always love taking baths with you." Kate stood up and held her hand out to Alex, "Come on."

Alex took Kate's hand and went with her to the bathroom. She filled the tub and helped Kate undress before undressing herself. She added a few drops of rose oil to the water and then stepped into the tub with Kate, the brunette settling back so that she could hold Alex. She relaxed into Kate's embrace and said, "I got a call from my cousin today. She's going out of town next weekend and wanted to know if I'd be willing to watch Kevin on Saturday. My uncle and his wife are busy or else they would do it..."

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex's warm, wet body and kissed Alex's neck. "I'd love to meet your little cousin and I think it would be fun to have him over for the day. Do you think he'll like me?" Kate hadn't met Kevin yet, but she really wanted to get to know him and the rest of Alex's family.

"He'll love you babe. The only thing is, he might be a little jealous at first, but that's only because of his little boy crush. Once he gets to know you, he's going to forget all about that."

Kate chuckled, "He has a crush on you? Well I hope he doesn't hate me because you're mine."

"I wouldn't be surprised if he changed his mind and started crushing on you instead. You're pretty irresistible," she said, caressing Kate's thighs.

Kate closed her eyes when she felt Alex's hands on her thighs and she placed a line of kisses from Alex's shoulder up to her ear lobe. She lightly nibbling on the soft skin before she whispered into Alex's ear, "Somehow I doubt he'll be easily swayed from his beautiful blonde crush to a plain ol' brunette like me. After all Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is more than just a movie title. Admittedly, I'm glad you're an exception to that rule." Kate began drawing little circles on Alex's abs.

Alex's abs tightened when Kate mentioned liking brunettes and she nodded, "Yeah…" It seemed like tall, dark brunettes were her type. Add "detective" to the mix and that basically encompassed Alex's entire lesbian history. The last thing she wanted Kate to know was how similar she and Olivia happened to be because she knew that Kate would never believe it to be coincidental.

Kate felt the tension in Alex's abs but she dismissed it as a reaction to her touch. Kate smiled against Alex's neck, "You know, I once toyed with dyeing my hair red, but thankfully Lanie talked me out of it." Kate's tongue reached out and licked the droplets of water from the back of Alex's neck. "I'm glad I stayed a brunette...you might not have looked at me twice if I hadn't listened to Lanie."

"It's not about the color of your hair," Alex said a bit more forcefully than she meant to. She just wanted Kate to know that that her attraction wasn't entirely about how she looked physically. It was her personality, her intelligence, her humor, and her kindness.

Kate tightened her grip. "Oh really? Tell me Miss Cabot, what is it about?" Kate's playful tone made it clear she wasn't being as serious as Alex.

"It's about…everything. Not just what's on the outside, but everything. When I first saw you, yeah, I thought you were attractive, but there was more to it than that. It was the way you carried yourself that drew my eye."

Kate thought about that for a moment and she was reminded of all the times that Lanie teased her about not needing a badge to let people she was detective. Kate smiled, "The way I carried myself? Lanie's always telling me that even a blind man would know I was a cop by the way I walked." Kate paused a moment, "So, does that mean that you secretly have a thing for cops? I mean, your ex was a cop and now you're with me..." Kate trailed off, her tone still playful but also a bit curious. Kate chuckled, "Are you a 'badge bunny' Alex?"

Alex sat up, the water quickly filling the space between them, "No, I'm not, ok? It just happened." She was obviously perturbed by the suggestion.

Kate noticed Alex's agitation and she quickly sobered up, "Alex, baby, I was only kidding. What's the big deal?" Kate's voice was low but curious.

"The big deal is that I fall in love with who I fall in love with and it has nothing to do with the job or only dating brunettes or whatever other similarities you want to come up with..."

Kate reached her hand out and cupped Alex's cheek, caressing her skin as she said, "Baby I know that. I was just kidding around. I mean, you didn't know I was a cop until a few weeks ago and you already loved me by that point. I'm sorry for bringing up your ex, but..." Kate paused and looked down, "I've tried not to let it get to me, but I can't help but wonder about her. I mean, you loved her, you planned a life with her before you were shot and…well it gets to me. I'm sorry." Kate knew she needed to get over her insecurities about Alex's ex but it was easier said than done.

Alex sighed, "Look, I can't change what happened in my past…all I can do is try and move forward and I want you with me while I do it. I don't want to get into comparisons between you and her, Kate. She's out of my life, ok?"

Kate smiled, she leaned forward and kissed Alex, "Ok, from now on, I promise I won't bring her up again. Now, are you going to stay all the way over there or can I hold you in my arms again?"

Alex softened when she saw Kate's puppy dog eyes and leaned back, "You can hold me again. I'm sorry I got so bitchy about that, baby. I just don't want her creeping into our relationship."

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex again and, in an effort to keep her promise, she said, "Who?"

Alex chuckled, "Thanks, baby." She closed her eyes and placed her hands back on Kate's thighs, "What do you think we should get for tomorrow?"

Kate smiled as she thought about it for a moment, "Do you know if Mesa Grill does carry out?"

"As a matter of fact, I happen to know somebody down there…I'm sure I could put in a special request. I'll print out the menu in the morning and we'll pick out a nice spread," she said with a grin.

"Oh really? I like the sound of that." Kate began kissing Alex's neck again.

Alex chuckled, "If you're planning to start that, maybe we should think about moving to the bed. The water's starting to get cold..."

Kate grinned as she shifted her leg and pulled the plug out of the tub's drain. "Way ahead of you baby."

Alex stood and helped Kate up. She kissed her and then grabbed two towels. She wrapped Kate up first and then covered herself, drying off quickly so that they could continue things in their room.

Kate followed Alex into the bedroom and pulled Alex back against her. She began to nibble on her neck again as she quickly removed both their towels. She loved feeling Alex's skin against her because it always made her feel complete. "I love you so much Alex," Kate whispered into the blonde's ear.

"I love you too, baby. You've made me so happy tonight, I hope you know that," Alex said as she embraced her.

"I hope so. I love making you happy. I want to spend the rest of my life making you as happy as you make me." Kate tightened her grip on her blonde lover and she nuzzled her neck.

Alex pulled Kate back with her onto the bed and continued kissing her. It wasn't long before they lost themselves in the moment and they made love, happily reaching climax together before falling into a sound and pleasant sleep.

Part 16

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