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 Thirty-One: An Unexpected Lunch Break

After her appointment with Dr. Olivet, Alex went over to the 16th precinct to see what progress had been made on the Keppler case. She ran into Olivia on her way in and asked, "Hey, any news?"

Olivia, who was just on her way to get a soda, stopped walking, "Um, Warner's still doing the autopsy so we're just comparing notes about the interviews with Keppler's victims." Liv paused, "How are you?"

"I'm better than I thought I'd be considering," she said referring to the arguments she'd had with both her and Kate.

Olivia nodded, "Alex, um...I wanted to apologize about yesterday. It...it hurt to know you'd moved on...again...but I see now that I was an idiot when we were together. You weren't asking for much and I...I was too scared to give you even that much, so...I'm sorry. I want us to be able to work together without the awkwardness so I'm going to try to put the past where it belongs, ok?" Olivia had really thought about it and just because she hadn't moved on, just because she'd only casually dated to keep Elliot off her case because she was waiting for Alex, didn't give her the right to be mad at Alex for grabbing the love she'd found and wanted.

"Thanks Liv…It's just been a really rough couple of days and last night was just…bad. I really just want to work and not think about things for a little while."

Olivia sensed there was more to it but she knew when to back down, "Ok. Do you want to sit in on the information exchange?"

"Sure," she said with a nod. "Lead the way."

Olivia smiled her most charming, sincere smile, "Ok, just um, let me grab a soda first. Do you want one?" She gestured to the vending machine down the hall.

"No, thank you," she said gratefully and waited for Olivia to come back. It was nice not to feel awkward and even though she knew that Olivia was probably still struggling, it felt better that they'd cleared the air between them.

Olivia got a diet cola and walked back to Alex. She led the blonde into the squad room where Elliot and the others were waiting and Elliot smiled when he saw her, "Hey Alex, how's it going?"

"Fine, how are you Elliot?" she asked as she settled in for the exchange.

"I'll be better when we close this case." He turned to the others and the four cops began comparing notes and tossing around theories. Before long, they concluded that none of the four victims from the trial or their relatives had killed Keppler because everyone had alibis.

Olivia's shoulders slumped, "So if it wasn't them, who does that leave?"

The other cops shook their heads, not knowing what they were missing.

"Has CSU been able to get DNA from the glove they found at the scene?" Alex asked after they'd run out of suspects.

Fin looked up from the report in his hand and it was clear that he was confused, "The only DNA was Keppler's, but they did find a weird combination of salt and canola oil."

An officer poked his head in and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but CSU has called for Detectives Benson and Stabler. They're asking you both to come down to the lab."

Olivia nodded, "Ok. Thanks." She turned to Alex, "Want to join us? See what O'Halloran has for us?"

Alex nodded and joined Olivia and Elliot on the way down to the lab.

When they arrived at the lab, O'Halloran explained that he had gone over the glove again but there was no more DNA to be found. However, he had found something else and he hoped it would be the thing that cracked the case.

O'Halloran led them to one of the computers and explained, "This spent .45 shell casing is the same brand of ammo our shooter used." He pointed to the image of a bullet casing on the screen, "I put my print on it."

"I don't see it." Liv said as she scrutinized the screen.

O'Halloran pulled up an image of a shell casing from the crime scene and Elliot said, "Looks like the print's been etched."

O'Halloran nodded, "It has. The heat from the gunpowder ignited caused the oils in the print to corrode the metal."

"So the perp wasn't wearing gloves when he loaded the gun," Elliot concluded.

"Then why isn't your print etched into the other casing?" Alex asked, confused but curious.

He smiled at her. She was pretty and he liked blondes, "Because I'm a vegetarian."

"What does that mean? Vegetarians leave prints too," Olivia said, noticing the flirty glint in the tech's eyes as he looked at Alex.

"Yeah. Fingerprints are chemical secretions. We secrete what we eat. My prints are less likely to corrode metal because my diet is low in sodium."

"So our perp's print is burned onto that casing because he eats too much of salt?" Elliot was skeptical about O'Halloran's theory.

"Or works around it," O'Halloran said with a grin.

Olivia suddenly remembered that one of Keppler's victims had been wearing a Happy Burger uniform when they went to interview him. "Jeffrey Lynwood was wearing a fast food uniform when we went to talk to him."

Elliot remembered the guy, "Oh yeah. I'll call Fin and have him pick Jeffery up." He walked away to make the call.

Olivia thanked O'Halloran and then led Alex out of the lab. "Come on, let's get going."

"I'll observe while you two interrogate," she said as she fell into step with Olivia who was already on her way out the door.

Olivia smiled, "Just like old times, huh, Counselor?"

Alex nodded, "Yeah. I never thought I'd actually be here again…it's…it's nice to have something familiar."

Olivia nodded as they walked and then Elliot caught up to them, "Hey, um, Munch is busy with something so I'm going to go with Fin to get Jeffery, ok?"

"Ok El, we'll wait at the station." Elliot nodded then headed off to meet Fin at the car. Olivia turned to Alex, "Well, we have some time. Want to grab some lunch?"

"Oh, sure. Any place in particular you'd like to go?" she asked as they left the building.

Olivia smiled, "Well...I was thinking we could go to that little deli we used to go to. They still have the best sandwiches. You ok with that?"

She smiled, "Yeah, that sounds great. You can catch me up on all the latest gossip around the precinct while we eat."

"You're on. Come on it's my treat." Olivia led Alex down the sidewalk.

They walked up the street to the deli and found a little booth near the back. The mid-day crowd would soon be heading in for lunch, so Alex was grateful that they'd gotten there early. Alex looked at the menu after they'd placed their drink order with the waitress and said, "I haven't been here since I've been back."

Olivia smiled, "I come here once a week. It's about all I can handle, but today is a special occasion."

Alex set the menu down, "I'm sorry I didn't call sooner..."

Olivia looked at her menu as she said, "I can understand why you didn't." Olivia didn't want to get into why she hadn't tried harder to see Alex before now.

"I suppose it would be understandable after our last reunion," she said softly. "It wasn't our finest hour."

Olivia remembered that night when she had to say goodbye to Alex with everyone around, "Yeah...I remember. I wish everyone else hadn't been there. We should've had a much better farewell."

"It's not the farewell I'm talking about. It was that night in the hotel," she said, knowing that Olivia knew what she was referring to.

"Oh yeah...I kind of tried to block that night out actually." She looked out the window, staring at the street without really seeing it.

"I didn't. I relived it for several nights after…thinking about what Elliot told me…"

Olivia turned to face Alex so fast she almost got whiplash, "What Elliot told you? What did he say?"

She looked at her with disbelief. Was she really going to make her spell it out? "About the man you were dating…the one you were getting serious with."

Olivia felt her jaw drop open. "He told you what?" Olivia couldn't believe it and she needed to set the record straight, "Alex, there was no guy. I lied to Elliot about a guy a few weeks before the Connors trial to get him to stop trying to set me up with his male cousins. I never expected him to tell you about it, but believe me, there wasn't a guy." Olivia knew that lie would bite her in the ass somehow.

"So you haven't been with a man since I went into the program?"

"There were a few drunken one night stands...with both men and women...that I regretted the following morning, but...there hasn't been anyone serious since you." Olivia said, figuring she didn't have anything to lose by being honest. Alex was happy with her girlfriend.

"So you've been with both…" she said, something tugging at her heart. She didn't like the idea of Olivia with men, not when she knew that the detective was as gay as she was. "So…you hide your trysts with women and tell the guys when you go out with a man?"

"No. I don't tell the guys about my social life. I only lied to Elliot that one time so he wouldn't try to set me up with his cousin. I don't really date anyone. One night stands, drunk or sober, don't qualify as dating." Olivia smirked, not liking where Alex might be going with this.

"Is that really how you want to go through life?" she asked, amazed at Olivia's cavalier attitude. "I never thought you for that type. Especially not after we got together and I saw the real you."

Olivia looked down and said in a low voice, "What I want, I'm not going to have so...I settle for what I can get." The waitress came over and took their order. Liv got a salami and provolone on white with a strawberry milkshake and kettle chips on the side.

Alex ordered a green salad and turkey sandwich with avocado and Swiss. Then she returned her attention to Olivia, "I know you're not happy like this, Olivia. Even if we can't be together, you deserve better than one night stands with random people."

"Well...now that I know you and I aren't going to be together again...I can start to let you go." Olivia tried to smile.

Something deep inside of Alex hurt when she heard those words. She knew it was going to happen sooner or later and in truth, she'd given up Olivia a long time ago, but something about hearing Olivia say that made her realize that it was really over. "We'll always stay friends, though, right?"

"I'd like that, but I'll understand if it doesn't happen. I don't know too many women who would be happy that their girlfriend is friends with their ex," Olivia said, not wanting to cause problems for Alex with her current girlfriend.

"Maybe if you and Kate met…" she mused out loud and then thought better of it. "On second thought, maybe not. The two of you might kill each other."

Olivia chuckled, "Only in self defense."

"Exactly," Alex said simply. She knew Kate would strike first if it came to it and Olivia would defend herself.

Olivia smiled, "Really? You're saying she would attack me first? She doesn't even know me...why would she want to kill me?" Olivia sensed there was something there...Alex's eyes always gave her away and although Olivia might be rusty at reading those eyes she still remembered some of the signs.

"It's nothing really. She just…she's not thrilled that I'm back with SVU."

Olivia frowned, "Because of me or...because you're not at her precinct anymore?"

"Both. I called McCoy for a temporary transfer because I needed a break from Homicide. The fact that SVU came up was just coincidence, but I'm not sure she's entirely convinced that it was just that. Especially because of our past relationship."

"Oh. Well, I'm glad your here because we had a chance to clear the air, but I'm also sorry that it's causing problems for you." Olivia didn't know what else to say.

"It's ok. We're sorting it out, but…I fear this may be a permanent crack between us. She doesn't seem to trust me when it comes to you."

Olivia decided to inject a little humor into the conversation, something she usually did in the past with Alex when they started talking about serious things, "Well can you blame her I mean, I am irresistible." Olivia smiled and chuckled a little to show Alex she was kidding.

"It must be that humble sensibility," Alex said, laughing as well. "I'm sorry about complicating things for you."

Olivia grinned, "What's life without complications?" She liked seeing Alex laugh...she'd definitely missed it.

"Boring to some, welcome to others… What I wouldn't give to have something easy," she said wistfully.

Olivia stopped herself before the words "Well I'm easy, you can have me" escaped her lips, realizing it would cross the line. Instead, she just smiled.

"I'm sorry. I know I'm being very serious. It's just been difficult this past week and I'm desperate to put my life back together… I probably shouldn't be talking to you about this."

Olivia's smile faded a bit, "Why not? If we're going to try this friends thing, talking is part of that."

"Because… I know you don't want to hear about Kate and me. I'm sorry."

"I admit it isn't my first choice of a topic, but if you need to talk about it...I'm here. It's what friends do, right?" Olivia didn't want to know about Alex's new girlfriend but maybe if she didn't dwell on that aspect of the conversation she could handle it. She really wanted to try this, after all they had been friends before they were lovers and Olivia had missed their friendship all these years.

"I appreciate that, Olivia. I'll do my best to keep it to a minimum. I don't want to make you uncomfortable."

Olivia smiled, "Ok, fair enough." She knew when to back off and not push.

Their food arrived just moments later and Alex started with her salad. She had missed this place. "God, of all the salads I tried in all the different places I lived, no place does it like this."

Olivia swallowed what she had in her mouth and then asked, "Can I ask, um...how many places have you lived? Where have you lived?"

"I lived in three places… The first was Wisconsin, which you knew. The second was Bay City, Illinois, and the last was Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was in Bay City for about three months, then they shipped me off to Santa Fe for the remainder."

Olivia frowned, "Why such a short time in Bay City?"

"I slipped up… I was still getting my back story straight and one day I said I was from Tulsa instead of Evanston…I had no choice."

Olivia nodded, "So, um...which was your favorite?" Olivia didn't know if it was right to ask about a favorite false persona, but she was curious about Alex's time away.

"I suppose my time as Vicky in New Mexico. I enjoyed my job and the weather was better than Illinois and Wisconsin." "It's also where I met Kate," she thought to herself. "Plus I got to come home after."

Olivia smiled, "What were you doing? I mean what job were you in? I'm guessing the program didn't let you do anything related to law, right?"

"No. I was the manager of an art gallery downtown. I was a buyer and coordinator for art shows. It was great work. Very different from anything I'd ever done."

Olivia hadn't expected that but she should've. "You always did have an eye for good art. What, um, do you know what happened to the deMarco that was in your living room before you were shot?" Olivia had loved that painting, but she hadn't been able to claim it when Alex "died" because she didn't have any legal claim to it. She had always wondered what became of it.

"It's in the house upstate. I guess my mother decided to move it there after I was gone. It's in one of the sitting rooms. My guess is she kept it there so that she could look at it during afternoon tea. I was surprised to see it, actually. I thought she might've given it to you."

Olivia looked down at the mention of Alex's mom. She looked out the window as she said, "No...she, um, she blamed me for your death because I was there when it happened and I couldn't tell her the truth. I couldn't endanger you, so I let her blame me."

Alex swallowed hard, "She blamed you? But it wasn't your fault…if it hadn't been for you, I might've died."

"Maybe...but the world believed you were dead. Elliot and I were the only ones who knew otherwise, but I couldn't tell her." Olivia shrugged, "I accepted the blame, knowing that I deserved some of it."

"How? I'm the one who pushed and pushed until Velez put out a hit on me…and her. I'm the one she should've blamed, not you."

"I should've been more alert, should've seen that SUV when it came around the corner, reacted faster when the gun went off. I've gone over it in my head so many times over the years..." Olivia's voice was a bit tortured.

"So have I… and you know what I realize? Nothing would've stopped it from happening. The important thing is that I lived and you helped that happen. That's all that matters."

"Yeah, you're alive, here again in New York...but at what price?" Olivia couldn't let it go. In her mind, if Velez had never happened she would've had more time to win Alex back...even if it meant telling Elliot about them.

"It was the way it was supposed to be. I had to go through it to get here…and I'm a better person for it."

Olivia nodded, "Well, I'm glad that you're back, safe and sound. I've missed working with you. Casey was great but it seems like you two were the only decent ADAs left."

"That's because we were," she said with a chuckle. "So many good ADAs have left the office for some reason or another and the new recruits…I just don't know."

"Well, Greyleck wasn't cut out for SVU. She had the legal skills, but...there was always something missing." Olivia couldn't put her finger on it but she was glad Greyleck was back in Washington.

"It's hard to find someone who can do this. I guess that's why I'm glad I'm here. I can fill in until Jack can find someone who can really do the job right."

"No matter how long that takes?" Olivia joked, she wasn't very confident that anyone but Alex and Casey could handle SVU.

Alex chuckled, "Well, I have put a bit of a limit on it. I'll stay for six months, tops..."

Olivia nodded, filing that information away as a deadline. "Six months? Well I guess that's better than nothing. Glad to have you back Alex...on the team, not...you know."

"I know. It's good to be back, at least for now. I needed something familiar. I just hope I haven't lost my edge," she said with a smile.

Olivia's eyes narrowed as she took a sip of her milkshake, "Something tells me that no amount of time in WitSec could ever dull your edge." She smiled again.

She was about done with her salad when she heard Olivia's cell phone and she said, "I guess we'll see. Is that the guys with Lynwood?"

Liv checked her cell and the text confirmed Alex's guess, "Yup, ready to get back in the groove?" Alex nodded and then Olivia went to the counter to pay for their lunch.

Alex left the tip on the table and then followed Olivia out. The two went back to the station at a quick and quiet pace, the two eager to get to the bottom of the case.

The interrogation went swiftly and though it went against her better conscience to go after a boy who was obviously slow, Alex had herself convinced that Jeffrey Lynwood had known right from wrong when he went after Keppler and she was ready to prosecute him for the doctor's murder.


Chapter Thirty-Two: A Romantic Reconciliation

She left the precinct late and went home to relax after a long, hard day. When she walked in she called out for her girlfriend, "Kate?"

After her appointment, Kate had walked around the city for a bit before heading to her dad's place. They had talked for a few hours before Kate decided to head home. She was in the kitchen making dinner when Alex came home. "Hey honey, I'm in the kitchen."

Alex moseyed into the kitchen and leaned against the doorframe, "Hey. What are you making?"

Kate looked up and smiled, "Chicken Cordon Bleu with penne and marinara. Also, there's peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I hope you're hungry." Kate turned back to the stove to stir the homemade marinara sauce.

"As a matter of fact, I am. We had a long night and I'm starved." She walked over to the stove and peeked at the food, "Looks amazing. When did you have time to make all of this?"

Kate smiled as she kissed Alex's cheek, "I came home earlier than I expected so I thought I'd make some of your favorites. My way of trying to mend some fences." Kate looked down into the pot of sauce. "The cobbler's in the oven and this sauce is almost perfect." Kate smiled, "You have time if you want to change into something more comfortable."

"I think I'll do that. I've been on my feel all day and walking around in these heels hasn't been easy. I'll just be a few minutes," she said, kissing Kate on the cheek and then heading into the bedroom. She returned a few minutes later in a pair of gray yoga pants and a white tank.

Kate turned to look at Alex, "You look great. I like this look on you." She began serving up the food and placed the plates on the table next to the bottle of red wine that she'd opened up to breathe. She then went to Alex's chair and held it out for her and put on a really good French accent, "Mademoiselle, if you please?" She waited for Alex to sit.

Alex sat down and looked down at her plate with a smile, "You're spoiling me, you know."

Kate leaned down and whispered into Alex's ear, "That's the plan, so sit back and let me, please?" Kate straightened up and sat down in the chair across from Alex, "I like making you smile, I like spoiling you...because I love you Alex." She reached out and placed her hand over Alex's.

"I love you too Kate. This just seems…I don't know…we were so unhappy last night and now…it's like none of it happened."

Kate shook her head, "It happened, I'm not trying to erase it or pretend it didn't, I just want us to see if we can still be together like we used to be. We can work through our issues tomorrow, but tonight, I'd like to see if we can still...be us, ok?" Kate hoped this would work...otherwise she was going to give Dr. Melfi a piece of her mind.

Alex nodded and said, "Ok, that sounds good to me." She picked up her fork and knife and started eating. She couldn't help but savor the moment. It was exactly what she needed, what they needed.

Kate watched Alex eat for a moment and then she dug in too. She was glad Alex had agreed to her suggestion and she wanted tonight to be perfect. The oven timer dinged a few minutes into their meal and Kate stood up, "Excuse me, cobbler's ready." She went to the oven and, using an oven mitt, she pulled the cobbler out and placed it on a rack to cool while they finished eating. She turned off the oven and went back to the table. "How's the chicken?"

"Amazing, like everything you make. Sometimes I think you missed your calling as a chef, but at least I get to experience it," she said with a grin and then took a sip of her wine.

Kate felt herself blush, "I don't have the talent to go pro, but I love having someone to cook for who appreciates it." She smiled as she brought her fork with chicken on it to her mouth.

While Alex enjoyed her meal, she kept peeking up at Kate and smiling like a little schoolgirl. She liked that they didn't have to think about anything that had happened. She was safe and after her talk with Olivet that morning, she was reminded of that.

When they finished dinner, Kate asked, "Did you want dessert now or should we wait a bit to let dinner settle?"

"I want some, but…I have a very specific plan in mind and I want to make sure it's cool enough that it doesn't burn..."

Kate smiled as she arched an eyebrow, "Ok...how about watching a movie while we wait?"

Alex nodded and smiled evilly, "I can't wait until I can drizzle you with sweet peaches. Pick a short movie, ok?"

Kate felt a tingle from below at Alex's words and she smiled, "In that case, how about we pop in a DVD from the first season of House? We can watch a nice, short 45-minute episode. Sound good?"

"Sounds perfect, but I might not be able to keep my hands off of you in the meantime."

"That's ok with me. Come on." Kate put their plates in the dishwasher and then walked to the living room. She looked over her shoulder to see Alex following her. "I'll get the DVDs." She went to the entertainment center and found the box set. She put in the first disc of season five, wanting to watch a very specific episode, and then walked back to the couch. She stretched out in her usual position, waiting for Alex to sit down in front of her so she could hold her like she usually did.

Alex shook her head, "No, I want that spot tonight baby...please?"

Kate stood up after a second of hesitation and said, "Whatever you want honey."

Alex settled into Kate's usual spot and opened her arms to the brunette. She wanted to hold her for two reasons: one, because she wanted to pamper Kate a little and two, because she had very naughty hands that needed to occupy themselves somehow.

Kate settled into Alex's arms on the couch. She sighed when she felt Alex's arms wrap around her. She lifted the remote and selected the episode, "Lucky Thirteen" and then gently dropped the remote on the floor next to the couch. She leaned her head back on Alex's shoulder, "Your arms feel good around me. I've missed them."

"You're about to feel a lot better, baby," Alex whispered into Kate's ear before dropping a soft kiss on her lobe. One hand began to drift upwards as the show started, but Alex's eyes were focused on her lover, not the screen. She crept up inch by inch until she was cupping Kate's breast.

Kate's eyes closed as she felt Alex's hand on her breast. "Alex...if, um, if we start this...let's make sure we finish it, ok?" Kate didn't know if she could take another night of foreplay with no release.

"My thoughts exactly, babe. I want you to make me come, Kate, your hand, your tongue, your body, all you…" She slipped Kate's bra up over her breasts so that she could tease and tweak her nipples.

Kate arched up into Alex's hand. "Anything you want baby...anything..." She ran her hands over Alex's thighs, her fingers gently massaging the muscles as Alex played with her breasts.

Alex was working her slowly because she was waiting for their dessert to cool. She wanted to lick the sweet glaze from Kate's breasts after thoroughly painting them and then trail the drizzle lower so that she could lick all the way down to her lover's pussy and bring her to climax. As they lay on the couch, Alex was teasing Kate's nipples until they were stiff and then her palm would soothe them back down.

Kate was on fire. She turned her head and captured Alex's lips, needing to taste her lover. She'd have to wait for the real flavor but she'd settle for what she could get right then. She slipped her tongue into Alex's mouth and moaned when she felt the blonde's tongue move against hers.

Alex squeezed Kate's breasts a little harder now, her hunger clear in her actions. She might just have to put her plan on the back burner and take Kate right now, just like this.

Kate couldn't take it anymore. She flipped over until she was hovering over Alex and she broke their kiss to look down at her girlfriend, grinning. "I know you have plans for me and the cobbler, but...I don't think I can wait for that." She leaned down and began kissing Alex's neck, slowly trailing lower to her chest, her hands the only thing holding her up so she didn't crush the blonde.

"Do you think we should move this to the bed so that we can have more room?" Alex asked, her voice breathy.

Kate lifted her head and looked at Alex, "Yeah...come on, I have a surprise for you in the bedroom." Kate slowly stood up and reached a hand down to Alex. "Or would you rather I carry you again?"

Alex shook her head, "No, save your strength for later." She followed Kate into their bedroom.

Kate led Alex to their bed, which she'd remade that afternoon with red satin sheets, and sat her down at the foot of the bed. "Wait here just one moment, ok? I promise, you'll like this surprise." Kate leaned down and kissed Alex quickly. "I'll be right back." She slipped into their bathroom and closed the door.

A few moments later, she came back into the bedroom wearing a black stretchy lace dress with a teasing tie up top and matching black g-string...she stood in front of Alex, "You like?"

Alex was practically salivating when she looked Kate over from head to toe, "I love. Do you know how wet you just made me?"

Kate reached for Alex's hand and pressed it between her own legs, "I don't know...as wet as you made me?"

Alex felt butterflies in her stomach and then they took a quick trip south. She started rubbing Kate between her legs, the thin fabric getting damp. "I want to make you come so badly, Kate."

Kate head fell backwards as her body took over for her brain. She moaned at the movement of Alex's hand, "Oh yes baby..." Kate stepped closer until she was kneeling on the bed, straddling Alex's thighs. She looked down at her girlfriend and smiled as she ran her hands through the silky blonde hair, "Make me yours again Alex, please..." Kate leaned down and kissed Alex, her tongue sliding into the blonde's mouth.

Alex moved her hands around to cup Kate's ass. She squeezed rhythmically and then helped lower the brunette down until Alex was on her back and Kate was hovering over her. She urged Kate's pussy down until it made contact with her soft cotton pants and she encouraged her to rock.

Kate braced herself on the bed as she hovered over Alex, her hips rocking against the blonde. Kate broke the kiss and began trailing her lips down Alex's neck, licking and sucking the smooth skin she'd missed so much. As her lips traveled down to Alex's collarbone, she lightly nipped the skin there then soothed it with her tongue before moving to Alex's ear to whisper, "I love you so much...I've missed making love with you and I want to spend this whole night showing you exactly how right we are together baby. If you'll let me..." Kate pulled back so that she could look her girlfriend in the eye.

Alex looked up into Kate's eyes and stroked her hair, "I want this so much baby. Please, show me, teach me, love me." She pulled her back down for a kiss, her body running hot as she longed to feel her bare skin against Kate's.

Kate ran one hand up Alex's shirt, caressing the hot, smooth skin until she reached Alex's breast. She teased the nipple as she deepened their kiss and then shifted to her knees so she could use her other hand. She broke the kiss just long enough to remove Alex's shirt.

She looked down at the perfect, smooth breasts and she smiled, "I love looking at you like this, flushed pink from arousal, chest heaving, eyes dilated, it's all the proof I need to know that you are mine and I am yours and together...nothing can break us Alex...nothing." She leaned down and wrapped her lips around a rosy nipple, sucking on it while her hand teased the other one. She grinned against the skin when she heard Alex's breathing speed up.

Alex ran her hands over the length of Kate's back, the urge to drag her nails over Kate's back strong. She found the hem of the dress and started inching it up so that she could expose Kate's tan skin.

Kate kissed her way to the other breast, her hands running down Alex's body to the waistband of her pants. She teased the skin there, her nails lightly scratching Alex's belly. She lifted her head and said, "These need to come off...now."

Alex nodded her agreement, her thighs quivering as Kate pulled the pants off. She was gripping the sheets and watching her girlfriend carefully.

Kate threw the pants across the room and smiled down at her naked girlfriend, "No panties? Someone's been planning naughty things..." She sat up, still straddling Alex's thighs, and slowly, teasingly removed her dress, leaving herself in just the g-string. She reached for Alex's hands and brought them to the ties on either side of her panties. "You want to do the honors baby?"

Alex bit her lip as if she were in deep thought and with a smooth motion, she pulled the ties until the bows came undone. She watched as the material slipped down but it stuck between Kate's legs and she grinned, "Oh, that's hot…" She had to pull it away and smiled when she saw Kate's glistening skin, "Yum."

Kate smiled down at Alex, "That's what you do to me baby...that's all you." She ran her hands down Alex's torso, loving the feel of the smooth, taut skin beneath her fingertips.

"How do you want me to make love to you? Fingers? Tongue? Both?" Alex asked, desperate for the brunette.

Kate thought about that, then she grinned, wickedly, "I want to feel your mouth on me, I want your tongue deep inside of me, your hands on my breasts as I come in your mouth." Kate lowered her hands down to Alex's center and ran her fingers through the wetness there, gathering some of it up before bringing her fingers to her lips. She licked her them clean, "Now that's a flavor I've missed." She winked at Alex, "Make me yours Alex, please."

Alex was more than happy to oblige. She rolled Kate so that the brunette was resting on the bed and then told her to scoot up so that her head was on the pillows. She kissed Kate's lips and then began her descent, licking and kissing over Kate's breasts, her taut stomach, and finally between her legs. She scratched Kate's thighs for several moments until the brunette was quivering, then she glanced up at her girlfriend and saw the pained look on her face. She didn't want to make Kate suffer, so she parted Kate's pussy lips and started licking at her clit, the warmth of the wetness coating her tongue.

Kate's head dropped to the pillow and her body was on fire. She brought one hand to Alex's head, encouraging her to keep going, the other hand gripped the bed sheet. "Oh yeah baby, don't stop." She spread her legs even wider, giving her lover greater access.

Alex sucked and licked Kate's clit while her left hand moved up to massage Kate's full breast. Her other hand moved between Kate's legs and with ease, she slipped two fingers inside of the brunette. She pumped in and out at a medium pace, her fingers moving from knuckle to tip each time.

Kate's hips moved in rhythm with Alex's fingers, her orgasm building with each stroke. She dropped her hand from Alex's head, not wanting to hurt her as she gripped the sheets tightly. "I'm so close baby...don't stop...oh God!"

Alex spoke against Kate's clit, "I love you," and then kissed it, her fingers working deep and fast as she felt the contractions of the muscles. She was brushing her fingers over Kate's breasts and working her with passion, wanting her to come into her mouth.

The vibration from Alex's declaration of love shot through Kate's clit and brought her to the edge. She let herself go and felt her whole body tighten as her orgasm washed over her. She came with Alex's name on her lips as her hands came close to tearing a hole through the bedding.

Alex waited until the pulsing stopped and she placed one last kiss on Kate's clit before sliding up to lay next to her girlfriend. She rubbed Kate's stomach and smiled as the brunette's body relaxed and the glow spread over her skin.

Kate turned her head to look at Alex. The self-satisfied look on the blonde's face brought a smile to Kate's lips, "That was amazing...God I've missed this with you." In a surge of energy, Kate rolled over and moved Alex onto her back, kissing her, tasting herself on her lips, and it turned her on even more. She moved her leg between Alex's legs and pressed against her center.

Alex moaned into the kiss and pressed harder against Kate's leg, her hips slowly rocking. She needed Kate, needed to come, and it wouldn't take much to make it happen at this point.

Kate broke their kiss and looked at Alex with a smile before she began kissing her way down her body. Kate lavished attention on Alex's breasts, her hands flat on the bed to hold her up, and then licked her way down Alex's abs, using her tongue to outline the muscles that barely showed through he creamy skin. She gave more attention to Alex's abs than she had to her breasts because it once again hit her that if they couldn't work things out and get back to where they had been before Dunn...she'd never get to see Alex pregnant with their child. Kate felt tears well up she paused to take a breath, resting her forehead on Alex's belly before she shook off that poisonous thought and continued her journey towards her goal. She ran her tongue through the fine hairs between Alex's legs before she flicked it against her clit. Kate's hands moved to Alex's thighs and she softly massaged them as she eased them further apart. She smiled before she lowered her head again and began sucking on the blonde's clit, desperate to bring her lover to the edge.

As Alex lay there, it didn't escape her notice that Kate had rested her forehead against her lower abdomen and she wondered if the brunette was thinking the same thing she was. Would they have the baby they so longed for? Alex knew she still wanted that and she hoped Kate did too, but she let any worries slip out of her mind when she felt Kate between her legs. She moaned and cupped her own breasts, her pussy pressing against Kate's mouth.

Kate moved her tongue lower, sliding it inside Alex's pussy. She gathered the wetness on her tongue and savored the flavor. Kate moved her fingers from Alex's thigh and slipped them into the blonde's wet center after pulling her tongue out. She began moving in and out of Alex as she licked and sucked on her clit and the rocking of her lover's hips indicated she was close. Kate hummed into Alex's clit, knowing the vibration would push her lover over the edge.

Alex gripped the sheets and moaned, her body flushed pink as she inched closer and closer to the edge. She arched her back and growled when her orgasm finally hit her, Kate's name on her lips as her entire body trembled. She relaxed down onto the bed, her chest heaving and her eyes a lighter blue in the wake of the overwhelming pleasure.

Kate couldn't help the wide smile that spread on her face when she looked up at Alex. She loved seeing Alex like this, satisfied, spent, totally relaxed... What made it even better was the knowledge that she was the reason for it. Kate slowly kissed her way back up her lover's body pausing once again at Alex's abs to say a silent prayer for their future. She ran her tongue over the pulse point on Alex's neck, then she lifted her head and looked into Alex's eyes, "I love you...so much..." Kate felt the tears well up again as she whispered, "Please...please don't leave me. I don't think I can handle losing you, ok?" Kate buried her face in Alex's neck, inhaling the comforting scent of her skin as she held her tight.

Alex ran her fingers through Kate's hair and said, "I'm not going to leave you honey. I promise. I love you and I want to have everything that we've talked about. I just need some time to sort everything, but I'm working on it, ok? For us."

Kate tried to calm herself down enough to be able to look at Alex and talk clearly, "Ok, I will give you all the time you need, but...I don't want to be away from you again. These last few days without you were hell. I hated being at the house without you, so I'll give you time, but...I can't stay away from you, please don't ask me to." Kate was beyond caring if she came off as needy or weak, she was beyond the need to preserve her facade or her pride. She just needed to be honest with Alex and make sure she knew where she stood. She waited to hear what Alex would say, praying she wouldn't ask for space again.

"I won't ask you to be away from me, I swear. I thought it would help us, but I think it just made things worse. I was wrong and I'm sorry Kate. I love you," Alex said as she rubbed Kate's back slowly, hoping to calm her down.

Kate held tightly onto Alex, her face buried in her neck again. She heard the blonde's words and they soothed her a little, knowing that Alex wouldn't ask her to leave again. There wasn't anything Kate wouldn't do for Alex to help her heal, but she wouldn't be able to stand the pain of being separated again. She turned her head so her lips were right next to Alex's ear and she said, brokenly through her tears, "Thank you. I love you."

When Alex heard Kate's broken voice, she started crying as well and said, "Shh, I'm right here, baby. Please don't cry…I don't like it when you cry…"

Kate first instinct was to try to bottle it all back up, bury it deep inside again, whatever she needed to do to stop Alex's tears, but she knew that even if she could call it back in, it was too late, and it wouldn't be right. She needed to let herself feel and get it all out so that she and Alex could be healthy again. She looked up into Alex's eyes and quickly wiped her own tears away before she brought her hand to Alex's face and carefully wiped hers away. "I'm sorry...I never wanted to make you cry. I just...I can't leave you again." Kate ran a hand over Alex's belly, gently, reverently. She stared at her hand as it drew circles on the taut skin, "I want us to be a family. I want to see you carrying our child and I want to be yours, forever. I will wait as long as I have to for that to happen. I will give you all the time that you need baby." She looked into Alex's blue eyes, "That's how much I love you...and that will never change, no matter what." She leaned down and placed a light kiss on Alex's lips.

Alex kissed Kate back and placed her hand over Kate's on her own tummy. She wanted the same thing that Kate did and she loved her with all her heart. She encouraged Kate to stretch out next to her and then she covered their bodies with a blanket and whispered, "Close your eyes, honey. I think we're both tired…we'll feel better in the morning. I promise that we're going to be together and we're going to have everything that we want."

Kate settled in, snuggling close to Alex as she closed her eyes, "I'm going to hold you to that promise." Kate smiled briefly before she fell asleep.

The next morning, Alex woke up and smiled when she felt Kate curled up right next to her. She stroked the brunette's back and stayed still as she listened to her breathing. It was the first time in a week that things felt back to normal and she didn't want to lose the feeling. She was so happy that it was the weekend and that they didn't have to think about anything until Monday.

Kate woke up slowly, her body curled around Alex's, and the sensation made her smile. She stretched out slowly, careful not to break contact with Alex's skin. She glanced up at her girlfriend and smiled happily as she said, "Good morning baby. I've missed waking up with you." She leaned up and lightly kissed her.

Alex nodded, "Me too. It feels like it's been so long since we've done this and it's only really been a week… Isn't that weird?"

Kate leaned her head on her hand as she said, "Weird? Yeah a little, but given how we were before...it's not that surprising. Everyday apart feels like an eternity. I love you, I never want to spend that much time apart again."

"Me neither. It was torture around here without you…" She tickled Kate's back and continued, "In fact, I had to call a friend of mine to stay with me because I was so upset..."

Kate was reminded of the night when Martha told her she saw Alex with another woman and she felt her insecurity start to rise up. Before it had a chance to reach the surface, she clamped it down and put on her poker face, "Oh? Anyone I know?"

"No. She's someone I used to know from the DA's office. We went out for coffee that first night so that I could talk…I just needed someone and she's always been a good friend. She helped me out a lot."

Kate saw the truth in Alex's eyes and she felt something inside her heart unwind and relax. She smiled, "Well, while I wish I could've been the one you talked to that night, but I'm glad that you had someone that could help you. Maybe the three of us could meet for drinks one night?" Kate was determined to not let her jealousy mess up this second chance she was getting with Alex.

Alex smiled, "Yeah, that would be great. I keep hoping that Serena will meet someone…she really deserves it, but she's had a really hard time finding a nice girl. Not everyone can be as lucky as I am."

Kate ran her fingers lightly over Alex's belly, "We're both lucky to have found each other baby. As for...Serena, was it? Maybe between the two of us we can find someone for her."

"You really think we could?" Alex asked with surprise. She really wanted her best friend to be as happy as she and Kate were.

Kate grinned, "Yeah...I just had an idea. We can set her up with Olivia and kill two birds with one stone...what do you think?" Kate's voice made it clear she was only kidding but if Alex found merit in the suggestion...well that would be fine too.

Alex chuckled, "Um, I know you're kidding, but even if you weren't, it would never work out between them. Serena likes women who can be open about who they are. Olivia is tragically closeted and probably always will be."

Kate chuckled, "Ok, so not her... besides, I was kidding. It would be really weird to go out on a double date with them. Don't worry, though, we'll figure something out. In the meantime," Kate grinned and leaned her head down to begin placing light kisses up and down Alex's neck, "I'm getting hungry, you up for some breakfast?"

"Yes. I'm sure any minute my stomach will start growling embarrassingly," she said with a grin. "Do you want me to get your robe?"

Kate looked up at her and grinned, "Well I was thinking of cooking in the nude, but maybe a robe would be better."

"Yeah, we need to protect your skin as much as we need to protect mine." She got up from the bed reluctantly and swaggered over to the closet to get both their robes. Then she stopped just a few feet from the bed and said, "Let me see and then you can have your robe."

Kate frowned, "See? See what? My nude, toned, fully satisfied body or..." Kate liked teasing Alex and it felt good to be able to do that her again.

Alex laughed, "Well duh, what else would I be asking to see if not your nude, toned, fully satisfied body? I want to see my handiwork in action."

Kate smiled as she stepped out of bed and slowly walked over to Alex. She stood a few steps away from her girlfriend and grinned, "Well, I thought you were going to inspect me for new tattoos or something..." She began twirling in a circle, slowly letting Alex take a good long look, "Do I meet with your approval?" Kate's tone was playful.

"For now…but we have to keep up that gorgeous glow…and I do recall putting off my plans last night for dessert..."

Kate smiled, "Well I think I can guess what we'll be having for breakfast..." Kate leaned forward and ran her hands down Alex's body, from her shoulders to her thighs, "I just hope it's still good after sitting on the counter all night."

"Well let's go find out," Alex said with a wicked grin before she slipped on her robe. She took Kate's hand once she was covered and led her to the kitchen.

Kate followed Alex to the kitchen, loving the feeling of their hands linked together. After their separation, any contact was something Kate savored. They walked into the kitchen and Kate wrapped her arms around Alex from behind when the blonde stopped walking. She rested her chin on Alex's shoulder and placed a kiss on her neck, "So, what's the verdict? Still good?"

Alex dipped her finger into the filling and brought it up for Kate to taste, "You tell me."

Kate wrapped her lips around Alex's finger and sucked on it. She licked it clean, but didn't let go right away. She ran her tongue over the digit and slowly slid her mouth up until just the tip remained between her lips. She flicked her tongue over the tip before releasing it and the whole time she never took her eyes away from Alex's. She smiled, "Tastes great to me... and the peaches were good too, by the way."

Alex blushed and said, "Well, I'm glad to hear it." She picked up a serving spoon and served some of the dessert into a bowl. She turned to Kate and said, "Come on, let's go back in the other room so that I can glaze your body."

Kate smiled before she said, "Wait, we're missing two key ingredients." Kate went to the fridge and took out a can of Reddi Whip before she disappeared back into their bedroom to find a jar of Body Chocolate she'd been saving for just this occasion. She ran back to the kitchen and held both up for Alex's inspection, "You have the cobbler but I want to make you my own personal sundae, ok?" She hoped Alex would agree because she really wanted to lick chocolate and whipped cream off of Alex's already sweet, delicious body.

Alex looked at the jar of chocolate and cocked an eyebrow, "Two things, when did you get that and why have I never seen it before now?"

Kate grinned as she felt herself blush a little, "I, um...I bought it yesterday when I was out shopping for dinner...I was on my way home when I passed that little sex shop a couple of blocks over. I went in just to look around and I guess I just couldn't resist," Kate explained. She hoped Alex wouldn't think she was being presumptuous in buying the chocolate, but she just couldn't help herself.

Alex chuckled and kissed the tip of Kate's nose, "You are adorable and it's a good idea keeping it in our room. Last thing we want is Kevin coming over, finding it in the cupboard, and asking if he can have some."

Kate smiled, "You're right about that, I wouldn't even know what to say. Come on, let's go back to our bed and put this stuff to good use." Kate wrapped her arms around her girlfriend, keeping the cold can of whipped cream away from her back. She smiled at her, "We have all day to enjoy ourselves and I intend to thoroughly enjoy you." She leaned closer and kissed her.

They walked to their room and Alex set the cobbler down on the night table. She went to the closet and took out a soft blanket that she'd picked up for just this occasion. It would protect their regular bedding from staining so that they could go crazy without worrying. Alex looked at Kate and said, "Ok, who's going first?"

Kate smiled at Alex's preparations. She set her items down on the other night table and said, "Well, since you've been waiting since last night, you can go first...besides, what I have in mind for you is going to take all day." Kate winked at Alex before she dropped her robe and stretched out on the bed, her arms resting on the pillows and her legs spread just enough to hint at what lay further in. She smiled up at her lover, "Ready when you are baby. I'm all yours."

Alex's thighs clenched when she saw Kate lying there like that, but she had to remind herself to stay cool and not lose it. She picked up the bowl and tilted it so that the fruit and glaze started pouring over Kate's tight abs and up to her chest. She set the bowl down and started smearing the peaches with two fingers, circling Kate's nipples and her navel. "God, this is so hot..."

The fruit was a little chilly after being out all night but Kate didn't mind...it was better than it being right out of the fridge. She smiled at the look on Alex's face and suddenly it didn't seem that cold at all. Her head fell back on the pillow and she closed her eyes, letting herself get lost in the moment. Kate was once again thankful that it was the weekend and there was no chance of work interrupting them, especially since she was still on leave.

Alex painted the last bit of peach glaze onto Kate's lips and then she leaned down and started kissing her, the brunette's natural essence mixing with the sweetness of the dessert. She kissed her until there wasn't a trace of peach left and then started down to Kate's breasts, a soft "Mmmm" escaping her lips.

Kate savored the tantalizing mix of the peaches and Alex. She forced herself to keep her hands stretched out at her sides, letting Alex have complete control, trusting her implicitly. When she felt her lover's hot mouth on her breast, a moan escaped her lips.

Alex circled Kate's nipples until again, every inch was clean and then she moved lower, focusing on her abs. She worked her tongue back and forth, licking lower and lower until she reached Kate's dark curls and she looked up and grinned, "Are you ready for me baby?"

Kate struggled to get her breathing under control enough to pant out, "I've been ready...since I woke up, honey...please...don't keep me waiting...I need to feel your mouth...on me..." Kate's head lifted from the pillow, she gave in and brought her hands to Alex's hair and ran her fingers through the silky strands. "Please, Alex...please."

Alex settled between Kate's legs and inhaled her lover's scent before diving straight inside of the brunette with her tongue. She massaged Kate's swollen clit with her thumb while she thrust in and out of Kate's depths.

Kate's hips began to rock of their own accord, her body disconnecting from her brain as she lost the ability to think. She was so close already just from the foreplay that she knew it wouldn't take much and she was right. Her hands tightened their grip on Alex's hair as she felt her orgasm rise and rush to the surface. She felt her body grow taut as it crashed over her in waves so strong she began to see spots in her vision. At the very peak of her climax, Kate felt herself losing consciousness and she gave in to it, knowing she couldn't fight it. Before she passed out, she cried out Alex's name.

Alex remained in place until the pulses stopped, then she propped herself up and looked up at Kate, smiling when she saw her tuckered out girlfriend.

Slowly, Kate began to stir and she rejoined the land of the living. She slowly rolled her head towards her girlfriend and smiled lazily, "Hey stud..."

"Stud, huh? Did I ever tell you you're good for my self esteem?" Alex asked as she moved next to Kate and took the brunette into her arms.

Kate had recovered enough to giggle, "Well...considering no one else has ever been able to make me pass out in bed like that before, I'd say you've earned that title." She ran a hand lightly over Alex's abs.

"I'll understand if you want to take a little break. We have all day to be together. You just look so beautiful like this and I want to hold you."

Kate looked into Alex's eyes and smiled, "We can take a break. After all, I like it when you hold me. The chocolate can wait." She began lightly running her nails over Alex's belly and then said in a somewhat sad and distracted voice, "Do you, um...do you still want to have a child with me?" Kate was afraid to look into her lover's eyes in case the answer was no.

Alex smiled sweetly and touched her cheek, "Of course I do. I've…noticed that you've been touching my tummy a lot, is that why? Because you're worried that I'm going to say no?"

Kate nodded, "That's part of it..." She rested on the smooth skin, feeling the warmth seep into her hand.

"What's the other part?" Alex asked, her muscles relaxing under Kate's touch.

Kate took a breath, taking Dr. Melfi's advice about opening up and being honest about her fears, "When...when I was at the house, alone and missing you...I started thinking about our future. I started thinking about the plans we'd made and...for a moment it occurred to me that if we didn't get things right again...we would lose that future." Kate felt tears begin to gather in her eyes and she used her other hand to wipe them away. "I had flashes of being in my apartment, five cats crawling all over the place, alone with nothing but my job and my memories to keep me warm at night. I hated it... I want my future to always include you and...our children. Ever since I fell asleep in the guest bedroom two nights ago, I've been seeing visions of you pregnant with our child and it made me smile. I guess that's why I've been paying extra attention to your belly… I've been picturing you carrying our child." Kate lowered her head and placed soft kisses around Alex's belly button.

Alex smiled and ran her fingers through Kate's hair, "When you picture it, what do you see, baby? Tell me about your vision for us and our babies…" She wanted to hear it so that she could share in Kate's vision.

Kate smiled, "I see you...glowing and beautiful. Sometimes you're lying on the couch and I'm rubbing your feet after a long day. Other times, you're relaxing in the tub and I am crouched down next to you, just looking at you. My favorite times, though, are when you're on the bed and I am spooning you and we're almost asleep and I have my hand on your belly, rubbing slowly as you drift off in my arms." Kate looked up into Alex's eyes. "You should know that, for the entire duration of the pregnancy, I am going to wait on you hand and foot. There's going to be tummy rubs, foot rubs, back rubs, and the always popular silly baby talk directly to the baby."

Alex could picture all of that in her mind's eye and she felt tears, "That sounds amazing, baby. Um…you know, we've never actually talked about who we want to be our donor…and since we're thinking about doing this soon, I hope, um, maybe we should talk about it."

"Ok, let's talk about it. Were you thinking of using someone we know or an anonymous donor?" Kate was fine either way as long as it wasn't Castle.

"I'd like to ask someone we know. I think in some ways it's safer than picking an anonymous donor. Would that be ok?"

Kate smiled, "Of course…just...not Castle, ok?"

"Oh, absolutely not. He's a great guy, but yeah, no… Actually, I have someone in mind and I've been waiting to talk to him until we discussed it. We met in college and we've kept in touch ever since."

Kate was curious now, "Oh? Who is he?"

"His name is Ryan, he works for NBC in their programming department. He's really sweet and I think you'd totally like him."

Kate arched her eyebrow, "Is he cute?" She knew that was a shallow question but she figured Alex was so beautiful that it would be a shame to have a less than attractive donor.

"Do you want to see pictures? I have some in my old college album."

She giggled, "Baby, I don't need to see a picture right now if it means you have to leave the bed to get it, but you can tell me more about him." Kate wasn't ready to let go of Alex.

"Well, he's really funny, very smart, and to answer your earlier question, he's gorgeous. He's about 6'1" with sandy brown hair, blue eyes, and a great smile. Our children would be beautiful and insanely smart and kind."

Kate thought about Alex's description, "He sounds perfect but I have to ask, he's not...you know, one of the guys you 'dated' to cover for being gay is he?" She hated having to ask but she needed to know.

"Well, kind of. We dated each other to keep our parents in the dark about our sexuality, so I never did anything with him, obviously. We covered for each other when we'd go out on dates, but then he fell in love and we 'broke up.'"

Kate took a moment to think about that, knowing if she said the wrong thing it might spark a fight. She didn't know if she liked the idea of using one of Alex's "exes" as their donor. "Wait, you dated him to keep both your parents in the dark?"

"Yeah, he's as gay as I am. We figured that if we dated each other, our parents would be happy and we could be free to date whoever we wanted," Alex said as she rubbed Kate's stomach. "Does that bother you?"

Kate smiled, "A little, but that was before you told me he was gay too. We should set up a lunch or something so I can meet him, but honey, are you sure he'd be okay just being a donor?" Kate didn't want to get into any kind of custody battle with this guy if he decided he wanted to be a real "daddy."

"Well, we can talk to him and see how we feels about it. We talked about kids one night when we were in college and he told me that he could never really see himself as a father, but that was a long time ago. If he's uncomfortable with the idea, we can always look for someone else."

Kate smiled, "Ok that sounds good." She leaned closer and rubbed her nose against Alex's. "But sweetie, any baby who had half of your genes is going to be gorgeous and smart and I am going to love him or her with all my heart."

"Well, that's another thing… I was sort of hoping that we could use your egg…I want to carry your baby," Alex said nervously.

Kate's first thought was she would love for Alex to carry her child...her next thought was it sounded like a very expensive procedure. "Really? You'd want that?"

"Don't you? I mean, we agreed that it would be safer for me to carry the babies, but…I'd like one to be yours Kate."

Kate smiled, "Of course I'd want that. It would be such a wonderful thing, I just...I didn't think you'd still want that after...everything..." Her voice drifted off as she thought about Dunn and Nikki Heat and the mess they'd left behind.

"Of course I do, baby. Why wouldn't I?" she asked as she leaned forward and kissed Kate's shoulder.

Kate looked away as she said, "I didn't think you'd want to carry Nikki Heat's baby." Kate tone indicated she was joking, making light of the situation for a moment.

Alex thought about where she was going, "Look, babe, even if I carried a baby that was mine, we're still together and he or she would be your child. We'd still face the same issues…wouldn't it be better to just go for it? Unless you don't want that…" She knew that Olivia had had reservations about having a baby that was biologically hers because of her genetics and maybe Kate had the same issues.

Kate shifted and then rolled them over until she was hovering over her girlfriend, "Baby, there's nothing I want more than to have children with you. My eggs, your eggs, it doesn't matter to me as long as they are healthy and ours. I love you baby and I will love any child that comes from us because he or she will be a product of our love." She leaned down and began kissing Alex's neck.

Alex closed her eyes and smiled, "Thank you baby. I can't wait until we can hold our little one in our arms. I'll give Ryan a call soon so that we can have him over for dinner or something."

Kate smiled, "Good...but enough talk...I'm getting a craving for chocolate covered you..." Kate ran her hands all over Alex's body before she reached for the jar of chocolate.

She spent the next three hours licking chocolate off her lover's skin, reapplying it and licking it off again. She repeated that pattern over and over until Alex finally begged for release, so Kate happily obliged, bringing Alex to a powerful climax that left the blonde breathless, sweaty, and weak, but definitely satisfied.

Kate shifted and gathered her close, snuggling into her lover as they fell into a midday nap.


Chapter Thirty-Three: Two Months Later

Over the next two months, Alex and Kate spent their time rebuilding their foundation. They spent time with Alex's family over the Easter holiday and went on vacation to the Hamptons with Castle's family. They also sat down to dinner with Alex's best friend Ryan to talk about the possibility of him being their sperm donor. He had taken the request well and agreed to do whatever he could to help Alex and Kate conceive a baby. The two women let him know that they were still working on some of their issues left over from the Dunn case, but when the time came, they'd send over the papers so that he could sign away his paternal rights and accompany him to the sperm bank.

It was a huge load off of Alex's mind to know that at least that was in place for the two of them. She was still with SVU and was hoping that Jack would call her and let her know that he'd found a permanent replacement, but so far nothing. Her friendship with Olivia had grown stronger as the weeks went by and they'd been going out to lunch once a week to catch up and spend some time outside of work. This particular day she was working late in her office and wanted nothing more than to go home and take a bath with Kate, but unfortunately, duty called and she had to finish up her closing for the next morning.

Olivia Benson was feeling pretty good. Over the last two months she had solidified her friendship with Alex, laying the foundation for something deeper. She knew Alex claimed to be happy and in love with her girlfriend, but she'd seen the sadness in her eyes and knew that things weren't perfect and rosy in their relationship. Olivia knew, deep in her bones, that she and Alex were meant to be together; she'd always known they were soul mates. The proof had come when Alex had survived the shooting. Fate had given them a second chance by letting Alex live and that night when they'd said goodbye, Olivia had seen it in Alex's eyes, the silent plea for Olivia to wait for her.

Olivia had waited for over five years for Alex to return and now that she was back, Olivia was determined to prove to her former lover that they belonged together. Olivia had stopped at their favorite Chinese restaurant and picked up some of their favorite foods to surprise Alex. She knew the blonde was going to be working late and she figured that a little dinner might go a long way.

Olivia walked confidently towards Alex's office door with a knowing grin. Tonight was the night that she would make it clear to Alex that she wanted more than just friendship and she was certain she could get the blonde to respond to her advances. She knocked on Alex's office door and waited to be allowed inside, playing the accommodating role of "gentleman."

Alex looked up from her paperwork, her glasses perched on her nose, and called out, "Who is it?"

Olivia smiled as she replied, "It's me, Olivia, can I come in?"

Alex let out a breath and smiled, "Yeah, one sec, it's locked." She got up from her desk and went to the door to open in. She smiled when she saw Olivia standing there with two take out bags and said, "Don't tell me that's Chang's…"

Olivia smiled the smile she knew Alex had never been able to resist in the past and hoped that it still worked for her now. "Is there any other place? You hungry?" She held up the bags, letting the aroma of the food waft out to Alex as a temptation.

Alex looked longingly at the bags and nodded, "Yeah. I haven't had anything to eat since 11 this morning. Ridenour kept us until six and then I came right back here to write my closing."

Olivia waved the bags under Alex's nose one more time, "You going to let me and the food in or suffer in silence?" She winked, smile still in place as she waited to be asked into the office instead of standing on the threshold. It was late and almost everyone had gone home, but anyone could be wandering around and she didn't think it was smart to just be standing in the hallway.

"Sorry, yeah, come in," she said, moving out of Olivia's way so that she could come into the office. She closed the door behind her and watched as Olivia took out the boxes and set them on the coffee table that she had in front of her couch. "Did you finish early tonight?"

Olivia smiled up at Alex for a moment before she pulled out the chopsticks and opened the last of the containers. "Yeah, there's nothing we can do until the morning so the Captain kicked us out early. I remembered you said you might be working late and I figured you hadn't eaten since lunch, so I took a chance and brought provisions." She stood up and brought out two small bottles of wine to go with their dinner along with two plastic cups. She held them up to Alex, "Sorry for the plastic, but I had to improvise." She pointed to the couch in front of the coffee table, "Come on, let's eat."

Alex joined her on the sofa and picked up her chopsticks. She gathered some noodles and slipped them into her mouth, a smiled of satisfaction spreading from ear to ear, "Mmmm."

Olivia smiled as she poured the wine into the cups before she began eating. "I take it I picked the right food? It's been so long I was worried I'd forgotten your favorites...or that they had changed."

"Nothing could ever sway me from Chang's. It's classic. But I do have some new places I've discovered since I've been back… I can't remember the last time we did this..."

Olivia remembered, "It was after the, um, Cherish Doe case... after I caught you on your 'date' with Langan and we had that fight...we got Chang's and camped out in your living room, making up with each other. We ate cross-legged on the floor at the coffee table, soft jazz was playing, and we were just...together. We were happy and laughing and...it was a good night." Olivia's voice grew softer as she spoke, her mind going back to that night.

Alex remembered that night. Sitting in her pajamas with her hair curled and her makeup still on while she and Olivia shared dinner. She hated having to go to dinner with Langan, but thanks to the annual DA's Office auction, she'd had no choice but to go out on a date with him. She and Olivia had a great laugh about it and Alex made a vow to never volunteer again. "Seems like another lifetime, huh?"

Olivia looked down at her plate, "Yeah...it does." She took a breath then said, "I, um...I want you to know that I'm glad we can be friends again, comfortable like this, remembering the past. It's nice."

"Yeah. To be honest, I didn't have much hope for reconciliation, but I'm glad that we're doing this. It's been nice to have you back in my life."

Olivia smiled again as she continued eating. Alex's words just added fuel to the fire that was building inside her, increasing her desire to make Alex hers again. "I know I said it before, but it was months ago and we haven't spoken of it since, but I wanted you to know that...I really am deeply sorry for all the crap I put you through before, you know, not being able to tell Elliot or anyone else about us. I never meant to hurt you and I know I should've just done it and damn the consequences because we'd be together. I see now that I was so wrong back then." She looked away, taking a sip of her wine in the silence that followed.

Alex touched her shoulder, "Olivia, look, it's still not too late to say something. If you're ready to come out to the guys, I'll be there to support you… I just want you to be happy, you know?"

Olivia shook her head, fighting the tears that welled up, "No, I..I can't...not now."

"Why not? Olivia, I can tell you want to be honest with them…" Alex said, her eyes filled with compassion for Olivia's predicament.

She wiped the tears away as she said, "I'm not...I'm not strong enough to come out just for the sake of coming out. I mean, it's pathetic enough to be my age and still alone, but...to be my age, alone, and gay just seems beyond pathetic." She shook her head ruefully, "The ironic part is that, if we were still together...like that, this wouldn't be so hard now."

"Olivia, you can't live a lie your whole life. So what if they know you're gay and single at this age? That's nothing to be ashamed of and to say that it's more pathetic than being straight and single at this age…it makes me think you're not really ok with it...still."

Olivia looked at Alex, "What's pathetic is that I am over 40 and the longest relationship I've ever had is with you...well and Elliot but that's different." She placed a hand lightly on Alex's knee, "I'm sorry, I didn't come here to unload this on you." She lowered her head, closing her eyes.

"It's ok. I'm here to listen, but…have you thought about seeing someone? A professional that might help you come to terms with your feelings about being gay?"

Olivia chuckled but there was no humor in it, "No...being gay isn't my problem Alex...being single is. Being alone..." Olivia's voice dropped to a very low whisper, "Without you." She prayed that Alex hadn't heard that last bit, but she knew, sitting so close, she wasn't that lucky.

Alex looked down at sighed, "I'm sorry, Olivia…I really am, but maybe if you're honest with the guys, they could help you find someone else."

"I don't trust the guys to pick men for me much less women." Olivia grinned, picturing the guys scrambling to come up with dates for her again, this time with women.

Olivia looked at Alex and saw that the blonde was a little distracted by her thoughts. She figured that this would be her only chance so she leaned in and kissed the blonde, savoring the contact for a moment. Just as she was about to pull away, she felt Alex's lips move against hers, so she shifted closer and slipped her tongue out, licking at her lips silently asking for entry.

Alex inhaled sharply and then pulled away when she felt Olivia's tongue licking at her lips and scooted back until she was against the arm of the couch, "What the hell?"

Olivia wanted to lean closer and kiss her again, convinced she could bring Alex around with another kiss, but she stopped herself. She looked at Alex and fought not to smile. She didn't know what to say so she just took a sip of her wine to stall for time. "I, uh...I'm sorry if I crossed a line but...I still love you Alex. I know you felt something when we kissed. You started to kiss me back so...why can't we just see if we still have that spark? If we can get back what was ripped away from us?" Olivia asked, desperate for Alex to agree, but understanding that she was too stubborn to give in right away. Olivia knew it would take more than this initial plea and she was willing to do whatever she had to do to have a second chance with Alex.

"Because I'm in love with someone else, Olivia. We had our chance and even if I hadn't been shot, we were headed for a breakup anyway. Nothing has changed, don't you get it? You're so deep in the closet you're finding Christmas presents and I can't…I won't be with anyone like that."

Olivia began to argue her case, "You won't have to be. I promise you right now, if you give me another chance...give us another chance, I will tell them. I'll tell them all and we can be together, open and honest, like I know it was meant to be. We're supposed to be together Alex, please." Olivia moved closer and touched Alex's knee again rubbing it the way she remembered Alex liked it.

"Don't…just don't. If you really wanted to be with me, if you really loved me the way you say you do, you would've come clean to Elliot before I got home. You would've told him after I 'died' that we were a couple. That way maybe he would've understood how upset you were… But you let him think you still wanted to be with men!"

Olivia looked at Alex, "So, you're going to keep punishing me for that? Holding that mistake against me? Please, Alex, I admit I should've told him sooner, but...doesn't it count for something that I'm willing to tell him now if you just give me another chance?"

Alex stood up and looked down at Olivia, "It means nothing, ok? I didn't have to force Kate to tell her friends… She brought it up to me. I wasn't sure she was ready, but boy did she prove me wrong. She asked her Captain, her partners, and her close friends to come to dinner so that she could tell them. Her best friend already knew…because she trusted her! You don't even trust Elliot with this. It's who you are! It's not going away!"

Olivia stood up and moved close to Alex, "I'm sorry I'm not as brave as your precious Kate. The reason I never told Elliot is because he's a devout Catholic! I've worked cases with him that have had a gay angle and while he's always professional and even polite with the victims and the witnesses, I see it in his eyes how he feels. I've never been able to risk what I have with Elliot just to be honest about being gay. But it took losing you, being away from you, and having to pretend that you were dead for me to see that nothing else matters to me but you. I could lose Elliot and the guys and it wouldn't matter...if I had you. Don't you get it?"

"You had me and you still didn't say anything! What's changed, huh? Is it because I'm with someone else? Because I'm happy and you're miserable?! You had your chance and you ruined it!" Alex yelled, unable to contain her anger or hurt any longer. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and her body was shaking.

Olivia took a step back from Alex's yelling. She said, "What changed?! You died Alex! That's what changed! I had to watch you bleed out on that sidewalk. I had to sit in the waiting room with the other cops, waiting for the news. The week between that night and the night when I saw you again with the Feds was hell for me. It made me realize that I had wasted so much time and so many opportunities with you. I prayed for the first time in my life. I begged and I pleaded for a second chance. To rewind time and go back to before the day Livia Sandoval landed in our laps so that you didn't have to die. Then I saw you, I knew you were alive and, after the SUVs drove away, I went home and made a vow. If you ever came back to New York and gave me another chance, I would tell the guys about me, about us." Olivia smirked, "But then you came back for the Connors trial and told me that you had moved on...with a man. And I...kind of went a little self destructive. But you're back now and we can be together if you'll just admit that you felt something when we kissed." Olivia begged Alex to think about it.

"It was familiar, nothing else. I love Kate, I will always love Kate. I want to get married to her and have children with her…nothing will change that, not even you, Olivia."

"You wanted those same things with me too. You told me more than once that you'd always love me too. We can still have all of that, please." Olivia made a last ditch effort to change Alex's mind.

"No… I see now what life can be with someone who can be honest and I can never go back. She is my soul mate…I know it in my heart. If I was meant to be with you…I would be…but I'm not. I'm meant for Kate. Now, I really think you should leave."

Olivia brought out the big gun for her final attempt, "You were kidnapped and held by a raving lunatic because of her! You were almost killed again because of her! How many more times is she going to be responsible for putting you in harm's way?"

"That wasn't her fault any more than me getting shot was yours. Some lunatic fixated on a character that happens to be based on her. He was killing long before Kate and she stopped him… And for your information, she's never put the job ahead of our relationship, unlike someone else I know."

Olivia lowered her voice as she walked for the door, realizing she wasn't going to win this battle, though she wasn't ready to give up on the war, "She will. If she's any good at her job, she will because that's what a cop does. I'm sorry if it seemed like I was putting the job ahead of you but I thought you understood. SVU is live victims and they need hand holding, they need closure. Homicide doesn't have live victims, they're way past caring if she closes the case." Olivia looked right into Alex's eyes, "She'll let you down Alex and when she does...you know where to find me. Have a good night." Olivia left the office and went back to her sedan. She sat for a moment replaying their fight and she realized that...like it or not, the war was over. She'd lost. But she held out hope that Alex would change her mind. She started the sedan and drove it home, having already signed it out for the night.

Alex wiped her tears and took a breath. She knew Kate would never let her down because she had her heart and mind on the right things. Yes, her job was important and Alex would never ask her to give it up, but it wasn't the most important thing in her life. Once their baby came, it certainly wouldn't be as important and that's when Alex knew that Olivia was just trying to plant seeds of doubt. She wasn't going to fall for them again. She packed up for the night and went home. She needed to see Kate.

Kate was sitting in the living room watching TV as she waited for Alex to come home. She hated the late nights but she understood they were sometimes necessary. The only thing that bothered her was the fact that Alex chose to stay late at her office instead of coming home to do her opening and closing arguments. Kate was thinking about it and she started mentally sketching plans to turn the guest bedroom in a home office for Alex so that she could work at home and not be out so late.

Kate worried about her when she worked late and although she'd offered to go pick Alex up whenever she worked late, Alex had refused to let her play white knight, insisting that she would just call a car service. Kate had reluctantly backed down, but it didn't stop her from worrying about her girlfriend. Kate had already finished her dinner and she'd left Alex's plate in the oven, keeping it warm for her.

She was sitting in the living room because she knew if she waited in the bedroom, she'd fall asleep before Alex made it home. Kate had showered and was dressed in light blue cotton pajama pants, a dark blue camisole top, and white cotton socks with her slippers resting by the couch. She was curled up in the corner of the couch listening to music while she waited for Alex.

Alex put her key in the door and opened it swiftly, then she dragged her briefcase in and shut the door, the weariness clear on her face and in her eyes. She walked into the living room and when she saw Kate she asked in a small voice, "Babe? Will you hold me?"

Kate began to smile when she saw Alex but her voice and the look on her face said something wasn't right. She opened her arms, "Of course, come here honey." She shifted so Alex could lie back against her.

Alex crawled into Kate's arms and buried her head in the brunette's neck. She inhaled deeply and then pressed a gentle kiss to her skin.

Kate began to run her hands up and down Alex's back in a soothing motion, "Baby, what happened? I know something's not right...please, talk to me?" She was getting scared, her imagination conjuring a dozen scenarios of Alex flashing back to Dunn, to being shot, to any number of things that could've triggered this reaction. She forced herself to calm down and wait for Alex to talk to her.

"Olivia…" she started quietly. "She kissed me." She burrowed ever deeper into Kate's neck at her admission.

Kate heard the words and felt her blood begin to boil. They'd come a long way in the last two months, but Olivia was still a sore spot for Kate. She wanted to jump up, find her, and beat the snot out of her for making a move on Alex, for kissing her, but she knew Alex wouldn't want that. She calmed herself down with tremendous effort and she said, "Do I need to challenge her to a duel?" Kate tried to bring some levity to the situation because otherwise she'd say something she might regret.

Alex shook her head, "No, just hold me, ok?" She kissed Kate again, needing to feel close to her lover. "I…I'm calling my boss tomorrow and telling him to get someone else to take over SVU. I can't be there anymore."

Kate tightened her grip on Alex, pulling her closer, "Are you sure? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'll be glad to have you back at the 12th but are you sure this is what you want to do?" Kate would never push her own agenda on Alex. She placed a kissed on Alex's head.

"I'm sure. I just think I need a little break from work and then maybe I can go back to Homicide starting in June. I should've done that since the start instead of going back to SVU."

Kate smiled, knowing Alex couldn't see it. She said, "I think that's a good idea. A break might be good. I just wish I hadn't used up all my vacation days after the bombing or I'd take them now with you." She brought a hand up to Alex's cheek and lifted her face to look into her beautiful eyes, "So, any ideas on what you want to do during your break?" She leaned closer and placed a light kiss on her lips.

"Well, I thought maybe I could get some work done around here. Some redecorating in the future nursery..."

Kate hesitated, "Um...sweetie it might be a bit premature to be decorating the nursery...I mean we're not even pregnant yet." She paused for a moment and said, "However, if you really want to redecorate, I do have an idea or two if you're interested."

"Oh? What did you have in mind?" she asked curiously.

"Well...you've been working late a lot and you know how I worry when you work late. Since you've banned me from picking you up from work or even loitering in your office while you do what you have to do...I was thinking maybe we could turn the guest bedroom into a home office for you. That way you can get home on time and still be able to work late and I won't have to worry so much about you. What do you think?" Kate held her breath as she waited for Alex's reaction.

"Well, I think it's a good idea, but where are we going to put our guests when they come over?"

"Um...we can add a foldout couch to the office..." She hadn't thought about that but that was only because they almost never had overnight guests. "But baby, the only person who ever sleeps over is Kevin and we can put a small bed in the future nursery for him." Kate ran a hand through Alex's hair, "I just...I know your work is important and I would never try to get in your way, but...I worry so much about you working late all alone in your building and if you had a home office, you could work here and I could know that you're safe."

She smiled at Kate, "Ok, if it'll really ease your mind we can do it, but I can't guarantee that I'll use it 100% of the time...deal?"

"As long as you use it more than 80% of the time after 6 pm, you've got a deal," Kate giggled then she got serious, "But honestly, I just want to know you're safe is all. If you're here, even locked away in the office, I know you're ok." She leaned forward and kissed Alex.

Alex kissed her back and then leaned her forehead against Kate's, "I know baby and I think you're very sweet for wanting to do this. I know if the roles were reversed I'd want the same thing. I love you so much baby."

Kate smiled, "I love you too, thank you for being open about this...I know you value your independence and it means a lot to me that you're willing to indulge me in this."

"I can't be selfish about this, especially because I know what can happen if you're not careful. I'm just glad that we've gotten back to normal and I'm really sorry about what happened tonight..."

Kate grew serious, "With Olivia you mean? ...She kissed you, right?"

"Yeah, she did. Believe me, if I had known that's what she had planned, I never would've let her into my office."

"I believe you baby and you didn't kiss her back so it's not your fault. You don't have to apologize for it. In fact, I'm glad that you told me right away, it shows how far we've come." Kate smiled, she loved that Alex felt safe enough again to tell her something like this; it showed they were well on their way back to normal.

"I didn't think for a moment, Kate…I…forgot myself for just a split second…but I swear to God I pulled away and I told her that I love you and always will. I'm so sorry baby."

Kate took that in and she realized that her first thought wasn't that Alex had betrayed her somehow by kissing her ex back...her first thought was how she could kill Olivia without getting caught. She looked into Alex's eyes and smiled, "Alex, it's ok. I get that it must've been a shock and you probably reacted out of surprise and memory. It's ok, I'm not mad at you...Olivia is another matter but I'm not mad at you. It wasn't your fault ok? I love you and I always will." She leaned closer and kissed her, pouring all of her love into their connection, wanting to make sure that she erased any and all memory of Olivia's earlier kiss.

Alex closed her eyes and kissed Kate back, her lips parting immediately to allow the brunette's tongue into her mouth. That was the difference.

With Kate it was natural and she knew that her love was only for Kate and no one else. This was what she wanted forever and now she had it. They had survived two very different attacks on their relationship and she knew no matter what happened from here on out, they would survive together.

The two women remained on the couch for a bit longer, Kate easing Alex's pain and making her feel safe and loved. They moved to their bedroom and Alex asked that Kate hold her close for the entire night. It was what she needed after a long day and although she wanted to make love to Kate, she was exhausted emotionally and physically. She promised her girlfriend that she would make it up to her and Kate reassured her that she understood.

The brunette wrapped her arms around Alex and with a soft kiss to the shoulder, she whispered good night and fell asleep with the woman she loved in her arms. She knew now more than ever before that Alex loved her and only her and she knew the time was right to ask her the one question she'd wanted to ask her for some time now.


Chapter Thirty-Four: Kate's Surprise

The next morning, Kate woke up with her arm around Alex's waist with the blonde on her back. She took a moment to study her girlfriend and she smiled. Alex was so beautiful, and when she was asleep, the years, the worries, the stresses melted away and she looked younger and more innocent. Her blonde hair was spread out around her like a halo and the sunlight from the window caught the blonde strands and seemed to make them glow. Kate shifted slightly, lying on her side and resting her head in her hand so she could gaze at the beauty before her in comfort. Her eyes traced every feature, lovingly following the line of Alex's jaw from her ear to her chin and then down the graceful line of her neck to where the sheets began.

Kate's mind went to the little turquoise velvet box that was still resting in her glove compartment. She knew that she was ready to ask Alex to marry her and she just needed a really romantic way to do it. She wanted it to be memorable...she wanted it to be a story they could tell their children and their grandchildren as an example of romance and love. Kate was still thinking about how to propose to Alex, making and discarding plans, when she felt Alex begin to wake up. She looked up at Alex's face and smiled when she saw those beautiful, blue eyes looking at her. "Good morning, beautiful. How'd you sleep?"

Alex smiled lazily, "I think that may have been the best night's sleep I've had in a while. Thank you for taking care of me and not flipping out when I told you what happened last night." She grew serious, "I was really afraid you were going to hate me and push me away."

Kate lifted her hand and ran it gently through Alex's hair, "I could never hate you and I don't want to push you away. Like I told you last night, it wasn't your fault and I don't hold it against you." Kate paused to place a gentle kiss on her lips, "I'll always be here to take care of you. Nothing and no one, not even Olivia, can ever change that baby." She smiled, wanting her girlfriend to know it was really all right.

Alex smiled again and then turned onto her side and draped her hand over Kate's waist, "So, since we both have today off…what do you think we should do?"

Kate ran her hand up and down Alex's arm as she got an idea, "Well...how would you feel about a picnic in Central Park? We could find a nice, quiet spot, spread out a blanket, have some light snacks and just relax together...what do you think?" Kate bit her lip, hoping Alex would agree.

Alex caressed Kate's cheek, "That sounds wonderful. Should we pick something up or prepare something here?"

Kate smiled, "I was thinking we could pick up something on the way. I know a great little deli near the park." She leaned closer and kissed Alex, "Thank you."

Alex gazed into her eyes, "For what?"

Kate smiled. "For coming back to me...for being here with me even after all the crap with Dunn and Nikki...for letting me in and allowing me to help you when you needed it. For letting me take care of you last night. For being there for me when I needed you, but mostly...for loving me enough to tell your ex to go to hell." She ran her hand around Alex's waist, resting it just above the curve of her ass.

Alex moved in closer to Kate and kissed her lips, "Baby, you never have to thank me for any of that. I love you with all my heart and I'm sorry that we had to go through all of that, but in the end, it brought us closer together and we're better for having gone through it. Our love is strong and now, we know we can survive anything. You're the only one for me Kate, forever and always."

Kate felt tears spring to her eyes when she heard Alex's words. Today was definitely the right day to propose and she felt confident about her choice. "I know what you mean, everything happened rather fast for us, so I think the thing with Nikki was life's way of making us slow down a little and see if we can make it through something that big. I'm sorry you were kidnapped, but I'm glad that we were able to get through it and come out stronger on the other side. We survived it together and now we're more solid than we've ever been. I love you Alex." She looked over Alex's shoulder and noticed the time on the alarm clock; it was almost 10 am. "Wow, we really slept in," she giggled, needing a light moment. "We should get out of bed if we want to have our picnic."

Alex nodded, "You're right. I'm getting hungry anyway. Do you want to shower first?"

Kate grinned, "Why don't we share?" She got out of the bed and began walking to their bathroom, shedding her clothes along the way.

Alex's eyes grew like saucers and she almost hypnotically followed her lover into the bathroom, her own clothes falling to the floor as she went. She needed Kate, really needed her, and now she was rested and ready to show her girlfriend just how much she loved her.

After a long, fun filled shower, they got dressed and headed out for the afternoon. They got to the car and Kate held the door open for Alex, then she walked around the car and opened the trunk to place the blanket and the basket inside. They would stop for the food but she wanted to put it in their picnic basket. Then she walked to the driver's side door and slipped in behind the wheel. She looked over at Alex, her skin was still glowing from their aquatic activities and Kate smiled, liking that she was responsible for that look in Alex's eyes. "You ready, baby?"

"Yes. It's a gorgeous day and not too hot, thank goodness. We can find a nice spot near the water and just enjoy the afternoon. I can hardly wait."

"Me neither." Kate nodded as she pulled out of the garage and headed towards the park. They drove in silence, content to just be together. Kate made a quick stop at the deli to pick up their meal, placing it in the basket before she then drove them into the park. Kate drove around until she found a place to park that was close enough to the water so they wouldn't have to walk far but also keep the car in sight while they enjoyed their meal.

She opened the door for Alex and, basket and blanket in hand, she led her girlfriend to the water's edge. There was lush green grass all around and she was thankful that there weren't many people around; it would give them some much-needed privacy. She held Alex's hand as they found the perfect spot and together they spread out the blanket. Kate sat down first and spread her legs, patting the space in front of her, "Have a seat baby."

Alex knelt down and settled back against Kate, a sigh escaping her lips, "This is perfect baby. Do you want some sparkling water?" She reached for the basket to take out the bottle of Perrier that Kate had picked up.

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex's waist and she rested her chin on the blonde's shoulder. "This is perfect. I love holding you like this, it makes me feel whole to have you this close." She turned her head and kissed her neck, "The Perrier is for you baby, I got a Dasani for me. Not a fan of sparkling water, but I know you love it." She smiled as she went back to kissing Alex's neck.

Alex grinned, "You know me too well, honey." She took Kate's bottle of water from the basket and opened it for her. She poured it into a cup and handed it to her girlfriend, "There you go, baby."

Kate took the cup in one hand and took a sip of the still cold liquid. She then pressed her chilled tongue to Alex's neck, feeling a shiver go through her girlfriend. "You like that?"

Alex sighed and squeezed Kate's leg, "You know I do. You always turn me on babe."

Kate smiled, "Good, that's my plan for the rest of our lives...to always be able to turn you on." She put the cup down and put her arm back around Alex, hugging her close, "You hungry baby?" Kate brought the basket closer as she lifted the lid and took out the deli platter of cheese and crackers before she then pulled out a container of dark chocolate dipped strawberries, the deli's specialty. She placed everything on the blanket, and opened the containers. "See anything you like?"

Alex reached for a strawberry and brought it to her lips, licking a little of the dark chocolate before she spoke in a soft, sultry voice, "This." She rubbed it over her lips, a little chocolate coating her mouth and then she turned back to kiss Kate. Normally she wouldn't do anything like that in public, but they were alone, so she took a chance.

Kate moaned into the kiss, the mix of chocolate and Alex's natural essence was intoxicating and she suddenly wished they were back home in their bed. She slowly broke the kiss and said, "Naughty girl, you're making me wet and I want to sweep you back to our bed."

"There's nothing stopping us from doing that once we've finished our lunch," she said, her fingers grazing Kate's thighs.

Kate closed her eyes for a moment then said, "Actually, I have a surprise for you later. There's one more stop we have to make before we can fall into bed and make love all night long so...behave baby. I promise it'll be worth it."

Alex pouted but then she registered the word "surprise." She looked at Kate, "What sort of surprise...?"

Kate grinned and she liked the way Alex went from pouting to eager in half a second flat. "The good kind, I promise."

"Well I'd figured that much…I mean, are we going somewhere? Is it a present?" She was just like a little kid fishing for hints about her Christmas present.

Kate loved this side of her girlfriend, "Yes to both and that's all I am saying. Like I said, it's a surprise." She ran a hand down Alex's thigh.

Alex pouted again and then sighed heavily in the hopes that Kate would have mercy on her and not make her wait, but she knew that the brunette usually kept mum about surprises.

Kate smiled, "It's not going to work baby. Pouting and sighing won't work on me this time. You'll just have to wait and be patient." She reached over and grabbed a piece of cheese and brought it to Alex's lips, "Try some?"

Alex brightened up, "Oh, ok." She opened her mouth and smiled. Kate was an expert when it came to picking out cheese. "Mmmm, amazing."

Kate smiled at Alex's reaction. Together, they finished off the food and then sat back to relax for a bit in the sun, Alex still in Kate's arms. They watched the lake and saw several people float by in paddleboats. Kate lovingly rubbed Alex's tummy as she rested her chin on her shoulder, "Today has been so nice, thank you for this."

"Thank you. You're the one who planned all this and got the food together. You're amazing, Kate. I love you."

"I love you too baby. I always will." She turned her head and began kissing Alex's neck, running her lips from her shoulder up to her earlobe. Kate's tongue snuck out a few times to graze the skin, tasting the honey almond soap Alex used. "I love the way you taste, I could sit here all day just enjoying your smooth, wonderful skin."

"We might get cited for public indecency if you did that… Maybe we should go see about that surprise so that we can go home and make love again."

Kate chuckled as she pulled away, "Good point. I love holding you like this and knowing that there's nowhere else either of us would rather be than with each other." Kate tightened her hold a bit. "You're dying to know what the surprise is, aren't you?"

"Of course. I'm a Cabot honey, I don't do patient very well…" she said with a bashful smile. "Um, let's get this cleaned up and then we'll go, ok?"

Kate grinned, "Ok, I won't torture you anymore. Come on, let's get to your surprise." Kate helped Alex clean up their picnic and they walked to the car. Kate handed the basket to Alex as she realized she would need to get the ring out of the car without Alex seeing it. "Hey baby, can you put this stuff in the trunk while I open the car and air it out so it's not like an oven when you get in?"

Alex nodded and took the basket and blanket from Kate. She tucked it into the trunk and made sure everything was secure before closing the trunk and walking around to get into the passenger seat. Kate already had the car on and the A/C blasting. Alex smiled as she carefully slipped into the seat.

Kate grinned. She'd managed to slip the ring out of the glove box before Alex made it back to the car and now it was sitting in her pocket, nice and safe. She looked over at Alex, "You ready for your surprise?"

Alex nodded, her blue eyes all lit up. "Can you imagine how our babies are going to be when we give them surprises?" She laughed knowing that they'd pull all the same tricks to try and get her and Kate to give in.

Kate smiled, "Yes I can and I am telling you now, if you give in to them, there'll be hell to pay." She chuckled, "Especially if it's something big that took me a while to plan." She moved her hand to rest on Alex's knee and she squeezed gently.

"Kate, no one but you can resist the Cabot pout. It's like one of your superhero powers or something…" she said with a chuckle. "Then again, I have seen you give in to Kevin, and granted he's not a Cabot, but you know, same blood line..."

Kate smirked as she focused on the road, "That never happened." She tried to deny it, but in truth she had given in to Kevin once or twice. The thing was, she hadn't compromised any surprises, so it didn't really count.

"Sure it didn't," Alex said in a teasing tone. "I have sources, you know." Of course she was referring to Janice who gave her the entire scoop on how happy she and Kate made her son. "Well, hopefully I don't have to wait much longer," she said as she noticed they were headed to midtown.

Kate glanced over at her, "Don't make me blindfold you. I promise it'll be worth being patient."

"Ok, ok," Alex said and grinned that sweet grin that said, "I'll play along." She kept quiet as they drove because she was too busy wondering where they were going and what the surprise would be.

Kate smiled then began thinking about what she would say when the moment came. She found a parking garage that was a few blocks from their destination and she pulled in, getting a ticket from the machine. She found a spot and turned off the car before she turned to Alex and said, "Ready? We have a bit of a walk so I'm not going to blindfold you. However, don't bother asking questions about where we're going or why because I'm not going to answer, ok?"

"Aw babe," she whined. She knew it was going to be good, but she hated not knowing.

They got out of the car and Kate said, "No whining. Come on, let's get going." She grabbed Alex's hand as she led her out of the garage onto the city streets and then they turned left and began walking hand in hand. Kate smiled at her girlfriend, "I promise you'll be rewarded for your patience babe."

Alex held onto Kate as they walked, her heartbeat starting to pick up with each step they took. She had no idea what Kate could be planning, especially in this part of town. Then it hit her. They were near Rockefeller Plaza. That must be it: an afternoon on top of the Rock and a beautiful sunset before going home to make love. She smiled at how sweet her girlfriend was.

They reached the entrance to the building and Kate held the door open for Alex. They walked through the beautiful art deco building and made their way to the ticket counter. Once Kate had purchased two tickets, they walked over to the elevator to wait for an empty car. She looked at Alex and smiled, loving the look on her girlfriend's face.

Alex touched Kate's arm, "I'll admit, I wasn't expecting this..."

Kate frowned, "What do you mean?"

"Coming here. What made you think of it?"

Kate stepped closer and whispered, "I know that it's one of your favorite places in the city and I wanted today to be special after what happened last night." She kissed Alex's cheek as the elevator opened and they stepped inside.

"Thanks, baby. It means a lot to me to be here," she said as they stood near the back wall of the car. "I've missed doing spontaneous things like this."

"Well, I'm glad you're happy." She squeezed Alex's hand before she brought it to her lips and kissed it. "I love you," she said with a warm smile.

"I love you too. I just wish I'd brought my camera… We could've taken a photo to go on the mantle."

Kate smiled, "Well I have my cell phone and we can always come back another day and take more photos, but I promise you that we'll have something to remember this by." She thought about how the ring would look on Alex's finger and she knew that every time either one of them looked at it, it would remind them of this day.

"You're right," she said as the elevator came to a stop. The doors opened and a rush of cool air entered the car. Alex smiled when she walked out onto the observation deck and took hold of Kate's hand.

Kate smiled as they walked to the edge of the observation deck and she stood behind Alex, wrapping her arms around the blonde as they stood there enjoying the scenery. Luckily, there weren't a lot of people up there with them. Given the time of day, she wasn't surprised, but she was definitely thankful. She wanted this to be a special, private moment. She whispered to Alex, "This is a great view, I can see why you love it here."

"I love looking down at the whole city, really makes me feel like it's real, I'm really here. I'm really home with the woman I love," she said and leaned back against Kate.

Kate pulled her closer, "Yes, you're really here baby. We're really together and nothing is ever going to take you away from me again, I promise." She kissed Alex's neck to seal her vow.

They fell into a comfortable silence as a cool breeze swirled around them. The sun was just starting to go down over the water and soon the city would light up and twinkle like thousands of stars fallen to Earth. Alex had never felt more at peace than she did in that moment with Kate.

The sunset was beautiful and Kate knew that this was her moment. She released Alex and walked around the blonde until she was looking deep into her eyes. She took a breath to calm her nerves and then spoke to her lover, "Baby, this place is only part of the surprise I have planned for you. You see, I wanted to do something special today because I want us to remember this day for the rest of our lives. Alex, I want you to know that my love for you started in Santa Fe and since that day when I first said those words, nothing has ever made me falter in my feelings for you. I loved you during the year we were apart, I loved you when I learned that your real name is Alexandra Cabot and no Vicky Harrison, I loved you even after you pushed me away after the kidnapping, and I love you right now in this moment. We went through hell together and we survived it, we came out stronger on the other side of it. We're as solid as a rock and there is nothing that will make me doubt our love, especially not the past. I know that we are meant to be together and nothing will ever sway me from that knowledge, nothing. My life and my heart belong to you Alex, and I want to spend the rest of my life loving you and making you happy…" She slipped her hand into her pocket and pulled out the blue box, opening it as she got down on one knee. "Alexandra Cabot, will you marry me?" She waited, her heart in her throat as she waited for Alex's answer.

Alex could've been knocked over with a feather at that moment. She looked down at the ring and then beyond it to Kate so that she could memorize every aspect of this moment. The scent of the late spring air, the color of the sky as the sun set, the sounds of the city below and the wind above, the look in Kate's eyes, the feel of her own heart as it pounded in her chest. She licked her lips as her mouth had suddenly gone dry but, before she could give her an answer she whispered, "I want you to know that you just beat me to this moment…"

Kate just smiled as she studied the precious mix of surprise and love on Alex's face. She was waiting for Alex to answer and she didn't want to say anything to push her lover into anything.

Alex took a breath and then encouraged Kate to stand so that she could look into her eyes when she answered. "Honey, I love you with all my heart and I want us to spend the rest of our lives together… so…yes, I will marry you." She had tears in her eyes and she leaned forward to kiss Kate.

Kate pulled Alex as close as she could and kissed her, pouring all her love and happiness into their connection. She was thrilled that Alex had said yes and her heart was racing at a million miles a minute as she reluctantly pulled away and took the ring from the box with trembling fingers, "Shall I put this on you?"

Alex nodded and held out a slightly shaking hand so that Kate could put the ring on her finger.

Smiling, Kate slipped the ring onto Alex's finger and then placed a gentle kiss on it. She looked up into her fiancée's sparkling eyes and said, "You've made me the happiest woman in the world, baby. I love you so much and I can't wait to make you my wife." She took a moment to savor the look on Alex's face before she asked, "So...was the surprise worth the wait, the patience?"

Alex blushed, "Yes… Honestly, I had no idea you were planning anything like this baby. You've just made my life perfect."

Kate hugged her close but then she remembered what Alex had said and she pulled back, "By the way, what did you mean by I beat you to this moment?"

Alex smiled shyly, "Well…after everything, I just felt like now was the right time to ask you to marry me, so I was planning to ask you when we got home tonight."

Kate grinned, "Oh, really? Well I'm sorry I stole your thunder, but, um...I actually wanted to ask you to marry me on Valentine's Day. I had your ring," she held up Alex's hand to show her the ring, "custom made by Tiffany's back in January. I got the call that it was ready after the bomb went off in my apartment and I picked it up before I left town for those few days. You know, after our little, um, disagreement. I've been waiting for the right time and after last night, I knew today was the right time."

Alex's tears were falling even faster now and she embraced Kate, "Oh baby…you're the most amazing woman…I love you so much."

She hadn't expected the tears but it didn't matter because she just held Alex close as she cried as well, "Baby, don't cry." She hated seeing her beautiful girlfriend cry because she never knew how to handle it.

"They're tears of joy, I promise," Alex said with a chuckle. "You were right, by the way, I will always remember this moment and not that I want to leave, but…I really need to be with you…I need to show you how much I love you."

Kate smiled, "I'm so glad, I wanted this to be memorable. Now, let's go home and you can show me whatever you want as long we can show each other all night long." She kissed her fiancée and then placed her hand on the small of her back as they made their way to the elevator to go down to the street level.

Just as the sun finished setting, Alex and Kate walked to the car and headed back to their apartment. Alex couldn't keep her eyes off her ring during the drive and the only thing that distracted her from looking at it was when she and Kate made love.

They settled in to enjoy the afterglow and Alex burrowed deep into Kate's neck, kissing her softly just before they fell asleep.

It seemed like a dream to Alex that this was happening, but the next morning when she woke up next to Kate and saw the ring on her finger, she realized that it was real, that it had really happened. Of course she and Kate couldn't keep this to themselves and they each called their closest friends and family to tell them the news.

Alex called her cousin Janice and then her Uncle Bill and Aunt Beth while Kate called Lanie and Castle. The news was welcomed by everyone, especially after everything that had happened with Dunn, but it was Lanie that had the brilliant idea to throw Kate and Alex an engagement party.

She called Castle about an hour after she'd talked to Kate and told him that she needed to see him as soon as possible so Castle caught a cab to Lanie's apartment as soon as he hung up the phone. Alexis and his mother were also thrilled about the news.

Castle got out of the cab and rang the buzzer for Lanie's apartment. When she buzzed him in he practically ran up the stairs in his excitement over the news. Lanie was standing in the doorway waiting for him with a knowing grin on her face.

He tried to contain this enthusiasm in the hopes of pulling one over on her, "Hey, what do you need?"

"Oh, don't pretend like you don't know what I need… I take it our girl called you?" Lanie asked as she ushered Castle inside.

Castle grinned wide, "You mean about the little bundle of joy they're expecting?" He couldn't wait to see the look on her face.

She raised an eyebrow, "We are talking about Kate, right?"

Castle kept his poker face on, just waiting for Lanie to bite, "Yeah, who are you talking about?"

"She told you that they're expecting?!" she asked, clearly confused. There was no way Kate had told him that she and Alex were expecting…right?

Castle put on a confused expression, "Yeah isn't that...uh oh, she didn't tell you did she? Oh boy...um... don't take it personally, I'm sure she will..." He saw the look on Lanie's face at the thought that her best friend hadn't told her about something big like a baby and he couldn't take it anymore. He started laughing and said, "I'm just kidding, Lanie...relax. They're not pregnant, they're engaged!"

She punched him in the arm, "You jerk!"

Castle took the hit and just grinned, "Come on, it was too easy."

"It wasn't funny. You really had me freaked out!"

"Why would you be freaked out? You're not the pregnant one."

"No, but Kate told me she proposed last night…she didn't mention anything about a baby…I thought I'd had a stroke."

Castle chuckled, "No, just a joke. But they are engaged. I'm so happy for them. So what did you call me here for?"

"Well, I was thinking that since they're our best friends and this is something really special, we should do a party for them. To celebrate their engagement."

That got Castle excited, "Oh yeah that sounds great. We can have it at my place, invite everyone. What do you want me to do?"

"Well, I'm not really up on who Alex's friends and family are…you think maybe you can figure out who we should invite from her side?"

Castle smiled, "Here's a thought, you could always ask Alex..."

"I want it to be a surprise. The only way we have a surprise is if we keep it quiet from them…" Lanie said with raised eyebrows.

"Oh! Ok, well in that case, I suggest you start with her uncle, Bill Harriman...um, Judge Harriman actually. She came with him to the Heat Wave launch party." Castle said, remembering his talk with the Mayor and the Judge, each praising his work. Harriman had mentioned his niece was a fan and had pointed her out to him after he'd signed her book.

"It sounds like you know him better… I can handle the arrangements, you're better with people."

Castle smiled, "You got it. Did you have a date in mind for the party? Something I can tell him so he can make sure the family is free?" He was eager to do his part in helping to celebrate the big news.

"Well, she mentioned that they were thinking of having the ceremony next month, so my thought is, as soon as possible. Maybe on Saturday?" she suggested.

Castle nodded, "That sounds good. I'll call you after I talk to the judge and let you know if there's a conflict, ok?"

"Ok, sounds great." She grinned widely, "I'm glad she finally popped the question, I was starting to wonder what was taking so long."

Castle grinned, "Yeah me too. Though they had a rough time after that thing with Dunn. I'm just glad they're solid again." Castel was truly happy they had worked things out. They belonged together and even if he would never be able to join in or watch or even use it in a Nikki Heat book, he'd never want them to be unhappy by being apart.

"Me too. Alex is good for Kate and Kate's good for Alex. I honestly couldn't be happier for my best friend. Give me a call after you talk to the judge and then we'll start getting the menu and everything together, ok?"

"Yes ma'am." Castle said with a mock-salute; he liked this bossy side of Lanie because it went well with her sassiness. He left the apartment, pulled out his phone and on his way back down to the garage, he called the Mayor to ask him for Judge Harriman's phone number.


Chapter Thirty-Five: Celebrating the Engagement

Once Castle had gotten in touch with Alex's uncle, he'd insisted that they have the party at his family's townhouse and he'd put the word out to his family and Alex's friends. His daughter Janice was there while he was on the phone and when she overheard that a party was in the works, she asked if she could speak to Castle.

She offered her assistance for anything they might need and Castle, being a gentleman, took her offer. He thought it only fair that someone from Alex's side had the chance to work with him and Lanie to plan the party.

They spent the week gathering decorations and ordering the food and by Saturday, the Harriman home was twinkling with lights and laughter as everyone waited for the couple to arrive.

Kate pulled her car into the open parking spot on the street near Alex's uncle's house and turned off the engine. She turned to Alex, "Did your Uncle Bill tell you why he wanted to see you? And why he wanted us to 'dress up?'"

"He said he was having some high ranking officials over and they wanted to meet me… My guess is he's trying to get me back into the political arena," she said as she got out of the car.

Kate frowned as she stepped out of the car and walked around to stand next to Alex, "Do you want to get back into the political arena? Run for public office?" They hadn't talked about that yet, but she was curious. Kate lifted the remote and turned on the car alarm before they began walking down the block towards Alex's uncle's townhouse.

"Not particularly, but he's my uncle and I couldn't say no after he went to all the trouble. I'll have a chat with him afterward and let him know that my plans have changed."

Kate took a breath, "I'd support you if you wanted to do it." She didn't want Alex to give up her political dreams because of their relationship.

"I know, but I don't want to give us any more public exposure than we already have with Nikki Heat, especially once we start our family," she said as they reached the front door. She rang the doorbell and waited for her uncle to answer.

Kate just nodded, willing to wait until they were alone to revisit the topic.

The door opened and Janice smiled at them. "Hi, come on in."

Alex smiled at her cousin, who was dressed to the nines, and she looked confused. The double doors to the living room were closed and there was zero noise inside. She looked at her watch and then to her cousin, "Are we early?"

Janice kept smiling as she let them in the house and took their coats, "No, you're right on time. You know how dad's political friends can be, low voices and snifters of brandy. Mom and I put our foot down about the cigars in the house though. Come on." She said as she led them towards the living room doors.

Alex exchanged a look with Kate and then shrugged as the reached the door. Janice opened both doors swiftly and before the two women knew what hit them, there was a loud "Surprise!" from inside.

Alex nearly stumbled back against Kate and her eyes filled with tears. All of their closest friends and family were inside and there was a large banner over the fireplace that read "Congratulations Kate and Alex!"

Kate wrapped her arm around Alex's waist to keep her from falling backwards. She smiled when she saw the room full of their friends and family. They took two steps into the room but before they could say anything, Kevin burst through the crowd and ran right to Kate and hugged her leg, "Kate! Were you surpriseded?"

Kate looked down at the boy and smiled, "Yes I was. Did you do all of this?"

The boy grinned but shook his head, "Mommy and Lanie and Castle helped too!"

Alex chuckled and then looked to her cousin, "You guys didn't have to do all of this, but I'd be lying if I said it isn't amazing."

Lanie, Castle, and Janice came forward and hugged them each in turn. Lanie smiled at them, "You didn't think we'd let something this big go by without celebrating it, did you?"

Kate shook her head, "Of course not, but we didn't think about that part, we've been pretty occupied planning the ceremony." Kate and Alex joined the rest of the guests and everyone found a moment to quietly congratulate them on the engagement and to see Alex's ring.

Once the other guests went back to enjoying their drinks and hors d'oeuvres, Alex walked over to her uncle and smiled, "Thank you for hosting tonight Uncle Bill. Kate and I couldn't be happier. There's just one thing I have to ask you..."

Bill looked at his niece and smiled, "Oh? What is it Alex?"

"Since you've always been like a second father to me, I was hoping that you'd be willing to walk me down the aisle…" she asked, her blue eyes misty.

Bill felt a lump in his throat and he tried to suppress by clearing his throat, "I'd be honored, Alex."

Alex hugged him tightly and whispered, "Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me."

He hugged her close and whispered, "It means a lot to me too that you would ask me." He pulled away to look into Alex's eyes, "I am so happy for you, that you survived the shooting, that you were able to come back to New York, and most importantly, that you've found someone like Kate, someone you can spend your life with, openly. All I ever wanted was to see you happy and in love." He smiled again, "I love you Alexandra and if she were here, I think your mother would loved Kate as much as I do. She's good for you and she loves you."

"I know… All the pain I suffered brought me to her. I'd never trade a single moment if it meant that she would be gone from my life. It was all worth it." She looked over at her fiancée, who was playing with Kevin, and she smiled, "She's wonderful."

Bill's eyes followed Alex's line of sight and he grinned, "Yes she is, she's going to make a great mom someday." He paused and looked at Alex, "Have you two talked about kids yet?"

She smiled, "We have. My friend Ryan is our donor. We've already taken care of all the paperwork and whenever the time is right, we can start trying. We decided to take some time to be us before we start our family, though."

That put a big smile on Bill's face, but before he could say anything, Janice came up behind them, having heard Alex's last statement. "So, when can I expect a new baby cousin?"

Alex blushed, "We're thinking of starting near the end of the year, so hopefully sometime next fall. You remember Ryan, don't you?"

Janice thought back to the very handsome man Alex had introduced her to a couple of years before the shooting and she smiled, "The cutie with the great...um...eyes?" She faltered when she remembered her father was standing right there.

"Yeah, him. He's our donor. We're going to look for a clinic to harvest Kate's eggs and then we'll work with a specialist to implant the embryos."

Janice thought about that as she tried to picture a child with Ryan's good looks, Kate's beauty, and the intelligence, class, and breeding that Alex would provide and she suddenly felt sorry for her cousin, "Well, more power to you both but you should start getting ready now because...when that child hits puberty, you're going to have your work cut out for you."

Alex grinned, "Believe me, I've thought about that. I'm sure we can enlist your son's help to protect his baby cousin..."

Janice grinned, "Yeah, as long as he never knows there's no blood link between them. Otherwise he might go after her himself." She was joking but there was a grain of truth to it.

"That's if we have a girl…besides, I'll be giving birth to the baby, so let's hope he doesn't suspect anything."

Janice nodded, "Don't worry, I'll keep him in line. But enough about that, I want to know how you proposed. You never told me, all you said was that you were engaged." Janice assumed it was Alex who had done the asking because, despite being the more feminine of the two, Janice remembered their childhood games of Alex always being the bride.

"Actually, I didn't, Kate did. She took me to the top of the Rock just as the sun was setting. She got down on one knee and declared her love for me as she held up the ring. It was the most romantic thing in the world…"

Janice smiled, "Well now I know she's the right one for you. You need someone who can take charge and give you everything you've ever wanted. I'm so happy for you Alex." Janice reached out and hugged her cousin.

Alex was hugging her cousin when she spotted a familiar brunette over Janice's shoulder. She pulled away from her cousin and uncle and said, "Will you excuse me for a moment?" She walked over and touched the brunette on the shoulder, "Abbie?"

Abbie Carmichael turned when she heard her name and smiled when she saw her old friend Alex standing there, "Alex, hi."

"Oh my God, you're back?" she asked with a broad smile.

Abbie nodded, "Yeah I took a transfer to the local AUSA office here. I missed the city."

"It's great to see you back. We missed you at the DA's office, but I know you had to move on. Say, do you want to know something funny?"

Abbie grinned, "I'm always up for something funny, but first, can I just say how happy I am for you? Your fiancée is...stunning." Abbie got a look in her eyes, "She's a detective, am I right?"

Alex grinned, "How'd you guess?"

Abbie gave her a look she knew Alex was familiar with. "Alex, I can spot cops a mile away just from the way she walks. After Olivia though, I'm surprised you'd let yourself fall for another detective." Abbie said, not knowing she was possibly stepping into a minefield with her comment about Olivia and cops.

"Well, I didn't know she was a cop when I fell in love with her, but I can assure you that she is nothing like Olivia. Kate is comfortable with who she is and she loves me with all her heart," she said, her mood changing from the comparison.

Abbie sensed she'd hit a tender spot so she backed off, "Whoa there kiddo, I can see she's not like Liv in that sense. I can see she loves you and she's not about hiding who she is, but come on, you have to admit she looks like she could be Liv's little sister!" Abbie's voice was just above a whisper, not wanting their conversation to be overheard. "I just want to make sure you're going into this with your eyes wide open here. I care about you and I want the best for you...and if that's Kate then I am happy you found her. It's just that the resemblance is uncanny." Abbie had known Alex since college and if anyone could get through to her, it was Abbie.

"Abbie, stop comparing her to Olivia. I don't care if they look like they could be related, the fact is, they're not. Kate is like the day to Olivia's night and I love her with all my heart. I know what I'm doing and what I want. I appreciate that you want to look out for me, but really, I'm fine." She took a breath, "Now, can we get back to that funny thing I wanted to tell you?"

Abbie grinned, having gotten the reaction she was looking for, "Yeah, ok. What's so funny?"

"Well, see that blonde over there?" she asked pointing to Serena. "That's the woman who succeeded you. Weird that both of you are here, but I'm glad you are. She's really sweet…Her name's Serena."

Abbie turned to look at the blonde in question and smiled, "She's cute, but why are you pointing her out to me?" Abbie looked carefully at the blonde and she had to admit that this Serena was her type. Tall, beautiful, elegant, blonde...but Abbie reminded herself that this woman was in all likelihood straight or taken so she didn't let her attraction show.

Alex leaned in and said, "Because she's single and looking…and I happen to think you're her type. I could introduce you. Only if you want, of course."

Abbie turned to look at Alex, her eyebrow raised, "Um, no offense Alex, but I remember the last time you tried to set me up...my nose still hurts in the cold weather." Abbie was talking about a few months before she'd transferred to SVU, when Alex had set her up with another ADA, Kelly Gaffney, and Abbie ended up in a brawl with Kelly's on-again off-again girlfriend Tracey when they ran into her at the bar they were at. Tracey had broken Abbie's nose while Abbie had bruised some of Tracey's ribs, but since they both held important positions at the DA's office they agreed it might be better if they walk away and not press charges. Abbie hadn't seen them again after that because she'd gotten the job offer from DC and left town.

"This is different. Serena isn't seeing anyone and I have it on good authority that she's only been dating here and there for the past year. You're safe, I promise."

Abbie hesitated, not wanting to get into another brawl over a woman...one was enough for her. "I don't know Alex. You're sure there's no psycho exes or anything like that in her life? I don't need another gaffe like Gaffney in my life."

Alex rolled her eyes at the pun and then reassured her, "I promise. Abbs, I wouldn't say anything if I didn't think that you guys would be good for each other. She's a wonderful woman."

Abbie smiled, knowing she'd never be able to say no Alex. "Ok fine. Go play matchmaker, I'll wait right here." At Alex's puzzled look Abbie said, "Well, make sure she's interested in meeting me before you just go introducing us. It's only fair." Abbie hoped Alex wouldn't call her on the stalling technique because she needed a minute to mentally prepare herself.

Alex smiled at her friend and agreed. She figured Abbie could use the time to get ready to meet Serena. She walked over to her blonde friend and placed a hand on her shoulder, "Hey."

Serena turned her head and smiled when she saw Alex, then she turned to the couple she was talking with and excused herself. She led Alex to a quiet corner and said, "Hey Alex, what's the story with the hottie you were talking to just now?"

"Funny you should ask. Her name's Abbie and she actually worked for Jack just before you started with him. I told her that I'd introduce the two of you if she wanted to meet you…so, here I am."

Serena stole a quick glance at the brunette before she turned back to Alex, "That's Abbie Carmichael?"

"So you've heard of her. Indeed that is Abbie Carmichael and like I said, she's interested, she's just worried that you won't be."

Serena closed her eyes for a second and then said, "Alex, when I started working with Jack, do you know what the first thing he said to me was? 'Well, you're no Abbie, but we'll see what you can do.'"

Alex couldn't help but laugh, "Yeah, that sounds like Jack. I heard he said the same thing to your replacement and believe me, no one under Branch thought it was right that he let you go. He said it wasn't because you were gay, but…we knew better."

Serena just nodded. She remembered Branch's speech when she was being fired about her being a better "advocate" than prosecutor. "Yeah well...turns out it was the best thing to happen to me. I found work I love and I'm happier than I was when I was taking orders from Branch. So, Abbie wants to meet me?"

Alex nodded, "Yeah. Come on…" She led Serena over and smiled brightly, "Abbie? This is Serena Southerlyn. Serena, Abbie."

Abbie smiled her most charming smile and extended her hand, "Hi, it's nice to meet you Serena."

Serena reached out her hand to shake Abbie's, "It's nice to meet you too. Um, do you want to go out on the patio to talk?"

Abbie took a second, glancing at Alex before she said, "Yeah, I'd like that." Then she led Serena away, taking a second to look back at Alex and wink at her.

Alex was standing there admiring her handiwork when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to see Kate standing behind her. "Hey, baby. Are you enjoying the party?"

Kate smiled as she looked in the direction that Alex had been looking and then she turned to her fiancée, "I am. Are you playing matchmaker?" She knew that look in Alex's eye.

"Um, maybe just a little? Abbie and Serena are two good friends who are each looking for someone good in their lives. I figure two birds, one stone, you know?"

"I know you like your yummy dead birds sweetie, but what if it doesn't work out?" Kate was concerned because she didn't want Alex to have to choose between her friends if they started something that ended badly.

Alex stopped for a moment, "Oh…well…I guess I hadn't thought that far. I mean, I just want them to be happy the way we are and I know they'd be good for each other."

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex and rested her chin on the blonde's shoulder, her hands resting on Alex's tummy. "I know you do baby and I hope that things do work out, but you might want to prepare yourself for the possibility that might not." Kate placed a kiss on Alex's shoulder, comfortable to openly display her affection for her fiancée in this setting with their friends and family.

"I'll be prepared, but I'm not going to choose between them if things go wrong and I intend to tell them that. For now, I'm content with letting them be happy. Have you had a chance to talk with Lanie and Castle?"

Kate smiled, "Yes. They wish us well and have each expressed the desire to be Godparents."

"They'd better get in line…I have a feeling that Janice and Serena are going to fight them for the honor..."

Kate squeezed Alex closer, "Then either we set up a kiddie pool full of Jell-O and let them go at it...or we have at least two kids."

"I know you're only kidding about the Jell-O, but you have to admit, it would be interesting to watch…" she said with a chuckle. "But really, you'd want to have a second baby?"

"Well, I'm only half kidding about the Jell-O, but yeah, if you're ok with it I'd love for us to have at least two kids. I grew up an only child and I always wanted a sibling." Kate said, remembering how she'd often wish for a sister or brother.

"Um…I'm all for having two kids as well, but…I'll be 41 in a week and we agreed that we'd take some time to be us before we start our family…that means best case, I'd be close to 45 by the time we'd have our second baby and…you know there are risks that come with getting pregnant past the age of 43..."

Kate turned Alex to look her and she smiled, "I know...which was why I was thinking that I could carry the second baby. Your embryo in my womb, that way we can both have genetic links to our children, what do you say?"

A smile spread across Alex's face and tears came to her eyes, "I say an emphatic yes!" She hugged Kate tightly and then kissed her, "Thank you, baby."

Kate hugged Alex close to her, happy that her idea was so well received, "You never have to thank me for anything honey. I love you and I want to have a family with you."

They were lost in their embrace when they heard the tinkling of silver against crystal. They turned to see Castle, Lanie, Uncle Bill, and Janice standing near the fireplace. The entire crowd quieted down and Castle smiled, "First of all, we want to thank all of you for being here to celebrate the engagement of Kate and Alex. We have a few things we'd like to say and then we'll continue with the party."

He quieted and then Bill took center stage, "First of all, I want to say how happy I am that my niece has found true love with Kate. Her mother, my little sister, always wanted her daughter to be happy and fulfilled in her life and I feel blessed to be witness to just that. Elisabeth passed away before she could see this moment, but I know she is looking down from heaven and sending her blessings to protect and support these two wonderful women."

He stopped and wiped his tears, "I look at Alexandra as my daughter and she has honored me by asking that I give her away on her wedding day. I will be the first to say that I cannot wait for that moment to come and I wish you both nothing but the best. I love you Alex and I love you Kate and I hope you have a long and happy life together."

He raised his glass and several people in the room responded, "Hear, hear!"

Alex squeezed Kate and smiled a tearful smile.

Lanie and Castle looked at each other and Castle gave a tiny nod, allowing Lanie to go first. Lanie stepped forward as the room quieted and she cleared her throat.

The room gave her their attention as she began, "I've known Kate since college. I've seen her happy and I've seen heartbroken, but I have never seen her as in love as I have since she found Alex again. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with them can agree that no one is more in love than these two women." She looked right at Alex and Kate, "Kate, Alex, you both deserve nothing less than a lifetime of love and happiness and when you're ready to have children, you'd better be prepared to deal with all their honorary aunts and uncles spoiling them rotten. I love you both and I can't wait to see the gorgeous babies you bring into this world. To the happy couple."

The room exploded into applause and soon everyone in the room was tapping their glasses, encouraging the couple to kiss. Kate turned to Alex and arched her eyebrow and once Alex nodded, Kate leaned in and kissed her. The room once again roared, some cheering while others wolf-whistled.

Kate pulled away and then buried her face in Alex's neck, her face a bit red from the attention.

Castle stepped up then, quieting the crowd and taking the focus off of Kate for a bit to let her recover. "My name is Rick Castle and I want to start out by saying that I've only known Kate for about a year or so, I've known Alex even less, but I'm a quick study and the main thing I've learned about these two women is that they are truly extraordinary. Kate never backs down, she doesn't run away, she goes after what she wants, and she fights to protect the ones she loves. Everyday she makes this city a little safer for the rest of us and I, for one, sleep a little better knowing she's on the job. Alex, she keeps Kate grounded. She works tirelessly to make sure the bad guys go away for a long time. Together, they make a great team. I promised them I wouldn't use their relationship in any of my future Nikki Heat novels, but I hope they won't mind if I borrow Alex to give Heat a platonic ADA friend in the movie." Castle grinned, "Seriously though, you're both wonderful women and I can not wait to see how you tackle married life and motherhood. I personally know that there's no challenge, not even parenthood, that you two can't handle." He raised his glass, "I love you both. Congratulations."

Another round of applause broke out and Kate smiled, thankful his long-winded but very sweet toast was over and they could blend back into the crowd again. She wasn't good at being the center of attention.

Within minutes, things went back to normal and everyone started up their conversations again. Alex took Kate's hand, led her to where the toasters were still standing, and spoke sincerely, "Thank you all for your kind words. They mean so much to us."

Kate nodded her agreement but kept her mouth shut, she wasn't great in front of big crowds. After a few moments she pulled Alex away from the spotlight and onto the now empty patio. She stepped behind Alex as she leaned against the railing and wrapped her arms around her. "We have some very sweet friends, baby."

"I know. I can hardly believe they did all of this for us," she said with a happy sigh. "I don't think I could be happier."

Kate pulled her closer and whispered into her ear, "Wait until I get you alone tonight..." She reached her tongue out and flicked Alex's earlobe.

Alex felt something warm shoot through her body, "Is that a promise?"

"That's a lifetime guarantee baby." She smiled as she once again flicked Alex's earlobe and then she wrapped her lips around it and sucked lightly.

Alex moaned softly and asked, "So, what made you decide that you wanted to carry one of our children?"

Kate ran her hands over Alex's tummy as she explained, "Well, I figured that since you were going to go through the morning sickness, the swollen ankles, the mood swings, the cravings, and best of all the delivery for our first child, it was only fair that I do the same with our second child... Plus, I want you have a child that's biologically yours, too. It felt a little selfish of me to have you carry my child if I didn't at least offer to carry yours. Besides, I like the idea of having a part of you inside of me." She kissed Alex's shoulder, "Bottom line though, I love you and however it happens, I want a family with you."

Alex turned in Kate's arms and looked deep into her fiancée's eyes, "Baby, I think that may be the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me and I love you so much for wanting to do this. I will love both our babies the same, but yes, I would like to have one that's yours and one that's mine."

Kate smiled and then leaned close to kiss her, pouring all of her love and desire into the contact. Kate wanted to leave no doubt in Alex's heart that this was real, they were together and nothing would ever tear them apart. They had survived the worst, Dunn and his craziness, and they had come out the other side of that mess stronger for their suffering. Kate held her close, never wanting to let go of her.

Alex whispered, "I want to go home and make love to you right now…do you think they would think it rude if we excused ourselves?"

Kate smiled, "I don't know about rude, but they would all know why we're leaving so early."

"Because my fiancée is an extremely sexy, hot, wonderful woman that I can't wait to take advantage of?" she asked with a grin.

"Yeah something like that, but I'm going to be one taking advantage. I was thinking...maybe tonight we can...um....do something new? If you're up for it that is." Kate was a bit nervous about what she was going to suggest because she didn't want to spark an argument or anything, but she felt like they were in the right place, emotionally, for her to bring it up now.

"Oh? What did you have in mind?"

Kate took a breath and said, "Well...um...first of all, I want you to know that you can say no and I'll totally understand, no hard feelings, ok?"

Alex looked worried, "Babe, you're scaring me."

Kate looked down, "I'm sorry, I'm not saying this right. Ok, I was thinking we could...well actually that I could..." Kate lowered her voice to a whisper and leaned close to Alex's ear so that there was no chance of anyone overhearing them, "I was thinking I could wear the strap-on and make love to you...with it...you know?" Kate pulled back to look at Alex's face and gauge her reaction.

Alex's eyes were sparkling, "Really? You—you want to?"

Kate nodded, "Yeah I want to...but if you don't want to, it's ok. I mean it baby."

"No, I do. I…well, I've wanted to for a while, but ever since that night we fought…I was afraid to ask."

Kate chuckled, "I was actually waiting for you to ask again. I've wanted to try for a week now, ever since I asked you to marry me. I think tonight might be a good night for it."

Alex pecked Kate's lips and then moved to whisper in her ear, "I promise that I'll stare straight into your eyes when I come. Will you let me be on top?"

Kate felt an answering pulse between her legs and she smiled, "Baby, we can try as many positions as you want as long as I can hear you call my name as you come."

"You got it. Come on, let's go say our goodbyes," she said as she took Kate's hand. They went back into the living room and let Castle, Lanie, and the Harrimans know that they were leaving early because Alex wasn't feeling well, but they thanked them for everything.

The conspirators knew the real reason they were leaving early, but no one was going to hold it against them. They waved goodbye to everyone and then went out to the car and drove home.

When they arrived, Alex practically dragged Kate up to the loft and to their room. She shed her clothes and helped Kate out of hers, worshipping the brunette's body before getting the strap-on from the closet.

Alex watched with awe as Kate slid the harness on and though she could tell her lover was nervous, she still looked hot. The blonde placed a hand on Kate's shoulder and gazed deep into her eyes, "You look amazing… and if you don't believe me look." She slipped a finger between her legs and presented it to Kate, the coating of arousal glistening in the low light.

Kate was blushing, having stepped out of her comfort zone with the strap-on, but she was determined to follow through with her suggestion. She knew it was something Alex really wanted and she wanted to try it as well. She ran her own hand between Alex's legs, letting her fingers become soaked with the wetness she found there, then she grinned at her fiancée, "I love that I can do that to you. It tells me without words, without question, that you want me." She leaned forward and kissed her, pulling her close enough that Alex could feel the length of the strap-on pressed against her thigh.

Alex moaned, another burst of moisture coating her pussy in anticipation. She wanted to look into Kate's eyes and feel the brunette's hands on her breasts as she came; it had been a dream of hers for a long time. She put her hands on Kate's back just above the harness and tickled her in the way that Kate liked.

Kate pulled away from the kiss, smiling, "You know what that does to me..." She wanted nothing more than to lay her down on their bed and forget the rest of the world for the night. She wanted it to be just the two of them in this little bubble they'd created. Kate gently guided Alex down to the bed, stretching out above her lover. She looked into her eyes, "I love you and I want to do this right." She felt herself blush again but she fought it and began kissing and licking her way down Alex's body, determined to make her as wet and ready as possible before she used the strap-on.

Alex rested her head on the pillow and smiled softly. Her skin was a soft pink color and the throbbing from between her legs was making it hard for her to concentrate. She was so excited to do this with Kate. She ran her fingers through Kate's hair and whispered how much she loved her fiancée.

Kate began sucking on Alex's breast as she moved her hand down her lover's body to her thighs. She slipped her fingers between Alex's legs and she smiled at the gush of wetness she encountered. She lifted her head and looked at her fiancée, "Are you ready for me baby?"

Alex nodded, "Yes. Trade places with me."

Kate nodded and rolled onto her back, her hand holding the dildo upright for Alex. "I'm so hard for you, baby," Kate said, trying a little dirty talk.

"Oh God," Alex said in a breathy voice. Kate looked so sexy laying there with the dildo standing at attention and she couldn't wait to have Kate inside of her. Alex straddled Kate's hips and lowered down until she felt the head of the dildo enter her. She hovered for a moment and looked straight into Kate's eyes as she took the rest of the dildo inside of her. She growled and smiled, "Oh yeah."

Kate looked up at Alex and smiled, "Can I just say that you look so hot right now?" She brought her hands up to Alex's hips and ran her fingers over the skin before she licked her lips, "I definitely like the view from here."

"I'm glad, baby. I've wanted to make love like this so that I can look into your eyes and kiss your lips when I come." She started rocking back and forth, grazing her swollen clit against the leather of the harness, a soft moan escaping her lips.

Kate slid her hands up until they were cupping Alex's breasts. She gently squeezed them and rolled the nipples between her fingers. Kate started slowly moving her hips up into Alex, matching the motion of Alex's hips, and she smiled, "I want to watch you come baby, I want to see your face when it happens."

Alex nodded and tossed her head back, her hips continuing to rock. When she felt Kate thrust up into her, she fell forward and supported herself on her hands. She lifted her hips and started sliding on and off the cock, the sensation against her inner walls driving her crazy.

Kate wrapped her arms around Alex's back, her nails lightly raking her shoulder blades as she kept rocking her hips. She lifted her head and began running her lips and tongue over Alex's collarbone and neck before she whispered against her ear, "That's it baby, you're mine now...come for me."

Alex picked up the pace, riding Kate hard. Her clit and breasts were brushing against Kate's skin and the dildo was covered in her wetness. She squeezed the cock and moaned, her orgasm getting closer and closer. "I'm almost there."

Kate kept up the motion of her hips and brought her hands back to Alex's breasts, fondling them and squeezing the nipples. She looked at Alex's face and noticed her eyes were closed, "Open your eyes baby, I want to see them when you come, please."

Alex registered the request and opened her darkened blue eyes. She looked into Kate's eyes and said, "Tell me you love me..."

Kate reached up and ran her hand through Alex's hair as she said, "I love you so much...we're going to have our future together..." She smiled as she looked into Alex's desire-darkened eyes, "I love you Alexandra Cabot and I can't wait until I make you my wife."

That was all that Alex needed to hear. She let herself go and came hard, yelling out, "I love you, too, Kate!" as her orgasm washed over her. She kept her eyes focused on Kate the entire time and lost herself in those dark brown pools.

Kate held Alex close as she came back down from her orgasm. She rained kisses all along her neck, smiling against the skin as she whispered, "You're so beautiful when you come baby. I love you."

Alex smiled and rested against Kate, "I love you too. Thank you for that, baby. It was amazing."

Kate shifted her hips, slowly sliding the dildo out of her lover and letting it rest against her thigh. She looked up at Alex, "You never have to thank me for that, I love making you come any way I can, any way you want it." She leaned up and kissed her.

"I just know you were nervous about this and you were brilliant, by the way. I can't believe you've never used one of these before."

Kate grinned, "Well, I'm a fast learner and I had an excellent teacher." She winked at her then said, seriously, "But really, I just want you to have everything you want, I want us to be able to try new things. All I ask is that when you find something new you want to try, don't ask me in the heat of the moment, ok? I think we've established that I don't react well to changes when all I can think about is having you come in my mouth or my hands."

Alex nodded, " I know." She settled down next to Kate and said, "I think we should get this off of you…I'm sure you're quite excited after all of that."

Kate grinned, "Now that you mention it..."

Alex smiled and sat up to help Kate out of the harness. She tossed it aside and looked at her beautiful girlfriend, "What are you in the mood for?"

Kate smiled as she reached for her fiancée, "You...only you in any way that I can have you...please?"

Alex nodded and then skimmed her slender fingers over Kate's breasts. The brunette's nipples were already hard and Alex lowered her head so that she could suck one into her mouth. She pulled gently with her teeth and then soothed the ache with her tongue as her hand trailed lower over Kate's stomach.

Kate moaned as she arched her back and ran her hand through Alex's hair. She was so ready for Alex and she grabbed the hand that was on her stomach and ragged it lower, "I need you baby, please don't tease me."

Alex grinned and obliged Kate, her fingers slipping between moist folds. She found her lover's clit and massaged it in circles while her tongue trailed from one breast to the other.

Kate's hips began to rock. She was so ready that she knew it wouldn't take much, but there was something she needed. She reached for Alex's chin and lifted it up so that she could look her in the eyes, "Baby, I'm so close... please...I need your mouth...down there...please?" She loved it when Alex went down on her; it was her favorite way to come.

"Of course, baby." She removed her hand from Kate's pussy and settled between her legs. She lifted the detective's legs over her shoulders and rested her hands on Kate's hips, pulling her close as she slid her tongue inside of her lover's warmth. She thrust in and out, the wetness pouring into Alex's mouth.

Kate moaned at the contact. She reached out and ran her hands through Alex's hair, holding on to her as her head fell back to the pillow. Her eyes closed as she felt her orgasm rush forward and before long it crashed over her and her whole body tensed. She cried out, "Oh yes Alex!"

Alex remained inside of Kate for several moments until she felt her lover relax. She pulled back and licked her lips, Kate's essence thick. She ran her hand over Kate's stomach and soothed her, "Breathe, baby."

Kate's breaths came in gasps as she came back down. She smiled when she felt Alex's hand on her stomach and she opened her eyes to look down at her lover with a smile, "I love you Alexandra Cabot... you... are... amazing!"

"I love you too, Kate Beckett," Alex said as she took her lover into her arms. "You bring out the best in me, I can assure you of that."

Kate snuggled into Alex's chest, but then something came back to her, something she suddenly remembered, "Hey, um, can I ask you something?"

"Mmhmm," Alex said softly.

Kate began drawing idle patterns on Alex's chest as she asked, timidly, "Did you, um...did you mean what you said that time when we were...talking about our baby being a...Beckett?"

"You mean about me taking your name and giving it to our child? Yeah, I did. You still want that, right?"

Kate looked up into Alex's eyes, "I'd love that, as long as you still want to. I like the sound of it...Alexandra Beckett." She smiled as she tried out the new name.

"Me too. The one thing I realized when I went into the program is that 'Cabot' is just a name. It doesn't change the person I am inside. Taking your name and giving it to our baby… it makes me feel so connected to you. Besides, I don't want our child having a stigma attached to him or her because he or she comes from money."

Kate arched her brow, "And being a Cabot would bring that stigma?"

"Unfortunately, yes. Our baby is already going to have a hard time because people still don't accept families like ours. The last thing I want is for him or her to have grief because of the whole Cabot thing."

Kate shifted to lie on her side, resting her head on her hand as she looked at Alex, "Is that what happened with you? Growing up a Cabot I mean."

She nodded, "Yeah. It made things difficult. I never knew if people liked me for me or for my money and the expectations…" She exhaled, "It made being me harder and I don't just mean the gay thing. I'm talking about following my dreams."

Kate felt a tug on her heart. "I'm sorry you had to grow up like that." She looked into Alex's eyes, "You do know that I don't care about your money, right? I love you for who you are not who your family is or where you came from." She leaned forward and kissed Alex.

Alex nodded and looked into her eyes, "I know. You fell in love with me when you thought I was Vicky Harrison from Santa Fe and you've never changed, not one bit, since you've found out who I am and where I come from. I've never felt more secure than I do with you, Kate."

Kate smiled, "Good. I'm glad. Now...what dreams were you talking about?" Kate was curious about the things Alex had wanted to do but hadn't felt the freedom to do.

"I didn't always want to be a lawyer. When I was a teenager, I thought about doing something else with my life. I always liked art and psychology and I wanted to give it a try. But my dad…he was so insistent that I stay focused and not get distracted by frivolous things. I took a couple of art classes on the side, but my nose was always in my law books."

Kate smiled, "So your job in Santa Fe must've been a dream job then huh? So were you more interested in the admiration of art or...did you want to create the art?"

"I'm not much of an artist. I have an eye for it, but that's about it. Working at the gallery in Santa Fe was amazing and I really liked working with people. It was nice not having to worry about doing things perfectly. It was no pressure, which is something I've never known before."

Kate nodded, "After we're married and you become Alex Beckett...will you continue practicing law or...did you want to do something else? I want you to be happy baby, no matter what you need to do to achieve that, ok?"

"I don't know what I'm going to do…I guess it'll all depend on how things go after I get pregnant. I don't want to put our baby at risk, you know? I could be happy doing something else…or maybe if I stick with law, I could do something less risky."

"Well, whatever you decide to do, I will stand beside you no matter what."

"Thank you, baby," Alex said with a smile. She leaned over and kissed Kate on the lips and then settled in beside her.

They lay there in the silence for a few hours. Alex was tickling Kate's arm, thinking about a multitude of things before she finally spoke, "We haven't really talked much about where we want to get married. We talked about flowers, colors, maids of honor and all that stuff, but nothing about location."

Kate turned to look at Alex, "Well, I'm not really feeling a church wedding. Since we're planning to do this in June, I was thinking maybe something outdoors?"

"I was thinking the exact same thing… I thought maybe we could get married at sunset on a beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean."

Kate smiled, "That sounds wonderful. Any specific terrace calling your attention?" Kate knew Alex wouldn't suggest something so detailed unless she had something in mind.

"As a matter of fact, there is a place. My parents and I were on vacation in Venice one year and there was this wonderful villa that overlooked the water. The sunset was amazing. Beautiful blues, purples, and pinks reflecting on the waterways and lights twinkling. I've never seen anything like it."

Kate shifted to lie on her side, her head resting on one hand as the other hand rested on Alex's tummy. "Venice? As in, Venice, Italy? You want us to get married in Italy?"

"Yeah, don't you think that would be great? We could fly our close friends and our family out and rent a villa where they can stay."

"I think it sounds like a great place for a honeymoon but...I was kind of hoping to keep the wedding local so that all of our friends can be there."

"But it's Venice, baby. We'll only get married once and what could be more memorable than Italy?"

Kate lowered her head and began drawing circles on Alex's skin. "Sweetie, I don't have to go all the way to Italy to make our wedding memorable. All I need is you and I'm going to remember our wedding for the rest of my life because it's the day you officially, and legally, became mine. I love you and that's all I need. However, I am willing to offer a compromise," Kate said as she lifted her eyes to meet Alex's. "What if we got married on the beach in the Hamptons at sunset and then rented a villa in Venice for our honeymoon?"

Alex pouted, "It's not the same… I know that it shouldn't matter where we do it, but don't you think it would be wonderful to be abroad when we do?"

Kate took a breath and then buried her face in Alex's neck to try and steel herself against that pout; she never could say no to Alex when she pouted. After a moment, she lifted her head just enough to growl into her lover's ear, "You don't play fair. You know I can't resist that pout." She wrapped her arm around Alex's waist and pulled her closer, "But baby, it's going to be pretty expensive to fly everyone out there and rent a villa to house them all. How about we rent a house in Martha's Vineyard and get married on the beach there? It would be cheaper to bring our friends and families out to the Vineyard than fly them out to Italy. Plus, you know not everyone is going to have the time and a passport to leave the country."

Alex sighed and asked in a quiet voice, "Can I sleep on it?"

Kate nodded, knowing when not to push, "Of course. We have time to decide on a location."

She cuddled up with Kate and kissed her neck, "I love you, Kate Beckett. I know I can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but I just want everything to be perfect for our special day."

Kate held her close, "I know you do and I love that about you baby, but our wedding day is going to be perfect no matter where we have it because we'll be together. I just want all of our friends and family to be able to make it. For now let's get some sleep and we'll talk more about this in the morning."

"Ok," Alex nodded. "I love you baby," she said before she kissed Kate one last time and closed her eyes to drift happily off to sleep.

"I love you too, Alex. Sweet dreams," Kate said as she cuddled closer to Alex. She too fell deeply asleep, safe in the arms of the woman she loved.

The End

To Be Continued in Book Two

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