Prompt from kwarner here on fanfiction: during the 3XK episode Rick and Kate are dating already and at the end of the episode after they hold hands, they go back to his or her apartment and have dinner and then cuddle and/or make out and then talk about what happened. Written in 'The Lovers' universe (see prompts 30, 33, 53 and 46).

They don't usually do this, no matter how bad the scene. He's not usually kicked off the premises. She doesn't usually excuse herself from the scene right after wrapping a case. They don't usually find themselves sitting side by side while everyone else works, her hand holding his, his hand holding hers, as they both just take in the fact that he's alive.

It had been so close. Tyson could have killed him. She could have lost her husband. Alexis could have lost her father. The future they planned could have been taken away in a split second because they got the wrong guy.

As much as she knows that, once the initial pain of all this passes, he'll tell her time and time again not to blame herself for this, for the attack on Ryan, what could have been two new murders, she can't believe any of that...not now, not as he sits staring off into space, the guilt of letting Tyson get away already weighing on him. She can't believe it while the fear is still fresh in her mind, while her heart still beats wildly in her chest at the idea of losing him.

So, they just sit there and take in everything that's happened over the past few days, everything that could happen from here on out because of one mistake.

"We should go," she speaks eventually, breaking the silence that had fallen upon them even with sirens blaring and their co-workers shouting nearby.

"Shouldn't we stay...and," he asks, turning to her. She hates the look in his eyes, the pained expression in the blue orbs that have always been there to comfort her.

She remembers back when she was pregnant with Alexis, and even when he was practically a stranger—even though she had slept with him, after a book signing where she got a little more than expected—he had been able to soothe her fears.

But now, she has to comfort him, and she's not sure she can.

"They won't miss us, Rick. They'll understand, I promise. I just...can we please go home?" The way she says it leaves very little questioning, and she knows he won't try and argue with her. The pleading tone in her voice had made it evident that she doesn't want to go home just for him, but that she needs it, too.

Sure enough, he agrees, and without saying two words to anyone at the crime scene, they're on their way. She'll have him give Montgomery his statement tomorrow.

As soon as they get home, he pulls leftover pasta out of the fridge. Alexis is already and bed, but as they warm up their dinner in the microwave, they both go upstairs to check on her, just to watch her through her half-open door. The kiss he presses to her head as they watch their little girl sleep is soft and loving and reassuring.

So much could have gone wrong, but they're all okay. Right now, that's all she can ask for.

They go back downstairs and he takes the plate of pasts out of the microwave with his free hand, the other still being held tightly by hers. He doesn't try to pull away, as if he knows. Then again, she realizes, he's almost lost her enough times to know the feeling. She can remember a few occasions, before and after they started working together, when he wasn't able to let her go, when he spent part of the night worshiping her, reassuring himself that she was still there. She's only really had to reassure herself that much once, after Coonan held him at gunpoint.

She hates feeling this way, though, feeling so needy. She hates knowing that he almost died, yet she's the one that's more shaken, even though she knows it's the same way when she's the one staring down death's door.

He leads her into the living room, two forks suddenly balancing on the single plate and she realizes she was too lost in her thoughts to notice him taking them out. He sets the plate on the coffee table as he sits down, releasing her hand so he can open his arm for her to crawl into. She does so willingly, resting her head on his shoulder, pressing her body against his, wrapping her arm around him and holding him as close as possible. He holds her, too, pulling her as close to him as possible, pressing his lips to her head.

"Are you okay, Kate?" he whispers to her, his words muffled by her hair.

She nuzzles deeper into his chest, nodding against him. "I should be worried about you." It comes out sounding smaller, more frightened than she had planned. And, as much as that tone of voice always makes her feel work, the way his arms tighten around her even more, his lips pressing to her head again, makes her realize he understands.

"No, Kate. I'm here, I'm okay. But you...I know how scary it almost lose you. I hate knowing I'm putting you through that," he whispers to her. "I hate knowing that I do this, I risk my life, and I don't have to. It's your job, Kate, but it's not mine, and I don't have to put you through this, but I do, anyway."

She just tightens her grip on him, silently urging him to continue. She knows he needs this, to talk about it, as much as she needs him to hold her, right now.

"He asked me, Kate, how close to death I want to get. He said I'm drawn to death, that it thrills me, and asked if it was because of my own suppressed urges," he continues, shuddering next to her as he explains. "But I could never do that, Kate. Just the idea is...horrifying. I couldn't...not after seeing the damage it can do."

It's no secret he's talking about her.

Though they met five years after he mother's murder and he wasn't there for the immediate grieving, he was there for some of the worst of it. At the beginning of her pregnancy with Alexis, it had been horrible. She had been so scared of doing everything, being a mother, without having her own mother to turn to. He had held her, comforted her. And even though, at the time they were still just beginning to build a friendship, he had promised that she's be able to do it, that they'd do it together, even though she didn't have her mother. He had promised she'd be extraordinary. She had believed him.

It had been only a few weeks after that, after the initial pain and fears had passed and she accepted his promises, believed his words, that they told her father. That's when he cleaned up, got sober for his grandchild. It had made everything so much easier, allowed her to accept that she might not have her mom, but she did still have her dad. From there on out, Castle hadn't needed to deal with her grief as much, until the final trimester when mood swings at the fact that Alexis' birth was growing so near had made her initial fears return. He had held her again, made the same promises, helping her deal with the pain, with the grief all over again.

Since, he's been there for her on every hard day, holding her through the anniversaries, wiping away her tears when she missed her mother most. Sometimes, he cries with her.

"I know, babe. I know you could never do that. Tyson is crazy, don't you listen to anything he says," she whispers, pulling her head off his chest to meet his eyes, slipping on of her thighs between his, making sure he sees that she means it before she leans in to press her lips to his.

The plate remains untouched on the coffee table, but she doesn't care. Today is just one of those days when she doesn't need food, she needs him and the reassurance that he is okay.

As always, he gives her exactly what she needs. And the plate stays on the table as he leads her to their bedroom, gives her the reassurance she needs, worships her the way he always does after days like today. His lips against her skin is the promise that he's alive. His hand caressing her flesh is the promise that he's okay. The look in his eyes is the promise that he loves her. The words he whispers to her afterwards are the promises that he'll never leave her.

As she falls asleep next to him, her bare skin pressed against his as he holds her tightly, it's those promises that are fresh in her mind, and she dreams of them and all that they entail rather than of the day now behind them.