A/N: This is a new idea I've got. I hope you enjoy it.
He doesn't quite know what to do when he opens the door. He hasn't seen her in almost two months and she is crying and shaking and it's just so out of character.
Because she's Kate Beckett and it's midnight and she's falling apart on his doorstep.
She shrieks when he takes her elbow to guide her in. It's freezing outside and she's not even wearing a jacket, only a thin long sleeve and even through the material he can see the goosebumps on her pale skin.
Her eyes are glued to the ground and for a moment he considers that she might be sleep walking. Because Kate Beckett would never come to him in the middle of the night; crying. She would never come to him crying at all – no matter what time of the day it is.
But here she is and he glances up the stairs hoping his mother and daughter are fast asleep and won't hear the breaking woman in his loft.
He takes her to his office, makes her sit down in one of the leather chairs, a thick blanket around her shoulders. Hoping to calm the shaking figure in front of him down. It's probably not the cold that got her shaking, because she's crying harder now.
She's sobbing. And it's breaking his heart; because there is nothing he can do. Except for running his hands up and down her arms, asking her what happened. It seems to upset her even more.
"Kate-," the lump in his throat to big to swallow.
Her hair falls like a thick curtain around her face as her head hangs forward. Her shoulders are shaking violently, slim pale fingers grabbing the blanket, knuckles turning white.
She opens her mouth and he's sure she wants to say something but nothing comes out.
He squats down in front of her and he swears he's never been that helpless.
What on earth could have happened to her?
Oh god, what can he do? He needs to do something; anything.
Because she turned up crying at his door. She doesn't just do that. A bad day won't bring her to his door. Or a bad week. Or month. Or anything at all.
She doesn't do that, it's his only conclusion.
Except she did – and she's here now. Her muffled sobs, ragged breaths, shaking form underneath his fingers more than proof. She came to him in such a moment of darkness because maybe - his mind tells him - maybe she trusts him enough to make it better. Maybe it's not just him who wants to ease her pain. Maybe it's her wanting him to ease it.
He closes his eyes and he wants to cry. Because she's a freaking mess and he's never seen her like that and she came to him. And he can't help; he doesn't know what to do. He never does around her.
He swore himself he'd be mad at her. When, if, she finally called he'd be mad. As days turned into a week into a month into this. And he still is; mad. They'd have to talk about it.
Not now, no. Right now he just wants to make her okay.
He's at loss; pleading.
"Please-," there's a bitter taste on his tongue, "tell me what to do to make it better."
"Just make it stop, Castle"
Those five words rip him apart. Her voice is hoarse and she sounds too fucking vulnerable and he just wants to take her away. Someplace different. Safe. Happy.
"Stop what, Kate?" he says her name, tries to draw her attention to him.
They haven't seen each other in seven weeks and five days and right now he doesn't care. Not about the promises she broke. Not about what he told himself he'd do. He needs to make her better. If not for her than at least for himself.
"Make it stop."
Something else kicks in. It's more than concern. It's fear. He's afraid.
His eyes wander over her body. Searches for something unusual. He stares openly at her chest and it's stupid, because it's covered with clothes but he knows it's underneath there.
The bullet wound.
He wants to reach out, check that everything is fine. But he doesn't. Because she is Kate Beckett and even shaking and crying and breaking down in front of him she's frightening; and he doesn't doubt her ability to shoot him for even a second.
"I don't know-," he starts but she interrupts him. Holding up a hand, making him stop in his tracks.
She leans forward, puts her face on her knees. He's sure it must be a really uncomfortable position.
At least she's not sobbing anymore. Still shaking. But her sobs subdued a few minutes ago and she reaches one hand to her side. A low groan escapes her.
"Are you in pain?"
She shakes her head, no but then she nods, yes. Barely visible.
"A little," it's just a whisper.
He puts a hand on her back because he doesn't know what to do. It's been too long since the last time he's seen her.
"Is that why you came? I can call someone or bring you to the hospital. Do you want some painkillers?"
He knows he's rambling but once he starts talking he can't stop. He needs to help her somehow.
She just shakes her head.
They stay like that for a while. His hand on her back, not moving. Just keeping the contact between them alive. Showing her that he's there. Her forehead still pressed against her knees; one of her hands found the way to his shirt; gently grabbing onto the material.
The only sound in the room comes from the ticking clock on the wall.
And their breaths. She's calmer now. Finally. He doesn't know how long they've been sitting here.
"Can I stay here tonight?"
She asks after what feels like an eternity. He turns his face to look at her and her eyes are on his for the first time tonight. For the first time in two months.
God, me missed her so much.
Her question almost knocks the air out of his lungs. He can't form any words and only nods. Because yes, he wants her to stay. And not just tonight.
There is still so much they have to talk about. So many unspoken words, unresolved feelings.
Not now. Later.
Because right now she's getting up from the chair, walks towards his bedroom. She's never been in there but somehow she knows her way around his home. Just like she belongs here.
She's in his room now and it scares him. What does she want? She stayed in his guest room before. Back when her apartment blew up.
They look at each other through the darkness, holding stares. He asks her if she wants something else to wear. It must be ridiculously uncomfortable to sleep in those jeans. She nods and he disappears into his closet for a moment before handing her a pair of dark green sweat pants and a black shirt.
She leaves his bathroom door a crack open as she wordlessly disappears to change. He stands in the middle of the bedroom. Only a shadow of her moving around in his bathroom visible through the light.
He should probably go; leave her alone. She's so out of character tonight but he knows she won't let him stay with her. He wants to.
Oh, so badly.
There's so much she still needs to work through and so does he.
His head is a fucked up mess right now. And he wants to be with her but he also needs to breathe for a second. That's something he can't do with her in the same room.
The last time he saw her she promised to call him. Then nothing.
He turns around, closes the door behind himself. Standing in the dark of his office he tries to swallow the lump in his throat. It's not working.
She's in his bedroom. She probably curls up in his bed right now. Maybe she's even lying on the side he usually sleeps at.
Thinking doesn't help right now.
He has a guest room. He could definitively go there. Try to sleep some. Maybe clear his head.
He might be a professional in lying to himself but that is ridiculous; even for him. Like he'd be able to get any sleep right now.
She came to him crying tonight. She was breaking down right in front of him. And he hasn't seen her in months. He wouldn't leave her. He couldn't.
He settles down in the same chair she was in before he props his feet up on his couch table and folds his hands behind his head.
He won't be able to sleep tonight. He could write of watch TV. But that would make noise, or cause light. And he doesn't want to startle her.
From the other side of the door he can see the light on his nightstand being turned off.
A/N: What do you think?