She's a nervous wreck. He sees it in everything she does. It's three days before her psychological evaluation and she's freaking out. If she passes she has to stay home for another week, and then could go back to work.
Those past almost two weeks have been great and she's been improving a lot. He doesn't really know why she shouldn't be allowed to go back. Except for the fact that he doesn't want her to, that he wants to keep her here with him for the rest of his life. Even if that's not working, he knows that. She is a detective, she belongs there. It doesn't make it easier.
They– they are great. It's going very well. She– he never expected her to be so open, to love him so freely. But she does. It became a habit that he sleeps over at her place in the last week, he spent more time at her place than at his own. Which has partially to do with the fact that Alexis is in LA visiting her mother. No one who misses him at home. Except for his mother maybe, but she seems to understand. She even seems to be happy. She actually seems to want him gone most of the time. What that means he's not sure.
Never did he expect Kate Beckett to be someone to physically seek comfort. But she does. She likes to cuddle up in the middle of the night, squeezes her feet under his legs on the couch to warm up her toes. She kisses him, without a warning. One moment they are talking and the next she leans into him and he forgets the world around them. She willingly lets him hold her after a nightmare. Not always, but sometimes and she's not kicking him out, lets him see her.
He takes her out, one something that he calls a real date. He's giddy about it when he makes a reservation at a small restaurant. Nothing too fancy, like she asked him to. Low key. She still wears a dress when he picks her up. It's simple, dark green, short but it doesn't reveal too much. It's not a summer dress but still not quite a cocktail dress. His mother and daughter might have a name for it, he doesn't.
She's nervous, can see it in her steps as she takes the arm he offers her but she doesn't hide the smile that's plastering her lips when he tells her that she's stunning. And oh God– is she beautiful. He knows that she's not just nervous about this date, but he still hopes that he can at least take her mind off of things for a few hours.
Dinner is nice. They shared a thousand meals together in those past three years. What feels like hundreds just in those last few weeks but this one is different. It's new, it's intimate. It's the start of something big, something that started years ago and is still just a few moments old.
They talk about nonsense for a while. She laughs until she has tears in her eyes when he tells her his tales of boarding school. She offers a few of her stories from her wild child phase.
–Damn, Katherine Beckett. Who would have thought?
"I called Lanie today," she says during the cheese cake they share for desert. He lifts his gaze from her lips – yes, he was, is, starring – to her eyes. He can't see any sadness. Instead she looks happy, proud of herself, almost calm.
"You did?" Is the only thing that comes to his mind.
"Yeah, she was– Well, mad at first," she scrunches up her nose and shakes her head. He understands. He's been mad at first and she hasn't talked to Lanie in over three months. "But, I don't know, I think she understands. At least she accepted my apology."
"Yeah, it is," She takes his hand on the table. "The boys will get it too, right? Understand my... absence?" She asks after a minute, insecurity momentarily written over her face.
"Of course they will. We all– wished that you'd call sooner, but– "
"I couldn't–," she protests but he shuts her off with the brush of his thumb over the back of her hand.
"I know, and I understand. And so will they."
She nods at him and stares down at their empty plate before she looks up again, a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "You wanna get out of here?"
He kisses her by her front door. Because it is a date and he's allowed to do that now. He palms her cheeks gently and presses his mouth to hers.
It quickly turns into more when her arms slip under his coat and fists his shirt at the back. One of his hands is at the back of her head, the other cradling her jaw, giving him better access to her mouth. Her tongue is hot and desperate in his and he walks her backwards until her back gently hit the wall of her building. A noise escapes the back of her throat and he just wants to keep hearing that sound for the rest of his life. He wants to hear it again and again and again. And never stop.
Her hands start to wander, over his back up to his chest, fingers dancing under the collar of his shirt, warming his already burning skin.
"Come up with me," she breathes into his mouth.
"On the first date?" He asks, as he abandons her face to trail a line of kisses down her neck, her hips involuntarily arching into him.
"That's at least our hundredth date," she says as she pulls him back up, fusses her mouth once again to his.
He pushes back gently, his fingers running gentle paths over her cheek. He eyes her, the arousal almost unbearable at this point. Fuck, she's so sexy. But he can't – can't just go up with her when she told him two weeks ago that she needed to go slow.
"I'm sure," she says before he can even ask the question and her eyes are so big and dark and her lips are swollen and she looks like she really means it.
"Kate–," he groans when she leans into him, leaving wet kisses on his neck, gently biting his earlobe before whispering in his ear.
"What about. Slow?" She chuckles. He's practically dying and she just chuckles.
"I want this, Rick. I want you."
"This is not because Tuesday?" He asks again. She leans back and looks at him, raw and honest and herself.
"No. I want this because of you, because I love you. I don't care about Tuesday, I just want you."
He follows her upstairs then.
I just want you.
She calls him after her appointment and her voice doesn't tell him anything. He can't say if she has good or bad news. He isn't even sure what good and what bad news are. He doesn't know a thing – only that she asked him to meet her at a café two blocks from the office.
She's waiting when he walks in, seated in a booth in the corner, two mugs of coffee on the table in front of her. And he still doesn't know what she's going to tell him.
He kisses her when he slides into the booth next to her and she lets him. She tastes like coffee and vanilla, she tastes like Beckett. And he knows – somehow – in the way she kisses him, in the way her shoulders are drawn back, her posture straight. He knows it before she even speaks the words.
"I can go back," it's a whisper like it's a secret just between the two of them. He studies her face and she is smiling, bright and big and she looks at him like he's the only one who needs to know, like she just cares about telling him.
And he thought it'd be like a punch in his stomach but it's not. He can't help but smile at her because she seems so happy and young and he kisses her again. It's a sloppy kiss with both of them smiling but it's perfect.
"You can go back," he repeats against her lips.
"We," she says then. "We can go back, if the new Captain lets you, if you still want to."
"I want to," he says immediately, scrunching up his nose by the thought of the new Captain. He definitively has to call in some favors to let her take him back.
"We'll go back," she says as she settles into his side, his arm coming up around her. And he doesn't care that they are in public and that they could be seen by someone that shouldn't see them, he kisses her again.
"He said that I made a lot of progress in those past few weeks," she looks at him like it's his credit, when really it's all just her. "He wants to keep on seeing me for a little while, well suggested it, but as long as my doctors give me the final okay he has no worry about sending me back on the force."
"And are you ready?" He asks, recalling those rare occasions when she mumbled secrets of not knowing if she can go back.
"I'm ready," she says without thinking about it and he believes her.
"I'm so proud of you," he says.
"I couldn't have done that without you," she say truthfully but he shakes his head and brushes a piece of hair behind her hear, curls his fingers there.
"You could have. But I'm glad you didn't."
"I'm glad I came to you that night."
He is too. He is so glad.
And they're still just a little broken, just a little messed up. But it's okay, somehow, because they are in this together now. They're still healing. And everyday it hurts less and she doesn't have as many nightmares and neither does he. And they laugh and they joke and they are on their way back to normal, on their way to extraordinary.
She leans into him, brushes a smiling kiss against his cheek. "What do you wanna do today?" She mumbles against his skin.
Yes, it is good.
A/N: One final time I want to thank you all for your amazing support during almost the year it took me to finish this. Without all of you I might have lost my inspiration a thousand times. Uploading the first chapter I never would have thought that so many of you would like my little piece of writing. I can't thank you enough. To me it feels right to let this story go at this point. I'm ready.
Until next time,