AN: What's my writing process? Well, it involves starting a chapter, getting overly fixated on the wording of one sentence, and then closing my laptop because I can't move past that sentence. Then, I start writing a chapter that won't happen for at least five chapters in the middle of Physics 3 instead of paying attention to lecture, then I come up with a random sentence I like for something that's even later in the story three weeks later, and that finally motivates me to continue writing the chapter I'm supposed to be writing.
Castle woke up for the third time that night in a cold sweat. Even with the therapy, the nightmares still plagued him. They were better with Kate around, but he was reluctant to call her. He looked at the clock and groaned. It was 2:37 in the morning. He rolled over and tried to think of anything but his nightmare, but his mind wasn't so kind. The images he saw weren't new, but they were still disturbing. He couldn't stop himself from seeing Kate laid out on the ground, blood oozing from a bullet hole.
He knew that if there was one thing that would drive him mad, it would be losing her.
He was able to drift of into an unrestful sleep once more, but was again ripped from his slumber by another nightmare. He looked at the clock again. 3:24. After taking a moment to consider his options, he let out a long sigh.
He needed her.
Kate had made it clear that she didn't want to be bothered last night, but he told himself he would only call her once and if she didn't answer he would lay back down and leave her alone.
As he hit the button to call her, it occurred to him that she had been answering phone calls in the middle of the night ever since she became a detective. The only way she wouldn't answer would be if she didn't want to.
When she picked up with her typical sharp "Beckett," he realized that she must've been awake when he called, and likely didn't even look at the caller ID before she answered.
"Kate?" he said, cursing how his voice shook.
"Rick?" The worry in her voice told him she noticed the shake. "Are you alright?"
"I, uh… just needed to hear your voice is all," he squeezed out of his throat.
"Nightmares again?" she asked softly.
He nodded, then realized she couldn't hear him nod.
"Do you want me to come over?" she asked before he could respond outloud.
"It's okay, Kate. I know you wanted some time to yourself and I shouldn't have woken you—"
"Babe, don't worry about that. If you need me, I'll be there."
In that moment, he realized she cared for him the same way he cared for her. He felt ashamed that he still felt he had to worry about her running.
"Just give me a minute to pack a bag and I'll be on my way, okay Rick?" Her voice reminded him how long he'd been silent.
"You really don't have to Kate, I don't want to bother—"
"Give me twenty minutes."
Kate let herself in as quietly as possible and made her way to Rick's bedroom. He was staring out the window with a blank expression, and he hadn't noticed her yet. He had to have been deep in thought; she walked right up to him and he didn't seem to see her.
She softly placed her hand on his arm and he jumped slightly. Wordlessly, he wrapped his arms around her. Kate didn't know how long they stayed that way, but she wasn't going to pull away. It was clear he needed the embrace.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Of course, Rick. I love you."
"I love you, too." He took a small step back. "Sorry I woke you up."
"You didn't," she said as she took his hands in hers. "Let's get to bed."
As much as Rick wanted to ask why she hadn't slept, he was more interested in crawling into bed with her.
Even as she felt Rick's breathing shift, Kate found it difficult to sleep. This case was doing a number on her. She could feel herself slipping into the rabbit hole. She could only hope she kept her grip long enough to finish things.
When Castle woke up the other side of his mattress was cold. It was barely after six, and the sun was barely shining through his curtains. He crossed his fingers and hoped he'd find Kate in the kitchen.
The smell of coffee reached his nose only a few steps into his office. He smiled. Kate had stayed. He could tell she hadn't slept, or at least hadn't slept much. She didn't look up at him as he walked towards where she was leaning against the kitchen island. She must've have been lost in thought.
"How'd you sleep?" His voice seemed to break her trance.
"I didn't," she said after a pause.
"Kate, no one would blame you if you needed a break."
"I'm fine, Castle," Beckett snapped. She quickly downed the rest of her coffee. "I'm going to the precinct. Are you coming with?"
He sighed. It wasn't going to be easy to get her to step back from this case, but he had to try. He couldn't bear to see her get hurt by this. "I will later. I want to see Alexis before she leaves for school."
Beckett nodded. She gathered her things as Castle made himself a coffee. "I'll see you later," she said as she headed for the door.
"Okay, I love you, Kate."
His statement was only met with the sound of the door's latch clicking shut.