Set in the summer between season 3 and 4.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle or the characters.


Ever since that day at the cemetery, every night was the same. Castle would wake up, heart pounding, covered in sweat, with the image of Kate covered in blood burned into his mind. And just like every other night this happened, he had to resist the urge to pick up his phone and call her, just one simple call was all he'd need to reassure himself that she was okay. It was worse in the dark, when he was alone and scared and it seemed so simple to call her, just to hear her voice.

But he never did call, he never had to courage to dial her number, afraid with what he'd be met with on the other end. Or worse, that she wouldn't pick up at all and then he'd know exactly how she felt about him and the truth behind why she'd never called since she'd left. He still held out hope that she'd be the one to call him when she was ready but with each passing day, his hope lessened, but he wouldn't give up on her, not yet.

There was something about tonight though and how vivid the dream still was that had him picking up his phone and searching through his contacts to find her name. He smiled as he saw the picture he'd saved next to her name, one he'd taken while she had been laughing at one of his jokes when they'd been out for drinks with Lanie and the boys

His thumb hesitated over the icon and one simple press to the screen would have him calling her. This was as far as he'd gotten last time he'd almost called her but he'd seen reason and decided not to wake her in the middle or the night. Or was she awake just like him? Lying in bed, woken from a nightmare and unsure what to do. He really hoped not and he pushed that thought out of his mind before he did something really stupid like actually call her at 3 o'clock in the morning just to tell her he'd had a nightmare.

Castle groaned and dropped his phone, pressing his palms into his eyes in an attempt to rid his mind of the images of a lifeless Beckett lying before him but it was no use and he knew tonight he probably wouldn't be getting any more sleep.

Before her shooting, this would've been when he'd go into his office and write instead, at least that way his sleeplessness was productive but ever since that day, he's struggled to write anything. It's been a month and a half and he knows eventually that he'll have to start writing again, that he needs to finish the next book Nikki Heat but without his inspiration with him, Castle isn't entirely sure how he's going to do that.

Since writing isn't an option, he settles back in to try and get some more sleep, hoping his exhaustion will help with that but it's not even an hour later and he jolts back awake, the same images of Beckett flashing through his mind as he can do nothing but watch her die in front of him.

Before he can really think too much about what he's doing, now just completely desperate to hear her voice, his phone is back in his hand and his thumb is hitting the screen, dialing her number.

XXX

Kate was woken from a restless sleep as her phone started vibrating on the night stand beside her bed. Through the haze of sleep, she reached out to grab it, wondering who was calling her. She'd had plenty of calls in the past six weeks since she'd been staying at her father's cabin but all of them had been at a reasonable hour. She never answered the calls thought, couldn't bring herself to but she still kept her phone charged, her one link to the world that was continuing on without her.

Her heart started pounding when she saw the unexpected face looking back at her from the phone in her hand, the face of the man who loved her.

What should she do now, should she answer it? She'd thought every day about calling him. At this point it wouldn't even worry her what they spoke about, just that they were speaking, that she could hear his voice again. She'd thought about calling him to tell him how sorry she was for disappearing on him, to ask how he and his family were doing, just to say anything really. But now that that was a possibility, that she could speak to him with the simple press of a button, she had no idea what she'd actually say to him.

She could answer, pretend she was okay, that she was enjoying her time off, that she was healing and would be back to work as soon as she's physically able to but she knows he'd see right through that and she doesn't want to lie to him like that.

But equally, could she tell him the truth? That she was completely miserable and constantly in pain. That she woke up every night to visions of him dying over and over again, trying to save her. That her dad had found her more than once, curled up in the corner of her room, a crying mess. She couldn't tell him any of that, no matter how much she wanted to. She wasn't ready to trust someone that much, to let them see that much of her out of fear they wouldn't like what they saw and would leave her. She couldn't let him see that much out of fear he'd leave her.

So, what was she to do now? Ignore the call like she had with all the others or answer and hope that everything was okay with him, that she hadn't done too much damage by cutting him out and that their relationship wasn't beyond repair.

Beckett didn't want to do that though, couldn't find it in herself to ignore him any longer. She'd spent the last month and a half wishing she were brave enough to call him but she didn't need the courage to call now, just the courage to answer.

XXX

His heart pounded, no longer due to his nightmare, as he sat with his phone pressed to his ear, waiting for her to answer. Just as he was about to give up, expecting the call to go to voicemail at any moment, a soft, hesitant voice came through the phone.

"Hello?"


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