A filled prompt for a good friend. Happy birthday, Natacha!

Prompt: Fic based on "All I Ask" from Adele. Pre-Always. Post 47 Seconds.

"Look, don't get me wrong
I know there is no tomorrow
All I ask is

If this is my last night with you
Hold me like I'm more than just a friend
Give me a memory I can use
Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do
It matters how this ends
Cause what if I never love again?"

-Adele Adkins
All I Ask

It's thundering when he shows up at her door. There's no rain yet. She's been staring out the window in her nook for hours now, a cup of tea cooling at her knee and his book open in her lap. It's not the one he based off of her; not Nikki Heat. It's the book that started her fascination with his work. It belonged to her mother.

It's signed.

She's been tracing her fingers over the familiar signature, absently, as he tears litter the inside cover around it. She's been thinking about the last four years. About longing glances and flirty smiles. About banter that verges on inappropriate workplace conduct. About the way he used to look at her the way her father looked at her mother; when she was still young and impressionable, when she believed in true love.

She wants to believe in true love still. A few weeks ago, she thought she might have. When he gave her that look that made her insides tingle and handed her a coffee that warmed her heart, and his fingers brushing against hers sent a tingle of electricity up her spine. She had really thought that he was the one, he was her one. Her true love.

She was just kidding herself though, she thinks bitterly as she watches the city below, waits for the rain to fall and wash away all of this damn pain. The pain his looks now give her; devoid of all warmth and affection, full of distrust and indifference towards her. It hurts more than she cares to admit. She wonders, idly, as she curves the tip of her finger around the 'C' in his last name, if this is the way her father felt when he lost his wife; her mother. Kate can imagine it; the way he might have thought about his dear Johanna lying cold, dead in an alley, all alone. The pain he must have felt to know that he would never see her smile again, never hold her, warm and safe, in his arms.

More tears fall before she registers the rattle of the door on the level below and Kate takes a deep breath, wipes at her eyes and curses at the smudges of mascara that she's forgotten to take off. She probably looks like a raccoon right now.

Who cares anymore, she thinks as she heads down the short staircase to answer her front door. They don't have a case, so it's probably not the boys. It could be Lanie or her father. Both of them have a way of showing up when she's upset, somehow knowing that she needs company.

I don't need company, she thinks bitterly. I need to be left alone.

She almost doesn't answer the door. Almost leaves her unwanted guest knocking, bruising his or her knuckles until the finally get the message. She stands there and watches the door shake with the force of the knocks, her arms crossed over her chest, stubbornly. She pivots around to walk back up the stairs, but then she's stopped by a voice vibrating through the door.

"Beckett, let me in!" Her entire body goes cold, her feet locked in their pivot stance. "I know you're in there!" She turns back towards the door, eyes wide, and then practically sprints to it. He continues to knock, though it grows less severe; more defeated. "Beckett, please…"

Her heart breaks and she can't seem to get the locks undone before the knocking stops. She panics, tugs the door open just as Castle turns his back and starts away. She reaches for him, taking hold of his wrist. She calls out his name, as if her touch won't be enough to reel him back. It is, though; she feels it in the way his body tenses.

And then he's turning back to her; so quickly that she has no time to react as his head automatically lowers until their lips are tangled together, taking her breath away. Kate wastes no time in wrapping her arms around his shoulders, pulling him back into her apartment, moaning into his mouth. Castle follows willingly, his hands starting at her back, then her waist, then taking a firm hold of her thighs, pulling her up until she's able to wrap her legs around him, her ankles—bare from the short sweats she's wearing—lock at the small of his back. He turns them, slamming her against the door, effectively shutting it. There's no speaking after that (though, she thinks, maybe they should be).


Kate is tracing a familiar pattern on his chest when he comes to. The beginnings of daylight are just starting to peek over the skyline visible from her bedroom window and her cheek rests over his heart, her hair tickling his chin. She feels the moment he awakes and he can feel the smile stretch her lips as she turns her head slightly, press a soft, sweet kiss to the skin between his nipples. Her hand never loses its steady rhythm.

Castle allows himself a few seconds to bask in this moment. In being here, with her. He tries not to focus on what happens next. How he'll have to push her off of him, untangle himself from the sheets, get dressed, and leave her. He decided last night that things were better this way. Neither of them can hurt the either; unrequited feelings will cause less of a sting after a while. He can get over her.

God, he prays that he can get over her.

He presses a kiss to hair and feels that smile widen and her fingers finally pause as she looks up at him through the curtain of her eyelashes, a slight smudge of mascara around her eyes, though nonetheless beautiful. "Hey," she says, her voice slightly scratchy from sleep.

"Hey," he whispers back. "I…I'm gonna get going."

Suddenly, that smile falls. "Wh-why?"

He shakes his head, pushing himself into a sitting position. Her body moves with him until she's sitting up as well, the sheet held over her chest, as if protecting herself. He feels his heart clench at that. "This was a mistake," he said. "My coming here."

He doesn't look at her but he can practically feel the crestfallen expression on her face. "Was…was it bad?" she asks, her voice small like he's never heard it.

Castle automatically reaches for her hand and squeezes it. "No," he says, firmly. "It wasn't bad. It was…" He takes a deep breath. "It was the best feeling in the world, being with you. But I just…I can't do it."

"Why not?" Kate asks and she sounds so close to breaking that he almost pulls her into his arms again. Almost lays back down with her, promises to never leave her again.

But he doesn't. Instead, he lets go of her hand and stands, already reaching for his clothes. Beckett watches with that same sad expression on her face, tears brimming in her eyes. Finally, he turns to her, boxers in place. "I can't…be with you the way I want," he says. "I can't love you this much and then not…" He wipes the tears brimming in his own eyes. "I just can't do it, Beckett. So this is goodbye."

He turns, finds his pants and sweater crumpled in a heap at the end of her bed and starts to drag them on even as he walks out. Kate wastes no time in following him, grabbing her night shirt to slip on over her bare body, as she pads through the bedroom door, hot on his heels.

"What do you mean the way you want?" she asks, raising her voice to keep him from even reaching for the door. He has one shoe on, the other in his hand; his hair is a mess. "What makes you think that we don't want the same thing?"

He pauses, slowly turns around. There's defeat in his eyes and barely repressed rage. "Because you lied to me," he says.

"About what?"

"The day you were shot," he starts, taking a step back towards her. "I told you I loved you and you said…you said you didn't remember. But you did. I've asked you a million times since then if you did and you've lied. Every. Single. Time. Which leads me to believe that you don't feel the same way. That you were just trying to spare my feelings, like I'm some sorry sap that needs to be protected. Well, I'm not, Beckett. I can take it. What I can't take is being lied to. So that is why we're done." He turns back to the door.

"What makes you think I don't love you?" Kate shouts, causing him pause. Again. "What makes you think I was never going to tell you that I remembered, that I was just waiting until the time was right? Until I wasn't so broken? What makes you think that I don't want everything with you, too?"

Castle turns again, but this time his eyes are filled with confusion. "Do you?" he asks, his voice breaking. "Do you…?"

"Yes," Kate says, taking a step towards him. "Yes, of course. I thought you knew that."

"How could I possibly—"

"You're a writer, Castle!" Kate exclaims, half frustration, half amusement, her lips turning up in a crooked grin. "You know subtext. That conversation we had on the swings back in September…I thought you understood."

"Well, obviously I'm not as smart as you think I am," he grouses with a pout. Kate snorts, shakes her head, and steps towards him, cautiously reaching for his hand. He doesn't resist and she smiles, pulling him towards her. He goes willingly.

"Obviously," she says. "But I love you anyway."

His entire face lights up at that and, in no time, their lips are melded together, arms wrapped around one another, bodies pulled tightly together. The clothes, that they'd haphazardly thrown on in their race to the door, don't stay on for long.

Happy birthday, Tacha! Hope a naked Stana shows up at your door or something great like that.