It's hard to believe that tonight is the last episode of Castle. I've enjoyed the story so much, have grown and learned from these amazing characters and the talented Actors who brought them to life. It's bittersweet. But the inspiration still remains. If you're still with me, I plan to stick around.
In the Middle of the Storm
He's desperate for some alone time with her.
She can see it in the way he carefully sweeps his eyes over her, making note of every part of this situation that she's not okay with.
The tension in her shoulders.
The carefully hidden emotion that hides in the slight twinge of her voice when she speaks.
Forced conversation followed by slow, deep breaths that keep her together while in the company of her team.
All the signs are there, obvious to the one who's looking for them.
Castle reads her like a book, as if he's written every tiny detail of her character, as if he's committed her to memory in a way only an author can; in a way only a lover can.
They just dove into this thing, just let feelings that have been building for the last four years finally push them into each other's arms.
Now, everything is a mess, pushing them apart with each step that they take together.
She won't let that happen.
But Castle looks more determined than ever, to help her. To save her.
He's been grasping at straws since Espo showed up at her door, since Smith was nearly beaten to death, since everything came crashing down on them before round four could even begin.
And she has no idea how to make him stop. She has no idea how to calm the racing desperation of his heart when she knows that the rhythm of her own is in perfect sync with his, even without touching him.
She loves him, so deeply that it scares her, and they just started this thing, and now…
He's at her side a little too quickly, the brush of his fingers up her arm a little too desperate. Goosebumps freckle over every place on her skin that he touches, and it causes whatever words she was going to reassure him with to catch in the back of her throat, stuck behind a lump that won't budge, no matter how many times she tries to swallow it down.
They're fighting this, together. But the truth is, if they're coming for her, if they want her dead for sure this time…
Castle's fingers curl a little too fiercely around her arm, and her eyes flash to his, but the warning she intends to give him gets lost in the storm of blue staring back at her.
Kate angles her body away from him, forces his hand to drop to his side, slipping her fingers behind her back to brush his as they fall away, reassuring.
The boys seem to sense her desire to process everything that's happened, and she's thankful that they know her almost as well as Castle does. Almost.
Ryan leaves first to follow his newest lead, and Espo makes up some plans, moving towards the door, but the detective pauses with his hand on the knob, turns to face Castle and quirks a brow.
Espo and Ryan don't know.
No one knows.
And neither Kate, nor Castle are ready to share the news.
Castle clears his throat, allows his shoulder to gently brush against hers as he steps around her, the only way to keep their secret a little longer. It's a silent promise that he'll be back, but Kate can't help the way her heart revolts violently against the wall of her chest.
She forces herself to stay where she is, even as the desire to run after Castle nearly overwhelms every part of her.
He's mumbling something about a Black Pawn meeting as he follows Espo out the door, and he doesn't turn back to glance at her because he can't take a chance on giving them away.
The door closes with a quiet click, leaving Kate alone. Too alone.
He's coming back.
She counts his footsteps down the hall until the sound fades away and the silence roars loudly in her ears, and it nearly breaks her.
Kate counts to ten, blows out a breath that aches the entire time it leaves her lungs.
It doesn't help.
She presses the back of her hand to her lips, holds back the sob that threatens to break free, and she's only two steps into her bedroom when she hears her front door open and close quietly.
He came back.
Castle's eyes are noticeably darker when she turns to find him in the doorway of her bedroom.
There's a storm brewing all around them, but he carries one of his own inside.
He takes a step towards her when the vehement shake of her head is all she can manage to fight back the tears, and every inch of her simmers with need, for him.
"Kate," he growls her name, low and deep, and desperate. His hands slide over her hips, the heat of his touch instantly branding her skin, and that traitorous sob finally slips free from her lips.
"They're coming for me," she whispers, defeat flooding her veins.
His fingers grip her hips, adding to the bruises that already mar her porcelain skin, and he jerks her up against him hard enough to unbalance them both, yet his stature never falters.
"Let me take you someplace, Kate. Someplace safe," he pleads, something in the deep timber of his voice causing her heart to ache even more.
He's on the verge of breaking too.
"I'll never be safe," she chokes out, her hands sliding up the tense muscles of his arms, her eyes cautiously lifting to his.
She gasps when his fingers dig into a particularly painful bruise as he tightens his hold on her, and he immediately starts to pull away.
"Don't," she chokes out, pressing herself back against him, her eyes pleading, "don't stop, please."
He splays his hands at her back to keep her close, his touch lighter, less desperate than before, though his heart is quite the opposite.
She cuts off his next words with the insistent press of her mouth, her fingers fisting in the thick locks of his hair, anchoring her to him.
It brings back the desperation full force, too much emotion that one night with her could never release.
He needs her.
Her mattress his soft beneath their weight when he lifts her into his arms and carefully lowers her there, her persistent hands pulling him down as well, refusing to let him go.
It takes reassuring presses of his lips to her cheek, her jaw, the thudding pulse point in her neck for her to allow him to shift away long enough to get her clothes off.
There's no taking his time, no careful exploration of each inch of her exposed skin, he doesn't have the patience for that right now.
And she doesn't want it.
She growls when he starts to crawl back on top of her, her own desperate fingers starting to work at the buttoned shirt he still has on.
He lets her work the buttons free while he undoes his belt, and then she's shoving the shirt off of his shoulders at the same time that he's lowering the zipper on his pants and he has to cover her hands with his own, calm her long enough to get rid of the clothing before she tears it off herself.
He's not the only one who's desperate.
His shirt barely makes it to the wrinkled pile on the floor before she's reaching for him, attempting to pull him onto her and growling again when he hesitates, holding himself carefully above her even as he chases her lips with his own.
"Kate," he warns as she tries again, her nails digging into his shoulder blades when her other attempts don't seem to work.
It pulls a sharp gasp his from his lips, has his hips jerking into hers before he can control them.
"You're covered from head to toe in bruises that I know hurt more than you'll ever admit," he explains, reaching for her hands and tangling their fingers, pressing the backs of her palms against the mattress to gentle her, even if it's the last thing he wants.
"I won't take a chance on hurting you even more, no matter how much we both want this,"
The words are barely out of his mouth before she's using their joined hands and the strength in her thighs that somehow has managed to remain to flip him over. But the move forces some of her already protesting muscles to move in ways that they aren't ready for, and her gasp of pain isn't missed by him.
His hands slide tenderly over her skin, starting at her thighs that bracket his waist and then trailing higher, until he's smoothing his fingertips over her tense shoulders, pushing himself up so that he can draw her completely against him.
"Could've just asked me, you know? Instead of hurting yourself to prove some kind of point to me," he grumbles, fingers pressing against the back of her neck, kneading out some of the soreness.
He's careful not to work too close to the front of her neck, the purple mottling of fingerprints left behind by her attacker enough evidence to know that any touch to it would not be welcome.
"I'm already hurt, Castle. Look at my body…" she counters, brushing her fingers to his cheek at the way his eyes cloud when he follows the path of purple and blue down her stomach.
"These bruises are going to be here whether we do this or not," she adds, sliding her fingers beneath his jaw to draw his eyes back to hers.
It's all the pleading he needs, or maybe all that he can handle, because his lips are on hers almost immediately, his fingers finding her hips again and then he's helping her lift her hips and sliding into her and her sob of need is filling her otherwise quiet bedroom.
And it's nothing like either of them expected their first time in her bed would be.
His hands are everywhere, pulling her closer, guiding the messy rocking of her hips, tracing the tender marks on her skin, tangling in her hair to keep her lips against his.
But every touch, every move, every rock of his hips into hers is powered by a desperation that neither has ever experienced and it completely overwhelms her.
"Rick," she chokes out his name, fingers digging into the tense muscles at his shoulders, finding his eyes with hers because she needs him to ground her.
The idea of this being the last time with him, of losing her fight for justice before she ever gets to prove how much she really wants this thing with him, it constricts the air in her lungs, chokes her with every breath she tries to take in.
Castle's hands are at her back immediately, smoothing over her spine and cradling her to him as he flips them over and gently presses her into the mattress, never ceasing the movement of his hips.
She's gasping for breath, fighting a losing battle against a sudden panic attack that she hasn't experienced since the few months after her shooting.
It takes both his gentle fingers at her neck, carefully avoiding the bruises, and his lips against the fading scar between her breasts to force the panic to recede, her ribs expanding with the deep breath she's finally able to take.
"Right here, Kate," he promises her, kissing a path up to her lips, reaching for her hands and tangling their fingers. "I'm right here, and you're not going anywhere," he assures her, determination laced in his tone.
"But, Castle," she protests, her fingers trembling against his and he increases the speed of his hips, determined to keep her on edge, to make her focus on him.
"No," he growls, the vehement shake of his head separating their lips, causing Kate to chase after the kiss she wasn't ready to end.
"I just got you," he protests, emphasizing each word with a kiss, reaching down to wrap his fingers around her thigh and lifting it to hook at his hip, changing the angle enough to pull a loud cry from her lips.
She releases his other hand to wrap both arms around his neck, pull him completely down against her. "You've always had me," she promises, even if she did a really bad job of showing it the last few years.
"Not enough," he grumbles, sliding his hand between them to press two fingers against her clit, circling just hard enough to push her towards the edge, but she attempts to knock his hand away, doesn't want this to end yet, not if it's her last time with him.
"This isn't the end for us, Beckett," he growls, sliding his fingers between hers and pressing their tangled fingers against her sensitive nerves, letting her guide his movements.
She doesn't say anything, doesn't protest or agree, and he's not accepting it.
"Kate, look at me," he orders, slowing the movement of his hips enough to get her attention, but never completely stopping.
He waits until she obliges, tenderly sliding his fingers over her jaw. "I'm not giving you up, not after everything we've been through, not after everything we've survived, and certainly not after one night of making love to you."
Knowing that he has her attention, he picks up his pace again, increasing his thrusts until she cries out her release, her body bowing off the mattress with the force of it.
He follows right behind her, her name the only thing on his lips as he collapses on top of her.
He tries to move once he's caught his breath, but she tightens her arms around him, shakes her head as she presses her face into the side of his neck.
"If you won't let me take you somewhere, then let me be your safe place, Kate."
His words hang heavy in the silence of her room, lingering while he waits for her answer, refusing to accept that he's going to lose her.
When she doesn't say anything, he lifts his head, brushes his lips to her cheek and attempts to get her focus back on him.
"Not letting you go," he promises, emphasizing his words with sweet kisses along her cheek and jaw.
"Then don't," she finally answers, her eyes locking on his. "Don't let me go, ever."
"Never," he assures her, rolling onto his back and pulling her with him, wrapping his arms tightly around her.
She falls asleep in the warmth of his embrace, finally relaxing against him as her breath evens out, and the storm might still be brewing around them, the threat still lurking out there somewhere, but he's not giving her up without one hell of a fight. He'll be her shelter, her lover, her partner. He'll fight with her and for her when she can't. Because together, they've always been stronger.