A/N: I'm back! It's been quite the few weeks, hasn't it? I enjoyed the finale, as I've enjoyed all of season 8, but it does make me sad that we won't see all the "could have beens". But that's what fanfic is for! :)

However, this one is a season 4 fic, AU from "47 Seconds". From a prompt on castlefanficprompts on Tumblr, which will be posted at the end of the chapter.

I'm not sure how long this story will be, but I hope you enjoy! :)

XXXXXX

It was a day like any other.

Wait. No it wasn't.

Shit.

Kate sighed and poured herself a cup of the monkey pee coffee.

Ever since Castle had disappeared from the precinct during her interrogation of Bobby Lopez – and pretty much off the face of the earth – Kate hadn't had the heart to use the cappuccino machine. She'd finally got the hang of using it, but without Castle the decoction left a worse taste in her mouth than the precinct sludge.

He hadn't called, he hadn't taken any of her calls, and then in this morning's Ledger, there was a picture of him on a date with some blonde.

The headline read: "New muse for 'Nikki Heat' author?"

That had hurt. Kate may have not liked being called his muse at first, but she'd gained perspective after being shot, and – Sophia Turner notwithstanding – she liked being the inspiration for her favorite author. She didn't want anyone to replace her – for more than just that reason.

She took a sip of the hot beverage and grimaced.

Maybe she had just gone off coffee in general. Maybe she should start getting her caffeine fix from soda instead.

Dumping the dregs, Kate went back to the mound of paperwork sitting on her desk. In a way, it made Castle's absence easier since he never came in on paperwork days – but even then he would usually call just to pull her pigtails.

She sighed at the pile and dove in.

XXXXXX

Three hours later, when Kate came up for air, the inbox hardly seemed to have a dent in it. It looked just as high as it had when she began. The pile in the outbox was bigger, but that was the only indication that she had actually been working.

She jumped when Esposito spoke up.

"Hey, Beckett, you've been awfully quiet today."

"It's called working, Espo. Maybe you should try it," she replied in an acerbic tone as she stood and stretched.

"Hey, I'm just saying…since Cas—"

Kate cut him off. "I'm going to grab some lunch. You guys want something?"

"You know you can talk to us about anything," piped up Ryan.

Kate's eyes narrowed.

"So, nothing for you two then?"

She walked out of the precinct without another word, feeling proud that she had kept her frustration under control.

XXXXXX

Standing in line at Remy's, Kate decided she'd been a little harsh with the boys. True, she hadn't yelled, but 'come on, Kate,' she chastised herself. They were just as confused about Castle's behavior as she was.

Feeling guilty, she ordered three burgers, extra pickles for Ryan, no onion for Esposito, fries and shakes – chocolate for the boys, strawberry for her.

"Nothing for that handsome writer of yours?" asked Ruby, the waitress manning the take out register.

Kate blanched a little.

'No longer mine', she thought. 'If he ever was.' Apparently, Ruby hadn't seen the Ledger.

"No active case today," she hedged, evading the full story. "Castle didn't come in."

"Well, bring him in next time," Ruby ordered with a smile as she handed Kate the bags of food. "I haven't seen him in awhile."

Kate smiled wanly and thanked Ruby, adding – "We'll see."

XXXXXX

Ryan and Esposito were both away from their desks when Kate arrived back at the precinct. She could see Ryan in the break room getting coffee, so she figured Espo was around somewhere.

At least they weren't down at the morgue commiserating with Lanie.

Placing the food and shakes on the detectives respective desks, Kate sat and opened the wrapping on her own burger.

Looking down at her meal, Kate's mind went back to the last time she and Castle had gone to Remy's.

The team had just closed the murder of a 17 year old girl. It had disturbed everyone, but none more than Rick, who saw parallels everywhere to Alexis. Kate had sent him home several times during the case just to hug his daughter, spend a little time with her and then come back. She wanted to just send him home to stay, especially those times where it seemed to be too much for him, but she understood that he wanted to be a part of getting justice for their victim – and she didn't want to deprive him of that. But at the same time she also knew that he needed to regroup more often than she and the boys did. This was big for him and even though Alexis was growing up, he needed the reassurance of his little girl.

When the killer was finally caught, (the girls English teacher, because she refused his advances and told him she was going to report him) Rick treated Kate to Remy's. He'd ordered Chinese for the rest of the homicide department, but he said he needed comfort food and "because you understood my feelings, Kate", he took her to eat in at the burger joint.

He requested a table in the back so they could have some privacy and then completely broke down.

"I know it wasn't Alexis," he told her, tears running down his face. "But, God, Kate. She was somebody's little girl. And…" he paused, trying to get a hold of himself. "How do you do it, Kate? How do you turn it off?"

Kate sat for a moment, thinking about how to answer.

"It's not that I turn it off Rick. I do compartmentalize it; I have to in order to do my job. But that doesn't mean I don't mourn the victim. In this case, I had to tamp it down even more for you. You needed me to be strong, so I was."

"Thank you," was all Castle was able to reply because he was still crying.

It was enough.

Kate was jolted out of her musings by Ryan and Esposito returning to their desks. She offered a small smile and a nod to the food and they grinned back. No other apology or acceptance was necessary.

The boys fell on their burgers and nothing more was said.

XXXXXX

The mind numbingness of the day dragged on. Even with the olive branch of lunch it was clear to Ryan and Esposito that Kate didn't want to talk, especially about Castle, so they left her alone except to ask if she wanted some coffee when one or the other went for a refill.

She accepted once, but the brew still tasted like sawdust.

At 5:00, the boys packed up and headed out. Espo had a hot date, and Ryan was taking Jenny to dinner and a musical that had recently opened on Broadway called "Once".

Kate looked at the paperwork still in her inbox, finally feeling that she had made some progress on getting the pile down. It was still higher than her outbox, but improvement had been made.

Captain Gates came out of her office and walked over to Kate.

"Bullpen's pretty empty, Detective. You should head out too."

"Head out to what?" Kate thought, but didn't voice it.

"I'll stay a little longer, Captain," she said instead. "I need a good workout upstairs."

Gates nodded. Then as she turned away she remarked; "I noticed in the paper this morning that Mr. Castle may have left us permanently."

Kate winced at the mention of the Ledger. Trust her captain to bring it up.

"It seems that way, Sir," she replied, a little shortly.

Tone it down a little, Kate. She's not the reason he left, she didn't force him out and certainly didn't tell him to never contact us – me again. Gates is just trying to be nice to you.

"Have you thought that it might be for the best? He's not a cop."

Kate looked stricken.

"He's my partner," was all she could say.

Gates nodded again, opened her mouth to say something more about what kind of partner Castle was – professional or personal – but then decided against it.

"Don't stay too long, Kate," she stated as she headed to the elevator.

"Yes, Sir."

As the night shift came trickling in, Kate stood and popped her spine.

She watched the others setting up their desks for the long night ahead and thought – not for the first time – about switching her shifts to nights. There was something about the alone time with the short staff that appealed to her just now.

But no, that was hiding. And as alluring as that was to her, the fascination of solving cases and getting justice for the victims, and seeing the faces of family members when she told them an arrest had been made was more so.

She had already been hiding from Castle, and he was tired of it – or of her, and she didn't want the same thing to happen to her team. Kevin, Javier and Lanie were as much her family as her dad was, and she wasn't prepared to lose that to something as selfish as working graveyards while she licked her wounds.

Kate shook herself out of her reverie and headed up the stairs.

XXXXXX

The workout she put herself through was brutal. Chin-ups followed by crunches followed by the bag until she couldn't lift her arms.

She was angry.

Angry with Castle for leaving without saying why, with the boys for trying to comfort her when it was clear she didn't want comforting, with Gates for thinking – and saying – it was all for the best.

But most of all; Kate was angry at herself.

It was her fault, she knew it. She didn't know what she did to piss Castle off enough to revert back to the 9 year old on a sugar rush, but somehow she knew it was on her.

Kate collapsed backwards onto the mat after a series of sit-ups. Looking up at the clock on the wall above the chin up bar, she was surprised to find it was 8:00. She'd been doing this for three solid hours. No wonder she was exhausted, but that was what she wanted. To wear herself out so she could sleep without wondering about Castle.

She stood and strode into the locker room, looking forward to a long steaming shower.

As soon as she set the water to scalding, Kate stepped into the spray. She quickly soaped up and rinsed, then stood and soaked in the hot water for a few more minutes.

An enormous explosion rocked the precinct.

Kate stumbled and slipped on the slick surface of the tile, trying to gain purchase by grabbing the shower curtain before she fell.

She jumped out of the stall, grabbed her towel and began running toward the stairs. If she needed to get out, she needed to get out now; towel be damned.

Her mind was racing a mile a minute. What had happened? Gas leak explosion? That was the best case, not that anything about the situation could ever be the 'best case'. But she didn't want to think about anything else it could be.

She heard shouts coming from below her as she began to descend the steps, but just before she called out, she saw a man with an assault rifle and wearing a Halloween monster mask come into view.

Oh, hell. So much for a best case scenario.

The man was turned away from her so she was able to tear back up the stairs and into the locker room without him seeing her – she hoped.

Kate grabbed her clothing and her phone, dialing 911 as she threw on her shirt and pulled on her pants. She decided to forego the underwear, it took too much time.

Shit! Shit! Shit!

She had forgotten the locker room was a dead zone. Even an emergency call wasn't going through.

Kate looked around for a place to hide. There wasn't much – just the bathroom stalls – which would be the first place she would look if someone was trying to hide from her.

Too late.

The man wearing the horror mask entered the locker room and saw Kate. Whether he had seen or heard her running or not, he had come upstairs to check.

Kate swallowed hard and raised her hands in surrender. Her gun was locked in her desk, but it wouldn't have mattered if she'd brought it up with her. There just hadn't been time.

The man said nothing to her, just pulled the trigger.

XXXXXX

A/N 2: Sorry about the cliffhanger! (no I'm not mwahahahah!) The next chapter will be from Castle's POV. It's halfway written so it should be up sooner rather than later. I'm hoping to post weekly, if not more often.

The prompt for this is "Hostage situation in the middle of 47sec arc". I hope I can do it justice!