Disclaimer: Nope, not mine.
AN: This was written as a joint birthday gift for my best bitch for life and my gal pal. Happy (very late) birthday Allison and happy (a little early) birthday Jessie. I love you both (but in totally different ways). I hope you enjoy.
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need
~ The Rolling Stones
Soft music pours from speakers nestled into the overflowing bookcase, the notes so light that she wants to pick them out of the air, see if they taste as sweet as they sound. Like cotton candy. Kate giggles at the idea, her cheek pressed to the buttery soft arm of the couch.
"What's so funny?"
The rich honey of his voice makes her toes curl, her wine-filled stomach rippling with anticipation. She wants to crawl down to the other end of the couch and curl herself into his lap. To press her ear to his chest and let the thunder of his heart lull her to sleep.
"The music tastes like cotton candy," she tells him, one hand curled around the couch cushion to keep herself in place.
"Are you having a stroke?" He laughs out the question and Kate opens her eyes. She looks down the long stretch of leather that separates them and laughs along with him, the cracks left inside her chest by the bomb slowly refilling.
"No," she hums, pulling her legs up closer to her chest, curling herself into a content little ball on his couch. "Just a little too much wine, I think."
"And too little food," he tosses out, the scold in his voice tempered by a softness she wants to wrap around herself like a blanket. "Though how you managed that with the feast my mother made, I'll never know."
"I ate," Kate argues, her tongue clumsy around the half-truth.
"Not enough to soak up the bottle of wine you drank."
She'd tried to eat. She had. Martha's spread had looked delicious, but her stomach had been tied in a knot since the moment she heard the first bank robber yell. She loosened it with wine, letting the alcohol relax her muscles one at a time until she was limp and warm, her body listing toward his from her chair.
"Yeah," she agrees, her brain fuzzy and limbs heavy. "This's probably gonna suck tomorrow."
The couch moves underneath her and Kate closes her eyes, clutching the cushion more tightly. A wall of warmth pushes against her front and she cracks one wary eye open. Castle kneels on the floor by the couch, his face so close that all she would have to do is lean forward just a few inches. Just a few inches and his wine-sweet lips would be hers.
"Let's get you to bed," he says and Kate blinks, forcing herself to focus on the words coming from his mouth instead of thinking about how badly she wants to press her own against it. "You can sleep in the guest room."
She doesn't even try to argue with him. Releasing her hold on the couch, she rolls forward and pushes herself up. Castle's hands cup her elbows as she stands and Kate sways on her bare feet, the warmth of his body drawing her in like a moth.
"You got it?" He asks, hands still hovering at her elbows.
"Yeah," Kate tells him, nodding one too many times. "I'm good."
"Maybe we should get you some water first," he chuckles, guiding her into the kitchen with a hand at the small of her back. "Try to stave off at least a little of that hangover."
Kate takes the bottle from him with a clumsy hand. The top won't cooperate with her and she growls at it, fingers slipping over the ridged sides. Castle huffs a laugh through his nose, one hand wrapping around hers to hold the bottle still as he reaches for the lid with the other. Kate swallows, blood buzzing in her veins as she watches him unscrew the the lid.
"Here." He moves the bottle closer to her, fingers still holding hers. "Drink some now and then take the rest up with you."
His hand loosens and falls away, and the urge to cry hits her hard. Kate closes her eyes and wraps her lips around the mouth of the bottle, letting the cool water sluice down her throat, extinguish the burn of grief.
"You need me to walk you up?" He asks as they approach the foot of the stairs and Kate shakes her head.
"I got it," she assures him, but her feet won't move. Won't take her away from the only place she really wants to be. A hand smoothes over her back, his nails catching at the loose ends of her hair.
"You okay, Beckett?"
She doesn't let herself think about it. Turning, Kate wraps her arms around him, hands clutching at the back of his shirt. She presses her face into his shoulder and breathes, filling herself up with his cologne. The lingering scents of smoke and concrete dust slip in and she feels the tears rush to the corners of her eyes.
"I'm just so glad you're okay," she confesses, her lips brushing against his chest.
"Hey," he says, one hand smoothing over the back of her head, "it'll take more than a team of mercenary bank robbers to take me out."
Twin spots darken the shoulder of his shirt when she pulls back. Her lungs stop working when he reaches up and frames her face, thumbs brushing at the damp corners of her eyes. The soft curve of his mouth beckons to her as she looks up at him through her lashes and it takes every last ounce of her resolve to hold herself back.
"I'm okay, Kate," he whispers and her still-healing heart cartwheels. "Really."
"I know," she says with a watery chuckle. "I'm just - Tired, I guess."
"And drunk," he adds, something dark passing through the sky blue of his eyes as he steps back, hands falling down to his sides. Castle nods toward the stairs. "You should get some sleep. There are fresh sheets on the bed and pajamas in the dresser."
They stare at each other in silence for a long moment before Kate nods. Heart hammering, she starts up the stairs, one hand clutching the railing. She turns back at the top, finds him in the same spot.
Castle nods. "Night."
She watches him turn and walk away, disappearing into the shadows of the living room.
Sweat beads across her forehead as Kate jerks awake for the fourth time, too vibrant images of his mangled body lingering in her wine soaked brain. Awake or asleep, she can't escape it. Her ears still ring with the sound of the explosion, her body vibrates with the long ceased rocking of the trailer. She tumbles out of the bed and scrambles toward the bathroom, stomach heaving. Bile burns in her throat as her knees hit the cool tile floor.
She finds a toothbrush in the drawer by the sink, the plastic package still crisp. Scrubbing at her teeth, she tries to push it all away. He's okay. He's downstairs in his bed, sleeping. Safe. Alive. She didn't miss her chance.
Kate rinses her mouth out and flips off the light. She leaves the bathroom but her feet carry her to the door instead of the bed. The hem of her borrowed pajama pants drags the floor as she creeps down the hall and stairs. A floorboard creaks and Kate freezes, heart slamming against her ribs. This is crazy. She shouldn't do this. She should just go back upstairs, put on her clothes, and go home.
Kate takes a deep breath, her eyes slipping closed. She sees it again, the dream image of him - mangled and bloody, his body in pieces - and she's moving, navigating her way through the maze of furniture toward the dim light of his office.
Her fingers trail across the edge of his desk as she walks toward the bedroom. The door stands ajar, a pool of soft amber light spilling out across the hardwood. Kate pushes at it, nudging it open. She just needs to see him - his body whole and his skin free of blood.
She jumps on the spot, her arms coming up to wrap around her middle. Castle stares at her from the bed, his back supported by the headboard and a book open in his lap.
"Sorry," Kate mumbles, already backing away, heat blooming in her chest.
"Are you okay?" He sits up straighter, reaching toward her with one hand. "Did you need something?"
She does. She can't ask for it though. Not yet.
"I'm -" She shrugs. "I couldn't sleep."
"Me neither," he says, tapping the pen she just noticed against the book in his lap. "Hence the writing."
Kate steps into the room, her legs leading her toward him without permission from her brain.
"I didn't know you wrote your novels longhand."
Castle shakes his head, his shower wet hair sticking out in spikes.
"I don't. This is a journal. I don't use it very much. Just days like today. A way to sort of -"
"Process," she fills in, picturing her own leather bound book sitting on her nightstand. Dr. Burke had insisted that she at least try journaling, and as much as she's loath to admit it to him, it has actually helped. Putting into words all the things she wants to say but can't.
"Yeah," Castle agrees. "It helps me when I don't have the words. Or when I have something to say but haven't figured out how yet."
The comforter rustles against her thighs as she walks up the side of the bed. His eyes never leave her as she climbs up next to him, her thigh pressed along the length of his, knee at his hip. Kate reaches out to take the pen from him, slipping it through his limp fingers with ease. The pages of the journal feel smooth and thick against her skin as she lifts it out of his lap.
She loves him. Loves him so much that it physically hurts. Her muscles ache from the strain of holding herself away. Her heart pounds against the prison of her ribs, desperate to escape and spill its secrets at his feet. Some days just the sound of his voice makes her tremble with so much delicious anticipation that she has to walk away from him to get a grip on herself.
She loves him but she's not ready. And neither is he, though she knows he'd argue that point until even his vast ocean of words dried out.
Turning to a blank page, Kate presses the tip of the pen to the paper. Gives him the three words she can.
I need you.
Castle's eyes track her every move as she turns the journal around and puts it back into his lap. He stares at her for a long moment, unblinking, before casting his gaze down to the page. She watches his chest hitch, his fingers curling into the comforter.
Something like courage wells inside her chest and Kate scoots forward, one hand lifting to cup the side of his face. Castle leans into her touch, his eyes slipping closed. She brushes her thumb across his temple, can feel the jackhammer beat of his heart through the thin skin.
"I need you," she whispers and his eyes fly to hers, so blue and full of love. "I need you, Castle."
One hand wraps around her wrist and Kate can't stop herself. She leans forward, presses her lips against the warmth of his. Putting the journal to the side, he kisses her back, free hand lifting to cup the back of her neck. Her body falls into his and she deepens the kiss, sweeping her tongue into his mouth in a promise.
It's all a promise.
The hand on her wrist moves to her waist, his fingers slipping under the hem of her shirt to brush at the skin of her abdomen. Kate shivers, a soft moan rolling up out of her chest. Castle catches it with his tongue, curling it back into his mouth for safe keeping.
He slows the kiss, gentling her fervor with soft presses of his hands and mouth. Kate lets him pull her down to the bed, her body tucked into the warm bay of his. With one last, lingering kiss, he pulls away. Castle stares down at her, his lips red and eyes dark.
"I'm here, Kate," he breathes. "I'll always be here."
She gives him jerky nod, her nervous system on overload.
"Okay," she says, her bravery burned away by the heat of his mouth.
"Do you think you can sleep now?" he asks, the fingers of one hand trailing fire up and down her arm.
She nods again. Next to him, she can do anything.
"Good," Castle says, his lips brushing against her forehead as he reaches over her body to turn off the bedside lamp. He pulls the covers up over them and sighs. "It's been a long day."
He settles into the pillows and she settles into him, her head on his chest. His heart thumps - strong and steady - under her ear and Kate closes her eyes, confident that this time, there will be no nightmares.
Thank you for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.