This was written as a birthday gift for the Prompt Overlord, Lou inkycoffee, because she always gives me prompts that are fun to write, and get me over my writing blocks, and she deserves a lot of fanfic love in return. Hippo Birdy two Ewes, Lou! ;-p

Prompt from Lou:

Kate gets very drunk after Colin Hunt leaves and shows up at Castle's door.

Kate sat at the dingy bar she had directed Colin Hunt to, watching him walk out the door and out of her life. He had a plane to catch, and she really was miserable company. She felt no remorse for taking up his offer of a drink, but then she had no intention of taking up any other offers from him, and he probably sensed that, being a detective himself. His parting words were to take care of herself, and go after what she really wanted. Yup, she was pathetic if even he could see her pining after Castle after only being in the precinct for a few days.

She downed her cheap scotch and waved to the barman for another, determined to drown her sorrows for at least one night. Tomorrow - or once her hangover had cleared - she would put her Beckett armour back on, and pretend her partner bringing blonde stewardesses into her precinct, into her cases, didn't bother her.

How dare he? And to take photos of their murder board, and show them to that woman! What was he thinking, anyway, picking up some random blonde bimbo on a flight from Vegas, and giving her the keys to the Ferrari? He was supposed to be waiting for her, he was supposed to love her, and then this! As she continued dropping shots of alcohol, she let her indignation at his behaviour full reign. How dare he? She had half a mind to go right over to his loft and give him an earful!

But what if she was there? What if he was 'entertaining'? Kate wasn't sure she could stand to see him being intimate with Jacinda, especially when she knew for a fact Castle was her one and done, and there would be no other man for her. Oh god! Even thinking about it made her skin crawl. She remembered his words the last time they spoke, still digging into her heart like red hot pokers – 'Well, she's fun and uncomplicated. I think that's what my life needs right now.'

Another two - or was it three? She was no longer sure- drinks later Kate decided she had to go over there, see for herself if Castle had really moved on, and if so, give the both of them a piece of her mind, then walk out of there forever, but with her head held high. That feeling lasted until she got to the door of his loft, where after knocking she got absolutely no response, no sound from inside. She slumped down against the door and put her head in her hands.

That is how Martha found her, about half an hour later. In her shock, Rick's mother couldn't stifle her gasp, which caused Kate to lift her head. Immediately Martha could see that her eyes were blood shot, slightly unfocused and red rimmed. Martha made a split second decision and ushered her into the loft, seating her on the couch and fussing over her until she had a wet cloth for her face, and a cup of chamomile tea in front of her. Then Martha excused herself for a moment, and sent a terse text to her son.

"Detective Beckett is at the loft, considerably worse for wear."

Rick was indeed entertaining Jacinda, having just finished a lovely dinner at La Circe, enjoying their after dinner cocktails, and trying not to notice her blatant invitations to go somewhere more private. It's not that he didn't want to, Jacinda was a beautiful woman, well endowed, and she had been flattering him with compliments all night, but he wasn't sure if he was ready to take this to the next level. Privately, he wasn't even sure what this was, other than his fall-back position when his heart was broken, to retreat into the playboy persona he hated at any other time. He was also concerned that he may speak the wrong name at an inopportune time, which would be totally unfair to Jacinda. But the biggest hesitation he had was that she smelled wrong, she sounded wrong, her hair was the wrong colour, she was in short the wrong woman. But the right woman didn't want him, so here he was. It was therefore with some relief that he checked his phone for a distraction when the message arrived, and then with some trepidation he decided to drop off his date at her hotel and continue home.


Martha had been sitting next to Kate on the lounge, gently rubbing her back and encouraging her to drink the tea, when she heard the keys in the door. She caught her son's eyes as he stepped inside, and silently admonished him to be gentle with Kate. Rick just shrugged, and then thanked his mother verbally, before sitting on the opposite side of the couch, as physically far from Kate - Beckett, he must not call her Kate - as he could. At the sound of his voice, her head lifted, but only slowly, and he could see just how out of it she was. He was a little surprised, knowing her father's history with alcohol, that she would allow herself to go this far, but then Rick decided there were obviously lots of things he thought he knew, that he was wrong about. He cleared his throat and put on his best nonchalant tone of voice, although it was hard.

"To what do I owe this unexpected visit, Detective Beckett?"

Kate swallowed, obviously gathering her thoughts, but it didn't seem to work.

"I um , I ... wanted to talk to you." She finally got out, but her head had again dropped into her hands, breaking eye contact.

Ricks anger surged. "What was so important that you had to come over at what it is, almost 11pm, and interrupt my date? Why couldn't it wait for tomorrow? Or even, why not send me a text?"

As soon as he said the word date, her head whipped up again, and now she seemed to be angry.

"It's about your date. And where is she, by the way. What was her name? Jacinda? Is she still driving your Ferrari? Should I keep my voice down so I don't disturb her in your bedroom?"

Rick fought hard to keep his composure in the face of this barrage, and caught his mother's eye, indicating for her to go upstairs. It wasn't fair on either woman for her to be witness to what was about to occur, but Kate had started it, and by Jove he was going to finally give her a piece of his mind. Once Martha had disappeared to her room and he heard her door close, he turned back to Beckett. For a moment he softened, as he could see she was hurting, but then he reminded himself that she had lied to him, had hurt him and continued to lead him on for months, probably laughing about her loyal sidekick behind his back.

"You have absolutely no business asking where my date is, or if she is still driving my Ferrari. You and I are work partners, and what I do in my own time and who I choose to do it with are none of your concern. How dare you come into my home in this condition, demanding things from me? I had to interrupt my date when I received mother's text about you being here, so you either tell me what was so damn important you had to come over now, or walk out this door and let me get on with my life!"

After this outburst, Rick stepped away, taking deep breaths and trying to calm himself, because no matter how upset he was at her, he really couldn't throw her out onto the street in this condition. It was as he was slowly walking back towards the couch, looking at his feet, that he thought he heard her mumble something.

"I don't want you to get on with your life without me."

"What did you say?" He demanded, not believing his ears.

"I said I don't want you to get on with your life without me." Again, it was quiet, but he was closer now, and watching her lips as she formed the words. He wanted to ask her what again, but repeating it a third time would not make her meaning any clearer.

"Well, I'm sorry detective, but that is something else that you have no control over. I am finished with being your loyal sidekick, your lap dog who comes when you call for a vague promise of something in the future that is obviously not going to happen." He walked away again, not wanting to shame himself any further, resolutely determined not to beg.

"What makes you say that?" Kate asked in a tiny voice, stunned by what sounded like Castle giving up on them, their future.

Rick didn't respond for a minute, debating internally if he wanted to have this conversation with her right now, in the state she was in. With his luck, she would forget it all, or rather claim not to remember again, and they would be back at square one. But a small, vindictive part of him wanted to see her hurt, the way he had been, and so he ploughed ahead.

"I know you remember your shooting, every second of it, and that you heard me tell you I love you. But rather than telling me you didn't feel the same, you ran and hid away for three months, and then reeled me back in with vague promises of being ready for a relationship when your mother's case was solved. Silly me, I thought you meant that relationship to be with me, but obviously not. So now that I know all that, you don't have to worry about me hanging around like a lovesick puppy any more, and you certainly have no business telling me who I can and can't date, or even give my Ferrari to, should I so choose."

By the end of his speech, Kate's mouth was hanging wide open, and the look on her face could only be described as horrified. She was still struggling to push words out.

"What ... how did you..." was as far as she got, when her alcohol addled brain caught up and she closed her mouth with a snap. Rick saw the change in her eyes as realisation hit.

"Yes, I heard you confess to a lowlife that you remembered every second of your shooting, while you were interrogating him about the Boylan Plaza case. Funny how you couldn't admit it to your partner, the man who had been by your side, had saved your life countless times over four years!"

"Oh, so you heard me use my trauma as an interrogation technique, and you assumed I was confessing to a suspect? How many times have you heard me lie in the box, to get a perp to perjure himself? How many times have you been in there, lying right along with me?" Kate was on the attack now, her earlier shame long gone, now that she understood what had caused him to back away. As she was speaking, she realised that aggression was not the way to solve this, but she couldn't stop herself.

"So let me ask you, detective, do you remember your shooting? Do you remember me telling you I love you, asking you to stay with me?"

Rick was suddenly unsure, because he had in fact witnessed multiple times that Beckett had bent the truth in the interrogation room, and he started to wonder if he had made a big mistake. Just as he started to soften, though, he saw Beckett nodding her head, and hiding behind her hair again.

"And still you chose to lie to me, pretend you didn't hear me, or didn't remember my declaration? Well, that is just dandy. I would have hoped I had earned enough respect from you to let me down gently when you didn't feel the same, but instead you led me on for the better part of a year, Beckett, feeding me titbits of affection, keeping my hopes alive for what? Your sick amusement? Am I the laughing stock of the whole precinct or just the homicide floor? When were you planning on actually telling me? Why, Beckett, just tell me why?" Rick had run out of steam by now, and dropped onto the couch heavily, letting his head come to rest in his hands, unconsciously mirroring Kate's earlier pose.

"I was going to tell you….. I've been working so hard to be good enough, to be more than the broken mess my mother's case and the shooting left me…. I couldn't give you what you wanted then, because I would have broken us, and you are the one relationship I have left that I cannot afford to lose. I was talking about you on the swings, and working with my therapist over the last year has made me realise that I don't need to solve my mother's case before I can move on with my life…. Every time you asked, I wanted to tell you, but the longer time went on, the harder it was to admit my failures, and I still didn't think I was ready to dive in with you." Kate was out of words, so she had to hope what she had already said would be enough for Rick to understand her, as he always had before.

Rick stood there stunned, trying to make sense of what Kate had just confessed to him. She did want a relationship with him, and she had been in therapy since her shooting, working to get better. He wasn't sure where to start, but out of those three doozies, the therapy seemed to be the least harmful.

"I didn't know you were still going to therapy?" His voice was closer to his normal voice now, and Kate allowed a small sigh of relief to escape her, although there was obviously a long way to go.

"Yeah, I just wanted to put in the work. After I was diagnosed with PTSD, I had to learn and practice exercises so I wouldn't startle at loud noises, or light flashes. Once I had those strategies in place, then we started working on my emotional issues". She let out a bitter chuckle here, and Rick again had to restrain the urge to comfort her. "There is still a long way to go, of course, but Dr Burke asked me something the other day, and it really made me reassess what I was still waiting for. He asked me if I was afraid that you wouldn't wait for me, or that you would. After the last couple of days, I can definitely say that you not waiting for me, and moving on, is horrifying. You have ruined me for any other man, Rick, and I can't afford to lose you now." She was maintaining eye contact now, and she seemed determined to get her point across. Her words were also not as slurred as earlier, so he had to believe she was sobering up. Still, obviously a lot of alcohol had been consumed, and he didn't want either of them doing anything they might regret come morning. Belatedly he realised she had called him Rick, which she only did in moments of high stress or danger, which also lent weight to her speech. He thought for a few moments, and then finally stepped towards her.

"OK, Kate, I think we both need a good night's sleep and to talk more in the morning. How about I set up the guest room for you, and we can continue this tomorrow?" He was being a good host, she realised, but the last thing she needed from him now was space.

"I don't need the guest room, if you are happy for me to stay the night?" she asked hopefully as she finally stood up, counting on their connection to make her intent clear, when she couldn't yet ask him for something so intimate. He was shaking his head before she finished.

"No, Kate, I am still angry with you, for lying to me, no matter the reason, and for barging in here as you did tonight. I am also hurt that you couldn't trust me enough to ask me to wait for you after the shooting, rather than running away to lick your wounds in private. We need to get some rest, and then we can talk more tomorrow, about how we will proceed from here. And I mean talk, with actual words, about our actual feelings. I have had my fill of subtext and innuendo, all it has caused is misunderstandings. Are you OK with that? I can call you a cab if you would rather go home." He had to offer, although he preferred her to stay, just so he could believe in the morning that this night had actually happened.

"No, I can stay in the guest room; that would be great." She bit her lip, but then continued speaking, although it obviously cost her to do so. "Do you, … I mean, uh… am I too late?"

Rick knew exactly what she was asking, and decided to let her off the hook this once, after she had bared her soul to him tonight.

"I still love you, Kate. I never stopped, although for a while there I wished I could." He took her in his arms and gave her a tight hug, then kissed the top of her head. He released her, but retained a hand and started to lead her upstairs, when she pulled on his hand to make him turn back to her.

"I love you too, Rick. And I am so sorry for making you wait, and letting you believe even for a second that I didn't."

Rick stood stunned for a moment, to finally hear the words he had been dreaming about coming from the love of his life, and then he allowed his joy to show on his face, before turning to walk her up to the guest room. He again kissed her head at the door, made sure she had everything she would need for the night, and then walked away. Both of them took a long time to get to sleep that night, but when they did, their dreams were pleasant and of each other.