Hey! Sooo, we're all done with this here fanfic, I hope you guys has much fun reading it as I did writing it! Thank you so very much for all the reviews, encouragement, and get well wishes for me and my grandfather. I don't know if anybody cares, but my throat hurt really bad one day, and I was so so sick the next day...that was the day I wrote No Egos, Amigos Together...and my throat hurts right now. Great.

Fair warning: This chapter is longer then the other six of this story...I feel so proud.

Any who, read on my...readers, and if you don't mind, please review!

Lots of Love: CullenLuva715

I am not nervous. At least, that's what Kate told herself as she paced the floor in her living room. At this rate she was going to wear away the carpet fibers before they got here. This week Kate had begun to acknowledge her feelings for Rick Castle. It was scary, the second he had asked her on a date disguised as a non date, things had started to fall in place, and once they made themselves known...it was over whelming to see—to feel—how hard she had fallen for him over the past year. She couldn't help but smile at his stupid jokes, laugh when she would have previously rolled her eyes, and there was this one moment...there gazes had locked, and she just ran out of words. It had been like the 'perfume ad' Rick had described in Heat Wave. She had thought he was losing his mind when she read that paragraph, but she finally understood what he was getting at.

Quite frankly, it scared the hell out of her.

She didn't want to mess this up. She has had multiple options to spend time with him outside of work, and sometimes she would accept, but not very often. Tonight would count for something, she knew that much.

The night she and him had worked undercover at the Metropolitan American Dance Theater had been stressful for Kate. Not because she was afraid of a criminal, but being surrounded by people who spent more then her yearly salary on a single piece of jewelry had made her feel out of place. Kate smiled when she thought of the night, the first thing she thought of was him asking where she kept the badge, the second thing: how much she had enjoyed dancing with him, particularly the way it felt to be in his arms. He was warm and calming, and although they were looking for somebody in cahoots with a murderer, she couldn't have felt safer. The third thing had occurred when they just got there, he asked her if he could get her a drink, and in a moment of weakness, she had told him 'Yeah, vodka, lots of vodka,' the look on his face had been hilarious, to say the least, and so Kate tried to focus on moments like that, because yes, she had been with him, but in that one precious moment, she hadn't been worrying about their relationship, but she had been worried about his reaction, and frankly, it had been worth her admitting she was out of her league.

Her pacing was interrupted by knocking at her front door. The sudden noise startled her, an she managed to trip over nothing, yet another balancing skill she possessed. Luckily, she caught herself before she could some in contact with the floor. Kate took a deep breath as she righted herself, and made her way over to the door. I can do this, it's just dinner with Alexis, Martha, and Rick. She tried to reason with herself, the knot in her stomach tightened, Kate felt like War War III was taking place in the pit of her stomach.

She took one last deep breath before wrapping her fingers around the cold door knob and twisting it, pulling the door open.

Rick and Alexis stood in the hallway, arm in arm, and grinning like a pair of Cheshire cats. Alexis had her hair back in a semi-messy, semi-formal knot. She was wearing the dress Kate had suggested she buy and a simple pair of blue heels, bringing her much closer to her father's height. Rick looked as amazing as ever, dressed in a dark blue shirt and suit jacket. Kate smiled when she noticed how his eyes seemed to sparkle even more then normal due to the color of his shirt, the same way Alexis's did.

"Good Evening," he smiled handing her a single red rose. "For you," he blushed the tiniest bit.

"Thanks," Kate dashed into the kitchen and stuck the single flower in her water cup from ten minutes ago. She was wearing a smile that could rival Alexis's by the time she made her way back to the patiently waiting duo.

"Ready?" Rick held his left arm and Kate grabbed her clutch off of the table before linking arms with him. She quietly closed the door behind her.

"Let's go," and with that, the three made their was down the hallway, linked arm in arm, with one thing going through each of their minds.

Please let things work out tonight.

As the three made their way down the stairs, Kate struggled to control her excitement.

The cool night air surrounded them, it sent a slight chill down her back, she couldn't help but lean into his side a little more to keep warm. It was early spring, meaning that it was too warm to bring a jacket, but too cool to be completely comfortable. Alexis was leaning into her father's other side to keep warm also, so Kate didn't worry about being too close to him. She loved the way his arm around hers felt. Warm and secure, the way being hugged by her mother had felt.

When they reached the bottom of the front stairs of Kate's building, Alexis darted forward, and jumped into the back seat of her father's car, escaping the slight chill of the light breeze that seemed to be taking over the night.

Kate wrapped her left arm around her waist in a vain attempt to block the chill. She silently and unconsciously wished she was brave enough to wrap her arms around him and pull him close, to get a little warmer, and be closer to the man that stole her heart.

As though he had read her mind, Rick unlinked his arm from hers and wrapped it around her waist, pulling her closer. "You look beautiful," he whispered, his voice like the wind, quiet, but sending yet another chill down her spine.

She smiled. She hadn't been called beautiful in a while, she had been called sexy, pretty, teasing, but not beautiful. It was ridiculous what difference one word made. "Thanks,"

"No need to thanks me," his gentle voice continued in her ear. His breath was warm on her neck. "I'm only stating the truth."

By now they had reached his car. He stepped forward and held open the passenger door for her. Always the perfect gentleman, Kate mused.


She rolled her eyes, but thanked him, before sliding onto the leather seat with a grace that most models would envy.

Rick Castle couldn't help the slight skip in his step as he walked around to the font door. She had finally let him compliment her, finally.

He didn't understand. Kate had been much happier this week...more alive. She smiled easier, laughed louder, and teased Esposito about his secret weekend plans. Her new found lightheartedness had been so enjoyable, that he didn't try or scheme to get information out of Esposito, he hadn't even considered it, all he thought about was her.

She'll be mine, even if it's the last thing I do. If Kate Beckett's face could be the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning, I would die a happy man.

"Do you mind if I ask a question?" Kate asked shyly.

It was so weird for Rick to see this side of Kate. The quieter, shyer, easily smiling Kate. He had begun to come to a conclusion. Kate had two sides—no, he wasn't saying she suffered from multiple personality disorder, just saying she wasn't always the same.

Her first side, was Detective Beckett. Smart, savvy, workaholic, tough, calm, cool, confident. This was the woman he had fallen for.

Now Kate, Kate knew how to smile, how to laugh. Kate sang while she did Detective Beckett's paper work. Kate was a person who showed her face rarely, she had a small vulnerability in comparison with the detective. Kate was the one who made him fall a hell of a lot harder and faster. He lived to see Kate shine through every now and then. He had been spending most of the week with Kate, yes, it was while she was doing her work. She had all of Kate's best qualities, but Detective Beckett's working abilities. A compromise—he had spent his week with Detective Kate Beckett.

He didn't like that she sounded nervous, he didn't like being the one who had put her in that situation. Perhaps, if he was lucky, she saw how well this could work, how well they fit together, like a puzzle. (Yin and Yang, not a stupid panda.) Maybe she was just worried about missing out on that if something went badly tonight—he knew he was.


She raised her eyebrow sceptically. "Are you sure? I really don't want to do the paperwork..."

He laughed. Her confidence was back. "I'd prefer if you didn't shoot me,"

"Me too," Alexis echoed from the backseat. She leaned forward a little so that she could hear, but not too much, she wanted them to have their space.

"Let me try again," he bargained. "Go ahead and ask your question."

"What makes you think my question was for you and not Alexis?"

"Spidey Sense,"


He took his eyes off the road to glance at her, silently asking what her question was.

"What were you two talking about when Alexis mentioned money and duct tape on Monday?"

Alexis roared with laughter. "You—you never told them!?"

Rick looked affronted. "No! They already think I'm insane!"

"Well you are,"

"I'm a Castle, it's in my blood," he quoted his daughter.

Kate was still beyond confused. What the hell had he been doing with duct tape? "What did you do?" she sounded exasperated.

He sighed. "Nikki Heat gets duct taped to a chair in the second book, so I had Alexis duct tape me to a chair while she and Mother went out."

Kate blinked, trying to diffuse the cloud of confusion surrounding her thought process. "Why?"

"All for the sake of authenticity." He smirked. "Alexis took a video of it, she threatened to put it on YouTube if I didn't—" he stopped talking instantly, realizing too he had said too much.

"Didn't what?" Kate hadn't meant to blurt the words out, she had wanted to be patient, but, well...that plan failed.

"If I didn't put aside my fears, and ask you out." He said quietly.

Kate honestly didn't know how to respond to that.

Was it even possible to respond to that?

Not really, no.

She wasn't used to this side of him. The kind, loving, sweet man he always appeared to be when he was around Alexis. She wanted to get to know him, but for now, all she managed to do was smile, and say what she thought. "I would have said no a year ago, but now, I'm used to you pulling my pigtails, I enjoy your company, there wasn't really a reason for you to think I'd say no."

The best thing about the night he had asked her to accompany them was how he did it. He invited her on a non-date with the definition of a date, allowing her to choose, besides, she hadn't accepted her feeling until he had asked her. Kate couldn't imagine what it would be like if he hadn't asked her.

"You said no at first," he whispered to himself.

"I did not, I just didn't believe you had an extra ticket."

"Would you have come if we didn't have an extra ticket?"

"No," she answered honestly.

"My point exactly, I had every reason to be too afraid to ask you."

"I would have said no, because the tickets cost a lot, and I wouldn't want you to buy one for me, I'm stubborn like that, surly you've realized that by now,"

He smiled. "Why do I have the feeling you're telling the truth?"

"Because I am," she said as though it made her words true, and for him, it did.

The cool breeze hit her like a smack in her face after the warm car ride, she actually recoiled from it at first, but only for a second, she was okay after that. The cool air caressed her face in away she hoped he one day would.

In any other situation, such as last week, she would have objected to him opening her door. She would have said something like 'I'm a big girl Castle, I can take care of myself.' Kate had to admit, it was nice to be taken care of, even if it meant to relying on people, which was risky. People left, people died...and people needed each other.

He wordlessly offered her his hand and helped her to the sidewalk. Alexis had gotten out of the car during their quick exchange. A small smile graced her lips.

Rick linked arms with Alexis, before delicately wrapping his arm around Kate's waist. She smiled, leaning into him an wrapping an arm round him.

The trio sure were a peculiar sight as the made the way down the side walk, laughing and joking about how one would get duct tape off of their mouth, and what other forms of motion restriction Nikki Heat would be facing. They looked like a family to anybody on the outside.

"Handcuffs, absolutely handcuffs,"

Kate laughed, nudging him with her hip. "You're going to need someone to help if you want that to be authentic."

"Is that an offer?"

She smirked, unable to help herself. "Depends, will you behave?"

He thought long and hard for a moment. "No, probably not,"

"Are you going to use them for their original purpose?


"You're going to need somebody to monitor you,"

He raised his eyebrow, refusing to believe his ears. "It that an offer?"

"Nope," she resisted the urge to laugh as his smile fell. "If you behave tonight, then it's a promise."

"Ew! Okay, I'm just going to walk in front of you too with my fingers in my ears, okay? Okay. Great."

"Sorry Lex," Kate bit her lip as Alexis laughed.

"I'm fine, just don't want to here anymore."

Lucky for Alexis, they had finally reached their destination, meaning she didn't have to keep her fingers in her ears to avoid their words. Though on the outside she looked as though she was going to vomit, she she was more excited then she had been in a long time. Things were going great with her Dad and Kate and she really hadn't had to do anything...well, other then have Kate buy a dress that would leave her slightly cold...she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw him wrap his arms around Kate, and she had leaned into him. Like a scene out of a movie. Who knew how helpful the spring breeze could be?

He enjoyed the simple things in life. He knew it was not what you would expect from someone who could afford almost anything, but none of that meant anything to him...okay, so top of the line laser tag is the only exception. The point it, sometimes the best things in life were the simple things, such as the way Alexis's eyes lit up the first time she went to Disney World, or the small hint of awe on Kate's face as she watched the show.

It wasn't obvious, but still it was noticeable; the twinkle in her eye, and the slight curve of her lips...it was almost impossible to notice, but seeing as Rick spent more time staring at her lips then he cared to admit, he could tell.

He couldn't focus on the show. He was in his happy place, with two of his three favorite women in this world.

Sometimes Kate thought he was a mind reader.

Somehow he had managed to read her like a book, the same was she read a Derrick Storm novel; way too easily and efficiently.

In Heat Wave, Nikki had gone to see the latest Disney and Pixar film, because there was nothing like being transported to a place of innocence in a world of anything but.

To say that creeped her out was an understatement. Kate had been doing the same exact thing since she was a child. She didn't think anybody had known she did stuff like that. She was a relatively private person, Lanie might have noticed her need for innocence, but how had he?

At one point she had tried to convince herself that it was just a fluke...then she remembered the day they had first worked together. They had been looking through his fan mail. He had asked how somebody like her ended up there, she played hard ball, saying he was the story teller, why didn't he tell her, and then he did. He told her everything, more then should be possible, but he did it.

If she was sad, he knew. If she needed silence he knew, and would shut up. If she wanted silence he kept on talking until the threats came.

She had spent years closing herself off, and yet, he had the key, and the ability to help her to open up, as simply as lifting the cover off of her favorite book.

She caught his glance at one point during the show. They exchanged a quick smile and she wondered if Rick knew she was thinking about him. She mentally shrugged after a moment, and turned her attention back to the front.

His thoughts remained on her.



"Wow? Good wow? Bad wow?"

"Good wow."




"Am I smiling?"


"Do I look happy?"


"You're the writer Castle, pay attention to details,"

"Dad, it was a good wow."

"Thank you Alexis,"

The three bickered as they stood stretching their arms shaking out their sleeping limbs, Alexis took extra care not to trip in the deathtraps on her feet that people called shoes.

"Shall we go find Mother?" Rick asked although he already knew the answer.

"She said she'd meet us out front." Alexis reminded her father, passing him a bouquet of flowers. "You're going to earn son of the year for this,"

He eyed Alexis, attempting to figure out if she was mocking him or being serious.

Kate laughed, rolling her eyes at him. "Come on, let's go find her. Then you can see if you're flowers have earned you a reputation as best son in the world."

He was muttering under his breath as the were walking. "I invited her to live with us, I fund her liquor supply, I let her use my office for her shrink sessions, and bring her flowers, that has to be good enough for son of the year,"

"Your mom sees a therapist, at your house?" Kate used to call them shrinks, but ever since she had lost her mother...she owed her sanity, hell, she owed her life to her therapist...and the man in next to her.

The point being, she didn't call them shrinks anymore, they were much more.

"No, she's becoming a life coach, and uses my desk to do so." He pouted dejectedly. "My desk, and my office,"

"Dad would die if we took three thinks away form him. His desk and chair, which count as a set, his office, and his hard drive." Alexis said.

"I'd die without you," Rick said seriously, pulling his daughter in for a hug. He kissed her forehead and squeezed her a second time before releasing her. "Those things just make life more fun,"

"And top of the line laser tag?" Kate teased.

"Yes!" He grinned appreciatively, turning into an overgrown child for a moment. "We have to have an epic lasers tag battle sometime! You, me, Alexis, Ryan, Esposito...maybe Dr Parish...."

"Lanie playing laser tag...I'd like to see that," Kate smiled.

His smile grew even wider, Kate couldn't believe that was even possible. "Then it's settled, we shall host the most epic laser tag battle ever!"

Alexis laughed. "You're going to lose again,"

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"What makes you think that?"

"I can do a cart wheel in my vest, and manage to shoot you, and still land on my hands," Alexis smirked, her father's cocky smile reflected on her face.

"I pone at fencing,"

"In your dreams,

"Oh it's on,"

"You wanna fight?"

If Kate had heard these words spoken by any other people, she would have been worried, but seeing as Rick and Alexis looked like they were on the verge of laughter, she assumed they weren't going to end up beating each other to a pulp. Now if Ryan and Esposito had been the ones to say those words...


"Seven PM,"

"The Field of Honor,"

Kate finally gave in and laughed at their bickering. Seriously, the Field of Honor?

The duo exchanged a glance.

"Is she mocking us?"

Alexis smiled. "Yes, yes she is,"

"Kate, laughing at people is not very nice,"

"And yet you do nothing but try and make people laugh," she mused.

He shrugged. "It's a gift,

"Hey, look," Alexis pointed over towards the far corner. "There's Gram, come on,"

She rushed ahead, darting through the crowds of people. Rick kept his eyes on her until she was no longer visible, then he turned to face Kate. "Thank you," he muttered, wrapping his right arm around her and pulling her into a quick hug. He didn't fully release her, keeping one arm ensnared around her waist.

She relaxed against him, wrapping her arm around him. "What did I do?"

He smiled, his eyes twinkling like stars. "You said yes...well, actually, you said 'it's a date', but more or less..."

She rolled her eyes. "No need to thank me, I haven't had this much fun in a while."

"That makes two of us,"

They made their way through throngs of people, making a bee line for the two red heads laughing in the corner.

"Mother," Kate thought it was funny that Rick called her 'Mother' all of the time, it sounded so formal, but the way he said it, it sounded much more like a term of endearment.

"Richard," she smiled.

He removed his arm from Kate's waist and pulled his mother into a hug.

She seemed shocked at first, but returned the embrace after only a second. "The show was excellent. These are for you," He added on as he passed her the flowers.

"Dad thought of it all by himself," Alexis added for her father's benefit. "They grow up so fast," she added with a laugh.

"Not fast enough," Martha laughed.

"Don't encourage her, she's growing up too fast," He frowned.

"That's one of us,"

"Touche Mother, touche,"

Kate stood back as she watched them interact. She felt kind of out of place, and mesmerized...and jealous. Mesmerized, because there was something about Rick when he actually acted like a father, or even just interacted with his family, it was enthralling. The jealousy was because they had a family, it wasn't normal, not in the positions they held, or the actual people, but it was a family. Kate had her father, but they had begun drifting away when her mom died. Now the Castles...there was no mother for Alexis, but she had woman figure, Alexis was the mature one, that much was obvious. Martha, though she relied on Rick, she was still helping him grow up, and he seemed to be returning the favor. They loved each other so much. Kate couldn't help but crave for what they had.

"Detective, no need to recede, we don't bite," Martha offered her a friendly smile.

"Call me Kate," she insisted bashfully. "Thanks for the ticket," she added on, seeing as it had really been because of Martha that she had gotten this perfect night. "The show was...amazing," the last word came out as a breath of air—Kate had been speechless, which was a rarity.

"Any time, you're always welcome,"

Kate couldn't prevent her smile from growing, and for once, she didn't feel the need to hide her emotions.

Rick wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her not only closer to him, but to the rest of the Castle clan as well. "So, who wants dinner?"

Like all things involving the two oldest Castles, dinner was...over theatrical.

It reminded Kate of the restaurant she had taken 'Mr July' and Castle had taken 'number three to...if it was five times more extravagant. It was overdone, not tasteful.

"Woah," she gasped under her breath.

Rick chuckled. "Excessive, right?" He whispered in her ear.

She tried unsuccessfully to bite back a giggle. "You read my mind,"

"Really?" He sounded very proud of himself. "Do I do that often?"

She pretended to think for a moment, and he bit his lip when her brow furrowed. "Frequently," she admitted.

A smug smile spread across his lips.

"Don't gloat Castle, it's unattractive,"

"Are you saying I'm attractive when I'm not gloating?"

"I never said that...but now that you've asked," she turner around and took a step closer to him so that they were standing against each other. She peered up at him from underneath her lashes. "I'm definitely not denying it," she spoke slowly and softly, her breath caressing his face.

He stood for a moment without speaking. Kate noticed the small amount of space between them, his chest had stopped rising.

She had left him breathless.

"Mr Castle, your table is ready."

Kate resisted the urge to smile as she pivoted on her heel and walked away, in the same direction as Alexis, Martha and their host.

It took a full ten seconds before Kate heard his footsteps following her, she finally let her smile show. Teasing him was so much fun.

There had been one plus side to this specific restaurant. Although it was overdone, it had one thing most five star places didn't have: tables with booths.

Alexis and Martha slid gracefully into the one side, leaving the other side for Rick and Kate.

Kate slid into the booth, leaving him the half on the edge. As a cop she didn't like being boxed into a position that limited her movement, but tonight, she wasn't a cop, she was a person.

She gasped when he sat down next to her, his cold hand brushing against her partially exposed thigh. "That was not fair," he muttered under his breath.

She shivered, and she wasn't sure if it was because of the cold, or his close proximity. She guessed it was a combination of both. "Who said I played fair?"

"You're a cop, you're fair by definition."

"Do I have a gun on my hip and a badge on right now?"

"No Ma'am,"

"So, I don't have to play fair." She smirked, peering at him from under her eyelashes again. "And you know me better then that, I serve justice, but I fight dirty," that shut him up.

"He almost answered the door while holding a severed head! I mean it was fake, but a severed head for crying out loud!" Alexis buried her head in her hands.

"Seriously!?" Kate wasn't sure if she should lecture him or laugh. He said he had been planning something to scare Alexis's boyfriend before they left for prom, but a fake severed head? Really? He could do so much better then that. "Castle, that's pathetic,"

He placed his hand over his heart as the four walked out the doors, he looked offended. "Hey, it wasn't that childish!"

"I never said it was childish, I said it was pathetic." Kate smiled.

"She's right you know," Martha agreed.

"You could have done so much better then that. You can write twenty seven bestsellers, including Nikki Heat, and Derrick Storm, but you can't think of a way to scare a fifteen year old boy." She shook her head dramatically, and muttered "disgraceful,"

He raised his eye brow in her direction. "You seem to know a lot about me for somebody who supposedly isn't a fan of mine."

She laughed. "Maybe one day, I'll tell you my username for your site," She had been trying to convince him she only signed up for his website so that she could do research on him—he was basing a character on her, it seemed like a good excuse. In reality, she had had the account for about ten years.

He pouted, his eyes shimmering under the glow of a street light. "Please tell me,"




"I'll make a trade,"


"I'll buy you a pony,"

"Why do you always offer to buy me a pony?"

"Do you have a pony?"


"Well, don't you want one?"


"Why not?"

"There aren't many stables in New York City, in case you haven't noticed."

"I'll but you a stable, and a pony,"


"I'll stop sitting on your desk, sitting in your chair, and putting my feet up on your desk.

"No—wait, are you serious?"


She thought for a moment. Everybody at the precinct knew she had minor OCD, Ryan and Esposito had been teasing her about it for years. Somethings she could live with, but other things had to be kept just so—such as her desk. All the papers had to be in their folders, the folders in a pile, but the order of the folders didn't matter. Her phone had to be in the right far corner, her chair at her height, she didn't like people's sitting on her desk, or putting their shoes on it. She couldn't help it, it annoyed the hell out of her.

Rick was the person who messed it up at least seventy percent of the time. If she could get him to leave her desk alone...it might be worth telling him her username.

"I'll consider it."

By now they had reached the car.

He punched his left fist into the air, his right arm remained around her waist.

Kate laughed, rolling her eyes. She heard Alexis cuss under her breath.

"What's wrong?" Rick asked, he and Kate stopped walking simultaneously.

"I left my phone back at the restaurant," Alexis sighed, glancing back in the direction of the building they had just left. "Gram, would you mind going with me to grab it?"

Martha smiled. "Not at all,"

"Should we come and get you at the door?" Rick offered as he dug in his pocket for his keys. It was only a block away, but Kate had learned Alexis hated walking in heels, Rick was a sweet father.

"Nah," Alexis glanced at her Grandmother. "I think the fresh air will do us some good."

"As a matter of fact, Alexis why don't we go for a walk in the park, it's just a block away,"

"We could grab a cab afterwords and meet you at the house later?" She requested glancing at her father from under her eyelashes. "Please Dad, I've been stuck inside studying all week, I could use it."

Alexis had mastered the art of innocence. Her eyes shimmered the way her father's did when he begged, but her pout was much more subtle, the effect was perfect. Kate doubted he would be capable of saying no to her, even if he wanted to.

"Go ahead, I'll see you two later,"

Alexis stepped forward, pulling Rick and Kate into a quick hug. She pecked her father on the cheek, before departing with Martha.

Alexis smiled as she glanced over her shoulder, her father and Kate had just pulled away. "I can't believe they fell for that,"

Martha laughed. "You have my skills of the theater, how cold they not fall for it?"

Alexis giggled. She had always had a flair for acting, whether it was the school play when she was younger, or simple things such as an accent when she was fencing with her father. She was a Castle, of course she could act. "Good point,"

"He's not going to screw this up," Martha said suddenly.

Alexis smiled. "I think you're right, he cares about her too much,"

"In the slight chance that he does screw this up, I think we should adopt Kate." Martha suggested.

"We should," Alexis agreed as she pulled her phone out her purse. "It's going to rain in an hour," she muttered glancing at the time. "Kind of ironic..."

"You've lost me, Kiddo,"

"In Heat Wave Nikki Heat and Rook end up kissing in the rain outside of her apartment." Alexis explained. "I mean, if Dad works up the courage to kiss her, it'll be at her door...he's a traditionalist, but still it's just odd..."

Martha laughed. "This is when your father's genes shine through, you have his writer's mind, thinking about every single detail, and viewing each from every angle possible. That's a gift."

For once, they spent the a portion of the car ride in silence. However, it wasn't their normal silence, one where he had angered her, and so they weren't speaking, but a calm silence. They were thinking.

Kate's thoughts were shooting through her head at a speed of about one hundred thoughts a second. She idly wished her thoughts could be mapped out, like a crime scene on their murder board. However, her mind was trying to decipher thoughts and emotions, not facts and murder.

She closed her eyes for a moment, relaxing into the leather headrest. She was terrified. She was realizing how much he meant to her, and it was so intense that she couldn't help her fear. It was overwhelming, she couldn't ignore it any longer. Like every overwhelming emotion she had ever experienced and tried to forget, it had hit it's boiling point. She couldn't hide it any longer, once she admitted this to herself, she felt her shoulder lighten. It was a massive relief.

Knowing that she had to tell him, on the other hand, that was the pure opposite of relief.

They talked for the rest of the car ride. Not about anything specific, but they didn't bicker at all. They discussed some of the precinct's latest gossip, the party for the second Nikki Heat book, a poker game he was planning with the normal precinct crew, random stuff like that.

Although she couldn't remember being this nervous, Kate still felt placid, safe even. Being with Rick calmed her down, it kept her grounded.

He glanced at her while they were at a traffic light. "What are you thinking about?"

"Hmm?" she perked up, shaking her head in an attempt to clear her mind.

He chuckled. "You were smiling, not your normal smile, it was different..." he struggled to find the right word. "It was brighter, more genuine, I guess you could say,"

Her smile grew, if that was even possible. "Have you ever been in a good mood, the best you've been in for months, maybe years," she realized she was kind of pouring her heart out a little to late to stop, but she didn't think twice about it. She wanted to tell him. "that lighthearted happiness, the kind that makes you want so sing, or skip, or even dance in the rain, you're that care free?"

He nodded his head. "Not often, but I know what you mean,"

"I don't think I've felt this way since...before I lost my mom." she admitted quietly. "I forgotten how perfect it feels. I mean, sometimes you can feel a little bit like this, but not fully...it feels good, to know that I can still feel this way."

He smiled as he turned onto her street. "I'm very happy to hear you feel that way," He pulled off to the side, parking on the same side of the road as her building. Kate caught him looking the empty park across the street. "Do you want to go for a walk in the park?" He asked sort of suddenly. "It might be fun."

"Yeah, let's go," she wasn't ready for him to leave yet, she didn't want to lose him, not only would she miss him, but she was positive that when he left he would take her lightheartedness with him.

"So, were you entirely serious about skipping through the park and singing?" He asked her with wide eyes. He looked innocent, honest, not like he was going to tease her.

She laughed. "I was," she blushed a little, she doubted he would be able to see it in the partial light from the street lights. "I usually end up doing crazy things like that when I feel this...happy. Once, when I was a teenager, about fourteen, we took my little cousin to go see a Disney movie. She was six, and I hadn't seen her that excited since our families went to Disney World. After the movie, we went to the grocery store. She was so happy, we ended up skipping down an isle, singing one of the songs from the move...it was so much fun. She decided to spin in a circle, and because she was in flip-flops, it was like skidding across a wooden floor in socks. She told me to try, and I did, but my one flip-flop broke, and I tripped, and I almost banged my head into a massive metal pole. I laughed so hard, this elderly couple stared at me like I was on drugs, it made us laugh even harder."

He chuckled. "That's not that crazy, compared to some of the things Alexis and I have done, that's perfectly sane."

She smirked, though not as smug as normal. "So, what have you two done?"

"Skipping through Disney World while singing...only difference was my singing was off key..."

She laughed. "That's really not too bad,"

"That was about five months ago." He chuckled.


"You should have seen the looks we were getting."

"That's part of the fun though, seeing the looks people give you."

"Yeah, I guess," He shrugged, and they were both quiet for a minute.

"Can you skip in heels?" he asked suddenly.

She laughed, when she noticed the seriousness on his face. "I was wondering the exact same thing. I can do it in my leather boots, and the heels I wear to work, but I don't know about these..." she glanced as the shoes. Alexis had dubbed them as blood red deathtraps, but Kate had no problem with them.

"You've tried skipping in heels before?"

"Yeah, a bet with Ryan and Esposito," she said offhandedly.

"Do I want to kn—"

"Probably not," she smiled. "And I'm not going to tell you anyway,"

"Why not?"

Why not? Because they had been playing truth or dare, and they were kind of drunk. Not one of her best moments and it got worse then skipping in heels. "Because I'd rather try skipping in these things." This wasn't a lie, she told herself. It's just...not the total truth.

He eyed her shoes skeptically. "Are you sure?"

"You won't let me fall," she said simply. She knew it was true, she didn't have to worry about anything...well, there was the possibility she would twist her ankle and sprain it, but life was nothing unless you took chances, right?

"I'm going to feel really bad if I mess this up..." he muttered, avoiding her eyes.

She rolled her eyes. He worried too much. She kicked off her shoes, tossing them on the bench next to them, and pulled him skipping down the side walk. She set a pace, and he picked it up without trying.

They laughed as they skipped. She remembered being a teenager, she and her friends would skip to their least favorite classes, because it put them in a good mood, it made them laugh, it was just what she needed for a pick me up.

It was different with him. It wasn't their normal relationship, hell, it wasn't her normal behavior. But right now, she couldn't be happier. Things couldn't be better.

The path went in a circle, and they managed to complete an entire lap before they lost the beat, tripping and almost falling flat on their faces.

He caught his balance first, his shoes granting him the traction he needed to stop, without scraping up his feet on the concrete. Instinct kicked in and he wrapped his arms around her waist. At the same time she followed her instincts of grabbing on to something, anything so that she didn't smash her face into the concrete. She threw her arms around his neck, and he pulled her up right once more.

She glanced up at him, when their gazes locked she couldn't help but laugh, and neither could he.

Now, honestly, there was funny about their exact situation...okay, the look on his face had been kind of humorous, but that was it. They laughed more in relief, in lightheartedness, and just for the sake of laughing. It felt good to let go.

It took a full minute, but they managed to calm down. Their breathing was ragged, and Kate was still at a forty-five degree angle, holding on to him as though her life depended on it. It kind of did, if she fell at this angle, she'd defiantly smack her head on the sidewalk. She really didn't want a concussion.

He seemed to notice her predicament, and helped her back to her feet. "You okay?" His voice was much steadier then hers.

"I'm fine," she still had her hands around his neck. "Thanks," she murmured, refusing to meet his eyes.

He removed one of his hands from her waist, and placed his thumb under her chin, forcing her to look into his eyes.

Her knees went weak when her emerald eyes locked on his sapphire ones.

"Don't mention it," he gasped, his breathlessness returning.

She was so close to him, she couldn't stand it. His chest rose and fell against hers, his breath caressed her face. It was too much. She wanted to close the distance them, but she couldn't, not yet. She had to tell him...she owed him at least that much.

"I have to tell you something," she whispered. She wanted too look away, she didn't think she would be able to do this while staring into his deep eyes, but she knew he wouldn't let her look away. They were both stubborn, meaning she didn't always get her way.

He said nothing, but nodded his head. His eyes conveyed his message of encouragement.

She swallowed a deep breath of air, she would need enough to speak for a minute, once she opened her mouth she wouldn't be able to stop, or she'd lose her nerve. "I'm sorry. I've been bitter and impatient with you—"

"I deserve it," he insisted his eyes remained locked on hers.

"Not this much. I've been shoving you away, no matter how many times, no matter how hard you try to get in, and I'm sorry, but I had to. I'm not the best when it comes to people...you've probably noticed my trust issues, I think most people have," she smiled it was bitter, regretful. "and you've probably notice I never rely on people too much, not even Lanie, and she's my best friend. Ever since my mother was killed, I've been afraid of losing the people close to me, and so that I didn't lose them, I kind of shut down and stopped letting them in, but I don't think I can't do it anymore. I-I need you too much to keep shoving you away. I don't know what I would do if I lost you, but I can't worry about that when I'm not even letting you in. It's going to take me a while to get over my issues...but I'm ready to let people back in. I need to let you in, I need you." Her words had all tumbled out in a rush, she prayed he had understood. A single tear fell down her cheek. He reached out to brush it away, as a natural reaction, she reached out to stop him. She noticed the look in his eyes, begging her to let him help. She wrapped her arm back around his neck hesitantly, her arm was shaking.

"I want to tell you something too," he whispered as he tucked her hair back behind her ear. "I need you, and..I love you,"

She blinked, another tear falling down her cheek. "I..." she couldn't catch her breath, she was too overwhelmed.

"You don't have to say anything because I did," he promised, wiping the second tear away.

She shook her head. "No, I want to...I love you too," she breathed.

Kate had never seen anything as bright as his smile, she smiled, regardless of tears in her eyes. It gave her the strength to take that last step she had been avoiding. She stood up on her bare toes and kissed him. It was sweet at first, but after a moment, the wall she had been hiding her emotions behind shattered, and she lost her patience.

Her hands knotted into his hair, his hands came to rest on her hips, his thumbs playing with the edges of her red dress, which had hitched up when they were skipping. They were getting too wrapped up in each other considering they were out in a public park.

Kate froze when she felt something cold on her back. It wasn't his hands, one of them was latched in her hair, the other was still on her hip, and beside his hands were warm. She froze for a second, jumping to the worst conclusion, a second of thought and she realized it wasn't a gun. A gun wasn't liquid, and didn't streak down her back.

He pulled away as another drop of rain fell down her back. He cussed, looking up. "How far is your place?" He asked as the rain picked up slowly.

Kate glanced up at the sky. "We won't make it time, besides who care's if it's cliché? I don't mind kissing in the rain." She laughed at the guilty grin on his face. "Don't worry, we'll have plenty of time to hang out back at my place,"

She almost laughed at the look of pure shock on his face, but he kissed her before she could.

They were gasping when they broke apart. "Is that a threat or a promise?"

"I told you I'd help you with the hand cuffs, didn't I?"