Can't Take That Away

"And I'm regretting it tonight
Pushing you away
and I know you don't believe me"

She knocks on his door, breath suspended in her chest as she hears his footsteps slowly making their way across the hardwood floor. Slowly getting louder, almost perfectly in time with the beating of her heart. It's been too long. She's hid herself behind a lack of memory for too long. Behind a lie and three months of separation. Behind jokes and innuendo, behind a fierce need for closure and the pulling down of a wall that she's only just realised he was already inside of. Sessions with Doctor Burke are a mixed blessing. The self-awareness she prided herself on once, now a curse as she deals with the knowledge that her mother's case may never be closed.

And where would that leave her? Them?

She doesn't want to hide anymore. She doesn't want to stop herself, not when it comes to him. She remembers telling him about just wanting to dive in, but when the opportunity has presented itself, she hid.

Not anymore.

She's done. No more hiding. No more secrets. It's just them now. She and him. Writer and muse. Detective and shadow. Partners.

The door swings open and she finds herself face-to-face with Richard Castle, shadow, daily annoyance, best friend, favourite author. So many different facets to him, but the one she wants isn't there. Not yet. But she's damn well going to fight for it.

"Ka- Beck- Kate. You didn't call. Do we have a case?"

She shakes her head. "Not, uh, nothing new. Can I come in? I need to talk to you about something."

He offers her a small smile and steps to the side, throwing his arm out behind him in invitation. The dimmed lights of the loft create a sense of warmth she always finds so comforting whenever she's there.

"Were you writing? I'm sorry to interrupt."

He shakes his head. "No, it's fine. It was just plot notes. I've hit a snag with Nikki and Rook. I know where I want them, just can't get them there yet." She raises her eyebrows and he shrugs. "Sometimes the words flow. Sometimes I just have to sit it out. I was somewhere in the middle. Writing whatever in hopes that it'd help. Would you like a drink?" he offers, ushering her in to the kitchen, and into a seat at the counter.

"Just water. Thanks, Rick."

He hesitates slightly at her use of his given name, but carries on less than two seconds later. Whatever she's come to talk to him about, it seems like its pretty serious. Maybe Gates has finally found a way to kick him out of the Twelfth for good.

He comes around the counter and sits next to her; close but not quite touching, as is their norm. At least, ever since the case with the tiger and handcuffs, it's been their norm. As he thinks about it, he realises it comes and goes, depending on how annoyed with him she is. Huh.

"So, you wanted to talk?"

She nods and takes a sip of water, gathering her thoughts before starting. She planned this moment to be like the run-up to a dive off a pier, but words aren't her strong suit. They're his. Now that her plan is being strangled by her own self-doubts, she isn't sure how to start.

"Kate? You know you can tell me anything, right?"

She nods and takes a breath. Okay, here goes… "I have to tell you something, and I completely understand if you're mad, but let me finish before you say anything, okay?"

He nods and rests his hand next to hers on the counter, pinky fingers barely grazing.

"Do you remember last year, when we were in that radiation tent? We were talking about diving in? I had a session with Doctor Burke tonight, and I realised that as much as I said I wanted that kind of relationship, I was ignoring one huge factor: I was completely overlooking the one person who would be right beside me when I dove. Who would be there to join me?" She stops and takes another breath. "Castle, Rick, I remember everything. I don't think I ever really forgot. I just… I wasn't ready to deal with what it meant." Her eyes shift from her hands to his eyes, and she's surprised by the lack of surprise in his own.

"And you're ready now?" he asks, almost breathlessly.

"I think I'm ready to explore what it means. I'm not sure I'm ready to reciprocate, but I'd like to find out if one day I could." She offers him a small, close-lipped smile, before her brow crinkles in thought. "You're not surprised?"

He shrugs. "I think I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that you heard. Kate, you have this way about you, about expressing yourself without saying a word. It's like that song, you know, 'you say it best when you say nothing at all'? not that I don't want you to tell me things, just that I've been following you long enough that I can kind of tell. It's my job to notice the little nuances with you, Kate. And the way you carry yourself, your body language and your facial expressions, and especially your eyes, they tell me a story."

"Are you mad?"

"Am I mad that you lied to me for months? Yeah, kind of. But I can understand why. I sprung that on you when you were at your Captain's funeral, just after you'd been shot. It wasn't the best of times to say such a thing, but I wanted you to know, I needed you to know, if you didn't end up pulling through. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I didn't tell you then."

She nods slowly, and rests her palm against his cheek, the light stubble grazing her skin. "I'm sorry it took me so long, Castle. I've wasted so much time."

He shakes his head and lays his hand over hers. "You don't have to apologise. I don't want you to; I just want you to promise me one thing."

She quirks an eyebrow questioningly.

"Just promise me that when you're ready, you'll let me know straight away. I love you, Kate Beckett, and I don't want you to go another second without knowing that."

Her breath hitches, and though she's not ready to say it, not yet, she wants so badly to be able to. So she does the next best thing she can think of. Lifting her free hand, she cups his cheek and leans in, their breaths mingling as she stares him down. As she looks into his eyes, she realises that while she might not be able to say those three words, there are some others she can share with him that might just have more meaning.

"I want to dive in," she breaths, her lips grazing his. "With you."

And then? Then she kissed him.

Can't Take That Away – Friday Night Boys

A/N: So. Been a while, huh? I've got excuses, if you're interested, but the best explanation I have is this: When I got back from my adventure, I started a new job. This new job involves working six days a week, so I only get one day off, obviously. So, while this ficlet is rather short, it has taken me a few (ahem, more like six) months to flesh it out to this. I know I completely ignored most of what's happened this season, but this has been in my brain since "Rise" first aired. I'm not completely dismissing Castle's own secret (and I use "secret" loosely, because I think Kate Beckett is smart enough to realise that he still at least HAS all the research and information. He investigated for three months without her, didn't he?), but as someone who has forever found it difficult to deal with those three words, it was easier to get into Beckett's mindset. Having said that, I make no promises about dealing with Castle's somewhat secret investigation of Beckett's shooting and Johanna's case. We'll see what happens.

Sooo, anyway. I hope you enjoyed. And there weren't too many mistakes. This goes unbetaed. I know I promised you this, Victoria, but I wasn't sure when I'd get another free day to post.

Feel free to send me corrections =D

Peace out!