Inspired by my inability to sleep, freezing my butt off, and needing a hug.
The sounds filled the Castle's loft as the storm raged on outside. Though it was March it felt like the middle of winter. The Heat was cranked up, (no pun intended) sweatshirts were being worn, and fuzzy blankets had never been more appreciated.
Rick Castle lie in his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had stayed up late night—going against his daughters suggestions—and had been woken up at three by the storm. The novelist knew he would be regretting the lack of sleep in the morning, but on the plus side he had sent another chapter to his publisher, so maybe it had been worth it in the long shot. An extra shot of espresso and he would be fine.
Writing had been coming to him easier than it had three weeks ago. He hadn't had writer's block-oh, no, of course not. Richard Castle, world know author, bachelor number 9, and the real Jamison Rook never had experienced writer's block. In fact, he was immune to such ridiculousness. No, he had just been having a writer's…funk.
All of that had changed once Kate had moved in and Scott Dunn had been taken care of. Rick had been able to type a chapter each night. He unconsciously wondered if this is how life would be if she loved him back. If she actually lived with them, not as a best friend, but a lover, a muse in more way than one. He shoved the thought away, trying to be a realist (like the woman in the room across the hall) rather than the optimist he had become known for. That wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
For a moment he considered getting up to find a snack, maybe even return to his office, but that plan too he shoved away. Although it was Friday night—make that Saturday morning and neither him nor Kate had work tomorrow(Alexis was at a friend's) he didn't want to risk waking her.
Ah, he had reached the topic at last. Kate's sleep issues; Today's most popular topic of worry. He had seen her each night this week, sneaking into the kitchen. He had only confronted her once. She met his worry with a simple "Couldn't sleep." He had only scoffed and told her "I know you better than that Kate Beckett, I'm no interrogator, but I'm your friend." Kate sighed and ran her hair through her bangs—further proof that she was bluffing. "Too much coffee, I'm fine, don't worry about it." She perched on one of the bar stools and returned her attention to the mug of tea she had just finished making. "Thanks for caring, but really, Castle, I'm fine."
Rick, not wanting to anger her, had not confronted her again. Having Kate in his house was a blessing, he refused to blow it.
But (yes, he knew it was grammatically incorrect to being a sentence with a conjunction, but these were his own personal thoughts. And sometimes he was too lazy to use basic knowledge.) that did not mean that he wouldn't worry about her. When someone you care about, somebody you would give your life for, somebody whom you really truly cannot live without walks into your life you have to worry about them. That's what makes us human.
The point being; Rick was now the one unable to sleep. Therefore he decided to lie in bed, stare at his ceiling pondering why Kate wasn't able to sleep and how he would find out without angering his favorite detective.
Half an hour later he was still staring at the ceiling, still freezing his ass off, and no longer worrying about the lovely woman in the bed across the hall. Now he focused on sound, rather than thought. New York was full of sounds, even at night, and especially during a storm.
As a writer—not to mention as a detective's shadow—he always noticed every little detail. Observation. It was the main think he did with his life. Observe Kate, observe the you waiter who could very well and up inspiring the next murder victim in his next book. (It was nothing against the young man, he was kind, patient with the kids at the table next to Rick. He seemed like a good person, somebody who would be missed.
Okay, so he observed, and he told stories.
He observed the sounds filling the night and noticed a pattern. Yes, the sounds were random, but every five minutes there was at least one blaring car horn, two strikes and crackles of lightning, and once every ten minutes the rain would let up for only seconds before resuming its previous pounding.
Rick sat up straight in bed, his quest for sleep long forgotten. He held his breath, hardly making a sound. He had heard something that didn't belong. It was too high pitched. Not exactly a squeak, no it hadn't been as high pitched.
There it was again! It wasn't a squeal, no it was worse. It wasn't a scream, more like a gasp of pain. The point; it wasn't good and it sounded a lot like Kate.
Rick tossed the quilt aside and fled his room, rushing across the hall. His brain seemed to have turned off, his heart taking over, because he didn't even glance into her room before (quietly) throwing the door open.
There she was. Kate Beckett, the beautiful princess, armed and dangerous, tangled in a blanket. The sight should have been beautiful, like watching his daughter sleep, but no. Tonight was one of hurt, not comfort. His princess was crying, thrashing around tangling the layer of blankets even more.
She's having a nightmare. His mind concluded as he rushed across the room. He paused at the side of the mattress. His hands wrapped around her shoulders, not shaking her, but restraining her movement. "Kate!" He wasn't aware of the words falling out of his mouth, only her. "Kate! Wake up!"
She sat up, back ridged, eyes wide and filled with an emotion she rarely showed; fear. "Castle?" she choked out. Her voice was like a child's; innocent, confused, relieved, absolutely terrified. She sucked in a ragged breath and pulled her knees to her chest, almost as though she was literally and physically pulling herself together.
He turned on the lamp beside her bed, flooding the entire room with yellow light. "Yeah, it's me." Oh how he longed to wrap his arms around her, to hold her, to comfort her. He fought against the urge for a moment before he remembered the last time he had seen her weak. She had shot the man who could help her solve her mother's murder to save him. He had held her, and she had let him. Although he had no idea what was running through her brilliant mind he knew it was painful. She needed somebody. He just had to man up and be that somebody.
"Just a dream," she mumbled through tears as she hugged her knees tighter to her chest. "Just a dream. It was just a dream." Her tears were immediately replaced with sobs racking her body, leaving her trembling in the bed, the springs shifting here and there as she fought for control of her emotions.
Rick knelt on the bed, scooting his body closer to hers before carefully enveloping her in his arms. For a writer he really was having trouble finding the right words to say. He settled on the ones she has been whispering "Kate, it's okay, it was just a dream,"
She shook her head hurriedly "So real," she choked out.
Rick unconsciously planted a kiss in her hair. "It wasn't real. It's okay," He could only guess it had something to do with Scott Dunn and whispered "it's all over,"
After a few minutes her sobs began to dissolve, as did her strength. She released her hold on her knees, letting them fall onto the mattress with a 'thump' She took three deep breaths, all vain attempts to slow and steady her breathing.
Once she released her knees he was able to pull her closer. She relished in the contact. The warmth. All too soon he pulled away too look at her. "Are you okay?"
She nodded, sniffling as she did so. "Thanks."
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked cautiously.
"Gimmie a minute?" She mumbled guiltily, as though she was asking for so much more than his patience.
"Of course." He wrapped his arms around her again, pulling her closer. He rubbed her back cautiously. Scaring her off when she was already shaken wouldn't help either of them. He brushed her hair behind her ear, his hand caressing her cheek in the process. Her skin was actually cool to the touch. It was only then that he noticed how cold it was in here, that Kate was not the only person or place that was much chillier then it should be.
"It's freezing in here!" He exclaimed. "How did you manage to even fall asleep in here?"
"Um…a blanket?" It sounded more like a confused question, rather than the smooth, sarcastic response he had grown to expect from the detective.
She had indeed been freezing, but hadn't wanted to complain.
He glanced at the knot of quilts and sheets next to her. "More like five," he looked at Kate to see if he had earned a smile. Apparently not. "Come on," He stood and waited for her to follow.
"Another room, you can't sleep in here, the heat must be broken."
"Castle, I'm fine," she argued for what felt like the millionth time that day.
It had been a lie. Not even a bluff, but a full blown lie. Kate Beckett was not fine. She still had tears to shed, questions to ask, and sleep to rediscover. Beside, her nightmare had drained every ounce of energy from her already exhausted body.
"Beckett, that's the biggest load of crap and you know it."
"It is…like three A.M. and I'm too tired to get up Castle, it's not happening."
Risk sighed, struggling with giving her what she wanted, what she needed, and not angering the woman with the gun.
"Don't shoot me," he mumbled before scooping her into his arms and carrying her out of the room.
"Castle!" she protested. "What the hell!"
"You're not sleeping in here it's too cold. You look like you're about to burst into tears any second now. I don't know why, which worries me even more. I'm your partner, and you're my best friend. This means I care about you, and I'm supposed to look out for you. I'm not going to let so sleep in this igloo, so suck it up, because I doubt you'll have the energy to move once I set you down."
Kate pondered that for a moment. All of those things were true. Maybe she shouldn't argue with the man carrying her. "Castle?"
"Thank you," she mumbled.
"No thanks is necessary, my fair detective, but you're welcome, nonetheless." Rick made his way across the hall and into his room. He placed Kate on the bed and turned to his closet, intent for finding a dry shirt for himself and a dry sweatshirt for his partner.
He remerged a moment later, his tear stained shirt replaced with a much warmer one. Rick made his way to Kate, desperately wishing she was in his bed for any other reason than being scared shitless.
He handed her the new sweatshirt, and she removed her gray NYPD sweatshirt and replaced it with his dark blue one. Both had been gifts from Ryan and Esposito due to the lack of…heat in the precinct. This fact was oddly comforting to Kate. She decided not to dwell on it, just to let it be.
Rick hadn't minded the view of her changing. She wore a pair of sweatpants slung dangerously low on her hips and a very flattering, low cut, skin tight spaghetti strap underneath, leaving her midriff partially exposed when she moved.
"Do you still want to listen?" She sounded like a young child again, only this time she feared rejection. Fear made a person do ridiculous things.
"Only if you want to tell me." He joined her on the bed, sitting closer then he should've dared. Kate didn't comment, only leaning against him, resting her head on his shoulder. "You remember the night you stayed over?"
Rick chuckled. "Pancakes," he muttered,
"Yeah," she smiled. "It was basically than night." She paused and took a deep breath, waiting for him to interrupt. However the innuendo never came. "Only Dunn's bomb was in my apartment that night." She paused to take yet another deep breath, unshed tears twinkling in her eyes. "You were killed almost instantly," she whispered, and he struggled to hear her. "I couldn't do anything. We had both lost so much blood..." She trailed off as her tears finally spilled over.
"Hey, it's okay," his gentle voice crooned in her ear. "It was just a dream, we're both alive, and Dunn it not our problem anymore. Okay?"
She nodded into his chest, and he absently stroked her hair. "I know. It's stupid. It's just, god, Rick, it felt so real."
They sat there for another minute before she spoke again. "Are we going to share your bed?"
Oh how badly he wanted to laugh, but the sincerity in her voice held him back. "I thought you could have my bed, and I can take the couch."
Kate was beyond caring about how weak she sounded, she had long decided to pull a Nikki Heat. She didn't want to think, she wanted to be. "Stay? Please?"
Rick was convinced there had to be a word for how he felt—he was a writer, he had a word for everything! Yet all he could think of was surprised. And that was the understatement of the century. "Of course.
Content, Kate lay down on the bed, pulling Rick with her. The novelist turned off the lamp beside his bed. He threw the blanket over them and pulled his quilt up to her chin, still determined to warm up the detective tuned popsicle.
His arm was still wrapped around her torso. Not wanting to push her too far he tried to retract it, but she refused, wrapping her chilly fingers around his arm, pulling it securely around her torso, and placing her balled up fist against her heart, trying to warm herself up. Kate snuggled up against him, elated to discover that their shirts had both ridden up at some point, causing the bare skin of her lower back to press against his exposed stomach. She smiled to herself, grateful for the desperately needed warmth along with the physical contact.
Rick, throwing cautions to the wind pressed his lips to her temple, his lips gently brushing against her skin in a brief kiss.
His touch burned her skin, heat flooding her face. She had never been so grateful to be in the dark.
"Castle-Rick?" she whispered into the dark. She hoped he was awake, she could feel herself sliding into unconsciousness and wanted to make sure he heard her.
"Kate," He mumbled against her hair.
He frowned. "For what?"
"Everything, letting me stay here, being my friend, sharing your bed. Everything."
He smiled. "You're welcome."
She returned the gesture, although he couldn't see. "Night Ricky," She snuggled closer into his embrace.
"Sweet dreams Detective, sweet dreams."