Beckett sat on her couch, watching some random movie that happened to be on. Except she wasn't really watching. She was thinking.

Apart from when she was sick, Kate Beckett only ever took two days off work a year – her mother's birthday, and the day she died. She woke up on those mornings, not feeling any different than usual, but always called in 'sick' as a precaution, prepared for what was coming.

Today was her mother's birthday.

She never felt any different when she woke up on those days. Mostly because nothing was different. She never used to be able to understand – how was the sun still shining? How were the cars still making their regular trips to work? How could businesses be open? Why was no-one else mourning? She then learned that just because her world felt like it was crumbling, it didn't mean everyone else's was.

She'd talked to her dad on the phone for a while. By lunchtime, she'd cried for a few hours while on the couch. She didn't even know what the movie was about, but she was prepared to blame it for the tears.

She got up after a while to make herself a coffee. Her hands shook – a true indicator of how emotional she was. She was a silent crier; all she ever did was have tears run down her cheeks and the occasional sniff or shuddering breath. Her hands, however, always gave her away.

Thanks to her trembling, she dropped her mug as she crossed the kitchen with it.

Immediately, her front door flew open, startling her. "Castle? What're you doing here?"

Castle rubbed his shoulder. "That hurts more than they makes it out to on TV," he said incredulously. Clearly, he'd used it to bust the door open.

Beckett was suddenly aware of her face. Castle had seen her in her pyjamas before, that wasn't a big deal. But she had the telltale lines that appeared across her cheekbones whenever she cried. She rubber her face. "Castle, what're you doing here?" she repeated.

"I was just about to knock when I hear the breaking glass. Had to make sure you were okay."

"What were you doing here to begin with?" Beckett asked, sounding much harsher than she realised. She hoped her apologetic expression would make up for it.

"Had to make sure you were okay," he repeated. "I know today's your mother's birthday, and you didn't seem okay yesterday, and-"

"I'm fine Castle," she said, sitting back down on the couch. He closed the door and sat with her.

"Kate-"

"Just…shush," she said.

She'd never spent her 'sick' days with company. Even if it meant driving away somewhere, she was always alone. She didn't know what comforting company was like. She was annoyed at first, that Castle had come crashing into her solitude.

"Castle…"

"Yeah?"

She wanted someone there, she decided.

Five people from work knew about her 'sick' days. Ryan, Esposito and Montgomery all accepted the facts, in a very "Beckett's not here, that's that, if she wants anything, she'll ask" manner. Lanie always rang at 10pm to make sure Beckett had eaten.

Castle…in typical Castle fashion, he had issues accepting what he knew. He always needed to keep going, push further, peel another layer of the onion. He never was good with boundaries.

Not that Beckett minded that. Sometimes, she felt like strangling him for it. But right now, she didn't care.

"Stay."

One word was all he needed. He leaned back on the couch, making himself comfortable and cautiously reached for her hand. She didn't move away, so he grasped it in his own. It was all him – her hand was locked underneath his, but it wasn't aggressive.

She smiled enigmatically; just enough for him to know that she liked his company.


A/N I apologise for the choppiness of this fic - I was writing it while in class, and ideas kept coming up. Instead of writing multiple fics, I put all the ideas in the one.