A/N So I didn't think I'd be back in Castle-land as soon as this, but this just demanded to be written! It's only my second ever attempt at a Castle fic, and approaching Castle/Beckett without any funny is something I didn't think I could do. It's just a short post-ep for 3x06 '3XK' - it's unbeta'ed, so any mistakes or out-of-character behaviour belong to me. But I hope you enjoy it! :]

Dedicated to Kelly, in the hopes that it'll once again keep her happy until I get my butt into gear and write what she's waiting for.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle or anything related to Andrew Marlowe.

He's glad that it's her who makes the first move and tangles her fingers around his. He's also glad that she doesn't let go until they're safely in the car, because he's not sure he could make it without her.

(She'll never admit that she's squeezing his hand just as hard as he's squeezing hers because she's that afraid of losing him.)

Kate is watching him from the corner of her eye. He's quiet. Understandably so, but it's still unnerving.

"Did you call Jenny?"

His voice catches her unawares. She blinks and asks stupidly, "What?"

The corner of his mouth lifts upwards, but the smile is gone before it reaches his eyes. "Jenny. Did you call her?"

Kate nods. "I called Martha too. Just...just because."

Just because is a good excuse, and he's used it many times before.

(He asked her to the Hamptons just because. She turned him down for the same reason.)

He looks up at the stars. He turns his head and wonders whether it's the cold or the way the moonlight bounces off her face that makes his breath catch. "Did she sound okay? My mother."

"She sounded scared."

And suddenly he feels a swell of gratitude towards the woman that brought him into this world and feels the need to justify.

"I do love my mother, you know," he says, his voice quietly grave, "Earlier...it may seem a little strange, but..."

"I know," she interrupts gently.

(She knows that loving your mother pays a price. He knows the cost is too steep.)

Kate parks outside his building. It's late. New York City is just coming to life, but for them, time is slow. He takes a deep breath, and for a minute he wonders if he's about to say what they've both been dancing around.

He doesn't. He nods once, then touches her knee and she's alone again.

(He'll never admit that telling her how he really feels is scarier than any weapon. She already knows.)

"Hey, Castle."

He turns – she's leaning over from the driver's seat, the passenger seat window rolled down. He says nothing, just waits for her to continue.

They'll forget that there's a Gina and a Josh. They'll forget that he hurt her, and they'll forget that she hurt him right back.

Right now there's a Rick and a Kate and a them, and it feels so right, Kate doesn't think twice about what she says next.

"Invite me up."

Just like that, she's sent them hurtling into the unknown. And they'll deal with the what ifs and the maybes tomorrow.

(For tonight, the unknown is enough.)