Word Count: 359
Spoilers: Tick Tick Tick, Boom
Summary: Castle is there for Beckett when she needs him most.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to Andrew Marlowe. Otherwise, they're mine.
Beckett was quiet on the cab ride from her destroyed apartment to the precinct. Castle reached over and squeezed her hand. He was surprised when she held on and didn't let go. When he looked into her eyes, he was shocked to discover there were tears in her eyes.
"Hey," he whispered softly. "What is it?"
But his gentle words were more than she could take and the tears she'd been forcing back came crashing down around her. Castle wasted no time in pulling her into his arms. "Shh, it's okay, baby. I'm here and I'm not leaving your side."
"Promise?" she asked through her tears.
"I promise," he assured her.
When she looked up at him, he could see the relief in her eyes. The sadness was still there, the uncertainty, but he knew she was going to be okay. She even had the beginnings of a smile. "Did you call me baby?" she asked.
Castle smiled. "Yeah. I did," he admitted.
"I-" he faltered.
"Just tell me, Castle," she told him softly.
He nodded and looked into her eyes. "I love you," he told her simply. "I don't know when or how it happened, but I fell in love with you." He looked away, afraid of what her response would be.
"Castle," she said, placing a hand on his cheek, forcing his eyes to meet hers once again. "I love you, too. Somehow, you went from being a pain in the ass to the man I can't even begin to imagine my life without."
"I can't imagine my life without you, either. And I don't want to," he admitted. Smiling, he pressed his lips to hers in a tender kiss. It wasn't filled with passion; that would come later. It wasn't filled the pain of the last several hours, either. The only thing either of them were thinking about was each other. It was just the way it should be. And it was perfect. Later, they would discuss those three little words they'd finally admitted, but for now, this was all they needed. They were safe, relatively happy and they had each other. It was enough.