AN: When I started to write this chapter, I didn't know that it was the last chapter. When I wrote the end, I just knew that this was the place it needed to stop. With everything that has happened on screen, it just felt right. What started as a Hiatus fic became very long and very verbose and this feels right to me. Please read the note at the end of this. Enjoy, peeps.
Don't Own it.
When Kate Beckett woke up the second time, she had two sensations: pain and warmth. She was warm from the strong arms wrapped around her and the broad chest she had her face buried in. She had a fleeting thought that he smelled fantastic before the other sensation took hold. Her head and eyes hurt from crying and her chest and side ached from the repair it was undergoing.
She looked up at the sleeping man holding her. As she studied him she realized what she was doing to him was completely unfair. She was using him selfishly for her own comfort. Her nightmare had thrown her into a complete emotional meltdown and she sought his presence. She simply just didn't want to lose him in any capacity and she was nearly manipulating his emotions to keep him around. She was pushing him away only to drag him back in when she needed him. She knew it was unfair and that he didn't like it, but she also knew that, because he was Castle, he would do it… for her.
The way she saw it now, she had two choices. She could give him up completely or let him in completely. The last time she had been without him she almost fell back down the rabbit hole that had nearly consumed her after she joined the force. She worked too-long hours, ignored her friends and family, and dangerously brought her work home. In the end, she got herself under control but with the help of Lanie, a shrink, and the prospect of Castle's imminent return in the fall. She was strong and she could do it but the question was did she want to even try?
The other option scared her even more. If she gave him what they both wanted and took things to another, more romantic, level, could they sustain it? Or would they eventually fizzle out and lose each other anyway?
As she lay there in Castle's embrace, she let herself have one more minute. Kate Beckett made her decision. She would stand her ground and she would tell him what she wanted to do, and there was no time like the present.
She shifted slightly to free an arm and she was answered with a tightening embrace and a grunt of disapproval. He inadvertently pressed against her stitches which had her hissing in pain.
"Castle…" She panted through clenched teeth.
"mmm…?" He smiled into her hair and sighed.
"Castle, let go!" she grimaced.
"Why?" he whined. "I'm comfy."
"Oh, God!" He let go almost instantaneously and his eyes flew open. "Are you okay?"
His eyes were checking her over and they settled on her face. His blue eyes were staring into her green ones. She smiled gently at him, biting on her lower lip a bit.
"I'm… fine." She smiled and he voice cracked a bit with nervousness. "Castle, listen… we need to talk."
His face fell as she said those words to him. His concerned face turned into a look of fear. Castle knew what she was about to say to him. She was about to say that they couldn't keep doing this; that she didn't feel the way he did. He knew it and he didn't want to face it.
Beckett sat up and faced him as he did the same. Here it comes, he thought as he sighed outwardly.
"Do we have to talk?" he asked softly. "Can you just let me pretend a little while longer?"
"Castle…" she breathed, "I need to tell you something. I need you to understand."
"I do understand…" he interrupted.
"No, you don't." She replied.
"I do, Beckett."
"Will you stop interrupting me?" She snapped.
"Sorry." He hung his head. "I just don't want to hear the words."
"Castle, you need to stop predicting what I'm going to say." She reprimanded. "Just hear me out."
Castle looked into her face and noted that she looked nervous. She was pushing stray hairs behind her ears and chewing lightly on her lip.
"Okay…" she echoed. "Castle… I… umm... I don't know how to do this, really." She laughed mirthlessly. "Maybe I should have thought about it a little more."
"Whatever it is, I can handle it, Kate." He sighed.
"I keep having dreams… nightmares, really." She explained. "They shouldn't bother me. I've been having nightmares and night-terrors since I was kid. But these, they are getting to me. They're sending me into a tailspin and making me doubt things I thought I was sure of." She paused. "They're about you… the nightmares…"
"No, don't apologize." She held up a hand to stop him. "My Mom used to tell me that the dreams were just manifestations of what I held back." She smiled. "My Mom knew me better than anyone… until now." She smiled, ironically. "You know me, Castle. You know me better than anyone has in a very long time."
Beckett looked into his shocked features and agape mouth and laughed at him.
"What, suddenly you have nothing to say?" she asked.
"ummm…" he stuttered. "I… thank you?"
She full out laughed at him, her chuckle settling deep in her chest.
"If these dreams are truly a manifestation of… whatever I'm trying not to acknowledge, then I'm pretty sure I know what my brain is trying to tell me."
Castle had stopped breathing. He was waiting for the words: Castle, we need to stop working together. Castle, I don't think of you as more than a friend. Castle, I'm too dangerous for you. Castle, whatever this is, it's over, forever. He didn't expect what came next.
"Castle, I want to give this a shot." She stated, looking at him expectantly.
"Is there a but?" He choked.
"I swear to God, Beckett, if you're messing with me…" He blinked, breathing heavily.
"I'm not." She whispered. "I mean, if you don't want to.."
"No! no, no no." He back tracked. "I want to, I just… I thought you were going to say something else. I'm a little surprised, is all."
"Okay…" she trailed off awkwardly. If this was how it was going to be now that things were out there, she felt as if she had made a huge mistake.
Castle blinked at her but still observed her cautiously. He wasn't used to seeing her so unsure of herself. The usual Beckett bravado had all but disappeared and she was sitting in front of him, raw, and unfiltered. Part of him hated that he made her nervous, but the other was relieved she wasn't running away from him.
A huge smile broke across his face and made his eyes crinkle as he looked at her. She wanted to try. That's what she said. He was sure there were going to be conditions and rules and all the normal Beckett-y things but he didn't care. His internal scoreboard was lighting up like a pinball machine. In the end, he didn't need to break her down; her mind did it for him. His smile grew even larger.
"We're trying this?" He asked. "I just need to be clear before I do something stupid."
"Yeah, I mean… if you are still…" She trailed off.
"Oh, I'm in." He laughed. "I'm SO in."
"Ok." She smiled. "Then I am too."
"That's…" He trailed off. "Awesome."
"I thought you were a wordsmith, Castle." She teased
"You render me speechless, Beckett."
"That's got to be a first." She bit back.
"Saucy." He winked, leaned in and kissed her.
The kiss didn't last long. They weren't ready for fast. They wanted this to be slow and steady. They both knew that there was so much riding on this. There was friendship, family, professional life, all wrapped up into one. They both knew, however, that if anyone could make it work, they could. They would make it, together. Always.
So, that's the end folks. I could have continued, but this just felt done to me. I'm sure inspiration will strike again soon and I'll be writing another fic for you all. I hope that you felt the same closure that I did with this. Drop me a line, tell me you hated/liked it or if you have an idea about what I should write next.
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