Vita brevis


Kate felt guilty.

At the precinct, in Josh's arms while she watched the elevator doors close behind Castle, it almost didn't register with her that what she felt was, in fact, guilt.

But standing at her doorstep an hour later, with Josh by her side and Castle in her head, the feeling had amplified. It was then that she knew. Her heart had already decided what she was going to do and her brain was just catching up. The guilt wasn't for an action that had passed; it was for the six words that tumbled out of her mouth in the seconds after she had closed her front door: "Josh, you should go to Haiti."


Castle opened the door in plaid pyjama bottoms and a large grey t-shirt. Wide-awake and alert wouldn't be how she'd describe him but she could tell he had not been sleeping.

"Beckett," he said, concern making a brief appearance across his face before giving her that easy smile, "Come in. Is something wrong?"

They were facing each other in the foyer but Kate's eyes were cast down to her shoes and her arms remained tightly crossed over her black peacoat. Her jean-clad legs felt a little jittery and she was unable to keep them firmly planted on the floor.

Normally, Kate would have waited more than two hours after breaking up with somebody before she went out to pursue somebody else. Except in this case, if she had decided to wait a week or a month, it would have gone against her entire point. Which was this:

"Castle, we almost died three times in the past forty-eight hours. I think the universe is trying to tell us something."

His response was immediate. "I thought you didn't believe in fate."

Kate looked up to see that his expression was one of pleased amusement. Her own lips quirked up. "I still don't," she replied, "But this isn't fate, it's carpe diem. We survived radiation poisoning—" she held up a finger "—freezing to death—" she put up another "—and a nuclear bomb—" she put up a third "—we were given three chances to make sure we didn't die with regrets. I mean, that's just ridiculous."

"Well," he said, his eyes taking on that mischievous quality she knew too well, "You were too chicken to say it."

Her mouth dropped open, "I was unconscious!" She pointed a finger at him, "But you weren't, back at the precinct. I know that's not what you meant to say."

He grinned. "And what do you think I meant to say?"

Kate rolled her eyes. "I don't know! But, it wasn't that you were going to go home and get some rest."

There was a lull while she waited for his response and he waited for a real answer. In those few seconds, the atmosphere changed.

Castle's tone was no longer light. "In the freezer, you were going to say 'I love you'."

"When there were ten seconds left on that bomb?" Kate shot back determinedly, "You wanted to kiss me."

"So did you." Castle's gaze fixed on hers. "At the precinct, I was thinking how maybe you should just come back to my place so that I could rip your clothes off and tell you just how long I've thought about my lips on your body."

Kate's eyes widened. She forcibly controlled her voice, "You were not thinking that."

"Well—" he pulled at her still-crossed arms, propelling her towards him "—I'm thinking that now."

Her gaze immediately fell from his eyes to his lips.

He brought his mouth inches away from hers. "What are you waiting for?" he whispered, his tongue snaking out to brush her lower lip. "Carpe diem."

A/N: This was quick and unedited but I had to write this. I mean, this episode was great and all but the writers put in one too many of those 'missed moments' that I just… yeah, this story fixes what I thought was just so completely ridiculous… please leave your thoughts and reviews :)

(I think I've decided to keep this a one-shot for now!)