Thanks for everyone who's taken time to read my fics. This one is really short, so it will only take a few minutes to read (and review). :D It takes place during the last moments of 'The Dead Pool,' and also contains references to 'Countdown.'

Enjoy!

VVVVV

Always.

By definition: continuously, repetitively, on every occasion.

Now, that solitary word held more weight than ever.

Castle's lips parted slightly, though, truth be told, he was astonished his jaw didn't hit the floor. Figuratively speaking, of course. For a brief moment, he wondered if she realized the implications of her reply. Her reaction told him she did.

VVVVV

In the months that passed, they hadn't often talked about being trapped in the freezer, but that didn't mean that it was out of Beckett's mind. Her nights were riddled with thoughts of what could have happened-what had almost happened-to them. How she held on as long as she could. How, in the final moments she could remember, she turned into his comforting embrace, thanking him for being there.

How her final memory of the freezer was the sound of his voice.

"Always."

Now the dialogue was reversed because she-as he had for her in the freezer-had given him something he needed. It wasn't as though she planned for the two separate exchanges to be nearly identical. It just…happened.

And the grin Castle hadn't tried to hide confirmed that he'd also made the connection.

VVVVV

Castle, despite instantly feeling the loss of her hand on his arm, smiled as he sat down in the chair next to Beckett's desk. His chair. He watched as she picked up and opened a folder. He knew, even as her eyes scanned the lines of text, she wasn't comprehending anything on the page. He knew also that she felt his eyes on her. It was only a matter of time before she caved and looked up from the folder.

Three…

Two…

One…

Castle did his best to keep the smirk from reaching his features as Beckett met his gaze, the folder now atop the keyboard. And he wasn't surprised when one eyebrow climbed skyward. He knew her almost as well as she knew herself. "So…"

"Not now, Castle," she said gently, but adamantly.

He nodded his understanding. She needed time to process what had happened, and when she was ready to talk, he'd be there to listen.

Always.

VVVVV

Thanks for reading.