A/N: This takes place sometime in early season 4, a few months after whatever goes down in the finale.
Disclaimer: Castle is not mine.
"What are you doing?" she asked when Castle suddenly pulled her up to her feet and held her coat open for her.
"We've been here for hours going in circles about this case. Maybe it's time to take a break." He shrugged and looked at her intently, trying to convince her with his eyes.
"This case is not going to solve itself, Castle. I just need to dig a little bit deeper into her ex-boyfriend's life. We'll find something, I can feel it." She said with a frustrated sigh and tried to turn around and sit back on her chair.
"Kate" he said her name quietly and, like always, it disarmed her completely. She looked at him over her shoulder, a strand of her hair partially hiding her face. He touched her arm and turned her around so she was facing him. "You don't have to prove anything to anyone here." He whispered and the hand that was touching her arm slid down and grabbed hers in a comforting squeeze.
"I know that." She said a bit forcefully, the edge on her voice betraying her frustration.
"You're the best homicide detective in this precinct. Hell, you're the best one in the city. Don't let him make you think otherwise." He touched her cheek for a moment, brushing her hair away. "He doesn't know you." He stated firmly and she looked away. "But we all do. You don't have to prove yourself. Roy wouldn't want you to because he knew how insanely kickass you are. Okay?" he touched her chin, making her look up at him and she couldn't fight the small smile that made its way to her lips.
"Okay." She let out a heavy sigh after a moment. "You're right. We should take a break." She said and allowed him to help her with her coat. "Remy's?" she looked back at him and found him smiling at her.
"That's my girl." He grinned and she rolled her eyes, picking up her purse and looping her arms through his. "I'm starving. Do you realize we haven't eaten anything since lunch?" he told her as they waited for the elevator.
Allowing herself to indulge in a bit of closeness, she leaned slightly into his side and looked down at her father's watch. It was 9:30pm.
"Wow. We really lost track of time." She commented.
They had been working on this case for the past three days and hadn't gotten any solid leads yet. Kate was frustrated, which just made her irritable, which in turn, drove her to work even harder to find the killer.
It had been a few months since Captain Montgomery died and she still felt the guilt for his death weighing on her shoulders. Even though she hadn't been the one to pull the trigger, he had been out in the field because of her mother's case and the bullet that ended up killing him had been intended for her.
There wasn't a single day that she walked into the bullpen and didn't remember that night, her heart feeling like it was being squeezed to death. Things only got worse when the new Captain took Roy's place a few weeks later. Jack Weber was strict and thought she was just a pretty girl and the only reason her closure rate was so high was because she had been Montgomery's favorite. And, of course, he hated the fact that a civilian was her partner.
When he first started, he immediately tried to kick Castle out, but Kate had been adamant about it and didn't let him even think about getting rid of her partner. She knew Castle had been touched by that and a smile graced her lips every time she remembered the look on his face when she defended him fiercely.
After that, Weber had been watching their every move like a hawk. Now, as they waited for the elevator, she could feel his gaze on them. Turning around, she saw him walking towards them and gritted her teeth.
"Don't let him get to you." She heard Castle whisper in her ear and took a deep breath. "Captain." He nodded at Weber
"Mr. Castle, Detective Beckett." The gray haired man replied and Kate only acknowledged his presence with a nod. "Heading out?"
"Yeah, we're calling it a night. Been a long day." Castle said and an awkward silence fell between them.
The elevator arrived and they stepped into it quietly. Kate and Castle stood with their backs against the railing and Weber stood with his back turned to them. Kate took this opportunity to lean against Castle's side again, finally feeling exhaustion catch up with her.
"Tired?" Castle asked when she rested her head on his shoulder, her eyes never leaving the Captain's back. She usually didn't do this with Castle, but tonight she was too tired to care.
"Exhausted." She mumbled, closing her eyes for a second. He placed a kiss on her hair and she smiled.
"Hey, did I tell you Alexis got accepted into NYU?"
She lifted her head from his shoulders, surprised.
"Already?" she asked with an impressed smile and he nodded happily.
"The big envelope arrived this morning." He said proudly and she beamed at him.
"Wow, this is…" she trailed off, not knowing what to say. "You must be so proud."
"You have no idea." He said with a happy sigh. "She is so excited." Kate smiled at him and her hand found his, lacing their fingers together for a moment.
"Was it her first choice?" she asked when the elevator dinged and they stepped out.
"No, she wants to go to Oxford. But I'm hoping this early acceptance will encourage her to stay in New York."
They walked towards the entrance and the Captain brushed past them, looking at them strangely. That was when Kate noticed they were still holding hands and let go of Castle as if she had been burned. Not that it would do any good since Weber had already seen it.
Great, now he was really going to think she was sleeping with Castle.
"You know, let him think whatever he wants." Castle said, surprising her by how accurately he could read her. She looked at him with a small smile and he took her hand in his, entwining their fingers again. "It's none of his business."
She nodded and tugged on his hand so they could cross the street. It was surprisingly quiet and there were very few people around. They started walking the small distance to their favorite diner, but Kate stopped abruptly. Castle looked at her, confused.
"It's snowing." She said happily and Castle looked at the sky.
Sure enough, the white stuff was falling lightly and Kate closed her eyes, her head tilted back to enjoy the first snowfall of the season. Some of the flakes got caught in her hair and Castle thought she had never looked more beautiful than she did right then. He touched her hair, wiping the snow away and she opened her eyes.
The way he was looking at her made her heart skip a beat. He was touching her cheek and the intensity of his gaze took her breath away. She saw him look at her lips as she bit on her bottom lip, then meet her gaze again.
Right then she knew this was it. This was the moment they were going to cross their unspoken line.
As the snow started falling harder, he leaned in slowly, giving her a way out if she so wanted. When she thought she couldn't take the anticipation anymore, his lips touched hers softly in a chaste kiss. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest and she was sure he could hear it. After a moment, he broke the kiss and looked at her apprehensively, but she smiled and closed the distance between them and touched his lips with hers.
Sighing into the kiss, she felt his arms encircle her waist and hold her close as his lips worked overtime on hers. He traced her bottom lip with his tongue and she granted him entrance to come in and play. When their tongues touched, she felt the electricity running all the way down to her toes, making her head spin just a little bit.
They broke apart when oxygen became a necessity and Kate met his gaze shyly. He pulled her tighter against him and smiled so big that she thought his face might split in two. She couldn't help but return his smile, leaning in to steal one more kiss. When she leaned back, she chuckled at the sight.
"What's so funny?" he asked quietly and she kissed him once more.
"You've got snow all over yourself." She explained and ran her hand through his hair and then brushed the snow off his coat.
When her task was done, she looked at him again and touched his slightly swollen lips with the tip of her fingers. He kissed them softly and she smiled, biting down on her bottom lip. He brushed the snow off her shoulders and hair lightly and she took the opportunity to rest her head on his shoulder, hiding her face against his neck.
"What are you thinking?" she heard him ask and could sense the apprehension in his voice. She placed a kiss on his skin to appease his fears.
"I'm just glad to be here. With you." She said and lifted her head to look at him. He looked like someone had just told him Christmas was coming earlier this year.
"Yeah?" he asked with a smile. She chuckled quietly and kissed his lips.
"Yeah." She beamed at him and brushed his hair away from his forehead. "Now come on. As nice as this is, I'm still hungry and it's too cold." She said and took his hand, leading him to Remy's.
"Kate, wait." He said and she stopped, looking at him questioningly. "Shouldn't I take you somewhere nicer? I mean, do you really want our first date to be at Remy's?"
"I think we're way past the first date phase, Rick. Burgers and shakes will do tonight. If that's alright with you." She said and he shrugged, putting his arm around her shoulder.
"Yeah, sure." He replied and she reached up to grab the hand that was on her shoulder, entwining their fingers together to reassure him.
"You can take me out to dinner tomorrow night when I am not so exhausted." She told him and he immediately cheered up.
"How about I cook for you instead? Alexis is going to California tomorrow and Mother has a party to go to. We'll have the place to ourselves." He suggested and she smirked at him.
"Why, Mr. Castle, are you planning to seduce me?" she teased and he pulled her in to a searing kiss that took her breath away.
"You bet I am." He whispered huskily as he nibbled on her neck.
"I am looking forward to it, then." She said breathless and felt him smile against her neck.
They resumed their slow pace to the diner, wrapped around each other. Every now and then, she felt him place a kiss on her hair as if to reassure himself that she was really there.
She rested her head on his shoulder and sighed happily.
After everything that had happened, she knew that one thing was certain. He would always be there for her and because of that, she knew she was going to be okay.