Disclaimer: Do I own? Of course not!
A/N: I know, I know, another L.A. fic. I just couldn't leave it alone. I was so mad Monday after she opened the door and he had already left. If she had just been a few seconds quicker, if he had just been a few seconds slower. I channeled some of that anger into Kate, so I hope she doesn't seem OOC, in any part at all. You can definitely tell me if she does. Now after this rambling author's note, I hope you read my fic and enjoy!
He wasn't there. He had left. He wasn't waiting for her. She expected to see him on that couch, with his stupid smirk, knowing she wouldn't be able to stay away for too long. Kate frowned. Was this, in some weird way, symbolic? Had she finally pushed him too far?
Before she could even comprehend what she was doing, before she could tell herself this was idiotic, she was banging on his door.
When Castle heard the banging on his door, he was in shock. It took a full minute until he could make himself move to the door. He knew who it had to be, but at the same time he was sure he was wrong. His imaginative mind was conjuring up strange Twilight Zone scenarios he could be in right now.
Castle opened the door and sure enough, there was Kate. She didn't look like she had a few minutes ago. In fact, she looked angry…very angry. He said the only thing that came to his mind. "Kate?"
"What do you think you're doing?" Kate cried in outrage.
Castle was beyond confused. He knew he had done something wrong, that much was obvious, but for the life of him, he couldn't figure out what it was. "Um, I'm sorry?"
"That's right, you'd better be sorry!" Kate exclaimed her voice still angered. "You dump all that on me, then just expect me to respond? I needed a minute to clear my head, and I can't do that with you sitting there staring at me! I go into my room for a few seconds so I can clear my head and when I open the door, I find you gone!"
Castle managed to make his vocal chords cooperate with his brain. "I…I didn't know."
"Like hell you didn't!" Kate fired at him. "You know me! At least that's what you're always claiming. And then, we have one of the most important 'moments' ever and what do you do? You leave me! You weren't even willing to wait for me to get my head together. Suddenly 'always' doesn't apply anymore? Suddenly, you've decided not to wait for me anymore? And now that I've broken up with Josh—"
That snapped Castle's brain into action. "Whoa, whoa! You broke up with Josh?" There were many other things he needed to say (always definitely still applied), but her breaking up with Josh was onto what his brain latched.
Kate rolled her eyes. "Yes."
"Bam said the lady," Castle muttered under his breath. In a louder voice he said, "And you say that like I should've known."
"Yes, you should've known," Kate confirmed.
Castle gaped at her. "How could I have known? You didn't…tell me."
"I shouldn't have had to," Kate claimed.
"This is the strangest and possibly the most pointless argument we've ever had," Castle mumbled.
"It is not! You claim to know me," Kate reminded Castle, going back to her breaking up with Josh. "You are supposed to know all my little tells that I supposedly have. The ones that clue you in to whether I'm happy, sad, excited, etc."
"You never looked sad," Castle said. He was always observing her and he could always see a difference in her demeanor, even if looking for it wasn't at the forefront of his mind. "You never looked happy, excited, or anything. You never looked any different. How was I supposed to know?"
Kate sighed. She wasn't really mad at him, she supposed. She also knew that continuing to yell at him wouldn't accomplish anything. She walked over to resume her earlier position on the couch assuming he would follow. She remembered tonight she couldn't assume anything with him. She whirled around and found him right at her heels. "Geez! Get any closer and we'll be in the same clothes!"
Kate quickly spun back around after she said that. She tried to extinguish the smile and the blush that were both threatening to invade her face. There was no need to smile at the fact that he was following her and there was definitely no need to blush at her statement. Sitting on the couch, she found him still standing a few feet away, with his jaw dropped, as if her quip had made him forget how to move. She shook her head. "Good grief, Castle."
Castle took a few short strides to land him close enough to sit down on the couch. "Are you okay? About Josh?"
Kate bit her lip for a moment. She leaned her head back against the couch and began to speak. "Josh really was a great guy, Castle. Just…not for me. He was never there, and at the beginning, that thrilled me. I loved it. I didn't need nor did I want someone to depend on me like that. I wanted to be able to do my own thing without feeling guilty because someone was at home waiting for me. He would understand my dedication to the job because he was dedicated to his. I was happy with the few nights and few dates we could have. The more this went on though and the more I thought about it, we weren't in a relationship. Well, the physical aspects screamed relationship, but we hardly saw each other. Ryan and Esposito know more about my life than Josh did, and that isn't just because I work with them." She rolled her head to look over at him. "You know more about my life than Josh did."
Kate shrugged. "I guess the reason you didn't know we broke up, the reason you didn't see that something was wrong in my little tells, was because nothing was wrong. I mean, sure, I was sad, but the only thing I was really going to be missing out on was the physical aspects. In every other facet, every day has been completely normal. I won't see him, just like I never did before. That's horrible, isn't it?"
"Not completely," Castle replied truthfully. If it was him, he would die without seeing her, but this was a completely different scenario. He was in love with her, after all. "You just haven't found the right guy. You'll find him, Kate."
Kate heaved a sigh and looked down at her lap. "There are some days when I think I never will. Then, there are some days…when I think I already have." She looked up at Castle with that and released a small smile at the shell-shocked look on his "ruggedly handsome" face.
Castle, for his part, was speechless. He was a writer and therefore he had a whole bank of words he could reach into, but he couldn't bring himself to use any of them. No words could describe his hope, his confusion, his shock. The flurry of emotions running around in him after her declaration couldn't be described with any words that he knew.
"Castle, when I opened the door and you weren't sitting here like I expected you to be," Kate began. She stopped for a second, trying to come to terms with what she was about to say. "It felt like last summer all over again."
Castle took in a shocked breath. Over time, he had figured out what had happened last summer, along with how and why he hurt her and why everyone was so mad at him.
"Granted, it wasn't exactly like last summer," Kate amended. "You were only across the room and you didn't go into your bedroom with another woman but…well, I knew I wouldn't see you anymore tonight, just like I didn't see you all summer and then we wouldn't talk about it tomorrow morning, just like we didn't talk about anything when you got back."
Castle just sat there. He knew she wasn't finished speaking and now that she was finally talking, he wasn't about to do anything that might stop her.
"I know that's not your fault," Kate assured him. "It's entirely mine. I'm much too closed off when it comes to most things and I want to try and fix that, but I'm not sure I know how."
Castle took her hand in his. He couldn't help but let a smile bloom on his face when she interlaced their fingers, but he quickly became serious again. "Just let me in. Let me help you. I'd do anything for you, you know that. All you have to do is ask."
Kate bit her lip. "I want to, I really do. I'll definitely try, but I can't promise I'll be good at this."
"Good at what?" Castle question. He thought he knew what she was talking about, but he wanted to make sure.
"Letting you in," Kate explained. "Giving us a shot."
Castle's eyes widened. He was so glad he had asked for clarification. "Giving us a shot?"
Kate mistook his shock for wariness. Her eyes dropped to her lap. "Well, I just thought…never mind though. I guess I really am too late."
Castle realized what she thought and brought a hand to her cheek. "Look at me." When Kate obeyed, he went on. "You are not too late, never. I would wait forever for you, Kate. I was just shocked, that's all."
Kate took a second to scrutinize him. "You're sure?"
Castle smirked. "When have you ever known me to lie to you?"
Kate couldn't help but smile as well. "Very true."
Castle's hand was still resting on her cheek and his thumb was gently stroking over her cheekbone. Kate connected her eyes with his and Castle barely nodded. He brought his face closer to hers and his lips hovered over hers. "Are you sure?" Castle whispered.
Kate felt the lightest of shivers run down her spine. "Positive."
When Castle connected his lips with hers more gently than she had expected the feelings that she felt assured her this was the perfect decision.
A few minutes into the lazy kissing, the kisses began to get more passionate. Kate was thoroughly enjoying this, but she knew now was not the time for this. She summoned willpower from even the tips of her toes (she needed every ounce she could get to stop this) and pulled back from his lips. "We can't go much further tonight. We are in L.A. and we need to finish what we came here for. We'll find Royce's murderer and when we go home, we'll definitely explore this further. Okay?"
Castle knew this wasn't up for debate (not like he ever would), but she had phrased it as a question. "Of course."
Kate sighed and couldn't help but let a smile creep onto her face. She didn't know why the smile appeared—she knew he wouldn't disagree, he possibly understood her dedication to the job, especially to this case, more than Josh did—but she was powerless to stop it. "Thank you."
Castle smiled at her and Kate knew what he was going to say even before he opened his mouth. "Always," Castle promised.
On the plane ride home while Kate was reading Royce's words, she smiled. It seemed everyone had known about Castle's feelings for her and she was the latecomer.
Kate snuck a glance at him and smiled when she saw him sleeping. She gently placed her hand over his and jumped when he turned his hand over. Her eyes shot back to his face and her smile only grew when she saw one eye open staring straight at her. "Sorry I woke you," Kate apologized, lacing their fingers together. "Go back to sleep."
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed the back of her hand gently. "I hope you always have the power to wake me up." With that statement, he closed his eyes to follow her advice.
Kate bit her lip to stop another smile from blooming on her face. If she didn't stop this everyone at the precinct would know what had happened in a matter of seconds. She wasn't sure if she cared though. Kate looked back down at the letter on her lap. She could almost see Royce smiling at her and his voice floated through her mind, "Way to go, Kid."
I don't like this ending, but honestly, it's better than the first one I had, so let me know what you think. Also, I know the "always" is overused in Caskett fics, but it's so very them, I feel like it defines their relationship. I hope you think it fits. Also, I'm not totally sure Kate is in character at all. I'm nervous about this and it would make me feel better if you would review. Please? Regardless, thanks for reading and I hope it was relatively painless.