Title: TKO'd.

Author: Eyrianone

Rating: T

Spoilers: Imagined scene for 'Knockout', if you haven't seen the 'previews' don't read this.

Summary: Scene based on the 'Knockout' sneak-peek. 'He's asking her to stop, to live, to let him in.'

Disclaimer: Nothing of what you recognize is mine; I just can't get Richard Castle out of my head.

A/N: The sneak peak I'm sure will be nothing compared to the pain of the actual episode, but it sure starts you thinking, and thinking, and writing . . .

It's all too much. There is too much truth here and too many lies; too many emotions, too much pressure, too much asked. But most of all there is far, far too much love. It's too real, and too overwhelming. He stands there looking at her, fear, anger, devotion and confusion in his bright eyes.

She says he doesn't know her, a lie, in most ways he knows her, understands her only too well, even as he asks for the impossible – asks the one thing she can't do.

He's asking her to stop, to live, to let him in.

He's begging in all reality for a chance for them. A chance to not let the murder of her mother rob them of this future she can see as easily as he can, shimmering golden and full of promise through the doorway of opportunity.

He's asking her to stop risking her life, stop living in the past, stop hiding, stop running, and let him love her.

And she can't. But it's not because she doesn't want too.

She's willing to die to bring the person behind her mother's murder to justice. She's not willing to walk away from it, and she's not willing to risk his life in this anymore.

She'll end them first. End the danger that she's put him in by letting him stand beside her amidst all the betrayals.

She has to see him safe. She has to know he'll go on with his life.

"What we are Castle is over." She forces the words out even as her jaw tightens unbearably around them. Her heart breaking, then the pieces freezing broken inside her, she holds herself rigidly together, staring defiantly into his eyes, poker face plastered over the outright misery she feels.

"No." He replies. "No we aren't."

She stares him down. "You aren't listening, we're done. Through. Finished. History. Now go home Rick . . . leave."

He steps close enough to tower over her, without her heels he's a full five inches taller and broad enough to fill her field of vision. There are tears swimming in his ocean colored eyes and he's not making any effort to conceal or hide what this conversation is doing to him.

"Tell me that you don't love me." He says suddenly, breaking the silence that had settled over them like lead.

"I don't . . . love you." She replies. Holding his gaze, poker face intact as his eyes scan hers, looking for the tell. So she doesn't blink, she fights to hold on. This is killing her, but she has to see this through, she has to know he's safe, if she gets through the next few days, may be he'll forgive her – and this tiny, fragile hope is the only thing holding her upright.

He doesn't find anything in her eyes to give her away and his face falls, if it's possible to see someone's heartbreaking she thinks she's just witnessed it. The knife in her own heart twists cruelly and something inside her gives . . . and his name escapes.

"Rick . . ."

He'd turned fractionally away, moved back in order to leave she guesses and at her whisper he moves faster then she's ever seen him, pulling her roughly into his arms his mouth descends and he kisses her like the world is ending. And maybe it is.

Because nothing he can say will make her give up her cause, even though it's killing her to be giving up him.

Desperation pours through the kiss, his, hers, theirs, and again, it's all far, far too much.

When they part, she can't open her eyes, she can't see, can't bear to look.

"Don't do this to us." He breathes, "I'm begging you Kate. I love you; I can't breathe if I think about you dying for this . . . and your mother wouldn't want that, she'd want you to be happy Kate."

She forces her eyes to open, now as tear filled as his. "I have no choice Castle . . . this isn't about what anyone else wants, this is about the only choice I have in me to make. Now go . . . please. Be safe."

"Tell me that you love me." He asks, even as he releases her from his arms.

Her eyes close again, she shakes her head. "I won't make this harder, not for either of us."

"Tell me Kate. Tell me once before I go."

When she stubbornly says nothing he finally bows his head, and turns to leave, it's only when he's half out the door that the words are ripped from someplace broken, deep in her soul.

"I do."

He stops and turns, his tears have spilled over, the agony apparent.

"But it isn't enough is it?" He says angrily. "It isn't enough to stop you from killing yourself with this; it isn't enough to make you stay safe with me."

Beckett shakes her head. "It's all my soul Castle, it's every part of me, but I still have to do this."

He closes his eyes at her words, and then he leaves.

He doesn't slam the door, it closes quietly. She shatters anyway.