A/N: Yeah, yeah I know. I have a gazillion stories to finish (okay maybe not), but this just kinda popped into my head. I love, love, love angsty stories where our fave duo seem to miss each other. So I thought I wanna give it a shot - hence this. I kinda work on bouts of inspiration and this really doesn't have a plot other than your usual angsty drama.

Disclaimer - I don't own Castle, but I do wish Nathan Fillion could be mine. #Iaminlovewiththatman (true story)

Note: this contains mild spoilers for 3.22. Obviously my version is completely AU.

(Updated version - spotted a few errors)

Chapter 1 - Shut your eyes

She's been awake for about fifteen minutes (he's been up for maybe twenty). She's been chewing her lip and mentally flogging herself for about thirteen minutes of that time. The other two minutes were spent in blissful, but very, very brief recollection which sends chills along her spine.

'What the hell have I done?'

She shuts her eyes and sighs heavily, turning to lie on her back.

'This cannot be happening! This CANNOT be happening!'

She clenches her jaw, brings a hand to her forehead and grimaces. And feels like screaming at the top of her lungs.

'I slept with Castle. I slept with Richard freaking Castle! While Josh waits at home. Great, Kate, just… perfect.'

Her eyes snaps open, fixing an absent gaze onto the white ceiling of the ritzy hotel room, barely noticing the intricate patterns of the cornish.

'Shit. Shit. Shit.'

With that thought she sits up (praying Rick doesn't walk back in), clutching the white sheet to her naked chest while frantically searching for her discarded clothing lost in their frenzied and passionate moment of abandonment.

A moment that meant very different things for the two people who formed part of it.

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She (fully dressed by now) finds him in the living room area of the suite... wearing only the pair of silk, navy boxers that not-too-long-ago was lying in a pile on the floor next to his bed. He has bed-hair (incredibly adorable bed-hair), is bare chested and is currently trying to charm her pants off (again) with that ridiculously heart-melting little smile he only reserves for her. Damn. Damn. Damn.

Damn that fine man.

Her eyes shift from their appreciative appraisal to the table filled with breakfast - coffee (thank the lord), delicious baked goods, scrambled eggs (well isn't that domestic?), bacon, toast... wait, is that flowers? In addition to being an incredible (in-cre-di-ble) lover, ruggedly handsome and ridiculously charming - he got her flowers with breakfast.


She sighs and briefly closes her eyes. 'Shit. Not good,' she thinks as she turns her gaze back to him; focusing on his cobalt eyes. Just his eyes - they're safer she hopes.

Turns out they're not. His eyes are her downfall, always have been and she's sure always will be.

He's looking at her not like a man who saw her naked a few minutes before - lustful and smug because of it. (She had expected that actually; it would have made it easier). He's looking at her with a certain reverence, like a man who's whole world revolved around her - his earth orbiting her sun. It scares her; it's too much. He's too much. They're too much. Everything (including Royce's death and Josh's suggestion that they move in together) is too much to handle right now. She only has one option, solution: run, close up shop and run.

He's entrusting her with this silent confession of love because he's convinced that they're ready for it. Ready to dive in. Ready to make 'always' a part of everything.

Alas, he's too naïve and she too scared. They're not yet aligned. Ying is not yet in harmony with yang.

The morning-after-awkwardness hangs in the air like the thick fog of Beijing's pollution. It's oppressive and stiffling. Even more so when he not-so-subtly clears his throat.

"Hey," he greets quietly, shifting his weight (nervously?). He attempts to smile again, his eyes hopeful, adoring and everything she doesn't dare to show. She doesn't want him looking at her like that. She doesn't want him hoping. She doesn't want him expecting. She doesn't want him loving her.

Kate finds the red cushion on the couch extremely fascinating. "Hey," she returns equally quietly.

"Uh, I got breakfast. I thought... you know." He shrugs, smiles sheepishly (or nervously) and shifts again. Another stretch of uncomfortable silence. This time she clears her throat not-so-subtly.

"Uh thanks Castle-" The use of his last name stings. Badly. He straightens his posture on reflex. "-but I think I'm gonna go take a shower. I want to get cracking on the case. We have a long day ahead of us," she replies, offering him a small smile. He's not satisfied by it. She watches him for a moment, noticing a shift in his demeanor and expression. Everything is duller, more sober. You'd miss it if you didn't know him; didn't study his reactions like he studied yours. This isn't Castle the Excited Kid At Christmas of a few moments before - expectant and hopeful. This is Castle the Guy Who Takes It On The Chin - disillusioned and mature. His jaw clenches slightly and he gives her a singular nod.

"Sure." He doesn't bother to mask his disappointment. And she pretends not notice it as she makes her way to her room, her head hung and her eyes focused on the steps she takes. He follows her with his eyes the whole way, still hoping. Hoping that she didn't regret it. Hoping that she felt what he felt. Hoping (pleading by now) that she doesn't do this to him (again); crush him like only Kate Beckett can. He's not sure how much longer he will be able to take it. And now after he knows what she tastes like and how she feels around him, he's certain that he wouldn't be able to let her go.

Not this time.

But he knew from the moment he locked eyes with her this morning that they were not on the same page. He was sure (so sure), she was scared. He was open, she was closed. He was ready, she was running. He was single, she wasn't.

He sighs and rubs a hand over his face.

She really was a mystery he was never going to solve...

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She closer her door (and locks it), throws her head upward and sighs - convinced that she has ruined everything. She knew exactly from the moment she locked eyes with him this morning that they were not on the same page. Hell, she knew that last night when he moved inside of her.

She was screwing him, trying to forget while he was making love to her, trying to comfort.

She was using him while he was worshipping her.

She was hurting him while he was healing her.

The worst of all?

Kate Beckett wasn't willing to exchange her heart for Rick Castle's.

The heart - his heart - she was already holding hostage.

A/N: Yeah, I know it's short, but I think it's best to stop the first chapter here.

What do ya think? I'm trying different things, so let me know if you liked it or not.

All mistakes are mine. I apologize to the English language for them.