Alright, the second and last part to this. Hope it lives up to your standards.

Special thanks to: morethanamuse & NCISchick for the reviews. I'm pretty sure you guys have reviewed almost everything of mine, which is awesome and I love you for it!

Disclaimer: Come on.

And at this point, we have 15 weeks and 3 days until season 4! I don't know how I'm going to make it.

It was hard to miss the unspoken tension in the room. The guys and Lanie had been in her room for almost an hour, with Lanie never leaving her bedside, and they hadn't even mentioned the one certain element of their team that was missing.

"Alright guys, gigs up, where is he?" She questioned using her best interrogation voice that she could under the circumstances.

Lanie looked questioningly at the two perched in the lounge chairs on the other side of the bed. Before Ryan acquiesced, "He won't answer his phone and no one knows where he is, not even Mrs. R."

"Who; sends her best wishes and promises to stop by later by the way." Esposito added.

"He's not here?" She asked disbelievingly.

"I sent him home." Lanie answered, picking up on the disappointment in Kate's eyes. "He hadn't left you since you arrived here, smelled like it too."

"And how long ago was that?"

"Three days."

"I've been unconscious for three days!" Kate exclaimed.

"Calm down honey," Lanie soothed. "Your heart's under enough stress as it is."

"I'm sorry; it's just… three days really?"

Seeing the boys affirming nods she continued, "It doesn't seem like that long, and why the hell would he stay that long when he needed to be home with his daughter."

"Oh, don't give us that! You know exactly why he did, and you're not fooling anyone girlfriend. We heard what writer-boy said."

"And what exactly did he say?"

Lanie's eyes went wide with panic as she looked up to the duo for help.

"Why don't we let him explain," Esposito answered gesturing to his phone. "This is him right now."

"About time," Ryan supplied.

"Bro, are you okay?"

"Hey, yeah I'm alright."

"Where the hell are you man? She's been asking for you!"

"It's a long story, but I need you to come pick me up."

"What's going on?"

"I'll explain once you get here, oh and bring Ryan with you."

"Where exactly is 'here' Castle?"

After Castle rattled off his location, and said his goodbye; he looked over at Ryan with a hint of confusion in his eyes and just nodded towards the door as if asking for him to follow.

"What's up?" Ryan asked once in the privacy of the hallway.

"You're going to love this."

"Rock, paper, scissors for who gets to drive it back?" Ryan asked on the way over.

"Hell no, we let Castle pick, and we both know he likes me better." Esposito joked.

"You wish."

Lanie had refused to leave Kate's side, leaving the boys to make the trip to go get Castle, but not without the parting words of advice to beat some sense into him. Pulling up behind the red sports car; they found Castle leaning against the side of it with his hands in his pockets and his eyes focused on something on the ground.

"Alright, start explaining." Esposito jumped straight to the point.

"Make it quick too; we have strict orders to beat your ass for worrying everyone."

Castle cracked a small smile at Ryan's statement, fairly sure he knew who issued the threat, "Why, Dr. Parrish was worried about me, I'll never let her live that one down."

"Seriously man, what's up? Driving in your current state is stupid, even for you." Ryan stated.

"I couldn't write it away." He answered simply.

The duo nodded, waiting for him to finish.

"Sometimes I just hate reality. I can't go back and re-write what happened, or change the outcome, or even reverse it. Nothing I do can change the fact that she's lying in a hospital bed, and I just feel like it's my fault. If I had just been a second sooner…" He trailed off, not knowing how else to express his dilemma, for once he was out of words.

"Okay first; don't blame yourself for what happened, the only ones responsible are the ones behind this whole ordeal." Esposito admonished.

"And second," Ryan picked up, "it's about time you told her how you felt." He said slapping his hand on Castle's back.

"Well that wasn't exactly how I was going to put it, but yeah; do you know how much money we lost on you two?" Esposito interrogated.

"Well she didn't exactly reciprocate, so I don't think it counts yet."

"In that case, we better get you back so you can." Ryan said, holding his hand out for the keys.

"No way man," Esposito argued. "I get to drive right Castle?"

Rick just laughed at the twos antics and came up with a plausible solution.

"Tell you what, one of you can start and halfway there we'll stop and switch. Sound good?"

"Works for me."

"Deal." Esposito concurred; grabbing the keys from Castle, and feeding the birds with Ryan before they all turned to their designated cars.

Sliding into the driver's seat, he turned the keys in the ignition and smiled as the engine roared to life.

"So who's week would it have been anyways?" Castle questioned.

"Montgomery's," Esposito stated solemnly before nodding his head and replacing the serious look with a smile as he threw the car in gear.

"I have got to get me one of these."

"Sorry it took us so long to get back. Ryan said he could drive a stick."

"Hey, I drove it better than you did. You drive slower than my grandmother." Ryan countered.

Kate laughed at the two's joking but her eyes never left Rick's after he stepped into the room.

"Guys, let's give these two a minute," Lanie spoke up, picking up on the conversation to be had; moving from her spot on the edge of the bed to head towards the boys near the door.

"Oh my God Ryan, Lanie's leaving her side, is the world coming to an end? I don't feel the earthquake." Esposito joked, grabbing onto either side of the doorframe as if trying to find balance.

"Boy if you don't knock it off…" Lanie warned and threw a hand out to smack him, but he ducked back just in time.

"Ryan, pinch me bro. I think I'm dreaming. She's walking out the door." He kept on, voice getting louder as Lanie backed him further down the hall.

"Javier Esposito! I will personally make sure you aren't physically able to leave this hospital, if you keep it up." They heard Lanie's finale retaliation yelled from down the hall.

"Well, I guess I better make sure Lanie doesn't make good on her death threats. I'd hate to arrest her." Ryan said while standing awkwardly in the doorway before parting with a small wave. Kate's only acknowledgement was a small smile and a nod before meeting Rick's eyes again.

"You going to stand there all night?" Rick didn't need to be told twice as he walked around and took up the now vacant seat next to her bed.

"What's a girl got to do to get a hug from you?"

"I just don't want to hu…"

"Castle you're not going to hurt me, I just got shot and I want a damn hug." She demanded with outstretched arms.

"Kate." Castle said with a stern look and she knew he was mad about her joking about it.

"Rick, I swear I'm fine."

"You almost died Kate, the last time you were in my arms I had to watch the lights go out."

"Well then, this is just as much for your benefit as it is for mine, isn't it?" She told him while opening her arms once more, sighing happily when he finally relented and gathered her in his arms.

"Took you long enough," she mumbled into his shoulder.

"She's talking about the hug right, there's no way she could remember. Ryan and Esposito told me she didn't." Rick's inner monologue argued with him. "But I knew she would."

"What's that?" He asked pulling back but taking her hands in his.

"Don't pretend like you don't remember what you said."

"But the guys told me that you didn't…" He veered off not even wanting to think about it.

"I lied; why not keep them guessing for a little while longer."

"Devious, I like it." He agreed, noticing how her eyes her drooping slightly.

"Go ahead and sleep Kate, I'll be right here when you wake up."

"Mmkay." She muttered almost incoherently before sinking deeper into the bed. But not relinquishing the hold on his hand. Minutes had passed and he was sure she was asleep, before she spoke again.



"Come on, keep up Castle."

Pausing a second to let it sink in he smiled before responding, "I love you too."

So? I'm not quite sure, but I felt like that was a good place to leave it. I really don't think Knockout can be done justice, it was just so freaking amazing! I still can't get over it.

Once again, thanks for reading kids.

Much Love,

-Anna Lee