to my fearless beta, thank you! couldn't done it without you babe!

and I don't own them. but if I did, I don't share.

I can follow you to the beginning just to relive the start, maybe then we'll remember to slow down on all of our favorite parts- H. williams

It's been a month and two days.

One month and two days since she buried her captain, her mentor, her friend.

One month and two days since she was shot in their latest attempt to shut her up, make her abandon her quest for the truth, for justice. Their latest attempt to end this.

It's been one month and two days since she heard those 4 words she probably repeated in her head a million time since. The words which made her heart both fly and sink at the same time.

Exactly one month since she woke up in a hospital bed, the first thing she saw being his beautiful blue eyes, both full of worry and fear.

Twenty nine days since she told Josh she needed a break.

Twenty eight since she told Castle the same.

Exactly twenty days since she packed her things and left them all behind in a purely selfish act, the first and only selfish act she ever allowed herself since her mom died. An act which she hoped will help her rebuild herself in the only way she knew how. Alone.

Twenty days since she saw him, heard his voice, had the privilege to witness his gorgeous boyish innocent smile, the one she suspected he reserved only for her. The one which always made her smile in return even against her better judgment.

They exchanged several short text messages since, but as her heart kept telling her, it wasn't nearly enough.

It's been fourteen days since she decided to come down here with nothing but a pair of jeans, a shirt and his book, their book.

It's been 5 seconds since she last thought about him, the longest time since she can remember. Usually he never leaves.

Its twenty four hours before she has to go back, face them, face him, and honestly, she has no idea how the hell she's going to do that.

It's all just a big ugly mess. She got used to the pain before, she was certain she can do it again. Only, since she met him, her life took a surprising turn for the better and now all that progress has just gone down the drain and she feels so lost with no hope of ever finding her way back.

It's like he spoiled her, made her get used to being happy so now she's forgotten how to deal with the pain.

She spent the first two days of her leave crouching by her mother's grave looking for answers, trying to make sense of it all, looking for the silver lining but she couldn't find one. There wasn't one to be found.

It was a mess.

After that she simply needed to get out of the city that reminded her so much of all that she had lost. She got on her bike and rode for hours with no clear destination, stopping only for a few hours of restless sleep in a crappy motel, and then to repeat the same action the next day.

After a few days on the road she grew tired of the traveling and decided to stay in her next stop. Driving didn't provide the escape she so desperately longed for. Her thoughts kept spinning in frightening speed so, really, what was the point?

And that is where she is now, in a small bed and breakfast inn, looking out the window on the dark night, lost once again in her thoughts.

She spent most of the time locked in her room, unable to face the world behind those thin walls. The sun was too bright, the sky painfully too blue. The world kept spinning unaware to the pain it inflicted, life kept on going but she couldn't. Not yet.

At first she maintained her pointless struggle to keep him out of her mind, desperately searching for any cheap distraction she can find. After hours of flicking through countless TV channel with nothing to satisfy her tired mind she finally gave up. There is no use in pretending she didn't miss him. That he didn't matter. Because he does. More than he'll ever know probably.

She will never admit it but she spent a fair amount of time each night going through his fan page, searching, craving every piece of information she can find about him, about his life and what he's been doing since she left.

She expected him to act out, go back to his bad boy days, the wild parties and women. She was only partly surprised to learn he decided to take on a short promoting tour for his new book. It wasn't unexpected that he, like her, would choose to escape the haunting memories that their city stirred.

In a way, his absence has only encouraged her reluctance to return to the empty city that deprived her of him.

But his tour is ending tomorrow with a great finale in a shape of "meet and greet" session in his hometown. Their town.

So she decided to go back as well. To be fair, she wasn't sure where they stood, where she wanted them to stand or even what she was going to say to him when they finally saw each other again. She only knew it was time.

She turned away from the window with a heavy sigh and lay on the bed pointlessly staring at the ceiling.

Tomorrow. She glanced at the clock that despite her silence plea refused to move any faster.

Less than 24 hours now. 1440 minutes. 86400 seconds. She can do it. She can… Can't she?