Risk Ch. 10

For the first time in a long time, Kate felt hope. She'd felt a lot of other emotions, good emotions, leading up to this night, but hope hadn't been one of them. No matter how great it was to actually be in a real relationship with Rick, and not have to hide it; she still felt like she was battling alone. She knew in her head that he would do anything for her, he'd proved that time and again; but she hadn't believed it in her heart. She'd given her heart away before, and it had been broken. Shattered, stomped on, whatever cliché worked best. She'd loved her parents. Her mother died. Her father was lost in the bottle for years. She finally let down her walls, and let Will into her heart, but he was offered a transfer to a different FBI office. He chose the promotion over her, and she was left alone again. So no matter how much she trusted Richard Castle in every single other aspect of her life, she hadn't truly believed he was there to stay. Until that moment. His eyes were horrified when he'd thought she'd been shot again, checking her, frantic and desperate. His terror affected her as much as her own did. But he'd immediately transitioned to comforting her, whispering, "It's okay. It's okay, I'm here, it's okay," rocking her in his arms. She tried so hard not to cry, to show her fragility, but she had no strength. There was something about the way he cradled her, enveloping her in his strong arms and filling her heart with tender words. Then he reminded her that he loved her - he hadn't said it since the cemetery- and when she heard those words, all her fear washed away. She could barely breathe. She felt like she was being filled up with warm liquid that just overflowed when it reached her eyes. She believed him. She believed in him. And he was asking her to tell him the same thing. She didn't know why she hesitated to answer… maybe just making sure they were really having this conversation, that it wasn't a dream... but she was sure she couldn't have spoken the words anyway for the lump in her throat. He asked again for her to tell him that she loved him, and the only answer she could find was to nod her affirmation. She felt his muscles relax a little then hold her even tighter. But his embrace changed. What began as protective was now purely affectionate. More tears escaped her eyes when he said they'd get through it together, because she knew - she finally believed in her heart - that they really would get through it. Together.