Title: Sacrificial

Author: Eyrianone

Rating: T

Disclaimer: Rick Castle won't get out of my head for a moment, I think I might be possessed, but I don't own him or anyone else you recognize.

Spoilers: Missing scene for 'Knockout' - Occurs after the gathering at Kate's apartment, but before Roy's funeral.

Summary: I can't promise you it means anything Castle . . . I can't tell you it changes anything . . . all I can tell you is that I need you . . . tonight I need to be with you . . .and what I 'm asking is . . . can you give me that?

The morning after he is not surprised when he wakes up alone, but it hurts like nothing before it ever has. His body is hard and aching for her and the scent of her lingering on the linens of his bed might mean he can never enjoy clean sheets again. Exhausted he stares bleary-eyed at the alarm clock and winces when he notices it's much later than he should have been ready to go – 9.45am already.

His head hits the pillow again and he closes his eyes in despair. After what happened between him and Beckett last night he always imagined the morning after would be the happiest of his life, and yet he's never felt so unsure, so lost before. He has absolutely no idea where they stand at this point, or if it's even acceptable for him to be asking that question. One minute Kate had declared them 'over' and then the night after Montgomery's death she shows up at his loft to find him drinking alone, vulnerable and incapable of denying her what she asked of him.

Hell he doesn't even know if Beckett 'cheated' on Josh with him or if sometime between their fight and last night she found time to break it off with Dr. Motorcycle boy.

The morning after Roy's death, their little sudo-family had gathered at Kate's to form a plan of action. All of them grief-stricken and reeling with feelings of betrayal, that even the Captain's last heroic act failed to completely banish; they'd nonetheless all agreed to adhere to Beckett's dictate that 'no-one' outside their group was to ever know of Montgomery's involvement with Raglan, McAllister and Lockwood. No-one.

They'd parted ways soon after, and he'd been the last to leave, shaken to his core he'd tried to find a reason to stay with her, but the pain in her green gaze warned him explicitly not to push her at this moment, she was at least talking to him, and she was still alive. He knew he have to wait for anything more than that, so he'd impulsively kissed the top of her head and with a gentle request to call him if she needed him, he'd left her to her pain, and gone home to nurse his.

In his study, the empty vintage red-glass whiskey bottle Montgomery had given him was one reminder too many of what's just been lost and as the tears pricked the back of his eyes he'd squeezed them shut angrily and headed for his liquor cabinet. Two large glasses without ice or mixer later and the pain's raw edges had been dulled a little. He's never been one for recreational drugs, never smoked, but there are moments, there have been times, when it's been easy for him to see how alcohol can become a crutch in a person's life. How the lure of drinking away your pain could become a habitual need; the slippery slope it would be so easy to loose yourself down.

So when his door buzzed he'd been nursing his fourth glass for several hours, staring motionless into space and endlessly reliving the nightmare of the night before, he'd dragged himself, numbed but still steady, to the door and when he'd opened it and there she stood, the hunger in her eyes had been what caused him to sway somewhat, the force of it knocking him sideways.

He didn't bother asking her in, he'd just stepped back out of her way and watched her walk past him, the alcohol in his system permitting him the freedom to appreciate her ass openly in a way he would never do if he was completely sober and fearful of her catching him.

When she'd stopped and turned around he'd dragged his gaze up to her face, and her expression baffled him, the predatory hunger in her gaze looked a lot like desire, but behind that her pain was still so raw, so unrelenting that the end result left her looking . . . desperate . . . it killed him.

"What's the matter Kate?" He'd said finally, when she didn't speak.

She'd shifted nervously from foot to foot, expression unchanging, finally he couldn't stand the distance that seemed to engulf them and he'd closed the gap between them, wrapping her up in his embrace and pulling her to him tightly. "Tell me Kate." He'd whispered over her head. "I'm your partner." He'd added, mentally putting them firmly back on solid ground even if he didn't really know where they stood or what they were.

At the sound of his voice some of the tension seemed to flow out of her, she'd snuggled closer, he'd felt her breathing him in and lightening shot down his spine, she must have sensed him tense because she pulled out of his arms suddenly and took a step back.

"Sorry Castle." She'd mumbled.

"No I'm sorry" He'd interrupted. "It's just that holding you is hard for me. . . it makes me want . . . never mind." He'd finished, wiping a hand across his eyes, feeling exhaustion settling everywhere.

"Me." She'd said for him. "It makes you want me . . . I understand Rick . . . it's why I'm here . . . why I couldn't seem to stay away." She'd added nervously, almost shyly, lightening shot down his spine for a second time and he'd groaned, closing his eyes and blocking her out.

"I can't promise you it really means anything Castle . . . I can't tell you it changes anything . . . all I can tell you is that I need you. You . . . more than anything else right now, I need to be with you . . . so what I 'm asking is . . . can you give me that?

His eyes had shot open. In tortured disbelief he'd stared at her open mouthed, half of him elated that she was telling him she wanted him as primally as he had always wanted her, the other half devastated that their first time should come about like this. That it should come with no guarantees, not be the start of an evolution in their relationship. Making love should be the beginning of forever for them, he already knew no-one could ever replace her in his heart, he was too far gone, already committed . . . she was already everything to him . . . to give himself without knowing it meant as much to her, that it wasn't just. . . sex. For a moment he'd thought there was no way he could do it, not this way, and then her beautiful eyes had filled with tears, and her grief, her confusion hit him like a tsunami. He could not say 'No'. It was not an option, he'd promised her 'always' meaning anything, anytime, now, tomorrow, doesn't matter when, and she was telling him what she needed right now was a connection to him; to life, to something real, physical, something that would send her pain, confusion and feelings of betrayal screaming into the night.

An anchor.

Just then she'd turned to go, obviously assuming the tortured expression in his eyes was a refusal he couldn't speak, and he'd reached for her once more, fairly yanked her into his arms, brought his mouth down over hers and given in.

As he lies in his bed now, still hard and aching the memories rush back, fire burning down his nerve endings, flames licking at his sanity. They'd come together almost violently, he had bruises to prove it; fighting for supremacy she hadn't allowed him to slow things down for a second. And once he'd lost the fight to take it slow, he just gave, everything, all that he was and more until she'd screamed as she came and dragged him with her. Again, and then again she'd reached for him in the night, forcing him to wakefulness and back into the maelstrom of dark almost dangerous passion ignited between them.

And now she was gone, and he was late, he should have been at the funeral home with her fifteen minutes ago.

Tears prick his eyes again; tears of loss for both his fallen friend, and the broken dream of what loving Beckett for the first time would be like. He has intimate knowledge of her now, his body knows hers, his tongue knows her taste, his eyes her curves and it can never be undone. He will see her, and in his mind see her crying as she comes apart beneath him . . . and not happy tears, just tears of relief that something in her world is real.

Brokenly he fights his emotions back. They'll get past this happening this way between, they'll find their way, he has to believe this, because he loves her so much . . . he's never told her . . . but someday he will.

He get's up, texts her that he's running late and that he'll bring coffee, and then he hits the shower and is out the door ten minutes later. He doesn't dream in this moment that someday will come far sooner than he imagines . . . or that his declaration of love might be the last thing in this world Katherine Beckett ever hears.