From the blue, Kate knew immediately that she'd dreamt herself into the hangar again, back into that same scene she only wanted to push away. She knew better than to hope that every time she relived it, its pain would fade- life didn't work that way. The more it hurt her, the more she would just keep putting herself back there. It was why, even months later, she still had nightmares about Castle being held by the Triple Killer.
The best way to escape, she'd learned, was to just ride it out. Fighting it would just delay the relief of jerking up in bed, shaking and trying not to cry. "Captain?" She wished that all she felt now was confusion, an echo of what she'd felt originally upon saying the word. She wished she didn't have to feel that coupled with betrayal and grief.
No response- that was different. Still, she looked up to the dark doorway like she always did. Next Roy would step out, gun in hand, and her cell phone would vibrate with the text from Ryan and Esposito.
Roy didn't show. Her phone didn't move. Castle stepped out from the shadows, gun in hand.
Shock ripped her upright out of her dream. She sat there panting, feeling her breath catch in her throat as she tried to inhale. The wound on her abdomen throbbed, and she tried to relax to dampen the ache. Her hand fluttered across her chest spastically, trying to calm herself, and shaken as she was, she was thankful that the dream had ended there.
Sleep was out of the question. She straightened up beside the bed and grabbed her gun instinctively, heading to the bathroom. Maybe splashing some water on her face would bring her back to reality, at least more effectively than lying gasping in bed would.
She ran some water and slicked it across her brow, flicking her eyes up to look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were wide, frantic, and her hair was mussed up, leading her to suspect that she'd been tossing and turning in bed.
Just a dream. Just a dream. Even as she came to her senses, she was finding more things to fear. Of course, Castle wasn't going to betray her, but what did it mean that she dreamed he would? Did she not trust him? Was there really such a chasm within what she considered one of her strongest relationships?
The water helped. She was sinking back into her normal self and realizing that maybe the fact that it was Castle didn't matter. It was a scene she'd relived in her dreams at least a dozen times now, odds are, given the strangeness of the human mind, she was eventually going to start substituting different people into the dream. Maybe this was the first in a long line of similar dreams. Maybe she'd have one where Lanie stepped out with the gun, or Ryan. Or Courtney Cox.
These images weren't as comforting as she'd thought they might be, so she shook them away but kept the moral of them- it could be anyone. Surely the fact that it was Castle had no other importance other than the fact that she'd been seeing him a lot recently.
Castle stepped into the bathroom, gun in hand. "Kate, are you okay? I heard you get up…"
It was obvious he meant well, but the sight of him walking into a room brandishing a gun was all too similar to her all too recent nightmare, and she couldn't stop a small heart attack from attempting to engulf her.
Calm down. Assess the situation.
She stopped right there. This wasn't an attacker, some assassin with a knife from which she needed to get away. This was Castle, her partner, wielding her backup gun and clearly not feeling too comfortable with it.
She zeroed in on that, a tangible difference between the dream and reality- his hand didn't quite form the way one should around a gun, the way an experienced hand would. And his expression- it wasn't the blank necessity and coldness she'd seen in the dream, it was worried. Caring. Confused. She hated that she needed proof, but she was glad that she could find it.
"I'm fine, Castle," she assured him, straightening up. "Just a bad dream." He relaxed, but she could tell that he was still concerned. He was all about concern now, ever since she'd gotten back from the hospital. He barely left her side, and she knew better than to ask him to. The fact was, she felt guilty about what she'd yelled at him the last time they'd seen each other before the hangar, and letting him sleep over to "protect her" felt like a way of apology.
It did get annoying, though, when he burst into the room every time she got up for a drink of water. "Do you want some tea?" Do you want to talk about your bad dream while we drink tea? It was difficult to answer one question without answering both.
Castle fixed the tea while Beckett sat on her couch, stock-straight because she was afraid to fall asleep. So this is my life now. Nightmare on Elm Street. She wondered if she would have died in real life if Dream Castle had shot her. She dug her fingernails into her knees.
"It's hot," said Castle handing her some halfway-through-steeping Lipton lemon tea in her Innocent Bystander mug. She tossed a gulp of the steaming tea into his mouth and it burned her throat on the way down- lack of taste buds made it harder to sleep. He took a seat beside her on the couch, cradling his own cup of tea. "Do you want to talk about it?"
It. There were so many its that she didn't want to talk about. "No." He watched her in his pensive, writer's way, observing without staring.
"You're afraid to fall asleep."
"Never thought I'd see the great Kate Beckett afraid of anything."
"You don't have to say it like that. I'm not a circus act."
She leaned into his shoulder, glad of the warmth, and silenced the part of her that screamed she couldn't trust him. "It's about getting shot, isn't it?" She shook her head against his flannel sleeve. "The hangar?" She deliberated.
Against all of her precautions, she fell asleep there, slumped onto Castle's shoulder. He was content to sit there and keep her safe, letting his breath blow stray strands of her hair around, but then she started twitching. He leaned around to see that her face was contorted into a grimace.
"Kate, wake up." He shook her. "Wake up!"
"Whaa…?" She blinked her eyes open and shook her head, leaning away from Castle. She coughed. "What's going on?"
"You were having another bad dream." It was a guess, but he was pretty sure he was right.
"Was I?" She stretched, glancing around the room just to confirm her setting. "I don't remember." A smile spread across her face, and she seemed to relax more. "I don't remember." She glanced up at him, worried about hurting him but desperate for another forgotten dream. "Is it okay if I sleep here for the rest of the night?"
"Yeah." She nodded sleepily, already slipping back into the slumber he'd shaken her from.
"And you'll wake me up if I'm having another bad dream?" It was nice to have an alarm clock like him. He smiled.
"Always." Of course. She situated herself back against his shoulder and sunk back into her comfortable sleep.
I don't remember. I don't remember.
Kate. I love you. I love you, Kate.
I don't remember.
Castle stroked Beckett's hair with the tips of his fingers. If it would keep the nightmares away from her, he'd keep it up all night.