The first thing she feels is the pain. Her chest is in pain, and she feels as if she is doubling over because of it. She is already noticing the blood running out of her body.
Just a second later, someone tackles her from the side and throws her to the floor. There is only one person that could have done that. Castle. He has tried to protect her from being shot. He has been late, but she is grateful for the fact that he hasn't even thought about it, he just jumped.
She can only see the blue sky, with a few clouds. She hears people screaming. It is probably because of the shot.
Then, someone appears in her field of vision. He has those baby blue eyes that have always fascinated her, even if she attempts to deny it to herself. Those eyes are always full of happiness, with a shiny spark behind them, that shows his constant good mood. Even though it sometimes irritates her a bit, she is glad that he is like that. It has made the last three years some of the best of her work as a detective at the 12th Precinct, and probably of her life. He never fails at bringing a smile out of her when he wants.
However, now those beautiful eyes of his only show worry, sadness... and fear. Fear for her, for whether she will live or not. She wants to erase that fear from his eyes. She wants his eyes to shine like they always do. But she can't find the strength to say something. Bullet must have gone through one of her lungs.
He is hugging her. He has one hand over her wound. Even as her vision darkens, she can see that his eyes are very near from starting to pour tears. Then, he opens his mouth, and she attempts to pay attention to what he says.
"Ssh, Kate. Stay with me, Kate. Don't leave me, please. Stay with me, okay? Kate, I love you. I love you Kate."
As soon as she hears those three words, there is a conflict within her.
A part of her is angry at Castle for choosing this moment to tell her that he loves her.
That part of hers wants to shout at him.
It wants to hit him hard.
It wants to hate him.
Because he didn't tell her before.
Because she knows both of them have suffered, and it could have been avoided if he had told her.
The rest of her wants to smile it him.
It wants to hug him.
It wants to kiss him.
Because he has finally told her his feelings.
And those feelings are reciprocated.
She doesn't know when it happened exactly. Maybe it was when he told her that he would be leaving and she realized that she would never see him again at work. Maybe it was when he helped her find her mother's killer. Maybe it was when he risked his life as he entered her apartment to take her out of the fire. Maybe it was when she found him tied up during the Triple Killer case. Or maybe it was when he tackled Lockwood just as he was trying to shoot at her.
But she had known the truth the day both of them got stuck in the freezer. Castle had done his best to keep her spirits up. He had hugged her so that she stayed as warm as possible. All of that without regards to himself.
As she froze there, hugged to Castle, she had been about to cry at the possibility that she would not be able to finally find the man who had ordered her mother to be killed. Nor see her father, or Lanie, or Ryan, or Esposito, or Alexis, or Martha... but the worst she felt right then was that she would not be able to work with Castle anymore. She would not be able to laugh at his outlandish theories over the crimes they investigated. She would not be able to banter with him when he made a funny comment, or tease him with some carefully measured words.
She would not be able to tell him what she felt for him.
When she felt that the hypothermia was getting to her, as she felt sleepier than ever, she tried to caress his cheek, even though she couldn't feel anything on her fingers, and she had been about to tell him what she felt, but she didn't manage to finish before she fell asleep. The next thing she knew, she was being woken up by Josh, and Castle was being warmed up at an ambulance.
And, after the next day, when Castle had taken her hand with his, as the bomb's countdown reached 0, her feelings for him had been reaffirmed, and she had never been so glad of Castle being her partner than when he pulled all the wires just in time.
Despite all of that, she still was with Josh. She feared what would happen if she tried to have a date with Castle, if she allowed her feelings to surface and take control of her. Ever since her mother died, the only person she had actually allowed herself to love was her father, and she had engaged in several relationships that never had a future. Castle himself had called her out on this just three days before, and she felt she could have told him the truth, but never did.
The day after that, she talked with Josh and confessed that she felt their relationship had no future at all. They parted on amicable terms, but still she felt bad for leading Josh like that. She didn't have the courage to tell Castle after their fight, and Montgomery's death had pushed everything to the back of her mind.
And now, Castle is here. He has her in his arms. He has told her that he loves her. That he doesn't want her to leave.
She tries to look him into his eyes, tries to smile at him, tries to tell him that she loves him, too.
But the pain is becoming too much, and the darkness is encroaching into her vision.
The last thing she sees before everything goes black is those blue eyes she has wanted to swim in for such a long time...