Hahaha, I'm slightly embarrassed to post this. It's not original, not very good, really OOC in my opinion, and it's probably chock full of grammar and spelling mistakes. But... here I am, posting it anyway at 2:45 in the morning. Maybe some of you will like it... I don't know. Blame exhaustion.
This is what happens when you've been listening to "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" by Celine Dion on repeat for 2 straight days. I can't get it out of my head.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. If I did, I'd be a much better writer.

"No, that's not where that goes! Oh my goodness, we are running out of time. We're going to be late…"

"Lanie, the only way we're going to be late is if you keep yelling that we're going to be late. Now sit down, and breath."

Kate sat on the bed in the hotel, watching Lanie pacing around the room calling out orders to the other two women in the room. Kate sighed and stood up and stopped right in front of Lanie, putting her arms on her shoulders.

"Don't like your hair?" Kate asked?

"No, it's perfect."

"Can't find your shoes?"

"No," Lanie said and pointed to the closet, "they're right there."

"Getting cold feet?" She asked.

"No, absolutely not," Lanie replied instantaneously.

"Then stop worrying. Everything is going to be just fine. I'm sure Esposito is nervous enough for the both of you right now."

That got a little chuckle out of Lanie, and she sat down on the bed where Kate had just been, her white dress billowing out to the side.

Kate smiled at her friend. It seems like they had been planning this day for so long. It had been just over nine months since Esposito proposed to Lanie at her birthday party in front of all of her friends and family. Lanie had asked Kate to be her Maid of Honor and Kate enthusiastically accepted. Together, the two had spent most of their time off planning this wedding, sitting on the tables down in the morgue with notebooks in their laps and spending an obscene amount of time together at Kate's apartment looking at bridal magazines.

Kate was exhausted, but she knew it was going to be worth it. Lanie looked gorgeous, the reception hall looked amazing, and Lanie and Esposito were thrilled.

Kate moved across the room, her deep purple dress flowing behind her as she went to get Lanie's shoes. She brought them over and knelt next to Lanie, indicating to her that she should lift her feet so Kate could put her shoes on for her. Lanie did so, and Kate got a face full of tulle. She gave Lanie a fake glare and continued to put her shoes on.

"I'm sorry," she said quietly. Kate instantly looked up. She could tell by Lanie's tone that she was apologizing more for than what had just happened.

"For what?" Kate asked cautiously.

Lanie wouldn't look her in the eye. "It was Javi's idea…"


"We don't want to hurt you Kate… but he's our friend, too…"


"We didn't even think he would be able to come…"


"Castle's coming." Lanie finally blurted out.

Kate felt her shoulders tense. She took a deep breath and breathed out slowly.

"It's alright, Lanie," Kate said quietly. "It'll be fine."

"But after what happened…"

"Lanie," she cut her off again, not willing to go down that road again when today was supposed to be all about her best friend. "I said it's alright." She gave Lanie a small smile, "I'll be alright." Kate stood up and held her hand out to Lanie. "Now come on. It's time for you to get married."

The ceremony went off without a hitch. There was a brief moment during the exchanging of the rings when Ryan, Esposito's best man, intent on getting revenge on Esposito for what he tried to do during his own wedding to his lovely wife Jenny, looked as if he had lost the ring. Before he could even start patting himself down in "search" of the ring, Kate fixed him with a glare that would make a murderer cry. Ryan had lowered his head and instantly "found" the ring in his pocket and handed it to Esposito. The crowd had laughed. Lanie smiled at her in gratitude.

After Lanie and Esposito shared their first kiss, everyone had made their way to the reception hall at the hotel Lanie had gotten ready at and the party officially started.

Nearly everyone was out on the dance floor with the exuberant bride and groom. Kate was not among them. She sat at a table, nursing a glass of water. She wasn't in the mood to drink tonight. In fact, she wasn't really in the mood to do much at the reception. Kate knew she had disappointed Lanie when the bride mentioned that she had some hot, single friends that had noticed how amazing she looked in purple and Kate said that she wasn't interested, but she couldn't help it. Her mind was focused on one thing.

He was here.

It had been over a year since the last time she had spoken to him. Over a year since she had last seen his face in person.

She was torn. She didn't want to think about it. She didn't want to think about him. But her heart ached to see the man who had become such an important part of her life. She wanted to yell at him, push him, tell him how badly he hurt her. She wanted to prove that she didn't need him in her life; that she was doing fine without him.

It wasn't completely a lie. She was doing fine. Kate still managed to get up every day and go to work. She had kept all of her friends and smiled and laughed more than anyone expected her to. But she knew that her friends also saw the sadness that was ever present in her eyes. They knew that she missed him terribly. She hadn't gotten a new partner, still lived in the same place, and hadn't dated anyone since he had left.

She took a deep breath and shook her head. She hadn't seen him in the sea of guests during the ceremony, but that was probably because she had only scanned the impressive crowd briefly and then kept her eyes on Lanie and Esposito the rest of the time. However, there was no way that he hadn't seen her. She was standing right next to the bride the entire ceremony. If he had wanted to see her, he would've found her after the ceremony. She hadn't hid. She was one of only three women wearing purple and she was by far the tallest, even in the kitten heels Lanie had her wearing so she didn't completely overshadow her other bridesmaids.

Kate sighed. He obviously didn't want to see her. Why would he anyway? He was probably afraid of her reaction. He probably thought she was angry. Perhaps she should be the way things ended. But she couldn't bring herself to be. She lost herself in the memory of that night.

It had been nearly four years after Castle had first begun shadowing her, almost eight months after she had gotten shot. Three months earlier, Kate had confided in Castle that she had heard his confession right after she had gotten shot and she told him that she felt the same way as well. They decided to give a romantic relationship a shot. It was anticlimactic.

The three months that followed that day, however, were anything but. They had become completely enamored with each other as the days went by. They were still partners and friends, but now they were together and Kate couldn't have been happier. They went on dates and out to dinner with friends, they spent time with Alexis (who had slowly but surely come around regarding their relationship after the first month), and then went home and spent the night in each other's arms. They weren't planning ahead, but they both knew that this was it.

So when Kate had opened the door to her apartment to let Castle inside she hadn't thought anything of it. She had grabbed his hand and immediately pulled him down to her lips. Kissing Rick Castle was something she would never get tired of. He had moved them further into her apartment and kept kissing her, but she could tell by the way his lips were moving that there was something on his mind. She pulled back, opening her eyes and looking up at her boyfriend.

"What's wrong?" She asked, concerned.

He gave her a quick, surprised glance. He never got used to how easily she could read him. He sighed, grabbed her hand and led them to her couch. He sat her down and then followed suit, shifting his body so that their knees were touching. He squeezed her hand, not looking at her.

"Something's happened," he murmured.

Kate's mind went into overdrive. "Rick? What do you mean? Is it Alexis? Martha? Is everyone alright?"

He looked up and she swore she saw his eyes start to glisten. He squeezed her hand tighter. "No, they're alright."

She moved a little bit closer, "Then what's wrong, Rick?"

He looked back down at their joined hands, his thumb rubbing along the back of hers as though he was memorizing the feeling of her skin.

After a minute of silence, Kate took her free hand and used it to tilt Rick's face back up to eye level. She lowered her voice to a whisper, "You know you can tell me anything."

He took a deep breath. "My contract with Nikki Heat is done," he mumbled, looking directly into her eyes. "The offer was once again made to write about a certain British spy." His hands started to shake. "I tried, Kate. I really did. I've been in meetings all day trying to get someone to extend my Nikki Heat contract but no one will do it. They all think that this new series would be better for Black Pawn."

Her brow furrowed, not entirely sure what he was so upset about. Did he think she was going to be angry that he wasn't writing books inspired by her anymore? "Alright… So there's no more Nikki Heat."

He nodded, his head hanging low. His next words were spoken so quietly she almost missed them.

"They want me to move to Europe."

Kate processed that information for a second, letting the implications sink in. She bit her lip and moved back to look at him clearly. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he had already made his decision.

"And you're going."

He looked at her before quickly looking back away from her gaze. He nodded once and shifted so he was no longer facing her but rather staring at her coffee table in front of the sofa. She squeezed his hand again, trying to say that it was okay. She understood. If he didn't take this contract, he wouldn't have a job. And while she was completely aware that he had enough money to never work another day in his life, she knew that he wanted to keep writing and publishing books. It was his life. It was what he loved to do. She would never ask him to stop doing what he loved for her. She got that. They could make it work. She was just about to tell him that when he swallowed.

And then he broke her heart.

"I think it would be better if we ended things now."

Kate had beat herself up over how she had handled that night. She had been so shocked that she hadn't said anything when he went on explaining why ending things was the best choice for them. She didn't come to her senses until the next morning when she repeatedly called his cell-phone. He never answered. It was a few days later when she read on Page Six that he had left for London the day after he had come to her apartment.

Kate was furious. How dare he think that he knew what was best for her. They may have been together but she deserved to make decisions about their relationship with him. But she wasn't just angry at him. She had been in a relationship with an amazing man who she loved more than anyone in the world, and she had just let him go. She hadn't given him any reason to stay. She hadn't fought for him. She hadn't fought for them.

She'd never forgive herself for letting him go.

The anger eventually faded and she immediately missed the feeling. Without the anger, she just felt empty.

Kate was brought out of her thoughts when she felt the presence of someone sitting down beside her. She looked to her left and saw Mark, Esposito's third groomsman, looking her up and down. She almost rolled her eyes, but somehow managed to refrain from doing anything childish. He could look all he wanted. He wasn't going to get what he wanted from her.

When his gaze made it back up towards her face and saw that she was looking at him, he gave her a grin. "Hey," he said, "You're the Maid of Honor, right?"

Kate gave him a tight-lipped smile, once again fighting the extreme urge to roll her eyes. She gave a curt nod, "Indeed I am."

"Well… do you have a name, Maid of Honor?"

His lame attempt at flirting was not amusing. She couldn't help but think that he didn't do this often. She'd admit, he was a fairly attractive guy: cute face, nice body, relatively tall. But she wasn't interested.

She sighed, "I'm Kate."

"Kate, that's a pretty name," he extended his hand, "I'm Mark."

She already knew that. Unlike him, she had paid attention at the rehearsal dinner the night before.

"So why isn't a pretty lady like you dancing?"

"I'm not feeling well," she responded, hoping he'd get the hint, "Just figured I'd take some time away from the crowd and be alone."

He didn't. Mark quickly jumped into a story about how he and Esposito had gotten detention in high school for yelling inappropriate things in a crowd of people during an assembly. Kate tuned him out. Her eyes drifted along the edge of the dance floor. She continued to scan the crowd, trying to convince herself that she wasn't looking for him. She sighed when she couldn't find the person she wasn't looking for, and looked over towards the bar.

There he was. He wasn't standing at the bar, but rather a few steps away in a darker part of the room. But he was staring at her. When he caught her looking at him, he stood up a little straighter, but never moved his eyes from hers.

She wasn't entirely sure how it happened, but before she knew it she was excusing herself from Mark (who had still been talking) and began to make her way over to him. In a few seconds she found herself standing in front of the man who had broken her heart so many months ago.

They weren't sure how long they stood simply staring at each other. Eventually Kate broke the silence.

"Hi, Rick."

"Hi, Kate."

Another awkward silence fell between them.

"How have you been?" she asked quietly.

"Can't complain..." he shrugged. Then his tone changed. "How have you been?" he asked, genuinely concerned.

She bit her lip, "I'm fine."

If he hadn't been so enraptured at the sight of the woman in front of him, he would've rolled his eyes. He couldn't believe she was here. He vaguely heard the song shift from a faster dance to a slow dance and he took a chance.

"Would you dance with me, Kate?" he asked, extending his hand to her.

She looked at it uncertainly for a moment before tentatively reaching out and gently grabbing his hand. He wrapped his fingers around hers, the spark sending a shock straight to his core. He led her over to the dance floor and moved to put his free hand on her waist. Their hearts raced.

They danced for a moment in silence. Kate caught the wary glance of Lanie, who was dancing with her new husband. Kate bit her lip. She knew she was going to have a lot of explaining to do after this dance.

She knew she shouldn't be doing this. She shouldn't be dancing with Rick, not after everything that's happened. But she couldn't force herself to pull away.

For the first time in a long time, Kate felt content.

Rick leaned down and whispered earnestly into her ear, "I've missed you so much."

She wanted to push him away. She really wanted to. She wanted to listen to her brain when it told her that this was wrong. But she didn't. Instead she leaned forward and rested her head in the ever-familiar juncture between his neck and his collarbone and breathed in his scent.

"I missed you, too," she murmured, her breath fanning out over the exposed skin just above his collar. He shuddered.

"We need to talk," he whispered again.

Kate pulled away from him. Ignoring the looks Lanie, Esposito, and Ryan were sending their way, she grabbed Rick's hand and pulled him off the dance floor. He had expected her to lead them over to one of the tables away from everyone else. Instead, she steered them out of the hall and into a stairwell out in the lobby. She climbed the stairs quickly and led him to the third floor. They approached one of the hotel rooms and Kate pulled out a key and unlocked it. Walking in, she held the door open for him and nodded that he should come in. He gave her a questioning look but followed her in.

She shrugged at his glance, "Once the reception is over, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are going to clean up the hall for Lanie and Esposito. We weren't sure how long the reception was going to end, so we all got rooms so we wouldn't have to drive home." She looked him in the eye, "As to why I brought you up here… I didn't want to be interrupted."

Rick knew that she meant she didn't want to deal with the stares from her friends. He appreciated the thought. He didn't want anyone interrupting them either. This was too important.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, and looked at the spot next to her. He sat down gingerly beside her. They sat in silence, Kate waiting for Rick to speak, Rick trying to figure out what to say.

He ended up just diving right into it. "Kate, I'm so sorry."

She looked at him, slightly shocked, "for what?"

He answered immediately, "For leaving you. For ending things the way I did. For not believing in us. For…"

She cut him off, "Rick, it's alright."

He responded passionately, grabbing her hand and shaking his head, "No, it's not alright. What I did to you will never be alright because… because you are the most amazing woman I've ever known. And I was lucky enough to finally have you and I just let you go."

She shook her head, "You left. I'm the one who let you go. I should have fought for us."

He sighed and she looked at him. He looked pretty much the same since the last time she saw him. He had lost some weight and looked like he had gained a little bit of muscle. The most striking difference was his eyes. He looked so tired. The slight circles under his eyes weren't even the indicator. The fatigue was shining from the depths of his soul through his eyes. He was emotionally drained.

Without thinking, Kate lifted her free hand and ran her fingers underneath his eyes. He leaned into her touch.

"I wanted to call you." He whispered, afraid that speaking any louder would break the spell she seemed to be under and she would realize that she didn't want to do this, "I wanted to call you after the first month and beg for your forgiveness because I realized that I screwed everything up…"

"So why didn't you?"

"Because I was afraid. I was afraid that you would turn me away. I was afraid that you had listened to me and moved on with someone who actually deserved you…" His voice got lower, "I was afraid that I hurt you."

She was silent; he knew he had hurt her.

"I thought," he said quietly, "that giving you a clean break would be best. That you would be able to move on faster and forget about me. I only wanted what was best for you."

The question escaped her lips before she could stop it, "how could you possibly think that I'm better off without you?"

He looked at her, his eyes shining, "Because you deserve someone who was going to be there for you; someone who could hold you after a rough case and kiss you and take you out on dates. I couldn't be that person if there was an ocean between us."

She was quiet for a moment before she whispered something that broke his heart, "I thought you didn't want me anymore."

Rick slowly moved his hand until he was gently holding her cheek. His fingers caressed her skin as if she was the most precious treasure in the entire world. His shining eyes never left hers, the pensive, almost sad look holding her gaze as if he was afraid she was going to disappear. He swallowed roughly before he spoke again.

"You are the only person in the world I want to be with."

She swallowed and tried to control her breathing, "I bought your book. I figured it was the closest I'd ever be able to get to you again."

Rick pulled her closer to his chest. "I'm coming home," he whispered into her hair. "If you'll have me, I'll never leave your side again."

She leaned back and saw the sincerity in his eyes. She felt her eyes fill up with tears and spill over.

Rick was sure he'd never seen her smile so beautifully.

She managed to choke out a few words, "Are you serious?"

He put both hands on her cheeks and leaned his forehead against hers. "Living without you is a personal state of hell," he murmured, his hands roaming over her cheeks, "I don't intend to do it ever again."

Kate wasn't sure if this was the smartest thing to do. She couldn't be positive that she was making the right decision. But she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

She tilted her head so that her lips grazed his, his eyes fluttering closed at the contact, a content sigh escaping through his lips. He moved his own head and met her halfway, pressing his lips to hers in a kiss that lit her on fire. It had been far too long.

Without thinking, she deepened the kiss and he responded immediately. She moaned into his mouth. He tasted exactly the same.

Rick began to move his hands, one found its home on her hip, the other wound its way into her curly tresses. He shifted them and leaned them back onto the bed. He had been apart from her for way too long. He vowed to himself that he would never leave her side again for any extended period of time. She was worth more than the fame. She was more precious than any book he could ever publish. He was never going to let her go again. There hadn't been anyone else since he had left for England over a year ago. He had tried to date, but Kate was the only thing he could think about. No one could ever compare to Kate. He wouldn't be satisfied with anyone other than the Detective he had fallen for so irrevocably. If he couldn't have her… he didn't want anyone.

And then all rational thought left promptly when he felt her grind her hips against him.

He groaned and pushed her farther up the bed, consequently moving so he was hovering over top of her.

Kate's hands moved down his chest and began fiddling with the buttons on his shirt.

Rick knew that they had to stop. They were at their friend's wedding; they should be down celebrating with them. She would regret doing this now. So, while it physically pained him, he forced himself to separate from her.

When he opened his eyes and looked down at Kate, he almost lost all control and took her right there. Her hair was spread wildly along the bed spread, her cheeks flushed and chest heaving with eyes darkened with desire. He closed his eyes again and forced the words from his throat.

"We can't do this now, Kate. Lanie and Esposito are downstairs."

He heard her sigh and move to sit up. She knew that he was right, but that didn't stop the little hint of rejection she felt.

He opened his eyes and looked at her crestfallen face. He grabbed her hands and looked her in the eyes. "It's not that I don't want to. God, Kate… I want to so badly," he moved even closer to her and kissed her gently on the lips. "We just need to get back downstairs so they don't worry about us. And you would never forgive yourself if you missed your best friend's wedding reception."

She sighed again. She hated when he was right.

Kate made a move to get off the bed and walked over to the mirror on the wall. She ran her fingers through her hair and fixed her smudged lipstick. She hadn't noticed Rick get up off the bed until he was standing right behind her. He wound his arms around her waist and nuzzled his face into her neck, kissing her pulse point.

"And just for the record," he mumbled, "the next time I get you in bed… I'm not letting you leave for a long time."

She shivered and met his gaze in the mirror. He was blown away by the love he saw reflected in her eyes. And then she said three words that made his heart soar.

"Welcome home, Rick."

... I don't have anything else to say.
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