Title: Now I Know
Author: youngerdrgrey
Pairing: Castle/Beckett
Summary: Finishing the case won't suddenly make the world perfect. It won't do anything but force you to recognize that, for years, you haven't really lived. Not until recently at least. / ABCs of Castle. Now on U.
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All rights for the characters and the world go to their owners. I, in no way, believe – or would lead others to believe – that I own Castle. Though, I would have no objections to having some time with this cast.

Author's Note: I'm not making a promise to be back forever. I reached such a horrible spot of writer's block with this story. It was because of what U originally was. I will eventually finish that chapter and post it, probably as a special extra chapter or something. This is sort of short, but I'm trying to work my way back into this. I've been spending a lot of time working on my other large Castle story - Brick by Brick - which is, at its most basic level, a season one AU wherein Kate has a daughter. It's pretty good if I say so myself. Feel free to check that out. And check out my Tumblr as well. I greatly apologize for disappearing on this story for so long. I hope to return.

U for Ultimate (Low) takes place somewhere down the road. Timeline is not really that important for this except for the fact that it happens after they get together.


For once, his pain doesn't have to do with Alexis or Kate. He actually can't even remember what it's about for a moment. Despite all of the words in his head and the vivid imagery he projects, Rick Castle is blank. His mind is wiped clean to the point where all he recognizes is the fear pooling in his body.

It slides up the back of his neck, tangling in the hairs and causing him to shirk and jerk sporadically. It weighs on his eyelids and in his tear ducts until all he can do is squeeze his eyes closed so tightly that he feels like they should rip at the seams like a bad cartoon. It nails his feet to the ground at his heels, pins his nails into his palms, and gags him so that he almost doubles over with the force of it all. Somehow, he remains standing. He reckons his upright position has everything to do with Kate.

She holds onto him, her hands on his forceps and her body angled towards him. She's whispering words that Rick does not catch. Cannot catch. They must help on some level even if he can't feel it directly. He can't open his eyes, but he would see her concern if he could. Her concern has the same effect as the fear. She's rooted in place, nearly unable to speak, and shaking. She shakes because she has never seen him like this. He has never broken before. He looked into the barrel of a gun, stood in front of a ticking bomb, felt his muscles freeze and stop while his heart still beat, left her after confessing everything, and never has he broken. Until now.

Eventually, simply holding his arms is not enough. Not for him, or for her. She steps closer and pulls him into her. She circles him and squeezes until her own arms start to go numb. He slackens suddenly, nearly toppling them both over. She manages to keep them up still. She reckons that has everything to do with him. She's the one with the wall and the secrets. She's the one who let this happen. So she's the one to keep them together, for him. For Rick.

She racks her mind for words of comfort. What does he say to her when she's falling apart?

"Take it easy, Kate. You've got this."

"Do you know why I chose you as my inspiration for Nikki Heat? …Because you're tall."

"I love you, Kate."

Her hand slides up the back of his neck, tangling in the hairs and quelling the movement in his body. She still quakes a bit as she leans even closer. Her lips brush his ear as she whispers,

"Come on, Castle. Wall or not, now or on our deathbeds, I need you. Until the last word. Always. I need you."

Slowly, Rick begins to breathe again. It's not surprising, merely reinforcing what they have always known. He needs her too.

I want to change the title. Any suggestions?

Next up: T for Tease