A/N: This came out of sheer boredom. Emma (FanficwriterGHC) suggested a plot. This is what happened.
Disclaimer: Castle is not mine
Coming to Blows
"Castle, get in here." She hissed, stumbling upon an open door.
She had no idea where it led to, but they needed to get away, regroup and call for back up. She only had three more bullets on her, she counted mentally, and God only knew how many of them were out here chasing them. The vest she was wearing was stifling and, even though they were in the dead of New York winter, she felt a droplet of sweat rolling down her back as adrenaline coursed through her veins.
Shoving Castle in the room by tugging on his sleeve, she got in right after him and closed the door as quietly as she could. Her breaths coming out in gasps sounded incredibly loud to her ears as she tried to calm down her racing heart. Her bullet wound still ached whenever she exerted herself too much and now – after running for a good half hour dodging bullets – it was throbbing painfully.
"You okay?" she whispered, looking at Castle trying to catch his breath, hands on his knees. He nodded, but didn't say anything, probably still winded from the chase. "What the hell happened out there? I mean…" She sucked in a deep breath, her hand flitting over the scar in her chest as it continued to throb. "We need to call for back up."
Castle nodded and stood up straighter, taking his cell phone out of his pocket. He frowned, when the screen illuminated his face and then put it up over his head. Kate did the same with hers, but no bars showed up on her screen.
"Damn it." She cursed under her breath, making him look at her.
"No signal?" He asked and she shook her head, leaning against the wall.
Now that the light on her phone was on, she could see more of the room they had stumbled into. It was small. Very small. Cupboard like and the door closed, the small room and her stifling vest were making her feel slightly claustrophobic.
"We have to get out of here, get out of this warehouse and get help." She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, the pain in her chest still bothering her. It had dulled somewhat, but it was still distracting as she ran her hand over it again.
"You okay?" She heard him ask and opened her eyes, only to find him a lot closer than he had been thirty seconds before.
"Yeah, just…" Her hand pressed against the incision site on her side.
"Hurts?" he completed for her and she nodded, not seeing the point of wasting her breath with a lie. He would have seen right through her. He always did.
"Yeah." She let out a breath and closed her eyes. When she opened them again a few seconds later, she saw a red stain on his light blue sleeve. "Castle, you're bleeding." She said, reaching out to touch his arm.
"What?" he looked confused for a moment, but his eyes widened when he followed her gaze and saw the growing stain on his sleeve. "Oh, shit. I… I didn't even feel it." He said, looking at the wound in a daze.
"We have to get out of here now." She decided and pushed herself off the wall and took the two steps that separated her from the door. Pressing her ear against it, she listened for any sign of their pursuers. "I think they're gone." She turned back to him taking out his vest. "What are you doing?" she hissed at him.
"I have to see the damage. Oh, man, now it hurts like hell." He moaned when he tried to move his arm.
"No, don't move your arm. Keep the vest on. We'll get you to the hospital soon." Her eyes softened at his pained look and she reached out and took his hand in hers, giving it a light squeeze. "Hang in there, partner." She offered him a comforting smile and he nodded, smiling weakly at her.
She tried to turn the doorknob, but it didn't move. She tried again. Nothing. Taking a deep breath, she refused to let the panic take over her. She just had to find a way to open the door, they were going to be fine. Castle and his bleeding arm were going to be just fine because she would open that door any second now, she thought to herself, trying to turn the doorknob once again. Didn't even budge.
"What is it? Kate?" She heard his voice and the dread started to seep into her bones. They were trapped in a cupboard with not nearly enough bullets with people just outside gunning for them. Oh, yeah, and Castle was bleeding. Jesus, how the hell had they gotten into this mess again?
"It won't open. The door. It's…" She swallowed and closed her eyes, before turning around to face him. "It's locked somehow and I can't get it open." She brought her hands to her eyes, taking a deep breath. She had to calm down if she was going to get them out of this. She needed to calm down and think. "Let me take a look at your arm."
"Do you want me to try opening the door? Let me try." He offered, but she shook her head suddenly, her hand flying to his mouth, her eyes begging him to be quiet. She could hear footsteps outside.
They stood as still has possible, trying to keep their breathing under control. Kate felt her heart racing and she was sure she could hear her heartbeats echoing in the room. After a tense couple of minutes, she eased her hand away from his lips, taking a cautious step to the door to press her ear against it.
Breathing out a sigh of relief that they were safe for now, she turned back to him.
"Let me see." She said and started to help him take his vest off. "Sorry, sorry." She murmured when she heard him gasp as she moved it over his head. "Okay there?" He nodded, grimacing. "Alright, let's take a look." She unbuttoned his shirt (and part of her couldn't help but muse that this was vastly different from the scenario she had fantasized about when taking his clothes off for the first time) and carefully slid the side of his injured arm off.
"How bad is it?" He asked and she could hear the dread in his voice. He was genuinely scared.
Bracing herself, she forced her eyes to focus on the wound, poorly lit by her phone. There was a deep gash on his bicep, with blood slowly trickling down his arm. It seemed to be starting to coagulate, but she wouldn't take any chances. Taking off her own vest for a minute, she got rid of her hoodie and took off the t-shirt she was wearing, before throwing her hoodie back on. Thank God for middle of the night hunches that drove her out of bed and into the first set of clothes she had gotten her hands on. Folding her shirt neatly, she wrapped it around his arm to stop the bleeding.
"Looks like a bullet just grazed you. Thank God." She added quietly and helped him into his shirt again, buttoning it up for him. Looking at his somewhat ashen face, her eyes softened, her hand reaching out to touch his cheek out of their own accord. "Hey, you're going to be okay. A few stitches and you'll be as good as new."
"Yeah, I'm just…" He took a deep breath and sat down on the dirty floor. Kate followed him, her side touching his uninjured one. "I guess I'm just not good with pain." He let out a chuckle and she touched his hand, wrapping her fingers around his.
"Then let's get your mind off of it." She offered and he nodded, leaning his head back against the wall. He turned his palm up and she hesitated for a second before threading her fingers through his. This was just comforting a friend, right? Sure, it was a friend she was in love with, but a friend nonetheless. And friends comforted each other when they were in pain, didn't they? "We have to find a way to get out of here."
"Yup, that would be great. My bleeding arm would immensely appreciate it." He quipped and she rolled her eyes at him. She could see the small smile forming on his lips, though, his features sharpened by the phone light, and congratulated herself for that small accomplishment.
"What I don't understand is how they knew we would be here. And there were a lot more of them than I expected."
They had been following a lead on a murder that had the same MO that had killed her mother. As much as she had been doing some digging of her own on that front, she had kept the similarities of both cases to herself. After all, Dick Coonan was dead and this could all just be one huge coincidence. But then again, she didn't believe in coincidences.
She started going over the timeline, whispering to herself everything she could remember from the murder board back at the precinct. When she realized he was too quiet, she turned to look at him again. His eyes were closed and his jaw quivered with the strength he was gritting his teeth with.
"It's my fault." He whispered, eyes still closed. Kate frowned, confused.
"What are you talking about?" she asked, squeezing his hand.
"This. Everything. Nothing would've happened if I hadn't stuck my nose where it didn't belong." He whispered and she shook her head, still not following why he was bringing this up now.
"Castle, come on, you know that's not true. Sure, I was upset back then, but if it hadn't been for you, we wouldn't have come this far. Look how much we know now." He opened his eyes and met her gaze.
"No, Kate. You don't get it. This is my fault. Right now, us stuck here. That's my fault because I ignored their threats and kept digging and I should've known better. I thought that if you didn't know, then you'd be safe. I never thought they'd come after me, which is just stupid now that I think about it." He kept rambling on and Kate's frown deepened, unwilling to believe that he was saying what she thought he was saying.
"Wait, wait. Rewind. What exactly are you talking about here, Castle? Because if it is what I think it is, I…" her voice caught in her throat, her brain refusing to let her say out loud her suspicions. Because if it were true, it was entirely too painful and she just couldn't deal with this right now.
"I told you months ago that you should give it some time. That we would find them, but you should give yourself some time to heal first. Remember?" he whispered, his eyes focusing on their clasped hands resting on her lap.
"Yeah." She answered quietly and waited for him to continue.
"I'd gotten a call from a friend of Captain Montgomery's. Apparently Roy had sent him some files that could incriminate some very powerful people if they ever got out. Those files were the insurance to keep his family safe. And to keep you safe, Kate." He ventured a look in her direction and she was sure she was just staring at him, mouth open in shock. Swallowing hard, he kept talking. "But the only way it'd keep you safe was if you stopped looking into your mother's murder. So I asked you to give it some time. But I never stopped. I kept digging. I needed to help you put this thing to rest once and for all." He sighed heavily and shook his head. "The deal was that you couldn't look into it. Nothing was stopping me from doing some investigating of my own."
"How about the fact that you were risking your life? Jesus, Castle, what the hell were you thinking?" her voice carried the disappointment and betrayal she felt, even as quiet as it had come out. "I can't believe you kept this from me."
"I couldn't risk losing you again, Kate. I..." His voice caught and he gritted his teeth for a moment, taking a deep breath. "You have no idea what it felt like to see you slip away. To see your lights go out right there in my arms and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. I had no choice. He said that if you didn't stop, they were going to kill you. I couldn't let that happen. I can't. I won't." He whispered fiercely, but she just shook her head.
"If you love me, then why the hell would you keep this from me? Why the hell would you do this to me, Castle? You know much it means to me. I can't believe you would…" She froze, the words that had just stumbled out of her mouth sinking into her brain. She looked up at him and he stared back at her, eyes wide in shock.
"What did you just say?" he breathed, holding onto her hand tighter when she tried to put some distance between them. She opened and closed her mouth, the words refusing to come out. "How do you… what? He gaped at her like a fish, looking like someone had just punched the air out of his lungs.
"We'll talk about that later." She said in a small voice, looking away. "What do you know? About my mom's case." She tried to get back to the subject at hand, but he wouldn't budge.
"No, we'll talk about this now. How do you know? Who told you?" He pleaded with her and she swallowed hard, a myriad of emotions running through her at once. "You said you didn't remember." He whispered when she still didn't say anything. Her heart was doing summersaults in her chest and she was sure part of it was due to the fact that he really did love her. He didn't even try to deny it.
"I lied." She said finally and closed her eyes, facing away from him. He touched her chin and made her meet his gaze. "I just couldn't… not then, it was too much. I couldn't deal with what it all meant for you and me and…"
"And then you disappeared for three months. You knew how I felt all this time and you still fell off the face of the Earth for three months." His whisper was fierce and she felt like she had just been slapped in the face. "You should've talked to me. I would've understood, Kate. I would've given as much time as you needed. All I wanted was to be with you then. I had almost lost you. Why would you put me through something like this if you knew everything?"
"I needed time." Her voice shook and she bit on her bottom lip hard, trying to keep the tears that had suddenly welled up in her eyes at bay. "I didn't know what to do back then."
"You've had six months now." His voice was bordering on cold.
"I know." She murmured and closed her eyes again. She couldn't face him, not when he looked so angry at her. "I'm sorry. I just… I needed to figure some stuff out. I didn't want to do anything until I was sure about this."
"About what? Us?" He asked and squeezed her hand again, his thumb caressing her skin.
"Yes." She breathed out and felt a tear slip out of the corner of her eye. She brushed it away quickly.
"Are you sure now?"
"Yes." She breathed again, biting her lip. He was quiet for a moment and she was sure she had blown it and that their friendship was ruined and that he had betrayed her and risked his life for her and that he loved her and-
And then her thought process came to a sudden halt because his lips were on hers and she was responding and it was so gentle and tender and sweet and full of love that her heart ached with the overwhelming emotion pouring from it.
"I love you." He whispered against her lips and rested his forehead on hers. She kept her eyes closed, breathing with him.
"I love you too." She finally admitted and felt the arm around her waist pull her closer. When had he even hugged her, she thought dazedly. "But that doesn't mean I'm not still mad at you. I can't believe you kept this from me, Castle."
"I can't lose you. Not again." He pressed his lips against hers again and she allowed herself to get lost in it for a moment, especially when his tongue came out to play with hers.
"We'll be careful. I won't do anything reckless." Her hand had come to rest on his neck and she played with the hairs on the back of it. "But I need to know."
"NYPD! Open the door right now!" They heard Esposito's voice and Kate felt relief inundating her system.
"We're locked in here." She called out. "Is the building secure?"
"Yeah, no one's here. Castle with you?" Ryan asked and she looked at him, her thumb touching his lips. He pressed a kiss to her skin, making her smile briefly.
"Yeah, but he's hurt. Call an ambulance. He needs to see a doctor." She said and they stood up slowly as Esposito kicked the door down.
"Hey, bro, what happened to you?"
"Bullet grazed my arm. Hurts like a bitch." He said through clenched teeth. The pain must have returned when they moved again.
"Ambulance is on the way. Come on you two, let's wait outside. You alright there, Castle?" Ryan piped in and he nodded shortly. Kate looped her arm through his uninjured one to support him. That and because she was not ready to end their connection yet.
As they walked out of the warehouse, she leaned in close to his ear.
"This is not over, Castle." She whispered and he looked at her. She hoped he understood what she meant.
"Not at all, Kate. Not at all." He offered her a smile as the lights of the ambulance flooded their surroundings.