I know, "another post 'Cops & Robber's fic" I hear you all say. But I think that episode was my favourite by far.

I mean Beckett's face when she stepped out of the bus after the explosion (I want to look that incredible when my heart stops). Secondly, the smile she gives Castle when she finds them and the little moment they have right there *lesigh*my friends, *lesigh* if only all the eps were filled with tender, heart-warming moments like these.

This is what I would have liked to have happened at the end somewhere of the episode somewhere.

Disclaimer: Unless Marlowe is a red headed nurse that has to work this afternoon... no?


-Pain in her chest-

She sat silently on his couch, too comfortable to move. Exhaustion had settled into her body, deeper than any scar as the night settled around her. Legs tucked beneath her, one arm resting on the back of the couch propping her head up; Kate's free hand held her wine glass. The rich, red wine swirling slowly as she lifted it to her lips and swallowed a small mouthful. It was almost easy too forget that only hours before she had pulled her partner from that hellish place, the place that had almost taken him from her. A shudder went through her; it was almost too easy to forget, but not quite.

She heard him on the stairs behind her, stepping back down into the lounge room.

Looking over her shoulder, the detective saw the frown on his face with a far away look before he sighed and smiled at her, eyes warm in the dimmed lighting.

"Is Alexis alright?" she asked gently, holding out his glass as he stepped towards the couch. Taking it with a nod the writer sunk down beside his muse, stretching his legs out in front of him.

"Not tonight she's not, but she will be tomorrow." She nodded her understanding before offering him something in the hopes of reassuring him.

"She was so brave Castle." She was braver than me. His eyes met hers with a warm smile.

"I know she was. I never thanked you for watching out for her." His voice was only slightly choked up at the thought of not being able to see his daughter again, but knowing she had been safe, with Kate, had made him stronger in that bank.

"No need for thanks Castle, I told you already." They shared another warm smile, both sipping at their wine silently as the night continued on. He spoke first, needing to talk through the day a little more, in the hopes that if he got it out of his head now, it wouldn't be there when he was asleep.

"I heard you on the phone, when he had the gun to my throat." He swallowed, remembering the cold press of steel against his pulse. Her voice, though muffled, was strong, full of sass and stubborn as all hell, and he had held onto that. "I wasn't scared; I knew that you would talk him away from the trigger."

"Castle, you couldn't know that. I have no skills in hostage negotiations, none at all."

"You sounded pretty good on the phone Kate, you sounded pissed off." She could hear the grin in his voice.

Dryly she answered. "Yeah, well, that asshole had a gun to my partner's throat. I didn't think I was supposed to be chipper about the whole thing."

The trembling of her hand gave her away, this inability to keep things from him now was new, and she was having to relearn ways to hide herself. His fingers slid to grip hers warmly, the way she had held his in the bank. Looking up from their fingers, she glanced at him sideways as she remembered the cold panic that had swamped her when Peterson ordered her to the phone. Castle's life had been in her hands before, but if she got it wrong, if she said the wrong thing –

His voice drew her away from the panic. "Beckett, all the hostages got out, you got them out." She wasn't meeting his eyes, instead, focusing on the stairs across the room. He could read her so well, she was an open book to him and he always knew what to say.

"I was terrified Castle."

"You didn't sound it." always, he had to have the last word.

"But I was." He nodded, eyes holding as he took her in. Hair tumbled over her shoulders; he could see the remnants of that fear in those wide brown eyes. Could imagine the way her hand would have brushed across her forehead when Peterson called her up. He could picture the way her eyes would have slanted, the stubbornness in her jaw as she called Trapper John a jackass and threatened him with a bullet. He knew she wasn't bluffing, and he knew she wouldn't hesitate to walk in and deliver that promise.

"I was in the bus when it happened." she started softly, interrupting his thoughts now, but he knew what she was referring to. "When the explosion went off –" she paused another moment, a shudder going through her at the instant replay. The detective shook her head, attempting to rid herself of the cold that suddenly filled her at the memory of today. With a soft laugh of indifference, she met his eyes once more, "God Castle, I'm going to have nightmares over this one."

She remembers dropping her phone, letting it fall from numb fingers as something sharp shot through her chest, boiling hot and ice cold at the same time. Esposito's voice, shouting up from where her phone had landed beside her feet. "Beckett? Beckett?"

Through the ringing of her ears she had only heard his voice though, desperate, a memory she pretended she didn't have. 'I love you, Kate'. One moment he had been alive and then he was dead. That's what she had thought when the bus rocked her forward. The pain that shot through her was not unfamiliar, exactly the same as the agony that had ripped her apart only months ago. This had hurt more though, stepping off the bus and down into hell as the smoke cleared, god this hurt worse than she could ever imagine – his hand on her knee pulled her from the morbid thoughts that had been plaguing her all day and she met his eyes with a weak smile.

"Is that what it felt like when I was laying on the grass Castle?" the question caught him so off guard that he felt his heart stop a moment before picking itself back up off the floor. "Did it feel as though your life had been torn away?" her eyes were wide, curious almost as she waited for his answer.

He had to clear his throat first. "Yes." She nodded then, looking away for a second.

"It's not a nice feeling." It was my mother's death all over again.

"No." He wasn't sure where she was going with this, wasn't sure he wanted to know.

"I think my heart stopped Castle; I'm sure I felt it, the second that bomb went off I was sure that I had lost my partner." The pain had shot through her again, when he had finally called out to her. It had been a good pain though, relief at the sight of him, waving at her from behind bars, too far away from her. She would be lying if she said that her knees hadn't almost given out at the sound of his voice.

"The best partner you've ever had." He lightened the room, lifted the tension with this words and bringing her away from the day. Their eyes met and held, the same way they had when she had tugged on his lapel, searching for answers to questions she didn't know.

"Hell of a day."

With a grin she replied, "Hell of a day." And just like that, the tension was gone and they were back, Beckett and Castle. Partners. With a sigh he sunk deeper into the cushions her, closing his eyes for a moment as his head fell back.

She's not entirely sure why she did it, insanity maybe, or too much wine, but her hand slipped from beneath her head to gently run fingers through his hair. "You're tired."

"Well it's not every day that I solve a murder and become a vital part of a hostage situation." There was a smile playing at his lips, urging her to retaliate, but she bit her tongue. She would let him have this moment of victory.

"You're staring at me." He murmured, opening on eye to watch her. She was staring. And she mirrored his words from all those months ago.

"I never thought I would see you again." He flinched at her words, that memory to painful for him at this moment.

She let her hand drop from his head, and into her lap, knowing she had said the wrong thing. "I should go, let you rest." Kate put her glass on the table and went to stand as the word 'coward' came to mind.

"No." His hand gripped her wrist suddenly; eyes now open as he held her to the couch. Dropping her eyes to his fingers as memories of all of those moments came rushing back. The shooting, the hospital, the park. Her mind was swarming with questions, thoughts and emotions, all of them leaving her breathless as she struggled to keep up.

"Castle." It was barely a whisper, but he leant forward, pressing in on her for a moment before dropping her arm. The room suddenly got warmer, uncomfortably so, she was flailing; terrified suddenly as his voice swept through her with that ache once more 'I love you, Kate'.

"Stay, please, for me." A moment's hesitation, a second moment more of fear as everything threatened to drown her before she met his eyes and it all went silent. Calm. She could see it there in his face, the same thing she saw every day but chose to ignore it. He loved her, would die for her, so what was there to be scared of? She sunk back into the couch, and before she could stop herself the words were out of her mouth.

"I remember the shooting Castle. I remember everything."

"Kate." The defeat in his voice, the instant hurt in his eyes cut sharper than glass and she bit down into her bottom lip. "You heard me?" he didn't have to ask, and he said it with something that sounded much like relief.

She couldn't speak, only nod. 'I love you, Kate'.

"You were scared. That's why you left." Again, his ability to understand her matched none others.

"I did need time, I was terrified, Castle, but I pushed you away for nothing." His eyes fix on hers suddenly, confused.

"The wall Kate-" there was hesitation in his voice, too scared to hope for anything.

"It's still there." She watched him sink further into the couch at that; she saw the hope in his eyes leave his body. Lifting a hand once more, she moved to grip his forearm, fingers stroking, making him look back into her face.

"But you built a damn door months ago, Rick. I just locked it." He went to say something, but if she stopped talking now, the detective would never have the strength, or the fear from the day, to back her up. Instead, Kate presses a finger to his lips before continuing.

"I couldn't be the person I wanted to be then." The look he gives her now is scared, it is asking her 'and what about now? Can you be the person you want to be now?'

"I was trying to let you go Castle. It hurt then-" she took another breath and with another weak laugh looked up at the ceiling before admitting it to not just her partner, but herself as well. "It still hurts now."

She felt him shift, heard him place his glass on the table before he spoke. "What hurts Kate?" his hand was warm on her knee suddenly and she could feel the heat of his gaze. 'I love you, Kate'.

"It hurts that I don't know how to let you go." She was frowning, attempting to say the right thing to make him understand. Words were his thing, not hers, "It hurts that you can give me so much strength, and yet, at the same time, be my only weakness." Looking out of the corner of her eye, the detective tried to read his expression, she wished she couldn't.

It was hurting him too; she was hurting him, so plain on his face. The expectant look of concern was afraid, afraid to hope, afraid that he may be loosing her all over again. She wanted him to understand, just how much she was scared of ruining this, ruining them.

"It hurts that I don't know how to be close to you, but at the same time-" she takes a breath "-I just can't get close enough." And as she said it she moves forward, sliding up to his side so that his shoulder was pressed into her chest, face inches from his as she leant into his warmth.

"I don't want to feel like this anymore Castle. I don't want to be afraid of us."

Leaning into her, the writer presses his forehead to hers. He turns to face her now, his own knee drawn up and pressed to hers as he pressed a hand to the small of her back, the other that was caressing her cheek sliding to stroke the top of her spine.

"Then don't." He holds his breath as he let his lips ghost over her own soft mouth, her sudden, choked breath warm against his face. He feels her entire body shudder against his at the sudden closeness before he breathes out the words.

Things were becoming clearer suddenly, the way his mouth pressed against hers for less than a heartbeat made everything so much easier to see. Her chest didn't hurt any more; the ache that had tortured her nights wasn't burning painfully, but instead, it moved lower, settling down deep as she brushed her lips against his now. Pulling away, the writer held her with his eyes, a smile tugging at his lips.

"I wish I could show you Kate," His knuckles brushed down her jaw line before he continued, "When you are scared or you're hurting, the astonishing light of your own being."

His words burn through her, so good, a deep flame that alights her entire body as his hands warm, so warm. Her hands are suddenly against him, one tangled in his hair, the other fisting his shirt at his chest.

"Show me Castle. I want you to show me. Because, god, you make it so hard for me to hold back sometimes." Lips barely against hers once more, breathing her in, he can taste her. Vanilla, cherries, and fresh air. That's what she tastes like.

"I don't want you to hold back Kate. Not with me."

"You were never supposed to mean this much to me." That hot sweetness swept through her, coiling in the pit of her belly as his hands suddenly tensed and brought her closer at her words, pressing into her until she was sure that they were fused to her now. "But you do. You are everything to me."

Tears are stinging behind her closed lids, threatening to spill as she finally admits it to him, to herself. His hands are on her neck now, breaths turning more into gasps as he struggles to hold onto this moment. He moves his lips to trace a line along her jaw, up to her ear and to suck the soft lobe between his lips. This causes the spark to ignite into a flame and her body responds almost violently, hips rocking forward to press him back a fraction, her hot breath washing over him as he murmurs against her ear.

"Say it Kate. For me."

And she does, without fear, moving to hold his face between her palms, eyes finding the clearest blue."I love you Richard. It's always been you." A glorious shiver runs all the way down his back and settles into the base of his spine with her words. Her lips ghosted over his once more, teasing. "God Castle, I love you so much. Don't ever let me walk away from you again." He groans out her name before finally crashing her lips to his, tasting her fully as he pulls her into him.

Her taste rolls over his tongue, sweeter than any wine as it invades every corner of his body. That hot sweetness rolls through her once more, taking away every coherent thought as his tongue slips against hers. It wasn't slow, and it wasn't a burning warmth that ignited somewhere in her toes and rolled through her like a rippling wave, it was an all consuming fire that tore through them completely, leaving them breathless and pulling away to suck in air between teeth.

His mouth moves to her jaw, his breath hot as her murmurs to her now. "I love you, Kate." The exact same words, the words she had been so terrified of. Her hands were in his hair again, body reacting to his words so fast it left her reeling.

"Say it again, Castle." he smiles against her lips, grabbing her suddenly around the waist and pulling her onto him, until she was straddling him, knees pressed into his sides.

"I love you, Kate." Her body reacts once more to those words and she rocks her centre against his warmth, breath leaving her body as he stands suddenly, hands gripping her tightly to keep her against him. He is still grinning as he walks them through his study.

She can't stop her own smile as she leans down to press her lips to his once more. "God, say it again." And he does, over and over again, until she feels those words, feels his love running deeper than any scar.

"I love you, Kate."

Fin.


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