A/N Happy Birthday, Tadpole24! You are lovely. And yes, it's alright to love and write for more than one show. Thank you for friendship, your kindness and sharing a love of music. . .

Thanks Book_Junkie for the beta!

Disclaimer - Nothing.

I stare into the glass
Wait for the time to pass
And I thank you for the offer
But you know I must decline

As hope and promise fade
And the sun forgets to rise
I'm lonely and I'm thirsty
But it's better I stay dry

As Hope and Promise Fade – Chris Cornell

Questions are simple. Answers, of course, vary. There are those who answer questions the minute they are asked without actually thinking thoroughly about it. There are those who answer vaguely for the satisfaction of avoiding all further discussion. There are those who answer with another question. And then there are those who answer a question, knowing almost immediately it's wrong. They spend their time trapped inside the words of the question, analyzing and over thinking. How was it asked? What words were accentuated? Did the questioner ask because the answer was an almost guaranteed negative? For them, this analysis is a safety mechanism. Protection. From what? Life, love, happiness? What about growth, stability? Realization that change is coming? All this propels from a question.

There has got be someone for everyone in this world of ours, right? Books, movies, songs capitalize most on love. All the tenets of love; like, lust, even hate. Some people are lucky to find their person early on in life. They spend their days marveling at their story, growing up together, traveling, raising a family. Other people lose the one they love and they grieve for the rest of their lives because no one will ever measure. A select few have it all, but that's not enough, they need more so they stray because they feel chained, bound to the life they think they should have, leaving all parties involved miserably. Even sadder are those who don't know what love is, they substitute what they know and call it love. Why does this happen? Because people don't ask questions if they are afraid of the answer.

A truly classic love story is always full of unrequited love, heartbreaking moments, ill-conceived ploys, other people, and ending of happiness, most of the time.

I remember everything. . .

. . . the first summer break we had, he asked me to go the Hamptons. Immediately, I laughed and said no. But right after, I answered I wanted to say yes. I really did. But my brain said, NO. What about Tom? I had plans with him. He was my boyfriend at the time. I broke up with him on Castle's last day. I told him I really liked him. I didn't lie. He asked me a question and I didn't answer, I just stared off. That's still an answer.

I remember we had a going away party. I grabbed a beer and made a decision. I was going to tell him. It was my chance. Except we were interrupted by his ex. He decided to bring her instead, she still was his manager. He needed to finish the book he was sidetracked on. And he took her because she answered yes. He supposed to be gone a weekend. Instead, he was gone for three months. He didn't call. He didn't write. He was gone. With her. Because she knew the answer.

"What else do you remember?"

. . . the second summer, I spent in a cabin. I needed a break. A break from what? Work, play, Castle. I stared at my scar all the time. My fingers gravitated towards it. It changed me. It changed us. All this for an investigation about my mother, dirty cops and whatever the hell else they wanted. I tried not to replay Castle saying, 'I love you.' and tackling me to the ground.

The crickets distracted me. I couldn't escape them either. They were another just another nuance added to all the thoughts ballet dancing around in my head. What's funny is that I have the answers now. Not all them. But the important ones.

I thought about my mother, a lot – I laugh because she would've liked Rick. She would have said, "Katie, what are you waiting for? Is he worth it? If you already know the answers. Do something about it. You shouldn't be afraid." I think about all the lost conversation we never got to have. I've held on to what little I've had of her for so long. It's why I became a cop. For justice, for truth, for answers. What am I without it? I feel lost. I feel bare. I feel trapped. But with him, he sees past that. He sees me.

When is anyone ever really ready?

All relationships; family, friendships, lovers, partners - have learning curves. (Some steeper than others) Some are built on a foundation of trust, respect, and work ethic. Some from experience. Other are bore from a mutual understanding.

He doesn't know.

"Know what?"

That I heard him. I carry it around with me everyday. Like a secret. I don't know why but I can't bring myself to tell him.

"But you feel the same way?"

I know.

"Sometimes, you have to let the things go that bind you."

I don't know who I am without it.

"What are you without him?"

But she's my mother, I can't just say good-bye. She's my reason I do this.

"You don't have to give up on your mother. Take the memories and make the most of those . . . What are you without him, better or worse?"

Better. With him.

"Then what are you waiting for?"

Hope is the anticipation that love will find a way. Hope is being ready at the same time. Hope having the courage to speak up. Hope is freeing oneself of the burdens and demons of the past. Hope is burning bright, waiting.

Promise is the declaration that hope will come. Someday.