Oh please, say to me
You'll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You'll let me hold your hand.
Now let me hold your hand,
I wanna hold your hand.
I want to hold your hand
It happened every time they saved the world together. When she escaped death by mere seconds – or sometimes, by sheer, dumb luck – it always made her feel more alive afterwards, like she could do anything, take on the world with her bare hands. When those instances happened, they usually had a celebratory drink after work where they recounted to Ryan and Esposito just what exactly they had faced.
Except this time, they couldn't. More than that, this time, her partner's enthusiasm was a lot more subdued and Kate had been trying to rack her brain in order to find something that would cheer him up. She would do anything to see him smiling again. Not that she blamed him for being in a sad, thoughtful mood. After all, he had just been betrayed by someone he had trusted, nearly killed by that same person and then watched her die right before his eyes. Not to mention the little bombshell Sophia had dropped on him about his father.
Kate had always known that deep down Castle wondered about who his father was. Now that his former muse – and yes, she still thought of that with scorn and more than just a little bit of jealousy – had hinted that his father was someone who called the shots in the CIA, Kate was sure that his mind was running theories wildly, one more far-fetched and absurd than the other. And she understood that. If it had been her, it would be killing her not knowing who her father was. Hell, not knowing who had killed her mother had pretty much the same effect on her, even if the circumstances were vastly different.
So when she bumped his shoulder on the way to her desk, she had a plan. Nodding towards the bullpen for him to follow her, it broke her heart to see him try to keep a cheerful façade. After nearly four years, they should be past that, hiding from each other. But in the end, it was what they did best, wasn't it? Not talking, not revealing, not nothing. They had almost died together countless times already, but after all was said and done, nothing changed and they kept on this ridiculous stalemate.
And honestly, it was driving her crazy.
"Come on, Castle. I'll buy you a drink." She offered him a small smile when he helped her into her coat and pulled her hair out gently.
"Old Haunt?" He asked, but his usual spark was nowhere to be found and Kate felt her chest tighten in sorrow for her partner. She couldn't even imagine what he was feeling at that moment.
"Sure, wherever you want." She said and the innuendo or leer she had been waiting for never happened. He just nodded and touched the small of her back for a brief second to lead her to the elevator.
When they were finally alone, riding down to the first floor, Kate slipped her hand in his, gave it a comforting squeeze. He had been staring at nothing, but startled when he felt her touch and looked at her surprised.
"Hang in there, partner." She said softly, and the first genuine smile since the betrayal made an appearance on his features. She opened her mouth to speak, but he squeezed her hand back and let out a breath, his shoulders releasing a little of the tension they had been coiled into all day. Then she closed her mouth and gave him that shy, closed-lip smile, knowing he had gotten her message loud and clear.
I'm here for you.
The following week they caught the fairytale case. It had all seemed entirely too crazy for Kate at first, but Castle had been so enthusiastic about it, that she even indulged in his crazy theories. He had had been moping for a few days after the linchpin fiasco, but when they were called to the Little Red Riding Hood victim crime scene, his usual joy and excitement were nearly back to normal, much to Kate's relief.
When Martha called her earlier that week and invited her to her one woman show, Kate had immediately accepted, thinking that maybe this was something that could cheer him up. And the fact that she would be able to spend more time with him outside of the precinct didn't hurt either, if she was honest with herself. So that night, she dragged him to his loft to watch his mother's show, but she barely had time to have a glass of champagne when he was dragging her back out by the hand, saying they had arrested the wrong person.
After righting the situation and sending the real killer to jail, they returned to the loft for a special encore presentation. Martha was so excited (and Castle so embarrassed) that Kate didn't need much convincing to go back to his place to see it. When they got there, the star of the night offered them two glasses of champagne and they sat down together on his couch, a lot closer than two people who claim to be just friends would. For most of the show, Kate could feel his warmth close to her. Then Martha embarrassed him again, making her laugh, and she took his hand in a supporting gesture, not even thinking much about it. Only when their hands touched, she was immediately hyper aware of the fact that he hadn't moved. She had felt him stiffen when she had first touched him, but after half a minute (that felt more like twelve hours) he turned his wrist, touching her palm with his.
Five minutes passed and they still hadn't moved from that position, except for the fact that she had leaned back on the couch and was kind of leaning against him too. Then, suddenly he moved, but it was only to fill the spaces between her fingers with his own.
They stayed like this, hands clasped, until the end of the show.
Castle calling her name was the first thing she was aware of when she came to. Her head hurt and she was sure she would have a giant bump on the back of it very soon, if the insistent throbbing going on there was anything to go by. Opening her eyes slowly, she tried to focus on the blurry image above her, finally settling her gaze on a pair of very concerned blue eyes.
"Castle," she started, but stopped with a grimace when her headache kicked up a notch.
"Easy, Kate." He soothed her and she felt his gentle touch on her cheek. "Try not to move."
"Ambulance is on the way." She heard Esposito's voice and turned slowly to see the Hispanic detective. "Hang in there, Beckett."
"What happened?" She croaked out, grimacing again when her body became aware of another point of pain. "My ankle…"
"It looks like a sprain, Kate." Castle's soothing voice answered, his hand brushing her hair back behind her ear in the most gentle of touches. "Jackson tackled you. It was a pretty bad fall you took."
"Where is he? Did you get him?" She whispered, finding that if she didn't strain to speak out loud her headache wouldn't get worse.
"Ryan has him in cuffs already. We're just waiting on the ambulance to take you to the hospital and get you checked out." He explained and she started to nod, but stopped when the intensity of the pain made her stomach roll. "Just hang in there, okay?" His hand found hers and she gave it a squeeze, threading her fingers through his. It didn't even feel awkward anymore, holding hands.
"Guys, the paramedics are here." Ryan announced and soon they were crowded by them, which made Kate feel slightly claustrophobic.
They asked questions and she struggled to answer, her head throbbing with an intensity that made her want to pass out again so she wouldn't have to feel it. Her ankle didn't hurt much as long as she stayed absolutely still, but that didn't last long. When they rolled her into the board and then onto the gurney, she cried out when her sprain was jostled in the process. They loaded her into the van and she heard one of the paramedics asking who was riding with her.
"Castle," she struggled to say out loud, but he heard it all the same and was by her side in no time. "Come with me?" she asked timidly, feeling stupid and weak for having to ask for help, for someone to be there with her and hold her hand in the ambulance ride to the hospital.
"Of course, Kate." He took her hand, settling on the uncomfortable seat next to the young paramedic. Lifting it up to his lips, he pressed a gentle kiss on her skin. "I'm not leaving you."
On the morning of April 1st, Castle was awoken from a deep slumber because of his phone. With a groan, he rolled onto his stomach, reaching out his hand in search of the offending device. When he finally found it, he answered it and pulled the covers over his head again. It was entirely too early to be up. Especially on his birthday.
"What?" He grumbled, being rewarded with a soft laugh.
"Good morning to you too, Castle. We got a fresh one. You in?" She invited, her voice already making him wake up a little more fully.
"Tell me it's a good one." He whined, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "It's still dark out."
"You know how murderers are. Always out to keep us from sleeping decent hours." She teased with a chuckle as he sat up in bed, pushing the covers away. "You don't have to come, you know." She added, her tone softer now.
"No, no. I'm in. I want to see you." He countered quickly and heard her quiet gasp in surprise. They hadn't seen each other in about a week – he had been busy finalizing his book – and he missed her. "Kate?" He called quietly when she didn't answer for a moment.
"Yeah, uh… Think you'll be ready to go in twenty?" She replied, fumbling a little with her words.
"Yeah, absolutely. I'll have your coffee ready too." He said with a grin and was relieved when she laughed quietly.
"Alright, I'll see you soon." She said with a laughing tone. Just when he was about to hang up, he heard her voice again. "And, Castle?"
"I miss you too."
The click of her disconnecting the call was almost deafening after her admission. He stayed in bed for a moment longer, grinning like a fool as he stared stupidly at his phone. Then he jumped into action, pulling his clothes on and rushing to the kitchen to put a pot of coffee on while he brushed his teeth and tried to put his hair into some sort of order.
Fifteen minutes later, he was waiting for her in front of his building, two coffee cups in hand. She pulled over and he got in the car, handing her the cup with her name on it. He had them custom made and hers said kickass detective all around the brown surface. She took it, her fingers brushing against his, and took an appreciative sip of the scalding liquid.
Smiling, she reached out and took his hand in hers for a moment, tugging on it so he would come closer.
"Happy birthday, Rick." She said softly, before kissing his cheek gently.
He entwined their fingers and brought her hand to his lips.
It was Mother's Day and Kate found herself sleep deprived and exhausted on the break room couch at the precinct. They had been working since four in the morning and now it was closing in on 6pm. She was pissed off and feeling guilty for not going to see her mom and bring her flowers like she did every year. It was the first time in thirteen years that she didn't go to the cemetery on Mother's Day and it just felt wrong.
After staring at the murder board for the better part of an hour without coming to any breaking conclusions that might lead to the end of this godforsaken case, she had decided that a cup of coffee was in order. Castle had run home for a couple of hours after she had pretty much kicked him out to go have lunch with Martha, so Kate was even more irritable because he wasn't around. She had a tendency to be in a foul mood in his absence these days, as Ryan and Esposito had conveniently pointed out to her earlier today, which just pissed her off even more.
Today was just not a good day.
She felt the couch dip next to her and felt his warmth pressing against her side. It seemed that they had absolutely no notion of personal boundaries lately.
"Hey." She replied softly, taking a sip of her cappuccino. "I thought you were only coming back tomorrow." She turned her head to look at him and found him smiling.
"Mother had a date, apparently." He nudged her shoulder affectionately and she grinned, shaking her head. Allowing herself to relax, she leaned against his side and closed her eyes. "Tired?"
She yawned and rested her head on his shoulder. He reached out and took the empty mug from her hands, leaving it on the nearby table. When he leaned back against the couch, Kate smiled when he took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together as it had become their habit lately. She sighed, brushing her thumb gently over his skin.
This was nice. It was comfortable.
But she wanted more. She was ready for more.
"Hey, Castle?" She called quietly, lifting her head from his shoulder to look at him. He turned to her with an inquisitive look in his eyes. She took a deep, fortifying breath and leaned in, touching his lips with hers in an almost timid kiss. He stiffened in surprise for a brief moment, but soon responded, his hand cradling her cheek as his lips moved over hers. When they broke apart, he looked at her curiously. She smiled, brushing his lips with hers again for a second. "Thank you for coming back." She said softly and sighed when he kissed her again.
"Always, Kate. Always."