If You're Lucky Enough Chapter 8

Disclaimer: I am proud to not own Castle because Andrew got my babies together! *still dying from "Always"*

Author's Note: So sorry this took forever! More sorry that this is not the chapter many of you were expecting. I tried, but Castle and Beckett wouldn't listen. This is the way they want their story and I have to listen to them! As a result, I'm writing a sequel about the aftermath of this story. Thank you so much for being awesome and supportive readers! I love you all!

"Can I call for food? Hospital jello up to your standards, detective?" He smiled.

"Yeah. Sounds perfect." She replied.

"You called, Mr. Castle?" A nurse poked her head in through the door.

"Yes. Um, my partner and I haven't eaten in, well, 24 hours, would it be possible to get a snack?" Castle asked.

"Yes of course. I'll be back in a few moments."

Castle turned his attention back to Kate, immensely unhappy that he'd had to break away to talk to his nurse.

"So…" He started.

"So." She sighed.

Damn, and they'd been doing so well…

"Have they told you how long you're going to be here?" Kate asked. Good job. Safe question. Castle's face fell slightly at Kate's obvious dash away from the conversation he wanted to have, but he understood.

"Um, I don't think they're sure yet." He replied. "The doctor said I didn't hit any vital organs, so they're not too worried. Mostly I just lost a lot of blood." He paused.

"But…" Kate encouraged, her concern growing.

"Well, technically that means I can go home in a couple of days," He paused again. "But it's really unlikely that I'll be able to look after myself…" He trailed off.

"And you think your family shouldn't have to take care of you?" Kate asked rhetorically.

"No, I just –"

"Castle." She said firmly. He silenced and waited for whatever chiding criticism was coming, but Kate just smiled. "How many times have you told me that I can't save the world without someone taking care of me every once in a while?" Castle sighed.

"Kate, I don't save the world."

Oh, if she could only find the words to tell him how wrong he was. She wished so desperately that she could just open her mouth and tell him that he's saved her world more times than she can count – more times than she can ever thank him for. It wasn't right though, not like this. This big of a confession deserved more than desperate tears while he was still in a morphine-induced fog, and suddenly she was feeling extremely happy that he didn't remember the shooting.

"Well, there was that one time with the car bomb." She teased, needing to lighten the air again.

To her delight, Castle cracked a small smile at the memory.

"Yeah, that was pretty awesome." His smile didn't last very long though. "It's not that I don't think they should have to take care of me, it's just," he paused, "I feel guilty taking up their time…"

"Castle, that's kind of the same thing." Kate replied. "And trust me, they'll be happy to help."

"Oh please, Kate, would you be happy to help?" He bit back in frustration not really thinking about what he'd inadvertently asked. Kate's eyes widened at his question. Maybe that was what she could do to show him how much she really cared?

"Yeah, I thought so." Castle sighed.

"What?" Kate asked.

"You didn't say anything. You just…I shouldn't have even said-"

"I'd love to." Kate said.

"What?" Castle asked in confusion. She'd love to what?

"To take care of you." She clarified. "I want to help you get better."

Castle was speechless. This was certainly not where he thought this conversation was heading.

"Kate, what are you talking about?" he asked, now slightly frustrated. Kate sat up straight. He needed to know that this wasn't a pity gesture.

"I want to be there for you, Rick." They both paused at her use of his given name, but he chose not to comment. "You don't want your mother to take care of you and you don't want Alexis to cancel her summer program plans, and, well, I was thinking, if you'd let me, that maybe I could stay with you?" Kate mentally kicked herself. She hadn't really wanted that last part to be a question. She really wanted him to know that she wanted this, whatever it was, just as much as he did.

"Um…well…" He semi-stuttered. Of course, with their timing, that was when the nurse chose to waltz back in with their food.

"Here you are Mr. Castle." The nurse said smilingly. "Just let me know if there's anything else…"

Kate's not-so-subtle cough combined with her infamous death glare sent the poor woman running.

"But you appear to be fine, so I'll just leave you alone now." The nurse rattled off before nearly running out of the room. Kate took a moment to smirk smugly at the woman's retreating figure before turning her apprehensive attention back to her partner.

"You were saying, Castle?" she asked shyly. Kate swiftly popped a handful of crackers into her mouth, effectively keeping Castle from asking her a follow-up question.

Castle stared back at her blankly. Between the morphine clouding his brain, the emotional turmoil of the past 48 hours, and the seemingly alien change in his partner's personality, he honestly didn't know what to say. Was she actually offering to stay with him? If she was, did she mean as a friend or as whatever they were slowly becoming? Was he imagining that she had feelings for him? Was she a pod person? Assuming all of that was irrelevant and she was telling the truth, was she only saying it because he'd been shot? Was she going to run again when he got better?

Dammit what was taking him so long? There was only so long that Kate could pretend that she still had crackers in her mouth…

"I want you to be with me." He blurted out.

What? Um. What? That was not what she was preparing for at all. Damned morphine…Lanie was right about the truth serum theory.

"Castle…what?" Kate stuttered. Castle paused at the panic in her eyes. Oh. OH! He hadn't meant it like that! Well, maybe he had a little, but that wasn't what he was implying.

"Kate, please stay with me." He paused. "I would really like it if you stayed to help out."

Kate bit her tongue to keep her massive sigh of relief out of earshot. He just wanted her to do what she offered. To stay with him and help him get better. Yes. Good. Better…in his loft…for an unknown amount of time…helping him do things he can't do on his own…like dress…and shower…and…why was this a good idea again?

"You've got a deal, Castle." She somehow managed to say without shaking. The fear was well worth it for the way his eyes lit up.

"Really? You mean it?" He asked, not bothering to hide his enthusiasm.

"Always." Said Kate.

She reached out and squeezed his hand. A huge part of her regretted not talking about the elephant in the room, but she knew she'd made the right choice. They'd spent so much time living in a land of innuendo and unfinished business and when they finally happened, Kate wanted there to be no doubts about either of their feelings. She needed him to be healthy and present for that conversation and that was never going to happen in a hospital. At least now, she had plenty of time to prove to him how ready she was for them. With a sigh, Kate dropped her head back down onto Castle's shoulder, ignoring the growling in her stomach for the still-untouched snacks. They could wait. Everything could wait. Nothing mattered except the feeling of being wrapped in Richard Castle's arms.

Outside the room, a small band of friends smiled and wiped tears from their eyes.

"Finally." Martha whispered.

WOOO! This is the first multi-chap I've ever finished and I can't tell you guys how much you made it happen. I love the Castle community! Drop me a line.