As he/she did for several people, a lovely Tumblr Anon left the first bit of this in my Ask. Thanks Tumblr Anon, for including me in this. It was a lot of fun.:) I wrote this in one night which is insanely fast for me, so I hope I've done justice to your lovely words.
Spoilers for the promo for 47 seconds (but not the sneaks - I haven't seen them)
When the precinct quiets and there's only her, him, and a desk edge between them, she levels him with a look.
At first he must think it's one of disapproval, but the longer she stares the better he'll understand that she's only grateful he's here; only appreciates the ways his eyes shine and his lips curl on the backdrop of his too lined face.
Only wants her turn to study him, smiling and sitting there so patiently, with his hand draped along the edge, waiting for her to be ready for them.
12 hours earlier…
The day starts badly.
Kate is jerked out of sleep by a body drop at 5:35 am, two hours after she finally fell into a fitful sleep, too keyed up, too angry to really relax. Her mind is in hyper drive, going over and over what happened, what she said to him. What he said to her.
The awful ache in her stomach, the gnawing pit of fear that threatens to swallow her whole, isn't helping either.
He heard her. He knows.
She blurted it out to a suspect with no thought, no warning. If she had been trying to think of the worst possible way for Castle to find out she heard him that awful day, that she's known he loved her all this time, that would have been it.
So instead of trying to explain like a normal person she completely lost it. There was still time to fix it, then. She should have just told him that she could only deal with one threat to her life at a time. That if she had admitted to hearing him she would have messed it up, driven him away, destroyed any chance they had, and she just couldn't bear that.
But no. Instead of just telling him that she had lied because she loved him too, she had gone on the defensive.
"I'm sorry, Castle, but how was I supposed to deal with your feelings while I was dying?" Kate tried not to notice how all color washed from his face; tried not know that he was remembering it, the terror that he had lost her. Tried not to think how she would have felt if he were the one flat lining in an ambulance while she stood by helpless, her entire life dissolving before her eyes.
He is quiet, contained, and so desperately hurt and furious that it terrifies her, because she wasn't expecting this, isn't ready to have this conversation, and she is doing it all wrong.
"I know you were dying." His voice falters, and he pauses, swallows. "You think I don't know that? I still dream about it. Not as much as I used to, but still, about once a week. I wake up sick, wanting to throw up."
His anger surrounds him like cold steel. He laughs, a hard sound, and Kate flinches.
"But, you know, even in the dreams I tell you I love you." Castle shakes his head. "I know it wasn't the best timing, but I'm not sorry." His eyes are fixed on hers and she is helpless to look away. "I won't ever apologize for saying it, Kate, because it was the truth. And even if you don't feel the same way - will never feel the same way - the least you could have done was give me the truth in return."
He turns and walks away, making it to the elevator just as the doors are closing. Kate is frozen, stunned, shocked, her chest aching as if she's been shot all over again.
She can't sleep.
The hurt is so encompassing, so incapacitating, that she won't let herself feel it. She seals it off. Bars the way with anger, with righteous indignation.
He walked away from her. He's never done that but once before and even then... Oh God.
He didn't even try to listen. Her words were too loud, too harsh.
He didn't care about understanding. He cared too much, and her words weren't making any sense.
And through it all is the creeping awareness, there all along, that while her original lie is understandable, forgivable, she has had a thousand chances to tell him the truth and she has wasted every one. That Castle would have understood if only she had trusted him.
What if she has actually done what she feared and messed it up beyond all fixing? It takes everything she has not to call him, not to get in a cab and show up at his door.
Everything she has, and the fear that he won't let her in.
So yeah, the day starts badly, even if the phone call at 5:35 am is a relief, allowing her to give up the pretense of sleeping.
Kate waits thirty minutes and texts him. She doesn't want to give him the option of not answering her call.
It's rained the past three nights, so when Kate gets to the crime scene – a particularly swampy area of Central Park- she finds Ryan and Esposito grumpy and splattered with mud. The victim, his throat slit, is covered with mud and blood, and Lanie just shakes her head when she sees Kate, discouraged. Physical evidence will be hard to come by on this one.
When Kate squats next to the victim the hem of her coat drags through the muck and her heel sinks in almost to her ankle. She hasn't had any coffee. She hasn't had to get her own in so long she didn't even think about it.
This case is going to be a bitch. Her coat is going to need to be dry-cleaned, her shoe is probably ruined, and she's exhausted and bleary and sick with fear.
Castle isn't here.
The three of them arrive at the precinct, wet, gross and barely speaking. The boys are having some stupid spat over who kicked mud on whose pants, and Kate is too busy trying not to have a panic attack.
Castle hasn't answered her text. He wasn't at the crime scene, and would he really give up on her this easily? Walk away, just like that?
Anger flares for a second until she remembers that she did exactly that this summer. She had her reasons, reasons that made sense, that still make sense, but God, was this how he felt? Hollowed out, lost? Castle hasn't spoken to her since yesterday afternoon, but she didn't speak to him for three months.
There's a lump in her throat as she imagines how he felt, tries to comprehend how she'll even get through the rest of the day without talking to him, let alone three months. So when the elevator doors open and she can see him sitting in his chair by her desk, absorbed in something on his phone, the relief is so unexpected and overwhelming that tears rush stinging to her eyes.
She follows the boys through the bullpen, watches from behind them as Castle looks up, takes in their bedraggled state.
"What happened to you guys?"
Kate isn't sure what to do with her eyes or her hands, her heart starting to race. He doesn't sound like himself, but at least he's here. "It got messy."
Castle nods, not quite looking at her. "Yeah, sometimes things do."
He turns back to his phone. Kate sits down, completely at a loss, until she notices the large coffee in front of her.
Her hand shakes as she reaches for it. "Thanks for bringing me coffee, Castle." Her voice shakes, too.
He looks at her then, his eyes on hers, and there's still anger and hurt but there's something else, too. "I always bring you coffee, Kate. I wouldn't just quit."
The hard knot in her chest loosens a fraction and all Kate can do is nod, but maybe, maybe there's hope that this day isn't ruined after all.
The case takes all day, but in the end isn't as difficult as they feared. It helps to have the case to work on together, to have Ryan and Esposito, all acting as a buffer allowing them both to calm down, regroup. At one point they finish each others sentences and things feel almost normal.
Except for the pervasive fear she still feels; fear she tries to beat back, chanting to herself in time with her heart. He's here. He's here. He's here.
Then it's over. They have a confession and an arrest. She's packed up the murder board, stomach clenched because she has no idea what to do now.
Ryan and Esposito leave, still bickering over dry cleaning bills, and then it is only them, her and him, alone in the quiet of the precinct.
Castle is sitting in his chair, staring at his lap, as if he, too, is unsure what to do –where they stand – now that they are alone. "Well. I guess I should be going." But he makes no move to stand up, and when he slides his gaze to hers it is weary and hopeful all at once.
Something twists in Kate's stomach, the possibility that she can make this right, even if she can't… Someday – someday soon – she will make everything up to him. She's almost there.
"You're not going to just leave, are you?" She tries to arch an eyebrow at him in mock disapproval, trying for normal and missing completely."There's all this paperwork. I need your help." Her voice breaks on the last word. Her eyes are wet when she raises them to his, and then her voice quits and all she can do is stare, hoping he understands.
Castle's hand is resting on the edge of the desk. She reaches out her own, slowly, afraid, but the moment she touches him he intertwines their fingers, laces them palm to palm. Looks her right in the eye. Takes a huge breath. "If you need me, I'll stay."
His hand squeezes hers and she knows they aren't talking about paperwork.
"We'll do it together."
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