I'm on an angst kick. This is dark. I'm sick. My grandfather died half an hour ago.
I'm alright.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. Nor do I own the song Nightmares, by Belle Histoire, but it's amazing, and I suggest you listen to it.


I'm lying now, trying to hide it now.
But they've found me,
they've marked me...


Sometimes Kate has these dreams.

She thinks that it's a combination of lack of proper nutrition, over-working, and spending the day surrounded by death and murder that has permanently altered the state of her psyche.

She doesn't tell anyone. And nobody's ever really asked. They only started to get really bad after she was shot, so there was nobody sharing her bed to wake up. Not that many people tended to wake up and try to take care of her even when they were there. They would often wake up when she startled, pull her back down into their arms and ask her if she was alright. She would say yes, and they would let it drop, and go back to sleep, unconcerned.

So she learned to deal with them herself.

It really wasn't that bad. She found different ways to deal with her dreams.

And they were dreams.

Because when you have nightmares every night, they become as ordinary as the dreams you have every night that you wake up from in the morning and don't remember.

With one little twist.

She remembers all of them.


Sometimes Kate dreams that she wasn't able to pull her father out of the bottle.

Kate walks into a crime scene by herself. The room is a mess, the place reeking of alcohol and vomit and there's blood on the walls. She hears a crash somewhere to the side and she pulls out her gun and spins around. She creeps over to the side, calling out that she's with the NYPD and whoever is in there needs to surrender. She walks over to the door.

The broken glass on the floor breaks through the soles of her shoes and stabs the bottoms of her feet, but she fights through the pain and keeps moving. She takes a deep breath and pounds on the door again, ordering whoever is in there to open up the door and surrender. But all she hears is drunken laughter on the other side of the door, so she kicks down the door and goes inside.

She stops short once she crosses the threshold. The room is covered in glass, shards of colored bottles of tequila and whiskey and beer and wine that make her head spin. The alcohol in the air burns her eyes, flicks its hot tongue at the back of her throat every time she breathes but she keeps her gun raised until she finds who did all of this.

She lowers it when she sees her father sitting on the floor, a half nearly full bottle in his hands.

She walks over to him quickly, ignoring the glass that is ripping at her skin to get to him.

She reaches him, leans down and tries to take the bottle from his hands like she had to do so many times in the past, but he won't let go. He's looking at her with glassy eyes and she knows she can overpower him yet his grip on the bottle tightens until he rips it away from her grasp.

He takes a swig from the bottle, vodka, before he looks at it and looks back at her.

He laughs then and it sends chills up her spine, and she doesn't have a chance to move before he stands up quickly, reaching out and grabbing her and forcing her onto the ground.

Then he dumps the rest of the vodka on top of her head looks down at her with a smirk that she only associated with psychopaths and says:

"It looks like you could use a drink."


When she wakes up, the room is spinning.

She pushes herself up out of bed and makes her way slowly to the kitchen. She gets herself a glass of water, sips at it until the spinning stops before she makes her way back to her room and goes back to sleep.


Sometimes Kate dreams about being shot again, but it's different this time.

This time, she's expecting it. Waiting for it, really.

She's standing in a dirty alley, handcuffed to a pole with her hands behind her back and she can't move. She's wearing her dress blues, but she's barefoot, and she can feel the sludge on the ground running between her toes and the bugs crawling up and over her skin. She looks up at the other end of the alley and there's a row of people, people she loves, with guns, and they're all aiming at her. Their faces are stern and serious and when she calls out to them, they unlock the safeties on their guns and pull the triggers.

There are words engraved on the bullets, accusations that she knows are true but is too selfish to actually fix.

Her father's bullet says "bad daughter".

Lanie's: "bad friend".

Ryan and Esposito's are contradictions.

"Too strong".

"Too weak".

Martha's bullet says "cold".

Alexis's says "selfish".

Kate feels them all as they crash into her skin, feels them as they rip through the skin of her shoulder and her abdomen, feels the sharp crack as they crash into her spine, shatter her shins as she collapses into a heap onto the ground. But she doesn't die. She sits there in her uniform in piles of bile and waste, biting her tongue through the pain as the bullets settle inside her organs as blood pours from her wounds.

She hears footsteps walking towards her and she lifts her head up. She sees it's Rick and she calls out to him, crying for him to help her, begging for him to save her as she lies bleeding out in an alley while the rest of her family looks on. But he walks straight up to her, pulls a gun and puts it against her chest directly over her heart and cocks it. And she looks up at him, crying, but he just leans in and kisses her gently before pulling back and whispering one word before he pulls the trigger.

"Liar".


When Kate wakes up, her hand is over her scar.

She rubs her fingers over it for a moment, then lets her hands drift down over her arms, checking for any other new scars. When she realizes there are none, she goes back to sleep.


Sometimes she dreams about the Dragon.

She's in an interrogation room with a man. She doesn't know who he is, she's never seen him before, but she knows he's dangerous. He's medium height, average build, well dressed in a black suit with a black tie, his dark brown hair perfectly styled on top of his head, not a single strand of hair out of place.

And he has no face.

He sits in a chair across from her and looks almost normal, albeit a little stiff. His spine is straight against the back of the hard chair, his shoulders level his hands folded in his lap in front of him.

He stares at her and he has no eyes but she can feel his gaze on her no matter where she moves. He's always looking at her, watching her as she questions him.

Who are you?

What's your name?

Why did you kill my mother?

And he has no face but she can tell he's smirking, sitting in silence that mocks her.

You'll never find her killer.

You'll never know who I am.

You're going to let her down.

She stands up, and turns around to shoot a quick glance towards the two way window, but when she turns around, the man isn't there anymore.

In his place is a dragon. The room is gone and suddenly they're on a platform barely big enough for the two of them, and all that's surrounding them is darkness. She reaches for her gun but it's no longer there, and when she looks back up there's a smirk in the dragon's ugly yellow eye as it shifts, it's bony shoulders moving as it settles itself in to crouch, it's claws the size of her arm scratching the ground beneath its body and she can hear chunks of the platform fall away and never hit the ground. The dragon flattens its wings against its back, opens its mouth slightly and she can just see its sharp teeth, feel the sweltering, odorous breath come out and envelope her.

She opens up her mouth to call out for help.

And then it lunges for her throat.


When Kate wakes up, she can't breathe.

She takes a few deep breaths, fights every urge to get up and go stare at the murder board in her living room until the sun shines behind it, before she rolls back over and goes back to sleep.


Sometimes Kate dreams about her mother.

Kate's 6 years old again and she and her mother are playing dress up in the old house they used to live in. Kate's wearing Johanna's high-necked wedding gown from the 70s and Johanna is moving around her while they sit in front of the vanity, smiling at each other in the mirror.

Johanna runs a comb through Kate's hair, crooning to her about how beautiful she is and that the day she gets married will be the happiest day of her life.

Little Kate stands up on the stool she was sitting on, turns around on top of it and throws her arms around her mother.

Kate closes her eyes and breaths in the scent of her mother's shampoo, but Johanna doesn't hug her back. That's odd.

Kate pulls back from her mother in confusion and realizes why. Her mother is smiling at her, but she's disappearing before her eyes.

Kate watches in horror as she mother's shoulders become thinner, her clothes deteriorating before her eyes and falling into pieces on the floor. Her skin turns gray until it starts falling off in pieces onto the floor. Her lips fall off, the cartilage of her nose disintegrating into nothing before there's nothing left of it. Her eyes fall out of their sockets, her hair falls out of her skull. Her teeth and her fingernails sound like little shards of glass as they fall out one by one and hit the ground. The muscles dissolve and the tendons and ligaments that are holding her together crack and break as her skeleton falls apart piece by piece and shatter into a pile of dust onto the bedroom floor. Her spine falls apart vertebrae by vertebrae and her head rolls off her shoulders and joins the pile on the floor.

And Kate tries to help her. She jumps off the stool and holds onto her mother, trying to keep Johanna from fading away but it doesn't work. Her ribs break apart under her weak fingers and the dust comes crashing down over her. It gets in her hair, dusts her eyelashes like the first snow of the season. But she can't keep her mother together.

She can't keep her there.

In a moment, all that's left by her feet is a pile of dust where her mother used to be.

A pile of ashes, and a ring.


When Kate wakes up, she's shaking.

She gets up, grabs her mother's ring in her shaking hands, takes it off the chain, and puts it on her finger before she crawls back into bed and goes back to sleep.


Sometimes Kate dreams about Rick.

Sometimes those dreams aren't pleasant.

The situation changes. Occasionally they're back in that car as it sinks towards the bottom of the Hudson, sometimes they're back in that freezer. Sometimes they're standing in the cemetery on that sunny day in May.

But this time he's the one stuck in his seat and can't get out. He's the one who's passing out because he can't handle the cold. He's the one who takes a bullet to the chest.

But she can't save him. She can't find a knife to cut his seat belt. She can't keep him warm as his blood turns to ice. She can't push him out of the way in time, doesn't realize what's going on until it's too late and he's the one lying on the ground, crying, bleeding out into her arms as she tries to stop the bleeding.

And then she tells him that she loves him, she really truly loves him and he can't leave her because he's the only one who's ever stayed, and he can't leave her alone.

But he just smiles at her and closes his eyes.

And then he stops breathing.


When Kate wakes up, she's crying.

She picks up her phone, her fingers hovering over his contact information, and takes a deep breath, desperate to hear his voice. A moment later, she puts the phone back down, convincing herself that he's writing or sleeping and she doesn't want to wake him up for something so unimportant, so instead she grabs In A Hail of Bullets off of her dresser and reads a few pages before she rolls over, the book clutched against her as she tries to go back to sleep.


Kate wakes up to the sound of her phone ringing on the nightstand beside her.

She wipes at her eyes quickly and takes a deep breath, trying to keep her voice steady as she answers the call.

"Beckett."

She waits a moment but there's no response on the other end.

She pulls away from the phone and sees that it's her partner. She quickly puts the phone back to her ear, flashbacks from her dream where he's stuck in that bank again and Kate's listening to him sputtering for air as he suffocates after Trapper John shot him in the throat because Kate gave him attitude coming back to her and suddenly she's desperate to hear his voice.

"Castle?"

No response.

"Rick, are you there? Are you alright?"

She hears an unsteady breath on the other end of the line and she closes her eyes.

"I'm here."

She exhales and finally looks at the time on the clock.

"Castle, it's 2:30 in the morning. What's wrong?"

She can practically hear him shaking his head.

"Nothing."

"Rick…" she says as sternly as she can manage.

She hears him sigh.

"I just… I'm sorry. I shouldn't have called. It's early and you need to rest and… God Kate, I'm so sorry. Please just go back to sleep. I'm alright. I pro-"

"Rick," she says gently, interrupting his babbling, "What's wrong?"

He's quiet on the other end of the line and for a moment she thinks he hung up on her and then she hears him breathing.

"I just… needed to make sure you're okay."

Oh.

"I'm okay, Castle," she says gently, "Go back to sleep."

"Wait," he says, his voice suddenly desperate, "Could you…" she hears him huff, frustrated on the other end of the call and she can practically see him raking his fingers through his hair. "… Could you just stay on the line? I just…"

Kate shifts to lie back down on her bed, making sure she made enough noise so Castle could hear her on the other end.

"Goodnight, Castle."

He breathes out a sigh of relief, "Goodnight Kate."

She doesn't go to sleep though, and neither does he.

"Do you ever have nightmares?" he says a couple of minutes later, his voice low.

Oh.

"Sometimes," Kate says, lying easily, glad he wasn't there to see her because she knew without a doubt that he would be able to tell she was lying to him.

Because what she says is "sometimes".

What she means is yes, often, nearly every night.

Always.


They won't let me out...


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