This probably isn't what you're expecting. I didn't have any intention of expanding this into anything... but then I couldn't get this out of my head. And then as I was writing this, I started thinking of all the other characters.

So, I'm not making any promises, but I may expand this into nightmare related one shots for all of the main characters.

Because I think it'd be a really interesting study.

What do you think?

But anyway... read on.

Richard Castle doesn't have nightmares often.

He prides himself on being an optimist. He doesn't let the world try and get him down.

Nightmares are the victims of his mind, not the other way around.

But when he does have them?

He doesn't forget them quickly.

Sometimes he dreams he's in outer space riding a donkey. Only the donkey isn't really a donkey. It has wings, and it's the size of an elephant.

As he's cruising past a star a giant alien with 13 arms and 5 eyes suddenly appears right in front of him and screeches so loudly Rick feels his bones shake. The giant monster comes at him on his giant mutated Donkey and tries to attack them, but Rick pulls out his light saber and his shield and goes to battle. He manages to cut of 5 of the alien's arms before the creature knocks his weapon from his hands. The alien looks and screeches at him again, before it cuts through the air, its mouth wide open heading directly for him. Rick brings his shield up to protect him as he screams.

When he wakes up, he's clutching a pillow to his chest.

His feather down shield.

He scoffs, looks around even though he knows nobody is there before he readjusts his bedding and goes back to sleep.

Sometimes Rick dreams about Alexis.

They're back in that store that he's never gone back to and she's running her hands over the too-expensive silk shirts that used to line his closet when he was looking for that attention. He still has a few, but he's switched mostly to (high quality) cotton. He's learned how to stand out in a room. He doesn't need (want) shiny shirts to do it for him anymore.

But that's beside the point.

He's shopping with Alexis and he turns away for minute to pick up a flashy tie that he thinks will make her smile. It's metallic purple with multicolored pink and orange swirls on it and it's hideous but she's in that phase where if it's colorful, it's wonderful.

He spins around, the tie in his hand and looks down at her.

Only she's not there anymore.

He searches for her, calls out her name trying to find her but she doesn't answer. He pushes the racks of clothing aside, searching to see if she's hidden herself away but she's not there.

He calls security and they help him look, but they can't find her either.

He's frantic and running his fingers through his hair. The store's security calls the police and they issue a search for his little girl but nothing comes up. Nobody saw where she went. Nobody heard anything.

She's gone, vanished into thin air and he falls to the ground, fighting back the tears.

Everyone looks at him the same, the pity combined with accusation that makes the room start spinning.

He knows. He knows.

Why would you let her out of your sight?

She's gone because of you.

You're a terrible father.

Oh god, he knows.

When he wakes up, he immediately gets out of bed and moves through the loft as quickly as he can, trying not to run into too many things as he bounds up the stairs, towards her room. He opens the door to her room, and sees her asleep under the covers.

He stands in the doorway and watches her breathe for a few minutes. Once he's content that she's still there, he closes the door quietly and makes his way back downstairs so he can go back to sleep.

Sometimes Rick dreams that whipped cream had never been invented. Everyone he asks has ever heard of it. They're all eating Cool Whip on their pies and they only eat chocolate sauce and jimmies and nuts, and cherries and cookie dough on their ice cream sundaes.

When Rick wakes up, his brow is furrowed. He goes into the kitchen and opens the fridge, his eyes immediately moving to the shelf with the customary two cans of whipped cream. He picks one up, shake it, at takes a shot of it. He smiles as the fluffy sugar hits his tongue then puts it away, closes the fridge, and goes back to bed.

Sometimes he dreams about his father.

There's no one there.

He slowly blinks himself into consciousness, lets the feelings of rejection and loneliness fester in his stomach for a moment before he gets a hold of himself.

He didn't have a father then, he doesn't need one now.

He rolls back over and goes to sleep.

Sometimes he dreams he's making love to Kate. They're in his bed and she's wrapped around him and it feels like the world is ending in the best possible way every time her hips meet in time with his. She's smiling at him, her eyes dark and loving as her lashes flutter with pleasure because of what he's doing to her. She's writhing underneath him, her nails digging into the skin at his shoulder, soft sounds of desire rolling off of her tongue into the space between them. At last, he can't take it any longer. He leans down and seals his lips to hers, rocks his hips into hers as she kisses him back. He pulls away for only a moment, whispers "I love you" across her skin before he brings his mouth back to hers. She moans a little as his tongue teases the corner of his lips before she freezes against him, opening her mouth to him as a gasp of pain bursts past her lips.

He pulls away from her immediately, her name on his lips with concern. He looks at her face, her hair swirling around her head on his pillow, tears pooling in the corner of her eyes and he forces his gaze from her. There's nothing on her neck but her muscles are taught, like there's a scream trying to claw its way out of her throat. Her shoulders are tense and the muscles twitch underneath them, her collarbones sticking out against the smooth skin. His eyes finally drift down to her chest, and he sees red.

She's bleeding. The scar on her chest has reopened and blood's pouring out of it, the red blemishing her beautiful skin, skin that he's kissed and caressed many times in his dreams as it keeps coming out of the wound.

He calls out her name, and places a hand over the wound and presses down. He can feel her pulse underneath the palm of his hand, every surge of blood that exits the wound while her heart fights to keep itself working. It doesn't help.

The blood, her blood, won't stop seeping out past his fingers. It's running down her sides, staining his bed sheets, and it just won't stop coming. Her eyes go glassy and he calls out to her again but she's not responding and he feels her heart stop beating but she's still bleeding. It's covering his hands, running down her stomach and onto his where their skin is still connected. It's running down his thighs, forming a crease at his knees before pooling around him.

He can't make it stop. He can't save her.

And it's her blood on his hands.

When Rick wakes up, he screams out her name. His heart is beating quickly in his chest and he pulls the sheet back away from himself quickly, expecting to see her bloody outline in his bed but there's nothing there.

Still, he can't shake the feeling that this is wrong. He can't shake the image of her smiling up at him only to see her glassy stare moments later. It does something to him. It makes him anxious. He tries to think of the last time he saw her, focuses on the way she looked, recalling all the things she said but it doesn't help. He lifts himself off of his bed and moves out towards his study, knowing he's too old to be sleeping in an armchair all night but he can't help it. He crawls into one of his leather reading chairs, wraps himself up in an old blanket he moved into his office after she had wrapped herself up in it when she had stayed with him years ago, and tries to go back to sleep.

Sometimes when he dreams about Kate, he wakes up smiling.

These tend to be his favorite dreams. He sees the two of them, Kate with a ring on her finger, Kate in all white, Kate asleep on a chair in his study and a little boy with her eyes and his nose curled up into her chest. He dreams of them holding hands by the murder board, stealing kisses in the Precinct's elevator. He sees her dressed in nothing but his shirt as she sips out of her mug in the loft before she kisses him good morning.

They're happy and they're hopeful and hopelessly in love with each other.

He thinks those may be worse than his nightmares.

He knows she can tell when he has a nightmare.

The circles under his eyes are a little more prominent, his coffee has just a little bit less sugar in it.

She notices. She's a detective and he's never been subtle. He doesn't try to hide it. If she asks, he blames it on writing. It was a long night, Nikki Heat got a hold of him and wouldn't let him go to sleep.

She's gentler on those days. She's not as quick to snap at him, she brings him coffee, and she touches him more. Light caresses when their fingers are near each other as they pass coffee cups, pens, and case files. She'll skim her fingers down his arm when she wants to get his attention, squeeze his shoulder when she passes him as he's sitting in his chair beside her desk.

It almost makes it worth it.


"Do you want to talk about?" she says softly when they're sitting in front of the murder board. It's late, and the boys have been gone for hours, left to go home to rest and let go of everything that they day has brought upon their shoulders. But Kate's restless and Rick doesn't want to go home so their takeout containers are behind them as they look at the whiteboard hoping something will pop.

"No," he says just as softly, the images of her leaning against his shoulder with her eyes closed assaulting his eyelids. He would let her sit there, rest his cheek on her hair and breath her in for a moment before he'd pull her up off the desk and take her home. With him.

She looks at him out of the corner of her eye and nods before looking back at the murder board.

Rick loses himself in his thoughts again when he feels something curling around the hand that's resting on his knee. He looks down slowly, almost afraid to see what it is but it's warm and comforting and it makes his heart squeeze painfully with hope.

She's holding his hand, her fingers hooked over his as they curl against the fabric of his slacks.

He's had this dream before.

Without thinking, he flips his hand over and laces his fingers with hers.

He immediately flinches, expecting her to pull away.

Instead, she squeezes his hand tighter in his, and she sees the smile playing at the corner of her lips that she's trying to hide from him. She doesn't glare at him; she doesn't admonish him or roll her eyes.

She's not pulling away.

He lets out a sigh of relief.

It's almost like a dream.

Love it? Hate it? Should I go on?Let me know what you think!