Disclaimer: Castle and all of its character belong to Andrew W. Marlowe and ABC Productions. "You and Tequila" belongs to Kenny Chesney.

"You and tequila make me crazy,

You run like poison in my blood.

One more night could kill me, baby.

One is one too many,

But one more is never enough."

Rick paced the floor of the loft slowly, his hand shakily clutching the shot glass of tequila. He stopped in front of the door, staring at the silent oak a moment before swallowing down the contents of his glass. He poured himself more tequila and dropped angrily into the chair across from the door.

He had waited. He had waited more than any man in his right mind would have. He'd been with her through investigating her mother's case, through the flings that rolled in and out of her bed, and through the bullet that tore through her perfect flesh. Through out all of that, he hadn't stopped caring, he hadn't stopped loving her, and he hadn't left her side. He'd sat there like a loyal dog waiting to have his tummy rubbed.

And yet, the one thing that he had confessed and let spill out over the wall around his heart, was that he'd fallen in love with her. He told her in a moment of weakness because he could feel the thrum of her heartbeat slowing underneath his fingertips, and she had told him she didn't remember a thing.

That had torn his heart from his chest, thrown it onto the cracked, gum riddled, concrete of the sidewalk in front of the hospital and metaphorically stomped the shit out of it. He was damned sure that was going to kill him. He had been so anxious waiting for her to come out of surgery so that they could discuss what he'd said, and he had been almost positive that she would tell him something along the lines of 'it won't work well, we work together' and he was fully prepared to talk her out of that nonsense. For them.

But then she had broken his heart with three simple words. I don't remember. He hadn't really listened to much else that was coming out of her mouth, because those three words were still reverberating through out his skull. She didn't remember.

He downed the glass once again and decided to cut out the middle man, choosing, instead, to suck the fiery liquid directly from the bottle. He took a long pull from the mouth of it, wincing as it settled into his stomach, warming each of his limbs.

There weren't many days since he'd walked out of the precinct on the arm of that flight attendant...what the hell was her name again...that he could remember clearly. Rick had been more drunk than sober in the month or so that had followed her departure. They had both decided that they weren't right for each other, mostly because she told him that even though he was there physically, his heart was across town in a squad car.

She had kissed his cheek softly, tightened her uniform scarf, and rolled her luggage out of his sight. Sure, he was upset that she was leaving, but that was more out of habit than really out of emotion.

He stared off into space absently, sipping the tequila every few minutes. He could imagine the last time that they'd been together and not been at each other's throats. They had been working a tough case and had been sitting in front of the murder board well into the wee hours of the morning.

He had reached across the space between them and tucked a curl of her hair behind her ear, startling her slightly, and causing a flush of vibrant red to curl up the perfectly smooth skin of her throat. A grin had settled onto his face as he admired how adorable she looked in that moment. She truly was a rare beauty.

God, how he missed those moments. Moments when they were truly them, not this convoluted, noir version of what they used to be. They put on an act, that he was positive wasn't convincing anyone, and they went through the motions of how they thought they were supposed to act like, but they weren't them. They had lost their mojo.

And he knew exactly when that had happened. It had gone away the second that he'd heard her growl the words 'I remember every second' to that kid. Sure, she hadn't known that he was behind the one-way glass, but what did that matter? If it was something that she didn't mind confessing to a complete and total stranger, why the fuck didn't she feel that she could tell him? It did, after all, involve him rather deeply.

He glanced at the bottle and pondered when it had gone from unopened to mostly empty. He stood a bit to quickly and the room did a 360, turning wildly so that he had to steady himself on the end table to remain upright. Vaguely, it registered that someone was knocking on his door.

He looked at the clock on the wall curiously. It was nearing two in the morning, who the hell would be knocking on his door? He stumbled across the floor, careful not to get snagged on anything as he moved, and opened it. A pair of deep brown eyes stared back at him.

"Kate." He breathed, the burn of tequila on his tongue rolling through the air between them. She winced and leaned in to smell his breath before glancing at the bottle still clutched in his hand. "What are you doin' here?" He slurred.

"I came to talk to you. Is this a bad time?" She asked, gesturing to the bottle. He scoffed sarcastically and moved to the side so that she could come in.

"To what do I owe the pleasure of your company this evening, Detective?" He leaned back on his elbow, resting himself against the breakfast bar in his kitchen, and taking another long swig from the bottle. It was then that he realized that he was so drunk the alcohol didn't even burn anymore.

"I...Rick, there's something that I need to tell you." He stared at her, silently willing his arm to work so he could gesture for her to continue. She sucked in a deep breath and wrung her hands nervously before speaking. "It's about Montgomery's funeral. I remember." She whispered. Rick didn't say anything at first, but he simply stared at her, the bottle raised to his lips. When he finally spoke, it caused her jaw to drop.

"And?" He said plainly, quirking an eyebrow as if questioning why that was supposed to surprise him. "Oh, come on, Kate. It's not like that was some big secret. You were willing to tell that kid from the bomb case, right? And if you were able to tell him, it must not be a secret anymore."

"You...you knew?"

"I heard you talking to him. I brought coffee and was waiting for you to wrap things up while I was in the observation room. I heard everything. Why did you lie to me?"

"Because..."

"Because isn't an answer, Kate."

"Because I was afraid. I was afraid that I wasn't ready for any of this. For you. For us. But, I was wrong. I am ready for all of this. I'm ready to dive into this with you, Rick."

"Well, that's just too bad, isn't it? This train has left the station, Kate." He gave a sarcastic smirk and pantomimed a freight train driving. He could practically hear the cracking of his heart when he saw the tears welling in her eyes, but he couldn't allow himself to crumble. "What? Did you think that I was going to wait around for you to realize that you love me forever? Grow up, Kate. The world doesn't revolve around you, and I know that this is news to you, but I deserve to be happy. I'll be damned if I lurk around the precinct for the rest of my life waiting because I think that you could possibly be my shot at happiness. I need you to leave my apartment, Kate. Now."

He held open the door and she slowly walked out, her arm brushing his chest and setting fire to every inch of him that she'd touched.

"So...I'll see you tomorrow, Rick?"

"Good night, Kate." He replied, not even bothering to look her in the eye as he spoke before slamming the door shut. Sobs clawed at his throat almost immediately, and he slid down the door, his back pressed against the cool wood. That had been the hardest thing he'd ever had to do. The look on her face had broken his heart. The longing and love that he'd seen mirrored everything that he felt, but he couldn't allow himself to take the chance of her playing him as the back up option anymore.

He cried so hard that his lungs and his eyes hurt. He cried until there was nothing left for him to cry out and he was forced to gasp for air while suffering through tearless bouts of sobs. His stomach hurt, the muscles having been tortured through out the breakdown, and he stood slowly, wincing when he unclenched them and moved to the couch.

Damn it. He loved her. With all of his heart. And there was no way that he was going to let her walk away and potentially become someone else's one and done. He had to show her that she didn't need to worry about them, that they would go the distance and last for 'always'.

However, it wouldn't be immediately. Hell, it may not have even been soon. He needed to allow her to see what she'd put him through, stringing him along for the past four years. As much as it pained him to admit it, he wanted to see her suffer the same way that he'd had to suffer.

He poured the rest of the tequila into his mouth, swishing it around a moment before swallowing it down. He yawned, the alcohol finally having an effect on his body, and he staggered to his bedroom before falling face down in his pillow.

Maybe he wouldn't chase after her. Maybe he'd wait for her to come back to him again. If she truly cared about him the way that he thought she did, she'd be back again. And, if she didn't, he didn't need to waste his time trying to win her back. Yeah. That's what he'd do. He'd wait her out. Lord knows that, if they were good at anything, it was skating around the issues and pretending that everything was fine. They'd done it for four years. Why stop now?