Summer Rain

Disclaimer: Not mine... characters are property of ABC

Summary: After Kate's shooting, Castle finds that he can't stay away. They discover that nothing clears the air like a summer rain. AU WARNING

A/N: Co-written with lms2457, fixer of stories. ;)

Richard Castle sat on his balcony and watched the sun dip slowly beneath the far horizon. His heart ached in a way he wasn't used to... he'd been hurt by women before, but not quite like this. He wanted to be there for Kate, wanted to be the person she called for when she needed a shoulder to lean on.

She told him in her hospital room that she would call him. In that cold, cold room, the words made the temperature drop even more.

It had been, what, a week ago when she said that? He looked at the date on his phone. Ten days, and ten hours. Yeah, he even had it down to the hours. He rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration at the crazy details he remembered at times.

She might be home, or would be in a day or two. He wanted to call, to see her, but he had to keep his end of the deal, so tracking her down was definitely not an option. Still, he had to know if she was okay.

Castle took out his phone again and decided to bend the rules a bit. He opened the text message box and typed. "You're not allowed to run yet, are you? Because you've been running through my mind all day. How are you?"

He sent the message and slipped the phone back in his pocket. Beckett would probably be mad at him for breaking her rules, but it was really something he couldn't help, even if it meant she cut off all communication with him. At least then, he would know where exactly he stood with her.

After a few days had passed, Castle faced the fact she really didn't want to have anything to do with him. At least right now. He'd be lying if he said that didn't hurt a little, but he'd give her more time before he tried again. He had decided he would try at least once more before the summer was over, though.

Another week had passed, and Castle was busy working on the final edits for Heat Rises. Something in what he typed stopped him, he wasn't sure what, even after re-reading. He set his laptop to the side and took out his phone.

He knew she wouldn't be happy to hear from him, but he had to try at least once more. He typed in the message to Kate, "You're still running through my mind. You must be exhausted. I hope you're doing well."

It was just after six, so he saved the file on his laptop and went into the kitchen to start on dinner. And hopefully, to pass the time until she answered. Or didn't.

It was almost ten o'clock when his phone finally buzzed with a reply. His heart leaped when Kate's smiling picture blinked on the screen and he opened the text.

And just as fast as his heart rose, it fell. "You don't get it, do you? Castle, I really do need some time alone. But since you asked, I'm at my Dad's cabin, and I'm fine."

He slipped the phone back in his pocket. She was hurting, he knew, and the tone told him she really didn't want to hear from him. So he decided not to reply. Not yet.

Castle thought about her message for a time, and recalled when she told him about their cabin located somewhere upstate. It was probably a good thing, getting away from the city while she recovered. He knew what the noise of New York could do to his nerves when he was trying to write. He couldn't imagine what it could be like for someone who had just been shot.

This time, he only waited a few days. Castle was at his house at The Hamptons, enjoying the sun and beautiful weather. And he couldn't stop wondering about Kate.

Out came the phone, and he typed, "Are you still at the cabin? Weather's been great... hope you've been enjoying the sun as much as I have."

Her reply was almost instant. "Castle, if you must know, yes, I am still at the cabin. And as for the sun, I haven't been out much. Still a little weak. Just enjoying the peace and quiet."

Castle read it several times. She must have been there, waiting on his next text. It warmed his heart, even if his interpretation was off. He didn't mind fooling himself, especially now.

He scrolled through his contact list and found her father's number. When Jim dropped by his apartment several months ago, he'd given it to Rick. At the time, Castle figured he wouldn't need it, but now, a plan was brewing, and he would need help, and probably permission, for his next act.

The final draft of Heat Rises was finished and in the publisher's hand. Castle could honestly take a few days to play, so map in hand, he drove down the highway, then down several small roads in upstate New York.

He had only one more turn to make, so he pulled off to the side of the road and sent yet another message to Kate. "Hey, Kate. Still at the cabin?"

He waited a few minutes, and began to wonder if she would answer this time. Then, the message tone rang. With a smile, he opened the text. "Yes, of course I'm still at the cabin. Why?"

"I'm close by... wanna come out and play?" Sent. And he waited. This could go one of two ways...

Phone buzzed, and the message read, "No, Rick. I don't."

She wasn't going to get away that easily. "Why not?"

"Too much noise," was her answer, and he was going to call her on that one. Well, text her, anyway.

"We're not in the city, Kate. There's not that much noise. Come on, the day is young, the sky is blue. It's beautiful." Sent. He waited a moment, then, what the hell, he opened his heart and finished the thought, "And so are you. Come on, look around... let me see your smile."

Castle pulled out and drove the last bit to the cabin in the almost immeasurable silence that started the moment he sent the last message.

He pulled into the drive just as her reply came through. "Where are you?"

"Right here," he sent, then knocked on the door.