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. Co-written with lms2457.
A/N: It's hard to believe this is the final chapter. I hope you've enjoyed the ride, even if it was kinda long there for a bit! I know I've enjoyed seeing the story as it made itself known. :) - CB
A/N 2: She's too nice to say the long wait was my fault, but, yeah it was. But this was always the little story that could, so thanks for reading. And thanks to CB for putting up with my crazy, slow going, bossy self. I loved playing around in her sandbox, even if I did make the occasional mess. - LMS
Thanks so much to everyone who left reviews! Without you, this might have been set aside a long time ago...
So, the end of the day had come.
Kate sat with Castle in the back yard, their dinner spread out on the table in front of them. The sky was open and clear overhead, and the valley so green and wide below. It still felt more than a little overwhelming, but she knew it was something she could handle again, with time.
She'd wasted so much time this summer, blocking everyone out, pushing them away. It wasn't until today that she realized how much she had missed everyone, the boys, Lanie, and especially Castle. In fact, she couldn't be happier that he was here.
"You're thinking too hard," he said, then took another bite of his dinner.
She laughed a little, loving how they had been in synch from the instant he burst through the door yesterday.
Wow. Was it really just yesterday that he'd driven all the way out here, just to see her? The thought was kind of amazing to her. All of it, from the moment he showed up to this very instant, was all amazing, now that she thought about it.
"Maybe I have a lot to think about," she answered, "I've been through a lot over the past day and a half."
Castle smiled and leaned toward her, mischief was gleaming in his eyes. "I hope it was all good. I'd hate to think I came all the way out here, just to ruin your summer."
"No, you definitely didn't ruin it," Kate leaned toward him as well, leaving just a few inches between them. She took his hand in hers and squeezed it, hoping it conveyed how much she appreciated him being here with her. "If anything, you've made it better."
The last rays of sunlight glimmered and faded. Kate watched as the sky and clouds changed from a myriad of colors and slowly, so slowly, darkened and the first twinkling stars glittered into existence. When she looked over at Castle, he was doing the same, sharing and absorbing each detail of this moment with her.
"And I'd say it's been one of the most beautiful days I've ever experienced," he said, and brought her hand to his lips, pressing a soft kiss to the back of it. "In so many ways."
"I couldn't agree more," she said, then took his hand and brought it to her chest, "Thank you, for not waiting on me, for coming out here and helping me through this."
"Always," he said, and she knew exactly what he meant. "When I found out you were out here, alone, I couldn't... I just knew I had to be here. No one should be alone after what happened. At least, it didn't feel right to me."
"And if I may be so bold," he continued, "I hope to make sure you're never alone again," his eyes widened a little, without thinking... again. "That is... unless... you want to be alone."
Kate loved how cute he could be when he got nervous. "I think I may like the idea of not being alone. What do you think? Maybe I should look into adopting a dog?"
The look on his face was priceless.
"Or, maybe I could keep you," she dead-panned, "but that's a hard choice. I'll have to think on it."
"You'll have to think on it?" he smiled, and leaned over and kissed her cheek, "Then I need to help you make the proper choice."
"Yeah, I could use a little help," she teased, moved onto his lap, "It's a big decision, you know."
Kate caught his next kiss as she lightly trailed her fingers over the shell of his ear and through his hair. She could feel his hands as they spanned her waist and his thumbs lightly rubbed circles just at the edge of her rib cage, making her body tingle.
She pulled away for a moment, seeing how dark his eyes had become, and loving that it was her causing him to react this way. "You know, it is possible... I could get used to you being around."
He growled and brought her back down for another kiss, and her world became so much brighter, so free.
Yeah, she could definitely get used to this.