Edge of Leaving

Disclaimer: Not mine. Title is from 'Somewhere Love Remains', lyrics from 'As You Turn Away', both by Lady Antebellum.

Spoilers: 47 Seconds and The Limey? Totally happened. Headhunters, possibly not.

Author's Note: I apologise for this. Really, I do. I'm rooting for a happy ending just as much of the rest of you but I got a little bit angry with what they've done to our characters, and somehow this is what came out. Normal service will be resumed shortly and I will return to my universe (I've just started posting a multi-chapter after the wall comes down exploration, "Even When You Fall Apart". If you haven't read it, please go check it out. Second chapter will be up soon). Once again, I apologise. It's not all happiness and light, but sometimes it just has to come out.

Edge of Leaving

Nothing more to give, nothing left to take

"I never thought it would feel like this," she whispers into the silence. Her voice doesn't sound like her own. Choked and stained with tears, it sounds weak and hoarse, but his arms are around her and he won't let go and her heart is breaking when she thought it was done with that. When she thought it couldn't break anymore. His arms are around her and he's so damn silent and he won't let go.

"What?" he asks quietly, and she notices that his voice isn't the same anymore, either. It hasn't been for a while now, if she's honest.

"Letting you hug me," she answers, gripping hold of his hips where her hands have found purchase. "It's not how I thought it would be," she whispers, feeling the tears flood her eyes again as every vision she's ever had of what it would be like to be hugged by Rick Castle swims through her heartbroken mind.

Because fuck, it's never hurt in any of those dreams like it hurts right now.

"You have to let go, Rick," she chokes out, even though she knows that her fingers are digging tighter into his hips as she speaks. "You have to let go of me."

"Kate," he whispers, and for a second it sounds like he's pleading and that just makes the anger bubble up in her again. They've been in this room for hours and she's shouted until her voice would barely come out, but just the sound of her name on his lips makes her want to yell at him all over again.

Because this is the end, and after everything it's because of him.

"No," she snaps, hearing her own anger in her voice as he flinches a little and only tightens his arms around her. "This is on you, Rick. You've made your decision, and you're the one letting go of us today so you're going to be the one to actually let go and walk away from me." He doesn't move, and the anger surges up a little more, battling with her breaking heart to push angry tears down her cheeks that she hopes he'll be able to feel and knows he'll be able to hear. He deserves to feel what he's done to her. What he's doing to her. "I won't do it, Rick. I can't do it and I've made that perfectly clear, but I am sure as hell not going to beg you to stay, so you need to walk away and put me out of my misery." He jolts violently at her words, and something like victory sparks deep inside her because she might love him with everything she has, but there's a little part of her that wants him to hurt like she's hurting.

And then he pushes her out of his arms so hard that she stumbles, catching her balance on the corner of the table and damn if his rejection hasn't managed to make her hurt like she's been shot all over again.

"That's what this is to you?" he demands angrily, hands on his hips as he surges up over her. "Misery?" He's pushing for a reaction from her now, she can tell.

She knows all his tells, but she doesn't have the energy to do this again. Her scars hurt like they're trying to burst open again because that's what happens when her heart breaks, and she can't stop the tears from streaking trails of pain down her cheeks.

So she turns away from him.

Because this is the end, and this isn't what she wants to remember about the one man she's really ever fallen in love with.

This isn't a part of her that she wants to give to him if he's going to walk away.

"Yes, Rick, that's what this is," she says quietly, bringing a hand up to her face to try and stop the tears from falling. He remains silent behind her, and she doesn't need to see him to know that he's angry. Somewhere in her mind she knows that the fact that she can't see him should evoke fear, but he's the one person in the world who has never made her feel like that, so she stays facing away from him. He might not like her very much right now, he might not love her anymore, but he would never do anything to her because he is still the man that she loves. Taking a shuddering breath in, she continues. "Because you've told me you're going to break my heart today, but you won't do it."

She hears his sharp intake of breath, but she can't bring herself to feel guilty because her words were meant to hurt.

"We've said all there is to say, Rick. There are no words left."

She knows that's cruel, because words are what makes him him, what makes them who they are, but there's nothing left to say. They've lied and accused and argued and explained, she's explained everything to him, letting him be witness to two soul-tearing panic attacks in the process. She's stepped up and fought for him, fought for them, but he… he doesn't have any fight left in him.

She can't change his mind. She saw the look in his eyes earlier.

And she doesn't have anything left to give.

"Please," she whispers, her voice soft and vulnerable and absolutely everything she hates to be, and she won't beg him, that's not who she is and it's not someone she will ever be, but he needs to know exactly what he's doing when he walks out of this room and out of her life.

"Please what, Kate?" he asks, his own voice rough and low. She laughs at that, the sound bitter and foreign to her ears as she pushes off the table and walks over to the window. New York by night is beautiful from the conference room of the twelfth, but the city she loves does nothing to calm her tonight. "Kate," he whispers again, and she can tell that he's closer to her.

Hearing him say her name is bad enough. If he touches her, that really will be her undoing.

"Just say goodbye," she whispers, choking on her breath as the tears force their way out again. As their words from so many years ago echo through her ears, she knows that nothing will hurt as much as that one word from him.

'You can't just say goodnight?'

'I'm a writer; until tomorrow is more hopeful.'

She hears the sound of the doorknob twisting as the final word echoes through her brain, and something really does shatter inside her because there's no hope left.

This is the end.

The door opens with a slow creak, and she sucks in a breath as her traitorous body turns around to reach out to him because she hears him move, hears his footsteps on the floor but he doesn't say a word. He just walks away, without a backward glance.

She breaks then, chokes on a sob she knows that he'll hear as she stumbles against the table, and she can't see through the spinning panic and the flood of tears and the pain of knowing that he's gone.

Her tears are hot and heavy and painful, and she chokes on them as she feels two arms around her, two warm and heavy and faithful bodies on either side of her as she doubles over her knees and sobs.

Her boys.

She feels cool hands squeeze hers a second later, and she doesn't have to be able to see through her tears to know that it's Lanie crouching in front of her, because Rick Castle is walking away from a hell of a lot more than just her tonight.

She can feel the anger radiating off Ryan and Esposito even though their touches on her back and her shoulders are gentle. Lanie runs her hands through the wild curls sticking to the tears on her cheeks and makes her look up at her, and she can see the anger there too. When she sobs again, she lets Lanie pull her into her arms, and hears the quiet slam of the door closing as Ryan or Esposito shut out the onlookers.

The sound cuts through her tears like a knife, because it says goodbye like he was too weak to. And then they're falling into the silence with a ferocity she didn't think she was capable of and she's choking on her sobs, because she never got a chance to experience what she's just lost, and he couldn't even give her the decency of goodbye.

When she looks up from Lanie's embrace they're both leaning against the door, her boys, arms folded in solidarity and she's crying all over again because she's never had siblings before but these three are hers, blood be damned, and she knows that none of them will ever break her heart like he has.

She knows that she'll be okay, because of them.

Because Richard Castle walked away from all four of them, and she might be the one with the heart that's split in two but they'll heal together.

This might be the end, but as much as it feels like everything has walked out of the door with him, it hasn't. Because she has these three amazing people who will never let her fall, and he's walked away with nothing. Nothing but her heart, and she's mended that because of him before.

She'll do it again.