Cole Maddox was hunting her. Her colleagues had tried to protect her, bringing in the FBI. The FBI took Kate away.
"Let me go with her," Castle begged.
"Mr. Castle, trust us to do our job, we'll get her out of town, she'll be safe."
She knew that wasn't true, she was only safe with him.
She wouldn't look at him, couldn't bear to meet his eyes. Her bag was packed.
"Are you ready Ms. Beckett?" One of the black suits asked.
"Kate?" Castle tried to coax. He didn't understand, if she said 'goodbye' she was going to fall apart, she wouldn't be able to do it. She willed herself to get on the elevator.
"I love you Kate . . . Kate, I love you." Her eyes met his in the moment.
As soon as the doors closed, she broke, "wait, go back, go back," she choked out, "please."
They didn't let her, they had their own agenda. Later, she thought maybe it was a good thing; she never would have let him go.
He couldn't sleep, they hadn't even spent a whole week together before they took her and that week had ruined him. He couldn't sleep without her.
The first month was hard, his mother and Alexis fluttered a lot. He felt like he'd lost everything all at once. His work, his joy, his love.
The second month was easier, he was busy living vicariously through Rook. He was living in his head, writing more Nikki Heat than he needed to, but escapism only kept you preoccupied for so long.
When Alexis went off to school he floundered, his mother, of all people, removed the liquor from the loft. Alexis came home every weekend, just to try to keep him balanced.
"Can't you hold out some hope? You spent all those years pining for the woman and you can't handle a few months apart? You've been away from her before, haven't you?" Alexis fumed one night.
She was right, he needed to try, stop wallowing in it. Stop remembering how many times he'd told her he loved her and how absent those words were from her lips.
He was sitting at his desk running his fingers over her elephant trophy, the one he used to run his fingers over when it sat on her desk. It seemed like ages ago. His doorbell rang.
"Mr. Castle, we need you to come with us," they flashed their badges. Kate.
He didn't know what to expect, but this wasn't it.
"Mr. Castle, we've had a break in the case, but she won't testify."
What the hell? What was going on?
"Thursday, Mr. Castle, be ready on Thursday."
"Tell no one."
"Just do it dad, go. You aren't any good to anyone until this thing with Kate is resolved. I'm fine, I have college, my friends, a life. You need to go find your life dad."
"Oh Richard," his mother cried as she hugged him.
His bag was packed on Wednesday night. What did one pack to disappear in? It didn't matter, Kate was what mattered.
They came early in the morning, before the sun was up. It didn't interrupt his sleep.
Private jet to where? The basement of an imposing building. A hospital ward. A waiting room. He'd been with the same two suits for two days, he wished they'd just get on with it already. No one would tell him anything.
"Mr. Castle," one of the suits beckoned him with a finger.
She was lying in a hospital bed, her skin a pale green under the tungsten lighting, her hair, limp. She didn't turn her head when he entered.
Her eyes were slow to meet his and even then, they held disbelief, like she couldn't trust he own eyes.
He didn't hesitate, falling over her, burying his head in her neck, cupping her face with his hands.
"Are you really here?" she whispered.
"Yeah, I'm here. I'm here." She lifted enough for him to put his arms around her as she wrapped hers around him.
"I missed you so much. So much." He sobbed into her.
"Are you really here?" she asked again.
He pulled back to look in her face, noticing how tight her skin was, how protruded her cheek bones. She was ghostly thin. "What happened?"
"Are you really here?" she repeated again. Okay, now she was scaring him. What had happened to her?
"Kate, who am I?"
She smiled, "Rick Castle."
"Are you okay?"
"Just need you." She clutched him harder. "I love you, I love you Rick. So much."
"Mr. Castle?" A trim brunette in her fifties stuck out her hand, "I'm Maya, the nurse practitioner, I've been taking care of Kate."
Kate hadn't let go as he turned to shake Maya's hand.
"You okay, Kate?" Maya asked, looking beyond Castle.
"He certainly is, does this mean you are going to make some changes Katie?"
He watched Kate close her eyes and hold tighter to his arm.
"Why is she here?"
"Exhaustion, she hasn't been eating well since she's been in custody, we had to put in a feeding tube last week."
"It makes me sick Castle, to think of him. It makes me sick to think of him going to trial, getting off. He's going to get away with it and then he's going to kill me."
He picked up her arm and examined it a moment. It was bird-like, too thin. "Not okay Kate. Where is your faith? Where is all that Kate Beckett strength I fell in love with?"
Tears pricked her eyes as she buried her face in his shoulder, "You, I can't do it without you."
They explained it to him, she could go with him, they could hide away until the trial. Try to get her ready to testify.
She smiled when she heard it. The plan. He panicked.
How could he be responsible for keeping her safe? She wasn't even healthy enough to keep herself upright and he was supposed to prop her up for trial?
He needed a little propping up himself.
They'd brought in an extra hospital bed for him. Wheeled it up by Kate's which turned out to be pointless, she wouldn't let him go and all her tubes and wiring meant he was squeezing in with her, spooning with his obsession.
She was weaker than he thought, by day three he still hadn't seen her get out of bed. Maya fluttered around, checked her machines, encouraged her to gain some weight, move around. She slept a lot. This wasn't the Kate Beckett he had known.
He needed a plan.
He scooted his bed across the room, away from her.
"Where you going?" She asked sleepily.
"Luring you," he hopped up on the bed, casually opened the book he was reading.
"What do you mean?"
"Come over here and find out."
"I can't," she pointed at the IV bags hanging above her.
"They're on a stand, they can move with you."
"What are you doing?" She was a little angry.
"I can't leave until you can leave, you won't work on getting better so we can get out of here, what do you want me to do Kate? My job has always been to challenge you, so let's see you push yourself. Come over here."
She sighed and rolled her eyes to the ceiling. He could tell she was going to try.
"Could you flash me a little while crawling out of bed?"
In the end, Maya had to come in and help her untangle the tubes and stand up. He didn't get a flash of anything but her smile when she finally reached for him in bed.
"Thank you," he kissed her forehead, "now, next things next, I can't make out with a girl when she has one of these sticking out of her stomach," he poked at the tube full of tan liquid.
"Maya, do you think Kate could get a strawberry milkshake?" He moved over to make room for her on the bed, pulled her into his embrace.
"Coming right up."
A/N: This story is completely written and sitting on my computer. You want updates? I want reviews. I'm guessing you'll know what to do.