Because I felt the need to rip my heart into pieces.
And I just finished Fahrenheit 451. Which really has nothing to do with piece... other than I got the title from it.

It was a pleasure to burn

"Castle, what's going on up there?"

She should be there with him.

That's the only thought she had as she stood outside with Ryan and Esposito, the patrol cars around her flashing their lights across the darkened streets. There was an ambulance somewhere by her side, a fire engine near the edge of the growing crowd.

She watched the line of people march out of his building, most dressed in their pajamas and looking annoyed at the inconvenience of leaving their homes for the night.

She took a deep breath to calm herself, feeling Ryan and Esposito shift by her side. She closed her eyes in agony.

The boys still didn't know. At least… she thought they didn't know. The looks that they're sending her and each other make her think that they knew the moment there was a shift in their relationship, that the subtle touches by the murder board and showing up to the precinct only minutes apart and stolen kisses in her Crown Vic didn't go unnoticed by her fellow detectives.

His voice came back through the phone.

"I can see it," he said, and Kate felt her heart start beating faster in her chest, "It's on top of the door."

She looked over to the side and saw the bomb squad suiting up.



"Does it look like it's connected to anything? Any wires running from it that you can see?"

She heard a creak on the other side of the line and a shot of panic ran through her veins.

"Don't go near it, Castle!"

"I can't see from where I am!"

"Rick, don't move!" she screamed.

He could sense her panic, hear her desperation. He didn't like this any more than she did, but he knew exactly what she was feeling.

It was a scary thing, facing death without their partner standing by their side.

And he'd been in this very situation before.

"Alright, alright…" he said, his own voice calming down, "I… yes. There's a wire that leads down to the door handle. It looks like a trip."

She turned to the head of the bomb squad and told him what Rick had just told her. He nodded, apparently he already knew that.

God, she felt so useless.

"Martha and Alexis are still out?"

He hummed into the phone.

"Mother's staying at her school tonight and Alexis left this morning for California."

She already knew that. He told her they would be gone for the night (Alexis for the week).

She already knew that because she was supposed to go home with him because there was nobody in the loft. She was supposed to be with him right now, but she was tired, and moody that their most recent case with the bomb set in an anchorwoman's apartment was going nowhere that she snapped at him, told him to go home by himself and then sat at the murder board by herself until she got a call from dispatch.

She thought that dispatch had accidentally called the wrong number - why was she being informed about a bomb threat? Until it killed someone, it wasn't supposed to be her concern.

Until she heard the address.

She arrived in no time, the gumball on top of her car and her siren blazing. When she arrived, there were officers already on the scene, a police line on the side of the street opposite of his building, trying to keep onlookers back. Ryan and Esposito showed up only minutes later, as did the bomb squad, and really, how had she managed to get there before the people that were supposed to get him out of there? Gates showed up a few minutes later, demanding to know what was going on, and then he had called her.

Had she really only been outside for ten minutes?

It felt like the hostage situation at the bank all over again. But this was worse, so much worse, because they were together, and dammit, she was supposed to be in there. Maybe she would've noticed what was different, that someone had been in there. Maybe if she was there they wouldn't have gotten far enough into the loft to begin with so he never would've shut the door before they noticed the bomb was in his bedroom, his bedroom where the windows opened five stories up to nothing but open air - his bedroom, where she should be with him, if not thinking of a way to get him out than at least being able to comfort each other in person until help finally arrived.

He had already told dispatch exactly what the bomb looked like. The bomb squad had heard of the design, but it wasn't one they had seen used successfully. It was the same kind that had been at the previous crime scene. The bomb was set on the inside of an open door. When the door was closed, the timer began, the trigger put in place. Then, the time would either run out and the bomb would explode or some other outside force would set it off, such as turning the door knob.

The bomb squad called it ingenious. She swore that when they caught the bastard that did this, she would make sure that he never breathed air outside of a prison cell again.

Ryan and Esposito had called and warned the others in the precinct, including Lanie and Perlmutter, warning them to be careful so everyone, instead of risking going home (for those who were not already there), had simply come out to stand with them outside of Rick's loft. With the boys on her right, Lanie stood at her left, her hand on Kate's arm since her earlier outburst, Jenny perched behind Ryan, looking at the scene with horror, Gates somewhere behind them, talking to the chief of the fire department.

"How much time, Castle?" She asked, trying to keep her voice even.

"20 minutes," he said. She could tell by his tone that he was starting to get nervous.

Kate swallowed.

"The squad's getting ready to come up,"

She could practically hear him nodding on the other side.

"Good," he murmured, "good."

Kate took a deep breath.

"Did you call them?"

"Call who?"

"Martha and Alexis."


His tone left no room for argument, and she knew she shouldn't have asked. But maybe he should say goodbye. At least, tell them that he loved them one last time…

No, stop.

She couldn't afford to think that way.

"You're going to be fine," she assured him, "Everything's going to be fine."

"Of course," he said unconvincingly.

"I mean it," she said forcefully, "even if I have to go up there and disarm that bomb myself."

He scoffed teasingly.

"You think you could disarm a bomb?"

"I mean it can't be that hard," Kate said, smiling, "You've done it once."

He laughed in her ear.

"Anything I can do you can do better."

Kate smiled, glad that both of them seemed to be relaxing.

"Well… maybe not everything."

"Oh yeah? And what might I be better at?"

"You're a better writer."

"Cop out," he said, but she could hear the smile, "Doesn't count."

"You're a better cook."

"I've had more time to practice," he insisted.

"You're more selfless than I am."

"Completely false," he said vehemently, "I am the most selfish man in the world. As evidenced by the way I wormed myself into your life."

"Are you just going to shoot down every nice thing I say?" She asked, her tone teasing.

"Only the things that aren't true," he said.

"Okay then…" Kate said, "… what do you think you're better at?"

"I'm better at laser tag."

Kate scoffed.

"It's true! You're so used to a real weapon. You're too cautious."

Kate pursed her lips.

"Please don't do that."

She startled, "Do what?"

"That thing that you do with your lips when you don't want to admit that I'm right that I know you're doing right now."

Kate couldn't help it, she laughed.

"And why can't I do that? You can't even see me."

"But I can picture it," she heard him whine, "And when you do that, all I want to do is kiss you."

Kate smiled into the phone.

"I love your smile," he said.

She looked back up at his building, narrowing her eyes at the window she knew was his office.

"Are you sure you can't see me?"

"No, Detective," he said, the smile clear in his voice, "I just know you."

"Yeah…" she said, "Yeah, you do."

Silence settled over the two of them for a moment. Kate heard the sound of the bomb squad making their final preparations to go up towards the loft.

"I'd let you, you know," she said softly.

"Let me what?"

"Kiss me."

She ignored the sharp glances from the others, listening to him inhale on the other line.

"In front of everyone?"

"In front of everyone."

"But –"

"I'm pretty sure they've figured it out…" Kate murmured, still ignoring the others, "I'm not doing a very good job at hiding it right now."

"Kate –" he started.

There was a loud click on Rick's side of the conversation.

Kate stiffened, standing up straighter.


No response.

"Castle, are you there?"

"Yeah…" he mumbled.

"What was that?" she asked frantically.

"I don't know…" he said softly.

"Wait!" he suddenly said, "Kate, the timer's stopped! It's stopped ticking! Kate –"

The shocks from the explosion went straight to her bones, the shattered glass of his windows falling down onto the concrete like rain, landing in sheets. The fire started to flicker out of his windows.

She heard the horrified gasp of a few people in the crowd, the terrified intake of breath that came from Jenny, the swears from Ryan and Esposito, the shouts immediately coming from the fire department to try and stop the flames, felt the way Lanie's grip on her arm tightened.

But Kate stopped hearing them.