She pulled the quilt tighter around her and wished the world away. Everything around her felt so weird, so surreal, and so very wrong. At the smallest noise, she would jump and her heart would leap to her throat. What once had been everyday life to her was now dangerous. Everything was out to get her, and she kept running through worst case scenarios that made her heart race.
Tears streaked her face.
The truth of the situation was that she was freaked out. And freaked out wasn't a strong enough explanation. She, Kate Beckett, was losing it.
The situation held no logic. She shouldn't feel nearly as concerned and out of her element as she did. She was strong. She had always been strong. She should have had control over everything that was happening and how she was dealing with it - but for once in her life, she was struck by the feeling of vulnerability.
She had no control over any of it: not her shooting, and not the fear that rose up in her whenever she recalled being shot. She could only huddle desperately under her quilt and hope the fear passed her by before she lost what was left of her mind.
It was after one of her panic attacks that there was a knock at the door. She looked at it, hesitantly, still feeling the effects of her freaking out session. The knocking continued. And then a voice. Castle's. "Beckett? I know you're in there." A pause. "Kate?"
She frowned. What to do? She didn't feel like inviting him into her home. Not now. She needed to be alone with her thoughts in order to find a way to organise them and sort through her emotions. She needed time to heal. Time to herself. Castle would make things much more difficult.
That said, if she didn't answer the door he might try to break it down and injure himself. She didn't need Castle whining to her about a broken arm, if he broke it trying to get in, when she was already there and listening on the other side of the door.
She unlatched it and stepped aside to let him in.
Wordlessly, he entered, and then he turned and looked straight into her eyes. "Kate. I know how this must be killing you. But you need to come back to us. You need to let us help you move past this."
She nodded but had no intention of following through.
"Meanwhile, I brought soup. You hungry?"
She noticed the bags at his sides. Her stomach growled. Despite her desire to shut him out and return to snuggling under her quilt, she smiled softly. "I could eat," she said.
The soup was only lukewarm, but they finished it without bothering to reheat it. They ended up on the couch. She felt heavy, and tired, and knew she would soon fall asleep. But she didn't want Castle to know she'd been having nightmares. "Thanks, Castle," she said.
"I'll let you sleep."
He left with more of a smile on his face than when he arrived, and she wished she'd been strong enough to admit to him how horrible she was feeling. But it wasn't his place to know. It was her business; only hers. She would find a way past the darkness on her own.
She spent the night gripping her blanket, drenched in sweat, and missing Castle's calming presence.