Disclaimer: I think it's safe to say that as I didn't get the characters of Castle or their respective actors for my birthday last month, I don't own them. Nor do I own the lyrics from 'Collide' by Howie Day.
Author's Note: The writing that comes out of this fandom is just utterly phenomenal. There's so much amazing writing going on at the moment that I came back from a week's holiday to an inbox full of alerts and almost a month later I still have a few queued up to read. There's something quite magic about this fandom, and I hope that I'm at least making a tiny contribution to that. Moving on to this story, it's taken me this long to get my head around Always enough to be able to write something that's set after it. That's not to say that I didn't love the finale – I thought it was amazing and I'm on the edge of my seat (and entirely spoiler free) for season 5. It's just taken me a while to work through the way the season finished to the point that it made sense enough in my head to be the basis of a story. All that said, this is only very loosely post-Always, in that it definitely happened but that's about it. As always (pun intended), I would love to know what you think.
The dawn is breaking, a light shining through. You're barely waking, and I'm tangled up in you.
She loves the way he wakes her up.
It sounds like a line from a cheesy love song (or something from one of Rook's secret romance novels), but it's true.
Even the very first time he woke her up was magic. It was so tinged with bad memories that she sometimes remembers their first time for all the wrong reasons as well as all the right reasons, but that first morning is still so fresh and so perfect in her mind, even though it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. He woke her up with a cool washcloth to ease the burn and sting of her many injuries, and she honestly couldn't remember the last time she felt so taken care of.
She remembers a hundred times he's made her feel that way since then, but that was almost a bigger first than the night before.
They had to face Martha and Alexis and her father and the falling apart of their precinct family, and she could barely move for days, but the only thing she remembers clearly is the tender look in his eyes as he took care of her in ways she didn't even realise she needed.
She knew they were for keeps in that moment.
There was no going back.
As her injuries started to heal, he continued to wake her up with a gentle touch, a softness in his eyes and a tenderness to his fingers that she had sometimes wondered whether he would be capable of.
Detective or not, she has always thrived on proof, and now it's indisputable.
He can certainly roar when he wants to, but it's the gentleness in the dark of night and the hazy light of the morning that calmed the fear that surged through her in those early days, no matter how hard she worked to supress it. She knows now that her entire world had just been turned spectacularly upside down in what felt like less than a heartbeat. Everything had changed so fast that she felt like she was spinning out of control even though she had this wonderful man and this fledgling relationship that she knew with startling clarity was everything she had ever wanted.
Still, she felt constantly off balance, pulled almost violently between clinging to him and letting him go.
He never let go, though. He never let herlet go either.
And when he decided after a couple of exhausting weeks in the city and with a deadline looming that he needed the solitude of the Hamptons to finish Frozen Heat, she took surprisingly little convincing to join him for a long, hazy month that soon turned into a whole summer. In a house that instantly felt more familiar to her than it should have given their past summer history, solitude and space gave her the time to decompress. Time to sleep and rest and heal, to deal with everything that had happened to her and eventually, as the month drew to a close, to wrap her head around the realisation that even after everything, she still wanted to be a detective.
To realise that the right reasons had been in there all along, even if she lost sight of them along the way, buried under the chaos and destruction of the case that has already cost her one life too many.
She promised herself under the starlight that this time she really would be different.
He promised it right along with her.
That's not to say that it was a whole summer of introspection. She also got to spend the summer with Richard Castle the writer. She had loved him for a long time already at that point, but she spent that heady summer right in the middle of falling in love with him, which was entirely different and utterly overwhelming all on its own.
Add to that the fact that in a roundabout way his books were saving her again and it's fair to say that her inner fangirl went a little… haywire.
She had never seen the disciplined writer in him before, but she found that he was awake before her every morning, throwing the bedroom doors wide open and sitting out on the balcony with his laptop propped on his knees in the early morning sunlight as the words poured out of him with a ferocity that she didn't think existed.
She found it fascinating and arousing and endearing, all rolled into one.
As well as falling in love with the man himself, she also spent the month falling more in love with the ways he wakes her up. Sometimes it was the light clacking of keys that woke her. Other times it was a gentle breeze whispering over skin he'd left too sensitive the night before, and sometimes (her favourite times) it was him, crawling back beneath the sheets and doing unspeakable things to her. Struck with inspiration or looking for it, she was never quite sure.
She didn't ask, because she was also starting to learn that sometimes it's not all about the answers.
Alexis split her summer between the city and the Hamptons, flitting back and forth when the mood took her, and Kate made a conscious decision to grab with both hands the chance to begin to repair their relationship. Alexis was cautious and maybe more than a little suspicious even if she didn't seem to disapprove of their relationship. Kate wouldn't have blamed her for it even if she did.
She decided to start by trying to be her friend, rather than forcing her way in as the love of her father's life.
It was slow going at first, full of a lot of conversations packed with anger and sometimes tears (the latter more often from Kate, which seemed to be becoming an ever more frequent vulnerability that she's still figuring out exactly how to deal with, if she's honest), but one afternoon she spotted a small pile of magazine cuttings on the coffee table, from which she thought Alexis was starting to plan her dorm room. The cuttings were eclectic and stylish and everything that described Alexis, but in the same breath they struck her as being a little too sophisticated for a college student. And so before she could convince herself that it was a bad idea, she found herself writing down the address of a little shop she loves and leaving it on top of the pile of cuttings. She and Lanie stumbled upon the shop back when she was trying to find a place to start in decorating her 'new' apartment from scratch, and they both fell in love with it at first sight. They tend to go back around payday, initially to slowly replace all the things that Kate lost, but eventually using it as a reason to get together.
When she came back after the summer she spent in her father's cabin trying desperately to put the broken pieces of herself back together, a Saturday afternoon trip to this very shop was how she fixed her relationship with Lanie.
To say that it's special to them would be an understatement.
It means something to her, and she had never shared it with anyone else before. But somehow it felt right to share it with Alexis. Somehow, it felt like the place that fixed her and Lanie might be able to fix them, too.
Alexis didn't mention it that week, but when she returned to the Hamptons after a long weekend in the city, she brought with her a large paper bag bearing the shop's logo and hesitantly asked Kate for her opinion on what she had purchased.
Castle emerged from a haze of writing hours later to find them sketching out a plan of Alexis's dorm room on the living room floor. He honest to God swung Kate off her feet (which was no mean achievement, considering she was lying on the floor at the time), and she would swear that there were tears in his eyes when he stood her down. The look on his daughter's face had already told her that the shop had been a secret worth sharing, and so she kept his reaction all for herself.
Lying in bed that night with her fingers tangled in his hair as he battled the novel-induced exhaustion that always leaves him struggling to sleep, she told him the story of how the shop had saved a friendship once already.
He told her that it had saved two now.
The summer passed with the completion of Frozen Heat, and with it they make their way back to the city and eventually to the twelfth. Alexis went off to college and they found themselves starting to settle into a routine. Hand in hand with that routine, it started to be the alarm clock or a phone call that woke them. But somehow, rather than resenting it she found herself revelling in the familiarity. It convinced her that she really was making the right decision in returning to the precinct and the job she loves, and she also found that it makes the mornings when he doesget to wake her up feel all the more special.
She's never really considered herself to be much of a relationship girl, but she has realised quickly that if there's anyone to help her prove that wrong it will be him. She's not talking about Richard Castle the author, certainly not referring to Rick Castle the playboy persona, and not even thinking about the Castle she's spent four years working side by side. The man who has been helping her prove herself wrong is just Rick. The man she's sharing her life with, who definitely is a relationship kind of a man.
Even as time passed and they settled into their relationship, she found herself biting her lip when she called him by his given name. It's still Castle that she calls him at work, and it's definitely still Castle that slips out when she's angry or pissed off or turned on (and sometimes, when the three merge into one heady rush), but when she's tired or thoroughly satiated or just plain loves him more than she can put into words, it's Rick that she finds herself whispering.
It's also how she greets him when he wakes her up.
The plot for his fifth Nikki Heat novel came to him somewhere around their second month back in the city, and suddenly he was running himself ragged, splitting his time between publicity for Frozen Heat, cases with her, time with her, and the new novel, Reheat.
He had already warned her, lying in bed late one night in the Hamptons as she tried to learn everything she could about this man, body and soul, that he doesn't tend to write to a normal person's schedule. She doesn't work to a normal person's schedule either so she foolishly didn't think it would be a problem, but she still found that it took some time to get used to the way that he would fall asleep with her but be gone from her side within the hour.
But on the nights when she wasn't awoken by a phone call, he always tried to come back in minutes before her alarm went off, turning it off and waking her himself with his lips on hers, his fingers sliding through her hair or curling at her cheek. He was always gone before she was fully awake, back in Nikki and Rook's world before she was even out of bed, but the simple, affectionate gesture somehow said I love you like his words never could, and noticeably improved her mood for the rest of the day, without fail.
Even the boys noticed.
They felt like they were few and far between, but there were still mornings when she woke up alone, padding into his office to find him slumped over his laptop in the early morning light, dead to the world. Those were the mornings when she got to wake him up, carding her fingers through his hair as she soothed him back to consciousness and drew him back to bed, trying to speak her love into the gestures as much as he did.
Alexis comes over for breakfast on Sundays, because she might be a college girl now but she's a daddy's girl at heart, and Kate began to make a conscious effort to be there and awake and alert, to not let her work intrude into her weekends.
Murder doesn't work to anyone's schedule though, so there have been more times than she would like when she was dragged from a precious couple of hours sleep on a Sunday morning after closing a case the night before by the smell of waffles or pancakes and the gentle chatter of father and daughter.
They invited her father to join them one weekend, and it happened to be a weekend when Martha was out of the city. She doesn't know why it had never struck her before, but she suddenly found herself overwhelmed by the similarity of their situations, and when she locked eyes with Alexis across the table she saw the same realisation dawn in the younger woman's eyes.
It changed something between them, although she still can't quite put her finger on exactly what that was.
She already felt like she was all but living with the girl's father sometimes, but that was the first time that she saw a look in Alexis's eyes that suggested that she might be okay with the idea eventually becoming fact.
He's whispered it to her more than once, that particular idea. Late at night with a different reason each time, when her eyes are just drifting shut and she knows that he's hoping her defences will be lowered enough to say yes.
"Move in with me."
She always manages to find him a smile and a kiss goodnight, but she hasn't said yes yet.
He started to get a little more serious as they settled further into their relationship, painting her a picture of their life together just as it is now, only a little more permanent.
A little more settled.
And as he whispers it in her ear while they're lying in bed it's beautiful and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time, but she's been a flight risk almost from the start and while she's in this, really, totally in this, it's just been too much for her to cope with.
Even though it's the feature of her dreams more often than not, these days.
Sometimes she thinks his creepy Jedi mind reading trick means he really does know what she's dreaming about, because when he wakes her up the morning after he's always got a gentle smile and 'one day, Kate,' on his lips.
And for now, that she can cope with.
She remembers how he woke her up the morning after Will Sorenson sauntered back onto the scene two months ago when their murder investigation suddenly became linked to a series of chilling kidnappings. She and Will parted on surprisingly good terms four years ago and had kept in touch, albeit on a largely professional basis. He was a big part of her life at one point, whether he broke her heart or not, and when she had returned from her father's cabin two summers ago to find a letter from him waiting for her, she hadn't hesitated in taking him up on his invitation to meet for coffee the next time he was in the city.
And she thinks that maybe they actually work better as friends than they ever did as a couple.
She thinks Will has probably known that she would end up with Castle all along, so when they stepped into the break room to get some coffee before she brought him up to speed and he asked whether things had changed between them, she didn't hesitate in saying yes.
He sounded genuinely happy for them and went on to tell her about his own relationship, but even though she grabbed Rick when he arrived for a stolen moment in the stairwell before he could come face to face with her ex-boyfriend, and even though they had already had a remarkably candid conversation about their exes, known and unknown, she still watched the jealousy spark across his face throughout the day.
So when he woke her up in the early hours of the following morning from her uncomfortable position on the break room couch with a kiss pressed to her lips and some gentle words in her ear so that she didn't startle, she wasn't surprised. And when she rested a hand on his forearm to lift herself up, she was even less surprised to find Will leaning in the doorway.
They shared a silent nod before Will wished them both goodnight, and she suggested to her partner that he be a little more subtle when staking his claim next time, before allowing him to take her home, too.
They solved the case in record time and she bid farewell to her ex from the comfort of The Old Haunt where they had gathered after closing the case, NYPD and FBI alike. She asked later, just for her own piece of mind, and confirmed that the choice of venue was Rick's idea of more subtle.
By the time they got home he had apparently decided to channel his jealousy into the bedroom, and when he woke her up the next morning she could barely walk, let alone channel any desire to move.
He asked if that was subtle enough for her and she couldn't even bring herself to try and hit him because somehow she loved him even more for it.
That's not to say that every time he wakes her up is perfect, though.
They've argued. Boy, have they argued.
She isn't surprised that it happens because it's them, but she has sure as hell been surprised by how much it hurts when it does. She still remembers bursting into tears right in the middle of their first big fight, utterly consumed by how much it hurt to fight with him when she's finally able to openly love him as much as she does. His anger had dissipated in a second as fat, angry tears rolled their way down her cheeks, and she had sobbed in his arms as they sank onto the couch until she was all cried out.
When he woke her up the next morning, they had to talk about what happened - what they were angry about, and what had made her react the way she did. It was a conversation that threatened to break her heart, but he kept her fingers tightly gripped in his as they sat together in his bed, his thumb stroking out a soothing rhythm on her wrist every time tears flooded her eyes, and somehow they got through it.
She's never been the emotional one in relationships before, and she honestly thought that would be the same in this relationship. This was Richard Castle. If she had thought that anyone was going to be the girl…
In a way it was liberating, not being able to hide the extent of what she felt for him. Given their past history they were always going to be the type of couple who couldn't survive secrets, especially where their feelings were concerned. That was new, and terrifying but more than anything, overwhelmingly right.
And so it hurts just as much every single time they fight, but every time he wakes her up the morning after with his thumb stroking that same soothing pattern on her wrist as he whispers 'always' in her ear, and she's finally starting to believe that they might actually be able weather any fight.
Because waking up with him, good or bad, storm or no storm, is just about perfect.
Even now, his fingers are light as they trip across her cheek, encouraging her into wakefulness and away from the memories skimming the surface of her consciousness.
He's gentle. Too gentle even for a morning when she knows she doesn't have to go to work. As she blinks her eyes open the light in her bedroom is dim, but she finds that her eyes are puffy and sore and focusing hurts.
And then it all comes flooding back to her, at about the same moment that she manages to focus enough to catch the hauntingly concerned look in his eyes as he hovers over her.
Oh. Last night was bad.
She remembers the room spinning and lights flashing, that all-encompassing terror that she can never seem to hide from, and she remembers… calling him.
Him using his key, frantic and worried and finding her backed up against a wall with her gun in her hands. She doesn't know how long it took him to get there, doesn't remember much of what happened. She was barely capable of speaking, her awareness drifting even before he managed to get the gun out of her shaking fingers.
Somewhere in the back of her mind she thinks she remembers him putting her to bed, but she's not quite sure whether her brain is making that assumption because she's woken up in her bed with him there, or whether it's an actual memory.
Either way, she knows already that she feels calmer than she's ever felt the morning after an attack that bad. It's also the first time that she's woken up with someone there since that summer in her dad's cabin, and that on its own…
"Good morning, beautiful," he whispers softly, making her realise she must have been staring at him for a while. His voice is warm and familiar and quietly comforting, but as his fingertips graze her cheek there's a fear present that she can't quite process. It still feels like she's entirely detached from the conversation, as though she's in a little bubble that even his words that have saved her so many times before can't quite reach though.
"Morning," she manages eventually, her voice coming out hoarse and raw. Reaching out for him before he can speak again, she's not graceful or co-ordinated and her fingers fumble slightly against his bicep. She's used to her perception and awareness taking a hit the morning after, as she struggles away from the panic that still feels like it's lingering at the edge of her body, but she's not used to anyone being around to witness it until she's got a handle on it enough to control it.
His fingers brush her hair away from her face as he watches her, but then he's reaching away from her, his hand coming back into vision with a cool washcloth that he holds silently under one eye and then the other. It throws her instantly back to their very first morning after, taking her breath away and leaving tears stinging her already sore eyes, flooding her vision and threatening to take her under again as she hears him whispering her name, showing her that gentleness she had doubted that first morning.
She manages to suck in a deep breath when his hands cup her cheeks, but as she tries to bring her own hands up to cover his, to anchor herself to him, she finds that they're shaking. That's all that it takes for the tears to spill over, roll down her cheeks. To his credit, he doesn't push and he doesn't even panic, he just wipes her tears quietly away with the gentlest of touches even though this is the first time she's ever let herself be so vulnerable in front of him.
And then she realises. That's the trigger.
That's what's hindering her struggle against the panic, a vulnerability that should only be a good thing, should only be helping her, but it's a feeling so new and so utterly terrifying that she doesn't know how to cope with it on top of everything else.
And even that realisation alone helps her to draw in a steadier breath, to curl her fingers against his arms and quell the shaking ever so slightly. After a couple more steady breaths she tries for a smile to reassure him, but as his fingers curl around her jaw there are tears in his eyes too.
She shivers violently and even though she's not really cold and even though it's just another facet of the panic, it seems to spur him into action.
"Are you cold?" he whispers, seeming almost frantic as he forces the question out. He doesn't wait for her to answer before he continues. "You're cold," he asserts. "You haven't stopped shivering. Even while you were asleep you were shivering and I couldn't keep you warm enough, Kate."
Her heart breaks, right there. Shatters into little pieces at the panic in his stumbling words and she suddenly can't catch her breath all over again.
This is her fault. He doesn't know that this is normal, because she's never let him see this.
"I'm not cold, Castle," she manages to whisper, her voice shaking as much as her arms as she tries to sit up, unable to cope with the panic in his eyes. "Rick," she breathes, finding herself almost breathless with the effort as she reaches her hands up to cup his cheeks. She needs to take it easy the morning after, she knows that. But he… she just can't. "I'm not cold," she whispers, letting her thumb stroke across his lip gently. "I'm not cold. It's just… it's just one of the ways that the panic and the PTSD manifest themselves," she explains quietly, her words still sounding like they're not coming from her own lips as she falls back on the explanation Dr Burke had given her after the sniper case that nearly tore her apart and left her feeling like she couldn't get warm for weeks.
"PTSD?" he chokes out quietly, and she has to close her eyes, let her forehead fall heavily against his shoulder. She's good for nothing the morning after a panic attack like that, and this is too much, too quick.
"You had to know that, Rick," she manages to whisper, unable to stop herself flinching when his fingers tighten at her sides, too much pressure on the scar pulsing with a phantom pain that always makes itself known the morning after, leaving her struggling to catch her breath. He jerks away violently at her flinch, eyes wide and panicked, and she almost falls against the pillows without the strength in her arms to steady herself.
Clenching her fists tightly in the sheets, she sucks in the deepest breath she can manage, shallow as it is, and lays a hand on his thigh. She has got to stop him panicking.
"Rick," she breathes quietly. "Castle. You need to breathe for me, okay? I can't have both of us like this, and I can't control mine so you need to breathe." He sucks in a couple of breaths as her words seem to resonate, and she can't help but envy him just a little for the way he recovers so quickly.
"I just…" he sighs heavily and seems to come back to himself with a deep intake of breath, his fingers coming gentle against her side as he looks at her. "You haven't used the term before," he tells her quietly, shaking his head a little. "It was a little overwhelming." She can only nod slowly, resting a hand against his for a moment before turning to try and prop up the pillows so she can rest. He's there with her seconds later, and as he helps her sink back against the pillows she finally manages a slightly deeper breath.
He quietly passes her a bottle of water seconds later, and she smiles gratefully, uncapping it carefully and taking a slow sip. She knows he can probably see everything in her eyes this morning but she doesn't even have the energy to think about hiding anything from him.
Even her gratitude at something as simple as a drink of water.
His fingers card gently through her hair as she swallows, and she quietly watches him place the bottle on her nightstand and settle on his knees in front of her, concern still radiating from his gaze. The fingers stroking through her hair slide down to cup her jaw, and she lets the heavy weight of her head rest in his hand for a moment, relief coursing through her as she closes her eyes for a moment, lets him hold her until he starts to speak.
"You were just… so cold," he tells her quietly, and even though the anguish in his eyes is almost too hard for her to watch, she knows he needs to get this out. Knows that this is how he works. "I couldn't sleep, thinking you were cold," he whispers, pausing for a second. "You're not cold?" he asks, almost incredulously.
"Not really," she whispers softly, stretching her fingers out to his. She's about to say more, but he tangles their hands together, squeezing her fingers before running his thumb lightly over her knuckles.
"How much of last night do you remember?" he asks quietly.
"Not much," she tells him honestly, turning her hand over so they're palm to palm. He loosens his grip a little to let her, and she traces her fingertips lightly over his palm. "I'm sorry that it scared you," she offers softly.
"It terrified me, Kate," he sighs out instantly, watching her with a conflicted gaze as she lifts her eyes, forcing herself not to focus on the regularity of the pattern she draws on his palm. "Does this… happen a lot?" How did I not know it was this bad?" Rubbing his eyes with his free hand, he almost looks apologetic for shooting questions at her as he does, but she manages a little smile at him because she wouldn't want him to be anything but his normal self, even when she feels like this.
It seems to encourage him a little closer, and she tilts her head into his palm as his fingers reach up and curl to cup her skull.
"It happens," she answers quietly, taking time to consider her words. "More than I would like, but not as much anymore. This bad? Four, maybe five times before. How did you not know?" she asks, sighing softly.
"Kate," he breathes, but she shakes her head.
"No, Rick, it's okay. You didn't know because I didn't tell you." Her answer is straight and to the point. They've had this conversation before, and she's glad because she doesn't think she has it in her to get into it now. Not this morning, not when he's touching her so gently and still looking at her like she's the most precious thing in his world, even after everything she's put him through.
"I'm glad you have now," he tells her quietly, and she can hear nothing but affection in his words as she lets out a shuddering breath of relief, the words she's been holding back coming right along with it.
"It's actually kind of nice, having someone here." He goes silent for a long moment, shock and awe and love battling through his expression as he sucks in a shaky breath.
And then he speaks.
"Move in with me." He looks just as surprised as she does, like he didn't intend for the words to come out of his mouth.
"Wh… what?" she manages quietly, knowing that she can't mask her shock any more than he can. He's a writer. Even when they argue and he's angrier than she's ever seen him, his words seem calm and measured. Considered. Nothing like the four little words that-
"Move in with me Kate."
He's said it before, oh he's said it before, but he's never had a look in his eyes like this before. And suddenly her heart is beating double time and she can't tell whether it's panic or something… more.
Because those words were considered.
"Rick…" she whispers eventually, but he cuts her off before she can get any further, insistent and worried and completely in love with her as he stumbles over his words.
"No, Kate. I'm not joking. I can't… I can't do this again. I can't find you like I did last night again, so move in with me so I can be there before it gets that bad."
Her writer. She just… there are no words. She can't even organise her thoughts into anything that makes sense, let alone put anything into words.
"You didn't… I can't," she mumbles, confused by the pounding of her heart and the residual panic and the PTSD that still lingers on the edge of her consciousness.
"I'm not taking it back this time," he tells her quietly, seriously, and her heart pounds even faster. She knows it's all over her face, knows he can see exactly how much she wants it.
"I love you," she manages eventually, even as the exhaustion hits her with a vengeance. It's her least favourite part of the after effects of these crippling panic attacks, the way her body gives up and gives in to the encompassing weakness, folding in on itself before she's tried to do anything.
But he's there catching her, even though she has nowhere to fall, and somehow the word yes is almost on her lips.
"I love you too," he tells her quietly, before she manages to find the confidence to voice it. "I love you Kate, and I'm not taking it back because this is killing me, but I don't want you to answer me now." Something eases in her chest as he tells her that, and she watches him through tired, aching eyes as he continues. "We need to talk about this more," he murmurs, easing the pillows down beneath her until she's lying down, "but you're exhausted. You already know all of the reasons why I want you to move in with me more than anything else, but you deserve to hear them again now that I'm asking properly. I want you to hear them again, so you don't have to answer me now," he whispers, pressing a gentle, lingering kiss to her lips as he settles down beside her.
Turning her face into his chest, uncharacteristically for her, she lets him fold her into his arms, lets him keep her warm and protect her. It goes against every panic-heightened survival instinct in her, but even though she's battling the heavy after effects of her panic attack and fighting against sleep, it's somehow not so hard to let him him take a little of her hard defended control.
She can give him that.
"Later?" she asks quietly.
"Later," he whispers softly, and she can feel the smile on his lips as they press against her forehead. "Sleep," he continues, fingers tripping lightly, down her spine, finally soothing and calming her. "It's still early, so sleep a little. I'll be here when you wake up, and I'll ask you again, Kate. I'll ask you again and this time you'll say yes."
She doesn't remember much after that, but when she wakes up with him later that morning, pressing a kiss to the corner of his lips with her whole body curled into his, she tells him before he can ask that yes, she'll move in with him.
Because even through the panic she realises that she wants nothing more than for him to wake her up in their bed.