Waiting the Walls

By Dana Keylits

A/N: This story was one of the first I conceived, but was afraid to write for fear of being drummed out of the world of Castle fan ficiton. But then, Angie challenged me to convince her that this could have happened this way, so I took the bait.

Here's my story, my take on what happens at the end of The Limey. I hope you enjoy it. And, please, keep an open mind.

Is he trying to hurt her? Because if he is, it's working. She's in pain. She's in a lot of pain, actually. The kind of pain that consumes you from the inside out, and makes you wonder why you were ever foolish enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable to even the possibility of it. This is the pain that Kate has spent most of her adult life trying to avoid.

It's what the wall was for.

Lanie had said, talk to him, tell him how you feel, and Kate had tried, but he didn't have time for her.

Because Jacinda had the Ferrari double parked.

And, she was waiting. Waiting for him.

Jacinda was, what did he say? Fun and uncomplicated? Exactly what his life needed right now? It didn't take Sigmund Effing Freud to know what he'd meant by that.

Kate was a lot of things, but uncomplicated was most certainly not one of them. Her life, while simple on the surface (she deliberately kept it that way), was hardly without complexity. The weird thing is, Castle had always liked that about her. Or, at least, that's what he'd said.

But now, for some inexplicable reason that he isn't sharing, complex is not what Castle's life needs right now. Evidently, he needs fun, and blonde, and big breasted, and easy. He does not, it seems, need her, or her complicated, well-used, color-coordinated full set of baggage.

So, stuck in the swirling flux of her feelings about Castle and the big-boobed blonde, she'd called Detective Inspector Hunt and accepted his offer of a drink. Which, in all likelihood, was really a thinly veiled offer of sex.

And, she didn't care. In fact, the way she was feeling right now, she might just take him up on that offer, too. Why not? It's not as if she had any chance with Castle. Certainly not after this. He'd made it perfectly clear. He didn't want her.

So, sex with Colin Hunt? Why fucking not?

You know why not.

Shut up. She swatted the question away as she would any other annoying, buzzing, blood-sucking pest.

And, she would deal with Lanie, and her horribly timed advice, later.

Right now? Right now, she was going to forget.

Castle had been fumbling with the GPS on his phone when he happened to glance out the window of his Ferrari at the exact moment that Kate and that priggish Brit, Colin Hunt, dashed out of the 12th precinct and into the back of a cab.

What the fuck? Where was Kate going with Colin Hunt? The case was over. Hunt was going back to London, so, why was she with him?

Why do you care? You're with Jacinda.

Except, he does care. He cares a lot. He's always cared. But, he sure as hell isn't going to tell Kate that. Not after finding out she doesn't feel for him what he feels for her. No, the best thing he can do is move on, cut his losses, let go of the fantasy that he and Kate have any kind of romantic, or otherwise, future together.

And, Jacinda is going to help him do it.

He puts the Ferrari in drive, hits the gas, and squeals away from the curb. They have dinner reservations at Q3, and then, later? Maybe a night of play at the Verit club. He wasn't going to let Beckett, and her night out with Colin fucking Hunt, get in the way of that.

She is already on her second drink, a Bombay Sapphire on the rocks with three olives, and she's feeling lightheaded and free. Free enough to flirt with Colin, to catch his double entendres, toss them around a bit, and then lob them right back at him with the skill and cunning of an aging Geisha.

The hotel bar is crowded, so when they'd arrived, there had only been one bar stool available, Colin insisted Kate take it, then he stood in front of her, his legs just inside the vee of hers. Close. Very close. Close enough that she could smell the alcohol on his breath.

Too close.

Shut up. He's close enough. Close enough to help her forget, to help take the sting of Castle's rejection away, to dull the pain, just a bit.

Except it hasn't done that, has it?

It's enough for now. She puts the glass to her lips and takes a generous sip before sliding one of the olives off the red plastic skewer, never taking her eyes from his. He watches her. A sideways smile creeps along his face, and his eyes drop to her lips as she darts her tongue out to lick the remnants of the alcohol from them. He nudges closer.

Too close.

This is what she wants. This will help her forget, move on, get over him. At least, that's what she's telling herself. That's what she's hoping for. To forget. Forget Richard Castle and his bimbos and book parties and money and ruggedly handsome good looks.

But, you love his ruggedly handsome good looks.

And his ex-wives and his coffee, his always bringing her coffee.

You love that, too.

And, his need for uncomplicated and fun. Especially that, she especially needs to forget that!

Colin studies her, his eyes shiny with want. He leans in, his lips hover just near hers, waiting for her to pull away, and when she doesn't, he kisses her, nibbles at her bottom lip, their tongues meet, curling, dipping, tasting each other. Her hands lay still in her lap as she loses her breath, her senses, he doesn't taste right, or feel right, but she ignores this, and kisses him back, snaking one hand around the back of his neck, her fingers coiling through the tendrils of hair there.

She whimpers into his mouth before he gently pulls away, moving his lips to her ear. His voice low and raspy, "I haven't checked out of my room yet, what do you say we take this upstairs?"

She opens her eyes, hazy and unfocused, and stares at the twinkling lights on the wall beyond them. Without thinking, without feeling, she softly whispers into his ear, "Yes."

He's not very good company, he knows this. But, Jacinda prattles on anyway, ignoring his distractedness. He tries, nodding his head every now and then, laughing when he thinks it appropriate. But his mind misbehaves and wanders to thoughts of Kate. Thoughts of Kate and Colin, and what they might be doing now. He wishes he'd followed them.

You have no right, jackass.

He knows this. Knows he has no right. He's the one who's pushing her away. But then again, doesn't he have good reason? Isn't she the one who didn't have the guts to tell him the truth? He could have dealt with it. It would have hurt, but he'd have gotten over it. But this? This stringing him along? Letting him believe that she might love him, when in fact, she doesn't? How can he forgive her that?

Are you sure she doesn't love you? And, haven't you been lying to her, too?

That's different. His lie is to protect her. To keep her safe, keep her alive. His lie is for good reason.

Maybe she has a good reason, too. You've never bothered to ask her.

Fuck. Jacinda is laughing now, hard, her boobs bobbing up and down from it. He lets out a hardy guffaw while plastering a fake smile on his face, wondering what the hell has her so amused.

"You can't even possibly believe it!" She exclaims.

"I know, right?" He replies, having no idea what she's talking about. He raises a finger to the waiter. "Another round, please."

"Oh, Ricky, you are such a good listener! My last boyfriend never listened to me! He always interrupted, said I talked too much! But you," she leans over and pinches his cheek, "you just let me go on and on."

"Well, I find you fascinating," he lies, beaming as brightly as he can, feeling like the miserable bastard he is.

You find her boobs fascinating, Ricky. Admit it.

He briefly closes his eyes, refocuses his brain, then leans in gazing into her eyes. "Tell me more," he requests, vowing that this time, he'll actually listen.

She smiles, slips off her heel, and runs her bare foot along his calf, slipping beneath his pant leg. "Would you like me to talk about what I think we should do, later?" She licks her lips.

He shudders, plops his elbow on the table, resting his chin in the palm of his hand and grins. "Yes, please." Help me forget, Jacinda. Help me forget Kate and her secrets and her evening with the annoyingly handsome Detective Inspector Colin Hunt, Scotland Yard.

They wait for the elevator in silence, she is leaning into him, looking down, not wanting to meet his gaze, but not wanting to lose contact either. Knowing that if she does, if she lets go, she will come to her senses and stop this nonsense. And then she will be left alone with her thoughts, her thoughts of Castle and Jacinda, alone with her longing, her pain, her confusion. And, she doesn't want to be alone anymore.

Being with him won't make the longing go away, Kate. You know that. You're longing is for Rick, not for Colin Hunt.

So they stand in silence until the elevator doors ping open and they step inside.

They're alone. Suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, or perhaps not so inexplicable, the atmosphere between them changes, charged with an atomic, intense, anticipation. Kate's breathing alters as her heart races and his eyes turn fractionally towards her, a dark hooded slate. She bites her lip.

"It's a long way up to my room," he growls. He lunges at her, pushing her against the wall of the elevator. Before she knows it, he's got both of her hands in one of his, gripping them above her head, pinning her to the wall using his hips. His other hand slips behind her neck, bringing her face up, and his lips are on hers, and it is almost painful. She parts her lips, moaning into his mouth, and he takes advantage, his tongue curiously exploring her mouth.

Her tongue tentatively seeks his, joining in a slow, erotic dance that's all about lust and excitement. Mainly his, but her, too. This surprises her. That she can feel this for him, feel excitement for him. She wonders what it means, it scares her.

He slides his hand down her front, over her sweater, between her breasts, and slips his fingers beneath the soft fabric to fan them around and over her bare back. She quivers, her hips involuntarily shift towards him, and she feels his erection on her belly. Oh my, this is real. This is really happening, she thinks, equal parts relieved and horrified.

And ashamed, there is a growing corner of shame, too, she admits.

The elevator stops, the doors open, and he pushes away from her, wiping his bottom lip, straightening the lapels of his jacket. Two men in business suits, obviously in town for a conference, look at both of them and smirk as they step on board. Kate's face turns crimson, and she wonders, what the hell am I doing?

You're evidently doing Colin Hunt. Or, at least, that's where this is headed. Is it really what you want?

No, what she really wants is Castle. But he is, at the moment, wanting fun and uncomplicated, in fact, he's probably doing fun and uncomplicated. So, there is no reason that she can't do Colin Hunt, thank you very much.

The doors open on the twenty-third floor and he takes her hand and leads her out, walking swiftly towards his room. She struggles to keep up but follows him, her good sense having been thoroughly and unceremoniously shed all over the walls and floor of the elevator. She isn't even thinking now. Not about anything. She's not feeling, either. Unless you count the tingly sensation of lust so unfamiliar to her, it isn't her, isn't who she is or what she's done before, which is why she is doing it now. She wants to be out of character, unpredictable, reckless. Fuck being safe, safe is what got her where she is with Castle.

That wasn't safe, Kate. That was something else. You may not know, entirely, but it's all tied up to how much you love him. You know that, right?

Her hand flies up in the air, in a swatting motion, relegating her better thoughts to the dark corners of her brain, where you belong, god dammit, she thinks.

They arrive at the door to his room, he slips the card key into the slot, squeezes her hand, and they cross the threshold together.

He'd arranged for a playroom at the Verit Club, which is where they are now, in the elevator, ascending the floors, the air thick with alcohol-fueled lust, hers not his, and regret, his, not hers.

Too late now, playboy. You're here.

This is what he said he wanted, isn't it? Fun? Uncomplicated? Isn't that what he'd told Kate back at the precinct, when she'd asked him...

She'd asked if she could talk to you. She doesn't do that a lot. You should have listened.

They enter the room, not much more than a bed, a couple of tables, a Bose radio, and a bottle of champaign hastily stuck in ice, two glasses beside it. Chocolate covered strawberries innocently rest in a glass bowl. Glancing around the room, It all seems so wrong to him now. When he'd ordered it, he'd thought it a good idea; romantic, setting the mood, but now it seems, well, it seems indecent.

Jacinda is oblivious to Castle's internal turmoil and self-indulgent musings as she takes command of the room, dropping her purse and coat in the corner chair, then holding out both hands to him as she studies him with half closed eyes and a crooked smile. Castle takes her long, well-manicured fingers into his without knowing what his next move should be, even as she pulls him close.

She drops his hands, stepping closer, and runs her fingers over his face, seemingly turned on by his five-o-clock shadow, as she lightly scratches it with her long, red fingernails, her eyes dropping to gaze at his lips.

She instructs him to open the bottle and he pops the cork, the champagne fizzing out before she can catch it with her glass, wetting her wrist and hand. She flicks her wrist, shaking the champaign from her hand as she giggles, and Castle is surprised that he feels no impulse to lick the drops glittering off her alabaster skin, something he would normally not even consider not doing.

But, he is nailed to the floor, mute, stripped of all desire for this entirely desirable woman.

He feels even more like an ass.

Then why don't you stop it? Now? Stop it, right now!

Because right now, she is with Colin Fucking Hunt, Scotland Yard.

She fills the glasses and sets them, without tasting them, on the small round table beside the bed, then comes to him, and with expert fingers unbuttons his red dress shirt, fanning her fingers over the broad expanse of his chest, her fingernails leaving long thin scratch marks along his ribcage, before tickling his flesh just above the waistband of his pants. "Take these off," she commands, already divesting him of his jacket and shirt.

He pauses, paralyzed, holding his breath. She giggles, taking it as a sign that he is so aroused he has lost the ability to move, to breathe, to talk. She again takes command, pushing him onto the bed, she slips off her heels and climbs on top of him, hiking her skirt up enough so she can straddle him.

Her perfume is suffocating, and it smells wrong. It's too pungent, too flowery, and it distracts him, interferes with his desire to just be with her. Why can't he just be with her? This is something he used to do without blinking.

You know why. It's because Kate has ruined you.

Noise from the street filters in through the closed windows and he is arrested from his thoughts. She reaches for one of the glasses, a lock of wavy blonde hair falls across her face, and she drinks a sip of champagne before offering him the same glass. He empties it with a desperate gulp, a drowning man, seeking restorative measure from it's intoxicating properties. She grabs the other glass, holding it to his lips and he drains it, too.

"Thirsty boy," she purrs.

Slowly, she releases the pearl buttons of her blouse from their confinement, and shrugs the silky blouse from her shoulders. Her hips start rocking against him, coaxing him, luring him, calling for him to respond.

Her breasts are round and full, luscious. Castle admires her well proportioned body, the firm legs with fine ankles, the voluptuous buttocks and thighs, the indented waist, the elegant fingers that are currently kneading the muscles of his bicep, while her pelvis rocks back and forth over him. He closes his eyes, concentrating on her, on her sensuality, her coquetry and teasing submission.

But nothing. There is nothing. He cannot rise for her.

She leans down, places her lips on his in a deep, languid kiss, then sits back up, grabs a strawberry and avidly pops it into her mouth, a thread of juice falling from her lips and down her chin. With a finger, she traces the trail of the fruit, a thin crimson drop, and rubs it on his lips. She bends down, enveloping him in her wild blonde hair, kissing him fully on the mouth, and with her tongue, passes him the piece of fruit she had bitten off. Castle accepts the fruit, smiling at her with a shiver of surprise.

But still, nothing.

She scoots down until her bottom is on his thighs, then with furious fingers releases him from this clothing. She takes him in her hand, and gently strokes, purring, humming, whispering sexy nothings at him. He closes his eyes and falls to her.

But all he can see behind his shuttered eyelids is Kate. The hurt in her eyes as he walked away from her at the precinct, her slumped shoulders as she sat at her desk while he callously stepped onto the elevator, a witness to her pain, but so hurt himself he did nothing about it. A sob rises from his chest and tumbles over his lips.

He covers her hand with his, "Jacinda,"

She pauses, then removes her hand and he quickly zips up, sitting up, she slides off of him.

"Jacinda, I'm so sorry."

The bedroom of the two-room suite is vast. The ceiling-high windows look out onto the Manhattan skyline, framing the tall buildings and their sharp, perfect angles. The bed is huge, a king, and inviting, full of soft pillows and a fluffy goose-down filled comforter.

She is quaking like a leaf, she's going to do it, she's going to have sex with Detective Inspector Hunt, and she feels strangely otherworldly about it, as though someone else has taken possession of her body and is orchestrating this unholy tryst.

There is still time. Still time to back out, to go home, to pick up the pieces and move on.

He removes his watch and places it on the nightstand, then his jacket, and shoes. He unbuttons the cuffs of his shirt, and saunters towards her. Both of his hands are in her chestnut hair, grasping each side of her head. His kiss is demanding, his tongue and lips coaxing hers. He puts his arms around her and hauls her against his body, squeezing tightly. One hand remains in her hair, the other travels down her spine to her waist and down to her behind. His hand flexes over the curves of her ass and squeezes gently. He holds her against his hips, and she feels his erection, which he languidly pushes into her.

She feels as though someone has removed all of the air from the room and she is slowly suffocating. She releases his kiss, gasping for air, and turns, moving her body so that he is against her back. She leans forwards and places her palms against the bed, seeking to steady herself.

Her feelings are a jumbled mixture of excitement, despair, frustration, guilt, lust, pain, shame. She cannot get a handle on it, cannot come to herself, reason with herself, understand what is happening. Why isn't this easier? Why can't she just do it? Why does she feel like she's going to faint?

Colin misunderstands her breathlessness and wiggles against her, bringing his arms around her front, he slips his fingers beneath the fabric of her soft, cream colored sweater, and before she can decide if this is what she wants, he lifts it up and over her head. He skillfully releases her breasts from her bra, and fondles them with both palms, his fingers teasing her hardened nipples. She leans against him, her head falling backwards against his shoulder, her eyes squeezed shut. A sorrowful moan escapes her lips.

Stop! No! No! No! This is NOT what you want.

Fuck what I want, Kate thinks. Fun and uncomplicated, I'm trying to be fun and uncomplicated.

He places his hands on her hips and turns her, so she is again facing him. They kiss and she can hardly contain the riotous feelings that rampage throughout her body, she is so utterly confused. Gripping his upper arms, his biceps are predictably strong, she moves her hands up to his face and into his golden brown hair. It's soft, unruly, she tugs at it gently and he groans into her mouth.

He shuffles her towards the bed, she feels it behind her knees and eases onto it, laying back. He quickly removes his shirt, and works the buckle of his belt before joining her on the bed. He trails kisses up her belly, his tongue dipping into her navel. She claws at the comforter beneath her, flushed, too hot, too cold, uncertain, her brain screaming a cacophony of blasphemous thoughts at her, too many to sort through. But she doesn't stop him.

He reaches her chest, blowing very gently on one nipple as his hand moves to the other breast, his thumb slowly rolls the end of the other nipple, elongating it. She groans, feeling the sweet sensation all the way to her groin, and she cries out, a tortured sob building from deep within her chest. This isn't supposed to feel good, she thinks.

What is it supposed to feel like, Kate? If it isn't supposed to feel good, what is it supposed to feel like?

His hand travels down her waist, past the sharp slope of her hip, and then he cups her, intimately, over the fabric of her jeans. He unsnaps them, tugging at the zipper and his fingers slip beneath the fine lace of her panties. "Mmmm," he growls, "you're wearing a thong."

She is startled by his voice, it's wrong, it's the wrong voice.

Well, whose voice were you expecting?

Castle. She was expecting it to be Castle's voice.

His fingers slowly circle her there and she briefly closes her eyes, her breath hitching in her throat. He palms her, rubbing, coaxing, about to slip one finger inside of her when she grabs his wrist.

"Colin," she chokes.

He pulls his hand away and she sits up, gently nudging him away from her.

"Colin, I'm so sorry."

Jacinda had been understanding, sweet even, and Castle felt like a complete heel, a complete and utter jackass. Not only had he hurt Kate in all of this, he'd used Jacinda as a weapon. He was ashamed, embarrassed, and hating himself right now, because this is not who he is anymore. It certainly isn't who he wants to be. In spite of his hurt, his anger directed towards her, Kate has still made him want to be a better man.

He'd let Jacinda believe that it was a physical thing, he could see no upside, for any of them, in telling her the truth, so he'd let her assume he'd forgotten his Viagra. End of story.

They'd left together, he'd dropped her off at her flat, and then drove as quickly home as he could, shaking his head every few minutes at his sheer stupidity and brutal callousness.

As soon as he enters his loft, he calls out for his mother and Alexis. Thankfully, neither are home and he makes a b-line for his bedroom and en-suite bath. He needs a shower. He needs to wash away his guilt and shame, his regret and pain and remorse.

And, he needs to get the scent of her perfume off of him, before it chokes him to death.

She draws a bath, having already peeled off every stitch of her clothing, dumping it unceremoniously into the wicker hamper she keeps in a corner of her bathroom. When the tub is half filled with hot soapy water, she eases into it, the scalding water burning her skin.

Good, she thinks, it's what you deserve.

She'd cried the whole way home, her head hanging low as she'd sat in the back of the cab, her hair providing a curtain from which she could hide behind. Colin had been sweet, even saying he was surprised she'd let it go as far as it had. He'd explained that he could sense something between her and Castle. Knew that he was just a rebound affair. She hadn't bothered to correct him, tell him that she and Castle had never had an affair to begin with, so how could it be a rebound, but decided it wasn't important. In essence, he'd been right. And, he'd been okay with that, given he was about to step onto a plane that would carry him across the ocean, and they would, in all likelihood, never cross paths again.

Now, she just wants to wash it all away, scrub away the pain, the guilt, the shame, the remorse. Scrub away the completely incorrect scent of him on her.

When the water reaches a dangerously high level, she shuts it off with her toe and sinks down deeply into the tub, the water and bubbles settling around her chin. She closes her eyes, and cries, the motion of her sob-racked body sending the water in waves that crash against the edge of the tub, spilling over, dripping onto the floor, only to be soaked up by the large bathmat that protects the tiles beneath.

She scrubs her face with both hands, trying to scrub away the image of Colin's lips on hers, of the shameful way she'd behaved. What had she been doing in therapy for the last year, if, when the first hint of pain hits, she goes running into the arms of a stranger?

Okay, Kate. It's time to forgive yourself. You're human, flawed, in pain and unsure how to cope with it, but you made the right decision. It was NOT too late, you made the best decision you could, and you did it WHEN you could. Forgive yourself, and move on.

Her thoughts naturally turn to Castle and she conjures up every image of him her minds eye can remember. Funny, serious, angry, concerned, hurt, confused, loving, adoring, sexy, Castle.

Her heart flutters inside her chest and she feels a stirring in her belly, lower, actually. Just the thought of him creates a more impassioned response than the touch of Colin Hunt.

She could have been with Castle tonight. She could have been with Castle a long time ago if she'd just allowed herself. Why did you wait so long? You've screwed it up, that dark place at the base of her brain whispers angrily at her.

She remembers the way he touches her, whenever he touches her, most recently when they'd been taking care of Royal the dog. He'd done that swirling thing with his thumb on the back of her hand.

Her hand, the same hand, of it's own accord, travels down her body before resting between her legs, she's feeling restless there, her imaginings of Castle have made her feel. She closes her eyes again, imagining him here. In the tub with her, caressing her, washing her, loving her, holding her tightly, his nakedness a comforting blanket against hers.

Her hips wiggle and she slips her fingers between the wet folds, circling herself, responding to the building excitement she feels as she imagines his lips on hers, his body pressed against her, his body pressed inside of her.

She moans, throws her head back, the mournful sound echoes off the walls of the bathroom, encouraging her bodies response. She feels something building deep inside her, her body quivers, bows; a sheen of sweat gathers over her forehead. Her thoughts are scattered, there's only sensation, only him, thoughts of him. She hears him, hears him as he said that day, "I love you, Kate."

She unravels at his words, exploding around her hand as she climaxes and splinters into a million pieces beneath the water, and as she comes, she calls out his name, "Castle! Oh, God, Castle." A prayer, a promise, a wish. A secret.

"Castle," she sobs again, her tears creating a haphazard trail down her cheeks before joining with the warm water of the bath.

The scalding water, having left an angry red blotch on his back, was turning more tepid now, and he knew he'd have to turn it off soon before all of the hot water was used up. But, he didn't want to leave the protective sanctuary of the shower. The water acting as a benevolent confessoree, absolving him of his sins.

He'd washed away the scent of Jacinda right away, and was working on shedding the pain and guilt he was feeling about his horrid actions the last few days. He was still angry, still hurt, but less inclined to just extricate Kate from his life. At least, not yet. He couldn't do that yet. Not without, not without some kind of closure.

Kate. Just the thought of her made him swell. His heart, his mind, parts lower. He'd fallen for her early, much earlier than he'd ever fallen for anyone. He had been instantly attracted to her, sexually, of course. But it had taken only a few hours before he realized she was something extraordinary.

Is something extraordinary.

He has imagined them together many times. What she would feel like beneath him, her naked body against his. Imagines what it would be to make love to her, to fill her, slowly, relentlessly, coaxing her body to it's best pleasurable state, feeling her surrounding him. Coming undone by him.

And he feels undone by her. He looks down, suddenly realizing he is aroused. It's her, just the thought of her and he's ready.

He places one palm against the tiled wall, the other he wraps around himself and slowly, measuredly, strokes, seeing her in his mind as though she were here, in the shower with him, that it were her hand ministering to him. Her body coaxing his to it's most perfect pleasurable state. He knows they would be good together, he knows this with the same certainty that he knows Nikki Heat is in love with Jameson Rook.

He increases the cadence of his hand, moving his hips now, too, imagining he were inside her. His breathing becomes more erratic as he increases the rhythm of his hand.

And in three shattered thrusts, he cries out, her name dripping from his lips as he finds his release. "Kate, oh, God. Kate." He can't breathe.

"Kate," he sobs, unaware of the river of tears that streak down his face in an irreverent path, his normally handsome features twist into an expression that is equal parts ecstasy and agony.

"Kate," he whimpers one more time, and then shuts off the water.

She is at work the next morning, feeling drained and stupid; wishing she could erase the events of the past twelve hours, knowing it impossible, preparing herself for the whopper of a session she has planned for Dr. Burke later that day, when he sets the tumbler of coffee on the desk in front of her. She gasps, then looks up. He is here. Castle is here.

"Hey," she says nonchalantly.

"Hey," he replies, taking his usual seat. The air between them is thick, tense, charged with apprehension but something else, too. Was it longing?

"So, how was your date?" She can't help it, fun and uncomplicated still rolling around the edges of her mind.

"Oh, um, well, that's over." He answers, not meeting her gaze.


"Yeah. It, um. It wasn't right."

Her heart leaps.

"What about you and Scotland Yard?"


"I saw you leave with him."

"Oh, that. Well he's in London now. We just, he asked me. We had drinks before his flight." She answers, stumbling over her words.

His eyes narrow. Drinks? "Is that it?"

She is shocked by his brazenness. How does he think he has the right to ask her that? "Castle, I. Do you really want the details?"

He regards her, unsure of what to say, his heart in his throat.

"I didn't sleep with him," she says, "...but."

He holds up a palm. "I don't need to know."

She nods. Now she wants to know about him and Jacinda. As if on cue he takes a deep breath and opens his mouth.

"I never slept with her."

She finally looks directly into his blood-shot eyes. His normally bright baby blue's seem wounded, dulled, misty. Much like hers.

She nods. "Okay, then."

The air thaws, just a bit. It's still hard, being around each other. So much unsaid. But, it's better. There are walls. Walls that must be knocked down. Hers, most noticeably. But now, he has one, too.

Kate steels herself, deciding to try, again, to talk to him.

"Castle, I..."

"Yo, Beckett!" Esposito interrupts. "Caught a body, let's go!"

She'll have to have this conversation later. She stands, gathering her phone and jacket. She turns back to him, "You coming?"

He stands, too. "Yeah, sure."

And so, they wait. They wait the walls.