(I'm feeling so uninspired lately)


He wanted to throw his laptop against the wall.

He had been staring at the computer screen for god knows how long, trying to figure out how to get Rook out of the corner he had backed himself into without having Nikki come and save his ass before he got beat up by some Russian mobsters.

He was coming up empty and he found his thoughts drifting.

He'd stayed home. Gina was breathing down his neck for new chapters, even going so far as to call Kate to hound him, so he figured he should at least try to give her something to work with, regardless of how much he enjoyed pissing Gina off. He didn't want to not go to the twelfth – their case was finally picking up, but he promised Kate dinner at the loft for skipping out on her that morning.

He'd planned it all out. The lasagna was prepared and ready to go into the oven, a salad already tossed in the fridge, and a bottle of her favorite red sitting on the counter just waiting to be opened.

His phone started ringing.

He tore his unfocused gaze away from his computer, his eyes finding his phone on the side of his desk, her picture looking up at him. He picked it up with a smile.

"Why hello, Detective," he said cheerfully, leaning back in his seat, "Shall I uncork the wine for your arrival?"

"Hey," she murmured, "Get any writing done?"

"Already sent two chapters," he answered warmly, "Gina will stop hounding you."

"Oh good," Kate said, "You know how much I love calls from your ex-wives."

He flinched on his side.

"I am sorry about that. I didn't think she'd call you."

He could hear her roll her eyes.

"She did it before we were together, Castle. Why would she stop now?"

"I don't know…" he mumbled.

There was silence on the line until he heard what sounded like her car door open and close.

"You coming over?"

There was silence on her end.

"Mind if I take a rain check, Castle?"

He could feel himself deflating.

"Oh… Sure."

"It was just…" she started, trying to explain, "… a really long day. And I'm not feeling too well. I don't want to take it out on you."

"Kate," he assured her, "it's alright. Do you need me to bring you anything?"

"No!" she said quickly, too quickly, before she cleared her throat, "I'm good, Castle. I promise. It's just a headache."

He nodded though she couldn't see him.

"You'll call if you need anything?" he asked.

"I will, Castle."

"Promise?"

"I promise."

"Even if it's just to recruit my skills as a bed warmer?"

She choked out a laugh on the other side of the line.

"Even if I just need you to keep my bed warm," she assured.

"It's one of my favorite things to do," he said seriously, a smile working its way onto his lips.

There was quiet on the other side of the line again before he heard her speaking softly.

"Night, Castle."

He felt his shoulders loosen, his smile turning silly.

He was so in love with her.

"Goodnight," he murmured warmly, "I hope you feel better."

He heard her click off the other line and put his phone down on the edge of his desk. He stared at it for a moment before he shook his head.

He wasn't going to worry about her. She just wasn't feeling well. She just had a headache. She was probably just going to go back to her space for some peace and quiet. It was okay.

He shut his laptop, knowing that he wouldn't get any more writing done for the rest of the night, and moved to sit in front of the TV. He'd find a show to watch until he was tired enough to fall asleep.

Thirty minutes of Wives and Knives later (thank god Kate wasn't a psychopath) and his phone started ringing.

He muted the TV and pulled his phone out of his pocket, frowning as Esposito's name flashed up at him.

He picked it up.

"Castle."

"Yo Castle," Esposito said, skipping the pleasantries, "You heard from Beckett?"

Castle felt the beginning swirls of panic form in his stomach, but forced himself to stay calm as he sat up straighter in his chair.

"Yeah," he said, looking at his watch, "About half an hour ago. Told me she was going to stay at her place tonight. Why?"

Esposito paused on the other side of the line.

"She didn't tell you?" He asked incredulously.

He couldn't stay calm.

"She was supposed to come over after work for dinner," he said, "She called, apologized and told me that she wasn't feeling well, and told me she'd make it up to me. Esposito, what's this all about?"

Esposito mumbled something under his breath, and Castle could almost feel him shaking his head through the phone.

"Esposito –"

"Your girl got into a little bit of a tussle at the precinct tonight."

Castle blanched.

"She… she got into a fight? Is she alright?"

"She and the guy were in the box. Said she was fine by herself. He started freaking out when she asked him about his mother, threw the table across the room. We got in there as soon –"

"Esposito," he said, his tone dark, "Is. She. Alright."

"She's got a pretty nasty shiner, but the –"

"He hit her in the face?"

"Don't worry," Esposito answered, pride clear in his voice, "She hit him back. He's currently nursing a broken nose down in holding sitting on Murder 1 and Assault of a Police Officer. Medics cleared her on the scene, but Gates kicked her out until tomorrow afternoon. Told her to –"

He clicked off his phone, shoving it into his back pocket, quickly finding his wallet and his keys before running out of the loft as quickly as possible. He flew down the stairs of his building, bolting past the doorman and onto the street. He found a cab rather quickly, yanked open the door, gave the cabbie her address, and tried to keep his hands from fisting the material of his jeans.

He punched her.

He punched her.

They were at her apartment in no time, shaking as he threw a handful of bills at the driver without looking at them, stumbling out of the cab. He made it through the lobby of her building, bypassed the elevator again and went straight to her floor.

He knocked on her door, trying to keep his rage in check.

He heard shifting inside the apartment, but she didn't answer the door.

"Kate? Kate, open the door! I know you're in there!"

There was a pause inside before he heard the distinct sound of footsteps moving towards the door, but he didn't step back, not even as he heard the familiar sound of the dead bolt unlocking.

She opened the door slowly, her face a hard mask, and he felt the anger he had at her – for not telling him, for trying to hide it from him (like he wouldn't be able to tell), fade away.

The bruise on her face covered the apple of her right cheek, grazing the corner of her eye and running up her temple. He could see the outline of fingers in the bruises, the unmistakable circular cut right on her cheekbone that must have come from a ring of some sort.

He only managed to whisper her name.

She bit her lip, breaking eye contact with him and looking down, inhaling deeply through her nose. He took a step towards her and she backed away from him, spinning on her heel and moving deeper into her apartment towards her couch, and he could feel the anger start to seep back in.

He followed her, locking the door behind him.

By the time he made it to the couch, Kate had already curled up into herself, wrapped up in a large blanket he recognized as the one that normally sits on the end of her bed, her painted toes peeking out from underneath the edge.

There was a glass of wine on the table in front of her sitting next to a soggy looking icepack on a dish towel, Heat Wave flared out and flipped over, the table marking her page.

She was watching him.

He moved over slowly, picking up the icepack from the table, frowning when he felt how warm it was. He didn't look at her as he made his way into the kitchen, opening the freezer and putting the icepack back inside. He couldn't find another so he settled for some normal ice, grabbing a new dish towel from the drawer she kept them in and wrapping it around the chunks of ice, making his way back towards the couch.

She was still watching him.

He stood in front of where she sat on the couch, reaching out with a gentle hand and tracing the outline of the bruise on her face. She finally dropped her gaze.

She jumped at the contact of the ice on her skin, but he didn't apologize as he held his makeshift icepack to her face.

Neither of them spoke for a long moment.

"You know," he said finally, gesturing towards Heat Wave on the table, "the author himself would probably be better company than his books."

She bit her lip but didn't say anything, so he continued.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

She sighed, her shoulders sagging underneath the blanket.

"I didn't want you to worry."

He couldn't help it.

He rolled his eyes.

"I worry about you even if I'm sitting right next to you," he informed her.

She rolled her eyes right back at him.

"You were supposed to be writing. If I would have told you what happened you would have –"

"Took care of you?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

What was so wrong with taking care of her?

"Did you really think I wouldn't notice?" he continued.

"I would have covered it tomorrow."

"I make a living out of watching you, Kate. I'd notice if you started wearing extra make-up."

She bit her lip, this time not out of nerves, but rather in an attempt to try and hold back her thoughts.

"It's not a big deal. I got hit. I'm fine."

"Not a…" he sputtered, "Not a… big… deal? Kate. A man punched you. In the face –"

"I know, Castle. I was there," she snapped, "I'm fine."

"I got a phone call from Esposito," he said, his voice coming out harsher than he intended, "telling me that my partner got assaulted at work today while I wasn't there, and she didn't feel the need to inform me when I talked to her not even an hour before, so please forgive me if that makes me feel like there's something wrong."

She huffed out a breath, and he tried to reign himself back in.

She was okay. He had to remember that.

"I don't need you to take care of me," she said.

He nodded, "I know that-" he does, he really does "-but I need to."

She looked up at him, the fight slowly draining from her eyes as he took in the sincerity of his words.

He needed to see that she was okay.

They both show love in such different ways.

"I was so scared," he murmured, his free hand reaching up to cup her unmarred cheek, "when Esposito called. I didn't even let him finish before I was jumping in a cab over here."

He cut himself off, knowing that he was pushing too much.

"I'm so glad you're okay," he murmured.

She looked up at him, leaning her head into his hand on her cheek and letting her eyes drift shut.

"I'm glad you're here," she answered, turning her head so she could plant a soft kiss against his palm. He let his fingers curl against her skin, relishing in the feel of her exhales against his palm.

They didn't move for a while, her head resting on his hand as he held the ice to her cheek.

He could feel her nodding off against him.

"Tired?" he asked softly.

She hummed, her eyes not opening.

"Have you taken anything?" he asked, pulling the ice away from her face to give her skin a break.

She shook her head.

"Was waiting until before I went to bed."

He stood up, taking her wine glass to the sink and dumping it before filling it back up with water, grabbing the Advil from the drawer he knew she kept it in when she didn't feel like walking all the way to the bathroom. She hadn't had too much wine, he could tell, so she would be fine with the medicine.

He fished two pills out of the bottle, handed them to her with the glass of water to swallow before he grabbed her hand and pulled her off the couch, the blanket falling back onto the couch and he led her towards her bedroom.

He pulled down the sheets and she immediately crawled into bed, curling up under the covers and looking at him.

He didn't ask if he was staying, just shucked off his pants and crawled into bed behind her. He wrapped his arms around her and she melted into his embrace, sighing as his grip around her middle tightened.

He lay there awake, sleep evading him as she drifted off to sleep in his arms.

"You were right," she murmured, her words slurred by exhaustion.

"About what?" he whispered.

She pushed herself back against him, a sound of contentment escaping through her lips.

"Having the author is better than having the book."

He smirked, burrowing his face into her hair and breathing her in as she finally fell asleep.

She got hurt. Her face was bruised and it was going to hurt like hell when morning finally came.

But she was still there, still breathing, still very much alive and he couldn't help but feel grateful.

He still had her.

And with that thought, he drifted off to sleep.


(or maybe I'm just tired)