My mind was bubbling with ideas after Significant Others and I haven't written an episode tag in so long, so here it is :) Set later in the evening of the day we left Castle and Beckett having breakfast in an oh-so domestic setting (swoon!)

On a side note, this is also my 100th fic on this site, which feels a little bit special. So although many of you know me from a different fandom (whether it be CSI, Bones or Doctor Who) I want to thank each and every one of you for reading and reviewing and just making writing enjoyable! This is for all of you!

Thank you, as ever, to eitoph who is just a magnificent beta and friend for looking over this for me!

Disclaimer: Even after 100 fics, I don't own even an ounce of any show…Castle included.

Enjoy!

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The Simplicity of Honesty

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Our road is long
Your hold is strong
Please don't ever let it go, oh no

Maroon 5

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He ended up at her apartment.

And they ended up in her bed.

And as he pulls the sheets up over their sated bodies and whispers "I love you," in her ear, tucking an arm around her and simply falling asleep, she starts to think about why it is that she can't bring herself to say it back.

She waits for his breathing to even out before rolling out from his grip and onto her back. Words from the morning play over in her head, her conversation with Meredith plaguing her.

Castle tells her he loves her every day. At least once, sometimes more. And he never asks for it in return, he never pressures her or asks her why she won't say it. If she's being honest with herself, even if he had asked her, up until today she wouldn't have been able to answer. But now she can see it.

How can she love someone she doesn't know?

He has weaved his way into every part of her life whether she's liked it or not. He knows her at work and he knows her at home. He's seen her at her very highest moments and at her very lowest. He's been her rock, her constant support through four years of torture with her mother's case. And really, through it all, she's just accepted his support and help and never asked for anything in return.

And she knows that she loves that part of him, she can feel that in her very core.

But Kate Beckett has always been a person striving for equality in her life. She needs to feel like there is a healthy balance of push and pull, give and take in a relationship. Whether it be in the workplace or in her personal life, she doesn't feel at ease in any interaction until all parties are on even ground. In knowing that about herself, she can easily see why she hasn't been able to give as much as she wants to Castle.

She watches him reach out for her in the bed and smiles as his hand finds her waist, pulling her towards him.

"Why're you awake?" He mumbles groggily.

She tries to brush it off, "Just thinking about a case."

He shakes his head into the pillow, "You pace when it's work."

She sighs; he really knows her so well, "We can talk in the morning, I'm okay." In answer he pulls her closer and she lets him, rolling on her side, resting her forehead against his, "Really Castle, I'm fine."

He kisses her cheek, "No you're not. Tell me."

She shakes her head, resting a hand against the side of his face, "You're half asleep."

He raises his head a little, "Wide awake. Now tell me."

She hesitates, but sees that he won't back down and finally takes the risk and asks, "Do you ever wonder about your father?"

His reaction is immediate as his brow furrows, "Where has this come from?"

"Does it matter?" She can't help but feel mildly hurt by his deflection.

"Of course it matters. Why has my father got you keeping awake at night?" He suddenly sounds a whole lot more awake.

Kate sits up in the bed, "Because who knows how many nights you spent awake researching my mother's case? Who knows how many nights you spent awake wondering if I was okay?"

"That was different..."

She cuts him off, "No it wasn't and you damn well know that, Castle!" Her chest heaves with anger, "I'm an open book to you, but I know nothing. And I want to show you that this is the real deal for me. You're it. No one else, ever. But you gotta let me in."

His eyes are darting all over the room and never really landing on her. She can see that he doesn't want to talk about it, but when did that ever stop him from prying into her life? No. She has to stand firm on this for once, "We don't have to start big, but you've gotta give me something, Castle."

He lets out a breath and rests back into the bed again, "What if you don't like what you see?"

The tension in the room eases immediately.

Because there it is. Enough for her to let it go for another night, because he's admitted so much in so little, "Every part of you is likable to me" She frowns, wishing there was a better way to express how much he means to her, "You can't scare me away with your demons. Mine are just as big and just as mean and we've made it this far, haven't we?"

She can see the reluctance in his nod and comes to rest her hand back against his cheek. He's so vulnerable right now, she's never seen him so tortured, "Kate, I…"

She nods, soothing him, "Shh, it's okay. I pushed too hard, too fast."

He turns his head, kissing her palm, "No, it's just… Have you ever missed someone without ever meeting them?" She doesn't answer, allowing him to gather his thoughts and continue, "He was never there. I don't even know if he knows I exist, if he knows that I'm his and honestly at this point in my life, if he were to show up, I'm not sure I would give him the time of day." He sighs, "But Kate, God I miss him."

Leaning in to kiss his forehead, she whispers, "He's the one missing out."

He musters a small smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes, but she can see the sincerity there as he whispers back, "I love you too, Kate."

A smile crosses her features because she already feels like she knows him better and because she can see now why he hasn't pressured her to say it back, why he is content to love her without the returning sentiment. He knows her better than she knows herself and that means he knows how much she loves him.

And that's enough for him.

She runs a hand through his hair, kissing him softly, letting her actions speak for her.

And they'll be okay.

Because they're not perfect and they don't know everything about each other, but they are giving themselves the chance to try.

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