DISCLAIMER: Unless I missed the memo, I do not own any of the Castle characters or pre-existing story lines.


Keeping Watch: Part Four

The loft is quiet when she walks in and as she strips her jacket off and steps out of her shoes she wonders if he's gone back to bed.

She's surprised as she heads further towards is office to hear the clacking of his keyboard. He's writing. She debates whether she should even be here, considers leaving him to write and going back to the precinct. No. She needs to clear the air. Needs to put his mind at ease.

Kate stands in the doorway and sees the top of his head poking out from behind the back of his oversized desk chair. His feet are propped up on the cabinet behind the desk and she watches, mesmerized, as his fingers furiously tap out the words that are in his head. She leans against the doorjamb and watches for a few more seconds, if he knows she's here he hasn't made it obvious, but judging by the non-stop typing she's pretty sure he's oblivious. Until she finally speaks.

"They started after my mom died."

He doesn't startle when he hears her voice, simply stops typing. She watches him save the document he's working on and close the lid to his laptop, before turning around to face her, placing the computer back on the desk.

She takes this as a cue to enter the room, so she pushes herself off the doorframe and she sits on the couch, unable to gauge exactly where is head is right now and if he would appreciate being in close proximity to her.

"It was the same thing every time," she continues, "Her body in the alley, her voice calling for me from somewhere, asking for help. I would always wake up before I could get to her. If my dad ever took notice he never let on. But he was usually passed out before 9:00 anyway."

He watches her eyes intently as she speaks, sees the hurt. He knows how hard it is for her to talk about this. Thinks of how close she and her father are but briefly wonders how much anger she still holds over his years spent in the bottle.

"They were different when I joined homicide. Strange more than anything. Mostly about different cases we were working, especially the grisly ones." She pauses to steal a glance at him, surprised to see not anger, but compassion, empathy and love looking back at her. She chews her lip for a moment before continuing "They got worse after Montgomery's funeral." The hesitation in her voice doesn't go unnoticed and the fact that she refers to the day she almost died as, Montgomery's funeral, leaves him feeling like a jerk. He knows this haunts her today, hell, it still haunts him. Never wanted her to have to rehash all the memories to explain herself to him.

"Kate, you don't –"

"No, it's okay. Let me finish." She says gently, shaking her head. "Look Castle, the point is, I've never had someone to wake me up from a nightmare. I didn't need someone to. At least I didn't think so" She shrugs before continuing. "My dad was too drunk, I wasn't dating anyone seriously enough to have them spend the night, and I holed up in my dad's cabin that summer, and…I don't know I got used to waking myself up, or riding it out until my alarm clock or my phone did it for me." She stops and looks up at him, "Until you. You woke me up from the nightmare. Even when I'm awake," she chuckles softly before continuing, "You bring this light to even the darkest situation we seem to find ourselves in."

"C'mere." He holds his arms out to her and she lifts herself off the couch and walks towards him, climbing into his lap, she rests her head on his shoulder.

"I still don't remember what the dream was about, but after you woke me up it didn't matter because even though I was still half asleep, I knew I didn't need to be afraid. I knew I was safe…I've never had that before." She sighs and lifts her head leaning back to look at his eyes. She places her hand on his cheek, running her thumb lightly over the dark circle under his eye. "Thank you for waking me up. Thank you for making me feel safe."

"Always."

A stunning smile breaks out over her face, one that matches his own, and she leans forward placing a tender kiss on his lips. When they part she nuzzles into his neck. They stay like that for a while until she finally says, "Come on. You should get some sleep."

Then he stands, scooping her into his arms and carries her to his bedroom laying her down on his bed, doesn't even bother closing the blinds to block out the afternoon sun, and climbs in beside her.

He falls asleep watching her.


Thanks for reading!

A/N: Yeah, yeah. I hate the "Always" I threw in there too, but it just seemed to flow better than "You're welcome" or "Anytime." Sorry.