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I wasn't going to write a post ep but this crawled into my head today and wouldn't get out so here we are.

Stones taught me to fly

Love taught me to lie

Life taught me to die

So it's not hard to fall

When you float like a cannonball

~Cannonball, Damien Rice

Her dad takes her to the airport.

He doesn't ask where Castle is and she doesn't offer.

She doesn't even know. Hasn't seen him since he showed up at her door three days ago, alcohol on his breath and agony in his eyes. He'd stood in the threshold for a long moment, simply staring at her, before surging forward and taking her face in his hands, claiming her mouth in vicious kiss. A kiss that left her wet and aching in an instant, a kiss that blackened her mind and whited her vision, made her forget all the reasons why they shouldn't.

She let him press her up against the wall. Let him slide his leg between hers and pull at her clothes, hot palms dragging over her bare skin. Whimpered his name when he bit her neck and shoved his hand down the front of her pants, his thick fingers slicking into her in one fluid motion. She'd tried to block out the sound of the ragged words he breathed into her skin, love and Kate and please stumbling off his tongue as he moved inside her, broke her apart.

He stopped them halfway across her living room, their chests bare and hands fumbling. I can't. Not like this. Pulling on his shirt, he kissed her one last time, his tongue painting the smoky taste of whiskey and regret across hers, and left without a word, the door closing with a quiet finality.

She spent the rest of the night on her couch, half-naked and sobbing.

He didn't come to the last minute going away party Lanie threw for her. She hadn't expected him to but still spent the entire night perched on a stool, watching the door, her stomach turning with every pick up line and proposition slurred into her ear. She wanted him to be there. Wanted to feel the warmth of his hand at the small of her back, the hot press of his lips on the side of her neck. Wanted him to show up and ask her again, the ring she had refused held tightly between two strong fingers.

She might have said yes.

Heat Wave sits unopened in her lap on the flight to DC. She touches it constantly, smoothing over the deep creases in the spine and attempting to flatten the dog eared corners of the cover. Tracing his name again and again, her ring finger too light. Empty. She can't open it. Can't bring herself to read his words, the words he wrote about her long before she accepted him as part of her life.

Long before she fell in love with him.

It's more than the dance. It's real, what they have. Had. She knew it when she said it, knew that she was turning a lie into a question in an effort to make it easier. To soften her chest and strengthen her fingers so she could rip out her own heart in order to chase her dreams. The guilt at not having done the same for him haunts her, her nails chipped from the jagged edges of his ribs and hands sticky with the phantom stains of his blood.

She wishes she had made him hate her.

Thinks she might have come close.

The plane glides to a stop and she tucks the book into her carry on, the front cover falling open in the loose pocket of her bag. She stares down at the two sentences on the dedication page, her heart hanging in her throat. Extraordinary. She's anything but. He knows that now.

She calls her dad on the way to her new apartment. Her eyes well when he tells her she's going to be great, that this is what she's meant to be doing. The right words from the wrong person. They talk until the cab stops in front of her building, the once white bricks stained brown with age and pollution. She climbs the two flights to the unfamiliar front door, holding her breath as she fits the key into the lock and twists the knob.

Her heart, her stupid and clumsy heart, stumbles when she finds the apartment empty, the air stale and dusty. In some insane, shadowy corner of her mind, she'd thought he might be here. Might be standing inside the furnished living room, a bottle of wine in his hand and a crooked smile flirting with his lips.

When she wakes up that night with his name on her tongue and her hands fisted in the sheets, she's grateful for the new surroundings. For the walls he's never touched, the doorways he's never filled, the rooms he's never roamed. Grateful she can wake up in a bed that's not drenched in his scent, not suffused with memories of them. Memories of the way their bodies fit together or how her name broke apart in his mouth when he shattered beneath her or how it felt to wake up in his embrace, warm and safe.


Lanie calls her once a week. They talk about her job, the annoyances of learning to navigate a new city, how the boys are still whining about the amount of paperwork they have to do with her gone.

They never mention his name.

A truck stacked with boxes, all neatly labeled in her father's handwriting, arrives on the sixth Saturday. She lets them sit untouched in her living room for a week; she's not ready to have her things here. Not ready to see her books on the shelves and her pillows on the couch. Not ready to admit that this - this cold, sterile apartment - is her home.

He was supposed to be her home.

She finds the ring tucked into the bottom of a box of books. His books. Their books. Her hand shakes when she pulls out the little black box, the crushed velvet an unfamiliar texture against the pads of her fingers. The hinges crack loudly when she opens the lid and her breath catches hard in her chest. Diamonds sparkle in the sunlight, casting a refracted rainbow over the glossy covers, bouncing off the raised letters of his name.

There's no note. She digs through the box, shakes out every book. Nothing. He's a writer, he should have left a note. He has the words, not her. She never has. The ring goes into a box in the back of her closest, buried under a pile of sweat pants and thick winter socks.

A collection of things she won't need any time soon.

On Tuesdays, she calls her dad for their weekly talk. He opens with the same question every time.

How are you, Katie?

And every time, she lies.

I'm fine.