Suffice It to Say

"Nope. I'm gonna sit this one out." Kate sat back down at her desk and began opening files from the inbox. And that's when she saw it.

A plain envelope labeled 'Det. Kate Beckett'. And there was no mistaking it: it was his handwriting.

Kate spent the next fifteen minutes filling in information and signing off on various documents. At that point she decided that her outbox was just far too full, which of course meant that she needed to go file its contents. She carefully gathered all of the accordion files into her arms and slipped the envelope onto the bottom of the stack. With that, she dashed off to the basement of the precinct.

When she arrived at the door of the case storage room for the Homicide Division, the officer on duty unlocked the door, held it open for her, and then softly closed it behind her. With a sigh, she set Castle's mystery envelope aside, knowing that after reading whatever it was he had to say, she probably wouldn't be too much in the mood for filing case information… But then again, being in here alone to file meant time to cool off before going back into the bullpen…

The second option won. Grabbing the envelope, Kate rounded the corner of the narrow hallway formed by shelves of case files and took a seat at the tiny desk in the back corner. Flicking on the desk lamp, she gently peeled at the sealed edge of the envelope.

She held her breath as she pulled out the piece of notebook paper, and as she did, nearly a dozen gift cards to various coffee shops fell out along with it. Her breathing hitched. After a minute or two of anxious stalling, she unfolded the piece of paper and read:

Dear Kate,

I was kicked out of the precinct this morning. I've cajoled Ryan into coming by to pick up this letter on his way into work tomorrow because, given your radio silence combined with my banishment, I'm not sure that I'm at all in a position to deliver it myself. But if we won't be seeing each other again, I think I at least deserve a chance to say goodbye.

I want to thank you for these last three years. It's been quite the ride, and I've had the pleasure of discovering that you are infinitely more extraordinary than I knew back in our first year of working together. I could go on and on about all the things we've been through that I never could have imagined, but suffice it to say: I'll miss you, Detective.

I know you're probably still mad about that night- about the hangar. I won't apologize, Kate. I can't apologize because there was no way I could let Ryan and Esposito lose their sister, Lanie her best friend, your father his little girl, or myself my partner. I couldn't let you die for your cause, Kate, and I can't bring myself to believe that your mother would want that from you. I hope you can forgive me.

I also hope that someday you'll seek me out, Kate. I understand needing time, and I understand needing space, but three months without a single word feels awfully extreme. You have to know by now that I'd do anything to give you whatever it is you need from me; so I can't figure out why a simple text once or twice to say that you needed another few weeks was too much to ask. All I can think is that that afternoon in the hospital was a much less temporary goodbye than I would have hoped. I think we've had a pretty good run, Detective; I'd be lying if I said it doesn't hurt to see it end like this.

That said, I really do wish you all the best, Kate. Thank you for your patience and grace through the Nikki Heat of it all. Oh, and I guess in spite of the anger I couldn't resist: have a few coffees on me.

Until someday,

Rick Castle

Kate felt her throat tighten further as a tear smudged the ink of the word 'coffees'. How could she have ruined things so completely?

And that's when it hit her.

She checked her watch and then dashed back up to her desk. In a rush, she clocked out for her lunch break, grabbed her purse, and darted toward the elevator. As it carried her down to the lobby of the precinct, Kate double-checked her bag for the copy of Heat Rises that she had bought a few days ago but hadn't yet found the courage to start reading. She glanced down at her watch once again.

Yes. She still had just enough time.