Name: Out of Darkness
Betas: Slynn6776, ScarlettAngel and McManda
Author's Note: This story is set before S6 starts and turns into an AU. This is going to be told 100% from Castle's POV. If it proves popular, I will write up a follow story from Kate's perspective.
Castle woke up to water running and turned his head to where Kate should be laying. Looking at the clock, he saw it was only 5:45 - before sunrise - though the dark windows had already told him that. Sighing, he threw his legs over the side of the bed and stretched. He had tried to wait up for Kate the night before, but sleep ultimately took him. At least he could tell she had gotten some rest since her side showed evidence she had been there.
Heading to the kitchen, he turned on the coffee maker and hoped he could at least make some breakfast for her. They'd hardly seen each other this week, though that wasn't surprising. It had become routine since she'd taken on a new schedule.
He heard the water shut off as he got some toast ready and grabbed the newspaper from the front door. He almost had it all ready for her when she came out of the bedroom, trying to put on her jacket but the sleeve wasn't cooperating.
"Morning," he said, forcing a smile onto his face. Her new job was really a puzzle to him since she wasn't allowed to talk about it, however he had no doubt it was even more dangerous than being a detective and the last thing he wanted to do was let her leave without a smile on his face, no matter how forced.
"Morning." She walked over to him and put a quick kiss on his lips. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
He shrugged. "It's okay. I don't think I'll ever get off New York time."
She gave him a look. "It's the same time, Castle." He grinned at her so she would know he was teasing.
"So …" he started, praying she could actually sit down. "Didn't even hear you come in."
She nodded, taking a sip of the coffee. "Yeah, I tiptoed in. Didn't want to wake you."
"I wish you had." He really did.
Sighing, she put her arm around him. "I know, Castle. I knew this job would take a lot of my time but I hadn't realized just how much …"
"It's okay," he mumbled. He didn't make eye contact on purpose. She was quiet and he hoped, actually prayed, she would notice.
Her silence got his hopes up, but either she changed her mind or it was a figment of his imagination. "Well, I have to go. If we finish this case up today, I can be back in time for dinner."
He stared at what remained of her small breakfast, which was most of it. "Okay."
"Hey," her hand came into his view and grabbed his.
Now he looked at her. "Yeah?"
"I love you." God, that still got to him.
Smiling, he returned. "I love you, too."
They kissed and he squeezed her hand. When she pulled back he looked down at her hand, and instead of feeling happy or warm, he noticed the absence of the engagement ring.
"Castle, I can't wear it. It's too big; it would draw attention from the wrong sort of people."
"Fine, if I had known that, I could have just gotten you a smaller stone."
"It's not just that. Wearing a diamond ring is impractical in my work. It could get broken or become a target …"
"So, you could wear it around your neck like you used to wear your mother's..."
They never really finished that conversation, and he still hadn't gotten over it, but if she realized it was what he was presently thinking about, she showed no signs of it. Taking some of the toast, she opened the door but paused in the doorframe. She met his eyes and he could see a flicker of fear, he knew that look. Whatever they were planning today was probably dangerous and she was memorizing his face, in case this was the last time she saw him. Immediately he stood up straighter and gave her a big smile. "See you later."
"Bye." And she was gone.
Walking over to a chair, he pulled it out so he could finish his own coffee. Closing his eyes, he tried to remind himself he was really glad to be with her. All he wanted was to be included in her life. If he wasn't supportive of her career, what did that say about him? She was a fantastic cop and no doubt would make an even better federal agent. So why did he feel so empty inside?
Clearing away what little he made for breakfast, he went to get his phone and call his daughter. She didn't answer and he realized she was probably in the shower herself and would be getting ready for class. He missed living with her. Flipping through the contacts in his phone, he landed on his mother's face, but shook his head. "She wouldn't be up anyway," he said out loud.
Changing into sweats, he got ready to jogging. Of all activities, he never thought he would ever take it up. But the most recent doctor's visit had told him to lose this weight and get in better shape, and Kate had become concerned when he tried to shake it off and to appease her he started doing this. It turned out it to be a great idea because running helped him work off his frustrations.
While Castle was jogging, his mind couldn't shake the melancholy he felt during the week while Kate was at work. He knew the real problem was his whole life had revolved for so long around her and now that she had a job that didn't support his shadowing, he needed to find somewhere else to focus. It hadn't been easy.
The move itself was actually easy. Well, not easy, but it gave him something specific to do—lots of things to do. He had worried about moving in together, and he knew it was a concern for her, too. But they had spent so much time together lately it hadn't had been as big of a deal as he had thought, though her reaction to his life-sized Boba Fett sitting in their bathroom was less than complimentary. He was able to talk her into it.
Adjusting to her new schedule had been a whole other matter. He knew there would be long hours, but she was supposed to have two days off a week, yet so far she had almost always got called in on the first day reducing their time together to just one. It took everything within him not complain about this, mainly because the looks on her face told him she hated it, too.
Now that they were settled, he tried to focus on what he was supposed to be doing: writing. But he had never been a writer who could work normal hours from 9-5. He took in the city, and they have wonderful museums, but since Kate didn't have a lot of time to go see them, it started to feel weird going by himself.
Running downhill, Castle slowed and at the base, he stopped, leaning up against a tree. He really did love this park, thankful it was near their home. He and Kate had spent most of her days off taking walks through it, and he was surprised at how Kate opened up more out in the open air than their new living room. One unexpected but good consequence about this new position that he wasn't a part of it; he was able to help Kate unwind because they couldn't talk about work. She really needed to stop obsessing over work and he could be a great distraction.
Though he really wished he could be more than a distraction.
Taking out some water, he gulped down several sips. Smiling, he remembered her last day off. He had surprised her with a picnic on their walk and she was thrilled. It had turned out to be a great day and one of the few occasions he was able to relax and just be with her.
Replacing the water back in his sweats pocket, he pulled out his phone to change the playlist selection. Putting it back, he prepared to take off again, but a shadow got his attention, startling him. Before he could turn around to see what or who it was, his left arm was grabbed, yanked, and twisted behind him.
He tried to use his right arm to grab at the man. Castle's first thoughts were he was being mugged. He was sorry he had brought his wallet.
"Hello, Mr. Castle!" Castle didn't know the voice but the fact he knew his name scared Castle senseless.
Trying to keep his voice steady, Castle replied, "Hello yourself. Do we know each other?"
Whoever the man was, he chuckled, which tickled the back of Castle's neck. "Not really. But we have met. I take it you don't remember."
Out of habit Castle started to shake his head but the man's grip on his head was too was too tight. "No, but if you let me see your face …"
"Sorry, it's too late for that. You think you know everything about murder, Mr. Castle. It's now time to learn you don't."
The man stepped them a little to the right. Castle's eyes were scanning around but he knew at this time of morning there would be few people around this area and they were down the hill and out of sight line from the nearby road. Fear gripped the author's heart as he realized this was probably going to be it. His attacker could kill him right here and right now.
He felt something sharp near his neck and Castle braced himself. Alexis would be so upset she had missed his call. Memory flashed of Kate walking through the door and smiling at him.
He was so glad he smiled back.