She lays with her back to him, her skin still slick with sweat. She's missed him. Her bed is a lonely place without him right there next to her every night and six weeks is a long time. Castle has his right arm draped across her torso and his head is buried in her hair. Her engagement ring sits on her nightstand and catches the last sliver of sunlight as it sets over the horizon.
"Did you ever think there'd be another ring on that chain next to your mother's?" he asks his voice right in her ear.
She shakes her head, her loose curls brushing against his chest.
Castle strokes his hand up and down her arm. "Hey, is everything okay?"
"I'm just tired," she answers softly.
"You're lying." He calls her bluff. "What's on your mind?"
Kate sits up and Castle's right arm falls into her lap. She looks over at him and can tell from his expression that her worry is evident on her face. She lets out a long sigh, gathering her hair back up into a ponytail.
"We umm, we were doing this exercise today, part of my training. And the blood was fake and the gun was fake, but I got shot. Well fake shot, it was all a simulation." She fidgets with the sheet that has fallen around her waist as she speaks, suddenly hyper aware of the noises in the hallway of her building.
She turns to him before he can say anything else. "I think my PTSD came back."
He pulls her back against his chest and she welcomes the comforting feeling his embrace gives her.
"Tell me what happened," Castle whispers into her hair.
"I just…I froze. I didn't even try to react to the shots being fired. She pulled the gun on me and I just stared at her. The next thing I know I'm laying on the concrete staring up at the sky and it was like I was reliving my actual shooting. I had this mini panic attack where I felt like I couldn't breathe. And I just kept waiting for your face to block out the sky and to hear you say that you love me. But you never came. Instead all I got was McCord calling me 'Agent Beckett' and telling me that I screwed up the exercise."
She shakes her head, inhaling a shaky breath and willing the tears not to come.
"Kate," Castle starts, kissing her temple, "I love you, Kate."
She laughs lightly, turning in his arms to kiss him. His hands come up to cup her face, thumbs wiping at the tears that managed to escape.
"I don't know what to do, Castle. I've been on edge all day. When you got here, I was staring at my scar, hoping that seeing how old it was would calm me down. That's why I pulled my gun on you when you startled me. I can't freak out about every little noise like I did on that sniper case, not here, not at this job. They have no use for a PTSD-riddled detective who's only here to have a better chance at catching the man who hired a hit on her mother."
He's running his hand up and down her back, and she shivers. So he bends to scoop his shirt off the floor and hands it to her. She puts it on, inhaling the scent of his cologne on the collar and only buttoning a select few in the middle.
"Do you want to talk to Dr. Burke?"
Kate shakes her head. "I probably should, but I don't want to."
"You know what I think?"
"That you can do this."
"No," he cuts her off. "You're not just Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD anymore. You're Federal Agent Beckett. Just as badass, but with a cooler title. And you can't be the only Agent who has suffered from PTSD in the past. They're not going to fire you for that, I'm pretty sure that's illegal. You are the strongest person I know, Kate. You're just stressed. Once you get in the groove of things –"
"It's been two months, Castle. How much longer is this going to take?"
He bends his head, letting their foreheads bump together. "I believe in you. You've worked through your PTSD before, you can do it again. And you can do this job. They wouldn't have offered it to you, if they didn't think you could do it."
"Thank you," she whispers, tilting her head to kiss him again. Kate presses her body against his, just needing him to be close after two months apart.
"So," Castle starts, twirling a loose curl around his index finger. "What do I need to do to help you?"
"You're doing it."
"Playing with your hair?" he asks with a smirk.
"Oh yeah, Dr. Burke played with my hair all of the time," she tells him, rolling her eyes.
"Really? That's kind of creepy. Maybe you should report him to someone."
Kate laughs, shaking her head at him. "Just having you here to talk to and you being all encouraging and what not, that helps."
Castle places a kiss on the top of her head. "You're going to be okay, Kate. We both are."