A/N: Wrote a quick one-shot today while babysitting. Takes place during Kill Shot. Thanks Caskett1960 for the hours of Castle talk.
He could hear the panic in her voice as she spoke to Emily, saw the tremble in her fingers as she pulled the woman's hand off her. Castle called out to her as she ran down the hall and through a door marked 'Employees Only', his feet stepping where hers had been moments before. There was a moment of hesitance on his part as he stood just inside the door, debating on giving her some privacy.
A flash of black caught his eye as her jacket was thrown to the ground followed by her gun and badge. He heard her gasp, the sound propelling him forward. "Kate" he whispered as he caught sight of her.
Her eyes were shiny when she looked to him and his heart broke. "Castle," she gasped. "Go away!" He reached out to touch her and she flinched. "Castle, please leave!"
He swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'm not leaving you, Kate." Beckett's eyes closed as she tried to stop the tears. The tightness in her chest was unbearable. "Kate," he whispered to her. "Let me help."
"You can't!" She gasped our. Kate fell to her knees, a sob falling from her lips. "Please don't...I can't-please, just stay there!" Her breath was coming in short pants as tears fell. She vaguely registered Castle sinking down the wall opposite her. Eyes clenched shut, she took in a ragged breath and laid her forehead on the floor. It hurt to move, to breathe, to think. She wanted it gone. Beckett hated that she was reduced to this. Someone who was damaged and broken. The thoughts in her mind swirled with pain and darkness, making a part of her wish the bullet did kill her so all of this wouldn't be here. She hated this person who was inside of her, who had her jumping at every noise and shadow. The sobs had her body shaking, her lungs burned and her scars ached. Kate couldn't take it anymore.
Castle had to restrain himself from reaching out to Beckett. He couldn't stand seeing her in pain, especially when he couldn't do anything to help her. Her scream shattered him. Tears fell from his eyes, but he didn't dare move. He watched as her hands curled into fists up by her head as she cried, his hands unconsciously mimicking the action. Castle wondered how many nights she had endured these panic attacks, scared and alone. 'Please stop crying, Kate,' he willed, hoping she could hear his thoughts.
She didn't stop.
He listened closely, every hitch in her breath, every pause in her cries, hoping she would calm or wear herself out soon. He wasn't sure how much longer he could sit by without holding her.
She was exhausted, her tears finally through. Her breath was the only sound that filled the tiny hallway. Slowly, she moved from her position to sit back on her knees. Her eyes found Castle's, noting the tears that had dried on his face and she hated herself for putting him through this. Beckett took a deep breath before crawling over to him. She didn't hesitate to settle herself in his lap and bury her face in the crook of his neck. "I'm sorry." Her voice was hoarse as his arms came up to hold her tightly. "I'm sorry you saw that."
"I'm not," he whispered back. "I'm sorry you've been going through this alone." He felt her shrug halfheartedly. Castle brushed a light kiss across her temple and she sighed softly. His fingers brushed the edge of the gauze wrapping on her arm. "What's this from?"
She shook her head, almost as if she were cleaning the cobwebs from her mind. "I was stupid." He was quiet, waiting patiently for the rest of the story. "I was drinking," she stated softly. "There was a noise and I freaked out. The bottle shattered and I managed to cut my arm on a piece of glass." Castle's arms tightened around her instinctively, wishing he could shield her from all the pain and darkness that seemed to be clouding around her.
"I wish I would've been there with you," he murmured softly into her hair.
"No, Castle, you don't. I was...horrible."
"Like this was?" He questioned. Kate stayed silent. "I hate that you're going through this by yourself. I wish there were a ways for me to help you."
Beckett pulled away to look at him. "You are helping me. Every day when you bring me coffee, when you joke around, when you text me at three AM because you thought of something Nikki would do and had to tell me, you help me. You help me find solid ground again."
Castle moved to cradle her face, his lips warm as he pressed a sweet kiss to her forehead. Her eyes fluttered shut at the contact. "You really are extraordinary," he whispered before pulling her back to him.
"I don't feel like it," she admitted as she shifted, resting her head on his shoulder.
"You are," he reiterated, his hands tracing soothing circles on her back. She smiled and allowed herself to sink further into his embrace. The exhaustion was creeping in on her once more. She closed her eyes, sighing softly as his hand continued moving. The fear and panic she felt earlier were gone, making room for a ball of comfort and warmth to burrow in her chest as Castle held her. "I've got you, Kate," he whispered. He was right. She was completely safe in his arms. Peace washed over her for the first time in weeks.