Disclaimer: I don't own Castle

Summary: Rick needs to tell Kate something after his surprise birthday party and they end up talking about more.

A/N: I was reading a fic about what went on in preparing Castle's surprise in "The Life of Others." Though I could see him loving that she put on a mystery for him there was just one aspect of that surprise that I can't see him accepting and still being in character. And, honestly, I can't think of Kate coming up with that and staying in character either. So I needed to explain how the characters could have reacted and acted like they did in the episode and still be in character. And then I ended up addressing another issue that was never addressed. So this kind of takes place both in "The Life of Others" and "Dreamworld"

"Where the jokes must stop"

"Kate."

"Hum," she asked not liking that he had stopped running his hand though her body.

"We need to talk about something," he said seriously and she turned on the bed to look at him. He was sitting with his back resting on the headboard, body turned towards her. She didn't like the look on his face. The happy look from before was gone to be replaced by something painful.

"Like I said. No one's ever done something like what you did for me before. That you went through all that trouble, just because I was bored - I love you so much for that and the gift was almost perfect."

"Almost?" she asked worried.

"There is one part that I didn't bring up before, because. Well, I didn't want to ruin the party, and like I said. What you guys all did - I was so touched but you need to understand that that last part was not okay. You can never Kate, never do that again. Never make me think-" he choked up and she saw he was trying hard to hold back tears so she sat up and cradled his face gently.

"Rick?"

"When I thought he had you. That he was going to hurt you – I was right back in that cemetery Kate, that ambulance."

"That was never my intention," she said horrified. She had never thought of that. She was so caught up on the excitement of their plan, and how they needed something drastic to bring him over, that she never thought what that would do to him. But now she was imagining their roles were reversed. That she had been the one to think that he was in danger. That something had happened to him and her heart sank as she remembered when she was in that situation. She remembered the bank and how her world had stopped when the C4 detonated. She remembered the false witness, just a few months back, and how she had thought he had been in the car, and how relieved she'd been when she found out he wasn't. And, how later, she had been angry too, that for a second he had let her think he was in danger. But he hadn't had a choice at the time. Not if they wanted Leo to use all his bullets so he could get Kate away from him. So she also hadn't said anything because she understood. She understood he'd never hurt her like that if he had a choice. But she had. This wasn't life and death. This was a prank and she should have thought of a better execution. "I'm sorry," she said breathlessly kissing his face.

"I know. I'm not angry. I know you never meant to hurt me. That's why I didn't say anything before, and I wasn't going to say anything, but I just can't get that image out of my head and I need you to know okay? I need both of us to know that we can't joke about that, not with all the times we – not with what we do and the risks we take. Because that just hits too close to home for both of us."

"Okay."

"Okay," he smiled at her kissing her gently.

She smiled as she remembered that conversation. He had soon gone back to his happy self once he knew she understood. Because that was Rick, once something was done and dealt with he didn't hold grudges. Oh, he could if he wanted to. She winced remembering the fallout from when he found out she had lied about hearing his declaration of love. But once they dealt with the problem, the problem was in the past and he just looked forward. Sometimes she wished she was more like that.

"Whacha smiling about?" he asked groggily as his eyes opened to survey her as she leaned over the bed holding his arm and running a reassuring thumb over his skin over and over again. Martha, Alexis and Pi had gone to the hotel but she had remained holding vigil while he slept.

"Nothing," she said running her other hand through his hair. "I'm sorry," she said suddenly.

"'Bout what? Kate, what happened wasn't your fault," he said urgently. "If I hadn't snooped I wouldn't be here. I've learned my lesson," he said firmly and she smiled because she highly doubt he'd stop snooping but she knew he'd try.

"No, about that summer." She knew by the look on his face he knew exactly what she was talking about. "Because now I know how you felt in the ambulance and after. After the doctors said you'd be fine all I wanted was to touch you. Make sure for myself you were fine and when your mom and Alexis arrived, for a moment there I thought they'd kick me out-"

"They wouldn't," he tried to reassure her.

"I know, but I was scared for a moment. And I suddenly understood what you felt. For three whole months, not just a moment. And why you were so angry with me."

"Kate, I understood why you needed to be alone. You like to lick your wounds alone. Yes, I was hurting and I would have been hurting less if I could take care of you," he said honestly caressing her cheek. "But I also knew that wasn't what you needed. You needed to regroup, to find yourself again, after everything that happened to upend your whole view of the world. After Roy, after getting shot, and you know, after me crossing that line we had drawn."

"Line? Uh?"

"Yeah, because we already knew we loved each other," he said simply.

"This again."

"I'm injured. You can't argue with me. Okay, maybe I knew but wasn't a hundred percent sure about your feelings. But you knew, didn't you? What I told you that day. When I told you I loved you. I was saying something we both knew but were pretending wasn't there because we were both scared. And you needed time to process everything."

"And you gave me that time," she said simply.

"I think the boys knew too. And I think they knew you'd need a push, or else you'd hide forever. That's why they insisted I keep the files."

"I would have come looking for you," she insisted. She didn't want him to think she was just using him. After she'd gone back home, after admitting to Dr. Burke she remembered everything she had realized what he must have thought and she felt horrible, she wanted to run and tell him he'd be wrong, because yes, she wanted those files, but she wanted to see him, to breach the gap, bring him back and the files were the perfect excuse. But running to him, talking to him meant admitting she knew how he felt and at that time she wasn't ready to move on that front. So she just hoped he knew. He knew she needed him, not the files.

"Eventually," he shrugged simply without any resentment. "Yes, but how much longer would you have taken?" he poked her jokingly and she glared at him. "I think at times we both needed those pushes. I was so intent on giving you time, letting you get there, going at your pace, that I too ended up letting the status quo be. Letting us stay there in the comfort zone without risking anything. As much as I was hurting when I found out you remembered, I think I needed that because my anger, and less than stellar behavior," he conceded and she shook her head fondly - he had many flaws, but she admired him for that. He always owned up to them - "pushed us to do something. I wish I had just confronted you instead of acting like I did. I was hurting and I ended up hurting you and I hate to remember that," he took her hand in his kissing it gently. "I'm so sorry for that."

"I know," because she did. Even then, when he was lashing out she knew he wouldn't hurt her deliberately. He was lashing out, she just hadn't known at what. Not until he said what he said about trauma and she realized he knew she remembered. And that was why she also told him that she was getting there, that she was seeing a therapist, so he'd know, she also had never meant to hurt him.

"But we needed that push, and, granted, in typical Caskett fashion," she slapped him for the moniker. "We went about things in a spectacular nuclear way. But, I think we were already heading there anyway. I do remember a certain movie date we had scheduled."

"We were," she agreed.

"See, so in the end, as the bard said, all's well that ends well," he smiled at her and she kissed him. Silly man.

xxxx

A/N: For those of you confused. This takes place after Dreamworld and the first part was a memory of Kate. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed!

#YestoCastleSpinoff #CastlePI