Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; I just like to put them into difficult situations sometimes.


Chapter 2

Kate ripped the headset off and ran to the bathroom, because she could no longer control the roiling of her stomach. She brought up everything she had eaten all day, which admittedly wasn't much, with Castle not there to make sure she looked after herself. Then she splashed water on her face, rinsed her mouth out, and prepared herself to face Yolanda again. She didn't know how much Dr Burke had shared with his wife about their sessions, how the main topic of most of them lately had been Richard Castle, but she could see in Yolanda's eyes that she understood what Kate had heard had affected her greatly. Yolanda took Kate in her arms and gave her a hug, one like she hadn't received since her mother was alive, then wished her a good night, with a wish for feeling better soon.

Kate caught a cab to her apartment, and locked herself in for a long night. Not of sleep, for she knew that was not to come, but of thinking, and of course recriminations. She still found it hard to accept that Richard Castle - the eternal man-child, the nine year old on a sugar rush - would be so upset with the thought that she did not love him, that she had lied to him, that he would consider suicide. She knew that he loved her, she did in fact remember every second of that fateful day, and his words had been the only thing keeping her hanging on for months while she fought to make herself whole enough to deserve him. She still didn't think she was there, that she could give him everything he deserved, but it seemed like she had run out of time. She had to act now, or she would lose him forever. And that was a result she would not entertain.

She reviewed the last few days, and finally realised that Castle must have been behind the glass when she was interrogating Bobby Lopez, and he heard her say she was shot in the chest and remembered every second of it. At the time, she was just trying to get Bobby to identify what had happened in the Plaza, and let him know his claims of trauma amnesia were bogus. The words had just come out, unfiltered in her frustration with the case that seemed to be going nowhere. She did wonder why there was fresh coffee on her desk, but Esposito told her Castle had to be somewhere, and knowing that Alexis was working in the morgue with Lanie and traumatised by the case, she thought nothing further on it. Now, she understood that his first reaction to being betrayed was to run, get away from her. He had come back later that day, but he had already shut down his emotions, his poker face in place. When she invited him to drinks he declined for the first time in their partnership, which should have rung warning bells in her mind, except she thought he wanted to go and comfort Alexis, and she would never get in the way of that.

The next time she saw him was in the hotel carpark for Naomi's murder, and he showed up fresh off the plane from Vegas with Jacinda. Now she knew that was just his way of trying to get over her, and although it seemed over the next few days that he was enjoying his lunch dates with the flight attendant, Kate now knew that he was miserable and just pretending to be happy, staying away from her as much as possible. Even the words he threw at her when she questioned how much time he was spending with the flight attendant, 'fun and uncomplicated', were only designed to hurt her, like he was hurting. That was the only time he knowingly tried to hurt her, the good man inside not allowing him to do anything more. It was good to know he had not replaced her with the blonde, but god it hurt to think he was trying to replace her. All because she was a coward and couldn't tell him she heard his words, wouldn't commit to a relationship until she could say those words back to him. But she had not said those words to any of her prior boyfriends, not even to Will, and they were living together and he expected her to move to Boston with him.

So she didn't need to say the words back to Castle on day one of their romantic relationship, she could certainly show him how she felt, but she needed to take the step to turn their partnership into that romantic relationship. And before that, she needed to convince Castle that she did feel the same way; that she hadn't been embarrassed by his deathbed declaration and his life was definitely worth living. But how was she going to do that, when he wouldn't come to the precinct of his own accord? It sounded like Martha knew what she had confessed to a suspect, but he hadn't told Alexis. So maybe she could call Alexis, see how the girl was after the last case, and subtly determine where she could find her father. This could only be done in person, preferably somewhere they would not be interrupted.

When Kate looked at the clock, she realised it was way too late to call anyone, so she resolved to call Alexis tomorrow, or maybe even drop into the morgue and speak to her there. And maybe a call to Lanie would be good too, to talk out her thoughts and maybe get some more ideas. She crawled under the covers clutching Heat Wave to her chest, brushing her fingers gently over his face on the back cover, and rehearsing her lines in her head. She was going to fix this, he deserved happiness and to know he was loved.


A/N: Wow! I am totally blown away by the response to this story. Over 30 reviews and over 100 follows and favourites. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your support of this little story.

This is a shorter chapter, but I wanted to reassure you that Kate did have a strong reaction to hearing Castle's suicidal thoughts, but we all know she is a very private person who does not often betray her internal feelings and struggles. I hope that put some people's minds at rest. There will also be at least a chapter from Castle's POV, because I don't actually believe this is totally out of the realm of possibility for his character.