This is something totally different. One of my favourite FF authors, RedGrayBall, published a one shot recently called Proud, about Castle having a different reaction to Kate's unwitting confession in 47 seconds. Then he challenged his readers to write the follow up. This is my effort. I hope you like it. Thank you to Her Pegship for the beta 😊

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, I don't even own the premise for this story.


Kate watched him walk away, torn between running after him and ignoring Lanie, or leaving him to go home to his daughter, who probably needed him more than she did right now.

Lanie noticed that Kate was still watching Castle walk away, even after he walked up the stairs and out onto the street, and the look on Beckett's face worried her. Lanie knew exactly how her friend felt about the writer, and soon there would come a time when she would call Kate on it, because there was only so long the two of them could dance around each other before something drastic happened, but tonight was not the right time.

Kate's gaze came back to the room, to a glass being placed in front of her, and she looked up into Lanie's soft but curious eyes. She had decided to let Castle comfort Alexis tonight, but she certainly would not wait until Monday to speak to him, tell him the real reason she had lied to him. Yeah, okay, reason wasn't the right word, and Castle would recognise that. Excuses, that is all she had, weak excuses that could not justify the pain she had seen in his eyes, while he was telling her how 'proud' of her he was for all her progress.

"Hey, Lanie. Thanks, but I think I've had enough to drink tonight." It was the first words she had spoken in what felt like forever, and again she cursed herself for not being able to share anything with Castle other than the pitiful "sorry" she managed to squeak out.

"Okay girl. What's going on? Cos now it looks like I interrupted something between you and your man?"

"He's not my man, Lanie, you know that," Kate objected, but even to her ears the protest was weak.

"Deny it all you want, Kate, but I can see the way that man looks at you, and I can definitely see the way you look at him. What are you waiting for?"

"Not now, Lanie, I'm not in the mood," Kate said, her tone stronger now, wanting to shut down this line of conversation until she could sort things out in her head. Her friend was great for advice except for where Castle was concerned, having told her repeatedly just to 'get her freak' on with him. And if she were to tell Lanie what Castle had said to her while she was bleeding out on the grass, there would be no end to her friend's machinations to get them together, after Kate copped an earful for not sharing the information sooner, and for keeping it from Castle as well.

She took a deep breath, noticed that her friend had bought her a straight whiskey, and decided to down it all in one swallow, then thumped the glass on the table and stood up.

"Sorry Lanie, I need a raincheck, it's been a tough case for all of us, and I need to get home. I'll call you later, OK?" She was putting her jacket on as she spoke, and didn't wait for her friend's response before walking out of the bar, unknowingly following the same path that Castle took just ten minutes earlier. Lanie looked after her for a while, then shook her head, finished her drink and also got up, flagging a cab outside to take her home. Something weird was going on with those two, but she would wait to find out what it was.


Kate caught a cab home, wanting to be inside her sanctuary as soon as possible so she could let out all the pent-up emotion she had been hiding since she realised Castle knew about her lie. Once safely inside, she bolted all the locks, threw all her clothes onto the floor towards her bedroom and jumped into a hot shower, allowing the cascade of heat to wash away the tears now streaming down her face, and the sounds of the water thundering into her bathtub to drown the sounds of her sobs as she finally gave in to her body's need to grieve.

The water was long since cold when she turned it off, towelling herself dry and pulling on an old pair of leggings and a long shirt before climbing into bed, but sleep was the last thing on her mind. While she would absolutely respect Castle's need to be with his daughter, she wanted to catch up with him again as soon as possible, and ideally away from the precinct, where there would be no interruptions. There had been enough of those to last her a lifetime.

It was so typical of Castle to take the blame for her lie after her shooting, and to tell her he was proud of her progress after admitting that lie to a petty crook, rather than to the one man who deserved to know why. She had expected him to be angry, to be disappointed, perhaps to leave her for good, and that last reaction was part of the reason she had been most afraid to have the conversation with him since she came back. She could admit to herself that as the months went on and they grew closer, she had hoped they would just drift together naturally, without any need for the admission at all. Or perhaps he would say it again, in a similarly charged moment, and she could respond honestly and jump into it with him.

But like everything else that had happened to them, something else had gotten in the way and now things were so messed up, where he was apologising for her lie, taking the blame on himself, and from what she could see, experiencing a deep sense of heartache at her hands. She needed to fix this, and she needed to fix it tonight. She reached for her phone and sent him a text message, hoping that the alert wouldn't disturb him if he had been able to fall asleep.

Rick, I hope you found some peace with Alexis tonight. I am thinking about both of you after this difficult case, let me know if either of you ever want to talk about it. How about brunch tomorrow? My treat. Kate.

Even after she sent it, she kept analysing the words, making sure there was nothing that could give him the wrong impression, or more wrong than she had already done. Finally she rolled over and pulled the covers up, but sleep was a long time coming.


Kate woke to her phone buzzing, but luckily not from Dispatch, as Gates had taken them off rotation for 2 days. It was in fact Castle accepting her brunch invitation, for which she was grateful. He suggested Remy's, but she didn't want to risk being seen by or running into anyone they knew, so she gave him the address of her favourite little café in the East Village. Then she bounded out of bed and got herself ready for what she hoped was the first day of the rest of her life.

She made it to the café about 10 minutes early, which allowed her to secure a corner table slightly away from the traffic flow. She ordered two coffees and a share plate of little pastries, putting the menus to one side to allow Castle to choose something more substantial after he arrived. She was just about to tuck into her first pastry when he walked in, looking as handsome as ever but still with those shadows under his eyes.

"Thanks for meeting me here, Rick," she said, and noted his raised eyebrow at her use of his first name.

"Happy to oblige, Detective," Castle responded, but there was still that residual sadness in his tone.

"Rick, I wanted to talk to you, continue our conversation from last night, but - " Kate started, but he cut her off.

"It's OK, Kate, I told you, you are OK." Rick said, seemingly uncomfortable with the topic of conversation.

"No, it's not OK, Castle, and I would appreciate if you could let me speak without interrupting for once." He raised another eyebrow at her, but nodded, and signalled zipping his lips, trying to bring a little lightness to the situation.

"Castle. Rick. You said last night you were proud of me, for being able to use my shooting as an interrogation tactic. But there is nothing to be proud of about me, especially not for that.

"I do remember my shooting, and I remember exactly what you said to me. When I was finally able to separate what you said from the pain in my chest and the thunder in my ears, those beautiful words of yours were what kept me fighting, those days and weeks when the pain was too much, when I couldn't do anything for myself, but I had sent my father away so I could wallow alone in my misery in the cabin. I broke up with Josh before I left the hospital, because after you tried to jump in front of a bullet, and then told me you loved me when it may have been the last thing you ever said to me, I knew that he was never going to have my heart, it already belonged to you, and I was hurting all three of us by leading him on.

"By that time, though, it had been too long that I hadn't called you, and I wasn't sure what my reception would be, so I hoped I could come see you once I was fit and well again, and we could have that conversation. And I was a coward for continuing to lie to you about remembering your words, but I didn't think I was good enough to start a relationship with you, not until I was healed and whole.

"Then, after my return, when we got back into the swing of things, we seemed to be growing closer and I thought perhaps we could just drift together, and there would be no need for that awkward conversation. I never wanted you to find out this way, and I am so sorry that you had to hear it that way. If I could go back in time now, I would change many things, but here we are."

She was looking at Castle as she spoke, but found it hard to meet his eyes because he was staring at his hands, or only catching her eyes briefly before looking away. It looked like he couldn't speak even if he wanted to, and Kate enjoyed a moment of shocking the wordsmith speechless. But then, she took his hands over the table, and squeezed his fingers until he looked up at her and held her eyes.

"The last thing I want to say, before you can say whatever you want, is this. I am in love with you, Rick Castle, have been for longer than I was willing to admit, but now that we are here, you are the only one I want by my side as my partner in work and life."

To say that Castle was taken aback by her explanation and declaration was an understatement. When he first received her text, he thought perhaps she wanted to meet so she could let him down gently, explain that he was her best friend, but they would never be anything more. Now, it seemed like she was offering the exact opposite, and he was definitely speechless.

He was lost in his musings for so long that Kate became nervous. Castle had never been still and silent for this long, and she had no frame of reference on how to react. She wondered for a moment if perhaps he didn't want to have a relationship with her, but then she remembered he specifically told her last night that he still loved her, so that fear was short lived. Finally she could stand it no longer.

"Castle, please say something."

"I love you, Kate."

The End.