A'N: a little something that popped into my head and wouldn't leave. Yes, I know its been a while, so please be gentle.

Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own them. Do you take me for the type of person who would have let it end like THAT?


"Girl, you need to talk to him" Lanie repeated, filling up Kate's wine glass for the third time.

"There's obviously something wrong, but he's too much a guy to actually talk about it, so you need to march over there and get it out of him. Then you can go back to making love eyeballs at each other, and finally jump his bones!"

"No, Lanie, I think I've missed my chance, and I'm not going to make a fool of myself in front of his latest bimbo. If he doesn't feel the same way anymore, then I need to just move on."

"Feel the same way anymore? What are you talking about Kate Beckett?"

Oops. That wasn't supposed to come out. Kate pulled a face, regretting the wine she had allowed Lanie to talk her into, even though it used to be part of their regular girls' night routine. Thank god they were at her place, at least she could finally unburden herself to someone other than Dr Burke. As she explained the events after her shooting, Castle's words and her response to him in the hospital, Kate knew she should be explaining it to the man himself.

"Oh, girl. No wonder he was moping around at the precinct for weeks before Gates kicked him out. Javi said he didn't think the guy had slept much after your shooting, and now I can see he had even more reason to try to find your shooter."

Ï know all that, Lanie, but maybe he's just tired of waiting, and I can't blame him. I'm still damaged, definitely not fun and uncomplicated. Maybe its best if I let him go and be happy." Even Lanie could see that Kate's heart was breaking apart just saying those words.

"But he's not happy, girlfriend, that's what I'm trying to tell you. We've all become familiar with the Richard Castle publicity smile, and that is all he has been wearing these last few weeks. He's faking it, but I catch him watching you and his heart is still in his eyes before he shutters them over."

"Can we not talk about this any more please, Lanie? "

Lanie took pity on her friend at last and told her some funny stories from the morgue. But the whole time, she could see the devastation in Kate's eyes that she had caught glimpses of in Castle's. Lovesick idiots, the both of them, Lanie sighed, as she caught a taxi home.

Beckett was woken far too early the next morning by dispatch and threw herself into the latest murder. She was still good at her job, could bring closure to other families, and if it took more coffee than usual, and more makeup to hide the purple bags under her eyes, that was no one else s business.

The case was gruesome and complicated, definitely Beckett flavored, and took all her waking hours. She hadn't called Castle, and he didn't show up at the precinct, but Ryan and Esposito were obviously concerned, as they kept her coffee cup full, and kept glancing at her when they didn't think she was looking. She loved her boys, but she didn't have the mental space for them right now either.

Finally, the case was closed, the perpetrator on his way to booking and the paperwork submitted to the DA. Captain Gates, knowing how hard Beckett had pushed for this case – and the many others before it – gave the whole team three days off. Beckett was initially surprised, but then acknowledged she needed the break. It would be perfect in more ways than one.

Kate spent the first night and most of the first morning off asleep, until her brain had decided to torture her with scenes of Castle on dates with blonde bimbos, kissing and more intimate activities that she couldn't bear. She tossed and turned for a while longer, then tried to distract herself with chores – washing, cleaning, shopping. She even called her Dad, but it was too hard to pretend nothing was wrong so she rung off feeling even more guilty.

She thought about Castle, and how she felt about him, and remembered Lanie's words from the other night. What they had was much more important than anything else in her life, and just like Castle had been showing up and pushing for the last 4 years, it was her turn to fight for them. It was past time to come clean about her lie and tell him how she really felt. She dressed herself with care, choosing items she knew he liked, had seen his eyes sparkle when she had worn them. All the while, she was formulating what to say – he was the wordsmith, but just jumping his bones would not help matters at the moment. He deserved words from her. Hell, he deserved so much more from her, for all that he had given her over the years.

Kate knocked on the loft door, apprehension squeezing her insides. She knew he was slipping away from her and was determined to make one final effort to bring him back.

When he finally answered, she let out a long breath. He was dressed similar to how she had last seen him – jeans, a blue button up – and when he recognised her at his door, his face didn't blank into indifference like it had the last few times they had interacted.

"Beckett? Is something wrong?" Castle asked, and even his tone of voice was softer. She took heart from this and stepped inside the door. She was still mulling over her words, how to start this conversation, and gazing at her wringing hands for inspiration, as she watched his feet walk around her to close the door, then back towards the lounge. When he called her name again – Beckett of course, she hadn't been Kate to him in weeks – she finally looked up at him.

Standing behind his left shoulder, in the middle of the lounge, wearing what was obviously his bathrobe, wet hair ends darkening the fabric, was her – definitely former – best friend.


Kate Beckett ran.