The next day promised good weather again. The rain had stopped in the night, and in the morning the sun was shining again. Castle was relieved, he had worried they'd have to cancel the plans for the evening. Fireworks, when it rained, weren't half as fun, and roasting marshmallows could be done inside but who would want that when there was a perfectly fine fireplace outside?

Occasionally he looked into the sky with a worried expression, as if he was expecting the weather to change suddenly, just like the day before. He could see a few clouds in the sky, but they weren't a threat to their plans.

"Wait," he said when he was gathering the fireworks to put them outside, ready to be fired off. "You don't have to arrest me because these are illegal, do you?"

Kate looked up from the food she was preparing for their dinner, something she actively had to fight for, as he kept insisting, she was his guest and didn't need to lift a finger at all this weekend. She had argued that Monday wasn't part of the weekend and she hadn't listened to him on the actual weekend either, so he had grudgingly accepted.

"Well, since you just told me..." She didn't bother finishing the sentence, trying to keep a straight face about the expression of panic that spread over his face. "But I am actually not working right now, and I don't have any jurisdiction here either way. So, this time you're getting away with it."

"Lucky me," he said and went on with his work, while Kate shook her head with an amused smile.


The night was filled with sounds, fireworks going off in all directions - of course, Castle wasn't the only one who brought fireworks, he wasn't even the one who had brought the most. Their supply had run empty a couple minutes ago, his neighbours, however, didn't seem to stop anytime soon.
Kate had shot him a surprised look, but he had just shrugged and explained that as much as he liked firing them off, he did prefer just watching them.

So here they were, at the beginning of the path leading to the beach looking at the dark sky that lit up every few seconds in red and blue and green. They listened to the whooshing sound of the fireworks going off, followed by the crackle and bursts when it exploded high in the sky.

He had brought her a blanket that was now lying over her shoulders, her hands curled into the edges to hold them together and keep the chill of the night away from her. The light of the fireworks was reflecting in her eyes, the wind had pushed a strand of hair into her face, but she didn't care enough to push it away again.

Kate must have noticed him staring and turned her head to look at him. He couldn't say it surprised him, after all, she was a cop and he didn't try to hide what he was doing, but he still felt caught, was expecting her to tell him how staring was creepy, but she was smiling brightly. The look of pure joy on her face made his heart skip a beat and his lips curl into a smile as well.

When she turned her head towards him the movement pushed the hair out of her face, but as she looked back to the fireworks again, the hair moved back too. Castle's fingers twitched with the same energy from the day before. He could raise them and brush the hair out of her face, maybe let his fingers linger for a second too long, feel the warmth of her skin underneath. But he didn't. He put his hands inside the pockets of his jacket and in silence, they watched until his neighbours ran out of fireworks.


There's a bang, then there's fire, orange and yellow flames, engulfing the building, and he is too late. He needs to go inside. He needs to save her, get her out of there. But he can't move, his legs are frozen, refusing to do what he tells them, and he can only watch as the house burns down in front of him.

Castle opened his eyes, let them adjust to the darkness in his bedroom, the only light coming from the moon, illuminating a strip of his bedroom floor, where the curtains weren't completely drawn shut.

He turned on his back, raised a hand to rub over his forehead, and sighed.

It wasn't the first time he dreamed about that day, but the last time it happened was weeks ago, shortly after Kate had found a new place to live and moved out of the loft. That night had been the first night he couldn't climb the stairs to his guest room, to reassure himself, that she was alright. He had spent most of the night staring at the ceiling until Kate had called him about a case. And since then, the dream hadn't come back.

And he hadn't expected it to do so now. Yet here he was, unable to stop the images forming behind his eyelids.

But oh, she was here, he could go upstairs and check on her, let himself see that she was okay, sleeping soundly in his guest room, just like she did in the loft.

With that idea in mind, he got out of bed and made his way out of the room, already turning towards the stairs, when he noticed light coming from the kitchen.


Kate hadn't been able to sleep at all. She had been tired and longing for the comfortable bed in the guest room. But when she lay down and closed her eyes, started to relax, her brain had started to work, replaying the weekend she had spent with Castle. All the looks she had noticed him casting her way, but pretended not to see, the missed opportunities for a proper conversation about them, about what this weekend meant for them, as friends and maybe as something else.
And every time a small part in her mind had won, had reminded her that a man like Richard Castle - successful, charming, rich - would never want anyone like her for more than one night.

She had tried to shut up her mind, think about anything else. But it didn't work. In the past, when she tried to stop thinking about certain things, she thought about work. But Castle was present at work as well so that hadn't been helpful at all.

And when the clock on the nightstand had told her it was 3 am she had decided to get up and make herself a hot chocolate, just to do something.

She had walked downstairs as silently as possible, inwardly cursed herself for not putting on socks when her bare feet hit the cold tiles of the kitchen floor and opened the kitchen cabinet to take out a mug.

When she reached to grab the box with the chocolate her elbow brushed against it and swept it off the counter. It hit the ground with a thud that rang through the room and Kate cursed. Just because Castle had told her to feel at home, didn't mean she needed to wake him up, just because she couldn't sleep.
She listened, trying to hear if she had woken him up, but the only sound she heard was the clock above the doorway, ticking loudly in the otherwise silent room.

Releasing her breath, she grabbed the box from the floor and turned back to the kitchen counter, continuing to prepare a hot chocolate for herself.

Just as she was finished, Castle appeared in the doorframe. His hair dishevelled from sleep and his eyes blinking in the light of the ceiling lamp.

"Hey," he greeted, his voice rough from sleep, and Kate almost jumped, causing him to apologize in a rush.

"Did I wake you?" she asked concerned, but he only shook his head.

"Uh no. I was still up."

She looked at him for a moment longer, could see that he wasn't telling the entire truth but decided to ignore the feeling. If he didn't want her to know she woke him up she wouldn't force him to tell her.

"Want one too?" She pointed to her mug, noticed Castle's eyes wandering over the counter until they set on the box, she had dropped a few moments ago. "I hope it's okay that I use your kitchen like this."

"Of course, it's no problem. And yeah I could use one."

Kate went to take a new mug out of the cabinet, while Castle walked around the island to sit down on one of the stools, watch her work in his kitchen like she ended up doing in the mornings when he refused to let her help him prepare their breakfast.

"So, what keeps you awake?" he asked.

"Not sure," Kate shrugged and filled the mug with chocolate. "Lots of thoughts I guess."

"Want to talk about it?"

She shrugged. "I'm not sure I can find the right words to express these thoughts."

Really what was she supposed to tell him at 3 am in his kitchen? Oh, remember yesterday when we were surprised by the rain and there was this weird electricity between us, and I ran away? And then we didn't talk about it? Let's talk about this right now at 3 am in your kitchen when we're both tired and I am definitely not in a state to have a conversation like that.
But then maybe this was the right moment to talk. Maybe the lack of filter was what they needed when they couldn't talk otherwise.

"Hmm okay," he agreed and took the mug she offered him from her hands.

They spent the next few moments in silence, both sipping on their mug and lost in their own thoughts.

Kate knew the moment to talk about them was over, when he agreed to drop it, and she looked for anything to stop the silence, that started to feel awkward.

"What about you?" she finally asked

"Me?"

"What keeps you awake so late?"

"Ah you know, lots of thoughts," he said, repeating her own words.
Receiving a pointed look from Kate, he sighed, lowered his head and looked into the mug while talking. "I'm not sure. I think I dreamed about your apartment blowing up."

"You did?" Kate's voice was full of surprise and concern.

"Yeah, it happens from time to time."

"I didn't know that."

"Yeah it's not like I tell you every time it happens," Castle replied with a smirk

"Right, sorry."

"Just so you know, I am very glad you are okay. My mind just likes to torture me with 'what if' scenarios. Usually when I am sleeping."

He was staring at his hands now as if he was worried, he had said too much as if he couldn't bear to look at her and see whatever he feared to see. Kate put her hand over his and squeezed lightly.

"You know, what happened to my apartment was not your fault, right?"

He looked up. "Most of the time, yes."

There it was again. That soft look in her eyes he had seen so many times these past days. The look he tried to understand but was scared to misinterpret. She smiled at him. A small smile that didn't reach her eyes, still showing concern, mixed with something else.

"It's getting late." Castle cleared his throat. "We should go get some more sleep."

He drew back his hand from under hers, got up from the chair and walked away. Steam was emerging from his mug still half-full with the hot chocolate Kate had made for him. And she blinked, her gaze followed him until he walked around the corner, and she could hear the soft click of his door being shut.


When Kate finally emerged from her room the next day, Castle was already cooking something in the kitchen. Knowing that he wouldn't let her help him she walked around the kitchen island and set down on the stool she had come to know as her stool by now.

"Pancakes?" she asked with a nod to the plate he already had stacked a few.

"It's traditional last-day-at-the-Hamptons-breakfast."

"I thought it was tradition first-day-at-the-Hamptons-breakfast."

"Hey, I don't make the rules," he defended himself.

Kate raised an eyebrow in disbelief.

"No seriously. Alexis made this rule."

Kate shook her head with a smile. "You do know that you're the adult and you can say 'no', right?"

"But… why would I say no to Pancakes?" he asked her in return, taking the finished pancake out of the pan and putting it on top the of the others, before starting the next one.

"Good point," Kate agreed. There was no point fighting him about this either way. And why would she argue against pancakes? "But it's not your last day at the Hamptons," she added, before taking the first sip of her coffee.

"So? It's your last day here," he shrugged. "And it's Pancakes."

"You can eat them every day for the rest of the summer, actually for the rest of your life."

"Now, while I would love to do that, that'd be a bad idea and I would stop liking them very soon," Castle argued, took the last pancake out of the pan and turned off the stove. "Plus, I don't even know if I would manage to actually prepare that much food in the next days," he added before walking around the kitchen island to sit down next to Kate and grab one of the pancakes from the plate.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm going to be writing. And well sometimes if it's going really well, I don't notice the time flying by until hours later."
"So you might not eat anything?"

"Of course, I'll eat something. Just not pancakes."

"Except on your last day here."

"Except on my last day here, that is correct. Unless you decide to come visit again. Since then that will be your first day at the Hamptons again."

"Can I veto this?"
Castles gasped. "You would say no to my pancakes? This hurts, Beckett. This really hurts."

"I'm saying no to you making breakfast the next time I am here. Now shut up and eat," she replied, hiding her grin behind her mug of coffee.

After they were done, she got up, grabbed his plate to take it to the kitchen sink, but he stopped her.

"You don't have to do that."

"Do you want to get rid of me?"
"No I just want you to feel like a guest and you won't let me."
"You also told me to feel at home," she replied with a smug grin leaving him gaping at her for a second.

"Shut up," he finally said, and Kate burst out laughing.

Later, after they finished cleaning the dishes and Kate left to pack her things, he was walking her to her car, her bag over his shoulder. He had taken it from her as she came downstairs and refused to listen to her protesting.

"You really don't have to do that," Kate tried for the fifth time.

"I already did it," he replied as he put it into the trunk of her car.

With nothing left to do he walked around the car and stopped in front of her.

"So," she started, unsure of what to say or do. Should she hug him? Just shake his hand? Do neither? Keep ignoring everything that almost happened between them these past days? She settled for a 'See you' and immediately cursed herself when the light in his eyes almost unnoticeably dimmed.

"Text me when you're home?"

"I will."

She should leave. She should get inside her car and drive away like she had planned. But her legs didn't move. Her eyes were locked with his and she knew there was something in them he tried to hide. Something that slowly built the longer she stood in front of him without moving.

His eyes flickered to her lips and before she could formulate the thought that provoked, his lips were on hers, warm and soft and better than she had imagined it over and over this past weekend - oh who was she kidding, this past year.

His hands palmed her face and she wanted to respond. She wanted to close her eyes, let her fingers tangle in his hair but her body wasn't responding to any signal her brain was desperately sending out.

She felt frozen in place and she wanted to kick herself.

It didn't last long.

He drew back and dropped his hands from her face. Her own hands were lifted mid-air - when that happened, she had no idea - and she noticed a hint of regret in his eyes. And oh god why couldn't she kiss him back? Why couldn't she do the one thing she had been thinking about for the past months?

His mouth opened but before the words she knew would be an apology, could leave his lips, she interrupted him. There was nothing to apologize for. Not for him at least.

"I should go."

That wasn't what she wanted to say. That wasn't even close to what she wanted to say. She wanted to take the words back, erase the regret in his eyes that was growing, but he was already moving backwards, putting a distance between them, that felt more than space. She took a deep breath, searched for the right words to make him understand, even though she didn't understand it herself. There weren't any.

"Yeah of course," he agreed, and she knew it was done. He had done the one thing she had wanted him to do and she had ruined it.

There was nothing left to do, and she turned around, opened the door of her car, sat down and sighed before starting the engine and driving away.