Chapter 4 – Moving Forward

The rest of the week had passed without much excitement. Kate showed up at the PI firm at the time Rick let her know he'd be there and together they worked a case much in the same way they had worked the first one. Professionally. They were both good detectives, so the work was good. But that easy flow between the two was missing. Silences were deafening for both of them. For Kate because she didn't know how to make things better and for Rick because every instinct he had towards Kate screamed he should just let his hurt feelings go and be happy she was there with him, but his logic and his discussions with his therapist said that if he wanted them to have a chance he had to be strong. He couldn't just go back to normal without some work. Finally, towards the end of the week, Kate brought the subject up again.

"I thought about what you said, the counselling. I talked it over with Dr. Burke."

Rick looked up from the file and across his desk to where she was sitting and held his breath. This was what he was waiting for. This was a moment that would tell him if they had a chance or not.

"And I think you're right. He offered up some names."

"Dr. Wyatt did too."

Kate nodded and Rick waited for her to continue. He had thought of asking Dr. Wyatt if they couldn't do some kind of joint therapy, with him and Kate's therapist working together to make things easier for Kate. So she wouldn't have to come to trust yet a new person. But his mother was actually the one who had given him some sound advice on that regard when he voiced his idea.

"If the two of you were already a couple and you had had your therapists for a long time, I'd say that was a good idea. Because you were trying to work out a relationship that is already there. But you are trying to see if there will ever be a chance to a relationship with Katherine here. You are trying to build up a base for something completely new. And while it's to work on what would be a life that encompasses both of you, it's also important to maintain some kind of individual life separate. You work with her, you write about her and now you two want to embark on a personal life together. Couples also need to have something that is separate to be healthy. Something that is of each of the person alone, and I'm afraid that if you start by mixing something that is so personal, and more importantly, so important to each one of you to be able to survive if this romantic relationship doesn't work, you won't have that healthy separation. Not only that but your therapist, your support system will be tainted by that relationship. But all these relationships are new. Your romantic one, your relationship with Dr. Wyatt, hers with Dr. Burke. You are all learning to trust each other. So, it's not like her bond with Dr. Burke is so solid. It's just that you are trying to save her from having to learn to trust two people instead of one. And considering you believe trust is her biggest problem, wouldn't learning to trust more people be beneficial to Katherine?"

He had thought that over and he agreed with his mother. Kate had a serious problem letting new people in and using her therapist would be enabling her not to face that problem.

"That's good. Maybe we could see both lists and choose one that is located somewhere that is good for both of us."

He smiled at that. He didn't know if she noticed, but he did. She was thinking about what would be convenient for both of them, not just herself. He wasn't deluding himself, he knew the road ahead was still long, but he took this as a victory, as a step forward.

In the end they decided for one that was in both lists, instead of choosing by a convenient location, with the reasoning that if both their therapists had offered this person up, then this person must be good for both of them.

"Dad, you look fine! Seriously! You've already tried on your entire closet!" Alexis cried as Rick was about to turn back to his closet to get a different shirt, maybe pants too. He looked up as a horrible thought crossed his mind.

"I should have bought something new! Maybe there is still time-"

"No there isn't!" Alexis huffed walking towards him with the jacket. "You look great. That shirt really brings out your eyes and those pants are too tight for my taste which means Beckett will love them."

"I just want to look perfect, this is our first date," he said excitedly. This was important. He had asked her out on a date after the whole tiger debacle. When she had gone back to the precinct, he had offered his services once again to Captain Gates. Kate had explained to Gates that she had never meant for Montgomery to go through with the termination of the partnership. That she understood now Montgomery had spoiled her horribly, she just didn't inform Gates of the reason she believed he did so, and that she was used to being able to give temper tantrums like that to him that he would wait and see. She also explained that she now understood she had been wrong. Gates had in turn nodded and said she was glad that her suspension had served to make Kate see what she had already suspected from Kate's jacket.

"My comment on the fact that I kept an eye on you was exactly because the personnel file I had, read as blatant favoritism. There is clear potential there, but I know for a fact Montgomery greased the wheels for you to become a detective before you were ready. Mature enough for the responsibility. But I can also see you have a good mind for the job. My intention was to help you mature. I hope from now on you will be more responsible."

She had accepted Rick back without much fuss and without him having to pull the big guns. A poker night later let Rick know Gates had been reprimanded by the brass for sending away a good, and very importantly, free asset such as Castle. Her dropping solve rates proof of that. But Gates was still a hard ass who thought only cops could do detective work. So, even though she accepted him back, she made the fact she didn't trust him clear. Rick shrugged that off. With time she'd realize his worth, though he had made himself clear that he would be available when cases required his help but he was still going to keep the PI business, so not to expect the same level of availability he had offered in the past. Gates had to accept that, after all, she was part of the reason he had gone off and opened a PI firm.

But the road here hadn't been easy, there had been a lot of talking with the therapists, both together and individually. Tears, fights, and apologies. To him, the biggest proof that Kate was indeed growing up and accepting that her life wasn't just hers, was when she asked for his help during a case with a sniper. Old Kate would have shut off from him. This Kate didn't just open up to him about the PTSD episodes, but allowed him to comfort her. Spent the night at the loft with him as he pointed out all the loft's security measures and how, with her father's blessing and help, he had payed to change all the glasses on her windows to bulletproof glass while she was at the cabin. Kate had been shocked that she hadn't noticed the difference and her first reaction had been anger towards Rick and her father, but Rick hadn't let her go on and asked her pointedly.

"Would you have let me do it if you'd known? This wasn't for you Kate. This was for your father's and mine peace of mind. So we could move forward from our trauma."

That had given her pause and after thinking it over she thanked him, though she wished he'd told her before. He conceded that if they had been on talking terms at the time he probably would have asked her.

In addition to telling him, she also told Gates how the case was affecting her and accepted when Gates told her she would be doing desk work for this case.

To Rick, those actions, showed him she was ready to try something. That she'd be able to think of them and not just her. They were still working, and they would continue to work on themselves, but he also knew they couldn't wait forever. And they both wanted this. Kate had smiled and kissed him tenderly when accepting the date. That was their third kiss. The first was their undercover one, the second was the night she spent at the loft, right before Rick had tucked her into bed in the guestroom. And today, he might even get luckier, not that he'd say anything to his observing mother and daughter as he straightened his jacket and walked out the door. No. Today, he was taking her out and the rest the future would tell.

The end

A/N: Thanks for reading and reviewing