So this is the sequel to 'What Hurts The Most!' I know it's been months since I finished that story, but it took me a while to figure out what direction I wanted to go in... I hope you guys love it! Please review so I can make this sequel awesome!


Kate Beckett slammed her apartment door shut and tossed her purse towards the couch carelessly. She was frustrated and on the verge of tears. Why why why why why?, her mind kept repeating over and over. She leaned against the kitchen counter and bit her lip to prevent from sobbing, running her hands through her hair.

"Kate?"

Castle emerged from the back of her apartment. He had a pretty bad case of bedhead and it was obvious that he had fallen asleep on her bed while he had been writing. He saw her face and knew something was wrong. He walked over to her, pulling her into his arms.

"What's wrong?"

She lost it and started to sob. "Wh-wh-why is he s-such an ass-asshole?"

"Who, baby?"

She swallowed, trying to breathe normally. "! He keeps asking me about all the things I don't want to talk about! And he knows that I don't want to talk about them!"

He led her over to the couch and sat down, positioning her in his lap. He stroked her hair while she wiped her eyes.

"Kate, honey, he's a therapist. That's what they do."

"Not when you're with me!," she insisted, furiously wiping away more tears. It wasn't too useful, tears just kept pooling in the corners of her eyes.

"That's because….. because he wants to talk about us when I'm there. And how I can help you. Plus, I've only been 2 times so far."

She frowned. "Well, you're coming on Thursday, right?"

He nodded and kissed the top of her head. "Of course. I promised I would come once a week."

"When can my appointments become just once a week? I hate going 2 times a week, it interferes with work," she pouted, leaning her head against his chest. He smiled for a second, Kate's behavior reminding him of when Alexis was a child.

"Soon," he said comfortingly. "I'll talk with , see what he thinks."

It had been 3 weeks since their reunion. Castle had made Kate take a week off of work, so the first week after was mostly movies, chinese food, coffee, and fun. They had been in a sort of honeymoon-esque bubble, just being with each other and being in love and making each other smile like neither of them had in weeks.

But then the week ended, and Kate went back to work, Castle at her side. At the precinct, they kept it professional but still flirty, like they had before. As per Castle's plan, she had started off slow, and had been benched once or twice because Ryan, Esposito, and Castle had deemed certain things to dangerous for her. She hadn't been happy about it, but at least Castle had always stayed behind with her. And she knew her boys had her best interest at heart. She finally got a chance to talk to Lanie again, and they went out for dinner or drinks a few times to catch up. She had started going to therapy twice a week, with Castle joining her once a week, also part of the plan.

Every night had ended at her apartment or Castle's, he refused to let her be alone. She had pretended to be slightly annoyed, but she secretly would have hated to spend even one night without him. They kept overnight bags in her car, and he always let her choose where they went. She often chose his place, guilty for taking him away from Martha and Alexis, who always welcomed her with hugs and offers of movie marathons and ice cream and shopping trips.

She had taken them up on a girl's day once, spending her day off (Castle, with the help of a note from , had convinced Gates to give Beckett Saturdays and the last half of Fridays off) with Martha and Alexis to see a play and do some shopping. Castle fondly remembered the hunter green long-sleeve minidress she had brought home. She had tried it on for him and he had spun her an elaborate story about the perfect date he was going to take her on in that dress. She had smiled and kissed him and told him that it sounded perfect, indeed.

And at the end of every day, his place or hers, they climbed into bed together and he held her in his arms, trying to keep the nightmares away. He was almost always successful, and every morning when they woke up, she told him she felt safe with him beside her, just sleeping. And he grinned and kissed her cheek and said that he would always be there.

They were pretty domestic already. They knew the other's favorite breakfast, how long each other's showers lasted, what the other meant when they said, "the denim jacket with the leather-y sleeves," or "my purple shirt that has those thin stripes." They hadn't slept together, and Castle made a point to tell her, often, that there was no pressure and absolutely no rush. And that made her happy, because it told her how special he really was. How special he truly is.

But it wasn't all happy and loving. There were days like today, where she was just so frustrated and lost she questioned why she was putting herself through therapy. Some days, she was mad at him, and he left her alone for the day, letting her throw herself into her current case at the 12th. Those were the times he wrote. Sometimes it was his newest Nikki Heat book, title still in question, sometimes it was short stories about her. Things he imagined they would do together, little moments that happened that he never wanted to forget.

He had a newfound patience, as well. One night, Kate had said to him, "I don't know where that little boy side of you has gone, but thank you for staying strong and being the man I can depend on." That one remark had made him so happy. That she had not only noticed his slight change in behavior, but appreciated it. He wanted to be that man, the one she could depend on, every day for the rest of his life. He would never stop being that man for her.

It was so hard for him to know that on the more difficult days, like today, he couldn't help her. Those nights usually ended in anger (hers) and silence. She tried very hard never to lash out at him, because she knew that everything she was going through he was doing to help her. But some nights, she just needed to climb into bed, turn her body away from him, and be alone. And he respected it, with that newfound patience that she adored. By the next morning, she was almost always in a better mood, and he was rewarded with a very long kiss for just letting her be alone.

"Ughhh," Kate groaned, bringing him out of his thoughts and into the present day. "I don't care what thinks. Tell him its what you want!" Her eyes brightened at this new idea. "Tell him that you think its best I only go once a week!"

Castle laughed and kissed her hair again. "You know that you don't truly hate him," he said to her, trying to get her to look him in the eye. "He's trying to help you, and you know that."

Kate snorted. "Oh, okay."

Castle just shook his head. She really was Alexis, circa ages 4-8. He tried the line that had often worked on his daughter when she was young: "Want to talk to me about it?"

Kate sighed and shifted in his lap so she was looking at him. Or in his general direction, anyway. She was avoiding direct eye contact, which she always did when she was uncomfortable. "Ummm…"

"Just tell me what wants to talk with you about that you don't want to talk about," he coaxed her, putting his hand on her cheek and feeling her perfect cheekbones.

"Okay," she said softly, nodding. "My mom, and her case. PTSD and the shooting. How we still haven't caught the guy, and how I feel about that. Montgomery. My dad's drinking and how I might have exhibited some early signs of alcohol addiction while you were gone. The 6 weeks when you were gone. Royce, sometimes…"

She blinked away some tears that threatened to fall again. He hugged her.

"I know that stuff is hard to talk about," he said, stroking her hair. "But if you can lift some of that weight off of your shoulders, don't you think that it's worth it?"

She nodded 'yes' but still looked angry. Tears slid down her cheeks.

"I've experienced enough pain to know that something being "worth it" doesn't make it easier."

"I know, honey, I know," he said, hugging her to him again. "How about at the next appointment, we talk about that stuff instead of you and me?"

A half-smiled formed on her face, and he continued.

"I mean, we've both come to peace with what happened after the book signing, why we were apart. I'll sit right next to you on that couch and hold your hand, and when he brings up your mom or the PTSD, I'll be right there, and you can squeeze my hand and I can make sure you feel comfortable with whatever is said."

She nodded and whispered, "Okay."

But it wasn't okay. Kate Beckett lay awake later that night, or early the next morning, whatever you consider 1 AM to be. Castle slept beside her, his hand and hers clasped together on her stomach and his body turned towards her. She was lying flat on her back, staring at the ceiling, wide awake. She didn't know how much longer she could pretend everything was okay. Truthfully, she was hiding a lot from Castle. She just didn't want him to know how hard everything was on her, because she knew it would hurt him. He would think he wasn't trying hard enough, he wasn't making her life easy enough for her. And that was wrong. He was doing more than enough. He allowed her to choose whatever she wanted to do outside of work, promising to follow her to the apartment she wanted to sleep each night, his or hers. He drove her places, or paid for her cabs to get to therapy, the precinct, CVS, wherever. He welcomed her into his family and home with a warmth that she had never experienced before. He loved her, and he wanted the best for her. He made sure that she was comfortable in every aspect of her life, from the food they had for dinner to the bed she slept in. He cared for her, and took every struggle as a challenge, giving it all he had.

She didn't want to disappoint him, or let him down. And she didn't want him to lose himself trying to make her happy. He had his own life, he had things that were all his own and didn't overlap with her life. His poker games, his writing, Alexis and Martha. She couldn't take him away from all those things just so she could be "okay." So she decided that for now, she would struggle alone and pretend things were getting better. Therapy would work, it just needed time. No one can resolve all their issues in 3 weeks.