Did he just...? But she hadn't said... Had she?

The detective shakes her head to herself. She's absolutely certain that her thoughts had not translated into spoken words.

So either the man has ESP or he's still dreaming.

He has joked in the past about dreaming of her, how she plays into his fantasies. She just hadn't imagined they would take the form that they apparently do - dreams not about the two of them wearing nothing and taking advantage of their lack of clothing, but instead about her telling him how she feels.

Oh, Castle.

If she had any lingering doubts that what he said in the cemetery was only spoken because she was dying, well, he's just erased them.

She continues to absently stroke his hair and curl her fingers around his ear while she considers what she needs to do when he awakes. But before she can firm up any concrete plan of action, she feels his breathing change and watches as his blue eyes blink away the haze of sleep.

A slow smile spreads his cheeks and her own answers, refusing to be hidden in the face of his joy.


She lets her nails rasp gently at his scalp and he closes his eyes in bliss, letting out a little hum and a sigh that does all kinds of things to her insides.

"Hey yourself, Castle."

His hand smoothes up and down her side over her tee shirt, the friction warming and nearly making her shiver at the same time.

"How'd you sleep?" he asks quietly, his eyes opening again as his hand rises to cup her shoulder and then slides up to her neck and finally her cheek.

She leans into his touch, turning her head briefly to kiss his palm. Maybe it's not fair to either of them, maybe it's selfish of her, but if her confession does by chance cause them to crash and burn, she wants to have experienced as much of his tenderness as possible in advance.

"Pretty well," she answers, letting a hint of teasing enter her eyes. "When you weren't talking in your sleep, of course."

He flushes. She can only guess why. Maybe he does dream about more than answering her dream-self's declarations of love.

"Um..." he hesitantly asks, "what exactly did I say?"

She lets him suffer for a moment, looking at him thoughtfully before she finally puts him out of his misery.

"Something about a bar and Nazis," she tells him, and the relief on his face is evident. "Then you hugged me and told me we'd always have Paris."

He chuckles, his blush fading.

"Casablanca again..."

She lifts her head from the pillow, quirking an eyebrow at him.


He reddens once more, spluttering a little as she grins at him.

"Yeah," he admits. "Not the first time."

She gives him an affectionate smile. His books, proof of his active imagination, have been part of her life for so long that she shouldn't really be surprised by this revelation.

"Did I," he starts, and she can see the hesitation on his face, "uh, say anything else?"

There's a strange mixture of hope and fear in his eyes, like he might remember whatever he was dreaming before she woke him. She's not sure which would be better - to shake her head and ignore his words from a few minutes ago or to go the full disclosure route. Her heart thumps hard in her chest.

"Kate?" he asks when she doesn't answer immediately. "What is it? What did I say?"

His tone of apprehension jars her out of her thoughts and she drops her head back to the pillow, her eyes shifting away from his to stare at the kitten still curled around his throat. He hasn't even noticed Minnie's presence.

He moves his head to see what she finds so fascinating and one of the kitten's paws comes up to push back against his chin.

The writer chuckles, pulling his hand away from Kate to run his fingers over the little creature.

"I love this new heated scarf you brought me, Detective."

He's giving her an out, allowing her the switch to humor and lightness if she wants it. She recognizes the effort for what it is. He may not be certain what she heard him say, but she knows he can tell from her silence that she's not sure what to do with it. He's allowing them to revert to familiar patterns if she so desires.

But this is their problem - they don't talk about things. Things that should be talked about.

"My name," she whispers, lifting her eyes back to his. "You said my name."

Minnie flops down from her perch, climbs up on the pillow, and then Kate listens as the kitten pads away. There's a thump as the creature lands on the floor, silence for a moment, and then the click of claws on the tile of the bathroom.

"Your name," the writer says slowly. "Also probably wouldn't be the first time. I've had, uh, more than a few dreams in which you've heavily featured. I think you know that."

She nods. She does know that. She's had more than one about him too. Nightmares, sometimes, about losing him to a sniper or a serial killer or a dirty bomb. Occasionally she dreams about doing wicked things to his body, especially after the case with the tiger a few weeks ago. Other times, she just dreams of him holding her.

"What else?"

The detective presses her lips together in a thin line, her eyes shifting again, to linger on his chest, the way she thinks she can faintly see the beat of his heart under bone and muscle, skin and shirt.

"Love you too," she says softly, and his breath quickens, though to his credit, he makes no other move. "You said, 'Kate, love you too."

When she meets his gaze, astonishment and disappointment are warring in his eyes. Disappointment? Why disappointment? She thinks through what she told him, how she said it. Oh. He must have thought... And then, when she clarified... Oh. But she does, she really does.

His face is pale now, rather than red with embarrassment, and she can see the beginnings of an explanation or an apology forming on his lips.

She presses her fingers over his mouth.

"I heard you the first time," she confesses in a low voice, and sees the confusion flit through his eyes before she continues. "I'm so sorry, Castle. I'm so sorry."

Part of her wants to keep him from speaking, keep him trapped in the softness of last night before they went to sleep. But she can't.

"The first time?" he asks, when she moves her hand.

She looks away from those blue irises, down to his throat and the bob of his adam's apple as he swallows.

"Oh," he says, and she doesn't have to see his face to know that he understands. "You remember? After you were shot?"

She nods, closing her eyes against the well of tears she can already feel.

"You never really forgot, did you?"

She should have known that he would see through her lies. He knows her, understands her. He knows all her tells. He knows when she isn't okay. Of course he would know she's been lying to him, even if he tried to make himself believe that she wouldn't do that. She nods again, unable to look at him, to see the hurt and the disappointment on his face.

"Yeah, I kinda...figured," he says softly, and there's no accusation in his voice, just resignation. "But I guess it's good. Having it out in the open."

She opens her eyes.


He's watching her, his eyes compassionate, no hint of the anger she expected. Hurt, yes, but no anger. And somehow that's worse.

"I mean, I'm not thrilled that you lied to me, Kate," he whispers, bringing his hand up to hover over her arm before drawing back without actually touching her. "But I...understand. You had - have - a lot of other things to deal with without having to worry about me too."

She's still not sure what to do, what to say to this version of him. She expected anger, probably would have accepted his wrath as just punishment for what she's done to him. Not that he'd ever physically hurt her. But yell, kick her out of his bed, his home, his life? Maybe.

However, it seems she has underestimated him yet again, his goodness or his patience or the sheer size of his heart when it comes to her.

"Castle, I-"

He cuts her off with a shake of his head, touching her this time, a finger pressed to her lips.

"It's good that you know," he tells her. "If it helps you realize that I'm not going anywhere. That's enough for me."

She just wants to smack him sometimes. For someone so intelligent, he can be pretty dense. But he's still talking.

"Kate, I'll be here for whatever you need, even if you don't-"

She kisses him. Pulls his hand away from her mouth and kisses him. Fiercely.

His head jerks back, surprise written all over his face. Did she misjudge? No. It's just surprise, just that she caught him off guard. Nothing else.

She kisses him again, pressing her mouth to his and curling her fingers around the back of his neck to hold him in place, her lips working furiously to express her apology, her gratitude, her love for this man.

He gets a hand against her shoulder, and she thinks he might push her away. He does, but it's not a clean break, nothing harsh. He's gentle, his mouth slowly disengaging from hers.

"Kate?" he asks, wonder and disbelief evident in both his tone and his face.

They're still in bed, she realizes with a sudden jolt. They're still in their pajamas, still half covered by his luxurious sheets and soft blanket. And best of all, the alarm has not yet sounded, which means she still has time to make this right.

"Last night wasn't enough proof for you?" she asks, and his eyebrows furrow. "Just now, waking up here with me? You still don't know?"

She reaches up to her shoulder to pull his hand away, grasps it in her own, pressing tiny kisses to each of his fingers as he watches in stunned silence.

"What, Kate?" he asks, but now a tender smile is blooming on his face. "What exactly am I supposed to know?"

He's teasing her. He's teasing her and enjoying it, infuriating man. He's teasing her, and oh, she can't imagine her life without that smirk and those twinkling eyes.

"You tell me, Writer Man. How does this story go?"

Her words are muffled against his hand. She's moved down to his palm, her lips lingering gently over each deep line.

He hums, deep in the back of his throat, a low sound that gives her goosebumps.

"I think I know, but I'm not sure," he says, his eyes darkening as they bore into hers. She's never had the more distinct impression that he can read her mind, not even when they come out with the same words at the same to solve a case. "I might not be able to write the narrative alone this time. Might need some help. Might need a co-author."

He's going to make her say the words. And that's exactly what she needs, isn't it? How does he always know when to push?

She releases his hand and presses against his shoulder, pushing him away from her. Bewilderment flits through his features.

But then she's tossing a leg over his hips, rolling him onto his back, and hovering over him on her knees.

"Castle," she calls quietly, waiting until his focus shifts away from the way her legs fit around his, the way her chest is only inches from his, the way she's braced above him with her hands on either side of his head.

When his attention is fully on her face, his blue eyes softening as they meet hers, then she speaks again.

"Castle, I'm in love with you."

Back                         Home                              Castle Main Page                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!