Rating: K+ for some language
Type: Castle, Caskett
Spoilers: Everything up to Knockdown.
Disclaimer: Unless I win a REALLY big lottery, none of the characters in this are, or ever will be, mine lol.
Summary: “I wish you’d stayed.” Takes place around a month after Knockdown, give or take.
A/N: Written for a challenge at the LJ community, Castleland. I thought picking a straightforward, to the point quote would make my life easier… yeah, no, I ended up having a harder time because I wasn’t forced to come up with something creative lol. Remind me never to give myself an “easy out” ever again.
4 hours, 8 minutes and 14 seconds: that’s how long they had been sitting in this car, waiting for their suspect to return to his apartment building. Idle conversation had died down over an hour ago, and meaningful conversation ended an hour prior to that. She had never known Castle to be quiet for this long, but she supposed even he had to run out of things to say eventually. Twice she had looked over to see if he had fallen asleep, and both times she found him looking at her. She was starting to think he was watching her a lot more than he was watching the road, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. In the past she had always found it creepy, but now, there was something else. Something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
At 4 hours, 38 minutes and 52 seconds, the unnerving silence had finally cracked her. She wasn’t comfortable with the direction her mind travelled when sitting alone with him for an extending period of quiet introspection. So she blurted out the first thing that popped into her head, which was, incidentally, not a discussion she particularly wanted to have.
“Josh and I broke up.” She immediately chastised herself. Why, Kate? Why, of all things, did you have to go and say that?
“Oh?” He sounded surprised.
“It was for the best.”
The silence returned for several minutes before he spoke. “How so?”
“You said it was for the best, how so?”
“He was looking for a serious relationship from day one and I wasn’t. I think we both saw it coming.” Please let him leave it alone.
“If you weren’t looking for a relationship, why did you go out with him?”
“You realize that this is really none of your business.”
“You brought it up.”
“Yeah, and now I’m sorry I did. Just forget I said anything.”
“I said no. I’m not just going to forget about it. I know you, Kate. You wouldn’t have mentioned it if you really didn’t want me to know. Deep down, you want to tell me. Or maybe you want me to guess so you wouldn’t have to say it yourself. Either way, you were obviously thinking about telling me when you started this conversation.”
When she thinks back on it now, she realizes that’s exactly what she was thinking about right before that first unexpected sentence came out: she was contemplating why she went out with Josh in the first place and wondering if Castle would ever find out. After all, he finds out everything sooner or later. Apparently her mind had decided on sooner and neglected to inform her. Damn, why is he always right?
She sighed. “Fine. I’ll tell you. But you have to promise not to make a big deal out of it, okay?”
He looked wary but nodded his ascent.
She took a deep breath and kept her gaze focused out her window on the building across the street. Just get it all out in one quick sentence, like ripping off a band-aid. “I went out with him because I was upset that you left with Gina and I thought if you were going to be with her, then I should be with someone else too.” Oh God, it sounds even more pathetic out loud.
“But… why were you upset? I thought you were going away with Demming?”
Shit, she forgot he didn’t know about that part either. “I sort of broke up with him… to go with you.”
When he didn’t reply she finally forced herself to look at him. The colour had drained from his face and his expression was frozen in a mixture of shock and slight horror.
“I… you… but…”
“You promised you wouldn’t make a big deal out of this, remember?”
“But this is a huge deal!”
“It was a long time ago, it doesn’t matter anymore.”
“It matters to me! Why didn’t you tell me you changed your mind?”
This was so not going how she wanted. “I tried to.”
“The night you left. But…”
“… but then Gina showed up.”
“And that’s why everyone was so mad at me when I came back.” It was more of a statement than a question, but she answered anyways.
“If I’d had any idea –”
He reached over and took her hand, watching as she turned her attention back to the window. “I’m sorry.”
And then her worst enemy was back: that cold, lifeless silence, and all she could think about was the disaster she had just created. You just had to open your big mouth, Kate. You wanted him to know, are you happy now? You do realize that he probably thinks he has a snowball’s chance in hell of being with you after that, right? It’s up to you now. Juuuuust great.
“I wish you’d stayed”, she said softly.
“But you’re here now.”
“And I’m not going anywhere unless you want me to… and possibly not even then.”
She smiled. “I bet this isn’t the stakeout you envisioned, huh?”
“No, but I didn’t think my imaginary version was very likely to happen anyways.”
“Should I ask?”
Her phone vibrated and she looked down to find a text from Esposito.
Her jaw dropped. “Shut the front door!”
“They tracked down the ex-girlfriend: our guy alibis out.”
“Hmm, I had a good feeling about this guy too. So what’s our next move?”
“For now? Calling it a night. We’ll start fresh in the morning and see if we missed anything. Sorry I called you out in the middle of the night for nothing.”
“I wouldn’t say it was for nothing.”
She sensed his hesitation as he reached for the door handle. “You know Castle, I’m open to dumb ideas if you have any thoughts on how to say goodnight.”
“What if it’s a lot like my last dumb stakeout idea?”
“I don’t have any complaints about the last one.”
Tentatively he reached out to brush her hair out of her face, tucking it gently behind her ear before closing the distance between them. What started chaste and innocent quickly turned hungry and again she was powerless to stop that soft little moan from escaping.
She indulged in a few more moments before pulling back just enough to whisper against his lips, “goodnight, Castle.”