Perfectly Shattered

Chapter 13

Eventually the song ended and the chill in the air increased. During the dance Kate's head had come to rest on his shoulder and he could feel her struggling to stay awake. He didn't even bother with her chair. He simply picked up his phone and continued to hold her tight as he carried her to bed. He simply wasn't ready to let go yet.

If Kate had been a little less tired she would have been surprised at his ability to carry her for so long. Though she had lost a significant amount of weight over the last few months, she had also noticed that he was much more toned than she originally thought. He was by no means a small man, but what she hadn't realized was that a lot of his size was due to muscle.

They reached the house and he carried her straight into her room. He placed her on the bed and she immediately relaxed into the mattress, her eyes still closed. He went to the dresser and located a comfortable XL t-shirt for her to wear to bed before returning to her side.

She opened her eyes when she felt his gaze on her and watched as he came to rest by her hip. He pushed her hair behind her ear before helping her sit up and handing her the shirt. While she busied herself with that task he walked into the bathroom and wet a washcloth for her face.

He returned to see her dressed and waiting against her pillows. He returned to his spot at her hip and began gently wiping the makeup from her face. They were silent as they were each lost in their own thoughts. He hadn't even realized she was crying until he lowered the washcloth and threw it into the laundry bin in the corner.

"Hey, hey, don't cry." He soothed gently as he wiped the tears from her eyes. She nodded but the tears continued to fall. He crawled into the bed and pulled her close, allowing her to be vulnerable. She quickly regained composure and her breathing evened out as he rubbed her back soothingly.

He didn't pry as to her reason for crying, just allowed her the moment and waited for her to come to him. He knew her well enough to know that pushing her was only going to cause her to shut down and become defensive. So instead he simply held her. It didn't take long for her to open up.

"I just never thought that I would get to have this." She whispered into his chest. "After my mother was murdered I never thought I would be happy again. And then my father started drinking and he threw words around. I know now that he didn't mean them, but they still hurt. Then you came into my life and the world got a little bit brighter, even when I still hated you. And yes, we hurt one another, but we always made it through a little bit closer, a little bit stronger. I was finally in a place where I thought maybe just maybe we had a chance. Maybe I was with the wrong guy, maybe the right guy had been hiding in plain sight. And then I was shot and my life completely shattered.

"Everything came crashing down around me and I thought my chances for happiness were gone." She paused for a minute and he pulled her tighter to him. He hated that she had gone through so much hurt. He was furious for the people that had continually failed her and he refused to allow his name to ever appear on that list. He would do everything in his power to keep her safe and happy for the rest of her life.

"And yet here you are. You are an amazing man, Richard Castle. I don't know how you can love someone like me, but I am so grateful that you do. I love you so much. And you deserve to know that you make me happy. No matter if we last forever or crash and burn next week, you've made my life so much better, so much happier, so thank you."

He could not believe what he was hearing. He didn't know if it was the pain meds or the exhaustion, but whatever gave Kate the freedom to open up was making him incredibly happy.

"Kate, you are extraordinary. I know you don't believe me, but I will spend the rest of my life proving it to you." His words were few but they meant the world to her. His words had gotten her through the toughest years of her life and he continued to build her up. Hearing his indirect promise of forever didn't even make her want to flee. It was a little bit daunting, but she found when she was in Castle's arms she didn't mind sappy so much.

They stayed in silence for a while longer just enjoying being with each other. They were finally together. After years of struggle and heartbreak, they were finally giving this a chance. Finally admitting to being hopelessly in love. They knew that this glow would never last. There was a lot more pain and struggle to come, but in that moment they both knew deep down that they could survive it together.
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