Castle sighed as he stood in the elevator. He knew what he had to do, but it didn’t mean it was going to be easy. Alexis’s words echoed in his head, “Dad, you’ve got to let her go… if she comes back, then she was always yours… but if she doesn’t then she was never yours to keep”. He knew she was right, but it wasn’t going to be easy to get used to not going to the station everyday… not seeing Kate. 4 years working side by side... He loved her, everything about her. He’d confessed his feeling for her that fateful day when she got shot, and waited patiently for her to remember it… but now, after finding out that she had remembered – remembered everything but never mentioned it – it was too hard too much. He didn’t want to be ‘just partners’ at work… he wanted to partners in life…
    The whole gang gathered together to say their good-byes to Castle. Ryan and Esposito swapped their secret handshakes and a few jokes, even Lanie came up to bid farway. Finally he turned to Kate. He thought she looked extra pretty today… she had her long hair loose today it curled gently around her face. She smiled at him… how he was going to miss that smile.
“Good-bye Kate”.
    “Are you expecting me to believe that you’re really leaving? There’s no way you can stay away from a murder… you’ll be back tomorrow like always.” Kate said with a smirk. “Come on,” she thought, “there was no way Castle could really be serious, leaving… no, he’d be back… he’d just have to come back”.
    “No, I’m serious, Kate, I said this would be my last case… and it is.” He was calm and serious… a rarity with Castle. Kate searched his face, hoping he’d say something else, but no, he just smiled – a weak, sad smile. How he wanted to just tell her how he felt one more time, but no… he was sure she wouldn’t just make some joke about it. All he could muster up to say was, “Good-bye Kate, it was lovely to have met you…” He leaned down and gently kissed her cheek, then grabbing his coat he walked towards the elevator…. He was gone.
    Lanie touched Kate shoulder… “You gonna be okay?”
    “I don’t understand… it all seems so final? Why would he just decide to leave?”
    “Kate, you’re the detective! Can’t you see what’s going on – he’s in love with you, but you keep fighting it and pushing him away, now he’s giving you what you want.”
    “But this isn’t what I want!”
    “Then why are you still standing here, girl”
    “Lanie, everyone that I’ve loved gets taken from me… I can’t go through that again...”
    “No more excuses Kate! All those other times you’ve lost your loved ones it was out of your control – now here you are, you are in control of it this time. The man of your dreams right before you and you’re letting him walk right out of your hands.”
    Suddenly it all made sense to Kate. She did love Castle, always had. “You’re right Lanie”
    “Get going then! You’ve got a Prince to catch”
    Without thinking anymore Kate ran for the stairs… she had to catch Castle tell him how she felt. She hoped that he hadn’t already grabbed a cab.
Once she made it to the street, she looked around, “Castle!” There were so many people… “Castle!!!” She catch glimpse of a brown coat a block away, “Castle!!!” He stopped and turned around… yes, it was him. She smiled and ran to him.
Castle caught his breathe… could this really be Kate running to him. He tried not to get his hopes up… he probably had forgotten something… he couldn’t have been more surprised when Kate said, “Castle, wait… don’t go…”
She flung her arms around him and held him tight. “Don’t go Castle… we need you… I need you” she whispered. She was trying to catch her breath.
She let him go and looked into his face, “Castle… I’m sorry for being, well so difficult. I know I’m not the easiest person to work with… to live with for that matter… but I can’t imagine you not being here… I just had to tell you that…” Ugg.. it was all coming out wrong. She started over, “I have a hard job and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that life is short and you do have to take charge of your life and not let the things, the people, you care about slip away… you have to fight for them.”
Castle looked at Kate fumbling over her words… she was letting her guard down, being vulnerable with him. “What are you trying to say, Kate” He knew what she was trying to say, but wanted to hear her say it.
“Castle, Rick… what I’m trying to say is, I’m in love with you… I love you” She reached for his hand… “I think I always have… but was always too afraid to admit it… but I’m not going to be afraid anymore.”
“Kate…” Castle smiled at her, his eyes twinkled, cupped her face with his hands.
“So, please don’t go, stay with me…”
“Always” Before he could say anymore, she wrapped her arms around him once more and kissed him. It was a long overdue kiss… it was even more passionate than their first because this time, there was so reason to hold back.