Beckett pushed Eric Vaughn away from her, her mind filled only with thoughts of Castle but before she could tell him as much there was a bang, the breaking of glass, and she was throwing him to the floor. She felt the moment her body went into fight or flight mode, the presence of a sniper triggering the usually quiet PTSD monster in the back of her head. She pushed the panic down, acutely aware of the man she was lay on top of. Rolling to her left, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and ordered
”crawl into the bathroom. Stay as low as you can.” before Esposito answered her call and she fought to keep her voice steady as she asked him to send back up.
“Beckett, are you ok?” Javier asked her softly, shrugging his jacket on as he followed the other officers down the stairs in the precinct.
“Just get here Javi... and bring Castle” she replied, cringing at how pathetic she sounded begging for her boyfriend at the first sign of trouble. Kate crawled into the bathroom with Eric, closing the door behind her. She focused all her energy on keeping her breath steady while also remaining on high alert for any sign that the shooter might try to get to Eric in any other way.
“Kate” Eric said her name, reaching out to touch her arm.
“Not now Vaughn” she snapped back, pulling her arm away.
The cavalry arrived and kicked down the door to the hotel room, she heard Esposito’s voice first and shouted out
“In here” still not wanting to risk taking herself or her charge back out into the main room where there were so many opportunities for a sniper to get them. He helped her to her feet from where she had knelt down on the bathroom floor.
“Get him outta here” she managed to force out through gritted teeth, gesturing to Eric. Not only did he make her uncomfortable after he had tried to kiss her, she also didn’t want him to be witness to what she knew was coming. She tore off her coat and unbuttoned the collar of her shirt, desperately trying to remove anything that could be restricting her breathing.
“Castle!” Esposito shouted out into the hallway, only for the writer to come barging through the crowd of officers seconds later. She caught site of him and immediately felt a little safer. He stepped into the bathroom, recognising her panic attack for what it was, having seen her have them before. He moved to close the space between them, ducking down to rest his forehead against hers.
“You’re ok, you’re safe, I’ve got you” he began to repeat softly, running his hands up and down her arms as she slowly calmed her breathing. Once they had it under control she collapsed into his arms, laying her head against his chest so she could hear his strong and steady heartbeat.
“Eric kissed me.” She blurted out, causing him to take a step backwards, keeping her at arms length.
“What?” He replied indignantly.
“I’m so sorry Rick. He kissed me and I pushed him away and then the sniper and I thought I was going to die Castle, I thought it was happening again.” She felt the wet hot tears begin to run down her cheeks, despite her trying her best to keep them in. Castle pulled her trembling body back into his arms, shushing her gently.
“It’s ok Kate, I love you, you’re safe now” he murmured, rubbing her back soothingly.
After a while she seemed to have calmed down and Esposito poked his head around the door, checking in on them.
“Shall we get you out of here?” Castle asked her gently, to which she looked back at him nervously. He understood her fears having just been shot at through a hotel window and began to tell her “it’s about 13 steps to the door, then no more windows until the lobby. You can do that.” She took a deep breath and nodded, settling into his side as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. 7 steps in (yes, she was counting) Ryan appeared and explained gently
“Beckett I’m really sorry but I need to take a statement”.
Standing in the middle of the room she felt her heart begin to beat faster, her eyes scanning the room rapidly.
“Windows” she managed to get out, looking at Ryan with pleading eyes before going back to checking for danger. He looked back at her puzzled before Esposito came to her side,
“Come on Beckett, we’ll do it in the corridor.” he said, nodding to Ryan in a way that said ‘I got this’.
The trio found a landing just outside of the room with a sofa and two chairs, and not a window nearby. Kate leaned into Castle as they both sat on the sofa, Esposito taking a chair opposite them.
“Thanks Javi” she said to him, her embarrassment clear by her attempt to hide her face in her long hair.
“No sweat Beckett, I still pee my pants at party poppers” he laughed, telling her that he understood her struggle and would not judge her seemingly irrational fear. She was still on high alert, almost jumping off the sofa when another guest slammed their door closed down the corridor. Javier took her statement as quick as he could before excusing himself to get back to the crime scene. As he walked past Castle he whispered in his ear
“Get her home bro” and he gave him a knowing and grateful smile in response.
Back at the loft the first thing Kate did was close all the blinds and curtains, then check them at least 5 times, before she felt safe enough to sit down on the sofa. Castle handed her a cup of lavender and chamomile tea, and wrapped a blanket around her shoulders before coming to sit next to her. The panic attacks didn’t happen too regularly, but often enough that they had a routine for when they did. Kate was grateful for this, and for the fact that Castle wouldn’t ask questions or force her into anything until she was ready. Castle was grateful for her letting him see this vulnerable side of her, and allowing him to support her when she needs it. After a few hours of watching mindless tv Castle heard a soft snore from next to him and looked down to see that his girlfriend was fast asleep on his shoulder. Taking the now empty cup from her hands he scooped her up into his arms and carried her to their shared bedroom. He tucked her in and she shuffled, mumbling his name quietly.
“I’m here Kate, you’re safe” he told her once again, and she snuggled down into the plush pillows. He smiled lightly, knowing she would be ok in the morning but until then he would be right by her side.