|You're Not Going to Like This
Author: chezchuckles PM
spoilers for 47 Seconds. Title says it all. oneshot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Kate B. & Rick C. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 3,350 - Reviews: 218 - Favs: 80 - Follows: 80 - Updated: 03-28-12 - Published: 03-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7963166
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
You're Not Going to Like This
*you've been warned*
Castle sits in the dark. Apropos. The only thing illuminated is his story board, glowing blue and red in the study. Also, apropos.
(her mother's case is now the only thing left, the only way to hold on to her-)
Ah well. Perhaps it shouldn't be. This too should be severed. His mother was right when she said it was dangerous. And yes, he still - yes, there's no way to get around the fact that he does love her, and never wants her to be in danger, but he was doing this to knock down a wall.
And frankly, there's no reason for that anymore.
He'd like for her to be free of it, he would, but his impetus for its destruction has been thoroughly killed. Dead. She doesn't lo-
Shit. That's too hard to even think.
Ah. Go around it.
No reason to break his neck trying to solve this thing. He should give it back to her, truly. Let it lie.
They are both safer that way.
Perhaps he should bring her into it. She has been doing so much better lately, looking so much stronger, in control, and really, what was he thinking? Now that the blinders of love are removed (ripped away), he sees what a terrible idea it was to tackle this on his own.
(and if she knows about the extra information, she'll work with him on this, side by side, partners, and he'll have that at least, he'll have this last connection between them, a reason to not go at it alone-)
His fingers tremble over the remote.
He needs to get over her quick. Quickly, to be grammatically correct. He needs to be done with wanting her and the best way - the surefire way - is for her to be pissed at him. Not the cute pissed, but the kind that hurts. The kind that sends him away for three months.
Three months will do it, right?
No more smiling with his heart in her eyes (all illusion anyway); no more bright looks (his own fevered hopes); no more brushes of her hand (entirely accidental, surely); no more lingering glances as they come to the same conclusion (she has a passion for solving crimes, not for him).
He can sever those things. Quickly. This is the way to do it.
(let her hurt as he hurts. let her feel it.)
Kate is grinning at him when he comes to his door, wide and full-bodied, some relief behind it that she knows he'll see. She thought - well, she kept getting these vibes off him that weren't good, but he's asked her over and maybe they can unwind together, eat dinner, and she can start talking, start living in these last 47 seconds.
Oh. He doesn't look so good.
"Is Alexis okay?" she says quietly.
He blinks at her, then steps back, ushering her inside. "Oh, yeah. Of course."
"Well," he backtracks, runs a hand through his hair and back at his neck. "Not of course. Right. She's - she'll be okay though. She can cope. She'll figure out how to get over it."
Why does it feel like he's speaking about more than Alexis?
"Thanks for coming. I know it's - an imposition. I won't take up too much time; I just wanted you to see this."
Imposition? Wait. "When has it ever been an imposition?" she laughs, reaching a hand out to wrap around his forearm.
He jerks back, tries to recover by moving deeper into the living room, but - but she saw that. He was - he doesn't want her to touch him.
"Castle. What's going on?"
"I need to show you something. It's only fair."
Only fair. It sounds . . . bitter. His face - God, all of him - looks twisted with something she might call grief.
He turns abruptly and heads for his study, expecting her to follow perhaps. She stands in the foyer of his loft with the sudden urge to run, to escape, because she knows, knows clearly like second sight, that this isn't going to end well.
Her throat closes up; she teeters on the brink of a panic attack but she sucks down a breath and follows him, winding her way around his furniture, remembering just a few weeks ago how they sat together on his couch and he smiled at her and she held his hand. She's making progress; it's good. It's enough.
Whatever this is - she can handle it. Like he said about Alexis - maybe that was a warning? - she'll cope. She'll be okay.
They'll be okay.
He doesn't even pause, just turns on the story board the moment she enters the room behind him, then presses enter so that her face shrinks to the center, surrounded by his vast web of evidence, theories, questions, and information. He steadfastly ignores whatever might be going on behind him-
(she sucks in a breath; she's so very quiet)
-and he lays the remote down on his desk and starts his narrative.
"You're not going to like this. But I shouldn't keep it from you. There's no reason to anymore. A man called me and told me he'd received information from Captain Montgomery-"
(a strangled sound, a trembling that vibrates the air)
"-information about your mother's case, his involvement, and the real face behind this. He said he could keep you safe, keep the Montgomerys safe, through blackmail. But only if you dropped the investigation. So I asked you to drop it."
(the creak of his floorboards, the rapid breathing, a heave that sounds asthmatic)
"Which is good. It was good you dropped it. It's probably best you know this stuff, though. Forewarned is forearmed. I've got some new information here, I'll send you home with all of this, let you do what you want. I don't - I don't think it's a good idea to investigate it, Beckett. Not on your own. I want you - I uh - I'd like to do this with you. Still. Of course."
Always almost slips out of his mouth, but he catches it in time. Presses his lips together to hold it back.
It will be a long road; it will break him. But he'll get over this. He will. When Krya left him, ran away from him, he rebuilt himself, wrote a bestseller. When he discovered Meredith was cheating on him, he figured out how to move on, wrote a bestseller. When it ended so bitterly with Gina, he got angry, killed his golden goose, met Kate instead. He's resilient. He'll make it.
There will be someone else; there will be, inevitably, another book.
He's just got to figure out how to erase all these visions that arise between them whenever she smiles, whenever she looks at him, whenever he sees her across the room. He's just got to erase the world he built in his head.
Maybe it's time to kill Nikki Heat.
"Castle," she gets out, hears the strangulation of her own voice. "Why - why did you-?"
She sways, has to take a step before she falls, finds her back at the bookshelves. Her head is a riot, a mob; she presses both hands to her eyes and pushes in hard, but the flashes of light are dark as well.
"I can't-" She swallows it down. She was about to say, I can't do this. But no, that's running away, isn't it? She's better than that.
She can cope, right?
She can cope. She lowers her hands and tries to be rational about this. He's not looking at her. Does he expect the worse? Yes, most likely. She will just prove to him, prove to him she's better than that. She's more.
Her heart flutters.
She is more.
She can do this. And then, since they're getting all this out in the open, she can let him know. She can face that too.
Her hand trembles, but she clenches it into a fist.
"So. Explain it to me," she says finally, so grateful to hear the strength come back to her voice.
He hid this, he betrayed - no. No. Listen first, Kate.
He hands her the flash drive with a smile that slips. "Here you go," he says. "That's all of it."
She closes her fingers around it, looks up at him. "But - but why?"
She waves her hand to the story board, now dark, both of them shrouded in it. Easier this way, not having to see her eyes, see what hurt lingers there. He doesn't - shouldn't - he should stop caring.
"Why did you not - why didn't you tell me before this?"
Oh, right. Sure. "Pick a reason," he says with a forced shrug. You should know.
Her hand drops to her side, her head goes down. "You were trying to protect me."
Is that why she kept silent? To protect him. If she'd never let it out, never goofed and exposed what she knew, then yeah, it would've protected his feelings. Only, he'd still be waiting on her, still be thinking he has a shot. But he doesn't.
"But this doesn't protect me, Castle. It makes it harder to - not knowing doesn't keep me safe."
"Exactly," he says with relish. "It doesn't really work, does it? Keeping a secret."
She startles, her head coming up to see him, and he realizes that might have been too much. He never wanted to drag this out into the open, didn't want to have to tell her, No, it's okay, I understand, you were trying to protect me. I get it. Yes, of course, we can be friends.
He does get it. He does; he just doesn't want to hear it.
"Castle," she says sharply, her hand enclosing his wrist before he can move.
We can be friends, we can be friends, I can do this.
He's not sure he can survive not seeing her, at all, cold turkey. He needs that at least. He just - until he can stop feeling his heart choke his throat when she walks into the room, until that happens, he's got to have a few months to recover.
"Castle, what's going on?"
"Nothing. Nothing important."
Her face drains of color, leached of light, all of it sapped right out.
"Oh, God," she gasps, her fingers curled around him.
No. Not right now. He disengages, steps back. "You should go. Take the flash drive and look it over. Let it - let it settle out."
"Castle," she says, her voice like a thin string, ready to break.
"No," he says quickly, shaking his head. "No. When you want to talk about this - the case, your mother's case, the new leads - then call me. I'll - I'll come then."
It will kill him, it will kill him, but he made a promise. Even if it means it knocks that wall down and lets someone else in, someone other than him.
At least, finally, she'll be free.
And that's all he's ever wanted for her. Even still.
He herds her to the door, not touching her, not making eye contact, breaking into her every attempt to say something by interrupting with banalities.
She's at the front door before she's even had a chance to be sure, to find out if he really knows, if he knows what she didn't want him to ever know - how she had to hide for a while to keep from sabotaging this, how weak she actually has been for so long now that even the remembered force of his words was enough to break her.
He opens the door and waits, and she's hovering there, the flash drive in her hand which somehow, somehow, she's practically forgotten in the wake of the knowledge on his face.
"Castle, I think I need to explain-"
"Nope. Not a bit. All good. Check that over, get back to me." False, too false, false cheer.
Maybe she's wrong. Maybe he just doesn't want her to yell at him about the case.
Kate glances down to the flash drive and makes a decision, a choice. For once an action and not a reaction.
She reaches out and grabs his hand, presses the drive into his palm. "No."
He stumbles. "No?" His fingers tighten on the drive; he rubs his free hand over his face and she sees the cascade of desolation that falls with it.
Push through. Time to push through. "I don't need to look at it right now, Castle. It wouldn't be good for me. You - you keep it."
He won't look at her.
"Just - don't be stupid about it?" she says quietly, her heart pounding. "Be smart. Call me when - if - if you need backup."
"I - so I - I'll keep doing it alone then," he says, his voice ragged.
And she knows just by the tremor of his words, that this wasn't the right thing to say either.
She's broken it, and all she meant to do was fix it.