Author: Flashofblue PM
She knocks on the door until she can feel her knuckles start to bruise, but he isn't there. Apparently their timing could use some work. Season finale AU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Rick C. & Kate B. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,938 - Reviews: 73 - Favs: 33 - Follows: 145 - Updated: 07-20-12 - Published: 05-29-12 - id: 8162472
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: You can stop hanging from those cliffs now, the next chapter is here… (Which took longer to post than intended, but the fact that it's extra long might make up for it?)
This starts a little earlier than the previous chapter ends, but I think it should be clear enough when everything happens.
- Chapter Four -
When Castle comes home to his loft, his mind is still spinning from the conversation he'd just had with Ryan. At least, what he'd managed to pick up from it after Ryan had told him about Beckett's resignation.
His thoughts had been a chorus of 'she resigned, she resigned, she resigned' after he'd found out, and as much as he really shouldn't run right back to her, he was already running in his mind, his imagination providing him with all too many fairytale-like endings.
It was because of him that she resigned. Had to be. The pessimistic side of him, or realistic, since those had been almost the same thing lately, tried to get the idea out of his head, tried to tell him that she was still trouble and he should be careful to not jump into anything. After all, the wounds she'd caused him wouldn't disappear overnight either, and – undoubtedly – there will be scars left behind.
Just because she doesn't have a badge anymore doesn't mean she's any less of a detective. If he'd quit writing he'd still think like a writer too, it's just part of who he is. Just because she turned in her badge doesn't mean she can let everything go yet.
He pads over to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water to quench his thirst.
Her mom's case still isn't solved. There are still people out there, dangerous people, who might want Kate dead. As if it might start ringing if he looks at it, he gets his phone out, wondering if whomever it was that's been keeping her safe will contact him again. After all, he hadn't been able to stop her from crossing a line she had to stay away from.
He swallows hard when he remembers Ryan's words, his description of how she had been holding on to that ledge.
It's not really something he wants to dwell on. He puts down his glass and picks up his phone again, holding it as he makes his way to his study.
The missed calls are all still there, unanswered, and he wonders what she was going to say to him. Wonders if there's still a chance – his thumb hovers over the screen, right above her name. Running a hand through his hair and taking a deep breath, he tries to prepare himself. Hearing her voice - well, he just needs to keep his resolve and keep his distance at least until he knows more, he needs to not let himself get too affected by her.
Next his thumb lowers and he's calling her, putting his phone to his ear just as he can hear the first beep playing through the receiver.
There's another one, and then the sounds is replaced with her hopeful, slightly breathless voice and damn it if it doesn't make him want to throw all his resolutions of keeping his distance right out the window, punching a hole in his apparently not-so steady resolve.
"You – you called me?" he finally says, trying to recover, gain back his ground; keep the upper hand in this. He has to.
She talks then, rushing out apologies, telling him she made the wrong decision, and the way she's saying it, so desperately, like she's begging him, begging for another chance, it makes whatever was left of his resolve crumble to a pathetic pile on the floor.
They'll have things to discuss and talk through, sure, but hell, she resigned and she's apologizing, and it's more than he could've possibly dreamed of earlier.
She suddenly stops talking mid-sentence, and at first he thinks it's because she's trying to find the right words, searching for them, like even he is having trouble with by now, because how many ways of saying 'get over here right now' are there? But then he hears some shuffling, distant, but audible nonetheless. "Kate?" he tries.
That's when he hears the voice; low, dangerous, making the hairs in his neck stand up straight. No. This can't be right. When he still doesn't hear her talk, he tries again, louder, hoping his gut-feeling is wrong and it was just a neighbor who stopped by. "Kate, what is going on? Kate?"
Finally she replies, but the way she croaks out his name is far from comforting.
"Get help." She says, "please"
He hears a loud sound and then a beep, and he lowers his phone, stares in disbelief at the ended phone call as his heartbeat thuds loudly in his ears.
This is bad. No, worse than bad.
Just because she decided to let go of the case doesn't mean the case will let go of her.
It only takes him seconds to grab his coat and be at the door, already calling down to have the doorman hail him a cab as the door falls shut in his wake. He isn't even sure what is going on over at her apartment, isn't sure if it's as bad - or terrifying – as it sounded like, but he isn't going to take any chances. As soon as he's called down for a cab he dials 911 in a rush, tells them as much as he knows and hopes, wishes, it won't be too late.
The thought makes him swallow hard, as he waits impatiently for his cab to arrive. It's all going slow, too slow, because he needs to be there now, had to be there already and the fear of not knowing what is going on is not helping, much less his overactive imagination that keeps showing him the most terrible scenarios.
It's not going to be like that. He grits his teeth, and then finally his cab arrives. He doesn't even count how much cash he hands over, but it seems to make his urgency get through to the driver, at least.
They rush of into the streets of New York City, and Castle tries Beckett's number, though he doubts she'll pick up.
In the distance he hears sirens, and he hopes they're on their way to her apartment, no, that they've already gotten there and are rushing that son-of-a-bitch to the station. He's not sure who it was in Kate's apartment, but he can't help thinking about what Ryan told him about Beckett's run-in with her sniper.
Maybe he came back to finish the job, his mind provides him with the sick thought, which would be a lot less bad if there weren't the actual possibility that it's true.
When they get to her building, there's already a squad car outside, to his relief. Still, he'd be more relieved to see her outside, safe.
He gets out the car and jogs to the entrance of the building, and then he's running up the stairs to what he knows is her floor.
It's quiet. Too quiet.
Something isn't right.
Her door is open, he sees when he approaches it, and at that moment he wishes that in his hurry he would've thought to bring that gun he owns, feeling quite helpless now that he's got nothing to defend himself with if necessary.
He finally hears something, then, a stumble and then, moments later, a gunshot.
Without thinking twice, he runs into her apartment.
The agonizing click draws her eyes to his gun, and she's only noticing now that he just took the safety off.
The smirk on his face when she meets his eyes again makes her want to hurl something at him. Cocky, arrogant bastard. Her fists clench at her side, but she knows it's all useless. She's unarmed, he isn't. If she'd known he hadn't even bothered taking the safety off his gun until now, she could've –
No. She mentally shakes her head at herself while she glances around the room, hoping to magically see a way out. She couldn't have known, and from her experience on the roof she knows he can overpower her, knows that in a matter of seconds he could have the loaded gun pointed at her anyway.
"What do you want?" she says, her voice regaining some of its strength and authority.
"Oh," he says flatly, "I think you know already."
What? That he wants her dead? It's the only thing she can think of, but it isn't exactly reassuring. "Why haven't you shot me already, then?" she says, mentally wincing at her own boldness. She shouldn't be playing with fire when it has the potential of ending her life.
He takes a step closer, looking like a predator eying his prey. "I won't have a reason to unless you don't give me what I want."
Even though inside she's still a mess, the absolute fear heightening her senses, she gets her mask back in place, takes a step toward him as well, not a crack visible in her tough exterior. "What do you want?"
"I don't have time to play games, detective. Or, wait, it isn't detective anymore, is it?" He slightly cocks his head as he poses the question, looking almost triumphant at his knowledge.
How does he even… her thought is cut off by the familiar sound of nearing sirens, and for the first time since she saw Maddox at her window, it's almost as if she can see some concern behind his all too calm façade. She hopes it's the result of Castle getting help and the vehicle the sirens belong to is on its way over there, but she can't be too sure. The sound is almost always present in the city.
"The files," he says, growing impatient. "Tell me where they are."
She does show her confusion this time, her eyebrows knitting together. "What files?"
She sees something at his jaw twitch, and when he looks at her again she sees his annoyance grow. "Don't be stupid," he hisses, "your mom's files, her notes, where are they?"
"I don't know," she growls at him, starting to get equally as frustrated, because she hasn't even the slightest clue what the hell he's talking about.
His fingers clutch around her arms harshly after he takes one more step forward, his gun almost poking her abdomen. "Then I guess you'll just have to come with me, so I can help refresh your memory," he murmurs, his voice low, dangerous.
Out the corner of her eye she catches the faint reflection of red and blue lights, just at the edge of her window, right before it stops. That's when she knows that the police is at her building, and with Maddox' back to the window, she's pretty sure he didn't catch it.
Stall. She needs to stall to keep him here, preferably take his gun away, too, because she can't be sure what he'll do once he's cornered.
In her mind she tries to calculate how long it would take for the officers to get up here. They would've gotten out the car once they turned off the lights, seconds ago, so it would only take mere minutes for them to get to her door now.
Maddox has turned her around now, still gripping her arm as his gun is pressed against her back, and he forces her to move, but not in the direction of her door. He's moving in the opposite direction, to the window, and she realizes he wants to take her down the fire escape.
One too slow step from her part and he's growling an order for her to move faster in her ear, as his grip on her arm tightens to the point that she'll surely have a bruise.
She isn't too sure, but she thinks she can faintly hear footsteps in the distance, and she wrecks her brain as she glances around again, looking for a way out. Her mind flashed back to the precinct a long time ago, with Castle, and she mentally groans at herself for even considering doing what she's about to.
There's a knock on the door, momentarily distracting Maddox as they mere feet from the window that leads to the fire escape, and she takes her chance, sees her opportunity, and knocks her head back with full force, the back of her head connecting to his face with a painful blow.
He stumbles just as there's another knock, louder this time, and she calls out for help as her hand latches on to Maddox' gun, moving her wrist so that it's pointing away from her.
That's when it all happens at once.
One of the cops kicks her door open just as Maddox puts his knee firmly at her back, kicking it in such a way that she sinks to her knees on the floor, her grip on the gun loosening before it's taken from her hand completely and the cold steel is pressing against her neck.
"Freeze!" one officer calls out as the other joins right behind him with a "hands in the air, now!" their weapons drawn and pointed at Maddox as they enter the room.
She feels him tug at her upper arm, a low, urgent "get up" whispered in her ear as his gun is pressing insistently against her neck. Though her legs are still a little unsteady, she does as he says, swallowing hard to get some moisture to her suddenly dry throat.
"I said don't move," the cop says, but she doubts Maddox is very intimidated by the man.
"Or what?" She hears him say, can almost see the mocking smirk on his face as he speaks. "You'll try to shoot me? I mean, it would be a shame to be responsible for the death of one of New York's finest, wouldn't you say?"
The silence that follows his words is deafening, and she can see the two cops trying to figure out a course of action as Maddox waits, just waits for them to come to terms with whatever he's about to say next.
"I have the feeling that if you'd start shooting at me, my finger might instinctively pull this trigger here," Maddox says calmly, nodding his head to the gun she can feel pressed against her skin, and she sees the two men exchange glances. "Now, here's the deal," he continues, "You're going to stand on the other side of the room as I step onto the fire escape here." After taking a tentative step back already, he finishes, "Once I'm on the fire escape, I'll release miss Beckett here and you can go on doing your jobs."
When neither of the two policemen moves, he takes another step back, already pressed against the window that leads to metal stairs outside. "Look, all you have to do is take a few steps back to the other side of the room and I'll release her," he urges, and when she tries to say something, she's cut off by a yank on her arm and him whispering warning words into her ear.
It seems to alarm the two cops, and the first one who came in, looking slightly older and more experienced than his partner, takes a step forward. "What, so you can get away with her?"
Maddox sighs before spilling it out once more, speaking slowly, as if he's trying to explain it to a child. "You came her to guarantee her safety, so I'm offering to let her go. If you find that I don't, all you have to do is cross the room, and - once we'd be on the fire escape – it can't be too hard to hit me from above, since I can't exactly hold her above my head as a shield, now can I? Taking her would only slow me down. So all I'm asking is to stand back over there." He nods his head to the back corner of her kitchen.
For a moment the two partners seem to have some silent interaction, exchanging looks before they nod softly and both step back into the corner, their weapons still pointed in their direction.
"Good," Maddox says, reaching behind him to slide open the window. "I will get those files," he whispers in her ear before he takes a step back, half pulling her with him when he steps onto the fire escape. "So you'd better start remembering soon."
The two officers are keeping their distance, doing as he instructed them to. One second later she's pushed back inside her apartment harshly and Maddox is off as she falls forward on the hard floor.
The cop springs into action, immediately heading for the window. One of them fires a shot, curses, then climbs through the frame to start the chase, but, knowing Maddox probably has a plan, she doubts they'll still be able to catch him.
As she slowly gets up, wincing at what surely will be some painful bruises – she can add those to the ones she already got from her earlier rooftop fight – she is suddenly met with two piercing blue eyes boring into hers, and for a moment all thoughts of Maddox are wiped from her mind.
"Castle," she breathes before he rushes towards her.
A/N: Well, almost time for their big reunion, it seems…
Also, I believe it says something like 'the author wishes to thank you for your continued support' after you leave a review these days, which I wish you could customize so I could change to something about giving you cookies for all being so awesome with all of your reviews and alerts. I really appreciate it.
And a special thanks to the 'Guest' who pointed out that my structure wasn't always right. I went back to fix that (hopefully I got it all), and I'll know to pay more attention to that. Thanks for mentioning it, constructive criticism is always welcome. :)