|Take you Break me
Author: eyrianone PM
For five months he's been missing, but she refuses to believe it's hopeless . . . Consider this canon until 'Always', and AU from there. Complete.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Romance - Kate B. & Rick C. - Chapters: 37 - Words: 85,173 - Reviews: 1,407 - Favs: 314 - Follows: 618 - Updated: 02-21-13 - Published: 06-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8238575
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thank you once again to those of you who have reviewed either one or more than one chapter - it's so lovely to hear from all, and to hear that you are loving this story.
Chapter Twelve: No one can save me; no one can save me like you do.
Kate leaves the 12th Precinct that night with a renewed sense of purpose that's kicked her up the behind in a way she's only realizing just now that she's sorely needed.
The last month or so, she's been doing nothing but going through the motions in every single aspect of her life. Heading into work each day but just plodding through her cases, checking up on the FBI – but not pushing – not pushing as hard for progress. Eating only what she could force her body to keep down, and sleeping only when she hit a wall of exhaustion so high that there was simply no other alternative left to her. She's existed in a bubble of utter despair – floating through the outside world but never seeming to be a part of it – never touching it – or having it touch her.
Thank God she thinks, that the bubble popped today with the arrival of Castle's manuscript and so she's been forced back out into a loud, bright and forbidding reality where its come crashing down upon her that her loss of focus – her going through the motions behavior isn't good enough. Castle's depending on her – he's relying upon her . . . this much his book makes startlingly clear – so there is not a snowballs chance in hell she'll let him down.
She drives home with it lying on the passenger seat beside her, the spare copy tucked into the messenger bag in the foot well – she's going to call Alexis – she's decided, now that she's positive its real. No way she can contain it, this small piece of good news – mustn't keep it to herself when she knows only to well that Alexis needs this as much as she did.
She'll talk it over with Alexis – how much they decide to tell Martha.
The loft is dark and quiet when she lets herself into it, dropping her keys onto the kitchen counter she places the two copies of 'Heat Lost' beside them and reaches with shaking fingers into her jacket pocket for her cell phone, pacing the living room and turning on the lamps as she goes.
Alexis Castle picks up the call in her dorm on the fifth ring.
"Hey Kate." The nineteen year old sounds somber and tired, and oh how Kate wishes it was just the normal college student fatigue she can hear – even though of course she knows better.
"Hi Lex. How are you?" She says softly, wincing at the lame way that sounds, she hears Alexis try but fail to muffle a melancholy sigh.
"Today . . . I'm . . . not so good Kate." The author's daughter replies honestly, speaking again before Kate can give up the good news. "I know I've been telling you that it was time we faced the fact that Dad - that he most likely wasn't going to come home . . . but I think it's finally starting to hit me – that's he most likely dead . . . and I miss him Kate. I just miss him so damn much." There's a sound that's suspiciously like a small sob at the end of the young woman's speech, and Kate just can't contain her huge news any longer.
"Listen to me - he's not dead Lex." She says it firmly - with certainty. "In fact that's why I'm calling you – because there was a break in the case today. Black Pawn received a manuscript this morning and Gina brought it straight to me. We both agreed it's actually from Castle and sweetheart it's definite - your Dad's fingerprints are all over it."
There is a startled – almost strangled gasp and then nothing but silence over the phone line, so Kate gives her partner's daughter a moment to absorb until the silence stretches on for too long.
"Lex – did you hear me?" The detective prompts. "Hunnie are you still there?"
More small sobs sounding like they're being muffled by a hand and Kate holds her own tears back – barely.
"Where are you now Kate?" Alexis asks tearfully at length.
"The loft." The brunette replies. "Alexis do you understand what I just told you?"
"Yeah . . . yeah. I'm . . . I'm coming home – I'm going to leave right now. Kate are you sure – do the FBI know – does it . . . is he coming home? Where is he?" Kate can tell Alexis is reeling just by her the sound of her voice – her tone is jumping all over the place.
"Once it was fingerprinted and the prints came back positive as Rick's – then Captain Gates called the FBI. They've taken possession of the original book I'm afraid - but we made copies before we handed it over – Javi and Kevin and I. I've brought a copy home here for you too Lex – I thought you'd want it." She says gently.
"Yes. YES. Of course I do. Why . . . I'm confused . . . Kate what does this mean? Does this mean he was kidnapped? You must have some theory you're all working on . . . some ideas? What do the guys think?"
"Just come home Alexis – and try not to rush, just get here safely. I'll be here . . . I show you what we think we've learned and then we'll discuss it alright. I promise you'll be involved in this all the way – you'll always know what I know . . . okay?"
Alexis sounds better now, happier, more herself – Kate empathizes.
"I'll only be an hour or so." She replies.
Beckett smiles into the phone.
"I'll have dinner ready for you when you get here – I think it's just possible we both might have more of an appetite tonight – what do you say?"
Alexis actually laughs and Kate's heart eases immensely just to hear it.
"You know I think you might be right Kate – I'll see you soon."
Kate keeps dinner simple. Just some spaghetti with meat sauce and some garlic bread that's suffering slightly from freezer burn even with Castle's state-of-the-art refrigerator. Doesn't really matter – it's not like they'll manage more than a couple of pieces of the thing and it doesn't feel like a proper dinner without it.
She's just straining the pasta noodles and taking a long sip of a glass of red wine when she hears the sound of a key in the door to the loft. Looking up, she manages a small smile - ready to greet Alexis with it as she rounds the corner of the kitchen counter – but the young red-head drops her bag on the tiles and practically flies across the entrance way and into the detective's arms.
The cop is momentarily stunned. Her relationship with her partner's daughter has traveled all over the map in recent years – both before and after she and Castle got together romantically – but since his disappearance it's definitely solidified into a real bond. It's not exactly a parent/child relationship – but Kate has come to love Alexis fiercely. Feels a responsibility to look out for her – so she tries to be there in that parental role whenever the teenager seems to need it, but they don't 'hug' much . . . so this is highly unexpected.
The girl is shuddering against her, fighting tears Kate would guess, so she squeezes Alexis to her tightly, whispers what she hopes is calming nonsense into her hair.
It seems to have the desired effect, for when the young woman pulls back finally she looks calmer than Kate could have hoped for, and there's a watery smile now on her lovely pale face.
"Thanks Kate." She says lightly. "You wouldn't believe how much I needed that."
Oh . . . to be held.
The cop's thoughts of course immediately turn to Rick . . . to how badly, and how often she misses the strength, the warmth - the pure unadulterated comfort of his arms around her. That sense of relief that always overcame her when she could just burrow into his embrace – safe there from the world – and she smiles at Alexis in sympathy, her hand coming to rest on the girls left shoulder - her fingers toying with the ends of her hair.
"Anytime Lex." She tells her. "We're family." She adds, her green gaze dark and serious, holding his daughter's blue one solidly.
Alexis nods, her lips curving further upwards, a warmth coming from the reassurance and creeping across her face.
"I'm hungry . . . in fact I'm starving . . . but I need to see Dad's book Kate . . . before anything else." She says.
"I know." She says softly. "It's waiting for you on the counter over there."
The writer's daughter doesn't need to be told twice. The young woman sits herself on a bar stool, and pulls the pile of copied pages towards her. Kate goes quietly back into the kitchen, plates their food and then slips the covered plates into the top oven to keep warm. She glances back over her shoulder as she pushes the oven door shut, notes that Alexis is reading slowly, her fingertips reverently tracing slowly over the words on the paper – eyes shining with unshed tears.
The detective can imagine what the kid's going through – how precious each and every word she reads must feel – all of them parts of Richard Castle that have so miraculously found their way home.
She feels the same . . . oh God does she ever.
Needing a distraction lest watching the younger woman reading actually makes her cry - Kate picks up her wine glass again and takes another large swallow. She wants to give Alexis the space and time to read as much as she needs to absorb . . . so she should make use of that time she figures - try to anticipate the questions the girl is going to ask her and start praying she has a decent answer.
She has to wait five minutes more.
"Wow." Alexis breathes suddenly, lowering the page in her hand back onto the granite counter-top.
"You okay?" Kate asks. "You need to tell me what you're thinking Lex . . . anything you've noticed, your impressions – even everything that you're feeling reading it might help."
The red-head studies Beckett for moment, mulling over the questions.
"It's Dad's. It really is Dad's." Quiet awe coats her words. "I mean I know you told it me it was, and I know that his prints were on the original pages . . . but I can see what you and Gina saw. I hear him – his voice when I read the story . . . just the same way I do with everything else he's ever written. I would have known it was him Kate – just from the way it's written . . . I never knew I could do that before."
The words make Kate feel warm inside.. "It feels good though – right?"
Alexis positively beams. "Yeah it does." She replies. "It feels . . . it feels kinda amazing - actually. So what happens now? Why do you think the book is here?" She asks.
Kate rounds the counter and comes to take a seat beside her.
"Here's my theory - I think he sent it to us." She begins.
"I think he had to hide where it was going – so he sent it to Black Pawn – which was risky, because they've been getting a lot of submissions from people claiming to be 'Richard Castle' in the months that your father's been gone. Regardless – it got to Gina – and from Gina – to me – and that makes me wonder . . . "
"Dad doesn't know that you're a cop again though. It wasn't until after he vanished that you decided to go back."
"That's an 'assumption' Lex – and one I admit I've made myself – but honestly – if we're covering all of our bases here – we have to acknowledge the possibility that maybe he does. And even if he isn't aware of it – he must have hoped that Gina would pass it along to the Twelfth and through the Twelfth to Ryan and Esposito – once they had it – it's a safe bet for him that I would become involved in the case. Maybe the loopy route was necessary to get it specifically into our hands – ours – and not any one else's."
"Okay – go on."
"We haven't figured out yet what is going on here, but the book does contain references in the chosen character names and especially in the storyline . . . and these are things only the four members of our Homicide team would ever know. Some of the things I've found so far - only Castle and I would know. It's very careful, very specific stuff – literally a mystery within a mystery, and somehow we're supposed to figure out what's happened to Castle from what's inside those pages. That's what I believe it's doing here – what your father is asking of us. My hope is that when we figure it out – we find him, or we make it safe for him to come home."
Alexis looks very thoughtful. "He must be so afraid Kate – to go to all this trouble hiding what he wants to tell us and where on earth he is . . . he must be really . . . really afraid."
Kate reaches out to squeeze her hand. "Yeah I know . . . and I'll admit that really scares me – it was my conclusion too."
Alexis pulls her hand away suddenly –smacks herself on the head.
"Oh – I'm an idiot – there's a warning to be careful . . . right there on the second page." The red-head grabs for the pile of pages again, flips back through what little she's read until she finds it – she practically shoves it at Kate.
"Hold up Lex – what am I looking at?" The cop asks confused.
"Here . . . the street next to where the bodies are . . . that's not a New York city street at all – that's Dad's code word."
Kate looks at the sentence Alexis is pointing to.
"Nikki arrives at her destination, the alley behind the pharmacy on the corner of 'Mallowan' Street?"
Alexis nods fervently, her pretty long cascading around her face.
"'Mallowan' Street is somehow significant Lex?" The detective clarifies.
"Yes – but only to Dad and I. When I was little, we had a code word, it had to be something no one could guess and it was sort of a game, but if either of us said it to the other over the phone it was a warning that something was very wrong. Dad was afraid I might get kidnapped or something for ransom – because he's rich and famous, so he wanted me to be able to tell him something was up if he spoke to me - without it tipping anyone else off."
"And 'Mallowan' was the code word?"
Alexis smiles. "Yes."
Beckett looks intrigued.
"Where on earth did he get 'Mallowan' from?" She asks.
The smile on the younger woman's face widens.
"Agatha Christie was married twice – Mallowan was her second husband's last name."
Kate can't help it – she laughs. "That's just so . . . Castle."
Alexis grins at her. "Yeah but can you imagine having to work it into a sentence as a child?"
Kate shakes her head.
"It's a warning Kate . . . I know it is. It's Dad way of saying 'Danger Will Robinson – there is trouble ahead."