|The Man Without Fear
Author: likehenrydavidthoreau PM
Beckett stared at him for a moment, then burst into silent, shaking laughter, doing her best to contain the noise and not wake Castle from what were undoubtedly enjoyable dreams, but she couldn't help it. Laughing just seemed like the thing to do. Post-Always, based loosely on Castle's summer tweets.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Kate B. & Rick C. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 7,737 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 45 - Updated: 08-20-12 - Published: 07-27-12 - id: 8364486
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
They were on the floor when Beckett woke up, blurred sleep in her eyes and a bit of rug burn on her ass. She moved to scratch her shoulder and realized her arm was trapped beneath the lump sleeping next to her: Castle, his upper body and face covered with a white sheet that had materialized out of somewhere. His bed sheets were all pale blue spring bachelors.
Beckett stared at him for a moment, then burst into silent, shaking laughter, doing her best to contain the noise and not wake Castle from what were undoubtedly enjoyable dreams, but she couldn't help it. Laughing just seemed like the thing to do.
With her other hand, she rubbed her blurry eyes and stared up at the ceiling. There was something strange about this moment to her, probably because she had imagined it so many ways, so many times. Waking up with Castle (thought she had generally imagined it in the bed) was both exactly as she had imagined it, and entirely different.
She looked at Castle again, wondering if she should pull the sheet off his face. For all she knew, he was feigning sleep. In her mind, she saw him sitting in his chair at the precinct, that mischievous smile on his face. It was a bit strange, missing an old, tweed chair that had probably been in the precinct for thirty years, holding up stoned delinquents and grieving siblings. And Castle. She wondered if she would ever see that sight again. Most likely not at the precinct. But she would see Castle. She was seeing him now. All of him, in fact.
Right now she wanted coffee, but she wanted Castle more, so she didn't move, but instead closed her eyes on the burnt orange ceiling and thought about strawberry milkshakes and what she was going to do the next day, and the next. If she was going to feel remorse about her choices in the past twenty four hours, well, that would be in the future. Now she just felt tender and fresh and warm. If she was going to eventually fear the unspoken promises she had made to the man beside her, to shy away from the personal revelations they had made to each other– again, the future, and as a rule, Kate Beckett tried not to worry too much about the future. She found that worrying didn't prevent the inevitable.
She dozed off again. When she woke up again Castle wasn't on her arm anymore but he was tucked up against her side like a little puppy. When she woke up again, he was gone.
Beckett forced herself up, peeking around Castle's bedroom door before venturing out through his study and into the living room.
Castle was standing at the window looking out over the street, a cup of coffee in his hand. In the kitchen the coffee machine slowly drip, drip, dripped into a fresh pot. She stood shyly back. She wanted coffee but she didn't want to interrupt his early morning reverie. Unbidden, a prickle of fear itched at her arms as she considered what he could be thinking, and that fact that eventually he would turn and see her in nothing but underwear and a t-shirt. She felt more naked than she had when she had been… well, actually naked.
After a few moments she advanced cautiously into the kitchen. As she expected, he heard her come in. He turned.
"Hey Castle," she said quietly, hiding one eye behind a sheet of hair and reaching slowly for the coffee pot.
"Beckett." He looked at her and grinned, and though she could tell he didn't know quite what to say, she knew everything was going to be all right. She burst out laughing again, but this time she didn't hold back. Castle stared at her, confused, then he looked down at himself. "Is my shirt on backwards? My shorts?"
"No. No." She struggled to hold back tears of laughter, carefully setting her coffee mug on the counter to avoid potential damage. "Nothing like that."
"What is it?" She calmed her gasping breaths and straightened, then smiled back at him.
"Don't you ever feel like laughing just because you're happy Castle?" Then she went for the coffee.
They sat at the counter silently drinking coffee together. It wasn't so different from most mornings they spent together, Beckett tried to tell herself, but this thought brought on another fit of laughter. Finally, they turned to each other.
"Beckett," "Castle," they spoke at the same time. They grinned at each other.
"You go," "Go ahead," they said, again in unison. Beckett bit her lip to hold back laughter.
Neither of them seemed willing to attempt speaking again, so they just stared at each other, impossible smiles on their faces.
What did they do? What didn't they do? They made out anywhere they could think, on the bed, at the kitchen counter, on the sofa in plain view of the street just because they could. Beckett allowed no misgivings to enter her mind, not yet. She could remember a time in her life when fear hadn't touched her every move, when the criminal state of New York City hadn't influenced her every decision. And she did her best to live as she had then, before her mother's death, her father's betrayal, before all of it. But not in spite of it, because though perhaps she could not yet admit it aloud, her mother's death had also changed her for the better: made her stronger, driven, the kind of person she felt could equal anyone in the world, including Castle.
They lay face to face on Castle's bed in a nest of light blue sheets, late morning sun lighting the crystal book awards and paperweights on the bookshelf by the window.
"You keep your awards in your bedroom? What, so they're the last thing you see at night and the first thing in the morning?"
Castle glanced at them over her shoulder. He gave her a one shouldered shrug.
"Yeah, pretty much."
"It's good to see your ego hasn't changed since I met you."
"They remind me of the work I had to do to achieve them, and I'm proud of them. Would you rather I kept them on the mantle over the fireplace?"
She sobered, then–
"You have a fireplace?"
"Well, no, not technically, but the point stands."
"Oh, you just like to look at them."
This time he grinned.
"Yeah, pretty much."
She looked back to the bookcase.
"Is that your comics collection?"
"Indeed it is."
"I'm glad to see a healthy stock of Daredevil in there."
"That's right, you said you would be Elektra if you could choose."
"I would, but Daredevil is my favorite superhero."
"Blind man with nothing but billy clubs and extra sensory perception who keeps the underbelly of New York in line. Fitting."
"He's the man without fear."
"And therefore, a better man than I could ever be."
"It's okay Castle, I respect your fear of spiders and dark places."
"At least they're predictable fears that don't hinder my everyday life!" He said defensively. Beckett raised a slow eyebrow as he realized what he'd said. His eyes grew wide. "Beckett, I –"
"It's okay Castle," she cut him off, her eyes on the sunlit window. "I know what you meant. And anyway, you're not wrong."
They were silent for a minute, Castle's eyes on the pillow.
"So are we just going to sit here all day or are you going to kiss me, Castle?" Beckett asked finally in a dry voice. With wide eyes Castle approached for a kiss, but before he made it, she tickle-attacked him in the ribs and they shrieked with laughter, rolling in the morning light on Castle's light blue sheets. Neither could believe the fact that they were together, and having a tickle fight no less, but they kept those thoughts to themselves.
"This has been an enlightening morning, Detective Beckett. And not just literally." He wiggled his fingers in the dusty shafts of sunlight still hitting the loft.
"If it's been so enlightening, why do you keep calling me Detective? I'm not."
He frowned at her for a minute, fiddling with the sliced tomato and mozzarella he had pulled from the fridge for them.
"Because it's how I met you. It's how you inspired me. It's how I know you. Even if you're not with the police, you'll always be… special. Better, in a way that only someone who does something like you have could be. If it really bothers you that much, I can…" He trailed off as she touched his hand, her touch cool from the glass of lemonade she was holding.
"It's fine Castle." They smiled softly at each other for a minute. "It's not like we're going to stop calling you writer boy behind your back." As Castle's mouth opened and closed wordlessly, Beckett took a bite and grinned.
When it neared noon, Alexis' expressed time of arrival, Castle caught Beckett eyeing the clock.
"No, no," he moaned. "I wanted to spend every second of forever just like this."
"Seriously Castle?" She raised an eyebrow, hovering powerfully over him on the couch.
"Well, close anyway."
"That… could be arranged." Then she sat back into the cushions, smoothing her hair and her plaid boxers at the same time. "So are we playing it cool, or what?" She asked, gesturing at the clock.
"You mean with Alexis?"
She saw a hungry look in his eye, and she looked down at her hands fiddling in her lap.
"You want to tell them, don't you?" She asked quietly. Castle had never been one to hold back. He shrugged.
"Frankly, I'd like to shout it from the rooftops if you'd let me…"
She bit her lip and refrained from rolling her eyes. He would do it.
"I would do it, you know," he said, as if reading her thoughts.
"Oh, I know Castle."
His eyebrows raised mischievously and he made as if to get up from the couch.
"So can I?"
"Wait." She pulled him back down by the arm.
"Oh, still want me here Detective?" He leaned in toward her, but she gave him only her cheek.
"No sex right now Castle. This is important."
"Oh, you seriously should not have said that," Castle said as he worked his way along her ear.
"Castle!" She barked his name in her best police voice.
"Yes?" He responded slyly, still not moving away. She stood up and out of his reach.
"I just want…" she motioned between herself and him. "Us. I just want us for now."
"You mean you want to keep it…us, a secret?"
"For now." He smiled as she reached for his ear.
"Your secret's safe with me, Detective."