|Through Anger, For Love: A Story of Healing
Author: PossibleIdeasAreLimitless PM
When Castle finally decides that it's just too difficult trying to get over Kate while working together, can Kate convince him to stay, or will their unveiled secrets pull them apart forever? AU/Pre-Always/CaskettRated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Rick C. & Kate B. - Words: 3,246 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 22 - Published: 09-24-12 - id: 8552589
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
After I wrote Broken, this just wouldn't leave me alone.
One doesn't have to read Broken to understand this, but one does have to be caught up with the season until Episode 21: Headhunters (and honestly, if anyone hasn't seen all of the fantabulousticulous* episodes of Season 4 by now, I'm going to have to ask: Why in the world not?). This is pre-Undead Again, pre-Always and definitely AU.
Disclaimer: I do not own Castle. Obviously.
Through Anger, For Love:
A Story of Healing
Castle stared at the blinking cursor upon a blank screen on his laptop. His thoughts thrashed around in his mind with no real focus – a chaotic mess of half-invented characters, misguided scenes and nonsensical dialogue. He couldn't concentrate when his mind kept drifting to the question he brought up with Alexis the other day: Did he want to stay at the 12th badly enough to get over being hurt?
At first he decided that he did in fact want to still work with Beckett. She was his partner and although she may not love him in the same way or as deeply as he loved her, she did still care for him – enough to risk her job for him.
He had been so hurt and angry and embarrassed when he found out she had lied to him about remembering his declaration of love for her that he would admit he may have overreacted just a bit. Now that he has had time to think about why she kept it secret, he'd realized that perhaps she didn't want anything to change between them, and those words finally out in the open would disrupt whatever it was they had. He of course wanted them to change – but for the better – and perhaps she felt that they would change for the worse. It was possible that she was, in fact, preserving their partnership/ friendship.
He also realized that he couldn't try to get over her by going on last-minute trips to Vegas, or with a flimsy affiliation with a woman whom he met on a three hour long plane trip, or by very risky and almost deadly escapades with a dangerous gang detective. None of those dumb – yet fun – but mostly dumb ideas were working.
He knew, however, that he couldn't get over her if he kept hanging around. He loved the precinct and working on cases, what he did there, why he did it and what it symbolized – claiming justice for people who were no longer able to do so for themselves. He loved hanging out with the boys; though that really didn't have to change too much. He could always invite them over for a game of poker, or out for a drink. But he couldn't lend his full attention to the murders when a third of it was focused on trying to ignore his feelings for the very detective with whom he spent most of his time.
And this last case they solved was the perfect opportunity to gracefully extract himself from the picture. There wasn't even anyone left in the precinct that night to witness the emotional turmoil he barely kept at bay.
He watched her gaze at the murder board – that look of solid satisfaction in closing a difficult case seeping into her features – and thought how much he was going to miss observing every one of her remarkable expressions.
"Another case solved," he said, coming up beside her.
"Mm," was all she said. She didn't even glance his way. It had been like this between them lately, and he knew it was mostly his fault. He could just tell her why he was acting the way he was, but that would require participation from her emotions as well, and she made it clear that they just didn't talk about certain things. Ever, apparently.
He wished things were different. He wished he could voice his problems without the fear of rejection. He wished he didn't fall so hard for such a challenging soul, who didn't see him the way he always saw her. And mostly, he wished he was stronger so that he didn't have to completely remove himself from a life of crime solving he enjoyed, just because he couldn't control his emotions.
But this was the only way he could finally begin to get over her so that they could both get on with their lives. Separately.
He forced down the lump in his throat, breathed in deeply and said, "Well, I should get home. . . Goodbye, Kate."
_ _ _k_ _ _
The finality in his tone made her stop what she was doing and turn to him. His grim expression delivered a swift hitch to her chest. She wanted to remain angry with him, and with the way he had been acting recently, she felt as though her anger was warranted. Yet she could feel that something different had changed within these last few moments, and her anger swiftly transitioned into concern instead.
"Goodbye?" she questioned breathlessly. "Not 'until tomorrow'?"
He gazed at her with those impossibly blue eyes and gave one, slow shake of his head.
Panic seeped within; her breaths were shallow. She somehow knew that if she let him leave now, they might never have a chance at becoming something more, and she so desperately wanted more. His behavior the last few weeks left her confused and frustrated, but she definitely didn't want to lose him.
She placed a hand upon his cheek, surprising both of them with her bold move, and hoped that a simple touch would bring with it the heat lost to them weeks ago.
Instead, pain flashed upon his face for only a moment, but she still saw the heartbreaking emotion before it was hidden once again behind his mask of indifference. She wished she knew what had happened between them. They used to have so much fire crackling from everywhere when they were this close, and now it was like a slow burn. Their fire was dying, and she could tell that he wasn't trying to fight it.
Well dammit! She wanted him to fight it. Fight for them.
In one last attempt to draw a spark, a flicker, anything, she gently traced his strong jaw with her hand and then brushed her thumb just under his bottom lip. She watched as a brief flame ignited within his eyes, and an inaudible gasp parted her lips. Immediately those eyes stared intensely at her mouth; his head slowly began to lean in. Her heart thumped against her chest, feeling as though it would burst from its cage at any second. And then all too soon, he stopped. She looked up from his lips to see the fire receding, absorbing back into him. Her breath hitched as he straightened and prepared to walk away.
_ _ _c_ _ _
What on earth was she doing? Did she honestly not realize how much hurt and damage a touch like that was causing within him? Especially when it was accompanied by that look of compassion and – dare he say it – longing. But of course that last emotion was only his imagination again, seeing something that obviously didn't exist. Nevertheless, he couldn't stop his body from reacting. It was still so much in love with her that it rarely listened to his brain when she was this close to him. He'd only barely caught himself from making a huge mistake and ruining what little friendship they had left. He needed to leave now before he did something they would both regret.
Suddenly he felt her hand take a firm grip on the back of his neck. She forced him to turn back to her; her other hand was soon grasping the other, trapping him within their fierce hold and demanding for him to focus on her.
"Wait," she said softly. "Please."
She stepped in closer, her body just barely pressed against him, their mouths impossibly close without touching. Her breath mingled with his as she stared up at him with those large, mesmerizing eyes. She didn't move any closer; she was waiting for him to make the final move. His hands tightened at her sides, and he fleetingly wondered when exactly he put them there. He decided it didn't really matter. He could feel her thrumming under his touch. His thumbs lightly stroked her ribs, and she quivered beneath him.
Yet still their mouths remained mere inches apart.
_ _ _k_ _ _
She was tingling everywhere. His constraint on her was strong, holding her in place as though unsure of himself, unsure of her.
The heat between them was radiating off both of them in waves, crashing into each other and causing even more friction. She could hardly stand the intensity and wondered how he could bear it for even this long.
What was he waiting for?
Then he finally brought his head down toward hers. Her stomach fluttered in anticipation as she closed her eyes and reached for him, but it was his forehead, not his lips, that met her own brow. Confused, she looked up to find his eyes closed.
"I can't, Kate," he said brokenly. His desolate tone tore into her soul and made her breath catch.
She pulled away from him, but only slightly, and watched as a silent struggle played out behind his mask.
"Why? Tell me what I did," she pleaded. "Let me try and fix this."
She watched as those words made his expression harden. Their heat of passion shifted into one of fury, and he stared back at her with a sudden fierceness that made her stumble backwards a few steps. He followed her with one swift move, leaving only a foot between them.
"Fix what, Kate?" he asked. "What exactly do we have to fix?" His words were harsh, but he spoke with a tone that was more defeated than callous. Whatever his tone, his question still stung.
Her words were lost in her throat for a moment. What could she have possibly done to make him hate her this much? Was he already completely lost to her that she couldn't mend any part of their amity?
_ _ _c_ _ _
He didn't mean for their conversation to head in this direction. When he said he couldn't kiss her, he didn't mean he didn't want to – because God he wanted to; he'd never been so tempted – it was for the reason that he didn't want to start anything she wasn't ready to be involved in fully that he couldn't kiss her. He wanted to believe that she was ready and wanted for her to convince him that she was, but instead she brought up the very reason why he had been considering leaving her altogether, and her words cut right into that sensitive part of his still healing wound. All the anger and grief he felt at that time came flooding out. She stood away from him, looking so hurt and confused.
"A partnership," she finally voiced, though it was said more like a question. He gave her a grim smile.
"You have reminded me on more than one occasion that I am not a real cop."
"And you've proven that you don't need to be a cop to have my back."
"And that's all?" he asked. "It wasn't anything more than two people looking out for each other? You and I both know I'm more than just your partner, Kate."
"A friendship then," she countered.
"Is that really all I am to you? Your friend?" he asked in a half-whispered tone. He watched her struggle to say something, her mouth opening slightly and closing just as quickly, and yet still no words escaped.
Her silence was like being on the other side of that interrogation room all over again. She couldn't, or wouldn't, return his feelings, and he couldn't stand by her side as though it didn't hurt more than he could bear. He had to end their "friendship" indefinitely and truly begin to try and get over her.
"I'm sorry, Kate," he said in a monotonous tone. "This just isn't worth it anymore. . . We're over. . . I'm done."
Before he lost his nerve, he crossed the precinct without looking back once and reached for the door to the stairs, opening it wide. His heart made him pause, hoping, praying she would say something to stop him, but she was as quiet as ever. He finally stepped through and closed the door, leaving his heart on the other side.
_ _ _k_ _ _
Kate sunk to the floor, leaning her back against the side of her desk and brought her knees close.
She heard ringing in the distance, but she couldn't bring herself to make sense of what it was from or what it meant.
She watched him leave without saying one word. Why couldn't she just tell him how she felt – how much she cared for him more than a partner or a friend? Why, when her emotions became too much to bear, were they locked away in some part of her that could rarely ever be accessed when they were needed? Was she so adept at compartmentalizing that she not only divided her emotions, but also subtracted them, too?
Suddenly, her phone chimed at her, notifying her of a voicemail. When had her phone rung? She reached for it and watched her fingers type in her pass code as though someone else had control of her appendages.
"One new message," said the automated system. It was from an hour ago. How long had she been sitting here on the floor?
Her breath caught as Castle's voice, sounding crestfallen and defeated, was heard next.
"Hi, Kate. We never could seem to say what we wanted to each other, so I figured that this was the best possible way to do so, even if it is a bit cowardly.
"You once told me that you could never have the relationship you want until you lay your mother's case to rest. You spoke of walls and of healing. I understood. Heh, I even had the crazy idea that you could be talking about me. . ."
"I was," she whispered.
"But then the bombing case opened my eyes to how our relationship was truly defined. . . You heard me, Kate, when I told you I loved you."
Guilt laced dread filled her. That was why he was acting so differently lately; he felt betrayed.
"This entire year I've been giving you the space you said you required, waiting patiently for something that I believed could have been great, given the chance. Now I realize that my waiting was in vain. You never asked for me to shadow you, never asked that I integrate myself into your world, and even forbade me from digging into your past. I was selfish, and I finally realize that any romantic intentions I may have glimpsed from you were completely within my imagination."
She began to shake her head, knowing that he couldn't see her, and yet feeling the need to discourage his words, anyway. She damn near begged him to kiss her earlier! Was that not enough evidence that she wanted him, too?
"Perhaps it's better this way, though. . . Honestly, we both have our secrets, and now that we're over, there isn't a reason for me to keep mine anymore. You deserve to know."
His words wrenched her stomach and roughly kneaded it like dough. They were over. Those were usually her words to say, not his, and they hurt far worse receiving them than delivering them. She blinked back the tears threatening to overtake her vision; their frustrating appearance were made worse by the fact that they represented two emotions at once: hurt – and anger. What secrets of value could he possibly be keeping from her?
"I've sent a file to your email of everything I had on your mother's case. It isn't much, but it does have information that you don't know. This may not seem genuine to you now, but I want you to know that I never intended to hurt you by keeping this to myself. I was only trying to protect you. I was always ever trying to protect you.
"I hope one day you'll forgive me, but I suppose I won't know if you will, since I don't expect to hear from you after you read what I've sent. . . Goodbye, Kate."
"End of new messages. To erase this messa—"
She let the phone slip from her hold and heard it clatter upon the floor.
Damn him. How dare he tell her all this over the phone – no! Over a message!
She steadily rose from her place upon the floor and made her way to her computer. He was right. She knew most of what he had, but this guy named Smith was new. He had known Roy and – made a deal with Castle! Over her life!
His betrayal hit her hard, constricting her lungs and leaving her winded. Who did Castle think he was? What if this guy was behind the whole thing? Did Castle even consider the possibilities? No, of course not. And he had met with him!
Yet there was no way to contact this Mr. Smith. No phone number, no address, no email. This had better not be a joke, or some fabrication that led nowhere, just to hurt her as she did him. Her jaw tightened and she felt her teeth grind against each other in annoyance. She would just have to pull Castle's phone records from the dates he claimed Mr. Smith called and hope she'd get lucky.
In the mean time, perhaps Castle was right in severing their partnership. She couldn't count on someone to have her back when he was conspiring behind it, and she definitely couldn't even think of him, let alone see him, without wanting to shoot him where he stood. But she wasn't leaving this alone without any retaliation. Castle will answer for keeping crucial information from her, and he will do so in person.
I'm sorry! I know I promised Caskett, but for some reason this went in the exact opposite direction than how I originally imagined (Isn't it weird how some stories seem to take on a life of their own, and you feel as though you are at the mercy of the story? Such a peculiar, yet thrilling feeling, right? :D ). For instance, the message at the end was totally unexpected and I'm still unsure how I feel about it.
Anyway, I am writing a second chapter that will hopefully take a better turn, but most of what I have so far is still pretty angst-y. It may even call for an unintentional third chapter. I don't know; we'll see.
I do hope you enjoyed it thus far, though, and would love to hear any comments you may have. :)
*Fantabulousticulous was a word spoken by the character Angela Montenegro in the Season 4 finale of Bones. I fell in love with the word and now use it regularly. :)