*So, it's like 3am, and I should probably be in bed because I have church in the morning, but I need to get this written, so yeah. Enjoy!
"I want out."
As soon as the words left his mouth, Castle knew he was in for a fight. His father's face was a calm mask, but he had seen the momentary flash of anger, and he knew that this wasn't going to end the way he'd planned.
"You want out?" Cross asked, feigning confusion. "Out of what, Richard?"
He licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry. His eyes darted around the room before he finally settled on a spot just over Cross' shoulder, too nervous to look his father in the eye.
"I want out of the Brotherhood," he explained. "I'm tired of living a lie. I'm tired of fighting crime during the day, and then committing crimes at night. And all for nothing! This isn't the life that I want to live anymore," he said. "I won't give up the Brotherhood, and I'll keep your secrets, but I am through with taking orders from you."
Cross was silent for a moment following Rick's monologue, and then he began to laugh. It was more than a minute before he was able to speak again, wiping tears of mirth from his cheeks. "Oh, that's a good one, son," he said, still chuckling. "Been a long time since I heard a joke that good."
Castle growled, his patience wearing thin. "I'm serious," he insisted. "I'm leaving, and there's nothing you can do to stop me."
"Don't be silly, Richard," Cross said, his eyes narrowed dangerously. "You're not going anywhere. Not when I could ruin your reputation and your relationship with a certain detective with one phone call."
His growl was more audible this time. "You leave Kate out of this, Cross. This has nothing to do with her."
"Doesn't it though?" Cross asked. "It's only since you started seeing her that you've started changing your tune. Postponing my plans, neglecting your duties, as it were. Phoenix is still out there, blocking me at every turn, because you've gone soft."
"You have plenty of men at your command," Castle challenged, "Plenty of soldiers at your beck and call that would be more than happy to eliminate her, so why is it up to me?"
"Because you wanted it that way!" Cross roared. "You begged me to hold them off, to give you more time so that you could kill her yourself. You're going to get what you want, Richard, but so am I. You'll have your freedom, but only after you've killed that meddling bitch."
"And what if I don't?" he asked, regretting the words as soon as he'd spoken them.
Cross' eyes bored into his, and white-hot pain seared through his body, bringing him to his knees. "Don't forget that I know where your mother lives," he said, his voice deadly calm. "How is Martha doing, Richard? It's been so long since I saw her last; perhaps I should pay her a visit. Or maybe it's time that I met your darling detective. Kate, was it? I'm certain we could find something to talk about."
Castle gritted his teeth against the crippling pain. "Stay away from my family," he managed. "This is between you and me." He closed his eyes. "I'll do whatever you want, just leave them out of this."
He fell to the floor as the pain subsided as quickly as it had flooded his system. "I'll hold you to that, Richard," Cross said, smiling benevolently. He held out a hand to help him up, which Castle ignored.
Castle struggled to his feet, only to have Cross turn his back on him. "It's come to my attention that your current case involves the Fist of Glory. See to it that its first disappearance and return cannot be traced back to us." There was a slight pause. "You're dismissed."
He wanted to kill his father, would have done so then and there if he thought he could get away with it. Instead, he gritted his teeth and replied, "Yes, sir."
She breathed in the night air, hoping to dispel some of the tension that she'd been carrying all week. It was no use. There was only one person that could drive away this feeling, and she was currently avoiding him.
It was this case, that woman; they were driving her insane. Serena Kaye had gotten under her skin, not that she would admit it to anyone. But every time she saw Castle hanging on Serena's words, or following her to places where cops weren't allowed, she felt the jealousy roil in her gut.
If she was being honest with herself, she'd really come out here tonight looking for a fight, not out of any sense of responsibility. Although, she really did need to start patrolling more often. It was technically part of her job, and the CCTV cameras that she had access to through her computer could only help so much.
She'd wanted a fight though, wanted to punch something (or someone) until the medicine ball in her gut went away. But the streets were deserted. It was as if every criminal in the city had decided to give her the night off, just when she least wanted it.
Two hours of nothing had her turning her bike towards the precinct, only stopping at home to change out of her crime fighting gear. The punching bag in the precinct gym was nowhere close to what she wanted to be hitting, but it would suffice.
Kate had barely been there for half an hour when she heard the door open and close behind her. She didn't have to look to know that it was Castle, so she let him sweat for a few minutes while she pummeled the bag.
Eventually, he stepped into her line of sight, holding the bag steady as she continued to whale on it. "I'm sorry," he told her. "I should have realized that my spending so much time with Serena would upset you."
"I'm not. Mad. At you," she got out, in between punches. She hit the bag one last time, then turned away and started to unwrap her hands. It was technically true. She wasn't mad at Castle. She was mad that another woman was trying to put the moves on Castle, and she was mad that she was letting it bother her as much as it was.
"You don't have to lie to me, love," he said, coming up behind her. He started to massage her shoulders, melting away her tension with every squeeze of his hands. "I can't do anything if you won't tell me what's wrong."
"Why are you with me when you could have someone like her?" she asked, tears brimming as her insecurities rushed to the surface. "You could have someone fun and uncomplicated and whole, but instead you're with me. This broken, pathetic mess…"
"Stop." He spun her around, wrapped his arms around her, and crushed her to his chest. "Do you know how much it kills me to hear you talk about yourself like that?"
He got his hand under her chin, tilted her face up until she was looking him in the eyes. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly Mr. Perfect. And I don't want 'fun and uncomplicated'," he said, wiping a stray tear away. "I want you."
"I know that," she murmured. "I promise you that I do. But something about Serena got to me, and once that seed got planted in my head, it wouldn't go away." Her fingers brushed across his cheek. "I promise it had nothing to do with me not trusting you."
He trapped her hand in his, pressed a kiss to the inside of her wrist. "Good. I hope I never give you a reason not to trust me." He watched her for a few minutes, thinking something over. "What would you say to taking a few days off?" he asked. "To going away with me?"
Kate hesitated. "Depends on where you're taking me," she said. "And how long we'll be gone. I used up most of my days this summer."
"I was thinking that we could spend a couple of days at my place in the Hamptons," he said. "Maybe once this case gets wrapped up, so we can enjoy the beach before it gets too cold?"
She really shouldn't. Who knew what mayhem she might come back to if she left the city unattended for that long. But god a vacation sounded so appealing. "I can't promise anything," she told him, "but that sounds perfect."
*No one expected Castle to get away from Cross that easily, right? And who knows what that guy's got up his sleeve. As far as Kate and her insecurities go…I mean, we all remember how bad she was in Cloudy with a Chance of Murder, right? I can only imagine that she would have been about twenty times worse if they'd gotten together in season 4.