A/N: so I know updates have been pretty scarce on this but I've been a bit stuck as to what to write. I knew it was coming to an end but couldn't figure out the ending..it's why I started a new story in the meantime (young hearts, check it out if you like ;)) as I wanted to write but this just wasn't going anywhere! However I have now written the final chapter - I hope you enjoy!
"Beckett..oh, and Mr Castle," Gates said as Kate and Castle walked into the office. "I must admit I didn't expect to see you around today. Or well, ever, considering you quit a few weeks ago. What can I do for you?"
So she wasn't bringing up the tape then, Kate couldn't decide whether or not that was a good thing. "I um.." Deep breaths, you need to sound confident. "I came to ask for my job back." Again.
"Well after a certain story I saw in today's paper I must say I'm now even more surprised."
"Sir, would you give me the opportunity to explain some things?" Kate asked, needing Gates to understand more than she currently knew. "And then I swear, if you don't want me around then you'll never have to see me again."
"Very well," Gates said, removing her glasses and leaning back in her chair. "Say whatever it is you came here to say."
Beckett was a little shocked, she had half expected Gates to throw them out, but she wasn't about to argue with the chance to explain what had been going on. And so she did, through how her mothers murder wasn't random gang violence, how Montgomery had known that and sat on it until the day he died and about the package that had been sent to Smith. How Castle had been trying to protect her from it all but that it had blown up in his face when she'd found out. Castle remained silent throughout Kate's explanation, thinking it best to allow her to do the talking..they always seemed to end up in more trouble when he spoke. So he sat there patiently, gripping Kate's hand just as hard as she was squeezing his.
"And the break in on your apartment?" Gates asked when Kate paused for a moment. "Is that involved too?"
"I believe so, sir," Kate nodded. You see, I don't actually live there anymore and I didn't at the time of the break in either. My sister is currently living there and that's where..today's article comes from. We believe Maddox, or someone he hired, broke in to plant bugs and cameras in order to get to me. The past week or so I've been receiving anonymous phone calls and text messages, when I answer there's no one there but the messages lead me to believe that someone planted those bugs in order to get to me, they knew I'd quit my job and they also knew that I'd been to see you to try and get it back. I believe what they're doing is to make my life harder - if I'm not a cop I can't look into this case and then whoever had my mom killed is safe." Kate was quiet once she'd finished explaining everything, wanting to give Gates the opportunity to process all the information and let it all sink in before she spoke again.
"Is there a reason you brought Mr Castle along with you today?" Gates asked and Beckett's defences immediately rose. Brought him along? He wasn't a pet.
"As you found out before I left, Castle and I are in a more personal relationship now than we were before," Kate said coolly. "And given light of certain events that appeared in the press today, we decided it was best to show a united front. We're a team and along with Esposito and Ryan, we have the best closure rate this department has ever seen." Even Gates couldn't argue with that, no matter how much she disliked Castle. The facts and figures spoke for themselves and from the way Gates suddenly looked away, avoiding eye contact, Beckett knew she'd struck a nerve.
"You say Maddox seems to be plotting some personal vendetta against you..is that correct?"
"Well I believe he's working on the orders of whoever is behind this but yes, that's what it comes down to."
"In that case then I think my only option is to let you back," Gates announced, much to the shock of both Castle and Beckett.
"Don't sound so surprised," Gates replied with a hint of smile. "After listening to your story I believe it's for the best, if whoever is behind this thinks they can stop you by stupid, childish tactics then they're messing with the wrong people. I expect to see you both here bright and early on Monday morning."
There was a tone in Gates' voice that let them know the conversation was over, so the two of them stood up and prepared to leave. "Thank you, Sir," Kate said, "I promise you won't regret this."
"I better not," Gates replied, "now get out of here and enjoy your last few days off."
"Yes, sir," Beckett smiled as the two of them left. "I can't believe that just happened," she laughed as her and Castle stepped back into the bullpen.
"Me either," Castle replied. "Did she really just let not only you back, but me as well?"
"I think so," Kate replied, shaking her head incredulously. "Hey boys," she called out to Espo and Ryan, "guess who's coming back on Monday?"
"No way?!" Ryan exclaimed, "she actually let you both back?"
"Yeah," Castle laughed, "we can't believe it either!"
"That's great, guys," Espo smiled. "Listen, we've gotta dash but see you Monday, yeah?"
Beckett and Castle said goodbye to the boys before making their way to the elevator, both in much better moods than they had been when they first arrived. "What are we going to do until Monday?" Castle asked as Beckett stood in front of him, pressing the button that would take them back down to the lobby.
"I've got a few ideas," she replied flirtatiously, her hand trailing a pattern over somewhere entirely inappropriate for an elevator. "You ever done it in an elevator, Castle?" She asked, as simply as if she was asking what he wanted for dinner.
Beckett loved this, being able to turn her writer to mush, the guy who normally had an answer for everything somehow incapable of coherent speech as her hand squeezed lightly, causing him to jump.
"Why, you want me to stop this thing and screw you up against-" he was cut off by her lips crashing to his, her body melting against his as she tried her hardest to get as close as possible.
"Take me home, Castle," she told him breathlessly as the elevator came to a halt.
And home he took her.
They barely made it through the front door before they were tearing at each other's clothes, jackets landing in a heap on the floor, shoes being kicked off and flying across the room - where they'd no doubt get tripped over later. In less than twenty seconds Castle had Beckett down to her underwear and pinned against the door, his mouth trailing hot kisses along her jawline and down to her neck.
"I sure as hell hope your mother and daughter aren't home," Beckett gasped as her fingers began unbutton his shirt. "We'd be giving them quite a show."
"Don't care," he mumbled into her skin, "want you too much."
Beckett's heart soared for this incredible, caring and amazing man that was all hers. Never in her life had she come across someone so perfect for her and even now she sometimes had to pinch herself to make sure it wasn't all a dream, that she wasn't going to wake up and find it all gone. "Bedroom, babe," she insisted, "if it really does it for you then you can fuck me up against that door."
"Perfect woman," he growled, capturing her lips in one last kiss before dragging them both to their bedroom.
True to her word, Beckett did let him have his way with her up against their bedroom door..and the bathroom door..and the shower..
Monday morning rolled around either too quickly or not quickly enough for Beckett's liking, she couldn't decide which. Of course she was looking forward to getting back to work, she had missed it incredibly during her weeks off and she knew in her heart it was where she belonged, but on the other hand she'd spent the majority of the weekend in bed with her boyfriend and that was definitely something she didn't want to leave.
The two of them had had to come out and be sociable on Saturday afternoon when Charlie and Ethan popped over, the two of them happy that Kate had her job back and both surprisingly okay about the tape. Thankfully, Paula had done an amazing job with the press and nothing more had been printed, and with some trashy reality star announcing she was pregnant but didn't know who the father was, the press were having a field day with that one and had left Beckett alone.
"You ready to go?" Castle asked, exiting the bedroom and pulling on his shoes at the same time.
"Yeah, let me just grab my gun," she replied. "Can we stop for coffee on the way?"
"I suppose so," Castle sighed dramatically, "goodness you're hard work, woman!"
"Ahh, you love me anyway," she grinned as she reappeared, ready to leave.
"I do," he told her, planting a kiss on her head. "Now come on, we need to be quick if you want coffee, the last thing you want is Gates calling you out on being late on your first day back."
"I'm coming, I'm coming," she mumbled, heading to meet him at the door. "Don't even go there," she added, seeing the twinkle in his eye as he started to say something.
"Katherine Beckett," he gasped, "get your mind out of the gutter!"
"Why?" She said, "I was just joining you."
Castle gave her backside a quick slap before closing the door and heading down to the lobby. It was like the first day of school..except he wasn't the loser who liked to read, he was the cool guy with the super hot girlfriend. He momentarily wondered if Kate would let him write a side novel to Nikki Heat, maybe when her and Rook were younger and they went to the same school..
"So basically...we have nothing," Kate concluded. It had been six hours since her and Castle had arrived at the precinct and after going over everything the boys had uncovered in her few weeks off, every report, assumed sighting or background file of Maddox had been read and reread and yet they were getting nowhere.
"I um..no, I wouldn't say th-" Ryan began but Esposito cut him off.
"We got nothing."
Dammit this was frustrating. When he'd taken Charlie, they'd come so close to getting somewhere, Kate just knew that if they'd had a little more time, some proof to use against him to make him talk then they'd be a hell of a lot further along than this. All she wanted was a name, the name of whoever was behind all of this, who Maddox was working for and yet, after six hours, countless cups of coffee and take out for lunch from the local Chinese, they had bugger all. Nada. Zilch. Fuck.
"I'm gonna take a walk," she announced, "get some air, clear my head."
"I'll come too," Castle replied immediately, ever the faithful partner.
"No," Beckett said. "I need some time..I'll be back soon, half an hour tops." She could tell Castle wasn't happy but she needed some time to think, time alone without him. She loved him, so much it almost hurt but right now, his promises and reassurances that everything would be okay weren't what she needed. What she needed was a lead.
Stepping out onto the busy New York sidewalk, Beckett immediately felt a sense of relief. This was familiar, this was home. The bustle of people rushing past, late for appointments or to pick their kids up from school..the tourists stopping every five feet to take pictures of a pigeon or a lamppost or something else equally ridiculous.
Coffee shops and cafés lined the streets and she made a mental note to buy Castle a cupcake on her way back, to make up for wanting to be alone. She knew he meant well, he always did, that's just who he was but sometimes she just needed to be by herself.
Glancing down at her watch, she realised she'd already been walking for twenty minutes, and was about to turn back towards the precinct - via the bakery Castle loved - when she saw it. Someone watching her..only years of detective training had her spot him, the tall guy in a black leather jacket and dark jeans leaning against a lamppost on the opposite side of the street. Maddox. She was about to cross over, hand already braced on her gun ready to draw it out when he disappeared. In the moment she had taken to check the road for traffic, he had gone, vanished into thin air.
Her eyes scanned the busy street, trying her hardest to get a good enough look at everyone but it was no use, the streets were too busy and the guy that had looked like Maddox was dressed too plainly to stand out. Perhaps she had been imagining things..that could have been it..not that she'd ever tell Caslte, he'd have a field day, but maybe he had been a figment of her imagination, her mind so caught up on him and the case that she had thought he had been there.
With that in mind, Beckett turned back around and hurried back towards the precinct before Castle ordered Gates to send out a search party. Luckily, his favourite bakery had no queue, so she purchased his cupcake, choosing one for herself too - and doughnuts for the boys before heading back out onto the street. She was just crossing the final side street before the precinct when she heard people scream. Glancing around looking for the source of the commotion, she froze when she saw it - a dark car was speeding along the road, way over the speed limit - and straight towards her.
Beckett reacted just in time, diving out of the way and collapsing into a heap on the edge of the road. Immediately hands and faces were around her, voices asking if she was okay, someone pulling out their cell and calling and ambulance.
Apart from being a little shaken, she was fine. She just couldn't believe Maddox would do that, aim for her in the light if day with a hundred witnesses, did they really want her dead that badly?
"Beckett?" She heard..Castle? "Beckett, oh my god, what happened?" Yeah, it was Castle.
"I um..Maddox," she whispered. "I saw him but then he disappeared. I thought I'd imagined it and was heading back when he came at me..I jumped out the way just in time.."
The paramedics arrived just then, moving Castle to the side to examine Beckett, despite her insistences that she was fine. Somehow she ended up in the back of the ambulance, the paramedic telling her he wanted her in hospital for a check up, just to be on the safe side.
Beckett tried to argue but Castle wouldn't let her, Espo and Ryan could take care of traffic footage, he just wanted to know Beckett really was okay.
"So..he just drove straight at you?" Charlie said and Beckett nodded. She'd just retold her story for what felt like the millionth time, this time to Charlie and Ethan. Espo and Ryan had already been in, as well as her father and the traffic cops trying to find the car, and Lanie had called, apologising that she couldn't get away right now.
"But I'm fine, Char," Kate reassured. "The doctors gave me the all clear, just a few bumps and bruises."
"Eventful first day back then, hey?" Ethan said and Beckett smiled at him.
"Yeah, you could say that!" Leaving home this morning she never could have imagined this is where her day would end. "Hey guys, have you got him yet?" Beckett asked as Ryan and Espo came back into the room.
"No," Espo sighed. "We found the car, traffic cameras spotted it six blocks away but he ditched it and ran. And he knew the area, no cameras picked him up after he left the car."
It was what Beckett had suspected, really, the guy was too good.
"We'll get him, Beckett," Ryan reassured.
"It doesn't matter," Kate said and the others all stared at her. "It doesn't matter. He's too good, always three steps ahead of us, leaving us looking like idiots. They want me to drop this, stop looking into it? Fine, consider it done."
"Kate, what are you-" Charlie began.
"I went down that rabbit hole once," Kate said, "I have no intention of going back down there again. One day, we'll have justice, I know that much, but that day is today, nor will it be tomorrow. I could have died today and it made me realise what's really important..you guys. And my dad and Lanie and Martha and Alexis, that's what important. Yes, I want to find the bastard who did this but it can wait until we have more evidence, for now, it's done."
"Uh..okay.." Espo said, breaking the silence. "Well um, we'll go, let you get home and settled. Gates doesn't want you in tomorrow, so we'll see you Wednesday, yeah?"
Kate agreed, shooting the guys grateful smiles as they left. "We're gonna go too," Charlie announced. "Call me tomorrow, okay? Let me know how you're doing." Her sister moved in to give Kate a hug. "I'm proud of you," she whispered. "For being able to drop it and not letting it dictate your life again."
"I'd never let it get that far again," Kate promised, "you all mean too much to me for that to happen."
Charlie and Ethan said goodbye to Castle before leaving him alone with Kate.
"Hell of a day, huh?" He laughed.
"Yeah," Kate agreed. "Oh.." She whined, causing Castle to shoot her a confused look. "I brought you a cupcake, to apologise for leaving you at the precinct earlier..it must have gotten squished when I almost got hit."
"I love you," he grinned. "So much. You didn't have to get me a cupcake I knew you just wanted some time! But I uh..did get a little worried, it's why I came looking for you. I was gonna get you a coffee but you know..then I saw you.."
"I love you too," she replied. "And um, thank you..for being there and not giving up on me."
A/N: and before you all hate me for not closing the case; I have decided that there's going to be a sequel of some sort, possibly more than one. This story has gone on for a hell of a lot longer than I ever imagined and its all because of the amazing reviews from you guys. The sequel I'm planning will be from Charlie's point of view, and there may even be a prequel of the five years she was abroad if there's enough interest in it, your thoughts on sequels/prequels are very much welcome :)
But for now, this is done. It's a little emotional, never in a million years when I started this back in March would I have ever thought I'd still be going in August! I'm so so so grateful to every single person who has reviewed, followed, favourited or even just tweeted about this fic, you have all made me so happy with all of the support and I hope you're all still around for the sequel - I promise to make a start on it ASAP!
twitter: holaitsjade | tumblr: cowboyscastleandkatic