Detective Kate Beckett tells the doorman not to announce her. She doesn't ring the bell; doesn't knock. She'd kick in the door, but the small corner of her brain that isn't operating on full-throttle rage signals her that she's wearing her favorite, most formidable boots, and door-kicking could cost her a heel. She still has a modicum of self-respect, so she uses her key, the key he had given her two years ago when she stayed here after her apartment blew up. He had refused to take it back. "Just in case, Beckett," he'd said. Yeah, well, just in case is here, buddy. Time's up.
She storms into his loft. She doesn't give a rat's ass if Jacinda is warming Castle's bed right now. If she is, Beckett will throw her out on her straight-from-a-bottle platinum-haired ass. Okay, she doesn't have platinum hair on her ass—or maybe she does, wouldn't that be an electrolysist's dream—but it's not the point. Beckett slams the door shut with such force that she might have damaged a hinge. Good. He probably paid five thousand dollars for each of those stupid hinges. They're probably titanium, ordinary stainless steel wouldn't do, oh no. Probably custom made by an artisanal hinge maker who worked on the Bilbao Guggenheim.
She'd have stopped herself if Martha or Alexis were there, but she knows they're not. Anyone else? She doesn't give a damn. Not one damn. Not a half, not a quarter, not a part of a damn so infinitesimal as to be undetectable under an electron microscope. Well, she's in here now and where the hell is he? Didn't he hear his precious door slam?
"Castle! Richard Castle! NYPD!" That should bring him running.
Not running, it turns out, but dripping and skidding. He'd been in the shower and he's wearing nothing but a towel when he slides into the room.
"Beckett?" He looks shocked.
She's not looking anywhere except his forehead and, peripherally, his eyes. Certainly not his mouth. Well, not farther south then his chin. His unshaved chin. Because furious as she is, she is as attracted to him as iron filings are to a magnet. The feeling is no longer mutual. He doesn't care. She can't save them, what she'd hoped was them, but maybe she can save him from the dangerous and self-destructive situation he's thrown himself into at the precinct. They need to talk, if only to make a clean break. "You still recognize me? I'm surprised. Thought you might have been blinded by the dazzling Detective Slaughter."
"What are you doing here, Beckett?" His face is red; ticked off has replaced shocked.
"What do you think I'm doing?" Good thing her mouth is dry or she might have spat on him. Spat, or worse, drooled.
"You just broke into my apartment, and from the looks of my front door, broke is the operative word. And I have no idea what you're doing."
"I didn't break in. You gave me a key. Hardly counts as forcible entry." She looks quickly around the open space. "Is anyone else here?"
"No." He shifts slightly. She's furious. Madder than he is, but there's something else, too. "What the hell are you doing here at, at—" he checks his wrist but his watch is, of course, not there.
"Seventeen. Two seventeen a.m."
"What the hell are you doing here in the middle of the goddamn night?"
"What the hell I'm doing is what I should have done years ago. Arresting you."
It must be two-seventeen in some perverse dream world, because surely none of this is actually happening. Especially the part where he's in a soggy towel and she's fully dressed. "You did arrest me, years ago, on a bullshit charge in the New York City public library. And you're arresting me again now? For what?"
"For pissing me off in the first degree. Me, an officer of the law. What the fuck were you thinking, Castle? Riding in the suicide seat with that lunatic Slaughter at the wheel? The name alone didn't tip you off? Not to mention his nickname, The Widowmaker, because his last three partners were killed on the job? And that scum is still on it? Do you know how lucky you are that all you've gotten so far is a bloody nose? Slaughter slammed a suspect's head onto the table in our interrogation room, for God's sake."
He looks taken aback. "You saw that?"
"Of course I saw that. I was watching out for you. I'm your partner."
"Sure haven't been acting much like it lately."
"What? That's the problem, Castle, I wasn't enough of a partner for you?" She points towards the sofa. "Siddown."
"I thought you were arresting me."
"I am. This is house arrest. For the moment."
"Jesus, Beckett," he says, as he sits. "You're insane."
She's towering over him. "Insane?" She is tugging her hair with both hands. "This from the guy who literally gave the coat off his back—his prized leather coat, no less—to a certifiable madman from Gangs, two minutes after he met him? That sounds pretty insane to me. And if I'm insane, at least I'm in therapy for it."
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
The air has completely changed. He shakes his head. "What?"
"Nothing." She mutters, but he hears her.
"You're in therapy?"
"Yes, I'm in therapy. You think less of me for it? Think I'm a weakling? No balls?" She can't hold onto this anger any more. Not after what she has just admitted, though she had had no intention of doing it. She half collapses onto the sofa. He's silent, and she takes an enormous breath.
"I've been in therapy since I came back in the fall. I thought I was making real progress."
"Progress in what?"
"Never mind. It's not important. I should go. I'll just say goodbye. Goodbye, Castle." She stands up, but he grabs her by the wrist.
"Oh, no. No, no. You're not getting away with that, Beckett. You owe me."
"I'll pay for the door. Sorry." She tries to pull away, but he tightens his grip.
"You know that's not what I mean. An explanation. You owe me an explanation. Sit down, please."
She has already ceded control; now she just needs to keep from crying as she returns to her seat on the sofa. "You know, after work today—yesterday—I went to my shrink about this."
"About you. About me. That's what I've been going to him about for months. But this time is was about Jacinda and Slaughter and everything. You know what he asked me?"
Castle doesn't answer. He wants to wait her out.
"He asked me what I thought you were telling me with your behavior. I told him that I thought maybe you weren't there for me anymore, that I waited too long while I was—as he put it, healing—and you moved on."
Castle waits a minute before saying, "And what did your therapist say about that?"
"That you could be protecting yourself by not taking any more emotional risks. I asked him what I should do and he of course answered with a question, what did I want to do?"
He waits again before asking, "And what did you want to do?"
"To get it over with, because I can't stand it any more. Because just as I finally admitted to myself that I'd fallen in love with you, finally knew how to be in love, you fell out of love with me. Because I was almost ready to tell you, and it was too late. Because now you don't just not love me, you hate me." She shook her hand free, got up, and walked in defeat to the door.