Author's Note:

The finale just wouldn't leave me alone, especially with the implications of our beloved Castle messing with Kate's mother's case, so I felt the need to write out the consequences. These are short chapters, but they should be updated fairly quickly if you all want me to keep going.

The title is from a song by Erin McCarley.

Chapter One

"Turn Me Away"

"It's about your mother."

It's the look of remorse on his face that gives him away, Kate thinks as she lowers herself onto the hard chair. The man who she once thought possessed the world's best poker face was now shifting nervously from foot to foot like he'd just been called into the principal's office. This time, unfortunately, the charges against him were far more serious than crude—if clever—graffiti on the boys' room wall. The fate of their relationship, their tentative and yet untested friendship, rested solely on the next few carefully crafted words that left his mouth.

"You can't leave anything alone, can you?" she asked, venom dripping from each word.

"I know, and I'm sorry—"

"This isn't some case you can treat like a jigsaw puzzle for one of your books," she seethed, "It's my life."

"I know you hate me right now, and you have every right to," he stated without hesitation, "But please let me say this. If you never want to see me again when I'm done, I totally understand." His clear blue eyes pleaded with hers, and she wasn't sure she could refuse him. "Just… let me get this out."

She stared up at him, fighting against the tears stinging the backs of her eyes and the righteous fury bubbling up, even still, as every movement of his tall frame convinced her of his urgency. He started once or twice and then stopped, shaking his head when the words he happened across weren't right. Kate looked on, helpless, while he made his best attempt to utilize a writer's vocabulary to describe something he wasn't sure either of them knew how to deal with.

"There were three others," he said finally, choosing bluntness over eloquence, "Three other women, around the same time, who looked just like your mother." His eyes, penitent, met hers. "The murders stopped after your mother's death."

It had never been Kate's mind that slowed her down, and now it sifted through information at a speed faster than she could handle it. There, just below the surface, she knew every word in her mother's case file. She could mimic every signature and pass it as genuine, down to the pressure they'd put on the pen that sealed her mother's autopsy report. Castle was still talking—something about stab wounds; nothing she wanted to hear—but her fingertips were holding the pendant around her neck and praying for it all to stop. He was pulling her back into an obsession that almost killed her the first time, and she couldn't survive a relapse.

"Stop," she said finally, her uncharacteristically frail voice cutting through the din of the raucous hospital wing, "Just… stop."

His mouth instantly closed in respect for her wishes, and he watched as she took a deep breath and stood up. He waited for her to curse him or yell at him for meddling in such a painful part of her history, but the words never came. She seemed elsewhere; a million miles away from the sterile hallway of a hospital. For a moment he wondered if she planned to shoot him, and decided he would enjoy it if it meant she would acknowledge him. Finally she looked directly at him, through him, and cleared her throat.

"Goodbye, Castle," she said, her voice trembling under the weight of her words. Her cool indifference tore right through him, and he had no doubt she meant the words. She walked away without another glance or the briefest of touches in passing, and he hadn't honestly expected her to.

Just like that, Kate Beckett was out of his life.