Author's Note: Okay, so I was watching this week's episode of Castle, entitled Vampire Weekend. In the first five seconds I saw the belt, and my heart froze. A smile slowly formed at the corners of my mouth when the revolver made an appearance. Finally, a glimpse of the coat made my spirit soar. And then there he was: Captain Mal Reynolds!

So come on, where are all the crossover stories? I know, it's really tough to make excuses for the time difference, and his mother, and his personality... But come on! Someone's gotta try it.

So here it is. I know I didn't go into a lot of detail, but you can make up your own excuses. It's just a one-shot that I hope will open the gates and lead the path to more stories of this nature. Perhaps I'll write one of fuller length in the future, but for now, here it is.

Brown Coat

Castle opened his closet, searching for something to put on. Nothing seemed to perk his interest until he dug deep into the back and found a hidden treasure. It had been five years since he last donned the familiar clothes. He used the excuse of Halloween to wear them, pretending it was just a costume. But his history with these clothes went way further back then that. The khaki pants, the suspenders, the belt, the boots... the brown coat. Oh, how he missed the coat! He ran his fingers lovingly over the fabric.

But that was all in the past... or was it the future? Either way, it was a lifetime ago and he was no longer the same person. Literally.

He eyed the attire again. Once more couldn't hurt.

The cloth felt so good against his skin. He looked at himself in the mirror. To be sure, Captain Tight-Pants had over time morphed into Captain Really-Tight-Pants, but for a moment it seemed like old times.

And he just couldn't resist. He pulled out the rusty revolver from the holster, twirled his coat as he made the turn and ran through the door, posing in his tactical stance.

That's when he noticed his daughter sitting on the couch. Although, she wasn't really his daughter, was she? Another lie packed tightly between all the other lies.

Alexis stared at him with an odd expression, playfully patronizing. The duality in the look seemed fitting, a tribute to her biological parents. Plus, the red hair was a dead giveaway. But he loved her like his own, and he swore to protect her in the way that he couldn't protect her parents.

"You know you still haven't told me where your fascination with murder came from," said Beckett as she and Castle sat down at her desk.

Castle looked at her for a moment, the thought briefly entering his mind to just tell her the truth, to let her be the one he could finally confide in. But how could he explain it to her? The war, the Reevers, the Alliance, the deaths of everyone he had ever come to care about. No, best keep all that for a rainy day. But she deserved something. Perhaps...

"I was five years old..." he began. He told her a story. Only, it wasn't just a story. Well, so what if it wasn't really the Hamptons, but his home on Shadow. And that instead of a beach, it was the outskirts of a ranch. The most important elements remained the same- the housekeeper's boy, he was very real. And perhaps that is where it all started: the idea that others should have to earn his trust, his questioning of a Higher Power, his first glimpse into a world of senseless death.

But he suddenly felt too vulnerable. He had been lying for so long, he no longer felt comfortable with the truth. He put up his defenses with a slight smirk. She thought he made it all up. He supposed it was better that way.