Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. That would be sweet if I did though.
Summary: It is a moment, sometimes large, sometimes fleeting, that can alter a life for ever. After solving another murder, Castle finally reveals to Beckett why he became a murder mystery writer.
-A One Shot
Rick Castle felt his blood run cold.
The echo of Esposito's footsteps sounded down the hall, up the stairs, until they faded into nothing; leaving Castle bathed in the chill, still air. It could not be possible. It was near improbable. And yet, he knew that pictures never lied.
The photo on the cover of the case file stared back at him. He never knew her. Never knew what her laugh sounded like. Or the tone her voice. He never knew how she moved or what her favorite food was. But he knew her. He had for ten years. He would never forget her face; he carried it with him everywhere he went. She had awoken the storm, he would never forget that.
He had long since memorized the green of her eyes. The slope of her nose. The way her mouth curved. It was engrained into his mind, almost as clear as Alexis' features.
He knew he should be focusing on the irony at hand. But he could only focus on the fact that it was indeed true. With shaking hands, he opened the folder, staring at her name typed across the page. A name he memorized with the face. He knew he should have made the connection a long time ago. But the name was common. And, after all, who could really focus on anything else when she smiled?
Staring at the name, letting the realness of the situation wash over him, Castle knew now that this was what he was supposed to do. Move forward and damn the consequences. It was clear of the move he had to make.
Carefully, so as not to disturb the quiet that had settled around him, Castle sat down at the table before him.
He began to read.
Detective Kate Beckett sat down at her desk, doing her very best to keep her smile at bay.
Castle sat down opposite her, his incessant rambling ringing through the air.
"My mother should move aside and let us take the stage," he said, his eyes aglow with excitement., setting his feet atop of her desk as he leaned back in his chair.
"Please, Castle, the only think you're capable of acting like is a twelve-year-old boy," Kate responded, pushing his feet to the floor.
"What?" He nearly exclaimed, sitting up straighter. "Didn't you see us in there? You, playing the sweet detective who only wants to help. Me, the roguishly handsome bad cop who likes to make 'em squirm. We'd be a shoe in for the Tony."
"Actually, if my memory serves correct, it was more along the lines of me acting like an actual detective and you--," she paused, pretending to think. "—Not."
With a triumphant grin Kate began to pull out the paper work necessary for closing a case.
"Ah, I see how it is," Castle said, and before Kate knew if, Castle had jumped forward, spinning her chair so they were face to face. He leaned in. Dangerously close. "Tell me, Detective, do you enjoy playing the bad cop?" He asked, his voice lower than normal.
She rolled her eyes and pushed Castle back into his chair; choosing not to dignify his question with a response. So what if she did? He'd only take the answer out of context anyway.
"Well it's no matter," Castle's rambling continued. In the tiem they had spent working together Kate had come to learn that closing a case sent the writer into an excited fit of tedious dialogue. Not that that was really any different than normal. "Andrea's mother will finally be able to rest in peace, knowing who is responsible."
Kate felt her heart stop for the slightest of seconds and she froze, starring at the paper in her hand. Even after all these years she couldn't avoid her own reaction. She wished her body would build an immunity to save her from her own mind; but still, everything was the same.
And still, Castle continued to speak: "And to think it was her best friend."
Again Kate didn't respond, though this time out of her inability to do so. She knew her lack of participation in the conversation had finally captured Castle's attention. She could see him staring at her. By her own determination, she was able to pull herself out of her own stupor. She began sorting through the papers before her, far faster than she truly needed to.
"They remind you of her, don't they?" Castle said his voice soft and quieter than it had been moments before.
"The ambiguousness of that statement astounds me Castle. I thought writers were supposed to be good with words," she said, though she knew exactly what he was referring to/
"Cases like these," Castle pressed on, making it clear he wasn't going to abandon the topic anytime soon. "They remind you of your mother."
Kate went rigid, acutely aware of the blood running through her veins. "Cases like these?"
"Where mothers are taken from their families far too soon."
Kate swallowed a dry lump in her throat. "Why would you say that?"
Castle looked at her as if contemplating his answer, though she knew he already had it. "You become determined. Not that you aren't already. But it's different…you're unrelenting."
Kate sighed. Damn him and his keen sense of awareness. Why was she always paired with the ones who wanted to know too much? Especially about something had no desire to share.
"Closing cases like these give me hope that some day I'll be able to close my mother's some day."
Castle smiled then. "You will. It might take time. But you will." And Kate was certain she had never heard him sound so sincere.
She knew she should have said thank you, but the words seemed lost in her mouth. Instead different words bubbled forward, ones she had wondered far too long now, but that she had been able to keep from saying. That is, until now.
"Can I ask you something?"
Castle's smile turned devilish, his eyes twinkling in the dim light of the room. "Yes Detective, dinner and a movie sounds like a great idea." He held up his hand to stop her from interrupting. "But only if you pay, really, I insist."
Kate once again rolled her eyes, a habit she was certain that she had formed by Rick Castle's mere presence.
"In your dreams, Castle."
He smiled triumphantly, leaning in close again. "My dreams also include dessert."
Kate scoffed, pushing Castle away---again.
He smirked and sat back. "I believe you had a question for me."
The air instantly changed, Kate felt it, and she knew he could too. The simple silly moment, unable to completely alter the thick air that had enveloped them before. "I---I just---," Kate sighed in frustration. She had wanted to ask him for so long. And now that she had created the opportunity for herself, she found she was unable to do so. "Esposito told me he was the one who pulled my mother's case for you."
"I don't see a question in there, Detective."
Kate bit her bottom lip. "What I'm trying to get at is---," she paused again, her own nerves taking control of her vocal chords. Did she really want to know? "According to him, he gave you the file a few weeks before I had even told you to stay away from my mother's case. I don't understand why you would go snooping into it before I told you not to."
"And you would have understood if you had told me not to and then I did it anyways?" Castle asked, amused.
Kate looked at him dryly. "The fact that you're constantly going against my wishes lends itself to evidence, yes."
There was a silence as they looked at one another.
"So?" Kate asked. "Why did you?"
Castle took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Two reasons," he said, leaning forward to lean his arms on her desk, wisely keeping space between them. "The first being, despite your best efforts we have developed a relationship working together---make of it what you will---and I want to help. Believe it or not, I do care for you Detective."
Again, Kate knew she should say thank you but for once, she found herself at a true loss for words when it came to Rick Castle. So she let her shy smile tell him all he needed to know. But then: "What's the second reason?"
Here Kate watched as Castle's face fell; becoming more serious then she had ever seen him before. He stared at her desk and she instantly recognized the look on his face. It was one she had seen many times before in the interrogation room, it was the look a face held when someone was deciding whether or not to speak the truth or a lie. Contemplation between an inability to decide and hope that the lie wouldn't be found out if it was spoken.
Finally Castle sighed. He stood slightly and pulled out his wallet. Opening it, he took out a folded piece of paper. Carefully, he unfolded it, something she was certain he had done many times before. Though she could not see what it was about, Kate was certain he was looking at a news clipping.
"Before I was a writer I was a high school English teacher," Castle said, his voice solemn. Kate instantly missed the childish lilt.
"You? A teacher?"
He smiled slightly, but it disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced. "I hated it. When Alexis was five I quit. One night, I was looking through the classifieds, I came across this article."
Castle paused, before tearing his eyes away from the article in his hands and looking at Kate. Kate's brows knitted wondering why he seemed to be apologizing with his silent gaze. Slowly, he handed her the article.
Kate was certain she was going to faint. She didn't need to read the article, she knew what it was about. She had long since memorized it line for line, having her own copy stashed away in her desk. "My…mother?" she asked her voice croaking as emotion took hold. "Why?---How?"
Castle sighed. "I remember reading the article, seeing the picture. I didn't understand how anyone could take away a life like that. How anyone could possibly do it. She was beautiful. She had a husband. A--," he looked at Kate. "—daughter. And yet someone had taken her away. The next thing I knew, I was writing. And I haven't stopped."
Kate continued to stare at the clipping, letting Castle's words wash over her as her mother stared back at her.
"I cut out the article and stuck it in my wallet, as a reminder of where my inspiration came from."
Kate felt herself nodding. Many words came to her mind. Irony. Coincidence. Serendipity. Her mother had always told her that one persons effect on another was far greater then their immediate impact. And now it seemed, she was being proven right. Her mother had led Kate to the life she had now. And she led Castle to his. And now here they were, having this very conversation. It seemed, even in death, her mother was watching over her.
She shook her head as a single tear ran down her cheek. "Why…why didn't you tell me this before?"
Castle shrugged and tilted his head slightly to the side. "I can't pretend she's mine anymore. She belongs to you, not me. She can't be my inspiration anymore. She's yours."
Kate held out the clipping, for Castle's taking. "Then what's your inspiration now?"
Castle's face remained sincere, but the corner of his lip flipped up in a quiet smile. Carefully, he took the paper from her, allowing their fingers to brush briefly.