This fic is based on something I said to Alamo Girl when she asked me about Castle. She told me that sounded like a fic. I agreed and suddenly it was all planned out in my head. The only thing I didn't realize that what I thought was going to be a two-shot, was actually much, much longer.

This fic is going to be a series of outside perspectives on Beckett and Castle and their relationship. Obviously it's Caskett all the way.

First up is Lanie.

As always, I own nothing

Unacknowledged as of yet….


Oh I know all about my friend's relationship with Richard Castle. You want details, you come to me. Other people, well, they think they know, but they don't have even close to the full story. Not even writer-boy himself has that yet. And let me tell you, it is a STO-RY. I first met Kate years ago, before she`d made Detective, back when she was just Officer Beckett, NYPD. But even then there was something about her. She stood out among the rank and file. This girl was goin' places, make no mistake about that. Everybody knew it, even Kate herself.

When it came to our friendship, I was the one to make the first move. Beckett's not unfriendly, but she can be a bit stand-offish, especially on the job, and especially back then. But I was pretty determined, and I wasn't about to let a little bit of aloofness stand in my way. I figured if I wanted our relationship to move beyond the pleasantries I'd have to push a bit. And she intrigued me, so I dragged her out for coffee, told her smart women needed to stick together in our jobs and that I wasn't takin' no for an answer. I remember Beckett just laughed. First time I'd ever heard the sound actually. And then weekly coffees turned into goin' out on Friday nights strutting our stuff. And boy was girlfriend good at that. After a couple a' drinks I realized, most of the people she worked with didn't know the first thing about Kate Beckett. Oh sure, they knew she was quick, smart and fearless, and that she had no trouble holding her own with the boys. But most people didn't see the drive, the compassion, the fun that was buried deeper. They didn't see how she loved to reel in the boys and then keep 'em hanging. (And Kate Beckett had a sense of humour that rarely came out to play, not then at least.) They didn't know she loved the theatre, loved to read. Beckett was actually the one who got me reading Richard Castle's books. The only reason I had any idea who writer-boy even was when we first met was thanks to Kate.

One afternoon over coffee she just sort of started raving about this book she'd just read that she hadn't been able to put down. How she loved getting caught up in the idealized mystery world, how she loved the characters, loved that the cops weren't idiots, loved that she could identify with the characters, and yes, that the sex scenes could be hotter 'en hell sometimes. I laughed at her enthusiasm and promised to give one a try. She mentioned casually that she was going to a book signing that weekend, said I was welcome to join her. I shrugged it off, told her waiting in line for hours just so that a probably smarmy rich boy writer could sign my book and send me a smile wasn't my ideal way of spending my precious weekend. Kate just shrugged and said she knew it probably wouldn't be fun, but it'd mean something to her. Then she got real interested in her coffee. And I knew.

There'd always been rumours circling Kate Beckett and why she'd become a cop. I'd heard hints of a personal tragedy, but out of respect had tried not to snoop, trying to wait until she'd felt comfortable enough to tell me herself. Which isn't to say I hadn't considered trying to pry it out of her more than once, but how do you start that conversation exactly? "So girl, I heard a story about you and a tragic past. Wanna share?" I'd also considered the traditional route of getting her smashed out of her mind and dragging it out of her. Vodka's been known to do wild and wonderful things after all.

Still, there is something to be said for not digging through your friend's life without their permission, so I'd waited (impatiently) for her to tell me. I figured this might be it. "Yeah," I asked her. "Any particular reason these books mean so much?"

Kate glanced at me, "I assume you've heard some of the rumours about me."

I grinned, "Tried not to listen. A woman's got to have her secrets. Keeps life exciting."

Kate laughed. "Yeah, well, this one's not so fun."

"I figured."

I watched Kate play with her coffee, then reach a hand up to play with her necklace.

"Sweetie, if it's uncomfortable for you, you don't have to tell me. I understand…"

"A few years ago my mother was murdered," Beckett said abruptly. "Killed in the street. No one has any idea why, or even who. Wasn't an assault, or a robbery. She didn't have any enemies that we know of. It was just out of the blue. I was at dinner with my Dad and she just never showed." Kate glanced at me then." "It's still unsolved. Random gang violence according to the official report."

"Oh honey…" I started. I'd suspected something like this, but hearing it from the woman herself was a whole different thing. And well, it explained a lot.

But Kate was in no mood for compassion. "Yeah, well, it sucks, but it happens right? That's life. Anyways, I got well, I got a little obsessed with finding her killer my first three years on the force. I'm still fighting my way out of it now, trying to put it behind me. And one of the things that's helped are Richard Castle's books. I know it sounds silly," she said with a self-conscious smile. "And I know that they're hardly great literature or anything, but they've helped take my mind off of things. I don't know. Derek Storm, well, he always solves the case. And I always know that the bad guys are going down. Besides, my Mom used to secretly love mystery novels. So yeah, I know they're a bit of guilty pleasure, but still..."

"And now you want to go see this writer," I added.

"Yeah," Kate agreed. "I've never really gotten a chance before. I mean, I don't expect anything earth-shattering. Actually, I don't expect much at all. By all accounts he's a bit of a playboy man-child, but…"

"But, it'll mean something to you."


Well this was a whole other thing then. And no way was I letting her go alone if she wanted company. "If you want company Beckett you know I'll go."

"No, no." Kate said with a laugh. "I mean, only if you want to for you. I'm perfectly fine going by myself. I just thought it was a good time… Well, I meant to tell you ages ago Lanie."

"You don't have to explain Kate," I told her.

"No. I know that." Kate agreed. "But I want to. I know I wasn't the friendliest when we first met, but I was still trying to solve it, or rather, trying to stop solving it. And I didn't always… I mean…"

But I shook off her apology. No wonder she'd been a bit cold. Who could blame her? "Girl, don't you even worry about it."

"Yeah. But I wanted to say thanks. For you know, not giving up on me. It can't have been easy. And I wanted you to know that I appreciate it. And it really helped," Kate told me sincerely.

And then the coffee run started to get a little more emotional than I'd ever expected. "Hey, what are girlfriends for?" I told her. "Now stop before my mascara starts running."

And just like that I knew I had a best friend.

Kate sent me a smile and turned her attention back to her coffee.

"This mean you appreciate it enough to double with me and Ben next weekend?" I asked suddenly, recognizing my advantage.

"Lanie…" Kate said exasperatedly.

"Oh, come on! He's got a friend and we're going to that new club they just opened. The one that's supposed to be impossible to get in."

"Then how would we be getting in?" Kate asks sensibly.

"Ben knows the owner," I explained.


"Don't make me drag you, 'cause I will." It'd been ages since we'd last gone out. We were due for a good time.

"Fine," Kate said with a sigh.

The rest of the afternoon was spent extolling Ben and his friend Jack's many virtues. I didn't talk to Beckett again until the next Monday when I called her up to see how it'd gone. She'd been happy. Apparently Richard Castle had been charming. He'd signed her book with a smile and a flourish and made her feel like all his attention was on her. At least for thirty seconds. Plus, she said, he'd read well and was as handsome as in his photograph on the dust jacket. So Kate was pleased with how she'd spent her weekend. Her first encounter with Richard Castle had been a success.

Unfortunately their second encounter hadn't been anywhere near as smooth. I was in the morgue examining a body when the doors slammed open behind me, and the speedy click of heels stormed in. "He's insufferable!" Beckett yelled. "Insufferable and immature and annoying! He pokes his nose into everything. He has no sense of boundaries and he won't do a thing I tell him! How am I going to deal with working with him all day long, following me around? Watching me?"

"Whoa! Slow down girl. Who's watching you?" I asked.

"Richard Castle!" she spat out.

"Castle?" I asked confused but also amused, not that I'd let it show just yet. I knew he'd been around for a case, but that had ended the day before. "Why would…"

"Because he's apparently decided I'm the inspiration for the main character in his next book that's why! And apparently he's called his good friend the mayor and told him he needs to follow me around all day to do research," Kate told me furiously.

I couldn't believe it. I mean, I'd heard Kate complain about the writer before, but I'd figured a good part of that was because A) she didn't want quite all of her illusions about her favourite writer destroyed and B) because she also refused to be another notch on his belt, or on his bedpost, or however he kept score. Part of me didn't blame her, but part of me wondered why she hadn't just jumped him. The man looked like he knew his way around the bedroom, and a girl could do a hell of a lot worse. From what I'd heard he'd certainly been interested.

Very interested actually, from the sounds of it. Hey, the key to having good information is knowing who to get the juiciest news from. And Esposito was one hell of a gossip when the mood struck. Besides, him being a detective and all meant he noticed things. Still, this was by far the best news I'd heard all week. "Sweetie, what is wrong with you? That sounds fabulous!" I told her.

"Lanie," Kate cried temporarily shocked. "Didn't you hear what I just said?"

"I heard that a famous writer, a writer that you love I might add, finds you so fascinating that the wants to base his book on you. Tell me again why this is a bad thing?"

"Did you not hear the part about him being basically a child who won't sit still?"

"Oh, I heard it," I told her with a grin. "And you can't honestly expect me to believe that a part of you doesn't enjoy it."

"Enjoy it? I think you need to get out of here. The chemicals have gone to your head."

But while Beckett may have been in denial I certainly wasn't going to let her stay that way. "Honey, The man wants to base a character after you. Are you honestly trying to tell me that at least a part of you isn't flattered in the slightest?"

"Okay, maybe a little," she admitted. "A very small part."

"Uh huh," I told her knowingly.

"But, that doesn't mean that I want someone tagging after me for weeks, or even months taking notes."

"Oh please," I told her rolling my eyes. "You know you love it."


Oh she sounded good and shocked now. This was going to be fun. "That's right Beckett. I said it. Part of you loves having him around." Kate opened her moth to say something, but I cut her off before she could. "Whether you admit it to yourself or not, he's fun. We both know it's true. And he challenges you, and he thinks outside the box. And yes, okay, maybe he acts like a five year old sometimes, but part of you is still attracted to him."

"I am not…"

"I didn't mean like that. I'm 'a let you deny that, at least for today. Cause honey, are you blind? That man's got a lot goin' for him is all I'm sayin'." I tried not to laugh when Kate rolled her eyes and tried to hide her blush. "No. I meant that you're attracted to his mind. He's your favourite author, girl. Your favourite author. Even if we allow that part of that is thanks to your Mom you gotta admit an even bigger part is because you just plain like how he writes, how he thinks. You like how his mind works. So all I'm sayin' is give him a chance. You don't have to jump into bed with him if you don't want to, and yeah, okay, he's certainly not perfect, but he's not all bad is he?"

Kate acknowledged that with a shrug of her shoulder.

I ploughed on, figuring it was the best I was going to get. "So maybe keep an open mind about him. At least don't shoot him, or ignore him out of spite just on principle would you? Yeah, it's maybe not ideal, and it's not what you signed up for. But it's not a catastrophe either. And besides, it's not like there's a thing you can do about it, so why not make the best of it?"

Kate sighed, "I'll think about it," she said. "As long as he sits down and shuts up when I tell him to, and he stops wandering around after killers and almost getting himself shot."

I grinned, "Keep dreaming Detective. Besides, I thought you'd have been all for him getting shot. It'd solve your problem."

"Until I had to call his daughter," Kate pointed out wryly.

"His daughter?" I asked surprised. Esposito hadn't mentioned anything about a daughter.

Kate nodded, distracted. "Yeah, Alexis. I met her after I arrested him, "She told me with a grin. "She seemed sensible at least."

"Well, that's nice," I told her, still a bit surprised that Castle had a daughter. "So clearly he's capable of some responsibility."

"Or it's his daughter raising him." I raised an eyebrow. "Alright, he gets one more chance Lanie. But if he goes through my files again without asking, or if he chases after a suspect unarmed and without my permission, hell, if he even breathes on a witness the wrong way I'm shooting him myself."

I knew it was the best I'd get out of her. The woman was stubborn enough to give a mule lessons sometimes. "Fair enough."

"And I still don't like it," Kate added as an afterthought.

"Sure you don't," I agreed easily.


"What? I'm agreeing with you."

Kate just raised her eyebrows and sighed. "Fine. Well, thanks for talking me down. I'll leave you to your corpse. I'm off home to mentally prepare."

"See you later," I told her with a grin.

I shook my head as she left. Kate Beckett faced with a man she couldn't just order away, and one who'd literally be spending his days trying to get inside her head. He was definitely already attracted to her. Any fool could see it. And for all her bluster and her insistence, well, I knew Kate Beckett, and there was nothing she liked better than a good fight.

And so I watched them. And it was almost funny. Castle would hover around her like a fly circling a lamp, and then every so often he'd get too close and almost get zapped. But I will give him this, he never did give up. And he managed to get her engaged. Soon she was snarking back at him on a regular basis, giving as good as she got. He teased, she shot him down, he invaded her personal space, she pushed him out. It worked for them.

And Kate started to enjoy herself.

Not that she ever admitted it, and I knew better than to actually ask, but you could tell.

Then one day I got the shock of my life. I was meeting Beckett for lunch one day and I asked about Castle. She gave one of her usual answers, some sort of mild put down accompanied by a slight shrug of her shoulders and an ironic tilt of her head. But her eyes were smiling and the corners of her mouth were tilted up, so it was obvious the man hadn't done anything to genuinely irritate her in the last couple of hours.

So I smiled back, figuring I could get away with a snarky response, "So no change then? He's still pestering his inspiration for information?"

To my surprise Kate's grin turned softer. "Yeah. Well, sort of," she admitted.

Of my curiosity was piqued by that. "Honey, you want to share with the class? Don't tell me Castle's actually gone and gotten subtle."

Kate laughed, "Well, no not exactly. Not really anyways," she told me.

"Well that's good," I told her. "I'm not sure I'd like him near as well."

Kate grinned again, and took a bite of her salad. "I told him about my mother," she admitted.

The French fry I'd been planning on eating paused midway to my mouth. What? She'd told him about her mother. Willingly? And she had the nerve to sit there like nothing had happened. I saw Beckett glance at me quickly as she pretended to be engrossed in something out the window. Ah, so not quite so calm about this whole thing as she was pretending. "What'd he say?" I asked her, figuring I'd better ease into this, and that demanding a minute-by-minute account of the conversation was a really bad idea.

She shrugged, "He didn't say much actually. He'd already guessed that I'd lost someone. Figured it was my father because of the watch. I corrected him, after we finished the case of course."

"Of course," because heaven forbid anything get in the way of work for even five minutes.

"He was really pretty good about it. He asked the appropriate questions, you know, just about the facts. About whether or not her killer had ever been found. He wasn't horribly invasive about it at all. Didn't make any stupid jokes, or try to play it off. He was serious, almost nice."

"Then what happened?" I asked her.

"Then we said goodnight. And I left. Well, I said goodnight. He said 'Until tomorrow.' Apparently it's more hopeful."

I'll bet. I thought to myself. And I'll bet he watched her walk away with those big eyes of his, like he wanted to just gather her up into a hug. I'd seen the way he'd watched her sometimes, and you could tell he was aching to get closer to her. It was why he hovered. She opened up and he didn't try and push? Well that was saying something. Writer-boy was getting better at this. "You're not sorry you told him?" I asked her to double check.

Kate glanced back at me then, "No. No, I'm actually not Lanie. I thought maybe I would be, but, no. Somehow I think I'm okay with it. Why, you think I shouldn't have?"

"Sweetie, you know I'm all for you putting yourself out there a little more. If you feel comfortable telling Castle about your Mom I think that's great."

"Well, I mean, everybody else at the station knows. It was bound to come up anyways."

I almost grinned at Beckett's attempt to justify her actions. She couldn't have possibly told him because she wanted him to know. Of course not. "I still think it's nice that you wanted to tell him."

"Yeah, well, I guess it proves that Castle's not always a six-year-old. He's capable of something else for a couple of minutes at least," Kate said with a smirk.

"Yeah, there is that."

I could see that Kate wanted to change the subject, so I let her. But I kept circling around it in the back of my mind. She'd told him about her mother. This was huge. Writer boy was getting closer than I'd ever expected. I figured he'd find out about Joanna Beckett eventually, but I'd never expected Kate to just tell him. Not willingly at least. I know I was the one who was basically gunning for them to get it on, but this was different, surprising. This was an overture of friendship. A real one, from Kate Beckett. After all, I knew we were really friends when she told me about her mother. And now she'd told writer-boy. Maybe it was inevitable given the nature of her job, and the amount of time they spent together, but Castle wasn't just a pain in the ass consultant anymore.

I kept watching them of course. Well, that and had Esposito give me the highlights when I wasn't around. Things were going well. They went to a fancy party, he bought her a gorgeous dress. She played poker at his house, she started dropping by there for meals. Sure she still complained about the name he'd given her character, or the cover art. And sure the temporary return of his vapid ex-wife wasn't exactly ideal. But I figured it would only be a matter of time before one of them just planted one on the other.

But then tragedy struck. And no, I'm not talking about Agent Sorrenson's shooting, although that wasn't good. I wasn't thrilled about his return, but I hadn't wanted him to get shot. I mean, there was nothing actually wrong with him, and he was a good guy and all. Beckett could do a lot worse. But he never quite seemed to get her. I can't explain it.

But no, the real crisis happened after Will was on the road to recovery. Mid-afternoon, when I was expecting Kate to still be at the hospital I got a phone call.

"Lanie?" I heard.

"Beckett?" I asked shocked. It was clear she was upset. My first thought was that there'd been some sort of complications after Will's surgery. "Is something wrong? Is it Will? Is he alright?"

I heard a sniff. "No, no he's fine. It's not that. It's Castle. Do you think you could come over later?"

"What'd he do to you?" I asked angry. I'd trusted him! And so had she. And he'd made her cry. Jerk better not set foot in my morgue anytime soon.

"Not over the phone," Beckett replied. "I can't… I don't want to…"

Whatever it was it was not good. "I'm on my way." I told her.

"Oh, well, you didn't have to come right this second. I mean if you're busy..." I heard her trail off followed by another sniff.

"I'm 'a pretend I didn't just hear that," I told her.

Then I heard the hint of a grin in her voice, "Thanks Lanie."


And so I rushed over to her apartment. Found her curled up on her couch in sweats and a blanket. And then the whole story came out. How Castle'd looked into her mother's case without her permission. After she'd told him what had happened the last time she'd gone down that road. After she'd told him that she never wanted to go down that road again. And maybe worst of all (at least from my perspective), after she'd told him if he did it they were through.

I didn't know what to say. I just put an arm around her shoulders and let her talk.

"I trusted him Lanie," she told me quietly. "I never shoulda done that. That was stupid. I shoulda known it was all just for his damn book."

Angry as I was at writer-boy I doubted that was true. It'd stopped being just about the book a while ago, on both sides. But then I realized the worst part. Kate caught up in her mother's unsolved murder again and this time she wouldn't even be able to turn to Derek Storm for comfort. I felt some serious rage building up in my chest towards writer-boy. "Sweetie, it wasn't stupid," I told her. "You trusted him, hell, we all did. None of us could have predicted he'd do this to you."

"Yeah," Kate said with a cynical laugh. "Some cops we are."

"Technically I'm not a cop," I couldn't help pointing out. That got a real smile from Beckett. A little one, but it was there. "What're you gonna do?" I asked her.

"I called the Captain, told him I couldn't work with Castle anymore. Told him we'd had a falling out and Castle had gone too far and I'd already told him not to show up on Monday."

"What'd Montgomery say?" I asked her.

"He said fine," Beckett replied. "I think he was disappointed about the possibility of an unhappy commissioner, but he didn't fight me on it."

"And the mayor?" I couldn't help asking.

"That's Castle's problem," Kate told me with a shrug. "Least he can do now is deal with Bob. Plus he didn't try and fight me when I told him if he showed up at my desk again, I'd shoot him."

I remember thinking at the time that it was interesting that Castle hadn't fought her. But honestly most of my attention had been on Beckett at that point. "Can I do anything?" I asked her. "Have you eaten? You want me to grab snacks, or maybe a movie? Slip some poison into Castle's morning coffee?"

Kate laughed, "I wouldn't mind delivery and a stupid movie if you've got the time."

"I think I could squeeze you in," I told her.

"Thanks Lanie."

"That's what I'm here for."

And that had seemed like the end of it. Writer boy was an ass, he crossed a line, she tossed him to the curb. The end.

But not quite.

He'd already finished Heat Wave. And that meant publicity photos at the station, and interviews. And that meant Beckett and Castle had to meet.

Kate of course pretended not to care. She sailed around the station like it was just another day, all the while taking out her aggression on the woman who was interviewing her (not that I blamed her for that. That woman was irritating as all hell, but still). And ever the opportunist, Castle saw his opening and weaseled his way back into her life.

At first I was planning on giving him the cold shoulder. Then I saw how upset he was that he'd hurt her and how much the man genuinely wanted back in her life. After that he told me what he'd found about her mother's killer. And I realized that in all her anger and her pain Beckett hadn't told me the whole story. And I admit I thawed a little towards writer-boy that day. Not too much though. After all, the next thing I knew the hearse was taken hostage, we were held at gunpoint and the body was stolen so I didn't really have a chance to get all the details.

And because of it Castle got a temporary reprieve. Beckett agreed to let him shadow her for one case and then he was gone. It wasn't much, but it was just the slightest chink in her armour.

Watchin' the pair of them in the morgue during the case it looked like nothing much had changed. She was a bit cooler towards him, a bit more likely to shut him down, he was a bit more cautious. But they were still them. I wondered if maybe, just maybe Beckett'd let him stay for good. Then I heard from Esposito that one Richard Castle was seen leaving the precinct after the case was closed looking like someone had stolen his puppy. And that Beckett was still working on paperwork.

I knew I was gonna miss him. Sure he made a mistake and all, and she had every right to chuck him out, but part of me couldn't help thinking it was a damn shame.

So I was shocked when I got a call from Kate late that evening.

"Hello," I said as I ran to grab the phone.

I recognized Beckett's voice on the other end. "Hey Lanie, is this a bad time?"

"Nah," I told her. "You just caught me on my way in the door. What's up?"

She took a breath. "I told him he could come back."

I sank down on my couch, not needing to as who 'he' was. "Did you now?" I asked highly amused.

I could practically hear Kate getting defensive down the phone line. "Yeah, well, he actually apologized so…"

"Wait, hold up." I interrupted. "Richard Castle apologized to you?"

"Yeah," Kate said softly. "And I think he meant it. I mean, I was gonna cut him out, but then, I don't know Lanie… He said something earlier when we were talking about the case, about people doing the wrong things for the right reasons. And then when he came back and apologized sincerely, because he thought I deserved it. It was like he'd realized what he'd done, and he understood why I wanted him gone, and he respected that… I guess… I guess I thought I'd give him a chance to redeem himself."

Huh. Castle'd gone and gotten himself well and truly under her skin. I had not seen this coming. "Whatever you want's fine with me Beckett," I told her.

"Yeah, well… I guess I figured I'd better give you a heads up so you didn't stick a scalpel in him next time we were down at the morgue."

"Hey, I make no promises," I told her. "He gets annoying I may have to take matters into my own hands."

"Fair enough," Kate said with a laugh.

"You decided what you're gonna do about your Mom's case?" I asked tentatively. I admitted I was curious about what writer-boy had found myself.

"I can't think about that right now," Kate said quickly.

"Okay," I told her easily. Then I paused, "Hey sweetie?"


"I know it's gonna take time for you to forgive, but I think this might be a good thing."

"Me too," she'd said softly. "Well, I guess I should let you go seeing as you just walked in the door. I just wanted to keep you up to speed."

"You know I always appreciate the gossip."

"Lanie…" I heard the warning in my friend's voice.

"Not that this is gossip of course," I added quickly. Only person I'd 'a told was Esposito, and he'd figure it out for himself the next morning when the writer showed up.

"Goodnight Lanie."

"Night Kate."

And so Castle was back. He'd managed to get his foot back in the door and then had just kept squirming until the rest of him followed. Not that Beckett really put up that much of a fight. And soon things were back to normal. Sure, he may have walked a little more softly around her than usual for a few days, but within a couple of weeks they were as close as ever. Maybe even closer, it's hard to say. And without realizing it Beckett started letting herself have a bit more fun again. Started teasing him a bit, flirting. Not that she'd ever admit to that either.

And she certainly wouldn't admit that she liked him.

Even after she saw him as the responsible dad with his daughter. Not even after she told me at length about how Castle had just dropped everything when he heard Alexis was in trouble. How it was so surprising that a man as immature as he could be could also be such a great father. Then I got to hear more about how he doted on his daughter. About how responsible Alexis was, how different she was from the elder Castle. Kate liked that the teenage girl seemed to look up to her and want to impress her when she was doing her internship at the station. Hell she just flat out liked his family.

I honestly don't think she noticed how much she talked about him. How big a part of her life he'd become.

And then came Kyra. Kyra Blaine, Castle's ex-love. The woman who'd broken his heart (or so I hear). And then girlfriend was jealous. But of course that was just one more thing she'd never admit. Hell, she'd deny it to the moon and back. Said any concern she felt was purely professional, about the case. And to her credit she did a good job of hiding the jealousy, but she wasn't perfect. And every so often it slipped out for just a minute. I think more than anything else Kate was thrown by the fact that Kyra was so very different than all of his other women. This one had meant something and she hadn't been some vapid, catty airhead. Kyra Blaine had substance.

Just like Kate Beckett did.

And I figured maybe, just maybe, that'd give the pair of them the push they both needed to finally get over themselves and just go for it. To finally take that chance.

But then, fate in the form of Beckett's mother's murder intervened, yet again.

I'd gotten the forensic details from Castle months before, just so I could keep my eye out in case anything showed up. And the minute I saw that mobster's body I just knew. But I couldn't tell her. Not yet. Just in case I was wrong. I knew Castle suspected something was up, but I had to be perfectly sure before I said anything.

And of course Kate reacted just like I knew she would. She shut down, and then she got angry, and then she ran.

I glanced at Castle and I could see the worry, and the guilt, guilt that this was somehow his fault. But we let her go. We had to. This was one decision she had to make on her own. We just had to wait, and worry.

And to her credit she came back. She rallied and she came back strong and she came back determined.

I watched from the sidelines as she came up with a plan to catch the man who'd murdered her mother. I saw how Castle had stood by her every step of the way. How he offered whatever she wanted, whatever she needed. And Kate let him. She let him help her. I don't know if anyone else realized at the time what that meant, but I did.

She'd let him in.

And briefly, for a little while, things looked good. But that changed in an instant. I wasn't there when Kate shot the hit man responsible for her mother's death to save Castle. I didn't see her doing CPR, trying to keep her only link to her mother's real killer alive. But I heard stories. I heard stories of a broken Kate Beckett who burst into tears in the middle of the station with Castle's arm around her.

I had no idea what would happen next. Nobody would blame her for ending their partnership now. Not even Castle. And even if she didn't end it outright I figured she'd at least pull back. And it'd take some time before she was alright again.

I walked over to the station from the morgue after filing my report on the bastard's death. I knew she'd still be there. She always was after cases like this. I figured I'd have to drag her home, maybe get some ice cream and some alcohol in her and let her grieve.

But when I made it to the bullpen I got the surprise of my life. Yes, Kate Beckett was still at her desk, but she wasn't alone. She was sitting with one Richard Castle, and between them they had what looked like a pile of take-out big enough to feed ten. But that wasn't what was really surprising.

She was laughing. And so was he. Not loudly by any means. But they were chuckling over some shared joke. I had no idea what they were saying, but based on their body language it looked like they were comforting each other. And then I realized, it wasn't me she needed right now. She wanted him.

And they'd get through this together.

As I walked away I realized something else; it wasn't a question of "if" they got together anymore, it was when.

Because Kate Beckett liked having Castle around. Hell, she wanted him.

I just don't think it's occurred to her yet, that she might want him forever.