I've never written for this fandom before, although I do enjoy the show, the relationship dynamics, and the fanfiction that accompanies it. I wasn't ever goiong write something this year though, because I've been so crazily busy with RL - but this would not let up. Call it cathartic, perhaps?

Also, I haven't read Heat Wave, so any mistakes on that front are purely mine, not that I go into it in that much detail. - But it needed to be said...

I'm not much of a chess player, all those little pieces that can only move in one direction.

Sure, forwards and back, diagonally either way… those tiny, cute horses that go in L-shapes. The sixty-four (or some number like that) squares of black and white, so definite and concrete. Planned. The two opposing forces, black and white, each piece knowing its place and playing the game accordingly.

I get the concept, and of course I understand that the rules need to be followed. The laws of chess; much like the laws of justice. But I guess it's one of those games you play with your grandfather, if you ever play it at all as a child. But also, it's one of those games you play once every blue moon. Of course that whole premise relies upon the fact that you don't have anybody very close to you who plays it. If your family is dedicated to the world of chess, you have multiple boards lying about the house, and everyone in the family knows how to play, talks about strategy and whatnot.

It's like Sporting families versus Arts families, never the twain shall meet and all that, et cetera.

Take Castle for instance.

An Artsy family for sure, can't catch a softball to save his life… is vaguely fit, but only so much in that it keeps his figure in shape, he's not one for the running, and the dodging, and the diving. Or whatever.

Esposito comes from a Sporting family - the kind that don't understand the Artsy families.

I mean, Esposito didn't even know who Castle was in the beginning and even now, he still doesn't read his books. At least Ryan, once having been introduced to the wide world of pulp fiction, got on board… he's probably from a little-of-both family. Or a neither family.

What I'm trying to say here, is that I'm sure loads of people like chess and play it a lot, but my family never really got into it and we certainly didn't have our own board lying about, so I never really had the chance to play or appreciate it that much. I'm sure though, that the tactical nature of the game would probably would help me out mystery wise; it's still not something I've ever put a lot of thought into trying.

So all in all; no big loss.

I've played the game, had some minor wins against other pre-amateurs, but you'd never catch me in the park playing against the geniuses over there.

The point is, and I feel kind of stupid now… the thing is, I didn't connect the dots. I didn't notice the clues, the hints.

I didn't piece the jigsaw together… until now.

And I do feel really stupid, and at some level I understood who Castle was basing his characters off, not too hard to figure it out. I mean I'm Nikki Heat, the African-American best friend who flirts outrageously is Lanie, the two detective side-kicks who play games and razz on Rook are Esposito and Ryan, and Rook Jameson is Castle.

I get it, doesn't mean I have to like it. And obviously I try to tease Castle as much as possible that he's nothing like Rook. Because I'm nothing like Nikki. At least I hope I'm nothing like her, sure she's a strong, ferocious, competent woman… detective, but thankfully she's slutty enough that I'm quite comfortable nobody I know is under any illusion that that's me.

Which is also why I get so angry at Castle's super-fans; they think I am Nikki Heat, sleeping with Castle around page 100. What's that in real time? Four or five days into the investigation?

No thanks.


Now I'm annoyed about that, when really I started out being annoyed about this!

Okay, I know I've been working with Castle for a long time now… over a year. And Heat Wave's been out for a while now too, and the next book's lining up to come out. Probably going to be named something really embarrassing like, In Heat.

But I've just had an epiphany, and to my complete and utter horror, I'm in the middle of the station. Castle's sitting to my left, doing… whatever it is he does while I'm doing paperwork, and I've just had the second biggest shock of my life.

I can't believe I haven't noticed this before. And I call myself a detective.

I'd laugh; if I wasn't so horrified.

I don't even know what it is that's caused me to think about this. To realise this.

And I can't even go to Lanie, because she'd seriously laugh me out of the building and then call everyone she knows to gossip about this. And it's not even worth invoking privacy or best friend privileges because it's so obvious, now that I think about it, that I really should have known this already. That's why she'd have to tell everyone.

If it were around the other way, I know I'd do the same thing to her. It's just one of those humiliations you have to endure. Which means I can't tell ANYONE that I've only just realized this; that I've realised this at all actually.

I'm used to a bit of harmless hazing, I'm a detective at the 12th after all. I wouldn't even be safe from Montgomery if I let this particular cat out of the bag. Maybe even the Mayor.

I sigh.

And unfortunately catch Castle's attention.


I still the grimace, "Yeah Castle?" Ha, take that… okay, I know, weak comeback. Pretending never gets me very far with Castle. I have to be prepared and I'm obviously not.

He's not buying it. "Paperwork?" But apparently he's letting me get away with it.

I decide to go with a little honesty, "Nah, I just realized something."

"Oh?" His intrigued-eyebrow raises, "what?"

Not that much honesty, obviously, "I haven't gone home early in a while…" I quickly stand, grabbing my coat and scampering, as quickly as a nonchalant stride will get me, out of the building.

I don't look back, I don't think, I don't do anything other than get home as fast as possible.

Key into lock, open door, drop bags and coat, kick off shoes… oh my god.

A sort-of depreciating laugh escapes me. My left hand rubs my forehead, it's like I've hit a dead-end on a case, only I haven't… I figured something out, and I have no idea what to do with it.

I'm an idiot. Truly.

How could I not notice this?

And that's when I see it, that's when I remember.

For Christmas, the Christmas after Heat Wave came out, Lanie gave me a travelling chess set.

I thought it was odd, firstly because I don't really play chess, secondly, because I don't really travel and thirdly, well, you can't play chess by yourself.

But it makes sense now. Only I can never tell her that.

I pluck the tiny folded board out from the pile of letters and bills its hiding beneath.

I open it out and rip open the plastic baggie containing the magnetic chess pieces.

Picking up the white castle, I'm being buffeted by the realization that the castle is more or less know as the rook.

Not only did Castle write a novel based on me, he really did insert himself into the novel too. It's not just a joke anymore, an idea I play around with, tease him about, get teased about. He really did make himself my perfect partner, my lover. He's the Rook. He's Rook. I mean I guess I didn't think too deeply about it, just thought it was doing some weird literary version of a homophone. You know Rick – Rook, similar sort of, he was going for a little less than the obvious Rick – Dick comparisons. I reiterate; I'm an idiot. He is Rook. He's the castle. The Castle of the story. My story. The one he wrote about me, dedicated to me, wrote for me.







Short and Sweet.

I don't really know how this is going to be received, so I'd be pleased if you'd drop me a line and let me know.

Criticise away.

And on a completely other note, since I'm being so 'cathartic' -

Sadly, this little treasure came to me because I just realized that a Rook is also a Castle. Yep, I am an idiot too…