Well! Hi again. ^^ This story is just a short oneshot I felt like I had to do. It's been in my head for awhile now. It's set during the season 2 premier, "Deep In Death," toward the end of the episode. I wanted to try and capture what was going on in Castle's head a little bit, but even more than that, I also wanted to touch base on Castle and Esposito's secret 'partnership' in the case, if you could call it that. I always wondered what became of the fact that Espo was the one who gave Castle the case file. Like, he wanted to help Beckett himself---I could picture him a few years back, giving it a shot---but knew he shouldn't get into it: Castle, however, being another matter. ^^

So this is kind of angsty, and there's almost no dialogue, it's just a 'bro' thing. ^__^ Starts off with Beckett's line from that scene. Go on and read; I'm done talking. (Oh. And I do not own Castle.)



"We made a deal. And I expect you to honor it."

Well. That was it then, wasn't it? There wasn't anything the mayor or Montgomery could do. Not this time. Not that Montgomery would even be willing to save him. He'd been more than aware going into this that, if his efforts failed---maybe even if they'd succeeded---he'd be drawing a line in the sand for not respecting her wishes. He'd stuck his nose into not just a case, but an issue, an old ghost, a sealed sarcophagus. A hidden closet, bittersweet with memories. He'd done precisely, purposefully, what he was asked not to, as he'd been doing just about all of his life.

His intentions had been good. But the fact remained. Richard Castle had tried to write the final chapter of a long-unfinished novel. And this time, for once in his life, it had come back to bite him.

So came the end for Rook and Heat.

Slowly, remorsefully, Rick looked at her. At Beckett. The grim set of her mouth, the moisture in her eyes, leftovers of their touchy conversation, that she was trying so hard not to show. He made the seconds last, as if painting an image of her in his mind that would far outlast his brief time as a shadower. He hoped it would last him longer than that.

Yes, she'd been his Nikki Heat. But Heat, like Storm, like so many people he'd sifted through, was fiction. He hadn't trespassed into Heat's life, her past. He'd trespassed into Beckett's. And now it was time to pay. To leave.

Fair was fair.

For once, his wit offered him nothing to say. No great last parting lines. All the classic black-and-white movies he'd seen gave no inspiration this time. The master of the macabre understood today that some things were best done silently. Wordlessly, he stood from his chair---or, the precinct's chair. He would hold up his end of the bargain. He turned to go.

Were he the one writing this, Castle would have surely not ended it here. He would have had her call out to stop him, and the writer in him kept half-expecting to hear her voice. But the rest of him knew that Beckett was strong, and that no call would come. He'd be a fool to think otherwise.

Castle walked for the elevator in silence. Silence suited him right now. He'd screwed up, he'd trespassed, he'd made the wrong decision. He deserved the silence.

As he exited the precinct, Castle passed a duo who'd become familiar, half of which had helped him re-open the case. Had handed him a file, over a vow that he was 'never there.' The eyes of the two gave him a look that was something between disappointment and pity, neither really registering that their expressions were the same. If he had a nickel for every time the would-be twins had done something in unison, he'd be…well, he was a very rich man.

He slowed a bit as he cleared them, letting the silence and the sobering look on his face say his goodbyes for him. He'd miss hanging out with them. Though he'd seen them more as sidekicks to Beckett in the beginning, he noted that they could have been real friends. The kind that met at parties years down the road, clapped each other on the shoulder and shared a drink, swapping old war stories.

Ryan gave a solemn nod. He, like the rest of them, was a trained detective, and as such he read the look without needing any clues. He knew. But the expression Esposito wore was a little more difficult to diagnose. While similar, there was something else written over his face too. Whatever it was, it was both guarded and apprehensive. It was a question. Silently asking if Castle had given him up. The effort was both of theirs, opening Beckett's past to tie up her loose ends, and Rick could just as easily have offered up his accomplice's name in a fit at the news of his severance.

Rick knew the question. And with a brief shake of his head, he gave the answer. No, she didn't know. He hadn't told her who'd led him to the file. He'd kept his word.

Esposito seemed content with maintaining the silence as well, because his reply came as a nod. This time the emotion behind it was clearer than the daylight through the windows. It was gratitude. And a 'take care of yourself' that didn't need to be spoken out loud.

Rick acknowledged both men for what he guessed would be the last time, and kept walking, until the sun rays of New York City poured onto his back.

He'd honored more than one deal that day.



There you have it. Toldja it was short. :P Sorry for going all 'angst' on you---but hey, it's not like we don't know how it ends. xD

AND NOW. A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR. ME. (XD) IF ANYONE, ANYONE AT ALL (well, anyone 14 and over: don't blame me, blame TOS laws ^^ ) IS INTERESTED IN JOINING AN ALL-CASTLE ROLEPLAYING FORUM, PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, GO TO MY PROFILE AND TAKE THE LINK TO "12th PRECINCT." As of the time of this story's publication, WE STILL NEED SOMEONE TO PLAY CASTLE, RYAN, ESPOSITO, LANIE AND MONTGOMERY!!! Plus some other characters, and we accept original characters too. THE FORUM IS NEW AND NEEDS MEMBERS SO PLEASE CHECK IT OUT!!! *clears throat* Thank you. ^___^

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