DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Andrew W Marlow, Beacon Television, Experimental Pictures, ABC production, et al.

This is a small episode tag for episode 2x22 'Food To Die For'. What I think the conversation between Beckett and Madison would [have] gone like. Hope you all enjoy. This is my first Castle fic, and I hope the 'voice' of Beckett isn't too OOC. Thanks for reading, and reviews are always appreciated.

Thanks as always to Dave, and especially to Gregg for the encouragement.


TALK OF...

CHAPTER 1: Writers And Inspiration

The two friends, Kate Beckett and Madison Queller, took a table near the back of the pub, where the noise wasn't quite as loud and they could talk in comfort.

Madison started the conversation. "So Becks, care to tell me why the biggest scofflaw I've ever known is a detective and not the diplomatic translator she planned on becoming?"

Beckett looked into her glass of red wine, wishing she didn't have to rehash this part of her life once again. Even after ten years, and a small amount of closure, it hurt.

"…So I shot him," Kate finished, draining her glass of wine.

Madison looked at her former best friend, stunned. "You could've called you know," she chided. "I know it'd been a while since we'd talked, but I would've been there for you."

Kate smiled and nodded her thanks. "I know, but I was really messed up after mom died. Then with dad starting to drink, and helping him sober up, and beginning my [time as a cadet], I was too busy to feel much of anything. Then once I was a cop, I spent every spare second I had, trying to find my mom's killer." Kate sighed heavily. It was still without a doubt painful and the telling of it had left her raw and hurting.

Madison noted the drastic change in her friend. "How about I get us some refills?"

Smiling, Kate said, "Make mine a vodka martini."

"You got it," Madison returned, leaving the table for the bar to get their drinks.

Kate slouched back in her chair. This wasn't what she had planned when she suggested they go for drinks, but she should've known that Madison would want to know what had changed the carefree youth she'd been. She often wondered herself what her life would've been like had her mother not been murdered.

Madison returned with their drinks, and Kate took a grateful sip of her martini, savouring the way it burned down her throat. Madison eyed her and decided to let the previous subject go. "So, what's with you and Rick?"

Kate let her head drop. Yep, this was definitely not going to be a friendly catch-up session. More like a grill Beckett session. She sighed. "Nothing. He's only around to get inspiration to write his books. That's all."

"Bullshit Kate," Madison said, firmly.

Looking up sharply, Kate could see this wasn't going to wash. She sighed again. "I liked…okay, loved his books. They got me through the darkest times after mom died. Then there was this case where I noticed that the victims had been posed in the same way as was described in his books. So I questioned him, and it's been downhill from there," she finished ruefully.

A quirked eyebrow indicated that Madison wanted more of the story.

"After the case which he'd insinuated himself into was closed, he chose me as his inspiration for his next book. Given that he's a friend of the Mayor, I was 'encouraged' to let him shadow me."

Shrugging Madison said, "That book was released months ago."

"Yeah," Kate replied exasperatedly, "I know. He got a three book deal that he just couldn't pass up."

Madison pierced her with a gaze only friends can give. "But you like him, I know you do. We were friends long enough for me to be able to tell."

"Dammit Madison. Yes! Okay!? I like him." Kate lowered her voice a little. "Maybe even love him a little."

Madison smiled. "I knew it!" she said triumphantly.

Holding up her hand, Kate said, "It doesn't matter. I can't trust him. I don't know what will show up in one of his Nikki Heat books, and I can't open myself up to someone who can be so disingenuous."

Another quirked eyebrow from Madison asked her to elaborate.

"We were on this case where…it doesn't matter. Anyway, I was curious as to what had made him want to be a crime writer. He put it off for the whole case, and at the end, he finally spun this story of how when he was five he found the body of one of his friends on the beach, and how the kids killer had never been found."

Madison's face had turned to one of sorrow.

Kate noticed. "Don't you dare feel sorry for him! He was lying."

"Oh," Madison said.

"Yeah, 'oh'. How can I invest myself into a relationship when he's like that? Plus which, since he's been shadowing me, he's slept with his ex-wife, and that twit of an actress, Elle Monroe, and you would've been next in line." Madison's eyebrow shot up and she opened her mouth to protest. Kate forestalled her. "You know it's true." Madison shrugged her ascent and gave a guilty smile. "All this, while I've looked on from the sidelines, waiting for I don't know what."

"So there's no redeeming quality about him whatsoever?" Madison questioned.

Shrugging Kate replied, "Sure there is. He loves his family, and adores his daughter, has dropped everything, just to be with her, get her out of trouble. He really is the 'cool' dad that everyone wishes they'd had as a kid."

"So, there's no hope for anything between you two?" Madison asked.

Kate finished her martini. "No, I guess not." She closed her eyes as the liquid made its way down her mostly numbed throat.

Madison looked at her friend, seeing how much Kate really did love Castle, and how much it was hurting her that she wasn't able to trust him. She decided to change the subject a little. "So how about this Tom fellow?"

A smile spread across Kate's face. "Yeah, he's really nice. Fun, smart and so good looking."

"You two…?" Madison let the question hang, until Kate got the meaning.

"What?! No! Dammit Maddie." Then she relaxed a little. "But boy I can hardly wait." Kate smiled a little dreamily. Seeing the goofy look, Madison couldn't help but laugh, and it wasn't long before Kate was joining in.

Still chuckling, Kate asked, "Want a refill?"

Madison nodded. "Yeah. Make mine a Grasshopper."

"Sure, be back soon."

Returning, they started on their third drink, and Madison regaled her with exploits and stories from the restaurants she'd managed, and soon they were laughing so hard tears ran down their faces.

In a booth not five feet away, Richard Castle got up to leave. He'd heard more than he wanted to.