Kate Beckett sat at her desk doing paperwork. Castle sat beside her desk reading a paper. "Quit staring at me, Castle." She said, not even looking up.

"What's wrong?" Rick Castle had voice as smooth as chocolate and as heady as brandy. His voice also betrayed his concern for his partner.

He had known Beckett for over three years. He knew every button to push, how she took her coffee, the smell of cherries on her skin, her favorite ice cream and her favorite movie. He had held her when she cried and suffered with her in her pain. He had no doubt that he loved her, but she couldn't see beyond the mistakes he made in life. Two marriages, flings with his ex-wives, even his "criminal past" like stealing a cop's horse and riding nude through Central Park. He knew every nuance of her voice and could reliably predict her actions. Beckett was upset and more than slightly depressed. His Kate was also terrified. He had never seen Kate terrified and that scared him.

"Why would you think something is wrong?" She turned her green eyes to meet his blue ones. "I'm fine. Why don't you go home? The day is a bust. It is quiet."

Castle knew he was being stonewalled. In her present mood, she would tell him nothing. He stood looking down at her glossy brown hair. She had lost weight, weight she couldn't afford to lose, over the past few weeks and was jumpy, anxious. "If you need anything, call me." He grasped her hand. "I can help, Kate, whatever you need."

Kate's eyes began to fill with tears before she blinked them back. "I am fine, Castle. Honestly. I'll see you tomorrow." She pushed her chair back and almost ran to the bathroom.

His stomach cramped. He knew something was wrong. Could his Kate be sick? Was her Dad ok? He could help her if only she would tell him what it was that was bothering her. He knew he could – if she only trusted him a little. He tore a piece of paper off a pad and wrote a note to Beckett, then folded it in half and left it on her desk. Forlornly, he picked up his jacket and walked out of the precinct, depressed himself.

Kate Beckett watched as Rick Castle left the squad room. Slowly, she walked back over to her desk and looked at the note he had left. She picked it up, almost afraid to see what he had wrote. Opening the folded note she read "Trust me, Kate. I would do anything to help you, anything, anytime and anywhere."

She abruptly sat down. If she told him, he would hate her. No, she told herself, not hate her, but it would destroy the friendship they had developed over the years. She had to keep her distance from him; calling him Castle was one way. She also pushed her boyfriends at him. His marriages, affairs and past were nothing compared to what she had done nine years ago and now it was coming back to haunt her. She made a mistake and it was huge.

She needed to tell someone before she imploded, before she compounded it with another mistake. She thought of all the people she knew. Her thoughts kept coming back to Castle. He couldn't fix the mistake but maybe she could explain it in a way that he wouldn't be disgusted with her. Maybe he could just listen while she told him about her mistake.


Richard Castle sat on the sofa attempting to work on his latest novel, but Beckett kept floating through his mind. His worry grew as he thought of her. He didn't know how to help or even if he should, but whatever was bothering her was affecting every part of her life. If she kept acting like this he was sure that the Captain would force her to see the police psychiatrist. He put down his laptop on the coffee table and laid his back, closing his eyes.

The door bell rang. Castle's head popped up and looked at the clock. It was a little after 1 am. His mother and Alexis had gone to Philadelphia for a play his mother was performing in. No one could have come up to his apartment without being allowed in by him. He had to have them on the access list or security would have called.

Saying a little prayer to the powers that be he opened the door. His prayers were answered in the form of tall brunette with green eyes. Eyes that showed extreme stress and were bloodshot. "Come in, Kate."

She walked in apprehensively and looked around the apartment. He always thought it was due to her being a cop, looking for any potential hazards rather than any interest in his home. "Did you mean it?" She asked softly. "Anything. Anytime. Anywhere?" Her green as glass eyes held his sapphire ones.

He took her by the arm and pulled her to him. "I would kill for you. Or help you hide the body if you killed someone. If you were in prison, I would get you out." He said cocking his head at her to remind her of similar words she had once told him. "In fact, I would have you out of the country so fast that you wouldn't spend one second in prison."

She closed her eyes and a tear rolled down her check. Castle was becoming alarmed. He used his thumb to wipe away the tear. "Kate. Tell me what is wrong." He shook her slightly then pulled her into his arms. They stood there while she cried as though her heart was breaking.

When the tears tapered off, he drew her to the sofa and pushed her on to it. He knelt at her feet, holding her face in his hands. "Tell me."

Beckett took a deep breath. "You'll hate me or be disgusted." Her watery eyes looked from her hands to his face. "I did something terrible nine years ago. You are so good at it. I couldn't do it. Now I have to and I don't know what to do." She sobbed. He grabbed some tissue and shoved them in her hands.

He sat down beside her and pulled her back into his arms. He could not imagine what he was so good at that she wasn't nor what she had to do now. The crying lessened to a point where she would be able to hear him. "I would never hate you. Nothing you could do would ever cause me to hate you. Or be disgusted by you." His writer's imagination began to explode. He thought of every scenario he could ever imagine and came up with the same answer. Kate would never do anything illegal, immoral or just plain stupid.

She tipped back her head and looked at him. Her face was blotchy and damp with tears; her eyelashes spiky, no lipstick were left on her beautifully shaped lips. He licked his lips, leaning closer, wanting nothing more than to lay his lips on hers. "I gave away my baby nine years ago."

He stared at her trying to make sense of her words. His mind had moved from the top of his shoulders to just under his belt. Finally, as she tried to rip herself out of his arms, he understood what she was telling him. "Kate, stop. You just surprised me. I thought I was going to have to find a hit man to take care of the witnesses." He rubbed her cheek. "Tell me about it."

She looked down at her hands and let the story pour from her mind. She had been 19 years old when her mother had been killed just weeks before. She had gone to a frat party with her girl friends, gotten drunk and woke up in some guy's bed. Scared to death she had taken off, never looking at the guy. A month later she found out she was pregnant. She had no idea who the man was, didn't remember what he looked like and, if the other members of the fraternity knew, that never admitted it. She had looked at pictures of the entire membership, past and present, of the fraternity; best guess was that he had been a guest to this party, too. There had been a lot of people at that party to coincide with a lot a booze.

She had not planned on having children for a long time. She had college to finish and she was thinking about joining the NYPD. She gave birth to a girl and put the child up for adoption. She thought end of story. Three weeks ago, she had been contacted by Child Protective Services regarding her daughter. The original adoptive parents died when the child was five. She bounced around from foster home to foster home becoming more and more difficult to place because of her ill temper and outlook. She hated every one and there were no exceptions.

CPS decided to see if they could locate the birth parents of Jordon. When the social worker saw the name on her original birth certificate, she thought it would be a cake walk because she had worked with Kate. It seemed a simple matter to contact Kate to see if Kate had changed her mind about her daughter. Except Jordon didn't want any part of Kate and Kate was terrified of being a mother. They had never met except for the few minutes Kate had held her when she was born. Jordon Ferguson was so adamant about not wanting to be with her birth mother that she ran away from her temporary foster home and survived over two weeks on the street. She had been found, little worse from wear but still angry.

Castle held on to Kate as she poured out her story. "She'll be nine in two months. I am supposed to meet her Saturday." She looked at the clock. "Today. In about 8 hours." She finished her story and looked at Castle. "So, see you can't 'fix' this. I have to do something and I don't know what." She leaned her head back and put her hands over her eyes and waited for Castle to tell her … something.

Castle digested what Beckett had told him. "Why would I hate you? You could have aborted her. You didn't. And I wouldn't have hated you for that either." He added and then shrugged. "You tried to do right by finding her a home with loving parents, to give her a chance at life that you could not provide." Castle smiled down at Beckett. "You did the best you could do in the circumstances. As always."

Kate's jaw firmed. "What about you and Alexis? You kept her. She's a great kid." She looked away. "You are a great dad."

Castle laughed. "First rule of parenting. You do your best, you give it your all and still they will tell you how bad you are as a parent. I do it to my mother and Alexis does it to me. No matter how you slice it, you will never be a perfect parent because people aren't perfect." He smiled at Kate. "We all make decisions that we believe are correct at the time. We do our best. Rarely do you have the opportunity to change a decision."

She smiled back slightly. "But, what do I do? Do I take her? She doesn't want me. She hates me. She told the CPS worker, Ms. Rossi, that she wished I was dead and her father, too. What do I do?" She was beginning to look more than a little frazzled.

He smoothed her hair and then pulled her to him and hugged her. "That." She looked at him confused. "You love her, Kate with everything in you, to the day you die. You were a good parent. You gave her a wonderful start in life. It is not your fault that her other parents died or that she hasn't been adopted again."

"I haven't decided to keep her. She might be better off elsewhere." Kate fretted.

Castle shook his head. "Yes, you have decided. Or you wouldn't be here." He kissed Kate's forehead. "You want breakfast before we head out to buy furniture for your daughter's room?"