DISCLAIMER: Yeah…Nah. (Don't know where the effort went with that disclaimer.)

He waits the hour he figures it will take for her to go home, shower under water that's far too hot, drag a brush through her hair and start pouring vodka and orange juice.

He walks through the motions of her in his head so well that when she opens the door, glass in hand, he doesn't even blink.

"Got another glass, bar keep?"

She shrugs, motions him towards the kitchen but heads towards her couch, and he doesn't realize he's already forgotten about the drink until he's seated across from her watching her pick at a cushion covering.

"Want to talk about it?" He offers, knowing her answer and prepared to keep running the same routine until he aggravates her enough to make her spill.


"Because you're actually a Russian spy and you'll be shot if you do?" He enquires, as if this is perfectly plausible. She just stares at him, takes a sip, and he can see her struggling not to break down in front of him.


He thinks, suddenly, of them spending their entire lives dodging each other, and it makes him snap at her.

"Do you think that I can't see that look on your face? For god's sake Beckett, what have I done not to deserve your trust?"

Her eyes snap to him, startled, then her gaze slides away into the depth of her glass. He decides to give patience another whirl and watches her until she speaks thoughtfully, like she's only just figuring it out. "Because I keep feeling like I lose pieces of myself to you every time I cry."

"I'll keep them safe?" He ventures, damning the fact that if he hugs her, she'll pull away even more than she already has while he stands there with empty arms.

She hitches out a half laugh. "You lost your phone yesterday, your keys two days ago, and your wallet last week. Prior convictions don't even begin to cover it."

"Those are inanimate objects, and, FYI, there were extenuating circumstances." He watches her for a minute, then quietly tells her, "I'm good with watching over people's hearts."

She raises her head to look at him and the naked fear in her eyes makes him crack a joke, just to put another emotion there.

"I mean, Esposito gave me his just-"He pats his coat pocket, gives her what he hopes is a sufficiently frantic look. "Uh-oh."

She glances away, but not before he catches the smile, and he lets out a breath he didn't even realize he'd been holding.

He stands and goes over to put the cap on the bottle, return it to her kitchen while she pretends not to watch him and he pretends not to notice the broken shards of glass in her kitchen sink.

He knows that when she breaks, she breaks hard and brutally. He's not surprised- the stronger the heart, the bigger the crack, in his experience. And he already he knows from grim experience that he'd rather be here watching her lean on nobody and taking nothing for herself, than have to think about her alone.

"I'll tell you why you're sad, and trying to break the record for vodka shots. A man walks into the precinct with no memory, no home. A victim. He's cute and charmingly self-deprecating, and, y'know, big ticks in the uncomplicated and placid column." He shrugs as something like hurt twists in the vicinity of his heart. "A human amnesiac labrador, if you will. And you just wanted this nice amnesiac labrador to fit into your life, make you breakast in bed he's probably forgotten how to make, take you to restaurants he won't know the name of, tell you you're beautiful- although I promise you he won't know why...which won't be the amnesia's fault." He hears the accusatory tone in his voice, and he's still facing the sink but he knows her head has jerked up, her eyes are wide and shoulders tense.

He turns and meets her gaze, swears he can see the air pulse, before her gaze flickers and turns inward.

"I just wanted someone to find a home with me." She looks at him sadly and he thinks in a minute she's going to have to be the one watching his heart break, because he can't stand what he's seeing in her eyes. "I'm not...I drive people away, Castle. I'm intense, I'm screwed up, my work is my life- I...I can't give enough to someone who has expectations-"

"-So you thought you'd find someone who had none." He finishes her sentence for her.

"I looked at him and I thought that if I could save him...maybe he'd save me back."

He makes some sound of protest and her eyes focus again.

"I don't know, Castle. She looks up, catches his gaze, justifies herself again. 'I don't know! Obviously I'm insane, obviously I have some sort of needy hero complex and obviously I'm a fucking mess right now, and not only that," she toasts him with her glass, "I'm a drunk fucking mess. So how about you do us both a favour and leave so I can start pretending I have amnesia regarding the last few days."

He ignores this in favour of not actually leaving. "I'll tell you what you saw. You saw a nice man with a fresh start, a new leaf, a chance to start again. You saw someone who wouldn't be easy, but who would be grateful, and kind, and maybe you could accept eventually that you didn't love him because at least he'd love you. And now you think you're some kind of monster for needing someone to love you."

"I-" She opens her mouth, closes it and he's glad because now it's his turn to be angry and he hasn't finished with her by a long shot.

"But the thing is, Kate- you may not be a monster, but you're sure as hell blind."

She snaps her gaze to his and he sees the shock and anger, is too far gone to care, although he has a sneaking suspicion he's going to beat himself up for it later.

"You want someone to find a home with? You want someone who'll take your calls at 3am regardless of what they're about because of the jolt they get when they hear your voice? You want someone to bring you coffee and bear claws and listen to you bitch about the air conditioning in your patrol car?" He runs a hand though his hair, wishing for cool and calm and knowing his personal genie has probably resigned in protest by now. "You want someone to avoid leaning on because it's too damn hard. You want someone to avoid loving fully because it means you might get burned in the process."

He sees the panic in her eyes, the way she has both arms curled around her waist as is to shield herself. Hates the fact she might be shielding herself from him.

"It's too intense, Castle. It's too much!"

"It's not." His voice is low and intense, and he knows he's getting to her because she won't meet his gaze and her breathing is quick and shallow.

"I can't be loved like that, Castle." She tries again, and he'd laugh at her sudden attempt to be reasonable if he wasn't busy noticing that she's gone absolutely still the way she does when she's...nervous.

"You're afraid to be loved like that." He states the truth quietly. "But the thing is, Kate, you don't have a choice."

He watches the way she can't look at him and decides if he pushes her she'll probably kiss or kill him, and he prefers to wait until he's certain of the odds, or at least whether he'll end up with a black eye. He steps towards her, kisses her cheek, firmly ignoring her quick intake of breath and the way her face colours until he can take out the memory and replay it, later.

"Stop drinking. Go to bed, and I'll see you tomorrow."

He leaves her standing there staring after him, and he knows she'll stop drinking and go to bed but not to sleep, staring through the dark until morning.

Tomorrow they'll pretend he never visited, and he'll make a joke and she'll pretend not to be amused, and he'll be happy she's happy- because although she doesn't have a say in how he loves her- he'll keep trying to show her he's already found home.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, I thought Beckett was weird in 2.11- the one with the amnesiac hot guy XD. This was my take on why. I hate how he never pushes her, she never pushes back…Okay, okay, I know they do it more than I think they do XD. Have a great week, and thanks in advance for all read/reviews- I greatly appreciate both!