About an hour after Kristen Methay had been taken away in handcuffs, Beckett stood by her desk filling in Castle and Captain Montgomery. "Just goes to show how crazy some people will go over jealousy, even so far as killing her own sister," she said.
"What about the ninja?" hissed Castle between his teeth, clearly on edge. To her, the case was over, but Castle was still worked up over the ninja. The ninja which privately she had believed to be nonexistent- that is, until an hour ago.
"I got Ryan and Esposito to look into that," she said, trying not to laugh. "Evidently, it was just a crazed fan of your books trying to steal your Heat Rises manuscript. I'm guessing it's a very good thing he didn't know that you thought you were Jameson Rook at the time."
Castle gasped in a mocking way, staring at her. "Detective Beckett, concerned about my well-being?" She just rolled her eyes at him, sat down at her desk, and began filling out her paperwork.
"Well, I should be getting home," said Castle, nodding goodbye to the Captain. "I've probably got some kind of pop quiz on my identity waiting to ambush me at home." He waved to the rest of precinct, got a couple nods in return, and hopped into the elevator.
Beckett watched the doors slide shut, smiled to herself, and went back to her work.
Rick could hear muffled voices coming from his apartment as he walked down the hallway. He didn't pay much mind to it until he got closer and was able to make out the words. A hand on the knob, he froze and leaned against the crack between the door and the doorframe to listen. Martha and Alexis were inside, conversing. Alexis sounded distressed.
"…like I don't even have a dad anymore," he heard his daughter say, choking back a sob. "He doesn't even recognize me, I can see it in his eyes." Guilt clenched around Castle's stomach, and he pressed his ear against the door.
"Alexis, darling, you know he loves you," Martha consoled her. "He'll get over this soon."
"How do you know?" Alexis said, her voice bleak. Castle sighed and slumped against the wall beside the door.
"I don't," he murmured.
Kate was finding it difficult to focus on her paperwork. The bullpen was quiet- as the hours had passed it had steadily emptied of detectives. She stayed, marking up a thick pile of forms and humming tunelessly to herself when she grew tired. Surprisingly, she came to realize that she was worried about Castle. She worried about his psychological problems, about whether there would be worse long-term effects of his incident. She groaned and yanked her hair back in a ponytail, shaking her head to clear her thoughts.
As though she'd mentally summoned him, Castle appeared beside her desk. "Hey," she said. She glanced up at him, wondering if he'd forgotten his jacket.
"When I get my memory back, how much am I going to hate myself for forgetting Alexis?" he said. He seemed very troubled. Beckett could see the struggle and torment lying beneath his thin layer of control. She fought back the urge to give him a hug.
"Too much," she said honestly. He collapsed into the chair beside her desk, hanging his head in his hands. "What's wrong?"
"She was crying," said Castle. "Because of me."
"She's a teenage girl," she shrugged. "From personal experience I can tell you that they cry a lot."
"Not Alexis," he argued, shaking his head. "She told me all her personal history when I was being schooled in how to be myself, and I can count on one hand the number of times she's cried after she was a toddler." He held out a hand to demonstrate and started counting down, sticking a finger up for every example. "When I divorced her mom, when I divorced my other wife, when she broke up with her boyfriend, when her best friend had to move, when Firefly was cancelled, the time her pet turtle died…" He glanced down at his hands to see that he'd had to open up his other hand. "If I were polydactyl I would totally be winning this argument."
"Well, Holloway says we're just going to have to wait and see," she shrugged, leaning back in her chair. He looked tired, she noticed, extremely tired, like he was carrying the enormous weight of his mental condition and it threatened to make him collapse. "In the meantime, Ryan and Esposito had the idea to gather up all the files of the cases you've worked with us. Might jog your memory."
"Will it work?" asked Castle. He looked scared and vulnerable. Once again she had to work to resist hugging him.
"It might." He nodded, understanding that the plan could backfire. The two of them glanced up to see Ryan and Esposito heading towards them.
"Here they are," said Ryan, handing Beckett a thick file full of papers. "The reports of every case Castle has ever worked with us."
"Yeah, and Mr. Hero Worship added all of Castle's quips and crazy theories," said Esposito. She flipped to a random page and, sure enough, there were the words "Somebody hated his guts."
"I was just trying to make it personal," shrugged Ryan defensively. "Anyway, that should help him get back to being himself. And if it doesn't, there's always Plan B."
"Plan B is called 'Hit Him on the Head with a Shovel Until He Remembers Who He Is'," said Esposito. Beckett handed the file to Castle, who began skimming them immediately. They watched him carefully for a few minutes as his eyes flew across the pages.
"Anything?" Ryan finally asked.
"Well, this sounds familiar," he said, pointing to the paper. " 'Go ahead, I need the practice.'" Ryan and Esposito looked hopeful, but Beckett groaned.
"That's in the book," she sighed.
"Time to get the shovel?" asked Ryan.
"No," she said, deliberating. "I've got a better idea. Actually, it's a really, really bad idea. But all our good ideas struck out, so…" She turned to Ryan and Esposito. "Close your eyes."
"What?" said Esposito. The command made no sense, and whatever the reason, he was reluctant to shut his eyes in most situations.
"Just do it," she snapped. They obliged, worried about what would happen if they kept resisting her. Listening carefully, they heard a rustle of fabric, Castle's sharp intake of breath, and then Beckett told them to open their eyes. They did. The scene looked the same, but for Castle's stunned expression.
"Well, I've never seen those before," he mumbled.
"Exactly," huffed Beckett sharply, "which means that we've never had sex, which means I'm not Nikki Heat."
"You're not," he realized, staring at her. "You're Kate Beckett. My name is Rick Castle." He looked around the room, reminding her of Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz.
"Yes," she sighed with relief.
"I have a daughter, Alexis," he continued as everything came rushing back to him. "I'm your plucky sidekick." She nodded enthusiastically. "I'm ruggedly handsome."
"Sure," she shrugged.
"I can't believe you flashed him," said Ryan.
"I can't believe it worked," said Esposito.
"I'm a cop," she said facetiously. "As a group we tend to be unpredictable." She smiled at them, as they headed into the elevator, leaving Beckett and the newly mostly-sane Castle alone in the bullpen.
"She actually went that far," Ryan marveled as the elevator descended.
"Told you," said Esposito, accepting Ryan's twenty-dollar bill.
After packing up for the night, Beckett walked with Castle to the elevator. He still seemed a bit disoriented as he recovered his mind, and he remembered almost nothing of the past few days. It was like he'd been sleepwalking. She'd already decided to walk him home and make sure he got to his loft safely.
"So was I any help?" he asked hopefully as they boarded the elevator.
"Some," she shrugged. "No more than usual." She smirked at him. "It's too bad you can't remember the case, though. You would've liked it. There was a twist."
"Victim's spouse!" he guessed.
"Smaller twist." She couldn't help smiling at him. "I have to admit, it's good to have you back."
"It's good to be back, Beckett," he replied. Now they were back to normal- the games, the glances, the complicated web of subtle smiles and accidental brushes that made up their relationship. "It's good to be back."