A/N Written before 3x16 aired, hence things are explained a little differently.
For Sam, my constant.
We Need A Reset: Part I
Kate Beckett often thought about her life. She'd been through a lot – the loss of her mother, for example – but it was the little things that seemed to plague her more than anything.
Dealing with her mother's murder was something she thought about every day, but after living with it for nearly a decade, her most efficient coping mechanism was to keep busy, allow herself personal time (which usually consisted of working out or having long bubble baths) and just get on with life. She'd decided long ago that she wouldn't be a dark, depressed person consumed by the all-consuming emotion that was grief. While she did work on her mother's case out of hours (and other the summer), she put effort into being a happy person.
However, the things she thought about most were comparatively small. For example, her relationship status. Not so much her status, single or taken, but the status of her relationship.
She and Josh had been together for over three months now. They'd never really had a 'honeymoon period', filled with cute phone calls and blushing whenever they met up with each other. No, they were both career-driven people, and that suited Beckett perfectly. Career had been her priority since the beginning, and she made people aware of that. She was always prepared to leave, with one foot out of the door whenever she was in a relationship.
They were now a committed couple. They were boyfriend and girlfriend. They were off the market to other people. Initially, that had scared Beckett a little bit – she hadn't had a relationship like that since Tom, and for years before that. It was another part of her coping mechanism – don't form attachments.
But now she was torn. Between Josh…and Castle.
Castle, she thought. How did that happen? How could she even be thinking about him when she had the perfect man as her boyfriend?
This particular night, Beckett went out to dinner with Lanie, where they discussed her relationship issues.
"I don't care what you say," Lanie said when Beckett wouldn't admit what her problem was entirely. "I can see the problem. He's absent. Josh is absent."
Beckett sighed and took a sip of her drink. "But-"
"Honey, I'm the best friend. I know everything. I know there's more to this than what you're telling me. Just spill it so we can get down to serious business."
Beckett muttered something that Lanie didn't hear. "What?" she asked.
Lanie looked like Christmas had come early. "Feelings for the Writer Boy interfering with your relationship with Motorcycle Boy?"
Beckett ignored the nickname and continued. "I need your help here, Lanie."
Beckett grew frustrated and began speaking fairly fast. "Josh is amazing, you know? He's a surgeon and he's off helping people and saving lives all the time. He loves his parents, and he has a motorcycle. A Harley, for God's sake. How can anyone be more perfect?"
"And his hair. You forgot to mention his hair," Lanie added.
"Right. But then…Castle."
"Writer Boy. What about him?"
Beckett took another sip of her drink. Lanie took this as an invitation to speak.
"Castle's immature, gets in the way, has exposed you to the paparazzi and destroyed your wall of privacy, right?"
Beckett nodded, still drinking.
"But he's sweet. He loves his daughter and his mother. He helps with cases, even breaking the rules to help. He's fun. Like I said ages ago, honey, you need some fun."
"I'm having fun with Josh."
"When? He's never here. Granted, he was here the other day, but where is he now? He's gone off again. And I'm not saying that that's bad, I get it. He's off 'saving the world', as you put it."
"Would you like me to be completely honest?"
"Absolutely," Beckett answered, indicating to the waiter that she needed another drink. Alcohol was good at times like this.
"This relationship with Josh, as perfect as he is, isn't doing anything for you. You're taken but you're alone for most of the time. How is that fair on you?"
"And Castle's here every day, bringing you coffee and flowers, making sure you're okay, helping with your mother's case. He's saved your life at least twice since he's been here. He's named himself your partner. You've met his mother and daughter and you get along well with all of them. Sure, he makes pancakes in the morning instead of flying off to Africa to save lives, but who always seems to be there for you, every single time? Remind me again why he's not also perfect?"
Beckett accepted her new drink and nodded slowly. "…he also has good hair."
"…you've touched his hair?"
"When we kissed."
Lanie had forgotten that particular event. "The Kiss. I remember now. And tell me, did you like it?"
Good think I've had so much vodka, Beckett thought. This is not the kind of conversation I'm used to. "Yes."
"Did you, or did you not, kiss him twice on that occasion, the second time being because you liked it?"
"Lanie, I…I felt more in those few seconds with Castle than I have with Josh. I essentially cheated on my boyfriend with those ten seconds with Castle."
"Don't you think that's telling you something? I mean, firstly, you were undercover for that kiss. At least, that was the origin of it. You were trying to save Javi and Kevin's lives. Remember that. Second…you need to evaluate which relationship would make you happier."
"Lanie…what should I do?"
"Uh uh. I'm not telling you what to do. I've just given you a free therapy session, you have to do the homework," Lanie said with a smile. "But, I think you need to 'break up' with one of them. Essentially, you need to do that. You can't go round being in two relationships. This…thing you have with Castle isn't officially a relationship, but after all you two have been through together? If you guys don't, on some level, love each other, there's something seriously twisted going on."
Beckett downed the rest of her drink. "Thanks, Lanie."
Yawning, Beckett exited the elevator and rang the doorbell. This was going to be her breakup.
The door opened. "Hey. I didn't expect to see you tonight…" he said.
"Hey," she said softly. "Can I talk to you about something?"
"Sure. Come on in."