The look on Richard Castle's face as he walked down the steps tore at Kate Beckett's heart a little. She hated seeing the man she had come to care about hurting as much as she knew he was.
"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy. F Scott Fitzgerald said that." She said softly as he reached the bottom of the steps
Castle sighed as he watched the man who he thought was a trusted friend be loaded into the back of the police cruiser; being arrested for hiring someone to kill his own father twenty years ago. Something that Richard himself had caught him being guilty of.
"It must have been Ernest Hemingway who said…Man, I sure could use a drink right about now."
Beckett's face softened as she smiled at him.
"Lead the way. I'm buying."
They turned to walk down the sidewalk and Castle furrowed his eyebrows together at her.
"Its valentines day. Shouldn't you be in a nice candle lit restaurant, wearing a new dress, ordering surf and turf?"
"I've got a couple of hours. You okay?"
He hesitate briefly before answering. "Yea, I'm fine."
Kate nodded, then rolled her eyes at him as he looked away. She hit him in the back playfully with her elbow.
"Liar." She responded, smiling as they walked down the street, their arms brushing against each other as they headed towards the Old Haunt. He had never said where they were going, but she knew. They walked together in comfortable silence and Castle's thoughts wandered to the case - cases - they had just closed. More specifically they wandered to how much he had revealed about himself to Beckett, and to her very correct observation about how he had created a character out of Damien. What she had said when he stated she was wrong and she didn't believe in Damien because she didn't know him kept echoing in his head.
Castle…neither do you. The Damien that you think you know doesn't exist. You made him up. Just like you made up Derrick Storm. Just like you made up Nikki Heat. He's a character in a story that you told yourself when you were a homesick fourteen year old little boy…and maybe its time to let him go.
He hadn't wanted to believe she was right, but now he knew otherwise. He glanced sideways at the amazing woman walking next to him and a smile found its way to his face. She noticed; she always noticed.
"What are you smiling about?"
"What about me?"
Castle hesitated. He knew she played her emotional cards close to her vest. Her compassion towards him on this case had surprised him. She had her feelings about Damien from the very beginning, always going with the facts. Yet the entire time she had wanted to believe with him that his friend hadn't done anything wrong. She had told him the truth that he needed to hear, but at the same time had been as gentle as she could about it. The truth was so important to her.
"Thank you, for not saying I told you so about Damien. And for trying to give him a chance."
"I didn't want to be right about him Castle…I never want to be right about people when it comes to murder."
"I know you don't. But the fact is that you usually are. And you were this time, but instead of making a point of the fact that you were right, you're taking me out for a drink. Thank you."
"Yea well, I know how hard it is when your hero isn't all you thought they were."
"I know you do."
The conversation lapsed back into silence, each of them lost in their own thoughts as they wandered the rest of the way to the Old Haunt. Castle held the door open for her and inhaled the comforting scent of the old bar as they walked though the door. The man at the piano started playing Piano Man as soon as he saw Castle. Beckett looked back at him and smiled.
"That was a fun night here."
"Yes, it was."
He sighed as they slid into the booth that had become his every time he was here. The waiter came over and Castle ordered a shot of tequila, Beckett ordered a martini. When the bartender brought their drinks, he brought Castle two shots. He downed them, one after the other. Beckett smiled softly at him.
"It's definitely been one of those days." She said quietly, taking a drink of her martini.
"Yes, it has. It's been one of those days that make you question who you really are…and whether or not you really ever know anyone else."
Beckett shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She hated seeing Castle this way. He was usually so full of himself. So confident in almost every situation, no matter how outlandish his stories or theories were, he was never shy about throwing them out there. It was hard for her to see him doubting who he was.
"Castle…you were wrong about more than just your friend in this case."
"Great, what else was I wrong about?" He sighed heavily and his blue eyes looked more sad than she had ever seen them when he looked up at her.
"You were wrong about you. When you said that without Damien there would be no you."
"No, I was right about that part. I told you, without him I would have never became a writer."
"I don't believe that. Writing is as much a part of who you are as being a cop is who I am. But even if you are right about that part, you would still be you…even without Damien. He did not make you the amazing father that you are. He did not make you the son that spoils his mother. He did not give you the insight that you have into how people's minds work. He didn't make you your generally annoying, sarcastic, witty, charming self and he certainly didn't make you the best partner I've ever had. You always have my back Castle, not because of him, but because of you. Don't give him so much credit."
A smile slowly spread across his face as she spoke. On impulse, he reached across the table and put his hand over hers. He was shocked when she made no move to pull away.
"Thank you Beckett…"
"You're welcome. But if you tell anyone what I said about you being the best partner I've ever had, I'll deny it. And I'll make sure you spend a night in lockup."
"Don't worry Detective. Your secrets are always safe with me."