Not Standing Alone

Castle made himself another cup of coffee. It was strange, being at the precinct alone. Granted, it was one in the morning.

He couldn't sleep. Their most recent case, a family killed in a murder-suicide, had taken a toll on the team throughout its two-week duration. On Beckett, especially. Castle understood that child-related cases held a personal spot of her, despite her insistence that she was fine every time Castle asked her.

However, the case was now solved. But when it got to midnight and he still wasn't able to sleep, he headed to the precinct to go over the file once more, making sure that everything was ready to go to the DA's office.

He sat at the table, folder in hand. He was just turning to the first page when he heard the elevator ding and a voice. "No, it was your decision. It's fine."

Castle sat up straighter to see Beckett walk in, talking into her phone while running her free hand through her hair. She was clearly agitated.

"It's for the best anyway. Really, Josh, don't worry about it…yeah…look, it's what's important to you. My job here is what's important to me. It was going to-…okay. You have a safe flight, okay? Take care." She hung up. Castle watched as she dumped her phone onto her desk hung her coat on her chair before making her way to the break room.

She didn't even notice Castle sitting at the table when she came in. Muttering to herself, she began making coffee.

Castle had to break the silence. "Beckett-"

Dropping what she was doing, she whirled around and took her gun in her hand, aiming it at him. "Castle?" she said incredulously.

"Yeah."

"What the hell are you doing here?" she said, breathing slightly unevenly and re-holstering her weapon.

"Can't get enough of the coffee?" he asked by way of a question. She'd scared him as much as he'd scared her. "I'm just going over the Evans case. For the DA, you know."

"Ah," came her reply. She set the coffee machine to 'go' and sat down across from him, stretching her arms out behind her head before placing her hands on the table.

"…you wanna talk about it?" Castle asked.

"About what?"

"Whatever's on your mind."

"Not particularly."

Another moment passed in silence before the coffee was ready. "I'll get it," Castle said, walking to the machine before she could even stand up.

When he placed the steaming mug in front of her and sat back down, she spoke. "Josh and I broke up this morning."

"Oh." Seriously, that's how you react? You're a writer, for God's sake! He thought.

"Duty calls, yet again." She took a sip of coffee.

"For him?"

She swallowed. "Yep. Doctors Without Borders sure love cardiac surgeons," she replied jokingly, a smile briefly crossing her face.

"Beckett, I'm sorry-"

"It's okay, Castle. It's for the best. It probably would have happened anyway."

"What makes you say that?"

"Because it's what seems to happen in my relationships. It's good while it lasts, but it doesn't last forever."

Castle examined her face. She was speaking resignedly. She had bypassed tired and was exhausted. Having a relationship crumble right at the end of a difficult case definitely wasn't the best of things to happen. "Maybe he just wasn't your 'one'," he suggested.

"My 'one'?"

"Your 'one and done'. You know, our second case. Nanny McDead. You asked me about my marriages and I asked you if you'd ever been married. You said you hadn't found your 'one and done'."

Beckett let out a small "Ha!" before having another sip of coffee. "I thought I had."

"What?" That took Castle by surprise.

"Josh." Tears began forming in her eyes, making them seem even darker. "I had one foot out the door, then I thought we had a chance. I pulled myself inside and we were standing together. Now, he's going to the Philippines for a year and I'm standing here all by myself."

So that's what happened, Castle thought. "A chance…after we were stuck in the freezer?"

"Yeah, when he didn't go to Haiti. Now he's going away anyway." A small tear managed to escape her eye before she could catch it. Castle got up and handed her the tissue box. "God, this is pathetic," she muttered.

"No it's not," Castle replied strongly. She looked at him in shock. "Come on, Kate. You've just solved a triple homicide case that went for double the usual time. It involved a little girl. You're tired. And you're committed relationship ended less than 24 hours ago. I think you're allowed to cry a little bit."

"This is why relationships are so damn hard. Why can't they be easy?" she asked.

Castle considered this. "Because the fight makes the reward even more worthwhile."

She sighed. "You seem to know what you're talking about."

He stood up and walked around behind her, taking her now empty coffee cup and putting a hand on her shoulder for a moment. "And you're not standing here alone."