I'm back, throwing another oneshot at you when I should be writing "Valor" - this idea came to me and I simply HAD to drop everything and write it. Literally. I'm supposed to be making phonecalls right now. XD

If you've heard the song "Bitter And Blue," used below, you'll understand the title. If you haven't heard the song, GO LISTEN TO IT. It's on YouTube. It's one of two things that inspired this oneshot (the "blue," in this case, referring to the NYPD). Only, I picture it as sort of a haunting echo, like in the new "Memories Are Made Of This" promo.

The other thing that inspired this oneshot is the now-infamous preview clip of the season 4 premiere. We begin our brief tale smack-dab in the middle of that clip, so if you haven't seen it or want to remain spoiler-free, STOP HERE. Otherwise, I really hope you enjoy.

As always, I do not own Castle (or Lanie), nor do I own "Bitter And Blue" (or Michael Weatherly). If you have an idea on how to change that, please call me at 1-565-DREAM-LAND. Until then, have a story. XD And so begin the haunting strains…



Oh, the beholder

So steadfast and true

Observing the wreckage

From his point of view

In revolt of long lost hope

Oh, yeah…

So give me an answer

A place and a time

A way to advance

A cosmic sign

And I'll show you

My point of view

Oh, yeah…

If it's precious, then why's it so cheap?

-Michael Weatherly




The beep bounced off of the sterilized walls of the hallway. Its drone overrode the clatter of the gurney wheels against tile; the hurried orders of ambulance crew that crossed over her head. And when it gave out, replaced by a long, single tone, it turned her stomach, dropping it to the rails she clung to. But she wouldn't give up. She couldn't give up now.

"C'mon. You do not die on me." She kept trying, one hand flattened over the other. Blood covered her gloves, the latex sticking together with it. It was on her clothes; on the gurney. It never should've been. This wasn't happening. "Stay with me…stay with me!"

Footsteps kept up behind, ones that didn't belong to either of the medics, but she wasn't paying them attention. Terror held her, and desperation dangled her from a dangerous cliff. This was why she'd never worked on the living. Her hair flew toward her eyes with the inertia, but she didn't care. Her vision was obscured already.

"Do not die, Javier Esposito." He had to hear her. Of all times, it was now that he needed to listen. So she pled. She ordered. "Do not die." He wouldn't stop bleeding, he wouldn't start breathing; she didn't care how things looked anymore. "Come on…come on…"

One of the surgeons was sprinting toward them now, and one of the EMTs shouted ahead. "Single GSW in the left chest, initially unresponsive; lost vitals right in front of us."

"Probably want to switch - we got this!" the doctor barked.

She wouldn't back down. Not now. "He's my boyfriend, you understand me?" Even with her voice breaking, she made it clear. "He's my boyfriend."

"Then let us save his life."

That tore her; head to toe, it divided her in half. She was trained for this, and she knew how these things went… He wasn't supposed to be here; this wasn't supposed to be happening. He had to live. She looked down at him, and he still wouldn't breathe. He had to live.

The gurney braked for what must've been just tenths of a second. When it did, conflict in her eyes, she dropped off.

It got going again immediately, the surgeon giving her a nod before resuming her place. The hallway seemed too long ahead of them; the graveyard was too long; the whole city took too much time… She watched them go, letting her eyes spill over, staring even after they slammed into the operating room.

The footsteps from before finally caught up with her, coming to a stop behind her shoulder. She didn't turn, but after a year or two, felt a hand rest on her back.

"…Doc," he said softly.

"He's not gonna make it." Her voice was a hundred percent unlike her…small, and hoarse. Maybe it wasn't what they needed to hear, either, but that was her fear. It was all she had. "We took too long…"


It didn't take looking at his face to notice that Ryan didn't argue. Cops had to be realistic like that, even him. But she turned anyway, simply because she couldn't stare anymore, and he turned them both back toward the doors.

"C'mon. Nothin' we can do right now."

Now, then, ever…what was the difference? Nodding meekly, she let him escort her away. Seeing his face, she would've given him sympathy if she'd had any left to give. Right now, she was dry. Walking was the most you could ask of her.

Soon enough, they were out there. The waiting room was empty even though it was full of people. Everyone was there who should've been; even if she couldn't see their faces, she could tell who they were. It was empty anyway. She wasn't sure whether she sat or paced. She couldn't remember exchanging words with anyone. The room was just a void, like limbo, waiting for the moment a doctor would come and fill it.

Hours passed until one finally did. It was the same one from the hallway, so he didn't even have to ask their identities. Anyway, she didn't give him the chance. She pounced the second he walked toward the group, hoping dearly that the downward look on his face was just some kind of reverse psychology.

The searching look on her own was enough prompt, and his mouth opened, putting worst-case-scenario to words. "…I'm sorry…"

More followed, but she didn't hear it. Being coddled with details and sympathy was for somebody else. Her ears, her mind, her entire head swam, and somewhere along the line her knees gave out, vaguely aware of someone catching her as she buckled to the floor and sobbed. The world blurred achingly to black.




I haven't been happy

In such a long time

Cloudy and grey skies

Instead of sunshine

I guess that's how

I'm looking now

So pale

Like I'm in disguise…




Rolling over as she came to, Lanie let out a groan under her breath. One of her arms stretched out to turn the clock, wondering what it said this time. 7:38 - not that bad. Not the worst, anyway. At least these weren't waking her up at three in the morning anymore.

Groggily, she dragged herself into a sitting position, rubbing her hands over her face. "Sound off," she called dryly.

A head poked through the doorway to the bathroom, then the rest of him, threading a belt through his jeans as he walked toward the bed. "Hey, you're up." He leaned to her and gently brushed her lips with his. "Mornin', chica."

"Yeah," she exhaled. There he was. So it was that again, then. Friggin' wonderful. Why was he getting dressed this early? He had to go already, didn't he. She'd have bet her salary on it. Then again, 'least it was better than the alternative.

He must've read her - again - because his tone quickly adopted concern. "You okay?"

There were at least five different kinds of denial waiting in her arsenal, but for God only knew what reason, she didn't use any of them. She just shook her head, dropping her face into her palms, letting all the air in her lungs out through her fingers.

"…Lemme guess," he ventured knowingly. "You had that dream again. Same one?"

What was the use in confirming? It was already clear. Apparently, it was more than clear, it was obvious. Javier had kept trying to tell her that she might have PTSD, that it was normal, it was all right, and he'd help her if she needed someone to listen. That it was a lot, having to see your best friend shot, then doing everything you could to save her life…no one would blame her if she was affected by it. Beckett was definitely affected by it. They all were. He was trying to help, she knew that. He'd seen it in the military all the time, even lived it himself.

That was all well and good, but she wasn't crazy. She didn't flinch at loud noises, she didn't walk through life terrified, and she didn't need to share the rest of the details with anyone else. She was just fine. She was a medical examiner, for God's sake. Death was her job.

She just wished she could leave work at work, that was all. Her sleeping brain was one hell of a vindictive editor.

"Hey." Lanie distantly noted that he sounded a lot like Ryan had in the dream. Or like Castle had, on the nights her mind replayed what actually happened. Javier sat down beside her on the edge of the bed and wrapped his arm solidly around her shoulders, pressing a kiss against her temple. "Beckett's just fine. That was months ago," he promised gently. "She made it. She's all right."

Lanie just nodded, let him believe his comfort worked. Sure, it was months ago. Technically that was all true. Only, he had no clue the other version existed. The one that cost him. Lanie planned to keep it that way, and a classic change of subject did the trick. "I take it you're headin' to work now?"

"Mm." Javier stood up again, taking his badge and gun from the nightstand, donning the chain, checking the cartridge. "Gates wants us all to confer on yesterday's transcripts again. Hell if I know why." Carefully, he looked her over. "You good? You're sure?"

Was she sure… Try a less loaded question. She was sure she'd spent years setting herself up for this, if that was answer enough. For a civilian, she'd sure hung a lot of herself on cops. A target was painted on her sanity for every target on their heads… She was a masochist. Maybe it was time for a weekend out with her med-school friends.

But "I'm fine" was what she said, and she accepted his kiss goodbye with a grain of salt. She was definitely a masochist. But what could you do? It hadn't made her a pessimist, just a realist, and she repeated herself once more after he'd already gone, just because she liked the ring of the words. "I'm fine."



Didn't expect the twist after those first three paragraphs, didja? ^^ You guys sick of my writing Esplanie yet? (I hope not, because it seems like there are only a few of us on this site that even DO.) I just couldn't help it. Seriously, I know she's fictional, but we'd ALL be better off if we had HALF the strength of Lanie Parish. You KNOW she's gonna be dealing with stuff like this. I hope, in the new season, they address the PTSD issue with more than just Beckett, 'cause they've all been through a LOT. And the promo made me feel for Lanie especially. So, there you go. Just a little look into the images that creep when her shield's down.

I say this every time I publish anything, but here it is again: Are you 14 or over? Love writing? Want to play a character on a free, Castle-based RP forum? Click over to my profile and find/read the paragraph in bold type. You'll find all the information you need there.

I'm not really expecting many reviews for this, but if anyone would like to share their thoughts, I would ADORE that. This just creeped up on me and I HAD to get it out there.

Okay, back I go, into the Writing Cave once again. XD Peace and love, all.