A/N: Some fun set just before Beckett shows up for work after her recovery at her dad's cabin, but based off one of the sneak peeks for 4x02 – Heroes and Villains. I couldn't help myself.
After a good two months cooped up at her father's cabin, she knew she desperately needed to get out. Her father had been very reluctant when she told him, but he never stood a chance against her stubbornness when she was younger and now, post-surgery or not, he still didn't. She had the paperwork certifying her fit for active duty as well as the go ahead from the department shrink so coming back to work a week early had been pretty much a done deal for her.
After a bittersweet goodbye, she'd left him by the front door of his cosy cabin and drove back down to the city, all prepared to reclaim the life that had been so selfishly stolen from her. She was tempted to get straight back into the hustle and bustle of police work, but the reality of it was that she'd been away for three months. She had other things to take care of first.
The bell above the entrance jingled noisily as Beckett walked into the unassuming comic bookstore. She was no stranger to such places, but with the developments in her mother's murder as well as the shooting, it had been more than half a year since she'd physically stepped into this particular store.
The store was nice and quiet. She strolled past the shelves, picking out the new issues she'd missed in time she'd been away. The colourful covers brought a smile to her face, reminding her of the solace she easily found within the carefully drawn out images within the pages. New issues of her favourite graphic novels in hand, she made her way to the counter to pay for them.
She was immediately confronted with a rather large cardboard print out of a familiar franchise and she rolled her eyes at it, just as she would have done if Castle himself had been there. What with the shooting and her self-imposed seclusion, it had slipped from her mind that his book had been made into a graphic novel. A warm feeling spread through her as she studied the cut-out.
"Miss Beckett, we haven't seen you here in a while!"
She looked away from the Derrick Storm promotional cut-out and back at the young boy by the register. He'd filled out since she last saw him and she shot him a grin. She had a feeling that sooner or later, the boy would move on from graphic novels and geeky gadgets to girls and rowdy parties.
"Uh, hey, Kane. Yeah, I've been really busy," she replied. "Just these today."
She pushed her rather large stack of comics towards Kane and pulled her purse out from her bag. After a moment's hesitation though, she shut her eyes and bit the bullet. Oh, Castle would have a field day if he found out what she was about to do.
"And, um. Are you still taking pre-orders for Deadly Storm?"
The boy raised his eyebrows at her but nodded anyway. "Yeah, sure. I thought you would have already done so before this. Seems like your kind of thing."
Beckett smiled. Sometimes she really missed being able to properly geek out without the risk of being teased by the boys. "It is, actually. It was one of my favourite books in the series."
"Oh. You've read the book?"
"Yeah. The uh, author. He's pretty good," she supplied. No point in being shy about how big a fan she was here. It's not like anyone would ever find out. "He's just released a new one, in case you wanted to try him out."
Kane scrunched his face up and shook his head. "Nah, I'm going to stick with these," he gestured to the racks behind Beckett. "I don't like huge blocks of words – and no pictures? It makes my head hurt. My co-worker over there though? Mike Hoover – he's a big fan. Just name and contact number here for the pre-order, please."
Beckett nodded and filled out the pre-order list, taking note that it was a long list and her name was far down the fifth page. Kane packed away her purchases in a paper bag and she bid him goodbye before she turned around to make her way back out onto the streets of New York.
"Finally," she muttered to herself. Finally, she was back. Soon enough, she was going to try to get back onto active duty at the precinct and it felt like she was well on her way back to being Detective Beckett, instead of just Katie, the wounded daughter. And maybe, just maybe, when she got back to work, he would be there.
They'd made no contact since she chased him out of the hospital and she knew it was her fault. She hadn't called him in the time she'd spent away, but in the month she'd been in the hospital, and the subsequent two months at her father's cabin, she'd made a decision to take it nice and easy when it came to her feelings for Castle. The truth was that she missed him. Terribly. But her mother's murder was taking up too much of her headspace and she knew it wouldn't be fair to dangle any form of hope in front of him when she wasn't quite ready to jump into anything with him. But God, she missed him so much.
Taking a deep breath, she shook her head to clear out the jumbled thoughts in her mind. If he was at the precinct when she showed up, she would apologise. And if not, she would call him. Either way, Kate Beckett was now ready to face life – and Richard Castle – head on.