Title: Frozen in Thought
Summary: The case is about people being frozen. It's got to bring back some memories. Spoilers for Head Case... sort of.
Rating: T
Warnings/Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All rights for the characters and the world go to their owners. I, in no way, believe – or would lead others to believe – that I own Castle. Though, I would have no objections to having some time with this cast.

Author's Note: Punny title is punny.

frozen in thought | kate/rick | T/pg-13

Rick knows more than some people would expect him to. He strives on being factual and accurate in his work, a tendency that leads to countless hours of research and spots on his wrist where the hair doesn't want to grow back. He is a method writer if one will. Honestly, one of the reasons he loves being with the NYPD so much is that the murders and obstacles they run into are ones that even his wild imagination cannot wrap around. This case continues to stump him. It does so to the point where he speaks more or less just to have something in the air other than the frustrated silence and confusion that surrounds the precinct.

"You know, I always thought that cryogenics involved freezing people before they died. That made more sense in my brain than after," he says. Ryan and Esposito tune in easily enough, but Kate doesn't break her staring match with the board. She acknowledges his statement with a shrug.

Without any added thought, she says, "After's more humane."

In an instant, a chill hits the air. It sparks the receptors on Rick's skin, and not even the resurgence of all of the things he learned in high school biology about homeostasis can distract him from the onslaught of memories. The hard clank of the door as it locked. The smell, a bit like the one in his fridge when the meat's a little old and not sealed properly. The cold. Mostly the cold.

Their eyes meet, which honestly doesn't help him feel like he isn't back in that freezer. They're so green, so bright and pleading. She wants forgiveness. She wanted it then too, but for what he had never been able to figure out. What's it for now? Bringing it up? Finally talking about it?

She fumbles with her words. "I shouldn't have - I didn't mean - I-"

She looks lost. So lost. That night, she had seemed too small in her jackets. The gun was too large in her hands. The bullets too piercing. He tries to protect her. Every single situation, every single day, he protects her. Especially from herself. She hurts herself a lot. The path she's on - they're on - is only going to get her killed. It isn't really relevant, but he thinks it at least twice a day. Kate's going to die. One day, he won't be there. The sniper will strike. Ryan and Esposito won't figure it out fast enough. Montgomery... Gates will shut everything down. And then Kate will die.

He shudders. It somehow comes out resembling a shrug. He acts like it is. He says, "It's fine, Kate. It's been months."

She jumps on the out he provides. She nods.

"Yeah. It's practically..."

"Another lifetime," he supplies. He doesn't look at her after he says it. The words soak over them both, a deeper echo of the words of their victim's wife. Sometimes, he amazes even himself in the many ways he says he loves her without actually saying the words. It's even more amazing how she never seems to hear them.

She nods again. Her eyes flicker from Rick to her boys who just take in the scene curiously. He wishes they would speak up. Surely if they are talking, he won't say anything dumb, like I told you I loved you and you didn't hear me but I know you love me too because every time you look at me you do so as if I have all the answers even when we both know that I don't, and I look at you like... like it's all okay, even this.

"Right," Kate breathes. She clears her throat and runs her fingers through her hair a bit. "Let's just focus on the facts of the case, okay, Castle?"

He agrees. He always agrees. He watches too, as she turns to the board with only a small fraction of her earlier focus. He tries to think about the victim. What's that guy's name again? Does it matter? Not in the grand scheme. The guy's dead. The guy's freezing. The guy's never going to get to tell his wife he loves her again. Never going to be heard this time. Will Rick? Will Kate?

There's a line that he forgets a lot. It isn't the line between appropriate and inappropriate, or between right and wrong. It isn't the distinction he has between Detective Beckett and Kate. His Kate. It is the line that separates method and reality. Oddly and predictably enough, the more he tries to remember it, the harder it is to grasp. He tries, but all he can think is that all that matters is that he gets to be with Kate. Dead or alive. Frozen or not. Friends or... them.


Any thoughts? I literally wrote this over the course of the last hour and a half so it might have mistakes or be confusing. Tell me if there are/it is.