I got a review asking me to continue this story a while ago (I honestly completely forgot it ever existed) so I went back and looked at my notes, reread the full story and realised that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or where I was going with all this. And then suddenly BOOM! A few weeks ago, the ending just came to me like that! So even though it has been nearly three years, I am back, better, and here to stay till the very end. My deepest apologies for leaving you wonderful guys hanging for so very long, but now that I am back, I have a lot more experience and so I hope the following chapters will help make up for my cruel and vicious crimes.
"Faster Rick, come on, faster, faster"
"Maybe if you moved your leg a bit, Kate"
"Come on; hit it harder, faster, faster"
"Just a little more! Nearly there!"
"Come on, come on, come on, YES!"
"Booyah! New high score!"
Rick dropped the XBOX controller on the coffee table and leaned back, having rather limited movement of his body with Kate's legs on his lap. It would have been fine had she not decided to have them bent, her knees up against his chest, it made game-playing rather awkward. But she was smiling and laughing and so it really didn't matter. Kate couldn't play the game with her injured wrist, and she wasn't really into video games anyway, but she was more than happy to sit back and watch Rick either kick ass or get his ass kicked. She was still laughing when his eyes locked on her, gazing at her lovingly.
"What?" She asked with a stunningly beautiful smile.
"Nothing, it's just...you look so beautiful when you smile."
Her cheeks burned red and she tried to hide her shy grin behind her curtain of hair, but it spread across her face so wide it couldn't be hidden. Rick slowly reached out and tucked her curls behind her ear, the look in his eyes warmed her heart, he was looking at her as if she were the most amazing creature in the world and she found herself feeling just a little bit shy. They started to lean into each other when the front door suddenly burst open.
"Richard, I'm home and I could use some help with my bags if you would be so kind as to...oh, Kate." Martha stumbled in the door with far too much grace considering how many bags were hanging off her arms, and when she spotted Kate sitting on the couch with her legs in Rick's lap she smiled wildly.
"Mother? I thought you weren't going to be home until after one"
"In case you haven't noticed, it is now 2:30, dear; I did a little quick shopping before I came home. Now, if you are quite done I would like to greet Katherine properly"
Kate and Rick shared a peculiar look with each other, wondering whether they should be worried or not as Kate got up from the couch and was immediately pulled into a hug. "Hi Martha, it's nice to see you again." Kate said nervously. Being hugged wasn't really her thing but Martha was certainly a big fan of them.
"Oh, and it is wonderful to see you again, Kate, may I ask what your intentions towards my son are?"
Kate's eyes widened and Rick jumped up from the couch with a look of shock on his face. "Mother!" To which Kate couldn't help but laugh just a little.
"I am here as a friend, Martha, we were just hanging out." Kate explained.
Rick could understand her desire for some privacy between them, after all, if she just told his mother they were dating she would probably throw a party for them or something, but he also knew that this would be the same at work and he hated the idea of being that close to her all the time and not being able to kiss her or touch her face; especially now that he knew the feel and taste of her lips against his.
"Oh, well, don't let me invade on your day together, I'll just get these bags upstairs and then I am off again, I have a late lunch date"
Before either of them could respond, Martha had flown up the stairs with all the bags and come back down with only her purse, ready to head right out again. She happily flittered over to Kate to wrap her up in a second bear hug, but when she went to kiss her son goodbye, she stopped.
"Richard, what on earth happened to your eye?"
Kate tensed, squeezing her eyes shut with guilt.
"I coerced Beckett into a game of Twister and..." Castle drew out the last word in the way a child would when telling their parent why they failed a test at school. Kate failed to effectively hide her smile of amusement.
Martha looked over her shoulder at Kate, looking for any indication that she was also injured. That was when her eyes fell on the inch of cotton bandage that could be seen from under Kate's long sleeves, pulled down to her knuckles.
"Oh Kate, are you alright?" Martha asked, gently grasping the injured hand in her own and bringing it up for her aged eyes to get a better look. She pulled down the ebony sleeve of Kate's turtleneck, turning the wrist from side to side as carefully as she could, staring at it as though she could see right through the bandage.
"I'll be fine, it hurts but I'll be fine"
Martha released her hand and immediately spun around to glare at her son. "Richard Alexander Rodgers, how could you be so careless as to get Katherine hurt?"
Castle cringed under the scolding tone of his mother, but he jumped in with more to say when he saw the guilt on Kate's face. "It was an accident, it was just a game, I didn't know we were gonna get hurt"
"Well playing a game like that at your age is beyond foolish, Richard, you should know that at least. Have you apologised to her yet?"
This was already too far and Kate decided she couldn't take it anymore. If Martha made her son apologise to her for something that she was guilty of, she was going to break down in tears. "That's not what happened, Martha, I had a bad dream and accidently hit Castle in the face. We weren't playing any games, he was just trying to take care of me and I hit him"
The silence that followed only made the guilt worse, coiling in her stomach making Kate feel sick again. She normally had a stronger stomach than this, but she was beginning to realise that everyone had to slow down at some point and let themselves heal. This was her time to do that.
She was waiting for the anger, for the protective-motherly scolding, but instead she got another hug; this one was longer and far more comforting than the last ones. She realised with surprise after a moment that it was Martha who was hugging her and she suddenly found herself very vexed.
"Oh Katherine, that sounds terrible. I can't imagine what you must have been dreaming to cause you to do something like that. I do hope Richard has been taking good care of you"
"You're not angry with me? For punching your son in the face for no reason?"
Martha sighed. "No, of course not, dear, this was an accident, you didn't mean it, and as for Richard having a black eye, I'm sure he has done more than enough in the past three years to deserve one punch"
"Hey!" Castle whined.
"Don't give me that, all the annoying things you do, it's a wonder you having driven this girl mad given all the time you spend following her around"
Kate would have laughed at their antics if she wasn't still recovering from the shock of Martha's attitude and instant forgiveness.
"Weren't you supposed to be going somewhere?" Castle asked his mother, his eyes half-lidded with exhaustion from this conversation.
"Oh, yes, I have a lunch date. I'll be off then!" Like a whirlwind, the red-haired hurricane picked up her bag, gave them each a hug and flew out the door. "Have fun kids! Don't wait up!" Were her final words before closing the door.
There was only one word that Kate could think to say after that. "Wow"
"You have no idea, try living with her everyday"
This time she did laugh.
The two of them returned to the couch and had just gotten back into a comfortable spot when Kate's phone started ringing. She groaned at the sound, getting off the couch to retrieve the stupid thing from the kitchen counter where she had left it earlier and returning to her spot in Castle's lap.
"Hey Lanie, what's going on?" She allowed her fatigue to slip into her voice, hoping that was enough to convince Lanie that she really was sick.
"What's going on is you have some explaining to do, girl. I heard you went on a date with a 'Rick' last night and now you're taking the day off? I want answers now!"
Halfway through this Kate had tipped her head back and brought her free hand to her temple; smacking herself in the face. Castle had sought to comfort her by placing a hand on her shoulder and rubbing small circles into her shoulder blades.
"And so you decided you had to call me instead of letting me have my day off?" She didn't really want to have this conversation right now, and with those little movements going on behind her back it was very easy to let her mind stray.
"Last time I checked, you and Castle were back on good terms, and now all of a sudden; after three years of absolutely nothing; you two go on a date?! I want an explanation right now"
Kate would've rolled her eyes at Lanie's insistent attitude, but she was a little distracted at the moment. Castle's seek to comfort her by rubbing small circles on her shoulder had grown into whole-handed massaging of her back. His fingers dug into her mid-back, along the line of the bra she wasn't wearing today. He found a spot that made her moan before she could think to trap the sound in her throat and the next thing she knew, Lanie was yelling even more.
"Lower your voice, Lanie, are you trying to deafen me?"
"Then explain what the hell that sound was I just heard?"
"It was nothing, calm down"
"Really? Because you're voice is beginning to sound a little funny"
Kate realised that she was incapable of concentrating on this conversation so long as Castle was working that magic on her shoulders and back. She held the phone over her shoulder and mumbled something about him talking to Lanie for her. Castle was hesitant at first, unsure if Kate really wanted Lanie to know they were together, but acquiesced to her request. Taking the phone from Kate's hand, he tucked the iPhone between his ear and shoulder so that he could continue to use both hands on Kate.
"Hi there, Lanie, how's your day going?"
"Castle? You're there? With Kate? What the hell is going on?"
"Oh nothing, I'm just giving Kate a little back massage that seems to have turned her brains to jelly." He couldn't help the rather cocky smile on his face when Kate moaned, agreeing with him.
"Why don't you tell me what has been going on?"
He tried to ask Kate without words if she was okay with that, but she just waved her hand mindlessly and turned around a little more to give him better access to her lower back and other shoulder. "Well, last night we ate dinner, we did a little dancing and then...we played a game of Twister"
"I'm sorry, you did what now? How the hell did you manage to convince Beckett to play Twister?"
"You'd be surprised, I can be very persuasive"
"Uh ha, I'm sure"
Kate was all but asleep when Castle noticed an alien sound over the phone. He thought it was a door opening, but when everything on the line went silent he couldn't be sure what it was.
"Lanie? Are you okay over there? One of your patients decide to get up for a walk or something?" He used his sense of humour to draw away from the concern he felt towards the M.E. curious as to her uncharacteristic silence.
"I gotta go, talk later." Was all she said before she hung up, leaving Castle even more worried as to her tone.
He decided he was just being silly and that Lanie could take care of herself, besides she was a medical examiner, not a cop, it wasn't like people pointed guns at her or threatened her or anything. What would be the point of that?
Lanie slipped her phone into her pocket, wondering whether or not she should make a silent call to Esposito or not. She stood next to an empty slab, staring unblinkingly at the man that had just casually strolled through the doors of her 'office'. Normally, there were people going back and forth all the time: other medical examiners, cops, family members here for identification, but this man didn't look like he was here for the dead, and although he had a badge and a gun, Lanie sure as hell didn't feel very safe with him.
"Who are you?" She asked quickly, wanting some answers.
He gave a smug grin, but, unlike the ones Castle usually portrayed, there was nothing charming about it. "My name is Detective Joe Brunswick. I'm Kate Beckett's new partner"
He held out his hand for her to shake, and while Lanie wasn't normally the skittish type around men, or any kind of people for that matter, she couldn't help the sinking feeling that if she reached out and gave him her hand, she wouldn't be getting it back.
"We don't have any current cases, so what are you doing here?"
"Thought I'd come down and meet the regular M.E. so that we can skip all that pleasantry stuff at our first crime scene together"
The way he said 'together' seemed as though he were implying that they were partners, not he and Beckett. Like their first crime scene was some kind of first date. It didn't scare her, but she was definitely disturbed. No wonder Kate was taking the day off. Castle or no, great date or no, she was well within her rights to take a few days off to get away from this slime ball. The way he kept looking her up and down, and especially how much time he spent staring at her chest, it was gross and made her feel dirtier than after being elbow-deep in the intestines of a 400-pound alcoholic.
"Lanie Parish, nice to meet you. I would have preferred it if you came with Esposito or Ryan though, not used to getting visitors down here when I don't have any cases going"
He cocked his head to the side, his eyes narrowing at her; dark grey pools that seemed hollow and blank, like concrete or steel. There was nothing about him that was welcoming or friendly.
"Should I remember that for next time, or can I show up without invitation from now on?" There was a hint of suggestion there, as though he was trying to flirt with her. From what she had heard from the boys, this guy was anything but subtle when it came to his interests in Beckett, so why was he playing coy with her?
"The only time you'll need to be around here is when you're with the team, so no"
Lanie really wanted to end this conversation, she wanted to turn around and dismiss him, but she was...not afraid, she didn't get afraid, but she was certainly...nervous about turning her back on him.
"You should be a little more welcoming to new comers, I get that you guys all miss that Castle guy, but trust me, he isn't coming back. I'm here to stay, so get used to it"
He left on that note, leaving Lanie fighting a shiver. She really didn't like how he had ended that sentence and the very next thing she did was escape to the back room, lock the door and call Esposito.
"Yo, chicka, what's happening?" She savoured his good mood, as she knew it wasn't going to last much longer.
"I just got a visit from your new pet, Brunswick." She waited to hear his response to this before she told him the rest.
"What do you mean you got a visit from Brunswick? What the hell was he doing at the morgue? With you? Did he do anything? Lanie, did he try to hurt you?!" He was riling himself up pretty quickly, so she decided to cool his jets for the time being.
"He didn't lay a hand on me, Javi, and while he seemed to be friendly enough, I can't help but feel like I was just threatened somehow"
"Do you want me to come down? I can be there in 15 minutes"
"No, I'm fine, but I think it would be smart to keep an eye on him. He's up to something and I know both I and Beckett are gonna want to know what"
So Brunswick is more than just a horn-dog with terrible social skills, he does in fact have some kind of secret agenda, but can you guys guess what it is?