Author's Note: My first foray into the Castle fandom. Thanks to LogicBomb.32 for telling me how to find random words!
Summary: Little drabbles and ficlets of two hundred words or less and of varying timelines.
A Way With Words
A segment. That is all she is willing to give, all she has ever been able to give. Sometimes she gives them to him, other times he takes them on his own accord. With each segment gained, he builds a new heart. When she's ready, when she has given all she can give, he will give it back to her, show her how far she's come and how much she has changed. From there they can move forward, segment by segment.
He was never an exception, a clause in her rules that she excluded. No, he was an unexpected variable, a loophole that, despite her years and years of finalizing, her rules had failed to plan for. She didn't let him in, not at first. She tried to keep him away, to strengthen her barriers, but eventually found that she simply couldn't. So maybe he was an exception after all, someone she decided to let in, little by little, after so long of keeping everyone else out.
Forby (close by; near)
One of his books is always close to her bed. Whether on the nightstand or in the drawer with her gun, one or more of his novels are always nearby for the nights the nightmares keep her up and she needs an escape, an escape he has personally gifted to her.
A simple flicker of light, something so brief he thought it a figment of his over-saturated and paranoid imagination. Sun-lit, golden-brown mixed with bright, spiky green. Soon, red entered the equation, but he's already there at her side. He had always wanted to feel the green grass mix with her soft, brown hair, had always wanted to hover over her and caress her cheek with his coarse thumbs, say the three words that had been threatening to escape; I love you.
Never did he imagine it happening like this, after a shot pierced her body, cracked her very core. He was supposed to keep her safe, whether from the world or herself. That was his job and he failed.
He was a letdown; he failed Montgomery, failed her, and failed himself.
She is armed and dangerous. He has a pen and his alarming wit. She is the adult, he the child. She wears the pants and the badge. He simply follows her around and brings her coffee. She's the more reserved one and he's the talker of the two. She's in charge, and that, at least, is exactly as it should be.
It was the sound of the weapon reloading that caused her to wrap an arm behind her and push him aside. That was all the warning they were given to take cover, all the warning they were given that it could be the last time either of them saw each other.
"What is that, Castle?"
Kate stopped five feet from her desk, causing Castle to run smack into her. Without words, she turned and glared at him, their noses nearly touching. If her gaze wasn't so piercing and heavily armed with painful-looking daggers, he would have been distracted by their closeness and how absolutely sexy she looked when she got "riled up." However, as it were, he cleared his throat a few times and regained his composure (and manhood).
"Why, what does it look like, Detective?"
She sat at her desk with a defeat and slight happiness she attempted to mask. "Like Christmas exploded on my desk."
He smiled his knowing grin, the one he smiles when he feels particularly clever for beating Beckett, and ungracefully plopped himself in his designated chair next to her desk. "Precisely," he answered. "Someone could use some Christmas cheer."
She glared once more and stood up, heading back to the break room with a knowledgeable and teasing grin in her fair lips. "I refuse to be anywhere near here, or you, until you clean that mess up, Castle," she called over her shoulder.
Castle gulped and with one swift movement of his arm the décor was in the trash bin.
Her chest aches, but it's more than a pain from the physical scar that mars her cream-white skin. With one hand writing notes on her notepad, Kate lifts her other hand to her chest and slips it under her shirt to rub the irritated pucker of skin. Her fingers catch the chain she always wears, always has within reaching distance. She follows the trail down to the ring and rubs her thumb over the setting. With steady hands she brings the ring to rest between her slim fingers and the healing hole.
Out of the corner of her eye she catches his movement and turns to watch as he makes his way through the precinct, coffees in hand. Suddenly the ache is gone, the pain lifted from her body. To her mother, wherever she may be, she thinks, I understand, Mom. I understand it now.
Tread lightly, he has to remind himself. She's broken and scared and no matter how many kisses he gives her at night she still needs him to move slowly.
She struggled; her body revolted against his touch, against letting him drag her out of that hangar. His arms wrapped tighter and tighter around her waist, refusing to let go.
It wasn't easy, hearing her cries. It wasn't easy, feeling her arms and legs thrash against him. It wasn't easy, pushing her against that car in the dark of night, covering her mouth with his palm and trying to keep her upright.
His heart broke with every cry, with every stifled sob, every tremor of her hand and twitch of her body. He, too, wanted to fall to his knees, because the woman he cares most about, the woman he loves, was hurting, drying a little inside. It took everything in him to keep her away, to keep her safe, until he no longer could.
Every murder victim that goes up on her whiteboard eventually comes down from it. The pictures are filed away, the notes stored, the report turned in. The case is closed and, for all intent and purposes, they don't have to take up that murder's burden any longer, can go on with their lives and find another crime to solve.
It's not that easy for her, though. Every victim's family deserves justice, deserves closure, something she knows better than anyone else. Even when she provides families with the answers she never got, a simple swipe of a whiteboard eraser doesn't make her forget, doesn't clump that case in with every other and make it meaningless. Nothing can erase the memories for her, no matter how many whiteboard erasers she or her partner try. Nothing.
So much can happen in four years. The tiny baby you once held in your arms can grow into a small person with their very own personality—traits, faults and all. That same child can graduate high school, or finish college at the top of their class.
You can start a new job or continue an old one. You can find a myriad of lovers, people to simply warm your bed at night, nothing more. You can write a book or two, maybe even solve a few murders while you're at it.
Or you can fall in love.
It was instant, he would say. Maybe it was the writer side of him, the side with a way of words and an appreciation for techniques to pull a reader's heartstrings. But, part of him knows better, and part of him knows she knows better. It was there from the beginning, alongside her snarky attitude and their witty, banter-laced interrogation.