I'm all over the one shots recently. Anyway this ones not so happy but it does accomplish something, at least for me. I played with the timeline writing this just a heads up.
SURPRISE! I don't own Castle. Seriously you didn't know that?
"Castle you're staying here." She yelled when she caught him strapping on his vest, like every one else.
"Beckett." He started to protest
"No, you're staying out here this guy has been toying with you for days, there's no way I'm letting you in there." She'd hurled at him before he could get another word out.
"I'm not going to watch you walk in there and wait patiently for you to return." He threw back.
"Yes, you are."
"Why?" The pain of having to listen to her demands plainly etched on her face.
"Because you're unarmed." It was the simplest answer.
"So give me a gun."
"You're not a cop."
"I've been with you guys long enough to know the protocol."
"CASTLE DAMMIT." She snapped, her hair whipping behind her as she closed the distance between them, backing him into the cruiser, with a poke to his chest. It came out in a desperate tumbling hiss, "I love you and I'm not going to let you play swat the one time you're the target."
Stunned, "I'm sorry," was all that fell from his lips as he tried to process the weight of her confession.
"Beckett we're going in." Esposito called across the sea of black swat.
She nodded briefly to her teammate before looking back at him, "Stay." It wasn't really an order, it was more of a plea, but he was helpless to do anything but collapse against the squad car.
"Castle he's following you. He's stalking you. You're his new obsession. It's not about pretty blonde girls that look like is mother any more. It's about the guy who figures him out and how to rattle his cage."
"So what do you want me to do Kate? Sit at home and cower?"
"Yes. I want you in the loft with the windows covered two squad cars out front and a patrol man at your door. Hell, I'd like snipers on the roof of every surrounding building, and a helicopter passing over head every ten minutes." She throws at him.
Even though he can see the panic in her eyes, the terror that has her in its grip, he can't help but snap back. "That's a little much don't you think?"
"What I'd settle for is you remembering you're not a cop." She told him collapsing against her desk just staring to him, eyes sparkling with desperation, the fight gone out of her. Silence filling in all the sudden holes in the empty bull pen, in the wake of her ire.
After what could have been hours and neither of them would have known, he caved. "Okay."
"Ok?" she can't believe she won this round.
But he nods and the terror that's gripped her heart since they found that little girl who
looked so much like any number of pictures he's shown her over the years, eased. "I'll remember I'm not a cop and give you one squad car outside the loft in exchange for something."
She quirked an eyebrow, and pursed her lips. "What?"
"One armed detective in my apartment." He glowers back at her.
"I'll send Esposito." She pushes off the desk hoping to give herself more authority when they're eye level even though that hasn't really worked in years.
"Beckett," it came out warningly, "You're dead on your feet. You want the squad car and me to remember my profession you come too." The glare from her was ice but he refused to move, "That's the deal. You want me to go home tonight, you come too. That's the deal or we both stay here."
She broke first. "Fine." The word was a hiss of acknowledgement.
"Fine. I'm calling a car. Get your coat."
"It's him. It has to be him, Beckett."
"We don't know that yet Castle." The board is in front of them barely filled out, but the facts they do have only point towards one obvious suspect.
He argues back gesturing at the sparse details. "The hell we don't. We knew he'd come back and we knew that he'd target me." Before collapsing against the edge of her desk.
She turns to him seeing how broken he's feeling in the slump of his shoulders and the panic in his eyes, "Rick, calm down."
"Kate he killed a little girl… he killed a little girl that looked so much like Alexis that you wouldn't even let me in the crime scene. And he did it with that green and white rope around her neck, because I figured him out."
"Hey…" She stepped closer to him catching his chin just briefly with her fingers, forcing him to look up at her, "Hey you're probably right. But I'm not going to let anything happen to you or Alexis."
"I know… I just…" The fight's gone out of him for the moment.
"I get it. But we need to follow the evidence and see where goes. Just like in every other case and for that to happen I need my partner to focus."
He swallowed and closed his eyes, nodding his head, before pushing off the desk to stand up straight right in front of her. "Ok. Just don't let anything happen to you either."
It was her turn to look up at him with a fierce look in her eye. "I won't."
He was silent for a second before he nodded, squeezing her elbow just briefly, "So do we know who she is?"
The knock on his door, roused him from his active state of non-thinking. Groaning as he heaved himself off the couch. Only be one person on the other side of the door and he was surprised it had only taken a couple of hours for her to show up judging by the sun setting over the city.
He didn't, say anything he just opened the door and went back to the couch. She just watched him go for a second before following him in, quietly closing the door. Shedding her shoes and jacket at the door she slipped into the kitchen. Moving about the room she prepared two cups of decafe.
He listened to her tinker in his kitchen, inhaling the deep aroma of the coffee she was making, like it was completely normal. He felt her weight settle next to him on the couch, tucking her feet under, turning to face him, pressing the warmth of the cup against his thigh. Waiting for him to take it.
Lifting his head up of the back of the couch he wrapped in own hand around the cup brushing her fingers lightly, reassuringly. Before he could even bring his eyes up to meet hers. But when he finally gathered the courage to do so, he could see it all there in her eyes. He thought he'd seen it there before, but now he had confirmation and that was enough.
He brought his free hand up to cup her cheek, "Kate…"
"We got him." Ryan declared, striding across the bullpen.
"Really?" Castle asked in disbelief.
Ryan nodded, handing Beckett the folder. Detailing the footwork that had gone into locating him. "We have an address."
"Better we have the apartment number." Esposito called from his desk as he hung up his phone standing to join them.
"Let's go get him." Castle says, his voice laced with relief.
"Call in the cavalry. This guy is not getting away again." Beckett called out as they headed to the elevator each one wearing different masks of determination.
"You remember where the guest room is?"
"Up stairs, second door on the left."
"Do you need anything?"
"No… I just need you to get some sleep."
"I'm going to."
"We'll get him."
"Ok. Get some sleep."
The cruiser came to a halt out side the door of the town home and they were both striding passed the uniforms and into the house before the lights had gone out in the cruiser. "BECKETT!" came from living room they passed on they're way to the stairs.
"What Espo?" She snapped whirling around to look at him, stopping them both in their tracks.
"I want you to be prepared."
Disbelief lined her face, "Espo, we don't have time for this we need to process the scene and get as much information as possible."
"Beckett…" Ryan appeared next to his partner, addressing his boss with a sense of desperation neither of them had ever heard, "the victims… they look exactly like..."
"There are two?" Castle interjects, looking distractedly between the two male detectives.
Esposito nods. "Yeah man, they look exactly like you guys."
She steps back, as if she's been hit full force by a line backer, knocking her into his solid frame and for a second they both stand there. They're friends watching waiting for a reaction. She gives her just a second and takes a deep breath, "OK. I'm going in Castle you can…"
"No, you go in, I go in."
The light from the office was soft as she made her way downstairs in search of a glass of water. Abandoning the search for a glass she slipped silently across the floor and into the doorway. He was just sitting in one of the arm chairs holding a glass of scotch, staring at the wall.
"Castle?" She asked softly not wanting to disrupt the quiet that came with three am.
"Hmm?" he answered softly turning to face her, clearly not completely awake.
"You're supposed to be sleeping." She tells him crossing the room, picking up his empty hand so that she can perch on the arm rest next to him, holding that hand.
"I keep seeing their faces, our faces, people so interchangeable with Alexis, Mother, myself… you… that I can't distinguish the difference."
She doesn't know what to say to that for a long time, so she settles for running her thumb over the back of his hand until he swallows the last of his scotch. When he sets the glass down with an exasperated thud, she doesn't give him time to stress about it, or consider filling it back up. Instead she stands and pulls on his hand until he stands with her, and then she's leading him into his bedroom.
"Sleep, Rick." She pushed him down on the rumpled side of the bed that he'd abandoned hours earlier before walking around to the other side and climbing in. Laying back against the pillows she turned her head to look at him, still sitting where she put him, and just staring at her. "Sleep Castle. I'll be right here."
He could only nod at her settling down against the pillows, pulling the comforter over him again, turning on his side so that he could just watch her. But he felt her lithe fingers lace with his, "Go to sleep Castle," And he forced himself to close his eyes.
It was only minutes before the swat teams were pouring back out of the building looking infinitely more relaxed than they had going in. It only took seconds for Ryan and Esposito to emerge, frog marching the bastard out, Beckett bringing up the back of the line.
Their eyes locked and she gave him a small smile which he was helpless to return before she carried on with the business of the hour.
He kept his promise. Remembering he wasn't a cop he stripped his vest off throwing it into the squad car before walking down the block to hail a cab. Leaving her and the boys to take 3KX back to the precinct and book him.
He let the cab whisk him back across town to his empty loft, his mother at her acting school and Alexis busy at the morgue. The door closed with a click echoing around reminding him that of the soft smile she'd given him this morning when she approached him with a cup of coffee she'd making a silent peace offering for the nightmare of a day ahead.
He managed to kick his shoes off and collapse onto the couch struggling out of his jacket without really moving off leather. Before letting his head collapse against the back of the sofa, his eyes drifting closed focusing on the heat of the sunlight filling the room.
The cups were empty and long abandoned on the coffee table, before another word was spoken. "We should order some dinner." She said quietly from the solid warmth of his chest, desperately not wanting to break the comfort of the moment.
He didn't say anything for a moment, just kept his hand running up and down her back. "You remember everything." He acknowledge to the room.
"Castle…" She pushed up off his chest just enough so that she could look him in the eye, "Rick, there was just so…"
But he was shaking his head, "I know." He leaned forward and pressed a kiss against her brow, both of their eyes falling shut. When he finally pulled back it was just enough that that he could rest cheek against her instead, holding her to him, afraid she might disappear.
"I couldn't let you go in there today. He wanted you. He wanted to get to you, and he got to me instead." She confessed, tears escaping. "That couple that looked so much like us, and that little girl that looked like your daughter, and a woman that looked like your mother. Castle I couldn't bear if you were ever hurt like that. If you ever lost the people that mean the world to you…" The sob racked her body, and his arms tightened around her.
"I didn't mean to tell you like that but I don't know how to do this, and you're you and so wonderfully patient, caring, and kind. And … and Castle I just needed to know that you were going to be safe."
"Hey… shhh…" he soothed, "I'm not mad at you. Shhh you did exactly what you should have. You told me how you felt and asked what you needed of me." Pulling back he wiped the tears from her face, cradling it as if she were made of china. "That's more than I've ever been able to do for you."
The tears stopped and a watery smile graced her face, as she tilted her head. "Oh Castle, every time you ask me to do something, you tell me how you feel." She brought her hand up to fist in his shirt. "That's part of why I love you so damn much."
That broke their resolve and he closed the distance, capturing her lips quickly. Before pulling back and settling his forehead against hers. The brilliant blue locking with the ever shifting hazel, "I love you, Kate."
"I know you do." She whispered back. "I love you too."
Thoughts? On this and last nights linchpin.