A/N: Whoa! Thanks so much for the reviews for my first Castle fic, CASKET(T)! I'm glad people seem to have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Anyhow, for a change of pace, these are just a series of vignettes that I wrote while watching the series for the first time. These character sketches can be roughly taken as a progression even though it's not strictly chronological. This is more my attempt at capturing Castle and Beckett's complexity of character.

In any case, hope you all enjoy this as well and let me know what you think! Thanks!

Spoilers: Lines used from 4x1 "Rise" and "Eye of the Beholder."


Disclaimer: Despite my best efforts, Castle remains property of Andrew Marlowe and the folks over at ABC. Shucks.


SKETCHES


Words

Richard Castle never felt more like an ass than he did when he unwittingly tore open raw wounds when he tried to show off his powers of observation to the pretty cop lady who'd pulled him out of his book launch party and turned his world upside down.

He didn't know that this would become a pattern in their relationship.

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Omen

Castle looks at Jim Beckett and the pain in his eyes that tells him he's thinking of his wife, and Castle realizes that he's looking at what he could possibly be if Kate were to ever leave before him. He marvels at the fact that one person can so totally and completely ruin another.

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Rewrite

Those countless hours when Beckett was in surgery for her very life were the worst of his life. Castle was not a religious man, but he found himself praying to a God he didn't know existed in desperation. He would have given anything to have been just two seconds faster, two seconds that would make him the recipient of that bullet. His heart would heart less if he'd been the one to take that shot.

He reflects on his agony of that long, endless day as they waited for that emergency light to blink off and for the doctor would come out with good news, and the last pages Heat Rises puts itself together. The only way he can take the bullet for her now is through his writing, and he hopes that she understands. He won't fail her ever again.

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Strength

Kate Beckett could not deny that before the age of nineteen, she'd enjoyed a pampered and basically spoiled life. While she'd always enjoyed her independence ('94 Harley soft-tail and grunge rocker, really?), she'd also been secure in the knowledge that if she fell down, her parents would be there to pick her up.

It wasn't until her world fell apart and helping hands became victims of a brutal stabbing and her other bastion consumed with alcohol that independence transformed from a personality trait to a necessity. She had to be strong, had to take care of herself because no one was left to catch her.

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Enough

Castle has this secret fear that he will never be enough for Beckett. For all that she talks about (or doesn't) tearing the wall inside her heart before being whole enough to try a relationship with him, a part of him wonders whether it will ever happen. He knows he has to hope and believe but sometimes he'd be sitting on the sofa in his loft nursing a hard one in his hands and wondering how his heart could have chosen the one woman in the world who could crush it completely to fall in love with. He was a casual believer in kismet and he wondered if this was the universe's idea of a joke.

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Lie

"Does she make you happy?"

When Alexis asked him that, it was hard to tell whether or not his answer is actually one of the few lies he's ever told her.

"Yes," he'd said, and for the most part, it was true. But sometimes, it wasn't.

Sometimes, it was heartache and heart break and this gut-wrenching sense of failure.

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Lie(s)

She lies to him and to herself because she can't accept the thought that she'd put him through three months of agony for nothing.

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Fear

"What are you afraid of: that he won't wait or that he will?"

Detective Kate Beckett of the NYPD 12th precinct, homicide division doesn't like to admit that she was afraid.

Part of her doesn't want him to wait. If he waits, that means that this unnameable thing between them is real and life-changing and inescapable. It means that she can't bail out like she had with all her previous relationships when they'd started getting too close. It means that there will eventually be one person in the world with whom she would not be able to hide any scars, physical or otherwise.

And that...that is a terrifying thought.

It's easy to be selfish, she reflects. It's easy to hide behind the excuse—even if it's true—that she needs time to recover, time to crawl out of the rabbit hole she'd dived head first into ever since her mother's case was reopened. It's easy to ignore everyone else who's hurting, so easy, in fact, that she conveniently forgets that it's the loved ones left behind who hurt the most. And really, she should know that better than anyone else.

It's humbling to admit that she's really just being selfish.

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Unconditional

Kate Beckett knows that she isn't an easy person to love. Oh, she's likeable enough and the kind of person people like being around socially, but she isn't easy to love. The reason is simple: she refuses to open herself up to be loved.

(Part of her thinks that she's too broken to be loved.)

So whenever she flashes back to those breathless (literally) moments out in the warm, spring sun with the green grass beneath her body and the man who meant more to her than he should above her, all she can think—even past the blood leaking out of her chest inside which a broken heart beat weakly—when he whispers, "I love you Kate" is That isn't possible.

She pushes so hard because she's operating under this twisted logic that if she's able to push hard enough that he gives up, she'll be validated for not jumping in with him in the first place. She's never really let herself consider the consequences of what would happen if he doesn't budge, if he sticks with her through everything she throws at him in fearful reflex.

But she thinks back to that day of the book-signing and she realizes that she'd been fooling herself all along. She was the one who couldn't let go.

She'd never before seen him so distant, and her pushing hadn't protected her from hurting when he suddenly wasn't pushing back. He'd glanced at his watch like it was a chore having this conversation with her on the swings, and she was struck with the terrifying recognition that maybe she'd finally achieved her goal: she'd finally pushed so hard and so far with her silence that he'd given up on her at last.

He hadn't given up on her then, but she knows that she can't push anymore. Or rather, pushing will do nothing because she's thrown her worse at him, and he's still here.

She has to pull. Not pull him towards her because they both know that her wall is made to withstand a thousand-man siege.

No, she needs to grab onto him and pull herself towards him. The easiest way through a wall is not to break it down, but to open the gate and walk straight out.

Pull, and maybe if she hangs on long enough, she'll remember that love—the real, deeply abiding kind—is unconditional and that it exists not due to the lack of flaws, but rather in spite of them.