A/N Belated fic based on the preview which caused me to become seriously emotional.
This was written at random intervals since last Thursday (Australian time), and I just wanted to get it posted before 47 Seconds actually aired. Hence, little all over the place.
Disclaimer: Obviously, I own nothing.
Proved Me Wrong
It was as if someone had punched him in the guts while simultaneously reaching in and twisting his heart. I remember every second of it.
He could feel his jaw straining from clenching his teeth in both anger and grief. He couldn't believe this.
She emerged from the interrogation room in a flurry, obviously having just obtained some pertinent information that Castle had missed during his moment of disbelief. "Hey, come on, we…" she paused, seeing his expression. Eyes dark, face tight, vein flickering in his temple. "What?"
He couldn't help but glare. His blood felt hot as it rushed through his body. He couldn't even speak.
"Castle, I…" The look of realisation on her face was unmistakable. She hadn't even realised what she'd said. "Oh, Castle-"
"You remember." He side-stepped around her and left the room, trying to keep his feet from running. He could hear her following, however.
"Castle, wait, please-"
"Of all the people," he said, pulling on his coat, "of all the people…I didn't think you'd be the one to do…to hurt…" She reached out and touched his arm as he headed towards the elevator, but he shook her off. "I'm such a fool."
She was left standing at her desk, alone.
Her hand acted on its own accord and pressed the doorbell, ceasing her internal monologue of Do it, don't do it, do it, don't do it. She held her breath as she heard footsteps approaching and watched the handle turn.
"Hi, Martha, I-"
Perturbed at a usually warm Martha acting so cold, she entered the threshold and could feel the silence vibrating off the walls. No sign of Castle, but the woman standing before her had quite a presence.
"You heard him."
No use lying. "Yes."
"You really think you're going to do better than Richard Castle?" Martha's tone was assertive, but her eyes were blazing.
"Martha, please, I just need to see him. Explain."
"And say what? Kate, I was there when you got shot. I've been with him ever since. I've watched my son go through his own personal hell and back, and it all appears to be for a woman who can't see what she has."
"I…I guess I was protecting myself. Or something. It was just so much."
"He's loved you from the start. I believe that. But he's been in love with you for about three years. Obviously, you know he cares about you. But watching you with…Demming, was it? And Josh? That hurt. And yet he's still been with you."
Eye contact was becoming increasingly difficult. Beckett looked around the apartment, searching for some focal point that wasn't making her feel guiltier than she already was. But Martha was on a mission.
"He's waited for you. Watched you go through these relationships and cases and traumas. It's awful for a mother to watch her child…it's hard. I understand that people keep secrets from every other. It's part of life. But when it's a secret with such an emotional magnitude on someone else? It's unfair."
"I need to talk to him. Please, Martha, I promise I can talk about this later. But for now…I don't want to wait. I don't want to make him wait any longer. Please."
The look of pure desperation on Kate's face melted the ice that had formed in Martha. "…he's in his bedroom."
"Thank you." She was just at the doorway when Martha called her name. "Yes?"
"Do you love my son?"
Barely a heartbeat passed before she answered. "Yes."
She didn't knock – if he knew it was her he probably wouldn't let her in. So she opened the door as slowly as possible, bracing herself for whatever was about to happen. "Castle?"
He was sitting in an armchair in the corner of the room, glass of whiskey in hand and the dim light of the lamp casting across his face. He looked almost…haunted. He didn't make any acknowledgment that she had ever entered the room.
"Rick," she said quietly, not even sure that the sound had come out. "Rick, we need…can we…talk?"
"Talking wouldn't exactly resolve anything, would it?" He took another sip from the glass and watched her as she sat on the corner of his bed, facing him. Not exactly the way he'd imagined her coming into his bedroom for the first time.
Not exactly how he'd imagined a lot of things.
"I don't know what I was thinking, Castle…you know how sometimes, you do something…but you have no idea why. And you know it's going to blow up in your face at some point. But you do it anyway, hoping that by the time it does come out it can be fixed in some way that spares people the pain. I'm…I'm really, really sorry for what I've done." He didn't reply, so she continued. "It's like I said…I have this wall…and it's hard-"
"You think you're the only one who's damaged, who has this right to be distant with people with an excuse that people can't argue against. We all have stories. We all have these pasts that leave us somehow broken, left to move through life picking up the pieces." He stood up, left his glass on the sideboard, and walked through to his office.
She couldn't respond, other than to pick herself up slowly and follow him. Something inside her desperately wanted to throw herself at him, begging for forgiveness, but her nerves just weren't quite functioning properly.
"I'll lay it out for you. I was married. Young, mildly ignorant of reality, and happy. Then my wife slowly becomes more and more distant, but I passed it off, thinking nothing of it. Then one night I decided to come home early from a book tour to surprise her and spend time with the baby…and I find her on the couch with her director. She moved out that night, leaving me alone, with a 14-month-old baby and no idea what to do. It's one thing to be broken up with – it's another to be broken up with in favour of someone else."
The emotion in his voice as he spoke was unlike anything she'd heard before from him. It was one of those situations where she wanted it to stop but she wanted it to keep going. Torn.
"I went around feeling so completely inferior to everyone. I wasn't enough for Meredith. Alexis wasn't enough for her. It…I can't even explain how painful it was. But I couldn't do that in the public eye. I had to 'add perk when at work', as my mother described it.
"And then all these years later Damien turns out to be a liar and murderer. Sophia was a corrupt terrorist. Montgomery…well, you know. And my father, he's never, never been there. And most of the time I'm okay with that. Can't miss what you've never had. But sometimes…god, sometimes I wish what things would have been like if I'd had a dad.
"And then you…god, Kate, I can barely explain how I feel about you." Now his eyes were glistening and his voice was starting to waver. "You amazed me, right from the start. This mystery I couldn't solve. And even as I got to know you, you still managed to surprise me. I trusted you with my life, my daughter, everything. You dug me out of the hole when I had writer's block after Derrick Storm. I've nearly died with you, multiple times. And then I actually watched you die. In my arms. I saw the lights go out. Felt your breath disappear. And you disappearing over the summer…but we got past it. But this? You heard me? And didn't say anything about it…claimed you didn't remember anything? I just…I never thought that you'd be the one to hurt me so much." He sat down behind his desk, his fingers resting next to his murder board remote.
"Rick…I'm so, so-"
"Never thought I'd be able to say the phrase 'you're just like the others' in reference to you, but I guess you've proved me wrong."