I know I know... ANOTHER one of these.

But... I think it's different. And I think you should give it a shot.

Warning: Post 47 Seconds, and the ABC promo for The Limey.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. I don't own Poison & Wine, by The Civil Wars, which was the inspiration.

Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don't have a choice but I'd still choose you...

He thought a few glasses of Scotch would help him fall out of love with her.

He thought some Scotch, maybe some wine, and a few dates with someone entirely not like her would help him remove himself from her life.

But none of that worked.

The idea came to him as he finished off his third glass of Scotch, looking at the bookshelves in his office. His eyes lingered a little too long on his own novels, a few in particular before he poured himself another glass. He raised his glass to his lips slowly, but stopped inches away from his mouth, his eyes still focused on his books.

He knew what he had to do.

He had to kill off Nikki Heat.

But as he sits in front of the computer screen, he can't do it. His mind is starting to get fuzzy from the alcohol, he's gone through half a bottle of his best stuff, and he can't do it.

Love is not a switch.

He clenches the glass in his hand a little tighter as he looks at the computer screen, the cursor in the word document mocking his inability to kill off his main character.

He did it once with Derrick Storm.

It wasn't so hard then.

He had killed of Derrick because he was bored. His reasons for killing off Nikki are much more valid.

Valid, and personal.

He's backed Nikki into a corner. She is walking from work to meet Rook at a restaurant for dinner when someone pulls her into an alley. She tries to fight the man, but he's too strong. And he has a knife. Nikki hits him square in the nose with her head but the man doesn't let go. Her phone rings, it's Rook and she's late for dinner, but she can't pick up, because the man in the alley has her hands locked in a vice grip and she can't get away from him. He pulls the knife back in one of his hands and Nikki opens her mouth to cry out for help. The killer slices his arm through the air, edge of the knife tilted upwards, aiming for her kidney…

And then stops.

He closes his eyes, squeezes them shut at the emotion that bubbled out of his chest and the words on the page.

If there was one way to ensure that Kate Beckett wouldn't be back in his life, it was that.

To kill off her alter ego the same way her mother was killed.

She would never forgive him.

And despite how angry he is at her, how used he feels, how heartbroken he is the thought of the pain that would cause her makes his own heart clench painfully in his chest. He wonders if she would cry, if she would show up at his doorstep after reading it and demand to know why he would do that. Would he turn her away? Would he invite her in and try to explain his reasoning? Would he gather her up in his arms and apologize?

He thinks that last option is the most likely.

Love is not a switch.

It's irrational. It's stupid. She was the one who lied. She deserves to be hurt just like she did to him. She deserves to know what it's like to have your heart ripped into pieces by someone you trusted.

She deserves this.

He takes another sip of his scotch and puts down the glass. He cracks his neck and sits up straighter in his office chair, placing both hands on the keyboard and taking a deep breath.

He stares at the screen for another five minutes, the cursor blinking in front of him.

He can't do it.

He can't kill her.

He can't make the blade pierce her skin, can't try to explain how Nikki Heat would die like Kate Beckett lives, strong and dignified. She wouldn't cry out in pain, she wouldn't scream for help, she wouldn't make any proclamations as she bleeds out.

Nikki Heat would die in silence, fighting until her very last breath. Maybe she would try to call someone on her phone only to die while dispatch puts her on hold.

Nikki Heat would die alone.

She deserves to die alone.

Rick shakes his head from side to side, trying to clear his thoughts.

Because he's wrong. Nikki Heat is supposed to live a long happy life full of scars and bullet holes and die only when her hair is gray and her grandchildren are getting married and starting their own families.

That's why he was doing this right? To give Nikki Heat the happy ending Kate Beckett never seemed to get?

She's supposed to get her closure, she's supposed to fall in love and live in love. With Rook.

With him.

Love is not a switch.

He erases everything he's written, three pages of Nikki fighting to the death with a mysterious attacker in an alley and starts again.

This time Nikki's trying to diffuse a bomb in an old building. Rook had a meeting with his boss so he didn't show up with her that day, and she's thinking about him, thinking about how awesome he would think this is. She's trying to think back to what Rook said about bombs, he researched them for one of his articles, but she can't remember what he told her. She's frantic, looking at the wires but there's just so many, and nobody is picking up their phones to help her.

The timer clicks down to one second, and Nikki takes a deep breath, and…

Rick stops typing. He can't make the clock tick down to zero. He can't write Nikki Heat getting blown apart into tiny pieces.

It's too close, too personal.

Love is not a switch.

He starts over three more times.

He has Nikki getting shot in the back of the head by a man she used to trust, but as soon as the man pulls the trigger the gun malfunctions and no bullet cracks into her skull.

He has Nikki freezing to death in a meat locker, but she never closes her eyes for the final time, there's something keeping her warm.

He has Nikki sinking the bottom of the river trapped in her car, but there's an air pocket and Nikki doesn't drown.

Rick scratches his fingernails across his keyboard before his hands clench into fists.

He can't do it.

He can't kill her.

She's an enigma, a ghost that won't stop haunting his thoughts, a parasite that won't stop eating away at his consciousness.

He can't get rid of her. She'll always be a part of him.

He loves Nikki almost as much as he loves Kate.

Love is not a switch.

He loves her.

Love is not a switch.

He squeezes his eyes shut again, the room spinning with memories of her that dance across his eyes as the alcohol swims in his stomach.

Love is not a switch.

Her smile at him when she realized he was okay after the explosion in the bank.

Love is not a switch.

The way she grabbed his hand during his mother's play.

Love is not a switch.

How hopeful she looked when he said he had to talk to her about something during the bombing case.

Love is not a switch.

He brings his hands up to his head, unclenching his fists as he slides his fingers roughly across his scalp, his palms pressing against his eyes almost painfully, willing the memories to stop because they were only making this, falling out of love with her, harder.

She's so beautiful and intelligent and strong and brave. He was doomed from the minute she said his name at his book party, when he forced his way into her life.

He should have known this is how it would end.

He wanted her then.

He wants her now.

She didn't want him then.

She doesn't want him now.

But she had been looking at him lately with those soft eyes that seemed to shine like stars in the harsh light of the precinct and he wonders how he could have been so wrong.

He thought there was something there.

He thought that maybe she did want him.

Love is not a switch.

But he was wrong.

You can't just turn it off.

Yes he can. Yes he can. Yes he can.

He removes his hands from his eyes and curses, lets the spots fade from behind his eyelids as he looks at the computer screen, blinking back into focus.

The cursor blinks back at him.

Oh I don't love you but I always will

Love it? Hate it? god, Em, another post ep fic? Let me know what you think!