Today is RositaLG's birthday, so everyone needs to wish her the best one!
Keeping with the Hamlet tradition, here's a birthday fic for you. Happy birthday, my dear! I hope it is absolutely magical and filled with all kinds of fun. My dream interpreter deserves only the best :) You are a legend, so *Kermit flail* your heart out for your birthday and remember that earless bunnies are the best kind ;) Love! A HUGE thank you to two wonderful people; JMHaughey and eitoph for being beta extraordinaires and offering their encouragement when my muse decided to play around.
A HUGE thank you to two wonderful people; JMHaughey and eitoph for being beta extraordinaires and offering their encouragement when my muse decided to play around.
This is set the morning after 'Always'. And at the moment, it is a one-shot. I may revisit it later down the track…but only maybe.
Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. I just borrow the characters for some fun sometimes :)
Won't Break Anything You Are
We won't break,
We won't die,
It's just a moment of change.
Her head is spinning when she wakes up, her stomach crying out for food. She tries to remember the last time she ate or drank anything and all she can come up with is a coffee brought to her by Castle at the precinct…so, two days? She shakes her head, that can't be right. But even as she does, she knows by the room spinning round and round that she is right.
She reaches a hand out to the other side of the bed and groans in pain as her sore muscles object to her movement. There are parts of her that feel deliciously alive this morning, but the parts that were kicked and beaten feel weak and sore.
She reaches a little further over, hoping to come into contact with her partner, maybe persuade him to make her some food. Her fingers only graze sheets, though. And cold sheets at that.
Her eyes dart open and she twists her head at a ridiculous speed to look at the other side of the bed.
And her heart pounds.
She immediately regrets the quick movements as her ribs catch fire with pain, the memory of the punch she sustained flaring in her mind. She can feel the panic creeping in.
Two days ago she basically told Castle that his love wasn't enough for her to want to stop the chase for her mother's killer, last night she had shown him that it was. But maybe, maybe it was all too fast. Maybe he wasn't ready.
Images of a blonde stewardess float across her mind and she shudders at the thought.
The way he was holding her last night, the intensity, the passion; no, he was ready.
So where is he?
She swings her legs over the edge of the bed, holding the sheets to her naked body, looking for any clue as to where her partner may be. She chuckles darkly to herself as she strains her ears to hear if he's in the shower; seems you can't take the detective out of the girl.
As she begins to gather her still damp clothing from around the room, she notices her phone lying across the room, having fallen out of her pocket sometime in the passionate frenzy that had occurred the night before. Her heart nearly skips a beat as she notices she has a message from Castle flashing on it.
"Black Pawn meeting. Stay in bed, I want to snuggle."
She smiles, her pulse slowing, her body feeling more and more alive.
She can't just stay in bed.
Other images of the previous evening flash to the forefront of her mind as she remembers her fight to the near death, the grazes and bruises she has sustained, placing her badge and gun on Gates' table.
Well, maybe she can stay in bed.
It's almost funny how restless she is when there is nothing to do. She tries to stay in bed for him. There's something enticingly fun about waiting in Castle's bed, but at the same time, she just cannot do it to herself.
She has a life to live. She has finally given up her wall, that big brick wall that was weighing her down. She wants to feel light and free and she doesn't want to spend the first day of that in bed.
Even if it is Richard freaking Castle's bed.
So she sneaks through his house to his laundry, grateful that she has the foreknowledge of the rest of his family being away while she walks around naked in his sheets, and puts her clothes from yesterday in the dryer. She can change them later, but for now she needs to hurry if she wants to make the most of her day.
While she's waiting for her clothes, she has a quick shower, relishing in the hot water, feeling the steam soak into her pores and cleanse her of all the bad thoughts; the plaguing questions.
Did she do the right thing in quitting?
Will she be able to release her grip on it all?
She studies her injuries in the mirror, cataloguing them mentally so as not to hurt herself any further, then re-dresses slowly, carefully and makes her way out of his loft.
She finds it vaguely funny thinking about the last time she was this side of his door. She was cold and scared and worried about hurting him more than anything. This morning, she knows where she stands.
She's warm and safe.
Picking up coffee is easy; finding her way to the Black Pawn offices is harder than she thought it would be, but she eventually befriends a cab driver who knows the way. Sitting in the taxi, watching the buildings fly past, she finds it incredible that in the four years of working with Castle, she has never really been to his work.
It's interesting seeing the world from his side.
She assumes the woman in reception knows where the meeting is, but before she can even make it to the brunette sitting behind the desk, a whirlwind hits her in the form of Gina.
Blonde, beautiful, ex-Mrs-Castle Gina.
And she feels irrationally jealous.
Gina looks livid as she composes herself, but Beckett can tell the anger isn't directed at her. She mutters a "sorry," before looking up, a flash of recognition covering her face, "Oh!" She grabs Beckett's arms, "Thank God you're here! Maybe you can talk some sense into him."
Kate looks past Gina's shoulder to see Castle walking towards them, a brisk pace to his step, "Don't listen to a word she says, Kate! I held up my end of the deal; she's just pushing for more chapters."
Gina rolls her eyes and starts yelling about contracts and how Paula is not going to be happy about any of this. Castle grins while she rants, coming to Beckett's side and plucking one of the coffees from her grip. It doesn't escape her that this is all a rather different occurrence than their usual coffee exchange; she almost expects a dead body to fall from the sky, just to make this all a bit more normal.
But crime scenes and corpses aren't normal for her anymore.
This is her new normal.
"I thought I asked you to wait in bed." His voice is a mere murmur, his tone cheeky, trying to speak in Gina's louder moments so as not to distract her.
Beckett smiles, "I wanted to see what tailing you felt like for once."
He grins and Gina's rant comes to a halt, "Well it's obvious you're not paying any attention to a word I'm saying. We'll meet tomorrow."
Castle shakes his head as he guides Beckett towards the exit, "Call me."
The temptation to just fall back into his bed is strong, but they agree that she needs to get some spare clothes if they're going to spend the night at his place again.
She wants to tell him about her new unemployed status, but can't seem to find the right way to bring it up. He hasn't asked why she's not at work and she'd much rather listen to him complain about Gina and her lying, manipulative ways. When the topic changes, it goes to Alexis and Beckett can't find the effort in her to ruin his extraordinarily happy mood.
It's not until they arrive at her apartment and step through the door that she sees his face fall.
Something is off.
Something is very, very wrong.
She glances at Castle and notices the way his eyes are already darting around, looking for a clue.
Her hand automatically falls to her hip, where she feels her pocket. Her pocket. And nothing else.
She looks to Castle again and he's watching her hip with fascination, "Where's your gun?"
Her eyes dart back to her apartment, trying to sense why it feels different, "I quit."
And then he's at her side, not questioning her, accepting it and moving on. "Let me go in first."
Her heart is pounding again, her chest burning, and she's almost inclined to let him, but as he takes a step she grabs his hand, "No."
She feels him shake her off, "He threw you over the side of a building, Kate. You're strong, but at least I'm his size."
And they step forward together.
It doesn't take long to see that there's no one in the apartment, but it takes just as long to notice the very bare window shutters on the far side of her living room.
She's silent as she reaches out, touching the glass where once every file she owned on her mother's case had been hidden.
She turns to Castle, sees his concern, feels her stomach drop. She just wants it all to be over. She wants it finished. She can see him retreating, giving her space. It's only natural, given how she has pushed him away in the past.
His eyes widen, and she can finally see that he was never going to. Instead, he steps to the side and picks up a photo that has been folded in the slats of the shutters. She reaches out for it and gasps as she sees the name scribbled across the picture.
With a big red cross.
Smith is dead.
She understands the implication.
Smith is dead and her protection is gone.
The decision after that is simple.
Ryan gets there first, Gates on his tail. They call Esposito and he arrives, no questions asked, exchanging a nod with his partner, a mutual sign that they will get past it all.
As the forensic team photographs everything in sight and dust every surface for prints, the broken 12th Precinct team moves into Beckett's kitchen.
Gates finds her spot at the head of the group and calls attention, "Detective Ryan and I will run point on this for now." She stresses that last part, suggesting that she's already missing her homicide team, "We don't need dirty hands on this, so Ms Beckett and Detective Esposito, you will hear from us, but that is the only contact you will have with this case. You understand?"
They nod, accepting Gates' orders with identical grimaces. Once she leaves the room, Ryan and Esposito turn towards each other, a storm between them. Beckett allows herself to hear them at least start speaking, "I can't forgive you just yet, man," before she takes Castle by the hand and leads him down the hallway a little, just out of earshot of everyone.
"I don't know if I can handle this," she looks at him honestly, begging him to understand, "I walked away, happy to walk away. And now this." She is still getting used to being able to touch him when she wants, which is why she is hesitant when he starts to pull her towards him.
"You hold the reigns, Kate. Whatever you want to do, we'll do. And we'll get through it together."
She searches his face and finds only honesty, "I meant what I said last night," she squeezes his hands in hers, "I just want you."
And with danger and death looming over her shoulder, her team still in tatters in her kitchen, her career on hold, her entire world falling apart, she knows one thing for certain. Those questions that have plagued her all night, whether she has made the right choice, whether she has the ability to just let it all go, all of them, they disappear when she is with Castle.
She thinks of her morning, bringing coffee to her partner, seeing his work, waking up in his bed. She reaches up and kisses him firmly, slowly. And she is sure.
Sure that she made the right choice, sure that she can do this, sure that she can make this her new normal.
Whatever this may turn out to be.