Because I don't think Beckett can just walk away from her job and be okay.
Warning: could be triggering. Mentions of addiction. And when I say "mentions" I really mean overtones so if that offends you then I suggest you stop reading.
Disclaimer: I don't own the poem that inspired it nor do I own the characters.
"My father has been dry for fourteen years and he tells me: An alcoholic is always an alcoholic, and sober is just another word for thirsty."
- Werewolf, a poem by Sierra DeMulder.
It takes her three weeks to finally get up the nerve to call her dad.
She'd been getting restless. The time she's spent with Castle has been wonderful, lovely even; she may even go so far as to say that this was the happiest she had been since her mother's case first became the center of her life so many years ago.
And it doesn't mean she's unhappy now. Really, she's not. Rick says that she's stuck with him but the truth is that she's just as attached to him. It's not glue that's holding them together, it's staples and stitches, their broken skin has healed into one piece, bonding them together so closely that it should scare her yet for some reason it doesn't. It's not easy; it never is when the two of them are involved. They still pull at each other's hair and sometimes it itches where they've crawled underneath each other's skin, but it's worth it. It's all worth it.
She's not unhappy.
Castle tries to understand, he really does. He tries to tell her that she is just feeling anxious because she doesn't have anywhere she needs to be. He tells her that if she just finds something to do with her hands she'll be fine. If she finds something else to occupy the thoughts she will stop feeling like she needs to do something else.
He is just trying to help, but this restlessness has already settled itself inside her bones. It makes her anxiously tap her fingers against the counter, makes it impossible to sit still for long periods of time. She goes for runs and clenches her hands into tighter fists as she rounds street corners, half-praying for a fight on the other side. She pushes herself more just to feel the burn and then collapse on the floor of her apartment, sprawling out on the hardwood, chest heaving. The cool air doesn't stop the burning in her lungs so she breathes deeper just to feel it more acutely. She tapes a pillow to the wall and tapes her knuckles, throwing punches at it like the sparring partner she no longer has.
She doesn't miss it.
She misses Ryan and Esposito and Lanie but she doesn't miss it. She misses the murder board and the break room and the creaky elevator that held so many memories but she doesn't miss it. She misses the theorizing with Castle, misses the innuendo at crime scenes and the teasing with the boys but she doesn't miss it.
So she calls her dad.
They meet at their diner, where all of their important conversations always seem to take place because the old diner was neutral territory for them.
"You miss it," Jim says, pinpointing the argument she has been having over and over again in her mind for the past week mere moments after they had ordered their food.
Sometimes she forgets how similar she and her father are.
They both lost themselves completely to something after her mother was murdered. He drowned himself in a sea of bottles, and she had left herself floundering in the wake of her mother's case.
When she looks at her father she remembers that she had been the "strong" one, recalls arguments over broken glass bottles when she had screamed at him, pointing out that she was doing something productive with her life, that she was being healthy, while he was just killing himself slowly.
Looking back now, she's had more near-death experiences than he has. She's spent more time in the hospital because of her coping mechanism than he has. She knows, looking back on it now, after years of therapy and self-neglect, that her way of handling her mother's death is just as unhealthy as his was.
The difference is he got help.
And she never did.
"No," she shakes her head, "I don't miss it. I'm just… I feel restless, all the time. Like I need to do something," she admits, "I feel like I'm just useless all the time now."
Jim nods, giving her a knowing smile, and she feels slightly relieved.
She knew that he would understand.
They sit in silence for a moment because it's enough for them both to simply sit there in their own minds trying to understand their thoughts.
"Does it ever go away?" she asks him quietly, her voice reminding him of the times when she was a little girl, sitting on his lap, asking the difficult questions that parents don't ever want to answer.
"No," he says gently, "It never goes away completely."
Kate looks at him, her eyes heavy and imploring as if she knew what the answer would be but was hoping he'd lie to her, before nodding and lowering her gaze to her lap.
He'd never lied to her in the past. He doesn't intend to start now.
He reaches out a hand, palm face up directly between them, his own eyes honest.
She immediately lifts a hand from where they're toying with her napkin on her lap, grasping his hand in her own without any hesitation.
"But eventually," Jim continues, waiting until Kate lifts her eyes from her lap to meet his gaze before continuing, "you teach yourself that you don't need to drink every last drop."
She purses her lips, nodding slightly.
"If you want to go back, Katie, you can."
She's already shaking her head.
"No one will think any less of you if you want to."
Her gaze wavers slightly and he knew that was the issue.
"You've done good, Kate."
"Well," she corrects automatically, nearly smiling at how much Rick has rubbed off on her.
"No, good. So much good for so many people. And you're great at what you do. It may not be the path I would've chosen for you… but I'm so proud of you."
She smiles slightly, but it deosn't reach her eyes.
"You're one of the best. Only the best cops capture the attention of best-selling novelists," Jim teases, trying to get a genuine smile on her face.
It works. She rolls her eyes but her cheeks pink slightly, and she tries to pull her hand away from his but he won't let her go.
"The job is the apple, Katie…" he whispers, "… Your mom's case was just the poison. Wanting to go back does not make you weak. I don't want you to give up doing something you love just because you're afraid."
She lets that sink in for a moment.
She wants to. Oh, she wants to go back. She wants her team back, her desk, her murder board. She wants body drops at absurd times in the mornings, wants hot coffee just the way she likes it on a cold morning at a crime scene with Castle still by her side. She wants to help people, wants that familiar sense of satisfaction she feels when she closes a case and arrests a killer, giving the victim's and their families and friends the closure that she never got, the closure that almost killed her. Twice.
"But what if I can't stay away from it?" she murmurs, "What if I get sucked right back into it?"
"You won't," he says decisively, "You don't have to do it alone anymore, Kate. There are people who care about you enough to keep you from falling back into it again, people who aren't willing to lose you another time…" he pauses for a moment, knowing that she knows exactly who he's talking about before leaning in slightly, his voice low and sincere, "… I know that you can do this."
He squeezes her fingers.
"After all," he says, a small, almost proud smile on his lips as he sits up straighter again, "You're a Beckett. We know how to fight."She looks up at him, sees the latent pain hidden in the corners of his eyes, the battles he's waged against his sickness that to everyone else look like laugh lines but she knows the truth. And then she sees the pride, the way the light bounces off his pupil and it makes them bright but not glassy, his happiness that she's truly happy blending with the regret that their relationship isn't as easy as it used to be.
They were such different people before everything happened.
They've faced their own demons, fought wars inside their minds all by themselves when they could have been fighting together.
There might have been fewer casualties that way.
His vices have never truly left him.
Her demons will never truly leave her.
They both have their scars.
She squeezes his fingers again, lifting their joined hands off the table into the air slightly, shaking them once in a celebratory gesture. She presses her tongue against the back of her teeth.
"Yeah," she says, her own proud smile breaking out across her lips, "And we know how to win."
( If you'd like, I'd strongly encourage you to go on youtube and look up "Werewolf" by Sierra DeMulder. Because it's amazing.
Trigger Warning: The poem graphically talks about act of self-harming.)
(Regardless of whether or not you do though, I'd love to hear what you have to say)