A/N: Trigger warning: This story contains significant elements of torture, kidnapping, rape, dub-con, and suicide. Do not read it if these are triggers for you. Do not be fooled by the lighthearted beginning, the end goes to some rather dark places.

Written for the LJ kink meme. This was the prompt: Rick and Kate (not in a relationship never had sex with each other before ) get kidnapped and forced into a underground BDSM ring where they are forced to to continually have sex (with each other ) different positions different fetishes depending on what the client wants. I never really had any intention of filling it exactly (even I won't go that far) but neither did I plan on writing the horrific angst that I actually produced.

"Castle. For god's sake, could you try and put your eyeballs back in your head."

He knows he must be wearing a really stupid look, but damn, her reprimand isn't doing much good. Especially since she delivered it in a commanding tone of voice, her hands on her hips, while wearing the sexiest dominatrix costume he's ever seen. The crop in her hand isn't exactly helping matters either.

Yeah, he thinks, this might be the best case ever.

It wasn't even their case to start with. When the first graphic torture videos began to pop up online, cyber crimes and SVU started to keep an eye out. When those were followed by several snuff films with a suspicious degree of verisimilitude, those departments went into overdrive. It wasn't until the first of several bodies showed up in the twelfth precinct that homicide, and Beckett, took over.

Background research managed to link the victims to Club Marquis, an exclusive BDSM society, the sort of members-only club that denied entrance and dodged questions. Unfortunately, what little evidence they had was far too tenuous for even the most basic search warrant, and without a warrant, there was no way they were getting inside. The investigation ground to a halt, leaving Beckett frustrated and cranky as hell.

Help came from the most unexpected quarter. Just when Beckett seemed about to reach her boiling point, Ryan showed up waving an elegantly embossed invitation. Castle plucked it out of his hand before Beckett could even lay a finger on it and proceeded to read the suggestively ambiguous text out loud.

"Dear Prospective Member, the Club Marquis would like to invite you to an evening at our facility. This invitation will admit you and a guest on the night of March 13th for what we hope will be a most pleasurable experience. If you have any questions regarding dress code, services, standards or restrictions, please call feel free to call ahead." When he finished reading, Castle looked over at Ryan. "I'm impressed."

"Forget impressed," Esposito said, narrowing his eyes, "I think what we ought to be is worried. Seriously, bro, you want to tell us exactly how you got that little invitation?"

"Oh jeez, no. I mean, yes I can tell you how I got it, but no to whatever else you were thinking," Ryan stammered, his cheeks flushing pinkly.

"So … explain," Castle prompted.

"Oh, right … Jenny got it for me."

Esposito raised his eyebrows. "Man, she doesn't seem the type."

"What, no. She got it from a friend." Ryan paused to look towards Castle for help, only to wince at the smirk on his face. "Not that kind of friend." Castle and Esposito raised their eyebrows and he stumbled on. "Okay, I guess technically it is that kind of friend because that's why she had the invitation. Why the friend had the invitation, not Jenny. Jenny didn't have it until her friend gave it …" he trailed off helplessly, his face an amusing shade of red. "Just give the damn thing to Beckett," he finally snapped before he stalked back out of the squadroom in search of some privacy in which to regain his dignity.

"It's never the ones you suspect," Esposito said with mock seriousness, before holding out his fingers for a 'feed the birds' moment.

And now, mere days later, with Beckett standing in front of him idly slapping a crop against her booted calf, Castle thinks this one evening might just make his entire year. Then Beckett lifts her hands and leans towards him to fasten a black leather collar around his neck, twining her fingers into the leash that is attached to the ring on the front of it.

"Oh, detective, just exactly how far are we taking this undercover job," Castle whispers provocatively. Then he lets out an indignant squeak when she smacks the crop firmly across the back of his thighs.

"Castle," she says in an ominous tone, "given that you're the sub, do you really think you should be asking that question?"

His eyes widen and his gut clenches with a weird mix of apprehension and arousal. Beckett rolls her eyes in exasperation and grabs her coat. Then she gives the leash a sharp tug and heads for the elevator, Castle right behind her.

Half an hour later an elegantly dressed woman, who introduces herself as Elaine, lets them into an expansive brownstone in a neighborhood where Castle would have sworn the most risque thing that ever happened was a husband ogling the uniformed maid. Once they are past the rather staid foyer, he realizes just how far off his estimation is. He tries not to gape at all the leather corsets, platform boots, and harnesses the patrons are sporting as he signs the required release and checks off boxes on a list of items that makes his toes curl. Once they are done with the formalities, Elaine beckons them back further into the building.

"We like to start by giving new members a tour of our facilities," she says with a pleasant smile. "It will only take about twenty minutes and then we'll let you explore on your own." She stops for a moment and turns to Beckett. "I forgot to ask. Is he allowed to speak without your permission?"

Castle starts to open his mouth but a sharp pinch from Beckett silences him before he can make the mistake of answering. "Normally, no," she says blandly. "But I think I can make an exception for the duration of the tour."

"That's good. I always like to know that I've answered everyone's questions," Elaine says before she leads them into what appears to be a nicely appointed lounge.

Castle gazes around the room, slightly surprised. There's a copper topped bar running the length of one end, stools lined up in front of it. Leather chairs flank numerous low tables scattered throughout the room. The paneled walls are hung with tasteful artwork and music plays softly in the background. It looks like any other upscale club, or at least it would if you ignored the high volume of leather garments and the fact that half the guests were kneeling on the floor.

Their guide must have sensed their surprise. "A large part of what we provide our patrons is the opportunity to interact with others once they have assumed their respective roles. That's a pleasure that's hard to come by in the rest of their lives," she explains.

"And one well worth your yearly dues," Beckett adds.

"Our members seem to think so," Elaine agrees with a smile. "We have a fully stocked bar and the lounge also serves a good selection of hors d'oeuvres." They walk through the lounge and into another room filled with tables. "This is our dining room. We serve only during certain hours and it is a somewhat limited menu, but I can assure you, the quality is excellent." She points towards a stage that juts out into the far end of the room. "Several nights a week we offer shows during dinner."

"Shows?" Castle croaks out.

"It's how we satisfy the desires of our members who prefer to merely observe certain practices. We'll give you a program schedule if you decide to join us."

"And for those who prefer participating?" Beckett asks.

"For that we need to go upstairs," Elaine tells her with another of her gracious smiles. "Follow me."

The wide front staircase leads to a hallway lit by ornate wall sconces. The thick carpet that muffles their steps is a dark dove grey. Ebonized wood paneling lines the lower half of the walls and the top is painted a crimson so deep that it appears nearly black in the shadowed corners. Heavy doors made of the same dark wood as the panels line both sides of the hall.

"These are our private rooms," Elaine tells them. "They can be reserved as much as a month in advance, but there are usually a few of them free should the mood strike you on shorter notice. We also employ several professional dommes, or doms, should you ever feel the need for outside discipline."

This is where they want to be. The hope is that they can locate the setting from one of the online videos. If they do, that will be more than enough to obtain the warrant they need.

Elaine opens the nearest door and leads them in. The room is decorated in what could best be described as Gothic boudoir. There is a huge four poster bed that forms the centerpiece, its turned columns punctuated by various hooks and chains. One wall sports an enormous mirror flanked by black velvet drapes embroidered with red and gold. Directly opposite that a St. Andrews cross padded with red leather is affixed to the wall. All of the furniture is dark and ornate and the upholstery leans heavily towards richly colored velvet. Even the spanking horse in the corner has legs that are carved and turned to resemble furniture from a bygone era. Unfortunately, none of it remotely resembles anything in the illicit videos.

"I'm impressed," Beckett says as she looks around the room. "You've spared no expense on the custom items."

"Only the finest will do," Elaine says as she walks over and opens a large armoire that must have held clothing at some time far in the past. Now it is filled with an assortment of cuffs, slings, harnesses and floggers. The scent of well oiled leather emanates from its depths. Elaine runs a hand down an unidentifiable strap. "Our members demand the best."

Elaine closes the door behind them as they walk back out into the hall. She takes a quick glance at some sort of scheduling sheet before leading them towards another door at the far end of the hallway. As they make their way down the dimly lit corridor, the sound of a muffled cry drifts out from one of the rooms. Castle would swear that he also hears the distinctive slap of leather on flesh and he glances over at Beckett to see her reaction. He knows that her cop instincts must be on high alert, but she stays firmly in character, striding across the carpet and exuding an unmistakable authority.

They finally reach their destination and Elaine pauses before opening the door. "All of our rooms have their own themes. If you become members, you'll be able to view virtual tours of them on our website. This particular room is one of the more elaborate designs. We call it The Inquisition."

Castle's eyes go wide at the name, and then wider still when the door swings open. The room is all faux stone walls, sooty wrought iron, and ancient looking wood. He can't even begin to imagine the uses of some of the archaic looking contraptions that serve as furniture, but the purpose of the chains and cuffs hanging from the wall is very clear. The room is, yet again, entirely unfamiliar.

He's is doing his best to look as though he's seen it all before. He's far from naive and more than familiar with the basics of BDSM, but this isn't some campy dungeon filled with fur lined cuffs and the sort of toys you can order off the internet. Even the most upscale sex shop he has ever visited can't quite compare. The entire club is a whole new level of kink and he's not quite sure whether he finds it titillating or terrifying. He's still gazing around, his mouth slightly open, when Elaine's phone buzzes softly. She glances down at it and gives them an apologetic look.

"I'm sorry to cut your tour a bit short but I'm needed downstairs," she says. "If you'll just follow me, I'll show you a shortcut back to the public rooms." When they are back out in the hallway, Elaine unlocks an unobtrusive door set right at the very end of the hall. "Just go through there and the stairs will take you to the back of the lounge."

"Thank you," Beckett says, "You've been very informative." Then she uses the end of her crop to poke Castle sharply in the ribs. "Where are your manners, boy," she snaps.

"Sorry, uh, mistress," Castle chokes out, and he could almost swear he sees a tiny twinkle in Beckett's eyes when he calls her that. He turns to Elaine. "Thank you, it was a lovely tour."

"I'll see you back downstairs, enjoy your evening," Elaine says, waiting for them to make their exit before leaving herself.

Despite the fact that Beckett would surely like to spend a bit more time searching through these upper rooms, it's quite clear that their guide is not about to leave them unattended in this area of the club. There's nothing else to do, so with the slightest of sighs, Beckett opens the door and steps into a stairwell that is even darker than the dusky hallway. Castle is close behind her, but as soon as he sets foot in the gloom he is grabbed from behind and the next thing he knows, he is choking on the sickly sweet scent that permeates the rag someone has clamped over his mouth and nose. His vision starts to dim. Beckett, he thinks frantically, unable to call out. He can hear her struggling somewhere close to him just before he finally blacks out, his fingers clenching in one final, desperate attempt to reach her.

Castle feels like he is trying to climb out of a snowdrift made of cotton wool. Everything is muffled, muted. His senses struggle to gain some purchase as he tries to climb back into consciousness. The heavy pounding behind his eyes lets him know he's still alive. The cold kiss of the floor against his cheek tells him he's lying on the ground and the gentle hiss of processed air means he's somewhere indoors, but he can't quite remember where. When he finally manages to pry his eyelids open, it all comes back to him in a rush at the sight of her.

She's still completely out of it. Whatever drug they used has not yet worn off, so she hangs limply against the restraints, her arms pulled high over her head, her knees slightly bent as she sags towards the floor. Her dominatrix outfit was provocative enough when it covered her fully but now it is ripped and pushed askew. He doesn't know if it happened during the struggle or if it was something purposefully done to humiliate her, but the lacing of the bodice has come unstrung and it hangs down, exposing her breasts. Somewhere along the line she's lost the tight skirt that hugged her thighs, leaving her black panties and the garters that hold her stockings in full view.

His whole mind goes cold at the thought of what they might have done to her and he attempts to scramble to his feet with limbs that are not yet obeying the frantic commands of his brain. He hasn't managed to get further than his knees when a cold and calculating voice speaks from a corner of the room.

"Ah, Mister Castle, I see you have finally rejoined us. I'm afraid your detective might take a little longer, we had give her quite a dose before she succumbed."

Castle looks over to see a man dressed in a tailored suit, sitting in a leather chair a few feet from a handleless door. He looks as though he's just come from the office, or dinner at a fine restaurant, and his appearance is wildly incongruous among the racks and chains that are scattered through the room. Castle finally gets his feet underneath himself, but any plans he may have had to overpower their captor quickly fade at the sight of the gun that is cradled loosely in the man's hand.

"What … who … who are you?" Castle forces out from between lips that still feel strangely numb.

"I'm the person you've been looking for," the man says with a small smile. "Aren't you glad you've finally found me."

"How do you know who we are?" Speech is coming easier now.

The man clucks his tongue in reproof. "Did you really think that invitation would be a free pass? We check on everyone as soon as they sign the release. It was a matter of moments before we knew that Richard Rodgers was actually the infamous author, Richard Castle. After that, it wasn't all that hard to figure out that your supposed mistress, who did not exist as far as any search was concerned, was actually the NYPD detective who had been causing us so much trouble. Your dear Detective Beckett."

Castle can't help it. He's been trying not to look while he assesses their situation, but at the mention of her name, his eyes flick over to her. "Let her down," he says.

"I think not. She's quite a tigress, your muse. She'll be coming around soon and I have no desire for a repeat of her earlier performance." The man gives her a long look before walking over to where she hangs in the restraints. "Although I must say, you are a very lucky man, Mr. Castle," he says as he reaches out to fondle one bare breast.

Castle makes a strangled noise low in his throat, his blood turning to ice at the sight of that pervert's fingers on her flesh. The man just chuckles as he goes on kneading her soft mounds.

"What's the matter, don't you like seeing someone else touch what's yours?"

"Get your hands off her," Castle demands ineffectually. But the man must read something extra into his tone because he stops touching her and gazes at Castle with a speculative look in his eye.

"So that's how it is," he says. "She's not yours. You want her but you can't have her."

"No," Castle says, but he's not sure exactly which part of it he's denying.

"Hm, that little tidbit opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities. Come here."

Castle followed the instruction on wooden legs, his eyes skittering everywhere in an attempt to avoid looking in her direction. When he's finally standing next to them, every muscle in his body an agony of tension, the man gestures with the gun.

"Touch her," he says.

Castle's breath leaves him in a rush and he wishes he had never woken up. "No. I won't."

The man doesn't reply, just cocks the gun with a very audible click and points it at his head. His meaning is clear and although Castle would rather die than do anything to hurt her, he thanks everything that's holy that she's still unconscious and reaches out to brush his fingers across the scar that is visible in the center of her chest.

"Harder," the man demands, and despite every fiber of his being protesting against it, Castle closes his eyes and cups her in his hand.

The soft weight of her takes his breath away and for one tiny moment, they are the only two people in the room. His thumb stretches out to brush across her nipple just as she stirs, finally starting to come out from under the drug. He drops his hand as if her skin had burned him and lurches back so violently that he stumbles and falls to the floor. The man just shakes his head.

"What? Who? … Castle?" Beckett's voice is as unfocused as her eyes.

"My dear Detective, back among us once more," the man says, then chuckles to himself. "I must say, you do have the most excellent timing. Your partner and I were just exploring some ways to occupy ourselves while we wait for my colleagues to decide what to do with you two."

The danger in the man's voice acts like a bucket of cold water. Beckett is instantly alert. "My suggestion is that you release us because my colleagues will be arriving soon and it will go much better for you if you let us go."

"I'm sure they will come after you. And the staff will graciously let them in, even help them with their search. None of which will do you any good since they will never find you. Really, detective, a facility like ours is prepared for such eventualities."

Castle feels his stomach sinking as he reads the truth in the man's nonchalant words. Even Beckett's bravado appears to deflate as their hope of an imminent rescue fades.

Their captor continues, unperturbed. "All of which means that we have a little time on our hands, and I know just how to use it."

Careful to keep the gun trained on Castle, he makes his way to one of the cabinets that line one wall and removes a camera affixed to a tripod. He aims it towards Beckett and takes a few moments to fiddle with the knobs until he has it adjusted to his satisfaction. They both think they know what's coming next. Beckett is glaring defiantly into the lens but Castle feels as though the bottom has dropped out of his world.

"No, please, you can't," he pleads.

"Oh, but I can. Or rather, you can. I think our special clients will get quite a thrill from a scene with our most persistent adversaries."

Castle hadn't thought the situation could get any worse, but when he hears those words he realizes just how wrong he was.

"No, no, no, no …" he chants under his breath as he backs himself into a corner as far away from Beckett as possible and huddles there.

The man ignores him while he loosens the rope that holds Beckett's hands above her head. "On your knees," he orders.

She glares at him, her lips a thin line in her face, but doesn't move. The man shakes his head and cocks the trigger in Castle's direction. Beckett slides to her knees without a word and the man refastens the rope just tight enough to leave her there. Then he looks at Castle.

"Take off your pants," he orders.

"No. I won't. I don't care what you do to me, so you might as well shoot me and get it over with, because I will never do anything to hurt her." He is proud of the way his voice doesn't quaver even though he is bracing himself for the searing heat of a bullet.

He closes his eyes. He can hear Beckett frantically hiss his name between her teeth, urging him not to provoke their captor, but he doesn't care. He means every word he said. But the bullet doesn't come and Castle reopens his eyes at the sound of the man's amused laughter.

"How very chivalrous of you, but killing you now would be most unproductive. Besides, you seem to have forgotten that my gun is not the only weapon I have available."

The man reaches back into the open cabinet and brings out an evil looking flogger whose braided lashes end in tight knots. Castle's breath hitches in his chest but he doesn't waver. He can hear Beckett gasp again but he ignores her distress.

"You can torture me all you want. It won't change anything."

The man draws the lashes through his hand with a contemplative air as he walks over to where Beckett kneels on the cold cement. "Whatever makes you think you're the one I plan to torture?" he says softly.

Before Castle can even start to react, the whip is slicing through the air and crashing down across Beckett's bare upper back. She jerks under the sting of the lashes but doesn't cry out. Castle surges towards them as the whip travels the same path again and this time she can't quite contain her cry. He can see tiny flecks of red where the cruel knots have bitten into her flesh and the only thought in his mind is to somehow make it stop. He's brought up short by the barrel of the gun.

"Are you ready to follow my instructions, Mr. Castle, or do I have to apply a little more persuasion."

Castle still hesitates. It's as if his brain can't quite comprehend the situation and is frantically searching for a way out. Beckett's voice is what finally unglues him.

"Please, Castle," she rasps out. "Just do what he wants."

"She's a smart woman. You should listen to her. Now, take them off."

Castle finally obeys, pushing down his pants and shucking off his boxers when the gun makes an up and down motion in front of him. The gun waves again and he goes to stand in front of her, his flaccid cock at the level of her face.

"I'm afraid you're going to have to help her a bit, her hands are rather tied up at the moment," the man says with a smirk.

Castle fixes his gaze on the wall ahead of him and unclenches one fist to hold himself up so that she can reach him. When she takes him in her mouth, his world shatters. He no longer cares that they might die in here because as of now, that would be the most preferable outcome. Any chance he ever had of a life with her is leaching away with every touch of her lips to him. After this, they're done, and he's not sure he wants to live through that.

The man watches their sick tableau with hungry eyes. "Lovely," he says, "but I think our viewers will want a little more action."

The man's arm moves and the flogger wraps itself around Castle's ass, nowhere near as hard as he used it on Beckett, but hard enough to make his hips surge forward. Beckett makes a small grunt as he pushes into her mouth and the sound distracts him into looking down at her.

It is a huge mistake. Despite his utter horror at their situation, the sight of her lips wrapped around him must stroke some deeply buried, animalistic part of him, because he feels his cock twitch and knows with a degree of self loathing that he has never before imagined, that he is starting to get hard.

"Move," the man demands, waving the flogger threateningly over Beckett's already bleeding back.

Castle complies, thrusting into her mouth with strokes that are as slow and shallow as he dares to make them. It doesn't help. With every pass of her lips over his length, he can feel himself swelling further. He wants to die but even that thought doesn't stop him. She's hot and wet around him and his body simply refuses to listen to the screaming in his brain.

The man is watching them intently. "See, Mr. Castle, you're even enjoying yourself."

His words rip through Castle's consciousness, bringing his agony to a crest and he pulls back sharply, heedless of the consequences. A sob escapes him as he stumbles backwards, wanting only to get away … from him, from her, but most of all from himself.

The man clucks his tongue at him. "Really, you'd have a much better time if you'd just let go of your inhibitions."

Castle is sunk to far into his own tortured headspace to even hear him and the man correctly assesses that, for the moment, he is too occupied with his mental anguish to be much of a threat. He makes the most of the opportunity, hauling up on the rope that binds Beckett's hands and dragging her over to a high, padded bench. The gun barrel in her ribs ensures her cooperation as he bends her over the bench and ties the rope off to a cleat on its side. Then he turns his attention to her legs, pushing her thighs apart with a knee before securing each ankle with the cuffs that are attached to the legs of the bench.

Satisfied with her position, he pulls a small, folding knife out of one pocket. he slips the blade under first one, then the other side of her panties, slicing through the flimsy material until they fall from her legs. He runs a hand across her ass and down between her legs, then he steps back to admire his handiwork. She's bent over nearly double, her legs spread so that she is completely exposed. He smiles in approval then raises the flogger once more and brings it down across her naked ass. She can't help herself as she shrieks with shock and pain. Castle spins around at the sound, his whole body shaking as the echo of her agony courses through him.

"I again require your services, Mr. Castle. Or perhaps I should say the she requires them. Do you like what you see?" the man asks tauntingly. "Personally I think she could be improved with a few more lashes, but I'll leave that choice up to you."

The man's meaning is clear as he raises the flogger again, but it is the raspy sound of Beckett's laboured breathing as she fights through the pain that brings Castle to her side. He places himself between her and her their tormentor.

"No. No more. You'll have to get through me first." He can hear her behind him, rasping out his name but he stands firm.

"i see my method of persuasion is no longer working," the man says with a sigh. "Understand this, Mr. Castle, I will kill you if I have to. After all, this will probably end with both your deaths no matter what you do, it's only a question of timing. But make no mistake, your valour will not spare her." Then he reaches down to squeeze the bulge in his elegant dress pants. "I don't think she will prefer the alternative."

Castle's eyes sink shut in defeat. He turns and bends over her, stroking her hair as he keens out his distress against her shoulder. His mind churns through all the horrific possibilities, searching for a way out. Attacking the man, unarmed and half dressed seems a sure death sentence, but maybe, just maybe, he can do enough damage to spare her from the worst of their captor's threats. He has to try.

He can hear her talking to him, but at first the words don't penetrate his torment. He bends to lay a final kiss against her forehead and feels her struggle underneath him. She's crying now and her tears give him pause.

"Please, Castle. Please don't do this. Please stay alive while we have a chance," she moans against the leather of the bench.

"What chance, Kate," he whispers back. "What chance do we have now."

"Don't die. Please, just don't die. Do what he asks, do anything he asks, just stay alive until help gets here. Please," she chokes out through her tears.

"You can't ask me … Kate, you can't ask me to …"

"I can. I am. Just please don't die."

He draws in a shuddering breath and stands up again. "Don't make me hurt her," he begs the man. "Please. just give me something so I don't have to hurt her."

He doesn't get an answer. The man just stands there, regarding him impassively, and Castle thinks for a moment that even this small request is going to be denied and he really doesn't know what he's going to do when it is. Finally, the man gives a small sigh.

"You don't know what you're missing," he tells Castle before he reaches into a nearby drawer and tosses a tube of lubricant in his direction.

Castle lets his breath out in a relieved huff, and squeezes out a generous amount before slicking it onto his cock. Then he takes some more on his fingers and turns to Beckett, freezing for a long moment as he truly takes in the prospect of what he is about to do.

"Castle … Rick," she pleads softly, and the sound of his name on her lips galvanizes him back into action.

He reaches down between her legs, working the gel into her, his breath catching as his fingers slide between her folds. Most of him is still utterly horrified at his own actions, but that small, unevolved part that reacted when she had him in her mouth crows in delight at the feel of her. He shuts his eyes when he takes himself in hand and positions himself at her entrance. Bending down over her back, he whispers out his apology as he pushes into her, his lips forming a string of I'm sorrys over and over again until they run together into an unintelligible mantra of guilt.

He keeps his eyes closed as he thrusts against her, trying to find someplace safe to go within himself. A place where he won't feel the hot grip of her walls around his cock, or the press of her ass against his belly. Somewhere he can't hear the rasp of her breath as she turns her face into the leather top of the bench. Anywhere he can't feel the confusing mix of anguish and arousal that surges through his veins.

He doesn't succeed. He can feel himself increasing his pace, feel himself rising closer and closer to a peak he doesn't want to climb. His teeth grit together as he fights for control. He doesn't care about physiology, about the tension of their years together, all he knows is that this is so very wrong and he wants to gouge out his own heart because of his body's reaction.

He wishes he could just stop. He knows there has already been far too much damage done for them ever to me the same again. Really, he would be surprised if she can ever stand the sight of him after this night, but even so, he would give anything not to add this final insult to the toll. But, right behind him, and always in the back of his mind, is the flogger, and the gun, and that other even more horrifying weapon that their captor had gripped so nonchalantly just minutes before.

When his back finally bows with his climax, tears are running down his face. "I'm sorry, Kate. Oh God, I'm so sorry," he keens as he comes inside her.

And then it's over. He slips out of her and stumbles a few steps away, crumpling to his knees and burying his face in his hands. He can hear Beckett breathing unevenly as she struggles to control her tears. Then over that sound, he registers another harsher rasp of air. It breaks through his misery and he glances up to find that their captors attention has lost its focus. The gun hangs loosely in his hand as he gazes at Beckett with hooded eyes and grips his erection through his pants. It's not much, but it's a chance.

Before he misses his chance; before he can lose his nerve or hear Beckett's pleading voice in his head, he gets his feet underneath himself and launches towards his target. He crashes into the man, his hands scrabbling for the gun. They fall to the floor together and the gun spins away into a corner. He can feel the man's hands clawing for his eyes, his throat, but he ignores it and crashes his forehead down onto his opponents nose, then follows it with his fist. He's pulling his arm back to hit him again when he realizes that the man has gone limp underneath him.

He rolls off of him before fishing in his pockets for the knife and key. As soon as he finds them he frees Beckett's legs and saws through the rope around her wrists. Once she is free, his adrenaline gives out and he slumps back to the floor. His eyes slide shut as his breath rasps in his chest. For a moment, the relief bubbling through him overwhelms his grief and guilt.

Then he opens his eyes to see Beckett crouched over the man, securing his arms with a pair of handcuffs she has retrieved from somewhere in the room. She is still barely dressed and her inner thighs glisten where a trail of his come runs down between them. The sight undoes him. Every regret, every bit of self loathing comes rushing back. I love her and I … and I … his mind shies away from even the word. I love her and I raped her. The thought blazes through him, ripping away everything he has ever hoped for, everything he thought he knew about himself as her friend, as a man.

Suddenly he wishes the night had ended any other way. Not for her, never for her, but for himself, because right now death seems preferable to facing her again. His frantic eyes fall on the gun, lying abandoned in the corner and the thought crosses his mind that he can still get what he deserves. He shifts over closer to it, then takes a deep breath and reaches for the weapon, cradling it in his lap as silent tears run down his cheeks.

"Castle, hand me the gun," Beckett calls to him once she has made sure that the man is no longer a threat to them.

When he doesn't answer, or even move, she starts to worry. She steps towards him, reaching out a hand, but he flinches away.

"Don't touch me," he rasps out. "How can you touch me?"

"Castle," she pleads gently. "Castle, give me the gun."

He stares at the weapon as if he's not really sure what it's for, one finger caressing the barrel as he turns it over in his hands. "I can't," he tells her. "I can't do this."

"I know," she tells him, deliberately misunderstanding. "That's why your going to give me the gun."

But he's not listening. He lifts the gun and strokes his own cheek with the barrel. "I raped you, Beckett. How can you even look at me?"

"No, you didn't. You couldn't. You had no more choice than I did."

"That's not true."

"It is. You're as much of a victim as I am."

"Is that what you were thinking when I was coming inside you?" he asks, desperate to make her understand that while he might be able to forgive his actions, his reactions put him beyond the pale.

"I was thinking how grateful I was that you had the courage to spare me something even worse, because that's what you did, Castle. You saved me." She draws in a shuddering breath, her heart in her throat, and goes on. "Don't hurt me now. Don't make me watch you die."

Guilt finally accomplishes what reason could not. When she reaches for the gun, he lets her take it from his hand. Then he buries his face in his arms and refuses to look at her again.

That's where they are when their rescue bursts through the locked door. Castle has his pants back on, but he's still slumped in the corner, incoherent with grief. Beckett, wrapped in a blanket, stands guard over him, her face streaked with tears she's cried for them both.

A/N: Obviously, there is much, much more to this story, but I'm not sure when (or even if) i can write it. Although I always knew it would be longish, this grew beyond all my expectations, and honestly, writing it has taken a lot out of me. I apologize for leaving it at such an angst filled juncture but the best I can promise is that someday, I will try to bring it to a better resolution.

Reviews might help me do that ... hint, hint.