A/N: Welp, back by popular demand, it seems. :D The response to Walk by Faith has been simply overwhelming. Thank you all for your interest. Seriously. I was not expecting that at all. If you're here and you haven't read Walk by Faith yet, it's not necessary to understand this without reading that first, but you'll miss out on a lot of Beckett's inner conflict if you don't. The reason I chose to make this a separate story is because I really like how I ended Walk by Faith from an artistic perspective. That fic could stand completely on its own and I just wanted to leave it as it was.
While Walk by Faith was a relatively more realistic approach to the episode, the coming twists are NOT what I think will happen at all. I had to write myself out of a corner from the first installment, and this is what my brain came up with. These are short chapters, but I'm hoping to get this finished before the episode airs so I'm forcing myself to update often. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy the products of my overactive imagination!
Disclaimer: Surprise, surprise. I finally got around to reading through the rules and guidelines and there are no regulations that state that we must include a disclaimer with our stories. As such, this is the last disclaimer I will ever write until the rules tell me otherwise. For the last time, Castle and all affiliated people, places, and things are property of Andrew Marlowe and company and ABC Studios. I make no monetary profit from this work of fiction about fiction.
Not by Sight
It wasn't until Castle jerked awake that he realized he'd fallen asleep.
Hard to believe he'd fallen asleep in lockup.
Harder still to believe that Beckett not only thought him capable of such a brutal murder, but also that he'd had an affair with the victim.
His chest felt hollow and carved out.
Guess that's what happens when the love of your life thinks you're a cold-blooded murderer and a cheater to boot.
Perversely, it hurt more to know that Beckett thought that he would cheat on her than that he was a murderer.
He knew that Beckett still had lingering concerns and insecurities about their relationship—that much had been in evidence when Kristina Coterra happened and again when they'd gone to the Hamptons—but she'd been so open in talking with him about the issues she was worried about. He'd thought that they'd really entered into another phase of their relationship where they could openly communicate with each other about their secret worries.
They'd been so good together, so incredibly amazing that he hadn't put any extra effort into soothing her of her fears.
Maybe that was his mistake.
He'd assumed that they were okay.
Apparently, there were far more lingering issues rumbling beneath their relationship than he'd ever imagined.
His musings were interrupted when the heavy metal door leading to the rest of the station grated open. He wasn't sure whether he should be surprised or not when he saw Kate—no, this was Detective Beckett, not the Kate who'd opened herself up to him so much these past couple of weeks—coming through.
"My lawyer's not here yet, Detective, so if you were hoping to trip me up with your intimidating array of interrogation tactics, I'm not talking."
Castle almost regretted the bite in his words when he saw her red-rimmed eyes. She'd been crying.
God, he hated it when she cried.
She paused in her determined stride, her mouth falling open as if to throw back a retort at him, but then she screwed her jaw shut and swallowed whatever she was going to say. He felt oddly disappointed by that.
She flicked her gaze away from him, her eyes fixing instead on the concrete floor beneath her feet.
Shame. Guilt. Self-loathing.
They were scrawled across her body language in loud, angry letters.
His hand unconsciously came up to cover his heart when it squeezed uncomfortably in his chest. He was angry at her, so very frustrated and disappointed that she couldn't seem to trust him, but neither could he stand this defeat that brought her shoulders low and made her unable to meet his eyes.
Tense silence stretched between them when she stopped before the heavy gate between them.
"It'd be so much easier if I were a different person. If I knew how to trust without reservations," she murmured, and he wondered if she were saying it to him or to herself.
He understood what she was saying. Of course he understood.
He knew her past had done a number on her psyche. From the murder of her mother to her father's descent into the bottle; from the betrayals of the two men she looked up to the most to Will and Josh and who knows how many previous boyfriends who always seemed to think their jobs were more important than she was. He knew she had issues with trust and that those issues weren't necessarily because of him.
But then again, some of those issues were because of him.
He understood. He did.
But he also knew it was a copout. It was an excuse to never risk her heart.
He thought he'd gotten through those reservations and those thick self-protective walls of hers, but apparently she'd just been holding her breath to see when he would trip up and fail her.
The realization that she expected him to fail stirred up his latent anger, and he felt almost like another person when a cold calm came over him and painted his words in ice.
"Trust is a decision, Beckett. You chose not to trust me."
Fire sparked in her eyes, and he was at once both relieved to see life coming back to her and indignant that she should think herself wronged by him. But he never could have expected what she said next.
"You mean how you chose not to trust me?" Her voice was low, but thick threads of anger pulsed underneath. "You mean like how you're treating me like the goddamn enemy when all I've been trying to do is find something—anything—to prove that you didn't do this? You mean like how Ryan and Esposito and I have been busting our asses to solve this case only to find that you've been—and still are—hiding vital information from all of us?"
He opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off with a violent cut of her hand through the air as her voice escalated.
"You want to talk about trust? How about the fact that you don't trust that I would do everything in my power to get you out of here? You don't trust that I would get to the bottom of this. And you know what? This isn't your first time, either, Castle. Damian Westlake, Mayor Weldon. Every time a case comes up that has to do with someone you care about, your first instinct is not to trust that I won't throw an innocent man behind bars; your first instinct is to protect them from me!"
Castle could only stare at Beckett in stunned disbelief as breathing turned heavy from her emotional upheaval.
She couldn't really believe that, could she? She couldn't believe that he thought so little of her?
It was incredulous that she thought that he could think so poorly of her.
It scared him to think that a part of what she said might be right.
They stared at each other for long moments, each caught up in a cloud of frustration and anger, and God, Castle never could have imagined that all these issues had been bogging down their relationship without either of them noticing it.
Beckett sighed, righteous indignation draining out of her as she trailed a hand across the bars. It was only then that he noticed the white gauze wrapped around her right hand, the dark red of her blood standing out in vivid contrast.
"What happened to your hand?" he asked, his concern for her safety a heavy weight in the pit of his stomach.
She shook her head and ignored his question completely. "You know what I learned from you?"
He shook his head, still trying to piece together everything that just didn't make any sense anymore. First she was shamed, and then she was angry. And now she seemed reflective. Determined. It made him nervous because there was no predicting what a determined Beckett would do.
The corners of her lips flicked up, but it was a sad smile. "In the end, you always believed. That's why I have to do this. Because Castle? I may have doubted you and even now I'm still fighting those doubts, but you're right. Trust is a decision, and I'm choosing now to believe in you the way you've always believed in me."
It was only then that he noticed she was holding the keys to lockup in her hand.
Anxiety welled up in his chest and almost choked his words.
"Kate, what are you doing?"
Her eyes glinted in the dim lighting.
"I'm getting you out."