Author's Note: So this is the last chapter of the story. Don't know what Andrew Marlowe has planned for tomorrow's episode but I'm really looking forward to it. I believe that caskett will come out of it stronger. Some good drama never hurt anyone :)
Thank you to those who reviewed and those who followed the story. Hope you liked it.
Even though slightly hangover and sleepless she strides determined in the precinct the next morning. She tears off the murder board and starts assembling it again, looking at the evidence one by one, over and over. The main question is altered. The title is not "Who killed Elise Grayson?" but "Who wants to frame Castle?" Once she figures that out, she'll find the real killer.
The day passes in a blur of following leads and interrogations. She hasn't seen him all day; Esposito had taken over the interrogation when Castle's lawyer had arrived so now she is more than ready to go see him again. This time not only she ushers the officer away but she convinces him to give her the key.
She enters his cell, no words spoken, she just makes her way to him and he melts in her arms. They stay like that for a long time and when Beckett asks with a broken voice "how are you holding up?" they break apart and he notices her eyes full of tears.
"Oh Beckett." He mumbles and they are hugging again but not for long.
"Don't worry about me. How are you?" she insists.
"I'm cooping, trying to make sense of this mess, trying to guess who would want to frame me. Any new leads?" He asks hopefully.
She sits on the cot trying to delay her answer. She wishes she could give him something to hope, something that doesn't point at him being the killer, but unfortunately she hasn't something new.
"Nothing." She shakes her head sadly. "The only leads are the ones pointing to you…"
"Fuck!" he bursts. "What if this is finally the perfect crime?" he sits down beside her resigned.
"No!" she answers quickly. "You told me that there is no such thing, that there must be a mistake somewhere and I'll find it!" she supports.
Her partner doesn't seem all that confident though.
"Castle you need to tell me everything that comes to mind; anything that could have happened and might have pissed off someone."
"That's all I've been doing in this damn cell the whole day. But I can't think of anything! Especially these last months I didn't do much…"
She sighs. "There must be something I'm missing, something I'm not seeing. Maybe it will be better if I hand over the case to someone who can see more clearly…" but she doesn't get to finish her sentence.
"Don't you dare! If there is one detective out there who can get me out, that would be you!"
Again with the blind faith he has in her. When she considers her earlier doubts, she feels ashamed and starts to withdraw.
"I'm so sorry Castle, I'm so sorry!"
Castle won't leave her withdraw, so he keeps holding her hand and turns her towards him seeing once again the tears in her eyes.
"I know what it must have looked like Kate. I know yesterday was too much for you and you've assumed the worst…" he pauses waiting for her reaction. She nods ashamed but not breaking eye contact. "What matters is that you are here now, believing in me."
"Always" she replies, and that one word, their word, is enough to make them forget where they are and be engrossed in a slow passionate kiss. When it ends, they remain in place foreheads touching just looking at each other's eyes.
"Just hang in there a little longer!" she encourages. "I love you" she wants to add but now it's not the time or the place for that. She places a chaste kiss on his lips and she is off, back to her office, to review the file one more time.
It's late in the night or very early in the morning when she finally thinks she has found something, but not from the case file, but from Castle's webpage; his review for Alex Conrad's latest novel. The title revealing: The young author who failed to impress.
Is she grasping at straws? Probably, but it's worth a search. About an hour or so later what she finds concerning the link between Conrad and the victim surprises her.
The victim has helped Conrad plan his latest book parties and a number of other social activities, but their collaboration seems to have stopped almost 8 months before. But Conrad's latest book party, the one Castle reviewed, was two months old, so why stop? Why wasn't Grayson the one to plan the party?
If someone came by her office right now, he would think she was engrossed in the latest town gossip. But what she is looking are photos from every possible source, from Conrad's party.
"Morning Beckett" Ryan greets her but upon noticing her appearance he comments
"Did you leave the precinct at all?" But Beckett is too absorbed in her findings to even answer. She just points at her screen.
"See that?" she grins.
"It's our vic attending a party so? She was an event planner after all."
"Yes but why attend a party she supposedly didn't plan?" And she proceeds to inform Ryan about her theory. But Ryan always the reasonable one grounds her back to reality.
"Okay we have connection between our victim and a guy who could hate Castle. That doesn't explain anything."
"Could? Ryan look at all these reviews in the papers. They are all based on Castle's. Even the inspirer couldn't bare a positive feedback." She reads.
"Beckett you need to rest. You've been at it for 24 hours straight…"
"I know there is something there, I just need…." And she is moving towards the holding area.
"Beckett where are you going?" he follows.
"Open the cell of Mr. Castle" she instructs the offices. "She is coming into interrogation with me."
"Beckett you can't do that without his lawyer." He advices.
When they enter the interrogation room she asks.
"Mr. Castle would you like your lawyer for this?"
"No I don't think it will be necessary." He responds.
With a triumphant look towards Ryan she closes the door.
"Did you get any sleep?" he asks noticing her appearance. She ignores him because she wants answers.
"Castle, who suggested cooperating with Mrs. Grayson?"
"Uhm, it was my publishing company. They were really happy with her previous work."
Not the answer she was expecting.
"When was the last time you talked to Alex Conrad?"
"Conrad? What does he have to do with any of this?"
"Are you on speaking terms with Mr. Conrad after your review for his latest book?"
"Not really, but I don't see the connection. You don't think he is behind all this, do you?" he asked.
"That will be all for now Mr. Castle. Thank you." She didn't want to get his hopes up if her theory was proven wrong.
"Beckett?" he tries to understand what the hell just happened!
The rest of the day passes in a blur. Phone calls to the publishing company to find out how they started working with Grayson, going to Conrad for a "friendly chat" as she put it –the boy was obviously attracted to her the first time they met. Conrad was too eager to verify that indeed Castle was in a relationship with the victim and in fact he was the one to recommend the event planner to him, nothing solid she could use, but Beckett could feel it; the guy had something to hide.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and so Beckett during their conversation started hinting how frustrated she was with the case and in need for a drink. The young writer quickly catches the bait and offers to take her out but she finds an excuse that she is not feeling like going to crowded places. So he suggests taking her at his place for that much needed drink. Mission accomplished, minutes later Beckett is inside his apartment. She hasn't figured out what she'll do or what exactly she is searching but being inside is a start. When he brings the drinks she sees her opportunity; DNA from the glass. Since Lanie had found that the victim wasn't raped but had sex the day before, they couldn't match the DNA to anyone around her. Maybe this was her chance. All she had to do was to acquire something that contained his DNA. At first she thought to grab his glass on the way out but that would make him suspicious and even more careful. She didn't want him thinking he was a suspect. So after a while she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. After opening a couple of drawers he finds it; his hair brush. Carrying around plastic gloves and bags proves to be a great idea as she puts them in great use.
She hangs around a bit longer and finds an excuse of getting up early to make her escape.
"It was really good to see you again detective."
"Yeah, you too Alex." She plays along.
"Maybe we should do this again sometime…" he suggests.
"I'm sure we'll be seeing each other soon." But the double meaning is lost on the young writer since he smiles widely.
She heads straight to the labs. If this is a match to the DNA found on the victim then she can have the search warrant for his house, his phone calls, and his financials. She prays that she is right. And she is.
For yet another night she has opted to be with Castle in his cell, keep him some company. So when early in the morning she receives the phone call from the lab confirming the DNA is a match she sighs in relief. It doesn't prove that Castle is innocent and he'll have to spend yet another day in holding but she hopes he'll be out soon enough.
"Whose DNA you had checked?" he asks perplexed since she hadn't told him anything about another suspect.
She knows he won't like the answer, especially the way he acquired the lead but she tells him anyway.
"What? Are you crazy? If he is indeed behind this how could you go in there alone, without backup? You saw what he's done to her!"
"Desperate times, call for desperate measures Rick."
He sighs accepting the answer. "You really should get some rest!" he advices. "It's what; your 3rd sleepless day?"
"I'll sleep when I'll get you out." She feels him crushing her in a hug and she briefly kisses him before they part.
"I want to be there." He acknowledges with another kiss.
"I know" kiss "soon you'll be there again." Another kiss this time longer, more tender.
She gets up, withdraws. "See you later, hopefully with good news."
He pulls her back to him. "Please be careful" he whispers.
"Promise!" but they can't seem to be able to pull apart since they are once again kissing slowly, clinging to each other. Beckett senses the emotional weight and is the one to break their cocoon. This time she exits without looking back.
Once she is able to acquire the warrant the pieces fall into place one by one. His place is full of photos, intimate photos him and Grayson. They were a couple as it seems. So now Beckett can prove that it wasn't a one-time thing, Conrad was in a relationship with the victim; she also had motive to frame Castle; His laptop is full of notes from the time the review came on. There is even a scene where he supposedly confronted him and they got into a nasty fight. But why kill his girlfriend? Did he finally snap and turn to the dark side?
What puts the final nail in the coffin of the case is the stamp he used to mark her forehead. They find it hidden in a locked drawer of his desk. Time to make the arrest.
"Alex Conrad you are under arrest for the murder of…" she starts to say but he has grabbed one of the fireplace sticks and aims it at her head. She doesn't get to pull back completely and it cuts her cheek, blood streaming down her face.
"Espo!" she tries to get his attention since Conrad doesn't give up without a fight. He aims at her ribs this time but she manages to catch it before it hits her. What she doesn't expect though is the kick he manages right after which sends her on the floor, forehead hitting the edge of the table; more blood. That's when Ryan shows up and disables Conrad.
"You okay?" he asks concerned.
"Yeah, let's take him in and get this over with."
The always present paramedics tell her she needs to get stitches so it'll be a while before she gets back to the precinct.
"Ryan?" she calls before she has to go. "Please, get him out!" she requests.
"You got it!"
It doesn't take her long since all she needs are a couple of stiches on her forehead and to clear her cut, so when she comes back she finds Castle and Esposito deep in conversation.
"Are they making up?" she asks Ryan.
"Javi felt bad for the way he treated him" he explains.
"Everything okay with Conrad?"
"Yeah, he confessed almost immediately." He informs her.
When the two men in front of her are man hugging, she comments to Ryan.
"Should I be worried?"
He is first taken aback by her openness but plays along. "I don't know, I've heard the latinos are hard to resist."
"Hey boys, want us to leave you alone?" she voices out loud.
"Kate!" Castle's face lights up immediately but upon seeing the patches he stops. "What happened?" he asks.
"Don't worry Castle. Nothing I can't handle." She shrugs him off.
"Hey Javi, don't we have to go fill the paperwork?" The young detective suggests so that they can leave them alone.
"Actually guys, can you come over to the break room?" She suggests.
Castle is dumbfounded and so is Ryan but they follow. When they come out they all have huge smiles on their faces. Esposito is the last one to know their secret, which at first it was hard to grasp but eventually when they both apologize and explain the reason behind the lie all is well between the team.
They are all exhausted so they head out leaving the paper work for tomorrow. Finally in the elevator they let go. No words are exchanged they just shag against each other wanting nothing more than to go somewhere they can be alone.
"Aw, aren't mommy and daddy cute!" Esposito starts teasing.
"The cutest." The Irish plays along. "And I wondered why they stopped fighting. They obviously resolve the tension in…"
"Okay I think we've heard enough." Beckett interrupts but with a smile on her face. "Save the rest for tomorrow, when we can actually think of a witty come back!"
The elevator reaches the lobby and the couple disengages before the doors open.
"Oh believe me; you won't get away with it that easily!" And they are off.
They are finally just the two of them and when they turn the corner to get to her car they can finally talk openly.
"Are you really ok?" he asks again gently touching her cheek.
"Just a couple of stitches and a cut." She shrugs him off, but he doesn't seem to buy it. "Really Castle, it's nothing."
He sighs and gets in the car.
"So, your loft?" she asks.
"Yeah I want to see mother and Alexis and I so want to get out of these clothes."
They drive in silence and when they reach their destination she is ready to bid him goodbye but he convinces her otherwise.
While heading to his loft she stops him in the hallway just before his door.
"What?" he asks.
But she is on him, hugging him, kissing whatever part she can reach.
"Kate…" he tries, but she won't let him go. "Baby…"
She extricates herself from him.
"I love you Rick. I want you to know that before you find yourself locked up in a cell again and I want to tell you but think it's a totally inappropriate time." She rants.
He picks her up and twirls her around emanating a small scream.
"I love you too!" And they are kissing like there is no tomorrow; like that night six months back. Passion begins to build and once they part, they are going at it again. But they wouldn't be "caskett" without the interruptions. Martha comes out and finds them in a rather heated make out session.
"What was that noise? Oh…" she gasps and that sound is enough for the two adults to part embarrassed. They remain staring at each other without anyone speaking.
"Come on in whenever you are ready!" the actor tells them casually.
Once the door is closed they hear.
"So glad to have you back home Richard!" and the duo breaks down laughing.