One of our dear Hamlet members celebrated her birthday today and she requested that this angsty fic be presented to her. It deals with very dark themes, so anyone wanting fluff may want to turn back now (but don't really turn back, give it a chance anyway. Hehe)
Happy birthday to you, blindassasin :) I hope it has been glorious and that this fic isn't too much of a downer. Hehe.
Thank you to the ever wonderful eitoph for being my beta and encouragement when I was stressing about what I was writing and to the gorgeous brookemopolitan for giving me a helping hand as well! Legends.
Disclaimer: I don't own Castle…and after you read this you'll all be glad.
Caught in a Trap
There's a bitter sort of chill in the air and she can almost feel her soft, warm coat taunting her from the car. It was sunny when she got here, the weather seemingly changing to suit the occasion. The clouds are rolling around overhead, creating an ominous atmosphere which does nothing to improve any kind of mood that she has been able to muster. But she can't turn away.
She closes her eyes against the wind and feels the tears that she had been containing so well roll down her cheeks. She does nothing to stem the flow; this has been days in the making. So many emotions in such a short amount of time; she had just physically shut down. But today she cries. Today she mourns.
She smiles at him as he brings her morning coffee into their bedroom along with an assortment of food on a tray. Her eyebrows knit together as she tries to work out the occasion.
Coming up blank, she doesn't even give him the benefit of the doubt as she picks up a strawberry that has rolled off the edge of one of the smaller plates on the board, "What do you want?"
He quirks an eyebrow, sitting beside her on the bed, placing the tray between them and helping himself to a piece of toast, "Why Detective Beckett, have I remembered an anniversary that you haven't?"
She sips at her coffee, giving herself a moment to think. They began…dating (if that's what you call it) in May. She glances to the window where she can see snow building up in the corners of the frame, "It's January."
He grins, "And it's been a year since you moved in here."
She laughs, picking at the waffles in the corner, "That's not a real anniversary."
"Isn't it?" he questions lightly, taking his coffee and another piece of toast with him as he walks towards the bathroom to get ready for the day, "Eat up, then come join me."
She watches him retreat and almost considers just leaving the food, but the mixture of smells is heavenly and she can't help but to follow his wishes, sipping on her coffee as she eats portions from the waffles, fruit salad and toast.
It's only when she nears the end of her homemade latte that she notices the words on the bottom of the mug. The shower is still running and she wants to be under the spray with her writer man, but she feels like this is a mystery he would want her to solve. Gulping down the rest of her coffee proves to be a bad idea though, as she almost chokes on the liquid when she reads the question.
Before she can fully comprehend what to do or say or react in any way, her phone is buzzing at her. Eyes still glaring at the mug, she answers with a curt, "Beckett," and listens as Ryan speaks to her in a panicked tone. She's in the bathroom, pulling Castle out before she has even hung up the phone, "We're needed at the Precinct."
As she rushes around the room, pulling on clothes and tidying her hair into a manageable bun, Castle asks if she has finished her coffee. She grabs the tray before he can check for himself and marches it out to the kitchen, "It's okay. We can just grab one on the way in, like we usually do."
He smiles and she can see the disappointment in his eyes, but he nods and agrees, "Yeah, sure," before he too is rushing around, trying to get ready for their next big case.
She wants to be closer, but there are so many flowers blocking her way. She had known the publicity surrounding closing her mother's case would be enormous due to those involved, but she still hadn't been prepared for how that would impose on something so private, something that should only be for her friends, her family.
The flowers and tributes all speak of loud colour and bright hope. Despite the tragedy surrounding every aspect, the closing of her mother's case had seen a lot of families find light in the dark. It had shown the families of victims that their cries never fall on deaf ears, that no matter the cost, justice will be served.
But all the colour is just a reminder. It's all just a reminder of the bright people who were killed in the line of this case, of all the people she dragged down with her. Sure, some were lucky. But many, so many were in the wrong place at the wrong time, fighting a war against a man so powerful half of his victims were still yet to be uncovered.
Castle was noticeably more disgruntled as they pulled up at the precinct.
"I'm sorry, okay?"
He pulled his seatbelt off and went to open his door, "It's okay, Kate. I just wish you didn't feel the need to lie to me."
Somewhere between the loft and the little coffee shop they frequented, Castle had gotten his answer about the coffee he had given his partner that morning. The four little words, forming a question across the bottom of the mug, had still yet to be answered.
She hops out of the car and rushes around to his side, grabbing his hands as he begins to stand from his seat, "I just want to talk about this quickly before we go in," she says in a rush. "I know that marriage is a big deal for both of us, but there's no denying that you've done this before," she runs one hand across her forehead, clearing her hair from falling in her face. She wants to be sure he can see the sincerity in her eyes when she says what she has to say. "All I'm asking is for the right to freak out a little. Okay?"
He lets out a breath and smiles, pulling her in and kissing her forehead, "Of course."
And just like that she feels like they're on solid ground again.
They make their way into the precinct to be greeted by a lot of people running in a lot of directions. Kate locks onto her partners at their desks and makes her way forward, "Hey guys, what's got everyone in such a panic?"
Ryan looks up first and she knows immediately what this is about; it's written all over his face, "It's not necessarily a panic. It's more a big break."
She won't let her hopes soar, but she can already sense that today could be the day that it's all over, "Bracken?"
Ryan nods, "There's…something."
Esposito pipes up, "The scumbag was seen poking around your mother's grave this morning."
Castle raises a hand, "Can we get him for that?"
Beckett shakes her head, "No. But we already have the evidence to convict him, we were just waiting for the right time."
"Won't he just set his men on you, Kate?" Castle asks, sounding understandably concerned, "I thought the whole reason we weren't ratting him out was so that the deal would still stand and no one gets hurt."
She places a hand over his, trying to find the right words to express how she feels, "It's been fifteen years of hurting for me, Castle. Bracken could have gone the rest of his life without coming near my mom's grave, but there was always a time limit on how much patience I could have for him and how much patience I could have for myself." She squeezes his hand gently, trying to convey some sense of reassurance, "I know who he is and I know what he's done and I can't live with myself if I don't do something about it now."
Castle squeezes her hand back, genuinely frightened for her life, but understanding her sacrifice, her need to do this, "I'll be standing right by you, then."
She nods and looks to her boys. Ryan and Esposito nod as well.
It's funny how life can change like that. So fast. So unexpectedly.
Her mother had been coming home from work and then, suddenly she wasn't anymore.
Her morning had started out with a marriage proposal and then she was chasing down the man who had killed her mother.
Life never leads you down the path you expect from it. It's so malleable, so ever changing.
And sometimes, life is just harsh.
Senator William Bracken steps down from the podium and into a group of determined looking detectives. Kate holds up her badge, "Detective Kate Beckett. I believe we've met."
Bracken lets his gaze fall on Ryan, Esposito and Castle in turn before he holds Kate's stare, "I recall it, yes."
She stands a little taller, trying to intimidate him, "So you also remember the deal we had?" She stresses the word 'deal' and it seems to work; Bracken nods to his security crew, without saying a thing, and they lead the group of detectives and Castle to a small room to the side of the large hall which could not be reached by any of the media.
The door closes behind them and the room's temperature immediately rises with tension. Beckett notices that the security detail has been left outside, "Don't want your henchmen to know about your shady past?"
Bracken merely blinks, "I do not know to what you are referring."
She rolls her eyes and pointedly looks at each member of her team. They follow her silent instruction and form a sort of guard behind her, the four of them glaring solidly at Bracken, "Come on, Will. I thought we were past all this lying."
"Oh we got past it long ago, Detective, which is how I know that you showed your hand the last time we met. You have no moves left and I do not have to answer to you." His authority beams around the room and whether she wants to or not, Kate feels herself shrink back a little, "And only my friends call me 'Will'."
"Oh we can agree that we're not friends. But we do have an arrangement, a promise if you will, to keep out of each other's way."
It's almost imperceptible, the move of his hand over his hip, "And I believe I have honoured that."
Kate matches his motion on her own hip, feeling her gun there, her fingers itching to hold it, to pull the trigger on that animal who ordered her mother's death, "I believe you're lying. My guys posted at my mother's grave site reported seeing you there just this morning."
"Can't I pay my respects?"
He almost chuckles and the movement in the room is so quick from that moment.
Guns are drawn and held as all parties fall into their stance, her anger at his blasé attitude to her mother's death unnerves her in a way that makes her fearless. From near the back of the room she hears a protest from Castle and knows that Espo will give him his spare piece. "Oh Bracken, you think I don't know what date it is? You think I would just let it pass?" She speaks through gritted teeth, rocking in her stance, gun trained on her target. Not a person in this room would deny her the pull of the trigger, except maybe Bracken himself, "Fifteen years! Fifteen years I have been in this limbo. Either knowing nothing or knowing too much about my mother's death. And you think showing up to her grave on the fifteenth anniversary of you ordering her to be killed is holding up your end of the deal?"
There is only silence in the breaks of her anger. No one has any way of making this better.
"I gave you a chance, Bracken. And you blew it. You won't walk out of this room a free man. As soon as we get the phone call, we will have the warrant to arrest you. Let that sink in for a moment. I'm done giving chances, damn the consequences, you will go down for your crimes."
It's unsettling the way he stays so calm, but she can't let it get to her. Not when they are so close. They had some uniforms run the banking details and the rest of the file down to the courthouse. The clean-cut evidence that would decide William Bracken's fate.
"Oh Kate, you really are your mother's daughter. So much spark." He lowers his gun, taking a step towards her, "So high to rise, so far to fall."
It's instant. Her feet carry her forward as she thrusts Bracken into the wall, her gun to his chest, "Don't you dare speak about her." She feels arms pulling at her from behind, voices telling her that it's not worth it. She elbows them away as they desperately grab at her.
And in the midst of the scuffle, a gun is fired and a phone rings.
She wishes her mother could be here to see this justice. She wishes she could see the man held accountable for all his wrongdoings. Bracken will never see the outside of a prison again and finally, finally, it's all put to rest.
But at what cost?
She lets out a shuddering breath, tears rolling freely down her cheeks and she stares longingly at the gravestone. She's managed to make her way past most of the flowers that adorn the site and she reaches out a hand to run along the cool stone.
Her words are soft when she speaks them, her voice weak with emotion, "I would have said yes, you know." She sets the mug with the words at the very foot of his gravestone, running her fingers over the resting place of her partner once more.
April 1, 1969 – January 9, 2014
Beloved father, son, partner and friend