A/N: My first Castle story. I could tweak it for all eternity and never be totally confident about it, but here it is! I always wish they would talk more about her father's alcoholism on the show but I guess that is what fanfiction is for!
Castle climbs up onto the exam table, doing his best to not smack wrist in the process. He turns around to face the room, putting his hand down to balance himself and instantly regrets it.
"Ow!" he squeals. Kate's eyes flicker over to him as she follows him into the room. He's cradling his bad arm to his chest, looking pitiful.
"Careful, Castle. You don't want to hurt yourself any more than you already have tonight," she baits him. If she is honest with herself she feels a little bad for him. Very little she tells herself, but it's a lie.
"Hey!" he instantly defends himself. "I'll remind you that I tripped down the stairs chasing after your suspect."
She smirks. "You tripped over your own feet. Very heroic."
"I was still chasing the suspect," he huffs. "You could at least kiss it better."
"In your dreams, Castle," she responds, instantly wishing she hadn't when his gaze sweeps over her body, not even making an attempt to be subtle.
"In my dreams-" he begins, but is interrupted by the doctor coming into the room.
"Hello, Mr. Castle. I'm Dr. Chase." The doctor goes to shake his hand before realizing the problem. "Ah, nevermind. You're right-handed?" The doctor pulls over the rolling chair before taking a seat.
"Unfortunately," Castle tells him. "This is Detective Beckett."
"Detective?" the doctor repeats. "Nice to meet you," he nods at her. "You're a detective, as well?"
"He wishes," Kate jumps in.
Castle frowns at her, "I assist on cases," he informs the doctor, even as he can see the laughter swirling in Kate's eyes. He has no doubt that she has something to say about that, but she grants him a reprieve and stays silent.
The doctor reaches for Castle's hand, which is already swollen and bruising. "May I?" Castle allows the doctor to look over his hand. "This looks like a break but we'll have to get an x-ray to make sure."
The doctor continues to prod Castle's wrist. "Ouch! That hurts," Castle whines for what feels like Kate to be the hundredth time.
"Real manly, Castle," she taunts him.
"It hurts, Beckett!" he reiterates. "Have you even broken a bone?" He looks over at Kate but she has a strange look on her face.
"No, I haven't," she finally tells him.
"Then you don't know the pain I'm in right now." He hadn't missed the flash of something in her eyes, but he lets it go for now as she rolls her eyes. The doctor lets his hand go and tells him once again that he will need to wait for an x-ray and that he will be back with the films later.
Two hours and one cast on his broken wrist later Castle is watching Kate fill out paperwork at her desk. It is getting late and most everyone has cleared out. Castle tried his best to get her to go get some dinner with him but she wanted to fill out the incident report first.
"So," he starts.
"So what, Castle?" she asks him, barely looking up from the forms in front of her.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he dives in.
"Talk about what?" She knows what. But she's trying to buy some time and is hoping that she's wrong.
"Your broken bone story," he tells her. Her face twists in displeasure and she looks down. "I knew you were being less than honest back at the hospital. I can read your tells."
She's not sure what to make of that. On one hand she is annoyed that he read her so clearly and on the other she feels warmth spread through her that he cares enough to notice these things. Still, she hopes he hasn't figured out her much bigger lie. She gets caught up debating with herself if he knows her true secret and she hears him speak up again, having interpreted her silence as hesitation. "I hope you know you can tell me anything, Kate."
"I do," she tells him honestly. "I've just never told anyone about it before." He looks more intrigued than before and she has an internal debate. Isn't this what she's in therapy for? To learn to be more open and honest with him? And, hell, she told him about her mother within months of knowing him. She can trust him with this. "Okay," she decides, and turns to face him.
He leans closer to her, fixing her with his gaze. "I broke my arm once." She takes a deep breath and pauses. She's not sure she can tell him this after all. But he's looking at her with that barely masked affection (she refuses to think of it as anything else) in his eyes, and she forges ahead. "It was when my dad was drinking. We started fighting and he broke my arm by accident."
"What?!" Castle exclaims, clearly not expecting this. She fixes him with a look and he settles back down. "Sorry. Please continue."
"I'd gone over there to check on him and he was… a disaster. I tried to take a bottle away from him and he just freaked out. He tried to take it back, jerk it away from me. He twisted my arm before I even knew what happened." She's looking down now.
"What did you do?" Castle asks her. She's glad for it. It keeps her from drifting in her own head too much.
"I was just shocked. And in pain, obviously. I just let him take it from me. He was more concerned about the bottle than me and so I ran out. I'm not sure he even knew what happened." She leans over her desk and rests her head on her hand, turned to look at him. "I eventually went to the hospital and they casted it. And it healed eventually."
"You never told anyone about this?" he asks her. He feels honored that she would trust him with this information but also saddened at the thought that she didn't have anyone to confide in. He marvels at her strength back then. Now, too.
"No. But I ended up calling Royce and he came and took me to the hospital. He waited with me while they took an x-ray and casted my arm. He didn't ask me what happened but I think he knew anyway because I had told him I was going to check on my dad and when he came and got me I was crying. But I never wanted to talk about it so it never came up again." She misses him. She doesn't think about him often, but when she does it is almost more pain than fond memories. He'd helped her when both she and her dad were at their worst and she isn't sure he ever knew how much his support meant to her.
The mention of Royce had Castle's mind roaming. He knows there is a story there, but that was for another time. "What did your dad say later?"
She chuckles to herself. "We've never talked about it."
"How is that possible?" Castle asks. He tries to put himself in her father's position and imagines Alexis in Kate's. He can't imagine ever hurting Alexis, even accidentally. Although he thinks it takes a pretty big accident to twist someone's arm enough to break it.
"I was… hurt. And angry for a while. I didn't see him for weeks afterwards and by then my arm had healed and I'd gotten the cast off. He never brought it up and I was too ashamed to."
"Why were you ashamed?" Leave it to Beckett to find a way to feel bad about something she had no blame in.
"I… I feel like I gave up on him, Castle. I didn't see him for weeks afterwards. He could have been lying dead in his apartment and I didn't even care enough to go make sure he was okay." She's blinking tears back, but she refuses to let them fall. She's never told anyone about this and it's dredging up feelings she'd forgotten had been there.
"Kate, listen to me. You didn't do anything wrong," Castle tells her. She looks up at him and he's looking at her with that rare mix of seriousness and care that he normally directs at Alexis and it warms her heart and makes her tears well up more at the same time. "I can't imagine how you were feeling back then, but I understand your needing some time." She tries not to think of the past summer. Was he always so understanding? But he continues on before she can finish her thought. "And I'm sure your dad doesn't blame you either."
"He's never mentioned it," Kate tells him.
"That's not because of anything you did," Castle assures her. "He hasn't mentioned it because I'm sure he's ashamed of himself. I'm talking to you as a father now. Hurting your child is the last thing you ever want to do and I'm sure he can't stand to even think about it."
"A couple of months later he checked into rehab. He made a real effort to get better. I've always wondered if what happened influenced his decision."
"I'm sure that it did." Castle pretends not to notice as she swipes her hand under her eyes. Eventually she looks back over to him.
"Well, that's the whole story, Castle," she concludes. She's trying to regain some control over herself and Castle leans back in his chair and lets her have a moment.
"Thank you," he tells her sincerely after he senses she is back under control. She looks at him curiously and so he adds, "for letting me know this about you." He thinks to himself that he will never cease to be amazed by her. Every detail of her life is something he cherishes. He pictures her standing outside, late at night, all alone and crying and waiting for Royce to come pick her up and it hurts his heart.
She sees Castle's mouth turn down and wonders what he's thinking about. But then he looks up at her and her previous honestly compels her forward. "I'm…" working so hard to be enough for you, trying so hard to be what you deserve. "I'm trying, Castle," she admits to him before realizing that he's not going to have any idea what she's talking about.
But he gives her a small smile and simply tells her, "I know." And he does. He sees it in the way she looks at him, in the way she smiles more and laughs at his jokes. She's forgotten that he is sometimes more insightful than she gives him credit for. He understood what she was trying to tell him on the swings, and he understands her now.
"So," he continues, and she finds herself growing uncomfortable with all the emotions flying around them. But he knows her. "Can we go eat now?"
She laughs in surprise and relief and shakes her head. "Alright, Castle. If you're that hungry."
"I am," he plays along. "I've had a very tiring day. That suspect was fast."
"I'm the one who actually caught him!" she laughs. "You were sprawled on the ground."
"If that's how you choose to remember it," he tells her, helping her into her jacket as she stands up. She doesn't even dignify his answer with a response of her own, but she's smiling to herself so anything she were to say would have its effect ruined anyway. His hands linger on her for longer than is strictly necessary and a wave of affection rolls over her. She thinks of how lucky she is to have him.
Tomorrow she will tell the boys that Castle broke his wrist chasing heroically after the suspect, neglecting to mention he tripped rather gracelessly and was no assistance at all. Castle will look at her with surprise and gratitude, and they will both feel one step closer to their future.