After a Deadly Affair
Disclaimer: No, can't say that I own Castle. Rating: K Time: At the end of A Deadly Affair, as if the title didn't give that away.
Author's Note: The other night I watched the commentary on A Deadly Affair that I had somehow overlooked when I got the DVD a while back. This is the result.
"So, how long before Castle did you figure out that this was about counterfeiting?" Esposito asked, glad to see Beckett happy again.
Beckett made no reply, but just smiled.
Espo went on. "I'm still a little mad at him for not calling you. Um, us, that is."
Beckett shrugged. "Castle's thought process can be a mystery."
Esposito waited a few moments and decided to say what was on his mind. "Even so, I think he was trying to be a gentleman."
"By coming back to us?" Beckett sounded very skeptical.
"No, by not calling."
Beckett turned to face Esposito. "Ignoring us is what a gentleman would do? Did you fail Etiquette 101 at the Academy?"
Espo shook his head. "If he called us, he'd have had to drop by. If he dropped by, as far as he knew, he would have been intruding on you and Demming. I don't think he would have felt a discarded boyfriend would have been very welcome. He had no way to know you broke up with Demming. How would you like it if you worked with Gina and you saw her and Castle together each day?"
"Castle was never my boyfriend." Beckett snapped. No, I saw to that. Instead of spending the summer finding out what we'd be like together, I spent the whole summer with an ache in my gut, constantly reminding me how stupid I'd been. He spent the whole summer with that blonde. I couldn't stop wondering what the two of them were doing, especially when I was alone in bed at night. I'm probably damned lucky that he bothered to come back to me at all. Assuming he came back for me, and not for some other reason.
"He was well aware of that. He doesn't know you like I do. You had picked Demming over him as far as he knew. To him, you looked a lot more comfortable and happy with Demming after a couple of weeks than you did with Castle after a year with him. I don't recall you ever threatening to shoot Demming. Castle came to the obvious conclusion, you didn't want him. Can't blame him really."
"I did not pick Demming over him." Beckett knew that wasn't true. I picked Demming because I could be in control. When I told Demming we were through, he accepted it and that was it. He didn't try to get himself killed in a gunfight to impress me. Why can't Castle do what I ask him to? Kate smiled mirthlessly to herself. Be careful what you ask for, Kate, you might get it. You repeatedly asked Castle to just go away and he finally did. He should have known you didn't mean it, shouldn't he? Sure.
Esposito shook his head. "Castle's was here for more than a year. He didn't need to do that much research and I don't think he has a repressed desire to be cop. He stuck around for you. Everyone in the precinct, including you, knows that."
Kate nodded and glanced at what she always called, to herself, Castle's chair, sitting right by her desk. For a split second she felt the empty ache in her stomach that she'd felt all summer long. Then it was gone. Castle will be back in that chair tomorrow. And, in spite of everything, I do know that he's coming back for me. But what does he want from me? Does he just want to be my partner? After a lifetime of writing about crime, does he enjoy the challenge of a real crime with a real detective? Or is this all about sex? I know he wants me. Hell, I've read the sex scenes in Heat Wave so many times I know them by heart. He's writing about the two of us, I know. And I'd love to make love to Richard Castle, more than any man I've ever known. But would that be it? Once he's made me his conquest, would he grow bored and want to move on to the next challenge? Kate shook her head. Castle was egotistical, but would he go through gun battles, beatings, death threats and bombings to stay with a woman just so he could sleep with her? That wasn't egotism, that was a psychosis. No, Castle had to want more than just sex. Did Castle want a real, long term romantic relationship, then? Marriage? Beckett suddenly had an image of herself as ex-Mrs. Castle number three. No! No way in hell! I want a one and done and a one and done forever. Castle has never stayed with a woman in his life. Why would I think I'd be any different? Why wouldn't I be different? Came unbidden into her mind. I'm nothing like Meredith or Gina. It could be different for us. Tell yourself that when you're crying your eyes out at the divorce lawyer's office. She thought savagely.
"It doesn't make any difference why he stuck around. He's back with Gina, remember?"
Esposito snorted. "I sure didn't hear him say anything about still being with Gina. And what if he is? She's his ex-wife for a reason."
"Maybe it was Castle's fault. Maybe he realized he made a mistake. We've both made out share, haven't we? I'm sure his didn't hurt as badly as mine.
"Yeah. He probably realized that getting into a gun battle with a pair of killers so he could get back with you was just the thing that Gina would want him to do."
"That still doesn't mean we're anything but partners." He chased after Kitty Canary. He didn't have to. He could have stayed where he was, but he didn't. We saved each other's lives. Well, that is what partners do. He didn't know I was out there. It could have been Espo or Ryan out there, he could have saved one of them. Damn it! I have no idea what goes on in that handsome head of his. Ruggedly handsome. She corrected to herself with a smile. I may never figure him out.
"Partners for now." Esposito checked his watch. "I'm off, Beckett. Good night."
"See you tomorrow." She replied, automatically echoing Castle.
She sat at her desk and looked fondly at his chair. Castle would be back tomorrow. And when he was, he'd be her partner again. He wouldn't be anything more until he had proved to her that he could be what she wanted. She would accept nothing less.
Javier Esposito smiled as he walked away from Beckett. I looked like she finally had a chance for happiness. A certain someone just needed a little push.
Castle showed up the next morning with two cups of coffee and headed straight for Beckett's desk.
"Bro," Espo called out, "she's briefing Montgomery on the status of our cases for the monthly report. She'll be another half an hour or so."
Castle shrugged, put down the coffees and took his seat. "I'll just keep myself busy here."
Esposito shook his head. "Come with me. I got something you need to see."
Castle followed the detective to a storage room in the back. Esposito closed the door behind them.
"This is what you need to see." Esposito said, holding up his fist. "You may be the wealthy writer and I'm just a cop, but if you ever hurt Beckett, I will hurt you. I will hurt you bad."
Espo was happy with Castle's reaction. He wasn't scared, he was angry.
"Where the hell are you talking about? I would never hurt Beckett. Damn it, in case you missed it, I risked my life for her yesterday. Why do you think I would ever hurt her?"
"Because you already have, bro."
Castle shook his head. "Okay, she was mad at me because I didn't call her. What was I supposed to do, call her up and ask what she and Demming were doing? She knew I…cared for her, but she made her choice and it was Demming. I accepted that and walked away. Is there some sort of police procedure I wasn't told about that I should have followed? How the hell was I supposed to know they only lasted for the summer? It looked to me like she'd finally found her one and done. Why the hell was she so mad at me? Damn it! Everyone was mad at me."
"Castle, she broke up with Demming before your going away party. When she asked to talk to you alone at the party, she was happy. Normally she'd only look that happy if she'd caught a freaking serial killer. Hell, she's been happier than I've ever seen her ever since you showed up. But as soon as you ex showed up, she was miserable. She was miserable the whole damned summer. I don't know what happened, but you broke her heart, bro."
Castle swore under his breath. She was going to come with him to the Hamptons for Memorial Day, and maybe a lot more. Not being able to go with him was bad enough, but to see him go off with another woman. That was twisting the knife in the wound. "Crap. I'm lucky she didn't shoot me."
Esposito nodded. "You're lucky we all didn't shoot you. So, are you still with Gina?"
"Sort of. We're still seeing each other."
"Sort of doesn't sound like much of a commitment to me. So what are you going to do?"
"Javi, I appreciate the insight into Beckett, but I need to hear something from her before I start going off the deep end. To tell you the truth, from day one I have had no idea where I am with that woman. Rather, I have a different idea about every fifteen minutes. Sometimes I almost think she'd like us to be a couple, others, I think she'd love for me to just disappear. When I came back, we made a deal. If I figured out how our three vics were connected, I got to stay and be her partner again. If she figured it out, I left and never came back. That day she was perfectly happy at the thought of seeing the back of me forever. But then she cheated. She let me be the first to figure out it was counterfeiting."
Castle smiled. "Not until you confirmed it just now, but I had my suspicions. I'd never write a story where the best detective in the NYPD lost out to a writer unless the writer got lucky or cheated. I got lucky because she cheated."
"Then she wants you back."
"She did yesterday. She may change her mind today. Look, Espo, Beckett is absolutely the most fascinating, challenging, complex, utterly infuriating and totally confusing woman I've ever met. If you want to beat me to a pulp, be my guest. But I am not going to live my life to suit the whims of Detective Kate Beckett. We'll be partners, but nothing else, until I can see some evidence she actually wants more."
Espo nodded slowly. "Okay. I can see your point. But one thing, I know Beckett a lot better than you do. I can interpret her moods where you can't. If you ever feel like it'll never work and you want to move on, talk to me first. I'll have a better handle on things than you. Talk to me first, okay?"
"Now get out of here, bro. If we're in here too long, people will start to talk."
When Castle was gone, Esposito smiled. Things were looking good for his two partners.