Part of her knew that this was normal - that this was expected, even. Part of her stood calmly by the terrified woman in the flat, calmly watching her try to banish her fears. Calmly watching her start to crack - continue to crack - as she protected herself against something she knew was illogical. Part of her stood calmly by the sobbing woman in the hall, calmly watching her shatter in pieces even while trying to put herself back together. Calmly watching her throw everything away, as if throwing it away would throw away the memories that haunted her.

And part of her - the part that stood by and watched herself fall - was disgusted. Perhaps not so much disgusted as she was disappointed. And frightened.

She knew what she should do - knew what she should have done - but it was too late. She should have talked to someone, should have confessed to someone - Ryan and Esposito would never have betrayed her, and even Castle would have kept her confidence. But it was too late - she couldn't let it go then, and she still couldn't do it now. There was too much depending on her, too much driving her, too much... There was just too much.

She couldn't be a cop - she didn't deserve to be a cop. Part of her knew that she wasn't alone, and that there were many other officers that shared her problem - even on her own team; but she couldn't bring herself to admit it to couldn't bring herself to admit that she might have to depend on someone else - might have to allow someone else to help her because she couldn't help herself.

Because she had been fine, hadn't she? She had been fine - there hadn't been glass flashing in the windows, hadn't been killers targeting her - she had been free. She had been able to walk down the street without a car alarm terrifying her - without blocking out all her surroundings, seeing a cemetery where there should be pavement.

No, she had broken. Over a case entirely unrelated, and over something that shouldn't affect her if she were stronger - if she were smarter. And now she was stuck in a hall, expecting Castle to come in at any moment, and wishing the world would just go away. Wishing the sharp pain in her chest - somehow both sharper and duller than the bullet that left the scar - would just go away.

But it wouldn't, and she knew that. She was going to be fine, if just because that's what she had to be. What she needed to be. What she wanted to be.

She was going to be fine because she needed to finish this case - to catch the sniper. She was going to catch him and make sure that people like Anna could be married in the perfect ceremony; and that people like Marcus, and Emily, and Julie, and Alexis could walk the streets safely without worrying that there was a paper doll left in some abandoned, dusty room that marked them for death next.

She was going to get up, pick up her badge, and her gun; and she was going to walk back out there as if everything was fine. She was going to do her job, be a cop, and she was going to catch the shooter - no matter what it took. She was going to be alright.

But she was just going to sit here for a little while. Sit here and pretend that there wasn't a job waiting for her - that there wasn't a shooter possibly waiting in any window to gun down another innocent. Sit here and wish that someone would come after her and take the weight she carried away from her - would protect her for once. Sit here and cry.

She would just sit here and cry.


AN: Written for Castle episode 4x09, "Kill Shot". Specifically for the scene after the third shooting when Beckett flees to the corridor and breaks down. A character study with a bit of projection. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Gramercy, and God bless! 8-9-2015