Disclaimer: Don't own any of these characters, but sometimes it's fun to play with them. Other times, they give me ridiculous writers block!

A/N: My sincere apologies for the delays with this chapter, but the story took a left turn I wasn't intending and the resulting mess had me hitting a brick wall. Then real life got busy and it was easier to leave this story alone. With some expert help I managed to bring the story back into line, and I should be able to return to weekly posting. Thanks for your patience, your reviews are very much appreciated. M.


Ryan was no closer to knowing how to start the conversation with Beckett Senior by lunchtime the next day, and his nervousness was conveying itself to his partner, and, more unhelpfully, Beckett Junior. Finally, Esposito had had enough, and confronted him in the break room.

"What's going on with you, bro? You're as nervous as a jackrabbit. Jenny putting you on another cleansing diet?" Espo tried to joke. He could see it fall flat in the face of Ryan's shiver.

Ryan hadn't wanted to involve his partner, but after his fruitless night and morning, decided to speak up in hopes Espo might have a better idea on how to navigate the minefield he'd thrown himself into. He bustled his partner into the stairwell away from prying ears, and once there, he told him about the meeting with Jim Beckett, and how he hoped Beckett's Dad might be able to break her out of the spiral of self-destruction she was on.

"What the hell, bro? That's the dumbest thing you've done since I've known you. Are you out of your ever-loving mind?" was Espo's first reaction, and Ryan's face crumpled. His arm was roughly jerked as Espo moved further away from the homicide floor.

"Firstly, we've no business interfering in Beckett's private life – you know that as well as I do. Remember how she handed us our heads last time we tried? Yeah, I can see she's not happy, but she won't thank us for trying to 'fix' her, and the last thing I want is a transfer to some other precinct because she decides she can't work with us!" At this, Ryan paled even further: the thought had not even occurred to him.

"Second, why her father, of all people? You know their history, you know what they've been through. Don't you remember his face at the hospital when she was shot? I don't think Papa Beckett wants to get involved in telling her what to do – and she certainly won't appreciate it."

Espo ran out of steam, and Ryan took the opportunity to try to gain back control of the conversation.

"Well, she doesn't have anyone else – no Academy mates, no rookie buddies, and she's obviously not going to listen to Lanie. If Castle-"

"No, bro, that jackass is the last thing she needs. Don't even mention his name in my hearing. He jerked her around and then dumped her for the latest blonde bimbo. We are well rid of him!"

"Okay, okay," Ryan placated his partner, worried the rising volume of Espo's voice would be heard by the subject of their discussion. "But I've made the time with Mr. Beckett and I can't not turn up. And maybe he'll have an idea we haven't thought about."

"The first thing Papa Beckett is gonna ask is what happened to cause this. Do you know?" When silence greeted his question, Espo continued on. "Well, I know one person knows exactly what happened, and it's time she fessed up, don't ya think?"

Ryan knew they were going to be late to the diner, so he called Jim Beckett and let him know he was running about 20 minutes late. The last thing he wanted at this point was for Jim to head off after a no-show and query his daughter about the meeting.

Arriving at the morgue, Espo wanted to launch straight into interrogating Lanie, but Ryan took charge of the conversation instead. He knew they didn't have time for a lengthy conversation, but he didn't want to surprise Lanie with anything either.

"Lanie, I know you're on the outs with Beckett, and she's buried herself in work at the precinct. I asked Jim Beckett to meet with me, to try and help her out, but my partner here doesn't think that's a good idea. It's too late now to back out, but we need to know what actually happened between you to mess it up. Would you tell us and Mr Beckett what happened?"

Lanie thought for just a moment, then nodded. " Just let me pack up here and get my coat. May as well get this over and done with."

The moment Jim Beckett saw three of his daughter's friends turn up instead of just one, he knew something serious was going on. Being an experienced lawyer, though, he retained his poker face and utilized silence – quite similar to his daughter's interrogation technique – to draw the whole messy story from the ME.

"Kate was moping, and I could see that Castle's behavior was upsetting her, so I tried to convince her to go talk to him when we had drinks Friday two weeks ago. She thought he wasn't interested anymore, so was prepared to let him go, no matter how much it hurt her. I could tell he was putting on a brave face but he was hurting too, so I went over to his place to get his side of the story."

"He tried to deflect at first, telling me 'everything was fine'"; Lanie did a credible imitation of Castle's voice which surprised all the men;" and when I called him on it he clammed up. So I decided to read him some home truths about how Kate really felt, and what his flaunting of bimbos, in her own precinct, was doing to both of them, let alone the whole team." She glared at the detectives, knowing they had not given Castle the benefit of the doubt in the recent events.

"He was preparing lunch when I arrived, and he had a ketchup bottle in his hands trying to open the lid when I said Kate was in love with him, and had been for a long time. I think it was the last thing he expected to hear, because the bottle slipped out of his hand, bounced on the counter and sprayed sauce all over the front of my shirt, my face and half my hair. He was very apologetic and pushed me into the upstairs bathroom to wash up. He gave me his bathrobe, as his daughters obviously wasn't going to fit me, and asked me to hand the shirt out the door so he could wash it.

I heard the knock at the door as I was coming back down the stairs, and Kate's voice, so I thought perhaps she'd finally come to talk to him, and I could tell her what we'd discussed, then make my excuses and leave. Before I could say anything, though, she looked up and saw me in his living room, in his dressing gown with wet hair and obviously made the assumption that we had slept together! She ran out before either of us could say a word, and I haven't been able to even start a conversation with her since."

Both Ryan and Esposito were shocked as the full details of the confrontation at Castle's came out, and Espo was quick to launch his own interrogation of Lanie.

"Why the fuck" – Jim blinked – "didn't you go after her straight away? Or Castle? After he'd shown off that bimbo last week, what the fuck were you thinking being half naked in his loft?" Jim was open-mouthed.

"I couldn't go after her because I was only half dressed – which was the freaking problem in the first place. My shirt was still in Castle's washing machine. Why didn't he go after her? Because she was gone faster than light and anyway she wasn't gonna listen to a word he said. Whatever he said. She's as good at making dumb-ass assumptions as he is and she lied to him first anyway."

Lanie wound down, obviously upset but full of fire to get the mess sorted out once and for all. She would not have thought of involving Kate's Dad, but could admit that things had gone too far, with Kate effectively barricading herself away from all of them, except for work related issues.

"Lied?" Jim said.

The other three looked at each other. Finally, the ME nodded, as she had the most information about this part of the story.

"You remember at Montgomery's funeral" - all four winced at the reminder of Beckett's shooting, none more so than her dad - "when Kate was lying on the ground, Castle was begging her to stay with him, and told her he loved her. It was loud enough that all of us heard, but none of us said anything about it. Kate was already fading, and we all just assumed she hadn't heard him."

"In the hospital, Kate told Castle she didn't remember what he said in the cemetery. Then he heard her tell some lowlife in interrogation she remembered everything. That's why he started pulling away – he assumed she didn't love him and he wanted to move on, and maybe hurt her a little, like he was hurting. Like I said, both dumb-asses when it comes to the other."

"Oh," Jim said, very thoughtfully, and then relapsed into silence.

Finally, after looking at each of the detectives and Katie's best friend long enough to make them all nervous, Jim spoke.

"OK, so why are you here? What exactly are you trying to achieve?"

The three conspirators were silent: even Ryan had not thought that far ahead. Now it was Lanie's turn.

"Mr Beckett, I want my best friend back. She's been miserable since Rick started pulling away, showing off other dates in front of her. She's obviously in love with him, but won't admit it to herself, let alone to the man who needs to know it. And Rick, well, he was stupid for assuming she didn't love him when he found out about her lie, but he's just as miserable, especially now he understands what his behavior has caused. I don't know if they will end up together, but Kate needs to know the real reason Rick pulled away, and she needs a life outside of homicide before she burns out."

Ryan and Esposito were both nodding. Ryan added, "Sir, she is our boss, and she wouldn't take kindly to us offering her personal advice, but she's also like our sister, and we hate to see her like this. Whatever she decides to do with Castle, we need our team back."

"And how does Rick fit into all this? Do you know what his intentions are now that the situation has been explained to him?" Jim asked Lanie, still not convinced he was the best person for this intervention. Lanie opened and shut her mouth a few times, because she was not prepared to speak for Rick, and while before Kate's lie she would have sworn black and blue Castle wanted to be with Beckett no matter what, Lanie couldn't be so sure now.

"So. what you want is an intervention, where we sit Katie down and tell her the truth of what happened. And then what? Do you think it will all be sunshine and roses again?"

None of them said a word. None of them could have truthfully said, presented in that blunt way, that it would be sunshine and roses.

"Right," said Jim, seeing the indecision on Lanie's face," I think I need to speak to Rick myself. I'm not at all convinced this is a good idea."