Summary: Kate finds out that three months is a long time, and expecting everything to be just the way she left it is pretty unrealistic. A Castle isn't willing to forgive and forget when Kate reappears in Rise. NOT FOR BECKETT LOVERS.

Warnings: My stories are NOT FOR BECKETT LOVERS. I am not bashing her, but I am discussing her flaws and hurtful actions that were not discussed on the show. I do not do the same for Castle because his hurtful actions were hashed and rehashed on the show repeatedly. I want to find a balance. No one is perfect, but no one is so imperfect either. No one should get automatic passes just because. So, in my stories I discuss exactly that. I discuss situations where Beckett got free passes while she shouldn't have. I also discuss the double standards. Things that give Beckett certain rights on the show but where the same does not apply to other characters. Or things that condemn Castle, but when Beckett does them are completely dismissed. So, if you can't read a criticism towards Beckett without being offended. Stop, don't go ahead. You've been warned.

"Not a puppy"

Chapter 1 – Heat isn't rising

"Josh help you with that?"

"We broke up," and she turned around and started walking away. Rick looked at her retreating back, shook his head and muttered:

"Typical," and turned around and to the subway.

Hours later, there was a knock on his door and he opened to see Beckett, he turned down, picked up the box he had separated - he had texted Ryan to come pick it up and was actually expecting him - and forced it onto Beckett who, shocked, grabbed the box.

"There, you didn't need to bother yourself, Ryan was coming by after his shift."

"What is this?" she asked even though she had a pretty good idea.

"The only reason you came looking for me," he said simply. "We both know it wasn't for me," he stated simply and started closing the door.

Shocked she forced herself into the apartment before he could close the door and dumped the box on the floor. "That is not why I came looking for you-"

"Spare me the new lie Beckett. Ryan texted me telling me they'd told you I had the files," he said annoyed.

"And you left in the middle of our talk!" she cried exasperated.

He turned around so sharply she took a step back instinctively.

"I left?" he hissed. "No, don't blame your actions on me. You are the one who turned around and ran in the middle of a conversation. What did you expect from me? That I'd stand there waiting to see if you decided to come back? Oh, wait, I forgot, that's exactly what I am supposed to do right?"

"I crossed the street to the park," she snapped annoyed crossing her arms. "You were supposed to follow me."

"Well sorry, last time I checked I can't read minds, no matter how much you think I should," he snapped back.

"I don't expect you to read minds…"

"Except you do," he ignored her once again mocking her. "You spend a month humiliating me and making sure I get a front view of your PDA with your new partner and boyfriend, and when I decide to finally have some self-respect and move on, I should have read your mind that you had finally decided to give me a chance that second, despite you rejecting my offer twice and not saying anything, and get appropriately punished for not doing so."

"Wha- I-" she asked confused.

"Ryan felt sorry for me, you know, being the only one you weren't responding to texts or calls, not to mention that apparently he's been feeling guilty for shooting me, as he should, for a year, and finally cracked and apologized," he crossed his arms defensively. "Explained why everyone was so pissed even though any one of you could have called me too, since I didn't do that thing, what was that?" he tapped his chin in a mock of thoughtful pondering, "Oh, yeah, made anyone promise they wouldn't call until I decided I was well and ready. No, that was someone else in this room," he circled his finger in the air.

"Look, I had a lot to deal with," she tried to make him see reason. He was being ridiculous.

"Of course, you got shot, and you were all alone, right?!" he asked forcedly. "It's not like I saw the love of my life die in front of me from a bullet I wasn't fast enough to take, and had nightmares of you being dead that were so vivid that at times I spent whole days sure that I had imagined the visit in the hospital, especially with everyone tip-toeing and avoiding your name," that shocked her into silence. He had nightmares? The thought that her shooting could have affected him had never crossed her mind. "Or Alexis and Mother saw us both going down not knowing which one had been shot, or your father saw his only daughter being shot in front of him to the same case that had already cost him his wife. And it's not like anyone in that funeral had just lost their Captain, or I knew that he was dead and you'd been shot because of me - thank you for making sure to tell me that the only time you allowed me to see you, you know, there was like a one in a trillionth chance that I might have forgotten that for a second, so good job," she shook her head silently because of course none of that was his fault. How could he think that? She conveniently ignore his statement that she was the one to tell him that. "No, absolutely not, you were the only one going through a tough time and having a lot to deal with," he finished mockingly and then his face went hard. "Stop the bullshit! You didn't want to have to deal with me, we were over, and I was refusing to get the message and you ghosted me and were thwarted by the fact that I had the file."

"That's not true, I was dealing with stuff, I didn't' think that anyone else was-"

"You told me we were over in your apartment and I somehow convinced myself that you said that in the heat of the moment, that everything had changed-"

"I did-"

"That's me, stupid, funniest kid in the school and not enough, never enough," he continued not letting her get more than a few words edgewise. "But then Gates set me straight when I tried to muscle myself back in after she made sure to humiliate me in front of the whole precinct. Because that's me. The idiot in love who thought if I was just there when you came back, you'd finally see me. But then she showed me. The request, by your hand, in Montgomery files and with your signature, to terminate the partnership. You don't write out a request to terminate something by hand on the heat of the moment. So, I finally wised up and saw your silence for what you were telling me loud and clear. You don't love me, and you never will. You probably hate me, with good reason. After all, I did kill the captain and got you shot. But even with that I thought maybe I deserved better than you coming here and pretending to want anything to do with me just because you want your files. I'd never deny you them. Hold them hostage. You could have just asked one of the boys to pick them up."

Beckett was shaking her head, no, no, no. How could he have gotten, no convinced himself, he was absolutely convinced, of something so wrong. She did this and she had no idea how to fix this FUBAR situation. She was about to say something to make him see that the memory of him and the knowledge of his love was what got her through her recovery. That he was wrong, he wasn't responsible for her shooting or the Captain's death. How could he think that? When she heard an angry voice.

"What is she doing here?" and when she turned to the open door, she saw something she never thought she would see. The girl who had always treated her with reverence looked at her as if she was something disgusting, pure hatred in her gaze.

"She came for her files," Castle answered simply as if that was obvious.

"Of course," Alexis snorted in disgust, crossing her arms angrily. "God forbid the world doesn't revolve around Kate Beckett."

"Alexis…" Castle warned her and Kate wasn't sure he was protecting her from his daughter's wrath or just being a parent and scolding his daughter for her attitude.

"No dad. After how she treated you all these months, and before-" wait, what, before? "she has the gall to show up here for the files. Wow, that's what I call a person who is so self-centered they are completely incapable of showing even a little human decency."

"What, no- that's not- I'm decent." Yes, Castle extolled her humanitarian virtues several times over the years, how could Alexis believe she was selfish?

"A decent person would have saved my dad, who's been working very hard on getting over you, the heartache of seeing you again and knowing that if not for those files you wouldn't give a shit about him."

"Alexis! Language!" Yep, he was being a parent, not defending her.

"That's not true. Of course I care about Castle."

Twin snorts responded to that remark, and Castle apparently had enough of the situation because he picked up the box and placed it in the corridor, and then holding the door made a clear gesture for her to leave.

"Castle, we need to talk-"

"My dad is asking you to leave. Do I need to call security? Because I will."

Faced with such anger, Kate decided that the best for her was to leave and try again later. As the door closed, she did not see Alexis hug her father in support and whisper.

"I'm proud of you daddy. I was afraid you'd just let her back in without any atonement and let her continue to walk all over you."

"I've learned better this summer."

What Kate hadn't known is that her absence, and moreover, her complete radio silence with Castle despite constantly texting the boys for updates in the case, had made several people who had put her in a pedestal before, think hard and long about all her actions over the last three years, not just three months.

"Why the hell would he think any of that? And what's up with Alexis?" she asked her friend. She had called Lanie to have a drink at the Old Haunt after the day she had. After leaving Castle's loft, she went home and immediately proceeded to go through the files and decided to go question the fireman who had signed off on a fire that had destroyed the bank records Castle was trying to follow. The fireman was being uncooperative. So she got on his face, a usual interrogation technique, nothing wrong with that. Except Captain Gates did not agree and suspended her after the guy reported her. Seriously! She had just come back and the Captain suspended her for 30 days. The boys were right. The Captain was a pain and was clearly jealous of her breaking the woman's record, and was being petty with Kate. She didn't forget Gates was the one to show Castle the request to terminate the partnership. Montgomery had made her write it, and she was pissed at Castle at the time. She wasn't being serious. Even as she wrote the request. She knew Montgomery wouldn't actually file the request. She wasn't expecting him to die and for the new Captain to go through his things.

"Very easily actually," Lanie said simply sipping at her drink from the other side of the booth. "The question is, why wouldn't he? And as for Alexis, she was spot on. You did go contact Castle only after you knew he had something you wanted. You didn't stop to consider for one second how much you hurt him. You only thought of yourself and didn't spare a microsecond to look anywhere farther than your navel."

"That's not true?"

"Really? If that were not true you would have left those files there to prove to him you didn't contact him solely for the files."

"That's my case. Those are my files!" she cried outraged.

"Which you could have asked one of the boys to pick them up after their shift, so you didn't hurt Castle even more than you already have. But that would require you actually thinking about anyone other than yourself and realizing that not hurting someone was more important than you getting what you wanted immediately. And well. Clearly that's not the case."

"What's wrong with you? You're supposed to be my friend!"

She was feeling as if she had come back to another dimension. Everyone was acting out of character. Castle was supposed to have followed her, come back to the precinct and worked on her case with her. The boys weren't supposed to be following the new Captain's orders above helping her with the off the books case. Alexis was supposed to respect her. The Captain was supposed to understand that Kate did her own thing, instead of punishing her and Lanie was her friend. She was supposed to listen to her and support her.

"But not you mine, right? You also ghosted me during the last three months. The only people you contacted were Javi and Kevin for the case. You didn't answer any of my texts or calls with more than a text with "I'm fine. I'll see you when I come back to work" after you left the hospital. I guess I shouldn't complain, that's a whole text more than what Castle got and unlike him, you did allow me to visit you in the hospital. But until you needed to rant about Castle, Alexis and your Captain, not a peep. And since we've sat here, not one, "Hey, how you've been? What's up with you? How did you recover from performing CPR on your best-friend and having her flatline twice while the man who loved her more than life kept begging her to live at your side, only to be assaulted by your boyfriend and accused of being responsible for the Captain's death and your shooting.

"Oh, right. That one wasn't just Josh, you did that too, right? See, the boys couldn't get Castle to take care of himself, he was running ragged working your case, even when no one else was, even after the Captain kicked him out and didn't stop until we staged an intervention. The boys, myself, Alexis, Martha, Bob, his writer friends, apparently they really care for Castle, they're not just poker buddies. Seems for all the ribbing they do on games, Castle has always been someone they could count on and who was always there for them even when they didn't ask him too. Not surprising, he's been like that since the very first case. Caring about a guy who he didn't know and who would have been railroaded by the police if not for him meddling. And even Gina and Paula where there. Let's just say it got really emotional, and not sleeping or eating, and being constantly anxious can make a person pretty messed up and revealing stuff he didn't mean to. Like his guilt. And when we tried to convince him, his proof that he was right was that you agreed with him. That you told him so. Yeah, going through all that with a friend and convincing him to start therapy can be pretty tough. Not that you care, after all. We're here to talk about you and only you right. That's what friendship is in your book."

Okay, she had not known any of that. She honestly had not thought of how her shooting may have affected anyone other than herself. But that didn't mean she didn't care. "That's not true, of course I care about what is going on with you, and Castle, and the boys."

"You have a pretty crappy way of showing it," Lanie huffed. "I've had a lot of time to think. Been going to therapy myself for the trauma, and I've realized, that it's always about you, about how you suffered, how you have tragedy in your life. Yeah, I get, you had something really bad happen to you. That doesn't give you the right to treat people like crap. You know, Javi's life sucked too. He grew up with a deadbeat dad. Castle's life wasn't all rosy either. Did you know Martha was practically kicked out of the family after she got pregnant? And as Castle said, it was a family of grifters and peddlers, so it's not like they had such a high moral ground to stand on, but they did. She was on her own and I found out this summer that there were many times when the two of them lived off a friend's couch, someone's car, the backroom of a theater. Did you know Castle doesn't just donate to shelters, he actually volunteers at some when he has time? He's had less time over the last three years."

Kate shook her head.

"Yeah, 'cause he doesn't do it for the recognition. He says he wants to give back the help he received. I remember when you were dating Tom, when you made sure to remind him how Tom worked with at risk youth, and how Josh saved lives. Usually asking how many lives he saved. I'd say he saved your life plenty of times, the entire city of New York. When you met Tom, Castle had been giving a lot of his time freely to the NYPD to bring closure to the families of victims and take dangerous people off the streets for two years already. And don't even say he was doing research! Castle had enough research to write a million books by the first month! And yet you always only point out his flaws."

"Since when have you joined his fan club?" Kate snapped.

"I haven't," Lanie shrugged taking another sip of her drink. "He isn't perfect. But I've seen him apologize and atone for his mistakes, for actually more than his mistakes. But discussing the last three years, I've realized a very ugly truth. All of us bully Castle on a pretty regular base, and you are the worst offender. Yeah, he used his connection to the mayor to get into your team. But I've seen you two from the start. You snap at him, but you also flirt with him. You give him an opening. You make him think there's a chance and then bam, you shut the door on his face. I'm pretty sure if you hadn't, if you hadn't flirted back, Castle wouldn't have come back after the first case. He's not some stalker kind who doesn't understand no. You've spent the last three years giving him mixed messages. One second you're not available and reject him, and the next you're pissed if he accepts that and tries to move on. Make up your mind already!"

Kate was getting furious, who did Lanie think she was to say all that to her? Kate was not like that, but something inside her knew that she couldn't really refute anything Lanie was saying, so instead she decided to snap back at what Lanie had said before. "You can't expect me to give up my mother's case for Castle. It's the most important thing in my life."

"Clearly, more important than anyone," Lanie nodded but Kate decided to plough on anyway.

"Expecting me to give up anything for a man is ridiculous."

"I wasn't expecting you to give up anything because you're a woman. I'd expect anyone to put the person they claim to love first, man or woman. A relationship doesn't work if both parties aren't willing to compromise. You might notice no one made a big deal about Castle giving up his childhood dream for you."

"He did it for the money. He didn't give up anything. "

"First off, if he wasn't volunteering so much of his time to the NYPD, he could have easily written both Nikki Heat and Bond. But secondly, and most importantly, like I said, after realizing I was no better than you, I decided to be better. Part of that was talking to Castle about him and not just me. He told me how Ian Flemming is the reason he decided to write, and he told me why he writes murder mysteries."

Kate snorted, "Yeah, he made something up for me too."

"Yeah, he tried that one, but I insisted. You know, kind of how he doesn't just give up on you when you're upset and tell him to mind his own business," she looked at Kate pointedly hoping to drive through the message that a relationship was a two way street. That she too had to show interest in him and his issues, just as he had shown for her.

"Really, then why?" Kate asked irritably.

Lanie looked at her pondering if she should tell Beckett. Castle had trusted her. But Beckett needed to understand that shit happens, and that it doesn't give you the right to treat other people like crap. What Castle went through as a child, and then not being able to confide in anyone for fear of reprisal, of his mother, his only family at the time, being hurt by the madman and even because by that age he had realized he had to take care of his mother. That she wasn't the most responsible person, and he had to be the one to make groceries were bought, and bills were paid, and all the other little things the adult in the family should have taken care of. Not to mention a constant fear of being taken away if social services found out how unfit Martha was at times. He loved his mother, and knew she loved him. She just wasn't all put together and he had to make sure things were running smoothly.

This summer, when Castle was in such a dark place, she realized how much the "Alexis raising herself" was a joke. Without Castle, the two women in his life were lost. A simple thing as breakfast not being ready in the morning for them was baffling. And yet, all that did not make Castle treat other people poorly. Quite the opposite, unless you bullied him **cough**Kate**cough**, he was always gentle and polite. He knew however how to give back and drive someone crazy. But that wasn't his default setting. That was a setting brought on as a defense mechanism. And she thought that maybe seeing how people could go through tragedy and not think themselves entitled to everything and to treat others badly would do Kate some good. So, she told her about Castle being 11 years-old and encountering his first serial killer and what she learned of his life during the summer.

"He was 11…"

"I'm pretty sure even if he was thirty, it would still have been traumatic."

"I didn't know."

"That's because he doesn't wear it like a badge that entitles him to anything."


"That's exactly what you do. And until you realize that, you won't change. Also, in the giving up something department. I had a chat with Paula, I was curious. And she told me that the Bonds books were going to pay more. For your: he did it for the money. No, he chose you. Even while you spent that whole case rejecting him when he asked you what you thought, when he was practically asking you if you wanted him to stay or not."

"I didn't think-"

"Yeah, that's the problem. So, start thinking Kate. You have another month free to work on yourself. Do that."