After 3XK



Disclaimer: No, I still don't own Castle. Rating: T Time: Immediately After 3XK

"I know that feeling."

"I know you do." Castle replied.

Kate gently put her hand on his thigh. She was happy when he covered her hand with his own and held it. Castle is different than I thought when I first met him. Kate thought. He's sitting there distraught because a serial killer left him alive as a punishment. Tyson will kill again and Castle feels responsible because he didn't figure out who Tyson was sooner. What kind of a man feels that way? She immediately knew the answer. A very good man.

She thought back to the frantic minutes following Martha's phone call. We couldn't reach either Castle or Ryan. Something had to be wrong. Very wrong. She remembered the frantic ride to the motel. I never thought about Ryan even once. All I could think about was Castle. I expected to find him dead, right up to the moment I kicked the door in and found him alive. That was when I realized that I had been holding back a tidal wave of horror in my mind. The exact horror I had felt when my mother was murdered.

Congratulations to the brilliant Detective Kate Beckett. She thought sarcastically. You've solved the most important mystery in your life. You know that you love Richard Castle. Too late, of course. Castle has found someone else, you're just an also ran in his life.

She shook her head, ever so slightly. No, I'm still important in his life. I'm his partner still, at least. He'll bring me coffee every morning, build theory with me, tell me his absurd theories and catch killers with me. God, I hope he can keep his mouth closed about that blonde. I'll have something, even if it's not enough.

Could I have more? I know he's physically attracted to me. He's made that clear. It would be simple. Just whisper in his ear. Tell him how much I've wanted him. How much I've needed him. That I've wanted him since I was reading his books to help me deal with my mom's death. I'd look at his picture on the back of the book jacket and wonder what he was like. Wonder what it would be like to sleep with him. Tell him that I want him even more now that I know him. Where would we go? To his place? No. That blonde would be there, waiting to share his bed. Even If she wasn't, Martha and Alexis would be there. My place? No. I couldn't stand the thought of walking into my bedroom and knowing I had once had the man I love there and lost him. The backseat of my Crown Vic? Kate smiled briefly. I was a teenager the last time I made out in the backseat of a car. And it's not what I want with Castle. Well, we have a motel room here all paid for. Why not use it? She was appalled as soon as she thought of it. Sleep with Castle in one of Jerry Tyson's crime scenes? That would repel him for sure. It's no problem, really. There are plenty of discreet hotels in Manhattan. We could find one.

Her mind drifted to the sex itself. Castle seems to be into bondage. I've always hated bondage. I can't stand the loss of control and I don't trust people who willingly give such control to others. Could I do that for Castle? I can see myself, naked and handcuffed on Castle's bed. Writhing with passion and begging Castle to punish me for being so stupid, so foolish, so damned afraid. Richard Castle with absolute control over me. I'd love every minute of it. Whatever he wanted, I'd be grateful for. So that's where you are, Kate? Hoping for a pity fuck from Castle? Yes. In a minute.

I'm kidding myself. Castle is a gentleman. He wouldn't cheat on that blonde. He'd never use me like a cheap one night stand. He'd be upset if I asked him to take me to bed. He wouldn't want to work with me anymore. He'd be gone.

A sudden thought chilled her. How long would it be before that blonde told him to stop working with me? She's his publisher. She knows he doesn't need any more research. What woman would allow a relationship like ours to compete with her?

You've been afraid all of your adult life, Kate. Just go back to being afraid. Afraid of love, afraid of commitment, afraid of happiness, afraid of everything. Just watch Castle take your one chance of happiness away because you were too afraid.

There's Josh. He's a good man as well. He'll never be what Castle is to me, but it could work. I could find something with him.

"I feel so god damned stupid and useless." Castle said suddenly.

"You're neither. Believe me." Kate took her other hand and put it on top of his, giving him a gentle squeeze.

"Thanks, but it doesn't make me feel any better. People will die because of me."

"Look around you, Castle. What do you see?"

He was puzzled. "A motel."

"Sitting next to you. Walking all around you."


Kate nodded and squeezed his hand again. "Highly paid, well trained detectives. Not one of us ever thought of Tyson as anything but a minor player. You figured it out. Without you, we'd be convinced we had the 3XK killer and Tyson could kill for years before anyone caught on. You've probably saved some lives."

Castle just nodded.

At long last I'm sitting here holding Beckett's hand. I've wanted this for months, a year maybe. But she's just doing it to try to convince me I didn't screw up. It's what a partner does. It doesn't really mean anything.

Okay, at least I'm still her partner. I can see her every day. She isn't cutting me out of her life, like I thought she was with Demming. She just wants me as her partner. We are a good team, after all. I'll be her police partner and doctor motorcycle boy will make the stars shine for her. A nice division of labor, if I wasn't in love with her.

How many times have I screwed this up with her? Let me count the ways. When I made the Ledger's ten most eligible bachelors list, I acted like I was insulted that anyone would think I was attracted to her. How stupid could I have been? You've been pretty stupid there, Rick. You always have been with women, why change now? Would it have killed you to have told her you liked her? Admired her? Enjoyed being with her? Couldn't you have done one damned intelligent thing with her? Too late now. Like they say, too soon old, too late smart.

There's still Gina. I'd better not let her ever know she's in second place with me. A distant second at that.

Look at you! You're past forty and your daughter, who has been your whole life, is growing up. In a few years she'll be out of your life and living her own life. Do you want to end up old and alone? Better grab Gina while you still can.

Suddenly Castle couldn't take any more. He wanted to go home and quietly demolish a bottle of scotch. He disengaged himself from Beckett and stood up. "Sorry. I really need to go home." He bent over and stopped short when he realized what he had almost done. Oh my god! I almost kissed her!

Oh my god! He almost kissed me!