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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Castle fic: Cuts Like a Knife (and Bleeds Right Through) 1/1

May 1st, 2012 (09:25 am)
drained
Tags: ,

feeling: drained

Title: Cuts Like a Knife (and Bleeds Right Through)

Disclaimer: I do not own Castle.

Summary: Just a criminal hiding at a crime scene that Castle probably shouldn’t be at, a single stab in the dark, and slow and inevitable death.



-o-

It wasn’t a very interesting way to go.

Maybe that was entirely the wrong way to think about it. He was, after all, bleeding to death. The world was tunneling to a point, the edges fuzzy as things went red hot and then colder and colder by the second. He was dying, and all Castle could think about was how lame it was.

There was no dramatic showdown. No breath-taking hand-to-hand. No memorable dialogue. Just a criminal hiding at a crime scene that Castle probably shouldn’t be at, a single stab in the dark, and slow and inevitable death.

That was good, at least. Slow and inevitable death. Lying on the ground, paralyzed with shock, staring up at the ceiling with mouth gaping, wondering how it came to this, how this happened, how his entire life could be ungracefully encapsulated on a crime scene floor already stained with someone else’s blood.

Maybe it was the blood that called to him. The hungry carpet had the taste for human life force and was just ever-greedy for more.

That could work. He could spin this. He just needed his computer. If he was going to die alone in such a stupid, senseless way, he at least needed to commemorate it. Make it count

Castle shifted, and pain spiked again. His breath caught in his throat and he convulsed slightly, squeezing his eyes shut to compensate.

Okay, scratch the computer. His phone…

His phone! Why hadn’t he thought of that before? Whoever had stabbed him had seemed woefully uninterested in robbing him and left him with everything he had. That included a couple of hundred in cash, a plethora of credit cards, and his phone.

Mentally, he chided himself on his stupidity. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been lying there – seconds, minutes, more? – but given the slow trembling overtaking his body, he’d probably let it go on too long when all he had to do was pick up the phone.

That, however, was easier said than done. Because he was cold and he was trembling, and every movement sent fresh agony throughout his body. He liked the gore of crime scenes, liked the distinct presentation that made it possible to discern the needed fact. He liked the status of the body, telling him about the victim, their wants, their needs.

He liked it less when it was his.

So he needed his phone.

With halting movements, he lifted his hand. The movement made him gasp, but he made himself breathe through it. In the wan light from the window, he watched as he moved his fingers toward his pocket. When they got there, threading them underneath the fabric was a difficult task, and a cold sweat broke out over his forehead as his whole hand started to go numb.

“A little more, a little more,” he muttered, as if he could force his body to cooperate by sheer force of will alone.

It took all his concentration, all his effort, all the strength he didn’t know he had, but when his fingers slipped into the pocket and latched onto the phone, he nearly laughed with relief.

The first pull to dislodge it failed, and tears sprung to his eyes. Pain, he told himself. Just in pain. Because it did hurt. Throbbing throughout his body, radiating from his side and eclipsing everything. It was cold all over now, so cold and he could just close his eyes…

And die.

He jerked, the harsh flare of pain making him grit his teeth. He could kill his main character but he wasn’t keen on killing himself. Not yet, not yet

Then, it was out. He had to blink a few times to see it, the surface glistening with the blood from his fingers. His phone. He had his phone.

Why did he have his phone?

Castle blinked again, trying to clear his head, trying to focus. He had his phone because he didn’t want to die here. Not like this. Not such a stupid, pointless death.

Not at all.

Touching the face, the phone lit up, the light almost blinding his dark-trained eyes. His hand was shaking so hard that he could barely coordinate his fingers and the screen was blurry with his dimming sight.

Maybe it was too late.

Wouldn’t it be painfully poignant that way? To die with his lifeline in hand? To drown with one hand on a life jacket?

To die…

Castle shuddered. Not dying. He was not dying.

Gritting his teeth, he bared down. It took him three tries to open his contact list but no matter how hard he squinted, his eyes wouldn’t focus.

This was important, though. This call. He needed someone who could help, someone who would help. Someone who could help now.

His mother. His ex-wife. His daughter. His agent.

They’d be good stories. Tearful goodbyes. He could tell them things that mattered. Poetic.

Not them.

There was just one person.

He pressed the first button on his contact list, letting his hand drop back, taking the phone roughly to his ear. It rang, and he let himself believe, let himself think. It was almost over. This would be over soon. Over…

“Castle?”

Castle startled at the sound of her voice. Surprised and guarded. Like a hesitant guardian angel.

“Castle, you better not be drunk dialing me again,” she said.

His breath was caught in his throat again, and he shook his head, tears springing to his eyes with fresh ferocity. “No,” he croaked, wetting his lips desperately. “Beckett…”

There was a small hesitation, a crackle over the line. He could see her, considering her options. Weighing whether he was legitimate or not. Weighing hanging up or being concerned… “This better be important,” she said finally. “It’s after midnight.”

Of course it was, and she sounded so practical he almost wanted to laugh. He loved that about her. Loved the way she made things seem so simple, how things were so black and white, even when she wanted to believe in more.

“Beckett,” he said again, because what else was there to say? What could he say? That he was dying? The he’d ignored her orders again? That he’d went and gotten himself stabbed at their crime scene?

It occurred to him that it wasn’t a very exciting way to go – for him. But it was right in her story. For him to die on her crime scene, in the place of her victim. To die the one place she could see him, the last place she would know him.

A dramatic last minute phone call. A breathy heart to heart. Last words that mattered.

She was calling his name, but he couldn’t hear her.

Instead, he smiled, feeling drunk with it now. Nothing hurt. Nothing was real. “I love you,” he said instead, knowing she would listen this time. “I love you.”

Slow and inevitable death, maybe. Too soon, for sure. But not wasted at least.

His eyes closed, his body going lax. The phone slipped from his hand and suddenly it didn’t seem lame at all.

-o-

It was going to be too late.

She’d been half asleep when he’d called, tucked under the covers with her lamp on while she tried to finish the next chapter of her book. She was starting to drift and she had stopped fighting it, the words running together on the page as she slipped toward sleep.

She’d thought that she should get some sleep so when her alarm went off, she’d be ready to go. So she wouldn’t be late to work.

But she was going to be late. Not to work, but to the one thing that mattered

Castle.

Castle.

The phone call had been annoying but not unexpected. Castle was prone to trouble; he practically looked for it. He got ideas or inspirations or just wanted to talk and sometimes he forgot to check the time. So the phone call wasn’t unexpected.

The wavering of his voice, the pain in his breathing, the weak I love you…

Maybe those weren’t unexpected either but they took her by surprise. She didn’t know what was wrong exactly; she didn’t even know where he was. But he was hurt and he was dying and he loved her…

That wasn’t the point. The point was that he needed help and she should have seen it coming because this was Castle. Overconfident and overzealous, as excitable as a schoolboy and just as apt for disaster.

She didn’t see the traffic, though. If she could have predicted the phone call and the confession and the injury, she couldn’t have seen the traffic. Even the city slept at night, so why the hell were all the roads she needed blocked?

“Damn it!” she said, laying on the horn again. The traffic in front of her was only a few cars deep, but it clogged both lanes and was unyielding. Probably an accident, she figured. Maybe a drunk driver at this time of night. Traffic happened, but it couldn’t happen now.

Jaw tight, she picked up the phone and autodialed. “Tell me you got an address.”

The officer on the other end sounded sleepy. “It took me some time,” he began. “The person using the phone seemed to try to turn off the tracking—“

Beckett hit the wheel. “I don’t care!” she said. “Just tell me where the signal is coming from.”

“Okay, okay,” the man said begrudgingly. “100 S. Hampton.”

Beckett blinked.

She swore.

“Is something wrong?” the officer asked.

“No,” she hissed. “Just send a unit to that address and make sure an ambulance reports there as well. I want this treated like an emergency.”

“But—“

“But nothing,” she snapped. “An ambulance. Now.

She hung up, tossing her phone forcefully into the passenger’s seat. Of course it was 100 S. Hampton. Because she should have seen that coming even more than the phone call and the confession and the injury. Because 100 S. Hampton was their latest crime scene.

Cursing again, she craned her head, trying to see ahead of her. The traffic was still backed up.

She glanced around, noting the cars behind her. Just a few, but enough to make a clean navigation impossible. Police procedure would probably dictate that she get out of her car and ascertain the problem. Someone could be hurt, need help.

Someone was.

Castle.

Glancing around again, Beckett steeled herself, the possibilities churning. She knew what she had to do.

Teeth gritted, she put the car into reverse.

She backed up in a fast jerky motion, pulling her car hard to the side. The car behind her honked, scrambling to back up. They weren’t quite fast enough and metal crunched as it moved out of her way. She didn’t slow, putting the car in drive and pushing forward. The cars next to her honked again, but she rammed forward, pushing through even as obscenities filled the night.

Again, expected.

Beckett didn’t care. She honked persistently, plowing forward until a pocket opened. It wasn’t much – and her mirror scraped loudly on a parked car – but she fit through, navigating her way through the broken sea of traffic.

When she was clear, she worked her way backward, looking for the next through street to circumvent the traffic and move in earnest.

Without the other cars, she drove quickly, ignoring speed limits and traffic lights. She usually followed the law but there were exceptions.

There had to be exceptions.

By the time she got there, her entire body felt numb. Her hands tingled and her heart was racing. The flashing lights of a squad car were already there, and the parked ambulance was vacated.

Slamming on her brakes, she threw the car in park. She jumped out, leaving the car unlocked and parked haphazardly as she pulled her badge, flashing it at the doorman as she ran up despite his protests.

She knew the way, of course, had it memorized and categorized in her mind along with the rest of her crime scene. It had been a gruesome murder – and the jagged, long knife used was still missing – and while they had a slam dunk suspect in the ex-boyfriend, Castle had wanted to think about the murky neighbor who lived next door.

He had a point, not that she had wanted to admit that.

She didn’t want to admit a lot of things when it came to Castle. She didn’t want to tell him that his books saved her life. She didn’t want to tell him that she missed him when he didn’t show up. She didn’t want to tell him that she thought about him, that she thought of him as a friend, that maybe there was more.

Her reticence, like the rest, was expected.

That didn’t make it okay.

She wanted to say more. She wanted to be more. But she was going to be too late.

Storming up the stairs, she was breathless when she reached the right floor. In the hall, it was easy to see the apartment – door still open, cops there—

She ran, heart pounding. There had to be time. There had to still be time.

At the end of the hall, the officer tried to stop her but she pushed by him, desperate to see. The paramedics were there, on their knees, and the mess of medical equipment obscured her view.

Then she saw him. On his back, limbs lax by his sides. There was blood, all over him, spilled on the floor.

Heart in her throat, she swallowed a cry and moved closer. “Castle?” she asked, demanded. “Castle!”

His face was pale, flecked with blood. He looked bad, looked worse, looked dead…

Then he shuddered, eyes open and finding hers. It took obvious effort, but the corners of his lips turned up in the hint of a smile even as his chest rose and fell in stuttered gasps.

“Hey,” he croaked, voice weak, almost inaudible.

She wet her lips, her emotions swelling. It wasn’t too late. “Hey,” she replied, not quite smiling but not moving either.

“You came,” he said, almost surprised.

“You expected less?” she asked.

His smile widened as his body relaxed a little. “Not at all,” he murmured as unconsciousness claimed him. He went lax, but his chest kept rising, kept falling.

And Beckett thought with relief that it wasn’t too late at all.

Comments

Posted by: Moogs (moogsthewriter)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 01:14 am (UTC)
H50 - Danny Breathe

AGAIN WITH ALL THE LOVE. BECAUSE REALLY. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THE SHOW.

Mainly, I just need to see bleeding Castle and have all of the lovely angst that you present here so well. It really just needs to happen all the time!

For only watching a season, you definitely have these characters down well. Not that I'm surprised, considering your many talents. :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
turk wins

See, I may have left the other fic open, but I wrote these two in tandem so the ending wasn't all cliffhanger-like. Because I am sometimes nice like that :)

A bleeding Castle really does seem like a necessity. (So does a bleeding Danny. Your icon makes me pine.)

And I'm just glad they sound right! YAY!

Thanks :)

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