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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Castle Fic: One More Shot at Living 1/1

May 1st, 2012 (09:35 am)
Tags: ,

feeling: crappy

Title: One More Shot at Living

Disclaimer: I do not own Castle.

Summary: Castle likes dangers, finds danger, craves danger, and he always comes out on top. He does.


It’s the kind of situation she’s thought about. The kind of thing she tried to say might happen. It’s part of her defense, why some busybody writer shouldn’t be allowed around real police work.

She’s said it – to her boss, to her colleagues, to Castle himself. She’s said it, lectured about it, moaned about it, but she hasn’t believed it. Because he’s been in danger before, probably more than she lets herself admit, and they’ve been here before, but somehow this is different.

It’s different.

That first case, in the alley. The apartment, during the shootout. The car, with the suspect on the run. Castle likes dangers, finds danger, craves danger, and he always comes out on top. He does.

This time, though. This time she’s not sure.

He does that to her; unsettles her, throws her off. Where she’s usually confident, he creates doubts. Where she’s usually detached, he makes connections.

It happened faster than she could stop. One second, they’d been talking to the victim’s brother, the next, the man had pulled a gun. Beckett was fast on the draw, but this was supposed to be a witness, not a suspect, and he’d had his arm around Castle’s throat before Beckett could establish a position of authority.

They’re all on their feet now, the suspect pulling Castle back against the wall. His arm twitches, tightening, eyes gleaming with a mixture of desperation and rage. Because he’s desperate – he’s backed into a literal corner with a murder charge looking him straight in the face and he’s angry – because Castle walked him right into a confession that he never saw coming.

Hell, Beckett hadn’t seen it coming. She’d had her suspicions, but there was an order about this kind of thing. She didn’t go around making charges she couldn’t substantiate. There was a process.

At least, there used to be. That’s not how Castle works, though.

Castle’s so smart, he’s stupid, and Beckett’s stupid because she came with her gun and her badge, said she was in control, then let the whole thing spiral out of control.

“I’ll do it,” the man says, and his eyes are wild but his voice is sure. “You’ve already told me my life is over, so what do I have to lose?”

He’s right, of course. The DA will seek a life sentence given the cold blooded nature of the crime. No jury would think twice. Once he goes to prison, he’ll never see the light of day.

Beckett’s not about to say that, though. Not with the man’s gun pressed firmly into Castle’s temple.

“There’s nothing to gain by killing him,” she says finally, keeping her own voice calm and even. She’s holding her own gun, her sights narrowed in on the man’s forehead. It’s a shot she’s not sure she could make but it’s the only place she can aim that doesn’t put Castle squarely in the line of fire.

“And nothing to gain by letting him go,” the man spits back, jerking harder.

Castle stumbles a little, trying to keep his footing. He laughs, short and nervous. “Just the peace of your conscience,” he tries, flippant as ever. There’s the slightest tremor in his words, but he’s doing a good job of not letting it show. “You didn’t commit murder because you’re a bad person. You did it because it was the right thing to do. Killing me – it makes no sense.”

Castle’s good at this kind of thing. He understands the criminal mind better than Beckett will admit. He thinks about people like characters, situations like plots. He’s good at connecting dots and seeing things through to the satisfying end.

In his mind, he probably thinks killing a police consultant would be superfluous. A nice amount of tension in the denouement but ultimately unnecessary to the resolution. He’s right about that.

But Beckett’s a cop. She operates in a different world. Castle’s logic is good for a lot of things, but in the fact of a man who’s lost his touch with reality, logic doesn’t mean anything.

This isn’t about logic. This isn’t even about telling a good story. Because stories in real life aren’t just bloody and sad. Sometimes they’re pointless. Sometimes there is no moral. Sometimes there’s nothing to be learned except that human beings are depraved. That human beings kill.

That human beings die.

Beckett suppresses the thought, swallowing and keeping her aim as steady as she can. She can’t let Castle die. He’s her responsibility. He’s her…

Her colleague? Her friend? More than that?

She doesn’t even know.

She doesn’t know anything.

She just knows that the man is crazy. The man has a gun. The man has a gun pointed at Castle.

The man shakes Castle again, almost hissing in anger now. “You’re a smug bastard,” he seethes in Castle’s ear. “Come in here, pretend to be better than me. Act like I’m nothing. Like this is a game to you.” He presses the gun hard, knocking the muzzle against Castle’s head. “Well, are we having fun yet? Huh?”

Castle flinches in earnest this time, and Beckett sees the muscle jump in his jaw. He presses his mouth together and he visibly works to control his breathing. His eyes lift, settle on Beckett’s.

He’s looking for reassurance. He’s looking for certainty.

He’s looking for things she can’t give.

She blinks, breath stuck in her throat.

The fledgling confidence fades from his face and he seems to understand that Beckett has no quick fix to offer him. Castle forgets things like that. He doesn’t understand the real police work is hard and tedious. He doesn’t understand that things take time, that things don’t always work out, that she’s not a superhero.

She’s not Nikki Heat, though for once, she almost wishes she was.

“Put the gun down,” she orders, voice low and unwavering. It’s the tone of last resort, the one she uses to let people know there are no other options left, that she’ll do what she has to do no matter what.

The man looks at her, eyes almost burning now. He shakes his head, finger twitching on the trigger.

Castle trembles, giving a nervous laugh. “I can think of better games,” he says, because he can’t shut up.

God help them all, Castle can’t shut up.

“Like Pictionary, only I’m no good at drawing,” he rambles. He cranes his head, looking back. “You any good at drawing? Or charades? I kick ass at charades.”

The man glances toward him, frowning. Just for a moment, his attention wavers. The gun moves.

It might not be enough, but it’s the only chance she’s going to get.

The only chance there is.

She focuses, steadies her gun, and wonders if this is how Castle would write it, about the bullet heating through the barrel, screaming through the air, making a perfect hole in the suspect’s head as he fell to the ground.

He’d write it better than that, though. Probably five whole damn paragraphs on the bullet’s trajectory.

For Beckett, it’s simpler.

She sees the shot.

She takes the shot.

Their suspect flinches, but it’s too late. There’s a spatter of blood and the suspect is wide eyed when he falls to the ground, dead.

Castle fumbles away, spinning desperately. He turns on his heel, off balance as he gawks.

“You – you killed him,” he says, breathes the words in total shock. “You killed him.”

Becket’s throat is tight, her fingers tingling. She nods.

“You actually killed him,” he says, and he laughs now, almost hysterical.

“He was going to shoot you,” she tried to explain, her gun feeling heavy in her hand.

Castle turns to her and looks. Really looks.

Beckett looks back, blinking.

“You saved my life,” he says, and it’s something of a revelation to both of them.

“Yeah,” she agrees, because she’s not sure what else to say.

He laughs again, a little giddy now. “And here I thought you didn’t care.”

It’s true, maybe, but it’s wildly inappropriate. Because her heart’s racing and her fingers are trembling and she’s killed a man and she has to call it in and Castle’s making jokes.

Castle almost got a bullet to the brain and he’s making jokes.

“He almost killed you, you know,” she says, sharper than she intended.

Castle nods at that, almost serious for a moment. “I know,” he says.

“Then why don’t you act like it?” she spits back. But what she means is, why don’t you care? Why don’t you realize how much that would destroy us both? Suddenly her chest is tight and her eyes sting. “You need to be careful.”

She means to say it sternly, but it comes out softer than she intends.

Castle hears the tone and his face registers it immediately. “You’re scared.”

“Because I just had to shoot a man!” she yells back, voice almost breaking. “Because you almost died!”

He looks surprised, but pleasantly so. He steps closer, tentative, looking down into her eyes. “But I didn’t,” he says, like that’s all that matters. Like that’s all there is. Like this is a story and this is the happy ending and this is when the hero rides off into the sunset, as if nothing’s changed.

But everything has changed. Not because she’s killed a man – she has, and she’ll see his face when she closes her eyes, will read his obituary and mourn for his family – but because she knows the alternative would have been worse. Castle shouldn’t be here, but he is, and she doesn’t want him here but only because she doesn’t know how to admit she does.

She does want him here. She does want him.

His stupid jokes and his odd flourishes and his total disregard for her orders. She hates him; he’s frustrating and arrogant and cocky and annoying and he almost died today and she doesn’t know what to do with that.

He knows. Looking at her, he knows. He’s probably always known, long before she has, and now she’s not sure she can hide it anymore.

Then, he smiles. Straightening, he shrugs. “And this is going to make one hell of a story,” he says. He turns, laughing again. But this time there’s affectation in his words, his entire demeanor is overly composed.

It’s her out, she realizes. Castle is writing the end of a story right now, putting all the pieces in place and working out the dialogue so she doesn’t have to.

Beckett just saved his life but somehow she’s the one who’s grateful.

With a breath, her senses come back to her. Her control returns. Calmly, she puts her gun away, making a face as she shakes her head and pulls out her gun. “It’s always about the story with you, isn’t it?” she chides.

He turns back to her, grinning in self-deprecation. He inclines his head. “Just the way you like it,” he promises.

“You’re impossible,” she lies.

“You love me that way,” he tells her honestly.

She shakes her head as she dials but doesn’t disagree. It’s not really the end, she knows, but it makes for a good one, so for once, Beckett really just leaves it at that.


Posted by: Moogs (moogsthewriter)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
Oceans - Reuben

Man, you really need to watch some of the later seasons, because this fits in so well with what's progressed, and really, there just needs to be more of this in the show! Because as always, you win. <3

The angst! The tension! The Castle! I love muchly.

(We really do need to get some Castle icons...)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
CHAOS team

I do need to watch the later seasons. First I need to get S2. Well, first I need to have a life that supports taking an hour to watch TV.

(And we DO! I will try to rectify that sometime.)


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