DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Beacon Pictures, Experimental Pictures, and ABC Studios. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2015 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
Every Time I Close My Eyes
Beckett lies quietly, cuddled next to Castle as he sleeps in a way that make his earlier statement a lie, that he sees Tyson every time he closes his eyes.
But then why would he? He beat Tyson and the man died a soft, quiet death—she can imagine the look of surprise on Tyson's face when Espo's bullet hit, the sudden realization that he'd finally—totally—lost. And at Castle's hands.
She smiles, even though she's annoyed that Castle is sleeping like a baby and she's playing back Nieman's death in her head. Over and over.
It's not her face that haunts her—it's what Beckett did to her face. She didn't have to kill her, much less butcher her. The anger—the pure, adrenaline-fueled "It's not going to end like this, you psychotic bitch" rage—that filled her was too much to deny.
Beckett became like her. For that moment. A killer.
And eventually, she knows she'll let it go. She'll accept it as just one more part of who she is and what she's had to do to survive. And then she'll sleep again.
Just like Castle is, only hopefully minus the snoring.
She'll accept who she is and what she's done.
And that's what really haunts her. Not Nieman, or her slashed face, or Beckett's part in it, but that she can accept it and Castle goddamned buried his memories. He can't tell her a damn thing about where he was when he disappeared because it's too horrible to remember.
How is that fair? How is that right? She took Nieman down as much to preserve her life with Castle as to save her own skin. Whatever he did to get back to her and Alexis—it should be bearable.
Why does he get to forget?
She takes a deep breath and lets it out. This anger is an old anger and it's useless. Castle made his decision, and he's content to remain in ignorance. Or he's too afraid of what he's capable of—of having her know that—that he's willing to remain in ignorance even when it's the most out of character thing she's ever known him to do.
He solves the story. He finds the plot from the pieces. It's his strength and it's why she loves him.
And if she thinks too hard about how he's not finding the story in this one, as she does sometimes when she's alone, she loves him just a little bit less for it.
And then she reminds herself that this is Castle, her Castle, and eventually, he will have to know. Maybe even more now that he almost lost her, that he got a taste of what she went through.
She lets out a ragged breath, glad that Alexis and Martha will be home soon. Their energy deflects her from this path, from thinking about when she was alone and the man that should have been her husband was nowhere to be found. Their love for him—their acceptance that he doesn't know and isn't going to know—makes the part of her that is angry settle a little.
"Are you okay?" Castle's voice is soft even though it's just them in the apartment.
Normally he'd try to distract her with kisses and touches and all the things she loves about being in bed with him. Or he'd probe, as if she's a character in his book that he doesn't understand yet.
Instead he rolls over and turns on the light, then looks at her, studying her, and she tries to hide that she's angry but he says, "Don't. Don't pretend," so she lets him have it, the pain she feels, as much of it as will show from her eyes and the way her mouth is set in a tight line.
He swallows, visibly, and she can tell he's afraid, and maybe for once he's more afraid of losing her than of what he might find out he did. But she's not going to push him: he needs to get there himself.
It's his past and he needs to want to know where he was and what he did. He has to want that for him, not just for her or for them.
She lets the anger go, and it's easy now, because even though they aren't really talking, they are saying more than they have before. And she leans in and kisses him gently and says, "I love you."
Then she nods toward the light, and he turns it off, and she says, "We have a big day tomorrow. Nobody has made cappuccino right since you left."
And he laughs and hugs her and murmurs, "I love you. I will always love you."
And he falls back to sleep, holding her tightly against him.
She closes her eyes and sees Neiman lying on the floor, feels the scalpel in her hand, the drip of blood from the blade to her skin.
She lets it sink in, become her, welcomes it, even. She knows why she did it. She knows she'd do it again—given the state she was in. What more is there?
Castle mumbles in his sleep.
"Get there soon," she whispers as she stares at the ceiling and waits for morning.