Castle Christmas FanFic Competition: Christmas: Impossible


Another story for our fanfic competition. Here you can find all the stories for the 12th Precinct Castle Halloween FanFic Competition. And here you can find the rules.
You can also find the stories at www.fanfiction.net for a possible easier read (blogspot doesn`t agree with word format most of the time).



Story: "Christmas: Impossible" 
Rating:  T
Words: 3,494
 





It turns out that she’s a snoop. Kate Beckett is a total snoop.

It’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

If he lives that long.

The incident with the dye pack was a near miss. He’d lost a drawer full of boxers to that. And her skin is still pink-ish around the ribcage. She thumps him for that every time she catches sight. Totally unfair.

It’s not like it was a real one. Not like they use in bank robberies, because those things burn, and he’s not an idiot. Not a total idiot. Just something he had one of his guys mock up for research so obviously the dye had to last as long as the real thing.

It’s not his fault. He’s not the one who was snooping—naked—in the dead of night.

But she snoops—naked—in the dead of night. So that’s a win. Yeah.

Best. Christmas. Ever.

If he lives.

He might not.

Because she’s not just a snoop. She listens. She monitors every single thing he says. He’s had to be quiet and that is not easy. He likes the feel of words in his mouth and there’s always something on the back burner of his mind. But she listens and he’s paranoid.

That’s not the worst of it. Lately, she’s taken to coming right out and asking. She’s after him for hints constantly. Constantly.  And she’s . . . highly skilled in the art of interrogation.

Obviously, right?

But, no. Really. The woman has skills. He had literally no idea. 

Skills and an unfortunate amount of self-control. Well, maybe not self-control. Self-sufficiency, maybe. He has his suspicions about her occasional use of the upstairs bathroom, “So he can sleep in.”

Either way, it’s cold showers, nuns, and dead chipmunks for him. The nuns don’t even make sense. He blames Ryan. 

It’s fun, though. That’s the best thing about it. Life with her—with them, together—is so much fun.

He knows all kinds of things about her now that he didn’t know seven months ago. That he didn’t know a month ago. Like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving  makes her cry. The popcorn of all things. She loses it about the popcorn.

And she knows every word to every song in all the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. She loves The Bumble, but that was pretty much a given. Who doesn't love The Bumble?

He learns new things about her every day. Her pathological fear of placing takeout orders over the phone. And she's completely mental about toothpaste tube protocol.

And she’s a snoop.

Yeah, it’s fun. And it’s going to be the best Christmas ever.

If he lives.


****************************************************

She thought he would be easier to break.

Actually, it had never occurred to her that she’d have to break him. She assumed he’d have let it slip long before now. That excitement would get the better of him.

He’s not exactly Mr. Rich Internal Life. He's Mr. Rich External Life. He talks to himself constantly. And he hasn't let a damned thing slip. Yet. He will, though, and she'll be listening.

Failing that, the careless receipt in the coat pocket. The tell-tale browser history. A shopping bag shoved deep in the garbage. Something. Eventually he'll slip up.

But it’s T-minus eight days and nothing. Nothing.

It's ridiculous. She suspects he has a separate phone, a separate iPad, a separate everything—just for shopping—stored in a secure location. She's been reduced to thumping walls and floorboards, searching for false panels and secret hidey holes. Because, seriously, a man with his attention span cannot—cannot—remember to turn on private browsing every single time.

They’re not going to make it till Christmas alive. Not both of them. Not if he keeps this up.

He can keep a secret. It’s ridiculous. Richard Castle, man-child extraordinaire, can keep a secret.

For now, anyway.

She lost valuable time early on. She’d taken pity and left off needling him until after her birthday.

She’s had a lifetime of disappointment on one end or the other of that. Low key parties and token gifts from her parents, her friends, “What with Christmas so close . . .”

Boyfriends were usually worse. They tended to panic. Joke gifts or something thoughtless. Pointless things to fill an obligation.

But Castle had passed the birthday test. Oh, he got a shiny gold star for the birthday. So she’d been prepared to enjoy watching him scramble with the pressure on. 

Her first hint was pretty subtle. And he’d smiled. Absolutely calm. She’d thought he was bluffing.

It’s been weeks and he’s still smiling. She’s flat out accused him of having nothing and he just. keeps. smiling.

It’s not a bluff. She knows the taste of his panic. 

She hasn’t pulled out all the stops. Not yet. Because she thinks she can find it. Because, hello, who’s the detective here?

She underestimated him. She hadn't considered how far he'd go. Bad intelligence and red herrings. Tactics.

It makes sense, in retrospect. His obsession with intrigue. That makes sense.

But she hadn't counted on him standing up under some pretty . . . intense questioning. But he has. He hasn't slipped. Hasn't dropped so much as the slightest hint, no matter how she coaxes or cajoles or demands.

There's been a certain amount of cutting off her nose to spite her face. She hates that upstairs bathroom.

She hasn't brought her A game. She never imagined she'd need it. She underestimated him. She thought he would be easier to break. But that's all over now.

It’s T-minus 8 days and he’s going down. Or some other, less frustrating metaphor. Whatever.

*************************************************************************

He loves that it matters to her. Not just the gift—although there is nothing not fun about watching Kate “Self-Possessed” Beckett completely lose her shit about that—but the whole thing.

She wants to know. What he and his mother did when he was a kid. How things changed when Alexis came along. She wants to share things about Christmas and her mother that have nothing to do with rabbit holes and conspiracies. 

He loves that it was her idea, really. The gift. It was her idea.

A dusty box of ornaments and a throw-away comment about how long it had taken her to accept that all she’d ever have of her mother were things. Objects.

She’d smiled about it. Pulled his arm around her and smiled to show him that she’s ok with it. That she’s ok. 

She is. She laughs easily and she’s excited. She cries, too. Tears up, anyway, when the sense of loss is particularly sharp. And she doesn’t try to hide it from him. That’s better in its own way. She doesn’t hide it.

She’s ok with what she has. But he can give her more than that. Or he thinks he can. He hopes he can give her more than just things.

He’s nervous. He’s been nervous the whole time, but it’s worse now.

Earlier on he worried about someone slipping. He’d had that to channel his worry into. That he’d slip or she’d pick up the wrong phone or see through a lame excuse. Particularly now. At the end, when it’s the boys and Lanie and their families. He’s had that to worry about.

Alexis, in particular, is a terrible liar. How that’s possible given both nature and nurture, he’ll never know, but she is a terrible liar and so much depends on her.

That’s been good, too, even if worry is giving him an ulcer. To do this with her. To see her work and play and know first hand that she’s ok. She always is, and he knew that—he knew that—but now he sees it, too.

It’s all that, of course, but it’s more.

Whatever she said when he first told her—however she wrote it off to leaving for school and everything changing—things had been off ever since.

She hasn’t been rude. She hasn’t ignored Kate or snapped at him. She’s not cold and she doesn’t avoid the subject. She just hasn’t been . . . anything.

It took him a while to realize that she was waiting for it to be over. That she expected it to be over before too long.

He hasn’t asked and she hasn’t said, but that’s what it is. He’s pretty sure that’s it, and he’s not proud. He hasn’t given her a whole lot of reason to think otherwise.

He’s kept a lot of that apart from her. She’s met the women he’s dated. The ones who’d been around long enough. She’d liked some of them. And when she didn’t, he’d taken that seriously. But he sees now that she’s spent every single one of his relationships waiting for it to be over.

He’s not proud, but this has been good. A chance to show her that it’s not going to be over. That if he has anything to say about this, he and Kate will never be over.

Alexis sees that now. He thinks she does. Because he’s never done anything like this before. He’s never asked her to be this much a part of his private life.

It’s been a chance to see Kate’s side of things for herself. To see why it really was complicated. Why it’s been such a long, hard path to each other.

It’s been good and now it’s done. Almost done and he’s nervous again.

He thinks it’s right. As right as it can be. He’s glad he had Alexis to talk him out of a lot. To tell him to let most of it just be. To talk him into the ending. He thinks he’s glad.

He thinks it’s the right thing to give her, but at this point he has no perspective.

He’ll know soon enough. It’s part of the surprise. Giving it to her early. Tonight.

He almost screwed that up. It has to be tonight, but he didn’t want to tip her off. He’d underplayed it. Said he just wanted to have a quiet dinner—just the two of them—before the chaos.

He’d underplayed it and she’d volunteered to come in and take care of some things Gates insists have to be done before the end of the year. He’d had to beg Esposito to step in. He hardly remembers what color the Ferrari is anymore.

It has to be tonight and it has nothing to do with not being able to keep the secret. Well, not a lot to do with that. He can last another 72 hours.

He is . . . almost 100% certain that he could, although there has been lingerie lately. Lingerie and a sudden, suspicious onslaught of dirty talk and fantasy sharing and what is the goddamned appeal of the upstairs bathroom anyway? As if he doesn’t know.

It’s not that he’s afraid he’ll break. But tomorrow everything gets crazy. Baking and arcane glögg rituals. Alexis and a mountain of laundry and blank-eyed exhaustion after her first set of finals.

And it’s going to be great. It’s all going to be great. The best Christmas ever.

But he wants to give her a night for this. To show her that she doesn’t just have things. That the world has more of her mother in it than just things.

He thinks that’s right, too. That doing it this way is right. He’ll know soon enough.

***************************

She has him where she wants him. Only three days left. But she has him where she wants him.

It hasn’t been pretty. He’s managed to stand up to everything she’s thrown at him. Lingerie and truth or dare and an after-dark litany, listing the contents of that box and every fantasy attached to it. She ripped the towel bar out of the wall in that fucking upstairs bathroom after that. That took some explaining.

But she has him where she wants him.

Something’s up tonight. He’s been oh so casual about it. Said they should just spend some time—just the two of them—before things pick up. Just dinner, nothing in particular.

The look on his face when she told him she’d volunteered to take one for the team . . . it almost made up for the towel bar incident when he indulged in something dangerously close to a smirk.

He’d tried to hide it with a pout and some exaggerated wheedling. And then he’d left. She hand’t counted on that. She’d expected him to break right then. She hadn't counted on a surreptitious kiss and him leaving.

She’s not worried. She’s all but alone in the bullpen on the Friday before Christmas doing the most tedious paperwork ever invented, but she has him where she wants him. Definitely.

The elevator chimes. The corners of her mouth curl up and she spins in her chair. But it’s not him. It’s not him.

It’s Esposito, and he has the strangest look on his face. Her heart starts racing.

Espo stops and jerks his head toward the elevator. “Get outta here, Beckett.”

“Javi, I told you I’d . . .” She trails off, confused. Her face feels like it’s on fire and she can’t catch her breath.

“Go on,” he says. Gentle and not at all like him. “He’s downstairs.”

“He?” She doesn’t recognize her own voice.

Esposito rolls his eyes, and that at least feels familiar. “Castle. Go. Put us all out of our misery.”

Kate pushes to her feet and grabs her things with shaking hands. She eats up the distance to the elevator with long strides and then reverses course. She stops at Esposito’s desk.

He looks up, surprised, and she just stands there. Then it rushes out of her, “Thank you. I . . . thanks, Javier. Merry Christmas.”

He turns back to his monitor and shrugs, but she can see the smile tugging at him. “Merry Christmas, Beckett.

**************************

He doesn’t know what he’ll do. If she digs in her heels—if Esposito can’t get her to leave—he’ll just have to . . . well, he doesn’t know.

He doesn't know what he'll do if she won't come.

He's freezing. He tells himself that's why he's shaking. She's taking forever, and it's freezing.

It's warm in the car, but he wants to see her first thing. He wants her to see him and he wants to remember the heat flooding his cheeks when he sees her smile.

And there she is. There she is, and his heart is slamming against his ribs and she's sliding into his arms and pressing him against the car door and whispering, "Come on. Come on, Castle."

She is all over him in the back seat. All over him, and it's not like her. She doesn't believe in one-way glass and discreet drivers. Oh, sometimes she doesn't care. Sometimes she has more pressing needs. But she doesn't believe in them. But tonight, she's all over him in a last-ditch campaign to get him to tell.  

It's not far. They're not going far. But she's all but in his lap and unleashing a stream of demands in his ear, and really, the only thing that saves him is he doesn't know. He doesn't even know how to tell her. That's what saves him and then they're there.

Thank God, they're there.

******************************

It’s not what she expected. A street so nondescript it could be anywhere in New York. A dry cleaner, a bodega, and a couple of vacant storefronts. It’s not what she expected.

“This way.” Castle takes her by the elbow. She can feel the tension in his fingers. A line of steel vibrating up his arm and across his shoulders, bowing his head into the wind. He’s nervous. She didn’t expect that either.

It should be satisfying. He’s finally breaking. He’s not smiling anymore. Instead, it’s catching. She’s nervous, too.

They crowd into a doorway. Crumbling brick on either side and it’s not what she expected.

He fumbles with keys. Holds the heavy metal door open for her.

“Up. Top of the stairs,” he says shortly.

The screening room is small. Comfortable seats, but nothing fancy. There’s a small table set up near the center—thermos, a couple of take-out bags, and some mugs.

He swallows loud enough for her to hear. “I thought . . . but, you know, wherever you want to sit. Just give me a second to get things set up.”

She nods and slips into the aisle. She catches the scent of coffee and then she’s diving into the bags. Eviscerating them and it’s so satisfying to have things to put her hands on. To pull out and discover and this is the kind of thing she’s imagined all these weeks. That she’d have a case to build. Evidence. And it’s just this and that. Her favorites gathered from around the city, but it’s satisfying.

“Good?” He asks as he drops into the seat next to her.

“Good, Castle.” She grins. “Except the coffee. Black?”

He holds up a finger and pulls out a flask. “Vanilla liqueur. Got a guy with a boutique distillery.”

“You’ve got a guy,” she echoes with a smirk. “What is this, Castle?”

“Um . . . can we just . . .” He fumbles with the screw top. His hands are shaking. “Do you mind if we just . . . watch?”

“Ok. Ok, Castle.” She catches his wrist and gives him a sly, sideways glance. “But if this is homemade porn, you’re dead.”

He barks out a laugh and she feels the tension loosen just a little. He twists in his seat and aims a small remote. The lights go down and the screen lights up and she hears her mother’s name.


*********************

She climbs into his lap at some point. The seats are wide and comfortable, but the arm rest is just too much of a hassle and she climbs into his lap.

He’s good with that because they’re twined together and she’s laughing and crying and whispering to him and they’re just holding each other, tangled up in the seat.

It’s hard for him to watch. The end is hard. He hates to watch himself. Especially things like this, when he’s caught unawares. When he’s not turning it on and playing the role. But it works.

It’s right, and he’s glad that Alexis talked him into this. Short snippets of him talking about her. Nothing planned or scripted. Not even an interview. Just the story of how he fell in love with her. With Johanna Beckett’s daughter.

It ends and it’s quiet and dark and she’s stroking his hair. She doesn’t say anything and he has a moment of panic. She didn’t hate it. He doesn’t think she did, but he doesn’t know what comes next. And then he does.

The story. The story comes next. He tells her. How she gave him the idea in the first place and Alexis helped him find someone at Columbia.

Jens is a sociologist and he thought it was a great idea. A great story. So he set up some of his grad students to work through the files at Johanna’s firm. To track down the people and families she’d helped. The ones she hadn’t been able to help.

It’s not all pretty. Not everyone loved Johanna Beckett. And not everyone she helped made good. Some of the interviews are in prison common areas and filthy squats. Others are in living rooms and libraries and out on loading docks. He’d wanted . . . at first he’d wanted to interfere. To take out the ugliness, but they’d convinced him. Alexis, Jens. Half a dozen other people he’s gotten to know. They convinced him this was the story.

She twists his ear when he gets to the middle. Their families, their friends. Everyone at the precinct talking about her. She’s furious it’s all been going on right under her nose and she never had a clue. And she writhes at the idea of anyone—everyone—talking about her.   

But she’s the biggest part of Johanna left and her work—what she does every day and the person she is—that’s the biggest part of Johanna in this world. And when he says it like that she gets quiet and he feels the tears pooling in the hollow of his collarbone.

He tries to rush past his own part, but she won’t let him. She drags it out of him and they’re laughing and tugging at each other. They’re both exhausted and it gets a little silly. A little hysterical.

“Let’s go home, Castle,” she says after they’re quiet a while.

He tightens his arms around her. “Yeah . . . your place ok?”

“My place definitely,” she says as she swings her legs off his lap. She stands and makes a show of stretching.

Definitely?” he asks faintly as his eyes travel up her body.

“Definitely,” she repeats. She pull him up and they’re pressed together. Every inch of both of them. “You’re going to want to unwrap your present in private, Castle.”

Best. Christmas. Ever. 
Agent Angie Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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