Castle | Kate centric | PG13 | 1009 words | AO3
The truth about Kate Beckett is this: if you kick her she will not stay down. She will rise stronger and faster and make everyone pay for what they did.
It is a life well lived when you can measure its worth not in failures or successes, but in people loved or lives changed. Kate Beckett has not yet decided what kind of life she has lived.
Kate has found that most people talk of good deeds and a better world, but they are not ready to do the dirty and hard job that makes good things happen. For that she despises them (for that she envies them). Because there is no shame in stepping back and not doing the job in front of you, just the shame of knowing yourself. If you are the law, you have to do what the law dictates; you can not pick and choose what is right. Because someone has to stand up, someone has to be the one to make that stand, to be strong and to never bend. And she wants to be that someone, she needs to be that someone. (In the back of her head a voice whispers that she is overcompensating for something that was not her fault, or her responsibility. The voice sounds a lot like her mother's and she shuts it out.)
The only thing solid and true in this world that is forever changing, is the law. Because everyone is equal under the law, and the law is for everyone. The law is the shield against chaos. (It is not a coincidence that her badge is formed like a shield, and thus she uses it as one.) If she breaks, if the law breaks, then all is lost. Kate knows that it does not all rest on her shoulders, but she also knows that it does. Life is full of double-edged swords, traps and games, and she wants to, (she needs to), live with them all.
Some things are so difficult to do that it becomes easy, while so many things are easy and it is only later you discover how difficult they really were. Once, she had stood at the back of a church and listened to a priest talk about a woman he didn't know. She had tried so hard to recognize her mother in his words, but all she had gotten was an image of a kind woman who only briefly resembled the person she loved. Later that day, head bent by a grave while a soft rain was making everything damp, she could call up an image of her mother as easy as anything. Later again, years this time, she stood by the same grave and she couldn't remember her own image of her mother; all she had left was a priest's empty words. Some things are easy, so easy until they suddenly become difficult to grasp, while others linger even after they've outgrown their usefulness.
The truth about Kate Beckett is this: if you kick her she will not stay down. She will rise stronger and faster and make everyone pay for what they did. That is what she has always done, ever since a crime in a alley made her pick up a shield and stand her ground. There is a chain with a ring on around her neck that both weighs her down and lifts her up. The ring helps her keep her center, helps her to know what is right, and because of it (or despite of it), she stands tall.
People are never what they should be. Kate thinks that at most they are a shadow of what they want to be, or maybe just a shadow of what other people see in them. She wants to be more than a shadow, she wants to get out of the circle of lies, self-deprivation and flaws. But she is still not sure if that is a pitfall she can avoid.
(She tells herself that seeing the failings of others is something that comes with the job, something unavoidable, and most days she believes it.)
Once, she had thought she was destined to make and argue the law. It was the easier and more obvious choice to make. (No. Not easier. Never easier.) She knows now that she was always destined to enforce the law. She can feel it in her blood when they get a new lead, she can feel it in her pulse when someone takes a shot at her, she knows it in her bones when they catch the criminals. Sometimes that is the only thing that keeps her standing at the end of the day: the knowledge that this is what she does, and that she does it well.
(There is a certain pride in the knowledge of a job well done that she recognizes from the dad of her childhood, before her mother's death and the alcohol had taken the certainty away from him. She pushes it away, because thinking about her childhood isn't always a pleasant thing.)
The horrible truth of it all is that war never ends, not for the ones who fought. And Kate has been fighting for a long time now. She has always played the game, again and again, and without the certainty of winning, it's exhausting. She is tired, so very tired of losing.
All her life, Kate has believed that everything that happens to her makes her stronger, that all her experiences add themselves to the total that is Detective Kate Beckett, but lately, in the cold light of time, she has wondered about the truth of it all. What if what doesn't kill you makes you weaker (and that to give into that weakness isn't really a weakness at all). She used to think that love was a game where everyone lost. In trying to let go, to move on, she finds something new in herself, something completely unexpected, and that, more than anything is what keeps her going; full speed ahead.
(And if the law isn't for everyone after all, and the shield doesn't protect her like it should, maybe the weakness of love will be the only tangible thing to grab hold of.)