All Patched Up
It’s been like this since they were six years old. The first
time she got into a fight with a boy who called her—and all girls, actually—weak
and stupid. She’d kicked him in the shin and then he punched her in the face,
giving her a black eye. They’d ended up tumbling around the gravel beneath the
swings and attracted a monitor, who came just a minute too late. Kate was
sitting on the boy’s back, shoving his face down into the gravel. The monitor
had had to practically drag her off as she kicked and screamed.
Afterward, while she was sitting in time out with a black
eye and multiple scratches, another boy walked up to her; this one had kind
blue eyes and a shy smile. He was a year older than her, but he didn’t look
down on her like most of the second-graders.
Understandably, though, Kate was on the defensive. “What do
you want?” she hissed at him, her eyes squinted in suspicion.
“You’re bleeding,” the boy told her, pointing to her scraped
up knee. Kate looked down and grimaced at the blood dripping down her calf. She
hadn’t even felt it in her anger. “I have band aids,” the boy informed her and
shoved his hand into his pocket, coming out with a dozen tiny wrappers with
different superheroes on them. “Do you want Batman, Superman, Cat Woman, or
Wonder Woman? I also have Poison Ivy, but she’s more of a villain, I think.”
“So is Cat Woman,” Kate pointed out.
“Yeah, but she’s not all
bad, I don’t think. She has to be somewhat good if she spends all her time
with animals, right?” He gave her a lopsided grin and Kate couldn’t help but
“I like Poison Ivy,” she said and his eyes widened.
“But she’s the villain!”
“So? She’s tough. I like her.”
He shrugged. “If you say so.” In the next minute, he was
kneeling at her feet and pasting the band aid over her scrape, and then his
Kate pulled her knee away from him. “Wh-what are you doing?”
“My mother says that kisses help you heal quicker; don’t
they?” He tilted his head like a confused puppy.
“I guess…” she replied, uneasily. “My mom says that too,
sometimes.” He smiled and pressed another kiss to her knee. “So that it heals
twice as fast,” he explained. Kate rolled her eyes, but smiled.
“What’s your name, anyway?” she asked as he stood up.
“Kate,” she replied. “Kate Beckett.”
“Cool name,” he commented. “I’m Rick Ro—Castle. Call me
“What’s your real name?”
Kate asked, crossing her arms.
He sighed. “Rodgers,” he groaned. “But I like Castle better.”
“Okay,” she said. “Castle, then. Thank you for the band aid.”
“No problem,” he replied.
“Miss Beckett, you are not permitted to talk to anybody
while in timeout; five more minutes,” the monitor said, suddenly, startling
both of them.
Kate rolled her eyes and slumped back against the seat. “Bye,”
she said to Castle.
“Until tomorrow,” he replied and then walked back into the
playground. He smiled at her over his shoulder as he went.
As it turned out, he did
see her again the next day. It was after Joey Tiller pushed her off the
swing and, before she had any time to react and get herself in any trouble, the
monitor was there, grabbing him by the shirt and dragging him away. She didn’t
even check to see if Kate was alright.
But Castle did. He helped her to her feet and sighed as he
saw her scrape begin to bleed again. He had no more Poison Ivy band aids, so he
planted a Superman one on top this time.
“Why do you have so many band aids?” Kate asked him.
“Mother says I’m clumsy because I have very big feet for my
age,” he told her and shrugged. He rolled up the sleeves of his sweater to show
her the Batmans and Wonder Womans he sported on his elbows and forearms, then
rolled up his jeans to show her his own healing scrapes.
Kate’s eyes widened at that. “Maybe she’s right.”
Castle laughed and she joined in, until they were standing
in the middle of the playground, giggling like fools.
After that, they were each other’s caretakers. Each time
Kate got into a fight—which she was prone to do because of her horrible
temperament and the boys’ stupidity—he would be the one sneaking off to the
timeout bench to treat her wounds with band aids and healing pecks. Each time
he fell and had to get another band aid on his body, Kate would add her own ‘healing’
to it and then he would tell her the story of how it came about. He usually
infused it with humor that most definitely was not present at the time of each
When he went onto middle school—which was just right across
the street from the elementary school, he supplied her with boxes of her
favorite superhero band aids. On days when she would get into fights, they
would meet after school so that he could ‘heal’ her. After a while, rumor began
to spread that Kate had a boyfriend in middle school, which then led to more
teasing and fights. Most of the boys at her school had the mark of Kate Beckett
(usually a black eye) and the rest were too scared to do so much as look at
When she got to middle school, which was filled with twice
as many kids, most of whom knew nothing about the fury that resided in her tiny
body, she got into even more fights. This time, Castle could heal her when he
visited the principal’s office (which happened often, because he liked to play
pranks on teachers and students alike. Sometimes, though, he received awards
for his essay-writing and Kate would tease him about being a nerd).
The rumors about Kate Beckett and Rick “Castle” Rodgers
multiplied tenfold in junior high, but neither of them seemed to care in the
least. She was his best friend and he was one of hers. And neither Lanie,
Esposito, nor Ryan cared whether or not they were dating. Castle was just Kate’s
personal nurse and they thought very little of it.
The fighting got worse when Kate was in eighth grade and
received braces. Kids would tease her, she would punch them, they would punch
back…and, well, broken wires and rubberbands weren’t exactly something Castle
could fix, but he did patch up a cut on her cheek once. It was the first time
his lips touched her face and they both felt a shock that neither wanted to
He went to a high school blocks away after that and could
only sometimes visit to patch his friend up. He left her with more band aids,
but she refused to wear them, embarrassed by the faces of superheroes she once
loved. Castle, like a mother hen, would tut at her until she finally put them
one, praying that they would stay hidden beneath ripped jeans and tops that
showed more skin than when she was just a little kid.
He was still adamant about kissing every little bump,
bruise, and cut, though. Kate didn’t mind.
She lost the braces in tenth grade and instantly became a
school knockout. Boys who had teased her mercilessly before were now vying for her
affection. Luckily, she had the sense to flip them off and walk away. Castle
was known as the puppy at her heels and walked her to every class, stepping in
every time she was catcalled and threw a punch at some douchebag with a sneer
on his lips.
Less often now did she get injured and need any ‘healing’
but Castle still hung around, keeping her safe and out of trouble, despite her
“I can take care of myself, Castle,” she would growl at him.
“Physically, yes,” he’d respond, “but you gave three guys
black eyes last week and you nearly castrated Josh Davidson last Monday.”
“He groped me!” she hissed as they walked to class.
“I know,” Castle said, “and just like you did, Esposito and
Ryan are taking care of him. But you have to learn to control your anger—at least
until you’re outside and won’t get suspended for wrecking him up like you d—“
He tripped. Somehow that big old lug who had, they thought,
outgrown his clumsiness as he grew into his shoes, tripped. Over absolutely
nothing. How even?
Everybody stared, and a few laughed, as Kate Beckett, who
was tall but still a full head shorter than him, got Castle back to his feet. “You
alright, clumsy?” she asked, chuckling.
“I thnk I bi’ mah tonggg,” he said, rubbing his jaw. Kate
laughed and dragged him to a nearby alcove, as the halls began to empty.
“Let me see,” she said, her soft hands cupping his jaw.
Castle stuck his tongue out at her and blew a raspberry, but groaning.
“Tha’ hurth,” he moaned. Kate rolled her eyes and held his
jaw still as she checked over his damaged muscle. Two teeth marks were clearly
evident in the center of his tongue and she winced in sympathy.
“Ooh,” she said, “that’s pretty harsh-looking, but you’ll
survive. Sadly, though, we are all out of mouth band aids, so you’ll have to
stick it out.” She began to back away and he pulled her back.
“Awen’t you gonna heaw it?” he asked.
“Castle, I am not kissing your tongue,” Kate hissed, blushing
as she looked around. He gave her his puppy dog eyes and she rolled hers. It
wasn’t that she didn’t want to kiss
him—sometimes, she really wanted to—but
what would that do to their friendship. Would it make things terribly awkward
after ten years together, or would it be a new step? Would it even be that big
of a deal?
Only one way to find
out, a tiny voice in the back of her head said, and Kate sighed, taking the
Castle’s eyes widened as Kate Beckett’s lips pressed firmly
against his, her wrist still held firmly in his hand. He had only been joking
about the healing thing; had just wanted to get her all riled up. He had never
actually expected her to…
And, oh, her tongue was brushing against his now, the pain
barely discernable against the pleasurable shocks he was feeling. Castle’s eyes
slowly drifted closed as he leaned into the kiss, his hand abandoning her wrist
in order to wrap around her waist, pull her closer.
A tiny moan emitted from Kate’s throat and he echoed it,
fitting her body completely against his as he reciprocated and raised his hand
to bury itself in her lock, wavy locks. When they pulled back, they were both panting,
Kate rested her forehead against his jaw for a second and Castle couldn’t
resist pressing another kiss there.
She smiled. “Feeling better?” she gasped, looking up into
his beautiful ocean blue eyes.
“Never better,” he replied, his lisp and pain both gone. “But
I could use some more healing.”
Kate laughed at that and shook her head. “Maybe after
school,” she told him. “Right now, I’m late for English. And I’m pretty sure
Lawler’s going to kill you if you skip another gym class.” Castle groaned at
the reminder and she laughed again. “Don’t worry, Castle,” she said, “I’ll kiss
away all your bruises.”