|A New Start
Author: ifonly13 PM
Out of heartbreak comes a new life for more than one person.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Kate B. & Rick C. - Words: 2,381 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 16 - Follows: 8 - Published: 09-24-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7407079
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Just jump in.
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine. Except for one. You'll know which.
It had been two years. Two years since the appointment that had changed everything.
He could still see her face when the doctor had come into the room, holding that manila folder. They were holding hands; her up on the exam table, he in the most uncomfortable chair since the one in the precinct. Her hand was a vice, her eyes closed.
"Mr. and Mrs. Castle?" the doctor asked, knocking lightly on the door as he opened it.
Kate's eyes shot open and her hand tightened around his further. "Yes?" Her voice sounded steady, but he knew her. She was terrified, her insides quivering like a leaf in a hurricane.
The doctor sat in the free chair, wheeling it over to form a triangle. The folder rested on his knees and held Kate's eyes like a magnet. "I'm afraid I have some bad news. There was a problem with the pregnancy. You've had a miscarr-"
They didn't hear the rest of the word nevermind the sentence. Kate crumbled, slipping from the exam table. Castle caught her, her body a deadweight that had his knees buckling as he held her up.
"I'll give you two a few minutes and be back to explain options." The doctor left the room, closing the door behind him.
The click of the door was the breaking-point. The sob that had been stuck in Kate's chest escaped, his shoulder not muffling the sound at all. He felt her tears sinking into his shirt, her hands fisting into his shirt. Castle took the most of her weight and sat with his back against the table.
"Oh, Kate…" He let her cry, his hands running over her back, her arms, her knees. When the sobs slowed to shuddering breaths, he pressed a kiss to her forehead. "We can try again. We're not going to give up, Kate."
She didn't move her head from its position burrowed into his shoulder. "We're tried twice already, Castle. How many times are we going to try before we call it quits?"
"As many times as it takes!" He shifted slightly, placing a finger under her chin and using the most gentle of pressure to lift her eyes to his. "Kate, we'll keep trying. As long as you want this, we'll keep coming back."
Since that afternoon, Castle had vowed to never see such heartache in his wife's eyes. After their third miscarriage, they started looking into adoption. Kate was torn up, barely holding herself together in front of him and their family, both their blood relatives and those at the precinct. In the days after that third doctor's appointment, Kate moved from the bedroom to the couch and back to the bedroom, using a week's worth of vacation days for anything but reading a book on the beach working on her tan. Castle was able to feed her, oatmeal for breakfast before soup for lunch and dinner. He sent Martha and Alexis to the Hamptons and they understood Kate and Castle's need for solidarity.
But after a week of mourning, Kate buried that part of her and moved back into Detective Beckett. She went through the motions of her life, bringing justice to families. She watched Ryan and Jenny welcome their son into the world. She smiled, bounced their nephew on her hip as she walked around the precinct when Jenny came by to visit. That night, Castle remembers the long shower that she thought masked the sounds of her tears. He had sat outside the bathroom and listened, his heart aching with each of her sobs.
But that was a year ago. Today, June 29th, marked a new beginning for them. Despite the fact that there were two chairs in the room, Kate was sitting in Castle's lap. Her fingers were nervously playing with his wedding band.
"Castle, what if-"
"No, Kate. Everything will be perfect. It's the right thing to do, especially for us."
The door opened. A man in a suit walked in, a briefcase in hand, followed by a short woman in scrubs. The first person was their lawyer, a kind man named Nicholas Miller, but Castle saw that Kate's eyes were locked on the woman.
"How are you two doing?" asked Nicholas, setting the briefcase on the table, boosting himself onto the surface.
Kate's voice was quiet as she answered with "Fine." She wasn't focused on the lawyer. She wasn't even focused on the woman in scrubs and those silly rubber clogs that nurses and doctors wore. What she did see was the bundle of blankets cradled in that woman's arms.
"Glad to hear that. I know you both want to get back to the apartment as soon as possible, so there's just this one place I need signatures and you can be off."
They didn't move from the chair. Nicholas found a legal pad in his briefcase, placed the document on it, and handed the paper and a pen to Castle. He scrawled his name, messier than his usually polished autograph, next to one of the Xs. Kate signed beside the other X, her hand trembling just the slightest bit.
"And we're done! She's all yours."
Kate pushed up off Castle's lap, meeting the woman in the middle of the room.
The woman held out the bundle with a smile that looked like a frown compared to the one on Kate's face. "Congratulations, Mom."
"Thank you," Kate managed, taking the small bundle of yellow blankets from the nurse. She swallowed hard, looking down at the little person in her arms. The baby girl was sleeping, her fists curled up to her face. She didn't notice Castle shaking hands with Nicholas or the chaste kiss he gave the nurse on the cheek as she passed him. "Hey, baby girl."
"You're a natural." She looked up and found Castle staring at her. He walked over, tucking Kate against his side so he could look down at the sleeping baby.
"She's so tiny, Castle."
"Most babies are." When he reached over and ran a finger over the baby's fist, that fist opened and wrapped around his forefinger. "She doesn't have a name, you know." Kate glanced up, her mouth falling open a bit. "Means we finally get to put that extensive list we made years ago to use."
Their attention shifted to the bundle when the baby girl yawned, tightening her grip of Castle's finger. Kate's smile lit up the room in a way even the noon sunlight was unable to compare to. "You pick her first name, Castle."
He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Okay, no pressure. Just picking your second child's first name on the spot. Umm…" His sudden bout of nerves had Kate laughing. "Keep it simple, classic. Something that doesn't have cruel nicknames but does have a few we can use when we aren't angry at her."
"Like how my parents only called me Katherine when I was in trouble."
Castle kissed the tip of her nose. "Exactly." They were silent as she watched him puzzle out options. "Do we like Elizabeth?"
Kate let her head rest against his shoulder with a sigh. "We do. Elizabeth Johanna Castle."
"Another beautiful name for another beautiful girl in my life. And just look at all the nicknames! Eliza, Liz, Liza, Lizzie, Beth, Betsy, EJ…"
"Slow down, Castle! Let her get used to her name before you go shortening it." He looked sheepish, but neither of their smiles waned.
Kate was nervous. She couldn't remember a time when she had been this nervous as she was pulling up to her father's house in the suburbs. She parked the car and took a deep breath.
"Don't be scared, Kate." Castle's voice startled her even though she knew he was next to her. When she turned her head to face the passenger seat, he was already leaning over so her lips automatically met his. With the simple motion that lasted no longer than five seconds, Castle felt the stress ease out of her. "Better?"
Jim met them on the porch, leaning against the post. "You made good time."
Castle started walking over while Kate bent into the backseat of the unmarked cruiser. "Traffic was light. And Kate drives like a maniac."
"Do not!" she protested, taking the carrier out of the backseat and looping her arm through the handle. She swung the baby bag over the other shoulder and went to join Castle and her father on the porch. Jim took her in a one-armed hug. "Especially with this one in the backseat."
"Let's go inside so I can get a proper introduction to the next woman to win my heart."
Jim's living room was cozy, the mismatched furniture speaking of years of replacing worn-out couches and chairs, trips to yard sales for treasures, and photos that showed memories saved only by flim. Kate sat on the leather couch, Castle stood against the doorframe to the kitchen.
"Dad, this is Elizabeth," Kate said with a smile, holding her daughter out to Jim.
Jim took his granddaughter in his arms as if he were holding a fragile blown-glass sculpture. "Elizabeth. Hey there, sweetie."
Kate glanced at Castle, then back to her father. "Elizabeth Johanna." She watched her father's Adam's apple bob when he swallowed, his blue-grey eyes sparkling suddenly with tears.
"She's beautiful, Katie. I can tell you'll be chasing the boys off with that severed head of yours soon enough, son."
Castle laughed, nodding. "Already had to keep the boys from taking her home when we stopped at the precinct yesterday. It's good practice."
Jim sat in the recliner, rocking slowly. "What's her story?"
They had told Jim they were adopting a baby girl about a year after Kate had shown up at her father's place, her eyes red from crying. He had listened as his daughter, the strong young woman who had supported him through his wife's death, dragging him out of the bottle even as she suffered, babbled through tears, explaining what the doctors had told her the day before. He was as heartbroken as Kate; she would have been beautiful pregnant, as glowing as Johanna had been. But when she had said she and Castle were going to adopt instead, that break in his heart mended itself. And every orphan had a story.
Kate let Castle talk. He was, after all, the professional storyteller.
"Her parents were murdered. Only a few days after she was born, the birth parents' apartment was broken into by a two-time felon. When the father tried to protect his wife and daughter, who were sleeping in the next room, the felon shot him. The mother was shot next before the man stole the valuables. The only reason Elizabeth was spared was because she was in the nursery and not the master bedroom.
When Kate and I heard about Elizabeth's past, we knew she was the one. Especially considering our own backstories."
"She's perfect. Your mother would be so happy, Katie. And so proud that you've given this little life a new start." At that moment, Elizabeth let out a wail. "Quite a set of pipes she's got."
Kate stood up, taking Elizabeth from her father's arms. "She's just hungry." She settled back on the couch as Castle picked up the black and white floral bag from the side of the couch and went into the kitchen to warm up the baby formula. Kate rocked her arms, the smile on her face widening the one on her father's. "Dad, I'm so happy. I didn't think I would be this happy. You always think that there's a bond between a mother and child, right? I think Castle's mentioned that Martha calls it the pea-pod bond or some such thing." She looked up, letting Elizabeth hold her finger tightly. "I didn't think I'd have that with a child I didn't carry for nine months, you know?"
When Jim nodded, Kate carried on. "But it's there. God, Dad, she makes me so happy."
Castle observed the scene from the kitchen stove, keeping a careful eye on the temperature of the milk on the stovetop. Elizabeth wasn't the only one in that room who was getting a second start on life. The Becketts were the most deserving people he knew for the opportunity to help a life flourish with the love that their wife and mother was unable to collect on.
The milk reached the correct temperature and he mixed in the formula and poured it into the pink and yellow bottle. He brought it back into the living room, sitting against Kate's side and handing it over.
Jim took a moment to see the love that passed between his daughter and son-in-law before leaning his forearms on his knees. "So, Rick. Tell me about this new book of yours. Katie tells me it has to do with baseball and I'm a bit of a fan."
A/N: This was inspired by a Castle Confession that appeared last night (technically since it's now 3:30am). It said "I would like to see, at the end of the series, Castle and Beckett planning to adopt a child whose parents were murdered." It touched me and I had to write this. I was literally bawling when I wrote the first part of this which has never happened to me while writing a story.
Please review. Tell me my tears and the hours I worked on this were worth it, because I'm rather proud of how this turned out, considering the reason Kate and Castle end up adopting little Elizabeth Johanna. Adopting the orphan of murder seems like the appropriate action for this particular duo.