Author: liviafan1 PM
It can never be enough, making up for all the time they've missed. She laughs, full and rich, shaking with it and it's infectious. He grins, pressing his forehead against hers as he watches the light fill her face. He lets the backs of his fingers graze her cheek, overwhelmed by her, by this, them-Everything. COMPLETE.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Rick C. & Kate B. - Chapters: 15 - Words: 24,010 - Reviews: 612 - Favs: 225 - Follows: 421 - Updated: 09-29-12 - Published: 06-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8235471
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
*Please note the time jump back to the present
After she leaves him, he crawls into bed and doesn't get out for two days. He wraps his arms around the pillow that still smells like her, slips his feet through her favorite blanket, keeps his eyes tightly closed, even in the sun. He keeps a glass of water at his bedside table so that he can make fewer trips to the kitchen.
He texts Alexis, wishes her good luck on a big history exam. He ignores a few phone calls from Ryan and Esposito, wonders how much they know, if they've always known where he and Kate were headed. He's certain that they'd understand, if they don't already, but he doesn't want to talk to them. Not yet. Not til he's at least a minimal level of coherent and rational.
Somewhere on Day 3—mid afternoon or so, he isn't sure—he's developed enough self-loathing to kick himself out of bed to join the land of the living.
Or at least, the land outside his bedroom. Let's not get too carried away.
He slips into a brief, hot shower, runs a few fingers through his hair after he slides into a pair of jeans and a wrinkled tee shirt.
He wants to eat—needs to eat—but his heart is in his stomach and everything aches. His loft is so empty without her and that sounds insane because it's not like she was home that much anyway, but—
Maybe he should just go back to bed.
As he seriously considers stepping into his bedroom again, a knock reverberates against the front door. He shuffles reluctantly towards the noise, isn't prepared to talk to anyone in his state. Explanations are for later. Hugs are for tomorrow. Comfort, that's for next week.
He might accept food. But that's it.
When he swings the door open, his heart falls just a little deeper.
Make that food and Jim Beckett, the only man who could possibly understand what he's going through right now.
He swallows hard, forces a small, quiet smile. "Jim."
The older man's eyes are sad as the corners of his mouth turn just a little. "Rick. Can I come in?"
Castle nods, lifting a hand to push the hair out of his eyes. "Of course." Castle steps aside to let him in, letting his eyes slip closed for a brief second, willing himself to make it through whatever conversation Kate's father has in store for him.
"Can I get you some coffee?" Castle asks.
"You look like I should be the one getting you the coffee, Rick," Jim says softly.
Castle lets out a weak, hollow chuckle, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. "It's been a rough few days," he admits, detouring towards the living room. He settles into one side of the couch as Jim crouches into a chair.
"It's safe to assume that you've seen Kate, then?" Castle asks, swallowing around her name. Even one syllable on his lips tears him to pieces.
"Had breakfast with her this morning," he says.
"How's she doing?" he asks before he can stop himself.
"She's a wreck," he replies bluntly. "I'm not sure she'd appreciate my telling you that, but I think you need to hear it."
Castle frowns. "I'm not following."
Jim sighs. "You doubt Katie's love for you, don't you, Rick?"
He shakes his head. "It's never been about that, Jim. I—" He breaks off on a sigh. "I'm trying to love her. I'm—" He pauses, shaking his head. "I'm trying to save her life, but I feel like I'm competing with a ghost."
Jim's silent for a moment, thoughtful. "Katie didn't tell me everything that happened between the two of you, so I won't pretend to know better than you about this. But I will tell you this: when she first gave up her job and chose you over her mother's case, she never went back on the decision she thought she was making."
"With all due respect, sir, empty beds and broken promises tell a different story," Castle says quietly.
"Let me explain, then. I've been watching her closely over the last several months, ever since she told me she was looking into the case again. And maybe for this, you'll just have to take my word on it, but she's different. This isn't a rabbit hole, Rick. You're the only thing keeping her from falling into it again."
"And this time, it's not about her mother. It's about you."
He wants to believe it to true, he really does, but all of the fights, the words—they flash through his mind, cut down his defenses. It doesn't make any sense.
How could it be about him?
"This may or may not surprise you, but my daughter's always been a romantic. 'One and done' and all that," he lets out a gentle laugh. "She knows you're the one, Rick. And if I know her like I think I do, she's got it in her mind that she can't live the life she wants with you until this guy goes away."
I'm trying to save my life here, not end it.
Trying to save their life together.
Castle clenches his fists against his sides. "She tried to tell me that, but I—" He shakes his head. "I don't understand it. They'd drop it if she stopped pursuing them."
Jim sighs. "Whenever my little girl turned the corner, her mother was there. She told me about the cases, about Coonan, Roy—all of them. She never sought them out; they always seemed to fall in her lap." He pauses. "I think that at one point she thought she could keep the two separate, her work as a detective and Johanna's case. But when it kept following her, she couldn't separate them anymore."
Castle's head is spinning. His fingers dig into the cushion of the couch as Jim continues to speak.
"I think that's why she gave up her job. Not only for you, but to end the inevitable tie to the murder."
"And then she went back," Castle says softly, shaking his head in realization.
"She went back because being a cop is a part of who she is. We both know that."
Castle nods slowly, waits for the words to come to him, something, anything, but they don't.
"I don't agree with what she's done, Rick. I can see how it's torn both of you apart. But I also can't let you end your marriage for the wrong reasons." He lets out a slow breath. "It's killing her, too, seeing what she's done to you. But I think she thinks the ends justify the means."
In other words, living a life free and clear by his side without a look back is worth all the pain that it takes to get there.
Well, he never said Kate Beckett was rational, did he?
"I've never stopped loving her," Castle rasps.
"Take it a day at a time. I know it's none of my business, but just…don't rush into anything," Jim suggests gently.
Castle scrubs a hand down his face, exhausted and weary. He thought he'd been making the right decision. Standing his ground, for once.
But now he's not so sure.
Yeah, he definitely needs to go back to bed for a few days while he gets everything sorted out in his head.
God, where has Jim Beckett been the last several months?
"I know it's a lot to take in, so I'll leave you to it." Jim rises from his chair. "I appreciate the chance to hear me out," Jim says sincerely, reaching for Rick's hand.
Castle shakes his hand firmly. "Not necessary. Thanks for stopping over." He follows him to the door, watches as Jim pauses, struggling with something as his hand hovers over the doorknob.
"You're a good man, Rick. And I'll always be grateful to you, no matter what happens between you and Katie," he says softly.
And then, just like that, another Beckett is gone, leaving him stunned and confused for the second time in three days. So he does the only thing he knows to do.
He crawls back in bed.
Not over yet. Still have a few more chapters up my sleeve. One conversation can't fix everything, right?
As always, I'd love to hear from you.