She awakens to a hand clasping hers. Not the strong confident hand of her husband, which she craves, but a smaller, more delicate one, holding her hand tightly but lovingly. It is the hand of a mother.
Kate Beckett slowly opens her eyes and turns her face to the right to see her mother-in-law, Martha staring back at her. It is her mother, of sorts, her second mother. The one she got when she married her husband Richard Castle. A mother that would never replace her own but held a special place in her heart.
"Katherine," Martha breathed letting air out of her lungs as she said her name. She held Kate's hand tighter as she said her name and a smile spread across her face.
"Martha," it was the only word Kate could force from her lips. The disorientation and the confusion set in until she remembered the gunshots and crawling over to her husband to take his hand. She vaguely remembered pulling her phone from her coat pocket, dialing 911, and reporting officer down before the world went black.
But, it was bright again and Martha was with her. She grew frantic when she realized Martha was with her and not Castle.
Kate tried to rise from the hospital bed she was in but a searing pain on her right side forced her to fall back onto the bed.
"Kate, you were shot and you need to rest," Martha informed her. "It was touch and go for a while but you are okay."
"Don't care," Kate stated. "Castle," it was the only other word she could force out of the dryness of her lips.
Martha gave her that motherly smile Kate secretly loved. It was the smile she missed so desperately from her own mother, a smile Martha now reserved for her and her alone.
"Richard is here," Martha informed Kate. She leaned back and Kate saw her husband lying in the hospital bed across from her. "I knew you two wouldn't want to be apart so I told them to place you in the same room and I put a chair between you so I could hold both your hands." Martha held up her right hand showing Kate she was grasping her son's hand just as she was hers.
"Is he okay," Kate asked tentatively. She noticed Castle's eyes were closed and he wasn't moving.
"Richard was awake a while ago, he just fell back to sleep," Martha told her. "He was shot in the shoulder and lost a lot of blood but he is okay. You both are okay."
That brought a smile to Kate's lips. She breathed a sigh of relief.
"You two have got to stop doing this to me," Martha said in a sterner voice then she had been using. "Despite my protests, I am not a young woman."
"I promise, we are done," Kate told her with a smile. "A boring life sounds really good about now."
"Katherine Beckett, we will never be boring," Richard Castle chimed in.
Kate leaned up slightly to see her husband's head turned to her with Martha between them.
Sensing these two need an unobstructed view of each other, Martha rose from the chair between them and stood between them.
"There are my two children, awake and alert," Martha said as if all was right with the world.
Before Castle or Beckett could reply the hospital door opened and a man in a white lab coat entered. He was tall, with light brown hair, a youthful face and a happy demeanor. He seemed happy when he saw his two patients awake and alert.
"Well," he said as he rushed in the room his white lab coat flapping behind him. "It is good to see you two awake. I am Dr. Hollis."
Dr. Hollis went to Kate's bedside first placing his hand on her wrist, checking her pulse. He flipped through her chart and chewed on his lip as he checked things over.
"Looking good, Mrs. Castle, you had us worried for a while."
Kate smiled slowly at being called Mrs. Castle. At the precinct and the professional world she was Kate Beckett, but in the most intimate aspects of her world she was Mrs. Castle and she secretly relished that manacle.
"Now, let's check on your husband," Dr. Hollis proclaimed. He went to Castle's side and went through the same routine as he had Kate.
Satisfied with what he saw from both of them, Dr. Hollis went to the front of the room to face them.
"Now, I have to warn you both of you are in from some serious recuperation," Dr. Hollis said. "The gunshots caused extensive damage to you both. But I have a feeling with both of you working together it will all work out."
Castle and Beckett smiled at each other.
"However, Mrs. Castle," Dr. Hollis continued. "Given your condition, I urge you to take extra care."
"Condition," Castle and Beckett questioned in the unison everyone around them knew all too well.
"Your pregnancy," Dr. Hollis stated with a matter of fact. "The surgeon had a time working around the gunshot to your abdomen and making sure it didn't' perforate your uterus or cause a miscarriage."
"I am not pregnant," Kate told him in shock.
"Um, yes you are," Dr. Hollis flipped though the chart again. "Lab reports and the ultrasound done during surgery list you at about 10 weeks."
Kate's face fell. She didn't even realize she was pregnant. With her workload and LokStat she didn't even realize. She felt crestfallen.
As Kate battled with the knowledge that she not only almost got herself, her husband and her team killed with her quest for justice, but that of an innocent baby she didn't even know she was carrying, the tears began to fall.
Before sadness could overcome her, she heard her husband shout loudly, "We're having a baby," as he raised his hands high. It was a move Castle thought better of as hot searing pain shot through his shoulder but the smile on his face proved he didn't care.
"Darling," Martha gushed as she rushed to them both grasping their hands again as she did while they both were sleeping. "I am so happy."
Martha looked over at Kate and noticed the tears streaming down her face. "Katherine," Martha questioned.
"I'm okay, just a little shocked," Kate said.
"Kate," Castle said and that prompted Martha to move away again.
"Well, I will just leave you two and check on you later," Dr. Hollis said as he left the room. He felt like he was invisible as the two locked eyes. Martha could sense it too, waving at both of them as she left the room promising to call Alexis and tell her everything.
Castle and Beckett called her back asking her to keep the news of the baby to herself for now claiming they wanted to break the news themselves. "Of course, darlings," Martha said with a sly smile as she left the room.
"She is rushing to tell everyone, isn't she," Kate questioned.
"Knowing Mother, she had her phone out and was dialing before she left the room," Castle stated.
"Kate," Castle tried again calling her name with a hint of wonder in her voice.
"I know, a baby," Kate shot back. "Who survived after everything, it is a miracle."
"Well, her mother is Kate Beckett," Castle said with a hint of wonder.
"And his father is Richard Castle," Kate retorted.
"And so it begins," Castle chuckled.
"What," Kate asked a bit puzzled.
"The gender war," Castle answered back.
"After the wars we have been through, fighting over if our baby will be a boy or a girl seems like a nice battle to have."
Kate laid out her hand and Castle did the same. The beds were far apart and they couldn't hold hands but their fingertips touched. It seemed fitting and symbolic to a writer's mind that a couple that started out so far apart would still have space between them but just enough room for their fingertips to touch. At odds at times but always just close enough to be together.
The gender war, as Castle had stated, wasn't much of a war. And later when they discovered Kate was pregnant with a daughter, Castle smiled proudly and said he only produced girls. Kate shot back it was because he loved being surrounded by women.
But the biggest shock of the Castle family came three years later when Kate Beckett fell pregnant again and the doctor smiled proudly and stated they were having twins. A shock to say the least for Castle and Beckett but the biggest shock of all was in the next ultrasound revealed they were having twin boys.
The twins made the family complete and assured there was never a dull moment in the Castle household. But with an author for a father and a superhero cop for a mom, was it ever destined to be anything else?