Author's note at the end.
What You Wanted
"What may be broken to you is beautiful to me." 4x01 AU: Sometimes you don't have to runaway to find what was meant to be…
Blood rushed through her veins so hard that she could barely concentrate, her heart beating violently against her chest.
"Take it easy, Kate."
Castle's steady voice sliced through the rioting panic inside her head, calming her frayed nerves. She could do this. Breathe in through her nose and out through her mouth. Repeating the mantra in her head, she steadied herself as a bead of sweat ran down her neck. Her hands shook, knees quaking.
"You can do this. You've got this."
The words washed over her doubt, giving her strength. His support was everything to her, reassurance by her side. Her partner every step of the way through every second of her journey that had brought her to this moment. He was so encouraging, so sure of her, but she was terrified. Any confidence vanished in this moment and she didn't know if she could truly pull this off…
She was not ready for this.
It was too soon.
God, she couldn't do this. She wasn't strong enough.
"Breathe, Kate. You have to remember to breathe."
Blinking back the tears, she pulled together every last ounce of strength in her body. With a breath, Kate quieted all the noise, all the doubt and gave one final push. The silence was quickly replaced by the piercing scream of their newborn daughter.
After everything in her life, she finally made it to this moment.
With the man she loved.
Kate looked down towards the sound of her daughter's cries to find Castle teary eyed himself as he cut the umbilical cord.
"You did it, Kate. She's beautiful -" His voice cracked for a moment, watching their newborn being swaddled by the nurses, before meeting her eyes again. "She's perfect."
She was finally here.
Kate marveled at the sleeping baby in her arms and it almost seemed like a dream. She smiled, unable to take her eyes off of her, noting and memorizing all her features, not wanting to miss a moment. If it was possible, she was head over heals in love already.
Tiny fingers poked out from beneath the soft, pink blanket that Castle had wrapped their screaming daughter in after she had been cleaned up and checked out by the doctor and nurses. The blanket had once belonged to Kate when she was little and her dad had insisted that she should bring it with her to the hospital. He had known best, of course, because swaddling her daughter in the knit blanket that her mother had once wrapped her in, it felt right. Like even though her mom would never get to meet the newest addition, she was there with them in a small way.
It gave Kate a sense of peace that she hadn't realized she needed.
The last few years had been a complete blur, through her recovery back to normalcy with the addition of her relationship with Castle. Nothing about it was easy, but having Castle at her side made even the worst days bearable. She had felt that her life would never be normal again after being shot at Montgomery's funeral and in a way she had been right.
That normal was gone.
Her loneliness and all-consuming drive to solve her mother's case had been replaced with the desire to live her life on her terms. Castle helped, but it wasn't just him, it was a change in herself. Almost dying had a way of awakening a part of herself that had been buried after her mother's murder.
She lived for the day, never taking a minute for granted. With each step, whether it was career changes or promotion to Captain or marrying Castle or finding out she was pregnant, it had all been a gift, this second chance at life.
Watching the sleeping newborn nuzzled against her body, she felt overwhelming warmth in her chest. Never in her entire life had she loved something so fiercely as in this moment.
Castle's voice was equal parts awe and worship. His smile had not faded a moment since their daughter's arrival this morning and it made Kate fall in love with him even more - more than she could ever imagine.
"Beautiful name for a beautiful girl," he added, easing himself onto the hospital bed next to Kate and brushing his fingertips gently through the baby's hair.
"Agree. It's fitting for her. Can't believe it took us that long to agree on a name," she said, leaning her head against his shoulder with a sleepy sigh. The weight of the day was wearing on her and she should be napping while Lily slept, but she couldn't allow herself to close her eyes just yet. She barely wanted to blink in fear that she'd find it was all a dream.
"I can - you're incredibly stubborn." He smeared a kiss to the top of her head with a laugh and she offered him a playful scoff.
"Yeah, I'm the stubborn one. Cosmo…" Kate twisted up to roll her eyes at him.
"Perfectly acceptable for a girl's name." he defended, halfheartedly. "Lily is definitely better."
"Much," she murmured, gazing back at her daughter as she opened up her tiny mouth to release the softest yawn. "Can you believe we ended up here?"
"No." The single syllable held the same disbelief and wonder that she felt. He pulled her closer against his body. "I hoped for it, dreamed that it could be possible, but the reality of our life together is far better than anything I could ever imagine."
"Hopeless romantic," she smirked, nudging her cheek against his chest, feeling a blush crawl up her skin.
"Maybe, but who wouldn't be, staring at these two beautiful girls?" He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, in a way that he had done a million times before. Yet, it felt different this time, like more, while they were cuddled with their daughter in her arms. An overwhelming sense of love and family eased over her, she felt happy and couldn't stop a couple stray tears from rolling down her cheeks.
"I love you." She breathed the words, trying to keep her voice from cracking.
"I love you, too," he said, a smile stretching across his lips when she turned to meet his eyes. "It's only the beginning, Kate. We have a long life together ahead of us."
"Good," she sighed. "Because I'm not done with you just yet."
Thank you so so much for reading and embracing this story.
Your love and feedback mean the world to me!
Thanks to Alex and Esther and Laura for helping throughout this story.
I wanted to get this chapter completed as soon as I could so I could post it as a thank you for everyone that has supported my daughter's gofundme campaign. For some of you that know me personally, it's been a rough couple of years and I'm trying to do everything I can to support my kids and keep us moving. Writing has helped keep my spirits up and your love for the stories I create has kept me going. I plan to finish up all my incomplete stories as well as hope to post more - as long as the interest in these characters is still alive.
So thank you for being wonderful. I love you all. And if anyone has a spare dollar to support my daughter's campaign or can help spread the word, you can check it out on my twitter account (jstar1382) or send me a message.
Til next time!