Author's note: This prompt was really exciting to me. I had another idea for Caste Fanfic Monday, but 5x22 is one of my favorite episodes and who doesn't love pregnancy angst fics? So thank you to helym03 for the inspiration. I hope you like what I've written. I apologize now for how much dialogue has been lifted from the episode, it feels weird to me and I'll discuss it more at the end. Extended version will be available on my tumblr (same username) under the tab 'my fanfic' on my homepage in a few days time.
Disclaimer: Despite the heavy use of dialogue from the show I do not own any of the characters here or the original storyline. I realize this fic walks a fine line, but I hope that the edit can be enjoyed.
Word count: 4,495
Castle and Beckett were the only two left inside by the time the situation had been communicated. Castle was given strict instructions not to move lest he stumbled across another trigger plate on his way out of the apartment. Beckett's breathing was harsh and her body was still frozen, every muscle tensed, terrified to move at all in case a slight shift triggered the bomb she may or may not be standing on.
"How long do you think we have to stand here?" Castle asked after a few moments of silence.
"Once bomb disposal finishes their sweep we'll know if there are any other bombs you could step on or if I'm standing on the only one."
"We don't know if you are standing on a bomb. Could be nothing."
"It didn't feel like nothing. Something gave way under my feet. It felt like a trigger plate." Even her speech was calculated as if she was worried about expelling too much air.
"Could be a wonky floorboard." Castle shook his head, adamantly refusing to believe the worst until it was confirmed.
"With a metallic click?" She fired back.
"Rusty nail, that's how floorboards get wonky." He retorted without a moment's hesitation.
"Well, I hope you're right," she said, a smile edging onto her face.
"I'm right. I mean think about it, who puts a live bomb in their own apartment?" He shook his head desperately trying to convince himself that his pregnant girlfriend could not be standing on a bomb. "It makes no sense."
They stand still, frozen in silence for a couple of moments until Castle starts to talk, refusing to let either of them dwell on what might be under Beckett's feet. "How's your stomach feeling? As soon as they clear us and we get out of here, we should go get breakfast."
"Well I am feeling hungry now." A small smile showing her gratitude for his distraction tactics crept up the sides of her mouth. "You got a place in mind?"
"Pregnant woman's call, but there is a diner not three blocks from here that does a wonderful herbal spiced chai latter, it's so rich and foamy you'll almost believe there's caffeine in it."
She let out a small chuckle. "You know, if I have to be stuck," she paused and looked him directly in the eye, "not standing on a bomb with anyone," she gave him a small nod, "I'm glad it's with you."
"I know," he whispered as they heard footsteps approaching the apartment.
"Captain Mahoney, bomb disposal unit. Which one of you is Detective Beckett?" He asked striding into the room.
"I'm Detective Beckett, this is Castle," she answered in the same measured tone, determined not to show fear.
"Castle, you can relax, we've x-rayed the entire apartment from the floor below – there are no other explosives.
"No other explosives? So…"
"Detective, I'm afraid you've stepped on a sensor plate, wired to a detonator. It's very important that you don't move until we've figured out how to disarm it. Our scan showed that it's a maximum of three feet by three feet," He said crossing over to where Beckett stood and carefully spraying a circle around her. "It's very important that nobody crosses this line. Any extra pressure, any shift in pressure, any removal of pressure-"
"Could trigger the bomb," Beckett finished for him. "I got it."
"I'm sorry Detective, I just gotta make these things clear," Mahoney said finishing off his circle.
"So, how long does it take to disarm a bomb?" Castle asked. Beckett had visibly tensed since discovering the bomb was real and he didn't want her to have to hold on any longer than necessary.
"That depends on the bomb. We're still looking into the type of bomb, the size, all the variables. I will keep you updated though Detective."
"Thank you," Beckett nodded.
"But in the meantime, what are we supposed to do, we can't have her stand there," Castle's voice was rising as his agitation peaked. They couldn't seriously be asking a pregnant woman to stand on top of a bomb for what could be hours.
"I'm okay Castle," Beckett looked at him imploringly from across the room. "So long as I don't move the bomb won't go off."
"But Beckett, you cannot stand there for hours on end," his voice was strained now, clearly trying to keep his anger at bay.
"I'm afraid that is our only option right now. It's a test of endurance, but my team is working on it. We will get you out of this building." Captain Mahoney tried to reassure them both.
"There must be something. What if we found something of equal weight, like the Indiana Jones Golden Idol trick, we replace Beckett's weight with another item-"
"I appreciate this is frustrating, but that is a risk we cannot take. This sensor can detect the slightest fluctuation change in pressure, for now you're just going to have to hold tight detective."
"So we just have to wait?" Castle sighed running his hands through his hair.
"Not you Mr Castle," Mahoney shook his head. "All non-essential personnel must evacuate the building."
"I can't leave her up here on top of a bomb!"
"Castle, I'm fine," she looked him dead in the eye pleading with him to calm down. "Go."
"I got a team working on this right now. She's in safe hands," Mahoney clapped him on the shoulder.
"No, I'm staying," Castle insisted.
"Castle, I really am fine. There's no reason for you to stay. You should go help Ryan and Espo catch the guy that rigged his own apartment with a bomb."
"I feel I'm more useful here. Who else is going to keep your spirits up and stop you from remembering that you've only had a handful of hours of sleep since Friday?"
"Well clearly not you," she rolled her eyes.
"Touché." He smirked. "I'm going to be your bomb buddy. My prime objective will be distraction from the fact you're standing on… well you know what you're standing on."
"That didn't sound genuine, but in a few hours you will be thankful for the presence of my wit and charm, just like you were when I advised on our first case together."
"Thankful?" She asked dumbfounded. "Your wit and charm?" She shook her head not even knowing where to begin ripping those statements apart.
"Oh don't deny it, you found me irresistible for the first moment we met, why else did you come back to find me?"
"You stole evidence!"
"Do you always personally go to the arrest of people who steal evidence?" He raised his eyebrows at her as he made himself comfortable on one of Fosse's bar stools.
"It doesn't happen that often," she shrugged incomprehensibly.
"And don't even pretend you didn't have to think twice about that dinner date," He said relaxing against the kitchen island. "You wanted me and we both knew it. Why else did you let me hang around so long?"
"One, I did not let you hang around you forced yourself into my team, and two, having you around on that case was like having being landed with someone else's kid on a sugar rush." Her face fell as soon as the words left her mouth. She had been trying not to think about it, but the more she tried not to think about the olive sized baby forming inside her the more she thought about it.
She had been working flat out when she realized she was late and had taken a test. It wasn't her first scare, but it was the first time the test showed a positive and the most terrifying thing to her was that the next step wasn't abundantly clear. Every time before the answer to an unexpected pregnancy would have been obvious, but being unexpectedly pregnant with Castle's baby was entirely different. "It's gonna be OK, right?" She asked looking up at him.
"Yeah, those guys downstairs, they've done this thousands of times," he tried to make it sound off handed and she tried to take comfort in it, but she saw the way his eyes faltered as they broke away from her own.
"You know the baby, it frightens me. Terrifies me."
"I know," he gave her a smile. "I felt exactly the same way before Alexis, but I am certain you will be great and you have time to get ready, not a lot, but enough. December 1st, only seven more months. What are your bets, early or late?"
"Late, I don't want it arriving even a single day early."
"Alexis was a week early, I'm going with one week early again," he paused and muttered a few dates under his breath. "I'll take November 24th," he said pulling out his phone and marking it in his calendar. "How late do you think they will be?"
"Castle, we are not starting a pool for our baby's birth date."
"What else are we gonna do with all this time?"
"Fine, I'll take December 4th," she resigned herself to this stupid game, knowing that if she got out of here the pool would go ahead with or without her, so she may as well get in on the action.
"Oh, a Wednesday?"
"What's wrong with a Wednesday?"
"Oh you know that rhyme? 'Wednesday's child is full of woe.'"
"Fine I'll take the 5th, and put me down for November 17th too. If I have to spend my birthday in labor I want to get something out of it."
"A new family member isn't enough for you?"
"We're going for a closer look in at the bomb," Mahoney began to explain, "there will be some vibrations, but we are going to be as careful as possible. We need to get a closer look at this thing. The risk is small, but I do have to warn you now that there is a possibility the exploration could disturb the bomb."
"Just do it," Kate nodded at him and Mahoney headed back downstairs.
"But-" Castle piped up to protest.
"Castle, you need to-"
"I am not leaving you here," he refused again. "You are stuck in that circle, carrying our child, I can't-"
"Castle, I'm not asking you to leave, but I do need to ask you to do something. Something I can't do myself."
"Hide your porn stash from your dad?"
"Could you be serious please?" She sighed at him and he immediately dropped the goofy act.
"Ok sure, what do you need me to do?"
She pressed her lips together, looking at the floor. She inhaled preparing herself to ask him and then dismissed the thought. "Not now, Ok?" She looked up at him again and he for the first time all day he looked genuinely afraid. "Just promise me you'll do it?"
"Yeah, ok yeah, but babe, you don't need to be thinking like this."
"I'm just, I'm just trying to be realistic Castle. I've been standing here for hours and I'm feeling the fatigue set in."
"Don't think about it," he dismissed with a shake of his head. "This cannot be the worst you've been through. Remember the first time we worked the 3XK case together? All those hours, refusing to go home, surviving only on take-out from Remy's. This case has been relatively short."
"Yeah, but I didn't have a forming human growing inside me leeching all of my energy and prohibiting caffeine."
"You know when Alexis was on her way. Meredith was doing a play, on what would now be known as 'off-off-Broadway' and there was this old Syrian lady doing hair and make-up and Meredith, she hadn't told anyone but she was sick all the time, and this lady had figured it out. And you know what she said to Meredith?"
Kate shook her head, not quite trusting her voice in the moment.
"She said 'pregnancy and childbirth might be painful, but at least there's medication for that; there's nothing for the pain of the next eighteen years.'" He had a peaceful smile across his face as he reminisced about the advice of the old Syrian make-up artist.
Beckett pressed her lips together giving him a moment to reflect. "I'm sorry Castle, but what part of that is supposed to make me feel better?"
"Well you're tired right now, but when this is over you can go home and sleep for as long as Gates allows, but in seven months you will lose the right to determine your own sleep schedule for a considerable number of years."
Beckett's face remained unconvinced. "I'm still not hearing the comforting part."
"What do you mean? I just said-"
"Mr Castle?" Mahoney appeared in the apartment's doorway again. "Could I have a quick word?"
"Uh, sure," he agreed slightly taken aback but following the Captain out of the apartment towards the hallway. He looked back as he followed to see Beckett take a deep breath and compose herself again, without moving any part of her body, which must be aching all over by this point.
"We have a complication," he began decisively not drawing this sidebar out.
"What sort of complication?"
"The bomb is not only rigged up to the sensor plate, but also to a timer. The timer was activated when she stepped on that plate."
"So," Castle took a moment to refocus, furiously banishing any negative thoughts from his mind. "How much time is left?" He asked pulling out his phone.
"30 minutes 47 seconds."
Castle faltered, "Um," he fiddled as he set the timer. "Can we deactivate it by then?"
"We can try, but all of our usual targets are shielded by a steel plate, we're looking for a way in," Mahoney explained, but his tone of voice was not promising.
"But, there must be something we could do, what if we armed the floor, and I could tackle her in a suit like in the hurt locker-"
Mahoney shook his head somberly. "Castle, that bomb could take out this building in seconds, there's not a suit in the world that would withstand-"
"Hey Castle? What's going on?" Beckett called out, clearly the length of their discussion was putting her on edge.
"Ah, be right there!" He called back with all the joviality of a writer being called from his study for dinner. "I need you to know, but keep it to yourself. She's pregnant. Nine weeks. Her Captain knows, but nobody else. I need her to make it out of there."
"I am very sorry Mr Castle and I promise we will do all that we can, but I urge you to be realistic-"
"OK, thank you Captain, thank you," the thanks were not heartfelt, but he would be grateful for anything they could do, but with less than thirty minutes left it seemed unlikely that the bomb disposal unit would pull through on this one.
He had precisely four seconds to compose himself before he clapped eyes on his girlfriend, standing on a bomb sensor in heels no less, carrying his child and waiting their almost certain doom. But he composed himself and strode into the apartment as confidently as possible and began to ramble about BDU's protype robot that had had a lot of success in testing and was ready to hit the field and disarm the bomb.
"What did he actually say?" Beckett cut him off, refusing to swallow this story and Castle was startling reminded of Alexis who had always refused his sugar coated version of frightening headline news stories and he wondered for a moment if their child would be like that too, impossible to console with anything but facts.
"There's a timer on the bomb," he leant into the kitchen island, gripping it fiercely, determined not to crack in front of the woman who had been standing on top of a sensor plate, completely still, for hours.
"How long?" Her voice was small and his response was even smaller.
"About thirty minutes."
Thirty minutes. She'd never expected there to be an exact time on her. The last thirty minutes of her life spent standing in a murder's apartment waiting for the end to come knowing there was nothing she could do to save this baby or herself, but by god she was not going to let Castle lose his life too.
"So, we've got about thirty minutes to solve this case."
"Solve the case? We already have Fosse. We know he blew up the other building and he was clearly the guy that rigged this place."
"But you know what puzzles me? Why was a guy in the middle of a bombing spree setting up appointments online to sell his baseball cards?"
"An alibi? Or luring someone to the bomb?"
"Ooooh…" Castle held out a print out receipt that he found on the kitchen island. "This collection was bought a week ago. He was trying to lure Diego Jimenez in here."
"Call the boys, they might still have Jimenez down there."
"Detective," Mahoney appear again.
"Ten minutes. I know," Beckett's voice was steady but low.
"I'll have guys down there working on it until the last possible minute, but we need to start pulling out and that includes you too Castle," Mahoney looks at him any hint of a willingness to compromise gone.
"Could, could I have a minute with him?" Beckett asked, cutting Castle off before he could start protesting Captain Mahoney's order.
"Of course," he backed out of the room to leave them alone.
Castle walked towards her, but stopped short of the circle that encased her and the sensor plate.
"I can't leave you here."
"Castle, you said you would do something for me when I needed it and I need you to get out."
"I-," he stopped to compose himself. "This can't be the end Kate," his eyes were shining and he could see the tears in her eyes too.
"They're still working Castle, but you," she sniffed. "You need to be safe."
"I wish I could, I wish I could kiss you," he whispered. "Or hold your hand, anything, anything to say goodbye properly."
"Me too," she whispered. "But now you should get out. Let BDU do what they can, but know that I love you."
"I love you too."
"You should go," she whispered holding back as tears started to fall.
"I will, but don't be frightened Kate, please don't be frightened."
"I'm not, I'm just," she took a breath as the tears poured down her cheeks completely unrestrained. "I'm sad Castle, I'm sad that I wasted so much time without you, and I'm sad that we won't meet our baby, and I'm sad that I questioned if this baby was what I wanted at all. Because I know I said some things Castle, and I know it must have put you through hell, and I'm sorry. I am so sorry-"
"No regrets Beckett, none. You don't have to apologize."
"But you know I wanted the baby, right? You know I really do."
"I know," he said fighting against his own tears.
"Go," she whimpered and he nodded and left the apartment.
Her father. She knew she had to call him. She had to say goodbye, but as she reached voicemail she was struck by the weight of the message she was leaving. What could she say that would be any comfort to him? What would he want to hear from the last member of his family as she was about to be taken from him? What did she need to hear from her mother, but hadn't had the chance to?
"Uh, hey dad, it's me," she paused. "I just wanted to hear your voice and say that I love you. OK bye."
She pressed her lips together as sobs threatened to overtake her. This was no time for a crying fit, she wanted to go out in peace. She pressed her eyes closed and thought desperately of all the plans she and Castle had made in the last few weeks. A boy with Castle's blue eyes. That was her dream, even though she had insisted the gender didn't matter. She loved his eyes. Her hand rested on her stomach, slipping under her bullet-proof vest. She stopped herself from questioning the mistakes that had led her to this exact spot on the floor. She focused on that mop of brown hair and blue eyes. He was bound to be smart, like Alexis, but hopefully not as much of a handful as his father. Maybe he would have like baseball, maybe she could even have got him to play baseball, that would have made her dad real happy.
"Hey, what're you doing?"
She startled and opened her eyes, breaking away from the fantasy of a long life with her little blue eyed son and found herself facing the man she had just sent to safety.
"You promised me," her voice shook in disbelief that he would have returned to the building.
"I promised to leave, I made no promises about not coming back. I brought you coffee, figured you would have earned it once you got off that thing. I won't tell the ob/gyn if you don't."
"Castle, you can't die in here. I can't be the reason Alexis loses her father and Martha loses her son, you have to get out."
"I'm not here to die, I'm here to diffuse the bomb," he indicated the control panel in his hand. "There's still a chance."
"Yes, a 1 in 100,000 chance," she said her voice breaking.
"So a chance, and we really don't have time to argue. So the bomb is nowhere near the door. We know he's setting it for leverage, why else would he have a code to deactivate it?"
"But what is over here?" She looks around her immediate space.
"The computer!" Castle gasps seizing on the laptop sitting on the kitchen island and opening it.
"I think I can reach that from here, look at the browser history."
"Doing it, checking, checking, wow, this guy is into some kinky stuff. Kinkier than you."
"Right, sorry," he said refocusing on the task at hand. "PI websites? People searcher? He's looking for someone."
"Call the boys."
"So there's only one person involved in the trial that we've flagged, a Dorothy Novak. Her identity was completely scrubbed and the feds confirmed that they did give her a new identity upon Fosse's release from prison because she was afraid he would go after her." Ryan informed them.
"OK, so where does that leave Jimenez? What connection can he have to this ex girlfriend?" Castle mused, tapping his fingers desperately on the counter.
"Did the other two have any links to the girlfriend?" Beckett piped up.
"Yes, the woman that was killed last night was her cousin, and the guy worked for the DA's office." Esposito confirmed.
"Fosse wasn't looking for revenge, he was looking for information on the girlfriend." Beckett stated and Castle nodded along.
"Information that the New York State Education Department would have…" Castle pondered.
"Castle, a child," Beckett hissed.
"A kid, does the girlfriend have a kid?" Castle barked frantically into the phone.
"Yes she gave birth eight months after the trial, Fosse must have found out when he got out of prison." Ryan confirmed.
"That's the code, the child's name, get the child's name," Beckett urged.
"Can you get a name for that kid? And quick, we've got two minutes," Castle called into his phone.
"On it," Ryan replied.
"A perfect story. Fossee is desperate to see his kid just once before that tumor consumed him, but to find the kid he has to find the mother and he has nothing to lose in this entire endeavor, he could afford to be as destructive as he needed to be," Castle was in full story telling mode, but the time pressure was pressing on Beckett.
"Castle, there's just over a minute left. You need to get out. I can type that name in myself if Ryan comes through."
"Not yet," Castle ignored her. "He's gonna do this. We're gonna have it done in time."
They stood waiting in silence, willing Ryan to pull a name out of thin air.
"William!" He shouts from the phone. "The kid's name is William!"
"Seven letters," Castle pauses.
"Billy," Beckett offers up.
"Or Willy," Ryan puts in.
"What mom is going to call her kid Willy? Do you think she wanted him to get his ass kicked everyday?"
"Beckett, it's your call," Castle looked at her intently.
"Billy," she whispered and he typed.
The seconds ticked on. The countdown was over, they heard another metallic click and their eyes met with hesitation as Beckett stepped out of her spray painted circle and fell into his arms.
"She's off," Castle said into his phone and hung up. Holding her tight as she trembled in his arms, the adrenaline coursing through her. "I love you Kate."
"I love you too Rick."
He held her and he savored every tiny sensation of having her in his arms. "I'm going to cook you the biggest breakfast you have ever seen. This is the last day you ever leave the loft without breakfast."
"Let's get the hell out of here," she whispered back and gave him a big smile as she pulled out of his embrace and with their hands entwined they headed for the stairwell.
"Thank you for staying with me and not giving up."
"When have I ever given up on you Detective Beckett?"
She laughs and knows he's right. He will always be there right when she needs him. They lean in to kiss, but jump apart as they see Captain Gates approaching.
"Glad to see you Detective," Gates beamed radiantly as she took in her best detective. "And I'm even glad to see you Mr Castle. Not a lot of men would have done what you did." She put her hands on her hips, the smile across her face so broad Castle was sure there was nothing he could do today that would have her threaten to kick him out of her precinct.
"Neither do I," Beckett smiled a little coyly at him.
"Oh for heaven's sake Detective kiss the man already," they both look at her a little slack jawed. "Nobody here believes in immaculate conception, just keep it professional in my department," Gates rolls her eyes at the pair of them.
Beckett blushes, but lets Castle pull her in as Gates moves off to confer with BDU.
"You know, I really thought it was over in there," she whispers as they break apart.
"Not by a long shot," he promises as he leans in to capture her lips again. "You've still got another seven months and then eighteen more years of incurable pain to get me through."
She laughed. "It can't be that bad."
"Not with you it won't be."
Author's note: Thank you for reading. This is the first time ever I have based something on a specific episode that I have actually enjoyed. I've done a few re-writes, but never something like this where I'm attempting to blend in an extra facet. At many points I felt like I was writing a script, so it feel dialogue heavy to me. I also am not too happy with how much of the original dialogue I used, but I wanted to hit the plot points of the episode, so I hope you can forgive me for that. It's not perfect, but I wanted to get it out for the castle fanfic Monday, because I didn't know how long it would be until I could take part in the next one. If you enjoyed it I would really appreciate you taking the time to review.