In honor of all the love I've been getting on fanfiction today, I wrote another story. Hopefully, this one isn't as heartbreaking as The Dedication. I'd like to think that this is more hopeful than anything else.
And besides, we really don't get enough of CastlexJimxJohanna family love.
Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. But I did color in a picture of a Castle from a coloring book last month.
Rick had never really liked cemeteries. Despite being a writer who described death and murder with shocking detail and shadowing a homicide detective for the past 5 years, he still found cemeteries to be a bit disturbing. They were filled with bones, and those bones had stories. Some of those stories were natural. Some were heartbreaking and tragic. And he'd never be able to know them all. There are stories in those graves that he'd never be able to tell. That would make any writer uneasy.
Yet, here he was in a cemetery, holding a bouquet of flowers. Because this wasn't about him and how he was feeling. This was about her; and if he was going to do this, he was going to do it right.
However, she didn't even know he was there. Rick had woken up relatively early this morning and had left her in their bed, sleeping peacefully after they had spent the night together. He left her a note, saying he was sorry that she was waking up alone because if he had his way she would never have to do that for the rest of her life, there was a pot of coffee in the kitchen with her name on it, he'd be home before she even had time to miss him, and he loved her.
Rick had taken his keys and slowly closed the door behind him as he exited the loft, hoping that he hadn't woken up the lone inhabitant (Alexis, was currently at Oxford, about to complete her 2nd year of college and Martha had moved out once again after her acting school had really taken off) inside who was still blissfully asleep. He took the stairs down to the parking garage and got in his car. He found a florist was thankfully open and had bought a beautiful arrangement of lilies and roses before getting back into his car and driving to the cemetery.
He had never actually been to his destination before, but he soon found the plot that he was looking for. Rick read the name engraved on the tombstone and took a minute to compose himself before kneeling down in front of the grave. He put the flower in the upturned vase and let his fingers drift over the cold, but beautiful marble slab. He took a deep breath and started to speak.
"Hello, Mrs. Beckett," he said softly, "although I'm sure, like Jim, you'd probably ask that I call you Johanna. My name is Richard Castle and you've never met me before, but I know all about you."
He looked at the dates on the headstone and continued. "You have an amazing daughter. After your death, she became a homicide detective to try to solve your case. She hasn't done it yet, but I know she will. She's dedicated and loyal and undeniably one of the best detectives in the state. You would be so proud.
"Five years ago I had the privilege of meeting your daughter for the first time, and it changed my life. She changed my life. I'm an author, and I started shadowing her under the pretense of research. She fascinated me. The first time she told me about you… I didn't know what to do. I mean… what do you say to someone who had lost someone in such an awful way?
"Over the next three years, I slowly realized that I had fallen in love with your daughter. I mean, how could you not? She's beautiful, inside and out. Two years ago, I finally told her so. I told her that I couldn't imagine my life without her, that I haven't been following her around for book research, that I loved her more than I ever thought possible. And you know what she did? First, she slapped me…"
Rick chuckled. "Although, I guess I really shouldn't have been surprised. I confessed in the middle of the bullpen at the precinct. In front of her other partners and her boss and everyone else she works with. She called me an… inappropriate name, but when I looked at her face she was smiling with tears in her eyes. And then she kissed me, right there in the middle of the precinct, in front of her other partners and her boss and everyone else she works with. She's full of surprises, isn't she? We've been together ever since.
He paused again. "She's everything I could've ever asked for. She doesn't let me get away with any of my shenanigans, she deals with all of my baggage, and she's a constant inspiration. Even more so, she just fits. I have a daughter, Alexis who just adores her. And Kate's great with her. She's the woman in her life that I always wanted Alexis to have. You have one amazing daughter, but I'm sure you already know that."
He took one last deep breath.
"Johanna, I love your daughter more than I could ever put into words. I wanted to tell you that I plan on asking Kate to marry me. Hopefully tonight, but I still need to go ask for your husband's blessing, because while she'll pretend to hate it and she's never actually said anything out loud, I know she would want me to do it. And I really want to do this right.
"I want you to know that I will do anything for your daughter. It took me a while to see it, but she's my forever. I've made some bad decisions and been with the wrong people, but this is different. It's real. It was never about my fame, or my money, or even my name with Kate. When I'm with her, I get to just be "Rick," and she gets to let go of her detective persona and simply be "Kate." I would never ask her to be anything other than that; she doesn't need to be. If she says yes… it's going to be hard on her; planning her wedding without you there to help her will be tough, but I'll be there for her. Even if she says no, I'll always be there. She doesn't deserve anything less than the best."
Rick trailed off. He wasn't sure how long he stood staring at Johanna's grave, but he found that he didn't really care. Rick couldn't help wondering how she would feel about this entire situation if he was here. Would she like him? Would she be okay with him wanting to marry Kate?
When Rick glanced at his watch and saw that he had been there for over an hour and decided he needed to get going if he was going to go see her father. He put his fingers to his lips and gently touched the marble headstone.
"I'll take care of her. I promise," He whispered. "I wish I could've met you."
He stood up and brushed off his pants. He smiled at the stone and slowly turned around to start heading to his car.
However, he was not expecting to see Jim Beckett standing a few yards away from him. Rick froze. Jim gave him a small smile and moved towards him, reaching out his hand to greet him. Rick responded in turn and gripped his hand.
"Hello, Jim." Rick answered, "I'm sorry if I've kept you waiting, you could've asked me to leave."
Jim answered immediately, "Never."
The silence fell between them.
"I was just about to come see you." Rick said.
"I heard," Jim replied.
Rick was shocked. "How long have you been here?"
"How much did you hear?"
Rick shifted his weight. Jim smiled at his nervousness. He started speaking.
"Sometimes I have these dreams."
Rick looked and saw Jim looking at his wife's grave with a smile on his face.
"It's just the two of us. We're sitting in a white room, sometimes across from each other at a table, sometimes next to each other on a couch… she's always wearing this purple dress that I told her was my favorite and she looks just as beautiful as the first day I met her. She tells me things. One time I dreamed that she told me that Katie needed me. I called her the next morning and found out that she was in the hospital because she had been shot. One time she was crying and just kept repeating 'Everything's burning. Everything's gone. You have to help her…' That was the night Katie's apartment blew up."
Jim looked over to see Rick looking at him, hanging onto his every word.
"I had another dream last night. Jo was sitting across the table from me and holding my hands. She had tears streaming down her cheeks, but she was wearing a smile of pure joy. I asked her what was wrong and she laughed. Then she said 'Katie's going to be so happy!' She told me she loved me, and then just kept on smiling and crying. When I woke up, I felt this uncontrollable urge to come here. And when I arrived, I saw you and heard you talking to her. And it was then that I knew."
Both men had tears in their eyes, though they wouldn't acknowledge it.
Rick finally found his voice, "I meant every word I said."
Jim nodded, still smiling. "I know."
"Rick," he continued, "as a father, I'm sure you understand that no one is ever going to be good enough for your daughter. That there is not a single man on Earth that you can justify giving your baby girl away to, because since the moment you first held her, she was never destined to be anything but yours." He looked over to see Rick nodding, and he could've sworn Rick looked a little sadder. "But you… I would be honored to be able to call you my son-in-law."
Rick gasped in relief. He had been so sure Jim wasn't going to give him his blessing. "Sir…"
"Boy, what have I told you about calling me 'sir'?"
"Never do it."
Jim smiled. "Then don't. You make my girl truly happy, Rick. It's been a long time since someone has managed to do that. After Johanna died… she was basically on her own. I was there, but I was too consumed with my own grief to be there for her. She's been saving people for so long that she's never had anyone there to save her. Until you entered the picture. You try to save her from herself and she lets you. She loves you, and your family, so much."
"Jim," Rick said, his tears threatening to spill over. "I'm going to take care of her."
"I know you will," Jim said, a tear escaping the corner of his eyes as he nodded his head. "I wouldn't be giving you my blessing if I believed otherwise."
Jim clasped Rick's hand, but wasn't the least bit surprised when Rick pulled him in closer for a quick hug. He squeezed Rick back and clapped him on the shoulder when he released him.
Jim quickly gestured to the flowers.
"The flowers are lovely," Jim said, "How did you know they were her favorites?"
"One time after a tough case I bought Kate a bouquet that looked like that to make her feel better. She told me then that they were her mother's favorite flowers. I offered to get her new ones, but she wasn't having it. She spent the entire night curled up on the couch with me, telling me stories about the trips she used to take with Johanna to the botanical gardens and how they would spend hours looking at all the flowers until she fell asleep." Rick smiled at the memory. "Speaking of Kate, I promised her that I would be home before she had time to miss me."
Jim laughed, "She'd hate for me to tell you this, but she always misses you when you're not around."
Rick laughed as well. "Well then, I guess I'd better get going. I'd hate for her to miss me too much."
"And I'd hate to see her get made at you for breaking your promise."
Rick smiled and took a deep breath. He shook Jim's hand. "It was nice seeing you Jim."
"Nice seeing you too, Rick. Go get my girl, will you?"
Rick's smile faltered. "I'm still not sure how I'm going to ask her. She won't like anything too extravagant, but it has to be big and intimate. I just want it to be perfect..." Rick sighed and gave Jim's hand one last shake before pulling away. "Wish me luck."
Jim clapped Rick on the shoulder as he passed by him on the way to his car, trying to hide his smile. After Rick was safely in his car and pulling away, Jim knelt down by his wife's grave and started laughing uncontrollably, his fingertips touching the cool marble.
"Oh Jo," He said, wiping the tears from his eyes, still laughing. "That poor man. He really thinks there's a possibility Katie's going to say 'no.'"
Did you love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think.