May 21, 2011
From: J. Trevizo
Subject: New story - Juxtaposition
Spoiler: Episode 3x24 finale spoilers. AU for the last scene.
Disclaimer: I own nothing…
Relationship: Caskett fic
Summary: A second makes all the difference when a single shot is fired.
Author's note: This has been rattling in my head for nearly a week. Since I've only seen two takes on the last few minutes of the finale like this, I felt there might still be room for one more fanfic. To my other fandom readers – my apologies; I can only write what the muses offer.
Rick Castle had never been asked to be a pallbearer, much less for a police funeral. The last funeral he'd been to was for Cannell, and he'd only stood with the other mourners, not been asked to participate. In fact was he had little idea of what he needed to do, and had relied on Esposito to fill him in on the etiquette and routine. So when he stood by the hearse at the cemetery, he waited his turn to reach down and grasp the shiny brass hand rails situated beneath the American flag draped across the casket and turned to follow the men in front of him.
Five uniformed officers and a single civilian dressed in black moved in lock step down the path to the grave site. Castle kept his head down most of the way, his sunglasses cutting the glare of the light but not the sorrowful looks that directed towards the pallbearer's burden. As one they arrived at the grave and carefully lowered their burden. While Castle, Ryan, Beckett and Esposito and moved away, two other officers folded the flag to present to Montgomery's wife and children. He saw Jim Beckett in the chairs behind the family many rows back, his mother and Alexis not too far from him. Lanie Parrish sat beside his mother and waited for Esposito to join her, Ryan not far behind him.
But Castle wasn't moving to join his own family, or the one he'd ended up being adopted into. He moved to stand aside, less than ten feet away from where Beckett now stood before the podium to give her eulogy. How exactly that had happened, considering how the Captain had so many years and friends in the force he wasn't sure, but he knew Beckett needed to express her feelings regarding the man she'd considered a second father.
A father she never knew had been keeping tabs on her, keeping her from finding out his secrets, and in the process, keeping her from becoming a target of assassination.
Which was now no longer the case.
Castle stood silently, listening to Becket begin, thoughts of seeing the Captain for those last moments before his death replaying in his head, along with Beckett's screams for him to let her go as he dragged her from the hangar.
"Roy Montgomery taught me what it meant to be a cop. He taught me we are bound by our choices. But we are more than our mistakes. Captain Montgomery once said to me that for us there is no victory, there are only battles. And in the end the best that you can hope for is to find a place to make your stand. And if you're very lucky, you find someone willing to stand with you."
As she paused after saying those words, she turned and looked at him, her eyes expressing a million emotions. But the fact that she was looking at him after talking about someone making a stand with them… he had no doubt that she was acknowledging the fact that he'd made that commitment to her. He would be that someone who would stand by her when she chose to make her stand. And the fact that she had acknowledged that, given him that charged look made him believe for one brief moment that maybe, just maybe something good might come out of this mess. Maybe things could change…
"Our Captain would want us to carry on the fight…"
A glint of bright light, like a mirror caught his attention and his eyes quickly tried to focus on what exactly it was. Somewhere in the rows of white marble tombstones half a football field away, something flashed behind one of them.
"Even if there is one…"
Castle tuned out her next words, focused on the flash again. Maybe it was paranoia, maybe too many years of being a writer, researching things like assassinations, high powered rifles, scopes and the like, but his blood suddenly went cold as the worst scenario he could think of popped into his head. He looked toward Beckett and realized the line of sight was perfect. It was an open area… no skulking around, no finesse – it was just a simple, straightforward way to kill someone.
Then his mind was no longer thinking, and he was throwing himself towards her…
He was already moving as the words left his mouth, his right arm leading the way, intent on pushing or shielding her… he didn't much care which one at the moment. Before he knew it, he was tackling her, his body directly between her and the shooter, his right arm wrapping around her as he slammed into her body. Her eyes looked at him with confusion as the single crack of a gunshot reverberated through the quiet of the cemetery.
He felt the sudden, fiery pain pierce his back and he was falling, his limbs already feeling like lead as agony filled his chest. Beckett crashed into the ground, her body landing on the grass and he collapsed on top of her, face down onto the ground. Her eyes widened as everything began to coalesce in her head – the shove, the sound… a gunshot…
Around them, people were screaming and ducking for cover. Beckett looked up at Castle, her face suddenly full of fear that she didn't understand… she needed to see, be sure that he…
She pushed up with all her strength and swiftly rolled them over, laying Castle onto the soft green grass. Knelling over him she pulled back her hands and found them drenched in dark red blood. Castle's blood. He looked up at her, his blue eyes wide as reality and astonishment began to set in.
"Rick… shhh," Beckett started as she saw him struggle.
Her hands moved to his body, quickly searching to locate the wound that had stained her hands crimson. She found it quickly; the blood was hidden in the dark shirt and jacket on his right side, his chest sticky with the liquid.
"Rick, please… stay with me Rick. Don't leave me. Please. Stay with me, okay?" she breathed, fear and concern warring within her.
Beckett pressed one hand against the wound, the other curled under his head, pulling it up slightly to force him to focus on her. He had to be going into shock as his eyes began to glaze over even as she could see him fighting to stay awake… stay with her as she was demanding he do.
Staring at his eyes, the sudden jolt of understanding that he'd taken a bullet meant for her struck her. He'd done everything in his power to force her to back off of her mother's murder, afraid it would get her killed. Had spoken truths that she had fought vehemently to deny about how she had hidden in empty relationships so she didn't have to acknowledge that she loved him. He'd been there for her time and again, asking for so little in return. And she knew down deep he was waiting for her to choose him…
Now, as she watched him struggle to stay with her, the naked emotions in his eyes while his heart pumped his life's blood through her fingers she knew the moment was here; she had to tell him. She couldn't not tell him now…
"Rick, I love you… I love you Rick," she whispered urgently.
His eyes seemed to catch hers and for a moment she thought she saw the start of a grin even as a tear that had welled in his eye slipped lose and slid down his cheek. Then she felt his body begin to sag, his head lolling to the side as his eyes slowly drifted closed.
There was another burst of movement and noise but she couldn't tear her eyes from Rick's face.
The sound of her name jarred Beckett into turning, finding Lanie rushing her way; with her friend's arrival beside her she finally registered the activity around her. Officers were rushing about, some keeping guard on the civilians at the grave side; others were swiftly moving out to hunt down the shooter. An officer, someone whose voice she didn't recognize was on the radio calling for a bus, stating man down.
Lanie quickly eased Kate's hand away and then pulled Castle's jacket away and ripped the button down shirt open as well, exposing the exit wound from a gunshot in his upper right chest. She swore as it oozed blood at an incredible rate and grabbed her own jacket off her body to press to the wound.
"How bad is it?" asked Beckett nervously, her voice quavering.
"I won't lie to you Kate, it's bad," Lanie stated seriously, looking from Castle to her friend. "We need him at a hospital, like now."
Beckett grabbed hold of Castle's hand, needing to feel his hand in hers. She felt torn in two; she desperately wanted to be at Rick's side, hold onto him until she knew he would live, yet she felt the underpinning anger she had for the man who had sent Lockwood to kill the Captain, and now had tried to kill her building inside her, threatening to overwhelm her. She had vowed she would get them before when it had just been her mother that had been the core of the conspiracy, but when Montgomery had made his stand she'd redoubled her desire for justice.
But looking down at Rick's slack face; this amazing, childlike, honorable, funny, loyal man that had chosen to stand with her, she felt that desire for justice begin to twist into one for vengeance.
Sirens filled the air, breaking her train of thought and before she knew it paramedics were jumping from an ambulance and rushing to their spot on the lawn.
"What do we have?" asked the first as he and his partner moved to Castle's prone body.
"Caucasian make, mid thirties, GSW to right chest, probable lung collapse and internal bleeding," Lanie rattled off and the men quickly sprang into action, working to puncture the right lung of the writer and re-inflate it as well as pack the wounds and intubate him, forcing much needed air into his chest and one working lung.
"We need to move him," one of the paramedics stated, his tone anxious and clipped.
"Okay, Kate, move back and let them take Castle to the ambulance," Lanie said, reaching over and gently pulling Beckett's hand from Caste's.
"We need to move him officer!" barked the other medic, knowing time was not on their side.
The second Beckett's hand was free of Castle the two medics had him on the gurney and were rushing to the waiting ambulance.
"Lanie… can you go with them? Make sure…" Beckett said, her eyes being pulled from Rick's body on the gurney to where she saw Ryan and Esposito coordinating the officers at the site into search parties and protective details.
She needed to know they had the bastard that had shot Rick. And if not… she was going to hunt him down…
"Sure… you don't want to ride with him?"
"I… Yes, but I need to know what's going on here… I'll get there soon…"
Lanie looked at her friend with a frightened gaze. Rick was dying and Kate was… throwing herself into looking for the guy who shot him. It was worrisome to say the least.
"Okay. I'm sure that it will be Mt. Sinai hospital we're going to. You can make sure Alexis and Martha get there."
At the names of Rick's mother and daughter, Beckett paled, the blood rushing from her face. She wasn't alone in her fear – she knew that both of them must be out of their mind with worry.
"I didn't… Lanie, hurry and go with the ambulance. Martha, Alexis and I will get a patrol office to drive us to the hospital. Ryan and Esposito can check in with me as soon as they can about the shooter. It's Castle… they'll be thorough…"
Lanie nodded and rushed to climb into the back of the ambulance, the doors swinging shut behind her as the vehicle sped out of the cemetery, lights and sirens going.
Beckett slowly stood up, her head and heart filled with conflicting emotions. All she knew was that if Rick died… then she'd make every single one of them responsible for this, for all of it burn before she was done.
End chapter 1