Alright, remember when you all hated me for making you cry during The Dedication?... You all may hate me again.
I've had this idea floating around since I saw the response to The Dedication, but I wasn't sure if you guys would want it/receive it well. But, I was (once again), in the shower, and thought of one of the sentences in here and knew I had to write it. And if I was going to write it, I might as well share it with all of you.
While I don't necessarily think this is as sad, I still sobbed like a baby while writing it. You've been warned.

Disclaimer- I do not own Castle. All I own is the box of tissues I currently have sitting beside me as I write this.

When your publisher came to me and asked me to write this, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to say. She told me to keep it short - 3 or 4 lines telling you how proud we are of you; how much we love you; how much we miss you. But how can you possibly say all of that in 3 or 4 lines when you were everything to us?

This is the 5th installment of the Nikki Heat series. Alexis and I found it, printed out and ready to send in a large manilla envelope on the corner of your desk. We read it together, sitting side-by-side on the floor next to your desk. Alexis told me that you had said that you thought this was going to be your greatest masterpiece. I would have to agree. The ending is so very you. It leaves the reader wanting more, searching for the answers to questions they didn't have when they started reading. Sort of like how you did when you left us...

When you left us. That's wrong; You never left us. You were taken. You were stolen from us by a man who thought he was more entitled to do drugs in the alley that we were chasing a suspect down than you were to your right to be alive. And he was wrong. I made sure he knew that he was wrong. Your death will not go unpunished. He will pay for what he did to you.

He will pay for what he did to your family; your friends; to us.

Because I watched you looked up at me as you were bleeding out on the city streets and you made me promise again that I would take care of your daughter for you; that I would be there for her the way only a person who had lost a parent could be and never let her forget how much you love her. And then you reached up and touched my cheek with blood-covered fingers and begged me to stop crying, because you were scared and you needed me to be strong for you; you needed me to be your extraordinary KB. But I couldn't stop crying. I told you I loved you. And you looked up at me, your eyes filled with tears and you breathlessly told me that you loved me, too. You held my face a little tighter, whispering the word 'always' before your hand slid off of my cheek.

And then you stopped breathing.

I pressed my hands down harder over your wound and begged you to stay with me, pleaded with you to open your eyes, to just wait a little longer until help got there. I told you I was sorry; I should've known he was there; I should've protected you. I kissed you, as if this were all just some nightmare that could be ended by true love's kiss. I cried and fought against them when Ryan and Esposito pulled me away from you. I watched, shaking as the paramedics tried desperately to save you. And I fell to the ground and screamed when they pulled that white sheet over your head.

They gave you an officer's ceremony. I stood up there behind your casket and told everyone there what I should have told you more often when you were still here; That you were an amazing father, a loving son, a wonderful friend, a gifted writer, and the best partner that anyone could ever ask for; That I could never adequately express how honored and humbled it feels to have been your inspiration. I never told you, but you were mine as well. And all the while I managed to stay strong because I swear I felt you standing next to me. But I looked over and you weren't there.

You're still here, but you're not here.

When your publisher came to me and asked me to write the dedication for the 5th and final Nikki Heat book, she told me that your mother and daughter had told her they wanted me to write it for you.

Everyone's doing alright here. Martha moved back to the loft to be with Alexis and Alexis has started looking into medical school; Ryan and Esposito have a weekly drink at the Old Haunt in your honor; Your poker buddies leave an empty seat at the card table for you; Your chair still sits next to my desk; And I... well... I wear my mother's ring on my finger to let everyone know that my heart belongs to someone else; my heart will always belong to you.

No one could ever replace you, Castle. No one is stupid enough to try.

When your publisher asked me to write this dedication, she told me to try to keep it short. So here it goes:
To Richard Castle,
We are so proud of you.
We love you, and we miss you more and more every day.
We also hope you will be able to forgive us for the following cliché:
You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.

Forever Yours,

So... can you all see straight enough to read this? I can barely see this as I type it.
Let's say, hypothetically, that Rick Castle was killed, but before he died, he finished another Nikki Heat book. It was published posthumously and (since all of Rick's books have dedications), Black Pawn would want this book to have one as well. But... who would write it?
In my mind... It's Kate Beckett.

Kate Beckett's love letter to Richard Castle, on display for everyone to see.

I apologize in advance for any tears this may cause.
Regardless, Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think.