I felt in the mood for writing an angsty Caskett piece, so this is what I came up with. The summary and the lines used later in this come from the poem 'Absence' by Elizabeth Jennings, which is a heartbreaking, but beautiful poem, and one of my all time favourites. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, and reviews are always appreciated!
Disclaimer – I don't own Castle, or the poem 'Absence'.
It wasn't often that Richard Castle turned his phone off, but for a few hours on that summer afternoon, he did. He didn't want any calls from his publishers, from his agent or from the producer of the latest Nikki Heat film. Hell, he didn't even want them to make another Nikki Heat film, not anymore. Not now that Kate... He swallowed. Usually, when he wouldn't want to take calls from any of those people, he would just reject them as they came in, and leave his phone on in case Alexis needed to contact him. But not today. For those few hours as he wandered absently towards Central Park, Rick didn't even want to talk to his daughter. He just needed a few hours left alone with his own thoughts, his own feelings, his own... memories.
It was the perfect summer day, the sun beaming down on all of Manhattan, shining brightly in a clear blue sky. A few months ago, he would have thought of it as the perfect day, a beautiful scene, worthy of a place in one of his books. But not now. Now, Rick felt cold, freezing cold inside, and he walked along with his coat pulled around him, his head down as though bowed against a nonexistent wind. The sun didn't shine now, it glared. The birds weren't chirping a summer tune; they were singing a mourner's song. And the rush of water from the fountains in Central Park seemed miles away, in fact all sound did. Everything felt like it was travelling down a long tunnel to reach him, leaving him cold and isolated. Alone.
As he wandered, Rick gazed about and did what he did best, alongside writing. He people-watched. He watched the NYU students laughing, lounging on the grass, throwing a Frisbee between them and relaxing on picnic blankets with a cooler beside them and a bottle of beer in their hands. An old couple sat together on a bench, not talking, but instead content to watch the world go by in a companionship that Rick was sure they had shared for years. A companionship, he realised with a stab of anguish, that he would never get to share with Kate. Mothers chased small children around trees, fathers pushed them on swings, teenagers gossiped in crowds and kicked footballs about. Everyone around him seemed to be unquestionably, ecstatically and disturbingly happy. And he didn't like it. He couldn't understand it. How could they be happy, how could they be so carefree, knowing that the best detective in the city wasn't around to protect them anymore? How could they laugh when she had died crying, and trying to protect them from a dangerous killer? How could they be so oblivious to his pain, and the pain of so many others, all as a result of losing her?
Rick didn't feel like there was a hole in his heart, or in his chest. He didn't feel like she had left behind a space in his life that could never be filled. And he didn't feel like there was a hole in his heart because he felt like his entire heart had gone; it was as though his heart, his chest, his legs, his head, his entire being, had deserted him when she had. He was just walking around, outside of his body, numb. She hadn't left behind a space in his life that could never be filled – she had left him feeling like he had no life, no spaces to be filled or empty. He was, quite simply, a shell. These past few months, Rick had felt like a robot. He went through the motions, supporting Ryan, Esposito and Lanie through their own grief, comforting Alexis through hers too, sitting with his mother as they talked, cried and wondered why. Why her? Why Kate? Why not someone else, someone less extraordinary, someone who wasn't as infinitely precious as she was to him, as she was to them all?
Eventually, Rick was forced to stop wandering. His legs simply didn't want to carry him any further, and he stopped, standing close to a small new fountain. There were a few coppers scattered on the tiled bottom of the pool, and nearby a breeze ruffled the feathers of the birds singing in the trees, whilst the sun continued to shine as though everything was as it should be. It wasn't. Staring at the fountain, Rick felt lost, his eyes reading the words inscribed on the silver plaque that adorned it, but not fully taking them in.
In memory of Detective Katherine Beckett, who died whilst fulfilling her duty, protecting the inhabitants of New York City and fighting for justice. May she rest in peace.
It wasn't enough. Those few words hardly embodied her, everything she was, everything she wasn't. But then, Rick supposed, nothing ever could except her herself. She was, truly, one in a million. His extraordinary KB. A quiet descended on the area as Rick stood there, despondent, and lost. Lost without her, without his muse, much as she had hated the word, lost without his one-writer girl, his dear detective, as he used to call her.
Lost, without his wife.
And as Castle looked around the small secluded area of Central Park, and observed again the birds in the trees, the fountains, the green grass and the blue sky, he thought of the other few lines that should have been added to her plaque. He whispered them softly to himself, as though believing that she could hear him, and as he did so, he felt everything shake within him, he felt his heart and soul tremble with longing and grief and love, for the woman he could never again hold in his arms. His beautiful, extraordinary Kate Beckett.
"It was because the place was just the same
That made your absence seem a savage force,
For under all the gentleness there came
An earthquake tremor: fountain, birds and grass
Were shaken by my thinking of your name."
Well... I hope I haven't reduced anyone to too many tears! I felt quite sad writing this, but I wanted to – what can I say? I'm a masochist. :D I hope this was okay, and you can find the full poem by Elizabeth Jennings on the internet if you want to read it. Thanks for reading, and reviews are gratefully accepted! :P