ATTENTION READERS: I will be "overhauling" this story over the next month or two. I was looking over my chapters today and noticed a LOT of spelling and grammar mistakes. I will be taking the time to go back through and correct any mistakes that I catch. Please be patient with me, especially if you are a new reader. You will probably read these a lot faster than I can go through them to fix them. Thanks for your love and attention!
A/N: Okay, so I'm supposed to be finishing my other Castle story, All She's Ever Wanted but this story came to me and I cannot for the life of me, get it out of my head. This one is a little different than what I usually do; firstly because I already have quite a few chapters written. I usually write as I go. Secondly, this is a completely AU story, which I rarely, if ever, do. It's also written from the perspective of a narrator.
Rating: I'm going with K+ for now, as death is a pretty heavy theme.
Disclaimer: I do not own Castle or any of its characters. They all belong to Andrew Marlowe and ABC studios. I just like to play with them and make them do what I want sometimes!
Kate Beckett pushed the door to her apartment open with one hand and walked in slowly. She shifted the sleeping child on her hip and looked around the empty room. She closed the door, put her keys on the table and walked down the halway.
Entering a bedroom, she turned on the bedside lamp and lay her daughter, Olivia, down on the pink and green bedspread. She pulled off two small black shoes, black tights, black hair clips and finally pulled the small black dress over the sleeping girl's head. She grabbed a night gown from a drawer and gently pulled it over the dark brown waves of Olivia's head.
Kate tucked her in, kissed her cheek, and turned off the light as left the room. She walked aimlessly to her bedroom and slowly stripped off her own black clothing. She moved as if in a daze; feeling nothing and everything at once.
She pulled on one of his old t-shirts and slipped into bed. Before she knew it, she had dozed off. Nightmares haunted her sleep and she soon shot up in bed, sweat pouring from her brow. Her heart raced and she panted hard, unable to draw a full breath. She looked to her left and reached out to feel the cold, un-rumpled sheet.
Picking up his pillow, she cradled it between her arms and willed herself back to sleep. She wouldn't be any good to Olivia if she didn't get some sleep. As her eyes drifted shut, the ring on her left hand sparkled in the moonlight. She sighed and allowed a single tear to drip down her cheek.
Kate woke slowly, but was startled when she opened her eyes to find her four-year-old daughter staring at her with wide green eyes. He had always said she was Kate's twin, though she did have his chestnut brown hair.
"Hi baby." She said softly. Olivia only blinked.
"What are you doing?" Olivia blinked again but climbed up into the bed.
"Where's Daddy?" Kate felt her blood run cold.
"I thought we talked about this." She felt a lump rise in her throat and grasped at the strings of her composure. When she was met with another blank stare, Kate swallowed back her tears and sighed.
"Liv, Daddy went to be in Heaven, with Grandma." Recognition finally ghosted across the girl's face and her eyes sloped down as sadness filled her.
"He's not coming home?" Olivia said, more than asked.
Kate felt the semblance of calm she had adopted slipping away. She looked away from the yearning face of the only thing she had left of her husband and cleared her throat. When the treacherous tears slipped down her face, Olivia scooted closer and held her mother's hand.
"No, Liv. Daddy's not coming home. He isn't alive anymore."
"What's alive?" Kate smiled at her daughter's inquiry, searching her mind for a definition that would mean something to her baby.
Finding something adequate, she grabbed Olivia's hand and placed it against her own chest, just above her heart. Olivia looked at Kate curiously, but did not pull away.
"Feel that, sweetpea?" Olivia nodded. Kate picked up the small hand and placed it on its owner's chest. Olivia giggled as her mother held her hand steady.
"And you feel that, inside of you?" Olivia nodded again.
"That's our hearts beating. That means you are alive. Daddy's heart isn't beating anymore."
Olivia nodded and brought her hand back to Kate's chest. Several moments of silence passed. Olivia sniffled and it was only then that Kate looked down and realized the girl was crying. Wrapping her arms around her child, Kate brought Olivia to her chest. Olivia wrapped her small arms around her mom and let loose the sobs of understanding that only a small child can have.
The phone ringing brought Kate out of sleep. Olivia was sprawled halfway on Kate and she only had to lift an arm and a leg to be free of Olivia's grasp. She reached for the phone and cleared her throat before answering.
"Beckett" her tone was surprisingly authoritative.
"Katie, it's your dad." There was a brief silence as Kate fumbled for words.
"Listen, I know you probably don't want to talk, but I'm going to be on your side of town later today. Do you mind if I stop by for a little while?"
"Dad…" Kate protested, feeling at once defensive and grateful for her father's concern.
"No Katie. I want to make sure you and Liv got settled back in okay. And that you're eating and showering." Kate couldn't help but chuckle at her father's comment and felt herself nodding, though her father could not see her.
"Fine. I've taken a few weeks off from work and Olivia won't be going to pre-school. I'm sure she'd love to see you."
They worked out the rest of the details and Kate heaved herself out of bed to get ready for the day. Although she'd only been home for a few hours, she didn't want her father to think she'd become a remiss parent. She showered quickly and pulled on a pair of yoga pants and one of her husband's old sweatshirts.
She saw that Olivia was still fast asleep and went to tidy the living room and Olivia's bedroom. As she was walking through the house, she saw his coffee cup in the sink and felt herself start to lose it. Just then, Olivia walked into the kitchen and wrapped her arms around her mother's leg. Kate blinked and sniffed.
"You ready for a bath, pretty girl?" Kate tried to sound cheerful; she needed to be present for her daughter. She knew what it was like when the parent left behind checked out.
Scooping the girl up, she lifted Olivia high in the air, making airplane noises. Olivia laughed and giggled, begging Kate to do it again. They entered the bathroom and Kate gave Olivia a quick bath. Kate dressed her in sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt and pulled her messy wet hair up into a ponytail.
"Guess what." Kate said, distracting Olivia as she attempted to brush her own teeth.
"What?" She said through a mouthful of toothpaste.
"Pop is coming over." Olivia's eyes lit up at her mother's words and her hand moved furiously to finish her task.
Rinsing her mouth, she jumped off of her stool and ran out of the bathroom. Kate chuckled and cleaned up the mess left behind. She was busy in her duties when the doorbell rang, causing her to jump.
"Pop is here, Mommy!" Olivia chirped gleefully.
Kate shuffled to the door and let Jim Beckett in. His arms were overloaded with grocery bags and Kate struggled to help ease his burden. Meanwhile, Olivia was at their feet, weaving in and out, jumping up and down.
"Pop! Guess what!" Olivia squealed.
"I don't have to go to school today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day after that!" Her smile was broad and Kate couldn't help but admire her daughter's ability to compartmentalize.
"That's terrific Liv! Why don't you go read some books while Mommy and I unload the groceries and make some lunch, okay?" Jim reached into one of the bags, producing two picture books. Olivia squealed again and snatched the books from his hand, tearing off into the living room.
"How ya doing, Katie?" Jim asked, leveling her with his signature 'dad' look. She felt a wave of nausea rise in her stomach and took a calming breath before speaking.
"I'm not okay. But I have to be; for Olivia, you know?" Jim nodded and reached out to pull Kate into his arms.
She stiffened only momentarily before relaxing into her father's warmth. She felt the onslaught of tears and this time, she did nothing to stop the sobs that followed.
"I know it doesn't seem this way, but everything is going to be alright." Jim's voice was punctuated with gasps for breaths and hiccups of calming sobs.
Jim knew words alone couldn't heal his daughter's pain, so he rubbed his hand across her back and held her until her breathing had slowed and the hand clenched in the fabric of his shirt relaxed. He pushed her back gently, rubbing away the tear stains and pushing her hair out of her face.
"Everything is going to be okay."
A/N: So...what do you think. Before you decide to hate me and torch my house, let me post the next chapter in a few days. I guarantee it's not what you think! I will be posting very soon, so that I'm not leaving you hanging.
Much love, and thanks for reading.