Okay, so... I come bearing gifts that aren't necessarily welcome.

I'm not sure how good this is. It's basically just a short future!fic emotional study of a tragic event. I sobbed while writing it. My friend Kris isn't speaking to me right now because she read it and she said I "destroyed [her] happiness" and she's not sure if she'll "ever recover from this emotional state." She said it was just as bad if not worse than how she felt after The Dedication.

Why is it that my only decent writing makes people sob their eyes out?

Anyway... there's not much plot, and it's not very long, and if you're still here after reading that blurb above, I would be much obliged if you gave my humble one-shot a chance.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. Nor do I own the song "Rainy Season" by Hunter Hayes, which I listened to on repeat while writing this.

"We're taking on water.
And drop after drop, we're destroying this house
And each other. So make it stop. Make it stop..."

If there was one thing that Kate Beckett had learned during her life, it was that your only true duty is to protect your family. For her mother, her family was her husband and her daughter. For Jim, it was his wife and his Katie. Kate however, was blessed. Her family was large and diverse, and they loved her just as much as she loved them. She had her parents, her best friend Lanie, her psuedo-brothers Ryan and Esposito, the exuberant Martha Rodgers, the lovely Alexis Castle, and her ever-present shadow and partner, the one and only Richard Castle.

She would do anything she possibly could to keep any of them from hurting - from falling apart and hitting ground zero without someone there to pick up the pieces now.

That is exactly what she is doing now: Protecting her family, no matter what the cost.

"Alexis," Kate said, the emotion choking her voice. "You have to go."

Before Kate even finished her sentence, Alexis was already shaking her head, tears forming in the corner of her eyes.

"No," she mumbled, "no, no, no! I'm not leaving you, Kate."

"Lex, you have to go!"

"But, Kate –"

Kate leaned forward and grabbed Alexis's face in her hands and forced her to look at her. "No, listen to me Alexis. I need you to go. For me. I need you to live the rest of your life and keep your father from taking this too hard. He'll never forgive me if I let anything happen to you. Please, Alexis, just go."

Alexis's voice rose in volume, "No, Kate! I'm not letting you do this! I'm not letting you just leave us like this!" Alexis reached up and yanked Kate's left hand off of her face, holding it up in front of Kate's eyes. "Do you see that?" she yelled, talking about the diamond ring nestled on her finger, "Dad and I picked it out together. For you. Because we love you and you're a part of our family now and it would destroy us if I let you die for me."

Kate's face could only be described as one of sheer agony, "Alexis –"

"Don't do this to us, Kate." Alexis's voice had dropped to near whisper, the tears falling out of her eyes in a steady stream. She pleaded, "Please don't do this to him." Her voice grew again in panic, "Please, Kate if you die he'll never recover. I swear he won't. He loves you too much and this will kill him and I can't lose both of you. Please, Kate. Don't do this to me."

Kate squeezed her eyes shut, shielding herself from the emotion that she was going to see reflected in the young woman. She took a deep breath, and let it out, shaking all the while.

Grabbing Alexis, she pulled her into chest. Alexis wrapped her arms tight around the woman she began to think of as a mother, and sobbed into her shirt.

"I love you," Kate mumbled into her hair. "I love you and your father so very much… More than I've ever loved anything in the entire world. You two have changed my life. I love you. I love you."

She felt Alexis relax in her arms, thinking that she had given up, just like she knew she would have. Kate hated that this would be the last way Alexis would see her. She bit back the sob that threatened to escape.

Pulling back and removing Alexis's arms from around her waist, she kissed her forehead softly then leaned back and put herself at eye level with Alexis.

"Don't ever forget that."

Kate saw the confusion flash in Alexis's eyes, but before she had time to react, Kate put her arms on the young woman's shoulders and shoved her backwards, into the waiting arms of the rescuer that only had room to get one survivor out at a time.

Kate looked back up at Alexis and saw the betrayal in her eyes, fighting against the rescuer who was trying hard to calm her down and get her out of there safely. Kate heard Alexis screaming at the top of her lungs, her voice raw as she pleaded with the man who was hauling her away from danger.


Kate put her head in her hands and sobbed, knowing that she did the right thing but hating that it was going to have to end this way.

She looked around quickly, taking a quick assessment of the destruction around her. The rescuer said they would come back once they "got her daughter stable" and get her as well, but looking at the damage she realized that they wouldn't be back in time.

She looked at the ring on her finger, thinking about when Rick and Alexis had approached her together, Rick asking her to be his wife, Alexis asking her to join their family. Everyone had cried.

She was sure, wherever they were, safe or not, together or not, they were all crying together again.

Kate kissed the ring on finger and whispered a quiet "I love you," praying that they could somehow hear it and know how much they meant to her.

She heard something that sounds like a crack from underneath her feet, and the vague sound of what sounded like footsteps rushing towards her, but all she saw was black.

She hoped that when they found her, she was smiling.

Because she had done what she had set out to do: She kept her family safe. No matter what happened to her, they were still alive and together, and one day they would move on because they had each other to keep themselves going.

And that was worth everything.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think.

If you want to listen to the song (specifically the part that destroyed my emotions), go here: [ http: / www . youtube . com / watch ? v = 6sEJiMi8TjY ] and listen to 1:25-3:10. This song isn't even that fitting, but that part... goodness. It sparked this whole thing.