Hey everyone! This is going to surprise you... maybe. THIS IS GOING TO BE MORE THAN ONE CHAPTER. I have 5 more written already, and there will be at least 3 more after that.
Isn't that exciting!
Maybe not once you realize what it's about.
Warning: I have cried at least once writing every single chapter. Maybe I'm just too emotionally invested in these characters.
It's not the most original idea... but I'm actually really proud of what I have so far, which, if you've read any of my other stuff, you know rarely ever happens.
Now... if you're still interested... read on.
Disclaimer: I don't own Castle. If you recognize it, it's not mine.
Rick Castle had always believed in ghosts.
As a young child, they had scared him to pieces. He was terrified of the evil spirits and what they could do to him. His underdeveloped mind had still registered that not every ghost was Casper. More often than not they were Fatso, Stinky, and Stretch, intent on scaring him just for fun, seeing how high he could jump when they jumped out from behind the swings at the park or behind the coats in the hall closet.
As a teenager, they fascinated him. A spirit always had a story. Nobody who died in their sleep came back to haunt the living. No, their deaths were tragic. A soldier accidentally killed in war by his best friend the day before the official ceasefire. An enemy spy hung in the basement of an old bar, his body hidden in the walls and never spoken of again, as if he never existed. The victims of jilted lovers, jealous siblings and experiments that went horribly wrong were the ones who never seemed to be able to let their lives go. Rick was convinced that ghosts only haunted the living because they had stories they needed to share with those who had been lucky enough to keep on living.
It wasn't until recently that Rick Castle realized that sometimes it's not the ghosts that choose to stick around. In fact, it's the people who haven't learned to let them go yet.
"Do you really think this is a good idea, Rick?"
Lifting his gaze up from the floor, Rick looked up from where he was seated in his desk chair and caught the sight of his favorite pair of green eyes, embedded in the face of his favorite detective, who was currently sitting on the edge of his desk in front of him.
He sighed, "I'm sure, Kate."
Her brow crumpled as she looked down at him from her perch, clearly not liking his answer.
"But Rick…" she whispered.
Rick cut her off, shaking his head slightly but refusing to break eye contact.
"There's no other option."
Kate closed her eyes and bowed her head, her long hair falling over her shoulder as she let out a long breath.
He ached to reach out and touch her. To brush her hair over her shoulder the way he had done so many other times in the past.
"Kate, you're not going to change my mind."
Kate lifted her gaze back up to meet his, her green meeting his blue (which, if he was being truthful, was more of a slate gray these days). He held her somber gaze with his own determined one.
He wasn't going to back down from this. He had made his decision. Almost a year ago, in fact.
It had been a terrible year.
Surely she could respect that.
Snapping his gaze away from the woman in front of him, he locked eyes with the person who had called his name.
Standing at the entrance to his office was Nicholas Beckett Castle, dressed in his Star Wars pajamas (a gift from his older sister), holding the old teddy bear that Kate had bought for him as soon as she had found out she was pregnant with him in one of his small hands. Nicholas tilted his head to the side, looking like he had just woken up, his familiar hazel eyes looking at him in confusion.
"Yeah, buddy?" he whispered, hoping his voice sounded even, knowing that even his nearly 5 year old son had inherited his mother's attention to detail and would be able to tell that something was wrong.
"Who are you talking to, Daddy?" He said, rubbing his eyes with his free hand.
Rick sighed and held his arms out towards his son. Nicholas immediately took the invitation, and shuffled quickly over towards his father. As soon as he could, Rick lifted Nicholas up into his lap, wrapping him in his arms. Nicholas quickly dropped his head against his Rick's chest, bringing the teddy bear between them and hugging it tightly. Rick brought his hand up and ran his fingers softly through his Nicholas's dirty blonde hair, the same color Rick's had been as a child, the action calming the both of them.
He felt Nicholas start to relax in his arms. Clearly the few hours of sleep he had gotten before Rick had woken him were not sufficient to reenergize the small child.
"Come on, Nick," he said affectionately, gathering up his son in his arms and standing up himself. "Let's get you back to bed. Aunt Lanie's got a lot of stuff planned for you tomorrow."
Nick shifted slightly in Rick's arms, nestling closer against his neck, his arms gripping his shirt tightly.
"Can I stay down here tonight, Daddy?" he mumbled, his voice laced with exhaustion, "It's cold upstairs."
Rick smiled softly against his son's head, knowing what a sorry excuse that was. He shook his head slightly and pressed a gentle kiss against his soft hair. "Alright… but only because we both have to get up early in the morning."
Rick's reasoning fell on deaf ears, though. He could tell by his son's breathing that he was already asleep against his chest.
Rick looked back towards the spot on his desk where Kate had just been on his desk, wanting to tell her that he loved her, but she was gone.
He thought that it would get easier with time. That he would learn to deal with the gaping hole in his chest and the constant ache that had made its home there in the empty space.
But it hadn't gotten easier. He didn't feel any better.
Because no matter what he did she was still gone.
She had been for nearly a year.
She was now just a memory that was always at the forefront of his mind.
An illusion of his subconscious.
His favorite ghost.
Would it make you feel better if I told you the ending is hopeful?
I'd love to know what you think.