Disclaimer I do not own anything related to Castle. No copyright infringment should be intended or inferred. Wasn't going to write any more Castle fanfiction but I had this image of Castle at a graveside and couldn't shake it. Set immediately post season 3. We haven't seen season 4 in the UK yet so there may be a few mistakes.
He stared at the gravestone in front of him as the cold failed to register. He had been there longer than he intended but yet, somehow he could not bare to drag himself away from the small graveyard where his life had been altered beyond all recognition. He wasn't the same man he had been before she was shot. He shook his head slightly, he wasn't the same man he had been before he had met her and the others. She made him better. Sighing heavily he continued to stare at the gold lettering against the cold, black marble. The only evidence that there had been someone once. Someone that had been loved and respected by friends and colleagues. Someone that had been thought of as more than just a colleague had existed. He shook his head as he pictured their last conversation.
"You had to up and get killed." He shook his head as he stared at the letters without really seeing them. "You had to put yourself in harms way. Why? To make amends?" He shook his head as he swallowed hard.
"Hi." He smiled slightly as Alexis slipped her arm through his.
"I thought I'd find you here. You need to come home." She sighed as she rested her head against his shoulder. Castle tightened his hold on her as she sighed.
"I'm fine Sweetheart." He kissed her head as she closed her eyes.
"No." She sighed again. "No, you haven't been yourself since the funeral. It wasn't your fault. You have to know that. None of it was your fault."
"I should have told her sooner."
"You told her when it mattered." Alexis turned to face her father as he shrugged his shoulders. "She heard you. I know she did."
"In the car. She wanted to come but I told her to stay in the car. Dad, you're worrying me."
"There is no need to worry about me." He smiled slightly as she raised an eyebrow. "Alexis, go home. I wont be much longer."
"Promise." He smiled as she kissed his cheek before turning towards the car. Castle turned his attention back to the marble gravestone and tried to order his thoughts. He had so much to say. Closing his eyes the memories began to flood his mind. He had held her the night they had gone to rescue Ryan and Esposito. He had cradled her in his arms as she sobbed when her mother's murderer had died. She had known then they would never get justice for Johanna Beckett. Not the justice she deserved. He could count the times she had willingly let herself be pulled into his arms as she cried. The night Roy had sent them away, knowing he was going to be killed sprang into his mind. It was the only time she had fought against him; pushing him away until the gunshot had signalled he was dead. Then the tears had started. He wiped angrily at his own tears as he stared at the grave, remembering how he had held her as she had cried for their friend, despite knowing what he had done to her and her family.
"Why? How could you do that?"
He shook his head as his eyes settled on a patch of grass he knew too well. He was convinced he could still see her blood on the blades. He smiled sadly at the irony of it. Whether the blood was on the grass was irrelevant. He would always remember hearing Lainie cry as he pulled Kate into his arms as the life had drained away from her. He had finally told her what he had hoped she already knew. What he had never had the courage to say.
"Hey." He closed his eyes as he heard her voice. "Castle?"
"No." He whispered as he felt a warm hand on his back, almost burning the skin through the cloth that covered it.
"What are you doing here?" Kate asked as he finally turned to face her. She reached up and brushed a tear away as she spoke. Castle hadn't even been aware that he was crying.
"I thought I'd lost you." He whispered. Frowning he tugged her to him. "Why aren't you in hospital?"
"I'm not dead, Rick." She held his face in her palms, her thumbs tracing the stubble that was already forming there. "Stop looking at me as though I'm a ghost. I called you but Alexis answered. Then Martha offered to collect me from the hospital. So, here I am."
"Kate." He rested his forehead against hers as she closed her eyes.
"Thank God." He breathed as he felt rather than heard her words. "Kate?"
"I heard." She sighed. "That day. I remember what you said."
"I love you, Rick. I love you too." She smiled as he pulled back from her and held her gaze.
"I did hear you right?"
"Yes." He smiled. "Yes you did."
"Good." She smiled as she turned her attention to the gravestone Castle had been so intent on staying with. She shook her head slightly, something told her it wasn't the first time he had been there. She could almost picture him raging against the dead man that despite everything they always respected. "I want to hate him. I really want to."
"But." He held her to him as she relaxed in his arms.
"I can't." She sighed. "It's Roy. I can't hate him."
"Good people make bad mistakes." Castle sighed as he let her lead him back to the car. Neither looked back, if they had neither would have seen the almost transparent image of Captain Montgomery smiling as he watched them go. He raised his hand and waved hoping that the younger man had meant everything he had said in the times he had ranted and raved at him for the unfairness of Kate laying in a coma. He smiled slightly as he watched them go, already bickering over something. It seemed that at least now, his best detective had got the happiness she had always deserved he could rest knowing that he had been forgiven. Shaking his head he turned and disappeared into the night, safe in the knowledge that everything he had left behind was as it should be.
A/N a review would be lovely. If you like this enough to add it to your alerts then please spare a second or two to review. It really does help with the writing.