Author's Note: Hello everybody! Welcome to my series of one-/two-shots. Seems like a weird idea, having a series based on people getting sick, but when inspiration strikes... Anyways, who gets sick, when they're sick, the situations that arise from their sickness, etc., will vary, but the fluff of them being there for each other will always remain.
Summary: Castle wakes up feeling ill the morning of a book signing. Kate comes to the rescue.
In Sickness and in Health
Books, Beckett, and Benadryl
If there were ever an inopportune time for Castle to get sick, the first day of his publicity tour would be the day. To make the situation even better, his day was jam-packed with readings, not just signings. Signings, he might be able to sludge though, bur readings, with his burning, hoarse throat, would be impossible. Paula was definitely going to murder him.
She even said as much when she graced him with his 7:00am wakeup call and he coughed. In as few words as possible, he portrayed that there was no way his voice and throbbing head would allow him to read and sign today. Ever the kind, understanding woman that she is, she barked orders for him to take a shower and be ready in an hour, "sick" or not. Her tone sounded as though she thought he was faking it.
Never one to defy a strong, powerful, scary woman, he slowly made his way under the hot spray of water. The steam opened up his sinuses, but the nausea, headache, and destroyed throat definitely did not vanish.
In a slightly hallucinogenic daze, he managed to pull out a dark navy suit and deep purple shirt. He didn't bother to do his hair, another grievance that would inevitably work against him when lovely Paula saw him, but he did brush his teeth.
Haphazardly lounging on the couch, moments from falling back into a sick-induced fit of sleep, something heavy started pounding on his door. As much as the loud noise made his head beg for it to stop, his voice couldn't bother to yell that he was making his way to the door to face the offender.
When he swung the door open he was surprised to see no other than Kate Beckett at his doorstep. He tried to come up with some witty greeting or snarky comment about her random appearance, but he felt so miserable every possibility would have fallen flat.
Before saying anything, her hand stuck out and shoved a large, hot cup into his chest. "Tea and honey," she explained. "My mom used to make it for me when I was sick. Does the throat wonders."
Grateful, he took a large sip, allowing the burning, magic liquid to slide down his throat.
His eyes fluttered shut as the heat soothed his pain. When he lifted his heavy, swollen lids, he quietly asked, "Why are you here?"
She scoffed and rolled her eyes, shifting her weight to her left foot in her pseudo-annoyed stance. "Hello, Kate. Thanks for the tea, Beckett. How are you doing this morning, and why ever are you here on your day off, Detective?"
With a pathetic smile truly vouching for how sick he really was, he said, "I don't use your name that often." Again, she rolled her eyes. "But really. What...?"
"Your publicist called, said she needed someone to read for you."
"But why..." The end of his question was stopped short by a series of coughs.
"Me? Because I'm Nikki Heat. Why did I come? You didn't think I'd leave you stranded, did you?"
He opened and closed his mouth, trying to find the words to say.
"Come on, Castle," she instructed, her tone soft and caring, yet daunting and demanding. "Grab your phone, your coat, and let's go."
If ever a time came when he would doubt how extraordinary she is, Castle would chose this moment as his evidence to rebut it.
He knows she's never been a fan of dealing with the press-related consequences of being his Detective Heat, is never one to ask for the spotlight, or even volunteer to take it on. Yet, for nearly 30 minutes she sat by his side and read to his fans because he couldn't.
Evil Dragon Lady, as he was now referring to Paula as, had tried to instruct her how to read, and gave her specified passages that were sure to be "crowd pleasers," but he stopped her. With as much of an authoritative tone as he could muster up, he informed Evil Dragon Lady that Kate was welcome to read whatever passage she pleased. Knowing she was a true fan, and someone who appreciates his words, he trusted that she would choose the right section to read from.
Exactly as he thought, she did him proud. She chose from one of his least popular, older novels, and he could feel more than see the smoke coming out of Evil Dragon Lady's ears and nose, but she chose words that meant something.
When he wrote A Rose for Everafter, he had been struggling through the hurt and brokenness of the ending to his and Kira's personal story. The words in the passage were meant to illustrate his heartbreak, his desperation. Everyone had always criticized those parts of the novel for being much more romantic and sappy than was Richard Castle's norm.
But now, getting to hear those words flow from her lips, the criticism meant nothing. They were true and they meant something unique to them, him and Beckett.
He would later brush it off as being exhausted and sick, but hearing her read definitely plunged him into an emotional whirlwind. The cadence of her voice, the soft influx of her tones, warmed the weak heart in his chest. He tried to school his features, and keep from staring at her in bewilderment, but he was so touched by the sincerity of her tone.
The room was silent as she closed the cover of the book. Finally, she looked up at the crowd, and noticed the familiar looks on their faces—it is exactly what she thought her expression to be after she read the same pages.
Castle cleared his throat and placed his hand on her knee. She looked over at him in response to his warm, heavy hand, and he shot her a small, thankful smile before turning to his fans. "Thank you," he said before bowing out. Quickly, with a desire to be without an audience, he stood up and pulled out her chair before ushering her into the back room.
Castle vaguely listened to the instructions being given to them as he aimlessly flipped through the pages of the book Kate had just been reading from. Paula's shrill voice was saying something about how she had wanted Kate to read from his most recent novel, to bump sales, and even though the audience loved what Kate read, it still was wrong. He paid no attention. His fingers trailed along the pages, opening the book to pages with corners bent with purpose. Every page he flipped to he knew what he had written.
Before he got to the next page she had marked, though, her hand shoved his fingers off the book like all of the times she has stopped him from messing with the radio, bringing his attention back to her. She was focused on his publicist's words, nodding her head and taking in her duties for the signing, but she was so attuned to him that she couldn't help but notice his actions.
Evil Dragon Lady left with a warning glare to hurry up and get his butt out there signing books, but he paid no attention to her. Instead, he turned his body towards his partner.
Placing his hand on her arm, he knitted his eyebrows and whispered, "Thank you, Kate," his low voice enhancing the truth and meaning of his sentiment.
She nodded and bit her lip, a tell-tale sign that told him her choice really had been with purpose. Somehow, knowing even the slightest of her feelings made him feel so much better, even if his body was still fighting to regain balance.