Born out of an insane need to know what is going to happen in the finale, this fic is based on the promo for next week. First time in a long time I've written first person, so I'd love your perspective on that!
Thank you to brookemopolitan for the inspiration (and the manic Twitter chat :)) and to eitoph for putting up with me and my insanity and producing some fine beta work :)
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
I'm not giving up,
I'm just giving in.
-Florence + the Machine
When I was younger, I remember asking my mom countless questions. I asked her about when she was in school and what she did if someone was picking on her. I asked her how she knew if a boy liked her and about how she and my dad met. I asked her about cooking and for advice in college essays. But I never asked my mother how to move on from her murder.
How does a daughter walk away from her mother without closure? How does a daughter say goodbye?
My chest hurts with every beat of my aching heart as I turn in my badge and gun. Esposito tries to catch me as I stagger out of Gates' office, but God, I just need to get out. Everything feels like it's closing in on me and I need to breathe. My scar throbs and there is a rushing in my ears. The entire day has been one big wake up call. I can't live like this anymore; I can't live inside my mother's case. Castle warned me that they would try to kill me. He tried to tell me and I just yelled at him; screamed that he needed to leave. What was I thinking? That I'm untouchable?
I'm not. I have the cuts and the bruises and the scars to prove it. I am not invincible.
My heart aches walking away from the precinct, yes. But the weight on my shoulders lifts just a little.
I walk through blocks and blocks of New York streets before it strikes me that getting into a cab might be more logical. I don't remember much of the drive, buildings and trees rushing by in a blur, but know when it's time to pay and to get out. I tip the driver generously; he doesn't know how important he is today, but getting me to this place right now is more than I could have hoped for 13 years ago. Getting me to my mother's grave with the knowledge of how to say goodbye is something monumental.
I walk along the concrete path with no internal guise as to what I'm doing here. I've come to see my mom. I've come to explain to her why it is that I need to walk away.
I used to visit her a lot. I used to bring flowers and spend an hour working up the courage to just walk those few steps to see her. I can tell you every single name on every single headstone leading up to where my mother is buried. I memorised them when I was younger and so much more afraid. I was scared that she was watching from somewhere, disappointed that I hadn't caught her killer. The day after I shot Dick Coonan, I was afraid that she would be disappointed that I hadn't been able to control myself. The day after Montgomery died, I was scared she would be disappointed in me for letting more and more people die over something I should have been able to put to rest.
I haven't seen her since then.
But today, I walk to her with my head high. I don't even glance at those other headstones.
"I know it's been a while." Barely a sentence out and I feel the tears prick at my eyes, "I'm not saying goodbye, you know. I've just got to step away for a while." I smile, "I remember when I was young, you used to tell me the greatest stories about your life. You used to keep me up at night making me smile and hope for that kind of future for myself." I breathe for a moment, keeping my eyes on my mother's name. I want her to know the truth of my words, "I think I have a chance at it."
I hear a rumble of thunder in the distance and know that I should get going before the rain hits, but I want my mother to understand, "And I know that you always wanted the best for me. So I know you're not disappointed." I don't let the tears fall, because I know I'll be back soon to tell her all about my wonder filled life, "I love you, mom."
And as the rest of the weight lifts from my shoulders, the rain crashes at my feet. I smile and I let my mother give me that one more piece of advice.
Get under cover. Go see him, Kate.
I'm drenched by the time I'm tapping on his front door and again, I'm not even sure how I got here. My mind has decided to switch off to the unnecessary task of travel and focus on the very necessary task of getting to Castle.
His eyes are sad for a moment as the door opens and I remember how we left things the day before. So much has happened; has it really been less than 24 hours? I don't give him a chance to speak; I don't give myself a chance either. I just know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I reach forward, hands holding his face and bring his lips to mine.
There's not a second of hesitation, not a moment. He is all in from the first touch and as my arms wrap around his neck and his hands travel from my hips to my back, I know that there will be no regrets.
"I love you too," I murmur, "Oh God, I love you too." And I do, I couldn't stop myself even if I tried. This man has been with me always. He's seen me through highs and lows and I just want him to know he means the world to me.
He spins me, kicking the door shut and steps into me, urging me backwards. I'm happy to oblige as his expert lips run across my jaw, down my neck. I hear him muttering against my skin and manage to make out the words, "Never let you go," through the haze of bliss I am feeling.
And I know he won't.
There'll be so much to talk about tomorrow. There'll be so much to do and to face. I quit my job because I needed time to process everything. I quit the thing that has been driving me for over a decade. I walked away.
But right now, the important thing is that I walked to Castle.
With a crumbled wall sitting all around my feet, I'm finally ready to be ready for him.