Her shirt dried as the blood seeped in. Her hands trembled; the streaks of red blood a vibrant contrast against her light skin. She stood in shock, staring at herself in the full-length mirror in their bathroom. No. Her bathroom now.
"Come on" Lanie whispered, collecting her friend into her arms. "Let's get you cleaned up."
She was still in shock. Had no true control of her body functions. She had no clue what to do. She watched as her friend stripped the bloodstained clothes from her body. A shiver ran up her spine as she stood in her underwear, watching as Lanie wrapped her clothes up into a plastic bag. She was pulled into the shower and sat down onto a stool. Seconds later, her eyes fell shut while the warm water cascaded down her back. Lanie's hands worked shampoo into her hair, cleaning the blood off of her. She opened her eyes and watched the blood disappear into the drain.
It was then that Kate Beckett cried about her situation for the first time.
The next three days passed in a blur, and before she knew it, her uniform was laid out for her on the bed. Her shoes had already been polished, her uniform pressed. A knock rapped on the door before it opened slightly.
Lanie stepped in, dressed in full black. "Get dressed, Kate. We have got to go."
She nodded and dressed in her uniform, hands trembling as she buttoned up her blues. As she tied her shoes, the door opened again. Ryan and Esposito stood tall, dressed as she was; solemn looks on their faces.
"Come on Beckett. Time to go."
The car ride felt like hours. She stared out the passenger window, biting her trembling bottom lip to keep from crying. Her breath hitched as she heard the familiar sound of crying coming from the seat behind her. The tension in the car was overwhelming. As they pulled up to the cemetery, Captain Gates turned to look at her.
"Are you ready kid?" she asked, the motherly side of her coming out.
Kate nodded and turned out, the light blinding her as she stepped out of the car.
The funeral began as every typical police funeral did. Kate, along with Esposito, Ryan, and Captain Gates carried in the casket. Kate watched the people as she passed them, trying to keep her emotions under control.
The collection of people that had come to see him go was as diverse at it could get. The mayor, Patterson, her father, Natalie Rhodes, Gina, Kyra, Meredith, Paula, the workers at Black Pawn, and their usual servers at Remy's all attended. It amazed her how many people were there, thought she knew it was everyone that he had loved.
When the walk in stopped and the casket was sat down, Kate took a seat next to his family. Alexis dropped her head onto his shoulder and drew a hand up, linking their fingers.
"Kate" she choked out.
"I know sweetie, I know."
Martha spoke first. Her speech, though sad, had everyone laughing through his or her tears. His will has requested that they be happy and tell stories, which she and his close family had trouble doing. When Martha was done, the mayor, Gates, and then Alexis spoke. The tears were now flowing freely, though Kate kept herself from crying. She felt her heart squeeze when the pastor said her name. She was next up to speak.
"I had this entire speech planned out, but I kind of destroyed my paper" she started. A small laugh let out as she held up what were the remains of her speech.
"I had the opportunity of meeting Richard Castle back when I was 19 years old. As most of you know, back then, his ego was…. Well, it was huge. His book signing was crowded, and yet he still took the time to talk to me like I wasn't a crazy fan. I met him again, for the first time in his mind, back in 2009. A copycat killer brought us to work together. And, well… dammit I hated that nine year old on a sugar rush. But as time went on, and the Nikki Heat books help being published, we grew closer. I am proud to say that he taught me more about my life, and how to live. He was a wonderful father to Alexis, son to Martha, and husband to me. Castle sacrificed his life for his family, and will forever be one of the greatest men that I have ever had the privilege of knowing and loving. Thank for coming."
She stepped down off the podium and into the open and awaiting arms of her father. She collapsed into her chair and pressed her palms to her eyes, sucking in a deep breath to keep form crying. After a few more speeches, he was lowered into the round. Kate stood and watched, holding her sobbing stepdaughter in her arms. Once it was over, the people cleared out. Martha took Alexis to go straight to the reception. As people left, Kate sat, knees curled up to her chest, staring at the grave.
"We'll meet you at the car sweetie" Lanie whispered before leaving her alone.
"I miss you" she whispered as the tears started flowing down her face. She buried her head into her knees and cried, her body trembling.
"God dammit, Castle. Why did you go and do this!"
The words came out broken between her sobs; the pent up anger and frustration she had been holding all week finally coming out. Her sobs echoed out, catching the attention of her friends in the car.
Lanie turned first, looking out the car window at Kate. "Javi, look at her."
Espo looked out and shook his head, moving to take his seat belt off and go get her.
"Don't, Javier. She needs to be alone for a minute."
"She's losing it Lanie. Look at her. She doesn't need to be out there alone. It's about to rain anyhow."
"Just… give her a minute. She hates it when we see her cry."
Gates turned and looked at them both before shaking her head. "Go get her Esposito. She's going to get herself hurt out there."
"Sir-" Lanie cut in.
"No, Lanie. She needs a family right now; no to be alone."
Esposito got out of the car and sprinted over to Kate, the rain drizzling down onto them. "Kate, come on, we need to get you into the car."
She shook her head, pressed her face further into her knees, and tried to stop crying. "G- go back to the car Javi. I'm fine."
"No, Beckett. You need to come with me."
"Leave me alone. I told you, Javi. I'm fine."
Espo sighed and walked over to her, kneeling down next to her. "Captain sent me over to get you. Come on. You don't have to go through this alone."
She looked up at him and sighed. Tears were still flowing freely, her make-up was smudged, and he could tell she was trying to stop.
"I miss him so much" she whispered, clutching her knees to her chest.
"I know you do. We al do. But you need to let us help you. You need to her Burke help you too."
"No, Kate. You need to go. Anyone in your position would go. Don't fight it, okay?"
She nodded and wiped her tears. "O-okay" she sighed, sucking in a deep breath.
"Ready to go?"
"Yeah" she nodded.
Espo smiled, wrapping an arm around her waist, hoisting her up to her feet.
"We have the reception, then you can go home. But, Lanie will be with you, your dad is staying with Martha, and Alexis' boyfriend is staying at her place, just for the first few days."
Kate nodded, not quite hearing everything he was saying. She just wanted to pain to go away. She didn't want to sit in a room and listen to people talk about how sorry they were for them. It never truly mattered how sorry someone was, they couldn't bring him back.
"I watched him bleed."
The statement felt like she had just stabbed herself in the stomach.
"We got a call. Body drop down on 32nd. Castle and I rode down, just us. Ryan and Espo were leaving soon behind us. The… um… the scene was horrendous. Blood everywhere, but there was no CSU. No medical examiner. Just Castle, me, and a hell of a lot of blood. He… he came out of nowhere. I felt something was off but… damn, that man just ran out. His face was practically nothing; hard as a stone. He had a gun pointed at my head before I even knew what was happening. I swung up to fight the guy with the gun but… you know Castle. Had to protect me. He had stolen my extra piece and had it out. Dropped two rounds into the mans leg. You know, make his immobile but don't kill him. Castle didn't have the heart to kill anyone. Anyhow, the guy was falling cause he got hurt and dropped two rounds right into Castle's chest. I-"
Her voice broke as the tears began to flow.
"He- he fell so fast. So damn fast, and yet time was moving so slow. I screamed and dove over; helped him. Told him how much I loved him, kissed him… He looked so upset. He told me how much he loved me, and told me to tell Alexis and his Mother how much he loved them. Said tell Alexis how proud he was of her. I- I'm pregnant. He knew, and he put a hand on my stomach and told me how much he loved our baby. I kissed him again, told him to hand on, that backup was coming. But we both knew there was no use. I just help him, told him how amazing he was. How much of a better person he made me. Kept reassuring him that we would make it. It hurt to lie to him, but I had to. Had to try and make him believe. I just miss him so much."
She pulled back on a sob, clutching the pillow on the couch.
"I'm having a baby boy… Just had my 5-month check-up. A son. Castle wanted a son so much. Wanted to teach him how to play baseball, how to treat a woman right, how to be a good man. All of those things… Well, I would have to teach him how to throw, but… You get my point. We were supposed to go through this together. My son is going to grow up without a father…"
Years passed. Matthew Richard Alexander Castle was born. Alexis married and had a baby girl of her own. Lanie and Esposito realized their love, and were soon expecting their first child after the wedding. Ryan and Jenny were expecting their second child.
As their lives grew on, Kate Beckett found her way out of the rabbit hole, primarily for her son and daughter. The days went on, and she could still feel the presence of Richard Castle following her to the precinct; the smell of coffee stayed with her throughout her days.
She had never fallen out of love. In fact, it grew stronger every day. Her son knew the story of how brave his father was to protect them, and she knew that he would always be with him, and would always love them like she loved him