I'm not sorry for what you're about to read.
The greatest gift and honor...
She hesitated a moment before knocking on the door to the apartment, her fist hovering over the wood for just a moment before it fell onto the door with a soft thud. It was relatively late and she wasn't sure if he had already gone to bed for the night. It wouldn't surprise her. She should have just waited until morning when she knew he'd be awake. God knows she'd been awake for far too long as it was.
The day seemed never-ending.
Gates, surprisingly, had been the one to get her out of there. In fact, it seemed like the entire precinct was in on the attempt to get her out of the spotlight and the press conferences and back into the shadows when all the reporters wanted was her side of the story. She was sure her name was plastered on the news reports that were showing, pictures taken by civilians on the street of her wrapped up in Castle's arms after the takedown happened, her knees giving out underneath her before an officer pulled his cruiser between them and the crowd with a nod of acknowledgement, already on the internet she was sure of it.
She hoped he hadn't seen it yet.
When he opened the door, looking at her with a look she couldn't quite decipher, she knew he had.
"I thought I'd be seeing you tonight," Jim Beckett murmured, opening up the door to her, "I made us hot chocolate."
There were two mugs already full on the coffee table in front of his old sofa, and he lead her over towards it.
She should have known.
She picked up her mug as she sat down on one end of the sofa, her father sitting on the opposite end. She took a sip of her hot chocolate, looking up at the muted TV with Bracken's name plastered across the bottom, the video of him being led away in handcuffs on repeat since the story first broke a few hours ago.
It would be in the national headlines by morning.
If it wasn't already.
"I got him, dad," she whispered, the words she had been longing to say for so many years tripping over her tongue, "it's over."
Jim sighed, shaking his head, "Katie, it's been over for a long time now."
She was shaking her head right along with him.
"No, it wasn't," she said, feeling her anger rise within her, "He was still out there –"
"He killed her, dad," she said, angry that her voice was shaking, "How could you not wa-"
It was all he had to say.
Kate closed her eyes, her shoulders shaking because she didn't understand.
How could you not want these answers?
How could he not need them like she did?
He pursed his lips for a moment, looking at her with a contemplative look, before he leaned forward, his hands coming together over his knees.
"Right after your mother died," he said, wringing his hands together, "I thought nothing could be worse - Nothing could be worse than watching them lower your wife into the ground." He paused for a moment, shaking his head, "But I was wrong. I was so wrong."
He finally looked up at her, his eyes shining just as she's sure hers were.
"Because then I watched you get shot in front of me."
Her breath hitched in her throat.
"It was every single nightmare I'd had since the day you told me you were getting your badge coming true," he said quietly, "I sat in that waiting room and watched a room full of cops, doctors, and people that love you terrified out of their minds because they thought you were going to die on that table and they would know better than I did. And you nearly did die…" his eyes locked on hers as he trailed off, his gaze burning with the agony he felt on that day.
"I was wrong," he said again, "that losing your mother was the worst thing that could ever happen to me," he reached out, grabbed one of her hands from where she had pressed them between her knees, and squeezed it gently.
"Losing you – you who brought so much happiness into our lives from the moment we knew you were there, would be much much worse."
He ran his thumb over the back of her hand.
"Nothing, nothing in the world is worth losing you. Not answers, not revenge, nothing. Your mother wouldn't have wanted you to get killed over this."
Kate swallowed thickly, looking at their joined hands before she looked back at him, taking a deep breath.
He'd laid her mother to rest a long time ago.
"So all this time you just thought I was being stupid?"
"No, never" he answered immediately, "Reckless, perhaps, but never stupid. Just because I didn't need to know the answers doesn't mean you didn't. You got that from your mother," he said fondly, "She always needed to know the truth no matter what it took."
He let go of her hand, leaned back against the couch, and looked at the TV, watching Bracken walk silently across the screen in handcuffs once again.
"That man is going to rot in prison for the lives he's destroyed," he said, "and that's all because of you, Katie. You should be proud of yourself. You did it."
They sat in silence for a while, their hot chocolate cooling quickly in front of them. She looked at her watch before she sighed, standing up.
"I should get going," she said softly, "It's getting late."
"You going home?"
"Yeah," she said, standing up straight, "I'm not really up for dealing with people tonight."
She paused at the look in Jim's eye.
"Castle's there," she said softly, "He said he wanted me to relax tonight so he's making me dinner."
She wouldn't mention he also had plans to draw her a bath.
Jim let his lips quirk up at the corners.
"I thought you said you didn't feel like dealing with people?"
Kate pursed her lips, feeling her cheeks pink slightly.
"Castle's not people," she mumbled, "He's just… oh, shut up."
Jim laughed lightly, his eyes shining with delight.
"I'm so proud of you, Katie."
She gave him a confused smile.
He didn't answer, instead just put a hand on her back and began to lead her towards the doorway, her
"Don't ever ask me 'for what?' again…" he said seriously as he opened the door for her, turning towards her and hugging her the way he used to do when she was a little girl, rocking her slightly from side to side before he kissed her forehead softly.
"The answer," he whispered, pulling away from her forehead to look her directly in the eye, his eyes sparkling at her once again, "is always 'for being you'. I could never have hoped for anything more."
is having you for a daughter.
This could potentially turn into a series of Mulan related oneshots and I am 2000% not sorry.