somewhere to go
She said she loved me, but she had somewhere to go,
She couldn't scream while I held her close,
I swore I'd never let her go.
- Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, The Killers
Warning: Themes that some readers will find distressing. Disclaimer: I tried eBay. Couldn't buy the rights on there. Note to all readers: This does get better. At some point. Probably.
Big hug to Aisling for making the cover art even though all I ever do is hurt her with my fic in return.
The pain in her stomach had started up the day before.
Even now, sitting by her bedside in the hospital, studying the pale and breathtakingly frail lines of her, he can't help remembering. He needs to reassure himself that she's okay. That she's still here. That she's not gone yet. And though she's here and she's alive and she's still healthy, it doesn't mean he can't remember; it doesn't mean he'll ever forget.
He should've noticed. He was a fool not to.
She'd gone to bed last night claiming stomach cramps, telling him it was 'that time of the month' as a way to fend him off when he'd attempted to soothe her with his hands and tongue and teeth. All day she'd been off, really. He'd noticed her wincing throughout the day, one hand cupping her stomach when she thought he wasn't looking.
Even just thinking of it now makes him ache deep down to his bones. He should've done more. Why hadn't he paid attention to her?
She'd woken him up at 3am with trembling hands and heavy sobs, telling him she was so very, very afraid. His sleepy hands had caught her wrists as she'd looked him in the eyes and said "I'm bleeding too much, Castle. There's so much, oh God, oh God-"
Her eyes had rolled back into her head and with terrified hands he'd caught her, cradling her fragile body in his arms as he carried her through his study and towards the living room, screaming for his mother because he had no idea what else to do. Leaving their blood-soaked bed sheets behind. He hadn't noticed them until he'd ran back into his bedroom for his cell.
His mother had cradled Kate's skull in her palm, stroking fingers across her arms, murmuring "Oh, Darling" over and over again. He thinks he remembers yelling at her, begging her to do something, anything. Because she was his mother and she was supposed to look after him and in that moment he was nothing but a terrified little boy who needed his mother to be there for him, to be there for Kate, to tell him that everything was going to be okay even if it was just another lie. But Martha had ignored his pleas, simply hushing Kate as her eyes rolled and she appeared to come around for just one moment. Useless.
(So was he. He still is.)
In his own hand, he feels Kate's fingers twitch, watches as her eyelids flutter and finally, take in the sight of the hospital room she's in.
He wishes he were a child again, making his wishes on the seeds of dandelions floating away in the wind. That innocence. That ease. He envies the young for it.
"Castle?" Kate croaks, making him crush her fingers in his, desperate.
"You're gonna be okay, Kate."
She swallows thickly, head lolling weakly in his direction so she can turn her eyes on him. "What happened? Why- Why am I in hospital?"
The words clog the back of his throat with tears, leaving him vulnerable.
Kate lifts her head slightly, noting his tears, trepidation consuming her. "Castle, what's wrong with me?"
"Nothing's wrong with you." He almost trips over his words in an attempt to soothe her.
"Castle." She grits out, something like her strong heart filling her eyes. "Why am I in a hospital?"
He can't look at her. He looks anywhere but her eyes. Down to their entwined hands, their last connection to one another amidst the torrential tsunami of pain.
"You had a miscarriage, Kate." He whispers softly.
Her fingers tighten in his grip immediately, a startled laugh that sounds something like a caged animal tumbling from the prison of her chest. Reflexively, he looks up at her, heart pounding angrily in his ears as he tries to find a reason as to why she's finding any form of humour in this situation.
"Castle, I wasn't- I wasn't ever pregnant." Kate tells him, as if it's a ludicrous suggestion.
"Kate." He murmurs, stroking her knuckles.
"But I- I would've noticed." She insists, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "God, Castle, if I were pregnant with our child I would've known."
"You were four weeks along, Kate." He tells her, already grieving. "You wouldn't have been able to tell for a few more weeks."
"But I-" Kate chokes on her words, grief leaking from her eyes in the form of tears as she begins to tremble beneath his touch. "Castle. I…"
"I know, Kate. I know."
"I was pregnant." She says it, dumbfounded, and the use of past tense makes him shiver.
He watches as her crying eyes turn away from his and she looks down at her stomach, hands slipping from his grip as she rests them low on her abdomen. Where a new life once was. Their child. Theirs. They'd not discussed children, nor marriage, nor her even moving in with him to the loft and officially becoming part of his family; but he'll never lie and say that he didn't picture it sometimes, Kate with a swollen stomach, glowing. He knows she's imagined it too. He's seen the deep flush of her cheeks late at night when he catches her daydreaming. He knows her. He always has.
The last words of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the first practical telephone, were "No" when his wife pleaded "Don't leave me."
Now, Castle looks towards Kate, and in her eyes he can see the precise moment she loses herself.
So he reaches out and tucks her into his arms, even though she is rigid with shock, even though her tears wet his shirt, even though she shies away from his touch.
"I'm here," he tells her, "I'm here. I love you."