Speaking of suffering (see what I did there with that segue) let me know what you think of this little ditty. I look forward to hearing your comments.
“We are not talking about this anymore, Castle.” She swatted his hand away from her stomach again as they made their way down the street.
“I’m sorry, Kate, you just look so beautiful.” The tongue in cheek attitude he’d had in his voice all day was getting on her nerves. Really getting on her nerves. Like, punching him in the groin so he could never have children again, nerves. It didn’t help that he was constantly reaching out to caress her stomach every time they were stopped on the street. She knew he was just trying to be comforting and it was cute at first but after twenty blocks, she was pretty much done with him.
“Rick I’m serious, that’s enough. Stop touching the baby.”
“Baby?” Rick had never been so pale in his life as he had when he heard that shaky voice.
“Hello Mister Beckett.” He choked out while Kate just stared wide eyed at her father.
“Hey Daddy.” She offered a small, hesitant wave but he didn’t return it. He was zeroed in on her stomach. She was barely showing but it made her all the more uncomfortable.
“Did you say ‘baby’?” He looked up at her with a mixture of disbelief, pride and terror – much Kate had been when she’d heard the news. “As in…”
“Yeah dad.” Her hand fell to her stomach as she glanced over his shoulder to see their suspect approaching them. “Listen I gotta”
“So I didn’t get invited to the wedding?” Crap, he sounded hurt. This was not supposed to happen at all. And now he was being all traditional? Of course Kate always planned on getting married before having a child – she’d picked up a few things from her father – but did he need to bring that up on the street? When their suspect was right there?
“It was very last minute.” She blushed – of course she blushed.
“I can see that.” His accusations were attracting attention and their suspect was coming at them faster. Double crap.
“Look dad I have to get back to work, can we talk about this”
“You’re still working?” Oh that was definitely not the right thing to say. “Katherine Beckett I know you love your job but you cannot be a cop and an expectant mother.” And…their suspect heard them – of course he heard them – because he suddenly stopped in the middle of the street, watching them carefully. She needed a distraction.
The tears came quite easily. “Daddy, I’m sorry.” She whimpered, squeezing Rick’s arm so he’d get the message. “I really have to go. I’m so sorry daddy.” She was running down the street and into their suspect’s arms before Rick could breathe.
It took him a moment to register his present company and when he did, he gulped; there was nothing else to do but offer a shaky smile. “Mister Beckett.” He nodded. “I should also”
“Hold on, Rick.” The way he emphasized the ‘k’ made him jump. He was never terrified of his father-in-laws until he met Jim Beckett. “We’re going to have a little chat.” Rick whimpered as the man pulled him down the street and into his car. This was going to be a long talk.
Kate watched the two men in her life step into the car and shot a worried glance at her poor Rick before turning back to the man in front of her. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”
“Who was that man?” He stroked her arms comfortingly; Kate shivered. “I thought you said you had no family.”
“I-I don’t.” She whimpered. “He’s my ex-boyfriend’s father. He’s convinced that the baby is his son’s.” Her head shot up, eyes wide and bloodshot. She was really selling this. “It’s not. I know it’s not.”
“Alright it’s okay.” He made gentle shushing noises, leading her off the street into the shelter of a random doorstep. “He said you were…a police officer?”
Oh, the panic in his eyes was unmistakable but his voice never wavered. Kate weighed her options and took the best course of action available. “Josh would not leave me alone after we broke up so I told him I was an undercover cop and that I would arrest him if he came near me again.” She clung to the man. “I know it was wrong to lie but I was just so scared. I mean, what was I supposed to do?”
“It’s alright,” he smiled “women lie all the time. It’s a natural flaw.” He kissed her forehead and Beckett almost butted his head. “Now let’s get you inside. Lessons are about to begin.” He took her around the shoulder and led her into a building two doors down where the sign read ‘Redemption and Resurrection Clinic’; Kate nearly cried real tears.
That night Beckett sat over the toilet like she had every night since the day she started going to that clinic. And like every night, Rick sat beside her with a glass of water, rubbing her back silently. No words were needed, just the need to expel her emotions from the day. After she was finished, she groped for the glass, took slow, shaking sips and even deeper breaths. Finally, she looked up into Rick’s eyes.
“I’m sorry for leaving you today.”
“I’m sorry for leaving you today.” They chorused. They smiled in relief.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” Again they smiled.
“I love you.”
“I love you.” Their foreheads feel against each other and she winced at the bruise on her temple. He pulled back and avoided her eyes. His hand stroked her cheek, caressing her skin, not breathing until her hiss of pain startled him. Oh god.
His voice was no more than a whisper, his heart pulling the volume from his throat. “I am so sorry I wasn’t there for you today.”
He should have expected it but he barely caught himself against the bathtub when she shoved him back in a sudden burst of fury. “Don’t you dare touch me. I don’t need you. Or any man.” Her eyes flashed black; a demon possessing her bruises.
“No,” he approached the tigress with sweet caution. No matter what, she would never hurt him. “But I need you.” He saw her jaw clench and her shoulders sink but her eyes still glowed with blurred fury. “I need you every day for the rest of my life. I need you so much it hurts to breathe. And right now I need you to keep me from killing that son of a bitch the next time I see him. Because I will never let any man – any one – hurt you again.” He was close enough to reach his open palm to her; an invitation to acceptance rather than forced comfort. She didn’t smile but the blackness left her eyes and she brushed her fingers over his skin. Exploring the skin she’d felt and kissed and pressed to her body a thousand times and somehow discovered them in this moment. Her fingers wrapped around his palm and she squeezed so tight that he lost all feeling in his fingers. His eyes never left hers.
Her eyes fell to their joined hands and she felt his pulse beneath her fingers. Keeping her grounded. “You won’t have to worry about that anymore.” Her voice was barely her own. “I spoke with Captain Gates this evening. We have enough now to lay charges on him. As soon as the warrant comes in in the morning, we can arrest him.” She shook her head, trying to reassure herself. “He won’t ever hurt anyone again. He won’t ever kill…” She swallowed the vomit but the images still flashed through her mind. “Those children.” She leaned over the edge of the toilet and Rick came with her, holding her hair back and caressing her back as she expelled the last of her demons. “I’m sorry.” She spit into the bowl, not even bothering to flush just yet. “I know this isn’t how you wanted to spend our anniversary.”
“Our anniversary?” It was months away.
“The day we first met.” She stared down at her now flat stomach. “I know you made secret dinner plans for us tonight.”
He gently tilted her chin towards him. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather been than with you.” He promised. “Besides, we’re dealing with bad guys; it’s what we do.”
“Dealing with bad guys.” She scoffed. “All thanks to us.”
“All thanks to you,” he offered her a sweet smile and she took it shyly “my strong, beautiful goddess.” She leaned over the bowl just in time.
At six a.m. that Thursday morning Kate Beckett banged on the door of Redemption and Resurrection, her gate poised and tall. The man opened the door with a bright and shining face until he caught sight of the woman at the door. “Kate?”
“Mister Benson can you please step outside?”
He glanced behind to the two police officers accompanying her. “Kate what is this?”
“My name is Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD. Please step outside, sir.” Each syllable was over-annunciated as though they were difficult to form. Really, she was containing her anger, fighting the urge to spit at the man before her. He stepped through the doorway and the moment he touched pavement she had handcuffed his right wrist. She turned him, pressing his torso into the doorframe, hooking the other cuff around. She held him there. “Eric Benson you are under arrest for child abuse, sexual assault, assaulting a police officer and the murders of Amelia Gardner and Brandon Gardner. You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.” Her own words faded into the background as she summoned the courage in her head to cry finally.
When she opened the door to the loft that night she immediately ran into her father’s waiting arms. Her tears were spent but her chest heaved with unshed emotion. Regret, anger, longing. “Dad I’m so sorry I couldn’t tell you what was going on. Rick and I were supposed to be undercover and”
“It’s alright Katie, Rick explained everything to me yesterday. He called me this morning to tell me that you arrested the man and that I should come over for dinner. He just stepped out to buy a few ingredients.” His gaze softened. “He’s a good man, Katie. Don’t let this come between you.”
“I know you,” he gave her that knowing smile; the one he always gave right before a meaningful lecture/advice. “You are so much like your mother – more than you often realize.” He led her to the dining room where he pulled out two chairs and they sat together. “About a year after we were married she worked a case. A hard one. Came home crying almost every night though no one else would know it. A child sex offender was on the stand; confessing all his sins. After the case ended, she grew closed off. She finally confessed to me that she never wanted to have kids because of all the cruelty in the world.” Kate sucked in the still air around them. “And I told her what I’m telling you now. For all the evil in the world there is always good. For every dark corner that we step into there must be light. There is strength and light and goodness in you and you should – you must – bring that light into the world. Teach our children to fight the darkness.” Jim Beckett took his daughter’s hand and held it tightly. “Johanna did a wonderful job of doing that with you, Katie, and you owe it to the world to pass that on. One day. I want you properly married first.” He caressed her empty left hand.
“Oh daddy” the lock clicked and the door opened and Rick’s lightness brightened the room, circulating the air with warmth from the outside. “Rick.” She whispered as her boyfriend’s head shot up.
“Kate you’re home.” She stood, stepping slowly towards him, studying his soft features and loving eyes. “Kate what’s wrong?” His mind was racing with a million worst case scenarios but hers was focused on a single best case. “Kate what happened?” She was nose to nose with him – well, eye to lips with her shoeless height difference. Still battered and bruised, she reached up a hand to caress his cheek while he dropped the groceries, panic shaking his bones. “Kate?”
“I love you.” She pressed her lips to his, ignoring the sting. “I love you Rick Castle.” She announced, only to him. She knew her father would turn away and step into another room. “I love you and one day I’m going to marry you and then we’re going to have a child and between the two of us that child will never know sadness and death except in the context of goodness and hope that our child can bring to world. How does that sound?” His response was to kiss her. So sweet and so fully that neither of them heard Jim Beckett pause to smile at his daughter and future son-in-law as he left them in peace.