Kate flew through the automatic doors into the waiting room, buzzing with activity. She by-passed all the other injured emergencies, planting her hands firmly on the reception desk. “Richard Castle, where is he?”
The women sitting behind her palace of white looked up with a friendly, calm face, having done this dance too many times before. She eyed the woman in front of her, the one trying hard not to appear out of breath when she’d clearly run here. She was dressed in a stylish pantsuit with her hair flowing around her hair. She was beautiful despite the worry lines that marred her face. After a quick once over she glanced over at a document on her computer. “I’m sorry miss there’s no one here by that name.”
Kate ran a hand through her hair, scraping her fingers against her scalp as she slowly paced in front of the desk. “No, that’s wrong, he called me and told me he was here.” Then she stopped and rolled her eyes, coming right up in the receptionist’s face, speaking in lower tones – as if the others in the room weren’t watching her. “Can you see if a Richard Rogers is here?”
More than a little put off by the woman’s frantic attitude, she broke eye contact with her long enough to glance back at her screen. “Yes I have a Richard Rodgers admitted here.” Kate visibly relaxed, sinking against the desk as her knees gave way for just a moment. She muttered ‘thank god’ and began to head down the main hallway leading to the recovery rooms. “I’m sorry miss, you can’t go back there without authorization.”
Kate stalked back to the woman, a colder look in her eyes. Producing her badge from her pocket, she shoved it in the woman’s face. “Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD, I need to see that man now.”
That made the woman recoil. “I’m sorry detective, I didn’t realize the patient needed police protection, I’ll call security.”
Kate slapped her hand away from the phone. “No, he doesn’t need police protection.” Her eyes overflowing with ‘please get the hint’ “but I need to see him now, please.”
“Oh I see,” Of course she did. “Well I’m sorry detective; I can only permit family members to see the patient right now.”
Oh how she hated hearing her boyfriend referred to as ‘patient’. She gulped, her brows furrowing – Castle always thought she looked cute that way – bouncing on her heels to keep from shaking too much. “I-I am family.” Castle had said so himself.
“What is your relation to the patient?” Damn, that woman asked hard questions.
“I-I’m” crap, she couldn’t think properly, all she could think about was Castle laying there in a hospital bed. Damn that man for doing whatever it was he did to call her while she was at work. All he’d told her was that there had been an accident and he was about to be admitted into the hospital. She had reasoned with herself that if he was able to call her himself, it couldn’t be that bad. That calm had lasted until she’d pulled up to the hospital and the wave of worry washed over her. “I”
“She’s his wife.” Like an angel in giant hoop earrings and leopard print, Martha Rodgers appeared from around the corner, wringing her hands to dry the excess moisture from her hands. Too much hand sanitizer. “Oh Katherine, darling, I’m so glad you could make it here so quickly.” Too stunned to speak, Kate watched the old her woman come around to her side, slipping her fingers through the detective’s.
The receptionist eyed them skeptically. “His wife?”
“Yes of course,” Martha held up Kate’s left hand, revealing the diamond ring that seemed to fit just right. When had that gotten there? The moment of panic for Kate was extending into a day of panic. “Obviously she’s a bit concerned for her husband so if you would just let her back?” The receptionist waved the pair away, obviously not completely convinced but if the mother vouched for her, what did it matter?
Martha tucked Kate’s arm into hers, pulling her tight to her side as she led the detective to her boyfriend’s room. “I always keep a spare ring on hand just in case some of the men-folk get too clingy, you know? You can keep that one.” Kate just smiled and nodded. What?
The woman dropped Kate off at Rick’s door vowing to come back later to take her to dinner, leaving her to stand awkwardly in the doorway of the corner recovery room. It was big and a large window brought so much warmth into the room that the lights were useless but still burning electricity. In the middle of the room, sound asleep was a very pale looking Richard Castle – or Richard Rogers as it were – lying on his stomach with his face away from her. Wires and tubes signaled a steady heartbeat and what she assumed were pain killers being pressed through his body. He was alive. She would kill whoever did this to him.
“No need for violence, detective, I did this to myself.” She startled out of her thoughts thinking she’d see his smiling face but she still couldn’t see his face. Of course she’d said it out loud; she could never watch her mouth around him.
Sighing, she walked over to the free side of his bed and sat down, inspecting his shaking hands. Up close he looked a lot worse, his eyes were gray and tired and his limbs were cold to the touch. Then there was the line of bruises and cuts down his back marked with strips of bandage here and there. “Rick, what the hell did you do to yourself?”
He offered her a weak smile before he winced and hissed. “I fell.” She stared until he continued. “From a fence.” Again. “An electric fence.”
“Idiot” he hissed when she slapped his shoulder and she immediately reached a hand out to gently sooth the skin. “I’m sorry,” she pressed a kiss there “what the hell were you thinking?”
“It was research?” Of course it was.
She sighed “what are you having Nikki do now? Get herself killed?”
He winced but not in pain – although he was in a considerable amount and the fact that his sentences were coherent thus far was astounding. “It wasn’t for Nikki it was for Rook.” Oh and he was blushing now; the heat from his cheeks was radiating compared to the rest of his body. “I wanted to see if he could climb a fence and I didn’t read the signs properly.”
Kate ran a hand through his hair, doing her best to comfort him with still the threat to kick his ass. “Why would you do a thing like that?” He was suddenly so quiet, the deafening noise from the heart monitor startled her. “Rick?” He wouldn’t dare look at her. “Rick why did you do this?” Thank goodness it wasn’t her heart hooked up to the monitor or the nurse would have been called in.
“Rook isn’t as young as he used to be…and neither am I.” Her insides were collapsing, melting into a drum of ‘oh Rick’. “I just wanted to make sure I-he could still do it.”
The fingers in his hair, pressed harder into him, turning her neck so they were eye level. “Rick, you’re an idiot. My wonderful, foolish, crazy idiot.” She kissed his cheek. “You aren’t too old to come and work with me at the precinct; you aren’t too old for me. I don’t know where this is coming from but I don’t think my heart can take much more. We’re all getting older. The idea is for us to grow old together.”
He sighed, leaning into her hand, until he felt cool metal against his skin. “Kate?” He eyed the ring with elements of panic, fear and admiration. “Why is there a ring on your finger? Did I forget our wedding?”
She smiled softly. “No, Martha gave me a ring to get me passed the front desk. Receptionist wouldn’t let me passed because I wasn’t ‘family’.” He groaned for her as she tried to pull the ring free from her flesh.
“I already told you, you’re family.”
“Not in the eyes of the government.” She reminded, grunting at the stubborn flesh before giving up. The ring wasn’t coming off her finger. She tilted her head. “Your mother is just as crazy as you are.”
He peeked an eye open at her. “She’s your mother-in-law.”
She wanted to smirk but most of her was just so stunned by how casual this whole conversation was. Maybe it was the pain meds. “Not yet.” She patted his cheek. Her decision was made long ago. “Soon.” Yes, soon.