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Castle fic: Going Forward In Reverse

May 1st, 2012 (09:21 am)
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feeling: blank

Title: Going Forward in Reverse

Disclaimer: I do not own Castle.

Summary: When she’d last seen her mother, she’d already been killed. It had been the worst moment of her life. This, however, is coming in a close second.



-o-

The mantra comes back to her, without conscious thought:

It’s not your fault. There’s nothing you could have done. There’s nothing more you can do. Things happen. It’s not your fault.

This is the mantra she’d memorized after her mother’s death, the one she’d recited over and over in her head before she fell asleep and the one she muttered under her breath when a crime scene made her remember.

It’s not your fault.

It had taken years to believe it, and even then, sometimes she thought it was a tenuous thing. Her counselor had told her that repetition and routine helped create a new reality but sometimes it still seemed like a farce to her. Because the what-if’s.

So many what-ifs.

It’s supposed to be empowering, letting go of blame and recrimination. It feels like admitting failure. It feels like impotence.

It feels like now.

When she’d last seen her mother, she’d already been killed. It had been the worst moment of her life.

This, however, is coming in a close second.

Because Castle’s on the hospital bed, milky skin and fever-flushed cheeks. He’s breathing, but not by much, and the tube in his mouth delivers the air in even, unmitigated bursts.

There’s nothing you could have done.

She’d told Castle to leave it alone. She’d told him not to go looking into things without someone there to back him up. She’d told him that this guy was dangerous. He’d kidnapped three people, stabbed them and left them chained while they died slowly from otherwise treatable injuries. None of the victims had to die.

All of them had anyway.

Castle had smiled, said how cute it was that she cared.

Then he’d disappeared.

There’s nothing more you can do.

All the victims had died from a combination of blood loss and infection, so Beckett had set her deadlines accordingly. The estimate had been five days. Maybe a week.

Beckett had found him in three.

He’d been locked in a basement, handcuffed to a water pipe. The slice in his side was superficial but red hot to the touch. When she reached down to check his pulse, he’d looked up, eyes bright and hair soaked with sweat.

“You made it,” he said, harsh and labored. Every breath looked like an effort, but he still smiled. “I knew you’d make it.”

Then he’d passed out and Beckett had yelled for an ambulance.

Things happen.

The doctors had been grim. Stitching the wound closed was easy, managing the infection wasn’t. It had progressed to sepsis and Castle was getting worse.

A week later, Castle’s wasting away. His mother and daughter hardly leave his side, eyes red with the tears they can’t cry anymore. They rally around him, telling him they love him, they miss him, they want him back.

Beckett watches, almost enviously as they touch him, hold his hand, whisper in his ear.

The things she wants to do but doesn’t know how.

It’s not your fault.

He’s not going to die because Beckett doesn’t know how to think about life without him. He’s not going to die because Beckett’s already lost too much, and she can’t lose him.

She won’t.

The guilt is a powerful thing, paralyzing and weighty. She lingers at his side, fingers on the rails of his bed. She watches as he fights, as he holds on.

She says, “I’m sorry.”

The tears threaten, but she doesn’t give in. She takes a shaky breath and smiles. “I can’t do anything, but you can,” she says. “You will.”

It’s a tenuous promise, but the uncertain mantra repeats in her head until she believes it, holds onto it like the only thing she has left.

Comments

Posted by: Moogs (moogsthewriter)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
CHAOS - Guitar Billy

So where's the part where he wakes up?

:D

Srsly, though, where?

But srsly srsly, I LOVE THIS. Not that this is shocking. You know how much I love it when you write me angst and whump and ALL THE FEELINGS. Because you're awesome at it.

Thank you for the lovely gifts. Seriously, you are way too good to me.

(Also, I can't help but stare at your lovely header, because Billy!)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 3rd, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
danny makes a point

LOL, I knew you would want more to this one (and I was vaguely aware that by ending it there, I was copping out a bit). But I was hoping that his recovery would be implied? By her undying faith and unspoken love?

Maybe I can write you a sequel from his POV to tie it together...

Maybe!

And you deserve way more. I still feel bad for not doing something plotty for you but sometimes I OD on plot and need to write this stuff instead.

(Billy! Er, actually, Stephen! But it's the same pretty!)

And I hope your birthday was everything you could hope for. Though, I suppose it will be after tonight :)

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