(n.) a nostalgic longing to be near again to something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and then lost; "the love that remains".

January was the hardest month of the year for Kate. Even though it was the first of the year, it reminded her of endings rather than beginnings. The end of joy, of balance, of hope. She held on to the few good things that were still a part of her life with a great deal of difficulty for the good of her family – what was left of it, that is. However, deep down, she knew these negative thoughts had their peak today and that, somehow, made her feel better. Tomorrow would be better. Today, though, was the time when she would allow an ultimate feeling of unhappiness to take over her heart. 'Only today'.

So she kneeled. The rain that had fallen hours before made her kneecaps sink slightly on the grass and for a lousy second her troubled brain blamed the weight of her agony for pulling her down. Kate stared at the tombstone as she had done so many times before. The engraved name – half of it was still hers – that now gave her so much grief, had once bestowed her immense happiness and she exhaled slowly, not believing, still not believing, that such tragedy had befallen her. How on earth was she going to manage to get on with her life after suffering such a loss?

The subtle sound of her ringing phone startled her and with a shaking hand Kate answered the call.


The genuinely happy high-pitched voice on the other end immediately calmed Kate and she smiled softly, in spite of everything.

"Alex, how are you, sweetheart?"

"I'm good, mommy. Where are you? Will you be home soon?"

Kate thought of a hundred different answers. All of which would never worry or hurt her kid. With time, she had perfected the art of misleading, and the belief that a white lie was harmless was now ever present in her day life. At the end, what she replied was, "I'm with daddy."

Alex was quiet for a second. "Tell him I said 'hi'?" she asked.

"Of course, sweetie."

Suddenly, there was a second voice on the other end that distracted Alex from the conversation. They exchanged a few words and then the little girl announced, "Grandma wants to convey something to you."

Despite the melancholy, Kate chuckled. "'Convey'?"

Alex giggled. "Yes, daddy taught me that months ago." The pride in the girl's voice was contagious and Kate couldn't help but grin. "See you soon, mama."

Kate let out an apprehensive sigh and leaned her forehead on the tombstone that was in front of her as if the object would grant her some energy, some courage to deal with the situation.

"Katie?" The woman's voice was firm, yet compliant; strong, but understanding and full of kindness. One word, and Kate knew she had unconditional support.

"Hey, mom."

"Katie, come home."

Kate nodded her head in agreement and ensured her mother that she would only need a minute. The moment she hung up the phone, Kate let out a desperate sob. She cried hard for the whole minute, at the same time promising herself it was going to be her last moment of weakness for a long while. It had to be so, for herself and for her family, most of all, her daughter.

With trembling fingers, Kate dried the tears on her cheeks and rose slowly but surely.

"Our daughter says 'Hi'," she whispered.

And then there was a strength that Kate Castle wasn't sure whence it came. She gazed one last time at the gray, cold tombstone and, feeling her heart overflowing with love, went home.

A/N: First of all, I'm sorry. Also, this is my first attempt at Castle fanfiction, even though I'm an avid reader of Casketty goodness. English is not my native language and there was no beta reader so all the mistakes are mine. Thanks for reading and feedback would be appreciated :)