Do we even need to do a disclaimer anymore? Like, is it even necessary? *Sigh* Fine - I DID not own Castle... Ok, now I'm just sad.
The twins were both howling, tears running down each of their faces, one wrapped securely in his Mother's arms and one jogging along behind her. Reece was crying out in pain and Jake was crying out in sympathy for his brother's pain. Kate would have thought it sweet, the bond they had, if she wasn't currently so concerned about her little boy.
She stumbled through the door of the ER, making sure her un-injured son was still beside her. He ran into her leg with a thump and she stroked his head with her hand asking him if he was ok.
Together, Kate and her boys approached the reception desk. The receptionist glanced up at the trio with an expectant look, but didn't say anything.
"Hi, my son was playing at the park and some kids were playing a game of soccer near to us and they kicked a ball straight into his back. He tried to stand up but he says it hurts too much for him to walk." Kate hadn't come to terms how frightened she was until she recapped the scenario of what had happened to her son, out loud.
"Ma'am, you need to go out that door and around to the next door to Urgent Care - this is not an emergency situation."
Kate spluttered, disbelieving of what she was hearing. "My child may have a spinal cord injury and you're telling me it's not serious to warrant being seen by an ER doctor?"
"It's not the kind of scenario we class as top priority. If you go around the back of this building, you will find the Urgent Care unit. You will be asked to fill out your son's information and you will then be seen as quickly as possible."
Kate's emotions were running high, she had not felt this level of internal turmoil since her days with the NYPD, while she had been attempting to avenge her Mother's murder, and simultaneously protect her husband.
Now, Kate Beckett was a very conscientious person who did not like to advertise her success or pull rank when it was not totally necessary. However, with her young son shivering with fear in her arms, these were desperate times…
"Listen, I am a state senator and former NYPD captain, and my son is in pain. I would have called an ambulance but we were two blocks away at the park, so I picked him up and I ran here as fast as I could because I'm a mother who is terrified for her son. But you do understand, don't you, that I could have called any number of state officials to bring out a helicopter and have my son flown here, or to a private hospital where he would have been their top priority…Now tell me, if we had been airlifted here, would we still have to wait to be seen?"
"No Ma'am", the receptionist replied in a softly stunned voice.
Kate stared at her as if to say "…Well?"
The receptionist shrunk under the fire of Kate's gaze. "You'll still have to fill this form out and wait until a doctor is available to see you."
"Fine", Kate snatched the clipboard out of the woman's hands. Her eyes fell to the woman's face, which was protected by a plastic shield. Kate did not envy her position in the least. She took a deep breath in and said, "Thank you."
"Reece Beckett-Castle?" It had been twenty-five agonizing minutes that Kate and her boys had been waiting to be seen when a nurse called the second born Beckett-Castle child's name. The nurse was kindly and she bent down to take Jake's hand so that Kate could fully concentrate on her other son. She led them to a small room down the corridor and lifted Jake up onto a chair beside the small, hard hospital bed, which is where she instructed Kate to lay Reece down. As she did so however, he let out a loud cry. "Ahh Mama - hurts." He sobbed into her shirt.
"OK, if you could just sit on the bed and hold him in your lap?" The nurse spoke gently to Kate, as if she were the child in pain…She kind of felt as if she was.
"So he was playing at the park and was hit in the back by a soccer ball?"
"Yes, that's right", Kate confirmed, trying to hold Reece close to her but not too tightly in case he had sustained a serious injury.
"Did the ball hit him with a lot of force? How big was the person who had kicked it?"
"Ah…they were pre-teens maybe? 11,12-ish?" I-I don't know how hard the hit was, I'm afraid I didn't see, I was…I was watching Jake at the time, I think", Kate closed her eyes, silently berating herself for her lack of attention, wondering how she could have ever been a detective.
But the nurse smiled understandingly. "Twins aren't easy, they require twice as many arms, legs and eyes."
"Yeah", Kate replied with a nod of her head, the nurse's words did little to ease the guilt Kate felt. "Reece has always been a little man on a mission. Jake's our quiet contemplator, thinks about things before he does them, took nearly half an hour to arrive after his brother."
The nurse raised her eyebrows. "Sounds like you went through a lot to bring them into the world…but look at your payoff - two beautiful boys."
Kate internalized the nurse's statement. She doubted the 60-something year old could even imagine all that she, and her husband, had been through before that wonderful moment when she held her newborn boys in her arms.
"How old are they?"
"They'll be three in September."
"And does Reece have any pre-existing medical conditions?"
"No…Ah, Jake has asthma but Reece has never had any signs of it, so…"
"And does he take any medications?"
"No…well, just the Flinstones gummy vitamins."
"OK", the nurse smiled. "Reece? Hunny, I'm just going to pop this little machine into your ear and that's going to tell me what your temperature is, ok?"
Reece nodded his little head, his bottom lip quivering.
The nurse glanced at Kate. "Well the fact that he can nod his head is a good sign."
Kate felt relief flood her as the nurse inserted the thermometer into her son's right ear. After a few moments, she withdrew it. "98.5, that's perfectly fine." She turned in her chair and put the thermometer back, throwing the disposable ear piece in the trash.
"Right you three, I'm going to go and hand over to the doctor, and he will be with you very shortly. In the meantime…would you like a lollipop my little trooper?"
Reece's blood-shot eyes lifted and he nodded again. The nurse reached into the drawer and gave the sweet to Kate to unwrap, and another for Jake.
"Thank you very much", Kate told her sincerely and the nurse waved goodbye before leaving the trio.
She unwrapped the two lollipops and gave one to each of the boys. "Here you go Reecey. Jakey here's one for you too baby."
As the boys supped on their hard-boiled sugar pops, Kate suddenly realized she hadn't called her husband to let him know. She glanced at her Father's watch, which she still wore on her wrist. It showed the time to be 2:47, nearly the end of Lily's school day - Rick would be out the front of the Spence school building in his car, waiting to pick her up, just like he did every day.
She reached into her pants pocket for her phone - her husband answered on the 2nd ring.
"Hey beautiful", he answered smoothly.
"Rick, I don't want you to panic, but…"
"What's wrong?" His panicked voice instantly came across.
"Babe - not panicking, remember?"
Castle drew in a breath. "Kate, just…"
"The boys and I were at the park and Reece had a soccer ball kicked right into his back."
She heard him sharply gasp. "Who did it? I'll kill them!"
"Rick, it wasn't intentional! They were just kids playing a game."
"Oh…well how is he? Kate, where are you?"
"I brought him to the hospital, we've seen the nurse and we're just waiting for a doctor. He was crying a lot and he was too sore to walk. I-I was a bit overanxious at the start but I think he's going to be alright, the nurse doesn't think there's any long-term damage just from the way he's holding himself up and nodding his head."
"Well thank god for that", the relief in his voice was plain. "How about you, are you alright?"
"Better now that I'm hearing your voice, and that the kids have stopped crying - they're eating lollipops", Kate chuckled.
"Well they're gonna be on a sugar high any minute, you'd better remind 'em a hospital's not a playground."
Kate laughed. "I have trouble enough reminding you of that."
"What are you talking about?"
"Last time you were in the hospital, Alexis brought you a hacky-sack because your arm was in a sling, and you could only use your feet, only instead of you taking it out the front of the building to play with it, you insisted on kicking it around in the ward - nearly broke a heart monitor if I remember correctly."
"Hey, I couldn't go outside, I had to be by your side! I wasn't about to let my wife be alone. Things were tumultuous there for a while, getting shot at wasn't exactly conducive to a healthy pregnancy."
"Yeah well we got through it…all three of us", Kate smiled softly.
"Ama? Dat Daddy?" Reece had eaten half his lollipop and had decided he no longer cared for it so he had put it on his lap. Kate sighed as she realized she would have to try and wash the sticky substance off later, but she couldn't be mad with her little boy when he had been through such an ordeal as he had today.
"Yeah sweetie it's Daddy."
"Daddy tory?" Jake perked up, the sugar clearly already hitting him.
Kate smiled at her youngest. "Rick, the boys want a story…got time?"
"Hey you know me Kate, anytime's story time."
Kate grinned at put her phone on speaker so the boys could hear.
"Alright…it's time for another edition of "The adventures of Reece lightening and Earthquake Jake!"" Castle announced through the receiver and the boys cheered - Reece, a little more reservedly so than usual.
"Reece lightening and Earthquake Jake were on a very dangerous mission, exploring the dark depths of a far away dragon's keep, when one of the dragons came out from nowhere and released a fireball!"
Kate shook her head, knowing where this was going. Her husband had a way of recapping real-life situations in a fictional setting and making them a lot more exciting than they actually were, and he was especially gifted at re-telling upsetting events in a way that made their children feel better about them.
"Reece was the fastest little boy in all the land but he was no match for the speed of the dragon's flame and it struck him down. Jake, his brother was strong though, strong like an earthquake, and he stomped on the dragon's tail, causing him to get…a really bad owie."
Kate and the boys giggled.
The dragon was so distracted by the owie that he didn't even notice Jake run up the stairs of the castle and rescue the beautiful princess. The princess came back down with Jake and when she asked him what favour she could give to him in return for being saved from the dragon, all he asked was that she help his brother Reece get better."
Kate's heart swelled with love for her husband.
"So the princess kneeled to Reece and she placed a kiss upon his head, which made all the magic inside her flow into him and heal him."
Reece looked up at his Mother, Kate looked at him adoringly and brought her lips to his forehead where she gave him a warm kiss.
"And Reece Lightening was all better, and together, he and his brother, and the princess all went home for a delicious dinner. The end."
Kate and the twins cheered.
"Speaking of dinner, what shall we have tonight?" Rick asked his wife and sons.
"Hmm, I think spaghetti sounds good, don't you?"
Reece shuffled in Kate's lap. "Dass my favwit!"
Kate ruffled her son's hair. "I know it is baby, that's why Daddy's going to cook it for you because you've been such a good boy…"
Kate looked up at the doorway where she'd just heard her name. The person standing there was just about the last person she expected to see.
"Josh?" Her husband's voice echoed her own. "As in world-saving, motorcycle riding, gigantor Josh?"
"Yeah, that Josh", Kate replied, looking into her ex-boyfriend's eyes and trying not to die of embarrassment at her husband's candour.
"As in your ex-boyfriend with the perfect hair and the incredibly huge hands Jo-?"
"Yes! Rick, we both know who Josh is. And need I remind you that you're on speaker?" Kate was gritting her teeth as Josh looked on, looking both uneasy and amused.
"Right…Ah, Kate, I see Lily, I'm going to go…Do you want me to come to the hospital or…?"
"No, no take Lily home and help her get started with her homework, and then start dinner please. We'll be ok…we'll be home soon."
"OK…Hey boys, did I mention the big hairy troll in my story?"
"Kidding…Say hi to Motorcycle boy for me."
The call ended and Kate peered up at Josh, devastated.
"I'm so sorry about…that", she told him with a thousand apologies swimming in her eyes.
"It's ok", he said to her. "I just finished my shift and was walking through when I thought I saw a familiar face." He took a step further into the room and glanced at the twins. "Kate, wow. You're a Mom."
Kate smiled. "Yeah…this is Jake and this is Reece", she told him, pride shining in her eyes.
"And on the phone…was that who I think it was?"
"That was my husband…whom you know as Rick Castle", Kate pursed her lips coyly.
"Well…If I said I was surprised, would you believe me?" Josh asked with a small grin.
Kate shook her head. "Probably not."
"You don't call him Castle anymore…now it's just Rick." Josh observed.
"Well that's a cop thing and that's not what we do anymore", Kate answered simply. Upon seeing Josh's quizzical expression, she wondered if she should elaborate.
"Ama, who's dat?"
Kate turned to Jake who was climbing on the seat next to her. "That's Dr. Davidson, he's an old friend of mine."
"It's nice to meet you buddy. You guys can call me Josh."
She looked at him properly for the first time since he'd entered the room. His hair was almost completely grey and was a lot shorter than it was last time she'd seen him. He was thinner, had lost some of his muscle, but he was still very handsome and had the same chiseled jawline and knee-weakening smile.
"You know, I didn't even know you worked here", Kate said to him.
"Well I've only been here a couple of months. I was in the Congo for four years, then last Fall I moved back to Alberta to spend some time with Mom and Dad…neither of them are doing so great, but I was itching to come back to NYC. They've got good full-time care up there though. I came back into town and Bellevue had all their spots full so I applied here since they had a position open."
"Wow, the Congo? Well I'm glad you're still in one piece. Last I heard you were setting up clinics in the Amazon."
"Kate, that was ten years ago."
Kate shook her head. "So how are you?" She felt awkward asking the question.
"I'm doing well. I'm…engaged", he looked a little sheepish.
"Wow", Kate remarked. "Since when?"
"Um, just a couple of weeks ago actually…Lacey, my high school sweetheart. We ah, caught up when I was back home. She has two kids, recently divorced, so there's some baggage there but…she gets it, this whole thing", Josh threw his hands in the air, motioning around him. "And she just wants to be there."
Kate bit her lip, she knew Josh wasn't trying to be accusatory but it did kind of come off that way, just a little bit.
"She sounds like a remarkable woman."
"Yeah she is", Josh smiled, no malice in his tone, just contentment.
"Sorry to keep you waiting Senator Beckett, I'm Doctor Rushmore." A balding, bespectacled man in blue scrubs entered the room and shook Kate's hand.
Kate saw Josh's eyes widen momentarily at the title "Senator." Obviously he'd had his nose buried in work, or had been fostering his relationship with his new family since his return to New York and hadn't had the time to follow local politics.
"Well I'm gonna leave you in Doctor Rushmore's capable hands… Kate?"
Kate's attention returned to Josh.
"I'm so happy that you've made it to this place…it looks to me like this is where you were always meant to be."
"Thanks Josh. All the best for your future, and…have a lovely wedding." Kate winked at him.
He flashed her his signature Hollywood grin - one that used to drive Rick nuts. "All the best to you too, Kate."
Dr. Rushmore was kind and very good with children. Thanks to the lollipop and his Dad's storytelling, Reece was a lot calmer and was no longer crying, so the Doctor was able to pick him up and perform a physical examination, testing Reece's sensitivity in his spine, muscles and nerves, his balance and coordination. Reece was clearly in a bit of pain when stood and sat up by himself but the Doctor determined the had probably sustained some soft tissue damage and that he suspected no serious or long-lasting inflictions. He told Kate that they could perform an x-ray if she wished, but in his expert opinion, he believed that Reece should be taken home and kept as still as possible (adding, he knew that was difficult to do with a 2 year old boy). He suggested that he have a wheat pack applied to his back and that he rest for 24 hours before beginning to attempt to walk slowly again.
"If he's still experiencing pain in a few weeks or he has trouble walking after 24 hours, do come back in and we'll perform an x-ray", he said to Kate.
"Thank you Doctor, I really feel relieved", Kate said to him, suddenly struck by how worried she'd really been.
The doctor smiled understandingly. "Our children are the most precious things to us - we'd walk through fire for them."
His words made her flash back to the night Kevin and Jenny Ryan's daughter Sarah Grace was born and how Kevin had literally walked through a fiery furnace to be with her and his wife.
"That's for sure."
"You take care Senator, and all the best for this year's election."
"Thank you", Kate smiled at him gracefully, picking up Reece in her arms and taking Jake's hand.
Kate's car was brought to the hospital by one of the assistants from the office. Kate drove the boys home, they were both exhausted after the long wait in the hospital. When Kate entered the door of the building, Eduardo called up to the loft to let Rick know she was on her way up, which meant that when she arrived at their door, Castle was waiting, holding the door open for his wife and sons.
"Hey there champ, you ok?" He took Reece out of Kate's arms and held him close. Kate moved inside the door with Jake still holding her hand and she kissed her husband on the lips, relieved to be home with him.
"How you holding up?" He asked his wife.
"I'm doing fine", Kate responded, but he could tell she was weary.
"Mommy!" Her daughter's voice crossed the room, and soon Lily was running to greet Kate. Kate bent down and scooped her first-born into her arms. "Hey lil girl", Kate smiled as she hugged her tight. "How was school?"
"It was really good…Mom, I think Nicholas Ryan has a crush on me."
"Oh really?" Kate laughed. "Why is that?"
"Because I maybe kinda haveacrushonhim", she giggled nervously.
"Oh do you now?" Kate ticked her daughter who squealed.
"Yeah, he's got really handsome blue eyes."
"I've got handsome blue eyes", Rick called from the kitchen.
Lily scrunched up her nose. "But you're my Dad."
Rick looked affronted. "Don't you think I have handsome blue eyes?"
"No, you're my Dad", she replied simply.
He chuckled offendedly. Kate walked into the kitchen and said to him. "Don't worry, I think yours are the handsomest, bluest eyes in the world." She pressed a quick kiss to his lips.
"Mm, thank you - after hearing you were with Dr. Do-gooder today my confidence is a little shaken", he told her as he used his tongs to serve up some spaghetti.
"Babe, do I have to remind you that I basically left him for you?"
Rick contemplated for a moment. "It is kinda nice to hear."
Kate shook her head and gave him a playful smack him to his butt.
The two of them suddenly realized the room was unusually quiet, which is when they noticed that both the twins had fallen asleep on the couch.
"Well it looks like we won't have to worry about getting Reece to stay still for a while", Kate remarked.
"Mommy should I get a blanket so my brothers don't get cold?" Lily asked.
"Great idea sweetie."
Lily raised off to the boys' room to find a blanket to cover them with.
Rick sighed, happy to have his family all together, safe and well.
"Don't worry, when they wake up, I'm prepared to be on 24/7 story duty. That usually keeps 'em quiet for a while."
Kate looked at him, her eyes twinkling. "That's because your stories and the best…especially the ones about us." She kissed his ear, making him shiver. "Those are my favorite."
He pivoted towards her and nuzzled his nose against hers. "Mine too."
Lily returned to the room and very gently lay the star wars blanket from their bed down on top of her two little brothers. She pecked both boys on the tops of their heads, making both Rick and Kate melt.
They both saved the memory in the minds, adding it to the growing collection of their favorite ones.