Kate had felt off all day. She was used to feeling pregnant by now, at 11 weeks gone she was beginning to accept feeling sick until noon and throwing up at even the thought of coffee, but this was different. She could feel a gnawing sense of dread in the pit of her stomach but she had no idea why. In the late afternoon she began to get an ache in her lower abdomen, and the odd cramp which took her by surprise. Then Castle wandered into the precinct, two herbal teas in hand, and slumped down in the chair next to her desk.
“Gina is a slave driver, once this book is done I swear I’m finding a new publisher!” he announced, looking at her curiously when she didn’t respond, “what? No ‘you say this every time Rick’? Who are you and what have you done with my wife?” he queried humorously.
“Hm?” she didn’t look at him, instead staring at her computer screen though she wasn’t really taking in anything she was reading.
“Kate” he spoke softly, placing a caring hand on her forearm, “are you ok?” he asked seriously. She turned her head to smile at him, replying
“Hey, yeah, sorry just tired. It’s hard work growing a human Castle.” He gave her a concerned look,
“You are looking a bit pale, is there any chance of you finishing any time soon?” he asked hopefully, though knowing fully the response he would get.
“We’re in the middle of a double homicide investigation Castle, what do you think?” she replied sarcastically.
“Hey Beckett, we’ve got a match for the partial on Vic A’s glasses” Ryan announced, walking towards the murder board with a photo in his hand “Vincent Galbrady - 37, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, served time before getting out early last year for good behaviour. Uniforms are picking him up as we speak.” he stuck the photo up on the board. Kate lifted herself out of her desk chair, noticing the protest of pain in her lower body as she did so but pushing through. She walked over to where Ryan stood, assessing the images and details in front of her.
“Nice one Ryan, his image matches the description the witness gave too. Any updates on the shoe print at the...” her sentence petered away as the pain in her abdomen grew sharp and instinctively her body tried to double over, her face screwing up in pain.
“Beckett?” Ryan held a steadying hand under her elbow, glancing over at Castle “is it the baby?” Aside from Gates, Esposito and Ryan were the only other people in the precinct who knew about the pregnancy since Castle was determined for them to keep an eye on her when he wasn’t around.
“I’ll be ok in a minute, I just.. agh!” the pain hit again, this time more intense and she could feel herself being held upright by Ryan’s strength. Castle appeared at her side, taking her weight into his arms and moving her to sit in a chair.
“Kate, can you tell me what you’re feeling?” Castle’s voice was so calm and comforting she almost forgot about the pain until it came back with vengeance and she practically folded her body in half.
“I don’t- The baby- I’ve been feeling weird all day but I thought it was just pregnancy stuff and it was nothing like this - It really hurts Rick” her voice turned to a whisper as she tried to keep the tears in. His forehead came to rest on hers, willing strength into her soul. Ryan and Esposito knew Beckett wouldn’t want the fuss of everyone staring at her when she’s vulnerable, and tried their best to usher everyone else away.
“We need to get you to a doctor Kate” Castle told her quietly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The detective let out a pained moaned before forcing out
“Babe, Lanie does dead people” Castle replied, furrowing his brow in confusion.
“Please” she whispered, squeezing his hand in hers. He looked into her eyes, nodding as he supported her to stand.
He took her down to the medical examiners office, explaining to Lanie as he arrived what was going on. The ME and the writer had a silent conversation with their eyes before she agreed to help her friend.
“Kate sweetie I’m’a need you on the table to examine you.” Lanie spoke gently, looking to Castle. The brunette attempted to lift herself onto the high table but the pain in her abdomen was too great. She let out a cry of pain as Castle swept in to catch her.
“Ok, I got you” he cooed gently, lifting her as carefully as he could onto the cool metal. Her features screwed up in pain and her hands clenched into fists as she slowly lay back. Castle leaned down by her head, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead and whispering lovingly in her ear “whatever happens Kate, I love you...so much.” He took her hand in hers, feeling her tight fist relax. Lanie began to palpate the detective’s abdomen, apologising when she saw that she was holding her breath, clearly in intense pain.
“Kate, I need to do an ultrasound...” Lanie began to explain, hesitating before she added solemnly “to see if there’s a heart beat.” Kate nodded, the panic in her chest leaving her completely unable to formulate any words.
After a few silent moments, which felt more like a year, Lanie switched off the ultrasound machine, returning the wand to its holder and picking up a tissue before turning back to Kate.
“Sweetie, I’m so sorry-“ before she could finish her sentence the brunette heaved out an almighty sob, allowing Castle to gather her up in his arms.
The next couple of hours went by in a blur of pain and heartache, she vaguely recollected arguing with Lanie who was trying to force her to go to the hospital. Then she found herself curled up on the sofa in the loft, cradling a hot water bottle, with a blanket wrapped around her tired frame. Another strong cramp ricocheted through her lower body and she barely had the energy to battle with it any longer. Then she felt an uncomfortable sensation and her face went pale.
Castle heard a noise from the lounge and turned around to see a flash of chestnut hair as Beckett rushed towards the bathroom. He turned the stove cooking soup for the pair of them down to a simmer and left the wooden spoon on the side, choosing to hover near the bathroom door despite knowing she would hate him for it.
Suddenly he heard a gasp and moved to knock on the door.
“Kate?” There was no response. “Kate, I’m coming in” he announced, opening the door slowly. It took all his strength not to cry at the sight in front of him. His wife was sitting on the toilet, her thighs stained with blood, a hand covering her mouth as tears flowed freely down her cheeks. Her eyes were fixed in place and he knew exactly what she was looking at. At 11 weeks their baby was a tiny perfectly formed human being. He would have thought it was beautiful if only his heart didn’t hurt so much. Their baby should still be nestled safely inside their mother’s womb, growing and getting ready to meet the world.
He ran her a bath and sat by the side of the tub, helping her to wash her long chestnut curls. Wrapping her up in a big fluffy towel when she was done and helping her to dress in her favourite of his old T-shirt’s and some comfy sweatpants. He blow dried her hair and tied it back in a French plait - a skill he’d perfected from years of parenting Alexis with little input from Meredith. As he tucked her into bed she grabbed his hand,
“Castle, I’m sorry” she whispered, he tired eyes glowing back at him.
“What for?” he queried, confused at her statement.
”our baby, I killed it... I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to” she looked like she was going to burst into tears and never stop crying. Castle hated seeing her in this much anguish and just wanted to wrap her up in his arms until the pain went away.
”Kate, what are you talking about?” he asked softly, tucking a stray curl behind her ear.
“I felt ill all day, and I didn’t tell you. I’m so so sorry Castle, if I had just gone to a doctor sooner maybe... I just,
I didn’t think anything like this would happen.” She explained, her cheeks going pink as the guilt consumed her.
“Kate listen to me” he began, holding her hand in his, “none of this is your fault. You have been going through so much. Your body was changing all the time, you were growing a whole new person Kate. There is no way you could have known that whatever you were feeling wasn’t just normal pregnancy stuff. If anything, I’m to blame too, maybe if I hadn’t been in that stupid meeting all day I would have noticed something was wrong.”
“No!” She cried, interrupting him “I should have known, a good Mom would have known.” Castle felt a lump forming in his throat
“Then Dad should have known too. Kate I should have done better, just because you were carrying him or her doesn’t mean I didn’t still have a responsibility as a parent.” He continued, his thumb stroking gently across the back of her hand to calm her, “Someday you are going to be an amazing Mom, like you’re already an amazing Step Mom to Alexis, and like you were for the short time our baby was in our lives.” His voice cracked as he reached the end of his sentence, and she looked up at him through dark eyelashes.
“You really think so?” she asked almost silently, squeezing his hand in her own. He nodded in reply, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead,
“The most incredible Mom in New York City.”