On the Rocks

Chapter 4

"Javi, what's going on?" Beckett asked worryingly as soon as she and Castle came rushing inside the hospital, where the former Marine had left a message for them to come, then saw his hands and clothes covered in blood. "Are you okay? Where's Ryan?"

"He's about to go into surge… surgery," Esposito answered as he rubbed the back of his head nervously. "He was dead. He was dead until the paramedics managed to revive him. I can't… can't…"

Kate walked over to the former Marine and stood in front of him so that he could see her as she gently put one hand over his cheek, the other on his arm, then asked again, "Take it easy, Javi. It's going to be all right. Just stay calm and try to explain. What happened?"

Esposito finally allowed himself to calm down the best he could, then replied softly, "I remembered earlier that Davenport was friends with Kyle Harvick and thought that it might be a good idea to have a chat with him, but I didn't let Kevin know before taking off. As soon as I arrived at the place where Kyle worked, he spotted me and took off running, so I followed after him. I didn't realize that Ryan had followed me from the precinct until I lost sight of the guy inside a condemned office building. Ryan and I started looking together, but I started arguing with him. Before I knew it, Kevin suddenly shoved me aside and fired his weapon, just as he took a bullet… in the shoulder… near his neck."

"You said he fired too," Castle spoke up as Kate pulled Esposito into her arms for a hug. "Did he hit the guy you were looking for, this Harvick?"

"I'm not really sure," Javier responded after he pulled away from their team leader. "I think so. I mean, once the paramedics arrived and took over for me, I walked over toward where Kevin fired and found the guy's gun on the ground, but I didn't notice any blood. However, I wasn't really looking all that closely. I was too worried about my partner."

Silence passed over the room until Esposito broke it again after a minute as he said, "This is my fault. If I hadn't have turned around to yell at him… if I hadn't have distracted him, that son of a bitch never would have gotten the drop on us. He never would have been able to sneak up on us and Kevin wouldn't be here, in that room, now fighting for his life. If I hadn't have been so bullheaded…"

Beckett finally stopped him as she interrupted, "You couldn't have known this would happen, Javi. Your anger aside, this is not your fault. Whether Kyle Harvick is our invisible man or not, he is now our number one priority and so help me God, we will find him."

"Oh God, Jenny," Castle spoke again as soon as Kevin's wife, as well as Lanie, came rushing toward them as soon as she saw them.

"Kevin?" she cried out as soon as she reached them. "Is he… is he all right? Please, tell me he's all right."

Beckett quickly wrapped her arms around the woman and pulled her close, then answered fearfully, "I'm afraid he's been shot, but he's still alive and I promise you, he's in very good hands here. Just try to stay calm. Kevin's going to be fine, you'll see. He's strong and right now, he needs all of us to be too."

Jenny broke down within Kate's arms as Lanie walked over and put her hand gently on her back in order to take over for Kate when she chose to let go, then Javier finally said, "I swear to you, Jenny, we're going to catch the bastard who did this. Your husband managed to get a shot off of his own, so it's only a matter of time before we find him and when we do, I'll finish it for him; no matter what it takes."

"You promised me you would always look after him," she replied coldly as she glared over at Esposito, while Beckett stood up and handed her over to Lanie. "You promised and you failed, all because you were too stubborn to let go of your stupid pride!"

"Jenny, it's not…" Kate tried to respond in his defense.

However, Esposito cut her off as he interrupted, "No, she's right. I did fail him. You have every right to be angry, Jenny, but Kevin's going to survive this, and when he does, I swear to you, I will make this right."

Lanie led her over into the waiting room, while Castle and Beckett walked over to stand with Esposito, then Castle spoke up again saying, "It's good that you believe Kevin will be all right."

"I was only saying that to try to make her feel better," the former Marine answered, no longer with the same confidence he had moments ago. "I wish I can believe it, but it's really hard to when you've been forced to watch paramedics shoot a couple hundred volts of electricity into your partner's chest over and over. Kevin's the closest thing I've got to a brother and there's a good chance he'll die believing that I hate him. You wanted to know if I'm okay, Beckett? The answer's no. I'm not."

"Poor Esposito," the writer replied grimly. "I don't blame him for feeling that way."

After Esposito stepped away a few feet, not wanting to walk into the waiting room where Jenny and Lanie were sitting, Kate looked over at the man she loved and responded sadly, "I'm afraid that if he's right, then we'll not only have lost Kevin, but we'll lose Javi too. There's no way he'll remain a detective if he loses faith in himself."

It was then that one of the doctors walked out from the operating room, causing everyone there for Kevin to gather together again, as Kate asked, "How is he, doctor? Detective Ryan, is he going to be all right?"

"He's still holding on, but I'm afraid that I have no real information for you just yet," the man answered. "I only came out here to reassure you that we're doing everything we can. The wound is bad and the damage severe, but…"

"How long will it be before you can tell us anything?" Castle asked again.

The man in a white lab coat and green scrubs underneath looked between them and then replied, "It's going to be several hours yet before we'll know anything. I'm sorry, I wish I had better news for you. I suggest you all either go home and try to get some rest, or at the very least, have a seat in the waiting room and try to relax. We'll be out as soon as we can once we know anything."

Lanie finally spoke up after the doctor walked away as she responded, "Doctors always suggest rest and relaxation to the loved ones waiting for news on the patient, but they don't realize just how idiotic those suggestions really are."

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