Whenever he imagined a relationship with Kate Beckett he never imagined that he would be an earlier riser than she was. Although a bullet wound was also never invited to the party either. But sure enough he woke up well before his partner. He wasn't complaining, though. He stayed in bed for a while content to watch her sleep next to him.
He had laid her flat shortly after she had fallen asleep the night before. As much as he loved being her human pillow they couldn't afford for her back to be under any more stress than it already was.
He tore himself away from her so that he could prepare for the long day ahead. She had her first at home therapy session today and he figured after that they could veg out on the couch with Alexis and maybe even continue their Star Wars saga.
He first went into his office and did some rearranging. He pushed the desk to the far wall and moved everything so that the middle of the floor was completely clear. He then set up the padded therapy table he had ordered and freed up a couple of pillows for their use as well.
With that out of the way, he took the opportunity to check his emails. Nothing too important, a few from Gina in all caps asking why he still hadn't sent her anything on the new book, way too much spam, and a few others he stored away to read more thoroughly later. Still no word from the boys on the status of the case, he made a mental note to actually call them instead of having half conversations over text. Maybe he could even invite them up for a weekend when Kate was feeling more up to it.
Yesterday had been fabulous. They had a perfect first date and they had talked and laid out all of their feelings. There was still a lot to learn and more questions to answer, but they were at least on the same page now. They both loved each other and that wasn't going away.
Despite all of that, he knew that she was still struggling. She was still in constant pain and she was still feeling mostly helpless. She couldn't even brush her own hair. Her body was so weak and most of the time she still needed help sitting up.
She was taking pain medication, but only because he was continuously forcing it on her. They had come to an agreement that she could take half of what they prescribed as long as she took it. She was so fiercely independent and wouldn't rely on anything to get her through.
He knew today was going to be tough and the peacefulness of yesterday was probably not going to happen very often, if at all in the foreseeable future.
After checking his emails and sending Gina a strongly worded email about his priorities, he went about making breakfast. He made toast, fruit, and eggs for Kate (eggs would be a small stretch for her diet, but a nice protein filled treat before therapy) and waffles with strawberries and whipped cream with a side of bacon for Alexis.
Just as he took the last waffle out of the iron Alexis came down the stairs. Her hair was thrown up in a messy bun and she was wearing a bathing suit under her jean shorts and tank top.
"Hey Pumpkin! How was your night on the town? Is Paige having a nice summer?" He asked as he set her plate down in front of her.
"It was fine, she's fine." Came her short reply before she dug into her breakfast. He was growing increasingly worried about Alexis these days. She always gave him short answers and was using every chance she could to get out of the house. Normally she went out and had fun with her friends during the summer. All the girls went to each other's houses for cook outs and sleepovers, but she always spent the majority of her time with him. This year it was the other way around.
"Any big plans for the day?" He asked as he waited for the toast.
"No." She replied still way too invested in her food. He didn't have the chance to reply before the toast popped up from the toaster and the cooking was done. He left her alone for the time being, hoping that she was just going through some teenage phase and made a mental note to ask Kate about it. She always knew what to say.
With that he left Alexis to her waffles and went to wake Kate. He wanted her to have plenty of time to eat before her appointment at 10am. He walked into the room and pulled her chair to the edge of the bed before sitting down at her hip.
"Kate," He said softly, running his fingers through her hair. "Rise and shine."
She grunted adorably and blinked her eyes open to peer up at him.
"G'morning." She slurred as she took her time to get her bearings.
"Good morning, gorgeous." He replied as he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her lips. She was smiling when he pulled away and helped her to sit up. Her smile faded a bit and she bit back a wince, but he, of course, caught it. He steadied her with his arms for a moment and allowed her to stabilize and work through the stiffness and pain before he let go.
"I know. It is definitely time for some more medicine, but you can't take it until you eat some breakfast."
She didn't even protest to the food or the medication. He lifted her up and situated her in the chair with a blanket over her thighs.
He pushed her out into the kitchen and seated her at the table. He kissed her on the head and went to retrieve both their plates. He spied Alexis still sitting on her stool with her phone in one hand and her fork in the other.
"Hey why don't you come sit with us at the table while you finish?" He suggested.
She never even looked up before replying, "I'm almost done."
He shook his head and came back to Kate with the food. She was looking better, a little more alert and in control. She lit up when she saw the breakfast that wasn't just plain yogurt and fruit.
He hadn't even sat down beside her before she took a heaping bite and moaned in appreciation.
"God that's good." She said as she popped another forkful into her mouth and took a bite of toast. He was glad that he could make at least one of his girl's smile.
The doorbell rang forty minutes later and Kate visibly tensed. He rose from where he was sitting next to her in the living room and went for the door, giving her shoulder an encouraging squeeze as he passed.
Dr. Keller was a big man. He was built, but muscular. He was kind and warm when he introduced himself and was very well put together. He came with the highest recommendation and was generally regarded as the best in the business.
Kate seemed to be comfortable with him, though she still put on a mask as soon as he stepped into the room. He had learned that it was a privilege and an honor to truly know Kate Beckett. It took hard work and time, and was shown to only a select few. He was grateful to be one of them.
Kate had changed into leggings and a tank top. She had refused to let him help although it took her a very long time and he could tell it was a very strenuous task. He wasn't sure how much longer he could allow her to struggle with it alone when he was perfectly capable of helping.
She had told him he could stay with her during therapy as long as he behaved and didn't get in the way. So he stood beside her as she lay on the table. The therapist did most of the work for the first part. Moving her legs and manipulating her body. The idea was to make sure that her muscles didn't stop working and become completely useless.
At this point they were confident that she would regain feeling and a little bit of motion back into her legs. She would never be able to fully bear weight, but there was hope that her legs would not be completely useless.
Next, Dr. Keller employed electro-therapy. He attached electrodes to various places along her legs and administered ripples through them to work the muscles and get them to react. By this time, he could tell that Kate was not faring well. He had never been in one of these sessions and it was killing him not to reach out and try to comfort her, but he didn't want to risk being kicked out.
He couldn't imagine her going through this every day, though he would have to get used to the idea. If it was this bad today, he didn't even want to think about the first few sessions. Even the slightest exercises and movements was painful to her.
Finally he had taken all he could when a tear escaped from her tightly shut eyes. He stepped forward and took her small hand in his and squeezed, showing his silent support and encouragement. He knew it was completely necessary for her to go through and there was no way for her to get better without the therapy, but she didn't have to go through it alone. He was here for her even if it was just to hold her hand.
Her eyes opened upon the contact and locked with his. She got lost in the brilliant blue and took strength and comfort from them.
Soon, the session was over and the Doctor packed all of his things. Castle moved Kate to the couch while he saw the man out and thanked him for the session and made all the arrangements for the next meeting.
Dr. Keller was impressed with her stamina and promised to work more on completing tasks in their next session. Lastly, he left Castle with some exercises for her arms and encouraged him to work with her some more when she felt up to it.
When he returned to the office he didn't hesitate to scoop her up and take her back to bed. He could tell she was in pain and exhausted from the morning. She was already half asleep when he pulled the sheets up around her. She practically sank into the mattress and he breathed a sigh of relief to see her comfortable again. Or at least, as comfortable as she could be. He pressed a kiss to the corner of her mouth and went to stand, but her hand on his leg stopped him.
"Stay," she murmured. "just until…I fall…asleep." The way her words were coming to her he didn't doubt it would take thirty seconds for sleep to claim her, but he crawled over her and settled down with her anyway. He draped an arm around her and she sighed happily. He loved how clingy she was these days. He knew it was from medication and constant exhaustion, but he couldn't help falling in love with her a little more each time she showed how much she craved his touch.
"Thank you." She whispered after a few moments "For being there."
"No place I'd rather be, love" He whispered back as her breathing evened out and she succumbed to exhaustion. He was actually glad she wasn't fully coherent to hear his term of endearment because he was sure she would have at least smacked him for it.When he was sure she was completely out he got up and left her a note and her phone for when she woke up and headed off to find his daughter.