It had been the worst hour of his life, no question. He hadn't even had a chance to reply to her weak 'Hey, Castle' before she realized something was very wrong. He had watched as her brow furrowed in confusion. He didn't let her ask the question he saw in her eyes. He took a deep breath and began his tale.
He started at the funeral, informed/reminded (he didn't know which) her that she had been shot as gently as he could. He told her about all of the people who had been here supporting her throughout the whole ordeal, and gestured to the swiftly accumulating flowers all around her bed. Then came the hard stuff. He told her everything he knew about the surgery, which was probably not enough to satisfy her curiosity, but it was enough for now. He watched her as she shifted and winced as she confirmed where she had been cut into.
She was completely silent the whole way through. It scared him. He didn't know if it was because she was in pain or confused or a combination of both, but it was unnerving. She was not Kate.
He broke eye contact when he came to the end of his speech. He couldn't bear to look into her gorgeous eyes as he broke her. As soon as he uttered the words she crumbled. He suspected that by the time he vocalized it she already knew. He was certain she had already worked it out, but it took him confirming it with his words to really make it real.
He had never seen her like that. He had imagined nineteen year old Kate Beckett in the days following her mother's death, but that was nothing compared to seeing the real thing.
He had known there was no other way. Stringing her along, sugar coating, and stalling was not the way to deal with Kate Beckett. She was a homicide detective and she needed all of the facts laid out for her as fast as possible. She would never have stood for anything else.
He knew that he needed to call a doctor, tell someone that she was awake, and let them make sure she was truly okay. But with her in pieces beside him, all rational thought left his head.
When he looked up at her, her whole body was frozen. He had imagined her reaction many times since he found out, but none of them were this. He had thought she would cry, fight, or try to deny it. He had imagined her curling up and crying it all out. In some of his scenarios she yelled at him and blamed him for the whole thing, told him he was useless and to get out. In his favorite scenario she had let him comfort her in her time of need. Let him hold her while she broke down. He hadn't even ruled out the possibility of a panic attack; but all of that, he thought, would be better than reality.
She just stared straight ahead, never even looked in his direction. Her face never flinched, he wasn't even sure that she was blinking. There were no tears and no fight, there was only unnerving silence.
"Kate?" He prodded gently. No response.
"Kate." He said a little bit louder as he stepped towards her. Still nothing. There wasn't even so much as a twitch.
"Kate," In any other circumstance he would have been embarrassed by the pathetic voice in which he said her name, "please say something, anything."
Nothing. He came to stand right beside her bed and took her hand. It was completely limp in his as he brought it up to his lips and kissed it.
He refused to break in front of him. He didn't let the tears fall, but they were shining on the surface.
"I'm so sorry, Kate, so sorry." He didn't know what to do for her. There was nothing else to say. Nothing he said or did was going to magically cure her.
He allowed himself another moment to be with her. He knew that it would be a while before they would be alone together again. There were doctors and nurses and therapists that would push him out of the room as soon as he pressed the red button next to her bed.
He leaned against her bed and rubbed circles over her hand with his thumb. He looked into her glassed over eyes. He could see the complete hopelessness and confusion shining beneath the surface and it broke her heart.
Eventually he let go, he placed her hand back on the bed and pressed the button to call the nurses. They were in the room within seconds. He briefly recounted what she knew and the time she had been awake, before he pushed out of the room and down the hall.
He slumped down in the first waiting room chair he found and dropped his head into his hands. The whole situation was a mess, and it just kept getting more and more tangled. He suspected that this was not the worst part either.There was a long, mountainous road ahead for her and she had barely just begun. He just hoped that she wouldn't fight to keep him out of her life, because no matter what happened he didn't intend to leave her side.