Stained-Glass Windows

Golden Days

Epilogue-Part 2
On Golden Streets

“Tell me not, in mournful numbers, life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, and things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest!And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul.” – Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

The Richard Castle Building- New York City

January 7th, 2062

9:07 A.M

In 50 years, the only major change to the hallway which led to her parent’s home were the holographic paintings which now shown on the walls. Emma walked slowly down the hall and marveled at the ambiance that still managed to surprise her when she returned home. Cars flew by the window, the sun shone brightly down the hallway, and at the door, waiting for her, was her brother Charles. Her lovely, wonderful, intelligent, and snarky younger brother, the namesake of Dickens, stood just outside of this magnificent place they all called home. Though they each maintained a different address, this was their home.

This place of love, sacrifice, and honor. This place of life.

This place of death.

Emma smiled and walked purposefully towards her brother, “Bro.”

Chuck smirked, as usual, “Sis.”

They hugged each other hard, allowing themselves to sink into the warmth and love each offered the other, and when they finally broke, Emma kept her hand on Charles arm. He was her anchor in this most trying of times, he was her rock, and just as they had been for each other over 40 years of marriage, brother and sister stood united and together.

Emma smiled up at her taller brother, whose slight wisps’ of grey hair proved no match for his bright and shining blue eyes, and noticed how casual and comfortable he was in his own skin. He returned her smile in kind and placed his hand on top of hers, “You know, our father was a best-selling author, our mother loved the logic of a well sought case, and our sister-in-law was one of the finest lawyers of the 21st century. You’d think we could come up with better nicknames.”

Charles smile lit the sun-drenched hallway, “Em was never good enough for you.”

Emma’s gaze shifted down shyly, “Em is easy. It’s a letter in the alphabet.”

“And Chuck is rocket science?”

“That idiom doesn’t have the same punch it once had…”

“Yeah…who would have thought we would terra-form Mars?”

“Any number of video games or superhero stories.”

Charles gave his patented eye-brow raise, one he swore he didn’t steal from his father, though everyone knew he was his father’s son, “Brett is partial to that new superhero, The Badge.”

Emma lit up at the mention of her and her daughter’s favorite superhero and followed Charles into the loft, “Oh, I love her. She is so strong and full of heart. Reminds so much of…”

Charles turned and looked at his sister, the pain beginning to win out a little over the joy of seeing her once more, “Yeah, me too.”

Emma smiled and continued, “I love you brother.”

“Oh dear, sweet sister, I love you too.”

Emma sighed quietly, taking in this feeling, and took his hand in her's, “So, how’s mom?”

Charles paused for a moment before sighing and allowing his gaze to find his sisters. Softly, almost in a whisper, Charles spoke the words he never wanted to, “It’s time.”

Emma felt herself break just a little, “It’s….it’s time…”

As they made their way to the back bedroom, Charles wrapped his arm around Emma’s shoulders, and gave her the comfort she needed, “I’m so sorry sis.”

Emma wrapped her arms around Charles slender stomach, placed her head on his shoulder and continued to trek back towards the bedroom, “I knew it was close, I just…”

“Wanted more time…”

“You always knew me better than I knew myself bro.”

“Sis, we all want more time. Always. But…”

“I know. I do. I’m just…”

“Not ready to let her go.”

“Dad was so hard…”

“Mom will be the same…”

“Yeah.”

“For both of us…”

When they reached the door, Emma paused, “I hate death.”

Charles looked up at her and leaned against the door sill, “I’m not too fond of it either.”

Emma matched his movement against the other side, “Do you think she will meet dad someday?”

“I don’t know. I know that I hope so. I never thought we would explore the universe as we have, I never thought the universe would be full of benevolent aliens, and I never once thought that those old Star Trek shows would be a primer to our new reality. And yet, yesterday I watched on live television as the first inter-galactic peace treaty was signed on Hercules. There is so much that we don’t know.”

“I think that’s our purpose as human beings, bro. We are meant to explore, to discover, and to understand that the answer will only lead to grander and grander questions.”

Charles smiled brightly, “My big sister, always the optimist.”

Emma followed suit, “My little brother, always following my lead.”

“Hey!”

“Hey, what?”

“I’m pretty sure a doctorate degree in mathematics and astronomy is the very definition of my own path.”

Playfully, Emma leaned forward and took Charles cheek between her fingers and squeezed gently, “You’re so cute when you are indignant.”

“Yeah, yeah. And you are simply repugnant when you are smug!”

“If I were 30 years younger, I’d kick your ass.”

Charles smirked again, “Nearly 50 years old and you still can’t watch that potty mouth.”

“Watch it buster, I still have a mean left hook.”

“And my jaw thanks you for your control.”

“Tell your jaw that it is welcome.”

“Smart-ass.”

“Now who has the potty mouth?”

“How about wee cheeky bastard? Is that better?”

Emma looked down and smiled her at her sarcastic and witty brother, “Not as much as you might think.”

“I learned from the best.”

Emma sighed once more and knew that they had more important things to do, “We should get in there.”

Charles smiled once more, “Everyone is waiting. Lead the way Em.”

As they entered the bedroom of the loft together, they noticed immediately an air that seemed to permeate the room. It was solemn and happy, a joyous mix of a life lived and one on the brink, and while every milled about, the attention of the room was solely focused on the person in the middle of the bed.

She lay in the bed underneath the lilac comforter, lithe and slender, elegant and listless, and yet, there was still life visible in her eyes. There in the deep color of old eyes was the passion and desire that had formed a wonderful life from its own tragic beginnings. She was a testament, a pillar to the ideal that one’s life is yours to do with what we want, and though it may begin in tragedy, it is what you choose to make of that life that matters. She was proof that tragedy did not have to define and guide our lives. Her husband had shown her the way, and through years of toil and struggle, she had forged the life she always desired.

They were the shining example for the family, this family that had grown into children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, both of blood and not, and as each stood in the room, all eyes fell on brother and sister.

Son and daughter.

None of them, Kevin nor Jenny, Emily nor Alexis, Jake nor Jay, William nor Michelle, April nor Lanie, would be any other place.


Emma slowly took the chair next to her mother’s bed, deftly avoiding the machines that whirred quietly, “Hello, mom.”

Kate’s eyes focused on her daughter and her hand found her daughters, “Em…Emma?”

Emma fought back the tears and allowed her thumb to caress the wrinkled hand which enveloped hers, “Hey mom.”

Kate smiled and relished her daughter, “You….you made it.”

“I got here as fast as I could, mom.”

“My sweet baby…”

“My crazy mother…”

“I…I waited…”

“I know mom. I know.”

“Wanted you…”

Emma could no longer hold the tears back as two fell from each eye, “I’ll always be here mom. Always.”

Kate saw the love and pain in her daughter’s face, she knew Emma would never be able to hide it because she never had been able to, “Oh my sweet baby girl, everything is going to be ok.”

Kate slowly disentangled her hand and used her finger to wipe at a few of the tears on her daughters face. Emma closed her eyes and relished the feeling, “We are all here mom. We all love you so much…”

A cough interrupted them but Kate was determined, “I love…you…too…”

Their hands grasped once more, “Mom, you are the greatest woman I’ve ever known. Thank you so much, for everything.”

“Al…al…always, my…my angel…”

Flashback, July 5th, 1986

Jamaican Islands

4:13 P.M.

They stood on the beach bathed in the sun and the ocean, the breeze wafting through the air cooling them, the water washing their feet as it fell back and forth on the shore. Mother, father and daughter stood together enjoying this vacation together, and when little Katie looked up she saw her mother, “I love you, Mommie!”

With pride her mother beamed, “I love you too, Katie-bug.”

Flashback, January 7th, 1997

New York City

8:29 A.M.

She couldn’t believe what she saw in front of her. A new car!

Kate jumped into her dad’s arms, “Oh dad, thank you!”

Jim smiled and laughed at the same time, “You are so very welcome, Katie.”

Flashback, January 9th, 1999

New York City

2:17 P.M.

She knew this would not be good but she never imagined this kind of pain, “Hello, my name is Detective Raglan, I’m with the NYPD. Can we have a seat?”

………..

“No! God, no!”

Flashback, March 9th, 2000

New York City

5:42 P.M.

She was just another fan to him but it didn’t matter, “And who can I make it out it too?”

“My name is Kate. Kate Beckett”

“Well Kate, Kate Beckett, I’m happy you came out today.”

“Thank…thank you.”

Castle laughed heartily, “No need to be nervous. It was my pleasure, Ms. Beckett.”

Flashback, May 7th, 2014

The Hamptons

6:32 P.M.


They stood on the beach, surrounding only by their best friends, and she shined in her white strapless dress that hugged her hips, “Do you, Katherine Beckett take thee Richard Alexander Rogers to be your lawfully wedded husband. To have and to hold. To love, honor and cherish. For better or worse, till death do you part.”

Kate smiled widely and did not fight the motion that flowed down her face. She was on fire, he had lit a spark within her heart, and her whisper carried around the world, “Always.”

“And do you, Richard Alexander Rogers take thee Katherine Anne Beckett to be your lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold. To love, honor, and cherish. For better or worse, till death do you part.”

Rick looked back at his daughter and the people who had come to accept him, and when he looked into the eyes of the woman he loved, she infused him with a flame that burned brightly in his heart, “Always.”

“Then by the power vested in me by the state of New York and the internet itself, I Kevin Ryan, do pronounce you Wife and Husband. That last part was her idea! You may now kiss the bride.”

Rick smiled and took Kate into his arms, “Bought time…”

Kate laughed and allowed herself to be pulled in, “Agreed.”

Flashback, April 3rd, 2016

The Loft

5:12 P.M.


She heard the door slam open and the hurried feet of her husband pound through the loft, “Kate? Kate? KATE? They said you came home early and I…”

Kate walked into the kitchen and saw her frantic husband, “Rick…”

Rick turned and quickly made his way over to her, “Kate are…what’s that in your hand?”

“It’s my pregnancy test.”

“Oh? And…”

Kate smiled and looked at her husband, “It’s positive…”

“It’s…It’s positive?”

Kate laughed and started shaking her head, “We’re having a baby.”

Rick paused for just a second, “Whoo hoooooo! Baby, we’re having a baby!”

Kate couldn’t hold back her laughter as her crazy husband danced around the living room, “I know…”

Rick paused and then rushed his now pregnant wife and took her swiftly into his arms, “I love you, I love you, I love you….”

“I love you too, Rick.”

Flashback, November 28th, 2016

New York Presbyterian

11:42 A.M.


She couldn’t believe it. Emma Rose Rogers-Beckett lay quietly in her arms. She was perfect, “Kate…she is beautiful.”

“She is the most precious thing I have ever held.”

“You did it, Kate.”

“We did it.”

“We did it…mom.”

“That is going to take some getting used too.”

“You can do anything. You are going to be a great mother…”

“For her? Always.”

Flashback, September 6th, 2017

The Loft

1:12 A.M.


The ride home from the hospital took forever, for neither of them wanted to speak after what had happened this evening. When Rick took that bullet, Kate Beckett saw her life flash before her eyes, and the anger that she felt at him leaving her tore through her like a knife to a kidney.

She was furious when they walked in the door of the loft, though thankfully, Emma was with Lanie, “You can’t keep following me around, you are going to get yourself killed and leave Emma without a father!”

“Oh so it’s ok for you to be cop and nearly get yourself killed, but not me? That’s rich! She would miss you even more!”

“She would miss us both!”

“And neither of us have to do this everyday. You could quit.”

“I’m not a trophy wife, Rick!”

They tore into each other, life and love versus duty and honor warring itself within the loft, “I don’t want you to be! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t worry about you everyday. You don’t have to do it Kate, we have enough money to last us three lifetimes!”

“This is who I am, Rick. This. Right here! If you can’t accept that, then you shouldn’t have married me.”

“Sometimes I think you never wanted me too!”

Both paused in shock. They had never gone that far, and though they argued frequently, this was different. Castle could only shake his head, “Dammit.”

As was so often the case, her eyes told the story, “Get out.”

“Kate. No, don’t do this…”

If she was going to lose him, then dammit it would be on her terms, “Get out! Just…leave. Leave now…” She screamed at him and pointed towards the door.

He could barely process what she was saying, “For how long?”

She sighed and began to cry just a little, “I don’t know…”

Flashback, September 14th, 2017

The Loft

6:31 P.M.


He stood at the door, tired and disheveled, a mirror to her and her state, “Kate…”

She sighed at the sight of him, “Rick…”

“This isn’t working.”

“What isn’t?”

“Being apart.”

“I know. I missed you so much. I’m so sorry, Rick. I’m so, so sorry.”

“I’m sorry too, Kate.”

“Please…please, don’t leave me again.”

“Never. Never, I swear.”

Flashback, October 16th, 2023

The Loft

5:51 P.M.


The moments that really count are the ones she could look back and know that she made them count. She put numerous criminals behind bars, she did important work, and she did it for the citizens of New York. More importantly, she did it for the little girl covered in flower and running towards her.

Emma slid forward in her socks and collided with Kate and her leg, “Mommie!”

Kate reached down and steadied her rambunctious daughter, “Umph….hey sweetie, how was your day?”

“Daddie, Charlie and I made cake!”

Kate’s smile filled her face, “I can tell! You are covered in flour baby girl…and so is your father. Rick?”

Rick walked forward, covered in flower, with a towel over his shoulder and a smile plastered on his face, “It got a little out of hand.”

“Mommie, Daddie has a surprise for you too!”

“Oh God…”

“Yay, come look! Come look, mommie!”

Just as she wondered what could possibly be more surprising than coming home to this, her son Charlie barreled into her other leg, “Umph…there is my adorable baby boy. Also covered in flower.”

Charlie smiled shyly at his mother, the differing personalities of her children on wonderful display, “Love you mommie…”

Kate couldn’t hide the joy at coming home to her children, even when they were covered with flour, “Come here, baby.”

Kate picked up Charlie and held her on hip, while being led to the kitchen by the hand of her precocious daughter. When she saw the cake, she beamed with pride. It was gorgeous, if not completely lopsided.


“Oh sweetie, I love it! That is beautiful, did you guys make this for me?”

Little Emma bounced on her feet and clapped her hands, gleefully happy that her mother loved her cake, “I did, I did!”

Charlie hid his face in his mothers shoulder but whispered, “So did I.”

“I love it angel, I love it.” Kate leaned into her son and placed a kiss on his cheek, eliciting a small giggle from her shy little boy.

“And we have one more surprise for you too!”

Kate turned to Emma, “Oh another surp…”

When she least expected it, Rick tossed some flour into Kate’s hair and yelled, “Surprise!”

Kate paused in utter disbelief, and turned swiftly to her son, “What do you say Charlie, let’s get 'em!”

Charlie’s smile told her all she needed, and she grinned deviously as she turned back to her family, “Oh you are both so going to get it!”

Kate swiftly set Charlie down and ran at his father, while Kate chased her daughter around the island in the kitchen. When she caught her, she began to tickle her mercilessly, and her giggles and laughter filled the loft with the most beautiful of music, “AHHH! Mommie! Daddie save me!”

Rick had his own problems, “Sorry baby girl, you are on your own!’

Flashback, January 7th, 2055

The Loft

9:05 A.M


Cancer. Cancer had made the last few months painful. For both of them.

As Lanie stood with her hand on Kate’s shoulder, the mood in the room was solemn and mournful. Kate could barely ask the question she knew she needed to ask, “Is it time?”

“I’m sorry, Kate. But yeah…it’s time.”

A few minutes later….

He laid in bed, tubes everywhere, and she could see his struggle even through the mask he tried to desperately to maintain for her. He always did that. He always tried to save her, to guide her, but over the years, they had found that when they tried to save each other, when they both thought of each other, the bond they held was stronger than anything that might tear them apart.

Kate sat down in the chair next to Rick’s bed, “Rick…”

Rick reached out and took her hand in his, and she leaned forward and kissed him softly on the lips. As she sat back down, she could hardly hold everything back, “I love…you…darling…”

“Oh Rick, I love you too, baby.”

Rick coughed violently, “I think…I think…I…have to go now, Kate.”

She knew it was selfish, he was in so much pain, but the thought of a life without this man made no sense to her. It was illogical. It didn’t make sense. Death never does, and so, she pleaded, “No, please…please…you said you never would…”

Rick smiled and struggled to stay awake, “I don’t think I can fight this anymore…my love.”

“Oh God, Rick. What am I…what do I do?”

“Like you once…implored of me. Live. Live baby. For me.”

“I don’t know if I can. I love you so much…”

“You can. And you will. I did all of this for you. Now, live. For me.”

“You made my life so much better…”

“I k…kn…know.”

“Rick…I love you baby! I love you….”

The Richard Castle Building- New York City

January 7th, 2062

9:13 A.M


After a few moments of silence, Charles reached up and turned off the machines that surrounded his mother. The room was bathed in sadness, and Emma could no longer hold back the raging river, “Mom?”

Charles hand tightened on his sister’s shoulder, “We love you so much mom…”

Emma squeezed her mothers hand softly and plead with her, “Mom?”

Charles leaned forward and joined his sister for just a moment, “Mom?”

Another agonizing moment passed as the reality of the situation sunk in to those in the room. Charlie had to bring his sister back, “She’s gone Emma. Emma…love. She is gone.”

Emma looked up at her brother and sobbed, “Mom…mom…”

Somehow, Your Imagination

Someplace, Your Dreams

Sometime, Where it Doesn’t Matter


The enormous green field stretched for miles in all directions, the sun shone brightly, and the cool wind bathed her in comfort and solace. When she woke, she was disoriented but soon regained her composure. When she turned, she saw those she never thought she would see again, “Rick?”

Rick smiled and walked towards the woman he loved, “Bought time you got here.”

Kate didn’t understand this turn, the last thing she remembered was going to sleep, “I...how...Rick...”

Rick wrapped his arms around Kate and brought her into his chest, “I told you I would never really leave you.”

Kate eagerly returned the hug and then over his shoulder saw someone she had only seen once since she died, “I don’t under…Mom?”

Joanna smiled as she stood in the field, hand in hand with Jim, “I told you so.”

“Where are we?”

Rick looked directly in her eyes and allowed the joy of the moment to sweep them away, “Together. Always.”

-fin


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