When Martha gives Kate the earrings in 6x23 she says, "Only women of substance have worn these gems. They've been waiting for you, Katherine." I want the story behind her decision to keep them from both Meredith and Gina. Especially considering she supposedly set Castle up with one of his ex-wives. So what's the story? How did she know?

for #Castle FanFic Monday! Such a fantastic idea.

Maybe not quite what was thought,but I'm gonna run with for the lovely prompt helloharumi! Set a few weeks after Martha has moved out of the loft. Much much gratitude to castleincalifornia for her wonderful wordsmith skills and encouragement :)

"Katherine, dear, how lovely to see you!"

The words were laced with warmth, Kate taking the offered hug gratefully from her mother-in-law. The silence of loft was unbearable with Castle gone for the weekend, a quick book signing in upstate New York to keep up appearances before the latest Nikki Heat novel hit the shelves—an idea of Gina's. Deciding to take advantage of his absence by visiting his mother, Kate felt the wonderful sense of family encompass her as Martha ushered her into the apartment.

"It's good to see you too. I thought maybe we could catch up."
"Well come in, come in, darling!"
"I brought some wine."

Martha clucked her tongue, slipping her arm through Kate's and steering her towards the kitchen as she exclaimed loudly, "Ah, that's my girl!"

Kate reached into her bag with a laugh, grinning slyly as she glanced between Martha's soft blue eyes and the bottle of red that she knew to be a favorite of Castle's mother. The vivacious redhead had been on her own for a month now, the loft still quiet in her absence even as the newlyweds enjoyed practicing for little Castles.

They chatted comfortably as Martha poured the smooth red wine, the conversation turning from her play opening in three weeks (Castle had already secured their tickets for opening night, Kate assured Martha,) to the latest case the Castles had solved together.

"So. What brings you here, Katherine? Not that I'm not thrilled to see you, of course. Just…is something on your mind, dear?"

Kate pursed her lips before reaching into her bag once again, her fingers closing around the velvet box and holding Martha's confused gaze before she stammered quietly, her emotions getting the better of her. "I saw these this morning as I was getting ready and wanted to make sure I returned them to you."

The hinges on the box holding the precious jewels squeaked as Martha opened the lid, both women staring down at the azure diamonds sparkling up at them. Their almost wedding months ago, Martha's words from that fateful day, the day of their almost happily ever after all those months ago, lingered in the space between them. As Martha's fingers skimmed the earrings, proud tears filled Kate's eyes at the monumental meaning behind the jewelry.

"Thank you, Martha. For lending them to me."
"Oh, Katherine…"
"You told me that day that they were 'waiting for me'…" Kate trailed off, the confusion evident in her voice as she left the rest of the question unspoken.

They rarely spoke about their first attempt at a wedding, the small ceremony that finally declared them husband and wife eclipsing the bad memories from that day. Martha took her time in pouring more wine into the now empty glasses before answering.

"Meredith wasn't the marrying type. I never saw them lasting, unfortunately, and I didn't want to pass my family heritage along to someone I didn't see sticking around. They were both young, Richard fresh off another bestseller and Meredith a struggling actress. It was party after party, book signing after book signing. Neither of them knew how to get their life under control at first. Then Alexis was born and I think Richard was ready for more. Oh, he still wanted to enjoy the lifestyle," Martha laughed at Kate's raised eyebrows, both women remembering Kate's first encounter with the author, "but there was more at stake for him now. He wanted to be a good father."

Kate nodded, her hair shielding her eyes as she smiled softly. He had thrived in the role of fatherhood, and the image of him holding a newborn child of their own someday soon set her heart racing. Martha continued then, drawing Kate back into her memories.

"And then I set him up with Gina, believe it or not. Of course at the time it seemed like the right move. He was a single father, and he desperately needed some stability in his life. She was hardworking, pushed him to ditch the parties and focus on his books, and she was good to Alexis. For all of my mistakes as a mother, Richard's happiness was all that mattered, and I wanted Alexis to have a good role model."

A quick sip of wine stalled Martha's musings, and Kate thought about the previous women in Castle's life, how Martha had been privy to the highs and the lows. The joys of motherhood continued as her child grew, the pride evident in her tone despite the somberness of Castle's failed marriages.

"Their wedding was lavish, complete with Alexis in a dress far too ostentatious for a little girl. Still, something was off from the very beginning. Richard's smile that day was a little too forced, and I began to wonder if the marriage was right for him and Alexis both. I honestly couldn't bring myself to give her my earrings, Katherine. And I felt terrible, having put them together in the first place, but she wasn't his ideal partner."

Kate tucked her bottom lip between her teeth as she listened, cupping her chin in her palms to lean closer to Martha. A sad smile formed as Martha skimmed her finger along the rim of her glass, continuing quietly.

"Richard held back, always keeping Gina at arm's length from Alexis. I knew it wasn't right once they were settled, but Richard has a tendency to jump in with both feet, as you're well aware. Once he gets an idea in his head, he's going to run with it. Like shadowing you. Or buying The Old Haunt."

Kate laughed as she sipped her wine, lost in the story Castle's mother was spinning. She had always known from whom he got his fanciful imagination, and she leaned closer to Martha, enjoying listening to her mother-in-law bring Castle's family history to life. Martha turned and grasped both of Kate's hands in hers then, speaking confidently as she gave her daughter-in-law's hands a motherly squeeze.

"But with you…no, with you I knew. Richard was hooked from the moment you two met. He had a passion again, a need to find the story. Your story. He hadn't felt that way in so long. He was writing again. His eyes would light up when his phone would ring, eager to hear your voice and spend time with you, even when you were annoyed by his presence. He'd spent so long getting by on his wit and charm, but you weren't impressed by his antics. You fought him every step of the way, something he wasn't used to. Your strength and your integrity fascinated him. You were different."

Eyes dropping to the ring on her finger, the simple yet tangible reminder of their marriage, Kate felt the smile stretch across her face. She twirled the wine glass between her hands, rolling the stem between her palms as the blush tinted her cheeks at Martha's words.

"You changed him, Kate. I think you made him see that he could be more. You made him see that he could be loved. After everything with Meredith and the cheating, after the debacle with Gina both times, sometimes I wonder if he thought he didn't deserve happiness. You changed that for him. He's never been happier than he is with you, Katherine. And I will thank you for that until the end of my days."

Martha raised her glass in salute then, toasting to the happy marriage of her son and Kate. Sliding the box back across the counter, her voice trembled with emotion when she spoke again.

"These are yours now. I knew the day you met, I knew the day he proposed, I knew the day you wore these and were finally married. I would like for you to keep them. Pass them along to your children."

Kate's heart swelled with love at Martha's words, her longing for her own mother slightly abated by the closeness of Castle's. Swiping a finger under her eyes to catch the tears that had fallen, she gathered Martha into her arms and hugged her tightly.

"Thank you, Martha. I'll treasure them."
"Just as I will treasure you, my dear."