She watched with a devastated expression as Castle and his ex-wife/publisher exchanged glowing smiles, looking so happily at each other, their eyes lighting up as they reminisced about the 'old times' Gina had just referred to. It was all Kate Beckett could do not to let the tears tumble out and fall down her cheeks. Gina slipped her arm around his waist, squeezing closer to him, and Kate tried her best not to let it rile her up too much. She could feel the eyes of her friends and colleagues as they watched this tragedy unfold. She had to remain composed, collected.
"Yeah," Castle said nodding, turning his smiling, happy face away from Gina to refocus on Kate. "So… I'm sorry. You were… uh… you were telling me something?"
"Yeah," Kate nodded numbly. "I wanted to say… have a great summer."
His eyes lit up with that twinkle she loved so much. Castle looked so thrilled and excited for the weekend away in the Hamptons. No doubt he was already thinking of all the ways he could get lucky. "You too. And like you said. It's… it's been really, really great."
"Yeah, it has," Kate replied, ducking her head down, wishing her hair was longer so it could conceal her face. She could only hope her friends weren't able to see her expression.
Castle extended his hand, and she stared at it for a long moment, before accepting. They shook hands slowly, locking eyes as they did so. She swallowed and withdrew her hand before it became too awkward, and watched as he turned around, arm draped casually over Gina's shoulder, and walked away, pausing briefly to wave goodbye to those rubberneckers watching this train wreck from the break room.
But before he could fully disappear, she couldn't help shouting out, in a hopeful expression laced with a hint of sorrow and regret, "See you in the fall?"
Castle and Gina slowed for a second so he could glance over his shoulder at her, standing there all forlorn and alone. He smiled tightly, eyes crinkling. "See you in the fall," he echoed back.
And then he was gone.
Kate dropped her head. The scene was heartbreaking. She could feel her friends watching her with sympathetic expressions. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, trying to regain some control over her emotions. Turning her back on her friends, she bit her lower lip, brow furrowed, as she stalked over to her desk, grabbed her coat and bag.
"Kate!?" Lanie called out, her tone one of compassionate understanding, ready and willing to offer her support and comfort in her time of need.
A fleeting twinge of guilt clenched in her chest as she ignored her friend's call. But she couldn't deal with it right now. She just needed to get out of there. Now.
Castle rose early in the morning. He shifted in bed, gazing down at his sleeping companion with absolute adoration. Gently, so he didn't wake her, he untangled himself from her lax, warm body, deciding she deserved a chance to sleep in, especially considering their vigorous and passionate activities of the previous night. After that scene in the precinct with Kate, she had been particularly enthusiastic and demanding, as if she needed to prove something, claim what was hers. He thoroughly encouraged and approved of such notions as it often led to some really, really mind-blowing sex.
Tugging on a pair of boxers, Castle left the master bedroom and padded out to the kitchen. He glanced out the large windows at the rolling waves. He always loved coming to his Hamptons house on long weekends. But he had to admit, it had always been better when she was able to accompany him. She had a demanding job, so it was difficult to find time off to get away. Thankfully that wasn't the case for the Memorial Day weekend. Still, he knew she'd likely be on top of him to write the final chapters of Naked Heat, one of the downsides of being in a relationship with someone you worked with.
He'd just started the coffee maker, when he heard her footsteps behind him. He turned to meet her, wrapping his arms around her waist as she arched up on her toes to give him a lazy kiss. Pulling back, Castle gazed down at her, taking delight in the sight of her in his shirt.
"Like what you see?" she teased, flicking up a perfectly arched eyebrow.
Castle bobbed his head, almost comically. "You've always looked amazing in my shirts," he replied with a playful grin and a suggestive waggle of his eyebrows, adding, "Though I think I prefer you with nothing on."
She laughed softly, squeezing his bicep as she listed into him. They stayed like that for a moment, lightly touching one another as they listened to the coffee percolate.
"Do you think they bought it?" she asked at length, her brow wrinkling with concern.
He brushed his lips against the corner of her mouth, trying to turn her frown upside down. "I think so, yes," he assured.
"You don't think we oversold it?" she asked, still frowning, though her lips quirked up as he began nibbling down the perfect slope of her neck, easily finding her pulse point.
"No," he asserted. "They have no reason to suspect."
She smoothed her palms over his shoulders. "We should probably send a gift basket to Gina," she said.
Castle pulled back, and stared at her with an irritated expression. "Kate…," he whined. "How many times have I told you, never mention that harpy while I'm trying to seduce you."
Kate rolled her eyes at him, patting his shoulder in a conciliatory manner. "Sorry, babe," she apologized. "But you know I'm right. She really helped us out yesterday, especially on such short notice."
"Ugh," he groaned, stepping back. "You have no idea how hard it was pretending I'd made up with her." He turned around to open up the cupboard, pulling down two mugs for them. "There's a reason we got divorce."
"Well, I appreciate it, especially after I had to break up with Tom," Kate said.
"Yeah, why'd you have to do that?" Castle asked, surprised at how peeved he sounded. He pursed his lips, and flashed her an apologetic expression. "I mean… we had a good thing going with that. Everyone totally bought that you and Demming were an item. It was the perfect cover to help keep our relationship a secret."
Kate chuckled, shaking her head. "Gonna miss our double dates with Tom and his boyfriend?"
"Are you serious? Yes!" Castle gasped. "They're so funny. And not to mention the most adorable couple ever—besides us, of course. Plus, Paul was going to hook us up with tickets to the next Taylor Swift concert."
"Don't worry, babe, we'll still see them," Kate assured, sliding in behind him and linking her arms around his torso, hugging him from behind. She pressed a series of light kisses along his shoulder. "But we still need to keep this a secret from the others, at least, until I get a chance to talk with Captain Montgomery."
"You worry too much, Kate," Castle soothed. "Roy will totally be cool. He's like the best boss ever. I'm seriously jealous. At least you don't have a witch of an ex-wife sending death glares whenever you're late on making a deadline."
"Soon, babe, I promise," Kate asserted, before sighing and averting her eyes momentarily. "Though, it's going to be a shock for them. And I'm just not looking forward to the ribbing we'll get from Ryan and Esposito. Do you know they've been taking bets about when we'd hook up?"
"Well, jokes on them, 'cause we're already together," Castle chuckled slightly as he pulled the pot out of the maker and poured them each a cup of coffee. "And I don't think we have to worry about them razzing on us. Remember how they kept teasing us when they found me in your apartment during the Scott Dunn case."
"How could I forget," groaned Kate as she padded over to the refrigerator to retrieve the creamer. "It was so embarrassing."
"Just imagine their faces when they realize that I really was making you pancakes to thank you for the other night," Castle joked, watching as Kate rolled her eyes, but still smiled at the memory of their first time. "That alone will make it so worth it."
Kate shook her head at him. "Hard to believe that was only a couple of months ago," she announced, rejoining him at the counter. She skimmed her fingers affectionately down his bare back as he accepted the creamer from her and finished making their cups of coffee.
"Any regrets?" he asked, handing over a steaming mug.
"None," Kate asserted, slipping an arm around his shoulder as she leaned into his side and took a sip of her coffee. The light glinted off the gold band on her left ring finger. She hummed. "I was never really one of those girls that dreamed of a big wedding. Going to the court with Martha, Alexis, and my dad as witnesses was more than enough for me."
"All I ever want is to make you happy, Kate," Castle said. "Always."
"And you do, Castle," she said. "You always do."
She smiled at him, moving her free hand up to caress his jaw with a loving touch he'd become so familiar with since they started their relationship in secret. Though terrible, her apartment blowing up had actually worked in their favor, since it gave him an excuse to invite her to stay at the loft. They'd used that time wisely, becoming more acquainted with one another and deepening their relationship. Eventually, to keep this relationship secret, Kate had to find her own place, and then after the case involving Esposito's old partner, the couple had met Tom Demming, and a cleverly brilliant scheme had been conceived to help keep their relationship a secret.
Castle dipped his head down to kiss his wife, letting out a contented sigh as they reluctantly parted. "You truly are extraordinary, Kate," he said. "I love you."
"I love you, too," she smiled, pushing up to kiss him again. "Now, how about you make me some pancakes… I think I deserve some after last night."
Castle smiled, wide and happy, smacking a quick, enthusiastic kiss on her lips. "Best. Honeymoon. Ever!"
anon prompt via castleficpromoter on tumblr: AU: All their personal actions during the later half of Season 2 were staged by Caskett, with Demming's and Gina's help, to conceal the fact they eloped sometime around 2x19, and were using the Memorial Day weekend to go away for their long delayed honeymoon.