A/N: From two prompts on castlefanficprompts, one suggesting Kate is injured during 8x12, the other suggesting she's pregnant. As usual, a bit of departure from the prompts, but I hope it suits.


Kate Beckett was the worst patient ever. Everyone at the 12th knew that - some only through hearsay - her dad knew that, Castle knew that.

Fortunately, the emergency team at this hospital did not seem at all surprised. Castle wondered whether they were used to getting cranky injured cops here, or whether they were just naturally unflappable.

"I don't know why I'm even here," Kate groused. The nurse didn't comment; she was tapping and peering and scribbling on her clipboard. Castle, of course, couldn't help responding.

"You have a deep graze on your left shoulder," he repeated for the fourth time, "and you passed out."

"I did not. I don't faint, for crying out loud. Never have, never will."

"You did. In my arms. Espo was really mad - I think he wanted to catch you, but I got to you first."

Kate tried to roll her eyes, then flinched. "My head hurts."

"Probably whatever cocktail Brandon used to subdue us," said Castle.

"Lab results might take a bit," said the nurse. "We'll stitch up the wound right away. Do you need pain relief?"

"No," said Kate, then remembered her manners and added, "thank you."

Castle went out to update those in the waiting room on Kate's condition, amid general relief, and nearly everyone departed. Esposito came up to stand directly in front of Castle with his best don't-mess-with-me scowl.

"I know you two are on the outs," he said bluntly. "Even though technically you're her next of kin? Don't even think about using that access to your advantage."

"Me? Access?"

"She's a captive audience right now. If I hear that you've been picking an argument with her about your marriage - about anything - you'll be the one making a visit to emergency, you got me?"

"Loud and clear," said Castle, wishing he could break the silence on their self-imposed separation charade. "No pressure, no arguing."

Espo gave a short nod and left.

When Castle was permitted to see Kate again, she was resting after getting her stitches done, waiting for the all-clear from the lab in case she'd been dosed with something nasty enough to keep her hospitalized.

"I called your dad," said Castle, taking a seat in the chair next to his wife.

"You shouldn't have," she frowned, but Castle shook his head.

"I told him it was minor and that he didn't need to fly home from Texas to hold your hand," he said. "He said that was my job, anyway. I think he's onto us."

That got a smile out of her.

Half an hour later, Kate was actually dozing off a bit and Castle was holding her hand and contemplating her sleepy face, when a doctor came into the curtained area with typical cheer and bustle.

"Mr. and Mrs. Castle? I'm Doctor Beekman. I have your lab results - whatever was in your system has already left it. Everything looks clean."

"That's great," said Castle. Kate yawned and asked, "So I can go home now?"

"Just the usual paperwork and post-care instructions," said the doctor. "And your records don't indicate whether you have an obstetrician, so you should start looking for one pretty soon."

Suddenly wide awake, Kate said, "Obstetrician?"

Castle said, "What does that have to do with the - " and indicated Kate's shoulder wound.

"It doesn't, of course not," said Dr. Beekman. "But I noticed in your labs that the levels of - Wait. You didn't know?"

"For the sake of clarity," said Kate, "didn't know what, exactly?"

"You're pregnant," he replied. "Don't know how far along you are - the test here gives a simple yes or no result. I'll send a nurse in with your paperwork…"

He fled the scene as Kate and Castle exchanged flabbergasted stares.

"How could I not know that?" she said.

"You skipped, one month," Castle pointed out, having learned early on that knowing your wife's cycle was a survival skill. "And you're due just about now, right? So…"

"It would have been before Christmas," said Kate.

Their stares turned to grins, and Castle leaped up to hug her, though carefully.

"Wow," he said.

=tbc=