Disclaimer: Not owning Castle.

A/N: So I promised myself I would not write an "after" fic...clearly I'm a liar. I started this one before the finale aired and planned to publish it before but due to unforeseen events, that didn't happen. Once I watched, I decided to tweak the story a bit. This will be a series of oneshots telling how they get to "7 years later" and I hope all of you enjoy the telling of this tale.


Dawn is breaking on the horizon, painting streaks of gold across the wooden floor. The checkered pattern the sun leaves is warm beneath bare feet but a rug would make the place homey. Maybe they should spend the day searching for furniture, trying to make this place into theirs.

It was a whim. A last minute what the hell decision. They'd talked but never seriously and now they're here. It's a small space, nothing fancy like the loft but Beckett finds herself falling in love with it. She likes the size, she likes thinking of how warm and intimate it'll be once they fill it. She likes that she can look around and isn't assaulted by the memory of clutching Castle's hand and feeling the warmth leave her body. It's been a long few months…a hard time for them.

Less than twenty-four hours here and everything is already so different. She's picturing art on the walls, her little things on the shelves in the living room mingling with his. This is how they get their lives back.

She borrowed his shirt from the trail of clothing and left the writer tangled in a pile of blankets and pillows on the bedroom floor. Her back has a twinge in it from the christening of the new place paired with the lack of a bed. Her abdomen aches and she rubs at the newly formed scar, pressing against it and biting back a wince. Still tender to the touch sometimes and aggravated from the night they spent enjoying one another. It's the wound that still bothers her the most.

She never thought she'd love being without furniture but it's oddly quiet…sexy. Last night they made the most of it and even with the aches and pains, she regrets nothing.

She steps quietly through the space of the kitchen, imagining breakfasts and dinners alone with Castle. The place is just for them, private and new. Her fingers dance over the counter top, cool to the touch but bringing back memories of what they used it for last night. Her skin flushes with heat and her lips break apart on a smile. She's stupid with it, with the excitement of this new adventure, this new life, of having hot and wild sex on the kitchen counter and not worrying over the embarrassment of being interrupted.

Her stomach flips when she thinks of his hands on her thighs, scruff burns, and his mouth on her…focusing. She's supposed to be focusing on the empty rooms, coming up with ideas to fill them and instead she's too in love with what they've done. She never thought she'd be in Paris…to live. It's thrilling, scary, and beautiful. Maybe they won't stay here forever. Maybe it's just a stop on their journey but she's loving it, the privacy, the intimacy, the ability to explore with her husband and not worry about every single thing that's been weighing her down for the better part of a year.

Beckett pushes her hair out of her face and lets her shoulders drop. She can relax here. She can sit in the floor with her best friend and laugh with him, kiss his shoulder when he mentions being too old and "creaky" for the floor and remind him that he's not.

Standing in the kitchen is symbolic. It's empty. Everything stripped bare just like their lives. She always thought she'd be upset to leave New York, the city…her home. She is some, just over losing the familiarity, the family but even with a heavy heart, she's excited. Nervous. Everything is up in the air and she has a lot of mixed emotions. This is their do-over, their chance to recover on their own…together.

She's caught up in it, in the thoughts of what led them here and how this place is going to be a new start. She doesn't see him watching her until she closes her eyes for a moment to breathe and opens them again. He's there, right in front of her with a warm sleepy smile and foggy blue eyes.

Lacking a shirt and sporting some sex ruffled hair, he's almost too decadent. She fights the urge to drag him down to the floor for another round, battles the heat that rushes in her blood. Instead of diving in for more, she calms herself and settles for stepping forward to rest a hand on his waist. She presses her fingers into his skin, lifts up on her tiptoes to smudge her mouth against his. Quick and soft, ignoring the pull in her stomach.

"Morning." She presses the greeting into his lips, a smile tugging at hers.

"Good morning." A sleepy version of Castle tends to be one of her favorites and when his fingers dip between the buttons she left undone, she's reminded yet again of how lucky they both are.

He brushes the pad of his thumb over one of the most recent bullet wounds she's acquired and she does the same to him. Just to make sure this is real, bumping her nose to his and letting out a breath. Nothing is ever easy for them but these moments make it worth every bit of it. She wouldn't change their story, not even the worst parts of it.

Okay, maybe she'd nix the getting shot together part. His and Her bullet wounds are a bit much but they wouldn't be here in Paris, they wouldn't be healing together. She wouldn't be thinking of bigger and better things than being a captain. She's just Kate right now. She wouldn't be pressing another kiss to his mouth and letting her tongue slip past his lips for just a taste.

Or unable to contain her smile long enough to share more than one breath, one slick of her tongue over his.

"Definitely a good morning," he whispers, brushing her hair away from her face, holding her in place. As if she would ever pull away. "You okay?"

"M'fine."

"You're up early. Bad dream?" They do happen. Nights plagued with the shooting, with him dying. He suffers too and they've both had their share of sleepless nights and holding each other as close as possible in a sweaty, shaking heap of limbs just to feel a heartbeat.

"No, still getting used to the time change…and realizing we have no coffee."

"That is a problem."

"A serious one." Top of the shopping list she hasn't even made because she's too busy reveling in the idea of them, the small moments they've shared here already. "We should spend the day…"

"I'd say in bed but we don't have one." He wiggles his eyebrows, kisses her cheek until a soft laugh escapes her.

"Shopping, Castle. We need a bed, groceries would be good too." As much as she hates the thought, she pulls away from him and takes a couple steps back to point to the corner of the living room. "Bookshelf there."

"Not by the window? Natural lighting, good for reading."

"No, I like the corner. It's cozy and close enough to a window." She waits for his nod of approval. She's willing to compromise if he has other plans but he mulls it over with a furrowed brow and then smiles. "This is kinda exciting."

"Starting over or planning the layout in our underwear?"

"Both. And I'm not wearing any." He reaches for the shirttail and she smirks before he ever pulls it back to check, stifling a gasp when he groans and palms her ass to drag her closer. "Easy there, bud."

"Kate,"

"Plan our home with me." Instead of continuing the teasing, instead of wandering hands and mouths, he beams at her. With a squeeze of her hip, he agrees and she grabs his face, kisses him in thanks. "We have a lot to do."

They have boxes of stuff that should be coming from New York, not everything but enough to fill some space. The loft is technically still theirs, until they decide where they'll end up but for now this is their home and she has ideas.

A few possessions came over in their luggage. Some favorite copies of books, the important things she has to have. Their seashells from the Hamptons are already hanging on the wall of the bedroom. Recovery hasn't been easy for either of them - hers has been rough to put it mildly. The frustration, the pain, and how sometimes it leads to them taking it out on each other. The nightmares. So the first thing she wanted on the walls was a representation of them, of their love for each other. She wants a reminder of who they are and who they're becoming.

They plan out their kitchen and the living room while sitting in the floor. He mentions a few color schemes he likes for the bedroom and she spends five minutes arguing against pea green curtains. Only for him to admit he hates them too and just wants her riled. This is the man she loves. The man she married, her husband. And the one she…wants more with.

"…the spare room into an office for us." She only hears half but she reaches for his hand, pulls it over to rest on her thigh as she threads her fingers through his.

"Babe, there's something I think we should talk about."

"If you don't like the office idea, we can do a home theater or -"

"Or start a family?" It's been on her mind for awhile. Since she was lying in a pool of blood and clinging to his hand. Thinking she'd never get the chance, thinking they wouldn't get to start a family of their own.

His jaw drops, mouth open. Closing. Opening again as if he's searching for words and just can't find them. Her heart is racing, stomach clenching. This isn't quite how she wanted to go about this discussion but the light that sparks in his eyes, the way his hand grips hers as he settles on whispering her name is enough to make her think this is perfect.

"Are you -"

"No. Not yet…I just think after everything that's happened, now is the time."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. We've been through…everything and we made it out alive, if that's not a sign from the universe then I don't know what is."

"You were shot twice just…"

"You were shot too. We're healing, mostly physically healed." She's too far away. A foot of space between them is too much. Bridging the gap, she wraps an arm around his neck, leans until her forehead rests against his. "We can have a family, Rick."

He doesn't say a word. Smothers any she might have spoken with a kiss that has her crawling into his lap. Open mouths meeting again, and then once more. The rumbling of their stomachs forgotten, the need for food put on the backburner.

The planning of their home, the shopping list. Everything is pushed aside the moment she unbuttons the shirt she borrowed. This is where they start the rest of their lives. On a floor, in an empty place that's all theirs.

"We can start now." With Beckett pressing her mouth to the scar on his chest, they begin a new chapter.