She's groggy as she comes to, her eyes fighting to stay closed, her body fighting to stay asleep. It's over. All of it. Done. She achieved her long sought after justice, but at what cost? Her life? Her husband's life? She dragged him into this and now -
More of her mind starts to swim into consciousness. This isn't the hard ground of their kitchen floor beneath her. It's softer, like a bed even. How did she get here? And where is here exactly? And what about -
His name is a whisper on her lips as she finally manages to open her eyes and take in her surroundings. A hospital. But how? Who found them? And where is he, is he okay? She has too many questions, and not enough answers. If she could just reach her call button -
"Beckett." Esposito's in the doorway, relief flooding his features. "You're awake."
"Castle," she croaks out again. "Is he -"
"He's going to be fine," Esposito assures her. "Same as you. He's in the room next door."
The tightness in her chest alleviates, her eyes nearly welling with tears of relief. She didn't lose him. He's not dead because of her. Neither of them are. And everything, LocSat, Bracken, this whole damn case, is finally over. They can breathe again. Live again.
"Javi, who found us?" she asks, dragging her eyes up from the hospital blanket to meet his.
"Someone in your building heard the gunshots and called 911. When dispatch got the address to us -"
"You knew it was the loft," she nods, taking it all in. "Is Castle awake yet? Can they wheel me in to see him?"
"Beckett, you just had major surgery."
"It isn't the first time," she's quick to protest. "Please, I need to see my husband."
"I'll ask," he sighs, turning to leave. "I need to find your doctor anyway. Let her know you're awake."
He pauses in the doorway, turning to look back at her.
They won't let her out of bed. And they won't let him out of bed either. So naturally, she asks the nurse for the phone extension to his room and calls him from the phone sitting by her bedside. She hears the nurse tell him the ringing phone is for him before his voice fills the other line.
"Babe, it is so good to hear your voice."
She hears his soft laughter in response. "Likewise. How you holding up over there?"
"I've been better. I've also been worse. You?"
"Yeah about the same."
Neither of them speaks for a moment, as though the sound of the other breathing on the other end is all the comfort and reassurance they need.
"So uh, crazy about Caleb, huh?" Castle asks breaking the silence.
She nearly snorts at his segue."Don't make me laugh right now, it hurts."
"You're already laughing about this?"
She shakes her head, even though she knows he can't see her. "No, just the way you brought it up."
"Is it really over this time? We got them all and lived to tell about it?"
She thinks back over them all. The lives they lost, the battles they fought. Coonan. Lockwood. Royce. Montgomery. Maddox. Simmons. Bracken. The multiple members of LocSat.
"It has to be," she answers softly. "I can't take anymore."
"I am so happy to hear you say that."
She smiles, wishing so badly that they could be having this conversation settled in each other's arms. "You haven't left my side in any of this since the day Dick Coonan walked into the precinct. Even when I tried to push you away or leave you out of the loop, you stayed. My battle became your battle and for years it's nearly gotten us killed. And today, yesterday, I have no idea what day it is, I really thought it was it for us. We'd fought the good fight and won...but also lost. I'm so incredibly sorry for getting you wrapped up in all of this, for nearly costing you your life. But I'm also eternally grateful to have the partner in crime that I have. I couldn't have done any of this without you."
"You're the love of my life, Kate. Like hell I'd let you walk through fire alone."
"Even in the beginning? Before we fell in love?"
"Especially in the beginning. You needed someone and I wanted to be that person. And now here we are."
She smiles again, silently begging their injuries to heal faster so they have the strength to get out of bed and be together. "You're a good man, Castle. An amazing one actually. One I am so proud to call my husband."
"You're the amazing one. I saw you take that bullet. I watched it not affect you until you'd taken the son of a bitch down. All these years later and I'm still amazed by the depth of your strength...and your hotness."
She smirks, her memory flitting back to the first time he told her such back in L.A. "I love you."
"I love you too, Kate. Always have, always will."
Several months later
"No, go this way," Kate instructs, nudging him in the opposite direction of where he's heading.
"But Remy's is this way," Castle protests, pointing in front of him.
"I want to take a little detour," she tells him with a playful smirk, lacing their hands together and tugging him along.
"A detour to where? Can't we do this after dinner? My stomach won't stop growling."
"You'll like it, I promise."
She watches his face as he recognizes the area and starts to catch on to where they're going.
"You want to swing before dinner?" he smirks at her. "Feeling nostalgic are we?"
She simply smiles in response, continuing to pull him after her in silence. They reach the swing set and she sits down in what has become her swing over the years, Castle following suit.
"A lot of big decisions about our relationship have been made in this little park," he starts, eyeing her with curiosity. "And to think it all started because I had a book signing in the bookstore right over there."
She bites her lower lip. "Did I ever tell you that I came here the night of Alexis's graduation before I showed up at your place? Sitting on a metal swing set in the middle of a thunderstorm after almost getting thrown off a roof." She shakes her head at herself. "Some wise decisions were made that day."
"At least one of them was definitely wise," he says, wiggling his eyebrows at her. "But no, I don't think you told me you came from here. What drew you to it?"
"Because I sat here, on that day of your book signing, and told myself that I wanted more even though I wasn't ready for it yet. And I think a part of me was trying to return to that moment months later and not lie to you about what I remembered from the funeral. Like I was trying to turn back time to get more time with you."
Castle reaches for her hand in her lap. "And now we have all the time in the world."
"That's not all we have."
Confusion stitches his eyebrows together. "What else is there?"
She squeezes his hand. "A baby. Or we will. In about eight months."
His jaw drops and he squeezes her hand back so hard she nearly winces.
"You're pregnant? Seriously?"
"All big relationship decisions," she grins, gesturing at the park. "See why we had to take the detour now?"
He stands and practically lifts her to her feet with the force of his hug.
"We're going to have a baby," he breathes into her hair. "A little boy or little girl. A baby. Ours."
Kate smiles against his neck, pressing her lips into his skin. "Happy Anniversary, babe."
Five years later
"Will you stop pacing? You're making me nauseous."
"That's what worries me," Castle tells her. "Your nausea was nowhere near this bad with Lily. What if something's wrong?"
"Every pregnancy is different, Castle. I'm sure everything is fine."
"But what if it's not?" he asks, still pacing. "What kind of decision are we looking at making?"
"Stop it with the worst case scenarios. Just calm down until the doctor gets in here. She'll do the ultrasound and you'll see that we made another perfectly healthy baby."
"But Kate -"
"I swear to god, Castle if you don't stand still -"
The doctor walks in and he freezes in place. Kate has to coax him back over to her side. She thinks that if she wasn't so nauseous, she'd be touched by his level of concern.
"All right, let's see what we've got here, shall we?" the doctor starts, lifting Kate's gown and applying the ultrasound gel to her stomach. "Are we interested in learning the sex today?"
They'd been at odds over Lily. Kate had wanted to know and Castle didn't. So they 'd compromised that their first child would be a surprise, and they would find out the sex of their second beforehand. Talking about having a second before they even had their first, had been a whole other interesting conversation entirely...
"We'd like to know," Kate answers her. "And to make sure he or she is healthy."
"Her nausea's been a lot worse this time. Could that be a problem?" Castle asks, ready to get right to the point.
"Oh I'm sure it's nothing out of the ordinary, but let's take a look."
She swipes the wand over the gel and an image fills the ultrasound screen. Kate still can't figure out how to read it. Trying to find Lily on that thing and failing had ended in a hormone induced disaster.
"Hmm, that could be the reason for the excess nausea," the doctor says, pushing some buttons to zoom in on the image.
"Oh no, what is it? What's wrong?" Castle asks, starting to panic.
"Nothing's wrong, Mr. Castle. You're having twins."
"Twins?!" they both ask incredulously.
"No, that has to be a mistake," Kate says, squinting at the screen. "You're reading it wrong."
"I'm sorry, did you learn how to read an ultrasound between last time and now?" Castle asks her.
The doctor smiles. "And they're both boys. Healthy looking too."
"Two boys," Kate laughs. "Castle, what the hell are we supposed to do with twin boys? Twin terrors?"
"I'm envisioning the most epic game of laser tag happening."
"I know twins sound like a lot of work, but I always like to remind people it's twice the love," the doctor says, taking a couple more images from the ultrasound before wiping the gel off. "I'll give you two a moment to digest."
"Twins!" Kate says again after she's left the room. "This was supposed to be our second child, not our second and our third."
"That psychic did tell us we'd have three kids. He just left out the part where we'd get more than one at once."
He starts laughing and reaches out to stroke her hair. "It's going to be okay, Kate. They've got a great support system. We have a great support system."
"Twins." Softer this time, her hands coming up to hold the swell of her stomach. "I'm carrying two babies. Two of our sons."
He kisses the top of her head. "Our next big adventure."
Three years later
"Daddy, I want the chocolate chip one."
"Lil, honey, that's your brother's. You asked for blueberry, so that's the muffin I brought you."
"But I changed my mind. Make Reece eat the blueberry."
"Reece doesn't like blueberry. You know how picky he is."
"He needs to be more like Jake. That kid will eat anything. And I mean anything."
Castle scrubs a hand over his face. "Do I even want to know what you've been feeding your brother?"
"It's all people food, I promise."
He sighs, turning at the sound of his sons' giggling as they're chased into the dining room by their mother. His heart has never been fuller watching them like this. He still can't believe they've really made it to this point sometimes, after everything they've been through. But he couldn't be more grateful that they have.
He watches Lily hold out the box of muffins to the boys, trying to entice Reece into taking the blueberry.
"She's got a future lawyer in her, that's for sure," Castle tells Kate as she moves to stand beside him.
"Well, look who her grandparents are. And her mother. It's not a far stretch."
"She's going to be an awful teenager, isn't she? Arguing about every little thing."
"Again, look at her mother. Rebel Bex."
He throws her a pointed look. "You're not helping."
She takes a seat next to him at the table, watching as Lily tries to negotiate into splitting the chocolate chip muffin with her brother. Meanwhile, Jake is already halfway through eating his lemon one.
"Who would have thought?" Castle starts, reaching across the table for her hand. "Some idiot commits murders I created for my books and it all ends up with us here."
"I sure as hell didn't. I just wanted you gone. I was so very wrong."
"I'm glad I convinced you otherwise."
"Me too," she says, smiling at him. "Should we step in there and help?"
"I think Lily has it under control. She got him to split the chocolate chip with her. Damn good lawyer, that one."
Kate laughs, stroking her thumb over the back of his hand. "Thank you for helping me to get to this point in life. No more demons, no more rabbit holes. Just this. Just happiness."
"Of course," he says lifting her hand to his lips. "Always."
AN: It's been a pleasure writing post-eps for you guys over the years. Sad to think this is the last one I'll ever have the opportunity of writing. Much love, Castle Fandom. See you for Summer Ficathon 2016. ;)