A/N: For #CastleFanficMonday; takes place after "Crossfire", while Castle and Beckett are well on their way to recovery.


Castle has triumphed once more. Not over the forces of evil, or writer's block (same thing), or obstacles to his one true love. (She's fine, still married, thank you very much.)

He managed to walk up and down the hall outside his hospital room without assistance. Victory. He'd fist-pump if his arm wasn't so leaden.

He drops heavily to sit on the side of the bed and breathes deeply. Maybe he'll just lie down now. Have yet another nap. Save his strength for another foray into the halls. Later. He pours himself some water and toasts the empty bed on the other side of the room, the one that his one true love has inhabited since Monday. Since they both leaned on their respective doctors (and nurses) to move them in together.

Castle's argument was that he'd heal faster knowing how she was doing. Beckett's argument was that she's better at keeping him out of trouble (read: escaping captivity) than anyone, including the best trained security and medical personnel. Even while recovering from gunshot wounds.

She's downstairs having more tests, due back after lunch, so Castle lies back and pulls the sheet up over his lap, closes his eyes…

"Sleeping on the job again, Castle?"

It's a familiar female voice. His eyes snap open and he hears another familiar sound, a giggle, as he focuses on the source. Lanie.

"Lanie! Ow." Raising his voice has caused vibration in a sensitive part of his still-healing innards, but he grins at her and she comes over to the side of the bed, along with a second visitor whom Castle has met only recently.

"Alan," says Castle warmly. "What brings you here?"

Alan Masters, mild-mannered city inspector, smiles and says brightly, "Lanie. She was on her way to see Captain Beckett, so I thought I'd tag along. You're looking pretty well, actually, considering what I've been reading in the news."

"Lies," says Castle. "All lies. Well, except for part where - wait, I can't tell you that part."

"It's always something classified with you, isn't it," Lanie says. "When do they spring you?"

"Nobody's saying. And now that Beckett and I are in the same room, my tolerance for waiting has gone way up."

Alan turns to see the other bed. "Oh, you get to room together! That's great. When I was in the hospital I had a room to myself. It was kind of lonely. Until Lanie came along."

He gave Lanie a look that screamed "smitten!" and to Castle's astonishment, she didn't bark at the man, but gave him a look back that whispered "sweetie".

"Yeah, Lanie's bedside manner is, um, legendary," said Castle cautiously. Completely making that up, because none of Lanie's clients were usually conscious - or alive - enough to offer an opinion on her manner.

The look Lanie gave Castle hissed "that's enough out of you". Out loud she said, "Only for a select few. One, actually."

She smiled at Alan, who took her hand and kissed her cheek. Right there in front of the wide world. And she let him.

"Wow," said Castle. "You and Lanie. Wow."

"Yep," said Lanie. "Wow is right. Don't make fun, Castle."

"I'm not, really I'm not," he said earnestly. "I just - it didn't occur to me."

"What, that anyone but you and Kate could find true love?" she snorted. "I got two words for you: Kevin and Jenny."

"I stand corrected," said Castle humbly.

"Let me just note the date and time," said Lanie.

Alan was looking rather anxiously from one of them to the other. Lanie patted his arm and said, "Don't worry, baby, we're always like this. Doesn't mean anything."

Now that was fudging the truth, big time, but Castle didn't want to burst Alan's happy little bubble, so he said, "How's the inspector business? Anybody try killing you lately?"

They chatted for a few minutes. Then a voice piped up from the doorway.

"Lanie, is that you?"

Beckett was rolled into the room and transferred to her bed, amid smiles and waves and "Honey, I'm home," aimed at her husband. When she was settled, she beckoned Lanie over and they talked quietly while Castle tried to carry on a conversation with Alan about superheroes and comic lore.

Alan kept glancing over at Lanie and Beckett with their heads together.

"Should I be worried about that?" he asked Castle.

"If I didn't know Lanie was on your side, I'd say yes," said Castle. "But they're most likely plotting on your behalf, not against you."

"If you say so." Alan looked dubious. "Honey?"

It took a nanosecond for Castle to realize the man was addressing Lanie, who turned to look at him.

"I have to get back," said Alan. "You don't have to come with, you should stay here and visit."

"My shift's over," Lanie told Beckett. "But if you don't mind, I'm going to walk back with Alan. I'll stop by later."

"I don't mind at all," said Beckett with a grin. "You can tell me the rest of your news."

After saying goodbye, Alan and Lanie departed, Alan with a still slightly bewildered look on his face, as though the word "news" had some significance he didn't know about.

"What a pair," said Beckett, sighing.

"I did not see that coming," said Castle, shaking his head.

"Oh, come on, babe. You write stories in your head all the time - you see romance around you all the time, you didn't see Lanie's?"

Castle shrugged. "I used to see romance. Once you and I found ours, it took over my brain. Among other organs."

He smirked. She rolled her eyes. (All was well.)

"Certain of your 'organs' were leading the charge long before we became 'us'," she pointed out. "And you still managed to see it, often enough."

"Like when?"

"Elise Finnegan and her late con man, Steven Fletcher," said Beckett promptly. "Jeremy Preswick and Emma Carnes. Greg McClintock and Amy Porter."

"Greg - ?"

"Nurse McDreamy," Beckett reminded him.

"Oh yeah," said Castle. "The couple whose idea of fine dining was Burgeropolis. Then there was Paul Whittaker and Ann Hastings."

"Who is about to make Detective, by the way."

"Awesome." Castle thought of Svetlana Renkov and Charlie Reynolds, Emma Riggs and Angelo Vasquez, and all the other lovers separated by murder, and decided to focus on the positive. "And now, Lanie and Alan Masters."

He looked over at Beckett, who was smiling at him, that soft indulgent smile she got when she watches him spin a tale.

"A writer and his muse," she added. "Fighting crime."

Every writer needs inspiration. Thank God, Castle still had his.


For those playing "Name That Episode!":

* Alan Masters appeared in "Dead Again".

* Elise Finnegan and Steven Fletcher were characters from "Fool Me Once".

* Jeremy Preswick and Emma Carnes appeared in "The Fifth Bullet".

* Greg "McDreamy" McClintock and Amy Porter appeared in "Anatomy of a Murder".

* Paul Whittaker and Ann Hastings appeared in "Heroes and Villains".

* Svetlana Renkov and Charlie Reynolds were characters from "Need To Know".

* Emma Riggs and Angelo Vasquez were characters from "Number One Fan".

How did you do?