Epilogue

Standing out on the deck at his beach house, Richard Castle stood up on his tip-toes, his tongue trapped between his teeth, as he finished stringing up the banner that read, "Happy Adoption Abby!" in bold, black lettering. Was he going over the top? Possibly, but that was also his way; he wouldn't be Richard Castle if he wasn't going over the top about something. Besides, this was a day to be celebrated thoroughly.

Once the sign had been looped over the light fixture, Castle stepped back to admire his handiwork and—oh. Well, the sign did droop down pretty far over the sliding glass door. So far that it would be difficult for an adult to get in and out, but that was okay; they could just go in and out the regular door that led to the hall by the kitchen and bathroom. Most importantly the sign looked great and Abby was going to love it.

Despite the fact that they had originally agreed to take their relationship slowly, Kate and Castle's had turned into a rather whirlwind one anyway. They became engaged over Labor Day weekend and Abby and Kate officially moved into the loft not long thereafter. While they planned their spring wedding, Castle had first broached the idea of officially adopting Abby once they were married to make their family official in every sense. A tearful Kate had happily agreed, and they began the paperwork, which was not officially completed until after their April wedding. Now that everything was legal, they were using the first warm weekend in May to invite their family out to the Hamptons to celebrate.

Just a minute after the sign was hung, Castle's wife and daughters joined him on the porch and he proclaimed, "Ta-da!" while sweeping his hand towards the sign. Both Abby and Alexis clapped while Kate said, "Very nice, babe."

Tugging on the skirt of her dress, Abby looked up at him and asked, "Do I get to have an adoption day and birthday every year now?"

"Sure why not!"

"Rick!" His wife scolded before bending down to look at her daughter. "No, Abby, just a birthday. Adoption day is a one-time only celebration."

When the girl looked slightly crestfallen, her father leaned down and stage-whispered, "We'll have our own celebration!"

She grinned, threw her arms around her neck and said, "Thanks Dad!" before scampering off towards the sand with her sister. Much to Castle's utter joy, Abby had been thrilled from the moment they told her about the adoption plan. She was happy about having "a new, better dad" and had been calling Castle by the moniker ever since.

"You," Kate said, dusting her fingers down the center of his chest, "are a terrible influence."

He shrugged and said, "I know, but it's part of my charm."

"It's part of something," she added, rolling her eyes.

"Hey." He poked her arm and then grazed his hand down it. "Is something wrong? You seem a bit…edgy and this is supposed to be a happy weekend."

"It is and I am happy but…" Her voice drifted off and she gazed down at the deck for a moment before whispering, "I…I think I might be pregnant."

"REALLY!?"

She jumped, startled by his enthusiastic outburst. Her brow wrinkling she said, "I…I thought we wanted to wait?"

Grin spreading across his face he pulled her into a hug. While planning a wedding, they had also spoken about having a third child together and agreed it was something they both wanted, but that they should wait until they were married at least a year before trying since their relationship had progressed so quickly. Now, it seemed those plans had been dashed, but Castle didn't care one bit. "It doesn't matter to me, Kate." He sighed into the top of her head. "I'm happy to have a baby with you any time."

She squeezed her arms around his waist and sighed, "I love you."

He kissed her head and squeezed her even tighter. "I love you, too."


A/N: thank you all so much for your reviews on this story - I'm so glad you all stuck around for this admittedly different type of caskett journey.

Up next I have a variety of things, actually, but I think I'm going to start with Something To Hold On To, which is an AU twist on the end of 3x24 prompted by the prompt overlord herself, Lou (InkyCoffee). It will only be 3 parts and then we'll get into multi chap, Back of the Beginning, which is an AU-meet version of 1x01 assuming RC/KB previously knew each other.

...unless I get my rear-in-gear and do a WIP for the Summer ficathon? maybe? Guess you'll have to wait and see!