This idea popped into my head and I wanted to see if I could write it down before the season premiere. We all know how things really turned out in the season 2 finale, and how things apparently went during the summer. But this is just a wishful thinking sort of alternate end to season 2. It picks up during the talk between Beckett and Castle after she pulled him away from the party. What if Gina had walked in just a few minutes later than she really did?

Of course, I don't own any of the characters, but I'm just borrowing them for a bit.

It's my first fan fiction, and I didn't have anyone review it. Not really even sure how to do that yet. Please read and review, but please be gentle. Hope you enjoy it!


Gina stepped out of the limo in front of the precinct. She was somewhat annoyed that she had to meet him here...why couldn't he just pick her up? Why did she have to go chase him down? But really, as long as she could get him away from here, and away from that little police detective so he could actually do some writing for a change, she'd happily go chase him down.

She took two steps toward the building and then she felt it. On the bottom of her right shoe. And not just any shoe-her brand new Jimmy Choos that she'd been coveting for the last 3 weeks in the window of that little boutique on 5th. She finally broke down and bought them this morning, as a reward for herself that she finally got Rick to commit to finishing the damn book. And now she just had to be wearing them when she stepped in gum. And not just any piece of gum-some idiot must have been chewing an entire pack of the stuff, and of course couldn't be bothered to find a trash can. It was seriously the largest wad of masticated gummy mess that she'd ever seen, and now it was on the bottom of her shoe, and thanks to the way she stepped, was even stuck onto the leather on the inside of her foot.

"Damn!" she exclaimed as she tried to scrape it off on the pavement. Realizing it was a lost cause, she limped into the precinct to find a bathroom to try to take care of it as much as she could. Rick was going to just have to wait a few more minutes.

-Meanwhile, upstairs in the precinct...

"I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed working with you, and I just wanted to tell you..." Kate told Rick, trailing off and not really sure how to continue. She looked down, and then looked back up at Rick, her eyes showing him that whatever she was going to say, it was important.

"Kate...? What's wrong?"

She took a deep breath. "Geez, this is probably going to come out wrong, and this is going to sound really weird coming from me-I mean REALLY weird, and I don't even know if you still even feel the same way or want me to come... Oh, God, I'm rambling and I never ramble!" She took another breath. "Tom and I broke up so I don't have any plans for the weekend after all, so Castle, uh, I was wondering if you knew of anyone who might be wanting a houseguest for the weekend? Go to the beach? Maybe set off some illegal fireworks?"

Rick, who had been starting to get a bit worried at the sight of an obviously uncomfortable Beckett, went slackjawed at her announcement and her question. Beckett broke up with the pretty boy robbery detective? Or did he dump her? And she wants to come with me? Wait...they broke up! And she wants to come with me after all?

Beckett just stood there looking at him, and then rolled her eyes. "Castle, will you please close your mouth before you start drooling?"

He gave his head a shake and managed to close his mouth and avoid drooling. But the somewhat shocked look still remained as he asked " want to come with me? Really? To my house in the Hamptons? Are you sure? Really? Oh, my gosh, this is going to be so cool!" He sounded like a little boy who had just been told that he would get to meet his favorite NFL player.

"Yes, Castle, really." She gave him a small smile. "That is, if the offer is still open, and if you think you can handle me for an entire weekend..." she finished, with raised eyebrows and a somewhat seductive tone to her voice.

Rick blinked, and his jaw almost dropped again before he recovered himself into a smile. "My dear detective, the offer is most definitely still open, and I have no idea if I can handle you, but I think I am definitely up to the challenge."

They just stood there for several seconds, grinning at each other, both still a little shocked at what had just transpired between them. Behind the window in the break room, the other attendees at Castle's surprise party made no attempt to hide that they were watching the entire exchange, and also made no attempt to hide the smiles as they watched the detective and the writer stare at each other with goofy grins on their faces.

"So when..." started Kate, just as she heard a voice in back of Castle call "Richard...?"

Castle turned around to reveal Gina walking up to them, or rather limping up to them, with a highly irritated look on her face, a classy spike heel on her right foot, and carrying the matching left shoe.

"Don't ask" she began. "Hello, Detective, nice to see you again." Turning toward Rick, she continued, "Are you ready to leave yet? Because believe me, after what my new Jimmy Choos and I went through downstairs, I'm not really in a mood to wait for you."

Castle looked from Gina, back to Beckett, and then back to Gina. Turning back toward Beckett, she looked back at him with a confused look on her face that was slowly transforming into something else that looked like...hurt. "Ready for leave for what, Castle?" she asked softly.

Damage control. That was all he could think: I have to do damage control. The robot's voice from the old 'Lost in Space' series was going through his mind: "Danger, Will Robinson, Danger." After Beckett's revelation, he'd totally forgotten that he'd asked Gina to meet him here. Heck, he'd even forgotten that he'd asked her to spend the summer with him in the Hamptons. All he could think about was that somewhere out of his wildest dreams, Beckett was no longer with Demming, and she wanted to come with him! But she knew something was up, and he could NOT blow this, this chance that he'd been waiting for for the better part of two years.

Leaning in close to Beckett, he grasped her upper arms lightly, caressing them softly with his thumbs, and said earnestly "I have to take care of something with Gina before the weekend. Wait here. For all of the times you've told me to wait in the car, you owe me this. Please...just wait here while I take care of this. Please?"

Despite the bad feeling she had, the feeling that she was about to take a leap of faith but there was no way she was going to land safely, Beckett looked at him. She really looked at him, and saw something sincere in his eyes. Something different. Those eyes, for once, weren't twinkling with the amusement of a child pulling his latest prank, but were the serious eyes of a determined man. For all of the times that she said and thought that he couldn't act like an adult, she could see that this was so different, and that she had to give him the chance. Slowly, she nodded and said "Okay."

Rick squeezed her arms lightly for reassurance before letting go, and then turned back to Gina. Grasping her left arm in a brusque manner totally different than the way he'd just held Beckett's arms, he led her away down the hall and said "Come with me" in a tone that brooked no argument.

Waiting where she was, Kate saw them stop and start to talk, but she couldn't make out much of the conversation. She saw Gina point at the bottom of her shoe, and then gesticulate wildly with the Jimmy Choo in her hand, once coming dangerously close to stabbing him in the bicep with the spike heel so that he had to jump back. Kate had an idea of what was happening; somehow, it appeared that Gina was supposed to go with Castle to his house in the Hamptons. Yet, unless she was really off, the man was totally serious and genuine with his invitation to her and his happiness at her acceptance. Oh, Lord, what a mess. Could their signals have gotten crossed any more?

Just then, she heard a loud "What? You need to finish the damn book, Richard! Cops and robbers playtime is over! This is not a joke or a whim...this is your career, and it's my career! Are you insane?"

Rick cast a nervous glance back at Beckett and attempted to shush Gina. He spoke in low tones that she couldn't hear, but somehow she recognized how determined he was, even though she had no idea what was being said and, strangely enough, had never before seen him that seriously determined. Scratch that...she had seen him like that once-when he apologized to her for looking into her mother's murder. And to know that the guest list for a weekend at his house in the Hamptons ranked right up there with her mother's murder for importance for eliciting a serious reaction from him, especially when she was the sole guest...a funny feeling of anticipation started forming in her stomach.

She looked back at them as Gina threw her hands up in the air and stormed off toward the elevator, but not before jabbing her finger in Rick's chest and yelling "So help me, Rick, if I don't have that manuscript in my hands by mid-June, I will hunt you down and torture you in ways that you could only dream you'd be able to write about!"

Rick watched her retreating back, and then, rubbing his chest where she jabbed him, starting walking back toward Kate. About halfway back, he got out his phone and called someone. Kate eavesdropped unashamedly on his end of the conversation.

"Chuck? Rick Castle. Great. Listen, Gina will be coming back out in a minute or two. Sorry...she's on the warpath. She's not happy with me right now. Yeah, you got that right. Take her back to her apartment, will you? After you get done with that, meet me...hang on a sec". He looked at Kate and asked "Do you need to pack? Your hour sound OK?" Kate nodded. He got back on the phone and directed the chauffeur to Kate's address before hanging up.

Kate just watched him as he leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. "The next time I forget why we got divorced, will you just shoot me and put me out of my misery? Spare me any further pain and agony at dealing with her?" He opened his eyes and looked at her. "She's great at what she does...oh, crap, bad choice of words...I mean publishing, but we really need to stay at least 50 feet apart at all times. She really is a pain in the ass, like an elephant-sized hemorrhoid when you're trying to sit down on a hard chair. Why can't I remember that?"

Beckett rolled her eyes and shuddered, and said sarcastically "Thanks for the visual, Castle."

Rick grinned at her and came over to stand in front of her again. "Thanks for waiting. You listen much better than I do."

Kate raised an eyebrow at him. "That goes without saying. You gonna tell me what that was all about?"

"Why, Detective, I know that you're amazing at what you do, so I think you've probably figured most of it out by now. But to fill in the blanks, as far as I knew, you and Demming were going off somewhere together. I just...didn't want to get in the way. You deserve to be happy, and you wanted him even though I..." he looked away like he was trying to find the right words, before looking back at her and continuing, "might wish that something was different. So I was going to take some time to get away, to get out of your way. I just couldn't be around anymore, watching you...with him. You know?" She got a fluttery feeling in her stomach at what he was saying, and implying, which was much what Esposito had told her just the night before. At his words, she started to feel a lot more confident about the risk she had just taken. He continued, "Thought I might be able to finally finish the book. Then Gina called, and I invited her along in a moment of weakness so I wouldn't have to be all alone at the house. I really was facing a bleak Alexis, no mother,"

He paused, looked off into the distance and smiled as he brought his eyes back to hers. But then you made that comment at the unlike you, but I love it, by the way...and then you dragged me out into the hall and you looked so adorably flustered." He reached for her hand and gave it a squeeze before continuing. "But I must say you could have knocked me over with a feather when you not only told me that you and Demming weren't together, but you wanted to come to my house for the weekend. But then Gina came by right afterwards and, oh, the look on your face when you heard what she said...I thought our weekend was over before it started. Thank goodness she didn't get here before you got a chance to tell me you and Demming had broken up...oh, wow." As he said that, he got a strange look on his face.

"Castle, what's wrong?"

"Part of Gina's rant was about getting an asteroid-sized glob of gum on the bottom of her new Jimmy Choos, so she'd spent the last 10 minutes in the restroom downstairs trying to wash them off. If she hadn't stepped in the gum, and had gotten here earlier..."

"...then we would never have talked." Kate finished for him. They locked eyes for several seconds, each lost in their own thoughts.

At that moment, they both remembered the crew in the breakroom, and, still holding hands, turned in unison to look over at the four sets of eyes staring at them above four identical grins.

Rick turned to look back at Kate, waiting for her to yank her hand out of his in embarrassment, but she surprised him by shrugging her shoulders and saying "Come on..." as she tugged on his hand to lead him into the break room, yet kept his hand firmly in hers.

She stopped at the open doorway. "Hey, Captain? I know I haven't accumulated much vacation time back yet, but do you think you could spare me for a day or two?" With a quick look at Castle, she added "I suddenly have developed some plans for the holiday weekend and I'd like to take a couple of extra days."

Montgomery was elated at the prospect that his best detective-and good friend-was apparently going to finally get a life outside the precinct. She was excellent at what she did, but he'd been worried about her for a long time, how serious she was, the long hours she worked, how she took every case to heart and took it personally if she couldn't find justice. That, over time, would weigh anyone down, but with the history with her mother added in there, he worried about her burning out sooner rather than later. Castle, although outwardly the complete antithesis of Beckett, was the perfect foil for her and he could see the change in her-for the better-since he started shadowing her. She was lighter somehow, and if possible, she was even more effective at her job with him around. He was good for her, both professionally and personally. Now it appeared that she was finally starting to realize it.

Captain Montgomery tried very hard to keep a straight face, but had to fake a cough to cover up a smile. Trying to feign seriousness, he said sternly "Detective, you're a valuable member of my team. But I need you at 100% and you've been driving yourself too hard, running yourself ragged lately. I was about to order you to take some time off anyway. I don't want to see you back here until next Thursday. We'll survive. Got it?" She nodded in mock seriousness.

The Captain looked at Castle next. "Castle, it'll be really different around here without you around. So how long do you think you'll need to finish your book before you can get back here to give everyone some comic relief?"

Castle initially looked as if he didn't know what the Captain meant, but then realization dawned on him that if he was reading Beckett correctly, the reason for his self-imposed exile from the precinct had just vanished into thin air. He glanced at Beckett, who was chewing on her lip, while looking at him out of the corners of her eyes, obviously waiting for his answer. He flashed back to the shocked look on her face, her stunned body language when he told her just the day before that this case would be their last. He didn't see it then because he was wallowing in his own misery over watching her with Demming, knowing she was going away for the weekend with him. But her reaction took on a new light, and, he thought happily, his plans of spending the summer in the Hamptons had just been cut dramatically shorter.

Squeezing the hand of Beckett's that he still held in his, he glanced at the faces of everyone in the room before his gaze settled on the Captain. "Far as I know, there's nothing wrong with your hearing, any of you, so I'm sure you heard Gina threaten me with grievous bodily harm if I don't have the book finished by mid-June. Actually, the book is pretty close to being finished now...just have to tweak some parts. So I guess you guys will get me back well before the end of the summer, if that's OK with everyone?"

There were smiles, handshakes, pats on the back and a chorus of comments like "Great!" and "Cool!" before Ryan asked "Hey, Castle, what was Gina doing here anyway? And what did you do to make her so mad?"

Castle started to say something, but then thought better of it. "Oh, she just has a nasty hemorrhoid problem..." he deadpanned, as Kate put her hand on her forehead and closed her eyes and unsuccessfully tried to stifle a laugh. "And she stepped in a wad of gum outside in her new pair of ridiculously expensive shoes, so she was pretty cheesed off." Glancing at Beckett, he murmurred "Thank goodness for gum, huh?"

"Totally." she replied, returning his smile. Then, looking back at everyone else, she said "Gotta run, guys. I have some relaxation that I'm late for. I'll see you all next week." She turned, walked over to her desk and grabbed her purse. She turned toward Castle, who was still standing in the doorway to the break room where she left him, and said "Hey, Rick, you coming or you gonna stay here and get your testosterone fix all night?"

With a wave over his shoulder to the others, he replied "Right behind you, Kate." and scurried toward her retreating form toward the elevator. When he caught up with her, he casually put his arm around her shoulder and leaned in close to tell her something. Whatever it was that he said made her throw back her head and laugh. As they waited for the elevator, the occupants of the break room who were watching them were shocked when they saw the Detective not slap Castle's arm away as they would expect, but instead appeared to even lean somewhat closer him.

They entered the elevator and stood next to each other, his hand tentatively grasping hers as they gazed at each other with small smiles. This was the last sight of them that the others saw before the elevator doors closed. Then they all looked at each other for five full seconds before they all started to chuckle. Esposito said "Now that that's finally done, let's check and see who won the pool. The next one can be for when we hear an engagement announcement. And I'm calling Christmas!"