Disclaimer: I am just borrowing, keeping them safe and healthy, since the writers aren't doing so.
A/N: And here's the epilogue. It was supposed to be a short little thing, but it didn't turn out that way. I think I'm incapable of writing a fic where I don't include Alexis, so she needed a part, and after her…well, there were so many other topics this needed to cover. I hope you don't think Alexis is too OOC, I think she would be a HUGE advocate for the Castle/Beckett relationship, which is why she does some of the things she does. Other characters may be OOC too…if they are, I'm truly sorry (I did put this as AU though). All typos and mistakes are mine. I hope you enjoyed the story overall and here's one more chapter that I hope you'll enjoy!
One Year Later
Kate walked into the loft with a sigh. She had to stay late at the precinct and finish up some paperwork. It wasn't too late, but she had sent Castle home so he could eat dinner with his daughter. She always sent Castle home to eat with Alexis, but usually she was with him (she liked to leave when he did nowadays), and she had forgotten how much she missed having him sitting beside her…even if it was just to stare at her while she was doing paperwork. She headed toward the living room and saw Alexis sitting on the couch watching an old movie.
"Hey, Alexis," Kate said.
"Oh, hey Kate," Alexis said back. "Dad left some dinner for you in the refrigerator."
"Where is your dad?" Kate asked, walking into the kitchen to get the dinner and warm it up.
"Oh, he's writing," Alexis told Kate, waving her hand in a dismissing motion. She paused her movie, turned the TV off and followed Kate into the kitchen.
While Kate was eating dinner, she and Alexis talked about inconsequential things. They talked about Alexis' day at school, her break up with Ashley, her new college choices and Kate's day at work.
As Kate was walking over to the sink to wash off her plate and put it in the dishwasher, Alexis brought up a new subject. "Can I ask you a couple of questions?"
"Sure," Kate agreed, having set her plate in the dishwasher.
"When are you going to marry Dad?" Alexis asked.
At that moment, Kate was glad the plate was safely in the dishwasher, because if it wasn't, she was sure it would be shattered on the floor. She may not have been expecting the question, but she could answer it. "Well, Alexis that would require him asking me."
Alexis considered that for half a second, before recognizing that was true. "Okay, well if he asked you, what would you say?"
"Well, what kind of timeline are we talking here?" Kate wondered. "In a day, in a week, in a month, in a year?"
"You really are a detective," Alexis grumbled. "You have to analyze everything to death. Tonight. If Dad asked you tonight, what would you say?"
Kate suddenly became suspicious and a few butterflies made themselves known in her stomach. "Is Castle going to ask me tonight?"
Alexis shook her head. "I highly doubt it. What would you say?"
"Yes," Kate answered almost immediately.
Alexis' eyebrows raised in astonishment. "That was very fast."
"It was," Kate agreed, her fast reply having even surprised herself. "But my answer doesn't change. I would say yes."
Alexis smiled. "That's great!"
"Now I have a question for you," Kate told the girl. "Did your dad put you up to this?"
Alexis shook her head. "No."
"Then why the interrogation?" Kate wondered.
"I was just curious," Alexis said. "And not only that, but Grams said a few weeks ago Dad was asking her about rings. A few days later, Grams was snooping in his desk because she wanted to know if he was asking because he wanted to buy a ring for you, and she found an engagement ring."
Kate felt more butterflies join the first few. "But you don't think he's going to ask me tonight…or soon?"
Alexis cocked her head. "As I said, it's doubtful."
"Why?" Kate asked, confused and a bit disappointed (not that she would ever let Alexis know that).
"Well, when Dad's divorce from Mom was final, he told me I was probably going to see his picture in the paper with many different women. He told me not to pay attention to that. He said he would bring the girl home to meet me if it was serious, and if I hadn't met the girl then I shouldn't pay attention to anything the paper said." Alexis explained. "When I met Gina, I remembered what he said and I knew he was serious with her. Still though, he promised me no one was coming into this family unless we both loved her very much and she loved us very much.
"About a month before he proposed to her, he took me into his study and asked me three questions. 'Alexis, how do you feel about Gina,' 'Alexis, what would you say if I told you I was going to propose to Gina,' and 'Alexis, would it be alright with you if I were to marry Gina.'" Alexis continued. "Now, I know I'm quite a lot older now, but I think he would still ask my opinion.
"I could always read Gina very well, but you're a bit harder to read. I knew Gina would jump at the chance to marry Dad, but I didn't know how you would feel about it. I needed to know so I could know how to answer Dad's second question. I needed to know if I should say 'no,' 'wait a while,' or 'yes.'" Alexis finished.
"You're supposed to use those questions for you, Alexis!" Kate exclaimed. "You don't need to know what I would say to answer those three questions."
"Yes, I do," Alexis argued. "If I didn't like the girl, we would never get to the second question."
"But…" Kate tried to begin.
"No!" Alexis cried, cutting her off. "Dad is not going to screw this relationship up! If you weren't ready, I wouldn't let him ask you. My answer doesn't change, regardless of what you said."
"What would you say, Alexis?" Kate asked, truly curious. If Castle's daughter wasn't certain about this, then there was no way she could continue. Of course, she and Castle had been together about nine months and Alexis had said nothing, but Kate had to make sure.
"I would tell him to propose," Alexis replied. "Dad loves you, Grams loves you…and so do I. I love you, Kate."
Kate smiled. "I love you too, Alexis."
A smile arose on Alexis' face and she went over to hug Kate. Kate hugged her back and that was the scene Castle walked into a few seconds later. "Am I interrupting something?"
Alexis and Kate pulled back, looked at each other and answered in unison, "No."
Castle wasn't so sure they were being truthful, but he decided to let it go for now. "Alexis, have you finished all your homework?"
Alexis could tell he was truly curious, not trying to get rid of her so she answered, "Yep."
"Well, I just finished two chapters!" Castle cried in excitement. "That means I won't get hounded by Gina for two whole months, so I say we watch a movie to celebrate!"
Alexis and Kate agreed and they spent the rest of the night watching Avatar.
The days stretched into weeks until it had been almost a month since Kate and Alexis had their conversation. Alexis decided if nothing happened in a week, she was going to take things into her own hands. That night though, when Castle said Kate had sent him home because she was going to have to stay at the precinct late, Alexis didn't see the point in waiting any longer.
"Dad, can we talk?" Alexis asked her father.
"Sure," Castle agreed. "What would you like to talk about?"
"When are you going to ask Kate to marry you?" Alexis asked, diving right in.
Castle dropped the glass he was holding.
"Dad!" Alexis cried. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Castle assured her. He made no move to sweep up the glass but stared at Alexis. "What did you say? Before I dropped the glass?"
"I said, when are you going to ask Kate to marry you?" Alexis repeated, getting up to grab the dust pan and broom since her dad was obviously not going to do so.
"Alexis, that's a very complicated subject," Castle hedged.
"It is not!" Alexis countered. "You ask her and she says yes."
"It's not quite that simple," Castle disagreed.
Alexis rolled her eyes. "Dad, come on! She broke up with Josh one year ago, you both started dating nine months ago, the press found out six months ago and she moved in three months ago. The next logical step is engagement. I mean, I guess Kate could get pregnant…"
"The next logical step is engagement," Castle said, before Alexis could get too far into her speculation.
Alexis nodded. "That's what I thought. So, when are you going to do it?"
"Alexis…" Castle stalled.
"Dad!" Alexis exclaimed. She was going to get the point across if it killed her. She knew there were many ways she could play this. She could spin a story that would make her father proud, she could dramatize it the way her grandmother would or she could use one of Kate's tactics and be blunt. She decided none of those would work well for her. She was going to make it simple; short and sweet. "You love her and I know she loves you, so what's the problem?"
Alexis, looking at her father, could tell he was actually thinking about her question. As time stretched on though, she was wondering if he was just going to ignore her. It had been about five minutes and as she was getting ready to say something else, she stopped herself, because she could tell her dad was actually going to respond.
A huge smile bloomed on Alexis' face when her dad turned to her and asked, "Alexis, what do you think of Kate?"
The plan was to fix a fancy dinner the next night and all three of them would eat together. Then Alexis would go upstairs while Castle and Kate would take glasses of wine to the living room. Castle would ask Kate and all would be well.
Of course, these plans were what people would call "best laid plans," and the old saying struck just in time. At 5:00 in the morning, Kate got called. A body was found and she was in full detective mode.
A week later, Castle entered the loft by himself. It was becoming a trend. Kate would stay until at least 10:00 at the precinct every night going over leads and records, but she always made sure Castle went home to eat with Alexis.
Alexis' head snapped to the door when she heard it open and when Castle came in and she sighed, seeing he was by himself. "You still haven't solved the case?"
"Actually, Kate and Esposito had to take a ride to the jail to write up booking for the guy," Castle told his daughter. "They got the confession so they have to do it."
Alexis wrinkled her forehead. "And you weren't with her because…"
Castle frowned. "Gina called at the exact moment Kate was going into interrogation to hound me about a chapter I already finished, so Kate called Esposito to go with her. She refused to wait five minutes while Gina yelled at me."
Alexis stifled a laugh, knowing her father wouldn't appreciate her amusement. "That's what happens when you finish two chapters but don't tell your publisher you finished them both."
"If I did that, then she would want both of them and expect me to finish another one before the end of next month," Castle said. "I wouldn't even get a break."
Alexis rolled her eyes at her father's procrastination. "Okay, well, moving away from that subject. You solved the case, so tonight you are going to ask Kate to marry you, right?"
"I don't know…" Castle delayed.
"No, Dad!" Alexis cried. She had already made many preparations and she was not about to let them go to waste. "You have waited a whole week because Kate has been caught up in this case and the one night that she is going to be relaxed, you have to ask her! Besides, she's going to go into the precinct tomorrow, and you know she'll get another case, and what if this one takes a week?"
Castle squinted at his daughter. "Add a little more doom and that could be considered a slippery slope, a literary fallacy."
Alexis pressed her fingers to her temples, forcing herself to keep her cool. She wanted her dad to ask Kate so badly, she wanted to scream. She had promised her grandmother she would get her dad to ask tonight, she had made a special dinner, everything. She tried a different tactic.
"Dad, do you remember why I broke up with Ashley?" Alexis asked.
Castle was confused at this abrupt change of subject, but jumped at the chance to get the spotlight off him. "You said it was because you weren't going anywhere."
"Exactly!" Alexis affirmed. "Our relationship had been the same for at least a year. We had made no changes, we hadn't moved forward at all. When I asked him if he thought that was a problem, he just shrugged his shoulders. Our relationship was at a standstill and he didn't care. So I broke it off.
"Now I realize your case is a little different, but if Kate thinks your relationship is not moving forward, I can almost guarantee she won't say anything about it. She moved in almost four months ago and neither of you are getting any younger. You wait much longer and your relationship could be considered to be at a standstill," Alexis finished, hoping that worked. "And don't tell me that's a slippery slope too!"
Castle pondered that for a moment. "What should I say?"
Alexis, again, had to hold in a laugh, but also a cry of victory, she wasn't finished yet. "Well, Dad, I think it is acceptable to say, 'Kate, will you marry me?'"
Castle rolled his eyes at his daughter's sarcasm. "No, I mean before, during and after."
Alexis sighed. "Maybe I should just propose for you. You probably shouldn't say anything after because you need to let her say yes. Then, you have to kiss her. Usually, questions work better if they are in a coherent sentence, so say nothing during the question, except her name and those four words right after. As for before, you're a writer, think of something!"
"But…" Castle tried.
"You have an hour before dinner is ready," Alexis interrupted him, refusing to hear anything else. "You probably have around fifty minutes before Kate gets home, and thirty minutes before Grams gets here."
"Mother?" Castle asked.
"Oh, didn't I mention that?" Alexis questioned innocently. "Grams is coming for dinner. Don't worry though, she'll stay out of your way, I'll make sure of it." As she skipped to the stairs and pulled out her phone, she heard the sounds of Castle grumbling. She allowed herself a little chuckle as she dialed.
"Okay, I did everything you told me," Alexis reported. "I gave him all kinds of worst case scenarios that will probably never happen, he even called me on a slippery slope, and he agreed to do it tonight."
"Well done, little one, well done," Martha praised her granddaughter. "And I told you to be careful. I told you he might call you on one of those."
"Yeah, well, if I didn't have a grandmother who was going out of the country for
three months to do a play but insisted on being here when her son proposed, I wouldn't have had to do this!" Alexis reminded her.
Martha rolled her eyes, choosing to ignore Alexis' dig, knowing how stressed she was. "I'll be there in about thirty-five minutes."
"Grams, do you want to come upstairs and look at my story for school?" Alexis asked, having already planned this out with her grandmother.
"What?" Kate asked, taking the dishes to the sink.
"I had to write a fiction story for school," Alexis explained. "I already had Dad look it over, for grammar and spelling mistakes. I based it off of one of the plays Grams had been in recently though, and I want her to make sure it isn't too close to the play."
"I was hoping we could all watch a movie tonight," Castle said. "Especially with Mother leaving the country tomorrow."
Alexis narrowed her eyes at her father. "Dad, one of the main reasons Grams came over tonight was to help me with this. We'll come down when we're finished if you insist, but we're doing this first."
"You can bring the story down here," Castle suggested, putting foil over the leftover lasagna and putting in the refrigerator.
"Good grief, Richard," Martha sighed. "You're not going to miss me that much! Let's go, Alexis."
Kate smiled at Castle as Martha and Alexis went upstairs. They were mumbling the whole way and she had a feeling it had something to do with Castle and his ridiculousness. "Want to help me do the dishes?"
"Let's not do the dishes just yet," Castle suggested, reaching into the refrigerator for a bottle of wine.
"Um, okay," Kate agreed. "What do you want to do then?"
Castle handed her a full glass. "Let's just go into the living room and talk."
Kate was confused. "Talk about what?"
Castle shrugged and walked to the living room. Kate wrinkled her forehead but followed.
When she came in, Castle had set his glass down on the coffee table and was wiping his hands on his pants. "Are you okay?" Kate asked him. "You seem a little off."
"I'm fine," Castle assured her, although nothing could be further from the truth. He had no idea what to say to her. He had thought about it all through dinner and ever since Alexis had told him to "think of something." The trouble was nothing he could come up with seemed to come close to what he felt for Kate.
"Kate, sit down," Castle requested.
Kate swallowed and felt butterflies in her stomach. She had no idea what he was going to do, but asking her to sit down was never good. She was getting nervous. "Castle, should I be worried?"
"No!" Castle exclaimed. "Not at all."
Kate sighed, not completely reassured, but she knew Castle well enough to know when he was lying and now was not one of those times. "You want to tell me what this is all about?"
"Kate, I love you," Castle told her.
Kate smiled. "I love you, too."
Castle shook his head slightly and decided to just dive in. "Kate, I'm a writer. I make my living off of words. When I can't think of a different variation of a word I use my thesaurus and there are a plethora of words for me to choose from. Tonight, though, I can't think of any words to describe you. Extraordinary is the only one that comes to mind, but even that doesn't come close. I know that my trusty thesaurus would have lots of words that mean the same thing as extraordinary, but none of them would come close to what you are to me.
"You amaze me every day with your dedication to the job and your dedication to the victims," Castle continued. "You amaze me because you are still able to bring closure to those other families even though you don't have it yourself. You are the most deserving of that closure and even though you don't have it yet, I know we are getting closer. I know someday you will get that closure and I want to be by your side when you do."
Kate knew where this was going now and she took a deep, steadying breath. She hadn't been lying when she told Alexis she would say yes, but that didn't mean she was any less nervous.
Castle took a moment to tuck a strand of hair behind Kate's ear and brush a tear off her cheek. "I want to make you laugh and I want to hold you when you cry. I want you to know that you can rely on me for anything and everything and I want you to feel safe with me.
"When I first met you, I had no idea you would come to mean this much to me. Now, I can't even begin to imagine my life without you. You are extraordinary, spectacular and so much more. I love you so much," Castle concluded. He got down on one knee in front of the sofa where she was sitting. He pulled the ring box out of his pocket and popped it open. "Kate Beckett, will you marry me?"
Kate blinked a few times as she stared at the ring. It was beautiful; it was perfect. It wasn't too big, not something she would expect out of Castle, but something she already loved.
Castle's voice broke her out of her thoughts. "Please say something."
Kate's face broke out in a smile. "Yes."
"Yes?" Castle questioned, wondering if he had heard her correctly.
"Yes," Kate repeated.
Castle smiled and quickly pulled the ring out of the box. He dropped the box on the floor, not at all concerned about where it landed. He slowly slipped the ring on Kate's finger and then he stood up from his kneeling position. He offered her his hands, and she placed her hands in his. He gently pulled her up from the sofa and brushed the tears off her cheeks.
"I love you so much," Castle whispered. He knew he had now said this three times, but he couldn't help it.
Kate's smile got wider. "I love you, too."
Castle quickly pulled Kate to him and fused their lips together. He couldn't believe he was lucky enough to have this amazing woman agree to marry him. He was such a lucky man.
Kate couldn't believe Castle thought she was extraordinary enough for him to love. She knew there was nothing special about her (at least, she didn't think there was), but for some unfathomable reason he had picked her. He wanted to marry her. He had finally proposed and she said yes! She was so lucky.
Castle and Kate saw a flash and heard two very distinct throat clearings. They pulled away from each other and smiled when they saw Martha and Alexis standing in front of them. Castle shook his head, noticing the camera in Alexis' hands.
"Alexis, what are you doing with that camera?" Castle asked.
"Taking pictures," Alexis answered in a 'duh' voice "Of the proposal. I have everything from beginning to end. I have Dad starting it, I have Dad getting down on one knee...Well, you get the idea."
"Why?" Kate inquired.
"Because I knew this would be good," Alexis responded. "Besides, someday, you're going to want these pictures."
Castle raised his eyebrows. "Mother, you were in on this?"
"Of course, dear," Martha answered. "Why do you think Alexis was bugging you to propose tonight. I was not going to miss my son proposing to the only girl that ever really mattered to him."
Kate blushed and Castle groaned. "Gee, thanks Mother."
Alexis stifled a giggle and suddenly Castle thought of something. "Wait, Alexis, you said you were taking pictures of the whole thing? How come we didn't notice the camera flashing until the very end?"
"I had the flash off for every other picture," Alexis told him. "I just turned it on for the last one so it could have the desired effect of breaking you apart. The throat clearing was just a safety measure, in case the flash didn't work."
"You wanted to break us apart?" Castle asked.
Alexis shrugged. "You guys had been kissing for like five minutes. I love you guys together as much as the next person, but there's only so much I can take of my dad kissing. Besides, you guys were getting much too into that kiss and well…I really like that couch. I didn't want to never be able to sit on it again."
"Mother!" Castle exclaimed. "Don't teach my daughter those things."
Alexis and Martha laughed. "Dad, that's not Grams. That's high school. Oh, and let's not forget you, page 105, and other things that I've read in your books!"
"Castle!" Kate scolded him, in a teasing manner. "How dare you teach those things to your daughter! And to send her to such a high school. I'm appalled."
Alexis laughed. "I knew I was going to like having you around."
"Are you going to start calling me Rick now?" Castle asked.
Kate shook her head in denial.
"Why?" Caste questioned.
"Rick is playboy image that the public sees day in and day out. Rick is how Paula and Gina portray you. Rick is the womanizer." Kate told him. "I can't call you Richard either, because that's what Martha calls you. But Castle…that's who you were to me from day one. Castle is the man who has my back no matter what. Castle is the man I fell in love with."
Castle smiled and pulled Kate in for another deep kiss. Alexis and Martha looked at each other, rolled their eyes and Alexis snapped another picture. This time though, Kate and Castle were too lost in each other to care.
Well, that's it. I really don't think the epilogue needed to be this long, but I really do like every part of it. I considered not posting it all, but then I changed my mind. This is the end after all. If enough people hate it though, I will change it and take away the beginning part. I'll just start with Alexis and Martha going upstairs. If you didn't hate it, leave me a review. If you did, let me know and I'll take away the beginning. It's the last chapter…give the button some love and leave me a review! Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed every other chapter and thanks for reading!