Her heart begins to race the moment he grabs hold of her hand. His eyes are twinkling and his pulse is erratic, and just the simple fact that he's excited makes her excited. The sun is low on the horizon, resting solemnly above the trees, ready to make its descent as he begins to walk, pulling her along with him.
The area that they're in is familiar, and although she's lived here all her life, he's taking her down streets that she's never seen before, thus confusing her and making her unsure of where they are, or where they are headed.
"Castle, where are we going?"
The use of his last name startles him and brings him to a halt as he turns around to face her. She hasn't called him Castle in years. His surprised look quickly changes into a wide grin and all she wants to do is run her fingers across his lips and kiss him; but she holds herself back.
"Detective Beckett, do you not trust me?"
She smiles broadly at him as she sets her eyes on his, and despite the couple's clearly playful attitude, her words are meaningful and solid; an expression so true and real that for a second, his heart skips a beat in his chest and he almost forgets what's happening.
"You know I do."
Still, after all this time, the littlest things that she does send him into blind bliss, attacking him from every side and sneaking up behind him. He never knows when she'll do something magnificent, but she always does- and it gets more and more beautiful every time.
"Good. Then follow me."
The precinct rises up to meet them and she's momentarily confused. She looks from the building to his smiling face and wonders if he's seeing the same thing that she is. Her hand is still in his, and although he's loosened his grip and there's really no reason to hold it any longer; she does, just because she likes the way that it feels.
He feels her stir uncomfortably next to him and he knows that she's weighing all the possibilities in her mind. Kate Beckett is not used to being kept in the dark- something he's learned the hard way- but this time he turns a blind eye to her pet peeves because he knows that in the end, it'll be worth it.
He looks towards her and winks, biting down on his lower lip- a habit he picked up from her- and reassures her with his eyes that everything is going to be okay; better than okay. He leads her into the building, as he walks painfully slowly down the corridors. He wants to savour every last moment- and secretly, he finds the fact that she's squirming quite humorous. With each one of his footsteps her heart rate increases. Her emotions rise up inside her, filling her with all sorts of feelings. She's not sure why she's so nervous; but her throat has gone dry and she has her heart beat thumping in her ears. If anything, walking through the precinct with Castle should calm her; make her feel at home. But it doesn't.
And she just can't shake the feeling.
"Kate I think you might break my hand if you hold it any tighter."
She smiles sheepishly as she loosens her tense grip. "Sorry."
He stops and turns to face her, feeling her nervousness and sensing how unsure she is.
"Everything okay?" he asks amused.
She nods without speaking, because she's afraid of what she'll say if she opens her mouth. Adrenalin is coursing through her, filling her head to toe. Yes, she's nervous. Yes, she's a little bit scared. But she's nervous and scared in a good way. She can feel that there's something big waiting around the corner for them, and the way he's looking at her only cements her thoughts.
"Good, because I have something that I want to show you."
He leads her into the bullpen, where all the desks have been pushed to the side, and in their places are candles- hundreds of candles flickering and twinkling as the sunset broadcasts itself like a movie outside the great bay window. They're standing in the middle of the room when he finally lets go of her hand.
"Kate," he begins.
"Richard." she retorts.
"I think you know what I'm going to say."
"That I should be thankful to have such a thoughtful boyfriend?" she jokes. He smiles.
The mood of the room suddenly shifts from light-hearted to serious as he takes a step closer to her and places his hands on her hips, closing the gap between them. She looks into his eyes and he looks into hers as he brushes the tips of his fingers along her jaw line, drawing goose bumps along her skin.
"You know that I love you." He whispers to her. She nods, slipping her arms around him and drawing circles on his back with her thumbs.
He steps back just enough to be able to see her face, their mini hug broken. He looks around the room then looks back at her.
"We've spent a lot of time together in this precinct, you and me." He says. "So that's why I chose to do this here."
Her breath catches in her throat.
"You see, Kate, if it wasn't for this room and all the people in it- we wouldn't be here; together. We'd be off somewhere else, with other people, doing other things."
She nods, fighting back the tears that are building up.
"And although we're together now, it scares me to think that we could ever not be together."
"It scares me too." She whispers. He smiles, cupping her cheek with his hand sliding it down over her neck and past her arm until it comes to rest on her hip once more.
"This precinct is like home to me." He says. "You're like home to me."
A tear falls.
"Sometimes when people ask me about you- whether we're together or not- I forget that you're my girlfriend, Kate."
The confusion on her face makes him laugh.
"Because you're so much more to me than that. You're everything. You're my best friend, and my confidant, and my rock; and somehow, the title girlfriend doesn't quite measure up to those things."
"Castle," her words come out in a whisper.
"I want you to be mine, Kate. I want you to know that you and me, were it. You're it."
"I'll do it." She says with a laugh, without giving him a chance to finish his sentence. She catapults herself into his arms, letting her tears flow as she buries her face into his neck, planting butterfly kisses under his ear and on his collarbone.
He holds her close, feeling her heart pounding within her, and when he sets her down, he see's the stars in her eyes and he knows. He steps back, holding his gaze as he reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a velvet box.
He flips it open and she's lost for air. Her right hind flies up to cover her mouth as he holds her left hand within both of his.
"Katherine Beckett," he says airily. "Will you marry me?"
She nods enthusiastically as she bites down on her bottom lip as he slips the diamond onto her finger. He steps close to her once more, and she copies his movements. He slides his hands around her waist as she slides hers behind his neck as he draws her into a passionate kiss; and the moment their lips touch, she swears she hears applause.
Once she removes her lips from his she looks around her and is greeted by smiling faces. Alexis, Martha, Esposito, Laine, Ryan, Jenny, Captain Montgomery, her father and every one else from the 12th has stepped out from the shadows and is now standing around them, teary eyed and bright smiled, looking at them as if they were the Queen and King of England.
She smiles sheepishly at them then turns back to Rick.
"You did all this?" she asks him.
"Aren't I such a gentleman?"
She nods, smiling.
"You're my gentleman."
I like fluff, in case you didn't notice. Hope you all enjoyed this little one shot!
Comments, questions, ideas, or thoughts?