"Oh, I could always walk. I've been faking it." – Jerome, Gattaca
"'There is nothing wrong,' said Fenchurch, 'with my left knee.'" – Douglas Adams, So Long and Thanks For All the Fish
SIX MONTHS LATER
"Now introducing to the floor, for the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Ryan."
Across the room, Castle and Beckett clapped and clinked glasses. "They make a cute couple," said Beckett, watching Ryan and Jenny spin onto the dance floor.
"Cute?" said Castle. "They're adorable." He smiled at her from over the rim of his champagne glass. "You know," he added, setting the glass down, "seeing as it is his wedding day, we should really contribute to Ryan winning that bet."
"What bet?" she asked.
"He bet Esposito that you and I would hook up at his wedding," said Castle, shrugging matter-of-factly. Beckett raised an eyebrow, smirking.
"Get me another glass of champagne," she said. "Then we'll talk."
In the opposite corner of the room, Lanie was encountering some difficulty with dragging Esposito away from the table laden with the four-tiered wedding cake. He'd been standing there staring at it with yearning in his eyes practically since the reception had begun. "Come on, we should go talk to Kate," said Lanie, actually grabbing his arm and attempting to tug him, to no avail.
"She's fine, she's with Castle," he said, not tearing his gaze away from the cake. "Look, I could just swipe some frosting off the top, no one would notice."
"That cake is for Ryan and Jenny to cut," said Lanie. "It's ceremonious."
"It's stupid," said Esposito, finally allowing her to lead him away. "At our wedding we'll have a second cake that anyone can eat whenever they want."
"We're not paying for two cakes," she said. "Do you know how expensive one of those is?"
"You could make it," he suggested.
"Right," she laughed as they stepped onto the dance floor to join the other couples, "because everyone wants to eat a cake that was baked by someone who handles dead bodies every day."He laughed and twirled her past Ryan and Jenny, who were discussing Jenny's name.
"What's wrong with Jenny Ryan?" asked Ryan as they swayed to the music.
She shrugged. "I just think it's important that I keep my identity even now that I'm married," she said. "I could hyphenate my last name."
"So…" said Ryan, thinking, "you'll be Jenny Duffy-O'Malley-Ryan?" She nodded. "It's very long."
"And very Irish," she added, laughing, as he twirled her. "Where'd you learn to dance so well?"
"After the surgery, they gave me the option of either intense, painful physical therapy or ballroom dancing class," he said. She laughed and leaned her head against his shoulder.
"I love you," she whispered.
"That's a good thing," he whispered back, "because otherwise we just got married for no reason." She smacked him playfully, then leaned her head back against his shoulder. There would be enough stress later- always was- but for now, there was nothing but the two of them in this beautiful place, matched step-for-step, flawless.
Somehow, amidst all the waves of congratulations and dancing and hugging relatives, Ryan found himself sitting on a bench near the back of the reception hall with Esposito. "Nice shindig," said Esposito, leaning back. His partner laughed and sipped from the bottle in his hand.
"Where did I get this?" he asked suddenly, holding it out in front of him. "I don't even remember deciding to serve beer at the wedding."
"You're drunk," laughed Esposito. Ryan shrugged.
"So? I'm a grown-up now," he defended. "Even got married, you know."
"Might've seen something about that on Facebook or something," joked Esposito. "Seriously, though, congratulations, Ryan."
"You're gonna have to stop calling me that," said Ryan, shifting a bit awkwardly as if he hadn't meant to say what he'd just said. Esposito stared.
"You didn't." Ryan said nothing. "You're taking your wife's name?" He rocked back and forth on the bench, laughing raucously.
"Thank-you," said Ryan drily, "for backing me on this." Esposito just kept laughing. "Also," he added as an afterthought, "thank-you for calling her my wife. I like hearing it."
"Whatever, Honeymilk," said Esposito, taking a big swig from his own beer. It was nice to know that he could still antagonize Ryan, even after all that had occurred.
"It's not like it's an irrational decision," he argued. "I balanced out the benefits and the negative consequences of taking Jenny's last name, and the pros outweigh the cons." He sounded like he was trying to prove a point that had already been lost a long while ago. "No one will get confused and think Ryan is my first name now. And, I'll get a bright shiny new… what's it called, those things, those name blocks that go on desks?"
"Name blocks," shrugged Esposito.
"Yes!" said Ryan. "Thank-you." He took another unnecessary sip of his beer.
"Hey…" said Esposito cautiously, looking out at the rest of the ballroom, "I think Lanie and Jenny just started talking to each other." Ryan jumped up, and the two of them made their way across the floor quickly. It had been a known fact, ever since a disastrous double date a few months ago, that Lanie and Jenny did not get along well. They felt compelled to split up the impending chaos.
And, as always, they were a team in this. Be it snipers, torture, or arguing significant others, Ryan and Esposito could get through anything together.
A/N: Or so they thought… just kidding. The end! Hoped you all liked it. Please review with thoughts on the story and how I ended it. (Or thoughts on the finale :D ) I'm not sure what my next multichap fanfic will be, but I'm pretty sure it'll be Caskett-based.