Kate Beckett looked up from the report she was writing at the sound of the elevator opening and smiled when she saw Castle walk out with Captain Montgomery on one side and Doctor Gerald Cutter on the other. They were talking – and from the way Cutter was swinging his arms she was sure it was about golf – but as the three men reached Beckett's desk all three stopped to greet her.
Castle's smile was entirely for her and she felt warm inside like she always did when their eyes met. Things were going very well with them; she was surprised how well and wondered why she'd ever been afraid that he'd be impossible to be in a relationship with. Not that they were living together or anything; Castle hadn't even suggested it and she knew that he was giving her the chance to decide what she wanted without being pressured by him. She loved him for that, and was enjoying the way things were progressing. Eventually, things were definitely going to change and she wasn't sure how it would go, but there was time, still, for that. For now she'd simply enjoy the way he looked at her and the way he loved her.
Gerald Cutter frowned, though, when he saw her.
"Detective? Are you feeling all right?"
She looked up at him, nodding automatically.
"I'm fine," she assured him.
"You look pale," he persisted. "Is your side troubling you?"
"No," Beckett answered, honestly, watching as Castle and Montgomery both took a second, worried, look at her. "It's fine."
It was, too. She didn't even ache.
Cutter didn't look convinced.
"Are you getting enough sleep?"
"I've been a little tired," she admitted.
Since Montgomery was well aware of the new relationship between her and Castle in the last month, he had a pretty good idea why she hadn't been sleeping as much as before, but he was far too much a gentleman to mention that – and so was Rick Castle. It didn't stop both of them from looking concerned, though.
"You need to get more sleep, then," Cutter told her, missing the glances from the other two men. "If you're having trouble, I can recommend a couple of good sleep therapists."
Relieved that he was going to allow it to drop, Beckett nodded.
"I'll try to get more sleep," she promised.
"And I'll help," Castle said.
He was suddenly aware of just how much of her time he was taking, and although she'd never complained he hadn't noticed that she looked tired and a little pale, too, really. He'd make sure she slept more in the future now that he was aware of the problem. Looking at her suddenly, he wondered if she hadn't lost a little weight, too. Of course, she'd been shot, so it wasn't unexpected, but still…
Cutter nodded, and let it drop, turning his attention back to Montgomery for a minute so they could set up their next round of golf, and reminding both of them that there was a charity tournament he wanted them to sign up for. Then he left, promising them that he'd keep in touch. Montgomery turned to go to his office, but just as he did the elevator opened again and this time it was Esposito and Ryan who were deposited.
"Hey, Castle," Ryan greeted him. "Did you hear from the insurance company?"
"And…?" Esposito asked.
Ryan let out a whistle of disbelief and shook his head.
"That's a hell of a finder's fee. What are you going to do with it?"
Castle sat on the edge of Beckett's desk.
"A lot of it will go to the charities that I support," he told them. "Some will get put in the trust I've set up for Alexis, and I figured that since I wouldn't have found it without help that there should definitely be some presents handed out around here…"
"You mean like a trip to Disneyland for my wife and kids?" Montgomery asked.
"With first class accommodations?"
"For a week?"
"Two, if you want."
"That sounds nice."
"Good." Castle looked at Ryan. "And you?"
The detective hesitated, and Esposito spoke up.
"He's still paying off the wedding…"
"Not anymore," Castle told him.
"And maybe the down on a new place?" Castle added.
Ryan flushed, but they could see that he was excited by that prospect. Wisely, though, he shrugged.
"I'll see what Jenny wants to do."
"Smart man," Esposito said, smirking.
"What about you, Javier?" Castle asked, pointedly.
There was no hesitation.
"I'll show you the car I want."
Now Esposito looked excited, too, and Castle was grinning when he looked at Kate.
She hesitated, but then shook her head.
"I'm not sure… let me think about it?"
"Of course." His smile turned to a frown, though, because she really did look like something was wrong – or that she wasn't feeling that well. "How about a late breakfast – if the boss will let you have a little time off to eat?"
Beckett paled at the mention of food even as Montgomery said he'd allow it, and Castle suddenly realized that he'd seen this before. His jaw dropped and he turned to look at her, suddenly shocked, but the phone on Beckett's desk rang before he could say anything. Ignoring him, she answered it, asked a couple of questions and then hung up and stood up.
"Breakfast will have to wait," she said, standing up and looking at everyone but Castle. "They just found a dead man in an alley."
Ryan and Esposito both turned to head for the elevator, but Rick reached out to stop Kate before she could move that way, as well.
She raised an eyebrow at his grip on her arm.
He let her go.
"Are you sure you should be going out to-"
"I'm a cop, Castle," she reminded him. "That's my job."
She smiled, brushing her hand along his arm as she turned for the elevator.
"Are you coming or not?"
He hesitated only a second, but then hurried after her. Of course he was coming.
Author's note: I know some of you wanted this to go a bit further, but the story is pretty much done, so I figured I'd end it rather than drag it out. I'm sorry the last few chapters took so long to get out.