i hesitate to call this crackfic, mostly because of my aversion to that word, but also because even though the premise might sound... kind of like i am a twelve-year-old girl who just discovered the internet is for writing porn about fictional people, i would like to think it's actually a plausible situation? or, it would be, if this show were not utterly useless. anyway, my formatting never lends itself to this damn website which perpetually irritates me, but i hope you enjoy it anyway? IF YOU CAN FINISH IT BEFORE YOU'RE IN A REST HOME.


It's silver.

Pure silver, and it glints on Beckett's finger in such a way that he can't help but watch it catch the light. A weird feeling settles over him at the thought of what it means.

There's a story behind it, obviously, and here's the gist of it: they kind of... get married.

It's not what you think, though - or at least, it didn't start out that way.


After the case wraps up he grabs a bottle of red wine from his cabinet and traipses to Beckett's apartment, mind ticking over with all the things he's been thinking about since she got back. He wonders if she'll answer his questions instead of deflecting, instead of backing off the tightrope to safer ground. It's tiring, this back and forth, and after near death experience number everyone's-lost-count, it's almost too much to even take a breath.

She answers after the second knock, hair damp from a shower, and looks surprised to see him. "Hey, Castle, are you okay?"

He nods. "Yeah, I just... thought we could talk." He holds up the wine, hoping that's enough of an offering.

Smirking a bit, she steps back to let him in, and he steels himself – no small talk, no filler, just the facts. No dicking around, no backpedalling, he just needs to tell her.

"So what are we talking about?" Beckett asks, dropping onto her couch and watching him pour the wine. Slowly, the glass fills red and he stalls, rolls the bottle to catch the drips and sets it down. She just waits, bemused.

He screws the top back on with an air of finality. This is it. "Us. Is what I want to talk about."

Freezing halfway to her glass, he can see by her expression that that's not what she thought he was going to say (it's almost comical, how little she expects him to bring up the topic of us, and it just cements everything ten times more firmly in his mind – they need to talk). She chokes a little on her sentence. "What about us? I thought we already talked about us. Why would you want to talk about us?"

He shakes his head, gets her glass the rest of the way to her hand and watches her take a hefty sip. She winces, and sets the glass back down with a thunk. He plows on past her questions, though, and takes a sip of wine himself; liquid courage. "You left and that's not okay with me." The admission wasn't meant to come out so forcefully, but he'll take it because it's making her listen.

"Wait, I thought we sorted this out, why are you still mad?"

"Because... sometimes you can't just get over being mad at a person in five minutes, Kate. That's not how it works. You left for two months without a word, how am I supposed to feel?"

"Well if you're so angry with me about it why are you even here? To shout at me some more?"

"No, I just... want you to... I don't know what I want you to do. I know that I didn't want us to be like this again, though. I wanted things to be... different."

"Different how, Castle? What did you expect, that I'd come back after the summer and just say 'let's get married'?"

He feels the wine threading through his bloodstream, mixing with adrenaline and anger and completely drowning out the part of him that's saying this is the stupidest thing you've ever done. "Well I don't know, after I've s—after everything we've been through, and after everything you've been through it's not like it's impossible to consider, is it? I mean, I watch you die but when you come back all you have to say is 'maybe later'? Not 'hey Castle a lot has happened between us maybe we should think about what it means', or anything? Just a hint to some vague distant future after a twelve-year-old cold case has been put to rest?"

She folds her arms across her chest. "Well maybe we just fucking should get married then, since that seems to be what you're implying! Do you want to propose or should I just do it?"

"Maybe we should, then!"

She looks at him for what seems like way too long a time, glare set on her face. Then, finally, it sinks in. "Wait, what? Are you serious?"

For some reason, he is. Angry and serious and fed up with her pretending everything can be made into a big joke, thinking that she can just push him around because it's too hard to deal with the feelings he dredges up for her. "Yes. I am actually. If you think it's so easy, let's do it. Right now."

"Fine."

"FINE."

Beckett looks at her watch. "It's just after three."

"And I know a judge who loves Nikki Heat so we'll have no problem getting a judicial waiver," he replies bitingly, picking up his coat.

"Great."

"Excellent."

And they both stalk out of her apartment without saying another word.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

After getting the waiver from a very amused judge, they head for the city clerk's office. Castle's keeping a mental word count of their conversation with each other since they left the apartment, and when she says 'car coming' they've made it into double digits. That is, until he gets distracted by a large display of jewellery for that special someone in a window. Without waiting for Beckett to see it, he drags her into the store and right up to the counter, fingers hot around her wrist, and feels her silent groan when a smiling cashier comes over to assist them.

"Looking for an engagement ring?" he says knowingly, grin stretched wide across his mouth.

"A wedding ring, actually," Castle replies sickeningly, and he slides a hand around Beckett's tense waist to pull her to him. She's going to have to play along whether she likes it or not, and the childish part of him is enjoying it immensely.

With her fingers digging mercilessly into his hip, she smiles at the cashier, apparently deciding to get this over with as quickly as possible. "We just can't wait through an engagement, you know?" she tells the poor, oblivious guy in front of them, simpering almost as much as Castle did.

"We've just been thinking about it for so long," he agrees, nodding. "But life's just too short to put things like this off, isn't it?" Her fingers dig in harder.

"Shut. Up," she hisses.

Castle gulps.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

"Just so you know, Castle, if you actually propose to me at any point you're going to wish you were never born," she says as they walk out of the jewellery store ten minutes later, his pocket weighed down with a velvet box.

"Note taken," he replies, leading the way up the street to the city clerk's office.

"And I don't know why you bought those, you know I'm not going to wear mine."

He's utterly incredulous at that. "What? Beckett, we're going to be married, how can you not wear the ring? Do you think this is some kind of fake crazy hippie commune marital agreement or something? Because it's not."

Annoyed at his vehemence, Beckett huffs and grumbles and makes frustrated noises and finally puffs out a fine and starts striding away from him. Weirdly, he feels a little proud of himself. She hasn't gotten her way once since he entered her apartment.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

They have a little trouble with the application, though it's mostly just when she says in an improperly loud voice, "Oh my god, Castle, I am not changing my name. What the hell do you think we're going to do, both call each other Castle? Don't be stupid."

He side-eyes the bewildered city clerk and considers miming sorry, she's a little crazy, but ultimately decides he wants to keep all his various parts intact for now. (He totally doesn't know what the big deal is, though, he was just asking.)

After they both sign and the license is processed, they leave the office and step back out onto the street.

"Now what?" he asks, squinting at her in the late afternoon sunlight.

She runs a hand through her shimmering hair, looks at him with her eyebrows raised. "I'm going home to think about what a stupid idea this was," she says, and stomps off without another word.

He supposes he'll just go home too, then.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

He spends most of the weekend wondering when it will sink in, then comes in early Monday morning to find Beckett already at her desk poring over files and filling out forms – basically, stuff he never really pays attention to – and he wonders how to broach... well, any kind of conversation that doesn't begin with "so we got married the other day".

"I bought coffee," he tries, setting the cup down on her desk.

"Thanks," she says, without even a glance.

"I got them to put caramel syrup in it for you."

"Oh, good."

This already isn't going as well as he'd hoped.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

When Esposito and Ryan arrive, she's still pretty much ignoring him.

"Yo Beckett—" Esposito starts, "—wait, what is that on your hand?"

Ryan looks where Esposito is looking, and his face lights up. "Did you and Josh get engaged?"

Beckett doesn't even bother looking at them, her demeanour completely unchanged from earlier. "Nope."

Silence. Esposito and Ryan look at each other, then at Castle, then back at Beckett. Castle coughs, desperate to tell them but very aware of just how dead he'd be if he ruined this for her.

"Then... why are you wearing that ring?" Ryan asks hesitantly.

There's a pause, then Beckett puts down her pen, laces her fingers together, and looks up at the two detectives. "I got married, actually," she says nonchalantly, and Castle wants to take a picture of their faces.

"Are you pregnant?"

"Are you crazy?"

Beckett's gaze flicks to Castle, and he tries not to grin. "Probably," she says, completely serious, and then gets back to work.

No one really knows what to do with that.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

It doesn't take them long to work out that Castle's the one she got married to.

"Did you finally just have enough or something?"

"Did you accidentally knock her up?"

"Was she conscious when you did it? Because she doesn't seem all that happy about it."

Trying to slow their torrent of questions, his puts his hands up in the air. "I am not permitted to divulge the details, gentlemen, just know that it was a consensual act between two mature adults." ('Mature' might be a stretch, considering the circumstances, but he goes with it anyway.)

There's a pause where the two detectives simply contemplate him. Then:

"So speaking of consensual... how was consummating the marriage, bro?" Esposito waggles his eyebrows.

Castle freezes. In all the madness surrounding the marriage the other day, and in all his weird disbelief during the weekend, he completely and utterly forgot about that minor detail. Floundering, he searches for an excuse. "I... um... it was... we... didn't."

"Wait, what?"

"Then why the hell would you even get married?" Esposito asks, incredulous.

"Gotta admit it, bro, that's kind of one of the perks," Ryan agrees, looking a little sorry for him.

Something has suddenly become abundantly clear: he needs to talk to Beckett.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

"Hey um, Beckett?"

"What?"

"Can I talk to you for a second?" He watches her stir sugar into her coffee cup, suck on the spoon for a second before depositing it in the sink, then turn to look at him. She seems marginally less cranky now, maybe because he just didn't talk to her all day, and he guesses this is probably as good a time as any. "Uh, so I was... talking to Ryan and Esposito about... our... about what happened and they kind of brought up something that I feel like we overlooked."

"What?" she asks again, just as terse as the last time.

Taking a huge, calming breath, he says in the tiniest voice possible, "Well they sort of pointed out that we didn't consummate anything."

"Consummate?"

She's going to make this hard for him. "It's just that usually, you know, when you get married, that's... it's something that you do," he rushes out, stumbling and about ten times less articulate than even the least articulate he has ever been in his whole life.

"Right. And you want to... do it."

Sipping her coffee, she waits and he knows she's hiding a smirk behind smooth ceramic. Fine, she wants to play it this way? He knows exactly how this game works.

"Well, yes." He takes a few steps towards her, quietly revels in the tension that suddenly squares up over her shoulders, hardens in the white of her knuckles around her cup. He lowers his voice to a careful, sly timbre. "If we want this to be a real marriage, it makes sense to..." he takes another step forward, drinks in the lack of space, the wide trepidation in her eyes, "...go the whole way, don't you think?"

Trying to look like she's not bothered and almost succeeding, she shrugs. "I guess."

He realises she actually just agreed, and suddenly the suave confidence he was celebrating about is completely gone. He steps back. "So... I guess we should figure out a time to do it?" he asks hesitantly, not sure how people generally go about asking their wives when they should partake in sexual intercourse (the key, he thinks, is probably that they don't).

"Oh. Right," Beckett replies, chewing her lip and looking everywhere but his face. "Tomorrow?"

"Oh no, I can't tomorrow, I have to have sex with my other new wife."

"Castle."

Maybe that one was a little too soon. "Um, what about Wednesday?"

"No I'm... busy Wednesday," she says, not elaborating. "Thursday?"

"Poker night."

"Oh my god, why don't we just forget it if it's going to be this difficult!"

He scuffs one of his feet on the floor because suddenly he's reverted to being fourteen again. "Well... what about now?"

"Here at the precinct?"

What? Where did that come from? "No, I didn't mean! ...Unless you want to?" he asks, not unhopefully.

She looks at him blankly. "We are not having sex in our workplace. Tonight?"

"Tonight's fine," he says quickly. "When, around seven?"

"Castle, it's almost five! I won't be ready by seven!"

Confused, he just kind of gapes for a second. "What... time do you want to do it, then?"

"What about around ten thirty?"

"Ten thirty? Isn't that kind of late? I mean, it is a Monday. What would we even... do until then?"

Beckett looks at him like she's just realised she really has no idea what they'd do until their scheduled sex appointment. "Eight?"


And eight it is. He turns up at her door (he still hasn't really gotten around to telling his mother and daughter what his Friday entailed) with another bottle of wine, and as soon as he's inside the awkwardness is palpable.

For half an hour they sit next to each other on the couch and drink their wine and Castle just feels like they've completely forgotten how human beings interact with each other. They have a conversation about traffic, that thing about alcohol on the news, how they haven't been to the movies in a really long time – and all of them put together use up about ten minutes.

So the other twenty minutes are spent in silence.

Finally, it seems like Beckett has had enough. She sets her glass down, grabs Castle's hand and pulls him up. "This is ridiculous," she says, and heads towards her bedroom.

And because she's still holding his hand, he has to follow her.

"It's just sex, right?"

She says it like this is no big deal, like people get angry and then they get married and then they consummate it three days later no feelings involved whatsoever all the time, but to him it sounds more like it isn't going to change anything, is it?

"Right," he replies, trying to believe it himself.

Apparently Beckett's preferred approach to pretending that's the case is to be completely clinical and direct, and he finds out just how direct when he turns to put his wine glass down and when he turns back, she's completely topless. In her bedroom. With him. Like it happens every day, no big deal.

All he can do is gape.

"Oh my god, Castle, they're just boobs for goodness sake." She rolls her eyes and shoves her jeans down her legs before hopping into her bed and fixing him with a look that says what are you doing right now?

He hastily undresses and joins her without saying a word, silently freaking out at the fact that Beckett is almost completely naked right next to him and there are just so many things wrong with the way this is happening because where are all the feelings? Why is she staring into his eyes with mild irritation and not deep longing? This isn't how it's supposed to go! He knows this because as a successfully published, bestselling author, he has never, ever written it this way.

Then she's kissing him with literally no preamble, hard and close-mouthed and almost angrily, her hands pushing on his shoulders so he sinks back into the pillows. She straddles his hips, fingers trailing down until they slip under the waistband of his boxers and—

"Whoa, hold on a minute, Beckett!"

"What?" she says exasperatedly. "What's wrong now? I have to get in there sometime, you know."

He looks up at her, hair tumbling over her face and down to the swell of her chest; his hands still her wrists over his navel, and the thin slice of her scar is almost an afterthought in light of the rest of the sights he's trying to take in. He knows it's pointless, that this already means too much, that damn she is so incredibly gorgeous – but she'd never forgive him if he tried to break the pact they just made, so he tries not to let on what he's thinking when he answers her.

"It's just... there's no reason this has to be terrible."

The tiniest allusion of a smirk plays into the line of her mouth – god, he's so in love with her – and she settles herself a little more firmly over him. "Who said it was going to be terrible? I thought we were just making this a real marriage?"

This is going to end so, so badly.

"Fine then."

"Good," she replies, fingertips resting on his stomach.

He runs his hands up her thighs, feels the smallest shudder, and is just a little pleased with the confirmation that he's not the only one feeling something in this situation. But then she wriggles her hips and he jerks involuntarily, hands sliding over her skin and she actually does smirk this time, expression more than a little pitying.

Grabbing her face, he kisses her again – but properly this time, his tongue delving into her mouth whether she wants it or not; though judging by the roll of her hips, the low noise in her throat, she doesn't really mind that it's there.

His hand stalks up the inside of her thigh, plays across her hipbone before dipping down so his fingers can rub over the damp of her underwear. She groans into his mouth, grinds down, and he's gone.

It means too much – of course it does, it was always going to – but they pretend like it's fine even when her legs link around his back and the only thing she can coherently say is a long string of oh god Castle oh god, even when he buries his face in her neck and bites down when he comes to stop himself groaning out her name.

He rolls off her, breathing hard, and tries not to say any kind of adjectives that would suggest that was the best sex ever, even though it totally was, tries not to make this into a thing (it's already a thing, it's already a huge, giant, stupid mess that he doesn't even regret after all this – which is yet another kettle filled to the brim with the sort of meaning he isn't going anywhere near right now. Or possibly ever). Instead he speeds right on past all that and just wonders what the hell the etiquette is now. Is he supposed to leave? Is he supposed to sleep on the couch? Do they have sex again? He's not sure how likely the last one is.

However, Beckett momentarily answers his question for him by switching out the light. "We're taking separate cars in the morning."

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If possible, things are actually more awkward the next day.

He quietly makes coffee in her kitchen while she reads the newspaper at the bench, chewing absentmindedly on a piece of toast as she turns the pages in an old bathrobe. The problem isn't entirely that it feels uncomfortably domestic – they passed that milestone a while ago, really – it's that everything is tinged with previously ons and questions regarding whether it would be weird to talk about what they did and to be honest, because of last night the biggest problem he has is that all he can really think about is what it would be like to go down on her right now (his conclusion: painful for his knees, but definitely worth it).

"When are you going to tell your family about this?" she asks, and snapping out of his inappropriate fantasies about kneepads, he's able to notice she's perfected the art of not looking at him while he speaks lately.

"I... don't know, why?"

She flicks him a look. "They're going to find out sometime. Wouldn't it be best coming from you and not... say, Esposito?"

"Good point," he muses, and forgets to think before he swipes some toast from the diminishing stack in front of her paper.

Glaring at him, she slides off her stool and takes the plate away from him. "Make sure you change your clothes before you come into the precinct, you were wearing them yesterday," she grouses, before flouncing off to her bedroom and shutting the door.

"Yes, dear," he tells her retreating back.


Alexis and Martha are - unfortunately for him - home when he fits his key into the door and opens it.

"And where have you been?" his mother asks, "I know a walk of shame when I see one."

Alexis is a little less enthused. "We missed you for dinner last night."

"Oh, Alexis, your father's here eight out of seven nights a week lately, I'm sure we can afford him one evening away," Martha admonishes, pulling her son into the kitchen and sitting him at the bench. He can't help but feel a little hostility from Alexis next to him when he clears his throat – she's always too aware of when he's gearing up to tell her something he knows she might have a bad reaction to.

"I actually, uh, have some news for you two regarding my evening away," he starts, concerned at how eager his mother is to hear about his sexual escapades.

"Well?" she asks, impatient.

"Beckett and I got married."

"You what?" Martha and Alexis say together – the latter looking as though he just admitted to her that he was a closet foot fetishist or something.

"Did you accidentally get her pregnant? Oh, Richard, I thought if I'd taught you anything it was to use protection at all times, birth control is never a hundred percent effective!"

Very aware that his daughter is privy to this conversation, he quickly shakes his head. "No, Mother, it... you don't want to know why we did it. I just thought you should know."

Alexis leaves the room without a word, and Martha shakes her head. "Do you love her?"

He looks seriously at her. "You know how I feel about Beckett."

"So this is real, then?"

"I don't know what it is right now," he says truthfully.

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

When he gets to the precinct, Beckett seems to be doing her best to pretend he doesn't exist.

Ryan and Esposito, however, obviously spent the night thinking up some more questions to berate him with. In front of her.

"So how come you guys didn't invite us to the ceremony, I thought we were family?" Esposito asks, settling onto the edge of Beckett's desk as though he's got all the time in the world.

"Yeah, how come we don't even know where you're registered?" Ryan perches on the opposite side of the desk and shakes his head sadly. "Didn't even ask me for advice, not even with all this wedding stuff I know now."

"We're not registered," Beckett says grumpily, pen sticking out her mouth.

"Oh, hey Beckett, didn't see you there!" Esposito exclaims, and shifts toward her. "We were just talking to your husband about our concerns regarding your wedding."

"Or lack of wedding," Ryan interjects. "Did you guys at least pick out a china pattern?"

"Say some vows?"

"Write some vows?"

Their mocking is interrupted by the door to Gates's office opening, and both Ryan and Esposito scramble off Beckett's desk and back to their own.

"Beckett, Castle, my office, now," Gates barks out her doorway.

Feeling like they've just been called to the principal's office, Castle meekly follows Beckett in to see what Gates wants.

Her fingers are steepled in front her when they sit down; Beckett's a little more obviously irritated than him as she crosses her arms, and Gates fixes the both of them with a steady look that isn't quite a glare. "It's come to my attention, Detective, that you and Castle were recently married."

It's a credit to Beckett's poker face that she doesn't look even slightly surprised that Gates knows this.

"Yes, sir," she replies firmly.

Castle can't help but be curious. "May I—"

"No. Now I realise that Castle is not technically an employee here, but considering he never seems to leave I'm going to treat him as one in this situation - so you're going to have to declare your relationship officially to Human Resources. Alternately, he'll have to leave," she adds, only a little hopefully.

Beckett herself looks a little tempted at that last bit, and if he weren't so scared of Gates he'd be offended at that, being her husband now and all.

"I understand, sir," she replies, "I'll get onto it right away."

Her and Castle both stand to leave, and Gates uncomfortably clears her throat. "And uh, congratulations, the both of you. Are you... expecting?"

Castle almost chokes on his own spit, and when he turns away he can see Ryan and Esposito, who have clearly listened to all of this, collapsed over their desks in hysterical laughter.

Beckett fumbles, "What? I.. no. No. Sir." Then, completely at a loss as to how to diffuse the flagrant awkwardness in the room, she has nothing left to do except leave as quickly as possible.

He follows out half a second behind and can almost feel the glare radiating from her face toward everyone in the vicinity.

"I'm burning this damn shirt," she declares viciously, slumping back into her chair and burying her face in one of her hands.

Esposito gives Castle a sympathetic look. "Hormones?" he asks, as if they hadn't all just heard the most awkward conversation in the history of awkward conversations.

Beckett looks like she wants to throw something big and heavy at him.

"Thanks, Espo, I have to go home with her later."

"You're not going anywhere with me," comes Beckett's reply.


He does end up back at her apartment that night, though, overnight bag clutched tensely in his hand because he's not sure whether the sight of it will get her ire up again.

Amazingly, she's still glaring when she opens the door, and actually pulls him inside without a word.

"Beckett—" his sentence is cut off by her mouth slanting wet over his, her deft hands tugging his shirt out of his pants and then the whole lean length of her shoving roughly into him. She kisses him with wolfish fury, her hands raking over every part of him she can find, her teeth sharp on his tongue.

He just goes with it, fingers catching over the small of her back as he slides them down over her ass to pick her up and take her into the bedroom, hissing when her fingers dig into his scalp.

She's as vocal with her swear words as she is with telling him what to do with his mouth, and he's pretty sure the bite of her nails is actually drawing blood on his head in places, but since he's sucking on her clit he's not really going to complain about it.

When he finally lies back, boneless (pun intended), he turns to look at her. She's thrown an arm over her eyes, her chest rising and falling with rapid breaths, and with the glow of the light on her bare skin he can see the lightest sheen of sweat across her stomach. His own breath sticks in his throat at her, the long angles of her legs and her hips, the smooth olive of her skin, and simply how perfect she is, lying next to him. His wife, he has to remind himself, because it's still not real.

"You know," he says quietly, "I didn't actually come here for this."

She lifts her arm to raise an eyebrow at him.

"Scout's honour! I actually... wanted to talk to you."

Beckett actually groans and turns away from him at this. "Caaaaastle, last time you wanted to talk I ended up with a ring on my finger, what else are you expecting me to do?"

Creeping a little closer, he prickles his fingers across the dip of her waist and waits for her to look at him over her shoulder. "Seriously, Beckett."

She looks a little surprised that he's being genuine, and turns back over – inadvertently giving him a close-up of her boobs which totally distracts him from what they were previously talking about.

Rolling her eyes and pushing his face away with her hand, she retrieves her t-shirt from beside the bed and drags it back down over her head, fixing him with a look when she settles back against the pillows. "I feel like this conversation will go faster if you have fewer things to concentrate on," she says by way of explanation, and he can tell she's mostly amused. He quietly files away 'sex' as a solution to make her less mad in future.

"So I told my mother and Alexis about... what we did."

"Oh?" she sounds legitimately interested now, realising that he's not just pretending in order to piss her off.

"Mother was completely fine about it, obviously, but Alexis just..."

"Freaked out?" Beckett supplies knowingly.

"Basically. I tried to talk to her afterward but she just yelled at me. It was one of the worst fights I've ever had with her," he says, looking at the curve of her forearm instead of her face.

"What did she say, that we were idiots?"

He nods. "And that we hadn't thought this through or even asked her whether it would be okay with her – which, honestly, was out of the left field, I thought she liked you a lot – and I tried to tell her that maybe we were a little... hasty, but I still—" he manages to stop the love youjust in time, and goes completely red at the thought of what would have happened at that slip-up, "—had possession of all my facilities. It's not like we were drunk in Vegas or anything."

Beckett crinkles her nose and looks at him with an expression he can't quite read (he senses, almost, a taste of fear in her eyes), then seems to shake herself out of something and watches him almost sympathetically. "She hasn't really had any time to adjust to this, you know, I'm sure she feels a little betrayed that some woman has just come along and stolen you away from her without any notice."

He splutters a little. "Some woman? Stolen? You aren't just—never mind. I guess you're right."

"Of course I am," she replies. "You just have to give her some space."

"No problems there," he says, not wanting to go anywhere near the seething rage coming out from under his daughter's locked bedroom door at the moment.

"Yes, I noticed. Because you're in my bed. Again."

He looks up at her with his head on the pillow, tries for unadulterated adoration. Rolling her eyes again she pushes at his chest, but before she can take her hand away he grabs it in his, slides his thumb over her knuckles. "Thanks for the pep talk, sweet pea," he leers, and takes an inordinate amount of delight in the fact that she can't keep the smile off her face even as she's scrunching it up at him.

"You better not be thinking of using pet names on me in the precinct, honey."

"Cupcake."

"Stop it."

"Pumpkin."

"Stop it."

"Precious."

"Castle, stop it or I'm going to get my gun."


It turns into a game for him. Beckett, in letting on that being mad will lead to amazing sex, has given him a valuable piece of information that he decides to use to his full advantage.

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When he accidentally tells the cashier at Starbucks to draw hearts all over her coffee cup then leaves it on her desk for the whole precinct to see she doesn't even wait until they're at her apartment, she just shoves him into a viewing room and climbs up his body like a tree, fingers burrowing savagely into his jaw, the scrape of her teeth almost venomous (which totally, completely does it for him).

"I thought we weren't having sex in the workplace," he says, sinking into her with a long thrust.

"Stop. Talking."

"Yes, dear."

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When he starts making up vows in the middle of the bullpen while she's making coffee, she purposefully waits until everyone's gone home for the day before she starts making up some vows of her own (which, he just has to point out, contain a lot more swear words than his do.)

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When she gets super mad at him about Serena, they only just get in the door before she's making out with him, and a thought occurs to him as he presses her bodily against the wall.

"This is a really weird honeymoon period, right?" he says as he unbuttons her jeans and forces the zipper down.

"What?"

Her hips cant towards his fingers as he slips them below her underwear, and her eyes close when they skate slick over her. "Well I mean, I've been married twice and this—"

"Castle, are you seriously bringing up your other wives while we are doing this?"

Oh, right. "Sorry Beckett," he says sheepishly, and doesn't give her any more time to be mad at him because he slides his fingers up and in and she can't do anything but gasp. "In answer to my question," he continues as though nothing has happened, "I would say since I haven't usually ended up with such a colourful array of bruises before," he curls his fingers and pinches her nipple through her bra, presses his knee a little more firmly between her legs, "that this is definitely a weird honeymoon phase by conventional standards of marriage."

Sucking in a sharp breath, Beckett manages to gasp out, "Since when have we done anything by conventional standards?"

"Hmm. That's true. Are we going to go on an actual honeymoon?"

"Castle can you—can you do me a favour and shut up?"

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He can't even remember what he does to rile her up the day it hits him.

But while she's rocking above him, hips twisting in that way where he knows she's close, he suddenly, terribly, realises what the hell they've done.

"Beckett." He sits up and his forehead promptly collides with her nose.

"Ow, Castle, what are you doing?"

"Beckett, did we actually get married a few weeks ago?" He picks up her left hand and sees the silver band, the glimmer of the diamond. "Well, that's real."

"Castle, what's wrong with you? Why are you acting like you just came out of a coma dream?"

But there's no stopping it now, it's hit full-force: this is insane. They got married? What did they get married for? Why did they think that was a good idea? "Why aren't you freaking out about this?" he asks, freaking out.

She slumps a little in his lap, apparently resigned to the fact that they're not going to finish having sex for a while. "I... did. It just wasn't to you. I did it in therapy."

"You're having therapy because we got married?"

"No, Castle, oh my god, not everything is about you. I've been going ever since... ever since I got back from the summer."

"Oh." Well, at least it's not entirely his fault. But this is still completely nuts. Why didn't they realise this was completely nuts? What are they going to do in a marriage? Get a joint bank account? Go on date nights? Have children? Oh god, they aren't having children, are they? "Shit, Beckett, you aren't pregnant, are you?"

"Castle."

"Right. Of course. We would know if you were pregnant. Right?"

"Right. Why are you being like this all of a sudden?"

"Because... I... Beckett..." he has no idea what's going on right now. "I love you?"

"WHAT? Why would you say that?"

"I don't know! I thought that was what I was supposed to do now!"

"Now that you're what?" she asks, clearly terrified of the answer and looking about five seconds away from bolting right out of his lap.

"Now that... I'm living here? That everyone knows? Now that we're married?" he rambles, arms waving around wildly.

"Wait, you live here?" Beckett shouts back at him, and then they're both freaking out.

"I kissed you goodbye the other morning before I went to see Alexis!"

"Oh my god, half your stuff is in my closet!"

"Did we go grocery shopping together?"

"We were talking about new curtains the other night!" Beckett groans, her head falling to Castle's shoulder. "Oh god, Castle, we're married."

They contemplate this for a moment, her breath unsteady over his cooling skin. Then he runs his hands up her sides. "You know, it's not a whole lot different than when we weren't married."

She lifts her head, studies him. Then a funny little smile comes over her face. "It did take you like a month to realise."

"And I mean, you were already my work wife."

She rolls her eyes. Calmer now, he finds it a little easier to process all his thoughts, and naturally, they turn to her.

"Beckett are you... okay with it? Because if you aren't okay with it I am fully prepared to unceremoniously divorce you, no questions asked."

The look on her face is filled with so many emotions at his words that he almost can't pick out the one that scares him - the one that looks uncannily similar to love. When she leans forward and kisses him her hands are soft on his face, and it's different than all the ways she's ever kissed him before. He falls back and brings her with him, all the fire from earlier simmering down to a slow, sweet burn.


They should have known, really, that their feelings would surface eventually.


She gets weird for a few days, and he's not the only one who notices.

"Yo, what's up with Beckett? The bubble burst or something?" Esposito asks, but soon sobers up when he sees Castle isn't laughing along with him. "Everything all right with you two?"

Castle swivels around on Beckett's chair and shrugs. "Maybe."

"If you want my advice, bro, I'd just go talk to her about it. You kinda haven't got the 'none of your business' excuse anymore."

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He does what Esposito says, if only because he wants to avoid going home to his mother taking acting classes in his living room later.

"Hey, is everything okay?" he asks when he finds her in the back of the records room.

"Did we make a mistake, Castle?"

He's about to ask what she means when he catches the glint from both her ring and the one dangling from the chain around her neck. He sighs, picks up her left hand. "Kate, being married to you should never be considered a mistake. The circumstances surrounding the marriage? Questionable. Perhaps we could have thought them through a little more. But a mistake? Never."

"I just..." she trails off, but doesn't really need to finish. He knows. She just doesn't know if she's ready even if nothing's really changed. She doesn't know if she can handle it if things don't work out.

"I know I joked about those vows but if you want, I can make you some. Promises about having and holding, etcetera. If it makes you realise I'm not going to go anywhere."

Her eyes shine a little too bright when she looks up at him, but she blinks it away as she stands, finds his other hand with hers and slowly shakes her head. "You don't need to do that."

"You say that now, but did I forget to mention that I'm a bestselling author? I'm sure I could make up some appropriate ones. Maybe a sonnet? Two sonnets?"

She leans forward and kisses him sweetly, then pulls back with the shadow of a smile. "Shut up, Castle."


Then, a while later, they manage to adopt a semi-famous golden retriever for a weekend like it's a completely normal activity – and afterwards he thinks, all things considered, accidentally getting married isn't really all that high on the list of bizarre things they've done together after all, though the story might just be novel-worthy.