Castle: Beckett's Security Blanket

Chapter 19: Epilogue

A/N: Well, as promised, here is an epilogue for you my dear and wonderful readers. I hope you enjoy it, it's a fair bit longer than most of my chapters but I didn't want to split it into two parts so I hope you're all okay with this and that it gives you a more satisfying ending. Once again, it's been a pleasure to write for you all. Now, onward and enjoy…

Kate Beckett slowly began to stir as the morning light peered in through the window shades, bathing her in a soft golden light. Her lips twitched up into a smile as she realized she felt adequately rested for the first time in days. Weeks, maybe. Apparently the stress of having a mentally unstable killer stalking you can really do a number on a person, she mused inwardly. Letting out a soft groan as she stretched her body she turned herself over but was surprised to find herself alone in the bed.

Where was Rick?

"Castle?" She called out, slightly confused as she rubbed her eyes and pushed herself up on her elbows to peer around the room.

He wasn't in his bedroom. Odd.

Swinging her legs over the side of the bed she pushed herself up onto her feet and padded out of the bedroom in search of her elusive partner.

Entering his office she quickly realized he wasn't there either so she continued on her path to the main part of the loft, still clad in the pajama bottoms and camisole she had worn to bed the previous evening.

Entering the main living room her lips curved up into an adoring smile as her eyes fell on Rick, clumsily roaming through the kitchen in an effort to make coffee, butter some toast, flip omelettes and keep the pancakes from burning all at the same time. She bit her bottom lip in an effort to stifle her giggling as he muttered some quiet curses under his breath when he grabbed an apparently too hot piece of toast from the toaster.

"Good morning" she finally called out, making her presence known and he spun around to face her, dropping the toast to the kitchen floor in the process.

"Oh, morning" he replied in surprise. "I uh, made breakfast" he mumbled, looking down at himself to brush some pancake and toast dust from his black t-shirt.

"I see that" she chuckled as she came to join him in the kitchen.

"Well, sort of" he shrugged with a small frown, looking down to the blackened piece of bread at his feet.

"Oh my God Castle this place is a mess" Kate mused as she looked around the room bewildered. How he managed to get pancake batter on the ceiling was beyond her.

Only Richard Castle…

"Yeah, I may have taken on a little too much all at once" he sighed.

"Ya think?" she smirked, and he flashed his signature boyish grin at her.

"Are you hungry?" he asked, turning away from her just for a moment to flick off the burners on the stove.

"That depends, is any of this food actually edible?" she teased and he gave her his best mock pout.

"Alexis did warn me about your unusual breakfast habits" she continued after a moment. "Apparently I'm supposed to stay away from something called a smorelette? And, any other concoctions you yourself manage to come up with"

"You wound me, Detective" he pouted, placing a hand over his heart.

"You'll get over it" she replied, playfully rolling her eyes at him.

Looking back at him again her eyes narrowed slightly at him before she brought her hand up to her lips and shook her head slightly as another laugh escaped her.

"What now?" he huffed, though he wasn't actually upset. He could get used to hearing her laughter in the morning, he thought.

"Castle you have…" she paused for a moment and took a few steps closer to him. "There's pancake batter in your hair!"

His eyes flicked upwards as if he'd actually be able to see what she was referring to and she shook her head.

"Come here" she sighed before taking a step closer to him. She ran a hand through his hair and managed to sweep the small lump of batter out and her face scrunched up as she brought her hand down in front of her. "Eww, it's all goopy" she groaned as it stuck between her fingers and now it was his turn to laugh.

"Here" he mentioned, pulling a dish towel off his shoulder and handing to her. She wiped her fingers clean before draping it back onto his shoulder.

"I think I got it all" she chuckled as her hand went back into his hair and she absentmindedly began running her fingers through it.

He stared at her, unable to move, transfixed to his spot on the floor as he felt her hand running through his hair, softly, gently.

She smiled up at him, seemingly lost in thought at the simple, yet caring gesture. It wasn't until she heard her phone beeping off in the distance signalling a new message was received that the moment broke and she quickly withdrew her hand from his hair.

"Sorry" she mumbled shyly, giving her head a small shake.

"It's okay" he breathed, smiling down at her.

"Oh my God, Castle, what time is it?" she gasped as she drew her wrist up in front of her to check her watch.

"11:30?" She practically shrieked, answering her own question.

"You were so exhausted last night, I didn't want to wake you this morning, I figured you needed it" Castle called after her, watching as she quickly spun around and sprinted off towards his office to retrieve her phone.

She emerged a couple minutes later, dressed in casual work attire and sighed as she saw Castle placing two plates down on the kitchen bar.

"You have to eat" he gently reminded her once he saw her expression.

"I have to go to work" she murmured apologetically.

"But you caught the bad guy, he's tucked away safely behind bars and probably not coming out for the rest of his life" he commented and she looked up at him in surprised confusion.

"Ryan called and filled me in yesterday" he shrugged, answering her unasked question.

"Well Gates let us call it an early night last night so we needed to come in this morning to finish off the paperwork. That was Espo who texted me, reminding me that morning has now come and gone"

"So, you're already late" he shrugged innocently. "Just take five minutes to eat Kate" he gently pleaded and she gave him a small smile.

"five minutes" she conceited with a light sigh and he grinned.

They ate their meals, minus burnt floor toast, in a comfortable silence; Rick often taking the opportunity to steal a glance at her when she wasn't looking. He couldn't believe after everything they'd been through the past week, and more specifically the last couple days, that she was here, sitting beside him eating breakfast and he couldn't help the smile that spread across his lips as he watched her eat.

"What?" she finally asked, apparently his staring hadn't been as covert as he thought.

"Nothing" he quickly shook his head and patted his mouth with a napkin.

"Castle, you're staring at me"

"Am not" he huffed childishly.

"Okay Castle, whatever you say" she sighed, rolling her eyes though there was a hint of a smile forming at the corner of her lips.

"I guess, I just didn't expect you to be here… like this…now, after everything" he finished lamely. God for a writer he really had a terrible time with words when the occasion presented itself.

"Yeah…" she paused for a beat. "Me either" she shrugged and he twitched his lips into a half frown.

"But, I'm glad I'm here now" she finished after a moment and she could see his eyes warming with amusement. "But I really do have to go now" she explained regretfully as she pushed her stool away from the bar and quickly wiped her mouth with her napkin.

"Thank you for breakfast"

"You're welcome" his smile came easily as he too stood from his seat. "Should I… Do you want me to…" he tripped and fumbled over his words nervously before she quickly shook her head at him.

"It's just a boring paper work day Castle, you don't have to come with me. Besides, looks like you've got a bit of mess to clean up here" she smirked at him and he shrugged.

"Ah this is nothing, you should've been here the time when Alexis told me she wanted a homemade cake for her eighth birthday party. I almost sold the loft to get out of having to clean it up" he explained and she winced at the thought; Castle and flour didn't exactly paint a pretty picture in her head, she could just imagine it everywhere.

She strolled over to the front door, Castle following closely behind her to show her out, but stopped and turned to him as she reached the threshold.

"Well" she sighed as she picked up her briefcase that she had left at the doorway last night. For some reason she felt nervous, and didn't know what to say to him. "Thanks again" she offered lamely before turning back away from him to head out into the hallway.

"Kate?" he called after her almost immediately as his hand gently grasped her elbow, turning her to face him.

"Do you think, maybe, I could take you to dinner tonight?" He asked hesitantly, shifting from one foot to the other.

Holy Crap! Is this what nervous Richard Castle looks like? The mere thought amused her greatly.

Her smile grew wide and she absentmindedly tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear.

"I think I'd like that"

Castle released a breath he didn't realize he had been holding and flashed her a smile that reached his eyes. "Great" he nodded once at her. "I'll see you later then?"

"Sure" she quickly agreed, then spun away from him once more and finally headed down the hallways until she reached the elevator and stepped inside.

The moment the doors sealed her inside she slumped herself against the back wall and let out a loud sigh. Did she just agree to go on a date with Castle?

Was it a date?

Oh, it was most definitely a date her brain quickly decided.

Strolling through the homicide division of the twelfth, Kate Beckett garnered a few odd looks from her colleagues as they watched her breeze through to her desk with a lightness in her step and a seldom seen smile gracing her lips. Angry Beckett they were used to, Determined Beckett, sure, but care-free possibly even happy Beckett? Well, this was news to just about everybody.

"Looks like a solid night's rest did you a world of good" Esposito comment as Beckett reached her desk and took a seat, her hand still gripping the travel mug of coffee that Castle had made her and insisted she took with her.

"What do you mean?" She asked, quickly hiding any emotion from her face.

"You just, look really good" Espo shrugged and Kate simply raised an eyebrow at him, stone-faced and back to business-as-usual-Beckett.

"Thanks…" she offered warily. Was she that transparent? "Did Gates say anything this morning?" she asked shifting the conversation in another direction.

"Nah, don't worry about it" Espo waved her off. "She's in a meeting with the Chief of D's, won't be back till early afternoon she said"

"Good" Beckett nodded. One bullet dodged she thought.

"Where's Ryan?" she asked after a moment when her eyes scanned the bullpen and he was nowhere in sight.

"Grabbing a coffee" Espo gestured towards the break room. "You know, not of all us had the pleasure of sleeping until noon" he teased.

"Jealous?" she simply raised an eyebrow at him, the corner of her lip twitching upwards into a smirk.

"Damn right I'm jealous" Espo quickly scoffed. "My partner was banging on my door at six thirty this morning to pick me up and didn't even have the decency to bring me a coffee. I got some nasty green health shake, compliments of Mrs. Ryan" he shuttered as he recalled tasting the foul beverage, wondering who on earth would drink that again voluntarily. Ryan he mused.

"Where was your partner?" he asked innocently enough and Beckett's smile quickly faded as she tried to not give anything away.

'He let me sleep in, in his bed, and then cooked me breakfast, and oh yeah, then asked me out on a date' was not a conversation she wanted to start with Esposito right now, she'd never hear the end of it.

Esposito sensed her retention and instantly felt a pang of guilt that perhaps something happened between the two of them. Castle had left the precinct yesterday, maybe they had a falling out and here he was making jokes.

"Sorry" he sighed guiltily.

"No, it's fine" Beckett quickly waved him off and her small smile returned. "I told him to stay home, no need for him to come in today" she explained and Esposito seemed satisfied with that and gave her a quick nod of approval before returning his gaze to the folder in front of him.

In what seemed like days, though had in actuality only been a few hours, Beckett was finally finished with her paperwork and ready to leave the precinct. Esposito and Ryan had left not long before her after Gates had dismissed all three of them, telling them to enjoy the rest of their night off and threw in the weekend off also as a token of gratitude for their hard work and grueling hours they had put in for the last week. The boys had raced off towards the elevator as if the building were on fire and Kate smirked as she recalled the sight of them scrambling through the bullpen before the captain had a chance to change her mind.

Slipping into her well-worn leather jacket Beckett frowned as she waited for the elevator to reach her floor. Where was she supposed to go now? Back to her apartment? To Castle's? He hadn't texted or called her letting her know of any arrangements for the evening so she pulled out her cell to send him a quick text.

"Hey, all done for the day. What's the plan?"

The elevator dinged as it reached her floor and she stepped inside, just as her phone alerted of her of an incoming message.

"Just come here? Your things are still here so you could get ready and we'll go from here. PS: Hope your day went well. I however was assassinated by my own daughter in an epic laser tag battle…"

She smiled as she read the message and quickly typed her reply;

"Holster the guns please, I'm on my way. See you soon"

"Can't wait ;)" his reply came almost instantly and she felt a flush rise in her cheeks as she read it. Oh, she was in trouble…

Reaching the penthouse floor of Rick's building Kate paused for a moment as she stopped at his front door. On instinct her hand went to the door handle and nearly pulled it open when the realization dawned on her that she didn't live here and shouldn't just go wandering in without being invited; whether Castle was expecting her or not. Giving her head a quick shake she brought her hand up to the door and knocked softly against it, rocking back on her heels as she waited for an answer.

In a matter of moments the door swung open and Kate was greeted by a smiling Martha who quickly pulled Kate in by her elbows when she saw who was standing on the other side of the door.

"Darling you don't have to be standing out there in the hallway" Martha quickly explained with a shake of her head. "Come in, come in" she urged, still pulling Kate gently inside the loft. Kate flashed her a slightly embarrassed smile as the older woman expressed her disapproval for Beckett thinking she's still on a needs-to-knock basis.

"I hear congratulations are in order" Martha piped up after a moment and Kate looked at her briefly struck with confusion.

Oh no, what has Castle told her?

"Congratulations?" she asked to clarify, finally finding her voice again.

"Yes, I'm told you solved the case" Martha's smile was swelling with pride and Kate couldn't help but smile back as a warm feeling washed over her.

"Yes, we did" she made sure to clarify, after all, she hadn't done it alone.

"Well good for you darling. Oh look at me standing here talking your ear off and holding you up" Martha mentioned with a wave of her hand. "Richard told me you two are going out for a celebratory dinner, don't let me keep you any longer. He's in his office" she explained, nodding her head towards Castle's office before shuffling off into the kitchen.

"Thank you Martha" Beckett smiled before heading off towards the writer's office.

She lightly tapped her knuckles against the closed door of the office before letting herself in and saw Castle sitting behind his desk with his laptop placed in front of him. Looking up from the screen he flashed her a bright smile that reached his eyes and quickly pushed his chair back from the desk.

"Hey" he greeted softly. "How was the day?"

"It was fine" she nodded, a soft smile playing on her lips. "Gates gave me and the boys the entire weekend off so we were all pretty eager to get out of there today" she explained.

"Well, feel free to take over the bathroom, I've already showered, I'll just need to change before we leave" he told her, nodding his head towards his bedroom and she simply smiled and said a quiet "thank you" before padding off into the adjoining bedroom to get herself ready for dinner.

Half an hour later Kate emerged from the bedroom feeling completely reenergized after her shower. Her hair hung in soft curls around her shoulders and she chose her favourite blue skinny jeans, white button-down blouse and a dark brown suede jacket as her attire for the evening. Not exactly what she had pictured she'd be wearing on a date with Richard Castle, but it's not as if she had any swanky evening gowns tucked away in that duffel of hers so she hoped Castle had picked some place low-key for dinner.

Heading out into the main living room her eyes fell on Castle, leaning against a pillar by the kitchen dressed in a pair of dark designer blue jeans and a black cotton v-neck sweater. He looked amazing in something so simple, Kate thought to herself. It wasn't often she got to see him outside of his usual dress shirts and blazers.

Sensing her closeness Castle spun around to face her as Kate continued her walk towards him.

"Ready?" he asked excitedly and she smiled.

"Ready" she confirmed with a short nod.

He extended his arm out, gesturing for her to lead the way and she did so, swinging open the front door and making her way through the hallway to the elevator with Castle falling into step beside her.

They shuffled into the elevator and Kate chanced a glance in Rick's direction, a small smile playing on her lips as she did so.

"What?" he questioned, noting her eyes on him.

"Nothing" she shrugged. "I was just relieved to see you dressed casually, I thought you would've been in perfectly tailored suit and I'd look like some hobo in comparison" she stifled a small laugh and he smirked.

"No, I knew better" he gently reminded her. "Besides, I think you look stunning" he confessed, his eyes never leaving hers, causing her to squirm under his heated gaze.

"Thank you Castle" she smiled before shifting her gaze to the floor and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "You um, look pretty great yourself. I like the no-hassle-Castle look" she smirked and he laughed.

Before either had a chance let things feel awkward the elevator dinged and the doors swiftly opened, depositing them on the ground floor of the building.

The doorman smiled as they stepped off the elevator and quickly sprinted towards the door to hold it open for them. Castle flashed his usual charming smile and thanked the young gentleman as he and Kate stepped out into the dusk settled streets.

"So, where are we going?" Kate asked as they reached the sidewalk and took a glance around at her surroundings.

"I know a place" he shrugged; sleeves pushed up on his forearms and hands shoved in his pockets as the evening air proved to be slightly chillier than he thought it would.

"It's not far, we could walk if you're up for it" he suggested easily.

"Yeah I don't mind walking, but are you sure you're going to be warm enough?"

"I'm perfect actually" he shrugged. "It's a really nice night. Shall we?" he asked and she gave a quick nod and he began leading her up the street.

A few blocks later they arrived at their intended destination; a small Italian restaurant with a quaint and cozy atmosphere inside. The tables were draped in red and white checkered table clothes and soft Italian opera played pleasantly in the background.

They were seated right away; the host greeting Castle by name the moment he stepped in the door and quickly showing them to a table.

"I'll get you a wine list Mr. Castle" the young man standing before them mentioned as they took their seats; Castle ever-the-gentleman pushing Beckett's chair in for her once she had sat down before taking to his own chair.

"No need Anthony, we'll have a bottle of the '98 Cab Sauv" Castle mentioned to the young man and he quickly nodded before politely excusing himself and heading off in another direction.

"So, you come here a lot I guess?" Kate asked as she picked up her menu and began skimming through it.

"This place is Alexis' favourite" he explained, his eyes twinkling with amusement at the thought. "When she was younger we used to come here every Wednesday night. Alexis would always order spaghetti with meatballs, or besketti with meatballs as she used to call it, and she'd end up with more on her face and clothes than in her stomach"

Kate laughed as he recalled the memory, instantly picturing a four or five year old Alexis covered in tomato sauce. The site was adorable and endearing, just as it was to hear him tell it.

Anthony returned a few moments later with the bottle of red wine Castle had requested and gestured towards a glass for Castle to taste it before approving the purchase.

"Not necessary Anthony, I'm sure it will do just fine" he offered casually, reaching for the bottle and the young man quickly obliged the request, handing the bottle over before taking his leave once more.

"So," Castle breathed as he popped the cork and began filling two glasses, passing one across the table to Beckett and keeping the other for himself.

"How about, to solving the case" he began after a moment, raising his glass lightly in the air towards her. "Putting it all behind us, and, looking forward to what's in front of us" he finished with a smirk.

"I will gladly drink to that" Beckett smiled before lightly tapping her glass against his and taking a small swallow.

Their meals arrived shortly afterwards and soon they were enveloped in some light conversation as they ate; Beckett laughing as Castle told some stories of past experiences here and Beckett even sharing a few of her own treasured memories as a child with her father and the things they used to do together. Castle listened intently with a warm smile on his face, fascinated as he seemingly peeled away another layer of Kate Beckett.

Both completely satisfied and not able to manage another bite Castle asked for the cheque and within minutes they were back out on the cool and now darkened streets.

"Thank you again for dinner, it was really good" Kate smiled as she pulled her jacket slightly tighter around her, the evening chill quickly seeping through the thin material.

"It was my pleasure" he smiled in return. "Getting chilly out" he noted as he rubbed his hands over his upper arms. "Should we cab it back?" he asked and she nodded.

Castle hailed a taxi and within seconds a yellow and black checkered cab pulled up the curb in front of them and they climbed into the back seat together.

"Where to guys?" the cabbie asked, obnoxiously chewing a toothpick as he spoke.

"Castle, I appreciate everything you've done but…" Beckett began apologetically but Castle was quick to cut her off.

"I know, I'm sure you miss your own place" he nodded with understanding before giving the cab driver Beckett's home address.

"Thanks" she smiled shyly at him.

"Of course"

The cab pulled up to the edge of the sidewalk in front of Kate's apartment building a few minutes later and Rick passed the driver a twenty before they both climbed out of the cab and headed inside. The elevator ride to Kate's floor was spent in contemplative silence; Kate wondering if she would finally find her apartment empty and Rick wondering how exactly he was going to let her go in probably only a few minutes and how unwelcoming the thought of spending his first night alone in a while was to him.

Stepping up to the door Kate fished her key out of her jacket pocket and twisted it into the lock until she heard a click and they were let inside. Once in the front hall Kate noticed a sticky note stuck to the white keypad by the door with a brief note on it explaining how to arm and disarm the alarm as well as the security company's phone number and her keypad's PIN number.

Deciding not to mention her new additions of home security so that she wouldn't ruin what had been an already perfect day and evening she simply slipped her shoes off and made her way into the main living room to take a look around, Castle following closely behind her but deciding to leave his shoes on as he didn't want to make any assumptions that she would let him stay any longer than to make sure she got in safely.

"Well" he breathed, sticking his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels as he glanced around the open space. "Home sweet home, huh?"

"Yeah" she smiled at him. "It actually does feel really good to be home"

He didn't allow her words to upset him, he knew what she meant. It didn't mean she didn't enjoy her time with him, or wasn't grateful for it, it was just, as the old saying goes, there's no place like home.

"I could do a quick inspection, you know, check the place out" he shrugged and she smirked.

"Very chivalrous of you my White Knight, but I think I'll be fine" she teased and he chuckled.

"Yeah, you're tougher than me anyway"

"Got that right" she agreed, amusement in her tone.

"So, weekend off huh? So I guess I'll see you at the precinct on Monday?" He asked, suddenly feeling nervous as he stood a few feet in front of her. She gave him a quick smile that appeared almost regretful and then nodded.

"Yeah, Monday" she confirmed softly.

"Well, goodnight" he said, taking a step nearer and closing the distance between them. He nervously brought his hands out of his pockets and up to rest on her hips as he craned his head around to kiss her cheek softly, his lips lingering on her smooth skin for an extra few moments as he inhaled the sweet scent of her hair.

Regretfully pulling back he remained close with his hands still on her hips as he brought his eyes to reach hers.

His heart hammered in his chest at the close proximity between them and his hands refused to leave their place at her sides. He didn't want to let her go. She seemed to be as dazed as he was in the moment, neither of them saying anything, neither pulling away from the other. Her eyes quickly flicked down to his slightly parted lips, then back into his eyes just as quickly and he didn't think he could fight the temptation any longer.

Here goes nothing, he thought to himself before bringing his right hand up from her hip until his index finger rested underneath her chin, gently tilting it upwards. Her breath hitched for a moment but her eyes never left his and he slowly leaned down, capturing her lips with his in a sweet and tender kiss. Regrettably he pulled away after a few seconds and brought his forehead to rest against hers.

"Wow" he breathed, his eyes closed and his hands once again finding their place on her hips. When she didn't speak for a few moments he suddenly became very nervous once again and pulled himself back slightly to look at her.

"Kate, I'm sorry, I probably shouldn't have…"

"Castle" she gently cut him off and it abruptly silenced him as he waited for her to continue. Searching her eyes for answers he found her gaze warm and inviting and he let a small sigh of relief escape him before she began speaking again.

"I was just surprised that's all" she explained with a smile spreading across her lips as she brought her hands up around his neck and began stroking the back of his hair.

"You hate surprises" he frowned and she giggled slightly.

"Well, maybe not all surprises" she assured him before gently tugging his head back down to hers and their lips met again, this time with an intense passion that nearly caused Castle to trip over his own feet as he shuffled closer against her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

Castle deepened the kiss, seeking entry into her mouth which she granted, a soft moan escaping her as their tongues made contact with one another. She tasted of a delicious mixture of red wine and chocolate, thanks to the desert she had at the restaurant and he absolutely could not get enough of it. His hands roamed her back as hers got lost in his wonderfully soft locks of hair. Their tongues duelled in the fiery embrace for as long as possible until the need for air forced them apart and he once again found himself leaning his forehead against hers, their ragged breaths mixing together between them in the aftermath of the heated kiss.

"Double wow" he breathed once he found his voice again and she laughed softly; it was perhaps the most amazing sound he'd ever heard. Well, maybe second most amazing, after that delicious moan that escaped her only moments ago of course.

"You know for a writer, you don't always have the most impressive choice of words" she teased and he smirked.

"Beckett, after you kiss me like that, I'll be lucky if I remember how to tie my shoes again" he explained and she giggled once more before she brought her arms down to wrap around his midsection and rested her head against his chest, holding him tightly to her and his arms tightened around her waist in response, his chin resting on the top of her head.

He held her for a few moments, allowing the moment to truly sink in. He knew she'd need time to process everything and didn't want to push her too far too fast though he was pretty sure she'd need to get the jaws of life to extract her from his hold on her now. He finally had a taste of Kate Beckett and now more than ever, he never wanted to let her go.

"Kate," he whispered softly after a few minutes had passed, planting a soft kiss on the top of her head as he spoke. She slowly brought her head back to look at him though they remained in each others arms.

"I could stay" he offered nervously, bringing his hands up to rub up and down her arms. "We don't have to… I mean… Just to sleep" he clarified.

"Castle I want to, it's just…" she paused for a moment as she searched for the right words. She really didn't want him to walk out that door tonight but she was also worried she couldn't give him everything he wanted, everything he deserved just yet.

"I know you're scared" he soothed softly, bringing his head down slightly to plant a soft kiss on her forehead. "But we can take it slow, baby steps okay?"

She brought her soft gaze up to his and her smile returned almost immediately. She never had a chance of saying no to him now.

"Baby steps" she confirmed with a bright smile before stepping up on her toes and pressing her mouth to his for a soft, gentle kiss.

"Mmmm I like baby steps" he grinned against her lips before landing a few more quick pecks against her mouth and she giggled.

"Castle" her voice turned serious and his playful kissing stopped as he pulled back slightly to look at her.

"What's wrong?"

"I need to apologize" she sighed, taking his hands with hers. "For some of the things I've said to you over these last couple days, you didn't deserve it, and I'm sorry" she said with a frown.

"Kate," he breathed her name and gripped her hands a little tighter before continuing. "We both said some things that were out of line so for what it's worth, I'm sorry too"

"I can hardly be mad at you, I mean you were right, what did I expect to happen? And it wasn't just you, it wasn't just… in your head" she explained shyly and he smirked at her.

"Why Detective Beckett, are you saying you've had the hots for me this whole time?" he asked teasingly and she rolled her eyes at him, though she couldn't hide her grin.

"You have your moments" she shrugged.

"Yeah?" he smirked at her before lowering his head to capture her lips once more, this time deepening the kiss until her body began responding to his and she dropped his hands and brought hers up around his neck to hold him closer. He let out a low groan when her tongue swept inside his mouth, seeking out his and taking control of the already electrifying kiss. She regrettably released him after a few moments and brought her head back to look at him with her warm gaze.

"Thank you" she murmured sincerely.

"For what?"

"For being patient, for being you" she explained with a slight shrug of her shoulders. She truly couldn't ask for more when it came to him, and she was finally allowing herself to begin to accept that.

"Well you my dear detective, are well worth the wait" he grinned down at her.

"Well you know, the thing is…" she began cheekily as she brought her hands up to fidget with the hem of his sweater at his waist. "I was never very good at waiting, especially for something I really want" she explained before biting down gently on her lower lip.

His breath hitched as she spoke those last words and he looked at her in pleasant surprise.

"Are you sure?" he asked softly and she smiled up at him, the tender look in her eyes easing his mind of any more doubts and she took his hand in hers as she led him down the hallway to her bedroom.

There wasn't a whole lot in her life that Kate Beckett could be certain of, but one thing she could, her one true constant, was Rick Castle.



for real this time! for those who weren't 'big fans' of the original ending, I hope this one suffices. For those of you who did enjoy the original ending, well, here's a cherry for the top of your sundae ;)

I love you all and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this final chapter, and you will hopefully be hearing from me again soon as I do have some projects in the works ;)