Here is the final chapter. Thank you to all who read this. I'm not sure when or if I'll write another story... it depends if I feel the need to write again.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters

Chapter 16

Castle was all ready to go, he had one of his best suits on, was freshly shaven, and Alexis had helped him make his hair look perfect. He couldn't help but wonder what this night meant for him and his partner. He kept playing the words that he heard that morning before breakfast, over and over in his head. "He just made me feel safe, like nothing could harm me. He made me feel at home, and happy. He only has to be in the same room as me and I feel better," she had said. What did this mean for them? He hoped now that the case was over, they would be able to talk about it.

Beckett arrived a few minutes before 7. She reached his door, took a deep breath and knocked.

When Castle opened the door and saw her standing there, his knees went weak and he almost fell over.

Beckett saw and caught his arm. "Watch it Castle! Or you're going to hurt your other arm!"

"Kate," he said looking her from top to bottom. She was dressed in a long black dress with a sparkle that matched her twinkling eyes, and she was showing just the right amount of skin. "You look stunning. No better than stunning, gosh I don't know, I know words, but there's no word to explain how you look tonight."

Beckett bit her bottom lip nervously. "Thank you Castle, you don't look too bad yourself. I do have something to finish off your outfit though."

She pulled out a sparkly black bow tie to match her dress.

"I know it's kind of corny to have a matching tie, but we're partners, so I think we can be corny together."

"Kate," he said, "you're wrong. Tonight, we are not just partners. Tonight, I am your date.!"

She was surprised he had remembered what she had said in the hospital. "Ok well, dates can be corny together too!"

"Yes they can." Castle agreed smiling.

Beckett helped him put on his tie, it looked great. They looked great together. Tonight was going to be special.

Martha and Alexis came down to see how Beckett looked, and both agreed that she looked beautiful.

Alexis laughed at her fathers matching tie, but said she loved it. She told him he was not allowed to take it off all night, until he got home.

"So what time does the ceremony start?" asked Martha.

"About 8pm, it'll take about 30 minutes to get there, so we should probably get going or we'll get caught in the crowd trying to get in."

Castle kissed his mother and his daughter on the cheek and turned to walk out with Beckett.

Beckett turned to face the door and for the first time Castle saw the back of her dress. There was very little to it. The dress came down low and had just a couple of straps holding it in place.

"Well, shall we go then?" Castle said once he had recovered from the shock of her dress.

He placed his hand on the small of her back, and they were touching his skin to hers. It gave Kate goosebumps.

Together they walked her out of the loft and stayed silent on the way down the elevator and to Castle's car.

"So, there's a crowd at these events?" Castle asked.

"Well, I don't know actually. I just wanted to get going, I guess I'm just excited."

"For the award ceremony? I never imagined you to get excited about an award ceremony."

"No Castle, I was excited to get you all to myself again!" she said with a flirty smile.

He didn't know if she was serious or joking, but he was pretty sure there was definitely some truth in what she had said.

"Well, I'm glad you get me all to yourself for a while too, then!"

The awards ceremony was lovely. They were sat at table, and were served dinner. Then there was the usual big long speech by the person in charge. Castle, of course, wanted to skip this bit because he found it so boring. He kept whispering little comments in Beckett's ear, just trying to annoy her really, but she just kept nudging him, or kicking him under the table. Castle was having fun with it, even if she wasn't.

Beckett was one of the last ones to receive her award, Castle giving her the biggest cheer out of everyone in the room. He was allowed to, he was her "date" for the night. She had glared at him from the podium, which was her way of telling him to calm down. He was quite shocked, everyone was watching her, he thought she'd just ignore him. But he did as she wished and he stopped cheering so loud.

The night was over sooner than Castle had expected, it seemed Beckett had thought the same thing.

"Castle, would you come with me somewhere?" Beckett asked as they walked towards his car.

"Beckett, I'm already with you somewhere."

"No!" she gently slapped his shoulder. "I mean somewhere else."

"Sure, the night is young. No need to go home just yet. Where are we going?"

"You'll have to wait and see, just get in the car."

Beckett pulled in to a parking spot at Manhattan Beach.

"It's such a nice night out, I thought we could go for a walk and talk, just the two of us, no interruptions." She was finally doing it, she was finally going to find out exactly what their partnership was.

She pulled out her phone and hid it under the seat in the car. She really didn't want to be interrupted, Castle followed and soon his phone was hidden under the seat also. The two climbed out of the car, Beckett took off her heels and started making her way to the sand.

"Wait there, Beckett," Castle called after her. If she was going bare foot, so was he. He removed his shoes, checked that his feet didn't smell and put his shoes in the boot of the car. Luckily, there was no bad smells from either his feet or his shoes but, he didn't want to take any chances. The last thing he wanted was for them to get back to the car but not want to get in it because it smelt like smelly shoes.

Castle quickly caught up with Beckett who had watched him intently, laughing at him when she could see he was checking for smells.

They walked silently for a few minutes, Beckett trying to find the courage to say exactly what she wanted to say. Castle was just enjoying the time he was able to spend with her, he didn't mind if they weren't talking.

"Wow!" he said looking out at their surroundings. The pier was lit up with lights and everything was just amazing.

"Yes, it's amazing isn't it" Beckett responded. She took one arm and curled it through his. Their arms now linked, she leaned in to his body and rested her head on him gently as they walked.

Castle was once again surprised by her actions, but happy that she was so close.

"It's gorgeous," he said.

"It's perfect, isn't it Castle!"

"Yes, the way the ocean looks, against the sky, the lights, I need to come here more often."

"It's more than just the view, Rick. Everything about this night is perfect. Me, you, sand in our feet, nobody trying to hurt us, it's like we're free to actually live the life that we want to live."

"You know Kate, you can always live the life that you want, sometimes it's just a matter of acknowledging what it is you want. If you could have anything right now, what would it be? I don't know if I'll be able to get it for you, but I can do my best to make your dreams come true."

"You don't need to do anything like that," she said. "Right now, this very moment, I've got what I want."

"No phone to call you about a new murder?" he joked.

"You really know how to ruin a moment, don't you Castle!"

"Sorry, so right now, there's nothing you want, nothing at all?"

"No Rick, because you're already here with me. All I want is you!"

She let go of his arm and turned to face him. "Here we go then!" she thought.

"Rick, when I first met you, I really couldn't stand being in the same room with you for more than 5 minutes, never mind working with you, but now…" she paused. "Now, I couldn't imagine working 5 minutes without you."


"Shhhh….," she quieted Rick putting her finger to his lips. "We've spent a lot of time together over the last couple of days, and to be honest, I've never felt so happy. Last night, as I lay with you, I felt more at home than ever before. This feels right Rick, I've never been so sure of anything before"

Castle was silent. He was taking in her words and trying to work out what to do with them. He quietly sat down on the ground, while Beckett watched him, waiting for him to say something.

"Rick?" she said. She suddenly had the thought that maybe he didn't feel the same after all. Had she just made the biggest mistake of her life?

"Kate, sit with me," he said as he reached for her hand. He pulled her down to sit in front of him between his legs and he wrapped his arms around her waist leaning in to her and resting his chin on her shoulder. The two of them sat cheek to cheek staring out at the water for a few moments.

"Kate," Rick knew exactly what he wanted to say now, nothing. He leaned to the side slightly and turned so he could look at her face. When she turned her head to look back at him, she knew there was no mistake made tonight, he wanted this as much as she did.

The gently moved towards each other and let their lips meet. The butterflies in Kate's stomach were going crazy. It was a gentle kiss, his lips soft on hers, they weren't making out like crazy overly hormonal teens, it was perfect and it said everything the two of them needed it to.

Their lips parted and they smiled at each other. Castle wrapped his arms tightly around Beckett and they looked out the ocean again. They sat there silently for a while before Beckett started to get up.

"C'mon then, we better get you home," she said.

On the car trip back to Castle's loft, they talked about the case, and how crazy the last few days had been. It wasn't long before they were at Castle's door. Beckett had walked him in this time.

"Tonight was wonderful, thanks Kate," said Rick.

"And thank you too, it was perfect" Kate replied.

Castle lifted his hand and placed it on her cheek, he kissed her again softly. It was just as perfect as the one on the beach.

Beckett was first to start pulling away. "I should go," she said and started taking a few steps back, and Castle lowered his hand, stroking her arm until he caught her hand and stopped her.

"Stay," he said. "Stay with me. This has been the perfect night, why end it now? The spare room is still free if that's what you're worried about, but I promise, I would never do anything to hurt you. We'll take it slow, make it right! I don't want to ruin us Kate!"

"Castle, I've got nothing with me."

"It doesn't matter, I'm sure between Alexis, mother and myself, we have everything you could possibly need."

Kate smiled, she did like the idea of staying again.

"Oh ok then," she said with a grin.

Rick opened the door and they entered the loft. Alexis and Martha must have both been in bed because it was dark. Rick switched on the light switch, and went to the kitchen pouring himself a glass of water.

"Would you like anything to drink?" he asked.

"No thanks, I think sleep is all I need right now," she said heading to his bedroom.

What? She was going to his bedroom! He was not expecting that.

"Do you have a t-shirt I can borrow," she called out.

Castle turned off the kitchen light and followed her into his room. He found her a t-shirt and she went into the bathroom to change. While she was changing in the bathroom, he changed himself into his bed gear, and climbed into bed.

When she came out he smiled at her beauty. His t-shirt was just long enough to cover her body, Castle thought himself to be a very lucky man. She looked just a beautiful in his t-shirt as she did in her long black dress.

She climbed into the bed next to him and lay down.

"Goodnight," she said as she closed her eyes. "Thank you for the perfect evening."

Castle turned off his desk lamp and the room was dark, he wiggled himself down into the bed himself, and started making himself comfortable.

"My side of the bed is cold!" he whispered to Kate.

"Feel free to join me over here" Kate said.

He rolled over to her and once again, wrapped his arm around her waist pulling her in close to his body. He never wanted to let her go.

"Goodnight Kate," he said placing a kiss to the back of her neck.

"Goodnight Rick!" Kate wriggle in as close as she could to his body, she wanted to feel all of him, knowing she was completely surrounded by his safe arms.

They both drifted off to sleep happily. Both knowing their partnership was more than just work now. Both knowing that this was the start of something new, and it was perfect.

Sorry if anyone expected any "special" scenes... I don't write those :)