Title: It Turned Pink

Summary: The stick turned pink. What exactly did that mean? Oneshot.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle.

A/N: Started this on a whim, and then it just did its own thing. A bit of fluff. And don't forget, reviews are like chocolate cake to writers.

It turned pink.

The stick turned pink.

What exactly did that mean?

Kate looked back at the box, confused. The instructions on the box mentioned lines. One line or two lines. Nothing about changing color.

And her stick didn't have any lines. The entire box was just pink, when three minutes earlier, it hadn't been.

Well, maybe it was broken or just hadn't worked right. She'd gotten it plenty wet, so that wasn't the problem. And if it had done nothing at all, she would have had no problem throwing it aside and gone out for a new pack.

But it had done something. It turned pink.

She dismissed the 'pink for girls' and 'blue for boys' possibility right away, knowing that an ultrasound would be needed to determine the sex of the baby. Assuming she was pregnant.

Pink... for pregnant? That seemed too attenuated.

She heard a noise behind her and turned around to see Castle standing in the bathroom doorway. "What's it say?" he asked. He had a glass of wine in one hand and a plate of chocolate cake in the other - a treat for either answer, she supposed.

"It turned pink," she said, holding up the stick. She felt so ridiculous, but she couldn't get over this color change.

Setting down the glass and plate, Castle stepped forward and took the plastic indicator from her hand. "What does pink mean? I thought it was supposed to be a plus or minus sign?"

She handed him the box and said, "This one is lines - two for pregnant, one for not pregnant."

He looked up at her, clearly confused. "So what does 'pink' mean?"

She shrugged.

"Well, are you... bleeding?" he asked. "That might make it, you know, turn it pink."

He blushed a little at his own question, but Kate shook her head. She wasn't bleeding. That was the problem, the whole reason for taking the damn test to begin with.

"It's probably just a malfunction," he suggested then. "Do you have another one?"

"No." They sold packs with two or three tests, but she hadn't thought she'd needed more than one. Stupid pink stick.

Castle placed the offending item on the vanity and said, "I'll go buy another one."

"It's after midnight," she protested. Stupid long day chasing stupid murderers, only to discover around lunchtime that her monthly visitor still hadn't made an appearance.

Three days late. And she was never late. Her birth control pills made her so regular, she could set a clock. Even through stress, injury, chasing suspects in high heels, and improper eating habits, she was never late.

"Twenty-four hour pharmacy," Castle responded. "I'll be back in ten minutes. Eat your cake."

The chocolate cake did sound good. It was anniversary cake - dating, not wedding. She and Castle had been in a relationship for exactly one year.

Kate grabbed the plate and followed him into the living room, plopping on the couch as he grabbed his keys and headed out the door. She didn't exactly live at the loft, but considering she spent more nights there than not and had half her wardrobe in Castle's closet, keeping her own apartment was mostly just a technicality.

It wasn't like she was nervous about being pregnant. They had talked about it, actually, when she first mentioned to him that she was late. But maybe it wasn't the best time to have a baby. They weren't even married - yet. But neither of them would be disappointed if that test had shown two lines. Or was it one line? Whatever.

She just couldn't get over the stick turning pink.

Vaguely, she remembered hearing something about pregnancy tests and dead rabbits when she was in college, but this stick didn't have any rabbits. It was just pink.

Annoyingly, irritatingly, mockingly pink.

Well, if she was pregnant, and this was the universe's way of telling her it was a girl, she was dressing that child in every other color of the rainbow BUT pink. Not that she had anything against the color, mind you, but the stick - the stick had no business turning pink like that.

Not when she needed two lines. Or one line. Or a plus or minus sign. Whatever.

She needed an answer, and 'pink' wasn't cutting it.

By the time Castle returned, Kate had almost decided to run the damn stick down the garbage disposal, just for spite. But in his hand, he held the answer - a plastic shopping bag full to the brim with pregnancy tests.

She couldn't help it - she laughed.

"How many did you buy?" she demanded.

He looked down at the bag, then back at her. "Um... all of them?"

Continuing, he said "Well, I decided to get one of each so that we could get cross results from different brands if necessary. Then I thought, well, what if one of the brands is just naturally defective, leaving us with-" He gestured towards the bathroom, "This 'pink' situation. Then I thought, well, what if it's a problem with the entire batch of tests that they have in the store? And I didn't want to have to go back there tonight, so, well..." He shrugged. "I just bought them all."

Kate couldn't help it. She laughed at him again. Of course he would buy them all.

"I just pity the guy who goes in after you and has to go to another pharmacy because you cleaned them out," she teased.

"Yeah... didn't think of that." Then his eyes narrowed as he looked at her. "You didn't eat your cake," he accused.

She thought about making a joke about having her cake and eating it too, but the sight of all those pregnancy tests stopped her. "I'm going to need a big glass of water," she said.

Heading towards the kitchen to fulfill her request, he called back, "Eat your cake!"

But she couldn't eat cake. She was too focused on that ambiguous pink stick and all it represented. After all, she didn't want to be eating cake tonight. She wanted to be devouring her partner and boyfriend. That was what anniversary celebrations were for – good food, good wine, and delicious, mind blowing sex. But the stupid pink stick had gotten in the way.

Antsy, Kate grabbed up the bag of tests and dumped them out on the coffee table next to the plate of cake. The boxes tumbled out and fell in a heap, several sliding to the floor. She dismissed those as possible failures and instead went for one of the boxes on top.

E.P.T. Error Proof Test

Right, she'd believe that when she saw it.

By then Castle had returned with her glass of water, and she immediately took a big gulp while he turned a curious eye to the pile of boxes on the coffee table. But he seemed more interested in what was sitting next to those boxes.

"Do you not like the cake?" he asked.

"I'm not hungry," Kate answered dismissively as she set the water aside, still trying to decide if she should go with E.P.T. or First Response. The First Response box was pink, so she discarded it as a traitor. But there were a couple of others that looked promising.

Castle was either getting annoyed with her or amused - she couldn't tell. "You need to eat," he impressed on her. "Think of the baby."

This comment earned him a glare. "I'm not pregnant," she said. "At the moment I'm just... pink."

But he wasn't giving up. Instead, he picked up the plate and held it out to her. His face betrayed a level of seriousness she hadn't seen in quite some time. "Kate... cake."

Good grief already with the stupid cake! Throwing down the box she was holding, Kate took the plate from him and picked up the fork with it, prepared to eat an exaggerated bite just to make him happy.

And that's when she saw it.

Perched on top of the chocolate frosting, clear as day to anyone who even glanced at it, was a diamond ring.

A diamond engagement ring.

Kate gasped, and thankfully Castle caught the cake before she dropped it as she was so intent on picking out that shiny little object. She absently sucked off the bits of chocolate frosting that coated it in spots before holding it out to see it more clearly. Then she looked at him.

And there he was, kneeling down beside her on one knee, between the couch and the coffee table, the latter covered in pregnancy test boxes and a now truly forgotten piece of chocolate cake.

"Kate Beckett," he said, taking her hand. "Will you marry me?"

Her mind wouldn't work. It had barely gotten past 'cake' to 'ring.' It just wouldn't process 'engagement' and 'marry.' Was this because of the tests? Was he proposing because she might be pregnant?

"When... when did you buy this?" she asked, nodding to the ring. And oh, it was such a beautiful ring.

Castle smiled at her. "Before you told me you were… late. Kate, I want to marry you. Pregnant or not. I don't care what color any of those tests turn or how many lines we might see. I want to wake up next to you every single morning. I want us to grow old together, and solve murders, drink coffee, and play laser tag. Of course, not necessarily in that order, but… Will you be my wife?"

She was already grinning at him, her response on her lips. "Yes."


"Yes, Castle, I will marry you."

He took a moment to slide the ring onto her finger, and she didn't even mind that it was still a little sticky from the frosting.

"You know, after we get married, it might get confusing having you call me Castle all the time if we're both going to be Castle…"

This time, Kate quirked an eyebrow at him. "Who says I'm changing my name? Like I don't get enough grief at the precinct already-"

And suddenly, he was kissing her, and she didn't even mind that it might have been a tactic to shut her up. His hands were in her hair and along her back, and he tasted like chocolate cake. Perhaps it was time to celebrate somewhere other than the couch…

Oh yeah, the tests.

He must have remembered too, because when they separated, he looked over at the pile of boxes. "Suppose we should take care of this now…?"

As if she could truly concentrate on anything until she replaced that pink stick with a non-defective one. As much as she loved Castle and was truly excited for whatever the future may hold for the two of them, she had to know.

"First this, then sex," she said decisively.

Castle shot to his feet. "Then let's get this done so we can move on to the important stuff."

He grabbed a box at random, and Kate figured that his choice was probably as good as any, so she followed him to the bathroom. He gestured her inside and closed the door behind her, giving her privacy to deal with the technical aspects of the test. But once she was done, she placed it on the side of the vanity, flicking the pink aberration into the trash can, and re-opened the door.

Castle stepped up behind her and wrapped his arms around her midsection as they watched and waited, taking great care to intertwine the fingers of their left hands so he could hold up her ring finger in the light. "Mrs. Castle," he said softly, trying the name out.

Kate snorted. "Detective Castle."

"Oh, even better…"

"Castle," she admonished lightly, smiling at him in the bathroom mirror.

"What about…" He rubbed one hand along the plane of her flat stomach, "Mama Castle?"

Oh, she kind of liked the sound of that – the 'Mama' part at least.

"You're a progressive guy, Castle. Maybe you should take my name," she suggested.

"And put to waste thousands of dollars and a many many years of marketing? Gina would kill me," he responded.

She hadn't been serious anyway, of course. But Kate still wasn't sure if she wanted to take his name or keep her own.

"I think it's done," Castle announced, and they both leaned forward to get a better look at the stick.

Kate spoke first.

"We're getting married," she said quietly, in awe.

"And we're having a baby," Castle completed.

The test showed two pink lines. And suddenly, pink didn't seem so bad anymore.