Natalie Elizabeth

Castle sat up on bed with a start, breathing heavily. He looked around his empty room in dismay; it had all been a dream. The pounding on his door wasn't. Shooting out of his bed he looked for his robe but couldn't find it. The knocking continued so he decided to forgo the robe. His boxers and bare chest would have to do. Racing through the loft he hurried to open the door. Whoever it was, the issue had to be important. Flinging open the door he was surprised to see a very irate Ryan and Esposito.

"About time!" Esposito said as he pushed passed the sleepy writer and into the loft.

"Yeah." Ryan followed Esposito in the room. "Esposito hates me and even he opened the door quicker than that."

Castle closed the door and then turned to face the two detectives. What he saw over their shoulders made him smile. He found his robe and it wasn't a dream. He looked at the two men in front of him and then back over their shoulders. It wasn't a dream but it could soon turn into a nightmare.

"Bro, I don't hate you. I am angry at you for what you did but I don't hate you."

Castle watched as Ryan ran a hand through his hair. "It's not like I wanted to get you suspended. You are my partner and I care about what happens to you. I had to tell Gates. I didn't know what else to do. You may be angry at me but at least you're safe"

"Yeah, well Beckett's our partner and I care about her, too. I had to go with her so she was safe."

The two men stared at each other contemplating what each had said.

"It's Castle's fault!" they said in unison, both turning to glare at him.

Castle was shocked. "Me? How is this my fault?"

"You abandoned Beckett," Ryan informed him angrily.

Esposito walked up to him and started poking him in the shoulder. "You said you would stick by her and you didn't."

Castle stepped back and through a guilty look over the man's shoulder. "I couldn't stand back and watch her die again."

Ryan walked forward and pushed Esposito out of the way until he was inches away from the writer, staring him down. "So instead I had to watch partner die."

Esposito placed his hand on Ryan shoulder and pulled him away from Castle.

"Dude, I didn't die."

"But I thought you did." Ryan told dropping the tough guy bravado. "We go running into the building and there I find you on the floor. If one of us gets taken down it's normally Castle."

"Hey!"the writer protested but his words went unheard.

"Maddox is a contract killer," Ryan continued. "I figured no way would he leave you breathing. I swear my heart stopped the minute I saw your body on the ground. It wasn't until one of the guys from SWAT said you had a pulse that I started breathing again. I wanted to stay there with you until the paramedics turned up but I couldn't. A neighbour yelled out that she saw a woman run to the roof, so I had to go after Beckett. All the time wondering if you were going to die while I was trying to save my other partner."

Esposito's face softened. "Dude I am sorry, I didn't know. I still stand by what I did."

Ryan nodded. "Me, too."

Castle watched as the two men held each other's gaze, like an old western standoff. Instead of pulling out guns the two men pulled each other into a hug.

Castle smiled. "Well I am glad we are all friends again but can you to continue this bromance elsewhere?"

The two detectives who had only seconds ago been smiling turned their scowling gaze upon him.

"Friends," Esposito scoffed. "Is that what you call this?" Esposito asked, waving his hand between the two of them.

"Yeah," Ryan challenged. "It seems as soon as your relationship goes to shit with Beckett you dropped us like we have the plague."

Castle was forced back up against the loft door as the two detectives approached him.

"What? We not good enough for you, Bro?"

Castle closed his eyes as Esposito's breath assaulted his face.

"I don't know about you, Espo, but I feel like he was only our friend so he could get into Beckett's pants."

Castle's eyes opened and widened in shock. He couldn't believe what was coming out of Ryan's mouth. Castle had always felt a kinship with Ryan. Where Esposito was tough, Ryan had an inner strength and sensitivity. The fact that he was acting this way had to mean he was hurt. Well, Castle was, too!.For him the detective to even suggest what he had cut deep. Pushing Ryan away from him, a move that was so unlike him, Castle used his height and build to intimidate the young detective.

"That is not true!"

"Really?" Espo asked not scared of Castles tough guy act. He held up three fingers. "Three times you and Beckett have split and three times you ditched us."

Castle looked at the two men before him. That's what they thought?

"I didn't ditch you," Castle insisted. "Honestly, I thought you would be glad to be rid of the dumb writer. I hated being apart from you guys. You are like the only two real male friends I have. I have acquaintances and people I hang with occasionally. When it comes down to it, if I lost all my fame and fortune they'd drop me so fast. You two don't care about any of that."

Ryan and Esposito backed off slightly and they both looked at each other and shrugged.

"Well we do kinda like some of your rich boy toys." Esposito admitted with a grin.

"But that's not why we are friends with you," Ryan added.

Esposito nodded. "Yeah. At first I kind of liked the fact that some little rich boy could rattle Beckett. Soon we realised how you were just like us. Like hanging out, having a drink, playing poker and Halo."

Ryan agreed. "Sure you would come in and tell us about some gadget you just bought that would take both of us months to save for. You never bragged about it though. You were showing us because you wanted to share it with us, not rub it in our faces. Which is why it hurt so much when you left without saying anything."

"We weren't glad to be rid of the dumb writer," Esposito told him. "What we were is angry because we didn't know why."

Castle sighed. Lack of communication was something their whole gang seemed to suffer from. Judging by the anger the two men were displaying this was something they had been thinking about for a while. It made him wonder if they even still considered him a friend.

"The truth is, your loyalties are to Beckett. She is your partner, your work colleague. First and foremost she is your friend who needed you to back her up with her anger for me. It hurt to leave but I figured I was doing the right thing."

Ryan crossed his arms. "Well you were wrong."

Castle nodded and laughed briefly. "It's been known to happen."

"Well now it's time to redeem yourself, Bro." Ryan raised his brows at Castle.

Castle wondered how hard his bank balance was going to be hit. "Sure, what do you want? Tickets? A weekend away? Loan of the Ferrari?

Esposito looked appalled. "You think you can just buy us back with gifts?"

Ryan tapped Esposito on the shoulder as his "A weekend away might get you back in Lanie's good books."

Esposito seemed to ponder the thought for a second before looking at his partner angrily. "Ryan, keep your eye on the prize."

Ryan's face turned back to stern again. "Right. Castle we need your help."

Castle was surprised. These two needed his help?

"Sure, anything."

"We can't find Beckett," Ryan told him.

Castle mouth gaped open.

"She went after Maddox yesterday and Gates suspended us," Esposito informed the writer. "Beckett quit instead. She cleaned out her desk and we haven't seen her since."

"I tried calling her cell and Jenny and I went around to her place this morning but she wasn't there." Ryan added.

"I even called Lanie but she hasn't heard from her. We are going to go look for her and thought you might know some places she might go." Esposito shrugged at Castle.

Castle smiled at the concern these two were showing for Beckett."Look guys, there is no need to go look for her."

Esposito shook his head. "You claim to love her but you won't put your bruised ego aside to go look for her."


Ryan scoffed. "See, no wonder Beckett didn't want you. You're too emotionally driven."

"Guys!" came the feminine voice from behind them.

Ryan turned his head slightly. "Not now, Beckett." He turned his head back to face Castle and pointed his finger at him. Opening his mouth, no noise came out as he paused. He looked over at a confused looking Esposito before turning around to stare at the woman behind them.

From Castle's kitchen Beckett smiled at them. Wearing nothing but a blue robe she held a coffee cup up to them. "Would you guys like a cup? I just brewed it."

The two men gaped at her before turning to look at Castle then back at Beckett.

"I'm kind of hungry. I was going to make pancakes if you guys are interested." When the two men stared at her with their mouths gaping open like clowns at a carnival, Beckett shrugged. "If that's ok with you, Rick?"

Castle smiled at the use of his first name. "That's fine, Kate. I'd love a coffee but sit down I'll take care of it."

Castle etched his way around the two stunned detectives and made his way over to the apparition in his kitchen.

"It's already done." Beckett held out a cup to him. "I just made it and was about to bring it into you when these two Neanderthals started pounding on the door." As he neared she handed him his mug before giving him a quick peck on the check.

Up until that moment Castle wasn't sure how Beckett was going to play this. It wouldn't be the first time she slept at his house with nothing happening, despite the guys' speculations. Yet kissing him pretty much cemented the fact that they didn't just sleep. Unable to contain himself Castle drew his arm around Beckett's waist and pulled her close. When she came to him willingly and snuggled her head against his chest he placed a light kiss to her hair.

Hearing a startled gasp Kate and Rick looked up and saw the two male detectives both with Cheshire cat grins on their faces.

Ryan pointed at them. "The two of you areā€¦." Ryan couldn't finish his sentence; he was in too much shock.

"Dude," Was all Esposito was able to muster.

Ryan and Esposito turned to look at each other nodding with goofy grins still in place. The pair then raised their arms and fist bumped.

Kate rolled her eyes. "Seriously?" She shook her head. "It's not like Castle and I did that when you and Lanie got together, Espo."

Ryan shrugged. "Castle and I did."

Kate turned to look at the man next to her. "Really?"

Rick shrugged as he let her go and made his way over to the fridge to get out the ingredients out for their brunch. "Oh come on, are you telling me you didn't squeal when you heard about them?" he admonished her as he ducked into the fridge.

"I don't squeal," she informed him.

Rick lifted his head out of the fridge and raised his brows at her. Kate's mouth opened in shock. Oh, he so did not just do that in front of Ryan and Esposito. She leaned over and slapped him playfully.

"Oh, eww! I didn't need to know that," came Ryan's plea.

Kate looked over to see both Ryan and Esposito covering their eyes and walking backwards out of the room.

"I am glad mom and dad got together, but I don't need to see it. " Ryan informed them

Rick placed the milk and eggs on the counter. "So you guys aren't staying for brunch?"

Esposito removed his hand from his eyes. "Are you kidding me? I gotta call Lanie. This will definitely get me in her good books."

Kate and Rick shared a look. "Espo, hold on." Rick called out.

Rick ran into his study and rummaged around for a few seconds before coming out holding a set of keys. He threw them at Epsosito who caught them with ease.

"Why don't you take the Ferrari for a spin before you go and see Lanie," Castle suggested. "Give Kate and I a chance to eat before she gets here."

Esposito looked at the keys in his hands then smiled up and Castle.

"Sure, why not?" He looked over at Ryan and shook the keys. "Want to go for a spin?"

Ryan nodded and the pair quickly headed towards the door.

"I am glad you two are friends again," Beckett called out to her two friends.

They stopped and turned to her as they opened the door.

"Congrats on you and Castle," Esposito told her.

Ryan nodded. "Yeah, congratulations you guys. And Castle I am sorry about what I said before."

Castle waved off Ryan's apology; it wasn't necessary. "Forget about it. Have fun."

"You too," he responded without thinking.

"Dude!" Esposito looked at his partner with disgust.

Ryan shook his head and pushed Esposito out the door, closing it firmly behind him. Beckett left the kitchen and walked over to Castle, throwing her arms around him. She placed her lips on his as she murmured "Morning."

"Morning," he told her as he slid his hands around her waist.

"So the car has a full tank, right?" Beckett asked.

Castle nodded at her confused about why of all things she would be talking about his Ferrari.

She smiled and him. "Good."

Kate withdrew her arms from around his neck and grabbed his hand, leading him back to his room. It gave Castle a wonderful feeling of de ja vu.

"I thought you were hungry?" he questioned her as he obediently followed her.

Sending a coy smile over her shoulder Kate winked at him. "I am. "

Castle gasped in delight and shock. This beautiful, amazing, incredible woman kept surprising him. He hoped she would continue to do that every day for the rest of their lives

The End

Authors Note: A Big thank you to Little Lizzie Zentara for editing this for me. Its making my work so much better and I am learning a lot about writing.

To all you wonderful readers out there. Please review. Let me know if you liked it, hated it. Any suggestions you may have for me.