And so, we reach the final chapter. Thank you all for sticking with me on this, for all the reviews, and the encouragement. It means a lot. This would have been up yesterday, but hey, new year and I was ill. So, happy new year to all of you, I hope 2014 is a fantastic year for all of you.
I have loved this past year with you, and I will love every year that follows
For such a small place the island seems to be full of hundreds of people. At least, that's what it feels like for Kate, who is trying to duck and weave her way through the crowds in what seems to be the impossible task of finding her husband. It still sends a shiver down her spine. Husband. She's married. To Richard Castle. Millionaire, best-selling author. The man who unintentionally saved her from her own destruction all those years ago. He loves her, unconditionally, bought her an island for them and their family (future, and otherwise), for their friends and their families. She had never imagined, not once, standing by that yellow tape in that dark, dingy and grimy alleyway that she would end up here. Happy.
It's ten minutes till the clock strikes twelve, till two thousand and thirteen bows out in cacophony of explosions and sparks, and Castle is lost somewhere in this mix of people. She's not going to miss spending the first moments of the new year with him. She catches sight of a flame haired young woman, and then the tousled dark curls of Pi, and makes a calculated guess that Castle is around there somewhere, glaring at his daughters offensive other half.
"He's getting some drinks, darling."
The familiar voice has Kate turning around, greeting her mother-in-law with a warm smile. A lot of people have questioned their reasoning, inviting their family and friends on their honeymoon, but Kate's not going to lie. Having everyone here for Christmas and New Year is not something she's going to miss out on.
"I think everyone's had the same idea. There's a bit of a rush on."
"Ah, but with my dashing smile and my charming ways, I managed to get served first." Castle appears at her shoulder, tray of drinks balanced only slightly precariously in one hand, the other sneaking around her waist.
"I think your rather fat wallet helped with that too." Kate laughs, kissing him quickly on the cheek. "Champagne?"
"The best champagne my fat wallet could afford." He offers her the tray, so both Kate and Martha can take a glass. "Where's Alexis?"
"Dancing, with Pi."
Castle grimaces, earning reprimanding glares from both his wife and his mother. "Remind me why I invited him?"
"Because he's family, and your daughter likes him, and you love your daughter." Martha pats his arm, something that's supposed to be reassuring, but comes off as slightly patronising. "Now, come on. It's New Year, you are on your honeymoon. Stop fretting about your daughters other half and enjoy yourself."
All attention is on a screen mounted on the wall. A clock, counting down the seconds till midnight. It's quiet, mostly, everybody waiting for the clock to hit zero. Esposito, and Lanie are a couple of metres away, pretending to not be completely engrossed in each other, but everyone there knows they've not been able to keep their eyes off of each other all evening. There's sadness, an echoing loneliness in her heart that not everyone is here. Ryan, and Jenny and their almost new born. Gates. Her father is here, he tried, but this time of the year stings for all of them and she hasn't seen much of him since he took himself away from the festivities and retired to his room. She'll spend tomorrow with him, show him around the island, maybe take a boat out into the ocean. Nothing but the two of them and the sky and the ocean and clean, fresh air.
"Five, four, three, two, one… HAPPY NEW YEAR." A larger island a few miles away lets loose a stream of fireworks, loud and noisy and beautiful, showering the darkness with colour and light. Everyone is momentarily distracted by the sheer beauty of it.
Castle presses a hasty kiss to his mothers cheek, whispers a happy new year in her ear before she takes her own drink and melts away into the crowd, in search of something (or someone) a little more lively, leaving the two to their relative privacy. Kate carefully angles herself so Castle is facing away from Alexis and Pi and their own celebrations, takes a sip from the champagne flute. The bubbles have barely faded from her tongue before Castle's mouth is on hers. Warm and familiar and inviting. Her blood fizzes, a delicious counterpoint to the smooth skin of Castle's lower back underneath her fingertips, and she can't help but smile, so utterly joyful that she's here in this moment.
"Happy new year, Kate."