This is the fic I have wanted to write since forever... I hope I do it justice.

Annie, this is for you, my darling. Tadpole, thank you for the edits

I own nothing but the Castle DVDs.

Suddenly the world

Seems a different place

Somehow full of grace

And delight.

How was I to know

That so much love

Was held inside me?

Something fresh and young

Something still unsung

Fills the night.

-Jean Valjean, Suddenly (Les Miserables 2012 Cast Soundtrack, performed by Hugh Jackman)

It had been one of the most horrific cases Kate had ever experienced as a lead detective. Bodies had appeared in six different alleyways across the jurisdictions of three different precincts (which had essentially denigrated into a pissing competition, with a healthy serving of good old fashioned sexism on the side when the aging lieutenant of the 33rd precinct had discovered that the Captain and lead detective with the highest closure rate at the 12th precinct were both female).

Espo, begging for a fresh set of eyes, had called Kate as she was getting into a town car at JFK airport, fresh from her honeymoon. She'd hit the ground running, throwing herself into this nightmare of a case without even stopping at the loft to change.

Castle had spun every crazy theory he could think of. He'd been a quiet tower of strength for Kate, supplying caffeine and encouragement when she needed it, wordlessly steering her into the supply closet so she could burst into sleep deprived tears of frustration at the lack of leads.

The FBI was threatening to take jurisdiction of the case when Ryan (living up to his reputation as King of all Surveillance Media) finally caught a break on a piece of footage from a traffic camera near one of the murder sites.

Kate had never been more grateful to sign off on her paperwork and crawl into bed with her husband.

She slept for fifteen solid hours, before waking in the early afternoon to the feeling of Castle's nails gently scraping patterns against the skin of her back.

"Hey," she sighed blearily, throat scratchy from sleep. She curled up against the solidness of his body, enjoying the rare chance to wake up slowly, tangled up with her new husband, rather than having her ass hauled out of bed by a body drop.

Kate's eyes were dropping shut again, the gentle rhythm of Castle's fingertips against her bare skin softly lulling her back to sleep. "The world sucks, Castle. Sometimes I hate people," she murmured. She was just docile enough that her tongue was loose, and she nuzzled her nose against Castle's throat. "You never lose sight of the good stuff in the world. I wish I could do that," she sighed.

Castle pressed a kiss against her forehead. "Get dressed," he whispered. "I'll make coffee."

When Castle had made coffee and returned to the bedroom, Kate hadn't moved. "Kate, get up," Castle ordered, placing the coffee cups on the bedside table to pull away the bedding Kate had piled around her.

"Castle, no," Kate whined. "I am not leaving this room today. I'm going to stay in bed and let myself wallow for the day. Then tomorrow I'm going to get up and keep doing my job."

"Sweetheart, I'm afraid I'm going to have to insist," Castle ran his hand up Kate's arm. "If you get up, I'll take you to the place I go when I realise that the world sucks."

Kate was quiet, her hand tucked into Castle's as they walked out of the subway station. Castle knew better than to interpret her silence as anger. He was well aware of the difficulties that come along with life as a homicide detective, coupled with Kate's often introverted nature, her silence was her way of processing the emotional toil of such a difficult case.

"Where are we?" Kate asked quietly.

"This is a centre designed for kids to come to after school. A place that they can come and be safe. This isn't a great neighbourhood and most of these kids have parents who work long hours to make ends meet," Castle paused to scrawl both of their names on the sign in sheet (taking great pleasure in the fact that he could scribble R & K Castle) and handed Kate a visitor's badge to pin to her shirt.

"Pauline, the director of this place, is a saint. She works her ass off keeping this place available for local kids. There she is now," Castle turned to greet Pauline in his typically exuberant style, pulling her into a hug and placing brotherly kiss on her cheek. "Pauline, meet my wife, Kate," he introduced them proudly.

His words were cut off by the loud pounding of tiny feet and a small grunt of surprise when a pint sized body slammed into his legs. "Uncle Ricky!" The tiny girl exclaimed, her wide smile revealing several missing teeth. She squeezed his leg tighter. "Uncle Ricky, we need you," she implored.

Castle hesitated, looking at Kate. "You heard her, Castle. They need you. I'm sure Pauline and I can find something to talk about," Kate told him. A warm, heavy feeling began to settle over Kate when she saw Castle swing the little girl onto his shoulders and race down the hallway.

"Tell me about this place," Kate requested as she followed Pauline down the hallway for a tour of the centre.

"We've been operating for about fifteen years now. I grew up in a rough neighbourhood," Pauline began. "Lost more than one person I cared about to gang violence or drugs. My grandmother was a kickass woman. She was the great granddaughter of slaves and she marched with Dr King," Pauline paused, gesturing to a room full of high schoolers helping a group of elementary school aged kids with their homework. "She made it damn clear to me that an education was the only way I was getting out of the ghetto. So I kept my head down and worked my ass off at school. Became an English teacher, eventually started working as a guidance councillor," Pauline neatly sorted a bookcase, tidying the books into height order. "But I wanted to do something more than help in a school. So I set this place up. I'm totally not-for-profit and I get to make a difference in the life of kids."

"How did Castle find out about this place?" Kate asked.

"I'd been operating for about a year and I was struggling. It was looking like I was going to have to shut the doors. Rick was just starting out the Storm series and was doing some kind of research in the area. He saw me cleaning graffiti off the front of the building and asked what the place was. I hadn't even finished explaining when he pulled out his chequebook and wrote me out a cheque on the spot. He's been a regular donor ever since and he and Alexis have been coming down consistently to visit for the last decade," Pauline answered. They'd come full circle and Pauline led Kate into a huge playroom. Castle was seated, his long legs crammed under a tiny table, tiara plunked on his head as he balanced a miniature plastic teacup in his large hand.

"I've got some stuff to handle in the office, but go have fun," Pauline told Kate, before bustling out of the room.

"Having fun there, Castle?" Kate asked teasingly, adjusting the plastic tiara on his head.

"I will have you know that my name is Mrs. Nesbitt and our tea party is going just smashingly," Castle replied, a ridiculously over the top pompous accent colouring his words.

"I apologise for interrupting. As you were," Kate replied, backing away from the table. The warm, heavy feeling was back. It curled around her stomach, sitting comfortably, murmuring quietly that the illusive right time might finally be here.

"Uncle Ricky, who is that?" She heard one of the little girls playing tea parties ask.

"She looks like a princess," one of the other little girls stage whispered.

"She does, doesn't she?" Castle agreed. (Kate privately disagreed. She was wearing no make up, sporting more than one stress induced break out and she couldn't remember the last time she'd eaten something with fiber in it, and her digestive system was going into protest as a result).

"Uncle Ricky, are you going to marry her?"

"I already did," Castle answered, his words met with excited squeals from the gaggle of little girls.

Kate wandered over to a bookshelf, where a little boy who couldn't be more than three was pulling picture books out, occasionally stopping to rub his eyes.

"Hi, I'm Kate," she introduced herself quietly, privately petrified that the kid would start screaming the second he saw her.

"I Mikey," the little boy answered. He studied Kate, his serious dark eyes boring into hers. He picked up a picture book and grabbed Kate's hand, leading her over to an overstuffed armchair. Kate took the hint and sat down. Mikey climbed up and settled himself into her lap, handing her a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, opening it up to the first page. Mikey rested his head on Kate's shoulder, his soft curls tickling her chin. Securing an arm around his waist, the smell of little boy in her nose, Kate began to read. By the time she had finished the book Mikey was asleep.

Kate carefully cradled his tiny body, easing the book out of his clutched fingers. She settled back into the chair, content to sit as the little boy dozed.

"Kate, you have the magic touch. Mikey hasn't napped in weeks," Pauline murmured, her hand reaching out to brush his curls. "He's my grandnephew," Pauline explained. "My niece fell pregnant when she was seventeen. She managed to finish school and now she's training to be a nurse. Mikey hangs out with me when she has class."

Pauline offered to take Mikey to her office to nap in his playpen.

"Oh no, that's fine," Kate assured her. "I'm good right here, and I'd hate for him to miss story time even if he's napping," Kate nodded towards the gaggle of children, sitting wide-eyed, listening to the story of Sir Richard and Princess Katherine, the most famous tiger tamers in Ye Old York. Castle was like the Pied Piper. There wasn't a peep out of the kids (and a few of the older ones abandoned their homework to sneak in and listen to the stories).

Kate brushed a hand over Mikey's thick curls, smiling as he nuzzled closer into the space between her shoulder and neck. Those thick, heavy, warm feelings spread throughout Kate's body, and they didn't scare her like they once had. If anything, they felt good. They felt right.

Castle's hand rested on the small of Kate's back as he ushered her into the elevator back at their building. He'd insisted on taking Kate out for dinner and had promised her a foot massage when they got home.

"I hope it's okay that I took you there," Castle ventured, relieved when Kate stepped closer to him and rested her head on his shoulder.

"It's hard to be miserable when you're surrounded by so much joy. Those kids are just happy to see me and not because I'm Richard Castle, best selling mystery novelist, but because I'm Uncle Ricky, the guy who plays tea parties and sometimes lets five year old girls put makeup on him. You should see them freak out when Alexis comes down…"

Kate cut him off as they stepped into the loft. "Castle, I want a baby," She announced. The keys fell from Castle's hands as he stoof, immobile. "I know we've only talked about it and we agreed that we would wait until the time was right, but I think this is it. My job isn't exactly ideal for raising a child, but that isn't going to magically change. We're in a good place. I feel like I could actually do this without screwing the kid up completely and it's not like I'm getting any younger," Kate barrelled on, desperate to get all her feelings out on the table. "I dream about it sometimes. A chubby little thing falling asleep on me with big blue eyes. I can't stop thinking about it. What it would be like, to have a baby; be a mom," she finally realised she was rambling. "Castle, say something. Please."

"I couldn't take my eyes off you when you were holding that baby," he breathed. "You really want to do this?" Castle asked, his hands coming to rest on her cheekbones.

Kate nodded seriously. "I accidentally left my birth control in the bedside table of the last hotel we stayed at. I haven't had the time to see my doctor to get a new prescription."

"So you've been off The Pill for almost two weeks now?" Castle confirmed.

Kate shrugged. "I might have taken it late a few times when we were away. Or missed it all together," she admitted sheepishly.

Castle kissed her and scooped her up. He carried her through to the bedroom and lowered her onto the bed. "Let's make a baby."

Six weeks later

Kate had made good use of an empty loft on her afternoon off. After soaking in the tub, she exfoliated head to toe, shaved her legs, put a mask on her face and treatment in her hair.

She was just beginning to light the candles that she had scattered all over the loft when the door swung open. She shot Castle a grin when he walked through the door. "Hey Stud," she greeted him, pressing a soft kiss against his mouth. "How was your meeting with Dr Death?" She asked.

"He gave me the answers I wanted," Castle replied. "Something smells good," he murmured, kissing the nape of Kate's neck (she'd twisted her hair up, leaving her throat and shoulders deliciously bare).

Kate blew out the taper and turned to face him. "Go take a shower, Castle. Dinner will be done when you get out."

Castle inspected the table, reeling at the amount of effort Kate had taken to make it. "Kate," he called out. "What wine do you want with dinner? I think there's a bottle of that Australian merlot you like."

Kate looked over at him from the stove where she was neatly plating the mind-blowingly good pasta she'd made when they'd first stayed at the Hamptons.

"I've already got a drink, but get yourself whatever you like."

Castle knew something was up. Kate had lit every single candle in the loft, cooking him his favourite meal and was swirling the ice in her cocktail glass (vodka sunrise, he assumed, but she'd refused to let him mix it) like the cat that got the cream.

"Did you sneak in and read my Nikki draft?" He asked as Kate brought out his favourite chocolate mousse for dessert.

"What makes you ask me that?" Kate asked.

"Something is up! You never dress up for dinner at home, you've made me my favourite meal ever and since when do you turn down wine to drink a vodka sunrise like a seventeen year old girl?"

"Who says I'm drinking a vodka sunrise?" Kate asked, holding out the glass to give him a whiff.

"There's no alcohol in that," Castle muttered. "There's no alcohol in that," he repeated, excitement seeping into his tone.

Kate's grin was so wide it threatened to split her face in two. "There's going to be no alcohol in my glass for a while," she told him. "Castle, I'm pregnant."

I sincerely hope that at least one of you got the Toy Story reference in this.

Reviews=love. And there's only a few more days until Castle is back on tv... so share the love?