A/N: I staunchly said to myself that I wouldn't do this, that I wouldn't write a post-Watershed story because there were already so many out there and everyone had already covered all the possible angles. Originally, the idea I had was just going to be a wedding storyline where it had been established that Kate had said yes, and therefore didn't immediately follow on from where Watershed left off but could have taken place quite soon after. However, when entertaining ideas for Caskett fanvideo music, a certain song by Lawson (extra points to whoever can work out which one by some of the lines I've manipulated to put into this) inspired this chapter and I decided to change my idea slightly. I hope you enjoy both this chapter and the rest of the story that will follow.
"Katherine Houghton Beckett, will you marry me?"
Of all the scenarios she imagined on the way to meet him, this was one she hadn't expected at all, and that surprised her because she was a detective. It was her job to have everything figured out, and for once in her life, she didn't.
He was still kneeling in front of her, waiting, and she watched as that hard look he'd had since she'd arrived finally faded.
"Kate?" And there was the loving man she'd fallen in love with again. Emotion and uncertainty made his voice waver, his gentle tone pushing through the determined one that had been gripping him ever since they'd had that damn argument.
"I-" She didn't know what to say. Had Richard Castle really just proposed to her? At their special place? She remembered him giving advice to Ryan just a few years before: 'It's got to be big.' But Castle simply getting down on one knee, just as she thought he was going to leave her, was anything but big. It was modest. It was private. It was intimate, it was just them. All she could think was that he'd listened to her; he'd been listening all along, because he'd picked the one place that was special to them.
Reaching out, Castle took one of her hands and felt the tremors running through her entire body practically matching the frantic rate his heart was beating at. Looking into her eyes, noticing the unshed tears collecting, he told her, "Kate, everything's going to be alright." It broke his heart, but he continued anyway, "You don't have to answer if you aren't ready to."
"No, I am ready to," she managed to reply shakily. She could hardly believe she was going to say it, but really, what else could she have said. Richard Castle was the man who had healed her and brought her back to life. Literally. He was the man who had spent two years waiting for her, the man who was still waiting for her. The man who had already had two failed marriages, and had insisted he wouldn't make that mistake again. She knew he was terrified, but there he was taking the chance that she was his 'third time's the charm'. The man she was sure would follow her everywhere for the rest of her life, if that was to Washington or to the precinct every day, and the man she was willing to put her job on hold for because he was her one and done. "Yes, I'll marry you, Castle." She couldn't help the smile or the little laugh that erupted out of her at the relief that washed over his face as he pushed the ring onto her finger.
Those tears that had been clinging to the corners of her eyes finally rolled free and made their way down her cheeks, but he swiped them away with gentle, caressing thumbs as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.
"I love you, Kate. Always."
"Always," she agreed, resting her forehead against his. It was moments like this that made the swings their special place. He was still on one knee in front of her, both of his hands now gripping the chains of her swing to keep it steady, to keep her close. "I'm not taking the job in Washington," she said suddenly, realising that even though it had been the whole reason she had come to meet him; she hadn't yet shared the news.
"Kate, I said no matter what you decide…if it's what you want-"
"-It isn't," she cut him off. "Sure, it's a great opportunity and a part of me knows I would be good at it, but..." He didn't look convinced and she didn't know what else she could say to make him see that she wasn't going anywhere, certainly not without him. "I want to share with you something a close friend once told me. He said, 'Putting the job ahead of your heart is a mistake. Risking our hearts is why we're alive. The last thing you want to do is look back on your life and wonder, if only.' And Royce was right, Castle. I realised today that as important as my job is to me, for the first time in my life since my mother died, I have a home again, and it's right here with you, in New York, in the loft with Martha and Alexis, and at the precinct with Lanie and the boys."
The smile that spread across his face was unstoppable. It was ecstatic, pure happiness radiating out of him and into her. She didn't care that the parents in the park had stopped watching their children to look at them. She didn't care that she was going to ruin her jeans, she just got down on her knees with him.
"There's nowhere else I'd rather be," she assured him, her arms wrapping around his neck, tugging at his shirt collar to pull him closer, her fingers threading into the hair at the nape of his neck.
He kissed her again, feeling the need to touch her, be close to her. "Then let's go home," he murmured against her lips. She beamed back at him and stood up, bringing him up from where he was still kneeling. His knees popped painfully, but he hardly noticed because Katherine Beckett was staying in New York, holding his hand, and was wearing the engagement ring he'd bought her. Katherine Houghton Beckett was his fiancée, but more than that, one day she was going to be Katherine Houghton Castle, his wife. And though it was something he'd been dreaming and fantasising about for so many years now, never once had he believed it would be his reality.
A/N: Thanks for reading. The next chapter will hopefully be up next week. I'd really appreciate any feedback you might have. Also, just to let you all know this is the first time I've ever done a cover for any of my stories, so feel free to comment on that too.