A/N: It has been over 6 months since I've posted something to this site. Time to fix that.

This is... well, it's pretty much a plotless, occasionally humorous, really random story. It's pretty mental. But I'm a bit in love with it, I think, mostly because it was actually super fun to write. I hope you guys can enjoy it and have a bit of a laugh at a plotless wonder, given how many completely amazing post-Finale fics that are out there right now.

No real spoilers past, say, 5x14? The M rating is just for safety as there is some swearing and some innuendo. Nothing major. It's essentially a friendship fic.

Disclaimer: Yeah, nah. I got nothing. Except a lot of merch.

IBYL
xo

Richard Castle woke up slowly, the soft light filtering through the gap in the thick curtains finally reaching his face and forcing him into the world of wakefulness. As his eyes fluttered, he noticed the warm weight on his shoulder, the familiarity of it and the glimpse of her beautiful brown locks enough to assure his subconscious that all was well in his world. Next, he noticed the persistent and alarmingly loud drumbeat playing on a loop his head.

That wasn't a good sign.

He opened his eyes fully, taking in his surroundings in the early morning haze, and quickly realised he wasn't asleep in bed, as he thought… but in fact, on a blow-up air mattress in the lounge room.

That wasn't a good sign, either.

He tilted his head up, stomach churning at the violent spin the room did when he moved, and twisted very slowly, finding Ryan and Jenny lengthways on the couch, Esposito on the floor next to them, and Lanie curled into a remarkably small ball on the armchair.

That REALLY wasn't a good sign.

What exactly had they gotten up to last night?

Just as he began to piece together the evening's events, his beautiful Detective squirmed softly beside him, murmuring something unintelligible as she unconsciously sought his warmth. It was then he noticed that she was wearing his long brown leather costume coat and… wait… was that his space cowboy holster?

What had they done?


"There is nothing better than an evening spent among great friends and even better spirits." Castle said with his trademark flare, placing the scotch, vodka and tequila on the side table immediately to his left.

"It's extra impressive when you're paying, Castle." Esposito said with a wry smirk, making Lanie giggle. Kate grinned behind her hand as Castle coughed "honeymooners" indiscreetly into his hand, earning himself one of the ME's patented glares.

"Thanks for inviting us, Castle. We love hanging out with you guys." Jenny said, still ever so polite in the presence of her husband's friends.

"Yeah, guys. It's almost like a triple date!" Ryan exclaimed, and Esposito barely concealed a growl.

"Ryan, if this is your idea of a date, then you should probably step up your game." Castle said, and Jenny laughed as Ryan pouted.

"I've been spoilt, Rick, I promise." She said with a laugh.

"You can talk, mister "I'm having a John Woo double feature, care to join?"" Kate said, the twinkle in her eyes letting him know she was teasing, but he couldn't resist taking her carefully crafted bait.

"Ahem, Kate, are you forgetting our weekend in the Hamptons?" He said with a smirk.

"Nope, you've already cashed in that chip making up for the Kristina Cottera disaster. And for pushing me in the closet on our first morning together. And that was just our first few weeks." Kate said, her whole face shining with the thrill of the wordplay. Castle thought it could possibly be the most beautiful sight in the world.

"Yeah bro, that's not including the lack of Christmas gift." Said Espo, solemnly.

"Or mentioning that the Hamptons was slightly ruined by a murder." Ryan added.

"And don't even get me started on the Meredith debacle!" Lanie chimed in, and Castle groaned as Kate chuckled.

"This has all happened in the space of a few short months?" Jenny asked softly to Kate, and she grinned serenely.

"What can I say? Rick and I don't tend to do things by halves." She replied, laughing softly at Castle's attempts to appease her friends. As she watched, she saw Lanie slowly turning her head to face her.

"Katherine Beckett, did you say something about a closet, earlier?"

"Oh, I'm nowhere near drunk enough to tell that story." She said with a glance to a sheepish looking Castle. Lanie grinned, rose from her chair and mixed her friend a rather strong vodka and cranberry juice, pushing it into her hand. Kate took a swig and coughed.

"Jesus, Lane." She said, wide-eyed. "Is the whole bottle in here?"

"Hey, girl, I was restrained! Could've been worse. I just want the story." She said, cradling her own drink as Castle finally took the not-so-subtle hint and began his hosting duty of mixing drinks for the boys and Jenny.

"Later. Don't we have some cards to play?" Kate avoided carefully, poking Castle in the shoulder. "Deal 'em, Ricky." Laughing, he pulled her into a quick kiss – that was abruptly cut off as the two other women in the room 'aww'd' in chorus, and the two men made gagging noises.

"Shut it, boys. My house, my girlfriend, I can do what I want and be glad I kept it that controlled." Castle said on a good-natured growl.

"I think it's sweet." Jenny said.

"It doesn't have the same awkwardness for you though, you've been convinced they were dating since you met them for the first time!" Ryan exclaimed, and Jenny laughed.

"True."

"You're both sickening." Esposito said with an air of finality. "Now deal the damn cards."

"Let the fun begin." Castle muttered as he split the deck.

XXX

Before long, the drinks were flowing and the chips were drastically dwindling, as the friends played well into the evening, laughing at Esposito's frustration and Jenny's blind luck. A couple of rounds later, Kate landed on a fantastic hand, calling all in. Castle, a man never known to resist a challenge, called, and by that point everyone was just drunk enough to think it was a good idea to challenge their boss and friend.

Kate swept the table with a giggle, proud of herself for conning them all and laughing as Castle pouted.

"Lounge room?" Kate suggested, and everyone nodded their agreement, slowly shuffling to Castle's luxurious living area.

"I'll bring the drinks!" Castle called after them, before pulling Kate by the wrist, sending her tumbling into his chest. He smiled before pulling her into a bruising kiss that left her panting.

"Not that I'm complaining, but what was that for."

"You are just ridiculously hot, with the poker and the smirking and the eyebrow quirk." He said, and she blushed, laughed.

"Back atcha." She grinned, pressing a quick kiss to his jaw before picking up a couple of the bottles from the table, leaving her partner open mouthed as she joined her friends in the lounge.

Not a minute later, Castle had crashed his way onto the large couch, pulling Kate into his lap in the process. When he didn't get smacked for his effrontery, and she simply smiled as she cuddled into his embrace, he knew that she was definitely enjoying her drinks this evening, much to his pleasure – it wasn't often that his gorgeous detective got to let her hair down with her friends, and it was all over her face that she was enjoying herself. He was thrilled.

Didn't hurt that she was a cuddly drunk, though. Made it all the more enjoyable for him.

Once she'd settled on his chest, a knowing look flitted across Lanie's face as she watched her best friend snuggle with her partner.

"So, Katie-girl…" She said, laughing when Kate sent a half-hearted glare her way. "Care to tell us the closet story now?"

"No she does not." Castle said instantly, and Kate huffed a laugh against his neck, her warm breath making him shudder, as she rearranged herself to face the group more.

"On our first morning together, we were in bed - nothing worthy of your fantasies or therapy sessions, boys, and Martha had just arrived at the loft. In a fit of panic, Castle decided that pushing me into his closet to hide from his mother was a good idea. I did the mad dash from the house while Castle distracted Martha and a very hungover Alexis." She said with a chuckle, as Lanie's eyes widened comically.

"Here's where I jump in and say I wasn't exactly thinking straight. My mind had been blown."

"Among other things." Kate whispered softly in his ear, giggling when his grip on her hip tightened reflexively.

"Evil woman." He muttered into her ear, as Ryan and Esposito groaned simultaneously.

"You're nauseating." Ryan griped, and Castle barked out a laugh.

"Yeah, you can talk. I know details about your married life that I never, ever needed."

"He has a point, Honeymilk." Esposito chimed in, earning him a playful shove from his partner.

"How about we all just agree that we share too much, okay?" Lanie chimed in.

"But I hardly know anything about you, Lanie!" Castle protested.

"Oh, if only that were a mutual statement." Lanie muttered, and Kate flushed beetroot red. Castle noticed the look between the two ladies and the pretty flush lighting up Kate's cheeks, and grinned widely.

"Kate? Something you need to tell me? Perhaps what exactly I miss out on when you two have girls night?"

"It was nothing." She said quickly – too quickly.

"Do I at least get a good review?" He asked knowingly a minute later.

"Glowing." Lanie replied nonchalantly, and Castle beamed.

"Well, then I'm happy." He said jokingly, as Esposito asked if he'd been reviewed too. Castle smiled as Kate grinned and lent into his ear, softly whispering.

"The best. Ever. As in, ever." She cooed, and Castle couldn't help but pull her sweet bottom lip from between her own teasing teeth and enjoy her, this beautiful woman who loves him. Yeah, okay, she hasn't said the words outright but it's written all over her face, in every look and touch – she's his.

And he thanks his lucky stars every day.

Just as Castle and Kate start to get a touch carried away for what would be considered decent in the company of good friends, Jenny suggests they put on some music, have a dance. They've all just hit the point in their drunkenness when dancing sounds like a fantastic idea, so Castle grabs his laptop and they all take turns playing DJ with his expansive and insane music library.

XXX

"Castle, seriously, why do you have so much cool stuff?" Esposito whined, causing a very giggly Lanie to laugh at the tone of his voice.

"Because I'm a millionaire." He replied.
"And a 9-year-old trapped in a grown man's body." Kate quipped, causing the group to laugh.

Sometimes Castle hated his girlfriend's incessantly quick mind.

But sometimes it just presented him with the best opportunities. He pulled her against him, watching as she blushed beetroot red and her pupils dilated.

"Kate. You of all people known just how grown I am." He said salaciously, in what he'd assumed was a whisper.

If Ryan's dry-reaching noises were any indication, it was a damn sight louder than he'd thought.

"Oh god dude I can't unhear that." Ryan whimpered, glaring when his wife chuckled at him.

"Can't unhear what?" Esposito asked, ducking his head out of a games cupboard and groaning loudly at the sight of Beckett and Castle making out passionately. "Ew. Really."

Kate pulled away from her boyfriend's lips with a sigh.

"Really, boys? You want to complain about it after telling us we belonged together for years?" She demanded, and Ryan gagged again.

"Yes, okay – but there's a difference between knowing it and knowing it. It's like seeing my parents, man!" He cried.

"Seriously. You're grotesque." Esposito said.

"You are not drunk enough if you can say grot… grow-tess… that." Lanie said, slurring slightly as she grabbed a beer bottle from a nearby table, and forced it into his hand. Esposito smirked, taking a drink happily. Jenny giggled tiredly.

"What other cool stuff have you got? Gadgets, games…" Ryan asked, gently probing for more information. Castle thought for a moment before waving upstairs.

"There's a closet up there full of costumes, if that's your style." Said Castle.

"Do I want to know what those costumes have been involved in?" Ryan replied carefully, and everyone laughed.

"Geez, Ryan, my mother is an actress and I love dress up parties. Nothing weird has occurred in any of the costumes."

"Yeah, Ryan. The dirty costumes are kept in the bedroom closet." Kate replied with a wicked grin, cackling as the Irishman blushed beetroot red.

"Oh god you're my boss. And my friend. Oh god." He muttered as he wandered upstairs, trailed by Esposito, who was walking up the stairs singing loudly with his fingers in his ears. Lanie and Jenny were sitting on the couch chatting about the perils of tequila, but Lanie couldn't help but watch her radiant best friend out of the corner of her eye.

"It's almost voyeuristic, isn't it?" Jenny murmured softly, and Lanie startled slightly.

"Isn't it just? They're ridiculous." She said after a little recovery time, watching as Kate tried to avoid being tickled by Rick's fingers dancing up and down her side.

"But happy." Jenny said with a shrug. "Does it matter if our men get a little grossed out by it, really? They'll survive. I like them together. It's cheesy, but they're so good together and it's great to watch, to know we're seeing something truly beautiful."

Lanie smiled at the petite blonde happily.

"Sappy as it may be, I'm with you girlfriend."

Their conversation was interrupted by a loud bark of laughter from both Kate and Castle, as Esposito tumbled down the stairs in a jester costume, with Ryan trailing behind dressed as Fred Flintstone.

"Looking good, boys." Castle said with a grin, and Kate nodded, trying to hold back further giggles. This failed miserably as the boys struck a Charlie's Angels style pose, made even more hilarious as Esposito's hat slipped down over his eyes.

"So which costume's better, people?" Ryan asked with a twinkle in his eye. Both Lanie and Jenny cheered for their own men respectively, before running upstairs to raid the closet also. With the boys occupied, bickering good naturedly over which costume was better, Rick pulled Kate closer.

"Want to find a costume?" He asked, and she smiled.

"Maybe from upstairs? Nothing in that closet is appropriate for anyone but you to see." She murmured into his ear before nipping the lobe softly.

"I bet you could find something. Maybe not the Nebula 9 number though. Or the nurse dress. Or the school uniform." He said softly, biting back a growl at the memories floating to the forefront.

"Tell you what. You go find something upstairs, and I'll raid your closet, find a surprise for you. Deal?" Kate murmured, laughing as Rick positively beamed in response.

"Deal." He said, kissing her before stomping upstairs.

"Be right back, boys!" She called to Ryan and Esposito, but received no response as they'd graduated to Team Edward vs Team Jacob debate. Making a mental note to tease them mercilessly at a later date, Kate slunk off to the master bedroom of her partner's palatial loft.

The second she saw the flash of brown in the closet, she knew she was about to blow Rick's mind.

XXX

Kate smiled as she tiptoed out of the bedroom, taking in the ridiculous witch costume Lanie had found, and the sweet poodle skirt currently around Jenny's waist. Rick had, unsurprisingly, located a toga and a headdress, and Kate felt the saliva pool in her mouth at the site of his bare shoulder, before shaking her head to rid herself of the dirty thoughts. Taking a heavier step to alert her friends to her arrival. She watched, delighted, as Rick turned to face her and his jaw dropped.

"Holy shit, Kate." He choked out. "Are you trying to kill me?"

"Well… I aim to misbehave." She said with a grin, watching his step falter as he moved towards her.

"Oh god this is basically murder without the implication because it's accidental if cause of death is a heart attack." He rambled, before striding towards her and gathering her in his arms.

The shirt and pants were hers – a dark brown button down she happened to have in his closet (though she was choosing not to read too far into exactly why a random shirt she barely wore happened to be in Rick's closet instead of her own). The pants were actually light brown jodhpurs, a purchase made for an entirely different dress up that just happened to also work here. The belt slung low on her hips, the holster complete with a gun, and the long brown leather coat – they were all his.

"You are the hottest space cowboy the world has ever or will ever see, and my brain is about to explode from the fantasies." He said, not bothering to lower his voice or attempt to disguise the naked want in his sentence.

"I dunno, Castle. You're not so bad in this very jacket." Kate teased, watching his eyes sparkle yet even more.

"Get a room!" Lanie whooped from afar, and Castle bit back a snarl.

"I have one, you're in it. I have several others but they're all within a few feet of this one, and that isn't going to work for what I have planned." He muttered, practically cursing under his breath while his eyes never strayed from his gorgeous girlfriend. Kate huffed a laugh, before extracting herself from her boyfriend's grasp, allowing him time to regain control, and turned back to her strangely-decorated friends.

"Anyone for another round?"


The memories got foggy after that, Castle thought, shaking his head but regretting it instantly as the world started to spin yet again. But it explained the pounding headache, the variety of costumes and why his girlfriend was currently attached to his side in her own interpretation of his space cowboy costume.

God that was hot.

He gently extracted himself off the air mattress, wincing at both having to move and also the squeak it emitted as he shifted himself. As he shuffled over towards the kitchen, he silently praised whomever decided that the air mattress was a good idea – though his back was protesting, he was sure he was feeling better, muscle wise, than Esposito would be this morning.

He hadn't had a night like this in a fair while, and he was betting that none of the 5 people currently asleep in his lounge room had either, so the first priority would have to be coffee. He flipped the switch, wincing as the beads began to grind, causing an echo throughout the loft. Hoping no-one had woken, he went about preparing 5 cups of coffee and a cup of tea to the specifications of each of the slumbering guests in the loft. As he puttered around the kitchen, he heard a creak of movement from the lounge and watched as Lanie gently extracted herself from the armchair which she had made her bed in the early hours of this morning.

"Doctor Parish" he greeted, quickly pouring her tea and pushing it across the kitchen island.

"It's not often I say this but bless you, Richard Castle." She said, taking a gulp of the steaming hot tea.

"How are we feeling?" He asked good-naturedly.

"Stomach's fine, but my head is protesting." Lanie said, cradling her chin in her hand as she waited for her tea to cool.

"Same." Castle replied easily. Just before he could extend the conversation, a loud groan was emitted from the lounge room, before a certain Irish detective shuffled across the room directly to the bathroom, his lovely wife close behind.

"Ouch." Lanie muttered, and Castle bit back a grin. It had to happen to someone, he supposed. Esposito trailed into the kitchen not long after, grumbling that he'd been trampled on in the commotion. Taking the coffee offered by Castle and sliding onto a bar stool, he struck up conversation with Lanie as Castle excused himself to wake Kate.

Coffee in hand, Castle crouched next to his still-sleeping girlfriend, ignoring his protesting knees. He smoothed his free hand over her curly locks, pulling them from her face as he brushed his thumb against her lips.

"Morning, Kate." He murmured softly. "It's time to wake up."

Kate hummed in response, shifting in her sleep, her eyelids fluttering as she brought a hand to her head.

"Who let the elephants in my brain?" She whimpered sleepily, dragging a hand down her face, and Castle couldn't halt his laughter.

"I don't know but they got me too." He said. "I think it was our old foe, alcohol." He said softly, pressing a kiss to her forehead as she sat up on the mattress. Kate looked down at the mattress quizzically, before casting a sideways glance to her boyfriend.

"Do we know why this happened?" She said, gesturing to the padding below her.

"Haven't quite figured out that puzzle myself, as yet."

"Is this your Captain Mal costume?"

"More or less, yeah."

"Oh, so we actually played dress ups. Not a dream. Okay." Kate said, sucking in a breath. "Can I look my friends in the eye today?" She asked quietly, and he nodded.

"Given that Espo is still wearing a jester's hat and Ryan is currently vacating his stomach in the guest bathroom, I think you are just fine." Rick's matter-of-fact response caused her to simultaneously giggle and feel better about the previous evening

"Thanks, Rick." She said with a winning smile.

"Always. Coffee?" He asked, passing her the mug.

"Don't suppose we can just hook this up to an IV?" She asked, causing Rick to smile.

"Sorry – not this time." He said, standing up and gently helping Kate up too, ensuring that the coffee remained completely safe in the process.

"Damn. Someone should invent that. IV coffee." She mumbled, as they wandered to the kitchen.

"Maybe so, but then every member of the NYPD would be chasing after criminals while dragging IV poles behind them, and that's about as impractical as those sexy-as-hell heels of yours."

"Have you not yet learnt, Castle? Don't even think about mocking my shoes, or you will be punished." She said, glaring, and he couldn't help the responding smirk.

"But that sounds fun." He murmured darkly, watching her blush

"Guys, I don't know if there's anything left to come out of my stomach right now, but stop being gross so I'm not tempted to find out." Ryan groused, nursing his head with one hand and a bottle of water with the other, wisely choosing to forego his coffee at this moment.

"Drama queen." murmured Lanie, and Esposito huffed a chuckle.

"I think we're going to head home – I'll look after the miserable one." Jenny said. "Thank you for last night – it was the most fun I've had in a very long time."

"Agreed. Girl, I don't think I've laughed that much since your wedding." Lanie responded, causing Jenny to beam.

"I'll see you out." Rick said, ever the host, as Ryan bid subdued goodbyes to his friends and co-workers. When he arrived back in the kitchen, it was relatively silent. Lanie, glancing between Rick and Kate, chose to be the one to break it.

"Javi, shall we? I am dying for some sleep that doesn't involve being curled up like a cat, and your bed is comfier." Kate smirked at her friend's ridiculous ploy, and she tossed her a glare in response.

"Ha. Knew you'd admit it one day." He muttered sleepily, and Lanie rolled her eyes before pushing his shoulder.

"Thank you for your hospitality, writer boy." She smiled, and Castle nodded his head in acquiescence.

"Always a pleasure, Dr. Parish." He replied.

"Thanks for the party." Esposito said simply, catching Castle's fist in a 'feed the birds' manoeuvre.

"I would say any time but my brain is protesting."

"Special occasions only." Kate agreed with a grin, before waving to her friends. When Castle returned from seeing the remaining guests out, he locked his hands around his girlfriend's waist, pulling her in close for a hug.

"That was fun." He murmured into her hair, feeling her nod in response.

"It was. They're good people, this family of ours." She murmured, and Rick couldn't help the wide grin.

"The best people, I'd say."

"Mmm." She hummed. "So, what first? Shower or clean up?"

"Naked Beckett, or chores… tough choice, but I'm going to have to go naked Beckett." He said contemplatively, and Kate smacked his chest, before taking pity on him and leading him towards the bathroom.

XXX

As the pair dressed, they heard the lock tumble, before a familiar voice called out.

"Anyone home?"

"Be right there, Alexis." Rick called back happily, his headache mostly subsided after their shower. Kate had perked up too, he was pleased to notice, and pressed a quick kiss to her lips as he went to seek out his daughter.

"Hello, my favourite offspring." Castle called, as he walked into the open space of the loft only to be greeted by his daughter, hand on hip, gesturing to the mess in the lounge and surrounds.

"Do I even want to know what happened here last night?" She asked, and he grinned.

"The gang was over. We had a few drinks. It got a little strange." He said happily, and Alexis smiled but sighed.

"As long as you have the memories." Alexis said, ever wise despite her tender age.

"Oh, grasshopper. Of course I do!" Castle replied with a shrug, and then shrieked as Alexis threw the discarded jester's hat at his head for being ridiculous. This, of course, started a war - but he managed to snag Alexis at the couch, and tickled her until she cried mercy. She laid back, catching her breath, before turning to her father.

"Hey Dad?"

"Yes, pumpkin?"

"Why are there animal shaped helium balloons on the roof?"

He looked up, and sure enough, there was a lion, an elephant, a dolphin and a giraffe balloon, bobbing on the roof in the breeze from the air conditioner. His eyes then flickered to Beckett, who had emerged from the bedroom – but she just shrugged before heading for another cup of coffee, offering Alexis one also. Rick continued staring at the ceiling in wonderment.

Hmm.

Maybe he didn't have the memories after all.

Fin.

A/N: I would love to hear your thoughts on this mad rambling story of mine. I know it's not going to happen like, ever, in the show. I know it's probably not even that realistic. But this was a fun little exercise to get me back into the swing of writing and I enjoyed it immensely - so I'd love to hear your opinions.

You can find me on Twitter SimoneLouise_XX

Thanks for reading!