The Talk

What had she asked during the interrogation? "How many years of your own life are you going to sacrifice for someone else?" Would she be sacrificing her life for him or has he been sacrificing his life for her? These questions rattled around in her brain as he knelt before her holding that ring looking more serious that she had ever seen him before. It had been a year since she quit her job for him. A year filled with more affection and love than she had ever felt before. Kate knew there was only one answer to his question but she wanted to be sure it was the right answer for both of them.

"I'm not saying no but before I give you an answer I need to ask you a couple of questions." She points to the swing indicating that he should take a seat. Castle sits looking down at his hands still holding the ring.

The consummate detective always searching for the truth, Kate continues, "Why now? Is it only because of the job offer?" She stares at him searching for the truth. It was ironic that she was now questioning his motives when it had been she who had failed to be completely truthful and open about her feelings. "Castle, I've kept secrets and hid my feelings from you. I have made you scratch and claw every step of the way. So why propose?"

Castle looks at her for a long time before he speaks. Why was it so hard to dig deep and express his true feelings in an easy, relaxed manner. Castle is reticent to open his heart up again to the woman who had so expertly torn it apart after his first and second confessions of love. But he know he has to lay it all on the line if he wants her to accept his proposal.

He had tried serious but serious had never worked for him. As he gazes at her, a small smile washes over his face. His smile grows wider as he thinks about their argument during the recent bombing case. It is now or never. It is time to lay his cards on the table. Free of guile he confesses, "Kate, I fell hard for you the moment I lay eyes on you at my book launch party. I turned around and there you were already rolling your eyes at me, holding up your badge and I just thought...WOW!" Feeling more at easy, he breaths deeply and continues, "I hoped I could charm you into my bed on our first case." He laughs, "Of course, I was into you before you were into me. I had to beg the mayor to use his clout to get my ride along with you. Trust me when I tell you I paid a hefty price for that privilege. I have written four best selling love letters to you...And you were right, I was jealous of Will when I caught you kissing, and my heart broke when you turned me down to be with Demming. So much so that I ran into Gina's arms to try and take away the pain. But once I came back to the precinct, I couldn't keep on living a lie. The magic was not there and you know how much I love magic. I really tried to be happy for you and Josh. I tried to give you your space but it tore me up. I had never felt that way before about anybody...not even Kyra." Castle sighs, "I kept pulling your pig tails for four years like a child so that you would just notice me. Stupid, I know."

Castle's smile fades as he whispers, "When you were shot...I couldn't let you..." He swallows unable to say the word die, "...without telling you how I truly felt...that I loved you. But Josh was right. I forced you to look into your mother's case hoping to gain your affection by solving it for you, like a lion throwing his captured prey at the feet of his mate but in doing so I put you in the crosshairs. I will never forgive myself for that."

Had he just left it alone...He looks away absorbing the truth of that statement and his complicity in her shooting. Kate shakes her head in absolution. He knows he doesn't deserve her forgiveness but he'll take it.

Castle takes another long breath and continues, "I demanded that BDU give me the remote trigger devise because I couldn't bear to leave you alone on that bomb." Castle smiles again and looking in her eyes declares, "Kate, I am crazy in love with you and have always been. And I think you know that. I am hoping you will say yes because I want to keep pulling your pig tails for the rest of my life."

"This job offer has only made me realize I need to grow up and stop playing and start acting a man." He pauses and whispers, "If you will have me?"

Kate's heart beats faster but she forces herself to calm down. She is not done with her interrogation. "If I say I want to take this job will you follow me to DC?" she asks.

Castle inhales before responding, "I will follow you anywhere, Kate."

"Are you saying that you would be willing to sacrifice your future for me?" Kate prods further.

Castle shakes his head, "Kate as long as I am with you, I'm willing to compromise." Castle takes Kate's hand pressing the ring between their palms. "I know we wouldn't be partners any more but we would still be together and that's enough. You are the most remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating person I've ever met, and I love you, Kate. If you care at all about me, you will say yes." He hopes these words will solicit a different response than the last time he uttered them.

"Castle," she says looking in his tearful blue eyes, "Yes." But she puts her hand out to stop him before he can misinterpret her response. "Yes, I liked you from the moment we met." Castle can see the twinkles in her eyes. "Since we are confessing...I was a huge fan of your books before I ever met you. I even stood in line in the rain for you at one of your book signings. And yes I subscribed to your website before I ever met you. I'm LieutenantCloe2301." She smiles shyly at him.

"After we met, I didn't want to be just another fangirl. I wanted you to take me seriously. Frankly, I wanted you to be a jerk so that I could maintain control and decorum. But you made me smile, and the more you pulled at my pig tails the more I liked you. When Demming came along, I still didn't think you took me seriously. From where I stood, I watched you sleep with Meredith, ask eligible bachelorette number 2 on a date, hit on models including Alexis' ex-babysitter, kiss Kyra, hit on Agent Jordan, sleep with Ellie Monroe, and ask my friend, Maddie, out on a date. It wasn't until Esposito mentioned that the reason you were taking a break from following me was because you didn't want to watch me be with another guy, that I realized you were taking me seriously. Deep inside I knew you were not the playboy you pretended to be. I saw how much you loved Martha and Alexis. I broke up with Demming before you left the precinct that day. I was trying to tell you how I felt when Gina walked in and whisked you away." Castle mouth drops in surprise at this revelation. They had never had this conversation before.

Kate smiles and continues, "Josh came along and was a nice distraction while you were with Gina. When you broke up, I thought...maybe, but I was with Josh and the timing was all wrong. Then, you had to go and kiss me." Kate's looks away shyly and cannot help but smile at the memory of their first kiss. He had caught her by surprise. She told herself that it wasn't cheating. They were only pretending to distract the guard and she gave into it. "I fought my feelings for you because I didn't know if you were as affected by that kiss as I was." Kate bites her lip.

"That night in the hotel room in LA, I was so temped. I opened my door but you had already retired to your room, and I didn't want to be a cheater. I was scared of ruining what we had. Then, the night you came to my apartment to ask me to stop investigating my mother's case before Montgomery was killed, I wanted you to tell me how you felt about me. Do you remember?" she asks. Castle nods his head. "Instead you told me to think about Josh. I know you were just being a gentleman but I wanted you to tell me..." she pauses swallowing the pain.

"When I was shot and you finally said it, I was consumed with fear. I couldn't think straight. At first, I couldn't separate the shooting from your words. Then, my therapist warned me not to start a relationship until I had dealt with my fears. It took every fiber in my body not to call you but I owed it to Josh and to you to make a clean break and pull myself together. There were so many times that year that I just wanted to reach out and touch you, but I didn't want to doom our relationship before it started. When you walked out on me after you confessed you had been steering me away from my mother's case last year, I was so angry with you, with myself and for the first time, with my mother. But hanging from that ledge, I realized I didn't want to go on without you. So I quit my job and I came to you." Kate blushes, remembering all the things they did to and for each other that night.

"We have had a wonderful year," she continues. "But Vaughn made me realize that I wanted more...more of us. But you avoided talking about our future and that hurt. I felt rejected and then Sophia Turner's comment about you made me wonder if our relationship was just an illusion. Would it all be over once the music stopped? And then Meredith's words started to haunt me. She said that you split up because you took the time to know everything about her without revealing anything about yourself. I had to pester you for days before you told me about Jordan, and when you went after Alexis in Paris you deliberately kept me in the dark. And I began to believe that we would be over once the music stopped. So I did what I always do when I am scared. I threw myself into my work, my career. My father reminded me today of my habit of focusing on work when I felt out of control. I lied to him and told him I wanted the job." She pauses and takes a long breath.

Bewildered Castle says, "Kate, you know me better than anyone. I tell you everything. I talk to you about what's important like Alexis. Yes, I admit I have held back a little because I didn't want to scare you. I didn't tell you I was flying to Paris because I didn't want you to talk me out of it or worse, to put you in danger again. After Paris I told you about my father. You know more about me than anybody." She smiles back at him but he can see she still has reservations. "Sophia was right, but only about my feelings for her. I always had the sense that something wasn't right. I never imagined the depth of her lies but it was there on the surface and that's why it didn't work out. And Meredith. Well, we were young and she got pregnant. At the time I thought, marriage was the honorable thing to do but one man was never enough for her. I didn't want to share my wife with her director. So I let her go. But I will never regret that relationship because she managed to give me the greatest gift of my life, Alexis. And since we are talking about my prior relationships, I married Gina because she was beautiful and sophisticated and I thought we made sense on paper but as I have already said there was no spark." It feels good to clear the air between them. Castle feels hopeful now that secrets were being revealed.

"I'm not used to revealing every single thing about myself. The first person I was really open with was Kyra and she left me because she said she needed space. Soon after she left, I wrote my first best seller and became somewhat famous. After that, I shielded myself from the outside world to protect myself from all the takers. Kate, I can't promise to always be open but I promise to try." Kate can see the sincerity in his beautiful blue eyes.

Kate smiles back and says, "I don't want to go to DC. What we do together here is important. I love my job. I love my team. A year ago I was willing to give up both to be with you. And we have had such an incredible year. I'm not taking the job in DC. I'm not scared anymore Rick. I love you and I only want you."

Castle smiles and says, " admit you were attracted to me first!"

Kate climbs into his lap and give Castle a quick peck on the lips, "Yes. You win. I was into you before you were into me. So, now that we got that cleared up what about this marriage proposal?"

Castle replies, "What about it?" She looks at him and raises her eye brow. Understanding her meaning, they stood. Castle took her hand and knelt down again and with joy in his eyes says, "Katherine Houghton Beckett will you do me the great honor of marrying me?"

Kate smiles, "Yes. Richard Alexander Rogers, AKA Richard Edgar Castle, I will marry you." Castle rise and takes Kate into his arms for a long tender kiss. When they finally break apart, Kate says, "Now let me get a look at that ring!"