*This little one-shot was inspired by a Fake Spoiler tweet by fembot77 on Twitter. No spoilers for Season 6.


ON BENDED KNEE


"Love is full of anxious fears."
- Ovid


Kate stared at him for a moment, trying to think of a way to talk him out of it. But she knew she was too late. She'd waited too long, and she'd lost him. Her breath stilled and she looked at him with a terrifying expression. It was like she'd been struck in the heart by a bullet again. It was an emotional punch to the gut. She loved him, so much. Her father had been right when he'd pointed out that she'd never had a relationship last beyond this point. But Castle was different. She refused to believe otherwise. She'd never been this much in love. So this couldn't be the end.

"So, whatever happens, whatever you decide," he began, and she knew this was it. It was all over. Kate looked away, not wanting her last memory to be of him walking away. She was so wrapped up in her own inner turmoil that she didn't even notice that he was, in fact, not walking away. "Katherine Houghton Beckett," the use of her full name confused her, drawing her attention back to him. She watched as he dropped down on bended knee, still not fully registering what was going on. And then she saw it. Her heart jumped up into her throat, causing a lump to materialize as she saw him hold up a beautiful diamond ring. And with a serious expression and voice, he asked, "Will you marry me?"

Her mouth went slack, and she stared down at the ring, speechless. This was not what she had expected when she first climbed out of her cruiser and saw him sitting there looking all dejected and resigned, like he'd been preparing himself for the end. She'd read it all wrong. This wasn't an end. It was a beginning.

"Oh my god, you're proposing!?" Kate exclaimed, nearly shouting it. She couldn't help herself, it was a gut reaction. She'd been so prepared for a break-up that finding out that it had actually been the opposite was rather overwhelming.

Castle raised his eyebrows, bobbing his head, almost comically. She sighed, relieved that he was finally looking more like himself. Kate had loathed the serious expression, and was pleased that his natural exuberance was breaking through.

"Not exactly the response I was hoping for," he croaked out, all kinds of nervous. He tried to smile, but failed, his hand starting to shake. "But at least it wasn't a—"

"Yes," she gasped out, her eyes going wide with surprise at how easy it was. Never would she'd thought accepting a proposal of marriage would have been so easy. But there was no hesitation. Not with him.

"What?" he hooted, raising his eyebrows in surprise.

"Yes," she bobbed her head, happy tears welling up in her eyes. "Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm going to marry you, you silly man." Before she could stop herself, Kate slipped off the swing and landed on her knees before him. Without pause, she grabbed his face in her hands and kissed the hell out of him. He gasped in surprise, but closed his eyes and hummed in approval as she pushed her tongue passed his lips to deepen the kiss.

Her chest heaved and she beamed widely as she leaned back, gasping for air. She blinked her eyes furiously, trying to hold back the happy tears that just wanted to stream down her face. Her hand was trembling as she held it up for him, giving him an encouraging smile, waiting for him to slide the ring onto her finger, where it belonged. But he didn't. Instead he furrowed his brow and stared down in confusion. She bit her lower lip, wondering what the matter was, before he glanced back up at her with wide horrified eyes.

"I dropped it!" Castle exclaimed in alarm.

"What?" she snapped, completely thrown for a loop.

"I… I… just… I didn't expect you to say yes like that, and then maul me in public," he stammered out, before quickly adding, running his fingers over his lips in appreciation of her kiss, "not that I'm complaining." He waggled his eyebrows for added effect.

She narrowed her eyes. "So what? You're blaming me for the fact you dropped my engagement ring?"

"When you put it like that…"

"You wanna quit while you're ahead?"

"Yes, please."

"Come on," she pushed back. "It couldn't have gotten far." She dropped down on her hands and knees searching around the surrounding blades of green grass. It shouldn't be that hard to find a sparkling diamond ring in the rough.

Castle leaned down beside her, his large hands patting the soft grass as he felt around for the ring. Kate blinked her eyes, trying to wrap her head around all that had happened in the last few seconds. She'd gone from dread to absolute joy to confusion and finally to annoyance. She couldn't believe him. What a klutz! But she loved him. She'd always love him. And she was going to marry him… as soon as they found the ring.

She chewed on her lower lip as she spread her fingers wide, growing frustrated. It shouldn't be this hard. No way a big ring like that just disappears. It couldn't have fallen that far. She turned her head, and…

Bonk!

"Castle!" she growled out, leaning back to rub her head. She glared up, catching sight of him doing the same. She glanced about the playground, blushing pink with embarrassment. What must everyone else think? They must look like a pair of idiots crawling around on their hands and knees, mumbling and bumping heads.

"Sorry," he quickly apologized. "You know… I could always just buy you another one."

"NO!" she immediately shot down his offer. He jerked back, startled at her vehemence. "I want my ring, Castle. That thing was gorgeous. And just perfect. No way was that thing an impulse buy."

He hummed in response, confirming her statement. "I've always wanted to marry you, Kate. I… I was just too afraid to let you know. I thought that if I did, I'd scare you off."

"Oh, Castle," Kate sighed, brushing her hair back from her face. "I'm sorry. I guess I'm not exactly the greatest girlfriend either. I kept secrets, started making plans that excluded you, and made assumptions without talking with you first. I'm so sorry." She reached out to brush her fingers down his face. "I do love you, and I want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. I… I was just afraid of admitting that."

He smiled at her, and it was the first genuine smile she'd seen on him for what seemed like so long. She grinned back and then bit her lower lip. "Now let's find that ring so we can make it official," she lowered her voice to a husky quality that she knew drove him wild, "and then go back to the loft and celebrate."

Castle bobbed his head enthusiastically, and immediately dropped back down to the grass, combing his fingers through the silky green blades as he search for the errant ring. Kate watched him for a moment, before turning around to search the other side. This ring was being stubborn, which seemed apropos for its intended bearer. She went back to the swings and looked under the swaying seats, pondering the spring of the grass. Maybe it had bounced off the ground and rolled in a completely different direction.

She flicked her eyes up and saw the sandpit. Little kids were playing around in the sand, burying their little rainbow colored shovels into the sand and flinging it over their shoulders. If the ring had rolled down the gentle slope of grass and found its way into the sandpit, it could be lost by now.

"Oh shit!"

"What is it?" Kate arched her neck to look over her shoulder at Castle.

He pushed up on his knees and held up his hand. "Shit," he said. "Literally." Sure enough, when Kate glanced at his hand she saw it smeared with brown dog feces.

"Ugh, gross," she fought a gag, scrunching up her nose in disgust. "You are so washing that hand with bleach before you touch me again."

He pouted, but then flashed her a mischievous smirk. "But I will be touching you?"

"Oh, most definitely," she chuckled, throatily. "I plan on having my wicked way with you for the rest of the day, night, and following day. Sooner we find my ring, the sooner we can get started."

"Then what are we wasting our time talking for!?" he exclaimed, turning away to scrape his soiled hand along the grass to rid it of the majority of the dog feces. As soon as he'd cleaned his hand to the best of his ability under the circumstances, Castle resumed his search with a heightened sense of urgency. Kate smiled smugly. What could she say? She knew how to provide proper motivation.

Of course, the thought of spending all day and night in bed with Castle, just wasn't motivating to him, but to herself as well. She returned to her search with renewed vigor. She spun slowly in place, narrowing her eyes as she scanned the grass and dirt around the swing set, hoping it didn't take much longer.

Kate turned around, and… not again.

Bonk!

"Damn it! Castle!" she growled, pushing up to glare at him.

He pouted and rubbed his head as she did the same. She grounded her teeth and stifled the sudden need to slap him silly for bumping heads with her again, when all she wanted to do was a different kind of 'bumping'. He apologized and then scrambled off to the side to search the grass a little further away.

Kate let out a frustrated groan and sat back on her ass, resting against one of the metal pillars of the swing set. She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, wondering how much more insane the day could get.

That's when she felt it.

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me?" she grumbled, rolling her eyes as she glared up at the sky just as gray clouds moved in obscuring the sun. Rain hadn't even been in the forecast. She huffed and reached inside her jacket to grab a rubber band, pulling her hair back and tying it into a messy ponytail.

A clash of thunder announced its presence before the deluge began. Castle let out a startled cry and skirted over to her, trying to cover up his girlish yelp by being all manly and offering her his jacket for extra protection from the rain. She waved him off, not wanting him to catch a cold.

"I suppose we'll never find it now," he said, slumping down beside her. Kate inclined her head in crestfallen agreement, and leaned against him, resting her head against his shoulder.

"It was a beautiful ring, Castle," she told him over the din of the rain. "I just wished I'd been able to wear it."

"I know," he soothed, wrapping an arm around her to hold her close.

Around them, other people were running, desperately trying to find shelter from the sudden and unexpected downpour. No one seemed to notice the two solitary figures leaning against the swing set in the middle of the playground. Castle turned his head into hers and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

"Perhaps we should go home and get out of these wet clothes before we catch pneumonia or something," he suggested.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right," she replied, disappointed. But then she smiled, thinking of all the ways they could warm each other up.

She sat up and placed a hand on his shoulder, using it for leverage as she pushed herself back up to her feet. Castle shifted on his backside, and then grimaced. He moved again, and winced from pain.

"What is it?" she asked worriedly, concerned the maybe he'd hurt his bad knee while they'd been crawling around searching for her lost engagement ring.

Castle shifted his weight and slipped a hand underneath him, squinting his eyes as his fingers probed around for the sharp object that had poked his butt. He found it, and then grinned.

"What?" Kate asked, confused, bringing a hand up to wipe the rain away from her face.

Castle let out a whoop of delight and bounced up to his feet, doing a little victory dance that Kate found quite amusing, especially in the middle of a downpour. Castle turned to her, eyes bright and happy. "Give me your hand!"

"What?" Kate strained to hear him, not sure she'd heard him correctly, since a crackle of thunder sounded right as he had spoken.

"Before anything else happens, hold out your hand!" he shouted.

She immediately held up her hand. Castle grabbed it and, holding it steady, confidently slid the diamond ring onto her finger. Kate's breath caught as she felt the cool metal touch her skin. The fitting was perfect. And the ring looked gorgeous and just so very right on her finger, like it belonged there.

"Oh, Castle… it's perfect!" she proclaimed, pouncing forward and wrapping her arms around his neck as she kissed him hard and fierce, ignoring the thunder and lightning around them. It was just them. Standing in the rain, making out and getting soaked.

Castle gasped for air as he pulled back, grinning happily. Kate knew that the last couple of days had been trying on him, on them, and she could never be more thankful that he'd stuck it out and proposed. Part of her couldn't believe her luck. She didn't really deserve him, but she wasn't letting go now. Not after he'd proposed and put a ring on her finger. He now belonged to her, and she was going to keep him. Kate gripped his jacket sleeve and tugged him forward, marching across the playground as she led him back to her parked cruiser.

"God, I'm soaked!" she informed him.

"I know, we both are," he agreed as he climbed into the other side, closing the door.

"I'm not talking about the rain, Castle," Kate said, giving him a saucy wink before turning the key and starting the engine. He sat there dumbfounded for a moment, before his eyebrows raised and his eyes sparkled with the light of understanding, finally catching her meaning.

"My place or yours?"

"Mine," she declared, even though she felt of the loft more as home nowadays. "Less chance of getting interrupted," she explained at his questioning look.

"Then what are we waiting for? Can I turn on the siren?"

"No, the siren is for official police business only," she said, slapping his hand away from the switch.

"But Kate," he whined. "This is an emergency. My fiancée is soaked, and I can't do anything about it."

Kate sat there for a moment and stared at him with a bewildered expression. And then she snapped. "Screw it. I can't wait," she huffed, unbuckling her seatbelt and climbing over the middle console to straddle Castle's lap. He gasped in surprise as she reached down to unfasten his belt before she rammed her mouth hard against his.


*Thoughts?