A/N: parts of this chapter borrow from the last few moments of the series finale, so I will expand my disclaimer thus – if you recognise it, it definitely aint mine! I borrowed parts of the final scene because I wanted to blend the story back into canon at some point. Sadly, I couldn't find an earlier place to do that, either due to plot or timeline, or both.


7 Years later.

The dining table was set for a casual brunch, but there was no one in sight. Then, like a rocket, 6 year old Lily came streaking out of her parents' bedroom, determined to be first to the table, as always. Behind her came Reece, being chased by Jake, three year old twin brothers her constant shadows. Jake tripped, but was saved from falling by Kate, who lifted him under his arms and swung him around until she could put him into his booster seat, while Rick made sure Reece was in his, and filled Lily's juice cup. Then he made sure his wife's coffee cup was full and hot, before the kids got stuck into the food.

They normally spent Memorial Day, and the week after, in the Hamptons, but with Alexis due with her second child any day, they had decided to stay in the city to be closer when Elliot called them, and so they could look after little Nate while his dad took his mum to the hospital. Rick loved having his grandson over to play, and often led all three boys on adventures around the loft, to the amusement of his wife and daughters. Nate was not old enough to understand that Jake and Reece were his uncles, not his cousins, so it was just easier to call all the kids cousins through the extended family.

Once everyone was settled at the table, and the kids had full plates to attend to, Rick and Kate sat back in their chairs, looking at each other, and reached out their hands at the same time to connect across the table. No words were spoken, but both of them could see in their partners' eyes the relief and joy at being together as a family, having made it here after all the troubles of their early partnership and marriage.

Lily had been much anticipated and planned, although falling pregnant with her had taken most of a year, but the boys were a surprise, and not just because twins did not appear in either family history. They could have been in Rick's father's line, but they weren't going to explore that option, didn't know how to get in touch with him even if they wanted to. Almost as soon as Kate said she was ready for another child, she seemed to be pregnant again, and when the 20 week scan confirmed two foetuses, her belly doubled in size almost overnight.

Kate was still seeing Dr Burke monthly during her first pregnancy, and she seemed almost calm about her pending parenthood. By the time the boys arrived though, Dr Burke had retired, and while he had referred the Castles to a younger colleague with similar credentials, Kate was reluctant to start from scratch again. Privately Rick suspected this was a major factor in Kate suffering badly from post-natal depression, questioning every action and decision she made with regards to the boys, and often crying herself to sleep over some imagined slight or omission she perceived would mark her babies for life. When she started to withdraw into herself, and mutter about being a terrible mother and the kids and Rick being better off without her, Rick called in reinforcements, and Jenny worked her magic again, eventually convincing Kate to see a therapist who specialised in PND. Seven hard months later, she was back to her usual self, and she also decided to only return to work part time, so she could spend more time with her husband and kids.

Jim Beckett had appreciated having Kate working with him after she finished her law degree, and was so proud of her for pursuing her initial career choice that sometimes he couldn't control his tears as he watched her consult with a client. When Kate went back to work after Lily was a year old, Jim started cutting back his hours, easing into retirement while still being available to mentor his daughter. His intention was to retire to the family cabin when Kate returned after the twins, but seeing her struggle changed his plans to stay closer to town, and it was her dad who finally convinced Kate that cutting back to 3 days a week was definitely the best arrangement for her and her family, and the other partners could handle the workload, thereby removing her guilt for doing something for herself.

Kate also still presented seminars on dealing with unusual cases at the NYPD Police Academy, and had in fact been invited to present at 4 other neighbouring state institutions. Victoria Gates was pushing for the 'Beckett Program' to go national, and already there were enquiries from federal law enforcement as well. Rick had been instrumental in creating the first syllabus along with Kate, but had since taken a much less visible role, allowing Kate to reap the acclaim she so richly deserved – at least in his opinion, she was not so sure – and so he could be with the kids when she was out of town. Kate's main reluctance with making the program more wide-spread was the amount of travel she would have to do, at least initially, but as always, her husband came up with the perfect solution – the kids weren't in school yet, they could travel around as a family, taking whatever time they wanted and needed to set up the program, and then once local instructors were capable, she would only need to consult by phone. She was close to a decision, but she definitely didn't want to be out of state when their latest grandchild was born.

Her third 'job' was the one that gave her the most joy outside of her home, because she was able to administer the Johanna Beckett Memorial Fund alongside her husband. The deans of the various law schools submitted their most likely candidates, but it was Kate and Rick who sat down with a senior partner from her dad's law firm and a couple of experienced judges from the District Court, to interview the finalists and make the choice for each year's recipients. The first three years of the fund they were able to support one law student intent on civil rights work, but since then, at least two recipients were named each year, and this coming year there would be four.

The fund still held one major fundraiser per year, a gala event which had become the hottest charity ticket in town, moving to bigger premises every year, and eventually having to cap attendance and institute a waiting list. It was also one of the only times Rick Castle was seen in public, having withdrawn from the media circus that had made him into the millionaire playboy when his youngest children were born. He still wrote, publishing a novel a year, and he still allowed Black Pawn to schedule two local book signings per year, but he made it very clear that his family came first. Kate tried to argue with him, didn't want him to give up effectively his work, but Rick was adamant, and in the end it worked out for the best, because Kate was still, and would always be, a very private person, and sheltering their kids was their top priority.

The Castle family brunch was interrupted by the ringing of Rick's phone, and even before he answered he knew that Alexis had gone into labour so he excused himself while he arranged for Elliot to drop Nate over in an hour or so, and then called Lanie to let her know the progress. Lanie and Alexis' special friendship had only deepened over the past few years, and Alexis would have no other with her as a birthing partner alongside her husband. Meredith may have been surprised to learn this, but she was not due to visit for another month or so, depending on her auditions, and she had already said she didn't enjoy the first few days a baby arrived, with 'all that screaming and pooping'.

Lanie herself, while spending the last five years wishing and praying for children of her own, was still just the favourite auntie of a growing horde of Castle and Ryan children, in addition to her own extended family. She and her husband were now considering adoption, and Rick had already offered whatever assistance he could provide via any of his numerous 'guys'. Kate knew that in whichever method Lanie and Alan eventually became parents, they would provide that child with unconditional love and a stable home life.

After Nate was comfortably buried in a nest of pillows and three cousins, in front of the big screen Rick set up for the kids (and him) to watch Disney movies, Kate made the second round of phone calls to notify the rest of their extended family about the imminent arrival. Grandparents were first cab off the rank, and Martha and Jim were both delighted to soon meet the newest family member, although no one knew which gender they were expecting, because Alexis had chosen to keep it a surprise. Rick had tried to weasel the answer out of her, but he was frustrated because she admitted even she didn't know. He pouted for at least an hour after that pronouncement, and then declared it was obviously another boy for him to spoil.

Kevin and Jenny and their three kids were in Sacramento visiting her mother, but they were due back in a week or so and promised to catch up as soon as they could, with Jenny passing on her best wishes for a speedy labour and easy birth for Alexis. Javier must have been out of signal range when Kate first called, but he called back as soon as he could and was also ecstatic about the news. He and Sonia were expecting their first child in 5 months, and he was taking his last solo fishing trip with his ex-army buddies before he devoted himself fully to his family. Already Kate could hardly recognise the soft spoken and attentive husband her gruff detective partner had become.

Melissa Susan Draper arrived at 9:17pm, weighing exactly 8 pounds. Within an hour of her birth, she had been dubbed 'Molly', and that nickname would stick despite repeated attempts on the part of her mother to quell her grandfather's enthusiasm. At Elliot's request, Kate and Rick brought all the kids in the next morning, and Nate was very excited to have a baby sister to look after and play with, once she got a bit older of course.

Martha breezed into the private ward a few minutes later, causing a stir among all the staff as the Grand Dame of Broadway arrived. Her career had experienced a revival in the preceding 5 years, and more often now Rick was referred to as Martha Rodgers' son, not she as Rick Castle's mother. In her presence he grumbled about this, but secretly he was beyond delighted at her success, and promoted her work more vocally than his own.

When Jim arrived, another round of greetings and congratulations were exchanged, and then almost by unspoken agreement Jim and Martha offered to take the kids for the day so Kate and Rick could have a few hours of peace after almost no sleep the night before. At first Kate wanted to refuse, but Rick quickly put his hand over her mouth and dragged her out of the ward, to the soundtrack of amused laughter from the other adults present. Rick did almost fall asleep in the car on their return to the loft, but once inside he seemed to have found his second wind, and gently coerced Kate into celebrating in their own private way.

Afterwards, they lay in each other's arms, Kate's head on Rick's chest, her arm draped over his stomach and her legs entwined with his, allowing their breathing and heart rate to return to normal. Rick thought Kate may be falling asleep, until she sat up and kissed him, then snuggled again and said "Thank you, Mr. Castle. I don't think I would have ever made it here without you."

He smiled gently, and then replied "Always, Mrs. Castle."

A/N2: And so we have come to the end of this story, and I want to thank each and every one of you who commented, reviewed, sent me PMs, encouraged me on ffnet and twitter, and hung in there for what became a 10 month labour of love. When I started this story for the Castle 2015 Winter Hiatus Ficathon, I thought I may be able to meet the mini-ficathon word count of 15,000 words, if I was lucky. Now, I have written 67,283 words for this story alone, and I can understand when other authors say the story runs away with them. The bare bones of this story are identical to what I planned in November 2015, but the story is so much richer than I could have imagined back then, and for that I have to thank Garrae and Perspex13 for helping me get out of a couple of tight spots and validating some of my personal head canons for these characters. There are also a number of other fanfic authors who inspire me to become a better writer, and spending virtual time with them during the weekend of the Castle Fic Stream Con, so wonderfully organised by Griever11, has sown the seeds for the improved culmination of the story you have just finished.

This epilogue was the hardest chapter of Reparer for me to write, mainly because it's saying goodbye to this world and these characters that I love so much. But never fear, I still have ideas and stories in progress for this fandom, so while ever you continue to read and review my stories, I will continue to write them. Next up, California Dreams, and then I will finish Trading Places. Somewhere in between, you may see some little drabbles that escape due to the machinations of the Evil Prompt Overlord.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.