Six months later they married again. At the Hamptons, a small ceremony with close family and friends, yes Aunt Theresa too. This time Kate was the one to propose. She took him to the hall of the 12th homicide's floor and he didn't understand.
"This is the place I realized I loved you. When I almost lost you to Coonan. When I realized my tears where because of you, not the lost lead. That whole night, yes, I was pissed about losing the lead, but I kept crying and having nightmares of you taking Coonan's place. I guess we all know my reaction there. I scared myself with how much I felt for you. I'm not scared of how much I feel for you anymore. I'm scared every time you cross the street, put something in your mouth with those hazardous cheese strings, get up on the ladder to get something, but not of my feelings for you."
He smiled, "Yes."
"I haven't finished. And full disclosure, I'm terrified every time Harry starts walking around, and who told Alex she was allowed to be so fast while crawling. So-"
"That's parenting. Get used to that 'cause that feeling does not go away."
"Good thing you bought all that NYU, Vassar and Columbia memorabilia."
"Got to start the indoctrination early or else we'll have a year from hell, like with Alexis. I learned my lesson."
"Well, I want to be scared with you for the rest of our lives. I want you to be my third and done."
And she showed him a box with two rings, "I get a ring?" he cried excitedly clapping his hands!
"Yes, and you have to give me mine back," she said happily. He took hers and placed it on her finger saying:
"You were always my third and done. Even when I filed for the divorce, for me that was it. I didn't see myself ever being with someone else. But I didn't know what else to do and I really thought you didn't want to be married."
"I think I wasn't ready, even though you were, you've always been ready before me in this relationship," she said placing his ring on his finger. "But I am now."
She had moved back to the loft; she loved the loft. It was the first place she felt at home since she left her parents' house. But they redecorated big time. She didn't fight him this time and they had ransacked her old apartment, taking everything in there and giving the furniture that was in the apartment she had been occupying to Sophia. They had also decorated the children's rooms together. Up until then, to make things easier since he lived alone, Rick had kept the cribs in their room. But now each child got their own room. Harry helped pick up a lot of stuff, others, well. Let's just say fluorescent green for the walls was passed.
Now the loft had a good balance of both their lives and Alexis and Hailey were given first shot at anything they wanted from what was going to storage. Kate also offered Alexis the apartment she had been staying in free of charge, since the girl had still been in the dorms through the beginning of med school. The girl had accepted after Kate argued she should not have that apartment, because she should never have broken her vows.
They were both right and they were their done. Kate still saw the fear in his eyes that she would suddenly leave for a few years, and her relationship with Alexis was never the same, even after Alexis finally accepted that she wouldn't leave again. That also took years, but like her father had told her, those were things she had to accept. Casualties of her letting her addiction win.
Her relationship with Martha had never been the same either, while more receptive than Alexis when Rick decided to give her another chance, having needed a few herself, that unwavering support the older woman had given her, was gone, and now that support was for her son. Kate missed that. In a way she had had a mother back, but the truth was, Martha was the only parent Rick had ever had and he should have been the one with the unwavering support all along.
Although she was not a baby person, she had to say she had fallen in love with Harry and Alex right away. Rick had been reserved. Other than then the time she ambushed him in the park, he only introduced her to the children after a couple of months of dating and continued counseling.
Harry was just too cute. He was a mini Rick, like the minibar little bottles, she joked. Except that unlike with Rick, she was incapable of saying no to him and to his sister, who was just adorable at six months and was turning around and making moves to get to places. Rick called it the beginning of the end, when they were able to get away from you. She had laughed at first but totally understood him the first day they took Alex to day care. She camped outside the school with the computer on.
She was putty in their hand and Rick shook his head in disbelief at times
"But they're so cute!"
"If someone told me I would be the disciplinarian in the family when we first started dating, I would have laughed at them and referred them to a psychiatric hospital."
"How can you resist this face?" she hugged Harry close to her who added, "How daddy?"
"Because I love you buddy, and don't want you growing up bratty or having a tummy ache, so no. No sweets before dinner."
"I'm sorry Apple Pie, daddy said no. He's so strict," she kissed the little boy and Rick flapped his arms in disbelief.
She had taken his name this time around. When he had said she didn't have to, he understood that was outdated she answered.
"Taking your name isn't about you possessing me, but me being a part of this family. Seems stupid, but if I keep my name, it's like the boxes I hadn't unpacked the first time around. I'm keeping a foot out the door," he had kissed her passionately after that. But she really felt like a true Castle the day she was watching Rick with the kids from the office door and their conversation made sense to her. Alex, at almost two, and Rick were seated on the couch while Harry, almost three, was playing with his Lego on the floor close by. Rick had a conspiratorial look on his face and staged a whisper with Alex.
"Okay Little Bean. What I am about to tell you is a national super-secret, you can't tell anyone!"
"Tay daddy," the little girl leaned in, standing on her feet to reach her daddy better.
"You are super-duper deeply extremely adorably cute with sprinkles on the top."
She cried delighted and jumped on the couch, "I kno' daddy!"
Rick made a shocked expression with his hand on his mouth, "How? Who told you?"
"You daddy! You tolded evyone," she nodded wisely.
"I did? Oh, my…But really, can you blame me? I can't help myself! How am I going to keep something like that to myself."
"What about me daddy?" Harry asked coming closer.
Rick hauled him on the couch and said, "You are super-duper deeply extremely adorably cute with sprinkles on the top too! You're my favorite Apple Pie in the whole world."
"I fought I was your favite daddy?" Alex asked.
"You're my favorite Little Bean in the whole world," he brought her onto his lap too and planted a kiss on each.
"And Lesi?" Alex cried happily.
"She's super-duper deeply extremely adorably cute with sprinkles on the top and my favorite Pumpkin."
"And mommy?" Harry continued the game.
"Mommy is super-hot! I mean, have you seen those, legs, they come all the way up here," he motioned with a hand. "And her eyes, I told mommy that on our first date."
"When was dat?" Harry asked.
"Well, she broke into my party then took me to her place over a decade ago. If that's not a date, I don't know what is. I was smitten."
"Daddy! 'Top wif your mommy siwwy face."
"What mommy silly face Little Bean? I don't have a mommy silly face."
"Yes, you do daddy," Harry said pointing at his face. "You always make da same silly face when you talk about mommy or to mommy."
"She's my favorite too," he said smiling and the children slapped their own face in disbelief.
"But all this is a super national secret that we can't tell anyone and have to tell everyone, because really? Who can keep this to themselves?"
"That makes lots of sense daddy," Harry nodded his head emphatically and Alex followed suit. "Wots of sense!"
You had to be a Castle for that to make sense, and she was.
They had no more children, even though they had thought of trying. That was another price she paid for her obsession. By the time they were in a good place, she was over forty and had a history of a gunshot to the heart and her Doctor explained that all pregnancies over forty are already considered a risk, especially if it's the first one, and with her history the risk increased even more and he did not recommend a pregnancy.
She probably would have been more devastated if they didn't love Harry and Alex so much, as was, Rick had pointed out they had their hands full and that if they wanted more there were lots of children in need. That they didn't have to risk her health to be parents again, and he had been right.
She hadn't been able to formally adopt them because of how James and Lily had arranged for guardianship, but as Rick had pointed out, that was just a piece of paper and what mattered was the day to day.
She had decided she wanted a job that allowed her to stay at home. She had already missed a lot of Harry's and Alex's milestones and didn't want to miss anything more. At first, she had wanted to be a full stay-at-home mom, but Rick had told her the same thing that was said to him. If she built her life completely around the children, there would be a time where they didn't need her so much and she would fall into depression. So, she had accepted to think about something she would like to do, but that gave her the freedom to be with the children.
In the end the answer was simple. With the new publishing house and the e-books marketplace, in addition to writing, the PI firm and being there for the kids as much as her, Rick was getting too many things piled up on him. One day, Gina had called, and Rick hadn't been available, and the matter was urgent. There was an emergency meeting with one of the owners at the new publishing house. They wanted to announce their expansion with the release of Nikki Heat and there were several last minutes things to prepare.
Now that she actually policed herself to make sure she paid attention to his things as well as hers, she was actually very well appraised on the subject and after texting Rick she took the meeting and boy did she like the work. First, she got to boss Gina around a little, a plus for her, she was still a tad jealous of the woman. But the logistics of everything, she never knew how much time Rick spent on the planning or how complicated things were. The challenge really called to her.
She started taking classes in publishing and administration and became his manager. Which he loved, because he really hated that part of the planning. She was neither his agent, nor his editor. She was his advocate. She didn't receive a percentage, she received a salary (he insisted on) that was fixed, so that she would fight for what was best for him and not what was best for the percentage.
Paula's job was to get the best deals, Gina's was to mediate between the publisher and him and correct his work, but mostly, her job was to defend the company, and the lawyers' job was to make sure everything was in order and didn't hurt him. But he had defended himself for years, discussing book signings and fighting for deadlines that worked with his way of writing. And now that was the work she was doing. After a few years, when the children had started school full time, she also took other clients and was making a name for herself. The writers loved the deal because they had more time for what they liked, to write. And she wasn't someone they had to fight with. They told her what they wanted and what compromises they accepted, and she fought to make sure that was the end-result.
They were both still in contact with the Ryans and Lanie, but the friendship with Espo didn't survive. They heard from Ryan that the new Captain had straightened Espo up with other suspensions and that at work he was more respectful and less prideful, but Ryan said that did not transfer to his private life, and even Ryan eventually got fed up and stopped meeting Espo after work. The new Captain had separated them from the get-go. Thinking Espo needed some humility and Ryan needed to learn not to follow like a sheep. So, he gave Ryan a partner who expected actual opinions and not 'yes sirs' and partnered Espo with someone who did not take his crap. Getting out from under Espo's shadow did Ryan wonders. Though he decided not to become a career cop, and when he reached his 20, he retired from the force and joined the PI firm. He too had a family and didn't want to be on the line of fire any more. He really liked the security precautions Rick and the others had taken. Rick had made Hailey, Tori and Alexis partners by then and offered a piece to Ryan too.
The firm was a success and had expanded to a whole proprietary building where they had all kinds of labs and personnel. The five of them were actually responsible for different teams and departments. Alexis had gone on to med-school and forensics, which she applied to the forensics department of RCI.
To Rick's and Kate's delight, all the subliminal messages worked some, Alex and Harry did go to Columbia, they did not however join the religious order of babies who went to Columbia but still lived at home with mommy and daddy and didn't date the horrible vixens and perverts of the world. Kate finally understood Rick the first time Harry came home saying he had invited a girl to the prom. Alexis had to keep Rick and Kate and props from following Harry to the girl's house. There was another inspection for severed heads when Alex was picked up for her first dance with a boy. Both Rick and Kate had not been happy. They had been very creative too.
After graduate school, once again to the couple's dismay and horror, Alex and Harry decided to join the firm in an investigative capacity. Alexis said they had no one to blame but themselves. What did they expect after having mystery and laser tag tournaments since they were little and discussing cases (both fictional and real) around the loft.
And in the end, as Rick had pointed out, in addition to being partners in the most important area, life, they continued to be partners at work, except over fictional bodies now.
And their partnership, and therefore marriage, had come out of their struggles stronger than ever.
They couldn't say their life was all roses, they had hard and easy patches, like any normal couple, but they could say that overall, they had a very good life, and they really loved spoiling the grandchildren. Alexis, Harry and Alex weren't a big fan of that part but, since they were still super-duper deeply extremely adorably cute with sprinkles on the top and favorites (Rick was really good with the wording there), they let it go.