A/N 1: Oh, my goodness, I think I may cry. I can't believe I've finished. I know I've said this before, but I want to thank everyone who has favorited, followed, reviewed or even just read this story. Thanks to acertainzest especially, for giving me the prompt in the first place, I hope I did it justice for you! I also made the full 50,000 words for the #CastleFicathon! I didn't think I have enough story, so I'm excited about that. :) I've had fun writing this and putting it together into a coherent story. I'm so glad I didn't completely give up on it.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy this epilogue.
The rumble of Kate's motorcycle filled Castle's ears. He tightened his hold on the woman in front of him and she wiggled a little in response.
They were on their way to the Hamptons. The past two weeks had been busy, after one night together, Kate had caught a case and Gina began haranguing Rick for more chapters.
They'd barely seen each other except on FaceTime and one slightly awkward dinner at the loft. Kate had never expected to get the 'what are your intentions' talk, but that's exactly what Alexis gave her the minute Castle welcomed her inside.
"Come on, Pumpkin," he admonished the teen.
"No, Castle," Kate stopped him. "This was bound to happen sooner or later, and Alexis has every right to ask."
The two women had then spent the next half hour in Alexis' room before coming down to Rick , wearing a path in the carpet in the living room.
"Well?" he asked nervously. These were two of the three most important people in his life. He wanted; no. needed them to – if not be BFF's – at least be civil.
Alexis blushed and went to the kitchen without saying anything.
"Trust takes time," Kate replied to his query. "But I think we made some headway."
Rick sighed in relief and kissed his detective.
The next day at the precinct Captain Gates called Kate into her office, ostensibly to ask about progress on the current case, but asked about Castle as soon as the office door was shut.
"I notice Mr. Castle isn't here," the Captain began.
"No Sir, his editor has been hounding him for chapters, so he's home writing."
"Have you worked things out?"
Kate's blush was all the answer Gates needed. She smiled.
"I may not understand what you see in him, but I'm glad." She sat behind her desk and pulled a sheet of paper from a drawer. "I know I gave you a three-day weekend after your last case, but after this one I'm giving you a week."
"I want you two to get this 'initial phase' out of your systems. I expect fully professional behavior in my precinct when you return. No, PDA's, no sneaking off to the supply closet."
"Sir, I would never…" Kate began, her blush growing deeper.
"I believe you. I'm a little skeptical about Mr. Castle." Gates' eyes twinkled with her tease.
Who are you and what have you done with Captain Gates? Kate thought, though she wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Thank you, Sir."
So now writer and detective were on the road. They had discussed going up to Kate's dad's cabin, but Jim had called her and said he was heading up there to do some fishing. Kate decided to wait until he got back to spring her new relationship on him.
Hamptons it was.
Rick had expressed his nervousness about riding her motorcycle again in the days leading up to their departure, so after work she took him for short jaunts around the city to get him used to the ride.
Of course, once he discovered the feel of her back pressed against him combined with the vibration of the motor, all uneasiness fled and he got the hang of it quickly. At the end of one ride, Kate asked him if he eventually wanted to get his license and get his own bike.
"I don't know, Beckett," he answered, squeezing her waist before they got off the bike. "I like the feel of riding behind you."
Kate conceded the point. She liked feeling him behind her too.
Just before they reached the exit they needed; Rick signaled her to pull off to the side for a moment.
"What's wrong, Castle?" she asked. "Are you motion sick?"
"No, nothing like that, I just thought of something we could do, and I wanted to check my phone to see if one is happening tonight."
"See if what is happening tonight?" Kate was confused.
Rick kissed the frown from her forehead and pulled up Google on his phone. He brightened when he found what he was looking for.
"Are you up for a star party, Detective?"
A slow smile spread across her face.
"You mean the Observatory?" she asked.
Castle nodded. "Custer. Up in Southold."
"I haven't been since I was in high school, Castle!" she exclaimed, swinging her helmet by its straps, her smile growing bigger.
Rick returned the smile, pleased that he had pleased her and excited himself by how on the same page they were.
"So don't take the exit I'd told you about before, stay on the freeway awhile longer, then follow the signs."
Kate nodded and put her helmet back on, waiting for Castle to do the same. He straddled the bike and she followed.
Rick and Kate arrived at dusk, and decided to get something to eat while waiting for full dark and the star party to begin. They found a diner that reminded them of Remy's and stopped in for burgers, fries and shakes.
*Almost* but not quite as good as Remy's.
"So, I've been meaning to ask," Kate began, taking a bite of her burger. "You had said you weren't in Vegas that long. How long were you there?"
Rick looked at her quizzically.
"I know it doesn't really matter now," she rubbed her thumb along his knuckles. "I'm just curious."
"It's one of my sacred duties to satisfy your curiosity, Beckett." He put his hand over his heart.
Kate rolled her eyes at his over-the-topness. She smiled anyway.
Rick let go of her hand to take a sip of his shake.
"I was there for a few hours is all."
Kate's jaw dropped.
"Really?" she asked in an incredulous tone. "What brought you home?"
"Have you talked to Lanie recently?"
"Huh?" was Kate's intelligent reply.
Rick snorted a laugh.
"It was just before the Naomi Allen case…"
"Yeah, I remember that part."
"I don't know where you were, your place, her place, the morgue – maybe not the morgue," he backtracked. "She wouldn't be using her phone if she was doing an autopsy…"
"Castle, you're confusing me. What about Lanie made you decide to come home?"
"It's another one of those things that's burned on my brain," he replied cryptically. 'The guy is crazy about you.' 'Despite your little act, you're crazy about him.' 'Do you think he knows?'
Kate stared at her boyfriend in consternation until the lightbulb finally lit.
"How…? If you've bugged my apartment Castle, there will be hell to pay."
She was teasing, he knew, but Rick answered seriously.
"I wouldn't violate your privacy like that, no matter how much I wanted to protect you."
"I know, Rick. I was kidding."
His eyes softened and he leaned over the table to give her a quick kiss.
"I know. It doesn't change my answer though." He grinned and shoved a handful of fries into his mouth to make Kate roll her eyes. Much to his glee, she did.
"No," he mumbled around the food and swallowed. "It was a butt dial."
"You know, I think I do remember that conversation," she thought a moment, her brow furrowed. "It was at my place, I invited her over for some wine and girl talk."
She looked up at Rick.
"That little rat," she laughed.
"What?" Rick asked.
"I recall her pulling her phone out of her purse – yes, purse Castle. Lanie doesn't usually keep her phone in her pocket unless she's at a scene. The little sneak deliberately called you and made it seem like a butt dial."
She shook her head, still chuckling.
"I guess you heard the whole conversation?"
"I was going to hang up," he said. "But then I heard your voice, and well…"
He shrugged, looking a little wistful.
Kate eyed him, wondering for a minute what the expression meant, then she understood.
"Castle," she took his hand. "Rick, even if I were angry at Lanie for calling you, I wouldn't be angry with you for eavesdropping. I knew how you felt about me…"
She trailed off a moment, then continued.
"Anyway, that's what made you come back?"
"I think I decided to come back when Lanie said you were dealing with 'stuff'," he wiped his mouth with a napkin before continuing. "But you couldn't ask me to wait forever. I realized that even as angry as I was, I needed to know what that 'stuff' was before making a unilateral decision to leave the precinct – and you – behind.
He paused, and grinned.
"That's not to say I didn't hear the part about handcuffs…"
Kate threw back her head and laughed.
"I guess that's funnier now than it was then." She gave him a sultry look. "You know, we don't have to rely on Esposito for the cuffs, I have a pair of my own."
Castle choked on his shake.
"Do you now?" The grin grew wider, and he waggled his eyebrows. "Well, do you want to go stargazing or should we head home to make our own stars?"
Kate smiled. She loved this man and wanted to do everything with him. And from the look in his eyes, he felt the same for her.
She stood, picking up her helmet from the seat. She held out her hand.
"We have all week to make our own stars," she said. "Now, why don't you show me your property on the moon?" She walked toward the register.
"You coming, Castle?"
Castle shook off his dazed expression and bounded to her side. He paid the check and they walked out of the diner hand in hand.
A/N 2: And it's finished! Again thanks for your support, I'd love to hear what you think!