1 year later


December 20, 2010


"Happy anniversary," Beckett says, clinking her champagne glass against Castle's flute.

"When did you get to be so unabashedly romantic?" he asks, smiling.

"I think it's good luck we return each year to the scene of the crime," she says as they cozy up to the counter at Bloomingdale's where they first met. Christmas crowds bustle around them, and they both take it in, grinning at each other.

"This isn't the real stuff, is it?" she asks.

"Martinelli's," Castle answers, leaning in to kiss her and splaying a hand across her stomach.

"Cheers," she says.

"Cheers," he echoes, taking a sip of the sparkling cider.

"Oh, I don't think so! No beverages on the premises! I'm gonna have to ask you to leave," a salesperson says, interjecting.

Castle almost spits out his drink.

"Eugene!" he exclaims. "Do you remember me?"

The impeccably dressed salesman trains his gaze on Castle, giving him a long look from top to bottom.

"Yes, I do," he says curtly.

"This is the girl," Castle gushes.

"Miss Carbon Copy. I see," he assesses, unimpressed.

"We got hitched," the writer announces gleefully. He and Beckett flash their wedding bands at him, grinning like fools. Eugene raises a brow. "You're in my new book, you know," Castle says.

"If you're not going to purchase anything, please make room for paying customers," Eugene deadpans.

"We do. We want some gloves," Beckett says.

"Black cashmere gloves," Castle tacks on.

"Regrettably, we are out," Eugene says, crossing his arms as if to say the subject was closed.

"Can't you check the stockroom?" Beckett says.

"Or basement?" Castle adds.

"I could take a look, but I'm a little short on my weekly draw," the salesman says and Castle swears he sees a ghost of a smile appear on the rigid man's face.

"This guy is hustling us!"

"C'mon, Castle, he's only a little short. Don't we owe him something?" Beckett says playfully.

"Yes, I heard I inspired a character in your new book," Eugene says.

"I don't believe this," the writer says, mouth slightly agape. "It's happening again."

"Don't worry, big guy, I'll take care of it," Beckett says, patting Castle on his bicep. "We'll take those three Burberry scarfs and whatever gloves you can find in the back."

"Three!" Castle squeaks.

"Think of it as a gift to all your girls."

"I don't even get one?"

"Make it four," she says to Eugene and he nods, rushing off to grab her requests.

"Why does he listen to you?"

"He knows who's in charge," she quips.

"You are really sexy when you get authoritative," he acquiesces, pulling her close.

"Oh?" she says. Castle nods, leaning down to capture her mouth in a heated kiss. She hums into him.

"That reminds me. I have another book idea. Had it for a while now," he says. "An idea about you."

"Me?"

"A female detective who's really smart, very savvy, haunting good looks, really good at her job... and kind of slutty. I'm thinking of calling her Nikki Heat," he announces.

"That's a stripper's name!"

"Well, I told you she was kind of slutty."

"Change it."

"But think of the titles. Summer Heat. Heat Wave. In Heat," he says with a wiggle of his eyebrows.

"Change the name," she demands, hitting a hand against his chest.

"Ow!" he winces. "Now, I'm definitely not changing it."

"Castle! If you don't change it, Meredith won't be the only person who kidnaps Alexis to Paris," she warns.

"You're bluffing," he says.

His wife arches one of her patented eyebrows, challenging.

He huffs. "I have artistic integrity, Beckett."

"I will leave you," she rebuts.

"And raise little Cosmo all on your own?"

"You're not naming our kid Cosmo," she says.

"But it's what I was going to name Alexis if she was a boy," he says with a pout.

"We're not having a boy."

"You don't know that," he protests. Eugene returns with their packages and hands Beckett a large Bloomingdale's bag with everything inside.

"Anything else, Miss?" he asks as he rings her up.

"That's all. Thank you, Eugene."

"Anytime," he replies, flashing her a charming grin.

Castle gawks.

"Cheer up," she says, bumping her husband in the shoulder. "Maybe next time will be different," she says, breezing away from the counter with their purchases.

He follows behind her, carrying their champagne glasses.

"Next time?"

"Twins run in my family, you know," she says.

"Twins?"


A/N: It makes my heart happy to hear that this story has provided a nice escape for some of you during these unprecedented times. I loved writing this story, and I have some other stuff coming down the pike, maybe even a "what if" series of one-shots, so if you have any prompt ideas, please send them my way (review or PM). Stay safe and Happy Holidays!