Castle was setting out the Chinese food on the kitchen table when Kate came out of her room in a red men's t-shirt and black pajama pants with tiny white polka dots. She was combing her fingers through her wet hair absentmindedly, walking over to join Castle in the kitchen.

"Mhhhmm, looks yummy," she murmured, looping her arm through the crook of his elbow and leaning against his side. Castle didn't know where this more open, slightly touchy-feely side of Kate was coming from, but he liked it. He winked at her, then noticed her shirt.

"You still have that?"

"Yeah," she said, with an air of "of course I did," a smile on her face. "It's comfy, and I like the color."

"Wow," he laughed, handing her a paper plate. "That was what, two years ago?"

She took the plate from him and unlatched her arm to serve herself. Castle was happy to see the giant helpings she was shoveling onto her plate. He didn't know how much she had eaten in the last month, but he guessed not much.

"Yep. Can you believe it's been 2 years since my other place blew up?"

"I know, it feels like forever ago," he said, helping himself to chicken chow mein and 2 spring rolls. He pulled up a stool and joined Kate at the bar. "But I will never forget seeing that blast. It scared the hell out of me."

"It did?," Kate asked. He looked at her incredulously.

"Of course it did. I thought you were dead!"

She smiled. "It was very brave of you to break down the door and come looking for me," she said. "Thanks again for that."

He nodded, his mouth full of food. He swallowed and joked, "It wasn't totally selfless. I did get to see you naked."

She elbowed him. "For like a second!"

He laughed and winked at her. "And what a glorious second it was."

She just shook her head and gave him that smile of hers that always appeared on her face when he suggested one of his crazy theories. He ate his last few bites of chicken chow mein and then took his and Kate's empty plates into the kitchen.

"So, I don't know what you want to do next, but Alexis picked out a stack of movies, including Miss Congeniality, because she says you remind her of Gracie Hart."

Kate liked the idea. She grinned. "Aww. That's very sweet of her." She got up and walked over to the couch.

"That sounds wonderful, but my tv is….not working right now." She was glad Castle was too busy doing the few dishes that sat in the sink and didn't realize her blushing. He didn't need to know that the screen of the tv that usually sat diagonally left of the couch had been slightly dented by a glass. A glass that had shattered on impact, leaving the tv out of commission for a while.

"Oh, that's okay. We can use my laptop. Its in a bag with the dvds by the bookshelf."

Kate found the bag and opened it, expecting to just find the dvds and the laptop. Instead, she saw extra clothes, a toothbrush, pajamas, a book, and underwear. He really did wear silk boxers. Focus, Kate, she told herself. Why did Castle have what looked like an overnight bag?

"Castle?"

"Mhhmm?," he asked, walking over to her and bending down next to her. He froze when he saw the look on her face and the open bag.

"Okay, I can explain," he said. She nodded and they both sat down cross-legged on the floor.

"Go ahead. I'm not angry, Castle. Just a little caught off guard."

He exhaled. "Good. I just packed some stuff because I don't want to leave you alone for the next few days, while you work stuff out. I wanted to be prepared to stay with you as long as you needed me."

Kate smiled. "That's really sweet of you, Castle, but I can take care of myself, you know. I may be down, but I'm not incapable of functioning on my own. But thank you."

"I know. But I also kinda of… want you to want me to stay."

She took his hand in hers. "Well, if I'm not mistaken, part of your plan was for me to spend a week, with you, taking it easy."

He nodded, but didn't say anything. Kate frowned.

"Castle, I do want you around. I just…. I don't want to monopolize you. You do have a career besides following me around, and you have Alexis. It isn't fair for me to just keep you at my side for the next week."

"But that's where I want to be, " he insisted, taking her other hand. "Mother can take care of Alexis, who has a social life and isn't as home as much as she used to be, anyway. Besides, its just a week. I don't see them for much longer than that when I go on book tours. You are important."

Kate bit her lip. "Just…. check with them, make sure its okay, please?"

"Ok," he agreed. "But it won't matter what they say. Kate, I love you, and I'm not going to leave you ever again."

She smiled and felt butterflies in her stomach, a warm feeling in her chest. This wasn't the first time he had said it, and she had said it a few times too, but this time was different. They both knew that they loved each other, and he had proved it times a thousand these last few days. But she hadn't. She felt guilty for that. She felt that he still thought he was loving her and waiting patiently for her to love him back, like he had been for a while now. But he wasn't. She loved him as much as he loved her, and it was time for her to show it.

She moved closer to him and put her hands on his shoulders, staring him straight in the eye.

"I love you too, Richard Castle. I love you as much as you love me, and I'm sorry that it took me so long to say it."

He grinned and she kissed him passionately, wrapping her arms around his neck. They sunk into each other, shifting to lie on the floor. A few minutes later, they broke apart, both a little out of breath. They laid next to each other on the carpet, their foreheads pressed against each other and their bodies turned towards each other. Castle's arms were wrapped around Kate, just like she had been dreaming for weeks. He nudged her nose with his and she giggled, a very girly, un-Beckett giggle. He smiled, causing her to laugh a little more.

"I love that laugh," he whispered, raising one of his hands from her back to stroke her hair. She bit her lip and smiled back.

"I love yours, too," she said lovingly.

"I love everything about you," he said, taking her face in his hands and placing small kisses all over it. "I love your smile, I love your hair, I love your eyes, I love your bravery and strength, I love it all. I win."

She laughed and then let out a little moan of pleasure as he hit her neck with his trail of kisses.

"Win? Is this a game to you, Castle?," she teased as he moved her hair away from her neck to gain more access. She gasped and he grinned, very happy with himself.

"Depends on the rules."

They continued their little game for about an hour until Kate forced herself to stop. As much as she wanted to continue, she knew where it would lead and for the time being, it was best for them to take it slow. When she told him this he had just flashed her that boyish smile of his and nodded, then put on Miss Congeniality on his laptop.

That's where they sat now, with the laptop sitting on the coffee table and the two of them snuggled together in the couch under a blanket.

"You know, I think Alexis is right, Gracie is a lot like you," Castle whispered to Kate. "Except you're a little smoother and less clumsy, and a lot hotter."

She laughed. 'What, not a Sandra Bullock fan?"

He smiled. "No, I love Sandy. She's a sweetheart. But Gracie Hart isn't a glamorous kind of gal. The character isn't about being hot, she's about getting the job done and following her heart. But then at the end, she gets the guy, and she transforms into a beautiful person."

Kate smiled. She loved hearing him tell stories, even if he was just retelling other people's. She pressed a kiss to his cheek.

"Now, if only I knew someone who worked in law enforcement who was not only sexy, but damn good at her job and very smart."

She pulled herself into his lap and turned to face him, pretending to think.

"Hmmmm… if only."

He winked at her and kissed her lips, murmuring with pleasure. She kissed back, and when they broke apart she rested her head on his chest, tracing circles on his knee with her index finger.

"It really is gonna be okay, isn't it?," she said with a happy smile. He nodded and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

"Yeah, it is."


The final chapter! DUN DUN DUN...

Okay, unnecessary theatrics aside, this is in fact the conclusion to Castle and Beckett's "what if" situation. I hope you guys all really enjoyed it!

Please review and tell me your favorite things, and what you would like to see in a sequel if I write one, which I have been thinking about. Should I base it off of a season 4 episode, or should the story not have much NYPD involvement, like this one?

Oh, and have a happy new year! :)