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Based on a prompt/bunny from 4evercaskett.

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing and no one.


He stands in stunned disbelief, his hand over his mouth as he stares at her shocked face. She sort of looks as stunned as he does as he watches her within the elevator, waiting for it to move.

Because this gorgeous, frustrating, love of his life woman, she just...grinned and blurted it out.

Her lips part as if to speak again, but really...what else could she possibly say?

It dawns on him, just a second too late that he has to kiss her, grab hold of her and pull her out of the elevator. Pull her from the machine and wrap himself around her now now now.

But it is too late because as his feet suddenly pay attention and he darts forwards to act on it, grab her and kiss that look right off of her face, the doors are closing and Kate disappears and the elevator is moving.

And then she's gone.

And he

All he had done was call out "Be careful Beckett." As she made her way to the elevator to go off in search of a warrant. And he wanted to go with her, hold her hand, hell even stand in front of her like a human shield, but he was being good.

Or at least he was trying to be good.

She told him, to his face plain and simple, before she accepted Gates offer to return, she was still more than capable of doing her job, she wanted to in fact. But he needed to be prepared to let her.

So he was giving her space. give her space.

But that didn't mean he wasn't going to say it, request it "Be careful Beckett." A simple statement of fact, of hope...Remember I'm here and I love you, so make sure you come back.

And the maddening woman had just glared at him as she strode away in those sexy, way too high heels, rolling her eyes as she stepped across the threshold of the elevator.

Before she turned on the spot and said in front of everyone...all...all the people that mattered most. "Yeah love you too Castle." Her face alight with mischief until she caught his eye and realised...that was the first time she had ever said it, and nobody knew they were dating.

And now?


He... has to in fact. Because she just said...

But then, as he turns back to the near empty bullpen, all hell breaks loose. Almost as one the three people waiting behind him speak. And of course it's Lanie's voice, loudest and fiercest and strongest of all, that cuts through the Beckett fog that has settled over his brain.


But he can't even answer her, and it's not just because Esposito is already talking over her, it's's just...Kate said...

Castle looks up and finds the three of them watching him still.

Espo's head tilts comically as he smirks and ponders aloud "Bro WHAT did you slip into Beckett's Java this morning?"

Whilst Ryan, quiet little, sort of still in the bad books but we love him really, Ryan, doesn't even look up from his paperwork. His pen moving rapidly across the form in neat lines as he asks "So, how long you guys been dating?"

Castle is pretty convinced at this point that this feeling of shock is never going to dissipate, and his mouth will never close again. Because he's gaping at Ryan in awe and Espo and Lanie damn near give themselves whiplash with the speed of their movements, turning to stare at the man as he remains quiet, working.

And just as Lanie is about to pounce on Ryan, pin him down and yeah...they should let her loose on a suspect sometime because holy hell does she look scary.

And just as Espo is about to slap the man around the back of his head with the palm of his hand.

Castle just wants to know HOW he knew. How Ryan figured it out and...knows. Because he knows, clearly he just stated it, bluntly and...annoyingly correctly. But Castle just...can't grasp... how!

Aside from that...that there, where she just...

They have been so careful, but she just...and he smiles, can't quite catch it and hide as it bursts across his face in happy waves, because she just...Oh he feels giddy and he needs to squash it away, just for now, and he clears his throat before turning back to concentrate.

But before any of them can take their chances, and demand the answers they all seek, Ryan stuns them again. Eyes still focused on the forms in from of him, he holds his left hand up before pointing at his wedding ring and smirking "This is how I knew."

He lifts his head and grins at the confused faces of his three friends, and wants to laugh because knowledge, even the teensiest little bit of it, really is power.

Lanie lifts an eyebrow, scrunching her lips to give him an 'as if!' look. "KEVIN RYAN!" She berates "Are you trying to tell me you have a Caskett sex divining ring?"

Esposito and Castle's heads snap back and forth between the two, before they both speak at the same time.

"Bro, does Jenny know that's what you use it for?"

"God, if he does! I want one."

And...eugh...oops, he really shouldn't have said that should, because he has just gone and confirmed it without talking to Kate, even though she said...

Castle shakes it off...for now.

Because all three of her friends, her family, are staring at him again, open mouthed.

Espo gives him an appraising look, eyes narrowing "You are the one havingthe sex...which...ew! Why would you need a ring?"

"They better be having the sex." Lanie says with a completely unmasked growl. "Lots of it." She states with even more firmness as she points at Castle threateningly.

Not that she needs to threaten him with Beckett sex, he's on board, he really is, in every sense of the phrase.

Mmmhmm, yuhuh, totally.

No question!

"Oh they are." Ryan discloses, looking up at Castle with some sort of adoration. "A lot, I would say for..." Ryan tilts his head, looking Castle up and down "Three months...two days...Nope wait...Three months and five days."

Ryan leans back in his chair as if to say 'am I wrong.' Whilst the other two just stare at Castle, and he can't...quite...believe his ears, and he doesn't need to confirm or deny anything.

"Ryan seriously." Castle says with a dark edge to his voice as he leans across the man's desk. "Give me that ring."

"Castle." Ryan says, with smug happily married won't you please join me and lets all be happy together wisdom. "Beckett just told you she lovesyou."

Castle's mouth is wide open again. And he just stupidly nods.

"Don't you think you should..." Ryan mimes with his fingers, teenie tiny legs walking "Go after her?"

"I should..."Castles eyes suddenly light up, and that smile that he wanted to squash comes racing back. "I should go after her." He spins on the spot as he laughs, before heading for the stairs "I...she said it?"

He looks back at the other three for confirmation, which is stupid because he knew...he really did. She proves it everyday, it's in every touch and kiss and stupidly small gesture but she said it...out loud.

And he wants...he wants witnesses.

Espo's rolling his eyes, of course he is, he's such a mama's boy, but he's smirking.

Ryan is smiling and nodding.

And Lanie...Lanie is covering her mouth with her hand, her eyes a bit too shiny as she waves him off. "Yes she did, now go go..."

And he does, giving them one last look before he sprints down the stairs.