Castle Halloween FanFic Competition: Costumes Not Allowed

Another story for out fanfic competition. Here you can find all the stories for the 12th Precinct Castle Halloween FanFic Competition. And here you can find the rules.
You can find the stories too on for a possible easier read.

Story: Costumes Not Allowed

Rating: K+
Word count: 1079

“This is the ugliest damn tie I’ve ever seen, bro.”

“Shut up and put it on.”
Esposito grumbles but puts the tie on, grimacing at the paisley fabric before knotting it.  “Lavender.  What kind of man wears lavender?”  He plops into Ryan’s chair, swiveling around to face Ryan sitting in his.  “You got the better end of this deal.”

The brisk clip of heels sounds from the hall, and they both turn to grin at Beckett, who flashes them a quick smile on her way towards her desk.  “Hi, guys.  You’re here early.”

“Morning, Beckett,” Ryan chirps, settling his hands on his stomach and fixing her with his most innocent look.  

It’s only then that she stops.  Frowns.  “Why did you switch desks?”

Esposito just folds his arms.  “Happy Halloween.”

She looks back and forth for a moment, one eyebrow quirked up, before she finally sighs.  “I don’t get it.”

Ryan grins.  “I’m Javier Esposito.”

Esposito scowls, tugging at his necktie.  “And I’m Prettyboy Ryan.”  He yanks at his sweatervest.  “Dude.  What is wrong with you, that you wear this?”

“Look who’s talking.  What is your problem with ties?  Why do you always dress like some lazy college kid?”

“Hey.  That is a manly shirt.  Not like this pansy-ass -”

“Guys!”  Beckett cuts them off with a raised hand.  “I thought Gates said no costumes.”

Ryan shrugs.  “What’s she gonna say?  It’s not a costume.  Just Esposito’s crappy clothes.”

“Oh, shut up.  I look like a freaking Ken doll in this stupid sweatervest.”

She raises an eyebrow, an amused smile playing at her lips.  “Actually, you both look - very nice.”

Beckett heads for her own desk, shaking her head, and Ryan turns back to face his partner.  “Is it just me, or - is something different?”

“I feel you, bro.  Something’s up.”

There’s nothing specific.  Ryan glances back at Beckett, who’s hanging her jacket over her chair.  He sees no obvious clues, nothing concrete.  But - she keeps smiling.  

Esposito folds his arms over his sweatervest.  “She looks happy.  Not, like, normal happy.”  

“Castle here yet?”

“No,” Esposito grumbles, tugging uncomfortably at his shirt cuffs.  “Otherwise I’d just ask him.”

“Yeah.”  Ryan wrinkles his nose.  “It’s probably something personal.  She probably doesn’t want to share.”

“You thinking what I’m thinking, bro?”

Ryan nods.  “Let’s go bother her until we figure it out.”

They bump fists and prepare for the operation.

Subtlety is overrated, so Ryan plops down into Castle’s empty chair and makes himself comfortable - well, somewhat comfortable.  The zipper on Esposito’s shirt is never quite right.  He fiddles with it for a second before giving up.  Beckett looks up, raising an eyebrow.  “Something you want?”

“Just wanted to chat.”  She stares at him.  “I mean - if that’s okay.”  Jeez.  Even when she’s happy, she’s intimidating.

“Ryan, what’s going on?”

He scans her desk.  Nothing telling.  Computer, pens, paper –

Oh, wait.  There is a difference.  There’s a new elephant in the little parade of them on her desk.  This one’s made of smooth, pearly white ivory, its tiny trunk curled up, wearing little trappings of swirled lavender and gold.  “Oh, nice.  Cool elephant.”

He picks it up, and Beckett sort of - flinches.  She gets that quiet look, the one where her eyes are just a bit too wide, her hands too ready to stop him.  Okay then.  There’s something about the elephant.  Uh - well.  It’s a miniature elephant.  Not much to –

His thumbnail catches on a hidden seam, and before he can react, the ivory elephant opens, the top flipping up smoothly.  The body is hollow, lined with purple satin.  And - oh.  There’s a tiny card tucked inside, with a single line in cramped, handwritten script.

Will you marry me?

“Oh my God.”  Ryan stares at her.  “Oh my God, are you - ”

“Yes. We are.”  She’s glowing.  Her eyes are bright, her face flushed, and there’s an air around her, some new atmosphere of sweetness and happiness and such utter joy that Ryan actually feels his throat getting tight.

Ryan opens his mouth, closes it, and blinks for a long second before he recovers himself.  “Well.  It’s about damn time.”

“So, Beckett, what - ” Esposito wanders over, but stops short as he sees the elephant Ryan’s still holding, with its ring-sized hollow and tiny, simple question.  His eyes go wide.  “Wait.  The - you - really?”

She just nods, biting her lip like she’s afraid she’s going to say too much.  Ryan gives her the elephant and she closes it, tracing its little tusks carefully before replacing it on her desk.  Esposito lets out a short laugh.  “Well.  No wonder you’re so happy.  When did he pop the question?”

“This morning.”  She looks down, her cheeks pink, and oh.  Okay.  So - yeah.  So the glow’s not just happy.  “We, uh.  Haven’t told anyone yet.  We’re gonna call my dad later.”

“Good morning, everyone.  I bring caffeine.”

Ryan turns to find Castle strolling in, four cups of coffee balanced neatly in a carrier.  “Hey, Castle.”

Castle’s eyes quickly seek out Beckett’s, and yeah, she’s still beaming.  The man’s not stupid.  He takes a longer look at the scene in front of him, at Beckett’s bright eyes, at Ryan in the official Castle chair, at Esposito hovering.  “Ka-uh, Beckett?”  Castle catches himself.  “Is - something going on here?”

“They figured it out, Castle.”  She’s still smiling, her eyes sparkling.  “They’re pretty smart.”

“Oh.”  Castle looks down at the coffee cups in his hands.  His ears are red.  “They think the elephant’s stupid, don’t they?”

“No!” Ryan cuts in.  “No, dude.  It’s actually kind of - perfect.”

“Okay.  Well.  I’m glad you think so.”  Castle holds out the coffee carrier.  “Here.  Drink up.”

Ryan and Esposito quickly grab their cups, and Esposito claps Castle on the shoulder.  “Congratulations, bro.  Glad you finally manned up.”

“Yeah.”  Ryan claps his other shoulder.  “Congrats on becoming Mr. Kate Beckett.”

Castle grins, relieved.  “I know, right?  Can’t wait to get my towels monogrammed.”

Gates’ voice cuts sharply through the quiet morning, and Ryan freezes instinctively.  Um.  Castle eyes Beckett cautiously, and no one moves.  Gates is leaning against the door of her office.  She folds her arms, her eyes trailing over the scene in front of her.  Her eyebrow goes up.

“Nice sweatervest, Detective Esposito.”

Espo coughs.  “Thank you sir.”

Her lips twitch, but she just straightens.  “Happy Halloween, people.  Now get to work.”

Captain Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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