*From castlefanficprompts: "After a late night with Castle, Beckett ends up running late to work and accidentally wears Castle's shirt. She doesn't notice until one of the boys tells her." Set post-whenever they finally get married.


Running Late

"Kate, what about breakfast?" Castle pouted from behind the kitchen island, having already pulled out ingredients. He was wearing nothing but a robe, loosely tied around his waist, his hair still damp from the shower. "I was going to make pancakes. You know," he wiggled his eyebrows, "as a way to say thank you for last night."

Kate chuckled, and shook her head as she walked out of the bedroom, buttoning up the shirt she had quickly grabbed from the walk-in closet. "It was pretty amazing, wasn't it?" she agreed with a lazy smile. "But I really do have to go." She finished with the shirt, and grabbed her coat from off the back of the sofa, hurriedly pulling it on. "Sorry," she said, flashing her eyes back up to his with a contrite expression as she stepped back over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'll make it up to you later, okay?"

His hands dropped to her hips and he tugged her closer. "Okay," he relented with a sigh, still pouting. "I guess I'll just have to have pancakes all by myself then."

She shook her head at his feigned sulking, and pushed up on her toes to kiss his pout away. Castle responded without delay, his fingers curling around her hips as he deepened the kiss. Humming into his mouth, Kate dropped back down with a blissful smile on her lips. "See you later?"

He nodded, releasing his hold on her hips. "I'll come by after lunch," he affirmed.

"Good," Kate pushed up to kiss him again, smiling happily, before she pulled back, and rushed for the door, grabbing her bag off the couch as she went. "Bye. Love you!"

"Love you, too!" he hollered after her.

XXX

Kate glanced at her father's wristwatch as she pushed open the door, entering the lobby of the 12th precinct. She stifled a groan as she read the time, confirming that she was late… really, really later. She'd barely had enough time to drink her morning cup of coffee and have a bagel, let alone take a shower. She had only managed a quick rinse before getting dressed and rushing out the door, fending off Castle's grabby hands while she did so. She really shouldn't have let him talk her into sharing the shower to "save time" as he'd put it.

The desk sergeant gave her a wave as he buzzed her through. She hurried on, punching the button to summon the elevator with much more force than was strictly required. Standing there, tapping her foot, waiting for it to arrive, Kate couldn't help but gnaw on her lower lip as she silently prayed to whatever higher power might be out there that the boys didn't rib her too much for being late. It was only her second week back after the honeymoon; surely they'd be kind enough to cut her some slack.

Finally arriving on the fourth floor, Kate strolled with haste across the bullpen and deposited her coat and bag on her desk. She glanced around, letting out a breath she didn't know she had been holding in when she noticed that the boys were nowhere to be seen. It wasn't until she'd sat down, and started booting up her computer that Kate realized they would probably be in the box, interrogating the suspect they'd planned on bringing in this morning. She groaned, flopping her head down into her hands, and brushing her hair back from her face, before she then quickly tied it into a loose ponytail. Before she'd left last night, Gates had assigned the interview to her with the knowledge of just how skilled of an interrogator Kate was. But now, since she had been late, the boys had most likely needed to step in.

Just as she finished her own silent self-reprimand, the interrogation door opened. Ryan emerged first, followed by Esposito, who led the suspect down the hallway before handing him off to a uniform for processing. When the boys reunited and walked back into the bullpen, Kate hurriedly turned her attention to whatever she could find on her desk, attempting to act busy.

"He confess?" she asked, trying for nonchalance, as if she'd been there the whole time.

"Sang like a canary," came Ryan's answer, before he frowned, and shrugged his shoulders. "Well… eventually."

"He just took a lot of persuading," Esposito added, looking irritated. He plopped down unceremoniously on the edge of Kate's desk and gave her a disapproving glare. "Wouldn't had taken as long if someone had shown up on time."

"Sorry," she gave them a contrite expression. "It won't happen again."

"Notice she didn't actually make that a promise?" Esposito asked his partner, raising his eyebrows knowingly.

Ryan chuckled, heading for his desk. "Yeah, what's with you, Beckett? You've got this, I don't know… glow about you," he chirped up, glancing up from the papers scattering his usually pristinely organized desk. "Late night?"

"Yeah," Kate inclined her head, her eyes beginning to glaze over with the memory of it. "You could say that." She attempted to stifle the blush that arose as she recalled last night and what had kept her up. Castle. And his wickedly talented mouth. Esposito noticed her dreamy expression, and grimaced, making a slightly disgusted face.

"Eww, gross," he whined. "I do not want to know." He pushed up off her desk and made his way back over to his own.

"Oh, come on, Espo," Ryan jumped to her defense. After all, he knew what it felt like to be a newlywed. "Cut her a break, won't you? They're still in that honeymoon phase."

"You'd know," grumbled Esposito as he plopped down into his chair, trying to focus on gathering his notes from the case they'd just wrapped up.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Ryan demanded with an affronted look, eyebrows lowered in accusations.

Esposito exchanged an amused look with Kate, both working hard at suppressing laughs, before he refocused back on his partner. "Seriously? You're really asking me that… honey milk?"

Kate let out a sigh of relief as the boys began to bicker amongst themselves, temporarily forgetting her tardiness. Grateful for the reprieve, she used what time she had to check her email and refresh her knowledge over some details on the other cases they were working on at present. A yawn broke out without much struggle, and Kate held up a hand to hide it, but the boys noticed.

"Still adjusting to married life?" Ryan asked. "Must be difficult with things changing."

She shrugged her shoulders. "It's different, I'll grant you that," Kate said. "But I think we're finding a nice groove. I mean, we were practically living together before the wedding, so not that much has really changed. And… it's nice," she added, thinking of Martha and Alexis. "Working at building a family, and growing together."

"And now you're also Mr. and Mrs. Castle," Ryan teased, knowing full well that she'd actually didn't take Castle's name. They may be husband and wife, but she was still Kate Beckett.

"Now that's… I'm still not used to that," Kate shook her head, suppressing a smile. A tiny laugh escaped. "But Castle gets a thrill out of it."

"He would," Esposito chuckled.

"Oh, I remember those days," Ryan let out a dreamy sigh. Kate and Esposito turned to notice him zone out, a starry-eyed expression on his face as he recalled what Kate believed must be fond memories of his newlywed days with Jenny.

Esposito groaned and rolled his eyes. "Oh, great… now you've reminded him of his perfect little family he's got back home. Thanks a lot, Beckett."

Kate shook her head, and gazed at her friend, whose dopey grin resembled that worn by her husband this morning when she'd woke him up with a slow succession of deepening kisses, until their mouths were fused together in fierce passion. Things had only escalated from there, ultimately delaying Kate even more than she'd already known, until she'd glanced at the digital alarm clock and realized what time it was. Yet, despite their late evening and early morning activities causing her to be extremely late for work, Kate couldn't help but smile as well, realizing that she was just as happy with being married to Castle as her colleague was with being married to Jenny. They had both found their soul mate, and were madly in love. It was a wonderful feeling. She could only hope that Lanie and Esposito would get their acts together sooner rather than later, and realize what was standing right in front of them.

"Oh… not you, too," Esposito groaned when he noticed Kate wore a similar expression to Ryan. He stood up, looking disgusted with the amount of mushy lovey-dovey floating around the bullpen. "God, it's bad enough when Castle's here and you two are making googly eyes at each other."

"You'll understand once you find a nice girl and get married," Kate offered with a conciliatory smile, silently hoping that that 'nice girl' would be her best friend Lanie. "Look at me. I used to be just as skeptical, if even more so than you. But here I am! And I couldn't be happier."

"As if," Esposito scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest in defiance. "That ain't happening to me. I'm not going to sacrifice my social life. No way. I'm fine with my bachelor ways, thank you very much."

Kate shrugged, finding his assertion doubtful. She had noticed the subtle yet clear looks of longing whenever Lanie was in the room. "Don't knock it until you try it," she said with a nod of her head. He ignored her dubious look, and simply harrumphed.

"You're one to talk, Beckett," he snipped. "You've got bags under your eyes."

"Gee, thanks, Espo," she growled, flicking her eyes up to glare across the bullpen at him. "Just what a girl wants to hear."

He gulped, keenly aware he'd made a mistake. Flashing her a contrite expression, he jumped out of his chair. "Why don't I make you a cup of coffee?" he offered. "As a way of… apologizing. Yeah… yeah. Decaf, right?" Esposito quickly made his way to the break room, pointedly avoiding Kate's heated eyes. Too intent on her glare, she'd missed that last part.

"Well, I think you look lovely," Ryan asserted. "The perfect image of a woman happy and in love, and with a healthy glow about her, to boot. And I don't care what anyone else says, I think Castle's shirt is very flattering on you."

"Why thank you, Ry—wait? What? Castle's shirt?" Kate raised her eyebrows in confusion, her eyes going wide as she leaned back and glanced down. "Oh my god," she stammered out, lifting the collar and tentatively sniffing it, only to be met with further confirmation as the scent of his cologne and aftershave invaded her olfactory senses. She'd been in such a rush to get out the door she must have grabbed one of Castle's shirts by accident.

Ryan got up out of his seat, oblivious to Kate's sudden realization. He stretched his back, and massaged the back of his neck, unaware of his colleague silently freaking out over her attire. He pursed his lips and stepped over, patting her on the shoulder. "Yeah, who cares if it's a little too big and people think you're trying to hide a pregnancy," he asserted as if he was talking about nothing but the weather. "Didn't waste anytime, did you?" He chuckled and shook his head. "Oh, we may tease, but seriously, we're happy for you. Both of you." He paused, his eyebrows slowly knitting together. "You know, I think a cup of Joe sounds good about now. I think I'll go join Javi." And with that, he was strolling blissfully towards the break room; unaware of the shock he left in his wake.

Kate just sat there, blinking, slowly absorbing what he'd said. Pregnant? Really… is… is that why the boys thought she was wearing Castle's shirt, because she was pregnant and was trying to keep it under wraps? Suddenly it clicked. Some of the boys' comments began to make sense. They'd kept mentioning her having a glow, which she'd thought was them teasing about her and Castle's active sex life. And then there had been the talk of kids and family, and Esposito had mumbled something about decaf coffee. She realized now that even some of her own responses could have been misinterpreted.

"I was talking about being married," she growled through clenched teeth, astonished beyond belief how easily things could be misread. "Not about having kids!"

"What's this about kids?" Gates asked, unexpectedly appearing out of her office. She glanced at Kate, took quick note of her wearing what was obviously one of Castle's shirts. "From the look of things, am I right in assuming congratulations are in order?"

Kate's jaw dropped in stunned disbelief.

"I… I… um… I…," Kate stammered, utterly lost for words. "Sorry, sir… I have to go… over there." She jumped out of her chair and rushed for the locker room, leaving a thoroughly confused Captain Gates in her wake.

As she passed the break room, she glanced inside to catch the boys snickering and 'feeding the birds'. Her eyes narrowed in righteous indignation. So it had all been some prank? One she'd so easily fallen for. Part of her was impressed that they could pull off such a masterful prank without her noticing. Another part wanted to shoot them for it. No one made a fool out of Kate Beckett. Those two knuckleheads were in deep trouble. She changed course and strolled confidently into the break room, startling them.

"Oh, you two think you're so clever, don't you?" she glared at them, hands on her hips. "I'll get you back. And don't think you can run to Castle for help. Now that we're married, he's always going to side with me." She nodded decisively. "We'll own your asses by the end of the week. Just you wait." And with that said, she stormed away, heading straight for the woman's locker room, hoping she had a spare shirt stashed away there.

Ryan waited until Kate was out of earshot to turn to his partner with a worried expression. An angry and determined Kate Beckett was scary as hell. He gulped nervously. "Do… do you think we should tell her that it was Castle's idea? That he called to tell us she'd accidentally put on one of his shirts?"

"Nah," Esposito shook his head and took a sip of his coffee. "She'll figure that out in no time. Trust me. It'll be fun to watch. Better than Shark week."

The End