Disclaimer: The only part of Castle that I own is the TV on which I watch the show.
A/N Because the series finale is on Monday, and at least in my head there will be a happy ending.
It's not as if they're obese. Not even chunky. Okay, maybe he could stand to firm up those abs a little, definitely could, but Kate? She's probably two percent body fat, if that. Their combined weight can't be even 350 pounds. There were at least three people at breakfast this morning who weighed that much. Each. Bellying up to the jelly doughnut bar.
The point is, it has absolutely nothing to do with weight.
It's a hell of a way to begin their three-week cross-country motorcycle ride, though. They'd left home yesterday morning. It could have been a straight shot through Pennsylvania, eight hours, but she'd wanted to go on back roads. Fair enough. No 18-wheelers bearing down on them, and some truly spectacular countryside, which she loves. He'd insisted that she drive in front of him, claiming that he was still an inexperienced biker, which was nominally true, though he had been having lessons on the sly with a stunt man. If she had any idea what he paid for those. Never mind. He likes riding behind her because that's his personal definition of a spectacular view. He can watch her muscles stretch, tighten, relax, lengthen under her tight leather pants and jacket. He can marvel at the line of her neck, the hollow at the back of it that he loves to kiss and which is just visible under the edge of her helmet. He's done it hundreds, maybe a thousand times by now, but she still shivers beneath his lips, every time. And her delectable ass, oh my God. When he thinks how often he dreamed of it before—.
The point is, it had taken them a lot longer than eight hours to get to their first stop, Cleveland, where they're planning to go to a baseball game and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today. They hadn't made a hotel reservation, which in retrospect was foolish, but who knew? Who knew the city had been taken over by a national convention of dental hygienists? And so here they are, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, having had a delicious, energizing breakfast an hour ago. They're in a very nice inn run by a very nice couple, Ron and Sue Collins, whom Kate cannot bear to face now.
"You chose this place, Castle, you tell them," she had said from the depths of disaster, fifteen minutes ago.
"C'mon, Beckett, you loved the looks of it. And you have to admit it's comfy."
"Was, Castle, was comfy."
"And who wouldn't want to say they stayed at an inn in Chagrin, right?"
"Chagrin. Perfect. You savor the poetry and appropriateness of that. I am merely chagrined."
He'd rolled onto his side and drawn her snugly against him. He loves spooning. "In my entire life, I've never heard anyone say 'merely chagrined'," he'd murmured into that delicious hollow just above the top of her spine. He'd kissed her there and she'd shivered, right on cue. What a morning. What a perfect morning. "For that alone I'd have been happy to have stayed here."
"We're on the floor, Castle, in the ruins of the bed we just broke."
"We didn't hurt ourselves, right?"
"So what's the problem? We'll pay for it, even pay for the room for however many days it takes to get a replacement, in case there are no furniture stores in Chagrin Falls."
She'd turned her head to glare at him. "It's embarrassing, that's the problem. We broke the bed. I just hope to God no one heard it."
"No one heard it, it just kind of collapsed quietly. Good thing the carpeting is so thick."
"Quietly? There was nothing quiet about those slats splintering."
"We have a ground-floor room at the end of the building and the couple next door already left. I heard them go."
"Still have to tell the Collinses. Oh, God, we broke the fucking bed."
He'd laughed, couldn't help it. "We broke the bed fu—""
She'd put her hand over his mouth. "Shut up."
And he'd peeled her hand off. "To be strictly accurate, you broke the bed, Kate."
"What? You outweigh me by what? A hundred pounds or something, and you say I broke it? Please."
"It's not weight, it's propulsion. You were—"
"Castle, I swear. You go down that road and we will be sleeping in separate rooms for the rest of this trip."
As a concession, and because he doesn't want to sleep alone, he'd said he'd tell the Collinses. While he'd walked down the corridor to the lobby a moment ago, she'd taken their things out the back way and packed them on the bikes.
Which is why he's the one standing at the front desk, waiting for Ron to finish a call and bracing to settle what will certainly be a sizable bill.
"Ah, Mister Castle," Ron says as he hangs up the phone. "Sorry to keep you. I hope you and your wife were comfortable."
Oh, if the man only knew. His eyes would fall out of his head. "Yes, we were, thank you. And please, it's Rick." Suddenly he's nervous. Why the hell hadn't he gotten a story ready before he came to talk to this man who is old enough to be his father and has a face as pleasant and wide-open as a cornfield? "Very. Very comfortable. And, uh, the breakfast was fantastic. I'm a real connoisseur of breakfast, I have to say, and yours has gone on my top-ten list."
"I'll have to tell Sue, she'll be tickled. I'll just go get her."
"No, no, please. Sorry, just in a bit of a hurry."
"Got your bill right here, and—"
"That's just it, Ron. I can't tell you how sorry I am, but somehow or other the bed in our room broke. After breakfast. I'm a big guy, and I must have sat down too hard on it. Probably shouldn't have had that third blueberry muffin, you know?" He pats his stomach. "Kate's going to be all over me. I mean, on my case, to watch what I eat." Is Ron buying this? Would a second-grader buy this story? Geez. "We feel terrible and will of course not only pay for the bed but for the room for as many nights as you can't have guests there. You know, until you can replace the bed."
Ron looks him right in the eye, holds the look, and chuckles. "Sat down too hard, huh? No problem, Rick, we have three spare beds in the basement and we'll have one set up in the room later today. I'll just put it on your card."
"Right. Great. Right. Again, please accept our apologies. I mean my apology. My fault."
The proprietor leans over the register, looking conspiratorial. "May I ask you a favor?" he whispers.
"Of course." Holy shit, what can he want? "Anything." Not anything.
"Would you mind signing your new book for my wife? She's a huge fan. I've got it right here."
"Ah, didn't know she'd tagged me! Thought I might be under the radar. I'd be delighted."
Ron produces the book, Castle writes a heartfelt inscription to Sue, and hands it back.
"Thanks, Rick. This will really make her day."
"You're welcome. Thanks for being so understanding."
Castle turns to go.
"Oh, and Rick?"
He turns back. "Yes?"
"Please tell Nikki Heat," he says with a wink, "that it was an honor to have her in one of our beds."
"Will do." Will not do, ever. Never in this lifetime. Thank God they're almost 500 miles from home. Thank God no reporters are staying here. He can't get to the parking lot fast enough.
Beckett is waiting by the bikes, suited up, begoggled, and helmeted. "All done?"
"Done. No problem at all and they have extra beds in the basement. Let's roll."
The Indians game is great. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is great. Everything everywhere is great for four days, until they hit terrible weather in the mountains of Colorado. They're not near anything and they're getting colder, wetter, and more miserable by the mile. They've seen no one for an hour, presumably because no one else is stupid enough to be on the road, which is slicker than a snake-oil salesman's pitch. There's no adequate place to pull over, either. And then, behold! A haven, here in the middle of nowhere, just as night is falling.
"Mountain View Motel, no kidding," she says when they pull up in the mud in front of a dozen or so little cabins, each shingled building set about twenty feet on either side from its neighbors. The middle one, its windows brightly lit, is the office.
They open the door to the tinkling of a bell, which brings a lean, weathered man dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots, from the back. "Hey," he says, inclining his head half an inch.
"Hey," Castle says. "Sorry to be dripping all over your floor."
"No harm done." End of speech.
"My wife and I were wondering if you have any rooms available? Cabins. A cabin."
"Great. Good. We'll take the best you've got."
"All the same."
"Fine, well, whatever you recommend."
"End of the row."
"End of the row?"
"Yup. To your left. Best view."
No view at the moment, Castle thinks. Can barely see through the deluge and the gloom. "We'll take it." He reaches inside his jacket pocket for his wallet. "Let me just get my credit card."
"No credit cards."
"Oh, okay, then. Cash it is. Should we pay now?"
He can feel Kate suppressing a laugh. "What do we owe you, sir?"
Castle extracts three twenties and a ten, and pushes them across the scratched pine counter. He does not ask for the nickel change, and it isn't offered. "You have a lot of guests tonight?"
"Nope." Plaid Shirt Man gets a key from a hook and hands it to him. "Cabin twelve."
"Ah, our lucky number," he says, taking the key and making a quarter turn. "Right, honey?"
Honey is seized with a coughing fit.
They roll their bikes under a stand of pines outside their cabin, unlock the door, and walk in. "Wow," he says, looking over a room that's straight out of a 1940 B movie. " 'Time lies frozen there'."
"Not the only thing that's frozen," she says, hoping to spot a radiator or space heater.
" 'It's always then, it's never now'."
She throws her arms around him. "That's from The Thirteen Clocks, Castle! I didn't know you'd read that."
"I read every word that Thurber ever wrote."
"You know what I think?" she asks as she points to a shelf on the wall. "I think we won't find that book in the well-stocked library here."
He walks over and takes a quick tally. "You're right. Some ancient copies of The Reader's Digest, a gun catalogue—there might be something there for you—a soap opera magazine, a couple of bodice rippers, a book of Sudoku puzzles, and a pamphlet called—" he holds it under the window to try to make out the title, "Discovering Your Joy Spot."
"Is that what I think it is?"
He flips it open. "Alas, no. It's about how to use what makes you happy in all areas of your life."
"I like my idea better. Good way to warm up, too."
They drop their bags on the floor and look at the sleeping, or not sleeping, arrangements: a pair of twin beds, each neatly made with a seen-better-days pillow and a remarkably good patchwork quilt. "Let's push these together," he says.
"This one is wet," she says, pressing her hand down on the coverlet. "Window's been left open and it's all soggy. Guess that leaves us with yours, Castle."
"Know what this reminds me of?" He's grinning broadly.
"Diamondback. That dude ranch."
"Sorry I don't have that whip with me." She smiles, too. "You know, this bed might be even narrower than that one at the ranch."
"You worried about that?"
"Nope. I do love a spatial challenge."
"I know you do. And speaking of challenges, I'll race you. First person to get undressed and under the covers gets to choose which side of the bed is his or hers."
"You're on, Castle."
He should have known. She's way too fast for him, and has the quilt pulled up to her nose by the time he has stripped down to his boxers and is jumping around barefoot by the bed. "Which side do you want?"
"There is no side."
"Scoot over, then."
"There's no over, either. This is it."
"So, I'm just supposed to get in on top of you?"
"Pretty sure that'll warm us up."
She's right. They're very warm, very quickly. He tries, off and on, to prop himself up on his elbows. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but they're enjoying themselves. "Mmm," he says into her neck.
"You're so imaginative," she says into his, before she makes a string of unintelligible but deeply sexy noises, most of her body rising up to meet his from the 34-inch wide mattress, which is narrower than a standard twin. "And, and, oh," she's panting. "Oh. Oh, God. Uh, resourceful."
"Did I just find your joy spot?" He knows perfectly well he has, and it's sensational.
When they're recovering, she says. "I take it your joy spot was right next to mine."
"You got it," he replies, before they laugh themselves to sleep, lying on their sides with not a millimeter of space between them.
When they wake up it's light, and while there's no sun, there's no rain, either. "I am so sore, Castle," Kate mumbles.
"Me, too. Goldilocks would never have lasted a night in this bed."
"Totally worth it."
"Totally worth it and never again. I'd try to roll over to you, but I can't. I'm getting up." She struggles out of bed and walks stiffly to the bathroom, which they'd both used briefly last night without turning on the lights. She's back a couple of minutes later. "C'mon, Castle," she says, tugging on his foot. "Turns out the shower is huge. Not sure how much hot water there is, so we should get in there together."
Over the next several days, as they make their way across the country, they sleep in a variety of beds. Some are very nice, but none compares to their own. Their vacation is otherwise perfect.
One weekend a month after they get home, they stay in the city instead of going to the Hamptons because she says that she has "things" (unspecified) that she needs to do and since it's going to rain all weekend, what's the point of being at the beach?
It had indeed rained Saturday, and it's still raining at 9:00 on Sunday when she sits down on a stool in the kitchen.
"We need a new bed, Castle."
"Good morning to you, too."
"We need a new bed."
"I heard you, but why on earth would you say that? The whole time we were away our bed was the only thing we missed. Besides great coffee, most days."
"That's really not a credible reason, Kate. Is there some reason why you've suddenly turned on our marital, and premarital, bed?"
"I haven't turned on it. It's not like betrayal. We just need a bigger one."
"I don't want a bigger one." He pushes a mug of coffee across the counter to her.
"You're always complaining about how I steal the covers."
"You still would if we had a bigger bed, just more of them to purloin." He sees her gazing at the mug. "Don't you want your coffee?"
"I want another bed."
It reminds him of trying to reason with Alexis when she was in preschool. He's trying to be patient and he's determined to get it out of her since she's obviously fixated on it. "I don't want a bigger bed because I'd feel as if you were so far away from me you might as well be sleeping in Newark."
She gives him a patented arch look. "We have a queen-size one now. All I'm saying is we should swap it out for a king."
"Okay. Could I ask why you want to switch monarchs in the middle of the stream?"
"Terrible analogy, Castle."
Oh, boy, this is worse than trying to be logical with a preschooler. "Has this been bothering you for a long time? Or did it suddenly descend on you, this urge for an enormous canvas on which to paint your dreams?"
"I think I liked the monarch thing better."
This time he gives her a look. Only fair. He folds his arms across his chest and waits. He's not going to cave.
"I want a king-size bed so there's room for us and our kids when they come in to snuggle with us. Like on a Sunday morning like this one."
"How about we wait until we actually have kids? Revisit the issue then, since we both really do like our current bed."
"There's not too much time, Castle." She shoves the mug of coffee back at him, shakes her head and grins. "It seems like one of those other beds—and from the timing I'd say the one in Chagrin or very possibly Colorado—did the trick. I'm pregnant."
A/N From a prompt by mobazan27: "Too much love for that small bed."