Prompt: "Why don't we all go put our PJ's on, and I'll read us a story?"


"I'm home," Beckett announced as she walked through the door at a little after 8 at night.

"Mommy," all three kids yelled as they ran at her full speed.

"Hey munchkins."

"You're late!" Lily said sternly.

"I know. I'm sorry, Baby. Mommy was really busy at work." Kate bent down and kissed her 6 year-old daughter's head in apology. The boys were practically climbing her legs looking for attention.

"But you don't go to work tomorrow, right?" Lily asked as her mom reached down and scooped up a twin in each arm. She left her work bag by the door forgotten.

"No, I have tomorrow off. I'll be home all day, so there's no way I will miss your game," Kate answered as she plopped down on the couch. Lily quickly crawled up next to her mom and brothers.

"Why don't we all go put our PJs on, and I'll read us a story?" Castle asked. He knew it was going to be nearly impossible to get the kids to settle down for bed tonight. They missed their mom and were too excited she was home. Kate had been working nonstop for days. She was normally very good about being home for dinner, well as good as a police captain could be, but this week had been hell, and she had been gone a lot.

"In the big bed?" Reece asked flashing his parents a big smile.

"I think that's a great idea. I want to snuggle with my babies. I missed you guys," Kate answered.

"We missed you too, Mommy," Jake replied and gave his mom a big, wet kiss on her cheek.

"Go on upstairs, guys. One of us will be up to help in a minute," Castle told his children. They quickly scrambled off the couch and up the stairs. "No running!" He called after them before turning to his wife. She looked absolutely exhausted. "Did you close the case?"

"Yeah, it's over. Thank God. You remember Anderson? The new, rookie detective. You met him Wednesday."

"Yeah," Castle nodded. He had been spending a little more time in the precinct now that Lilly was in kindergarten and the boys went to preschool 3 days a week. He only went in when there was an interesting case or something exciting going on. This week, he had been there as much as possible. The 12th was investigating a particularly gruesome triple homicide, and it was all hands on deck.

"He cracked the thing wide open at about 4:30," Kate said with pride. She liked this new kid and saw a bright future for him. One of her favorite parts of being captain was mentoring the new guys in her precinct.

"You'll tell me about it later?"

"Of course," she smiled and stood up. "Actually maybe tomorrow," she sighed as she rubbed the back of her neck.

"I'm glad you aren't working all weekend." Castle stepped up and wrapped her in his arms letting his wife sag against him.

"Me too. I was going to be so pissed if I had to miss Lily's first soccer game."

"You would have ducked out of work for an hour and came."

"I would have tried, but still, I would have missed stuff."

"But it's not a problem, so we don't have to worry. Now, did you eat?"

"Yeah, I actually ordered a bunch of pizzas for most of Homicide earlier. Those guys have been working like crazy."

"So has their fearless leader."

"I was just doing my job."

"And doing it damn well. That's why you're on the commissioner's radar."

"Can we please not talk about that tonight? I'm not spending any more time thinking about a promotion that may or may not be offered to be me. I don't even know if I want it. I'm perfectly happy being a Captain. I have no idea what this new commissioner is actually thinking or who in the upper ranks is going to retire when he takes office. Who knows what jobs are going to be open or how he will fill them."

"I know. I'm sorry." He kissed her gently. "Why don't you go change, and I'll go help the munchkins. We'll meet you in the big bed."

"Thank you."

Ten minutes later, all five Castles were snuggled up in bed. Kate was leaning against the headboard with a twin snuggled into each side of her. Lily was sitting in the V of her legs and leaning back into her chest. Castle sat on the foot of the bed facing his family. The kids had chosen two books for him to read. He allowed the extra story tonight because he thought it would take that long to calm them down, but now looking at them sprawled on his wife, it looked like they might fade quicker than he had thought.

"Alright guys, everyone comfy?" Castle asked as he picked up a book. After everyone was ready, Jake needed to squirm around a little before he declared it story time, Castle began to read. His voice was low and relaxing despite the occasional silly voice and flare he added to the lines. As he went further into the story, he slowly calmed his antics and evened out his tone. It looked like he was being successful in putting his kids, and wife apparently, to sleep. Kate was perfectly content with her the 3 little ones listening to her husband's rich voice. She had missed her family so much this week. She loved bedtime snuggles, and it felt like forever since she had gotten to do this. Normally, she wouldn't have all 3 kids at once, but she loved when they were all together in the big bed.

"Let's get them up to bed," Castle whispered when he finished the second story. He wasn't even sure his wife was still awake. The kids definitely weren't.

"Hmm gimme a minute," Kate mumbled.

"Okay." Castle got up and went upstairs to make sure the kids' beds were ready, so they could just lay them down. He also checked the floor to make sure there wasn't any toys laying around that someone could trip on, before heading down to grab the first kid. He didn't mind making three trips so Kate could just relax.

"Alright you take Lilly. I'll take a twin, and we'll have to come back for the other," Kate said as he walked in their bedroom. She was much more awake than when he had left her.

"Are you sure? I can take them all."

"Yeah, I want to tuck them in too. I feel like I haven't seen them in days."

Castle carefully lifted Lily into his arms, but the girl didn't stir. Kate took Reece and made sure Jake was secure in the middle of the bed. He was plenty old enough that she didn't need to worry about him rolling off or anything, but she was still safe. Jake tended to be a squirmy little thing in his sleep. After placing Lily in her bed, Castle went down to get Jake. When he returned, Kate was still in the boys' room watching Reece sleep.

"You okay?" Castle whispered.

"Yeah. I just. .. I love them so much," she replied walking over to drop a kiss on Jake's head.

"Me too."

"I'm going to say good night to Lily really quick," Kate smiled and headed for the boys' door.

Castle gently snagged her wrist as she walked by, "How about I go down and run you a hot bath?"

"That sounds amazing. I could go for a glass of wine too."

"I can handle that," Castle smiled.

"I think the kids are officially sound asleep. Nobody woke when we moved them, so I think we are safe."

"I agree."

"That means you could join me for my bath."

"I like the way you think, Captain."


A/N: Thoughts? Thanks for all the great responses.