Author's Note: Hi! This is a little fluff that I was originally prompted to write by tshlw over on tumblr a while ago and this is me just getting round to finishing it now, just in time for Castle Fanfic Monday! (My favorite recurring holiday). The prompt was "Caskett's first night out after having Lily". Thank you to tshlw for the prompt, and to truthfullies94 for beta reading and being a really nice person. Obviously I don't own Castle, I'm just having some fun.
Word count: 3,790
It had been a snap decision that it seemed his wife was already regretting. After commenting just the night before about how regular Lily's sleep schedule was becoming, Kate had seen an ad for a documentary showing at the theater down the street that had made her laugh. She'd read out the synopsis of the mysterious incident that had occurred in the Ural mountains in the 1950s that the documentary sought to solve and instantly her husband's imagination had been captured by the haste with which the Russian government had closed down the original investigation, the possibility of an extraterrestrial encounter, and of course the missing tongue of one of the victims.
At first she had suggested he take Alexis, but somehow he had managed to talk her into their second attempt at a date night since Lily had arrived.
Their first venture had perhaps been a little too ambitious. 5 weeks after Lily's birth they had been invited to Tory's engagement party, but ended up going home in the same cab they arrived in after receiving a hysterical call from Alexis who couldn't convince her baby sister to drink the pumped milk from a bottle.
Lily was approaching 4 months now and had become well acquainted with the bottles the pumped milk was fed to her through since Kate had returned to the precinct. She also had a regular pattern for sleeping from 7pm until her parents went to bed, when she would wake for a quick feed before sleeping through until about the same time Kate got up for work.
"Maybe we should go to dinner instead Castle," Kate mused as she emerged from the bathroom with Lily wrapped snuggly in a towel.
"I thought we wanted to attempt dinner after the documentary?" He asked a little perturbed.
"It just seems a big first night away from her," Kate said softly as she lay Lily down on their bed to dry her off from her bath. "What if they need to call us and they can't because we have to silence the ring in the movie theatre?"
"I can keep mine on vibrate," he tried to reassure her as he came up behind her and let his hands trail over her upper arms in an attempt to soothe her. "We'll be right down the street. One phone call and we can be back here in five minutes." She turned into him with a dried off Lily in her arms and looked as if she was about to object. "And in those five minutes she'll be swaddled in love from her big sister and both of her grandparents."
"I know we have to do it sometime." She said quietly, not meeting his eyes as she gazed down at the gurgling little baby in her arms who was repeatedly stretching her hand out against Kate's chest and retracting it again as if testing her own hand span. "But I worry about her every time I leave her. Knowing she's here with you makes it a little easier, but leaving her-"
"Leaving her with your dad? My mom? Alexis, who has proven she knows to call us in an emergency? What's so scary about that Kate?" His wife sighed and looked up at him a little sheepishly. "It's alright to worry, it's our job. But we've got to get out sometime, and I know she will be completely safe here tonight."
Just as she smiled up at him the doorbell rang and Lily's head jerked and she let out a squeak, a noise she had been practicing over the last couple of weeks whenever she heard the doorbell, a phone, or the kitchen timer.
"That's right Chickpea, someone's here to play with you!" Castle tickled her little hands. "Why don't you get your diaper on, make yourself presentable and I'll go see who it is?" Kate laughed and swatted his shoulder as he leant in for a quick kiss.
"Go answer the door before anyone changes their mind!"
Lily cooed in disappointment as her father extracted one of his fingers from her tight grip and left the bedroom.
"Come on baby," she lay Lily back down on the bed and started to get her diaper on. "I picked out some nice pjs, I think your grandma bought them for you, what do you think?" She asked holding up the little blue ditsy patterned onesie. Lily cooed in delight as Kate tickled her nose with one of the sleeves, scrunching up her brown eyes and shaking her head, but her little bow lips curving up in a smile. "You're going to be so cute for all your babysitters, and you just scream real loud if you want mommy to come home, OK?"
After making a quick round of Martha, Jim, and Alexis' laps Lily found her way back into Kate's arms for a quick nurse before being lain down in the crib in Rick's study. After one last goodnight kiss from each of her parents Martha had started to herd them out the door, reminding them they would miss the movie if they didn't hurry.
"My phone's in my jacket pocket on vibrate!" Castle called back to Alexis. "Call us, we'll come right back if there's any-"
"Oh hush now," Martha sighed continuing to push them out the door. "Have a good time and don't worry for a single moment. She'll be fast asleep until you two get back."
"Thanks guys," Kate called out nodding at her dad and Alexis.
"Quick kiss pumpkin," Rick called to Alexis and reaching over Martha's barrier back into the loft planted one on her cheek. "Call us, OK?"
"OK, bye dad," she waved and with that Martha slammed their own front door behind them.
They glanced at one another. A small smile was playing on Kate's lips, but Rick was thoroughly shocked.
"Relax, they will call us," Kate smirked grabbing his hand and leading him to the elevator. "I can't see my dad or your mom putting up with a fussy baby for long, and Alexis has enough sense to call us."
"You're right," he agreed as the elevator arrived, but he couldn't help glancing back at the door.
"You coming Castle?"
He turned to see her waiting for him inside the elevator and followed.
To Kate the documentary seemed pretty conclusive. The Russian government's involvement was just too strong for it to have been anything other than a cover up of military activities. Besides, all of the evidence that pointed towards secret weapons testing, not to mention the eyewitness accounts of weapon detonation.
To Rick, who kept patting his jacket pocket every three minutes, the evidence seemed patchier, and the physical damage inflicted on the victims seemed too inhumane for there not to have been extraterrestrial involvement.
"But that's exactly the kind of damage radiation could cause," she argued.
"But what about the tongue Kate? Radiation can't remove one tongue and nothing else!"
"That was either a wild animal or part of the cover up; those bodies had definitely been moved," she rationalized.
"Yeah, by aliens!"
"You don't think the Russian government would have wanted answers if they hadn't been to blame?"
"Not if they're in league with the aliens!"
She laughed and linked her arm into his as she leant against his body. She'd missed this. Becoming parents together had been a whole new adventure and had brought its own amusement, but with Castle staying home with Lily and her at the precinct their time together had reduced significantly.
"So you want to grab dinner? It's just after 9, if we haven't heard from the babysitting squad we probably have just under a couple of hours."
"You don't want to go back?" He looked surprised.
"I'm kinda hungry, and when's the next chance we're going to get to do this?" She smiled as they stepped out of the movie theatre into the cold October air. "What about the Italian place? That's always pretty speedy." She suggested and started to guide them both in the opposite direction from their apartment.
"Oh, um, yeah," he said a little slowly. "Why not?" He tried to smile, but there was a definite trace of disappointment.
"You OK Castle?" She frowned up at him as they headed towards the restaurant she had picked out.
"Yeah, yeah, of course," he tried to muster together a smile for her as he went to plant a kiss on her cheek, but she pulled away.
"We don't, we don't have to go to dinner if you don't want to," she said breaking away from their embrace and pausing on the sidewalk.
"I just," he paused as he took a minute to meet her eyes. "I didn't think you would want to." He shrugged a little.
She considered him for a moment. There was no point in going to dinner right now. His mind was clearly in his study peering over the side of Lily's crib. "Shall we call Alexis and check up on everyone?" She suggested gently, reaching into his inside pocket to retrieve his phone.
"Yeah, I'd like that," he nodded and took the phone he offered her. She huddled into him to hide from the chilling breeze as they waited on someone to answer.
"Hey dad," Alexis greeted cheerily.
"Hey Pumpkin, how's it going?" He tried to make it sound off-handed even though he failed miserably.
"Pretty good, Grams made some chocolate pudding but she put a lot of Kate's decaf powder in it for 'flavor.' So you might need to pick up more of that soon. And Jim's robbing us blind in Monopoly."
Kate smothered her grin in Castle's jacket when she saw the complete outrage on her husband's face at his eldest daughter's account of the evening.
"And Lily?" He asked a little shortly.
"Oh, and Lily's fine. Jim just checked on her. She's slept the whole time. Are you guys going to dinner? Cause we already ordered pizza and there's only a couple of slices left."
"Yeah, I think we are. Don't worry about the pizza, we'll see you guys before 11, OK?"
"Sure thing. Love you," Alexis sing songed down the phone and Kate could feel him relax against her.
"Love you too," he said hanging up and slipping the phone into his pocket again.
"Ecstatic," Rick agreed. "It's not very often I get my wife to myself these days," he teased, slipping her arm around her waist and pulling her in tight as they continued the last block to the restaurant.
They got a table no problem and decided what they wanted to eat pretty quickly, as they both pretty much knew the menu by heart. After placing their orders Rick reached across the table for her hand taking a moment to admire how her wedding band looked against the summer tan on her hand that was beginning to fade.
The restaurant was pretty lively, but not too busy. There was a family birthday party in that were creating most of the atmosphere, aside from that there were a few families finishing up dessert and a smattering of young couples.
"I'm glad we did this," Castle said after a moment.
"Yeah, it feels like too long since we've been alone together," she agreed.
"I didn't realize I was missing your company so much," he said softly.
She bit her lip. She felt the same way, but hearing him voice it stung a little. "It's different at home now," she finally replied.
"Yeah, it's all so new, and don't get me wrong, I love everything we've done together as a family and I just love even the fact that we're a little family now. But there's something about tonight that made me a feel a little more human."
She smiled broadly and nodded. "I feel exactly the same. Maybe we could do this more often? Like our old regular date nights."
"That would be really nice. You know, I got invited to a mystery writers event at the Public Library the weekend before Halloween, maybe that could be our next date,"
"Halloween at the library?" She cocked her head to the side, intrigued.
"Yeah, I think they're turning some of the rooms into a haunted house sort of thing. They asked if I could do a reading, but-"
"Oh you should! You should do it," she insisted.
"I don't want our date night to be hijacked by work," he said shaking his head.
"You forget how much I like listening to you read."
"Oh yeah?" he grinned at her, leaning in a little.
"Oh yeah." She nodded and went for his lips with her own, as her hand found its way into his hair to pull him a little closer. This kind of intimacy had been missing for a while. Recently it had been quick, a little dirty, a little more uncertain, and the odd postpartum surprise had shocked them both. This building of a mood and anticipation was something both of them enjoyed, but had not had the time for, but right now with his tongue gently tracing the opening of her mouth she felt it again. God, how had she gone so long without significant alone time with her husband?
"Ahem," a waiter stood in front of them with a small smile on his face and two plates of steaming pasta. They broke apart, both a little pink in the cheeks. "The lasagna?"
"Um, yeah, thank you," Kate squirmed a little.
"Here you go," the waiter smiled putting down the two plates and giving them a knowing look as he retreated.
They shared a small laugh at the awkward moment as they both dug into their pasta.
"So it's the weekend before Halloween?" Kate asked after a few heavenly mouthfuls of her meal.
"Yeah, the Friday, do you know your schedule yet?"
"It should be fine," she nodded. "And my dad can probably babysit, he doesn't often have big Friday night plans."
"We can ask when we get home, see how many volunteers we get this time round," Castle smirked as he thought back to that afternoon when his mother called to announce that she had heard Alexis had been asked to babysit and demanding to know why she hadn't been asked to. That had led them to calling Jim too and Lily was therefore being watched over by her entire immediate family for the evening.
After they had both eaten as much as they could and Castle signed off on the check, they left the restaurant with a small bag of leftovers and headed home arm-in-arm. The air was crisp and smelt deliciously of the sugared almonds being sold on a nearby street corner.
On the walk back they speculated some more over the movie and Castle insisted on picking apart the conclusive evidence that more or less proved military involvement.
"But Castle you're completely ignoring the eyewitness accounts of the explosions," she sighed as they stepped off the elevator.
"None of those accounts said explosions, Beckett, they all said 'glowing orbs-'"
"Consistently explained by parachute mines!" Kate huffed fiddling in her coat pocket for the key.
Castle caught her wrist as she went to put the key in the lock. She frowned and looked up to meet his navy blue eyes and serious expression.
"I can't wait almost four months for our next date night," he murmured. "Friday the 28th? 9pm?"
"It's a date," she whispered and pressed a kiss to his lips. "But I've got a date with our daughter in the next seven minutes." She opened the door and they found Jim and Alexis packing up the Monopoly board and Martha rinsing out some wine glasses in the kitchen.
"Did you have a good time my darlings?" Martha called out.
"Yes Martha, thank you all so much for staying with Lily," Kate replied as she hung her coat in the closet and removed her boots.
"Not a problem Katie," her dad winked.
"She's been asleep the whole time," Alexis added as she darted up the stairs to put the board game away.
"Can I make anyone some coffee or tea? We have decaf too," Rick asked as he headed into the kitchen and started to put away the wine glasses.
"Oh, you don't have any more decaf," Martha added. "I used it for the chocolate pudding."
"I'm alright thanks Rick," Jim said standing up and giving Kate a hug. "I think I'm probably going to head home. I might share a cab with Alexis, we're heading the same way."
"And I'm off to meet an old friend, and he has a perfectly good coffee machine of his own," Martha announced as she waltzed out of the kitchen to give Kate a hug and kiss on each cheek. "It's been a wonderful evening darling, my only regret is how little I got to see of my granddaughter. You ever need a sitter again, you call me, OK?"
Kate giggled and nodded. Martha really was great fun to have around and she couldn't wait until Lily was old enough to appreciate it, although it was apparent even now that Lily was fascinated by the scarves and beads that always seemed to be trailing off of her grandmother.
"Actually," Kate said following as Martha and Jim headed to the coat closet to layer up. "We were wondering if there was any chance of a sitter on Friday the 28th?" Both grandparents' faces lit up like jack-o-lanterns. "Rick's been invited to an event at the library and I was thinking of going with him," she trailed off lamely.
"Of course Katherine, anything for that little darling. Oh, we'll have a wonderful time, won't we Jim?"
"I'm looking forward to it already," Jim beamed as he leant in to press a kiss to his daughter's forehead.
"Alexis darling!" Martha called as Alexis reappeared sans board game. "A little reunion, Friday the 28th? The parents are going out again," Martha announced.
Both Becketts smirked as they caught sight of Castle rolling his eyes in the kitchen.
"Sure, sounds like fun," Alexis grinned gliding over to collect her jacket too.
As if on cue Lily woke as soon as Kate disappeared into the bathroom to get ready for bed.
"Hey there Chickpea," Castle cooed lifting her to his chest. "How's it going? Did you miss us?"
Lily whined a little against his chest and began to chewing on her fist and smearing slobber over his shirt at the same time.
"Yeah, we missed you too," he nodded, taking in the mess she was making. "But you were such a good sleeper for Alexis and Grams and Grandpa Jim."
Lily whined again in his arms, her own fist clearly not satisfying her late night hunger.
"I know Chickpea, but mommy's here. She's going to come feed you soon," He tried to soothe her, but a late night Lily was a cranky Lily.
"You two OK?" Kate called from the bathroom.
Lily's head jerked, her eyes flitting in all directions in hope of finding the source of her mother's voice.
"Yeah," he called back. "But she's looking for you."
"I'll be there in a minute," Kate called back and Castle had to make do with swaying his fussing baby until she appeared from their bedroom clad in only a Captain America t-shirt.
He groaned internally as he handed Lily over and headed to the bathroom himself. When he returned he found them settled in their usual position on the study's couch, Lily latched on to Kate and feeding lazily. Her eyes were drooping ever so slightly, but she was still fighting to keep them trained on her mother.
He stood and watched for a while. Kate's endless legs were tucked up under her on the couch, hiding from his view. But the Captain America shirt had been bunched up to give Lily access and provided him with a hint of bare skin that Lily was too small to completely cover up. One of Lily's hands had made a tight fist around Kate's right index finger and Kate was stroking her little fist gently. He couldn't get over how lucky he was to have both of them right here. They had both known that they wanted to have children together, but he hadn't realized how amazing it would be. When he and Meredith became parents to Alexis it was messy and painful. There were no good memories of moments like this. The majority of his good memories of Alexis at this age involved Alexis and him having alone time together.
He was so grateful to have these moments with Kate. If it was possible he had fallen even further in love with her since Lily arrived. It was a whole new challenge, that he knew could easily tear two people apart, but so far they were doing an outstanding job. But he knew how important nights like tonight were. Lily was going to grow up, and any siblings she had would too, leaving he and Kate alone together for their twilight years and he did not want to wake up one day and realize there was nothing left between them once their children had moved out.
He was startled out of his daydream as Kate stood up to return Lily to her crib. He watched her bend over, and admired the way the t-shirt didn't quite cover everything it was intended to as she gave Lily a soft kiss. He came up behind her and pressed a kiss to her cheek before leaning down to do the same to sleeping Lily.
"And now," he murmured in her ear as he led her away from the crib and towards their bedroom. "I have to ask, have you been thieving Captain Beckett? Because that shirt looks remarkably like one I'm missing."
"Do you need to take it into evidence?"
"I'm afraid I do," he shrugged before making quick work of pulling it over her head and tossing it to the floor.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading, any thoughts?