A prompt fill for the GoodLuckStana fundraising campaign in support of the Children's Hospital L.A. Prompt stated at the end. A huge thank you goes to caffinate-me for the beta.
Seriously though, never in her life would she – Kate Beckett – have picked him – Richard Castle – for a messy person.
Oh, she had been well aware of many of his flaws even before they had started dating. Immature, childish, cocky little know-it-all blowing everything out of proportion all the time. But she has also known those other sides of him, those that were speaking in favor of him actually being a very nit-pick person. After all, he is a renowned metrosexual who always uses both, day and night cream, picks his shirts meticulously to go with his blazer and gets his hair cut with almost religious precision.
So Beckett hadn't known how she'd expected him to be beyond the colleague slash friend who only recently turned lover slash boyfriend. But it certainly wasn't this.
The state of his bedroom always makes her cringe, although she never says anything about it, but it disturbs her with an intensity bordering on physical pain. Or maybe it's just the flesh of her abused lip talking.
It's just that his loft has always been so tidy and well organized, all his beautiful works of art along with the quirky trinkets perfectly placed on display. The whole place is at all times clean of any dust or squalor, floors impeccably shiny and polished. She knows him to be an ardent, regular – oh, and excellent – cook, and yet, his kitchen is always spot-on clean and tidy.
Beckett had never had any illusions when it came to the cleaning process itself. She knows for a fact he has a housekeeper to take care of all of those mundane, daily tasks. Who in their right mind wouldn't – with the size of his bank account as well as the loft – employ one?
But it has never been about the cleaning for Beckett. It's more about the details, the personal touches – his very personality bleeding into the space surrounding him. Just the simple way he likes to have things, neat and ordered. Even a long time before dating him, Beckett had come to the curious conclusion that where Castle's mind is often in such disarray – attention span pitifully poor on more than one occasion – where the material things surrounding him are concerned, Castle is surprisingly more pedantic than most people.
That had been until she discovered that all of his sense for order stays outside the door to his bedroom.
Because once Kate got to spend more nights in his bed, she had been surprised to find that Richard Castle is such a giant sloven, for the lack of a better word, it left her standing speechless in the doorway the first time she had witnessed it.
The man will just shed his clothes everywhere. He leaves them on the ground once they fall off the bedside armchair or leaves them on the bed altogether. More disturbing than the occasional influx of clothes that seem to miraculously migrate from his packed wardrobe to the bed in the span of the couple hours since she leaves his side in the morning and returns later at night, though, is the state of the bed itself.
Castle is a man who will just leave the bed in the same state he's risen from in the morning till he falls under the sheets later at night. The covers lay abandoned, haphazardly thrown everywhere, sheets crumpled and pillows disarrayed, some even fallen to the ground. For Kate to come to this from the precinct is almost like returning right back to work – the place often looks just like your next crime scene, sans the dead body and pools of blood.
And now that she's part of his daily routines and privy to this unappealing side of his personality, she has come to the conclusion that this will be her future if she doesn't do something about it.
Initially, she had been just baffled.
But then, it had started to get really annoying, her heart beat spiking up every time she had come home with him late at night feeling like she can sink under the sinfully expensive covers and sleep for days only to walk into the 'scene' in front of her.
Seriously, what person doesn't tidy up their bed? Is this a norm? Is she overreacting? Maybe it is just her. Maybe there are more people out there like him. She doesn't know. None of her past relationships have come to this stage of cohabitation.
She had tried to tell herself it was none of her business. It's his loft, his personal space. His bed.
The same way he doesn't criticize her on the lack of food, tv or the presence of a single living plant (although she always tries to keep them alive, poor creatures) in her apartment. She doesn't want to boss him around in his.
But his bed is starting to be her business too, and the state of it each and every night is really getting on her nerves.
Maybe other people wouldn't be as miffed about a couple to crumpled sheets, flat pillows and bunched covers, but Beckett just can't fathom who in their right might would want to come home and sleep in a bed that looks like a pair of hogs had been lounging there the whole damn day.
So when she comes home with him today, she can't hold her tongue anymore.
The evening starts nice. They share a late supper in the form of their favorite pizza, both knowing the dance well enough to expect Castle's signature move right after. First he pulls her close, starts kissing her, his fingers pushing under the hem of her shirt leaving goose bumps in its wake. Not long after they're on their feet, Castle slowly walking her backwards to his bedroom, his lips leaving a trail of wet, hot kisses and promises of more down her throat. But after spotting the mess on the bed he's left there once again, Beckett just snaps.
"Seriously?" she groans, pushing him away from her. "You had two extra hours to join me at the precinct and this is how you leave the bed?"
Castle gives her a puzzled look, his lips still adorably puckered, so well kissed and damn, damn he is cute and she is so horny and they could have such a wonderful, sexy night but- No. No, she can't.
"What's wrong with the bed?" he inquires. Cautious now, like he is approaching a wild animal.
And maybe he is, because damnit, now she's furious with him for making this so much harder on her. For making her pick a fight when all he had to do was to straighten the damn sheet before he set out to work that morning.
"Do you even have to ask?" She deadpans, short-tempered and by no means impressed with his lack of perception. No room for sweet-talk. His still clueless look forces her to elaborate through gritted teeth.
"Castle, when I left this morning, one side of the bed was occupied by you, while the other I managed to arrange into a somewhat presentable state." Her eyes fall to the bed again only to realize that even her own side is no longer tidied up. Her mouth falls open. "What the hell happened to my side? What have you been doing there anyway? Just look at the mess, my pillow is completely flat!"
"What? Well, I migrate in my sleep, you know that." He defends. "Also, I like to cuddle to your pillow once you leave for work. It smells nicer. Where's the fault in that?"
Charming, but not working. She glares at him. "Would it kill you if you made the bed in the morning like the rest of us normal people do?"
"Uhm- I wasn't aware there was a specific norm-"
"Don't be smart with me," she growls.
She turns her back to him, puts her hands on her hips and takes a steadying breath before she turns back and tries again in a more leveled tone. "Look, Rick," she hedges, instinctively taking a step back from him. "I wasn't going to say anything, but- But I just can't take this anymore. This is clearly not working out-" The desolate expression on his face stops her mid-sentence.
"So that's it?" he whispers, his eyes huge and innocent, his body heavily descending to the mattress in front of her. "You are breaking up with me because I am a slob in the bedroom?"
She would laugh at the double meaning of his words if he only didn't look so serious about them. "I - What? No, who says anything about breaking up? I just…" She narrows her spine, takes a deep breath. Clearly, she is not getting her point across very well.
"Look, Castle, I know this is your loft, but this mess in the bed each time I come over- It bothers me, okay? I know it probably shouldn't-"
"Oh, wait, that's it?" he looks extremely – almost comically – elated. "Just the-the bed?" He stutters over the words, raises his hand to melodramatically grip at his chest.
She rolls her eyes. "Yeah, the bed. And the clothes on the floor and the socks in the chair-" she stops when she sees his eyes fall shut, a genuinely relieved sigh whooshing out of him. She waits for him and when he looks at her again, gives him a silent, puzzled expression, eyebrows raised.
"I thought-" he says in a feeble voice, something unreadable in his eyes. "When you said you couldn't take this anymore-"
Oh God. He hasn't really been thinking-
"Jeez, Castle," she groans, hand flying up to cover her eyes in embarrassment as she drops next to him on the messy bed. Her other hand falls to soothe his tight. "No, Rick, that was not what I meant at all. I just - I don't want to bully or order you around in your own place. That's all. I just-" She feels miserable, chews on her lip but it doesn't distract her the way it usually does. "Did I- Have I possibly given you any indication that I-"
He's vigorously shaking his head even before she has a chance to finish.
"No, no. Not at all. I just- panicked?" he offers with a weak smile, shoulders rising in that adorable, boyish expression of innocence he's perfected down to T.
"Just the bed, Rick." She offers soothingly, bumping her shoulder playfully against his. "Only the bed. And-" her hand rises, open palm rotating in an encompassing gesture, "this whole room, really. I am simply used to come to a clean bed. Will that be-" a wince, "a problem? Can you, we, maybe, do something about it? At least while we are together?"
"Yeah. Of course! I mean, I can change. This is no issue. Absolutely can do that! You won't have to worry about it ever again. Consider it done. Clean bed. Yeah. No problem."
"Okay," she murmurs, offering a gentle smile. She is surprised at both, how easy he agreed to change his habit as well as the rate of her own heart jackrabbiting in her chest at the thought of what they would do if he didn't.
"Wait a moment," Castle says, suddenly perking up, a mischievous glint in his eye as he regards her from the corner of his eye. "Did we just have like- was this our first fight?" he offers excitedly.
She scrunches her nose at him, "How about an agreeable settlement of an issue between two grown adults?" she offers and he merely laughs at her. "Trust me, if we were fighting, you would know," she deadpans.
"Right," nods Castle, closing the gap between them and just as she thinks they're finally resuming what they stopped earlier-
"Now, if I promise to make the bed each morning from now on," he whispers against her lips, eyes nearly crossing as he regards her from such close proximity, "Could you maybe stop leaving your makeup all over the bathroom sink?"
"What?" She quickly withdraws, regards him with incredulity, her cheeks quickly growing warm. "Is this in retaliation?" she asks, narrowing her eyes at him.
"It's just really inconvenient to use the sink that way-" he reasons in a whining tone and okay, okay, she just really wants to get back to what they were doing earlier. After all, she can compromise, she thinks as she fuses her lips back to his for a quick, dirty kiss.
"Okay," she assents. "I will stop littering the bathroom counter with my makeup when you start tidying up the bed in the morning. Deal?"
He gives her a devious smile. "Deal."
Of course, promises are meant to be broken and Kate does manage to leave her makeup scattered all over the bathroom counter from now and then, especially when she and Lily are fooling around with it, playing princesses.
But never, ever in all of their forty-something years together does Kate Beckett ever come to an untidy bed again.
"Wouldn't want to give you any excuse for leaving me," Castle sometimes murmurs in her ear in the dead of the night. She always laughs, shaking her head at him.
"I had no idea in those first months, but God help me, I would always pick you, the messy bed and childish heart and inflated ego and all-"
"Hush, babe. Trying to be romantic."
He only grumbles in response but pulls her arm, now feeble with age, even tighter to his chest. Oh Lord, he never knew he would love compromising so much. But with Beckett, it's always been fun.
Prompt: "Castle and Beckett bickering over how to make their bed" - submitted by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Filled as a gift for their generous contribution to GoodLuckStana dot com. See all the prompts and fills at GoodLuckStana dot tumblr dot com slash tagged slash GLSfill.