A Season 7 Ficlet
Despite her best efforts, a frustrated growl works its way from her throat. Today of all days. Why couldn't any of this have waited just one more day.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Beckett," the gate agent across from her says, somehow still patient, despite having been dealing with a gate full of angry people for the last hour and a half. "We're trying our best to get an ETA for your flight. We'll announce as soon as we do, I assure you."
Kate winces, hating herself for taking her anger out on the poor woman. It's not Gaby's fault that weather in half the country has impacted the other half, making it next to impossible to get a flight in or out on time. "No, I know you are, I know. Thank you for everything you're doing. I'm just trying to get home and I'm a little on edge."
Gaby smiles sympathetically. "I think everyone is. It's hard spending a holiday in the airport when friends and family are at home."
Just like that, her shoulders drop and the tension she'd been carrying slips away. She's travel-weary and frustrated, ready to get home, but she's not unsafe, cold, or hungry. And she's not alone.
After eight weeks without him this summer, she's intimately familiar with the knowledge that things could be so much worse than potentially spending the evening in the Dallas airport on their second layover. Yes, she'd been trying to get home in time to celebrate New Year's Eve as a family, but she knows Martha and Alexis are not alone and neither is she; she has Castle at her side and that's what matters.
That's all that matters.
"Thank you, Gaby," she says, sincere in it. "Can I get you anything? Since I doubt you're going to get a break any time soon."
The gate agent's smile deepens. "That's sweet of you, but I'm good. Thank you."
Beckett nods. "Of course, and I'm sorry again for snapping at you," she adds before stepping away from the counter.
Her husband looks up as she makes her way back to their bank of chairs, the question in his eyes. She shakes her head, allows him to catch her hand and tug her between his knees. His fingers stroke hers, lazy and gentle, no doubt attempting to soothe her irritation.
"No news. She said they'll let us know once they know something."
Castle nods, but he doesn't seem too disappointed by her news - or lack of. He must have talked to Alexis already and explained the situation. "So we're just waiting now."
"Yep," she sighs, feeling the need to apologize to him, too. "I'm sorry, Babe. I didn't even think about the potential for the weather to be bad, otherwise I wouldn't have cut it so clo-"
"Kate, did you send a blizzard to smother the east coast? Because if you did, I'm seriously impressed. Maybe a little bit scared, but also very turned on that my wife can control the weather. You would tell me if you were one of the X-Men, wouldn't you?"
She chuckles, shaking her head. "I mean it. I know you wanted to be home in time to celebrate with your mom and Alexis; I should've booked us on an earlier flight."
He scoffs. "And deprive us of that phenomenal final meal - among other activities - on the beach? God, no. Kate," Rick adds, jostling her hand to get her eyes on him once more. "Yes, we were planning to be back in New York by midnight, but the fact that we aren't going to be? Isn't the end of the world. Alexis is going to a party with some friends, my mother is going to do whatever it is she does when we're not around, and I am with you. And that is all I could ever want."
Warmth curls around her heart, banishing the last of her self-reproach. "Yeah?"
Rick's lips curl upward. "Why would I ever want to be anywhere else? Whether we're in New York, in our bungalow in Tahiti, or sitting here in the airport with over a hundred of our newest, closest friends, I'm going to be happy as long as I'm with you."
With anyone else, it might seem like a line, but not coming from her husband. He's dead serious. Kate squeezes his hand, matching his smile with one of her own. "Me too."
"Good," Rick says, gesturing for her to take the spot beside him. He offers her a generic white to go cup once she's settled. "While you were gathering intel, I did a little recon of my own. Try it."
Kate smiles, tilting her head and taking a careful sip.
A burst of rich chocolate coats her tongue, followed by a delicate floral sweetness that has her eyes jumping to his.
Entirely too pleased with her reaction, Rick grins. "I know. There's a specialty coffee kiosk just past the restrooms. They were giving out samples when I walked out, so I tried them all and decided on this one. It's a lavender mocha."
She takes another sip, smothering her groan against the rim of her travel cup. "Oh my god, Rick, it's so good."
Her husband nods, lifting a cup of his own to his mouth. She can see him preening, though. "That's what I was hoping you'd say, because I bought some of the lavender syrup to take home and make on our own."
Twisting, Kate presses a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you. I'm glad you did."
His hand lifts, fingers brushing the line of her jaw. "I'm glad you booked a trip with this exact itinerary. Because if you hadn't, we wouldn't be here enjoying this coffee. And I would consider that a tragedy, personally."
Smearing her lips to the inside of his wrist, she whispers a thank you against his skin. He's laying it on a little bit thick this time and they both know it, but she'll take it.
Attention passengers of flight 4792 with service to New York JFK, I have good news for you: our inbound flight is about to take off. Once it does, it will be arriving in approximately an hour and forty-five minutes. Upon arrival, we'll unload everyone and do our best to give you a quick turn-around to get you on your way. Thank you for your patience.
"Perfect," her husband says, sipping his coffee. "More than enough time to finish these and try another flavor."
Kate hums, giving his head an affectionate bump with hers. "That does sound good. Though I don't think you're going to be able to top this one."
He's grinning, she knows, pleased that he's been able to renew her spirit with good coffee. Good coffee and his presence. "We'll have to see about that."
She sneaks a kiss to the curve of his shoulder, settling into his side. "Mmm, we will."
As expected, they're still in the air at the start of the new year, but it's more fun than she would've ever expected it to be. Where most flights would be silent at this hour, theirs buzzes with energy, conversation and laughter. The flight crew passes out champagne and festive hats during beverage service, and their captain makes a point to announce when the clock is about to strike midnight in New York, giving the cabin the opportunity to toast. And as she holds her husband's cheek and presses a kiss to his mouth that leaves them both breathless, there's no disappointment, only the certainty that location is irrelevant as long as each year begins and ends with him.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2018 brings you health, happiness, love, and everything you could ever need or want. Thank you for your endless patience and kindness.