AN: So, here's my contribution for the season. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle.


Kate glances around the loft, taking in the latest development of her husband's decorating. He and Alexis have been at it for the last two days, transforming the loft from its regular state to a Christmas wonderland. She has been regaled to just watching, unfortunately, since she gave birth to their daughter just a few weeks before and is still in recovery, the doctor prohibiting any large amounts of stretching and bending due to the extra strain on her body. So, she lounges on the couch, Lily in her arms.

"What do you think, Bug?" she murmurs against the baby's head. "Amazing, isn't it?" Normally, she would roll her eyes at Castle's desire to make their home look like a Christmas store, but since their last Christmas was forcibly quiet and now with Lily here, Kate has a new appreciation for his holiday spirit. "Are you sure you don't need help?" She hates sitting like a lump.

"No, no, we're fine," Castle says as he places an enormous red bow on a wreath. "You can just tell us if something's crooked."

Chuckling, she pretends to eyeball the decor, already knowing everything is in its proper place. "We think it looks great!" The statement earns her a happy squeak from Lily.

"You like everything, Lily Pad?" her husband croons, completing a string of garland and attaching it to the handrail. He strides to them, gently takes the infant from her and lifts the baby up. He slowly spins the newborn around, as if she's to survey the whole loft.

"Looks like Santa lives here, huh?" he asks, playing with their daughter's hand. "And I can't wait for you to become my little elf! In fact..." He grins, mischief in his eyes as he carries Lily into his office, closing the door behind him.

"What's he up to?" Kate asks the redhead, who just shrugs.

"Christmas things, most likely."

The brunette takes the time to get up, thankful she can now do so without wincing, and inspects the Christmas tree. The prior Christmas, Castle had convinced her to dig out her own decorations and share them. So, now both Castle family and Beckett family ornaments adorn the branches. Seeing the ornaments she had packed away so long ago brings a familiar sadness, but it doesn't hurt as much as it once did. She knows she has her husband, along with Alexis and Martha, to thank for that. Lily, of course, makes the holiday brighter, even if the baby can't do much at this point. Just her presence alone fills Kate with happiness and love.

A moment later, the door to the office opens, and Rick steps out, Lily in his arms. Except, Lily's in a whole new outfit. Gone is the pink onesie, white leggings, and ballet booties. In their place are a green shirt with a belt buckle design in the middle, red frills surrounding the neck and wrists. A pair of red and white striped pants covers her legs, and green and red booties with bells on the tips protect her feet. For a finishing touch, a red and green hat with a cotton ball on the end rests on her head.

"I think it's a great look," Castle states, bouncing the infant. "Lily the Elf." Lily appears undeterred by the costume, instead choosing to stick her fingers in her mouth. "Perfect for pictures."

"She does look adorable," Kate murmurs, snickering as Lily inadvertently begins to knock off the hat. "You're silly, little Lily." Taking the girl from Castle, Kate holds the baby up, noting that the infant is studying her. "And so is your Daddy."

"You do know she won't remember any of this, right?" Alexis asks wryly.

"We'll have pictures," the author chirps. "Just like I have of you at your first Christmas."

His older daughter groans. "Yes, me in the snowman outfit."

He smiles at the memory. "You looked so cute!" Gazing at Lily, he grins. "Besides, I have even more costumes for Lily Bug here."

Kate eyes him warily. "When did you have time to buy these outfits exactly?"

"While you were sleeping in the hospital." His tone almost indicates a 'duh' at the end. "Can never be too prepared for Christmas. Besides, we can use them again with the next one."

The brunette gapes, shaking her head. "Woah, I just got done pushing this one out. And as much as I love her, I'd rather wait a year or three or four before discussing having another kid."

"Still here," Alexis grumps. The couple ignores her.

"Just planning for the future," Castle sing songs.

Kate just rolls her eyes before looking down at her daughter. "We both know that I get to decide that, don't we?"

"Guuuuuuys!" the red head gripes in exasperation.

"Sorry, Pumpkin," the author hums, not sounding sorry at all.

Alexis rolls her eyes. "I'm going to go study, in my room." Shaking her head, a small smile on her lips, she plods upstairs. They hear her door shut a moment later.

"I think we scared her off," her husband jokes, leaning in for a kiss. She reciprocates, her lips slanting over his, the kiss equal parts of love and passion. However, an indignant squawk from between them has them breaking apart too soon. "Looks like Lily here will ensure that she doesn't have a sibling for a while." He pecks the top of the infant's head. "Anyway, our decorating is done."

Kate takes another scan around the loft, a surge of warmth in her bones. "It looks great, Babe." It really does. From the lights to the tree, it's fantastic. The perfect holiday haven for a family.

"Hot Cocoa?" he inquires.

"Of course." She smiles softly before going into the fridge. "It's about feeding time for this little one anyway." She grabs a bottle of formula and sits at the counter, Lily in her lap. After guiding the bottle to her daughter's mouth, the kitchen is filled with gentle sucking sounds. "There's a good girl." It still stuns her that the smallest things about her daughter can fascinate her. The girl's behavior and mannerisms haven't truly started to develop and Kate can't wait to watch her grow up. Just not too fast.

A few minutes later, Castle places a reindeer mug in front of her, eyes brimming with adoration for both her and his newborn daughter.

"She's something, isn't she?"

"Yeah," she murmurs, her free hand softly stroking Lily's head.

They clink their mugs together, matching smiles on their faces.

"Merry Christmas, Kate."

"Merry Christmas, Castle."