TITLE: Shuffle

SUMMARY: Random series of slight song-fic one-shots, all with a distinct Caskett flavour. If you've read Beauty In The Breakdown, you'll understand.

RATING: M. I'm taking a nice high one, for later chapters. You know, language, smut… that kinda thing.

SPOILERS: Generally, none. But if there is a particular episode mentioned in the story, I will let you know, at the beginning of the chapter.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own. But, wouldn't it be fun if I did? I'd be rich =D

A/N: There is no chronological order to these stories, simply a common theme. Song titles and artists will appear at the end of each chapter, and all songs have a place in my iPod. Maybe you wanna check 'em out?

Oh, and there's a slight (really, very slight) hint at episode 5 of season 2, When The Bough Breaks.

The Only Exception

"Up until now I had sworn to myself that I am content with loneliness"

He could hear their voices and laughter even before he opened the door to the loft, and the sound immediately brought a smile to his face. It wasn't the first time he had gotten home to find them sitting at either end of the leather couch, mugs in hand, chatting and laughing about everything and nothing. But this time, knowing the decision in his head was made, it felt all the better.

They had only been together for about six months, but he knew in his heart that she was it. Hell, he'd known it even before their personal relationship had shifted and crossed that line between friends and something more.

And, seeing her laugh with his daughter only confirmed it.

He pushed the door shut with a soft click, and draped his coat over one of the pegs on the coat stand that was already bursting with colour from their different tastes. "How are my two favourite ladies this evening?"

Alexis looked over her shoulder, her eyes shining with laughter. "Hey dad. I'm good. Detective Beckett's been telling me stories about her high school friends. How was your meeting?"

He saw Kate roll her eyes and smile softly at the name. His grin grew a little as she reached out and swatted the girl's shoulder, before, once again, telling her to call her 'Kate'.

He screwed up his face at his daughter and answered, "It was boring. Paula was once again trying to talk me into writing about a certain British spy. But, you know, as much as I would love to do that, I'm quite happy with what I've got going now. I didn't need that certain spy to fill my days when I was sick of Derrick Storm, and I most definitely don't need him now. Nikki Heat is a handful as it is."

Kate rolled her eyes again and tilted her head back to accept his kiss as he moved around the couch to sit right smack-bang in the middle, his hands resting on a socked foot of his two favourite people. He squeezed Kate's foot softly, and turned to her. "Have you gotten anywhere with the case?"

She bobbed her head from side to side. "Kinda. We're just waiting on a couple of warrants. The boys told me to tell you that they hoped you were going to come in tomorrow because 'office days' just aren't the same without you there." She paused and grinned widely. "Is there some kind of bromance going on that I've somehow missed?"

Castle shook his head and laughed lightly. "Oh, no. They just know that I order the good pizza for lunch. Besides, I'd never kiss and tell, someone might shoot me."

She snorted out a most unladylike laugh and kicked him gently with her foot. "In all seriousness, though. I have to agree with them. It's just not the same without you there."

"Why, detective Beckett, did you miss me?"

She shrugged, caught Alexis' eye and winked. "Not really. I actually managed to get some paperwork done."

His hand flew to his chest, as a look of mock pain crossed his features. "Oh, how you wound me."

Alexis laughed from the other end of the couch and Castle turned to offer her a wounded look. "Have I lost your sympathy now, too?"

Alexis grinned and shrugged. "What can I say, dad? It's a girl thing. We gotta stick together."

Kate laughed and he could feel it all the way down in her foot. Taking a deep breath, he decided that it was now or never. "So, while I've got you both here, there's something I would like to talk to you about." He felt them tense almost simultaneously. "It's nothing bad, I promise. I just thought that seeing as I've got you in the same place at the same time…" his voice trailed off as his eyes shifted between the two of them.

"Go on." Kate prompted, Alexis nodding her head vigorously in agreement.

Castle frowned. Now that he had them there, he wasn't sure where to start. He looked at Alexis. He knew he would have her blessing, but he also knew Kate would need to hear it, too. "I know we have finally gotten a routine set since your grandmother moved out, but, if it's okay with you, I'd like to change it."

Alexis tilted her head wonderingly, a small frown forming as she deciphered his words.

He didn't wait long for her to ponder, when he turned to Kate. "I know you said you wanted to take this slow, and that I agreed, but there's just one step I want to rush. I understand if it's too much, too quick, but I want to ask all the same."

She eyed him apprehensively, before nodded for him to continue.

He cleared his throat. "If it's okay with Alexis," he turned his head and looked at his daughter. "And if Kate agrees, I would like it if Kate," he looked back at the Detective and his voice softened with the small smile on his lips. "I was wondering if you would consider moving in. With us." He looked to Alexis quickly, before his eyes rested on Kate's.

He saw her eyes flick to the red-head sitting on the opposite end of the couch, and his head quickly turned to follow her gaze. He saw the small smile, the half shrug, and then finally the one nod of acceptance from his daughter. With a grin he turned back to Kate. Their eyes locked and a silent conversation passed over them. He could almost see her arguments against the move forming in her mind, but then a tender expression crossed her features, and a smile tried to fight its way onto her lips.

She shrugged. "Well, I do have a key and half of my stuff is here anyway. Are you sure you're okay with this, Alexis?"

The girl nodded.

Kate shifted so she was sitting cross-legged, her knee resting on top of Castle's thigh. "I have a couple of conditions. One: Alexis, honey, please, call me Kate. I understand if you call me Detective Beckett when you come into work, but outside, it's Kate."

Alexis grinned and nodded. "Sure thing, Kate."

Kate returned the smile and her gaze shifted to Castle.

"What's the second condition?" he asked, tilting his head questioningly.

She smiled and leaned forward so their faces were only inches apart. "I get the left side of the bed." She whispered, reaching out and covering Alexis' eyes with her hand as she closed the distance between them and kissed him softly.

When she pulled away, his baby-blues sparkled with delight. "So, it's a yes?" he asked, just to be 100% certain.

She rolled her eyes, nodded and chuckled lightly. "Yes, Castle, I will move in with you."

This time it was his hand that covered his daughter's eyes as he moved in and kissed her again.

The Only Exception – Paramore

I would have had this posted AGES ago, if not for an innate need to have this song first, and an insane amount of rewrites for this chapter alone…
Oh, and I know that, somewhere, something like this is floating around. I promise I'm not thieving anything. I just hear these songs and then thoughts start creeping around my mind and then BAM! Another 'shot on the way.