DISCLAIMER: I do not own Castle. I do own an iPod which frequently plays 'Can't Stop' by Mozella, and a copy of Heat Wave and, most recently, Naked Heat.

"I've got Mexican, Chinese, Greek and what I think is Australian…" Castle announced, unloading the bad of food onto Beckett's desk.

"We're going to become so fat one day from all this food," Beckett mused.

"With all the running around we do? Unlikely."f

They ate in silence for a moment. The precinct was strangely quiet – a lot of the officers and detectives went out for dinner. After going to Remy's every night for a week, Beckett expressed her desire to give Aaron, Remy's chef, a break from making burgers and shakes. Castle knew it was really because she needed a break from the public eye after their last case. It was mentally draining – interwoven thefts, drug deals, murders and human trafficking.

In short, Castle knew Beckett was too tired to endure "Nikki Heat!" being shouted at her while trying to eat, which he completely understood. He was used to it; she wasn't.

"So," he said, swallowing a mouthful of baklava. "Got any plans for the holidays?"


"Christmas. New Year's."

"Castle, they're two months away."

"Planning makes it more exciting. I know you're not working," Castle revealed.


"Captain told me, so I can plan my holiday now. See, planning. Everyone's doing it. You should too." He sounded just like a television advertisement.

Beckett picked at the Chinese noodles, searching for cashews. "And your plans are…?"

"The Hamptons."

Beckett looked at him incredulously. "You know it will be freezing, right?"

"Exactly. No-one else will be there. Alexis and I have been going in the winter since she was 10. Great escape from the city. And the house is heated," he added.

"And your mother?"

"Stays in the city. We exchange gifts in January. Don't ask why; I have no idea."

Beckett laughed. "I took you for one of those 'big Christmas party' guys."

"Ah, Detective Beckett. The things you don't know about me…"

Beckett smiled, returning to her cashew-digging.

"So what are your plans?"

Beckett stopped picking. "Castle…" She didn't really want to tell him, after hearing his amazing family holiday plans that sounded wonderful.

"I'll give you my cashews if you tell me."

"I cannot be bribed."

"Wanna bet?"

Beckett could see this was going to become and intense circular argument, and decided to tell him. "I stay at home. Watch movies. My dad calls on Christmas day; he spends the holiday with his cousins and visits…" She trailed off.

"Your mother?" Castle guessed quietly.

"Yeah," she replied just as softly. Then she regained her voice. "I just never felt the urge to go, and it's something Dad prefers to do alone anyway."

"Fair enough."

"Other than that, I don't do anything." Kate held out her Chinese container and Castle tipped his cashews into it.

He shifted in his seat, sitting up straighter. "I have a proposition for you, and I don't want you to speak until I'm done." Beckett nodded. "You can come to the Hamptons with Alexis and I if you like."

Beckett opened her mouth to react, but Castle shushed her. "We leave three days before Christmas, and come back on the fourth of January. Sleeping in and staying up late is mandatory, except on New Year's, where we pull and all-nighter and attempt to stay up until at least 10pm the next day."


"Hush. Now, we only go out to dinner once while we're away, and the rest of the time we endeavour to make fancy food, which usually ends up with us ordering in."


"Hush! I know Alexis would love to have you there, since she really likes you. You could probably even train her to call you 'Kate', if you'd like. And don't think we spend every waking moment together – the house is big enough to play hide and seek effectively in, and Alexis and I are big on personal space when necessary."

Beckett stared at him. "You're serious?" she asked through a mouthful of noodles.


"And you're sure that-"

"Beckett, just say yes. You know you want to."

She smiled again, this time more enigmatic that before. "Yes."