On Mother's Day

Summary: Kate/Rick. Mother's Day is approaching and Castle mentions how difficult it is to buy Martha a gift, not realising how much this upsets Beckett. Feeling guilty, Castle decides to invite Kate spend Mother's Day with his family instead.

This didn't turn out the way I planned at all. It was supposed to be a short, fluffy friendship piece but ended up being long, plotty, kinda angsty and with Beckett getting very out of character. But the plot bunny wouldn't let go so, here we are, over 2500 words later. It's not my best work but any stretch of the imagination but I hope you like it.

Happy Mother's Day to all that celebrate it today.

Kate Beckett and her team were investigating the robbery of a local jewellery store and the assault of the owner just days before Mother's Day. It seemed like the young hooded thief, found running away from the store on surveillance footage, had only taken a few items of jewellery of not huge value. Beckett wondered if the suspect had been looking for a Mother's Day gift. It did seem a little extreme, but she knew she would do much worse for just the chance to spend the holiday with her own mother. This time of year made her maudlin and depressed, even more so than when it was Johanna Beckett's birthday. Walking passed shops and seeing balloons, banners and teddy bears professing love for mothers hurt her even after all these years. She wondered if all those people realised how lucky they were to have mothers who they loved and who loved them in return.

Kate usually tried to stay home alone of Mother's Day if she wasn't working. Going out and seeing happy families sharing meals and walks in the park just made her sad and, even though she hated the feeling, it made her jealous too.

So when Rick Castle showed up to 'help' with the case she was already in a bad mood and not in the right frame of mind to deal with him.

"Robbing a jewellery store for a Mother's Day gift?" He mused. "Sounds good in theory, cheaper anyhow, but what if she doesn't like what he stole? He can hardly bring it back and exchange it for something else."

Kate ignored him, tapping away at her keyboard to see if the fingerprints found on a glass display case at the store matched anyone in the AFIS database.

"Got him!" She exclaimed, punching the air. "The prints match Carl Simmons, he was arrested for a liquor store robbery three months ago, but he was released with a warning as it was his first time offence." She noted down his address and put on her jacket. "Are you coming or not, Castle?"

Feeling a little like he was in trouble for something, but not sure what it was, he hurried off after Beckett.

Kate parked up at the side of the road and walked the rest of the way to the dilapidated old apartment building that had been Carl Simmons last known address. She approached the dent, paint chipped front door and knocked loudly. Castle was stood so close behind her that she could almost feel his breath on the back of his neck. Usually she enjoyed moments of close proximity but right now she just wanted him to back the hell up.

A lady in her mid to late sixties answered the door, her greying hair tied back in a loose French braid. "Can I help you?" She asked warily, looking for Kate to Castle and back again.

"I'm looking for Carl; Carl Simmons is he at home?"

The lady narrowed her eyes. "What do you want with Carl? He hasn't lived here for months."

Castle suspected that she was lying but kept quiet, letting Kate just do her job interrupted for once. He had decided that placating her was probably the best course of action today.

"When was the last time you saw him?" Beckett continued, also sensing that she was not receiving the truth.

Castle studied the lady's face as she considered a reply, it didn't take Cal Lightman to realise that she was lying.

"Gran, who's at the door?" They heard a decidedly masculine voice call from somewhere in the darkened depths of the building.

The old lady sighed. "Carl, there's a man and a woman here to talk to you."

They heard the muffled noise of swearing and the thunder of footsteps as Simmons took off from the back door of the building.

"Fabulous." Kate groaned, unholstering her gun and making off after him.

The old lady had gasped when she saw Kate's weapon and Castle did the best to calm her.

"It's okay, Mrs Simmons, she hardly ever has cause to use it." He lied, wondering what Lightman would make of his face right now.

After making sure that the older woman was okay, Castle raced to keep up with Beckett and Simmons. After two blocks he was gasping for breath, a stitch beginning to sting in his side. This was not the part of the job he enjoyed, writing at his laptop was a much more civilised way to earn his living and he only really cared for the kind of physical activity that occurred in the bedroom. Gratefully, he saw Beckett handcuffing Simmons at little further up the block. He waved to let her know that he was okay, before bending over with his hands on his thighs, trying to get his breath back.

Simmons was loaded into the back of a police car and two uniformed officers took him back to the precinct to be booked and then interview. At a much slower pace, Beckett and Castle made their way back to the Simmons' residence to look for evidence that Carl had stolen and kept the jewellery.

"This case is reminding me that I've yet to buy anything for my mother for Mother's Day." Castle commented, trying to break the silent tension in the air between them. "She's so difficult to buy for, well, unless I want to spend a small fortune of course!"

"I'm sure you'll find her something." Kate replied, with the fakest of smiles. The truth didn't seem to be working well for anyone today.

"Beckett, I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking." Castle said, feeling like a prize fool. He knew, deep down, that he had a lot of faults but he hadn't even thought insensitivity was one of them.

"Its fine, Castle." Was her tight lipped response. She increased her pace, striding along the sidewalk so quickly that Castle had to rush to keep up with her.

"Richard?" His mother called, and her tone told him that this was not the first time she had tried to communicate with him. "Richard, darling, is everything alright?"

"Yes, mother." He replied putting his pen down on top of the crossword puzzle he had been attempting to complete before he had become absorbed in his thoughts.

He and Beckett had indeed found the missing jewellery in Carl Simmons' bedroom and it was being processed by the New York crime lab before it could be returned to the jewellery store owner. It all seemed like a fairly open and shut case, and Beckett had told Castle he could go home while she and Ryan interviewed Simmons who was ready to confess as long as it meant he wouldn't be sent to jail.

Castle had intended to get some writing done when he came back to the apartment, but he hadn't been able to focus on anything. He was still kicking himself for how foolish he'd been in moaning about Martha and Mother's Day when Beckett would probably have done anything to spend the following Sunday with her own mom.

"Doesn't look alright to me, darling." Martha commented, taking a seat beside him at the kitchen table. "What's wrong? Did you have a fight with Beckett?"

Castle looked up at his mother in surprise, confirming Martha's suspicions.

"I made some really insensitive comments about Mother's Day today, I just didn't think before I spoke and I think I upset her. Of course, she didn't say anything but she's not been acting like herself today."

"It can't be easy for her," Martha replied, squeezing her son's hand. "Alexis won't be spending Mother's Day with Meredith, so why don't you invite Beckett here and we can have a dysfunctional family dinner together on Sunday?"

Castle leaned and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Mother, you are a genius."

Martha fluffed her hair. "Darling, tell me something I don't know."

Castle was already up and heading for the phone when he turned back. "You won't do the cooking, will you?" He winced.

Martha waved the barb away with her hand. "You'll be lucky if I even offer to pour the wine." She retorted playfully, heading to her room and feeling relieved that her son was looking happier. He didn't seem to notice that she was playing matchmaker either.

"Beckett," Kate answered the phone with a very un-Beckett like tone in her voice. She was just getting ready to head home for the day and it was just typical that the phone would ring just as she was on her way out.

"Hi Beckett, it's Castle." His voice sounded exuberant and Kate wasn't in the mood for that either.

"What's up?"

"I've got a proposition for you." The excitement in his voice was now palpable.

"Look Castle, I'm not in the mood, okay." She spat out, a little more vehemently that she intended. "Sorry."

"Don't apologise, Kate. I was an unthinking jerk earlier, but I want to make it up to you. Meredith isn't coming into town for Mother's Day so Martha and Alexis wondered if you would like to spend Sunday with us."

Kate was touched and didn't know how to respond. She swallowed a lump in her throat, glad that this was a telephone conversation so that Castle couldn't see the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

"That's really sweet of you all but I don't want to impose."

"You wouldn't be imposing, we would love to have you." He replied, but he was mainly speaking for himself.

"Then I would love to come. I'll see you on Sunday." She was about to hang up when she added softly, not sure if he could still hear her. "Thank you, Rick."

Kate woke up alone on the morning of Mother's Day, feeling empty and alone the same way she did every other year. She thought of other moms receiving breakfast in bed, cards and handmade gifts and of all the wonderful Mother's Days she had spent with her own mom. At least she had the memories, she thought, that was far more than some people had.

Trying to put the depressing thoughts out of her head, she had a long hot shower and thought about the day ahead. She was looking forward to going to the Castle's place, it was a place always filled with fun and laughter and love, and she could really feel at home there. It was sweet of Castle to invite her over, and she really appreciated it. After she had dressed, she decided to go to the store to buy some flowers and wine to take with her.

She bought two bunches of roses and a bottle of expensive red wine. She planned to take one of the bouquets of flowers with her later, and the other she would go and lay on Johanna Beckett's grave. Wishing that her father hadn't chosen this weekend to go away on a trip, she braced herself and dialled Castle's number.

"Hi, it's me. I've got a favour to ask you." She began, expecting him to say no.

But Castle could never say no to her, and half an hour later he was knocking on the door to her apartment. They walked to the cemetery in silence, but it was relaxed and companionable this time. Castle stayed back while Kate laid the flowers on the gravestone, and pretended not to notice when she wiped a few stray tears away with the sleeve of her jacket. He did slip his arm around her shoulder as they left the cemetery though and she didn't even trying to fight him off.

Castle went back home and began making preparations for Kate's visit. Alexis helped him in the kitchen, preventing him from setting fire to the food or the tea towel. He couldn't be sure where Alexis got her culinary skills from but it definitely wasn't from him, Martha or Meredith.

"What time is Detective Beckett getting here?" Alexis asked as she, her father and grandmother sampled the cupcakes she had made.

"I think perhaps you could call her Kate now, Alexis." Castle said, liking the way Beckett's first name sounded from his lips. Calling each other by their surnames seemed so formal and they were far passed that stage of their partnership.

"What time is Kate coming over?" She rephrased, and it sounded natural to her too. After two failed marriages and some disastrous relationships, she was glad to finally see her dad so happy. He and Kate might not have progressed passed a working relationship yet, but she could already tell that they would be good together and she would be happy to have Kate as part of her family.

Kate arrived just before five o'clock with the flowers and wine in her arms. Castle opened the door and she handed over the goodies, pressing a kiss to his cheek as he admitted her over the threshold. She smiled at Martha and Alexis, and was soon receiving hugs from them too. She felt so welcome and at home that she felt tears threatening to escape again. To distract herself she leaned up to wipe away the lipstick mark she had left on Castle's cheek.

"Something smells amazing." She smiled, letting herself be led to the dining table that had been set up and decorated. "I hope you didn't go to all of this trouble for me."

"Of course not." Castle replied a little too quickly.

"Dad did a lot of the cooking," Alexis confided in Kate as they sat at the table, waiting for Castle to bring the plates of dinner. "Don't feel you have to eat it." She winked.

"I'm sure it'll be great." Kate grinned, glad that Alexis was so accepting to her. She had dated a guy once before whose daughter had not taken to her at all, and had eventually caused their break up. Alexis seemed genuinely pleased to be spending time with her even though her own mother was elsewhere. Kate suddenly felt a rush of sympathy for the teenager, at least her own mother never would have left her by choice. She wondered how someone could leave such a lovely, intelligent person as Alexis behind. She vowed that, no matter what did or didn't happen between herself and Castle, she would look out for Alexis.

"Dinner is served!" Castle said, setting plates down on the table with a flourish and managing not to spill anything on the tablecloth either.

The meal was delicious and the conversation flowed naturally. They might be dysfunctional bunch; the writer, the detective, the actress and the teenager but to the onlooker they would have looked just like an ordinary, everyday family. Kate liked the feeling of belonging and, when the wine ran low, she offered to help Rick refill the glasses and bring in the dessert course.

"Thank you for doing this, Rick. I really appreciate it." She told him honestly. It was definitely preferable to spending the evening alone, drinking too much tequila and looking through old photograph albums. Her mother would want this, she realised, she would want her daughter to be happy with this surrogate family she had been so lucky to find.

"You're welcome, Kate. You are always welcome here."

She leaned up, pressing a soft, slow kiss to his lips. He responded equally as gently, not wanting to take advantage of her fragile emotional state on this difficult.

"Come on," He said, handing her two bowls of fancy ice cream. "Let's take these in before they melt."

They shared a smile, both of them realising that this was just the first of many family dinners they would share here.

Rick led the way back to the table, Kate lagging a little way behind.

"I love you, mom." She whispered before moving forward, both physically and emotionally, into the dining room to join her new family.