Note: None of these characters are mine. Minor spoilers for 2x17 and 3x24.


Pancakes can say a lot. Yes, they can say 'Thank you so much for last night'. That, however, is just the start.

They released her from the hospital three weeks after getting shot. It was unceremonious. None of the pomp and circumstance like it is on television. Her dad drove into the city, picked her up, and took her out to lunch. And because old habits die hard, when he offered to stay with her for a while, she turned him down. Swore she was fine. And since he's been her father for 30 years now, he's learned not to push, so he kissed her forehead and dropped her off at her apartment.

There she was, all alone in that shiny new apartment. Any other night, it would have been peaceful. It was what she'd dreamed about for two dozen nights of heart rate monitors and blaring alarms. But now that she was here, it was suddenly the last thing she wanted. Yet here she was, too sore to move, too tired to bother scrounging up dinner, trapped alone on her couch.

And then the doorbell rang.

Had she been able, she would have hopped off the couch and flown to the door in gratitude for the interruption to the solitude. Instead, she groaned, dragged herself off the couch with the help of the coffee table, and slowly made her way to the door. Years of cop training had her peaking through the peephole, though hours of silence had her already undoing the locks. Smiling (surprising herself a little) at the warped image in the peephole, she twisted the knob and dragged open the door.

"Evening, Detective."

"Castle." She flushed a little as she said his name, suddenly self-conscious as his eyes raked her form. She reached to straighten her shirt before realizing he that was checking to make sure she was whole and healthy, not studying her style choices.

"I thought you might want some company on your first night home. Plus, I figured your fridge would be empty, and takeout will do nothing for the recovery process." She opened her mouth to deny this, to tell him she's perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but her stomach rudely interrupted with an unladylike growl.

Castle started to laugh, and she couldn't help but smile. The stomach spoke the truth – she was in desperate need of some company. She stepped back and he walked past her into the apartment, hauling two week's worth of groceries with him.

If he noticed the tangled blankets on the couch, the bottles of pain meds, and the half-drunk glass of tea – the evidence of her imprisonment for the last several hours – he didn't say. Between you and me, the look in his eyes would have given him away in an instant, but she was too busy trying to look healthy and competent to notice.

He walked into the kitchen and began to unload the groceries. She leaned against the counter watching him. Every item that came out of the bags was one of her favorites. At first it had seemed like coincidence, but as he finished the first bag and moved onto the next, she came to the startling conclusion that he knew what she liked to eat. Staring at the pancake mix he'd just sat on the counter before her, it dawned on her. That, perhaps, he knew her.

"Alright there, Beckett?" She shook her head to clear away the blinding clarity that had just clouded her vision. He was staring at her, holding a bottle of syrup, looking concerned.

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, of course. Did you say something?"

"I was just asking where your mixing bowls are." She gestured to a cabinet and he set about mixing pancake batter. She walked towards the stove, planning to find a frying pan for him.

"What are you doing?" He sounded confused, with a hint of accusation.

"Finding you a frying pan." She mirrored his confusion, though hers doubled as he approached her.

"No help from you tonight, thank you very much. Tonight you're resting." He was right in front of her by then. "And no arguing. I know you can take care of yourself, but it's nice to let other people help sometimes." With this he grasped her hips with his hands, and in one smooth motion, hoisted her up onto the counter behind her.

The action was so incredibly familiar, as though he'd done it a million times, over a million dinners. She was too startled to object. She stared at him, as he dug out a frying pan and began churning our silver dollar pancakes like it was what he was born to do. There was a day where she would have smacked him for plopping her on the counter like that. There was a day he wouldn't have even dreamed of it. She sat there, fully expecting to feel horrified at the sudden popping of her treasured personal space bubble. But no horror came. No anger. No doubt or panic.

Instead, when he pulled the first pancake off the pan and offered it to her, she smiled and ate it with her fingers. Sitting on the counter, swinging her legs like a little girl. Or like a woman suddenly finding herself where she belongs.

When the last pancake hit the grown stack he'd created, he turned to pull her off the counter so they could go sit at the table (like civilized adults, I suppose). Much to his surprise, she caught the front of his shirt in her hands, and slowly pulled him to stand between her knees. He opened his mouth, struggling to form the appropriate question, but her lips were on his before he got the chance.

To say Katherine Beckett had a revelation of life-changing proportions over pancakes and grocery bags sounds absurd. But today on their wedding day, there seems to be no doubt about it. That night, the pancakes were whispering 'Thank you for trusting me take care of you.' They were theorizing 'When you kissed me, my heart skipped a beat. Maybe it's pounding now because it's trying to catch up.' They were shouting 'Finally! What took me so long?'

It appears, the pancakes said it all.

Thanks for reading!