409: Kill Shot addition. Months (and many therapy sessions) later.
"Beckett, come on in," Castle says, propping the front door open until she had walked through.
Kate notices that Castle has gotten less and less surprised at seeing her show up at his door unannounced. Then again, she's also gotten more and more comfortable with him and his family for reasons she suspects but refuses to admit. So many things had shifted after the sniper case and acknowledging that yes, she might have a case of PTSD that needs to be worked on. All this means that she hasn't yet had time to ground herself in a still spinning room.
She steps through the threshold and lets him relock the door. "Thanks," she says.
"I'm just making Alexis breakfast," he gestures for her to follow him back into the kitchen, "Do you want some, too?"
Kate is about to shake her head but Castle has already cracked two more eggs into a bowl, bustling around to grab vegetables from the fridge. He closes his eyes and pretends to read her mind. "Let me guess," he says, index finger tapping his temple, "In your omelettes, you like: mushrooms, red peppers not green, spring onions instead of regular onions, sharp chedder cheese, tomatoes chopped up really tiny—" his eyes open, "—and light on the salt and pepper."
Martha had walked into the kitchen in the middle of his recital. "My dear," she says to Kate, "Tell me he made that up."
Kate rolls her eyes to Castle's triumphant grin, "Unfortunately not."
Martha raises her eyebrows, "Richard, I think it's time you found a hobby."
"Beckett is my hobby," he chirrups back.
Just as Kate is about to retort, Alexis bounces down the stairs – fully dressed in her school uniform. "Detective Beckett! Wh—"
"—Kate," she corrects with a smile.
"Right," Alexis plops down on the seat beside her, "What are you doing here? I mean, not that you need a reason."
"She's here for breakfast," Castle answers before Kate gets the chance.
Kate shrugs, "Sure, for breakfast."
Castle stops mid-omelette-flip. "Wait. Seriously? We don't have a case?"
Kate's cellphone rings and she pulls it out. A few nods and 'uh huhs' and she's back to slipping it into her pocket. She looks at Castle, "We do now."
On the way down the alley towards the crime scene, Castle doesn't stop pestering Kate. "So, if it wasn't for a case then why did you come over this morning?"
"It was nothing, Castle," she replies, quickening her steps just a little.
"Did you want to talk about something?"
"It wasn't important."
"So, it was something?"
"We can talk about it later," she says exasperatedly. She stops his next words with a hand on his forearm. "We're at the crime scene, Castle."
"Fine," he huffs petulantly, "But I'm not letting this go."
"I'd be surprised if you did," Kate mutters as she walks over to Lanie. "What've we got?"
"Can we at least acknowledge the possibility of a government conspiracy?"
Kate rolls her eyes as she glances over her shoulder at him, currently spinning in her chair. "Acknowledged," she says, snapping the suspect's picture onto the murder board, "And ignored."
"You have no sense of whimsy," he says.
She walks back to her desk, propping her right hand on the edge of the table to lean against it. "That's what I have you for." She hovers above him, "Now get off my chair."
He obliges and quickly shifts over to his own. "Yes, but what happens when I'm not around?"
"Where do you plan on going?"
The way she asks the question – in jest but with something more than a twinkle in her eyes – makes him tilt his head to observe her. "Nowhere," he replies, after a beat.
"Good," she says.
And there it is again.
"Why did you come over this morning, Kate?"
"Are we on that again?" she asks, not pausing or looking up at him from the file she's reading.
"Well, you never answered me."
"Can't I just come over, Castle? Does there need to be a reason?"
"No," he admits, "You're always welcome. You can come over any time you'd like… but you never have before. Not without an invitation, anyway."
She stops shuffling her papers around and looks at him, unblinkingly. "Maybe I want to start – when we don't have a case – maybe I want to start seeing you more."
He inhales sharply.
She doesn't comment. "Is that okay, Castle?"
He lets out a breath. "More than okay."
"Hi dad. Hey Kate," Alexis says, dropping her backpack near the foot of the stairs before joining her and Castle in the kitchen.
"How was violin?" Kate asks, tossing Alexis a green apple she had just washed.
Alexis takes a giant bite and shrugs her shoulders.
"That's teen-speak for 'fine'," Castle says. He places his hands on Kate's waist to get her to shift to one side of the sink.
"Yeah, I got that. Thanks, Castle," she replies, sarcastically.
"What're you guys making?" Alexis asks, leaning half her body over the counter to take a look. "It smells good."
"Chili," he answers, "Kate had a craving."
"Only because you and Espo were going on and on about it today."
"Not my fault you were eavesdropping."
"Hard not to when you got half the precinct betting on who could eat spicier food."
"Seriously dad?" Alexis shakes her head, "You cried the last time we had Indian."
Kate laughs. "Thank god. I put a twenty on Espo."
"You're going to regret that," Castle says, "There's nothing I can't do with the right motivation."
Kate raises her eyebrows. "Is that so?"
Castle stops stirring the chili and reaches for Kate's elbow, pulling her towards him. "You wanna test me?"
"Oh, ew," Alexis says, jumping off the stool, "Is this gonna get gross?"
"Probably," Castle answers over Kate's chuckles.
"Just call me when dinner's ready," Alexis calls back, already halfway up the stairs.
"We can't keep scarring your daughter." Kate has her hands braced behind her as Castle crowds her against the counter.
"We're just making out a couple—"
"—try a few—"
"—probably more like many—"
"—more like a lot—"
"—of times a day." He slides his hand up and under her t-shirt, fingers lightly brushing skin. "It's okay. We're still in the honeymoon period – we'll be forgiven."
"I'm surprised it took me this long," Kate murmurs as his lips caress her neck.
"To think, we could've been doing this years ago."
"We were in my mind."
His head snaps up, eyes darkening even though he sees she's teasing. A breathless pause and then their mouths are crushed together, her arms wrapping around his neck to anchor herself.
He sucks on her lower lip and she lets out a little moan. "Your shirt needs to come off," he says, his fingers sliding under the edge of her bra.
She nods in agreement as her own hands make their way to the button on his jeans. "Maybe we should turn down the heat," she says on a gasp when he sweeps his tongue along her clavicle.
"On the stove," she clarifies.
"Oh," he says, breathing hard, "Yeah. Let's do that." He turns the dial until it clicks off and then curls his pointer fingers into Kate's belt loops, dragging her backwards towards the bedroom.
"How am I supposed to let go?"
"I can help you, but the question is, are you ready?"
"Yeah, I think I am."
A/N: Something light and fluffy. Hope you enjoyed.