Melanie Castle ran up to her mom, smiling wide, her little hands flailing. "Momma, Momma!"
"Yes Melanie?" Kate sighed, one hand holding the milk as she poured it into the pan. Who gave her husband the bright idea that breakfast for dinner was okay?
"Why's your tummy so big?"
Kate turned around and looked down at her daughter. Her beautiful, smart, curious daughter that loved to ask questions at her ripe age of four.
"Mel, honey, we went over this."
"But Momma" she groaned, collapsing herself down on the floor. "I don't get it."
She smiled and knelt down, scooping her hands under Mel's arms to lift her up onto the counter. "Okay." She placed her arms around Melanie and leaned in, pressing a kiss to her nose.
Melanie squealed and put her hands on Kate's cheeks, bumping her forehead into her mom's. "Momma!"
"Okay, okay. Do you remember what Daddy and I told you about getting a brother or sister?"
She nodded furiously. "Daddy said that since you two love each other very much, and so you wanted to have another baby."
"Right. So, in about 4 months, you're going to have a little brother or sister to play with and help take care of."
Melanie smiled and put one of her hands on her mom's stomach. "Momma, does this mean that you don't want me anymore? Do I have to go live with Papa? Or do I have to be adopted? I promise to be good! I don't want to go anywhere."
"Mel, honey, calm down. You aren't going anywhere. Even if you wanted to, I wouldn't let you. I love you too much" she smiled as she pulled Melanie into a tight hug. "Just because your Dad and I are having another baby does not mean we will love you any less. It just means we get to love more."
"Promise, with all of my heart. I love you Melanie. So, so very much. And I will love you even more every day."
Mel reached up and wrapped her arms around her Mom's neck in a tight hug. "Can I help you make dinner? I want to learn how."
"Of course baby."
Four months and three days later, Melanie walked into the hospital clutching the hands of her Aunt Lanie and Uncle Javi.
"Are we going to see my little sister or brother?"
"Yeah Mel" Esposito nodded. "Your Mom's going to be really tired, okay? She's had a lot to go through in the last couple hours. So we need to be super quiet."
"Okay I promise." She saw her Dad standing outside the door and broke free of Espo and Lanie's hands quickly, running as fast as her little legs could take her toward Castle. "Daddy!"
Castle spun and, with a huge smile on his face, scooped his daughter up into his arms.
"Is Mommy okay? Do I have a brother or a sister? Can I go see her?"
"She's alright. She's feeding your sibling right now, okay? Then when she is done you can see her."
"Daddyyyy" she groaned out. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
Castle smiled and hugged his daughter tight. "You can see for yourself in just a minute, okay?"
She nodded and clung to him while he talked to Lanie and Esposito about the baby. She was so excited. Her little brother or sister was in the room and she could teach them all the new fun things that she's learning and they could play together and… her excitement was overwhelming. She just needed to go into the room.
"Daddy, can we go now please?"
Castle tilted to look into the gap of the door and nodded. "Yeah, baby. You ready?"
"Oh yes" she nodded. "So, so very ready."
Castle pushed open the door with his open arm, and smiled at his beautiful wife holding their child.
Kate smiled weakly and clutched the newborn to her chest. "Hey, baby. Come over here."
Castle walked over and sat Mel down next to Kate, before pressing a kiss to his wife's forehead.
"Melanie," Kate started "This is your little brother, Brandon. Be careful, okay? He's really little."
Her eyes widened and she reached out, delicately running her fingertip down his cheek. "Momma, he's so pretty."
Kate's heart broke, and she started crying at her daughter's adorable words. "Oh, baby, he is. And so are you."
Mel smiled and laid her head on her Mom's shoulder. "Can I hold him?"
"You need to be careful, okay?" Castle asked. "Lay your legs out straight and we'll lay him there so you can hold him."
She nodded and shifted herself as he had said, waiting eagerly.
Kate and Castle carefully situated Brandon in her lap so that she was holding him, though Kate kept her hand under his head to hold it up. "Careful, sweetie."
Melanie smiled down at her little brother. "Aww. Mommy, Daddy, I love him."
The proud parents smiled at their kids. "We love you both."