A/N: Sorry I've been MIA these past couple of weeks, guys. I've been fighting a nasty throat infection and it had not been fun. Things are getting better now, though, so I shall be back to my regular schedule. I was checking my profile today and realized I had 49 published fics. With one little story away from a big milestone like publishing fifty stories, I just had to do something about it. So this is my fiftieth story on FF dot net.

Hope you guys like it.

Disclaimer: Castle is not mine.

First Day

This shift was endless.

Kate Beckett stretched out her arms above her head and leaned back against her chair, hearing her joints popping one by one. Okay, maybe she needed to get back to the gym upstairs as soon as she possibly could. Or maybe it was just her body's way of telling her it might be time to take it easy, that she shouldn't push herself so hard to always be the best, always the first in everything.

Still, today was her first day back at the precinct and, after staying away for a while, she thought that she was a little out of shape. It was a good thing they didn't have any heavy work today. In fact, it had been a rather slow day so far, which was driving her crazy. She had never been one to sit around and do nothing and this stillness in the homicide department was almost too much for her. She knew she should be thankful that she hadn't been thrown headfirst into a case on her first day, but still…

God, she was just so bored.

And Castle wasn't even around to distract her and make time go by faster.

Letting out a sigh, Kate stood up and made her way to the break room for a glass of water. It was the middle of the summer in freaking New York City and one of the air conditioners in the department was broken, which meant that it was entirely too hot inside the precinct. She could actually feel a droplet of sweat rolling down her back as she walked into the room. This day needed to be over, now.

She drank a glass of water thirstily and set it back on the counter, closing her eyes for a moment. Leaning back against the fridge, she allowed her mind to drift off for a moment, going back to that first morning they had together and how blissfully happy she had felt then. Thinking about that morning had become one of her safe havens whenever she needed to turn off her mind for a moment, lose herself in a happy time of her life.

A commotion outside brought her out of her happy thoughts and sharply back into her reality of the stifling heat in this godforsaken precinct. There was some yelling going on and Kate ventured outside of the break room to investigate, only to be barreled into the wall by a guy that looked like a giant and smelled like sweat and a second-rate distillery. She felt her back slam into the wall, knocking the breath out of her lungs for a minute.

"Beckett!" She heard Ryan call out, but her head was still buzzing a little from the impact and she hadn't been able to quite catch her breath yet. The huge mass of drunken man was suddenly lifted off of her and she met her friend's concerned blue eyes. "Hey, you okay?"

She nodded, still gasping for air, and watched as Esposito handcuffed the guy who had nearly run her over.

"Who the hell was that?" she asked, running a hand down her abdomen to straighten her shirt.

"Sorry, he just got out of control. Velazquez was interrogating him and he just ran out after she was done with him." He explained and looked at her again, meeting her gaze. "You sure you okay?"

"I'm fine, Ryan. Don't worry." She reassured him with a smile and pushed herself off the wall.

"I know, I know. Just… take it easy, you know? First day back and all."

"Hey, Beckett. You good?" Esposito called out from the elevator after he handed the giant to two uniforms.

"Guys, seriously. I'm fine." Kate rolled her eyes exasperated, but with a shadow of a smile playing on her lips.

"Just looking out for our favorite boss, that's all. We've missed you around here." Esposito shrugged, making his way back to where his friends were. "Been quiet without you and Castle doing that freaky theory building thing." He grinned at her and bumped her shoulder with his.

"Yeah. Where is Castle, anyway? I thought he was coming in today with you." Ryan asked, leaning against the wall.

"He was supposed to meet Alexis somewhere, I think." She explained and they nodded. "Don't worry, your boyfriend will be back soon, guys. The bromance you three got going on will survive." She teased and they rolled their eyes, Esposito going as far as shoving her lightly in the direction of her desk.

Kate laughed and shoved him back, shaking her head when she sat back down on her chair.

Yeah, she had really missed this place.

A body dropped a little after lunch. Despite her earlier reservations, Kate felt the adrenaline of a new case run through her veins unbidden, and her heart was beating excitedly in her chest when she stepped onto the crime scene. The rush of her brand new investigation didn't last long, however. The victim was a man in his fifties that reminded Kate a lot of her own father. He had taken two bullets to the chest in what looked like an execution in cold blood and in broad daylight, since, according to Lanie, he had only been dead for a couple of hours.

Things only got worse when she had to tell the guy's only daughter that her father had been murdered. The young woman was in her early twenties, recently graduated from NYU, and once again Kate could not shake off the similarities. By the time 5pm rolled around, she was in a terrible mood, hot and couldn't wait to leave this godforsaken place and go home. All she wanted was to curl up with Rick in his air conditioned loft and just be.

This part of the job she definitely hadn't missed.

With a sigh, she sat back on her chair and turned her computer on. They didn't have any leads so far and she still needed Lanie's full report to proceed with the investigation, so she thought she could use a break. Stretching her arms above her head once again, she winced when her chest ached. Before she could log on to her email account, though, her phone rang and Kate smiled at the caller ID.

"Hi." She said softly, leaning back against her chair.

"Hey. You almost done for today?" Castle's voice was soothing in her ears and she just now realized how much she had missed him today. Work was really not the same without him.

"Technically, I still have another hour to go, but we caught a case. Not sure how long I'll be." She sighed and closed her eyes, rubbing her eyes tiredly.

"Yeah, I figured. Which is why," She suddenly heard his voice entirely too close to be just on the phone. "I thought we could stop by and bring you a snack."

She turned around then, only to be met by the best scene she had seen all day, as Castle made his way to her desk with their baby in his arms. Tears flooded her eyes without her permission and she had to bite down on her lip to keep them from falling when her baby girl smiled her toothless smile at the sight of her mother. Castle smiled at her when they finally reached her desk, passing Amelia over to her waiting arms.

"Hi, sweetheart." Kate whispered to her daughter, kissing her baby's fine, dark hair. Amelia had bright blue eyes like her dad, but other than that, she was a miniature Kate.

"Hey." He said, leaning down to kiss her lips lightly. "Thought you'd like to see her." He explained when she still looked at him questioningly. "Separation anxiety and all."

"How'd you know?" She asked, nuzzling against her baby's head, inhaling her sweet baby smell.

"Been there, done that, remember?" He pulled his chair closer to his girls and sat down. "And she missed you too, you know."

Kate looked up at him and smiled, tears still threatening to fall because this man, this amazing man seemed to know everything she needed. All day she had been cranky and bored and antsy to go home to them, to her family and he had just brought her family to her. She didn't think that her love for him could possibly grow any stronger, but he just kept surprising her.

Reaching out, she took his hand in hers and brought it to her lips for a kiss.

"Thank you." She said quietly and he nodded, bringing her hand to his lips in return. She let go only when Amelia grabbed her necklace and pulled on it, smiling up happily at her. Kate chuckled and wrestled the chain from her daughter's chubby little hands. "Hey, baby girl. No pulling mom's necklace, remember?" She admonished, but couldn't stop the happy smile from blossoming on her lips.

God, how had she survived an entire eight hours without her child's presence?

"Hey, Castle." She heard Ryan greeting her husband, but didn't look up. Right now, Kate only had eyes for her baby. "Good to see you, man. Beckett said you weren't coming in today."

"Yeah, well. We were in the neighborhood." She looked up in time to see him shrug sheepishly and grinned, returning her gaze to Amelia, who was happily chewing on her hair. "Mia, no eating mommy's hair, honey." He said and Kate laughed quietly, pulling her hair from the baby's mouth. Her breasts ached, more than ready to nurse her child, and she sighed.

"Hey, Ryan? Could you keep everyone away from the break room for a while? Gotta feed this little one here." She explained and her fellow detective nodded.

"Sure thing. Hey, Mia. We missed you, darling." He said in a childish voice, tickling the baby's arm.

Amelia giggled happily at her Uncle and Kate shook her head. Sighing, she made her way to the break room with her child in her arms. They kept insisting on calling her Mia and she was sure it would end up sticking. It was too bad. She had picked Amelia because it was such a beautiful name, but it seemed that only she and Alexis called her that.

Closing the door behind her, she checked the blinds and then made herself comfortable on the couch. She supported Amelia with one arm and unbuttoned her shirt with her free hand, pulling down her bra to free her full breast for her baby. Her daughter immediately latched on, sucking hungrily, and Kate relaxed, leaning her head back.

The door opened and she looked up sharply, relaxing again when she saw it was just Rick. He sat down next to her, touching Amelia's little leg gently and she leaned into his side.

"Espo was just telling me about the case. Execution, right?" She could hear the excitement in his voice and couldn't help but smile. Looked like he missed the job as much as she had.

"Seems like it, but we don't have any leads yet." She yawned and he kissed her cheek, his arm around her shoulders. "Missed you today." She nuzzled his neck and sighed, placing a kiss to his warm skin. "Not the same without you here." She confessed and he chuckled.

"We missed you too, didn't we, Mia?" He replied, his fingers doing a slow dance up and down her arm. Kate yawned again. "Tired?"

"Longest day ever." She whispered, her head resting on his shoulder.

Her eyes were suddenly so heavy that she could barely keep them open.

"Rest for a bit, love. We're right here."

His voice was the last thing she was aware of before sleep took her under.