Day 1

Author's Note: I can't believe I'm doing this again, but I guess it's become a holiday tradition. Anyways, this is another one of those publish-a-chapter-every-day-until-Christmas holiday stories. I started doing 25 Days of Holiday Drabbles back in 2010 (has it been that long?) when I was in the Sonny With a Chance fandom. It happened again the next year, this time when I was writing for Gakuen Alice. And now because I can't stop, I'm making one for Castle. So without further ado, I introduce you to 25 Days of Holiday Drabbles: Castle Style.

Spoiler Warning: SPOILERS FOR SECRET SANTA PROMO. Consider this some sort of speculation.

Disclaimer: I actually really love doing these, and somehow manage to find time for them. Do you really think I could manage this and own Castle? Nope.

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She expected the loft to be decorated.

But seeing it in person- the lights, the decorations, and the gorgeous, gorgeous tree- it's all so beautiful. She knows she made the right choice when deciding to spend Christmas with them.

Her partner beams at her, his face polka-dotted from the white lights. "I assume you like it?" he asks, taking her coat as she shrugs it off her shoulders.

"I don't know, Castle. You have yet to hang decorations from the ceiling," the brunette teases, coyly pushing hair out of her eyes.

Chuckling, he hangs her coat on the hanger. "I tried. Alexis stopped me, though." He then motions for her to come in, taking her hand as she walks past him to examine the brightly lit tree.

Beckett nods, distracted. "Where is she, anyways?" the detective asks, fiddling with a tiny silver train ornament.

"Holiday party. Mother's at one too. They spent all morning commenting about how exciting the whole ordeal would be," he comments, shaking his head with amusement.

She nods again, biting her lip. "Would you normally be at a party at this time of year?"

"Maybe, maybe not," he explains. "Why?"

Beckett shrugs passively. "I just don't want to be messing anything up, that's all," she utters casually, trying to take a step away before realizing that he still has a grip on her hand.

He tits his head ever so slightly, looking her in the eyes with a soft smile on his face. "I promise you're not messing anything up. Why don't you believe that?" he asks. She notices that he doesn't sound accusatory. He sounds more… worried?

"It's nothing."

Frowning, he comments, "I still want to know."

They stay in the middle of his living room, alone. She stands in front of him, angled towards the door as he desperately grips her hand.

He still thinks she doesn't want to be here.

Unhappy with herself, Beckett turns to him and mutters, "I just don't want to push myself into your life."

Sighing with relief, he shakes his head. "You're not pushing yourself into my life. I invited you over. I want you here, and so do Alexis and Mother. Alright?"

She swallows. "But…"

Wrapping his arms around her waist, he tugs her closer until their chests are nearly touching. His warm breath warms her skin, still chilly from the cold December air. "I don't want to spend my night or my Christmas anywhere else. I don't love parties or nosy reporters or random tipsy women. I love you," he utters quietly, his fingers rubbing circles on her back.

She beams, eyes focused on the pattern of the carpet. "I love you, too," Beckett murmurs.

"What?" he teases, gently turning her head so he can see her eyes.

"I love you, too. So much."

He captures her lips with his own, kissing deeper when she presses herself flush against him, her hands tangling in his hair. She's hungry for him. She loves him. She loves him.

And now he knows.