The response to the last chapter was absolutely phenomenal. You guys are amazing.
A few people did mention that they don't like the name Olive... allow me to explain my choice. For those who know anything about me, you know I'm a vintage loving gal. The name Olive was quite popular in the 1940s and 50s and it is one of the names on my list for what I'll call my kids. I was really excited to write this fic and it felt like the kid of name that Kate and Castle would pick. In my personal headcanon, Castle reads a lot of murder mystery novels from the noir period (30s-50s) and I can totally imagine a feisty smooth talking dame named Olive in one of these books that would almost serve as an influence for Nikki Heat and I thought that Kate would want a slightly unusual name for her daughter and Olivia just felt too commonplace and Twelfth Night to me (side note: I despise Olivia in that play). This kid needed some gumption and that name give it to her... that's why I kept the name secret until the bub was born ;)
For the last time... Thank you Em, for your amazing, tireless work in beta-ing for me. You're amazing, I adore you and I think I owe you a drink for this (which you can collect on our fandom weekend)
Castle had helped Kate shower and change into her pyjamas when the nurses had come to take Olive for her first set of medical checks. Kate was glad she hadn't fought Castle when he insisted on a private room at the birthing centre; he'd been encouraged by both Dr Swinton and Lucy to stay the night and Kate certainly wasn't going to fight it. She had read plenty about post birthing blues and connecting with your infant and she was adamant that Castle was going to be there to bond with their daughter and to keep her head on straight.
Kate has settled back into bed, exhaustion finally beginning to creep in when Lucy wheeled a swaddled up Olive back into the room. "So, she's had all her tests," she announced quietly. "Everything is great. She was born on the 14th of May at 2:47 am. Six pounds six ounces, twenty inches long. She's basically perfect. So, Daddy, you might want to call the family." Lucy wheeled the bassinet to the bed. "She's hungry."
"Already?" Kate asked.
"Her stomach is the size of a marble. At this point, don't even try to get her on a schedule. Just make sure she's eaten every four hours," Lucy advised. Olive's little mouth was open, her tongue sticking as she rooted around for a feed.
"You want to try and feed her before she starts crying, so it's a good idea to start looking for her hungry signs," Lucy advised. "Now, I know you guys have already done this, but I'll stick around this time and we'll see if you can't get this happening perfectly."
Kate nodded hesitantly, suddenly nervous. "Okay," she agreed, unfastening the buttons of her pyjama shirt and accepting her daughter from the midwife.
Castle sat back quietly, observing as Kate listened carefully and put Lucy's advice into action. He knew what a perfectionist she was and he privately wondered if she was going to struggle with not being perfect at something first go. He shouldn't have doubted her. When Olive failed to attach, Kate simply looked to Lucy for assistance and tried again. After a few attempts, Olive latched on and was happily suckling away.
"Now, you make sure that Dad does his fair share of the work, putting her back to sleep," Lucy advised. "Good night!"
"Come sit with me Castle," Kate murmured, nodding to the spot next to her on the bed. Castle sat down next to her as she carefully switched sides and encouraged Olive to continue feeding.
"How are you feeling?" Castle asked.
Kate sighed, looking down fondly at Olive. "I can't explain it," she uttered. "I'm on top of the world, I'm exhausted. I'm terrified, I'm excited. I did it, Castle. I'm a Mom now." She smiled when Castle pressed a kiss on her cheekbone, his finger gently tracing the curve of Olive's ear. "What about you? You're a Dad again."
"Oh Kate," he marvelled. "I am just in awe of you. I cannot believe what you went through. I've always known you were tough as nails, but you had to go and prove it and give me this gorgeous girl. I don't think I've ever been so in love with you."
Olive had fallen asleep whilst feeding, limp and peaceful in Kate's arms. Castle rested his head on Kate's shoulder, "Look at her. She's a stuffed Olive."
Kate chuckled. "How long have you been sitting on that joke?" She teased. She gently placed the baby in Castle's bear like embrace. "You heard the nurse, Castle. It's your turn." Kate sighed. "Wake me if you need me."
Castle stood up, brushing his lips across Kate's forehead. "Rest up, sweetheart. You've earned it."
Kate awoke to an empty bed. Despite having been up and down all night for feeds, she'd been able to sleep on her stomach for the first time in months and had promptly crashed. Stretching out on the bed, she looked over to the rocking chair next to the bassinet. Castle had removed his shirt and stripped Olive down to her diaper, placing her on his chest, quietly chatting to her.
"Good morning," Kate sighed.
"Morning," Castle responded.
"What time is it?" Kate wondered, rolling over experimentally and climbing out of bed. She walked over to stand next to Castle. "Good morning, princess," she murmured to Olive. "Has she been behaving?"
"She's been perfect," Castle replied fondly. "It's a little before nine," He informed her.
"You called everybody, right?" Kate asked.
"Sent a text when you were in the shower last night," Castle confirmed.
Kate briefly checked her phone, "Dad says he'll be here at ten," she announced.
"Alexis has already demanded photos," Castle replied.
Olive flung one of her arms out from underneath the blanket. Kate couldn't help but want to touch it, her heart melting when her daughter's hand wrapped around her finger. "You know, when I was a kid, my Mom told me that if a baby holds onto your finger like this, it means they love you," Kate reminisced fondly.
"How could she not?" Castle replied.
Kate gave him a slightly watery smile. "Okay, you need to put a shirt on and find out what is happening with my breakfast. The Minion needs to eat and get prettied up before our guests get here."
Castle had finally surrendered a sleeping Olive, swaddled up like a burrito baby, to her crib. Kate had just attacked her breakfast and managed to get a brush through her hair. "I'm going to have to fight you to hold the baby, aren't I?" Kate asked, giving herself a once over in the mirror to ensure she looked acceptable for visitors.
"You're the milk machine. She likes you better," Castle replied.
Kate shot him a look and rolled her eyes.
Castle wrapped his arms around her, privately marvelling in how snugly she fit into his embrace again. "I promise I'll do my best to share," he mumbled in her ear. He led Kate to sit down on the couch. "Now don't freak out, but I got you something," he informed her, handing her the velvet box that he'd had hiding in his pocket from the second he'd gotten the call that Kate was in labour.
"Castle…" Kate began, clearly about to tell him that she didn't need to be bought gifts.
"Don't," he interrupted. "After that effort, you don't get to fight me spoiling you."
Kate shot him an impish grin and opened the box. A pair of pear cut emerald earrings sat nestled into the box. A small band of diamonds surrounded the emerald like a halo and Kate was completely certain that Castle had designed them himself to feature Olive's birthstone. "They're beautiful," Kate smiled, leaning forward to brush a kiss over Castle's lips. "Thank you," she breathed, immediately slipping the studs into her ears.
There was a knock at the door. Kate looked up and saw her father leaning against the frame, a huge bunch of flowers in his hands. "Hey, Daddy," Kate greeted him quietly.
"Oh, Katie," he said, eyes alight with pride. He placed the flowers on a bench, pulling his daughter into a hug, murmuring in her ear how proud he was of her.
When she pulled away, Jim extended his hand to Castle, "Congratulations, Rick," he grinned, amused at the excitement that was buzzing off his son in law like an aura.
"Would you like to meet her?" Kate asked, carefully picking Olive up out of the bassinet. "Dad, this is Olive Johanna Castle."
Jim was transfixed, instantly in love with the little girl in his arms. He hadn't felt this way since his own daughter was born. "Hi there, Livvy Jo," he whispered.
Kate looked over at Castle, sliding an arm around his waist. Jo was the nickname her Dad always used for her mother.
"Katie, she's amazing," Jim decided.
"We're pretty happy with her ourselves," Kate replied. She'd stepped away from Castle for all of a second and he already had the digital camera out (thank God he'd had the good sense to know that if he'd attempted to use it during the labour, it would have ended up in the tub with Kate, completely useless).
"One for the baby album Jim," Castle instructed. "Give me a big smile, you're Olive's first guest."
Jim gently handed Olive back to Kate (who had very carefully sat down on the couch); pulling out the iPhone that she'd gotten him for Christmas (that he still didn't really know how to use). "I'm the first of the guys to become a grandpa," he announced proudly, "You gotta let me fill up my brag book. Smile."
"Dad, I look like crap," Kate whined.
"Take that back," her father and husband echoed.
Kate shot them both a patented Beckett glare. "I just squeezed a human out of me. I know how I look."
"You look fantastic. Good, we're all agreed then," Castle shot back.
Kate stuck her tongue out, before obeying and smiling for the camera.
"Good morning," Alexis greeted the room.
"Hey, Pumpkin," Castle greeted her.
"Oh my goodness, where is she?" Martha exclaimed, gliding into the room in a flurry of linen and perfume. Martha immediately sat herself down next to Kate, "Welcome to the club, darling!" She greeted her enthusiastically.
"I'm glad to be a member," Kate replied.
"Oh, look at her," Martha sighed, stroking a perfectly manicured finger against Olive's cheek. Olive's serious blue eyes observed the ginger matriarch, totally relaxed when she left her mother's embrace. "She's very calm," Martha commented.
"I'm convinced it's the water birth," Kate replied. "Unless she's hungry, you don't get a peep out of her."
Kate looked over to where Castle had his arms wrapped tightly around Alexis. She shot them both a grin. He was such a good father.
"Alexis, come on over here," Kate called out. "There's somebody I think you need to meet." Kate gingerly moved so that there was space for Alexis on the couch. Alexis was practically vibrating with excitement, but froze when Martha handed her the baby. "Congratulations Alexis," Kate murmured. "You're a big sister."
"Oh, wow," Alexis sighed joyfully. "She's gorgeous, Kate."
"Richard, come here," Martha called out. "Don't you think Olive looks just like Alexis did when she was a baby?"
Castle came over, scrutinising his daughters. "She does," Castle agreed. "The eyes and forehead."
"Really?" Alexis asked.
"Oh yeah," Castle agreed.
"That's cool," Alexis decided, focussing back on her little sister, chattering to her quietly. Castle quickly snapped a photo of the two of them.
Family photos had been taken and Olive had just been returned to her father's embrace when she began to fuss.
"Castle, could you hunt me down a strawberry milkshake and a BLT?" Kate inquired, discreetly hinting that she wanted a little bit of privacy.
"No problems, sweetheart," Castle replied, brushing a kiss on her forehead.
Martha instantly cottoned on. "I was in such a tizzy to get here this morning I didn't have my morning macchiato. Jim, you want to join me so we can start figuring out how to spoil this kid rotten?"
"You can show me the ropes," Jim agreed, standing and opening the door for Martha.
"I remember needing some quiet time when I was first feeding. You just let me know if you need a little longer," Martha reassured her furtively.
"Thanks Martha," Kate replied, rubbing Olive's back gently, trying to soothe her a little.
Alexis quietly stood up, ready to follow her grandmother from the room.
"Alexis," Kate called out. "You don't have to go if you don't want to."
"You don't want some privacy? I can go find you some food if you want Dad here instead."
"I actually wouldn't mind some girl time," Kate replied. "If this going to make you uncomfortable, go for a walk. I'm just saying you don't have to leave if you don't want to." Kate walked over to the rocking chair, propping herself with pillows.
"Well, I don't want to bail on you completely," Alexis agreed, planting herself on the couch.
"We're both still new at this, so this could take a while," Kate warned, unbuttoning her shirt and offering a mewling Olive her breast. She attached in record time.
"I saw her bedroom," Alexis commented. She looked away from the wall and to where Kate was sitting.
"Did you like it?"
"It's really pretty. It was nice to see a girl's room that isn't pink and sparkly."
"I'm glad you think so," Kate stood up, moving over to the change table to check out the diaper situation. "You gave me the idea."
Kate looked over at Alexis, who was rapidly blinking back tears. "You're so sweet, Kate. I'm glad you're my stepmother," Alexis said sincerely.
Kate made quick work of the diaper change, before sitting back down to finish the feed. "I'm really glad Olive has somebody like you to look up to. If she turns out even half as well as you have, I'll count myself very proud."
"I was thinking," Alexis began. "When you go home, it's going to be crazy, isn't it?"
Kate shrugged. "I hadn't really given too much thought to it, but yeah, I guess so."
"I would really like to come stay at the loft for a couple of weeks," Alexis said. "You and Dad are going to be so busy getting used to having Olive there and if I'm there, I can do little things like cook and clean so that you can make sure you're getting enough rest."
"Oh honey," Kate sighed affectionately. "Don't think you have to abandon your life because I've just had a baby."
"I'm not abandoning my life. Kate, I've wanted to be a big sister since I was eight years old. I want to be home so I can actually experience it."
Kate stood up and crossed the room, depositing Olive in Alexis's arms and placing a burp cloth over her shoulder. "Well then, big sister. I guess you better get to work."
The boys had come to visit not long after Jim had left to go brag at one of his meetings. Lanie had come into the hospital room and squealed over Olive and even Captain Gates had stopped by with an enormous bunch of flowers from everybody in Homicide.
There was nothing else to be done. It was time to take Olive home.
She had fussed slightly when first clipped into her seat (away from the comfort of Mom or Dad's arms) but the rhythm of the car quickly lulled her, blue eyes open and observing as Kate sat next to her in the back of the car.
Kate shot Castle a smile when she opened the door to the loft. He'd transported a small florist's store into the house. She thanked him softly, brushing a kiss against his lips.
Olive was fed and changed. She slept quietly in the smaller bassinet in the main bedroom. Intellectually, Kate knew that Olive would be just when she left the room. She knew that, but she still found herself rooted to the spot, staring at the beautiful baby girl she'd grown from scratch. She smiled when she saw her husband on the opposite side of the crib, a similar look of awe on his face.
"I'm so glad I managed to convince you to come with me and meet Pauline and Mikey," Castle whispered to her.
Kate stepped around the bassinet, standing so her back was against his chest and his arms wrapped around her stomach. "I'm so glad you gave her to me." She turned slightly to look at him. "What do we do with her now?"
Dear readers, this is where I bid you adieu. I'm going to be pulling back from writing for a little while for a few reasons (there's been a recent spate of nastiness, it has begun to feel a little like a chore rather than fun and I have university studies that need to take my priority) so I can gain perspective of my life and get my love for writing back again. This is also likely to be the last multichapter fic I ever write... but who knows when the inspiration for a one shot (Olive verse or otherwise) will strike.
So thank you to you all. You're amazing and I've loved the journey with you all. I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you really can't bear the idea of life without me, hit me up on either Twitter or Tumblr... brookemopolitan
Kisses and baby cuddles to you all!