@coffeecup218: Hi! I saw thing the other day and it made me think of our favourite couple. If you have time, I hope it inspires you to write a little something. Thank you.
A/N: Set during the summer betwen 4x23 and 5x01.
Alexis is school shopping, picking things out for her new dorm while he dutifully follows her around from store to store, carrying her bags on each arm. He’s actually having fun, spending quality time with his kid.
Of course, he still sees her all the time, but with her first semester of Columbia approaching, Castle is missing her already. But she’s excited for her first college experience, living on campus, in a dorm room, eager for that first real taste of independence. And he’s trying so hard to be excited for her.
“It’ll be fine, Castle,” Kate told him just last night while they laid in bed. He hadn’t voiced his fears, but after four years of being his partner, months of being more, she can read him just as well as he can read her. “Columbia is just five miles from here and trust me, she won’t be able to stay away from the comforts of home for long. She’ll be back here doing laundry, joining us for dinners, movie nights-”
“Us, huh?” he grinned, rolling towards her in the bed and draping an arm around her waist.
She rolled her eyes at him of course, but then she scooted closer, let him catch a glimpse of that secret smile in the dark.
“Well, I’m not planning on going anywhere and Alexis doesn’t seem to mind me hanging around…”
“Then ‘us’ sounds pretty good,” he hummed, leaning in to let her reassurances and the press of her mouth wash over him.
“Dad, stop daydreaming about Beckett.”
Castle blinks to see Alexis smirking at him from a shelf of picture frames. “I was not.”
She rolls her eyes. “Uh huh.”
He huffs and shifts the bags she’s accumulated so far higher on his arm, ventures in the opposite direction. This store is more casual than the other boutiques Alexis has led him through, the decorative items trendy but not too flashy, the clothing laid back and comfortable.
He noticed that Alexis has grabbed a few t-shirts in the minutes they’ve spent here, so he drifts towards the racks, starts browsing. His lips quirk at some of the sayings, the various designs drawn across the fabric that is soft between his fingertips. He pauses when he spies the sketch of a to-go cup, a little heart above it. It’s a white and blue baseball tee with a thin drawstring hoodie attached, the words above the art printed in bold letters.
It takes you to make a day go right.
She immediately pops into his head.
Rick is checking the sizes before he realizes what he’s doing, debating between a small and a medium. His hand closes around the second hanger; Kate is slim, but for loungewear, he knows she prefers a looser drape.
“Sure that’s your size, Dad?”
He turns, finds Alexis at his side and wearing that sly grin again.
“Someone is in rare form today,” he mutters, but plucks the shirt from the rack. “Would it be weird if I got this for her?”
He holds up the shirt, suddenly needing the reassurance of a woman’s opinion - shit, he just thought of his baby girl as a woman.
Alexis tilts her head to read the text printed on the fabric, scans her eyes over the image. A small smile curls across her lips.
“Because of the whole morning coffee thing?” she asks softly, her eyes flickering with warmth.
It took a while for Alexis to adjust to the idea of him and Kate, for her to show approval in having his partner around the loft. But Kate put forth the effort to ensure Alexis’s comfort with the situation, with her presence in their home, backing off when she felt it was necessary, always willing to give excess father and daughter time.
His daughter noticed, appreciated.
Now, when Kate comes over, it isn’t just to his delight. Alexis has been taking advantage of his girlfriend’s time at the loft, sitting at the bar with her after dinner, discussing college majors and career paths, trading book and film recommendations.
“I don’t think it’s weird,” Alexis decides. “It’s simple, sweet, and I’m sure Kate will think so too.”
He starts with his daughter towards the register and doesn’t even try to hide his grin as he begins to daydream about Kate in the shirt.
He spends the next night in Beckett’s apartment, a late dinner date turning to a long night in her bed. In the morning, she wakes first, as usual, leaves him half asleep in her bed for a shower.
They stopped by the loft on the way to her place last night so he could grab his overnight bag and once the water turns on, Castle slips from the sheets to retrieve his latest purchase from the duffel. He tiptoes to her closet, finds a spare hanger, and eases the t-shirt onto the plastic.
After he hangs it neatly in the front of her wardrobe, on clear display, Rick rushes across her apartment to her office. He finds a pen, a pad of sticky notes, and jots down the words, remembering Alexis’s all the while.
He trots back to her closet, secures the note to the shoulder of the sleeve with an exhale of satisfaction. And then, he turns to join her in the shower.
You and coffee are all I need to make a day go right.
After a couple of days apart (Kate spending time with her dad while he takes another opportunity to devote his to Alexis), Kate returns to the loft with an overnight bag filled with fresh clothes. Her toiletries have already claimed residence in his bathroom, a toothbrush next to his in the holder; he’s tempted to start stealing articles of clothing, moving them into his closet so she doesn’t feel the need to keep hauling that bag back and forth.
She hasn’t said anything about his impromptu gift, but he doesn’t want to mention it until she does, tries not to wonder if she didn’t like it after all.
Alexis doesn’t stay for dinner, pressing a kiss to his cheek and sharing a quick embrace with Kate before departing for a night at Paige’s. They’ve filled the days of her suspension with summer activities, exciting days and electric nights, but tonight, they lounge on the sofa together for a relaxing night in.
He’s savoring the warmth of her body curled into his side, the play of her hair through his fingers, but halfway through the movie playing on the television, Kate gets up, leaves him for the bedroom.
Curiosity gets the best of him when she doesn’t return and Castle rises to investigate.
“Took you long enough.” she chuckles, sitting in the middle of his bed, legs bare and stretched across the comforter. Her hair is swept over her shoulder, nothing on her body except…
“You like it?”
He’s grinning like an idiot at the sight of her wearing the shirt he bought her.
Kate folds her legs beneath her, rising on her knees as he approaches. He stops with his knees at the edge of the mattress, curves his hands at her waist, the heat of her skin already penetrating the flimsy material of the shirt.
Her arms loop around his neck and her chest brushes against his, the barrier of her bra missing, no trace of underwear beneath his splayed fingers. She really is wearing nothing but the shirt.
“I do,” she murmurs, her lips quirking and her fingers flirting with the soft hairs at the base of his skull. “You’re sweet.”
His hands drift down her spine, to the bare flesh of her flanks where the hem of the shirt grazes.
“I should buy you clothes more often if you’ll model them for me like this,” he mumbles, hands stealing beneath the material.
Her skin shudders beneath his palms and her hips rock forward. “Mm, but no more gowns.”
His brow furrows for a moment before clarity sparks through his brain, across his lips. Oh, what he wouldn’t give to see her in that red and gold gown again.
“Do you still have that?”
Her eyes darken, flares of gold decorating her irises like the beading he remembers from that dress. She’s read his mind.
“It’s still in my closet.” His hands squeeze her ass and she presses in tighter against him. “Next time, Castle,” she husks, her lips grazing his cheek. The heat of her breath against his skin spreads, spills down his spine. “First, take your shirt off of me and let me show you how much I appreciate it.”