The Cop's Whiskers

Chapter 6

The information on the murder board was slowly building up as reports and information came in. So far there was nothing to make them think it was anything other than a pointless murder for the money Maria Somerville had been carrying in her purse. Even Castle had failed to come up with one of his outlandish theories, though to be fair to him Beckett thought, it probably had to do more with the antics of Spitfire chasing a Ping-Pong ball in the drawer than with any lack of crazy ideas.

Castle had spent time on his phone looking for a vet who could fit them in that day and finally found one on the corner of Spring and Mercer who could see him around lunchtime. She'd agreed to his taking Spitfire there before picking up food and drinks for them all on the way back.

By twelve Castle was ready to leave, Beckett fussing around him, making sure Spitfire was properly settled in the archive box she's pinched from under Miller's table when he wasn't looking, the cloth and Ping-Pong ball in place and threats of dire punishments and fates worse than death if he didn't bring her back safe and sound.

Castle just grinned at her and when he was sure no one was observing them he sneaked in a kiss on the corner of her mouth and whispered "Those three kids we're going to have … you are so going to be an incredible mom!"

Her startled look was replaced by a grin and with a slap on his chest and a "Keep dreaming Castle!" retort she'd pushed towards the lift. It was almost an hour and a half later when the pinging of the lift had her looking up and the sight of Castle loaded down with carrier bags and boxes made her grin before she was on her feet and opening the break room door for him.

A quick check that the coast was clear and she'd followed him in to the room, closing the door behind her and delving into the archive box to pull Spitfire out and give her a cuddle. Castle looked on in amusement as he placed the remaining box and bags on the table, before leaning against it and observing Kickass Kate making silly faces and noises. There were a number of inmates at Rikers and other prisons who would not have believed their eyes had they been privy to the current scene.

"Stop staring Castle! So, what did the vet have to say?"

"Firstly that she's fine, given the probability she's a stray. Just needs feeding up a little and that if she's not claimed by anyone then we should take her back in about a week or two at most to get her chipped and vaccinated".

By the time he'd pulled out the special milk and poured some into a dish, Kate was looking through the carrier bag containing sachets of special kitten food, cat tray, a bag of litter, a food dish, a clockwork mouse, a hollow ball with bells inside, a scratching pad … she shook her head, typical Castle, they didn't even know if they could keep Spitfire and he'd already bought her a bag full of toys …. Of course, she had to admit, that was one of the reasons she loved him, his enthusiasm and optimism!

They place the archive box in the corner away from the door and put the dish of milk and the cloth inside it before putting Spitfire inside, her nose near the dish. A bit of encouragement from Kate's finger and she was soon lapping it up. Meanwhile Rick's got the food and drinks out on the table and is signaling the boys.

They try to be macho about it, both Ryan and Espo, but it's the ex-soldier who first succumbs to curiosity and cuteness, first by crouching next to the box and watching the ball of fur crawl from the dish up onto the cloth and sit there, tail wrapped round her, licking her paw and wiping her face with it. An occasional big-eyed glance is thrown the detective's way, a pause in wiping, an almost silent meow which makes the little body hiccup … and he's picking her up, rubbing his fingers on her cheek and saying "Hola chica!"

"If a certain ME I know hears you, you're going to be walking a dangerous path!" warns Castle

The detective ignores him but hands the little kitten over to Ryan when the Irishman pleads for the third or fourth time. Beckett glares at Espo when some ten minutes later she catches him trying to surreptitiously feed Spitfire a piece of beef in oyster sauce; he tries to pretend he was just cooling it down by waving the chop sticks around. Beckett puts her hand out and Ryan reluctantly cedes custody, the probability of their boss knocking their heads together if he doesn't increasing exponentially.

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