"Yo, Beckett!" Esposito's voice brought her back to earth.
"What? …Oh, sorry Espo, you were saying?" She looked up across the bullpen to where he stood.
"Thinking about him already?" Ryan said from his chair, a pen in his mouth. Both he and Esposito were wearing a smug smile on their faces.
"What? No..., no. I just..." she trailed off and felt herself blush.
"Yeah… we get it," Esposito wiggled his brows and elbowed Ryan. They both walked over to her.
"You miss him," Ryan chimed as he sat on the edge of her desk. She hushed him, afraid someone passing by would overhear.
She looked up at their smiling faces, their amused, yet understanding looks, and threw her hands up in the air in surrender, sighing. Leaning forward, she rested her arms on her desk.
"Okay, yeah, I miss him," she murmured under her breath so no one else could hear. "It's been four hours and I already miss him," she admitted and slumped back in her chair. She pinched her nose and closed her eyes. She'd missed the job, a lot, but now that she had him, it was different.
"Don't worry, it takes time," Esposito tried to be sympathetic.
"He's coming over anyway, right?" Ryan asked her in a soft tone.
She checked her watch. "He should be here in an hour," she said, a half smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "The Captain agreed to let him come for an hour every day, for now." Her mind started to wander off again, but glancing up, she caught the smirking looks of them both staring down at her. She got serious, "Okay gentlemen, back to business… Where are we on the case? Any updates?" They immediately stood straight and squared their shoulders.
"We were able to trace the last phone call the vic received on his cell-" started Esposito, then Ryan picked it right up.
"-it came from a payphone at the north-east corner of…" he checked his notepad, "Broome and Orchard Street, Lower East Side."
"Alright, you two get down there and-" she was cut off.
"-and check for security cameras and witnesses," the two detectives said in unison. She gave them a look and then waved them off. They left whistling cheerfully towards the elevator.
She turned her chair and faced the still too empty murder board. Given they'd been only half morning on the case, it wasn't that bad. Just her luck; first day back in the field and a fresh body happens to drop at early sunrise. A call at 5:45 am and she was walking out the door before her sheets were cold.
Her mind travelled home, to… No! Focus, she thought. The victim, a 55 year old man, high class lawyer, found dead in a narrow alley behind a dumpster. Single shot to the head, execution style. Since he still had his wallet and phone on him, robbery could be most definitely be ruled out. But one thing was missing, his keys. So after the crime scene, they'd driven to the victim's penthouse and found it trashed. CSU was working the apartment. Most definitely someone wanted something from the vic that was worth killing. Very possibly, something related to one of his cases. She was waiting for a list of names of all of his clients.
An hour later, she'd read the preliminary report from Lanie's autopsy on the lawyer, and was now going through the footage of a bank's security camera near the alley where the victim was found. Her head would snap up every time she heard the elevator ding or the doors slide open. And every time she would look back down at her screen, disappointed. Twenty more minutes passed. She was having a hard time concentrating, couldn't really pay attention to the people walking past the ATM security cam. She stood up, grabbed the dry-marker and added some information on the whiteboard. When she was done, she stepped back and leaned against her desk, contemplating her work. The elevator stopped at the homicide floor, but this time she refrained from looking over her shoulder. Male laughing voices reached her ears. Esposito's, Ryan's and…
She hurried, without actually running, to meet them halfway.
"About time," she said, frowning at Castle. "What took you so long?"
"Sorry hon! It's such a nice morning that we decided to walk here," he smiled. She couldn't help but smile back. Then she reached to loosen the straps and took her baby boy from the carrier attached around Castle's chest and back.
"Beckett, you've woken him!" Esposito chided.
"He was sleeping so profoundly…" Ryan said to her.
"Shut up! Besides, he's my son," she stated as she cradled her three month old baby in her arms. "I can do whatever I want with him."
"I'm telling you guys," Castle interrupted. "He can sense her. I mean, actually sense her presence," he explained. "When she takes one step into the room, his eyes fly wide open. Every single time." His gaze shifted to Kate and the baby. "I've never seen anything like it. A true mother-child bond."
She planted a dozen kisses on the baby boy's head and soft cheeks. "Hi, sweetheart," she cooed, as she walked over to her desk and sat on her chair. The three men followed behind her. "Momma missed you so, so much," she whispered into the baby's ear. Castle dropped the blue and gray diaper bag onto his chair.
"How about me? Miss me at all?" Castle asked with a grin.
"Sure," she mumbled in a shallow tone, not taking her eyes off her son. There was throat clearing from the boys and she looked up at them, her brows arched in question. They were both staring down at her with a grimace on their faces.
"I think you hurt Dad's feelings," Esposito said, and both detectives shifted their gaze to Castle.
"What?" Her eyes darted to him too.
The corners of Castle's lips were turned downward, and he had a hurt look on his face. She rolled her eyes. Sometimes she believed she had two babies at home. But that was one of the qualities she liked most about him. Making sure there was no one else around, she stood up and stepped closer to him.
Placing a tender kiss on his cheek, she murmured close to his ear, "Of course I missed you." He snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her closer to his side, and gave her a deep kiss on the mouth. It took her by surprise and her lips melted into his. He brought his other hand to the back of her neck and laced his fingers through her hair.
A moment later she heard people chuckling and clearing their throats; someone whistled. Kate broke the kiss and looked around. Half the precinct was staring in their direction. Esposito had his arms crossed over his chest and a smug grin on his lips. Ryan was looking at them half amused, half grossed out. Her cheeks blushed deep red.
"Uhm…, you're holding a baby in your arms, boss," Ryan said with arched eyebrows. "Nothing he should be seeing just yet."
"If you need some alone time…" Esposito trailed off to make his point. He extended his arms and took the baby from Kate. "Hey, little guy, come here with your uncles." She started to protest but decided to let it go. People were still glancing over to them.
"Okay people, show's over!" she exclaimed, and everyone scattered away back to their desks.
"Hey, he's wearing the shirt we gave him!" Esposito chuckled. When he'd been born, Espo and Ryan had given the baby a cute light gray NYPD T-shirt: New York's finest and cutest. He also wore white soft sweat pants, a matching hoodie, and socks.
"So…, fill me in?" Castle asked. She turned to him; he motioned to the murder board with his head.
"Sure, um… William Gable, a lawyer, was found this morning by a garbage service crew." She casted a side glance over to where Esposito and Ryan were playing with the baby. Her lips turned up in a smile. They were singing to him and he was laughing. She turned back to Castle and continued. "Single shot to the head-"
"Execution style?" he cut in.
"Yeah, 9mm slug. His penthouse was turned upside down. We checked with the concierge in his building. He's last seen the victim yesterday evening. He was carrying a briefcase, but we haven't found it, so the killer probably took it. Guys!" she called and beckoned the boys to come. "What did you bring back from your trip?"
"Right," Esposito held a finger up. He handed the baby to Ryan and took out his notepad. "We got lucky. There is a traffic camera that points directly to the phone booth. They're sending over the footage. We also talked to the owner of a denim store right in front of the payphone. A… Melanie Fanner. She lives right above her store. She was home and said she heard some guy late last night yelling." He kept reading from his notes.
"Alright, nice work gents. Let's-"
The baby started crying, and every head turned to Ryan.
"I did nothing, I swear," the detective defended himself. She took the baby from him.
"Don't panic, he's just hungry Ryan," she said, and put her pinky finger inside the baby's mouth. He immediately grew quiet. "What are you going to do when your baby girl is born?" she teased him.
"Well…, I still have four months to prepare myself," he shrugged and shoved his hands deep in his pockets.
"You're having a girl? How come I didn't know?" Castle complained.
"We just found out yesterday." Ryan's smile was huge.
"Congratulations man!" Castle pulled Ryan into a bear hug and patted his back. "Jenny must be thrilled!"
"Well Espo, you and Lanie should be next," Beckett nudged him. His eyes open wide and he took one step back.
"Yeah, Javier! When are you going to pop the question to Lanie?" Ryan said with an air of smugness.
"Whoa, whoa!" Esposito held his palms up, overwhelmed at the sudden pressure. "I…, we just… It's none of your business."
"Okay, I'm gonna feed this little one," she chuckled.
Esposito took a step closer to her. "You still… uh, you know." He pointed a finger to his chest. "You still… breastfeed… him?" he stammered under his breath.
"Yeah… That's why Gates allowed us to bring him in everyday?" she spoke slowly, arching her brows. He nodded in understanding with a shy smile. She turned and grabbed the diaper bag on her way to one of the Interview rooms.
Ten minutes later, she sat snuggled in one of the new cushion couches the precinct had bought, when Castle walked in the room. He closed the blinds of the nearest windows and sat down next to her. Leaning in, he brushed a soft kiss over the baby's brown hair.
"How are you doing? You having a hard time?" he asked in a tender tone.
She looked him in the eye. "It's harder than I thought," she murmured, taking one of the baby's feet in her hand. Castle pressed his lips to her temple.
"I haven't seen Gates in her office," he mentioned.
"She had a meeting at 1PP. She'll be back later."
He hummed, then offered, "You want me to stay a while longer?"
She chuckled once. "Thanks, but I'd be distracted." She paused, sighed deeply, and then added, "Besides, he needs to sleep in a real bed, not in everyone's arms."
"I could go home, get his car seat," he grinned and raised his brows.
"Thank you, but… I need to do this." She rested her head on his shoulder and looked down at the baby. He was looking up at her, his tiny hand on her breast near his mouth.
"Okay." Castle kissed the top of her head. "I'm gonna see if the boys need help."
"Alright guys. It's almost five, I'm calling it a day. Going home to my boy," she said as rose from her chair.
"Don't you mean, your boys? Plural?" Esposito teased. She threw a pen at him, but missed. He grinned wide, eased back in the chair and crossed his ankles on his desk.
She got her purse and jacket. "See ya tomorrow!" she called.
"Have a good night," Ryan said.
"See ya," from Esposito. "Give him a kiss for me!"
"You miss Castle that much Esposito?" she called over her shoulder, mocking him.
She set the alarm to go off earlier so she could have some extra time before she had to leave for work. Even so, what woke her the next morning was the sound of soft babbling. She got out of bed and padded over to the cradle, which hang from the ceiling. As soon as he saw her, the baby smiled, waved his arms, and kicked his legs.
"Good morning, love," she whispered and he squealed in response. She chuckled quietly. "Sssh, you're gonna wake up Daddy," she murmured as she scooped him in her arms. "Are you hungry? Let's have some breakfast and let your Dad sleep," she whispered as she walked out into the living room.
An hour later, she laid down the baby, fast asleep, in his bassinet. She crouched next to Castle, who was still deep in his slumber, and softly kissed his lips.
"See you later," she whispered.
"Love ya," he mumbled.
As she was closing the front door, she hesitated. She walked back inside, and a minute later came back out and headed to the station.
He woke up and reached out with his hand. She was gone and her sheets cold. He walked over to the cradle and saw the baby asleep, his little thumb in his mouth. He smiled and walked out towards the kitchen. Something by the front door caught his eye. He took the note from inside the baby's car seat and read:
-Take it with you when you come to the precinct. I love you too -