Disclaimer: All Castle characters are the property of Andrew Marlowe and ABC.

He caught Kate's hand halfway to the stairs.

"Where are you going?"

She rolled her eyes, but smiled nonetheless.

"To get ready, Rick."

"But it'll be quicker if we shower together," he said slyly. "Not to mention greener."

She laughed, pushing him away with a hand to his chest.

"A: I very much doubt it would be quicker or greener, because I have a feeling you wouldn't keep your hands to yourself and it would take us twice as long. And B: I already took a bath, remember? All I need to do is get dressed."

His face dropped, and his bottom lip pushed out in a pout.

"You ruin all my fun."

She lifted her fingers to squeeze his mouth into a fish face and pressed her lips briefly to his.

"I'll make it up to you later, you big baby. Now go make yourself pretty."

He glared at her, and tried to retort, but she was still holding his mouth shut. She released him with two sharp pats on the cheek and turned away from him. He stood for a moment, watching the sway of her hips as she ascended the stairs.

As she reached the top, she looked back with a smirk. He was still standing there, his head tilted to the side a little, studying her movements.

"Close your mouth, Writer Man."

And then with a sweet laugh—at his expense, though he couldn't find it in him to mind—she disappeared down the hall.

He was still there, staring after her, pondering the wonder of having her in his home and in his life when a voice jarred him out of his thoughts.

"Richard, what in the world are you doing?"

He turned to see his mother, a few feet away with her hands on her hips, looking at him as if he were crazy.

"Hello, Mother."

"Yes, hello, Richard," she said impatiently. "Now I ask again, what are you doing?"

"Oh, uh, nothing," he stuttered out sheepishly. "Just going to take a shower."

"And you were what? Waiting for it to rain on you here in the living room?"

He felt himself blush and wondered just how long she'd been standing there.

"Well, go on then, go take your shower before Jim gets here."

She had advanced towards him and gave him an exasperated push toward his bedroom.

He caught her hand and twirled her into his arms for a moment, pressing a gentlemanly kiss to her cheek.

"Oh, you," she said, shoving herself gently away from his chest. "What was that for?"

"What?" he asked in mock offense. "Can't a boy kiss his mother once in awhile?"

Her visage softened and she lifted a hand to cup his cheek. His eyes crinkled as he smiled down at her.

"Of course, and I'm glad you do, Darling," she said kindly. "Now go."

He hugged her again, asking as he did if she was staying for dinner.

"If you'll let me," she answered.

He pulled back to meet her eyes, the eyes that he knew were so much like his own and his daughter's.

"Mother, you are always welcome," he said sincerely. "I know I tease you, but I am—WE are—glad to have you here."

He thought he saw her eyes mist a little before she smacked him lightly on the arm.

"Really, Richard," she said dramatically. "You should know better by now than to make a woman mess up her makeup by crying when she doesn't have time to fix it. Looking this good takes work you know!"

He grinned and apologized with laughter in his voice, then headed off to his bedroom.

Closing the door behind him, he made his way over to the large walk in closet. Kate had teased him more than once about his abundance of clothes. He, of course, defending himself by saying that there was nothing wrong with wanting to look nice – and had she noticed her jacket collection lately?

After flipping through hangers and digging through drawers, he finally settled on a pair of dark jeans and a robin's egg blue shirt that Alexis had given him (with matching tie) a few birthdays ago.

He set the clothes in a neat pile on the bed along with a fresh pair of boxers and socks. Proceeding into the en suite, he leaned into the large shower and turned on the water. He shut the door to keep the steam in, grabbed a towel from the cabinet and hung it on the warmer before stripping out of his sweats, boxers, and t-shirt.

When he entered the hot water again, he yelped a little and quickly turned it down a few degrees. As his skin adjusted to the temperature, he massaged shampoo into his hair and then squirted a little body wash onto a sponge, lathering his arms and chest first and working his way down.

Before long he was finished, rinsing himself off, and reaching out of the steam-filled shower for his towel. His hand probed around a bit but couldn't find the warm terry-cloth where he was sure he'd left it. Finally, he turned his head to look for himself.

There stood Kate, still barefoot, but dressed in blue jeans and a light purple tee that made her eyes look even greener than usual. She held something out for him to take. His towel, he realized.

"Fancy meeting you here," he said in a deep voice, doing his best to hide his surprise and delight.

He thrust an arm out for the towel, but she pulled it just out of his reach. She hadn't spoken yet, but there was something in her eyes, a wicked glint that he recognized from all the times she had teased him.

It was the same look she'd given him when she told him about that "hot, wild, kinky thing" that she did like to do. The same look she'd given him when she willingly popped "one more button." That look was dangerous, and Richard Castle knew it.

"Kate?" he questioned timidly, leaning toward her for the towel, still not fully out from behind the shower door.

"Dad called," she said, backing up a little so she was further out of reach.

He was forced then to step out of the shower and drip on the floor.

"He did? What did he say?"

She met his wary gaze, which dropped to her mouth when her tongue came out to moisten her lips. Bringing his eyes back up, he realized hers were no longer on his face. He shivered a little when he took in the way she was looking at him, surveying his firm chest, darting back up to give him a slow wink and then sliding downward.

"He's running late."

Author's note: Honestly, I keep trying to get them to dinner with Jim, but they just won't go! Stubborn little things. Although, if I had the opportunity to cuddle up to Rick Castle (or Nathan Fillion, for that matter), I might not be in any hurry to eat dinner either. ;) Glad you all are enjoying the fluff as much as I am. I'll keep writing it if y'all will keep reading it!

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