CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE?

Author's note: Apparently over the past week of trying frantically to finish all my schoolwork, I've conditioned myself to wake up at 5:30 every morning. Turned in the last paper just before midnight last night, but I still woke up early today. I figured I'd put the time to good use. ;)

For Kelli, who promised to help me out in my own Craigslist quest.


She catches him while he's perusing Craigslist one morning, his eyebrows knitted a little, lips barely pursed, head tilted slightly to one side. Had she walked in a moment later she's fairly certain she would have heard him "awwwing" over the picture on the screen.

The little thing *is* very cute. Downright adorable, if she's being honest. With its bright, soulful eyes that are just edging into brown, its alert ears that are still too big, its tiny black nose, and its paws that just look so soft.

She just wants to pick it up and...

No.

No. Not again.

"Castle," she says sternly, one hand on her hip for effect.

He tips his face to look at her, leaning back in her office chair, one hand keeping the laptop steady on his thighs, the other curling around the back of her knee.

"Please?" he murmurs

His blue eyes glimmer with hope, wide and oh-so-innocent, all little boy, and her heart thuds hard in her chest, her breath catching suddenly at how much she wants that, wants him, wants a son with his face, his smile, his ability to make her forget everything aside from how very much she loves him.

"Kate?" he says after a moment, and she realizes he's still staring at her with that pleading face, his bottom lip just starting to poke out in the beginning of a pout.

She could almost say yes. Almost.

"Castle, I don't thinkó" she starts, but he cuts her off, his fingers caressing at the back of her knee, and damn if he's not playing dirty because he knows, he absolutely knows that's one of her spots and she can already feel her legs going to jelly.

"Please, Kate," he begs. "It's already had its shots, and it's negative for whatever diseases they get, and it's been fostered in a home with little kids, so..."

She shakes her head, tries to stay upright rather than sinking to the floor beside his desk, rather than straddling him and letting him convince her without using his words.

"Rick, we're trying to manage a toddler, plus the cat we already have who still thinks she's a kitten. I don't think adding an actual kitten to the mix is a good idea."

The pout comes out in full force then, but to his credit, he doesn't whine. Instead he lifts the laptop from his legs and sets it on the desk, tugs her against him until she has no choice but to perch herself on his warm thighs, his arm snaking around her waist.

His chin lands on her shoulder, and he presses a warm kiss to the side of her neck, just below her ear.

She can feel herself melting.

"Lilian would love it though," he says quietly, a soft yearning in his voice, and why does this mean so much to him?

She stays silent, lets him make his case.

"She gets along fine with Minnie, and I'm pretty sure Minnie actually likes her more than she likes any of the rest of us," he says, and Kate laughs at that, because it's true, it's absolutely true.

"So why upset the balance?" she asks, pulling her eyes from the impossibly cute face on the screen to meet her husband's gaze, watching it flicker from merely sappy as he looks at the kitten to adoring as he looks at her.

"Because I think sometimes she's too rough with Minnie, but Minnie's so patient with her," he says. "And she'd have to learn to be gentle with a kitten or she'd get scratched. Or bitten."

Kate laughs, her eyebrows furrowing. "You want to get a kitten so it'll scratch our kid? I'm not sure I follow your logic."

Except she kinda does. Lilian is all Castle in so many ways. Affectionate and imaginative and playful. And sometimes a little too enthusiastic.

They've stopped their daughter more than once at the bottom of the stairs, her little arms looped tightly around a soft gray belly, Minnie's back paws dragging against the floor, her shoulders hunched and front paws arched over the girl's arms, a long-suffering look on her furry face.

A lesser cat wouldn't take that.

"I just think," Castle starts, pausing for a moment as his hand drops to stroke her thigh. "I just think it might be good for her. She's the youngest right now."

It's true. Ryan and Jenny's kids are both older. Lanie and Javi had decided finally, when nothing else worked, to adopt, and they fell in love with a six-year-old they met while working the murder of his foster dad.

All of them are older than Lilian.

"She's not spoiled," Kate says, and Castle shakes his head quickly.

"No, not what I meant."

They don't spoil her. Everything she need, she has, of course. But Kate can easily see now how Alexis turned out so well, how Castle was such a good father to her, even if he does act like a big kid himself sometimes.

"I just mean," he goes on, his warm palm sliding slowly up and down the inside of her thigh, languidly lighting her whole body on fire. "That it'd be good for her to have something weaker than her, something to teach her a little responsibility, and gentleness."

Her eyes drift back to the computer screen as he touches her, his hands soft, his fingers edging so close to where she wants to feel his skin against hers but not quite there.

It's getting harder to think, and frankly, she can't quite remember why she didn't want to get another kitten. Can't quite remember why she wouldn't want to give this man anything his heart desires.

His hand rises to her stomach, his thumb sneaking under her loose shirt to stroke at the soft flesh that she can feel contracting under the easy rhythm of the motion.

"This one," he says, nudging her with his cheek. "Eight weeks old."

"Mmm?" she murmurs.

He nods, his chin bumping her shoulder. "It's a boy. They've been calling him Ollie, but we couldó"

She cuts him off, turning quickly in his grasp to wrap her arms around him, her legs dangling sideways over his lap, her mouth fusing to his.

He grunts out a startled sound before he settles into the kiss, his fingers large and strong as they grip her waist.

"Kate?" he gasps when she finally pulls back from him, her hands curled at each side of his neck.

"I want a boy," she says breathlessly, the words tumbling unintended from her lips.

"This one *is* a boy," he says, and he arches his neck as if to look over her shoulder at the laptop screen. "And I saw a few others too if..."

She shakes her head, puts one hand on each cheek until he meets her gaze, his blue eyes full of questions.

"A human boy," she clarifies, her thumb caressing his bottom lip as his mouth falls open.

"Huh," he whispers, a little puff of air escaping him, his eyes wide and surprised and shining as he stares up at her. "Not a kitten?"

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