Her nose twitches, catching the scent of something that smells delectable, and she wiggles in the arms that hold her, secure, but loose and comfortable at the same time. Some people grasp her too tightly, squishing her small body. Others leave her hind paws unsupported, scrabbling for purchase against their clothes, or worse, thin air.

But her humans know. They hold her just right. They make her feel safe.

The long haired one glances down at the movement, and Minnie meows, blinking her eyes slowly in return.

Strange sounds come from the mouth. Down. She recognizes that one and meows again.

The human drops to a crouch, sets her gently on the floor, and Minnie rubs her cheek against the soft hand in gratitude before trotting off in search of that delicious aroma.

She zeroes in on the source quickly, a pot on the counter. It doesn't take her long to calculate the distance, and she quickly leaps from the floor to one of the bar stools, bounding from that spot to the counter and weaving her way past a pitcher of water and a number of oddly-shaped instruments in a thing that spins when her tail brushes against it. Hmm, she might like to play with that spinny thing later.

But not now. Now, she's hungry and she's quickly approaching the pot from which the smell arises.

Carefully she steps forward, cautious around the surface that she once learned houses some source of great heat. Burned paws hurt, and she's been wary around that area ever since.

She gingerly sets down one front foot, finds the nearest spot safe, cool to the touch. Okay then. Suppertime.


At the booming voice, she freezes, paw extended toward the contents of the pot. Busted.

The broad one strides across the room, a strong hand lifting her body with ease and dropping her - gently - on the floor.

She looks up at the one who thwarted her plans, lets out a plaintive sound. It's humiliating, having to beg like this when she should be waited upon hand and foot. But she's hungry, and the broad one usually gives in when she acts like this.

The human stares down at her for a moment, then looks to its mate briefly. Minnie turns too, watches as the long haired one settles the little one in a special chair. And then she looks back up at the broad one, meowing again, trying to make herself sound as pitiful as possible.

The broad one sighs, then reaches over, scooping out a bit of whatever was in the pot and dropping down next to her. She takes a quick step forward and seizes the offering from the outstretched hand, giving the finger an extra lick, just to make sure she hasn't missed anything.

Well, and maybe a little in affection too. She does like this one.

She likes to curl up on the warm chest and tuck her face into the warmth of the neck. She likes the wide hands that stroke over her back. She likes the way the fingers rub under her chin.

Minnie scarfs down the treat and looks up to find kind eyes watching her. She waits patiently, certain that more of the delicious food will come her way before too long.

They always share. And the baby tends to drop things on the floor too. Minnie isn't above using that fact to her advantage.


Uh-oh. He turns to find his wife glaring at him from few feet away. "Yes, dear?"

Her eyes narrow further. He should know better by now. But it's so much fun to goad her like this. She's so beautiful when she's angry. Sometimes he just wants to-

"What have we discussed about feeding Minnie from the table?"

"Well, technically it wasn't from the table," he begins, backpedalling quickly when she takes a rapid step toward him. "Right. Yes. I shouldn't. But Kate..."

She stands right in front of him, still glaring. But it's softer now, a little more indulgent. As if she thinks she should be giving him the evil eye but can't quite make herself do it. "But what, Castle?"

"But she, she just has this way of looking at me," he whines. "I mean, she tilts her head and she stares up at me with these big green eyes, and how am I supposed to not give her what she wants?"

She lifts a hand to his collar, and he glances down, watching as she straightens what their daughter had twisted as he held her. Her voice is quiet. "Got a soft spot for big green eyes, do you?"

His heart thumps harder in his chest. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess I do."

Her fingers trail down his chest to halt just about his waistband, scratching lightly at his belly. He feels his muscles tighten involuntarily, holds back a groan.

"So theoretically, if I did this," she says softly, tilting her head to one side and slowly blinking dark bedroom eyes at him, "you'd feed me?"

He can't- when she's like this and-

No. Man up, Castle.

"Depends," he says with a casual shrug. "Will you lick my finger too?"

Her expression - somewhere between glaring and seducing - breaks and she laughs. He grins back at her.

Considering him carefully, she nods, her tongue darting out to moisten her lips before she leans in close and breathes hotly into his ear. "I'm hungry enough. I just might."

He gulps. She doesn't move away, presses her mouth against the skin just below his ear, exhaling against him. Makes him shiver.

"Castle," she whispers - dark, beguiling. He leans toward her, can't help it. Can't stay away from her.

Her hair brushes his cheek, her nose grazing across his temple as she pushes herself until her chest meets his. Three years and she still renders him speechless with this alluring contact between their bodies.

"Castle," she repeats and he turns his head to catch her lips with his own. She kisses him back, snagging his lower lip between her teeth, releases it slowly, meets his eyes.

"Kate?" he asks, voice rough with need.

Something flashes in her eyes - want, maybe. But she schools her features, slides her hand under his shirt, her fingers branding his skin. "People food is for people, Castle. Minnie is not a person."

He gasps dramatically and the detective startles back from him. "Don't say that in front of her, Kate. That's - that's horrible."

The writer crouches down, wiggles his fingers until Minnie approaches him, rubbing her cheek against his hand.

"Don't listen to her, Minerva," he croons, scratching behind the soft gray ears. "You *are* a person. Mama's just tired and hungry and that makes her cranky. Makes her say things she doesn't mean."

It only takes a firm nudge to his hip from his wife's bare foot to send him sprawling to the floor.

Kate towers over him, fiercely beautiful and laughing as she digs her toes into his side. "Cranky?"

He shrugs, grinning up at her. Catching the arch of her foot, he tugs on her leg until he can press a kiss to her ankle. "I calls 'em like I sees 'em."

Her toes curl against his clavicle, and he lets his hand drift up her calf to tweak the back of her knee, making her giggle and jerk away from his exploratory fingers.

"Stop that," she gasps.

He narrow his eyes, reaches out to tug her toward him again, feathering his fingers over her ticklish spots. "Come down here and make me."

Three years together and he still does this to her, still drives her crazy in all the best ways - the ways that make her want to strangle him, embrace him, kiss him, adore him.

It's that damn smile and those blue eyes that twinkle with mischief and undisguised love. Her heart swells and she glances over at their daughter who watches in rapt attention. The little girl seems captivated by her parents' goofiness, little hands and feet still, a wide grin painted across rosy cheeks.

She looks back at her husband who still gazes up at her, his fingers inching ever closer toward the place on her lower thigh that makes her squirm. She reads the intent clearly in his eyes. Oh no.

Sweeping her foot quickly over his chest, she tucks her toes into his armpit, wiggles them until he turns on his side, tears streaming across his cheeks, his whole body trembling with unrestrained laughter.

"Truce," he pants. "Truce, Kate. I give up. You win."

She withdraws her foot, leaning down to extend a conciliatory hand.

"I always win," she reminds him. "You should know that by now."

"I really should," he agrees, groaning as he heaves himself off the floor. "Are you done abusing the man who made you supper?"

She rolls her eyes, pats him sharply on the rear, winking at him wickedly as she steps past him. "I'm done abusing the man who tried to give our supper to the cat."

He lets out a little sound of indignation, but she ignores him, pulling bowls out of the cupboard, two large and one small. She passes them to Castle, reaches up to pull down a pair of glasses and a sippy cup.

"Smells good," she offers when she turns back to him.

His pout drops away and his eyes light up, those sexy laugh lines reappearing at the corners of his mouth and eyes. "Yeah?"

She nods, sidling up to him, watching as he stirs his concoction for a moment before scooping out substantial portions into each of the bowls.

"Go sit," he says softly, handing her one of the large bowls along with the smaller one. "I'll bring you guys something to drink."

She smiles, pushing up on her toes to brush her lips across his cheek. He's a good man. Considerate. A provider. "There's some apple juice in the fridge."

He coasts his hand over her side, curls his fingers around her hip. "I'll be right there."

She glances back over her shoulder as she heads toward the table and the baby, catches him watching her, a sentimental, sappy expression on his face. "What?"

He shakes his head. "Nothing. Just."

She sets down the dishes, just out of range of her daughter's reaching hands, looks back at the man balancing his own bowl, the glasses, sippy cup, and amazingly, the apple juice. "What, Rick?"

He shrugs, sends the juice sloshing in the pitcher. The corner of his mouth rises, a soft, gentle light bathing his handsome features. "I love you. All of you."


She feels her heart flip, the sharp kick in her belly that seems to only happen when he's near.

Minnie rubs against her ankle just as their daughter lets out a happy squeal. Her family. Their family.

"Love you too," she murmurs. "All of us."

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