NOT EVEN A MOUSE

Castle turns to her slowly, his shoulders hunched, almost around his ears, his eyes pleading. Is his lip quivering?

Oh dear lord, he's cute.

She wants to be at least mildly upset with him, because really, he should have talked to her at a bare minimum, not just gone off and gotten another cat without asking her, without discussing the logistics.

But she can't be mad. Not when he looks like that. Not when she glances at their kids and their hopeful faces, not when Drew is cradling the little thing in his big hands, holding it so Alexis can scratch it behind the ears.

"Well," the detective finally says. "What's its name?"

Castle's grin breaks free, lighting up the whole room with his joy. He turns toward Drew and reaches out, the younger man willingly passing over the kitten.

Holding it on its back like a baby, Castle cradles the tiny cat in one arm, his other hand pressed tight against a fuzzy belly. The little thing is purring loudly, its eyes closed and something like a contented smile adorning the small furry face.

"Her name," the writer says quietly. "It's a girl."

Quite unexpectedly, Kate's heart tumbles in her chest, her eyes lifting away from the kitten to meet her husband's gaze, his soft smile changing as she stares at him, nostalgia and something deeper infusing his look. She knows they're both remembering the last time he said those words, the unbelievable joy that has shaped their lives since that day.

"Her name, then," Kate affirms, reaching forward to rest her hand on top of Castle's, her index finger sliding up to stroke along a whiskered cheek that leans into the touch.

She's not quite a calico, now that the detective gets a closer look at her. There are splotches of orange on her, yes, but mostly she's got a tabby pattern light brown and black on her back, her underside and paws white, as if she's wearing socks. Her nose looks like like someone brushed black paint over its pink surface, but missed a spot. She's mismatched. And adorable.

"The woman at the shelter said they'd called her Hannah," Castle says. "But if we want to name her something else-"

"Hannah," Kate repeats, and the kitten's eyes open, blinking greenish gray as she yawns widely. "Hannah it is."

"Hannah Abbott was a Hufflepuff," Lilian pipes up. "And she was in Dumbledore's Army. So it keeps with the theme."

Castle laughs, and Kate looks from her daughter toward Alexis and Drew, finds them both grinning.

The detective leans down and tugs her daughter close. "Indeed it does, baby. Indeed it does."


A/N: This chapter is especially for my dear Kelli, whose friendship and baking skills make life far away from home so much better, and whose cat is, in fact, Hannah. Love you, my darling.

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