She's going to kill him.

She's going to kill him and make it look like an accident.

If the man does not *back off* and let her be, she will not be held responsible for her actions.

She'll have to apologize to Alexis and Martha, of course, but somehow she thinks that as women who have lived with him, they'll understand. His untimely death might be harder to justify to his readers, but well, that's just a burden she'll have to bear.


Oh god. He's back.

With tea. More of that sickly sweet honey lemon chamomile mint ginger tea that makes her gag. She just wants her coffee. Just a cup of strong coffee. She'd settle for black at this point, wouldn't mind foregoing her usual vanilla-y goodness if it just meant she could have some caffeine.

But he insists that she needs to rest and certainly caffeine won't help with that, now will it, Kate?


She hates it when he patronizes her. Usually he knows better. Usually he wouldn't dare. But there's something about her being achy and nauseated and far too warm to the touch that brings out the Daddy Dearest in him.

If she survives this, she resolves to kick him out from now on when she feels the slightest hint of a sniffle.

He blatantly ignores the daggers she's shooting at him with her eyes and settles on the bed next to her hip, setting the mug on the nightstand and leaning over, hands braced on either side of her body as he presses his lips to her forehead.

"Still pretty warm there, sweetheart," he murmurs. "Drink your tea and I'll get you some Tylenol. We'll see if we can't get that fever down a bit."

And then he strides away, disappearing into the bathroom, and she listens as he rummages around in the cabinets.

Turning her head, she eyes the steaming mug on the nightstand with trepidation. And disgust. Mostly disgust.

She wishes he had a plant in here that she could "water." But alas, no such luck. She curls her fingers around the handle of the mug and lifts it slowly, her arm muscles protesting loudly as she mentally curses at the man in the other room for making her drink this bile that he claims has extra vitamin C *and* will help her sleep, thereby aiding in her quest for wellness.

It's not that he's wrong, exactly. She does feel like crap. She's burning up and her head is pounding and her whole body aches and she's exhausted.

So it's not that he doesn't have a point.

It's not even that she minds him taking care of her.

Well, she does, but only a little. Most of her has gotten very used to his provision for her needs in ways both small and large.

When he returns, she still hasn't taken even a sip of the tea. She just stares at the surfaces of the slightly green liquid, considering whether she really wants to do this. He clears his throat, and she looks up.

One eyebrow lowered, he nods at the mug. "It'll make you feel better."

"It's revolting."

He frowns, and she wonders for a moment if she's hurt him with her honesty.

But he doesn't look hurt. He looks, well, she's not sure if she can exactly name the expression on his face. Definitely not anger. Love, yes, but that's ever-present and no surprise, not anymore. But there's something else there too.

"You're not a very good patient, you know," he says finally, and she can practically feel her hackles rising.

"I'd be fine if you wouldn't baby me."

Ah. Amusement. That's what that look on his face is. He's finding this whole situation entirely too entertaining.

"Shut up," she growls, setting the undrunk tea back on the nightstand, a little of the loathsome liquid spilling over the edge of the mug as it clunks against the hard surface.

He raises both eyebrows, that annoying twinkle still glinting in his eyes. He speaks slowly, as if she might have misplaced some of her faculties and have a hard time understanding him. "I couldn't find any regular Tylenol. Just the kind for kids."

Pulling his hand from behind his back, he wiggles the bottle in front of her, red liquid sloshing inside.

"How old is that, Castle?" she asks suspiciously. "Alexis isn't exactly a little girl anymore."

He purses his lips, pouting no doubt at her reminder that his only child is pretty much fully grown now, on track to graduate from college next year and dating a man who has already asked her father's permission to marry her.

"She's not that old," he whines.

Beckett raises one eyebrow. "I am not taking medicine that's probably been expired for ten years."

"It's not," he protests, turning the bottle so she can see the date on the side. "It's not expired at all."

He's right. It isn't. In fact, it doesn't expire for another two years. Which means-

"Castle, when did you buy this?"

His lips clamp shut tightly, confirming her suspicions.

"When you got the flu a few months ago," she says and she considers lifting her arm to poke him in the belly as she makes her point, but then decides that would require too much effort. "I noticed that you smelled like cherries a lot. I thought you'd used the wrong shampoo, but you hadn't, had you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

She rolls her eyes, though even that small action sends a sharp burst of pain through her head. "You buy that stuff for yourself, don't you?"

"But it's so much better than the chewables," he defends himself. "Those things have a funny aftertaste."

She laughs then, can't help it, and his smile breaks open, his whole posture unfolding before her. Reaching up, she tugs on his wrist. "I have to agree with you there, Castle. Which is why most adults take adult Tylenol."

He nods, and drops down, settling beside her on the bed. "I can go get you some of the regular kind if you want."

She strokes his arm, her earlier frustration with him and his hovering fading away in the face of his genuine compassion, his desire to do anything that will help her feel better. "This will be fine for now, stud. I actually kinda like this stuff too."

He leans forward, pressing his lips swiftly to hers, whether for her admission or the endearment she's not sure, but she shoves on his chest. "You'll get sick."

"Can't," he says cockily. "I'm immune, remember?"

She groans, and he kisses her again.

"If it makes you feel any better, though, I went through the same thing years ago when I got the shot," he murmurs as he pulls back from her lips.

"Tell me again why we're doing this."

He laughs. "Because there are beaches where we can swim or lay out in the sun or look at sea turtles."

"We're doing this because of turtles?" she asks. "Really?"

Castle shrugs. "Not just the turtles. There are mountains, too. We can go hiking in the cloud forest."

She raises an eyebrow. "Hiking."

"With coffee at the top. Whole plantations of some of the best coffee in the world."

She smacks him on the chest. "Don't even talk to me about coffee, right now, Castle."

He chuckles, but leans forward to touch his forehead to hers. His skin is cool, feels good.

"You'll love it, Kate," he whispers. "You'll see, it's beautiful."

"It'd better be," she replies, but she's smiling now, and she bumps their noses in an eskimo kiss. "But if I'd known the vaccine would affect me this way, I might have suggested something else."

He hums, presses his lips to hers briefly. "More than likely you won't even need it."

She pulls back. "What?" You mean I-

She splutters for a moment, but he quiets her with a hand on her shoulder. "More than likely. Most of where we'll be hasn't had any outbreaks in years, but there are certain areas in Panama that still have yellow fever problems from time to time. So, better safe than sorry, right?"

She shakes her head. "Most people would pick Paris, Rome, Hawaii. You had to pick Panama. Why do I let you talk me into these things?"

His adoring grin and mischievous wink answer her question. She goes along because she loves him, and she should know by now that he doesn't do cliche.

"So. Panama," she finally says.

He nods.

"Too late to change it, I suppose."

He brushes a damp curl from her cheek. "If you really want to go somewhere else, we'll go somewhere else, Kate. I just want you to be happy and enjoy yourself."

Her heart quickens, and she shakes her head, finds her throat suddenly tight. "I am, Castle. I am happy. So very happy."

And despite the fact that she's a sticky, sweaty mess and feels like she might puke again at any moment, when he bends toward her, she wraps her arms around his neck, lets him enfold her in his embrace.

"Me too, Kate," he whispers, and she knows she's not imagining the rough quality of his voice. "Happier than I've ever been."

He loosens his arms after a moment, and she leans back, one corner of her mouth lifting as she looks at him. "I guess it's only fair, since I did most of the planning for the big day. You get to plan the honeymoon."

Castle nods, and lifts his hand, pressing his cool fingers to her burning forehead again. "Yes. Now drink your tea and take your medicine. It'll make you feel better."

She sticks her tongue out at him.

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