Disclaimer: I don't own Castle.

Spoilers: None.

Dedication: To Chris, who believes in me. Happy belated birthday.

-Soph


Colours

The wall of paint was huge, stretching from one end of the shop to the other. And that was just the reds. A ninety-degree turn would show him the oranges, which was just too much colour. It wasn't even what he was looking for!

He had to put his foot down. "No. Absolutely not. We are not painting the walls blue."

The whine over the phone was prolonged. "But—"

"Blue is such a stereotypical guy colour!" he insisted. It was. It was such a guy colour, and he would not—

"We are having a guy."

"We're not having a guy," he huffed. "We are having a boy as defined by his genitals—"

"Oh god, Castle!"

"—but that doesn't mean we have to follow the trend by painting the walls blue!"

"Alexis had a red-themed bedroom," his wife shot back as it if were a winning argument.

"She chose that—hah!" he rubbed in smugly. "I'm not above letting my children choose their bedroom decorations of their free will. Plus, I vaguely recall … what was it? Oh, yeah. That pink is the colour for girls. Not red."

"It's still … kinda girly," his wife mumbled. "And c'mon. Seriously. You gonna paint it yellow or somethin'?"

He frowned. "What's wrong with yellow?"

"It's so predictable. It's like, 'Hey! C'mon! Let's make this room as gender-neutral as possible!' and that's so not you."

He spluttered. "Why is it so not me?"

"But you hate being predictable," Kate replied easily. "Well. Except when it comes to your zombie theories. And your CIA conspiracies. And your—"

"Okay, okay," he hastened to stop her. "So we don't do yellow. What do we do, then? What's the little munchkin telling you?"

"Stop calling him 'munchkin'," Kate grumbled. "And he's telling me he wants onion rings. Again."

Rick chortled. The onion craving was really starting to kick in; twice, now, had he woken up in the middle of the night to find Kate in the kitchen, frying up omelettes that had more onion than egg in them because she apparently couldn't fall asleep without having satisfied that particular want at some point during the day.

Yup. His baby was weird.

He bet he could even sell Munchkin a S'morelet. Maybe that could be the little boy's first solid food.

"—have to choose a colour before I catch a fresh case and we get too caught up in work again," his wife was saying, and he hurriedly tuned in before she noticed he wasn't listening, "and we put off decorating the nursery again, and before you know it I've given birth and we have to put him to sleep on a shag rug and use your desk as an interim changing table."

He shuddered. "My desk is off limits."

"Then pick a colour!"

"I'm trying! But this shop looks like—like the Care Bears threw up in it or something." He waved away the bemused shop assistant that appeared on cue. "So many colours. Maybe I should just get one of each."

"Castle," came the warning tone. "You are not turning our baby's room into your personal art experiment."

He scowled. "Y'know, for someone who's not here herself, you have a lot of opinions."

"You know why I'm not there myself."

"Right. Baby … paint fumes … something like that." He poofed up his cheeks before popping the air out of them, not bothering to tell her that most paints were safe from lead these days. "Okay. Let the child decide. Here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna name a whole bunch of colours, and you tell me which one the baby responds to. That's what we'll choose. Ready? Go. Red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, violet, lavender, eggplant, fuchsia, apple green, tea green, avocado, viridian, chartreuse—"

"Ooh! A kick!"

"Really?"

"No, you idiot. The only colour our baby knows right now is black."

He sighed, utterly deflated. "At least I don't have to worry about him having bad taste in colour … yet."

Kate snorted over the line. "We should just keep it the same colour as the rest of the loft."

"But that's so boring," he complained. "Our baby's gonna be the most boring baby on Earth."

"Really? Because of the colour of the walls?" his wife asked sceptically.

"Yeah! You know what they say about infant development and stimulating their minds and stuff like that. We have to pick something that will interest him and make him want to explore and—"

"Easy, tiger. I think toys will achieve the same purpose."

"… Still."

A long breath of air escaped the phone receiver. "Okay, close your eyes."

"What?"

"Just do as I say."

He did, because a pregnant and annoyed Kate would be the same thing as an angry Kate. And she was a little bit psychic, too. She'd know if he weren't following orders, even through a conversation on the phone.

"Spin in circles until I tell you to stop," she told him.

"How many miles per hour are we talking here?"

"Castle."

"As fast as I can, then." He obeyed. Round and round and round and ohgodwhywasn'tshesaying'stop'? She had to be punishing him for the miles-per-hour comment. He knew he should have gone for revolutions per minute. At least he wouldn't be getting dizzy—

"Stop."

He skidded to a halt, stumbling back a little only to have the shop assistant catch him from behind. "Thanths," he slurred at the befuddled boy before going back to the phone conversation. "What now?"

"What colour do you see?"

"They've all kinda blended together in front of me."

For once, Kate waited patiently for him to regain his senses.

"Okay," he continued after his vision had reassembled itself. "Uh."

"Uh, what?"

"Uhm. Right in front of me?"

"Yeah."

"It's a colour called 'meat brown'."

"Oh." Pause. "Is it nice?"

"Not really. It doesn't look the least bit appetizing."

An exasperated groan emanated from the speakers. "Just come home, Castle."

He raised his eyebrows. "With or without the meat brown?"

"Without. Just—come home. We'll figure out some other way."

"What about the whole we-might-get-caught-up-in-work-and-forget-to-decorate-the-baby's-room issue?"

"Well, we'll … we'll leave him on the shag rug! Easy peasy. Just come home. We need to come up with another game plan."

He shrugged, even though he knew she couldn't see him. "Okay. Want me to pick up some onion rings on the way?"

"Yesss…" his wife groaned, already in delight. "I love you, Rick."

"I love you, too." He hung up with a chuckle, tucking his phone back into his pocket, and turned around to walk right into the shop assistant. "Geez, dude!"

"Sorry, I'm s-so sorry!" the awkward young man hastened to stutter. "But—but is there anything I can help you with?"

-.-.-.-.-

In the end, the walls were painted a bluish-grey shade with white stars dotting the topmost half.

It was a little bit clichéd.

But baby Sebastian didn't mind at all.