A/N: This is my entry in the Castle Hiatus Contest. I didn't place, but I like it. I hope you enjoy!

XXXXXX

Relaxation

She's in the bath. Candles lit, glass of wine sitting on the small table next to the tub.

He's with her, of course – well – his words are anyway, the man himself is across the country at home in their loft.

It's Kate who's on the business trip this time, teaching a seminar on putting together a well-run precinct, while not getting caught up in all the politics.

She's not happy with 1PP sending her to San Francisco for this thing. Castle's the one with the gift of gab, not her.

But here she is, the first day done, several people having told her she did well, Kate replying that all credit goes to her mother-in-law – who drilled the phrase 'fake it 'til you make it' into Kate's head until she believed it would work.

She leans back in the bathtub, closing her eyes, listening to the silence in the room interrupted only by the small ripples of water caused by her movements. She could almost fall asleep here.

But she misses her husband.

Misses his teasing smirk when she takes one of his books into the bath with her. Misses him asking her why she's settling for the words, when she could have the author. Misses him laughing at her not quite glare as she holds the book close to her chest.

As much as Kate loves his books – a reread of Heat Rises in this case – she misses not having the author with her right now.

Running her hand along the spine of the book, Kate jumps at the sound of her phone echoing in the stillness of the room.

It's a text from Castle.

How did everything go? Did you miss me?

She smiles, begins to tap a response, then pauses and dials instead.

"Richard Castle Investigations," a low, sensuous voice comes over the line.

Ah. He was expecting her to call. At least he'd better not be using that tone with anyone else.

Kate puts on her best seductive voice. "Can you guess what I'm wearing?"

Dead silence.

Then sputtering.

"Um, uh, um, ah, Kate! Heh, um, I'm actually – heh, in the kitchen. I, uh, can – I um – let me go into the bedroom… if that's the kind of thing…if that's what you …"

Kate laughs. If there's anything she loves doing, it's making her husband flustered.

"You're so easy, Castle," she giggles, and it's another thing she's been missing. The teasing, the banter, the riling each other up. Missing him physically is a given – and she does, most definitely – but it's the mental stimulation that gives the rush. It forces her to think outside the box, making her a better cop, a better captain, and… while she'll never tell him this…a better Castle.

She hears a "Humph" over the phone, and hears the pout on Castle's face. Oh, how she loves this man.

"Castle?" she asks wistfully. "You know how I like to read in the bath?"

"Yes, and you never let me come in to scrub your back."

Kate smiles. He's still pouting.

"Never?" she asks.

"Well, maybe not never," Castle backtracks.

"Sometimes I like you to distract me. Just not when I'm trying to read…usually."

"Usually?"

"I miss you, Rick," she says softly.

"I miss you too, Kate. Everything's all wrong without you here."

"It won't be too much longer, just the rest of the week." She can't resist the tease. "And maybe a trip to Disneyland,"

"Hey, now…"

Kate laughs softly, then becomes pensive. Neither speak for a moment, just sit and enjoy each other's soft breathing over the line. Then Kate breaks it.

"Would you do me a favor, Rick?"

"Of course. Always."

"I brought Heat Rises with me. Will you read it to me? There's just something about you reading your books."

"Does it for you, huh?" he says, and this time, Kate hears his smirk coming through the line.

"Something like that, Babe," she returns with a smirk of her own.

"Let's see… Heat Rises. Hang on a sec, let me grab a copy."

Kate listens to him puttering around in the background for a moment before he comes back on the line, slightly breathless.

"Okay, got it. Where are you at? Where do you want me to start reading?"

Kate smiles to herself. She enjoys going to his book readings, but she's never thought to have him read to just her before. She decides then that this isn't going to be a one-time thing. She doesn't want to wait until they have kids for a bedtime story, she wants one every night for herself from now on.

"Start at the beginning, Castle," she says, almost a whisper.

"A very good place to start," he teases, then begins.

"'The thing about New York City is you never know what's behind a door…'"

He reads until he hears Kate's breathing becoming heavy and he knows she's fallen asleep in the bath. He hangs up and sends her a text in the hopes that the chime on her phone will wake her enough so that she'll get out of the tub and go to bed.

It works. The sound echoes once again throughout the room. Kate jolts and sits up, looking around bleary eyed. She picks up her phone.

"You fell asleep, I could tell. I hope that's not a reflection on my writing. Or that my reading voice is boring."

Kate smiles at that. Soothing, maybe…definitely. But never boring.

"I'll call you tomorrow, same time. I'll read to you over the phone every night until you come home, if you want. I love you. Sweet dreams."

She texts him back quickly.

"Thanks for waking me up. I love you, I can't wait for tomorrow's bedtime story."

She stands and wraps a towel around her body. Still a bit groggy, she moves quickly to put on Castle's Green Lantern t-shirt she brought to use as pajamas. Falling into the bed she drops off to sleep almost instantly, dreaming of her husband's voice.

Sweet dreams indeed.

XXXXXX

Thoughts?