One finger tapped against the glass she held as she looked up through the window at the moon shining above the city skyline. It had started snowing a little while ago, but she didn't expect the flurries to stick enough to give the city a proper 'white Christmas'. Not that that would prevent Castle from acting like an excited child at the sight of any snowflaked - and the image of Castle at the prospect of snow widened her slight smile.

She glanced over the streets of the city again, taking in the festive lights and decorations. The carols playing through the evening had drowned out any sirens she might have hear, but even now she couldn't hear them. There were bells in the distance, but the faded immediately - as if they were the chimes on the tree.

She frowned slightly, turning away from the window to see Castle trying to sneak up on her. Suspicious of his guilty look, she glanced down at his hands and smiled at the strings of tinsel hanging from his fingers. Shaking her head, she sternly pointed towards the tree and stifled her chuckle as he sighed and threw the tinsel back on the branches. Picking up his own glass from the floor - and disturbing the chimes again - he moved to stand beside her. He didn't say anything, and she returned to her thoughts.

It was just so...different. She remembered smaller rooms, different drinks, different traditions... She remembered simple stockings and a few glass bulbs hung on a tree around older ornaments saved through the years. She remembered early mornings and anticipation and relatives and dishes and... And now she only seemed to remember waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It was silly - nothing ever happened on Christmas before - but she couldn't help it. To Castle, Christmas Eve still meant that Santa Clause would be coming down the chimney after he was asleep - regardless of whether or not he had a chimney. To Alexis, Christmas meant joy and family - of innocence still. To Martha, it was a time of family and peace - perhaps more, but she seemed to give all year round... But to her...

There was still a certain magic in it, certainly. Seeing the city lighty up in red, white, and green; and passing store windows bedecked in tinsel and ivy still filled her with an indescribable feeling. Seeing children meet Santa in awe and open presents with pure glee was still heartwarming. An evergreen tree in a winterwonderland was still perfect, even to her cynical self. But...there was more to it.

There was more to idyllic sitting room and the perfect streets that were worthy of a Christmas card - there was more than just the peace and joy. Behind the perfectly set, full dining room table was a meal put together of cold leftovers - or no dinner at all - because it was all the family could afford. Behind each exquisitely wrapped gift that fulfills Santa's entire list is something wrapped in newspaper that was all that could be practically afforded. Behind each idyllic housefront and family reunion is a house that will soon have an 'accident' because no one will stop the violence and the hurt.

There were the people like her, that grew up quickly and put away Christmas - put away the childishness and the naivetie of the holiday and its hopes. There were those too that denounced it altogether, that denied all innocence and hope. There were also those that buried themselves in Christmas - in the freedom and purity it offered. And then, there those that feared and mourned Christmas - that mourned the loss of innocence and childlike faith it represented. These were the ones that reached for Christmas - that celebrated it hoping that if they pretended long enough perhaps they themselves would start to believe it again.

"Pretty, isn't it."

She blinked and took a deep breath, looking over to him and then back out the window. She smiled slightly. "Yeah, it is."

He was quiet again for a moment. "Thanks."

"For what?"

"For coming."

She glanced back out the window. There were families out there that had lost people - perhaps even had lost someone tonight. But there were families that would be able to heal because the culprit had been caught - because there was closure. She couldn't catch her mom's killer - she wouldn't ever be able to catch everyone - but at least she tried her best. "Yeah, well - it's a good gift for the first year."

"But...You said we weren't doing gifts! Now I don't have anything for you! You can't -"

She shook her head, smiling.

"What? Next year I'll just have to do better."

"Can you, Castle?"

"Can I what?"

"Can you top something so sacrificial and giving?"


She looked at him.

"Of course I can - I was going to ! I was going to give up my tradition -"

She waved him off. "Yeah, yeah - of course you were..."

He sputtered for a moment. "Just wait..."

She shook her head again, taking a drink. "Well, next year's a whole new world - anything could happen."

"Yeah - like, ghosts, or zombies, or maybe wraiths!"

She frowned slightly. "Wouldn't that be the same as a ghost?"

"The other wraith - oh! Or maybe spies!"

"Again, Castle?"

"What? You can't have too many spies."

"The last time we ran into them, we nearly drowned; and then were nearly murdered by your girlfriend. I think you can have too much."

"Come on - it was still cool."

She glanced at him. "I suppose to perfect the spy experience, someone you care about needs to be kidnapped now."

He shrugged. "That wouldn't be that bad."


"Well, I mean - you can handle yourself, right?"

She glared at him for a moment, and then shook her head with a smile. "Well, if I were kidnapped, you'd be right there with me. Unless you suddenly decide to quit shadowing me..."

"And let you get kidnapped? I'd never forgive myself."

"I feel the same - so let's leave the spies alone?"

He sighed. "Fine."

The snow was falling faster now, and it made the lights glow more. Looking down, she could see white begin to cover the ground, and she wondered if it actually would stick by morning.

"Merry Christmas, Castle."

"Merry Christmas, Kate."

Christmas bells ring a silver tune, the angels ring all around the moon. My fire burns by the holly tree - my dreams dance there in the flames for me.

AN: First, I apologise for mistakes in setting, character, plot, grammar, and all else. Christmas episodes are the second worst (the first worse being the serial killer ones...), but I love Christmas nonetheless. However, I found it sad, so... My usual coping mechanism... And, these aren't allBeckett's thoughts - I just used hers as a jumping off point. Sorry. I also don't know what the New York sky looks like from Castle's flat, nor do I know what Castle's flat looks like beyond the kitchen/dining room/sitting room/study that we spend the most time in on the series. After that, I fear I took creative license. Please forgive me. Written for episode 5x09, set later Christmas Eve'n. The song is Orla Fallons 'Bells of Christmas', but I'm not sure the lyrics are right. I never found the lyrics, so I memorised it by ear and that's as close as I got it. 8-11-2015