Summary: It's Christmas in the future and Beckett has lost her inhibitions. But not in the way you think. ;)
This is a Christmas Crackfic for your enjoyment. Please, don't take it too seriously!
The author denies all responsibility for any damage or injuries caused if you read this while eating or drinking! Put the cup down. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Merry Christmas! :)
It was a merry, festive holiday gathering at the Castle loft. Scents of pine and peppermint filled the air; colored lights twinkled around the windows and on the tree; carols played softly in the background. The gifts had been opened, and per family tradition, the loft was filled with plates and platters of snacks to keep everyone going until dinnertime.
All of Kate and Rick's children were there: Alexis, Lily, and the twins, with their spouses and children. The teenage grandchildren huddled in corners, staring at their handheld screens, while the younger kids dashed around on a collective sugar high, filling the space with their cheerful shouts and giggles. The youngest, Alexis's first grandchild, slept peacefully in her mother's arms.
"Hannah, don't climb on that," called Lily to her feisty 5-year-old, who was determinedly hauling herself up onto the dining table. "That's Grandma and Grandpa's nice table, honey."
"Oh, let the kid climb," Kate told her daughter with a careless wave of her hand. "That table's sturdy enough. We conceived you on it, after all."
"Mom!" Lily gasped, mortified, as her brothers snickered. Across the room, the teenagers exchanged glances with raised eyebrows.
"What? It's true." Settling comfortably into her armchair beside the faux fireplace, Kate sipped her mulled wine. "It was the very first day we got the go-ahead from the doctors after we recovered from being shot. Your father was very excited," she added with a smirk that had all four of Castle's offspring groaning and covering their eyes.
"You didn't tell us the stroke had affected her brain," Jake hissed to his father. "Dad-"
"She's fine," Rick assured him, blue eyes wide and innocent in his deeply lined face. "She just doesn't quite have the same filters that she used to."
"I can hear you, you know," Kate yelled at them from the depths of her chair. "I'm not deaf."
"Of course you're not," Jake agreed quickly, his cheeks reddening slightly. "Ears like a bat, Mom."
"And nothing wrong with your brain either," Reese added, seamlessly finishing his brother's thought as he leaned over to kiss his mother's wrinkled cheek, gently brushing a lock of snow-white hair back from her forehead.
"Suck-up," Alexis teased, earning a glare from Reese that quickly dissolved into amusement.
"I'm glad to see you doing so well after the stroke, though, Kate," said Jake's husband Brian, who, like his sister-in-law Alexis, had studied neurology. "We were a little worried, because I know you've had a few concussions, and that can really complicate things."
"You had concussions, Grandma? Like Joe Gordon?" This came from one of the teenagers, Laura, an avid soccer fan. Joe Gordon was her favorite player.
"Oh, sure," Kate nodded, sipping her wine again. "Lots of them. Police work is dangerous, you know."
As everyone nodded agreement, the corners of Kate's mouth quirked upward. "And then there was the time I got a concussion right here in this apartment," she added.
"When that guy broke in and shot you?" Laura gasped, wide-eyed.
"No, no. Nothing like that. I just banged my head on the desk in there this one time when Castle had me bent over it and he was-"
"Okay!" Alexis interrupted hastily, jumping up to grab her niece's arm. "Laura, I need some help in the kitchen."
"But Grandma's just getting interesting," the teen protested as the other adults coughed and tried not to look at each other.
"Dad," Alexis pleaded, shooting Castle a meaningful look. He struggled to keep a straight face as he stepped forward and gently took the wine glass from his wife's hand.
"I think you might have had enough, Beckett."
"It's my first glass," Kate exclaimed indignantly. Her left side might be weakened from the stroke, but her dominant right hand shot out, quick as a snake, and snatched the glass back. "I'm not drunk. Where are the damn M&Ms?"
"Here, Kate," said Lily's husband Tim, whisking the bowl of candy away from a grasping toddler and handing it over to his mother-in-law.
"Thanks." Still guarding her glass of wine, Beckett set the bowl on her lap and frowned in concentration as she lifted her trembling, clumsy left hand and scooped up a few M&Ms. They dropped back into the bowl before she could bring them to her mouth; she grunted with frustration and tried again.
"Should we help her?" Reese whispered to Brian, who shook his head.
"No, she's probably working on those fine motor skills in PT. It's good practice."
"Good practice, my ass," Kate complained, making both men wince as they realized they hadn't quite been quiet enough. "Damn PT is a sadist."
"You could be nicer to him, Mom," Lily said carefully. She ignored the way her father blanched and shook his head at her in admonishment. "He's only trying to help."
Kate scoffed. "He could help by giving me some actual useful exercises to do. I need this hand." She lifted her uncooperative left hand and scowled at it. "It's the one I use on your father's balls when I go down on him."
Tim choked on a grape. Lily turned bright red. Laura and her cousin Jeff burst into teenage snickering.
"I has balls too!" announced little Alexander with great pride. "Right, Daddy?"
"That's right, buddy," agreed Jake, his face absolutely blank. He carefully didn't look at any of the others as he quickly distracted the toddler with a toy.
In the kitchen, Laura was reluctantly helping Alexis slice more cheese for the snack trays. But the teen had managed to dash off a quick challenging text to her cousins Jeff and Matthew. The boys looked at each other across the room, silently competing to see who would take Laura's dare.
It was Matthew, the college sophomore, who finally rose from his seat at the back of the room and went to perch on the arm of Kate's chair.
"Hey, Grandma," he said by way of greeting, snagging a few M&Ms from her bowl. Kate gave him an indulgent smile.
"Hi, Matty. How's Stanford treating you, baby?"
"It's good. Great, really," the young man said, accepting the term of endearment without a hitch. "So, uh-" He lowered his voice in hopes that the adults wouldn't catch on. "You and Gramps still have a pretty active sex life, huh?"
"Oh, hell yeah," Kate cackled. "We get around. Well, he still has a bit of trouble since his second knee replacement, but I prefer to be on top anyway, so it works out."
"Cool," Matthew said, feeling the hot stares of his younger cousins boring into him. He struggled to keep his composure. "That's, uh, that's great. I'm glad you guys are enjoying yourselves."
"And you?" Kate asked, fixing him with a piercing look of her own. "Do you have someone steady, or are you in that fucking-everything-that-moves stage? If you inherited your grandpa's stamina, those are gonna be some pretty lucky girls out at Stanford."
Matthew's carefully cultivated cool collapsed. "Um," was all he could manage as he blushed to the roots of his red hair.
"Or boys, if that's your thing," Kate added with an airy wave. "Whatever does it for you, sweetie. You gotta have some fun, that's all."
"Matt?" Alexis asked, approaching them. "What are you guys talking about?"
"Nothing," her son squeaked, standing up quickly. "Nothing, Mom, uh, um, just chatting, you know?"
Alexis looked suspiciously at her stepmother, but Kate just gave her an innocent smile.
"You've raised a lovely young man, Alexis," the old woman said sweetly.
Back in the kitchen, Reese and his girlfriend Carrie had taken over food prep, slicing fruit and vegetables while chatting with Alexis's daughter-in-law, Suzanne.
"The same thing happened with my uncle when I was a kid," Suzanne was saying. "He had a stroke and suddenly just started saying whatever came into his head. It was like all of his polite-company filters just went away."
"It's just so embarrassing," Reese groaned. "It's not like I don't know they had sex, but I don't need to hear all about it."
"Well, I think it's cute," Carrie giggled, and Suzanne nodded emphatically in agreement.
"Me too. They're obviously so much in love after all this time."
"And from the sound of it, they have more sex than we do," Carrie added with a nudge to Reese's ribs. His mouth fell open and he sputtered in outrage as the two women burst out laughing.
"Problem?" Jake asked, joining them with an empty bowl in hand. He began to refill it with mixed nuts, lifting his eyebrows at his twin.
"Nah," Reese said, but in silent twin-telepathy, he conveyed What are we gonna do about Mom?
Jake shrugged. What can we do? he responded philosophically. "Let me get that," he said aloud to Suzanne, taking the tray of crudites she had prepared. "Do you need another glass of water? That baby sure loves to nurse, doesn't she?"
"She does," Suzanne agreed, smiling fondly across the room, where her husband, Alexis's son Harper, had just placed their baby on Kate's lap. The old woman was gently stroking her great-granddaughter's cheek with her left hand, steadying the baby with her stronger right hand and talking softly to her. The little one smiled and babbled back, but just a moment later, her chubby face screwed up and she began to fuss.
"That's my cue," Suzanne sighed, quickly draining her water and then hurrying across the room. "Sorry, Kate, she's probably hungry again."
"I remember those days," Kate commented as Suzanne lifted the baby from her lap. "Makes it quite a challenge to find time to get it on, am I right?"
A few of the other adults winced, but Suzanne merely smiled and nodded agreement. "Yeah, it does, but she's worth it."
"That's true," Kate murmured, nodding back thoughtfully. She watched with a soft smile as Suzanne settled herself onto a couch and put the baby to her breast. "Very true."
"You must have managed somehow, Grandma." This came from Jeff, the other teen in the room, who was feeling a bit embarrassed at not having risen to Laura's challenge. "I mean, Aunt Lily was pretty little when you had my dad and Reese." He smirked at Laura, ignoring the narrow-eyed looks being directed at him by his parents.
"Yeah, we managed," Kate agreed with a grin. "Lucky for us, Lily was a good sleeper. And your grandpa learned how to be quick, even though that isn't usually his way. He likes to make it last."
"I do," Castle agreed. He saw his various offspring staring at him and shrugged. "What? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
"I wuv Christmas!" announced little Hannah out of the blue. "Don't you wuv Christmas, gampa?"
"You know I do, little bean!" Castle exclaimed. He might be old, but he could still sweep up his granddaughter into his arms and make her laugh by blowing raspberries on her cheeks. "Did you like your presents?"
"Yeah!" the child squeaked in between giggles, squirming in his arms. "Did you yike yours too?"
"Of course I did. I'm going to hang the picture you drew on the wall in my office."
"Did you yike your presents, gamma?" Hannah asked in turn. She wriggled out of Castle's grip and ran over to climb onto Kate's lap.
"You bet I did," Kate agreed, wrapping her good arm around the little one. "And grandpa still has a present to give me after you all leave. A very special one," she added with a naughty wink in her husband's direction as the other adults variously groaned, rolled their eyes, and sighed in resignation.
"Weally?" Hannah sat up, a small frown creasing her forehead as she examined her grandmother's face. "Maybe we should all go home so you can open it."
"That's not necessary, sweetie," Castle said quickly before his wife could reply. "Grandma and I are so happy to have you all here."
"But it is almost time for us to get going, though," Jake added apologetically. "Someone needs their nap," with a significant glance toward his toddler, "and we should get on the road while it's still light out."
"Us too," Harper put in, and his glance was toward his wife, who had nodded off on the sofa along with their daughter. "Suzanne's parents are expecting us."
There were nods all around. It was customary by now for all of the Castle clan to spend the morning at the loft, and then disperse to their spouses' families for the afternoon and evening.
"No, no. You don't have to go yet," Castle protested, but then he caught sight of the clock and winced. "Oh. Well, I guess it is getting a little late."
"I just hope these guys will nap in the car," Lily said. Several of the younger children were already halfway there, little eyes drooping as they sat on the floor with their toys.
The loft went into a whirlwind of cleaning and packing-up activity, with the sleeping Suzanne and her baby carefully left alone in the midst of it. As Jake was stuffing his children's things into a diaper bag, he noticed his mother trying to push herself up out of her chair.
"Mom, what are you doing? Let me help," he said, jumping up to take her elbow. Kate tried to shoo him away, ineffectually with her bad hand.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," she insisted, scowling when Jake reached for the cane sitting beside the chair. "I don't need that stupid thing."
"Don't be a hero, Mom. Use the damn cane," he insisted, pushing it into her hand. Kate grumbled, but she leaned her weight on the cane and began a slow shuffle toward the bathroom.
"Lily," Jake hissed, signaling his sister with his eyes. She just shook her head.
"She doesn't need help with that. Or if she does, she won't accept it," Lily said with a shrug.
"She's fine, guys. Really," Castle said. "The doctor says that the, uh, inappropriate comments are just temporary and her usual inhibitions will come back in time, as her brain heals from the stroke."
"That's good," Lily said. None of the adults noticed the teenagers exchanging a disappointed look in the background.
Christmas has never been this much fun before, said Jeff's text to Laura. She nodded emphatically in agreement.
Soon enough, all of the children were bundled into their winter gear, the gifts neatly packed up, and everyone gathered in a huge mob by the door to exchange goodbye hugs and good wishes. One group at a time, they straggled out the door and onto to the elevator. At last there was no one left but Kate, Rick, Reese, and Carrie.
"Carrie's parents are in Aruba," Reese explained with a shrug. "We don't really have anything planned for the evening."
"Oh, well, you should stay for dinner then," Rick exclaimed. "I'm just reheating the lasagna from yesterday. There's plenty."
"Pfft, they don't want lasagna, babe," Kate scoffed. "They want to go home and get naked. Just like we do. Am I right?" she added with a wink toward Carrie.
The young woman ignored her boyfriend's cringing and returned the wink, along with a broad grin. "You are indeed, Kate," she said merrily. She opened the closet door and took out her coat and Reese's. "And can I just say, I'm so glad you all welcomed me into your home today. I had a great time, and I learned a lot about where my guy comes from." Her eyes sparkled with amusement.
Kate's eyes were equally bright as she nodded approval. "It was lovely having you," she responded. "Now go have fun. Remember, even if he says he's worn out, he's still got fingers."
"Mom," Reese moaned, grimacing in agony. His father gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
"Good seeing you, son," Castle said. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," the others echoed, and there were hugs all around.
"I like her," Reese and Carrie could hear Kate commenting as the loft door closed behind them. "She should stick around."
"I think she will. You haven't scared her off yet," they heard Rick reply, and then a short gasp. "Beckett! Don't. You know how hard it is for you to get up off your knees these days."
"Let's take it into the bedroom then, stud," the old woman's voice responded, low and teasing. "I'm gonna jingle your bells."
"Oh God," Reese groaned, putting a hand over his face as the elevator mercifully arrived. Carrie just grinned, sliding an arm around his waist and snuggling up to him as they stepped in and began their descent.
"And to all a good night," she commented in a voice full of cheer.