A/N 1: Hi guys. I'm sorry I've been absent so long, it's been a horrible year for me. Hopefully I'm coming out of it all and next year there won't be so much loss. I do have a couple of multi-chapters in the works, plus getting back to The Hunter. I hope you enjoy this piece of Christmas fluff! Merry Christmas!
Breakfast In Bed
Kate looked up at the ceiling in concern at the thundering herd overhead. All three kids were awake apparently. She glanced at the empty space beside her.
All four kids were up, rather. She looked at the clock. 6am. Ugh. She smashed her face in the pillow.
Was that a knock she heard? If so, it was Alexis. No way Martha would show up this early, Christmas or not.
And why didn't Rick wake her if he knew they were going to have a guest this early, even if it was his daughter?
They were up to something. All five of them.
"Me go!" she heard. Reece, she thought. "Me go Mama, Daddy!"
Rick's low rumble answered the little boy, though Kate couldn't hear what he said.
"K, Daddy, I be quiet if she still s'eeping." Kate snorted into her pillow at how 'quiet' Reece was being.
Another rumble from Rick, and an indignant "I very quiet, Daddy!" from Reece, with slightly less volume than before.
There were giggles from Jake and Lily, and a low chuckle from Alexis over Reece's "whisper".
"Come on, 'Wexis," Reece said, still in his lower pitched voice. "Let's see Mama."
"Okay, Reece, you don't have to pull me over," Alexis said with a laugh. They were close to the office now, Kate could hear her clearly, even with the hushed tone.
"Should we wake her, Dad?"
No answer, so Rick must have either nodded or shook.
Reece was remarkably silent as he and his sister entered the office. Kate could see his little head through the gaps in the bookshelves that made up the wall.
She dropped her head back on the pillow, closing her eyes as her baby moved closer.
"Wexis, Mama s'eep," he whispered, loudly enough that it would have woken her if she wasn't pretending.
"Remember what Daddy said," Alexis replied softly.
Kate was certain there was a big smile on Reece's face as she felt the tug of sheets under her, and her blanket being pulled slightly off as he climbed onto the bed.
"No, Wexis, I do it!" The two-and-a-half-year-old was slightly louder as he expressed his frustration with his sister helping him, but still trying to be quiet.
"Okay, okay," Alexis replied, and Kate could tell she was close enough to catch Reece if he fell.
She tried not to smile as she felt the bed dip under Reece's weight.
"Mama you 'wake?" whispered Reece as he patted her softly.
Kate thought about jumping up and surprising him, but Reece was more sensitive than his twin – he loved the candy on Halloween, but not the monsters – and she didn't want to scare him, not today.
Instead she squirmed and rolled over, opening her eyes to the bright-eyed grinning boy with a halo of morning light spread around his dark head.
"Hey, Peanut Butter Cup," she gave him a soft smile.
"How you know I Weece?"
It was a question they had all asked at one point or another. Reece and Jake were absolutely identical, especially when they were dressed alike. Every day the boys would get frustrated – with Daddy, mostly – when they were called by the other's name. But Kate never got it wrong, even dressed the same and across a distance.
She pulled Reece into her arms and squeezed him tight.
"Two reasons, PB, can you guess?"
"Yep, I'm a captain and what's the other reason?"
Kate laughed and said "That's true Reecey, I am a detective too. But there's one other reason as well."
Reece looked stumped and Kate grinned up at Alexis.
"You Mama?" he asked tentatively.
"That's right! I'm the Mama." She covered his face with kisses, making him squeal.
"And Mama's know everything." Oh, how Kate wished she could see Castle's face at that statement. "Now baby boy, why did you come wake me up? And where's Jelly?"
Reece looked to Alexis and she nodded.
"It 'pecial day!"
"Really? What special day is it?" Kate played along.
Reece shouted – it must have been part of the plan.
Kate winced at the sound as Castle, Jake and Lily paraded into the bedroom, arms filled with breakfast and stockings. Alexis ran to help Jake, who was struggling a little with his and Reece's stockings. The others were draped over Castle's shoulders, staying out of the way of the tray piled with food he was bringing in.
Lily had taken on the most important job. Carrying Mama's coffee. The look of concentration on her face belied her Christmas excitement, Kate knew. She delivered it with a huge smile and no small relief.
"Here Mama," the six-year-old said proudly. "I didn't spill any!"
"I know, baby," Kate answered, taking her first sip. "I like the Christmas Tree in the foam, too." She winked at Castle.
The little girl jumped up and down, clapping.
"I want Daddy to teach me to make them!" she exclaimed. "And hearts too!"
"Maybe when you're a little older, Tiger-Lily," Castle's deep voice answered. "Come jump on the bed so we can open our stockings and then eat!"
"Is Gwam and Gwap coming?" asked Jake. He was snuggled so close to Kate he was practically in her lap. Reece was the same on her other side.
"They'll be here later, Jelly," Alexis answered.
"Gram likes her beauty sleep, Jake," piped in Lily.
Castle laughed. "That she does, Blossom." Turning to Jake he said, "I talked to Grap and he told me he wanted to let us open a few presents before he came over."
"In other words, he wants a little more peace on Earth before he jumps into the chaos," Kate snorted, squeezing her boys and grinning up at her husband.
"Something like that," he replied, leaning down to kiss her. "So we decided to have a messy breakfast in bed."
Kate looked at the tray Rick had placed on the nightstand on his side.
Bacon, pancakes, butter, syrup, a coffee carafe, milk and juice for the kids, orange slices, toast, jam and honey.
Messy breakfast indeed.
"Okay, let me up for a minute guys," Kate said to the twins. "I'll go put some clean jammies on and then we'll do our stockings, then eat."
"New jammies, Mama?" Reece asked, as he and his brother scrambled to the edge of the bed to let her stand.
"Of course, PB! It's Christmas!"
After she did her morning ablutions, and changed into her new Christmas pajamas, Kate walked back into the bedroom to find an old sheet covering the bed and bedding, and the three little ones (and one big one) waiting impatiently. Only Alexis exuded any calm, and Kate could tell excitement was simmering just underneath her too.
"What's this?" she indicated the sheet on the bed.
"A way to try to contain the mess," Rick said. "Alexis' idea."
"And a good one," Kate smiled at her stepdaughter.
Stockings were first, each one filled with small things each wanted or needed. Several pairs of fuzzy socks for Kate, Hot Wheels for the twins, Batteries for Rick (and everyone else to be honest), Barbie clothes and a book for Lily, and makeup and jewelry for Alexis.
It was everything a Christmas breakfast in bed should be. Messy, chaotic – Jake knocked the syrup bottle over, Reece smeared honey in his hair – but full of laughter and joy. They had to wash all the sheets and blankets, but it was worth it. It was nice to be able to celebrate Christmas again, Kate thought, as she had every year since she and Rick had gotten together.
"All right, monsters," Rick told the twins. "Into the tub with you."
"Can I have a shower instead of a bath, Mama?" asked Lily. The six-year-old wasn't quite as messy as her brothers, and since it was Christmas, Kate was fine with it.
"Sure, Sweetie. Will you let Alexis help you?" She looked a little apologetically at the young woman for volunteering her.
"Sure, Lily," said Alexis, smiling at Kate. "I'll help you make sure the water's not too hot or too cold."
"Wike the fwee bears!" piped up Jake. "Just wight!"
"Exactly, Jelly boy," Alexis grinned.
""But Cwismas jammies," said Reece a little sadly, looking down at his new pajamas. "Mine sticky."
"Well, that's a point," said Kate to Rick. "I suppose we could toss them in the wash, but the boys'll be out of the bath before they're dry."
"Hang on, don't move!" exclaimed Alexis, as she rushed out of the room.
When she came back, she was carrying three wrapped presents. Rick was in the en suite, beginning to fill the tub.
"When dad told me about this Christmas breakfast, I knew there was going to be a mess, so I decided to get more pajamas."
The boys cheered.
"Yay! More Cwismas jammies!" Two pairs of little hands reached for the packages.
"No, wait till you're out of the bath so you don't get these sticky," Alexis said as she pulled the gifts back.
"And then we'll see what Santa brought you guys," Kate added.
The boys looked at each other and then ran to the en suite, tearing at their pajamas to get into the tub quickly so they could get out and get presents.
Alexis and Lily left the bedroom and went upstairs. Kate stepped into the en suite to grab the twins clothing and laughed at the bubble hats they already wore thanks to Daddy.
After tossing everything into the wash, Kate wandered into the living room, basking in the relative calm before the storm. The tree had been lit, and was twinkling and flashing in the room, reflecting off objects and presents.
A pang of sadness and longing shot through her. This happened every year too. She and her father would be going to the cemetery later after presents were opened and the boys went down for their nap. She missed her mom so much, but it was beyond wonderful to celebrate with her father again, melancholy though it was.
Strong arms snaked around her waist.
"Boys out already?" she asked.
"Well, you know, presents," Rick chuckled. "I asked them to wait quietly for a few minutes."
"A minute is probably all we'll get," she smiled.
"Was breakfast in bed a good idea?" he asked.
"It was perfect, Babe. I think we've started a new tradition."
"Christmas laundry. I like it."
Kate rolled her eyes and kissed him just as Lily came running down the stairs and Reece and Jake decided they couldn't be quiet any longer.
The doorbell rang, adding to the noise. Rick answered to find both Martha and Jim had made it at the same time.
The respite was over, and chaos reigned again.
Just like Christmas should be.
A/N 2: What did you think? I hope I'm not too rusty!