Title: Best Served Cold
Authors: floatingamoeba and fbi_woman
Type: Castle, Caskett
Disclaimer: Even between the two of us we can't afford to own a piece of Castle, so if you recognize it, it's sadly not ours.
Summary: Castle makes a snap judgement and the women in his life make sure he gets a taste of his own medicine. Prompt: revenge.
It wasn't like he meant to listen. Rick hadn't gone downstairs with the intention of eavesdropping. But, he mused, hearing the words 'precautions' and 'special' leave his daughter's mouth, this time it was justified.
He paused, listening to Alexis giggle softly.
"I know, I had a really great time too. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be." Rick felt the muscle twitch in his jaw, and sat down on the step.
"No," Alexis continued, "It didn't hurt that much." His eyes practically fell out of his head. His daughter laughed. "Yeah, I was impressed. You definitely knew what you were doing."
Castle was torn between listening to the rest of the conversation, or washing his ears out with bleach. Alexis laughed again, and he leant forward.
"I'm glad we waited. I mean, everybody said that your first time is so amazing... No way! Are you kidding? My dad would kill us if he knew what we did last night!"
Practically hyperventilating, Castle stood, making sure his footsteps were loud on the stairs. "Alexis?" he called, "Are you down here?"
"Gotta go," Alexis said hurriedly, her voice dropping to a quiet murmur, "I love you too, Ash. Bye."
He was sure Natalie Rhodes would have been impressed at his poker face. "Oh, hey sweetie. I wasn't sure if you were home."
She nodded. "I just got back."
Rick moved to the kitchen. "Who were you talking to?"
"Just Paige, we have a partner assignment for school and we're working together."
He'd taught her too well: her poker face was even better than his.
"You're not working with Ashley?"
Ah, there it was, the slight flicker in her facade.
"No, we don't have that class together."
His heart was pounding so loudly that he was sure she must be able to hear it. He had pushed her to break out of her shell, live it up a little, but perhaps he hadn't thought that through. Teasing her about it was fun; the idea of her actually acting it out was terrifying.
This was his little girl.
Granted, she would never dream of doing half the things he did at her age, but the fact that she was doing anything she'd feel the need to lie about sent his mental red flags flying and warning bells ringing.
The sound of her voice brought him out of his haze of panic.
"Actually I'd better get going, I told Paige I'd come over so we could start on our project."
Was she really going to see Paige, or was she meeting Ashley somewhere?
"Okay pumpkin, have fun."
The second the front door closed he was running back up the stairs, two at a time. He paused outside her bedroom door. Maybe he was being completely irrational and he had nothing to worry about. On the other hand, that conversation seemed rather incriminating. If this was a case, they'd be getting a search warrant, right?
Maybe it was okay to go in. What if Ashley had dragged his daughter into a life of crime? What if Ashley was planning to impregnate his daughter with devil spawn? What if 'Ashley' was secretly Boris Constantine Dostoevsky III, a member of the Russian Mob? What if said Russian Mob were planning to use Ashley to infiltrate the inner most circles of Manhattan's rich and famous? What if Richard Castle was part of the inner most circles of Manhattan's rich and famous? The mayor was, after all, a personal friend.
So really, he reasoned, it was a matter of national security.
Her room was spotless, from the school books stacked neatly on one side of her desk, to the perfectly folded purple coverlet on the bed. Monkey Bunky sat proudly against the stack of pillows, and Rick flinched at the almost accusatory glare on his face.
"Oh, shut up," he muttered, daring further into the room and shutting the door behind him. Letting out a breath, Rick moved towards the chest of drawers standing against one wall. Photographs in frames littered the top, and he couldn't help but smile at the photo taking center stage. His 2D self had one arm wrapped around Alexis, the other pulling a reluctant Kate Beckett closer. Even then, in the very early stages of their relationship, there was no mistaking the adoration on his face, or the genuine upward curve of her lips.
Carefully, he pulled the top one open, and couldn't help but chuckle at the piles of neat clothing. The sound died, however, when he realized that her impeccable organization would make it much harder for him to get away with this. If anything was out of place when he was done, she would know.
Ever so carefully, he felt around between shirts, making sure to smooth out any resulting wrinkles in the fabric.
Several drawers later and no further ahead, he wasn't sure if he should feel relieved, embarrassed, or slightly desperate. At the moment, he was bouncing between the three.
And then he reached the underwear drawer.
Oh, how he did NOT want to go there, but when you have something incriminating, where do you usually hide it? In the sock drawer, which in her case was combined with other undergarments. What if that boy had bought his daughter something wildly inappropriate to wear?
With a deep breath, he anxiously pulled the drawer open. To his consolation, there was nothing of the sort. Considering this to be dangerous territory, he quickly poked through the socks and slid the drawer closed.
The drawers of her desk revealed nothing but school supplies and the closet held nothing but shoes and more clothes. That just left her nightstand. He was half-way through its only drawer when a loud sound pierced the air, sending his heart rate sky high.
Rick slammed the drawer shut, smacking his hand on the inside of it in his haste, and got the hell of out her room. When the sound seemed to follow him, he realized it was his phone. He sheepishly retrieved it from his pocket and checked the caller ID. It was Kate. KATE! She would definitely know what his next step should be!
"You have no idea how impeccable your timing is."
"Hello to you too, Castle."
Forgetting about his current mission, he chuckled. "So we're back to Castle now? What happened to 'Rick'?"
In his head, he could easily see the pink blush rising in her cheeks. "Work happened."
"Right. It was Rick last night. I can still hear you screaming my name, 'Oh, Rick, harder Rick, right there, Rick', while I..."
"What do you want?" Kate interrupted, her voice dropping to a low growl. He laughed again.
"You phoned me, remember?"
There was silence. Rick could practically hear her tossing up whether to slam the phone down, or get to the point.
"I was wondering if you wanted to get lunch," she said eventually. He was glad she couldn't see the triumphant pump of his fist - he needed advice, she needed feeding.
"That sounds great. I actually need your advice on something anyway."
Man, the universe was being good to him today.
"Okay." He was pleased to hear a smile in her voice. "Remy's?"
"I'll be there in twenty."
It was amazing what a good burger and fries could do to lift a girl's spirits. It might, Kate admitted to herself, also have something to do with being in the company of the man she loved, but still. The food played a huge part.
"You're staring again," she said suddenly, smirking in satisfaction as Castle blinked.
"I thought I was allowed to stare?"
"Just 'cause you've seen me naked doesn't make it any less creepy, Castle."
"I was just thinking about something."
"Would that be the thing you wanted my help with?"
He sighed. "Yeah."
Caught out by the sudden seriousness on his face, she leaned forward. "Come on, it can't be that bad."
"Oh yes it is. I think I've been scarred for life."
Kate rolled her eyes. "Okay, what happened?"
"This morning I accidentally overheard Alexis on the phone with Ashley. And for the record, yes, it actually was unintentional," he added when she raised an eyebrow at 'accidentally'.
"I believe you."
"No, you don't."
"You're right, I don't. But I'll pretend. What did you overhear?"
"Well, I didn't exactly hear anything explicit, but judging by what I DID hear, it really sounded like they had... like they were... like they... you know."
"No Rick, I really don't. That's not much to go on."
"Kaaaate," he whined, exasperated, "don't make me say it."
"I'm not a mind reader, Castle. Help me out here."
"It sounded like they were... together," he said quietly, adding emphasis to the last word.
It took a moment, but then her eyes widened. "OHHH! Oh, really? Okay, I get it now. And?"
"And what? She's my little girl!"
"Rick, she's seventeen. And you know she's a smart kid, she'd make sure they were safe."
"Then why didn't I find anything in her room?"
"Maybe she’s keeping them at... wait, why were you in her room?"
"I was looking for... okay, I don't know what I was looking for, but I didn't find a secret stash of condoms so unless she knows where mine are, how do I know they're being safe?"
Kate put her burger safely back on her plate, and folded her arms.
"You snuck into her room when she wasn't around and dug through her stuff because of half a conversation you weren't supposed to hear?"
When she said it like that, it didn't sound too good. Castle shrugged helplessly.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time. And she lied to me about who she was on the phone with! And she said I would kill her if I knew what she did so obviously she's hiding something!"
"Why didn't you just ask her?"
"I can't ask her about that!"
“Oh, but invading her privacy you can handle?”
He groaned. “Kate.”
"Look, you said you wanted my advice, and that's it: talk to her.” Castle glanced up as she took his hands in her own. “She's growing up and you need to start treating her like an adult. Just sit down with her and tell her what you told me - that you didn't mean to listen in, but you caught some of the conversation, and were concerned about what you heard."
"That's not the advice I wanted. She’ll revoke my ‘cool dad’ privileges."
Kate reached out and gently smoothed a finger down his cheek. "I know, but it's the right thing to do."
Alexis returned home, having realized shortly after she and Paige got to work that she had forgotten one of her books. She jogged up the stairs and turned, only to find her door ajar. All of her father's horror stories suddenly came flooding back, and Alexis briefly wondered whether it would be weird to call 911.
It would. A little bit.
She pushed away the panic bubbling inside her stomach, clenching her fists and throwing the door to her bedroom wide open.
"Whoever's in my room, I... I... I have a gun!" she called. Greeted by silence, Alexis hesitantly stepped forward. As she fumbled for the light switch, her wide eyes swept around the room, not hesitating to breathe a sigh of relief when she found it just as she had left it.
But... it wasn't as she had left it. Not completely.
Dropping her bag to the floor, Alexis tipped her head to one side, staring curiously at the scrap of pink fabric peeking from one of her drawers. Had she really left it like that? Maybe Kate had been in to put some laundry away. The thought that her almost-sometime soon-stepmom now did laundry in their loft brought a smile to her face, until she realized that nine times out of ten, Kate left the clean laundry on the bed.
Something caught Alexis' eye, and she frowned. A small scrap of paper, no bigger than a Post-It, lay peacefully on the floor by her bed. Upon retrieving it, she recognized it as a note Ashley had left in her locker last week. But she always kept notes from him in the drawer of her nightstand. She opened the drawer to put it away and gasped. Her things were no longer neatly arranged as she had left them, instead everything had been thrown out of place to form a messy pile in the middle.
Why would someone come in her room and move stuff around, but not take anything? Well, she didn't notice anything missing. Unless…
No. He wouldn't… would he? She knew Kate would never go rifling through her drawers, and her dad had been the only one home when she left. Alexis felt an angry blush heat her cheeks.
Besides, if he was willing to track her phone, would going through her room really be such a stretch?
They were just about finished with lunch when Kate's phone dinged, indicating a new text message.
Is my dad with you?
Uh oh. Yes, why?
Do you know if he went in my room this morning?
Rick was so busted. What should she say though? She didn't want to rat him out, but she didn't want to lie to Alexis either. You should ask him.
That's a yes. Can we meet for coffee or something? I know I'm putting you in an awkward position but he probably already talked to you. I just need to understand what’s going on.
Nothing got by that kid. Kate gave a soft sigh of defeat. Yeah, okay.
When and where?
She hesitated, and then tapped out a reply. diMario's for ice cream - 4pm?
Alexis' reply came quickly. Sure.
"Who're you texting?" Castle leant towards her, and Kate quickly hid her phone away.
"Lanie," she replied quickly. He grinned.
"Talking about me again?"
She smirked. "Esposito, actually."
Rick clapped a hand to his chest, clutching dramatically at his heart. "You wound me."
Kate rolled her eyes, and slid out from the booth. "You'll live. Ready?"
He nodded, grabbing a few more fries from his plate before placing a gentle hand at the small of her back. She leant into him as he guided her out onto the street.
They walked in companionable silence. After a while, Rick squeezed her hand, pulling her to a stop and sliding his arms around her waist.
"Okay, well. I guess I should get back and try and finish the last couple of chapters."
"I thought you were making good progress?"
He shrugged. "I was. And then I wasn't."
Kate's lips curled up in a grin, and she stepped closer until her lips brushed over his. "What's the matter, Ricky? The writing process a little... stiff?"
He groaned. "Tease."
She shifted out of his arms, giving him a quick kiss. "You know it."
His arms refused to loosen their hold on her, his lips quickly seeking hers again to silence any protestations she may have made.
"Mmm..." she mumbled, slowly tangling her fingers in the hair at the back of his neck, "I love you."
Rick chuckled. “I love you too. Now go save the world.”
Before she knew it, Kate was glancing up to the clock change to 3:56.
"Oh, shit," she muttered, hastily grabbing her purse and jacket and flying towards the elevators, shouting a goodbye over her shoulder.
Alexis was already waiting for her in their favourite booth when Kate arrived. The girl was staring blankly out the window, lost in thought with a slight frown on her face, and jumped when Kate settled into the seat across from her.
"Sorry, I didn't hear you coming. I already ordered our usual, I hope that's okay."
The detective nodded. "Of course. So what's up?"
Alexis blew out a breath. “Dad went through my room.” Kate waited for her to continue, “You probably know more about it than I do. I came home from Paige's to get one of my books and my door was open, and it looked like someone had been in there. So I looked around and the drawer of my nightstand had been opened. Everything was a mess inside.”
She sighed. “Nothing valuable was missing. I called Gram, and she said she hadn't been home, and I know you wouldn't go through my stuff without permission, so that just leaves Dad. And he was home when I left. I just... I don't understand why he would do something like that. I mean, I'm a good kid! I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't break curfew, I always confess if I think I've done something bad. So why doesn't he trust me?"
Kate reached over and took Alexis's hand. "He does, sweetie. You know what he’s like - sometimes he gets so caught up in his head, he does things without thinking them through first."
"But everything was fine when I left! I don't understand what would have made him do that."
Kate hesitated, before running a hand through her hair in defeat. "I don’t... you...” She stopped and took a deep breath. “You know I love you, right? And the last thing I want to do is make things worse. So I’ll only tell you what he told me.”
Alexis nodded. “Okay.”
“He said he accidentally overheard you on the phone with Ashley this morning, and that whatever you were saying implied that you… had a 'physical' relationship now. He panicked."
The teen’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped.
"WHAT? That is not what we were talking about at all! We haven't done anything close to that yet!"
Kate fought a sigh of relief. "What were you talking about then?"
"Ashley took me to the skate park last night. I know Dad wouldn't be happy about us being out alone in the park after dark but I wanted to wait until it was less crowded. And whenever we pass by it he always says how crazy it is that kids do those tricks without helmets and stuff, so I didn't want him to know where we were… especially since I fell a couple times and scraped my knee pretty badly.” Alexis blushed. “But I don't know what I could have said that would make him think…" Her voice trailed off as a look of horror overtook her features. "Oh my God! I said something about it being my first time and that it didn't hurt that much, and that my Dad would kill us if he knew."
The grin Kate had been trying to hide suddenly broke free, and she chuckled.
"Yeah, that would do it."
"That still doesn't justify him violating my privacy! I mean, even if we were doing that - which we're not, by the way - there's no way I wouldn't be safe about it. Why didn't he just say something?”
Beckett nodded. "I agree. He handled it in totally the wrong way. I tried to tell him that, but I'm not entirely sure he's convinced."
"So what should I do? I mean, I know it's immature, but I want him to...you know, grow up a little. I can't always be the one to go to him. Something like this is bound to happen again unless he learns to come to me first."
Kate considered this for a minute, and then a truly devilish thought entered her mind. It would be a little mean, but sometimes over-the-top was the only way to get through to Rick.
"How do you feel about pulling a little trick on your Dad?"
Alexis blinked in surprised, then thought for a moment. "Good. Very, very good."
"I have an idea…"
“KATE! Kate, come quick! It’s... there’s... KATE!”
Smirking to herself, Kate carefully schooled her features into a look of concern (with the barest hint of amusement) and pushed herself off the sofa.
She found him staring in horror at the answer machine. “What?” she prompted when he remained silent. Castle still said nothing, but pressed a button to fill the kitchen with a tinny voice.
“I'm calling for Miss A Francis? This is Betty from Brooklyn Medical Center. We have the results of your pregnancy test, if you’d like to come in and collect them. Our hours are 8am until 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Thank you.”
Kate barely contained the laugh that bubbled up in her chest as his face lost what little color it held. She cleared her throat, frowning slightly.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” she nudged. He groaned, and ran a hand through his hair.
“I'm thinking I'm too young to be a grandfather! God, Alexis...”
There was a beat of silence. Kate slid her hand into his. “Isn’t Anne Francis the actress in Forbidden Planet?” she said quietly.
His brow furrowed as he considered this, and she bit her lip to keep from dissolving into laughter. She could pinpoint the exact second that the light bulb came on in his mind.
She squealed in surprise when he lifted her off her feet, spinning around before gently setting her back down.
“Ah, I'm so glad! I thought... man, I'm so pleased it’s you! Oh, but let's go right now!"
Kate laughed. "Go where?"
"To get the results!"
She smirked. "Rick, I already got them. That message is from earlier."
"But…it said it was new,” he replied, frowning in confusion.
"I know. If you hang up before the end of the message, the new message light doesn't go off."
Again, the light-bulb moment was evident when realization slowly spread across his face. "You left it on the machine… because you knew I would think it was about Alexis."
"Oh, that is low."
Kate arched an eyebrow. "So is snooping through your daughter's room."
He winced. "She was in on this too, wasn't she?"
"Oh yeah. You should have just talked to her, instead of making her think you don’t trust her.”
Rick nodded slowly, resting his hands on her hips. "That was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, you know."
"Then can we safely say now that you've learned your lesson?"
"I will apologize to Alexis the minute she walks through that door."
She stretched up to brush her lips over his, but he pulled away before she could deepen their kiss.
"So are you going to tell me?" he asked impatiently.
"Tell you what?"
He looked at her incredulously. "The test results. What did the test say?"
"Oh Ricky," she patted his cheek gently, "do you really think I would let you get your hopes up for nothing?"
A grin split across his face, his lips swooping to seize hers as he poured all his happiness and love into one kiss. Breaking away, he rested his cheek against the top of her head. Kate laughed into his shoulder as he hugged her tight against him.
“Best. Day. Ever.”