An AU set before season one. I played with timelines and ages. Alexis is six while Jim is only a few months sober.
It's Lanie's crazy idea.
She and her current boyfriend are having some difficulties and Kate's been doing nothing, but reading and rereading her mother's case file, so her friend thought it would be good for both of them if they had a fun little night out. They both just left work and Kate's still in her uniform.
Even though her father is sober now, Kate hasn't been able to look at alcohol without being utterly repulsed by it. Lanie understands, says she has to work the next day so she wouldn't be consuming any either.
So how they ended up at a haunted house about a quarter mile away from the city? This she is still foggy on.
She recalls Lanie saying something along the lines of Come on, Kate it'll be fun. And dragging her from downtown in the freezing cold.
"Kate, come on, loosen up a bit," says Lanie in her mothering tone, demanding yet understanding. "We both could use a little fun. Even if it's only a few minutes. I know you have to get home, but some time out won't kill you."
Kate sighs, shoulders dropping as she stares at her friend, who's going through her own problems, and admits defeat.
Ever since Lanie and Kate became friends, Lanie has done so much for her. Ranging from just being there to have light conversation to letting Kate cry on her shoulder whenever she needed. Lanie has been the best friend she could ever ask for, always so supportive and patient with her, so, of course, Kate can do this, stay out a little later for her friend.
"All right. We can stay. But you can't leave my side in the house," she closes her eyes and runs her fingers through her hair, visibly shaking as she remembers times she's been to haunted houses and things have gone terribly wrong. "Those things have always freaked me out."
"Ha-ha!" Lanie shuffles in excitement, lets out a tiny squeal before grabbing Kate's hand and walking her closer to the action of the park. "Thanks, Kate. This is going to be fun."
As Kate looks around the open area where Lanie is gesturing, she's surprised she mostly finds adults…and children.
"I have a feeling the haunted house isn't going to be so…"
"Scary?" Kate answers with a slight shake of her head and a smirk. "Come on. We're bound to find you a guy to take your mind off yours."
"Lying bastard," Lanie huffs, puffing her chest out as she walks. "Don't even want to think about him."
As they approach the house, Kate's anxiety levels rise. The last time she visited a haunted house she was fifteen and ended up breaking her ankle from running so quickly to get out. She hasn't been to one since.
"Kate, calm down, okay? They totally child proofed this one."
"I know. I'm just hoping I'll come out unscarred," she chuckles and Kate finds it to be genuine. "And also," she adds. "That no kids get hurt."
"Speaking of kids," Lanie whispers, rolling her eyes in annoyance. "I think most of these men are married."
Kate leans into her friend's side and fake whispers right back at her. "You think? Never would've guessed with all the kids."
When it's their turn to enter, Lanie pats her gently on her back and steps in first. Kate takes a deep breath and pushes her hair behind her ears before stepping into the house behind her friend.
The first thing she notices in the main corridor is that there are no decorations, no colorful lights, no men to chase them down the hall. It's a white room with nothing but two doors-one on the left, one on the right.
"Do you want to stick together?" Lanie asks, shoving her ungloved hands in the pockets of her coat.
"If you want to."
"Come on, let's do the left door. I don't wanna do this alone," she laughs and nudges Kate's arm.
Lanie opens the door, wary of what could potentially be behind it.
It's a long hall; the walls are painted black and the overhead lights are green. The floor gets louder as they make their way forward and Kate thinks they must be made of concrete.
"Okay, this is creepy. And there's basically nothing even here," Lanie supplies, shaking her head.
As she walks, Kate begins to hear a strange sound, something like yelling…no, no that's laughing. They've got creepy laughing sound effects and Kate's not sure how she feels about it. It makes her feel like someone is going to jump out at her at any time, scare her or chase her.
It's a high pitch, light laugh sound that resembles a child's, but at the same time it's taunting. Her voice causes echoes throughout the hallway and shit. No, no, no.
"Hahaha, you can't get me!"
Oh. Oh okay, she doesn't like this at all.
Kate looks at Lanie's smirking face and tries to breathe through it. There's nothing really to be scared of. She's not scared. Nope, not at all.
As they reach the end of the corridor and turn left down another, shorter hallway, it opens up in a big, bright room. Above the threshold is a plaque that reads The Maze of Mirrors and when Kate steps inside all she sees is herself.
"Hall of mirrors, huh? This is nothing, Kate. We're too smart for this."
"I know. I was hoping for this, actually."
"You were?" Her friend raises her brow, completely disbelieving.
"Mirror mazes are fun! I have no traumatic memories of one. And looks at the people," Kate gestures, "they look like they're having fun."
"Well, well, well, look at you. How about we split up and try to find the quickest way out?"
Lanie's moving down the hall before Kate can disagree. "Really?" she mutters.
The walls, the ceiling, the floor, and the spaces in between are mirrors. Kate's never seen so much of herself in her life.
It's just a stupid mirror maze made for children, there's nothing to worry about. She needs to pull herself together. She's a cop for crying out loud!
Taking a step inside, the floor squeaks, but she ignores it, forces herself to keep going when the laughter starts up again, louder.
With a deep breath in, Kate walks faster, a new found determination to get the hell out of this Haunted House, but she hits a wall. Goes a different direction, hits another wall.
"Ugh! You have got to be kidding me!"
Kate slams her fist into one of the mirrors, and it reverberates, causing a deep whooshing sound to echo through the room.
The laughter stops.
Kate's blood freezes.
A few guests stop to look at her, but she just smiles and nods her head at them. Nothing to see here.
Closing her eyes, she counts to ten, but she hears the footsteps approaching from behind before she can even make it to four.
She has no idea where she's going, but she doesn't care. She is not about to get chased around by some guy dressed up as the devil.
The laughter starts up again, louder this time and it drowns out the sound of the footsteps and slight murmur of other voices.
"You can't catch me!"
Shit, shit, shit. This place is for kids? What the hell?
She's running now, hitting wall after wall, and there's no way to tell if she's already been through this part of the maze because all she can see is her panicked expression whenever she looks up or down or side to side and oh shit-
There's someone there.
She sees his reflection in the ceiling. All he's doing is standing there, arms spread wide and a pumpkin on his head as if he's supposed to be the headless horseman, and sporting all black.
Quickly, she reaches for her cell phone. She might not be able to call Lanie due to bad reception, but maybe a text will go through?
As Kate is typing she's rapidly glances between the ceiling and her cell, waiting for the headless man to pounce any second, but he doesn't, just keeps standing there as if he's listening for her.
With her typing so furiously, it's hard to get all the words spelled correctly, and this only makes her more anxious and-
She drops the phone.
She looks up again to search for him, turning her head this way and that, but he's gone.
Kate huffs out an annoyed breath and runs her fingers through her hair. This is the last time she'll ever let Lanie talk her indo doing anything
The headless man is quickly approaching her when she turns at the sound of his voice.
"Stop it, please!" She yells back at him.
She's panicking because she can't find the way out of this stupid maze and this guy won't stop following her and now he's got her cornered. Her cop instincts are kicking in and she's ready to fight.
"NO!" The stranger holds his palms out towards her and shakes them, as if he's not trying to hurt her.
He rounds the corner then, arms spread wide and out of breath.
"Please don't come any closer. I'm NYPD and I will have you arrested."
"No!" He says again, his hands still shaking wildly in front of him. The laughter starts up again now, and he takes a step closer.
"No, no, no!" He reaches up to snatch off his pumpkin head and he's out of breath when he does, hair disheveled and sweat beading on his forehead. "I'm not trying to hurt you. I was trying to find you."
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Rick. I'm looking for my daughter. She ran away from me and I've been chasing her around the maze for at least fifteen minutes."
Rick falls against a mirror, hands on his knees as he sucks in all the oxygen he can.
"What?" Kate's blood is still pumping through her ears, a roaring beat repeating itself until she can calm herself down.
"My daughter. She's six. She thought it would be fun if we played tag, but somehow it turned into hide and seek. That's her laughing now."
"Are you serious? I thought the laughing was a part of the house!"
Rick does a double take, one brow raised in question before he huffs, begins to laugh. "Were you scared?"
Folding her arms protectively against her chest, Kate stands taller, looks Rick right in the eyes. "I guess I've seen too many scary movies."
"This is a haunted house for kids. Even the maze is easy!"
"I've been trying to get out of here forever! I keep getting hit with dead ends."
He chuckles again, stands straighter and walks to stand closer to her. "You have to stick to the outside part of the maze. It's all a circle. The inside however, was made to confuse the hell out of you."
"Hmm," she nods, grateful to know the way out, but still wary of the man standing in front of her. Now that her heart rate has gone down and she trusts that he's not a murderer or someone paid to scare her, she realizes there's something oddly familiar about him.
"What was your name again?"
"I never supplied that information."
"Then I will definitely remember this time." He hold out his right hand for her to shake, large and open, and strangely welcoming.
Letting her hand slide into his, they're a perfect fit. His hand is warm and it helps calm her down the rest of the way. "Kate. My name is Kate."
"Well Kate, did you say something about you being a cop?"
"So…this is your real uniform?" Rick smiles as he asks, his cheeks flooding pink.
"Well, Kate," he leans in a bit to read her name tag. "Beckett. Think you could help me find my daughter?"
"Yes. I think I can manage that."
He smiles then, a small little grin that for some bizarre reason has her stomach all in knots and wow, he's kind of cute with his hair all haphazard like this and his boyish smile. And goodness those eyes are staring right into her.
Oh. She likes him. She likes him a lot.
"It's no problem," she breathes out, diverting her eyes from his gaze. "What's your daughter's name?"
"Alexis," Rick replies as he reaches for his pumpkin head on the ground. "She's a small blast of orange. You can't miss her. She's dressed as Applejack." At her confused look, he explains. "You know the pony? Ever heard of My Little Ponies? She's the orange one, Applejack, and she has extreme rlyed hair."
"That sounds lovely," she laughs and Kate finds that it's a real one. It feels good. He kind of…makes her forget she should be sad.
Rick gestures for them to begin walking and in almost an instant their steps are in time. Kate ducks her head to watch and can't help the blush that seeps into her cheeks.
"So, Officer Beckett, what's brings you here on a Saturday night...in uniform?" His brow quirks up at the last bit, but Kate can tell he isn't judging, just generally curious.
"My friend dragged me here and then abandoned me," she explains. "We just got off shift."
"I'm kinda glad she dragged you here," he smiles when he nudges her shoulder as they round a corner. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have met you." Rick continues before she has a chance to respond. "Forgive me if this seems forward, but once we find my daughter, would you want to go out with us? We're going to get ice cream."
Say yes. You want to.
"Beckett!" Lanie shouts from behind just as she's about to respond to Rick. "I cannot believe I lost you in here."
"You lost me? More like abandoned me!"
"Honestly, I didn't think it would be this confusing. And it got a little more crowded after we came in." Lanie then cuts her eye to Rick and purses her lips.
"Oh, uh. Lanie this is Rick; Rick this is my friend Lanie."
Rick shakes her friend's hand, but his smile stays directed at her. "Nice to meet you. I was just asking Beckett if she wanted to go get some ice cream with us."
"Us?" Lanie asks, narrowing her eyes at Kate.
"We're looking for his daughter. They were playing hide and seek."
"Olly olly oxen free?" Lanie says, unsure if Rick's daughter would know what it means.
A very orange child pops her head out from behind Rick with her arms folded and a satisfied smile splashed on her face. "I'm here, dad."
Rick bends down so he's level with his daughter. "Next year we're doing a bouncy castle," he tells her before wrapping her up in his arms.
His smile is bright as he turns to face her, but then both he and his daughter fold their arms again at the same time. Rick's brow raises as he shoots her a knowing look.
"So, Officer, what's it gonna be?"
In her peripheral she sees Lanie nod her head, but Kate's already made up her mind.
"I'd like that."
Thank you to my wonderful ladies, Maddy and Callie, for their help on this the other day :) You both ROCK! And of course, my fantastic beta, Amy, for everything. This wouldn't be here without you all xoxo