A/N: This fic will serve as a catch-all for my filled prompts, pic-fics, and gif-fics previously published only on tumblr. All prompts and links to photos/gifs will be posted at the start of each chapter. The majority are rated K-T, but I'll post a warning about any possible M-rated material. Please keep in mind that many of these stories were written prior to the finale of the show, and as such, do not reflect canon.
Most of this work is not beta-ed, so all mistakes are mine. Many thanks to Kelsey for sketching the stunning cover art for this piece by hand. You are amazing!
Taken from a photo prompt, which can be found at castleincalifornia dot tumblr dot com slash post slash 102129561779.
It's with a stern face that Madame Olga, the owner of the studio, pulls them aside and says they have something of the utmost importance to discuss.
She sits at her imposing desk opposite them, with a pinched, serious look on her face. "Mr. and Mrs. Castle, we need to discuss your daughter's behavior, and whether it's appropriate for her to continue taking classes here."
They swivel their heads simultaneously, only to see Zoe hanging upside down from the barre while the other little girls obediently pay attention to their instructor. Castle snickers at the sight, and truth be told, Kate's tempted to do the same, but she gives him a light slap on the arm instead to bring his attention back to the matter at hand.
"Why don't you tell us what's been going on, Madame Olga," Kate says indulgently to the aging dancer. The woman was once a prima ballerina herself, and had produced several others through her school. Madame Olga had come highly recommended by other the other parents at Zoe's preschool when she had expressed an interest in ballet, and while both of them find her demeanor to be a bit sour, they pay her the respect she had earned during her storied career.
"Thus far, your daughter appears to lack the discipline required to pursue the art of ballet…"
"She's only four years old!" Castle interjects then, and Kate doesn't disagree with him, but she holds up a hand to stop him anyway.
"Please continue, Madame."
"She doesn't follow directions and do what is asked of her in class. She is often several steps behind the other children. And as you can see," she says, as she gestures with a nod of her head toward their youngest, "she blatantly disregards her instructors and does whatever it is she pleases, distracting the other children in the process."
Kate ducks her head, biting her lip to prevent the spread of the smile that threatens to take over her face. Good God, she could not be more like her father. Madame Olga's tirade about their daughter's behavior made her think instantly of his entrance into her own life, how he had just plowed in and disregarded her instructions, ignoring her protests and knocking down her carefully constructed walls left and right.
And she loves him for it.
She looks over at Zoe once again. Their little girl continues to dangle from the barre, noisily impersonating a monkey now, her bright blue eyes sparkling and a big, uninhibited smile on her face. She looks positively ecstatic, and that's all it takes for Kate to make up her mind.
She stands abruptly then, surprising both Castle and Madame Olga, and thrusts her hand out to the fading ballerina, who takes it warily.
"Madame Olga, thank you for bringing this to our attention. We'll make sure that you receive payment for the classes Zoe has attended, but I don't think we'll be returning."
Castle looks up at her in surprise and no small amount of pleasure, a proud, lopsided smile taking over his face.
Madame Olga, however, appears flabbergasted by this turn of events. "Mr. and Mrs. Castle, I am not ejecting your daughter from my school. I am simply explaining her behavioral problems to you. I find that many times, these issues begin in the home."
Kate retracts her hand and considers biting her tongue, but no. Not this time. This is her daughter, and she adores her and the free-spirit that she has developed into. She won't allow anyone to quash that.
"And that's where we differ, Madame. I don't think my daughter has a behavioral problem. Rather, I think the problem lies with you. Thank you again for your time. Have a nice day."
She's walking away then, ignoring the look of pure shock and indignation on Madame Olga's face, and making a beeline for Zoe. She can hear Castle hot on her heels, trying to suppress his laughter at her outburst and doing a lousy job of it. Zoe swings down from the barre as they approach, hopping awkwardly to her slippered feet and doing a dainty little curtsy for them.
"Did you see me hangin' momma?" she bursts out when Kate scoops her up into her arms and walks to the exit.
"I sure did, kiddo. You looked fantastic."
"I was a monkey!"
"And a fabulous monkey you were, Zoe," Castle speaking up this time.
When they step out onto the busy sidewalk, Kate looks to see him beaming at her, his message unspoken but abundantly clear: you did the right thing. He leans in to kiss both of his girls then, lingering against his wife's lips just long enough so that she understands the promise of what's to come when they get into bed later that night.
She turns her attention back to their daughter then. "Hey kiddo, what do you say we go pick up your brother from soccer practice and do pizza tonight?"
Zoe's eyes get comically huge; the girl adores pizza. She really is her father's daughter, inside and out. "With lots of pepperoni and olives?"
"Tons of pepperoni and olives!" Castle practically shouts, reaching over to tickle his daughter and send her into a fit of uncontrolled laughter. "And after? Ice cream sundaes."
"With cherries on top?"
"Is there any other kind of sundae?" he asks her incredulously. She giggles at her daddy's silliness. Kate simply falls in love with him, all over again.
They'll eventually find a different studio for Zoe to attend. One that doesn't emphasize discipline quite so much, one that encourages happy children and free expression. But in the meantime, they have a pizza party to get to.
Thank you for reading...as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.