Back to the Beginning

Castle would be the first to admit that their deep friendship was unexpected and slightly peculiar given how different their lives were. Then again, perhaps that was why their bond was as strong as it was; those two descriptors perfectly illustrated the circumstances surrounding their initial meeting. Perhaps it was the path they were destined to walk. Caskett FFYG-AU

There are 10 chapters


Standing in the corner of the rooftop bar, Richard Castle gazed out across the city before lifting his head and turning his champagne glass nearly upside down so the last few drops of bubbly liquid poured onto his tongue. When he lowered the glass again he felt his heart sink a bit lower into his chest. The evening was over and he had unfortunately spent it mostly alone.

He should have been happy or at the very least satisfied. The party was, after all, in his honor. Well, rather, in honor of his fictional character Derrick Storm and the final appearance he would make in print, but yet he was not satisfied at all. At best, he could be described as disappointed and not because of the continued browbeating he received from his publisher-slash-ex-girlfriend Gina about killing off the character she'd dubbed "The Golden Goose." No, Castle was disappointed because his best friend had not shown up to the party even though she said she would be there.

Well, she said she would try to be there—unless something came up at work. If it had, he couldn't blame her for not coming. Her job was far more important than his; she made a real difference in the world. Still, that did not stop him from being disappointed; this was the first Derrick Storm book release party she missed since they met seven years earlier.

Castle would be the first to admit that their deep friendship was unexpected and slightly peculiar given how different their lives were. Then again, perhaps that was why their bond was as strong as it was; those two descriptors perfectly illustrated the circumstances surrounding their initial meeting. Perhaps it was the path they were destined to walk. All Castle knew was that seven years in, his life most certainly would not have been the same without Kate Beckett in it—and he wouldn't want it any other way.

What would he do without their daily phone calls or text messages? How sad would it be not to see her at his apartment at least once if not twice a week for dinner? Or if she didn't take Alexis out on their bi-monthly girl's day excursions? He couldn't even fathom a world and he hoped that he never had to. As much as the spoiled wealthy writer within him wanted to stomp his feet and say it wasn't fair she didn't join him that night, he couldn't; taking criminals off the street was far more important than sipping champagne with him and helping to feed his already expanded ego. Still, he couldn't help himself from checking his phone one more time to see if he had a message from her; he didn't.

With a sigh, Castle walked his now-empty glass over to the bar and passed it over to the bartender with a polite nod and a smile. He then moved down several stools and sat at the corner beside his daughter, who was studying for a test in a subject he could barely fathom. He supposed he could have if he put his mind to it—if it interested him—but at her age? There would have been no way. He was too busy trying to stir up all the trouble he could in his mid-teens to be bothered with something as mundane as studying.

"How's it going, Pumpkin?"

She let out a long exhale and propped up her head with her fist. "Okay. Better now that there are less people here and I can focus more on learning these details."

He chuckled inwardly and reached out his hand to squeeze her forearm. "I don't know if anyone's told you recently, but you're not supposed to be studying at a party."

"Then don't have your parties right before I have a test," she retorted and then they shared mocking smiles. "Besides, what else am I going to do here? Everyone's fawning over you and Derrick and I'm—oh look!" A grin blossomed across the red-headed girl's face instantly. "She made it in time!"

Castle whipped around to gaze towards where his daughter's eyes were focused: the elevator just across from the bar. As there was hardly a crowd left to speak of, he had a very clear view of the woman in a dark pantsuit with shoulder-length maroon-toned hair (he told her the color was a mistake and suspected she agreed, but was too stubborn to get it changed; per usual). Despite the fact that her expression could easily be categorized as more of a scowl than a smile, the writer grinned when she approached.

"Kate! You're here! I…why do you look so upset?" His tone morphed into one of concern when she stopped just a foot from him and her mouth still formed a straight line. It had been many years since she did not smile at the sight of him—assuming he had not done anything to offend or upset her, which he truly did not think he had. Clearly, something was amiss.

"We need to talk," she said curtly. The tone she used was her official Detective Kate Beckett tone; the one that indicated she was not in any mood to tolerate his teasing or mirth.

The smile on his face falling away, he concluded, "That doesn't sound good."

"It's not," she informed him simply. Then, she turned to the young girl who gazed at her from behind her father's shoulder. Only then did a soft smile cross her face. "Sorry I wasn't able to and hang out with you tonight, sweetie; something came up at work."

Alexis shook her head, dismissing the concern. "It's okay; don't worry about it. What's wrong?"

Turning back to her father, the detective said, "Can your mother take her home? You need to come to the station with me."

Castle's brow wrinkled immediately. "The station? Why?"

"I'll explain later; where's your mother?"

"Um…" He gazed around the remaining patrons for several moments until he spotted his mother in her emerald green gown, draped over the back of a grand piano, a glass of champagne sloshing around in her hand as she sang and swayed dramatically to the music being played by a gray-haired man. "I'm not sure she's ready to go yet."

"It's okay; I can go myself," Alexis said in her well perfected fifteen-going-on-fifty way.

Kate shook her head. "No. A uniform will take you and stay with you until your father gets home." She turned and gestured for one of the men who had followed her off the elevator to come closer and instructed him to take Alexis to her home address and wait until her father joined them though it could be several hours.

When Castle heard this statement, his face immediately flushed and he felt sober despite the near bottle of champagne he'd consumed that evening. Stepping up to his friend, he put a gentle hand on her shoulder and asked quietly, "Seriously—what's going on?"

"It's…complicated. I'll explain on the way."

Nodding, Castle dutifully followed her to the elevator while texting his mother a brief update on their situation, not wanting to face her wrath if he interrupted her serenading a man she intended to bed. Shuddering at that thought, he pocketed his phone and climbed onto the elevator beside his detective friend. Kate's face was as solemn as he'd ever seen it, which, given how much they'd been together over their seven year friendship, truly was saying something.

As the car descended to the ground floor, terrible scenarios began playing through his overactive imagination. What could possibly have happened that would involve Kate being so grim and his presence at a police station being a requirement? As Kate was a homicide detective, he could only assume it had to do with a murder case, but all of his loved once had been at that night's party and they were all unscathed. Surely, if it was something truly terrible she would have told him right away, right? He hoped she would have—and trusted she would have, because they trusted each other and had had ever since they first met.

A/N: Thanks for reading everyone. This one has a brief beginning but the other chapters are longer, I promise lol

I will be posting this 3 times a week: Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday.