Category: Humour, romance, Castle/Beckett established relationship
Word Count: ~1800
Summary: Alexis asks Beckett for advice on a possible summer job – modelling. Ryan and Esposito add their two cents and Castle shows up to stir up trouble.
For once, the 12th Precinct was quiet. The dead heat of summer was pounding on the sidewalks and many of the officers dragging in the latest batch of scumbags had sweat darkening their shirts, but inside the building the A/C was working overtime and the internal temperature floated only a few degrees above room temperature. The comfortable warmth made the usually alert detectives drowsy, including the normally wired Kate Beckett. Even the quantities of caffeine Beckett consumed were not enough to counteract the warmth, late nights and the blessed lack of Castle, a combination that had Kate drowsing at her desk.
In fact, Kate had nearly nodded off entirely when she heard Alexis' voice. It sounded suspiciously like a cheerful 'Hi Kate!' but that couldn't be right – it was two in the afternoon. Alexis still had class and, barring a family emergency, Alexis would never skip class.
Kate's eyes snapped open in realisation and her body tensed, ready to act, and she pinned Alexis with a serious stare. "What's wrong, Alexis?"
Alexis flinched back and adjusted the strap on her book bag. "No-nothing?"
"Why aren't you in class?" Kate asked, her stare softening a fraction.
"Because class is finished for the day?" Alexis said as if she were talking to her dad on one of his more thick-headed days. Kate frowned – she didn't like being on the receiving end of Alexis' 'are you dense?' tone and she would be embarrassed to admit how many times she had had it levelled at her.
"It is? But it's," Kate flicked her gaze, and her mouse, to the monitor, "...oh. Four o'clock. Apparently. Sorry Alexis, I thought it was a lot earlier."
Alexis grinned. "Dad does the same thing, except I usually catch him writing at six in the morning under the impression that it was just past midnight."
Kate laughed. "I guess there's one thing cops and writers have in common – strange hours. So what brings you here? If you were looking for your dad, he's off on a coffee run."
"In this heat? I'm impressed – how did you convince him to leave the Precinct?"
"We drew straws. Castle picked the short one." Kate's smirk was devious and wiggled a little in her seat. Alexis raised her eyebrows.
"Let me guess, Dad went first and all the straws just happened to be short."
Kate's grin widened. "Perhaps. Pull up a seat – Castle shouldn't be too much longer."
Alexis dropped down into Castle's usual chair and pulled her bag onto her lap. "Actually, I'm not here to talk to Dad; I was wondering if I could talk to you sometime?"
"Of course. Wanna go grab some coffee now?" Kate asked. "Clearly I need some. And, either way, I also clearly need a break."
"No, that's alright. I'd rather not risk running into my dad," Alexis shrugged. "I'm just wondering about a summer job, that's all."
"Got any ideas on what you want to do?" Kate asked, and then laughed. "Then again, you probably have prospective employers lined up or you wouldn't be talking to me, would you?"
Alexis blushed and looked away. "Yeah...."
Kate leaned forward and looked up at Alexis. "Hey, hey! That's perfectly alright, Alexis. I'm the same way – there's no point talking about something—"
"—Unless you're reasonably certain it won't fall through," Alexis finished and Kate grinned.
"Exactly. So what's the plan?"
"Well, I was out shopping with Rina on Wednesday and we ran into her boss. He took one look at me and started gushing about how I was the perfect model for one of his dresses and he offered me a job. Rina thinks I should take it, Gram says that models have no talent, but if I want to, I should do it and Paige thinks that models are brainless morons and that I don't need a job anyway because my dad's rich." Alexis said in a rush.
Ryan and Esposito, already casually eavesdropping on the conversation, glanced at each other and synchronously rolled towards Beckett's desk.
"So now I don't know what to do and I was hoping that you could help."
"Modelling, huh?" Ryan said, smirking at Beckett. Kate glared at the duo warningly. Predictably, they ignored her.
"Well, you certainly came to the right person for advice, isn't that right Beckett?" Esposito had an identical shit eating grin on his face. Alexis raised an eyebrow and silently prompted Esposito to continue.
"Freaky how she does that," Ryan muttered as an aside.
"You see, Little Castle, Detective Beckett here was a model once," Esposito's grin widened as he ducked to avoid the pen his boss threw at his head.
"When I was seventeen! And what part of 'don't tell Castle' didn't you understand?" Beckett hissed.
"Ohhhh! You meant all of the Castles?" Ryan said.
"Could we tell Mrs R. then?" Esposito grinned and failed to duck this time and Kate's pen hit in square in the forehead. "Ow!"
"Scat, you two! Don't you have paperwork to file?" Beckett made shooing motions with her hands and the boys rolled off, bickering.
"Hey bro, is there pen on my head?"
"I dunno man, hold still and I'll see!"
"I think so—"
There was a smack and a slight yelp of pain.
"Get your hand out of my face, Honeymilk!"
"Are you ever going to stop calling me that? It's been years, man!"
Kate rested her cheek on one hand and smirked sideways at Alexis. "One thing about this job is that it's never boring. As for the modelling... if you want to do it, go for it. Despite it all, I'd really regret not having modelled; it's a bit embarrassing in hindsight, yes, but better that than spent the rest of my life wondering what I missed. At the very least, knowledge is knowledge, wherever it came from."
Alexis smiled and her blue eyes sparkled decisively. "And it would only be for the summer – it's not like I want to make a career out of modelling like Rina. Not that I could; Dad is getting pretty weird about possible careers lately. He doesn't want me in a field where someone got killed on one of your cases."
Kate rolled her eyes. "How did I miss those conversations? How many jobs are you down to?"
Alexis rolled her eyes back. "One – veterinarian."
Kate winced. "Sorry, that one's a no go – the guy we just caught worked at a vet clinic as a vet tech or something."
Alexis rolled her eyes again. "Well, I suppose now that everything has been eliminated I can threaten to bum off of him forever like Grams."
"What's this?" Castle said, carefully depositing his full load of coffee and assorted pastries onto Kate's desk. "My two favourite ladies are waiting for me?"
Kate smiled up at him fondly. "No, I'm waiting for grande skim latte with two pumps sugar free vanilla."
"Alas, they were out of bear claws, so I brought you a donut instead. I hope this is acceptable?" Castle presented the chocolate raspberry jelly donut with a flourish as Kate dug out her coffee from the tray.
Kate made a show of inspecting the donut and daintily plucked it from Castle's hand. She took a bite and winced as the raspberry jelly squirted out onto her hand. Castle, laughing, swiped a bit of the jelly before it could slide off Kate's hand and onto her paperwork, and suggestively licked it off his finger. Kate rolled her eyes. "Yes, Castle, the donut is indeed acceptable."
Castle dimpled at her before turning to his daughter. "So Alexis, what brings you to this fine establishment?"
"Just wanted to ask Kate for some advice," Alexis said with a shrug and a smile.
"So, did the detective give good advice?" Castle asked.
Alexis smiled. "Yes, in fact she did, Father."
"Of course. When has Kate steered either of us wrong?" Castle said with a dopey smile. "Well, I guess there was that time with the – oh no, that's wildly inappropriate. Or the–"
"Castle," Kate interrupted, "You've already used this joke. Twice. In the past week."
"Fine," Castle sighed melodramatically, "So what were you asking Kate about?"
"Oh, just about a summer job," Alexis said.
"At the Precinct? We could carpool! Or, well, share a cab." Castle grinned.
"Sorry Dad, I was thinking about modelling." Alexis grinned at her father's flabbergasted look.
"Yes Dad, modelling. Rina's boss wants me to work for him this summer."
"Rick," Kate interrupted gently, "It would just be for the summer."
"Yeah, I guess..." Castle said, distracted by Ryan's furtive 'get over here' motions. "One sec; it looks like Ryan needs me for a minute." He ambled off towards the other two detectives and the three began speaking in hushed tones. Esposito pointed something on his monitor and Castle's eyes widened as he leaned in closer to the screen.
"Alexis," Kate said, drawing Alexis' attention away from her father. "About what Paige said about you not having to work because your dad is rich? Work anyway. My parents had money too and I never had to worry about college funds or anything, but I found that I just felt better if I was providing for myself."
Alexis just looked at Kate for several beats before smiling slightly. "Yeah." She said. "I think I'm the same way."
Castle's low whistle echoed throughout the still bullpen and Kate and Alexis returned their attention to the men. "That had got to be one uncomfortable position to stand in – and who holds a tennis racket like that?"
Kate's eyes widened. "You didn't!" Her green eyes narrowed as she pushed herself up from behind the desk.
"Uh oh," Ryan said.
"Scatter!" Esposito commanded and the three men shot off in different directions. But Kate was only interested in hunting down one man. The man holding the flash drive. The man who was going to be sleeping on the couch for the next few days.
"Richard Nathaniel Castle GIVE ME THAT FLASH DRIVE!" Kate yelled as Castle jumped between the closing doors of the elevator. Karpowski just looked at Castle. He smiled back widely.
Kate, seeing that the elevator had already left, skidded around the corner and wrenched open the door to the stairs and barrelled down them.
After a few moments of stillness, Montgomery stepped out of his office as Ryan and Esposito slunk out of the men's washroom. The three men gathered around the youngest Castle and stared at the elevator in amusement.
"We're not going to see them for another hour, are we?" Alexis asked after a long moment. A chorus of nopes, uh uhs and yeah rights echoed from the bullpen. "Thought so. I think I'll just take the subway home."
A/N: The bit with Castle's last name was, unsurprisingly, inspired by Nathan Fillion's tweet about how he knows Castle's middle name and wants everyone to guess at it. No, Nathaniel isn't a reference to Nathan – it's actually the name of the main character of the first story based video game I ever played. No clue why it popped into my head but, hey, sometimes you just got to roll with the insanity.
Written mostly because I have a huge soft spot for mom!Beckett fics and because I'm currently on a quest to see how many Castle/Beckett fics I can write without them ever actually kissing. I'm up to three (by a technicality). And a half, if you count the half-finished fic languishing on my hard drive.
As ever, thanks is owed, and given, to the lovely Sarah/ObsidianJade for telling me that I forgot important words like 'not' and one of Alexis' lines. Without her, my stories would be even more nonsensical.