Here is my post-boom fic I have been alluding to.
Why YES, I do realize how insanely randomly late this is.
Why YES, you do love me anyways.
Think of it this way, I've had that much more time to put thought into it.
Please, just give it a shot, yeah?
To Emily, for convincing me to post this, and for putting up with me. And, you know, everything else.
Northern New York. Winter was beginning, and the last of the previous evenings heavy snow was still clinging with a vengeance to the banks of the roads and the old, weathered roofs of the single-leveled homes, and the chill that the cold front brought remained.
To this effect, Kate Beckett bundled up, draped not only in her warm black pea coat and complimenting red scarf but in matching gloves and a hat. She stepped out of her Crown Vic, already missing the rumble of the old vehicle running beneath her and the feel of the heater on her skin. Now she dealt with the chill, touching her even through the winter wear.
She pulled the scarf a little snugger around her neck and began her march up the walk. She reached the door- an old green thing with the paint slowly wearing away and the knocker's gold stain chipping off. She grabbed the cheap knocker and dropped it, letting the sound alert the world of her presence. A minute or so later a man appeared.
He was older, aging, surely, but the years had been kind, nevertheless. His gray hair and the freckles that dotted his slightly crooked chin brought a fond likeness out of Kate she forgot she felt. His face broke in a warm smile- it was the most comforting smile she had ever known, and she couldn't help but mirror it.
"Katie," he greeted her, and she only smiled wider.
"Hey dad," she said. She had nearly forgotten how much she missed him. He opened his arms in a gesture that did not demand return, but she responded anyways, letting him embrace her because she wanted it. Because he needed it. Because somewhere, she knew she needed it too.
She let out a small chuckle into his shoulder at the enthusiasm he put in the hold. It wasn't over the top or particularly bone-crushing, and she had no trouble breathing, but it was a light, familiar hug that wrapped her in more of a metaphorical warmth than a physical one. She was assaulted by the smell of Old Spice and cigar smoke that harbored itself in her father's clothes.
It was a nice smell.
A conversant one.
"Who's your friend?" he asked, indicating the man behind her. She turned to face her companion, as if she didn't quite remember.
"This is Richard Castle," she told her dad, unable to suppress a smile, however small. "Castle," she looked at Rick again. "This is my father." Richard Castle reached across her to shake the older man's hand, the gesture well received.
"Nice to finally meet you, Mr. Castle," her father greeted. "It's Jim."
"Rick, please." He said, simply, nervousness edging in his voice.
"Come in, come in," Jim Beckett said, once he tore himself away. He ushered them in, and Kate took in the room around her. It wasn't the home she grew up in, no. She grew up in Manhattan- her mother loved the city too much to part with it even for a second, but he father moved up north after her death, moving in to the house he himself inherited after the death of Kate's grandfather.
Still, many fond memories remained in the old ranch house. Christmas mornings, Easter egg hunts, Halloween on occasion- any excuse to come visit her granddad. The furniture was just how she remembered, even after her father moved in. She sank down on the couch, an old worn brown thing, Castle beside her and her father took the lazy boy.
"Tea?" he asked her, indicating to the kitchen. She could tell not only by memory but by the God-awful shimmer gold and seashell tiling that was peeking into the living room. He disappeared without waiting for an answer.
"So this is where Katherine Beckett grew up?" she heard Castle's low voice in her ear.
"No, this is my Grandparent's old house," she explained.
"The pictures on the mantel tell another story," he told her, and she followed his eyes to the shelf about the old brick fireplace in the corner, where a half a dozen framed photographs of a brown-haired little girl decorated the surface.
Riding a bike, beating the chocolate out of a decorated cardboard piñata with a wooden bat, dancing under a rain of candy, and then an older Katherine, accepting her high school diploma, adorned in cap and gown. Sitting in an old rusted-over Bronco, beaming brightly.
"I visited a lot," she explained, dismissively. She played it off as inconsequential, but Castle could tell she was guarding the memory. She wasn't ready to share. He debated pushing the matter but decided against it.
It was she who spoke next.
"What am I going to tell him?" she turned to the man beside her, her tone taking a change for the serious. He rested a hand on her arm and pulled her into him in a sideways hug, and for some odd reason she let him.
"The truth. Just explain to him what happened."
"How do I do that?" The insecurity he felt in the big green eyes staring at him nearly broke his heart. She was searching for answers. Honest to God answers, and he wanted to procure them for her. He wanted so desperately to make it better.
"With words, would be your best bet," so much for honest to God. At least she cracked another smile before socking him in the shoulder, consequently putting distance between them. He held her gaze another second. "Just spit it out, Kate. Rip it off, like a Band-Aid."
It was then like clockwork set to fate's time that her father reentered, two cups of tea in hand. He handed one to his daughter and one to her friend before taking his seat in the lazy boy once again. "To what do I owe this impromptu visit?" he asked her, the one to break the thick silence that cloaked the room like a heavy winter overcoat.
"Well, dad, I'm in a bit of a pickle," Beckett began, slowly. She was choosing her words very carefully, approaching it warily. The Band-Aid idea seemed so great and easy not twenty seconds ago.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?" he asked, concern pouring into his voice.
Goddamn he sounded so worried.
"There was an explosion," she said, wincing at the taste of the words. "At my apartment."
"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."