CASTLE – Hello Again

Song prompt: If We Ever Meet Again by Timbaland featuring Katy Perry

AN: I don't know how or why this came to me, but it did. This will only be a oneshot for now, but we'll see how it goes.

Disclaimer: I don't own Castle, end of story.


I'll never be the same

If we ever meet again

Won't let you get away

If we ever meet again

Alexis sat on the park bench, watching her children play in the sandbox before her. Four year old twins Richard and Katherine were sitting back to back, one calmly building sandcastles and the other attempting to eat a sand pie. She shook her head and smiled to herself; her children were more like their namesakes than they knew, and there was nothing she could do about it.

It had been ten years since she had seen her father and stepmother; she was a sophomore in college when they were forced into Witness Protection, and they had never met their grandchildren.

She didn't even know if they were still alive.

"Mrs Hope?"

Alexis looked up to see a baby-faced girl in an official-looing suit standing next to her. "Actually, it's just Ms Rogers. The children have their fathers' surname."

The agent smiled and nodded. "Of course, Ms Rogers; I am Agent Marsden. Would you come with me please? Agent Matthews here will watch the children." She nodded towards an older looking agent, who smiled in return.

She stood up from the bench and knew her children would be in good hands. Plus, the agent on the phone had said she would be in full view of the twins at all times. Alexis followed Agent Marsden to a gazebo on the east side of the park where another three agents were not so inconspicuously standing guard and a couple sat at the picnic bench.

As they approached, Alexis thought she recognised the people sitting there, but she couldn't be sure, not until she walked up to them. She sat down on the seat opposite them and finally took her gaze off her children to look at them.

"Oh. My. God. Dad?"

"Hey, baby."

The voice that greeted her was not the strong, confident voice of the Richard Castle she knew and loved. The voice that greeted her was tired and hoarse; it had seen a lot more than before.

"Daddy?"

"Lex," the woman greeted her. She, too, sounded tired, the polar opposite of the Detective Katherine Beckett she had known ten years previously. "Lexie, honey, it's so good to see you."

Alexis stood up and moved quickly around the table to jump into her parents arms, like she was a child again. The silent tears that ran down her cheeks matched those of her parents, and they stood there in each other's arms, sobbing for what felt like an eternity.

Eventually, Alexis pulled out of the embrace. "What are you guys doing here?" she asked. "Not that I'm not grateful to see you or anything, but you told me when you left that it would be highly unlikely that I'd ever see you again."

Rick sighed, and all three of them sat down on the bench, Alexis flanked by her father and the woman she had come to know as her mother, despite the fact they were only related by marriage.

"Lexie, you weren't ever supposed to see us again," Kate broke the news softly.

"Then why are you here?" Alexis was sobbing again. "Is it to break my heart all over again? Because if it is, then next time, don't bother!"

"Honey-bun," Rick interrupted, using a pet name she hadn't heard since she was ten. "We wanted to meet our grandchildren, in case something happens in the future and we can never resume our real lives."

"Like that'll ever happen," Alexis scoffed. "You probably like being out of the public's eye."

"Sweetie, some things can't be helped," Kate spoke softly. "We're leaving the country this afternoon, and probably won't be back for at least a decade, if not more. We just wanted to meet our namesakes while they won't remember us."

Alexis looked up at her. "Really? Because, you know, that sounds really bad, like you don't want them to remember you."

"Honestly, Lex, it will be safer for you and them if they don't remember us," Rick said. "Let's just leave it at that," he added, before she could ask any more questions.

Alexis sighed. "It's not fair."

"Life's seldom fair, Alexis, you should know that," Kate rubbed her back. "Now, get one of these nice agents to bring your beautiful twins over before we have to leave."

Alexis, smiling at her mother's sarcasm, did as she was told, and moments later, Richard and Katherine were running up to their mother.

Richard Senior gasped as they approached. "Baby, they look just like you did at their age; bouncing red curls, endless energy; I'm so proud of you."

"When did their father leave you?" Kate Senior had to ask. She watched as the twins jumped up onto their mother's lap in a move done countless times since they could walk, and immediately began to question her about the strangers flanking her.

"He died in a car accident shortly after their second birthday," Alexis whispered. "We were six weeks away from getting married, and a drunk driver wrapped his car around a pole; first responders said he died on impact."

"Mommy, why does he look like you?" Richard Jr asked, pointing towards his grandfather.

"Yeah, Mommy, who are they?" Katherine Jr, ever the inquisitive one, echoed.

Alexis sighed. "This is your Grandma Kate and Grandpa Rick," she said quietly. "They just wanted to give you a nice big hug before they go away on a trip."

The twins bought the story immediately, and for that Alexis had never been more grateful. Tears started running down the adults faces again as the children interacted with them; all of them knew the fascination wouldn't last much longer, and they would be easily forgotten.

"Family picture?" Agent Marsden asked, unwilling to interrupt the family moment, but knew she had to.

"I thought we weren't allowed anything of the sort," Kate piped up.

The agent smiled. "I think we can make an exception, ma'am. Smile everyone!"

The twins were no strangers to cameras, and each tilted their heads and obediently smiled at the offending lens like the professionals they were despite their age.

Marsden shrunk into the background after snapping the photo; three generations together for the first, and probably last, time in years.

"Sorry to interrupt, sir," another agent stepped in. "But we need to leave shortly if you are to make your flight."

Rick nodded and stood up, kissing his grandchildren on the forehead before releasing them to return to the sandbox.

Alexis didn't even bother wiping up the tears freely running down her cheeks now, and she smiled through them as she turned back to her parents for the last time. "Oh well, I guess this is goodbye, then."

Kate nodded and folded the younger woman into her arms, also crying without any shame. "I'll miss you three so much, Lex. We'll think about you every day."

Alexis slipped out of her hug and stepped into her father's outstretched arms. "Ditto, darling," he whispered, dropping a kiss to her forehead before letting her go.

She stood under the gazebo, freely crying as her parents walked away from her again, and a distant rumble of thunder echoed above them, fitting the scene perfectly. She stood there watching long after the dark, tinted SUV they were escorted in had disappeared on its way to the airport, thinking about the parents she lost to a serial killer.

Parents she would never forget, but grandparents she knew her children would.

The dark storm clouds were rolling in by the time she relieved the agent watching over her children in the same sandbox as before, and she gathered them up quickly for the short walk back to their townhouse. There was a certain spring in her step, one that would be with her from then on.

She knew her parents were proud of her, and was happy they had finally met their grandchildren, even if they never would again.

I'll never be the same

If we ever meet again