(Had some inconsistencies so fixed some stuff, timing issues mostly. Not summer, almost Christmas. End of first semester of Masters Degree. Also, going to call them by first names, not last.)

Stepping out of her blue Infiniti G convertible, top up in the cool early winter weather, Alexis looked up at the precinct's high windows. She hadn't told her father, Beckett, or anyone that she'd be home from her first year of Grad school this early. She'd given her father a false finals schedule so she could surprise him. There was a lot to tell him about this last month and Alexis wasn't sure she was completely ready for it yet.

Pulling her hair up into a ponytail, she tucked her keys into her coat pocket and strode across the street to the coffee shop. A little pick-me-up could calm her nerves and not ruin the surprise she had. Pushing open the door she heard the tinkling of the bell above her, announcing her entrance. Smiling at the young man behind the counter she stepped in and up to the cash register, void of anyone in line thankfully.

"And what can I get for you?" The dark haired boy behind the counter looked to be in high school still, and his eyes were roaming a little too much.

Ignoring it for now, Alexis spoke up, "A macchiato please. Venti."

The boy nodded, typed it in, and asked for a few dollars and some change.

"Alexis?"

The voice was familiar and made Alexis pause, the money still half-tucked in her wallet. She turned and found herself staring into bright baby blues. "Oh, Ryan! I didn't know you- is my dad here?" she looked around suddenly nervous, not yet ready to spring the surprise on him.

Kevin Ryan glanced over his shoulder where her frantic eyes were darting too. "No, he's up at the board with Beckett. What are you doing here? Castle was just complaining that you wouldn't be back for another two weeks."

Alexis smiled brightly, a strand of red hair trilling down from the grasp of the pony-tail. "I wanted to surprise him."

A boyish chuckle left Kevin and he stepped up to the counter, pulling out his wallet. "Here, let me." He handed over the money to the boy who was now glaring at the detective. Kevin lifted a brow at him but didn't say anything more. Kevin picked the two coffees he'd been holding back up.

"You really shouldn't have…" Alexis rolled up on her toes, smile still brightly clinging to her lips. Clasping the wallet and tucking it away again she glanced briefly to see the boy getting her coffee set and then looked back at Ryan. Her heart fluttered as he smiled back down at her. He'd always been something wonderful to look at.

Kevin shook his head, "Don't worry about it, college girl. Your father may be rich but I'm still polite."

Alexis laughed lightly and nodded. "Fair enough. So where's your partner?" she asked noticing finally that Javier Esposito wasn't with Kevin.

"Uh, taking a closer look at a body." Kevin rolled his eyes. "Ditching me for Lanie, really."

"Oh, but they're cute." Alexis turned when her macchiato was set down and thanked the boy. Picking it up, Alexis thread her arm through Kevin's and urged him gently towards the door. "Be a gentleman and escort up to my father, detective?" she asked playfully.

"It would be my pleasure to escort someone as pretty as you inside." He opened the door and allowed her out first. "Normally it's some hulking, smelly guy that I'm leading in."

Alexis looked at him with a frown. "That is no way to talk about Esposito!" she said with narrowed eyes. It slipped away too quickly though and she was trying to smother a laugh with her coffee filled hand.

Kevin laughed along with her as they strolled towards the road. He stepped off of the curb then stopped her suddenly with a push back of his shoulder as a car quickly turned a corner right where they were going to cross. He looked quickly down at Alexis to make sure she was alright from the jarring halt.

She was waltzing her coffee cup around, but otherwise still laughing. "Thanks. I do believe you just saved my life."

"Mm, don't be so dramatic." He leaned down and whispered with a grin, "You'll start to sound like your father."

This time the frown on her face looked almost genuine. "Well, if it improves my writing, I hope so."

Kevin raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were taking science classes…"

"I was…I graduated with two Bachelors, Chemistry and English." She sighed heavily and slouched her shoulders. "Now I don't know if this is good or bad news."

They stopped on the other side of the road, near the door to the precinct. "What do you mean? I didn't mean to sound rude, I was only teasing. Writing obviously did your father well." Kevin extracted his arm from hers, turning so he could look at her better.

Alexis looked up at him, scratching the back of her neck with her freed hand. Then she tugged her hair down and sipped her coffee, obviously feeling fidgety. "It's not you. It's me, and dad. I have an opportunity at research for my first year in grad school. First years don't get that, but I managed to and I don't know if he'll understand." She shook her head and sipped her slightly too warm coffee again.

Kevin frowned, pursing his lips and setting confused lines across his forehead. Alexis had to admit, the puzzled look made him look all the more handsome.

She reached up to smooth his forehead, "You'll get worry lines if you keep that up."

"Sorry, I'm just not quite following." He opened the precinct door. "Perhaps this is more of a 'you and dad' talk?"

Alexis sighed and walked in, her shoulders slumping once more. "I suppose it is. Upstairs?"

"Yeah, I'm headed there, too."

Kevin led her to the elevator and they stepped inside. It was an awkward silence that followed, the only noise coming from their shifting or the little ding as the elevator passed each floor. When they got to theirs, Alexis stepped off first.

Her father was there, sitting in the chair he seemed to occupy every time she came around. His back was to her so she was able to walk briskly and sneak up on him. Beckett had only given her a glance then entrapped her dad in a conversation. Thank God for that woman; she understood a lot of Alexis.

Stepping up to the chair and setting the coffee on the desk, Alexis wrapped her arms around her father and covered his eyes with her hands. "Guess who?" she asked happily.

"Alexis! What are you doing here?" Rick Castle stood up and turned to look at her. "I thought you still had exams. You're not skipping are you? Of course not, you wouldn't do that but-"

"Dad…dad!" She sad amidst his ranting. "I gave you a fake schedule." She laughed and was swept up quickly into a hug. Her feet came off the ground a bit and she wiggled to get out of his bear hug.

He let her go and looked down with a big, childish smile. "If you weren't going to be a chemist, you'd make a good cop."

Alexis froze, her smile starting to fade, and she looked down at the ground. "Um, yeah we should talk about that. A lot has happened this last month, dad."

Castle frowned momentarily then looked around. "Kate, can we use the meeting room?"

Kate looked between the two then nodded, "Yeah go ahead. Hey, it's nice to see you Alexis. You're looking really good."

Turning an appreciative look to Kate, Alexis straightened her shirt. "Thank you. It's nice to see you, too. We'll talk when I'm done with him, okay? A lot of catching up to do."

"Yes we do." Kate smiled warmly and watched them walk away.

Kevin came over to the desks, having stayed back in case they'd wanted privacy to talk there. "She's something, isn't she?" he asked watching Alexis and Rick go into the room.

Kate looked at Kevin with a smile at first which faded to a contemplative look and a raised eyebrow. Kevin was still looking in Alexis direction so didn't notice. "Yeah, she is. So you get any leads or just coffee?"

Kevin blinked and looked back at Kate. "Oh, just coffee. Here, I brought you one, too." He handed her a cup and went over to his seat. "I'll run the phone records now that we have the phone back."

"Alright," Kate said taking a tentative sip. When she found it to be her style and not Javier's she took a longer drink of it. "Thanks for the coffee."

"Yeah, no problem."