This is unedited and probably chock full of mistakes but I couldn't help myself. I needed to get it out.
Now I desperately need to do homework.
SPOILERS FOR 05x16 - Sort of. Not directly but... situations.
The band was playing a slow jazz song, the lights surrounding the dance floor low and sparkling.
Jim Beckett sat on the sidelines, tired, the bowtie around his neck loosened slightly as he leaned back in his chair, his hands pressed together over his stomach.
He was getting too old for this.
Four dances were plenty for him.
One for Martha, one for Alexis, and Dr. Parish had insisted on a dance with her best friend's father before she was whisked away from him by Detective Esposito.
And of course, one for his Katie.
The dance floor was basically empty now, as was the majority of the crowd. Detective Ryan and his wife had left the earliest, claiming they had to get back to let their babysitter go, Dr. Parish and Detective Esposito leaving shortly after, their hands linked together as they stumbled across the lawn. Alexis had left with her boyfriend only a few minutes ago, as did Katie's boss and her husband, but Martha was still there, being Martha, chatting it up with a drunk man whom he believed Katie had mentioned was named Alex Conrad, but he couldn't remember.
He should leave, too, but he couldn't force himself to go just yet.
Not when he saw his daughter looking so very happy.
Jim looked out at the dance floor, taking in the stragglers, his eyes immediately finding his Katie and her new husband swaying on the floor, the cool air from the Atlantic blowing through the open tent, the gentle waves of the ocean mingling with the soulful trumpet from the band on the stage.
He was starting to think it would never happen.
He heard someone sit down next to him and he looked up, his eyes falling away from his daughter.
It was a gentlemen, probably around his age, maybe older, his stark white hair almost glowing in the lighting. He had broad shoulders hidden under a well-tailored suit, his own eyes locked on his daughter and his new son-in-law, a small smile on his face.
"It's about time," the man said quietly, "I was starting to think he'd never propose."
Jim smiled, his own thoughts echoed in this stranger he had just met.
"Nearly seven years of working together," the man continued, "I've been waiting for years just to see the announcement show up in the paper."
Jim nodded. He understood the feeling. When Katie called him to tell him over a year ago to tell him the news, he couldn't do anything but smile.
"So how do you know them?" Jim asked, looking briefly away from the couple swaying on the dance floor, completely oblivious to the crowd around them, to glance at the man who had sidled up next to him.
He thought he saw the corner of the man's lips tilt upwards, but it was gone before he could be sure. The man took a deep breath, his eyes trailing back to the couple on the dance floor.
"Book research," the man said, "I helped Richard write a book once."
Jim nodded, picking up his club soda and taking a small sip of it, looking back to his daughter and her new husband on the dance floor, her head nestled against his neck.
"She's beautiful," the man said quietly, waiting until Jim looked back at him to continue, "Your daughter is a vision."
Jim felt his heart swell with pride, smiling unconsciously as he looked at his daughter.
She was a vision.
The first time he'd seen her, dressed in all white, he'd cried. And she laughed at him and hugged him, but he saw her eyes fill up as well, both of them trying to bite back the tears because Beckett's don't cry.
Though Beckett-Castles might…
"I can't take any credit for that," Jim said, shaking his head, "She got everything from her mother."
The man nodded, but didn't say anything.
"He finally picked a good one," the man said, "She's really changed him… for the better."
"Oh I think it's a two way street," Jim replied, shaking his head, "He's changed her just as much. They've made each other better. After all… isn't that what love is supposed to do?"
"I suppose," the man said.
Rick leaned down, his lips brushing against Kate's ear as he whispered something to her with a smile, and he watched his daughter pull away slightly, laughing.
"They're happy," the man said, his tone almost wistful as he stared at the couple.
Jim picked up his drink, took another sip of it before he nodded.
"After everything they've been through," Jim said, "they deserve it. More than any two people I know."
The man looked thoughtful, leaning back in his sit to mirror Jim's position.
"So you think this is their happily ever after?" the man said.
Jim shook his head.
"I think they both know better than to believe in fairytales. It's not going to be easy, for either of them. But I think they both love each other enough to work for what they have."
"And how do you know?" the man murmured.
"Katie wouldn't have said yes if she didn't think he was worth it."
The band started playing a different song, the tempo changing only slightly but he heard Martha's laugh ring out above the sound. The man looked up quickly, his eyes finding her before his alert gaze softened, his eyes going hazy for a moment before they cleared almost as quickly. The man cleared his throat, standing up and smoothing down the tie he was wearing, holding out a hand to Jim.
"Well," he said, "I think it's time that I go. I have a flight to catch in the morning."
Jim reached out and grabbed his hand, shaking it firmly. The man smiled.
"It was nice talking to you," he said, adjusting his jacket.
"Are you going to say goodbye to them?" Jim said, his tone light, "I don't know if they'll even remember it in the morning."
The man shook his head.
"No," he said, "the won't. They won't miss me anyway."
Jim felt his brow furrow, something not sitting quite right with that answer.
"Nice to meet you, Jim."
With that the man ducked past him, walking away from the dance floor and out into the night.
Jim stood up, looking behind him but the man had disappeared into the shadows.
Had he told him his name?
He shook his head at himself, rolling his eyes in a habit he'd learned from his daughter.
He was being paranoid.
He glanced down at his watch on his wrist, checking the time before he sighed. He straightened his jacket, pulling on the cuffs before he made his way over to the dance floor to say goodnight to his daughter, congratulate her one last time before he left her to be with her husband, alone for the first time since they said "I do" just a few hours before, tell her how happy he was for her again.
His daughter – happy and safe and in love with a man who is happy and safe and thinks she is so remarkable that he had to write novels about her.
It's all a parent could ever want for their child.