Spoilers for The Fast and the Furriest
A/N: I wrote this to remedy the plot line with Alexis. She definitely would have common sense enough not to give ALL her money away, even if it was for a good cause, and she could have easily used a credit card to buy food even if her cash was gone. This is what I thought was more plausible.
She stood outside the loft for several minutes, running her fingers through her hair and trying to think of what to say. She trusted her dad, and she knew he'd understand, but that wasn't the issue. The issue was that she was an adult and she wanted to reclaim her independence after the kidnapping, not just in her own eyes, but also in his. He could be overprotective and while she appreciated that it was out of love, she wasn't sure she could move forward while being coddled.
It had been stupid to take the food. He wouldn't have noticed a few twenties missing, but his leftovers? She berated herself for even risking that he'd buy the lie when so few people had access to the loft. When she had tripped the ink pack she felt she deserved the punishment if only for underestimating the lengths her father would go to solve a mystery.
She breathed deeply, turned the key, and opened the door, half wanting to get it over with and half hoping she could escape the confrontation for a few more days.
Rick Castle started walking towards her and balked; his blue eyes brimming with concern and hurt. He seemed unsure what to say. His daughter was stealing food from his fridge, which he would have given her willingly. She had a generous allowance and his credit card at her disposal. His overactive imagination ran through all the possibilities that could make a rich college student stoop to such means. Drugs? Gambling? Alexis never showed traits of being gripped by a vice, but he'd seen countless parents with no idea that their sweet child was wrapped up in something untoward. But Alexis? He couldn't see it. Blackmail? Maybe, but under what circumstances?
They stood frozen, staring at each other before Alexis fisted her shaky hands and folded her arms. "I'm sorry, Dad."
He took a few steps towards her. "Why? You know what I have is yours so just tell me why?"
"I wasn't sneaking in to steal food."
"It looked that way."
"I didn't think of it as sneaking food, I just was staying here some nights and would eat before I left for the day, sometimes I'd pack a lunch if I had classes all day."
"You haven't stayed overnight here in a month, you've just stopped over for laundry and a few meals."
Alexis sighed, and started pacing. "Obviously I have since I've been stealing food." the accusation seemed so petty to both their ears. "I just would come home some nights, stay in my room then head back to my dorm in the morning before you got up or after you left for the precinct. It's no big deal."
"Honey, anytime you lie to me it's a big deal. Why didn't you want me to know you were here?"
"I just . . ."
Rick took another step and put a hand on her shoulder. The touch seemed to break her and she closed her eyes tightly and started shaking. He pulled her into his chest and she hid herself in his arms. She hadn't wanted to need affection from him to get through this. She should have been able to just tell him without dissolving into some little girl in her father's arms.
They just felt so secure.
Castle led her to the couch and they sat down. He reached behind him then offered her some tissues. His mind was running through worse scenarios, and he was now wishing it had been a gambling debt that he could pay off to free her. This clearly was not a financial issue but an emotional one.
"You can tell me anything, Pumpkin." He rubbed his thumb on her shoulder as she settled.
"I know, Dad, I just feel like I should be able to handle things on my own. I don't want to run to you every time I feel scared."
Scared. Oh. It suddenly seemed obvious.
"Honey, you were abducted, held hostage by seriously scary people. That's not something you get over in a few weeks, or a few months."
"I know that, Dad, I do, but I can't just keep running home to sleep in my own bed, knowing you're downstairs to protect me."
Part of him melted with the thought that his daughter still saw him as her ultimate protector, but he knew that wasn't the issue so he offered, "You didn't have to move back to campus if you weren't ready. in fact if you want to move back home for a while, just until you get your bearings, no one will think any less of you. You know this will always be your home."
"Dad, that would be a step backwards. I need to push myself. I'm not here every night, just a lot in the past week because my roommate's grandmother died and she had to go home for a while. Being alone is . . . it makes it harder to forget."
Castle had to work against his inclination to talk her into coming home where he could look after her. She had been embarrassed that she needed his security, so he needed to tread lightly.
"Have you talked to anyone?"
"My roommate knows what happened, Max too. My professors all look at me with pity which makes it worse. Sarah and I meet for lunch sometimes. She just seems to be handling it really well so I can't tell her that I'm an emotional basket case, and no one else really understands."
It pained Castle to ask, "And Max? Have you been able to talk to him?"
"Some, I just don't want him to think I'm damaged. He'll listen if I bring it up but he doesn't know what to say. I think it makes him uncomfortable."
"Have you felt – I mean, I wasn't captured with you exactly, but we went through some of it together. Have I been – I mean, you know you can always talk to me, if you want to, right?"
Alexis offered him a soft smile at his stammered offer to listen. She kissed his cheek, "I know, Dad, but you were traumatized as much as I was and I know that talking to you might make me feel better, but you worry about me so much as it is, I just can't put everything on you. I'm not a little girl anymore, and I feel like I need to start working things out on my own, as an adult."
"Sweetheart, you are extremely mature, but you are not an adult yet. You're caught in this wonderful in-between place where you can choose to stand on your own two feet, but you can also choose to come home and take a break when life gets overwhelming." He took her hand and kissed it, "There is no shame in that, Alexis."
Instead of responding she asked, "Are you okay, Dad? I mean you went through a lot too."
He smiled at her concern, "Yeah, I had nightmares at first, but not as much now. When I get nervous about you being on your own Kate talks me down then reminds me that stalking you 24/7 would be a crime. She's arrested me for less, you know."
"I remember." That pulled a smile from his daughter at least. "I'm glad you have her, Dad."
"Me too, Pumpkin. Me too." He put his arm around her and nudged her into his side. "So, where does that leave us?"
"Well, I promise not to lie about staying here if you promise not to make a big deal about it."
"Of course, just no sneaking. Let us know when you're here because Kate has a gun. I'd hate for there to be a misunderstanding if you were having a midnight snack."
"Yeah, I guess I hadn't thought about that."
"And, I think it's important that you talk with someone, not just Max or Sarah, but someone who can help you navigate through this. What you went through is not a normal thing. Your friends, even if they want to help, they won't be able to relate."
"I really don't want to see a shrink."
"Kate sees one."
Alexis' jaw slackened. "Really?"
"Does that make you think less of her?"
"No, I just didn't –"
"You didn't think that strong, independent women ever sought help after terrible things happen to them?"
"I guess I didn't, but somehow knowing that makes me respect Kate more."
"Do I have your permission to tell her about what we talked about? She was pretty worried about you when you ran off, and had some words with me about the stupidity of setting traps where my daughter and mother could accidentally trip them."
"I don't mind. Do you think I could ask her about counseling?" She hesitated, then added, "If she wouldn't want me to know she goes, I won't mention it."
"I know she would be happy to talk to you about anything."
Alexis snaked her arms around her dad's neck and kissed his cheek, "I love you, Dad."
"Love you, too, Alexis. I know you're not a child anymore, but you'll always be my daughter. That comes with more privileges than awesome toys and designer clothes, you know. Next time come to me first. You know how my imagination works."
"How long did it take you to arrive at 'possessed by aliens' as a viable option for why I was taking food?"
"Third on the list. Admit it, you've missed living with me."
The eye roll that followed anchored them back to a sense of normalcy and gave Castle hope his little girl would be okay.
There you go. Was that better? I kept expecting this to be the reason during the episode then was sorely disappointed when it wasn't. Now I can pretend it was. Isn't Fanfiction shiny!
Happy April 16th to you Americans. I celebrated by writing a fic and not doing anything productive.