Life was getting crazy being me. Between writing two books at once, tagging along with Kate, working on the college issue with Alexis, and helping my mother with her lines, I was going slowly insane. I was sure I would be dead before "Deadly Heat" made it to editing. Sighing, I shifted my bag to push the button on the elevator to take me to my apartment and my family. Nothing sounded better than helping Alexis with homework while making dinner. I stepped of the elevator on my floor, heading to the door and letting myself in, yelling an 'I'm Home!' into the apartment. My mother stepped out from the kitchen, smiling as she greeted me. "Welcome home, Richard. How was tailing Beckett?" Ignoring the smirk on her face, I leaned in and kissed her cheek, telling her it had been fine. "Mail?" She handed me a small stack of envelopes, half of which were for my daughter. I found one with handwriting I had not seen in years. Heart in my throat, I tore open the letter, reading quickly. The more I read, the heavier my heart became. Meredith wanted Alexis. In her letter she told me she would be arriving in a few days to speak with our child. I bristled as I read 'Our Daughter.' Alexis may have been born to Meredith, but she was MY daughter. I had raised her. ME. And my mother, but the point was she was not 'our' child. She was mine.

I spent the next few days going over old pictures of me and Alexis, things she made me and gave me, finding laughter and tears with the memories. Meredith was due Saturday. Here it was Friday and I was reading a story Alexis wrote in 3rd grade. She called me her hero and said she loved our last name being Castle, because she lived in a Princess House. I pulled out a picture of me holding her at the Zoo when she was 7, her red hair in pigtails, blue eyes gleaming as I kissed her cheek and pointed to the lemurs. As the tears welled up in my eyes, I heard her voice from the door. "Dad? Are you okay?" Raising my head, I saw Alexis in the door, watching me. I nodded, deftly wiping away the moisture from my eyes as I held my arms out to invite her into them. Her face lit up, melting my heart as she darted over and crawled into my lap. It reminded me of the first day of kindergarten. She had been so scared for me to leave, and when she got home, she refused to leave my lap. I snuggled her close and kissed her head, whispering that I loved her. I got a smile and a rare "I love you too, Daddy." I nodded, putting the papers and things to the side. "Alexis? Do you ever miss your Mother?" She tilted her head and laughed. "Not really. I see her once a year. For a week. Plenty of Mom time for me. Why?" I felt another lump in my throat as I listened. I shook my head. "No reason, kiddo. Plans for tomorrow?" She smiled and nodded, babbling on about her plans with Ericka and Kylee. I was only half listening, trying to figure out how to tell my mother that my ex-wife was coming to take away our baby.

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