The usual disclaimers apply: I'm not making any money off of this, Castle belongs to ABC and Andrew Marlowe, and any similarities to real people or places are strictly a coincidence.

The Spellbound Affair - Alternate Ending (Currently Untitled)

Warning: Spoilers for the alternate ending.

February 26, 2014

Castle yawned as he waited for the taxi he'd called for to arrive. The dispatch had told him to be on the lookout for the yellow sedan, so he waited outside in the crisp, moonless night for his ride. He shook his head briefly to dislodge the snowflake that landed on his nose – a thick wet clump that only served to remind him that this never ending winter was still going in full force, even late in February. What was six more inches of snow? They were already buried under six feet of it.

To protect his nose from further frosty attacks, he nuzzled his older son's soft, warm cheek. Javier didn't react to the affection. He'd been out cold since at least fifteen minutes before Kate had pointed at the clock and ordered him to go home and sleep. Castle was loathe to leave his fiancée and his precious new baby girl alone at the hospital, but Kate assured him that all she was going to do was sleep off the long labor. Not only that, but Johanna Joy was safely tucked up in the nursery, recovering from her own early, exciting entrance into the world.

Castle shifted his weight from one foot to the other in order to keep the blood circulating to his toes. He probably could have waited just inside the glass sliding doors of the hospital, but by this late in the season they were accustomed to the cold and honestly, he kind of liked it. He didn't have to worry that Javier would get chilled. He was bundled up to the point of near immobility in his thick ski jacket, knit cap with ear flaps and a large pom on top, fur lined mittens and matching boots.

The seven-year-old's arms around Castle's neck were better than any scarf and his warm body held securely in his Daddy's arms was better than a warm wool trench coat. Not that Castle wasn't wearing said warm wool trench coat and stylish red scarf. No, it was just his black dress shoes that were making him question the clerk's claim that they were water-resistant.

As he stood in the softly falling snow, waiting for a cab to arrive to take him and his son back to the warm loft, reveling in the thrill of his newest baby, an unbidden wave of melancholy washed over him. He sighed and tucked his cold nose up against Javier's warm cheek again. Flashes of Alexis' all too brief childhood flashed through his mind and he knew that Javier and Kevin would grow up too quickly, as well. And growing they were. He could already feel the difference nine months had made in the boy he held. Memories, fainter now that new ones had crowded in, of Javier's brief week at eleven years old, reminded him that he soon wouldn't be able to carry the boy like this. He didn't have all that many chances as it was. Javier was too "grown up" and "manly" to be carried like a baby.

Except for at two in the morning, outside a hospital, in the snow, on the night of his baby sister's birth.

Castle pondered calling Bianca, drawing her away from the disabled Randy's side, and asking her to manipulate the spell that had reduced his one-time friends into children and made them his sons. Make them stay this size forever, Castle thought to himself. Threats of tantrums and then actual tantrums in the middle of the delivery room aside, Castle rarely felt the same stomach-clenching love that he felt when watery brown eyes peered up at him beseechingly and the child's high pitched voice begged to be allowed to stay with his daddy.

His boys weren't stupid and they'd quickly learned to turn his clever ploy back on him. He'd started out on a mission to teach the ex-detectives to trust him and reciprocate his paternal feelings. Now, they used "Daddy" as an surefire way to get whatever they wanted. Castle shouldn't be surprised. Alexis had had him wrapped around her tiny little finger, too.

The cab finally pulled up in front of him. Like each one before it, this moment was over too soon and Castle didn't know when he'd find this mixture of joy, dread, and hope again. He resolved to enjoy the similar moments as much as he could. It helped that Javier, unwilling to fully wake up, even from being jostled as Castle slid into the back seat of the yellow sedan, curled into the older man and slipped back into a deep sleep with a soft sigh. Castle gave the driver his address and then settled back in the cushioned seat and turned to watch the snow continue to fall silently outside.


As always, I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you for reading!