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This leaves canon after season six, episode five- Time will tell.

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While I may be the writer, I do not personally share any of the views expressed by Alexis. I am merely building a story, which expresses how she might be feeling in the situation created.

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Warning for domestic abuse.

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Pushing the key into the lock, Alexis hesitates; there's a hitch in her step, a fraction of a second when the air catches in her lungs and she can't help but cogitate this is not what coming home should feel like.

They had originally been so infatuated with the idea, so in love with the apartment, with each other. Yet as she stands here, paused, not wanting to enter her own home, she realizes that there are parts to being an adult that are not living up to her ideal. The happy existence she thought they would have is slowly being ripped to shreds and all that she is left to grasp are broken fragments of an illusion.

Essentially, it had all been an illusion.

Gathering her strength, she forges ahead, opens the door wide, and peers in to the living area. Thankfully, it all seems quiet and with cautious steps, she moves forward, allowing the door to close softly behind her. As the stillness continues, she takes the time to place her belongings in the spot she's created for them, sidesteps the articles of clothing that have been discarded across the expensive rug.

Alexis recalls the production that had occurred as her Gram had presented the extravagant piece; hand woven materials that would have taken hours to design. It's so delicate and complicated in the way that the pattern manifests itself, and Alexis could spend hours staring at it. She's touched by both the effort that had gone in to producing something so beautiful, and by the effort her grandmother must have gone through in choosing such perfection.

At the time Alexis had been so moved by the housewarming gift, yet it hits her, how much this simple scene is now a metaphor for her life. An expensive rug that is being drowned in all that is him.

Walking into the kitchen, her eyes widen at the exhibit before her; two large bouquets of flowers sit proudly on display, and it's as if her previous thoughts were nothing more than tendrils of smoke, floating away in a gentle breeze. She has the sweetest boyfriend... most of the time.

"Hey, Al."

His words catch her by surprise and she jumps slightly, but as he circles her from behind, plants kiss after gleeful kiss against her cheek she relaxes into his embrace. Breathes in the warm and loving man he can be. That he usually is.

"Hey. What beautiful flowers. Are they for me?" she asks, as if there is any doubt, and her question earns her a high-pitched giggle.

"Who else would they be for, silly?"

She smiles at that, treasures the feeling of being loved.

It's occasions like these when she is so undeniably adored, that contrast so sharply with the other side of their life, and she just can't comprehend why it can't be like this all the time. Why their bubble sporadically bursts?

"Dad phoned while I was between classes. He wants us to have dinner there tomorrow?" Her voice lifts in question, seeking permission. She'd been nervously playing the idea over in her head all afternoon. Had contemplated what would be more detrimental, showing up for dinner with Pi, or without, and having him find out that she never passed the invitation on.

"Well that will be fun." His sarcasm is heavy and it takes her by surprise, forms icicles of fear which slide down her back. Maybe keeping her mouth shut would have been a better option.

"Yeah, we haven't seen him or Grams much lately. It will be nice to catch up… don't you think?"

The hand that had been lovingly stroking her arm becomes a little too tight, and she remains frozen, prays to anyone that will listen that he lets it go. It's just dinner, what's the worst that could happen?

"Can't wait, Al." His fingers contract for a moment, not hard enough to bruise but it's enough to hurt. "Mr. C is hilarious and your Gram is a keeper."

He moves away from her, drifts toward the fridge and she inhales for the first time since she had brought it up. It's okay. Everything's okay.

"Did you grab the coconut milk on the way home?"

Shit.

She can almost feel the air being sucked out of the room, the temperature plummeting. How in the world had she forgotten to grab that? She knew that it was important, had listened to him go on for most of that morning about how it was essential for their dinner, and now…

"I'll run back out, it will only take me a minute." Alexis heads for the doorway as she offers her solution, but it's too little, too late, and his next words have her halting before she even leaves the room.

"Let me guess," he sneers. "So busy chatting away with your little rich friends. Your oh so smart crowd of intellects, that the simple task of getting one thing slipped your mind."

Alexis feels the area within the kitchen close in on her and turning to face him, she hopes that the expression of contrition clearly visible on her features will be enough to calm him down. But it only takes one look at Pi to have her moving backward; as if creating a gap between them will prevent what is going to happen, delay the inevitable.

Since when did this become her inevitable?

"Ever since you went back to college, it's like you are just too good for the lowly existence of me." His right foot shifts forward and her eyes close a fraction. "Am I not good enough for you now? Not rich enough? Not smart enough? Tell me Alexis…," Her name is spat into the space between them. "What am I now?"

His left foot brings him another step closer and her teeth catch the inside of her lip. She always wonders in this second, the second before it all goes wrong, how someone who can be so cheerful, upbeat, caring of all things in the world, can turn, become such a different person.

It had started so gradually after they had first moved in, his frustration over being in an apartment that hardly holds a candle to the loft had resulted in unflattering comments about her family, about her, her ability to provide enough income for them to live the way they had been, live the good life. Her college allowance is just not stretching far enough.

In terms of his behaviour, it had seemed that her return to Columbia was the final straw- when his true self had been revealed. Snippety comments had escalated and become shoves against the door when she had been running late, and his hands gripped her arms too tightly when she had forgotten something he deemed important.

She keeps upsetting him; it's her fault- it always is- if she could just be more considerate, more understanding, then none of this would transpire. Or at least that what he chants whenever he becomes angry.

"Why do you do this, Al? Why do you make it so hard for me to love you? It was one simple thing. Is that so hard to get right? Is it?" The small of her back hits the counter, the hard edge resisting any more movement, and she waits.

Why does she do this?

He is right after all. She only had to get one thing on the way back and she had screwed it up. She is forever screwing things up. This is not new. Some of her earliest memories consist of curling herself into the tiniest of balls. Hiding at the top of the loft's staircase, listening as her father had argued with her mother. A mother that didn't want, nor love her. At least that's how it had appeared to her as she had clutched Monkey Bunkey.

But she's not a little girl anymore, and a stuffed animal is no longer enough to reassure her that all will be okay.

Lost in her own memories she is forced into the present as his fingers close around her upper arms. She doesn't know whether to be thankful that the bruises remain hidden, always contained within her clothed skin. Or would she be braver, able to walk away, if he left a mark where it could be seen.

How did she ever come to be in this situation?

Her head snaps back, red strands flowing around her face as if she were in a shampoo commercial and this thought almost has her giggling. Almost.

She detaches from the scene, mentally curls into the ball she had perfected as a child. His words seem far away, as he continues belittling her, fingers digging into skin that is already marred. Her eyes close as the metallic taste of her own blood fills her mouth, her teeth having pierced her gum, and she concentrates on the taste. That and the notion that he doesn't mean it. He'll be Pi again if she just waits long enough.


Sitting on the edge of their bed she twirls the tulip between her fingers, ignores the nagging little voice that is insinuating that she had probably paid for her own flower, her own gift of apology.

He had been nothing but apologetic since yesterday's accident, 'sorry' trips from his tongue, time after time, as he had again begged her for forgiveness. It really was her fault for forgetting what he had asked for. She can't blame him for her own absent-mindedness. It's just that being back at college, surrounded by her friends, time eaten away by classes and assignments, has left her little time for him. But, all he has is her. Displaced in a city that's not his own, dragged here by her and the promises she had made, that she could take care of them, take care of him, if he would only follow her back to the States.

She had been so empty, so devastated after hearing her father's announcement days before she had hopped on a plane for Costa Rica. He had stood there, arm clutching Beckett to his side, a grin from ear to ear. Excitement had leeched from every word and it coiled around her soul, crushing her from within. They were getting married. He was getting married again.

On her better days, she is happy for him, for them. They have struggled, fought, and clawed their way into the position they are in now. But she's not stupid, hell, her dad is forever proclaiming that she is the smart one in the family, and she is merely waiting for the phone call that destroys his life once more. He may have forgotten what he was like, what life was like during those painful months after the detective's shooting, but she fiercely holds onto those memories. It will forever prove her point that her dad is better off with someone who deserves him. Someone who loves him completely.

She knows what it is now, to love someone with all your heart. She's a grown woman, and her father needs to start acting like a grown man for a change. Getting married to Beckett is merely replacing one person for another. As she had spread her wings, strutted forth into the world, he had latched onto something shiny and new and she's waiting, anticipating for when it all goes sideways.

Because really, is it going to end up any other way between them?

Alexis' thoughts are interrupted as Pi walks past, dropping a tender kiss against her forehead as he finishes getting ready for their dinner at the loft, and she tugs at the long sleeves of her shirt, ensuring that they will hang low enough to cover the blemishes that are blooming across her pale skin.

Her lips turn upwards as she admires his form, the laid-back motions as he slips into his shoes, the lazy turn of his lips as his eyes slide over her.

"You ready to go, Al?"


Kate's nails pierce the bridge of her nose as she watches Castle bounce nervously around the kitchen, cringes as he nearly drops the glass bowl containing the salad she had made. It had taken hours on the net, scrolling through one bizarre recipe after another, trying to find a middle ground. Finding something for Pi to eat, as well as something to satisfy Rick's appetite, had meant the writer's idea of cooking steak for dinner had been quickly shot down. While she shares Castle's… irritation over Alexis' boyfriend, Kate's been doing all she can to walk the tentative line of politeness, ignoring how the hair on the back of her neck rises whenever she is in Pi's presence.

He appears to be a happy-go-lucky kid, and while he definitely dances to a different drum, he, on the few occasions where they have been in a room together, seems to make Alexis happy; almost as much as he makes Castle miserable.

She speculates that this is the hardest part of their relationship, at least at the moment. They have gotten through so much in the past, overcome so many internal issues, but this is the first big external hurdle they are having to face. An outside force, that they themselves have little control over. And she is more than a little lost over what to do about the situation. Except be there. Remain by Castle's side. Hopefully offer enough advice on what being a teenage girl is like.

"Beckett?"

Looking up she realizes that she has not heard most of the conversation that he had been having with her, and she offers an apologetic lopsided grin. Pushing off from the counter she crosses the space between them, wraps her arms around his hips, fingers slipping easily into the back pockets of his jeans. Wiggling them slightly, it results in him canting his lower half forward into her own and her grin explodes into an all-encompassing smile.

"Sorry, Castle. I completely missed all that was coming out of your mouth." Her eyes dart to the body part in question and she shimmies against his frame and watches as his tongue peeks through his lips, wets them as if he were parched.

Rocking forward onto the tips of her toes, Kate captures the now moist flesh, opens wide as she grants him access into the warm heat of her mouth, inserts her tongue in order for it to do her own exploring. Time passes without notice, before she leans back, creating a small space between them, and she whispers into his lips, "Stop worrying so much."

His reply is nothing more than a huff, but she can feel the muscles that align her body, relax slightly at her words and it encourages her to keep going.

"I can understand your frustration about the situation, Castle, but we've spoken about this before."

His head moves so that his nose can bury itself into the corner of her neck; hiding underneath her long wavy hair, he shies away from the topic again.

It remains quiet as she waits him out. She is getting so much better at waiting him out, and eventually his voice, muffled as a result of her skin, breaks the silence.

"I just hate all that she is doing with her life right now, all that she is throwing away by being with…" His irritation is evident despite his avoidance and she repositions them so she can see as well as hear him. So that he can see her as she speaks.

"I know, Castle, but we all go through that phase of trying to work out where we are and who we are. Alexis just seems to have hit hers late. I mean you never had the whole teen angst spectacle, so maybe it's all kind of rolled in to one big… drama." Kate knows she went through the same thing, although from memory she was more about pushing the boundaries within herself, rather than pushing everyone else around her with rude and obnoxious behavior. Nevertheless, each girl to her own she figures. She just has to hope that this phase ends soon.

"We just have to tolerate Pi until this thing with them runs its course and in the meantime, try not to burn too many bridges with your daughter. Trust me when I say that it will be a long and difficult road to get that relationship back."

Castle nods his agreement, even if she can see it is reluctantly, and he responds, "Put on a happy face?"

Chuckling slightly, Kate reaffirms, brings their lips together as she mumbles into them, "Concentrate on finding a happy place while in his presence."

The hum starts low within his abdominal walls and she feels it, even through the clothes that separate them. It leaves her arching her back, as they close the space between them once more. Yet as per normal, the metal click of the door opening drives them apart. She had forgotten that Alexis and Pi were due, and as they enter, Kate is thankful that that was as far as they had gotten.

Being caught in a compromising position in the kitchen is the last thing her relationship with Alexis needs.

Grasping Rick's hand, she slides her fingers between his larger ones, feels her skin stretch as she accommodates his size, and using their joined hands she pulls him toward the entrance way. Tries to mask the reluctance she can already sense building as Pi makes himself at home; kicks his shoes off in the general direction of the hall closet.

"Hi, Dad." The timid nature of Alexis' words has Kate releasing her fiancés hand. She subtly shoves at his rear to move him in his daughter's direction and after acknowledging Pi with an awkward wave and half a smile, Kate turns back to watch the two Castles embrace.

Kate observes as Alexis flinches within her dad's arms. She knows that Rick can be a little overeager when it comes to bone crushing hugs, but Alexis isn't usually this hesitant, and she finds the picture before her puzzling.

Something is wrong; years as a detective leave her back straightening as if she were at the scene of a crime. The evidence before her is not making sense and a sigh nearly escapes as she realizes that it's going to be up to her to work out what in the world is happening here.

What has Alexis flinching within her own father's loving touch?


Castle is not mine

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Big thanks to honeyandvodka for making me make sense with all things spelling, grammar and the encouragement to make the story more,

and to Caskett1 for reading and spotting my goofs!

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You comments-reviews are valued!