Disclaimer- I still don't own Castle, Andrew Marlowe does, and I don't want him to sue me for playing in his sandbox. I'm just having fun, I make no moneys.

The morning after Alexis's second trimester ultrasound, after Ryan and Espo had figured out that Alexis was pregnant, it felt like an incredible weight had been lifted from our shoulders. Keeping a secret this intense had taken a toll on us. Most of our friends new, and they were completely understanding, but we had made a promise to Alexis that we wouldn't tell until she was ready. Castle and I walked into the bullpen that morning and everybody came by to hug us and congratulate us.

Ann Hastings came up to me and immediately hugged me without a word. She had been out on a case yesterday when the news had gone around our team. Hastings had just been promoted to detective, almost as quickly as I had. I was delighted when she was assigned at my mentee and so far, she hadn't let me down. "I know this couldn't have happened at a good time, but I'm so happy for you," she whispered into my ear. "She's going to be okay. You'll be okay."

I nodded and felt myself tearing up. "Thanks, Ann."

"Beckett and Castle?" Captain Gates asked from behind me. I let go of Ann. "I just want to say congratulations on your new granddaughter. We're all 100% behind her. And we expect to see that baby once it's born!"

"Thank you, sir," I said. "She's still a little anxious about it, but we think everything will be fine."

"It will be. She's a healthy girl," Gates said. "And a smart one, too."

"I'll bring that baby by if that's an order."

"Consider it one."

I always read the newsites when I got home, not watched. I had to cancel my cable because I was a news junkie when I lived on my own. Now that I lived with Richard, who was a technology junkie, we had every cable and movie channel (save for the porn pay-per-views), my one saving grace was that I hated turning on the TV because the sound system was so complicated. No, it wasn't a TV with a power-on button, but an ass-kicking system with a mixer and subwoofer. I seriously doubt NASA had the equivalent of anything like that for the Hubbell spacecraft's telescope.

Alexis was home, her feet up on the coffee table and had the TV on. I worried that her anxiety and emotional stress would give her preeclampsia or some other problems. She was always such a perfectionist. "Are your feet okay?" I asked.

She nodded. "Just a little sore."

They didn't look swollen. She flipped the mute button and the sound system went silent.

"I'm not sorry I quit that work-study job," she admitted.

"Me too," I admitted. "What are you watching?"

"CNN. It's on commercial break right now."

I sat down next to her. "I can't let myself get dragged back into watching 24-hour news networks again," I said. "I think I was an addict. Certifiably."

"Which one?"

"Bloomberg and MSNBC," I admitted. "Although I watched Fox News to argue with the TV screen about the lack of accredited sources they use."

"I've noticed," Alexis agreed. "I watch Fox News for the comedy. Only idiots rely on one new source. Hence, the explanation of the Fox News followers being racist and uninformed."

"So what's going on in the world?" I propped my feet up on the coffee table.

"Syria's complying, but just barely. Iran is getting twitchy, obviously. And there's been some arrests in Europe of the Chechnyan rebels in a drug ring in the eastern countries."

"See, if I followed this stuff, I'd be obsessed."

"I'm only watching it for class. Otherwise, I'd just keep up with it through the websites."

"What do you want for dinner?"

"A barbecue turkey sandwich on a croissant."


"With provolone. I think the weird cravings are setting in. Can't be cold cuts, though."

We went about the morning routine, filing paperwork and setting up depositions. I opened my email and saw an email from Rachel McCord. I hadn't spoken to her in a while, there was no subject in the email. The email initially made no sense. Then, I recognized the code I had learned: she wanted me to call her personal phone. I went to the restroom and dialed.

McCord answered on the third ring.



"I'm so glad you called. It's good to hear from you. I saw Richard's tweet and his letter. Congratulations on the granddaughter. Sorry about the hate mail."

"Thank you. We're still adjusting to it, if that makes sense."

"I can tell."

"So how are you?"

"I'm fine," she said. "But I just wanted to let you know about something about Preston Elliot I've gotten from intell."


"Yes," she said. "The kid that goes by that alias. He's friends with the Chechnyans rebels."

"The Chechnyans?" I repeated.

"Yes. We're one-hundred percent convinced Pi Elliot is a harmless pothead, but just that he's friends with the displaced rebels is suspicious. I don't think it's more than they supply him some good strains of pot, but it wasn't enough to ban him reentry to the US. But any friend of theirs…"

"I get it," I said.

"When the devil calls in a favor, you can't refuse, you know? Alexis may have gotten pregnant, but she dodged a bullet, so to speak. Preston Elliot was not safe for her to ever travel with outside the country. Alexis is much better off without him."

"We didn't have a doubt. I hated that kid."

"Trust your instincts," she said. "I couldn't tell you this over email... obviously."

"Well, thanks for the heads up, McCord. Good luck."

"Good luck to you, too. I hope to get a Christmas Card from you and your fiancee."

"Count on it."

"Take care, Beckett."

"You too."

A/N- Stay tuned to Alexis, Unexpected to find out where I'm going with this.