Her hands are shaking as she listens to Detectives Esposito and Ryan talk about how they think her dad faked his disappearance, angry tears stinging her eyes, and after a couple of minutes, she can’t take it anymore.
"Stop it!" she exclaims as she steps around the corner.
The detectives look up at her, and their expressions soften as Ryan softly says, “Alexis.”
"My dad didn’t fake anything. Whatever happened to him was real, and what you should be doing is finding out who did this to him.”
"Alexis," Ryan says again, taking a step towards her, but she moves back.
"He wouldn’t make this up. He wouldn’t lie. He wouldn’t do that to Beckett, or Gram." She takes a sharp breath, her tears spilling over as she flashes back to her own kidnapping, those terrifying days spent in captivity. "He - he wouldn’t do that to me.”
Esposito and Ryan’s faces fall as they realize what she’s talking about, and Alexis swipes her hands over her cheeks.
"So just… stop, okay?"
Without waiting for a reply, she turns to walk back to her dad’s room, sniffling and taking a deep breath as she tries to bring herself back under control.
"Castle," Kate moans, grabbing at his back as he moves over her, inside of her. "Rick.”
"Kate," he whispers over her mouth, breath hot on her lips before he kisses her.
There’s not much coherent thought left to her, but there’s still the one thing that’s always there, lingering, nagging.
"Your wife," she breathes.
"Soon," he murmurs, jerking his hips and making her cry out.
It’s always soon with him, and Kate knows she should stop this until soon actually arrives, but she’s drawn to him like a magnet, unable to resist his pull.
Maybe one day they’ll talk about this like rational adults, but when they’re alone, there never seems to be time for talking before they end up just like this. Usually it’s her bed, sometimes his, and one memorable time in the archive at the precinct, his hands tight on her thighs and her back pressed against a cold case from 1974.
Soon, she thinks, just as her orgasm hits, and when he slumps over her, breathing hard into the curve of her neck, she allows herself to think that maybe this time he really means it.
Alexis winces at the sleepy voice on the other end of the line, and bites her lip as she picks at her sheets. “D - Detective Ryan?”
"Alexis?" he mumbles.
"Is everything okay?" He sounds more awake now, and she can hear the sound of him shifting.
"Yeah," she murmurs again. "I mean… kind of. I just - I had a nightmare, and I didn’t want to wake Dad or Gram, and I know it’s late, but I remembered you saying I could call you if I needed to -"
"Yeah, no, absolutely." There’s a pause, and then he says, "Do you, um, want to tell me what the nightmare was about?"
"Just… a nightmare." She scratches her fingernail over the embroidery on her comforter. "Flashes of dark rooms and - and strange men."
A brief silence follows this statement, and then Ryan speaks again. “So, let me tell you this story about back when I was a beat cop…”
Alexis smiles, silently grateful to him for not asking her more about the nightmare, and by the time he finishes his story, she’s laughing.
"You handcuffed a suspect to a movable cafe sign?"
"Yeah," Ryan replies, laughing too. "Not my finest moment. But at least we caught him. Took a while to live that one down."
"I can imagine," Alexis says, another giggle escaping her.
When her laughter subsides, Ryan asks, “Feel better?”
"Yeah, thanks, Detective Ryan."
"Anytime," he replies sincerely. "Night, Alexis."
"Night." She sets her phone on her night stand and burrows back under the covers, all traces of her nightmare vanquished to the deep recesses of her mind, and she’s still smiling as she drifts off to sleep.
"Oooh, what about a monkey?"
"Castle, it’s illegal to have a primate as a pet in this state,” Kate replies, exasperation in her voice, and then adds under her breath, “Luckily I got a permit for you.”
"Nothing," she says quickly, and then shakes her head as she reaches for her wine. "Why can’t we just get something normal, like a dog? Or a cat? Or a fish…"
"You mean something boring," Rick sighs, his shoulders slumping.
"Babe," Kate says, raising her eyebrows. "If you want something exotic, go to the zoo. You and I work too much to get a pet that’s too high maintenance. What’s wrong with getting a dog, remember Royal?"
"Yeah," Rick murmurs fondly. "A golden retriever could be nice. Mother could walk it every day…"
Kate snorts. “Yeah, good luck with that.”
Rick grins, and then nods. “Okay, this weekend we’ll go to the shelter.”
Kate beams, and Rick leans over the counter to press his lips to hers before returning to their dinner preparations.
"Thanks for being available," Kate murmurs, running a hand through her hair as she turns onto her side to face Javier. "It’s just this case -“
"Hey, no explanations," Javier replies, grinning over at her. "I’m here when you need me, baby."
Kate snorts, hair falling into her eyes as she shakes her head. “Don’t call me baby.”
Javier’s grin widens, and then he pushes to stand. “Pizza or Chinese?”
"Mmm, pizza. And beer, lots of beer."
"Got you covered for both," he says, finding his pants on the floor and tugging his phone from the pocket. "Beer in the fridge, pizza in like, twenty."
Kate smiles, watching him for a minute as he calls the pizza place and orders their usual, and then stands to find enough clothes that give her the semblance of being dressed.
"Belle!" Alexis exclaims, sounding tired but happy.
"Alexis," Belle breathes in relief, and hurries over to her girlfriend’s bed, immediately pressing a kiss to the other girl’s lips. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I’m fine," Alexis assures her quickly. "They just want to keep me here for a night to make sure."
"The hospital gown does suit you," Belle replies, the corner of her mouth rising in a smirk. "Brings out your eyes."
Alexis laughs, reaching for Belle’s hand and squeezing her fingers. “Dad said you were heavily involved.”
"I’m not my father’s daughter for nothing. I bullied your dad into letting me come to Paris, but he wouldn’t let me go along when he actually went after you. He didn’t want to risk anything happening to me."
"I’m glad," Alexis says softly. "If I couldn’t see you after all of this…"
Belle smiles, and climbs into the bed with Alexis, the two of them shifting until they’re comfortably wrapped in each other’s arms.
"I missed you so much, Alexis," Belle whispers. "If your dad hadn’t gone after you like he did, you know I would have."
"I know," Alexis replies quietly. "That’s why I love you."
"I love you too," Belle says, tipping her head up for another kiss.
Marcus looks up at the quiet thump on his desk, and the corner of his mouth rises when he sees the Coke in front of him, Joan written on the label in that familiar white script.
When he looks up, Joan is standing in front of his desk, a wide smile on her face and another bottle of Coke in her hand, this one bearing his name.
"Share a Coke with me, Marcus?"
"Don’t mind if I do," he replies, standing and grabbing the bottle from his desk. "Let’s go outside."
"Being a professor’s assistant has its benefits," Hermione murmurs, giggling when Remus grins and dips his head for another kiss.
"Even if I can never get any work done."
"That’s not my fault, you -” Hermione breaks off when the door suddenly opens, and Remus moves quickly away from her, jamming his hands in his pockets as he looks up.
"Yes, er - Barnaby?"
The student walks up to the desk, oblivious to what he just interrupted, and Hermione moves to grab her things, giving Remus a significant look before she leaves the classroom, her lips curving when he gives her a quick nod. She’s still smiling when she plops down beside Harry in the Great Hall, and shakes her head when he asks what she’s so happy about.
"Nothing. It’s Friday. That’s all."
"Does your mom have anything to drink besides wine?" Tina asks in a low voice, leaning closer to Quinn.
"Why, you want something harder?" Quinn asks wryly, her eyes on her mother’s retreating form.
Tina stares at her, and Quinn gives her a small smile as she rubs a hand over her girlfriend’s thigh. “I’ll get you some water, though you may want the hard stuff later on.”