Castle Christmas FanFic Competition: A Bounty Hunter's Secrets

Another story for our fanfic competition. Here you can find all the stories for the 12th Precinct Castle Halloween FanFic Competition. And here you can find the rules.
You can also find the stories at for a possible easier read (blogspot doesn`t agree with word format most of the time).

Story: "A Bounty Hunter´s Secrets" 
Rating:  K+
Words: 1,976

“Why is it that Martha and Alexis have a Christmas Eve tradition that doesn’t include you?”

“Seems unnatural, doesn’t it?  But when Alexis was six, Meredith promised to take her to The Nutcracker matinee on Christmas Eve.  She was so excited that she woke me up at dawn so I could zip her green frilly dress and curl her hair.  Meredith cancelled by noon and that marked the first time Alexis knew she’d been slighted. She was so stoic, she didn’t even cry.  Mother stepped in, got the impossible tickets then made Alexis feel like a princess for the day.  They had such a good time that it became their thing.”

Kate pulled out the silverware. 

“You’ve never gone?”

 “No, that afternoon was my chance to do last minute wrapping and toy assembling so it worked well for me too.”

Castle, her partner/significant other/whatever, was only a few years away from possibly having grandkids. 

Kate schooled her expression and forced herself to breathe evenly. 

It’s not like she hadn’t done the math before, but she was holding out hope that one day she’d have a baby of her own, which could only be a baby of their own.  Was he over that part of his life?  They hadn’t talked about it aside from him casually saying he ‘wanted the option’ when he was afraid he’d rendered himself infertile.  She hadn’t pushed, because if she had to choose between a life with Castle and no kids or a life with kids and no Castle, there was no choice. She was well past the point of considering any form of a future without him.  She just hadn’t been ready to accept that Rick Castle and children were mutually exclusive options. 

Now it seemed he was focused on Alexis’ future kids, not hers.

“We went to Iowa for a weekend in November.  Jim took that picture.  He was so good with them.”

Ellen had grandchildren.  Maybe her dad didn’t care if he had any biologically. 

Her reproductive abilities seemed to be suddenly moot. 

Why did it bother her?  She looked to the mantle and saw Alexis’ stocking. 

She wanted to fill a stocking, a stocking for her own child, for their child.

She wanted Martha and Alexis to take that child to The Nutcracker so she and Rick could run around the loft assembling tricycles and wrapping Lego sets.

Wait.  Her dad went where?  She shot a look at him wide-eyed.

He met her eyes and gave her that look.  It was a look she knew all too well. It was guilt mingled with an inquiry into her mental status.

Jim had sprung a girlfriend on Katie a few days before Christmas and forced her hand to invite Ellen before his daughter had time to get used to the idea.   He had taken a trip with Ellen to Iowa to visit her only son when he hadn’t even told his only daughter that he was dating.

Kate needed to compartmentalize to survive the evening or she’d stay in a fog and her dad might withdraw.  She had expected the evening would be awkward, but she had so many issues relentlessly fighting for center stage that she lacked the fortitude to face any of them.

She needed a tactical retreat. 

She excused herself and headed for Castle’s ensuite to erect a few physical barriers between herself and everyone who was addling her mind.  She sat on the counter, pulled up her knees and stared at Boba Fett for a good three minutes.  She used to find it unsettling to have a life-sized bounty hunter watching her every, very personal move, but considering all the other life-sized characters in the loft, he seemed like her safest option.

She ran her hand through her hair and awkwardly addressed him.  “I don’t even know where to start.”  She felt a little ridiculous, but it was as though words were being siphoned from her,  “Since I’m talking to his action figure, I guess I should start with Castle.  He’s right.  Becketts are ‘one and dones’ but that’s not what he’s ever known.  What if one day the ‘Rodgers zeal’ kicks in and I’m not enough?  He’s been nothing but devoted to me and I have no reason to think that he’d stray, but he made it sound as though Martha physically can’t help herself from flitting from one relationship to another.  What if it’s in his DNA?  He would never intentionally hurt me, but I just don’t want him to look back and feel that he settled, you know?  He’s it for me. I wouldn’t survive it if he didn’t feel the same ten years from now.”

She thumped the back of her head against the mirror.

“Then Dad brings a date to Christmas Eve.” She rubbed her lips together thoughtfully.  I didn’t expect to like her, you know?  He’s smitten.  I didn’t know Dad could do smitten.  And it’s a giddy smitten, not the I’ve loved you all my life comfortable smitten that he was around Mom.” 

“He hadn’t even told me about Ellen and he flew with her to Iowa to meet her grandkids.  I admit that one stings.  Of course, since I’m unhinged enough to be discussing it with a life-sized doll, maybe he had his reasons.  Still.”

She squeezed her eyes shut. 

“It’s not that I don’t want him to move on, you know? I want him to be happy.  Mom would want him to be happy.  I just hadn’t realized how hard it would be to see him look at anyone like that who isn’t her. It’s one thing when it’s hypothetical, it’s another thing when I see the woman who’s filling Mom’s chair at the dinner table.”

“I’m being completely unreasonable.”

Kate blew a breath up to wisp her hair from her face. 

“I didn’t mean to make this so awkward.  Dad took a bold step by bringing Ellen and instead of getting to know her, I’m wigging out.  This must be so much worse for them than the ‘meet the parents’ fiasco was for us.  Oh no, what if I’m driving a wedge between them? What if when I go back out there, Ellen’s gone, or they both are?  Dad would have every right to be angry, and we don’t need anything else to strain our relationship.  He’s come so far, but maybe I haven’t come far enough.”

She looked at Boba Fett then down at her fingernails.  She hadn’t subconsciously chipped at her nail polish for years.  She needed to change topics.

“What if Castle only wants grandkids?” She plunged from the uncomfortable topic to the unbearable one.  “I mean, just look at Alexis. How could we ever have a kid who measures up to her?  She’s not mine and even I’m insanely proud of her.  Huh. I am proud of her.  I care about her, I mean, she’s Castle’s so of course I’d love her for that alone.  She might not feel the same about me but maybe by the time Alexis has kids we’ll be in a better place and she’ll let me be involved.”

Kate blew out a breath.  “I couldn’t mess up grandchildren too badly.  It’s a safer option.”  She cringed, “Maybe that’s it.  Maybe Castle doesn’t think I’m mother material.  I couldn’t even fault him for feeling that way since I don’t know the first thing about raising kids.”

“Just listen to me. We’re not even engaged and I’m ranting about grandchildren!”

She rubbed her brow with her thumb and forefinger.

“Still, if Alexis was all we had, would that be enough? We wouldn’t have that little baby who’s a perfect combination of us.   I feel like I’m mourning that loss and we haven’t even had the discussion yet.”  Kate wrapped her arms around her knees and buried her head.  “I’m such a mess.”

So much for compartmentalizing, now she’d just have to ride out the emotional overload then try to mask it with make-up.

“Well, maybe we should have that discussion.”

Castle’s voice pierced her as he edged through the crack in the door.  His eyes were so tender with worry or pity or a combination of the two. 
Agent Angie Founder, Administrator, Editor and Writer

The moment that I met you, my life became extraordinary. You taught me to be my best self, to look forward to tomorrow's adventures. And when I was vulnerable, you were strong. I love you, Richard Castle. And I want to live my life in the warmth of your smile and the strength of your embrace. I promise you I will love you. I will be your friend and your partner in crime and in life, always. - Kate Beckett The moment we met, my life became extraordinary. You taught me more about myself than I knew there was to learn. You are the joy in my heart. You're the last person I want to see every night when I close my eyes. I love you, Katherine Beckett. And the mystery of you is the one I want to spend the rest of my life exploring. I promise to love you, to be your friend, and your partner in crime and life, 'till death do us part, and for the time of our lives. - Richard Castle

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