Title: Not Always Blood
Summary: Family is what you make of it.
Prompt/Prompter: pprfaith Buffy/Castle, Ryan clapped Castle on the shoulder. "That's Alexis' favorite 'aunt'? Castle, you've been holding out on us." You don't have to be literal, but basically I want Buffy and Castle to be old friends and she comes visiting in New York.
Warnings:None that I am aware of.
Disclaimer:I don't own Buffy or Castle - that's Whedon and ABC.
There are times you think that for a bright guy Castle doesn’t have a lot of sense. Take now, for instance, now his teenage daughter is wandering through the squad room without a care in the world and Castle doesn’t bat an eye – except to grin. Who does that? Who doesn’t worry about their teenage daughter dealing with homicide; as something real, not just on the TV?
There are the other times when you realise that Castle does worry, he just doesn’t know how to tell his grown up in so many ways teenage daughter that this is not the place for her to be. It doesn’t help that she’s pointed them towards the end game in a couple of places just by putting the clues together like her Dad.
It makes you wonder if she’ll be torn between cop and writer, or just go for something else entirely.
The only grown up in her family finally reaches you, “Hey Dad, Detective Ryan,” she says, happily, “Guess what?”
You figure she’s just aced some big test or something, you haven’t seen a smile that big on her face since the boyfriend went to some school on the other side of the country.
“What?” You watch Castle bounce like the teenage boy he is.
“Guess whose favourite aunt is coming to town?” she is practically bouncing too now.
“No!”Castle shouts, you think he maybe should have learnt by now not to that in the middle of a bunch of cops as the whole room stops and looks to Castle who just shrugs and says, “Carry on, people, carry on.”
“You have a sister?” You ask the writer, not remembering any mention of a sister, although it could be her Mom’s sister, you guess.
“Nope, she’s an old friend of mine,” you watch as he smirks a little and you wonder if it’s that type of old friend and how not happy Beckett will be to meet her, not that you or anyone else in the precinct –apart from Lanie, who doesn’t count ‘cause she’s in the morgue, not the precinct – is getting in the way of that, thank you very much.
You watch as Castle puts his arm around his daughter and goes to lead her away, “At this point we shall bid you adieu, Detective Ryan, and leave you to your detecting,” he says, doffing an imaginary cap and then they both grin and say, “Adieu.”
You wave them away, trying not to grin too much; Jenny says it makes you look a little daft sometimes when you grin like that about the Castles.
You listen as they head for the elevator and Castle asks his daughter, “so details, details, when? How long? Does she have a place to stay?”
It isn’t until later, just before the call comes in to say that today’s slow day is no longer a slow day and you and Esposito and Beckett leap into action, that you realise that you know nothing more than this woman who is coming to visit is an old friend of the writer’s who is a good enough friend to also be the daughter’s favourite aunt and the woman may possibly now, or at some stage, have been more than a friend.
You wonder how that will turn out.
And then the call comes in and you forget all about it.
They’ve just finished the paperwork on their last suspect and Castle has been distracted through the whole case, tapping away on his phone whenever he has a spare moment and grinning. That stupid grin she really doesn’t want to know – the one that says there’s a girl on the other end of that text, and it’s not Alexis or Martha. Oh, he’s not been so distracted that it was noticeable to anyone but her and maybe Ryan or Esposito. He still put almost everything into solving the case, coming up with crazy and wild ideas whilst she tried to solve the crime.
She ignores the ding of the elevator arriving; the case is done with and there’s nothing new yet. It’s not until she hears Ryan clapping Castle on the shoulder and saying, “That's Alexis' favourite 'aunt'? Castle, you've been holding out on us," that she looks up.
Alexis and a blonde woman, way too young for Castle, she might add – if she was bothered, which she’s not – have entered, arm in arm, with a tonne of shopping bags from stores way too expensive for anyone on a cop salary to shop in.
It’s odd, the weird little flicker in the woman’s eyes as she looks at Castle, the one that disappears so fast as Castle grins, that Kate almost forgets it. And then they’re hugging and the woman is saying, “Hey, Ricky,” and he‘s saying, “Hey, Buffy,” Buffy? like she hadn’t just been looking at him with a cold suspicion Kate only uses for murderers and rapists.
She supposes the woman is pretty, ok, she’s damn hot and not just because of the winter coat she’s wrapped up in. Blonde, tiny, cute little nose – apart from the tiny she reminds Kate of Castle’s publisher/ex-wife.
They pull apart and grin at each other, then Castle is tugging on her arm and bringing her over to Kate’s desk, “Detective Kate Beckett, this is Buffy Summers,” he stands in front of them like a nervous little boy until Kate smiles and says, “nice to meet you,” and Buffy, Buffy?, says in a California princess accent, “and you, Detective.”
And then she has to say, “just Kate, Ms Summers,” which leads to, “Buffy,” and then they’re all friends and Kate doesn’t quite know what to do especially with Castle still doing nervous and Ryan and Esposito leaning against the desk behind Castle nudging each other and trying not to grin.
It doesn’t matter though, Castle does that thing he does at moments like this, he grins, brings his hands together like he’s shaking his own hand and says, “So, what did you girls buy, and how much of my hard earned money did you spend doing it?”
She finds it in her to snort and roll her eyes as Buffy laughs and says, “that’ll be my hard earned money we spent Ricky, gotta spoil my favourite niece, don’t I?”
It makes her really want to fix on the California princess label on the woman but something is stopping her, that look she gave Castle before he smiled, before he stepped towards them.
And then Alexis is putting her bags down on Kate’s desk and showing her and Castle, and Ryan and Esposito who are now trying to pretend that they’re not interested in shopping, the spoils of war.
It’s the sheer amount of money in those shopping bags that tells her that Buffy Summers hasn’t come from money, even if she has it now, she doesn’t know what to do with it and has reached the giving it away stage. Only Castle doesn’t seem concerned or even resigned to it, just happy.
Part of her, a quiet part she tries hard not to listen to say that he’s happy for her in a way Kate wants for herself, not anyone else. She squashes it down and laughs when Alexis pulls out a scarf with reindeers on and wraps it round her father’s neck, “we got this for you, Dad.”
“So that’s Kate Beckett,” Buffy says teasingly to him as they leave the precinct with Alexis chattering away on her cell behind them, “the great detective.”
“Hey,” he says, “you know you’d be my muse if only-,” and then she joins in, “-it wouldn’t change the genre!”
They’re quiet for a moment, listening to the sounds of New York and walking along the street, “Hot Dog?” Castle asks as they come up to a cart selling them, she rolls her eyes, he’s been doing this since they met, getting her to eat, “sure.”
He pays, after their usual rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to do so, laughing when Alexis says she’d rather have ice-cream later, “how did you raise a kid who knows how to say no?” Buffy asks and he smiles, “no idea, at all.”
Alexis says goodbye and heads off home with her bags to do her homework, “again, how do you do it?” Buffy asks and they laugh, knowing she did it too.
Buffy finishes her hot dog and throws her napkin in a trash bin, “she’s jealous, you know,” she says out of nowhere.
Castle rolls his eyes and shoves the rest of his hot dog in his mouth so he doesn’t have to answer her. She puts her arm though his and drags him towards the park, “you want I should help make her even more jealous?” she asks fluttering her eyelashes at him.
He ignores her atrocious grammar in favour of saying, “no, please don’t,” and, “it’s complicated.”She sighs at him and says, “Isn’t it always?”He replies, “It involves death and violence and hurt,” to which she laughs and says, “Doesn’t it always?”
They sit on a park bench and watch as people go by without a care in the world; she says, “do you ever wonder what it would be like, to be like them again?” he smiles and lies, “no,” and follows it up with, “it wouldn’t change anything.”
“Liar,” she says to his, “no”, and “I suppose not”, to the, “it wouldn’t change anything.”
“How’s Dawn?” he asks, hoping to get away from Kate for a moment, she smiles and lets him, “driving me round the bend, as usual,” she then goes into a long rant about how her sister, “can’t figure out which Masters she wants to do” or “even which country she wants to do it in,” and how it’s all based on, “where I am, or where Xander is,” which is rarely ever the same place these days.
He lets himself be lost in her speech, pitching in with the occasional question, “what is Xander up to, these days?” to which the answer is, “not traipsing around Africa,” and a laugh and a side story about Andrew and Angel from a few years back that still makes her giggle. Then, “what does Rupert suggest?” to which he gets a wrinkled nose at the use of the man’s first name and, “oh, he’s keeping right out of this one.”
After a while she trails off and turns to him, “what can I do?” she asks with a sincere look, the laughter gone. He attempts to laugh it off until she raises a brow, “remind me why I love strong women?” he asks instead. She laughs, “because you’re as bad as Xander,” and he adds in a silly voice, “with the face of EVIL,” lucky she’s in a good mood and just rolls her eyes, “I’m going to get you a t-shirt that says that, one of these days,” he says, “good, I’ll wear it to work.”
She stops smiling and says, “you know, you should get paid for that, going out and saving the world,” a beat, “someone told me that, once.”
He smiles, “but I have to put my time in first,” he says, thinking about all things she did before she ever got paid, all the people she saved, directly and in-directly. And one day he will take her up on the offer of some more training and a badge that says he’s an agent of the law. Only that day will have to come long after Johanna Beckett has finally been put to rest and he can break Kate Beckett’s heart even more by opening her eyes to the rest of the world.
Buffy looks at the people around her in Ricky’s bar and remembers what it’s like to work with a team, a family, like this one. And wishes she had it back again; wishes that her world hadn’t become so big that her family was spread around the actual world, not just the US, only without actually wishing it, thanks.
“So, Buffy,” Detective Ryan, call me Ryan, asks with a grin that tries to hide how interested he actually is in the possible gossip he could get from this, “how long have you known Ricky?”
“Oh, years,” she says thinking back to meeting Ricky and the fear she could see in his eyes when she finally got him away from the slayers who had seen him and thought their nightmare had come alive again. She has never figured out how they couldn’t see it wasn’t Caleb within seconds, there’s no evil in his grins, his eyes. And she knows that every time she sees him the past shows in her eyes, but it’s her past, not his. He’d never met Caleb, wasn’t even related – just some freak thing where they looked the same.
“She saved me from a book signing gone wrong,” Ricky tells them with a grin, a broken grin that she knows at least Kate Beckett sees through. She decides she loves Kate the moment the woman rolls her eyes and asks, “How could a book signing go wrong, Castle, did your pen run out?”
They all laugh and move on to a story about Alexis and Buffy when Alexis was only just ten and wanted to have shoes just like Aunt Buffy’s, and being the girl she is tried to build them from some of her own shoes and the heels of Martha’s.
Buffy behaves herself and doesn’t flirt with Ricky to make Kate jealous. She gets it. Her love life is a primer in how not to do it. And situations like this? They’re best left alone to the two people involved, no meddling allowed.
Ricky was the one to teach her to enjoy life again; she just hopes that he can teach Kate. In the meantime, she’ll smile and laugh and have a drink with his family; knowing that someone else has New York tonight, not her.