Beckett/Castle (friendshippy), Alexis, MarthaRating:
, who requested, 'Game Night with the Castles'. Sort of Christmas ficcish. Oh, I should mention the last episode I saw was "Vampire Weekend", so no canon after that applies. :PSummary:
Set at a pre-Christmas trip departure get together. There's a bet, and Kate takes a bullet for Alexis.
1. The Vacation
Christmas On the Beach - Irene
Christmas in July - Sufjan Stevens
2. The Bet
Bring it On (Rusko Remix) - Leon Jean Marie
Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benetar
3. Christmas (general)
Xmas-Carol, NYC - Parker LewisDownload .rar on MU
Kate watches Rick glare across the table at the latest boyfriend, Nate. She nudges him with her elbow. “You’re glaring.”
“Still?” he asks, pausing as he takes in her words, but the whole time he never stops glaring.
“Since I told you the last time.”
“How odd.” But still the glaring.
Alexis is too deeply involved between the conversation she’s having with Nate to notice. Martha joins in that conversation sometimes, looking just as enamored with the young man as her granddaughter. They both however, stop occasionally to give quick glances across the table, the former glaring back and the latter pouring him more wine like he just needs to loosen up.
All of her detective skills, and more importantly her common sense, tell her to slide the latest glass over, taking a sip before he can pick it back up.
“Hey, that was my glass,” he protests.
“I didn’t think you’d notice, considering how focused you were on other things,” she says, and he glances back and forth from Alexis to Kate, like he’s a dog trying to decide between two squeaky toys. He finally turns his attention to her. “You know, since that was my glass, if you drank from it approximately where I drank from it, it’s almost like we just had our first kiss.”
She opens her mouth in protest. “If you’re four
.” Reacting, though, only eggs him on, so she gives him her best smile before she takes another drink. She hands it back to him. “Here, have at it. I hope you and the glass are very happy together.”
“We will be. We’ll enjoy my condo in the Bahamas together while you enjoy that big snow we’re expecting next week.” She notices he takes a drink to the right of where the very faint trace of her lipstick is on the rim. Interesting.
The comment about the Bahamas brings Alexis’s attention back. “Do you think we can-?”
“No,” Castle says. “It’s a family vacation. That means family only.”
Kate, despite herself feels sorry for Alexis, and, well, she has that paid time-off she hasn’t cashed in, and Esposito already agreed to the Christmas shift. The Bahamas might be nice. Better than snow. She leans over just enough to take his glass back, gains his attention by finding that spot just to the right of her lipstick smudge. “How about a gamble?” she asks when his eyes are on her again.
Rick can’t help himself. He’s kind of like a donkey that has seen a carrot. “I’m listening.”
“We’ll play a game, me and Nate over there, versus the three of you. If we win, you’ll take the two of us with you on your little vacation next week.” She’s smiling, because she knows he’s struggling to say no, he wants to say no.
Instead he says, “And if we win?”
“If you win,” she looks at Alexis. Sometimes you take a bullet for the cause. “I’ll agree to the photo shoot.”
photo shoot,” he asks her. “The Nikki Heat photo shoot? The one where you and the model who’s going to be on the covers wear leather clothing and hold guns?”
“And probably grope each other. Yes, that one.”
“You said you’d never do that shoot in a million years. You said-”
She holds up her hand. “I know what I said, but this is what I’m saying now. So do we have a deal?”
Alexis and Martha are watching Castle like they’ve just gotten to the good part of a movie. Nate on the other hand is staring at Kate, and the look he’s giving her isn’t exactly what she’d like to call appropriate.
“What’s the game?” Rick asks. “Poker?”
“No, it’s not poker.” Too much of a risk. Kate thinks hard for a minute. “What board games do you have?”
“Board games, board games…” he looks at Alexis. “Do we have board games?”
“I think we have an old chessboard in a closet somewhere.”
Kate can’t resist the urge to smile. “What about chess then?” she asks him, trying not to smile, because there’s very few people who have beaten her at a game of chess. “We’ll do it tournament style.”
Castle looks at Nate and then looks at Kate, and she can see him picturing that shoot in his head. Sucker
. He sticks out his hand, “Deal.”
Kate moves her pawn, takes his knight. “I believe that is a check mate
.” She draws out the last two words, can’t help herself.
“That was cheating,” he exclaims.
“Where was it cheating?” Alexis asks. She’s been writing down everyone’s moves in a book. “Just because you let a pawn take your knight doesn’t make it cheating.”
He starts to protest but then he looks at Alexis and smiles. He looks back at Kate. “That means it’s you against my daughter. Did I mention they had handcuffs as props?”
“Three times.” Kate admits. She is
a little bit worried here. Her dad taught her to play a mean game of chess, but she’s watched Alexis over the past few games. She’s good.
“You’re not allowed to throw the game,” Castle reminds Alexis. “We all agreed to honor a strict code of ethical conduct here.”
Kate frowns. “When did we do that?”
“By just sitting down to this ancient and… esoteric game.” Alexis rolls her eyes at her dad. They aren’t playing with a timer, so she just looks at the board, carefully moves her pawn up one.
Kate takes a deep breath and the moves her own pawn.
It’s all down to a few moves. She can see Alexis giving her these pleading looks, just asking to be beat, and Kate wants to tell her that she’s trying. She’s really trying, because handcuffing a leather-clad girl to a chair in a photo shoot? Neither Esposito nor Ryan’s going to let her live that down. Ever
She tries not to watch Alexis while she strategizes, because when her fingers move to a piece, Alexis gets either happy or sad, and Kate, despite herself, does want to win this fairly.
She moves something, and Alexis gives her a look like she’s just heard about a kitten fire. The only reason that metaphor comes to mind is Alexis had said it to her once. “Kitten fire. It’s like the worst, most horrible thing you can imagine happening. All those kittens, on fire. It’s tragic.”
Alexis looks at the board, but it doesn’t take her long to move a piece. “Check.”
Castle pumps the air with his fist. Kate looks over at him. “Can’t you at least wait until I lose?”
He’s about to say no, but then he just puts his arm back down. “By all means, proceed.”
It’s just like solving a case, she tells herself. She just has to see all of the possible outcomes and go with the one that seems most likely to pay off. Except for instead of information, there’s palm trees and dignity to get out of this, and so help her, it’s more motivating than a body that needs a story.
Alexis moves something quickly and finally lets out a breath. “Stalemate.”
Everybody experiences a moment of confusion. Kate’s the first one to see what happened, but Castle’s the first to ask, “So what does that mean?”
“It means they tied,” Martha tells him, like it’s obvious, even though Nate’s just whispered the answer in her ear.
“So what does that mean for our bet?” he asks.
“It means we could call the whole thing off,” Kate says, because really, the threat of that shoot has gotten to be too much.
Alexis gives her this look, and Kate immediately knows she’s going to end up doing something she regrets. “Or,” Alexis says, and her eyes are asking Kate to go with her on this one. “We could just… do both?”
Castle’s eyes narrow as he looks at Nate and then looks at Kate. He points to Alexis. “You would sleep in a room with your grandmother. He will have a cot in my room.”
“Wait a minute,” Kate says, because Alexis’s face is already starting to glow with excitement. “What if I don’t agree to this?”
There’s the kitten fire again. Alexis sighs. “You’re right. It’s only works if we all agree to it.”
Kate remembers the feeling she gets when she’s particularly invested in the outcome of a case, and she knows without a doubt the person across the table can give her the answers she needs, but she has to be careful, because emotion can make her slip. Except in this scenario what she wants is to not be in that photo shoot, but she remembers what it’s like to be Alexis’s age and have a boyfriend... and a father. Dammit.
“I approve everything,” she tells Castle. “I approve costumes, I approve props, and I approve final shots.”
For a moment, he looks like he’s experiencing his own personal kitten fire. He snaps out of it. “Fine. One condition. You still do the one where you handcuff the girl to the chair in leather.”
He would choose the worst one. She tries not to glance at Alexis, but she fails. “Fine, I’ll take the shot, but it doesn’t go to print.”
Castle’s smile is quite smug as he leans back. “I think we’ve made ourselves a deal.”
Alexis squeals and hugs her dad before hugging Kate. “Thank you,” she whispers in Kate’s ear before kissing her on the cheek. She grabs Nate’s hand. “Come on, you can help me pack.”
Castle doesn’t look happy about this turn of events. “You do know you can trust her not to do anything stupid,” Kate tells him.
“I know.” He’s sulking now.
Kate grabs her coat. It’s been a long night, and she has to pack. And tomorrow’s a long day. She’s got to gloat about the trip while she can, take whatever short lived victory over Ryan and Esposito she's able to before this photo shoot thing happens. “I want first class,” she tells him.
“Can I stick Nate in economy?” he asks.
Kate looks upstairs, figures she’s done enough for those two tonight. She gives him a smile. “Be my guest.”