Kate sighed as she watched Castle hug the little girl. It made her think of her dad hugging her close to his chest after her mom’s death—
No. Not that. Not now.
"Castle, you might want to take her somewhere else," she said softly in his ear, kneeling on him and the child’s level. The woman in the house was in bad shape. Bad, bad shape. The ambulance would still be a few minutes, though, especially if they were going through a park.
((Castle drama has always been good drama. Love me some A-class Kate Beckett ass-kicking! And Castle being a cute dad.))
Castle nodded subtly as Kate had whispered in his ear. It almost had made him shudder. Mostly because he hadn’t expected it, but… also because of other reasons that a child really shouldn’t know at this age.
No. Not that. Not now.
He cleared his throat and smiled down at the little girl. A little awkwardly. Uh, where to take her? He looked up and saw a toy shop with an ice cream bar across the courtyard — far away enough for her not to see her mom come out in an ambulance, and yet close enough for him to be close to Kate and the other officers.
"Let’s go over and get you cleaned up, and some ice cream." He whispered to the little girl who smiled. Ah ice cream: always a momentary distraction for a little girl caught up in a horror story.. that she really shouldn’t be in.
((I love the Castle drama! And we’re making our own too! Haha!))
Ice cream. Of course, ice cream. Beckett shook her head and watched Castle walk off with the little girl. He would need some ice cream after this, too, she thought, before turning back to the house. She had to go inside and watch the mom.
Now that Kate was in there with the mom longer, she could see how bad of a shape she was in, but the shots didn’t exactly look immediately lethal—only fatal if they were given the time to be so. Maybe this wasn’t an attempted murder—just a warning. A scare tactic.
"M’am, can you hear me?" Beckett asked, kneeling down besides the woman. The woman nodded.
"What’s your name?" Beckett asked, starting to apply pressure to the woman’s wounds.
"Elizabeth?" Beckett asked. The woman nodded.
"Elizabeth, do me a favor and hold your hands right here, as hard as you can. I’m Detective Kate Beckett, and an ambulance is on the way," she said, trying to sound like some sort of voice of reason. If reason even applied to this situation…
Only a handful of minutes later did paramedics show up. Kate told them what she found, then stepped aside to let them through. A couple of moments later, Lanie was coming in.
"Girl, I thought this was supposed to be your day off," Lanie sighed as she put on some gloves. Kate just shook her head. There was no point in replying to Lanie.
Castle breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the paramedic’s sirens approaching the scene. Everything would be all right now. He had faith in Kate, in the EMTs, in Lanie, in Ryan and Esposito. But most of all, he had faith in this little girl finding her mom again. And she would be alive.
"What’s your name?" Rick asked the little girl, who had smeared chocolate ice cream around her mouth. It was cute. It reminded him of Alexis.
The little girl shook her head.
"All right, let’s play a game then." Castle smiled. "I say a letter that your name starts with, you nod your head. And then I guess your name. If I don’t guess right, I buy you another ice cream. If I do guess right, I buy you another ice cream." He laughed.
The little girl looked at him, excitement filling her eyes. It was a great relief to the fear that had been in them only five minutes earlier.
"A?" He guessed. The little girl nodded.
He said the first name that came to mind: “Alexis?”
She nodded her head again.
"Who attacks a mother with her child in a haunted house?" Ryan scoffed as him and Esposito canvassed the area where Elizabeth’s body was found.
"Apparently, someone who was very, very mad," Esposito sighed.
"Thank you, Sherlock and Watson," Kate sighed as she tried to find where the attacker came from…
"Here, guys, check this out," she said, noticing a glitch in one of the mirrors. Esposito and Ryan turned. Carefully, Beckett turned the mirror away to find a passageway.
"What is this?" she asked herself, stepping inside and finding a lightboard and shelves where several items of Halloween-related paraphernalia were sitting.
"Maybe actors pop in and out of there…add spook to the house," Ryan offered.
"So then the attacker had to have known about it," Beckett said.
"Guys, get back to the station and find a family member for the little girl, then anyone with a record that works at the park, or who was worked at the park within the last five years," Kate ordered. Esposito and Ryan nodded and left.
"What happened here?" Kate sighed before leaving the house to find Castle and the little girl.
When she found them, it was a sweet sight to see. The little girl had one ice cream cone all over her face, another in her hand.
"It looks like the both of you are having tons of fun," Kate smiled. The little girl grinned.
((-tackles for a hug- I’m glad you’re back.))