Chapter 2

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Kate walked back into the bullpen followed closely by Zoey.

Zoey was too distracted by all the hustle and bustle to see Kate stop in front of her. She ran right into the Captain causing her to lose her balance and fall backwards. She felt two strong arms catch her before she hit the ground.

"Whoa there chica", Zoey looked up to see the middle aged latino detective smiling at her.

"Thanks", she said shyly and stood up.

"You ok? Im sorry I didnt see you behind me", Kate appologized looking the girl up and down to make sure she hadnt broke her just minutes into taking custody of her.

"Im ok", Zoey replied with a smile. The Capatain returned that smile and proceeded to her office followed by Zoey and Espo.

"So Cap, not to be rude or anything, but whys the kid still here?", Espo asked closing the door.

"Shes staying with me and Castle til we get this case taken care of"
Espo looked back and forth between the two with a surprised face. "Uh, ya ok, makes sense. Ryan is already running a BOLO for that Alfred Shorts guy, but thats about all we can do tonight"

"Ok, you guys head on home and we'll pick this back up tomorrow. Hopefully something will pop by then.", Kate smiled. Espo left and Zoe watched as Kate went back to her desk and some paper work. She wasnt quite sure what to do so she sat down on the couch across from the desk. Kate looked up when she did and had a look of realization.

"Oh, ya, um I just have to finish this paper work and then we can go home"

"Ok", Zoe replied still sitting on her hands. Kate looked at the teen for a bit before deciding that she could probably wait til tomorrow to finish all this. This kid needed to relax and probably eat too. To tell the truth she was getting pretty hungry as well.

"You know what, this can wait til tomorrow. How bout we go now, I'm sure my husband has something good cooking at home"

"Cool", Zoey stood up and waited for Kate at the door. They made their way to the car and headed on back to the loft. When they walked in the smell of Castle's cooking wafted through the air straight to their noses. It was enough to make Zoey's stomach growl. Stepping in, she couldn't believe how big the place was!

"Is that my beautiful wife coming home to me I hear?", Castle walked gracefully around the corner before stopping in his tracks at the sight of their guest.

"And who might this young lady be", he said wrapping an arm around his wife and placing a kiss on her lips.

"This is Zoey. She's under my protective custody and staying with us for a while"

"Well welcome Zoey! My name is Rick, or Castle, if you prefer. Make yourself at home! Do you like pasta? I made some fabulous pasta", the older man just kept talking while he walked back to the kitchen. Zoey wasn't really sure what to think of him, or him and Beckett for that matter. They seemed so polar opposite. She sat down to the table where Castle served her some really amazing looking pasta.

"What would you like to drink Zoey?", Kate asked her from the kitchen, "We have water, orange juice, milk, I can make you some chocolate milk..."

"Chocolate...milk...please", Zoey tried to calm her voice. She couldn't remember the last time she had had chocolate milk.

"Alrighty then, chocolate milk it is!", Kate smiled as she grabbed a glass from the cubbard. That was the first bit of life she had seen from the teen and it was nice to see a smile on her face. She mixed up a glass and sat it in front of Zoey and then took a seat across from her next to Castle.

"So Zoey, tell us about yourself", Castle started.

"What do you want to know?", Zoey said after swallowing a big bite of pasta.

"How bout, what are some things you like to do", Kate added.

"Um...I like sports"

"Which ones?", Rick asked his interest peaked.

"All kinds I guess"

"Do you play any?", Kate asked next

"I play soccer and I sometimes play softball with a bunch of kids after school. I really like it, one of the kids dad's said I'm really good"

"So does that mean you like baseball?", Rick added while elbowing his wife.

"Ya, definitely"

"Kate and her dad are Mets fans but I'm guessing you are more of a Yankee girl", Rick said very sure of himself and looked over at Kate who was grimacing.

"Eww, no", Zoey replied causing a look of shock from both adults.

"Really?", Rick asked having a hard time believing that any kid who grew up in New York could be anything but a Yankee fan.

" real dad...was from Cincinnati", Zoey replied shyly.

"So you're a Reds fan", Rick confirmed

"Ya, I guess", Zoey continued to look at her plate. She never brought up her dad, especially to complete strangers.

"Where is your dad now?", Kate's detective instincts kicking in.

"He, he died when I was six", Zoey started, "he was in the Army. I never knew who my mom was, she left when I was a baby.", that was all that needed to be said. An awkward silence fell over the table. All three continued to eat but not much else was said. When everyone had finished Rick had an idea.

"Do you like ice cream?", Rick asked breaking the silence as he dropped the last of the dishes in the sink.

"Yes sir", Zoey perked up a bit.

"Well then, how about you and Kate go pick out a movie and I'll bring in some for you."

Kate stood up and a shy Zoey followed suit. Kate showed her the movie collection where they eventually both agreed on the Avengers. Both girls sat on the couch and waited for Rick to come back with the ice cream before starting the movie. Rick and Kate sat snuggled together while Zoey sat at the other end content in herself savoring her treat. Through out the movie, Kate would periodically glance down at the girl. She seemed to be really into the movie.

"She's awesome"

Kate glanced down at the sound of the girls voice. "Did you say something Zoey?"

"Black Widow", Zoey nodded to the screen, "She's awesome". Zoey gave a little smile.

"Well Kate here is a pretty awesome super hero too", Rick said with a sly smile towards Beckett. Zoey smiled and settled back into the couch.

The next time Kate looks over, the girl is passed out. It's the first time that Kate really sees just how young the girl is. It breaks her heart to know she has already been through so much at such a young age. Kate managed to pull the blanket over the back of the couch out from under Castle's back and drape it over the girl. She nudges Castle and they both head off to their room for the night, keeping the door cracked in case the girl woke up.

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