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The Bittersweet Waltz

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The music is slow, beautiful, but a touch sad. It’s making Castle feel melancholy when he should be happy. This is a special day, his only daughter’s wedding, and Alexis looks stunning in her gown, but for him it’s bittersweet. She doesn’t need him any more, it’s not his job to take care of her, she has her husband to do that now. He feels like he’s been replaced and he’s losing the most important person in his life. Nothing is ever going to be the same. Still, he smiles for her, hides the heartbreak, and leads her onto the dance floor.

They glide across the floor in slow, shuffling steps, Alexis looking radiantly happy, and all Castle can do is drink in this moment while his mind roams back over the years.

“Look at you, all grown up! Seems like only yesterday you were this tiny little girl with skinned knees, running to me so I could kiss everything better.” He kisses the top of her head and Alexis ducks away.

“Dad!” She sounds amused and exasperated as she rolls her eyes at him.

“Hey, I’m allowed. I’m still your father, young lady.” He’s mock stern to hide the hurt. “I’m proud of you, you know that, right?”

“I know. You’ve told me often enough.”

“Good, because things like that shouldn’t be left unsaid.”

“I’m married, not dying.”

“You’re moving across the country.”

“Yes, but I’ll phone you every week, and visit as often as I can. And you’ll come to visit us too.”

“It won’t be the same.”

“Nothing ever is. I’ll miss you.”

“You’ll always be my little girl, no matter what. Any time you need me, just call and I’ll be there.”

“I love you, Dad.”

“Love you too, always.”

Alexis rests her head against his shoulder as they dance and Castle holds her a little tighter. While this dance lasts he can still be her protector, but then he’ll have to let her go so she can live her life. She’s smart and brave and beautiful, and he knows she’ll be just fine.

He’s not so sure about himself.

The End