A/N: First attempt at a Castle fic, I wrote this a couple of months ago and have been kind of hesitant to upload it, I hope it's okay. This takes place during the first season, actually right before the show actually starts, I'll try to catch up with the show, but we'll see how it goes. I hope you guys enjoy this first chapter.
Also, I would love to hear what everyone thinks of this, so please leave me a review, it would mean a lot to me to know what people like, don't like, etc. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this fic.
Rome swung his legs back and forth, kicking the legs of his chair and pressed the ice-pack against his face harder. In his mind he went over how the coming scene would play out. As far as grownups went, his dad was one of the most laid-back and easy going grownups Rome knew. More like an overgrown kid than an adult.
Between Rome and his older sister Alexis, they were more mature most times than their dad, well at least Alexis was. Rome had inherited his dad's goofy mannerism and used it to his full advantage, around his friends and family at least. But between Rome and Alexis, neither had ever been in serious trouble, neither had been grounded, sent to timeout, or even to their room.
The closest to punishment his dad had ever doled out was taking Rome's video games away for two days, once. The only reason Rome had earned such a punishment was because he had hidden his hearing aids and pretended they was lost for good.
Of course having a father who wrote mysteries for a living worked against Rome, as his dad could sniff out a fib and promptly went searching and found the device, much to Rome's discontent. He lost the game system for the lie and for continuing the lie even after he'd been caught.
Now sitting in the school office, Rome wondered how much trouble he'd be in this time. Would this be the thing that pushed his fun loving dad over? School was a place that Rome and his sister not only excelled at, but were considered model students, they were both in advanced level classes for their grades.
Rome sighed, he wondered if the high school kids knew about the fight yet, more importantly did his sister know?
It was a private school, grades pre-k through twelfth all in one large building. Of course the sections were separate for the different grade levels, but shared certain common areas, the cafeteria, the gym, the library, nurses office, and of course the main office, where Rome was sitting. He knew how fast news traveled in a private school. Alexis who was fifteen was not one to gossip or whatever girls did, but she wouldn't be able to help but listen, especially if her little brother was the topic of discussion.
Rome stared out the glass window waiting to see his father's figure walking towards the office. Mrs. Ray, the secretary gave him a sympathetic smile, before glancing back at the closed door to the principal's office. She like the principal still had trouble believing that Rome was the instigator of the fight.
Mitch Ferguson, Rome's opponent yes, but not Roman Castle, for one thing, Rome barely cleared Mitch's waist in height, he was only a fifth grader while Mitch was an eighth grader.
Mitch would have gotten the blame by default. He was a known bully and had been in trouble many times before, while Rome who had never been in trouble before, been found on the floor, with a black-eye forming and a bloody nose, unable to hear because his hearing aids had been knocked off when he hit the floor, broken by someone's feet, Mitch standing over him.
Given those facts it was easy how the staff could pin the fight on Mitch. But Rome refused to let Mitch take the blame, he was going to be in enough trouble for fighting as it was, as mean as he was, Mitch didn't deserve to be punished for attacking Rome when he hadn't started the physical stuff.
In a mix between signing and speaking, Rome confessed to attacking Mitch, much to the shock of the staff, of course he also explained WHY he had attacked the bully. It was then Mr. Simmons the principal called both boys' families.
Mitch's parents got to the school in record time; they were apparently used to such phone calls from the school. Rome's dad on the other hand he wasn't, not to mention, as Rome was sure the staff knew, his dad was preparing for his latest book to be released in a few days and Rome could only imagine what his dad was doing.
Of course, when Rome did spot his dad coming towards the office he had to cover his mouth from his laughter. His dad looked like he had just rolled out of bed and he looked panicky, Rome felt a little guilty that his dad was so concerned, but he knew once he explained his side of the story, he'd be seen in the right.
Richard Castle burst into the office and looked around, he spotted Rome sitting off to the side and seemed to sigh with relief. Rome swore he could see weight off of his dad's shoulder at seeing him.
He signed 'hi dad' as Rick reached over and hugged him tight, before he noticed the ice pack Rome still had pressed against his face. Castle's face went serious as he gently pulled the pack away and stared at Rome's noticeable black eye.
"Rome!?" he explained
"Mr. Castle," Mrs. Ray spoke up "I'm sorry we had to call you in like this."
"What happened to my son?"
"I would prefer to let Rome and Mr. Simmons explain, but cliff notes version from what we can tell is Rome was actually the attacker."
Now Castle looked at her in disbelief. Rome was barely four feet tall and weighed forty pounds soaking wet, how could he possibly beat someone up?
"If Rome was the attacker, I'd hate to see the other guy." Castle replied "how did this happen?" he looked down at Rome who wanted to shrink into his chair, he couldn't hear his father and Mrs. Ray very well without his hearing aids, their normal speaking voices were like very soft whispers to him, but he could read their lips perfectly well.
"I'll let Mr. Simmons know you're here Mr. Castle, he's in with the other boy's parents at the moment." Mrs. Ray disappeared down the hall towards Mr. Simmons's office, Castle sighed and sat down next to Rome who winced.
Noticing that Rome's hearing aids were gone, Castle tapped his own ear and signed 'where are your hearing aids?'
"Broken" Rome replied softly
"In the fight?" Castle signed as he spoke Rome nodded "okay, tell me what happened, everything."
Again Rome nodded
"Todd and I were heading to lunch. I had my sketch book with me because I was going to take it to Ms. Hawkins during specials to show her. I was showing Todd something in it, when Mitch and some of his friends stepped in front of us and Mitch grabbed it from my hand. He started calling us both names, he kept calling me Ramona and was calling me deaf and dumb. He took his soda can and was going to spill it all over my book, I tackled him to protect it, he still got some of the soda on the last few pages. Todd grabbed my book when Mitch dropped it." Rome paused
"So how did you end up with this?" Castle asked gesturing to the black eye under the icepack.
"After I tackled Mitch, he hit the floor 'cause he wasn't expecting me to actually go after him."
"So he grabbed me and pushed me to the floor, that's when I lost my hearing aids, I think someone stepped on them, but I don't know who and I don't think it was intentional. Anyways next thing I know Mitch is punching me a few times before the teacher on lunch duty realized what was going on and broke it up." Rome paused again "I know I was in the wrong to fight, but I was defending my own personal property. I worked hard on the-" Rome stopped and changed his words, what was in the book was a surprise for his dad, the last thing he needed was the surprise to be ruined before it was ready "on the sketches and Mitch had no right to take it, let alone attempt to ruin it."
Castle chuckled a bit, knowing his ten year old was right, wrong on the fighting in the first place, but he could completely understand why the boy felt fighting was his only option.
"Okay, first off I'm only a little mad. The way you went about this was wrong, but I agree with you, you had every right to protect what's rightfully yours." Rome grinned, he knew he could count on his dad. "Ah don't grin Rome, I didn't say I was happy that we're sitting here right now. You did the crime, you have to face whatever the time is."
Down the hall, Mrs. Ray returned from Mr. Simmons's office, in tow was Mitch and his parents.
"Mr. Castle, Rome, Mr. Simmons will see you now," Mrs. Ray said signing as she spoke. Most of the staff that Rome came in contact on a regular basis as well as most of the office staff had brushed up on their sign language on account of Rome, a lot of them weren't fluent, but they tried which was nice of them.
Castle put his arm around Rome's shoulders as they walked down the long hall towards the office door.
Mr. Simmons stood up immediately when he spotted the Castles' he shook Rick Castle's hand quickly, almost star-struck. It always made Rome laugh at the principal's behavior towards his dad.
"Mr. Castle, good of you to come, I am sorry we had to call you down in the first place. After all I'm sure you're very busy this week, what with your new book coming out. Pre-ordered it myself the day it was announced, so exciting-"
Rome and Rick exchanged an identical look, Rome knew his dad wasnt used to being the voice of reason by any means, that job fell to Alexis, then maybe Rome, Rick was definitely way behind on that level. But this was apparently going to be one of the rare times, he was the voice of reason.
"That's great to hear Mr. Simmons, but about Rome's fight?" Castle interrupted
"Oh, yes, of course. Both boys will be facing punishment that much is clear. Rome confessed straight away that he did attack Mitch, but it was purely in self defense of his property. Which Mitch has admitted to taking from Rome and nearly ruining his sketch book I believe?" Rome who was reading Mr. Simmons's lips intently nodded "however, Mitch was more of the aggressor in the incident. Several witnesses have told the same story, after Rome tackled Mitch to get his book, Mitch pushed Rome to the floor and proceeded to punch him repeatedly. Which as you know resulted in Rome's hearing aids breaking." Mr. Simmons reached into his desk and pulled out the crushed remains of Rome's hearing aids. Rome winced at seeing them crushed and glanced slowly over at his dad. Money wasn't a problem in the family, but Rome felt bad because he knew the devices were not cheap. "The Fergusons feel horrible for what occurred and have asked me to pass on the message that they are more than willing to pay to have Rome's aids replaced."
Rome knew it was his dad's decision, but that wasn't fair for the Fergusons, he was mature enough to know both of them were at fault for what had happened.
"That's not necessary honest." Castle spoke up before Rome could and Rome grinned at his dad, glad they were on the same page. "Rome told me that he wasn't sure when he lost the hearing aids and didn't know exactly when they were stepped on. It could have been done completely by accident."
"I know the Fergusons will be grateful for that, if you are sure."
"Well then, there's just the matter of punishment. As you know we have a strong policy against fighting here. However, I do not need to tell you that Rome is a model student and since this is his first offense we will be somewhat easy on him. One week detention after school with Mr. Hall, helping him clean up the classrooms at the end of the day. Nothing to terrible, but a good way to earn your community service credit as well. Mitch will be serving the same sentence, his however will be for two weeks. He was out of line to punch Rome to the extent that he did, we are all very lucky Rome wasn't more seriously hurt. Mitch is much bigger than Rome. The nurse looked at both boys, Rome's nose is not broken, it will be sore for a few days and he is going to have a nasty black-eye which should heal in a few days."
"Good to know, so does this detention start tomorrow and how late will Rome be staying after?"
"It will actually start the day after tomorrow. I am asking both boys write a letter of apology to each other, so Rome I want that in my office tomorrow morning understood?" Mr. Simmons added signing the last sentence for Rome's benefit
"Yes sir," Rome replied
"And as far as time goes, it will only be an hour and a half, except on Friday which will be two hours. Does that work Mr. Castle?" Mr. Simmons asked,
"Well that seems to be everything, do you have any questions Mr. Castle?" Rick shook his head "well then, best of luck with your release party Mr. Castle, I do look forward to reading your latest."
Rome was desperately trying not to laugh as his father rolled his eyes and shook Mr. Simmons's hand
"Enjoy," was his reply as father and son headed out of the office. Mrs. Ray gave them a little wave goodbye.
Once inside the cab, things were really quiet. Not that Rome could really hear anything anyways, but his father wasn't talking and neither was he.
All Rome could think about was how his grandmother was going to react. Martha, who had come to live with her son and grandchildren a few years before was heavily involved in the theater and as a "retired" thespian, she tended to be a bit overdramatic, and Rome could only imagine her reaction to his fight. He was pretty sure there would be swooning involved.
His father seemed to read his mind and reached over and hugged Rome's shoulders, Rome felt a little better but neither said a word so he still felt a little nervous.
It wasn't until they had reached their building and were headed up to the loft did Rome finally speak up.
"I'm really sorry dad," he said softly. Castle reached over and ruffled Rome's hair
"I know Rome, things happen, you're a kid, a fight was bound to happen. You should hear some of the things I did when I was your age."
"Grandma's told me."
'I figured she would rat me out.' Rick signed before he leaned his head against the door, pressing his ear against the material before signing 'We might be in the clear, I don't hear her. Can you feel anything?'
Rome knelt down and put his hand to the floor, he called his sensitivity to vibrations his super hero power. Like Daredevil's hearing had been increased to supersonic bat radar, when Rome's hearing began to fade his sensitivity to vibrations became finer, to the point where he was able to feel someone walking on a floor on the other side of a door. It was one of the ways he was able to enjoy music even without his hearing aid.
One of his heroes (besides his dad of course) was Beethoven because he had learned music, composed and even preformed his symphonies as he was progressively losing his own hearing, relying on the vibrations he felt. Rome had read in a book that as a child Beethoven would lay across his piano as he tapped the keys to learn each note carefully. Rome was no musician, but he was appreciative of music.
But now, with his hand on the floor, he felt for the vibrations that would tell him his grandmother was walking across the floor, or if it was his sister.
'No, nothing." Rome signed back and Rick pushed open the door, there was no sign of Martha Rogers, but Rome knew his grandmother could be lurking somewhere.
"Go make a run for your room, let me find her and talk to her before you confess your dastardly deed of the day." Rick whispered when he was sure Rome could read his lips, ruffling Rome's hair again
'Thanks dad,' Rome signed as he made a dash for the stairs
"Roman Camden Castle, freeze right there!"
Rome felt the vibrations of her voice and winced as he looked around for her, spotting his grandmother near the kitchen.
"Hi grandma!" he called waving at her
"Don't you hi grandma me Roman." Martha replied signing as she went. The whole family knew the basics for sign language, when Rome's impending hearing loss became apparent, the family all agreed to take sign language lessons so Rome would never feel out of the loop and would be able to full communicate when his hearing loss became total.
Rick and Alexis were the best at it, Martha was close behind them, and Meredith, Rome and Alexis' mother, she well, knew very little. She had been against Rome learning sign language at all, it had been one of the many arguments between Rick and Meredith.
"Sorry," Rome said lowering his head, but kept an eye on his father and grandmother, he had to in order to read their lips and follow their signing.
"Richard, I came home to a message on the machine saying that Rome had been in a fight at school. When I called the school to make sure everything was taken care of, they told me that Rome was the aggressor, is that true Rome?"
"But I was-"
"He was completely justified and when they say aggressor, they just mean he threw the first hit. Rome by no means did a whole lot of damage to the other kid right Rome?" Rick explained presenting Rome's black eye to Martha who gasped and Rome tried not to grin, this was after all serious, but he had completely expected these kind of theatrics from his grandmother, he was surprised she wasn't swooning.
"Rome really got into a fight?" Alexis asked coming down the stairs.
"So it would seem" Martha replied
"I heard a rumor about it, but I didn't believe it."
"Well it's over now, Rome and the other kid are both in trouble and both have after school detention everyday next week." Rick explained "and Rome I hate to do this, but I told you there would be consequences, no video games for the rest of the week okay?"
Rome nodded and slowly headed up to his room to start his homework, he knew he deserved losing his video games, besides it could've been worse, not only could he have been grounded, but his dad could've told him he couldn't go to the release party the next day.
The party meant staying up extra late and the chance to see Gina, his dad's second ex wife, she was Rick's publisher and loved Rome and Alexis as her step-children when their father and her were married, and she still had a part in their lives when she could. Rome tended to feel he had more in common with Gina, then his own mother sometimes.