Written for the 2011 LJ Wishlist
Requested By: Christywild
Characters: Castle, Cordelia
Prompt: Castle is hearing about all the actresses wanting to play Kate Beckett when he gets sent the info about one Cordelia Chase...who just happens to be in town to help Angel with a prophecy waiting to happen...
Disclaimer: I don't own Angel or Castle, this was written purely for enjoyment. Perseverance
Richard Castle never thought there would come a day when he got sick of looking at beautiful women. And now that that day had apparently arrived, he sat wondering if life was worth living any more. He’d been watching audition tapes for the role of Nicki Heat in the upcoming moving for the last four hours and still
hadn’t seen anyone that could hold a candle to the tough and beautiful, but brilliant Kate- uh, Nicki. Sure, there’d been some women that looked a lot like Kate. There’d even been some really good actresses mixed in there (though far and few between), but none were her
They just lacked that… certain something.
He sighed and reached for the another tape, wishing he hadn’t volunteered to sort through them while the director was finishing up his current project. But he really wanted it to be the right person… The whole movie would be ruined if Nicki’s part wasn’t played right. So, with the last trickle of his determination, he popped in another tape.
Thick dark hair, beautiful eyes and a bright infectious smiled filled his screen. His breath caught and he leaned forward. That smile… It was so close to the smile he’d drawn out of Kate on those rare occasions that he felt excitement start to bubble up. Maybe… Maybe this was the one…
Then she started speaking.
He cringed back in his chair from the most god awful display of acting he’d ever witnessed. Over-enunciated, too loud, stilted lines came out of her mouth like a train wreck - horrifying but still somehow fascinating. The added overly dramatic hand gestures were what finally did him in and he went in search of the remote. He’d just found it when the nightmarish acting on the screen was interrupted by a racket behind the scenes.
“-told you to go left!”
go left! My
“You should’ve known I meant my left, not yours!”
“How?! How was I supposed to know that? I have visions, I don’t read minds!”
“Are you kidding
me right now?!” The previously beautiful but untalented woman yelled, her demeanor changing so suddenly that it left Castle’s eyebrows trying to climb into his hair.
“Are you two blind or seriously just trying to kill my career?”
“You don’t have a- oomph!”
“Sorry ‘bout that, Cordy,” the Irish accented of the two voices said contritely off screen. “Didn’t realize you were working on something there.”
“Of course you didn’t. Because you think that no one has a life outside of this place - like the two of you.”
“Hey! We have lives. Well, I do, Angel doesn’t strictly speaking live…”
“Brooding is not living,” she said, pointing a finger off screen. “Neither is gambling and then drinking yourself unconscious.”
Castle smirked and leaned forward again. He liked this - he grabbed the audition case - Cordelia Chase (what kind of name was Cordelia?) much better when she wasn’t trying to actually act.
“We just saved someone from a horrible death,” the non-Irish one said, a bit of pouting coming through his words.
“That’s work,” she answered unmercifully. “And probably not even paying work since you’re too much of a weenie to bill people.”
“We’ve already talked about-”
“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered snatching up her coat from somewhere on the left and scooping up her purse from the floor. “We don’t charge people for saving their lives - I’ve heard the do-gooder speech too many times to count now. Funnily enough, my landlord doesn’t take that for an excuse when he comes beating down my door for rent money.”
She headed off screen and he heard the Irish one asking, “What about your… whatever you were doing?”
“Forget it,” she said, sounding defeated for the first time.
Silence followed the slamming of a door, then quiet footsteps approached the camera. A dark hair man with blue eyes appeared very close to the camera, brows furrowed and mouth pulled down in a frown as he looked into it.
“Guess I’ll just shut this off then,” he said, his Irish lilt soft and distracted.
The screen went dark and Castle reached for the remote again. He wondered why she’d bothered to send this in. It had been entertaining, for sure, much more so than the other auditions, but that didn’t make her an actress. He still needed to find-
The screen flicked back to life, revealing the dark haired Irishman from before. He looked around furtively before leaning closer to the camera, his voice only slightly louder than a whisper when it came out.
“Hey there,” he said with a little wave. “Not sure who’s going to be watching this or what exactly it’s for, but whatever it is, Cordy’s your girl. I know her acting’s a little… rough around the edges, but there’s nothing she can’t do when she puts her mind to it. I know we screwed this thing up earlier, but I thought I’d give you a chance to see what she’s like. What you’d be missing if you passed her up for this… whatever it is.”
Then he gave a little determined nod and the screen went black again. A second later if flickered back to life, leafy foliage showing around the edges and letting him know the camera was probably hidden in a plant. The scene showed the room from earlier, some kind of office, but just from a different angle. Cordelia was at a desk, a computer and numerous books open in front of her, dark hair in a messy bun and a look of concentration on her pretty face. She looked pale and tired, circles under her eyes, but when the door into the office opened and a dark haired man in a trench coat walked in, all fatigue disappeared. She stood from her desk and strode toward him with one of the larger tomes, a look of determination on her face.
“Finally,” she said. “Look what I found. This is bad, Angel. You have to get there before three or they’re going to kill her.”
The man grabbed the book and studied the page then patted her on the shoulder.
“Good work, Cordelia.”
“Whatever, let’s go already,” she said with a huff, grabbing her coat off the chair.
The screen flickered, this time showing Cordelia in a different outfit, signaling a different day. She was sitting on a couch next to a woman who was crying and wide eyed.
“I-I can’t believe this is happening. How is this happening?” She asked, bordering on hysteria. “Things like this don’t really happen.”
“Actually, they do. All of the time.”
Cordelia’s voice was hard and unsympathetic as she grabbed a magazine from the table, making Castle’s eyebrows raise. He wondered about her lack of compassion until she started talking again, then he got it.
“Things like this happen every day in this city - and we deal with them. This isn’t new to us, Lisa. We’ll fix this.”
Cordelia’s words and tone seemed to have the magic effect and the girl calmed, nodding a little. “Okay. Okay, then.”
A smile was forming on Castle’s face. The more he watched, the more he liked her. But her acting was still terrible. Could she really play Nicki Heat?
The next shot was her on the phone, lit up and laughing, that bright infectious smile even more dazzling than it had been before. The screen flickered again and the dark haired Irishman reappeared.
“I could show you more, Cordy’s amazing every day, but I saw her note on where this was supposed to be going and the deadline’s coming up, so I have to send this out today. I hope what you saw was enough for you to see how strong and smart and just… great
she is. I know her-” He paused and looked around furtively before leaning in closer to the camera and lowering his voice. “I know her acting needs a bit of work, but if you’d just give her the chance… Well, even if she turned out not to be what you were looking for, she still deserves a chance. So, uh, thanks for listening and watching, if you got this far.”
He got up from the chair and Castle was treated to a close up of the guy’s hideously patterned shirt.
“Nicki Heat better not be a porn movie,” he heard him mutter just before the screen went blank.
Castle stared at the blank screen for half an hour before he finally picked up the phone. The hell with it, he was going to give the girl a shot. *******
Cordelia stared at the phone for half an hour after hanging up. Part of her had always known she was star material. The other part… well, it had been starting to wonder. But now… Now Richard Castle wanted her to come to New York to try out in person for the part of Nicki Heat. Nicki Heat! Her shock finally crumbled under the excitement. She jumped up from her chair and did a little hopping dance around her desk complete with squealing and laughing. When an amused cough came from the doorway and she whipped around to see Doyle standing there, embarrassment wasn’t even a blip on her radar she ran over and hugged him.
“I did it! I did it!”
“That’s great, Cordy,” he said laughing as she jumped around some more. “Did what exactly?”
“I got an audition for Nicki Heat! In New York!”
“You did?” Doyle asked, lighting up. “That’s great, Cordy!”
“It is, isn’t it?” She laughed, grabbing his hands and jumping around again.
“Wait,” she said, stopping her bouncing and cocking her head. “I never finished that audition tape. How did it…”
“Well,” Doyle said looking away from her and rubbing the back of his neck. “I saw it sitting there and I felt bad about how we’d messed it up, so, uh, I sent it in for you.”
“But that had me yelling at you on it!”
“Guess he liked it,” he said with a shrug, then he smirked. “You are
at your most charming when you’re breathing fire, after all.”
Cordelia looked at him in shock, a warm feeling that was more than just self-satisfaction fluttering in her. Luckily Angel walked in right then, interrupting that weird fuzzy feeling.
“I’m going to New York!”
Angel blinked and looked shocked. “How’d you know? I just found out.”
“How’d you find out?”
“A book on the black magic market.”
“You found out I got an audition from the black magic market? Wow, word travels fast. Though I guess it is
worth talking about.”
“You got an audition?”
“Didn’t I just say that? And didn’t you already know?”
“No, how would I know that?”
“You said you just found out at the market thing!”
“I found out there was an apocalyptic prophecy centered on New York three days from now.”
“Oh, well - wait? Three days from now?! Is this a joke?” She snarled, marching up to him and grabbing the front of his stupid coat. “You’d better tell me you’re joking, right now
Angel looked down at her with his serious “I don’t play jokes” look, which just made her even more mad.
“I finally get an audition. A big
audition for a big
movie and you’re telling me that the city I’m supposed to be having it in is going to get sucked into hell or eaten by some giant worm or something?”
Angel looked thoughtful. “It wasn’t really specific in what form it would come in. But I guess it could
be a giant worm…”
“ARG!” Cordelia threw her hands up in the air, fed up with Mr. Insensitive. This was her big break!
“Okay, let’s all just take a deep breath here,” Doyle suggested stepping between them. “This has an easy fix. We’ll all go to New York. Cordy can do her acting thing and Angel and me can work on stopping this apocalypse. How’s that?”
“Doyle, I think an apocalypse trumps Cordy’s-”
“If you finish that sentence I’ll gut you like a fish,” Cordelia growled.
Both men stared at her wide eyed for a moment, then Angel nodded. “Right then. Good plan, Doyle.” *******
Two days later, Cordelia was sitting across from Martha Rodgers in a swank little restaurant in Manhattan. The
Martha Rodgers. And what she was saying…
“So… You want to help me with my acting? The
Martha Rodgers is offering to help me with my acting?”
Was it getting dark in here? She was feeling a little faint… Was she asleep? That had to be it. She was dreaming.
“Looks like you need this more than I do,” the legendary actress said with a half smile, sliding her drink across the table to Cordelia. “And yes, I want to help you with your acting. Richard said you have real potential, but he’s not sure if you can get up to the level he’d need you to be at by the time they do casting, so he asked me to spend the day with you - offer you some tips to help you at least have a shot at the audition tomorrow.”
Cordelia downed the drink in one go, barely keeping from gasping as it burned her throat. After sitting a second though, she felt a little calmer. More ready to deal with… Martha-freaking-Rodgers
! Holy crap… Okay, deep breaths.
“Then… he didn’t like my audition tape? Because, that was really bad, I got interrupted and- Well, I can do better.”
“No worries, dear. Contrary to popular belief, most actors are made with sweat and hard work, not god-given talent,” Martha said, signaling the waiter. “And even if you aren’t ready for this audition, there will be others - just as long as you keep trying and don’t give up.”
Cordelia tried to wrap her head around that - telling herself that she was in New York, getting to audition for a movie, having lunch with Martha Rodgers, she was so lucky to even have gotten this far. But, she was Cordelia, and she wouldn’t be her without wanting to win. To be the best. And if she didn’t get this part, she knew she’d cry like a little baby and hide in her roach infested apartment for a month at least.
But she didn’t say any of that out loud, she just nodded. “Right - don’t give up.” *******
Cordelia came back to the hotel high on her amazing day, her head bursting with tips of the trade. But that great mood came crashing down as soon as she walked in her room. Ancient books and weapons were scattered all over, making the place look like a medieval slob lived there. Doyle and Angel (who had driven instead of flying - like she’d spend two days in a car with those two) were in the middle of the room, yelling at each other.
“SHUT UP!” She barked, muting their fight.
“I just had an amazing day. Really, really amazing. One for the Cordelia history books. I’m not going to have it ruined by you two imbeciles now, got it?”
“Cordelia, we need-oomph!” Angel was cut off by Doyle’s elbow in his gut.
“Right you are, Cordy. Why don’t you go get yourself a hot bath and I’ll order up some room service?”
Cordelia blinked, surprised and a little suspicious at the offer.
“Oookay,” she drew out, walking slowly to the bathroom while keeping an eye on the two weirdos. Doyle looked kinda crazy, with a big fake smile of encouragement. Angel just looked annoyed. Whatever they were up to, she didn’t want to know, she decided as she closed the bathroom door on them. She had enough on her plate right now, she didn’t need their drama too. They’d handled apocalypses… apocoli… whatever, they’d handled the end of the world before, or at least Angel had. They could do this without her.
She couldn’t help shooting a worried glance at the door as she turned on the bath water though. *******
The next morning, Cordelia woke up extra early, wanting a good start to her audition day. Doyle and Angel were up not long after her (the hair dryer was a little loud) and still acting really weird. Angel kept sending her these solemn, intense looks, while Doyle was acting overly excited and optimistic about her audition. Finally having had enough, she sent Doyle out to get her coffee from the vendor outside, claiming it was better than the hotel coffee. He looked reluctant to go, but she insisted. He hadn’t been gone ten seconds when she rounded on Angel.
“Why are you stalking me with your creepy eyes? Just spit it out already.”
“Doyle didn’t want to tell you this, because he didn’t want to ruin your ‘big day’. But… this apocalypse is bad, Cordelia. We could really use your help out there.”
Cordelia let out a gusty sigh. “I figured as much. My audition’s at noon, but I’ll go with you guys tonight. I’d better not die if I get that part. Then again, I guess I could die happy…”
“The fight’s not happening at night, it’s happening at ten this morning.”
“What?! What kind of idiot plans an apocalypse at ten in the morning? And how are you even going to be there to stop it without being all in flames?”
“It’s underground, off the subway tunnel that goes by the Museum of Natural History.”
“That’s only two hours from now, and only two more before I have to be at my audition, Angel. There’s no way I can do both.”
“I don’t know that we can read the incantation and fight off the demons at the same time.”
“Find a way!” She yelled. “Do you know how long I’ve waited for an opportunity like this? I’m not going. So, figure it out.”
She spun on her heel and went into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
She heard Doyle come back, heard them arguing, heard him knock on the door and wish her luck, heard them leave. She heard all of it, but none of it really registered. She sat on the side of the tub, head in her hands, thinking about how this was her ‘big day’, as Doyle called it. Doyle, who sent the tape in when she was going to trash it. Doyle, who was the reason she had a big day at all. Doyle, who might die today trying to save the world. And Angel… Angel, who’d saved her life. Who’d given her a job when she was on the brink of desolation. Who never asked for help, but had asked today.
“Damn it,” she hissed.
She ran out of the bathroom and grabbed a small axe, stuffing it in her purse as she ran out the door. *******
“Your girl’s late, Rick,” the director, John, said, leaning back in his chair.
“So were you,” Castle said, smiling over at the man from the seat next to him.
“I’m the director, I get to be late. No name girls that want a shot don’t.”
Castle didn’t bother to answer, he knew nothing he said would make John stay any longer than he wanted to. He was surprised he’d gotten him to see Cordelia at all after he’d insisted on seeing that audition tape. But, like Castle, John had seemed intrigued despite himself and agreed to meet with her.
Copying the director’s pose, Castle leaned back in the comfy office chair. He’d wait as long as John did, unless Beckett called with a case, that is. They sat in companionable silence in the empty conference room, both on one side of a long table, watching the door.
Castle was just about to drift off to sleep when he heard the commotion outside.
“You can’t go in there! Someone call security!”
“I swear to god, if you don’t get out of my way, I’m going to kick your ass all the way down this hall,” a familiar feminine voice growled out in the hall. “I have an appointment and I’m having a really
bad day, so I’m telling you the last thing you want to do is stand in my way right now.”
“Oh, this is going to be good,” Castle said in glee, leaning forward and watching the door.
Seconds later it opened, and it was even better than he could’ve imagined. Cordelia Chase marched in looking like she’d just walked out of a burning building.
“Are you alright?” John asked in alarm, obviously not as used to chaos as both Castle and Cordelia were.
“Fine,” she said with a hand wave. “Sorry I’m late, I ran into a little trouble.”
“Obviously,” Castle snickered.
“Maybe we should reschedule,” John said dubiously.
“No. No way,” Cordelia said. “I made it here, we’re having the damn audition.”
“You don’t look very ready, Miss Chase.”
“I work for a private detective and we had a case here in the city. Things got a little… fiery. I might be singed around the edges, but I’m ready.”
“I don’t think choosing work over your audition means you’re taking this opportunity seriously enough.”
Castle opened his mouth to defend her, but turns out, he didn’t need to. She put her hands on her hips and gave John a quelling look that left Castle wanting to shrink back in his chair even though it wasn’t directed at him. But it also sent tingles of excitement through him – that look was all
“I had lunch with the
Martha Rodgers yesterday, and you know what her advice was? ‘Don’t give up’. I want to be an actress, but I’m not giving up my friends or my job to do it. And I’m not giving up this for them either. I want both and I’m Cordelia Chase, I always get what I want.”
John nodded, looking impressed and amused. “Okay, Miss Chase. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
“Hey, before we get started, I’d like to ask a question,” Castle said, drawing Cordelia’s gaze. “Can I meet your boss? It seems like you guys get some interesting cases - might be fun to follow him around for some plot ideas.”
Cordelia just answered with a weak laugh.