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Fandom: 24, Castle
Characters: Jack Bauer, Kate Beckett
Pairings: Bauer/Beckett
Rating: PG (this segment only)
Summary: Beckett faces a Castle-less summer.
Spoilers: Season finale of S2 of Castle
Warnings: none for this segment

WritRCastle: This novel would get done faster w/out so many on the spot edits.  five minutes ago via Tweetberry 

Hyp_sterGina: @WritRCastle, that option disappeared along with a certain deadline & how'd you get my blackberry?! four minutes ago via web, in reply to @WritRCastle

WritRCastle: @Hyp_sterGina: Man's gotta check his email somehow when someone disables his wifi.  U shouldn't have left it lying on the kitchen table. two minutes ago via Tweetberry, in reply to @Hyp_sterGina

The first thing Beckett saw on walking into the squad room after lunch was Ryan and Esposito killing themselves laughing over something on Ryan's computer.

"Are you guys done looking at FailBlog, or am I going to have to investigate these leads by myself?" Beckett asked, dumping everything but her latte back at her desk.

"No, this is better," Ryan said, angling his computer screen toward her.  "Check it out.  Looks like things aren't going so smoothly at Casa de Castle in the Hamptons."

Beckett leaned over Ryan's other shoulder, looking at Ryan's feed of who he was following on Twitter.  Skimming the messages, she took a sip of her latte, unable to help feeling a little schadenfreude at seeing Castle and his ex squabbling so soon.  It was instantly tempered with the mental reminder that if she hadn't turned Castle's offer down, Gina never would have been at the house in the Hamptons to begin with.

She turned away, heading for the murder board.  "I know you guys are suffering withdrawal from The Marriage Ref, but--"

Twin shouts of "oh!" from behind her made her swivel on her heel to see Ryan and Esposito leaning away from the screen, mixed surprise and delight on their faces.

"You did not just say that, Castle," Esposito said.

"What?  What did he say?" Beckett asked, quickly resuming her place behind Ryan as he pointed to Castle's latest tweet.

: Think the book needs another corpse.  Someone close 2 Rook.  From his publisher, maybe?  half a minute ago, via Tweetberry

She was barely finished reading it when Ryan quickly tapped something out, and a second later his tweet appeared on the timeline.

NYPD_Ryan: @WritRCastle @Hyp_sterGina: get a room, you two.  less than five seconds ago, via web

Beckett's stomach tightened.  She didn't want to think of Castle and his ex making up in the way couples usually do.

Quickly, she turned back to the murder board, trying to put the thought out of her head, but the sour taste wouldn't leave her mouth.  She didn't turn fast enough to miss Esposito nudging Ryan's arm, couldn't help but overhear the whispered conversation behind her ("What?" "Not cool, bro." "What did I do?!"), as her eyes scanned the murder board, not reading anything written there.

She wasn't sure if she was looking forward to the end of summer or dreading it.

The last place Jack was expecting to see when he walked out of his Chicago apartment was Milliways, but it wasn't an unwelcome surprise.  Jack stopped for a moment as he crossed the threshold, his instincts kicking in immediately and he scanned the room for threats.  The sudden noise of the bar made his nerves jangle, without even thinking about it his brain started filtering out conversations, listening for the sound of footsteps approaching from his blind spot.

He was so busy glancing around him, looking for that something suspicious that appeared in the corner of his eye but was never there when he turned his head, that he only just caught a flash of brown to one side: the movement of a body as it came barreling toward him.

He turned, ready to take on his attacker and just barely heard the cry of "Jack!" before the body collided with his, arms wrapping around him.  Before he could even think about it, he pulled himself from their grasp, and only just managed to stop himself from dropping the attacker to the floor before the face in front of him clicked.

Kate Beckett blinked at him, as she wobbled on her feet, a drink in her hand.  "Jack, sorry," she said, her words a little slurred, "I wasso glad to see you I f'rgot about the no-surprises thing."

"It's okay," Jack said, taking a deep breath to try and calm his still-frayed nerves.  "Sorry I pushed you, I just wasn't expecting it.  Or this place."

Beckett gave him a lopsided smile, leaning in to give him a wet kiss on his cheek.  "S'okay.  C'mon and have a drink.  It's on me."

An hour later, he was on his second whiskey on the rocks and she was draped over the bar in a way that seemed to defy the laws of physics.

""M glad you're back, Jack.  Missed you.  This's fun.  More fun 'n th' Hamptons."

Jack raised an eyebrow at that, but didn't ask.  He wasn't sure he'd get a coherent answer at the moment.

"Yeah, it is.  I think it's time you headed upstairs, though."

"Whaddaya mean?  Th' party's just gettin' started!" she said, sliding off her barstool.  She would have kept going to the floor if Jack hadn't jumped in and grabbed her under her shoulders.  Not that it took any great show of reflexes, as Beckett seemed to be stuck in slow-motion.

"Kind of hard to party when you can't stand up.  Come on, let's get you upstairs," Jack said, hauling her back to her feet.

"Don' need any help.  I c'n stand jus' fine," she muttered, but the fight was obviously going out of her as she let him drag her over to the stairs.

"Uh-huh.  Don't forget that I can carry you if I have to."

"I know.  You'll always be there t' carry me when I need it," she said, turning toward him as they reached the lift upstairs and patting his cheek.

"Yeah, I will."

Upstairs, they headed toward her room, but as they reached her door, Beckett started patting her pockets absent-mindedly.  "Now where'd I put that key?  'M sure I had it earlier..."

Jack tried hard not to sigh.  "Come on, you can stay in my room."

Jack got Beckett into his suite and seated on the bed, then pulled off her shoes before gathering a few things.  Garbage bin, towel, water, aspirin all went next to the bed. 

He was getting the extra pillows and blankets out when Beckett's voice floated over to him.  "Y'don't havta sleep on the couch.  Shared the bed before when you were sick w'that flu that made you think you were a vampire," she said, and he turned in time to see her hold two fingers to her mouth, pointing down in what he assumes are supposed to mimic fangs, but end up looking like a walrus impression.

"I don't think that's a good idea."  He knew he's gotten a lot more jumpy in the last few months outside.  The chances he'd hurt her during a nightmare were probably better than they were before.

"C'mon.  S'okay.  Won' puke on you 'r nothin'."

Jack sighed again.  It hadn't been that late when he'd come in the bar; he could stay awake for the next eight hours, or just wait until she's asleep then move if he feels himself starting to get tired.  "Okay."

Settling down next to her, he took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves at the unusual proximity to someone else.  It doesn't work that well; he nearly jumps out of his skin when he feels her pat his leg.

"Y're a good friend, Jack.  I needed this."

"I know," Jack said softly, closing his eyes.  "Go to sleep, Beckett."
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