A little one-shot that came to me as I was curled in the fetal position myself. I swear I am still working on "The Baby." We are at a fork in the road and I'm deciding on a path (no, it's not what you think). This is unrelated to the Perspective/Baby series.

I don't own anything.

Castle walked out of the break room just in time to see Beckett heading for the elevator. She was way too far away for him to catch her. Castle looked over at Esposito and Ryan.

"Where's she going?"

"Home, she said. She came out of the ladies room looking green, and said she's sick and going home." Ryan replied.

"Beckett? Green? Did she say what was wrong?"

"Nope. As I said before, she's not much of a 'sharer'."

"I've never known her to be sick before. I hope she's okay." Castle worried.

"I know what you're thinking, bro," Esposito warned, "I wouldn't do it."

"Do what?" Castle replied with the usual twinkle in his eye.

"If you go over there, you're likely to get shot. Or she may kill you with her bare hands. She's a private person man. If she wants you to know something she'll tell you."

"I'm writing books based on her. Shouldn't I know everything? I owe it to my fans to find out as much as possible about my muse." Castle shrugged his coat over his shoulders and headed for the elevator. Castle thought he masked his concern with curiosity pretty well, but Esposito wasn't fooled. After the elevator doors closed on Castle, Esposito let out a "Whoop-ahh. That boy is smitten."

When Castle arrived at Beckett's apartment, his nerves were hitting high notes. She wasn't answering her phone, which alarmed him. What if she didn't make it home? What if she's stuck somewhere between here and there? He knocked on the door.

There was no answer, so he knocked again. Then he resorted to calling her name.

"Beckett!" Nothing.


Finally he heard a faint response. "Go away."

"Kate. I just came by to check on you."

"I'm fine. Go away." It was still faint and even though it was through a door, he thought she sounded bad.

"Kate, come to the door and let me see your okay, and I'll leave. Promise." He had no intention of leaving, but then again he knew she wasn't okay. He could hear her saying something in response to him, but he couldn't tell what it was. Castle tried the door knob and it turned easily. While he was glad he could get in without kicking the door down or getting the super, it disturbed him to think that she just came home and forgot to lock the door.

"Kate, I'm coming in. Don't shoot me." He turned the knob and took a step inside. If the unlocked door disturbed him, then what he saw inside sent his worry into overdrive. The lights were still off. When he stepped into the apartment, he stepped on something soft: her coat. As his eyes focused, he saw a trail of clothing leading down the hall. A brief thought flashed through his mind that she might not be sick; maybe she's having a "nooner." He quickly dismissed it though, for three reasons: A) She would have shot him by now, B) It was only her clothes and C) It was 5 o'clock.

He followed the trail down the hall. The holster (minus her gun), her shoes, her jeans, her shirt and that was the end of it. He was standing at the bathroom door and heard her retching.

He walked to the kitchen and quickly grabbed a glass of water. Back at the bathroom door he knocked gently.

"Kate. I'm coming in. Again, don't shoot me."

"Castle, don't." It came out as a moan and he ignored the words more concerned with her tone.

"Kate, I'm worried about you and I'm coming in now." He turned the handle, steeling himself for what might be behind the door. It doesn't matter, Castle is shocked.

Kate was half leaning against the wall and half lying on the floor of the bathroom next to the toilet. Castle noticed the gun on the back of the toilet. She was wearing a red bra and matching panties; he would have cracked a joke if the circumstances were different. Esposito was correct. She looked green. She was holding a washcloth up to her mouth.

"Here, I brought you some water. Just get some in your mouth and swish it around a little." Castle got on his knees in front of her and helped her hold the glass. She spit the water out in the toilet and resumed the fetal position, groaning. "Kate, what is this? I mean it came on suddenly."

"New Chinese restaurant around the corner from the precinct. I ate there for lunch." Her face changed shades of green and she proceeded to heave once more. Rick looked away out of respect, and because he didn't want to vomit himself. When she was finished he handed her the glass. "If this kills me, make sure Ryan and Esposito arrest those cooks and charge them with homicide."

"What did you eat?"

Sliding completely to the floor and resting her head against the cold tile, she almost smiled. "That's the kicker. Ch'in Ts'ai Pan Kan Szu. It's vegetarian. Oh, God," She winced in pain and curled even tighter, holding her breath. Castle winced with her. "They must have prepared the vegetables where they prepared the meat."

"Can I get you a blanket or something?" he asked. Kate Beckett was easy on the eyes, and she had a great body. He didn't know how long he could resist the smart ass remarks and with the proximity of the gun, he didn't want to find out the hard way.

"No. Thank you Castle, but if this is too much for you, go home." She was back at the toilet again, but the spells were reduced to dry heaving. Rick wanted to reach over and rub her back, but the bareness of it intimidated him.

"Can I ask a question?" He queried when she finished heaving and spitting water in the toilet.

"Do whatever the hell you want. I'm not promising any answers."

"Why are you in your underwear? I mean, not that I mind..." There it was. Shit. She's going to get me. But she didn't.

Her stomach cramped again and she pulled her body around it as tightly as she could. Castle grabbed another washcloth and wiped the sweat off her brow. "My reasoning seemed good at the time. I didn't want to get splashback on my clothing, and I thought a hot bath might help. Glad I didn't get to the bath. I would have drowned." Her lips curled up the tiniest bit.

"That does seem somewhat logical. Certainly understand about the splashback. And I guess we shouldn't forget that I'm the one who stole a police horse naked. You aren't in public and you have some clothing on."

"That would have been fun to see." Kate's eyes were slits as she rested her head on the tile floor. The exhaustion and dehydration were taking a toll. Castle just sat on the floor next to her. She eventually drifted off to sleep, but he could tell her stomach was still bothering her because every once in a while, her body would tense and she would moan.

When it had been an hour since she last dry heaved, Castle stood. Stretching he heard several satisfying pops from his spine. He looked down at Beckett and grabbed the glass she had been using to rinse her mouth. Walking to the kitchen, Rick retrieved a fresh glass and filled it with filtered water from the fridge. Rick removed his jacket and his shoes. Surely seeing her vomit meant they were close enough to remove those formalities. He returned to the bathroom and took his spot next to Kate, who hadn't moved. He leaned over her and gently grabbed her shoulders, helping her sit up.

"What…? Castle. I'm so tired."

"I know. You have to drink something though. Have a sip of water."

"No. I just need to sleep."

"One sip of water and I'll let you rest. Here, let me help." Castle wrapped his arm around her shoulders to hold her up and brought the glass to her mouth with the other. She took a small sip and slid down to rest her head in his lap, instantly fading. "This is not how I imagined seeing you in your underwear for the first time I'll have you know." He whispered, but she didn't hear him. He gently rubbed her head and brushed her hair with his fingers while she slept, figuring it was the safest place for his hands to be.

After successfully getting Kate to drink sips of water every ten to fifteen minutes without vomiting for about an hour, Castle decided to move her to the bed. She was starting to feel cold to him and he felt her shiver a few times. Standing up and popping his back once again, he bent down and scooped her up in his arms. It wasn't as graceful as he would have liked, but then again, she was hardly conscious (which was a big part of the problem) so she didn't notice. As gently as he could, Rick laid her down on the bed and went to the dresser to find her something to wear. Grabbing the first t-shirt he could find, which happened to be a triathlon shirt, he walked back to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of lemon-lime PowerAde to supplement the water, and he made a quick call home to let Alexis and Martha know where he was.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Castle was able to rouse Kate a little. "Kate, sit up and let's get this shirt on you." She obliged and he pulled it over her head. Before she could lie back down, he was able to get some PowerAde into her too. Castle started to get up, but her hand shot out and grabbed his shirt. "Stay." She whispered.

"I wasn't going to leave Kate, just going to the other room."

"Stay here," she whispered. "I'm cold." Her eyes never opened, so he couldn't even tell if she was really awake. Hoping against hope that when she woke up Kate wouldn't shoot first and ask questions later, Castle slid into bed next to her and held her. "Not how I imagined this either," he whispered.

It was dark when she woke, pitch black in the apartment. She was curled into the side of a warm body, and even though she couldn't see, she knew it was Castle from his scent. He was lying on his back, softly snoring, his arm wrapped around her back. She smiled and slowly disentangled herself and stood next to the bed. As she made her way to the bathroom, Kate noticed the extreme soreness in her abdomen from the vomiting. She remembered bits and pieces from the night before. Kudos to Castle for staying. She thought. That couldn't have been easy to watch. Funny how he knew what to do. Then she mentally chastised herself, Of course he knew what to do, you idiot, he's a single parent.

Heading back to the bedroom with minty fresh breath, no bra, and an empty bladder, the light from the bathroom spilled out into the bedroom. The sight of Richard Castle in her bed made her heart beat a little faster. She could only wish the circumstances had been different. But it was the peripherals in the room that endeared him to her even more. At some point he had gathered up her clothes and neatly placed them in the chair. The bedside table held a glass of water (on a coaster no less) and a partial bottle of PowerAde and an empty one next to it.

Turning out the light, Kate made her way back to the bed in the dark and slipped in next to him. She curled onto her side with her back to him. After a few minutes, she felt him shift and his arm came around her middle. He was spooning her. Kate relished the feel of it. Castle murmured to her, "Are you okay?" Kate couldn't even be sure he was awake.

"Yeah, I'm okay." She replied. "Thank you, Rick."

He didn't say anything, but nuzzled the back of her head with his nose. She felt his breathing even out and soon she was asleep as well.

Kate awoke to find the sun pouring in through the windows. Her bed was empty. There was no sign of Castle. She started to wonder if the whole thing was a hallucination brought on by dehydration. Walking into the bathroom she saw a note taped to the mirror.

It said:


Had to go see Alexis off to school. Hope you are feeling better. I'll call you later. Call me if you need anything.

. . Me

Kate smiled.