Title: There's No One Here to Save

Spoilers: General series and Heat Wave.

Disclaimer: Don't own Castle, no matter how much I love it.

Author's Note: This was born out of my love of Broadway and my excitement upon discovering Nikki Heat was a theater geek. It was written over the summer, before Season 3 started. Enjoy!


"Beckett!"

Castle pounded on the door of the detective's apartment for the tenth time in as many minutes. When his hand started cramping, he was forced to stop. Shaking it out, an idea started to form. It was still in the early stages, but it involved claiming permanent damage and forcing Beckett into being his scribe. She was a huge fan (no matter how much she denied it) and the prospect of his career ending might just make her do something unexpected.

In order for that to happen, though, he had to figure out where she was. He dug his cell out of his pocket and dialed her number, only to be met with, "Hey, this is Beckett. I can't get to the phone right now..." Really, what was the point of technology if you couldn't use it to find a person?

Beckett could take care of herself. Rationally, he knew she didn't need him. But the case they'd wrapped up this afternoon had hit her hard. A father throwing his daughter down the stairs because she came home pregnant was never an easy thing to deal with. To make matters worse, the dirtbag had resisted arrest, roughing Beckett up a bit in the process.

She hadn't said a word to him about looking over her shoulder as she typed the post-incident evaluation (trying to get her angry by correcting grammar mistakes had gotten no reaction at all) and his offer of body shots was met with a sigh of exasperation. That one really upset him. On a good day (or even an ok one), Beckett would have been ready with a snarky comeback or a slap.

So he was going to invite himself in and 'pull her pigtails' until he was satisfied she was back to the normal Beckett. He'd compiled a list of annoying one-liners on the way over, calling Alexis whenever he came up with something new, telling her to channel Beckett and not hold back. Given the majority of Alexis' reactions, his list was pretty much fool-proof. The trouble was, he couldn't get into Beckett's apartment without Beckett. Unless...

He pumped his fist in the air as he discovered his mother's AmEx card in his wallet. (She'd told him to cut it up the day before after seeing her $8,500 bill. Well, what he was about to do with it would probably make it useless. It was a win-win situation.)

Shimmying the card between the door and the frame, Castle had a brief moment of panic, thinking about Beckett's response to finding him in her apartment. He figured he could always blame the break-in on his concern (entirely true) or, worst-case scenario, he wouldn't have to use his list because she'd already be pissed.

Pushing the door open, he extracted the card (now with a large crack down the middle of the plastic) and stepped across the threshold. There was no sign of her in the living room but he remained there anyway. The last time he'd been in her apartment, the decor had left a little to be desired (given that 99% of it was engulfed in flames.

Her new place was at the corner of 57th and Lex. It was functional but feminine, strong but understated, the perfect combination of the things that made her who she was.

Castle was snapped from his thoughts by the sound of a grunt coming from somewhere to his left. He followed the noise, ignoring the side of his brain that was telling him she could have called up Demming for a one-time stress-relief session. She never did tell him what had happened with them, but the guy avoided her at all costs now.

What he found when he reached her bedroom door did cause his mouth to drop open. But Beckett wasn't in the midst of a bout of torrid love-making; she was wailing on a punching bag, singing along to the iPod hanging from her waist at the top of her lungs.

"Once I'm with the wizard, my whole life will change. Cause once you're with the wizard, no one thinks you're strange. No father is not proud of you, no sister acts ashamed, and all of Oz has to love you when by the wizard you're acclaimed..."

Kate Beckett was singing a showtune. He didn't know how to react. He'd added Nikki Heat's affinity for Broadway to Heat Wave as an afterthought, a way to push Beckett's buttons. He never dreamed he would hit the nail on the head. What did it mean that he had?

To avoid having to think about the answer to that question, he stepped up behind her and tapped her shoulder. Not the brightest idea ever, but he managed to duck about a second before her fist came into contact with his nose.

"Castle?" Her breath came out in a gasp as she tried to regain it after the adrenaline receded. "What the hell's wrong with you?"

Noting the anger flashing in her eyes, he smiled before holding his hands up in surrender and looking apologetic.

"I came to make sure you were holding up alright. That case was brutal."

"I was...until you broke into my apartment." To anyone else, she would have simply appeared annoyed. But he knew he better than that. He recognized that drained look in her eyes that was only there every once in a while, when the job really got to her.

"Sorry about that." He waved his hand casually. "Want to grab a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity? My treat." He offered her his best 'I'm sorry' face, crossed his fingers and hoped for the best.

"You really are a child." She deliberated for a minute, finally sighing and grabbing her coat.

"Yeah, yeah. Get a move on, Idina."

The look on her face when she registered his comment was classic. Her eyes went wide and her cheeks flushed as she sputtered, "Y-you heard that?"

He nodded solemnly, amused by her embarrassment. "It was definitely quality YouTube material," he said enthusiastically, holding up his phone.

"You even think about it, and you die."

That's my girl, he thought, holding open the front door and gesturing for her to go out ahead of him. "You do know I know her, right? We had a bit of a thing once..." he called into the hallway, closing the door behind him.