"The first thing to realize about parallel universes, the Guide says, is that they are not parallel." - Mostly Harmless, by Douglas Adams


"Roy Montgomery taught me what it meant to be a cop," I said, hanging onto the podium mainly to avoid falling over. This speech was harder to give than I'd thought it would be. "He taught me that we are bound by our choices, but we are more than our mistakes. Captain Montgomery once said to me that, for us there is no victory. There are only battles. And in the end, the best you could hope for is to find a place to make your stand. And if you're very lucky, you find someone willing to stand with you."

Heavy glance at Castle. That part wasn't written down, but I knew it well enough. Had to let him know he was forgiven from our fight- some things were more important.

"Our captain would want us to carry on the fight. And even if there is one bleak outcome, we will keep fighting until we can make a new one."I finished up the eulogy and glanced at Castle. He nodded, like he was telling me I'd done well. Leaving the podium, I headed over to where he was standing.

I could hear Evelyn Montgomery sobbing…

Kate woke to the chirping of her alarm clock, and she rolled over in bed to slam the off button, as she did letting the details of her dream return to her. Great. Yet another Captain Montgomery's funeral dream, as if she needed to relive that day any more. The eulogy had been tough enough to give, it didn't help that she'd memorized it so it could hop into her dreams.

Stretching, Beckett stepped towards her closet. As she walked, she caught a glance around the room and stopped in her tracks. She blinked, rubbed her eyes. Was she imagining it, or… was the room a different color? And her bedside lamp, too… it was different. The entire room seemed slightly off.

She shook her head, folding open her closet doors. Dream's over, Kate. She really needed to get ready and head to work. New captain to meet and all. She pushed away the possibility that the clothes in her closet also seemed slightly off, a wardrobe comprised of clothing she'd never seen before, and some she wouldn't dream of wearing. She shook her head again and started getting dressed.

New York City was exactly as she remembered it, so that was reassuring as she walked to work. The hot dog vendors flipped their hot dogs in the same way they ad yesterday. The pedestrians were just as surly, the taxicabs just as reckless and fast. She decided to forget about the strange air about her morning, and definitely not to mention it to Castle. He would just overreact and make it out to be some CIA conspiracy or alien invasion or robotic mind control chip in her brain. Better to go the day without listening to a grown man rant on about zombie Congressmen.

The elevator, too, was just the way it always had been. She took a deep breath, fully convincing herself that she'd been suffering some kind of headache or vertigo this morning. The world was fully in place. Her head was screwed on right. The elevator buttons lit up the way she expected them to.

Kate didn't glance at her desk when she reached the bullpen, she just headed straight to the break room. She'd skipped breakfast, and hoped that some cappuccino would wake her up and drag her out of this confusing machine.

What she hadn't anticipated was the lack of the cappuccino machine sitting where it should be sitting in the break room. There was no trace of the contraption. For a moment, she contemplated some Grinch-like creature carrying away the coffee machine and explaining that one of the lights wouldn't work, so he had to take it away for fixing. When the moment was over, she wondered what the hell was going on.

Beckett could just stand there, hands on her hips, staring at the spot where the cappuccino machine used to be as if she could wish it back into existence. She stood there in shock until Kevin Ryan tried to walk into the break room, and then she snapped out of it and stopped him.

"Ryan," said Kate, "what happened to the cappuccino machine?"

He looked at her like she'd just asked him what happened to their spaceship. "What?"

"The cappuccino machine," she repeated. "Where is it?" He didn't drop the look. It was like she was the one who was acting weird.

"Ma'am, this is a police precinct," he said slowly. Ma'am? She needed to get to the bottom of this, and soon, before the icy fist of confusion in her stomach twisted her up so much that she had a panic attack. It was like… it was like he didn't recognize her.

"Ryan," she said, her voice sitting on an edge, "you know who I am… right?" So she was falling into his prank. She didn't really care, she just wanted to get back to work and get her coffee. She'd put up with the "you-should've-seen-your-face"s later.

He stared at her, zero recognition in his face, and she started to panic when he smiled. "Oh! You're… you're Kate Beckett!" She relaxed, letting her shoulders settle. "Wow. I'm sorry I didn't recognize you before… early in the morning, you know. I am a big fan, though."

"What?" Okay, so maybe the prank wasn't completely over. Was he pulling the Nikki Heat thing or something?

"Yeah, I loved your work in the Knife movies. Oh, and I just saw that guest role on Temptation Lane, you were awesome." He was getting that look in his eyes that he usually reserved for when Castle started talking about his books, and the icy fist in her stomach had returned. "What are you doing here?"

"Ryan, if you want to goof around with Castle later, that's fine, but I'm already having a bad day and I could really use a cappuccino."

"Castle?" There was that same lack of recognition. This was getting out of hand.

"Alright, I can't do this right now." She walked away from him, deciding that she wasn't going to talk to him until he started acting like a grown-up, or somebody was murdered, whichever came first. She started towards her desk, but stopped halfway there, in shock.

Sitting at her desk was a living, breathing Roy Montgomery, shifting papers around on her desk (which didn't seem like hers, once she got a look at it. Her elephants were missing and there was no sign of her little stabbed-person notepad.) As she got closer, she realized that the nameplate on the desk read "Det. Montgomery". I really shouldn't have gotten out of bed this morning.