Ahh! Guys, I am SO sorry about the delay in posting this! My life has been super crazy busy, and I've had the worst writer's block ever... (and I've been doing a rewatch of Alias... holy crap! that SHOW *faints from stress*)

And because I'm a goose... I forgot to thank Tadpole24 in my last chapter! So double thanks to you my darling girl! Also- big thanks to Juliettaah for her fabulous French translations. Follow both these beautiful girls on twitter :)

Mood music for this chapter is on my tumblr- Brookemopolitan dot tumblr dot com

Disclaimer: The writers of Castle don't have to worry about things like shitty Olympic medal tallies...

This was just ridiculous. Cassie sighed and looked under the couch she was sure she'd sat on at some point or another the night before.

"Jacqueline!" She called out, as she ferreted around between the cushions. "Jacqueline, have you seen my panties?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Jacqueline replied over the whirr of the blow dryer.

"This isn't funny, Jacqueline! I have to go to work and I'm wearing a skirt. Can I please have my underwear back?" Cassie whined.

Jacqueline smirked and twisted her hair into the tight bun required for rehearsals (there'd been some disaster with the show last night, and all the principle dancers had been called in to work with the stage manager urgently).

Cassie huffed. "I'm stealing a pair of yours!" She called out, before rummaging through Jacqueline's neatly organised drawers. She noticed more than one of her shirts folded in amongst the leotards and leg warmers before spotting a pair that would probably fit her and she quickly slipped them on.

"Alright, let's go!" Jacqueline declared. She grabbed Cassie's hand, and pulled her out the door.

"Guess what?" Jacqueline asked as they swiped their Metro cards and made their way down to the subway platform.

"Your dad dyed his hair green."

Jacqueline raised an eyebrow at her.

"You said guess. You didn't say it had to be a serious guess."

"The stage manager said I could have some days off the show next week," Jacqueline pronounced. She leaned over and pressed a kiss to Cassie's mouth.

"Are you kidding? That's awesome!"

Jacqueline slid her hands from Cassie's waist to rest just below where was socially acceptable on the small of her back. "I thought you'd like that."

Cassie quickly kissed Jacqueline before their train pulled up. "I do. I like it very much." Cassie pulled Jacqueline onto the train and pulled them into the corner seat. Jacqueline wasted no time in pouncing on Cassie and kissing her thoroughly.

"You should move in with me," Cassie breathed when they finally pulled apart for air.


"Why shouldn't you?" Cassie asked. "We're pretty much always together, anyway, and I'm sure you're sick of living in a hotel room."

Jacqueline pondered for a second. "Screw it. Let's move in together."

The rest of their subway trip was spent making out, much to the chagrin of the tourists with the loud squawking accents three rows over from them.

Cassie eventually broke away from Jacqueline to duck off at the subway stop closest to The Old Haunt. Jacqueline waved from the window, before holding up a very familiar scrap of cotton fished from her bag.

Cassie only shook her head before heading out the exit.

Cassie pinned a flower into her hair and adjusted the hem of her cocktail dress.

"Is this acceptable?" Jacqueline asked from the doorway, clad in coral coloured dress, slipping a pair of turquoise earrings on.

"You look gorgeous," Cassie answered honestly. She checked her phone, and quickly stepped into her navy high heels. "Now we have to motor, because we were supposed to be there like, five minutes ago."

The taxi dropped them off just before the entryway to the launch party for Frozen Heat.

Cassie grabbed Jacqueline's hand and pulled her back slightly. "I um…" Cassie bit her lip; heedless of the lipstick she was probably smudging. "I haven't exactly told Kate that you're crashing at our place. So if it's no big deal… maybe don't tell her just yet?"

"Cassandre, are you ashamed of me?" Jacqueline enquired, one hand perched on her hip.

"No! God, no, not at all. Nothing like that," Cassie reassured her. "Kate's just… she can be really stubborn, and if she finds out about this in the wrong way, she's going to be against it from the start. So just let me talk to her, okay?"

"I can do that. But you will tell her, won't you?"

"Of course I'll tell her. Just not tonight."

"Why not?" Jacqueline demanded.

Cassie took Jacqueline's hand and started walking with her towards the entry.

"Tonight isn't about us. This is Castle's night. I don't want to ruin that. That means we need to keep out hands to ourselves, I'm afraid. Now stop pouting, and be your usual charming self," Cassie ordered as they reached the pale blue carpet.

This truly was Jacqueline's world. She had no problem smiling for the camera, pouting demurely as she clung to Cassie's hand. Cassie couldn't hide her shock, when close to the end of the carpet; Jacqueline grabbed Cassie and pulled her in for a kiss. Cassie didn't need to have her eyes open to know the cameras covering the event were going wild.

Cassie quickly broke the kiss, shooting a grin to the still madly flashing cameras.

"Mais qu'est-ce que tu fais, Jacqueline ?"(What the hell, Jacqueline?) Cassie hissed under her breath, slipping into French so there was less chance they'd be overheard as they moved from the red carpet to the person marking their names at the door.

"Comment ça?" (What did I do?) Jacqueline asked innocently.

"Tu sais ce que tu as fait ! Tu te souviens que j'ai dit que ce soir ce n'était pas à propos de nous ?" (You know what you did! Do you remember me saying tonight isn't about us?)

"Et ça ne l'est pas. C'est vraiment un crime d'embrasser la femme que j'aime ?" (And it isn't about us. Is it such a crime to kiss my lover?) Jacqueline pouted.

"Ça l'est quand tu es Jacqueline Prideux, connue pour être une danseuse étoile lesbienne fière de l'être et une dragueuse effrontée. Tu penses vraiment que ça ne va pas se retrouver dans tous les magazines à ragots de la ville ?" (It is when you're Jacqueline Prideux, notably out and proud lesbian prima ballerina and shameless womaniser. Do you really think this won't end up in every gossip rag in town?) Cassie growled under her breath. She strode into the ballroom and snagged a glass of champagne from the first tray she saw.

"Qu'est-ce que ça peut bien faire si ça finit dans tous les magazines de la ville ? Au moins, on parlera plus du lancement du livre,"(Who cares if it does end up in every magazine in town? If anything, it will raise the profile of the book launch,) Jacqueline pointed out as she sipped on a glass of champagne.

"Moi ça me dérange ! Parce que, comme je l'ai dit il y a une seconde, ce soir n'est pas à propos de toi ou de moi. C'est à propos de Castle." (I care! Because like I said a second ago, tonight is not about you or me. It is about Castle.)

"Je vais me repoudrer le nez," (I'm going to go powder my nose,) Jacqueline announced coldly, before turning tale and marching towards the bathrooms.

Cassie sighed, and placed her empty glass down on a table. She didn't know who'd done the decorating for the event, but the ice sculpture of the New York City skyline that was the focal point of the room (gently glowing with multi-coloured lights beneath it) was stunning.

"Hey, stranger!" Cassie felt a pair of arms wrap round her waist, and she felt the familiar squish of an Alexis Castle patented hug.

"What's cracking, ginger ninja?" Cassie asked cheerfully.

"I'm keeping busy. Between the Columbia summer programme and my internship, I'm barely at home."

"And I'm sure you have no complaints about that," Cassie teased.

Alexis wrinkled her nose. For all her mature talk about knowing what a serious, adult relationship entailed, it didn't mean that she actually wanted to be at home for long periods of time as the honeymoon phase of Operation Caskett unfolded.

"What about you? How's stuff with Jacqueline?" Alexis asked; one copper eyebrow raised.

Cassie shrugged. "It's a tempest in a tea cup. It always was, though."

"Oh no. What happened now?"

Cassie rolled her eyes. "She's having a hissy fit because I told her to keep her hands to herself for the night."

"Are you kidding me?"

Cassie sighed. "Here's the thing about Jacqueline. She's a prima ballerina, right? That means she's used to being the centre of attention. And if you tell her she can't be… well," Cassie shrugged. "She's probably out on the balcony, sucking down half a package of cigarettes as we speak."

"Should you go after her?" Alexis asked curiously.

"Now? No way!" Cassie answered. "She'd eat my face. I'll let her cool down first."

"I'm kind of glad I like boys exclusively. I don't know if I could deal with girls who don't say what they actually mean," Alexis mused.

"It is a tough cross to bear, I won't pretend otherwise, but somebody has to do it."

A random socialite Cassie didn't know (and frankly, didn't care for) drew Alexis into conversation about college acceptance letters. Cassie quietly slipped out of the conversation, and after snagging another glass of champagne, made her way over to the artistically stacked copies of Frozen Heat. She picked up a copy of the novel, flipping over to read the blurb. Cassie scanned the room. There was no way she'd be able to smuggle a copy of the book out of the room, even with the empire cut of her white dress. She'd have to wait another week, like some kind of plebeian commoner.

On a whim, Cassie flipped to the dedication.

For the Babushka dolls who have filled the spaces I didn't realise were empty- CB, the uninhibited nymph of a little sister I never knew I needed, and KB… always.

Cassie jumped at the hand on her shoulder.

"Privet," (Hi,) Kate greeted her cheerfully.

Cassie sniffled back her happy tears, before pulling her sister into a hug. "Katie, you are a babe! You look like a Bond chick!" Cassie exclaimed, taking in her sister's silver cocktail dress that glistened in the light of the million fairy lights around the room and curled hair.

"You don't scrub up so badly yourself, kid. Even if you did steal my shoes," Kate replied.

"You would have said yes if I asked!" Cassie defended herself. She thrust the copy of Frozen Heat she'd kept hold of into Kate's hands. "Look at the dedication," Cassie ordered.

Kate flipped over the front cover, a fond smile sneaking onto her face as she took in the words of the dedication.

"I take it you found the dedication?" Castle asked. The lovesick expression on Kate's face only grew when she looked up at him.

"You know, I always wanted a big brother," Cassie commented. She stuck her tongue out at Castle playfully.

"Really? I hear that big brothers are supposed to play pranks on their little sisters and torment their dates," Castle teased.

"Pull a prank on me, I freaking dare you," Cassie challenged. "You have no idea the shit storm I will unleash in response. And you've met Jacqueline. Do you really think you can torment her?"

Castle pondered the steely ballerina who looked like a strong breeze would knock her over. "Maybe not."

Cassie winked. "Thank you, though," she said sincerely. "For the dedication. And for being my big brother. It's really cool." Cassie wasn't shocked in the slightest when Castle pulled her into an affectionate hug. He pulled away and pressed a kiss to Kate's cheek. "I'm getting the evil eye from Gina and Paula. I better go before they lock me in the cage."

"So," Kate began. Cassie knew what was coming. "Where's Jacqueline?"

"She's sulking," Cassie answered. "She didn't like that I told her that we had to behave ourselves tonight. I refuse to indulge her behaviour."

"Wow, that sounds healthy," Kate commented with an eyeroll.

"I'm totally going to pretend you didn't just try and give me relationship advice," Cassie quipped, trying not to let her hackles raise. "She's throwing a temper tantrum. You always ignored mine." Cassie took a long sip out of her champagne glass. "This night is all about the love of your life. I'm being considerate!"

"Alright, Cassie, relax!" Kate soothed her.

The night had been fun. Alexis had introduced Cassie to a whole bunch of trust fund kids (ones who weren't as awful as Cassie had initially imagined them to be), Kate had shown true personal growth as she smiled and actually acknowledged her role as Richard Castle's muse, and she'd danced gracefully with Castle at the request (read: order) of Paula, all for the sake of good publicity.

Cassie knew she had to suck it up. Jacqueline Antoinette Prideux was at least as stubborn as Cassie, and more than once in their time together in Paris, they hadn't spoken for days at a time because of a disagreement about something so insignificant they could never remember what they were actually having make up sex about.

"Would you like to dance?"

Jacqueline regarded Cassie primly. "Won't that draw too much attention to us?"

Cassie gave her a sharp look. Jacqueline was just being sour for the sake of it now. Jacqueline accepted Cassie's hand, and followed her out to the dancefloor.

Cassie knew it was the right move. The soft smile that spread across Jacqueline's face was luminous as they slowly swayed while the jazz singer that had been hired sang about how he fell in love with a girl who was in love with the world.

"You wanna go do something crazy?" Cassie breathed.

Cassie opened her eyes blearily. The lack of windows in her room meant she actually had no idea what day it was. The last few days had been a blur of Jacqueline. She fumbled on the floor for clothes, eventually finding one of Jacqueline's slightly too small and too tight tank tops, and a pair of her denim shorts.

Cassie took a quick shower, before making her way to the kitchen. Jacqueline, of course, was still sound asleep. The girl could sleep like the dead.

Cassie had just finished brewing a pot of coffee when the front door swung open.

"Hey," Kate greeted her breathlessly, clad in sweaty gym clothes. "I need a quick shower," Kate declared, gliding past Cassie towards the bathroom.

"Morning," Cassie greeted dubiously; taking in her freshly showered and dressed sister. "You've emerged from the love den," she commented with a grin, thumbing through the mail for anything addressed to her.

Kate accepted the cup of coffee with a grateful smile. "You make Castle's place sound like a brothel or something."

"Well, you clearly don't have a case, and you're not coming over for more clothes," Cassie surmised. "Oh, for fuck's sake, Katie, you aren't running away, are you?"

"No!" Kate replied emphatically. "I'm not running away. Everything is great. Everything is just so great."

"Oh my God. You're freaking out about the fact that you're not freaking out," Cassie gasped.

"I am not!" Kate argued. "Oh my god… I totally am, aren't I?" She realised, her cheeks crimson.

"Katie, it would be funny if it weren't borderline pathetic. Now text him, and let him know you needed some sister time." Cassie commanded, mock seriously. She stood up, and reached into the pantry to snag a box of cereal.

"What the hell is that?" Kate demanded, pointing to Cassie's exposed side where the tiny shirt she was wearing had ridden up.

"What's what?" Cassie asked.

"Don't try that with me Cassie. I know what a new tattoo looks like. When did you get it?"

Cassie resisted the urge to scratch the scabbing skin of the week and a half old angel wing that sat on her left side, at the spot where her hips tapered into her slim waist. "The night of the book launch," Cassie admitted. "It was late, we walked past the tattoo parlour, and one thing led to another…"

"Is this your way of telling me you and Jacqueline have hers and hers tattoos?" Kate inquired.

Cassie rolled her eyes, "Yes, Babushka," she answered sullenly, plunking a cup of coffee in front of Kate.

"Cassie, I want you to stop and think for a second…"

"Oh my God, Kate, would you relax? I am fine!"

"Really? Because a couple of weeks ago you were the one telling me about your psycho ex the French ballerina. As I recall, the only thing that worked for you was your sex life, and now as far as I can see, all the two of you do is argue and sleep together. Cassie, I'm worried about you!"

"Well, don't! I'm fine. Go back to your happy place with Castle, and leave me alone!" Cassie snapped, instantly slipping into Beckett defence mode; saying the most hurtful thing you can think of in the hopes of pushing the other person away.

Kate was way too smart for that. "Nice try, Cassie. I'm not leaving." She watched the violent way Cassie was pouring muesli into a bowl, and quietly stood and moved to the refrigerator, intent on grabbing the yogurt for Cassie.

"What the hell is all this vegan shit in my refrigerator?" Kate demanded, observing the soymilk and tofu with a curled lip. Kate very clearly remembered the night she'd announced to her entire family at a Sunday meal at her grandparents that eating animals was inhumane and revolting, and from that day onward she was vegan. Babushka had slapped her, before placing a plate of beef stroganoff in front of her, making it clear in no uncertain terms that "Ona ne riskovala svoyeĭ shyei izbezhatʹ sovet·skogo ublyudkov v matushku-Rossiyu kontrabandnym putem iz Moskvy , zavernutye vkover vnuchkoĭ nastolʹko nyeuvazhitelʹno i prevratitʹ yee nos na yedu ona lyubovno podgotovlennyĭ dlya nyee."(She hadn't risked her neck escaping the Soviet bastards in Mother Russia by being smuggled out of Moscow rolled in a carpet for her granddaughter to be so disrespectful and turn her nose up at the food she'd lovingly prepared for her.) Then she'd made it clear to the whole family that nobody would be leaving the table until Kate had finished her meal. She'd been seventeen at the time.

It only took Kate's detective mind to put together the clues. "How long has she been living here?" Kate asked, her voice quiet and tone icy.

"Katya, this isn't a big deal…"

"The hell it isn't!" Kate exploded. "It is MY name on the lease, Cassandra. I don't have a clue who the hell this girl is, and you invite her into my house, without telling me, and you expect me to just be okay with it?"

"Vy by potishe? Ona v sosednyeĭ komnate!" (Would you keep your voice down? She's in the next room!) Cassie hissed.

"Nu, ona zhivet zdesʹ , ne tak li? Ne dolzhna ona bytʹ prichastnym k tomu, chto proiskhodit, kogda sestry sporitʹ?" (Well, she lives here, doesn't she? Shouldn't she be privy to what happens when sisters argue?) Kate growled back, her use of Russian doing nothing to hide the venom in her words.

"Pochemu on dazhe imyeet znachenie? Eto ne to, vy na samom dele zhivut zdesʹ i syeĭchas , v lyubom sluchae."(Why does it even matter? Its not like you really live here right now, anyway.)

Kate refused to rise to the bait. "Dazhe ne pytaĭtesʹ otvlechʹ menya i syeĭchas. YA ne mogu tratitʹ stolʹko vremeni, zdesʹ , kak ranʹshe , no ya vse yeshche plachu arendnuyu platu vovremya, i v kvartire po-prezhnemu pod svoim imenem . YA imyeyu pravo znatʹ, kto zhivet zdesʹ, i yego osnovnye vezhlivosti, chto vy, mozhet bytʹ, govoritʹ ob etom mne."(Don't even try and distract me right now. I may not be spending as much time here as I used to, but I still pay my rent on time, and the apartment is still under my name. I have the right to know who is living here, and it's basic common courtesy that you'd maybe mention it to me.)

Kate paused, and softened her tone. "Cassie, I know you've been alone for a long time. I know you're not used to having somebody care about you. Let me be clear; I am not going anywhere. And I'm so worried about you, Malenkaya (Little One). I'm telling you, moving this fast is a bad idea. Cassie, she's only in town for a few more days. What is going to happen when she's gone?" Kate's phone buzzed. She quickly answered, murmuring quietly as she scrawled down an address.

"A body dropped," Kate explained. "Don't think this conversation is over." Kate moved towards the safe, quickly pulling out her gun and badge. She crossed back over to Cassie, dropping a kiss on her forehead. "I love you."

Moments after Kate had cleared out of the apartment, Jacqueline floated into the kitchen.

"What was all the angry sounding Russian about?" She inquired. Cassie's only response was to pull Jacqueline into an aggressive kiss, before forcing her back towards the bedroom.

Cassie sighed happily as Jacqueline ran her fingers through Cassie's sweaty magenta hair.

"Jacqueline," Cassie began quietly. "What exactly are we doing?" She asked finally.

"I should think it's quite obvious," Jacqueline responded with a chuckle, pressing a kiss to Cassie's temple.

"Well, besides the obvious," Cassie responded, rolling away slightly so she couldn't be distracted by Jacqueline's hands in her hair. "What are we doing? The ballet only has a few more days in town. Then what?"

Jacqueline rolled onto her back, pondering Cassie's words. "Come with me!" Jacqueline suggested, her eyes sparkling with delight. "Pack up, and come. We're going to Vancouver next." Jacqueline grabbed both of Cassie's hands as she sat up. "Cassandre, we could get married!"

Cassie sat up. "I've just built a life for myself here. I have a good job, a place to stay, and I even have a family. I can't just leave." Cassie fiddled with the thin sheet on the bed. "You could stay?" She suggested quietly. "Any ballet company in New York would be lucky to have you!"

Cassie dared to look up. Jacqueline's eyes said it all.

Cassie felt like the sudden flood of emotions was strangling her. "You won't stay, will you?" She took a deep breath. "Please, Jacqueline. I love you, damnit!"

Jacqueline pressed a soft kiss to Cassie's mouth. She tasted like regret and farewell. "Go run yourself a bath," She ordered quietly. "By the time you get out again, I'll be gone. It'll be like I was never here."

Cassie walked into the Precinct, her tears barely kept at bay. She stepped over to Kate's desk. "So, I know you probably hate me right now," Cassie bit out, fighting the knot in her throat. Kate looked up, and saw the tormented look on her little sister's face.

"I just really need my big sister now," Cassie gasped, before bursting into tears.

Kate dropped her pen, before throwing an arm around Cassie's shoulder, and urging her toward the break room. She pulled the blinds shut, before turning to Cassie. "What happened?" Kate asked.

"We broke up," Cassie replied miserably. Kate quickly threw her arms around her, and let Cassie cry into the collar of her crisp white button up. "She was perfect, and we broke up!"

"Oh, Cassie, she was far from perfect," Kate soothed.

"I asked her to stay, and she wouldn't. I asked her for one thing, and she can't give it to me!"

Kate ran a hand through her sister's hair, trying hard not to think of the dark nights after their mother's death that they'd spent in this very position. "Cassie, do you want your passport back?" Kate asked.

"I can't just leave," Cassie replied. "She wanted me to go with her. She even suggested we elope, but I just can't."

"Because of me?" Kate asked.

Cassie shook her head. "Not entirely. Don't flatter yourself, Katya." She reached into her handbag and handed Kate an envelope. "I got into college," She explained with a watery grin. "I start at NYU in the fall."

"Congratulations!" Kate trilled, kissing Cassie's cheek. "You'll love NYU. Do you know what you're going to study?"

"Art major, definitely," Cassie answered. "And I'll have to talk to a couple of professors to work out the balance, but I need to do courses in criminal justice, psychology and probably forensic anthropology."

Kate raised an eyebrow. She couldn't imagine why Cassie would need to study such an unusual spectrum of subjects.

"I'm going to be a forensic sketch artist," Cassie explained. "I want to do something that makes a difference, you know? I can't be a super cop like you, but those sketches I did helped with The Old Haunt case, right? I figure this is a way I can do something I'm good at, and help people get justice."

"Sounds like the perfect career for you. Maybe someday we'll work on the same case," Kate replied. She sighed when she heard a knock at the door.

"Kate, we've got Hamilton in for questioning," Ryan called out through the door.

"Cass, I'm sorry," Kate apologised.

"No biggie," Cassie replied easily. "I've gotta get to work anyway. Annie wants me to start early because the boys are playing. She seems to think people spend more at the bar when I play with them," Cassie explained. She fumbled through her bag for a compact, and cringed when she saw her tearstained face. "If you wrap the case, you should come."

"Yeah, well I'm pretty sure Hamilton is our guy, so if he confesses quickly, you never know." Kate squeezed Cassie tightly, before kissing her cheek.

"I'm really sorry that she hurt you," Kate said sincerely, before striding out of the room to an interrogation.

It didn't take an idiot to realise that Cassie wasn't her usual self at work. She kept her head down, and she worked hard, but she was missing her usual sparkle. She provided good service, but that was it. She didn't playfully semi-flirt with the regulars, and she barely cracked a grin at the antics behind the bar.

"One Shirley Temple, please." Cassie rolled her eyes when she saw Castle sit down at the bar. She pushed a Scotch towards him with a hint of a smirk.

"Kate told me about Jacqueline. Are you alright?" Castle asked sincerely.

Cassie shrugged. "Oh yeah, I'm cool. I'm a rolling stone. Give me a week and I'll be asking Jacqueline who?"

Castle nodded and took a sip of his Scotch. "Well, if you need anything, let me know, okay?"

Cassie nodded. "Thanks, Castle."

Castle gestured for Cassie to move closer. "I wanted to give this back to you," he whispered, holding up the ring Cassie had given him a few weeks back. "You do remember giving me this, don't you?" Castle teased, recalling Cassie' reaction to the painkillers she'd been given for her concussion.

"Don't make me come over there and kick your ass," Cassie yapped playfully. She plucked the ring out of Castle's open palm and slid it back onto her finger. "Does that mean you have the ring?" She squealed at Castle's nod. "Can I see it?"

"Not before she does," Castle replied.

Cassie shot him a vicious grin. "Well, I guess it's time I welcome you to the family." With that, she grabbed two shot glasses, and a bottle of vodka.

"If you're going to marry a Russian, you need to learn how to drink like one," Cassie announced, pouring two shots. "Now, you need to look me in the eye for the toast and when you shoot this. It has to go down in one mouthful," Cassie explained. She picked up her shot glass. "Za krasavitsu nevestu!" (To the beautiful bride) she declared, before tapping her shot glass against Castle's and swallowing it quickly, not spluttering at the taste the way Castle did.

"Gotta keep eye contact, Castle. If you don't, you're cursed with seven years of bad sex," Cassie teased, pouring another shot. "It's an old tradition that if you keep eye contact during the toast and shot, you can see the other person's soul," Cassie explained. "So make sure you blow out before you do the shot. You lose most of the taste that way." She pushed the shot towards him. "Ypʹem za lyubovʹ!" (Let's drink to love!) This time, Castle managed to get the shot down without choking on the bitter taste.

"We'll make a proper Russian out of you yet," Cassie told him with a wink, before turning away to serve at the bar.

As it turned out, Hamilton was the man that Kate was after. It had taken less than five minutes to get a confession out of him, and she'd managed to convince Esposito and Ryan, plus Lanie and Jenny to join her and Castle (along with Alexis) at the Old Haunt for a few drinks. Cassie could see Kate loosening up and getting a little bit giggly with the Cosmos she was continually sending over to the table.

She handed Tommo a jug of beer and a stack of glasses, before taking the sheet of paper her offered her. "Set list for tonight?" She confirmed.

Tommo nodded. "Just for when you come up and join us. But we can be pretty fluid with it, if you want to change it up."

Cassie nodded. "Sounds good. I'm just going to go count my till before I change, and then I'm up with you guys."

Being on stage was good therapy. Cassie was running on adrenaline, asking Evie to let her hair hang down, and breaking out her spazziest dance moves for their cover of Hey Ya by Outkast.

She only wished that she'd asked the boys to change the Gaga cover they'd wanted to do. She should have known better than to think she could sing You And I after her rollercoaster day. She had finally gotten a handle on her emotions when she saw a petite blonde step into the pub and stand quietly by the bar. Cassie finished the song, and quickly said something to Daz.

"We're going to take it down, just for a couple of songs," Cassie called out as slung Vera across her frame, before plugging in her faithful semi acoustic into the sound system. She waved the boys offstage. "So, this one goes out to a special person. They know who they are."

Cassie began to strum the guitar, praying that she'd be able to handle her emotions along with this stripped back song

Summer after high school, when we first met
We make-out in your Mustang to Radiohead
And on my eighteenth birthday, we got matching tattoos

Cassie bit her lip as she watched Jacqueline's fingers brush against her side.

Used to steal your parents' liquor and climb to the roof
Talk about our future like we had a clue
Never planned that one day I'd be losing you

Cassie felt tears fill her eyes, but she powered through the song none the less.

In another life, I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
In another life, I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

I was June and you were my Johnny Cash
Never one without the other, we made a pact
Sometimes when I miss you, I put those records on, whoa

Someone said you had your tattoo removed
Saw you downtown, singing the blues
It's time to face the music, I'm no longer your muse

She wouldn't cry. She wouldn't. She also wouldn't think of lazy naked Sundays where she'd play guitar for Jacqueline for hours

In another life, I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
In another life, I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

The one, the one, the one
The one that got away

All this money can't buy me a time machine, no
Can't replace you with a million rings, no
I should'a told you what you meant to me, whoa
Cause now I pay the price

Cassie paused for a second, the tears slowly beginning to slip down her cheeks. There was no point holding anything back. She changed the song up slightly.

Never mind, I'll find someone like you

I wish nothing but the best for you, too

Don't forget me, I begged,

I remember you said

Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead

Cassie dared to look over at Jacqueline. Apparently she wasn't the only one crying.

In another life, I would be your girl
We keep all our promises, be us against the world
In another life, I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away
The one that got away

The one (the one)
The one (the one)
The one (the one)

In another life, I would make you stay
So I don't have to say you were the one that got away

Jacqueline dropped a tiny bunch of flowers on the bar, and blew Cassie a kiss, before melting into the shadows and out the door.

The one that got away.

Cassie took advantage of the commotion of the boys coming back onto the stage to wipe her eyes. It was done now. She'd said her final goodbye to her first love.

"You guys are going to have to help out a little bit with this one," Cassie told the crowd. "I'll tell you when," Cassie promised, before beginning to play the opening chords of the song.

This is the greatest and best song in the world . . . tribute.

Cassie giggled when she heard the enthusiastic response of the crowdLong time ago me and my buddy Tommo here...
we was hitchhikin' down a long and lonesome road.
All of a sudden,
there shined a shiny demon...
in the middle...
of the road.

The rest of the show had been a rousing success. To Cassie's eternal joy, Castle had forced Kate onto the dancefloor when they'd played Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet (he insisted that the song had been a pretty good metaphor for their relationship), and the group of Aussie expats from Melbourne who'd found the joint by accident went totally batshit crazy when Daz had shoved his electric guitar into Cassie's hands and jumped down to the piano, and they'd played a rousing rendition of Khe Sahn, an Aussie anthem that Cassie found privately hilarious because Australia hadn't even fought there during the Viet Nam War.

The bar had shut, and Castle had insisted that the group from the 12th stay behind for a few hours. Cassie had taught both Ryan and Esposito how to pour their own damn beers, and she was balanced on a stool, beer in front of her, clutching her guitar as she acted as their personal jukebox.

"You can't possibly sing that many types of music," Jenny (an accomplished pianist, who'd just finished playing Piano Man, leading to Castle, Kate, Ryan and Esposito having a weird quiet bonding moment that Cassie didn't really understand) argued playfully with Cassie after she'd belted out some Aretha with her guitar.

"I don't always sing them well!" Cassie replied. "But I love all music. Even country. You should emotionally prepare yourself now. And all the happy couples in the room should get their asses up and get ready to dance!" Cassie ordered. Cassie made a show of cracking her knuckles and neck. "Now ya'll are gonna find out about my soft spot for two different kinds of music… Country, AND Western," Cassie joked in a faux Southern accent as she began to play.

There's a new wind blowin' like I've never known.
I'm breathin' deeper than I've ever done.
And it sure feels good, to finally feel the way I do.
I wanna love somebody,
Love somebody like you.

Cassie had a soft spot for Keith Urban, and she'd never be ashamed.

An' I'm lettin' go of all my lonely yesterdays.
I've forgiven myself for the mistakes I've made.
Now there's just one thing, the only thing I wanna do, mmm, mmm.
I wanna love somebody,
Love somebody like you.

Cassie was still heartbroken, and she knew it, but the three dancing couples in the room gave her just a little bit of hope that she'd get over it, and find something real.

Yeah, I wanna feel the sunshine,
Shinin' down on me and you.
When you put your arms around me,
You let me know there's nothing in this world I can't do.

Castle caught Cassie's eye. There was no way… Cassie tried not to gape, and kept playing.

I used to run in circles goin' no-where fast.
I'd take, uh, one step forward and two steps back.
Couldn't walk a straight line even if I wanted to, mmm, mmm.
I wanna love somebody,
Love somebody like you.

Cassie quietly strummed the guitar solo, curious to see what Castle was going to do.

"I wanted to wait," He said, slowly pulling Kate to a stop. "I was going to do something romantic, and intimate, and perfect. So this could be something that you look back on for the rest of your life."

Kate's jaw dropped open.

"But this ring has been burning a hole in my pocket all day. And right now, this is everything I need for it to be perfect." Rick dropped to one knee.

"Kate," He crooned. "Katherine," he tested as he pulled a box from his pocket. "Ekaterina," he murmured, holding up the box. "I love you. All I want to do for the rest of my life is love you. Will you marry me?"

Kate didn't even hesitate. "Yes," she breathed. Her grin was uncontrollable he slid the ring on her finger. She pulled him up to stand so she could kiss him properly. Cassie chanced a look over at Alexis. She had a smile so huge it was threatening to crack her face as she snapped photos on her iPhone.

"Cassie, put your tongue back in your head and keep playing! I want to dance with my fiancé!" Kate ordered, her own grin huge.

Cassie nodded, still shocked but totally happy as she kept playing.

Yeah, I wanna feel the sunshine,
Shinin' down on me and you.
When you put your arms around me,
Well, baby there ain't nothing in this world I can't do.

Cassie had chosen this song on a whim to play, but she was shocked at how perfect a choice it was for the happy couple.

Sometimes it's hard for me to understand,
But you're teachin' me to be a better man.
I don't want to take this life for granted like I used to do, no, no.
I wanna love somebody,
Love somebody like you.

I'm ready to love somebody,
Love somebody like you. oooh.

An' I wanna love somebody,
Love somebody like you, yeah.

Cassie finished playing, and carelessly threw the guitar back into its case before dashing over with everybody else to congratulate the happy couple.

Cassie watched with a grin as Ryan and Esposito crushed Kate in a group bear hug. She grabbed Alexis's hand. "Now, you should know, I'm not a regular aunty, I'm a cool aunty," she declared with a grin.

"A cool aunty would let me stay at her place tonight," Alexis responded instantly.

Cassie vaguely considered teasing Alexis about what her Dad would be doing that night. Then she realised that Alexis wasn't just asking because of the proposal. Cassie grabbed Alexis into a bone-breaking hug, grateful that she'd befriended somebody with such a heart of gold.


No, this is not the way the show will be going. No, I don't care... this fic is my happy place, and damnit, I want to write a wedding!

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