Kate Beckett woke to sunshine for a change, which struck her as odd since she was used to rising before the sun. She reached across the bed only to find it empty and cold. Looking up confused, she noticed a piece of paper on the pillow next to her. She picked it up, a smile slowly forming on her lips as she read Castle's neatly printed script.
My dear Kate,
Went for coffee, precinct called and we've got a body but I wanted you to get more sleep first. You had a 'rough' night last evening. See you soon.
She glanced at the alarm clock on the bedside stand and noticed it was much later than she realized. Unwillingly, she crawled from the bed and went to the closet, selecting clothing from her half of Castle's walk-in (which was rapidly expanding), before stepping into the massive shower in the master bathroom. She let the warm cascade bring her from her sleep haze as she took the time to collect her thoughts before Castle's return.
Their impending wedding was less than three months away, and while most of the plans had been made, their final guest list and venue was yet to be set and it was getting to Beckett more than she thought it would. She knew, regardless of what happened between her and Castle, that this would be her only wedding, her one shot at marriage and the idea of it all failing, though Castle wouldn't let it, left her feeling anxious.
As she stepped from the shower, she heard the door to the lot shut and Castle's voice as he disconnected from a phone call. Beckett stepped into the foyer, wearing nothing but her black satin robe.
"Hey sweetheart." He greeted her before planting a quick kiss on her cheek before setting two cups of coffee on an end table.
"Who was that?" Kate asked, gesturing toward his phone.
"Oh, no one. It was a business call. No worries." He said, giving her his cocky smirk; the one she loved and hated at the same time.
"You know, when you say that I know you're lying."
"Well there's something I can say and you'll know I'm telling the truth." He took a step toward her, closing the gap between them. "I love you."
"Oh yeah? Well the 'rough night' you mentioned in that note you left this morning kind of already proved that."
Beckett smiled as Castle's lips came in contact with hers, only briefly, as her cell phone quickly interrupted them. She snatched it off the breakfast bar, the agitation evident in her action.
"I guess duty calls." Castle said, reading 12th precinct across her screen.
"Beckett." She answered, pausing to listen. "Okay Espo, we'll be there. Text me the address."
"I take it that's the body I told you about?"
She nodded. "It is. How'd you know this morning anyway?"
"Ryan called, said no rush but didn't explain why."
Beckett was already on her way back to the bathroom to finish getting dressed, Castle on her heels.
"Why would he talk to you first?" she asked, turning so quick Castle nearly collided into her.
"I answered your phone. You're so beautiful when you sleep that I didn't want to wake you." He said, smiling as he tucked a lock of damp hair behind her ear.
Beckett raised an eyebrow before stepping into the bathroom and closing the door. "This isn't over; I know you're hiding something Richard Castle." She said through the wooden barrier. Castle swallowed hard and took a seat on the bed as he waited for his fiancée to get ready. He wasn't going to cave that easily.
An hour and a half later they were on the turnpike in Beckett's Charger.
"Where are we going?" Castle finally asked, breaking their small talk.
"Your favorite place Castle, the woods. Maybe you'll find Big Foot this time." She quipped.
He feigned chest pain, clasping a hand over his heart. "Kate Beckett you wound me." He said, evoking a giggle form his partner. "Is the paranormal all you believe I chase?"
"No…there are ghosts and homicide detectives too." She joked, a perfect smile aimed in his direction and, for a moment, it rendered him speechless. It was amazing that after six years she could still do that.
"What?" She asked, his gaze not slipping her attention.
"Nothing, just admiring the view."
Beckett's cheeks quickly grew red and she returned her attention to the road as they rounded a curve and where met by flashing lights.
"There's our crime scene." She said, turning her own rotators on and pulling off the side of road to join the other emergency vehicles.
As they followed the yellow tape to the body, Esposito met them halfway up the path.
"'Bout time!" He said as they reached hi,. "I swear the body was near decomp, that's how long y'all took."
"Sorry, Beckett had to find something to wear."
She gaped at Castle. "You didn't wake me after the first call!"
"You two will never get married if you keep bickering like that. I swear that's what's taking so damn long." Lainey said, back turned to them as they reached the body.
"What do you have?" Beckett ignored her best friend's comment on purpose, promising herself she'd let her have it the next time they were alone.
"Female, mid to late twenties, gunshot wound to the chest near the heart."
"Looks like she took a beating too." Castle added.
Lainey nodded. "Multiple contusions and bruises to the temple, arms and ribs."
"Poor girl." Castle said quietly, watching Beckett as she crouched beside the body.
"Any casings?" She asked.
"No. Whoever did this knew what he was doing. Time of death is estimated at 3-5 hours ago. I've also determined she was killed here, too much blood and no sign of disturbance other than our initial tracks." Lainey explained.
"None from the perp?" Kate asked, lightly turning the dead woman's arm in her gloved hands to examine the bruises, careful not to disturb too much of the scene.
"Nope. Nothing in the dirt worth using. Javi traced his movements back to the park over there and said the guy dragged his feet the whole way."
"Great." Beckett said as she returned to her feet. "Why don't you get her out of here before rigor fully sets in, I'm going to take a look at that park."
Lainey nodded and motioned for her team to move in. As they delicately placed the body in a body bag, Beckett and Castle followed Espo to the initial crime scene. Beckett noticed the drag marks through the grass; a killer literally covering his tracks. Once they reached the clearing she could see the metal frames of children's play sets and the CSU team searching around them.
"We think she ran through here, there was a little blood pool in the parking lot and some disturbances in the grass heading toward the tree line." Espo said, pulling his notebook from his jacket. "The guy with the dog found the body." He pointed toward a young man in hiking gear who looked far more anxious than the German Sheppard at his side.
"It's always the guy with the dog that finds the body." Castle said, shaking his head at his own amusement.
Beckett ignored his joke. "Have you spoken to him yet?"
"Not yet. He was pretty shocked when we got here; could barely manage a sentence."
"Talk to him now, see if he's more helpful."
"You got it boss." Espo stalked over to the man as Beckett began to walk the perimeter.
"What are you thinking?" Castle whispered in her ear.
"I'm not sure. There are too many missing pieces. You know, I was about to ask you the same thing. You've been very quiet. It's so not like you."
"Maybe I just like watching you work. I was taking it in for a change." He smiled at her coyly.
Beckett stopped and looked into his eyes. "You always have. Something else is going on."
"Well…I…"He stuttered, looking for the right words. He opted to brush the back of his hand across her cheek. "This isn't proper conversation for this situation my dear."
Beckett narrowed her eyes at him, trying not to give in to the magic of his touch. She sighed. "I will figure it out Castle, remember that."
He smiled and watched her continue her walk-through. He knew this secret was one that detective Kate Beckett would not figure out.
After speaking with CSU and Espo finished questioning their witness, they made their way back to where the body was found. Long removed, all that remained was an impression in the dirt and blood that had pooled around it. Ryan was taking notes as they took a place surrounding the scene.
"What did you guys get?" Ryan asked, not taking his eyes off his notes.
"Not much. Dude was still shaken, said all he knows is that his dog went nuts, dragged him to the body, and he immediately called the police. I gave him my card in case he happens to recall something but I'm not feeling hopeful about it."
"CSU took samples from the blood in the parking lot and believe they found a viable boot print nearby but other than that, nada." Beckett added.
"Hopefully we can at least use this mess to identify her." Ryan sighed, flipping his notes closed and standing. "All we got is blood and a body. It's going to be a long day."
"Let's get back to the precinct. There's nothing left for us here." Beckett stared down at the impression. "If Lainey can find out who she is, at least we'll have something."
Espo and Ryan nodded In unison before the four of them headed back to their cars. At very least an identification would help lay the poor girl to rest.
A/N: So I've been really getting into Castle lately, so I decided to try my hand at writing a fic for it. Not a bad turn around for someone who use to hate the show if I do say so myself. Reviews are motivation so if you like it so far, drop a line. It would be much appreciated!