Characters: : Rick Castle, Kate Beckett, Hugh Fitzcairn, Duncan MacLeod & Methos (Adam Pierson)
Summary: Fitz may have unwittingly volunteered to be Castle's next guinea pig. At the same time, Beckett goes to Castle's apartment looking for a missing corpse.
Death Becomes Him
Fitz stood staring out the window of his hotel room. He was bored and lonely and even the promise of excitement in a city like New York did nothing to lift his spirits.
He wasn't a man usually given to contemplative moods, and yet he found himself feeling detached from the world that existed fifteen stories below his window.
Maybe coming to this big American city was a mistake. Maybe he should have taken a ship to the South Seas and found a small island where the native girls wore very little and were always happy to entertain the tourists.
He sighed, walked toward the bed, and flung himself down on the king sized mattress. Nothing seemed to excite him these days. Was it possible he'd lived too long? Unlike some Immortals, he had never found himself in need of quiet contemplation; had never sequestered himself on holy ground and retreated from the world.
Fitz snorted as he stretched out on the bed. Him in a monastery; surely that was the first sign of the apocalypse.
He supposed he could go find some hip little night club; maybe catch an up and coming underground band. That always made him happy. Fitz remembered the first time he'd seen the Beatles perform in the Cavern; he'd known they were something special. He really should have gotten into the music business; he had an impeccable ear for such things. But that would mean working for a living and that had really lost its appeal back in the fifteenth century.
Maybe he should head out to a bar and find a willing partner for this lovely large bed he now found him self occupying alone. But that seemed too much like work as well, and it wasn't nearly as fun to go trolling for women by himself. He always preferred to have – what was the modern term – ah yes – a wingman; someone to compete with and ultimately humiliate as he won the best woman in the room. Really, it wasn't as much fun without an audience who could appreciate his talent.
A playful smile graced his lips. Of course, why hadn't he thought of it before? He needed a wingman. The world was always more exciting when the adventure was shared.
He reached over and plucked his cell phone off the night stand. He still hadn't lost his wonder for some of the twenty-first century's modern conveniences. In the old days, if he'd wanted to find MacLeod, he'd have to rely on chance. Though it did seem that there was something akin to radar amongst Immortals, and he always seemed to be able to find the Highlander if he'd wanted to.
Today, he simply had to press speed dial, and he would be instantly connected. Ironic then that he'd been feeling so disconnected. They may say that these modern advancements were making the world a smaller place, but Fitz knew that it was an illusion. Maybe that's why New York held no appeal. A city of millions and he didn't know a soul. No, it wasn't a small world at all.
He pressed the number two button and waited as the phone did its little miracle and connected him. After two rings, the familiar voice answered. Fitz always wondered at the odd accent the Highlander had picked up over the years; no longer Scottish but hardly a true British accent.
"Duncan, old buddy," he crowed with delight.
He could already feel his mood lifting as the Highlander responded with the expected groan, "Fitz, what do you want?"
"Now is that any way to greet an old friend?" Fitz chided. "I just wondered where you were and what you were doing."
Duncan laughed. "So you can come over and send my life into chaos, no doubt."
Fitz laughed along with him. "And what's wrong with a little chaos? The world has become a staid and boring place. So come now, tell me where you are and whatever town it is, we'll paint it red and woo all the available women." Fitz was warming to the idea of a little madness with Duncan. God knew the man needed to live a little.
"Hold on a minute, Fitz,"
Hugh could hear muffled voices in the background as Duncan hadn't covered the mouthpiece to the phone very well. Was that Adam's voice he heard? Well, that would make it even better. The two of them could certainly find something to do that would drive the Highlander to distraction. And a ruffled Mac was just what he needed to improve his spirits.
MacLeod came back on the line. "Where are you?"
"Believe it or not, New York." Fitz had never been a fan of the colonies and rarely made the trip across the pond. It showed just how starved he was for something new that he'd landed here. "Not the bastion of excitement I was led to believe. Mostly dirty, crowded, and noisy, but if you were to join me, I'm sure we could liven the place up."
"Only you would find New York boring." Duncan chuckled. "But as it so happens, I'm in New York too."
Fitz sat up in anticipation. "That's perfect. I can meet you within the hour, in time for dinner."
"Actually, I'm at a friend's place with Adam." Fitz smiled as he'd realized he'd been right about the background voice. "And we thought you might enjoy meeting a friend of ours."
"Is she a red head? I'm in the mood for a red head."
"Sorry, he's not a redhead, and I'm pretty sure Castle's not your type." Mac laughed.
Duncan snapped his cell phone shut with a smile. He wasn't one to prank other Immortals, but Methos had allowed Rick Castle to use him as a test for his elaborate murder scenarios. Mac had decided that since it was unlikely he could trick Methos into being the next guinea pig, it would be enjoyable watching some other Immortal participate in Castle's harebrained schemes. Plus, Rick had promised to reveal the embarrassing moment that had caused Methos to share his Immortality with the mortal mystery writer, and that was something he was looking forward to finding out.
"Fitz is on his way," he reported as he sat back down on the coach next to Methos.
"That's great," Castle said. His glee at the opportunity to murder another Immortal was shameless.
Not that Duncan could blame Rick; the opportunity to kill Fitz was too good to pass up. The other Immortal might be a friend, but Fitz had made Mac's life miserable on numerous occasions and the Highlander thought it was time for a little harmless payback.
"So how do we trick him into cooperating?
Methos snorted. "You won't have to."
"You think he'll volunteer?" Castle asked.
"Just tell Fitz you're basing the main character in your book on him and that he'll be immortalized for posterity," Methos explained with a chuckle. "Trust me; he'll be happy to play along."
Castle looked at Duncan for confirmation.
"Adam's right." Duncan shrugged in agreement. "Fitz has a bit of an ego."
"Oh, I can do ego massaging." Castle smiled as he stood. "Any one need a refill?" He held up his empty beer bottle and gestured toward the kitchen.
Duncan laughed. "I'll get my own this time, if you don't mind." Mac walked past Castle and headed for the fridge.
"Geez, poison a guy once and all the trust goes right out the window."
"Imagine that." Methos snickered as he too went to get his own beer.
Fitz stood in front of the elevator of Rick Castle's apartment building waiting for the car to arrive when an attractive auburn haired woman joined him.
He smiled at the beautiful woman who scowled in return and pushed the up button, even though it was clearly lit up. She seemed tense and preoccupied. Her clothing was very buttoned down and sensible, and Fitz wondered what was hiding underneath.
Her quick dismissal of his flirtatious smile acted as a bit of a challenge. Never one to let a woman leave without having a taste of the Fitzcairn charm, he was determined that he would at least get a smile from her by the end of their elevator ride together.
When the car arrived, he graciously indicated that she should proceed ahead of him. He needed to find a reason to introduce himself, as the British accent was always a bonus. American women in particular were suckers for the accent, and when a bit of proper manners was added to the mix - well the battle was already half won.
As he entered, she looked at him and he realized she was waiting for him to announce his floor.
"It appears we are headed in the same direction," he said, noting the illuminated button.
She nodded and turned to face the front. Fitz stood as close as was polite in such circumstances, but she obviously felt crowed as she stepped to her right.
"Do you live in the building?" he asked, trying to find the right balance of charming casualness and genuine interest.
She shook her head without looking at him and took another small step to her right.
Damn, he thought he was losing her, the trip was coming to an end and he'd done nothing to dent that gruff exterior.
Too soon the doors opened. He sighed as he knew that he was off his game and it was best to admit defeat. His inability to find the right approach was obviously all part of the malaise he was going through. In the past he was sure he'd have been witty and charming and had her number before the elevator reached its destination. Not this time.
Detective Kate Beckett was not happy. Earlier this morning, her murder victim, the case file, and Castle, her sometime partner, had disappeared.
The sequence of events, though circumstantial, had pinged Kate's 'It's Castle's fault' radar. The man wasn't answering his phone, which only added to her certainty that he was involved in the collapse of her case. While Beckett really didn't want to know why Castle had stolen a dead body, his coincidental disappearance was the only lead she had.
She stabbed at the floor button in the elevator again, willing it to go faster. The man standing to her left was getting on her last nerve. He was obviously trying to flirt with her, and she really wasn't in the mood.
The doors opened, and she made a beeline for Castle's apartment. Beckett slowed as she approached her destination when she realized that the stranger from the elevator was right behind her.
She whirled on him, favoring the man with her best 'don't fuck with me' glare. "Are you following me?" she demanded
"It appears that we are both headed to visit one Mr. Rick Castle," Fitz said.
"You know Castle?"
His smile turned more flirtatious, which only increased Kate's anger with Castle as the cause of this unwanted interaction. "He is the friend of a friend and I have been invited over for the evening. Hugh Fitzcairn, at your service." He gave a small formal bow. "But please, call me Fitz, and who might you be, lovely lady?"
Kate groaned inwardly at the man's lame attempt to flirt with her. Putting on her most dry. formal voice, the one she reserved for identifying herself to nervous perps, she said, "Detective Kate Beckett, NYPD." Typically men backed off once they realized she was the law, but that only made this idiot smile more broadly at her.
Fitz leaned in, and said with a conspiratorial tone, "Has Mr. Castle been a bad boy?"
Kate couldn't stop the amused snort that escaped. "Constantly."
Stepping aside, she gestured for Fitz to ring the doorbell, hoping that Castle would open up for him, whereas he might pretend not to be at home if she was the one standing in the hallway.
"Of course." Fitz rang the bell, and the door was flung open almost immediately.
"You must be Fitz," Castle said. The smile on his face fading as he spotted Kate standing off to the side. "Beckett, what are you doing here?"
"You disappeared this morning and, funny, so did all the evidence from my case." She tried to push past him to enter the apartment, but Castle blocked the entrance. Beckett glared at him. "Let me in, Castle. You can play with your new friend after we talk."
"This really isn't a good time," he gestured at Fitz, "I have company."
Kate smiled at Fitz, feeling no shame in using his obvious interest in her to get what she wanted. "You don't mind if I borrow Castle for a few minutes first?"
Hugh shook his head. "Of course not, my dear. I have all the time in the world, and my business with Mr. Castle can wait."
"See, Castle. Fitz doesn't mind."
Castle sent Fitz a 'thanks a lot' stare which was lost on the man and he still hadn't moved to let her inside
A tall man with dark hair pulled into a pony tail came up behind Castle, drink in hand and a smile on his face. "Fitz, it's about time," he said, then catching sight of Becket he laughed, "I see you found your redhead."
"Not now, Duncan," Castle hissed.
Tired of standing in the hallway and slightly insulted that this Duncan thought she was Fitz's date, she pushed her way past Castle, ignoring his yelps of protest. She strode into the living room and stopped short when she saw another man sitting on Castle's coach nonchalantly drinking a beer.
She stared at the man and then looked back as Castle as he came to stand beside her.
"Something wrong, Beckett?" Castle was trying to sound causal, but Kate recognized his guilty tone when she heard it.
She pointed to the wiry dark haired man. "Castle, how is it possible that my corpse is sitting on your couch drinking a beer?"
Castle let out a forced chuckle as he circled around to plop onto the sofa next to the mystery man. "I think someone's had a few too many this afternoon." He mimed taking a drink and Beckett just glared at him waiting for her explanation.
The mystery man rose and held out his hand as he approached. "I am, a very much alive, Adam Pierson. You must be Detective Beckett. Castle has mentioned how much he enjoys working with you."
Kate studied the man. He looked exactly like the dead man she'd seen at the crime scene this morning. A part of her brain knew that that was impossible, and yet the corpse had disappeared, and now this man was in Castle's apartment. Something was not right.
Finally, she grasped his hand, acknowledging the greeting. "Yes, I am. You'll have to forgive my staring, but the resemblance is uncanny."
Behind her, the she heard the man with the pony tail snort. When she turned to look at him, he too held out his hand in greeting. "Duncan MacLeod," he said as Beckett shook his hand. "Adam has been mistaken for a corpse before, so you can be forgiven for making that error."
Methos rolled his eyes. "Leave the attempts at humor to the professionals, Mac."
"Well now, Adam, what did I miss?" Fitz said as the two greeted each other.
"Good to see you too, Fitz." Adam smirked before returning to his seat by Castle, but Kate noticed that he didn't answer the question.
"Come now, I came all the way here for a little adventure and it seems you've already had one. That wasn't very sporting."
"You haven't missed anything." Duncan steered the man to the second couch and forcibly sat him down. "Let me get you a beer."
As Duncan walked by, Kate noticed him exchange a few silent signals with Castle. Duncan finished with a look that clearly said I'm not an idiot. Whatever these four were up to, Castle clearly did not want Duncan giving it away to her, which meant she wasn't leaving until she found out what was going on. Her gut was telling her that it was all related to her missing dead body, though at the moment, she couldn't see how.
"Fine don't tell me." Fitz pouted, standing back up. "I have better places I could be." He sauntered up to Kate, stopping just close enough to be suggestive. "How about you and I see what adventure this town has to offer? Care to show a tourist around?"
"I thought you had a big evening with the boys planned." As much as it pained Kate to be pleasant to the intrusive Fitz, she decided telling him off wouldn't be prudent.
He waved a hand dismissively behind him. "If my choice is this motley crew or the company of a lovely lady such as yourself – well there really is no choice."
Kate took a step back, as Fitz obviously didn't understand the concept of personal space. "I don't – " she hesitated as she caught Castle grinning at her. She didn't have time for Fitz, and Castle was enjoying her discomfort just a little too much. "I'm here on business. You understand." But Kate didn't think Fitz did.
"Leave off, Fitz," Duncan said as he came back in from the kitchen, placing a beer into Fitz's hand and pushing him back toward the coach. "Forgive him, he has no manners and we rarely let him out on his own." He smiled at Kate as he held up a beer. "Or are you still on duty?"
Kate couldn't help but return his smile; grateful for the rescue. "I think in this crowd, it'd be best if I stayed sober."
"A wise choice," Adam quipped.
Kate took that as an opening to address the doppelganger of her missing dead body. "So how do you know Castle?"
"Yes Adam," Duncan interjected. "How do you know Castle?"
Kate caught the murderous look that flitted across Adam's face toward Duncan before he smiled and replied, "A story for another time. I believe Detective Beckett came here looking for a dead body?"
He was right. It was time to get the information she came here to find. Crossing her arms over her chest, she leveled a glare at Rick. "So where is it, Castle?"
"Where's what?" The innocent look he directed her way was pathetic.
"You're not fooling anyone. Answer the question," Kate demanded.
"You really think I stole a body from the morgue?" Kate continued to stare at him. He laughed nervously, a sure sign he was hiding something, as he continued, "Why would I do that?"
"I don't know," she admitted. "Maybe you needed it for research on your next book."
Castle glanced at his companions as a genuine smile broke across his face. "I promise you, Beckett, I am not performing experiments on dead bodies in my bedroom like some low rent Dr. Frankenstein."
For some reason, Adam found that statement amusing and Kate wondered why. "So it's just a coincidence that your friend looks exactly like my corpse which disappeared at the exact same time you did?"
Castle's smile drained away as he struggled with a response. "I don't – I can't explain it."
"If I find out this is some kind of frat boy prank you were pulling under the guise of research – " she left the threat hanging. It was entirely possible that Castle had set up some odd ball reenactment which had gone wrong, because he certainly was acting like a man with something to hide. But that still didn't explain how a dead body got up and walked away.
Castle walked over to her. "There's no prank." At her incredulous look he held up his right hand. "I swear! I honestly don't know how to explain what happened to your corpse, but if I could I would tell you."
Kate studied his face. Castle definitely wasn't lying and yet something in the way he'd phrased his protest set her teeth on edge. She decided to try another tack. "Mr. Pierson, where were you this morning?"
More odd looks passed between Castle and his friend. "Mr. Pierson?" she pushed when he hadn't replied.
Placing his beer on the coffee table, he sighed as he stood up and approached her. "Am I a suspect in some crime, or the missing victim?"
Kate didn't hesitate. "Both."
A strange grin curled up the corners of his mouth. "Then it's obvious I have to come clean."
"I'm actually a centuries old Immortal. I was dead, but now I'm not," Adam quipped. "Rick helped me escape from the morgue when I revived."
"So that's the adventure you had this morning." Fitz laughed. "Hardly the thrilling escapade I was hoping for."
"Adam," Duncan snapped. "It's not nice to tease a woman with a gun."
Kate threw her hands up in defeat. "Really? Immortality? That's the best story you've got?" She shook her head in disgust. It was like dealing with a bunch of teenagers.
Adam continued to smirk at her. "I'm afraid it's the only story I have."
"At least he didn't suggest zombies," Castle added.
"Zombies," Adam echoed. "I hadn't thought of that. Is it possible I'm a zombie?"
Adam's sarcasm was really starting to irritate her and he still hadn't answered her question. "You guys are hilarious." She resigned herself to the idea that there would be no straight answers forthcoming today. It had been a horrible day, and dealing with Castle and his inebriated friends was aggravating the headache she'd been nursing since lunchtime.
"You have to admit, looking for a missing corpse in my apartment is pretty funny."
"I didn't think the body was actually here," Kate insisted. "I just thought you might have taken – You know what, never mind." She looked at the four men who were clearly amused by her attempt to treat this situation seriously. Kate had had enough. She pivoted and headed toward the door addressing Castle over her shoulder, "I'll see you tomorrow. Don't be late and don't be hung-over."
Castle followed her to the door. "Maybe I should put some zombies in my next book." His voice took on a theatrical quality as he spread his arms wide to indicate a marquee. "Zombie Heat. Nikki Heat faces her most challenging case when the dead start to walk the earth."
Kate whirled on him. "I know you think this is funny, but I've got missing evidence and you're friend still didn't tell me where he was this morning. So –" She stopped. There was no way she was picking this discussion back up.
Castle sobered at the disapproving look on her face. "Ok. The truth is I had to rescue Adam this morning. That's why I disappeared. He'd gotten himself into a bit of a situation." He leaned in to whisper, "Bad hook-up - terrible luck with women - You know what I'm saying. It was embarrassing. Adam didn't want to admit he'd been conned by a pretty face."
Kate studied him. "I think I believe you." Surprisingly, she did. It had ceased to amaze her what people would do and say in order to avoid admitting they'd shown poor judgment.
"I did have to rescue him, Beckett." Castle put a hand to his heart. "I swear."
Kate sighed. "Well, I'm still missing a body." She quirked him an evil little smile. "But you should be happy to know that I'm officially taking you off my suspect list."
"Which, by the way, I'm wounded that you would ever put me on."
She turned the handle and jerked open the door. "Get over it," she said before heading out of the apartment, slamming the door behind her.
Castle sighed and banged his head against the door. That had been close and he hoped he'd put Kate's curious nature to rest. Eventually he was going to have to tell Adam what he'd told Becket, but first there were more important things to do.
Turning, he put a big smile on his face and headed back into the living room. The Immortals were sitting quietly drinking their beers. Adam had a satisfied smirk on his face. He'd played Beckett perfectly and Castle had to admit he was impressed.
"Well gentlemen, I think that went well."
Duncan snorted. "If you say so."
Castle ignored him and looked Hugh. "So, Fitz, glad you could make it. I was wondering, how do you feel about being frozen to death?"