Booth and Beckett sat at the interrogation table, Temperance and Castle behind them, watching the two law enforcement officers work.
Before them, Derek Prince could only stare at the ring that sat between them.
"You screwed up." Booth said simply, gesturing at the ring. "Even if you hadn't grabbed Daniel's ring, we would have still been able to trance the wounds to you."
Beckett nodded. "We found your shirt in the trash, Mr. Prince. It has Daniel's blood all over it, and our forensics team determined that the blood could only have landed as it did if you were slamming Daniel's head into the cement floor."
Temperance nodded. "He was still under the effect of the effects of drugs Paradise Jones had slipped him…it would have been easy for you to kill him."
"The only thing we don't know is the why…mind clueing us in?" Castle asked.
Derek just shook his head. "You…you know how much trouble leaked books can cause. Someone gets ahold of a new novel, posts the spoilers online, and sales can drop 15%. I'd heard rumblings that someone had done just that, so I went online to see if they were true." He closed his eyes. "Imagine my surprise when I find Daniel's novel already posted to a fanfiction site, written by someone else, and the story was a year old already."
"Daniel had been suffering from writer's block…he was desperate to get something turned in, before his publisher dropped him." Beckett stated. "He went trolling the fanfic sites to get ideas, when he stumbled on Kevin Allen's story. He figured no one would notice, so he simply began to change things around and claim credit for himself."
"He had been spending too much…he'd wasted everything he got from "Western Front" and the advanced for "East Meets West". He was deserpate…" Derek muttered more to himself than to anyone else.
"But he wasn't the only one that was going to get burned by this." Booth stated. "You had invested years in getting him to this point…he was your ticket back into the big leagues."
Castle nodded. "No one was reading your new books, and everyone thought you had passed your prime. Daniel was a chance to prove you were still important."
"But if it came out you had supported a plagiarist…" Booth commented.
Derek laughed darkly. "He laughed about it…when I found him. He was drunk and drugged, and when I confronted him on it, he just laughed in my face. He thought he could still get away with it…and he said if he did get caught, he'd pin it on me unless I kept my mouth shut."
"That's when you hit him." Temperance said. "He couldn't fight back…he was lucky to be even standing."
"When I saw him lying there, bloodied and still smiling…I saw my credibility fading away. I'd never be able to show my face after this…"
"So you grabbed his head and slammed it into the ground until that smile was gone." Beckett concluded. "Then you crushed him with the books, to try and make it look like an accident."
"You must have known they would still publish the book…" Booth stated. "That someone was going to put two and two together."
Derek smiled weakly. "Things went too quickly. I was going to buy that Mr. Chaos off…let me pretend he was Derek, testing out his new novel. He could get a new screen name…who would know?" He looked at Temperance and Castle. "I was the victim here…not Daniel."
"That's not for us to decide, Mr. Prince." Beckett said, moving behind him and hoisting him to his feet. "That is for the jury to decide."
"Angela…" Cam called out, motioning for the artist to come into her office. Angela entered, humming "Ride Me Hard", Phallic Friction's second major hint. She smirked as Cam motioned for her to sit, Lanie standing behind her by the now closed door. "I am hoping that you can be…discrete about all of this."
"About what…the case…the weather…you two being a punk rock girl band?"
"The last one." Lanie said.
"Its not that we are ashamed of our past…we just feel that some things are best left private."
Angela shook her head. "Oh no no no…this is too deliciously good to cover up. It this were a desert, I'd have gained 20 pounds off one bite." She grinned. "As I said…got to let your freak flag fly. Besides…we are all friends here…why not share everything about ourselves?"
Lanie took a step forward. "Is that so? You share everything?"
Angela chuckled. "I know where this is going…you think you've found something wild from my college days and want to use it to blackmail me. No chance…I am not ashamed of anything, and I always tell the wildest stories first and foremost."
Cam smirked right back. "No…nothing from your college days…" She turned her computer screen towards Angela, hitting start on the Youtube video.
Angela watched, with growing horror, as the footage showed a news report on a 'Twilight' DVD signing done by Robert Patterson a few months back. The footage showed a ton of young girls…and then a certain Jeffersonian artist shoving several 13 year olds out of her way so she could get her DVD signed, squealing with glee when Robert locked eyes with her.
Lanie smiled, placing her hands on her shoulders. "Now then…nothing to be ashamed about there, is there?"
Angela licked her lips nervously, knowing what ribbing she would take if Booth or Hodgins saw that footage. "Uh…truce?"
The next day found Temperance and Castle standing together, the mood awkward after that last encounter, waiting for Booth to finish filling out the last of the paperwork before him, Sweets and Temperance would make their way back to DC.
"Temperance…" Castle finally began.
"Richard…I did some examining of myself…and I am big enough to admit that I was wrong and that you were right. I have been acting differently…and it took you pointing it out for me to realize how wrong that is."
Castle smiled slightly. "I suppose I'm entitled to get something right about a woman, once and a while." He paused, letting the joke hang there for a moment. "Temperance, can I give you a piece of advice?"
"Only if I may do the same." Temperance stated.
Castle nodded towards Booth. "He's a good man…and I know how you feel about him. And I think you know, at last, how you feel. So maybe…just this once, you should actually take a risk…put your heart out there. Life is too short to live only through yoru characters."
Temperance nodded. "I believe you are right, Richard."
"And what is your advice for me, Temperance?"
She glanced at him. "If you ever wish to become involved with Det. Beckett, you need to learn to shut your mouth and listen."
Castle gave her a grin. "And here I thought my mouth was my most talented part."
"It is…short term. But I know you Richard…she isn't like me or any of the other women you take to your bed…this one you want to keep…and to do that, you need to use those listening skills I sorely lack but you have in such great supply…when you wish to use them correctly, I should said."
"Point taken." Castle said. "Are we good?"
"If you are asking if our friendship is stable, then yes, we are good…though I believe our meetings in the bedroom are over."
"Yeah, I figured as much…" Castle sighed. "Fun while it lasted."
Booth and Beckett walked up to the two, eyeing them carefully. "Why are you two so chummy again?" Booth asked.
Temperance smiled, walking over to him and hooking her arm through his. "No reason."
Booth stared down at their linked arms, confused but not wanting to question the gesture. He glanced over just in time to see Castle place his hand on the small of Beckett's back.
"So…I guess you will be leaving pretty quick…" Beckett said, "…it was…fun."
"She's lying, isn't she?" Temperance asked.
"Just a tiny bit." Booth said with good humor. He looked over the two New Yorkers' shoulders. "Just one last thing to do."
The others followed him over to the chief's office, where Caroline and a fidgeting Kevin were. Caroline was informing him that they would be dropping their lawsuit, and Kevin happily ditched the woman to go talk to the four.
"I hear congratulations are in order." Castle said, shaking Kevin's hand.
Kevin grinned. "Yup. Daniel Keyes' publishers are going to redo all of "East Meets West" to credit me as co-author and are giving me a nice pay check to go along with it."
Temperance nodded. "Rumor is they want you to continue the series."
"With the express rule that I not look at any fan fiction sites." He said with a smirk.
Beckett reached into her pocket. "I talked to Maria Ordonez…she said we should hand this over to you." She opened Kevin's hand, plopping the Homer's Ring into his palm. "Kevin Allen, on behalf on the North American Writer's convention, I award you Homer's Ring, in honor of writing their #1 Novel of the Year."
Kevin looked at each of them in awe before slowly slipping the ring onto his finger. "I…I don't know what to say."
Booth grinned. "You deserve it, kid."
Castle nodded. "And hey, next convention, make sure to look us up!"
"I will." Kevin paused, considering something. "You know…you and Dr. Brennan being friends gives me the wildest thought…have either of you ever considered doing a crossover?" He grinned. "Think about it…Nikki Heat discovers a mutilated body, and needs the help of Kathy Reichs in order to solve the case…I bet your fans would love to see yor two worlds come together."
Temperance and Castle shared a look before shaking their heads. "Nah." Both said quickly.
"Yeah…I don't think there is anyone that would want to read a crossover like that." Booth stated.
Beckett nodded. "I have to agree…I don't think their series should be mixed with the other."
Kevin shrugged. "Guess I'll just leave that to the fanfiction writers."
The four shared a look.
Yeah…like anyone would ever write a crossover like that!
Author's Note: Castle and Bones will unite again in "The Three Deaths of the Theater Dandy", this January.