Title: Married to Your Work
Word Count: 30,803
Rating: PG-13 (for some bad words)
Warnings: Some violence and language but nothing explicit.
Summary: Beckett and Castle go undercover to catch a serial killer. Sequel to Leaving a Part of Yourself Behind. [AU]
Disclaimer: If it looks or sounds like something from Castle, I don't own it.
Spoilers: Series (just to be on the safe side)
Author's Note: This was written for 30kin3.
I honestly don't think you need to read either Saying Goodbye or Leaving a Part of Yourself Behind to understand this story. I would love it if you did though!
I really hope you guys like this story :D
Find Your Way Back Series
Leaving a Part of Yourself Behind
Married to Your Work
As Kate Beckett walked into the 12th Precinct she felt the uncomfortable sensation of being watched by several sets of eyes. Mentally, she cursed every gossip rag in the country. She could practically see the headlines scroll through the minds of the cops around her, like some sick news crawl.
She walked to her desk, ignoring the stares, but when a couple cops started whispering, she slammed down the files she'd started sorting through. "I'm not pregnant!" she stated loudly, and had the satisfaction of seeing several officers scatter.
Esposito walked to her, a silent laugh on his face. "Hey, boss. Nice to have you back."
She nodded in acknowledgment. "Anything interesting going on?"
"No. Maybe every criminal in New York caught the flu, too."
"One can only hope." She was about to go back to her paperwork, but something about the look in his eyes brought her up short. "What?"
"So, Castle stopped by while you were out. He seemed pretty frantic."
Beckett almost admired the courage it took for him to not even attempt to make that sound casual. "You called me about that the day he showed up," she pointed out needlessly.
"Yup. And you owe me."
She arched an eyebrow at him. "You want to rephrase that?"
"Come on, Beckett, just tell me if I need to break his kneecaps or if I can start going to his parties again."
"I never told you to stop hanging out with Castle."
Esposito looked almost hurt, in a very macho cop kind of way. "You didn't have to."
Despite herself, Beckett felt her resolve slipping. "Thanks."
"Don't thank me. I didn't hang out with Will after you broke up with him."
"You never hung out with Will."
"So, that time it was easier to follow through."
Laughing, she walked towards the break room to get a cup of coffee, but threw over her shoulder. "Yes, Esposito, you can play with Castle again."
She had to contain further laughter when she heard Esposito call to Ryan, "Dude, call Castle and invite him to play Madden on Saturday. He's back in!"
"I would have been a great big sister," Alexis stated as she began rinsing her breakfast plate.
"I never had any doubts," Castle absently reassured her, while he studied the pancakes in front of him and tried to think how much syrup a character would have to put on said breakfast food to hide the scent of arsenic.
"And you and Beckett would have been a good parental unit."
"Uh huh." Maybe if he used margarine instead of butter.
"It would have been nice to have my sibling and my child born so close together."
Castle's head snapped up so quickly that his head swam from the whiplash as well as Alexis' words.
She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. "Just seeing if you were paying attention."
"Are you in that big of a hurry to get your inheritance that you have to give me a heart attack?"
"No, that was just for fun. The untold riches would have just been a bonus."
"I don't know whether to be proud or hurt."
"Let me know what the verdict is this afternoon. I'm going to be late for school if I don't go now."
"Okay, sweetie, have a good day." He watched her leave before turning back to his meal. "Arsenic is far too cliché," he decided.
The precinct always got quiet at night. It would almost be described as peaceful if not for the photos of dead bodies. Beckett wasn't sure why she was still there. Yes, she had paperwork; there always seemed to be an endless amount, but it was nothing that couldn't wait until tomorrow. When her phone rang she briefly considered ignoring it, but gave up somewhere around the third ring.
"I am coming over there and dragging you away from whatever paperwork you've convinced yourself will somehow multiply on you if you don't finish it tonight."
She pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at it for a moment, as if the man on the other end could see her glare if she directed it straight at the object. "What do you think the chances are of me letting you drag me anywhere?" She had this vague image of Castle chasing her around with a club and threatening to drag her out of the station by her hair.
He made a considering sound. "Hmm... Under normal circumstances I wold say not heavily stacked in my favor."
She was almost afraid to ask. "But?"
"But there's a tiramisu sitting in front of me that I could be persuaded to share."
Her eyes slid shut at the thought of the dessert. "I really should finish this." Her protest sounded feeble even to her own ears.
"I'll be there in 15 minutes." He hung up before she could protest further or concede the battle. For some reason she didn't really feel like she had lost that round.
She went about packing up for the night, but stopped short when she saw the door to the Captain's office open. She could have sworn he'd gone home an hour ago.
"Beckett," he called out to her, "I need to talk to you for a minute."
"Of course, sir." Something about the look on his face reminded her about when he'd called her in on the Candela kidnapping, but she couldn't pinpoint what is was.
This feeling wasn't lessened when she walked into the office and a tall man in a suit, with a tie so unimaginative that it just screamed fibbie. She thought it showed an amazing amount of restraint on her part to wait until Montgomery had closed the door and was seated behind his desk before asking, "Sir, what's going on?"
He ignored her question for the moment. "Beckett, this is Special Agent Matthews. Agent Matthews, Detective Kate Beckett."
"Detective," Matthews said tightly, as he gave her a speculative once over.
"Agent," she answered, which Matthews didn't seem to hear the sarcasm under, but Montgomery did and sent her a warning look. She tried to look slightly abashed.
"Agent Matthews has asked for our help on a case, which of course the NYPD is always happy to give to the Federal Government."
Beckett understood the 'he's here to play nice, drop the attitude' message and nodded, waiting for the details. The agent took this as his cue and handed her a file, which she flipped open and began reading, but stopped when he started to sum up its contents.
"Three women, ages ranging from 25 to 38, have been killed in the past month. They appear to have very little in common - different jobs, family history, and no physical resemblance - except that they were all in the midst of planning their weddings."
"Is there a connection between their fiancés or the wedding plans?" Beckett asked, glancing at Matthews.
"Nothing that overlaps with all of the victims as far as planning. The fiancés are a tricky area."
He didn't break eye contact with her, but she thought she saw a brief moment of discomfort pass over his face. "How so?"
"We think that these women died because of their association with their future husbands. None of them had any connection to each other, but all of the men were very well-to-do in their own fields."
She looked down at the file and looked through it before pulling out pictures of the three victims. "I remember hearing about these," she said after a moment. "Tracy Watkins. I thought her death was ruled suicide?"
"It was originally, and it probably would have stayed that way without the other deaths. Jennifer Mueller was a hit and run. Christine Wellman was shot, though it was made to look like a robbery gone wrong."
"What makes you think the deaths are connected?"
Matthews pulled out an evidence bag from his pocket and handed it to her. A typed note on white paper was inside.
'He hath given his empire
Up to a whore.'
"Shakespeare," she said simply.
"Each victim received a note like this one day before their deaths. This is why we think the murders were directed at the fiancés as much as the victims themselves, but there's no connections between them either. A Broadway star, a Congressman, and News Anchor."
"Did the men receive any notes?"
"No. And the victims were all killed when it was known that they wouldn't be with their fiancés."
Beckett nodded, biting her lip in concentration as she flipped through the file. "All of these cases have lead investigators already. What do you need us to do that they can't?"
Matthews and Montgomery exchanged looks.
"We're looking to send someone in undercover, but given the profile of the victims, we can't send just anyone in."
Beckett nodded in agreement and then stopped, the words sinking in. "Sir..." She looked at Montgomery, hoping against hope that she was wrong in her interpretation of the agent's words.
"Beckett, your and Castle's relationship has recently become very public. No one will suspect it."
She felt her knees shake a little and had to take a seat. "Castle has no experience with this kind of undercover work... even if he was still working with the department..."
"Do you think he wouldn't be willing to help?"
They both knew if she said no that she'd be lying. He would probably think that going undercover would be awesome. She could hear his excited ramblings in her head and that just made her want to turn down the assignment even more.
She was trying to figure out a way out of the corner they'd backed her into when there was a knock on the door.
"Hey, Roy, you don't have a certain dazzling detective in there, do you?" Castle's happy tone called through the door, and her eyes slipped shut.
"Sir, can I talk to him alone first?"
He studied her before shaking his head. "Nope." Then he raised his voice to be heard on the other side of the door. "She's in here, Castle; come on in."
Castle opened the door and strode in. She saw him take in the scene, but had to give him credit for not missing a step as he walked over to her.
'You okay?' he asked silently, and she was relieved that he hadn't said the words out loud. She nodded imperceptibly, but it was enough for him to relax slightly.
"You're not keeping her much longer, are you, Roy? I promised her tiramisu, and I'm not sure I want to know what will happen if I'm not able to come through on that."
"We're almost done here," Montgomery assured him. "We were actually just discussing that we could use your help on a case."
She almost winced when she saw his eyes light up. There was no way the others hadn't seen it, as well.
The captain gestured to the chair next to her and said, "Why don't you take a seat, Castle?"
"You want us to pretend to be engaged so that some psychopath will try and kill Beckett?" Castle asked after listening to the details of the case. "Wow, we are not doing that."
"Castle..." Montgomery started.
"Why would you even ask?"
The FBI agent had been standing quietly while the situation was laid out for the author, but now broke his silence. "Because you two are our only option. We need two people to go undercover and half of the team has to be famous in some way."
"Plus, they need to be convincing as husband and wife-to-be," the captain threw in. "You two have been acting like an old married couple since you met."
"What about our families?" Beckett asked. "Planning a wedding is kind of a big deal. Don't you think Alexis is going to be a little surprised that her father asked someone to marry him before he talked to her about it?" Castle gave her a look that she'd only recently learned to interpret, but that she wasn't entirely comfortable with in front of her boss. "And what about my father? I'm just supposed to tell him that I'm getting married and then take it back? He'll kill me!"
Montgomery leaned back in his chair, studying his detective. "Okay, you can talk to your father, Beckett, and Castle you can tell your daughter and your mother."
"Captain!" Matthews protested.
"You'll talk to them before you go public with your engagement so that there's no chance anyone paying closer attention than necessary to you two will find out." That did very little calm the agent, but he held back further protests.
Castle and Beckett held a silent conversation before Castle grinned and, with a bravado he didn't quite feel, knelt before her. "What do say, Beckett? Want to pretend to get married?"
Beckett shook her head, but couldn't hold in the smile at his antics. "How could a girl refuse?"