Back in New York

Chapter 1

Say Thank You with Dinner

. . . . .

Doctor Lanie Parish – ME extraordinaire if she did say so herself – hummed a little to herself as she efficiently stitched up the Y-incision on her latest autopsy. Her notes lay on a small table beside her, fully filled out and waiting for Detective Rice to pick them up whenever he decided they were necessary. Four similar files sat behind her on a table waiting for their respective detectives, but none of the files were for the man who came strolling through her doors.

"Detective," she greeted Javier Esposito, unable to stop the upward curving of her lips. Since Kate's shooting three weeks ago and their return to New York fourteen days before, he'd been dropping by her morgue quite often. And that was a simple statement of fact, not a reflection on whether or not she liked it.

"Doc," he replied, weaving his way towards the body she was finishing with. He slid a take-away cup on the little table Rice's file was on and this time, Lanie couldn't stop the full smile that spread across her face. Every time he dropped by, he brought her coffee. She was starting to get used to it.

"To what do I owe the pleasure?" She tied off her stitches and snapped off her gloves, reaching up behind her to untie the strings of the gown she wore. But, much to her utter shock, he was there first, batting her hands out of the way and making quick work of the bows she'd tied.

"Can't a guy just bring coffee?" he teased, stepping away from her.

Lanie balled the gown up with her gloves, depositing them in the garbage. Then she stepped back, picking up her coffee and taking a whiff. "When he makes a special trip for it?" she asked having too keen of a nose not to pick up on the fact that this coffee didn't come from the station. "It's bribery."

He grinned and Lanie cursed the butterflies that started swirling in her stomach. "Okay, I may have a favour to ask."

"I'm listening," she replied, sipping her coffee and leaning against her autopsy table.

"Mrs R gave Ryan tickets to a Broadway show last week for everything…"

Lanie just nodded. It was still a little uncomfortable for them to discuss Kate's shooting. They'd been inches from losing her.

"Anyway, Ryan asked for an extra one for Jenny and, well…"

"Conned you into a double date," she filled in, her amusement growing with every second. Javier had an aversion to Broadway. Hell, an aversion to most things that had the potential of emasculating him. She made a mental note to ask Ryan what he'd said or done to convince Javier to attend a Broadway performance.

"Well, you're half right. I don't have a date."

Her eyebrow shot into the air. "That's your favour?"

"Why not?" he replied with a shrug. "I figure, we enjoy each other's company, probably keep each other sane through the whole thing."

Admittedly, Lanie didn't like Broadway much either. Sure, she liked a good flick every now and again, but Broadway? Nuh uh. She'd much rather go party in a club, thanks, and even then, those nights were few and far between. If she was looking for a way to cool down from a long day, she actually preferred the late-night infomercials, if only because her mother had watched them when she was a child. It had become her habit as much as it was her mother's.

Still, she narrowed her eyes playfully. "What do I get?"

"Besides my charming company?" Javier shot back and Lanie rolled her eyes. "A night on the town, even if it is Broadway."

She paused, thinking then blurted, "Am I getting dinner out of this deal?"

Shock spread over his face, and he masked it just shy of her awareness of it. "Don't know," he replied. "I'll check with Ryan and get back to you?"

"Sure thing," she nodded, hoping her attitude was back where it was supposed to. She sipped at her coffee. He was watching her, oddly, as if she'd said something she shouldn't have. Eventually, though, the corner of his mouth tilted upwards.

"I'll call you with more info."

Lanie smirked. "You do that." Then she nodded to the table two down from hers. "I'll call you when I'm done carving up your guy like a turkey."

"That's just wrong, Doc." But a true smile played around his lips and Lanie had to hide her own behind her coffee cup. "I'll see you."

"Thanks for the coffee," she called after him. The door swung shut on his acknowledging wave and Lanie found herself taking a deep breath, a little bit in confusion, a little bit in unmitigated glee. He'd asked her out. Sure, it was on a double date with his best friend and it was a last minute choice, but he had, for all intents and purposes asked her out. Which was the cause of the butterflies in her stomach, but also her confusion. Sure, they flirted, they flirted constantly but things had changed since their time in Miami. And part of Lanie really wasn't totally sure if she liked the changes.

When Lanie's name flashed on his caller ID the next day, Javier felt something twist in his chest. "Good morning, Doctor Parish."

"Good morning, Detective." He could hear the warm smile in her voice and he felt his face move to echo it.

"To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asked, leaning back in his chair, propping his feet on his desk. Ryan was watching him with an arched eyebrow, but he ignored it.

"The lab came back with trace and DNA and I have the autopsy report on your vic," Lanie replied, tone suddenly all business. It floored him, that she could do that kind of a one-eighty with no warning. Reminded him a little of Beckett, actually.

"Did you find anything?"

"You know I did," she replied her attitude back again and he grinned. "Say thank you with gifts."

"How about I say thank you with dinner?"

"Dinner?" Lanie sounded curious, and something else that Javier couldn't put his finger on.

"Dinner and Broadway. Ryan said he's taking Jenny out and extended the invitation. You still in?"

She huffed out a sigh. "You owe me, you know." He heard her grumbling something about plays and manipulative partners that made him chuckle as they hung up.

Ryan had an eyebrow in the air. "You invited Lanie?"

"Bro, if you're going to make me suffer through Broadway, I'm gonna bring someone I know is going to be entertaining. No reason to be bored by the show and the date."

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he knew they'd been wrong. He saw the glee light up his partner's eyes. "Date, huh?" Ryan questioned with a smirk. "Does the good doctor know this is a date?"

"Dude, seriously?" Javier said, looking away. "This is Lanie."

"You think I haven't noticed the texting? And the teasing? I'm a detective."

"Then maybe you should do more detecting and less assumin'," Javier shot back as he stood. "Beckett'll shoot us both if she comes back and you've taken on Castle's role of writing fiction."

"It's not fiction if it's true." There was a gleeful look on Ryan's face as he took in his partner's uncomfortable demeanour. He wasn't blind, he'd noticed the texting, he'd noticed the teasing, and he'd caught the two of them while Lanie cried her eyes out in Miami. He'd seen the look on his partner's face, how upset he'd been that the ME was crying. There was something there, and Ryan knew it.

"Then it's fiction," Javier responded, trying not to roll his eyes. "Come on, Lanie's got somethin'."

Ryan's smirk grew. Fiction my ass, he thought to himself. He just wondered if the good doctor and his partner would be as bad as Castle and Beckett.

Kay, so not actually the fic I wanted to start, but we go where the muse takes us, right? Plus, Hamptons starts at least 2 months after this, so I have time while Alexis, Rick and Kate give me a massive headache. They're making me write Hamptons backwards. Lanie and Esposito were a little more accommodating, though not by much.

This is part of the Around the World series. And I'm hoping the only story to take place in New York. It will run along side the Hamptons eventually so I want to be where I can post both at the same time. There will be stuff alluded to in this story that'll be covered in the Hamptons and vice versa, but I'll indicate in both the chapters you should read when we get there. For example, I know there's a phone call Kate's going to make in Hamptons that won't be in that story, but will be in this one. But again, I'll let you know when we get there, which is a while yet.

For those of you that follow Memoir and are reading this, we're in a little bit of a jam at the moment, but it should work itself out, and hopefully soon. Be patient with us.

And be patient with me. I know this isn't Caskett, and I promise I'll try and get the Hamptons or something else up as soon as possible, but I can't do anything until my characters decide to cooperate.

Tell me what you think of this start though? It's my first time tackling someone other than Kate and Rick in a romantic capacity and I'm admittedly a little nervous. Hence the rambling.

Thanks in advance!