A murder at the scene of an art theft. Unfortunately, not something that was particularly out of the ordinary in the life of Kate Beckett. But the stolen art was a high ticket item by some artist named Henderson and the department brass, in the infinitely fallible wisdom, had decided to call in some reinforcement from the local FBI office. According to a grimacing Captain Montgomery, the head of the White Collar Crimes division and his team had been on a hot steak lately.

Actually, Burke and his people weren't too horrible (a bit stuck up, in the way all FBI agents seemed to be), but they had brought with them an unexpected variable in the form of Neal Caffrey, a felon out on parole that was their consultant. Kate had bristled immediately, pegging him as the type that used his charm and looks to get away with things, and that was before she found out about the felon thing.

Now she was going to have to keep an eye on Castle Iand/I Caffrey. Great.

And that was before Castle arrived back from a coffee run, took a look around a the newly arrived FBI team and exclaimed, "Neal?"

The con man looked up from the files he was perusing, blue eyes darting around the room quickly, gauging if the greeting was from a friend or someone who wanted to toss him off a very tall building. He saw Castle and grinned. "Hey, Rick."

"What're you doing here?" Castle asked, rapidly crossing the room to shake the man's hand and give him a brief guy hug. "Is this about the painting?"

"Yes," Caffrey replied, then motioned to Burke, "Rick, this is Agent Peter Burke. I work with his team now and we got called over to lend our expertise on this."

Burke shook Castle's hand and said, "My wife loves your books."

"So does he," the con artist replied in a sotto voice, causing Castle to grin and Burke to roll his eyes in amusement.

"I take it you two know each other," Kate said with a sigh, resisting the urge to trade rolled eyes with Ryan and Esposito. "Detective Kate Beckett."

She wondered why Caffrey flinched a bit and the three FBI agents shot him slightly concerned looks.

Castle turned to face her and said, "Remember Nyan Carter? I based him on Neal…."

"And my alleged works," Caffrey grinned, drawing small smiles from Burke and the other two agents.

Lovely. The author had apparently based a character, an art thief/con artist/ forger whom Derek Storm both respected and perused, on the man. She knew she hadn't been the first person to inspire him, but having Caffrey there and seeing the friendly rapport he had going with Castle was a little…grating.

As the two of them chatted, Burke turned to her and asked, "The daughter and her boyfriend found the body?"

"Yes," Beckett replied, "They're at the hospital, but the uniforms will be bringing them by after the daughter is treated for shock."

He nodded. "The scene still secure?"

Did he think this was her first rodeo? "Yeah," she said, "Want to see the scene?"

"That would be nice," he replied, then turned to Caffrey. "Diana, Jones, stay and liaise here…Neal, you can play with your friend later. Work now."

"See, that's why you get grumpy," Caffrey informed Burke as he followed the man out the squad room. "If you mixed your work and play more, you'd have less stress."

"I'd have less stress if you would behave," Burke muttered, but then Castle struck up a conversation with Neal, asking how things had been going since he got out of jail.

Normally, she thought Castle was chatty, but the two of them together took it to a new level.

They arrived at the scene and immediately began looking around the lush apartment. Beckett was annoyed by the questions from Burke, who was asking her about the investigation while keeping one eye on Caffrey. How did he expect to get any work done if he couldn't devote his attention to the case.

After a while, Caffrey stopped peering at the frame, now missing it's lovely, small landscape and went back to chatting about nonsense with Castle. Burke sighed and asked, "Any questions, Neal?"

"Just one," he said, then smiled at Kate. "After you folks release the scene, who will have access to the home?"

She pulled out her notes, consulting them for a moment before replying, "The daughter, the housekeeper and the dog walker."

"That's it?"


Caffrey nodded. "One of them is probably your killer then," he said, strolling across the room to stare at a large, ugly painting.

"Why do you say that?" she asked, glancing at Castle, who was gleefully watching events unfold.

"Because, the killer would need access to the to retrieve the painting," he said, reaching out and lifting the big painting off of the wall, turning to show the back of the frame to them.

Burke grinned. "I'll be damned," he chuckled as Kate stared in surprise.

Stuck to the back of the larger frame, was the missing Henderson.

God, the FBI types were going to be even more insufferable now.

She called in the baffled crime scene guys to take the frame and the painting.

"Awesome," Castle said happily, then perked up. "I'm thinking it's the daughter's boyfriend. The father didn't like him and he didn't want to have the money cut off, so bam, kill him, then fence the picture for the money."

"Good theory," Caffrey said, the looked at Castle, "We should catch up over dinner. How's Alexis, by the way?"

Kate sighed. "We still have a murder to serve here, boys," she said, trying to draw everyone's attention back to the matter at hand. But, now that the art part of the case was over, maybe the feds could bug off. "I think we can take it from here, Agent Burke."

Burke shook his head. "I think we're invested now. Let's have this dusted and see what turns up."

Caffrey and Castle were already wandering around, and she cringed when she heard Castle ask, "What does it feel like to rappel down the outside of a high rise?"

Dear God, what were they discussing now? From the look on Burke's face, they had finally found common ground and they hurried after their respective consultants They hurried after them, hoping to forestall the inevitable insanity that she was sure the team of Castle and Caffrey could unleash upon the city.

It was her duty to serve and protect, after all.