Disclaimer: I don't own Castle... the characters of this amazing show belong to the genius Andrew Marlowe and ABC. :P

A/N: This is my first attempt at a Castle fanfiction and I hope I do all of the characters justice. I'm more well-known in the fanfiction world for my Smallville/Clois stories, but once I got into Castle, I just needed to write something for it. I just can't get enough of this phenomenal show! :D There is of course some cute Caskett in here. ;)

The idea for this story came to me after re-watching certain episodes from both Season 1 and 2. I hope you enjoy it. I started writing this story wayyyyy before Season 3 started and thus, this takes place in a completely alternate Season 3. Castle comes back from the Hamptons in the way I thought it'd happen and goes from there. Please review and tell me what you think!

This is the tagline I thought of for it: It started out as an ordinary case... but turned into one they all will never forget. If any of you are interested, one of my VERY artistic and amazing friends made a poster for this story and you can find the link to the image in my profile. Well, without further adieu, I give you my first ever Castle story...

Habeas Corpses

Prologue

The sun glistened on the sidewalk on a sunny September day. It was a stark contrast to the murkiness of the alley. A few kids ran through the alley playing tag, enjoying the rest of their weekend before having to go back to school. One of the boys tripped over something and instead of helping, his friends just laughed.

"Hey!," he picked himself up and dusted himself off, "It's not funny."

"It sorta is, dude," one of his friends high-fived the kid next to him.

"What did you trip over anyway? Your feet?," the only girl of the group asked. She was clearly being sarcastic.

"No," he looked insulted and looked back at what he had tripped over, "Somebody better call the cops."

"What is it?," everyone peered over their friend's shoulder to discover a body lying in between the dumpsters, "Gross!"


Castle's Loft

Castle took a deep breath with his arms raised, "It sure feels good to be back here."

"It's great to see you too, Dad," Alexis smirked and embraced her dad in his open arms, "So how was the rest of your time in the Hamptons?"

"Eh, it was okay," Castle shrugged, "I finished Naked Heat so I guess it wasn't a total loss… it was a little lonely though."

"I thought you said somebody was going with you," Alexis was confused.

Castle sighed and looked to his daughter. He never told her that he brought his second ex-wife Gina up with him. After a week, he was ready to tear his hair out and was reminded why he divorced her in the first place. Not to mention, she complained the whole time about how he never stopped talking about a certain woman detective. He shook his head as if it would shake those thoughts out of his head. She was with Demming – he had to let it go.

"Dad?," Alexis prodded. He still hadn't answered.

"She had to come back to the city, so I was left up there to just write," Castle finally answered, "I know you called me every day, but I do want to hear all about Princeton again."

"Yeah! Of course," Alexis said and looked at her watch, "Wait, shouldn't you be headed down to the precinct?"

"I was about ready to head back," Castle defended himself.

"Quit stalling, Dad. I'm sure everybody will be glad to see you," Alexis smiled, trying to cheer him up. She let out a long sigh when he didn't reply, "Well, I'd love to stick around and see you off, but I have some plans at the mall with some of my friends. I'll tell you all about my summer again later."

She got up and hugged her dad before heading out the door. Castle watched her leave, Alexis' words about everyone being glad to see him ringing in his ears. To an empty room, he answered, "Me too."


12th Precinct

Kate Beckett pushed herself away from her desk. She just finished all of the paperwork she had to catch up on. She pinched the bridge of her nose and blinked rapidly, she was dead tired. It took forever to wrap up their latest case. She couldn't help but look longingly at the vacant chair next to her desk. Castle was coming back today. She couldn't help but wonder what he'd say to her when he came back. Did anything happen between him and his ex-wife? What did she care anyway? He was a grown-up – well sort of. She closed her eyes and sighed.

When she opened her eyes again, the precinct was dark and she shot straight out of her chair – her hand on the butt of her gun. What was going on? She spun around in a circle to see if anything would make sense. The lights flickered back on and in Castle's chair was Castle except…

"Castle?,"Beckett shrieked. He was lying in his chair with his eyes wide, staring blankly at her. Blood stained the front of his shirt in circles the size of bullet holes. The crimson color grew on his shirt. She jumped over to him and applied pressure to the wounds, "Castle? Come on, I can't lose you."

"Kate," Castle said, "Why couldn't you save me?"

"What?," Beckett looked frantic, "What are you talking about?"

Kate turned her head and saw Gina with a smoking gun in her hand, "Finally… now his books will sell even more."

Kate couldn't believe her eyes, she turned her attention back to Castle. With tears threatening to fall, she whispered, "Castle?"

"Beckett…," Castle started again. He said it again and again. After a few times, his voice sounded a lot like Esposito's. She furrowed her eyebrows in confusion.

"Beckett!," Esposito yelled and Beckett jumped. She looked back to Castle's chair. It was vacant of a dying writer. Esposito looked a little concerned, "You okay, boss?"

"Huh?," Kate was still a little disoriented from her dream. What in the hell did it mean? She looked back up at Esposito, "I'm-I'm fine, Esposito. Thanks."

"Sleeping at your desk, huh?," Ryan came up to them, "Did you even go home last night?"

"No, I had to finish up our paperwork from our last case," Beckett shook her head.

"You know, you coulda just taken care of that this morning instead," Esposito said as she handed him the file of the paperwork she just finished.

"But by now, I wouldn't feel like it," Beckett stood up.

"Ohhh, I get it," Ryan nodded.

"What?," Beckett asked.

"You just wanted to make sure you had nothing to do this morning because Castle comes back today," Ryan smirked.

"You're insane, Ryan," Beckett moved past him to go get some coffee.

"Bro, what's wrong with you?," Esposito shook his head and walked away. Ryan sighed and followed his partner. He could never make a joke.

A few moments later, Castle entered the precinct. He saw Ryan and Esposito heading for the break room, "Guys!"

"Hey, Castle!," Ryan smiled and Esposito did the same.

"How are you, man?," Esposito gave him a "cool guy" hug, followed by Ryan.

"Eh, I can't complain," Castle shrugged, "I'm just glad to be back here."

"How were the Hamptons?," Ryan asked.

"A little boring," Castle frowned and shrugged, "All I did was write. I managed to finish my new Nikki Heat book though, so it wasn't a total loss."

Ryan and Esposito just nodded. They could tell that he was trying his hardest to avoid asking about Beckett. An uncomfortable silence fell over the group. Castle couldn't take it anymore, "So… how's Detective Beckett?"

"How about you ask her yourself, Castle?," Beckett appeared by his side with the fresh cup of coffee she had just poured.

"How are you?," Castle asked. Ryan and Esposito made an excuse to leave the two alone.

"I got a lot done over the summer," Beckett replied, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish without someone staring at you while doing paperwork."

"I got a lot done too," Castle ignored her little dig. At least they were falling back into their usual banter, "I finished Naked Heat."

"Even with Gina?," Beckett asked. She swore to herself that she wasn't going to bring her up, but the words just slipped out. Now that they were out there, she couldn't take them back. Besides, her desire to know all the facts about everything won over. She was a detective after all, she couldn't help it.

"She left after about a week," Castle told her, "So it was just me up there."

"Well then, why didn't you call?," Beckett asked. Yet another question she needed to know the answer to and swore to herself she wouldn't ask. So far she was two for two.

"I, uh," Castle was at a loss for words – a rarity. Beckett had her eyebrows raised, waiting for an answer, but before he could say anything else, her cell phone rang.

She gave him a look to let him know that he would eventually have to answer and opened her phone, "Beckett."

"Looks like we have a case," Beckett hung up after a moment and started walking. Castle remained where he was standing. She turned back, "I know it's been a few months, Castle, but this is the part where we go to the crime scene. You coming?"

"Right, yeah," Castle followed her out as Ryan and Esposito joined them.


Crime Scene

"So, what do you got for me?," Beckett asked Lanie. She was knelt over the body. Castle, Esposito, and Ryan stood around her.

"Well, I'm fine, thanks for asking," Lanie retorted.

"Sorry," Beckett apologized.

"Forget it, I was just messing with you," Lanie answered, "Levity needs to be put in these situations since Castle left."

"Lanie, I'm right here," Castle waved.

"Sorry, didn't notice," Lanie fake laughed, "Maybe if you had called, I would've seen you."

Castle glared, "Could we move on please?"

"Gladly," Lanie stood up and turned professional, "Some kids found him here while they were playing tag. He doesn't have any ID on him. All we know so far is he's an unidentified Caucasian male. I'd say he's probably in his mid-to-late 30s."

"COD?," Esposito joined in the conversation.

"Gunshot-wounds," Lanie leaned down and used her pen to lift up the vic's suit jacket, "Two of them – one to the chest and the other into the liver."

"Ouch," Castle commented.

Lanie ignored him and kept going, "I'd say by the size of these bullet holes it was .22-caliber and close range."

"Where are the blood stains?," Ryan asked, walking around the body as he took notes in his notepad.

"Not here," Lanie shook her head.

"He was killed somewhere else and moved here," Beckett concluded.

"Mm-hmm," Lanie nodded.

"Can you estimate the time of death?," Beckett asked.

"Based on temperature, I'd say anywhere from 11:30pm to 1:30am this morning," Lanie answered, "But I might be able to narrow it down some once I get him back to the lab."

"We'll run his prints to see if he's in the system," Esposito said.

"Okay, you and Ryan take care of that," Beckett agreed, "Castle and I will head back to the precinct and set up the murder board. Call if and when you find anything out."

"You got it, boss," Ryan mock-saluted. Ryan and Esposito started engaging in a conversation with Lanie as Beckett led Castle back to the car.

"That guy doesn't look like the type to be roaming around at night alone," Castle commented once they got in the car.

"Well, we don't know enough to be making any assumptions about him, Castle," Beckett replied, "You can't judge a book by its cover. You of all people should know that."

She grinned and Castle called her out on it, "Fun-ny, and a grin… nice to see you haven't lost your sense of humor over the summer."

"A lot of things happened over the summer," Beckett started the engine and pulled out onto the main road.

"Yes, how are you and Demming?," Castle asked. He tried to leave out the venom in his voice when he said the other detective's name, but like Beckett's nature to need to know everything – he failed.

Beckett turned to Castle for a second before switching her gaze back to the road, "If you need to know, Tom and I broke up."

"Oh," Castle was definitely not expecting that, "Uh, I'm sorry."

"Thanks," Beckett tightened her grip on the wheel a little. She didn't want to re-visit the subject and was grateful when he didn't harp on it. A silence fell in the car. They were almost back to the precinct when Beckett couldn't help but ask, "Was that why you didn't call?"

"Was what why I didn't call?," Castle didn't connect the dots.

"Did you not call any of us because you thought I was still with Demming?," Beckett asked sincerely.

She was expecting some sort of egotistical answer or Rick making it into a joke. Kate was taken by surprise when he truthfully replied, "Yes."

She really didn't know what to say to that, so they silently decided to leave it at that and arrived back at the precinct. After a few moments, they got to the murder board. Just as she was about to write, "VIC" on the board with the COD and ETD, her cell rang from her pocket, "Beckett."

"Yo, got the info on the vic," Esposito started.

"Go," Beckett ordered as she put him on speakerphone so Castle could hear.

"Found him in our system. The vic's name is Charles Sullivan," Esposito said and Ryan continued. They were clearly using speakerphone too, "He's a lawyer."

"So what was he doing in the system?," Castle asked.

"He would sometimes find himself in contempt of court," Ryan answered.

"Do we know of any next of kin?," Beckett asked.

"Yeah, he's got a wife and daughter in Manhattan," Esposito nodded as if she could see him, "Ryan'll text you the address."

"All right," Beckett said, "Castle and I will go down there while you two see if you can find out anything suspicious in his financials."

"Aye aye," Ryan and Esposito replied before hanging up.

She hung up and put her phone back in her pocket. Castle was looking down, "Castle? You all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," Castle nodded, "I guess I've just come to dread this part as much as you have." Beckett put a sympathetic hand on his shoulder and entered the elevator with him following.


Outside of Manhattan's Apartments

"They weren't really creative when they came up with the name of this apartment building, huh?," Castle asked as he and Beckett made their way up to Sullivan's old apartment building.

"That's what you're going to take away from this visit?," Beckett rolled her eyes.

"No, I'm just making a statement," Castle shook his head, "Calling your apartment building, Manhattan's Apartments in Manhattan just isn't very creative."

"Well, we all can't be best-selling novelists, Castle," Beckett grinned, "Focus on why we're here."

"I am," Castle assured her, "You should know by now that I like making jokes when I'm a little uncomfortable, Detective."

"I should, but you've been gone," Beckett said and entered the elevator to go up to Sullivan's wife's address Ryan texted her on the way.

Those words shouldn't have hurt, but they did. He wanted to give Beckett space to be with Demming if that's what she wanted and so he went to the Hamptons with Gina. Now he wasn't with his ex-wife and Kate wasn't with Demming. They wasted a lot of time. For once, he remained silent on the elevator ride and continued to stay silent until Beckett knocked on the apartment door.

"Hello?," a blonde woman answered the door tentatively.

Beckett held up her badge, "I'm Detective Kate Beckett, I have some news about your husband. May I come in?"

"Yes, of course," she opened the door wider and beckoned Beckett and Castle inside, "Is there something wrong, Detective?"

"I'm sorry to inform you that we found your husband's body this morning," Kate answered. She really hated this part.

"Body?," his wife was nearing hysterics. Castle jumped in and sat down next to her on their couch. He left his hand on the woman's shoulder. Her eyes darted back and forth, "He's dead?"

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Sullivan," Beckett said.

"Please," Mrs. Sullivan tried to compose herself with a sniff, "Call me Charlotte, please."

"Okay, Charlotte," Beckett started, "Do you know where your husband was last night between 11:30pm and 1:30am?"

"He was working at his firm pretty late," Charlotte answered between sniffs. Castle had handed her a tissue, "He called me at about ten to tell me he was going to stay, maybe sleep at the office."

"Did he do that often?," Castle questioned.

"Only when he was working on a pretty important case," Charlotte turned to him, "He wasn't having an affair if that's what you were insinuating."

"He didn't mean to offend you, Charlotte," Beckett assured her. She knew Castle was just going over all the possibilities. If he hadn't asked, it would've been the next question she would've asked, "Was that the last time you heard from your husband?"

"Uh-huh," Charlotte nodded, "He could've gone anywhere after that, but I'm pretty sure he'd stay at his firm. He never liked to go out at night if he could avoid it."

"What case was he working on?," Castle asked.

"Some big-time underworld guy, I think," Charlotte waved her hand in the air.

"Could you maybe be more specific?," Beckett edged on and Castle continued, "Like a name?"

"No," she shook her head, "Charlie tried to keep us in the dark about those types of cases. He wanted to make sure that in case anything went wrong we wouldn't know anything and we wouldn't get hurt… but now…"

"If you can think of anything else, feel free to call," Beckett handed her a card and stood up, followed by Castle. They nodded a goodbye to Charlotte and headed out the door. Before they got to the elevator, she stopped them, "Detective!"

"Yes?," Beckett turned around, "Charlie would always tend to keep us in the dark about his cases, but our daughter tends to find out anyway."

"How do we get in contact with her?," Castle asked.

"Right now she's at the mall," Charlotte answered.

"Just how old is your daughter?," Beckett folded her arms.

"She's sixteen," Charlotte replied, "She's at the mall with her friends… uh, I think their names are Paige and… oh, what was that other girl's name? She's really sweet… Alexis, her other friend's name is Alexis."

Beckett looked to Castle as he widened his eyes, "Alexis?"

TBC

So? What do you guys think? You like it so far? I know that it's a bit of a slow start, but believe me - the pace will pick up and there will be plenty of twists. I hope to make it feel like an episode and above all, for you to enjoy it. :) Please review and let me know what you guys think. I appreciate each and every review! Reviews are what keep me going. I have no idea what my update schedule will be, but as soon as I figure out a good day to post new chapters, I'll let you know. Just so you guys know in advance, I split this 89-paged story into a prologue (what you just read), 15 chapters, and an epilogue all varying in length!

Thank you to those of you who are just reading as well! I appreciate you too!

Caskett Forever! :D