AN: Hey guys, this is my first Castle fic, so I have yet to learn how to write the characters. How I'm not doing a bad job. First chapter is kinda shortish, we'll see how it goes with the next chapters.

Genre: Action/adventure/mystery/friendship/hurt/comfort ... whoa, long list.
Characters: I love Ryan, so I want to focus on him a lot, but I never can help to write from the perspective of all the other characters as well, so fun for everybody! :)
Pairing: None. Not really anyway, just what's going on in the real show, so expect maybe some hints of Espo/Lanie, Jenny/Ryan and of course unresolved sexual tension between Castle and Beckett, jeez, she's such a tease. So no Slash, just lotsa friendship between Ryan and Espo, though I won't stop you if you want to read it that way. You'll have to squint, though. A lot. Maybe close one eye?
Storywise: Still figuring it out, although I have the general storylines, fuzzy on the details, love to hear suggestions as this story progresses; what your thoughts are, whodunnit, what's going on, I don't get it, oh-no-what-did-you-just-do?, I-HATE-YOU-LITTLEBISCUIT andyourlittledogtoo, all those kinda thoughts are welcome here. Who knows, maybe you'll even give me ideas for future chapters, my story planning is whimsical at best :)

Chapter 1: The wet beginning

'If I were running the world I would have it rain only between 2 and 5 a.m. Anyone who was out then ought to get wet.'

William Lyon Phelps


The rain fought and swirled through the overflowed sewers, sending turbulent streams of water gushing through the side streets of New York. Ryan shrugged up his collar, trying to protect his neck from the cold, but the shift of weight caused rain to trickle down into his shoes and he felt his socks soak up the moisture. He muttered a soft curse and Esposito cast him a glance, his frame very much mimicking his own; Hands tightly stuck under his arms and a posture that suggested they were both trying to get their heads to morph into their backs without the need of a neck, the only part of the body which somehow always managed to get wet. The orchestra of downpour was joined by sound of clicking heels coming up behind them.

"What have we got?"

"A dead body." Ryan muttered darkly. He hadn't turned around at the sound of female voice. He and Esposito continued to stare solemnly at the figure lying in the alley, illuminated by the soft orange glow of the flickering streetlamp overhead. The owner of the voice stepped into his view and Beckett, holding a dark, blue umbrella, cast him a quick annoyed glance as she kneeled down by the body, joining Lanie who was already on her knees.

"Besides the obvious." She stated accusingly, but Ryan was not in the right mindset to heed her displeasure as he narrowed her eyes at the umbrella she was holding. Why hadn't either he or his partner thought to bring one? Even the photographers had them.

"Female, in her 30's, she was stabbed multiple times, I don't think she's been dead for long." Lanie answered her instead. As she let the photographers finish their work she turned the body slightly to indicate the stab wounds. "I'll need her to get back to the morgue soon, this rain isn't helping much, evidence wise. It already washed away most of the blood." She pointed out the specific lack of blood on the street tiles.

Beckett nodded and lifted up one of the hands on which the victim had been lying. It had an expensive velvet glove on it; one side which had turned darker from, what Ryan guessed, was soaked up water. She let out a small curious noise and let the hand fall back on the ground. She whipped out a pen and then proceeded to partially part the soaked collar-flaps of their victim's red jacket with it, revealing the glittering of a necklace around her neck, but no signs of strangulation or other marks. Ryan frowned slightly at the sight. The victim's hair was blonde, but now, here in the rain her hair had turned dark and messy, lining her face where red lipstick was smeared, maybe by the force of the rain, across her cheek. Her eyes seemed to stare at nothingness. In death, Ryan observed, everyone looked the same.

"White, rich woman out on her own at night?" Beckett asked as Lanie jotted down some notes. "In a neighbourhood like this?"

"Where is her purse? She's bound to have one, looking like that." A voice piqued up from behind, and both Ryan and Esposito startled. They turned to look at the mystery writer that had joined them. Castle could be sneaky if he wanted to be, like a ninja. A ninja with an old newspaper held above his head and a posture that now mimicked that of the two partners standing besides him.

"Nice of you to join us, Castle, so late at night. And this weather, no less." Beckett said in reply, apparently unfazed by the man's sudden appearance.

"A writer never sleeps!" Castle answered mysteriously and Ryan cast the two a look as Castle gave Beckett a devious grin. The detective let his eyes wander away from the interaction, across the street, first at the dumpsters and then up at the grey buildings towering over the small alley on both sides. Indeed a very shady place.

"Maybe she was mugged?" Esposito asked in reply to Castle's question, shifting his weight as both he and Ryan seemed to turn more and more into worn down, icy statues as the rain continued it's unrelenting attack on the two partners.

"No." Both Beckett and Ryan answered at the same time. Beckett looked up at Ryan curiously and he shrugged, immediately regretting the motion as fresh, icy water trickled down his collar. He grimaced before continuing; "That's an expensive necklace. If the mugger took the time to both steal her purse and actually stab her multiple times, which is a close up deal, he would have taken the time to take all of her valuables."

"People panic, don't notice things, it could happen." Esposito pointed out, but Beckett shook her head. "No, Ryan's right, maybe if she was stabbed only once. Muggers don't usually go the whole vicious frenzy route."

"Which still leaves the question, where's her purse?" Castle returned to his previous subject, but now all three detectives fell silent.

"I guess we'll figure that out back at the precinct. I'll have someone sweep the dumpsters." At the mention of the task both Ryan and Esposito inched back a little so as not to have Beckett volunteer them for that job. "In the mean time I want this body out of here as soon as possible. The photographers are done anyway. This rain is making a mess of our crime scene."

Beckett got up and removed the forensic blue glove from her hand and pocketed both it and her pen again. She looked around in thought. "Let's do a door by door to see if anyone's seen anything." She turned to the three men. "Ryan, Esposito?"

Ryan and Esposito looked at each other in shared confusion. "Here?" Esposito asked and Ryan looked back up again at the windows of the neighbouring building, many broken or boarded up.

"Problem?" Asked Beckett, motioning for Castle to follow her as she made her way back to her car. The writer startled behind her, following in a hurry, which conjured up the image of a trained puppy in Ryan's mind. He shook the mental image away as he and Esposito quickly fell into step behind them.

"In this neighbourhood?" Esposito answered her query, and Ryan and him shared yet another glance. "Eh, yeah, we have a problem."

"Sure, we can go around asking questions, but-" Ryan started.

"-No-one will have heard or seen anything." Esposito finished just as the detectives reached Beckett's car, conveniently parked just around the corner of the alleyway.

"Well, you never know, right? Maybe there's a helpful citizen out there just itching to help us but waiting for us to find them." Beckett answered with a hint of humour in her voice as she opened the car door and stepped behind the wheel. Castle opened his side door, but turned around to clasp Esposito on his shoulder, who looked down at the hand in mild annoyance. "Don't worry, boys. I'll have the hot chocolate all ready for you when you return to the precinct!

Ryan smiled in contempt at the indignant remark as the writer stepped inside the car. Castle hesitated a second and then threw them the wet newspaper, who was caught in surprise by the detective. "Here, you need this more than I do!" With that closing comment Castle slammed the car door, leaving the two detectives outside in the rain as the car drove off.

Ryan sighed and surveyed the buildings around them as Esposito rolled his eyes at the leaving car. A few second passed before he elbowed Ryan and pointed to nearest and most habitable looking building.

"Come on, the sooner we start, the sooner we done." He said and Ryan nodded in agreement. He looked down at the newspaper in his hands and then raised it up above his head. Esposito cast him a glance and stopped dead in his tracks.


"What?" Asked Ryan, feeling self-conscious at the way Esposito looked at him.

"Gimme that!" Esposito made to grab for the newspaper but Ryan quickly held it out of his reach. Esposito grumbled at him.

"What? What!"

"Castle's just mocking us! We're partners, through thick and then, right?" Esposito supplied the answer, annoyance flaring in his voice. Ryan turned his head quizzically at him, trying to find a fallacy in the previous statement.

"Yes…" He began, eyeing his partner with a hint of distrust. "But it's just rain."

"If we're going to get wet, we're both going to get wet." Esposito finished, returning the suspicious looks of his partner with one which was a mix of hurt and resentment, which played magic with Ryan's resolve. To finish it off he whispered; "Until the wheels fall off…"

Ryan sighed and lowered the newspaper. "Fine." He cast one last glum look at it before he flung it to the side, near some discarded trashbags. Before it hit the ground, however, Esposito lunged and plucked it out of the air. With a triumphant grin the Hispanic man straightened himself, the newspaper held up as a trophy. "Ah-hah!"

"I knew it!" Ryan yelled in indignation, not even caring his voice had gone a little high-pitched as he tried to articulate his infuriation.

"You- you…" Words failed to form around the sheer audacity of the betrayal he just experienced. Esposito just answered his partner's speechless distress with a shrug and a smirk.

"Like you said; It's just rain. Every man for himself."

A rumble and a pop overhead made them both look up, and it was followed with a loud splash as the drainpipe of the building overhead gave way to the torrent of water, showering Esposito and leaving not much left of his improvised umbrella but a sad looking piece of ragged paper with indecipherable ink blots on it. Woodenly, Esposito looked back at Ryan.

"Don't you dare say it." Esposito warned, and Ryan shut his mouth again, satisfied to just grin like an idiot at his partner's discomfort. Laughter filled the alleyway as other cops and technicians who had observed the incident saw the humour in it as well. Esposito dumped the white, soggy mess of what was left of the newspaper in Ryan's arms, who had to take a step back by the sheer force of the action.

"Come on, we have work to do." He huffed, squaring his shoulders and trudging off, making squishy noises there where his soggy boots stomped the ground. Ryan let the paper fall to the ground, wiping his hands on his jacket to smear off the runny ink. As he passed a pair of laughing policemen he noticed the nostrils of his partner flare dangerously and he turned to face them.

'Come on, guys." He warned, "Back to work? It's not…that funny." He finished, barely containing his own laughter and badly hiding his complete and utter enjoyment of how that natural force, sometimes called Karma, worked it's mystical ways. He didn't even care that his own boots had gotten completely drenched in the mean time, or about the fact that his jacket had decided to come with a secret warranty that stated it would be only water-proof for a limited amount of time, which had clearly been surpassed in the last few minutes.

Maybe Esposito had had a point after all. If they were going to get soaked, they were going to get soaked together.

It was more fun that way.

Yep, that's it for now. Let me know what you think :)