This is going to be a rather long Author's Note. I promise the next ones will be much shorter but this story requires an explanation.

"Party of Two" is a (very) long FF written by two authors: AkaBlackNight and myself. We originally wrote this story in French from Oct. 2010 to Feb. 2011. And now I've taken it upon myself to translate the whole thing (it's only 200-something pages long on Word after all... O_o)

This story started out as a joke, and turned out a long, serious piece of work. BN (that's her nickname) and I could not be more different when it comes to our writing: She likes drama, I like romance. She writes awesome torture scenes, I prefer smutt scenes. Someone almost always dies in her FFs, mine are almost always about smutt. She has a fondness for guns, I have a fondness for knives. She likes shooting things, I like combat. She adores writing for/about Castle, I adore writing for/about Beckett.
And in the end we took all these differences and put them together in a story combining action, drama, romance, smutt, comedy, suspense... You name it, we probably wrote it. We wrote the prologue in two parts - mine and hers - and then alternated between chapters.

Also, please let me thank the awesome beta who is being sooooo patient with me (especially with my punctuation), you're a gem. Thank you!

What's the premise of the story you ask? Well I can't tell you much, I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise but there has been a murder (I know, shocking, right?) and as Beckett and Castle investigate the matter, they end up mixed up in an unusual and deadly game.

So without further ado...


PARTY OF TWO

PROLOGUE

When the silence that was Kate Beckett's apartment was upset by the shrill ringing of her phone, she groaned. She took one hand out from under her pillow and searched for the upsetting device on her nightstand. Her eyes closed and her face still buried in her pillow, she put the phone to her ear.

She knew exactly what that phone call was. No reasonable person would ever dare call her at this hour unless it was the precinct and there had been a murder.

When she got all the details she needed to get to the scene she dropped her phone beside her and lay there for a while, motionless, eyes closed.

As per usual, she needed to take that minute to start her day. She needed to take the time to wake up, to ready herself for what it would bring her way. It was a time for her to remember too. Because a day in the life of Kate Beckett never started without a thought for her mother, for the night that changed her life forever and that lead her to becoming a cop. That night. The reason why on this particular day at... she opened an eye and looked at her clock... ten past seven in the morning, her phone rang to tell her to go to one of New-York's finest hotels to investigate a double homicide.

When the digital zero changed to a one, she opened both eyes and pushed the covers away. She grabbed an elastic band and loosely tied her hair in a bun.
She padded to her closet and took out a pair of blue jeans and a beige blouse that she lay on her bed. Then she headed to the kitchen to start the coffee machine before walking to the bathroom, taking her long shirt and shorts off along the way.

She came out a few minutes later, a towel wrapped around her chest, a comb in one hand that she threaded through her long hair.
She walked back to the kitchen and while one hand was busy undoing knots in her hair, the other poured the coffee in a cup.
Comb and cup in hand she went back to her bedroom and unhooked the towel that dropped to her feet.

She took a sip of her coffee before setting it on the nightstand and made a face.

She hated her coffee. Whenever possible she always waited to get to the precinct to enjoy a delicious coffee from the espresso machine Castle gave them. A mighty fine gift in fact, although she'd never told him so and probably never would.
But on days like this one, when she had to head straight to the murder scene, she had to make do with her own coffee- at the very least to wake herself up before buying a decent brew on the way.

She put her jeans and blouse on and-coffee in hand-headed back to the bathroom, picking up her discarded towel on the way.

She came back out a few minutes later, combed and made-up with an empty cup of joe.

After dropping the cup in her sink, she went back to her bedroom. She walked to her drawers and opened the first one. She took out her mother's ring that she put around her neck and her father's watch that she fastened around her wrist, checking the time: thirty-seven past seven.
From a drawer below she picked up her weapon and its holster and clipped them on her hip along with her badge.
She put on a pair of high-heels, her black leather jacket, took her phone and went to the kitchen one last time, grabbing a slice of bread. She took her keys on the counter, opened her phone and pressed the 'two' key.

As she was closing her front door, the phone was still ringing.


As he tried to go back to sleep after an annoying dream a music he vaguely recognized took him out of his slumber.

She's nothing like a girl you've ever seen before!
Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore!

When his brain finally woke up, he realized it was Beckett calling him.

Since he had changed his ring tone for her, he couldn't help but sing along every time she called. Which is most inconvenient when you're supposed to answer the phone, not sing and have the caller wait on the line.

I'm trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful!

Eyes still closed, he felt around for his iPhone, with no luck. So he opened his eyes, reluctantly, and got up, turning the light on and walking to the chair where he'd dropped his pants the night before.

Damn Girl!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch, sexy bitch!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch!

He dug into his pocket and came out victoriously with his phone in hand. Next time, he'd leave it on his nightstand.

As he put the phone to his ear, he couldn't help but smile at he thought of Beckett and the ring tone he had chosen for her. Of course he knew that if she ever came to find out about it, it would be the end of him. But he liked to live dangerously. He cleared his throat, as if trying to hide the fact that he was sleeping seconds ago and answered his phone.

"Castle."

She had just told him – lovingly - that he ought to be ready in twenty minutes if he wanted to ride along with her to a crime scene: a double homicide.

So much romance so early in the morning, what better way to start a day!

He put his phone on the bed and went to his closet to pull out a pair of jeans, a white shirt and a suede vest. He gave a quick glance to his watch. Beckett would be there soon; he'd better hurry under the shower.
Which is where he headed, clothes in hand, yawning and threading his fingers in his hair to tame some wild strands.
He came back out a few minutes later all woken up and dressed up.

He then walked to his kitchen looking for something to eat but as he opened the fridge, the doorbell rang.

"Oh come on. Already? I haven't even had breakfast yet!"

He reluctantly closed the fridge and headed to the door, readjusting his shirt in the process.
A faint smile appeared on his face when he saw the detective standing on his doorstep.

"Good morning Beckett"

"'Morning Castle. You ready to go?"

"Actually..." he started, looking over at the kitchen "I haven't had breakfast yet..."

"Yeah, so? Neither did I. No time for that, come on."

Castle quickly ran to the kitchen to grab a brioche that he stuffed in his mouth as he put on his jacket and took his keys. While they were waiting for the elevator, Beckett stealthily stole the brioche from the writer's mouth and took a large bite.

"Hey! That's my brioche!"

"You should have taken two" she shrugged, taking another generous bite.

"But I'm hungry..."

"Oh come on Castle, don't start complaining because you're hungry, 'kay?"

The elevator reached his floor and she stepped into it, a smile on her face, avoiding his look. She heard him mutter something with the word "unfair" in it before he stepped in the elevator beside her.

The day had barely started and already one was sulking while the other smiled in satisfaction.

"You know you'll pay for that." threatened Castle under his breath as they both got in the Crown Vic.