If You Don't Believe – It Might Still Find You.
"Because if you don't believe in even the possibility of magic, you'll never ever find it."
- Castle, Episode 3x02, He's Dead, She's Dead
Author's Note: For obvious reasons, I'm pretending that in this version of Castle's world, the Harry Potter books have never been written because everything in them has actually taken place (except that fanfiction-y epilogue of JKR's). Be aware that each chapter takes place from the perspective of the character listed in its title.
Disclaimer: I'm not J.K. Rowling or Andrew Marlowe nor anyone else who owns the rights to either Harry Potter or Castle. My only profit from this is my own amusement.
Chapter One: Kate Beckett and the Mysterious Murders
This was her life: another day, another murder. That was generally the life of a homicide detective in a big city, after all. However, Kate Beckett, NYPD detective, was finding this one more aggravating than most. If it was what it looked like, this was going to be the third body drop she'd been called to this week sharing the same bizarre, inexplicable circumstances.
At both the previous scenes, the victims had been found in their homes, dead, with a rather unique expression of terror frozen on their faces. None of their valuables had been missing, and there didn't appear to have been any kind of a struggle, nor any signs of forced entry, which seemed to imply that the victims had known and allowed their killer in. Both of the previous victims had been found with a wooden stick close to hand – the first woman had one laying close to her open hand and the second one had a very similar item weirdly strapped to his forearm.
Looking over at one of the techs processing the scene who was photographing a very similar stick gripped in the latest victim's hand, she was sure she could actually feel the headache coming on. As if the weirdness – and Castle's crazy theories about rings of secret underground magicians killing each other over their trick secrets – weren't enough to drive her nuts, there was another problem with these murders. Lanie Parish, one of the most competent women and medical examiners she'd ever known, had absolutely no clue as to what had killed them. None. She'd even asked Perlmutter for his assist once the second vic had come in, and the snarky man had been just as stumped.
The victims were just dead. They were in entirely perfect health aside from the fact that they had ceased to live. It was perplexing, to say the least. Her friend, crouched down by the body giving it a once-over, looked like she was having the same creeping headache problem Kate was. "Definitely looks the same as the other two. TOD, I'd put at somewhere around eight to ten hours ago. No unusual marks or bruising, just like the others. I'll take her back to the lab, but ..." the medical examiner didn't bother to conclude her statement, as they both knew that it was likely this one would turn out just as mysterious as the previous two when it came down to attempting to determine the cause of death.
Kate looked up from her friend and the body, looking around to try and find where the rest of her team was. She'd sent Ryan and a couple of the unis off to canvas the neighbors, but Esposito was waiting off to the side for her to turn her attention his way. She and the team hadn't been here that long yet, perhaps five minutes or so, but she'd expected her partner would have arrived by now and her brow drew down in a puzzled frown at his continued absence. Shrugging off the minute concern, she turned to Esposito and gave him her full attention.
"Vic is a Charlene Anderson, 25, according to the id we found in the purse on entry table. Never married, no steady boyfriend, and lives alone from what the doorman downstairs told us. Works as a nurse at Mount Sinai in Queens. She has a housekeeping service come in one morning a week to keep up the apartment, cleaning lady found her like this and called it in. Just like the others there's no signs of forced entry, and nobody unusual was seen entering or exiting the building. There are some cameras in the building, and we're getting the tapes, but they only cover the front lobby and the elevators, not the back stairs, so I wouldn't get your hopes up."
As the detective was finishing up his rundown of the information they'd gathered so far, his partner and hers were coming back to join them at the crime scene. Ryan had apparently finished talking to the neighbors in the building and met up with Castle in the hallway outside the apartment.
Normally upon entry to a scene, she'd expect some kind of quip from her man-child partner. With this being the third near-identical case they'd had in a week with absolutely no useful leads surfacing, even Castle's fiercely ebullient optimism was suffering, and he had nothing to say. Ryan, unfortunately didn't have much more to contribute either.
"Talked to the neighbors on this floor that were home, nobody heard anything all night, and no one can remember ever seeing anyone coming or going from this apartment other than the vic."
That wouldn't seem so very strange – if it hadn't also been true of their other two victims. Normal people had at least a friend or two, or a romantic interest coming and going from their homes. Yet at both previous victim's places, one nicer than this fairly upscale dwelling, and one somewhat less so, there had likewise been no visits. There had been enough neighbors of the nosy variety commenting on the weirdness of it at both previous scenes to make it clear the lack of known visitors wasn't just typical big city apathy.
"All right. Let's get back to the precinct and start pulling up details on this one. Hopefully we'll find some connection between the three of them that we missed before."
They had already spent a fair amount of time so far collating all the data they could find on the first two victims. Staring at the information tacked up on the board in front of her back at the precinct some little while later, Kate went back through the pertinent facts about the other two victims in her head.
Philip Doyle, 20, was a member of a larger family of five siblings, but he was distant from the family, enough so that they were still waiting to hear anything back from them about officially identifying and claiming the body. He'd had a steady girlfriend, but they'd spent most of their time together at her place and she had been so plainly upset at his death that they hadn't been surprised to find no indications that she was involved. Doyle messed up any patterns between the other two victims – he was male, and unlike the two women he didn't seem to have any steady employment anywhere, even one of questionable legality. His place of residence had been correspondingly lower end, but he had been nearly as much of a loner as the two women seemed to be, despite the girlfriend. She said he never really talked about his family or where he'd lived before.
43 year old Amy Jackson was an attorney working mostly in contracts at Byron, Allen, and Smythe. She was also never married and currently single, like the latest victim. There'd been a sister, but they had been estranged from one another for years. Instead of her living room, Amy's body had been found in her kitchen. From the looks of things, she'd been preparing tea for herself and a guest, but had died before serving it. They'd found no one terribly close in her life, and couldn't find any indications that there might be someone holding a grudge against her for any reason. Even if she was a lawyer, she hadn't handled anything particularly volatile. The one thing they'd had any luck with at all on the case was an unidentified fingerprint on the archway into the kitchen of Amy's apartment. Unfortunately, it hadn't lead them anywhere, as it wasn't in the system.
Which left them with three victims, no obvious connections between them. Different ages, different careers, living in different parts of the city, the only thing they seemed to really share was being loners, and now being killed by the same person or persons. Why these three people?
A/N: Okay, honestly, I'm not sure this story is really good enough to post, but I'm trying to talk myself out of leaving things forever in limbo because of thoughts like that. As always, I don't post fic until it's completed. This should be about 9 (short) chapters long. Everybody loves reviews, but I'll neither beg nor hold chapters hostage, so feel no particular obligation.
EDIT: Thanks to Talah for pointing out a stupid typing/grammar error in this chapter. Oops.