A/N: Oh hello! Marisa here! This is my first Castle fanfic. It's been so long since I've written murder mystery so please forgive me. I'm a little rusty. Anyways, I hope you enjoy. Oh and if you read any of my other stories (which I hope you don't cause they're so old and gawd awful xD) this Sophia isn't the same person. I just really like that name haha. xD Enjoy!

'Drip. Drop. Tick tock goes the clock.' A hand slowly slung on the table. The only thing covering the dead body was the blood, think and crimson like a ball gown. The fleeting figure dropped the dagger with a clatter on the hardwood floor, further spattering the blood. No one would know. No one could miss her right? Not in the long run so what was the harm?

"A lot of blood from just one body," Kate said as she bent over the dead body, "especially cause she's so tiny, god what was she? A cheerleader?"

"Nope. Dancer. Name's Natalia Hanks. She's seventeen, goes to Paladin School of the Arts a few blocks over. She's a senior, we found her purse with her student ID on the couch." Eposito explained as he walked in, clutching the purse in his left hand.

Kate stood back up, her brow knitted together, why would the killer lay her on the counter? Naked? This didn't make any sense. Did he rape her and then kill her? All these questions she hoped would soon be answered.

Castle peaked over Kate's shoulder and looked away, "wow that's a lot of blood. I saw it from across the room but wow." He looked over at Lanie and then at Kate, "any sign of rape?" He asked just as Beckett did.

Lanie chuckled as they did their thing, "we have to start marking every time you guys do that." Lanie looked at the victim again and shook her head, "there aren't any marks on her thighs or really anything, but I won't know for sure until we get her back to the morgue."

"Does anyone know where Ms. Hanks is today?" the instructor said, peering over her glasses as her Dance 114 class warmed up on the bars.

Sophia Macgregor stood straight and looked at her instructor, she stretched her arms and shrugged, "I live three doors down from her and she didn't come out when I did from the house like normal."

"Probably hiding at home, scared Sophia'll kick her arse at the auditions today," Halley Porter, an exchange student from London, said with a laugh.

"Ladies, ladies, she's probably just sick, no matter how much I don't like my girls getting sick that is probably the case so don't go around saying things like that," the instructor scolded.

"Any possible suspects yet?" Kate asked as she put down the phone.

Ryan shrugged, "well, she went to a school where even if some of the girls on a personal level may be friends, but the second the feet hit the dance floor all bets were off. She was auditioning today, according to her dance instructor, for the lead in the school's ballet. But there was one other girl auditioning for the lead. And you'll never guess what else. Last fall, they got into an altercation off school grounds, at some teen club. Our vic apparently hit this girl with her purse and it just blew up from there. Both of them come from money so I guess they made it all "go away." with the school."

"What's her name?" Kate asked and rested her chin on her palm.

"Sophia Macgregor." Kevin said looking at his notepad.

"Big money… Macgregor… you mean Macgregor as in real estate mogul Macgregor?" Castle asked.

"I guess so. I'd have to look." Kevin replied.

Kate began typing on her computer, "Why don't we?" She typed in the girl's name in the system and up came her driver's license and student ID. Both pictures depicted a youthful young girl with near pitch black curly hair, "Sophia Macgregor, seventeen, goes to Paladin School of the Arts, parents are Gregory Macgregor and Andrea Macgregor. I guess you were right Castle. I recognize his name. And here's the statement she made last year about the altercation." Kate scanned her eyes over it, "she seems really pissed. And that was just over getting hit with a purse."

"Maybe she's got a temper," Kevin added in, "big enough a temper if Natalia said the wrong things… a nice little murder could happen."

"Yeah, but why would she have stripped Natalia naked?" Kate asked, "Lover's quarrel?"

Castle shook his head, "nah, if she did, she stripped her naked to humiliate her, not cause they did it. Even if they had done it she'd want everything to seem normal and then pounce."

"I say we go ask," Kate said and stood, grabbing her badge and gun.

Kate walked into the large hallway of Paladin School of the Arts with Castle tailing close behind her, she opened the door to the front office and flashed her badge, "I need to know what class Sophia Macgregor is in."

The woman behind the desk quickly type, "Down the hallway, towards the end on the right, it should say 'Abernathy' on the side."

Kate nodded and walked down the hallway, she stopped at the appropriate door and peaked inside, inside revealed about ten dancers gracefully spinning and dancing about the room to a routine. Through the door she could hear the drum beat and faint singing from the song 'Dog Days are Over' by Florence in the Machine. Kate slowly opened the door and stood by the wall just inside, Castle followed suit and waited for them to finish before walking up to the instructor, "I'm looking for Sophia Macgregor," Kate said once more and flashed her badge for a second time. Kate scanned the group of girls and the girl, hearing her name eyed Kate suspiciously.

"Over there." The instructor pointed and Kate walked over to her.

"I'm detective Kate Beckett; I need to ask you a few questions, mind if we talk outside?" Kate asked.

Sophia gathered up her bag and looked at her instructor, she nodded and then Sophia nodded herself, "yeah sure," Sophia walked on ahead and kept the door open for them, "umm detective, what's this about?"

"What do you know about Natalia Hanks?"

"Natalia? Umm kinda nice as a person I guess but sometimes you just wanna smack her when she get to talking about her dancing. We practice just as much as she does and she claims to be "better"," Sophia airquoted, "but yeah, what about her?"

"She was found dead this morning on the counter of an abandoned apartment."

Sophia's right hand flew to her mouth, "oh my god." She whispered, "I can't believe it, dead? We just thought she was sick… but dead? And the day of her audition too…" Sophia trailed off.

"Yeah, about her audition, apparently you were the only other one auditioning for the same role she was? Why's that? I bet there's tons of dancers who could do it." Beckett asked.

"I was the only one willing to head to head with little miss perfect dancer. I wasn't afraid of her like the other girls were. Everyone said shit would hit the fan the second the auditions started and they would have probably been right." Sophia shrugged, "but I don't know… I just. I still can't believe she's dead."

"Would you know any reason why someone would want her dead?" Castle asked, "ya know, cause I mean, from what you're saying, there could be a lot of jealously between dancers, do you think any of them could have taken it too far? Maybe even you?"

"What are you insinuating? I KILLED her? No way. I don't really like her but I wouldn't go that far. Besides I don't have steady enough hands to hold a gun, knife or strangle the chick. My hands took a pretty good smash last fall." She looked away.

Kate nodded slowly, "we know about your altercation last fall with her." She looked down and noticed the girl's hands shaking "is that what happens when they stay still for too long?"

Sophia sighed, "Yeah, she came up to me claiming I not only stole the spotlight from her but her boyfriend. They dated for like two months and she dumped him because I guess he didn't come from good enough money." She rolled her eyes, "and then she hit me with her purse."

"How'd your hands get smashed?" Castle asked.

"She had me pinned against the door of the girl's bathroom. Then she shoved me in and when I tried to get back out she smashed the door on my hands."

Kate sighed; this was going nowhere, "alright, well if we have any more questions, we'll be in contact again."

Sophia nodded and then looked behind Kate, finally getting a good look at the man behind her, "oh my god, you're Richard Castle. Oh my god! I am such a huge fan, I just love every single one of your books, especially your latest series, I love Nikki Heat so much, she's just so refreshing and new and I just I totally ship her and Rook together, Hook yes, that should be their couple name. Lauren should totally tell Nikki that at some point. Just a suggestion. Whenever I'm not dancing I'm usually reading one of your books and I really don't wanna sound creepy but that's actually pretty true. Well reading your books or spending time with my boyfriend, yeah one of those two. Oh wow I'm rambling now. Sorry. Umm I had a recital the day you were doing the book signing for Heat Rises, would you sign my copy? Could you? I have it right here in my bag? I was reading for like the fourth time on the way to school this morning." She blushed, feeling embarrassed after her complete and utter fangirl freak out.

Castle's face broke out in a smug grin, "sure! And that's a really good idea. Thanks!" He said as he took out a pen, ready to sign Sophia's book.

Sophia hurried and took the book out; she eagerly handed it to Castle and tried to remember to breathe as he signed her book.

"There you are, Sophia, nice to know I have a fan as talented as you," he smirked and handed her the book back, "you're a really great dancer."

Sophia felt as though she was going to cry, her favorite author thought, no SAID, she was a great dancer. This has made her day, no LIFE. Sophia let out an uncontrollable squeal, "oh wow, thanks Mr. Castle! That means so much, dancing's pretty much the only thing I'm good at and hearing you say that just wow." Her right hand covered her mouth again, trying to conceal further squealing.

"You're very welcome," he smirked and looked at Kate who was blatantly disapproving at the boost to his ego.

"What? She got really excited, it's not my fault I'm so lovable!" He laughed as he walked back to Kate's car, "gotta love the fangirls."

Kate rolled her eyes and got in the car, "wow, Castle just wow. That girl really needs to reprioritize. If she spends that much time reading your books I'm really worried about her."

"Oh yes and you own all of my books because?..." he asked with his smirk near permanently plastered on his face.

"Shut up, Castle." She told him, sarcasm oozing from her tone as she started the engine.