This idea came to me a few weeks ago, as I watched Knockout on DVD, followed by Rise on my TiVO. After coming up w/ a basic outline, I set it aside for a while, but it has been nagging at me. In the last few weeks, I've managed to complete what I believe to be a pretty good prologue. I also have the first two chapters more or less finished, just need a bit of tidying up. I hope to see this story play out around 15 chapters, or so, though that is just an estimate at the moment. Over the last couple of years, my muse has been playing a bit of hide & seek w/ me, so I hope she intends to stick around for a while this time. Let me know if this idea has as much merit as I think, & if you want to read more. Thanks, G

The Detective, & the Bat

Prolouge: A Difficult Funeral & the Investigation Begins

Roy Montgomery had been a great Captain, one hell of a cop, and an even better man. He'd been well liked, and well respected. No one doubted that fact. It was plain to see. Even as his pall-bearers carried him from the hearse to his gravesite, a few hundred friends, colleagues & even an old enemy or two, had gathered to bid farewell to this amazing man.

His wife and children, of course, were front and center, and with them were those who'd been closest to him, Lanie Parish, Alexis Castle and Martha Rodgers, Jim Beckett, the Mayor, Judge Markaway, & his team of course, Beckett, Esposito, Ryan & Castle were among the pall-bearers. A few folks noticed the tall man, with black, slightly wavy hair, a black turtleneck under a black sports coat and dark sunglasses who positioned himself at the far edge and looked on in silence. One or two even thought that he looked familiar, but couldn't quite place him. Then the drums began to beat their staccato rhythm, and the pall-bearers began their long walk with their departed friend and mentor. The dark haired man was quickly forgotten, as he generally preferred it.

He'd only been a teenager when he'd met Roy Montgomery, then a young policeman himself. He'd watched the man take down two armed fugitives on his own. It had impressed him. He'd been on the verge of intervening, though he knew his training for such things was still in its infancy, when the young cop had arrived. It was a moment that had stuck with him, and he'd taken time every now and again to check up on the man, silently approving as he moved up the ladder from Patrolman to Detective to Sergeant to Lieutenant to Captain.

The pall-bearers had almost reached the gravesite now. He took a brief moment to scan the faces of the crowd. He saw just what he expected to see, grief, sorrow, pain. He felt them too, but in smaller increments, he hadn't been as close to the man as they, and he was almost unparalleled when it came to bottling up emotions. He took note of the fact that only one of the pall-bearers was not a cop. He wore a black suit, shirt & tie. That would be Castle, the writer.

He rarely found time to read anything that wasn't related to his day job, or even more likely technical specs, police reports, & psych evals related to his nocturnal activities. However, at the suggestion of a friend, he'd perused a few of Castle's works. The man could write, he'd give him that. Anyone with one eye & half a brainstem could see how the writer felt about his current muse. He wondered to himself, did she care for him as well?

The muse, Detective Kate Beckett had stepped up to the podium and begun to speak. It was easy to see why Castle was taken with her. Who wouldn't be? She had pale skin and eyes that shone like emeralds as they glistened with the tears she held back. She'd done a good job hiding them with her makeup, but he didn't miss the dark circles and bags under her eyes. She hadn't slept much lately. Well, Montgomery had been her mentor. She wore her hair back in a tight bun. It gave her a sort of severe look, and the uniform did her no favors, and yet, despite all of that, he found her stunning.

She was speaking of Montgomery, of how he'd encouraged her to stand & fight, & to find someone willing to stand beside her. He didn't miss her glance at Castle as she spoke those words. So, there was something there on her side as well.

She continued speaking, but Castle seemed distracted, gazing off into the rows of headstones intently. What had he seen? The man in the dark glasses turned to look, but the angle was wrong, & he did not catch the second glint of sunlight off a high-powered scope. He was almost as surprised as anyone else when the ripping air sound of a high-powered slug whizzed past. Castle dove into Beckett, trying to simultaneously shield her body with his own, and take her to the ground to minimize her profile in case the sniper tried a second shot. He was a bit too late. While most of the crowd dove for cover, & some scrambled to help their fallen comrade, the man in the glasses turned and began moving briskly toward the dark Rolls Royce limousine that awaited him a few hundred yards away. If he could get there quickly enough, perhaps get rolling & catch a glimpse of the shooter as he made his escape, no doubt toward the south end of the cemetery, perhaps he could find the man later that night.

It was not to be. Alfred had the door open, the engine running, and his best field glasses laid out on the back seat by the time he reached the car, but the man had picked a good position, and he'd made good on his escape, quickly getting over the low wall of the cemetery, and most likely into a waiting car, mixing in with the afternoon traffic like so much flotsam in the ocean of Manhattan's streets.

He wondered about the woman, Detective Beckett. Would she survive? He hoped so. Castle's warning shout might have saved her. He resolved to stick around for a day or two and see how things panned out. He pulled his cell from his coat pocket, taking it off vibrate, which he'd had it set to for the funeral. He punched a few buttons and waited as the line rang twice. A woman's voice came on the line, "Bruce, how was the funeral?"

"Not good," he said, his voice harsh and raspy, much more in line with his evening persona that the smooth, deep tones he generally used as the playboy dilettante. "Someone shot Detective Beckett during her eulogy."

"Did you grab him?"

"I was too far away. I didn't even get a good look."

"Will you be coming back to Gotham tonight, or should I arrange for someone else to cover your patrol?"

"Dick should be able to handle it. Thank you, Barbara."

"My pleasure, Boss," she said, and he could imagine the smile he knew she'd said it with. He cut off the call without a goodbye, not wanting her to think he'd gone too soft, and leaned forward a bit. "Alfred," he began.

"Back to the hotel for another night, I take it, Sir," came the quick response, in a precise English accent, from his long-time servant & friend.

"Yes."

"Very good, Sir."

"And Alfred,…"

"Not to worry, Sir," the man cut him off, "I took the liberty of double-checking your evening-wear earlier this afternoon. Everything is ready to go."

Bruce Wayne smiled as he leaned back into his seat, a sad smile, after all he'd lost a man he respected, a good cop, and another cop might die before the day was through. A sad smile was all he could manage right then.

About an hour later, around the time that Dr. Josh Davidson was taking a swing at Richard Castle, the Batman was slowly moving through Kate Beckett's darkened apartment, searching for any clues as to the possible identity of the man who'd shot her that afternoon.

He'd found a number of interesting tidbits, little things that gave him a fair grasp on the young Detective's psychological state. She had lots of books, and so far as he could tell, every one of Castle's. He'd even signed one, one of his earlier works, which clearly pre-dated their unusual partnership. Her fridge was filled with old take-out containers, but very little food or drink. There were pictures all over the apartment of a younger Beckett with a woman who looked enough like her to be her mother. An older man, likely her father was in several of the photos as well, including a few that were more recent.

He'd nearly run out of places to look when he glanced up at the shutters. Something in the back of his mind tickled his consciousness. He'd long ago learned to trust his instincts. He moved to the window and opened the shutters. Bingo!

He'd suspected, thanks to the lack of her mother in any of the more recent pictures that she'd died. He'd even wondered at the possibility of her being murdered. Here was the proof of that. He felt for the Detective. She'd clearly taken her mother's murder nearly as hard as he'd taken his parents'. Of course, she'd channeled her rage, her confusion, her pain into becoming a cop. He'd become a night-time vigilante. They were similar in a way, yet so different in many others.

There was a small beep in the communicator in his cowl. "Oracle," he said in his gravelly "work" voice, "go ahead."

Barbara's voice responded, "It looks like Detective Beckett made it through the surgery. She might just pull through."

"She'll make it," he replied, and he had no doubt of that fact. He recognized in her the same pain, focus, and drive that pushed him forward in life. She'd hang on, and he'd help her. He wasn't even aware that he'd made such a decision until it had already been made.

"I saw an interesting thing when I hacked into the hospital's security feed," Barbara's voice sounded in his ear again.

"Tell me," he said, and she did, outlining a confrontation between her initial surgeon, a Dr. Davidson, and Richard Castle. Apparently, Davidson had taken a swing at the author, punching him in the face.

Batman took less than a second to put the pieces together. Beckett and Davidson were a couple. That would explain why another surgeon had taken over for Davidson, as Oracle described. He hadn't found anything to substantiate that in her apartment, yet. Interesting. Perhaps Davidson was more invested in her than she was in him.

He quickly took a number of high-res photos of her personal murder-board, for a more intricate and in-depth look later. From what a quick glance showed him, it seemed that her case was at a dead end. Of course, the events of the last few days hadn't been added in yet, Montgomery's death, and her own shooting. Perhaps those events would provide some new avenues for him to investigate.

Tucking the mini-camera back into one of the pouches of his utility belt, he closed up the shutters, and then turned and made a final sweep of her apartment. His mind wandered back to Beckett and Davidson. The idea that they had been a couple was a logical one, given the information he had, and yet, at the funeral, he'd seen the looks passing between Beckett and Castle. There was something between them, he was sure of it. Castle had even tried to throw himself in front of her, to take her bullet. If they weren't a couple, why had he done that?

He had Oracle upload a stream of the hospital security vid to his cowl, which he then patched in to play on the cowl's lenses as soon as he'd found a dark spot on the roof of Beckett's building. He took a moment to search his memory. He didn't have an eidetic memory like Barbara, but he'd trained himself to remember most everything he saw or heard. If he was truly distracted, he could miss a few things, but it was rare. His memory of the funeral was quite clear, and he was certain that Davidson hadn't been among the mourners.

His next few steps would be dangerous. Beckett's colleagues were sure to be on high alert after her shooting, so bugging their phones and their desks at the 12th Precinct would be difficult, but nothing that he couldn't handle. He'd have to bug Castle's place as well, and Montgomery's, to be safe.