women like that don't become mystery writers

Disclaimer: Actually, screw graduation. We would love jobs. Jobs are cool.

A co-written story from Liviafan1 and FanficwriterGHC


Chapter 4:

She tosses the cabbie a few bills and almost manages to shut the door on him, but he slips out in time, hot on her heels as she pounds the pavement, doing her best to ignore him.

"Did your guy give you any details? COD? TOD?" he asks, blue eyes sparkling with excitement.

She wonders if he's trying to impress her with his extensive crime scene knowledge. And maybe if she couldn't already picture the smug smile on his face, she'd tell him that he doesn't need to impress her because she'd fallen for his writing a long time ago.

But she doesn't.

"No," she replies simply.

"Is that a 'No, shut the hell up, Castle,' or a 'No, he actually doesn't have any details?'"

She stops on the sidewalk, shoots him a glare. "No details, Castle. I got the info before she got to the scene," she explains with the roll of her eyes before she resumes her pace.

"She? Your guy is a girl?" he asks, surprised.

"Her name's Lanie. Medical examiner," she offers.

"Sweet."

She smiles to herself. Such a big child.

They approach the yellow tape and she spots a couple of familiar uniforms who know to let her through.

"Beckett," Ramirez grunts with a nod.

"Officer." She nods. "How's Mrs. Ramirez?" she asks, making small talk as she ducks under the tape.

"Maria's good. I'll tell her you said hello." He gives her a small smile, which she delights in. Ramirez had been the slowest to warm up to her since she started shadowing Lanie and the boys at the 12th.

"Beckett, is he with you?" Ramirez asks, broad palm pressed against Castle's chest. He looks a little disgusted with the writer.

"Another civilian." She shrugs. "He can stay out there until I'm done," she says slyly with the twitch of her lips.

"Beckett," he huffs in disbelief.

"Tell you what, Castle. If you pop around the corner and buy me a latte, I'll persuade Officer Ramirez to let you through."

"Or I could call Gina and strong-arm you into letting me through," he grates.

"But then we'd both be out of a job," she reminds him, eyes glinting.

He pauses, testing the weight of her words. But she doesn't back down, her stance strong and undeterred.

"Fine," he relents, scampering off without another word. She grins.

"Well-played," Ramirez commends her.

She laughs. "Send him my way when he gets back?"

With his nod, she turns away and makes her way to the group of detectives peering down at the body, Lanie kneeled nearby making preliminary observations.

"Beckett," Detectives Ryan and Esposito greet her briefly before they turn back to their conversation, peering over a notebook as they prepare to question a nearby witness.

"Boys." She smiles before taking a knee near Lanie, maintaining a few feet of distance from the body in respect. She prides herself on knowing her place among the cops - how far she can push the envelope or test the boundaries before she crosses the line.

"Thanks for the heads up, Lanie."

"Bring the bottle of wine at our next girl's night and we'll call it even."

Kate grins. "Deal." She nods to the body, a young girl in her twenties dressed in clubbing clothes, her limbs stiff and contorted at her sides as if her bones had been broken. "What's her story?"

"Jane Doe. Looks to be about mid-to late twenties. Cause of death is blunt force trauma to the back of the head. Several bones in her arms and legs were broken post-mortem."

Kate winces. "Yikes. Do you know when she was killed?"

"Sometime last night, most likely between the hours of 10 and midnight."

Kate nods slowly, her teeth sinking into her lip. "Did she-"

"Hey, what'd I miss?" Kate whips around to find Castle standing over her with two coffee cups in hand, a little breathless. He hands her the coffee and flicks his eyes between the two of them, expectant.

Lanie elbows her in the ribs. "Who's this?"

Kate rolls her eyes. "This is Richard Castle. I'll be...working with him over the next few weeks." She frowns. Working. If they manage to stop arguing long enough to put words on a page.

"Working, huh? Is that what they're calling it these days?" Kate shoots her a glare, but Lanie doesn't back down. "What? It's about time you started getting busy-"

"Busy writing. Right." Kate cuts her off, a flush creeping up her neck. This is not how she imagined this would go.

"I brought this for you," Castle says with a flash of his charming grin, handing the other coffee to Lanie.

"You bought that for yourself, Castle," Kate protests.

"Oh, who cares?" Lanie waves her off. "Coffee is coffee." She takes a long sip, humming in pleasure. "I like you already, Castle."

"At least somebody does," he quips, narrowing his eyes at Kate.

She ignores him, turning back to Lanie. "Can we catch a ride with you back to the morgue?"

"If you don't mind sharing a seat."

"Oh, there's no need for that. Castle can ride with the body."

"Probably better company than you," she hears him mutter under his breath.

"What was that, Castle?" she asks sharply.

"Nothing."

Yeah. Nothing, her ass.

(…)

Unfortunately, riding with the body is exactly up Castle's alley.

He calls out questions like Lanie's running some kind of messed up Q&A, and she just keeps chirping answers back, shooting little smirks over at Kate between each one.

"Will you have to reset anything to do your autopsy?" he asks.

"Possibly," Lanie says easily. "If he got at her collarbone, we'll see. Shards get into the chest cavity, you know. I'd have to extract those."

"That's awesome!"

Kate rolls her eyes and slumps in her seat.

"Oh come on," Lanie says, giving her a look. "He's just excited."

"It's a dead body, not the science fair."

"Same difference," Lanie says with a shrug. "So, dish."

"Later," she hisses, listening for Castle. He's gotten a little too quiet all of a sudden.

"Nu-uh. You tell me why I've got a shadow for my shadow, or I'll make you help."

Kate scoffs but glances behind her all the same. She can just see Castle leaning over the body. The van hits a bump and he nearly topples onto the stiff. He catches himself just in time, looking momentarily flustered before he grins. Like he's on a carnival ride. Honestly.

"Gina's making us co-write a book together," Kate says, deciding that blunt honesty will garner the fewest follow-up questions.

"You're writing a novel with Richard Castle? THE Richard Castle?" Lanie squeaks.

"Lanie," she admonishes. "He's just another author."

"Right, because you always arrange all of your books-" Kate reaches out and slaps her arm. "Oh, are we playing it that way?" Lanie asks.

"We aren't playing anything. I just want to make it through this month with my sanity."

"How do you arrange your books?"

She jumps before whipping her head around to glare at Castle's floating face in the window to the back.

"Sit back down. You'll break your neck," she grumbles.

"Is that concern for my well being I detect?" he asks with a grin.

"Concern for my advance and Lanie's insurance."

"Ah, well, don't worry about that. I'll happily pay the costs," he says with a smug smile.

"Can we help you?" Kate asks.

"Got bored," he offers. "And your conversation seems much more interesting than my ineffectual séance."

"Can't get a good reading on her soul, Mr. Castle?" Lanie interjects, smiling.

"I think it's the GPS on the van. It's interfering," he quips back.

Lanie laughs. Ugh.

"So. What happens when we get to the morgue?" he asks, and damn if he doesn't sound sincerely interested.

"Well, we'll wheel the stiff into my morgue, strip her, clean her up, and see what we find as we do," Lanie explains patiently.

Castle bobs his head.

"Do you do this often?"

"My job?" Lanie asks, looking amused.

"No, sorry. You," he clarifies, looking at Kate.

"Some," she offers.

"It doesn't gross you out?" he wonders.

"Nah. Kate here's got a stomach of steel," Lanie puts in. "I think the bodies excite her more than sex some-"

Kate reaches out and slaps her while Castle grins.

"What?" Lanie mouths, looking impish.

Oh, she'll pay for that.

Before she can think of something clever, or hell, even a little bit redeeming, they pull up to the curb beside the morgue.

Lanie jumps out without even a backward glance and Kate sighs, listening as Castle excitedly makes his way to the back doors.

By the time she gets around to the back of the van, Lanie and Castle have already loaded the body out, and are in deep discussion over the internal temperature of the small intestine in relation to lividity.

Without another option, Kate follows them through the double doors and down the hall to the morgue.

"So, you could find a T.O.D. based on the temperature if the intestine was found outside the body?" Castle asks.

"Depending on where it was, if it was your complete last resort, possibly, I suppose," Lanie hedges as they push through the doors and into the sterile, bright white morgue. "But that would be far from ideal."

"Obviously. Interesting, though. Body discovered in part in a room, missing hands, feet, and head, so all you'd have to go by would be non-printable or searchable features."

Lanie stares at him as they get the gurney up and next to the examine table. She shifts her gaze to Kate, wide-eyed.

"He's like the male version of you," she says.

"Hardly," Kate replies, rolling her eyes before shifting into position, leaving Castle at the body's feet. "On three?"

Lanie nods. "One, two, three."

Together, they heft the body onto the table.

She glances at Castle and finds his eyes sparkling. Ah jeez, he is the male her a bit, isn't he? Disgusting.