It's About My Future

Beckett watched another Vine video from Castle. This one was at the morgue. Lanie pulled back a sheet to reveal Espo, Ryan and Castle lying on the autopsy table each holding a card with the words WE MISS YOU in block letters written on them. Beckett smiled at her phone as she watched the Vine video repeat. She missed them too.

Lanie was not only an NYPD coroner and a colleague, but also as close to a best friend as Kate Beckett had had since college. Detectives Javier Esposito and Kevin Ryan were not only part her team at the 12th Precinct's Homicide Department; they were like brothers. Even Captain Victoria Gates had become more of a mentor than a boss, and Beckett missed them all. Especially, Richard Castle the famous mystery writer and her partner for the past five years. She had said yes when he proposed and they were now happily engaged. But she had also told him that she had accepted the job offer she had gotten from the United States Attorney General to join the AG's Investigative Task Force. It was a step up the ladder, a chance to do more, but it meant leaving the NYPD where she had worked for the past twelve years and moving to DC. She would have to leave her home, her father, and her new family; Castle's family which included his daughter, Alexis, and his mother, Martha.

Castle had helped her move into her "temporary" furnished apartment in DC but had not spent more than a week at one time at the apartment since the move. He commuted back and forth between New York and DC because he was busy adding the final touches to his latest Nikki Heat novel and promoting his ebook, Storm Front. While in New York, Castle dropped in at the 12 Precinct and consulted with Esposito and Ryan on cases. Surprisingly, Captain Gates had allowed him to continue to consult while she tried to find qualified replacements for both Beckett and Castle. He had also stayed away from DC so that Kate could focus on her training without him to distract her, but she really missed him as her partner and her fiancé.

Beckett's training would require her to remain in DC for twelve weeks, after which she would be assigned to one of the major cities on the east coast: DC, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, or Miami. She had already requested New York City for obvious reasons. Beckett had spent the first six weeks of her training with the AG's Task Force traveling back and forth to Quantico, Virginia to attend training seminars at the FBI. She enjoyed the training but felt unsatisfied with the work. After the first six weeks she was assigned a partner, Mary McAdams. McAdams was older than Beckett and had spent ten years as a US Marshall in Boston before being recruited to the AG's Task Force two years earlier. She was extremely ambitious and extremely capable. McAdams had no desire to return to Boston. Her sights were set on DC and she was looking to move up the ladder as soon as possible. Beckett liked her but could tell that her partner was only interested in results, not friendship. Unlike Castle, she was all business and hardly ever cracked a smile.

Beckett and McAdams' first assignment together involved a breach of protocol at the House of Representatives. Their investigation, if you could call it that, involved duplicating the actions of the FBI and Capital Police. No one wanted to work with them and it was difficult to get information from the other agencies. McAdams and Beckett ran into brick walls everywhere. In the end, the FBI cracked the case and all Beckett and McAdams could do was to write their report for the AG. McAdams railed about their ineffectiveness. Beckett realized from her experience with Stack that he had needed her and her team to crack the Drone Case. If she was to be effective at her job, she would have to learn to manipulate others to achieve results.

As weeks passed, Beckett feared that the move to the AG's office was a step down instead of a step up. She had less power as a special agent for the Attorney General's Task Force than she did as a New York City Detective. Stack was a full-fledged agent with the ear of the Deputy Attorney General but she and McAdams did not have any influence and felt more like clerks and technicians reviewing records and videos and doing grunt work like canvassing.

She looked forward to Castles visits. He would make an event of the little time they spent together. On a couple of occasions when she came home late he would give her a full body massage or surprise her with candles, a bubble bath and wine. He made her lavish dinners and delicious breakfasts. He did her laundry, picked up her dry cleaning and bought her crazy gifts that made her laugh like the elephant trunk toilet tissue holder, a Wrist Jockey IPod Nano watch, custom pillow cases with his face on them, a Little Chief Electric Smoker, an old fashioned theater popcorn maker and more. Most of the gifts were useless but she loved every single one of them. Castle even gave her a gold metal with the insignia of Nebula 9 engraved on it for completing her six week training at Quantico. She adored him and couldn't wait to be married to him.

Beckett looked at the Vine video one last time and turned off her computer. It was 8:15 and she was ready to pack it in. McAdams had left an hour ago and Beckett had meant to follow her out but had sat at her desk fingering through all the texts, pictures and videos Castle had sent her since she had started with the AG's Task Force. Castle was in New York, and she had a date with him on FaceTime at 9:00 pm. She tried to call, or text, or FaceTime at least once a day. They mostly kept in touch through text messages because it was less intrusive to their busy schedules.

As Beckett arrived at her "temporary" furnished apartment Castle surprised her at the door, dressed in an apron and Chef's hat. Kate jump into his arms and wrapped her legs around his waist. "Castle, I'm so happy to see you," she said.

"I can see that," Castle responded. He held her in his arms and carried her to the bar stool in the kitchen. He sat her down and kissed her. "I missed you," he whispered between kisses. "I really missed you."

"But I thought you were helping Javi and Kevin on a case, and had an important meeting with Gina tomorrow afternoon," Kate said.

"I am but I missed you and took the shuttle down and I'm scheduled to leave on it tomorrow morning. Our case has hit a wall and the meeting at my publishers is after lunch." He pulled away from her and she missed him the minute he left her arms. "Are you hungry? Because I stopped by Trattoria Bertolini and picked up your favorite, Cioppino." He said with a big smile.

"Castle, that's perfect. I am starving. I can't remember whether I ate lunch today." Castle served her a bowl of the seafood stew and a large slice of Italian bread. Then he poured them both a glass of wine to go with their meal. "Oh my God, this smells heavenly."

Castle smiled with pride. He knew she wouldn't have eaten and was happy he could feed her. "Well, dig in." He moved around the kitchen island and sat next to her at the breakfast bar.

Beckett noticed that Castle had served himself a smaller portion of the Cioppino and had not sliced any bread for himself. He had been eating less lately and losing weight. He was almost at the same weight he had been when they first met. She hadn't seen him work out but she could see and feel his muscles becoming more defined. She really didn't care if he lost weight or not but she did appreciate the effort. If she weren't so hungry, she would take him on the kitchen table.

"I have Tiramisu for later." Castle said with a twinkle in his eye.

"Are you trying to fatten me up Mr. Castle?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I've been told that the way to a woman's heart is threw her stomach." Castle responded with a wink.

Kate leaned over and put her hand on his cheek. "You have my heart. I love you." She kissed him.

"I love you too." He kissed her back. "Now eat." He worried about her while he was away. "What are you working on right now?" He asked.

Beckett turned back to her food. "Castle, you know that what I do is classified. I can't talk about it with you. Why don't you tell me about the case you are working with the boys at the 12th."

"Well, they found Angela Steward drown in her bathtub. The water had soaked through the floor below and the down stairs neighbors called the Super to complain about the water stain on their ceiling. He found her in the tub with the water running. She lived alone and Lanie estimated the time of death was between 6:30 and 8:30 the night before." He paused between bites. "We cleared family and co-workers. They all alibied out. She worked at an art gallery in SoHo." Castle told her.

"Was she an artist?" Beckett asked.

"No, but she did come in contact with a lot of artist at the gallery. I know what you're thinking. We looked at the art angle and couldn't find anything." Castle said.

"Had she been acting nervously or out of character before her murder?" Kate inquired.

"No." Castle responded. "Her friends, family and co-workers said that they had not noticed a change in her behavior. She wasn't married and wasn't dating anyone. She was planning a weekend getaway with her girl friends. So it wasn't suicide. Lanie says that she wasn't sexually assaulted, and a tox screen did not show any drugs in her system, and there was no evidence of blunt force injury." Castle continued.

Kate became more and more intrigued by the case. "Could she have died of natural causes? Was there evidence of foul play?"

"There was a window that had been jimmied open and Lanie found bruising around her neck and shoulders. She suspects that someone may have held her head down in the water until she drown."

"Did you look into the lives of the neighbors?" Beckett questioned.

"Are you thinking that maybe it was a matter of mistaken identity?" Kate nodded her head. Castle continued, "So, someone broke into the wrong apartment and killed the wrong girl. Then, we are looking for someone in her building that looks like her." Castle says excitedly.

"The hitter may have gotten the wrong address, broke into the apartment and murdered a person who fit the description of the victim." Kate says, leaning into Castle.

"Or the hitter followed the wrong woman home and killed her." Castle mused. "Although, that would be harder to investigate."

"I like my theory better." Kate responded.

"I should call Tori." Castle said pulling his phone out of his pocket.

Kate raised an eyebrow and took his phone out of his hand. "Tori? Why are you calling Tori?" Tori Ellis was a tech who had helped the team reviewing and scrubbing video on recent cases. She was young, beautiful and good at her job. She had helped the team on the Big Foot, Eric Vaughn and Drone cases. Kate looked down at Castle's phone and saw a very attractive picture of the dark haired beauty in Castle's contacts.

"She's my new partner." Kate felt as though she had just been slapped across the face. "Well, on this case at least. Gates is grooming her to take your place." Castle smiled innocently. He could see the surprise in her eyes and a bit of jealousy. "You said it was okay if I kept working at the 12th." He said in a whine like he had gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

"Yeah. No, I get it. Sure, not a problem." She sucked in the air around them and Kate had to admit she was very jealous. Before she could stop herself she said, "Is she your new muse for Nikki Heat?" She gave him back the phone and turned away to clear the dishes.

"Are you jealous, Kate?" Castle asked.

Kate turned back to him but would not look in his eyes. "I am your muse, not Ellis."

"Kate, you are and will always be Nikki Heat." He reached out but she skillfully avoided his grasp. "We talked about this. You left suddenly and Gates wants to replace you and me, as it turns out, with a team that has the same chemistry we had. I am just helping out until she finds a match for her."

Kate knew it was unfair to make a big deal out of this since it had been her choice to break their partnership, but she had to admit that it stung to have him call another detective his partner, especially one that looked like Ellis. "I know I don't have a right to say this given my choice to take this job but I don't like you working with another partner."

Castle ran his hand threw his hair. "You want me to stop, Kate?" She bit her lip and nodded her head. "Kate, you know my process. I need to work on cases to inspire my novels. You have your career and I have mine. I follow people to add authenticity to my characters and stories."

"Castle, we are getting married and I may be assigned to another city. You can't keep working at the 12th Precinct," Kate said.

"And if you are assigned another city, we will move their together and my agent and I will try to find a law enforcement agency to research. You will not allow me to talk to the AG's Office about working with you on cases. You can't share any information at all about your cases, so I need to find another source." Castle spoke slowly hoping his reasoning would sink in.

She had just assumed that once they were married he would work at home. She never considered that he might want to keep working with cops.

"My career is as important to me as your career is to you. I can stop working with Ellis if it really bothers you but I can't stop working with cops." He explained.

Kate had not really considered what their life would be like if she took this job. He had said that if she took the job they would never see each other and that would be the end of their relationship. She had known he was right but had hope she could have it all. She had imagined that she would be happy "doing more" and coming home to him every night. She hadn't considered what life would be like for him while she was away working on the Task Force. Of course, he wouldn't just sit home writing, waiting for her at the door like a dog with his tail wagging happily until his master's return. He would need to be around other people, feeding his curiosity.

Kate looked down at her shoes and sighed. Castle took her in his arms and kissed her head. "Kate, if this is going to work between us we both need to compromise. And we both need to understand who we are. I'll stop working with Ellis if it bothers you that much. But I can't promise to stop working with other cops" She wrapped her arms around his waist and sighed again.

"No, Castle. I trust you. I just miss you so much. I'm not sure I made the right decision." This was the first time she had expressed her doubts to him. "Call Ellis and tell her to canvas the building where your vic was murdered." She smiled up at him.

He took his phone and in full view of Kate, called Esposito. She smiled at him and headed for the bedroom.

"Okay," Castle said as he entered their bedroom. "Ryan and Espo will send some uniforms to canvas the building." Kate was undressing as he spoke. He stood behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She turned in his arms and hugged him tightly.

"I really missed you Castle." Kate said. She took his face in her hands and pulled him in for a tender kiss. Her hands slipped from his face through his hair as their kiss became more heated. She pushed him toward the bed and he fell onto the bed with her in his arms. She pushed away from him. Having straddled his hips, she eagerly started unbuttoning his shirt.

"I can see just how much you missed me," he teased.

"You have no idea," Kate said.