Written for the LJ 2011 Wishlist
Requested By: Anne-Lilian
Characters: Buffy, Castle, Kate, Xander, Ryan, Esposito
Setting: Castle Season One, Post Season 7 Buffy
Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS or Castle and have written this purely for enjoyment.Overture
“What do we have?” Becket asked the uni as she ducked under the crime scene tape, Castle close behind.
“Male, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties, that’s about all we can tell so far. Looks like he was attacked by some kind of wild animal. It’s a real mess in there.”
“A wild animal? On 5th and 42nd?” Castle put in doubtfully.
The cop shrugged. “I just said that’s what it looked
like. God help us if a person actually did that…”
Kate and Castle exchanged a glance, both more than a little curious now. At first she thought it might just be that this guy hadn’t seen too much yet, he looked a little young. But as they got closer to the alley where she guessed the body must be, she caught the green tinge on just about every officer present and knew that she needed to prepare herself for whatever she was about to see.
“Holy mother of God,” Castle muttered, sounding half sick, half fascinated.
Kate’s teeth locked together, making her jaw ache but giving her a measure of control. The vic was pretty much a head attached by a visible spine and a few strings of muscle to a pile of gore. Lanie was squatted down next to the mess shaking her head.
“I’m not sure how much I can do here,” she said grimly. “From what I’ve seen so far, I’d like to say a bear did this. A really big freaking bear. But I think someone would’ve noticed a homicidal bear wandering around midtown. So I need to get what’s left of this guy back to the lab, take a closer look at the damage.”
“How? With a couple snow shovels and some garbage bags?” Castle asked.
That was all one of the cops nearby could take, Kate saw his throat working and pointed away from the body. “Go as far as you can from the crime scene.”
He was off like a shot, almost mowing down Ryan and Esposito as they entered the alley.
“What’s the- holy crap,” Ryan said, stopping dead at the sight of the body.
“Damn,” Esposito added with a grimace. “And I thought I
was having a bad day.”
“I think that it’s safe to say this guy wins the worst day ever award,” Castle said, eyes still glued to the carnage.
“Any leads?” Kate asked.
“Maybe,” Esposito said. “The uniforms said they’re holding a couple people of interest. They were here when they arrived, looked like they were checking out the victim.”
“Not just curious?”
“Maybe, but apparently one of them was poking around in the guy’s body,” Ryan said.
the guy’s body?” Castle asked with raised eyebrows. “With what?”
“Funnily enough, I’m actually more amazed that someone found a stick in a New York City alley than that they wanted to poke a body…” Castle mused.
“They disturbed the crime scene?” Kate asked in exasperation. At Esposito’s nod, she gave an irritated head shake. “Great. Okay, let’s go see them. Lanie, keep me updated?”
“Don’t I always?”
Kate hid a smile. It seemed like the more disgusting the case, the shorter her friends patience got. She left the scene and headed down the alley toward the street, the two detectives and Castle on her heels.
“Either of you two talked to the body pokers yet?”
“Not yet. We got here just after you did.”
“I’m betting it’s a mentally disturbed homeless guy,” Ryan said.
“Goth kid,” Castle countered.
“Hot chick,” Esposito said with a sage nod.
At the other’s stares, he just shrugged. “When you two want to put some actual money down, I’ll give a serious guess. For now, I’m going with wishful thinking.”
Kate was smiling as she rounded the corner onto 5th, but it melted away and her steps stuttered to a halt as she caught sight of the two people, a dark haired man and a blond woman, sitting up against a building with cops on either side.
“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
She marched toward the two seated witnesses, hearing Esposito’s surprised “Wishful thinking really does
work” behind her. The sound of her boot heels clacking on the sidewalk drew the duo’s attention and the girls green eyes glanced up and away in disinterest before coming back in a shocked double-take as Kate reached them.
“First time I’ve seen you in ten years and you're part of a murder investigation. How am I not surprised?”
Kate let out a harsh breath through her nose and turned to Ryan and Esposito who were mouthing “Katie” and snickering.
“Looks like you two just inherited my murder case.”
“What? Why?” Castle asked, leaning to look around her at the two that were getting to their feet.
“This my cousin, Buffy Summers.”*******
“So, you and Kate are cousins?” Ryan asked, turning to look at the blond in the backseat.
“Yep, on my father’s side. We only met once though, a long time ago,” Buffy said distractedly, eyeing something on the back window with disgust. “Seems like her superiority complex made it through the years just fine though.”
Ryan and Esposito glanced at each other with raised eyebrows while the other passenger, the dark haired guy with the eye patch, coughed out “Pot, kettle”, earning a dirty look from her.
“Well, I didn’t know what she was like back then, but she’d definitely not like that now,” Ryan said. “Kate’s one of the best people I’ve ever met.”
She shrugged. “Maybe, but with one look she just assumed I was the same fifteen year old that set her high school gym on fire.”
just caught poking a dead body with a stick,” Esposito pointed out dryly.
“I was making sure he was dead.” When both Ryan and Esposito offered a disbelieving look to this answer, she added defensively, “He could’ve been.”
“The guy was torn apart, no way was he still alive looking like that.”
But she stuck to her guns, crossing her arms and staring at them defiantly. “I was making sure.”
Maybe it was just him, but Ryan thought something about that statement sounded vaguely menacing…*******
Castle and Kate watched from behind the glass while Ryan and Esposito grilled Buffy about her touching the body. Or they tried to anyway - the lawyer was stopping any kind of actually grilling from going on.
“Are you saying she shouldn’t have checked to see if the victim was still alive Detective?” A clean cut suited man was asking. Not only had she lawyered up, but she’d managed to get one that looked like he actually knew what he was doing.
“She wasn’t checking his pulse - she was poking in his body cavity with a stick.”
“He didn’t have a neck, I had to improvise,” Buffy put in with a shrug, earning a quelling look from her lawyer.
Castle snorted. “I’m sorry, but the more I see of your cousin, the more I like her. What happened between the two of you anyway?”
“Not much, really. My mom and her dad were siblings - never got along. We met once during a trip to California. The whole thing was miserable. Uncle Hank, Buffy’s father, was an ass - probably because his only daughter had just gotten kicked out of school for burning down the gym. Mom thought she was just being rebellious so they got into a big fight about it.”
“So you didn’t like her because she burned down a gym? That makes me like her more,” Castle smirked.
Kate shook her head. “It was more… I don’t know. I think it was that I was looking forward to meeting a new part of our family and that I was disappointed. Instead of finding someone I thought I could have some fun with, I found her
. She just came off as this spoiled brat. She just immediately struck me as this little rich girl who had to be the center of attention and didn’t appreciate anything she had.”
“And you still think of her that way even though it was what? Ten years ago?”
Kate looked sheepish for a split second before going on the defensive. “She was caught contaminating a crime scene, Castle. Who knows what she was doing there in the first place-”
“That’s for Ryan and Esposito to decide. You’re not the cop here - you’re the cousin. Why don’t you put that title to use and find out if she’s the same person you remember? If she was ever that person at all.”
Kate was quite for a moment before giving him a suspicious look. “You’re serious this morning.”
“It’s the road-kill guy, he’s thrown off my mojo,” Castle answered looking worried.
“Hopefully Lanie’ll have something for us soon,” Kate said heading toward the door as Ryan, Esposito and the lawyer left the interrogation room. “If not, then we’ll be at square zero.”
She watched the three disappear into the interrogation room across the hall that held her cousin’s accomplice in body poking, Xander Harris, then slipped out and into the room with Buffy.
“Your turn?” Buffy asked with a bored head tilt. “The lawyer just went to sit with Xander for his questioning, so this’ll have to wait until they’re done over there.”
“I’m not here as a cop. I just thought, you know, we could talk. Being family and all,” Kate said, awkwardly, sitting down across from Buffy.
Buffy raised a brow. “Ooookay.”
An uncomfortable silence filled the room and Kate could almost feel Castle’s eyes drilling into her back from behind the glass, urging her to say something. Buffy got there first.
“How’s Aunt Johanna doing?”
“She’s dead,” Kate said flatly. “It happened a few years after we visited.”
“Oh crap,” Buffy said, eyes closing for a second before giving her a sympathetic look. “I’m so sorry. She was… I liked her.”
Struck by her sincerity, Kate let the waspish retort about not caring when she’d been alive slip away.
“What about Aunt Joyce?”
“Dead,” Buffy said, gaze dropping to the table. “Brain aneurism about five years ago.”
Kate blinked in surprise before her gaze softened and she caught Buffy’s eye.
“I’m sorry, Buffy.”
Buffy looked back steadily and gave a little nod, the two sharing a moment of silent camaraderie before Kate moved on.
“So, how’s Uncle Hank?”
“No clue. He and mom got divorced right after you guys visited. He was running around Europe with his secretary the last I heard. Didn’t even come to mom’s funeral.”
“Are you serious?” Kate gaped. “What about Dawn?”
“I got custody. I took care of her,” Buffy said, her tone defensive, as if she expected a critique. “She’s going to school in Rome right now.”
And just like that, Kate’s beliefs about who Buffy Summers was started to crack. Yes, she’d burned down a gym ten years ago and was just caught contaminating a crime scene, but she didn’t seem anything like the spoiled delinquent Kate had painted her as in her mind. Maybe it was time to recolor that picture…*******
Buffy and her friend, Xander, were released less than an hour later, thanks in part to the lawyer and in part to Kate, who pulled a few strings. Lanie had called and said the poking didn’t seem to have contaminated anything thing since there wasn’t any evidence there be contaminated in the first place. There were no fibers or DNA and she couldn’t even get a read on the weapon used because the body was such a mess. She was still trying, but she’d sounded frustrated and unhopeful to Kate’s trained ears. The case was getting weirder by the minute but since it didn’t seem that their interference with the body had yielded any damage and there was no proof that they had anything to do with the death itself, they had to cut them loose.
Xander and Castle, who had hit it off almost immediately, were currently leaning against Kate’s desk, arguing the fine points of body poking.
“You’ve gotta really get in there, see that nothing’s still moving,” Xander was saying on finding signs of life with a stick.
“Why does it sound like this is something you’ve done before?” Kate asked.
“What? No! I just mean, uh, it’s common sense. You gotta poke like you mean it. Hard and deep and-”
Castle started snickering and Xander’s face went red.
“Maybe it’s better if I stop talking now,” he mumbled.
Lucky for Xander, Castle’s teasing was diverted when he caught sight of Ryan and Buffy coming down the hall together. Her sipping a cappuccino from the break room and Ryan with his hands stuffed in his pockets, a soft smile on his face as they talked quietly.
“Oh boy,” Esposito said quietly from next to Kate before he started singing, “And they called it… puppy looooove….”
Sure enough, Ryan’s body language was better than a billboard at announcing that he was interested in the blond next to him - his gaze a little too attentive, his steps taking him just a little too close to her, his smile a little too… gooey.
“Well, doesn’t that look cozy,” Castle remarked coming to stand next to Kate with Xander following.
She elbowed him in the stomach before he could say anything else, unsure as to what exactly Buffy’s relationship was with Xander. She snuck a look at his face as Ryan and Buffy reached them, but didn’t see jealously. Instead, he was wearing a look she knew only too well from her time spent with Castle - a look of impending relentless teasing.
“Ready to get out of here, Xand?” Buffy asked.
“Ready to have never been here in the first place,” he said, then shot them an apologetic look. “No offense.”
“Of course not,” Castle said, adopting a faux hurt tone. “You’d rather never have met us and spent such quality time in our presence. Why would we take offense to that?”
“Shut up, Castle,” Kate said, then turned a serious look at her cousin. “Don’t leave town, Buffy. This case is still wide open and we might have more questions for you two later.”
“Don’t worry, Kate, I was thinking of sticking around for a while anyway,” she said, flashing a smile over at Ryan before pulling Xander to the elevator.
After the doors slid shut on the duo, everyone gave Ryan a questioning look, who shrugged sheepishly.
“I might’ve... kinda… asked her out.”
“Dude, she’s part of our murder investigation,” Esposito said, throwing his hands out to the side.
“I know - I told her it would have to wait until after we solved the case,” he said, then gave his partner a grin. “So let’s get to work, I don’t want to give her enough time to change her mind.”
Castle watched the two go then turned to Kate and rubbed his hands together in glee.
“I have a feeling things are about to get very interesting,” he said with an evil grin. *******
As soon as the elevator doors closed the friendly smiles melted off Buffy and Xander’s faces.
“How sure are you that he wasn’t infected?” Xander asked somberly.
“Sure,” Buffy answered. “But we’ve wasted a lot of time here. We need to catch that thing quick. Who knows what it’s been up to while we were stuck here.”
“Sounds like a plan. Let’s not get caught with the body next time though, okay? Your cousin scares the crap outta me.”