A/N: I honestly write with an end, a beginning, and a few ideas knocked around. :/ It's like bridge building. :P I'm not good at planning. Sorry. D: To be honest, I knew where I wanted this story to be eventually, to the reviewer who wasn't happy with it. I'm sorry to have disappointed you. By the way, the idea for this new case came from a skit we did in theater. (; We have this game, 'Death by...' and then a random word. :P Thank you, Opal and Kim! ^^
Disclaimer: Blah blah blah.
When she got to the apartment she heard rather than saw Josh, and her heart sank with guilt, especially as he said, "Hey babe. I'm in the kitchen; decided to make you some breakfast for dinner. Your favorite."
"Josh," she begins with a slow, calming breath that just makes her more nervous, "We need to talk."
He came in then, frowning, "Baby? What is it?"
Oh, God. Why'd he have to call her that? She sank into the couch and buried her face in her hands. He reached out instinctively and touched her back. Kate flinched and he withdrew his hand quickly, eyeing her curiously. He knelt before her and gently removed the hands covering her eyes, only to find tears in them. She wiped them away quickly and stood, pacing around the living room, wringing her hands with anxiety, occasionally running a hand through her curly hair.
Finally she mustered up the courage and strength to tell him, while not looking at him, of course, "Josh, I'm pregnant."
A beat, and then, "It's not mine, is it?"
"I'm sorry," she whispered, knowing she was hurting him, "I'm so sorry. I... I don't know. It was a mistake, but..."
"Kate," he said softly, walking over to her, "We can move past this..."
"No!" she cried vehemently, shaking her head before continuing, calm and rational, "I'm sorry. I just don't think that we... that this, whatever the hell it is, can work. I'm sorry."
Then he asked something she'd never expected, "Are you happy, Kate?"
"Does he make you happy?"
She nodded, "I hate to admit it but it's true."
He smiled sadly, "Then that's good enough for me, Kate. You're welcome here as long as you need, okay?"
"I don't think that's a good idea," her voice is small, "Josh..."
"Okay," he replied quietly, "Just stay until you find a place, or if he agrees to let you move in. I don't want you in a hotel."
She nodded, "Fine. Will you help me when I do need to move?"
"Sure," he said, kissing her forehead, "It's damn shame."
"I'm sorry," she murmured as he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
"I'm really happy for you, Kate. If he ever hurts you I'll kill him."
She smiles a little at that and sighs happily, "I know. Thanks."
He nods, "No problem."
He kisses the top of her head and pulls away, grinning as he says, "Well, the breakfast for dinner is still up for grabs."
She smiled gratefully and nodded, "I'd really like that."
After dinner, Kate packs a bag and calls to have the rest of her stuff moved out to storage. Then she apologizes profusely once more and goes back to Castle's place. She knows he won't mind too much, if at all; she hates imposing on him but it's the only place she can really go right now. She doesn't feel like staying at the precinct again. In fact, the last time she stayed there was before she'd known about the baby. It felt like an eternity ago, and yet... and yet it wasn't.
He answered the door, both surprised and unsurprised to see her; his first question was, "Josh kick you out?"
She shook her head, entering the loft, "Nah. Actually, he was really sweet about it. Tomorrow we're moving the rest of my stuff out to storage. Mind if I crash here for a bit? Just until I get an apartment, of course."
He nodded, "Sure, Kate. However long you need."
He leads the way to his bedroom and helps her unpack her duffel bag; after, she goes to shower and change for the night and he goes to his study to finish writing.
She is woken up around 5 by the shrill ringing of her phone. Groaning, Kate fumbles for it in the dark of his room, wondering where the hell he is. She answers with a groggy, "Beckett?"
Sitting up, she recites the address given under her breath and tells the dispatcher, "I'll be right there."
Then she swings her legs over the bed, closing her eyes briefly to quell the nausea from the sudden movements. She uses the bathroom, splashing water on her face afterwards, and changes into a button down and slacks. Pulling her hair back, Kate pads into the study, where she finds him asleep at his desk. She allows a small, brief smile at him before she goes up to him to wake him. She taps him shoulder gently and he startles.
"What time is it?" he asks and she smirks.
"Around 5," she replies.
He groans, "Murder?"
She nods, "Yep."
He gets up, squeezing her shoulder gently as he passes her. He uses the bathroom and dresses, meeting her in the kitchen. She's nibbling on a muffin she found, and wordlessly offers what's left of it. He nods his thanks, finishes it. Then they leave for the crime scene; she's driving, of course.
It's a tiny little place where they end up, a church, in fact. Lanie's hovering over the body when Kate reaches her and asks, "What do we got, Lanie?"
"Female, 30s. No ID on or near the body, but Ryan and Esposito are canvassing the area now. No witnesses; church janitor found her. Time of death somewhere between 2-4 in the morning. I think the cause of death is asphyxiation, but you'll have to wait till I get back to my morgue before I can know for sure," Lanie informed her, "It's a weird one. Very weird."
Kate looks at the body and sees what Lanie means. The woman, with golden curls framing a pearly heart-shaped face, has what appears to be some sort of filmy white fabric coming out of her mouth. That's when she realizes what it is: a wedding veil. The woman was choked to death on a wedding veil.
"Jesus, Lanie," Kate shakes her head, biting her lip so she won't laugh at the absurdity of it, "Alright. I'll see what Ryan and Esposito have got."
Lanie nodded, "Have fun, girl. Be careful out there."
Kate nodded, rolling her eyes, "I will, I will. Sheesh, Lanie."
Lanie smirked, "Go. Investigate."
"Will do. Thanks, Lanie."
"You're welcome. Bye, girl," Lanie hollers after her.
She finds Ryan questioning the janitor; he comes to her and says, "Esposito's still looking for an ID. Mr. Burns here was telling me what he knew. He doesn't know too much, but he says that we should talk to a Reverend Carl Manson. Mr. Burns says he's generally in by 6:30. We'll catch him then."
Kate nodded, "Alright. Good work. When he comes in, ask him what he knows, okay?"
"On it," Ryan agrees easily.
"Yo, Kate!" Kate turns to see a slightly sweaty Esposito rushing towards her, "Think I just found an ID for our victim: Charlotte Harrison, twenty-nine. Found it next to a dumpster two blocks away."
"Welcome. I'll try to figure out who was in her life at the time," he told her, "Check her financials, too. See who wanted our girl dead."
Kate nodded, "Great. Thank you."
"Yup," he smiled, "Where's your shadow?"
She jerked her thumb towards the body, "Trying to figure out how the hell someone could choke on a wedding veil."
"Ah. Good for a book, right?"
Kate shrugged, "He seems to think so. Although it's an odd way to die, that's for sure. Perhaps a romantic rival."
"Or a coverup."
"Damn. You've been spending way too much time with Castle," Kate chuckled.
"I try," Esposito smirked, "Anyway, I'm heading back to the precinct now."
"Alright. Meet you there," Kate told him, "I think I'll stay here for a bit more."
Esposito nodded his understanding and approval, "Alright. See you later."
"See you," Kate said, heading over to find her shadow.
Sensing her behind him he says, "Do you see these marks?"
He points to a set of marks on the inside of her elbow and replies, "These. They look like cigarette burn, don't they?"
She shrugs, says, "Maybe. I don't know."
"But it looks like whoever did this... cared about her."
"Cared? Then why the hell would they burn her with a cigarette?"
"I mean, look at the location of the marks," he explains, standing and turning to face her, "In the crook of her elbow."
"So, nobody will notice unless they were looking for them," he told her calmly, "If they didn't care, they would've put them anywhere at all."
"Or they could've wanted them in an inconspicuous place so that they didn't get caught," she rolled her eyes, "Either way, we don't know they're cigarette burns until Lanie tells us so."
"Alright," he replied, grinning cheekily, "How about we get back to the twelfth?"
Smiling a little she replies, "Sure."
Then, they leave.