Title: A Tail of Murder Fandom: Castle (the 2009 TV show)/Mako Mermaids Story type: Crossover Genre: Mystery, humor Pairing: Kate Beckett/Richard Castle Characters: Kate Beckett, Richard Castle, Rikki Chadwick, Rita Santos Summary: Post series finale minus epilogue. Captain Kate Beckett is back at work, just in time for a very odd corpse to show up. The investigation leads to an ancient secret... 1A knock on the door interrupted Kate Beckett from her paperwork. “Come in,” she called and looked up. Detective Ryan stepped in. “We’ve got a body, Captain. Odd one, too.” “Sure,” she said, reaching for her coat. “Since when do you knock?” “Since I interrupted you and Castle last month,” he said and blushed. So did she. “I didn’t even notice,” she shuddered. “Do you think Castle did?” “Did what?” the said writer interrupted. “You going somewhere?” “We’re going to a crime scene,” Kate said. He smiled and handed Beckett a cup of coffee. “Decaf?” she asked. “You’ve had your daily permitted dose.” His eyes dropped to her stomach. Either she was starting to show, or his imagination was playing tricks on him. “How’s my youngest daughter?” “Wait–you know it’s a girl?” Ryan demanded. “No,” Beckett said in frustration. “It’s a Castle hunch–meaning he pulled it out his–” “Hey–my hunches are why you keep me around!” “Not only,” Beckett clasped his hand in hers. “Not only.” XXX At the scene, they met almost twenty frustrated people and Detective Esposito. “Morning, Espo. What happened?” “City finally granted the lot owner permission for demolition of this warehouse,” the other detective said. “He called in the construction crew, and they found–well, take a look.” They entered and approached Lanie, who was crouching at the corner. “Hey, Lanie.” “Hi, guys. Look at this.” “Oh, my god!” Kate exclaimed when Lanie pulled away the tarp. “Is that a mummy?” Castle asked. “It’s desiccated like one,” Lanie informed them. “That will make TOD hard to establish.” “Yeah,” Castle quipped. “He could be thousands of years old.” “Doubtful,” Lanie retorted. “It’s a she, by the way.” “Why can’t she be thousands of years old?” Castle almost whined. “Because of this,” Lanie turned the dead woman’s neck to show them the hole in the back of the head. “And here’s the bullet.” She handed them a sealed evidence back. “Single shot?” Lanie nodded. “Not a pistol one, either. Rifle or carbine,” Esposito said. “Don’t see a lot of those in the city.” “But why the mummy?” “I don’t know if it’s technically a mummy. The body was dried out post-mortem.” “How?” Beckett asked. “Why?” Castle added. Lanie shrugged. “CSU says no sign of fire in the building. Either it was done elsewhere or they used electric heaters.” “How long would it take?” “Several hours,” Lanie said. “The husk is thirty-two pounds. Since our bodies are about seventy percent water, it’d estimate eight to nine hours for the desiccation.” “So the latest it could have happened was last night–two to three AM. Earliest–” “Could be years.” “ID?” “None. No clothes, either.” “Sexual assault?” “Evidence would dry out with everything else.” “Not if our killer had a fetish for dry-humping.” “Eew, Castle,” Beckett said, but then nodded. “Check anyway.” She turned to her detectives. “Have uniforms canvass the area for witnesses last night. Espo, talk to the owner and crew–find when was the last time anyone was in the building. Castle? Do you have an idea?” “What did she look like?” “Huh?” Lanie and Esposito said in unison. “Can we go from that–” he pointed at the husk, “–and reconstruct what she looked like when she was alive?” Lanie considered. “It’s not my field of expertise, but there are people who do that sort of work. Think it’s worth it?” “We don’t have any other way to ID our vic,” Beckett said. “Do it.” Castle hesitated for a while, staring at the mummy. “You okay, babe?” He nodded. “Something doesn’t add up.” “It’s weird,” Beckett admitted, “but we’ve seen stranger.” “No–there’s literally something that–” “What is it?” “She’s missing a finger.” “I know. I noted that in my report,” Lanie said. “So?” “Isn’t it obvious? She was killed for her ring.” XXX Two days later, they made no real progress in the case. Castle tried to use his connections to see if any unusual rings had been sold since the murder, but depending on your criteria of unusual, you got either nothing or too much. Beckett’s iPad chirped. “What is it?” “Forensic anthropology,” she answered, heading to the murder board. “According to…” she read the message, “… Dr. Shalon, our vic looked like this.” The image was of a Caucasian woman with a narrow face, tall forehead, and thin nose. The electronic image permitted switching out hair styles and colors–that was still unknown. “Alright. Vikram, can you run this through facial recognition databases?” The tech nodded. “She looks a bit creepy,” he said. “I was thinking the same thing.” “Really? Creepy? I think you’re just projecting how we found her.” “Hit!” Vikram announced. “Where?” Beckett demanded. “Here. Look familiar?” It wasn’t a photo, but a police sketch. The hair in this one was shoulder length, straight, and black, the eyes hazel–but the facial features were unmistakably a match to the reconstruction. “Who is it?” Ryan, who had already looked up the case, shook his head in bemusement. “Three days ago, the 26th precinct arrested a woman in Brooklyn for public nudity. She told them this one–our Jane Doe–stole her clothes when she was walking on the beach.” “I understand revenge for that, but isn’t murder going a bit far?” “We should still talk to her. Come on, Castle. Let’s see what we can uncover.” “Seriously?” Both Vikram and Ryan stared at Beckett. Castle, on the other hand, looked quite proud. “Why, I believe I’m finally rubbing off on you, Beckett.” Kate tried to glare, but it transformed into a yawn without warning. “Your kid is making me tired, Castle. You’re driving–and no, you’re not allowed to use the siren.” XXX “Janice Ruthers!” Kate called, knocking on the door. The resident opened it. “Who are you?” she demanded. Kate flashed her badge. “NYPD.” Janice’s face turned angry. “What more do you want–I paid the damn fine–leave–” Castle held the door she was about to slam. “I don’t care about indecent exposure,” Kate said. “Your clothes thief was found dead–” Janice’s eyes flew wide open. “Oh, my God!” “Can we talk? We’re trying to piece together her activities.” “Well, I only saw her that once–you can bet I would have gone for her if I saw–” “Castle?” Beckett interrupted the witness. “Ms. Ruthers,” Castle said casually, “is it possible you were the intended victim and the killer made a mistake because–” “What–me? Who goes after a hairdresser?” “It’s possible,” Beckett admitted. “Anything unusual recently–unhappy clients, personal troubles, threatening calls?” “No.” “Can you give us the details of your encounter?” “I already did–do you even know who she is–uhm, was?” “You’re the only one so far with even a hint of motive–” “What motive–you don’t think I did it?” “Well, did you?” Castle asked point-blank. “Of course not!” “You just said you would have confronted her–” “Well–yeah–I mean, who does something this crazy? But I wouldn’t have killed her! Besides, I lived the last two days surrounded by cops trying to settle this indecent exposure crap.” “Did you give them a list of what was stolen with the clothes? Phone, credit cards–?” “Yeah, but it won’t help. I already got the phone.” Janice picked up her cell from the kitchen table and showed them. “Call and text history I sent to the bitch is still there.” “You traced it.” “By the time I was with the cops, she ditched it. We found it in a trash bin on 9th Avenue.” “When?” Kate asked. “Wednesday–about 11.” “Haven’t traced any movement?” “Nope.” “And credit cards?” “Cancelled all of them–but there’s nothing. She knew what she was doing, then,” Castle said. “But why steal clothes?” Janice smiled. “Haven’t you read what I told the other cops? She was naked before she robbed me.” XXX “A woman walks about naked but doesn’t get noticed. She steals clothes from another, and is killed within three days–and on top of that, gets dried out to a husk. Something doesn’t add up.” “Try nothing adds up.” “Secret society of nudists trying to take over the world–okay the attack on Ruthers doesn’t fit that.” “We found something, guys,” Ryan and Vikram approached the murder board. “Yeah? What?” “Surveillance footage,” Ryan said. “This,” he posted a photo on the board, “is at the intersection of 12th and Jefferson. This one,” he tacked up another, “is from the B Line station nearby. Our warehouse is between the two locations.” Both photos showed a young woman, blonde, curly haired, dressed in jeans and a tank top. “So?” Beckett said. “Probably hundreds of people walked past.” “It’s the evening before the body was found–and she didn’t just walk. Not unless she’s the slowest walker in New York. These photos are nearly five hours apart, and she wasn’t seen anywhere else within that time.” Beckett considered. “It’s not enough to get an arrest warrant, but we can talk to her. Can you find out who she is?” “Already did, Captain,” Vikram announced. “Got a hit pretty quick, too. You’ll like this,” he glanced at Castle. “She’s an author.” Castle sprang up. “Really? I don’t recognize her.” “Not your specialty, Castle,” Ryan said with a smile. “She writes nonfiction.” He put up a final picture, printed out from a website. “Meet amateur marine biologist from Australia named Rikki Chadwick.” Author's note: I'm crossposting this to AO3 and FFN, as well as here. Please don't report as plagiarism.