Monday, 17 June 2013

Undercover Lovers #22: Old and Grey

This is so disgustingly last minute. I apologize. I just didn't manage to write it this weekend and so write it...just now. This is the ultimate unedited version of a prompt sent to me by a friend who wanted to see Kate and Rick pretending to be old people. At first I struggled with a plausible explanation and then decided "screw plausible let's do this" and this is what you get.

JuNoWriMo is more than half way over and I'm still stuck at 4,000 just from sheer lack of trying and inability to get organized. I've finally come to the conclusion that writing contests like this are not for me. I don't do well with deadlines. My life is not a race and I should be able to write and enjoy the story however fast or slow it comes to me.

But anyways, enough of that. I have one more Undercover Lover planned and then we're done. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing for posts in July and August but I'll figure it out and you'll continue to be entertained by my random antics. Right?

Beckett closed the interrogation door behind her as she met her boys in the hallway. Through the door the shouts of the elderly man in his outdated clothes could be heard; warning Castle and Beckett to tell the truth or else. It would have been so easy to dismiss their suspect. He was in his mid-eighties, had been released into the care of a mysterious, privately funded medical facility, and his mind had clearly abandoned him for greener pastures several years ago.

“He was the last one to see our vic alive and he admitted to having a standing feud with him.” Esposito recapped “Even if he didn’t do it, he has to know more than he’s saying.”

Beckett threw her hands up as she stalked into the break room, her three ducklings trailing behind as always. “I know, but he’s insisting that he won’t tell us anything until we admit the truth.”

“Why does he think the two of you were patients in the medical facility?” Ryan leaned against the counter while Castle moved around Beckett, making her cup of coffee while she busied herself making his. It was an unconscious thing they’d started doing several months into their relationship and while it had started out sickeningly sweet, it had become routine. Like everything they did together. Ryan always teased that they acted more like an old married couple than he and Jenny. It usually didn’t go over well.

“He insists that our older selves were there with him being experimented on.” Beckett huffed shoving the freshly made espresso at his chest “I just need him to trust me.”

“Well what if we do what he says?” She turned to her boyfriend, Castle squared his shoulders, falling into theory-building mode easily. “What if we make him think that we’re the younger versions of the people he saw in that facility and then start aging forward slowly so he believes us?” He sipped his coffee so smugly, he almost missed the matching looks of disbelief on his colleague’s faces. “What?”

Beckett shook her head. “That’s actually a…good idea, Castle.”

He pursed his lips, taking a long sip of his coffee. “Don’t look so surprised, Detective it’s been known to happen on occasion.”

She raised her mug to clink with his. “Well then, I have a plan.”

They strode back into the interrogation room, shuffling their feet. Their shoulders were tired and they couldn’t quite stay focused but they knew they had their suspect’s attention. “Mr. Grady, we need your help.” Beckett conceded.

“You’re finally going to admit the truth?” His face lit up with excitement at the prospect.

“Yes,” Castle joined in, leaning across the table to be eye level with the man. “but we need you to tell us how to reverse the aging process.”

The elderly man studied them carefully, making eye contact with each and perusing their tired bodies and withered eyes. They hadn’t physically changed their appearance but a little water and red skin was enough for a convincing start. “When was the last time you took your pill?”

“When was the last time you saw us?”

“It would have been eight days ago.”

His jaw set and his eyes furrowed “then the aging affect have already begun to reverse. You’ll be back to normal before the day is out.” His voice never faltered nor did his gaze, so much so that it was near frightening.

“How do we stop it?” Beckett hoped she sounded distressed enough.

“There’s no way to stop it. Unless you find another supply of pills.”

“And how do we do that?”

“I don’t know.”

Once outside the interview room, Beckett shook off the dull aches and pains and went back to ordering her boys around. “What did we learn about the medical facility?”

Ryan pulled out his notebook from his pants pocket, flipping quickly to the appropriate page. “Nothing that we didn’t already know. Geneco is a privately funded medical organization over in Chelsea that specializes in the care and comfort of senior citizens providing 24 hour care, a specialized team of staff that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere but on paper. We haven’t been able to find the building they operate out of, let alone get through to anyone.”

“Where’s the warrant to search their records?”

“Won’t come through until we actually have an address.”

It only took a moment for her to come up with the next step in her plan. “Alright, you two keep going through. Find something tangible, anything. Castle, you’re coming with me.” She grabbed the lapels of his suit jacket and dragged him down the hallway and around the corner with very little argument. “It’s time to find out what we’ll look like in ten years.”

Beckett, looking tired and a little wrinkled – and maybe a little bit flabbier – stormed into Interrogation, followed quickly by a salt and pepper, laugh line smothered Castle, looking a little self-conscious. “We need more drugs.” She pleaded harshly. “The aging process is happening too fast.”

“Yes I can see that.” The older man answered wistfully. “Unfortunately I took the last pill three hours ago, just before I was dragged down here by your police officers.”

“Where can we get more?” Castle was focused on not checking his older self out in the mirror to inspect the damage his girlfriend had done to his beautiful face. Yes, he was admitting he was vain, but it was a new experience for him – feeling older than he was. His daughter kept him old and his girlfriend kept him young but he’d never felt too old until this very moment.

“At the facility.”

“It’s not there anymore.” Kate stated, trying not to show how anxious she was about getting this over with – or just how badly she wanted to check out herself in the mirror and just stare into time. “How do we contact the supplier? We lost their information.”

Grady watched their expressions and finally chose to believe them. “You call Greg Platzner. He’s the manager there. I don’t have his number on hand.”

“Thank you Mr. Grady.”

The boys met them outside in the hallway.

“Whoa, you guys look old.” Ryan snickered, earning a slap from his partner.

“That’s the point, bro. So what did we learn from our resident time traveler?”

“Greg Platzner. Run down the name, get us something.”

“As you wish.” He bowed his head turning back to his desk while Ryan followed at his heels.

“Meanwhile,” Beckett smirked at her boyfriend “I think we have one more transformation in us. You ready?”

“For you?” He shook his head with a sweet smile. “Never.”

He followed her down the hallway with a spring in his step. “Hey, did Grady seem younger to you?”

“It’s just because we’re getting older.” She dismissed, leading him towards the empty stairwell. “Now you might need to call in some favors on this one, it’s going to take some work.”

Two hours later, Ryan found them lurking the men’s bathroom with props and makeup and wigs and between fits of laughter and curious horror, he explained who their new suspect was. “Greg Platzner is an alias used by Doctor Gregory Hines, convicted of fraud and attempted murder in ’02. He was released and fell off the map but our con artist, – who kind of sucks at being a con artist – went back to using his old alias and bought a warehouse. He then hired a staff of half-assed nurses and doctors and created Geneco for what one of his nurses described as “genetic manipulation for the purpose of prolonging natural life.” Espo and a team of uniforms just got to the warehouse and found it had been cleaned out.”

“But if our victim wanted out, I bet the good doctor wouldn’t be willing to let him go so easily.” Castle turned to his girlfriend who nodded.”

“He is most likely our killer but I want to get everything out of Grady that I possibly can before he find him another home.”

Another hour passed before they finally emerged from the washroom with matching stunned looks. Beckett’s luscious brunette waves were now thin and white, her skin cold and pale, hanging from her bones. Castle’s own hair was still thick as ever but all colour and life had fled leaving him tired and small. They had stared at each other for a long time before they found the courage to leave. Beckett had caressed his hair while he cupper her cheek and kissed her softly, whispering just how beautiful she was. It had started out so fun when Beckett started painting lines on his face and he’d whimpered that he was old enough already. She assured him that with her wrinkles they would grow old together, just like they never talked about. It was still a conversation for another day but it was still such a wonder to look in the mirror and see their wrinkled faces smiling at each other like the day they fell in love.

But now they were back in reality and had a very important job to do: convince an 80 year old man that they were the same age.

It seemed as though the entire precinct was watching the elderly couple sneak up the hallway to interrogation but no one dared say a word about the fact that they were still holding hands. They nodded briefly to L.T., the trusty officer who was always there guarding the door, before opening the door to interrogation and freezing on the spot.

“It’s about time you came back, I need to eat something, I’ve been in here all day.”

They closed the door and turned back to L.T. “Where’s Grady?”

“In there. He hasn’t moved.” A quick look from the detective and the officer leaned into the room to check on the witness, he turned back stunned. “I swear, detective, he hasn’t moved since you left and neither have I. I don’t know what happened.”

“Detective Beckett, can I please get water, a juice box, something? I’m starving in here. And your pill should be wearing off; if you don’t get a new dose you’ll end up like Sam.”

“What happened to Sam?” It was the first mention of the victim since they’d brought him in for questioning and she wasn’t about to let the opportunity pass. She and Castle stepped into the room, closing the door lightly behind them, ignoring the shocked looks from passing police officers. “Tell me what happened.”

“He died.”

“Yes, I know that but how?”

“He aged out.” The middle-aged man shrugged. “He went backwards and forwards so often that when he got back to where he started his heart gave out.” His clothes fit different, his hair and face were fuller. The only thing that made this man distinguishable as the Grady they knew were the green eyes that sparkled with life beyond his years. “It’s happened before.”

The couple leaned forward simultaneously. “Tell us about the times before.”

The case was closed, a warrant was issued for the good doctor’s arrest and poor old Mr. Grady was sent to the local hospital to remove the toxins that were affecting his appearance but not his failing internal organs. As unorthodox as their method’s had been, Gates commended the couple on their creative thinking – though she couldn’t stop staring at their wrinkled, sagging faces long enough to hold a prolonged conversation – and sent them home.

Once again, the commandeered the men’s washroom to remove their makeup which went much faster in their desperation to be back to normal. “Hey old lady,” Castle cuddled up to her side, wrapping an arm around her hip and pulling her close. “wanna come over to my place later? We can play bridge and rub ointment on our sores.”

She shoved him away with a giggle. “You’re disgusting. I want out of this makeup but first” she pulled her phone from her pants pocket “I want a picture of us.”

“Why?” Regardless, he posed with her, a smile and an arm around her waist.

Before he pulled away, she kissed his cheek, feeling terribly sentimental. “So I can compare it to us when we really are old and grey.” 

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