On the Rocks

Chapter 7

"I should have known that this was way too easy," Esposito said in frustration after finding the car they had put a bolo out on as soon as they had gotten the plate number from the doctor's neighbor abandoned. "Why can't we have just a little bit of luck on our side? Is that too much to ask for?"

"Apparently the universe seems to think so," Castle responded. "It looks like Harvick cleaned it down pretty good to cover his tracks. Is there any chance the lab techs will be able to recover anything that can help us figure out where the guy's gone next?"

While looking inside the vehicle, Kate answered, "Not very likely. We should head back to the station, at the very least, in order to get out of this cold. Spring isn't coming fast enough."

Esposito shook his head as he placed his fingers over the bridge of his nose and then replied softly, "I think I'm going to head over to the hospital to check on Kevin. Give me a call if anything comes up."

"Something has got to give," Beckett spoke up again after he took off. "Ryan may have only been shot yesterday, but this case so far feels like it's been going on for months."

"I know what you mean," he responded as he and Beckett watched the former Marine walk down the street until he disappeared from view. "You ready?"

Kate looked over at the writer as she answered, "Yeah, let's get out of here; before it gets any colder."

Forty-Five minutes later…

Javier slowly walked into the room inside the ICU where the doctors had moved his partner and as he did so, he found Kevin's wife sitting down in the chair at his bedside leaning forward, her hands gently resting over his own that wasn't wrapped in a sling, and her head down.

When he could hear her crying softly, Esposito turned and started to leave until she suddenly stopped him as she said, "You don't have to leave, Javi. You care about him as much as I do."

"I can come back later," the detective replied as he continued to stand in the doorway. "I understand if you'd like to be left alone."

"No, actually, I need a break," she responded as she carefully let go of her husband's hand in order to avoid pulling on the tubes that ran from his wrists to administer the fluids he needed. "I'm going to go home for awhile to get some sleep. Please, take all the time you need. I'm sorry, Javier. Those things that I said earlier, I didn't mean them. I was just so…"

Esposito shook his head, then finally turned back around to look at her, and answered, "Just as I said last night, you have every right to be angry. Don't apologize. I screwed up and allowed my pride to stand in the way of me seeing that Kevin was right to do what he did. If he hadn't, Beckett would now be dead. We didn't accomplish anything by trying to go off on our own. And now… now this has happened and there's a chance that I may not be able to apologize to him. I failed my best friend and there's nothing I can do, but wait and it's killing me."

Jenny moved to stand in front of him, leaned up to kiss him on his cheek, and then replied softly, "You said it yourself. Kevin is going to survive this and when he does, you'll have the rest of your lives to make it up to him. For now, sit with him and reassure him that you're finally here for him. Then, go out there and find the bastard that did this to him."

"Thank you, Jenny," the former Marine responded and then kissed her cheek as well. "Go get some sleep. If anything changes, I'll let you know right away, I promise."

"I know you will," she answered, then turned around, and left the room.

Afterward, Esposito walked over to sit down in the same chair Jenny once sat in, then stared down at the frail form of his partner, who continued to remain unconscious while hooked up to a number machines and bags of medications to help him heal, as well as a tube that ran along his face from underneath his nose in order to help him breathe, as the wound near his neck had severely threatened the ability. Like Jenny had earlier, Javier also reached out and took his hand within his own and softly began to talk as if Kevin were sitting beside him at their desks.

He said, "So, I want you to know that we're doing everything we can to track down the SOB that did this to you. We still don't know yet if he's the guy that killed Tony too, but at least when we catch him, he won't be free ever again. We will catch him, so all you need to focus on right now is getting better because I need you to continue to be my pain in the ass partner. There's no way in hell I'm willing to break in a new one. I'd quit first. I messed up real big this time, Kev. You've always been here for me and when you needed me… I didn't mean those terrible things I said to you. I may have thought so at the time, but none of it was true. You shouldn't have taken that bullet for me, but I will be forever grateful. Please, stay with us, Kevin."

Meanwhile…

Back at the precinct, Beckett, Castle, and the captain were all gathered around the detectives' desks discussing what little they had to go on in search of their number one suspect, which was when they were interrupted by a phone call that they were all expecting at any time and dreading.

On the other end of the line, was Davenport who spoke up first saying, "Hello again, Detective Beckett. I heard about what happened last night to Detective Ryan. I offer you my condolences."

"If you heard about what happened, then you'll know that your condolences aren't needed," Kate replied angrily as she placed the call on speaker. "He's going to be fine. I take it that this isn't the only reason why you're calling."

"You're right," the criminal answered smugly. "I wanted to let you know that it won't be long now before I'm to be released. Even my lawyer has finally been permitted to get me a phone. I want to thank you for your help and look forward to seeing you all again. We'll be in touch."

As soon as the line cut off, Castle quickly said, "That sounded like a threat, but to who? To you?"

Captain Gates crossed her arms as she replied, "The threat was meant for all of us. I firmly believe that Greg Davenport is definitely the one that put this whole mess in motion. We just need to find a way to prove it so we can send him right back to prison once he's released. We will find everyone that's responsible and send them all there where they belong."

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