"Hey Detective, you missing me?"
Silence … he's about to ask her … an unpleasant laugh coming down the line …. and it's not Beckett's ….
"So Castle, missing your girlfriend?" the sinister tone cannot be masked by the remnants of laughter … the voice is familiar … not everyday familiar … but he knows it …. it's floating into focus … dredged from the data bank of information his brain stores and processes and plays with on a daily basis … it's not recent, he has to go back … it's from ….
He wants to scream, he wants to call out her name, wants to threaten him with all sorts of vengeance if he so much as touches a hair of her head …. but he can't, he's mute, unable to breathe even … his mind just goes into freefall … he's got her … Tyson has Kate … he'll kill her and he, Richard Castle can't write her out of it …
A faint squawking draws his attention … pulls him up short …. the squawking is coming from the floor, from near his feet …. his phone … he must have dropped it … he can't lose touch … he has to …. he bends down and grabs the phone off the floor, he fumbles it, almost drops it again in his panic ….. gets it to his ear "….ill there Castle?"
"Wha … what do you want Tyson?"
That same hateful laughter rings in his ear again, mocking and cold, reminding him of his failure the first time to read the man correctly …. the absolute certainty of his own death when Tyson penetrated the precinct the night he, Castle, was being held in custody …. he should be devastated, panicked … and he had almost allowed himself to go there … but suddenly something else is building up inside him …. he doesn't recognize it at first …. he has never felt it before and it takes him a moment to understand …. it is anger …. not the wild, hot anger that had him telling Beckett he was done when she wouldn't listen to reason and he had walked out on her …. not the red hot anger that had him chasing off to Paris after Alexis, knowing neither who to blame or why …. no, this is different .. it isn't anger that grabs and twists his heart …. this is settling in his guts …. it is a cold, steadily building anger …. anger aimed at a specific person, a known entity … and for the first time it is allowing him to think …. not clearly … but at least he can push the panic down, contain it for the moment.
"….. listening Castle?!" There is anger in the voice now and he is aware that if he isn't careful he can lose this, lose Kate. He swallows.
"Sorry …. I … didn … didn't hear .… what did you say?"
Even as he makes himself stumble over the speech, dragging out the time, he is moving quickly to the study, pulling open draws and flinging the contents aside.
"Last time Castle, next time I have to repeat myself your Detective will lose a part of her anatomy … what would you prefer Castle … her pinkie finger, her right ear, maybe one of her nipples? … you want me to send you her left nipple to you in the post?"
"No! No … you won't need to do that … I'm listening!" He wants to panic, to let the fear that is squeezing his heart take over .… but he knows Tyson, knows him, and Tyson uses people, he controls them …. that was Tyson's thing; contr.… at last! He's found it … the burner phone and charger he'd acquired after returning from Paris with Alexis "I'm listening, just … just tell me again!" … the phone had been his father's suggestion …. always have a burner phone for emergencies …..
There is silence for a minute from the phone, then a suspicious "Are you trying to be clever Castle? What are you up to?"
He remembers the surveillance Tyson had put on him the last time … almost panics again at the thought of being watched by him right now as he fumbles to plug in the charger, connect it to the phone and dial Esposito's number from memory … he's got it wrong …. hell!
Castle takes a deep breath and answers even as he starts redialing the number "No … no … just need to get some water!" …. he'll soon know if Tyson has him under surveillance … he hopes to god he's right in guessing that the periodic sweeps his security company carries out would have found traces if he is. Sudden relief washes over him as he hears Esposito's suspicious voice answering the unknown caller …. he'd held the burner against his shoulder to mute the sound, and now he puts his own phone on speaker mode and quickly, before Esposito can interrupt …
"Look Tyson, if you've got Detective Beckett, the cops will soon know, you'll have every member of the NYPD hunting you down … it's me you want, so let her go … tell me where to meet and you can have me in exchange for her, unharmed!"
He holds his breath, squeezing heart and soul and every last part of his being into the hope that Tyson has not caught on and that Espo has ….
Please Mother of God, let Espo realize what is going on and …..
"Why have you got me on speaker Castle?"
He's already written this one in his mind.
"I … I need both hands to ho .. hold the glass… " he answers in a shaky voice … hopes he's not overdoing it …
Silence from both phones …. please, please …. Oh god Kate! I can't do this without you!