ROLE REVERSAL

SCENT

It's gone midnight but the precinct is at full capacity, the illumination from ceiling lights and desk lamps bounces off surfaces that refract their glare around the bullpen. Men and women, some in uniform some is street clothes are manning phones and sitting in groups, quietly talking, glances going every now and again to the conference room where the FBI have set up their War Room.

Castle sits in a corner of the War Room, quietly watching Agent Shaw's personnel and advanced tech equipment gather, filter and correlate the information in an almost detached manner. He is aware of all that is going on, is watchful of the screens showing the gathered information appearing, there is just a chance that something may pop. But he doesn't really think they'll be in time.

Jordan Shaw can't help looking back at Castle every now and again. She doesn't like how quiet he is. This isn't the touchy-feely, teenager Castle of their last encounter. She's a profiler; it's her job to understand people, their motives, their fears, their psyche …. and right now Castle is not what she expected, what she believed he would be.

Castle appreciates the effort the FBI and the guys at the precinct are putting in … the latter especially touching. But he knows Tyson … he knew he wasn't dead at the bridge, though Kate had tried to convince him otherwise. He knew he would die at Tyson's hands, directly or indirectly, when he was being held in custody …. and he knows that whatever Tyson comes up with is a trap …. but he has beaten a freezer, a nuclear bomb, drowning in the Hudson, a tiger, shootings and kidnappers …. each time with the help of others, but he has done it and he is just going to have to do it one more time.

His phone, the burner one, goes off in his pocket. He pulls it out, looks at the number ... unknown … and leaves the War Room. He makes it as far as Beckett's desk and sits in his usual chair. Not because it feels right, but because his back is to the War Room and to most of the pen.

Shaw watches him through the window. She sees the slight relaxing of the shoulders, the head lifting slightly. She doesn't like it. Castle is running to his own agenda. He stands up, puts the phone away and walks off to the break room. He pauses by their desk, talks a moment with them before continuing to the break room. A few minutes later, Detective Esposito stands up, grabs his cup and joins Castle. Detective Ryan seems to be busy with his computer. He looks up over the screen, sees Agent Shaw's eyes on him, ducks his head back down. She turns to one of the technicians; gives him a few muttered instructions.

Caste is busy with the coffee machine, his glance occasionally bouncing round the bullpen outside. He hears, Esposito enter behind him, doesn't look up. As the coffee begins to splutter into the cup, he turns, looks a moment at the Detective "I'm not even going to ask you if you're with us .."

He gets a hard stare from Esposito before the Detective turns to the sink to rinse his cup. "What do you need?"

"The … treatment you gave Beckett for her PTSD …. the piece of metal … would it be available? Would you?"

The Detective pauses a moment in drying the cup, then continues, a look of unwarranted concentration on his face. "You have a plan? You know where he's going to strike?"

Castle shrugs, looks at him … "You know me Javi, if I was writing the book ..."

He gets a look from Esposito, up from under his brow, a considering look which in the early days would have had him worried. Not any more, not with Javi.

"I'll need time; right now you couldn't get a toothpick out of here without someone noticing."

Castle nods, "I reckon we have twenty, maybe twenty-four hours. He'll want to play with the FBI, with us. And he'll want darkness, he doesn't want to suicide; he'll need the dark to disappear into …"

"I hope your right Castle, I hope your right"

The technician looks up at Agent Shaw, shakes his head, "Burner phone, they weren't on for long enough". Jordan Shaw is beginning to get pissed off. There were too many clowns and too many rings in this circus right now. She needs to talk to her kids, get some of the tenseness …

Castle's phone rings, his normal one. The recording equipment turns on automatically, the techs start pressing keys, turning knobs and pushing sliders. Castle hurries in, the phone already in his hand, he gets the nod from Shaw, hits the answer button.

"Castle!" he answers abruptly, his voice sharp, slightly higher pitch than he would have liked.

"Well, well Castle. Burning the midnight oil at the precinct I assume? Got our friends from the FBI with you yet?"

"They're here Tyson, you want to talk to them?" His voice is aggressive, pushing, demanding. It has Agent Shaw almost running to his side, hands desperately signalling for him to ease off, to not try pushing Tyson's buttons. Castle turns away, ignoring her. "Let me talk to her!"

There's a moment's silence then Tyson laughed "And why would I do that Castle?"

"Because if not I will walk out of here and I will post a one million dollar reward for your capture … not you understand, for your being handed in to the police, just for your capture. Every bounty hunter, every criminal element, every cop with a mortgage will be looking for you … and where there is one million, there can be two, or three, or whatever is needed. There will be no arrest, no court of law, no prison sentence … do I make myself clear, Tyson?"

Behind him there is stunned silence; from the most junior of the FBI team members to the Assistant District Attorney, everyone holds their breath. No-one is sure what has just happened; this is not how kidnapping cases are handled; total disregard for the legal process … especially with all the police and legal representatives in the room … is not the accepted norm.

"Well Castle, I have to say you surprise me … I didn't expect you to show the balls. I'll call you back" the line goes dead.

Castle turns to the technicians, "Were you able to trace it?"

There is a moment's hesitation; the mouse turning into the lion still had everyone in the room in shock. Agent Shaw moves up behind the communications expert and nodded. He turns to his screens and points to the results of the triangulations. "Near Church Square Park, Hoboken"

It is almost 20 minutes before his phone rang again. Twenty minutes of silence as everyone keep their thoughts to themselves. Junior members shooting looks from Castle to Agent Shaw to Captain Gates to Rosalind Dryers the ADA and back again, quick to look away when any of these looks up from their immersed reading of reports and papers. All but Castle who sits in his usual corner seat, eyes closed, giving the impression of calmness though the constant flexing of fingers on his knees gives him away.

"Well Romeo, you wanted to talk to your girlfriend, I'll put her on"

"Becke…." Before Castle can complete her name they all hear a snapping sound followed by a short, piercing scream.

"That Castle was your girlfriend's little finger. Next time you threaten me, it won't be her finger I'll break … do you understand me Castle?"

"Rick …" the line goes dead.

Everyone in the room watches as Castle's face drains of colour. His knuckles white around the phone in his hand. He turns slowly to the phone tracking screen. Before he can say anything Agent Shaw has moved up. "Any luck with that call?

The tech shakes his head, "Not long enough"

"How far could he have got in that time?" asks Castle in a strangled voice. A few key hits later a red circle appears centred round the original Church Square Park point.

"Anywhere within this circle"

Agent Shaw stands up straight, "I want that area saturated, search every abandoned warehouse, building or premises that can hide anything bigger than a mouse. Move!"

The FBI agents stand up and leave the room, the cops in the bullpen standing as they emerge, ready to give a helping hand. A steady stream of Agents and cops head for the lift, checking weapons, torches and pulling on jackets as they go.

"The last bit, can you play it for me?" asks Castle of the tech. The guy looks at Agent Shaw for confirmation, gets a nod and plays the recording ...

"Rick .."

It's her voice, raw with pain and something else … but it's all that matters to him right now. She's alive and she knows he's searching for her, it had been a dreadful gamble, a gamble he wished he hadn't had to take … but she was alive ….

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