ROLE REVERSAL

THE CHASE

Castle wakes to a hand shaking him, head heavy from too little sleep. He rubs his eyes and looks at the door as it closes behind his silent companion. It takes him a minute to gather his wits, another minute to gather the willpower to get out of bed and head for the bathroom.

A five minute shower has him feeling half human again and he finds himself staring at his reflection, razor in hand, slightly bloodshot eyes giving him a hard glare. He takes a deep breath, nods at himself in some silent confirmation of an idea which has not yet formed. He gives himself a slight smile … losing it Castle? … he can almost hear her voice in his ear … almost turns his head to look for her.

When he emerges from his bedroom he is smartly dressed, clean shaven, eyes almost confident. He can smell the coffee, takes the proffered cup, nods a silent thank you. He lets the caffeine do its job, feels his nerve ends begin to respond, his synapses churning into action. The silence is comfortable, unstrained … broken by a quiet knocking on the door.

He puts his hand on the door handle, checks through the peephole, turns round and finds himself alone, opens the door and allows Esposito to brush past him into the loft. Javi looks around, places the blanket wrapped item he is carrying on the kitchen counter and suggests he could also do with a coffee.

Castle is about to walk past him to the coffee machine when he sees the Detective go still, very still. He stops, looks over his shoulder and sees his overnight companion approach from the direction of the study. He watches intrigued as both these men warily observe each other; professionals who recognise the latent danger in the other.

Javi makes the first move, nodding in recognition and proffers his hand, feels it taken in a firm handshake, "Nice to meet you sir, haven't been told much about it, but we were all glad to have her home"

"I could say the same Detective, my son doesn't say much about you guys, but I know he trusts you and my own sources agree. Thanks for having his back"

Castle watches, amused, as the two of them lean comfortably against the counter, both studiously ignoring the elongated bundle lying on the counter before them. He gets Javi his coffee, receives a nod of thanks when he passes him the mug. Watches as his father quietly sips his own coffee.

Almost in unison, both men place their empty coffee mugs on the counter and turn inquiring looks in Castle's direction. He leads them into the study, takes his chair by the desk and waits for the others to choose and settle in their own.

They sit there for almost two hours whilst he outlines his plan, explains his thought process, profiles Tyson and uses his 'murder board' to map out the plan of action. His two companions listen, proffer advice, argue their doubts and modify the plans … until his phone goes.

He puts it on speaker "Agent Shaw, any news?"

"Just wanted to let you know that we believe we have found where Tyson was holding Detective Beckett, Mr Castle …" they can hear the weariness in the voice despite the slightly tinny sound emanating from the phone's speaker. "… we're down at the scrap yard by the Liberty Harbour Marina if you want to come down?"

"I take it there is no sign of either of them Agent Shaw?"

"Nothing but minor traces …. blankets, a couple of empty water bottles, some duct tape …"

"What about … signs … of violence?" his voice interrupts, a fist round his heart as he says the words.

"Nothing, Mr Castle …. although we have divers checking the area …" they can hear the reluctance in her voice to take it any further.

"I'll be there shortly Agent Shaw, thanks for calling" He cuts the call and looks at his two companions, "As we thought, he's a step ahead of them. I expect he'll be contacting me soon to keep things rolling. Javi, are you ok with this …?"

Esposito nods, "I called in to tell them I was following a lead … that'll give me a couple of hours before they start buzzing me ... should be ample time to scout the area out, look for the best position … I just hope you're right Castle!"

"CHRIST JAVI! … DON'T YOU THINK … " he bites his tongue, raises an apologetic hand to the Detective.

Esposito shrugs, gives him a lopsided smile, "No problems Bro, I should have said that differently .." he stands up, gives Castle's shoulder a squeeze "We'll get her back Rick … and bury Tyson for good!"

Castle watches as his father gets up and walks Esposito to the door. When he returns he is carrying the blanket wrapped object. He stands it up behind the study door, against the book shelf. The older man shrugs when he sees his soon watching him, "Best not to leave these kind of things lying around in the open. I'll go get what I need … keep the faith Richard, keep the faith". Castle nods, picks up his keys and phone and follows his father out of the loft.

As he pulls in to the scrap yard Castle observes the numerous members of the FBI and NYPD routing through the piles of rusted metal; ship and vehicle parts, old cranes, girders, etc. His escort turns round and heads back out to the Jersey Avenue access, his mission to impede the entry of any unauthorised people.

Climbing out of the car he sees a group of people gathered near the water's edge where an assortment of tugs, barges and smaller workboats are moored around a pontoon stretching out into the water. Curiously enough, the opposite bank holds a number of moored yachts and smaller private crafts creating a sharp contrast between the two.

The group breaks apart as he approaches and Agent Shaw steps towards him. She puts her hand out, grips his arm and guides him onto the pontoon and up onto the narrow decking of a battered, rusted landing craft that had obviously been used as a barge before succumbing to age and rot.

The small wheelhouse atop the poop has plywood sheets fixed across what had once been the windows. Shaw leads Castle into the wheelhouse through the clip door at the rear. Once inside the confined space she points to the bridge chair bolted to the floor.

"My team found some strips of duct tape and adhesive residue on the arms of the chair and on the footrest. Someone was sick here recently …" she points to a small patch of what looks like bile near the front bulkhead "… as well as some empty bottles of water and a couple of old blankets and a piece of tarp down in the hold …" pointing to the forepart of the craft.

Taking his arm she leads him back out of the wheelhouse and round till they are looking down into the hold. The bottom is covered in what looked like old sand, the surface washed into smooth humps and discoloured with a mix of rust, dirt and what might at one point, have been paint. "The impression is someone was camping here … latrine over in the far corner by the front … or the bows as I have been reliably informed they are called. According to the owner of the yard and his employees, no one has been near this hulk for months, certainly not over tha last few days".

She lets him take in the scene for a few moments more before leading him back off the craft and on to the shore. "Divers are still searching, but so far they have found nothing in the immediate area and the M.S.B. …" she notes his look "… Marine Services Bureau, says the currents in this area are very sluggish, unlikely to have carried any …. evidence … very far"

He nods in understanding, not that he really thinks Tyson would finish with her yet … no, he'll want Castle to see it, to suffer it, to be impotent in the face of Tyson's power … no, she is still alive, somewhere.

He turns to her and shakes her hand, "Thank you Agent Shaw, I'll head back to the precinct for a bit … let me know if anything turns up?"

"Of course Rick, I'll keep you in the loop" she answers. Jordan Shaw watches him as he turns and walks back to his car. She knows that he is keeping something from her, and he knows she knows. But whatever it is, she gets the feeling he isn't going to let her in on it. She could haul him in for questioning, isolate him, try and make him cooperate, but her instinct tells her to let him run lose. She has a feeling that keeping tabs on Castle from a distance will lead them to Tyson more effectively that trying to strong-arm the information out of him. Also she had seen how the Writer and Beckett had been together …. she is not going to stand in the way of those two getting together again.

Climbing into the Command vehicle she looks at Agent Lopez "Is it working?"

He looks at the screen and points to a blinking light "Signal's strong, taking a right now onto Grand …"

"Ok, just tell Smalls and Kovak to make sure they don't lose him!"

"Yes ma'am", he answers as he picks up the radio.

She climbs back out and looks for Mathews, spots him talking to a couple of NYPD uniforms and heads in his direction. He sees her coming and turns to meet her. "Dan, I'm headed back to the War Room … I've a feeling this is going to break over the next few hours. Finish up here as soon as you can and head back in".

He nods and watches her turn to go. "Hey, boss …?" and when she's looking back at him "… we'll get him!"

Her tired eyes light up for a moment, the little quirk of her lips momentarily giving the lie to the tiredness of her face. She gives him a wave and heads for her vehicle.

Castle heads back to the 12th, has to park up nearly a block away, but it gives him a chance to pop into Remy's and pick up something to eat. He realizes that apart from coffee this morning he has had nothing to eat since yesterday evening. Not that he really feels like eating, but he's sure things are going to start popping tonight and he needs to have some fuel in his body. He nods to several uniforms, shakes hands with McNulty, gets a pat on the back from Karpowski. It's all there, in small ways, the 'one of us' attitude that he still finds surprising sometimes.

He's in the War Room, watching the screens, waiting for Tyson's next call when Agent Shaw arrives. She's a bit surprised to see him where he said he would be, but lets it go. She hasn't slept for more than a couple of hours in the last twenty-four, so she heads for one of the conference rooms and stretches out on a couch … closes her eyes for a couple of minutes and is soon asleep.

Castle looks at the time. Seven thirty, time to get moving. If he's right and Tyson is planning something for tonight he needs to be ready, be able to set the ball rolling without having the FBI looking over his shoulder. He stands up, stretches, makes a bit of a show about it, picks up his mug and heads for the break room.

He waits a bit then heads out the other door and down the stairwell to the main entrance. As soon as he's on the street he hails a cab, climbs in and gives the address. Twenty minutes later the cab pulls up, he pays, climbs out and waits for it to disappear. He walks back the way the taxi brought him for two blocks, turns into the familiar doorway and heads up in the lift.

He knocks when he reaches the door, hears some movement inside and waits for the door to open. Once he's inside he looks around the familiar apartment. Kate hardly has much of her stuff here anymore, some books, a few pictures, some of her furniture … but most of her stuff has slowly made its way into his … their, loft.

Javi pushes over a plate of spring rolls and a bottle of water. "Get some of both into you" and watches until Castle has eaten a couple of rolls and had some of the water. "Your Dad left these …." and he pushes a small box across the counter.

Castle snaps open the box and looks at the contents; an earbud and a throat microphone. Empty spaces in the foam indicate missing units. Esposito explains them to him "The micro earphone is wireless, the wireless transmission works silently and is automatically picked up by the earbud on the transmission necklace. The microphone's connected to your cell phone with this …. frequency is preset, just talk normally and we'll both hear; anything we say, you'll get in your ear. Just make sure you don't move your lips too much when talking!"

"Ok, I'm heading out to get in position; it could be a long night …" they bumped fists "… good luck bro!"

The ringing of his phone wakes him up. He hadn't expected to fall asleep. The tension had been knotting his stomach. Now he has to clear his throat, lick his lips. He thumbs the answer button.

"Well Mr Writer man. I think it's time we met and settled this little matter, don't you?"

"Where do you want to meet Tyson? And what exactly do you want?"

"What do I want? I'll tell you what I want Castle ... I want you ... in my gunsight ... and maybe I'll let your girlfriend live ..." the mocking laughter bounced around the apartment and Castle had to swallow a lump in his throat.

"You still haven't told me where"

"You remember where we met last time I was in the City Castle?"

"I'm hardly likely to forget ... I put several rounds into you Tyson ... or at least into the vest you were wearing!"

"Half past two Castle ... that's exactly two hours from now, if I don't see you, or I see any cops or Feds ... I drop your Detective with a round through her spine and then I'll go looking for your daughter ... understood?"

"Understoo...", the line goes dead and Castle grips the phone with white-knuckled fingers. He had gambled ... god! He had gambled ... and now ...

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