ROLE REVERSAL

EPILOGUE

Javier Esposito stares through the scope at the scene on the raised span of the bridge. He watches carefully as Castle straightens up from his slightly crouched position then steps over the central barrier before rushing to Beckett's side. He sees him crouch down beside her, pull her up into his arms, watches as she holds her taped hands up to his face.

He swings the scope back to Tyson, stares at the body lying on its side ... he had known it was a killing shot even as he squeezed the trigger. Only his previous training and Castle's countdown had stopped him swinging the scope to look for the source of the explosions ... he had not expected that, but even as he had thought to swing the rifle he had seen Tyson begin his turn, had seen Beckett's face swing away and then out of the scope's field of view ... he was unsure of the why ... but then Tyson's head had filled the reticule ... he had made a slight adjustment, let his breath ease out, had sensed that instant between heartbeats, had caressingly squeezed the trigger ... had not only sensed, but had also seen the killing shot hit home. As any trained sniper would do, he called in the hit "Tyson's down".

Now he licks his lips, feels around near the base of the parapet for the bottle of water, takes a long drink before recapping it and slipping it into the fishing rod case. He takes down the Remington, folds the bipod back against the barrel, flips the scope caps shut and releases the magazine. He removes each of the nine rounds in the magazine, drops the rounds into his pocket and snaps the now empty magazine back into place.

The gun, bag of rice and binoculars join the water bottle before he zips it closed, picks up the blanket and folds it over his shoulder. With a last look round he makes sure there are no traces of his visit. He heads back into the building, checks that the top floor hallway is empty ... either the occupants had not heard the twin explosions, were playing safe ... or were not interested. He reaches the fire escape, heads down to the last platform and uses the same awning to reach the street ... no dangling ladder to make this fire-escape especially interesting to investigators.

He leaves his car where it is, but slides the fishing bag with its contents in under the seat before locking the door and heading at a trot down the street towards the bridge which is already beginning its descent.

The man who had presented himself to his son as Hunt was still watchful. Hearing Rick's "Fireworks south?" he had assumed they were on the northern end of the span, not that the explosives were potent, they were little more than flash-bangs, a slightly souped up version of the SWAT's stun grenades, detonated by phone, each one with its own number. So he had selected the first number, hit the dial on the "five" count and then speed dialled the second one. Seconds later he had heard Esposito's "Tyson's down".

Relief had flooded through him but he still needed to make sure his son and his Detective were ok. He turned the key on the bridge's control panel to the down position and heard the steady rumble of the bridge's central span begin its descent. The bridge operator, Dario Coressi it says on the ID card hanging round his neck, is showing signs of coming round and Hunt doesn't really want that, best if he sleeps a little longer. He kneels down, gets the man into a sitting position and places an arm lock on his neck. He applies a little pressure on the carotids, cutting the blood supply to the brain, counts to fifteen and eases him back on to the floor.

Exiting the control room he heads for the bridge and walks towards the now visible Draw Span which is about halfway down. Across the gap he can see Esposito waiting on the other side. They raise a hand to each other, a cross between a salute and a thank you.

Castle's instinctive ducking on seeing Tyson's brains burst out the back of his head had initially left him feeling a bit silly, then, seeing Kate staring at him in disbelief from the ground, propped up on an elbow, he had rushed over to her pulling her into a tight hug. It had only been the unintelligible sounds coming from somewhere close to his chest that had reminded him of duct tape and pissed off Detectives. He had carefully peeled the tape off her mouth wincing at her evident pain before adding more bruising to her already painful lips by crushing his own to hers in a heartfelt kiss.

Initially she had responded, then she had started forcefully tapping his chest in frustration at still having her wrists taped together. He had managed to peel the edge off and unwind it ... there was no way he could have torn through it without something sharp. As soon as her hands were free Kate had wrapped them round his neck and kissed him until they both needed air.

It had been the jerking of the span into slow descent that had pulled them back to the present. He had helped her to her feet and led her across to the sidewalk, her still 'shackled' ankles something that they would need to work on soon. Leaving her for a moment he had crossed over to where Tyson's corpse lay crumpled on the ground the pooling blood, scattering of bone and brain matter ensuring he was not going to be coming back any time soon. He didn't look for long, just sufficient to confirm that he was effectively dead before returning to Kate's side.

She is sitting on the ground legs drawn up, back to one of the bridge's girders. She looks at him as he sits down next to her "Is he dead?"

He nods "Totally!"

She sighs, leans against him and grabs his hand as he throws his arm over her shoulder and pulls her into his side "Good" is all she says.

As the central span of the bridge settles into place, two figures approach them, one from either side. "You guys ok?" ask Javi as he reaches them. They both nod in exhaustion at him. She reaches out a hand and takes his in a fierce grip.

"Thanks Javi"

He shrugs, slightly embarrassed, "Hey chica, anytime"

By now Hunt has joined them; he looks at each one in turn and nods silently. "Everyone ok?"

"Dad, meet Kate, Kate, my Dad" says Castle with a laconically waved hand.

He bends down, gives Kate a kiss on the cheek before standing up again, "Nice to meet you Kate, I'd like to stay and chat, but I need to get going". He holds his hand out to Javi and both men shake saying nothing with words, everything with looks. With a final look at Castle he says "I'll be in touch Richard", turns and walks off into the night.

Javi walks to the railings, puts his hand into his pocket, fishes around for a bit and pulls his fist out. He holds his hand out, opens his fist and watches the splashes which pepper the Canal's surface for a moment before the sluggish current smoothes the surface out again.

He goes back and sits down next to Castle, watches a moment as the worn out Detective rests her head against the worn out Writer's chest and closes her eyes. He turns his head to look at the crumpled figure lying further down the bridge. "Bro, I wonder how that guy got shot?"

Castle looks at him, shrugs his shoulder and says "I haven't got a clue, one minute the guy's got us at gunpoint, next he's dropped dead ... good job you turned up in time to get us down"

They both turn their heads to the south as the sound of approaching sirens reaches them, then turn back to look at each other. They bump fists, grin at each other before schooling their features into reasonable seriousness ... which becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as a gentle snore emanates from amongst the tangled chestnut curls resting on Castles chest.

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