Stained-Glass Windows

Nosce Te Ipsum

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle

Above the Pronoas in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi the Greek maxim ‘know thyself’ is inscribed as a reminder of the existential journey we embark upon. The quest to understand our own nature is not one undertaken lightly, it is an arduous road that may never end, and yet, the key to finding some measure of truth is the understanding that the quest itself holds the answer. Part of the wonder of life, part of the joy inherent to the quest is the search for answers, a quest to discover the unknown that is just as important, if not more, than achieving truth. It is the curse of omniscience, a knowledge of everything means we can not be surprised, we can not experience the fun of learning the new and original. It means something to be surprised. It means something to learn and grow and evolve.

It is life. As we crawled from the primordial ooze, as we evolved and became better, the course of human history tells us that we are meant to be better, that we are meant to be giants ourselves. The obstacles we face in our life are meant to show us the wonder of the world, they are meant to force you to rise above yourself and discover the depths of your own strength and passion.

Know thyself. Discover thyself.

For if we are so brave, we will discover the greatness that resides in us all.

May 14th, 2012-Roosevelt Island

BP Building

10:27 A.M.

The Beati Pacifici building was part of a larger complex spanning 1.27 acres at the junction of east and west Main Street on Roosevelt Island. Each building in the complex served a specific purpose and each were connected by an elevated walkway. Built in 1996, the buildings were a marvel of modern architecture and were a monument to the solitary nature of the business Mason Harrison had built. Building Four held the training facilities for the business’ mercenary operations, Building Three consisted of dorms that would house civilians and soldiers in training, Building Two housed the accounting and business wing of BP, and Building One was the crown jewel of the business. At 28 stories, this glass structure stood as the crowing achievement of BP. Housed on the 24th floor on the north side of the building was the office of Mason Harrison.

From the beginning, the gang knew that Mason Harrison would not go quietly, they knew he would fight an insane battle to stay in power, and as the owner and CEO of Beati Pacifici, removing him from power through other means was next to impossible. Thus, they had devised a strategy that sought the least amount of casualties and the maximum amount of success.

Mom, I am going to walk into hell with the help of my friends…

On September 17th, 2011, a group of protestors walked into Zuccotti Park in New York City and began a movement labeled Occupy Wall Street. Their goal was simple: to draw attention to the vast economic difference between the 99% of the world’s population that held little of the world’s wealth. In their estimation, the elite 1% that held nearly all the power and economic wealth in the world was responsible for the economic collapse of the world economy in 2008. When Rick called Micah White, senior editor of Adbusters, he presented a target for the waning movement, and in so doing, he helped to create the distraction.

Right on schedule, 63 members of the Occupy Wall Street movement dressed in matching black trench coats made their way to the doors of Building One in the Beati Pacifici complex. They entered the lobby and spread out holding signs that spoke to the inequality they fought against, and made their presence known.

Captain Mark Strong spoke quickly into his walkie-talkie, “Sir, we have a situation.”

Mason Harrison’s reply from his 24th story office was immediate, “What’s wrong, Captain?”

“Protestors, Sir. At least 50 have begun to take over our lobby. We think they are with Occupy Wall Street.”

“Take the men you need and take care of it Captain.”

“Sir, there are camera’s and member’s of the media within their ranks.”

Mason Harrison sighed, “Alright, use the utmost discretion. The last thing we need is a media fire storm. If you need to do so, call in local police to help clear out the lobby, but I want it done.”

“Yes, Sir. I’ll take care of it.” Captain Strong signaled to his men to follow him as he left the command center on the 17th floor and began his trek to the lobby to quell the protestors.

Meanwhile…

When Jordan first told them that Mason Harrison was planning on making a final stand, they weren’t surprised. They recognized how difficult this would make serving the arrest warrant, they would be walking directly into his home and he knew they would be coming. Undoubtedly, he would be waiting with some of his best trained employees, and so the plan that was devised was meant to take those soldiers from him and take him by surprise. Thanks to the Commissioner, which still turned their stomachs, Mason expected them in two days, and thanks to Rick’s acquaintance with the Occupy movement, they would have their distraction. Still, that meant they had to get into the building…

Using the side entrance to Building One, the one reserved for employees and janitorial services, three white vans pulled up to the gate moments before the Occupy movement made its move in the lobby. Dressed as janitors, Kate, Esposito, Ryan and two trusted SWAT teams were housed in the three vans. They used credentials supplied by Jordan Campbell and were easily allowed admittance to the parking garage underneath Building One.

As they parked and exited their vans, Kate wondered, “Are we ready?”

Her, Esposito and Ryan were all dressed as janitors but Ryan would be the one who needed to pass himself off as a janitor. Kate and Esposito would hide in the cart Ryan would push through the halls of BP.

“Yeah, I think we’re ready. You know, we could have chosen a better color”

A few minutes later…

Kate and Esposito made their way to the 24th floor, Ryan held his station in the camera room on the 23rd floor after arresting members of Harrison’s security team, and SWAT had taken up positions on all entrances to higher floors in order to keep Mason Harrison’s men from re-engaging. This part of the plan had gone well, the cart Ryan used to get Kate and Esposito into the building had been a great way of hiding their numbers and keeping everything secret until they were ready, and the SWAT teams had gotten into position with little resistance after Ryan had taken the camera room.

“Kate, watch your back. Something doesn’t feel right. We got here far too easily.”

“Couldn’t it just be a great plan?”

“Uh huh, this is us. The universe doesn’t seem to ever want this to be easy.”

They made their way into Mason Harrison’s office only to find the office empty. They were certain he would be here but the massive office whose windows allowed for an incredible view of the East River seemed to be deserted. Did he know they were coming? How?

While Kate stood at Mason’s desk searching for a clue as to Mason’s whereabouts, Esposito had turned to look at the books along the back wall near the windows to search for a way out of the office they hadn’t observed. They were surprised when he wasn’t in the office and thought maybe he had escaped through some unknown passageway. They didn’t hear the door in the back of the office open, the door which held a secret alcove where Mason could hide when needed, and it was far too late for the detectives to defend themselves. Two shots rang out. One struck Esposito in his Kevlar but the other tore through his leg and shattered the bone ten inches above the knee. He screamed in pain and fell backwards toward the window. A third shot rang out as Kate spun around and pointed her gun at a smiling Mason Harrison. To her horror, the window shattered and Esposito fell through the open hole in the building.

May 14th, 2012-Roosevelt Island

Commissioner’s Office

10:27 A.M.

Captain Gates walked into the Commissioner’s Office flanked by her two most trusted officers from the 12th precinct. A dirty cop was the most dangerous beast in the jungle, but a cop with the power of the Commissioner represented the height of hypocrisy, corruption and power.

“Hello Mr. Zeigler.”

“Well, hello Victoria. What can I do for you today?”

“You can come with me, without a fight.”

The Commissioner rose from his desk with a look of shock, “What?”

“I have an arrest warrant for you, Mr. Zeigler.”

“And what could you possibly be arresting ME for?”

“Let’s start with conspiracy to commit murder and go from there. You were Mason Harrison’s lap dog, you betrayed all of us. You are the reason eight of my officers are dead!”

The look on the Commissioner’s face told the story, “Good luck proving that.”

“Oh we have more than enough evidence. We have Jordan Campbell. You are going to prison for a very long time.”

Raymond Zeigler’s faced paled at the mention of Jordan Campbell, and as if by instinct, he began to reach for his gun that sat hidden underneath the tray on his desk.

Captain Gates saw him reach for his gun and her eyes narrowed at the piece of garbage in front of her. She nearly whispered her reply in anger, “Don’t do it, Mr. Zeigler. I don’t want to have to kill you, though it might be a pleasurable experience in your case.”

It was a stand-off, Captain Gates held her hand on her gun and it seemed that Raymond Zeigler was contemplating whether he could beat her. With the knowledge that he would probably die, his hand left his desk and reached into the air.

Captain Gates relaxed just a little, “Take him.”

The two officers by her side moved around the desk and took Mr. Zeigler into custody as the stare-down continued between the Captain of the 12th precinct and one of the most powerful men in New York City.

“Raymond Zeigler, you are under arrest for corruption and conspiracy to commit murder, you have the right to remain silent…”

May 14th, 2012-Roosevelt Island

BP Building

10:49 A.M.

…take the Devil’s trident…

Kate held her gun on Mason Harrison but could not maintain her gaze, Esposito was hanging on to the ledge of the building and he would not last long. She wanted nothing more than to help her fallen friend, but Mason Harrison held his gun on her and she knew that a moment of hesitation would lead to both her death and Esposito’s.

“Give it up, Mason! We have the building, your team is cut off from the upper floors, and there is nowhere to hide. It’s over!”

“I don’t think so, Detective. You forgot about the heli-pad on top of the building. I am going to escape, and when I do, I will come after you and finish the job. Until then young lady, you have a choice. Stop me or save your friend.”

“You know what I will choose.”

“And you will prove my point. Your naïve view of the world and your friends will be your downfall. You lose, Detective.”

Mason began to inch towards the door as Kate began to inch towards the hanging form of her friend. When Mason made a hasty retreat from the door, Kate hustled over to the window and looked out at the city of New York. Esposito dangled 24 floors above the ground, he had a nasty leg wound and was hurt badly from the bullet which struck his vest. Kate screamed, “Espo, I’m here!”

She quickly fell to her knees and grabbed Esposito’s arm to try and give him something else to grab on to and allow him a bit of respite. “Espo, I can’t pull you up!”

Esposito grunted and panted, “Just let me go, Kate. Go get him!”

“NO! Absolutely not! We are getting out of here, don’t let go, do you understand! Don’t you let go!”

“Kate, you can’t pull me up and I don’t have the strength to pull myself up.”

Just then, the door to the office burst open and Ryan made his way into the office. “Ryan, I’ve never been happier to see anyone! Get over here and help!”

In an instant, Ryan was at Kate’s side. He reached down to grab Esposito’s other arm, and together, he and Kate slowly pulled Esposito back into the office. When he was finally back in the office, everyone in the office breathed a sigh of relief.

Kate hit Esposito in the chest, “Don’t you ever try to sacrifice yourself again!”

Esposito couldn’t muster a response as he slumped down against the bookcase in the back of the office. Ryan and Kate were relieved with the situation until they saw the blood and the wound in Esposito’s leg. It was bad. Immediately, Ryan began to rip apart his sweater using the knife he held in his belt, he tied two ends together and tried to apply a tourniquet above the injury. Kate and Ryan worked together, Kate held pieces of Ryan’s sweater to the wound in his leg, and though they were certain the bullet hadn’t nicked the femoral artery, Esposito was still bleeding badly and in considerable pain.

They noticed too that he was on the verge of going into shock, and they were also certain that Esposito’s femur was broken. He couldn’t walk and they needed to get him to an ambulance.

“We have to stop the bleeding Javi. This is going to hurt.”

Ryan then chose a spot mid-to-upper-thigh and wrapped the make-shift tourniquet around Esposito’s leg. He tied the tourniquet tight, cutting off blood flow to the wound, while Esposito bit back the scream which ached to spill forth. The pain was nearly blinding as his shattered leg took only more punishment. Kate’s decision was easy…

“Ryan, we have to get him out of here. He is bleeding out and is about to go into shock.”

“What are we going to do? I can’t leave you alone…”

“Yes you can. And you will. Take him down in the same cart we brought you guys up in and get him an ambulance.”

“No! You can’t go after Mason alone.”

Esposito grabbed Kate’s arm and looked her dead in the face, “You can’t do this alone. I’ll be fine. The blood loss is slowing and I…my head…my head…is…clearing. A little.”

Kate smiled down on her fallen friend, “Since when has it ever been clear?”

“Is this really the time to…make fun of me? I am wounded here.”

Kate fought back the tears which threatened to spill, “I won’t lose you guys. I won’t. Ryan, I promise, I will take my time and be careful. You have to get him out of here. You know I’m right.”

Ryan looked between Kate and Esposito; he was clearly torn between saving his brother and being there for his sister. Without preamble, he surged towards Kate and hugged her fiercely, a terrible decision made. When they pulled apart, Kate had to once again fight back tears, “You have to come home, do you understand. No matter what, you come home!”

“I promise, I will.”

“Here is the walkie-talkie I took from the guys in the camera room, listen to it and make sure you take him out. C’mon Espo, let’s get you out of here.”

Esposito was angry, “I told you to leave me!”

“And I’m prettier than you and I can walk. The decision is made, so shut-up partner.”

Kate grabbed Esposito’s arms and allowed her eyes to tell the story, “No man left behind, Espo.”

Esposito sighed and simply nodded, “That includes you, you know?”

“I’ll be fine, I promise.”

Ryan ran back towards the camera room and grabbed the cart they used to get into the building. While he was doing so, Kate called dispatch for back-up and an ambulance. By this time, it didn’t matter that the rest of the 12th knew about the raid, hopefully the Commissioner would be in custody, and thus, there was no fear of the actual date of the raid leaking.

Ryan sprinted back to Mason’s office and together with Kate, they carefully loaded Esposito into the cart so Ryan could take him down to a waiting ambulance.

Ryan took one last look at Kate and hated himself just a little more. She was going after the man who ordered the murder of Johanna Beckett, and though they had promised not to let her go it alone, that is exactly what was going to happen. He didn’t have a choice, this was the only option because there was no one else. He couldn’t pull members of SWAT to help because they were spread thin across the five paths that led to the upper floors of Building One, and if Mason Harrison’s men were able to get past SWAT, Kate stood absolutely no chance. As they left the room, both Esposito and Ryan looked back at Kate and wondered if this would be the last time they saw their sister.

Meanwhile…

Mason Harrison purposefully made his way to the heli-pad on top of Building One. He would make them pay for their treachery, he would escape today, and tomorrow, he would bring the war to their door-steps.

“This is Harrison. I need my chopper fully gassed and brought to bear to the roof-top of Building One. Extraction point will be marked with green flair. I need back-up. Send in Task Force 5.”

“Roger that Mr. Harrison, ETA is 24 minutes.”

He only needed to survive for twenty-four minutes, and as he made his way up the stairs toward the door to the room which rested on the 28th floor, he knew he would win this day.

…and plunge it through his heart…

Through the walkie-talkie now firmly strapped to her belt, Kate struck out towards Mason Harrison and the heli-pad on top of the BP building. She heard the ETA, she knew she had 23 minutes and 59 seconds to end this, and it became a race against time as she hauled herself up the stairs. If that helicopter reached the top of the building, she was certain that members of his security personal would overwhelm her, and Mason Harrison would be able to escape. She was alone, she had no back-up, and her only tools were her mind and her gun. She hoped that was enough.

Kate raced up the stairs, her knowledge of this building the product of dedication and study over the plans Jordan Campbell provided, and when she reached the door to the roof, she paused. He would be waiting on the other side. She had to get on the other side of that door, she had to get to him before the helicopter came to spirit him away. This had to end. Now.

With everything she had, she threw herself at the door. It slammed open and she stumbled through as she was met with gunfire. It was close but she was able to duck behind a near-by heating unit. A few more bullets rang out before she heard his voice, “Well, well Detective Beckett. Turns out you are more persistent than I anticipated.”

“Yeah, I’m plucky. Who knew?”

“Certainly not me, young lady.”

Kate cringed. She hated being called that and it didn’t help that this asshole was the one doing it. Kate leaned out from behind the heating vent, her gun drawn, and saw Mason Harrison standing about 40 yards away. When she stepped away from the vent, she expected shots to again ring out, but she heard nothing. Slowly, she stepped out from behind the vent she was behind, and brought her gun up to an arrogant and proud man whose gun was trained on her.

“Give it up, Mason. Nobody has to die today!”

As she said it, she kept her eyes focused on the man in front of her, and as they began to circle each other from forty yards, she could see his amusement at the situation.

“You are too far away to shoot me with any certainty and I would be more than happy to take you out before I go. When my helicopter arrives, you will die, and I will live to fight another day. I told you detective, the first rule of war is to know your enemy and I know that you won’t try to kill me from there. You want to live today and I don’t mind dying. I win. You lose. Accept it.”

“You know what I hate? I hate it when the bad guys devolve into a big long speech that explains their plans and exposes their arrogance. Just wear a fucking black hat! It’ll accomplish the same thing!”

They continued to circle each other, guns pointed directly at the other, though neither was willing to fire and risk missing from this distance. Kate was trying to close the distance as they spoke, yet, for every step she took forward, Mason took two steps back. He knew this roof and knew that he could keep this deadly game going until his helicopter arrived. If that happened, Kate would surely lose this fight. She had to think of a way to end this…

“You still haven’t learned, have you? There is no need to curse.”

He was arrogant, he was mid-50’s, and he thought he could beat her at anything. He thought he was better than her. Use that. Use it, Kate.

“Oh, come on Mason, is that really what you want to talk to me about?”

The voice came through her walkie-talkie, “Fifteen minutes, Sir. Stand-bye.”

“There are few things more important than manners, Ms. Beckett. Of course, in fifteen minutes you will be dead, so that’s pretty important.”

“Mason, do you really think you can beat me?”

They continued to stalk each other, circling each other, and though she tried to close the distance, he maintained the 40 yard gap between them. She knew she had to pull him in, she knew that she wouldn’t win this with her gun, and she knew that she had to do it quickly.

“Oh, I know I can.”

“Then why not put those Delta fists where your mouth is, Mason?”

“You really want to fight me? You wouldn’t stand a chance!”

“Maybe. This is your chance Mason. C’mon make me call you Sir!”

Mason laughed at her obvious ploy, “Do you think I am a moron, Detective?”

“The thought had crossed my mind.”

“Oh really? You don’t think I’m clueless to your ruse, do you?”

“Oh, I know you have it puzzled out. But can you really turn down the opportunity to prove me wrong?”

For a moment, Mason Harrison considered his options, “That thought has crossed my mind. You have been a thorn in my side for far too long, Ms. Beckett, and I must admit, the thought is…heavenly.”

As Mason smiled at her, she knew she had him, “Then do your best to show me just how much better than me you are!”

Mason Harrison smiled and Kate recognized the moment he fell for her ruse, “I will take pleasure in this opportunity, Ms. Beckett.”

“Good. I’d like to see you try.”

Mason could not contain his excitement, “Why don’t we drop our clips on three?”

Kate smiled back and met his excitement with determination, “I’m all in.”

They continued to face each other, both certain in the knowledge that they would drop their clips from their guns and try to tear into each other. Kate needed to end this and Mason wanted to prove his veracity. Oh, he would drop his clip…

“On three. 1…2…3…”

On the count of three, both Kate and Mason dropped their clips and calmly tossed their guns to the side. With that, Kate was about to find out if ‘just’ Kate would be enough to win the day. Kate calmly removed her coat, Mason did the same, and without so much as a word, they walked towards each other, both fighting for their lives.

The fight started slowly, both circled each other for the first few seconds, but Mason then unleashed a flurry of defined and deft kicks and punches. His technique was phenomenal, his kicks were precise and his punches were utilized to maximum efficiency. Kate was easily able to dance away from them though, and in return, she volleyed. She threw two punches and a kick, but like his attack, hers were parried with ease.

For the first minute of the match, they were even, both unable to breach the other’s defenses, but while Mason knew this roof, Kate did not. When she stumbled slightly over a cable that ran across the roof, Mason saw his chance and took it was ease. Mason rushed Kate after she stumbled, his shoulder tackle sent her sprawling across the roof, and before she was able to pick herself back up, Mason threw a kick that connected with her ribs.

Kate recovered quickly, though the wind had been knocked out of her, and she caught the second kick he threw at her side. With her right arm, she brought it down on his right knee with as much force as she could. She felt the tight muscles of his leg tense and try to take the blow, but his scream of agony revealed her success. With all of her strength, Kate grabbed Mason’s leg and was able to use his momentum and weight to launch him over her in a leg throw. Mason crashed to the ground and Kate took the moment to recover her breath and ready herself for the next assault.

Mason was up quickly, favoring his right leg, and Kate saw an opportunity. She charged Mason and tried to throw two quick punches aimed at his head, but Mason deflected and then connected with a swift right hook to Kate’s jaw. She staggered backwards and felt another quick punch to her stomach, the pain registering immediately. She tried to focus and regain control, but he was on her in a moment.

Mason surged forward and enveloped Kate in a bear hug, he had her arms pinned to her side and her legs swung wildly as his arms squeezed tighter and tighter. Desperate, Kate did the only thing she could think might work, she head-butted Mason and felt his nose break under her forehead. With a scream of pain, Mason released Kate who dropped to the ground as Mason staggered backwards. Fighting through the pain in her side and face, Kate threw an uppercut that connected with Mason’s jaw, and as he threw a defensive punch towards her, she grabbed his arm and hip-threw him over her. She held on to his wrist while she did and then rammed her knee forcefully into his side. She heard the delicious sound of his ribs cracking. Thinking that it might finally be over, Kate moved to break Mason’s arm. Before she could deliver the final blow however, Mason grabbed a handful of rocks and dirt from the roof and threw the dust cloud into Kate’s unsuspecting eyes.

Momentarily blinded and in pain, Kate let go of his wrist and had her legs taken out from underneath her by a swift leg sweep. She could barely see through the dirt and rocks but she felt the two punches which found their mark on her left cheek and stomach. Then, much like Esposito, Mason kicked her as hard as he could in the ribs. She flew off the ground and heard the sickening crack of her ribs as she slammed backwards into a metal box she could only guess was an air conditioning unit. The pain was horrendous, and for a fleeting moment, she thought she had lost.

Then she heard the strangled laughter of the man who stood about eight feet from her, “I told you…I would…win…Detective.”

They both were breathing heavily, they were both in pain, but he was the one taunting her through the blood that adorned his face. Kate began to crawl through the pain in her ribs and the cloud which seemed to envelop her from the wounds on her face. She blinked desperately, trying to clear her eyes of the dirt and rocks which had been thrown at her, and with all the strength she had left, she crawled towards her gun, which lay just a few feet from her. The laughter continued…

“Ms. Beckett, your clip is far on the other side of the roof and you have no bullets. What are you going to do, throw your gun at me? Admit it, I have won.”

As she reached her gun, Mason stumbled towards her and grabbed Kate’s hair pulling her head further from the ground while her hand wrapped around her gun, “Call me, Sir! Call me Sir, you bitch, and I will do you the honor of a quick death!”

With that, he slammed her head to the ground, opening up a wound across her forehead. Kate was dazed but held onto her gun through it all. As Mason stepped back a few feet, Kate did all she could to come to a sitting position against the A/C unit she had been slammed against only moments earlier. “Now…now…Mason…there is no…need for cursing.”

“Defiant to the end, Ms. Beckett?”

“Of…of course….” She sputtered.

Mason continued to breathe heavily and he slouched a little from the wound he took in his ribs, “Cute. You know, it’s really too bad that I will have to kill you.”

Kate’s head cleared just enough to ask her question, “Do you remember what I told you in that coffee shop, Mason?”

“Oh sure, my arrogance would be my downfall. I think you may have been mistaken.”

“I wasn’t.” Kate coughed and winced at the pain in her ribs, “And I have proof.”

“What’s that?”

“How many bullets did I have in my gun?”

“You really think a former member of Delta wouldn’t know that? Fifteen, Ms Beckett.”

“Wrong, you arrogant asshole.”

Mason’s shocked look told the story, “I am not wrong, Ms. Beckett. Your clip held fifteen bullets.”

Kate breathed deeply and felt the confusion leave her body, “You forgot about the one in the chamber.”

Kate lifted her gun towards Mason and saw the fear play across his face. Before he could charge her and before he could end this, Kate took her last shot.

The last bullet left in the chamber screamed from the barrel in a puff of smoke and fire, it tore through Mason’s chest and pierced his heart, ripped it apart, and sent his body plunging toward the ground. His knees hit the ground first. Mason Harrison took one last look at Kate before falling face first to the ground in front of her.

Mason Harrison was dead.

May 14th, 2012-Roosevelt Island

BP Building: Heli-Pad

11:24 A.M.

…And I’m going to do it…for Castle…

As she stared at the lifeless form of the man who had ordered the death of her mother, the pain from her bruised ribs and the blood from her head wound reminded her that this battle wasn’t over quite yet. The helicopter was still en route. It would be so easy to give up now, Mason Harrison was dead and her family had achieved what they wanted today. A part of her wanted to give up, to swear to the world and tell it that it could finally have her after it dished out so much torment and emotional agony.

And then she remembered the words of those who loved her. Come home, Kate. Come home!

The words of Esposito, Martha and Rick flowed through her then and squashed her reluctance to fight, her own determination and fierce will rose up through the depths of her heart, and she found the strength she needed buried deep within her soul. She couldn’t give up. She wouldn’t give up. They made her promise to come home. The people she loved lifted her arm and helped her to crawl across the roof of Building One. She pulled herself with all of her strength towards the clip of her gun, and though she knew it might be futile, she hoped that she could defend her broken and beaten body from the onslaught of Mason Harrison’s security personal. Her family continued to lift her arms as she crawled; they whispered to her, encouraged her, and pled with her to fight back. They told her to fight as hard as she could because home was waiting for her. Because they loved her.

Fight, Kate. Fight with every single fiber of your being.

Her fingers and arms burned with the effort and her breath was clearly labored. All she could think was ‘get to Castle…find a way home…’

When she heard the helicopter getting close, she was but a few inches from absolution and with all the strength she had left, she picked up her discarded clip and loaded her gun. If they were going to take her away from her family, if they were going to kill her today, they would have to defeat her and the family which buoyed her strength and will.

She prepared herself as best she could, the helicopter roared closer, and her own strength and determination steeled her to a battle she thought she might be able win.

As the helicopter closed in, what she saw in the distance was nothing short of a shock. That helicopter was blue. As the helicopter flew ever closer, she recognized the insignia on the side door. Relief washed over her. It was NYPD…

When the helicopter landed, six men she recognized from the 12th precinct jumped off the helicopter and swiftly made their way to the door. She was about to call out to them and ask for help when she saw another man get off the helicopter.

The man raced towards her as the other members of SWAT stormed the building to help their team-mates who had kept Mason Harrison’s men at bay, “Kate!”

Castle raced towards Kate who fought to sit up, “Rick!”

When he finally reached her, his concern was evident, “You wrote me your first love letter.”

Kate smiled and winced at the same time, “I knew you wouldn’t stay in the loft today.”

Castle fell to one knee and took Kate’s face in his hands, “I couldn’t. You aren’t the only one who would be broken if one of us didn’t come home. I had to be here.”

“How…how…”

Castle tried to look Kate over, she had bruises on her face and her wince which accompanied every breath she took told him that she probably had injured ribs. The good news was that she wasn’t bleeding anymore, the blood had clotted and created a mess in her hair and face, “Kate, the entire precinct is outside. I figured that since the Commissioner had been taken down, it was safe to bring everyone. After what happened at the 12th, did you really think any of those guys would miss this?”

Kate’s breath continued to be labored, “No, no I didn’t. Castle I…”

Castle kissed Kate on the lips and drew away from her with tears in his eyes, “Don’t. Not right now. I love you, Kate. I promised myself that if I could, I would carry you out of hell. And that’s what I am going to do.”

“Castle, you can’t…can’t carry me all the way to the ground.”

Kate was clearly struggling and needed medical attention, and if he could carry her to elevator, he could take her down to the waiting ambulance’s he and the other members of SWAT had called in to help. Castle was fairly certain nothing in this world, not even his physique, could keep him from getting her there, “Maybe not, but I can get you to the elevator. C’mon, we have to get you to an ambulance. What happened here?”

Kate smiled and fought back the moans of pain that yearned to escape, “Later. Right now, let’s get out of here. You sure you can get me to the elevator?”

Castle looked over at the dead body of Mason Harrison, “Absolutely. So, it’s over?”

Kate couldn’t hide the tears anymore, “Yes. It’s over. Now…take me home, Castle.”

Castle caught her eyes and the conversation they had in those few precious moments spoke volumes, “Always.”

Castle leaned down and picked Kate up as gingerly as he could, he could feel the pain which coursed through her body, and he could think of nothing but getting her to the waiting ambulances outside. Mason Harrison was dead and Kate was alive. For Castle, that’s all that mattered.

For fourteen years, Kate had lived a double life. Feelings of inadequacy reinforced the notion that Kate wasn’t enough, that Kate couldn’t solve her mother’s murder, and that Kate did nothing but fail. Detective Beckett had taken Kate’s place years ago and pushed the world away because it did nothing but exhibit pain and anguish. That mask helped to keep the girl’s heart protected and safe after it was shattered when Detective Raglan told them the horrible news. It was a wall that kept her tucked away. And though her existential journey wasn’t complete, she had earned a powerful victory today. For Kate, all that mattered was the man who swept her away.

Know thyself, indeed.


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