Stained-Glass Windows

Turning the Tide


May 2nd, 2012-New York City

Castle’s Loft

8:34 A.M

In New York City, May isn’t necessarily the end of spring and the beginning of summer. The chill still in the air from a spring desperate to maintain its grasp permeated the loft and made the citizens of New York curse the ineffectiveness of global warming. Mothers and fathers bundled up their kids in that early morning frenzied ritual, bankers pulled up their collars to keep out the wind, and officers of the NYPD reveled in the lull of crime this weather always seemed to bring.

In the early morning hours of a New York City Wednesday, the sun bathed the landscape with a calming early morning dew that provided an almost ghostly backdrop. Among the peace and tranquility of an early morning slept three detectives, a medical examiner, a teacher, an actress, a writer and a daughter. Yet, they were so much more than the labels they carried with them, whether they held a badge or not, they were a family that sought justice. A family that faced an arduous trek through the valley of death, and though they feared no evil, the specter of loss and a powerful enemy who seemed determined to bring the war home would force them to a place they never knew. To a place where the sun rarely shined.

“Baby, are you awake?”

“Yeah, you?”

“Nope, I’m asleep.”

“I’ve always found it amazing how you can do so many things at once.”

“I teach children, multi-tasking is my specialty.”

Ryan and Jenny lay in the bed formed from Castle’s pull-out couch, and breathed in the atmosphere of family. After deciding to stay at the loft, the gang divided the three available beds amongst the couples. Javier and Lanie slept in Castle’s bed because of his injuries, Rick and Kate took the pull-out bed in the study, and Jenny and Ryan took the pull-out bed in the living room.

With his arms firmly entrenched around his wife, Ryan could find no better place in the world to wake up, “You do an amazing job, those kids are lucky.”

“You do an amazing job too.”

“I try my best.”

“I feel so useless sometimes when it comes to your job. I wish I could help you but I would have no idea where to begin.”

“I don’t. I know you could and I know you would be amazing, but you need to keep that innocence that I love so much.”

“How dangerous is this case going to be Kevin?”

He never lied to his wife, though sometimes he wished he could, “Dangerous. I believe in what we are doing but I don’t want you involved Jen.”

“You don’t tell me everything do you?”

Kevin sighed, “No I don’t. It’s not because I don’t trust you sweetie, it’s because I have to leave it at the 12th or it will weigh me down. I need to be whole and I can’t be that way unless I leave the job in that building.”

Jenny sighed, “Why can’t you just be a teacher or a banker?”

Kevin smiled and kissed his wife on the cheek, “You know you are the one with patience in this relationship.”

Jenny smiled too, “I must be to put up with you!”

Two hours later, give or take a few cups of coffee….

Captain Gates stepped up to the updated murder board, “I interrogated our suspect this morning, but as expected, he said absolutely nothing. He didn’t even request a lawyer.”

Esposito spoke from past experience, “I’m not surprised. He is former Delta. We could torture him for days and he might give us his name.”

“Speaking of names, I ran that photo by a friend of mine at DOD…”

This worried Beckett instantly, “Do you trust him?”

“With my life, Detective. Mr. Castle isn’t the only one with ‘guys’.”

Ryan’s skepticism was palpable, “Please tell me he gave us something useful.”

“Well, I don’t know how useful this is but we now have names for the ‘other’ two men in the picture from the package. The problem is that they, just like Mr. Smith, are aliases that have almost no history. Their credit is perfect, they have no credit cards and their identities are almost brand new. Both go back only 5 years, so we aren’t getting anything beyond that.”

“What are their names?”

“The one we have in custody is named Ben Jenkins and the other one is named Michael Tucker, and they are both former delta members discharged in 1988.”

Esposito chimed in, “Why can’t we get into those files from the DOD?”

Kate answered for Captain Gates, “They are classified top-secret because of the cover-up that prompted the discharge, as are the court marshal proceedings, so unless we want to call in the FBI and turn over the case to them, we won’t see those files.”

Ryan wondered, “Have we re-thought that strategy?”

Gates had to wonder, “Turning over the case to the FBI?”

“Yeah, why can’t we bring them in again?”

“Castle said it himself bro, evidence in this case has a way of disappearing and we don’t know who exactly they have on the payroll.”

Kate looked at Esposito, “Which means we can’t just cut off the head of the snake, we need to attack the body first or we risk the validity of our case. Once we take away some of Harrison’s advantage, once we take away his ability to manipulate the case we have against him, we can take him out and make sure that our case sticks.”

Gates smiled proudly, “I agree. If we take him down too early, his money and his reach will be used to destroy the case. Take that from him and he will face justice.”

“That also means that we have to break Ben Jenkins. He is the closest thing we have to updated intelligence, which means that if we can break him, he can give us up-to-date intelligence and we can use that to take out the informants Harrison has in the NYPD.”

Castle spoke for the first time, “Once we do that, we play our hand though. If we take out his informants, he will know that we know much more than he thought, and how are we supposed to break a former member of Delta who I am pretty sure isn’t afraid of anything?”

Esposito agreed with Castle, “Yeah, I don’t think we are going to break him easily. We can’t just threaten to let him go because we messed up Miranda. He will simply walk out of the precinct and we may never see him again.”

Kate knowingly smiled, “Maybe. I would bet that he is afraid of someone though.”

Ryan wondered, “Who?”

“Mason Harrison. We won’t be able to break him on our own, we simply don’t have the time or the resources to get much done but I would bet Mason Harrison does.”

Castle caught on quickly, “A ruse?”

“Yep.”

“Got something in mind?”

“Yep. He’s still in holding right?”

Gates responded, “Yeah, solitary. I have guards on him every second of every day.”

Kate just smiled at the group and Esposito looked between his two superiors, “Alright, mysterious. I like it.”

Kate chimed in once more, “In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about ways to buy us some time and I think I have something.”

From her perch on the stools in Castle’s kitchen, Lanie wondered, “What’s that?”

“Hey Castle, don’t you think it’s time we introduced ourselves to the world?”

“Why Detective Beckett, I thought you would never ask!”

Lanie was stunned, “You wanna go to the press?”

“They are powerful people, and once this case breaks, they will try to control the story in the press, not only to influence a potential jury pool but to call our integrity into question. By going first, we can control the information out there when it first begins and allow the press to act as a shield. It won’t buy us forever but it might buy us enough time to put this case together.”

Gates skepticism met Ryan’s, “All of this depends on our ability to break Ben Jenkins, and even assuming that we do, we will be forced to take down the informants in the NYPD quickly. Whatever kind of operation you are planning Detective will get back to Mason, and we know what happens to loose ends in this case. If we don’t hurry, they might all be dead.”

“Let’s worry about breaking him first. Once that happens, then we can put together an operation to take his operatives down.”

Castle had been thinking of this for a while, “I think I know something else we are going to need. The Mayor and an ADA we can trust. If you want to get information from Ben Jenkins, we are going to have to offer him something.”

Esposito looked puzzled, “Why the Mayor?”

Castle point to both himself and Kate, “We both trust him. We cleared him of murder and he goes on and on about how he owes us one. Plus, he is a politician. He’ll know that if he can get on the other side of this, his re-election will be assured.”

Gates spoke next, “Leave the ADA to me. I know someone that can help with that.”

Lanie had to ask her next question, “What exactly do you want to say to the press? You can’t just come out and say that Mason Harrison in under investigation for corruption and murder. We would all be inundated with press requests, and it might even prompt the FBI to try and take over the case.”

“Well, we would need to be purposefully vague during the precinct press conference, but when it comes to us, I can just be honest to the Cosmo reporter who contacts me nearly every week asking for an interview. Fortunately for us, we have a writer who can write purposefully vague if he wants.”

“You want me to write a story?”

Kate smiled at Rick, “It is one of the many things you are good at, Castle.”

Ryan couldn’t believe the scene before him, “I don’t even want to know do I?”

Lanie was shocked, “Hell, I do!”

Kate turned a nice shade of red at that, “Anyways…”

Gates brought down the levity, “Yes, let’s focus on the case please. I don’t want to hear about the bed-room exploits of my lead detective and our intrepid mystery novelist.”

Castle took a chance, “Not even a little?”

Gates smiled, “Not even a little.”

Castle shook his head and then nodded, “Yeah, that’s fair.”

Esposito clapped his hands together and then winced, “Alright…so first, we break Ben Jenkins.”

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

12th Precinct Holding Cells

3:38 P.M

The precinct stood in stunned disbelief as Kate Beckett took her Captain to school. According to the DA, the man they knew as Ben Jenkins had to be released for lack of evidence, and for Kate, she couldn’t believe that her Captain would willingly oblige. Things had reached critical mass, and in an effort to mitigate the explosion, Captain Gates pulled Kate down to the holding cells at the 12th.

“In here, Detective!”

“Sir, you know this is bullshit!”

“We don’t have enough to hold him and I don’t appreciate being yelled at in my own department!”

Kate was wild with fury, her hands gestured wildly and her anger was palpable, “I’m sorry Sir but you know that if we let him go, he will be in the wind moments after he walks out that door!”

“You don’t think I know that? You don’t think I know that our best lead is basically going to be let go? We are losing this battle Detective and I can think of no one to blame but you. You are letting this case overwhelm your ability to do your job! Give me one good reason not to bench you!”

“This is my case, Sir. My mother’s murder! I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you know this is just bullshit!”

Captain Gates sighed and tried to allow the anger to escape her, “I know. I know, Detective. I don’t like it anymore than you do. Process him out. That’s an order.”

Kate resigned herself, “Yes, Sir.”

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

12th Precinct Holding Cells

4:12 P.M

Kate hated herself. She was being forced to release their best and only lead, “So apparently, you are free to go.”

Ben Jenkins could hardly contain himself. He had heard the argument that brought him his release, and he reveled in her anger, “Nice try, Detective.”

“This isn’t over.”

“Yes, I think it is Kate.”

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

12th Precinct

4:28 P.M

When Ben Jenkins walked out of the 12th precinct, he was a free man. As he made his way down the street, looking for a cab, he heard the tires screech behind him and saw the white van pull up. He had little time to react. The door on the van screamed open and three men with automatic weapons pulled him into the side. They didn’t say a word as a needle was plunged in his neck and Ben Jenkins saw nothing but darkness.

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

Somewhere, possibly in New York

5:37 P.M

“Welcome back Mr. Jenkins. It’s good to see you again.”

As he gained his bearings and his eyes began to cooperate, he noticed the musty smell of the basement he was in and the absolutely sterile nature of the room. It was a simple wood box with no decoration, “It’s…good to…be here. I think. Who did I piss off this time?”

“Mason Harrison. You failed your mission lieutenant and were captured by the police.”

Three men stood in the room, two with automatic rifles and a third man who had surgical gloves on his hands. “I didn’t say a word. He knows that.”

The man was simply gleeful, “Does he?”

“Of course he does!”

“Then why are we here Mr. Jenkins?”

“A mistake?”

“Mr. Harrison does not make mistakes, Mr. Jenkins. So I am going to make this easy for you. He wants to know everything you told the police. He wants to know how much they know. If you don’t cooperate, I’ll introduce you to my friends here.”

The man in the surgical scrubs lifted a towel to reveal what could only be described as instruments of torture, “If you do, I will kill you quickly and with as little discomfort as possible. If you don’t, your death will be much more painful.”

“I already told you. I didn’t say a word and I have no idea how much the cops know.”

“Have you ever heard the name, Άγγελος του θανάτου?”

“It’s Greek. For ‘Angel of Death’.”

“I must say, during the Bosnian Wars of the early 90’s, I earned that moniker. Oh there were so many interrogations that got…messy. I loved it. The local population came to fear me. Fear rules the world, Mr. Jenkins.”

The other two men stood stoically in the room as Ben Jenkins remained tied securely to the only chair of the room, “I thought that was love?”

“Jokes will not save you from this torment, Delta. I find jokes trite and uncouth. This is not a time to joke.”

“Well, we wouldn’t want that now would we?

“Do you really think this is the time for any of this?”

“Actually, I couldn’t think of a better time.”

At that moment, a flash grenade flew through the only window in this basement, and for a moment, time stood still. Ben Jenkins pushed against the floor as hard as he could, his bound hands and feet brought him down to the ground hard as the scene devolved into chaos. The flash grenade dulled his senses and dazed him but the shots he heard from his place on the ground broke through the haze.

When it was over, Ben Jenkins saw three dead men and Detective Beckett standing in front of him. She cut him loose, checked him to make sure he was alright, and ordered the scene to be secured. He had to give it to her, she was very good.

Roy would be proud.

20 minutes later…

Kate walked towards the ambulance where Ben Jenkins was being treated, “Are you alright…whom ever you are?”

“Name is Ben. Ben Jenkins.”

“Alright, Ben. Are you okay?”

“They drugged me I think, but other than that, you stopped the worst from happening.”

“Can’t say I am completely happy about that but no one deserves this.”

“Can’t say I blame you, either.”

“Do you know who did this?”

“Yes, I do.”

“And?”

“And…I seem to have forgotten his name.”

“Ahh, selective memory then?”

Ben smiled at Kate, “Sure, let’s go with that.”

“I can’t help you unless you tell me.”

“You know what’s funny, Detective?”

“What’s that?”

“They pretty much wanted the same thing.”

“Big difference is…we won’t torture you. I have a few more questions that you probably won’t answer, but after that, you are free to go.”

“How do you know I won’t answer them Detective?”

“I don’t know, will you?”

“You just haven’t asked the right questions.”

“What questions should I be asking?”

“I think I should probably leave that to you.”

“Why so cryptic, Mr. Jenkins?”

“It is entirely too much fun playing this game.”

“Alright, would you be willing to help us?”

“Possibly.”

“Possibly?”

“You are going to have to sweeten the pot here, don’t you think?”

“Somehow, I don’t think immunity from prosecution interests you.”

“What good is immunity if you can’t use it?”

“Good point. Placing you in witness protection seems to be a death sentence. I don’t think it matters where we place you, whoever is looking for you will not stop until you are dead.”

“Go on…”

“What if I hid you?”

“See Detective? I knew you could ask the right questions.”

Kate was a little taken aback at the swift turn in the conversation, “Why do you trust me?”

“You just saved the life of a man you clearly cannot stand. Make no mistake, what would have gone on in there involved all sorts of pain that I care not to think about. I’ve heard of the Greek Doctor known as ‘The Angel of Death’, and trust me, it would not have been pleasant.”

“So that’s who took you?”

“Yep. Keep me alive for a few days and I’ll help you bring down the man who wanted to do this to me.”

Kate smiled and leaned against the ambulance next to Ben, “Alright Ben, let’s see if we can keep you alive.”

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

Kate Beckett’s Apartment

10:48 P.M

Their ruse had been a complete success. The ‘kidnappers’ that Kate, Ryan and the swat team ‘killed’ in that basement were actually members of narcotics who had played their roles to perfection. Though Ryan trusted them, they still ran financials on all three police officers to make sure they were clean, and when they were cleared, they put the mission into effect. Even Kate and Captain Gates deserved an Emmy for their rousing rendition of a heated argument. They effectively turned Ben Jenkins into an asset by tricking him into thinking that Mason Harrison was after him. They didn’t really break Ben Jenkins, they fooled him.

After nearly two hours and a signed agreement for immunity from a grateful and silent Mayor, Ben Jenkins was turning into a wonderful witness with a wealth of knowledge. He gave them everything they could ever need, and as one of Mason Harrison’s top lieutenants, that information represented a vast amount of data. They knew who was on the payroll in the NYPD and beyond, they knew bank account numbers, they knew how Mason Harrison’s organization worked, and the gang was beginning to get an even better idea of the scope of what they faced. Ben Jenkins was Mason Harrison’s first mistake. Kate was going to make sure that he paid for it.

As they sat in the relative privacy of her own bedroom, Kate turned to Ben with one final question, “I have one more question for you, Mr. Jenkins.”

Ben looked up from his perch at her desk, “What’s that?”

Kate finally had Ben alone and asked the question she had been wanting to ask all night, she paused for just a moment and then locked eyes with him, “Are you the one who shot me?”

Ben stared back and did not blink. His reply was short and to the point, “Yes.”

Kate was both shocked at his honesty and enraged by his casual answer, “I just might want to kill you myself.”

“You wouldn’t do it. You don’t have the heart to kill an innocent man.”

Kate snarled, “You don’t know me.”

“I know what you fight for. I used to fight for the same thing. I thought our cause was just, but sometimes, how you accomplish your goal is just as important as the accomplishment itself.”

They had all the information that they needed but even if they didn’t, she wasn’t sure she could hold this back, “You should know that we set up the kidnapping.”

“I know. One of the ‘kidnappers’ you supposedly ‘killed’ walked in the door about an hour ago.”

Kate was shocked, “Then why are you still doing this?”

“Even if that wasn’t Mason Harrison who snatched me, he would have tried the same thing. Eventually.”

“I’m not sure I am comfortable being compared to Mason Harrison.”

“If the shoe fits…”

Kate surged forward and pointed to herself, “Then I would wear it! But don’t think for a moment that you know me. Don’t think for a moment that I am anything like him!”

“Are you sure about that?”

“I’m certain.”

“What would you do to end this? You’ve already kidnapped a free man, threatened to torture him for information, and then played on his fear.”

“That’s different.”

“How so?”

“You were never in any real danger. And technically, we hadn’t released you. You were still in custody when we took you.”

“Technicalities, Detective. Technicalities.”

“Don’t give me that bullshit! He is a corrupt, evil bastard. He ordered hits on at least 29 people and he nearly killed…”

“You?”

Kate sighed heavily and fought to control her emotions, “Yeah.”

“Be careful, Detective. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. That isn’t a cliché without meaning either. Make sure this is justice.”

Kate’s almost resigned answer rang out through the apartment, “What would you know about justice?”

“I used to fight for it. I used to travel the world and help those who couldn’t help themselves. I know what justice looks like and I know revenge when I see it. Don’t let yourself fall prey to its waiting arms.”

Kate seemed to be dumbfounded by the contradiction which sat before her, “Why do you even care?”

“Because if I wanted you dead, you would be dead. Delta snipers don’t miss a kill shot, and I know just how bad the ACR 6.8mm gun I used was for the mission.”

Kate was beside herself, “Why?”

“To protect you. I remember Roy speaking so highly of you, of how much he loved you, and I just couldn’t do it. If I hadn’t shot you in that cemetery, they just would have sent someone else. I bought you the time needed for another deal to be put in place and to find solid ground. Still, I didn’t know whether you had it in you to take Mason down, and so, I bid my time until I was sure. Tonight. This night made me a believer.”

Kate nearly smiled, “How appropriate. Do you think that makes you a hero?”

Ben Jenkins laughed and then answered Kate’s question with conviction, “No, it makes me a coward.”

“Well then, we finally agree on something.”

“Detective, I’m tired of being his lackey. I’ve been searching for a path out of the woods, and you seem to be my savior. I want to fight for something in which I believe. Mason has been corrupted by money and power, the things I once rode into Baghdad to fight. I don’t know if this is my chance at redemption but there is something about you that makes me want to try. That makes me believe redemption is possible.”

Kate softened considerably, “You are making it very difficult to hate you, Ben.”

“It’s my charming personality.”

“Yeah, something like that.”

May 2nd, 2012-New York City

Kate Beckett’s Apartment

11:16 P.M

Castle strode over to Beckett as she stood, alone, in her kitchen and wrapped his arms around her from behind. He whispered down into her ear, “Are you comfortable with this?”

Kate’s hands found a place on top of Rick’s, “I think it’s a little late to ask me that, Rick.”

“I know we really can’t go back, Kate. I’m not asking if you want to go back, I’m asking if you can move forward.”

“Rick…”

“It’s my job to keep your head above water, remember?”

“I know. I know…”

“Three years ago, we sat in the precinct and you kicked me out because you were afraid that your mother’s killer would cut some deal. He didn’t kill your mother but he almost killed you.”

“It’s what we had to do, Castle. It’s a necessary sacrifice. I’m not fine with it right now, but I will be.”

“You don’t have to be the one making all the sacrifices.”

“In this case, I do. You’ve already made enough sacrifices. Your daughter and the loft can attest to that.”

Castle leaned down and kissed Kate on her neck. It was a soft kiss meant to convey the strength and hope he held in his heart, the same emotions that he hoped would lift Kate higher with this trying case stretching her. “I love you, Kate. When this is over, when the man who ordered your mother’s death is behind bars, I want you to be whole. Let me in Kate…”

Kate turned in Rick’s arms looked up into blue sky, “Always.”

May 7th, 2012-New York City

Front Steps, 12th Precinct

3:25 P.M

The press conference was moments away but the shrill ring of her phone snapped Kate from the thoughts which were threatening to overwhelm her. Kate stepped away from the group gathered behind the microphone and answered her phone, “Beckett.”

“Hello, Detective Beckett.”

“Who is this?”

“Your favorite CEO.”

“I don’t have a favorite CEO.”

“Don’t play coy with me, Detective. I know what your Captain and the Mayor are about to say. I just wanted to say hello, to introduce myself formally, and tell you that I think it’s time we meet.”

Kate shuddered at the man’s voice but her resolve was much more powerful, “I’ll think about it.”

“You do that. Oh, one more thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Duck.”

The moment the word rolled from his lips, the third floor of the 12th precinct exploded, raining down fire, debris and the promise of more contained in a single word.


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