A Father-Son Moment

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Disclaimer: Nothing recognizable is mine.

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Summary: A missing scene from "Hunt" (5x16) that really should've happened.

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The building where his little girl's being held captive (or hostage, he's not really sure) has an air of age about its façade in spite of looking new in some indescribable fashion.

For his part, Richard Castle can already feel his mind spinning and weaving a fantastic web that could account for how it'd been built the way it had.

He has to shake his head, try and get the story out of his mind.

He doesn't have time for this. Not when Alexis' life is at stake.

He can see them from the shotgun seat.

Several silhouettes are patrolling the building grounds behind an iron fence.

Each of Volkov's guards is armed with some kind of Kalashnikov-type assault rifle.

All of them involved in trying to ensure the success of a former KGB agent's revenge scheme.

Getting Alexis involved, though… well, there's a reason why he and his father set their plan in motion in the first place.

Speaking of which…

He turns to his father in the driver's seat. "Dad," he paused, not quite knowing where to start.

Jackson Hunt's laugh-lined face turns to him, his hard eyes quizzical. He doesn't have to even ask before his son starts talking again.

"Um… how much do you know about… me and Kate?"

The veteran spy frowns ever so slightly. "I know that the two of you are sleeping together, if that's what you mean," he shrugs. "Heard about Sophia Turner, how she turned out to be a KGB sleeper agent. Sorry for that, by the way. I certainly do appreciate you two stopping this country's economy from going down the tubes."

Castle sighs, and Jackson's frown deepens. His son wasn't talking about the biggest thing he'd done that made him feel like a father, or about the international fiasco that nearly erupted as a result of the resulting association.

"Actually, I'm talking about Kate's mother, Johanna." Rick's words only confirm the old man's suspicions.

He runs a hand through his hair, nervous. "God, she'd kill me for even talking about this with you, but I already feel like I can really trust you with this." The old man realizes that there's something more to this woman, something big.

He can't let his son down, not about whatever he's about to be told.

"I already know she's dead. I ran Kate Beckett's background when you started hanging out with her." At his son's reproachful glare, the old man rolls his eyes. "Call me paranoid if you want, son, but I've managed to get out of plenty of scrapes with such levels of precaution."

"Right," Castle mutters. "Listen, we don't have much time so I'll be quick."

And he talks.

But trying to condense the major events of an ongoing conspiracy, within certain aspects of the upper echelons of American society, into an informative briefing is not a quick task.

He doesn't know how long he takes to talk about everything.

Raglan.

McCallister.

Montgomery.

Bob Armen.

Joe Pulgatti.

Johanna Beckett, who'd started looking into Pulgatti's incarceration and was murdered by Dick Coonan in a murder-for-hire job for her troubles.

Dick Coonan's death at Beckett's hands eleven years later.

Hal Lockwood, who killed Raglan and later McCallister.

Montgomery killed by Lockwood but taking him down as well, but not before revealing that he'd successfully bargained for Kate's life.

How Kate was shot at Montgomery's funeral by a sniper later discovered as Cole Maddox.

Montgomery's friend, Mr. Smith, who tried to keep up Montgomery's bargain in his stead upon learning that Kate had survived Maddox's murder attempt.

How his old friend, NYC Mayor Bob Weldon, was framed for embezzlement and a phone-sex operator ended up murdered because of the coerced culprit's guilt.

Maddox's return, trying and succeeding in discovering Mr. Smith's identity and torturing him for information on the location of files that could incriminate Maddox's employer.

Mr. Smith alluding to an ongoing conspiracy of certain influential parties, with a vested interest in ensuring a certain man's ascension to the Presidency, on his deathbed and leaves them worried over these new revelations and the implications for their investigation.

Of Maddox's death via an explosive booby trap that also destroys the incriminating information.

How long hours of hard work pieces together a file that reveals the name of the man who'd silenced Raglan, McCallister, and Montgomery.

William H. Bracken; former DA and now one of New York's representatives to the United States Senate, thought to be on the fast track to becoming President.

Beckett's covenant with Bracken; her silence in exchange for him leaving them alone, and how she'd pistol-whipped him hard enough to leave a scar that would remind him of their bargain.

Of their most-recent meeting, in which Bracken alludes to owing Beckett a favor if necessary after she saves his life, but neither of them are under any delusions otherwise whatsoever.

He doesn't gloss over his own role in his and Kate's continued struggle against Senator Bracken, but tries not to puff himself up either.

His father says nothing, his hardening eyes the only sign of his feelings.

Finally, when Rick finishes talking, he finds himself… unburdened, somehow. Free.

As though talking to his father had been cathartic somehow.

For his part, his old man says nothing.

His eyes dart back and forth as he digests the information that he'd been given.

Finally, after a long while, the man calling himself Jackson Hunt turns to look at his son.

Castle blinks, seeing something… familiar, unnerving. The ruthless dead eyes of a trained killer, like what he'd seen with Dick Coonan and Hal Lockwood.

But this man had outlived them; he was meaner, nastier, and tougher than the two of them combined.

"So what do you want me to do?" the old man asked finally. "My operational theater isn't exactly somewhere stateside."

He tries to bite back the disappointment. "I know, just… just keep your eyes and ears open, please? Bracken's got connections everywhere. I wouldn't put it past him to have that Deputy Chief Aldacott guy that you mentioned on his payroll, so I don't know who you can trust."

The old man nods, his jaw set in a repressed grimace.

"Beckett's really got nothing, as you've said. Once Bracken learns this, you're finished," he said.

"I know," Castle nods.

"You do realize that if you and Beckett end up getting yourself killed over this, I probably won't be able to do much of anything, right?"

"Yeah… yeah, I know. I don't… I don't expect you to avenge me, or something that hackneyed."

"But you still want me to take up your fight if he finishes both of you off, never mind Alexis or your friends." He's not asking rhetorically.

"Probably," the writer-gone-rogue mumbles.

The old man calling himself Jackson Hunt sighs deeply.

He does want to help his son, but there was the harshness of reality in the way, and the cold realization that this conspiracy is probably too entrenched for an old fox like himself.

As he looks back at Rick, however, he finds his misgivings dying in the face of that kernel of trust that he can see growing there.

Sighing, he turns to look at the building where Volkov's holding his granddaughter.

Finally, he says, "If Bracken tries anything and succeeds; I'll make a few calls."

Somehow knowing that's all his father can do, Castle nods as a lump rises in his throat.

He can't speak, so his father says, "Now let's go get your daughter… my granddaughter, back."

They nod to each other as they both leave the car.

~FIN~