After A Deadly Game



Disclaimer: Would anyone believe it if I said I did own Castle? Rating: K Time: Episode 2.24 but a little AU. Okay, a lot AU.

She whirled around. The man was late thirties to early forties, she guessed, well dressed, fit and smiling. "Excuse me, do I know you?"

"Not at all Detective Beckett, but you should. I can take you to Richard Castle."

She drew her Glock. "Turn around and put your hands behind your back. You're under arrest."

"For what?"

"Kidnapping and anything else I can think of."

"That won't work. There are no witnesses to this. When you get to the station, I'll say I propositioned you and I'll be shocked that you've arrested me for kidnapping. My lawyers will come and it'll be your word against mine. We both know how that works and you'll lose the chance to go see Richard Castle. This is a one time offer, Detective. Take it or leave it."

"How do I know your offer is legitimate?"

"You are the one with the gun."

Kate thought for a second. "Assume the position. Up against the car. Now." She searched him and found no weapon. "Is this your car?"


"Keys." She checked the car and could find no hidden weapons.

"You drive. Remember, I'll have my gun on you every step of the way."

They drove north to the George Washington Bridge and crossed into New Jersey. They got onto the New Jersey Turnpike and headed south, driving almost to the end before getting off and heading east. They stopped at a small airport and pulled up beside a twin engine plane.

"The next part of your journey is from here." The man said.

Kate pulled the man from the car and very carefully looked over the plane, inside and out. The only other person was the pilot and as far as she could tell, he had no weapons. She let the driver go.

"Where are we going?" She demanded.

"To see Richard Castle." The pilot replied. "You want to go or not?"

She thought and then nodded.

"Then strap in. There's just one seat, all the way in the back."

When she sat down, she saw that the cabin windows were blocked and she couldn't see out. She'd have no idea where she was being taken.

Four hours later they landed. When she got out of the plane, she saw another, much larger jet plane near them. From the heat and humidity, she thought they might be in the South, but where, she had no idea.

"Take the jet to your next stop." The pilot said, leaving the airplane and Kate. She walked to the jet.

"Hi. Are you Kate Beckett?" The speaker was a woman, relatively young and pretty, dressed in khaki slacks and a blue shirt.

"That's me."

"I'm Donna, your co-pilot. Welcome aboard. I'm afraid you'll have to travel with a lot of cargo, but we have a couple of seats for you." Donna disappeared into the aircraft. Kate felt she had no choice but to go up the boarding ramp after her.

Donna showed her a row of seats with cargo containers ranked behind them. "You can sit in any one. There's some sandwiches in the fridge, bottled water, and I think, two apples. We also have chips in the basket here. The bathroom is just ahead of you."

"Where are we going?" Kate asked.

"To see Richard Castle."

Kate wanted to stay awake to try to find out where they were headed for, but eventually, she fell asleep. They were still in the air when she awoke and she found they had been in the air for over twelve hours when they finally landed.

Donna came back to see her. "Okay, one more flight and you'll see Mr. Castle. Just get in the pickup truck parked by the loading ramp. Okay?"

She got up and walked to the top of the steps and stretched, both because she needed to and to take a look around. She decided they were on some kind of military base. There were camouflage painted airplanes and helicopters, armored vehicles and soldiers. As she walked to the pickup truck, she saw several large trucks approaching, apparently to unload the plane. The drivers and crew were Black and she didn't understand their language. That and the desert scenery told her she as in Africa, probably some part of North Africa. The pick up driver honked his horn and gestured for her to get in.

They drove across the base to where a helicopter was warming up. The truck driver pointed to her and to the chopper. Then, as she was getting out of the truck, he handed her a small gym bag. She looked inside and found two pairs of khaki cargo pants in her size, three khaki shirts, also in her size, undergarments, socks and a pair of ankle boots as well as some cosmetics. The cosmetics were the brands she used. Someone knew her quite well. That worried her.

She got into the helicopter and hardly had strapped in before they lifted off. There were four crewmen, all appeared to be Africans. Two pilots in front and a door gunner on either side, manning machine guns and wearing helmets and protective vests. One of the gunners said something that she didn't understand, but pointed to a helmet and flak jacket by her. She put them on.

They flew for another two hours and eventually circled briefly over another, much smaller, military camp, before landing. The helicopter landed near a tent and she was motioned to get out. As soon as she was out, the helicopter flew a hundred yards or so and landed in the middle of the camp.

"What the hell is wrong with you people." Shouted a very familiar voice. "Do you want to blow my damned tent into the next country."

Castle came out of the tent with a scowl on his face. He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Kate. "Beckett? What are you doing here?"

"Looking for my partner."

Castle shook his head. "Well, there's been a mistake. My name is not Tom Demming."

"He's not my partner."

"You could have fooled me. In fact, you did fool me. He was bringing you coffee, making theory with you, doing interrogations with you and, oh yes, making out with you in the precinct. And, if I recall correctly, you were headed off to the Jersey Shore together."

"Well, forgive me for being worried when four dead men were found at your home in the Hamptons. And yes, I was with Tom, but if I recall correctly, you sleep with both of your ex-wives and the occasional Stollywood Harlot trying to fuck her way to a part in Nikki Heat. And what the hell happened at your house? Do you think that everyone wasn't terrified at what happened? Not just me, but Ryan, Espo, Captain Montgomery, LT, Karpowski and most importantly, your mother and Alexis? There weren't just four gunmen dead, Castle, you were gone and no one knew what happened to you."

The mention of his mother and daughter changed Castle's attitude. "I know. Mother and Alexis must have been scared out of their minds, wondering what happened."

"I know damned well they were terrified." Kate growled.

"You saw them?"

"Yes, Mayor Weldon loaned my team to the Hamptons PD, although I was prepared to go by myself even if I had to take leave without pay. What happened?"

"I really have no idea."

"Castle, you were there! You must have some idea."

"I was sitting in my office playing Angry Birds on my phone and trying to work on Nikki Heat, but nothing was coming to me."

"Gina didn't help by staying on top of you? Or don't you like a woman in that position."

"Getting back together with her was a really dumb idea. It's not like I didn't know what she was like. We weren't even out of the city when it started. She was talking about how much writing I was going to get done over the summer and I was talking about how much fun we were going to have. By the time we reached the house, we were having a lively discussion. It got worse from there. She got mad and left on Sunday."

Kate would have loved to have smiled at the blonde not even being able to keep Castle for an entire weekend, but she didn't. "And?"

"I was sitting there and all of a sudden there were four heavily armed men with me, with facemasks, black clothing and lots of weapons. Just like you see on TV, but they were in my house. They said some people were coming to kill me and that I should hide behind the desk. Five minutes later I heard some suppressed gunfire and when they brought me out, there were four dead guys, all armed. They said I had to leave and leave now. So, we went off and I ended up here."

"You went to an airport in south Jersey, then another one in the South, then a military base in Africa and then here?"

"How did you know?"

"That's how I got here. But why are you here?"

"I don't know. Almost everyone here speaks French and if they speak much English, they don't advertise it. I took a year of French in high school, mostly because the teacher was really hot. I get about one word in a hundred. One guy told me I was needed here, in heavily accented English, but I haven't seen him since." Castle shook his head. "I can't believe you came all this way to find me. From day one you haven't had much use for me and once Demming showed up, it was pretty obvious to me that the sooner I got out of your life, the happier you'd be. Has Demming transferred to homicide yet? Or does he feel being just on the next floor is close enough?"

Kate was tired and stressed and did something she rarely did. She lost her temper. "I broke up with Tom so I could go to your stupid place in the Hamptons for your stupid Memorial Day weekend." She shouted.

"What? Why didn't you say something?"

"I started to but then you were standing there with an armful of blonde. What was I supposed to do? Did you plan to take us both with you all along? You did say there'd be no funny stuff, at least not with me. Would you have let me eat in the dining room or would I have been banished to the kitchen? Would you have had me sleep in the servants' quarters or in the garage where I wouldn't interfere with you?"

"Beckett, I'm sorry. If I'd known…."

Kate shook her head. She had her temper under control, mostly. "I suck at relationships, Castle. Ever since I lost my mom, I've been afraid of…letting anyone get close. I fucked up. I took the easy way out and chose Tom over you. I could never get hurt by Tom. I just had no idea how much losing you would hurt."

"Okay, we both fucked up. I should have done a lot of things differently, but from day one, I've never had any idea where I stood with you. So, we can start over again. Memorial Day is past, but they might let us go by the Fourth of July. How would you like to spend the Fourth of July in the Hamptons?"

"Which ex-wife are you planning to take with you? The redhead, or will you pick some actress?" Kate asked sarcastically.

Castle sighed. Things were always tough between him and Beckett.

"You sure aren't very interested in taking me to the Hamptons, are you, Castle?"

"What do you mean by that?" He demanded.

"One little snarky remark and you quit." She began walking away from him so he couldn't see her smile.

"Oh, I see. Well, Detective Beckett, let me tell you about what the Fourth of July will be like for the two of us. Just the two of us. I always barbecue because it's downright unpatriotic not to barbecue on the Fourth of July. We'll have cheeseburgers, of course. I use ground sirloin for the burgers. Some people say that's too expensive a cut of meat, but what's too expensive for the Fourth of July? I also get real English cheddar from a little shop off of Lexington. "Kate allowed Castle to catch up to her and he went on. "There's a deli that makes a fantastic potato salad and I have this great recipe for chili con carne. I got it in this little place in Santa Fe, New Mexico."

"Keep talking, Castle."

And he talked on and on.

To be continued.