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.
Several days later, in an anonymous office building in Virginia, outside of Washington, DC, two men sat down to talk.
"We need some clarification of Operation Time Out, Jack."
"Sure, Dave. What do you need?"
"This writer, Richard Castle?"
"Castle sat next to General Eshaq Larijani on a flight from London to Dubai three years ago. Larijani was travelling on a false Moroccan passport. Call it a hunch, but I thought Larijani might get involved and I wanted Castle around to identify him. The only photos of him that we have are blurry and decades old."
Dave nodded. "So, you thought that Deputy Commander for Operations of the Iranian Quds Force would be in the Sahel, in spite of the fact that since the helicopter crash he was in last year, he hasn't been out of Tehran?"
Jack shrugged. "Like I said, it was a hunch."
"Okay, Jack, let's go over this again from the beginning and this time, try not to act like I'm an idiot, okay?"
Jack knew he was in trouble, but how much trouble, he didn't know. "Okay, Richard Castle is…"
"…Your son." Dave finished for him.
"Of course, we knew, Jack. You let some novelist have access to the Agency for a year and you didn't think someone might be just a bit curious as to why? We like to know who our people's friends and families are because the other side can put pressure on us through them. Now, go on."
"His mother is Martha Rodgers, the actor. We met, had a wonderful night and slept together. I had every intention of going back to see her the next day, but the next day I was on a plane to the middle of nowhere. You remember that operation."
Dave nodded. "You didn't get back home for three years as I recall."
"I couldn't just show up at Martha's door after three years. She might hate me, have forgotten all about me, or even been married. I found out she had a son and a little math convinced me he was mine."
"He is, Jack. We have his DNA."
"You contacted him about me?"
"We managed to get a Scotch glass he'd had a drink from. No one will ever have trouble finding a Scotch glass your son has used."
"So, I kept an eye on them both, and on my granddaughter when she was born. I even "accidently" ran into Rick once or twice."
"How did you keep an eye on them? You're out of the country, mostly?"
"Jimmy Dos Santos. He's retired, but he likes to keep his hand in. Keeps him from getting bored, he says."
"And you told Dos Santos that this was not an Agency operation and that he was to do nothing illegal, right? We can't have anyone thinking the Agency was doing something illegal in the US, can we?"
"Of course." Jack lied smoothly.
"What about the Beckett woman?"
"I never thought much about the women he was with. The actress was…God. How could he have married her? And his publisher? Another mystery. And the bimbos he was with otherwise, the less said the better. But Detective Kate Beckett was different. Smart, dedicated, hard working and not one damned bit impressed with Richard's money or fame. I don't think he'd ever met anyone at all like Kate Beckett."
"And?" Dave prodded.
"Rick gave the NYPD a hundred thousand dollars to try to trap the man who killed Beckett's mother. You see, when Beckett was at Stanford…"
"We know that part. Go on, Jack."
"Beckett had to kill the hit man. I was curious and looked into things further. Coonan, the killer, had been paid a hundred thousand dollars to kill Beckett's mother. He'd also been paid a hundred thousand each for two other lawyers and a documents clerk at the courthouse. That started alarm bells ringing. No one pays four hundred thousand dollars to assassinate three unknown lawyers and a clerk. There had to be a hell of a lot more to the story than anyone had."
"We agree, but we don't know what the rest is either."
"I decided to ask Jimmy to keep a closer eye on everyone and I called up Felix Leiter."
Dave smiled. "And I'm sure you told Felix to keep his computer snooping to strictly open source documents?"
"Naturally. But, we got lucky. There was to be a hit on both Beckett and Rick at his place in the Hamptons."
"Wait." Dave said. "Why a hit on your son?"
"Only the guy who ordered it can answer that, but Richard did pay a hundred thousand to get Coonan. If I were a ruthless killer…"
"You are a ruthless killer, Jack. That's why the Agency likes you so much."
Jack grinned. "Okay, but if it was me, I'd figure that if Beckett had that kind of money behind her, it'd be best to take them both out."
"Makes sense. Go on."
"Our intel said Beckett would be there, but she wasn't. But, I got Bill Donovan and a few of his people, strictly as licensed security consultants, to provide protection for Rick. They killed the four hitmen and exfiltrated Rick out of the Hamptons."
"Why not get Beckett out as well?"
"I figured seeing four of their hitmen dispatched so cleanly would make whoever was after her think twice. I figured she was safe with my people watching her until I could figure out something more permanent."
"So how did she end up in the middle of Operation Time Out?"
"She's smart and Richard isn't. He had a list of all the people he's ever contacted for research and she got ahold of it. She called Agent Gray, Sir Oswald Renton-Bryce, MI6's Station chief in Washington, DC, D'Arcy Luna from…"
"We know pretty much who she called from the complaints we got. Everyone wanted to know who the hell this Kate Beckett was, asking about Richard Castle. We had a lot of explaining to do."
"So, I arranged for her to join Rick. How much trouble am I in?"
"Time Out was a success. We recovered 13 million dollars in various currencies, killed a lot of jihadists and caught a Qods force operator. You did play a hunch that was totally wrong, but that happens to the best of us. So, as long as you keep us in the loop, you're okay."
Jack smiled. "Glad to hear it."
"You might be interested to know that Beckett is sharing Rick's tent now, and there's only one bed. Plus, we haven't found whoever ordered the hit on Beckett and your son, but we have found the guy who "managed" the hit men. There's usually a lot of cutouts in something like this, but he can spread the word around."
"What word?" Jack was curious.
"He got an e- mail message with close up photos of the dead men time stamped just after they were killed. The message was one word: Don't. If he checks where it came from, he'll find it came from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Intelligence Headquarters in Beijing. Don't ask us how we managed that, because we won't tell you. But, I am curious about one thing."
"What cover story do you have to explain the disappearance of Castle and Beckett without blowing Time Out all to hell?"
"None, but Rick's a talented fiction writer with a great imagination. He'll think of a better one than I ever could."
Author's note: Next up is The Nightmare. Its about a nightmare. Or is it?