|Ready To Take The Plunge
Author: igetcoldinsummer PM
"Kate inched a little bit closer, pressing a thigh against his, wanting more, wanting it all; she couldn't quite believe how good this felt, to finally let go of all her fears." Post Always story. Picks up the morning after. Includes Part 2: I'm Not Doing This Again. And Part 3: This Is The Last Of It.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Rick C. & Kate B. - Chapters: 24 - Words: 75,717 - Reviews: 169 - Favs: 94 - Follows: 243 - Updated: 09-30-12 - Published: 07-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8346124
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
They came back with 'the file'. Rick, out of defiance, started out refusing to go to sleep but he made the mistake of letting his eyes drift close, just for a second, because his eyes were burning, but then he was out. When the three FBI agents returned with the two detectives, Rick was slumped in one chair, his legs propped up on another, asleep. "Aw he's like a big teddy bear," Shaw noted as she came in again.
Esposito walked around Castle and tweaked his nose as he did so. Rick startled and sat up, wincing at the crick in his neck, but his attention was on Shaw immediately. "What did you find?"
Shaw held up the manila folder, which was in a plastic evidence bag, and gave it a wave back and forth; she had purple latex gloves on her hands. She slapped the folder down on the table top and everyone still awake crowded in to take a look. "This is what you've been looking for," Jordan told Rick as she slipped 'the file' free and folded back the cover. Rick assumed they had taken a look while at Smith's apartment building. The first thing he saw was newspaper articles, of Montgomery's funeral and Kate's shooting. Smith must have updated it, Rick mused to himself, resisting the urge to reach out and quickly flick through the stack of paper work beneath.
While Shaw's minions took the file apart piece by piece and scanned each page Rick listened to Ryan and Esposito repeating the sequence of events. They secured the lobby of the building as quickly as they could, as quietly as they could. Then they checked the mailbox. The folder was inside, sitting right there for them to take. Once they had that also secured, they headed up to Smith's apartment to see if there was any other evidence. The place had been tossed.
"And I mean trashed bro. Everything was smashed, ripped up," Esposito's face was expressive.
"Maddox," Rick supplied.
"Probably," Shaw mused, watching the smart board (which had arrived several hours ago) fill up with the paperwork from 'the file'.
"So you found nothing?"
"We left a couple of guys there but," Esposito gave a shrug.
"They'd be lucky to find an intact cannonball in that mess," Ryan added.
They sat around the conference table watching photos, more newspaper articles, documents, police reports, financial statements, passport copies and sheets of handwritten notes appear on the plexi-glass board over which Agent Shaw presided. There was so much in there. There had to be absolutely everything they would ever need to bring the Dragon down (not all of it legally attained by the look of it). There was a face to go with that name too. Even better, an actual name.
Rick didn't know where to start. It looked like Shaw didn't either. There was so much... It took more than half an hour to get everything up there. Then she started sorting it. But Rick just stared, fascinated, because here was a man who had started a war. And it was all about to come crashing down around him. He wasn't even surprised to see the Dragon was a former New York Senator. It seemed fitting. Someone powerful and unreachable. It was almost beautiful to see, like watching one of his storyboards coming together, so many different ideas jumbled, but then starting to make sense; Rick was starting to see the bigger picture, a story was beginning to form. He could see how he had come across crooked cops, how he had taken the money, how he had made himself good and powerful friends, people who knew people. It went from there.
And then, oh god Kate!
Rick got to his feet again, exhausted, but renewed and crowded in against Shaw, trying to see better. There had to be clues to her whereabouts within that vast cache of information; some of the files flicked by before he had a chance to see them. The Dragon was not just a politician, he was a businessman. He had resources. There! There was a military uniform, so that confirmed that theory.
"Ok can you sort through and find the financial information, particularly property holdings," Shaw directed from the head of the room, her face a frown of thought. Her people obliged wordlessly from their posts in front of computer screens, against the wall. "We need to look at isolated buildings."
"He would use his own?" Rick murmured.
"This guy is arrogant. He has police Captains murdered and sniper attacks conducted in broad daylight on detectives. He thinks he's untouchable. So he's not going to have a problem using one of his own buildings as an interrogation cell."
Rick swallowed hard. So Shaw had been thinking what he had been thinking; that they must be holding and hurting Kate.
"Cross reference with where the vehicle was dumped," Shaw added. "If they had her on foot, they wouldn't want to be carrying her far. Not in broad daylight. No matter how jumped up this guy is, at least Maddox would be careful."
The FBI forensics team had ruled out evidence of another vehicle at least, so they knew she had been moved on foot. And it was jumped up to carry her around unconscious in the middle of the day.
"Just one possible," Shaw's team leader called out. The information came up on the screen in front of them; a warehouse.
"Too easy," Shaw muttered to herself. She paused for a moment, reading the screen. "What else is nearby?"
"Uh two other possibles," the information joined the smart board.
Rick took a look. An apartment building and another small building that had a business in the ground floor. Not the apartment building. As arrogant as the Senator was, Maddox wouldn't risk involving thirty or so occupants would he? If it were Rick writing this story, the warehouse would be too obvious. It was also further way. The dressmaker's was actually closer, if they went over the fence, across the alley, and into the backyard of the neighbour, then around the front. Given the strength of the men involved, Rick doubted they'd have trouble throwing Kate's light weight over a fence. In the middle of the day though? Maybe. If they had put her in something else. She was small enough to fit into, say, a roll of carpet or something else inconspicuous.
"Ok let's get a team together for the warehouse," Shaw instructed over her shoulder. "Better wake some people up. I want to be down there in no more than an hour." She looked at her watch. "It's already four."
"No," Rick countered. "Maddox will have a small team. Inconspicuous right? He wouldn't be able to control a warehouse as effectively as he would like. And there would be workers there all day. Carrying in an unconscious woman would be a bit out of the ordinary."
"Are you so sure they would bat an eyelid?" Jordan challenged.
"Maybe not. But if they went to the dressmaker's," Rick pointed to the map, a hop, skip and jump from where the SUV was abandoned.
"The dressmaker isn't going to raise an eyebrow at a body?" Esposito cut in.
"No the dressmaker's place has a basement," Rick countered, pointing to a blueprint of the building (seriously the smart board was like the uber-internet). "Concrete. Isolated."
"Still got the dressmaker there. Assuming he or she was working today," Javi added.
"Right. Not that hard to get rid of," Rick went on.
"He or she just abandons their store?" Jordan raised an eyebrow at Rick.
"What if there was a car accident on the street outside? They go out to have a look."
There was silence. Yes it was a stretch.
"Or they go in and pull a gun on the poor guy and he's also down in the basement right now with Kate," Rick added slightly exasperated.
"I'd buy that." Esposito.
"Get a crew together," Jordan shot over her shoulder. "We're going to the dressmaker's in half an hour."
'Yes!' Rick thought.
There were logistics to work out. What else was in the vicinity, if there was a back way out (there was, of course there was. Maddox wouldn't let himself be trapped in there), how they were going to go in, how they were going to control the situation, alerting the neighbours (there was a bakery two doors down and at nearly five in the morning they would most certainly be there). The basement had an external access to the alley, a set of stairs that was meant for easier garbage disposal. Or possibly deliveries. A quick look into the owner of the dressmaker's business revealed he hadn't been seen in two days (which totally meant Maddox had planned the abduction in advance) and his family were worried. They had filed a missing persons report. They were desperate to know if the dressmaker was caught up in whatever the FBI was investigating. It was probably a safe bet that he was.
It took more than half an hour and that was more than enough time for Rick to have doubts. Shaw was sending teams to the other two locations as back up, in case they were wrong, but she was there at the dressmaker's because she also believed that to be the likely location. Still, the back-up teams were enough to make Rick feel nervous too. If they were wrong about this, they could tip Maddox off and Kate could be in more danger. If they tipped Maddox off, it wouldn't just be about getting closer to getting Kate back, but it was essentially showing their entire hand to the Dragon. If Maddox got word back to the Dragon that they had found him, then the Dragon would know they had 'the file'.
Rick could only imagine what would occur next if that happened.
Jordan Shaw had tried talking Castle out of going again. But only half-heartedly and as soon as he had raised an objection, not even a coherent one, she had backed down. She warned him to stay out of the way until the all clear was given and he nodded dutifully, donning his writer's vest and being reminded of all those times Kate had demanded he stay in the damn car while she went off, gun raised. He didn't really intend to stay out of the way and Shaw must have known this too because she assigned someone to stay with him. When they went in, the agent didn't restrain him, just made sure they were between Rick and the action. Just in case.
Kate felt herself drifting. She wasn't sure she was awake or asleep, conscious or unconscious, dead or alive. She was starting to lose hope. It had been so long. She didn't know exactly, but it felt like she had been there for days. Who knew how long she had been knocked out by the needle from the SUV? She could have been given up on. Could have, though she didn't believe it; Esposito and Ryan would never give up on her. Not even if they were ordered to. She hoped they were talking to each other again.
Kate was hungry and so tired. Her mind was sleepy but her body exhausted and sore. Incredibly sore. She was so drained she couldn't even move anymore. If she were untied right now she'd probably merely slump to the floor and take whatever was coming to her. Maddox had been gone a long time too, though with Kate's distorted sense of time, she wasn't sure how long that was exactly. She suspected he was off following some instruction of the Dragon's and when he came back she would be perfectly primed to tell him once again that she didn't know anything about 'the file' except that it existed. She wished she did have something to tell, so that she could just end this, probably by bullet. There was no way they'd let her go now right? She hoped it would be a bullet.
And as for Rick. Well she hadn't seen him in a long time either and so she suspected he was either already dead (which made it so hard to breathe), because he was of no use to Maddox, or they had taken him somewhere else (better, but still not great. Alexis would be so mad at her). She only hoped that whatever they had done to him had not destroyed him entirely. He was too kind to be broken. Too lovely.
She hoped he would forgive her.
Kate was in the middle of musing how everything had fallen apart in the end and how her father would be devastated to lose her as well as her mother, to the same awful man. That could tip him over the edge again. She was sending him the strength to get through it (and the hope that someone would be there for him) when a loud bang startled her so badly the plastic cuff around her wrists dug into her skin as she tried to involuntarily jump out of the chair. The bang was followed by an even louder bang, so loud it made her ears ring intensely so she could only hear herself breathing (at least now she was sure she was still breathing). There was almost immediately a bright flash. Kate saw nothing as it went off, and nothing after the light had faded. She was blinded and deafened and thought for sure it was the end. When she tasted the bitter artificial smoke she knew it was something else.