LITTLE BLACK RAINCLOUD

By Lorraine Anderson

"Tut, tut," Castle said, looking up. "Looks like rain."

Becket resisted the temptation to look up. She tried very hard not to look amused, but at the crinkles besides Castle's eyes, she obviously wasn't very successful. "So - is that from your latest novel?" she said, deadpan.

"Kate," he said. "I'm hurt. You don't recognize a quote from that most wise of characters?"

"Mahatma Gandhi?"

Castle rolled his eyes. "Winnie the Pooh."

"I knew that," she said. "Disney."

"A.A. Milne."

"Same difference," she shrugged.

"Sacrilege," he said. "You should read the book."

"Next on my list," she said. "After this murder investigation."

Castle looked up at the apartment house, then looked at the various people collected on the sidewalk. "You know," Castle said. "It's never good when a murder scene has been evacuated."

"Yeah," Beckett said. "Well, there's a good reason." She turned to Javier, who came up beside them. "Are the special suits we ordered here yet?"

"Special suits?" Castle said, his face worried. She grinned at him. "Like - radiation suits?"

"Why, are you worried that something might happen?" She resisted the impulse to look down at his groin. "I thought you weren't going to have any more children."

"Well," Castle said. "When you already have the best..."

"So why are you worried about a little radiation?"

"I'm not worried."

Esposito looked amused. "I think the suits are coming right now." He pointed at a pesticide company truck.

"In a..." Castle looked sheepish. "Oh. Insects?"

"I thought you knew," Beckett said, "when you started talking about bees."

"No," Castle said. "I was actually looking at the little black rain cloud." He screwed up his face. "Bees?"

A man walked out of the building, holding a jar and wearing a bee suit. He held out the jar to Beckett. "Yeah, it's bees," Ryan said. He pulled the headdress off. "Did I ever tell you that I hate bees?"

"Only every time I told you to go in there," Esposito said, "because I told you I was allergic to bees."

"So, are you?" Castle said.

"Of course," Esposito said, straight faced. Beckett looked at him.

"Right," she said. "And I remember when you told me that you went to your cousin in the country and that they raised bees for honey."

Esposito winced. "You have too good a memory."

"Into a suit!" she ordered. The men in the truck brought up three more suits. "And here are ours."

"Must I?" Castle said.

"No," Beckett said. "Of course not. But who knows what will be disturbed when the exterminators go in? Do you really want to miss a clue?"

Castle looked tempted, then he held out a hand. "Okay. Give it to me. I'll try to look like a little black rain cloud. Wish I could remember the color of the balloon."

"Huh?"

"Never mind. Just thinking about bees."

After dressing, they followed Esposito into the building and into the apartment. Beckett looked at the victim, who was sprawled in a black easy chair. Male, but the features were so swollen, nothing could be determined about his looks.

"So, Castle said, "what makes this a murder?"

"The bees only showed up in one apartment," Esposito said, his voice muffled. "According to the medical history on the victim," he held up a wallet, "he is deathly allergic to bee bites."

"Anybody that allergic to bee stings would have an epinephrine pen in here to counteract the allergic reaction," Beckett said. "Did you find an epi pen, Ryan?"

"No," he said. "But I wasn't exactly looking for any."

Beckett looked around. Bees were swarming around a counter. Castle looked at it. "Sugar. And honey."

Beckett was looking around the corpse. "And I don't need Lani to tell me that bees weren't the only thing that killed our vic." She pulled the victim's legs apart to show Castle. "A gunshot wound in the thigh."

"But that wouldn't have killed him."

She lifted the victim's leg and pushed at the chair. Blood welled up. "Bleeding out of the femoral artery."

"That seems like overkill," Castle said.

"You think?" Esposito said.

"So, did he die of bleeding or did he die of anaphylactic shock?"

"Lanie would have to determine that," Beckett said, looking at the body, "but my guess is that he suffocated. Femoral arteries take an hour to bleed out."

Castle looked around. "And I think I see where the bees may have come from." He pointed over at a barely susceptible indentation in the carpet.

"Looks like the size of a briefcase," Ryan said. He looked around. "I don't see a briefcase in the apartment."

Beckett made a face. "He brought the bees in a briefcase? In New York City? In public transportation? Wouldn't they make a noise?"

Castle snorted. "It's New York City. Who could tell?"

Beckett inclined her head.

They looked around the apartment, taking pictures, then moved out, changing clothes with the waiting medical staff. They moved in to transport the body. "Well," Beckett said, "we can't do anything else until the exterminators go in."

"Aren't you afraid they'll contaminate the evidence?" Castle said.

"They're trained not to touch anything, and they use dry ice to kill the bees. Then we'll collect them as evidence."

Castle shivered. "I'd hate to be in the evidence room if any of them decide to wake back up."

"Which is why they're going to be in a closed box." He watched the body being carried out. "Are we through? I think I need to take a shower."

Beckett smiled. "Afraid of a few bees?"

"A few bees, no. A lot of bees?" He walked off, shaking his head.

"We'll call you when we find out something." Beckett called after him. She resisted the idea that she needed a shower, too. She turned to Ryan and Esposito, who were arguing with each other about the bees. "We need to find out more about the victim." She shook her head. "I can't believe I didn't ask this - did you find out his name?"

"Travis Brandt. According to his wallet, he works at a stock trading company in Manhattan."

"We didn't find a gun, but I think I'll wait for Lanie's report before I investigate any further."

#

"Well," Castle said to Lanie. "Was it murder?"

"Oh, yeah," Lanie shrugged. "Anaphylactic shock. The gunshot to the femoral artery would have killed him eventually, too, but he suffocated, first."

"Why didn't he get out of the apartment?" Beckett asked.

"I suspect," Lanie said, "and this is pure speculation - that he was shot just before someone let the bees out. You didn't find an epi pen in the apartment?"

Beckett shook her head.

"He probably couldn't get up, and the bees were on him before he could move. Did you notice the honey on his arm?"

Beckett shook her head. "No, but he was pretty swollen up."

"The bees would have been on him just like that," Castle snapped his fingers.

"And if he panicked and started swatting at them…"

"Who," Castle said, "would hate this man so much that he would want to make sure he was stung to death by bees? I mean, the perp had a gun. Why wasn't he just shot in the head?"

"I don't know," Beckett said, "but I intend to find out."

#

"Who would want to murder Travis?" the corpulent man said, wiping his brow.

"That's what we intend to find out, Mr. Julian," Beckett said. "You were his boss. Do you know if Travis had any enemies?"

"Oh," the man smiled. "I don't think you can be in the stock business without having a few enemies. He could be a little ruthless. But a lot of people actually liked him." His smile fell. "Except maybe his ex-wife;"

"Do you happen to know where we can find his ex-wife? We saw where he was divorced, but he didn't have a location of his ex-wife."

"Not surprising," Mr. Julian said. "After his divorce, he didn't want anything to do with her. He pays her alimony through his lawyer."

"Alimony," Castle said. "I haven't heard much of that these days."

"Do you know the name of his lawyer?"

"Yeah. James Callahan. But good luck getting anything out of him."

"Hard headed?"

"And honest to a fault. He takes his clients privacy very seriously."

#

"Thank you for letting us see you on such short notice," Beckett said.

"I had prurient interest in seeing you," James Callahan said.

"Really?"

"Actually, I wanted to meet Mr. Castle," he smiled. "I'm afraid I'm a fan of your books."

"Why would you be afraid of that?" Castle smiled broadly. Beckett rolled her eyes at him.

"Well," he said, "Even you must admit that they're a bit of froth."

Castle's smile fell a little. "Well, I don't try to write major literary works."

"And," Mr. Callahan said, "there's nothing wrong with that! After a full day, I certainly don't want to read major treatises. Could I arrange a lunch with you - on me - so that you may autograph my books?"

"Of course," Castle's smile was back.

"Now, how may I help you?"

"I'm afraid I must inform you that one of your clients is dead," Beckett said.

Callahan's smile fell. "I see. Who might that be?"

"Travis Brandt."

Callahan's' mouth fell open. "I just saw him the other day."

"And," Beckett said. "How did he seem?"

"A little down, maybe."

"Anything to do with his wife?"

Callahan smiled. "You know, I can't say anything about anything about his case."

"Actually," Beckett said. "We suspected that would be the case. But we were hoping..."

"He may be gone, but his ex-wife is still alive," Callahan said.

"We would like to get in touch with her, but we can't seem to find a current address. We were hoping that you could..."

Callahan moved behind his desk. "I will either get her permission for you to contact her or she will contact you. May I have your details?"

While they were trading contact information, Beckett noticed peripherally that Castle was looking around the office. The place, to her, screamed lawyer - rich woods, official looking books with legal names line the bookcases, and a picture of a middle-aged woman was on his desk - his wife, she presumed.

"Mr. Callahan," Castle said, looking at the books. "Do you have a monetary interest in an apiary?"

"Why, yes," Callahan said, looking up, surprised. "Why?"

"Oh, no reason," Castle said. "I noticed your book selections, and I'm always looking for experts in various things."

"Do you think that someone could be murdered by bees?"

"Oh," Castle shrugged, "you never know."

"Fascinating creatures, bees," Callahan mused. "I wish I could be more than a partner."

"You would like to raise bees?"

"But I can't. Allergic."

Beckett looked up, surprised. "Really?"

Callahan looked at her closely. "You seem surprised. Many people are allergic to bees."

"Yes," Beckett said. "Yes, they are. I was just surprised that you would have an interest in an apiary." She smiled, hoping she hadn't given too much away. Callahan stared at her, then settled back. "Please let us know what Mr. Brandt's ex-wife says."

"I will pass your request along." He turned to Castle. "Let me walk with you to my secretary and we'll arrange a lunch date. Do you have an assistant you need to consult?"

Castle smiled. "No. Only my mother."

Beckett smiled. "His mother lives with him."

"I see," Callahan said.

Beckett waited until they were away from the office before she brought up the subject. "I hate it when we're trying to find one suspect when we stumble into another. You will be careful, won't you, Castle?"

"Do you really think he's a suspect?" Castle said, looking longingly at the bookstore they were passing. Beckett pulled him along.

"Don't you?" she said. "You were the one who pointed out the apiary books."

Castle looked at her, and she smiled at him. "Because I thought he could be a resource for bee behavior."

Kate snorted. "You think he's not a suspect because he's a fan of your books."

"Um..." Castle mused. "Yes. No." Now that Beckett had broached the subject, she could see his mind turning the theory over. "You're right," he sighed. "I like to think my fans are a higher class than most."

"You've had murderers be fans of your books," she said. "You've told me about a couple."

"True," he sighed. "It's not exactly something I'm proud of."

"You can't pick your fans."

"No." He sighed again. "So... do you want me to question him?"

"Well," she said. "If you can do it subtly..."

"Kate." He stopped and looked at Beckett. "The man is a lawyer. Unless I miss my guess, I'm reading him as scary smart. Aren't you?"

"Well, yes," she said. "But sometimes people can be so smart that they can underestimate other people who they think aren't as smart as they are."

Castle blinked. "Would you care to repeat that?" he said, smiling.

"No, not really. That was a mouthful, wasn't it?"

"Are you saying I'm not smart?" he smiled.

"I know you are," she said. "But he probably believes that he's smarter."

"You realize that we're convicting him without evidence." Castle said.

"Well," she said, realizing that he was right, "at this point, everybody connected to the vic is a suspect."

He nodded, conceding the point. "I'll have lunch with him. Are you sure you don't want to come?"

"I'll pass. I'd rather not hear you two discussing Nikki Heat."

#

"So," Beckett said, looking up from her desk "how did it go?"

Castle sighed. "For a man allergic to bees, he knows an awful lot about them." He sat down. "And you'll be happy to know we barely talked about Nikki Heat."

Ryan leaned over. "I have a friend who loves cats and can never have one."

"Really?"

"Just saying that a fascination with a forbidden object isn't necessarily a motive."

"Okay," Castle said. "Still seems odd."

"Didn't you say once that that you like Angelina Jolie? The last I saw, she was taken," Beckett said.

"That's not the same thing, and you know it," Castle grumped.

"Did you say Angelina Jolie?" Esposito came over from the other side of the office.

"This isn't investigating," Beckett said. "How did you hear us all the way over there?"

"Hey," Esposito said. "You mention a beautiful woman and I'm all over that."

"You mean, you wish you were all over that," Castle said.

Beckett rolled her eyes. Men. "The lawyer, Castle?"

"Oh. Yeah. He was just as closed-mouthed as he was before, but he did admit that he met Brandt's wife once, during the negotiations."

"Did he say anything about her?"

"Only that she was beautiful."

"Is that all men think about?" Beckett said.

"No," Esposito said. "Not everything. How about them Yankees?"

"What about the case?" She turned to Ryan. "Have you tracked down the wife?"

"Yeah. She's in Queens."

"Let's get her in here."

#

The red-headed woman stared at Beckett, bringing her hands to her mouth. "I thought Travis was accidentally killed by bees."

"The bees did kill him," Beckett said, "after someone had shot his leg and made sure that he had no epi-pens in the apartment."

She turned white. "Somebody shot him?"

"Right in the femoral artery," Castle said. "Made sure he wouldn't move while the bees killed him."

She seemed to draw into herself. "God. I hated Travis, but not that much. I loved him once." She looked up, tears in her eyes. "That would've been torture."

"Can I ask you why you divorced?"

"Am I a suspect?"

Castle reached out gently, then pulled his hands back. "Everybody who knows the vic are suspect until they've been eliminated."

"I thought it was the other way around."

"Innocent until proved guilty," Beckett said. "That is the position of the law. But if we think that everyone is innocent, then we wouldn't investigate anybody."

"That's the conundrum," Castle said.

Beckett shook her head. "When was the last time you saw your ex?"

"About two weeks ago. We both ended up at the same restaurant in Manhattan." She shook her head. "I don't think he saw me."

"May I ask," Castle said, then he seemed to back off. "You may or may not not I've been divorced twice, myself. I've been where you've been. So may I re-ask why you divorced Travis?"

Her eyes flashed fire. "Because he was an arrogant son of a bitch."

Castle looked like he was taken aback. "I... see."

"Have you looked into his workplace?"

"Yes," Beckett said. Castle looked at her. She hadn't shared what they had found with him yet; Mrs. Brandt had come in a lot faster than she had expected. "He was a multi-millionaire who had made his money with good trades."

Castle recovered fast. "I'm surprised he didn't lose a lot of that during the recession."

Mrs. Brandt shrugged. "He had anticipated the recession. I doubt he lost a thing."

"You had asked for alimony."

Her eyes flashed fire again. "He was a multi-millionaire, but you saw the apartment he was in."

Beckett thought of Castle's apartment. Castle was extremely comfortable financially, and his living space reflected that. Brandt's living space had seemed to be - well, at a lower level than her own. Very small, very typical of lower middle class in New York City. She had wondered about that. "I see what you mean."

"I was always after him to part with some of his money - for us, for a vacation, for a better living place - even a better television. But no. He was saving for his old age, I supposed. Or beyond the grave." She sighed. "I got tired, I fell out of love, and I managed to find a judge who was sympathetic with me. I finally managed to get him to part with some of his money. Not much, obviously, but enough to let it hurt." She looked up. "I donate a bunch to charity. If it helps, I can give you my tax forms."

"You do realize," Beckett said, "that you are the prime beneficiary of his will."

She nodded. "I hadn't realized that he spent the money for a will until after he had died."

"We also found a diary."

Once again, Castle had looked at her. She hadn't had a chance to tell him about the diary, either. She shrugged slightly at him.

Mrs. Brandt looked surprised. "Really? I never knew him to write much."

"It was started after you divorced. I can't give you the book now, because it is evidence, but he loved you."

She blinked, then one tear went down her cheek. "He... never told me." She turned away and started crying. "I'm sorry."

They waited a few moments. "Do you know who might want to kill him?"

She sniffled. "Any number of people. When it came to money, he was quite ruthless. I was quite surprised he didn't fight harder about the alimony."

"You were," Castle said gently, "apparently his weakness."

She smiled through her tears.

#

Beckett sighed after she had left. "She hated him, but she loved him."

Castle smiled. "The classic conundrum. Can't live with him, can't live without him."

Beckett looked at Castle. Which relationship was he describing? She cleared her throat. "My instinct is that she wasn't involved."

"But," Castle said. "Okay, I'm going to be the devil's advocate. She has the most to gain by his death, doesn't she? After all, she was the beneficiary of his millions. Was she the sole heir?"

"He had a couple of cousins, but he left them maybe $100,000 each," Beckett shrugged.

"Chump change," Castle said.

"Hmmm..." Beckett thought of what she could do with that much money.

"He sounds like a latter-day Scrooge," Castle said. "His sole goal was making money, but even he had his weakness."

"Without the happy ending." Beckett said. "Well, let's find some of his business colleagues."

#

"So," the man sat back in his chair. "Scratch has gotten his at last."

"You've read the Christmas Carol, too," Castle said.

Jim Thomas smiled. "Most of my colleagues have noted the resemblance between Brandt and Scrooge.

"But the ending isn't quite as happy," Castle said.

"Hmmm, yes," Thomas said. He shivered. "What a way to go. Suffocation."

"How did you know it was suffocation?" Beckett said.

He held up a paper. "Said he died of bee stings." he said. "I have bad allergies, too. "He pulled open a drawer and held up an epi-pen.

"Seems like a lot of people we talk to have bad allergies," Beckett commented.

Castle shrugged. "It seems to be the society we live in," Castle said.

"I understand you had a few run-ins with Mr. Brandt," she said to Thomas.

Thomas snorted. "Me, and a few dozen other people." he said. "Would you like names?" He blinked. "Oh. Yes. Of course you would like names."

"Where were you the night Mr. Brandt died?"

"I was with my wife. We were at a party, actually. Ask anybody there."

"We plan to," Beckett said.

"Figured you would," he said. "If there are no other questions, I'll give you a list of names that I've personally known to hate Mr. Brandt."

Castle looked a little taken aback. "You seem pretty eager to sell out your friends."

Thomas smiled, perhaps a little sadly. "They would do the same for me. At least amongst our little group, this is a cutthroat business."

"Almost literally," Castle said.

Thomas inclined his head.

#

"His alibi checks out," Esposito said. "But get this. One of his names was just released from prison."

"Yeah?" Castle said. "For what?"

"Securities fraud. And Brandt was one of the chief witnesses."

Beckett sighed. "Guess we need to get this guy in here. Anybody else?"

"Ryan is working down the list, and I'm going to join him as soon as I'm through here." He sighed. "Damn. That's a long list."

"First, get this guy in. Then look at everybody else."

Another officer walked up. "Detective Beckett?"

"Yes, Dave?"

"There's an Edward Grisby here to see you?"

Beckett looked surprised. "Did he say why?"

Esposito grinned. "That's the parolee."

Castle looked as surprised as Beckett felt. "Usually, our suspects don't walk right in."

"Not generally," Beckett said. "Bring him to the interrogation room."

As soon as the three were seated, "What brings you in, Mr. Grisby?"

"I understand that Brandt was murdered."

Beckett nodded her head. "That's right. Do you have any information?"

"I might. I'm not sure." The man pushed greasy yellow hair to one side of his head. "Mostly, I wanted to clear my name and tell you where I was when Brandt was murdered."

"You seem awfully eager," Castle said, "to convince us of your innocence."

"I just got out of prison," he said. "I really don't want to go back."

"I understand that Brandt testified against you," Beckett said.

Grisby nodded. "I don't hold that against him. He told the truth. I was guilty."

Beckett blinked. "Well, this kind of honesty is refreshing."

Grisby hung his head. "I knew I was doing wrong when I made those transactions, and I did them anyway." He looked her in her eye. "Prison was... horrible. I really don't want to go back."

"I understand," Beckett said. "I reviewed your record." She shook her head at Castle, who had raised his eyebrows and looked like he was about to ask a question. What she had seen had horrified her, and she was certain that Grisby wouldn't want to have it publicized. "We will check on your alibi."

"Should be fairly easy," he said. "I was with my parole officer's wife all day."

Beckett gave him a startled look. Castle grinned.

"At McDonald's," he grinned. "She hired me, then took me back to the homeless center." He pushed his hair back again. "Where I stayed the night."

"We'll check it out."

"Thanks."

"Do you have any idea who might hate Brandt so much?" Castle said.

Grisby considered it. "Most of his contemporaries. His ex-wife. His lawyer."

"His lawyer?"

"Well, I don't know, but if he was so tight with his money as rumored, I can't imagine his lawyer getting a whole lot." He shrugged. "I understood that he made too many concessions for Brandt's taste."

"Really?"

"How do you know about this?" Beckett said.

"I don't," Grisby replied. "And all I heard were rumors. But..." he ran his hand over the table. "They certainly have the ring of truth."

"Well," Beckett said. "We'll check you out, and keep your theory in mind."

#

"I hate to say it," Castle said, "but my fan is looking more and more guilty."

"Your fan," Beckett said, "is a highly respected lawyer who has never been in trouble in his life. Why in the world would he turn to murder now, when he could easily sue his well-heeled client?"

Castle shrugged. "Well," he said, "how many suspects have you eliminated?"

"Almost all of them," Beckett sighed. She looked down at her list. "It's amazing. They all have alibis. Not a one of them were home by themselves."

"If this were an Agatha Christie novel, and the victim was covered with stab marks, I would have said that they all did it," Castle said. "But even I can't believe that they all released one bee each into Brandt's apartment."

"So that leaves our lawyer."

"Maybe we should bring him in."

Ryan came up. "No need," he said. "Mr. Callahan shot his secretary."

"He what!" Castle launched out of his chair, and Beckett wasn't far behind.

"Claimed that she was talking to him in an evil voice, so he shot her."

"I need to see this," Beckett said.

"He's in the interrogation room now."

They hurried in there. He was sitting across from Esposito, his hands placed calmly on the table. "... and," he said, "when she told me that the devil was in the antechamber, I shot her in the leg."

"How did you know that the devil was in the antechamber?" Esposito said. "Did you see him?"

"Of course," the man said reasonably. "Didn't you?"

Castle whistled. "And he was talking so reasonably at lunch. He even pointed out a flaw in my reasoning in my newest novel. It was a good point."

"Is this typical of your fans?" Beckett said with a not quite straight face.

"I hope not," Castle said. "Wait, are you trying to say something?"

She smiled mysteriously and looked away.

"Has Callahan confessed to Brandt's murder?"

Ryan shook his head. "Not that I've seen."

As if Esposito had heard him, he altered his line of questioning. "Have you ever seen the devil in other places?"

"Of course."

"Where was one of the places?"

"Oh, it was in Travis Brandt's apartment. I was told that by a red-haired angel."

Beckett recalled that Mrs. Brandt was red-haired. Speculating, she knew.

Ryan leaned back.

"So what did you do about it?"

"I shot him in the leg."

"Then what?"

"I had brought my bees. Bees are cleansing. They would cleanse the apartment until Travis got back."

"You opened the briefcase full of bees?"

For the first time, he looked troubled. "I must have. I don't remember doing that, but Detective Beckett said that he was killed by bees."

Ryan stared are him. "And did Travis get back there?"

"I haven't seen him in weeks," the lawyer said.

Another person leaned into the room. "Detective?"

"Yes," Beckett said.

"Mrs. Callahan is here. She would like to know what's happening with her husband."

Beckett and Castle hurried out to the main room. An older woman sat in one of the chairs, shredding a tissue. She looked up, distressed, as Beckett hurried up.

"What has my husband done?" she cried.

"He has shot his secretary," Beckett said, sitting down opposite her, "and we believe he may have killed one of his clients."

"Oh, my God," the woman said, her face white. She looked up, distressed. "This is all my fault!"

"Your fault," Castle said.

"James was diagnosed with brain cancer last month. I knew that his reasoning was being affected, but I never dreamed..."

"He seems to be seeing things?"

"He... never said that he was, and most of the time he would talk quite reasonably, but he was starting to act - erratic."

"Well, we'll check that out."

"Yes. Please. I'll give you his doctor's name."

"He'll need to be locked up," Beckett said gently. "But I'm sure he'll be found not guilty by reason of insanity."

"Yes," she looked up, her eyes bleak. "I know." She reached out and took Beckett's hand. "I have to let you know. This is not him. He never would have thought of shooting or killing anybody."

Castle laid a hand on her shoulder. "We know."

"Thank you. He was a good man." She dissolved into tears again. "I feel like I've lost him already."

#

"Do you think that Mrs. Brandt set up the suggestion in Callahan's mind?" Castle said.

"Actually, we asked her," Beckett said. "She admitted that she told the lawyer that Brandt was a devil, but she never said that she wanted him dead."

"Well," Castle said. "I suppose that if she didn't know about the man's cancer, she could hardly make a leading suggestion."

"Exactly," Beckett said. "But that leaves a question. Mr. Callahan never would have moved his beloved bees in his car in a hot summer." She thought a moment. "So who moved them for him?"

Castle snapped his fingers. "His beekeeper."

"Road trip?"

"Yes."

They went out into the country to the address that Mrs. Callahan had provided for them. A large man came out of the barn. "Yeah, we keep Callahan's hives here."

"Did you transport one for him?"

"He shook his head. "I didn't, no,"

"Could you ask some of your other employees?"

They heard a car. A blonde woman started to back out. Beckett ran up to the car and managed to get in front of it before she pulled out. The lady slumped over the wheel.

"You're," she said, "you're Mrs. Brandt's sister, aren't you?"

"Yes," she said.

"Did you transport the bees for Callahan?"

"Yes," she said. "But I swear that I didn't know why. I was just obeying orders. Callahan wanted me to meet him at that building, then take the bees up to Brandt's apartment."

"You knew that Travis Brandt was deathly allergic to bees, didn't you?"

She remained silent, but her eyes blazed up.

"Why?"

"Because I hated what he did to my sister. I swear I just took the bees to frighten him, but when I saw him bleeding in the chair..."

"You emptied the apartment of epi-pens, then let the bees at him."

"He was a devil!" she cried.

"That still doesn't mean you can kill him." She brought out her gun. "You're under arrest. Get out of the car with your hands up."

She glared at Beckett, then lowered her eyes. "It was worth it."

#

"Well," Castle said. "I never saw any of this coming." He sat back in Beckett's visitor's chair, taking a sip of coffee.

"Sometimes, you don't," she said, smiling at him. "Sometimes, real life is weirder than your fiction."

"Are you trying to tell me that my stories are weird?" he smiled.

"No, just you," she smiled, then moved swiftly back to her desk.

"Oooh, low blow," he said, smiling. "I just remembered. It was a blue balloon."

"Huh?"

"Christopher Robin and Winnie-ther-Pooh decided on a blue balloon so that Winnie could look like a little black rain cloud." He smiled. "I just remembered."

"Castle, sometimes you're just… odd." In spite of herself, she smiled back.

She had to admit, she was really starting to like him. She shook her head. He would never ask her out.

He was still smiling at her.

Would he?