Disclaimer: Don't own any of the recognizable character, just taking them out to play!

Author's Notes: This fic was prompted by lanna_kitty, who wanted a Sanctuary/Castle crossover.

Since he'd begun riding along with Detective Kate Beckett, Richard Castle had gotten the opportunity to see quite a few dead bodies. Many murdered in unusual, often gruesome ways. He'd thought he was becoming somewhat used to the gore (hell, it was part of his job to come up with horrible and interesting ways to kill people, but seeing it was another thing all together), while still retaining his essential humanity.

Nothing he'd seen or imagined could have prepared him for the crime scene he just followed Becket into.

The first hint that something was wrong should have been the cluster of nauseous looking uniformed officers standing in to hall. There was even a young kid losing his lunch and no one was harassing him about it. Usually, anyone who puked at a scene was mocked mercilessly. It was a cop thing.

Even before stepping over the threshold, Rick found his senses assaulted by the heavy, copper penny scent of blood, lots and lots of blood, mixed with the sickly sweet eau de early decomp.

Frankly, it looked like some kind of a wild animal (or a dozen) had been let loose in the room to savage (and that was the appropriate word) a person. Then perhaps take the time to toss random buckets of blood around, 'cause damn there was a lot of the stuff visible.

There were chunks of person everywhere, too. Lanie, Ryan and Esposito were inspecting different piles of meat, bone and viscera. Professionals that they were, none of them were getting sick, though Ryan was looking even paler than he normally did and Esposito hopped to the side to avoid being spattered by…yeah, that was an ear. It had been stuck to the ceiling, but had chosen to fall just as the detective was passing under it.

Everyone stared at the offending ear before Esposito breathed, "Man, that's just wrong."

"Anyone got an ID on our vic?" Beckett inquired, stepping carefully across the room, on her toes to avoid blood stains.

"Uh, found a hand…Looks a little chewed on, but mostly intact, " Ryan said, bending over to peer under a low table, "But, yeah, manager said he rented the room to an Erasmo Bullwinkle. I'm thinking that might be an alias."

"It's not." Rick felt his stomach lurch as he stared at the pitiful pile of remains that used to be a person. A man. A man he knew. "He's an acquaintance. Fellow writer…his genre's Urban Fantasy though…."

Beckett gave him a concerned look and he nodded, indicating that he was all right. Sure, the gore of the room was even more horrible now that he knew it had come from Raz - Erasmo's nickname - but he knew if he seemed too upset that would mean getting benched.

"Take a look at this," Lanie murmured to Beckett, crouched beside….oh, that was definitely a head. She was holding something she'd pulled from the pulpy, severed stump that was left of Raz's neck. As the thought flitted through his mind, Rick winced, wishing he could turn off the voice in his head that always tried to word things like he was putting them down on paper.

Beckett took the object Lanie offered and held it up to a light. "Is that…a tooth?" Ryan asked, scrunching up his face. "Please tell me that's not a tooth."

It didn't look like any tooth Rick had ever seen. It was more of a serrated fang.

"This has to be a weapon," Beckett said, sounding dubious. "Nothing has teeth like this."

Nothing normal anyway. "I need some air," Rick announced, picking his way back out of the room and avoiding the concerned gazes of his friends.

While the fresh air was good, it wasn't why he wanted out of the room. No, a phone call had to be made and it wasn't one Beckett and the others needed to know about.

At least, not yet.

"I'm just saying, everyone's heard about your crazy Bollywood dance number in India. How did you manage that if Wii DDR kicks your ass?"

Kate Freelander asked, giving Will Zimmerman at teasing glare across the passenger area of the Sanctuary's jet.

His response was to toss his hands in the air and say, "That was the Macri, not me!"

"Still," Kate said with a sigh, "You could have warned me about your two left feet."

Looking up from his tablet computer, Henry Foss grinned at her. "You were the one who picked him for your team."

From his seat by the wet bar, Tesla came out of the brood he'd been in Magnus had disappeared into the cockpit. "Wait, you're saying Team Furball beat the two of you? Oh, well that's just sad."

"The Big Guy can be really agile when he wants to be," Kate defended her TV buddy, who had stayed behind at the Old City Sanctuary to hold down the fort while the rest of them jaunted off to New York, answering an SOS from a friend of Magnus's.

At least, that's what Kate thought they were doing. She didn't know why the NYC Sanctuary couldn't handle whatever had happened and Magnus hadn't explained much, saying she'd brief them on the plane, but her powwow with the pilot had taken precedence.

"Perhaps some innate Abnormal grace explains Big and Hairy's skill, but what of Tiny Tim?" Tesla smirked, seeming to never tire of tossing short jokes at Henry. While Hank wasn't the biggest guy around, Kate had never really thought of him as 'tiny'…and it wasn't as though Tesla was a giant like Druitt.

Rolling his eyes, Hank said, "Keeping a rhythm is not that hard."

Huh. Kate knew that expression. Hank definitely didn't want to tell them something. Glancing around, she saw Tesla and Will take note of this as well.

"Secret past as a rave kid?" Will joked, sharp profiler eyes looking to see if he was on the right track.

Leaning forward, Tesla prodded, "Frustrated yearning to be a ballet dancer?"

That image made Kate giggle, but Hank scowled and sighed. "If you must know, Doc made me and Ash go to a whole bunch of classes when we were kids, trying to socialize us. Dance, gymnastics, music… of course, self-defense was kept in house. And contact sports were out after the Football Incident."

So much in that statement begged for further explanation. Surprisingly, it was Will who managed to voice his question first. "Socialize you? Trouble at school?"

Hank gave him a look. "Home schooled till we were 12. As you can imagine, we didn't get out much."

With a grimace, Kate tried to imagine growing up in the Gothic castle with Magus and Biggie as both tutors and caregivers. The thought was both nice ( she was sure the education was top notch and there would've been plenty of affection) and horrible (Oh my God, some of the residents looked like the stuff of nightmares and Magnus probably read them Grimm's fairy tales, not the Disneyfied versions.).

"Football or American football?" That question was from Tesla, who looked gleeful. "And you must explain the incident or I will hound you mercilessly."

Casting a pleading gaze towards the cockpit, clearly hoping Magnus would arrive, Henry sighed. "Football. Soccer. Ashley went through a biting phase when she was four."

A ghost of a smile crossed Will's face, as he seemed quite capable of imagining Magnus's daughter taking a bite out of someone on the soccer field.

Before she got her own question out, Magnus chose to reappear, settling down in one of the plush seats and saying, "Sorry for ignoring you all. Now, as I said, earlier today I received a call from the son of a trusted friend. Richard works with the NYPD and happened upon a crime scene that calls for our intervention. . Erasmo Bullwinkle…" she paused when Kate couldn't quite contain a bark of laughter, "… was murdered quite viciously. I made contact with some of our allies in government and have been assured cooperation from the NYPD. Henry, you should have received a file."

"Got it," he replied, clicking at his tablet and cringing. "Guh!"

He turned the computer so they could all view the display of grisly crime scene photos. When what appeared to be a really nasty tooth popped up, Magnus pointed at it.

"I won't be able to say for certain without a first-hand inspection of the tooth, but I believe that to be the incisor of a Liath, a particularly aggressive but savvy breed of Abnormal who often hire out as mercenaries."

Hank called up an index of known Abnormals and found an image of a Liath. It was a large being, more or less human looking, though the jaw was distended to make room for the fangs. Its torso was covered in an armor like series of scales, a protective shell around the vital organs, but, if clothed, it could probably pass for a particularly unpleasant looking men.

"Bullwinkle himself was an Abnormal, a Herpandrite. Basically human, but two times a year he'd shed his skin. He was fully assimilated into society, a fairly popular fantasy novelist. At the moment, I have no idea why anyone would want him dead."

"This friend of yours, Richard? Do you think he'll be able to help on the scene. Able to keep his people away from our… purview?" Tesla mused. "Not that I care particularly, but you do."

Magnus shook her head. "Unfortunately, Richard is not a police officer. He's a novelist, shadowing a detective on whom he's based a character…."

"Wait. Richard…. You don't mean Richard Castle?" Will asked and Magnus nodded. "I love his books."

"What's he write?" Kate asked, knowing the name sounded vaguely familiar, but unable to place it.

Shooting her disbelieving look, Will said, "The Derek Storm novels. Heat Wave. Naked Heat….Anybody? No? Mystery novels, people?"

Magnus nodded a bit, though Kate was willing to bet she'd never read one of those books. Tesla just raised imperious brow and Hank shrugged. "Yeah, sounds sort of familiar."

"They're making a movie out of one of the books, right?" Kate asked and Will seemed relieved by the hint that she and Hank were at least somewhat familiar with the books.

Magnus and Tesla…. Well, let's just say their idea of pop culture was vastly different than the rest of the world's. Hers was random, at best and he seemed to harbor a marked distaste for anything that post dated the early 20th Century.

Upon landing in New York, they piled into a large, chauffeured car that was waiting for them. Another ferried their luggage and equipment to Magnus's home in the city, a lovely brownstone if Kate recalled correctly.

Clearly, they weren't going to the brownstone. Instead they arrived at the pricy building where Castle lived. Magnus led the way up to the penthouse, though she said she'd never visited before. The posh environment was clearly her element, in a way that Kate had no illusion she could fake.

The door was answered by an elegantly dressed woman in her 60s, who smiled warmly at Helen and said, "My dear, you look as lovely as ever. I'm jealous!"

"Hello, Martha," Magnus replied, embracing the women, obviously an old friend. "How have you been?"

Martha gestured expressively she waved them in. "Keeping busy," she said. "I've opened a drama school. So that's keeping me occupied."

The two women shared a chuckle and Martha sobered to say, "I heard about Ashley and dear James. They will be missed."

"Yes," Magnus agreed, in that voice she always used when someone brought up Ashley. Changing the topic, she said, "You remember Henry?"

Hank grinned and gave Martha a little wave and she smiled at him. "It's been a long time," she commented, then her grin grew teasing. "Didn't you turn out well!"

As Hank pinked up and made some polite response, Kate decided she was going to like Martha. "Kate Freelander," she said, holding out her hand.

"Charmed, dear," Martha replied as they shook.

When it was Will's turn, the profiler politely smiled. "Will Zimmerman… and Mr. Lack of Boundaries who is poking around your fridge is Tesla."

"Nikola!" Magnus chastised the former vampire, but Martha simply chuckled.

"Please, don't encourage him," Will moaned, but no one acknowledged her complaint.

Turning toward the stairs, Martha called out, "Richard, Alexis, our guests are here."

Time to get down to business.

Kate Beckett knew Castle had been behaving strangely (well, even stranger than usual) when he ducked out of the Bullwinkle crime scene. Then he made an excuse to leave the station and now, at 10:15 PM, he called and asked her to meet him at a large brownstone on the Upper East Side.

When she rang the doorbell, it let out an ominous gong and, moments later, the huge doors swung open. Castle was standing there, looking serious and more than a little guilty.

"Thanks for coming," he said, ushering her into an entry hall that just shrieked understated, old money. "I know you're busy."

"Busy waiting on some so-called specialists the governor's ordered us to cooperate with," she merely growled, then regretted her anger when he flinched.

At least, she regretted it until he spoke.

"Um, about that," he said, then led the way further into the house and placed a hand on a wall, opening a hidden door… to a room that did not look like it belonged.

A tall, dark-haired woman stood before a wall-mounted screen, reading aloud the data presented there. Martha was listening with interest as a wide eyed Alexis hovered by a man hunched over a computer, Bullwinkle's thrashed cell phone on the desk beside him. A lovely young woman of Indian descent was pacing and yelling into a phone, as was another young man.

"Castle, what's going on?" she asked, feeling like she was suddenly out of the loop.

She hated that feeling.

"Well, well, well, who is this?"

A man had sauntered out of the shadows, giving her a blatant once over. Kate bristled, ready to deliver a verbal smack down, when the young man with the phone looked up.

"Tesla, would you please…No, you know what? Go ahead and be yourself. I've read her file. Maybe she'll do us all a favor and shoot you."

"Will," the tall, brunette with Martha had abandoned the screens and nodded to Kate greeting. "Detective Beckett, I presume. Martha and Richard have spoken highly of both your investigative prowess and your discretion."

While that was all well and good, Kate was starting to get a little annoyed. Okay, that was an understatement. "Thanks. So, who are you people?"

"Direct. Good," the woman said. "Tell me, Detective, are you open minded?"

Oh, this was not going to turn out well. Will had seen the tension and annoyance radiating off of the detective from the moment she stepped into the room. She had been unhappy about outsiders getting involved in her case before even arriving and her feeling of unease was compounded by being thrown into the midst of a group of (admittedly) odd strangers.

Tesla being his usual, letchy self wasn't helping any, either. Seriously, the more Magnus talked, explaining who they were, what the Sanctuary was and how they were involved with her case, the more Beckett looked like she wanted to punch someone.

It was either going to be Castle or Tesla, Will decided as Magnus summed up the situation.

For a moment, Beckett was silent, then she said, "You want me to believe monsters killed Bullwinkle?"

"Not monsters," Henry corrected, looking up from the search he was doing on his computer. "Abnormals. And, in this case, a specific Abnormal…though he or she may have been working for someone."

Beckett blinked at him, then rounded on Castle. "How do you know these people, how do the crazy people have the governor convinced we should work with them, why are your mother and daughter here and… Step off."

That last comment was directed at Tesla, who quickly changed course and wandered back around the table to hover by Magnus. Will thought that was probably a smart choice on the ex-vampire's part.

"I know this is a bit much to take in, but, I'm telling you, they are for real," the author attempted to reassure her, but stepped back under the force of her disbelieving glare.

From across the room, Martha said, "Kate, dear, I've known Helen for many years and I can vouch for her and her people…and, as for Alexis, she's old enough to know about this part of life, I think."

"Doc, I got a few locations of interest out of Bullwinkle's phone," Henry called out, then pointed to something on the screen. "See, that's how you reconstruct the data from the SIM card."

"Cool," Alexis uttered, her interested face illuminated by the LCD screen.

"My contact won't talk over the phone," Kate said, angrily ending her call. It always amazed Will, how she could give the impression of slamming a call phone as though it was a hand held. "I need to go meet Twinkie. He sounds like he's either tweaking or really nervous about what I was asking…."

The doorbell rang and this time Alexis stepped out to answer, knowing it was the other two detectives that Castle had called.

Magnus was already jumping ahead. "Right, Kate, you and Will speak with your contact. Take along a detective or two. Henry, Nikola, the same for Henry's leads. I have a contact of my own…."

"Hold on!" Beckett said, tossing up a hand to halt the proceedings as Alexis led two men into the room.

The pair looked around, taking in the scene, doing a good job of masking their confusion.

"We have our orders," she continued, then shook her head, "But, I'm sorry, all this is too much. Monsters and conspiracies…I am not sending my people out into God knows what…."

"We don't have time for this," Magnus said, picking up her jacket and glancing across the room. "I assume you will continue to refuse to believe us barring proof. Henry, if you would?"

The tech stopped in the middle of shutting down some program and asked, "What?"

"Beckett, what's going on?" one of the detectives asked as Magnus turned to Henry.

"These are the people we're supposed to work with. They're delusional," Beckett muttered, making sure to keep an eye on them all. She seemed to think that one of them was about to snap and try to kill someone.

Magnus and Henry were having a conversation without words and, as always, Magnus won. Looking extremely put upon, Henry heaved a sigh and tilted his head from side to side, cracking his neck. "Only partial, no nakedness," he declared, stepping back from the monitors and waving a finger at the detectives. "DO. NOT. SHOOT. ME."

Will could never really classify the sound that accompanied Henry's transformations. From a scientific point of view, he knew that the other man's bones were breaking and reshaping themselves, muscles stretching and thickening, hair and claws bursting forth. The sound…some deep, instinctive reflex shuddered and the hair on the back of his neck rose..

Like, nails on a chalkboard.

The visual…even a partial transformation, hands and head, so as not to burst out of his clothes, was something really cool to behold. At least, it was cool once you got used to it.

To the uninformed, it was probably pretty damn creepy.

After a minute, Henry shifted back to his normal form and took a breath, rolling his shoulders to loosen sore, abused muscles.

"Proof enough for you?" Magnus asked and Will followed her gaze to those in the room whom had never witnessed a HAP in action. Martha's brows were raised, Alexis's eyes wide and Richard…well, he looked impressed and like he was biting back a million questions.

The three detectives, on the other hand, were another story all together. Beckett was blinking, mouth opening and closing silently as Esposito took a step back, hand falling to his gun. Ryan, the youngest of the group, looked only mildly surprised.

Of course they knew who they were going to be working with. It wasn't paranoia to be overly cautious when someone was usually out to get you.

"So…you folks from the Sanctuary or something?" Ryan asked, curious but not shocked like his colleagues, who turned to gape at him.

Now, it was Magnus's turn to look surprised. "You know of us? Good. That will be helpful."

The younger detective shook his head. "Not really. My gran knew a selchie your people helped out of a jam."

A selchie? Cool. Will had yet to meet one of those. Mostly, they hung out in Ireland, occasionally straying to Scotland and England, so the London Sanctuary handled dealings with them.

As opposed to the general vibe of curiosity in the room, Ryan's co-workers looked like they could use a stiff drink.

"All right, we're going to need to work together here, so why don't we all…."

"Are you a werewolf?" Alexis interrupted, clearly unable to contain herself a second longer.

Henry scrunched up his face in distaste. "We don't use that term. It's Class 9 Hyper Accelerated Protean Life Form. HAP, for short."

"Cool," Alexis and her father breathed, then the older Castle asked, "Okay, Helen I know, but any superpowers for the rest of you?"

To sooth the frazzled detectives, Will said, "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm just a run of the mill human."

"Same here," Kate agreed with a smile.

Of course Tesla had to open his mouth. "I'm currently an ex-vampire with magnetic capabilities."

Lovely, Will thought with a sigh and stepped forward, a placating smile on his face. Time for Damage control.

This whole case was screwy. From the moment he'd stepped into that blood bath of an apartment, to the high end brownstone (apparently the base of operations for the 'specialists' the governor wanted them to work with), to a dude that turned into some sort of monster movie wolf-man hybrid…..

Javi had seen some shit in his day, but this was a whole new level of freaky.

Still, they had a case to work somehow they'd wound up following a lead with the computer tech/not-a-werewolf and snaky Mr. Magneto. The latter of whom had complimented Ryan on his waistcoat then proceeded to let loose a snaky running commentary that hadn't stopped since they entered the car.

Maybe being super annoying was another of the man's powers. Glancing into the rearview mirror, Javi caught Henry's eye and asked, "Does he ever stop?"

The scruffy guy snorted. "This is actually pretty well behaved for him."

If this was well behaved, then what was he normally like? Exchanging a glance with Kevin, Javi knew his partner was wondering the same thing.

In the backseat, Tesla sneered, "You do know I can hear you."

"Like that's ever stopped you from insulting me!" Harry muttered, then one of the seemingly dozens of electronic gadgets he carried beeped. Fortunately, it just seemed to be a phone, as he held it to his ear to speak. "Hello, vriend! Ek wou jouvra oor die Liath jy het in 'n koshuis? Ishy nog steeds in kontak met sy volk?"

Okay then.

"So," Ryan asked quietly, turning in his seat to face Tesla, "you guys do this sort of thing often?"

Rolling his eyes, Tesla sighed. "Of late, yes. Heinrich's been a white hat since Helen plucked him from the moor, but I previously chose to devote myself to my dual passions for scientific advancement and world domination."

Still conversing with whomever had called him, Henry gave Tesla a dark look. Ryan however laughed and Javi snorted, amused by how dry the man had managed to make that remark.

Their amusement was cut short when Tesla grinned, joined in their laughter and commented, "You think I'm joking! How precious!"

Creepy again.

Hanging up, Henry looked a Tesla and said, "Just for once, stop! That was Marhee from the new Sanctuary in Kimberley. They have a Liath in residence, but he hasn't heard anything about one of his own hopping the pond." To Kevin and Javi, he added, "They prefer Europe to the US."

"Good taste," Tesla remarked, causing Henry to sigh.

Suddenly, a thought popped into Javi's head and he had to ask. "Hey, so, are Chupacabras real?"

"Yes," Tesla replied in a bored tone, looking out the window.

Henry looked up from whatever was beeping now. "Their reps are over hyped."

Said the dude who could sprout claws and fangs. "We're here," Javi announced, never so glad for the opportunity to get out of a car. And that included the time when he was a uniform and had to take in a skel covered in raw sewage.

The address Henry had wrestled from Bullwinkle's phone looked as abandoned as property records indicated it would be. The windows were boarded up and the fading sign indicated that, at one point, it had been a pet store.

Pulling something that looked like a steam punk Game Boy out of a pocket, Henry let out a low whistle. "What the hell are they doing in there? Power consumption is in-sane!"

"And no one would put a lock like that on a place like this without another motive," Kev said, waving at the lock as he rapped on the door.

When no one replied, Javi pulled out his phone. "I don't think we're going to get a warrant based on…."

Henry squinted at the door then glanced at Tesla. "It's electro-magnetically sealed."

The man made a dismissive gesture…and the door swung open, surprising Ryan. "We still need…."

A warrant, probable cause, he might have said either, but was cut off as a bullet whizzed by his ear.

Someone clearly didn't want them in there.

"How have you been, Helen? Honestly, now."

Sitting in the drivers seat of her parked car, Helen turned to regard Martha with a sad smile. Her old friend has insisted she accompanied her to meet her contact, Joey Foo Foo. Alexis had wanted desperately to go with one of the groups heading out, but had settled for exploring the Brownstone and its computers when every adult had issued a firm no.

She might be old enough to know some things about the Sanctuary, but she was in no way trained for field missions

"I miss her every day," Helen said softly, eyes drifting out the window. "When you've lived as long as I have, you become accustomed to losing people but it doesn't get any easier. Ashley… I had no idea it could hurt this much."

Sympathetically, Martha laid a hand on her arm. "I can't even imagine," she murmured and Helen knew her often overly dramatic friend was being very serious, as subject matter warranted.

In some respects, Martha had been lucky, Helen knew. Until recently, the other woman's child had been far removed from danger, unlike Ashley, who had been raised practically in the line of fire. Safety was one of the reasons it had been decided that Richard was not to know his father, as everyone assumed he wouldn't be able to resist the intrigue dealing presented by the Sanctuary.

James had followed the boy's progress though, took pride in the clever mind displayed so well through his novels. But it wasn't until taking up with Detective Beckett that Richard truly displayed some of his fathers affinity for crime solving. Helen knew James had been pleased as could be upon learning that Richard had begun shadowing the detectives, applying his aptitude to pursuits beyond pure entertainment.

Shaking herself from her reverie, Helen nodded as a figure appeared in the shadowy mouth of an alley. "That would be Foo Foo," she said, slipping out of the car to get down to business.

"Magnus," Joey hissed at her from under the cover of his hoodie, red eyes ticking over to Martha. "Thought you'd come alone."

"She's a friend," Helen said, in no mood for dillydallying. Knowing exactly how to get the conversation started, she held up a roll of bills. "Information?"

The red eyes fixed on the money and Joey said, "Raz Bullwinkle. He's been poking around the community. Talking with the local Abnormals and not always the ones who play nice with your little soldiers. Word is, he got into a long conversation with a Liath, who may or may not have said something about working with a group that used to be a big deal. You know them. The Cabal."

Helen felt her blood run cold. She thought John had…dealt with the remainders of that particular organization after Ashley's death.

"The Cabal?" she asked and to tell both Joey and Martha heard the dangerous note in her voice.

"'S right," Joey explained quickly. "There's been some noise about a small cell of them left in the city. Just a handful of scientists and a few goons. All I know, hand to God!"

Slapping the wad of money into Joey's hand, Helen said, "You get double if you can find out where they're based out of."

With a nod, Joey disappeared back into the shadows and Helen took a cleansing breath.

"Do I want to know what The Cabal is?" Martha asked as they turned to head back to the car.

Closing her fist, Helen replied, "A large, ancient organization whose goal is to harness power, including that of Abnormals, for their own use. They are responsible for Ashley's death."

From Martha's intake of breath it was clear that she knew things had taken a sudden, unpleasant turn.

Ears still ringing from the near miss, Kevin dove for cover beside his partner, both of them drawing their weapons. Crouching behind another car trunk, Henry pulled out a strange looking gun of his own and Tesla flung up a hand… causing the bullets to freeze in mid-air.

Well, that was actually quite useful.

Henry, not surprised by the sudden lack of deadly projectiles, swung his weapon up and fired… what looked like pulses of energy into the doorway. Then he was up, darting into the building, Tesla on his heels.

Having clear cause to enter, Kevin and Javi followed. "You hit?" Javi asked in a low tone as they passed through the door.

"I'm good," Kevin replied, though the tinnitus had yet to fade.

The outside of the building couldn't have looked less like the inside. The walls were stark white and the floors gleamed. The guards who had fired on them lay motionless, slumped on the ground and the detectives quickly checked for further weapons before binding their hands.

Henry and Tesla were a few feet ahead, so they heard Henry order, "Don't even think about it.

A smirking Tesla was removing weapons from a black clad guard, commenting, "Only 3 of you? Well, that's fairly pathetic."

The man glared as Kevin slapped cuffs on him. Eyes lighting on Javi's badge, he actually snorted, looking relieved. "NYPD? Really?"

"And Sanctuary," Tesla gloated, watching the man's amusement vanish. "And your employer is…?"

Looking from Tesla to Henry to Ryan and Esposito, the man seemed to deflate. "Hell, they don't pay me enough for this anymore. We're Cabal."

Back at the Sanctuary's bat-cave, Henry's demonstration of his particular brand of Abnormalness had been impressive, but since then he'd been pretty unassuming. Good with the tech and his weapon, but not in a flashy 'look, I turn into a wolf-beast' sort of way.

Now however, as a loud, angry snarl ripped from his throat, Henry suddenly sounded quite scary. He advanced on the guard, who scurried back, bumping into Kevin in his attempt to get away from Henry. For a moment, he thought Javi was going to make Henry back off, but Tesla was shaking his head, indicating they should stand down.

Hopefully, Henry wouldn't actually…bite the guy or something. That would be a bitch to explain in the arrest report. Suspect injured when outside consultant chose to restrain suspect…with his teeth.

Yeah, Montgomery wouldn't like that.

"Cabal." Kevin could see anger in Henry's face, muscles shaking and eyes taking on an ominous, gold cast. "How'd you outlast your friends?"

"We're just a satellite office! Nothing important ever happened here, it's just storage…." the man babbled fearfully and a door behind them swung open.

"Phillip, what's…Oh, dear." An older man in a lab coat froze when he saw them standing there. "Well, this isn't good."

"Sir, can you tell us why your security team fired on officers of the NYPD?" Javi asked. Kevin hoped they weren't going to have to dodge anymore bullets tonight.

Before the man could answer, Henry stiffened. He tilted his head to the side and took a deep breath, eyes locking on the man's lab coat before muttering, "No…."

Then he shoved past everyone and barreled further into the building.

"Oh look, Lassie's got a scent," Tesla quipped, sauntering after Henry without waiting for anyone else.

Damn it! These guys were worse than Feds!

Rick was pretty sure he could milk at least a month of good will out of this little endeavor. Or, if not good will, he could at least be free of the looks that occasionally said 'you're an oddball'.

'Cause really, nothing and no one could seem odd after working with the crew from the Sanctuary, who, while awesome, were all more than a little nuts.

Beckett had to be gnawing on the inside of her cheek as Will and Kate F. (with the two Kate's Castle had decided to go the grade school route and tag a last initial to their names for clarification) blithely went about their business, neither appearing overly concerned for the normally applicable laws.

As Kate F. kicked in a door to the old warehouse (for which they did not have a warrant) her contact had directed them to, Will at least gave Beckett a contrite look, saying, " I know this isn't how you usually do things, but police procedure just doesn't work when dealing with Abnormals…or most people who know Abnormals."

"Will," Kate F. said loudly from a few feet into the building. "C'mon, man, sewer time."

With that she swung down into the sewer access and Will followed with a sigh of, "I love my job." Soon, Rick was alone in the empty warehouse with Beckett, who was checking something on her phone.

"Castle," Beckett began, scrolling through whatever information appeared before her, "I know you've known Dr. Magnus for years but…God, inquiries I make about her just keep coming up as Classified. Zimmerman's an ex-Fed profiler who flamed out for excessive weirdness. Freelander has a record, theft, trafficking in stolen artifacts, assault…nice girl. Foss is clean, apparently even wrote some security codes for the government. Tesla…are they seriously trying to tell us he'd that Nikola Tesla?"

"Yes," he said with a grin, then sobered and turned to face his friend, reaching out to place a hand over the phone she was still fixated on. Her eyes rose to meet his and he said, "Kate, I know this is a lot to take in at once, but can't you embrace the…fantastic? I mean, yeah, we live in a world that's different from their's, but occasionally there's an overlap and we get a chance to see something beyond normal. Can't we just step through the veil for a moment and embrace the absurd?"

For a moment, Beckett pursed her lips, then she drew a deep breath and released it slowly with a nod. "All right," she replied, then couldn't help but add, "If they manage to catch this…Liath?.. Are they going to deal with it, 'cause I don't think Riker's is prepared for Abnormals."

He nodded, smiling at her slight attempt at humor. "I think so. Hey! Later, ask Helen or Mom about the real Sherlock Holmes. I met him a couple of times. Nice guy."

Blinking, Kate just shook her head and, from down in the sewer, Will's voice drifted up. "Hey, Rick, can you help us get this out of here?"

When they peered down into the sewer hole, they saw Will and Kate F. holding a large box between them. With some struggle, they lifted it over their heads, high enough for Rick to grasp a handhold on the top. It was heavy, but he wrestled it up onto the warehouse floor as the two Sanctuary folks scrambled up the ladder.

"What's in here?" Rick asked, reaching for the lid, then drawing his hands away quickly. "It's not a bomb, is it? I don't like it when things are bombs."

"It's not a bomb," Kate F. snorted, then glanced at Will in a slightly surprised and off footed way.

The profiler was quick to add his reassurances. "It's definitely not a bomb. Probably."

Not entirely reassured, Rick cast a glance at Beckett, who looked like she was contemplating cashing in a few more of her seldom used vacation days.

Helen's furry, little minion (as opposed to the large, flurry minion left behind in Old City) could move quite fast when he put his mind to it. Nikola wasn't overly fond of breaking a sweat through physical activity (that sort of habit could lead to unpleasant circumstances should one perhaps forget to bathe for a week or two), so he chose to follow at a slightly slower pace.

He entered a fairly impressive looking lab to find a small cluster of terrified scientists (he used the term loosely. Sometimes it seemed like everyone with a Bunsen Burner was calling himself a scientist nowadays) huddled in a corner, while a another (larger, quite possibly stupidly belligerent) lay in a heap by a bank of computers. A final lab coat clad man was backed into a wall, clearly trying not to evacuate his bowels as Henry (in that odd, transitional state between man and beast) roared at him.

It was an appropriate use of the word and frankly Nikola hadn't thought the wolf-pup had it in him.

"What did you do to her?" Henry demanded, slamming a half transformed hand/paw into the wall beside the Cabal butcher's head. It had been a hard hit, as the sound of something cracking echoed through the room.

Nikola wondered who Henry was talking about as the lab rat whimpered, "N-n-nothing! We were just told to keep her sedated until someone contacted us with a new control drug regimen that she couldn't fight…but they never got back to us…"

A prickle of suspicion crept up Nikola's neck and he stepped further into the room as Henry asked, "She broke free? Can you wake her up safely?"

"Yes," the man said in a wavering voice, "But they said she was violent, trying to escape…."

The wall was clearly not plaster, as it shrieked when Henry dragged his claws along the surface and snarled, "Stop drugging her. If you do anything fishy or if anything happens to her, the HAP-ster is gonna go all feral on you. Am I clear?"

By this point it was obvious that the man had lost control of his bladder and had no will to fight as he hurried to the computer, entering commands with trembling hands.

"Dear God," Nikola breathed, drawing up to Henry's side and looking through a tinted glass wall that, from another angle, had appeared opaque. The next room was dimly lit and contained only a contoured, horizontal treatment bed. On it, bound by more than four point restraints, lay a young woman, naked, IV's and tubes running out of her body, round sensor pads dotting her pale skin.

Though Nikola hadn't really known the girl, he'd recognize Ashley Magnus anywhere. Helen, Henry and the Sasquatch all kept pictures of her in their work and private rooms. From them, he'd gotten the impression of youthful vitality, fierceness of spirit and impish humor.

The girl before them simply looked…diminished.

Taking a breath as his features shifted back to their normal, human form, Henry ordered, "Open the glass."

Once again trying to balk, the scientist said, "I think we…."

Henry raised his weapon and glowered. "Henry Foss," he identified himself, then nodded to Nikola. "He's Nikola Tesla. I'm thinking we really don't need you to figure out this equipment."

Robbed of the impression that his services were actually needed, the lab rat complied. The glass partition lifted and Henry's demeanor changed. He pressed the gun into Nikola's hand and hurried forward as the two detectives (and a pair of uniformed officers, probably summoned by locals due to the gun shots) entered.

New faces were not needed at the moment.

"Perhaps they could…guard the perimeter," Nikola suggested of the two uniforms. They did not need to know what was going on down here. "And keep watch on the Rent-A-Cops."

Esposito, the swarthier of the two detectives, sent his underlings off to do as Nikola suggested, then peered around, asking, "What is this place?"

In the newly opened room, Henry had stripped off his vest and long sleeve shirt, draping the later over Ashley's body when a blanket hadn't been on hand. He kept up a steady stream of murmured, reassuring nonsense and stroked the girl's hair as he hovered by her bed. All his attention was focused on the unconscious girl and Nikola wondered what their relationship had been…probably complicated, considering he was a HAP and she was the offspring of Helen and Druitt.

No, he wasn't going to be answering the detective's question.

Taking the duty upon himself, Nikola said, "This is a Cabal facility. Though they claim to not do much of the actual slicing, dicing and splicing here, they are holding a young woman against her will in a medically induced coma. Oh, and one of them, probably the waste of flesh on the floor - he reeks of Alpha male posturing, even when knocked unconscious- sent the Liath to kill Bullwinkle to keep him from reporting their existence to the Sanctuary."

Ryan, the Irishman (far less tiresome than Adam), had been wrestling cuffs onto the unconscious man, who probably had 100lbs on him, looked up to ask, "Think he's human? How are we going to handle the arrests if someone is an Abnormal."

"I'm sure Helen will have the local Sanctuary step in to handle the Abnormals," Nikola reassured him, then decided he had yet another duty to fulfill.

Honestly, hanging around with Helen and her little squad of do-gooders was turning him into an honest and upstanding citizen.

All of the scientists, save the one terrorized into helping revive Ashley, were soon cuffed and Nikola breathed a sigh of relief. Then, he pulled his phone from his pocket and hit speed dial (Wonderful invention. He had hated having to remember things like peoples phone numbers).

"Helen," he said without preamble. "You're going to want to get over here…."

Less than a minute later, Helen assured him that she would be there promptly and hung up. Due to the stress of the moment, her curtness was understandable. He was normally what some people might call discourteous, but Helen was normally a paragon of impeccable manners.

A pained gasp drew his attention back to where Henry stood by Ashley and he saw that she had begun to twitch slightly. The HAP had removed the shackles from the girl and her limbs were moving, shaky and weak from prolonged inactivity.

"Ash, Ashley, look at me, Ash," Henry was saying, gently cradling her face in his hands. "It's Henry. You're safe. We found you."

She shuddered and coughed, jerking a few more times and Esposito said, "I'm calling a bus…."

"No!" Nikola said sharply, holding up a hand to forestall the action. "Helen will be here soon. She has access to the best medical facilities imaginable." Turning to the Cabal scientist, he asked, "What's wrong with her?"

Cowering, clearly afraid of what Nikola was known to have been, the man said, "I stopped the constant sedative drip and pushed some uppers. She's waking up."

"She's metabolized the drugs so quickly," Nikola said in an undertone, more of a musing than a statement to the room.

Eager to be seen as something other than a superfluous enemy, the lab rat nodded obsequiously. "Her metabolic rate is off the charts, as are immunologic responses and her ability to heal from injury. We've had to up her dosage of sedatives steadily to keep her under."

"Hey, jagoff, that isn't something to sound proud of," Ryan snapped, giving the Cabal minion a look of such distaste that Nikola found a new appreciation for the detectives.

It also helped that Esposito looked like he'd enjoy nothing more than the opportunity to punch the lab rat in the head.

Contemplation of the detectives (interesting though they were, what with the simmering air of sexual tension and true affection between them) was cut short as Ashley lurched up off of the bed and Henry caught her before she fell to the ground.

"Okay, okay," he murmured. "Let's get you off of this thing. Can someone grab a blanket of something?"

There weren't any comfortable chairs, so Henry found himself sitting cross-legged on the floor with Ashley cradled in his lap. Having menaced a blanket out of the Cabal staff, Esposito wrapped it around the both of them, as the room was cool and Henry was shirtless.

Once off of the bed, Ashley seemed to calm, clinging to Henry, who clutched her in return. The pair of them rocked back and forth gently, heads bent together, and occasional sniffle escaping between broken, incomprehensible questions and whispered assurances.

Nikola grimaced. He wasn't prone to flights of emotional fancy, but seeing them curled up on the floor struck a cord in him. He assured himself that this was because the girl was Helen's daughter and, as much as he teased Henry, the boy was not an idiot, not because he was going all soft and caring.

"Who is she?" Ryan asked quietly as he and his partner approached Nikola. The two of them seemed to gravitate into each others personal space without even being aware of the habit.

Not taking his eyes from the two people huddled in an impossibly tiny ball on the floor, Nikola let out a breath he hadn't been aware he was holding. "Ashley Magnus. Helen's daughter. Thought to be dead for…two years now."

"Damn," the detectives chorused, torn between glaring at the Cabal scientists and watching the reunion before them.

Gathering his not inconsiderable wits about himself, Nikola again pulled out his phone. Helen was sure to be in no condition to inform her protégé of the situation and she'd probably want the boy on scene eventually.

When Zimmerman answered his phone on the second ring, Nikola wasted no time. "Bet we found something more interesting than you!"

More than once during their drive toward…well, Martha wasn't entirely sure where they were headed, just that she was glad to arrive in one piece, something she had vehemently prayed for during the trip. It took her several moments to will her fingers to unclench from around the safety handle after the most harrowing car trip she'd ever experienced.

Considering the frequency with which she made use of New York City cabs, many of whom seemed to possess operators with the ability to drive up onto walls in order to dodge traffic, this was saying a lot.

The moment she threw the car into park, Helen was out of the vehicle, elbowing her way through the crowd of uniformed officers gathered around a decrepit building. There was a sense of chaos to the scene, so Martha rallied and followed her old friend, not wanting to be left out.

Most everyone took one look at the expression on Helen's face and made way for her, but one officer attempted to intercept them.

"I'm sorry," the younger woman said, keeping her own face stern. "I'm going to have to ask you to step back behind the tape."

A bloodbath was averted by dear Detective Ryan. He appeared from within a boarded up pet store and called out, "It's okay, Coyle, let them through."

"Yes sir," the officer relented, lifting the yellow crime scene tape and allowing them to proceed.

Helen didn't waste any time, asking, "Where is she?"

"In here," Ryan said, leading the way into the shockingly well kept interior of the building. It didn't look like any pet store Martha had ever seen.

Honestly, the whole place screamed expensive Scandinavian design, clean lines, but empty, with minimal to no decorations. Spartan to the point of sterility.

Of course, sterility might have been what they were going for, Martha mused as they entered the large room. It took her a moment to identify the space as a lab. The cluster of nervous white coated men and women and expensive microscopes were the only things she could identify, as the vast array of machinery and computers were a mystery to her.

"Helen." Nikola Tesla called out to her softly from a small side room and Martha saw him standing a polite distance from where Henry sat on the floor, huddled in a blanket with a blonde in his lap.

Drawing a deep breath, Helen stepped forward as Henry's head popped up. His cheeks were damp, but he smiled at Helen and said, "Ash, Ash, you're mom's here."

The blonde head lifted from Henry's shoulder and turned toward Helen. "Mom," the girl rasped, voice hoarse from disuse, but the note of hope was clear in her tone.

"Ashley," Helen murmured, reaching out with a reverent hand to stroke the girl's hair. "How….?"

"It's her, Doc," Henry babbled happily, grin splitting his face. "I don't know how, but it's her."

With that, Helen dropped to her knees and wrapped her arms around her daughter, sounds of happy tears echoing through the room. Henry seemed to try to squirm out from under the blanket, but both of the women clutched him tight.

For a moment, Martha was reminded of the one time she'd visited Helen at the Old City Sanctuary. It had been about five months after Ashley's birth and she had wanted to visit her friend and coo over her new baby. Richard had been in that moody, teenager phase, which was far less pleasant than a happy baby.

A smiling, content but tired Helen had shown her to the nursery, a brightly lit room that smelled faintly of sage. Ashley, all pink cheeks and blonde hair, had been in her playpen and Henry, the little fellow Helen had recently adopted, had perched beside the pen, shaking a toy for the girl's amusement.

Upon their entry, the boy had smiled at Helen, but seemed startled by Martha's presence. He'd eyed her as though assessing the danger she might present, only relaxing when he was gathered to Helen's side as she plucked Ashley from the pen.

The boy was clearly part of the family.

After some cooing over the baby, the two women had sat to catch up, settling the children on a blanket by Helen's feet. Again, the boy seemed content to entertain the baby with small stuffed toys or gently tickling her. The only sounds they made were Ashley's giggles, as Helen informed her Henry wasn't much of a talker.

It had been an adorable scene, almost enough to make her wish she'd given Richard a little brother or sister.


Richard alone was more than a handful…and louder than both of Helen's children combined.

Think of the devil… Richard and Detective Beckett entered with Dr. Zimmerman and Ms. Freelander on their heels. Looked like the gang was all here.

Now maybe someone would explain what the hell was going on.

Everyone's scent is as unique as a fingerprint. Environment effected it on a daily basis, of course, as did skin care products, soaps, but some things became undeniable, seeped deep, a part of a persons essence, the underlying constant that was as much a part of someone as eye color or height.

Upon first seeing Ashley strapped to that bed, he'd wondered if the Cabal had managed to clone her. But a clone wouldn't smell Iright/I. A clone wouldn't have been raised wandering the halls of the Sanctuary, playing in the labs and libraries, absorbing an echo of the place into her pores.

It was as essential a part of her scent as it was of his, of Magnus's or Biggie's, of anyone who spent decades within those great walls.

So yeah, he was sure this was Ashley, their Ashley.

Eventually, he knew he had to do some work and extracted himself from the cocoon of blankets and Magnus women. The room was cold and Ashley was wearing his shirt, so he crossed his arms over his bare chest and strode past Tesla, who raised a brow and looked pointedly at Henry's piercings.

Oh, the annoying ex-vamp was so going to taunt him about his body mod later.

At the moment, he couldn't care less about that.

In the outer part of the lab, Will, Kate, the Castles and the detectives were standing around, discussing their next move.

"I'm not sure we can hold them on Bullwinkle," Beckett, the tall, gorgeous detective was saying. "We've got nothing tying them directly to his murder. Unlawful detainment/kidnapping, that'll stick if you people file a report…."

"Conspiracy to commit murder," Will said, then raised his voice. "They're normal humans, so if they plead to that, we'll let you prosecute them. We're handling whoever set up the contract with the Liath though."

All of the Cabal butchers were quick to admit to their role in Bullwinkle's death rather than face punishment at Helen's hands.

A large part of Henry thought they were getting off way too easy.

Poking Will in the back, Henry said, "Dude, hoodie."

This prompted the profiler to shuck his outer layer and hand it over. Zipping it up, Henry rolled his shoulders. It was snug but it was better than nothing. He made a mental note to ask the Big Guy to start giving Will larger portions of protein at meal times.

Seriously, dude could stand to gain a pound or fifteen.

The scientist he'd terrorized into reviving Ashley was still hovering by the computers, but one of the detectives had been kind enough to cuff the bastard's hands. When Henry looked at him, the man flinched.

"Am I going to find any booby traps in the system if I log on from this terminal," Henry asked, making sure to keep the growl in his voice, as fear seemed effective at keeping the man in line so far.

Blanching, the Cabal scientist shook his head and scurried a few steps back, giving Henry plenty of room by the computer.

Though he'd much rather be sitting with Helen and Ashley, Henry knew he had to access the Cabal files and find out exactly what had been done to Ash…as well as looking for info on who had ordered Bullwinkle put down and anything that could ID the Liath assassin.

"Your boss, big, belligerent and drooling on the floor, what's his name?"

The Alpha of the group was a good place to start.

"Lars Mayweather," the lab jockey admitted before attempting to blend into the wall so as not to be noticed.

A good plan, except for the fact that Helen never forgot and wasn't about to start with a man who had held her daughter against her will for years.

Even thinking about that made him want to snarl. He hadn't felt this close to losing control since he'd learned to harness his wild side. He figured that was probably because his rational side wanted revenge just as much as his other nature wanted to be let loose to exact said revenge.

Once in the system, hacking Mayweather's files was a cake walk and Henry ran a keyword search as he downloaded the entire data cache onto a few of the large capacity zip drives he carried in his pockets.

"We found a hard drive at the address we checked out," Kate told him, resting her elbows on the counter beside where he was working. "'S out in the car."

He nodded. "I'll sweep it for Trojan Horses before we plug it into the mainframe." He'd learned not to trust the enemy to be careless.

Especially the Cabal.

Bio wasn't Henry's strong suit, but he had a feeling Magnus would find lots of useful…stuff in the files he was scanning. According to Mayweather's notes, his minion hadn't lied. Ashley was in good health, but had been kept in a chemical coma for a long, long time.

Even Henry knew that wasn't healthy.

Another of his algorithms was searching for references to the Sanctuary and most seemed to be disgruntled rambles about the trouble they'd made for the Cabal.

Clearly, Mayweather was a poor loser.

Henry's mood changed rapidly when he happened upon a particular entry.

"Ql'yH!" he hissed as a loud crack echoed through the room. Whatever it was, he didn't give a damn, refusing to tear his eyes from the screen.

"Um…Hank, you just…HAP-ped the keyboard," Kate said, sounding slightly un-nerved. "What's up?"

Snorting several breaths through his nose, Henry gathered his reserve of cool and willed his hands to release the remains of the keyboard and shift back to human form. Through gritted teeth, he snarled, "That bastard knew!"

"Who knew what?" Kate asked, shifting to peer over his shoulder. Following the line of his jabbing finger, she too took a deep breath and agreed, "Fuck."

"What are we swearing about?" Will planted himself at Henry's other shoulder and, moments later, groaned, "Oh, fuck."

"Is this the kind of cursing we need to know about?" Beckett sounded like she really didn't want to know. That was understandable, as their particular brand of crazy could be taxing to those unused to it.

"No," Will said shortly, then asked, "Who's the head here now?"

Repressing his anger, Henry replied, "Noreen McKenna. Used to be one of Declan's people."

"I'll call her," Will said and quickly stepped out to do just that.

No one wanted to disturb Helen with the news that Terrence Wexford, former head of the New York Sanctuary, had known the Cabal was holding Ashley at a facility in his city.

Last Henry had heard, Wexford was still lurking around the city's Sanctuary, trying to re-establish himself, so Noreen would be able to deposit him in a holding room until it was time to interrogate him. Knowing Helen was likely to react badly to this news, Henry…no, actually, he couldn't find it in his heart to feel sorry for Wexford. He'd never liked the guy and this pushed his feelings over into the area of pure loathing.

The spitting creep deserved whatever he got.

In all her years with the NYPD, Kate Beckett had never seen so many suspects trip over each other to implicate themselves in crimes she'd otherwise have trouble connecting them with.

Apparently, whatever the Sanctuary people might do with them was far scarier than the threat of jail time. Significant jail time, since they all admitted to knowing that they were holding the Magnus girl against her will and conspiring to kill Bullwinkle.

Eventually, the guards and all of the scientists, save the one wearing urine soaked pants and the ringleader, were carted off to the station by an array of curious uniforms. Tinkles, as Castle was calling the scientist who'd messed himself, had a small fit when he thought he was being left for the Sanctuary to deal with, but had calmed when Will, the most reasonable of that lot (even if he did look only a dash of body glitter away from being an extra in a Twilight movie), assured him he'd be turned over to the police once Henry gave the word.

The ringleader, Mayweather, was roused by Kate Freelander, after Ryan and Esposito hauled the man into another room and secured him to a chair. When calling his name and shaking his shoulder failed to rouse Mayweather, the young woman had blithely dumped a pitcher of ice water down the front of the man's pants.

He came to instantly, sputtering and swearing. When his eyes found the badges hanging around the necks of Kate and her colleagues, he seemed relieved, then frowned. "You can't pour ice water in my lap! That has to be a human rights violation!"

"Yeah," Kate agreed, crossing her arms and leaning back against the wall to nod at Freelander, "But the thing is…I don't have jurisdiction over you. They do."

Zimmerman and Tesla were lingering behind Freelander, who stepped forward to fulfill her role as team heavy.

"She's right about that Lars," Freelander said with a wide smile. "The NYPD can't save you now."

They did seem to be sticking with the 'terrify the criminal' method of interrogation. While it wasn't entirely legal, it had worked like a charm on the rest of the Cabal lab staff.

But Mayweather just scowled. "And I should be scared of you, girlie? Or the two swizzle sticks behind you? Not likely."

That comment made the two men scowl and Tesla flicked a hand. The chair Mayweather sat on jerked forward, skidding across the floor with a loud whine. Freelander planted her booted foot in the center of the now unnerved man's chest, halting his progress.

"Yeah, actually," Freelander smirked. "You really should be shitting yourself right about now."

"If he's not going to play nice, I suggest we call John," Tesla said in a bored, off hand tone that was obviously contrived. "Watching this man drown in his own blood could be cathartic."

Okay, that was unsettling because he seemed to mean that and Mayweather was looking more and more nervous.

"We're from the Sanctuary," Zimmerman said in a clipped tone as he and Tesla stepped up to flank Freelander. "The Old City Sanctuary. And our boss is Inot/I happy with you."

That was something Mayweather did not want to hear and his bravado collapsed in an instant. "Oh no…" he more or less whimpered, then his eyes grew wide. "Was one of you the thing that threw me into a wall earlier?

Clearly, Freelander wasn't about to tell Mayweather the man he feared was having a family moment in the next room, so the woman simply said, "Nah, he's our tech support. I can call him in…."


"Erasmo Bullwinkle. We know you contracted a Liath to kill him. Details," Zimmerman said and Mayweather promptly spilled his guts.

Bullwinkle had been researching his latest novel and had stumbled onto the knowledge that the Cabal had an existing stronghold in the city. Mayweather had contacted Wexford, whom he'd had previous dealings with, but who couldn't help due to his demotion. He did however provide contact information for B'GgrsIlder, a Liath assassin.

Well, it was good to know the truth, even if most of it would get them laughed out of any court room in the country.

"Ashley Magnus," Tesla said, leaning forward as Mayweather paled. "I think we need to talk about her."

That was their thing, so Kate turned and strode out of the room, Castle, Ryan and Esposito following. Martha was seated on a lab stool, seemingly at a bit of a loss and the terrorized scientist was still cuffed to a table on the other side of the room.

"Tell me this isn't what you generally do on one of your cases," Martha said to Castle, who crossed over to her.

"No, Mother," he assured her, then cocked his head to the side and smiled. "Is this what your 'adventures' with Helen and James were like?"

"No," she said with a faint, fond smile, then looked up as Magnus emerged from the side room. Henry followed closely, a blanket wrapped Ashley in his arms.

"Thank you all for your help," Magnus said, giving each of them a nod of acknowledgement. "It's been a rather productive night. Henry and I are going to take Ashley to receive proper care, but Will and Kate can provide you with paperwork to aid you in your prosecution of the criminals in your custody. All of the staff, save Mr. Mayweather, are yours to charge."

Kate wanted to ask the woman about a thousand questions, but decided to hold off, considering the state of her daughter. Castle had her contact info, so no rush.

"It was…interesting," Kate said as Ryan and Esposito exchanged goodbyes with Henry.

"Likewise," Magnus assured her. "It's always a pleasure to make new allies in the law enforcement community."

That was one way to put what they had done.

"Let me know how things turn out," Martha said to her old friend, who nodded.

"Of course. Henry, shall we?"

With that, they were gone and Kate found herself pondering how…different the world now seemed. Two days ago, she'd never heard of Abnormal, the Sanctuary, the Cabal….

As insane as it all was, she wanted to know more.

Sitting back in the comfortable chair she'd hauled down from the library, Helen allowed herself to relax. A Cabal cell had been eliminated, a killer identified, Wexford awaited interrogation and Ashley was resting comfortably.

Ashley. Alive and whole, though still shaking off the effects of years of sedation. Helen had nearly accepted her loss and finding her had been a most wonderful surprise.

On her bed, Ashley was breathing evenly, curled up on her side. All of the monitors said her vitals were stable, steadily improving as she slept.

Henry, no more willing to leave than Helen, was sprawled on another treatment bed. He had been working on a tablet before he'd nodded off. As she had many times in the past, Helen plucked the device from his hand and draped a blanket over him.

Only an hour earlier, Will, Kate and Nikola had returned from assisting the detectives and delivering Mayweather to the local Sanctuary. Will briefed her on the state of the Cabal employees in the custody of the NYPD and of Noreen's internal review, spurred on by the revelation of Wexford's betrayal.

Once finished, he'd headed off to bed, as had Kate. Helen wondered when the two of them would find their way to each other. Abigail, while nice, was…not at all right for Will.

Though Helen could admit that her past relationships hadn't always been what one would call healthy, she did think her advanced age gave her some perspective. She'd seen enough of people dancing around each other to know when feelings were present and real.

Take Martha's son, Richard, and the lovely Detective Beckett. Clearly there was something there but they refrained from admitting their love for each other. She got the same impression of denied (or at least repressed) feelings from Detectives Esposito and Ryan.

Young people today seemed to find romantic entanglements as confusing as they had in her youth…and, to be honest, present.

John would be pleased to discover that Ashley lived. It would be nice if Helen knew how to contact him, but he was currently off on one of his retreats.

With a sigh, Helen scanned the Cabal medical files Henry had downloaded onto a tablet for her. Sleep would not be coming anytime soon.

Elsewhere in the house, Nikola was rattling around, probably raiding the wine cellar.

Though life was often unpredictable, some things never changed.

Smiling, she went back to her reading. Tomorrow there would be more to do, but for the moment, Helen Magnus found a small measure of peace.


Reviews or comments, please!

*Ql'yH - A Klingon curse word so vile there is no translation. You know Henry can swear in Klingon : )