They'd been vying for the title: bribing, one-upping, whining. It should be the best friend/ partner to get it, right? Or should it be the guy who could buy the strip club, the distillery, the limo service, the Atlantic City hotel and anonymously pay for a five-star honeymoon just with the interest he earned last year?

Then he dropped the bomb. It would be the almost-half-brother-in-law. The sixteen-year-old almost-half-brother-in-law. And the bachelor party… sigh … well, it would be camping.

Castle laughed out loud before he realized Ryan was serious.

Dude. Camping? Well, at least we can party in Atlantic City while we're there.


"You're going camping? You?" Alexis scoffed. If by "camping," they meant renting a ski lodge in Vail that had a full staff and stocked bar, then, yeah she could see that. But camping camping? Like with no bed? And bugs? And a tent? No way.

"What? I can be outdoorsy," His comment was met with pursed lips and a raised eyebrow. "Okay. I hate the idea. But it's Ryan's bachelor party, and he begged us to not bail on him. At least I'll have the fun of being 'Master of the Macabre' around a campfire and scaring the pee out of the kid. Camping. As a bachelor party. Ugh."


They took Esposito's Hummer instead of Castle's Ferrari, even though both would have preferred the badass sports car. Just in case this campground was of the "primitive" type, he didn't want to damage his car.

"Man, I had enough of sleeping in tents in the service. I don't want to sleep in a damn tent." Espo was more irritated than usual after a phone conversation with Lanie just before he picked up Castle.

"And, yet, you still drive a Hummer." Castle hoped to inject a little humor, but Esposito didn't smile.

Espo checked his mirrors again, confused. "I think we've got a tail."

Castle looked back to check behind them, spying a luxury RV that would make the world's worst pursuit vehicle. He grinned.

"That, my friend, is our escape. I rented it, and it will be parked nearby in case we need to slip away and sleep on somewhere without rocks in our backs. And the driver… well, she also happens to know how to dance. Just in case."

Esposito finally smiled. "Thanks, bro."

Rick gave his smarmy smirk and reached out for Espo to feed the birds.


They passed the entrance to the "modern" campsites with electricity, water, and a bath house, and saw the motorhome turn in. They'd made sure to get a trail map so they could find the way from the "primitive" campsite to the RV in the dark. They drove another mile before they reached the entrance to their campsite.

Ryan and his soon-to-be family were already there, building a massive brush pile for a bonfire. Well, this could be fun. Everybody likes playing with fire. Ryan saw the Hummer kicking up dust on the dirt road and practically ran to meet them in the parking area. He looked ready to cry. "Guys. Thank you for coming! They're talking about hunting and Harry Potter. I just… I can't… I'm glad you're here."

Sure enough, all of the older ones were talking about shooting living things for fun, and the younger ones were talking about Ron getting to kiss Hermoine. Castle pretended to not know what they were talking about - since he really just read HP so he would know what Alexis was talking about when she was eleven. That was his story, and he was sticking to it. He slung his arm over Ryan's shoulder and said resolutely, "We've got your back. I've got ghost stories ready."

"That's not all he's got," murmured Esposito.

Ryan didn't know what that meant, but from the smiles on his two best friends' faces, it meant something good. Maybe this trip wouldn't suck.


A/N: So please leave me a review! I'm addicted to them! They're addictive like taking tweens snipe hunting for the first time.