DISCLAIMER: I don't own Alex Rider or Castle


He was suddenly aware that he was awake. Alex didn't know what woke him up, but he knew that he was always a light sleeper. The spy continued breathing evenly giving no visible sign that he was awake. If he strained his ears he could hear breathing separate from his own. Someone was there!

The unknown person approached him, their feet making no noise on the hardwood floor. Alex let the person come within two feet away from him before he lashed out. His leg shot out, striking the person in what he assumed was the stomach. He could hear his assailant gasping for breath and doubled over. They recovered quickly though and were quickly upon him. The pair became flurry of arms and legs, each were fighting equally as hard, and each had split second reactions. A blow to his head knocked Alex backward and he hit his head on the table on the way ground. His attacker took advantage of this opportunity and had his hands tight around his throat. The spy choked and brought his hands to the hands around his throat gasping for breath. Alex could feel himself getting lightheaded, his vision tunneling. In a moment of desperation, he let go of the hands around his throat and groped under the couch cushions, looking for the gun that should be there. As soon as his hand closed around the handle, he swung it toward the figure on top of him, knocking him off. Alex didn't give them time to recover and quickly hit them in the head, knocking them out.

Still gasping for breath, the blonde ran his hand along the wall, looking for a light switch. With the light turned on, he could see who it was who attacked him. It was a young man with brown hair and a rather plain looking face. He looked to be average height from what Alex could see with him on the ground. Instead of dressing in all black like most amateur criminals would, he dressed in dark blue jeans and forest green shirt.

The door behind him opened and Alex spun around with his gun pointed at the potential target.

Beckett was standing there with her gun pointed at him, her hair messed up and her nightclothes rumpled. They looked at each other for a second before slowly lowering their firearms. Beckett looked over at the unconscious man on the floor and back to Alex, raising her eyebrows questionably.

"He attacked me while I was sleeping," Alex said as an explanation.

"Well we need to restrain him before he wakes up." Beckett headed into her room, coming out a second later with handcuffs and a first aid kit. She handcuffed the man and flipped the coffee table onto him so he wouldn't be able to get up easily even if he was awake.

"Do you have any injuries?" Beckett questioned.

"I hit my head and he almost strangled me," Alex confessed, finally feeling the pain now that the adrenaline had worn off. The brunet opened the first aid kit and gently probed Alex's head tenderly. She cleaned the cut as gently as she could and put some gauze around his head, making his hair stick up in places. Next she addressed the bruised on his neck. By now there were nasty purple hand shaped bruises around his throat. She took out a salve and rubbed it onto the area ignoring his wince and trying to finish as quickly as she could. Once finished, the cop put the first aid supplies back and looked at the digital clock on the floor that had been knocked off the coffee table. The flashing digits showed that it was 5 o'clock in the morning.

"Well I guess we'll be getting to work earlier than usual," Beckett announced grimly. She nodded her head in the direction on the man. "And he's coming too."


"What is your name?"

Alex sighed. It had taken over half an hour to drag the man to the car and another 10 minutes to get the precinct. Now it was 7 am and Alex had already had two coffees. He was watching the Beckett interrogate the suspect from behind the double mirror.

The man hesitated, looking calculatingly at Beckett as if deciding how much of a threat she was. He seemed to find something to be weary of.

"Russell Moretti."

"What were you doing at my apartment?"

"…."

"Answer the question!"

"I was under orders to take the spy."

"Who gave you the order Russell?"

"…"

"Who gave the order!" Beckett stood up and leaned forward, her hands on the table, aiming to intimidate him.

"Scorpia never forgets, Scorpia never forgives." And before Beckett could stop him, Russell popped something into his mouth and slumped in his chair.

"He's dead," Beckett proclaimed, checking his pulse. She walked out of the interrogation room and into the room next to it. She found Alex looking sick and pale, a look of abject horror on his face. However as soon as the teenager noticed her, his face smoothed over into a blank mask.

"You understand what he said?" Beckett was still in interrogation mode so the words came out harsher than intended. Alex didn't know what he should do. When Russell had said those words…it was like everything came crashing down and a single horrified thought had come into his mind. Scorpia was after him. It was almost impossible for him to hide too. The last time Scorpia had been after him, he had been shot in the heart and almost killed before MI6 made the deal with them.

"He's from Scorpia." Alex would tell them on a need to know basis. "I stopped a few of their plans and made myself a target." That was all they needed to know, they already knew too much about him. After all it was his life, he was entitled to a few secrets. Not if they condemn lives, a traitorous voice whispered in the back of his mind. Shut up! "They're after me again."

"Again?"

In answer he pulled his shirt up showing the grotesque scar right above his heart. Unconsciously, Beckett's hand went to her own bullet wound and she temporarily lost herself in the memories of that day. The screams and cries, the pain…She quickly shook herself out of it and realized her hand was shaking.

"I understand," she said softly. The spy had noticed all this so he knew that she wasn't just being sympathetic.

"Anyone want some coffee?" Castle had burst into the room, breaking the atmosphere completely.

He seemed to notice too. "Am I interrupting something?" he asked cautiously.

"No," Beckett said. "Nothing at all. And yes I'll have some coffee. Alex?" He shook his head. "Well then, just me." After Castle left, they looked at each other knowingly. An understanding had come between them. A bond had been made from shared suffering.


Alex was irritated. When they had arrived at Beckett's apartment, they found two security guards standing in front of the door. They hadn't let them in until Beckett showed them her I.D. and badge, discovered that they were just the same here in America as they were in Britain. Most of them were tall, muscular, and stoic and had emotionless faces. He flopped down on the couch and sighed. There was nothing to do in this apartment. In his crazy life, there was almost never a moment for rest, he was always running from some threat, and even at home in Chelsea, he always had Jack to liven things up. In fact he should call her, otherwise she would skin him alive, even if there were an ocean between them.

"Hello?" Jack's cheery voice called.

"Hey Jack, it's Alex."

"Alex! I was ready to call you and skin you alive for not calling sooner but now that you've called I won't have too." He could hear the smile in her voice. "The guards that MI6 even tried to stop me from going on my date. The nerve of them! But I told them, you either let me go unarmed or you give me a gun and let me go anyway! But I am NOT staying in this house for a minute longer. I have a date waiting."

It was refreshing to hear her voice. It reminded him of times back in Chelsea when he, Ian, and Jack had all lived together. He missed those times, but it was no good dwelling on them now.

"Hey Jack, do you remember when I was eight and we went to the supermarket with Ian?" They ended up talking for two hours before Beckett finally told him to get off the phone and go to sleep. He went to bed, or couch if you wanted to get technical, feeling lighter than he'd felt in a long time.

In the days that followed, Alex learned that there was a certain routine that was adopted when there wasn't a case. Get up, and go to the precinct. Drink coffee and watch Kate do paperwork.

The day before, Kate had asked him to call her by her first name as she said it just felt right. During those repetitive days, Kate basically ignored them while doing her paperwork. Rick (he said he would feel left out if he was the only one being called by last name) and Alex had ended up playing games to amuse themselves during the day.

He had even gone over to Rick's house for a night where he met the eccentric Martha Rogers and became fast friends with Alexis Castle. She was very pretty, Alex had thought at the time. If there hadn't been such a big age difference, he might've been interested in her. But, it was better just being friends anyways. One of the things he'd hated most about his school was all the drama and gossip that came with teenagers in relationships.

As he was talking to Alexis, he had realized just how long it had been since he had actually had a long conversation with someone close to his age. Sometimes, though, he really felt the difference between having a guy friend and a girl friend. He even remembered one particular embarrassing conversation.

"And so she said that I was being a lot grouchier than usual. I told her that I was having a particular heavy week–"

"Heavy?"

"Yeah my period was–" Alex put his hand over her mouth quickly, practically feeling his face growing hotter by the second.

"Oh I sometimes forget that you're a guy"

"Thanks," Alex said sarcastically.

"Anytime."

The next day, Kate had gotten a call for a body found somewhere in central park. She had called Rick and together, the three of them had went to the crime scene.

"He was shot in the heart by a 8.59 caliber. The only gun I can think of that uses this is the L115 sniper rifle. Judging by that I'd say this was a professional hit. The area is clean, the body is clean, other than this hole here, and there is no evidence pointing to anyone. This guy was definitely a professional but why he didn't make the body disappear is a mystery." Laney was giving them her regular medical report, but no evidence had shown up and it looked to be a particularly hard case.

"Ryan who found the body?" Kevin Ryan, a married Irish man and Javier Esposito, a tall Cuban man were there at the scene too. Ryan had just returned from his honey moon with his newly wed wife Jenny, and Esposito had returned from a short vacation from work.

"A jogger. She says that she was running along her usual morning route when she found this stiff here."

"Do we know who he is?"

"Yes, we found a drivers license on him. According to his license, he's a Mr. Karl Steiner." The name made Alex peer more closely at the deceased mans face. Thinning hair and had inquisitive eyes behind silver frames even when dulled with death, yep it was definitely him.

"He's from Scorpia," Alex whispered to Kate.

"How do you know that?" Kate replied, equally as soft.

"Classified"

Kate let out a huff of annoyance and exasperation but let the matter drop.

"What does he do for Scorpia?"

"He trains new recruits."

"Any reason why anyone would want him dead?"

"Chances are, he lost his usefulness to Scorpia and was taken out. If it was by one of their assassins it's unlikely you'll find his killer."

"Can't stop me from trying," Kate said grimly. Alex gave her a doubtful look.

"Look Alex, it's my job to catch who ever killed him and put him away. But if what you say is true then I might need your help," Kate said. Alex looked at her set face and the determined glint in her eyes.

"Alright fine, but be careful. These guys are professionals and their dangerous. Most of my partners end up dead and I really don't want you to be one of them," Alex warned looking at her pleadingly. Kate nodded, understanding the severity of the situation.

Kate turned to Ryan and Esposito. "Alright see if you can find a next of kin and if anyone saw him within the hours of his death."

They nodded their affirmative and left.

At the autopsy, Kate tried to convince Alex to stay outside, but after a look from the spy, she relented and together, they went into the autopsy room where they found Laney waiting for them.

"I looked into his stomach and found that he had chicken and salad a few hours before his death. None of it was poisoned so the gunshot wound is definitely the cause of death. And also…" Laney turned around and held up a mangled bullet in a plastic bag. "It's a bit hard to see, but this bullet is customized with what looks like a scorpion."

Kate peered at the bullet in the bag. Yes, she could make out what could be a scorpion. "I'll check with Ryan and Esposito and see if they can find anyone who uses bullets like these. " She walked out of room with Rick trailing behind her and Alex following up the rear.


Kate stood in front of the murder board with a coffee in her hand and Rick and Alex lounging around her bored. On the board was a picture of the victim Karl Steiner and links coming from the picture. Next of kin was a Sally Steiner, a known member of the mafia and wanted in four countries. Mother and father both murdered. No friends, no other family, and no connections other than with the mafia and Scorpia, both hard to bring to station and interrogate. No matter where she looked, this case was nothing but dead ends. Even Castles theories were more fictional than usual.

"Anything we can do to help?" Alex piped up, his voice dull with boredom. Kate started to shake her head no but then froze.

"Actually," she turned to Alex. "Tell everything you know about Karl Steiner."

"Well I really don't know much about him," Alex said. "All I know is that he's a psychologist for Scorpia and helps with new recruits." The blond chuckled. "Actually, I remember he once tried to stick me with this huge needle and just called it a little prick. But other than that I really know nothing about him."

"Well is this the way they usually," she paused. "dispose of their members?" Alex looked at her and after a few moments of speculative silence said,

"Well no actually. From what I know they would throw the ones they're done with into a kind of cage or pit with live scorpions and watch them scream until they died." He ignored their sudden, horrified looks and continued. "Well I know that's what they do with their board members, I don't know if that's what they would do with the ones with lower status. But even then, they wouldn't be so careless as to leave the body for people to find." Alex then looked directly at them with his brown piercing eyes, trying to convey the importance of his next words to them.

"They did this on purpose. They want something and I might be wrong but I think the are trying to get to me. If I'm right, then anyone who is associated with me will be in danger. It's been done before." The silence that followed was a tense one and the tension in the air was so thick that it could be cut with a knife.

"Guys, you won't believe this!" Ryan's voice called. Him and Esposito were running over to them with anxious looks on their faces.

Kate immediately turned to face them, the previous conversation temporarily forgotten. "What is it guys?"

"You won't believe this," Ryan repeated. "But the bullet you showed us actually had fingerprints on them and when we ran them through the database, this showed up." He led them to a computer screen. On it was a picture of a very familiar supposedly dead Russian assassin.

"Don't tell me…"

"Yes"

"It's really?"

"Yes!"

"What, who is it?" Castle asked bemusedly.

"Yassen Gregorovitch."


Phew! Glad that chapter's done with. I barely avoided succumbing to writers block. I would've had this chapter up a lot sooner but was being an ass. This is basically how it went.

"Yay! I'm finally done with the chapter now to publish it."

THIS PAGE IS UNRESPONSIVE

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And yes I did bring Yassen back. I really was mad when Horwitz killed him off, weren't you? Now any ideas for future chapters would be very helpful and would get an update up sooner.