If you're unfamiliar with the show Person of Interest, the premise is that a man named Harold Finch has developed a computer program that analyzes New York City security video feeds and cell phone calls to identify crimes during their planning stage. The program identifies a threat and produces the social security number of the person involved. Two men, Finch and John Reese, a former CIA hit man, go about stopping the crimes before they happen. They have two cops who help them – Carter who helps because she wants to do what's right, and Fusco who helps because he owes Reese. Fusco refers to the network of dirty cops as 'HR.'

Chapter 5

Esposito looked at the text and grunted. He replied with a curt, "they're safe. getting info." He figured Beckett or Castle could call Ryan later with details.

This Reese guy had a conversation with his partner that they could glean nothing from.

Kate sat her gun on the end table, then canted toward Castle. He shifted so he could wrap his arms around her. "We'll be fine. I'll keep you safe."

She rested her head on his shoulder and focused on bringing her heartbeat to a regular rhythm. Her hands slid around him and up to his shoulder blades. She steadied herself in his embrace.

Espo quirked an eyebrow up at Castle, asking without words what that hug meant. Castle gave him a look of affirmation – it was what Espo thought it was. Espo gave another look – I need details. Castle almost smiled and settled his attention back to the woman being both strong and vulnerable in his arms.

Esposito saw that the guy in the suit (whose name he hadn't heard yet) had holstered his weapon while on the phone, so he did the same. He waited. He considered texting Ryan about the cozy hug in front of him, but he still hadn't forgiven him enough to really want to share. He texted Lanie instead.


"Reese," Finch drew out the name, "I suggest you find a safe place to stash your love birds that the cops don't know about. I'm seeing red flags all over this case."

"Like what?"

"Like all the files are missing. I'll try and find out if that's why Smith was killed."

"Are either of our mutual friends on that?"

"I will contact Detective Ryan shortly. Perhaps I'll set up a meet-and-greet with Detective Carter so they can get all their information compiled."

"Good. Any sign of Maddox?" Reese kept it to the point.

"No. None yet. He's quite excellent at staying hidden."

"I know." Reese hung up without a goodbye – none was expected – and decided to just ask Beckett. "What do the missing files from your mother's case have to do with Smith?"

Kate pulled back from Rick's chest and looked at him to answer.

Castle fidgeted. "Uh, the missing files – I'm guessing there are more cases than Johanna Beckett's – were incriminating to whomever masterminded multiple assassinations. Smith had the files, promising that they'd stay hidden if they left Beckett alone, provided she stopped investigating."

Reese narrowed his eyes and cocked his head, silently commanding Castle to keep going. But he didn't.

"Wait." Esposito glared at Castle. "How do you know that?"

"Smith told me to stop her, or they'd kill her. I thought we could figure it out later, when we could handle it. Safely."

Espo stood, his top lip in a snarl, "He almost killed us, and you had a lead?"

"Javi, don't," Kate implored.

"No, don't tell me 'don't.' What the hell, Castle? You could have told us. We would have had your back. Instead…" He stopped himself, but the implication was clear: Castle didn't have their backs. He had kept the team in the dark, betraying all three of his partners. Esposito muttered, "This just gets better and better."

Castle was more than a little sick of it. "Hey, you know what? You didn't have her back either! Kevin saved her, not you! I did my damn job. So don't give me that crap. I was protecting her like they asked me to! I failed once, but I won't again!"

The two were in each other's faces, brothers nearing blows, when Kate's small voice interrupted. "They, who?"

Castle flinched. He stepped back. But all three faces were looking at him, waiting for his answer.

He deflated. On a sigh, he replied, "Your dad… and Captain Montgomery. They put it on me to make you stop, to get you to back off. Smith was just next in line. They all thought you'd listen to me."

Kate sagged into her couch cushions. If she had been willing to listen to anyone, it would have been him. Because even before she was shot a year ago, she loved him; her dad and her captain could see it. Damn, she should have listened.

"Hate to break the moment," Reese interrupted, "but you need to get to a secure location. Do you have a place in mind?"

Kate nodded. "My dad's cabin will work. It's fairly secluded."

"No, nowhere connected to your name. He'll find that too easily. Finch," his eyes fixed somewhere in space, "do you have a place they can go?"

"Yes, Mr. Reese, I believe I do. The address is… on your phone... now. And Detectives Fusco and Carter should be there soon with the information that they found."

Reese nodded then looked back to Beckett. "Go pack a bag."

She swallowed, sighed, and obeyed.

The knock on her door startled her as she walked by. The female voice on the other side, though, stopped them from drawing their weapons again.

"Kate Beckett, open up!"

Lanie was grinning when Kate opened the door. "Girl, Javi texted me that you and Cas-" oh, they look tense, and who is that guy in the suit?

Lanie whirled around when a voice spoke in the hall behind her, "Well, well, looks like a party." What was Fusco doing here? He doesn't work at Kate's precinct. Oh, and, oh, he's partnered with Carter… Javi's ex. Oh, no. "What is going on here?"

Esposito looked at the two attractive, not-terribly-different-looking women sizing each other up at the door. Great. Just what this party needs. More tension.

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