I don't usually do episode centered stories, so I'm surprised even in myself that I'm doing this. I'm envisioning this to be a 2 or 3 chapter story based around spoilers, pics and the promo for episode 5x16 "Hunt". This is what I have so far. Lemme know if you think it's worthwhile continuing!
Peace and love,
DISCLAIMER: Come on, do you think I would've been so cruel and creative as to create the heart-wrenching stuff that was 5x15?!
What, why, how, and at the hands of whom?
Questions the concerned father in Richard Castle desperately craved the answers to.
Within six minutes of Alexis's location being tracked, he was booked on the red eye to the same city.
As he hastily threw a few items into a bag, a photograph on his dresser of himself and a certain young female detective caught his eye. He thought about calling her. He'd told her earlier that if she promised to find his daughter without actually being able to do it, he'd never forgive her, and as his eyes panned over the photograph of the two of them, and on to one of his daughter piggy-backing on his shoulders, he only hoped that she could forgive him for not trusting her enough to fulfill that promise.
His mother was asleep upstairs, she had told him to try and get some sleep, he promised her he would, he neglected to include the words "on the plane."
Making sure he had his passport in his coat pocket and with a final call down to Eduardo who informed him his taxi was waiting, Castle stepped out of his bedroom and tried to act as casual as possible.
He cursed silently, swinging around to greet the gaze of the agent.
"Are you going somewhere?"
"Um, yeah, I just- I need to clear my head."
The young agent eyed up the bag and Castle offered him a shrug. "My laptop, drafts... writing will help."
The two agents looked dubiously between themselves.
"Look my mother is just upstairs, she'll get you anything you need." After another moment of suspicious silence, Castle inhaled deeply. "Call me if anything happens."
He knew nothing would, unless he made it so himself.
The wheels touched down at Charles de Gaulle at 10:30am CET and after trudging his way through customs, he stepped outside into the blinding glare. The day was grey but rays of far away sun that shone from somewhere out in the stratosphere were harsh to behold.
He looked around and suddenly felt the gravity of his situation land on him like a ton of bricks.
He had a cell tower, on to which the cell phone Alexis had called him from had pinged.
That still left a large radius that he would have to cover in order to find his only child.
He jumped into the nearest cab and gave the driver the street address the cell tower was situated on. They drove for thirty five minutes, and though traffic was reasonably swift, the journey took far too long.
But then he would've given anything to be back in that cab. At least then he would feel as if he were heading to something, with some kind of purpose. When the driver dropped Castle off and the mystery writer stared at his surroundings, he realized he had come to a crossroads.
This spot was all he had to go on, and now that he was here, he realized how little that really was.
One foot in front of the other. He had anywhere up to twenty one miles to cover. The only thing he could do was to make a start.
Castle had been walking the streets of Paris for close to an hour when his cell phone lit up with the skype notification that someone was calling him. He lifted his phone from his pocket, hitting the green button before even glancing at the caller I.D.
"Castle. Where are you?" The enraged face of his girlfriend slash partner greeted him.
Castle took a breath. "Where do you think?"
"Castle, what the hell are you doing? You're in a foreign country with nothing to go on but the coordinates of a cell tower..."
"It's not a foreign country, I've been here many times before."
Kate shook her head. "OK, but still, what are you even planning to do? Let's say by some miracle you actually manage to find Alexis and Sarah. What are you going to do then? You can't go into wherever they are without back-up."
"I couldn't sit in New York and do nothing, I had to be near her. You don't understand Beckett-"
"No, what I don't understand is how you could be so careless. If you find these guys, they could kill you Castle."
Castle's breath quickened as he felt anger surge through him. "Careless? I'm being careless? She's my daughter, Beckett, my only child."
"I know she is Castle, and I know how much you love her."
"No. No, you don't. You can't know."
He hung up on her.
Instantly his phone was alight with another call, this time from the loft. He closed his eyes, sighing. "Mother, you shouldn't be calling."
"Where are you?" Martha's frantic voice filled his ears.
"I'm getting my daughter back." He answered her straight.
"Oh Richard, this is not a crime novel anymore, you don't know what kind of danger could be lurking just around the corner-"
"I don't care, she's my baby!" He cried out, agony and desperation dripping from his voice.
"Richard, listen to me, there's something you need to know..."
But the only thing he got to hear was the sound of a gun clicking against his ear drum.
The van sped along a highway, Castle's hands were bound with rope and his heart was thumping in his chest.
"Where are you taking me?" Castle's nostrils flared with anger and fear as the two masked men remained steadfastly silent.
Castle knew it was pointless to ask anymore questions, but he was Castle and so he did anyway,
"What do you know about what happened in New York?"
Again, the masks remained silent.
The windows of the van they were in were tinted and so Castle was completely oblivious to what was going by outside of it.
"What do you know about my daughter?"
The driver of the van snarled something loudly in Arabic, making Castle jump.
"I just don't understand how you guys knew where to find m-" Castle stopped talking when the man in front of him grabbed him harshly by the collar and before Castle knew what was going on, the man with a very strong grip had Castle by the throat and with his other hand, punched Castle swiftly in the gut four times before throwing him back against his seat.
Castle slouched over, dizzy with pain. His head swimming with silent thoughts he would definitely not be voicing now.
He thought about his daughter, prayed that she was receiving kinder treatment than he was at this moment.
He wondered how they had got her and Sara SaraSaraSarato Paris from New York in such a short amount of time.
He thought about the last time he'd checked his watch, it had been 1:10pm, meaning it would've been 6:10am in New York.
That was roughly half an hour ago. He wondered how Kate had found out about him being away from home, finding it suspicious that his mother had called right after her.
That might mean she was in his home, the feds tracking him. Which meant that she now knew where he was. Which meant that she would find him.
Of course she would find him.
But then again, why should she make the effort? He'd been so cruel to her before leaving. He hoped she realized that he wasn't trying to be horrible to her. He knew she was doing, and would still now be doing everything she could to find his daughter. The truth was, it wasn't her that he would never forgive if Alexis never came home. It was himself.
He felt himself jolt forward as the van came to a stop. He hadn't even been counting the miles in his head, too pre-occupied with thoughts of his daughter and his girlfriend.
He heard the door slide open and then there were hands on him, dragging him out of the vehicle.
He stumbled over, his feet hitting rough ground. He stomped on it with his foot, it was grassy and a little springy, like soft clay. The smell of pine lingered in the air and he could hear a distant bird cry.
He was in the forest.
He heard the men around him talking animatedly in Arabic. He tried to discern any words he could, but he knew hardly any of the language and the men were speaking very fast.
There was a hand at his shoulder then and he felt himself being pushed forward. His legs complied and he let the men lead him forward into the parisian woodland.
There was more talking behind him, quiet and calm and it unnerved Castle more than anything.
Then, suddenly a gun shot rang through the air and the calm chatter turned into loud and alarmed shouting. Cries of pain sounded near him and he ducked, grimacing, eyes shut tight, ready to be taken down at any moment.
And then there was silence.
Then Castle was being spun around by the shoulders. The man who was freeing him was older, Castle put him in his early seventies, though he looked incredibly fit. He had a grey beard and was wearing aviator sunglasses and a black leather jacket, along with an army style cap.
He carried a rile.
"Who are you?" Castle wheezed breathlessly.
"I'm the guy who just saved your life", the man answered as he untied Castle's hands.
"OK, seeing as you're the one holding the gun... I'll settle for that", Castle gulped. Looking down at the four bloodied bodies that lay circling him. "Why?" Was his next question.
The older man shrugged. "You weren't one of the guys who was trying to kill me."
Castle nodded. "OK then... how? Four of them, one of you."
"Are you going to do what, when and where as well?"
Castle raised his eyebrows. "I was considering it."
The man with the gun shook his head. "Come on, we're not safe here, we've got to move."
"Ah, and we're another step closer to what and when."
"For God's sake, my daughter is missing, she was abducted two nights ago in New York and was last heard from last night in Paris. We think she was taken for necessity, alongside the daughter of a very wealthy and influential man named Anwar El-Masri. I don't know how much of this you're already privy to but I'm not in the mood to play games here."
"They weren't after the El-Masri girl. She was never the target. It was your daughter."
"Alexis?" Castle's mind went foggy with confusion. "Why would they want Alexis? I'm rich but not nearly as rich as the El-Masri's."
"It has nothing to do with wealth", the man gave Castle a look that conveyed deep sorrow. "They took her to get to me."
"To get-" Castle momentarily paused, trying to compute what the man was saying. "What in the world does my daughter have to do with you?"
"She's my granddaughter."
Every muscle in Castle's body seized up, the blood flowing ripely in his veins. "No." He gazed up at the man, whose familiarity now made sense.
"I wish we were meeting again under different circumstances Richard, but, yes... I'm your father."
The two men trudged their way through the bush.
"Why couldn't we have taken the van?" Castle asked with frustration lacing his voice.
"Van could have a tracker on it."
"Well, do we have to walk through the bush?" Castle complained as he was smacked in the mouth by the branch of a judas tree.
"It's safer inland, we won't be as easily spotted here than if we were on the roadside."
Castle caught up to his old man as the two of them continued trekking through the dense forest.
"I suppose you have a lot of questions."
"Yes, but only concerning my daughter and who exactly it is that has her... That's all I'm interested in." Castle made himself quite clear to his father, shutting down any intention the man might have had to bond with his son.
"Well, I don't know exactly who it is that has her... by that I mean, there's about four different possibilities, seeing as we're in Paris and those men back there were speaking Arabic."
"How do they know of Alexis's connection to you?"
"They know a lot of things, which leads me to conclude that at least two of the likely suspects are off the hook. So that narrows it down by half."
Castle narrowed his eyes at the man's inappropriate optimism.
"We're running against the clock here, which of the two choices is more likely?"
Castle senior inhaled a deep breath. "I don't like giving answers I'm not a hundred per cent sure of, but considering the circumstances I'll make an exception and hazard a semi-educated guess."
Castle stared at him expectantly until the older man nodded conclusively.
"I believe the man we're looking for is Christophe Prevot."
"And what did you do to piss off Christophe Prevot so severely that he would want to get back at you like this?"
"Prevot is one of France's most notorious human trafficking operators. He employs Arab men to select the virgin girls from their cities under the pretence of marrying them, then he transports the girls to various global ports where they are sold to the most vile low-lifes to ever walk the earth."
"He-" Castle felt his heart rip in two. "What does that mean for Alexis? For Sara?"
"Hey", Castle Sr. stopped in his tracks to turn to his son, trying to convey some reassurance. "They want me kid, they need her alive in order to ensure that I come to them. Just remember that"
"And where exactly are you being lured to?"
"Prevot has an estate in Orleans, it's about an hour and a half outside of Paris."
"I received a call from Alexis last night, it came from a building near a cell tower in the city."
"That could be the warehouse where they keep their imports. I know where it is."
Castle swallowed thickly.
"Why do they want you so badly?"
Castle Sr. kicked a rock aside, his lips twisting as he reflected on the story. "Six weeks ago, I busted one of their rings in Damascus, created trouble like they'd never heard of trouble before. In the process, I killed Prevot's son."
Castle's face darkened.
"I was sent to Damascus to hone in on the operation and try to put an end to it. I didn't pull the trigger but he was killed by a member of my team."
"And who exactly do you work for?"
"Does that question relate to finding Alexis?" The older man countered back. Castle just gave him a deep stare and continued walking along the forest trail.
"So how has their operation continued this long in Paris?"
"Prevot's family have several friends in the French legal justice system... And though that's not a issue I can't personally overcome, I've been primarily based closer to the sources of export."
"Are you saying that you're the only one capable of bringing their major operation down?" Castle snorted in disbelief.
"Yes, that's what I'm saying." He answered easily.
Castle raised an eyebrow, surveying the man who claimed to be his father.
"How did those guys know that I had come to Paris? How did they know exactly where to find me when they did?"
"With technology today, anyone can find anyone, kid. Me and technology are both the best and worst of friends. They would've tracked you down through your service provider. Had you been speaking on the phone when they found you?"
"Yes, I was speaking to my..." Castle paused. "My mother."
The corner of the older man's cheek raised a little at the mention of the redheaded bombshell.
"How is Martha?"
"Well, I'm guessing she's worried sick at this point. I wish I had my phone so I could ring her back. I should've got it out of that big guy's pocket."
"It's for the best that you don't have it. You can contact whomever you need when we get back into the city."
"You speak well for a trained assassin", Castle noted dully.
"I don't kill people for fun, Richard. For that, I do crossword puzzles."
"Which is your favourite?"
"The Times is good."
"London... Though New York isn't half bad. They have some good book reviews in there from time to time as well."
"London, New York, Damascus, Paris... You get around."
"It's the job... I'm creaming in the frequent flyer mile department", he offered Castle a half smile.
"The guy who was tortured back in New York. The driver of the van. Was that you?"
Castle Sr. turned slowly to his son, giving him a slightly maddening stare. "When it comes to family, you do anything."
"Family", Castle scoffed.
"It's a hard thought to grasp, but I know you a lot better than you know me, son."
Castle turned back around to glare at his father.
The older man winced slightly. "Look, I know I wasn't the best parent... Scratch that, who am I kidding? I wasn't a parent at all."
Castle's gaze did not soften as the man continued. "Truth is I was more terrified of raising a kid than I was of taking on a group of highly trained terrorists."
"Yeah well, you missed out", Castle offered him, not in the least bit ready to start sympathising with the man. "And I'm not saying that as a son, I'm saying it as a father."
"Richard, Alexis is an intelligent, street smart young woman..."
"Don't you do that!" Castle yelled in a fury. "Don't you pretend to know us."
"But I do know you son. You've no idea how well."
Castle, enraged at his father's level of calmness, picked up the old man up by the collar of his leather jacket and held him against a nearby sycamore tree. "This is all your fault you bastard, it's all because of you. I wish I didn't know you, I wish you were dead. And if she dies because of you then I will make damn sure that happens."
"I know Richard, I know how much you would like to hurt me right now, and I understand that. But I'm afraid that the very same reason you loathe me so much is precisely the reason you need to keep me around."
Castle and his father were practically nose to nose as Castle breathed rapidly and his father slowly choked against the collar of his jacket.
"I'm the one they want, and if I am dead, then Alexis is of no more use to them. I've told you what Prevot does to pretty young girls like her, and I know that you could never live with yourself if that happened to her. I am the only one who can save Alexis and end this thing for good."
Castle let go of his old man's collar and he dropped to his feet, running a wide palm over his bruised neck.
Castle snared at the older man with no trace of remorse whatsoever and turned on his heel, continuing along the long, winding track.
It took another four and a half hours for the two men to trek through the bush until they arrived back in the city of Paris.
Not a single word was spoken between them for the remainder of that journey.