This story takes place between the Season 2 episodes "When the Bough Breaks" and "Vampire Weekend". Some of the characters in the story are Chechen. This was essential in order to establish that the character claiming to be Jameson Rook might just be who he says he is. I'm not in any way trying to capitalize on or be insensitive to the recent events in Boston.
The sun had just set as Detective Kate Beckett arrived at the murder scene. She shivered. It's chilly, she thought, even if it is fall. The parking garage entrance was cordoned off, with some officers keeping the curious at bay and others taking witness statements. Spotting Ryan, Beckett strode towards him.
"What have we got?" she asked.
"One victim, male, stabbed. Only one witness saw the perp's face." Ryan said with a smile.
Puzzled at the smile, Beckett asked, "And you got a description?"
"Heat!" someone yelled behind her.
"That's him," Esposito said, motioning behind them. "You're going to love this guy."
Beckett rolled her eyes. Castle is so going to pay for this. And speak of the devil, she thought, there he is just getting out of a cab.
Castle jogged over to the others. "What did I miss?"
Beckett looked at him thoughtfully for a moment, then grabbed his earlobe and dragged him into the garage.
"Ow! Ow! What did I do? I didn't do anything," Castle whined.
The witness was staring at Beckett as she approached.
"You're not Nikki Heat," he said.
"No kidding," she said, casting an evil eye at Castle. "And you are?"
"You could be her sister though," the man continued. "It's amazing. I told the other detectives that Nikki would vouch for me."
"Really?" said Beckett. "I'll ask you again, who are you?"
"Jameson Rook. Reporter. Just published a piece on Nikki Heat in First Press."
Beckett and Castle looked at each other.
"Look," said Beckett, "this is a crime scene. A man is dead. This isn't the time for joking around."
"Joking? Why would you think I'm joking?" Rook asked.
"Because," answered Castle, "there's no such person as Jameson Rook, reporter. I should know."
"Really," said Rook. "And you would know that how?"
"I created him." said Castle.
"You..." Rook trailed off.
"OK," said Beckett, "for now let's focus on what you saw and heard."
"Sure," Rook said. "I was doing some research in the library when I heard a scream."
"Library?" Beckett interrupted. "Which library?"
"I was in the Public Library on 5th."
"On 5th? That's more than a dozen blocks away."
"You're telling me," Rook agreed.
Seeing that Beckett was getting frustrated, Castle continued. "Go on. You heard a scream?"
"Yes, it sounded like it was coming from the adjoining room. I dashed through the doorway and the next thing I know I'm here in this parking garage and that guy over there is getting stabbed."
"And you got a look at the assailant's face?" Beckett queried.
"Yes. He was Caucasian, shorter than me, say 5' 9", dark eyes, dark mustache, late twenties to early thirties. He was wearing a hoodie so I couldn't see his hair colour."
"And what happened next?" Castle asked.
"When he saw me he tossed the knife and ran. I tried calling 911 but didn't my phone just pick a fine time to stop working. I got one of the guys on the sidewalk to call. I checked the victim to see if I could help but I think he was already dead."
Beckett pursed her lips for a moment. "OK, you know what?" She beckoned to one of the uniforms. "I'm going to have this officer take you to the station so we can go over this again. And you might want to use the time to come up with a better story. And a real name."
As the officer escorted the protesting Rook away, Castle turned to Beckett and opened his mouth.
"Don't even say it, Castle," Beckett interjected. "He's not Jameson Rook, the imaginary reporter."
"But what if he is?" Castle answered, his eyes glowing. "Listen. On Star Trek. The original series. There was an episode where Kirk is in a library, hears a scream, and the next thing he knows he's passed through a portal to another time."
"And you think this guy didn't see that episode? For all I know, he stabbed the victim himself, or is an accomplice. He's pulling this scam as a distraction, or to get attention, that's all."
Castle followed Beckett as she exited the garage. "Maybe. But what if..."
Esposito, Ryan, Beckett and Castle regarded Rook through the one-way glass of the interrogation room.
"Did he have any ID on him?" Beckett asked.
"No," Ryan answered. "Said he left his things on the library desk when he heard the scream.
"And his fingerprints aren't in the system," Esposito added, "so we got nothing."
"Alright. Esposito, head over to the library on 5th and see if you can find his belongings. Take his photo with you in case anyone can confirm they saw him there."
"You got it," Esposito said.
"Ryan, start going over the video surveillance and see what you can find. Meanwhile, Castle and I will have another go at this guy."
"Sure thing," Ryan acknowledged.
Beckett and Castle entered the interrogation room and sat opposite Rook. Beckett opened the file folder she carried and examined it a moment before looking up.
"Now that you've had some time," Beckett began, "would you care to revise your statement?"
"Detective, I told you the truth."
"Let's start with the library then. What were you doing there?"
"Research," Rook answered. "My next article is going to be about the sex trade."
"But why go to the library? Why not look up what you need on the Internet?"
"Because," said Rook with a wink, "there's nothing like the feel of a good..." he shifted his gaze lower, "book."
Beckett slammed her fist on the desk. "Do you realize this is a murder investigation? I could have you arrested for obstruction of justice."
"Obstruction of... Look, seriously, I'm your only eyewitness. I can identify the guy that did this. How am I obstructing justice? Why don't you believe me?"
Beckett nodded at Castle who placed a copy of Heat Wave on the table.
"What's this?" Rook asked.
"It's a book," Castle said.
Rook looked up at Castle.
"It concerns the investigation of the murder of Matthew Starr by Detective Nikki Heat and reporter Jameson Rook. It's a work of fiction. I wrote it."
"You're the one trivializing murder," Rook said. "Matthew Starr was real. He fell six stories to his death."
"It's raining men," Castle said. "Sound familiar?"
Rook shook his head. "Is this some kind of prank?" he asked. "Did Nikki put you up to this?"
Beckett and Castle sat silently.
"Look," continued Rook, "aren't you going to have me look at mug shots? Speak to a sketch artist?"
"And what good would that do?" Beckett spat out. "It's not like you're a reliable witness. I mean, you can't just take the stand and swear under oath that you're Jameson Rook, the fictional character."
Leaning across the table, Rook smiled and said, "Detective, it would be my pleasure to show you just how real I am."
"That's it," Beckett said and stood up. Castle followed her lead. "You're going to spend the night in a cell. Maybe you'll change your mind after you sleep on it for a while."
She pushed a pad of paper and pen towards him. "In your spare time, you can write down what really happened."
"And keep the book," Castle said. "You might find it enlightening."
Back at her desk, Beckett was lost in thought when Castle took a seat beside her.
"Have you ever watched Doctor Who?" he asked.
"Oldest sci-fi show on TV. I read a FanFic not long ago."
"Sorry, you read a what?"
"FanFic. A story about the show written by fans. This one was called Doctor on Set. The Doctor realizes that data about events from a parallel universe can travel through microfissures in space-time. Creative people, like me," Castle said, smiling, "can detect this data. They interpret it as creative inspiration."
Getting to her feet, Beckett said, "So why don't you go ask him where he parked his TARDIS while I do some detective work?"
As she walked away, Castle called after her, "Wait, what? So you do watch it?"
As Beckett entered the autopsy room, Lanie Parish was sewing up the victim's Y-incision.
"Lanie, I could really use some good news," Beckett said to her friend.
"Well, said Parish, continuing her work, "I can confirm that the retrieved knife is consistent with the two stab wounds the victim received. And I can tell you that the assailant knew what he was doing. The victim was killed almost instantly."
"Any clues as to who the victim is?"
"No good news there, I'm afraid. No major surgery, no dental implants, nothing to indicate who he is or where he's from. No match for his fingerprints. Except his fingerprints match one of two sets found on the murder weapon. The lab has a blood sample. We can hope they come up with something."
"So he had his hands on the knife as well, Becket said. "Maybe they struggled for it."
Shaking her head, she added. "And the only one who might be able to identify the assailant is 'round the bend."
"I heard about that," Parish said. "You know, he could just be suffering from shock. He saw a man stabbed to death right in front of him. Partial amnesia and escape into a fantasy might be a way of coping. My suggestion, give him some time and maybe he'll come around."
The following morning, after meeting with Ryan and Esposito, Castle and Beckett went to Rook's cell. Rook, bleary-eyed and bedraggled, was skimming through Castle's book.
"Well?" asked Beckett.
"It's all here," Rook answered wearily. "The whole investigation. Details no one else could have known. Things even I didn't know."
"Such as?" Castle asked.
Rook grinned. "For instance, I didn't know Nikki was naked when Pochenko attacked her. That's actually pretty hot. Maybe you should call the next one Naked Heat."
"OK," said Beckett, rolling her eyes. "The fingerprints on the knife aren't a match to yours, and video surveillance shows that the victim actually dragged the suspect into the garage entrance, then shows the suspect fleeing past a couple of other witnesses. They verified that you asked them to call 911. So you're free to go for now. If you remember anything we can use, like your real name, get in touch right away."
Beckett nodded to an office who unlocked the cell.
"I don't suppose you found my stuff at the library?"
"No," Beckett said, "and there was no one who remembered seeing you."
Rook sighed and picked himself up.
"So where are you off to?" Castle asked.
"Home, I guess," Rook answered. "A hot shower and some strong coffee will be just the thing."
"Mind if I tag along?" Castle asked.
"Ah. You want to know where I live, is that it? Sure, why not. Um, you don't mind springing for the cab, do you?"
"No problem," Castle said. "Where to?"
"Tribeca. Chambers Street."
In the cab, Castle commented, "I never said in the book where Rook's loft was exactly, other than in Tribeca."
"No," agreed Rook. "But, I guess you were focused on the story, weren't you? That's the writer's job, whether journalist or author, to know his audience and what they're interested in. Why would anyone care what street I lived on?"
When they arrived, Castle asked the driver to wait. Rook walked up to a doorway and entered. Castle followed.
"I don't have my key on me of course," said Rook with a wry smile, "but the super is a sweet old lady with a crush on me."
He pushed the button for the super.
After a moment a gruff male voice answered. "Yeah?"
"Sweet old lady?" asked Castle.
Rook ignored him. "It's Rook. I forgot my key."
"Never heard of you, pal." And the super cut him off.
Rook pushed the button again.
"Is Gladys there? She knows me."
"Never heard of her either. Beat it before I call the cops."
Rook let out a long sigh and rested his back against the wall. "What is going on here? What could possibly be going on?"
Castle handed Rook his smart phone. "Look here. I just Googled Jameson Rook."
Jameson Rook is a fictional character in the mystery thriller Heat Wave by Richard Castle. A freelance reporter, Rook teams up with Detective Nikki Heat to solve the murder of Matthew Starr. Heat Wave has garnered rave reviews and debuted in the NY Times top ten bestsellers, fiction.
"Fiction," said Rook. "Great. Well, at least it's a bestseller."
"Look, my mother and daughter are out-of-town for the week. Why don't you crash at my place for a while? See if we can sort this out together?"
"That'd be great, thanks. I know it's still morning, but I could use a stiff drink."
Castle smiled. "I'll see what I can do."
On the way to Castle's apartment, Rook was staring out the cab window when he suddenly stiffened. "Stop!" he said. "Stop the car."
"What is it?" Castle asked.
"It's him," said Rook, pointing towards the sidewalk. "That's the guy I saw in the garage."
"Are you sure?"
"You think I'd ever forget that face after all that's happened?"
The cab pulled over. While Castle was paying the fare, Rook jumped out. "Call your detective friend," he yelled back at Castle. "I'm going after him."
"No! Wait a minute." But Rook was already off. Cursing, Castle dialed Beckett's number.
The suspect was walking at a good clip. Rook jogged after him, dodging the pedestrians on the crowded sidewalk as best he could. When someone cursed him a particularly loud and colourful manner, the suspect turned and saw Rook approaching. He shot off, forcing Rook to speed up. The suspect was fast, but Rook was taller and in good shape. After a minute he caught up and tackled the suspect from behind. As they fell, a gun dropped onto the sidewalk. Pedestrians screamed and scrambled away. The suspect tried to throw Rook off with one hand while the other stretched towards the gun. Sweating, Rook reached into his pocket, found the pen Beckett had given him, and managed to remove the cap with one hand. The suspect had just about reached the gun when Rook jabbed the tip of the pen against his carotid artery.
"Go ahead," said Rook. "I'll write your obituary."
The suspect relaxed and stopped struggling. Rook glanced up to see a squad car pulling up. Beckett and an officer leapt out, guns drawn. Castle reached him at the same moment.
"I'll write your obituary?" Castle repeated. "That was pretty good."
"Thanks," said Rook with a grin. "I thought so too."
"What do we have so far?" Beckett asked as she regarded the suspect in the interrogation room.
"Not much, aside from his name," Esposito replied. "Timur Kadyrov. The lab is comparing his prints to those found on the murder weapon. We know he doesn't speak much English. 'Chechen,' he said. 'No English.'"
"He certainly seems to be agitated about something," Castle commented. "He's hopping around in his chair like rabbit."
"It's his uncle," said Rook. The others turned to look at him. "What?" he asked. "I speak some Chechen. I spent a month in Chechnya living with a rebel cell."
"Oh please," Beckett said.
"Just a minute," said Castle. "We wouldn't even have him if not for... Rook. Will it hurt to let him speak to him while we're waiting for a translator? There could be something important here."
Beckett thought for a moment. "Fine," she said. "We'll both go in," she said to Rook. "You translate what I say and only what I say. Got it?"
"Got it, boss." Rook said with a smile.
Beckett was still shaking her head as she entered the room.
When they were seated, Beckett said, "Ask him why he killed the man in the garage."
"He says... First you must protect his uncle. Protect him and he will tell you everything."
"Why does he think his uncle is in danger?" Beckett asked.
"... Men are going to kill him. Bad men. Soon. Please, he asks. He's actually begging you to protect him."
Beckett thought for a moment, then handed the suspect a pad and pen. "Get the name and address," Beckett said to Rook.
Kadyrov wrote the information and passed it back. Beckett tore off the top sheet and left the room. "Ryan," she called. "Take some uniforms to this address and check it out. Keep me up to date."
"Will do," Ryan replied, and left.
Back in the interrogation room, Beckett seated herself again. "Tell him that officers are heading to his uncle's address. Now, ask him to tell the whole story from the beginning."
"He says his uncle owns some kind of store. I don't quite... ah. A Russian import store. Some … bad men wanted to use the store. As a front. They wanted to use the store as a front to bring in weapons. The uncle refused. Yesterday one of them grabbed him. Grabbed Timur. Timur was dragged into the garage."
"What was the man's name?" Beckett asked.
"... He says he doesn't know. The man threatened him. When Timur refused to help persuade his uncle, the man drew a knife... Timur was in the Russian army. Was trained in... hand-to-hand combat. He got the knife a way. He thought the man was going to kill him. He used the knife to stop him. Without thinking. It sounds like... his training just took over.
"Then he saw me. He says... he says I came from nowhere. I wasn't there, then I was there." Rook turned to Beckett, but her face remained impassive.
"Go on," she said.
"... He ran. Then he walked all night. He knew they would come after his uncle. For revenge. He found someone selling guns. He bought one. He was on his way to his uncle's when Castle and I spotted him."
Rook was dozing on a sofa. The lab had confirmed that the second set of fingerprints on the knife were a match to Kadyrov. Immigration records showed that he had entered the country six months earlier, sponsored by his uncle.
Sitting across from Beckett at her desk, Castle said, "Should I ask the obvious question?"
"And what's that?"
"If that man on the sofa is suffering from a delusion, how is it he can speak Chechen?"
"I don't know Castle. Not yet. And don't..."
But before she could continue, her phone rang. "Beckett. There were? OK, good work. Bring the uncle back with you as well. Let him know we have his nephew."
She looked at Castle. "That was Ryan. They saw two suspicious men enter the store. When they followed them in, the men had guns out, pointed at the uncle. They've been apprehended and they're all coming back to the station."
"Interesting," said Castle. "Looks like Kadyrov's story was true."
The department's translator came up to Beckett's desk with her report. Beckett thanked her and leafed through the documentation. "Look's like the translator has pretty much confirmed what Rook told us."
"Get that smile off your face, writer boy. If you want to be useful, take your creation home and come back tomorrow so we can close the case.
After rousing Rook from his nap, Castle escorted him out of the precinct and hailed a cab.
"You know," said Rook, "before we go to your place, can we make another stop? I just had a thought."
Rook instructed the driver to take them back to the parking garage where it all started.
When they arrived, Castle asked, "What are you looking for?"
"I'll let you know when I find it," Rook answered with a smile. He moved further into the garage, near where the man had been killed.
Just then there was a loud crash on the street. Castle turned to look. A car turning into the garage had been t-boned. Shaken, Castle muttered, "Run-tse duh fwotzoo..." then blinked and shook his head.
Rook called out, "Castle! I think I..."
Castle turned back.
Rook was gone.
The next morning, Castle brought in coffee for Beckett as usual and described what happened the previous evening. He said, "I tell you, he was there one second and gone the next."
"I know what you're thinking, Castle. But he didn't just disappear into another dimension. Now that the case is solved, he probably got his memory back and went on his way."
"I suppose. It makes you think, though. Suppose there was a place where you and I were just fictional characters?"
Beckett smiled. "With all the crazy things that happen to us? No one would believe it."
Richard Castle and Jameson Rook (?) will return in Castle to Rook.