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Hell's a'Blazing

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Rick stepped out of a car to approach a familiar scene: police cars flashing blue and red against an alley wall, yellow "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" tape stretched across a doorway, men (and women) in uniform standing on either side. He smiled at the uniformed police kindly, holding up the two coffee cups in his hands. They lifted the line, and he walked into the warehouse...

Onto a more unusual scene. Police looking over the scene, as normal, Esposito and Ryan off to one side with possible witnesses, as normal, the ceiling of the warehouse collapsed and open to the elements... not exactly normal, maybe, but feasible. But Kate. Kate was not normal. Not at all.

Kate was not in the middle of things, getting new information from every corner as fast as she could, keeping everybody updated and forming a new theory every minute. Instead, Kate was close to the door, arms crossed and frowning at the wall. Frustration this early on in a case was new for her, Rick thought. Normally she started out curious, maybe a little angry and vengeful if it was a messy case. She only got frustrated when they looked to be running out of clues, or when she got taken off the case.

She looked up, and her frown lightened slightly. "Castle."

He nodded, handing her one of the cups. "Beckett." Tilting his head towards the other officers, he asked, "What's up, why're you... not over there?"

She sighed, taking a long drink of her coffee. "FBI."

"Really?" Castle peeked over at the corner where all the hustle and bustle was. Two guys in half-decent suits were standing near the police work, looking down at whatever they could see and whispering to each other, faces perfectly blank. "Huh. Looks like they mean business."

"They practically got here before us," she said, gesturing at them with her cup. "I don't know how they even heard about it before we could file a report."

Rick raised an eyebrow, taking a sip of coffee. "You check up on them?"

Kate laughed. "You really think somebody's going to impersonate FBI agents?"

Rick shrugged. "It could happen." A strong breeze blew through the building, and he shivered. Greedily drinking his coffee and wrapping his hands around the paper cup to steal its warmth, he added, "And that wasn't a no." He stared Kate in the eye, and dared her to lie to him.

After a moment of silence, Kate sighed, and looked away. "Yes, okay?"

"I knew it!"

"Yes, I checked up on them. And they're legit - I talked to their supervisor and everything." She huffed, keeping her eyes on the agents. "I still don't like them, though. Agents Butler and Dio."

Rick stilled, and asked a question. Having been mid-sip when he stilled, the words were a bit muffled by the cup and the coffee, and for a minute he flailed around trying to not spill coffee on himself and get a sentence out at the same time. Kate watched with a bemused humor.

Finally, he got out of his mess free (and mostly stainless). "Agents Who and Who?" he asked again.

"Butler and Dio."

"Butler and Dio," Rick whispered. His eyes shot to the agents - a pair of tall, dark-haired, dangerous-looking men in professional suits - this time focusing on the smaller details. The length of their hair, the slump of their shoulders. The bridge of one's nose, the bend in one's knees. It was all so vaguely, barely recognizable. He'd passed it off as deja vu when he first saw them, but with the names added to it, it was something much more familiar.

"Oh my god," he whispered faintly.

Kate looked between the agents and Rick, confused. "Do you know them?"

"Not exactly," Rick said, dropping his empty cup to the ground and walking over to the agents. As he got closer, one of them looked up and noticed him, nudging his partner to grab his attention. "Agents!" he said cheerfully. "Fancy meeting you here."

"Can we help you?" the shorter one asked. And oh, that voice. He knew that voice. Oh, Rick was good.

"I certainly hope so," he said, grinning. He leaned in close, waiting until they did the same to say, "You see, I was wondering if you could get me tickets to the reunion show. Though, I thought they were calling themselves "Heaven & Hell" now?"

They blinked at him. "Excuse me?"

"Oh, like you don't know," Rick said, laughing. "Butler and Dio? As in, Geezer Butler and Ronnie James Dio? Of Black Sabbath?" He watched with a close eye as the taller of the pair twitched, then glared at his partner, who shut his eyes and sighed. "I could go on, if you don't believe that I know for a fact you're faking," he added helpfully.

"If you'll excuse us for a moment," the shorter fake fed said, stepping back with his partner. Rick watched them lean close in to each other and start whispering again, an angry tone to their words.

"What was that all about?" Ryan asked from somewhere behind Rick's shoulder.

"Oh, nothing," Rick said, smiling conspiratorially at Ryan. "I just got our case back from these "feds"."

As Ryan made an impressed, yet disbelieving sound, Esposito approached with a dismayed, "What, are you serious?" He shut his notebook, frowning at Rick.

"Probably, why?"

"Because this case is so nuts I almost want to leave it to the feds. Check it out," he said, lowering his voice. "We've got three witnesses to the crime - a couple of homeless guys who were sleeping here last night, and a kid loitering outside. Now, all of them say they saw a couple of dudes fighting - apparently with swords - when a giant burst of light came out of nowhere. When the light was gone, one of the guys was on the ground, dead."

"And the other one?" Ryan prompted.

"That's the thing. They all say they saw him for an instant, then he disappeared."

"Disappeared?" Rick repeated. Esposito nodded. "Oh, that is so cool!"

"It gets better," Esposito said, flipping open his notes and paging through. He pointed at one of his statements. Ryan looked at it over his shoulder as he said, "The kid swears up and down that the guy who disappeared was John Constantine."

"John Constantine."


"The... Keanu Reeves, Constantine movie, John Constantine?"


Rick looked between Esposito, Ryan, the agents (still in an angry whispering huddle), and Kate, watching from the far side of the room. "Oh, no," he said. "This case is way too cool to let the feds keep."