"He's dead? First my mother and now Agustin?"

Restrepo bows his head over the table, burying his face in his hands.

"How did you know Mr. Ramirez?" the detective asks, a little more quietly than usual.

The man takes a deep breath and looks up. He's a little paler now, the circles around his eyes a little darker than they were even fifteen minutes ago when they watched him through the two-way glass.

"He was my friend. Since we were boys. We grew up together. We..."

Restrepo trails off and Kate gives him a moment to compose himself. He certainly seems surprised enough that Agustin Ramirez is dead. But he could be lying, could be playing them.

"When did you last see him?" she asks a minute later.

He shrugs.

"A couple weeks ago," he says. "He came to me about six months ago and said he and his family were having a hard time financially. He asked if I had any odd jobs he could work here or there to make some extra money."

"Did you?" Castle asks. "Have any odd jobs for him, I mean?"

Restrepo nods.

"I had him help here and there, delivering coffee to local shops, running various errands."

The writer glances at the detective. He's subtle, but she's become so aware of his movements, so in tune with him that he doesn't even have to speak, raise an eyebrow or anything and she knows what he's thinking.

"Mr. Restrepo, where were you on Friday night, between eight and midnight."

The answer comes immediately.

"Rwanda, in the airport, trying to get a flight home. I'd just found out that my mother had died."

Kate turns just enough that she knows she'll draw the attention of her teammates who watch on the other side of the glass. Sure enough, there's the sound of a chair scraping on the floor, a door closing, and she knows one of them will have headed off to check the man's alibi.

"What were you doing in Rwanda?" Castle asks.

For the first time since they first saw him in the room, Restrepo smiles. It's not dazzling, but it strikes the detective as genuine.

"There's some coffee research going on there. An old arabica strain was rediscovered a few years ago, and I went to visit with the group that has been studying it. They're teaching local farmers how to grow coffee and developing processing co-ops and the like."

His voice is excited. Castle has managed to draw the man out of his tragedy, out of the horror of learning that first his mother and now his friend have died in the past few days.

This is one of his gifts. For a man who makes his living by plunging people into dark worlds of murder and mystery, he has a talent in real life for drawing people into the light.

She lets Restrepo continue with his discourse, noting the Castle seems mildly interested. But when a knock sounds at the door, she excuses herself and opens it to find Esposito on the other side.

"Alibi checks," he says quietly. "He didn't get back until late yesterday."

She nods her thanks to her teammate and shuts the door behind him, heading back to her seat. Castle looks up at her and whatever question he was about to ask the man dies on his lips.

"Mr. Restrepo, did you go home when you got back yesterday?"

The man across the table shakes his head.

"I went to the morgue to identify the body. And then I went to my office. I keep a cot there. I knew the apartment would be too empty without my mother."

Castle glances over at her.

"Did you know that someone had broken into your apartment?" she asks.

It's clear by the look on his face that he had no idea, and a shake of his head confirms it. The seed of a thought begins to form in the detective's mind.

"Mr. Restrepo, did you ever meet Agustin's wife?"

He shakes his head again.

"No. He brought his little girl in with him one day when he was running errands for me. He said his wife had an appointment that day and couldn't watch her."

Castle's hand twitches on his knee, the flicker of movement catching her attention.

"Did he seem happy?" the writer asks.

Restrepo nods.

"Yes, aside from his financial problems, Agustin seemed happier than I had ever seen him, especially with his daughter."

She's not sure where her partner is going with this, has only a vague sense of unease herself. Something's not right, but she can't tell if it's with Restrepo or the situation as a whole. Maybe even with the story Elena told them yesterday.

Castle meets her eyes, and she asks silently if he can think of anything else. The tightening of his mouth tells her he's got nothing. She turns back to Restrepo.

"I think that's all for now, but if you don't mind, please stay in town until we get this sorted out. We may have additional questions for you."

He nods, and stands, reaching across the table to shake each of their hands in turn.

"I hope you find his killer," he says quietly. "He was a good man, and he didn't deserve this.

Kate stands, and Castle follows, the two of them escorting him out, the writer jotting down his contact information while the detective hands the man her card.

"What do you think?" she asks her partner when Restrepo has stepped onto the elevator and they've watched the doors close behind him.

He shrugs.

"My gut tells me he's not the guy," he says. "But this whole case has me kind of turned around."

She nudges him with her elbow and tilts her head toward the break room, starting that direction when he nods.

"I know," she answers. "Nothing is what it seems. I think we'll have to talk to Elena again. Something's not right with her story."

Castle sighs, and she knows he's thinking the same thing she is - that she doesn't want Elena to be the one who's mixed up in all of this, doesn't want Luz to be stuck in the middle.

"The question," the writer says, "is whether she was lying or being told lies herself. Until we figure that out, we don't have anywhere to go."

There are shadows on his face when she looks up at him, and she longs to put the light back, to squeeze his hand until he smiles, hug him until he laughs, kiss him until joy is all that remains in those blue eyes.

But they're still in the middle of the precinct, and quickly approaching their coworkers.

"I had the weirdest dream last night," Ryan is saying as they walk into the room. "You, me, Castle, Beckett, and Gates were trapped in here and forced to fight to the death."

The look on Esposito's face is priceless - confusion, a little awkwardness - as he looks at his partner.

"Here? In the break room?"

The Irish detective shakes his head.

"No, the whole precinct. There were traps everywhere. Flame-throwers hidden in the walls. Poison in the coffee. It was treacherous, dude. And Gates stabbed Castle in the leg, so Beckett was hiding him under her desk and taking care of him."

The Hispanic detective chuckles and continues stirring his coffee.

"Yeah, I just bet she was taking care of him."

There's something in his voice that makes Kate think he knows more than he's been letting on.

"And what exactly is that supposed to mean, Espo?" she asks imperiously.

The man whirls around to see her standing in the doorway, Castle at her back. She can tell without looking that he's trying not to laugh. Something about the way his breathing changes.

"Just that," Esposito begins, eyes shooting to Ryan, who tries hard to look innocent. "Just that you guys have each other's backs, that's all. Wait, Gates had a sword?"

Ryan nods eagerly and continues to expound upon his apparently very vivid dream.

She glances back to see Castle's eyes twinkling, the corners of his mouth no longer fighting a smile.

"Coffee?" he offers when she's been staring at him a little too long.

She nods gratefully and watches as he steps confidently into the room and begins preparing two cups. This is their thing - coffee - and she has a feeling it always will be.

Whatever she saw in him later that made her fall in love, that was the first weakening in the wall, the way he became more than a nuisance: his provision for her. He became the man with coffee. And sometimes the man with bear claws.

His phone chimes just as he's handing her a mug, and once the hot beverage is safely transferred to warm her cold fingers, he plucks the device from his pocket and swipes his thumb across the screen to unlock it.

A smile breaks across his face, and Kate feels her stomach flip. What is it about seeing him genuinely happy that makes her feel this way? She doesn't have time to fully examine the question before he's crowding around next to her, calling the boys over as well, and holding out his phone in front of the four of them.

"Alexis just sent me a video," he explains, tapping the small screen.

He starts the video message and Kate recognizes his living room where they cuddled up on the couch last night to watch the ball drop.

But now sunlight streams into the room and she hears his daughter's laughter ring out from somewhere not in the shot. A voice, a boy's voice, shushes her and all goes silent.

Nothing seems to be happening, but then a flicker of movement catches her attention. It's one of Minnie's toys, a stuffed mouse, and it seems to have a string tied around the middle. Alexis or Drew must be dragging the thing across the floor.

That's all there is for a moment, just a slight jerk on the string now and then, the mouse sliding inch by inch across the floor.

And then they see little ears poking around the edge of the couch. The eyes come next, bright lanterns in the shadow of the furniture. And slowly, ever so slowly, the rest of the head and the body emerge from their hiding place.

The kitten flattens itself on the floor, eyes trained on the mouse as she moves closer and closer.

Alexis giggles, and Minnie pauses, ears turning like satellite dishes toward the sound. But after a second, her focus shifts back to the mouse.

The tension mounts as the little creature sneaks up on the mouse, silently, eyes gleaming and ears turned back.

When one of the teenagers yanks on the string though, causing a sudden movement, Minnie launches herself from the floor, paws spread wide.

She lands on top of the toy, encircling it with her front legs for a moment and then lifting it and tossing it up into the air.

The toy lands back in her paws, and she rolls onto her back, wraps around the mouse, kicking it with her back paws and gnawing on the fake fur.

A high-pitched growl comes from the little beast, and Drew chuckles from behind the camera.

After a few seconds more of watching Minnie and her prey, the focus turns from the kitten to Alexis. She waves.

"Hey dad," she says with a smile. "Just wanted you to see what you're missing here. See you guys later."

The screen goes blank and he slides the phone back into his pocket. Kate's eyes follow his hand, and when she looks up, all eyes are on her.

"'See you guys later,' huh?" Esposito says, elbowing Ryan in the side as both detectives grin at her. "Something you're not telling us?"

Castle's watching her as well, but when she doesn't say a words, he jumps in.

"Alexis asked if she could watch Minnie today. She's always wanted a pet."

Ryan and Esposito both deflate visibly, and she decides to mess with them a little more.

"Yes, gentlemen," she says with an eye roll thrown in for good measure. "At the end of the day, Castle will help me on with my coat, we'll take the elevator down together, hold hands in the car and then go up and have dinner with his daughter and her boyfriend. We'll play with Minnie, and then Castle and I will probably snuggle on the couch and watch a movie. After that, who knows what will happen? I might not even go home."

The other detectives stand there with slightly dazed looks on their faces, and when she glances at Castle, he bears nearly the same expression, with a little hope mixed in.

"Come on," she says bumping his shoulder with hers. "We've got work to do."

She strides out of the break room and back to her desk, knowing the writer will be right behind her.

"What in the world was that?" he hisses as he drops into his chair. There's entirely too much delight shining in those blue eyes.

"What?" she asks with a shrug. "I just figured the best defense was a good offense."

She turns to look back at the break room. Neither of the other detectives has emerged.

"Besides," she whispers, leaning toward her partner and letting her fingers dance lightly across his knee. "I've always thought honesty was the best policy."

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