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Title: A Better Man
Fandom: Castle
Author: truthmaker
Characters: Rick Castle, Josh Davidson
Pairings: Rick/Kate, Josh/Kate
Rating: PG
Setting: Season 3, post 3:17 - Countdown (Spoilers).
Word Count: 860-ish
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em and couldn’t afford ‘em if I wanted to.
Beta: Unbetaed, all mistakes are mine.
Summary: Josh breaks it off with Kate, Rick wants to know why.

Everyone in fandom seems to be making Josh out to be the bad guy. I don't think so. He's just a guy stuck in the middle.

The title is from the song by Clint Black. You can find it here.


“I’ll have another.” He tried to keep his voice from slurring. The last thing he wanted was to be cut off, so he looked the bartender in the face and did his best impersonation of a sober man.

The bartender, Chris, wasn’t fooled. “How many is that now, Josh? Don’t you have work in the morning?”

“Nope!” Josh didn’t even try to sound sober any more. “Got tomorrow off, a whole three day weekend to sober up.”

Chris raised an eyebrow at that and tried a different tack. “Do you really think Kate would want to see you like this? She…” the barman stopped mid sentence, understanding filling his eyes. He refilled the doctor’s glass without another word and left the bottle.

Josh realized that his state of inebriation wasn’t the only thing his face gave away. To hell with it, he thought. This was all Chris’s fault, well Chris and Sarah.

He stared into the amber liquid as memories bubbled to the surface, memories no amount of alcohol seemed to drown.

** Twelve years past **

Josh stood like a statue in the middle of the bar waiting for the barman to acknowledge his presence. Finally Chris met his gaze.

“How could you?”

Chris looked down without saying a word, unable to meet Josh’s eye.

Josh tried again, “You hurt her. How could you?”

Chris finally spoke, eyes still planted on the bar. “I did what was best, for all of us.”

“So what, you want some medal for being the better man?”

“No.” Chris said, “You’re the better man. Better for her. I’ve seen the way she looks at me and the way she looks at you. We could’ve had fun you, the two of you, could have something special.”

Chris continued, “You’ve got a chance; a chance to go somewhere that I could never be, somewhere with her that I could never reach. I saw where this was going. I saw the writing on the wall. I just got there first. You two have a chance to be truly happy, I’m not gonna stand in the way.”

Josh looked at Chris as his anger bleeding away. How could not hate a man who was giving him what he truly wanted.

Chris looked up finally meeting eyes with Josh. “Promise me one thing.”

“Why,” Josh asked, suspicion again filling his voice.

“Just promise me.” Chris said, “Now that you’ve got the girl, earn it… everyday.”

Josh couldn’t find words to reply so he nodded his acceptance.


In the end it didn’t last. It’ll be ten years this September since he lost Sarah. It was too soon, always too soon. But still he’d never regret a time they had together and he’d never stop thanking Chris for giving them the chance to be happy but on days, especially days like this, it still hurt. It was because of Sarah that he joined Doctors Without Borders. It was a chance to get away from America, away from New York. Away from everything that reminded him of her. It had taken years, but he’d finally gotten past it, he’d buried the memories somewhere deep in his heart.

Now the memories had resurfaced. They’d been haunting him for weeks, ever since Kate awoke in his ambulance calling out the writer’s name. Right there, in that moment between sleep and wakefulness, she had made her choice. Now it was up to him to live with it.

So lost was he in thought, he failed to notice the stool next to him was no longer vacant. His first hint was the hand, outstretched, signaling Chris for attention. The hand with its manicured nails and Rolex watch attached to the arm in the expensive suit. He turned, knowing already what he would find. Castle sat staring at him wearing a grim expression Josh knew so well.

“You hurt her.” Castle broke the silence. His words barely above a whisper but still clear in the silent bar.

Josh looked his competition up and down, sizing up the man before replying. “We both did. Making her choose, every day, it was killing her inside.”

“Do you expect an award for being the better man? For claiming to put her first?” The anger was clear in the writer’s voice.

Josh almost laughed at how familiar the conversation sounded. “It isn’t about being better. You won man. It was all in the eyes.”

Seeing the confusion cloud Castle’s face the doctor continued, “When she looked at me I could see the lust there. When she looked at you it was need, need and love.”

Josh did laugh as he saw the confusion replaced with something that could only be described as dumbfounded. Eventually the writer joined in. They sat for a while after the laughter died down neither wanting to be the first to speak.

Finally Josh broke the silence. “Castle, do me one favor.”

He looked over to his drinking companion, expecting some snide remark. When none was forthcoming the doctor continued. “Earn it, earn her, everyday. You’ve got the girl but you gotta earn it.”

Castle nodded once. “I will,” was all he said.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
I'm a huge fan of circular storylines, since I believe life often works that way. Here you've created two - Josh's past circling back to become Castle's present and Beckett's past (conversation) with Kyra also circling back to become part of Castle's relationship with her. In the case of Kyra, that encounter helped Beckett understand her man by realizing that when he fell hardest for a woman she was "real"... like her. Here Castle also has his eyes opened to something that he can use to deepen the relationship. And as someone who thinks Josh is just in the wrong place at the wrong time, I'm glad you've made him a hero. Well done and I hope you write more. Thanks.
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading.

And thanks for making the fic sound a whole lot deeper than I thought it was. :)
Apr. 19th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
Okay..my little brain is confused. I thought I commented on this one....did I?

Am I going mad Truth?
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
Not going mad, details are here.
Apr. 19th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
I clearly need to find a way to watch Season Two. I've seen most of Season 3, but I missed the part where Josh is introduced.

I did really like this story, I like how you've made him sympathetic rather than someone to hate.
Apr. 19th, 2011 09:13 pm (UTC)
You don't have to see Season 2 to see Josh's entrance - he shows up at the end of Punk'd this season. Now, i could go on for pages in why you need to see Season 2...
Apr. 19th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)
Point! Still, same theme applies, beyond what I can watch on Hulu. :(
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading.

Like ghostwriterlost said, Josh doesn't show up until well into season 3.
Apr. 20th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
And, obviously, I picked up 2nd halfish. Farther along than I thought. Whoops.
Apr. 19th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Love it. I too like things that circle back on themselves or repeat scenes with the parties changed. I'm with you, i think Josh is probably pretty perfect (I mean, what's not to love - tall, gorgeous, a doctor, a do-gooder, he rides a bike, did i say gorgeous?) - just not perfect for Beckett.

Come to think of it - i'll take any of her cast offs...
Apr. 20th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
i think Josh is probably pretty perfect (I mean, what's not to love - tall, gorgeous, a doctor, a do-gooder, he rides a bike, did i say gorgeous?)

A little birdy told me that he may be available in a few months ;-)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )