A/N: Got a new one for you, this one's for the #Castle28 prompt on Tumblr, though the prompt itself will be in the last chapter of this 3 shot. It's also combined with another Tumblr prompt: 'Josh is the doctor who attends C&B in the hospital after Crossfire'. Trigger warning: This chapter discusses the possibility of a miscarriage and also the possible termination of a pregnancy for health reasons.
I hope you enjoy this fic!
He liked working the emergency room. There was an urgency that he felt kept him sharp, so whenever he wasn't off with Doctors Without Borders, he made sure the ER was a part of his rotation.
His colleagues thought he was crazy.
"What's the matter with you? We can pick and choose patients. Sure, sometimes we'll be called down to help with a heart attack, but sign up for the ER voluntarily? You're nuts, D."
He ignored the jibes and kept on doing what he was doing.
The doors crashed open, making him jump and run to the gurney.
"BP 80 over 40! Dropping!"
"What happened?" Dr. Davidson asked tersely, as he got right to work examining the patient.
The paramedic replied the same way.
"Gunshot wounds. One to the shoulder, one to the belly. Female victim, there was another with her – male. The other ambulance is right behind."
"Call more doctors," Josh barked to the head nurse. "At least two; but more would be better!"
"Yes Doctor," the nurse replied, reaching for her phone.
The other gunshot patient was rushed into the ER a few seconds later, followed by several people Josh recognized from a similar situation years ago.
He looked at the face of the woman he was working on, and felt dizzy, the sense of déjà vu almost overpowering.
"Josh," a soft voice called. It was Lanie Parish.
The quiet tone broke the shock.
"Lanie? What the hell?"
He looked over at the other gurney, and sure enough, it was Castle.
Lanie was fighting tears, and losing. But she had to ask.
"Josh, can you do this? Or are you still too close?"
"I-I haven't seen either of them since Kate broke up with me."
"Is that going to cause problems?"
He came to himself, jumping back into the moment, realizing only a few seconds had passed.
"Of course not. Doctor Mars," he called to another emergency doctor. "Will you work on the shoulder here? Berg, Hillis!" he pointed at Castle and the two doctors who had come running at the nurse's call immediately began working on him, stabilizing him for surgery while Josh did the same for Kate.
It was hours later. Josh wasn't sure what time it was as he stood at the sink scrubbing Kate's blood off himself. He wanted the story – and he was hoping Jim or Lanie would tell him more when he went out to meet with them.
He'd made a somewhat surprising discovery during surgery, but wasn't sure he should say anything to the family yet.
Kate was pregnant.
It was early enough that there was a good chance she didn't know yet, and it probably would have been better to terminate so that Kate's body's resources would work on healing her wounds.
But he'd thought back to the one conversation they'd had about kids, when things were still good between them and jobs – and Castle – hadn't gotten in the way.
"I like kids, I do," Kate told him. "I admit I'm kind of scared of babies, but when they hit about two and have a real personality I love them."
"You've got to get through those two years though, Kate," Josh laughed. "And I have a niece and a nephew; they certainly had 'real personalities' even before they turned a year."
"Well, I'm sure I'll feel differently when I have my own."
Josh's eyebrows raised.
Kate smiled shyly and shrugged.
"Well, it'll still be awhile before I'm really ready for a kid, but yeah. When."
Then she'd been shot the first time and the relationship collapsed. He'd known it would eventually. Kate had thought her feelings for Castle were well hidden, but Josh knew her better than she thought, and as far as he was concerned, she'd worn her feelings on her sleeve. It was one reason he'd shoved Castle in the waiting room that horrible day. She was technically still his girlfriend, but she wasn't his.
But still, he couldn't in good conscience take away something he knew she wanted without telling her first. Besides, it was just the blood work that showed the pregnancy. For all he knew, she'd already miscarried. He'd get an obstetrician to examine her as soon as he spoke with the family.
Shaking off the reverie, Josh left the room. He peeked into the next OR where Castle was still in surgery, then went to the waiting room.
As soon as he entered, Jim Beckett jumped to his feet.
The two men shook hands as Martha, Alexis, Lanie, Ryan and Esposito all stood and surrounded them.
"Did you take care of Katie?"
"Come on, let's all sit down."
They all did as they were told and Josh sat next to Jim.
"I did take care of her. I probably shouldn't have, given our prior relationship, but I…" he trailed off a moment then shook his head. "Anyway, let me explain what went down."
Josh described what he had done during surgery, directing his comments specifically to Kate's father, but he looked at the others from time to time, including them.
"I won't lie, it's still touch and go. Kate's stable, but critical."
"I can't believe you did this," said Jim. "You won't be censured or anything for operating on someone you know, will you?"
"No, I'll be fine," Josh assured him. "It's been years, and everything is water under the bridge."
"When can I see her?" Jim asked.
"She's still being situated in ICU. I'll let you know as soon as she's settled. And it'll just be you, Jim, for about ten minutes." He looked at the others. "Sorry…"
"Understood," broke in Esposito. "We're waiting on Castle too."
Alexis shot Espo a grateful glance. She wanted to ask about her father, but didn't know how to bring the conversation around.
Josh saw the look and directed his next words to her and Martha.
"I don't know his injuries or condition, but I do know he's still in surgery. I can see if I can find out how much longer, if you'd like."
"Yes, thank you, Dr. Davidson," Martha put an arm around Alexis. "Any news at all would be greatly appreciated."
Josh nodded and turned back to Jim.
"I'll go check on Castle and see how Kate's doing and come get you."
"Thanks, Josh. For everything."
Josh glanced at Lanie and left the room.
He turned at Lanie's voice.
"Don't think I didn't notice that look you gave me," Lanie crossed her arms. "What didn't you tell us out there? What didn't you tell Jim?"
"I shouldn't… You're not that kind of doctor. I shouldn't have…"
"But you did. Now come on, Josh. What would I understand that the others wouldn't?"
"She's pregnant, Lanie."
Lanie gasped, her hand rising to her mouth.
"You didn't know?"
Lanie shook her head, and Josh nodded.
"It's very early, so she probably doesn't even know herself. It was the blood work that told us." His voice broke, and he looked up at the ceiling trying to pull himself together before continuing. "You've seen her injuries; how severe they are. Do you see my dilemma? That's why I didn't tell Jim. I would have taken Castle aside to tell him, but…"
"You didn't termin…"
"No, I didn't," he interrupted. "Not gonna lie, Lanie –" he broke off, then just repeated himself. "No, I didn't."
"Good. Kate would never forgive you. Neither would Castle."
"And I could live with that if it saved her life, but I don't want to until she or Castle knows, or if I absolutely have to. And I don't want to have to. I know Kate wants a kid. I'm just about to call an obstetrician to examine her. But there is a chance that…" he stopped again. "The blood work would still show the risen hormone levels, even if…"
Lanie closed her eyes and nodded in understanding. Josh was right. With an injury like Kate's, a miscarriage was more likely than not.
"Hang on a sec," Josh went to a wall phone and dialed an extension.
"Dr. Morgan? Dr. Davidson here. I have a female patient just out of surgery for gunshot wounds to the shoulder and belly… Right… Blood work shows pregnancy… No, she's not showing at all, it's early."
The back and forth continued for a few moments before Josh hung up.
"She'll be right down with the ultrasound machine."
He turned disbelieving eyes to the woman standing beside him.
"What the hell happened, Lanie? Why was she shot again? I heard she was Captain now. She wouldn't be going into the field anymore, right? And there's a recently healed scar that looks like a graze from a gun. Did you know about that? And Castle shot too?"
Lanie raised her hands to her head.
"I don't know everything. And I'm sure that was deliberate on Kate's part, you know how she is. I did know about the graze. She stitched it up herself and asked me to look at it a week later. But this time they were shot at home."
"A home invasion?"
"Of a sort, I guess. I understand that it did have to do with a case that Kate's been working on. The guy was lying in wait for them," she paused. "And now he's lying in wait for me at the morgue."
The obstetrician came down the hall, rolling the ultrasound monitor in front of her, and holding the wand for the internal examination in a small bag with other necessary paraphernalia. She greeted Josh and he introduced the medical examiner.
"And you're here because…?" Dr. Morgan asked, confused that an M.E. was in ICU.
"I'm a friend of the patient you're going to examine. I'll go and let you get to work. Keep me posted, Josh? I won't tell Jim anything until you know one way or another."
"Of course, Lanie. And tell Castle's mother and daughter I'll find out about him as soon as I'm finished here. That is, unless Dr. Hillis comes out first."
"Will do. Thanks, Josh." She went back to the waiting room.
30 minutes later, Josh escorted Jim back to see his daughter. He'd come back earlier – while Dr. Morgan was examining Kate – to let Martha and Alexis know that Rick was out of surgery and his doctor would be out soon. Dr. Hillis was with them now, tucked in a corner, explaining the injuries and what he had done to repair them.
Josh could see tears rolling down Alexis' face, but she was smiling. She had been the one to find her father and stepmother, and as serious as the injuries were, they were alive, and that was enough to give her hope, dim though it was.
Josh had also spoken with Lanie again before taking Jim back. They decided that Jim needed to know about the pregnancy, since he would be the one to make the hard decisions for Kate since Castle couldn't.
Jim knew something was up. Getting Kate 'situated' had taken longer than he expected – longer than it had after the first shooting.
First shooting. God, he'd hoped that would be the last one.
"Josh, what complications are there with Katie?" he asked. "I know there's something, just tell me what it is."
They stopped outside Kate's cubicle and Josh pointed to a couple of chairs outside.
"You're right, Jim, there is something…" he broke off at the anguished look on the older man's face. "It's – not necessarily bad – though under the circumstances, it may not be particularly good news either."
Jim looked at Josh and rubbed his hand over his eyes.
"Spit it out, Josh."
The doctor sighed and dove in. "Kate's pregnant, Jim."
Jim sat back in his chair, the worry on his face deepening.
"We discovered it just before surgery," Josh continued. "That's what took me so long to bring you back here. We needed to examine her more closely."
"She didn't miscarry?" Jim asked, a little hesitantly.
"No, and honestly, I'm a little surprised she didn't, as is the obstetrician I consulted. The heartbeat came through quite strongly." He frowned, looking at the floor as he went on. "But it's very early days yet, Jim, and I don't know how pregnancy is going to affect Kate's healing process."
"Do you think Katie knows?"
He looked back up. "I doubt it. As I mentioned, it's early."
"She wants kids, Josh…" Jim looked terrified at what he thought Josh was about to ask him to do.
"I know she does, Jim. And I have no intention of doing anything but taking care of them both unless I absolutely have to do something else. Right now, Kate's stable and as far as we can tell this early, the baby seems healthy. But you need to know that it could come to termination if Kate's vitals drop, and I'm sorry, but with Castle in critical condition, you may have to make that final decision."
Jim closed his eyes, a tear falling down his cheek.
"I understand, Josh. God, I hope it doesn't come to that."
"Me too," he stood and motioned Jim to follow. "Come on. I'm sorry the visit needs to be so short, but we need to let Kate rest. She may not wake up for a few days anyway."
"Understood. I just need to see her."
Josh nodded, clapped Kate's father on the shoulder and left him with his daughter.
A/N 2: Thoughts?