Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Characters/Pairings: Meredith, Alex.
Word Count: 1,481
Author's Note: Ignoring the promos for the next episode, for the most part.
Summary: Post 6.11 - Blink. There are four words no man wants to hear in succession: we. need. to. talk.
After Reed, after the petty comments, after she’s called Izzie at least three times to no response, after she’s walked in on her sister and Alex in bed together in her (and sometimes Lexie’s, and occasionally Alex’s) house, after she’s been told that was not the first time –
After all of that, she decides to do something drastic.
Namely, she drives out to the trailer on a night that she knows he’s there alone, lets herself in with Derek’s key, and pockets his car keys, so that he can’t bolt the moment he’s had enough, before he even knows she’s there.
The things we do for the people we care about, she thinks idly, and then calls for him.
Which is right about when she hears the running water from the shower and realizes that’s why he didn’t hear her come in.
For the next six minutes she amuses herself by trying to rectify the absolute mess that the closet has become, after she opens it and almost gets knocked in the head by a box of miscellaneous and fairly insignificant crap that definitely isn’t Alex’s. He isn’t a packrat, which means it’s either Izzie’s or Derek’s, both of which are equally likely.
Meredith listens to the shower shut off and concludes that, though it’s nothing she hasn’t seen before thanks to way too close quarters in the locker room and in her house, it’s better to tell him now that he has company.
“Alex,” she hears him groan; she doesn’t think he was trying to hide it, “I let myself in.”
“I noticed,” he says, after a beat, and he steps out into the narrow hallway clad in nothing but a towel. It’s not a bad view. Not that she’s in any way going there. He heads towards the bedroom, presumably for clothes which is why she doesn’t follow, but keeps right on talking. “Why?”
She sighs and leans back against the now-closed, not to mention hurriedly reorganized, closet door. “We need to talk.”
“No we don’t, Grey,” he says, loud enough that he’s not just trying to make up for the distance so much as expressing his frustration with her. That’s fine; she’s got more than her share of her own.
“You slept with my sister. Again. Who knows who else. And you’re still married.” A drawer shuts, too forcefully. “Which means we do.”
“Last I checked I wasn’t married to you.” Alex steps out of the bedroom, now with clothes actually on, and attempts to pass her in order to get to the closet. She doesn’t budge. Gruffly, he says, “Move.”
He rolls his eyes, hands on her upper arms in the weakest attempt to move her out of his way – though she really doesn’t think he’s trying all that hard. Yet. “I need batteries. The damn alarm clock is dead and I actually need to be at work in the morning.”
“I think the batteries are in the cabinet,” she says, not acquiescing simply because she wants to show him she’s not messing around on anything tonight. He’s going to listen to her and he’s going to at least stop acting like an asshole to her if nothing else. “If there are any.”
“No, they’re not. Move.” She doesn’t. He raises an eyebrow and moves in closer, his hands still on her arms, pinning her to the door more or less. It doesn’t faze her; she’s certain that, no matter what his current positioning indicates, he isn’t going to kiss her or hurt her. She knows him too well. “We need to talk, Alex.”
“And I need batteries,” he counters.
“If I move will you stop acting like an ass for ten minutes?”
“Probably not.” She curls a hand around the doorknob, anchoring herself, and looks directly at him. “Grey, if you don’t – “
“I’m not moving until you talk to me.”
“Oh, I’m talking to you. Doing it right now.”
“You spent so long trying to build up trust with her again after the first time,” she starts because she might as well. Any way that she can chip away at his resolve and his defenses works for her. “Years, Alex, you spent years, and you’re seriously going to throw it away because she’s being unreasonable?”
“So go to Chehalis and yell her into submission. Exert your energies elsewhere. Just stop doing things you’re going to regret and getting other people involved.”
“Okay, enough, move.” He’s a little more physical now, pushing her to the side, and her free hand comes to rest on his bicep, attaching herself to him now and not just the door.
At some point, this conversation ceased to be about batteries at all. “No.”
“Mer,” he exhales and that’s the part that’s significant. Her last name has been changed out for her first, his tone changing right along with it, and he looks so much more tired than he did a second ago. He breaks her gaze, must see something in her eyes that says she’s on to him, and when his head hangs like this his forehead is dangerously close to resting against hers.
Granted she’s the one who pushed him to this exact point, completely on purpose, but it still breaks her heart just a little to see the fight go out of him in the span of one breath. Both hands are on him now, the grip comforting instead of forceful. “Look, you’re not going to stop being miserable just because you’re keep telling yourself that you’ve moved on. Trust me. I’m practically the expert at sleeping with inappropriate people as a distraction and it didn’t get me anywhere and it’s not going to get you anywhere.”
She runs a hand up along his jaw and over his cheek, gets him to look at her for a moment, and then calmly extracts herself from between him and the closet. A beat later he opens the closet door, frowning when he gets a good look at it. “Did you clean?”
“You were in the shower,” she shrugs, like it’s perfectly normal. “And that thing is a hazard – things fell out at me when I opened it.”
“Shepherd,” he says, initially, placing blame, then adds, “Iz. I think she reorganized it but…I don’t know, I never paid attention.”
She crosses her arms over her chest, leans back against the wall, and says, “Maybe you should move back in. Permanently.”
He cocks his head at her, raised eyebrow again. “Trying to keep an eye on me?”
“This place sucks, Alex. There was a bear. I almost got killed by a closet.” He might laugh then, shallow and stunted, and he stops looking at her and instead stares at the closet and the batteries he still hasn’t found yet. “You already live there half the time.”
“Shepherd’ll kill you.”
“I think Derek’s had worse problems then whether or not I have roommates again.” Her hand alights on his jacket, thrown over the back of a nearby chair, and it lingers there, waiting for him to notice. She doesn’t mean for him to move in the future – she means tonight. And maybe some of it is keeping an eye on him but it’s also because she misses him when he doesn’t show up for Christmas dinner and when she can go an entire day without seeing him at all.
They used to talk; they used to understand each other so much better.
“You’re aware Lexie lives there too, right?”
“It’s not a test.” She says, with a dramatic roll of her eyes. “I just want you to wait and see if she calls back. Or shows up. Calling her yourself might not be the worst plan.”
He’s really adamant when he replies, “No.”
“Fine, then just do the first two. Maybe what she needs is a reminder of what the stakes are and what she might lose if she doesn’t come around, or at least try. And if that doesn’t work it’s her loss. Trust me here.”
The lack of an argument on his part is all she needs to know that he does and he will, for now. She grabs her purse and makes to head for the door, hearing him give a heavy sigh, like giving in.
It gets her as far as a few feet out the door and she waits for him to follow for a solid minute before she calls back, “Are you coming or do you think making me stand out in the cold is funny?”
Half a second later, he bothers to answer. “I can’t find my keys.”
Sheepishly, she plucks them from the pocket of her coat and clears her throat just loudly enough that he pokes his head out the door. They dangle from her fingers and he frowns.
“I’m not asking.”
“It really is better that way.”