Summary: April meets George on her way to the army, and some things become clear for them both.
Hey all! This is my second Grey's fic and it's a bit of a drabble but it had to be written. For timeline references - George didn't die in s5, instead he recovered and went to the army after all. April leaves for the army after failing her boards in s8. It's a very strange AU, but I feel like it would be better this way. Enjoy, and reviews are always loved and appreciated. :)
Her boots are too tight.
It's all April can think about as she sits nervously on the train, bouncing her leg up and down and staring out the window at the fast moving scenery. She's already in her army uniform, the one that signifies that she is a medic and not a solider. Everyone else on the train is dressed up like her, too - after all, their destination is the army camp where they'll be receiving their training.
She misses Jackson, too, but he isn't here and she is, so. Her boots are too tight.
It's sick, and it's twisted, but part of her wishes Jackson had been on the plane that crashed, the one her friend Lexie had died in. April had stayed behind in Seattle just long enough to make sure everyone was okay, to attend funerals that needed attending, and then she left. But if Jackson had been on the plane, if he'd been hurt, she never would've found the courage to leave.
The courage to leave and...what? Do what? What was she doing?
Her boots are too tight.
"Mind if I sit down?"
April's head snaps up at the sound of the voice. "Uh, sure," she nervously says to the man standing in the doorway of her train car. As he sits down, she manages to recover, and sticks out a hand. "Hi, I'm April, April Kepner. I'm a - I was a surgeon in Seattle."
The man smiles and lightly shakes her hand. "I'm George O'Malley. Once, I was also a surgeon in Seattle. You seem excited."
April shakes her head. "I'm not." She gets an opportunity to look at him closer. Several scars run down his face, none very large, but there are enough for anyone to realize he's been through a traumatic accident.
"Good," he says. "I was already stationed a couple years back and I'm being moved - it's not good to be excited, because there's nothing to be excited about."
"You've already been in the army?" April asks shakily. She realizes that whatever accident he was in probably happened there, and now she was willingly going to the same place.
"Yeah," he says, sighing. "Don't worry. All of this-," he gestures to his scarred face, "-happened before I even left. I was hit by a bus, back in Seattle."
"Oh," she says. It's a bad thing she feels relieved that is was only a bus, but.
"Anyways, if you were a surgeon in Seattle, why are you going to the army?" he asks. It's amazing, she thinks, how calm and collected he could be.
"I failed my boards," she says softly, "And then the Chief fired me. So. Here I am."
George nods in understanding. "I failed my intern exam," he replies. "I know how it feels."
"It's just..." She almost stops herself, but her boots are too tight, and there's no way she can stop the flood of words now. "It's just, there's a one in five chance of failing the boards. And there were five of us, there. It's only logical one of us would. But Meredith was sick, Cristina had some 100 year old examiner that hated her, Alex didn't show up for the first round, and Jackson's mother was next door. But I failed. I'm the one who failed."
She doesn't bother getting into the reason why she failed. She knows, very well, that she betrayed herself. But still; out of all of them, she's the one who failed.
"You were a surgeon at Seattle Grace, huh?" he asks after a beat of silence.
"Yes," she says in a small voice. "How do you know?"
"Because I was, too," he says. "And I...when I took my intern exam, Meredith didn't write anything on the paper. Cristina was getting married, Alex had a girlfriend who was medically insane, and Izzie was almost kicked out of the program. But I'm the one who failed. It just works out that way, sometimes."
"You were one of the residents in their class who left," April realizes.
"Me and Izzie, yeah," he agrees. "And you're from the merger."
"Me and Jackson," she says, quietly. "So you failed your intern exam, and came here. And I failed my boards, and I'm here."
"That's about it," he says. "You sure you want to come here?"
"Are you?" she asks.
"Of course not."
"Then, of course not."
There's silence again, but this time, it's relaxing.
"My boots are too tight," she says before she can stop herself.
"I always found that, too," he agrees.
Suddenly, the train isn't moving so fast, after all.