"Out of the car Zozo, quickly honey," Meredith hurried, grabbing her youngest child out of her carseat, "Bailey, hold your sisters' hand."
"Why are we at the hosptial Mommy?" Zola asked, walking close by her Mom's side. "I want to go home."
"I know sweetie, but Mommy has to work right now," Meredith told her oldest child and they entered the waiting area of the hospital. It was mayhem. Not only had Amelia been called in on her day off, but the sitter had cancelled and Grey-Sloan was experiencing somewhat of a rush- at least for General surgery. She caught sight of Nathan Riggs, sipping coffee and talking to nurses, she yelled for his attention, "Riggs!"
"Grey," he smirked, catching sight of the kids, "hey."
"Have you seen Maggie?" Meredith questioned, "or Amelia or Alex?"
"Surgery. Surgery. Surgery," Nathan replied.
"Damn it," Meredith groaned.
"You need someone to watch these three?" He asked, "I can do it."
"Riggs please, this is serious!" She exclaimed.
"Hey!" He defended, "I have nieces and nephews. I do know children, Grey."
She looked at him for a few seconds, trying to figure out if he was being serious or not. He seemed to be.
"Okay," she nodded, "a quick consult, that's all."
"Take your time," he answered, taking Ellis out of Meredith's arms.
"Okay," she nodded and crouched down to Zola and Bailey, "listen guys, this is Dr Riggs okay? He's going to watch you for a little bit while Mommy has to work."
"Dr Riggs?" Zola asked, catching Nathan's attention as he watched Ellis sleeping soundly.
"Yeah?" Riggs replied, tearing his eyes away from the toddler.
"Where is my Mommy?" Zola asked as she continued to colour her picture.
"She is fixing people who are hurt," Riggs told them little girl.
"Do you do that too?" She asked, laying down her crayon. Riggs moved to the edge of the sofa to speak to Zola.
"I can, see look. When people have a poorly heart or lungs," he explained tapping Zola's chest and sides where her heart and lungs were, "I fix those."
"Really? Like Aunt Maggie and Aunt Cristina?" She asked.
"That's right," Riggs laughed.
"Aunt Amelia fixes brains like Daddy used to," Zola told Dr Riggs. "Daddy was the best at fixing brains."
"No kidding," Riggs nodded.
"Did you know my Daddy?" Zola asked.
"No," Riggs told the youngster, "but I've heard a lot about him."
She seemed to have run out of questions and went back to her colouring. He watched Zola stop colouring to hand a crayon to her brother and turned to find Ellis in the room. Once she seemed satisfied, she busied herself again.
"What does Mommy fix?" A quiet voice asked- Bailey.
"Pretty much everything else," Nathan replied, having to remind himself that they were children who could be spared the details.
Meredith's feet dragged as she made her way to the attending's lounge, 3 hours and a failed surgery later. She caught sight of her children through the window before she went inside. Zola and Bailey were sleeping soundly on the sofa, draped in what Meredith could only assume was Nathan's labcoat. Nathan was stood by the window with Ellis in his arms. He was bouncing the toddler in his arms and speaking softly to her, Meredith wished she could hear him. The sight made her chest feel tight. She swallowed the feeling and opened the door as quietly as possible.
"Hey," she greeted quietly. "Sorry I took so long."
"Don't worry about it," Nathan replied, waving off her apology.
"I hope they weren't too much trouble," Meredith whispered, checking on Zola and Bailey as they slept.
"No trouble at all," Nathan assured her. When Meredith looked at him, she couldn't help notice the red rings around his eyes.
"How long have you been awake?" She asked, smirking. He shifted Ellis in his arms to check his watch.
"37 hours," he replied.
"You were finishing your shift when-"
"Hey, I offered," he interupted, "we've all got a pitch in. Takes a village, right?"
"It does," Meredith laughed, nodding. "Well, thank you again."
"Anytime, Grey," he nodded, Meredith noticed that Ellis had fallen asleep with her head is the crook of Nathan's neck.
"She likes you," Meredith joked.
"Looks like it," he laughed, conscious of the volume of his voice.
"You don't mind helping me get them to the car do you?" Meredith asked, "I don't want to wake them."
"Of course," he nodded, handing Ellis over to her Mom so that he could gather Zola and Bailey up in his arms. Zola kept an iron grip on Nathan's labcoat, he didn't bother trying to get it back.
With a sleeping child in each arm, Nathan followed followed Meredith out to her car. His arms felt heavy as he waited for Meredith to strap Ellis into her carseat. One by one, the kids were buckled in, thankfully still sleeping, and were ready to go home.
"Again, thank you for watching them Nathan," Meredith said after she had closed the car door.
"Again, don't mention it," Nathan teased, "and again, any time you need somebody to help, let me know."
"You don't have to-"
"Hey," he smirked, raising his arms in defence and backing away, "I'm just a villager."
"Whatever," Meredith laughed, "goodnight Riggs."
As Meredith drove away from Grey-Sloan, she couldn't help but let herself think that there was hope for Nathan Riggs yet. Maybe he wasn't as bad as everybody thought he was, at least not all the time.