Hello, people. I love Amelia, but this is my first fic where she's a main character. I have no idea why I'm starting another story. I'm hopelessly addicted to writing. It's my stress buster.

Anyway, this picks up immediately after 14.03 and will be my AU of what happens...no matter what Shonda decides to throw at us, which I'm sure will be crazy amazing.

Anyway, read on and make sure to review to tell me what you thought!

Years. That's how long it took this tumor to grow, to burrow into her brain and push her aside, take up residence in her skull like se hideous parasite. Years.

A few minutes is how long it takes her to go form Dr. Shepherd, superhero, surgeon extraordinaire, to Amelia, poor girl with the tumor in the head.

Girl. She's a woman now, with an adult's pain and adult responsibilities and adult memories. But she was a girl, a skinny scared lost fool when this started.

Ten years, probably Koracic said, as blithe as ever, just another patient, another tumor, one more surgery for the journals.

To him, it's ten years; to her its a slew of memories and experiences tainted in hindsight by this horrifying discovery.

This tumor was in her skull when she graduated from medical school. Well, that means she wasn't actually crazy in those years; just normal.

It was there when she worked at Hopkins with Tom, when she worked with Ginsberg. When she went to LA. When she started taking drugs again. When she got pregnant.

When her baby died.

When she left James.

When she left LA.

When Derek died.

When she fell in love with Owen.

When she married him.

Was she crazy? Was she addled, a few cups short of the full set, only one oar in the water, insane, of unsound mind, incapacitated...all the words she's used in front of and behind patients for years, is that what she was for all of it?

She stares again at the tumor glowing orange on her screen - Owen tried to take her tablet away, but she has her scans on her phone too - and asks it, silently.

How much did you take?How much if her is enmeshed in that senseless lump of tissue? How many of her mistakes were tumor-speak?

The addiction, the second time around, in LA, after Michele died. Ryan's death. Her baby's birth.

How much of that was her decision?

The things she said to Addison, the way she left things with James. That last screaming crying conversation with her mother, before the wedding, the last few weeks with Megan, every time she picks up the phone to call her sisters and puts it down again ...how many of them are her own words?

She turns restlessly in the bed, pillow hot against her cheek, paper bracelet chafing her wrist. She'll be here for weeks.

The nurses are great, competent, accommodating. They look are with pity when the think she can't see. She used to walk tall around here.

She wonders who will help Tom cut this thing out of her head. Edwards would have been the obvious choice. Too bad she ran like a bat out of hell from that burns unit in Texas. Last she heard, she was on a beach in Maui.

Lucky bitch.

She wishes she could do that, get up out if this bed and run, run like crazy till her lungs are burning and her legs are like jelly. Edwards ran. They have a great burns unit here. She just needed to get the hell away from this place.

Mark's burn unit. She feels a little pang of nostalgia every time she walks past that glass door, his name etched in the plaque beside them.

This place is full of memories like that for her. Derek walked these halls once, made history in these ORs. He rode these elevators and these walls heard his voice. How much of it does she stand to lose?

Tom is perfection. He never makes a mistake. She can just see him now, probing into her brain, teasing out tissue.

You're insane he'd say when she put forth a particularly risky surgical plan. He said it proudly, recognising himself in her.

You are definitely crazy Meredith says to her when she says something particularly dark. She says with a tinge of surprise, like she's shocked anyone might be a sick and twisted as her.

You've lost your mind her mother said to her, voice dripping with disgust. She lost her golden boy, but she has her other girls. No need for crazy druggie Amy.

You're mad Addison would say, looping her arms around her, pulling her close, comforting; she was relentless in her quest to love her. To be the mother she was afraid back then that she would never be.

What about now? Would she come?

Better than the sisters I have. She said that to Addison once. They were, closer than sisters, waiting for Derek to notice them.

She wonders dwrs if Derek is up there right now, laughing his head off at her. He probably is. If he were here, he'd already have a plan. He would cut himself. He wouldn't let anyone else do it, wouldn't trust anyone else.

He took her down with him a few times when he went to college, let her stay in his poky student apartment a few days. She felt grown up, away from home, sleeping on the floor, staring wide eyed and jealous at this world she couldn't wait to enter.

She was fourteen when he went to med school, just starting to experiment with pills. None of the hard stuff. Just a few at first. They felt so good, soaring feather light, hollow as a bubble that popped and she came crashing down. She took more. More and more and more.

She took so much. She remembers her mother sitting empty-eyed in a waiting room. Her blood on Derek's clothes, Addison's hands. Tears on their faces. She took and took and took till they didn't have anything left.

Maybe she did this to herself. The drugs, the booze. She tempted fate, the devil, whatever, flirting with death until it decided to come to her.

She craves it now. A few pills, a bottle, anything to knock her senseless.

She shudders at the thought of what is going to happen. The surgery. The pain.

She's not scared of pain. She welcomes it sometimes. It makes her feel alive, reminds her that she isn't dead yet. She used to seek it. Razors, blades, one or twice a lit cigarette pressed into soft skin. She still has the scars.

She can't do it. She imagines the needles they will put in her. The bottles of pills they will give her. The pump they encourage patients to use to take control of their pain. She can't.

She can't fall back into that spiral.

"Amelia," Owen says, hoarse. "Call someone."

Maggie is crying. She hadn't cried yet herself. Her tumor, and Maggie's crying great hitching sobs that leave her breathless.

Meredith came in and curled against her spine like a cat, warm and solid and there. She'll always be there. She won't say it but she'll always be there.

Owen is here, weary and bewildered and she wants to say sorry but she isn't sure how.

There isn't anyone else, she realises. No one else who would want to come help her fall apart.


She's the one she always calls. She knows ho to deal with the mess that is Amelia Shepherd. She's done it for years.

So she does, and she can hear strains of the life she left behind on the phone when she picks up.

"Addie?" her voice cracks, and she feels her cheeks burn in shame. "I need you."

I admit that I use any and all excuses to write about Addison.

She's my favorite fictional human. She'll be a part of this, but it's mainly Amelia's show.

So should I go on?

Do you like it?

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Will you review? (Say yes.)