Disclaimer: I don't own anything you might recognize!!

A/N This is NOT a happy fic. It also mentions both physical and potential sexual abuse (though not in detail), so please be warned.

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Alex Karev was a smart guy. He usually relied on his brains and knowledge for information and did not readily accept anything other than cold hard facts. He felt uncomfortable 'assuming', or 'guessing', so whenever he could, he avoided those actions altogether.

That's why he could not explain why he had always had the feeling that the next time he heard from his father, the contact wouldn't be made directly but via a third person of some sort, an outsider to the drama that was his family. He'd been right.

Beneficiary #2 to his old man's worldly possessions. It was there, in black and white. Holding the attorney's letter in both hands, he wasn't sure what he felt. It basically was a whole lot of nothing.

It wasn't relieve, because even though the son of a bitch had been a bastard, he'd never wish death on anybody - period.

It wasn't guilt, because even though it had been him who had ultimately driven the guy away, he had done what he thought was best at the time.

And it definitely wasn't sadness, because to him, his Dad had died the day he first saw him lay hands on his Mom with his own two eyes. It had been his sixth birthday.

That day, Cassie had come home late from school because one of her teachers had taken her to see a counselor about her less than satisfactory grades. He was going to wait for her outside because she had promised she'd take him to the bakery around the corner later to celebrate. As he came down the stairs, he saw his father beat on his mother in the kitchen, blood splattering across dirty white tile. He took off, running down the street as fast as he could, and didn't return until it got dark. Neither of his parents were to be seen when he got home, but Cassie was pacing the living room, sick of worry.

He smiled thinking of her.

Cassandra, his sister. She was five years older than him, and in an act of incredible strength and foresight, had managed to shield him from what was going on at home up until that point. Looking back, he had no clue how she had accomplished what she did. Sure, he had often heard his parents fight and argue and throw stuff, but as soon as they started, Cassie had called him to her 'room', which consisted of a few blankets that hung from the ceiling, and read to him, played with him or convinced him with child-like logic that what he was hearing was normal and nothing to worry about. As long as she was there, he had always felt somewhat safe and protected. Well, as safe and protected as one could possibly feel in the dump that was their home - with broken windows, a door that would not lock and the continuous drive-by's a couple of streets down.

To this day, he could not figure out why they had never even been robbed once. It was either that his Dad had had a reputation or it had been so clearly visible that there was nothing to be stolen from that piece of shit 'house' that no one ever tried. He guessed it was the latter.

His sister had not been there the day him and his friends had beaten his father into the hospital and out of their lives forever. In fact, his sister had not been there for much of his youth. She'd split the day after his eleventh birthday. More than 18 years ago, and he had never seen her since. When they were younger, their father had mostly just ignored them. Looking back, those were wonderful times. In college, after he'd had the chance to somewhat distance himself from his past, he had come to suspect that as Cassie had gotten older, their father had committed crimes that were so much worse than his drug-taking or beating someone up could ever be. However, he had had no proof and to this day he prayed with all his heart that he would never know the truth. Sometimes, ignorance could be bliss after all.

Still, he often wondered whatever had happened to his sister. If she had a good life, if she knew their mother had passed away – and if she was sitting somewhere now, holding that same letter in her hands.

Soon after his sister had run off, the beatings started for Alex as well. He guessed he'd been pretty lucky to reach the glorious age of eleven with hardly more than the occasional slap in the face, considering what his Dad was capable of. Well, his luck had run out. With Cassie gone to shield him from this hellhole, Alex now saw and heard more than he'd ever care to repeat. Before that defining moment in time, his short life had been filled with many tears. Tears for the sick bird he couldn't rescue, tears for another bad grade and tears for the lack of presents under the non-existing Christmas tree. Now, the thought manifested itself in his mind that if his Dad was beating the crap out of him, he'd have less energy for his Mom, so he took the abuse without so much as a sound. Yeah, it was around that time that he'd stopped crying. Eventually, he had told himself, he'd fight back.

The time until he was ready to do so was spent on the streets. There, he had found his first true friends in life – kids, who came from the same backgrounds, some a little better off, some even worse. They formed their own little gang because they wanted to be respected by the older guys on the block. And what a hard-earned respect it was. What he sometimes saw depicted in highly exaggerated, modern gangsta flicks, had been an actual part of his reality. He almost laughed at the absurdity of it all.

And his colleagues in general, Izzie in particular, wondered why he was hesitant to talk about his past – he'd doubted they would actually believe him when he told stories of guns and drugs and being chased by ten police cars at the same time.

Most of those boys from his old 'hood' were now dead or in jail, and he had absolutely no idea how he had managed to get to where he was today without a single entry in his criminal records. He was the type of person who didn't even condone taking gum from the store without paying, and had always been able to tell right from wrong, so he couldn't exactly explain that phase of his life away.

It was only natural he guessed, that his girlfriend would eventually want to know more about his past, so he had met Izzie in the middle with a half-truth about how his old man had ended up in the hospital. The reality was that he and three of his buddies had done the job together, because even though he'd been 16 and on his way to a wrestling-scholarship, he was still so afraid of his father that he'd started shaking as soon as he'd heard his voice.

After that fateful day, he'd gotten his life somewhat in order. Had to, because his Mom became sick. Depression is what they said, addiction is what he thought. It was like his father had been her drug and without him, she couldn't – no, wouldn't – exist.

The time in college after his mother's death had been a blur of sports and sex and alcohol, and he often thought that he must've been born a near-fucking genius to be able to keep up the grades required for med-school. He also didn't remember that he had consciously decided he wanted to become a doctor. All of a sudden he'd been on this path that he wasn't even sure he'd chosen. Almost made him belief in a higher power after all.

He stared back down at the letter in his hand. Would he go to Iowa for the reading of his father's last will? Drugs did not just appear on somebody's doorstep, so he doubted the guy had anything else than an excruciating amount of debt. On the other hand, this situation he found himself in presented the unique opportunity for closure that he knew he needed.

Alex sighed. Perhaps the time had come to tell his story after all. He ascended the stairs to Izzie's room. Maybe he'd start with his sixth birthday…

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A/N I see possibilities for this being more than a one-shot, but I'm not too sure. What do you think? And even if you have no thoughts on the matter, please review anyways ;)