Better Together

A Grey's Anatomy fic by Gigi

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Chapter 1: She Was Right

A/N: Apparently, all my story ideas happen while I'm trying to take a nap. I just watched this week's episode of Grey's, and the scene between Bailey and Alex gave me an idea for a good starting part for a fic. I changed some of Bailey's dialogue, but a lot of it is along the same lines.

She was such a tiny little baby, so frail, so near death, but she was doing so much better since Alex Karev started holding her. And so...he kept holding her.

His marriage had fallen apart and died quickly, and that wasn't something he could save just by holding Izzie. But he could save this little girl just by holding her against his bare chest. Feeling her faint heartbeat against his own made Alex forget that Izzie had left divorce papers among her medical bills, and it made him remember what attracted him so much to the neonatal specialty.

Or rather who had attracted him to neonate.

Alex shook her head. No, he couldn't think of her. He was supposed to be mourning the death of his marriage to a tall, beautiful blonde woman with a ready laugh and bright smile, not mourning his lost opportunity to be with a tall, beautiful redhead with a gorgeous smile that only a lucky select few got to witness.

Why did women keep leaving him? Ava—Rebecca—went back to her husband; Izzie blamed him for her getting fired and asked for a divorce; and she left Seattle because he, the idiot that he was, thought he was in love with Ava.

Okay, so that might not have been the only reason, but it was the only reason that mattered to him. If he hadn't been such a moron, it might have been enough to make her stay in Seattle.

Focusing on the baby in his arms once again, Alex tried to push all thoughts relating to his love life out of his head, but he could tell Reed was starting to get attached to him, despite his best efforts to drive her away. There was only one woman who he had initially hated and picked fights with before falling deeper and deeper into her pale blue eyes...only one woman who could ever get him to change his mind about her.

Stop that, he ordered himself, stroking the baby's head with his thumb.

"Addison was smart to trap you in her specialty." Alex whipped his head up at the mention of his former boss' name. Standing above him was none other than Miranda Bailey, his old resident and new attending.

"I'm sorry?" he asked softly, not wanting to wake up the baby.

Bailey smiled fondly at Alex taking care of the pre-me, marveling at how much he'd grown since she first met him. "You're invested in your patients, and you've got good instincts that you follow. With babies like this little one, you did the right thing by following your instincts. You would have done well following in Addison's footsteps."

"Would have?" He picked up the wistfulness and slight regret tinging Bailey's voice. "I won't anymore?"

"Well, it's not like she's here anymore for you to learn from," Bailey explained. "Just Dr. Robbins, but you would do well in peds, too, I guess." She reached out and gently squeezed his shoulder in encouragement before walking over to treat her own tiny patient, leaving a contemplative Alex in her wake.


"I'm telling you, Addison, you taught him well," Bailey insisted on her phone as she walked toward her car. "I honestly think he's going to end up in neonate."

On the other side of the line in Santa Monica, Addison Montgomery sat on her couch, sipping wine and petting her new cat. She smiled into her glass when Miranda told her that she'd had such an impact on the previously insufferable intern. "So I take it Richard finally filled my position? After what, a year?"

Closing her car door behind her, Miranda locked the doors and dropped her keys in her lap, pausing briefly before answering. "Not exactly."

"What do you mean?" Milo started crawling up Addison's body, his little paws reaching for her now short red hair. Her hair was his favorite cat toy.

"The only reason we even have any sort of organization in the OB/GYN wing is because of the merger with Mercy West, and their OB/GYN attending is bad enough that we wonder how he even passed his boards. The Chief has pretty much depended on Dr. Robbins for neonatal surgeries since you left, and she's nowhere near as good as you," Miranda expounded, taking a deep, cleansing breath when she'd finished. She'd needed to say those things for a while now, but this was the first time she'd talked to Addison in about a month, they'd both been so busy.

"Who is this attending?" Addison's clear cerulean eyes sparkled with curiosity.

"Dr. Warren," Miranda supplied. Her eyebrows shot upward when she heard the scoff of disgust from the other doctor.

"Every time I was within fifty feet of that man, he constantly made passes at me. He even pinched my butt a few times, and he's married!" Addison declared with a shiver. "I've never seen a patient of his that was comfortable being in a room alone with him. How the hell is Karev going to learn anything from him?"

Bailey was still sitting in her car when she saw Alex exit the hospital, carrying an ominous file with a somber expression on his face. "To be honest, I think he's got other problems on his mind right now."

"Like what?"

"Like the fact that Izzie Stevens left him with a pile of medical bills and divorce papers, which she already signed."

Addison almost dropped her glass of wine in shock. "You have got to be kidding me," she exhaled. It sounded lame even to her ears, but what the hell was she supposed to say to that?

"I feel so bad for him. He stayed with her throughout all the cancer treatments, all the chemo, and this is how she repays him?" Bailey shook her head, still reeling from it all. "I always liked Izzie, even if her emotions were a handful. She was kind, you know? I never thought she'd be so cruel."

"Poor Al—Karev," Addison sighed, catching herself before she slipped up. He was always Karev, and even this shouldn't change that. "I'm surprised he's still standing. When Derek and I were going through that I had to hide in supply closets every day during my lunch break so nobody would see me cry."

Miranda bit her lip in consideration for a moment. "You should tell him that," she suggested finally.

Now Addison's eyebrows were the ones that shot up. "What? How? It's not like we've talked at all since I left," she pointed out. "Calling him up randomly and telling him I know what he's going through would just make him feel about ten times worse. Trust me, I know."

"Addison, will you just get some common sense for once?" Bailey snapped.

"Excuse me?"

"You need to come back here, at least for a little while."

"I feel like I've asked this way too many times tonight, but what do you mean? Why?" Addison's eyes flitted toward Milo, who was currently curled up on her lap.

"Aside from the fact that we all really miss and need you here, are you actually happier in LA than you were in Seattle?" Miranda hated having to go about it this way, but she needed to make her friend see that her life didn't get any easier by leaving Seattle behind.

Addison paused. There was absolutely no way she could answer that positively without lying. The truth was that she wasn't happier. Every day that passed just made her more anxious that she was going to end up dying alone, surrounded by her many cats. Milo was just the first one. She hated what she'd done with Noah, and she hated that she hurt so badly after that. It wasn't even like they even had a relationship, because they didn't. It had just been so long since someone had looked at her like he did that she thought she was in love with him. She wasn't, but it still hurt when she pushed him back to his wife. "How long should I go?" she queried after a few moments of silence.

"Longer than you usually stay, definitely," Miranda responded quickly. "Long enough for you to distance yourself from all that's happened down there so you can actually have a chance at being happy when you go back."

"And how long would that be?" She swirled the wine in her glass, watching the remnants of the alcohol slowly drift down the glass to join the rest of the liquid.

"I think a month at the very least."

Addison almost dropped her wine again. "A month? That's crazy! I can't take off work for a month."

"Come on, Addison. You know the Chief will be more than happy to give you the OB/GYN wing for however long you stay, and you know he'll do everything he possibly can to keep you busy enough for you to stay for good. You need this, and your friends need this."

"Which friends?" Addison countered morosely. "Everybody there hates me."

"Snap out of it, Addison!" Bailey ordered. "There's me and Callie, and you need to talk to Alex. You know what he's going through, and you can teach him again, give him something else to focus on."

Setting down her wine glass, Addison scratched Milo's ears tentatively. "A month?"

"A month," Bailey confirmed, inserting her key into the slot and starting the ignition.



Alex walked into the NICU two days later (he'd gotten an extra day off since he'd stayed up with the baby for two nights in a row) and saw another doctor bending over the little girl he'd looked after, Amy.

Feeling oddly possessive, he knocked on the door frame and announced his presence. "Is there anything concerning my patient that you needed so urgently that you couldn't wait to consult her doctor?" The woman straightened from the warmer—enough for Alex to see a flash of short red hair—and turned to look over her shoulder.

Alex's mouth went dry when he saw the woman's face, complete with heavy-lidded pale blue eyes and a gorgeous smile that only a select few got to see. "Hello, Dr. Karev," Addison smiled. "It's nice to see you again."

"D-Dr. Montgomery," he stuttered in surprise. "What are you doing here?" Despite himself, he let his eyes roam over her flawless body, taking in the slight tan and shorter hair as the only real changes in her...and her eyes. They carried more pain, more anxiety than before.

Addison's smile grew when she saw her effect on him. It was nice to know she could still do that to men, even if she knew nothing could happen. "I'm taking over the OB/GYN wing for a month, until I can find a replacement."

"But what about Dr. Warren?"

Addison grimaced. "Don't even get me started on that scumbag. He makes every patient uncomfortable, and his surgery skills are definitely sub-par to say the least. My point is that Richard still can't bring himself to replace me, and it's been over a year, so it falls to me to find a suitable attending." She cocked her head to the side when she saw a tiny glimmer of hope spark in Alex's russet eyes. "Besides, I needed a vacation."

"This is your idea of a vacation?" Alex scoffed. "I had you pegged for someone who would leap at the chance to lounge on a beach."

Addison laughed softly, a sound that had not fell upon Alex's ears in over a year. "Normally I would, but now I live right on the beach so that isn't really a vacation for me anymore. Right now, a vacation is being nothing but a surgeon for a month."

"That's a long time, though," Alex continued, trying to figure it all out in his mind. "Are you sure you can be away from your practice that long?"

Oh. Maybe she'd misread the hope in his eyes. It might have been hope for the fact that her finding a replacement would mean she wouldn't be coming up to visit nearly as often, not hope to work with her for a month. He was making it all too clear that he wanted her to go back to LA as soon as possible. Addison wished she didn't have to try to stamp down the disappointment that had risen in her stomach all of a sudden. "Yes, I am," she answered curtly. She dropped her eyes from his to the chart she was holding on baby Amy Brickman. "You did a good job with this little girl, Karev. I'm glad to see Dr. Robbins has kept you busy." Making her way out of the NICU, she handed him the chart as she passed him. "I'll see you around, Dr. Karev."

She had almost made it completely out of the room when Alex grabbed her softly by the elbow. "Wait, Dr. Montgomery. If you wouldn't mind, I would like to learn from you again," he declared, pleading apparent in his eyes.

Ignoring his touch as much as she could, Addison quirked an eyebrow at him in surprise. "Really?"

"Yeah," Alex started to laugh it off. "It turns out you were the most stable of the attendings. Burke left. Shepherd had a breakdown. Hunt almost strangled Christina, and Robbins is way too cheerful for my taste."

"What about Dr. Torres?" Addison reminded him, smiling. He was trying to weasel his way out of admitting he enjoyed OB/GYN, but there was no way in hell she was going to let him.

"She's pretty much being stalked by a couple of Mercy West-ers," Alex supplied. "I just need something to be normal again, how it used to be."

"You need something familiar," Addison observed. He nodded slowly, wondering at the tone in her voice. "That's why I chose to come here for my vacation instead of a beach, Karev. Come on, we've got rounds."

A/N: So what do you think? I actually almost made this longer, and then I looked at the page count and realized I had written almost five complete pages. I figured that was enough to get it started, because I actually have a lot of crap to do, including college and scholarship applications and AP Chem, AP Calc and AP Lit...and college physics. Why do I do this to myself? You know what might just keep me from suffocating under all this pressure? REVIEWS!