Alex follows his instincts, but can they be trusted? Written in the middle of S4. I don't own the song "If You Could Only See," which is owned by the band Tonic, whose lyrics are both quoted at the beginning, taken for the title, and very much inspired this piece.

something that's just not there

Say you love but you don't
You think you love but you won't
But she won't

- Tonic, "If You Could Only See"

Alex decided a long time ago that it's best to keep it simple. Whatever it is, keep it simple. Occam's razor, man, do the simplest, most reasonable thing, don't think twice because it's when you start thinking hard that you make mistakes.

It's all instinct. Like in wrestling. You don't think about the next move you're going to make, you just do it. You don't plan five moves ahead because you don't know what the hell is going to go on out there, so you just roll with the punches (well, metaphorically) and train your instincts to react just the right way. Or just trust them right off.

People need to trust their instincts more and stop thinking so hard, Alex thinks sometimes. There's something to be said for just following your gut, your heart, the chemistry that happens between you and another person -- all of it. There's something to be said for nature. You think doctors would pay more attention to that kind of thing.

Problem is, there's a hole in the instinct theory. Her name is Ava. Rebecca. Jane Doe.

He can't explain what it is about Ava. He can't explain why he couldn't get her out of his head for all that time until she showed. Even if he tries he can't really justify it. Her smile, maybe? She's not the hottest girl on the planet, he doesn't think she would even say that (even after reconstructive surgery), but she's got something about her, no question there. It's chemistry. Even when her face was a pulp, they had chemistry. Even when he was in denial, they had chemistry.

Chemistry's part of nature, and why fight nature, right?

Okay, so she went back home with her baby and her husband. But she's back, and it's Ava in her rambling, intense, bright-eyed way, Ava refreshed and hot and kissing him, and that's the best part. He might have fucked up and gave up too easily trying to win her -- I'm not that kind of guy, of course he's not, does it matter? she loves him -- but she came back for him and he's not going to waste this opportunity.

His instincts say fight for her, she's yours. And it's true -- he's the one who saved her and made her feel most like herself -- Jeff didn't. Jeff just gave up on her and let her walk.

But he's still not a Halloween costumes, pumpkin-carving, baseball-playing dad kind of guy, and anyway, she has one of those at home. Not that he's thinking about that. No.

They can talk later.

He falls asleep in the on-call room with his arm around her and for a minute there, he can almost pretend like this is normal. He's following his instincts and they're making him feel pretty damn good. Even while common sense says Alex, you can't handle this, you can't even handle yourself, you piece of shit and she didn't leave him, man, he thinks no, because this is just right.

Right? Right.

Okay, so Alex is nothing if not bluntly honest (most of the time, anyway), and he has to say that he thinks Lexie Grey is hot.

Take Izzie. Take away the smoking hot Bethany Whisper curves. Take away the shampoo commercial hair. If you'd asked Alex a few months ago he might've said "What's left?" but now he knows what's left. Take Izzie, take away the curves and blonde hair, and also take away the bitch streak that Izzie seems to have had from day one (but tits are enough to distract anyone from a real bitch), and what's left?

You have a skinny girl with average curves and short dark hair and bright brown eyes. You have a girl who's sort of weird and quirky but smiles like she's trying to light the room with it. Do all that and you get Lexie Grey. And somehow, that makes her hot, Alex thinks, because he couldn't stop checking her out from the day she entered the program.

And okay, he didn't mean to say she doesn't have a nice rack. Because she does. She has a nice rack and a sense of humor (and she's single!) which is more than any guy can ask for these days. So yeah, he wants to sleep with her. He'd be stupid not to.

Besides, Ava -- Rebecca -- Ava is probably sleeping with Jeff fuck knows where in north Washington, so it's not like he has any reason to feel guilty, especially not for checking out an intern. That's practically part of the job description for any male resident, right?

She is a Grey, though. So she's weird. Weird and issue-ridden. But she smiles more than Meredith, so that's a good sign, right? Anyway, he's got to keep his distance. Because sadly, he's busy fooling himself that it's still last year, he's on the Vagina Squad with Montgomery, and he doesn't have a horde of interns of his own to deal with, so he can fuck around with who he wants, when he wants, including Ava. Especially Ava.

Lexie is clumsy, stupid, and more likely than not going to want a commitment at some point. He knows the type. And fuck, he just can't.

One of these days he's going to stop being such a chicken, follow his instincts, and fight to get Ava back for real. (But being a chicken is better than the alternative, right, Alex?)

He's just going to sleep with her. Sex means nothing. It doesn't have to mean a thing and this time it really doesn't, because it's Lexie Grey and Alex is not stupid enough to start something real with anyone, nonetheless a Grey.

And if Meredith says no, hey. It's nothing. Easy to drop. Hot girls are hot girls, and there's always someone, and well (Lexie kisses like Rebecca, awkwardly, harshly, like they're trying to get right to the point so it's easy, too easy to pretend that one is the other so who needs them both, right?) it doesn't matter.

There's a hole in the plan to just follow his instincts, and her name is Ava.

Part of the problem is with Ava/Rebecca/Jane Doe that no one knows who the hell she really is, least of all Ava herself. Rebecca. He's going to call her Rebecca because that's her name. His chemistry sparks with Ava, his heart even reaches for Ava, but there is no Ava. There's just Rebecca, who's confused and delusional and most of all, not Ava.

His instincts (his stupid, idiot instincts) still say fight for her, you earned her. And it's true -- he's the one who sat by her and brought her through everything -- Jeff gave up on her and let her walk.

Well, Alex let her walk, too, and now they're both letting her walk all over them. Man, that's pathetic. And not so great of her.

Maybe there's a reason Jeff let her walk.

But who is Alex to judge?

(She's married. She's a mom.)

He's staring at the back of her head. She's asleep. She should've gone back home to her daughter, but she's asleep in Alex's bed, all tangled up in his sheets and comfortable like she owns the place.

Rebecca is a bitch, to screw around behind her husband's back and abandon her kid like this. Again... he has no room to judge. He's Alex Karev. But that doesn't mean that she's any less of a bitch. He's her fix. He's her exciting, interesting, intelligent Seattle fuck. He's feeding a junkie who's addicted to him, but he has no room to judge, because she's feeding his need to be needed.

Alex just doesn't want to think about this, the end, but when everything is battling with your deepest instincts, what else can you do?

Get laid, he figures. The net result is always going to be Alex Gets Laid, and there are worse results.

He'll swear on any bible that there's this one moment when they're fucking around where Rebecca forgets everything and he forgets everything and suddenly it's him and Ava, and that's when it's hot and why he lets her in at all.

But then they finish and it's just another story of adultery coming up next on some soap opera or Jerry Springer freakshow.

"Sorry, Jeff, but I'm screwing my plastic surgeon who I fell in love with when I had amnesia!"

At least the sex is good.

Lexie says that she was valedictorian (can she speak four languages? Alex wonders) and prom queen and she had a great time in high school, really, she had such great friends, and she feels so badly for all the people who had such a hard time in high school, and she did her best to help the people she could. She didn't mean to be popular and a lot of the time she gets all of these looks for admitting that she was. And that's not fair.

Yeah, Alex never got why losers were always pissed off at winners. Why would you want to be pissed off at someone who's doing well just because you can't do the same, and if it pisses you off so much, then why not do it yourself?

They're not that different, really, now that they're talking. Because they're talking, sort of. In the Alex Karev style of talking to women, glean what you can while they get drunk and the morning after and any other real conversation is asking for trouble (because Izzie still burns, man; he can't lie to himself about that). But they have a lot in common. Too much in common.

They don't talk about her father the drunk.

They don't talk about how he didn't even have to think before knowing what to do with Thatcher Grey.

What he can't stop admiring is that she talks. She keeps on talking, not total pointless rambling like he thought before, but she talks and she isn't afraid. (Okay, so it's rambling. But it's not pointless.) She talks and she smiles like she's trying to light a room with it, all for no reason. She's not trying to prove anything, she's not worried at all, she went to Harvard fucking med school, dude.

It's beyond him, how someone could be so sure of themselves without being arrogant. You know, like him.

His fight-or-flight response screams, Get away, man, you're getting too close. She doesn't get you, her dad's a drunk and a nice one. Get out while you still can. But instinct says go for it. Instinct says, Enjoy yourself for once, man. And he kind of wants to. Lexie isn't bad.

After all, he has to fall out of love with Ava sooner or later, right?

(It'd be easier to give Ava up if Rebecca didn't have her face, her head tilt, her bright brown eyes, but she does, and she's using it all.)

There's instincts and there's learned behaviors, there's things like the fight-or-flight response or reaction to stimuli that Alex knows are just built into any normal human being. Chemistry is nature, right?

Alex wants to keep it simple but it's anything but simple. Lexie's hot and not a bad chick. Rebecca is a coward who accused him of being a coward and is now just using him. But he wants Ava.

Fuck, the problem is he has Lexie and Rebecca, and he wants Ava. He wants Option C, Door Number Three, and there isn't one. He wants this girl who doesn't exist, who's in this flash of memory who he failed, fuck, he did chicken out on her and say I'm not that guy, didn't he? And that's it. That's the end of it.

So much for instinct. So much for chemistry. Nature doesn't necessarily have the best ideas, falling into bed with anyone who you have chemistry with doesn't mean things are going to end well, and a feeling that things are going to end well doesn't mean they will.

So Alex Karev closes the door behind her, looks into her bright brown eyes, and makes himself say it. "We have to talk."