Note: I don't know if it's the stress in my life or the terribly depressing season finale, but the inspiration is just not here and so I think we've come to the end of this journey. I can't thank you all enough for coming along for the ride with me! This was only ever supposed to be a one-shot story and now here we are – 6 months and 22 chapters later! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope you enjoy this last bit for now – please let me know!
*This picks up after the end of the season finale, episode 7-22 "Unaccompanied Minor."
The 'frat house' appeared dark and quiet when Jackson pulled his car into the driveway, April beside him in the passenger seat.
"Meredith's the only one home?" April commented as they walked up the front path.
Jackson shrugged. "Looks like Cristina's here too, but yeah."
"I guess Lexie's with Mark and –" April cut off her musings as they walked in the front door and, through the living room doorway, she caught sight of Cristina asleep on the couch.
"And what?" Jackson asked, entering the house behind her.
"Shh," April replied, glancing back at him and gesturing towards the couch before heading into the kitchen.
Jackson raised his eyebrows and April shrugged in response.
"Don't ask me," she said quietly, sitting down at the kitchen table. "I have no idea why she's sleeping here."
"Something happen with her and Hunt?" Jackson asked as he pulled two beers out of the fridge and set them on the table before settling into a chair.
April shrugged again. "Not that I know of. But it was a weird day. Everyone seemed – weird – today somehow. I guess it's all that adrenaline, getting ready for the crisis and then – ending up with no real crisis, not medically anyway." She looked thoughtful, reflecting back on the long, strange day they'd ended up having.
"At least something good happened today," Jackson said a touch philosophically, as he grinned at her. "Chief friggin' resident," he declared, repeating the words he'd said earlier in the evening.
April laughed softly. "I think you're almost more excited about it than I am."
"Only because you realized you'll have to be everyone's boss."
April made a face. "Damn. I also just realized I can't be proud of us anymore, for being the only ones not dating a supervisor – now you'll be sleeping with your boss," she informed him, smiling impishly.
Jackson rolled his eyes. "Well, I guess at least there's the gender role reversal – you can be proud of that, I guess?"
April rolled her eyes right back at him. "As long as you don't start accusing me of sexual harassment, we should be fine."
Jackson grinned and affected a sultry tone to tell her, cheesily, "Baby, you can sexually harass me anytime you want."
April couldn't help bursting into laughter and Jackson joined her for a minute before his face turned serious.
"Listen, though, there's something I wanted to talk to you –"
The sound of their presence had finally drifted upstairs to catch Meredith's attention and Jackson was interrupted by her footsteps hurrying down the steps as she quietly called out the names of other residents of the house.
"Derek? Alex? Lex – oh, it's you guys," she said as she came through the kitchen doorway.
"Yeah, just us," Jackson said.
"Sorry," April added. "We didn't wake you up, did we?"
"What?" Meredith said, looking and sounding distracted. "Oh. No. You're fine. Better be careful, though," she added, glancing back towards the living room. "You wake Cristina up, that is not my problem."
April and Jackson both nodded and there was mildly awkward silence for a minute before Meredith bit the bullet and asked, "By any chance, did you guys see Derek before you left the hospital?"
April exchanged a glance with Jackson; both of them clearly wondering what was going on, but they both merely shook their heads.
Meredith nodded. "Thanks."
She turned to leave the kitchen and that's when April caught sight of what was in her hand.
"Meredith – what is tha – is that a baby monitor?"
Meredith nodded wearily. "Yeah. We got temporary custody –"
"Of Zola!" April guessed, chiming in to finish the sentence with her. "Oh wow, that's great! And so exciting – congratulations!"
"Yeah, congrats," Jackson echoed, raising his beer bottle toast-style in her direction.
Meredith smiled, her face relaxing for a minute. "Yeah, it's great," she said quietly. "Thanks. And, um, to you too, April – chief resident and all."
April nodded. "Thanks," she replied, smiling automatically. "And, um, I'm sure, with Zola here and all, Derek will be home as soon as he can. He must have gotten held up by something."
Meredith nodded grimly. "Yeah. Something." She sighed and then shook her head, as if clearing her thoughts. "Good night, guys – and listen – just – keep it down, okay? If you wake Zola up, I might have to kill you."
April nodded. "And if we wake Cristina up, she'll definitely kill us."
Meredith smiled wanly. "Exactly. So, good night."
Jackson and April replied in kind as Meredith turned and went back upstairs to go to bed.
"Wow," April said. "They might really get to adopt Zola – that's so amazing!"
Jackson nodded. "Yeah, it really is pretty cool."
April frowned. "I hope everything's okay with her and Derek. She seemed kinda weird about that – don't you think?"
Jackson shrugged. His mind was elsewhere and he hadn't really been paying full attention to Meredith. "I don't know – you said everybody seemed weird today."
"True. So, anyway, you said you wanted to talk to me about something?" April's was its usual chipper tone but at the serious look on Jackson's face, she was suddenly feeling terribly nervous.
"I've been thinking," he began, "about us – and about how much longer this is going to work like this."
"Oh God," April said without thinking, "You're breaking up with me."
Jackson scowled at her. "No, you idiot."
"Okay, fine, you're not an idiot, but will you let me finish before you start jumping to crazy conclusions?"
"Fine," April muttered and Jackson smiled, reaching across the table to take her hand in his.
"You worry too much," he said, not unkindly, and April nodded. She knew it was true. "Anyway," he continued, "what I was going to say – and it makes even more sense now in light of the Zola news – I think we should get a place of our own."
April looked a little stunned. "Wow. Really? You think we should live together? Isn't that a pretty big step?"
Jackson looked amused. "We've kinda been 'living together' since way before we ever hooked up. I'm not sure it's that big."
"Oh," April said, considering this statement. "Well. Yeah, when you put it like that..." her voice trailed off as she looked him, his face hopeful. "I – yeah. Let's do it. Why not?"
Jackson broke into a grin. "Seriously? You're sure?"
April nodded, a grin spreading across her face. "Yeah. I'm sure. It'll be awesome."
"Definitely," Jackson agreed, leaning over to kiss her. The future definitely looked bright.