Author's Note: I always say I only do one-shots, but this is going to have a second part. I'm still not happy with the ending but I thought I'd post this part anyway because there needs to be more April/Stark love on the interwebs. (Speaking of which, please to be checking out the fanvids I made while not studying during finals week: .com/user/theanglophile )
April, always so punctual and diligent and eager, hasn't answered a single page all night. So she's giving him the silent treatment now. He deserves it; he would fix it if he knew how to uproot himself, how to pull out the weeds that have crawled up in his heart over the years. But he's always been stubborn.
Still, he feels a lurch when he catches a glimpse of her at the other end of the hallway. Sometimes he finds that his eyes have settled on her face, and he feels a little pain, a tugging at his ribs. And now when she looks at him, her eyes so hardened, it's like a fist has clenched around his heart, and he can't do anything about it.
Asha doesn't make it through her next surgery. April barely waits for Hunt to call it before she tears her mask from her face.
"Kepner, where are you going?" Hunt asks.
She doesn't say a word; she only struggles to pull off her surgical gown as she moves towards the door.
"Kepner!" Hunt calls, but she is already furiously scrubbing her hands. A second later, she slips out the door. Hunt moves as though he would follow her, a stern frown set in his forehead.
"Let her go," Stark snaps. He barely catches Hunt's surprised glance before he too pulls off his gown and steps out of the OR.
He finds her in the on-call room, perched on the edge of the bed, trembling and fragile.
She hastily swipes a palm across her cheek.
"It's okay," he tells her, shutting the door softly. "You don't have to be fine."
She looks up at him and he sees that tears have welled up in her eyes.
"She was so sick, April, you know that. There was nothing else we could have done."
"I know," she murmurs. "It's just—she was ten, and I made her porridge—"
Her voice breaks into a sob, and it's such a gut-wrenching little gasp that Stark doesn't care if she thinks he's a grinch or if she doesn't love him. He sits next to her and wraps his arms around her shoulders, simply holding her while she cries. She doesn't pull away. She turns her head into his shoulder and puts a hand on his chest, drawing in a breath as though she's trying to laugh.