The gossip spread through the hospital like wildfire. Dr Hunt and Dr Yang were having "marriage difficulties". Nobody knew the reason why – neither party was talking, and Meredith was also silent.
Many a person nodded sagely. They were too incompatible. The rule-follower versus the rogue resident. The hard ass versus the tight ass. He was taking on more responsibility in hospital administration. She was in her third or fourth month of being unable to apologize to her superior. He named Kepner as Chief Resident and she spent that night on Meredith Grey's couch.
April Kepner was sad. She hated to see marriages fall apart. She looked at her Facebook photos from their wedding, and wondered what went wrong. She tried to be welcoming to Cristina, since they were now housemates, but the other woman shut her out. Yang went to work, stonily did her job on Bailey's service, then came home and laid down on Alex's old bed.
April found herself on Hunt's service, a responsibility she took seriously. Here was the man who'd chosen her for Chief Resident, when everyone thought it would be Karev or Grey. She was determined to prove he'd made the right choice. April had so many questions about her new position, and Owen gave his time freely, to answer her questions or offer a gentle suggestion. His Army experience had given him great leadership skills, and she was determined to learn everything she could from him, in and out of the Pit.
It wasn't until she walked in on him changing shirts in his office, that April realized there was quite a lot more she wanted to learn from Owen Hunt.
"Oh God." She blushed furiously and left the office, hand over her mouth. "Sorry Dr Hunt!"
"It's okay," he chuckled, coming to the door. "I should have changed scrub tops in the locker room, but I didn't want to be late to our meeting. Come on in."
"Okay." She meekly entered his office and sat down. "I have some scheduling questions…"
As Hunt answered her questions, often sharing some of his experiences, April should have been taking copious notes in her neat handwriting. Instead, her mind kept wandering back to the image of his broad, naked torso. With a soft sprinkling of blonde hair. The only imperfection was the scar from his gunshot wound on his left shoulder. Everything else that she had seen had been magnificent.
With a start, April realized that she'd stopped listening to Dr Hunt. He was watching her with an amused smile.
"Oh! Sorry," she stammered. "I was … thinking of my last case. A homeless man who got beat with a metal pipe. Sad. Very sad."
"Yes." He nodded thoughtfully. "Maybe we should take a break . Want to join me for a coffee?"
April beamed. "I'd love to."
"All right Yang," Dr Altman said, dumping a pile of charts in front of her once and future student. "You're on my service today."
"What?" Cristina stared at her.
"You heard me. Read up on these and then join me for rounds."
Cristina stared at the charts, thinking this had to be too good to be true. Very shortly, she realized that it was. For Teddy was in love. And she could not stop talking about it. Cristina quickly learned all there was to know about Teddy's budding romance with her husband, including Henry's favourite flavour of pudding and every single detail about his bloodwork. But it meant being a Cardio Goddess again, so Cristina quickly learned to smile and nod as her mentor rambled on about how the color of his hospital gown brought out the color in Henry's cheeks.
Jackson was attempting to feed Lexie some jell-o in the cafeteria, when he noticed that she was distracted. He turned around to see what was drawing her attention. Together, they both noticed Dr Kepner having lunch with Dr Hunt. And April was devouring an oblivious Owen with her eyes.
"We got trouble," Jackson sighed.
"Uh huh. It's Derek all over again. She's got a crush on a married man."
"But is he really married?"
Lexie's eyes grew round. "Yes! Cristina has only been with us for a few days! Whatever is going on, I don't think they're getting divorced."
"We need to do something," her boyfriend observed. "April is practically drooling. She's making a fool of herself."
"And separated or not, Cristina will claw April's eyes out if she sees her making goo-goo eyes at Owen like that."
"Hey." Callie approached Cristina at the nurses station with a bright smile. "Want to have a Girls Night? Drink some liquor, dance it out?"
"I would love that," her friend breathed. "I just spent 20 minutes listening to marriage advice from the Chief. Bring on the booze!"
"Great! Come on over to our place, kick off your shoes, and bottoms up!" Callie looked puzzled as Cristina's face fell. "What?"
"We're having Girls Night at your place?"
"Cristina, we weren't running a convent when you lived there."
Cristina gestured helplessly. "But … what about the kid? Won't we keep her up?"
"She'll be across the hall with Mark!"
"Oh." Cristina nodded. "Okay."
Derek placed a cup of steaming hot coffee on Owen's desk, and closed the office door. "Ready to talk?"
Owen chuckled. "Oh look, it's Dr Phil."
His friend sat down and looked at him. "What's going on?"
Sighing, Owen picked up the cup. "She's pregnant and has decided on her own to have an abortion. She refused to let me in on the decision making so I kicked her out."
"Wow." Derek digested the words. "I thought the two of you could weather anything."
"So did I." Hunt looked at the floor.
The other man nodded. "What are you going to do?"
Owen looked at him, briefly. "I can't do anything. I can't force her to continue with the pregnancy; that would be torture for both of us. And I can't make her include me in her plans. It's like I'm … this accessory to her life. Who is inconveniencing her by having an actual opinion."
He sighs. "I want the baby. And I want a marriage of equals. I've got nothing."
"Good night, Dr Hunt!" April waved as her mentor left for the night, talking with Dr Shepherd. She watched them leave, before turning her attention back to her notebook.
"Good night, Dr Kepner."
She looked up to see Dr Stark smiling tentatively at her. April smiled back and gave him a little wave, before returning to her notes.
She tried to concentrate on her newest checklist, before admitting to herself that focussing on work was futile. Suddenly, all she could think about was Dr Hunt. He was exactly the kind of man she'd envisioned herself with – kind, courteous, and very manly. How he'd ended up marrying a woman as mean as Cristina was beyond April's reckoning. She wondered what was really the problem between Owen and Cristina. Had he realized that he wanted a woman who would treat him right?
"Welcome to Girls Night!" Arizona beamed and handed Cristina a shot glass. "Catch up!"
Cristina smiled and stepped into the apartment, throwing her jacket onto a chair. She looked around the living room. Teddy was gesticulating as she was talking to Bailey – probably telling another story of how awesome Henry was. Callie was shrieking on the phone with someone, while Arizona was cranking up the music.
Smiling, she lifted the glass to her lips. And paused. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol.
Stunned, Cristina lowered the glass. This is not logical, she told herself. You're not keeping it. And yet she could not down the shot.
"What's the matter, Yang?" Callie danced over to where she was standing. "Drink up!"
"I can't," Cristina muttered. "Um … antibiotics. I forgot." She shoved the glass at Callie, then grabbed her jacket and hastily left.
"We need to talk." Lexie stood in the doorway of April's room, with Jackson behind her.
"Um, okay." April moved her notes off of her neatly made bed, to make room for her friends. "What's going on?"
"It's about how you were looking at Dr Hunt today," Jackson told her. "We're staging a crush-tervention."
"What?" April blushed furiously as Lexie crossed her arms. "I do not have a crush on him."
"Oh please," Lexie said. "You've practically tattooed his name on your ass."
"Tattoos are disgusting." April wrinkled her nose. "And he's separated from his wife…"
Jackson leaned in. "April, we're doing this for your own good. Whatever is going on, it's dangerous for you to be getting in between Owen and Cristina. You don't want to be making puppy eyes at the man who named you Chief Resident. You're going to torpedo your standing in the hospital, and people are already mad that you got the position. Don't make it harder for yourself to get any respect."
"And I will bet you a million dollars that Cristina is going to return to him," Lexie declared. "Once she gets over not being named Chief Resident, they will be back to having sex in the on call rooms."
"Ew." April sat up defiantly. "And I will thank you to mind your own business."
Alex sauntered up to Cristina as she was making notes on a chart. "Hey."
"What do you want?" Cristina asked, keeping her eyes on the chart.
"I heard you and Hunt broke up over the Chief Resident thing, but that can't be right," he said. "I saw you kiss him at the bar after the interviews. What's going on?"
"Go away," she muttered. "Mind your own business."
He held up his hands. "I'm trying to be a friend here."
"Like you were a friend to Meredith? No thanks." She turned and walked away.
"We could have handled the crush-tervention better," Lexie mused to Jackson. They stood in the Pit, watching April follow Owen around adoringly.
"A what-tervention?" Mark appeared.
Lexie pursed her lips as Jackson turned toward him. "A crush-tervention," Avery said, pointing to April. "Look at how she can't take her eyes off of Hunt."
Mark looked. "Does Hunt have any idea?"
"We don't think so," Jackson said. "He's not really saying anything at all that isn't hospital-related. But he looks oblivious."
"And a crush-tervention is …?"
"We tried to tell April that he's not that into her and she needs to knock off the goo-goo eyes," Lexie muttered. "She wouldn't listen."
"Very well," Mark said, rolling up his sleeves. "This is a man's job."
"Don't you dare!" Lexie grabbed Mark's arm. "You leave April alone. She's a virgin, for crying out loud!"
Mark stared at her for a few seconds, before he burst into laughter. "I thought that I would tell Hunt about the crush." He continued to chuckle as Lexie blushed and Jackson smiled uncomfortably.
"Cristina, can we talk?" Meredith stood over the bed, holding Zola.
"What?" She yawned and sat up.
Her friend sat down next to her. "Have you spoken with Owen yet?"
Meredith sighed. "Do you realize that you've been here for a week?"
"I told you, it's okay for you to take Alex's room. He's not coming back."
"And neither is Derek," Cristina said.
"That was harsh."
Cristina sighed. "Sorry. This is why I can't be a mother. I'm harsh."
"Don't be so tough on yourself. You're not as cruel as you think." Meredith held up her daughter. "Want to hold her?"
"You won't drop her."
"I don't want to hold her!" Cristina protested. "I don't want anything to do with a baby!"
Meredith merely smirked. "What, you think that her utter cuteness is going to make you change your mind?"
"Is that why you want me to hold her?" Cristina stood up, gesturing wildly. "Are you mad that I'm going to terminate this pregnancy?"
"No comment," Meredith replied calmly. "I do have many thoughts and feelings about this, but I am your person, so I am not saying anything."
"I'm sorry that my birth control was not 100% effective," Cristina muttered, pacing. "I'm sorry that I got pregnant without trying to, after all that you've been through."
"Thank you," her friend said, making a face at Zola. "And I'm fine. Thanks to being suspended, I have lots of time to get to know this baby. That I'm going to be a single mother to."
"I'm not completely insensitive," Cristina said, continuing to pace. "I'm not asking you to go with me tomorrow."
"I will if you want me to," Meredith said.
"No, I need to do this alone."
"What?" Callie, Arizona and Derek stared at Mark in unison.
"Kepner has the hots for Owen who has no clue," he repeated.
"We should tell Cristina," Callie said. "Get her all fired up so she goes back to Owen."
"No no, bad idea," Arizona said. "We shouldn't interfere. We still don't really know why they broke up."
Derek coughed. "Someone should tell Owen. He'd want to know."
"And I'm going to tell him," Mark said. He chuckled at Derek's pout. "I was his best man after all, since you were in jail."
"Wanna flip a coin for it?" Derek asked.
Stoic, Cristina marched past the protestors in front of the clinic, ignoring their pro-life posters. She'd seen far worse that morning. She checked in with the receptionist, then sat down in the waiting room.
Sighing, she pulled out her phone. She checked her messages, then clicked through to her calendar.
Frowning, she noticed a reminder for the next week. "OWEN B-DAY SUPPER".
Damn it. She'd have to cancel their reservation; it was very unlikely her husband would want to celebrate his birthday with her. Not after she terminated her pregnancy.
Unbidden, a memory from his last birthday surfaced. They'd gone to Vancouver Island for ziplining. At night. It had been crazy and daring and she'd loved every minute of it. They'd spent the weekend at a B&B, going for hikes and making love for hours at a time.
Why can't he be satisfied with just the two of us? Cristina wondered.
She closed the calendar application. Idly, she scrolled through her phone. Almost subconsciously, she opened the photo album on her phone, and started thumbing through the pictures. Owen smiled up at her, in pictures taken in happier times.
Cristina felt a surge of emotion and abruptly turned her phone off. She closed her eyes, but she could still see him. His blue eyes, his broad smile. Worse, she was now seeing a younger version of him. She realized that any son of Owen's would be a handsome and courteous lad, one that anyone would be proud of. And a daughter that was made of both of them would be brilliant.
Stop it, she told herself, as she began to cry.
"Good work diagnosing that stroke," Owen told April. "Your checklist saved the day again."
She smiled, cheeks turning pink. "Thank you, Dr Hunt."
He looked at her tentatively, then gestured to his office. "Can I speak with you in private?"
"Sure." Nervously, April followed him to his small office. She wondered if he was finally going to confess why his marriage was falling apart. Was he going to ask her … to wait for him while he sorted things out?
"Okay." Owen fidgeted as he sat in his chair. "I … uh … don't like to get personal. But … I would like to ask you something."
"Ask me anything," she told him.
"All right." He smiled nervously. "How is Cristina?"
April gaped. "Cristina?"
Owen blushed a little. "She's staying at Meredith's, right?"
"Right." April pulled herself together. "She … doesn't like to talk to me. All she does is lie in Alex's room and she only speaks with Meredith."
"Okay." He smiled sheepishly. "Thanks."
"That's it?" She looked downcast.
"That's it," Owen said. "Sorry if I made you uncomfortable asking you that."
"Oh. It's okay." She pasted on a smile and left his office, walking past an amused Sloan.
"This is going to be good," Jackson said, watching Mark enter Owen's office.
"April looks sad," Lexie murmured. "You don't suppose she made a move on him already?"
"Made a move on who?" Bailey appeared beside Lexie.
"April has a crush on Owen," Jackson smirked. "They went into his office, and then she just left looking … well, crushed."
"Kepner has a crush on Hunt?" Bailey exclaimed loudly.
Behind them, they heard the sound of clipboards hitting the floor. All three of them turned and saw Teddy and Cristina standing there. Cristina's mouth was open and her charts were at her feet.
"So how is Kepner making out as Chief Resident?" Mark smirked, leaning against Owen's desk.
"Good, good," Owen replied.
"And is she … making out?"
Owen looked puzzled. "I told you, she's doing fine. A little unsure of herself, but I think I made the right choice."
"Yeah you did, you dog," Sloan grinned.
Hunt stared at him, realization turning to shock. He began to sputter. "I … am a married man! I … chose Kepner for the job because she was the most well-rounded resident!"
"I know, I'm just joshing with you," Mark laughed, holding up his hands. "But have you noticed how she looks at you? Little Grey and Avery tried to hold a crush-tervention, because Kepner is in puppy love. With you."
"Oh god," Owen muttered. "That must be why she follows me everywhere now. I just thought she was being over-conscientious."
"Well, be gentle with her, she's a virgin," Mark chortled, clapping Owen on a shoulder before he left.
"She what?" Meredith gasped into the phone.
"She made a move on Owen in his office!" Cristina sputtered into the receiver.
"Okay, did anyone see her do that?"
"No, but Jackson and Lexie said that they've been watching her watch Owen for a week and then she left his office looking really embarrassed."
"She always looks like that," Meredith said. "But, having seen her crush on Derek, I can believe she's crushing on Owen now." She paused. "So what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to make life hell for the new Chief Resident," Cristina seethed.
"Are you going to speak with Owen?" Meredith sighed. "Sorry, dumb question. After … today …"
Cristina gulped. "I'm going to speak with Owen."
Cristina didn't have to search far for Owen – he was standing on the vent, just like she expected. He looked up as she approached him, acknowledging her with a wary nod.
She stood in front of him, arms crossed. "I hear you have a Kepner problem."
Owen looked exasperated. "I'm a married man. I didn't touch her."
Cristina nodded. "Good. You've got a baby on the way, you can't be fooling around with the Chief Resident."
He frowned at her. "So you haven't done it yet."
"The appointment was this afternoon. I couldn't go through with it," she muttered, looking down. She simply stood there, as a breeze made her hair fly towards the ceiling.
Owen stared at her, feeling a rush of emotions. Relief, joy, frustration. "Oh."
"Uh huh." She sighed. "Congratulations, you're going to be a father."
He nodded, slowly. "I … don't know what to say."
"'Thank you' would be a start," she remarked. "Anyways, I thought you should know."
"Thank you," he whispered. Their eyes met for a poignant moment.
"That's it?" Cristina asked. "You're not … Owen, you're just standing there." She ached to feel his arms around her.
"This doesn't fix everything," he told her. "Yes, I want the baby but I also want a real marriage. I want a marriage where I make decisions with my wife. I want to know that my feelings matter, and I'm not just the guy who puts you back together when you fall apart. I don't want to be just the guy who is secondary to your career, or whatever the hell you think I am."
"That's what you think?" She stared at him. "Owen, I love you."
"But you don't respect me."
Stunned, Cristina stepped back. "Yeah, well, I don't think you really listened to anything I said after I told you I was pregnant."
He blinked. "Why did you tell me you were pregnant if you had no intention of keeping it? Answer me that."
"Because …" Cristina turned around. "I don't know."
"Because maybe a part of you wanted to keep it?" Owen asked.
Cristina put her hands to her temples and closed her eyes. "Because you always make things better. And I thought that you would support me in what I wanted to do. You know me so well, I thought that you would understand that I didn't want a baby."
They stood there for a few minutes, with the sounds of the fans and the vents filling the room.
Owen tentatively stepped closer and put his hands on her shoulders. Guilt lashed through him, when he realized that she was shaking and crying. "How could I understand when you wouldn't talk about it with me?"
Cristina leaned back, seeking the familiar comfort of his body. "I don't know how to talk about it. I just … I want to come home."
He started to stroke her hair. She leaned against his hand.
Owen swallowed. "If you come home, I promise to try harder to understand you. And I promise that I will take care of you and not make you feel pressured."
"'If'?" Cristina cried out.
"I can't go on with our marriage without knowing you want to work on it too," he said softly. "Tell me you're willing to try. Please, Cristina. I need to know you want things to be different too. We can be so much better."
"I … I want us again," she confided. "But I'm not going to just push a button and be what you want. That is not who I am."
"I just want you to be my wife," Owen whispered, his arms going around her waist. "Let's make a decision, the two of us. I heard you say that you want to come home. I agree that you should come home and I think we should make more choices together. Cristina, I invite you to share your thoughts about that."
She chuckled weakly. "I think I'm tired of sleeping on Alex's skanky mattress and I want to sleep in our bed. I agree with you."
"Was that so hard?" Owen asked. She could feel him smile against her hair. Her hands grasped his.
"I mean, really," she said. "If I'm going to let your child occupy my uterus, I think you owe me a place to sleep."
They stood there, simply enjoying being together. Tentatively, one of Owen's hands moved a few inches lower, to cup her stomach.
"Too soon," she said. He removed his hand and placed a gentle kiss on the nape of her neck.
"Ready to go home?" He softly asked.
"Yes," she said.
A crowd of doctors watched Owen and Cristina leave the hospital together, hand-in-hand.
"That's my work," Mark announced proudly, prompting everyone else to roll their eyes.
"I should go check on April," Lexie said. "Anyone know where she is?"
"Up there," Bailey said softly, pointing to the bridge over their heads.
Lexie saw that April was sadly staring at the doors, the ones that Owen and Cristina had just walked through.
"Want me to come with you?" Jackson asked.
"Wait." Lexie watched as Dr Stark quietly approached April and began speaking with her. "Let's leave her alone."
"All right, I'm going home," Callie said. Slowly, the group of doctors dispersed, until Mark and Derek were the only ones there.
"I hope they make it," Derek said softly, pointing to the front doors.
"Enough about Yang and Hunt," Mark said. "What about you? Want me to fix your marriage too?"
Derek merely chuckled and shook his head, walking away. Mark watched him leave with a thoughtful look. "I'll start with Meredith first," he decided.