…Fourteenth in the Love Game series

A Grey's Anatomy fic by Gigi

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: Hi, I'm not dead! So Sandy's here to visit, and my internet is down. I had a lot of season three on my laptop so I've just been watching so much Addex, and I need to write again. Here's a oneshot I wrote like four months ago, but I'm definitely starting to work on Love Squared and Forever again! Please don't hate me for my yearlong absence from this fandom. This is based on Stay, by Sara Bareilles.

"You're leaving?" Addison turned at the outraged demand to see a visibly upset Alex Karev staring at her. His chest heaved as if he'd just sprinted across the entire hospital to talk to her before he left for the day. He only just made it, having caught up to her in the lobby.

Addison really didn't want to have this conversation, not when everything was still so fresh. So she pretended to misunderstand, hoping to forestall the inevitable. Maybe the extra few seconds would be enough to calm her stomach, which was currently attempting to replicate the Gordian Knot. "Yes, Karev. I don't live in the hospital," she answered wryly.

Alex's glare was enough to say he knew what she was trying to do. "You're leaving Seattle," he amended, though his tone was no less accusatory.

Those few extra seconds had done nothing. Her stomach still twisted and roiled. Taking a deep breath, which also proved to be of absolutely no help, she said almost meekly, "There's nothing keeping me here anymore."

Hearing his usually annoyingly fierce boss sounding so defeated and watching her turn in on herself as if to keep the world out of her own personal bubble…it made a part of Alex hurt for her. Guilt welled up inside of him. He did this to her. He was the jackass that finally managed to drive Addison Montgomery out of Seattle Grace. "What about the chief?" he demanded. "What about Dr. Torres and Dr. Bailey?"

Despite the melee in her stomach, Addison's voice was rock-steady. "I've explained it to all of them, and they understand that I can't be surrounded by every mistake I've ever made." Okay, so that wasn't exactly true. They were all livid at the thought of her leaving, especially Richard. But for her own sanity, she had to go. She really was constantly surrounded by her mistakes—Derek, Mark…the man standing directly in front of her.

"What about LA is so appealing anyway?" Alex continued, desperately searching for a way to change her mind. "You have the most advanced and accommodating OB/GYN wing in the country right here."

"My best friend from med school offered me a position at her practice's co-op," Addison explained as patiently as she could. "It would be a good change of pace." Alex's glower didn't change at all. "I thought you'd be happy, Karev. No more Gynie Squad."

"I'm not happy that you're leaving," he declared sullenly. "And in case you've forgotten, I chose to return to your service."

"Then fine," Addison accepted. "Stay on OB/GYN and neonatal surgery. You've got a knack for it, but you don't need me to teach you. Whoever is my replacement can teach you."

Alex snapped, "No, they can't. You're the reason I started liking this specialty in the first place, and you're the best in the field. If you leave, I won't learn anything."

"So you're upset that your education is being put at risk by my leaving."

"No, I'm upset because I won't see you every day!" The statement reverberated throughout the lobby, drawing every eye to the pair of doctors. Not really relishing the thought of so many witnesses to what was rapidly becoming a very personal conversation, Addison grabbed Alex's arm and dragged him outside.

"Why?" she asked sharply once they were alone. "You don't want me, Karev. You made that perfectly clear that it was a mistake that we did anything, and if I make one more mistake here, I just might go crazy. I need a fresh start for my own sanity and for no other reason. You won't miss me." She turned and started to walk to her car—until Alex caught her elbow.

"Ava's gone," he said simply.

"I'm sorry," Addison replied in as even a tone as she could muster, her back still facing him, elbow still in his grasp.

Alex let out a vexed sigh. "No, I'm trying to say that Ava left while I was still at the wedding with you. I only went to the hospital because you said you hated me. But she was gone, and I didn't miss her."

"A smarter person would have realized I was lying, Karev," the redhead deadpanned. She still didn't turn around, and her back got progressively stiffer as she spoke. "I still don't see what this has to do with my moving to LA."

A tug on her elbow had her chest to chest with the intern, whose dark brown eyes shown with a startling intensity. "If you left, I would miss you," he announced. She could feel the rumble of his voice in his chest.

A few weeks ago, that statement would have stopped Addison dead in her tracks. Not anymore. She'd grown numb enough to be able to tell herself that he didn't mean it. The last man she'd felt so strongly for had been the man she married—and who made her feel lower than she ever thought she could. She couldn't go through that again. She just looked at him blankly.

Alex wanted to tear his hair out at her lack of response. "I was scared, okay?" he confessed. "You wanted commitment, and I was scared that I'd mess up and hurt you even more."

"Who said I wanted commitment?"

A guilty look flashed across his face. "Ava."

Addison arched an eyebrow at him. "And she's suddenly an expert on me?"

"She overheard you and Torres talking about barbeques and catch."

A flush rose to Addison's face as she remembered what else she'd admitted to Callie concerning puppies and chew toys. "Doesn't explain why you were an ass," she responded.

"Look, I've never wanted to barbeque or play catch with my kids. Hell, I've never wanted kids because I knew I'd just screw them up," Alex explained. "But the fact that when Ava brought it up about you, I could actually picture it scared the crap out of me. I'm not the guy who thinks about the future, and you were making me see myself barbequing. I panicked."

"Why?" Addison asked quietly. She sure was asking that a lot today.

"I didn't want to screw it up." A sense of vulnerability entered the intern's eyes—it looked out of place on him.

A soft hand found its way to his cheek. "Thank you for telling me," she said, "but that doesn't change anything. I'm still moving to LA."

Alex's face fell. "Why?"

The knots in her stomach twisted ever tighter. "I came here because I wanted to save my marriage. It didn't work, and quite frankly it's been a rough year. I can't make my life decisions based on a man, because if it doesn't work out, what the hell am I supposed to do with myself in a place where I know no one?"

"You made a life for yourself here," Alex offered, earning a humorless chuckle from the redhead.

"I live in a hotel, Karev, and I have all of four people who will miss me. Hardly a home."

"But if you stayed just a little longer," he pleaded, "maybe things will turn around."

Addison shot him a vaguely amused look. "Optimism sounds very weird coming from you, Karev."

"Stay." Alex was officially begging now; he was beyond caring. "Please."

Pale blue eyes saddened, and the part of Addison that wasn't numb screamed at her to do what Karev said. But she squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. "I can't, Alex," she denied, feeling his chest cave in as he surely slumped in defeat. "I'm sorry."

Alex caught her by the arms before she even had the chance to move away and desperately crushed his lips onto hers.

The numbness completely faded away the second his lips touched hers, and she let her arms slide up to around his neck. His kiss was almost bruising, but Addison clung to it and gave as good as she got, knowing she very likely wouldn't experience this again. A few tears lined her eyelids, trying to escape.

When the need for oxygen grew too great, they broke apart, panting. Alex rested his forehead against hers. "Stay," he breathed. "Stay here in Seattle. Please, Addison." He could be the guy who barbequed and played catch. Someday. But only with her. Only if she didn't leave.

Addison bit her slightly puffy lip in uncertainty. She desperately wanted to stay, but…she couldn't base her life around a guy. Not again.

But he was right; she did have friends here. And if it still didn't turn out to be enough, she could move to LA then. LA wasn't going anywhere. But if she moved now, there'd be no coming back. And she'd never know about Alex.


A/N: This was a scene I so wish had actually happened, but alas, Private Practice had to be born. I know that Alex is slightly out of character, but not really, considering his soft moments. Honestly, if he'd known Addison was leaving the way he'd known Ava was, do you think he would have left the wedding so cavalierly? Nope. Still upset about this. Six years later. Anyway, I hope you're not too mad at me to not review. I'd love to see what you thought about this. Please review!