I know it's been forever, so with out further do here is Chapter 6
disclaimer: check chapter 1
Jackson was more than a little perplexed by what now unfolded. He was in his kitchen getting April, of all people, something to drink. He expected anyone, really. Or no one. No one was better for the state he was currently in. Heck, a surprise visit from his grandfather would be expected at this point. But outside this kitchen sat a girl that he loved for God knows how long and he once again kicked himself for taking this long to reach such a conclusion. Despite the strangely uncomfortable situation, he smiled to himself because here he was making tea. He really never cared for the stuff. In fact, he remembered April trying to get him to drink it and him telling her piss would taste better. Here he was doing one of the most domestic things he could imagine, tea bags that she had left in a pretty glass container that time they were dating… or whatever they were. There was an odd familiarity to it all. He remembered looking at it from time to time and letting himself miss her the way he once had her. He also remembered snapping out of it and trying to not miss her and often failing to do so. He swore to only give himself space enough in his mind to miss her friendship and nothing more.
Jackson came into the living room where April was sitting on his couch, curled up and looking…broken. "Here you go," he said handing her a cup of tea as he stuck to his beer.
"Thank you," she said, a small smile coming to her face as she breathed in the scent of the peppermint herbal tea. "You had peppermint tea?" she asked him curiously.
Jackson smiled despite himself, and rubbed the back of his neck. "It's a funny story actually but that's not what's important… April what exactly happened?" He could see how her eyes became distant allowing him to note quickly that she was no longer with him, perhaps recalling her reason for visiting.
"You know, after the storm, after that day that I asked you to give me a reason and you didn't…" She looked up at him, the look in her eyes was of clear sadness and hurt. It was a way that he didn't like to be looked at. Painted across her delicate features was an expression that made him an array of uneasy. Especially when it came to April. "I promised myself I would never cause someone any kind of heartbreak because I knew what it finally felt like. To feel your heart in your throat, the sensation of it so clear to all of your senses that you can just about hear it shattering. I almost expected it to come apart across the floor I stood on. But somehow, it stayed inside my chest. I don't know how. The work of God, maybe? Some kind of grace the world gave me because I guess it had seen me suffer enough."
"April…" he wanted to protest, to defend himself.
"No, listen, I'm not trying to make you the bad guy. I'm just saying that I promised myself to never make someone feel like that… And today I did. I'm supposed to feel terrible for it," she sighed. "I'm supposed to wish I hadn't said the words I did. I should be trying to find him. I should be apologizing. But I don't feel anything," she sniffed and put her cup on the coffee table "I don't like being that person and it was so hard because… I wanted to do the right thing for me and it hurt to do it and I thought I was going to feel better because I don't have to lie anymore. But I didn't like hurting Matthew. It's not fair and I just feel like this terrible person because I left and I didn't try and I was being selfish and…" April didn't finish as she broke into sobs.
Jackson immediately took her in to his arms. This was a girl that was considerate, and caring, kind, and the personification of good. She has been told what to think of herself, to do what was right for her. Leaving Matthew was the right thing for her, and sometimes doing the right thing was not easy. "April…" Jackson held her face gently, making sure her eyes were level with him. "You have nothing to be sorry for, and even though it sucked, you know in your heart you did the right thing or else you wouldn't have done it," he reassured her.
April took in his words, and believed them, but she still felt awful about it. She held on to him, and marveled at the fact that his were the first set of arms around her, the first embrace that didn't disgust her. Jackson's were the first to touch her that didn't make her pull away, that didn't remind her of that night and all its ugliness. She held on to him tighter, because he was Jackson Avery… He was her best friend, her first time, her heart, her rock, someone she trusted more than she even trusted herself. He was not just another person who she cared for deeply, but someone who was a part of her as much as an arm and a leg. She could never imagine a time when he wouldn't be around, and she hoped more than anything that she would never have to.
April cradled his jaw and pulled away to look at him. She pulled his face towards her and closed her eyes. His forehead was against hers and their noses were touching. Her eyes were closed and Jackson was just waiting for her lips to fall into his… But they never did. "I can't," she told him. April knew what he was expecting but she couldn't make herself see it through. She wanted to but still felt herself tainted by that man and she didn't want to bring him between them.
"You don't have to," he said taking a breath, as he found himself breathing in her sweet scent. "This is okay with me. You here? It's perfect." April's reaction made him wonder how he ever thought he could live without her like this.
April nuzzled her face against his as she allowed their lips to brush. But they did not kiss. "Thank you," she said kissing his cheek before pulling away. She grabbed her tea and took a sip, finding more words as she did so. "I'm sorry you're stuck with half a person, that I'm not the April you've always known and—"
"Stop, okay? I'm not letting you do that," he interrupted, not liking the direction this was going. "You're still April. You are not half a person because that fucking bastard didn't take half of you. You are broken and you need time to heal and I am not going anywhere. Besides…I'm a surgeon. I'm pretty great stitching things back together," he said sheepishly, glad he did, because it gained him a smile.
"You've always known what to say to me," April told him as she drank her tea offering a soft smile of her own. "You always pull the right words out every time I'm about to have a neurotic episode, and just what I need to hear so I don't spiral out of control." She could not hide her smile as it grew wider as the amount of tea in her mug lessened.
"Well it's been seven years of you, April," he simply answered taking a sip of his beer. They spend hours talking about nothing and everything. He missed those easy light conversations. No pressure or worry about saying the wrong thing.
April appreciated that she didn't have to try and be okay. She didn't have to try to be anything more than just her because she knew that Jackson accepted her, just as she was. The broken April. The April she herself knew would be around longer than they both liked. He still looked at her the same, despite his willingness to use the word that many times made her cringe. April Kepner was broken. Her spirit, she swore would give her enough to see this to the end but she wasn't blind to what it meant. She could heal and one day be better than the version that sat on her best friend's couch tonight but she would not be a perfect fix. Patchwork was the best situations like this would offer her. Despite all of that, Jackson still looked at her like April Kepner the soldier, not April Kepner the helpless victim. He made everything hurt a little less, and tomorrow just a little brighter.
"I think we should go to bed," she told him as she stretched "I actually go back to work tomorrow. Not cleared for surgery yet but Dr. Bowen and Dr. Hunt have been talking and they want to see how I do just easing into it."
"That's great. Let's get some rest than." He stood up and picked up her mug and put it on the sink before returning to the living room "So I have a guest room and if you want—"
"No!" she said quickly, her answer leaking with panic as she shot up from her seat, looking terrified "Don't make me sleep alone," she begged. "I-I can't be alone, Jackson. Please…"
"It's fine. You can sleep with me. You won't be alone, I promise." he grabbed her bag and wrapped and arm around her shoulders as he led her to his room. "So, the bathroom is down the hall you can get ready and change in there." And just like that she went to change. Jackson watched her leave the room, trying to process everything. For her sake he was not about to protest, unsure as ever about what this meant. Or at least what it meant to her. He didn't want to downright interrogate her. All the same, he wasn't about to ignore the fact that he was happy about it. Jackson couldn't help but feel relief that she had come to him and that she knew he was a safe place for her. The important thing was that he had her back. As selfish as it was, he couldn't help feeling that way. He took advantage of her being gone to slip into some sweatpants and a simple white t-shirt that he normally didn't use. Considering the epiphany he'd had tonight, the chances offered to him, he wasn't about to make any of this awkward for her.
April walked into the room in an over sized t-shirt that he recognized as his, and a smile took form. "This was yours, wasn't it?" she asked, fully knowing, but she didn't know how else to bring it up. He only nodded "Do you want it back?"
"Nah, I never did it justice, you on the other hand…" he said teasing her a little as he pulled back the covers."So, you can sleep on that side and I'll sleep on this side. I'll be here but I'll keep it to one side." Jackson went and turned off the light but left the one in the hall to spill light into the room as he kept the door wide open.
"Thank me when I am actually doing a proper favor. This is just me being considerate, like you would be," he pointed out as he got on the bed. Jackson felt the mattress shift as she found her place, not expecting her to snuggle up to him. He was not about to voice any rejection. Turning to face her, he draped an arm around her, not wanting to hold her too tight so she could feel free to readjust as she wanted.
April was woken up, surprisingly well rested. It took her awhile to realize that she hadn't been plagued but bad dreams. Nor did she wake up in the middle of the night to work her way through a panic attack. For once, she kept her hands to herself in sleep. She sat up in the bed and noticed Jackson was not there. The chair at the foot of the bed wasn't there when she went to sleep the night before.
"Jackson?" she called out to him as she noticed a small black notebook left in the seat of the mysterious chair. When she opened it she noticed it was not a notebook but a sketch book. She opened to where a pencil lay and gasped. What she saw was a simple but very realistic drawing of her sleeping. She quietly flipped back, afraid that any sudden noises might erase such perfectly crafted lines. Her eyes rested on a handful of sketches of her. These were just of her face, the fine details in them seemed to be drawn up by memory.
"April?" She turned around at the sound of Jackson's voice whose eyes widened as he noticed her looking at his sketch book "I uhh.. You're not supposed to see that," he said, quickly making his way to her with every intention to retract the book form her hands.
April held it back and placed her flat palm on his chest to stop him. "Since when do you draw?"
"It's just something I've always done. Once I got into plastics it was drilled into my head that everything is about perfection and beautiful. I just picked up drawing faces a lot easier," he explained.
"These are amazing," she said opening the book up again. "I…You make me look so beautiful…"
Jackson shook his head and laughing "I'm not being a surgeon. I'm not drawing you and fixing you. This is how I see you April…I always wished you saw yourself the way I did…do. I guess you finally get to know."
April looked at his drawings and he made her look prettier than she could ever look on a great day. This is how he saw her and how he recalled her in his mind. April closed the notebook and gave it to him, walking out of the room without saying a word.
Jackson hoped that she didn't think he was one of those psychotic stalkers who drew their objects of fascination from afar. He heard the bathroom door close, cursing himself. She was probably crying because her best friend has a weird obsession with her. "April," he called after her. "April, open the door," he said knocking lightly. He heard the water in the sink running and he could imagine her washing her red tear-stained face. "April, please let me explain," he urged. A few seconds later she opened the door. "I know it looks strange and possibly wrong but just listen I—" He was silenced by nothing more than her lips on his. Jackson, still surprised, wrapped his arms around her and returned the kiss, finally pulling away when she did. "What… I thought you were upset."
"I wasn't going to kiss you with morning breath," she said with a small laugh.
"I guess not," he said feeling stupid for freaking out.
"I… I still need time but… I just need to do this, and show you that in time I will be that girl that you draw, with that smile. That will be me soon enough. I just…. Just wait a little," she requested "I shouldn't ask you this but—"
"You shouldn't have to ask," Jackson corrected. "If I haven't made it clear that I'm here, for you, than it's totally my fault." He kissed her forehead tenderly before letting her go, his fingers still pressed with the shape of her small frame. "Me and you … Remember?"
"Me and you," she repeated, a smile growing on her face. What an amazing way to start the day. Finally, after what felt like months, April Kepner could breathe again.
I hope you guys like it!
Review and let me know what you think.
Things to look forwards to:
a) Her rapist making an appearance
b) The trial
c)Japril relationship being tested
d)Kavery (Karev + Avery) Bromance