'And against all odds, against all instinct, we evolve.'
– Meredith Grey, Where The Wild Things Are.
"I'm Jackson. Jackson Avery."
She's too nervous to realise he's attractive and too nervous to be nervous about it, so she takes the hand he offers without hesitating. "Avery? Avery as in Harper Avery?"
Instantly, his face falls. Her teeth slam down on her lower lip.
"I'm April Kepner, and I won't tell anyone. I promise."
Everyone finds out anyway, but he remembers and appreciates her dropping a kidney dish on their very first day, stalling the conversation as soon as names were mentioned.
The day they hear about the merger, he pounds his fist into a locker. His knuckles skid across its surface and hit the slats, and he pulls back and swears.
"Let me see."
"You're so stupid."
"This whole thing is stupid."
She squirts distilled water over his hand, slants a look up at him, at his set mouth. "At least we'll still be together. That's what counts, right?"
"Sure, Apes." Her fingers are deft, if still a little sloppy. "That's what counts."
Pretending is as difficult as a demanding surgery. She pretends by smiling, which stretches her face and pulls on her heart. He smiles back.
"Are you going to Joe's after?"
He's scrubbing, and his arms are soapy to the elbows. "There's this movie Stephanie really wants to see, so…"
"Don't be." Off comes the pink scrub cap, out comes the red hair beneath. "I already have so many thank you notes I need to write. There's no excuse for slacking."
"We can't keep doing this. Over and over, day after day – it's too much."
They're standing on opposite sides of a bed, talking over a patient who is helpfully sedated and no longer in need of their help.
"Marriage means going home and leaving everything behind, no matter what you've done that day, no matter who you've done it with. That's what it means to me, anyway."
The both look up.
"Sorry, I meant the female Doctor Avery."