It's later now/ Distance

Chapter 12

Amelia ended up mostly thankful for taking that extra night shift, an aneurysm clip she had scheduled for the next day suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage and she had to go in urgently and repaired it by endovascular aneurysm coiling, without even leaving a scar. Her adventure wasn't done then, a group of raving teenagers came in, one of them had a massive head injury because he was trying to stand on a bar with a bicycle without a helmet, causing him to fall on a bottle of tequila. She got pulled in for another 6 hours, the adolescent kept dying on her and if it were anyone else, they would have gave up on him, but she wasn't anyone else, she was kickass neurosurgeon Amelia Shepherd, determined to carry on her brother's legacy with lost causes. After she saved two lives in very long surgeries, saying that she was drained was an understatement. Unfortunately, her next day had already started. Estimating a few minutes before anyone would start to reprehend her, she heavily carried herself to the cafeteria. She set her phone on the table and rested her head on her arms, telling herself she'd just rest her eye for a second.

Several minutes later, a familiar voice tried to wake her up, "Amelia? Amelia, seriously are you sleeping here?"

When that didn't work, a small hand shook her gently, causing her to mumble, "mhmm?"

Seconds later, her phone rang loudly, and being right next to her head, she jumped up to a sitting position acutely and grabbed her phone with fear of being paged. Realizing it was Meredith next to her who called her phone to wake her, she breathed out with relief and irritation.

"You know there are on call rooms for that," Meredith said while laughing at Amelia's state as she grew alert

"My next shift just started, I don't need sleep, I'm just.. a little tired," she refused to give in to her physical state

"Hey, I heard that you guys are adopting a kid, congratulations! Why didn't you tell me?" Meredith remembered the news she was hearing all around the hospital

"Because Owen is the one adopting," she was growing exasperated by having to tell her friends what was happening, she hated Owen for putting her in this situation

"What? Are you breaking up?" Meredith was almost mad

Amelia's eyes became glassy with the answer, "It seems like it," she managed to whisper

Meredith reached out and held her sisters hand tightly, "That son of a bitch?" she half asked

Amelia smiled and shook her head slightly, "No, it's actually.. I kind of get it. I mean, I want kids, I like kids and they like me, I'm good with kids, but this girl, she's just something else, I feel overprotective of her, and.. well, I don't know how to quite put it into words, but it's different with her. I guess it was the same for Owen.."

Meredith was puzzled, she grimaced, not really comprehending what that meant, "You're not mad at him for adopting her?"

She chuckled at the irony, "I'm not." The truth is, she would have probably asked him to adopt her as well. The whole problem was that he didn't think of discussing the decision with her, he just went ahead and did it. It felt like he was disregarding their whole relationship, she felt like her opinion didn't matter to him, like she didn't matter to him, that was what really hurt.

Still not fully understanding the situation, Meredith wanted to help. She knew Amelia and Owen weren't the easiest couple, Cristina left him with a big complex for not agreeing to any decision he makes, and Amelia was naturally stubborn. "Where are you staying?"

Amelia suddenly remembered and rubbed her temple in regret, "I got caught up with the surgeries, I missed the appointment with my realtor. I can't keep crashing here."

"Come stay with me," she seriously offered

"Really?" Amelia raised one eyebrow, wanting to accept the offer but feeling a little like a burden

"Yeah absolutely," Meredith reassured without a second thought, "you could help me with the kids, and I'll listen to your speech for tomorrow."

"Shoot, the chief showdown was tomorrow," she remembered one more thing to worry about, "I was kinda hoping to win them over with my wit and charm."

"Oh that'll do it," Meredith chortled, "but I think you should keep a speech prepared just in case."

"Dr Shepherd, Dr Edwards assigned me on your service today too, how can I help today," the attractive intern- Andrew- interrupted, standing in front of Amelia, and then became clumsily aware of Meredith eying him as well, "Hello Dr Grey, how do you do?" he greeted her, causing her to raise both eyebrows at him

"DeLuca," Amelia pondered and narrowed her eyes at him, "I'm feel like being generous today." she grinned, catching the opportunity to teach him a thing or two while she relaxes, "There's a case being flown over here all the way from Iowa, they requested me specifically," she stated arrogantly, "I need you to read her chart, memorize it if you must, examine her, do all the necessary work up and come up with a diagnosis, and maybe scrub in with me to watch, do you think you can handle it?"

He was overwhelmed, "You want me to take over a brain mystery?

"Unless you don't want it."

"No! Yes, yes! Thank you Dr Shepherd, so much, for this opportunity!" he beamed gratefully

"Go, before I change my mind," she ordered firmly and laughed with her sister as they watched him jog away

Left with overlooking Andrew's process through the updated chart on her tablet, she was adjusting to her light day. She received a few texts from Richard about needing to discharge her unnecessary patients and free some space, she knew exactly who that referred to. Guilty and out of excuses, she sauntered sadly with the signed discharge papers and stepped into her room, to find Dania sleeping soundly. Staring at her with warmth, Amelia contemplated who should she give the discharge papers to, dodging the obvious answer (Owen) and wondering why she hasn't seen Mary anywhere around since the previous day.

Owen, somewhat stalking Amelia in the midst of his work, observed her as she entered Dania's room. He followed in quietly, and stood silently looking over both of them. Even when Amelia spoke, he wasn't sure if she was talking to herself or if she knew that he was there.

"Look at her, she looks so peaceful. No one this young could possibly deserve this. It's hard to believe that this is the same girl that was giggling and fidgeting when she was in chemo. And she has that sparkle in her eye, and when she talks, it's the most adorable thing, I almost want to wake her up to see it. She's perfect. Every little girl deserves a good dad." Amelia said in a low tone, to no one in particular. Then she turned around and looked at Owen with glassy eyes and a smile barely visible, "She deserves you." She handed him the discharge papers and walked out, "Give those to Mary for me. She's good to go."

"This room seems well prepared for a child, good work, Dr Hunt," Mary noticed, impressed

"Thank you," he grinned, "I want Dani to feel comfortable in her own home." He stood by as Mary scanned the house

"Why are you still single?" she asked bluntly

"Excuse me?" Owen feared this part of the interview

"You're a doctor, a good looking one, you stepped down from your position as chief or surgery for what was stated to be 'personal reasons', what does that mean?"

"I wanted to have less paperwork and do more to help in surgery, my main passion," seeing that she was not convinced with his answer, he decided to confess, "I'm in love.. with a colleague."

"Dania's doctor, right?" Mary guessed, a little too enthusiastic

He chuckled at that guess, "Is it really that obvious?"

"Oh, I did my homework."

"Listen, I'm going to be honest; I don't know what will happen between me and Dr Shepherd, but my main focus right now is Dania.." he paused for a bit, unsure if he belittles his feelings for Amelia he'll give the wrong idea, and if he revealed the long story he'd seem unfit, "I really don't know what to tell you, I'm hopeful it'll work out but I guess right now I'm just.. single. I'll be sure to let you know as soon as that changes, if it does."

Mary glared at him from head to toe, silently thinking, thinking about how this man, despite his mostly tricky love life, he was obviously caring and keen to be a father, especially when it came to Dania in particular. After what seemed to be forever, she opened her file and signed the paper on top, and gave it to him, "You have custody of Dania, for now. The judge still has to reread your file and there's going to be a hearing, but I wouldn't worry much if I were you." Mary smiled and winked. Owen beamed and thanked her profusely, she grinned at him as he walked her to the door, leaving him with all his thoughts about his daughter and the woman that he loves.

Checking her electronic chart, Amelia noticed that it hasn't been updated with a while. She rolled her eyes, revaluating her decision of letting the intern try to diagnose a probable acoustic neuroma. She mentally noted that she'd give him another hour to check with her. As she strolled the hospital halls, brainstorming what she could say in her speech, she became distracted as she heard the intern's voice not so far away. She froze and over heard the conversation between him and Stephanie.

"Shepherd is crazy."

"Every genius is a little crazy. She's a genius."

Amelia smiled, Stephanie's response fed her ego.

"Yesterday she shooed me away and now she gives me this case to handle on my own, and I don't even think it's surgical."

She rolled her eye from behind the wall, typical untrained intern misdiagnosis, she thought.

"That's even better, she'll probably find a way to cure it surgically. Check the patient's symptoms again and tell Shepherd what you think, don't be a chicken." Edwards prompted

"I'm not a chicken!" he defended, "I thought I was your favorite baby duckling." Andrew flirted with a raspy voice

"Something like that," the resident flirted back, "stop it, not here," she scolded, though Amelia couldn't tell for what, "go kick that medical mystery's ass, and send me the chart if you get really stuck,"

As she heard footsteps walk away, Amelia stepped back slightly and walked to the adjacent hall to meet her favorite resident. She cleared her throat as she approached, making her aware of her presence.

Stephanie turned around and greeted happily, "Oh hey Dr Shepherd."

"Edwards," Amelia greeted back with a small sly grin, "So you put DeLuca on my service today.. again."

"Yeah, I figured since I'm off for a while I'll give you a good replacement, plus he's not at all hard on the eye," she jested

"So you and DeLuca are a thing now? Really, Edwards? I'd thought you'd like sharper guys," she teased

Thrown off guard, Stephanie failed miserably at denying and acting surprised, "What? No, not at all, it's nothing like that. I just think he.. has potential, that's all," she shrugged

Amelia snickered, amused, "Yeah, right."

After dealing with an incoming trauma, and ordering for the patient to be prepped for an emergency surgery, Owen took a few minutes to hurry and check on Dania. He entered her room to find her playing with some barbies he had given her from her collected items from her grandpa's apartment. "How's my favorite star?" Owen grinned as he paced in and tickled her playfully.

She laughed and squirmed and then said joyously, "happy! But miss playin' with my fweinds," she pouted, shutting her eyes forcefully, and crossed her arms dramatically

"Well how about, I take you to daycare? You'll make a lot of new friends and get to play a lot more!"

"fo' real?" she widened her eyes and hopped in her bed joyously

He tittered at the movement and replied just as eagerly, "yes really, and guess what? You can come with me home and stay with me, I can even let you sleep in my big bed tonight!"

"No mo' hostital?" She hopped more vigorously

"No more hospital," Owen echoed

"and I'll stay with you fo'evah?" the little girl begged

"Yes you can stay with me forever, I can be your daddy," he carefully suggested, he had discussed this with her, how he was going to take her home and give her a new room, but it all was with careful doubt, and Dania then suggested that they be best friends, he respectfully said yes, wanting to give her all the time she needed to adjust to him fully.

"YAY!" Dani exclaimed and threw her short arms around Owen in a hug.

Owen was thrilled with Dania's reaction and he quickly coached her to wear her shoes and get going to daycare as he carried her bag that contained a few things other than what he had already moved to her new room at the house.

Dani hoped and danced as Owen paced holding her hand. When they reached the elevator, Amelia was there waiting as well. Already familiar with her, Dania ran over to Amelia and shouted her name, giggling, "Amelia Badelia!"

Amelia smiled a big toothy smile and impulsively bent down and picked up the running girl. She propped her up her hip and pinched her nose teasingly.

"Did you know docto' O is now daddy!" she threw her hands up above her head cheerfully

"Woah! That's awesome!" Amelia feigned gleeful surprise

"Yep, and I'll sleep in big bed!" Dania thickened her voice to emphasis her excitement about the big bed

Amelia laughed radiantly and looked at Owen who was just standing near, witnessing the whole scene happily, "They granted me temporary custody, there's still a hearing session this weekend but Mary says it's mostly a formality," he felt the need to explain even though Amelia didn't ask.

She nodded and smiled coyly, "Congratulations," she said sincerely

"Thank you," he replied awkwardly, still waiting for the elevator and unable to continue the conversation. His pager buzzed and he looked worried and at loss

"What is it?"

"My patient, he's crashing, I need to go," he looked up at Dani and felt it too much to ask Amelia to take the child he adopted behind her back

"Then go, I'll take this princess to daycare," She told him as she looked back at Dania and grinned

"Are you sure?" Owen asked again, feeling culpable, but already handing Amelia the light bag

"Yes, don't worry, just go," she encouraged, taking the bag

"Thank you," he started jogging toward the OR, "Thank you so much!" he half yelled as he ran to his patient

"Let's take you to daycare, and daddy will pick you at the end of the day, how about that?" she suggested, still holding the girl on her hip. The girl nodded and snuggled into Amelia's grasp.

After Amelia dropped her off at daycare and introduced her to her nephew, she was paged by her intern. Curious to see the promised potential Edwards talked about, she went to check what he had to say.

"Dr DeLuca, I assume you've reached a diagnosis?" she told him as he waited anxiously next to a nurse's station near the patient's room

"Uh, yes, the patient presented with tinnitus, and dizziness, and hearing loss, all indicate to Ménière's disease," he faked confidence

"Ménière's disease.." Amelia was unimpressed, "So what do you want to do from here?"

"I would prescribe water pills and send her home," he was almost shivering, intimidated by her.

"Dead." Amelia said flatly

"Excuse me?" Andrew glowered

"Dead, you sent her home and now the patient's dead. Try again," Amelia ordered

"but-"

"Did you even think of an Electronystagmography? How did you so surely diagnosed Ménière's disease, did you even examine her?"

The intern fidgeted around, searching in his brain what else this could be.

"Well?" she asked bored and impatient

"There are no other symptoms, brain tumors always present with other symptoms, there's nothing else wrong with this woman other than her twitching eyebrow," He thought out loud

Amelia turned and raised her eyebrows at him, observing a realization washing over the intern

"She has a skull base tumor!" he screamed festively, quickly realizing by the look his attending gave him how inappropriate that was, "Sorry, I'm sorry.. she has a skull base tumor, it could be a pituitary tumor, an acoustic neuroma, or.. a meningioma?" he listed

"Are you asking me or are you telling me?"

"Telling. I'm sorry."

"Stop apologizing."

"I'm sor- okay."

"Now what?"

"Now.. Um.. the blood work rules out a pituitary tumor, a meningioma is unlikely but we should order a head iMRI," he answered hesitantly

Amelia nodded and stared at the intern for a moment before ordering, "Go on then! You've wasted enough time already," she partially scolded and partially praised

Nearing the end of the day Andrew caught Amelia as she headed to change her street clothes, exhausted and grateful she was going to finally sleep in a comfortable bed and not an on call room tonight.

"Dr Shepherd!" he called her, "The brain scans came back!"

Amelia glared at him and yawned, snatching the scans from him tiredly, "An acoustic neuroma, what's your treatment plan," she blinked repeatedly, her eyes heavy.

" A translabyrinthine craniotomy. Do I get to scrub in?"

"Nope, the patient is 59, we're going with a less invasive surgery, schedule a Neuroendoscopy for tomorrow, now get out of my face, see you in surgery." She waved her hand dismissively at him, shooing him away with another yawn parting her lips. The intern beamed with success and walked away proudly, hurrying to schedule the surgery.

Owen entered the elevator to see Amelia leaning against the railing with her eyes barely open. She straightened her back and cleared her throat when she saw him. He walked in tentatively, with Dania's head resting on his shoulder in deep sleep.

Amelia tentatively walked closer and tenderly stoked Dani's soft cheek, "you must be really tired, it's been a helluva couple of days huh? It's all going to be fine," she planted a kiss on her tiny fingers and stole a glance at Owen.

His heart dropped at Amelia's words, wondering if she was talking about them as well. He was overanalyzing, he told himself. Still, the proximity between his body and hers almost broke him, he'd missed her more than anything, he wanted to hug her, hold her, give her the world. "You're her mother too," he told her in a matter-of-factly tone, his voice almost breaking.

She felt her breath catch and her eyes tear up for the first time in days. Since their fight, she'd been mad, incensed, but not quite sad. I'm her mother, she thought, unhappiness settling deep in her, for wanting to be with her daughter the first day out of the hospital, but too proud to forget about her rage at Owen. The elevator doors opened to the lobby, she looked at the floor, not wanting him to see her shed her tears, "Goodnight Owen," she said shakily as she walked out and hurried to her car before anyone can see her about to break down.


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