It's later now/ Distance

Chapter 13

Meredith woke up terrified. She looked at the digital watch to see the numbers 8:30 shining brightly in fluorescent green with an eerie quietness ringing in her ears. Jumping to the worst when the million questions flooded her ('how come I wasn't woken up by Ellie crying?', 'where are Zola and Bailey bugging me every morning?'), she sprung out of bed and almost fell down as she ran down the stairs. To her relief and gratitude, she found Zola and Bailey in the kitchen enjoying waffles, and Ellie in her high chair and her aunt feeding her baby food. She sighed and smiled at the scene.

"Morning," Amelia greeted happily as she glanced over and fed another spoon to Ellis

"Morning," Meredith replied, half questioning her reality, "How did you- I mean why did you- um- waffles?"

Amelia giggled at Meredith's disorientation and handed her a plate of waffles, "Here have this, it'll make you feel better."

"Amelia, this is- wow. You didn't have to do all this," Meredith said, not complaining, as she happily took the waffle and moaned at the first bite

"Don't worry about it. Kids are much easier to handle when you're the cool Aunt. Isn't that right? You love your auntie, don't you Ell?" Amelia retorted in baby voice as she fed her niece the last bit in the bowl, "Plus, your kids here are great listeners, they gave me some solid points to add to my presentation, it has a lot more glitter and unicorns now."

"Oh shoot, I was supposed to help you with your speech for being chief, I'm so sorry, I just came home and barely carried myself to bed," Meredith tried to excuse herself, "But I can help now, I don't have work till the afternoon," she tried to offer

"Mer, relax. It's fine, you're gonna be blown away by awesomeness for the first time now, like every other board member, but now, I gotta go to work," Amelia replied as she grabbed her purse and started to head out

With her being used to sleeping in for the last few weeks she was stuck in the hospital bed, Owen had to wake up Dani so he could take her to daycare. She woke up crabby and completed her sleep deeply in the short car ride, it was clear that his daughter was no morning person. His heart softened at adorable sight, but he decided he had to be the good and bad parent in one, until he got Amelia back anyway. He dwelt on that thought as he woke up Dania with a kiss on the cheek and a gentle shrug. He could never imagine Amelia not forgiving them, and staying in their current state, whenever he dreamt of the future, Amelia was impossible to exclude.

When he reached to daycare, it was closed. Owen was confused, as far as he'd known, the daycare was open 24/7 for surgeons on call. As he stood there, trying to peek through the doors or figure something out, Richard passed by him.

"Hey, Richard!" he called, "how come the daycare is closed?"

"How should I know?" he answered dismissively and carried on walking

"Where do the kids go now?" his voice was a little louder, though aware that no one would answer him

"Hunt," Jackson Avery came from behind him, "Is everything alright?"

"No actually. Why is the daycare closed?" he said, a little too angrily than needed

"It's closed until 3pm, they sent texts to all parents last night," Jackson calmly replied

"I didn't get anything."

"Hm.. you're a new parent, maybe they didn't get to transfer it to the electronic files."

"What now?" Owen asked himself more than Jackson, as he rubbed Dani's dark brown hair while she clutched to his pants with one hand.

"I can take her," Jackson offered on a whim

"What?" Owen hoped that Jackson would confirm proposal

"I mean, I'm good with kids, I have a light day," he shrugged, "I could take her."

Owen's pager already started buzzing, it was just for a consult, but he still had to change to scrubs too, so he accepted gratefully and thanked his colleague multiple times as he walked away.

Amelia arrived to the OR board and pushed her Neuroendoscopy a couple of hours later, so she could have time to review her speech and go over the research. She noticed her favorite resident hovering around her. So she smirked and commented without turning to her, "Edwards, nice to see you came to your senses and got rid of the pink scrubs."

"Well, um, yeah, I heard about you removing an acoustic neuroma through a Neuroendoscopy and I thought-"

"Oh no, you hang out in the safe vagina valley until an awesome neuro case comes along and now you want in. Nope, I'm gonna take DeLuca on this one, he deserves to learn."

"Oh come on Dr Shepherd," Stephanie whined like a little kid whining for a lollipop, "I basically "diagnosed the case for him, and I'm a 5th year who just declared neuro as my specialty."

Amelia bit her cheek, hating to admit that her student was right, "Fine, then walk your intern through the procedure, if you're gonna be a neurosurgeon you have to learn how to teach too."

….

The patient finally out of the woods and a nurse assigned to watch his vitals and update the doctors on the case, Owen finally had 15 minutes to spare and go check on Dania to take her to daycare. To add to his ongoing fatherly concern, he found Avery in the ER, and his daughter nowhere near him.

"Avery, where's my kid?" he asked, worried and about to throw a fit

"Oh, Dani? Yeah she's such sunshine," Avery said, still concentrating on the pile of papers in front of him

"Where is she?" Owen asked more demanding and firm, still controlling his temper.

Noticing the unsettled tone, Jackson looked up and addressed the question with more care "I got pulled to an emergency, I left her with April, she's fine."

Owen started pacing the hospital halls for April and paged her 911 so he could find see his child for himself, this was now an emergency in his book. In minutes that seemed to be years to him, April came running to him, "Chief- uh- sorry, Dr Hunt, what's the emergency?"

"Where's my daughter?"

"Excuse me?"

"My daughter, Kepner. Dania, my 4 year old, Jackson said she was with you," Owen asked again, barely holding on to his patience

"Oh, yeah. She's with nurse Tyler on peds floor, probably in an exam room, great kid by the way," she smiled at him, but he was already gone

Agitated and his self control slight to none existent, he stormed in to the peds floor and slapped his arms on the counter of the nurse's station and demanded to know where his daughter was. Tyler, offended but intimidated, informed him she was in the exam room right behind him. With undying fear and worry until he sets his eyes on Dani, he opened the door and praying he won't find someone else to redirect him again. The open door revealed his daughter finally catching up to her lost hours of sleep on the examination bed and Amelia beside her mumbling incoherent medical jargon like a lullaby, it was a precious moment to behold.

"Shh," Amelia shushed him before he made any noise

He walked in and closed the door, more attentive to not making any sudden sound.

"She was passed between doctors all day, I figured she could use some peace, and I could use someone to fall asleep to my plan of surgery and future chief staff," Amelia explained, not needing to look at Owen to see the questions on his face, to how she oddly seemed to end up taking care of 'his' kid.

"Big surgery and presentation, I heard. Good luck for today.. not that you need it, I mean you're brilliant- uh.." he muttered awkwardly

"Thank you," she said dryly, saving him the trouble

"Thank you," he insisted, "for watching her, I appreciate it."

She looked at him as a wave of a new kind of pain hit her harshly. He was thanking her like a distant acquaintance watching his daughter for 5 minutes. She was confused to say the least, considering he had told her that Dani was hers a couple of days ago. Taking in a shaky breath she hadn't realized she was holding, she looked anywhere but at him and nodded politely, "I should, um, I should go." Was all she was able to say without lashing out at him.

He stared at her as she avoided his gaze and turned for the door. He watched her petite curvy figure and could notice her stretching her fingers, that was a thing she'd do when she was upset, he knew that, he knew her all too well, and he was afraid that if he didn't say anything now, he might actually lose his chance of forgiveness. This was it, it was his chance to pour it out, to try and earn back his way to the bliss and love she gave him.

"Amelia wait!" She froze. "I love you. I know you love me too, but you won't say it, you're too proud, and that's what I love about you, what I hate too. I love you and I love Dania, and if you don't want to admit the same about me that's fine, but you know we share Dania, we're not even.. I don't know where we stand, but even like this we're powerless with her, so just imagine what it would be like, me, you, and our family. Amelia, you must forgive me at one point, please don't leave me miserable like this." he stopped, doubtful of his words, uncertain if it was romantic or straight out disastrous, it sounded a little like a married couple keeping it together for the kid.. it sounded better in his mind, he thought. Her back still turned to him, he could record no reaction, was she mad? Fed up? Convinced? Did it work? Did it make it worse? He couldn't stand the timorousness, "Amelia, please, just look at me. Please." It was nothing short of a beg

He had all reactions in mind, except the expression she had on her face. She turned to him, mouth slightly agape, eyes glassy, brow wrinkled, and for her, it was like the cat got her tongue. Her ability to form comprehensible words was suspended.

"Dr Shepherd!" A voice interrupted urgently, "It's Kerry Jefferson, the acoustic neuroma patient."


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