Operation Phoenix

Chapter 3: Lone Wolf Has Landed

“I can’t wait ’til you get here dad” Jordan said into the phone grinning at her brother

Jackson smiled hearing her excitement. After thinking about it some more, he decided to make the call to Chief Hunt. Dr. Hunt was happy to offer him the job, knowing that he was the only one Mark approved of. He was scheduled for a meeting and a tour of the hospital in two days.

On the other side of the country, Jordan was on a high. Their plan was actually working. Now they had to figure out the next step.

“Me too” he said before jumping to the question he really wanted an answer to “Uh...is your mother O.K with this?”

“Ok with what?” Jordan asked innocently

“Me working in the same hospital as she is” he said

“Why would mom have a problem with that?”

“Well, we are divorced and all, and not many people like working with their ex” he answered, giving just a piece of the truth

“Yeah, but you guys are cool with each other right? Don’t worry about it dad, mom is fine with it” Jordan said

Yes, their mother was “fine”, but that was because she didn’t know. She knew nothing about the job offer, or him being in Seattle in a day.

“O.k, good” Jackson said breathing a sigh of relief

Jordan felt a pang of guilt from lying to her father, but she needed the plan to work out. She heard her mother talking about letting Greyson move into their house. There was no way she was going to sit by and let that happen.

“Yeah” she said back at him “Good”


“So, what do you think?” Mark Sloan asked

The plastic surgeon had taken Jackson on the tour of the hospital, showing him the places he’d most likely frequent, like the attending’s lounge, burn unit and the O.Rs. The older surgeon was like a little boy showing his favorite toy truck to his new friend. Jackson had to admit, he was impressed. It wasn’t as high end as Tulane or Mass Gen, but it was excellent, and certainly on it’s way to their level. Mark Sloan was doing an excellent job running his department. The older man was a bit forward sometimes, and had a tendency to make inappropriate sexual comments, but the man was one of the best in the field, and he was a great teacher and friend. Plus, he would rather be closer to his kids than be around his grandfather and meddling mother.

Speaking of his children, they couldn’t come to the airport or to his new apartment to see him, something about their mother being busy and having a lot of homework. He found that weird, since the school year just began, but he figured their school liked to get an early start. He didn’t know when he would see them, but he hoped that they would come to the hospital to see him later that day.

“This place is amazing” Jackson answered his question “It’s actually better than I thought it would be. You guys are doing a great job here Dr. Sloan”

“Thank you Dr. Avery” Mark smiled, but it fell soon after “Crap, I forgot to show you the E.R. Let’s head there. I’m going to boast and say we have the best E.R in Seattle”

Jackson promptly followed behind Mark as he led the way to the E.R. They got into the elevator and were going a few floors down. It was then that he realized what Mark had said. The E.R. And who was in the E.R? His ex-wife, April Kepner. Or did she still hyphenate? He didn’t quite understand why she didn’t take his last name; it would have helped her a lot in the field they were working.

Jackson blinked rapidly, trying to clear his mind, it didn’t matter now why she never fully took his last name. It had been a long time since they’ve seen each other, and he was nervous. The last time they did see each other, it wasn’t under the best circumstances. Her mother had died, and he had dropped everything in Boston to go to Seattle. A few days after the funeral he had left abruptly. The reason why, they never spoke of.

That was what? Four years ago? Had she changed? Did she look different? He hoped she didn’t dye her hair brown again, he always liked it red. The only times he had seen her was when he glanced at his daughter’s cell phone wallpaper or either of them walked by when their children while they were video chatting the other. There wasn’t much he could see if he didn’t stare, and he avoided doing so. They only ever communicated through the phone or email, and it was always about the kids.

He brushed the thoughts of how she might look from his mind when the elevator doors slid open. They walked down a hallway and soon entered the E.R. There was the usual hustle and bustle of the E.R, but nothing major. He guessed there was no serious trauma to deal with. He scanned the room for the red head, he couldn’t find her. He felt relieved; he wouldn’t have to face her right away.

Mark started explaining to him how the E.R worked, and he instantly knew his ex-wife had a part to play in the protocol. Last time he was Seattle, when April wasn’t crying or talking about her mother, she was talking about this protocol she was trying to get the Chief to look at. Listening to Mark, he realized she had gotten the Chief to listen to it and he thought it was a great idea like he did.

“You know your ex-wife came up with this protocol” Mark informed

“I figured” he answered

The tour of the tour of the E.R would have continued if they weren’t interrupted.

“Jackson?”

He quickly turned at the sound of her voice. Where did she come from? He hadn’t seen her a while ago.

He took the time to take in her appearance. She was dressed like the rest of them, scrubs, lab coat and sneakers. But her hair, it was different, and yet familiar. She didn’t change the color, which he was grateful for. Her hair was shorter, reaching just above her shoulders. He had seen her with it like this before...once. It was the day they first met.

FLASHBACK

“Jackson buddy, come down here”

Hearing his father’s voice, ten year old Jackson jumped off his bed, ran out his room and headed down the stairs.

“We’re in the living room” he heard his mother say

Once at the bottom of the stairs, he headed towards the living room, wondering what his parents wanted. Maybe they had bought him the new toy car he asked for.

As soon as he entered the room, he knew that it had nothing to do with toys.

Sitting on the couch, opposite the arm chairs his parents were sitting in, was a woman and a girl. He stopped in his tracks staring, who were these people?

“Come here Jackson” Catherine said

Jackson slowly made his way towards his mother, his eyes glued to the young girl.

“Jackson, this is Ms. Karen” Catherine said once he got to her “She’s going to be your new nanny”

At the word nanny, Jackson would usually roll his eyes. He didn’t like them; they were too bossy for him. He didn’t get why he had to listen to them, they weren’t his parents.

This time, he didn’t do or say anything, his eyes were still on the girl.

“Go say hi Jackson” his father said

Jackson stepped forward, still leaving a big space between him and the couch.

“Hi” he said, finally looking at the older woman

“Hello Jackson” Karen said getting up from her seat and going to him, “It’s nice to finally meet you” she added extending her hand

Jackson took her hand and shook it. He then looked back to the girl who was still sitting behind her on the couch. Karen noticed and called to her daughter.

“This is my daughter April” she introduced “Say hi April”

“Hi” April said, giving a small wave

Jackson took her in. Her multicolored head band, her short red hair, her bright pink shirt under her jean jumper, and her creepy green sneakers. Why was she dressed so weird?

“Hi” he finally said giving her a wave back

End of FLASHBACK

“Hi” Jackson said to her

“Hi” April said looking him up and down “You’re...here”

“I am” Jackson answered with a smile

“What ARE you doing here...exactly?” She asked wondering why he was in scrubs and a lab coat with his name on it

He looked at her confused.

“Jackson has agreed to come work here” Mark piped in

“You work here now?” April asked brows rising

“Yeah”

When her eyes landed on her ex-husband in the E.R a minute ago, she thought he had come to see the kids or something, not because he was actually working there.

“So...does that mean you live here? In Seattle?”

“Yeah” Jackson answered again even more puzzled “I got here yesterday. Didn’t the twins tell you?”

“They know?”

Silence filled between them as they realized that their kids neglected to inform their mother of him being there.

“I talked to Jordan the day before I got here. She said she told you”

“Well she didn’t” April said, thinking that her teenage daughter was going to be in so much trouble

“Well, I’m sorry about that, should have told you myself”

“It’s Ok, I’ll talk to them about it later”

Another moment of silence fell between them, before April decided to speak again.

“So...how have you been?” she asked

“I’ve been Ok...you?” he said

“Ok too...I guess” she answered

There was silence between them again.

“Liking the hospital so far?” she asked

“Yeah...it’s...pretty cool” Jackson answered

‘Pretty cool? That’s the best you got?’ he mentally scolded himself

“That’s...good” April said, trying not smile awkwardly

Mark stood back and watched the exchange. What the hell was going on?

“Uh...”

“Sooo...”

Mark decided that he had to do something quick before this got any more awkward, if possible, and someone embarrassed themselves.

“Well, Dr. Avery and I have to continue with our tour” he said stepping behind Jackson

“Oh, go ahead” April quickly said, relieved, before addressing Jackson “Uh, I guess we’ll see each other around”

“Yeah” he simply replied

“Ok”

“This way” Mark said leading Jackson away, happy that he was some sort of hero.


April glared at her twins as she stood in front of them in the living room. They sat on the couch, looking as innocent as ever. As soon as she got home from the hospital, she had called them down from their rooms.

“You two lied” she stated

“Oh what would we lie about dear mother?” said Aiden in his best mannered voice

“Don’t start with me Aiden” she scolded, pointing a finger at him “Your father is here, in Seattle”

“He is?” Jordan asked, acting surprised.

Seeing the pissed look her mother gave her, her face fell.

“Yes, he is. And you two knew about it. Not only did you not tell me, you lied to your father and told him that you did”

“We forgot” Jordan said

“You forgot?” April mimicked “Did you really?”

They said nothing for a few seconds.

“No” Jordan finally said looking down

“I thought so” April said back “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Mom..” Aiden began but was cut off

“Why would you not tell me that Jackson was in Seattle AND working at Seattle Grace?”

The twins looked at their mother. This seemed to be more about their father being there than them actually lying.

“Why are you freaking out about dad being here?” Jordan asked curiously, trying to hold back a smirk

“I’m not freaking out about your father being here” she quickly answered “I’m mad that you guys lied to him about telling me”

Aiden squint his eyes at his mother. Now she was the one lying.

“Ok” Jordan said

“If you say so” Aiden added

April looked suspiciously at her twins, they looked like they wanted to laugh.

“Go to your rooms!” she instructed annoyed

They quickly got up and headed to their bedrooms. Once they were at the top of the stairs, she could hear their giggles.

“Ugh” she groaned, plopping herself on the couch

What was she going to do with these two?


“Bye mom” The twins said getting out of the car

“Bye. Have a good day at school” April answered

“Bye Stephanie” Aiden said with a smirk before getting out of the car

“By Aiden” Stephanie answered dryly with an eye roll

The resident needed a ride, and April had picked her up on her way to drop the kids off.

“Remember, straight home after school” April called out behind them, getting groans as a response

“It’s Friday April, let them hang out with their little friends” Stephanie said once they drove away from the school

April had a tendency to be a little strict on the twins. She always wanted to know where they were and dictate where they went and who they hung out with. The kids hated it, especially Aiden, who was the more sociable of the two.

“I would, but their grounded” she responded

“What did they do now?”

“Their father moved to Seattle and is working at the hospital. They never told me...” she stressed on the last part “...and lied to Jackson about it”

“Wait, Jackson works at Seattle Grace?”

“Yes”

“Ooooh” Stephanie said in realization “So he’s the new deliciously sexy doctor that’s working with Dr. Sloan” Stephanie grinned

“Steph!” April said annoyed

“What? I’m just repeating what the interns said” she defended herself “So, they’re grounded because they didn’t tell you?”

“No, they’re grounded because they lied to Jackson”

“It doesn’t seem that way”

“Yes, I’m upset they didn’t tell me but that’s not a reason to ground them” April said “I just would have liked to know”

“Maybe they didn’t tell you because they know you’d be bothered by him being here”

“Why would I be bothered?”

“Um, I don’t know. Maybe because you’re getting married and you don’t need distractions”

“How would Jackson distract me?”

Stephanie gave April a knowing look “He has his ways”

“You know what, we’re done talking” April said

“No we’re not. I’m on your service today, so this WILL come up again” Stephanie shot back

April groaned “Great” she sarcastically said

She couldn’t wait for that.

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