slybrunette: (ga. lexie. i speak because i can)
[personal profile] slybrunette
Title: Close Your Eyes To Exit
Fandom: Grey's Anatomy
Characters/Pairings: Alex/Lexie, Jackson/Lexie, halfway implied Alex/Jackson/Lexie.
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3,084
Author's Note: I wrote this in early April, rediscovered it Wednesday, and then tacked on a few extra scenes. Originally based off of [Bad username or site: @]'s request for 'five years after the shooting' fic, except she wanted Alex/Lexie and this spiraled. Ignores canon from the last handful of episodes, which is probably for the best. Also, references to television shows I'm not even a fan of is what you get at 3am.
Summary: Future-fic. What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine and this nightmare is certainly ours.

She half wakes to the feel of a body over hers and the shift of weight on the bed as it falls back into the empty space alongside hers, chilly fingers prying at her arms, folded in close to her chest. When she went to sleep, it was a cold May evening that hovered closer to winter than the spring it touted itself as – flowers don’t grow when there’s still frost on the ground every third morning, she knows that, she knows it because everywhere she’s ever lived has been cold long after the rest of the country had caught up to the seasons, but they certainly do manage the April showers here – and now she finds herself curled into a ball, legs and arms drawn inward.

He’s pulling them – pulling her – apart, reaching out a hand that falls high against her rib cage, moving with the rhythm of her breathing in a way that’s deliberate. His cold feet brush against hers as he turns into her, into the pillow, and they send hers skittering backwards on the bed from the shock of it.

He still smells like aftershave and antiseptic. Faintly of mint that she attributes more to his recent use of Icy-Hot than she does toothpaste. He hasn’t been in her bed in months and he probably hasn’t been in any bed in hours judging by fingers and toes alike, but she lets him settle in next to her, lets him contort her body to suit his own needs, because it’s May twentieth and her stomach dropped at 12:01, right before she pulled the blankets over her head. Ever since then it’s been seconds ticking down until they can mark this day off on the calendar.

Today is a day where excuses are unnecessary in light of shared history, so she just burrows closer and slips back out of consciousness.


She comes to again before her alarm clock gets insistent. There’s foot traffic in the hallway, the faucet in the bathroom running at a trickle that’s somehow louder than full blast. The shower’s quiet and she recognizes the clearing of a throat as Meredith’s.

Her sister doesn’t live here anymore. Her sister was asleep on the couch last night regardless, an old afghan thrown over her and pulled up to her shoulders. It was the one that lives at the foot of Alex’s bed in the winter; she doesn’t know who it belongs to. No one here ever really seemed to understand the concept of yours and mine, mine and yours, except for April and now she’s in an apartment fifteen minutes away.

When she moved, Lexie bought her these little novelty shot glasses as a housewarming gift. Same size and same color, only each has a different word followed by the definition of it, formatted like one would find in the pages of a dictionary. The one for plastered says will sleep with anything that moves, among other things, and the color April turned matched that of her new couch nicely. When Meredith moved out she took a good amount of her stuff with her, and it’s due in part to both her and April’s departures that their kitchen now possesses both salt and pepper shakers in the shape of D-cell batteries and a colorful arrangement of self-stacking plates. It’s the kitchen of a college student, of people who are making a temporary pit stop before things get serious, only Lexie’s just a few months shy of thirty-one and she’s the youngest of them.

“What are you guys doing?” Jackson asks, barely muffled as he emerges from the bedroom across the hall. There’s bare feet on tile and someone – probably Alex – tries to speak around a toothbrush.

“Making pancakes,” Meredith replies, in short order, and whether it’s sarcasm or not she scampers down the stairs like a woman on a mission a moment later.


Jackson is sleep ruffled and Alex is sleep deprived. She’s just plain sleepy and together they complete a triangle of people known to bed hop when push comes to shove.

The heat went out last December and there was just the three of them sprawled out on the bed in the master bedroom with a bottle of tequila to go around. They’d slept there, above the blankets, fully clothed because someone passed out on someone else and no one really felt like moving so no one did. They fall back into that pattern sometimes, of indiscriminately tangled limbs and half-drunken evenings that blur together nicely, but most times its her finding her way between the sheets of someone else’s bed.

That it was Alex, last night, this morning, is a testament to dire circumstances.

Jackson hands her freshly brewed coffee, and Alex partakes in a carefully choreographed dance with Meredith while they cook and clean, yesterday morning’s dishes from dry toast and cereal to glasses of orange juice still lining the sink, thankfully rinsed out beforehand. Meredith takes the mixing bowl off of the second shelf, not the first, leaving the green and blue striped one to collect dust like it has been for years, a silent memorial to what came before just like the old comic books in the third drawer of the nightstand next to Alex’s bed are, a stash she’d never known was there until she went looking for batteries for the remote and found them, George’s watch forgotten atop them. She doesn’t know anything about his exit from this house other than it was speedy and well before her time.

In the living room, he flips the television on and off in the same breath. It’s long enough for Lexie to hear the wail of sirens, amped up and urgent on B-roll. Alex snickers, soundless over the running water but there’s a certain way his mouth moves and his nose flares that gives him away.

“They said it’s going to warm up,” Jackson says, when he settles back in the chair next to her, and no one questions why he can’t seem to hold his hands still.


They carpool in together because it’s just easier to defrost one car.

Meredith drives this atrocious minivan she got when her last car broke down. She spent the first year referring to it as an investment in the future, and the next two as a pain in the ass to park. Lexie likes her Prius just fine, thanks, although the day she brought it home Alex and Jackson came outside to stare at it before mutually agreeing that sex in that car was physically impossible.

But at least it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a car. A car that keeps her from having to spend almost four dollars a gallon on gas every two weeks, sure, but it’s just another possession she’s collected over the years, just like almost everything else in that house.

Meredith has a minivan and four bedrooms in a gigantic house on a hill.

“Mark called,” her sister tells her and the environment inside the car never changes. You’d expect tension you could cut with a knife but not here, here where the words are just met with exhausted indifference. It’s going to be a long day for everyone and they just don’t have that kind of energy for something so trivial.

“Yeah?” She replies, both an acknowledgement and a prompt.

“I think he misses you,” Meredith says, and it’s just a statement of fact, not a ploy or some half-assed attempt to play matchmaker. You miss the people you used to love. Still love. Thought you loved. You miss them even if you don’t want to, especially if you don’t want to.

She thinks she misses that version of herself too. Before surprise children and knowing what it feels like to be the one that wasn’t chosen. Before she knew what it was like to stare down the barrel of a gun and live to tell the tale. Or never speak of it again, as is more accurate.

Lexie slouches to the side in the backseat, pulls her feet under her body and Alex’s shoulder under her head, and she tries not to notice the sad smile Meredith gives her in the rearview mirror. Closes her eyes and plays dead, biting back a sleepy little yawn as the car hits yet another pothole.


She shuts herself in the third floor lounge for the duration of the early afternoon. There are more interns than there are patients in the pit and Cristina somehow seems to be on every surgery that her husband isn’t attached to. Her patient in 408B is stable and post-op and so she confines herself to the small round table with her laptop and a stack of books she stole from the library, playing detective on the mystery case they’ve got upstairs. It’s probably a stupid thing to do, to self-isolate, but just for today she wants to be able to see the door at all times. She wants a wall against her back.

Alex comes in just before two, unceremoniously drops a container full of salad in front of her and deposits himself in the chair across from her, apple in hand. Lunch hour for the overworked or maybe just the neglectful. She hasn’t eaten since breakfast at five something this morning, spent the day subsisting on three cups of coffee before she switched to water when that left her on edge, jittery.

They have a mini-salad bar in the cafeteria, a game of multiple guess, but Alex filled in all of the blanks correctly and, worse, looks like he knows it. Surprisingly smug in light of the half remembered fever dream that was this morning and the way his hands had pulled at hers, needy and desperate.

“You can remember I don’t like cucumbers but you can’t remember my birthday?”

“I thought that was the polite thing or whatever,” he covers, admittedly lamely, but he looks like he’s thinking about throwing in the towel and passing out on that couch for a couple of hours so she doesn’t think he’s trying too hard.

“No,” she corrects. “You never ask a woman her age. You always remember her birthday.”

“Too complicated.”

There’s a stretch of silence while she tucks into her salad and he finishes his apple. She hates those too, with a passion, and he’s never without them on the days he doesn’t bother to stop for lunch. It’s a trivial thing, really, but sometimes when she drinks too much and then thinks too much, when she tries to wrap her head around all of what was right and wrong with their relationship – in its numerous incarnations – she thinks of the way they operate independently, move around each other instead of with each other. No one’s changing for anybody here, and you either deal with that or you leave.

Lexie thinks of the damn apples, red cracking skin and white teeth.

“Ten hours,” he says, as the hands on the clock turn to two.



A cart crashes in the hallway.

Tips over and slams into the linoleum with a bang that reverberates all the way down two hallways and through a locked door.

It doesn’t sound at all like a gunshot.

When you’re not looking for one.


“Could be lupus,” Jackson theorizes, sometime much later when he’s joined her in the lounge, laid out on the couch like she’s the shrink and he’s about to spill all his secrets.

“It’s never lupus.”

She’s gotten nowhere since this afternoon, straight up giving up around three before she dashed out to discharge 408B, check if anyone needed an extra pair of hands in surgery, and decided to forgo the gallery in the interest of ending up here back here. People are leaving early, headed for Joe’s, but just the thought of tequila is making her stomach churn and their ride back is tied up in OR2 with an emergency craniotomy. So it’s just the two of them, off shift and back in street clothes, and Alex wrapped up in a late arrival, a harmless five year old girl one floor up who might die today.


“So you and Alex, huh,” he observes, voice measured if not tight.

Approach with caution, the sign reads, only she barrels on ahead, can’t just settle for a simple yes or no and leave it at that because they’ve always been all about full disclosure. That’s how their precariously balanced triangle survives intact. No lying, no sneaking around to keep from hurting someone else’s feelings. What happens happens and you either deal with it or you don’t.

“How do you know about that?”

“He only leaves his door open when he’s not actually in his bed.”

“How do you know he wasn’t in yours?”

“Pretty sure I would’ve noticed.”

“Only pretty sure?”

Her grin is cheeky and it’s one he doesn’t return as he sits up and faces her. Instead he’s serious and she doesn’t know whether she’s supposed to read that as jealousy or concern.

“You’re reading too much into it. I mean, Meredith slept on our couch last night for no reason. Wasn’t too drunk to drive home, wasn’t even having problems with Derek. She just…slept there. And then she made us breakfast in the morning, which she didn’t even do when she was living with us.” She shakes her head. “Today’s like the full moon. It makes people act strange. But it doesn’t mean anything.”

He leans forward, elbows on the arm of the couch, and, “I thought the full moon was werewolves.”

She’s getting off too easily. They’ve all been getting off too easily, careless and lazy save for the one day a year, like clockwork, where it’s impossible not to compulsively count minutes, to remember that she was asleep in the on-call room at seven, asleep until her pager went off and Alex ended up all but clocking her as he rolled over, to remember that it was not long after that when she found him on the floor of the elevator, half-dead and bleeding out. That it was over by two.

That right now she would’ve been curled in one of the chairs in Seattle Pres., holding vigil on autopilot.

She swallows that thought down, along with a healthy dose of sarcasm, and acid burns the back of her throat.

Answers, “If you believe in that sort of thing.”


Meredith drops them off at home and Lexie orders takeout, settles back on the couch between the boys with her food by eight-thirty.

Alex won’t touch food but his beer is never far from him and it’s for that reason that she thinks to ask, “Did the little girl make it?”

“She’s touch and go,” he replies, and his eyes never leave the screen, some old black and white film playing on one of the movie channels, the sound low enough that it takes conscious effort to track. It’s unfamiliar but she figures the villain probably dies, figures the guy probably gets the girl, the same reused plotline, and fiction, literature and film and literature turned into film, it’s all supposed to be an escape, she gets that, but the procession of happy endings feels alternately contrived and painfully out of reach.

“Oh,” she says, lamely, and when she shifts she reorients her body, draws away. Jackson remains a solid weight next to her.

(She’s wrong.

She’s wrong and in the third act the girl kills herself.

He’s wrong too. Because the child isn’t touch and go, that outlook is far too rosy for a pessimist like him, and he gets the call to come back in before the credits roll. She knows what that means as well as he does, the only difference is he’s resigned to it.

A girl kills herself and a five year old dies before she can make it to surgery. They’re both wrong and it’s still the twentieth of May.

She never does get to find out how that movie ends.)


Jackson says her name first.

Says it damply against her ear right before his hands slide into contact with her body, fingers warm through the thin fabric of her shirt, and then he’s lifting her off the couch like a rag doll. Her feet touch the ground and her legs wobble underneath her as she groggily finds her footing, almost stubbing her toe on the leg of the coffee table in the process, but his hands stay at her sides, her back pressed tight to his chest as he walks them up the stairs and into the bedroom at the end of the hall.

“Where is he?” She asks, and the words are sticky, muffled as she collapses into bed. Her shoes are downstairs and she doesn’t even bother to kick off her jeans before she sinks into the mattress.

“Just sleep,” he tells her, and when her hand fists in his t-shirt, pulls him down with her, he goes willingly.


There are three in the bed and the little one does not say roll over.

The little one is her.

Alex climbs in and she instinctively seeks him out. Turns on her side and Jackson’s grip on her slips but his hand stays on her hip, fingers flexed carelessly against bone. The palms of her hands hit worn black cotton and she leans in close, whispers, “are you okay?”

It’s a good thing she already knows the answer because he doesn’t provide her with one. What he does do is trace a long, lazy line up the inside of her thigh, turning just before leg meets groin. The knuckles of his hand meet the bone of Jackson’s wrist, accidental collision, and she shivers, going completely still for a moment, open-mouthed along his jaw. She can feel his throat work as he swallows but Jackson doesn’t so much as breathe funny and some of the tension gradually slips from her body.

“What time is it?” She tries, suddenly awake, and she’d reach for the watch that she knows is still around his wrist but his hand has settled on her body, running parallel to Jackson’s, and it’s strangely comforting in a way that she doesn’t want to disrupt.

“It’s tomorrow,” he says, and, really, that was the only answer she wanted to hear.

The breath she lets out is a shaky one.

(It’s tomorrow. It’s tomorrow and he’s still here and that means something different than it did yesterday.)



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