A small vignette in the “What if-verse” of OFI. It’s been two weeks since Meredith took Alexis back to California (though, in reality, she didn’t have a hoard of men in black suits, just a passport and legal rights).
This popped into my head, and I had some time between classes, so I toyed with it, and thought I’d share. DON’T WORRY. THIS IS NOT PART OF THE ACTUAL STORY.
“Kate?” Martha said quietly, knocking on the doorjamb into the bedroom.
Kate turned her head and blinked at the older woman, haloed in the light that poured in behind her from the office. The room itself was dark and musty. She hadn’t changed the sheets in two weeks. She couldn’t let herself wash away that last part of him. Hell, she was curled up in a ball in his sweats and button down; she couldn’t do this at all. She hadn’t figured out how to get up everyday without needing to sob as she caught sight of his tie, or his sneaker, or the open tube of toothpaste she hadn’t touched in two weeks. She’d just opened a new one. It was like he still lived there, but everything was gathering dust, unused, untouched, unloved—just like her.
“Martha, hi,” she rasped, pulling herself together enough to sit up. “I thought you’d gone out.”
Martha gave her a soft smile. “I was about to, but I found something waiting for me downstairs, and I thought I should bring it up so you could see.”
Kate just stared at her, until she caught sight of a small hand clutching at Martha’s side. “Al…Alexis?” she whispered. It couldn’t be.
It took all of four seconds to see her and then feel her catapulting herself up onto the bed, flying into Kate’s arms with enough force to send them sprawling backward. Kate clutched the little girl to her, disbelief and joy and confusion and elation warring within her at equal measure.
“Alexis, baby, what are you doing here?” she whispered. “I’m so happy to see you. I’ve missed you so much. What are you doing here?” she worked out, the questions falling between smacking kisses and tight, almost aggressive hugs shared between them.
“Mommy came back to the city and,” she broke off to squeeze Kate around the neck as she sat up, pulling the girl into the vee her legs created.
“And?” Kate asked gently. They hadn’t been sure when they’d get to see her again. She and Martha had filed for partial custody together, but those things took time. Kate had resigned herself to living in the loft without anyone, and now she had the most important thing in the world in her lap.
“And she said that she was leaving me here while she went to a meeting, but Momma?”
“Yes, honey?” Kate replied, feeling a tear trail down her cheek at ‘Momma.’
“We brought all of my stuff,” she whispered, looking up at Kate with so much hope that it nearly broke my heart. “Can I stay? Please let me stay. I miss you.”
“Oh, sweetheart, I miss you too,” she sighed, running her fingers over the girl’s cheeks. “I miss you so much.”
“Can’t I stay? I don’t want to go back to California.”
Kate looked over at Martha, who was watching them with a sad smile. She slowly walked over and settled next to Kate, who scooted over so they could all fit together on the bed.
“It smells like Daddy,” Alexis offered as Kate pulled the blanket up over their legs.
She smiled for the first time in at least three days. “I know.”
“Meredith left this with the doorman,” Martha said quietly, handing a note to Kate as she ran a hand through Alexis’ hair.
Kate opened the small envelope with trembling fingers and slipped the note out, holding it close enough to read in the dim light.
Alexis is miserable in California. I’ve been offered a role in a major picture, and I need to take it. She can’t come with me, as we’ll be on location and moving for a few months. Would you be willing to have her live with you for that time?
I’ll be by later tonight to discuss it. She’s doing well enough, for all that’s happened. But she’s missed you, and I’m not above realizing that she’d be happier with you.
See you soon,
Kate stared at the note while Martha read it over her shoulder. She heard the matriarch let out a small gasp and her hand tensed on Kate’s forearm.
“What’s it say, Momma?” Alexis asked, looking up at her with wide eyes.
Kate looked from the note to the little girl and back. “It says you get to stay here for at least a couple of months, Alexis,” she told her honestly. Though, if Kate had any say in the matter, Alexis would be staying with them forever, and could go visit Meredith every so often, instead of the other way around.
“Really?” she whispered excitedly. “I get to stay!”
“At least for a few months, Sweetie,” Kate reiterated. She desperately wanted to tell her she could stay forever, but there was no guarantee of that, and she didn’t want to get the girl’s hopes up.
Alexis rammed into her in a fierce hug and Kate wrapped her in her arms, bending down to bury her face in the girl’s hair while Martha’s arms wound around them both. It was wonderful to be wrapped up in her family, but as she glanced to her right, she realized she expected to see Rick standing over the bed with a smile. She expected to see him crawl across the sheets to add himself to their group, engulfing them in his warm, firm embrace, kissing her cheek and burying his face in her hair. She expected to feel him kissing her neck and whispering something completely inappropriate into her ear.
Instead, she saw the dull gray of the sky out the window and the bedside table with his alarm clock and a half-empty glass of water exactly where he’d left them. Instead, she saw the hole that had been ripped into their lives. But they had Alexis now. They wouldn’t give her back. She was staying. That much was clear. Whatever she had to do, she’d get to keep this girl. She couldn’t lose her now that she had her back. Because if Meredith took her away again, Kate wasn’t sure that she’d ever get back up.
I thought I’d share, because it’s a different look at their dynamic. I don’t know that I’ll write more in this alternate AU. I might, as it comes to me. But I’m not going to get into it any further in OFI proper. Rick’s alive and everyone’s just fine.