title: Breathe (2AM)
fandom: Grey's Anatomy
spoilers: post 7x22:"Unaccompanied Minor"
prompt: Meredith/Lexie, "sister, I need you now more than I ever did"
notes: for mammothluv who won me in the helpthesouth auction. Thanks for bidding on me! Hope you enjoy this. :)
Lexie is dreaming of Jackson when a baby starts crying. Jackson turns into Mark and Mark just smiles. He says, "Don't you just love that sound?" and she waits for him to go settle Sofia but he just stares at her, completely unaffected by the shrill cries coming from the next room.
A moment later she realizes she's dreaming but the baby doesn't stop wailing and then she's awake, really awake, throwing her covers back as she stumbles bleary-eyed to the attic stairs.
For a moment she thinks it's Mark, that he's followed her home to continue their earlier conversation. It probably says something important that she's disappointed the sound is coming from her sister's room but she doesn't let herself think too much about it.
Meredith's door is slightly ajar and she pauses to peer inside. Her sister is sitting on the edge of the bed, rocking a squirming Zola who lets out a frustrated cry when Meredith tries to shift her from her shoulder to her lap.
The room is dark, but Lexie can see her brother-in-law isn't with them so she knocks on the door and then joins her sister on the bed.
"You brought her home," Lexie says and after a moment she reaches out to touch Zola's hand. Her little fingers curl around Lexie's in reflex and she smiles. It's not that she doesn't like babies. She does. She just doesn't understand why everyone she knows has to have one right now.
"Temporary custody," her sister yawns, resting her forehead against the infant's wearily.
"Oh," she nods and Meredith's yawn has her swallowing one of her own. The clock on the bedside table says it's 2:47 am. The alarm on her phone is set for four-thirty. Mornings come early for surgeons. She wonders if Mark is up right now too, rocking Sofia as he feeds her a bottle. Then she wonders why she cares.
"I can't get her to go to sleep. Sorry."
Lexie doesn't ask where Derek is or why he isn't here to help. She heard they were fighting at work; she knows Alex moved out because of it. Meredith doesn't often tell her things and she's learning not to ask.
"S'okay," she shrugs. "That's what babies do."
There is an empty bottle on the nightstand and a trash can by the chair is filled with diapers. Beyond Zola's stuff, her sister's clothes and text books litter the corner. Meredith reminds her of Molly, the way she fills up a space with herself. Lexie has always been more like her mother. She's straight, organized. She makes lists because she's a planner. Molly is impetuous. She takes on things that are bigger than herself and then conquers them fearlessly. Like marriage and motherhood. Even after their mom died, Molly never wavered. She never freaked out.
Lexie can't imagine doing this without her mom there to guide her. Deep down, she's not entirely sure she wants to try.
"I can call Molly in the morning," Lexie offers carefully. She doesn't want Meredith to think she thinks she's a failure at this. That's how the two of them are similar. They care too much about proving themselves. "She had some sort of organic teething pills she gave Laura when she wouldn't sleep."
Her sister looks at her wordlessly for a moment and then sighs as she strokes Zola's cheek. Zola snuggles against her and whimpers as she clutches a fistful of Meredith's shirt. "Okay," Meredith agrees. "Ask her about lullabies too. Derek is the one who knows things like that but he's..."
"Not here," she finishes so Meredith doesn't have to. Whatever is going on between her sister and her brother-in-law, she knows it's big or he'd be here now. With them. Kids were his idea, she knows. Zola was his idea.
"Yeah," Meredith smiles thinly and they both look at the baby as she squirms again, refusing to let herself be lulled to sleep.
"Okay, but we are, so..." So, they'll have to figure this one out themselves, right? They can do this. The Grey sisters, they don't cave under pressure. None of them. The three of them have that in common.
"So," she says again and takes a deep breath. She hasn't sung outside of the shower since she was an undergrad in college and every Monday night was karaoke and penny pitchers at her favorite bar. The words are shaky at first and she ignores the look Meredith gives her. The one that says she won't be living this down for awhile.
Hey, Andy, did you hear about this one? Tell me, are you locked in the punch?
Hey, Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? Hey, baby. Are we losing touch?
If you believed they put a man on the moon, man on the moon.
If you believe there's nothing up my sleeve, then nothing is cool.
Meredith is laughing. "R.E.M.? Seriously?"
"Shut up," she warns and gestures toward Zola who stares back sleepily as she continues. It may not be a lullaby but the little girl quiets down to listen and by the time Meredith joins in on the second verse, Zola has laid her head on Meredith's shoulder, letting Meredith rock her without a struggle.
She's asleep half way through "Losing My Religion" but they finish the song just to be sure. Lexie thinks of growing up with Molly, how they would spend hours watching Saved By The Bell and MTV in the afternoons after school. It was her favorite part of the day, those hours she spent with her sister dancing around their room or cuddled on Molly's bottom half of their bunk bed. She loved everything about being a sister and when they had found out about Meredith, it had been so easy to photoshop her into all of those happy memories as if she had been there all along.
This is the first time Lexie really feels like she has that bond with Meredith. Finally. She finally got the older sister she dreamed about.
"I can't believe that worked," Meredith whispers as she tucks Zola into a makeshift crib of pillows and blankets on Derek's side of the bed. It doesn't look like her brother-in-law will be coming home any time soon. She wonders if this is a temporary absence or a more permanent one.
She'll ask Molly for a list of things they're going to need for Zola just in case it's the latter.
"My singing isn't that bad," Lexie yawns as she stretches before reaching for the empty baby bottle on the table. It needs to be washed and she's going down to the kitchen anyway. "I won first place in a karaoke competition my sophomore year in college. Free well drinks all night."
"Of course you did."
She's laughing at her again. It's not in a mean way. It's not like when she was an intern and Cristina made her life hell and Meredith let her. She's teasing her in a sisterly way. It makes Lexie smile as she makes her way to the door.
"Lexie," Meredith says quietly and she pauses to glance back at her.
Meredith smiles softly, her arms crossed over her chest. "Thank you. For helping me with Zola."
"No worries," Lexie shrugs as she pulls the door shut behind her. "It's what sisters are for."