Actions

Work Header

start it up

Chapter Text

I just got happy in a world without Cristina and without Derek and I don't want to be alone.

Her sister's words roll through Amelia's mind as she leans against the bar, watching her colleagues circulate. It's a beautiful day for a wedding, if one were to ever happen. They seem to have lost the bride and the groom as well as half of the guests and so there is nothing much for her to do apart from drift into quiet contemplation.

She's thinking a lot about what Meredith has just said to her. Amelia's probably thinking about it a lot because it's easier than thinking about Owen and Leo and Betty, and whatever the hell is happening there. She tries not to glance over to where he's standing, all handsome and tall in a beautiful suit, her definitely ex-husband.

Amelia knows what it's like to lose people. She and Meredith have that in common, even if it's something they rarely talk about. And so she understands that Meredith's words are kind of a big deal. Any admission of need is not usually Meredith's style, and so that's why Amelia can't help but take it very seriously.

She knows that for Meredith, Derek was it. He was the big love, the crazy intense love, and that maybe in her mind nothing out there will ever quite measure up. But the fact that Meredith is willing to try not being alone? That's huge. And Amelia has no desire to see Meredith shut herself away, recline into spinsterhood surrounded by only the memories of her dead husband. She deserves more than that.

Besides, seriously - look at her. Amelia's got eyes. She can see what a striking figure Meredith is cutting in that killer dress. And Amelia's sure she's not the only one who has noticed, based on the way Helm's eyes seem to follow Meredith around. Even DeLuca, as on-the-way-to-drunk as he is, lets his gaze linger a little too long as Meredith walks by.

The fact is that Meredith is a catch: a stone cold catch, with brains and beauty and all of that good stuff that should make every single man fall to their knees if they knew she was open to possibilities.

She needs a little push, Amelia thinks, as she makes a grab for a canape off a passing tray. She's starving and this wedding doesn't look like it is kicking off any time soon. She sees Owen give her a smile from where he's standing and she tries to ignore the lurch in her stomach.

Love is a nightmare, she thinks, as she tries to control her heart rate through willpower alone. But it's still exciting and thrilling and she thinks Meredith could do with some of that in her life again.

They haven't always seen eye to eye on everything over the years, but Amelia wants to help. She wants to see her sister happy and not alone. She wants to see her light up again.

Amelia's just not sure what she can do about it. But she's going to try to figure that out.

---

Meredith is meant to be at a wedding. Instead, Alex and Jo are nowhere to be found and she's now been left to babysit a drunk and maudlin Andrew DeLuca. This is not how she thought this day would go.

That said, Andrew's a calm drunk. He doesn't resist as she guides him away from the crowds, just accepts her steer placidly. The fire in him from minutes ago appears to have extinguished itself and he seems willing enough to just amble along, her arm tucked in the crook of his elbow.

Meredith doesn't know him all that well, but that's not to say that she doesn't feel sorry for him. After all, she'd witnessed the fallout first hand: namely days of his curled up figure, broken-hearted on her couch. He'd at least had the dignity to keep his misery silent, apart from the occasional, and very mournful, Italian guitar ballad interrupting her peace.

Alcohol and misery do not mix. Meredith knows this from experience, although she doesn't begrudge him the outlet. She's hardly in a position to lecture him about not using alcohol to drown all sorrows. That said, what she does know about DeLuca is that he's a passionate guy. He feels deeply, about medicine and especially about love, and this is no exception. Meredith can relate more than most to losing someone you weren't ready to let go of, and so it's for this reason that she's going to help him walk it off, rather than berate him.

She doesn't really have a speech planned. Mostly just a series of vague platitudes that she's sure were rolled out to her once upon a time when she was at her lowest ebb. They hadn't meant much to her then, but she figures that saying something - anything - at this point, is better than them drifting along in awkward silence.

His tie is askew and half of his shirt has become untucked, but he otherwise feels firm and solid against her arm. He's drunk, sure, but not inappropriately so. He can still walk in a straight line and react to her words, and so Meredith doesn't feel like her attempts at comfort will be a complete waste of time. He's a nice guy. She doesn't want to see him suffer, and she'll try and make him feel better if she can.

"Andrew," she says as she guides him forward, "you're young". Objectively true. "And you have that face!" She probably shouldn't have said that, but there is no denying that it's also true. He glances over at her with curious interest, and Meredith gets an even better look at all his handsome angles. "You're going to fall in love again," she continues in an upbeat manner that she's not quite sure she feels. She's also realising that perhaps the words, coming from her, are somewhat hypocritical. Nevertheless, she powers on: "And you're going to get your heart broken again. And that's life. And it's beautiful. And it's messy. It's a beautiful mess."

They've stopped in the middle of the bridge, and he's turned to look at her. His expression is soft, albeit a little fuzzy around the edges from what she thinks must be the alcohol. Honestly, she doesn't foresee any problems with Andrew DeLuca getting women to fall in love with him. She's surprised there isn't a queue already. Hell, after a few drinks of her own, Meredith is half tempted herself - if only for the way his eyes stare unabashedly into hers. There's a directness, a presentness about him, even in his current state, that both excites and makes her more nervous than it should.

Meredith pushes the thoughts down, and tries to find something else to say. Anything will do. "You can't cling to what was. You have to look at what might b-"

She doesn't get a chance to finish, because all of a sudden there are strong hands cupping her face, and lips pressed against her own. They're firm and warm, but not insistent, they are just there. He tastes like beer, and she finds she doesn't hate it. But Meredith also knows this can't happen. For so so many reasons.

She jerks back. "Andrew!" Her hands are firmly grasping at the broad shoulders of his suit, and Meredith tries not to notice the swell of muscles under the fabric. She hastily draws back. "That's not what I meant," she scolds, swallowing a little more heavily than she should. "This is not a seduction!"

His face goes instantly slack-jawed, and she finally feels his hands slide away from her skin. He looks genuinely upset, afraid to have offended her, and for that reason, she won't haul him over the coals like she might anyone else. She doesn't think he needs that right now.

Meredith ignores the way her lips are tingling, because that isn't relevant at all.

---

oh no oh no oh no oh no.

Andrew's internal monologue is about as incoherent as he is right now. His brain is only now catching up to the monumental error he's just made. He's kissed his boss. Not just any boss. The amazing, the brilliant, award-winning Meredith Grey.

Oh god, what has he done?

He's not sure why he even did it. No, that's not quite true. Sure, some of it is to do with Sam, and the fact that he's sad. Sad at the loss of a future that he had imagined for himself, and sad at the idea that he's alone again. He wants some temporary relief from that. He wants to not feel sad anymore. Sadness plays a part.

But it isn't everything. Dr. Grey (Meredith? Can he call her Meredith now, given what has just happened?) was being so kind to him. She wasn't belittling him or mocking him about how he felt. It was so unlike Carina, whose patience had very quickly exhausted itself mere days after Sam's departure. Instead, Dr. Grey had taken his arm and led him off, and reassured him that there was still hope, even if it didn't feel like it right now.

And truthfully, she'd looked so lovely standing there. The blue of her dress made her hair shine, her eyes pop, and in that moment, with her smiling face tilted up to meet his, he had mistaken her kindness and comfort for something else. And his drunken brain had done the rest.

What an idiot.

Even through the panic in his mind, Andrew realises the only thing he can do now is make a grovelling apology. He just hopes it's enough - that he hasn't lost his job, that she doesn't now write him off as some bumbling drunken lech, who can't read the basic signals of human interaction. He likes to think he's not that guy, but who is to say anymore? He feels like he's stepped out of his body, and no longer recognises himself.

"Oh god," he moans, the words muffled by the press of his hands against his embarrassed face. He can feel the heat of his skin under his fingertips, knows he must be bright red with shame right now. "I'm so sorry. Am I fired?" He winces, barely able to meet her eyes.

She gives him a strange look, and he can't tell if she's actually contemplating whether or not to fire him, or if it is something else entirely. She looks a lot less perturbed than he thinks she has the right to be, and for that, Andrew can only be grateful.

"No," she answers plainly, after a pause. He's learnt over the years that Meredith Grey is nothing but matter-of-fact. "I'm... flattered."

Flattered?

She sounds a little surprised at her response. And if Andrew's honest, it's not the answer he was expecting either, although given what has just happened, he'll take it. But there's something about the way that she says it that piques his curiosity. His slowly sobering brain wants to question it, but before he can even think about whether that's a good idea, a distant shout jars them out of the moment.

Before he knows it, he's kicking down a door, and this is probably one of the weirder half hours of his life. In fact, this morning he hadn't even been sure whether he'd show up at all today, and yet here he is, kicking down doors, and inappropriately making moves on his boss. But now, with all the adrenaline that's pumping through him, he feels more alert than ever.

Alert enough to the fact that when they are only steps behind Jo and Alex, rushing back to the wedding party, Meredith reaches out and grabs his hand. He knows it's only for practicality. She's wearing some incredibly... flattering shoes, and so she's merely looking to him for support and balance. So the still-slightly-drunk Andrew of his mind tries not to overthink it, tries not to make it awkward or strange. But it's unexpected enough, and it makes him wish that they could have finished their conversation.

Flattered?

---

"You're insane. She'll kill us!" Maggie hisses, as the ferry boat glides across the sound. The Seattle skyline provides a backdrop as picturesque as any postcard. The wedding had finally happened, on a boat of all places. And Maggie would like to be focusing on how nice it was, and how happy the couple were. But instead, she's trying to wrap her head around what on earth Amelia's trying to explain to her.

"Maybe," Amelia replies, as she eases off her shoes and lets them clatter onto the wooden deck. She wiggles her toes and Maggie watches on in horror. "But not if we do it so that she doesn't realise we're doing it."

Maggie's now very confused. She's had a few drinks, sure, but not that many, right? Either way, she's not convinced any of this is making even basic sense, even by Amelia's standards. "What does that even mean?"

Amelia gives her a look. It's a mix of frustration and something else. Probably along the lines of Maggie, how can you be so dumb for someone so smart? Maggie's received that look a whole lot of times in her life, and she can't say she's ever liked it.

"It means, we work in a hospital. There are lots of single and eligible men there. We can just create situations that puts Meredith in their path."

Maggie shakes her head in disbelief. "It sounds so... sinister when you put it like that."

The brunette rolls her eyes. "Look, I told you what she said to me. She doesn't want to be alone, Maggie! But you know what she's like. She's stubborn. She's not just going to put herself out there, start asking out guys and browsing through dating apps." Amelia's hands are waving about wildly, and Maggie's worried one is going to accidentally connect with her face. "So all we're doing is subtly... assisting. We're pulling the strings! We're not doing anything that she doesn't subconsciously want us to do. Don't you want her to be happy and not alone?"

It's Maggie's turn to give Amelia a glare. "Of course, I don't want her to be alone! But I feel like... maybe... this could go horribly wrong."

Amelia stifles a laugh, and nods her head with enthusiasm. "Oh for sure. There are about a billion ways this could go wrong." The thought doesn't seem to perturb her as much as it's starting to perturb Maggie. "But hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?"

Sometimes Maggie wonders whether Amelia's brain tumour is truly gone, and then feels bad for thinking it for about half a second. Amelia is Amelia. She's impetuous and rash, and yet somehow she is one of the bravest people Maggie knows. Besides, she can kind of see the merit in what Amelia's saying. If Meredith truly doesn't want to be alone, then it would be nice to gently... help her on that journey, if they can.

"Fine," she sighs eventually, wishing she had another glass of wine just to settle the feeling of apprehension that's taken up residence in the pit of her stomach. "So, where do you think we should start?"