A Bit Later: the larger print archive version is up on my website
Notes & Disclaimers: this is a sequel to ‘Irreconcilable Differences’. Yes, I know I said it was a one time only story, but these things happen!
This one is titled "Seriously". It's a word/expression the characters on Grey's use a lot, and Nin and I have started incorporating it into our own conversations – it never fails to make us laugh. (We’re easily amused, what can I say?) So, as you might guess, this story is a little more lighthearted than the last one. Thank goodness, huh?
The usual disclaimers apply: all Grey’s Anatomy and Highlander characters belong to their owners and creators, and that’s not me. However, all original characters belong to me.
Thanks to Mickey for beta reading and thanks to you for reading! Please let me know if you enjoyed the story. Thanks!
Rated around a PG/PG13, me thinks.
“Yes! I heard it from George, who heard it from one of the nurses on his service!”
“Oh, come on!”
The excited, half-whispered voices suddenly fell into a self-conscious silence.
Emily Scott swallowed a smile as she passed the suddenly quiet table of first year residents in the cafeteria dining room. "Good afternoon, doctors,” she said pleasantly as she passed, carrying her lunch tray. Trailing in her wake she heard a variety of replies and she smiled, having a fair idea just what the topic of today’s gossip was.
Putting her tray on a table, she sat on a plastic chair, slipped a foot out of one heeled pump, drew her leg up and hooked her foot on the edge of the chair. Sister Mary Catherine would have been scandalized at how Emily was sitting, pantsuit or no. ‘A lady always sits with her ankles demurely crossed’. Or so she’d told Emily often enough in school. Massaging her scalp, she realized she probably looked a fright. She could feel that most of her curly red hair had escaped its constraining braid at some point during her busy morning. She’d tidy up after lunch if she didn’t get paged first.
“Ma’am?” she heard a female voice say beside her. Looking up, she realized that it was Meredith Grey, one of the residents from the table she’d passed.
“Did you need something, Dr. Grey?” she asked the pretty dark-blond doctor.
‘I’m really sorry to bother you at lunch, Dr. Scott, but I was wondering if I could have a minute?”
Emily waved to one of the empty chairs. “What can I do for you?” She took the proffered chair, and looked a little uncertain. ‘I don’t bite, Dr. Grey,” she prompted.
“No. Sorry. It’s just that I wanted to thank you again for including me in surgery yesterday. You’ve been very kind to me, so thank you.” She bit her lip, as if uncertain she should continue. “I know you’re good friends with the Shepherds, and I…well…”
“And you thought I might hold your relationship with Derek against you?” Emily said it for her since Meredith seemed to be rapidly losing her nerve.
“Yes, ma’am.” She seemed relieved it was out. “The thing is, I’m interested in your specialty and was wondering if, when you had time, we could talk about it?”
“Dr. Grey… Meredith, I’m your teacher, it’s my job to talk with you about your future. That being said, just for the record, I have no issues with you whatsoever. Derek is the best man I know - even if he did introduce me to my ex, but no one’s perfect - but he and only he is responsible for what happened.” She broke a piece off a Frito and ate it before continuing. “I can only imagine how awful it was for you when you found out. I’ve known Addy for a very long time, and though I wasn’t there, I know exactly how she is. Swooping down on you in her highest pair of heels, wearing a suit that cost more than most economy cars, looking like she walked out of a Milan fashion show, and in high dudgeon.” She patted the other woman’s hand. “They may have been separated, but he wasn’t free.”
“That about covers it,” Meredith replied ruefully. “But she’s been great since then! I don’t want you to think, well…”
“Addison Forbes Shepherd is one of the warmest and most fair people you will ever meet, and she’s my dearest friend -- we were residents together. You know how that experience is bonding you with your group? Well, in six more years, many of those people will be closer to you than family.”
‘Yeah, I’m kinda getting that.” Emily held her Frito bag out. Taking one, she nibbled at it thoughtfully. “You’ve known Derek a long time.”
“Since I was ten, and I couldn’t love him any more if he were my actual brother.”
“I am pretty wonderful,” the object of their discussion said smugly from behind them.
Emily craned her head back, smiling. “Come join us, Mr. Wonderful.”
Dr. Derek Shepherd was a very handsome man, with dark curly hair and a smile that melted female hearts, along with an easygoing charm and innate kindness that made him an excellent doctor, and an excellent friend. “Don’t mind if I do.” He placed his tray next to Emily’s.
“So, you two have known each other since you were kids?”
‘Yes, we have. And for the record, Emmy was a horrible little brat!” Emily threw a corn chip at him and he ducked, grinning. “And what would Sister Mary Catherine say about you sitting in that unladylike fashion?”
“Probably nothing, since she’d be too busy catching you making out with Bridget Fitzgerald!” Her bright blue eyes were glinting with laughter.
Meredith giggled as Derek threatened to pour his bottle of water over Emily’s head. “Take it back!” He tugged lightly at her braid. “See? A brat!”
“So the nuns caught you making out a lot?” Meredith asked with smiling eyes. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
“Hey, don’t believe everything she says! I was a well behaved young man.” Derek nodded sharply.
Emily was choking back laughter. “Yeah, sure.” She smacked Derek’s hand away as he started poking at the food on her plate.
“What on earth are you eating? A corn dog, pizza with white goop on it,” he pushed at a piece of cheese, “and cheese with… BBQ sauce? That’s disgusting!”
“You forgot the Fritos and the Hot Tamales,” Meredith pointed out.
“It’s not disgusting! It’s my lunch! And it’s not ‘goop’, it’s Ranch dressing, thank you very much!”
“What, no chocolate sauce to dip your corn dog into?” he asked, eyeing her with disbelief as she put corn chips on top of her corn dog, followed by mustard, before taking a bite.
After swallowing her food, she said, “They were out.” She stuck her tongue out at him.
“So were you two, you know, ever sweet on each other?” Meredith asked. “When you were kids?”
Emily and Derek looked at each other. “Ewww!” they said simultaneously.
Emily giggled. “Derek’s mother had such hopes we would fall in love and get married one day. When we were teenagers, and were dating other people, she started dropping all sort of hints. Derek’s sister Amelia dared us to kiss each other one day. So we did.” She paused, with a wicked gleam in her eye. “And I almost became a lesbian after the experience!”
Meredith covered her mouth, laughing uncontrollably. The look on Derek’s face only made her laugh harder.
“Hey!” he protested. “It was not that bad!” Emily just giggled some more. “See if I barbeque you salmon ever again!”
“Come on, not the salmon!” Emily protested. She loved Derek’s salmon with a passion. And he knew it too.
‘If you apologize sincerely and frequently, we’ll see.” Emily leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “That’s a start.”
“I’m very sorry, Derek.” She batted her eyes at him. “Seriously.”
“You should be.” He winced as Emily took a bite of her dressing covered pizza, and she rolled her eyes at his expression.
“She should be what?” Addison asked, joining them at the table. Addison Shepherd was a tall, stunning redhead, and a brilliant obstetric surgeon. She’d followed her husband to Seattle a few months after he left New York when their marriage had fallen apart. A few months after that, Emily had joined them at Seattle Grace.
“Terribly sorry,” Emily said, grinning.
“She picking on you again, dear?” Addison asked as she took a bite of her salad.
“Don’t you start!” he warned his wife. She didn’t reply, just smiled innocently and continued to eat her salad.
After a few minutes, Addison turned to Emily. “We lost the pool.”
“Damn! I knew that’s what they were talking about.” Emily waved her hand back at the table Meredith had come from. “So spill, Dr. Grey!” Emily commanded the young resident.
“Yeah, tell us everything you know, Mer,” Addison told her.
“Me? Know about what?”
“Come on, Mer, you’re busted,” Derek said.
“Seriously, I don’t know anything!” Her voice rose into a nervous squeak at the end with the three attendings looking at her expectantly. “Oh, okay!” she said truculently. “It was about Dr. Scott and Dr. Pierse.”
Addison motioned for her to continue. ‘We figured that out already. We want the details.”
“There’s money riding on this,” Derek informed her, “so come on!”
“Okay already! The rumour is that Dr. Pierse is Dr. Scott’s ex-husband.”
“And when did this first hit the rumour mill?” Emily asked.
“I heard that someone on Dr. Pierse’s service told an OR nurse last night, and she told George, Dr. O’Malley.
“Last night! Damnit!” Addison grumbled.
“Looks like you won, Derek,” Emily said.
“Won what?” Meredith asked, completely baffled by their antics.
Emily crushed a corn chip between her fingers. “We had a little betting action on just when the news that Adam and I used to be married would reach the hospital.”
“You’re not divorced yet,” Derek muttered. Emily ignored him
“You bet on gossip about yourself?” She shook her head. “Seriously?”
“Well, why not? If people are going to gossip abut me, I may as well try and make a little money from it.” Sighing, she pushed her tray back. “But Derek won. Though, you don’t look all that happy for someone who just won a nice sum of cash,” Emily noted, looking at Derek thoughtfully.
Addison glanced over at her husband. “No, he doesn’t.”
“Derek! You didn’t?” Emily smacked him on the arm.
“What?” Addison and Meredith asked.
“You had a side bet with Adam, didn’t you?”
Derek was practically pouting. “Fine, yes. He wanted in, okay?”
Emily narrowed her eyes. “Meredith, what’s the part you haven’t told us? I’m sure part of the gossip is about why we split up.” Meredith looked like she’d rather be eaten by lions than answer her question. “Come on, I’m going to hear about it eventually!”
“Just for the record, the three of you are crazy! Really, you are. You need hobbies or something,” she grumbled. Sighing in resignation, she complied. “Well, the story is that Dr. Pierse caught you and Dr. Shepherd, Addison that is, having a steamy affair.” Derek choked on his coffee.
“I knew it! You’ve been so had, Derek,” Emily told her friend. “Serves you right though; you should know better by now. Make a bet with Adam and the information conveniently comes to light in his favour. The story about me and Addy is so him!”
“It’s just like the old days,” Addy said brightly.
Meredith looked confused and Derek took pity on her. "When we were residents, we had our own Dr. Karev. He was sure that Emmy and Addy secretly harboured a passion for each other. That being part of the story just confirms that Emmy's right, I've been suckered."
Addison leaned in towards Emily and whispered, "And it proves he's still looking out for you."
Emily glared at her friend. Addison and Derek still refused to accept their friends' impending divorce. "Knock it off," she hissed. Addy just smiled smugly. They both knew that Adam had planted that story to deflect the gossip away from matters that would still have the power to hurt his soon to be ex-wife. She had to admit that she hadn't relished the thought of her illness and her miraculous 'remission' becoming common knowledge. In the two months since Methos' arrival at Seattle Grace, they had worked out a way to deal with each other at the hospital. Emily didn't dwell on their immortality, and thought of him as 'Adam', not 'Methos', not the five thousand year old Immortal. She had years of their professional relationship to fall back on from a time when they'd been residents and had to separate their personal lives and their careers. It seemed to work -- well, mostly.
"Anyway, anyone who knew Adam would know that him finding out that Addy and I were having an affair wouldn't be cause for a divorce," she smirked, "he'd think it a fine opportunity for a threesome." Or a foursome, she thought to herself, thinking that was probably more than Derek wanted to know.
"I wish I knew if you were kidding or not," Meredith said almost plaintively. Addison and Derek laughed.
"Feel free to ask him," Emily suggested wickedly.
"I'd rather clean every bathroom in the hospital than ask Dr. Pierse anything ever!" Guiltily, she looked around. "Sorry."
Emily laughed. "No apology necessary. You have the Nazi, right?"
"Well, when Adam was Chief Resident, we called him Ghengis Khan. And you can pass that bit of gossip around as much as you like."
Derek nodded. "He even made Emmy cry once."
"And they were dating at the time," Addison added.
"Damn!" Meredith said, looking at Emily. "He made you cry and you were involved? That's harsh!"
"Don't feel too bad for her, she got her revenge." Derek looked pointedly at his friend.
"Hey, no one ever proved I had anything to do with any of that!"
"Let's just say that Adam had a cloud of misfortune over his head," Derek told the younger woman. "If it wasn't his car being moved to the opposite end of the lot from where he’d left it, when he had the only set of keys, it was his scrubs being just a little too small, or a lot too big."
Emily kept an innocent look plastered to her face. "I'm sure he exaggerated! Big baby."
"And I was always pretty sure you had help." Derek looked at his wife who had a similar innocent expression on her face.
"And?" Meredith prompted
"And after a few weeks of mysterious accidents he begged for mercy," Emily said smugly. "And the upside, besides the lovely diamond earrings he gave me, was that no one ever messed with me again."
"They were too afraid they'd meet a similar fate." Derek grinned, eating one of Emily's Hot Tamales.
"Don't get mad, get even." Addison said cheerily.
"Always good advice," Adam said, coming to stand behind Emily. She'd felt his approach, but had tried to keep from showing even a hint of reaction. She knew that one day, the Immortal she felt wouldn't be Methos or Duncan.
He was tall and lean, with dark hazel green eyes and unkempt dark hair and had an aggressive self-confidence that coloured everything he did. Emily always had trouble imagining the mild-mannered grad student Duncan had told her Methos was posing as when he’d first met the oldest Immortal. ‘Mild-mannered’ and Methos just didn’t go together in her reality.
"So what are we talking about?"
Tilting her head back to look at him, Emily replied, "How much money Derek lost to you. Just how much was it anyway?"
Laughing, he came around into her field of view, snagging a chair from a nearby table and sitting down. "I wouldn't want to embarrass him."
"That bad huh?" Addison asked. He just grinned cheerily, and she shook her head, rolling her eyes.
"Just so you know," Derek told him, "you're buying the drinks tonight!" He turned to Emily. “Why don’t you join us, Em? We hardly see you anymore.”
She dropped her eyes, looking down at her lap. Derek just wouldn’t let it be. Of course she couldn’t tell him she spent most of her free time training with Duncan, so she always had to come up with excuses. ‘I’m sorry, Derek, but I have plans.”
“Anyone we know?” Derek asked a little coolly.
Before Emily could form a reply, Methos said, “Dr. Grey, you did well in this morning’s surgery.” Meredith looked startled at suddenly being the object of the dreaded Dr. Pierse’s attention, and Emily gave an internal sigh of relief. “You have steady nerves. Have you ever considered making Trauma your specialty?”
Meredith opened and closed her mouth. “Sir?”
He had that familiar half-mocking, half-amused expression on his lean face. “I thought the question fairly self-explanatory, Doctor.”
“Yes, sir. I’m sorry sir; you just took me by surprise.” She swallowed nervously, gathering her wits. “It’s something I’ve thought about, yes. I’m also considering Craniofacial, which is why I was talking to Dr. Scott,” she explained.
All his attention was on the young woman, as if she was the only person at the table. “Fair enough. Come see me tomorrow morning, Dr. Grey, your schedule allowing of course, and we’ll see if I can’t make a more compelling case than Dr. Scott.” He smiled that smile and made his offer of a future surgical specialty sound more like a proposition than anything else. Emily knew that Meredith Grey was thinking that just maybe Dr. Pierse wasn’t so bad after all, drawn in by his ability to make even the most mundane things seem like a seduction.
“I will, thank you, sir,” Meredith replied, sounding just a bit breathless.
Emily could see Derek and Addison watching her intently, looking for even a hint of jealousy. She would be so glad when their divorce was final, not to mention the annulment. Until then, Derek and Addy were going to do their best to try and put the two of them back together again. “Dr. Pierse is an excellent teacher, Meredith. You could do far worse in your choice of a mentor.” And she meant that with all sincerity. No matter her inability to continue being married to the man, she would never deny his brilliance as a surgeon and as a teacher. “Seriously,” she added, smiling at Methos.
He returned her smile before standing up. “Derek, Addy, I’ll see you tonight; Dr. Grey, Emily.” He nodded once and was gone.
Suddenly jumping out of her chair, Emily said, “I’ll catch you guys later.” Before they could respond, she went after Methos, catching up with him just before he got to the hospital doors.
“Thank you,” she said as he turned.
“For distracting Derek and Addy. For the gossip you planted to keep people from prying into my personal life.” Suddenly shy, she asked, “Does it get any easier, living a double life, I mean?”
He looked at her sympathetically. “Yes, it does. You’re doing this the hard way. Most young Immortals die a public death and they’re forced to break from their past. It’s just going to take time, Emmy. It will get easier, I promise.”
Not all of it, she thought to herself. It still hurt every time she saw Methos. Somehow she doubted that would ever get easier. “It’s just I’m running out of excuses for them. If they see me with Duncan too many times, they’re going to start assuming…” She shook her head. This wasn’t his problem. “I’m sorry.” Turning away, she pushed her hair away from her face angrily. The habits of thirteen years together weren’t easy to overcome.
Then his hand was on her shoulder and the warmth of his touch flowed through every fiber of her being. She knew she should pull away, but she literally couldn’t bear to. “Don’t be sorry, Emmy. We both know I’m the reason you have to make excuses, so at the very least I can answer your questions. It’s my responsibility.” His hand fell away, and she fought to regain her composure before turning back to face him.
“Does it really matter if Derek and Addy assume you and Duncan are more than friends?”
“Yes, of course, it’s a lie.”
Sighing, he looked at her. “Not all lies are necessarily an evil, you know.”
Nodding, she crossed her arms, pondering his words. When she thought about it, her whole life was a lie, a facade. What was one more to protect her secret – their secret? “Maybe you’re right.”
He smiled a genuine smile at her admission, his eyes twinkling. “Seriously?”
“Yeah, seriously.” Emily grinned in return. “I’ll see you around.” She walked back a few steps before turning, heading back to the cafeteria. As she walked away, she tossed over her shoulder with a giggle, “Genghis Khan.”