and your very flesh shall be a great poem (clockwork_jo) wrote,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem

Fic: Learn my face, forget my name; I think you'll like me better that way

Title: Learn my face, forget my name; I think you'll like me better that way.
Characters/Pairings: Alex Karev; Izzie/Alex-- friendships include: Meredith/Alex (ship if you read it that way), Cristina/Alex, etc.
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: around the 2,500 mark.
Spoilers: Eh, kind of, for season 5.
Genre: Angst; little bits of Romance/Friendship
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libellous, defamatory, or in any way factual. All song-lyrics mentioned belong to their respective owners, not to me.
Summary: "She joins him. Like she does most days. And with the same sigh still somewhere behind her lips. She doesn’t let it out, knows he’s coping as best as he can. That just happens to not be too well."
Author's Note: Yes, this is me working out my angsty disposition. Set in a slightly AU Season 5. This is very much an Alex piece. Alex at his darkest, which I've always found kind of intriguing. But yeah, he gets a little mean. I tried with a different writing style; all non-linear. Tell me what you think. =P Be gentle, I have old wounds. haha.

“Marry me, Iz.”


He doesn’t reply, nods in shallow amusement, “Right.” A hollow laugh escapes two chapped and ill-prepared lips. And they land on hers in a bid to blot out some of the attention. Pushing him off, she smiles weakly, watches him put the velvet box back into his pocket.

“I have cancer.” She nods through newly damp eyes, “I’m not marrying you, because I have cancer.”


“That guy’s dead, Alex!”

She’s followed him in to the on-call room, and he recalls that being such a Meredith-thing to do. You know, pushing people away before asking them to come back.

“That guy was dead before he rolled in here.” he bites back, “We both know that’s the only reason you let me work on him.”

She lets her weight rock onto one hip, before sighing out, “You don’t have to be here-- You didn’t have to come back so quickly.” A tentative hand lands on his shoulder, and he shrugs it off violently. Makes her flinch. He apologises without words, whether she listens or not. “Come on, Alex. Go home.”

“You mean, go back to yours?”

“It’s yours too.”

“It’s not. It’s yours and-- and McDreamy’s. It’s not mine.”

“You really planning on living in the bar for the rest of your life?”

A cruel laugh rushes from two chapped lips, “You’re really gonna tell me about the dangers of drink, Little Miss Tequila?”

She sighs, shakes her head- loose ponytail moves with it, “Go home, Alex. You’re not helping anyone.” Two pairs of eyes meet, and they both remember later how much the next thing she says stings of another argument they once had, “And you stink.”


Cristina doesn’t try to be there for him. Knows that’s not her strength.

She said she was sorry, said she would miss her, shed a few tears on the day. Helped them both through the process-- you know, the whole stages of grief and dying part. She did what she could. Technical in her care.

He appreciates her unsympathetic face. The fact that she still fights him for surgeries.

It’s comforting to know some things don’t change.


He nurses a black eye in the mirror, smiles when he presses down on the bruise, laughs when he thinks of how he got it. A glass window looks both ways.

Derek walks in, throws an ice pack for him to catch-- doesn’t care if he doesn’t. “I know you’re hurting-- But-” He shakes his head, “But, you touch her again--”

Alex nods, fills in the blanks. Feels as dirty as he intended.


This one happens while she’s alive. This one is brunette.

Gloss shared between lips, the kisses hurried and unromantic, clothes carpet the floor and the likely prospect of his blonde fiancée walking through the door permeates whatever moment of comfort this could have been with a dull and expected ache.

He pulls down her skirt, smirks at certain ‘day of the week’ panties that he slips his thumb through and pulls down over her feet where red shoes hang lazily. Lands the unsettling marriage of lace and childhood somewhere with the rest of their things. Muttering some bored expletive against her skin, as she asks him to tell her that he cares about her. He obliges. And both of them let the obvious and unconvincing lie fall in between the wrinkles of the sheets. Truth is of little consequence here.

She just doesn’t want to feel like a slut. And a bad situation need not be made worse.

As she arches her back underneath him, responding to the kisses and bites that happen almost as a punishment-- because maybe if she’d said no, he’d be with who he should be with. He silences her with a kiss that’s probably a lot more tragic than she intended when she said yes, and slid her hand to the front of his scrubs like a punctuation mark to her reply. Probably a little more desperate and degrading than first implied in a come hither look, and a promise to make her see God.

The door creaks open; he hears it, but isn’t filled with the rush to pull away, merely finishes the current kiss like a sentence he was going to say anyway, and turns to face her. Meeting a sad and matter-of-fact gaze.

She smiles slightly, nods with a deadpan stare, “Okay-- Okay, Alex.”


Sat on sheets that someone else picked out, he stares at the carpet that they co-ordinate with. Looks into their pink bathroom, smirks at fresh towels he didn’t clean. Wipes a tear away when he realises they’ll probably hang their forever because he won’t wash them- won’t want to.

Would screw them up anyway. They’d stay damp. Too much starch and they’d scrath against his skin. Colours would fade.

It’d be the last thing for him to ruin.


Derek sends him apologetic glances when he crosses him on the landing. Uses how he would feel in a similar situation to create some common ground for them both to live in.

He doesn’t want Alex there anymore than Alex wants to be there.

But the common ground is carpeted and well-lit. And it doesn’t smell like her anymore.


There’s a catalogue of things to be filed away. Thoughts that you’re not allowed to say when the person is dying. Filed under different letters. He’ll pull them out later.

“I-- Wanted kids.” She breathes against his chest, “Always did.” He sighs in response, too tired to make empty promises or inflate full of false hope, “I know I gave up Sarah-- Hannah-- But I, uh, I thought I’d have another chance. You think you have more chances.”

It’s true, he thinks to himself as he listens to the sobs that get louder and feels the wet through his shirt. You think you have more chances. More opportunities. More moments to fill than the few you’re actually given.

He squeezes her tight, shuts his eyes against the potentiality of mascara trails and sore, bulging looks of desperation.

“Come on, Iz.” He mutters into golden waves, probably less sympathetic than is needed, but it’s difficult. He rubs her arm, “Come on…”

He feels guilty, keeps making her feel bad. It’s far from intended.

“I’m sorry…” She whispers through tears, “I’m sorry.”

Another apology gets filed away.

‘U‘ for unnecessary.

Cross-reference under guilty.


Misty brown eyes look back at him, and a big grin meets his anxious face; he takes in air, swallows and looks down. Sees polished shoes that don’t match his disposition.

His vision pans up her gown, it’s white like the flowers she grasps tightly. He doesn’t think much of them, spent days watching her look over a catalogue- had no input- doesn’t care. The hands that grip them, they interest him.

He made some comment about the white, told her she was far from a good girl.

She smiled, hummed into her coffee, and said with a raised eyebrow that he loved her that way.

The chapel is small, breathing feels closer and heavier from everyone around him. Tie chokes a little.

She leans in, kisses him and smiles against his lips. He smiles back, he does love her that way.

Breathing gets easier.


“Alex?” Meredith’s voice is nervous, gets louder, Alex?!”


“Alex-- He’s bleeding out!” She yells, “Get out of the way!”

He feels a shove into his stomach, is pushed back into a curtain that doesn’t hold him like he’d want it to. Hitting it away, walking even further, he hears the distant drone of a monitor flat line and the pound of electricity being sent through a patient.

Back to the constant beep.

Death’s the only thing that rings true in hospitals.


“Okay?” He pulls on his trousers, leaning on the doorframe for balance, “Okay?!” She carries on walking away from him, it’s not hurried or a chase, she’s just walking. And it pisses him off. “Hey!” He places a firm hand on her shoulder, makes her turn to face him, “That’s what you’re saying?!”

“Yeah--” She looks around his face, “That’s what I’m saying.”

“We’re getting married, Izzie. Married-- And I’m- I’m-“ They both know what he’s doing, what he’s been doing for the past few nights, maybe that‘s why he did it on a night he knew she‘d coming home early, “And that’s what you’re saying?!”

“I know we’re getting married, Alex.” She puts two hands on his face, makes him look, “I know that. I’m not the one sleeping with nurses. That’s you.” He breaks from her grip; and her eyes chase his, “--That’s you. And you‘re reminding me that we’re getting married?” He stays looking at their feet, “But I am in love with you. And I have cancer. And this is how you choose to deal with both of those things. So I am staying--”


“I am staying- I am putting up with this crap- because I know that when it all goes. When you get back to who I know you are, I will love you. And you’ll love me back. And you won‘t need to screw a nurse to feel okay. Because that will be enough. You‘ll love me back, Alex.”


He has an arm heavy on a bent knee, curled towards him as he lies, slumped at the bottom of the wall. She joins him. Like she does most days. And with the same sigh still somewhere behind her lips. She doesn’t let it out, knows he’s coping as best as he can.

That just happens to not be too well.

He leans over, strokes her jaw bone with a curved index finger, lets it run over her neck, leans in and kisses her-- tongue, lips, fingers in hair. He focuses on the mechanics. Hand pushing down on his chest.

“Alex-- Stop.” She shoots a very Meredith look in his direction, dark and twisty, understanding in all the wrong ways, “This won’t help.” Smirks and shrugs as best she can, “And inappropriate partners in the face of tragedy is sort of my thing.” He coughs out a laugh that he didn‘t think he had in him, leans in again, tries not to think of the dark spaces between the air that she now occupies. Stopped by a push away, and the feeling of a stare on his skin, “Alex-- I’m married.”

He spits out a laugh, makes eye contact with her spouse through the window, “Yeah, me too.”


He resents her for dying.

That’s another thing you’re not allowed to say.

He did back then, think it, but you’re not supposed to. He hated himself for thinking it.

For being mad at her funeral. But he stood there, mentally listing all the things she did to bring this on herself.

Not karma, medicine.

She stood near pylons, used a microwave, sunbathed.

It’s her fault.

It’s not-- He knows it.

And you’re not supposed to think it.


George sidles next to him, eyes swollen and red. And Alex has no intention of sharing anything with him- irrelevant to whether he just lost his best friend, his ex-lover, whatever.

“I’m sorry, Alex.”

He doesn’t react, doesn’t really hear the words if truth be told. And nothing would fit in the silence like they’d want it to. Puzzle pieces chewed on and shredded and don’t work like they should. Why try, when accolade means nothing in all of this- no names in coffee-stained medical journals or scribed on dust-laden awards. It’d only be for them, and neither of them want it to seem as forced as they know it will.

“Yeah-- Everyone is.”


More crowded spaces, more tear-stained faces.

But for different reasons.

No kiss to make the choking stop.

Unfamiliar people look in his direction, sympathetic glances fail to do anything like they‘re supposed to. Hands are shook, and offer nothing.

Organs donated. Ashes scattered.

More polished shoes.

This time, the rain cleans them.


There was a nurse-- new, pretty.

In a way that other women would call “obvious.” Even he would call her obvious.

But she had white thighs, and tights to peel off of them. And lipstick that smeared when she bit down on her lip. Pulling back flaxen hair with one hand, he pushed his thumb over her mouth to take the rest of it off- did it without the admission that she looked more like her without make-up. She stared back, wide-eyed and bruised lips. Nothing but a pink blur where her mouth should be.

He slams the door when he realises he can’t stop looking at her eyes. They're too wide and a different colour and he wonders why he chose this one in the first place.

It’s been months now.


Cristina stirs her drink with a red straw that she now gnaws on with the delicacy of a food processor; sucking it and dropping it to the floor, she looks up, takes a pursed sip and rolls her eyes.


“Blood-shot eyes. Three day beard.” Another sip, “How long have you been here?”

“What’s it matter to you?”

“It doesn’t.”

“You notice all those things-- What does that say about you?”

She flicks a dark curl behind her ear, tired. “That I’m still sober enough to see straight.”

“Why ask?” He looks up, sneers, “You know the answer.”

The platitude rolls off of her tongue, “I guess that’s what friends are for.” The smile is fake, like the sentiment. “Whatever…”

“We’re not friends, Yang.”

She smirks, mutters into alcohol, “Such a dick…”

There’s a slight smile coming out of the side of his mouth, he‘d kiss her if he wasn‘t sure he‘d get a sharp pain in the groin and another black eye from her respective (former-soldier) boyfriend, his eyes rolls up to meet hers and her eyebrows pull up and together like she’s trying to think of an answer to a question he hasn’t asked yet. He waits the extra beat when it looks like she’s about to apologise, but instead she opens her mouth to finish her drink and thank him when he orders another for the both of them.

They clink their glasses together, a chime that says sorry for both of them.

“Maybe we’ve spending too much time with Meredith.” She mentions as the burning tonic cleanses and heals on its way down.

“Maybe--” Another sip, one that empties the glass. “Maybe she spent too much time with us.” If they do know what that means, neither of them mention it.

She wipes a hand over her eyes till it reaches her chin, dragging skin down with it that moves back with an elasticity she didn’t think she had in her.

“What the hell are we doing here, Karev?” she mentions after a few minutes, though she’s not really sure if she wants or was asking for an answer.

“Hey, my wife died.” His eyes lazily open to look at her unchanged face (the same one he was counting on), his lips are still wet from the last drink he had and the corner of his mouth pulls up into a smirk that sits as uncomfortably as if his face was cracking, “What’s your excuse?”

Please read, and review ^_^
Tags: character: alex karev, character: cristina yang, character: izzie stevens, character: meredith grey, fanfiction
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