A/N~ Someone yell at me I need to stop fic planning and listening to Ed Sheeran and do my homework. Enjoy this piece of sadness or something. Warning, grieving Amelia says the f word once or twice.
All she gets is a flag and a pat on the back. A folded up, American flag, and a sympathetic pat on the back.
Is the flag supposed to mean something good to her, she wonders? Like, your significant other died, here’s what they died defending; was that it? This symbol here, the one that she got, was the exact thing that killed her boyfriend. She’d rather be holding onto him right now, holding his rough, calloused hand, but instead she was holding a triangle of fabric with the flag of a country that her boyfriend fought to the death for. The flag of the country that killed him, the flag of the country that sent him out East to wind up dead on the scene of an explosion. He was sent out there to save lives, and yet his own couldn’t be saved, so she was told. This flag brought her no comfort. This flag hurt her. She hated this flag. She hated this country right now.
“I know it sucks,” a voice says from behind her. It wasn’t a voice she immediately recognized, but after a moment she knows who it is.
Amelia’s never met Teddy Altman in person, but her and Owen used to talk on Skype all the time. Her and Owen were best friends. She should realize just how much this sucks.
“It does suck,” Amelia mutters, throwing the flag to the ground. “It really fucking sucks.” She wasn’t even sure what Teddy was talking about when she said it sucked, but either way, she agreed. Everything sucked right now.
“You lost the love of your life, and they gave you a souvenir,” Teddy nods. “You’re right, it really sucks.”
“You’re Owen’s friend, right?” Amelia asks, even though she knows. “You’re a medic too?”
Teddy nods slowly to both inquisitions, and rests her hands on the coffin in front of them. She bites her lip so she doesn’t cry. She doesn’t want to cry in front of Amelia. She doesn’t want Amelia to cry in front of her. If one of them cries, the other will too. “He was my best friend,” she whispers. “And I can’t believe he’s gone.”
Amelia nods. She’s so numb it’s not even funny. She’s been through this so many freakin times, every damn man she has ever formed any sort of close relationship to has died, and yet she doesn’t think she’s ever been number in her life. It hasn’t really set in that Owen’s not coming home yet. He’s just busy, that’s why he’s not calling. He’s away from base camp; he’s not near a phone. He’s saving lives. He’s being a hero.
Her man is a hero; an honored, fallen hero.
“It gets easier, I think,” Teddy says. “Losing someone.”
“I know about loss,” Amelia says, cutting her off. “I’ve lost every man I’ve ever given a damn about. I don’t think it does get easier.”
“You’re right, maybe it doesn’t,” Teddy agrees quietly. It doesn’t, Amelia’s right. She was just trying to make her feel better.
“Have you ever gotten high, Teddy?” Amelia asks, seemingly out of nowhere. “Because I have. I have many times. And that makes it easier. It makes it really easy in fact. And I’ve got a baggy of oxy in my pocket right now, I’ll split it with you. We could go behind those trees and nobody would know. And then, we’d feel better, because it makes you feel warm, and happy, and like nothing is wrong in the world.”
Owen would roll over in his grave if Teddy did drugs in her uniform. Owen would roll over in his grave if Amelia did drugs, period.
“I’m not doing that,” Teddy says forcefully, “And I’m not letting you do that either.”
“Who are you, my mom? I can do whatever the fuck I want,” Amelia argues.
“How would Owen feel about that?” Teddy asks. She feels bad pulling that, making Amelia think about him… but if it’ll stop her from relapsing she’ll do it. She knows about her past, Owen’s told her, and she isn’t letting her slip because Owen’s not here anymore.
“Owen isn’t here!” Amelia sobs. “Owen’s dead!” She collapses against the coffin and cries. Ugly, pain-filled sobs that Teddy can definitely relate to right now, because on the inside she feels the same way.
If Owen were here, he’d go right to Amelia right now. He’d pick her up and hug her so tight she could barely breathe, the same way he did on the deck of her brother’s old house, the night Amelia came to terms with his death. He remembered hearing her wail out in anguish and then collapse in sobs that shook everything around her, and he immediately tried to make it all better. He died hearing that wail. He’d never forget it. And just like today, that night she’d had a bag of oxy in her pocket that she wanted to snort, but he wouldn’t let her. He wasn’t willing to let death ruin her being clean, and he wouldn’t want that for her today either.
Then, once he made sure Amelia was gonna be okay, he’d go soothe Teddy too, the way he’d done a number of times over their years of friendship. He would be so proud of her for coming today, participating in the salute and firing the gun for him. This girl, just like Amelia really, did not cry often, but when she did it was bad. She was crying for a reason. She was one of the strongest girls Owen knew though, and if anyone could get through this, it was her. He hoped that she would be there for Amelia too, if that’s what Amelia needed. He thought she would.
Teddy, however, was not the greatest when it came to helping others on an emotional level. She was watching Amelia bawl right now and even though she felt the same way, she didn’t know what to do to help her feel better. She didn’t know what to do in order to make herself better even. Now, if Amelia were having a heart attack or something, she could help her. But a broken heart… unfortunately not.
So she did what Owen would do; what Owen did for her multiple times– she rubbed her back. She wasn’t sure if it helped at all, considering Amelia’s sobs did not lighten up… but in any case she continued. Goddamnit she wished Owen were here.
“Hey, Amelia,” a soft, calming voice came from behind them. Good old Kepner, and Callie too, being good supportive friends. “Oh, hey, Teddy,” Callie adds with a sympathetic smile, before focusing her attention back on Amelia.
“Amelia, we should go,” April says gently, putting her hands supportively on her friend’s shoulders. Nurturing and comforting came so easy to her, just like it had to Owen.
“I don’t want to go,” Amelia whimpers. “I don’t want to leave him!”
“Amelia,” April says calmly, “Owen’s not here, sweetie. He’s already gone. Let’s go… get some lunch, or something. You need to eat.” She glances over at Teddy hesitantly. “You’re welcome to come too?”
“That would be very nice actually,” Teddy agrees. “And I think it would be good for Amelia…”
Callie and April nod in agreement. They’d help her though this.
They manage to drag Amelia away from the coffin and get her in the car. They end up a greasy, all-day breakfast place down the road from the graveyard. Initially Callie objects to it, since she literally can see the graveyard from the booth, but they quickly decide it doesn’t matter much.
Arizona meets them there, though she missed the funeral this morning. Teddy changes out of her uniform and into a pair of sweatpants. “You guys look all nice and then there’s me,” she says, trying to make a joke.
“You look how we all feel right now,” Arizona mumbles, as she flips through a menu. She’s not hungry. She doesn’t think any of them are hungry right now.
“I’m not hungry,” Amelia mutters, confirming Arizona’s theory.
“When’s the last time you ate?” April asks her. Amelia shrugs. “I’ll split a plate of waffles with you,” April offers. Amelia knows that that tone in Kepner’s voice is not worth arguing with. It’s her trauma surgeon tone. Owen used to use the same one when he was definite about something.
“Amelia, eat, sweetie,” Callie prompts once the waffles come.
“I don’t want to eat,” Amelia snarls quietly.
Callie looks to Arizona and April for support. They both just shrug and eat their waffles.
Amelia’s phone lights up on the table and they all glance. Looking up at them is the picture that the two of them took that one, random day. Amelia used to love being able just click on her phone and see Owen’s smiling face. Now it was a constant, horrible reminder. She clicks it off curtly, but then clicks it back on and smiles at the picture. She shows it to the other girls. “This is the only picture of us I have, you know that?” she says, a bitter, concerning smile spread thin on her lips.
“Owen hated pictures,” Teddy nods. “I don’t have any with him. I always used to try and take some, but he always found a way to get out of it.”
Amelia nods, that smile still there. “Me too,” she says. “He never understood why I wanted to. I told him I wanted to remember everything. And then one day, he just… let me take one. I don’t know why.”
“But you’re glad that he did,” April finishes, softly.
“I’m very glad that he did,” Amelia agrees, wiping a runaway tear from her face.
“But, you won’t forget him,” April adds softly. “You couldn’t.” She thinks about Samuel, her infant son, when she says that. She’d known for such a tragically short amount of time, but she would never forget anything about him.
“I just, I feel like I will,” Amelia digresses. “I feel like I’ll forget the little things.”
“The little things are the things you won’t forgot,” Callie mumbles. She thinks of Mark, her late best friend, when she says that. She’d never forgot the little things, or the big things, or anything about him.
“I fight everyday not to forgot the little things about my baby, or my brother, and now I’ve got Owen too” she cries. “What if I try so hard to remember the little things that I forget the big things?”
“Nope, those are in your memory for life,” Arizona says, shaking her head. She thought about Tim, her dearly departed brother,, when she said that.
“I just don’t want to forget anything, ever!” Amelia moans.
“That, you won’t,” Teddy mumbles. She keeps Henry, her sweet, lost husband, in her mind when she says that, but she knows that when it comes to Owen, it’ll be the same.
Callie nudges a waffle towards Amelia as she cries, putting her head down on the table. “Absorb your pain in the waffle, sweetie,” she says. Arizona glares at her with a look that states that might’ve been inappropriate.
“If it gives you any consolation,” April starts, and everyone knows her statement will give very little consolation at this point, “Owen is up there with God now. He is safe, and he is happy. He’s watching you and keeping you safe. All of us, actually, and everyone he cared about.”
“That doesn’t give me any consolation,” Amelia says, sitting back up.
“Yeah, that’s understandable,” Callie mumbles, “but I know what might. Amelia, what’s your phone password?”
“6936,” Amelia mumbles. Callie grabs her mouth and punches the numbers in. After a few quiet moments, she speaks up. “We’re going to Walgreens, after this.”
“Um, why?” Arizona questions, speaking on behalf of everyone.
“Because we’re getting that picture developed, and we’re gonna buy a frame for it,” Callie says. “If that is the one picture that Amelia has with Owen, we’re gonna make sure it’s displayed respectfully, a subtle reminder in a non-overly-obtrusive way.” She turns to Amelia, “You’re staying with me until you’re ready to go back to your place. But when you are ready, we’ll hang the picture in your room, maybe with a vase of flowers of something, that’ll be that. What do you think of that?”
Amelia nods. “I like that,” she says quietly.
“I think that’s beautiful,” Arizona adds.
Callie hands Amelia back her phone. “Also, I didn’t do it, but I think maybe you should change your wallpaper. I don’t know if I’d want to see that photo a hundred times a day. Just my personal opinion.”
It’s one week before Amelia’s able to go home– before she can go back to the apartment that was once Owen’s alone, and then theirs together. Once she is ready though, her friends go with her, and they do hang that picture, right about her bed. With it, they hang Owen’s flag. It’s a beautiful memorial. It’s a gentle, constant reminder. It’s something Amelia appreciates, and she knows Owen would love it too.
That was why Amelia loved pictures so much. They were memories. They froze time in its tracks for just a split second, making sure that exact moment could be remembered forever. No matter what happened after that moment, no matter how much things changed, that moment would forever be frozen. And she could remember it, and remember him, forever.
“Waffles is mostly a one-person dog. Maybe two, but they’d both have to be female. ;) You’ve never met a cuter dog, and if you’re lucky enough to be his
chosen lady, he will make you feel important. :) He likes to play with
stuffed toys and roll around in his dog bed. He has some slight hearing
and vision loss appropriate for his senior age.“