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             The definition of insanity, as so often repeated, is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  Does that mean, then, that Miranda is certifiably insane?  She has been in this position too many times—staring down Meredith Grey from a seat of severe disapproval, the wreckage of Meredith’s latest brazen whim strewn between them.  Shouldn’t she know better by now?  Why is she even surprised?  This is not new.  They have been here so many times before.

              Too many times before.

              “Did you even have a plan?”  Miranda asks, her voice suddenly exhausted and bereft of the rage and resentment curdling within.  “If you had made out it of here with Deluca, what were you doing to do?  Grab the kids and abscond to Canada?”

              Meredith has the gall to look indignant.

              “Bailey—” Miranda holds up a singular finger.

              “Since I phrased that as a question, I can see how you might have misconstrued that as an invitation to speak—it was not.   This is not a conversation.  ‘Conversation’ implies that I care about what you have to say for yourself.  I do not.  This?  This is me outlining the stupidity of your actions.”

              Meredith shifts in her seat and opens her mouth again but clamps it shut when Miranda slaps her with an eviscerating glare.

              “Let’s say you did get out of this hospital,” Miranda continues, “you wouldn’t have made it very far.  There are cameras all over this hospital.  Your great escape attempt was recorded from multiple angles.  The police and FBI would have tracked you down before the change of shift.  But, for fits and giggles, let’s say that you did manage to get away free and clear.  How were you going to help Deluca in his state?  You’re not a psychiatrist or a counselor.  As a fugitive, you wouldn’t even be able to write a prescription that could be filled anywhere.  You would have set him up to fall down in an even deeper spiral with no safety net waiting to catch him.”

              “He shouldn’t lose his freedom!” Meredith blurts out.  “He’s not in his right mind!  He didn’t mean to hurt anyone!”  A dry, crackling laugh erupts from Miranda’s throat, and, throwing her head back, she searches the ceiling tiles for any modicum of sense.

              “If he is not in his right mind, how can he adequately process the effects of his actions?  When people prove themselves a danger to themselves and others, they lose the right to absolute freedom, because that ends where the right to safety begins.”

              Miranda sighs as her gaze drops back down to her colleague, once a favored and promising student.

              “You enticed two very sick underage patients to fight,” she says with foreboding calmness, “in order to kidnap  a third, mentally unstable patient from police custody, thereby putting him right in the crosshairs of the newly mated alpha he had assaulted hours prior.  Kim could have killed Deluca.  He could’ve literally ripped him limb from limb, and while he would have been well within in his legal right, he almost certainly would have been left with deep emotional scars that Grey Sloan would have had to compensate for.”

              “So it really all does come down to the money,” Meredith snorts, shaking her head.  Nostrils flaring, Miranda stands and presses her curled fists against her desk until they bear all of her weight.

              “I wish this was just about money,” she hisses.  “Lost money can be made back.  We can tighten our belts and wait it out until our financial fortunes turn.  But it wasn’t just millions of dollars we would have used for research and treatment that you set on fire, Dr. Grey.  It was also this hospital’s credibility and reputation.  And I am not talking about the same kind of PR cherry bomb that was your delightful ‘Hospital Hell’ list.  I am talking about a slow, painful death by exsanguination.”

              Finally, Meredith’s pompous, porcelain veneer cracks.

              “I…I don’t understand.”

              “No? Oh, then allow me to explain.  After you executed your horribly stupid idea of a grand rescue, the Bonding Bureau is now of the opinion that Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital maybe can’t be trusted to treat the most vulnerable patients.  They are considering shutting down the OB and pediatric departments.  We currently banned for treating any patients that have a condition remotely related to pairing, mating, or sexual reproduction, and that ban might become permanent, depending on the outcome off the Bureau’s investigation.”

              Meredith shrinks into her seat.

              “Bailey, I—”

              “What do you think,” Miranda forges on, “will happen when that information gets out?  I’ll tell you—people are going to wonder themselves, ‘If Grey Sloan can’t be trusted to treat babies or pregnant persons or pairs or mates, can they be trusted to treat anyone?  If the very famous face of the hospital can’t be trusted, can any of its doctors be trusted?’”

              “Bailey, I’m sorry—”

              “I don’t want your apologies, Meredith.”  Miranda sits down and eases back against her chair.  “I’ve heard them before, and yet here are, having a conversation that I’m very tired of having.  So, no, I don’t want your sorry’s.  I want you to hand in your badge, gather your personal effects, and leave.”

              Meredith blinks while, behind her, Beckham perks up like a well-watered wallflower.

              “You’re firing me?  Again?”

              “Officially, you’re suspended without pay until the Bonding Bureau decides if they will allow you within a hundred years of the campus.  But they are also requiring us to report you to the licensing board again.  And the police want a word with you.  I’m just spit-balling, but I think they are little ticked off about the whole absconding with their suspect thing.  Oh, and if I were you, I would be taking a good look at my malpractice insurance policy, because Dr. Kim’s mother is a corporate shark, and she smells the bloodbath coming on.  So, no, you’re not fired—yet—but I wouldn’t bank on you stepping foot in this hospital again anytime soon.”

              Meredith’s face goes placid.  If she is angry, saddened, or dumbfounded, Miranda couldn’t tell you, and she doesn’t care.

              “That is all, Dr. Grey,” Miranda announces.  Without a further comment, Meredith stands and exits, her stride steady and swift.  Once she is gone, Beckham grins.

              “Well I’ll be damn,” she purrs.

              “Don’t,” Miranda warns, swiveling away.  “It’s been a long couple of days.  We don’t need to top it off with you telling me ‘I told you so.’”

              “I wasn’t planning to say that,” Beckham quips as she reaches for the door handle.  “Mostly because I thought it was already implied.”

 

 

              “So, you weren’t okay,” Taryn says to Levi instead of ‘hello.’ “You were super, debilitatingly horny.”

              “Nice to see you too,” Levi replies, smiling sheepishly.  They are standing in the lobby near the glass sliding doors, through which Levi can see twilight lavender seeping into the sky.  They are both in their street clothes, Levi preparing to depart, Taryn arriving for the night shift.  Chuckling, she smiles back at him.

              “Congrats, Levi.”

              “Thanks.”  He shuffles his feet and glances away.  “Taryn…about Dr. Grey, I didn’t want that to happen, her getting suspended.  I asked the BB agents to take it back, but—”

              “Schmitt,” Taryn cuts off good-naturedly, “that’s not on you.  The first time wasn’t on you either.  I know that now. Let Dr. Grey worry about Dr. Grey.    You have bigger, better concerns.”  She looks pointedly at his stomach, and he can’t help but to press his palm against his abdomen.  Can the new life inside him feel him just as Levi can feel them?

              “Let us get a couple things straight, though,” Taryn says, switching her hips.  “One, he might be your mate, but don’t think I’m suddenly going to start liking Kim again.  He’s got a lot to make up for as far as I’m concerned.” Pursing her lips, she glances sideways at Nico, who is attempting to herd his parents out of the door first to ensure they don’t pounce on Bailey and the board again.  His mother, however, has the will of cement and has yet to give up an inch.  “Two, I’m the kid’s godmother.”

              “Like hell you are.”  Jo, still in her scrubs, plants herself between Levi and Taryn and crosses her arms.  “Schmitt’s my roommate, and I outrank you.”

              “You can’t pull rank for godmother status,” Taryn refutes.  “Schmitt was my friend before he was yours.  And you have only been shacking up for, like, a month, and the only place he’s going to be sleeping now is Kim’s bed.”

              “Eww,” Jo groans, wincing.  “I don’t need that image in my head.  It’s bad enough that all anyone can talk about is them bang—”

              “Okay!” Levi interrupts loudly, holding his hands up in surrender.  “You can both be god parents.  Just, please, wait until after I leave to…gossip.”

              “Oooh, if you think you’re getting out of this without earning new nickname,” Jo says, grinning devilishly, “you are sadly mistaken.  I just haven’t thought of it.”

              “Hot Stuff?” Taryn offers.  Jo shakes her head.

              “No, too cliché.  Superfreak?”

              “Nah, it’s too judge-y.  Hmm, oh—what about Catnip?”  Jo puckers her lips in consideration.

              “…I like it.  Cute, to the point, clearly references his irresistibility.  Catnip it is.”

              “What’s this about catnip?” 

              Nico wraps his arm around Levi’s waist and pulls him in.  Levi laughs nervously and pats Nico’s chest.

              “Nothing,” he replies quickly.  “You ready?”

              “Yeah,” Nico confirms.  “I had to promise my mom that we’d have dinner together, and I can guarantee you that at that dinner we will be bombarded with a list of acceptable baby names and a portfolio of reasonably priced houses.”

              “We will deal with that when we get there,” Levi murmurs.  “Right now, I just want to go home.”  Nico smiles that smile that makes Levi’s knees go loose and gooey.

              “Okay, let’s go home.”

              Waving goodbye to Jo and Taryn, he and Nico walk out into the cool evening air, joined hand-in-hand, their new life spread open before them.