Sarah Drew Says Returning to 'Grey's Anatomy' with Jesse Williams 'Felt Like Coming Home'

The season 18 finale included appearances by Drew's and Jesse Williams' beloved characters April Kepner and Jackson Avery, who shared an on-screen kiss, proving they're back together

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Thursday's Season 18 finale of Grey's Anatomy gave fans a real treat: the return of not just one, but two beloved characters in Dr. Jackson Avery and Dr. April Kepner — and to fans' delight, "Japril" finally got back together!

Sarah Drew, who played April on the Shondaland hit from 2009 to 2018, told PEOPLE returning to set and to her character "felt like coming home."

While she made a surprise appearance last season –– during costar Jesse Williams' penultimate episode, when Jackson persuaded April to move to Boston with him and bring their daughter –– Drew said that this time around felt different.

"It was kind of a surreal experience because when I went back last season, I was on location at April's house and only working with Jesse," says the actress, 41. "[I] wasn't even working with my crew, because it was a separate unit that was shooting that episode."

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This time, the Cruel Summer star got to return to the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in true form. "To get to go and be on the stages, and to walk the halls that I had walked and for so many years, and to work with so many of my favorite people was such a gift," she says. "It was super surreal actually."

After spending nearly 10 years on Grey's, Drew jumps at any chance to put back on her scrubs and revisit that period of her life. Though four years have passed since she hung up her white coat, she says that when she's in Grey Sloan, it feels like no time has passed.

"I was working with Kevin [McKidd] and Chandra [Wilson] and Kim [Raver], and we'd go off and go and sit down in between takes and I'd be like, I feel like I was just here yesterday. I mean, it felt so regular and so normal and yet we've all lived four years of our life since then. So it was a wild experience," she shares.

While the cast has seen many beloved members come and go, McKidd, Wilson and Raver have remained some of the most stalwart characters for the show's devoted audience. Wilson, 52, has brought fan-favorite Dr. Miranda Bailey to life since the show's very first episode in 2005. The only other characters to stay on the show as long are Ellen Pompeo's Meredith Grey and James Pickens Jr.'s Dr. Richard Webber.

Thursday night's episode was not only a season finale and a special reunion for Japril fans, it also marked the 400th episode of the hit medical drama.

The cast and crew celebrated the milestone on set, and Pompeo, 52, was among the cast members to speak. "You don't get to this many episodes without this level of passion," she said, according to the caption shared on Disney's Instagram story.

Drew says her involvement in the episode "happened very quickly. I had no idea I was going back until about two weeks before I shot my scenes over there."

And while fans would love nothing more than to see April –– and Jackson, too! –– return as a regular to their screens, Drew tells PEOPLE that, for now, "There's been no conversation with me officially about returning."

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