Title:   Another Statement of Causality

Author:   maggiemerc

Rating:  M

Status:  Complete

Pairings:  Primarily Callie/Arizona, but as this is fiction spun from an ensemble show there is Cristina/Owen, Callie/Owen, Teddy/Owen, and Amelia/Lexie too. Basically if they look at each other something is going on. Except for Meredith and Cristina. Theirs is a deep and platonic love.

Disclaimer:  I don't own any of these characters. It is a tragedy I suffer through daily.

Summary:  If Callie is meant to be with Arizona and Cristina is meant to be with Owen but Callie and Owen are married with kids then something must change. The status quo must shift. A continuation of 8x13 “If/Then.”

Feedback : Comments, criticism, curses and praise are all welcome at maggiemerc@gmail.com . You may also follow/stalk me at LJ or Tumblr.


Another Statement of Causality

by maggiemerc


Chapter 1


The first punch caught Mark in the stomach. As the wind rushed out of his lungs and pain blossomed in his side he took a moment to be proud of Derek. Guy was protecting those million dollar hands by sticking to the fleshy parts of Mark.

He knelt on the catwalk a moment to catch his breath. Derek stood over him with those very expensive hands clasped into two very savage looking fists.

“Okay,” he managed to get out, “I deserved that. I slept with your wife. Got her pregnant and took a job in your hospital.” He looked up at Derek whose face was blank, his eyes dark. “Totally fair.”

Then Derek wound his fist back and shot it forward cracking it into Mark's nose. Everything went red and white as the bridge of his nose crunched under the force of Derek's fist. The momentum of the punch sent the already unbalanced Mark down onto his back where he had a very nice view of the hospital lobby's ceiling.

There wasn't a speck of dust up there. Ellis Grey kept a clean house.

While musing on how exactly the custodians got up there to clean around the light fixtures Mark noticed something throbbing on the front of his face and something hot tickling his lips and dripping into his mouth. He started to stand and noticed in his periphery some doctors were pulling Derek away. He looked for Addison and saw her with the dark haired cardio surgeon at the end of the catwalk. Both women had an equally shocked look on their faces. It almost made them look like sisters.

A pair of hands wrapped around his arm and pulled him up. “Come on,” he heard a voice say, and then he was being tugged off the catwalk and into an empty exam room.

Addison didn't even follow. The last he saw her was as the doors to the catwalk closed. She was still standing there. Stunned. And very, very pregnant with his child.

“Impressive way to start a new job,” said the woman with him now. Her back was turned and she was pulling on gloves and loading a tray with equipment to fix his nose.

He tried to crack a charming smile but the area where his nose usually was throbbed painfully and instead he found himself wincing and cupping the offending appendage. “Look, as flattered as I am right now, I'm really in no mood for a quickie,” he said through his hands. The blood was no longer leaking from his nose. Now it was gushing and made his words sound all congested.

The woman turn and gave him a quick dismissive smile, “So this can go two ways. I can fix your nose and you can be polite or you can keep hitting on me even though the whole hospital knows you knocked up a married woman.”

He tried to glower at her because, really, she should be flattered by his flirting, but the ache in his nose had spread up into his sinuses and was trying to form some sort of migraine. He pulled his hands away from his nose and the woman stepped in between his legs to get a closer look.

She winced at whatever she saw, “You are definitely going to have two black eyes tomorrow.”


She continued to look at his nose and he used the opportunity to look at her. She was cute in a girl next door kind of way. She had straight blond hair past her shoulders and a pair of blue eyes that almost have Mark envious. And dimples. He was a sucker for dimples.

Also a blouse that wasn't low cut but with her stooping forward to examine his nose it still gave him a perfect window of mind-boggling perfect cleavage.

The other doctor paused in her examination and Mark realized that she was staring at him.

“Eyes up here Dr. Sloan.”

He dragged his eyes away from the valley of glory and pulled back when he realized she was now glowering at him.

“You really—are you ever off?”

He shrugged, “You put that kind of God given perfection in front of my face and you expect me not to stare.”

“Uh, yeah.”

He leaned in and raised an eyebrow, “I'm only marveling at what great genetics gave you.”

She smiled, but it was one of those smiles like Derek always had on his face right before he tackled Mark and started punching. Faster than his best running stitch she set her instrument down and reset the broken bone in his nose.

There was pain.

And perhaps a shout on his part.

What a great first day.


A big gorgeous strapping guy suddenly shouting out in pain was enough to stop all three women. Callie had been nose deep in a patient's chart and Webber and Yang were following close behind giggling like new friends, but that shout stopped ‘em dead.

All three heads swiveled to where the new guy, Sloan, was cupping his nose and swearing while glaring at his doctor.

Yang sounded almost wistful when she said, “McDreamy and McSteamy. Never would have seen that.”

“McWhat,” Webber asked.

Yang motioned to the other room where Robbins was now frowning and holding up a mirror so the new guy could do his own sutures on the nasty cut that had accompanied the.

Webber laughed, “What does that even mean?”

Yang shrugged, “The guy is built like a god, double board certified, the best plastic surgeon on the Eastern seaboard and currently doing his own sutures— on his face . McSteamy is totally appropriate.”

“Yeah but where does the McDreamy come in?”

“Have you ever worked with Robbins? She is irritatingly perfect as far as peds surgeons go. And every nurse in the place worships her.” Yang paused, and clearly forgot that her own attending was standing next to her because then she said, “And she's got better outcomes then any attending on staff. Going into boards she's your McDreamy. You definitely want in on her surgeries.”

“I had no idea you were so eager to work with Dr. Robbins, Yang,” Callie said, reminding both residents that she was, in fact, standing right next to them.

Yang's mouth fell open—because clearly she'd forgotten. “Oh…I didn't…”

Callie ignored Yang's poor attempt to soothe her ego and handed the other woman her chart, “How about you and Webber go see to Mrs. Clancy? And then you can do my charting for the rest of the day while you ponder “McDreamy's” perfection.”

Yang almost looked as though she wanted to protest and Callie steeled herself for the ordeal, but then the other woman cast a glance at Webber. Something unspoken passed between the two women and they quickly fled to do as Callie requested.

That was—she was used to Yang and Webber bitterly sniping at one another not communicating sans words and getting along. She shuddered at how that particular friendship would turn out and turned her attention back to the exam room where Sloan was saying something that had Robbins laughing.

It was a nice laugh and carried through the hall, but for some reason it set something off in the pit of her stomach. Robbins getting along with Addison's fling just didn't seem…right.


The suture finished Mark handed the needle holder back to Robbins (he'd picked that up from the name embroidered on her coat) and eyed her warily. “Why are you being so nice?”

The question surprised her, “What do you mean?”

“We've established you're not doing it to get in my pants—which is stupid on your part—so what's going on?”

The other doctor grabbed some tape and started dressing his nose, “Everyone hates you.”

“Thanks,” he said and he hoped the sarcasm was really obvious.

“No, it's just—I've got a thing for hard luck cases. So when I see a clearly good surgeon become the pariah of the hospital before his first day is even over.”

“So this is all out of pity?”

“Yup,” she said brightly. She stepped away and observed their combined work. “And we're all done.”

Mark snagged the mirror she been using and appraised the work she'd done dressing it. “Nice job. You working for me in plastics?”

Robbins laughed.


“Not in a million years.”

Something about how she said that— “What's wrong with plastics?”

She pulled her gloves off and threw them in the waste bin, “Nothing! If I wanted to get rich off insecure trust fund girls it would be an awesome specialty.”

“Trust fund—I'll have you know I save lives.”

She looked him up and down. It was rare to be appraised like that by a woman. She wasn't looking at him like she wanted to sleep with him. She was…judging him. Professionally. Because of his looks . “Sure you do.”

He set the mirror down and hopped off the exam table, stepping into the smaller surgeon's space. She didn't back down. Just looked up at him with the most irritatingly amused look on her face, “I build skin,” he said, “like God.”

Robbins laughed again, then nodded and slipped past him. She paused at the door, still laughing to herself, “And I do big surgeries on little people,” she waved her hands a little and dropped her voice, “like God.”

Mark had to hop a little then jog to keep up with her. “You're in Peds,” he asked incredulously.

She smiled, “Head of Pediatric Surgery.”

“I let a Peds doctor work on my face!”

“Maybe you should've have been asking what I do here instead of stare at my bo—“

The brunette that had been with Addison out on the catwalk suddenly stepped in their path. Robbins stopped abruptly and a smile warmer than any Mark had ever seen on the woman suddenly spread across her face. “Dr. Torres,” she said warmly.

Too warmly.

He glanced at the other woman. She was gorgeous, sleek, professional and giving Robbins an…odd look. “Dr. Robbins,” she started to smile then quickly schooled her face into something more neutral, “I see you've met our new head of plastics.”

Robbins continued smiling and reached out lightly touching Mark's shoulder, “I did. Dr. Sloan this is Dr. Torres. Our brilliant head of Cardiothoracic surgery.”

Torres missed the hand Sloan extended in greeting, her eyes still glued to the spot where Robbins' fingers met Mark's coat.

He tried a little Sloan charm, “If I'd known the heart surgeons looked so good over here I would have moved sooner.”

That pulled Torres away from the staring fest. She didn't smile but she took the offered hand.

“Well I…” she paused, “I just wanted to say hi.” She seemed to nod to her self and then quickly slid past them. He and Robbins both watched her go.

“Don't be offended,” Robbins said, “She's pretty close with Good Shepherd. Probably trying not to take sides.”

“Uh huh,” the Shepherds had nothing to do with that exchange, “Wait. Good Shepherd?”

“The name the residents gave the carrier of your child.”

That had him grinning, “So what's Derek? Bad Shepherd?”

“Or McDreary depending on the day.”


“Our residents are okay in the OR, but spectacular when it comes to making up names for the attendings.”

“So you have a name too?”

“Uh huh—“ At that moment Robbins' pager went off. She glanced at it quickly. Then started jogging towards some unknown destination where sad looking sick kids were dying.

“You gonna tell me it,” he shouted after her.

“Not in a million years!”


The drama of the last two days had the hospital in a serious uproar. First the thing with Webber, Karev and Kepner, then the plastics god from New York showing up and attempting to whisk Addison off her feet, and now that same plastics god working his charm on Dr. Robbins.

Okay the last part didn't really have the hospital in an uproar. Callie wasn't even sure why it had her upset. They were two consenting adults, if Robbins wanted to sleep with a manwhore and ruin her sterling reputation than who was Callie to say otherwise.

Whatever. Things were a mess all over the hospital. Chief Grey had turned into an unholy terror, her daughter was actually friends with Yang, Webber Senior was being quieter then usual and Bailey had disappeared. The gossip was flying fast and loose in discussing it all and at least four different people had come up to tell her that Bailey had been fired because she showed up Grey in the ER. Three told her they saw Webber and Bad Shepherd making out in a supply closet and one very timid nurse had just informed her that the broken window being replaced down in the ER was due to her own husband's fist.

But in spite of all of it her mind kept drifting back to Robbins and the easy way she'd had with the manwhore. How could she tell the other woman that she deserved better then being the mistress of a guy who was himself a mistress and would leave her the moment Addison started talking to him again without coming off as a busy body?

Somehow that particular problem consumed nearly her entire lunch. Which she'd been forced to take in her office in an effort to avoid more rumor mongers. She was getting ready to toss the limp remains of her salad when Owen slipped in.

She noticed the bandage still tightly wrapped around his hand and remember what the nurse had said. She needed to confront him about it. See if it was as true as she felt it to be.

But instead she smiled, “Hey sweetie. How're you feeling?”

He looked down at the bandages, “Yea—all right.”

“You should get down to Ortho and have them have a look at it.”

“That's all right. I ran into Yang earlier. She checked it out.”

“Yang's probably never even seen the inside of a hand. No, you should get down to Ortho.”

“I'm fine Callie.”

And there it was. That sharp tone in his voice. “This is the end of the conversation,” it seemed to say. It was appearing more and more often now days. Limiting their conversations to the weather, adorable things the kids did and…actually that was it. They couldn't talk about anything any more.

It got better sometimes. When he talked to his friend Teddy he was noticeably cheerier, and he'd made some unseen friend at the hospital who seemed to help, but Callie. Callie could do nothing.

Sometimes it felt like just being around him made him worse.

“Okay,” she said evenly. That was the only apology she had left in her anymore.

He gave her that heart shattering smile of his. “I'll do better,” it said, “I promise.”

One day that smile wouldn't tear into her soul. Wouldn't force her out of her chair and into his arms. One day it wouldn't lead to them desperately clutching each other in the search for something normal.

They embraced one another in silence.

And still, in her husband's arm she was thinking about the Robbins problem.


“My mom did not fire Mandy.”

Having a weird perky gossipy friend was a new thing for Cristina. After Izzie bombed out and Burke abandoned her she'd gotten used to the solitude of Seattle Grace. She ate lunch alone and did her charts alone and when Torres wasn't avoiding her husband or kissing Grey's ass she was scrubbing in on her surgeries.

She developed a rhythm.

Meredith Webber thoroughly interrupted that rhythm with her relentless perkiness. Which was, Cristina had to note, distinctly different from optimism or happiness. She wasn't like Robbins who puked rainbows and peed sunshine. There was a dark tinge to the Webber perk.

And though Cristina had promised herself she'd never befriend another perky person after Izzie she had to admit Webber wasn't so bad. That perkiness didn't interfere with her work and she finally had someone with whom she could talk about the hospital comings and goings. Which at that moment concerned their former resident, Mandy Bailey.

“Technically your dad fired Mandy. Your mom just made the order.”

Webber—Meredith scoffed. “That doesn't even make sense. Mandy's a little puppy dog.”

“Who apparently made a fool of your mom in front of international press.”

This gave Meredith pause. “Mom can be pretty petty.”

“Wait, so your mom did fire Bailey?”

“I thought—you told me that!”

“It was a rumor, a rumor that you are now confirming as being plausible.”

Once upon a time, or two days earlier, the conversation would have gone a lot differently. Meredith would have defended her mom and called Cristina a weirdo. Cristina would have told her to go fuck herself and then Karev would have swooped in from wherever and broken them up.

But now here they were talking about Meredith's mom like she might be the next Anti-Christ. Chiefly because only an antithetical answer to God would fire the kindest most affable woman in the whole hospital.

“That's just so weird to think of, you know? Mandy's like a baby version of Robbins. I can't imagine her sabotaging my mom.”

“I can. It's always the quiet ones Meredith. They're just waiting and watching and stewing.”

Meredith laughed, “Like Hunt. Did you know he broke a window down in the Pit yesterday?”

Of course Cristina knew, she'd been there. And the pain on his face—the helplessness—had been terrifying.

Meredith poked her straw down into her drink looking for the last bits of diet soda, “I honestly don't know how that whole thing with Torres works. Two tempers like that,” she shuddered, “Thanksgiving must be fun at their house.”

“The guy's sick.”

“So? That's why psychiatry exists.”

Aaand the perkiness was now turning obnoxious.

Chapter 2

He never shouted in his sleep. In movies and stuff the soldier broken by war always shouted in his sleep. They twisted and turned and cursed and woke up panting and covered in sweat. Owen was still as death when he slept.

It was an unspoken agreement that they put a pillow between them in case in they fell into old habits and sought each other's company. As still as he was Owen couldn't be touched while he was sleeping.

So the pillow protected each of them. They locked the door too, in case Allegra or her brothers tried to come in and cuddle. There was no cuddling in the Hunt-Torres household. Because cuddling constituted touching and touching was off limits.

At least at night.

During the day—when Owen was with the kids—he was almost the man she married. The guy who pushed her to save a man's life using therapeutic hypothermia and caught her in a passionate kiss on the icy walkway outside the hospital. Sometimes, when he was working late and she was alone in bed she'd think of those first few months together. When he'd been on leave and they spar in public and in bed.

Owen was a force of nature back then. A cocky trauma surgeon who saw what he wanted and took it.

Now…now he was broken and she was broken too. They lay in bed separated by a pillow-not talking—not touching. Each alone in thoughts foreign to the other.

In those first few moments before sleep Callie used to go through her day. Run over the surgeries she'd performed and the lives she'd saved. Now she tried to clear her mind. Because if she started thing it would be about what could have been. Of another life. One where she divorced Owen after he came back instead of trying to salvage their marriage by having the twins. One where she'd finally found the heart in the elevator guy instead. She knew now it was that intern that washed out but in her head he was a good looking guy with bright blue eyes and dimples and the kindest smile she'd ever seen. A guy who would hold her after a rough day and who could be held in return. A man who worshipped her instead of barely tolerating her and who wouldn't mind if she skipped dinner at home to go out for celebratory drinks with Dr. Robbins.

It was a dangerous game to play. More often than not it tore away the thin veneer of “all right” she'd put up around herself and left her staring at the space where the ceiling fan used to be and trying, desperately, not to feel the agony that stalked her at the edges of her thoughts.


On the other side of the pillow Owen repeated his mantra. “I am cool, calm and collected.” It had been Teddy's idea. A mantra for when the panic set in. Not a mantra. Owen said it so often now it became more like a prayer. A desperate plea to a God unseen to save him from the instincts that consumed him.

There was something dark and unfixable in him. He knew it. Felt it bubbling to the surface every time Callie looked at him with concern or one of the residents tried to argue with him. There was this driving need to just do…more. To punch a wall or run a marathon or figure out some way to exhaust his mind. He was so angry and he knew—he knew —it wasn't normal.

But he didn't know how to fix it.

So he said his prayers and hoped and prayed that nothing would draw him from them.

And as he drifted to sleep he'd remember the only comfort he found in his day anymore. That resident of Callie's. Yang. She was the only one that didn't look at him with pity. If anything she was reproachful. Quiet. Judging. It was refreshing to have someone do something besides coddle him. Somehow Yang could push him and that darkness in him didn't push back.

“I am cool, calm and collected,” stopped being the words Owen said to himself each night before bed. “You are cool, calm and collect,” Yang said. Commanding him. Demanding it. As his eyes would drift shut he'd imagine a hand on his cheek whispering those words. It should have been his wife calming him into sleep, but instead it was her resident, Cristina Yang.


Arizona wasn't the best cook but since moving to Seattle she'd gotten damn good at making pizza. That was her thing. When she started seeing some new woman she'd try to wow her with her amazing pizza making abilities.

Sadly most women didn't seem to be impressed by her pies. The effort she put into getting the perfect dough, the hand sliced pepperonis, the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese to black olives. Women just couldn't appreciate it.

Which led to them being unable to appreciate other things. Which led to dates ending early. Which led to leftover pizza for days afterwards.

It was one such slice from date number two with Sheila from Hacksons & Terryfield: Attorneys at Law, that Arizona was tearing into with relish in the middle of the cafeteria.

She'd brought the pizza to work because she was tired of eating the salads in the cafeteria and she was eating her homemade lunch in the cafeteria despite the unspoken rule that one never did that because maybe, just maybe, her schedule would match up with Torres's schedule and she'd get to watch the woman sadly pick at her salad from across the room.

If Timothy were alive he'd tell her she was being pathetic and she needed to get over the straight married girl with kids.

But Torres was amazing and sometimes she'd catch Arizona's eye across the cafeteria and hit her with that million-watt smile and Arizona's whole day would be better.

Today looked like one of those days. Torres had just retrieved a salad and was looking for a place to sit. She always used to sit with Mandy—that was no longer possible. Her eye caught Arizona's and she let loose that smile and Arizona's insides turned into some sort of goo. Then she started walking towards Arizona. Like she was going to sit with her.

But she faltered. A frown marred those perfect features. And a shadow was cast over Arizona's delicious lunch.


Torres quickly aborted her approach and moved for the door and Arizona had to turn and get the splash of cold water that was Mark Sloan's smirk.

If she'd been straight it would have been hot, but as it was the man had just seriously vagina blocked her.

“What,” she asked irritably.

He grinned, flipped a chair around and straddled it. “McDreamy. That's what the residents call you.” He was super pleased with himself, and to reinforce it he pulled an apple out of his coat pocket and bit into it with relish. “And apparently I'm McSteamy.”

She cast a glance over to Torres, but the other surgeon had fled the cafeteria.

“Aren't you impressed,” Mark asked. The man was clearly oblivious to the major lesbian faux pas he had committed.

“You managed to get information out of one of the hundreds of nurses or residents you see every day. Clearly you deserve some sort of medal.”

He leaned in, “Or something else.”

She glared, “I'm not sleeping with you.”

“You know I'm amazing right?”

“Yes, I'm sure your spectacular. But we're pity friends not pity sex friends.”

“Your loss Robbins.”

Torres appeared again, only the frown she'd had when Arizona had last seen her was now a look of resignation. Which was quickly explained by the lunch buddy she'd found. A very pregnant Addison Shepherd. Shepherd saw Arizona, saw Mark, and then abruptly left, dragging poor Torres with her.

“So how's that going,” Arizona asked her own lunch buddy. She nodded in the direction the two women had fled.

Sloan sighed, “You'd think it would be going better. I moved across the country, bought a condo directly across the street, put in a nursery and basically proposed to the woman and she's been avoiding me since she told Derek.”

“A condo across the street?”

“Yeah the place with the blue doo—“ The horror she felt must have shown on her face because he grinned. “Are we neighbors Robbins?”

“Why would you buy a place across the street from the hospital?”

“Same reason you did I bet. Easy to get to work and killer HOA fees.”

“I can't believe we live in the same building. Please tell me you aren't the person that just moved into 32B.”

His grin grew bigger. “So you're the one in 32A,” he leaned in close, “With the women flooding out of your apartment.”

“They do not ‘flood.' They're friends.”

“A different friend every two to three days?”

“You haven't been here that long.”

He held up three fingers, “Three weeks Robbins. I'm not judging. I'm seriously impressed.”

“You're disgusting.”

“Probably. I've slept with half the women in New York. But you Robbins. I didn't even know there were that many lesbians in Seattle.”

“Would you please keep your voice down.”

Mark sat up straight in his chair and looked around then leaned back in, “Are you not out at work?”

“I—I like to keep my work life separate from my home life.”

He nodded and took another loud bite, “Got it. No setting you up with the scrub nurse Grey just assigned me. This does explain something though.”

Arizona really didn't need any more surprises. Having a co-worker know that she'd slept with half of Seattle was bad enough. Having that co-worker be Mark Sloan was worse. “What,” she asked, though she really didn't want to know.

“The whole thing with you and Torres.”

Something like panic ran through Arizona's system and she had to fight the urge to flee the cafeteria, the hospital and the state of Washington. “What thing Mark?” She hoped her tone was curt and serious and didn't at all give away the terror flooding through her veins.

“All the flirting and jealousy and longing look at each other's cleavage.”

“We do not…I don't…There's nothing go on.”

He raised an eyebrow.

Wait. At each other's…Torres was checking her out?


What was supposed to be a nice lunch in the cafeteria almost turned into lunch with Robbins in the cafeteria but then that plastics guy had shown up and the idea of watching those to laugh and enjoy themselves had sent Callie fleeing.

Only then she ran into Addison who dragged her back into the cafeteria so she would have someone to talk to. Then she saw the same sight that had sent Callie fleeing. That led to them sharing Callie's salad in Callie's office.

Addison twisted a piece of lettuce between her fingers before popping it into her mouth. “He just proposed to me and now he's moving onto Robbins?”

“He proposed?”

“What kind of guy does that?”

Callie stabbed at her half of the salad, “I wouldn't know.” Oh Callie did know. A manwhore. A slutty no good manwhore who was a god in the field of plastic surgery. That was the only kind of guy who moved onto innocent and sweet peds surgeons after getting married women pregnant.

Addison eyed her, “Everything okay?”

“It's fine.”

“I heard about what happened with Owen…down in the Pit.”

Oh. That. He was supposed to be getting better and not breaking his hand on panes of glass then refusing to talk about it. He was supposed to be the man she married. A good man in a storm.

Instead he was—

“He's fine.”

“If you need to talk—“

“He's fine Addison. Let's go back to the part where someone proposed to you even though you're married.”


Cristina found Dr. Hunt sitting out in the cold. Unlike most rational and sane people who were bundled up in thick coats to ward off the Seattle winter Dr. Hunt was wearing his usual uniform of tie, shirt and lab coat.

He sat perfectly still—his breath coming in slow measured paces. His hands were folded in his lap and he was staring off blankly into the distance.

There were a lot of ways to deal with someone in his condition. Cristina opted for the easiest and took a seat next to him. She noticed his bandaged hand. The edges of it were turning dark. It would need to be changed soon.

“I couldn't tell her.”

“You should.”

He laughed and there was a bitter note to it, “You know my wife. She won't take it well.”

“So what happens? You hide from her? Bottle it up?” He said nothing. “One day you'll hurt her. Or your kids. You won't mean to. It won't be on purpose. But it will happen.”

“I would never hurt them.”

She reached out and touched his arm. He started to flinch away but seemed to catch himself and instead stayed still. The arm beneath her fingers was hard. Too firm to be relaxed. She noticed then that he wasn't perfectly still. He was so tense he could barely move. His body was humming with everything he was keeping in.

“It's not…you shouldn't be ashamed. What's happening to you? It is nothing to be ashamed of.”

He turned to stare at her with those eyes of his. Few people had such expressive eyes and few people could ever carry such a haunted look on their face. She'd seen the look in others. The terminally ill. Those knocking on death's door.

Cristina Yang was a frigid doctor and a callous friend, but that didn't stop her from surging forward then and wrapping him in a hug. She held on tightly as though her own serenity would push through and destroy the ache surrounding the man.

He stayed rigid in her grasp for so long she nearly regretted her instincts, but then she felt hands reach up and wrap around her as well. And Owen Hunt almost, for a moment, relaxed.


Arizona made a split second decision when she saw Mark Sloan round the corner. She could either wait until he saw her, smile, and then walk home together and further fuel the rumor that they were passionately in love after knowing each other for a day, or she could duck into the Attending's lounge and wait for him to leave.

She was a surgeon used to making life altering decisions at a moment's notice every day so it was a no brainer. She slipped into the lounge and allowed herself a moment of relief.

Then she noticed she wasn't alone and that Calliope Torres was on her cellphone. Arizona waved an apology and moved to the couch away from the window.

Mark's stupid comment earlier had Arizona flustered. She'd managed to direct him away from conversation about Torres because she really didn't need him teasing her about a crush on top of the fodder she'd already given him that day, but she kept going back to it. The idea that Calliope Torres was checking her out too. She remembered past interactions. Handshakes she kept going long after appropriate and linger eye contact that she was positive have made Torres uncomfortable.

But what if she'd read it wrong. What if those sad little looks she got from her weren't “Gross stop crushing on me” looks but “hey why'd you stop” looks. That idea was enough to bring a smile to her face.

“I take it Mark Sloan's the reason behind that smile.”

Torres had hung up her fun and was looking at Arizona like she was a patient with a particularly bizarre heart defect.

“Mark Sloan will never be the reason I smile.”

That actually had the other woman smiling, “So you two aren't…”

“Oh no. I was polite to him yesterday. After Derek crunched his nose in? Now I can't get rid of him.”

“That'll make Addison feel better.”

“I hope. If you see her do tell her I'm not…I'm not trying to date Mark or anything.”

“I will.”

Torres started looking something up on her phone, then paused and cursed. “Damn it,” slipped out under her breath.


“Yeah, not one but two babysitters cancelled on me.”

“Oh. You and Owen got a hot date?”

Please say no.

Torres laughed, “Sort of. We're trying to do couple things more often. Doesn't always work out too well.”

“Well, if you need someone to watch them I can always do it.”

Arizona hated her mouth as soon as the words came out. The little version of Timothy she kept in her head started calling her an idiot and that roommate in college she'd never get over pointed and laugh.

Torres looked as surprised as Arizona felt. “Really?”

A nervous laugh leapt from her contemptuous lips, “Sure,” she said as though it was totally cool and she was just her normal chipper self, “I mean, don't tell anyone. Because then every person in the hospital will ask me to babysit. But I really don't mind.”

Torres was now giving her that super awesome smile of hers. “Thank you,” she said genuinely. She pulled a card out of her pocket and scribbled her address on the back. “So stop by around 7?”

“Sounds great!”

Arizona's was a miserable existence.

She and Torres chatted for a few more minutes and the she slipped out so she could rush hum and change and figure out how exactly she was going to babysit kids when she usually avoided them outside of work. The card burned a hole in her pocket and halfway home she pulled it out.


Not as melodic as Calliope Torres, but there was something nice about Callie. Maybe she'd start calling the other woman that. It made sense if she was going to be babysitting her kids. And maybe, maybe she'd let her call her Arizona.

Chapter 3

“Robbins is babysitting?”

“It was her or a romantic night in with twin two year olds and a four year old who just learned curse words.”

That was Allegra's cue to gleefully shout, “Fuck!”

“No,” her parents shouted in unison.

This led to giggling on her part, probably because dislike for her new habit of sounding like a three foot tall sailor was the one thing her parents could agree on.

Callie knelt next to her daughter, who was in the midst of finishing her dinner of salmon and spinach, “Allegra, sweetie. I love you, but no cursing in front of the babysitter.”

“What if she asks me to?”

Owen, who at that point was busy putting away the twins' dirty dishes smiled at his wife then directed his answer to his daughter, “She's not going to ask you.”

This was it. These moments with Allegra and the boys were the only time they ever felt like the family Callie and Owen had set out to create. Sitting in this kitchen watching the twins play in the milk they'd spilt on the table and Allegra politely asking if she could tell Arizona to go fuck herself was what it was all about.

Owen even looked relaxed almost. He had since before they'd gotten home. That tension that normally radiated off him at a solid ten had been dialed back to a three and he was laughing and joking with their children and, apparently in a charitable mood, even winking at Callie.

It almost made her feel normal.

“I'm still amazed you got Robbins to do it,” Owen said. He'd moved over to the sink where he was scrubbing the pan he'd baked the salmon in. “She's notoriously anti-“ he paused and turned to look at the kids. “She doesn't babysit.”

Callie had no idea what had changed the peds surgeon's mind. She too had heard the rumors that asking the perpetually single doctor to look after kids was worse than asking Ellis Grey for a raise. Callie had just bemoaned her day and Robbins had magically swooped in and offered to be her personal hero.

“Maybe it's Sloan. He's been hounding her for a date.”

“So it was babysit or go on a date?”

Callie shrugged, “I'm not gonna complain.”

While the kids finished their dinner and Owen finished cleaning up the kitchen Callie ran upstairs to run a brush through her hair and change clothes. It wasn't a dramatic change. She normally looked polished and smoking hot at work, but she swapped her blouse and black skirt for a navy blue dress and went with a slightly darker lipstick.

A quick look in the mirror confirmed what she already knew. She looked fabulous.

Heading back downstairs she saw a blond head through the glass of the front door. Callie skipped the last few steps and swung the door open, surprising the damp looking Robbins on the other side. The woman had changed into a pair skin tight khakis and a red shirt that probably shouldn't have been legally worn in public.

In short, she looked fabulous. She was also very damp.

“Did you ride a bike here?”

It was a stupid question because the answer was clearly sitting there on her front porch. A sleek and intense road warrior kind of bike like all the hipsters road. Robbins smiled at the question though. No. She grinned. “I did!”

“Do you often ride around Seattle in the rain?”

“It was that or the bus.”

“What about your car?”

“I sold it when I realized I hadn't driven it in six months. The bike works for me. I go to the hospital. I go home. I go to bars. That's it.”

Callie shook her head in amazement, “I've never actually met an adult with a job that rides a bike.”

“You'd be surprised. I run into lots of reasonable looking adults on rides. Just a couple of days ago I met and went out with a lovely attorney.”

“Well, as long as he's not coming over to make out while you babysit we should all be good.”

Robbins looked at her like she'd suddenly sprouted another head. Callie preferred to think she'd actually sprouted another foot. In her mouth. Make out while you babysit ? What was she? A forty something mom? Was Robbins a teenage girl she was paying ten bucks an hours?

“I don't think gentleman suitors will be a problem tonight Calliope.”

She was about to apologize for her absolutely ridiculous statement when she realized the other woman had called her Calliope. It was a name she despised. One she'd given serious consideration to having changed. One her husband wouldn't use even if under threat of death. And it rolled off Arizona Robbins' tongue like a song.

“Oh,” she said. Almost breathlessly. Confused and elated all at once. Arizona held her gaze—smiling like she knew the secrets to every trouble in Callie's heart. The light sound of the constant Seattle rain, the kids chatting amicably in the other room it all disappeared as she found herself staring into an enigmatic set of blue eyes.

Then Owen came out of the kitchen and the noises of Callie's world returned. “Dr. Robbins! I had to see it to believe it.”

Robbins was unfazed by whatever moment Callie thought they'd just shared. She flashed those dimples of hers at Owen. “I'm a bit surprised myself. Do you mind if I bring my bike into the house? I don't want it getting—“

“No that's fine.” Owen hustled over and opened the coat closet, “I've got a tarp here you can put it on and everything.”

“Thanks,” she said.

“No thank you. Callie and I needed a night out.”

Arizona shot Callie a look and winked mischievously, “I completely understand.”

The two of them worked to spread out the tarp and then Arizona rolled her bike in and knelt down to fiddle with a chain on it while Owen ran upstairs to grab his jacket. She glanced up at Callie who was still standing there staring. “You're dress is nice,” she said conversationally. Then she winked again, “Sexy as hell.”

Callie was not gay. She liked guys. Loved guys. When they'd first gotten together before Owen had returned to Iraq the sex had been intense, spontaneous, and regularly mind-blowing. But Callie felt herself melting a little at Dr. Robbins being all dashing and athletic and flirtatious on her entry hall floor.

“Thanks,” she croaked.

“Definitely a good date night dress.”

Owen pounded back down the stairs shrugging on his jacket. “Ready to go sweetheart?”

She looked from the blond on the floor to her husband. Whatever had just transpired had her hornier than she'd been in months. Yeah, definitely a good date night dress. “Sure am!” Someone was getting laid.


Arizona knew a lot about kids. There was all the medical stuff she knew that put her on the Harper Avery shortlist two years in a row and earned her a Madison Grant. But she also knew that Pokemon games never failed to keep kids entertained, that Disney movies could play on repeat and they wouldn't grow tired of them and that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles weren't really a thing any more.

She did not, however, know how to keep three children under the age of five entertained for the hour before bed. That was usually a nurse's job.

But somewhere after the third game of “let's kill the baby sitter with paper towel tube swords” she started to get it. And then it was an hour past their bed time and she had to figure out how to calm them down without her normal goto of a sedative.

That lead to Allegra sitting in her lap and the twins lying in their beds and her reading them all a story. The twins drifted off first and soon after Allegra, with her little head nestled on Arizona's shoulder, had difficultly keeping her eyes open.

Arizona shut off the lights to the twins room and carried Allegra down the hall to her own bedroom. The girl was light in her arms, lighter then she would have expected. She was used to having her hands on kids—inside them. The simple act of carrying a child older than 18 months was just a little odd to her. She expected her to be…heavier.

Allegra's room was just across the hall from the boys. Further down the hall was, Arizona assumed, Callie and Owen's bedroom. There was a children's gate in front of it that looked like it hadn't been moved in months and the door was shut firmly. Kind of foreboding, but Arizona wasn't one to judge. It was probably a nightmare trying to have a sex life with three kids old enough to run but too young to understand privacy.

She gently set Allegra down in her bed and crept out of the room. Taking her time going down the stares she took stock of the photos on the wall. They looked like a happy family. A loving one. One that didn't need a 37 year old single lesbian horning in on things and being a knight in shining armor. She was an idiot being so kind to Callie. It would only end in tears.



Callie looked smoking hot. She knew it. Arizona Robbins knew it. The waiter knew it. Heck even the couple at the other table knew it. Owen Hunt, her husband, did not know it. It wasn't a case of Callie misreading him. She'd been married to the man for years. She could read him like a book. She was quite positive that his mind was elsewhere because otherwise he'd have that hungry look in his eyes and be trying to crawl over the table to eat her face off.

Only he was, as he had been since before the twins were born, distant. And tonight, now that they were alone he was allowing himself his own little respite from traditional social graces and being non-communicative.

“This wine is delicious,” she opined, “people are always saying the California wines can't compare with the French but then you get one like this and it is just so good.”

He nodded, “Wonderful.”

“I wonder how Robbins is doing?”

Owen glanced down at his watch, “Hopefully by now she has them in bed and she's enjoying a nice evening to herself.”

“Yeah…is that what you want to be doing?”

That got something out of him, “What?”

She was a fool to press it. Owen needed—liked his space, but she had planned a night out with her husband and dressed up in a fabulous dress and damn it he needed to appreciate that. “You just seem like you don't want to be here.”

“I—I want to be here.”

“Really? Because we've been sitting here for an hour and I've been sounding like a pretentious asshole talking about wine while you stare into your glass and mull over your reason for existence.”

He looked down at his glass and then back at her. He was getting that little jittery head shake of his he got when his buttons were pressed, “The wine is good Callie. It is fantastic.”

A bitter little laughed escaped her lips, “This isn't about the wine Owen.”

“You wanted to talk about the wine? I'm talking about the wine. It is great.”

He punctuated his sentences by tapping the foot of his wine glass down onto the table. Red wine sloshed around the side of the glass and his voice raised just a little. Enough for people to glance over.

“I want you to talk to me.”

“All we ever do it talk. About the wine. The kids. Surgery.”

Fuck him.

“You want to talk about something else then? Let's talk about your hand Owen. How exactly were the instruments set on the tray? What kind of instruments were they?”

“What are you—“

“You smashed your hand against a window and shattered it.”

“Yang told you.”

“No. And she didn't have to. You did it in front of Avery and three nurses. I'm surprised Ellis isn't calling you into her office and demanding a psych eval.”

He leaned across the table, “Is that what you think I need? A psych evaluation?”

She held her husband's gaze, tried to understand the fury and fire on his face. She'd never faced anything like it. His anger was palpable. And usually when they'd pressed each other like this. When they'd pushed and pulled until it got this heated Callie would relent.

Not tonight.

“I think you need help. Before you do something—“

He slammed his hand down on the table. Now the entire restaurant was staring. And Owen couldn't see it. “I'm tired,” he was so angry he was having difficulty grasping the words, “Of you—I don't need help.”

She stared at him. Noticed the new lines around his face, the brush of blonder hair around his temples, a precursor, no doubt, to the eventual gray that would reside there. She looked at his beard, a shock of vibrant red that he'd grown out, not because he liked the look of it, but because he couldn't be bothered to shave. And his eyes. There was no empathy there. No understanding. Only a stubbornness. A desire to control something .

Owen was choosing a battle to fight and Callie wished to God it was some other one. One that didn't pit her against him. Didn't have him—

“You're screaming in the middle of a restaurant.” She let that sink it before— “I think you do.”

Owen didn't have to look around him to know his wife's observation was correct. The silence of the room was deafening. The shame on his face flared up like a blush and he quickly tried to sort out his next move.

Then he did what one of them always did when this conversation reared its head.

He left.


He wasn't waiting for her at the car and Callie was too tired to try and call him. So she drove home alone.

The weather was still doing that thing between proper rain and fog where it made the roads slick and dangerous, ruined the visibility, but refused to be wet enough to really warrant an actual rain coat.

Her house was dark when she pulled up. Only a dim orange glow of light peaking out from the shades in the living room indicated that anyone was home, or even awake. She parked and slipped in through the kitchen.

It was impossibly quiet inside and she half expected every step she took to wake the kids and bring them crashing down the stairs where they'd find their mother but no father.

In the living room Arizona was curled up on the couch with her feet tucked beneath her and her hair pulled back in a ponytail. A messenger bag full of reading material rested beside the couch and a big journal, a peds one judging by the bit of the cover she could see, was on her lap. She looked up as Callie came closer and smiled.

“Hey,” she said softly.


“How'd they do?”

“Good once I figured out that bed time had to start with a storybook.”

“They like their books.”

She looked past Callie and seeing no husband asked, “Owen parking the car?”

Of course he wasn't. She slumped down onto the couch next to her. Owen had left her at a restaurant because he was cranky and she wanted to help. He'd abandoned her in the rain after she'd dressed up. Left her scared and tired and lonely.

“He left.”

Arizona stared at her. Where Owen's face was so easy to read, Arizona's was a mask. She'd learned to school it into this serene and unknowable visage. Most likely after years of being forced to handing the worst news to grieving parents. She was good at it. Callie had seen her do it more than once.

She'd never planned to have it directed at her.

Finally Arizona said, “I'm so sorry.” She put her book on the floor and moved a little closer, so her knees were against Callie's thigh. Her voice was a whisper even though she was now closer. She had to lean a little to watch Callie's face. “What happened?”

“I told him the truth. And he left.”

“The truth?”

She turned to look at Arizona, who was still giving her that plaintive and tender stare. She never talked about it. Addison was her closet friend at work and they never talked about it. They were two rich girls trained since birth to avoid talking about certain things and they were impossibly good at it.

She never talked about it with her parents either. Or her sister. Or Owen's mom or her college buddies. She kept quiet. Stayed supportive. She watched and hoped and prayed and stood by her husband.

But Arizona was watching her with that face like a statue. Whispers of emotion rested just beneath the surface. Asking, begging, pleading with her to unloose her burden. In Arizona's face there was, for the first time, a promise of absolution.

“Owen's…sick.” The other woman's face seemed to break at the same moment the ache she'd carried with her from the restaurant dissolved into tears. Her normal response at the onset of tears as hot and fast as these was to put her head in her hands, but Arizona moved faster than Callie and pulled her into a hug.

It was tight. Crushing. Her face was forced into the soft curve of Arizona's neck, and the skin there was cool against her warm face. Even with her nose running and the tears falling she could smell the other woman. She was like a clean spring rain in the park and the scentless shampoo at the hospital that wasn't actually scentless at all.

Callie found her hands grasping at the other woman's back as she held on as tightly as she could. It was sleek, firm back that ran into strong shoulders and slim arms that held Callie with ease.

Some part of her not grieving over the fight with Owen marveled at the way she felt in Arizona's arms. There was safety there, and a comfort that even her father had never bestowed on her.

“It's all right,” Arizona murmured. Her hands ran over Callie's blue dress as she whispered in Callie's ear. One hand slipped up into Callie's hair to hold her still as the other moved in slow circles. “It's all right.”

No. It was perfect.

Chapter 4

As soon as he was out the door and the cold mist hit his face Owen knew that he'd made a mess of things. His hand was aching from hitting the table and his ears were ringing with all the blood coursing through his head.

He'd lost his temper. In public. And he'd yelled at his wife who had dressed up and was trying so hard and being so patient. All Owen wanted to do was go back in there and apologize and kiss her and try to have the evening she'd clearly envisioned when she threw on that dress.

But he couldn't turn around. He couldn't walk back in and face the looks of everyone else. Callie knew. She understood what had happened. She would forgive him as she had every time before. Those people wouldn't.

So he walked. He wasn't dressed for rain and his shoes rubbed his feet all wrong but the walking was nice. Refreshing. One foot in front of the other with only the sound of water and feet on pavement, punctuated periodically by a passing car.

It was almost…meditative. He made it all the way to the water. Limitless darkness stretched out directly in front of him and the haze of city lights on the shores only made the darkness more tangible. More foreboding. He stared out into the emptiness and let his breath come in measured gasps.

Why couldn't he listen? Why couldn't he be the man she married? Why couldn't he be the father he was meant to be? It was a stupid bomb in some distant and sunny land that had ripped apart his friend and shredded his own psyche. He hated it. Hated that it had him out in the cold and the rain staring into the Pacific. Hated that Teddy could see and experience things just as bad and not be phased. That people could come into his ER shredded by bullets and knives and walk away healthy in the head.

He hated that the world was fine and he was broken.


It took a lot to faze Arizona. She'd seen the Berlin Wall and Korea's No Man Land before she was 14. She'd worked her way through the most grueling medical programs in the country and earned a spot as the head of pediatric surgery at the best hospital in the country before she was 40. She told hundreds of parents their children were dead and hundreds more that their children had lived. She'd calmly explained children were born broken and that others were broken by chance. She ruined lives and she rebuilt them.

She could handle a lot.

Still Callie Torres was a problem for her. She had always nursed a little bit of a crush because she found ridiculously talented female surgeons attractive. And Torres had this effortless confidence that Arizona often thought mirrored her own. And few attendings could be as elated as her about a good outcome. Her love and compassion bordered on limitless and somewhere after their third year working together Arizona realized that her normal work crush had turned into something a little more intense.

She could still hide it. Lesbian daughter of a Marine working at a super professional hospital that might not be so okay with her sexuality? Yeah she was a pro at hiding things.

Callie's arms were around her and the her head was resting on Arizona's shoulder though. It made it really, really difficult to tamp down the feelings.

And she was crying. Sobbing over Owen.

That made it worse.

Because Arizona liked to fix things—people and she had a bit of a white knight complex and here was her very own damsel in distress tailor made for Arizona's brand of fixing. It would be so easy to swoop in.

Thankfully Callie had a bit of a dashing knight infestation because the brooding one she married came in not thirty minutes after Callie. He was soaked head to toe and had a desperate and wild look in his eyes and when he croaked Callie's name even Arizona's heart ached. They were like one of those couples out of a Bronte novel…only with less abuse and incest and alcoholism.

Callie pulled away from Arizona and went to him and they hugged and Arizona disappeared. She packed up her stuff and slipped around them to wheel her bike out the front door. The gust of cool air must have distracted them momentarily because she heard Callie call after her, “Arizona.” No one said her name quite like that cardio god, “Thank you.”

Arizona looked into those dark eyes of hers and for a brief moment had the urge to walk across the room, toss Owen back, pull Callie to her and kiss her like she'd never been kissed before. Instead she nodded and slipped out into the night.

Her ride home was long and wet and regrettable. She would forever be an idiot for insisting on living car free in the wettest city in the United States, but at least it gave her something to think about beyond the woman she'd had in her arms only minutes before.


Meredith was giving her a look. Like she wanted to ask if she could steal Cristina's surgeries but didn't know how to broach the subject. Which was pretty ridiculous. They were friends now. Cutthroat surgeons, but at least friendly enough that they could talk openly about their love of slicing and work towards mutually beneficial goals.

“Oh would you just ask it already?”

Meredith's eyes widened in shock, “You already knew?”

“What you were going to ask? No. But I'm tired of you looking at me like 007 looked at an appendectomy. It's creeping me out.”

“I need a roommate.”

Cristina blinked.

Meredith continued, “Since Alex and this stuff with my mom I've realized I need my own place, but I've never lived by myself and I don't exactly want to start now. I've found a cool little house and—“

“Excuse me,” Cristina tried to wrap her head around Meredith's ramblings, “are you asking me to move in with you?”

“It's close to work and there's parking for that deathtrap you ride and you wouldn't have to take the ferry,” she said in a rush.

Cristina laughed, “You are. You're asking me to move in.”

Meredith really was. She looked all earnest and nervous and Cristina was a little creeped out that the other woman knew enough about her that she could rattle off a list of house qualities that would appeal to Cristina.

“How many surgeries have you missed out on because you can't afford a place closer to the hospital,” Meredith insisted.

Cristina had to pause a moment to appreciate the effort Meredith put into this appeal. It would be nice to be closer to work and not have to worry about the ferry. She had really liked it when she'd lived in Burke's place. It had been only a few blocks from the hospital—and priced accordingly.

“Let me think about it.”

Meredith got all happy and hug oriented. She started to move in for such a hug when Dr. Torres rounded the corner looking sickeningly perfect as always. “Yang, Webber, let's go.”

They quickly fell into step behind their mentor and listened to her recount the plans for the day. When a lull in the orders came Meredith spoke up, “How was your date last night?”

Torres didn't look up from the charts she was thumbing through, but instead said, “How about you focus on the TEVAR we're doing this afternoon and I'll worry about my love life Dr. Webber.”

Meredith shot Cristina a look of confusion. Apparently date night did not go as planned.


Mark found Robbins at a nurse's station staring wistfully at the backside of either Dr. Torres or one of her residents. It was pathetic, so he snuck up behind her and whispered in her ear, “You're pathetic.”

She sighed, “I really am.”

“You need to not be staring at some lady's backside when you could instead be going out with me for drinks tonight.”

Robbins shook herself out of her daydreaming and turned to him, “How are those two things connected exactly?”

“I need a wingman, and I suspect there is no better wingman than a hot lesbian.”

She sighed and returned to her wistful staring. Down the hall Torres and her residents were talking with a patient's family. Torres laughed at something they said and smiled. Mark had to admit, the woman had a crazy hot smile.

“I'm not helping you pick up bi-curious drunk chicks Sloan.”

“Come on! It'll be fun. I'll even help you pick some up too.”

“I'm not in the mood.”

“Or we can just go to Joe's and drink ourselves into stupor and bitch about the married women we're in love with.”

“Addison hasn't accepted your proposal huh?”

He made some air quotes, “She's figuring things out.”

Robbins rolled her eyes, “I've heard that one before. Which is why I generally avoid straight and bi girls,” she paused then added, “and baby lesbians. They process too much.”

“So staring at Torres's ass is a more productive use of your time.”

She rested her chin in her hands, “Yes.”


An afternoon intended for charts while Meredith scrubbed in on the cool TEVAR turned into handling a trauma case in the Pit when Cristina turned out to be the only cardio consult available. Hunt was his usual self. By turns taciturn and seething.

The woman had been speared by a sign post and somehow remained conscious. She loudly begged them to save her. She told them about her husband who was out at the mall with the kids. Her kids who were all under five and needed their mom. Her sister who had trouble taking care of herself and needed her to help. She told them about how she thought about going to medical school when she was younger.

Then she asked them why it didn't hurt. She told Dr. Hunt what gorgeous eyes he had and how any woman would be lucky to love him. She begged for her life.

Then she died.

Around the corpse the hospital kept moving. The nurses and other staff began to clean up and chat about their plans for after work. Cristina removed the gloves and trauma gown she'd hastily put on and called time of death. Then she filled out a form. Someone contacted the morgue.

No one mentioned Hunt—who stood over the body like a monolith. When they came to retrieve the body and move it downstairs it fell to Cristina to touch the trauma surgeon's arm and bring him back to the present.

He flinched away from her touch then spun around violently. The shift was fast it forced Cristina to take a step back.

Hunt seemed to see her then. In the blink of an eye he was back to his taciturn self. Then he moved around her and fled down the hall.

She had a choice then. She could head back upstairs and finish her charts and meet up with Meredith for drinks as planned or she could follow the man.

She found him down in the basement standing over a vent staring at the ceiling.

“Dr. Hunt?” He didn't move. “Owen?”

His head dropped. “I can't,” he muttered.

“She was DOA.”

“She was a person.”

“Who died as soon as that post went through her.”

Stabbing his chest with he finger he said, “No. We failed her. I failed her.”

He was moving now. The shift from the monolith to the man occurring in an instant. He moved close. It was a habit men often had with Cristina. They got in close so they towered over her slight frame. She didn't flinch.

I should have saved her.”

Cristina took a step closer. She could feel the touch of his coat brushing against her own. “Sometimes there's nothing we can do.” They were so close her voice was almost a whisper.

“There is always something.” He stared at her. She could taste his breath. Smell his cologne. See the wrinkles in his shirt and the perspiration on his brow. “There has to be something.”

“No,” she said calmly, “there doesn't. Sometimes what's broken can't be fixed.”

Every doctor knew that. Owen Hunt would have learned that long before he swaggered into Seattle Grace and whisked Callie Torres off her feet. He was an experienced trauma surgeon who had to have had more lost causes then any number of other doctors in the hospital.

But sometimes a few good outcomes could make a doctor forget the inevitable bad ones. Sometimes doctors looked for salvation in the doomed as some perverse way to gather hope. Sometimes they just needed things to be better than they ever could be.

They'd all experienced it.

And sometimes they just needed a reminder.


The day of staring at Callie's ass and saving tiny humans culminated when Arizona tried to dodge Mark by slipping into an on call room and walked in on Webber and Bad Shepherd making out. Like hardcore pants about to fly off sex very imminent making out.

Arizona had to admit it was all very pretty and sexy. When Shepherd wasn't dressing like an undertaker and Webber wasn't so cheery it hurt Arizona's teeth they were attractive people. But that didn't mean she wanted to see little McDreary out of his pants and Webber crying out his name passionately.

She yelped. They yelped. Mark pounded on the door, and in a moment of extreme duress Arizona groaned like she was being wickedly satisfied by some other person. It was enough for Mark to call out “Good one Robbins! See you at Joe's.”

Then she was stuck in a very awkward situation.

“I guess,” she said, “if I was Mark Sloan I'd suggest a threesome?”

The other two stared at her.

“But I'm not,” she quickly said, “I mean. You guys are gorgeous. If I was into threesomes with guys and everything I'd be all for it. But I'm not and I think I'm just going to go ahead and leave now and we'll never speak of this again? Okay? Okay.” She started to leave. Paused, “And Meredith that it was really great bra.”

She started to leave again. Paused once more, “And you should probably tell your wife its over? Just because she's in love with Sloan and he's in love with her and you two have a thing going and it would be a lot better for everyone if you all had sex out in the open. Not the actual open. Just not in on call rooms where I'd accidentally walk into it and now this has gotten really awkward so bye.”

She didn't quite run from the scene. More of a quick kind of scooting thing. She vaguely heard laughter as she scooted which hopefully meant Derek wasn't going to seek her out and beg her to keep her mouth shut and scold her for telling him how to handle his own marriage.

Rounding a corner she ran directly into the ravishing as always Dr. Torres, “Calliope!”

Callie was trying to peek past her while also supporting Allegra on her hip and rocking the twins in their stroller. “Did I just hear someone screaming?”

Allegra waved.

“Yes.” Callie looked at her for elaboration. “Me. I was screaming.”

The other woman's gaze went from somewhere around Arizona's crotch region and up to her eyes. “Are you okay?”

“I'm fine.”

“Really. Because you look fluster—“

“I'm good.”

Allegra pulled on her mom to be let down and then pulled on Arizona who immediately took the child's hand in her own and put her between herself and Callie. Who was trying to sort out the information she now had.

“I was just. In the on call room and—“

Callie's eyes narrowed, “You and McSteamy huh?” She sounded almost wistful.

“What? No. Oh no. No no no,” and once more because she really wanted Callie to understand it, “No.”


“It's not what you think. And I can't tell you what was really happening because Allegra,” she took that opportunity to pick the girl up, “and her brothers are pretty amazing and would then ask all kinds of questions that you probably don't want to answer until puberty.”


There were really no words for Allegra's exceptional timing.

Arizona suspected that was Callie's cue to tell her daughter no as Allegra was watching her mother with bated breath and the twins had twisted around in their stroller to see whatever punishment their mother meted out.

But instead Callie laughed. Arizona couldn't quite muster a laugh of her own as she was still afraid Derek and Webber were going to slink out of the on call room and Callie would see and infer something much kinkier then what actually transpired, but she smiled and basked in the skittish feeling thrumming through her at the sight of Callie so happy.

The wrecked woman she'd found in her arms the night before transformed into the breathtaking woman she fantasized about.

Allegra started to fidget in her arms so Arizona swayed a little to calm the girl down. “Owen looked good today,” she said. It was pretty stupid to go crushing Callie's mood like that, but she'd seen him around the hospital and he did look better.

The mention of her husband wiped the joy of Callie's face immediately and something like the mask she often wore formed. “He is.”

“You know, if you ever need to talk—“

“I don't think so.”

“It's just—I get it Calliope. And I like you. Both of you. And I'd like to be friends.”

“You just want me to finally buy you that drink.”

She laughed, “Yeah. That too. Because otherwise I'm pretty sure Mark Sloan is going to become my permanent drinking buddy and it will really wreck my reputation.”

Callie's lips pursed in thought and she reached out and pulled Allegra from Arizona's grasp, “I should probably head out, but tomorrow Robbins. You and me. Drinks. Girl talk.”

“I'd like that.”


Often times drinks at Joe's for Arizona meant wine until she was drunk enough not to care what she was drinking and then straight tequila because they always seemed to have a good stock of tequila.

But when she got there Mark already had tequila primed and ready and she was so unsettled by all the awkward sexy sights and flirtation with a married woman that she didn't reject it.

“Hard drinker, just what I like to see in a woman.”

She gave Mark a withering gaze that he proved quite immune to. Probably because of the few empty glasses that already littered the table.

He leaned over and asked, “So whose cake were you pounding in the on call room?”

“No one's.”

“Uh huh. Correction. Who was pounding your cake? Because it sure as hell wasn't Torres. I saw her with that whole brood walking around looking lost without you there to gaze at her ass.”

“I do not pound cake and tell.”

They both took a shot and then called for another at the same time.

“Thanks though,” Mark said, “Pretty sure half the hospital heard you. I bet tomorrow women will be throwing themselves at me to heal my wounded heart.”

“People think I cheated on you?”

He nodded, “You're a cruel and frigid mistress.”

“You're an ass.”

The door to Joe's opened letting in a biting winter wind and a bedraggled Owen Hunt. He headed straight for the bar and ordered a scotch, which he kicked back quickly before ordering another.

“Guess Torres is on her own with the brood tonight huh?”

Arizona watched Owen kick back another drink. “Yeah, I guess so.”


At the other end of the bar Cristina held a table and waited for Meredith. As there was nothing else to do but drink and stare she used to opportunity to watch Owen kick back scotch.

Halfway through his third glass he paused and looked around the bar. His eyes found hers and heat raced through her. He finished his drink, motioned for another and stared. Cristina could do nothing but stare back.

His fourth drink arrived and he took a sip. It was more delicate then his last draught. He was fighting something while he held her gaze. Some unseen decision was made and he walked towards her and the heat flared up into something that might have been construed as a blush in another woman.

Then he faltered and the site of him was blocked by Meredith's head.

“You will not believe what happened to me,” she said.

“What happened?”

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Robbins and Sloan wave to Owen who cast one more look at her before joining them.

“I with kissed Bad Shepherd.”

“You kissed Bad Shepherd?”

“I was having a bad day.”

“So that's what you do? Kiss McDreary on your bad days?”

“Torres was a nightmare today and then he was—we've been sharing moments.”

“Uh huh.”

“What about you? Any thoughts on the offer?”

At the other table Robbins laughed loudly and Sloan tried to poke Owen into joining in with the laughter.

“Let's move in.”

Meredith squealed and even though they'd agreed that hugging was stupid they still hugged it out anyways.

Chapter 5

Callie's first thought was that a bear wearing a clown suit and fairy wings was breaking into her house to eat her and raise her children as its own. It was a very disturbing and believable conjecture when woken from a deep sleep at 1 a.m.

Then gradually logic entered the equation and she realized that was ridiculous. Fairy wings and a clown suit was just way too gaudy for a grizzly bear from the Pacific Northwest.

Then she realized that a bear breaking into her house to eat her and raise her children was probably a not something likely to happen in the center of Seattle and that something more realistic was happening. Like she was being burgled…or her husband was coming home very late.

She carefully crept out of her bedroom, stepped over the gate and grabbed the metal baseball bat they kept in the upstairs hall closet. Then she crept down the stairs and found her husband on the floor with Arizona Robbins on top of him. It would have broken her heart if it wasn't clear they were both very, very drunk.

Arizona noticed the new company first and looked up with a smile that sent a thrill through her, “Calliope. Hi.”

Owen had to peak around Arizona's shoulder to see her and then he tried to wave with his bandaged hand. Arizona quickly put her hand over his and held it down.

“Shh,” she said, “You'll wake the baby.”

“What happened?”

Owen was drifting off to sleep on the floor of the front entry so Arizona answered, “We went drinking.”

“I thought that was tomorrow.”

“No. Our date is tomorrow. This was just friends.”

It was too late at night for Callie to process why exactly that statement was so damn endearing. So instead she tried to process how exactly the two of them were in her house on the floor.

“How'd you get here?”

“We drove.”


Arizona waved her hand, “It's not illegal if you drive a bicycle.”

That was…an image. “You brought Owen home on a bicycle.”

That made Arizona laugh, “No. I drove his car. He was too drunk to drive and I didn't want him to have an accident.”

It took Arizona a moment to realize the big gaping flaw in her logic. She pushed herself up off of Owen and staggered. Callie quickly stepped forward and caught her in her arms. She fit there nicely and her head lolled against Callie's shoulder for one sweet moment.

Arizona sighed then looked up at Callie, “I should probably take his car back to Joe's so no one knows we drove drunk,” she whispered.

“I think that's a very bad idea,” Callie whispered back. She'd never been this close to the other woman before. Close enough to see the flecks of grey in her blue eyes and the fine blond hairs on her cheek.

Arizona pouted. “I messed up didn't I?”

All the drunken stumbling had made a mess of Arizona's hair and some of it was in her face. Callie carefully brushed it back and refused to think about how natural a motion it was. “Immensely. But you're here and safe now. So it's almost okay.”


Still using Callie as support Arizona tilted to look down at Owen. She poked him with her foot and he didn't move.

“I think Mark Sloan got us drunk.”

“He's not out in the car is he?”

“No, he got a call and left us with extra tequila.”

Callie gently moved Arizona so she was propped against the wall and then tried to get her husband up. He stirred just enough to let her know he was alive, but was reticent to wake up enough to actually climb the stairs. It left her in a predicament.


Arizona pushed herself off the wall and swayed in place.

“Owen's a little heavy, can you—“ she nodded to his legs.

Arizona saluted like a little Marine and squatted down. She made a funny little grunting noise and picked his feet up. Unfortunately that didn't lift much of Owen off the ground. “Where to boss?”

Callie reached down and took Owen by the shoulders and they waddled into the living room where they carefully rolled him onto the couch. She then went to grab pillows and a blanket for him. When she returned she found Arizona trying to curl up in the chair next to the couch.

She removed Owen's shoes and jacket, propped him up on his side, put a glass of water next to his head and covered him up. Then she turned her attention to Arizona who was trying to fall asleep in the most uncomfortable position possible.

Callie sighed. “Come on,” she said, “You can sleep with me.”

Arizona blinked sleepily at her. A slow smile crept across her face and she giggled.

“The offer leaves the table in five…four…three—“

Arizona stood up and swayed in place. “Take me Calliope.”

“You're kind of an idiot aren't you?”

That seemed to genuinely touch Arizona, “Aw, that's what Timothy always said.”

Callie moved to put a supportive arm around the inebriated woman and they slowly moved up the stairs. “Who's Timothy?”

“My brother.”

“You have a brother?” She knew she had parents. She'd seen them at the hospital once. Her dad was one of those scary and intimidating guys and Robbins had been caught in a conversation between him and the chief that had her looking absolutely miserable. But she'd never mentioned siblings.

“He died.” They'd reached the children's gate Owen had put up to keep the kids out of their room at night. She looked at Callie quite seriously, “I miss him.”

“Yeah. I would too.”

She had to actually pick Arizona up to get her over the gate. Then she threw her some pajamas to change into while she grabbed another glass of water. If there was one thing she'd learned long ago it was that nothing soothed a drunk person more then a big glass of water.

When she came back Arizona had changed and was lying perfectly still under the covers and looking a little too much like a dead person. Callie set the water down, turned off the lights and crawled into bed. It was the first time in quite a while that there wasn't a pillow running down the center of the bed. Arizona had apparently tossed if across the room as she climbed in.

In the dark she listened to the other woman breath.

“Callie,” she heard her say.


“Owen's a good person.”

“I know.”

“I didn't have sex with Sloan in that on call room.”

“I know.”

“And I didn't have a threesome with Meredith Weber and Derek Shepherd.”



“Don't throw up in my bed.”



Owen sat on the couch for an eternity trying to figure out how exactly he'd gone from thinking it would be a good idea to talk to Cristina Yang at Joe's to passing out on his living room couch.

He remembered Robbins and the new guy with the broken nose calling him over for drinks and he remembered bonding with Robbins over military things and trying not to punch the new guy for making lewd comments about Cristina Yang.

“What,” the guy had said, “she's kind of hot in that naughty school teacher bend you over her knee and spank you kind of way.”

“Cristina is…she's not the kind of woman who'd…”

“Who'd sleep with you Mark,” Robbins had interjected.

Then Sloan had gotten a call and leaned in to whisper something in Robbin's ear. She high-fived him and he left.

Afterwards they'd continued to drink because they'd both reached the point where they'd had too many to realize it was time to stop and Owen found himself drifting out of conversation with Robbins so he could stare at Yang, who was dancing with Webber and flirting with a table of young and attractive business men.

“I've got a crush too,” Robbins had whispered conspiratorially, “I don't talk about it though.”

“I didn't know you liked people,” he said haphazardly, not realizing she'd noticed him staring at Yang.

“I do. I just don't talk about it. So everyone thinks I go home and play with cats or something.” She started giggling to herself, “Which is kind of true I guess. You won't tell?”

“I won't.”

They drank even more. Then things got really hazy. He remembered watching Yang leave with Webber and Joe trying to take his keys and Robbins assuring Joe they were going back to her place. Then standing on the street and Robbins saying that she needed to get him home so Calliope wouldn't worry.

Then he woke up on his couch.

He bundled up the blanket and pillows Callie had left with him and put them back in the closet. Carefully he crept up stairs, trying to avoid any sound that would wake the kids up. He slipped into his room and paused.

Callie was sleeping on her stomach with her mouth hanging open and clinging to the side of the bed with a single bare leg. Arizona Robbins, on the other hand, was sprawled out in the middle of his bed with a hand resting on Callie's ass.

It was…disconcerting.

His movement stirred Callie and she peeked at him with one open eye.

“Hey,” he whispered.

She seemed to take stock her position and mouthed, “Who's hand is on my ass?”

“Robbins,” he mouthed back.

She turned bright red and carefully scooted herself off the bed.

Owen grabbed some clean clothes and silently moved down the hall to the kids' bathroom to get ready while leaving Callie to deal with the phantom ass grabber.

When he got out of the shower twenty minutes later he found the house alive with activity. Allegra was in the living room watching television and bouncing on the knee of an extremely hungover looking Robbins, who was nursing a big cup of coffee and clearly trying not to throw up.

The twins had been settled into their seats at the kitchen table and were digging into matching bowls of cereal while Callie ate half a grapefruit. In the time it had taken Owen to shower and trim his beard and look respectable Callie had gotten up, gotten dressed for work and even done her makeup. She looked as sleek and professional as she always did.

“So I'm going to take Robbins back to her place before work. Do you think you can get them dressed and into daycare before the staff meeting,” she asked.

He poured himself a cup of coffee and took a huge hot gulp, “Should be able to. Sorry…about last night.”

She shrugged, “You were blowing off steam. And Arizona said you had fun.”

“Yeah I suppose.”

Callie smiled and gave him a quick and perfunctory peck on the cheek.


Arizona felt really bad about the drunk driving incident. She was, by her nature, not a person prone to breaking the law, especially laws designed to keep people safe. She was also, by her nature, not someone who put others in needless danger. She actually found drunk drivers a little repulsive on a day to day basis and working in a hospital she'd seen the fruits of their irresponsible labors far too often to have anything but disdain for them.

And the night before she'd gotten so plowed she'd actually driven a car across town. That no one had died or been arrested was a miracle, but she still paused before leaving the Hunt-Torres home to make sure there were no suspicious looking dings or dents on Owen's car.

Callie had to actually drag her away from the vehicle and assure her that the car looked the same and that there had been no reports of hit and runs the night before.

“I could have killed someone.”

“And you didn't. And next time you head off to get wasted on tequila with my husband and Mark Sloan you'll make sure Joe takes everyone's keys.”

“And puts them in a lockbox under the bar.”

“If it helps you genuinely thought it was okay because you normally ride a bike everywhere.”

“That makes it worse!”

They stopped on the way back to her place to grab some donuts in the hope that the fried sugary goodness would settle the nerves in her stomach. Which were partially due to the whole drunk driving incident partially due to the whole sleeping with Callie in the same bed incident.

Arizona was a marvel at containing her feelings and keeping everything well below the surface but she'd woken up with her hand cupping the woman's ass and had nearly died from the sheer pleasure of it. And she knew for a fact that Callie had been awake for all the ass touching and hadn't stopped her until Owen came in.

It was…tremendously unhealthy. The woman was straight. And married. And even if she wasn't straight. Even if she was willing to embark on a journey of sexual discovery involving Arizona's tongue and ten very talented fingers it would still be a problem because Arizona would be Callie's first lady and Arizona had been over the whole sleeping with straight and bi-curious girls since she got syphilis in twelfth grade from going down on a theater geek who'd just broken up with her boyfriend. She didn't like the potential for gross STDs and she REALLY didn't like the whole “ushering a woman into the lesbian sisterhood” thing. It was exhausting.

But that ass had been glorious. She'd been watching it move beneath dark scrubs and that lab coat for years and had never thought she'd actually get the chance to touch it. And now she craved it like she craved the chocolate donut covered in sprinkles she was currently shoving into her mouth.

They got to Arizona's place before seven and Callie invited herself up so she could make coffee and read the paper and not poke around the hospital.

“You have a lot of African art,” she noted once Arizona flipped on the lights.

“Yeah, I'm kind of nuts about Malawi? I kind of thought about volunteering in there once upon a time. I even almost used that as the basis for my original grant application.”

“What changed your mind?”

“Ellis Grey felt the idea of developing new surgical equipment in miniature was a better proposal.”

“It worked. You got Seattle Grace it's first Carter Madison Grant.”

“I did.”

She left Callie to coffee making and newspaper reading and quickly showered and changed. When she came out Callie had poured her a cup of coffee and set the variety of donuts they'd ordered out on a platter.

The coffee was just straight, intense, melt your insides coffee, and a little milk. Just like she liked. She smiled shyly at Callie in thanks and avoided the other woman's beatific smile. It would be the death of her one day.

“So want to tell me the story of that photo over there,” Callie asked. She motioned to a photo of an eleven year old Arizona wearing's a Marine helmet and holding a M16. “Were you some kind of child soldier.”

“My dad's a Marine and at the tender age of eleven I felt I too should be a Marine.”

“What changed your mind?”

“They don't have doctors. I'd have had to go into the Navy which is just…the daughter of a Marine does not join the Navy.”

Callie laughed, “No, they become amazing pediatric surgeons.”

She nodded, “Exactly.”


Somewhere after the third donut Callie realized she was in love. Not with the actual woman because Arizona was, in fact, a woman and Callie had a thing for men, but she was in love with the idea of Arizona. She spent her free time cycling through the city and meeting all the weird alternative people Callie always associated with the city but never actually saw. She was fluent in Chewa, a language Callie hadn't even known existed, because it was the native language of Malawi and if her Madison grant had been as originally intended it would have been a major selling point for the grant board. She had an addiction for donuts that should have been unhealthy.

And she was just…happy. Free of pathos that now seemed to come part and parcel with Callie's life. She was bright and warm and funny and when she looked at Callie and smiled it just seemed to make her whole day better.

After the most satisfying breakfast she'd had in years she helped Arizona slip on her coat and they stepped out into the hallway.

Where Addison was standing there waiting on Mark Sloan to lock his door.

Sloan gave Callie a sleazy head to toe look and grinned, “Nice.”

Arizona grimaced, “Oh grow up Sloan.”

“Callie,” Addison said, stunned.


“We were just a…” she looked to Mark helplessly.

“We were talking about our future,” he said, “Making plans.”

“You left Derek?”

“It's complicated.”

Arizona squeezed Callie's arm in a gesture of comfort then headed for the stairwell. Sloan gave her and Addison a little bow and followed, asking Arizona before they were out of ear shot, “So. You put your t in her v?”

He got slapped upside the head for that question.

Callie redirected her attention to her very pregnant friend who was apparently definitely sleeping with Mark Sloan. “I thought you and Derek were going to make it work.”

“He's sleeping with a resident.”


“Does it matter Callie? We've been dancing around each other for 7 years trying to make a marriage that could never work work. It was inevitable.”

“But you're the Shepherds.”

Addison's shoulders slumped in defeat, “Not any more. Not for a long time.”

“And Sloan?”

“Makes me happy.”

Addison said it with absolute conviction, like a bride saying her wedding vows. And though she was never one to seek acceptance from others she was clearly watching Callie and waiting for a response.

So Callie hugged her. “If you're happy—“

“I am Callie. I am.”

They followed the other two surgeons down the stairs and Addison leaned into Callie, “So you and Robbins huh?”

“Are friends.”

“Sleepover friends?”

“What? No. She drove Owen home last night and I brought her home this morning.”

Addison gave her a funny look but didn't say anything else. They crossed the street and caught up with Mark and Arizona, who were crowded around the coffee cart and giving each other sultry and flirtatious looks.

“What about him,” Callie asked Addison.

Addison followed her look, “What about him?”

“Aren't you worried about him and this whole thing he's doing with Arizona?”

The idea of Mark Sloan and Arizona Robbins having a wild affair while Addison was pregnant with Sloan's child was too much for Addison and she dissolved into a wild fit of laughter that had Arizona and Sloan watching with concern and Callie feeling extremely uncomfortable.

“What exactly is so funny Addison?”

Addison put a hand on Callie's shoulder and pulled her in close, “Robbins is gay.”

Chapter 6

If Addison hadn't been standing next to her and she didn't have a staff meeting in twelve minutes Callie would have stood out in the cold staring at the coffee cart and contemplating the feelings a very attractive lesbian touching her butt in sleep gave her.

Because it gave her feelings

Lots of feelings.

Feelings a married mother of three had no right feeling.

Feelings a straight woman really shouldn't have for other women.

It gave her feelings way down deep. Feelings so twisted and conflicted and odd that it would take years with an expensive therapist to sort out.

So she channeled the rich distant woman that lurked inside every woman raised in a house where money was no object and social obligations were everything and she tamped that shit down.

“I had no idea,” she said in that vapid tone that would have made her cotillion instructor proud. It was also the one she usually used whenever someone asked about Owen's “problem.” Addison immediately recognized it, but being a product of cotillions and rich distant people herself she didn't press it.

“Yeah I always had my suspicions you know? Never dates, can hit a woman with a sexy gaze better than Mark or my husband, but I wasn't really sure. Mark confirmed it last night.”

“You spent your night talking about Robbins,” the question came out a little too sharply but Addison didn't comment.

“No, but we started that way because, you know, the loud sex in the on call room yesterday.”

“That was a misunderstanding.”

Addison gave her a look that very much said she was a poor deluded and naive child.

Over at the coffee cart Sloan shouted, “Hey ladies let's go! My first staff meeting and I cannot be late.”

Both women went to join the other two. Sloan handed Addison a steamed milk with a smile and Arizona handed Callie a coffee. “It's your third before eight, I know, but we had a late night,” she said with a wink.

Tamp that shit down Callie. That was going to be her new mantra for the foreseeable future. She took a sip and wanted to throttle someone because it was exactly how she liked her coffee. “Thanks,” she said.

They road the elevator up together. Sloan made sly little comments in Addison's ear that had her smiling and Callie feeling very much like a third wheel even though she was standing next to Arizona.

If she knew that Callie suddenly knew her sexual orientation or that Callie was feeling very flustered and confused by it she gave no indication. She stared at the floor indicator and drank her coffee.

They all stepped off and Addison paused. “You guys go ahead, I need to speak with Dr. Robbins about something.”

Callie got irrationally nervous at the idea of the two women being alone together but didn't actually want them knowing that so she reluctantly showed Sloan the way to Ellis Grey's office.

Derek, Owen and Dr. Webber were already there and Derek scowled at the site of Mark. Owen saw that he'd entered with his wife and grimaced.

“Tough crowd,” Mark said.

He sat where Bailey used to sit and leaned across the table to Callie. “So where's our esteemed leader?”

Dr. Webber coughed and looked pointedly at him. “She's on her way.”

Mark leaned back in his chair, “I hear she sits across the hall watching a CCTV waiting until all the department heads get here.”

That got a bitter laugh out of Derek and Owen twitched a little in his seat. She reached out with a hopefully soothing hand and rubbed his thigh. “Get here with the kids okay,” she asked in a low voice.

And into daycare on time.”

She patted his knee, “Good man.”

Arizona and Addison entered in a bit of a rush, or as fast as a very pregnant woman could rush. Derek took the opportunity to scowl at Addison as well, but he still pulled out a chair for her. Her rear just met the seat when Dr. Grey swooped in.

She sat down, flipped open a pad and the meeting started. They went around the room as always. Each declaring their plans for the day. When they got to Callie she noted they would be bringing the cocaine overdose from the ER out of sedation today. Everyone was insanely curious to find out who the Jane Doe actually was.

Derek surprised everyone, especially Dr. Grey, when he announced his plan to start up an Alzheimer's trial he'd been talking about doing for three years. The whole table bustled with confused energy when he said that Dr. Meredith Webber would be assisting.

“She's cardio,” Ellis said.

“She helped me with the research the last few days.”

“You can use Percy instead. He's actually interested in Neuro.”


They stared at one another, waging a quiet battle. Grey inhaled sharply through her nose, “Very well. We'll discuss this later Derek. Robbins? Peds.”

Arizona glanced at Addison then leaned forward tentatively. “I'd like to go ahead and bring on the new fellow.”

“We don't hire new fellows until the current fifth years are done.”

“I know, but with the grant I've got enough money to add a second fellow. Dr. Shepherd agreed to help with mentoring duties. We'll hire one now and one in the spring.”

“And you have a particular applicant in mind.”

Another glance at Addison who imperceptibly nodded, “ We do,” Arizona said, stressing the we.

Addison chimed in, “I know we had to recently let go Mandy Bailey for budgetary reasons. We'd like to bring her on.”

Every single person at the table knew for a fact that Bailey wasn't let go for budgetary reasons. The hospital was doing better than any other hospital in the nation. It had endowments that made universities salivate. Mandy was fired because she embarrassed Ellis Grey.

But she couldn't acknowledge that publicly without being even further embarrassed. She tried to settle on which woman to glare at but they sat on opposite sides of the table so she stared ahead, which left Callie in her sights. She would have hidden under the table if she could.

“I'm sure,” Ellis said measuredly, “there are other—more qualified applicants?”

“No,” Arizona said with surprising confidence. “Bailey was always great in Peds and now that we have an opening and she has an availability I think it's the right time.”

“I'm with Dr. Robbins on this,” Addison said.

Ellis sighed and set her pen down. She splayed her hands across the table and took a breath. Then she let the table have it, “In the last three days I've had my head of Trauma smash up a window because he couldn't control his temper. My Plastics and Neuro heads got into a fist fight on the catwalk over 8 months of pregnant Neonatal and Peds had sex in the on call room so noisy they could hear it from the Space Needle.”

Webber winked at Callie as they were the only two not being called out. Sloan grinned, Derek and Addison both looked ashamed, Owen twitched again and Arizona looked like she wanted to argue the point of her sexual proclivities.

“Do you all want to make this hospital a joke? Because right now you are.”

Arizona spoke up, “No ma'am.”

Everyone else faded away as Ellis zeroed in on Arizona, “You want to hire that…woman then it's on your head Robbins. She screws up and it's your job on the line. Do I make myself clear?”

She didn't wait for a response. She snapped her pad closed and stood up and fled the room. Webber smiled apologetically to the table and followed.

Someone sighed, either Sloan or Callie herself, but the tension didn't quite break until Addison pushed herself up out of her chair and left, not before patting Arizona on the back.

Everyone slowly dispersed after that with Arizona, Owen and Callie being the last to leave. Owen muttered something about the Pit and quickstepped his way down the hall. Arizona gave Callie a watery smile and moved the other direction.

Callie had her own work to do but she followed Arizona who had slipped into a dark room and was quietly weeping.


“I'm fine.”

“I'm sure she didn't mean it. You got the hospital 25 million dollars and a Carter Madison grant. She's not going to fire you.”

“I'm not—that's not why I'm—“ Her back was to Callie but she still motioned to the tears falling down her face. “I'm fine.”


She waved her hand at Callie but still wouldn't turn, “I have this thing about yelling authority figures. I'm fine. Really.”

So she cried with authority figures yelled? Callie smiled apologetically and came closer. She gently laid a hand on Arizona's shoulder and turned her around. The other woman's face was red and splotchy and wet and she was about two steps from hiccuping. Callie wiped some of the tears away and then pulled the other woman into a hug.

She gently laid Arizona's head on her shoulder and stroked her hair. “If it helps,” she murmured, “we all have really bad habits.”

Arizona sniffed, “Yeah. Do you also uncontrollably cry sometimes when confronting authority figures.”

“No. I just get crushes on people I have no business crushing on.” It was the closet Callie would ever get to admitting any weird feelings she was harboring and she half expected the other woman to stiffen in her arms and back away. Instead Arizona laughed.

“Oh, see I have that problem too.” She gently separated from Callie and dried her face with her sleeve. “Thanks for the hug.”

“That's what friends do right?”


“You're helping McDreary with a neuro trial?”

Meredith was standing at her cubby checking her pockets to make sure she had everything. She paused to eye Cristina.

“Sure,” she said as if what she was doing was the most logical thing in the world.

“That's neuro.”


“You're cardio.”

Meredith shrugged, “I don't know. I feel like…a change is in order. You know?”

“So you're switching up your specialty six months before boards?”

“Pretty much.”

Across the room April, whom was usually quiet since caught doing the nasty with Alex spoke up, “But Meredith is that such a good idea? Percy's practically got the neuro fellowship in the bag.”

Cristina joined Meredith in giving April a withering glare which prompted April's eyes to start leaking. She fled the room near tears. The soon to be roommates then looked at each other and laughed.

“Every time,” Cristina said.

“I want to stop, but it's just so easy.”

“So this thing with McDreary it's not because…” Cristina made a gesture involving one finger going into a hole made by the other hand.

“That might be part of it. But it's also a good trial. And the idea of showing up my mom by making a last minute switch AND curing Alzheimer's…”

“I can see why that would push a former mommy's girl like you.”

“Thank you.”

The two just barely made it in time for rounds with Torres. She snapped a chart shut at the sight of them. She looked particularly intensely at Meredith.

“I take it you heard?”

“Gutsy move Webber. Your mother was not happy.”

“But she said yes right? It's not like she can say no to a clinical trial that could cure Alzheimer's.”

Torres raised an eyebrow which exemplified her thought on the matter—that being that Ellis Grey could do whatever she damn well pleased. “I'm pretty sure the only reason you're moving to neuro tomorrow isn't because of the “groundbreaking” medicine you and Shepherd are doing but because Mandy Bailey just got hired back and your mother would rather focus on that.”

“Grey rehired Bailey?”

“Peds hired Bailey.”

Cristina and Meredith stared at each other in shock before Cristina said, “McDreamy.”

Meredith nodded in agreement.

“Yes,” Callie exclaimed in that condescending tone she liked to use when irritated with them, “Robbins has testicles we can all see from the Space Needle and hair like the sun, let's go wake our Jane Doe shall we?”

Behind Torres's back Meredith mouthed “like the sun” and Cristina made like she was going to gag.

The OD patient Meredith and Cristina had bonded over a few days previous was pale beneath the sheets of her hospital bed. It was a miracle she was even alive as usually the level of heart failure she'd experienced was fatal. Quick work and excellent work had saved her life.

Torres herself brought the woman out of sedation. She moaned and tried to rub at her face but paused when she realized her side was in agony and she was fitted with a variety of tubes.

“Morning sunshine,” Callie said.


Callie nodded to Cristina and she quickly rattled off the events that led to the woman's stay in the hospital.

“I died,” she said incredulously.

“If you equate death with an arresting of the heart then yes,” Cristina responded.

“Doctors Yang and Webber saved your life.”

She looked up sharply at the names. First at Callie. Then Cristina. Then she settled on Meredith. More specifically she settled on Meredith's name, sewn into her coat. “You're Meredith Webber,” she asked.

“I am.”

The woman with the vibrant pink dreadlocks, more tattoos than a tattoo artist and a sizeable hole in her torso burst out laughing. It clearly caused her more pain because she reached up to grasp the side Cristina and Meredith had gone through to reach her heart, but still she went on laughing until there were tears in her eyes and Torres was touching her shoulder and telling her to calm down before sedation was required.

“I'm sorry,” she said between gasps, “It's just. You're Ellis Grey's daughter right?”

“Yes. Am I supposed to know you?”

“You can if you want. I'm your sister.”

Despite the patient's continued laugher the room went deathly silent. Callie froze at the woman's bedside and Meredith went completely still beside Cristina and any sound out in the hallway disappeared.

When Meredith spoke the bright perky surgeon evaporated and left a frigid creature not unlike Ellis Grey in its place. “You're Thatcher's daughter.” It wasn't a question, but a statement.

The other woman smiled sardonically, “You've heard of me.”

“I heard he drank himself to death. I didn't know he reproduced beforehand.”

Callie looked from one woman to the other and then to Cristina. “I think” she ventured, “we'll just give you all a minute.” Before anyone could protest she dragged Cristina out of the room.

“You realize she can't be her doctor now correct?”


“Good. Until you hear otherwise you're the only one dealing with that woman while she's conscious.”


Callie looked around to make sure no one was in hearing distance and then leaned in for good measure, “Because I don't want it getting back to Dr. Grey.”

That was a surprise. Callie Torres usually had her lips firmly attached to Ellis Grey's ass. She'd never actively tried to subvert their boss. “You want me to hide her from the Chief?”

“No. What's going on in there is a private matter that doesn't need to be dissected by the hospital gossip mill like every other thing happening lately. Give them privacy and give her respect. Are we clear?”


Torres took one last look at the newfound siblings and then left.

“Guess that's the end of rounds,” Cristina muttered to herself. She snagged a chair from the nurse's station and sat down across from the Webber sister's room and waited.


By noon Callie was drama'd out. She'd been up six hours and already been butt fondled by a gorgeous lesbian, discovered her closest work friend was leaving her husband for another man, discovered her resident's drug addict half sister, lost said resident to another doctor's service and sat through the most excruciatingly uncomfortable staff meeting in Seattle Grace's history.

She was done. So she snagged her salad from the Attending's lounge and furtively made her way to her own office, careful to avoid any number of people who wanted to talk to her that day. She needed a few minutes to decompress. A few minutes to let all the major revelations sink in.

A few minutes to figure out why exactly Arizona Robbin's sexuality was, by and large, the biggest shocker of the day.

Owen found her there ten minutes later and held up his own lunch as explanation.

“Hiding from Grey?”

Her husband shuddered before taking his seat, “She's on a warpath today. She can't yell at the people she wants to yell at because they've been hiding in the Peds ward so she's been down in the Pit all morning.

Callie winced in sympathy, “Oh. Ouch.”

“But anyways. How are things with you? I feel like with everything going on the last few days we haven't had a chance to…chat.”

“Good,” she exclaimed, surprising both of them with the pep in her voice. “I've been really good. Busy. You know. Surgeries and the kids and all this drama going around the hospital.”

“I know the feeling.” His bandaged hand wound up into a fist and he looked at in consideration. Callie thought about saying something then. Consoling him after Ellis' embarrassing mention that morning or bringing up the therapy conversation they kept failing to have.

But she was too emotionally exhausted to delve into either.

Instead she said, “You and the kids are on your own for dinner tonight.”

Owen hadn't expected that, “We are?”

“Robbins and I have been flirting with getting drinks for the last few days. I figured better do it tonight or I'd never get around to it.”

“Just be careful.”

“Worried for my honor,” she asked, a hint of flirtation in her voice.

Owen smiled complacently but didn't elaborate.


Owen's parents had always been absurdly loving when he was growing up. They'd been tactile people who liked to touch and hug and kiss. They would sit next to one another on the couch with their thighs touching just because they could. At night he'd go to bed to the sound of the two of them talking. Chatting and laughing and just genuinely thriving in on another's company.

He'd expected something similar when he got married. He and Callie had had a great sex life and he had just naturally assumed that all the familiarity he'd seen in his parent's marriage would follow.

But then there was Iraq and when he came back he noticed that as broken and disjointed as his own psyche was his wife wasn't helpful. She was frigid where she'd once been passionate. Standoffish where once she'd embraced him. In moments of particularly dark self-flagellation he'd blame himself for every problem in his life and in his marriage in particular.

But then there would be moments of clarity like a quiet lunch with his wife when he'd be reminded that it wasn't all him. His heart may not have been in the marriage for a while, but neither was Callie's.

She hadn't brought up the incident in the Pit or Grey's reference to it once today, and when he'd fled the staff meeting he'd expected her to follow. Instead she'd disappeared down some other corridor.

He had expected her to bring it up during their lunch, but she poked at her salad and thought about her day and said nothing.

He almost forgot she was actually capable of making sound besides the mastication of lettuce when she spoke near the end of their break.

“When you were…over there…did you ever…”

Owen looked up in surprise. His wife never, ever, ever asked about Iraq. She never pushed him to unload. She never questioned him about the people or the place or the sand. As far as she was concerned it was just a holiday he went on while she was pregnant with Allegra.

“Did you ever get too close to other soldiers,” she asked in a rush.

The question short circuited Owen's brain. As it rebooted he was dimly aware of her babbling through the reasoning behind her question. Something about a patient who wasn't sure if he should confess his non-straight feelings for a friend who kept visiting.

“You're asking if I ever wanted to sleep with other male soldiers?”

He really hoped that wasn't what she was asking. He couldn't even fathom why she'd ask such a question to her husband, whom she was married to while he was overseas and allegedly loved and trusted.

“No, I just—did soldiers ever get really intense non-friend feelings for other soldiers.”

“Some did, I'm sure. That was still when Don't Ask Don't Tell was in place. I guess if they did get feelings like that they kept it to themselves.”

Callie let that sink in.

“Hey,” he asked softly, “what's got you so hung up on this?”

Callie was always great with patients. She cared like crazy and it was one of the first things that had attracted Owen, but she never let herself get this worked up over a patient. She'd always mutter something about not being an “Izzie.”

She set down her fork and stared at her framed degree hanging on the wall. “It's scary,” she mused, “this guy went his whole life thinking he was straight. Then he meets this one great guy and everything shifts. That one person could have that kind of emotional power of you. That's terrifying.”

Owen immediately thought of Cristina Yang and her ability to calm him with a touch.

His voice was hardly his own when he said, “Yeah. It is.”

Chapter 7

Skin tight pants and knee high boots were not an easy fashion feat for most women to pull off. When a good looking woman pulled off skin tight pants and knee high boots it was a moment worthy of recording. Arizona Robbins walked into Joe's bar and all Callie wanted to do was flip out her phone and turn the camera on and never stop. The other woman was…well she could pull off the look effortlessly.

She saw Callie from across the room and waved enthusiastically before sifting through the crowd. And Callie melted. It wasn't right. It wasn't fair. It was enormously confusing.

“Ooo. Spots at the bar. You must have had to kill someone,” Arizona said a little too gleefully.

The bar was crowded, or at least crowded from Callie's limited experience. She could count on one hand the number of times she'd been to Joe's since Allegra was born. “Is the bar okay we can go else—“

Arizona dropped a hand onto Callie's arm and gave her a squeeze, “This is great.”

She motioned to the bartender who immediately brought her a glass of wine.

“Come here often,” Callie asked.

Arizona raised an eyebrow at the phrase, which could, Callie belatedly realized, be taken as a pick up line. But then she laughed and took a sip of her wine. “I do,” she said, “but you don't. I don't think I've ever seen you in here before.”

“I used to come all the time, you know before married life and children stole my soul.”

“They have a tendency to do that. Probably why I just treat them medically instead.”

Arizona never stopped smiling. Even when teasing Callie about her family or ordering drinks or rejecting blatant come ons from drunk guys she smiled. It should have irritated Callie. She was not, by her nature, a fun and shiny smiling person. In fact she tended to hate them unless they were the daughter of her boss—in which case she tolerated them and tried to be as condescending as possible. It didn't make sense. The pull she felt towards the other woman. The sheer desire to overlook qualities she'd often found to be faults.

Arizona laughed and it thrilled Callie. It was a drug that had her desperate to say and do anything. She let Arizona tease her through her first drink. She turned the tables during the second drink and learned Arizona wasn't super crazy about being teased but got an adorable pout when you applied just the right kind of pressure. The third drink was spent making fun of other people in the bar in low voices.

They often had to spin on their stools to find new objects of derisions. At one point Arizona had to lean on her stool to see past a group of interns and wound up pressing against Callie with her back pressed sweetly to Callie's side and her hand resting on Callie's knee.

That called for a fourth drink. With it Arizona motioned Joe over and handed him Callie's keys. An impressive feat as Callie usually kept them in her coat pocket and hadn't noticed the slim handing snatching them away.

“How am I supposed to get home then,” she asked with a pout.

“We'll get you a cab.”

The bar started to get crowded as more people streamed in for what, Callie only later realized, was a Friday night. The press of people was unfamiliar to her after years spent doing laundry at home and watching babies and toddlers sleep.

Arizona insisted that they have one more drink just so Callie could be well and truly in territory where driving wasn't an option and then they headed outside to escape the crush of people. The rain was coming down hard and fast—sheets of water fell on them and threatened to instantly soak them.

Arizona grasped Callie's hand in her own and tugged, “Come on,” she said. She pulled Callie around to the side of the building where the overhang still reached but wasn't crowded with other bar goers waiting on cabs.

“Dr. Robbins,” Callie found herself saying flirtatiously.

But Arizona ignored her and fished her phone out of her purse. She punched in a number on her speed dial and it took Callie a moment to realize Arizona was ordering her a cab. When she hung up she had a frown on her face.

“Forty-five minute wait on the cab.”

Callie leaned against the brick and looked out to the street where people were giggling in the rain or trying to squeeze back into Joe's.

“Guess I'll stick around then. You can go,” she glanced back at Arizona, “you know, if you want.”

She only then noticed that Arizona was still holding her hand because she let go of it then. “I actually have the cab coming around to my place. It's a short walk and not as crowded.”

“We'll get all wet.”

She smiled again and Callie, despite being quite inebriated felt warm all over, “I'll get you dry.”

That should have been the opposite of sexy but when Arizona Robbins said it Callie got lots of feelings that were harder to ignore after five drinks.


Arizona was not religious. She did not attend church and her celebration of Easter was usually nothing more that eating a few Cadbury Eggs on the couch while watching The Ten Commandments. She did not find herself praying very often. While some people went to prayer in their darkest times Arizona went to carb loaded sweets.

But damned if she didn't pray as she quietly tried to sneak a drunk and soaking wet Callie Torres into her apartment. Because the last thing she needed was Mark opening the door, seeing the tableau of bad drunk choices they painted, and reminding her of it at every chance he got.

Some higher beings heard her prayers and she managed to pull Callie into her apartment without the ass across the hall peaking out to smile lasciviously at them.

In the apartment she didn't bother to turn on the lights. Instead she left Callie leaning against the door and changed into a pair of dry black pants with matching top. She snagged a clean towel from her bathroom and came back out to find that Callie had found the lights all on her own and was being very nosy and looking through Arizona's mail.

“Don't your parents have email,” she asked.

“They do, but we've been letter writers since I was a kid.”

Callie nodded and held up one letter, now slightly damp due to its proximity to her. “Your dad says hi.”

“You'll tell him hi back right.”

The heart surgeon frowned, “No. I don't know your dad,” she paused and Arizona watched as the perfect, albeit drunk, brain behind those dark eyes tried to sort out the conversation. Then narrowed she her eyes at Arizona. “You're teasing the drunk woman.”

“I am. A little.”

Callie's hands went to her hip in what had to be the sassiest motion she'd ever seen from the usually reserved surgeon, “I didn't tease you when you stumbled into my house all drunk.”

“You're right. I'll stop.” She held up the towel as a peace offering, “Towel?”

Callie raised her hands up and Arizona tossed the towel across the room. “You want a glass of water while we wait for your cab?”

She didn't hear Callie's response. She'd bent over and was towel drying her hair and giving Arizona a gorgeous view of a very nice rear. Her fingers burned with phantom memories and she quickly poured two glasses of water with extra ice. Part of her wished they'd just suffered the crowd and stayed at Joe's. It was safer there. Here she was tipsy and Callie was drunk and if she wasn't careful she was going to do something very stupid.

Like sit on the couch and pat the cushion inviting Callie to join her. It just happened. Her hand moved of its own accord. Her body exercising plans her head had no desire to commit to.

Callie ignored her water and chose to stare at Arizona.

“What,” she finally asked.

“Why do you smile all the time?”

“Excuse me.”

“Everyone scowls. Owen scowls. Allegra scowls. Ellis Grey scowls. You don't.”

“I work in Peds. You're supposed to be cheery.”

“Yeah but cheery people are usually annoying.”

She had no idea where Callie was going. “I'm not annoying.”

“No. You're perfect.”

Arizona didn't always smile. In the OR or around her residents she often scowled. She wept when children died and she frowned when Ellis Grey put the needs of the hospital ahead of the patients. But around Callie she smiled. It was her armor. It protected her from all the unhealthy and stupid feelings that built up inside her.

Intellectually she knew that Callie was intoxicated and that anything she said or did didn't “count.” It didn't stop what happened to Arizona though.


She called her perfect like a drunk idiot and Arizona Robbin's face went blank. Her mouth fell open into a soft “o” shape and her eyes grew wide making their blue color more startling and breathtaking.

Something pushed Callie across the couch. It felt smooth but in the morning she'd probably remember it as an ungangly scramble. One hand found Arizona's shoulder for support and the other curled around her knee for balance. She came so close she could see the light scattering of freckles on Arizona's cleavage.

She realized at the last moment that she was about to kiss a co-worker. Realized it as she came so close she could feel Arizona's breath on her lips. And—she'd have to remember that part later—see the way Arizona's eyes lids fell. The other woman didn't back away. She didn't run. She sat there willing and warm beneath Callie's hands.

Callie only had to shift forward an inch. No more. She did. Her breath became Arizona's as she tipped forward.

“Callie.” Arizona exhaled her name. Sent it out in a breath that was caught by Callie herself.

“Please,” Callie heard herself say.

There was a hand between her breasts. It didn't push her away, but it didn't pull her forward. The heat of it was enough to keep Callie still.

Someone drew a tremulous breath. Arizona pushed forward. In some distant part of Callie's mind it was like Arizona was about to finish the kiss Callie had tried to start. Her lips were now so close Callie could swear she could feel them. That hand on her chest was the only thing keeping her from closing that infinitesimal distance.

“Please,” she heard herself whisper.

Arizona shifted again and her lips were then pressed against Callie's cheek. “We can't,” she heard her say.

She closed her eyes in submission. It was true. Achingly true.

“I can't,” Arizona insisted, “you're worth more.”

“What if I'm not,” she heard herself say, “what if I just need this.”

“Then I'm worth more. You're married and you're straight.”

“If I wasn't married then what—“

Arizona stroked her hair and softly kissed her cheek again then pressed her forehead against Callie's own. “If you weren't then we'd be leading different lives.”


She could have kissed Arizona then. The exchange had undone the woman and her eyes were bright with tears. Not the snotty kind she apparently shed around authority figures. On her face Callie finally saw realized the agony that seemed to accompany her own self every day. She'd never seen it in another person. Never seen the longing and desire for more expressed so eloquently in another person's face.

She'd tried to kiss Arizona because she liked her and it felt right and maybe it would help her forget the cracking life she was trying to lead. She hadn't thought of the other woman.

Arizona blinked and that smile of hers came into play. Seconds later her eyes were dry and the vision of exquisite pain disappeared into the kind mask Callie saw every day at work.

They spent the rest of her wait for the cab in silence. Holding each other and ignoring everything that could be said but never would.

When she got home and slipped into bed Owen acknowledged her with a hand stretched out over their pillow barrier. “Have fun tonight,” he asked sleepily.

She mumbled a yes then pulled away the pillow.

It was the first time they had sex in three months. And it was nothing like an almost kiss and a hug from Arizona Robbins.

Chapter 8

Some small imperceptible part of Callie shifted and Owen couldn't figure out how or why. To the best of his knowledge the change occurred the day Ellis Grey threatened to fire half her head surgeons and Callie had that patient who couldn't come out to his friend. She went out for drinks that night and when she came home she instigated sex.

Something she hadn't done in a very long time. Then she did it again the next morning. And again halfway through work that day. Just a text to meet in a conference room, then ten minutes of hurried and heated sex—what they did would never be categorized as love making.

Then that night after they put the kids to bed.

Owen couldn't necessarily complain. He loved Callie and sex with her was good, but it was just…weird. He thought the passion was gone. He thought, more often than not, that his wife barely tolerated him. He did not think that something he did caused the renewed burst of passion.

“What happened to that patient,” he asked her after the third night of frenzied sex—this time they barely made it into their room. He had his arms around his wife and his lips were pressed against the sweaty skin of her back.

“He died.”

“Did he tell the guy?”

“Sort of. It didn't go well.”

She reached around to stroke his thigh. She clearly didn't want to talk about it. She'd rather have lots of sex. And he couldn't fault her. Disappearing into a familiar embrace was a helluva lot easier then challenging the demons they both knew they were just barely keeping at bay.


The first day Mark thought his neighbor and co-worker was just out trolling for girls. After the fourth day of her staying out until nearly dawn Mark decided it was his prerogative as a friend and fellow surgeon to talk to Arizona.

So he sat outside his door and waited. At 4:22 A.M. she came up the stairs with her bike on her shoulder. She was drenched head to toe and red in the face and out of breath. She was also dressed, not in sexy out for sex clothes but in skin tight spandex.

“Busy night?”

“I was out for a bike ride,” she squeaked out between big gasping breaths.

“At 4 A.M.?”

She set her bike down with a huff and reached for the keys that bulged out of the back of her cycle jersey. “Is that a crime?”

“No, but it's weird.”

“So's stalking your neighbor.”

“I wasn't—“ Arizona pushed her door open with a hip and rolled her bike in. Mark moved quickly to catch the door before she shut it in his face. “I wasn't stalking you. I'm worried.”


“Because you went out for drinks with you very straight crush and you haven't been home before 4 for the last four nights.”

He'd noticed very early in their brief acquaintanceship that Arizona Robbins had this way of glaring at a person without actually narrowing her eyes. She'd purse her lips a little and keep her eyes opened wide. It would almost look like a blank face, or maybe shock, but Mark had quickly realized it was a glare.

And she leveled it at him now. “I needed to go out,” she said flatly.

“Robbins…what happened?”

Her jaw tightened as she continued to stare. It was like she was trying to actually will him out of her apartment. But there were some things Mark couldn't budge on. If a friend was really hurting he kind of felt a need to be there for them in some way. Arizona was by no means his closest friend, but in the whole of Seattle she was his only friend. It mattered.

“Did you sleep with her?” He was careful not to sound reproachful. It'd be rich coming from him.

She unconsciously worked her jaw.

“Oh man. You did.”


“I won't judge.” And he meant it.

“We got close. But we didn't do anything.”

“Oh. So you're trying to cycle out all those sad girl feelings.”

Nailed it. He suspected she wouldn't actually admit it. She struck him as the type of lady who loved to talk saucily but tended to be private when it got right down to it.

“I have to work with her every day, you know. And see her and talk to her and act like it didn't happen. Like nothing's changed. And I get home and I need to just—I need to get away Mark.”

Addison had flip flopped a few days ago. Derek was in his dumb trailer and she was in the house and Mark was stuck in a big empty apartment with a stupid nursery. He knew all too well what it was like.

“I get it.”

She nodded. She'd never say thank you, it wasn't the way she was. So he nodded back.

“I don't do the whole spandex on a tiny rolling death machine thing, but Robbins, you ever need to jog or something. You call me okay?”

“I will.”

For a second it seemed like she was going to cross the room and hug him. And the moment where they both realized it felt natural to do that stunned them. Arizona quickly spun around and disappeared into her bathroom leaving Mark alarmed and tired.


Karev was begging Owen. There was some case he was desperate to get on and Owen was the gatekeeper. He tried to pay attention but across the room Callie was smiling like a vision and laughing at something Arizona Robbins was saying.

He'd forgotten she could look like that.

When he approached with what he hoped was a smile just as open her face fell. “Hey sweetie,” she said.

Robbins looked up and smiled around her straw like a child. She raised her eyebrows in greeting.

“You mind if I sit?”

Most husbands wouldn't have even asked.

It was Robbins that moved to pull a chair out for him.

“We were talking about Yang and Webber's party,” she offered in lieu of a greeting.

“They're—Yang and Webber are throwing a party?”

Callie sighed like a put upon dorm matron, “Terrifying right?”


“Which is why we totally have to go,” Robbins said enthusiastically, “Generally speaking I'm completely against horrible and graphic train wrecks. But those two in a house and throwing a party? I will make an exception.”

Callie wrinkled her nose in distaste, “Yeah, but I feel weird going to my resident's house.”

“Calliope” she said pleadingly, “It'll be fun. Tequila. Dancing. You two get a sitter and we will show them how old fogeys get down.”

The conversation continued. Callie laughed and agreed to look for a sitter. Robbins brought up a patient she needed a consult on. They smiled and enjoyed each other's company. And they didn't even notice Owen. Which was fine.

All he could hear was the easy way Robbins had with his wife's name. ‘Calliope' didn't sound silly on her lips. It sounded like a song. An intimate little tune for Callie alone.

It struck him, then, the coincidence. He thought it was the patient or the staff meeting that had turned his wife into the sexually avaricious women he'd been with for the last five days. But it wasn't. Arizona smiled and Callie smiled back and Owen realized his wife was having an affair.

The sex wasn't her renewed passion for him. It was guilt sex.


Her name was Lexie Grey. She was Meredith's half sister and she had an eidetic memory and a GED. In some other world she might have been a scientist or a doctor—maybe even a surgeon as talented as Meredith. But in the real world she was an addict who required a pacemaker because of the significant damage she'd done to her heart with excessive drug use.

In the real world Cristina was sure it was only a matter of time before her heart exploded in her chest or became so erratic it required replacement. Which was why she'd avoided discharging the woman.

“Dr. Yang,” Grey said sarcastically when Cristina walked in, “still planning on holding me prisoner?”

“Still unable to walk three feet without sitting down?”

That shut her up.

Cristina spent the next hour doing paperwork and watching Lexie watch tv and surreptitiously hold her side. “How's the pain?”

“Fine,” grunted the woman.

It was peaceful in Lexie's room. The woman didn't feel the need to talk unless she was in a prickly mood, and Meredith, in an effort to bond, had been bringing her journals and old medical textbooks and calling her Lexipedia due to her ability to then recall anything she looked at at a later date.

“It's like we don't even have to use the library,” she said one day, “just give it to Lexie.”

Cristina asked, “But does it actually count as sibling bonding if you're just using her for her brain?”


Cristina didn't think that was true, but Meredith was Ellis Grey's daughter, so maybe using people for their intellectual prowess did count in her family. And Little Grey (as she referred to her in her head) seemed okay with it. Also it was insanely useful when attempting to write a paper to help her win the Cardio fellowship.

“I never had a sister like that—I mean I have a sister. She has two kids and lives in San Diego and her husband's an asshole in the military—but yeah never had a sister that actually willingly talks to me.”

It made Cristina immensely grateful to be an only child.

Lexie saw something behind Cristina and spent the next three minutes quietly staring and not fidgeting and not reading and not being herself. Then she motioned to someone. Cristina turned around to see whom Lexie had spent her minutes staring at.

Dr. Hunt walked in looking his version of sheepish.

“Dr. Hunt! Can I—is everything all right?”

He looked from Lexie who was watching him curiously to Cristina and eked out a congenial attempt at a smile. “Yes. Uh. I was just—I needed to ask you something Dr. Yang,” he glanced back at Lexie, “but it can wait.”

She set down her charts on Lexie's bed and started to push herself out of her chair, “Is it surgical? A case? I can—“

“No, no. That's all right. I'll talk to you later.”

He quickly left and Lexie looked at Cristina and smirked.


“Ginger doctor has a crush on you.”

“He's married.”

“He spent three minutes staring at you and only came in when he realized I caught him.”

“He had to ask me something.”

“Yeah, if you wanted to bang in a hallway.”

She sneered, “Don't be a perv.”

“I wasn't the one staring intently at your face.”


“Addison said she'd move in with me.”

That was what Arizona had to like about Mark Sloan. She'd had a painful day of acting like nothing had happened with Callie and feeling all kinds of frustrating sexy feelings and she was achey and exhausted from riding fifty miles and day and was in the middle of changing out of her scrubs and back into her skirt and blouse. As in her scrub top was currently around her neck. Her bra was displayed for the world to see and Mark was standing at entry to the room, keeping the door open with his body. While he was apparently oblivious to her state of undress the people beyond the room were not.

She pulled the scrub top back down.

“Oh come on,” he said, “they're just boobs.”

“Is there a reason you just got me flashing half the hospital.”

“Two interns and a nurse. And Addison said she'd move in.”

“That's good right?”

“I have to go sixty days without sex.”


“Yeah. Oh. I'm not built for that.”

“So you aren't built for a monogamous relationship with the mother of your child?”

He stepped into the room and the door snicked close behind him. “I am.”

She resumed getting changed. “So don't sleep with anyone for sixty days.”

“Could you do that Robbins?”

She hadn't slept with a soul in over a week. Maybe because of Callie and the near kiss and the stupid feelings. Maybe because her evenings were now spent riding through the streets of Seattle on a bicycle that's chain was about to give out from excessive use.

“Celibate a whole week.”

That statement horrified Mark and he physically recoiled. “But—how?” Then he seemed to remember their conversation in her apartment. “So the bike riding isn't just getting over emotional stuff.”

“Not even a little.”

He paced, “Sex is a part of me you know? It's how I unwind. How I feel better.”

Sex was that way for Arizona too. Well sex and cigarettes. Both habits she'd quit when she moved to Seattle. Then after six months she found herself bored and lonely and tense and she fell back into bad habits.

“So take up jogging. Or knitting. Rhythmic gymnastics.”

He ticked off the reasons that wouldn't work with his fingers, “Jogging leads to parks full of women in running shorts. Knitting leads to women ogling me for being sensitive and trying to seduce me. Rhythmic gymnastics is wrong for a variety of reasons including me and a bunch of women in spandex.”

“I didn't want that image.”

“You suggested it!”

She stepped in front of him to stop his pacing and put two hands on his shoulders. Then she looked him square in the eye. “Two months Mark. Two months. You and me. We can do two months. We're world class surgeons at the best hospital in America and we can exercise excellent self control if we put our minds to it, stay out of places with beautiful single women and—“

He was almost enticed by her pep speech, “And.”

“And we'll have a movie marathon. Watch that show about football or the one where everyone in Baltimore is corrupt.”

He was less enticed, “We'll sit around watching television?”

“Yes! And being celibate.”

“Can we drink?”

“Pathetically? In the confines of our own homes? Yes. And in the end you get a baby and a whatever Addison is and I—“

“Finally get over Torres.”

“No. But I'll be a better person right? Monks and nuns and priests go celibate all the time. People reach enlightenment through celibacy. Maybe I'll have a major spiritual breakthrough and stop trying to smell her hair when she comes into my office and leans over my desk to look at charts.”

“You got it bad Robbins.”

She really did.


“Dr. Hunt?”

He smiled weakly, “Dr. Yang.”

“You were—you wanted to speak to me?”

She'd found him pacing in a dark corner near the service elevator to the basement. He stalked close. Paused. Stared. He looked…hungry. Like some starving predator in need of a meal. “You should go.” His body was perfectly still, his eyes bright. They pierced her. Transfixed her. She was a fly in a web. A mice caught in the gaze of a snake.

He came closer and Cristina didn't even realize it but she backed up agains the wall. “You should go,” he said again. He was so close. His hand was up and inches from her face as though he'd caught himself about to touch her. His other hand touched her waist.

In some other world he would have kissed her then and she would have let him. He was big. Powerful. Captivating. He enveloped her. Drew her in. Her breath turned ragged in his proximity and the idea of touching him and being touched by him was too delicious to bear.

Even the knowledge that he was a father—that he had a wife—wasn't enough.

“What—“ she gasped, “what are you doing?”

His face came painfully close. He was staring at her face, her eyes, her lips. Seeing her like no man had ever seen her. He didn't just look. He watched. He observed. “Please, go,” he whispered.

She couldn't. “What happened?”

“Why do you care,” his hand moved from where it had almost cupped her cheek to the wall behind her. It allowed him to lean in more. “Why do you care,” he repeated.

“You need help.”

“But why ?”

There was naked agony in his eyes and he looked to her for comfort. That was why. And when they were alone or working on a case or even spying each other across the cafeteria she knew beyond doubt that she could make him feel better. That she could calm the demons. She couldn't save her relationship with Burke. She couldn't save her father. She could save this man.

“Because I want to.”

He was going to kiss her. His heart broke at her words and he was going to kiss her and her world would change. She wouldn't be the stone cold bitch who did whatever it took to get surgeries. She'd be the woman that stole her attending's husband. However perfectly right it felt to be this close she could not—would not be that woman. It would destroy her reputation and harm her career more than any affair with a cardio god.

She dipped down under his arm and moved past him. He turned. Stared. Pleaded with those soft eyes.

She shook her head. Imperceptibly. No.

He understood.

“You're a good person Yang.”

“I'm a bitch. Remember?”

“No. You aren't.”

As much as she wanted—as she needed to go to him she didn't she pushed herself away. Put one foot in front of the other and forced herself out of that corridor.

People had called Cristina a lot of things over the years. No one had ever called her good. If she'd been another person she would have curled up into a ball and cried. Instead she headed into surgery. Hearts needed fixing. She couldn't fix what was going on inside her head and between her and Owen Hunt, but she could fix a fat man's heart.

Chapter 9

Callie had never…she didn't handle rejection well. She was familiar with it. Had experienced it more than enough in her life. But she didn't like it. And where some would buckle down and go ahead on Callie had to stew a little. Had to wallow in self reflection or find a way to forget it. It always led to something woefully self destructive. Her husband rejected her so she sought out Arizona. Then Arizona rejected her and she forced herself onto her husband.

And all the while she felt like screaming.

It was the worst at the hospital. Arizona would be there and acting like they hadn't almost—like everything was the way it had always been. But Callie couldn't forget it. She couldn't forget how close those lips were to her own and how the woman's flesh had felt beneath her fingertips. She couldn't forget how right it had felt to be so close to Arizona.

It was like a dream and that moment in Arizona's apartment she'd woken up. Seen the world and where she should be in it.

But she was still married and Arizona had rejected her. Had said that they were both worth more than some affair. So Callie had spent the last week banging her husband's brains out and hoping that if she was with him enough maybe she'd feel something close to what she'd felt with Arizona. Maybe she'd find it had been a fluke. That it was just a crush on the nice and pretty gay doctor.

Nothing changed. The feelings still lingered. And in the last two days Owen had grown more withdrawn. More frigid. Everything was a mess and soon something was going to have to give. Callie was determined that this time it wouldn't be her.


“Why did you invite McDreamy and the Torres-Hunt conglomerate to our party?”

Meredith at least looked a little bashful about it. “Robbins heard me talking about it. I couldn't not invite her. And she and Torres are all buddy buddy now.”

“So you invited her and Owen?”

“No. Robbins did. And Owen? Since when do you call him Owen?”

“Let's focus on the part where our boss is coming to our small get together.”

Meredith got quiet again. Behind them Percy coughed and then tried to put his giant shoes on his giant feet.


“It might not be so small now?”

Percy snorted.

“How many people?”

“The fourth years wanted to come. And then the other residents. And then the interns.”

“And Psych,” Percy said chipperly.

“You invited the mental defects,” Cristina was positive she could not have sounded more disgusted if she tried.

“It's our first place? I'm the entire hospital's boss's daughter.

“We've been through this. Just yesterday in fact. You can't just be nice to people because your mom is a bitch.”

“To be fair most of these people were invited before we had that discussion.”

Cristina blinked.

“And it's too late to back out now. People are invited. They have their hopes up. Percy bought kegs.”

“I did,” he chimed in.

“A lot of people are coming. Cool people,” she glanced at Percy and lowered her voice and leaned in, “McDreary people.”

“You invited your married boyfriend?”

“So we need lots of people to cover it up.”

“Ballsy move.”

“Brand new girl.”

“Are you two making out over there? Because from over here it looks like you're making out,” Percy said.

Both women turned and in a moment of psychic friendship gave him the finger at the exact same time.


Arizona was no stranger to a house party. It was the only kind of party in college and med school. Beer would soak the floors which would bounce precariously with a hundred people jumping up and down in time to the music. Bedrooms and couches would be claimed by ill-conceived hookups. Lights were the enemy and red Solo cups filled with cheep booze were dear friends. There was always a few folks getting high in the bushes and at some point two guys would grapple in the backyard while people laughed and some girl cried.

When she wasn't the one throwing the party or having to clean it up the sights, sounds and smell were music.

Beside her Mark shut the door to his car and looked at the house that Webber and Yang apparently lived in. Webber had hung lights around the porch and people were streaming in and out and someone had driven a car up on the lawn. It would have been horrifying in most neighborhoods but this one was apparently okay with the music and the laughing and the booze.

“I'm way too old for this,” Mark said.

“What? It's a party!”

“Yeah for high schoolers!”

“Oh this is college at least. Not enough fights for high school.”

They crossed the lawn and entered the house and the stale smell of smoke and beer assailed them as well as some pretty great dance music.

“This will not help our whole celibacy pact.”

Mark was right. It would not.


After finding a parking space and making a trek up a hill Callie wanted to reconsider going to the party. She thought it was going to be a small affair. Drinks, hors d'oeuvre, maybe a little dancing. Not a college kegger. She stumbled when her heels bit into the soft grass and Owen caught her by the elbow.


“Guess I'm aerating their lawn.”

If it could be considered a lawn. They needed to hire someone to actually mow it at some point for it to count as that. “Owen…we may be too old for this.”


They stepped inside and were immediately hit with the overwhelming scent of beer. Out on the dance floor Mark Sloan was dancing with Callie's favorite scrub nurse and Webber and Yang were on a coffee table sharing a bottle of tequila and enjoying the music.

“Calliope!” She saw a shock of blond hair and then a flush faced Arizona pushed through the crowd. She staggered to a stop in front of them. “Owen,” she said solemnly. Then she returned her attention Callie and squealed and clapped her hands before pulling her into an absolutely blissful hug.

Callie's cheeks ached from the smiling she did.

“You guys made it!”

“This is a bit more than I was expecting,” her husband said. He had stepped closer to Callie and his fingers lightly stroked her waist.

“Yeah I think they may have overdone it a bit, but there are drinks and you two have a sitter right?”

“We do.”

“So drinks!”

Arizona grabbed Callie's hand in her own. It was warm and smooth and her grip was as strong as any man's. “Come on,” she said. It may have been a whisper or it may have been a shout but something about it was so intimate Callie didn't notice anything else. She willingly followed the smaller surgeon. Didn't even notice her husband's hand fall from her back or him disappear into the crowd. It was all right. Arizona had her.


The first rule of Arizona and Mark's 60 Day Celibacy Club was no sex. It was, in fact, the only rule of their club. Everything else was open to debate. Alcohol was permitted, but probably not when someone they wanted to sleep with was drinking with them. Sexy above the waist touching was permitted as long as it avoided breasts and didn't lead to a violation of rule one. Intimate whispers were definitely tolerated.

But somehow Arizona suspected she was kind of flaunting the rules and non-rules and if Mark saw he'd drag her out of the party by the ear and give her a no sex with married hot women lecture.

She couldn't help it. While she knew a great many people at the party talking to Callie Torres in her gorgeous dark red top and black skirt that clung to her ass like cellophane just felt natural . The woman was a vision. And also funny. And smart. And confident. And good. And perfect. And…and at a big loud party like this it seemed perfectly natural to do a shot and then laugh at the sight of Charles Percy trying to freak dance in-between Webber and Yang.

“That's just sad,” Callie laughed. “He knows he doesn't have a chance in hell with either of them right?”

“Someone should stop it.”

“Uh uh. Some one should dance.”

And then Callie was taking Arizona's drink out of her hand and pushing her into the crush of people. It was ecstasy. The woman was a gifted surgeon with remarkably strong hands and they seemed to start fires as they pressed against her back. She leaned in, pretending to be stopped by the crowd just so she could feel Callie accidentally pressed up against her back.

“Let's dance Dr. Robbins,” she whispered in her ear.

Arizona melted. And then they danced.


It was her party. She didn't expect Owen to come right up and dance with her. But a nod in her direction would have been nice. Instead he staked out room on a bench in the hall and glowered at the party goers.

“Stop staring at Hunt,” Meredith shouted over the music.

“I'm not!”

“You are. And it's weird!”

“Says the woman who's sleeping with—“

Meredith wrapped her hand around Cristina's mouth. “Shh. It's weird. But you're weird. I'm weird. But we got new fabulous haircuts and booze and we're not going to stare at guys and be sad. Okay?”


Her hair did look pretty great. The bangs had gotten too long and were irritating her when she did shifts in the Pit so Meredith had convinced her to go out and do a big change. It left her with hair more like what she used to have. It made her feel soft and squishy and weak. And maybe it made her feel pretty.

“Want to dance,” Percy slurred. He'd been grinding up against her all night. She glared and hoped that the softer curlier hair didn't ruin the impact of her withering stare.

It didn't.

Meredith brushed up against her. “My date is here.”

And sure enough McDreary was standing out the door and looking not so dreary. He'd lost the undertaker hair and tie and looked almost…dreamy.

A brief un-Cristina thought struck her. Everyone had someone. Even Alex had rebounded into the arms of the fake virgin. Meredith might be her new friend and they might have a house together but eventually Shepherd would leave his wife right? And she'd lose a roommate and be all alone in a house that smelled like Coors Lite.

Percy approached again. “Come on Yang. Dancing is fun.” He tried to back that up with a shimmy. He just looked like an idiot.

“I need to—“ she moved past him and out the door with the half a bottle of tequila Meredith had left in her hands.


Owen sipped his beer. Bottle to lips. Tip back. Bland cheap American brew on the tongue. Swallow. Repeat. The bottle had started almost too cold to touch and then turned wet and then turned dry and slowly warming. The labels were coming off the bottle and rubbed against his palm.

It was the same beer he'd started with. By his nature he wasn't much of a drinker. The night Robbins had driven him home was a rarity. He didn't like what happened when he drank. Didn't like the further loss of his eroding control.

Some distant part of him thought he'd come to this party and dance with his wife and have a few drinks and go home. Instead he sat on a bench with a perfect view into the living room where his wife danced with Arizona Robbins and their bodies seemed perfectly intertwined. They hopped and hugged and touched and giggled. Callie ran her hands across the other woman's body like she worshipped her, and Robbins let her.

Every once in a while the dancing would become too heated and lips would get dangerously close. But then they'd part and go back to their little game. Wanting each other but never taking it past looks or little touches.

For Owen's eyes no doubt.

Was she actually sleeping with the woman? Was that morning she found Arizona pressed perilously closed to his wife a fluke or the norm in hospital on call rooms? Or was it all a game?

On the dance floor Arizona put a hand on Callie's arm and leaned in to whisper something. Callie laughed and spun Arizona around then wrapped her arms around her waist and pushed her out of the room. They disappeared into the bathroom giggling and Owen felt himself running out the door to where the air was fresher.


“Ugh,” Arizona moaned, “this is way too college.”

Callie had managed to get Arizona into the bathroom where she'd forgotten about her plan to pee and instead slid to the ground. She'd apparently found it comfortable because her face was now pressed against the tiled wall.

Callie took up residence on the sink swinging her legs back and forth like a kid and enjoying the merry feeling that was either the perfect buzz or the giddiness of an evening spent with Arizona Robbins.

“I'm having fun!”

“Because you didn't do tequila on an empty stomach. I think I'm dying.” To reinforce this statement Arizona slid further down until she was lying on the ground with her back pressed to the wall and her head pillowed on her arm.

Callie pushed off the sink and realized she'd been sitting in a puddle of water. She pulled at the back of her skirt. Arizona laughed.

“Charming Callie.”

A blush bloomed across her face. “I sat in water.”

Arizona giggled and turned to lie on her back. “Sure.”

The floor looked inviting and Callie laid down next to her. From this new vantage point she was amazed at how much Arizona's face changed. She was relaxed looking with her eyes closed and her mouth slack and up close almost luminescent. A thin sheen of perspiration made her skin glow and her lips were moist. Inviting.

It just seemed natural to kiss her. So she did. Gently. Softly. A firm press of warm lips to warm lips. Arizona sighed and opened her eyes. They're were so dark they were almost navy. “Do you always pick up women in dirty bathrooms.”

“Only special ones.” She kissed her again and hoped that maybe Arizona would kiss her back. Instead of an inviting mouth she felt a hand on her cheek. It firmly pushed her back. A thumb, rough from the constant wear of surgery, stroked her lips.

“We can't,” Arizona whispered. Callie thought about saying something, but Arizona continued, “You're married. And I can't come between you.”

“You already are.”

Those perfectly eyebrows shifted into a frown, “And I have to stop.”

It was like someone had taken a sledgehammer to Callie's insides. Smashing everything with clumsy blows. The agony was inescapable. Her future constant and crushing. “Please,” she heard herself beg. And she wasn't sure what was more awful, rejection or her blinding need to beg.

“Don't,” Arizona pleaded.

Her hand ran through Callie's hair then pulled her in. It was how they should always kiss. Mouths open. Gasping. Tongues and teeth and every single thing about them shared between their lips. It was excruciating and perfect all at once. She realized in that moment she could be in Arizona's arms forever and never grow tired.

Arizona moved them and Callie found herself on her back—the cold of the tile seeping through her clothes. Arizona was pulling her in with her kiss and holding her at a distance with strong hands on her face. She started to pull away. Lingered on Callie's lower lip. Then parted.

And the door swung open and the sound of the party flooded the bathroom and Arizona was gone. She would have cried but everything she was Arizona had taken in a kiss.


Owen was a good forty or fifty feet from the house when he realized he wasn't alone. Cristina Yang was standing in the shadows. She saw him and let the bottle she'd been drinking from fall from her lips. She was wearing a thin coat despite the chill and had to hug herself to stay warm.


“Shouldn't you be inside at your party?”

She shook her head. Had she been crying. Lamely he said, “You cut your hair. It looks nice.”


He started to leave. To give the other woman the privacy she'd clearly sought out, but she stepped forward. “Why did you come?”

It was so earnest. So curious. But…there was something emotional in that question. He turned. “We were invited.”

“But why did you come?”

“What's that supposed to—“

“You keep finding me. Or I find you. And I need—I need you to leave me alone.”

Something clicked. Something felt right. “My wife is having an affair.” That did it. Cristina stepped closer. “I've got nothing. No one. Three kids who love me and a wife who can't stand me. And then you look at me—“ He took a step towards her and lowered his voice, “everything is right.”

“I'm a pariah.”

“You're perfect.”

He shouldn't have said it. She looked so much like she wanted to cry and she shook her head rejecting his words.



It was she who grabbed him. Tugging his head down so she could kiss him properly. His hands came up to touch her face. To hold her. To kiss her back. They ran down her sides. Fingers running over ribs, thumbs touching the curves of her breasts. His hands found her waist and held her tight against him.

So much of Owen's life now was thinking of the past and worrying about the future. But with her it was all in the present. His lips roamed. Kissing her cheeks, her eyes, her neck. Her hands dug into his scalp and he heard her gasp.

Then it was over. “Doctor Hunt.” He spun around. Robbins was standing there looking—he'd never really seen her angry before but her eyes were like cut stone. Sparkling with fury. Behind him Cristina disappeared into the shadows.

If Arizona saw Cristina—if she knew who he'd been kissing she didn't say it. They stared at one another. Appraising each other. She looked past him to where Cristina had disappeared. “I think Callie's ready to go home.”


“So why don't you take her?”

She realized he'd be angry. As soon as she'd realized she was watching Owen Hunt kiss some woman in the shadows she knew he'd be angry she'd caught him. But it didn't prepare her for the flip that was switched. Or the bitterness in his voice.

“Excuse me,” she asked even though she'd very clearly heard him.

“You obviously want to take my wife home, so why don't you?”

“Let's recognize that you're angry because I caught you cheating. So why don't you can the sanctimonious act.”

“Right,” He was so angry he almost laughed, “I've kissed her once. How many times have you screwed my wife?”

She lurched forward, “You're out of line.”

“And you are everywhere ,” he shouted. “In my bed, in my home. You—you've just trickled into my life like a…a chest cold.”

“There seemed to be a pretty big gap. Someone had to fill it.” Oh that was out of line Arizona Robbins. But her dad taught her to stand up for herself. She didn't flinch when he came within inches of her. His hands had curled into fists and Arizona knew well enough what would come next. He'd lash out. But there was nothing around him. No glass. No interns. Just her. Furious and upset and ready to cry and desperate— desperate to protect the things she loved. She jutted out her chin in challenge.

“Maybe you should stop with the white knight act Robbins. Stop trying to save my wife.”

“And maybe you should cut the crap and be a good husband. A good father,” she was on a roll now, “You have up barriers so your kids won't surprise you when you're sleeping. And a pillow in the middle of your bed. You're a mess Hunt.”

“Stay out of it,” he growled.

She was playing with fire. Torturing a wounded beast. Hurting him because right now she needed to do something . And he was so angry and so close to violence he was panting. His face was as red as hair and the tendons of his forearms stood out as he barely contained her rage.

Behind them the door to the house open and closed. Neither turned to look—too busy glaring and trying not to do something they'd deeply regret. It was Mark who spoke up, “We got a problem here?”

Owen snapped to attention. “We're fine.”

“Uh huh. You're wife is tipsy and looking for you. Maybe you should take her home.”

It wasn't a suggestion. Owen passed her by and Arizona started to follow but Mark caught her by the arm. “Don't,” he whispered.

“I can't leave her alone—“

“Arizona. Don't.”

She noticed now the faces against the glass. The music inside might have hid some of their words but the whole hospital knew they'd nearly come to blows.

She looked back at Mark who was didn't need to say a word. He pulled her into a hug and pressed her face against his chest so no one could see it if she cried. They walked back to his car slowly. “I don't think this is how our celibacy pact was supposed to start,” he joked.

She laughed, “No. It's not.”

At the car they found another car had blocked them in and two very naked people were doing non-celibate things in the front seat.

Arizona offered, “I'll get ‘em to move.”

“You had a bad night and want to ruin someone else's?”


Mark craned his neck to get another look at all the naked flesh then went to start the car. Coming closer Arizona had to admit she was seeing a naked female back that was very nice to look at. Though vaguely familiar.

She knocked on the window and came face to face with mid-coitus Derek Shepherd and Meredith Webber. They stared in silence at once another. Finally Arizona blinked and pointed to the glowing red lights of Mark's car. “We're blocked in.”

Derek nodded as Meredith tried to hide her face beneath his dress shirt.

Back in the car Mark tried to see who was moving the car. “Any naked people we know.”


“Ooo. Who?”

“Someone who actually has a shot.”

“Unlike you?”

“I'm desperately in love Mark. And I can't figure out how to stop it.”

“Sixty days Robbins. Maybe instead of just not sex you make it no Torres.”

“I'm not sleeping with her.”

“I mean you don't talk to her. Don't look at her. You get someone else to do cases with her. You avoid her in staff meetings.”

“What if the feelings don't go away?”

“Addison and I were sleeping together for three years before Derek found out.”

She huffed and pushed her seat back into the lying down position. “You're an awful influence Mark.”

Sixty days. She could do sixty days. She'd gone three years keeping the crush at a simmer. Sixty days of pure avoidance? She could do it in her sleep. Sixty days. And in the end maybe she wouldn't want to press Callie against a wall and pleasure her until she screamed.

Chapter 10

Meredith came in around 4am, kicked off her shoes and crawled into bed next to Cristina. Her hands were freezing cold when they briefly brushed against Cristina's as they both pulled the covers up.

“I think I'm in love with him.” She directed the statement to the ceiling but Cristina knew it was meant for her.


“It's weird right? My fiancé was sleeping with my best friend and I was living with my parents and a few weeks later I'm living with the one person in the hospital I used to hate and in love with a married man.”

“Yeah, it sounds like you're making some terrible choices.”

“Such terrible choices. But they feel right. You know?”

She thought of Owen and the way his stubble had scraped her chin. Burke had always been so smooth shaven and he'd been gentle with his kisses. Owen kissed like the world was being consumed around him and the only way to fight it was in her arms.

And it felt right. Not like with all the other guys. A scant few seconds with Owen Hunt felt right.

“I kissed Owen Hunt.”

She half expected Meredith, the once infamous tattle of Seattle Grace who cost Izzie her career, to glare accusingly or get angry. Instead her cold hand wrapped around Cristina's.

“We're idiots aren't we?”

“Yeah,” she said. They were. Such idiots.

“Are you going to do it again.”

“He's married. To our boss.”

“And they have kids.”

Three kids. Weird little blond twins and a brunette that played video games. Cristina hated kids. And she liked her job and if she did anything with Owen it could ruin her career.



“We're monumental idiots.”



The spontaneous and not entirely unwelcome sex ended the night of the party. Callie apparently missed out on Owen nearly punching Arizona Robbins, but when they got home she curled up in a ball and went straight to sleep instead of pressing him against the wall and kissing him senseless.

The next day at work he kept waiting—dreading—the moment Callie would round the corner, narrow her eyes and drag him into a room where she'd demand a divorce and his head on a platter.

Only the moment never came. He did run into Robbins. She gave him a tight smile that would have made Callie's horror of a mother proud and passed by him. Mark Sloan stopped to glare then loudly bit into an apple and joined his new friend.

Callie didn't mention it that night when they got home. Nor the next day. Finally Sloan lowered his voice while they were scrubbing in on a surgery to help a burn victim that no one in the hospital actually knew why he and Robbins had nearly come to blows.

“Apparently they think it has something to do with her family being Marines and you being Army.”

Owen had no idea how that made sense, but he didn't want the truth to come out so he didn't try to correct anyone. Over the next week his rhythm returned. Callie went back to being the mildly distant wife he could always count on. Robbins went back to that surgeon he sometimes saw in the ER or in staff meetings and the hospital stopped calling Owen a powder keg and started trying to figure out who Bad Shepherd was sleeping with and whether Good Shepherd's kid would look like her husband or her lover.

And Cristina talked to him. Held him. Told him about her day. They hadn't kissed—not since the party. But he showed her a room he'd found in the basement and they'd meet their to escape the hospital and enjoy each other's company.

“This is all it can be,” she said one day over sandwiches. She motioned to the chasm between them. “I can't risk pissing off your wife.”

After so many years of Callie's evasiveness it was refreshing to be around someone so honest. Only…only work was starting to become life, and home, home was becoming a prison.


When Callie was five her mother signed her up for piano lessons. Before that she'd shown no aptitude for music and when asked what kind of instrument she'd like to play she'd responded alternatively with the drums, or bagpipes. She wasn't happy with piano. Everyone took piano. She wanted something different. Something that made her heart thrum.

But every Wednesday for four years she'd wait in the sitting room from 3:45 to 4pm. At 4pm the teacher would come. They'd practice scales and maybe dabble with Heart and Soul for a bit, then the teacher would pull her metronome out of her bag and set it on the top of the piano.

“Play to the beat Calliope.”

She'd scowl. She hated playing the beat. Callie was an artist. And no one called her Calliope.

Thirty years later she still usually scowled when people called her that, and she still hated playing to the beat.

In her bed at night she'd listen to the clock and stare at the hole in the ceiling. The clock wasn't as regular as the metronome. Sometimes it seemed to get caught up on the monotony of its own existence and skip a beat. She couldn't even see it in the dark. The only reason she knew it was there was the constant tick.

Owen said it soothed him.

Callie was soothed by the whirring of a ceiling fan. Until Owen she'd always had one. Growing up in Miami they were a requirement and even the dank chill of Seattle seemed to improve with the rotation of a fan's blades and the gentle wind stirring the still air of the room and softly touching her through the sheets.

But she took it down. It made Owen uncomfortable. She hated the tick of the clock but it made him happy. It all seemed…uneven. She'd tripped over the baby gate a hundred times but they kept it up “just in case” and she'd always been a spooner but they had their little barrier to make Owen more comfortable.

Even the computer. Callie could easily afford another computer but Owen worried it would spoil the kids so they just had the one and he used it every night to chat with his war buddies.

It seemed like at some point their marriage stopped being a partnership. It started being all about her giving and all about him taking.

Arizona had made it better. It had only really been a week or two of lunches and flirtations but it had felt like years. Long perfect years where she wasn't worried about Owen or the kids or anything else. Then she kissed Arizona in a dirty bathroom and now she was stuck with Mandy—Bailey on all her Peds consults.

She tried to talk to Arizona. To apologize. To fix what she'd broken, but the other woman had a gift for avoiding her and had done so for an entire month.

The alarm went off and Callie realized she'd been sitting in bed, half awake and half asleep for four hours. Owen hopped up and ran to the shower. Where he grew more rejuvenated every day Callie grew more listless.

She knew she ought to get up. Wake the kids. Start breakfast. Begin another day. But it was easier to sit in bed and stare at the hole in the ceiling and listen to that stupid clock enslaving her to its rhythm.



“Twenty nine days Robbins.”

She stopped staring at the surgical board so she could scowl at Mark. “Yes. Thank you. Shouldn't you be with Addison?”

“She's got two more days until they induce labor. I'm thinking tonight you, me, coq au vin and this show My So-Called Life. It's supposed to be awesome.”

Sometimes Arizona forgot Mark had a few years on her. “Yeah I've heard of My So-Called Life; as has any woman my age.”

Not really knowing what that meant he gave a thumbs up, “So you're up for it?”

She really wasn't. She wanted to hole up in her bedroom, smoke an entire pack of cigarettes, do jumping jacks until she couldn't breathe and then pass out in the shower. Alternatively she wanted to be in Bailey's shoes and back to 80 hour weeks. She missed those.

“I'm thinking of picking up a shift tonight in the ER.”

“You're a Peds surgeon. What on earth are you going to do down there?”

She shrugged, “Help the injured?”

He stared at her, then flicked her in the forehead with his finger.

“Ow! What'd you do that for!”

“You're going to go down there so you can figure out who Hunt is sleeping with.”

“I am not.”

“Stop being nosy Robbins. It'll make you fat.”

“You're a horrible human being and that makes no sense.”

“Yeah, but it's got you thinking about your waistline instead of Tor—“ Suddenly he shoved her into the office of the nurse's station and slammed the door.

Olivia looked up. “Dr. Robbins?”

She was just as confused as the nurse.

On the other side of the glass she heard Mark say, VERY LOUDLY, that he had no idea where Arizona was. Olivia raised an eyebrow. Arizona smiled weakly. The door swung open and Mark stuck his head in. Seeing Olivia he nodded solemnly, “Olivia.”


“Dr. Robbins is avoiding an ex. You don't mind if she hangs out in here for a while?”


“Good girl.” He winked and shut the door again.

“You have an ex in the hospital?”

“I…it's complicated.”


“Thanks to you the nurses all think I've been having a torrid affair,” she said at lunch.

Mark tried to speak around his mouthful of sandwich then thought better of it and swallowed first. “You kind of have been.”

“No. We shared a kiss. In a bathroom. That's it.”

“Sure you guys haven't done it yet. But don't tell me you didn't emotionally blow her mind.”

“I did—I was having an affair.” It was a horrible thing to realize.

Mark nodded sagely, “On the bright side you're 29 days clean. Almost halfway there.”

“I was a cheater Mark! That's—60 days of celibacy doesn't fix that.”

“Addison seems to think it will.”

They both turned to stare at another table where the objects of their attraction were eating salad and Addison was looking like she was about to explode.

“That's because Addison has so many pre-birth hormones coursing through her veins you could market her blood as a drug.”

“She's been super horny lately too.”

Involuntarily one of Arizona's eyebrows raised. If she took Mark out of the picture and replaced him with herself or Addison's lunch date it became something really nice.

Mark noticed, “Stop imagining sex with her.”

“I'm not. I'm thinking about my pizza.”

“You are not. You've got your horny lesbian vibe going on right now. Stay strong!”

“Why do you think I'm day dreaming about hot sex with hot red heads?”

He paused mid-bite, his normally rather pale skin turned a distinct shade of red. Almost like a blush. Then he through the sandwich down in disgust. “Damn it. Now I'm horny too!”

“We've got thirty-one days Mark.”

They both returned to staring at the two women across the cafeteria. “That day cannot come fast enough,” Mark nearly groaned.



“You look like you're about to explode. Why haven't you induced yet?”

Explode was a kind and multipurpose word for Addison Montgomery's current state. She was swollen, very pregnant and clearly keyed up emotionally. She looked almost like she wanted to cry at the question.

Callie had been there. Twice. The second time she'd only barely resisted signing up for a tubal ligation to go along with the c-section required to deliver the twins. She actually required a cane for a few weeks and had turned into such a bitch Cristina Yang had nearly cried during surgery.

“Oh, you're not going to cry are you,” she asked in a panic when she saw Addison's face.

“I'm fine. I can't stand up without grunting but I'm fine.”

“How long until—“

“They strip the membrane and get this thing out of me? Not long enough.”

“Still going natural?”

Addison gave her a dark look. Across the cafeteria Mark Sloan and Arizona turned to look at them for no reason. Callie caught them staring and immediately looked away. Addison took a moment to notice.

“Is there any reason they're staring?”

“Maybe they're trying to will the baby out of you?”

“No, Mark has his ‘I need sex' face on.”

Callie liked to think the look Arizona was pegging her with was her variation on the same face.

“And what's up with you and Robbins anyways? A month ago I couldn't separate you with a stick and now you're all—“

“It's complicated.”

She shouldn't have interrupted Addison so abruptly because now the other surgeon, desperate to get her mind of the child gestating in her body, was on the scent. “How complicated Callie?”

“Really it's—“

Addison raised an eyebrow.

She was going to have to tell someone. All those kissy feelings for Arizona were still there and though she'd had a month to process them into the category of “I was lonely and she was there” there was still the whole “she was also a woman and I was actually kind of turned on” thing to deal with. Banging Owen's brains for a week hadn't fixed that and now she was noticing other women. Like the cute girl at the coffee cart and— “It's—“ she found herself saying. Then stopping, because a short brunette woman was walking towards them with an almost unconscionable swagger and a grin.

Addison realized Callie had become distracted and turned. She was less confounded and more surprised. “Amelia?”

The other woman hurried the last few steps when Addison started doing her grunting and attempting to stand thing, “Don't get up,” she said.

“What are you—?”

“My big brother and his wife are about to have their first baby and I'm the only other Shepherd on the West Coast so I was nominated to usher this child into—why do you two look like someone just died?”

Callie snuck a glance at Addison and said in a low voice, “You guys haven't told your families yet?”

“We didn't think we had to yet,” Addison replied.

“Didn't think we had to tell us what?”

Addison was clearly trying to figure out how to tell her sister in law that the baby in her womb was in fact not a Shepherd. And Callie really had no desire to watch that train wreck unfold when she was still dealing with her own minor wreck of a life.

“I should probably go.”

“Addison,” the smaller woman challenged, “What happened?”

Suddenly Mark Sloan was sliding into the last seat at the table and putting on that insanely efficient smile of his. “Amelia,” he said in that low throaty voice of his.

“Mark! What are you doing here?”

He looked to Addison, “She doesn't know?”

Addison nodded sagely, “She doesn't know.”

“Okay would you all tell me what I don't know. Because it is really starting to freak me out.”



Mark should have guessed that Derek and Addison wouldn't tell his family about the baby being Mark's. Derek had a tendency to completely avoid his sisters unless absolutely necessary and Addison had always had this weird desire to be in their good graces at all times. Naturally she couldn't go and tell them she cheated on their brother with their pseudo-brother and that she and Derek were getting a divorce but that she wasn't even moving in with the guy she'd made a baby with because he had to pass some stupid test.

It came out pretty quickly after he sat down. Torres slunk away and Amelia got really upset and then Addison got really upset because apparently Mark had “no right” to tell people the baby was his.

Which was stupid. He loved her. He moved across the country to be with her. He bought a condo across the hall from the best pediatric surgeon on the West Coast (okay that was an accident). He had a crib for God's sake. Why couldn't he tell people?

After yelling at him and clutching her stomach and then refusing his offered help to stand Addison followed the other two women to leave the table and left Mark to stare at some half eaten salads and consider how stupid everyone was being and how easy it would all be if they'd just shut up for a second.

Arizona must have gotten lonely at the other table, or felt sorry for him, because she came over, cleaned up the salads and sat down and waited.

“Am I an idiot?”

“For sleeping with a married woman?”

“Shut up.”

She raised her hands in surrender and opted to play with the sugar packets. “Was that…Amelia Shepherd?”

“Derek's sister. Yeah.”

She nodded to herself. Like she was taking in some new information and trying to sort it all out in that blond little head of hers.

“Arizona? Do you know Derek's little sister?”

He vaguely remembered hearing her mentioning John Hopkins and that was where Amelia had gone. And they were about the same age. It made sense that they would know each other, and even that Arizona might have failed to make the connection between Amelia and Derek until now. But she had this funny look on her face. Something like guilt. Or awkwardness. So when he asked her if she knew her he put a little inflection on the “know.”

And sure enough the barest hint of a swallow indicated that she did in fact “know” a woman he thought of as a little sister.

“Tell me,” he said slowly, “that in your days as a horror show resident who slept with a different woman every night and made it your mission to ‘convert' straight girls—which I don't judge—that you did not in fact ‘convert' a girl who's baptism I witnessed.”

She didn't say anything, because that would be a lie. At least someone was honest in this hospital.



Callie caught up to her husband on his way down the stairs to what looked like the basement. “Hey,” she said brightly, “you would not believe what just happened in the cafeteria. Derek's sister showed up and found out about the whole manwhore thing and I think Addison almost had her baby right there.”

Owen nodded distractedly and looked past her.

“Everything okay?”

“Yeah. I was just headed down to the basement.”

“To catch a nap? Because you know,” she stepped closer, let her finger trail up his tie, “there are plenty of empty beds in creepy abandoned rooms down there. I could always join you.”

He caught her hand in between his and pushed it gently away. “That's okay.”

He started to pass by her again. “Owen.” He paused and looked at her. Seemed to plead with her to let him go. To give him his space. To move to his rhythm.

So she took a step back and he descended into the darkness.

Owen had to work a few extra hours later than her that night. So after work she picked up the kids and drove home. Like Callie herself the kids had grown attuned to other people. They understood that their mother was in a pensive mood and thankfully kept quiet all the way home.

After changing into some yoga pants and a dark cami Callie checked on the kids and went down into the kitchen to make dinner. But she was only halfway through the chicken breasts that needed to be pounded flat when there was a piercing scream from upstairs.

It was the worst sound a parent could hear and a thread of absolute horror shot through her as her feet carried her up the stairs two at the time and down the hall into the twins' room. Allegra was sitting on Angus to keep him from getting up and Gavin was curled up on the floor holding his bruised lip and crying.

“Allegra,” she said sharply.

Her daughter looked up but refused to get off her brother who was struggling and crying and bucking wildly. “He was being mean!”

“Off! Now.”

She started to get off when Angus bucked again and sent her rocking back. He twisted quickly and made a judgement call and then launched himself at Allegra. Callie caught him before he could reach her and he twisted and screamed and tried to worm his way out of her arms.

She hauled him up and carried him down the hall and over the barrier into her bedroom. “Calm down.” She had to shout to be heard over his screams but her voice was authoritative enough to catch onto the severity of his actions and his mother's displeasure.

“What happened,” she asked when he'd grown quiet.

“They wouldn't let me do what I wanted.”

“So you punched your brother?”

He nodded.

“We don't shout and we DO NOT punch to get what we want.”

“Daddy does.”

“He does not.”

“He does too,” he shouted emphatically.

It had been bound to happen. Some parent mentioned Owen in front of their kid and that kid went to the hospital daycare and mentioned the same and her kids heard it. Of course it would happen. Striking an intern. Shattering a window in the ER. That was big stuff. But the shouting wasn't from gossip.

Her mind ran through all the times in the last six months alone Owen had raised his voice and gotten what he wanted. She'd talked to Allegra about it, but Angus and Gavin. They were so little. She hadn't thought—no she'd ignored the fact that they could and would notice. She'd buried her head in the sand and said it was all okay.

And now her kids were fighting and blaming it on what they learned from their father.

“Your father is an adult. And he gets to do things as an adult that you don't get to do because you're a child.”

Angus clearly disagreed with that argument and Callie even had a hard time making it. It was the chicken shit thing to do. But it placated him for the moment.

Afterwards she made Angus apologize, iced Gavin's lip and put up the fixings for chicken piccata so they could order pizza instead and all four curl up on the couch and watch a cartoon. After eight they each slowly started to nod off and she took them up the stairs and read them a gentle poem for bedtime.

Allegra, being the oldest and the one with her own room was the last to bed. Callie carried her in her arms and gently laid her out on the mattress. “I'm proud of you,” she said softly, “For helping your brother, for being the peacekeeper.”

“It's what you do mommy,” she whispered sleepily.

Her daughter wasn't even four. She was supposed to play games and do T-ball and get spoiled by her grandparents and boss around all the other kids in daycare. She wasn't supposed to sit on her brother when he flew into a wild tantrum.

The idea that Callie—that she and Owen—had somehow done this to their children filled her with an aching dread.

Back in her own room she flopped onto her bed and stared up at the hole in the ceiling and waited for the tears to come. She could feel them clawing at the back of her throat. But none came. Instead the hole in the ceiling seemed to laugh at her.

For more than four years she'd been bowing to Owen's whims. She knew he was sick. That he couldn't help it, and she'd thought that being the peacekeeper and keeping him calm, building little barriers in their lives like bumpers in a bowling alley, would help. But it hadn't. And now her kids were fighting and there was a hole in the ceiling.

Not any more.

She tugged on her slippers and went down to the garage. The tools were there and so was that fan. Owen could have his pillow and his solace in the basement and his kiddie gate in the hallway. But Callie would have her fan.

Chapter 11

During her residency there were two distinct Arizona Robbins. The badass surgeon who went for broke to get every surgery, was cruel to her fellow residents, kind to patients and perfect around attendings, and there was the woman after hours. The woman who didn't make it home because she was busy picking up girls and blew off steam dancing at clubs. Both women were familiar with Amelia Shepherd. The badass surgeon screwed her over for chief resident and regularly butted heads with her when they were on the same surgeries. The after hours Arizona was used to get in Shepherd's head. It worked. Repeatedly.

Neither half of the whole was very proud of what she'd done, and neither half really knew how to apologize for the unholy terror of the John Hopkins residency program she had been.

Seeing Amelia in her hospital and finally making the connection that she was one of the Shepherds didn't make it better. She hadn't just screwed over a fellow surgeon all those years ago. She'd screwed over surgeon royalty.

And when Amelia wandered down into the Pit and caught site of her working the desk a smile like the Grinch's curved up on her lips. She didn't walk over as much as sauntered.

“You know, I knew they had some pretty terrible people working at this place but I didn't think they'd be stupid enough to hire the woman that tried to give syphillis to half of Hopkins.”

“You don't think you're exaggerating just a little bit Amelia?”

Amelia shrugged and poked at the papers on the desk. “I take it my brother and sister don't know you have history with the Shepherd family?”

“They do not.”

“Did you know they're cheating on each other?”

Arizona watched her carefully. Her eyes were dilated. A little glassy. And she seemed…off. No. Maybe high. Certainly a little upset. “Amelia.”

She laughed bitterly, “One of them with Mark Sloan! I don't know who Derek's sleeping with. He couldn't even talk to me.”

“I'm sorry.”

Amelia decided to change the topic of the conversation and leaned over the desk, “When do you get off?”


“Because I need to forget about Addison and Derek destroying their perfect marriage and I seem to recall you being pretty gifted at helping people forget things.”

“I'm not going to sleep with you because you're mad at your family.”

“Isn't that the only reason we ever slept together?”

It was.

Amelia took a deep breath and pushed herself off the desk. “Look. I have an itch that needs scratching and I'm staying at the Archfield until after Addison shoots out whoever's baby that is—“

“Pretty sure it's Sloan's—“

“Point is, if you change your mind. You know where to find me.”

“I do.”

Thirty-one days of celibacy left and now she had the offer of responsibility free sex dangled in front of her like a carrot. She watched Amelia walk away and then turned her attention to the phone. Praying—willing—a trauma to come in.


It was a strange thing to realize that you'd woken up because you could not breathe. Callie's eyes weren't open and the body moving beyond her neck felt more like some distant appendage than a part of her. All she could think about was how natural breathing was until you were incapable of it.

Her mouth was open like a fish as she desperately tried to suck in air but nothing went in.

Open your eyes.

But her eyes wouldn't open. Her body wouldn't move. She was trapped in darkness and could only hear someone distantly gasping for breath.

Open your eyes.

The darkness turned to shades of gray as light seeped in. The shadow of the moving fan and the yellow of the hall light leaking in through a crack at the bottom of the door. And then Owen. His face was slack. His eyes open but unseeing.

And his hands were around her neck.

She tried to scream but the pressure was too intense. His fingers were digging into her carotid arteries. Cutting off blood flow while the thumbs of each hand trapped her wind pipe and kept breaths from forming.

Something slapped against his face. Her hand. Trying to push him back. Then her other hand was trying to pull his fingers away. The muscles of his arms. She could see them perfectly. She'd always thought her had sexy forearms. Perfect definition.

Her hand slapped against his face again.

Somewhere a child cried.

Pull him out. Hurry.

Some part of her knew gouging the eyes was a sure way to stop an attack.

Owen had beautiful blue eyes.

Her hand was scratching at her own throat while the other grew more feeble in its protestations.

Stop him.

The open hand turned into a fist. She pummeled him. The side of his head. His cheek. Any part of him it could reach.


It wasn't hard enough. Punches had to hurt. They always shook their hand in pains. She repaired hands as bones shattered where they met skulls.


Her fist was beating against him now. The gray shadows of the room were turning black again.

Harder Callie.

Pain blossomed in her hand as it struck him. The hands around her neck grew slack.


The hands were gone. The darkness turned to light.


Her legs were moving now and she freed one out from under him. Pressed it firmly against his chest. And pushed. Callie worked out sometimes. Once upon a time she climbed mountains and played soccer. Her sister and a boyfriend that went too far in college both said she had a kick like a mule.

Owen flew back. Stumbled against the dressed. Her jewelry box. His cologne. It all scattered. Glass broke.

She pushed herself up against the head board. Her good hand drifted to her neck and she felt her windpipe through her skin as she panted for air.

Across the room Owen's mouth was open in shock and he was staring at her.

No. Her neck.

One side of his face was already bright red. The eye showed signs of swelling.

He looked down at his hands. As if they weren't his own.

“Callie,” he said again. He was the tortured soldier home from war. The dark hero. Her own Mr. Rochester desperate for absolution.

“Get out.”

It wasn't a command as much as a rasp. It hurt to say.

He started to approach. Her whole body grew tense. Her hand scrambled for the lamp. “Get out.” It would have been a shout but her throat couldn't handle it.

“I never meant.”

Her fingers wrapped around the lamp. Pulled it off the table. Owen backed away. He saw something then. In the darkness he must have seen her eyes and not just her injuries and his own actions.

The door opened and shut. Feet pounded on the stairs and soon there was the sound of tires on the wet night road.

The ache in her throat grew and grew and grew then. Until it broke and tears ran down her face.


It was a quiet night in the ER. The kind you didn't call attention to because it would quickly turn into the worst night imaginable. But Arizona didn't regret her choice to run the Pit for the evening in the least. Around midnight Mark came in panicked, “Is she here?”


“Addison! She—she called. Her water broke. She said she was on her way and…”

And Arizona got him to calm down and contacted the ambulance dispatch which informed her that Addison Montgomery was only minutes out. She set Mark down in the chair at the desk and grabbed the hospital pariah, Karev, and they waited for the ambulance.

“Thanks,” Karev said.

Arizona didn't say a word.

“For keeping me on in Peds, I mean. Especially after you hired Mandy back. You didn't have to and I appreciate it.”

“You're a good surgeon Karev. An idiot. But you're good in Peds.”

His lips formed a grim line that dearly wanted to be a smile, but it didn't become one.

“Though you might want to deal with your ex and her mother, because I can only challenge Ellis Grey so many times before it's my ass on the street.”

“I'll fix it.”


They knew the right ambulance had pulled into the emergency bay by the groans that emanated from it as soon as the doors open. Addison was sweaty, angry, and wearing a huge and hideous gray sweatshirt.

She challenged either Alex or Arizona to say a word. Neither did. They rushed her in. Mark tried to help. Addison called his penis a monster and threw an instrument tray at his head.

He stopped trying to help.

OB arrived shortly thereafter and took over. Though Addison and Mark insisted the head of Pediatric Surgery stick around in case something went gone wrong with the baby. Normally Arizona would have said no, but Mark was a friend and Addison was a close colleague and it couldn't hurt, just this once, to say yes.

There was a shift in Mark when his daughter was born and her airways cleared and that tiny squirmy potential for the future was gently placed in his arms. He was still Mark. The jerk. The manwhore. The guy who slept with his best friend's wife and tried to stare at Arizona's boobs when he thought she wasn't looking. But suddenly the weight of his new role seemed to hit him. In an instant he became the adult he'd always claimed to be.

He looked from the squalling child in his arms to Arizona. He didn't have to say anything. That smile on his face was enough. “Good job dad,” she whispered.

He looked back down into the big blue eyes of his daughter. His voice was reverent, “I'm a dad.”

The OB and nurses quickly cleaned up and Arizona joined them in leaving the room and giving the new parents a few quiet moments with their daughter. Arizona saw a lot of babies in her work. She'd delivered them. Performed complex multi-hour procedures on them. She'd shown new parents how to flip a child to comfort them when their spinal bifida created too much pressure in their heads and how to soothe weeping babies before surgery with a pacifier. She'd watched countless moms and dads transform in the presence of a newborn.

But watching Mark—a man as seemingly loathe to commit as Arizona herself was—it was different. They were badass surgeons unswayed by the miracle of life. Until now.

She headed back to the Pit and the end of her extra shift in a daze and if they hadn't bumped into her she can honestly say she never would have seen Cristina Yang ushering a bruised Owen Hunt through the hall. But his shoulder struck hers and she saw him. Saw the swollen eye and the mottled flesh and the way his hand cradled his ribs.

And she saw his eyes and the absolute wretched grief there. Grief she'd seen before. Experienced acutely. In an instant Mark and his new daughter were forgotten. Owen caught her eye, recognized her and looked away—ashamed.

Her feet started moving. Then her legs. Then her arms. She was running. As fast as she could.

“Hey Dr. Robbins how'd the baby turn out,” Karev asked. But she couldn't answer. She was out the door and into the winter wind. It bit at the thin scrubs and medical coat she wore. Neither appropriate Seattle winter wear. Karev followed her out. “Everything okay?”

“You have a car Karev?”

“Yeah. Why?”

She stuck her hand out and commanded. “Keys. Now.”

He drew them from his coat pocket and stuck them in the outstretched hand. “Everything okay?”

“It had better be.”


Callie's house was dark when Arizona jerked to a stop in front of it. That was like icicles of dread in her veins. She got out of Alex's little car and locked the doors and went around the side where the kitchen door was unlocked.

It was quiet at first on the inside. But then she heard the soft sound of a crying child. She went up the stairs and the dread mounted. She did not want to climb the stairs. Did not want to open the door to Callie's bedroom and find…part of her wished she hadn't seen Owen at the hospital. That she could forget all of this. That what she knew and what she dreaded were two different things.

But then she was at the top of the stairs. The door to Callie's bedroom was shut. The gate was in place. She followed the sound of tears to Allegra's room. The girl wept louder at the sight of Arizona and she quickly crossed the small bedroom and wrapped the little girl up in her arms.

“Shh. It's okay baby girl.”

Allegra was trying to tell her what had happened, but she was sobbing and had her head buried in Arizona's neck and she couldn't even begin to understand. She carried the girl out into the hall and briefly opened the door to check on the twins. They were both awake and confused, but whatever had upset Allegra hasn't touched them.

Looking for some reserve of strength Arizona was sure she didn't have she held on tightly to Allegra and stepped over the gate. She knocked. Once. “Callie,” she whispered.


Twenty minutes later Callie heard the car on the street. Heard it pull in and heard the feet downstairs. She tried to dry the tears on her face but she used the wrong hand and sharp pain lanced through it.

Then there were footsteps in the hall and Callie found herself hyperventilating and trying to emotionally prepare for a conversation that had to happen but that she could not bear.

A door opened and she heard the low murmurs of her daughter upset. She stood up and walked to the door. To stop him? To comfort her? She didn't know.

Then the footsteps came closer and some part of her realized it wasn't Owen in her house. Knuckles thumped against the door and a voice called out her name.

She slouched against the door then. Relief flooded her like euphoric drugs. Her good hand found the doorknob and twisted. Arizona was on the other side. Her hair was up and she was still wearing scrubs and her lab coat.

“See,” she whispered into Allegra's ear when she saw Callie, ”your mom's fine.”

Arizona, though, was not fine. She was comforting Callie's daughter but her eyes were quickly and clinically assessing Callie's condition and hard like chips of ice.

“I'm fine,” she heard herself rasp.

Arizona directed her next words to Callie, “I'm going to put her back to bed and let the twins know everything's okay. Okay?”

She swallowed and it ached, but she still nodded afterwards and softly shut the door as Arizona turned around.

It was easier then to sit on the bed and listen. Arizona had a soothing voice and even through the wall it dulled the edge of panic in Callie. But soon enough doors snicked shut once more and there was another knock on her own door.

How funny. Arizona could invade every fiber of Callie and her life and still have the courtesy to knock on her bedroom door.

“Come in.”

The door opened and Arizona stepped through. She shut the door behind herself and leaned against it. Probably to let her eyes adjust to the darkness.

No. She'd found Callie in the dark and was staring.

“How'd you know,” she finally asked after long dreaded moments of silence.

“Owen came to the hospital.”

“Is he—“

“He looked like he went a few rounds with someone.”

“He didn't mean it.”

“You can barely talk.”

“He was…” she slumped back onto the bed and her eyes tracked the ceiling fan's movement. “He said the fans make him uncomfortable. I ignored him.”

“That's an excuse.”

“It's what happened Arizona.”

Her voice must have risen because Arizona backed down. “Okay.” She came closer. Knelt. “Can I see?”

“He didn't mean it.”

“I know.”

“He's not…he's not bad.”

“He's sick Callie. I know.”

Callie looked up to see if maybe there was something mocking in what Arizona was saying. Or pitying. But the stupid woman was so understanding with her sad blue eyes and the way she frowned, softly echoing Callie's own pain.

Arizona took the opportunity to reach out and touch Callie's cheek. She watched the other woman's eyes. They seemed to take everything in and soon her gentle fingers followed the same track her eyes had. She softly touched the bruising, but was careful not to press to hard.

“Have you taken an anti-inflammatory?”

Callie shook her head.

“You should.”

The fingers moved to her shoulder than gently lifted her arm so she could look at Callie's hand.

“Someone in Ortho should look at this.”

“It's fine.”

Arizona manipulated the bones of Callie's hand and she sharply sucked in a breath as the pain renewed. “It's not fine.” She looked Callie in the eye. “You're not fine.”

There was only one thing Callie could say then, because of everything in the world it was the one thing she knew, “I don't know what to do.”

Arizona's frown grew more pronounced and seemed to beg Callie to cry. So she obliged and was soon wrapped up in the other woman's arm. She desperately—greedily—took everything Arizona offered. Every soft whisper and touch.

She didn't know where to go. Didn't know what she should do next. But she knew that as long as Arizona was there it would be okay.


Finally alone in an examination room Cristina began to examine him. He tried to push her away but she wouldn't let him.

She didn't know. Didn't understand what he had done.

One moment he'd been somewhere else and the next his wife was gasping beneath him. He'd nearly killed her.

“Who did this to you?”

Cristina asked it like she'd hurt them.

“My wife.”

She stopped. She could not understand.

“She was defending herself.”

Because he was trying to kill her. Because he thought he could fix what a war had broken. Because he thought Teddy and stolen lunches with Cristina would be enough. He'd done this to himself. Hurt his wife. Destroyed his family. Because he thought he was better than he was.

“You. You hurt her?”

She clearly didn't want to know. But she had to. He was the monster here. The villain of their lives. “I nearly killed her. You should run. Please.”

But instead she found an ice pack and held it to his eye.

Because Cristina Yang was just as foolish as he was.

Chapter 12

Sleeping in the hospital wasn't a new experience for Cristina. She was a fifth year resident. For her kind sleeping in the hospital was often the norm—not the exception.

It was the part where she woke up with a bruised and battered Owen Hunt wrapped around her that was unusual. He'd fallen asleep with the healthy part of his face pressed against her breast and his arms curled around her waist. It was an intimate and almost childlike position that should have revolted her. Only it seemed to make him more endearing.

Then she noticed the shimmer of a gold ring on the hand around her waist. A wedding band. One he'd exchanged with Callie when they'd promised to be together until death parted them.

Cristina rarely questioned herself. Confidence was the hallmark of a good surgeon and there was no time to wonder what if. But she had comforted Owen last night and they'd fallen asleep in this on-call room and it wasn't because they were in love with each other. They barely even qualified as friends.

It was because he'd gotten in a physical fight with his wife. So why was she sitting on a cot letting him use her as a pillow? Why was she willing to overlook or understand what even he found reprehensible?

Why was she telling herself she was okay with it?

The man wrapped around her stir. Froze. She quickly closed her eyes and let her face go slack as he sat up and carefully stepped over her. He sounded like he was about to leave. To not say thanks. To not try and understand whatever it was drawing them towards each other despite all the reasons they should be apart.

“Owen,” she heard herself say.

He froze.

“Are you okay?”

He stared at the door. “I will be.”

Then he yanked it open and disappeared.

Cristina laid back and noticed there was now a light chill along the side of her body where he had rested. She missed him.

Then there was giggling on the other side of the door. Not just any giggle. A very distinct one. Cristina tensed as the door opened and Meredith and Bad Shepherd started to come in. Then they saw her and the grins on both their faces vanished.

“I should, uh…I should go.” Shepherd let his hands fall from where they'd been wrapped around Meredith's waist and he quickly moved away from the door. Meredith stood there a little longer—probably mulling over what exactly she was going to say then stepped in and locked the door behind her.

“You were in here with Hunt?”

“We slept here.”

“You slept with him.” She had to love Mer. No condemnation. Just confirmation.

“Not like that.”

“And the—“ Meredith motioned to the side of her face, “how'd that happen?”

“I don't know. He came in last night upset and in his pajamas. He said something about Callie?”

That seemed to throw Meredith for a loop. She came and sat next to Cristina in a moment of stunned silence. “Huh,” she said, “that explains Callie heading up to X-Ray.”


“Yup. Robbins drove her in and took the kids while she walked away cradling her hand.”


“Why on earth would she break her hand on her husband's face.”

Cristina had a vague idea of why. And if her idea was correct Callie's injury wasn't from attacking, but rather from defending.

She looked over at Meredith who was now lying across the cot and looking at the springs of the cot above them. Meredith was pretty dark and twisty and cool when she wanted to be. She was even okay with whatever was going on with Cristina and Hunt. But…no it wouldn't be a good idea to talk about what might have happened. Not until she knew for sure.


Arizona had managed an entire hour of sleep on Callie's couch. She'd been offered half of the bed and it and Callie had looked awfully inviting but after comforting Callie and icing her hand and wrestling with her desire and proclivities for emotional heroism she needed a break.

So she slept on the couch. Then she put herself in charge of getting the kids ready for daycare and helped Callie get dressed. By morning her hand had swollen and shown clear signs of some kind of damage which didn't seem to upset a world class surgeon like Callie Torres as much as it should have.

They took separate cars to work and Arizona ran from the residents' lot to the attendings to help Callie get the kids and their stuff out. They parted ways inside. Callie went to get her hand checked out and Arizona took the kids to daycare and marveled at the near domesticity of it all. If she'd ever planned or wanted kids it might have been like this. Allegra even gave her a hug before joining her brothers and the daycare manager nodded in a friendly manner.

Her body started taking her towards X-Ray where Callie likely was when she realized she needed a cigarette and to maybe give Callie a little space. She'd essentially forced herself into the woman's emotional trauma the night before. She could give her a minute.

So she rooted the nearly empty cigarette pack out of her pocket and went outside to find a bench where she could sit and smoke and think about what the hell she was getting herself into.

Only Owen was sitting on the bench she'd had her eye on. He was hunched over and one hand was gently touching his ribs. At the sound of her footsteps he turned and she saw that his eye wasn't swollen shut but the whole right hand side of his face was bruised and swollen.

He saw her and what she suspected was already a dark mood turned pitch black. But she went and sat down next to him anyways. He didn't get up and leave, but scooted over to keep from touching her. He looked at her again. Then away.

Finally he said, “I don't know you well enough…to talk about her? I don't.”

So she wouldn't talk about Callie and her throat and hand. Instead…she took a deep breath. Considered it.

There were things you couldn't just tell another person. Things she wouldn't tell Mark about and she'd probably never even tell a girlfriend. Things that would horrify others. That would force them to give her pitying looks.

But they were things she could tell Owen. So she did.

“My grandfather was in the military.” A breath. “He died on the USS Arizona after saving nineteen men. It's why my father named me Arizona. And it's why he served in the Marines for over thirty years.”

Owen glanced at her. Then looked ahead.

She didn't think about it much. Who could think about it? Even with everything she'd seen in the past few months. It all seemed so…distant.

“When I was eight I tried to play a trick on him. I leapt up on his back to surprise him and he put me through a wall. It broke three ribs and the base MPs had to take him into custody.”

He stopped looking ahead. He was looking at her. But she couldn't look back. It was easier to hand out the facts. Quickly. Efficiently.

“It's a disease Owen. A treatable disease. One that you can't be ashamed of. And one you cannot ignore.”

Now he took in a deep and tremulous breath which he then exhaled almost like a bark, “You've come into my life. Take my family. My wife. And now you're sitting here with your condescending little story?”

He leaned across the divide he had created. Leaned in close. “What right do you have?”

Callie would forgive him. She realized it in an instant. Callie had a heart dangerously full of compassion. She'd look into those sad blue eyes and tell him she understood. And Arizona would watch from the sidelines and wish and hope. Or…she remembered that little girl. The way her back then head struck the wall. It was old plaster and shattered under the force. It was the thin wood frame beneath that did the damage. And the father who looked at his own hands like they were those of a monster.

Arizona forgave once already. Her quota was all used up.

“Chief Ellis is ready to fire you because you can't control your temper. Your wife broke her fist on your face trying to keep you from killing her. And I was the one who had to comfort your daughter. Don't make this about us. Because it's not about me and Callie—” Just say it Arizona. Now. Hit fast and hit hard. Just like the Colonel taught. “And you and Cristina Yang.”

He sat back. Stunned.

“Your kids deserve a father Owen. And I deserve a safe place to do my job. And your wife deserves someone who doesn't cheat on her. Or beat her in her sleep.”

She stood up before she did or said anything else.


The ortho resident seemed to know her stuff even if she was way too bubbly. After doing an x-ray and assuring Callie her hand would heal and not require surgery she stuck her in a nice window room and went to retrieve the plaster.

So Callie braced her hand against her chest and tried to figure out how exactly she was going to be a surgeon for the next few weeks. And she looked out the window. And there was her knight in shining armor having a heated discussion with her husband. It wasn't for her eyes. It might have been words of comfort they were sharing. Or maybe a cigarette. She smoked and he'd dabbled a few times.

But it wasn't. There they were talking about Callie. Planning her life. Leaving her out of it. Was he giving her up? Was Arizona gracefully accepting her? Maybe they were talking about a time share.

Irrational anger surged through her and she had to stop herself from leaving the room and tracking them both down and throttling them until everything inside of her just—stopped.

The resident came back in and seemed to note Callie's mood, “Dr. Torres?”

She rolled her sleeve up and held at her hand. “Let's get this over with.”

She was just about to start wrapping Callie's hand when the door was flung open and Meredith Webber stumbled in. Callie and the resident both stared and when it became clear Meredith had gotten hung up staring at Callie's hand Callie opted to speak. “Can I help you Webber?”

She most have noticed the Kathleen Turner voice because she looked taken back a moment. “Ah. Yes. Ma'am. It's just.” She closed the door and stepped into the room, “My mom heard. About your hand? I was supposed to—you can't do surgery with that.”

“No. I cannot.”

“So are Cristina and I taking your cases,” any other place one would be horrified when a woman sounded so eager about profiting from another's pain, but Callie would have absolutely been in Meredith's shoes—hell she was. When Burke left Cristina at the alter it left Callie with his cases and she'd been giddy with it all.

But that didn't mean she could or would leave her heavy workload to two fifth years. People came to her for her artistry—not to be worked on by student butchers.

“No. You will not.”

“Okay, but then who?”

“That's something Dr. Grey and I will discuss. So why don't you now take this time to schedule a meeting with her and to retrieve my charts so we can figure out what can be moved and what I can leave to you two.”

Meredith glanced at the ortho resident who shrugged and continued her work. Then back at Callie. Then she fled.

“Tight ship you run down in cardio.”

Callie chose to ignore the comment so she could better critique the woman's work. She could have done ortho, and judging by this woman's work she would have been an absolute rockstar in the field.


Mark had a baby. Not just any baby. The best, most perfect baby the hospital had ever produced. The best baby he'd certainly ever produced…not that there'd really been confirmation of other babies. But as babies went his was easily in the top five ever. Clearly surpassing that stupid Gerber baby.

And as Addison was sleeping and Derek was still avoiding him except to be snippy in the OR he only had one person he could play the super proud papa card with and she'd been missing since immediately post birth.

So Mark opted to use his portion of the day's paternity leave tracking down Robbins and dragging her back to the maternity ward to bask in the sunshine that was his daughter's toothless smile.

He finally found her in a fourth floor on call room with a pillow over her head.


“Go away Mark.”

“Robbins. We need to talk.”

She chunked her pillow at him and then curled up in a ball and faced the wall.

“You can be snippy as you want but we still need to talk.”

“If I wanted to get yelled at about going to Callie's last night and then confronting Owen I'd probably look for Callie.”

I was here to scold you about not coming to check out the super amazing baby I made—you went to Callie's?”

She'd pillowed her head on one arm and was trying to use the other to cover her face so her response came out as a muffled, “Yes.”

“Any reason why?”

That at least got her unfurled. She sat up and looked at him and he noticed that she looked really tired, cranky and probably wouldn't appreciate him pointing out the saggy gray bags under her eyes. “Have you not seen her?” He shook his head. “Owen?”

“No. Newborn child and the potential for the love of my life to commit to me? Kind of busy.”

“He had an episode Mark. He nearly killed her.”

Mark…Mark didn't like guys who hit women. If they wanted to punch on other guys that was fine, but he was actually pretty damned chivalrous when it came to women and with the exception of Arizona there wasn't a single woman who he could ever think of deserving a punch. “Do I need to kill him?”

He surprised himself at how serious the offer was.

“It was an accident.”

“Is she okay? Doesn't she have kids? What about them?”

“They're all fine. When I got there Allegra was upset but I calmed her down. I think Callie broke her hand though.”

“He broke her hand,” only desire to learn all of Hunt's crimes kept him from immediately going off and pummeling the guy.

“No. She broke her hand punching him in the face. And I think she cracked one of his ribs.”

That earned a whistle.

“It's serious Mark. The guy's got PTSD.”

“And a need to be punched a few more times. Did you get any hits in defending your woman?”

She didn't appreciate that question and looked at him like he had three heads and was masturbating on the helipad. “No. Mark this is serious.”

“As is hitting a woman.”

“Unlike you everyone else involved understands he's sick and needs help.”

“No I get that Robbins. But seriously. I'm finding it hard to sympathize with the guy.”

“Well I'm not, but I kind of—I ranted at him.” Judging by how embarrassed she looked it must have been a pretty damn intense rant.

“What like crazy woman in psych rant?”

“Close. And I accused him of child abuse…and of having an affair.”

Mark had to sit down. That was some major drama. And it was trumping the drama of his daughter's birth—but also it was major deal for Arizona and she seemed like she needed him to sit there and be flabbergasted. So he was.

“And he's going to tell Callie. Or someone will tell Callie because all this hospital can do is talk about other people and then she'd going to hate me.”

“For defending her honor.”

“Does she look like the kind of woman that wants that? She's already feeling powerless. Me going and confronting him will just make it worse.”

“Couldn't you be direct with her and apologize.”


He clapped his hands together feeling they'd come to a satisfiable arrangement, “Good settled. You're going to go coo over my baby and then find Torres and grovel for a while and avoid her husband.”


“Arizona. You're hip deep in someone else's relationship. You need to take a step back because otherwise you're going to go a place I know you don't want to go.”

He could see she agreed. Because he was right. Usually. As long as it didn't involve healthy monogamous relationships.


Three different nurses, one orderly and a terrified 2 nd year all directed her to the same on call room which she opened to find Arizona hugging Mark Sloan. They immediately parted when the door opened.

“Sloan. Out.”

He stood up between her and Arizona. “I'm kind of okay where I am.”

She was not in the mood—especially for more macho man bullshit. She grabbed him by the lapel of his jacket and dragged him to the door which she then slammed in his face and locked for good measure.

“That's pretty unprofessional Torres,” he shouted through the door.

She chose to ignore him and focus her ire on the woman on the cot.


“Don't Calliope me. What did you say to my husband?”

Arizona's face didn't quite change, but the tremulous hopefulness definitely disappeared. “That's between us.”


Arizona pushed herself off the cot and tried to get past her. “You should really talk to him.”

She might have made it to the door but Callie caught her arm with her good hand. “Don't walk away.”

“Let me go.”

“As flattered as I am that you're getting in repeated pissing matches with Owen over me I need to ask you to stop.”

Arizona's mouth was set in a firmly resolute line. Her eyes were dark. Angry. “Let me go Calliope.”

“Say you'll stop.”


Callie could feel it, the edges of her psyche fraying. Not quite unravelling but beyond the normalcy she treasured. She threw Arizona's arm away from herself and tried to pace, but the on-call room was small—barely enough room for the cots stacked one on top of the other and the lamp wedged in the corner.

“I was fine. Before you I was fine.”

Arizona didn't move. She had an exit open now. She could run from this room and never look back. But she never did. She ran headlong into the fray wielding that preternatural confidence like a sword. She watched Callie. Watched her try to pace and said nothing. Her face was a mask. Like always.

“I don't—I don't need you fighting my battles.”

“I know.” Always understanding.

“So stop.”

“I can't.” And never yielding.


She crept close. Like a child trying to coax a timid dog. Her voice was soft and intimate. A lover's whisper. “You know why.”

Was this where they were? Confessions in on-call rooms? She hadn't even spoken to Owen. Couldn't face him, and already this woman was—there. Taking his place. Unravelling the life she'd built and forcing her way into it. Seducing. Beguiling. Enchanting.

“I don't want it Arizona.”

That loosed the mask. Her mouth fell. Her entire face did.

She came closer so Arizona would understand, “I don't want you.”

Arizona was trying to look her in the eyes but instead she kept looking at Callie's lips. Then back to the eyes again. Trying to rationalize the words Callie had to say. “You kissed me,” she insisted, “in that dirty bathroom at the party. You kissed me .”

And there was that confidence. So she parried. “I was drunk. And you were there.”


And here was the thrust. “Why not? You seem so excited about handing out truths to everyone else. Telling them what they ‘need' to hear. So hear this. Stay out.”


A gasp. A dying breath. Callie didn't have to say more. Didn't have to insist. Insistence would weaken resolve she didn't think she had—or could even fathom.


She went after her husband next. Where her conversation with Arizona had been easy with casual cruelty she dreaded the one with Owen. She wasn't sure what to say. She wasn't sure what to demand. What to accept from him.

Only Ellis Grey found her first. “Dr. Torres. Just who I was looking for.”

Then she noticed the blond standing next to Ellis and smirking. Her day had begun with her husband's hand wrapped around her throat. She'd thought it peaked with her attempt to send Arizona as far away as possible. But then Ellis Grey had to go and find someone to handle her more complex surgeries for the next few weeks and couldn't settle with just any doctor. That wasn't Ellis's modus operandi. No, she had to go and find one of the few Harper Avery winners in the Pacific Northwest.

“Dr. Torres,” she said in that sardonic tone of hers, “heard you decided to take up boxing and give me a chance at your job.”

Ellis laughed, “I don't think it will come to that.”

“You sure about that Ellis? Word is you're absorbing Seattle Pres. It only makes sense. Drop her down and put a good surgeon in charge of cardiothoracic here?”

“She has a good surgeon in charge of cardiothoracic. Give me a week and I'll blow you out of the water.”

The woman appraised her. Judged her like a dog at a show. She half expected her to reach over and look at Callie's teeth. “We'll see about that Torres. Now Dr. Grey. Why don't you finish the tour?”

And Ellis nodded to Callie and then continued on with her tour. Because there were very few doctors that Ellis Grey would roll out the red carpet for, and Erica Hahn was at the top of that list.

Chapter 13

Doctors usually had two problems when it came to attachment to their patients. Some would hear the plaintive cries of a dying child or have to end the life support of a beloved parent and fight back their own tears. They'd get attached. They'd do a million different things to distance themselves and finally they'd figure out how to look at a person as a mass of cells to be cut and healed rather than as people.

Others had no problem detaching themselves. It was bedside manner, treating their patients with care and compassion, that they'd have difficulty with.

Eventually a good doctor figured out that there's this switch inside of them. Flip it on and they could charm their patients and give them comfort. Turn it off and they could easily choose what was morally right rather than what was emotionally right.

And if a doctor was good enough—if they really worked at it—they could carry that lesson into their personal life. It helped them keep things separate. Kept the kids' grades or the spouse's affair or the sick dog or whatever out of the OR.

Arizona got really good at flipping that switch after Timothy died. She was a natural. Kind to patients but a monster when she needed to be and she never ever brought home to work or vice a versa.

After Callie left she sat in the on-call room and took shallow, measured breaths. Then she found that little switch and flicked it. Her patients didn't need a heartbroken lesbian that was stupid enough to fall for the straight girl and get her heart ripped out. They needed Arizona Robbins, the doctor that was remaking Pediatric Surgery or whatever Grey told PR to say about her.

With another slow and measured breath she stood up, shrugged on her coat, straightened it out, checked her hair and then left the room with her head held high.

Mark wasn't waiting for her, but she went up to the Maternity ward and told him it was all okay and under control and played with the baby. Maybe he recognized the switch. Maybe he actually believed her. Because he didn't say anything. They giggled and cooed over the girl and Mark asked if he should tell Addison she pooped on herself during delivery.

Arizona said there were some things it was okay to lie about and she and the nurses would happily be complicit in that particular lie. Seeing as she was nearby she headed to the NICU next to get caught up. With Addison out of commission any surgeries out of the NICU were her responsibility. That was where she ran into Dr. Grey and Erica Hahn. She'd never met the woman before but found her to be just as smug as every other “cardio god” she'd ever worked with.

“I hear we're working together in a few days Dr. Robbins,” she sounded almost…flirtatious. She had a low voice and her cadence threw off Arizona's lezzie radar.

“Uh. Yeah. Yeah on the Fitzgerald kid.”

“I'm looking forward to it.”

“Me too.” She smiled and shook the offered hand and if anyone besides Mark had walked by they would have noticed nothing out of the ordinary.

At least she thought so. She sat down with the Peds staff to rearrange schedules to handle Addison's absence and both Bailey and Karev asked her if everything was okay. They had both become quite taciturn over the last month and concerned questions from them threw her for a loop.

She thought she did a nice job insisting she was okay. It was on her way home, exhausted from a thirty plus hour day and wanting nothing more than half a dozen donuts and a good book that she realized that, no, she was not okay.

Because Amelia ran to catch up with her as she was leaving through the front entrance. “Arizona! Hey.”

“Dr. Shepherd.”

“Ouch. Back to doctor?”

She sighed, “What do you want Amelia?”

“My brother bailed on dinner so he and Webber could do a craniotomy. He won't let me scrub in, and Addison and Mark are being so disgustingly cute with that kid of theirs that I needed to get away.”


“So I'm taking you out for drinks back at my hotel.”

Amelia drank. A lot. She also had flirted with prescription medication a few times though she'd never been caught during their residency. She was a classic self-destructive partier and Arizona was a very in control super bitch. Those were the roles they'd inhabited for seven years at John Hopkins.

But she wasn't okay, because drinks and then ill conceived, celibacy vow breaking sex with Amelia sounded great. Really great.

“We'll do drinks,” Amelia smiled, “and we'll talk. Can you handle that?”

“So no dancing on the table for drunk business men?”

“Or trying to pick up a bartender for threesomes.”

“Or sex in the fountain.”

“The Archfield has a fountain?”

“No but we could find one.”

“We're adults now Amelia. Drinks. Talking. Maybe something more.”

“You're going to really make me work to get in your pants aren't you Robbins?”

Yes. Yes she was.


Owen avoided Callie the entire day, and she had to admit that she didn't actually try and seek him out. One of the most talented and cutthroat surgeons in her field was sniffing for her job and a woman had essentially confessed love and her hand was hurting like hell and Addison had apparently had a baby and it was just easy to put the Owen problem to the side for the day.

She figured out a multitude of ways to avoid the drive home. She took the kids out to a movie and then to dinner where the server gave her a judgmental look for daring to have children out past nine. By the time they did get home she'd thoroughly worn all three of them out to the point that they wouldn't ask about their dad or the night before or anything else.

And when she got home she let out a sigh she didn't know she'd been holding in. Owen wasn't home.

In her bedroom, after the kids were squared away and she'd changed into a loose shirt and pants she retrieved the biggest suitcase she could find from the upstairs closet. Then she began to pack Owen's things.

It was a neat bit of order in a world of chaos. Jeans. Slacks. Ties. T-shirts. She didn't pack everything. She kept things in loose approximations of outfits. Made sure there were some clothes for exercising and the soccer cleats who wore for games on Sunday. She had a makeup case her aunt had given her when she turned fifteen and she filled it with toiletries. The toothpaste he used because his teeth were sensitive and the good cologne and the fancy body wash he insisted was hers but he always smelled like when he got out of the shower.

It was hard to carry the suitcase down the stairs with one hand. She managed. Then she went back upstairs and dismantled the kid's gate and put it in the closet. She found a journal of cardiac medicine she'd been putting off reading and poured herself a glass of wine and sat on the couch and read and waited.

It was almost peaceful. No. The house was peaceful. The utter lack of tension. There was no simmering stew of rage in the other room waiting for just the wrong thing to be said or done to be set off. No expectations.

She could just sit, and wait.

He parked on the street when he finally arrived; not in the driveway where he usually parked. And he used the front door. From the couch she could see his shadow as he came in and stopped to study the top of the stairs and the suitcase that stood waiting. Then she heard the jangle of keys being pocketed and he stepped into the living room.

Thankfully he didn't say anything this time. He didn't make an excuse.

“I went by my mom's after work. I'll be staying with her for a while.”


“You know—“

He was going to ask her if she knew he was sorry. She was grateful he didn't. He'd said those words so much they'd lost their meaning. They were a song refrain. A familiar rhythm. They'd stopped being an apology a long time ago.

“Have you talked to a therapist?”

He nodded, the shame of his actions quickening the motion. “And I'm going to keep talking to one.”

“Good.” A fiber from her cast had fallen onto her pants. She plucked at it with her bad hand and it took two tries. The bruised tendons and damaged bones protested but she ignored them. “When your therapist thinks its time I'd like to meet with them.”


“So the three of us can decide when you talk to the kids again.”

“Callie…” He started to cross the room. To argue.

She looked up sharply and willed herself to keep from standing and escalating things. “Look at your face Owen.” She twisted her head to give him a better look, “Look at my neck. Tell me that isn't the right choice.”

“And us? When do we talk about us?”

“When you can tell me what you do in the basement. When you can look at me like I'm your wife and not an obligation.”

And he stopped. He looked at her. For her it felt like the first time he'd really looked at her in years. His blue eyes were wide and curious. He came closer and touched her cheek reverently. Stroked it. A finger traced the bruises on her neck. She let him. Tilted her head to give him access. Then he let his hand fall to his side and took a step back.

“We're over aren't we,” he whispered.

She hadn't thought—planned that. As far as Owen was concerned her only goal had been to get him help. To see him healed. But he said it and she realized…she realized he was right.

Callie was Catholic. Not a little Catholic. Not someone who identified as a faith for cultural reasons but rarely actually practiced. She'd gone to Catholic schools all her life. She'd attended Mass. She had a rosary she rarely used. In Botswana she'd attended Anglican services in lieu of Catholic ones each Sunday because she missed the routine.

And Catholics married for life. Divorce wasn't just a sin to Hail Mary away. It was a significant one. It led to the fracturing of the Church in England and had perpetuated many a disastrous marriage throughout history.

To divorce her husband would be a violation of the her faith. But to stay with him, she realized in that moment, was a violation of her own happiness. She was like Paul on the road to Damascus suddenly seeing the real world.

It was a revelation and she numbly had to sit down.

She laughed. “We are aren't we?”

She thought of Arizona. How easy it had been to fall into her arms. She was so desperate day to day for a human connection she'd actually sought it out—with a woman . For more than a month she'd been scrambling to salvage a marriage that really never should have been. She'd lost surgeries and sleep over it. Agonized over it.

And the fact of the matter was, she was done. And they had been done for quite some time.

Owen sat down next to her. “I wish. I wish it had been different.” She laughed bitterly and had to stop because it hurt her throat. “But I can't keep asking you to accept me back. And neither of us can keep sitting here trying to fix something so—“

“Broken,” she supplied.

He nodded.

“I wish you hadn't taken that last tour.” She had loved him then. Before. When he left that little blond fiancé to be with her and they'd been so passionate and loving and intensely sexual.

“You sound like Teddy.

“He's right though.”

“Callie,” now it was his turn to almost laugh, “Teddy's a woman.”

The absurdity of it had her laughing again. She couldn't stop. It grew more frenzied. She couldn't stop. She and her husband were separating. Likely about to divorce. Her professional career was threatened. A stupid beautiful irritating woman told her she loved her and Teddy Altman, the one person she'd ever seen calm her husband was a woman.

It was such an easy line to cross at that moment. From laughter to sobs. As natural as the ending of her marriage. Owen didn't try to hug her. Either because she'd bruised his ribs or because he knew she'd reject the show of comfort. But he put a hand into hers and squeezed lightly. And she just wept.


Mark was suspicious of Arizona's feigned exuberance but he didn't press it and having spent to days trying to figure out what Torres said to her and Robbins' refusing Mark was close to giving up. He also had more important things to consider. Like convincing Addison to stay with him for the first few days of her maternity leave, which started as soon as her OB came in and released her.

Their daughter had already been released and he used the baby carrier he had purchased three weeks before to cradle her against his chest. Every time her little body moved he had to mentally marvel at the wonder of the baby. That he created.

“I've got a nursery for her. You'd be right across the hall from a fantastic pediatric surgeon.”

“I'm a pediatric surgeon.”

“You'd be right across the hall from a lady that works weird hours, never seems to sleep and loves babies.”

“And I'd be living in your apartment.”

“Which is way better than a big empty house with pictures of Derek on the wall.”

Not that Mark didn't like Derek. If the guy would ever speak to him again he'd admit that Derek was his…brother seemed corny, but he'd admit to a special sibling-like bond. He just didn't want his kids first night out of the hospital sleeping all alone with her cranky mom in a house full of bad juju. He said as much. Addison was not impressed.


“It's right across the street. And if you don't like it after a few days then I'll take you back to that house and leave it.” He turned on smoldering and wounded Sloan eyes to really try to sell it.

Just when he was about to give up and figure out a way to kidnap her without being arrested she hung her head in defeat.

“All right, three days Mark. Three days of—“

“Domestic bliss with a celibate man who will be sleeping on the couch so that he doesn't violate his vow of celibacy.”

“You took a vow of celibacy?

Why was everyone always surprised by that? “You told me not to sleep with anyone for sixty days. And I am more than halfway there.”


“I mean I still rub one off in the shower. But yeah. Seriously.”

“That's disgusting.”

“You're the one that forced me to masturbate. I'm all for monogamous sex with you if you'd rather—“

She quickly interrupted him, “That's fine. Really. We'll try living together for three days because I'm exhausted and the idea of getting rest and handling a newborn is about to send me into tears. But that's it Mark. It's a test.”

“Pft. I pass those all the time.”

The OB finally got around to them thirty minutes later and Mark chivalrously took Addison's bag AND the baby while the orderly wheeled her out to his car. It was a ridiculously short drive and when they parked in the garage at his apartment she looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “That it,” wasn't said but implied.

They both giggled. The giggles turned to laughs and walking down the hallway to his place he started to feel like it was going to work.

Then they both heard a very loud thump followed by some very happy moans. It should have taken them longer to work out where the noise was coming from, but all they had to do was look across the hallway to where the door of Robbins' apartment was shaking rhythmically.

He had no idea how that sight was affecting Addison, he was grateful his daughter was too young to see or understand it and he was thoroughly turned on. He needed sex. Badly.

Wait a— “She's violating our vow!”

“Your vow is with Robbins?”

“Yes. And she's violati—“

Suddenly many expletives were being shouted. Things about going faster and harder and specific locations where those commands could be applied. Mark's hand went over his baby's ears as the vague realization that he recognized the voice sunk in.

“Wow,” Addison said, way too impressed for a straight woman, “She's really giving it to someone.”

More shouts of encouragement. Only. Mark looked over at Addison at the same moment she looked at him. They recognized that voice.

Addison was the first to react and she actually pushed her sleeves up as she headed for Robbins' door. Mark only just managed to grab her collar in time.

“Let me go Mark.”

He tugged her back.

“We can't.”

“She's giving lesbian fingers or tongues or whatever to Derek's little sister .”

More shouts. Something about right there again. And licking it.

“Sounds like both, and she's a grown woman.”

Derek's sister .”

“Yeah and Derek hates both of us right now.” He motioned to their child for visual reinforcement.

“And you don't want to stop it for Amelia? Who has a history of making ill advised choices and we've known since she thought pigtails were cute.”

Technically Mark had known her even longer but— “Robbins is not an ill advised decision.”

“Kind of is if you're straight?”

Valid, but he wasn't going to let Addison know that. “Look, they're busy. We have a newborn infant. Let's get her inside. Get her settled and then I'll go over there and do a big brother act while you stand in the doorway looking sassy.”

She narrowed her eyes, but seemed to accept his proposal.


Meredith flopped down into the seat next to Cristina and snagged one of her fries before ripping the plastic off her sandwich. “So my little sister needs a place to stay for a few weeks.”

“Didn't she get a job in the hospital library? Tell her to get her own place.”

“She tried. And nothing's affordable and she started looking at me with sad orphan drug addict eyes…”

“And you folded like Webber Senior.”

“Pretty much.”

Across the cafeteria Bailey, who'd turned into some kind of Nazi since hired back, joined Callie for coffee. Cristina nodded in their direction. “Owen left Callie.”

Meredith twisted in her seat to look while still eating her sandwich. It was super uncute. “What really?” She turned back to Cristina and swallowed before asking, “How do you know?”

“He told me.”

Webber's eyes got big, “So…did he leave her for you?”

“He didn't say.”

“And you didn't ask.”

Of course she didn't ask. The guy was looking at her all sad and Heathcliff like and even though she'd hated Wuthering Heights she always kind of liked that it was about a woman probably in love with her half brother who hated everyone. It was good and twisted and dark and—

“Let me guess, he told you while doing his whole tortured Victorian romance novel gaze and you forgot to ask so you two could tenderly hug.”

“What if he did leave her for me?”

Meredith had to think about that one, “That'd be super sweet I guess. But maybe she left him for the whole—“ she made a strangling motion with her hands and let her tongue hang out, “or maybe they decided to just end things because they were tired of waking up next to each other.”

“You think I should ask.”

“No. I think he should maybe not try to kill women he sleeps with.”


“What? Look I want to root for you and all. Find your own McDreary, but until that guy stops punching interns and choking his wife, whom he has three kids with by the way, it might not be such a good idea to take it beyond simmering and platonic.” Her piece said Meredith immediately returned to tearing into her sandwich.

She looked over at Callie again but Avery sat down in at the table between them and winked when she accidentally caught his eye instead. Then his big lumpy friend started laughing about something.

Owen walked in and seemed to see Callie. Lumpy and Pretty Boy were still in the way though and she had no idea how her injured attending responded. But Owen smiled—politely. Not like someone whose wife had left him and not like a man trying to apologize. Like he was…just saying hello.

Then he saw Cristina and smiled. And it was the apology one.


“Uh huh.”

“I miss sex.”

“I'd invite you to use Derek for a little while, but I don't think he'd appreciate it.”

Chapter 14

In college they called it hooking up. It was really just casual sex—often times with the same partner, but it never actually counted as dating or a long term relationship. You didn't talk about your day or stay up late in bed sharing a pizza. You scratched the itch, maybe dozed uncomfortably for a few hours in a foreign bed and went on your way.

What Arizona was doing with Amelia didn't qualify as dating either. They chatted but it was all very casual. Like coworkers rather than lovers. And Arizona suspected that if the right guy came along Amelia would give her a kiss for the road and be on her merry way.

Still they weren't hooking up. Point in fact, they spent Arizona's day off from work having sex, sleeping and periodically talking to one another over Chinese food they ordered. Amelia didn't like pizza.

But they didn't talk about their families or hopes. Amelia didn't ask about the woman Arizona was hung up on and Arizona didn't ask her why she could afford to take a break for a month or two and come to Seattle.

“Don't you have a job in L.A.,” she wanted to ask.

And she wanted Amelia to tell her she just had a really nice boss, but it was plainly not the case and Arizona looked the other way when Amelia had her third beer in an hour or ran to take some more Advil for a headache she'd been sporting.

Instead they talked about Arizona's work.

“Erica Hahn huh?”

Even Amelia, a neurosurgeon not working Seattle, knew who Hahn was. The woman was working hard to be the next great legend and since Burke had left she was often neck and neck with Callie as far as prestige in the Pacific Northwest went. Yes, she had more Harper Avery shortlists, but Callie was known as the groundbreaking trendsetter. She took risks. She was just one case away.

The two of them hated each other and would be sharing Arizona's OR on a phrenic palsy case. Hahn would be performing her duties as a surgeon and Callie, who claimed the patient as “hers” would be looking over shoulders and burrowing deeper under Arizona's skin.

She was not looking forward to it.

“Yup, Hahn, and Torres. In my OR.”

Amelia winced.

“If you get bored trying to play peacemaker you should scrub in.”

“You need neuro?”

“No I need a peacemaker. You can just say you've never seen the procedure and were curious.”

“Those women scare me.”

Arizona set aside her plate of savory beef and leaned over Amelia. “But I do other things.” She began kneading her thigh. Let a thumb explore her inner thigh. Stole a kiss. “Awesome things.”

Amelia grinned.

They stopped talking.

The sex was mindblowing on Amelia's end. Arizona usually liked to receive as much as she gave but getting rejected in an on-call room by the straight crush of her life had her wanting someone to sing her praises. And Amelia was an expressive vocalist. She never said words like “love” or “like,” but she was encouraging, and at times quite beautiful.

Just not Callie. A woman Arizona had kissed all of once. When she was drunk. And who was straight. And not into her. And married. With kids.

Amelia must have noticed because not long after their last round of sex Olympics she found her watch in her purse and told Arizona she had to go meet her brother at his trailer. “He's got to talk to me sometime,” she said, wearing nothing but a smirk.

She was gorgeous. And great in bed. And a doctor who understood the demands of the profession. She was perfect for Arizona.

“Think about scrubbing in okay?”

Amelia tugged a dress over her slim frame and hopped over to the bed where Arizona lay naked. “Okay,” she said with a quick kiss. She grabbed her purse and left.

Arizona rolled onto her stomach and buried her head in her pillow. It smelled like sex and Amelia. She probably needed to wash it. And her sheets.

Well after she thought Amelia had already gone she heard the door open. She could have called out but her head was buried in her pillow and she was comfortable. And all was well. Until Mark yelled out in something between shock and awe, “You're naked!”

Then there was a lot of screaming and she fell off the bed while scrambling for a sheet to cover herself and Mark started saying something about “why is that ass gay” and by the time she was moderately covered the visage of her naked ass had stunned Mark into silence and he stared at her from the entrance to her bedroom.

“What are you doing here!” It wasn't a question so much as a step away from her punching him in places he loved.

“You've been cooped up in your sex den all day and I have to talk to you before Addison notices I'm gone and comes over here.”


“Because you're sleeping with Amelia.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Are you two five?”

“We're worried.”

“Because I'm an evil lesbian?”

“No, because,” He sighed. Took a breath. Then he came and sat down on the bed which Arizona had only recently been in. She remained seated on the ground wrapped up in a sheet. “I like you Arizona. As friends go you're about the only one I have in this stupid town. But Amelia is family. She's Derek's little sister. I saw her when she was a baby you know?”


“And Addison's worried because she's always worried about Amelia, but I'm worried because a few days ago you were hung up on Torres.”

“So,” she petulantly tugged part of her sheet up until it covered her shoulder.

“So, I don't like you using my little sister as a rebound.”

“She seems okay with it.”

“And I don't like her using you to scratch an itch and irritate her brother and Addison.”

“You ever think what we're doing isn't related to the rest of the world, and particularly the universe you all inhabit?”

Mark got still—quiet. His eyes were as blue as hers and they pierced her. Saw straight through whatever act she was attempting to put up. Saw straight through whatever motivations she would claim. As different as they were, and they were different, there were some things they were absurdly similar in. They hid their emotions; him behind bravado and her behind cool looks and a healthy smile.

“I'm trying to help.”

“If there's one thing I've learned through all this it's that you never try to help. You'll just get cut off at the knees when you least expect it.”

He tilted his head, “Torres really did a number on you didn't she?”

“I can't get her out of my head Mark.”

He absorbed that. Then he came and sat next to her. It took just a little shift for her to rest her head on his shoulder. The arm that wrapped around her and pulled her close was big—masculine. It reminder her of her brother. Timothy was slimmer than Mark. Shorter too, but with her eyes closed they almost smelled the same, and if she let herself…if she let herself go then it was Timothy hugging her and telling her it was going to be okay. And she could just sit in silence and believe him.


Owen's shrink didn't miss a thing. She had shrewd eyes and wasn't afraid to speak up. She didn't flinch when he yelled, didn't let his anger hide the truth from her. She sat and watched, and unlike Cristina, who was infinitely understanding, or Callie, who reflected his own hurt back at him, she absorbed it all. Took it in. Filed it away. She could later turn around and regurgitate it all back. Remind him of his own words—actions.

She was ruthless. As cutting as a trauma surgeon in the field. There was no emotion—only a craftsman at her work. She wasn't his friend. She was there to get him better. And she took no prisoners.

“Let's talk about your wife.”

They had talked about the men and women he had served with. Those who died and those who lived. How some were as wounded as he and others were whole. They talked about the day he lost his best friend. How it was dread and not relief that filled him when Teddy leapt out of the helicopter and ran towards him.

But they didn't talk about his wife.


“You choked her.”

“It was a dream.”

She said nothing.

“She loves someone else.”

“Does she?”

He saw the way Callie looked at him. And then he saw the looks she gave Robbins when she thought she was all alone. His wife was stunning in those moments. A representation of affection and lust and undying love. It ached to watch her.


“So why do you stay?”

Because they had children together.

He hadn't said it out loud. She was still looking at him expectantly. It had only been a thought. A pithy response to a question.

They had three kids. Twins who weren't even forming long term memories yet. A daughter just coming into sentience. He wanted them to have what he had. What Callie had had. He wanted them to grow up in a happy home with two parents and a dog and ecstatic Christmas mornings.

But kids alone could not save a marriage.

“I think…” She leaned forward. Her pen went to her lips as she waited. “I think Callie loves someone else.” She waited. “But I think I do too.”

“So…Owen, why do you stay?”

And suddenly he got it, “I don't think I can.”

Was she pleased with his response? Satisfied? She leaned back but her face was a mask. She wasn't there to pass judgement. Just to fix him, and sometimes, like in that moment of revelation, it felt like she was working.


Living with two Greys, or a Grey and a Webber as they were known at work, wasn't as bad as Cristina had expected. Meredith was a pretty great roommate, though her McDreary sex was loud and annoying. Lexi, whom she'd been worried about having in a house full of valuables, hadn't stolen a thing thus far. She still had the bad hair, the bad attitude and a love of booze that would put her in an early grave, but she'd been better as of late.

“I think she's thinking about college,” Meredith said on the way to work.

“Isn't she, like, forty?”

“She's only twenty-seven. She could do college.”

Cristina refrained from pointing out that she had a doctorate and an MD by the time she was twenty-seven. “Why doesn't she just focus on the librarian stuff? She's amazing at it.”

Meredith had no response for that because it was true. Lexie had dropped out of high school and somehow managed to survive for ten years on nothing but cocaine and booze but she was still insanely smart and that eidetic memory of hers made her perfect for the hospital's medical library. Cristina had even heard that some of the mouth breathing interns had crushes on “the cool pink-haired chick.”

Meredith parked her car and they made their way into the hospital. Heading towards the residents' locker room the two women had the misfortune of running into Owen. He nodded and smiled and didn't look her in the eyes. Which had become his MO since they spent a night sleeping in the same cot after he nearly killed his wife.

“He's frigid,” Meredith said under her breath.

Cristina wanted to defend him, but he was being frigid. “I don't know what I did.”

“Fell for a crazy man?”

She let that one slide. Apparently Derek's sister had nearly walked in on them at the trailer and he'd forced Meredith to hide, half naked, in his car why he spent two hours drinking beer and talking with the other woman. She was in a rough place.

It was probably better to think about work anyways. With Hahn in the hospital Callie had them splitting duties. One was Hahn's shadow and the other was on Callie's post ops. So every day they flipped a coin to see who was on post ops and who was stuck following Hahn and Torres as they bickered.

“Please take Hahn today,” Cristina heard herself begging. She loved surgery, but the day before she'd spent six hours with Torres hovering over her shoulder why Hahn snidely told her she was incompetent. It was a nightmare.

“Uh uh. I'm on neuro today.”

“I'm the only one on their service?”

“Don't make that face!”

“What face?”

“Like you'll murder both of them with a ten blade. Besides aren't you doing that palsy case with Robbins today? Make her be the buffer.”

“If she even shows up.”

Robbins had skipped two surgeries in the last few days. Avery insisted he heard her in an on-call room and Percy said he saw her dirty texting someone. Maybe she was why Owen wasn't talking to her. The two had been seen fighting a couple of times, and she'd stopped talking to Callie completely.

No. No. She needed to stop thinking about whom Owen was sleeping with or not sleeping with and she needed to focus on making it through a day long procedure with two testy heart surgeons and a heavily distracted peds surgeon.

Who were all waiting for her when she got to the OR. Callie's hand was still in a cast but her good hand had a glove on it for emergencies.

“Nice of you to join us Yang,” Hahn said. She made it sound like Cristina had been two hours late when she was, in fact, a few minutes early.

“Dr. Yang,” Robbins said brightly, “I didn't know you were scrubbing in.”

“Not that she needs to. You and I have this Dr. Robbins.”

Cristina looked over at Callie who looked back surprised. Was Hahn…being nice…to a person?

Even Robbins seemed a little flustered, “T-t-true. But this is a teaching hospital Dr. Hahn. It's not Seattle Pres. If Yang is here then one of us really should step back.”

Hahn turned and scrutinized Cristina. She resisted the urge to take a step back. “Yang, I don't think we need you here.”


“Dr. Robbins and I have this. Why don't you go down to the pit and wait for a nice juicy cardio patient.”

Torres spoke up, “Dr. Hahn I really think—“

“Yang's a racehorse Torres. A thoroughbred. Doing suction on this kid when she could be taking the lead on a GSW or whatever violent little gift the streets of Seattle give us is just silly. And if you're that worried, you can join her.”

The OR was silent. The beeps of machines. The scrub nurse behind Cristina's breath. Her own. Torres and Hahn were at war. Battling over a position that could only be one of their's once the merger went through.

Finally Callie, like a traitor, turned to Cristina. “I needed someone doing post ops today anyway. Hang out in the pit. Page me if anything comes up.”

Hahn was watching her with those chilling blue eyes while Torres's own brown ones were dark—impossible to understand. Robbins was the only one remotely conciliatory. She seemed to smile behind her mask and gave Cristina a nod.

At least someone acknowledged what had just happened. Cristina turned and left the room in disgust. She ripped off the surgical gown and mask and threw them in the waste. She had to take a moment before she left. Catch her breath. She'd just been kicked out of the OR so Torres and Hahn could what? Stare at one another? So Hahn could steal Torres's job and be nice to Robbins?

She bumped into the new Shepherd as she left the scrub room. The other woman stumbled and reached out to grasp Cristina to stabilize herself. “Woah, sorry about that.”

Cristina just wanted to get out of the place and as far away from the dragon breathing monster as possible, but girl Shepherd had other things in mind.

“How's it going in there?”

“They're about to start.”

“Torres and Hahn at each other's throat?”

That surprised Cristina. She opened her mouth. Shut it. Shepherd craned her neck to look through the window and continued, “Arizona mentioned she was going to be stuck in surgery with those two all day. Apparently they hate each other?”

“We're absorbing Hahn's hospital.”

“Oh. So she's going for Torres's job?”

“Looks that way.”

“Who's your money on?”

Neither. They'd just kicked her out of the OR. Next thing she knew they'd be putting her on every angioplasty that came through the hospital. She sighed disgustingly and left.

After post ops she went down to the Pit. Owen gave her a chart and then nodded again, “Take care now.”

Lexie Grey's life long addiction to controlled substances started to look good.


Callie didn't quite pace. Amelia Shepherd had come in not long after they started and quietly watched over Arizona's shoulder. She stood nearby. Close enough to touch the pediatric surgeon if she chose. Arizona didn't seem to notice.

Hahn did. She looked. Saw the proximity and seemed to file it away for some later date when she'd use it against Arizona. Didn't she see? The woman was gunning for Callie's job, but she'd take any. She'd wreck careers to stay on top. She was ruthless.

The surgery continued. Shepherd made inappropriate comments. Hahn noted them. Sometimes Arizona flirted back. Callie went through her hand exercises. The physical therapist told her to take it slow. Wait for it to heal. Screw that. The faster it started working the faster Hahn would be out of her OR and she could send Shepherd with her. Let them flirt with each other as they hunted for jobs at some other hospital.

“Dr. Torres,” the object of her ire said laconically, “care to check out my work. Give it your stamp of approval?”

She did. She came up behind Arizona. Slipped past Amelia. She looked at the work and nodded.

“A nod of approval from Doctor Torres. They'll be thrilled back at Seattle Pres.”

“I must have missed it. Mind if I peek?” Amelia used her shoulder to step between Callie and Arizona. The front of her surgical gown brushed against Arizona's side. She looked at Hahn's work and cooed, “Very nice Dr. Hahn. But some of the credit does go to Robbins.”

“Yes, let's pat me on the back while we have a baby on the table.”

“I just like seeing you get credit Arizona. Isn't she extraordinary Dr. Hahn?”


Callie wanted to throw up.

Yes, Arizona was magnificent. Watching her work was…breathtaking…but these two women had spent the entire surgery fawning over Arizona's skills while Amelia made thinner and thinner allusions to a—to a relationship.

It was unprofessional. And Hahn responding to it was worse. And Arizona not telling them both to be quiet was absolutely criminal.

The love fest continued all the way through closing.

“Good work,” Shepherd said. “We should celebrate. Drinks. Joe's. Maybe a night of hot and heavy—“

“You're headed to Joe's,” Hahn asked.

“We are. Care to join us? You can tell us all about that paper you presented last year.”

“That does sound nice.”

Arizona, having just been reigned into drinks turned to Callie, “Calliope, you should come. If we have a mom there maybe we won't stay out so late.”

Shepherd and Hahn could have cared less. They left the OR talking about stupid groundbreaking work at Seattle Pres. and down in LA. But Arizona waited.

Callie just sort of laughed and moved past her.

Hahn and Shepherd were still talking in the scrub room but they cleaned up quickly and left laughing about some mutual acquaintance that was just probably as irritating as they were. Callie tugged at her surgical gown but her hand was a little numb and clumsy with the knot.

Slim, warm fingers brushed against hers as Arizona came up behind to help. “Hold on,” her nimble hands quickly undid the knot.

Callie yanked the gown off and threw it away.

It startled Arizona, who watched carefully for a moment to gage Callie. Finally she asked, “Is everything okay?” She was tentative. Naive. Like she'd missed the last few hours.

“What happened in there? Was not okay.”

“I'm sorry. What?”

“It was unprofessional. If you want to screw half the hospital Arizona that's your business, but don't bring it into my OR. And don't—I mean Hahn? Really?”

Before Arizona could respond to the outburst that may have been a little too harsh Callie fled the room. She had to make it to the elevator. If she made it to the elevator everything would be okay and no one would acknowledge the fact that she just accused a well-respected surgeon of being a slut despite having no evidence to prove it.

So Robbins had a life. So she'd missed two surgeries in the last three days. So she was probably sleeping with an old co-worker and definitely flirting with the woman out for Callie's job. So what? It wasn't Callie's business.

Wasn't that why she'd said what she'd said? They weren't—they were nothing to each other.

The elevator was empty, beginning to close. She slipped into it. Hit the button. The doors started to close once more but a naked arm shot through the gap and then Arizona, still in her scrub cap, slipped in. And she was livid.

“What the hell was that?”

Callie out of control. Saying and doing stupid things because she was mad and couldn't apparently control her temper. Jesus, she was worse than Owen now. “I'm sorry.”

“You can't…you can't do that to me.”

“I know. Who you sleep with is your own business.”

“It is. It's my business.”

“I'm sorry.”

Arizona's hand lashed out and she hit the elevator stop button. Then she stepped close. Her eyes moved from Callie's to her lips, and back up again. “You told me to stop. You have to too.”

“I wasn't—“

“You don't want to—you don't want to be with me that's fine. But you can't be a bitch to me because you're jealous.” She looked back at Callie's mouth, which now hung open.

Was it jealousy? Wasn't it just—Hahn was after her job and Arizona was being nice to the woman. Being a traitor.

“And you can't look at me that way.” Arizona was even closer now. Her eyes were dark. Something hot shot through Callie. Stunned her. She noticed how pink Arizona's lips were. Not a coral color. Something more vibrant. A perfect compliment to her eyes. She remembered suddenly how they'd tasted. How she'd marveled at the smooth texture of Arizona's lips when they'd kissed.

“What way,” she whispered hoarsely.

“Like that. You look at me like that. And I—“ She leaned in. Her lips were close to Callie's ear. Close enough that a flick of her tongue would have sent shivers through Callie. “All I can think about is kissing you. Tasting you. You look at me like that and I want to beg.”

Callie's legs turned to jelly. Arizona stepped back and hit the button to start the elevator again. She did not turn around. Did not notice Callie clinging to the rail for support and breathing in quick gasps.

The elevator shifted. It was about to stop.

She knew she had to say something. A genuine apology. Make some effort to fix…whatever they could be. “Arizona.” A plea.

The other woman spun around. Moved into Callie's space so quickly she couldn't react. Her lips were a hair's breadth from Callie's own. They were almost touching. Arizona tilted her head as if to kiss her. Nuzzled her cheek with her nose and Callie realized she was no longer supporting herself but being pressed into the wall and held up by Arizona's arms.

She could taste each word Arizona spoke, “Don't beg until you mean it Calliope.” They were honey on her tongue. Just a slip. A little pressure. She could kiss this other woman. She wanted to kiss this other woman.

The elevator stopped. The door opened. And Arizona was gone.

She was running away. Always running away. Callie had too. Now she had to stop. Now she had to chase. Now she had to catch her.

Chapter 15

That night they came to the mutual agreement to separate Owen and Callie sat in silence a lot. And laughed. And cried. Then they tried to be practical. Not because either of them wanted to. Callie wanted to curl up in a ball and Owen wanted to do push ups for hours, but their lives were not their own and they had three toddlers.

So they made an agreement. Owen would not be alone with the kids until he, she and his therapist met and agreed, but if he was with someone he was allowed. So they had sleepovers at Grandma's and Owen started scheduling his work day to allow as much time at the daycare with the kids as possible.

Sometimes he would see Callie there. There would always be that moment of startled surprise and a few minutes of guardedness as they played with Allegra and her brothers and avoided talking about themselves.

They didn't fight. Owen had seen friends in Iraq go through separations and they were loud, acrimonious and nasty. In their own hospital Derek and Addison were frigid, snippy and genuinely awful to work with on the same case.

But he and Callie—without all the sex and grief and suffering they'd caused one another they were almost…friends.

He talked about her often with his therapist. Worried that what he was seeing between her and Robbins was all in his head. Some way to make things equal. To make it fair that he was still married and in love with another woman.

“You could ask her.”

He thought about that—at least when he wasn't thinking about Cristina. He missed her. Missed the closeness and the comfort. But that was one point his therapist was clear on. He couldn't go trying to start a new relationship when he wasn't fully out of the old one yet.

“But I love her.”

Apparently he couldn't say that. At least to her. Not yet. So they came up with other phrases that would impart his feelings without being so sociologically potent. “Take care now,” was his favorite. He really did mean it.



She was knuckle deep in another woman. Thrusting into her with her hips. Delighting in the moans. Marveling at the way the other woman's slick heat gripped her fingers. Her other arm was getting sore from supporting herself, but there was a heel digging into her ass and a hand twisting her nipple while fingers dipped into her mouth and it was the messiest and longest bout of sex she'd had all week.

And she was terrified.

Because Amelia usually came fairly quickly and often. She was a dream in that sense. But Arizona had been thrusting into her for what felt like hours and she still hadn't orgasmed.

She could take Amelia's dilated pupils and unusually randiness when she'd gotten home for lust, but she knew that wasn't the case.

Because last night she noticed that the prescription pad she'd accidentally brought home and had meant to take back to the hospital had gone missing. And there was the sharp tang of tequila on Amelia's lips.

Arizona was fucking a drug addict in the middle of a high and she had no idea how to stop it.



Callie saw her husband in the daycare with Angus on his lap and she seriously considered backing out of the room before he saw her. They'd been cordial for the last few weeks and he'd given her brief reports on his therapy every day but they hadn't spent any actual time together.

Her hand stuck on the door as she considered fleeing. Only she'd already spent the last month actively avoiding Arizona Robbins and her very confusing and wonderful face. She couldn't spend all her time avoiding two people she regularly worked with. Her job would go to Hahn for sure.

Owen looked up and, upon seeing her, gave her a shy smile. Which was unusual enough that she went ahead and went inside.

“Mommy,” Allegra shouted. She chucked her game system and ran across the room.

She scooped up her daughter with a, “Hey baby girl,” and gave her a big squeeze.

She loved the way her kids smelled. Like soap and, at least after snack time, like crackers, and always like a little piece of home. She inhaled her daughter before carrying her over to join Owen. Gavin, realizing an impromptu family gather was occurring ran over and tackled his mother's leg.

She smiled and ran a hand through his hair then looked up at Owen. He was watching them with…pride?

“How's it going,” she asked.

“Good. How's your—“ he nodded at her hand.

She gave it a squeeze and considered the bandage, “Better. Hopefully I'll be back in the OR soon.”

“Good. Hahn is…”

“A handful.”

“Good surgeon though.”

“Oh she's great when her mouth is shut and she's cutting. But she's a terror in the hallways.”

“I've had a few run ins.”

“She's even daring to steal surgeries from Yang. Who tends to scare most of the hospital on a regular basis.”

“Yang isn't scary.”

Had he met the woman? “Don't let that new haircut fool you with its breeziness. The woman is terrifying.”

Owen frowned but returned to chatting with Angus and Gavin, who'd joined his brother and father on the opposite side of the play table. It was frustrating to see Owen so at ease with the children. Even with therapy he had trouble communicating with Callie, but with the kids he was the father he'd always been. Kind. Patient. Loving.

“Are you…are you making a lot of progress,” she asked.

He glanced up. Paused. Considered the question. “Enough. I've actually been meaning to talk to you.”

She looked at her daughter who had twisted in her lap so she could play with some clay on the little table.

“Not about…that,” he hastily said, “about…other stuff.”

Callie cocked her head to one side and tried to think of what he could possibly want to talk about besides the children.

“I was going to suggest I come over for dinner. Then maybe you and I could talk?”

“Owen…” Her hand wasn't even fully healed and if he thought a month of therapy would have him back in her good graces he was sorely mistaken.

“I need to sort some things out Callie. And I can't do that without you.”

“Daddy's coming home for dinner?”

And now Allegra had caught onto the conversation. The twins picked up on it to. The elation quickly turned into all three kids trying to tell their father about all the monumental changes at home since he'd moved out. At least monumental for three toddlers. He smiled warmly as they told him about how Callie had bought a whole new shampoo for bath time.

“It smells like peaches!”

He leaned back and appraised his daughter, “You smell like peaches now?”

She nodded, “Uh huh,” then she stuck out an arm, “smell me.”

He laughed and leaned over to check.

Damn it. Now he she really would have to let him come over for dinner.



Mark had only been a little surprised when Arizona confessed that her current sex thing with Amelia was one of the longest monogamous relationships she'd ever had. “I don't do long term,” she'd said matter of factly.

As the two had only been doing their sex friends thing for a month it said a lot about Arizona and none of it was especially flattering. Mark couldn't say much. Until Addison he'd never last more than three weeks.

“You've never dated long term,” he asked. He wasn't trying to tease her. He was just curious. As one slut to another.

She shrugged, “In high school. I tried to prove gay girls were just like straight girls.”

“How'd that turn out?”

“We listened to a lot of Indigo Girls and then she left me for the butchest lesbian I've ever met.”


“I was going to shave my head to win her back but Timothy caught me with Dad's razor and put a stop to it.”

She smiled wistfully; remembering the brother who'd saved her from a fashion disaster. It made Mark miss Derek for some reason. Neither of them had ever tried to do something so severe for a girl but they'd often found themselves pulling each other back from the brink of stupidity.

And he'd thrown it all away for Addison.

“This thing with Addison is already the longest thing I've ever done.”

That got Arizona's interest. She raised an eyebrow, “Really?”

“Something about these New York women, Robbins. It does stuff to us. Makes us commit.”

She frowned, “Maybe you.”

“You don't want to?”

She leaned back in her desk chair and narrowed her eyes as she considered the question. “She's unemployed and living in my apartment and the only way we communicate is when we're having sex.”

“So talk to her.”

“She doesn't want that Mark.”

That he knew to be emphatically false. Amelia was quite talkative and had been since she was a kid. “Sure you're not just hung up on Torres?”

He took her refusal to answer as a yes and sighed. Then he scooted forward and lowered his voice. “You want to pine after her that's your business Robbins, but Amelia doesn't deserve that.”

“You don't know what Amelia deserves.”

“What's that supposed to mean?”

She fidgeted in her chair and let out an explosive breath she'd been holding in. “You don't date Amelia, Mark.” The emphasis on the word date raised Mark's ire. What did she mean by that? Amelia was awesome. A little focused. Sometimes spoiled, but a great woman that anyone, even Robbins, would be lucky to have.

“No. You do date Amelia. Don't don't use her.”

“No, I mean…”


Arizona started to stand.


She sat back down. Then she placed her hands flat on the table as if to brace herself. “You know Amelia drinks.”

Of course. She loved a good drink.

“I think—“

“You think Derek's sister is an alcoholic.”

She winced at his harsh tone.

“She's not an alcoholic. Any more than you or I are.”


“Stop looking for excuses. You don't want to date Amelia and grow up like a real person than that's your prerogative, but don't try to turn her into something just to make yourself feel better for dumping her.”

She tried to protest, but Mark really wasn't in the mood for it. He liked Robbins. A lot. A few months knowing her and he already considered her a friend. He was even going to invite her over for dinner with Addison so they could get to know each other.

But here she was with this gorgeous woman in her bed and in her life and she was busy pining after someone else and trying to invent excuses—it was infuriating.

He started to leave when she called out after him, “My prescription pad is missing. I looked everywhere Mark, but it's gone and she's the only one that could have taken it.”




“Dr. Torres!”

It was never a good thing to have Dr. Grey call your name out in such a brusque manner. Callie resisted the urge to wince and turned slowly. Yup, the Chief was walking towards her and didn't look entirely pleased.

“How's you hand?”

“Better. I should be back to cutting by the end of the week.”

Grey didn't care. She just nodded. “And how are things with Hahn?”

Awful. The woman was a terror and annoying and Sloan and Arizona seemed to be the only people in the hospital capable of getting along with her. Even the Shepherds had come to words with her and Bailey assured her it would be a cold day in hell before she entered the OR with her again willingly.

But Callie was too nice to say that, “She's a talented surgeon.” It was true.

Grey nodded again. Flipped through the file in her hand and then tucked it under her arm. “I'm offering her a job. As Head of Cardiothoracic.”

A weaker woman would have started crying. Or screamed. Or at the very least thrown a fit. Callie nodded and acted like it was normal. “So you're—“ she didn't want to be fired. She liked her job. She liked the people she worked with. She liked Seattle and her house and sometimes she even liked Owen. She'd made a life here.

“You're excellent Callie. One of the finest surgeons I've ever worked with, but Hahn has more experience, and more importantly, she's board certified in Cardiothoracics. If we want to continue being the best I can't leave a specialized general surgeon in charge.”

“But the FACS. We've been talking about making an exception.”

“I know, and if they ever decide to certify you we'll reconsider, but until that day the job is Hahn's.”

“And me?”

Grey smiled and patted her on the arm, “You still have a job here.”

“And a demotion.”

“I won't say you should have seen this coming, but…”

But she should have. She should have realized that as much as Grey liked her and fostered her career she was still worth very little in the long run to the other woman. This was, after all, the woman who fired Bailey because she made her look bad and who often sabotaged her own daughter's career. Callie really never stood a chance.



It was out there. Her suspicions. She'd squashed them since she'd first started dating Amelia, too terrified to seriously consider the other woman's behavior, but after her prescription pad had gone missing she'd realized it had to stop. She couldn't keep ignoring it. It wasn't fair to Amelia or herself.

Mark hadn't quite believed her at first, but then he started to make the connections. Started to consider Amelia's behavior. She was, after all, living in Arizona's apartment for over a month despite supposedly having a job in LA. And she was acting rashly. And there was the history.

Arizona had known all about it. Amelia nearly getting kicked out of Hopkins had been a major deal back during their residencies. Everyone just assumed that after rehab and a stellar neuro fellowship her drug use and alcohol abuse were behind her.

The idea that she was using again had rocked Mark and he apologized and left her alone in the Attending's lounge to drink her coffee and worry about Amelia while he went and broached the subject with Addison.

She was trying to figure out how she would tell Derek (because Mark made it clear she was the only one who could actually hold a civil conversation with him long enough to do it) when Callie had to walk in. Breathtaking and perfect Callie looking as sick as Arizona felt. “Hey,” she croaked.

Callie smiled weakly, “Hey.” She poured herself a cup of coffee and took a seat on the couch. “So my day went to hell.”


“Chief Grey offered Hahn my job. Demoted me. Just called me out in the hallway and told me. Like it was no big deal. Just a normal every day occurrence in which lives are ruined so Grey can have her uber hospital of heartless scary surgeons who make patients cry.”

Arizona raised an eyebrow, “I'm sorry?”

Callie huffed and leaned back so she could stare at the ceiling and wallow I her misery.

The worst part of everything that had developed between Arizona and Amelia was her sudden urge to sit on the couch next to Callie and try to make her feel better. Somewhere in Seattle Amelia was using Arizona's name to write herself prescriptions for drugs. She was probably also getting incredibly inebriated. And all Arizona could think about was giving Callie a hug and telling her she was amazing. Because she was.

“Everything okay with you?”

That took a minute to process, “Huh?”

Callie tilted her head, “You just looked sad.”

“You got demoted. That's a reason to be sad.”

“But you were sad before I walked in.” She noticed, even with all the crap going on in her own life.


“Everything okay with Amelia?”

“I can't…I can't talk about it.”

Her voice was soft, “I trusted you when things started falling apart with Owen. I know we're not—I know what you and I have is complicated, but I am here.”

But for how long? The question was heavy on her tongue. Ready to be asked. Because at the end of the day Callie was still pretty damned straight, and married and possessing kids. She didn't have time to get caught up in Arizona's drama. She didn't deserve that. And why would she stick around? Why would she want to be there for Arizona when they barely knew each other? All they had was this incredible physical pull towards one another. A few stolen kisses and an overwhelming desire.

She pushed herself out of her chair and went to the sink to clean her cup. "I appreciate you wanting to help," she said over her shoulder, "but I think we can both agree you have enough to deal with right now."

Callie laughed and there was a bitterness to it. A self deprecation that was completely foreign. "My husband is living with his mom and in therapy and I just had my workload slashed thanks to the hiring of a new boss, I've got plenty of time."

Someone had left some dirty Tupperware in the sink. Ironic. A bevy of doctors who regularly kept antibacterial gel and wipes in their pockets and one of them couldn't bother to keep the sink in the Attending's lounge clean? She made a tsk noise under her breath and set to cleaning what looked like dried broccoli casserole out of the plastic.

"Arizona." Callie had moved. Snuck up so she was only a few inches from her. She could turn. Tell her no. Or she could run away. Or she could pretend like Callie wasn't doing insane things to her just by standing so close. “Let me help.”

She resisted the powerful urge to gasp when a hand reached out to pull the hair away from her neck. Callie's touch was tentative--curious. Her fingers traced a trail from Arizona's carotid artery down along her shoulder to her arm. It paused at her elbow and she stopped washing the Tupperware, waiting for the moment when Callie would force her to turn around.

But that didn't happen. The hand moved back up her arm to her shoulder and finally, once more, to her hair. Arizona closed her eyes. The hand was softly stroking her hair--savoring the texture. Callie gently revealed more of Arizona's neck. The touch of the pads of her fingers on her spine sent a thrill through Arizona.

Her entire body tensed when Callie's other inquisitive hand found the swell of Arizona's hip. It seemed to fit perfectly there. Her thumb rubbed small circled over a single point on Arizona's waist. She gasped. Opened her mouth to beg Callie to stop. But no words came. The hand at her neck gently moved to cup her chin and tilt her head back towards Callie.

She closed her eyes, positive that if she saw Callie's face--if she saw want there--then whatever last bit of control she had would vanish. Her thumb stroked her cheek. Then her lips. The hand dropped a little further and long tapered fingers found the pulse point on her neck.

She'd never been touched like this before. So carefully. She'd never even considered the blatant analytical exploration of another's body to be so…sexual. The hand on her waist held her tighter as the other hand twisted so that Callie's knuckles now grazed her throat then dipped lower. They ran a gentle trail to her breast. And when they came so close that Arizona nearly cried out she reached up to stall the hand's journey.

She turned around to properly face Callie and risked it all and opened her eyes. Callie was--Callie was the embodiment of eroticism. Her dark eyes were completely black, her cheeks were flushed and her lips. They were darker than usual and utterly enticing.

But that hand was still on Arizona's waist. So she mirrored it. Allowed herself to explore Callie's body. They were clothed and in a room that anyone could walk into and Arizona did not care. With one hand she pulled Callie closer and with the other she found the spot on Callie's neck where the bruises had faded. The last time she'd touched that expanse of skin it had been clinical. This time she could revel in the heat beneath her finger tips and marvel at how soft and flawless the other woman's skin was.

Callie's hand had grown bold and her knuckles brushed Arizona's breast. She sighed. Callie smiled. It was delicate--tender. A private little moment. Those lips were gorgeous and Arizona reached up to touch them. Then Callie playfully nipped Arizona's finger tip and that was it.

The game was done.

She surged forward and kissed Callie hard. Furiously. Callie didn't shy away. She met Arizona kiss for kiss--even pulled her closer.

It was...exquisite. Nothing. Nothing could compare. She stifled a groan when Callie moved to kiss her neck. She reached up and ran her hand through her dark hair and held Callie close.


Oh no. She was talking. A hush whisper in Arizona's ear. Why did she have to do that? Why did she have to ruin this perfect moment.

“Go on a date with me."

"You're married."

"Separated. And ready."

She took a handful of Callie hair and gently pulled her away. Callie was serious. Focused. Determined. She really was asking her on a date.

"I'm ready...I'm ready to find out what this is."

Arizona was grateful for her ability to mask her feelings then because otherwise she would have terrified Callie with the panic that was now overwhelming her.

"You told me to be serious about us if I wanted a chance, and I know it's been a month and I know we've been ignoring each other, but I'm serious now."

"Amelia," she said weakly. Like she was an excuse.

"And I've got Owen, but," she breathed in deep, tremulously, like she was as terrified as Arizona, "I want to try."

Arizona carefully extricated herself from Callie's perfect touch and leaned back against the sink. And Callie didn't run. She stood there suffering beneath Arizona's contemplative stare.

And for the first time since they'd started whatever it was between them, Arizona didn't run either.

Chapter 16

“Take care now.”

Who says that to a person? You're bonding in the furnace room of the hospital and having some weird chaste romance and then abruptly you go to “take care now.” Really?

And the worst part was Owen and Callie were talking. Even joking with one another. Lexie saw it in the research library. Though, granted, Lexie wasn't always the best source for hospital gossip. Her time was split between manning the desk at the library and doing therapy down in psych.

“But they were totally talking,” she said through a mouthful of cereal, “Joking. He was even going over there tonight.”

So wait, she was just, what? A tool? A way for him to get over his PTSD so he could go back to his wife?

“They seem like a nice couple too,” Lexie continued, completely oblivious to Cristina's own relationship with Hunt. “Not like the Shepherds. Those two are worse than my parents ever were.”

There was a loud thump upstairs, like someone finally wrenching one of the ancient windows open. Then a falling shadow outside followed by a loud “oomph.” Both women looked through the window into the darkness and Lexie took another bite of her cereal. They couldn't actually see anything but they both knew Meredith and Derek had been up in her room.

“She should really just tell him to use the front door like a normal person.”

“That would require them to acknowledge that they're dating,” Cristina said. She glanced over at Lexie who had paused to poke her Cheerios with her spoon, “and to let you know she's sleeping with him.”

The other woman rolled her eyes, and with all the piercings and the hair it made her look like a surly teenager. “Like I even care who she does up in her room.”

But she probably did care because she scowled when Meredith came in looking sweaty and happy. “Hey,” she said brightly.

Lexie dropped her spoon loudly into her bowl and shoved past Meredith, “I need a smoke.”

“What crawled up her—“

“McDreary flying out the window had something to do with it.”

Meredith winced, “You guys saw?”

Cristina sipped her coffee, “It was like Batman, only with really nice hair. And you should probably tell her before she sees him one day and calls the police.”

She huffed and took a seat at the table across from Cristina, “I know. It's just—he hasn't even told his wife yet.”

“Yeah but his wife is with McSteamy playing house. I don't think anyone is going to accuse you of being a homewrecker, especially your formerly coked out half sister who has a pacemaker.”

She shrugged, clearly not agreeing with Cristina and took Lexie's place at the kitchen table. “What were you two talking about before Derek—“ she made a tumbling motion with her hand.

“Did you know Owen is getting back together with his wife?”


“Lexie saw them talking in the research library.”


Meredith's excuse caught in her throat when Cristina gave her her best withering glare. “I spent, what? A month with the guy? And we were bonding and we were—we were something and now he just goes back to his wife with nothing more than a ‘take care now?' Like I was his therapist .”

“He's a jerk.”

“He's a self absorbed military weirdo.”

Meredith raised an eyebrow, “That's the best you got?”

It wasn't. She'd been stuck on Hahn's service for the last month and had learned any number of insults from the woman, but she didn't actually wanted to use them. As angry as she was the hurt was worse. She didn't like being used. Didn't like being some experiment for a man tempted to cheat. She wasn't the sort of person that put herself out there romantically, but she had, for him.

And he blew her off and avoided her and secretly met up with his wife where she wouldn't see.

“I think I should talk to him.”

Meredith said nothing.

Talking to him wouldn't end well, which was probably why Meredith was staying quiet instead of supporting Cristina's decision. But talking meant closure. After the disaster that was her relationship with Burke closure had become…closure was what mattered.



“Yang,” she turned around to see an unusually perky Dr. Torres striding towards her. “Just whom I was looking for.” The bandage that had incased her hand for more than a month was gone and her fingers seemed to twitch with barely contained energy. “I just got cleared for surgery and Hahn stole all of mine.”

So she was stealing Cristina's?

“I thought I'd join you in the OR today.” It was like she was exuding sunshine. Like it was Robbins or something walking around in a Torres skin.

Wait. “You're not taking my surgeries?”

Callie blinked, as if she hadn't even considered that, “What? No. I'm the teacher and you're the student remember?” Her grin grew larger, “You've got boards coming up!”

“So you're…”

“Going to be the best damn mentor you've ever had!”

Perkier than Robbins even.

She managed to suffer through two separate surgeries with Callie, who excitedly talked about the procedures they performed, drilled Cristina on them, and, when she thought no one was looking, surreptitiously sent texts with a private little grin on her face.

It was nauseating to watch.

“Are you and your husband getting back together?”

The question snuck out before Cristina had a moment to realize how monumentally inappropriate it was to ask the question. They were scrubbing in on their third surgery in silence but Callie had been grinning to herself and all but humming with positive energy and it was just so…so she asked.

Callie paused. The soap hovered over a knuckle then twisted in her grip. She grew perfectly still and stared at Cristina in the reflection of the window into the OR.

“Excuse me.”

“I shouldn't—“

“But you did.”

“I know—“

“My love life is none of your business Yang.”

“You just seemed—“

“It isn't anyone's business. So. Drop. It.”

Callie Torres didn't get angry often. She could be stern and argumentative and stubborn but she rarely used her authority to really brow beat her residents. Only Cristina felt thoroughly beaten under her Attending's glare.

“You're going to page Webber to come in and replace you and you're going to disappear.”

“But this is my—“

“You're going to disappear and you're going to think next time before you ask someone something deeply personal that is none of your damn business. Am I clear?”


Cristina ripped her scrub cap off and tossed it into the laundry before rushing out of the room, and right into Owen Hunt.

“Hey,” he said, tenderly. Softly. Like he was happy to see her and not a monumental asshole.

She held up her hands and took a step back, “I can't—just leave me alone okay?”

She spun past him and hurried down the corridor, barking at some nurse to page Webber to the OR before making a bee line for the basement.

It was soothing down there in the furnace room. Even absent all the weird moments with Owen it was peaceful. The methodic whir of the fans were a pleasant white noise that instantly settled all the stupid emotions that were roiling around in her.


And the bastard had followed her. She turned to find him staring at her like some wounded puppy.

“Go away.”

“What happened?”

“I don't know—take care now?”

“Excuse me?”

No. No excuses. She stepped close and he stepped back. “What were we? What were we doing down here for a month?”

“You know what.” He said it so calmly. Evenly. Like he was dead certain of it all.

She shook her head, “No, I really don't. Because I thought—I thought we were becoming something and then you're telling me to take care now and you're back with your wife and you're smiling like we were just—“

And he was taking a step forward. The wounded puppy look turned to the earnest puppy look. “I'm not back with Callie.”

“Then what—“

It was the closest he'd been to her in a month. And it was distracting. Like the rough growth of a beard on his cheeks that she knew would scrape against her skin. Or the smell of him. Or the way the light reflected on his eyelashes. She couldn't even be bothered to see what he was doing or she might have seen the way his eyes hungrily searched her face and lingered on her lips.

She felt something touch her hand and she gasped. It was—paper. She didn't step back but held it up between them and unfurled it. They were sentences. Three word sentences. The top one being “Take care now.”

“Callie and I rushed,” he whispered, “We were married with kids before we'd known each other a year. It's a bad habit we both have,” he started to smile then stopped, “we love too quickly.”


His hand wrapped around hers, closing it around the paper, “I have to say those words because what I want to say—what I need to say…I can't.”

“Yes you—“

He squeezed her hand tightly and stepped ever closer. His thumb was rubbing circles on the bit of her palm not curled into a fist. Involuntarily she gasped. He leaned in and the smell of him threatened to overwhelm her. It would be so easy to press forward just an inch to where the hollow of his throat was parallel to her face. She could kiss him there. Taste him.

“I can't because you deserve more.” He was leaning down and whispering in her ear. The scruff of his beard scratched her cheek. He swallowed. “Please.”

What? What was he asking her to do? To walk away? To stay? To kiss? To run?

She looked up. It was a mistake. Because now a kiss was inevitable. They were breathing the same air and so close they were nearly one and she honestly couldn't say who leaned in first. But their kiss was hot and hungry and consumed her from the inside out.

She pushed him back against the door and tugged at the bottom of his shirt. “I don't care,” she murmured against his mouth.

His mouth covered hers and one arm curled around her head pulling her close and holding her there. He was everywhere even though he didn't seem to move at all. She finally found the hot pale skin beneath his shirt and raked her nails over his torso.

He sighed and spun her around so her back was pressed into the door. He pushed her hair back to kiss her neck and she let her hands wander. But when Cristina started to undo the waist of his pants Owen paused. He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers. He was panting.

“I can't.”

He very much could. The evidence of that was pressed against her.

“I won't ruin you like I ruined Callie,” he said harshly into her ear.

“That's not your choice.”

He pulled back and his hand slammed into the door near her head. It was a violent strike and it pulled Cristina out of her ardor. Only then did she notice how wild he looked. Like a caged beast.

She slipped out from between his arms and stepped closer to the furnace. “Owen I'm—“ but her apology caught on her tongue.

He was still panting and now resting his head against the door. She reached out to touch him—to provide some tactile comfort but he lashed out with his left hand and she just avoided being struck.

“Please don't,” he begged.

Abruptly he grabbed the handle of the door and yanked it open, leaving Cristina horny and horrified.

He loved her. He'd said as much with his plaintive three word sentences. She just had to prove that it was okay for her to love him back.



She sidled up to the nurse's station like it was the most natural thing in the world. Her fingers playfully tapped the chart in Callie's hand and she smiled like they were in an on-call room instead of in the middle of the hospital.


Normally she hated that name. But no one said it like Arizona. Like it was a private little nickname that she teased and adored her with. It was so personal sounding on her lips that Callie actually had to look around to make sure no one was watching them. Currently they were safe.

“Hey,” she said with her own private little smile.

Arizona spun around so she was leaning against the counter. “So,” she said conversationally, “this gorgeous surgeon asked me out on a date the other day.”

Callie returned to her charting but continued to smile, “Gorgeous?”

“Breathtakingly stunning. And the today I hear that she's getting back together with her husband.”

That was the second time—Arizona was no longer looking playful. Well, she was, but there was a wariness to it. That false happiness she wore like a suit of armor most days.

“I keep hearing that too, but I'm pretty sure it's not true.”



The cheerful facade didn't quite disappear, “That's good to hear, because as hot as all this is I don't generally fool around with married women.”

“Arizona,” The blond paused, her mouth was hung open in the most adorable manner and Callie fought the impulse to lean over and kiss her. “Take me out to dinner. Tonight.”

She raised an eyebrow, “Shouldn't you be taking me?”

“I don't know where to go.”

“…A restaurant?”

Where people would see her. Seeing as they were gossiping about one lousy meeting with Owen she could only imagine what they'd say to her doing a romantic dinner with a lesbian.

“I want to go somewhere private.”

Arizona used her elbows to push herself away from the counter, “Okay but why would I know…” Her question trailed off as she realized what Callie was asking.

And then she got mad. Her voice turned harsh and quite. “I've been fortunate enough to live my whole life out of the closet. I won't go into it now.”

“I'm not asking you to.”

“Yeah, you kind of are.” She looked at her watch, “And now I have surgery.”

“You're going to just leave it at that? You pissed at me for something I didn't do?”

Arizona was already walking down the corridor and shouted an affirmative over her shoulder.

Well, crap. She hadn't even gone on one date with Arizona and they were already breaking up.



It should have been an awesome day. Callie asked her out on a date and she said yes and they were being flirty at work and then Meredith had to hear from Cristina who heard from the cokehead in the library that Callie and Owen were getting back together.

And that had hurt. It didn't make sense with all the hushed “go on a date with me” whispers but it had still been a little too alarming to be ignored.

And Callie had put that to rest and brought in a whole other issue.

There was a reason Arizona didn't date freshly outed ladies. Banging an experimenter or someone super bisexual like Amelia was one thing. Actually dating someone who was confused about their sexuality and reluctant to be seen with a woman was an entirely different and unappealing matter.

After work she went home to drown her sorrows in a bottle of wine and watch dumb movies. Amelia was out with Mark and Addison for the evening. Mark had mentioned an intervention and Arizona had kindly bowed out of the engagement. Amelia still had a key to her place and she really didn't want her getting high and then exacting revenge of Arizona's furniture.

She'd just uncorked her first bottle of the evening when someone knocked at the door. And there was Callie, standing on the other side and looking gorgeous in a work blouse and skirt and carrying a six pack of beer and a large pizza.

“I'm sorry.”

She leaned against the door and studied Callie.

“I just freaked out because I'm not even divorced yet you know? And people apparently talk about Owen and I when all we do is run into each other in the research library. Dating someone—anyone kind of freaks me out.”

“I don't like hiding.”

“And I don't want to ask you to.”

“But you are Callie.”

She tilted her head and smiled. Damn it. Callie had a wonderful smile. Even when it was sad like this one. “So I ruined this before it even started?”

No. “Looks that way.”

She nodded to herself. “Okay, well I'm just going to go eat this pizza and drink this six pack in your stairwell if you don't mind. Because the kids are with Owen at his mom's tonight and I really don't want to go home to an empty house and get loaded.”

“My stairwell is better?”

She shrugged.

“Callie,” she stopped her trek to the stairwell and turned. She looked so damned hopeful. “I'm about to give you a second chance.” She smiled and it seemed to brighten the whole hallway. “Because I like you and you are dealing with some pretty intense circumstances. But before I sleep with you we're going on a date in a public place.” Arizona tried to look serious even as Callie turned bright red.

“I wasn't think—“

She opened the door to her apartment a little wider, “Get your ass in here.”



As pizza went the pie Callie had picked up was pretty good. Arizona didn't necessarily agree and started talking about how to knead the dough and how spicing the sauce was such a difficult part of making a good pizza.

“You're kind of a geek about food aren't you?”

“I've got a lot of free time,” she said defensively.

Their date, or whatever it was they were doing in Arizona's apartment, was extremely chaste. Arizona flirted and Callie flirted back but neither of them actually tried anything and despite all the sex dreams in which Arizona Robbins had starred Callie easily kept her libido in check.

They were just women sharing pizza and getting to know one another and it was nice. Pleasant.

“You've got some sauce,” Arizona started to motion to a spot on Callie's face but instead leaned over to clean it off herself.

In Callie's dreams she would have licked it off and then they would have had sex.

In Callie's current fantasy Arizona was going to attempt to wipe it off with her finger which Callie would catch between her teeth and it would be sexy.

But, newsflash, trying to bite someone when they're not expecting it? Not sexy! Arizona yelped and on reflex smacked Callie in the side of the head.

“Ow!” was followed immediately by “I'm so sorry!”

Robbins slapped like most mules kicked.

“I think you just slapped me back in time,” she said dazedly. Her ear was ringing and she could definitely see stars and if she kept playing up the slap Arizona might forget her terrible attempt at sultry finger nibbles.

“I'm sorry. My brother and I used to get in fights all the time and it's just kind of reflex—you bit me.”

Damn it.

Thankfully that stunned admonishment was all Arizona needed to say on the subject because Callie playing up a potential head injury started working. Arizona set her pizza down and crawled over to Callie on her knees.

“Here let me look,” she leaned in to examine Callie's head and Callie got an eyeful of cleavage.

The examiner paused. “Are you staring at my boobs?”

She would neither confirm nor deny it.

Arizona's fingers were lightly touching the side of Callie's head. One finger in particular traced the curve of Callie's ear. “Looks like there's no damage.”

Until this exact moment Callie had never considered a woman's breasts before. She's seen plenty. Touched plenty. But she'd never understood the appeal of boobs. Only now this tanned cleavage with a light dusting of freckles was staring at her and she was starting to get it.

Arizona leaned in, her lips centimeters from Callie's ear, “You're definitely staring at my boobs.”

Quite of their own accord Callie's hands came up around Arizona's waist. She really actually wanted them further up. She'd grazed those breasts with her knuckles the other day but now she desperately wanted to hold them in her hands. Wanted to feel the weight of them. And she wanted to see them. All of them. And do…stuff. Whatever lesbians did with each other. She wanted to do that with Arizona's boobs.

“You…uh,” she gulped, “You have nice boobs.”

Arizona laughed and she was so close to Callie that it came out huskily. Then cool lips were pressing against the juncture between Callie's neck and shoulder. She gasped and held Arizona tighter.

“Are you always such a sweet talker?”

The lips were painting a wet trail up her neck before finding that place behind her ear it always took guys months to find.


Arizona sat back on her feet. Her blue eyes were caught somewhere between night and twilight and her cheeks were flush. “Callie.”

It took her a moment to realize that Arizona was trying to actually talk to her.

“Are you freaking out on me?”

God yes. All she wanted to do was take Arizona to bed and she had no idea what that meant. Or whether she should and it was really, really weird. She hadn't been this way with guys. Her first time just happened and that was that but this. This was a woman. A gorgeous woman. And she was married still! And Owen didn't even know she was dating a woman. And—

“Okay you're definitely freaking out.”

Arizona hopped off the couch and disappeared into the kitchen somewhere behind Callie.

Oh God she had been kissing her! And staring at her boobs! And. Suddenly there was a bag being put in front of Callie and Arizona was gently guiding her towards it.

“Breath into this.” She took a seat on the couch arm next to Callie and rubbed calming circles into her back. “That's it.”

Between gasps Callie said, “You're really—” another sharp intake of air through the bag, “good at this.”

“I deal with kids all the time.”

“I'm sorry—” Gasp. “I'm being such a—” Gasp. “Kid.”

Arizona's hands moved up to squeeze Callie's shoulders. “You're worth it.”



Arizona had dealt with her fair share of “oh I can't believe I'm doing this with a giiiirl” women before, but she'd never had a woman actually hyperventilate over the sight of her breasts.

It was a lot more flattering than she thought it would be.

It was also a big wet blanket on any lusty activities. Neither said it but after that they mutually agreed to not actually touch one another. Instead they sat on opposite ends of the couch and finished off Callie's six pack while talking about anything but Arizona's boobs.

Even though she really wanted to talk about her boobs—well not her boobs—more the feelings they seemed to conjure in Callie.

But some less horny and less prone to processing side of her told her to be patient. Which was a first. Back in high school, whichever school that ended up being in a particular year, Arizona was always the only “out” girl. There were a couple who were totally closeted and would be dyking it up in college and a few that would no doubt get married and regret it ten years down the line, but Arizona was the only one who definitely and openly liked girls.

And people weren't always so nice about it. She couldn't scream back and her dad told her if she didn't stop fighting she'd end up in military school so Arizona acted out by “turning” the straight girls. There was something satisfying about seeing those jerks writhing underneath her.

She'd gotten really good at it. It became easy to turn an “oh I could never” into a “fuck me now.” And while she'd all but stopped doing it in college there were still the days where she felt so self destructive she ended up looking for the Katy Perry wannabes at the club and teasing them into a sultry frenzy.

She knew exactly which buttons to push and she knew how easy it would be to tip the scales with Callie and have her naked in her bed.

But she was a woman it was worth waiting for. The first Arizona could remember coming across in a long time.

Arizona must have been staring because Callie bashfully ducked her head before taking another swig of her beer.

“I had fun tonight.”

“Me too,” Arizona said.

“You know, except for the whole part where I had to breathe into a paper bag.”

“It happens.”

“Thank you for not freaking out.”

Arizona shrugged, “It seemed like you were managing just fine for the both of us.”

It was going to become their private little joke. She could tell. They'd be able to leave each other brown paper bags and instantly make the other person smile and when they did finally consummate this thing they'd pause and giggle when they were both topless.

It was going to be exciting and new and maybe even a little perfect.

Then Amelia stumbled into Arizona's apartment and it all went to hell.

Chapter 17

Amelia didn't so much walk into the room as stagger. She was sweaty and there were circles under her eyes so dark they could be mistaken for bruises. At the sight of Callie and Arizona on the couch she flashed a dark grin.

"Sorry for interrupting," she said--though it was quite clear she was anything but. "I just had the worst dinner in the world and need to go take a shower."

Callie stood up and tried to approach her, “Are you all right?”

Amelia stumbled back and seemed to sway in place. Then she looked past Callie to Arizona. “She's cute.”

So Mark and Addison's intervention hadn't gone well. And now Amelia was back in Arizona's apartment and even worse than the last time she'd seen her. And Callie was standing in between them.

In fact she moved so she stood protectively between Amelia and Arizona. “Dr. Shepherd,” her tone was…officious.

Amelia narrowed her eyes, “Dr. Torres.”

“You're drunk.”

“And you're fucking my girlfriend.”

Arizona tried to intervene, “Amelia…”

Callie wasn't phased. Just stood there staring. Judging. Wait. Callie was doing a “mom” look. And apparently it must have been similar to Amelia's mother's own mom look because she swayed in place. Then snorted derisively.

“Whatever,” she said, “fuck her. Enjoy it. But things will get tough Torres. You'll make demands of her. Ask her to commit and then you'll be standing here and some other cute surgeon will be standing between the two of you.” She craned her neck to look at Arizona. “Right Arizona?”

Amelia had never asked her to commit. Theirs was a relationship born out of physical attraction and nothing more. She knew it. And, more importantly, she knew Amelia knew it. It had been Amelia's idea.

“Amelia I…” How was she supposed to respond? How could she apologize when she had done nothing wrong? And how could she keep Callie from leaving? She was standing there, still between them. Perfectly still.

Arizona couldn't see her face, but she could just imagine it. Beautiful mouth open in shock. Body stilled and stunned by Amelia's words.

But before she could try to fix whatever was suddenly happening in her living room the door slammed open. It swung so viciously that if it hadn't been made of metal it might have been wrenched from the hinges. And Mark was standing there—the veins in his neck standing out in sharp relief. His normally pale skin was flushed a violent red and his jaw was jutted out. He was furious.

Amelia barely flinched. Callie involuntarily took a step back and her hand blindly reached out behind her to grab Arizona's arm. Not in comfort, but…chivalrously.

“We're not done talking,” he growled.

Amelia rolled her eyes and tried to head for the bedroom.

“Hey,” Mark shouted.

“Thanks Mark, but I've already got one irrational jackass for a brother. The position is filled.” She slammed the door to Arizona's bedroom shut and the photos hanging on the wall beside it shivered.

Mark stalked towards the door and then paused when he realized there was an audience. Arizona stepped out from behind Callie and asked, “Intervention didn't go well did it?”

“She slapped Addison, called us self-obsessed hypocritical assholes and then told me a baby wouldn't make Addison love me.”

That was. That was wow. Her reaction must have shown on her face because Mark nodded.


Callie, reminding them both she was still there and witnessing it all said, “Is Addison okay?”

“She calling Derek to see if he'll stop screwing whatever intern he found and come help.”

The door swung open again and Amelia, possibly looking even worse, stepped out. “You called Derek !”

“You're not listening to us, so yes, I called Derek.”

“I cannot—” Their shout match only reached a more fevered pitch but despite the insults and the threats and the nastiness Amelia was spewing and Mark was trying to receive patiently Arizona could only watch Callie.

She looked—her eyes were wet as though she were about to cry and she wasn't so much watching the fight as simply witnessing it. She blinked rapidly, as if to pull herself out a funk and turned to Arizona. Then she smiled so tenuously Arizona thought she might break.

“I should go,” she mouthed silently.

Arizona nodded because it was true, Callie shouldn't have to watch the mess Arizona had put herself in the middle of. But then Callie picked up her bag and walked out the door and all Arizona could think about was how she didn't want Callie to leave. She didn't want her to just walk away.

Amelia was still yelling and trying to push Mark towards the door by throwing herself at his chest, but he was bigger and wouldn't move. She was crying and he was saying he wouldn't go and Arizona was stuck. She'd known about Amelia's vices before she'd slept with her. She shut her eyes to them as Amelia grew worse and worse over the last month. She hadn't caused Amelia's descent into alcoholism and drug use. She wasn't responsible, but she was complicit in her inaction.

So she ran. Away from Amelia and out into the hallway. It was empty. Callie was gone. Eyeing the elevator and knowing it was slower than the one back at Seattle Grace she rushed towards the stairs and was halfway down the first flight when she ran into Callie, who was leaning against the wall and hurriedly drying tears away.


Something between a laugh and a sob erupted from her lips. Arizona rushed down the last few steps but stopped just before she reached Callie.

“Your ex is a drug addict!” She said it like it was the funniest thing in the world. “She's absolutely lost it and there's half an episode of Intervention going on in your living room and all I could think about was how I wish you and I could get away.”

“Oh.” That was Arizona. Ever loquacious in the face of confessions.

The hysterical humor disappeared. “And I'm still married. And both our lives are clearly messes right now and I've never even kissed a woman until I kissed you and all I can think about Arizona, is how badly I want to kiss you again.”

She'd closed the gap between them during her confession and was now close enough to hook a finger into the waist of Arizona's pants and pull her closer.

“Because you terrify me. And I don't get scared. I'm an amazing surgeon. I've climbed mountains. I was in the Peace Corp. If I do get scared,” her hand twisted so that her thumb could rub lazy circles over Arizona's stomach. She watched her hand then looked up into Arizona's eyes. “I have to face it head on.”

Her hand keeping Arizona still she leaned in and kissed her softly. She took her time exploring Arizona's lips with her own. And Arizona stood perfectly still. Too afraid to even breathe. Just when she was certain Callie would deepen the kiss a door at the base of the stairs slammed shut loudly.

Callie pushed back in a heart beat and both women quickly tried to pull themselves together as the sound of two pairs of feet pounded up the stairs.

“I wish you would have stayed in the car.” Derek?

“And I wish you would have dropped me off at my house instead of dragging me into this thing between you and Addison and Sloan.” And Meredith Webber.

Arizona cast a sidelong glance at Callie who was clearly a little stunned by the arrival of the couple.

“This is about my sister, Meredith. Not Addison and definitely not Mark.”

“So she and Robbins got in a fight?”

And that conversation was going to get uncomfortable for everyone when they climbed the stairs and found Arizona and Callie there. She grabbed Callie's hand and tugged her up to the floor directly above her own. Breathless they both leaned against the wall and tried to catch their breath as further below Derek tried every possible way to not tell his girlfriend his sister was having a meltdown in Arizona's apartment.

Callie opened her mouth to say something but Arizona reached out and covered it. Then they both waited. And waited. And—how long did it take to climb a couple of flights of stairs?

Finally a door slammed and they both sighed in relief.

“That was close.”

“Why was Webber with Shepherd?”

“They're dating?”

That earned a raised eyebrow.

“I caught them in an on call room…and the attending's lounge…and in his car at that house party…and—they really like having sex and apparently I'm really gifted at walking in on them.”

“Apparently. Does Addison know?”

That Arizona did not know. She shrugged.

“Shouldn't we tell her her husband is sleeping with a resident?”

“Glass houses Callie.”

She flushed in embarrassment. Then realized— “They could have seen us!”

“But they didn't.”

“That would have been fantastic. You know Derek and Owen go fishing? They would have gone on a stupid fishing trip and Owen would have come back calling me a trollop.”

“Because he's a 19 th century preacher man?”

Something else struck her and her hand went to cover her mouth in shock. “Oh my God. Amelia and Mark. They saw us too!”

“They already know.”


“Mark's my best friend and Amelia moved herself into my apartment. How would they not know?”

“Because you wouldn't tell them.”

“Well you've told people.”

Callie shook her head. “I haven't.”

Oh. She really didn't want to ask, but, “Are you going to?”

Callie's nerves over people finding out evaporated, “You know I am.”

“I don't know any—“ Before she could work them into an argument Callie reached over and cupped her cheek. Her anger died in her throat as Callie stepped in front of her and leaned in to kiss her. Just as her lips brushed Callie's she leaned back. “Please don't make me a secret.”

Callie kissed her. It wasn't hurried. Or steamy. Or frantic. There wasn't months of longing and lust in the kiss. It was…content. Satisfaction on her lips. Callie was running her thumb over Arizona's cheek and using her free hand to grasp her waist and kissing her slow and leisurely. Like two people kissed when everything was right in the world and they just wanted a little closeness.

The kiss tapered off into nuzzling and they both smiled—knowing full well they were acting more like teenagers than rational adult surgeons.

“We're going to go on another date,” Callie said, her voice low and intimate, “to a park. Or a restaurant. Somewhere public so people can see that I'm dating you. And we're going to turn off our phones and make sure that not a single person we know or live with or have ever lived with gets in the way.”


Callie kissed her nose, “Yes.”


There were more people in Arizona's apartment then there'd ever been—barring the day she moved in and the moving company sent four guys to help instead of two. And although not a single person in the room was there to talk to Arizona she still felt exposed. Meredith was leaning against the wall near the door trying to avoid the acidic glares Addison periodically sent her way. Addison and Mark were on the couch facing Arizona's bedroom and Derek was leaning against the door begging Amelia to come out.

Not really sure what she should do Arizona went to the kitchen and pulled a beer from the fridge. Webber magically appeared behind her and looked pointedly at the rest of the six pack still there so Arizona pulled out another bottle and the two women slipped out into the hallway.

“It's probably in poor taste for us to be drinking,” Meredith mused before taking a long drought.

Arizona smiled weakly and took a sip of her own beer.

“And I'm sorry your apartment got taken over like that.”

She shrugged, “I invited her in two months ago.”

“So you kind of asked for it?”

Arizona took another drink.

Inside things had gotten quiet.

“Thank you. For not telling anyone about Derek and I.” Meredith took another sip then slid down the wall to sit on the floor. “But I guess they all know now right?”

“Why didn't you stay in the car?” Meredith looked up, confused. “You could have stayed in the car, or gotten a taxi. Why didn't you?”

“I got tired of hiding.”

“Even though everyone is going to call you a home wrecker?”

“I've spent my home life worrying about what everyone thinks. Worried about how it would reflect on my parents. My mom. For the first time ever I don't care what anyone thinks.” She glanced back at the room. Just him. She cared what he thought.

Arizona had never cared. She'd moved so much as a kid that her reputation became mutable. Every new school she could be a new girl. She'd had the love and support of her parents and her brother and none of the rest of it mattered.

She didn't care. Meredith didn't care. And beautiful, sweet Callie? Did she care? Was she Meredith Webber quailing in the shadow of her mother? Or was she the woman sharing a beer with Arizona here in the hall?

The door swung open again and Amelia stepped out. She saw the two of them sitting on the floor and laughed. “This where the dirty mistresses meet? You should invite Mark. You can all talk about the married people you're banging.”

Arizona tried to stand, “Amelia—“ She reached out—to keep Amelia from leaving and to stand faster. Amelia pulled her up and then shoved her against the wall. Satisfied she was staying put she stepped back and glanced at Meredith, who was in shock at the sudden violence and trying to stand.

Then she was focusing on Arizona again. “No. Don't try to talk me down. You told them I was a drug addict!”

“You are.”

Amelia looked like she wanted to slap Arizona. Her face twisted up into a malicious grimace and her hand started to rise, but she laughed again. Catching herself.

“You don't know me Arizona.”

“I know and I'm sorry.”

She shook her head, and left.

Meredith was quiet. They both were. The silence lasted so long Arizona actually hoped it would never end.

“So we're both dirty mistresses?”

Damn it.



It was after midnight and Owen's phone was buzzing at him. He stared at the phone and tried breath. Adrenaline was racing through his system.

Because people calling you after midnight was never a good thing. It meant someone was dying. Or hurt. Or insanely drunk. He picked the phone up off the night stand and squinted at the screen.


His heart was beating even faster now. Was she dead and the cops were calling him? Was she drunk dialing him?

He hit send.


“You awake?” She definitely was.

“Only because you're calling me at midnight.”

“Sorry. Can you come downstairs.”

He pushed himself out of bed and went to the window. Down below Callie was standing on the path up to his mom's house with her collar up—huddling against the cold.

“This isn't really a good—“

She looked up to his window. Saw him. “Please.”

She was absolutely frigid when she stepped into his mom's living room. Owen was in just a pair of pajama pants and when he came close he could feel the chill radiate off of her.

“Brisk wind,” she said. “Little colder than I expected.”

“How long were you out there?” He was whispering. Above them their three kids and his mother were sleeping and none of them slept too deeply.

"Just... I was out and then I was going home and then I started thinking so I came here." She was staring at him. Considering something. It was like when she sat him down before he returned to Iraq and told him she was pregnant. There was something she was about to tell him and she was trying to find the words. He just didn't expect her to be so blunt.

“You know we're getting a divorce.”

He stepped back. Tried to process that.

“It's just. I thought you knew. I knew, and I thought you knew but I wanted to make it clear.”

“After midnight?”

“Because I think--there might be something developing between me and someone else and I'm not a cheater Owen. I don't cheat so I wanted to make sure that you knew we were over so you didn't get upset or—“

He could feel the smile slowly forming as she rambled. If they'd still been together he would have kissed her to shut her up, because it really was endearing. Instead he tried to smile as genuinely as possible and say, “I know we're getting a divorce.”

She sighed and every bit of tense energy coiled up inside of her dissipated. “Good.”

"I'm not a cheater either."

She frowned. “You're old fiancee might disagree."

"You know what I mean. And I've...something has been going on...with someone else."

He'd said it. The words were finally out.


“I know.”

“Is it Teddy? The wonder Army doctor?”


“Someone at the hospital?” Wow. She was suddenly bitter. Her eyes narrow and dark and barely holding back some really powerful fury.

“Why do you—“

“Because you broke my hand and choked me Owen and I just got demoted. I'm already a loser in that hospital and if you're fucking someone there then I'd like a heads up for the next round of pitying stares,” she whispered harshly her voice rising with each word.

“Wait—you came over here and told me we're getting a divorce because you're seeing someone and I tell you I'm seeing someone too and suddenly you're mad?”


Her shout reverberated through the living room. It bounced off the glass in the grandfather clock and seemed to ring in the silence immediately afterwards. Suddenly again conscious of the sleeping kids upstairs they both went quiet.

She shook her head then evenly said, “Tomorrow we're both getting attorneys and we're ending whatever this marriage was supposed to be.” He opened his mouth to apologize but she held up a hand and quietly asked, “Please. Don't bother.”

Thrusting her hands back into her jacket pockets Callie turned and headed for the door. Owen followed her and tried to think of what he could say—what he could do to fix this. Not their marriage, but the friendship that he thought still lurked beneath it.

Their hands touched briefly on the door knob and they both gasped. He stepped closer. Out of habit she leaned in. They both realized what was happening even as they kissed. Then they separated and smiled. It was habit that had led to the kiss. Even furious at one another they always had had this physical chemistry. If either was honest they'd admit it was what had kept them together as long as they had been.

“Sorry,” he said.

Their hands were still on the door, his covering hers. She twisted her hand around and gripped his. “Bad habit,” she said almost gently.

“I'll miss you.” He meant it.

She leaned in and rested forehead on his bare shoulder and it was all so familiar and nice. There weren't the confusing feelings for Cristina that tore him apart and put him back together again. This was the last three years of going to bed every night and waking up every morning next to the same person. Lazy Sundays and curling up on the couch to watch football. Languid evenings in their bathtub. There was an ease and simplicity to what he and Callie had had and he found himself suddenly missing it.

Callie pulled back and her eyes were wet. He wasn't the only one. “I should go.”

“I know.”

They both started to lean in again. The habit of a goodnight kiss too powerful to ignore, but this time they caught themselves and she ducked her head and left him alone in his mom's foyer.

It was over.



At 3:36 in the morning keys scraped against the lock before the door opened and Amelia stumbled in. She'd been crying and she was soaked and there was the beginning of a bruise on her cheek. She seemed to be stunned that her key had worked and she stood there in the door completely inert.

Arizona sat up from where she'd been sleeping on the couch and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

Neither of them said a word. Amelia looked around the room for other guests and Arizona tried not to yawn. After Amelia had left Mark had gone back to his apartment with Addison—after she gave Meredith the death glare to end all death glares. Webber and Derek left in sullen silence and Arizona was left to her suddenly empty apartment which smelled like old pizza.

She cleaned up and took a shower and changed her sheets and then took up residence on the couch. She'd briefly thought of changing the locks on her door but it had seemed so petty, so instead she sat on the couch and waited for Amelia's eventual return.

And now here she was and Arizona had to remember her half-assed plan. But the bruise was distracting.

“What happened?”

“Got punched in a bar.”


She shook her head and her keys fell loudly to the floor. She started to stagger towards the couch but halfway there she collapsed to her knees with a thud.

Arizona almost moved. She almost stood up and walked over and took the broken woman in her arms. But she stayed rooted to the couch. Watching.

Amelia was crying and angrily wiping at the tears which only led to more of them.

“I got fired.” She looked back at up Arizona with the wary glance of a soon to be scolded child. “I was using again and they fired me.” They weren't talking about the bruise on her face now.

“And you license?”

A mirthless laugh, “I still have that. Naomi said when I got better I'd see her just firing me was a gift. But I was evicted from my condo and I can't go back east. Not like this pathetic waste of space.” She motioned to herself, and in that particular moment she really did look pathetic. “I've got nothing.”

Amelia was alive and sobbing on Arizona's floor. Comparatively speaking she had a lot more than other people. So she tilted her head like her mother used to when she or Tim said something particularly stupid.

“My sister tried to help me tonight. She and Mark. The guy who's banged every one of Derek's sisters but me and hasn't talked to his dad in three years.”

That drew a little smile out of Arizona, “You know you've hit rock bottom when Mark Sloan is trying to help you.”


Sitting on her couch staring at her mantle Arizona hadn't really been sure what she was going to say to Amelia. She hadn't been sure what she was going to do beyond not lock the woman out. Now though. That urge to fix something broken struck her.

“The spare bedroom.”

Amelia swallowed.

“It's yours. For the time being. You can stay here until you figure out what to do.”

She looked like she might hyperventilate. “Thank you.”

“But. You can't drink. No pills. The minute I smell alcohol or see a pill you're out.” Before Amelia could protest Arizona rushed to continue, “And you need to go to meetings. I'm not—I won't force you to go to rehab. But as long as you're living here you need support. And you won't get that kind of support from me.”

“You know, some people might say you're coddling a drug addict.”

“And some people might think I'm kidding when I say your ass is on the street the minute you relapse.”

“What does Callie think about all this?”

“Right, third rule,” she held up three fingers for emphasis, “no talking to, or about my girlfriend.”

“Who's married.”

She set her jaw resolutely and stared down the still inebriated neurosurgeon. She knew for a fact she could muster a scary death glare when she really wanted to. She leveled it at Amelia, and though she wasn't positive, she thought she saw the other woman involuntarily shiver.

This was a really stupid idea, but Arizona Robbins liked to fix broken things, and nothing was more broken than Amelia Shepherd.


Chapter 18

Bicycling around the city was Arizona's salvation.

She hadn't started out as a heavy cycler. She'd kind of enjoyed riding a bike in college but until getting to Seattle she'd viewed bikes as fun weekend diversions, not modes of transportation and certainly not a method through which one could relieve stress.

But six lonely months into her time in Seattle she hit it off with a bartender who loved to do group rides and the woman had encouraged Arizona to go along. Which had led to where she was now three years later. Riding a very expensive bike through the streets of Seattle. Letting the air rush past her and feeling the bike move beneath her as though it were an extension of her own body. Seattle was full of hills and she found that there was nothing as rewarding as the exhausting climb up a hill followed by a descent so fast she could pass cars if she leaned over the bars and stood in the saddle and peddled as hard as she could.

Her lungs ached and her whole body vibrated as the bike raced over the pavement and it was exhilarating. Perfection. A welcome respite from her apartment where Amelia was now four days sober and being very cranky about that fact. That morning, before leaving, Arizona had handed Amelia a long list of every AA and NA meeting in Seattle. “I don't care which one or wear it is, just pick one.”

Amelia had scowled. “I did the whole NA route back in college. Not really my bag.”

Arizona had nodded and pulled the list back to peruse it, “Sure, that's fine. I mean, there's always rehab right? That could effect your ability to practice medicine, but maybe it'd be more your bag?”

She'd narrowed her eyes, “You know forcing someone to get treatment almost never works right?”

“I do know that. I also know that you were the one complaining about Mark Sloan trying to stage a half-assed intervention.”

She'd flushed at that one. There was apparently something absolutely mortifying about having Mark Sloan try to get her better. Arizona didn't like throwing it in her face but it was the only weapon she currently had.

Amelia had snatched the list out of her hand and gone into her room to look at it in private. Then she thought better of it and stuck her head out. “Hey Robbins?”


“Seeing as I'm a relapsing alcoholic and all maybe you should lose the brewery in your fridge?”

“That's a blond ale specially imported from Belgium !”

“You want me to get sober right?”

Amelia blinked coyly and Arizona thought about throwing the flatware on the counter at her.

Instead she locked the beer in her bedroom and went for a bike ride before she went crazy.

And it was usually an absolutely perfect way to clear her head and feel better. On her bike all she had to think about was traffic. She could let her mind wander as her legs mechanically pumped the pedals. She could think about Callie and the date they were totally going on once Callie got off work.

She could also think about how awesome her pants were. They were some comfy yoga pants and she never wore them riding and she couldn't think of why not. They looked good even when she wasn't on her bike—hugging her ass and flaring out at the ankle to cut a long sleek line.

Then one pant leg caught in the chain.

Oh right.

She was flying. Jerking forward as her bike abruptly stopped and her pant leg wound around the chain ring. She'd wrecked before. It was a right of passage for really avid cyclers. But this one, going downhill at over twenty miles an hour? This was going to be a doozy.

Her whole body tensed up as she flew.

And she cursed Amelia Shepherd. Because she'd stolen Arizona's last pair of capri pants and left her with nothing but the yoga pants. “Don't worry. I'll wash them and give them back,” she'd said like Arizona was being unreasonable for asking her not to borrow her cycling pants. As her bike suddenly fell and started to slide she allowed herself a brief moment of absolute fury before a whole mess of pain assailed her.



Living with two surgeons was an…adventure. Lexie had lived in a house with five other people who were all in varying degrees of employment and it never seemed quite as active and uncertain as a house with two surgical residents. Sometimes they seemed to work an eight hour day. Sometimes a thirty hour day. They'd be getting up at midnight or going to bed at noon.

Her brand new therapist (courtesy of her rocking hospital insurance) explained to her that as a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict living in such an uncertain situation really wasn't conducive to getting better.

But she could't really afford a place of her own, and on those rare occasions when it was quiet and Meredith wasn't hung up on work or that guy with the nice hair they'd sit on the couch watching surgical procedures and she'd feel like she actually had a sister.

Which maybe wasn't fair to her other sister, who was currently working on baby number three down in San Diego and wouldn't take her calls. But whatever. See the part where her sister cut her off after her dad drank himself to death and then her mom died.

To keep some semblance of normalcy Lexie liked to go to AA meetings. Usually four or five times a week. It was a place she could go to feel better about herself and a place where she found support from people who weren't surgeons at the best hospital on the West Coast.

She always poured herself a cup of coffee and took a seat in the middle. Just far enough away that they weren't likely to call on her to speak but close enough that she wouldn't be singled out for sitting too far back. It was like high school all over again at AA meetings, probably because the woman who led them was a high school science teacher.

Today she poured her cup of coffee so strong it could spontaneously grow hair on the bald and headed for her usual spot. That is until she noticed the woman hunkered down in the back row with her collar pulled up and a huge pair of expensive sunglasses covering half her face.

She paused and looked at the woman. There was something familiar. The woman noticed she was staring and chose to stare back.

"You're that neurosurgeon having the mental break across the street from the hospital right?" The woman lowered her sunglasses and glared at her over the top. "My sister was there--for your blow up. She talked to me about it because you know," she motioned to the meeting room. "I'm glad you're here."

"Thanks," she said, not even bothering to keep the annoyance out of her tone.

Lexie came closer and leaned in, "I just--the lady who runs the meetings has a tendency to call on new people. Especially when they look like--well, you. And I was going to suggest you come sit with me."

"That's super nice of you and all, but I'm fine back here."

The neurosurgeon returned to slouching. Lexie had an option then. Normal Lexie would have flipped her the bird and gone to her usual spot, but slowly becoming a better person Lexie knew that sitting next to the woman and serving as a buffer between her and the rest of the group was a better idea.

So she sat.

“You really don't have to do that.”

She leaned back and sipped her coffee, “I know. It's just—your brother is dating my sister. And even though he only just now told his wife about it they're still kind of serious.”

“So you're trying to suck up to the family?”

“Meredith's mom is a terrifying super surgeon who actively chooses to ignore my existence. Our other sister is married and obscenely happy and fat with babies. I'm the black sheep. I got to do what I can.”

They sat in silence as the room around them slowly filled with others. Some nodded. Jake who never talked to his kids and Sarah who'd been sober for more than ten years and was doing great. She nodded back while the surgeon—Amy? Amelia—whatever her name was, sat there sullenly.

Before the meeting started she leaned over. “I get the whole black sheep thing. My brother and sisters all hate me for being the family addict.” Was she being…something less than curt?

“So after this you want to get some coffee that won't strip paint and talk about being black sheep?”

She almost smiled. “Black haired ovis unite.”



Doctors are competitive. They don't like coming in second place, and the worst of them, the most competitive are the surgeons. They cut people open for a living. Play house with body parts. They're a step away from sociopaths. They're dangerous, and none were more dangerous than Callie Torres.

She thrived on competition. Short of breaking bones and fixing hearts and playing with her kids there was nothing that could compare to winning . Only in the bid for head of Cardiothoracics she'd lost. She'd taken second place when only two were competing.

It was a bitter pill to swallow. More bitter than baker's chocolate dissolved on the tongue and made all the worse by Erica Hahn. The woman was well aware of the coup she'd succeeded in and apparently the only surgeon she disliked more than Preston Burke was Callie.

“Some of us worked for our reputation Dr. Torres.” She'd said it so casually. The insult flitting off her tongue like a normal human would distribute compliments.

Then, because she wanted Callie to know that she found her to be as worthless as a fifth year resident she stuck her in the pit. “The fifth years really need to work on getting good outcomes. You can take over ER duties while they handle your old procedures right?”

The woman was trying to wash her out of the hospital.

“Right,” she'd said through gritted teeth.

Then, between scraped knees, old guys with difficulty breathing and women feeling pain in their backs and not realizing they were experiencing a heart attack she worked on her proposal to the FACS. They hadn't responded to her initial inquiry so she opted to build her case and prove to them that her tenure at Seattle Grace counted as a fellowship.

And that's why she was sitting at the nurse's station when her girlfriend limped in carrying a pretty mangled bicycle and looking like she'd skated across the road on her elbow.

“I'm fine,” she said preemptively, despite have major road rash on her arm.

Callie was already coming around the side of the station to get a closer look. “What happened?”

She sort of hopped and wagged her foot at Callie. Which was when she noticed the fact that one of Arizona's pant legs was shredded. “My pants got caught in my bike. The bike stopped and I didn't.”

Without thinking Callie shouldered the bicycle and took Arizona by her good elbow, “Come on. Let's get you looked at.”


“You look like someone road you down hill.”

She frowned, “Seriously?”


She found an empty exam room and set the bike down near the door before turning to examine Arizona—who fidgeted, a lot.

“You're kind of terrible at being a patient aren't you?”


Callie raised an eyebrow.

Arizona attempted to defend herself, “Have you ever met a doctor who was a good patient?”

Callie took a seat on a stool and slid in between Arizona's legs to get a look at her arm. She quickly became aware of how close she was in proximity to Arizona when she snaked a leg around Callie's waist and pulled her closer.

“Hey,” she said, and Callie might have been turned on if Arizona didn't have a decent size gash leaking blood down her arm. Very professionally she pushed away Arizona's leg and leaned in to look at the wound. Arizona twisted her arm to give her a better view. “How bad is it?”

“You're going to need some serious debridement. Want me to page Sloan?”


She pulled her pen light out and shined it in Arizona's eyes. “What about the crash? Did you hit your head? Confusion? Loss of consciousness?”

“Nope. Pretty much just skid across the road and then got up and limped here.”

Callie nodded and then used her hands to track down one leg. It was surprisingly easy as long as she considered Arizona a patient. The first leg examined she moved to the second and more likely culprit. Arizona leaned back on the exam table and watched her. She was definitely bemused.

“Not even a second date and you're already feeling me up.”

“Don't be an ass.” She flexed Arizona's swollen looking ankle and she immediately hissed in pain. Callie immediately covered the injured foot with her hands. “Sorry about that. Looks like a sprain, but I'll call Radiology just in case.”

“I can just get Ortho down here. Cindy is on call today.”

Callie narrowed her eyes. She was well aware of who Cindy was. “You're periodic lunch date right?”

Arizona stopped staring at Callie's hands on her leg to look at her. “Yeah. You know her?”


Arizona was trying to puzzle out what was happening. Clearly she didn't get it and Callie really didn't want to play the crazy jealous thing less than a week into the relationship. She looked back down at the foot in her lap. Carefully she removed Arizona's shoe and then rolled the sock off. The ankle was significantly bigger than it should have been and already a lurid mix of purple, red and some color between gray and blue.

A hand covered her hands and she froze. Arizona was smiling. “She's not you Calliope.”

“I—she's your friend.”

“And you're my girlfriend.” She said it sweetly. Assuredly. Casually.

Callie couldn't help it. She returned the smile. “I am?”

She flushed, “Yeah…I mean…I know we only just started dating but—“ she turned serious, “I want you to be. You know, if you want to.”

No one ever said that. Callie tended to jump into relationships with both feet and no eye for potential consequences. It often ended with her feeling awful and being desperately alone...or on the road to divorce. She was always the first to commit. Until now.

"I don't know," she said coyly. "What kind of perks does a girlfriend get over a lunch date?"

"Sexy perks." Arizona's voice didn't drop like one's usually did when being seductive. She was being seductive--she just seemed to also be playful. Smiling and acting...frisky. Almost like a cat.

"Now," she continued--like a second grade teacher. Playful but authoritative. "You want to come over here and debride me?"

She was leaning back again and her shirt, a skintight cycling jersey, was accentuating all sorts of fabulous curves and a lean stomach that gave Callie very gay thoughts she didn't even know she was capable of.

"You just made cleaning flesh wounds sound hot."

"I know." Oh she definitely knew. This was the flirty woman who had Amelia Shepherd in her bed in a few days and had Devil Hahn wrapped around her finger.

"You're a," Callie cleared her throat, "you're really good at flirting aren't you?"

"I kind of rock at it. Now are you going to clean me up so we can make out or you just going to stand there looking hot and flustered?"

Callie was actually willing to forgo debridement entirely and leaned in to begin the making out part of the examination when someone knocked on the door and started to enter.

They burst apart as if a grenade were between them. Callie kicked her stool back and went rolling laconically across the room as her husband entered. He paused. Took in the tableau before him and then turned to Kepner, whom was craning her neck to see into the room.

“Dr. Kepner do you mind taking Dr. Robbins down to radiology to get checked out?”

The fifth year jumped at the chance and burst into the room with a wheel chair she must have procured via magic. Arizona limped her way into the chair and as Kepner wheeled her out she turned to watch Callie. Despite a little fear regarding whatever was about to happen with her husband Callie still managed to nod consolingly at her girlfriend who seemed immensely satisfied by the reassurance.

And then—and then she was alone in the room with her husband, who for all intents and purposes had just busted her.

“Doctor—is Arizona okay?”

That surprised her but she went with it. “She's good. Just a little banged up I think.”

“Good.” He smiled and then she smiled and then hey both stood their awkwardly. “We knew you were in here,” he said suddenly.

“Excuse me?”

“One of the nurses said you were in here so I brought Kepner.”

“As a witness?”

“As a spare body to take over Robbin's care.”

A flurry of not nice sentences formed in her head. Many having to do with his gall and absolutely presumptiveness.

He quickly continued, “Because I needed to talk to you. About something. I needed to talk and she still needs to be checked out.”


He sat down heavily on the examining table Arizona had vacated. He looked…tortured about something. Absolutely unsure. Which was funny, because Owen was never uncertain. At least publicly. She knew he often had doubts—as any person would—but he kept them buried so deep down he could resemble a machine if he chose.

Yet he was sitting across from her and rubbing sweaty palms on the legs of his slacks and appearing almost…nervous.

Involuntarily she braced herself. He was going to tell her about the woman he was dating. He was going to go public and was giving her a heads up first.

“I don't care you know,” he began, “who you date?”

Callie didn't scare easily. She regularly stood up to scalpel hungry residents and intimidating chiefs of surgery. She saved lives day in and day out and all the while elbow deep in a person's body . She'd pushed three children out of her body and faced off against a trained soldier in the midst of a flashback.

She was a hardcore, badass, take no names kind of woman.

And her husband was broaching the one subject that terrified her. He was careful. Gentle. Sitting on the table and watching her. Trying to gauge her reactions. She could only stare back. Muted by terror she'd never known before.

“I just,” he cracked the knuckles of his left hand—a nervous habit he rarely indulged, “I want you to know I'm here. And I care. And whatever you choose to do—I'm here.”

“I know.”


“I'm not doing…”

She paused, the denial stuck in her throat. Arizona's lips on hers in the stairwell. “Please don't make me a secret.” The hurried whisper still rung in her ears days later.

Callie couldn't do it. Couldn't deny what was happening. There was the burn of tears being held back. Her tears. She was about to cry. So she looked up at Owen and tried to smile and he smiled back and all those years of easy and quiet communication said what she couldn't bring herself to say.

“I love her.” She wanted desperately to utter those words. Wanted to tell him she was dating a woman. Dating Arizona. And just as it was suddenly easy not to deny her it was also maddeningly difficult to profess her love.

“She's nice,” he said instead.

She nodded.

“And the kids love her.” It was a challenge. A minuscule one. Barely noticeable for most. Wrapped up in tender congeniality, but rooted in Owen's near constant fear of losing the one thing that still mattered.

So she scooted her stool closer and took his hand. Held it tightly. “I don't know what's happening Owen. I wish I could tell you. Outline it. Prepare you, because you deserve that, but I don't even know what she is. To me. And whatever it is right now it's between her and me. Okay.”

“I know.”

“And yeah… she makes me happy,” so happy her face might have split with the wide smile that fell onto it. It was so easy to smile when she thought of Arizona.

He reached out and cupped her cheek with his hand. He was smiling too. It wasn't as big and broad as her own, but it was empathetic. She broke into a small laugh and he joined her. Then pulled her up into his arms and hugged her. She kissed his neck and rubbed his back and didn't stop smiling even once.



Arizona generally avoided working with Kepner because the dual dose of bright and sunny was so intense that it got on her nerves. Arizona's . She vomited sunshine. Once a girl broke up with her and when she asked her why the girl had waved her hands around angrily, “You shit rainbows Robbins! I need some edge!” And Arizona could be edgy. She could be all kinds of edgy. She could be super seductive and she could get super dark and she could be a total hard ass badass motherflipping edgy person.

She just didn't like to. It was way more fun to be a cheerful and bright enigma. People didn't expect their engimas to smile. That made it all the more delightful. But Kepner seriously tried her cheery bone. The woman was perky which was a subset of shiny and happy and not really warranted all the time.

With kids? Yes. Absolutely. While debriding the four inches of her arm where skin used to be? Less awesome! And she talked. Incessantly. She hadn't yet learned that sometimes it was okay to be taciturn. Instead she told Arizona all about how she and Alex were dating again but taking it slow for Meredith's feelings (apparently she hadn't heard) and how Alex was so grateful he had Arizona's trust in Peds and how she was really nervous about boards and did Arizona know a good method for studying.

It was hell.

So Arizona opted to zone out and worry about Callie and whatever was happening with her husband. He hadn't seemed upset—something she'd expected him to be after catching them all alone in an exam room. Instead he'd been nervous and brusque.

What if something happened? Were the kids okay? Their parents? The pessimist Arizona tried to drill out of herself daily reared her ugly head and started plotting every single disaster that could have brought Owen into that room.

“And we're all done,” Kepner said brightly.

Arizona twisted her arm and looked at the giant bandage that started mid forearm and stopped just above her elbow. Then she looked down at her foot, which was currently wrapped in a compression bandage to treat the sprain Radiology confirmed. There was another bandage on her knee. That was discovered while they were preparing to x-ray her ankle. Fortunately her pants had protected her from fairly well and it amounted to little more than a rug burn over a big and nasty bruise.

Kepner carefully helped Arizona back into the wheelchair. As she was already feeling sore all over and irritable she didn't even bother to suggest walking out of her own free will. It was much easier to take her seat and let the other woman wheel her to the exit.

And they were awfully close to that exit when her chair suddenly veered into an empty conference room. She turned in the chair, an irritable question on her lips when she saw that there'd been a change in pilots and Callie was the one shutting the door behind them.

“I should have said something when Owen came in. Or I should have made Kepner take me back there. I'm sorry.” She babbled. It was better to preempt whatever was about to happen with that. More meaningless apologies were being uttered. Callie just nodded, flipped shut in shades in the room and then pressed Arizona's chair back into the door. She leaned over her, bracing against the chair's armrests and giving Arizona a window of fantastic cleavage framed by her deep red silk blouse.

“He knows,” Callie whispered. Her nose was pressed against Arizona's neck, nestled against the rapidly beating pulse point.

Arizona took a shaky breath. She carefully covered Callie's hands with her own, and then slowly ran them up her arms. “He does,” she asked. Her voice was as tremulous as her breath.

Warm, wet lips pressed against her skin where her ear met her neck. “He does.” Callie's voice was a low murmur that went straight through her. She ran her hands through Callie's dark hair. Marveled as it separated like silk between her fingers. She wanted to hold Callie to her neck. Relish her warmth and the way her scent seemed to surround her, but, still holding Callie's head, she pulled her back to look her in the eyes.

She knew the answer to her question, but she asked it anyway, “And?”

Some small part of her—that pessimist—took a deep and silly breath.

Callie answered by leaning in and pressing her lips to Arizona's. Molding them together. Her hot tongue snuck out and slipped into Arizona's mouth. They both gasped at the sudden invasion—their breath becoming one in the infinitesimal gap between them. They explored.

Callie pulled back and leaned her forehead against Arizona's. Somehow they'd both gone breathless and Callie's lips were swollen and bright and Arizona's heart was beating faster than it ever did when she was on her bicycle. They'd lost time in that kiss. Lost minutes as the hospital moved around them just outside the door.

She tried to lean in. Tried to taste more of Callie but Callie turned her head so Arizona's lips pressed against her cheek.

She'd take it.

She kept kissing her. Trailing her lips from her cheek to her ear and down to her pulse point. She used her hands—which had just been in Callie's hair, to keep her hair out of the way. Callie groaned as Arizona placed an open mouth kiss on her neck. Her teeth grazed the skin and Callie leaned in until she was almost in Arizona's chair.

The chair started to roll forward as Arizona tried to get closer. She needed to be closer. Needed to claw her way inside of every part of Callie. Needed to live in her embrace. Callie scrambled for purchase and leaned on the arm rests as she pulled back.

“We…” she leaned in and kissed Arizona again, “we should stop.”

She tried to pull away again but Arizona's hands in her hair kept her still. Arizona ignored her and crushed her lips against hers. Callie again tried to move away and Arizona, only reluctantly, let go when she realized Callie was actually lifting her out of the chair as she moved away. She sat back down heavily.

“You're no fun.”

Callie had moved a few steps back so she was just out of reach and tried to fix her hair as she glared at Arizona. “I've just got to get back to work.”

“They'll page you if they need you.”

They both knew that one wasn't true. Callie needed to look busy in case Hahn stopped by.

Satisfied that her hair was in order Callie came and knelt next to Arizona. “I was just going to let you know the good news.”

“It's great news.” She leaned over and kissed her girlfriend on the cheek. “Awesome news.”

Callie laughed, “Look, I know you're all banged up but I was thinking we could still do dinner tonight? Celebrate the first step in my coming out.”

“I'll put streamers in the closet. Maybe a little banner.”

“And I'll not thump you when I see it. Also maybe I'll come over and cook real food for you?”

“I'd like that.”

They settled on a time and then Callie carefully opened the door and stuck her head out. When she was satisfied she opened the door wider and allowed Arizona out. They parted ways in the ER where Arizona picked up a pair of crutches that would carry her home.

She paused at the door and Callie looked up from the patient she'd just been saddled with. They both smiled. Callie Torres was going to dull every bit of edge Arizona claimed to have, and she was totally okay with that.



Cristina had worked a thirty-six hour shift and at that very moment in time the only thing she actually wanted was to go home and fall asleep to the surgical videos Lexie was snagging from the research library.

She was really looking forward to it. Some people had television or books or friends but Cristina had her tapes.

She was not, for that reason, looking forward to running into Owen Hunt leaving at the same time with his three kids hanging off of him.

“Hey,” he said brightly. Like he hadn't rejected her advances and been ignoring her since he'd told her he loved her.


The three kids looked at her warily. She didn't like kids. Looked like the feeling way mutual.

“You guys know Dr. Yang. She works with Mommy.”

The oldest one, Allegra, stuck her tongue out.

Quite involuntarily Cristina did the same. It wasn't meant to be cute. She was not a cute person. It was meant to be prompt retaliation for what she was sure was a four year old's version of an insult. Only all three kids and their dad laughed.

“We're going to grab dinner. Do you want to join us?”

She blinked. Was he really going to act like nothing was going on? Cristina scowled and spun on her heel. She heard him tell the kids to stay and she slowed as he jogged up behind her. Maybe she should have let him say something—but she was tired and not in the mood for games. She spun around. “The hot and cold thing,” she said as quietly and harshly as possible, “do it with someone else.”

“I wasn't trying to be—“

“I'm done Owen.”

He caught her hand and as much as she wanted to wrench away from him she stood still instead. “I wanted to be ready,” he said, “I've been trying and I—I want to take you out. I want to take you out for dinner and talk and do whatever people do.”

“With your kids?”

He nodded.

Could she do that? Could she really date someone? She didn't date. She fell into bed and forged a relationship afterwards. She had affairs in secret and found commonality over the breakfast table. She didn't do dates and she didn't do kids.

Could she do it for him?

He was pleading with her—not saying a word but begging her with those perfect blue eyes and that heavy brow.

Could she be old fashioned? Could she handle a divorcee with kids and an ex? An ex who was her boss and could affect her career with a snap?

She started to speak when Owen's face seemed to shift in slow motion. He stopped looking at her. Stopped pleading. His mouth, downturned and sad, changed into a smile. That heavy brow lifted and he looked five years younger. He was looking past her. Looking at someone moving rapidly across the pavement towards them.


Chapter 19

Callie leaned over the pan filled with lightly coated chicken and a multitude of spices and Chinese wines and gently wafted some of the steam towards herself. It smelled good.

Definitely good.

"You're okay with spicy right?"

Arizona was sitting at the kitchen counter and resting her head on her hands, watching Callie cook much like her kids often did. She was also giving Callie a really adorable and dopey grin. The exhaustion of the accident coupled with the wine she insisted on using in lieu of a painkiller had her a little loopy.

"I love spicy. When we lived in Okinawa my brother and I would always hit up the curry shops and try to eat the spiciest curry they had."

"How'd that work out?"

"Timothy nearly broke the toilet." She grinned, still pleased with the memory years later. "Mom threatened to homeschool us if we didn't stop. Mainly because of the fart wars that usually occurred on the couch afterwards."

"Charming," Callie deadpanned.

"You don't have brothers right?"

"Nope, just a sister living in London and doing fashion stuff."

"Ah. See. So you never had to endure fart wars or wrestling matches that went on well into your twenties."

"Nope, but whenever I went home to visit during college we had to get pedicures together and marathon Sex in the City."

"Aw. You don't like girly stuff?”

Callie started to say "duh" and then she remembered that despite all her intense and seductive moments the surgeon opposite her tended to be really girly. She liked to go dancing and her home was decorated in a range of muted pastels that made it look like a depressed Easter egg. There was even a pink hat on the couch that she suspected had been worn at some point far too recently.

"I like girly in other people. I myself am not so girly."

Arizona raised both eyebrows and waited for her to elaborate.

"I'm into cars."

"Oh no."

"And I played softball in high school."

"You're a little butch aren't you," Arizona said smugly.

"Says the woman covered in bandages from her bad ass bicycle wreck."

"Yeah, but I've totally got Holly Hobby bandaids on underneath."

Callie rolled her eyes and plated the food. Arizona looked down at the food she was presented with and pushed it around tentatively with her fork. "It seems kind of wrong to eat healthy General Tso's chicken. Like I'm cheating on the China Jade in that old strip mall down the street."

"The fact that you've ever eaten at that place terrifies me and my intestinal tract."

Callie came around and joined Arizona at the bar. They ate in silence. Less like a couple of barely a week and more like...friends, or people who'd been together for years. Sighing she put her fork down and turned to face Arizona, who was contentedly consuming her meal.

"This isn't sexy."

Arizona paused mid bite. "I'm sorry?"

"You date like… you date. You deserve sexy. Not mommy making something she read about in Self."

Arizona put her own fork down and leaned in towards Callie. "We can do sexy if you want. We can do candlelight and expensive wine and at the end of the night I can take you to bed and make your toes curl," Arizona's voice was low. Almost sultry. Intimate. "I'm okay with sexy. And I'm okay with staying in and eating homemade Chinese. For me it's about the company."


She winked, "Yeah." Then, completely ignoring Callie's moment of self doubt, Arizona returned to her chicken and moaned, "besides," she said between gluttonous bites, "cooking this good is sexy as hell to me."

"You're kind of easy to please aren't you."

"Only when you do the pleasing." It came out shockingly direct and intense. Callie self-consciously returned to her meal and kept glancing over at Arizona who was apparently completely unaware of what she did to Callie.

After dinner Callie insisted on cleaning up the dishes and watched as Arizona hobbled over to the couch and collapsed onto it. When she finally got over to the couch she was disappointed to find her passed out and curled up on her side. She debated waking her up to continue their attempt at a date. They were now two for two with bad dates and Callie kind of wanted to have a good one where they stayed up late into the night talking and maybe went dancing and did whatever thirty something professionals were supposed to do on a "real date." That toe curling stuff sounded interesting. Maybe.

She carefully brushed Arizona's bangs off her face. She remembered when she'd first shown up at the hospital. Recently done with her fellowship and a bright and perky know it all that could even irritate the unflappable Mandy Bailey. Three years at the best hospital in the country had worn away some of the perkiness to reveal the hard edges that lay beneath. She'd had bouncy short blond hair she'd worn in a ponytail back then and the residents had mocked her about it behind her back.

"Grey's probably going to chop it off in the OR," Cristina had muttered over an open chest one day.

That never happened. Robbins was fun and bright with her nurses and anesthesiologists and saccharine sweet with her patients but she was absolutely terrifying with her fellow surgeons. Like a flip of a switch between Ms. Sunshine and the horror show that was ruthless enough to get the job in the first place.

With her asleep Callie allowed herself a quiet minute to watch her. She'd never...she'd never anticipated her feelings for Arizona. Feelings too honest and powerful that it turned her breath tremulous in her throat. They hadn't even slept together (something uncommon for Callie. She was a second or third date kind of woman) and she was already wondering what it would be like to go a day without talking to her. To go a whole week without seeing her.

"You're going to ruin me," she whispered to the sleeping woman. Carefully she picked her up. It took a minute, a fortifying breath— Callie was strong and she was used to swinging Allegra and her brothers around daily but a full grown woman was a whole other story.

She managed to get her into what she knew to be Arizona's bedroom. She'd never actually been in the room. Only seen a glimpse of it from the living room. It continued the easter egg motif but the bed was actually a gorgeous big antique bed made out of what looked suspiciously like mahogany. She carefully laid her on one side of the bed, being mindful of her arm and leg.

Some small insane part of Callie wanted to join Arizona in the bed. Curl up behind her and hold her close and revel in her proximity. But that would have been creepy in the morning, and also would have maybe raised a question she was trying to avoid discussing. Because she'd never actually done anything with a woman beyond all that kissing with Arizona and the idea of going...wherever was terrifying.



After Iraq Teddy Altman had found herself at a crossroads. Until that moment she'd always known what she wanted. She knew she wanted to be a surgeon and she'd gone and become one. She knew her speciality and she knew, back in 2001 that she wouldn't rest until she was an attending at Columbia. Even when she'd lost her best friend and walked through chalk white streets her first day off after the attacks she'd known what she had to do. She spent eight--nearly nine years in the Army. She became a decorated major. Sometimes she even thought of making the Army her career. Rising further in the ranks and moving to Germany or San Antonio.

But when it came time to reup she found herself declining. Many of her best friends were dead and the best of them was off in Seattle playing house with some other heart surgeon. Her first day back in the states as an ordinary citizen had been bizarre. She couldn't quite remember what it was like to not have every moment of every day dictated by others.

Fortunately she found a new job back at Columbia. Her mentor there was still perfectly happy to hire her and she tried—really made an attempt to be the doctor that she'd started out wanting to be. She worked like a dog putting her name on fancy trials and building a reputation. The Army had made her...daring. A radical. She could try things that most other heart surgeons wouldn't even dream of.

But a great reputation and a solid paycheck weren't enough. She found she couldn't really settle down and just be happy most days until she flipped on her iPad and waited for Owen Hunt to sign into Skype. They were just friends. They could never be more because of missed chances and lost opportunities but when she saw his sharp blue eyes and gentle smile she felt a little more normal and a little less lost.

Then he signed on one day in a room with pink walls and a rose pattern on the bed spread. "Redecorating?"

He looked around, "Huh. Oh. Yeah. I'm staying at my mom's."

"Everything okay?"

He'd smiled. "You know it is? Normally I wouldn't say that about divorce, but Callie and I both sort of felt it was right."

He told her all the details and she nodded and smiled sadly and tried to be the best friend ever. Then she started looking at jobs in Seattle. It was weird. Definitely. Maybe even stalkerish. Only, it also just felt right .

Heck, it wasn't even her first time trying to stalk Owen in the same city like some sort of Fatal Attraction Barbie. When she'd first come home she had poked around but she found most of the hospitals lacking outside of Seattle Pres and Seattle Grace and at the time neither hospital had been in need of a cardiothoracic surgeon who had been stuck in the desert for nine years.

But things were different now. She'd poked around the staff pages of Seattle Grace and allowed herself a private smile when she saw Erica Hahn's name at the top of the page for her department. They'd one met at a conference back in the late 90s and gotten very drunk together. They didn't really keep up but they were on friendly enough terms. So she'd made a call and Hahn had bemoaned the state of her new staff and complained about not wanting to babysit a bunch of idiot residents and interns.

"Sounds like you need another attending there. Someone who is really awesome at teaching."

"You know someone?"

And the next thing Teddy had known she was flying out to Seattle and meeting Erica for drinks and getting offered a job and all because this boy she liked was getting a divorce.

When Teddy found herself at a crossroads she could be kind of stupid.



They were at the coffee cart. It was their little meeting place. Their respite before a day navigating troubled romances and hectic schedules and grueling surgeries. They'd be quiet on the walk from their building but as soon as that cup of java was in their hands Mark and Arizona would start chatting.

And on any other day it would have been business as usually but today Mark had to hold Arizona's coffee because she was still on crutches and something in that little pea brain of his must have switched off at the sudden responsibility of beverage bearing because right there, at the entrance to the hospital, in the sunlight and beneath the shadow of the trees he watched her juggle her wallet and her crutches as she paid for their coffee and then asked, “So you guys bang yet?”

The chick at the coffee cart looked up and smiled wistfully. Sorry Sarah? Laura? Arizona couldn't remember her name, just that she cried a lot and begged Arizona not to tell anyone about their heated hook up on Arizona's couch. Now she was acting like she was sad Arizona had moved on. She'd have to start going to the coffee cart inside. They always burned their coffee and their pound cake was kind of stale.

She eked out an apologetic look for the coffee girl with no name before saying, “You're a pervert Mark.”

“What? I don't see what the big deal is. You bang everything. You've probably even had the coffee girl.” He raised his coffee cup in acknowledgement and everyone got quiet and awkward. Except for Mark, who was rather oblivious to a lot of social cues despite being a very gifted ladies' man. “So did you? Or was your latest date as depressing as the last one?”

Forcing the conversation along, and moving away from the girl—Ethel!—that was her name—Arizona said, “You mean the one you walked in on?”

“No, I mean the one your ex-fuck buddy walked in on. I do believe I saved you on that occasion.”

“Right. Staging an intervention in my living room is really conducive to me getting laid.”

He took a big gulp of his coffee and exhaled in satisfaction, “And now Amelia goes to meetings and you get the apartment to yourself for date night. So again. You guys do it?”


He stopped walking, “What. Seriously?”

“Yes. Seriously. I like her Mark.”

“So like her in bed?”

Like it was that easy. “She's never—at least I don't think—“

He got what she was implying but clearly didn't see why he should care. "She's got three kids Robbins. I don't think you need to be worrying about anything."

"Oh really? And are you a woman who has a lot of experience with newborn lesbians? Because I am Mark and they are fickle and odd and sometimes they shave their heads the next morning and leave all the hair in your sink and sometimes they get so freaked out by all their special feelings that they never talk to you again and she's freaking out just staring at my boobs. What if she gets to second base and has a nervous breakdown?”

He blinked.

"You've given this a lot of thought."

"Or what if I'm too good? Because I've been accused of being mind blowing. What if I intimidate her?”

"With your awesome sexual prowess."


"You lesbians process too much."



Teddy rode up on the elevator with what she at first assumed was a couple coming in for a check up. She was shorter, athletic, blond and on crutches. He was tall, built like a swimmer turned model and sort of somewhere between blond and gray and they were both talking about sex like it was a day to day occurrence. They were also so comfortable with one another that they were completely oblivious to the woman on the elevator with them.

Then she heard the blond say “I'm just saying. I'm amazing in bed. I make women sing and she's probably heard that by now from someone like Amelia, who has a big fat mouth. I don't want her to freak out.”

So if they were dating it was an…open relationship? Teddy had been in the desert too long. She coughed and they both turned to look at her. Then turned back around the face the door. The guy took a sip of his coffee. The woman bounced in place. As soon as the door dinged open on the third floor the blond shot out of the elevator and down the hall like some sort of human rocket. Which was kind of remarkable as she was on crutches. The guy followed indolently after her.

“Have a nice day,” he said with a smile. If she wasn't crazy and stalking a guy she might have melted at the knees a little.

The elevator spat her out on the fourth floor where Erica was dressed in scrubs and staring at the surgical board. A wary looking guy with fantastic hair was standing on one side of her and Owen was standing on the other. He looked just as good as he had the night before when she'd found him standing outside talking with some resident. And like last night he smiled brightly when she said hello.

The other two surgeons turned. “Dr. Altman,” Erica said, “nice to see you joined us this morning.”

“I got a bit turned around in the lobby. This place is a maze.”

Dr. Good Hair chimed in, “It takes some getting used to. Derek Shepherd.” He offered his hand and she shook it and tried not to squeal. She wasn't the type to geek out over incredible surgeons, especially neuro guys, but back during her fellowship he was all anyone ever talked about.

She sort of goofily laughed, “The future of neurosurgery,” she said.

He raised an eyebrow.

Oh. That was out loud?

“Back in New York. Before I left—you were kind of a hot topic. Our chief of surgery tried to lure you away.”

“You were at Columbia?”

“I was.”

"And now she's here," Owen said, stepping between Teddy and the neurogod. "We were in Iraq together."

Erica and Shepherd both looked surprise, "Really," Shepherd said.

She bumped Owen in the shoulder affectionately, "Really. I knew this guy when he was single and fun."

Which he was again. And everyone knew it. And now it was uncomfortable. And Teddy was really bad at interacting with people.

Erica was the first to pull herself out of the awkward quiet moment, "Well boys, talking about Hunt's love life sounds like a lot of fun, but I actually need to show Altman around before I do a six hour surgery on a nine year old."

She gently took Teddy by the arm and guided her towards what she hoped was some sort of medical station where one's foot could be surgically removed from one's mouth.

"Is Hunt still staring at us?"

Erica grimaced, "You know I joined the staff here to get away from personal drama."

"How's that working out for you?"

"Not so well."



It had only been two months before that Callie was the golden child of the hospital. Two short months. The months had been long to the kids. Time moved differently when you were under five. Every day was precious and seemed to last an eternity. But for Callie it had all gone by in an instant. One minute married, respected and the top of the food chain, the next separated, dating a woman and waiting in Ellis Grey's office like an errant child in trouble with the teacher.

Two months ago the tone Grey's secretary had, and the unscheduled nature of the meeting and the fact that Ellis never called people into her office unless she wanted to punish them might have had Callie nervous. Even terrified a little.

But all the fear and doubt and tension had chipped away. Demotions, Hahn, Owen—it had exhausted her. Left her in a place beyond stress. So when she should have been upset she was simply serene. Awaiting whatever fate Ellis Grey dared mete out.

She entered with her nose buried in a file and didn't acknowledge Callie until she'd taken a seat, smoothed out her blouse and made a note in a file. Finally she leaned back and stared at Callie. Again, it should have discomfited her. Instead she had the urge to lean back lethargically and cross her arms like a bratty teenager.

The most gifted and well known general surgeon in the country pursed her lips and studied Callie. She'd done that before. Used to Callie would worry about being judged or work to prove—with just a gaze—that she was as capable as Ellis Grey.

Not today. Not if the woman was about to fire her. Because that was the only reason she could fathom being in this office oposite this woman.

“You like working here right Torres?”

Here it comes. “Of course.”

“And you want to stay?”

Oh. Maybe she wasn't being fired. Maybe she was given another ultimatum designed to quietly drum her out of the hospital. Say no Callie. You're better than this. You can move to Oregon and get paid big bucks and be loved by the city of Portland or something. “Yes.” Stupid Callie.

“Good.” She smiled, and with Ellis Grey the only smiles given were genuine. She couldn't be bothered with social niceties. Didn't have time to stroke egos or comfort the upset. When she smiled she meant it. Callie shifted in her seat. Dared to scoot forward just a bit. “We've hired a new attending. Erica will continue to manage the department, but she'll be managing residents.” And? “And the fellows.”

Wait. “Seattle Grace is getting a cardio fellow?”

“It's a step down in pay, and I know it would be the second demotion in as many months, but this way you'd be working towards official accreditation Callie.”

“You—you want me to be the surgical fellow?”

“It's unorthodox.”

“Two months ago I was running the department and doing groundbreaking work and now you want me to work as a lackey for someone else?”

“No. I want you to run the department. I want you winning a Harper Avery. I want to be known as the woman that fostered greatness. And right now that's not happening. You've peaked Callie. As a general surgeon with a specialty in cardiothoracics you've gone as far as you're ever going to go. So it's time—right now—to figure out if you want to be extraordinary or if you want this to be a 9 to 5 job you can do anywhere.”

Like Portland.



Columbia was an extraordinary hospital but Seattle Grace was really something else. Erica showed her the research labs and the extensive library manned by a slight woman with pink dreadlocks and a wicked snarl. She showed her the luxurious attendings' lounge and the very nice locker room. There were also the ORs and the nurses and equipment that was all state of the art. That was nice too. The last stop on the tour was the ER where she handed her off to Owen.

“What about that fellow you want me to teach?”

Erica waved off the idea with a flick of her wrist, “She's meeting with Grey right now. You'll run into her at some point I'm sure. She's been avoiding me by hiding out down here.”

“So I should just…”

“Get to know the residents. Yang's good. Right Hunt?”

Owen did that thing where he pretended he hadn't been listening. “What?”

Erica must have picked up on what he was doing because she pursed her lips and stared. Woman could freeze water in the tropics with that stare. “Right,” she said, “well I've got surgery now. Enjoy Altman.”

When she was out of earshot Teddy turned to Owen, “She's intense.”


He gave her the run down on his ER's protocol. It wasn't that much different from how they'd run things in Iraq. Just less beige really. When a woman with a gaping chest wound came in they fell into step—easily working like they always had.

It was a thrill and a comfort too. She'd forgotten how well they'd worked together. The rest of the trauma room seemed to fade away. But then the woman's husband was wheeled in. Owen grew distracted watching what looked like a resident and two interns work on the man.

“I should—“

Teddy didn't even have to look up. In a trauma room? She was aware of everything. “Go,” she said. “Save him from the interns.” She winked. He smiled. It felt right.

When they had the woman stabilized they moved her up to the OR. “Page one of those fantastic cardio residents I keep hearing about,” she said.

A nurse disappeared and five minutes later the resident stepped into the OR. She didn't even look up. Just told the woman where to go and what to do. She seemed to be pretty good. Knew her way around the room. The nurses also seemed to like her and the scrub nurse handing them instruments knew what the resident needed without saying a word.

“The way Hahn was talking I was afraid you all wouldn't know what a scalpel was,” she said conversationally.

“That's because Hahn is a terrifying taskmaster who assumes you're incompetent until you have a Harper Avery.”

It was unfortunate how true that way.

“I'm Teddy, by the way. Teddy Altman. I just started today.”

The other woman's hands froze. She looked up at Teddy with dark brown eyes.

“Callie Torres.”

Well. Shit.

Chapter 20

Teddy had never even seen a picture of the wife. Knowing what she knew of Owen, and of his taste in women she'd expected someone very, very tiny. And possibly extremely girly.

Callie Torres was not what she expected. She was tall, athletic and actually appeared to have boobs. She was a good surgeon. Assertive. Way better than she'd expect for a brand new fellow.

And she knew exactly who Teddy was. She, in fact, had her number. “You were in Iraq,” she asked. Already knowing the answer.

“I was. Then I was at Columbia. Which is, as you know, fantastic, but it isn't Seattle Grace. You guys practically print Harper Avery Awards. And Carter Madisons. I bet there's a whole wing just devoted to everyone's extensive credentials.”

Torres stared.

“That's why I came. Erica, we knew each other before Iraq, she—well she mentioned an opening. And I knew that if I was here. If I was in Seattle than I'd have no trouble with the funding for my stem cell project. You always seem to secure amazing funding.”

“We do.” The woman's words were like ice and Teddy had to resist the urge to wince.

“I just came here for the medicine.”

She looked down into the chest cavity, “There's some bleeding here,” she said idly, “we should probably focus on that.”

Owen's wife was…intense.



Lexie had always had an affinity for libraries. As a child while her mother tried to hold them all together and her father found solace in a bottle she'd wander into the library and spend hours there. The smell, faintly of mold but primarily of millions of sheets of paper and ink, was a comfort.

At night, when her father started sobbing about the woman who'd left him and destroyed his life Lexie would hold a book close and inhale. Books were her first drug. When cocaine and weed and alcohol were hard to come by she could always find a little solace in a book.

She'd go to the library. She'd find a dark corner and sleep with her head on a giant reference tome or read old history books in between scores. Even in her worst days the library was a refuge. As long as she didn't vomit, or pee or scare little kids the librarians would let her waste her days there.

Seattle Grace's research library wasn't quite the same thing. It was smaller, and there were fewer places to disappear to and you had to have a code to get in which meant there were no vagrants. Just harried doctors trying to find the cure for cancer in twenty year old science journals.

But some of the stacks still smelled the same, and when Lexie had a break from manning the reference desk she'd curl up with books older than she was and read about the early years of medicine.

She was thumbing through a collection of essays on the vagina penned in a time when people did gynecological exams with candles when two raised voices caught her ear. One was her boss, Phyllis Paup, a small, silent and very scary woman who'd been a librarian at the University of Washington for twenty years before moving to Seattle Grace, the other was her new AA buddy, Amelia Shepherd.

Slipping the book back onto the shelf she edged her way to the end of the stack and peaked around the corner. Amelia, wearing her apparently trademark shades, a leather jacket and a scowl was arguing over what looked like some neuro journals.

Knowing she'd probably regret it Lexie approached them. "Pretty sure you're supposed to be quiet in the library."

Amelia spun around with her mouth open, ready to unleash something undoubtedly caustic but stopped when she realized whom she was about to attack. Knowing she'd been caught Amelia jerked a thumb in Phyllis's direction.

"I was trying to check out some journals but Frau Totenkinder here won't let me."

Phyllis scowled and asked Lexie, "Do you know her? Because I'm two seconds from calling security."

"She's a friend. I can handle it."

Eager to be absolved of Amelia Phyllis fled the reference desk.

"Sorry about her," Lexie said when she was out of earshot, "Phyllis is kind of hardcore."

"Yeah I'm pretty sure she wanted to lay a beat down on me."

Lexie leaned against Amelia and looked at the journals she'd pulled. "Scintillating stuff you have there? Planning some big brain surgeries."

"Before I spent my time sleeping in my ex's spare bedroom and nursing an addiction to the coffee at AA meetings I was quite the neuro god."

Lexie picked up one of the journals and thumbed through it, "What, like your brother?"

"Only without the air of superiority that makes people want to kick his ass."

"I wouldn't know. We only usually talk about food and Meredith."

"Your sister right?"

"Yup. This time three months ago she thought she was an only child. Now I'm paying 400 bucks a month to have the privilege of seeing her in between surgeries."

"Surgeons aren't exactly...we're usually pretty bad at the whole socializing thing."

"I've got piercings and tattoos in places surgeons haven't even seen. I'm not so hot at the whole people thing either."

"Well helping me check out these journals would help your people skills." Lexie raised and eyebrow. "What? You like what I did there? How I turned your problem into my problem. Made the conversation about me?"

"It was super smooth."

"So can you help?"

Lexie pushed away from the desk and went around behind it, “I don't know Shepherd. Can you provide hospital ID with the proper clearance."

She shrugged, "I mean I could probably steal Derek or Addison's badge, but then they'd accuse me of pill popping and drinking again."

"Which you aren't doing."

"I'm sober and hating it. Hoping some light reading would distract me from the overwhelming urge to drink the half bottle of wine my roommate doesn't know I know she has in her room."

"Sounds like you're not the only one with a drinking problem."

"Yeah but Arizona is high functioning."

Lexie poked around the computer at her desk and tried to think of a way she Amelia could check the journals out. “You know usually this isn't a problem. As the only people who can get in here have a code.”

“Not my fault Mark has the code in big bright letters on a sticky pad in his office.”

“The plastics guy?”

“He and Derek were best friends until Addison came along. He used to help me put my hair in pigtails.”

“That's too adorable for words.”

“Guy's got good hands. Probably why he became a big plastic surgery jerk.”

“Probably.” Realizing the computer would reveal no secrets Lexie stopped typing and looked up at Amelia, who was now leaning over the desk and smiling. She'd pushed her glasses up to act like a headband and with her hair off her face, no scowl and no glasses she looked young and almost…happy. “Okay, so technically you can't check anything out. You're not an employee here. But,” she said, holding up her hand to keep Amelia from saying anything, “I can check things out. And I guess I could loan you what I check out. Only, you know, you can't lose it or destroy it or get drunk and pee on it because then I have to pay for it out of my own pocket and those four journals are at least half a month's rent for me.”

“No urinating or destruction of Lexie Grey property. Roger.”

“And you can't let the Frau see you leave with them because then I won't even have a job and that makes rent even harder to pay.”

“Aw, you're risking your job for me?”

“I hope not.”



For being two of the most brilliant surgeons currently practicing in the United States, Erica Hahn and Arizona Robbins were also two of the most irritating. And Cristina was stuck in an OR for eight hours with them.

Robbin's perkiness she was accustomed to. She avoided it at all costs, but it was a known, and sometimes tolerable entity. However when combined with Hahn's unbridled hostility it was something all together different and unholy.

Because the nastier Hahn got, the brighter Robbins got. She didn't chide Hahn even though she was the lead on the case and could have. She just ignored her. Created her own bright pink and happy version of events and operated within that new universe.

Which irritated Hahn to no end.

“Suction,” she snapped.

“So Erica, you go out a lot right?”

Cristina froze, just for a moment. Was…was Robbins asking about Hahn's personal life?

Hahn glanced up, scowled behind her surgical mask and returned to her work.

“Because I don't date much—with flowers and wine and dinner and things and you strike me as the super kind of woman who does. And maybe you might be able to recommend a good place.”

“BFF no longer doing it for you?”

Arizona's hands paused. “You…go there?”

What the hell was BFF?

“Myself? No. I'm a flower and wine and dinner kind of girl Robbins. Suction Yang, or do I need to do that for you as well?”

“So wait—what the hell are you implying then?”

Okay why had the tension just ratcheted up a notch? One of the scrub nurses was now openly staring at Robbins who was glaring at Hahn who had her hands in a child's chest.

“Nothing,” she growled.

“Is this—do you have a problem with me?”


And this was happening.

“Because I'm gay.”

Well, that confirmed Meredith's suspicions.

“Because you finger fuck anything with a vagina. SUCTION YANG.”

It was at that moment that Mandy creeped into the room with a mask over her mouth. “Dr. Hahn?”


Mandy blinked, “Uh, Dr. Torres and Dr. Altman are requesting your assistance in OR 2.”

“Can it wait?”

Mandy surveyed the room, took in the terrified surgical staff, Robbin's bright red face and Cristina. “No. It cannot.”



It wasn't the first time an angry girlfriend had lobbed accusations at Arizona. The lesbian community was kind of insular. Everyone knew everyone else and sometimes that meant you slept with some other doctor's girlfriend.

But she'd never been called out like that in an OR. That was just.

Well, it was embarrassing.

Arizona might love women, but she left that stuff at home. At work she was a consummate professional. And now she had scrub nurses she hadn't slept with and Cristina Yang giving her side eye.

She attempted to shift the conversation elsewhere, “So I hear we have a new cardio attending?”

Yang nodded, “Teddy Altman. She's been doing a big stem cell research project at Columbia.”


Yang shrugged, “She's all right. And now Seattle Grace will actually have a cardio fellowship program that might be able to compete with Stanford.”

“You went there right? For your doctorate?”

Cristina seemed surprised by Arizona's knowledge and her voice softened, “I did. Yes.”

“Thinking about going back there for your fellowship?”

She hesitated, “I haven't decided yet.”

“You're a good resident Yang. If you want that fellowship they'll give it to you.”

“Seattle Grace could do great things in the next few months too.”

Right. With that witch Hahn running things? And Callie, their best surgeon, demoted to picking up shifts in the ER? Arizona didn't say anything. Bad mouthing Hahn right after what had happened wouldn't be professional. It would…it would be like she was Hahn herself.

“There's always this urge to stay at the same place for your fellowship that you did your residency. A lot of doctors get that urge. I got it, but it is kind of like doing your undergrad and med school at the same university. It makes you appear limited you know? And it isn't like—well like Meredith and Shepherd. I could see her wanting to stay to be with him, but you don't have that right? You're tetherless. And at this point in your career that's a very good thing.”

Yang nodded and they continued the procedure.

Afterwards they were both in the scrub room tossing their old gowns when Cristina said suddenly, “Why does everyone assume I don't have a life outside this hospital?”


“You said I'm tetherless. I'm not.”

“I'm sorry.”

“I have reasons to stay. People I care about.”


“And I get you wanting to deflect everyone's attention in there from what happened with Hahn but in the future I would appreciate it if you didn't use me to do that.”

Yang didn't wait for Arizona to apologize and was out of the room before she could even come up with an appropriate response.

She found her lab coat and shrugged it on, shoving her scrub cap into the pocket and picking up her crutches so she wouldn't have to limp through the hospital.. She should have changed, Grey frowned on attendings moving about the hospital in scrubs outside of the surgical floor. “It isn't professional,” she said. But Arizona was so completely flabbergasted by all the hate being spewed in her general direction that she didn't care.

She stepped out into the stairwell and was delighted to see Calliope trudging up the same stairs with her head down. She was giving some serious thought to something and didn't notice Arizona until she stepped in front of her and gently took her by the lapels of her coat.

“Hey,” she said softly.

The frown marring Callie's features disappeared, “Hey.”

She kissed her—savoring the cool touch of Callie's pliant lips beneath her own. Callie smiled into the kiss and tilted her head to allow for a much better angle.

Arizona sighed. “This is nice,” she murmured.

“Kind of what I was hoping for last night.”

“I fell asleep.”

“You did, but it was adorable.”

“Make it up to you?”

Callie pulled her closer, “You better.”

Arizona leaned against Callie, propping her arms on her shoulders and leaning in. Her crutches-no longer supporting her weight, clattered down onto the stairs. She ignored them and pressed into Callie.

Callie carefully wrapped her hands around Arizona's waist and deepened the kiss.

“How about tonight.”

Callie froze.

“I mean, if that's okay. It could be too soon right? U-Hauls and stuff. I know the drill. Nevermind.” Arizona started to pull away but Callie held her close.

“Tonight would be fine, but I've got three kids.”


She asked hopefully, “You could come over?”

And do dinner and Disney movie with three kids after spending her entire day around kids? The prospect was…not ideal. Only she'd already kind of shot herself in the foot asking for a date on short notice.


Callie frowned. “Really?”

No. Not even a little bit. “Yes,” Arizona said more enthusiastically. She kissed the tip of Callie's nose. “Dinner with you and your kids sounds like fun.”

“It's just…I mean you'd have to be a friend, because I haven't told them yet and I know you're against the whole closet thing and you know what? Let's just…”

“Hey, I gotta admit, closet time isn't on my to do list,” or kids, “but I sleep bailed on what should have been an awesome date last night and I should make it up to you with fun times at your house. I'll bring donuts. There's this new place that makes, like, cake size donuts with bacon and actual buttercream frosting on them.”


“Yes, they're huge.”

She shook Arizona gently, “I meant about dinner” she teased.

“Dinner works too.”

Callie seemed to accept that response and took a seat on the step. She automatically held out a hand to support Arizona as she joined her.

“How are the multitude of scrapes and bruises?”

“Healing. Hopefully I'll be off of crutches in a week or two.”

Callie nodded and moved to lay her head on Arizona's shoulder. It was such a—familiar gesture. Natural and right. Arizona allowed herself a private smile and lay her head atop Callie's.

“Everything okay?” She sat up just long enough to kiss the top of Callie's head, before returning to her previous position.

“I met Owen's…whatever today. His friend? She was his best friend in Iraq and now she's my boss and also she's a she.”

“Is she a she like me or a she like—“

“Straight she. Definitely straight she. She was babbling in the OR about the great research funding we get and how wonderful Hahn is but it was clearly just a cover for her real reason.”



“Are you…okay?”

Callie pulled herself closer. So that she was almost buried in Arizona's side. “I thought I wasn't. But then I saw you.” She looked up. “I'm okay when I'm with you.”


Callie kissed her cheek. “Really.”

“I got called a tramp in the OR.”


Arizona pouted which on her often looked more like a frown.

“I needed someone else to have a sucky work day besides me. Wait. Who called you a tramp?”

“Hahn. I think…I slept with her girlfriend.”

Callie turned stiff, “Recently or…”

Arizona shrugged, “As I don't think she's sleeping with your or Amelia I'm guessing this knowledge is new to her and old to the girlfriend.”

“Are there a lot of options…I mean how many—“

“A couple before Amelia.”


Deflection successful. Arizona would have patted herself on the back but she was too busy being annoyed that she even had to say something besides the truth. Callie had proven herself to be a little…skittish. Which was totally understandable. Just. Well it was difficult to deal with.

“So Altman is Owen's friend?”

“Looks that way.”

She wondered if Yang knew. Not that Yang and Owen were actually doing anything. As far as she knew they were just weird bonding buddies in the basement.

“Want me to go punch her? Strictly out of sight of anyone.”

“You're a surgeon. You're not allowed to punch people.”

“Yeah but I'm an awesome puncher. I wouldn't botch it like Mark and Shepherd,” she mimicked a punch, “just ‘bam,' in and out. Army girl wouldn't know what hit her.”

“Why do I get a feeling this is some Army and Marine thing?”

“Hoo wah,” Arizona said before stealing another kiss.


Chapter 21

“Come here kiddo,” Callie said with a grunt. She stooped down and picked Allegra up swinging her around so she straddled Callie's hip. The boys were already strapped into their stroller and ready to go.

“Are we seeing Daddy tonight?”

She pushed the stroller forward and shook her head. “Sorry Allegra, Daddy's staying with his mom tonight. But I have a friend coming over.”

“But I want Daddy!”

“I know you do.”

She gave Allegra a little bump to soothe her but that just made her crankier. Gavin twisted in his seat to see what was making Allegra irritated then made a grunting noise himself. Because Gavin was currently stuck on either grunts or giggles. He refused to make any other noises.

“Use your words,” she said.

He refused and Callie rolled her eyes. She'd need to have a sit down with Owen and the daycare staff to sort that one out.

The elevator opened, and there he was, looking hang dog as always.

“Daddy!” Allegra immediately reached out to be held by her father and he caught her up with one hand while holding the elevator open with the other.


He nodded.

Allegra was quickly becoming delighted with the idea that she'd demanded it and her father had appeared. She tugged at his shirt collar and asked, “Can you come over tonight?”


He looked over at Callie and seemed to read her mind, “I uh…I've got some things I have to do.”


Another glance back at Callie, only this time they were commiserating. Allegra had been begging a lot since they'd split up. Using the split to play one parent against the other and often times getting exactly what she desired.

“I'm sorry.”

The finality of his apology turned Allegra sullen and she crossed her arms and ducked her head into his neck where she started mumbling about something.

The elevator opened and they all stepped out—almost like a family. Owen, rather than pass off his surly daughter again, walked with them to Callie's car.

“I met your old Army buddy,” she said. Just because it was true, and because the silence between them was vaguely uncomfortable, and she was actually maybe a little curious about the women.

“Yeah, she just showed up out of nowhere yesterday.”

“You didn't know she was coming?”

He shook his head. “She didn't tell me a word. I mean, it's nice. I've missed her. But it's still—“

It was clear he really didn't know what to feel about her. Especially as he had some nameless nurse or doctor at the hospital he also had feelings about.

They paused and loaded the kids in the car. Owen was radically different with the kids than with Callie. Allegra tried to tell him about her day and he listened and smiled and nodded and poked her in the stomach just to watch her giggle, and the boys, though still perhaps too young to get what was happening with their family, delighted in having their father in close proximity. Callie leaned against the car door and watched them.

But soon enough Allegra began her plaintive cries for Owen to come to dinner again and he reluctantly got out of the car. “I should probably—“ he motioned to his own truck, the same one he'd been driving since they met.

“You should come over. Tonight.”

He looked down at the children and back up at her. “Are you sure. I don't want to—“

“I'm sure. Come over. Have dinner. It'll be fun. Arizona's coming over as well. It can be my first dinner party as a single mom.”

That made Owen shake his head, “I don't think it counts if your guests are your kids, your ex and your new girlfriend.”



Usually when Cristina got a page she assumed it was because someone was dying and only her skilled hands could save them. When that page was to one of the research labs she wasn't quite as sure. Someone could be dying in a research lab, and they could require her hands, but shouldn't they move the dying person to the ER or something first?

When she opened the door and stepped into the well lit space she had to admit that what she found there wasn't what she'd expected. Teddy Altman, the new wonder doc and Hahn's next step in her bid to destroy Callie's career, was smiling like an idiot and bouncing up in down with excitement.

“You must be Yang. Hahn told me you were the resident to watch.”

What Hahn had meant was, “She's the resident we want to stay on after boards so kiss her ass.”

“Dr. Altman. I've read about your work at Columbia.”

“Read about,” she said, “but how would you like to be involved?”

“Excuse me?”

“I'm moving my work here to Seattle Grace and I need a whole new staff. With your background in biochemistry I think you'd be a perfect fit.”

“Wouldn't you prefer someone who is absolutely staying on to work on your project. I may only be here another few months.”

“I have people like that Cristina. But I'd still love your input.”

She looked around the lab. When Callie had been chief cardiothoracic surgeon she'd made a lot of big breakthroughs. But her breakthroughs were limited to the OR. They weren't the sort of things other doctors could put their names on. None of her residents could ever have co-written a paper with her on her groundbreaking artificial lung work.

This would give her just the kind of research she'd need going into boards. And it would make her more desirable to other surgical programs. Never mind that this was Owen's—whatever and she'd come and neatly put herself between Cristina and Owen.

“I don't know why I said yes,” she said to Meredith over dinner that night.

“I don't know either. Though working with Altman is great professionally and she doesn't know that you and Owen have a thing. It's like you're a spy in the other guy's camp.”

“Only the other guy probably knows how to kill people with a spoon.”

“Everyone knows how to kill people with a spoon Cristina. You learn that as an intern.”

“And if either of us really wanted to murder the other we'd just do a big dose of potassium chloride.”

“See. You'd definitely see a woman with a giant needle coming. But, I mean, you're still an idiot for saying yes. Because she likes your guy and you like your guy and who does he like?”

She sighed and leaned on her hand, “Maybe I should just give him up. It's not like we've even slept together.”

A fork dropped loudly onto a plate and Cristina looked up to find Meredith staring at her open mouthed, “Seriously? All this over a guy you're not even sleeping with?”



When the cab rolled up to Callie's house Arizona seriously considered telling him to keep driving. Not because of the major nerves doing things to her insides, or because she was so exhausted she could barely keep awake, but because Owen's truck was sitting in the driveway looking all normal. Like it belonged there. Like it wasn't a harbinger of doom.

But she'd said she was coming over for dinner and a Robbins did not back out of anything—even a dinner date complicated by kids and a husband her girlfriend had only just separated from.

She paid the cabby and then tried to figure out how to handle the donuts and her crutches. The door suddenly open and Callie reached in.

“Hey,” she said with a quick peck to Arizona's cheek. “Saw your cab pull up.” She took the box of donuts and stepped back to hold out a hand and help Arizona out.

“Yeah I had him sitting here a minute.” She nodded towards Owen's truck. “Everything okay?”

“This thing with Altman appearing out of nowhere had him freaked. So I kind of invited him to dinner.”


“I should have told you.”

Yes, she should have. “No, it's fine. I can come back—“

Callie shook her head and grasped Arizona's hand, “Not a chance.”

“You don't think it wouldn't be a little awkward having your ex and your girlfriend at the same dinner table?”

That stopped Callie. She looked down to where she was still holding Arizona's hand, tugging her towards the most uncomfortable meal they'd ever share, then down at the donuts, and finally back at the house.

Arizona decided to make it easy for her, “There's a sandwich place around the block. I'll go get something to eat. And if, after Owen leaves, you still want to try your hand at a date you can call me.”

She started to get back in the cab and Callie leaned on the door, “But you hate sandwiches,” she said.

Arizona looked up at her. She was so earnest. Concerned about Arizona having to eat bread and meat smooshed together. “Yeah, but I don't mind if it means seeing you afterwards.”

Callie nodded dumbly and started to hand the donuts back.

“Keep them. I got everyone one. Just…save the strawberry one?”



Owen carefully plated the pasta then slung the dishtowel over his shoulder and turned to watch Callie enter. Alone.

“Where's Arizona?”

“She—something came up. With a friend. Or something. Urgent. She's going to come back over in a little bit.”

Behind Owen the sauce for the pasta came to an audible boil.

“I wrecked your date didn't I?”

“I think me inviting you was the date ruiner.”

“Probably didn't help.”

She sighed and sat down at the table. Over their heads there was a loud thump as one sibling did something to another. Then the high pitched giggles of Allegra and…Gavin. Definitely Gavin.

“It was supposed to be our third date. We've gone on two so far and they've both ended in disaster or sleeping or both and this was going to be our third.”


She looked up at him with eyes begging for understanding, “You know what a third date is right?”

“The one following the second?”

“The sex date.”

He grinned. Their first date had been their sex date.

Reading his mind she pursed her lips. “Usually. Usually the sex date.”

“I don't think a lot of sex dates happen at your home with three kids down the hall.”

“Right? But what if they do? She brought donuts Owen. And she was smiling and looking adorable and sexy and—what if it turned into a sex date. And then it turned out that all these feelings I have are—are wrong. That they're just super friendly feelings. What if I get…places and they are not awesome? Or what if we get places and she's awesome and I'm—I'm a virgin Owen.”


“With women. I've never done anything with women and now there's this one woman and—“

Owen came around the table and grasped her hand before taking the seat beside her. “And women talk right? So talk to her.”

“But she's been places. Amelia's just the tip of what I'm thinking is a very laaaarge iceburg of women.”

“So tell her that. Tell her that.”

“Instead of my ex.”

“Right. The therapist and I are still hard at work on the emotion thing.”

“Can you give me tips at least?”

About emotions? He tried to—oh. Oh no. “I struggle daily with the idea that you're seeing someone else Callie. And that that person is a woman is a little weird. Please don't ask me to give you sex tips.”

“But you're good.”


“Owen. I've got nothing. A vibrator and a shower head and a gyney rotation as a med student are the sum total of my experie—“

Owen abruptly stood up. “Nope. Not doing this. This is a…a violation of boundaries.”

“I've brushed my teeth while you were naked on the toilet. What kind of boundaries are you talking about?”

“The kind I'm implementing right now. The kind that say any and all discussions of our individual sex lives are now firmly off the table.”

Callie leaned on her hand, “Your therapist told you to say that didn't she.”

“No. But if she'd just witnessed this conversation she would have.”

Callie seemed to accept that and got up to check on the sauce. But she still seemed…fidgety. Unsure. And that wasn't something he really ever considered Callie. She was always certain. Even when she had no idea what she was doing she was certain.

“I see how she looks at you.” She set the spoon down and turned to lean against the sink. “After that time she babysat I started noticing it. She doesn't look at you like she does Amelia or any other woman at that hospital. You're special to her.”

“Right,” she laughed and rubbed at her nose. “Owen—“

“She doesn't have to date the married woman with kids. And we both know that. She's with you because she likes you. And she knows about your…experience right? So talk and if she's not crazy, she'll listen.”



Arizona had a lot of time to herself. First while trying to eat a stringy roast beef sandwich in a sandwich place that promised the best sandwich in Seattle and instead delivered something rating well below that. Then in the cab.

The more she was alone with her thoughts the more bitter those thoughts turned. Images of Owen Hunt laughing with her girlfriend. Sleeping with her girlfriend. Being where she was pretty sure she wanted to be and absconding with it all.

When Callie's text came an hour and a half after they'd last seen each other those thoughts only got angrier. The text had been terse. Just telling her to come over. Mentioning something about the coast being clear.

Like she was some—some—like she was the girlfriend straight girls didn't want the world to see. Hidden away for when family time was over for the day.

If she'd had a cigarette on her she would have been puffing on it irritably.

But damn it. She still was kind of very much into Callie Torres so like an idiot she gave the cab driver Callie's address and stared out the window stone faced.

Callie was waiting for her on the curb when she drove up. It wasn't raining but the fog was heavy enough to be more like a light mist and Callie had an umbrella up to ward it off. But that was a bad sign. People waited at curbs to give bad news. To cut dates short before they even started. To break pediatric surgeons' hearts.

Then she noted the empty drive way. Owen was gone. And Callie wasn't looking like she was about to give Arizona bad news. In fact—she was smiling.

It was better than a hit of nicotine to Arizona's system.

“Want me to wait,” the cab driver asked.

“No. I'm good.”



They settled on the couch. Owen had helped Callie put the kids to bed before he left and things were quiet beyond the swish of the dishwasher running in the kitchen. It was just her and Arizona and a bottle of wine. She poured them each an ample glass and handed Arizona her's with an apology.


Arizona quietly sipped her wine and waited.

“I invited my ex to my date with my current girlfriend.”

The blond smiled into her glass. “You did,” she said softly.

“And he ate your donut.”

Her eyes were inscrutable. Dark in the low light of the living room. Unreadable even if it had been bright. “Is that why you're plying me with wine? To apologize for the donut?” Her tone was playful, but Callie was getting better at reading Arizona and she could see the hurt there, just below the surface.


Arizona set her glass down and rubbed her hands along her thighs. “So why the wine?”

“I cockblocked us tonight. And I shouldn't have. But I did. I was terrified—“

“I'm not pushing for anything Callie.”

“No. I know. You're patient. You're frickin' Job. But I'm not. I'm a third date kind of gal. I've always been that way. Since high school when I slept with guys sometimes so I wouldn't feel like such a weirdo. That's my normal Arizona. I need it to be.”

“What are you saying?” She was pulling back. Leaning into the arm rest of the couch and looking more guarded than ever.

“I'm saying—I'm freaking out. I tried not to. I tried to make us normal. But this. Us. It isn't normal.”

Now she wasn't even guarded. There was bitterness in her voice. “Because I'm a woman.”

“Yes.” But before Arizona could move. Before the anger now seeping out of her could build into a fully righteous fury Callie reached out and grabbed her wrist. “But more because what I feel for you is way more than I've ever felt for anyone. Certainly a guy. I'm terrified of this. Of us.”

That seemed to be understood. Arizona nodded to herself and chewed on her lower lip. “And the woman thing isn't helping,” she said more for her own understanding than Callie's.

“I'm sorry.”

“So…what do we do?”

Callie's heart was beating so fast in her chest she was positive Arizona would be able to hear it if she leaned forward. “We get to normal.”

The smile on Arizona's lips was the goofiest one she'd ever seen from the woman. “Yeah?”

Callie moved across the couch and into Arizona's space. Arizona didn't shy away. In fact she moved forward. As if kissing Callie was the most natural thing in the world. But she stopped herself just inches from Callie's lips. Forcing Callie to finish things.

So she lurched forward, smashing her mouth against Arizona's. Arizona's hand came up between them and pressed against the flat of Callie's chest. But she didn't push her back. “Shh,” she whispered against the press of Callie's lips. Callie's tried to deepen the kiss but Arizona pushed her with a little more force. She was slowing Callie down. Guiding her away from the frenzied kiss she'd initiated and into something more gentle.

“I'm terrified of this,” Callie said.

Arizona studied her. Made some decision in her head. “Come on.”

She grasped Callie's hand and pulled her up, then reached for one of her crutches. Wordlessly she led Callie up the stairs and to her bedroom. She sat Callie down on the bed and made herself busy making sure the door was shut firmly and the lights weren't too bright or too dark.

Then she came back to stand in front of Callie, who was rooted to her spot on the bed. Her heart felt like it was going to beat out of her chest at any moment. Her breath came in hitches.

She was always a confident person. She didn't get scared. She didn't shy away from challenges. She savored them and worked hard to make sure she succeeded. But Arizona, being with Arizona, it was unlike anything else. Her feelings were too intense. The change required to accept them too great. This wasn't just about love or a crush of escaping her destroyed marriage. This was about a woman. A beautiful and perfect woman who wanted her . It was like there was someone in Callie's chest with her, beating against her ribs with a hammer.

Arizona knelt in front of her, wincing as her ankle protested the movement. Callie started to say something but one look stole her words. Slowed the beating of her heart. Arizona's eyes were navy in the dull yellow light of the bedroom. “We're going to take this slow,” she said. Bracing herself with a hand on Callie's knee she leaned in between Callie's legs and pushed the hair away from her face. She gently kissed her cheek. “Because this is important to me. And it's important to you.” Her lips travelled lower, building a fire in Callie and burning like embers on her neck. “I want you to trust me.” She gently nipped at Callie's pulse point. “And I'll trust you too.”

Callie sighed and relaxed into Arizona's touch. Her hands were around Callie's waist and then under her shirt, massaging the hot flesh there and stoking the fire. Soon her hands moved up taking Callie's shirt with them. They pulled apart so Arizona could get Callie's shirt off. Arizona smiled.

“You're stunning,” she said softly.

Callie pulled her close again and tried to kiss her, but Arizona had other ideas. She gently pushed Callie back and climbed up onto the bed next to her. Then she simply touched her. Allowed herself to explore Callie's body. Her fingers electrified Callie. They moved along her neck and into the valley of her breasts and down to her navel then back up again.

“Tell me if I go too fast?”

What could Callie say? Arizona was unmaking her in ways she could barely fathom. She had enough lovers to compare Arizona to. Ones who had been just as gentle. Ones who were rough. Men who had no idea what they were doing and men who'd make Mark Sloan look inexperienced.

But none looked at her like Arizona did. She watched Callie. Focused on her acutely. Worshipped her. And when she pulled of Callie's pants and knelt between her legs she unravelled her completely.

Afterwards Callie lay in a sheets dampened by sweat and tried to catch her breath. Arizona slinked up her body and hovered over her. “You doing okay?” And she wasn't asking like some proud lover. She genuinely wanted to know.

Callie nodded and tried to keep the unbidden tears back. “It was amazing,” she said breathlessly.

Arizona frowned, “Are you—?”

She dug her hand into Arizona's hair and yanked her down into a kiss, because she really didn't want her to know that she was near tears. Arizona tried to pull away but Callie was bigger, stronger, and finding the taste of herself on Arizona absolutely erotic.

“I think,” she said between kisses, “this night would get a whole lot better if you were naked.”

Arizona straddled Callie. “Did I just create a monster,” she asked, equal parts bemused and excited.

Callie bit her lip and thrust her hips up. Arizona gasped at the sensation. It was just the distraction she needed. She sat up and yanked Arizona's shirt and bra off in one only slightly awkward movement. Her earlier concerns. Her odd misgivings about women. About being with them. It disappeared at the sight of a topless Arizona Robbins.

“I can't believe I was such an idiot,” she muttered. She started to kiss Arizona but stopped, “I'm new at this okay? I might not—“

Arizona took her right hand and guided it past the waist of her jeans and into the warmest, slickest and most wonderful place Callie's hand had ever been. “I think you might be a natural at this.”

She totally was.

Chapter 22

Arizona was accustomed to a number of reactions after sleeping with a woman. Some couldn't get enough of her touch and would curl into her body seeking as much skin on skin contact as possible. Others had their orgasm, thanked her and flitted out like a pillow princess, never to be seen again. Some lay perfectly still and had to process things. Some cried. Some laughed.

Callie studied her while allowing Arizona to use her arm as a pillow. Her fingertips lightly traced the contours of Arizona's face and her eyes, black as her hair in the low light of the bedroom followed the track of her fingers.

“Hey,” Arizona said. Breaking the peace on the room with her low tone. “You okay?”

The sex had been…good. Callie was new to it and she moved quickly. Her passion often outweighing her sensibility. Arizona had expected something long and slow and luxurious and awe inspiring and instead Callie had fingered her to orgasm and then settled back to contemplate it all.

She knew it hadn't been bad. The way Callie had moved beneath her. Her quiet gasps as Arizona went down on her. Every quiver and moan and intimate exhalation. She was often crap at reading people, but she excelled at reading women in bed. She'd been brilliant and Callie had responded accordingly.

But it had all felt so…perfunctory. Like they were ticking sex off a list and now Callie was quiet and studious and desperate for contact but unwilling to do…more.

“That was awesome,” Callie said. “Really…really great.”

“Yeah, you're kind of a natural.”

Callie laughed and rolled onto her back. “Lot of practice in the shower.”

Silence fell. A kind Arizona's high school and college years had intimately attuned her to. This was the “there's nothing left to say and I guess you should go home” silence. She recognized it immediately and sat up and tried to push down the anger welling up inside of her. Callie was still staring up at the ceiling deep in thought. She wasn't paying attention to Arizona anymore.

So Arizona took a moment—just a brief one—to watch Callie instead. To memorize every perfect inch of visible skin. Every curve. Every mole. Every freckle. She didn't want to forget the way Callie's breasts moved when she breathed, or how nipples looked when she was relaxing in bed. Or her hair, that after sex hair, mussed but still styled looking.

Callie realized she was being watched and caught Arizona's eye. God those eyes. Darker than any she'd ever looked into. They were brown usually, but here, in this bedroom, they were the night sky during a new moon and she was lost in their shadow.

She started to open her mouth. To excuse herself. To flee Callie's bedroom and try to process what the hell had just happened. But Callie, as if reading her thoughts, reached out and caught her wrist. “Hey,” she said softly. She tugged until Arizona fell back into the bed and then wrapped one long leg around Arizona's naked thighs and pulled her closer. “Are you okay?”

“I'm fine.” Part of her was thinking how stupid she'd been. Offering to teach Callie. Dating a straight woman in the first place. Or maybe she wasn't straight. Maybe she was gay, but she was still so full of emotions and reactions completely foreign to Arizona's own experience. This was exactly why she avoided straight girls. The drama. They hadn't even talked yet—really—and the drama was bubbling up all around them.

“Because you kind of look like Allegra when I caught her practicing her name on the wall with a pencil.”

“No reall—“

Callie leaned in and silenced her weak protest with a kiss. That was it. That was why she was stupid. That was why she was risking her very sanity to be with this woman. Callie kissed her and every lover she'd ever had disappeared.

She closed her eyes and gave into the sensation of Callie's lips on her own. She could feel Callie's thumb lightly stroking her cheek and she reached up to hold the hand in place and wallow in the sensation. Their body were pressed together and the heat given off by Callie's naked flesh was absolutely intoxicating. She was stroking the back of Arizona's leg with her foot. Moving in long languid movements that periodically had her center pressed against Arizona.

“Was that you doing the lesbian processing thing?”

Arizona ran her hand over Callie's breast. “Have you been talking to Mark?” She dipped her head down and took a dark brown nipple into her mouth.

Callie gasped and reached up to keep Arizona's head in place. “Reading a lot of erotica. Boning—“ she involuntarily thrusted against Arizona, “—boning up on my girl on girl. God your mouth. I want to embronze it.” Arizona smiled and slipped a hand between them. She ran her finger lightly over Callie's labia before running her thumb across her clit. “Also your fingers. Holy hell.”

“Totally better than with a guy right?”

It was a split second. It Arizona hadn't looked up into Callie's face when she'd said it she would have missed it. Callie looked—for just an instant between sighs of passion—like she wasn't sure.

Arizona's hand paused in between Callie's legs and she tilted back to look at her girlfriend. “Right?”

That was the worst possible question to ask because Callie immediately looked like she wanted to answer it and it wouldn't be the answer Arizona necessarily wanted to hear.

“It's different.”

“But not better.”


“I'm amazing you know. Fucking awesome.”

“And I would agree with that.”

She pulled her hand out in wiped it in the sheets between them. “Okay. So what's the problem?”

Callie sat up, her perfect breasts bouncing with the movement, and almost—almost distracting Arizona from this conversation. “There isn't a problem.”

“Uh yeah. There kind of is.”

“I'm sorry your ego is waning in the sight of my…bisexuality or whatever…but I just had sex with my very first woman and I'm trying to process.”

Arizona leapt out of the bed and pulled on her pants.

Callie knelt in the middle of the bed and reached out to grab Arizona's arm. “Would you just listen?”

“This is why I don't do this Callie! I don't want to be your experiment.”

“Did I say you were?”

Well technically… No. Screw Callie. She looked around for her shirt and saw it puddled up next to Callie's dresser. She walked towards it and her ankle, still very much sprained despite all the sexy time, gave out. She fell with a whoomp and Callie scrambled off the end of the bed to help her.

“I'm fine,” she said. She tried to shove her away but the other woman was strong like a linebacker and held her down firmly by the shoulders.

“Would you just listen to me for half a second Arizona?”

She was leaning over her and looking so damned earnest and all Arizona could think about was how stupid she'd been. Falling for her and then sleeping with her. She didn't try to struggle anymore but crossed her arms and looked away.

“Until you there wasn't anyone okay? It's been guys my whole life. And I just thought…” She sighed and her voice became more intimate, “you know how you're in a body and you can see the vascular structure. And you can do the surgery all right. But then the nurse puts your loupes on and suddenly everything is perfectly clear? It all makes sense? I thought—I thought I'd sleep with you and it would all make sense.”

“I don't understand,” she muttered sullenly.

“Before we slept together I thought I was maybe gay, like a lesbian. But then there wasn't that moment with the loupes. I didn't suddenly understand my sexuality or something.”

She desperately wanted to struggle and get away from this completely naked and beguiling woman. Wanted to go back to her apartment, finish that half bottle of wine on her dresser and cry for a few hours over being such a monumental idiot. Women like Callie should just wear a sign around their neck: “It's a trap!” Because that's all they were to well meaning lesbians like herself.

Callie gripped her tighter, as if sensing her disassociation with the conversation. “But then I remembered kissing you. That was the moment Arizona. It wasn't finally having sex. It was kissing you in that bathroom.”

Arizona finally tilted her head to actually look at Callie and damn it, she looked so earnest. So certain. She was even smiling. That stupid perfect smile of hers.

“I don't know what I am, but I know what I am with you.”

She swallowed and realized her throat was exceedingly dry. Then she licked her lips and didn't fail to notice how Callie's eyes darted down to watch the action before returning to stare into her own. “Really?”

“Yeah you dope, really.” She leaned down and stole a kiss. “Now would you come back to bed because I've got an early surgery in the morning and I need sleep.”

“But I could go.”

Callie's tone was just shy of frosty, “Get your ass in bed dummy.”



Being the inaugural fellow of Seattle Grace's “reinvigorated” cardio program meant crap pay compared to what she'd had, a loss of a very decent office, and work hours she thought she'd abandoned years before. The only saving grace was that Teddy Altman was so uncomfortable around her and terrified of her that she seemed to do whatever Callie asked and she was eager, unlike Devil Hahn, to help Callie complete her fellowship.

“Generally speaking cardiothoracic certification comes from the number of surgeries, which you're nearly at any ways. Then it's just the boards.”

“Everyone was kind of making it out to be a big deal though.”

“Well, you've essentially been your own mentor for the last two years Callie. You're amazingly gifted but that's incredibly unorthodox and it doesn't look good for Seattle Grace.”

So Callie was being sacrificed to fix Grey's staffing mistakes. “Awesome.”

“But,” Teddy was so damn optimistic, “I'm thinking you could have certification in a matter of months if you stop teaching residents and start snagging surgeries for yourself.”

It was the best news Callie had heard in a while but she was careful not to show her elation to Altman because the lean surgeon had a tendency to cause irrational jealousy to flare up in Callie's system.

And besides, there were other things on her mind. Like the fact she'd slept with Arizona last night. It had been good. A little weird. She'd only done hand stuff and was kind of amazed with herself for not showing off all the terror roiling around inside of her. Because she was seriously terrified of going…places. It had felt nice sure. And watching Arizona react to her every touch, her every thrust, had been—well it was empowering. But then it had also just been nice.

And like she'd told Arizona, she'd expected loupes instead of nice. She was at least glad she hadn't let it slip that the sex just seemed to be like sex with a guy. Arizona's bizarre panic attack had been bad enough without adding that fuel to the fire.

But she still needed to talk about it. Figure it all out. Because now that she'd had sex and gotten it out of the way there was all the other stuff. Like going down on her girlfriend. And just taking time to actually be girlfriends. And getting comfortable with telling other people—and oh God her parents. She was going to have to tell them at some point.

If she even kept dating Arizona! Which she wanted to. Arizona was amazing and inspiring and even though the sex was confusing the Arizona part was perfect.

She saw Owen moving laconically down the hallway with his nose in a chart and yanked him into an on-call room. He was suitably confused. “Wha—“

“No. Shh. I have a problem.”

“Is it the kids?”

“They're fine.”

“Is Teddy…is there a Teddy thing?”

“No. It's an Arizona thing.”

He rolled his eyes.

“I'm serious Owen. She and I slept together last night and it was great, but it wasn't insanely ‘now I'm gay' great you know? I just feel like me and I've read so much stupid erotic preparing for this that I kind of just assumed there was going to be this big earth shattering moment and there wasn't. It was just good. And—I mean it could be great. I was kind of rushing because I was terrified and she was definitely doing some kid glove handling herself because I think she has some issues but—Owen what's wrong?”

Her perception of his emotions during her rant were only tangential but as she quickly revisited what she'd just witnessed she realized he'd gone from annoyed to horrified to really, really mad.

“You slept with her?”

“Yes?” What was the problem?

He took a deep breath and started to pace but haltingly stopped. He opened his mouth in what looked like a preparation for a tirade. Again he stopped.


His hand curled into a fist and he turned completely rigid.

“Owen. You…you knew she and I were going to sleep together.”

The sharp look he gave her said otherwise, “The idea of you one day sleeping with someone besides me while we're still married was hard to get my head wrapped around. You actually doing it. With a doctor from this hospital. And then telling me?”

“You're my friend—“

“I'm your husband!”

“Uh no. You aren't.”

“Oh I'm sorry Callie. Did you send over the papers from your divorce attorney you haven't even bothered to hire yet?”

She hadn't. In fact she'd been putting it off. Putting it all out of mind. She was with Arizona now and Owen had whoever he had and they were fine. She thought.

“Wait. Owen you choked me. I broke two of your ribs. You've been living with your mother for the last month. I am dating a woman . What part of that spelled reconciliation to you?”

“The rest of the hospital doesn't even know you're gay Callie. You keep talking about divorce and can't get off your ass to actually file and you invite me to dinner to avoid sleeping with your girlfriend. So you tell me. I mean, Jesus! I told you last night not to tell me about this stuff. I made it really clear and then you drag me in here and act like I wouldn't be upset about you fucking someone else?”

It was like being hit by a truck while driving through an intersection. Callie was trying to grasp it all. To see the picture that everyone else saw. But there was nothing there, just her myopic view of the world and her husband, her actual husband—not her ex husband, was furious at her. Accusing her. Acting like—

“Really? You want to get mad about me and Arizona? What about you? What were you and Teddy doing alone in the office on Skype every night? Huh? And your resident or intern or whatever? Down in the basement? Were you just cuddling?”

“Leave Teddy and Cristina out of this,” he growled.

Now it was like waves crashing inside her head. Absolute white noise. No words. How. She was her resident? Her student! And— “You're sleeping with Yang? A woman I work with every damned day?”

He must not have realized he'd said her name because he looked all the world like a husband caught in flagrante delicto. “I—I thought you knew. Arizona—“

She slapped him. Hard. So hard her hand stung and the fire went straight up her arm. Five bright read fingers flared up on the pale skin of his cheek.

He was fucking Cristina Yang and her girlfriend knew.

Chapter 23

Righteous rage was a powerful thing. People blacked out when they got mad enough. People could perform impossible feats when mad enough. Callie Torres could eviscerate her girlfriend even.

She found her up in Peds talking to a kid in a wheelchair and she had to pause, because evisceration in front of minors wasn't exactly something she was crazy about doing.

And pausing allowed her to watch her girlfriend and her easy way with kids. It was funny. Around Callie's kids she could sometimes be…uncomfortable. Like she didn't know how to handle kids. Which was bizarre because she was a pediatric surgeon and currently making a sick child feel great about his day.

But that's the way Arizona seemed to be. A mess of contradictions that never made sense. She told Callie they'd go slow then they went fast. She acted like Callie's rock and then tried to bail before the sweat on their skin had even dried. She told her she cared and then kept something like Owen's relationship with Yang from her. As a person she didn't make sense and Callie honestly couldn't figure out quite how to grasp her. She was mercurial to an absolute damned fault.

She noticed Callie then and stuck her hands in her pocket and approached. “Hey.”

She looked so affable, and beautiful. And the asshole knew about Owen and Yang.

“I talked to Owen,” she said in a low voice. Arizona raised an eyebrow and smiled. “And he let slip his dalliances with Yang.” She was still smiling but now looked slightly puzzled. “And then he let slip that you knew.” Gotcha . The smile slipped. “So I walked down here to Peds trying to fathom how the woman I just slept with would keep a really damned important detail like that from me.”

“Callie I—“

“Betrayed my trust? Used me?”

“It wasn't my place to say—”

Callie stepped close and lowered her voice further, “Bullshit Arizona. You knew and said nothing. That's not what friends do. And it sure as hell isn't what girlfriends do.”

She really wanted to say more but the kid in the wheelchair was looking at them curiously and Callie was so mad she wanted to hurt something. So she gritted her teeth, turned on her four hundred dollar heels and left.



“Dr. Yang!”

Cristina tossed her empty coffee cup and turned to see Altman jogging up. “So you're on my service today.”

She raised an eyebrow, “I am.”

The GI Jane grinned, “Great. I'm really excited. Are you really excited? Two brilliant surgeons savings lives and taking names.”

“Sure.” This woman was so…happy.

“You work with Torres a lot right?”

“Um, yes? She was head of the department for two years before Hahn.”

Teddy shook her head, “I'm still amazed at that. Three kids, fresh out of her residency, no accreditation from FACS and running the cardiothoracic department of the best hospital in the country.”

Cristina wasn't one for defending others, especially Torres but she had to admit, “She's an extraordinary surgeon. Every bit as good as Burke or Hahn.”

“You think so?”

She realized Teddy wasn't trying to bring Callie down. She was just trying to get a read on the other woman and using Cristina, the hospital's top surgical resident, as a gauge for how others perceived her. Cristina narrowed her eyes when she realized exactly what was going on. Altman was sizing up her competition. Professionally.

“I mean, she's got to be great right? Owen Hunt wouldn't marry a fellow surgeon if she was bad at her job.” Professionally and personally.

The object of their discussion rounded the corner and in her high heels, impeccable coat and skirt and flawless makeup she immediately put Cristina and Teddy's baggy scrubs to shame. Seeing both of them she stalked towards them, and were Cristina the sort to pale before confrontation she would have at that moment, because Callie was coming towards them and she was righteously pissed.

“Altman. Yang. How are you?”

“Fine ma'am.” Really. Really pissed. This was the Ice Queen—a name Callie earned after saving a man from paralysis in her fifth year using therapeutic hypothermia, and one furthered by her generally frosty demeanor with her residents and interns.

But Altman didn't know that, “Dr. Torres! Excited about our plans?”

“Sure. Super excited. Just a real quick question. Shouldn't take long. How long have you two been sleeping with my husband?”

Cristina's mouth dropped open. Beside her Altman made the exact same face. She tried—really tried—to understand what that meant, who had told Callie that and if it was true in Altman's case.

“Oh. Stunned into silence. Cool. I hope you both go to hell,” she said brightly, like she was telling them to have fun at the mall, “and now if you'll excuse me I've got a surgery to get to. Fuck you very much.”

She spun on those ridiculous heels she wore when she wasn't in surgery and left so breezily Cristina half expected her to raise her hand and snap as she walked out.

Beside her Altman finally found her voice, “You're sleeping with Owen?”

“We're just friends. You?”


“Do you…want to?”

Altman nodded in the direction Callie had just gone, “Not if she's guarding the castle doors.”



The clack of crutches on the tiled floor were Owen's first indication that someone was coming up to the bench he was sitting on. As his wife had a girlfriend currently on crutches and as he'd accidentally made that same wife angry with that girlfriend he was sure he knew who it was.

She stopped directly in front of him.

“You're sleeping with Yang?”


“But Callie thinks you are.”


“And she thinks I know.”


“Did you even try to tell her otherwise?”

“Callie isn't really a big fan of listening to reason when spinning into a tirade.”

Robbins nodded, sucking on her cheek and absorbing that.

“So you two…finally slept together?”

She studied him a moment before sitting down with a huff and setting her crutches between them. He shouldn't have asked her that. He could hear the bitterness in his own voice and was positive she'd heard it too.

“We did.”

“And was it…”

“You still care for her,” she said softly.

He clenched his jaw, thought about it a moment, and then he said it, “She's my wife.”

Robbins laughed and he was surprised at just how bitter she sounded. “I'm such an idiot.”

“Excuse me?”

“You two—I'm just a pawn right? A way for you two to have it out. The rebound for the straight girl.”


“She came into my Peds ward today furious. At first I thought she was mad at me because I had suspicions about you and Yang and didn't tell her. But she was really just mad that you're moving on right?” She bit her lip and shook her head. “I—have fun Hunt.”

She pulled herself up and clicked and clacked away.

That wasn't—it was complicated between him and Callie. They still cared. He still cared. He couldn't shut it off just because they realized they no longer worked. And really, as much as he cared for Callie it was Cristina he was in love with. She was the one that calmed him down and she was the one that stood by him when his PTSD reached his zenith. Sure they hadn't slept together, but one day, one day soon he'd be ready. He'd be ready for a commitment his wife had apparently leapt for without consideration for anything else.

He just had to be slow. Methodical. Patient. He had to do the exact opposite of what he and Callie both did.

Owen briefly considered chasing Robbins down and explaining all that. But then he remembered telling Callie about boundaries. Robbins was her problem, not his. So he leaned back on the bench and let the cool air of spring wash over him.

It was liberating.



“Dr. Robbins.”

Oh she was not in the mood for Erica Hahn and her problems. But she plastered on a happy face and turned to greet the woman who'd thoroughly embarrassed her the day before. “Dr. Hahn,” she said perkily, “Come to accuse me of fucking your girlfriend again? Or maybe your mother? Your best friend? Possibly some rich, dear old aunt.”

The woman had a small mouth and it grew smaller as she pursed her lips in annoyance. “I admit. Yesterday was—unprofessional.”

“Just a bit.”

“Turns out the woman I was living with recognized your name, extremely fondly. I don't—I didn't handle it well. But she and I ended things and I'm now ready to apologize and attempt to pursue a better working relationship. If you'll accept the apology.”

It was like the woman was attempting to milk a stone the way that apology came out, and Arizona had half a mind to tell her to go to hell. But she was also Callie's boss and if Arizona was getting along with her then maybe— “We can certainly try that, Erica.”

The woman bristled at Arizona using her first name.

“So you broke up with your girlfriend? Over me?”

“Don't flatter yourself Robbins. Your indiscretion with her was just the straw that broke the camel's back. And apparently you weren't even the only one.”

She pouted. That sucked. Between this mystery woman and Callie Arizona's ego was waning a little. “Okay, so besides apologizing in the most miserable way possible is there some other reason you wanted to speak with me?”

“Yes,” she waved a file in front of Arizona. “I've got a kid coming in. I worked with him at Seattle Pres for two years last year he had a transplant and now he's got complications. I'd love a consult.”

That was more Arizona's speed. Awesome medicine and curious collaboration. “Let's go take a look!”

They reached the elevator and Erica held it open so Arizona and her crutches would have an easier time. “So,” she asked conversationally, “apparently you've got a reputation around here—among our people I mean.”

She laughed, “Yes,” she said coyly, “ Our people do think fondly of me. Did you ask around?”

“One of the nurses decided to present the information to me after what happened yesterday.”


“So are you seeing someone now?”

Was Hahn…asking her out? If she was she was kind of awful at it. She had her nose buried in the file she was carrying. Arizona looked at her and then looked forward wide eyed with surprise. “I…” Was she? Were she and Callie really together? They hadn't been together much more than a week. Slept together once and already had two fights. Was that a relationship or just a mess? And Owen was still there. Married to her girlfriend.

Was some inexplicable feeling deep in her chest enough to keep her with Callie? Was it enough to oversee all the bad and her eye on the future good?

Erica raised an eyebrow and now waited for an answer, “What do the idiot interns say on that stupid website? ‘It's complicated?' Right.”

But it wasn't. You were with someone or you weren't. You were with Arizona or you were with Owen. You weren't with both. You didn't flee one's bed to find emotional comfort in another. You didn't wiggle your fingers around in a woman—who was already so turned on she could have come with nothing but the arm of a nice chair—and count that as…

Damn it! She wanted Callie. She wanted mind blowing sex and she wanted to stay up late and talk and she wanted to go on trips to Spain and lay out on the beach and watch the surf roll in. She wanted saucy moments in on call rooms and bone liquifying looks over an OR table. She didn't want all this worry and indecision and feeling like she was worthless when she knew she wasn't.

She didn't want… She didn't want this.

“I might be available… Trying to ask me out on a date Dr. Hahn?”

The other woman smiled slyly with the unnerving quality of a serial killer. But it didn't make her feel like shit.



Mark checked his watch again. If he hurried he'd be able to make it to the overpriced butcher's to pick up the meat that he would then present to Addison as a peace offering. They'd slept together. Finally. It had been more than two months of abstinence on his part. After the second month it almost became a source of pride. He felt like he had super powers. Like a runner who pushed through the fatigue and got that huge rush of endorphins.

Also Addison had just pushed a baby out of her nethers and she really didn't seem super in the mood. But three nights ago they'd slept together and it had been fantastic, as usual and then she proposed to him.

And Mark ran. He woke Arizona up and dragged her out of bed and then went for a run—which was fortuitous because the next morning she maimed herself like a champ on her bicycle—but in the night air and with the remarkably astute Robbins at his side he figured it out. And when he got back to his apartment Addison and the baby were gone.

So he was picking up meat to serve as an apology. And also flowers. And a necklace. It was going to be epically romantic and she'd probably cry and then they'd have some sex and after all that he'd finally be able to start making things work with Derek again.

But first he had to change and when he ran into the locker room he found Torres there leaning against her locker and chatting very officiously with someone on the phone. He tried not to be nosey, but really, that was like asking him not to check out a good looking woman's ass.

“You still have the prenup on file right? No, it's just… We've been separated a while now and we're ready to make it official. Good. I'll stop by in an hour?”

She ended her call and glared at him. “Can I help you?”

“Getting a divorce. Finally making an honest woman of Robbins?”

She scoffed and turned around to get her bag out of her locker. “Please. Listen to all my telephone conversations. That's not an invasion of privacy or anything.”

“No. Sure. It isn't. And, for the record, I was actually being congratulatory. You two are cute together and Robbins seems to like you.”

“I like her to.” She shouldered her bag and approached him tentatively, “You're pretty close with her right? You all live across the hall and everything.”

He pulled his scrub top off and reveled in her very brief but appreciative look. “Right.”

“If, hypothetically, a woman told her girlfriend she's betrayed her trust and later realized she'd kind of flown off the handle like a crazy person, how much groveling would be involved?”

“A lot.”

“Because I'm new to the whole girlfriend thing. With a guy I'd just offer sex and a dvd or something. But with a woman.”

“Asking me for romantic advice Torres?”

“No,” she said sourly, “Asking you as Arizona's friend.”

“Well I'd probably be really open and honest and prepare my best sex techniques. Also I know she needs a new fork for her bike because she bent the last one in her crash.”

“How am I supposed to replace the fork on her bike?”

He shrugged and pulled on his shirt. “I've given you enough info as is. But grovel Torres. Robbins is worth it.”

Chapter 24

“My God. The HD. It makes it so perfect.”

“I know. You can see their pores.”

“You can see where that one waxed a monster bush.”

“Never mind! I hate the HD. HD is wrong!”

“Oh and that one has underarm stubble.”

“Turn it off Robbins. Turn it off!”

“But they're running through the surf and giggling in bikinis Sloan. This is—this is the new Baywatch.”

“Oh my God they're rolling around in the sand hugging each other.”

“I don't know what this show is or why it comes with my cable package but I need gay marriage legalized so I can marry it.”

“Didn't they legalize it a few months back?”

“Did they? I don't really keep up with gay stuff.”

“Worst lesbian ever.”

“Shh. The Brazilian one is making them all get in the bouncy Jeep so they can motor to the next location.”

“More like motorboat.”


“Whatever Robbins you were thinking it too.”



Three days. Three flipping days. Yes she'd acted like an asshole. She was totally willing to give on that. Yes, she'd said some mean things and yes, she'd essentially emotionally bailed after having sex with Arizona. But still three days? What kind of girlfriend avoided someone for three whole days?

They'd texted each other a few times and had two very distracted phone calls and seen each other across the hall, but between Arizona's superhuman avoidance technique and Callie's increased workload as a fellow there'd been no time to actually talk.

But she still managed to remember what kind of bike Arizona rode and was surprised when she showed up at the bike shop near the hospital and they not only knew what she should buy but they actually knew Arizona. Apparently she was really popular on “rides” and all the guys thought she was cool but she was too old to be getting with all the women she got with. Callie gritted her teeth. She really didn't like hearing about exes, but then her ex worked in the hospital and had three kids with her so who was she to talk.

Getting the fork on the bike was going to involve actually getting a hold of the bike, which is when Callie came up with the brilliant idea to get Arizona's super to let her in with a sad story about lost underwear (she had a sneaking suspicion she wouldn't be the first woman with that problem), take her bike and then show up that evening with it wrapped in a big bow. A huge apology would also be prepared. She'd already penned some stuff about her golden hair and tinkling laughter. Then she realized she was making her girlfriend sound sort of like fairy pee and tossed all of that.

Getting the super to let her in was remarkably easy. He didn't even blink. Just sighed went up with her and unlocked the door. “I'll be downstairs” he mumbled.

She slipped in and paused, because Arizona was actually in her apartment with Mark Sloan and they were both on her couch with matching expressions of shock. Behind them girls giggled while bouncing around in a jeep on the TV.

Mark was the first to move, he glanced at Arizona, took a huge swig of his beer and carefully stepped out, sliding past Callie with a look that seemed to be all about wishing her luck. Outside he loudly greeted the super and as their voices grew distant she returned her attention to her girlfriend.

Who was still in shock.

“Hi,” she said carefully.

Now she was shocked and confused all at once and sort of tilting her head to the side like a dog.

“I was coming over to surprise you. Mark mentioned your bike needed a new fork and I found your bike shop and was going to take it over there and—maybe I was breaking into your apartment to do it?”

Behind them one of the girls on the television squealed loudly as she fell out of the jeep and into some sort of pond. Which she then began to frolic in.

“Do you and Mark often sit around during the day watching weird naked travel shows?”

“We both had a day off,” she said distantly. “Why—“

“I'm sorry. Please.” She started to come around the couch. “Let me just—I haven't been fair to you Arizona. At all. I've accused you and yelled at you and treated you like crap and I'm sorry. Because I like you. I like you a lot. I haven't felt so good spending time with someone as long as I remember. And I guess,” she sat down next to Arizona who was wearing a dark lacy sweater and grey pants and looking sexy as hell in her total casual lounging and watching weird sex shows clothes, “I was freaking out about dating a woman. Because I've never dated women. And I don't experiment. Not without having every fact and anticipating every outcome. I'm slow. Methodical and it makes me a really great surgeon. But I didn't want to do that with you. I just wanted to be with you and I think I pushed myself too fast and then you ended up getting caught in the blowback.”


“Is my ex-husband,” she said with finality. It was so odd to actually say it out loud. Odd, but right feeling. “Well, he will be. He's got the divorce papers and once they're signed that's kind of it.”

“The papers…when?”

“After I blew up at you and accused you of being a shitty girlfriend.” She looked away when pain blossomed on Arizona's face. She'd put it there, like a blade between her ribs. “I was the shitty one.”

“And what changed your mind? Because the other day—”

“A surgery with Webber actually. Was forcing her to make a choice with a procedure and realized I should probably practice what I preach.”

“So you chose,” she said softly.

“So I chose.”

Arizona looked like she might cry, but then she was also smiling wistfully. Then she leaned over and gently pressed her lips to Callie's. “Thank you.”

She started to move back again but Callie reached out and pulled her close. Arizona gasped at the suddenness of it and Callie smiled before kissing her open mouth. Her tongue darted out into Arizona's mouth and Arizona immediately responded, deepening the kiss and clutching Callie's hand. Her other hand fell to Callie's waist but when fingers grazed bare skin Callie pulled away.

“Sorry,” she gasped. “I…” she swallowed and leaned forward resting her forehead against Arizona's to maintain some kind of contact with the other woman. “I rushed things before and basically ruined what should have been a really awesome moment between us. I think…”

Arizona kissed the side out her mouth, “You want to take it slow.”

“Is that okay?”

“Callie,” she ducked down to catch her eye, “you're worth taking it slow.” A girl on the television squealed loudly and someone else starting shouting in Portuguese. It startled both woman into laughter. “Do you want to curl up on my couch with me and watch weird travel shows for the rest of your lunch break,” Arizona asked between giggles.

Instead of saying yes Callie tackled Arizona onto her side and swiftly moved so she was behind Arizona and keeping her in place with a single leg. She kissed the back of her neck and snuggled close. “We okay?”

“We're good Dr. Torres.” Arizona sipped her beer and sighed contentedly. “So how does it feel to be past your first big drama as a queer lady.”

“Is that some sort of right of passage?”

“More sacred to lesbians than the U-Haul or the coming out party.”

“You get a party?”

Arizona ground her ass against Callie's front. “In your pants.”

She swatted that perfect ass. On screen the ladies in bikinis were now all in a bar drinking and giggling while the host, a swarthy dude that looked like Dane Cook's jerk cousin, pointed at their boobs. “What the hell is this any ways?”

“Mark found it the other day. The channel is devoted entirely to boobs in high def and sunny locals. The educated woman with respect in me hates it but the woman who likes pretty ladies…”

“Pays for it.”

“It came in a package.”

“I bet it did.”



Arizona woke up to someone knocking on the door. It took her a minute to get her bearings. Callie was gone, but had left Arizona wrapped up in a blanket apparently. She'd also switched the television over to some old movie. She yawned in satisfaction and stretched. Her shoulders and spine popped pleasantly.

Whoever it was at the door knocked again.

“Come in,” she said through another yawn, “it's probably open.”

Mark peeked in and looked around, “Coast clear?”

“She had to get back to work,” she rubbed her eye sleepily.

“Looks like she stole your bike too.”

The hook she usually kept it on near the door was indeed bare. Arizona really wasn't crazy about people touching her bike. It was her's and it was kind of like someone futzing with your loupes or something. You just didn't mess with another person's bike. But she smiled wryly remember Callie's plan.

“She's getting it fixed for me.”

“As an apology for going lesbian psycho on you?”

“Pretty much.”

Mark flopped down onto the couch next to her and pulled her legs into his lap. “You tell her about you and Hahn?”

She groaned and pulled the couch cushion over her head. “No,” she exclaimed through the pillow.

“Robbins. You went on a date with her boss.”

“Yeah but we didn't do anything.”

She peaked out around the cushion. Mark was raising one eyebrow. “Just tell her.”

“She's like a fragile—she's like a kitten Mark. All tiny and scared and mewling and if I tell her I went on a date because she yelled at me there will be kitten claws and little needle teeth.”

He continued to stare.

“I'll handle it.”

He kept staring.


The staring and silence wasn't stopping so she thwacked him in the head with the pillow cushion.

Chapter 25

It was a misnomer that it always rained in Seattle. It was cloudy in Seattle. Perpetually cloudy. And often times fog would come rolling down the mountain into the city and soak the streets with a fine mist that turned visibility to nothing. But that wasn't actual rain . The real rainy days were few and far between and Cristina was currently stuck under the ER awning watching it come down in sheets. She felt hands tie her trauma gown on and turned her head. She half expected it to be Owen. Half hoped. But instead it was Dr. Robbins.

“You're off your crutches.”

She stuck her foot out and appraised it, “Got the go ahead an hour ago. Still sore as all hell. I'm supposed to keep the running today down to a minimum.”

Robbins pulled her hair away from her neck and Cristina tied her gown up for her. “So you decided to handle the trauma coming in?”

“I like to challenge myself.”

They waited in silence, listening for the distant wail of sirens.

“How's Owen?”

Cristina flinched at the name, “I wouldn't know.”

She felt the pediatric surgeon's dark eyes on her. “Okay,” she said enigmatically.


“Divorcing Owen. Officially.”

She hadn't known that. Hadn't seen him. In fact she'd been avoiding him since Teddy showed up. Part of her was thrilled at the divorce being something more than a future possibility. But there was still Teddy. Awfully kind and completely oblivious Teddy who was actually an amazing surgeon and an excellent teacher.

Footsteps behind them and then there was another yellow trauma gown beside them. Hahn.

“Dr. Robbins,” she said.

“Dr. Hahn,” Robbins said brightly. Apparently their feud had ended.

“I had fun the other night.”

Cristina resisted the overwhelming urge to turn and watch the conversation first hand. She schooled her face into something neutral.

“I—me too.”

Uh oh. She really wanted to look. She wasn't a gossipy woman. She didn't revel in other people's social problems, but she was pretty sure Hahn was talking about a date and as she was also pretty sure Robbins was dating Torres the potential for drama was enticing. Like watching a really good movie.

The ambulance pulled to a stop in front of them and Arizona shot her a warning look as they opened the doors and accepted the injured child being wheeled out of the ambulance.

“Page Hunt,” Hahn growled to a nurse as they ran the kid into a trauma room with Robbins riding on the gurney and using her hand the staunch bleeding.

When he entered the trauma room Cristina realized how much she'd missed seeing him. His hair looked a little darker than it was the last time she'd seen it and he was growing out a beard that gave him a rugged quality she normally shied away from.

He only nodded at her and got to work so Cristina did the same. Those few minutes in the trauma room were electric. She was working with three of the best surgeons in the country to keep a ten year old alive. They were fast, confident and stern but operated in that room like in a ballet. Dancing around one another and focusing entirely on the child beneath them.

“We need to move this upstairs,” Robbins said, applying a clamp to a bleeder, “he's as stable as he's going to be down here.”

Hahn started to agree but Hunt was already ordering an orderly to get the OR prepped.

“You scrubbing in,” Hahn asked her.

She glanced down at the kid. It would be an epic surgery. Hours in the OR. Hours with Hunt. She glanced at him and he pegged her with a stare that immediately reminded her why she avoided him usually. But still… “Yes ma'am.”

“All right. Let's move.”

Robbins hopped back on the bed and they made the dash to the elevator.

It was hour two of the surgery when the drama descended. They'd been going strong. Each doctor hard at work to save a young boy's life. Everyone was calm and professional and there was a sense of urgency to the proceedings.

Then Hahn casually asked, “Up for a drink tonight?”

It was clear whom she was asking, but that didn't stop Owen from pausing briefly to watch Robbins. She smiled behind her mask. “I'd love to but yeah, I can't.”

“Okay, how about tomorrow? I'm thinking we could check out someplace besides Joe's.”

“You went to Joe's?”

Cristina cringed internally. Owen was trying to sound casual. Maybe to the others he did sound casual. But she picked up at his tone easily enough. She looked across the table at Robbins, who judging from the look she gave Cristina, recognized the tone as well.

“A couple of nights ago. Robbins here tried to teach me about tequila.”

“She did?”

His voice was like ice.

“We were celebrating a case.”

Oh that was a lie. Cristina didn't even know the woman and she knew that much.

Hahn laughed, “Sure. The case of me finally dumping my ex.”

Robbins sighed, Owen glared and Hahn kept working.

It struck her in that exact moment just how deep it all went. Not all the weird lesbian stuff, but her feelings for Owen. Because she was jealous. Insanely jealous of a woman he was ostensibly divorcing, but a woman who still made him protective and territorial. He was glaring at Robbins and the anger came off of him in waves and Cristina realized that she kind actually wanted him to get that angry for her.

She wanted to be that woman.

At hour five Owen finished his work and stepped back.

“Doctor Hunt,” Robbins said worryingly. He stared at her long and hard.

“Owen,” Cristina said.

His eyes snapped to her and it almost seemed like some of the anger left him.

“I should go,” he growled.

Robbins looked like she wanted to follow him. Her instruments sagged in her hand and her body shifted towards the door. But Hahn, still entirely oblivious to the tension between the other surgeons, called her attention back to the boy in front of them.

“You know if you don't want to go out I can always come over,” she continued, “I found a great wine vendor the other day and he's been importing some excellent stuff for me.”

Robbins dared to look at Cristina and then did another of her little concilatory smiles, “I don't think that'd be a good idea.”

Hahn paused.

“I just—I'm seeing someone.”

The tall blond surgeon turned into a block of ice. “Oh,” she said. It was like a craftsman chipping ice directly from the whole. The scrub nurse shared a look with the anesthesiologist. And the temperature continued to plummet.






Shitty shitterson from shitsville.

Her feet were moving faster than her brain which had short circuited into variations on the word representing what she was about to be mired in. She was in trouble. Massive trouble. Breaking up and never speaking to each other again and sobbing for days and pondering the point of existence kind of trouble.

Because she'd promised Mark, God and country that she'd tell Callie about her ill-conceived date with Hahn. She'd sworn up and down to herself in the mirror that she'd tell her. But then they'd steal a kiss in the hallway or smile as they went their separate ways after work and it didn't come up. It couldn't come up. They were in a bashful and delicate phase in their relationship. Taking it slow. Being old fashioned. Being courteous.

Never mind she couldn't get the other woman out of her head. She craved her. Her taste. Her touch. The way her body had undulated beneath her mouth. God. She wanted Callie.

And maybe just once she was an idiot. She misinterpreted and misjudged and went on a date to see if there was more to the world than Callie Torres's dark eyes and leering lips. And there wasn't. She was it. She was the beginning and the end. Arizona's very own ouroboros.

And somewhere in this stupid hospital she was stewing—digesting the news Owen had no doubt gleefully delivered. Because the guy was still in love. He might have the papers and he might live with his mom but that was jealousy seeping out of him in the OR.

She would have run but her ankle was quick to remind her that that would only make things more disastrous. So she sort of hopped and skipped and jogged. Karev called out to her as she rounded a corner but she ignored him. She had a goal. A very good goal.

She burst into the blissfully empty resident's lounge where Callie was all alone doing paperwork and sucking on a pen with that beautiful mouth.

“I'm sorry,” she started out. That was her plan. Overwhelm Callie with apologies until she had to forgive her. Keep going Robbins. “I should have told you. The other day on the couch I should have just said it, but I didn't. Because it didn't mean anything. She meant nothing. You mean…stuff. You mean a lot and I was angry and stupid and we didn't sleep together. We didn't even kiss. I mean I was pretty drunk and sad but I definitely didn't kiss her because she's not you. You're who I want to kiss. Forever. You know—if things go that way. I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm so, so, so sorry.”

The pen fell from her lips. “Who didn't mean anything?”

She half expected to see Owen magically appear behind Callie grinning like a self satisfied jerk.

“You didn't…”

Callie raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow.

“I went on a date with Hahn.”

The eyebrow fell. The confusion disappeared and was replaced with melancholia. “Oh.”

“It didn't mean any—“

“You were mad at me. After I yelled at you in the Peds ward.”

She nodded.

“So to hurt me you went on a date with someone else?”


“Then why else would you do it? And why else would you tell me?”


“No,” she held up her hand as if you physically stop Arizona, “You don't get to throw my ex in my face right now.”

She was so calm. Even tempered. Curious. But calm. Meanwhile Arizona's heart was beating so fast and she was a little sweaty because she was still wearing her scrub cap. She was even sweaty between her shoulder blades. A drop of sweat ran down her back and she had the urge to scratch. And Callie was just watching her. Waiting for an explanation.

“You yelled,” she heard herself say. “And I panicked.”

Callie sucked on her lip and seemed to think about that. “So you were an idiot.”

She shrugged weakly.

“And the other day in your apartment, when I came and did my own rambling apology, you just let me.”

“I was still mad.”

“You know that's not how mature adult relationships work. Right?”

Arizona tried to come closer. Callie didn't make an effort to move so she knelt in front of her and put her hand over Callie's. “I'm so sorry.”

Callie leaned in, “I don't want drama.”

“Me either.” That was the whole reason she went on the stupid date in the first place.

A hand reached out to cup her cheek. “I just want you you idiot.”

Arizona honestly never thought she'd hear herself being called an idiot and consider it a term of affection. But when Callie said it it was like an intimate little nickname. A private joke just for them.



She gave Arizona a peck on the lips but before she could lean back Arizona darted forward and deepened the kiss. She let her hand fall to Callie's thigh and her thumb moved in slow circles just above the knee.

Callie sighed into her mouth and Arizona remembered their agreement. To take things slow. Reluctantly she commanded her hand to stay put and move no further up Callie's thigh and she broke the kiss.

“I really am sorry,” she said again.

Callie gave her another brief kiss. “For what? Going on a date or going on a date with my boss who hates me?”

She winced.

“Because I'm a little pissed about that.”

“Then why are we—“

“I can be pissed and still want to kiss you.”

They separated and Arizona stood up. Her hands were a little sweaty and she had to wipe them against her scrubs. “Are you really that angry?”

“It's Erica Hahn! The woman demoted me to the point that I'm going to have to work eighty hour weeks if I want to keep my job and you went on a date with her because you apparently have the emotional maturity of a two year old.”

“Wow, what happened to accepting an apology?”

Callie stood up. “I am,” she exclaimed, gesticulating broadly with her hands.

“You just called me two and told me you were pissed.”

“Right. But just because I'm mad doesn't mean I haven't forgiven you. You did something stupid. It happens. I did stupid stuff too.”

“Like sleep with me.”


“Right? You said it the other day. We went too fast and you regret it.”

Callie was frowning now. “I don't regret sleeping with you.”

“You want to take things slow though. Want to roll us back. If that isn't because of regret then what—“

“Just…just shut up Arizona.” Now she was rubbing her hand against her forehead like Arizona's words actually gave her a headache. And she was trying to shush her with her free hand.

“No. You know if this was just a fling. You trying to get over Owen and explore your horizons than just tell me. I can take it.”

Callie opened her mouth. Like she wanted to say yes. Like she wanted to admit everything Arizona had just said was true. But instead her shoulders sagged and she sighed. “I'm gonna go. Because thanks to Hahn I have another surgery. But,” she paused at the door, “just to be clear? Me ignoring that idiotic little rant and walking out does not give you license to go on dates with other women? Okay?”

The door snicked shut behind her and Arizona took up the recently vacated chair. And sighed loudly. Dating was hard work.

Chapter 26

This was the second time in a year she'd gone without sex for more than a few weeks and Arizona was fairly certain she was gaining super powers. Not—not good super powers. She couldn't levitate or see through hot chicks' clothes. Or levitate while seeing through hot chicks' clothes. She was just focused. Chief Grey had remarked on it repeatedly. Applauded her for her ingenuity and capability. Noted how she'd worked with Alex even after his massive social taboo. How she'd helped Amelia Shepherd reach a place where she might be ready to go back into an OR (just not the hospital's because Grey didn't want to insure her “junky hands.”).

And she was feeling good too.

Yes, she and Callie hadn't slept together again. But they hadn't argued either. They had lunch together and held hands under the table and sometimes stole a kiss in the stairwell and Callie liked to call her on her drive home. It was comfortable. Foreign. But comfortable.


The empty chair at her table—the one she'd been saving for Callie—flipped around so Mark could straddle it while noisily eating an apple.

“Guess who signed divorce papers today,” he asked loud enough for the whole cafeteria to hear.

“The sheep you married in Mexico?”

He smirked, “Derek. And he told me. Without punching me or looking at me like I was scum.”

She patted him on the back. “Aw. My little Mark's all grown up and not getting punched in the hall. I'm so proud.”

“So's my face.” He rubbed his nose fondly. The break she'd tended to when they'd first met had healed nicely long ago. You couldn't even tell it'd been broken.

He took another loud bite of his apple.

“Also Addison and I are throwing an “it's our baby and the divorce is final so we can openly celebrate party” this weekend. You game?”

“Does Addison know you're throwing it?”

He rolled his eyes. “You can bring your girlfriend. Maybe have her and Hahn get into a naughty girl fight. And you could referee?”

“Only if there's copious amounts of baby oil.”

He choked on a piece of apple and she had to hammer her hand against his back.

“I'll ask her,” she confirmed.

“About baby oil?”

Callie appeared at the door with her sack lunch. “No. Now leave so I can have alone time with her.”

Mark looked over his shoulder and jerked his head in Callie's direction. His handless version of a hello. “I can't wait for you to bang her again so I get my friend back.”

He vacated the chair when Callie got closer and left with a quiet, “Torres.”

“What crawled up him and died,” she asked as she took her seat.

Arizona sipped her tea through her straw, “He's just jealous that you and I have been doing lunch so much. I think he misses me.”

“D'aw. That's sweet.”



Owen skipped lunch in the cafeteria. He's made an attempt once or twice, but he always ended up there at the same time as Callie and even though they were friendly it still…unnerved him to see her with someone else. It was silly. Maybe a little Cro-Magnon.

Sometimes he instead opted to eat outside. Other times he'd sneak down to the basement and hope Cristina would find him. She never did. Since Teddy's arrival she'd purposely avoided him. She was cool in the OR and the two times he'd tried to pull her aside in the hall she'd rebuffed him.

Teddy was better. She was fun and boisterous and an absolute lifesaver.

But at the end of the day she wasn't Cristina. Which was just—it was stupid.

Sloan rounded the corner and grinned around the half eaten apple he had stuck in his mouth. “Hunt. How are you today?”

He grimaced.

“Look. Addison and I are throwing a little…thing. A baby shower. You should come?”

“Oh. I don't think—“

“Because your wife will be there right? Probably with Blondie?”

He narrowed his eyes.

“I get it. You don't want to step on toes, but Blondie's always late to social gatherings—or I assume she is. She strikes me as the fashionably late kind. So show up early with an expensive present for my kid and then you can head out.”

“Are you—are you just inviting me so you can get more presents for your kid?”

“Yes. Wait. Was I suppose to say no and talk about the fatherly bond you and I share? Whatever. Derek Shepherd is sending a gift and he thought the baby was his for eight months, so you can show up.”

He finished his apple and threw the core into the trash then clapped Owen on the shoulder and walked away.

Owen stood there in something like shock for a moment then chunked his half eaten lunch in the trash and checked his watch. He had fifteen minutes before he had to be in the ER again. Callie was moving forward. She was actually out there dating a woman and looking happier than he'd seen her in months and according to her “taking it slow.” Slow enough to go to a party with her girlfriend.

He could do that too. He had been. He'd been living like a monk to appease his shrink and his own wildly fluctuating emotions. That wasn't even slow. That was—was glacial.

Cristina had been on Hahn's service all week. He'd seen her name up on the surgical board directly beneath Hahn's. He jogged up the stairs to the surgical floor and started peaking in the rooms looking for the small woman.

But she wasn't in any of the ORs or scrub rooms. She was leaning against the board talking with Meredith Webber. He stopped short of them and they paused their conversation to look at him curiously.

“Um. Dr. Yang. Could I speak with you a moment?”

She shot Webber a look and she shrugged. “Uh. Yeah. I guess.”

He stepped into the adjacent supply closet and held the door open for her.

“Dr. Hunt. Is there something I can do—“ Her voice was higher than usual. Her surprised voice. The one she used in professional settings. He knew that about her. Had picked it up over the months.

He wanted to tell her about Callie and how she was moving on and how he was moving on. How they were just waiting for the judge to sign off on the divorce. How he thought about her even when he was spending time with Teddy or Callie. How she was the only person he'd ever met who didn't make him feel like a monster.

But instead he grabbed face and pulled her towards him and kissed her. Smashed her lips against his. Felt her surprise and then felt her relax in his arms and wrap her arms around his neck.

This was it.

This was right.

“Why,” she asked breathlessly.

He kissed her again. No talking. They couldn't talk. Talking invited discord. Worry. About Teddy and Callie and PTSD and Cristina's career. No talking. Just them.



She'd never expected medical journals to be fascinating but sometimes she'd find one that was way better than Harry Potter or something. She propped her feet up on the reference desk and leaned back and enjoyed her read. Until a butt bumped her feet of the desk. She made an ungainly motion and tried to readjust herself without looking like an idiot then prepared herself to yell.

But Amelia was sitting on her desk grinning.

“Since when did the librarian become a fan of neurosurgery journals?”

Lexie tossed the journal up onto the desk. “Since someone keeps checking them out in her name and she figured she should bone up in case anyone asks.”

Amelia picked up the discarded journal and thumbed through it. “Do you even know what any of it means?”

“I'm in a medical reference library. What I don't know I can figure out.”

“You really should be a doctor,” she said a little too seriously for Lexie's comfort.

“And spend all my time flying around doing crazy surgeries? No thanks. I like my job. It's calm and quiet and doesn't give me the urge to do lines of coke off a guy's skinny jeans.”


“I know right?”

“So have you heard about this,” Amelia chewed her lip, “this party my sister is throwing?”

“The one Derek is not going to but sending a present for.”

“I wouldn't want to open that present.”

“Me neither.”

“Are you going though?”

Lexie hadn't planned on it. She didn't know either parties and it felt a little traitorous to go to her sister's boyfriend's ex-wife's baby shower. Traitorous and just plane weird.

“I hadn't planned on it.”

Amelia looked crestfallen. “Oh.”


“Well I have to go and I really wasn't crazy about going by myself.”

“Isn't your roommate best friends with the guy?”

“Yes but she's bringing her new ‘friend' and I don't want to be a third wheel.”

“Right. The cardio fellow.”

“Does everyone know about her?”

All Lexie knew was that she was a good surgeon, had a quiet feud with Hahn and was apparently dating Amelia's ex. She shrugged.

“So you should come then.” She snapped her fingers. “Oo. You could bring Derek's gift!”

“Amelia I don't—“

Amelia knelt down next to Lexie's chair and took her hand, “Please,” she begged.

Lexie frowned. Amelia's pout became more pronounced.

“Can I talk to Mer and Derek about it first?”

She groaned and sat back. “Why? They're just going to be all whiny about it.”

“Because I'm going to the party.”

“Because you're going with me and my brother hates me.”

“He doesn't hate you.”

Amelia raised an eyebrow.

“But he doesn't like you either.”

She winked and nodded.



“Oh my God would everyone stop worrying about this baby shower.”

Arizona could only roll her eyes so hard before they popped out of her skull, but between Amelia worrying about bringing a friend and Mark worrying about how big the onesie decorating station should be (that it even had such a station was what worried Arizona) she was ready to strangle all of them and steal away to a sunny beach with her girlfriend.

“Do you think they'll like Lexie?”

Lexie being Amelia's sober buddy. She had a habit of showing up at the apartment at odd hours and dragging Amelia to the roof for a smoke. She was nice enough. Had crazy hair and wicked tattoos and a brain that was sharper than half the scalpels Arizona used.

“They'll love her. Do you have a crush?”

Amelia punched her in the arm. “No. Do you?”

At that moment Callie was walking down the stairs with no make up on, wearing wrinkled scrubs and looking exhausted. And absolutely perfect. She caught Callie's eyes and maybe felt a little hot when Callie very carefully took her in from head to toe and then winked.


Amelia, having seen the whole undressing with the eyes thing groaned, “That was nauseating.”

“You're just mad you aren't getting any right now.”

“Not like you are.”

“I have transcended Amelia. That look she gave me? That'll last me for days.”

“You're going to break your vibrator.”

Arizona was fast enough that she unleashed the arm punch before anyone else could see it.



The third floor on call room was a dangerous place. You could get pregnant just sitting on the cot if you weren't careful and there seemed to be a nurse whose entire job was to monitor who went in and who went out and deliver that news to the entire hospital with unfailing accuracy. Also you could bang your head on the cot over head or worse, get your hair caught in the springs.

Not that Callie knew that from experience. Nope she and Owen had never had a sexy rendezvous in there.

Now the fifth floor on call room. The one closer to the roof access. That was a safe place. It was far away from the action most days and you had a set of stairs right there if you needed to get away quickly. It was also much smaller. So the hair/spring hazard was still there, but the gross fluids/gossipy nurse hazards were non existent.

“Everything okay?”

Arizona looked so cute coming into the room and shutting the door behind her. She was in her rounds outfit. Today a dark a-line skirt, heels and that red top she wore a couple of times a month that made everything just…pop.

She saw her in that outfit coming in this morning and after her last surgery she'd paged her.

“Fine,” Callie said.

Arizona came closer. The actual purpose for the page apparently a mystery.

“Hahn's not giving you trouble is she? Because I can talk to her. It won't,” she winced, “be so awesome. She kind of hates me, but it couldn't make things worse.”

“Hahn is fine.”

Arizona was now close enough that Callie reached out and pulled her between her legs. She wrapped her arms around Arizona's waist and looked up at her.

A slow and goofy smile spread on her face, “Oh.”

“I missed you.”

She ran a hand through Callie's hair. “I missed you too.”

They'd seen each other at work but between her increased workload and the kids she'd been desperately short on free time to see her girlfriend, who had managed to actually be her girlfriend for the last few weeks despite the initial Hahngate and the lack of sexy times.

It was the slowest she'd ever taken a relationship and judging by the rumors she'd picked up on from others it was going at a glacial speed compared to most of Arizona's. Not that anyone actually told her directly. It was slowly filtering through the hospital that they were seeing each other and she was surprised at how little gossip there was around it. People just accepted that she wasn't with Owen and she was with Arizona.

Who bent down and pressed her lips to Callie's. She'd really missed that. The gentle kiss and the hands in her hair. Arizona kissed her a little harder and she leaned back on the bed delighting in how Arizona had to hike her skirt up to straddle her.

“Hey,” she said more intimately. Her blond hair was a curtain around them and her thighs were pleasantly pressed against Callie's hips.

“Hey again.”

She let her hands drift from Arizona's waist to her thighs. They were smooth and warm against the pads of her fingers and sent a thrill straight through her. Through Arizona too. Her breath hitched as Callie ran her thumbs up and down her inner thigh.

She peppered kisses along Callie's jawline and said in a low voice, “I thought we were taking things slow.”

She tilted her head to give Arizona better access to her neck but Arizona was content to suck on her ear. She ran one hand up along Arizona's thigh and settled on her ass. There was another gasp when she gave it a squeeze.

“Three weeks is slow.”

Arizona murmured in agreement. “We're nearly at four.”

She let her hand fall below Arizona's skirt line then carefully tugged it up so there was only a thin pair of cotton panties between her and Arizona. “That's plenty slow.”

Now her lips fell. Drawing a slow wet line from her ear to her carotid where she sucked languorously on Callie's pulse point.

Callie slipped her hand through the waist of Arizona's underwear. Damn it her ass was perfect. Firm but with a little bounce. She massaged one cheek with her hand. Her other hand was still on Arizona's thigh and she brought it further up, so that the knuckle of her thumb grazed Arizona's center.

Her girlfriend groaned into her neck. “You really need to stop.”

She pressed a little harder and delighted at the moisture that wet her thumb. “Why?”

“Because I want to taste you and make you scream and we can't do that in an on call room.”

Her thumb paused. Arizona smiled and dipped her head down to Callie's breast. She nuzzled an erect nipple through the cloth of Callie's scrubs. “I want to feel you naked against me.” She bit down on her nipple through the scrubs and bra. “I want you to taste me and then I want to kiss you.” Her hand darted between them and cupped Callie though her pants. “And I want to do it in the comfort of my bed with no kids and no surgeries and no arguments.” She tucked her fingers up into Callie. “Just you,” she thrust, “and me.”

Callie was close. She hadn't thought it possible. She usually needed more than heavy petty and dirty talk but damn it she was close. She ran her wet thumb across Arizona's lips and the other woman quickly took the digit into her mouth.

It was—she flipped them over and kissed Arizona hungrily.

Arizona broke the kiss. “Callie.” She ignored her and kissed her again. Arizona's hand ran through her hair again and then pulled her back just roughly enough to make her even hotter. “Tonight?”

Her lips were red and bruised and Callie couldn't resist another quick kiss. “I'll get a babysitter. Or make one or something.”

Arizona laughed and gently pushed her off. They tried to fix their clothing. “Did you really page me up here for a quickie.”

“Have you seen the skirt you're wearing?”

“That good?”

She stared at it. With the heels still on Arizona's calves were tanned and muscular and perfectly defined. “You've turned me into a leg woman.”

She giggled and pressed her lips to Callie's shoulder. “Come on horn dog. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go change my underwear now.”

“Can I watch?”

“You're a lascivious monster and I love it.”

Wait…did she say love?

Chapter 27

Owen looked up from the dull glow of the TV to find his mother staring at him. She could be a…surly woman sometimes and the grimace on her face, one he saw regularly on his children's faces and one Callie had mentioned he wore often, indicated she wasn't happy.

“You need to talk to your kids.”

He sipped his beer and returned to what was on the television. It looked like Love Story.


“What do I tell them?”

“You and Callie sit them down and you explain that this is permanent. That a judge is finalizing it any day and that one day soon you both might start dating.”

He shot her a look.

“Openly,” she amended.

“We've talked about it.”

“No, you haven't, because if you did Gavin wouldn't have asked where his mom was tonight.”

“He didn't—“

“He did.”

“I'll talk to Callie.”

She sat down next to Owen and patted his leg, “I'm serious Owen.”

“I am too. I'll talk to her.”

But that didn't mollify her. She chewed on her cheek. Opened her mouth. Closed it.

“What,” he asked.

“Have you met her?” She lowered her voice, “The woman Callie's with?”

“She works with us.”

She frowned.

“She's nice Mom. You'd like her.”

“If your father had left me for another man—“

“She didn't leave me for her. We're getting a divorce because we're not compatible.” And Callie had a thing for Robbins and he couldn't stop thinking about Cristina.

“Do Carlos and Lucia know you're ‘not compatible' or is that information only for parents you live with rent free?”

He winced. He didn't want his mother to see him wince, but it was involuntary.

Carlos and Lucia definitely did not know. As far as he was concerned they could never know. He'd rather move to another country than have to face Carlos Torres after choking his daughter and divorcing her.

And he suspected Callie wouldn't want him to know either.

His mother chuckled darkly, “Remind me to take my grandkids on vacation when you drop that bomb.”

He very much wanted to go with her on that vacation.



To say she was excited was an understatement. Arizona was on fire. The good kind of fire. The sexy fire that could keep a person awake through the night and vibrating with all kinds of positive energy.

She, Arizona Robbins, was going to get laid.

And not just regular random sex with some buxom brunette. Nope. She was going to have sex with her girlfriend. Her girlfriend who she liked to talk to about her hopes and dreams. Her girlfriend she shared happy and non sexual experiences with. The first girlfriend she'd ever been able to sit alone with at a table in comfortable silence.

Yeah, they'd slept together before but that was kind of rushed and she was still on crutches and there was dramatic fallout that sullied her memories of the occasion. This was going to be…this was a big deal.

Only she stepped into her apartment—the same apartment her girlfriend would be at in fifteen minutes—and found her roommate and the Webber sister lounging on the couch eating half a leftover pizza. They both paused when she burst through the door, slices of pizza hovering near their mouths.

“You look excited,” Amelia said around her slice.

“You can't be here,” she countered.

The pink haired librarian took personal offense at that and started to say something. Amelia just raised an eyebrow in bemusement. She looked Arizona over from head to toe and her bemusement turned to straight amusement.

“I see.”

“Like now Amelia. Out.”

Webber or Grey or whatever her name was looked between the two doctors. “What?”

“Robbins is trying to get laid.”

The librarian grinned. “You and that cardio chick right?”

Arizona reached into her purse and pulled a twenty out of the side pocket. It was her emergency twenty and this was an emergency. “I will give you twenty dollars to stay elsewhere tonight.”


Damn Amelia Shepherd to hell. She cracked open her wallet and counted the cash out inside. “Okay. One hundred and forty-seven dollars and,” she checked the change purse, “fifty-six cents, to leave the apartment and not show up again until some point much much later tomorrow.”

She leapt off the couch and scrambled for the cash, “Ooo. Free money!”

Arizona yanked it away from her grasp, “I'm serious Amelia. You show up before tomorrow afternoon and I'll give Addison a key to this apartment and your AA schedule.”

Amelia snatched it back, “Lexie and I will be ghosts.”

Lexie! That was her name. The named woman grabbed her bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Good luck,” she said politely.

“And you may run into certain people on your way out. Do not, under any circumstances tease her. Are we clear?”

“No teasing the girlfriend you're about to bang. Roger.” Amelia lazily saluted and grabbed her own purse.

Arizona vaguely considered thumping Amelia or reiterating her demand but she was already running towards her room where her sheets were a week old and reeking of intense eau de Arizona. Snatching all of the sheets she ripped them off in one particularly impressive motion and threw them in her hamper, which was also filled with some fragrant workout clothes. She dashed into the bathroom, grabbed her rarely used perfume and spritzed the whole mess before dashing across the apartment and shoving it all in Amelia's room.

She'd probably have to deal with that mess later but first she had to remake her bed, light sexy candles, acquire sexy clothes that weren't too sexy, figure out some sort of meal that was sexy but not overt and not filling enough to put a sleepy damper on things and find the last unopened bottle of wine she'd shoved under her bed to keep out of Amelia's reach.

She was in the process of wrapping her fingers around that bottle of wine when there was a knock at the door. Shit! Food was a wash. Only half the candles were lit and the pillows still didn't have pillow cases on them. Why didn't they have pillow cases on them? How did—another knock. She dashed for the door. Nearly fell. Picked herself up in a move so smooth she could have been an action star. A third knock. Almost frantic. Maybe. Probably not. Hopefully not.



Okay. After three knocks it was okay to get paranoid right? Callie glanced at her watch. Yup. Just past seven. They'd agreed on seven. She was even good and paced around the lobby of Arizona's building for ten minutes. Which led to an awkward eye contact moment with the roommate and the Webber sister. If they made any sort of reappearance tonight she'd strangle them.

If her girlfriend actually opened the door. She could hear movement so she knew she was in there. Then she heard something that sounded like an oomph and the door swung open wildly to reveal her girlfriend, still dressed from work, only with dust on her skirt and her boobs. Her hair was tousled in a sexy crazy kind of way and she was clutching a wine bottle by the neck like a drunk college student.

“Hi,” she said breathlessly.

“Did I come too early?”

She swallowed another pant and shook her head. “No! No. I was just…I keep the wine under the bed because Amelia—“


“And I was kind of way far under there when you knocked. Did you find it okay?”

“Your apartment?” The one she'd been to a number of times?

Arizona shook her head, “That was stupid.”

Callie laughed and dusted off Arizona's chest. “No. It was cute. You are covered in dust.”

“I don't clean under my bed. It's some weird adult thing. My dad was a stickler for white glove inspections as a kid so when I became adult I resolved to never use Pledge or a broom again and it's not normally this gross or—“

Callie stepped into her girlfriend's space, wrapped her hands around her waist and kissed her soundly on the lips. “You're adorable when you're freaking out.”

Arizona curled her free hand around her shoulder, “You keep a clean house,” she mumbled.

She muttered in agreement and kissed her again. They parted and she took in the apartment. Arizona had lowered the lights everywhere but the kitchen and lit candles. “For me,” she asked.

Arizona shrugged, almost bashfully, “The first time ended in mutual freak outs and endless drama. I wanted this time to be…special.”

The first time Callie had been desperately trying to understand her own sexuality. This time there wasn't the awe and fear of being with a woman. This time it was just her and her girlfriend. Her gorgeous, lesbian girlfriend who'd managed to not dump her because of nearly a month of celibacy and who'd been patient despite a few broken dates due to work and the kids.

Arizona slipped out of her grasp and jogged to the kitchen. “So dinner will probably be weird. Amelia and Lexie ate the leftover pizza and there's some chicken that's about a week old, but it hasn't hit the funky stage. Or I could make something. Or we could order. Or go out.” She glanced up, “Whatever you want to do.”

“We can stay in.”

Arizona nodded again and pulled two glasses out. “Okay. Wine?”

Callie agreed. Arizona poured and pushed the first glass across the counter. Callie took it and watched her girlfriend pour another glass. They silently drank their glasses. Arizona's eyes were a dark blue. No. Navy. They darted down to Callie's hands. Her chest. Then back up. She licked her lips.

Callie set her glass down. Ran her finger across the rim. The motion made Arizona squeak.

“How's the fellowship?”

She raised an eyebrow. Arizona finished her glass.


The other woman set her glass down. Leaned against the counter in what Callie suspected was meant to be a nonchalant motion. “Yeah?”

“I really want you naked right now.”

She came around the counter and stepped between Callie's legs. “I was thinking the same thing.”

Callie reached out and slipped her hands under Arizona's shirt. “So…why are we fully dressed in your kitchen drinking wine?”

“I guess so we seem like mature and responsible adults who can have conversations alone without tearing each other's clothes off.” She leaned in and sucked gently on Callie's neck.

“That's,” she gasped, “that's a terrible idea.”

She pushed the shirt further up and brushed her thumbs along the bottom of Arizona's breasts. She murmured contentedly into Callie's neck and grabbed her by the hair to get better access. Teeth grazed Callie's pulse point and she slipped off the stool, almost like a puddle. Arizona wrapped her arm around her waist and pressed her back against the stool so she could continue her ravishment.

Not content to just have Arizona do amazing things with her mouth Callie tugged at her shirt until Arizona was forced to lean back to allow her to take it off. When she tried to move in again Callie was quicker. She caught her mouth in a kiss and gently stared pushing her back towards the bedroom.

Arizona's knees hit the foot of the bed and Callie paused to cup her face and savor her lips. Arizona moaned and when her knees started to buckle she grabbed Callie's biceps to hold herself steady.

That was when Callie noticed…”Why are there no pillows on the bed?”

Clearly Arizona didn't care about pillows in her own apartment because she abruptly spun Callie around and pushed her onto the bed. Callie could do nothing but appreciate the view of her gorgeous girlfriend in nothing but that mind-blowingly hot skirt, a lacy black bra and the glow of the candles.

Before Arizona could straddle her she sat up and pressed her open mouth to Arizona's belly. The moan of encouragement and the hand that flew to her hair were almost as appealing as the smooth skin beneath her tongue. Arizona possessed a responsiveness that she'd never experienced before. Every lick, nip and kiss seemed to produce some sexy little sigh or moan. It was like…like she was an instrument. “Arizona,” she whispered between kisses, “take your skirt off.”

Arizona blindly reached for the waistband and managed to get the skirt unzipped just as Callie got fed up and started tugging it down. And oh sweet Jesus the black panties. The perfect black panties. She paused. Smiled. Arizona ran her hand through her hair but seemed to get that Callie needed a moment to marvel the panties.

Because before—that one time—she'd just sort of blindly reached down and felt around and enjoyed the feeling of another woman. But this wasn't a blind grasp and a need to reciprocate and get things done. This was her girlfriend. The woman who somehow found her and carried her when she was at her worst. Who had a tendency to rescue her when she didn't even know she needed it and a woman who could have run but didn't.

She slowly lowered the underwear and trailed hot kisses down her belly. She buried her nose there in the apex of her legs. And for a moment every single part of her was Arizona. The hands in her hair, the sigh in her ears, the smell and sights that consumed her. She pulled her ever closer, unthinkingly pulling a leg up onto the bed to give herself better access. There was no tentativeness this time. No nervousness. Just the chance to worship at the altar of her girlfriend. She tasted her. Arizona gasped.

Oh God her taste. She closed her eyes and ran the flat of her tongue across her labia. The hand in her hair tightened and Arizona let out a gasping curse. She reached up to wrap her hand around the thigh next to her head and continued her ministrations, pausing only to look up at Arizona who was looking skyward and trying to hold back.

“Relax,” she said with a kiss to her inner thigh.

“I need to—“

Callie watched her. Waited.

“Down—I need to be down,” she swallowed, “on the bed.”

Callie leaned back and Arizona flopped onto the bed beside her. She tugged on Callie's shoulder and forced Callie on top of her. “You're kind of perfect you know that,” she asked. She didn't wait for an answer, instead she kissed Callie ardently. She groaned into Callie's mouth and pulled at Callie's shirt. “I need skin,” she gasped between kisses.

Callie yanked off her own shirt and pulled Arizona closer. “And I need you,” she all but growled into Arizona's ear. She kissed her way back down Arizona's body. Arizona opened her legs wider and Callie paused, hovering over her.

Arizona sat up on her elbows. “What?”

Arizona wasn't holding her hand this time. There wasn't that driving need to succeed. There was just this relaxing feeling of being in her company and enjoying her body. “God you're beautiful” she whispered. She surged back up Arizona's body, driving two fingers into her as she took her mouth with her own. “I need to see you.”

Arizona groaned again—rising up from the bed and trying to get purchase as Callie continued to stroke into her with her fingers. She hooked one leg around Callie's ass and moaned for more. And this time—this time Callie kept her eyes open and she was aware. Aware of the way Arizona's back arched and her chest flushed. The way Arizona liked to vocally chant “fuck” over and over again and how she dug her nails into Callie's neck. This time it wasn't some tangential awareness—some borderline out of body experience—like watching some other woman make love to her girlfriend. This time she felt the grip on her fingers and the slick heat and it was all because of her.

This time when Arizona came Callie held her close and pressed her face against the damp skin of her neck. She reveled only in the rhythmic grip on her fingers and the panting in her ears and the sweaty body still writhing beneath her.

This time…this time it was perfect.



She was out of breath. An impressive feat because Arizona liked to ride bikes up hills. But riding a bike up hill in the highest gear possible wasn't nearly as athletic as sex with a hot and excitable Calliope Torres. Who was walking back into her bedroom completely naked and carrying a giant wine glass full of milk.

“Is milk your after sex beverage of choice?”

Callie ignored her and stood in the doorway. She tilted her head back and drank half the glass. If Arizona wasn't positive her legs had been destroyed during one of the many orgasms she'd just experience she would have hopped off the bed, pressed Callie against the door jamb and taken her again right then.

Callie must have seen something in her look because she shook her head, “Stop. I need rest.”

“You're gorgeous.”

“You're insatiable.”

“Only with you.”

Callie left the half full glass on the dresser and sat on the bed beside Arizona. She shifted a little more towards the center of the bed and softly stroked Callie's arm.

“How does a heart surgeon have such fantastic forearms?”

“Lugging around small children?”

“I'm serious,” Arizona countered, “Normally you see arms this fantastic in an ortho surgeon. Not a cardiothoracic geek.”

Callie raised an eyebrow, “Is this you saying you have a thing for ortho surgeons?”

“I probably would have taken you in Joe's bathroom years ago if you'd been ortho.”

“Funny,” she said dryly. She stooped down and kissed Arizona again. Damn it her lips were soft. And damn it she smelled good. Not everyone did. A lot of people smelled kind of gross after lots of sweaty sex. Callie didn't.

“Can you stay the night,” she heard herself say. She tensed up as soon as the question left her lips. People didn't stay after sex. They left—unless they were Amelia, the apparent U-Haul wonder queen.

Callie cocked her head to the side and ran her thumb across Arizona's cheek, “I thought that was the plan.”



She sat up against the headboard and crossed her hands over her naked breasts. “What?”

“Is this—do you date?”

“Of course I date!”

“For longer than a night?”


Callie was less than impressed.

“I do. Really.”

Callie crossed to the empty side of the bed and lay down. She tugged on Arizona's elbow until she finally gave up and slid down to lie alongside her. “It's okay.”

“You're thinking I'm weird right?”

“No. I'm thinking that I must be pretty awesome if you're willing to actually date me.”


“It does a lot for a lady's ego.”

That Callie was actually dating her did a lot for Arizona's ego. She'd never really attempted an honest long term relationship but she'd never had someone stubbornly work to maintain one with her either and here was this gorgeous and brilliant surgeon who could have anyone, woman or man, and she was sitting naked in Arizona's bed watching her patiently and smiling like she found her womanizing past…adorable.

She was tempted—so tempted—right then and there to tell her what she was feeling. To put a word to the emotion swelling up inside of her and trying to make her chest explode. It was so easy. Every breath she took seemed to put the word on her lips. To utter it. To tell Callie. It just took a moment.

Instead she snuggled down beneath the covers and pulled herself closer to Callie who gently wrapped her arms around her and tucked Arizona's head under her chin.

Either of them could say it. The words were there. Arizona liked to think the emotions were there too. But she didn't say it and Callie sighed contentedly.



Chapter 28


He moaned her name. She loved the way he moaned her name. Like she was the only person in the world. Like she could build him up and destroy him with a touch. Her name on his lips was like being crowned a goddess.

They'd found there way into a conference room. Quiet and secluded despite it being the middle of the business day. He'd pushed her back until she was sitting on the conference table and they were making out like they were teenagers in the honeymoon period of the relationship.

But there's was barely a relationship. It was sex in on call rooms. Lots of sex. They'd only slept together for the first time the day before and already Cristina was wondering how she'd be able to walk and wondering, just a little, how Callie could have ever given this man up.

She'd missed sex. Desperately. Four years of abstinence since Burke broke her heart. She'd honestly thought she'd lost it. The desire and the desirability, but one twenty four hour period with Owen Hunt and she felt—rejuvenated.

Afterwards Owen zipped up his pants and looked like he wanted to ask something. She raised an eyebrow and waited.

“The party this afternoon?”

“The baby thing?”

“You going?”

Was he…asking her to go as his date to a baby shower?

“Meredith wanted me to go as her back up.”

“So I'll…I'll see you there.”


He started to kiss her on the cheek but stopped himself. Instead he just nodded congenially and left her alone, satisfied, and confused.

She found Meredith afterwards at the nurse's station. “Owen…just tried to ask me on a date to that baby shower?”

Meredith was resting her chin on her fist and staring into space so her reply was a little muffled. “You should take him up on that.”

“I thought you wanted me there to protect you from Addison.”

“But Owen is a big guy. Much better defense then you. You're tiny.”

She had to agree. “I can fit in clothes at Forever 21. I don't—because I'm not twelve—but it's nice to know I can.”

“So is he going with you?”

“We just sort of agreed to meet up there.”

“Maybe a plane will crash into the hospital and we'll get so swamped with traumas we'll have to miss it.”

One could only fervently hope so.



She had a girlfriend in nothing but panties and a t-shirt in her kitchen and she was completely oblivious to being watched. She was also remarkably at ease in Arizona's kitchen. Her back was to her and she was humming to herself and rooting through the spice shelf (a shelf Arizona was very proud of). Finding something that pleased her immensely she hummed happily and plucked it from the shelf.

She probably was going to turn around then. Approach the bowl of batter near the sink. But Arizona Robbins was the daughter of a Marine and the sister of a very crafty brother and she could move stealthily. Like a cat. You had to with Tim as a kid. The guy could hear a pin needle drop.

At the last second Callie sensed the presence behind her and paused. Arizona said nothing. She nudged Callie's elbows until her hands were above her head and pressed into the cabinet door. The position raised her shirt a few inches above her waist and Arizona crouched and ran her tongue along the line of newly revealed flesh.

Callie tried to move but Arizona raised a single hand and pressed it to her shoulder, immediately stilling her. “Have I told you,” she whispered against dark skin, “how gorgeous you look this morning?”

“The batter…” She didn't actually care about the batter. Arizona stood up again and was pressing Callie into the counter with her hips and using her one free hand to do some really incredible things around her panty line. Her other hand was busy keeping Callie's hand above her head and her lips were creating a trail of pleasure all along her neck.

“Leave it,” she heard whispered into her ear before teeth gently tugged at her ear lobe.



It was. It was. She groaned. Words failing her. They'd been doing that a lot. Ever since they renewed the sex part of their relationship the night before. She was fairly certain that by the time her day off was complete she'd be wheelchair bound.

Arizona's wandering hand found it's way actually into her panties and involuntarily she thrust against it. “That feels…”

“Tell me.”


Ruined. The door to the living room swung open suddenly and Addison bound in red faced and carrying a squalling infant. Everyone froze. Addison's wide eyes took in the scene. Took in the suspicious position of Arizona's hands. Somehow the shock grew more pronounced. Suddenly Arizona was on fire and flying away from Callie in an instant. She pulled her t-shirt, borrowed from Arizona, down as far as it would go…which wasn't far. It didn't even cover her underwear.


Addison was failing to find words. Arizona was getting over her shock and smiling beatifically. “Problem,” she asked wryly.

“Do you even knock?”

“I would have if I knew you were here Callie!”

Arizona, being a little more dressed than Callie, and recuperating from the shock of being caught in the sexy times quite smoothly, came around the kitchen counter. “Everything okay?”

Addison gave her baby, who was still crying up a storm, a little jostle. “She won't stop crying.”

Arizona wasn't saying it so Callie really wanted to point out that Addison was the premiere baby doctor in the United States. The best. Period.

Then Addison started rattling off the myriad of diseases and ailments that could have afflicted her child and it all made sense. Arizona just nodded and took the baby up in her arms and immediately began attempting to comfort her. The suddenly maternal picture before her sent a pang of odd longing through Callie.

“Did you try that ginger stuff Mark got?”

Still a little snotty, but calming a little now that there were sane people around, Addison shook her head.

Arizona glanced over at Callie, “Can you run across the hall and check for a tiny bottle in the diaper bag? Should be on the dining room table.”

Callie immediately did as asked, and sure enough, there on Mark's dining room table, was a diaper bag. She found the bottle, just barely bigger than her thumb and filled with liquid and ran back to Arizona's.

She didn't really want to dwell on how Arizona knew where it would be.

The two pediatric surgeons had moved and were now sitting on the couch. Arizona still held the baby in her arms and still looked incredibly maternal and adorable. Callie held out the bottle and she took it without looking.

“Here you go baby girl.”

The baby immediately latched onto the plastic nipple and started sucking. Her eye lids drooped and she took on that doped up look that satisfied babies often got.

“Mark's been ranting about this stuff for the last week,” she explained to Addison and Callie. “Won't shut up about it. Insists we should have a steady supply in the NICU.”

Addison shook her head. “I remember him mentioning something for the NICU. But it's Mark .”

Arizona looked down at the baby and her voice went up an octave, “And that explains everything doesn't it baby girl? Your daddy's kind of a doofus when it isn't related to boob jobs and burns. Isn't he?”

The bottle emptied in short order and Callie took it back, marveling at how quickly it had sated the baby. “Wow. I wish I'd known about this stuff with mine. All three of them were the most colicky babies you've ever seen.”

“Really,” Addison asked. She was trying to act nonchalant. Like she hadn't just rushed into Arizona's home to beg for assistance with an infant. As Callie could sympathize a little she agreed.

“Yup. Nearly killed Owen and I.”

“And little did you know,” Arizona said, still playing with the baby and being thoroughly delighted by the way her tiny hands waved about, “that Mark Sloan ordered the miracle cure for colic off Amazon.”

“He can never know he succeeded.”

“Nope. Never.”



An hour later Addison was gone, pancakes had been made and imbibed and Arizona and Callie were back in bed and entirely naked. Callie stretched and felt the pleasant pop of tendons in her arms and shoulders. She'd pillowed her head on Arizona's smooth bare stomach and Arizona dozed lightly while running her hand through Callie's hair.

“This is nice,” she murmured with a kiss to the swell of Arizona's stomach.

Arizona murmured contentedly but didn't open her eyes.

“No babies.”

“Mm. No babies are a big plus.”

“I was kind of surprised though.” Arizona peeked at her through half lidded eyes. “You knew exactly where the bottle was.”

“Mark and I are close.”

Really close.

“I never thought you and him would be friends.”

She smiled lazily, “You know, if things were different we might not have been.”

“What kind of different?”

Arizona cupped the back of her head and tugged her upwards. Callie happily obliged. “If he and I were both into the same woman…”

Callie kissed the side of her mouth. “Jealous easily?”

“Definitely.” She kissed Callie and it was half affectionate and half an intense claim. Callie was okay with that. She liked a lover who knew what they wanted and, more importantly, she like a lover who put her first. It was…nice…and something she'd missed with Owen since almost from the beginning.

With them there had been Iraq and Teddy and kids and everything unsaid. A chasm between a real marriage and what they had. With Arizona—with Arizona it was the two of them against the world. The most natural relationship she'd ever been in.



Sadly there was no epic plane crash, or another sinkhole, or even a shooter rampaging through another school, and late that afternoon Cristina found herself wearing almost as much pink as Meredith usually wore and trudging through the brisk spring air beside her.

Meredith had brought a present. It was big, pink, and looked expensive judging by the wrappings. Apparently her parents had selected it and sent her as their envoy—because that wasn't awkward. They could have gone and it would have been fine, but no they had to send their daughter—who was sleeping with the mother's ex.

Cristina, realizing that it was probably rude to show up sans gift, bought a bag in the gift shop and threw a surgical kit into it. “She's got surgeons for parents. This is a valid gift.”

Meredith clearly thought otherwise but said nothing.

Somehow Percy worked out that when they were going to the party and managed to time his own arrival perfectly. He and Avery had purchased a giant stuffed bear together and then actually wrapped the bear in neon green wrapping paper. Every time he readjusted his grip on it the whole thing crinkled and new tiny tears appeared.

When they entered the apartment building they found Owen there with all three of his children. They all stepped onto the elevator.

The silence would have been deafening but Percy kept shifting the bear and it made little noises every time. Owen's oldest, Angela? Allegra? Something. Turned around to look at him.

“What's that?”

“A gift?”

“You should wrap it better.”

Cristina bit back a smile. The kid had a point.

Owen took his daughter by the shoulder and pointed her forward. “Allegra,” he chastised, “be polite.”

“What?” She turned back around, “My mom is really good at wrapping stuff. You should ask her for tips.”

“Allegra,” he warned. It was a stunningly dad moment. One that actually reminded her of the fact he was a father. Often times she'd actually forgotten. He glanced at her in the reflection of the elevator and she held his gaze. Smiled. He smiled shyly back

Behind her Meredith coughed discreetly. She was staring at Cristina and Owen both and giving Cristina a mute warning. Right. Probably not good to have crazy sexy tension with her bone buddy in the middle of a party his ex-wife would definitely be at.

The elevator opened and because Owen seemed to know where he was going they all followed him and his kids to a door where he knocked and Callie answered. Almost immediately Cristina realized that they'd all followed him to an apartment that wasn't Mark Sloan's. Meredith realized it too, because Meredith was smart and had actually been there before.

Percy though, Percy waltzed right in and whistled low. “Sloan's got a nice place. Though what's with all the African stuff?” He saw the bike resting next to the couch and brightened. “Aw. Cool bike.”

The elevator dinged open again behind them and Amelia Shepherd came barreling through with Lexie (in a very sedate and un-Lexie like outfit) following after her.

Amelia wasn't even phased by all the people. Just slipped past them and into a bedroom off the main room. It slammed behind them and Lexie coughed and smiled awkwardly. “She wanted to change before the party.”

Callie had stooped down and picked up one of the twins from their stroller and sat him on her hip. “Did you guys have fun with Daddy today?”

“We went to daycare,” Allegra gleefully provided.

Callie looked sharply at Owen.

Uh oh. She hadn't though anything of it when Owen showed up at the hospital and dragged her into the conference room. She had just been pleasantly surprised.

“I—there was an emergency in the pit they needed me there for,” he said. Everyone paying attention (which was everyone besides the kids and Percy) picked up on the big fat lie.

“Right,” she said a little frigidly, “we should probably go next door. To the party.”

It finally dawned on Percy, “This isn't where the party is?”

“Do you see any streamers,” Lexie remarked.

The elevator dinged again and Alex and April stepped out giggling. They both paused as soon as they saw the crowd at the door. Beside her Meredith scowled. “Does Robbins have anything to drink?”

She didn't wait for an answer. Just walked in and rooted through the fridge of what Cristina realized was Arizona Robbins' apartment.

April still stood just outside the elevator with a slightly shocked Alex. She clutched his hand and looked like she was going to cry. Which Cristina really didn't want to see. She rolled her eyes and called out to Meredith. “I'll help you look!”

That required brushing past Owen and Callie who both stood at the door smiling congenially and trying to act like things weren't incredibly weird.

But it was too late. Things were weird. Really, really weird.



Mark caught Arizona cradling his daughter against her chest and looking at her like she was some sort of tumor. Which was pretty offensive. He slid onto the couch next to her and lowly murmured, “Aren't you supposed to like babies?”

She looked up, surprised, “I do.”

He motioned to his daughter with his beer bottle, “You're looking at her like she's a growth.”

“I—I am not.” When she wanted to deny things she was the worst.

“If I gave you a scalpel you'd be carving her away from your chest.”

She scowled and grabbed his beer. After a long sip she reappraised his child. “She gets cuter the more you drink.”

“You probably shouldn't have to drink to stomach holding kids. Besides you're a pediatric surgeon.”

Not looking up from the baby she handed the beer back, “Right. In hospitals I love kids. I love fixing them. And I love this kid. I just—“

Mark frowned. Leaned forward. Something was up with her. He said her name gently, “Robbins?”

There was some deep thinking going on in that pretty little blond head of hers and she looked as though she was going to share, but at the last moment she blinked and her face turned bright with a smile. “Nothing.”

He might have pressed it. He wanted to. Only Addison came in from the bedroom looking fantastic and impeccable in a sheath dress. She paused at the sight of the two of them sitting on the couch sharing a beer and a baby.

“Didn't you invite more people than Arizona? Where's Callie?”

“Next door. She was waiting for Owen and their kids.”

“And Amelia?”

Arizona grimaced, “Yeah she stayed over at Lexie's last night.”

Addison glanced down at her watch, “The party should have started ten minutes ago. A party full of Type-A surgeons who wouldn't be late to their own colonectomys.”

That was his woman. Making really terrible visual images. Arizona passed off the baby and stood. “I'll just go check on Callie.”

She jogged to the door and opened it revealing the door's remarkable ability to muffle sound. Because there was, in fact, a great number of people in the hallway. They were all staring into Arizona's apartment where Karev was trying to talk to Webber and Yang was trying to keep Webber from doing something violent. Out in the hallway Kepner was sobbing. Her only company was Torres's oldest who was patting Kepner's leg and trying to comfort her despite not even being five. Amelia and Lexie were sitting on the floor leaning against the couch watching the fight and laughing hysterically and Callie and Owen were dealing with their sons who were both attempting to climb the stupid fern the building manager stuck in the hallway to “liven the place up.”

Arizona was stunned into silence by the tableau but Addison wasn't. “What the hell—“

“Is going on here?”

Every single head snapped in the direction of the unusually authoritative voice. Miranda Bailey, formerly known as “Mandy,” had arrived with her incredibly tall husband and son and was not amused.

“You all are surgeons! Doctors! Adults ! You're standing out here with your mouths hung open like a bunch of idiot children. You've got an infant making this poor sobbing sad sack feel better!” She looked at everyone incredulously. Then waved over at Percy who was looking lost and confused and hugging a poorly wrapped giant teddy bear. “And I don't even know what his problem is.”

No one in the hallway spoke. Even over in Arizona's apartment the bickering ex-couple was silent. Mark took another sip of his beer. Arizona took it and wordlessly finished it off.

Mandy flippin' Bailey.

Satisfied that she'd embarrassed every single person in the hallway, of which there were many, she took a deep breath and approached Mark's apartment with a smile. “Congratulations on the baby.” She glanced at Mark like he was an unusual worm suddenly discovered in the bowels of a seemingly healthy man. “And on knowing who the father is.”

Chapter 29

Arizona was used to parties where wine flowed freely and great conversation was had and eventually someone snuck off to the bathroom to make out with someone else. Baby showers were an anathema to her. A place where women (because no one ever invited men) gathered and ooed and awed over someone's ability to reproduce. People would always peg her with a look and ask when she was going to settle down. Her mother or other older relative would look on fondly and make some snide but polite sounding remark about how she was too busy with work. Then there would be a series of painful games and everyone would eat a stale cupcake and then the mother to be would open up a bunch of heteronormative gifts handily colored in either pink, blue, or if they were trying to be hip, purple or green.

Addison and Mark weren't quite so traditional. One: the baby was already there and a few months old. Two: many men were invited and attended. Three: booze flowed freely. Not free enough that people would be drunk. It was only three o'clock. But Arizona definitely had a pleasant buzz and Callie kept catching her eye and smiling all sexily.

And apparently they were both so blissful due to booze and love that she completely missed Erica's entrance. Or Erica noticing the looks. It only became clear when Erica sat next to her on the couch and said in a low throaty voice, “So that's who I got dumped for?”

The low murmur so startled Arizona that she nearly spit her wine back into her glass. “Excuse me?”

Erica nodded in Callie's direction, where she was swaying in place with one of her sons on her hip and listening intently to whatever Meredith Webber was saying to her. “You dumped me for Torres.”

“Oh. It wasn't like that.”

“But you are dating?”

Callie winked and Arizona resisted the urge to sigh in bliss. “Yeah.”

“Does her husband know?”

Amelia flopped onto the couch next to them, “They're getting a divorce nosy neighbor.”

“Dr. Shepherd,” Erica greeted her tersely.

Arizona leaned forward and greeted her with a smile.

Amelia, being quite familiar with both hosts, thought nothing of leaning back on the couch and sticking a pair of very expensive shoes up on the coffee table. “Drilling the good Doctor Robbins on her romantic proclivities.”


“Is it your business?”

“Not particularly. Is it yours?”

Arizona smiled pleasantly at some guests who had noticed the exchange. “You know,” she said—refusing to look at either woman, “usually it's women I'm currently sleeping with who fight over me.”

Amelia was horrified. “You did not sleep with Hahn.”

As was Erica. “You slept with Shepherd?”

Someone shoot her now.



“There is a lot of sexually fluid women sitting on my couch right now, and you can tell how serious I am about you by the fact that I'm only mildly turned on by it.”

Mark was being very sincere.

Addison followed his line of sight to the couch and promptly rolled her eyes. “It's like Seattle just breeds lesbians.”

“Technically Amelia is bisexual or pansexual or something.”

“She looks good.”

Healthy. She'd been avoiding them since her breakdown but Arizona was keeping him apprised.

“Do you think she's really okay,” Addison asked.

Mark shrugged. “Arizona says she is. She's been hanging out with Webber's little sister a lot.”

The pierced and dreadlocked woman was standing with her sister and Torres. He hadn't really seen the woman since he'd brought her into the hospital. They'd run into each other once or twice since she'd started hanging out with Amelia and she seemed nice enough. She accidentally caught his eye and smiled bashfully. He cleared his throat and left Addison to join all the women on the couch.

“Ladies, can anyone join this conversation?”

Arizona looked up gratefully, “Mark. Where's the baby?”

He pointed to another corner where Percy was holding his daughter and talking with Yang. Wait…when did that happen?

Arizona hopped off the couch. “I should go—“ Rescue his daughter from the idiot.

He wordlessly agreed and dropped onto the couch between Hahn and Amelia. “Question.”

Both women looked at him.

“Am I the only person on this couch who hasn't made out with Robbins?”

Hahn scowled and got up. Amelia shook her head. “You clear a room. It's amazing.”

“You were wondering it too. Hahn and Robbins. All that blond hair. The whole authoritative Nurse Ratchet thing coupled with Tinkerbell.”


“And Robbins is crazy dominant in the sack right? So they probably spent half their time wre—“

Amelia shivered in revulsion and stood up—leaving the couch entirely empty. Mark grinned happily and laid out. Sighing in satisfaction at having his couch all to himself for the first time since the party started.



Allegra was sitting on the floor in a very nice dress with half a cupcake done up like a bird's nest shoved in her mouth. Her brothers were sitting on either side of her and they were listening with rapt attention to a story Tuck was telling them.

Callie was trying to distract herself from staring at her gorgeous girlfriend by staring at her gorgeous children and so far it had worked.

Then Owen approached. They watched their children in friendly silence.

“I'm gonna say something and I hope you won't get all rawr again.”

Owen sipped his sherbet fruit punch concoction having forgone the booze entirely because he still had to drive the kids home afterwards.

“I think I'm in love with her.”

“I thought you were a month ago.”

“Maybe. I don't know. But now—now I feel like I can say it. I'm in love with Arizona Robbins. I want to wake up next to her and go to sleep beside her and—is it too fast? Am I moving too fast?”

He considered the question seriously. He always considered her questions seriously. “Callie, you love easily. You always have.”

“I feel a lecture coming on.”

“No. Not a lecture. I'm the same way. If we'd been any other two people we wouldn't have gotten married and had three kids.”


“So you're the wrong person to ask.”

Speaking for himself he said, “I know that my next step will involve the kids. Seeing if we can have a life outside of the hospital.”

She glanced over to where her girlfriend was talking to his girlfriend. “You and Yang huh.”

“She has depth.”

“Like a fine scotch.”


“So if I ask Arizona to meet the kids. If I introduce her to them as my girlfriend. You'll be okay with it?”

“I want you to be happy Callie. If that means teaching our kids about lesbianism at a very early age then there's nothing I can do about it.” He realized that he'd just said something that Callie was trying to not find insulting and quickly amended, “not that they shouldn't learn about it because it's very natural and healthy.”

“Nice save.” A lot of guys would have freaked out about the woman thing. Not Owen. He'd freaked out about her simply dating—but a woman? Didn't phase his ego one bit. She bumped into his shoulder with her own. “You going to introduce them to Cristina?”

He took another sip of his drink and frowned at the sweetness.



“There are a lot of kids at this party—“ Meredith stopped speaking when she realized Arizona was holding one of the aforementioned kids. She'd swooped in and rescued the baby from Percy and, more importantly to Cristina, rescued her from his less than scintillating conversation. Meredith had wandered over soon after but failed to notice the squirmy bundle in Robbins' arms.

“Kind of expected at a baby shower Webber.”

Meredith, not wanting to be found out as a supreme grump reached out to stroke the sleeping baby's face with her finger. “She's so quiet.”

Arizona agreed, “Mark and Addison like to argue loudly when she's sleeping so loud noises don't effect her—or that's what they claim.” She looked down at the baby who yawned but continued to sleep. “As long as I don't have to babysit I'm fine.”

That surprised Cristina. “Aren't you a pediatric surgeon?”

Robbins didn't even look up, “Oh I love babies. I also like going home to a baby free house at the end of the night.”

“But you're dating a single mom?” Cristina had been wondering the same thing but hadn't said it. Meredith didn't even apologize. She patiently waited for an answer. Robbins opened her mouth. Shut it. So Meredith rolled her eyes, “So you and Cristina are both anti-baby and yet you're both dating people with toddlers.”


Robbins smiled like it hadn't just gotten weird but said, “This has been an oddly personally moment with residents I don't know. I'm going to go talk to Karev.”

Meredith looked like she wanted to say something about him as well but Cristina grabbed her by the arm, “Did you just tell one of our bosses she was nuts for sleeping with a single mom?”

“I've had a rough day. My ex-fiancee is at a baby shower for my boyfriend's ex-wife and he brought my ex-best friend and you two are apparently both anti-baby and about to be exes yourself if you keep being idiots.”

“Wow Mer, tell me how you really feel.”

“He has three kids Cristina. And you hate kids. You said it like the first day of our internship.”

“I know.”

“So what are you doing?”

She really didn't know. At all. She'd been so focused on just being with Owen that she hadn't considered the logistics…or the kids. And they were very much present. They were sitting on the floor with their parents and Bailey's kid and all acting like a healthy and normal family and how the hell was she supposed to be in that. Why should she even have to be.

“She'll get custody though. Right? And then I wouldn't even have to see them except for holidays.”

“That's if Owen's like my birth dad. But as his liver's still intact I'm thinking he probably believes in being a hands on dad. He's wearing one of them on his shoulders.”

Oh God he was. One of the twins had climbed up and was straddling his neck and delighting in his new vantage point. Owen must have realized he was being watched because he turned around and nodded towards Cristina.

“I should go talk to him,” she said under her breath.

“About how you hate children?”

“No. Just in general.” Near the kitchen Kepner laughed loudly at something Addison said. Alex smiled and wrapped his arm around her and Robbins, who'd just arrived with the baby, smiled as well. “Are you okay,” Cristina asked. Meredith's exes both looked awfully happy and fluffy and normal, compared to Meredith who was there alone and for once in her life not wearing pink.

“I'm good. I think I might leave soon.”

“Do you want me to go with you?”

“No, but I'll meet you at home to kill a bottle of tequila.”

“I'm sure if Derek—“

“Could be here at the baby shower for the baby he thought was his for eight months he would be?”

“If he could be here for you he would be.” She hoped. He seemed…he seemed like he cared about Meredith. He was happier than she'd ever seen him. Kind. Exuberant. With Meredith McDreary was almost…McDreamy.



Mandy Bailey, who Addison insisted was known to be very meek and polite, was anything but when she shoved Mark's feet off the couch and replaced them with her own rear. “This has to be the first party I've ever been to where the host decides to take a nap in the middle of the party.”

“Are you saying this is a bad party Bailey?”

“No sir. It's a wonderful party. Tuck has spent so much time playing with the Hunt kids he'll fall right to sleep when he gets home.”

Tuck and the Hunt kids had found rolls of wrapping paper from somewhere and were jousting in the hallway outside while Bailey's husband and Hunt watched.

“And the residents manage to give us all a wonderful little drama earlier.”

Kepner stopped crying after the first hour of the party then Yang found her and Karev making out in Mark's bedroom thirty minutes after Webber left. It was like a soap opera playing out in his apartment.

“That Karev gets around,” he said.

Bailey agreed, “The boy's nasty. Good surgeon though. And nice when he isn't spreading STDs through the hospital.”

Mark sighed. That could have been him. The hospital stud. That had been his reputation in New York. Out here he was just the adulterer. The friend to the lesbian. The new dad who didn't know anything about parenting. It was almost funny how it had changed and how rarely he missed his old and lonely life. That one had been made up of secretive yearly trysts with Addison. Abbreviated and unsatisfying conversations with Derek. He'd been lonely and now he had an apartment full of acquaintances that didn't detest him, and friends.

“Bailey,” he asked, “would it surprise you to know that I used to be Karev?”


Well, she could have at least acted a little surprised. “One of these days that guy is going to realize there's more to the world than hot sex in an on call room. He'll grow up.”

She hummed in agreement, “You know he was one of my interns. Way back when it was him and Yang and Webber. And these other two kids who didn't quite make it. All of them were lazy, stupid, irresponsible and spent more time thinking about who to sleep with than the medicine. I went to sleep every night dreading a page saying they'd killed one of my patients. And then one day they weren't quite idiots anymore.”

Mark's beer was way too warm to be good anymore but he didn't want to get up and get a cold one so he drank it any ways. “Right, but they're still residents. Only time can cure that kind of dumb.”

“Time and good teachers,” she jerked her chin in Arizona and Addison's direction. “They'd be a mess if they didn't have people like Addison and Arizona.”

Another sip of his beer. It really was skunked. But it was okay. It was all okay. Addison had just said something undoubtedly wry and Arizona was laughing loudly. “They wouldn't be the only ones.”



Allegra wildly swung her weapon of choice, a roll of blue wrapping paper covered in cartoon clown fish, and smacked Tuck so hard the sound reverberated through the hallway. Owen winced and Bailey's husband did the same.

Tuck, being resilient, simply smacked her back with a tube of bright pink paper with little baby pacifiers on it. Owen had no idea where they'd found the wrapping paper, but Arizona's apartment door wasn't fully closed so he had a sneaking suspicion.

Allegra took the hit like a champ and attempted to strike again, only to be parried.

A warm adult hand curled around Owen's wrist and tugged him away from the epic battle. “Can I talk to you a second,” Cristina implored. She'd put her jacket back on and her bag was slung across her chest.

“You're leaving?”

“Mer had a bad day and needs me to go home and pour alcohol down her throat. Outside?”

Tuck's father wordlessly agreed to watch the kids and Owen stepped out onto the stairwell. Before Cristina could say whatever it was she wanted to say her stepped into her space and kissed her hard. He'd missed being able to touch her for the last few hours and had sort of assumed she wanted to say goodbye.

But she didn't kiss him back. Her hands came up and she pushed him away.

“I don't like kids,” she blurted out.

She didn't like—

“I get why others like them and I will never judge a person for wanting them but I don't like them. I don't want to raise them, most days I don't even want to speak to kids unless they're dying of something cool and related to the heart. And you've got kids. You've got three of them and you love them and you seem amazing with them, but I can't Owen. You can't ask me to—“

“Where is this coming from?”

“You're a father.”

He was. It was hardly a revelation.

She ran her hand through her hair. It was wild and curly and that morning he'd been tangling his hands in it and wondering how he could ever let her go. Then her hands fell from her hair and she looked at him like he was dying. There was such a sudden and palpable ache in her eyes.

“I'm not a mother.”

Oh. He wondered if the shock was there on his face.

“I have these feelings for you that just…consume me but at the end of the day you have kids and you want kids and I can't.”

“I don't care,” he heard himself say.

He reached out to pull her close but Cristina stepped back. “You have to.”

“No I don't. My kids have a mother. A great one. Me being with you isn't me asking you to be a part of that.”

She was his fine scotch. Rare and beautiful and full of complexities that made her addictive. He'd given up a lot to be a father. His sanity, his sense of self, three years in a marriage that could never work. He wouldn't give her up. Not after finally finding her.

She didn't move when he came close again. Her eyes drifted shut as he cupped her cheek and pulled her mouth to his. “I don't care,” he whispered. “Not now.”

His therapist was always telling him to pull himself out of the past. So he did. Forget the past. Forget the future. For a little while Owen Hunt would live only in the present.



The party lasted longer than Callie had expected and before she realized it the sky was turning orange with the setting sun. Gavin and Allegra had found a second wind and were running between the living room and the hallways between Mark and Arizona's place. There was a lot of squealing.

Angus, however, had horfed down too many cupcakes and was in the midst of coming down from a sugar high. He'd curled up against her side and put his head in her lap. Stroking his hair, impossibly blond and fine, had put Callie into a kind of a meditative state. She didn't even notice the couch shift until cool lips pressed briefly against her neck.

“Hey,” Arizona whispered. “Enjoying yourself?”

She was actually. Owen and Addison were in a deep conversation concerning child rearing and Mark was sitting at the dining room table enjoying the view afforded by his big windows and speaking to his daughter who was laid out on his lap and looking up at him like he was her whole world.

Most of the others had already left. In fact, she looked around, yup they were definitely the last ones there.

“This is nice.” It was…homey. Pleasant and easy. Seeing Meredith and Karev share the same space unpleasantly for two hours had highlighted just how smoothly her shift from spouses to friends with Owen had been. They could not only share the same space, but actually enjoy each other's company.

And he didn't look at Arizona with jealousy.

Closing her eyes and listening only to the conversations around her Callie could almost envision it: future with these people. A family far more expansive than the original one she'd made.

Mark would be there and Addison, one was her friend and the other was like a brother to Arizona. And Owen. Maybe Cristina—a woman she found herself liking even though she was sleeping with her husband. She was a hard woman but with a vast well of compassion just beneath the surface. And Arizona, wrapped up around her and being the perfect foil she hadn't even known she'd needed.

“I love this,” she said. Satisfaction—something so elusive for so long—and she'd found it in the waning hours of a baby shower sitting on a couch with her son and her girlfriend.

Arizona lazily dragged a fingernail over the thin fabric of Callie's dress. “I know some other things you love,” she uttered in a low voice.

Callie stole a quick kiss, not wanting to actually be caught by her kids and have to explain her new girlfriend to them at a baby shower. “I'd love to later, maybe you could spend the night?”

“Owen's not with the kids?”

“Nope. He's got an early morning surgery.”

Arizona pouted. “I was kind of hoping for a repeat of last night—at my place.”

Callie would have loved another evening of amazing sex and conversation as well, but it wasn't doable. She rarely saw her kids as is with her increased workload at the hospital. Frequently Owen had to pick the kids up from daycare and take them home. She'd find him sleeping on the couch. They'd joked about him just moving back in and taking over the downstairs office. It wasn't like she ever had time to use it anymore anyways.

“I wish I could.”

“It's fine,” Arizona said. She was shifting into her distanced ultra friendly mode and Callie quickly reached out and squeezed her hand. “How about we both take a long lunch tomorrow?”

That satisfied Arizona enough. “That'd be nice.”

“And Owen and I were taking the kids out for dinner tonight. Maybe you could come?”

The fake happy returned abruptly, “No, no that's your family time. I wouldn't want to—“

“You are family.”

She smiled sweetly, “Thanks, but I really shouldn't.”

“So…that's it. I'll leave the party and we'll just—“

“See each other for a long lunch tomorrow.”



Arizona stumbled back to her apartment. It was only considered stumbling because she'd apparently been drinking more than she thought at the party and when she stood up the room spun ever so slightly. Allegra and Gavin darted in front of her on her way to her door and she used the top of their heads to stabilize herself.

Which they only found amusing.

Her place was dark with only the glow of the setting sun lighting things. Amelia must have snuck away from the party and her place. It was a little cold. A little empty.

And someone had pulled all the wrapping paper out of the closet. She grumbled and collapsed cross legged in the middle of the small mess and started rolling up the paper and putting the tape and fancy calligraphy pens and gift tags away.

The door behind her opened and light from the hallway spilled in. Then it closed again.

She wasn't in the mood for Amelia so she said nothing.

She was cranky. She had a girlfriend and stupid life was inconveniencing her fun time and she'd get over it but for a few minutes she just wanted to be a cranky and regret getting buzzed at a baby shower because that was a step shy of alcoholism.

The feet that came around and stood in front of Arizona weren't Amelia's though. Similar expensive taste in shoes, but a much sexier leg. She looked up at Callie. “I thought you had dinner with your family.”

“I do. I'm meeting them at the restaurant.” She pulled Arizona up. “I wanted to come check on you.”

“Because I got buzzed at a baby shower?”

“Slightly worrisome, but more because you seemed a little down when you left.”

“I'm fine.” She wasn't. But she would be.

Callie studied her but didn't try to argue the matter.

“You sure you don't want to come stay over tonight?”

And help Callie usher her kids into a new era of acceptance of the gays? No thanks. Besides— “You spent all day with me and you're working eighty hour weeks. You should get some alone time with your kids.”

“That doesn't have to stop us from having late night alone time. I could leave the door unlocked. You could sneak in and we could have super secret sex. Or I could put the ladder up and you could climb in and I could finally check the Clarissa Explains It All fantasy off my checklist.”

Arizona had no idea what the hell that meant. She blinked.

“You didn't have Nickelodeon as a kid did you?”

Arizona stood on tip toes and kissed her girlfriend on the corner of her lips. “I love you but I think we're probably too old for super secret sex and ladders at the bedroom window.”

It was only after she'd said it that she realized she had. It had just sort of snuck out of her mouth.

“You do?”

Callie wasn't talking about the ladder stuff. And Arizona knew that as cranky as she was that it didn't change certain things. She loved Calliope Middle Name Unknown Torres. Had for over a year. Had fallen madly with every passing day. Found herself sad when she couldn't touch her. Hold her. Hear her fears and joys. Arizona didn't usually like people in her home and so wrapped up in her life. But she could make an exception for Callie.

“I do.”

And she would say it every second of every day forever if it meant she got to see that look on Callie's face. The awe. The delight. The passion.

“I love you too.”

Chapter 30

“It's a bicycle.”

“It's a Trek hybrid.”

“A two wheeled form of conveyance that you stop using around the same time you get your Bachelors.”

“Twenty-one speeds. I switched the handlebars out for butterflies.”

“The color is nice.”

“I know how you feel about black and red. You're very dark.”

“I am. But that is still a bicycle.”

Callie was unamused with the gift. Arizona was exuberant. She would not be denied. She'd decided that they could spend more time together if Callie's workout of choice became bicycling and she'd arrived in Mark's SUV that evening with the bike resting in the back.

“There are some really laid back group rides we could do together. You could meet some of my friends. We could go bar hopping. The cops aren't nearly as likely to arrest you if you're doing your pub crawl in a group on bikes.”

“So I'll just tell Owen I can't be with our children because my girlfriend wants me to do a pub crawl with twentysomethings.”

“There are people our age there,” she countered.

“The lawyer you had sex with.” She would not be jealous. Her girlfriend regularly worked with her ex-husband.

“And some others. You'll like it Calliope.”

Callie reappraised the bike. It did seem nice. Sleek. Shiny. And Allegra was wanting a bike for her birthday. They could do mother daughter rides through the park with the boys in one of those neon green trailers she always saw other parents using.

“I guess,” she ran a finger of the cool metal, “it could be fun.”

“Yay!” Arizona wrapped her up in her arms and smacked her on the lips. “You're going to love it Calliope.”

The hugged turned more friendly as Callie dropped her hands to lie on Arizona's waist and turned a friendly kiss into something more heated. “You know,” she breathed against Arizona's cheek, “the kids are busy inside.”


“And it's dark out.” Very dark. “And Mark's car appears to have a roomy back seat.”

Arizona agreed with a murmur. “And tinted windows.”

Not breaking their kiss Arizona walked them backwards towards the center of the car. She reached behind herself and pulled the door open and hopped back on the bench seat. Then she ran her tongue over her lips in the most erotic fashion possible. Her gaze was smoldering and she was looking at Callie less like a person and more like something to consume.

Callie leapt in next to her and shut the door. They stared at each other. Neither touching. The light above them was slow to turn off and only their breathing—a cacophony in the confined space of the car—could be heard.

Callie reached over and placed her hand on Arizona's thigh. Her girlfriend gasped as her fingers climbed upward. It was a long, laborious trail her fingers took. Her nails scraped against Arizona's jeans and the rough seam on the inside of her thighs.

“You know I don't think I've made out with someone in the back of a car since ever.”

Arizona smiled. “Really?”

She nodded, “Big house. Lots of room. Dad who travelled and mom who worked late.”

“Callie.” She threw her head back—exposing her throat. Her trachea moved as she panted Callie's name. Her girlfriend was too easy. She leaned over and grazed Arizona's exposed throat with her teeth. Her fingers pressed against Arizona's jeans—against her hot center underneath—and Arizona groaned in satisfaction.

“Uh huh.”

“Shut—“ She blindly reached up and held Callie's head to her neck and bucked against her hand. “Shut up.”

Callie started to straddle her but Arizona was like a spry little cat in the car. Nimble, able, and sexy as hell. She straddled Callie's legs with a little growl and kissed her—slipping her tongue into Callie's mouth and leaving her breathless. Hands played with buttons and garments were loosened. They were both wearing button down shirts, she a silk blouse from work and Arizona a rougher plaid shirt.

Soon there were two perfect bare slivers of skin meeting. Neither woman moved to take off their shirts. Just having them open gave them each enough access. Callie ground against the hand that had found its way into her pants and pressed her mouth against a soft breast she slipped from the cup of Arizona's bra.

Then light was flashing into the car and both women froze. “What was—“ Arizona's question froze on her lips. They both looked towards the house where Allegra was peaking out, silhouetted by the hallway lamp light.

“Your kid is trying to watch us,” she said, still against Callie.

She nipped at Arizona's nipple. “She can't see us.”

But apparently it was enough for Arizona. She climbed off and buttoned her shirt with shaky fingers. Callie sighed. “Do you want to at least come in?”

Arizona's jaw was tight and her eyes cool.

“The kids would love to see you. We were going to do ice cream and read a book before bed.”

“That sounds fun.” Only it was clear she was saying it sounded fun for them—not like it sounded fun for her to be apart of.

Callie continued, “Afterwards they'd be in bed. Asleep. And I bet we could figure out what to do with the left over chocolate syrup.”

“Callie,” she said warningly, “I…”

She said nothing. She was slowly starting to figure out that Arizona really, really didn't like to be pushed. She would say what she wanted when she wanted to. It annoyed the hell out of Callie but Arizona had been incredibly patient while Callie sorted through all her big gay feelings.

“I've got to get Mark his car back.”

A very good reason not to stay. So why did it sound like such a big excuse?




Erica Hahn had a way of saying Cristina's name like an insult. She stood to attention anyways. The woman was the head of her department and the rare person it was sort of almost worth sucking up to.

“Peds is light on residents today. You're with them.”

Her mouth dropped open and a cry of displeasure caught just before it could squeak out and irritate Hahn.

Meredith watched Hahn walked away and asked in a low voice, “What'd you do to piss her off?”

“I breathe.”

“Yang,” Bailey said sharply, “stop whining and go pick up Robbins' charts.”

She refused to vocally grumble, because she was an adult, but she did it in her head. At least she was working with Robbins. She usually handled all the kiddie interaction which meant Cristina didn't have to.

Bailey was called in on a trauma so it was just Cristina and Arizona on the consult before surgery. A concerned and tearful couple hovered over their infant daughter. She was plump, a good weight. Very healthy looking. She'd pulled both of her legs up towards her head and it took a second glance to see the problem.

“Yang,” Arizona said expectantly.

She didn't have to look at the chart. “Sarah Pelton, fourteen months. PFFD has left her with a shortened left leg. Which we'll be amputating today.”

The mother winced and started to cry again. Cristina didn't see that much of a problem. Compared to other birth defects the girl's was minor. She didn't have a knee and her leg was just a hip and a foot, but post amputation she'd be fitted with an excellent prosthesis. She'd learn to walk. Run. Ride bikes and do a great deal more than many other children.

Her father reached out to stroke the foot of the shorter leg. “Isn't there—I was reading in this forum for PFFD parents about this one kid. They made his leg longer.”

Robbins was cool and confident, her skill with patients and their parents nothing short of outstanding, “We've discussed this Tom. Sarah's deformity is relatively severe. There's no lower leg. No knee. That procedure wouldn't work for her.”

He shook his head, “But it's a perfectly good foot!”

It wasn't actually. It was missing a toe. But it was smooth and unblemished and the toes moved and curled. She delighted in her father's touch.

Robbins glanced at Cristina and sighed, “Tom, Miranda—“

“No,” the woman cried. “We're not doing this today.”

Cristina avoided peds cases, but she still knew a resolved parent when she saw one. The woman and her husband would not budge. They were not prepared. She looked down at the girl. Her surgery wasn't critical to her health. She would survive.

They exited the room quietly and Robbins smacked another chart down onto the nurse's station loudly. She looked up sharply and crooked her finger at Cristina who followed her into her office.

“What was that?”

“Excuse me?”

“I've been trying to get them in here for two months to do this surgery. Why didn't you say anything?”

“Sarah's case isn't critical. She won't crawl like the other kids, but it's up to the parents—“

“That girl is going to get older Yang. She's going to reach a point where her self-awareness and her memory is quite capable and that's probably when they'll finally opt to do the surgery, because she does need it. And instead of doing it now when it won't be as painful for them or for her they're going to wait. They're going to postpone and in the end everyone will be hurt.”

“Dr. Robbins—“

“I'd hope you'd be a voice of reason in there. I'd hoped you'd be smart enough to push them. Not just sit there inertly and stick your head in the sand. That's not what a good surgeon does.”

“I had no idea you—“

She laughed bitterly and crossed her arms. “No, you didn't.”



They shared lunch at a table. The early morning fog had disappeared as the warmth of spring settled over Seattle. It was pleasant. And Owen's company was even more pleasant.

For most people his relationship with Cristina was an open secret. They hadn't arrived at parties together and they were still low key enough that no one had asked about the relationship directly, but the slow burn of what they had allowed for early lunch outside.

Cristina stabbed at her lasagna.

“Everything okay?”

“I'm on Peds today. Robbins is kind of a bitch most days.”

Robbins could be more frigid then Hahn when she wanted to be. She couched a venomous tongue in happy go lucky friendliness, but when she wanted to unleash it—Owen had only fallen victim once, that house party of Cristina's, but he was in no mood to meet that side of his ex-wife's girlfriend again.

“What's going on with Cardio?”

“Between Hahn, your wife and your girlfriend it's gotten a little crowded.” She said “girlfriend” a little playfully. They hadn't broached the Teddy subject. He was friends with her. When he wasn't with Cristina or the kids he was out getting a drink with her. Cristina seemed okay with it…so far. Like the kids problem it was something best left tabled for another day. Or never addressed at all. Things were perfectly fine as they were and neither he or Cristina were in any hurry to change it.

“The department's just in a little bit of a flux. It'll smooth out.”

“Maybe. Hey any cool cardio cases down in the Pit today? I'll even take Ped cardio cases.”

He leaned over and gave her a peck on the lips, “Nothing so far, but you'll be the first doctor I page if that changes.”

She smiled and a bit of warmth appeared in her dark eyes.

“Now,” he said, dropping the timbre of his voice, “we're both done with our meals and I have twenty minutes before I have to be back down in the ER. Any idea how we could spend that time?”

Under the table her hand dropped onto his knee. “I've got plenty of ideas.”



Just inside Callie was at another table with Arizona and snacking on some chips she'd stolen off her girlfriend's plate.

“Yang and Owen,” she mused.

Arizona looked up from the newspaper she was reading. “What?”

“I just never would have seen it. I figured his rebound girl would be Teddy or Hahn or something.”

“Hahn's gay.”

“Well I didn't know that at the time. Wonder—“

“She's got that whole edgey thing you have Callie. Only dialed back to vaguely terrifying. And she's super taciturn like him and they're both in love with the one of the AC ducts in the basement.”

Callie raised an eyebrow. “How do you know that?”

“One here's things.”

Callie didn't buy it.

“Mark heard her talking to Webber. Now that's a friendship I never would have seen.”

“They live together.”

“With Lexie—who has all but moved into my apartment.”

That shocked Callie. She ate a chip loudly.

“She and Amelia?”

Arizona made quotations in the air, “Just friends. Speaking of there's a ride on Saturday night you might like. If you're up for it. Most of them think I've made you up and have either gone crazy or bought a RealDoll.”


“Right. That's the lesbian seen. We love a good drama.”

“Mm hm. And a good stereotype.”

Callie pulled her phone out and double checked her calendar. She and Owen had synced their schedules so each could see what the other's work load was like with a glance and arrange kid care. “Owen's working the Pit until nine and I've got a four a.m. call time Sunday.”

“So you're saying you can do it if we leave after nine and are back before four a.m.?”

She hoped the look she was giving Arizona was indicative of her desire to not do that. She was tempted to ask Arizona to just come over to her place, but she'd already proven herself to be wildly reticent about the idea.

“How about I have Owen stay at my place and I come over to yours? It's an easy walk to the hospital and we can stay in and do things.”

Arizona pouted, “I wanted to take you on a ride.”

“Right. But I could come over and take you on a ride instead.”

There. A goofy grin found its way onto Arizona's face. She was such a nerd when it came to sexual entendre. “Oh. That would be acceptable.”

“And hopefully awesome.”

“Super awesome.”



It was not super awesome.

One day she was just a doctor making it through life hour by hour and day by day. There were no tethers in Seattle. She didn't have a best friend she'd never known she needed. An ex-girlfriend she was supporting emotionally and fiscally. A girlfriend who stole her breath with a smile, devastated her world and put it all together again.

There was the medicine. The hospital. Fleeting moments of human comfort.

And she had liked it. No. She loved her life. She loved being holden to no one. Getting up at five a.m. for a four hour bike ride before work. Not coming home at the end of the night. Traveling on a moments notice. Never having to answer the phone or a knock at the door because it wasn't anyone of note or worth.

But then…then Mark was sitting in her living room and looking a little uncomfortable—which was impressive because he was the most confident man she'd ever met. She poured him a glass of wine and poured herself one as well. They sipped the Chardonnay in silence. It was a rich one. Like cream on the tongue.

“Look Mark, as much as I love sitting here and saying nothing I actually have a crazy marathon surgery tomorrow and kind of need to sleep.”

“You know Derek was my best friend right?”

Derek who refused to talk to Mark outside of work.

“I came out here to be with Addison. She was pregnant and it's my kid and I wanted to be here. I wanted to make this work. Only in the process I lost my best friend.”

She said nothing. She knew the story.

“I asked him to be Abigail's godfather.”

That was…a surprise.

“We've been best friends since we were kids you know? And I know he's pissed, but I really think he likes her,” he said with a grin. How could you not? “Addison told me I was nuts but I asked him.”

“How'd that work out?”

“He told me to go to hell.” Mark seemed almost…stunned by the response. As though he hadn't realized the depth of Derek's contempt. He finished off his glass and poured another. “So I'm asking you.”


“Abigail needs a godparent and we can't ask Amelia because she's still kind of psycho and none of Derek's sisters will talk to either of us. I asked Addison. She's okay with it.”

“You want me—“

“To be Abigail's godmother.”

She shook her head, “Mark I…” She what? Didn't want the responsibility? True. But she was doing a lot of things she hadn't done before. “I'm flattered.”

“Robbins,” he said all too patiently, “this is where you say yes and we start planning the baptism or whatever.”

“Don't you think it's too fast?”

“Excuse me?”

“It's too fast Mark. We've only known each other a few months and you want me to be the godparent to your daughter?”

“I thought I knew we were friends. I thought I knew you well enough—“

“You have a kid. Callie—Callie has kids. I spend every day with my hands in kids. Talking to kids. Comforting them and manipulating their parents. And now suddenly it's not just work. It's ice cream sundaes and bedtime stories and baby showers and being a godparent. That's not what I want.”

The words had been building up. Slowly. Grain by grain a pile of concerns forming inside of her and now they were all out there. Spilling from her mouth like sand through fingers.

Mark set his wine glass down and stood.

“Where are you going?”

He looked like he wanted to walk away. He sucked on his cheek and narrowed his eyes as he weighed whatever words he was about to speak.

“You like my daughter?”

“Of course.”

“You like me?”

She said nothing. They were friends—best friends.

“You and me being friends, that isn't going to change. You being the godmother to my daughter? Doesn't alter what you and I have. It's not some new responsibility. Addison and I are WASPs for God's sake. My godparents were an uncle who tried to have my dad committed and an aunt who still thinks I live in New York. Godparents are just—it's what we do.”

Okay. Okay. She nodded. She could handle that.

“But Robbins, Callie has three kids and you knew that going in.”

She had. She'd babysat them so she could see their mother. Comforted them so she could sleep in her bed. She understood—intellectually—that they existed and were important. But she and Callie had built up a bubble over the last few months. A little pink bubble where they could fall in love and smile coyly and kiss like the world wasn't moving all around them.

He was stooping down to look her in the eye. She looked away.

“You love her right?”

She'd been in love with Calliope Torres for years. And Calliope—she'd somehow found a way to love her back.

“They're not your kids.”

Of course they weren't.

She stood up too and moved mechanically to her bike. Her thumb dug into the rubber of the tires. There was enough air. She rolled the bike off its stand.

“Are you going for a bike ride? It's ten o'clock at night.”

It was. It was ten o'clock and she was suffering a revelation. “I need to go for a ride.”

Mark came around the couch and blocked the exit. “Hey,” he said, “don't do anything stupid.”

“I'm not Mark. I just—I need to think.”

“She's worth it right?”

She definitely was.



It was like there was gum in her eyeballs. Callie was seriously having trouble opening them. Was that her pager? She'd trained herself to pop up quickly when her pager buzzed.

No. A phone. Her phone. She rolled out of bed and crawled across the floor to where her phone rested in a basket charging. The bright light of the screen was abhorrent at—two in the morning?



Arizona. Adrenaline surged through her—clearing the gum from her eyes and waking her immediately.

“What's wrong?”

“Nothing—can you come downstairs. I was going to knock but I know Angus is a light sleeper.”

A dog fart would wake up Angus.

She hung the phone up and crept down the stairs. Arizona was standing on the porch. Her hair was wet from a late night fog and her cheeks and nose were rosy. It was chilly, even for early spring.

She tugged Arizona into the house and ran her hands of damp arms. “What are you—you're freezing.”

Arizona swallowed.

“Did you ride over here?”

“I went out for a ride. And I was going to go home and get some sleep, but the Colonel says if there's a bandaid that needs ripping do it fast and do it clean.”

Her girlfriend had gone off the deep end. “Do you want to sit down? Go upstairs?”

“I love you Callie.”

Now the bottom was dropping out. The churning in her gut worse than when she had to get up and speak before a group of strangers.

“But I can't do this.”

There was white noise raging between her ears.

“I wanted to just keep going you know? Stick my head in the sand and ignore the problems.”

“You're breaking up with me.” Her skin was tingling.

“You deserve someone who can love you--”

You love me.”

“Who can love your kids—“

And just like that the shock was gone. The dismay rushing through her and violent meeting with a rage she did not know she was capable of was silenced. She shook her head, “No.” Swallowed. “You knew I had kids. You knew I was confused about my sexuality. You knew about Owen.” Almost a whisper. “You knew everything.”

Arizona looked like she wanted to cry. “I know.”

Press your advantage Callie. If she's ripping your heart out know why. Maybe then it won't happened again. She stepped close. “Why now?”

“Because I love you too much to push this further.”

In the OR they had choices. There were a million ways to save a life in some circumstances. Paths that could be taken. Some fraught with difficultly and some so easy nothing could possibly be earned.

She and Arizona had made a choice. They'd chosen a path. She'd kissed her and said she would try and Arizona had agreed.

Truth be told she thought that had meant Arizona was all in. That she was as committed to this as Callie was. With her calm assurance and her steady heart. She had become a buoy in a sea of chaos. Something to cling to while weathering the storm.

“No,” she said. “No, don't give me that. Because you don't love me.” You didn't hurt the people you loved.


Her voice was harsh. Part a plea and part chastisement. “You made me fall in love with you Arizona. You were here and wonderful and now you're throwing it away because what? You suddenly realized I have children? That you might need to have a relationship with them?”

“I tried—“

“Bullshit. You ran. But that's what you always do isn't it?” There was bitterness, but Callie didn't even bother to temper it. She moved into Arizona's space. She wasn't wearing shoes but she still had a few inches on Arizona. She peered down. “I loved you.” Her voice was cracking. Breaking.

And Arizona was breaking too.



In the grand scheme of lovers Arizona had known Callie would always be the best. The closest to the elusive perfection she sought. Her parents…her parents were perfection. Tim and his wife—they'd been perfection.

But Arizona never found it. There were all the women. There was Amelia sneering on her living room floor and riding a high bought by stolen drugs. And there was Calliope Torres. The woman she'd loved from afar. The woman who fit so perfectly against her but whose life was so at odds with her own.

“I loved you,” she said. And Arizona noticed the use of past tense. Callie's capacity for love was remarkable. She and Owen—he'd nearly killed her and she still cared.

But it was a neat confirmation of what she felt. They weren't each other's great loves. They couldn't be. Callie couldn't love a woman who couldn't find it in herself to love her children.

Arizona could still love her. She'd love her forever.

“I should go.” Her voice was nearly a whisper. A hush tone. She didn't want to wake the kids.

Callie barely acknowledged her words. She was looking away. Waiting for Arizona to leave.

It was the right thing right? Callie needed someone who could care for her kids. Be a parent when they really needed one. She needed someone that was more than a great doctor and an amazing lay.

She reached out to open the door and Callie's hand suddenly latched onto her wrist and spun her around. A warm hand on her waist pushed her back against the door. The knob bit painfully into her back.

Callie's lips were on hers. Hungry. Angry. Arizona closed her eyes and tried to savor every sensation. The hard hands on her wrist and waist. The nails that dug pleasantly into her skin. The smell of Callie. The faded freckles on her nose. Her lips, soft and moist but so very unyielding against her own. Perfect long lashes.

She was stuck. Incapacitated by Callie's caress. The desire to reach up. To touch her dark hair once more. Feel her skin and the goose pimples that always seemed to rise with Arizona's touch. But if she touched Callie the spell would be broken. The kiss would end. The pink bubble would pop.

Arizona didn't pop it. Callie did. She pulled away and Arizona pushed forward and Callie—for a fraction of a second did too. Her lips so close there seemed no line between imagination and touch. She nuzzled Arizona's nose ever so lightly with her own.

The hand on her wrist was almost soothing now. The one on her waist still immovable. “You're going to regret this,” not a threat. Just the truth. Fragile on Callie's lips. “And I can't promise I'll be waiting when you do.”

Blind optimism. Callie's hallmark. Hope that one day something would change. Arizona could change.

“I'll see you at work,” she managed to say. God her tongue was heavy in her mouth. Not her own. None of her was. She'd fallen in love with Callie and everything had changed.


The End


The story will continue in Causal Fallacy in mid-July. Thank you so much for your support, praise and criticism and please don't murder me in my sleep via the internet!

E-mail your feedback to me at maggiemerc@gmail.com or follow me on Tumblr or LJ.



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