DISCLAIMER: Grey's Anatomy is owned by ABC and Shondaland. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Ann for the beta.
SPOILERS: Through Season 4
The smell of stale beer, and another odor which suspiciously resembled urine, crinkled Dr. Erica Hahn's nose as she opened the door to Joe's Bar. Erica was tired, and she had absolutely no desire to be anywhere but home. Groaning pitifully, she slowly looked around the crowded bar, wondering if she should just leave before she was seen. She could tell Callie that she'd been held up in surgery, or her car wouldn't start, or she'd been abducted by aliens. In all their months of friendship and during these past few weeks of kisses and confusion, she had never lied to Callie, and a part of her wondered if perhaps this was the perfect opportunity to start. But the truth was she wasn't really tired, she was nervous. She was nervous about playing a stupid game of darts.
She shouldn't be worried, she knew that. She had a perfect strategy that never failed: natural accuracy and precision, coupled with liberal libations and discreet distraction. She had confidence, and she had talent; after all, playing darts was really just a more relaxing extension of her day job. The rigidness of the shaft as she took aim at the cork felt as steady in her hand as the weight of a ten blade when she opened a patient's chest. She simply needed to stay focused, follow the game plan, and try not to think about what was on the line. Easier said than done, she thought as she scanned the room for Callie.
Erica never would have imagined that a simple bar game would become the catalyst for so many changes in her life. It was a night in this very bar, drinking shots and throwing darts to counterbalance a horrible day in the OR, that had kick- started her friendship with Dr. Callie Torres. They'd chased tequila with beer and mocked Mark Sloan's attempts to convince them both that they should spend the night with him at The Archfield. It was the most fun Erica had experienced since she'd begun her tenure at Seattle Grace. Well, the most fun that hadn't included terrorizing Cristina Yang. And to her surprise, she'd discovered that if she tried, maybe she could like people, especially if people looked like Callie Torres.
It was a game of Killer with Sloan, complete with his sleazy come-ons and her steadfast attempts to shut him down, that had made her realize that she'd preferred to spend her off time with Callie. So she had. Discussions of Callie's impending divorce as well as non-discussions of Erica's past romantic entanglements had been woven into their adventures of late night dancing, sunrise yoga, coffee breaks, and lunches. She'd gladly accepted every invitation of friendship that Callie had extended, including ones that had found her stretching out her long legs and laughing in Yang's living room. She'd made a friend with someone who hadn't cared that she was Dr. Hahn, heart surgeon extraordinaire; she'd made a friend with someone who'd only cared that she was Erica.
Then, there was a lone game of 301 that Callie had interrupted when she'd explained why she'd been avoiding Erica for days after Addison Montgomery had come breezing back into town and had caught a glimpse of what Erica and Callie could become, if given a chance. It had taken them both a while to make the same admission to themselves, and then to each other, but the first words out of Erica's mouth after Callie had kissed her in front of the hospital had been, "We need to send Montgomery one hell of a thank you gift."
And that brought her to tonight, and the unbelievable possibility that a game of darts might just help her keep her job. A few weeks ago, after being publicly reprimanded by the Chief for not being a better teacher, Erica had made her first and only attempt to actually teach Cristina Yang a new procedure. The surgery had barely begun when Yang casually mentioned a technique that Burke had shown her, and Erica had immediately kicked her out of the OR.
Afterward, Callie had found Erica in the back of the bar, her face steeled with rage, throwing dart after dart after dart at a newspaper photograph of Preston Burke, Erica's professional rival and Yang's ex-fiancé. Callie had wrapped her arms around Erica and led her away from the dartboard, whispering promises of making everything right, one way or another. Callie had kept her promise. Of course, Erica had outright refused to participate when Callie had first suggested her plan for a Hahn/Yang "Throw it Out" competition, until a few strategically placed kisses had her whimpering, "Where and when?" Now, here she was, resigned to either repair a professional relationship or start looking for a new place to crack chests.
Thoughts of her job disappeared when she saw Callie walking toward her, a smile plastered across her face. Very few things could calm Erica Hahn's nerves once she got too far inside her own head, but Callie Torres was definitely one of them.
"You came," Callie whispered as she placed a chaste kiss on Erica's cheek and pulled the blonde away from the door. "Thank you, this means a lot to me."
Erica gave a hesitant smile as she leaned toward Callie and whispered back, "And you'll be showing me just how much when we get back to my place, right?"
Callie laughed against Erica's ear, her warm breath causing the blonde to shiver. "Maybe, but first, we need to take care of business," she said, pointing to Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey, desperately trying to appear natural and relaxed, at the far end of the bar.
"Oh Callie," Erica whined, "do we really have to do this? Can't we just ignore them and have some fun of our own?"
Callie pulled away, feigning a look of shock. "Are you telling me that Dr. Erica Hahn, the Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital and a world-renowned surgeon in her own right, is backing out of a challenge? A challenge involving a puny junior resident?"
"But it's not just any junior resident, it's, it's "
"It's Yang, I know," Callie filled in, "and like I said, it has to end. Tonight."
Erica gave the brunette a weary smile. "Cal, come on, I'm tired and "
"Okay, shut your mouth for two seconds and let me finish," Callie impatiently grumbled as she moved them both to the bar.
"Why the hell does everyone keep telling me to shut up?"
Signaling their drink order to Joe behind the bar, Callie turned toward Erica and answered simply, "Because sometimes, Erica? You need to - shut up." She looked at Erica and bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing at the blonde's astonished expression. "Look, sometimes I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place with you and Yang. I care about you; you know I care about you. So much so that it scares me sometimes. I think we have a real shot at something here, and I know you feel the same way. But, you see, Cristina's been good to me, well as good as she can be to anyone. Not quite a friend, but close, and that's saying a lot for her. And this shit that's going on between the two of you is affecting things between me and her, and now you and me. It has been for a while, and I'm tired of it, Erica."
Erica was unable to keep the anxiety from her voice. "What do you mean it's affecting us?"
Callie grabbed the bottle of tequila and a handful of shot glasses from Joe, while Erica reached for the limes and salt. "To start with, she threatened to make me move out of the apartment if I didn't use my friendship with you to get her on your rotation."
"And I'm tired of her constantly asking me to ask you for surgery time. Now that she knows we're sleeping together, it's gonna get worse, which brings me to my second point. You have this big ol' stick up your ass about her, and it's not only affecting the two of you, but everyone else you work with. The Chief knows you're teaching the other residents. The other residents know you're teaching them, and everyone knows that you're not teaching Yang. You both claim to be such professionals, but you act like spoiled little children, not that I love either of you any less. And as much as I'd like to, I'm not gonna ask why you treat her like that, I'm sure you'll tell me when you're ready. Just don't try that 'She reminds me of me' crap, 'cause I'm not gonna buy it like Addison did."
Erica hung her head as she wove her way through the crowd. She really didn't need another reminder that the Chief had called her out on her treatment of the younger surgeon. She knew she needed to come to terms with Yang soon if she wanted to stay at Seattle Grace, but she didn't necessarily want to do it tonight. And it was too soon in this rela - this whatever the hell it was - to find the courage she needed to explain everything to Callie. She would tell her the truth, but not yet. Not now when they were just finding their bearings.
"And most importantly," Callie continued over her shoulder as she led them toward the dart boards. "I would really like to spend time with you, and cook for you; hell, maybe even sleep with you in my apartment. But oh, no, the great Erica Hahn won't even come inside because 'Resident Evil' lives there."
"As I recall, 'Resident Evil' banned me from the apartment."
"She lifted that after she got her mojo back remember? Come on, quit looking for excuses. I want you to stay with me at my place once in a while."
"Callie, you sleep on the damned couch."
"See, you have a problem with that, Erica, I don't. The problem I have is that you don't want to be there. And you don't want to be there because of Yang." Callie slammed the glasses onto a table and started opening the bottle. "So here's what's gonna happen tonight. You and Yang are going to throw darts."
"Can I throw them at Yang?" Erica asked, a wry smile playing on her lips. She placed the limes and salt on the table and held the glasses steady while Callie poured, grazing the brunette's hand with her fingers.
Callie couldn't help but smile as she shook her head 'no' and continued pouring shots. "If she wins, you let her into all your surgeries for three months, with no bitching, whining, or snarkiness, no matter how amusing we both might find it."
"Can I throw darts at Yang if I win?" Erica asked as she pulled Callie behind her and gestured toward her neck.
"'First do no harm', Dr. Hahn, and that includes Cristina Yang," Callie murmured as she began kneading Erica's shoulders. She could feel the tension from a long day of surgery and the impending confrontation with Yang slowly releasing, and she hoped that the evening's events would help ease the strain between the cardiology surgeons. She also hoped for world peace, but that didn't mean she was gonna get it.
Erica closed her eyes as she felt Callie's hands massaging her neck and arms. She had no idea what cosmic forces had aligned to take them from colleagues to friends to lovers in the span of a few months, but she would pay with her own soul if it meant she could feel Callie's touch on a regular basis. "Okay, Torres, then what do I get when I win?"
"I get Cristina's room for three months, and she gets the couch. And she promises to quit talking about Burke in front of you."
"Wait, I beat Yang at darts, and YOU get her room? And all I get is a promise of no mention of Burke?"
Callie leaned over and nibbled on Erica's earlobe. She whispered, "I get the BEDroom, McBrilliant. A bedroom with a door in an apartment just minutes from the hospital."
"Oh, I can definitely see the benefits of you getting a bedroom with a door," Erica said, turning around suddenly and kissing Callie firmly on the lips. She smiled as she pulled away from Callie, slammed a shot of tequila, and headed up the lane to the board. She glared at the bar and bellowed, "Yang, get your skinny ass over here and let's get this thing started."
"My hero," Callie sighed as she reached for the bottle and poured another round. It was going to be a long night.
To Be Continued
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