DISCLAIMER: If I owned Grey's Anatomy, you'd see dirty stuff on TV. And I would drink mojitos on the beach, every day.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A special something to R, for the journey and for building me the godamn bridge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
POV: Told by the itty bitty devil on Callie's shoulder.
Relaxation, fraternisation, food; the soundscape of Seattle Grace out to lunch. Plastic forks and metal trays tapped a staccato beat to an a cappella choir of conversation, laughter and frenetic human contact. In the centre of it all was a rest, the breath between beats, where time moved slower and silence lingered.
Callie sipped still water and stared across the formica tabletop at Erica. Her mouth moved sporadically, and Callie tried to nod, and smile when it seemed appropriate. But her glass was a prop pressed loosely to her lips as Erica's voice lilted in her ears. She was transfixed by the shape of her mouth, her contralto words, the tremor of vibrato in each sentence.
Tendrils of heat curled around Callie's hips, flickered in her stomach. She poured water between her parched lips and it slipped down her throat like a prayer, crept through her intestines and doused the fire. Erica's disarming eyes set her aflame. Yet they were deep and blue; an ocean, the kind found on postcards between a palm tree and a deck chair. Wish You Were Here
"Am I boring you?"
The glass slipped from her hands, cracking and shattering, shards sliding across the table, carried away by a rush of water. Callie was on her feet, Erica half out of her chair, serviettes like gauze in their hands, blotting, drawing curious eyes.
"Damn " Rivulets ran down Callie's scrub top, beneath the drawstring of her pants, cooling her heated skin. She threw down a wad of pulpy napkins, water dripping through her fingers, and looked across the table. Erica was effectively holding back the tide, her salad balanced between her hip and the edge of the table; methodical, calculated, cool under pressure.
Fascinated, Callie watched the dance of efficiency, one square of fibrous paper after another tucked into a pool of her making; folded, discarded, like a string of paper dolls. Blonde strands of Erica's hair curtained her face, unruly behind her ears, and Callie curled her hands against her hips, fighting not to reach out and finger each tendril.
"You have a strange way of spicing up dull conversation." Erica's smile curved the bow of her mouth, tension in the string. Callie reached out, but the pull of an interested crowd hindered the movement of her joints. She crossed her arms defensively over her chest, white coat gathering around her elbows, jaw firmly set.
"This " Callie leaned across the table, her fingertips pressed into the wet surface, her face in Erica's breath. "This is your fault." Her voice cracked in a stage whisper. "This is what happens when you look at me. With your eyes."
Erica's brow knitted in confusion, the corner of her mouth pulled by bemusement. "I can't look at you?"
"No." Callie straightened, pulled the wings of her white coat down over darkened blue scrubs. Then she was back over the table, a scowl in her black-brown eyes. "Because when you look at me, I get crazy. And when I get crazy things get broken. And people get hurt." She pulled halfway back, then leaned in again. "Don't look at me."
Erica's lips fell apart, stuttered, came together. Callie moved quickly as an afterthought, again taking possession of the table. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She rocked against the formica until language returned. Her eyes flashed an accusation, but her voice lowered, sotto voce. "You make me nervous."
Erica, previously interrupted by Callie's movement, froze; her eyes vibrant with waves of confusion, intrigue, wonder. "I Really?"
Callie pulled back, made her way around the table, aiming for the exit. She stopped short beside Erica, her arms again folded protectively, her shoulders hunched. "I have to change."
Erica's mouth slipped so slowly into a smile that Callie was drawn in despite herself. "I disagree."
Callie burned. "Yeah, well I'm all wet." The words escaped from her lips a heartbeat before she recognised them. And once they were out she was in a losing battle to push them back in. Previous heat barely doused, embers lying in her belly caught flame and rushed up through her throat, painting her cheeks with warm colour. She couldn't say anything; didn't try to argue against it.
Erica's smirk battled at the edge of her mouth, words on the tip of her tongue. She took half a step forward, crossing the distance between her breasts and Callie's folded arms.
Fear fluttered in the muscles of Callie's chest. She swallowed against her own throat, dry and scraping, and Erica's scent filled her lungs, took her breath away. Their bodies inches apart, heat radiated through Callie's limbs, loosened her arms, tilted her forward despite herself. A breath lay between them, Erica's mouth close enough to raise questions in the café, in the echoing hallways of Seattle Grace with its loose-lipped occupants.
Callie inhaled; soap and faint perfume on her tongue, a moan in her mouth, and her eyes slid closed. She felt the tremor of Erica's uncertain laughter more than she heard it, and it inflamed her. Her teeth clenched, and she leaned across the unspoken barrier between them, growled into Erica's ear.
"I have to get changed. And I want you to come with me."
When Erica Hahn strode through the halls, nothing touched her. She was a force of nature, a biting wind, a flash of lightning before the rains came.
When Callie strode through the halls, it was because Erica swept her along, a craft bobbing in her wake, and she leaned in and whispered and laughed because without words; in that moment she was nothing.
She looked sideways and Erica's face was masked by the shiver and bounce of blonde hair. Her heels tattooed the sway of her hips, and Callie's heart pounded on the beats between, painful and wild. Shoulder against shoulder, they rounded the final corner, entered the last hallway, and stainless steel loomed, calculating and cold.
Callie stopped. She clutched Erica's arm and the heat burned her fingers.
"Ok; stop. We have to stop." Callie exhaled through pursed lips, gathering herself beneath Erica's curious stare. "This is way too fast for me. Way too fast. And I'm not ready to get in there. In I'm not ready."
A painstaking pause, before Erica's eyebrow slid into blonde curls. "For the elevator?"
Callie's lips scowled, painting her dark eyes black. "You know what I'm talking about. We made a deal - we said second base. And if we get in that elevator " Erica's cool glance pushed Callie and she tried desperately to hold her ground. "Everyone knows these elevators are possessed. They make you do things. Strange, dirty things that you wouldn't normally do. And if we get in that elevator What are you doing?"
Erica's arm reached past her body, white sleeve sliding against the blue cotton of her breasts, burning her, branding her skin. Long fingers depressed the call button as Callie's eyes slid shut, a moan on her breath, "Erica " Callie shook, clenched her jaw, determined and fierce. "No. We're taking the stairs. If we go in there We won't stop at second base, we'll Those doors will slide open, and we'll be rounding home and heading out for Gatorade."
Slowly, Erica smiled, her shoulders lifting in a shrug. "I don't actually watch baseball."
Callie put her whole body into the glare, but it didn't penetrate Erica's calm; she was unshaken, aloof. And when she stepped forward, Callie stepped back, dancing in reverse. The wall pressed against her spine, an immovable force, and she was breathless, the buzz of a livewire. Electricity arced between them as Erica leaned forward, one hand taking her weight against the wall beside Callie's head. She leaned in, her breath warm and sweet, lips drawing Callie like a magnet.
The elevator doors pinged and slid open, and Callie felt the needle of her compass spin out of control. The maroon and silver rectangle of the elevator loomed, vacuous and empty.
"We're not taking the stairs." Erica's mouth was pressed against her ear, her voice sharp as a scalpel, making fine cuts on Callie's skin.
"Get in the damn elevator."
Callie walked to the back of the box, turned, Erica beside her. The doors slid shut.
And nothing happened.
Callie stood there, staring at numbers rising on the elevator wall, watching Erica in her peripheral vision, waiting for her to move. Her heart pounded, her breath crashed in waves, and nothing happened.
The elevator shuddered to a halt as Callie stepped forward and slammed her palm against the console.
"Ok, I don't get it."
Erica said nothing, stared straight ahead, weight distributed on one hip.
"We're in the elevator, and there's no one else here. We're alone. And when people are alone in elevators in this hospital "
Erica shrugged. "Hey, you invited me here. I'm just along for the ride."
Erica's nonchalance was tempered by a quaver; fear and hunger vibrating, rolling over Callie like ripples beneath the surface of a frozen lake.
She moved. Fingers in blonde hair, tongue on a pale neck, glistening wet trails across her jaw, her mouth, philtrum and cupid's bow, begging to be let in. Callie backed Erica against the elevator wall, hand under the lapel of her white coat, pulling and clawing, snaking inside. Their bodies pressed together, Erica's name a brand on Callie's hips, blackening her skin; a tattoo on her mouth as it was claimed, conquered.
Hands, Erica's hands on her waist, and Callie's fingertips trailed over blue-cotton breasts, around her ribs, down the curve of her spine. She breathed onto Erica's tongue. Long fingers scraped into her hair, pulling at her scalp, cream on carbon, tangled in black. A craving, an addiction, growing and unsatisfied, and Callie ached to get closer, pushing into Erica's skin, her hips curving, knee slipping between her thighs. She moaned, or Erica moaned, circular breathing into wet mouths, and she moved against the heat, against the fire, her knee against the elevator wall.
Erica's fingers slid into the small of her back, pulling her tighter, more firmly into her body, and she rocked, her thigh gathering fabric, taut and twisted, and then Erica's mouth slipped from hers, head falling against the wall, and she kissed her larynx, the arch and bow, as "Jesus" fell from open lips.
A force propelled Callie backwards, the velocity of longing, and she was crushed against the elevator console, lights and buttons in her back, and the elevator lurched into movement, rising, even as her mouth was opened by a slick tongue, forceful and wet, fingers crushing her skull, breasts flattened against breasts, hard and hot. She floundered for a protrusion, fingers slipping against metal and plastic, searching for the right place, the button that would keep it going, halt the elevator and fan the flame that curled into her abdomen and burned her organs, that made her forget her scrubs were wet on the outside, flooded them from within.
A bell, end of the round, and suddenly Callie was alone, leaning against the wall she had been forced into, breaths laboured and loud, lips buzzing in the absence of fierce pressure to keep her pulse at bay. She angled her eyes sideways, watched Erica tuck dishevelled curls behind her ears, heard her clear her throat, composed and together and not at all with her parts scattered across the floor.
A beam of light crossed Erica's face, tinting her blue eyes pale as the doors opened, and Callie curled her aching back from the wall, pushed her weight onto her feet, upright and pink-faced, mouth bruised and dry. She stumbled against gravity, gathered herself, and then followed Erica's disappearing heels from the place that had blown her mind, into the hallway beyond.
The restrained movement of Erica's hips shattered Callie more succinctly than a sway ever could. The same woman who could throw her up against an elevator wall and leave her breathless could turn and stride down a hallway, professional and self-contained, while Callie struggled to keep her body from toppling sideways.
She caught up, a step behind, a step too close, her breath on the side of Erica's neck, and finally the stride faltered, square heels skipping against the industrial floor, her hand clenching Callie's wrist. Pulse pounding beneath fingertips, the pad of a thumb caressing her palm, Callie let herself be led by the woman who's footsteps dominated the hall.
The door to the resident's lounge lay before them, open like a promise. From their right, an obstacle. They sidestepped, met with resistance, screeched to a halt.
Callie stared at the floor, letting the curtain of her hair cover flushed cheeks. Erica dropped her wrist, arms crossed, lightning in her steely eyes. "I'm busy, Doctor Yang."
Brown eyes looked at Torres, stared at Hahn, registered nothing. "Doctor Hahn, I think you'll want to see this. William Mitchell, the patient you performed bypass on last week, is having some unusual rhythms, and I think " She flipped open the case file, pages ruffling.
"Doctor Yang, has Mr Mitchell's septum ruptured? Is he lying in an OR somewhere waiting for me?"
"I No, Doctor Hahn. He is not in the OR."
"Good. Then I'm busy. And you, are in my way. If something actually happens to my patient, and it doesn't involve you having a feeling in your magical parts, you can page me."
And they were moving again, Callie's head on the ceiling, her feet under the floor, pieces between spinning wildly. Through the door, into the darkness of the lounge, and Callie moved stiltedly to her hutch, rummaging for clothes, painfully aware of Erica's body leaning, arms crossed, ankles crossed, shoulder against the wood. She was being watched, a gaze far from clinical, tendrils of fire curling beneath her scrubs and across her skin. She found what she'd come for. She stepped back.
"I thought you were getting changed."
"Not here. Not with you looking at me like that. Unless you want someone to come in and find me naked, doing dirty things to you in the residents' lounge "
The heartbeat it took for Erica to answer, the flash in blue eyes, ignited Callie's blood, burned her lungs. She grabbed Erica with her free hand, a tumble of clothes under her arm, and peeled her off the wood, dragging her from the room.
Again they were striding through hallways, Callie in the lead, Erica's composure slipping as she was pulled along by determination. She was a caveman, feral and primal, dragging her prize. She opened the door with an elbow and pushed Erica inside, closed it behind them, twisted the lock.
Callie threw her clothes into a corner, hidden in darkness at the edge of light, and then her hands were in Erica's hair, her mouth open and moaning against a wet tongue, fingers pulling at scrubs and scraping against her skin. Cream and ivory, soft and warm on her palms, she pulled at dark blue cotton and it broke between their mouths, was tossed to the wall. Erica tugged at her wet shirt. It clung to her body, rolled over her arms, tussled dark hair in her eyes, her mouth.
Nails slid over Callie's shoulders, scraping the skin of her back, trailing fire. Hands fumbled behind her, pulled, and then fingertips trailed across her ribs and up the curve of her breast, bare and full, lace falling away. Callie moaned, gasping for air as nails circled her nipple, grazed its puckered surface, and then she was crushed into Erica's palm. Callie arched her shoulders, traced the bump and groove of Erica's spine, found a thin tether of metal and fabric and it fell apart in her hands.
The bed hit the back of Callie's knees and she tumbled, Erica following her down, hand behind her head to cushion the fall. She curved into Erica's body, into the hand on her breast, against the thigh between her legs. A tug on her waistband, her hips lifted, and then she was winding a bare caramel leg around Erica's waist, alabaster and smooth, forcing her down, grinding herself into Erica's hip.
Erica moaned, her head falling forward, and blonde hair fanned across Callie's chest. She pressed against the small of Erica's back, pushing her closer, tighter, harder. Cotton rubbed the inside of her naked thigh, twisted and pulled even as she was getting closer, Erica's hip thrusting, and she growled, raw and guttural, a sound ripped from frustration.
Callie lifted her head and then they were turning, tumbling, pushing Erica into the mattress. Knees pressed against her waist, perched above, Callie's mouth swallowed Erica's gasp, sought out her tongue. Pale shoulders roiled beneath her and Callie pushed down with the muscles of a bone-breaker, holding Erica steady, then pulled back to watch colour flush Parisian skin as she rocked against her hips.
"Sweet Jesus "
Callie laughed, her head thrown back and dark curls tumbling across her shoulders, white teeth flashing in their circle of light. She fell forward, weight balanced beside Erica's head, fingers tangled in strands of blonde, and felt hands slide around her hips, nails dig into her ass, pulling her into Erica's body, devouring her, consuming her in fire. She kissed her then, hand reaching between their bodies, sliding into wetness, the cleft and groove between them, finding what she knew would be there, what she had felt a million times but only on herself.
Two voices, one sound, and Erica's body shuddered beneath hers, and she rolled her wrist, circled her fingers, pressing and turning and teasing, letting Erica set the rhythm, languid, long, and then faster, drawing her in. Her knuckles brushed against herself, and the more pressure she unleashed on Erica, the more her hips returned it, and they were both riding Callie's hand, sweat and moisture and liquid fire falling from their bodies.
Erica arched, her torso rising from the mattress, her hip digging against the inside of Callie's thighs, fingertips on hardness, knuckles against ridges, and then Erica's mouth fell away from hers, and her body crashed back onto the bed, and Callie heard a cry and knew it was her own. She fell forward, forehead burning on Erica's shoulder, hair tangled and stuck to the sweat on their skin.
There they lay, floating on a tide of breath and blood and sweat, on the edge of the abyss, and Callie heard buzzing in her ears, a rising crescendo, and thought she might die. Beneath her Erica stirred, words and sounds meaningless to Callie's ears. And then she was rising again, falling to the side, fingers slipping from wetness and warmth, body shaking.
"Damn it. Damn it, Damn it Yang "
Callie frowned, a kite on a string floating high above the bed, wondering what was going on below.
"Callie I have to go. It's a 9-11. Yang is killing my patient."
"I What? You're You're going? Now? You can walk?"
Erica's laughter was a purr vibrating in her ears. "I'm not sure yet. But I need to go."
Callie blinked at the wooden slats above her; another bed, another adventure.
"I'm sorry. But I have to go." Erica's lips fumbled on hers, and when she pulled away, Callie grabbed a handful of her hair, tongue invading her mouth, searching for moans, finding one. Erica pulled back, breath hissing through her teeth. "Sweet Jesus."
Callie smiled, her eyes slipping shut. "You said that already."
"I did, didn't I." Erica was scrounging for clothes, pulling cotton over her flushed skin, as Callie watched through one eye. "I don't know how long I'll be. I'll page you, ok?"
Callie murmured, a smile teasing the corners of her mouth "I have to work. As soon as I can move." Erica tossed a grin over her shoulder as she put her hand on the door. "Oh, Erica? You should probably know if you don't page me soon I'm starting again without you."
Erica's hand slipped from the handle, her eyes a flash of azurite in the dark. She cleared her throat, voice gravely through a clenched jaw. "I will definitely page you."
Light and sound and movement; blue scrubs swished and white coats swirled as Doctor Hahn entered a war zone, facing an obvious casualty.
"Yang, what the hell is going on here?"
A clipboard was thrust into Erica's hands as she sidestepped, a battalion of medical staff and a bed wheeling past her.
"We're taking Mr Mitchell to OR three. Everything is ready for you. It looks like he went into cardiac tamponade, and I'm fairly certain he's ruptured his intraventricular septum."
Erica's eyes narrowed. "Damnit Yang, why didn't you come and get me?"
"Doctor Hahn - I tried, earlier, but you said you were "
Sympathetic blood loss drained Erica's veins into her pericardium. Her face was cold, her hands clammy.
"I was busy. Alright people, let's get Mr Mitchell moving. I need to get in there as soon as possible. Doctor Yang " Hahn waited for her to hesitate. She moved, looming over cold brown eyes.
"Doctor Yang, you need to get your priorities straight. You could have prevented this. I am never too busy to save someone. Next time, you make sure I have all the information." She turned, direction clear. "Don't bother scrubbing in."
Callie rolled her neck, vertebrae cracking, and smiled at the man beneath her.
"Ok, this will probably hurt. But I promise it will be -" She wrenched upward, knee pushing and bicep flexing, noting the loud pop with satisfaction. "- over quickly. How does that feel?" Relief in a male voice, words she barely heard; Callie smiled again, perfunctory, and passed the clipboard to a nurse. "We'll keep an eye on you for a few hours, but you should be back on the field in no time."
Callie left without hearing platitudes because she could play them in her head. Her hand slipped to her waist for the hundredth time, pressing buttons, and was met again with an unsatisfactory answer: No page from Erica.
Her shift had ended hours ago; she had dozed and a new shift had begun, and now she was riding time, wandering the halls, chasing ambulances. Despite her threat, Callie had no urge to start without Erica. Flashes of skin and heat, the echo of moans and whispered pleas played in her mind like reverie, and she was damp, and slick, and ready, so ready, for Erica's page.
Fifteen hours. Fifteen hours, sliding into sixteen, and nothing from her hip but silence; a long, resounding silence. Callie sighed, scraped her fingers through her hair and wandered with vague direction, preparing to scope the board.
It was serendipity, a feeling that settled in her spine, and she turned left instead of right, and there she was. Blonde hair tussled and pulled free of a fabric cap, fingers digging into her neck, the small of her back; she was leaning and bending into hangers and clothing. Callie let her body fall against the doorway; tongue tracing her lips, eyebrow unconsciously raised, hunger in her eyes.
"You didn't page me."
Erica stiffened, and Callie walked forward, close enough to feel the heat radiating from her body, to breathe on the back of her neck, close enough to touch. She reached out, a finger tracing the arch of Erica's hip, whispered promises on dark blue cotton. And she met with resistance, statuesque and distant, cold.
"Erica?" A note in her voice that she didn't like, Callie waited for the attending to fill the void, to fix the piece that tensed and raced in her chest with nimble, well-trained hands.
Instead, a loaded silence, followed by a breath of ice.
"I'm really tired, Callie. Mr Mitchell ruptured his intraventricular septum. Which means Yang was right, and I had to spend thirteen hours on my feet plugging the damn thing up."
Callie stepped back, rocked, tried to figure out where her weight should be. "OK. Well, I'm sorry about that. Because thirteen hours ago, I was wait, fifteen hours ago. You mean fifteen hours. Because -" she laughed, forced and harsh. "- Because I've been here for fifteen hours, waiting for " A chill crept into Callie's veins and she struggled not to shake, to shudder. "Thirteen hours? So you, what? Helped them clean up when you were done?"
More silence, a tolling bell in Callie's ears. "Did you take the craziest route you could find back to the lounge, or did you hide out until you thought I was gone?"
Her shuttered eyes, a veil of silt on the surface of the ocean, and Callie fell apart, crumbled in the air between her joints, secretly and in the dark. "Right. Well, I have to " She backed away, two steps and a turn, and then she was in the doorway again, looking back at a face carved from marble.
"Erica?" Her voice was strained and fierce. "I just need I need to know I need " A wave rushing, she crashed across the distance, and her fingers were in Erica's hair, her tongue forcing its way into a resistant mouth. She kneaded stiff muscles, her practiced hands working to the bone of tense arms until she reached Erica's agile wrist and multi-million-dollar hands. Callie knotted their fingers, pulled them down, beneath tether and tie, into lace; lower, dragging her into skin and fire and wetness, sweet and burning between her thighs.
Her head fell against Erica's shoulder, and she heard her gasp, moan, low and guttural, and the hiss of breath. Fingers moved, flexed, driving against her, and Callie's teeth pressed though dark blue scrubs until she felt bone, hard and unrelenting.
And then it all went wrong, and fingers pulled back, back, and she was on her own, hand flexing, searching for something to hold on to. Erica's shoulder shuddered away and Callie's head fell, hair in her face. She breathed, hidden and quiet, bone and sinew and cartilage shattering and she could not, with all her years of training, think of how to put them back together.
There was a scratch in Callie's throat, starting at her tongue and ending at her ribs, a scratch long and deep and septic, and her pharynx clenched, revolted against it. She inhaled, filled her lungs until they burned, digging into her sternum. When she exhaled it was sharp and she threw back her head, drew her body up, loomed, and she was taller than she'd ever been, her teeth glinting between her lips.
"I " Callie laughed, but it wasn't a laugh, it was something that hurt. "I don't even know what to say " She was a body bruised, a clenched fist, and when Erica stepped back, hesitated and leaned forward again, Callie raised her hands between them. "Don't. Just.. don't."
Like glass in a furnace, fired and twisted for too long, Erica shattered. "I wait." Her breath stoked the coals in Callie's stomach. "I don't I almost . Callie, I almost killed someone today. Me. Not Yang, me. Because when she came to find me, I was I was busy. But I wasn't. And if I had just listened " Erica exhaled and Callie felt flames blister her skin. "This isn't something I do. I don't I leave myself at the doors of this hospital. I have to do that. And you "
Callie watched Erica shake, and the vibration crawled into her, lodged between her thighs where the ghost of Erica's fingers lingered, where she had curled and then slid away. Callie wanted to smile. She tried. But her head shook slowly, hair tickling her neck.
"Erica I don't stop at the doors." She looked up, staring her down. "You can't just leave me out there."
Callie didn't wait for a response. She didn't wait at all. She turned on her heel and walked away.
Cristina turned impatient eyes on Izzie. "Ah - it's your turn."
"I know; I'm thinking."
Cristina tapped her wrist, her imaginary watch. "Tick tock, Izzie."
"Jesus, just wait Ok; Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia of the of of the unicorn."
George snorted laughter.
"Oh no way." Cristina pointed viciously with her fork. "No way. You can't give her a disease with a fairytale creature in it."
Izzy glared. "We're making up diseases, Cristina; the diseases are imaginary. And if I have to give Callie imaginary diseases, I can give her a damn unicorn."
"No; no you can't. It has to be believable, with real body parts. That's the game."
Izzy rolled her eyes. "Well it's a stupid game, ok - your game is stupid."
Cristina stretched out, mouth satisfied. "Only 'cause I'm winning."
"What? " Izzy grabbed her hip, startled. "Oh " A smile, slow and wide and victorious slipped across Izzie's mouth. She unclipped her vibrating pager and waved it at Cristina. "Oh, it looks like I have to go. And I was having so much fun. But now I have a real patient. A real patient, who has real diseases that I can really diagnose. Because I'm a real doctor."
Cristina snorted. "You're not a real doctor; you're Barbie in a lab coat."
Izzy grabbed her tray and turned, glaring at Meredith as she approached. "She's doing that thing again. And you need to make her stop, before I hurt her."
Meredith stared. "Ok " She sat down between Cristina and George. "What are we doing?"
"Diagnosing Callie." Cristina leaned forward and stole food as Meredith pulled the clear plastic from her plate.
"Callie? Why?" Meredith followed George's stare across the café. "Is something wrong with her?"
"She has a disease." Cristina chewed, gesturing with salad. "Something messy "
George leaned in, a conspicuous whisper into Meredith's ear. "Make her stop."
"Ok, I've got one " Cristina picked up a cherry tomato from Meredith's plate. "Oesophogeal metatarsal dysphagia. That's where you take your foot, and you put it in your mouth, and when you try to swallow - it kicks you in the ass." She slipped the tomato between her teeth. "And then you die."
"That's what Callie has? Sounds painful."
"Yeah, to watch." A disgusted sigh from Cristina. "You know, she's been over there for an hour, just staring at the table. It's putting me off my food."
Meredith looked at Callie, sitting with her fork frozen in her hand. "Should we I don't know go over there, or something?"
"No!" George's startled eyes were wide. "No "
Cristina smiled, a mocking curve. "And do what Meredith - cheer her up? We don't cheer people up. You and I are not those people." She leaned back in her chair, hands behind her head. "Besides, she's probably moping about the man-whore. She deserves to be miserable."
Meredith studied Callie with a clinical eye. "You think this is about Sloan?"
"She looks like someone killed her puppy - who else would it be?" Cristina rocked her chair on its hind legs. "She should know better. Mark Sloan is not a happily-ever-after guy. He's well, he's our people."
"Still " Meredith's fork hovered thoughtfully between her mouth and her plate. "We should probably do something. We could send George."
"I " George shook his head, choking to push words through inhaled food. "We were married. I don't think I'm the right person to cheer her up."
"And see, this," Cristina looked pointedly at Meredith, "this is why you and I don't try to make people happy. Because we are not cheery people, Meredith; Izzie is cheery people. And Izzie, is annoying." Cristina turned again to stare at Callie. "No, you and I are mean. And that's why we are going to stay over here, and Callie - she will stay over there, far, far away from us, and we will give her pretty diseases."
Meredith's laughter crept across the table, and then a flicker, and an announcement. "Oh, did Izzie tell you? Doctor Hahn has a full board. And I mean, a full board. Back-to-back for the next two weeks." Cristina turned, her interest piqued. "Yup. Since this morning. She moved all of her surgeries forward, and then started making calls."
"She went fishing?" Cristina let her chair legs return to the ground. "Wait, she's stacking and cracking? Hahn would never do that."
"Well she is. Izzie overheard the Chief talking to Bailey before rounds."
"Damn, I would love to be in on that."
"Well here's the thing " Meredith rearranged her food with plastic tines, a smile on the edge of her lips. "I think you will be. I think we all will be."
Cristina slammed her palms on the table. "Two solid weeks of cutting people open and ripping their hearts out. That's like, Christmas - if I believed in Christmas."
"Cristina." George stared, an unpleasant taste in his mouth. "You are very creepy."
She shrugged. And then she laughed, short and bitter. "There's no way Hahn will put me on her rotation. She's still pissed at me for that Mitchell guy's heart exploding. She's the angel of darkness."
"Did she threaten you with a steak knife? 'Cause she threatened me with a steak knife."
"Callie's on the move." George masked his stage whisper with a raised tray. Cristina slid down in her chair, hand beside her eyes.
Callie walked toward their table, staring through. Her hips didn't sway in their usual way, and she was silent as she passed them. Meredith cleared her throat and her mouth opened, a smile sitting unnaturally on her lips. "Hi, Callie "
The resident did falter, didn't slow, and made no indication she had heard. Three pairs of eyes watched her throw away uneaten food and leave the café. A moment of silence hung pregnant over the table.
"'Hi Callie?' What the hell was that?"
Meredith shrugged, floundered. "I don't know; it just came out. I was trying to be nice."
Cristina snorted. "Yeah, well - don't." She leaned forward. "It's creepy."
Time passed in fits and starts, minutes taking hours, hours gone in minutes, and Callie wandered the halls, shedding her pieces like debris. She was a hurricane, she was a train wreck; she was devastating and full of wrath, yet devastated, in tatters, torn.
Intermittently casual, Callie coped in professional situations, setting bones and repairing ligaments, tendons and sinew exposed under her hands; with a scalpel, a scrub cap and a smile. Hours passed and felt like days, rushing by, dragging on, galaxies born and burned in the blink of an eye, and not once, not once had she seen a strand of blonde, or the blue of the ocean. No curt, clipped tones, no laugh like hot asphalt, liquid and rough, and Callie had developed a craving, a burn in her stomach, a knot. It gnawed at her insides, crawled under her skin, acid and molten glass, rupturing her organs, flaying her alive.
Callie had a hunger.
She couldn't eat. She couldn't eat and she knew it wouldn't help, wouldn't satisfy her craving, the ache that grew inside her, developing its own gravity, sucking in her organs. She had a hunger, and long after she had stopped avoiding the places she might be, long limbs and pale skin, where they might bump into each other and sink like ships in the darkness, her hunger had driven her out, tumbling desperately through the halls. She was a compass, seeking, spinning out of control, and Erica was magnetic north.
Callie's craving consumed her, and in her head played a reel, a continuous loop of skin and sweat and limbs sliding, slipping, falling into each other, over and over again like a curse, like a promise, like a psalm. And each loop fed her hunger, built her craving, until she could no longer manipulate a body without thinking of hers, or hear a gasp of pain without a roar of pleasure in her ears.
When it became too much, overwhelmed and shivering, sweat pooling on her spine, Callie went to a door, entered a room, and it was a mistake because she couldn't sleep, not with her pulse racing and the setting taking her so clearly, so intimately back to the place where her hunger had begun.
The on-call room smelled like sex, and when she turned the lock, pale hands tore across her skin like lightning, and she was electrified. Lips on her neck, hands in her hair, and she fell back on the bed, a blonde wave crashing onto her thighs, nails in her hips; pulling her forward, driving her against an open mouth and a wet tongue. Callie threw her head back, face turned into the pillow, stifled a groan. Whispered pleas and Erica's name fell from her lips as she was driven higher, her mind drowning in blue, and she reached the edge of a ravine. She teetered, toppled over and she was coming in raw fury, teeth biting her tongue.
She breathed. Callie breathed and the sex smelled singular and alone. She turned her face to stare at the slats above her, at another empty bed. Her fingers were curled inside herself, wet and warm, but they were only her fingers, and that brief release had paused the loop in her head, the flashes of Erica's skin, her face, and Callie was simply alone, staring blankly.
She painted trails on her own skin, a line of wishes, of wants, of hunger. She had taken the edge off, lessened her craving, but she knew it would return, and with a fiery vengeance, and she didn't want to be in on-call rooms, alone and sticky and wondering why she was there. Callie pulled herself up; she stumbled and then stood firm.
She had resolve. She had determination. She had a hunger.
Callie spotted Bailey at the board, reaching high over her head, checking her clipboard, referencing and erasing and writing with a firm hand. She walked over and stood with arms crossed, staring until she garnered attention, gathered her ire. "Where is Doctor Hahn?"
Surprise in Bailey's eyes. "You don't know? I thought everyone would know by now. Interns whispering in the corners. All of my junior residents have disappeared. And the Chief is strutting around like a damned rooster, and he looks like a fool."
Callie raised an eyebrow, and Bailey did a double-take from the board. "You really don't know? Doctor Hahn has booked a full board. Back-to-back surgeries as far as the eye can see. She's pulled every case, and every resource, and every warm body she can get her hands on, and now she's stacking and cracking. An accident waiting to happen - that's what it is."
Callie looked over Bailey's head, and the black letters glared at her. Hahn, Hahn, Hahn Aside from mandated breaks, Erica had allotted her every waking moment to a square on the board. She was broken down into timetables and scrub nurses, residents and ORs, every piece precisely arranged and easy to read. Callie paled, scanned the blocks over and over, looking for a pattern she could understand.
Under her breath, she whispered. "She is going to work herself to death."
Bailey narrowed her eyes, probed Callie's skin. "What are you talking about?"
"She's proving a point. A stupid point "
"Who? Doctor Hahn?" Bailey looked back at the board, at her clipboard, tried to puzzle it out.
"We, ah " Standing beside Bailey, who was a giant in a stunted body, Callie felt small. "That thing we talked about? Erica and I?" She leaned sideways, talking into Bailey's ear from the corner of her mouth. "We went on vacation. To the Motherland."
Bailey turned her head and her eyes were hard as they looked Callie up and down. "To the Did you just ? Doctor Torres, I am not a person who makes jokes. I, was not joking when I said I do not talk about sex. I, do not want to know about your vacation. I, do not want to know what you did when you got there. And I especially do not want to know if you enjoyed the local cuisine. Are we clear?"
Callie's face closed, her arms crossed; Bailey nodded her head, turned away, and then sighed. "You get one - listen to me, one - minute. That's it." She took a deep breath and faced Callie. "Go."
"We went to the Motherland. All the way to the Motherland. And I tried the menu, and it was " Callie's eyes slid shut, breath on her lips, and then she remembered Bailey. "I could dine there, again. And the next thing I know, we're at the embassy and I'm applying for a visa, and Erica is on a plane heading home." Dark eyes checked dark eyes and Bailey's were warm despite the set of her jaw, and Callie continued. "So now she's here, booking out the board, and I'm stranded at the airport. And everything I own, is in her bags."
"Doctor Torres " Bailey sighed. "This," she gestured at the board, "this is about a little more than a bad vacation." She tucked the clipboard under her arm, and her eyes smiled, even as her prominent lips were firm. "I think you, are a very smart woman. And Doctor Hahn is a smart woman. But she is also very, very stupid. People like Hahn they do stupid things. I don't know why. And I don't want to know why, because your minute is up. But I will say this, that I have seen the way she looks at you. And I don't think that, for her, feeling the way she does about someone else, would be easy."
Callie leaned back, a finger scratching the crook of her arm. "So I should, what, give her time, or something?"
"No, you should not." Bailey stood firmly again, suffering no fools. "Stupid people don't need time. Stupid people, need a slap upside the head."
Callie's eyebrow raised. "You think I should slap her?"
Bailey's lips tinged with a smile before she turned back to the board. "Your minute is up. And what you do in deepest, darkest Africa, is none of my business."
Callie pushed open the door to the gallery and found an empty seat. Three familiar heads bobbed in the front row, banter and snacks between them. Beyond was a gaping pane of glass and a halo of light, blue and yellow angels moving in an intricate ballet. Callie's eyes were drawn to one apart, a patterned cap and glasses bent over red blood and the flash of silver.
"I can't believe she took George." Cristina shook her head, shoulder against Meredith, legs stretched out and crossed at the ankles.
Izzie grabbed a handful of popcorn from the bowl. "I can't believe she took you."
"Of course she took me." Cristina rolled her shoulders. "They always come crawling back. People want me. People want to be me. I'm a rockstar."
Meredith smirked. "And there's your sparkling personality."
Izzy gave a withering glare. "No one wants to be you."
Meredith picked up the popcorn. "You know, I can't imagine Doctor Hahn crawling anywhere "
Callie could. A flash of blonde had woken her hunger, and in her mind Erica crawled across the floor, naked and fierce, a predator hunting her down
She shook her head, battled a craving, but like a man in a desert, Callie ached. She ached for cool-water eyes; for the slide of wetness on her tongue. And Mark's voice whispered in her ears, and Callie wasn't in the gallery anymore, she was reaching across the table, pulling down Erica's mask, startling her. She ripped away Erica's scrub cap and a tangle of blonde curls fell through her fingers and she tugged her forward, their mouths crashing together
"Jesus " It hissed from Callie's mouth and heads turned, staring. She cleared her throat, cheeks hot and red. "This is a great surgery."
Cristina blinked, her voice dry. "It's, a cabbage." She turned away. "And it's almost done."
Callie nodded slowly and waited for Izzie to lose interest. She needed to move, and she stood carefully, casually opened the door, and then she was rushing down the stairs into the scrub room, pressed against the sink. Soap in her hands, she muttered under her breath; a million different names to call herself and none of them nice. Callie grabbed a mask and pressed it to her face, tethers loose and curling against her neck and she exhaled, steeling herself against the door. She breathed, and then she breathed again with noise, and she hit the button with her elbow and the door hissed open and she walked inside.
Callie's entrance turned heads, but not Erica's; she was leaning over George, talking quietly as she guided his hands. Callie stepped forward, fabric pressed against her mouth.
When the light hit her eyes, they were no longer blue, the deep iridescence that took Callie's breath away. They were cold steel grey, the flash of a knife and the muzzle of a gun.
"I'm a little busy right now, Doctor Torres. You'll have to wait."
Callie breathed deeply, antiseptic sterilising her lungs. "Erica, I need to see you. Outside. Now."
Erica's stare, a scalpel on her skin, papercuts that stung but did not bleed. Erica's magnified sight turned to George, his hands on tweezers and silk, and she made a calculation, her eyes flickering between body and hands. "O'Malley, you're good to close?"
A tremor of excitement in his voice, a tremor of fear. "Yes Doctor Hahn."
She nodded curtly and backed away from the table, a scrub nurse stepping forward to take her glasses and gown as her fingers slipped into her gloves and she tugged them from her sleeves. Erica's gaze sliced deeper across Callie's skin, into her organs, and Callie retreated, her back against the door. She fumbled for the button and stumbled into a hiss of air and then the scrub room barrier was closing between them.
In the gallery, three hands paused on the way to mouths.
"What is she doing?" Meredith tried to look at Cristina, but couldn't move her head.
"She called out Doctor Hahn " Izzy's voice was reverent, restless. "Oh, she's dead. I'm putting a twenty on Hahn."
Cristina turned. "I'll take fifty. Hahn's gonna kick her ass." She raised her voice. "Bets down people; Hahn versus Torres. Who wants action?"
Callie's heart echoed on sterile walls and beat against the edge of the metal trough. Erica's sleeves were stained and tendrils of her hair escaped her scrub cap, curling against her jaw.
"We need to talk." Callie squeezed the scrap of mask in her fist. "About us."
Erica folded her arms across her chest and drew herself up, ice in her eyes. "That's why you wanted to talk? You can't just, pull me out of surgery because you need to express your feelings. It's unprofessional, and it's dangerous, and you're risking the life, of my patient ."
"Erica " Callie leaned back and stared at the ceiling, gathering herself before she turned into the storm. "I didn't have a choice. You didn't give me, a choice. Because you're going straight from this surgery into the next and and what you're doing here - it's great. It would be, great, if you weren't doing it because you're trying to prove a point. A stupid point, that would only make sense, to a crazy person."
Erica jolted, moved to speak, to lean forward, then slowly rested her hip against the scrub sink. "You think I'm crazy? You think me, wanting to save lives, is crazy?"
"I think you're doing something you would never do and someone is going to get hurt. And I think you know that and you're doing it anyway. And yeah, I think that's crazy." Callie took a deep breath and finally looked ahead, her eyes beating back the tide, leaning into the ocean. "And I think that we had sex in an on-call room, and it was amazing, and I think you thought it was amazing, and I think you're freaking out. And I'm freaking out, because I'm here, pulling you out of surgery and talking to you, in a scrub room. And that's not normal. And people are looking at us."
Erica glanced through the window and the nurses looked away. She looked up at the gallery and familiar eyes stared back at her, Cristina tossing popcorn into her mouth. She turned, her eyes in turmoil, salt water shinning.
"I'm mad, at you."
Callie leaned back, fidgeted, unsure of where to put herself. "You're you're mad? At me?"
"Yes, I'm mad at you. Because all day " When Erica sighed it quavered apart, a breath shattering on the rocks. "You've been, on my hands. All day you've been on my hands. And I can't work like that. I scrub in, and I can still feel you, and I can smell you, and I can't " They both looked at her hands, pinched from latex gloves, pale and thin and disguising a tremor. "I can't spend, all day, just staring at my hands. I am a surgeon. I need my hands. I need them to be steady, and I need them to be sure, and I need to know that I'm not going to kill someone because I'm too busy, thinking about you."
Erica turned her hands over and dragged them across her scalp, pulling her scrub cap free of bound hair. "So yeah, I'm mad at you. Because yesterday - today - you made that impossible."
Something curled in the corner of Callie's mouth; not quite a smile, and she reached out to brush the side of Erica's thigh with her little finger, avoiding the blood and the tissue and intent eyes in the gallery.
"Ok... Ok. You need to get back in there and check on George. And then, you're going to push back your next surgery, and you're going to meet me in the on-call room. And we, are going to talk." Callie's lips finally parted and white teeth shone through, light dancing in her eyes. And Erica's face twitched, fought gravity, until her mouth curled and she smiled despite herself, dropping her face to stare at Callie's hand, at the touch on her thigh.
Erica stood, turned to the sink and gathered soap and water in her palms. She scrubbed, staring into the OR. Callie watched blonde tendrils brush the side of her face. Then she backed out of the room. Her mask fluttered into the hamper, and the door swung closed.
Callie paced, feet swishing against the barest of carpet, fists balled into her hips. And when the door opened, and a crack of light spilled across her face, she was falling from a building, landing heavily, her bones scattered across the floor.
"Callie?" Erica slipped in, quiet and careful, the door making the smallest noise as it closed behind her.
Callie smoothed her clothes over her waist, her hips, and looked up, eyes painted with words, with hunger. Erica walked closer, stepping tentatively across the distance, her palms scrubbing against her thighs, leaving salt in their wake.
And Callie smiled, because Erica looked almost small in the darkness, on the edge of the crest of light. She stepped forward and her hands slid over Erica's hips, blue cotton beneath her palms, and moved upward, fingers pushing under her scrub top, nails raking against her skin.
"We were going to talk "
"I don't want to talk."
Callie moved slowly, so slowly; ribs in her hands, and then breasts, elastic and underwire pushed aside, nipples under her thumbs, taut and hard, and Erica was bending into her touch, a sigh on her lips. Her face loomed, eyes closed, and Callie lowered her mouth to Erica's, parted and moist, and slipped the tip of her tongue inside. She felt teeth, and then muscle stroking her, welcoming her to the place where her hunger reared its head and roared.
Callie pressed harder into Erica's breasts, pressing with her whole hand, supporting her weight, pressing in with her whole body, hips against hips, thighs on thighs, her tongue probing deeper, Erica laid open before her, a moan falling between them. And the air smelled of ozone, and of rain.
"We need to talk about this." Erica's voice was low, sandpaper running against the raw nerves beneath Callie's skin. She shook her head, eyes between their bodies, on the bulge of Erica's scrub top where her hands massaged breasts.
"You're freaking out," Callie breathed. "I'm freaking out. We're freaking out together. And there's a lot of stuff I don't know. But I know this " She slid one hand down Erica's torso, across her abdomen, between her hips and across the front of cotton, dry and then damp, her fingers rocking on the cleft between. "I know this "
Callie's hand rose up, curved and slid beneath, fingers curling into wet and hot, the dips and folds of Erica's body. Blonde hair fell against her shoulder, Erica's face pressed into her neck, and Callie's forearm flexed as she slid her fingers into the darkest, wettest part of Erica, where her hunger lived.
Callie groaned, her head back, eyes on the ceiling, blind as her fingers fought tense muscles, rocked over Erica's ridges. She curled into the front of Erica's body, rocking her hips to push her hand deeper.
"Wait." Erica's hands were threaded in her hair, her eyes closed, her throat exposed. "Wait. We have to there has to be rules."
Callie rolled her wrist, her fingertips turning circles in Erica's body. Her shoulder strained to hold them upright, tongue trailing up her porcelain throat, teeth on her earlobe eliciting a moan. Her voice growled into Erica's ear. "No rules. No more rules." She walked her backwards, the movement of her fingers making Erica's legs weak, her breath ragged, and lowered her to the edge of the bed.
Callie kneeled, pulling blue cotton from one leg, from the other, and she smiled, slowly, wickedly, parting Erica's knees, her shoulders between them, lowering her head, satisfying her hunger.
Erica's gravelled moan filled her ears as she pressed her chin into her palm, rolled her fingers as she rolled her tongue between Erica's lips, wet and sweet in her mouth, soft and then hard, flattening her tongue, long languid strokes that jolted Erica's hips. A hipbone in her palm, Callie pushed down, held her steady, dark hair falling on ivory skin, a photograph in black and white.
Callie felt Erica's shoulders collapse onto the bed, and then a naked calf snaked around her hip, drawing her in, and she devoured Erica with her teeth and lips and tongue, pressure and suction, her jaw stiff, her wrist sore, and still she would not stop, Erica's cries were in her ears, growing louder, filling the room without words, but with a language that reverberated down her spine, that her body understood. And then muscles clenched around her fingers, and Erica's hips arced, fingers tugging her hair, pressing her into hardness and liquid fire, and it pooled against her chin and Callie's world imploded, exploded, with the unknown, with wonder.
She was held there as Erica's voice echoed around the room. Held there, and then finally the hand on the back of her head relaxed and she could breathe. Callie's fingers slipped out slowly, interior muscles fighting and releasing her. Shaking and spent, she made her way up Erica's body, trails of wetness on her skin, pushing aside her clothes. She collapsed into Erica's side, and then lips where on hers; tentative, insistent, and Erica stole pieces of herself from Callie's tongue.
"You, are " Erica ran out of words.
"Yes I am." Callie chuckled into the air, her breath catching Erica's, dancing in the silence.
"Callie " Erica's fingers slipped under the edge of blue scrubs, short nails making patterns on her skin. "I wasn't joking, about the rules. If we're going to do this "
"Do what?" Callie asked. "Do this?" Her fingers sliding again between Erica's thighs, finding the place that pulled a moan from her lips.
"Jesus Don't do that. Not when I'm trying to talk." Erica turned to look at her. "This is why, we need rules."
Callie pulled her hand away, bringing it to her mouth, tasting her fingers, knowing she was driving Erica to distraction, hearing it in the hitch of her breath, seeing it in the blue flame of her eyes.
Erica's voice croaked, deep and raw and primal. "No more no more, heavy petting in elevators."
"Heavy petting?" Callie smirked. "What are we, in high school?"
"Yes." Erica's eyes closed; she breathed a ragged breath. "When I look at you, when you stand too close to me, when you do that thing, with your eyes, I'm in high school. And I'm awkward, and I'm out of control, and I'm blowing off classes because the football hero asked me to meet him behind the bike shed."
Callie searched the lines and angles of Erica's face, and waited.
"So no more heavy petting in elevators. And you can't distract me, before I go into surgery. And if I'm called away, I need you to let me, just, go." Erica looked at her, anxiety in her eyes, a loss of control. "I'm not good at this. And I don't date colleagues. I don't like it when people gossip about me, and I don't like bringing my personal life to work. So if we're going to do this "
"You need rules." Callie smiled slowly, fingertips on Erica's cheek, stroking the glitter in her eye. "Ok. No more elevators." She leaned in, the hum of electricity between their mouths. "We can do supply closets. And the car park. And the roof."
Erica's eyes were on Callie's mouth, watching the movement of her tongue. "Callie "
It was a warning that she ignored, her mouth on Erica's, tongue against her teeth, chasing away her words.
They didn't have much time left until Erica returned to the board.
And Callie had a hunger.
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