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By The Other Liz
That's what they called the procedure. That's what they were calling her for that matter.
If you'd told Erica Hahn that she'd be back at the one hospital she hated more than any other in the world as chief three years ago, she'd have laughed in your face. Three years. It's a long time. A long time for fifth year residents to grow into Orthopedic attendings. Nothing much else had changed at Seattle Grace. Not the gossip mill, not the on-call rendezvous, not the sidelong glances from those who'd only heard of her legend or the blatant stares from those who'd known it first hand.
Erica sighed and focused on the surgery below her. She was almost sure Callie didn't know that she'd officially taken over as Chief today. She'd heard things about Callie these days. Things that waved red warning flags that this was not the same Calliope Torres she'd walked away from three years ago. This Callie was focused, reserved, intense.
'Well... more intense.' she thought.
It was true. Loving Callie was the most intense thing she'd ever put herself through. Ever. Her thoughts wandered again. She doubted Callie knew she had taken over from Richard because Lexie Grey had cornered her and told her that Callie was different. Callie didn't pay attention to anything that wasn't medical oriented, more specifically, Orthopedics oriented. Callie didn't care who was running what, who was sleeping with who or who was or wasn't on someone elses service. When Erica had only responded with a raised eyebrow, the younger Grey had only shook her head and informed her that being Callie's protege provided her with all the insight she needed on the older woman, turned on her heel and fled.
'What the hell does that mean?' Erica chewed her lip. 'All the insight she needed? So what... she sides with the woman who slept with, stole and then subsequently dropped her husband and I'm still the bad guy?'
She refocused on the surgery again, only to see Lexie scowling up at her for a moment before returning her gaze to where Callie was inserting the matierial that would eventually affix one vertebra to another. Even Callie's music choices for her OR had changed. At one time it had been a mix of techno bass and rock. Now it seemed that the last half hour had been filled with intense classical music.
'Intense...' Erica scowled.
If she focused on just the physical outward appearance... and squinted, Callie looked the same. The same brown eyes that showed her deepest emotions, the same long curls framing her face but something was off, she was thinner... older. It wasn't a bad thing, well, the thinner thing was a shock. Erica had loved Callie's gentle curves, the way hard earned Ortho muscle met feminine curves had done everything for her. She sighed again, refocusing for the third time.
'Bloody hell... she's still sexy.' The blonde couldn't help but notice the strong hands as they deftly manuevered the specialized tools.
A smirk drew across her lips as random, wordless forrays in on-call rooms flooded her memory. Only skin, teeth, sweat and the occasional moan had been uttered within those rooms.
If you'd told Sadie Harris that she'd be giving this doctor thing another go two years ago, she'd have laughed in your face. It really only took a patient waking up screaming, slicing yourself open, getting everyone in trouble, being on probation and sleeping with a resident who was probably picturing someone else the entire time to make one really reconsider their career choices. She'd high tailed it back to the morgue as fast as she could at the time. But even through all the fuck ups, it was hard to forget the thrill of doing something right in the midst of it all. To remember helping someone over hindering someone made it worth it, and when you've got a father to pull strings, a second chance is all she needed.
Still, the statuesque surgeon below her held her attention more so than the procedure itself. The sex had been amazing. Mindblowingly amazing. Even if Callie's heart, and sometimes, her mind hadn't been in it. Sadie smirked again, remembering the bruise she'd once had on her back from being tossed into an on-call room bunk. Unknowingly, she whole heartedly agreed on Erica's observation of Callie's curves. Although, Sadie hadn't always gotten to see the relaxed state of Callie's muscles against those curves like Erica had. Her point of view on Callie's Orthopedics hardened body was from the underneath side of things. Sometimes the higher point of view came into play while she was being held up against a wall. But more often than not Callie was above her, biceps flexing, holding her weight off the intern, lateral compartment of her forearm flexing with every thrust.
It really was that good.
She refocused. It wouldn't do to catch up with Callie all hot and bothered.
'Or maybe it would...' Sadie knit an eyebrow. 'No, Callie's a changed woman. All work, no play. Death said so.'
She supposed she could take the long way around. Ask the now attending out for drinks or dinner. Sadie set her jaw in resolve. No way was she letting the best lay of her life end up being just that.
Five days. That's how long she was here. Five days and she was sitting in a gallery watching a surgery that had absolutely nothing to do with her. Except that it had everything to do with her... surgeon. She mentally slapped herself.
'She's not your surgeon... she's just A surgeon.' she scolded herself.
If you'd told Arizona Robbins that she'd be back in this hospital again for another Peds case for Miranda Bailey, after what happened last time, she'd have laughed you out of the room. It wasn't that Callie didn't try. She'd give credit where credit was due. Callie had definetely given it all she'd had for the relationship to work. But in the end, Arizona wasn't whoever the other woman was. She never did find out just who she wasn't. Living up to someone, or something, which is tangible is impossible in itself. Living up to a ghost in someone's heart is entirely different.
The pediatrician straightened in her chair, focusing again on the surgeon putting the final touches on her revolutionary surgery. She was impressed. The AxialLIF would change the face of lower back pain relief surgeries. Callie had only been toying with the idea when they were together.
'Together...' She held back a snort. 'If you could even call it that.'
Maybe they could try again. But for what, for five days to pass and the same long distance song and dance to begin again?
Scowling, she got up and crossed the room, standing at the window next to two other doctors.
One perfect x shaped stitch. That's all it took to close up the two centimeter incision that she'd put in this man's back. Callie smiled at her young protege. It didn't quite reach her eyes, but it was what she had these days.
"That's a nice stitch Grey." she said, gently ribbing the young doctor.
It was an in joke these days, what Lexie had done so long ago to her arms, one that Lexie only allowed two people to tease her about.
"Thank you, Dr. Torres," Lexie's eyes crinkled as she smiled behind her mask. "They say practice makes perfect."
She looked up from her perfect x shaped stitch to see why her mentor had suddenly grown very still and quiet. Callie had taken off her headlight and was staring wide eyed into the gallery. Lexie followed her gaze and quickly saw Callie's source of apparent panic. There, standing in each of the three windows, were her only three female ex's. All in a row, all with their heads slightly cocked, staring down into the OR. The younger doctor averted her gaze back to Callie and watched her swallow hard.
"Oh hell..." Callie whispered.
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