EPILOGUE: SIX MONTHS LATER

They meet on the rooftop patio, as they do every night, for Couch Time. The patio is technically part of Callie's apartment---she has the penthouse---but Addison's balcony is beneath hers, and it's big enough to squeeze in a staircase. They have embraced life here, and made their own little home together.

It's different in LA, but in many ways, it's the same, and at the end of the day, there are the three of them---and then some. Callie's 'friend in LA' turned out be a colleague of Addison's friend, and while Naomi courted Addison for her clinic, Cooper hooked the rest of them up with his contacts at St. Ambrose. He thinks his positive relationship with the somewhat abrasive chief of staff has been a boon to the clinic, and while he still isn't sure it's a big enough pond for a surgeon of Addison's skill, she seems happy with the slower-paced life. And he has to admit, she was right about the space thing.

"It's healthier," she told him. "To have a part of your life that's separate. Did you know that the divorce rate is higher for couples who share a workplace?"

"But if that means you can't work where you want to..."

"Who says I don't want to work at the clinic? Maybe I was right about going soft. Maybe you were right too. There is more to life than surgeries, Preston. Even for a surgeon. There is more to being a doctor than that. It's about relationships."

That's the buzzword these days. There's Callie and Cooper---she may be the one to finally tame him, and Addison has been pulling for the odd but sweet little pair. And there is himself and Addison. She was insistent that he get his own apartment---not quite ready for that step, and he gave her credit for being in touch enough with her feelings to tell him forthrightly. But she let him buy the condo next to hers, and he's already planning in his head which walls they can knock down when things progress between them...

So they meet on the roof, for Couch Time, and sometimes, Callie brings Cooper, and sometimes, Addison brings Violet or Naomi. But tonight is special, because he's bringing someone along for the first time time.

He's cleared it with the girls already. He knows they don't like Charlotte much. But he reminds them that not long ago, they were outcasts too. They know how many ways there are to hide loneliness, and it comes out in Callie as bravado, and in Addison as tears, and in Charlotte as prickliness, but it's the same, underneath it all.

"You'll like them," he whispers to Charlotte, unlocking Addison's door and taking her through, and up to their little oasis.

"They hate me," she says.

"They don't know you."

"Screw that. If you're going to give me some pap about how underneath it all, I'm really a..."

"Charlotte?"

"What?"

"It's just drinks. You can leave any time you want to."

"And you're not trying to set me up with someone?"

"Now, come on..."

There is a crowd when they get there. Addison is introducing the rest of them to the other new arrival, Alex Karev, the only Seattle Grace refugee they've stayed in touch with. He lets go of Charlotte's hand and moves to Addison, promising himself that in such mixed company, he'll keep the kiss short.

"Is that tongue?" he hears Charlotte ask. "Are you giving her tongue, right in front of us?"

"Charlotte, this is Alex," Callie says.

"They are so lovey-dovey," Alex tells Charlotte. "Burke and Addison. Look at them. It's kind of sick."

"Yeah," Charlotte agrees. "I'm just glad she's in a private practice. Can you imagine, if they worked together? In my hospital? Every day? Like that?"

"I have lived such a nightmare," Alex says.

Charlotte leans closer. "Oh? Is that so?"

He comes out of his kiss, and sneaks Callie a high five as he goes to pour drinks. He promised Charlotte that he wouldn't try to fix her up. But he never said anything about other people trying...

THE END