Disclaimer: I don't own anything you might recognize, I'm merely borrowing, so thanks for letting me.

A/N In this story, Alex and Izzie did not have those two weeks off in between their internship and residency. Set sometime after S3. No Ava though. And not much drama either…I figured there's enough of that in real life ;) Enjoy...


Isobel Stevens couldn't help but feel a bit worried. The Chief had called her into his office for a meeting, and she could not fathom what it was about. She hadn't made any major mistakes lately, at least none that she was aware of. She hadn't gotten into any arguments, and she had not been caught doing the naughty naughty in any room whatsoever, on-call or not. Which is why she walked up to Patricia's desk with slight trepidation.

"Dr. Stevens, hi. The Chief will be with you in a second, ok? He's just finishing up a phone call," the secretary addressed her.

Izzie nodded her thanks and took a seat in one of those extremely uncomfortable plastic hospital chairs that had been placed opposite of Patricia's desk against the wall. She had never taken the time to look around this office, usually just passing it on her way into the Chief's. Now, with some time to spare, she noticed that three of the walls were painted a slight beige color, while the one facing Patricia was held in a warm chocolate brown. There were a couple of paintings and some pots with bamboo and another tree-ish type that she had no clue about. Recognizing the bamboo was already an achievement and about as far as her botanical knowledge went. She had never understood people's fascination with plants. Yeah, they were nice to look at, but as far as she was concerned, that was about it. Maybe she should broaden her vegetation-horizon one of these days. She'd heard of an amazing atrium at one of those 5 hotels in town. Maybe she could have a drink at the bar while looking at the greenery?

Her undoubtedly significant thought-process was interrupted by a knock on the door, then someone entering. Said person quickly glanced at her.

"What'd you do?" Alex.

She glared at him. "Nothing. What are you doing here?"

Patricia interrupted them. "Dr. Karev, I'm glad you could make it in time, I know you just got out of surgery. The Chief will be with you guys shortly."

No sooner than the words had left her mouth, the door to Dr. Richard Webber's office opened. "Drs Stevens and Karev, I'm glad you're both here. Please come in." Izzie followed after Alex, closing the door behind her. They took their respective seats next to each other, looking up at their boss curiously. From the look on his face Alex obviously didn't know what this was about either. A somewhat comforting thought.

"Doctors, I'm sorry for calling this meeting at such short notice. Let's make it quick, ok? I'm sure you're both wondering what I wanted to see you about…," he paused. After getting a quick nod from both of his residents, he continued. "As I'm sure you know, all of our interns get two weeks off after finishing their internship, before their residencies start, right?" Again, affirming gestures from his doctors. "Well, the reason we couldn't give all of you that exact timeframe off is really the same as always. Since the new interns are not coming in until later, we're usually seriously understaffed, and this year was no exception." He looked up from his files, and had to keep a grin from forming when he first saw recognition and then a slight hint of dread reflected on both of their faces. Yeah, he guessed, they knew what was coming. "So, to make a long story short, it's the end of January now, and your mandatory time off is long overdue. You know those days have nothing to do with your vacation, so I kind of have to force them on you now. We have a review coming up with the hospital execs and everything has to be in order, so…congratulations! Starting tomorrow, you're life no longer revolves around work for a while…".

They both stared at him in shock, saying nothing.

"Try not to show your excitement" he joked, knowing how they felt. At that stage, every day spent not working felt like a lost opportunity to learn. He still remembered his first year of residency like it had been yesterday.

"But Chief…" Alex started, but was interrupted instantly.

"There aren't any 'buts' here, Dr. Karev. Trust me, I've heard them all. Go update your interns and colleagues on your patients and get out of here."

Izzie herself was too shocked to come up with anything at all. Two weeks off!! With Alex!! What the hell was she supposed to do with herself?

She realized her fellow resident had stood and did the same. She quietly thanked Dr. Webber because it was the polite thing to do, and started towards the exit.

They had almost made it out the door when they heard their boss's voice again. "Oh, and Stevens, Karev…" They turned around. "Don't even think about coming as close as the parking lot of this hospital. If I hear or see you sneaking around, there will be consequences. There are work- and insurance related issues to consider here that cannot be ignored. Are we clear?"

"Yes Sir." "Absolutely." Mumbled at the same time, but it was good enough for him. He just hoped he had gotten his point across. Stressed and overworked employees never were an asset to any company, and his hospital was no exception. They might not have agreed to needing that time off, that much was clear, but he knew from first-hand experience what could happen if you just kept on going without ever stopping. And he did not wish that on anybody.

After closing the door to Patricia's office, both Alex and Izzie kind of stood there, not sure what to say - or do, for that matter. Finally she looked up at her friend and colleague and voiced what he was obviously contemplating.

"And now what?"


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