Cristina Yang has never looked for a man that she could change. Men are not fixer-uppers, as far as she is concerned. Her college roommate was always going from one guy to another – she'd see some potential, start dating him, get bored, and moved onto the next project. God forbid she spend a week without a boyfriend. Debbie never understood why Cristina would rather study than date. Cristina would just say that she would date when there was someone she wanted to date, and she meant it.
All of her lovers were men already, self-confident and assured. She took them as they were. She never fell for the "bad boy" who allegedly just needed to be loved. She was repelled by the namby-pamby boys who needed a mother figure to get them through life.
And now she is standing in a shower with the most wonderfully beautiful and broken man she has ever met, and all she wants to do is to fix him, and she doesn't know how.
She caresses his face. She starts with the tie. Loosens it, pulls it over his head. He angles his head somewhat to help her, but he's still drunk and he's spent. He's given her an intimate glimpse at the sharp pain ravaging his spirit, and now he has nothing more to give her. He watches her warily. Impulsively, she steps forward, presses herself against him, raises her hands to his face, her mouth to his. His lips move briefly in reflex, nothing more. She opens her eyes and looks in his. He looks like he hasn't slept in a week.
She turns off the running water. She steps behind him and starts tugging at the soaked fabric of his jacket. He leans his right shoulder against the shower wall. She moves to his left arm and manages to work it free of the jacket. She gently guides him so that his back is against the wall. Now she frees his right arm and lets the jacket drop.
She steps back and studies him. He watches her, posture sagging. She steps forward, reaches up, tenderly stroking his face. He looks away. She starts unbuttoning his shirt. She's had fantasies of stripping him naked, but this is not what she had in mind. Here, in the flesh, is a very fragile man who can barely stand on his own two feet. She pulls his shirt out of his waistband and finishes unbuttoning it. She undoes the cuffs. He lets her guide his arms out of the sleeves. His head drops forward, he can no longer meet her eyes. She pulls the shirt out from behind him and drops it on the floor.
Her sweater is wet and heavy. She undoes her belt, then pulls her sweater off. She doesn't care that he can see her exposed, in her black lacy bra, if he were to look up. Taking off her shirt is nothing compared to what he showed her tonight.
She moves to his feet. She unties his shoes, then lifts up his feet, one at a time, to remove his shoes and socks.
She stands up and studies him again. Nudity does not offend her, she's a doctor. But she's strangely shy about stripping him further. He's already exposed so much of his pain to her. Must he also be naked and shivering in front of her too?
Shivering. He's shivering. She steps out of the shower stall and grabs a towel. She steps back in and starts rubbing him dry. She starts with his red hair, which she leaves damp and spiky. She gently dries off his face and beard, lifting his head to make sure she gets it all. She could never manage this if he were standing at his full height. She feels that he is now deliberately avoiding looking at her. Because she took off her top or because he is ashamed? Does he just want to be left alone?
She moves to his arms, towelling them dry. Then she dries his chest, reaching behind to dry what she can of his back. He's still shaking, but she's not sure if it's because of his pain or because he's standing half-naked wearing sopping wet pants.
She steps out of the stall again and grabs a fresh towel, the largest one she has. She steps back in and watches him. How much more exposure and intimacy can he handle tonight? She feels a queer pang – she always planned on seeing him naked in bed, eager for her touch. Not exhausted and vulnerable like this. She steps forward, watching his face. He's looking at her again, perhaps wondering how far she will go? He doesn't look like he has the strength to voice any protest. She unfolds the towel, and places the upper edge in his hands. "Hold this." His hands grab onto the towel. She keeps her eyes focussed on his, as she reaches down and removes his remaining clothes. His eyes are soft and unfocussed, no longer wary. He seems relieved.
She stands up, grabs the towel by the edge and wraps it around his waist. "Let's get you into bed," she says softly. She places her hands on his waist and tugs him forward so he's leaning on her. She supports his weight and encourages him to keep moving forward. He leans into her, and he's tall and heavy. She guides him out of the stall, and into her bedroom. She kicks the blankets away, then helps him lie down. She covers him with the blankets, moves a pillow under his head. He lies there on his side, silently blinking and staring ahead.
"I'll, uh, I'll be in the living room for a moment. Yell if you need me," she whispers. He doesn't respond. She steps away, grabs a t-shirt that she'd left at the foot of the bed. She pulls the shirt on, then leaves her bedroom, closing the door behind her.
She walks around the living room, looking for a hair elastic. She and Callie leave them all over the apartment. She finds one, and pulls her damp hair back into a ponytail. She removes her earrings and drops them onto the coffee table. She grabs a tissue and wipes her lipstick off. She goes into the kitchen and pours herself a glass of water. She drinks the water. She looks at the closed bedroom door. She can't hear any noise coming from that direction. She puts the empty glass on the counter.
She slowly collapses onto the floor, shaking and quivering and crying. "Body full of holes." She can't shake the image of him staring at her, blue eyes full of pain, as water cascades down his head and body. "Never seen anything like it." She curls up into a little ball and hugs her knees. She tries to cry quietly. "But the bleeding was everywhere." She sees Owen tugging on his tie as the water pours down, she sees her small hands trying to hold her father's chest shut as the blood pours out. She sees herself reaching out to Owen as the water pours down. She sees herself pressing her body against his chest, pressing her mouth against his, trying to stop the flow of pain. She's confused, she's upset, she's moved to the core of her being by the intimacy of what he shared with her. "Never seen anything like it."
She lies there shaking and crying for who knows how long. Eventually the tears subside and she stops quivering. She wipes her eyes and stands up. She goes into the living room and grabs another tissue. She blows her nose.
She goes to her bedroom door and places her ear against it. She thinks she can hear his breathing. She takes a deep breath and opens the door. She left the bathroom light on. He's curled on his side in her bed, wrapped in blankets, just as she left him. She walks into the room, quietly closing the door behind her. She steps around to see his face. His eyes are closed and he is softly snoring. His face shows some tension.
She grabs a pair of pyjama bottoms off the floor of her bedroom and goes into the bathroom and quietly closes the door. She goes to the sink, removing the last of her make-up and brushing her teeth. She picks up his clothes and tries to wring as much water as she can out of them. Then she drapes all of the articles of clothing around the bathroom as best as she can, so they can dry.
She changes her clothing so she is ready for bed. She opens the bathroom door and goes back into her bedroom. She reaches into her closet and grabs the fleece blanket that she keeps stuffed in there for extra cold nights. She gently lays it over Owen. She reaches into the bathroom and turns off the light. She pads around to the other side of the bed. She lifts up the covers and slides under them, moving slowly so she won't wake him. She looks at Owen's shape in the dim light and listens to him breathe. She inches herself closer to him, so that she lies beside him. Literally, she has his back. Eventually she falls asleep, dreaming again that she is pressing her body against his chest, pressing her mouth against his, trying to stop the flow of pain, holding his face in her hands, doing whatever she can to heal him.