Disclaimer - Grey's Anatomy belongs to someone else

A/N - I seem to like writing introspective, unhappy Owen even though I actually want to write something fun.


Owen usually found that work was the one thing he could focus on. His medical training was so deeply ingrained that he could function without really having to think about it. Couple the training with a decade spent in the immediacy of battlefield trauma surgery and he knew how to focus on the task in hand.

Every evaluation he'd ever received had said the same thing: professional, focused, decisive, flexible, assured and does not hesitate. And every time someone new had joined the Unit they'd been given the same informal summary of the Major: honest, fair and gets (not just expects) the best from everyone. Just watch out for his sense of humour. And try to keep up.

Most of the time at the Seattle Grace he'd found he could manage focussed and decisive and he was actually enjoying being flexible, learning from the other surgeons about how they approached things.

Professional? Well, professional was causing some problems. Some things just weren't appropriate.

His eyes were once more involuntarily drawn away from the chart he was allegedly reading to stare out the window towards the desk.

He could only see her back, dark hair hanging loosely over her scrubs and he could just make out the distant whir of the pencil sharpener.

Professional. He repeated to himself. Appropriate. Before forcing his attention back to the chart and his patient. He'd managed to to take in the first sentence, when he heard the low rumble of Dr Sloan's voice.

His eyes flicked back to the window and watched as Sloan leaned in towards the desk intimately.

He could feel his forehead furrow into a frown at the playfully seductive expression on the other Doctor's face.

Not appropriate. Or professional. He thought, wondering if he was berating them or himself before half turning away deliberately.

But he could hear snatches of at least one half of the conversation as Sloan's voice rose in incredulous surprise at whatever Cristina said.

Owen's chest tightened oddly at the sound of her slivery, infectious laugh. What would he give to make her laugh? His pen hovered over the chart as he imagined her face transformed by a smile, her eyes bright and staring up at him. It would be a contrast to the way she had been looking at him today. His constant criticism, laced with the contradictory lingering looks, had left her eying him with wary distance.

He was wrenched away from daydreaming as he caught the end of what Sloan was saying, his eyes narrowed to furious slits as Cristina walked off still laughing and Sloan did his best to re-establish his injured manhood, blaming Shepherd for making him try it on.

Suddenly Owen couldn't breathe. His jaw tightened as he fought a tidal wave of ill-defined anger and frustration. Riding on the backdrop of impotent rage that had tainted every moment since the horrific end to his last tour, suddenly all the rest of this shit was too much. Everything from the unprofessionalism of his fellow doctors, to the hyper-competitive residents and to messy tangle of their relationships ignited his fury; that and the way he continued to studiously avoid the real cause of his frustration. Her. And his inability to be professional or appropriate about her.

He put the chart down and walked out of the room with only a brief, distracted nod to the patient.

He needed to clear his head. Now.

He was surprised to see the Chief.

"Oh Dr Hunt, any thoughts on the second years after today?" The question phrased with the cheerful expectation that Owen would have something insightful to say.

Owen halted, his body still thrumming with tension and and murmured about it only being a day, desperately wanting to escape to find some space to put his head back together again.

Thoughts about the residents? His thoughts were haunted by them - or her at least. Every moment when he wasn't concentrating absolutely on his work, he was at risk of drifting off and thinking of her. It was affecting his temper and his judgement. It made him angry when she disappointed him and it made him furious that he'd disappointed her.

His fingers curled into fists, which he forced himself to relax.

He should have known the Chief wouldn't give up; and he'd already known that he wouldn't be able to hold back if he was invited to speak again.

Suddenly the words came tumbling out "They're undisciplined, inarticulate and they have a lot to learn about respect." He drew a breath and then glowered, "Mostly they're more interested in their personal crap than in anything else. And I'm not sure that they're being taught anything different. Honestly I'm not sure I'll be staying on."

He paused, watching the shocked expression on the Chief's face.

"Excuse me please sir," he said, heading decisively down the corridor.

He walked blindly into an empty on-call room and lay on the bed taking slow, deep breaths and willing his body to slowly lose its muscle-locking tension as he fought to reassert his professionalism and get a grip on what was appropriate.