Cristina Yang never liked to fight with her lovers. When she fought, she fought hard and she was called a bitch. It was one thing to be criticized by a teacher or a competitor, but not a lover. When it came to fight or flight, she found it easier to choose flight, cut her losses, move on. She tried something different with Preston – fighting with herself, trying to mold herself to his wants, instead of listening to the inner voice that told her to run. I can do this for him. I can accept his proposal. I can accept that he wants the wedding his way, I can do it. I want to do it.
She couldn't do it. And in the end, she was left sobbing in a dress that wasn't her, sadly rejoicing that she finally could stop fighting with herself about trying to be someone that she wasn't. The problem was, she no longer knew who she was.
Cristina wakes up, baffled to find she's sleeping next to someone. She peers in the soft light of her bedroom – at Owen. He's lying on his back beside her, his left arm splayed out beside her.
Owen. The events of the night come crashing down. Owen drunk, Owen in her shower fully clothed, Owen giving her a glimpse of the trauma inside of him. Clear blue eyes full of pain. She carefully inches herself away from him, not waking him up. She gets out of bed and stares at him. What the hell do I do now?
She remembers undressing him, drying him off, putting him in her bed. She remembers collapsing on her kitchen floor, crying and confused and overwhelmed. She shudders. She looks at him slumbering away.
He's going to be so embarrassed when he wakes up. She paces back and forth beside the bed. What do I do?
She doesn't know why, but she makes up her side of the bed. She tries not to think about why she's doing this, erasing evidence that they slept in the same bed last night. She's not ashamed, but she doesn't want him to know just the same. It's just – something to do with her hands.
She goes into the bathroom and shuts the door. She looks at his clothes, all wrinkled and slightly damp. She walks back and forth, trying to figure out what to do.
She catches sight of herself in the mirror, frazzled and pacing. She moves closer and stares at herself, not knowing her own reflection. "Look at you, Cristina Yang," she whispers. "Trying to fix his problems. This is not you." She shakes her head. "You'd think he should be the one worrying about his clothes, he's the one who showed up drunk."
It was so easy to be drawn into him last night, so open and hurting. She couldn't help but take care of him, trying to stop the flow of pain. She closes her eyes, trying to erase the image of him laughing on the vent, leaning down for a kiss. So open and giving then. He has a lot of problems, but he is also a good man.
She remembers when she was hurting and alone, and he guided her downstairs, out of time and space, to a special spot where the wind blew up and carried her worries away, and they were finally free to kiss and hold onto each other just for the pleasure of doing so. She remembers pressing up against him, pressing her mouth to his, as the water poured down, clumsily trying to stop his pain. Damn him. What is he doing to me? What have I gotten myself into?
She manages to shower and get dressed without waking Owen, who is sleeping like he hasn't slept for a week. She thinks she should probably just go get breakfast somewhere, but she sits in the chair at the end of the bed, studying him. What the hell happened last night? She spends a few minutes trying to think of something she might have said or done to set him off, but her instincts tell her that it wasn't her, it was his baggage. And he has a lot of it, more than she could have guessed. Normally she'd just walk away, she is a surgeon, not a therapist. This kind of damage can not be neatly excised away.
She observes him, feeling deeply conflicted. This man opened up to her in the most exquisite and intimate pain. She felt touched, honoured, that he could be so open with her, that he could trust her with his pain. And he never asked her to fix him, to take care of him, it was just something that came out of her.
But he would never have been so open if he hadn't shown up for their first date stumbling drunk and smelling of Scotch.
She agreed to go on a date with him for a reason. She likes him, she likes him a lot. They're drawn to each other like a magnet to steel. He kisses like a god and he thinks she's beautiful. He may be trying to guide her as a doctor – but as a person, he takes her as she is, and he seems to care about her deeply. Cristina Yang is good enough for this man as she is.
She looks at his form. Any other morning, she'd be happy to climb onto that body and wake him up the best way. If only he hadn't have been drunk! I could have been naked in that bed with him.
He begins to stir. Startled, she jumps up and leaves the room before he can see her. She grabs her coat and purse and leaves the apartment for work. He's probably never going to want to see me again anyways.
She's looking for something in the supply closet when he appears behind her. Owen does not stutter or stammer as he apologizes. She tells him he doesn't have to say anything but he speaks anyway, insisting on it. He talks of stuff that she would normally be very interested in, like him in a shower without his clothes, or naked in a bed and not passing out. She feels awkward and trapped, in a close space with him speaking of something intimate and she doesn't know what to do or say. She says it's okay.
"It's not," he insists, his sad eyes urging her to be honest.
"It's not," she agrees without thinking. "But you know, you don't have to talk about it." Because I don't know how to talk about it.
So she flees. She practically runs down the hallway, and she wants to turn around and go back to him and let him talk some more, and maybe she could think of something to say, but she doesn't know how to turn to him.
The rest of the day is one battle after another. Derek shows her a ring. Is it right for Meredith? She can not handle this – this thing with Owen, and her feud with Meredith on the same day. Damn that Derek – yes, she would like to freak out about Owen with Meredith, thanks so much for bringing that up. But not today. She can not fight two people on one day. She flies away again.
Ah, but she's not done with Meredith after all today. Meredith got suckered by William Dunn somehow, she's forgotten that she's a doctor. Cristina chooses to fight, she calls the code and Derek is there and he's angry at Meredith. To punish her, he chooses Cristina to assist in surgery and makes her watch. It's crazy. The whole hospital is going crazy, it seems. Bailey is begging Derek not to operate. Begging. Cristina decides it would be best to focus on the surgery. Her best weapon is her scalpel, and she wields it well. The surgery is one battle that she wins today.
And here is Owen again. Sitting down beside her, telling her of his plans for the date that wasn't. Damn him, she would have liked to have seen the Northern Lights. She notes again that he no longer stammers around her. She recalls him struggling for words on her stoop, and she feels a curious thrill inside, to know that he's more comfortable around her now, that he's able to speak with a purpose. They are changing each other, it seems.
He stands his ground and throws down a challenge. He asks for another chance. She looks up at him. She thought he'd be avoiding her after what they've gone through in the last 24 hours. He's not running from her, he's fighting for her. For them.
She discovers that she has something to say to him after all. She challenges back, releasing the truth that has been keeping her silent and scared. "You've got some problems. You've got some big problems."
"Yeah," he agrees. "Go out with me anyways?"
She sizes him up. He's laid himself open before her again. She said she couldn't handle hot and cold, and he took up the challenge, choosing hot over cold. He screwed up and he's still fighting for her. His eyes are warm and yearning. She doesn't have to run away from him, she could strike one fatal blow and be done with him.
She knows exactly what to say.
His eyes glow and he looks pleased and she smiles to herself. Maybe, just maybe, they could be allies. She can't fight his demons for him, but she can be there with him. She knows one thing for sure - she's going to stand her own ground when it comes to this man. And he likes it that way.