Cristina's clutching Owen from behind, he's gasping for breath in the throes of a panic attack. She holds on as tight as he can. He pulls at her hands, trying to dislodge them. "I'm here," she says. "I'm not letting go of you."

Owen stumbles, crying and gasping. He starts to fall to his knees. She hangs on, managing to adjust her legs so she doesn't fall, although she feels awkward, legs splayed out. "I'm here," she repeats.

He continues to collapse, and she decides to fall with him. They land on their right sides, Cristina still hanging onto Owen. She winces – she hit her right elbow hard. Owen is still gasping and shaking and trying to pull her hands off. She slings her left leg over his left hip, pulling herself even closer. "Keep breathing," she says. "Breathe in, breathe out. Your heart rate will slow down. You can do this."

He starts to roll forward and she keeps hanging on tightly. She manages to move her right leg around so that her legs are now wrapped around his waist. He rolls back instinctively – and then stops himself before he rolls over on top of her. He rolls forward again so that they're lying on their right sides. "You're doing good," she says into his ear. "You're having a panic attack but you can do this, you can slow your breathing down." She struggles to stay clinical for his sake – he's really starting to worry her now. He said he saw someone – who?!?

She adjusts her right arm. Resigned, he lays his head against her shoulder and continues to shake and fight for control of his breath. His hands still pull at hers, but with fading strength. She nestles against the back of his neck, pressing her face against the nape of his neck. She briefly notes the irony of her lips against his neck, when it's her neck that he finds so attractive. She continues to hold him tightly as he curls up into a fetal position. "Take my strength," she murmurs. "I'm staying with you." Whatever it is that you're fighting, I'm your ally.

They lie there for minutes, as his breathing slows and he stops shaking. She looks up at the ceiling and hopes that nobody walks in. His hands are holding on to hers now for strength. She loosens her grip slightly, but maintains a firm hold with her arms and legs. His legs loosen and his body uncoils.

Gradually, he speaks, huskily. "I'll explain this later." She nods against the back of his neck and loosens her grip enough that he can pull away if he wants to. He wipes his eyes but otherwise does not move. He stays in her embrace for a few more minutes. They finally part when they hear voices outside the door. He jumps up and pulls her up. They look at the door at the same time – the people outside have moved on. She moves quickly to the door and locks it anyways. She grabs her security pass and pins it back on. Then she looks at him.

He's looking at his watch. He looks haggard. He meets her eyes then and says, "Thank you Cristina."

She nods, steps forwards and hugs him. He wraps his arms around her and speaks quietly. "I have to go down to the ER for some test results for a patient. Meet me in an on call room after?"

She nods, and gives him an extra squeeze. He sighs and kisses her forehead before unlocking the door and leaving.


He finds her stretched out on the bed in the on-call room, reading from Ellis' journal. She smiles and puts down the book when she sees him. He half-smiles and takes off his lab jacket, hanging it up. He places his pager on a table, next to hers. She gestures for him to lie down beside her and he does, kissing her first.

"How long has it been since you've had a good night's sleep?" she asks.

"Too long," he yawns. "What're you reading?"

"This is Meredith's mother's journal. Did you know that her mother was Ellis Grey?"

He shakes his head in the negative.

"Well, she found all of her journals and we've been reading them. Fascinating stuff about surgery and illicit affairs. Want to hear some?"

He shakes his head again. "I'm glad you two are friends again."

"Me too." They smile softly at each other.

He lifts himself up and kisses her again. They share a few steamy moments, his fingers lightly rubbing the back of her neck, before his head starts to droop against hers.

"You need some sleep now," she whispers. He nods and slowly lowers himself against her so that he lies against her chest, keeping the bulk of his weight beside her. He wraps his arms around her. She smiles down at him – he is full of surprises, this one. Tentatively, she runs her fingers through his red hair, gently massaging his scalp.

"Feels good," he murmurs. She smiles again and continues her ministrations, listening to his breathing. When he starts to lightly snore, she pulls her hand away. Only then does she realize that he didn't explain what caused his panic attack. She shrugs.

She recalls talking with Meredith earlier about them. She still doesn't know what it is that they are, but she knows that she likes them. She picks up the journal again and resumes reading, taking comfort in the feeling of his warm body against hers.