A/N: This is a one-shot written sometime during season 2 and originally posted on LJ. As I'm missing George terribly this season, I chose to bring it over to this site, too. Enjoy.


Operation Self-Destruction

No one could ever say he expected it to happen.

George trudged up the stairwell, his stomach still several floors below and thoughts flying everywhere. He wasn't even sure of his direction, as long as it was away, some place hundreds, preferably thousands, of miles away. Most unfortunately, his feet had taken him in the general direction of the roof, ensuring he'd have to make his way back through the hospital eventually and that thought was not reassuring.

Pushing open the roof door to reveal the darkening evening, George took several steps out before realizing he was not alone. Across the way, Addison's stoic posture practically screamed for solitude and he was on the cusp of obeying when she turned towards his intrusion.

Before she could speak, George said, "I'm already leaving."

"Don't bother, Dr. O'Malley," she replied in a voice quite unlike her own. Addison turned back around. "You can mope wherever you want and there's plenty of room around here."

His hackles rose, but George decided to turn back and ignore it…for about two seconds. Spinning on his heel, he replied, "So I suppose the adage is true? Misery does love company after all?"

"I'm hardly miserable," Addison said back. There was something underlying her voice, but it wasn't the distress he'd originally suspected. It was fiercer, angrier. "I'd say disappointed. Annoyed that I pegged it right."

George stepped towards her, his curiosity too much to keep him still. The part of him that instinctively soothed ruffled feathers wondered what he could say to her; just as quickly, he knew that Addison was the type to bite the hand that pitied her. Pulling closer, he dropped his backpack on the ledge and stared out at the Seattle skyline.

"Two days, O'Malley," Addison said suddenly. "Two days. Our marriage isn't even cold in its grave and he's already cavorting around with an intern."

Too consumed by how her statement made his stomach twist and wrench, George automatically replied, "To be fair, it's not the first time they've cavorted."

Addison jerked her face to his, her glare gluing him to the ground. The mere look in her eyes made him feel very stupid for not putting a filter on his mouth and her reply made it even worse. "I have to wonder what's so special about her. Care to tell me O'Malley? Kama Sutra? A special bond with whips and chains that some guys can't resist?" George stared at her, his mouth gaping open like a fish. "Honestly, what's your excuse?"

George didn't answer. He was too stunned (nervous? frightened?) to speak.

Sneering slightly, Addison took her Medusa-like gaze off him. "Everybody fucking loves Meredith Grey and I have no idea why. It'll no doubt remain one of the great mysteries of life – unless you want to illuminate me."

George opted to stare a little longer. Addison looked back at him, her face only slightly apologetic, as if she knew just how hard she was being on the younger man, but not quite summoning any reason to care. The silence stretched on for a full minute, one in which George thought of ways to tell her that he was possibly as hurt as she and it was just as quickly discarded. Losing a chance at someone that you'd never been up front with was not on the same level as losing a spouse, not even close. Addison definitely one-upped him in the here and now.

Addison gave him an appraising look. "I thought of you as more talkative than this."

George startled. His thoughts disjoined, he could only say, "I think it's because you scare the shit out of me."

"Then something's working," Addison said, the corner of her lips twitching in amusement. She looked at the skyline for a brief moment and then grabbed George's backpack and thrust it at him. "Got a wallet in here, O'Malley?"

"Uh, yeah?"

"Good, that means you can buy me a drink." Addison walked toward the roof door. George, however, remained by the ledge, confused as all get out. "Do I need to draw you a picture?"

Forcing his legs to move, George asked, "Joe's?"

The look Addison gave him assured him, no, Joe's was not an option.


He decided to give empathy a try. "Are…are you feeling okay?"

"Just order me another scotch."

"All right, never mind then."


Decidedly fuzzy, George's eyes took their time opening even though his brain was urging them as much as possible. Pushing his eyebrows up to stretch out his face, he finally got a blurry vision that slowly sharpened to form a dresser and lamp that were certainly not his own. He blinked owlishly and then was suddenly struck blind.

No, not blind. Something had been thrown on his face. George brought up his hand and pulled off the cloth to discover that the offending garment was a pair his boxers. Everything went dark again, though, when his jeans landed on him, the cuff of one leg resting on his forehead.

"What the hell?" He sat up gingerly and looked around.

"Better get going, O'Malley," a soft but stern voice told him.

George suddenly felt very much like lying back down.

"Please tell me we didn't-"

"We did, you enjoyed it and now you've got to go. Shift starts in two hours."

George brought his hands to his face. He wanted to pretend that he couldn't remember, but he did, oh he did. Twice. Maybe three times, but that's when it got fuzzy again.

Addison dropped his t-shirt in his – thankfully, covered – lap. "I've already called you a cab. If you want to avoid a hangover-"

"It's not my first bender," George muttered. He stuck his boxers underneath the sheets and pulled them on before getting out of the bed. Choosing to quickly put on the rest of his clothes before speaking, he waited until he was pulling on his socks to ask, "Did you plan it?"

Addison let out a huff of breath. "Think a little better of me, O'Malley."

George glanced at her quickly, hoping that his disbelief showed enough in his eyes that he wouldn't have to say it. Addison rolled hers and lifted a pitcher of water off a room service cart to pour into two glasses. She crossed the room and held out one of the glasses to him. "You'll be useless if you don't start hydrating now."

"I feel useless most of the time anyway," George said, speaking around the lip of the glass. He drank it all in one take, possibly hoping to drown in the process, but with no luck.

When George finished, he stuffed his feet into his sneakers and at last turned to face her. Chagrined by the sight, he said, "It's not fair. I feel like shit and you look as if you just got a spa treatment."

Addison drew closer and patted him on the cheek. "The pain's on the inside."

"I bet."

George didn't bother to speak anymore. Instead he moved on to find his jacket and backpack in the living area of Addison's suite. He paused at the door, wondering what was appropriate to finish off one-night stands. Meredith would probably give the best pointers, but even the thought of her left him feeling a little sick. For her part, Addison stayed in the bedroom – a place he dared not approach again by his own volition.

Scoffing slightly at the ridiculousness of it all, he finally opened the door and left.


"It's just…just so fucking typical. Maybe that's why I didn't end it sooner-"

"Wait, it was you? But I thought…"

"Of course it was, O'Malley. Derek hasn't made a personal decision without someone holding his hand in over fifteen years. If Meredith hadn't been waiting, I don't know what he would have done with himself."

"Well, he did leave you in New York." The uncomfortable silence was immediate. "Waiter? More scotch, please."


"Are you sure it wasn't your first time?"

George went still at the sound of her voice. He clenched his eyes tightly shut and wondered if he wished hard enough, she would go away.

"Hangover, I mean. I've got it on fairly good authority that you didn't lose your virginity last night," Addison added. George spun to face her and glared, but she took it in stride. The locker room, usually a bustle of interns and, in some cases, dogs, was wretchedly empty and he knew it would be useless to try and escape. "You're not looking too fresh."

George slammed his locker shut and winced at the loud bang. "You know, Dr. Montgomery-Shepherd, I think it might just be this." He jerked the neck of his scrubs to reveal his left shoulder and the perfect imprint of teeth marks. "Or this." He showed her the other side and a rather substantial hickey. "I've been branded. Thank you very much."

She had the grace to look a little embarrassed, but George suspected that there was a strong measure of satisfaction, as well. He averted his eyes, but it didn't stop her from leaning against the bank of lockers and pulling something out of her coat pocket. Addison held out the bottle of pills toward him. "This will help. We can't have an intern walking around here in a daze. Well, more so than usual."

He hesitated before grabbing the medicine and muttered, "Thanks."

"Don't get yourself in a twist over it, O'Malley, I'm not going to ravish you every time we're in the same vicinity." Addison dropped her voice a level. "Unless that's what-"

"NO," George blurted out. He reddened and lowered his voice to match hers. "One night stands are that, one night. I'm not your little make-it-better boy. And don't think I don't know what you're trying to do."

Addison's expression cooled and she asked, "What is that exactly?"

"Getting back at Meredith and Derek through me. I'm still friends with her, okay?" George opened the bottle and shook out a couple of pills before stuffing it back into her palm. "So I'm not available for your petty revenge or whatever else you thought you could get done by using me."

He dry-swallowed the pills and made his way toward the exit, but Addison's icy voice stopped him in his tracks.

"I think you're grossly overestimating yourself, Dr. O'Malley." She pushed past him and was walking out the door when her voice floated back over her shoulder. "And it's Dr. Montgomery now."


"My mom? She's a teacher. My dad's a truck driver. And I…"

"Here you are."

"Here I am. Maybe I got in it for the money, but college made sense for me. You?"

"Me? Haven't you heard of the New England Montgomery's?"

"I'm from Washington."

"Well, you see this mouth?"

"Yeah?"

"It came with its own monogrammed silver spoon."

"Classy."


George decided that if he tried hard enough, everything could truly, really disappear. That's how he lived the next few weeks, glad that he was permanently Burke's guy in a purely-hetero, help-in-surgery kind of way and not Addison's in…well, any other fashion. Dr. Montgomery didn't exist to him except in severe cases where he couldn't ignore her; she helped in her own way, maintaining her Izzie favoritism, no matter how much it vexed his friend. Their paths hardly crossed in surgery and George was glad for it.

There were rumors, of course, that he couldn't help but hear. McDreamy signed the papers, Ex-Mrs. McDreamy finally got the last of things from the trailer, DocDreamy opted to stay with the male half of his split family. All this mostly came from Meredith's gleeful announcements as they car-pooled to work, but George pretended he wasn't listening.

On a whim, George went up to the roof when he heard that the papers were finally in the lawyer's hands. He wasn't sure why he went and there was no way he could explain why he felt disappointed when he found it empty.


"Oh! Take it!"

Addison grumbled, but lifted the shot glass and deftly sent the contents down her throat. George fished the quarter out of his own and asked, "Double or nothing?"

"Hell, no. No, wait, yeah."

"You're going to get drunk if we keep going like this."

"That's the point, O'Malley. That's the point."

George flipped another coin and grinned when it landed neatly in the glass. "Drink up."

Addison stared at the two shot glasses for several seconds and said, "Give me a minute." Shrugging, George sat back. Instead of drinking, Addison looked up at him and said, "Five months."

Eyebrows raised, George asked, "What about it?"

"I haven't had sex in five months." Addison threw back the shot. "That's got to earn me a freebie."

George pulled the second shot back.


A couple of days later, in the middle of his overnight call, George emptied several packs of sugar into his cup of coffee and wondered. There was no need to think of her, to contemplate what had happened that night. Meredith could easily walk away from her momentary men, but the one time, the one time he let it happen, he couldn't get it out of his head.

Despite all the times George had dreamt of his roommate, he'd considered her angular features and fragile frame and imagined how he would have been so very careful. He would have been gentle, sweet. Months after his doomed encounters with Olivia, who'd been fun, but standard, Addison had brought the rough and tumble.

She'd pulled his hair and he was sure he still felt the clench of her teeth against his shoulder. They'd come close to falling off the bed the second time and George had felt every fiber of anger come with each movement – take that, you selfish assholes – Addison's words, not his. He'd just responded, wondering how the hell he'd found his way there.

George took a sip of his coffee and immediately spit it out. Frowning, he dumped it down the sink and looked at his watch. If he tried, he could pull off a nap and so made his way to call room. And there she was.

"It says something for my restraint that I waited this long," Addison said. George remained at the doorway for a few seconds, long enough for her to look away. "At this point, does it even matter if it's revenge?"

He stared at her for several beats, still waiting for his imagination to swoop Addison away as quickly as it had conjured her. When she didn't dematerialize, he closed the door behind him. "I'm not sure."

Addison looked him straight in the eye. "Why don't you try and figure it out?"

George began to walk forward, but paused to lock the door and say, "It can't be like before."

Her eyebrows rose high. "This isn't a life-long commitment, O'Malley."

"No, it literally can't be like before." George leaned a little closer. "Unless you want to be caught by a nurse, I suggest we take it down a notch."

Addison smiled slightly and leaned back on the bed.


"What's so special about Grey?"

"Meredith?" George shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I don't know."

Addison rolled her eyes.

"Well, what do you want me to say? She's smart, funny, nice to be with…"

"So is my dog, O'Malley." Her stoic façade slipped for just a moment; there was a flicker of sadness. "What am I missing? What does she have that I don't?"

George bit his tongue before he could say her husband's name.


The first night George came home to find Meredith and McDreamy in a clinch on the sofa, he went up to his room, waited half an hour and then called Addison. He was at her door in fifteen minutes.

Over a series of visits, he figured out enough shortcuts so that it only took ten.


"I could ask myself the same question," George said out of nowhere. Addison gave him a bleary look. "What am I missing?"

"Specialization in neurosurgery? Great hair?"

George ran a hand over his head. "My hair's not so bad."

Addison squinted at him, appraising the top of his head for several moments before saying, "Yeah, it's okay."


Olivia's hair was red, but not Addison red. George lifted a lock before his face and ran his thumb over it. It sounded corny even in his mind, but her hair was the color of flames just before it drifted into shades of yellow and blue. She was letting it grow out even longer and sometimes it swept across his chest as she moved over him. It tickled and he loved it because he never knew before that he could laugh in Addison Montgomery's presence, but there it was.

The clock showed that it was nearing five and George reluctantly stood from the warmth of the bed. He was tying shoes when Addison stirred and looked over at him.

"Already?"

"I should have left an hour ago. Shift starts soon and I need to get home in time for the carpool."

"Okay," she replied in a sleepy voice. She stayed facing him, but burrowed her cheek into the pillow. George was struck by how sweet the sight was and leant over to press her lips to hers. Addison made a noise of surprise and he retreated in embarrassment.

"Gotta go," he said quickly and grabbed his jacket. He was out the door before she could say anything.

He called himself every version of stupid-moron-idiot-ass he could think of on the way home.


"Maybe it's not about her. Maybe it's something he's missing."

Addison cocked an eyebrow. "It's not you, it's me. How original."



It began as soon as he walked into the house.

"The prodigal son returns."

George smiled nervously. "Hey, Izzie."

She offered him a cup of coffee as he came through the door. "Long night?"

"Well, you know…"

"Actually, you know, I don't. Clarification would be nice."

George shrugged. To say he was uncomfortable didn't even start to describe it.

"Come on, you can tell me," Izzie wheedled. She elbowed him in the side. "You have a girlfriend, don't you? Who is it? Is she nice?"

"I can honestly say I absolutely do not have a girlfriend," George admitted. That much was true; he and Addison were more… coworkers with uninhibited benefits. At least up until this morning – he wasn't sure how she would react to unwelcome displays of affection. That just wasn't them. At all. They were hardly a them in the first place. Yeah, she laughed at his jokes and he thought she was too brilliant for her own good, but it wasn't like they had long conversations by the fireplace. Not that he'd considered it.

Of course, there was no way he could explain this to Izzie or Meredith, who came down a few minutes later, or Derek, who came down with her. George maintained his silence all the way through a quick breakfast and in the car ride to work, no matter how much Meredith joined in Izzie's teasing. They were insistent on finding out the reason for his secret jaunts for the last several weeks, but George refused to respond.

"We'll figure it out," Izzie taunted him on the way to rounds.

"As always," Meredith chimed in from the other side.

"There's nothing to find out," George insisted.

"Oh, so you've been sneaking around all on your own? That's doubtful," Izzie said with a laugh.

"Dr. Stevens, what are you finding so amusing this morning?"

Izzie cleared her throat and George stared hard at the ground. "Nothing, Dr. Montgomery, just asking Dr. O'Malley a personal question."

"Fascinating." Addison looked back and forth between the three of them, barely giving Meredith a cursory glance. George refused to let her catch his eye. "Dr. Stevens, if you will..."

Izzie followed after her, but looked back at George and mouthed, 'Later!'. George rolled his eyes and went to find Dr. Bailey.


"No one needs to tell me that I screwed up. I did. But it was just so hard…" Addison dropped her head down, but George knew he'd seen the glimmer of tears in her eyes. "I tried. I tried so hard, but it didn't matter. I never got him again. He was there in my arms, but his mind was always somewhere else, with her."

George thought about it, but decided to take the risk anyway. He settled his hand over Addison's and quietly said, "I think you should head home."

Addison waved her arm around distractedly at the bar they were in. "I am home. I live in a damn hotel now."

George faltered, but didn't move his hand from hers. "Let me take you up."

They were in the elevator when she spoke again. They both swayed slightly where they stood and George thought of calling a cab as soon as they got to her suite. Addison's voice was slightly muffled, but he heard her clearly. "It was the same before, you know. He wasn't there. It wasn't Meredith then, it was work. And Mark…he was so attentive…"

"You don't need to explain it to me," George said quickly. He was panicked even through the haze of liquor – Addison would tear him to pieces for each bit of vulnerability she was letting him see. Work would be hell.

"I wanted to feel wanted again, George," Addison said sadly. "It doesn't excuse it, but I needed…"

The elevator arrived at her floor with a ding.


"So who's this mystery girlfriend?"

George sighed exasperatedly. "Not you, too."

"Well, it's definitely not me," Addison said forcefully. She opened the door all the way so he could enter the suite. Her back to him, Addison added, "If that's where you think this is going-"

"I'm not responsible for Izzie or Meredith's assumptions," George cut in. He'd purposely waited a week before coming around again, but he was surprised when the doorbell chimed and revealed a waiter with two settings for dinner. "How'd you know I was coming?"

Addison gave him a quick glance and said, "I didn't."

He waited until the waiter was gone to say, "I haven't told them anything. They've just caught on that I'm gone on occasion and I won't say where. They're curious."

"They're harpies," Addison said snidely.

George frowned. "Hey, they're still friends of mine-"

"Well, your taste could improve."

"What is with you?" George burst out. "I just got here and you're already trying to pick a fight!"

"I'm…maybe I'm done with this," Addison replied just as loudly.

George jerked back. Frustration rose quickly, barely passing by a feeling that felt all too strange in association with Addison. Her face, however, was firm and George felt his heart sink a little. "Fine," he said faintly. "Whatever."

He turned to exit, but he felt her come close before he heard her. Addison's hand fell on his arm, stopping his departure. Automatically turning, George could hardly think as she kissed him. Confusion spread to every part of him but was soon replaced by the warmth of Addison's mouth and the feel of her arms around his neck. Even when she drew their lips apart, her body stayed near.

"I didn't mean that, George," she whispered and dropped her forehead to his shoulder.

George put his arms around her back, at first awkward until he found her familiar embrace. "Addison, what happened?"

She took a deep breath before answering, "I got a call from the lawyers this morning. It's official. It's over."

Shutting his eyes in a mixture of relief and disappointment, George rubbed idly at her back. "It's going to be okay. You're stronger than anyone I know – you'll get through this."

Addison shook her head against him. "It's not that."

"Then…what?"

"I should feel more, George. My marriage just ended - why don't I feel more?"


He helped her open the door and they both stumbled over each other to get inside.

Addison hadn't said anything since the elevator, but she wove her way to the bedroom and George trotted after her. He could at least tuck her into bed; he'd had plenty of practice doing it for Meredith, but could refrain from mentioning it here. When Addison tripped, he helped her straighten out and then sit on the mattress.

He got on his knees to undo her pointy boots and threw them to the side. When George looked up, she was staring at him so intensely, he felt her gaze go through him.

"How are you going to get through it?" She asked, pinning him with her eyes and the question.

"I should ask you," George replied. "You lost more than I did."

"I went out with a whimper, you lost the promise of something," she said.

"Seems like a crappy promise now that I think about it." George tried to sound light hearted, but a trace of his nervousness came through. He stood, but Addison reached for his hands.

She pulled him down and he tumbled face-first into her hair. Addison quickly pushed him aside and straddled his waist. Her hair tickled his cheeks as she leaned forward and he gasped slightly at the sensation.

"You're drunk," George said weakly.

"So are you," Addison replied.


No amount of shower fantasies replaced the real thing. Imagination couldn't replace the feel of slick skin or the stream of hot liquid. George couldn't think of anything better as he flicked Addison's hair over her shoulder and she swept his bangs from his forehead. They kissed and stroked and shuddered when the right spots were found. The tile was cold where they pressed against it, but the heat of skin against skin more than made up for it.

Later in bed, their hair still wet, Addison ran her hand along his side and said, "I was thinking…"

"Yeah?"

"I need a bigger shower."

George grinned, "I thought we worked it out pretty well, actually."

"No, I mean," Addison lifted up at her waist and leaned on her elbow, "this hotel life isn't really for me."

He played with her hair and answered, "Room service is nice." A thought struck him. "Why'd you order two dinners tonight?"

She wouldn't meet his eyes. "I ordered them every night."

Guilt striking quickly, George said, "I'm sorry."

Addison shrugged. "I'm thinking of giving it all up anyway."

"What, even me?" George asked jokingly.

"No," Addison shook her head and kissed him. "Never you."

"Good." He hugged her closer. "So what are you going to do?"

"I was thinking a house would be nice. Something without wheels, you know." Addison paused while he chuckled. "I could use a roommate. That is, if you don't mind getting a new one."

George stared at her.

"What do you think?"

"I think…I'll have a lot of explaining to do," George said slowly.

Addison shrugged. "Who cares?"

George considered it…for about two seconds. "Good point. Screw 'em all."

Addison laughed.


Inhibitions disappeared quickly and George even helped Addison take his shirt off. They followed with her top, but before they went further, he stopped and breathlessly said, "Just this once, right?"

"Of course, yeah," Addison said back. "What did you expect?


A/N: Thanks for reading! Reviews would be wonderful to read, too.