Disclaimer: I don't own it, sorry.
A/N: I hope I didn't butcher this. This is my first time writing Grey's Anatomy fanfiction, so I hope that I got the character down well enough, and that I didn't make this too melodramatic or anything. I tried to incorporate two ideas into one story, so I hope that worked out well, too. Feedback is greatly appreciated, whether it's positive or negative.
There is something in the way Arizona smiles that makes Callie smile. There is something in the way her eyes sparkle that makes Callie just want to touch her. There's something in the way her cheeks dimple that makes Callie feel like Jell-o. There's something in the way she grips onto Callie's hand that makes the brunette feel like this could last forever.
Then Arizona will let go and Callie will chide herself for being so naive. She knows better than to believe in forevers and happily-ever-afters. She shouldn't try to fool herself with the idea; no matter how hard she tries to convince herself, she knows she wouldn't be able to believe it. There are no forevers and happily-ever-afters for her because life just gets in the way.
Or is she the one that gets in the way? Callie takes a sip of her bourbon and realizes she's not sure anymore. Before George she could just blame all the problems on her life on some sort of higher power, on it all being God's plan for her. She could tell herself that things would get better, because she had been raised Catholic and that's what they believed. Good things come to those who wait, miracles come to those who believe. Everything happens for a reason; everything is carefully planned out by 'the man upstairs'.
Everything happens for a reason. She takes herself back to those thoughts, running her tongue along her teeth as something becomes apparent to her. George cheated on her for a reason. It couldn't have been an accident and it couldn't have 'just happened', especially if it happened more than once. There was a reason he did it, something about her that pushed him to that. She had done something wrong. There was something about her that drove him away, something that drove him straight into the arms of Izzie Stevens.
She stares into the empty glass as she waits for Joe to come over and refill it. She barely registers the group of doctors walking in through the doors, barely recognizes the soft voices of her friends. The rain pours outside, the noise reverberating on the rooftop and filling the semi-empty bar with noise, and providing her with a distraction from the group of people she really doesn't want to talk to right now. She gives herself a slightly twisted smile. In this moment, Callie feels like the city of Seattle; her whole life has been a storm, rain and lightning and thunder and wind just destroying everything and blowing the pieces around, so she couldn't catch them. But unlike Seattle, Callie didn't have quite so many breaks of sunshine. Nor were the storms quite so obvious.
George hadn't been the beginning of her storms and he certainly wasn't the last. She isn't entirely sure when exactly her life started to become a storm; at times she thinks it started at birth, though other times she decides that it wasn't until she really started to understand how things work. High school, maybe, or college.
Erica only reinforced the idea. Yet again, it had been her own flaws that had ruined her life, and yet again, she felt the storms of her life all around her. It was all about what she did and didn't do, what she said and didn't say, who she agreed with and who she didn't agree with. It was all about her slight hesitation, her confusion, her fear, her gut reaction of pulling away. It had all caused that part of the storm to swell, and it had all been her fault. Callie wasn't about to start spreading around the blame in a last sorry effort to make herself feel better.
Then she came out to her parents. She ended up with no money and a family that refused to talk to her, all because of who she was, because of parts of her they couldn't quite accept - parts of her they thought were flawed. They ended up accepting her for who she is, they ended up letting her back into their lives, but despite the smiles and hugs Callie knows it's not all what they try to make it seem like it is. They try, she knows, and she's grateful for that, but she also knows that they'll never look at her the same way as they used to. Trying will never be good enough. She will never be good enough, not like this.
That left Arizona. (She doesn't quite count Mark - he had helped contribute to the storm at one point, yes, but he ended up being one of the few good constants in her life.)
Callie would do anything for the blond, and she knows it. She's just not too sure how long Arizona will feel the same way about her, and that scares her. She doesn't want to doubt their relationship and their happiness like this, but she does, and all because she's been in love before. It's never felt quite like this, quite so real, but all that does is scare her even more. Because she knows that once this is over it's just going to hurt even more than all those other times before. She's been in love before. She knows the looks that Arizona gives her and the smiles and the kisses, she knows them because she's been given them before and she's been the one giving them before.
She knows them because everything always starts out perfectly. She knows them because they're what she remembers when everything ends up the complete opposite of the way they started. They are what she holds onto, the small memories she likes to cherish, the small moments she uses to convince herself that nothing ever went wrong, that it's just a dream and one day she'll wake up and nothing will be wrong and she'll finally live happily-ever-after and --
No. Callie's not quite that naive. She knows that it's just a matter of time before something happens. Maybe it will be some sort of quirk or habit that drives Arizona crazy. Maybe it will be some sort of mistake that she makes, that Arizona can't forgive. Maybe it will just be a flaw. Just a simple, clean-cut flaw in her that Arizona notices and then, then everything will escalate until there isn't any more 'them' for Callie to worry about. But no matter how it starts she knows how it will happen. It will be gradual - it usually is - and she will notice it, even if just in some little corner of her mind that she pays no attention to until she can look back in hindsight, but even with that it will hit her like a slap in the face, as if she never saw it coming.
Callie can feel herself falling more and more in love with Arizona. She can feel herself getting closer and closer to the blond. She keeps opening up more and more. She tries to close herself and pull away like she usually does when these fears start to pop into her head, but every time she tries the look in Arizona's blue eyes pulls her in and she can't get away. She can't make herself push away.
There's always a price to pay, though, and she knows it. She knows she'll have to pay for these moments of happiness. She knows she'll have to give up something bigger eventually. Every time before it's been the cause of said happiness, and so that's what she's bracing herself for this time.
A sigh escapes Callie's lips as she swishes the amber liquid in her glass. She remembers the doctors that had walked in just a few minutes before; they hadn't even seemed to notice her. Or maybe they had, and just decided to give her some space. She glances back at them - it's exactly who she had thought it would be, give or take a few. Meredith, Cristina, Derek, Owen, Mark, Lexie, and Arizona are all sitting around the table, drinks in each of their hands, though only a couple actually seemed to be drinking them.
She turns back to the bar and downs her own drink. Joe fills it back up for her as if on cue and she gives him a smile in thanks. Callie glances back at the table as they all explode into laughter. A small pang hits her chest. She writes it off as the alcohol, but she knows it's really because she's jealous. She shouldn't be, but she is, because their lives don't work like her's. They don't have to deal with the storm. And if they do, they sure do a whole hell of a lot better of a job at hiding it and dealing with it than she does.
Callie slides off the wooden stool tentatively and makes her way over to their table, her glass of liquor held tightly in her hand. They all greet her with smiles and a few enthusiastic "Hey!"s, and so she takes the empty seat next to Arizona. As she takes a sip of her drink she feels Arizona's hand clasp around her own, and Callie can't help but smile at the touch.
She knows she should be running and hiding. She should be preparing herself for what's to come, for the onslaught of pain she's due for. But the hand holding onto her's won't let her. The hand absentmindedly rubbing her's makes her forget about what's to come, if only for a little while.
It makes her decide to let herself be happy, because if past experiences are any sort of example it isn't going to last forever, and she's going to need some sort of memory of happiness to hold onto when that time comes.
Callie nods as a question is directed at her and forces a smile onto her lips.
She's in the eye of her storm. It's peaceful and warm and almost like there isn't a storm at all, but she knows there is, she knows that somewhere in the distance the storm is making its way towards her - slow or fast, she doesn't know, she doesn't know how hard it is or how hard it will be for her to get back up once it hits. She just knows it's there, even though she wants to convince herself it's not.
So she's decided she is going to let herself be happy, she's going to let herself bask in the warmth and the peace that the eye brings. Because when she reaches the end of this and the storm hits her full-force, she doesn't know how long it will be before she gets to be happy again - if ever.
She's in the eye of her storm, and she doesn't want to waste it.