Disclaimer: I don't own Grey's Anatomy. Or Callie or Arizona. They are far too fabulous for my little mind to create.
Author's Note: This is by no means my first fanfic, but it is my first Grey's fic---please, do enjoy.
Summary: Callie wants to understand. She wants to try. But she just can't because she wants Arizona to understand so much more. Callie/Arizona, spoilers: 6x17 "Push".
The Sounds of Silence-
There come points in every relationship when words, emotions; when conversations and feelings are left unspoken.
Anger goes ignored because you want to spend the night happy. Sadness goes unvoiced because you want to believe that you are happy. Fear is hidden because you try to be brave.
Conversations of the future are left unsaid because you hold on to hope that it will be the perfect image it was in your mind.
Unspoken and unheard because it all makes the present all the more bearable.
They hadn't spoken of it. Not since that night when the smell of Chinese food wafted through the air. Not since adrenaline had coursed through her when she realized she had finally, finally, accomplished what she had been hoping for. Not since that adrenaline had made her utter those words; those words that had pierced the air. Words that had been welcomed, words that had been denied.
Not since her gut had wrenched and she had felt pain at that denial. Not since Mark had interrupted their conversation with his talks of taking Teddy out. Not since they celebrated her and his achievements at Joe's.
They had gone back to normal. Pretending it didn't happen, though at night the words would seep through to her, as dreams of the future she hoped for danced like the sugar plum fairies. Days were hectic, nights were spent trying to relax. And fear had kept her from asking again.
But now, sitting before Brittany Wilson, Dr. Calliope Torres felt the words pressing at the tip of her tongue and she knew, if things continued as they were, she would no longer be able to hold them back.
The poor girl had Brittle Bone Disease Callie had quickly learned when the seven-year-old explained the situation with a roll of the eyes. She had been a patient of Arizona's since she'd been born and frequented the ER often.
"I'm not going to let some stupid disease keep me from beating Joey to the top of the tree," She had proclaimed as Callie had first examined her.
But the broken leg today had been the worst yet and so Callie had been called upon by her girlfriend in the hopes that surgery could be avoided. And being the doctor that she was, Callie had been able to do such that.
"I got my ears pierced when I was five," Arizona's voice broke through Callie's thoughts. It was a simple statement, a response to the girl's inquisition but then Brittany laughed and Callie wondered what it was that her girlfriend had done to garner such a reaction.
She felt a smile tug at her lips. "Not feeling too much pain, are you Brittany?" Callie asked as she paused, before she began the task of wrapping Brittany's leg
Brittany sighed, exasperated, and shook her head. "Nope."
Arizona snorted, "None at all?" She asked, raising her brow at the girl.
Brittany nodded her head.
"Huh," Arizona said, making a show of looking at the leg Callie sat before. "Well that's a bummer then."
"It is?" Callie felt herself asking with Brittany, her brow rising slightly.
"Oh yes," Arizona said. "You see, I had this lollipop that I was going to give you, but now I can't." From the depths of her coat pocket the blonde produced a lollipop that pediatricians were famous for handing out.
"Why not?" Brittany asked as she eyed the sucker, her eyes dimming slightly as she looked at the treat just out of her reach.
"Well," Arizona began, drawing out the word like a song. "I'm only allowed to give lollipops to kids who are in pain to help take the pain away. I can't go giving lollipops away, willy-nilly to girls who aren't in any pain, can I, Dr. Torres?"
Callie's eyes shot to Arizona and she couldn't help but smile at the sight of the blue orbs dancing before her.
Callie took in an exaggerated deep breath and let it out as she looked back to Brittany, "No, not willy-nilly. That just wouldn't be fair," she said shaking her head.
"Right," Arizona finished with a nod of her head. "Just wouldn't be fair."
Brittany bit her lower lip, looking at the lollipop in Arizona's hand to Callie and then back again. Decision etched itself into the faint creases in her young skin and Callie found herself amazed.
Yes, the words pushed their way to the forefront of her mind. Why? She simply could not understand. If there was anyone in this world who was fit to be a mother, it was Arizona Robbins. They way she was with children; it was magic. Being a mother, Callie was certain, was what Arizona was meant to do. Hell, she was already a second mother to all of her patients who called the hospital home. And yet, she didn't want her own. She was fine with being mother number two.
Arizona Robbins didn't want children, because—yikes—that was apparently the worst thing that could happen to the woman.
And Callie could not wrap her head around it one bit.
"Dr. Torres," Brittany said, finally looking back to Callie down the tip of her short nose. "I lied. It does kinda hurt."
Callie smiled and nodded, pushing the slightest bit more pain medication into the girl's IV. "Ready for me to start?"
Brittany wasn't paying attention; instead she gleefully took the lollipop Arizona gave to her and threw off the wrapper, quickly shoving the treat into her mouth.
"I think that's a yes," Arizona quipped as she eyed the girl with an amused, triumphant grin.
Callie had once heard Arizona explain that children believed in magic. But, she wondered, if the blonde realized that to all of the magic believing children Dr. Robbins was the goodliest of witches.
Callie set to work, more confused than she had been when the day began. Because it just didn't make sense.
Brittany made a loud sucking noise as she pulled the lollipop from her mouth.
Arizona made a face.
Callie tediously worked.
From the corner of the room, Brittany's mother laughed.
Callie and Arizona watched as a nurse wheeled Brittany in a wheelchair out to her mother and their waiting car.
Just before she disappeared into the dark vehicle the little girl turned towards the hospital doors and waved. The two doctors waved back; matching smiles covering their faces.
"Want to grab some lunch?" Arizona asked when the car disappeared from sight.
"Always," Callie replied cheekily as the two began their trek towards the cafeteria.
They walked in a comfortable silence at first; a few steps to clear their thoughts from work to a lunch shared between partners. But still the words nagged at Callie. Pushing and pulling; begging to be spoken. And she knew, after the display she had just witnessed, she would no longer be able to ignore them.
"Can I ask you something?" Callie asked, before she lost her nerve.
"Always," Arizona replied cheekily, brushing the back of her fingers against her counter parts; a professional public display of affection.
"Why?" It was all Callie said, but it was all that needed to be said. A simple question.
There was silence and then Arizona stopped walking, turning to her girlfriend with a bemused smile. "I'm going to need a little more than that, Calliope."
Callie felt her cheeks flush with embarrassment, quickly realizing that Arizona had not been privy to the conversation she had been having with herself all day.
"Right," she said, blowing out a breath and Arizona chuckled.
"So?" The blonde encouraged as they began to walk again, bumping their shoulders together.
"Why don't you want children?"
Arizona's step faltered slightly, slipping on wheeled shoes before she composed herself. She looked sideways at Callie and then looked ahead again. "I thought we already had this conversation."
"Not really," Callie said slowly, unsure of what to make of her girlfriend's response.
"Nope, pretty sure we did."
"Arizona," Callie said, grabbing the blonde's elbow to make her stop and look at her. "Why?"
"I already told you."
Callie shook her head, "You rambled off some story about a boy and his mom. You didn't tell me why you didn't want children."
Arizona let out a long sigh, looking around at the passing nurses and doctors around them. "Can we not have this conversation now?" She asked, as she began to walk away.
But this time Callie didn't follow. "Arizona."
"What?" Arizona hissed, turning quickly as Callie was taken aback by the venom that was suddenly shaping her usually cheerful words.
"Why can't you give me a reason?"
"Because we're at work."
"No," Callie said, trying to avoid some of the stares they were beginning to get. "That's not your reason. That's an excuse. Why?"
Arizona shrunk slightly, her shoulders hunching, as an anger began to fill her eyes and Callie realized that the more she pushed this subject the more she began to push her luck. "Why do you care?"
The words were out of Arizona's mouth faster than either realized and Callie felt like she had been kicked in the gut. And in an instant, Callie felt her own anger building. "Because," she said, grabbing Arizona and pulling her off to the side; another attempt to stray from prying eyes. "I happen to think that you would make the most amazing mother. And I want to see that. I want to be a mother with you. I want to raise children with you. And I can't even begin to imagine why you don't want that."
Arizona was shaking her head and the more Callie spoke the more she shook, harder and faster; like a child ridding herself of a nightmare. Is that what the idea of having children was to Arizona---a nightmare?
"Callie, not here."
"Then when? Tonight?"
Arizona looked away. The answer was clear: how about never?
"Arizona, please," Callie continued speaking, watching in horror as tears began to bud in crystal blue eyes. But she couldn't stop. Not now. She had to know. "Just explain why. Because I don't—I don't get it."
Before Arizona could respond a loud beeping sounded and they both looked to their hips; Callie sighed in relief and frustration when it wasn't hers. Arizona pulled her pager from her hip, looking close, trying to decipher where she needed. "I have to go," she whispered, her eyes avoiding Callie's.
And then she was off, going to do what it was she did best, without a backwards glance in Callie's direction.
Dr. Calliope Torres had never scrubbed her fingers so fast in her life.
A boy. A two-year-old boy. Mauled. By the new family dog.
Just the words, the mere words, made Callie sick. And she hadn't even seen him yet. But Arizona had paged for her. Because bones had been broken and they needed to be fixed. And that was what she did. So she would do it. No matter the circumstance.
A part of her wanted to laugh (not for the poor boy, of course) but because it was rare occasions that she and her girlfriend got to work together. And yet, today they would be doing so twice. Usually the thought would have made them both happy—a chance for them to be great together. But at this moment in time, Callie was certain she was the last person Arizona wanted to see.
She pulled her hands back and the water shut off. Holding her hands before her and taking a deep breath, Callie entered the OR.
"Where the hell is Dr. Torres?" Arizona barking orders was the first sound that reached Callie's ears. Despite herself, the Latina found herself amazed at the way Arizona could command an operating room.
"I'm here," she breathed through her mask as the nurses helped her with final preparations. As she walked over to the table, she took in the room; attempting to assess what had happened; what needed to be done.
Owen was there, standing across from Arizona as they worked on the boy's chest. Mark sat at the boy's head because---oh god, was that an ear? Callie felt bile rise in her throat as she looked away, doing her best to convince herself that she was not about to work on a child. A boy who would barely come mid-thigh on her.
Lexie and Karev were the present residents; their eyes carrying the sadness that she was certain was present in her own.
"His legs," Arizona instructed, not taking her eyes from the work she was doing.
Callie nodded and moved to the foot of the table. "Dr. Grey, if you could give me a hand."
Lexie looked to Arizona; a check to make sure the PEDS surgeon didn't need her.
"I've got it," Karev said, motioning with his head to work with Callie and Lexie quickly complied.
Callie took in a deep breath and took in the sight of the boy's mangled legs. No—not mangled. Because mangled didn't do his pain justice. No words in Callie's vocabulary could even begin to describe what she was seeing.
She felt the bile rise again.
"Awful, isn't it?" Lexie whispered, her voice wavering.
Callie nodded and set to work.
They all worked quickly and quietly. The only words were of work. There was no banter. Not talk of what was going on outside the walls of the OR. It was quiet. And Callie was certain that she had never been in a room that was still and busy at the same time.
Calliope Torres prided herself on being a focused worker. When she was in the OR she was devoted to her patient. The person who was willingly putting themselves in her care and hands. She was focused and she did what she could to make sure that the patient was in the best care possible.
But today, for this boy; this tiny—tiny boy, Callie was certain she had never been more focused on a patient in her life. Because she had to succeed. She had to succeed for this boy. To make sure that he could walk. So he could run. So he could grow to play soccer, or baseball, or whatever sport it was that his dad loved. So he could go on to be a doctor—so he could save lives.
She had to succeed. She had to.
And then it started.
The beeping. The awful beeping that a surgeon dreaded. The beeping that would wake Callie in the middle of the night, certain her pager was going off, only to find it had been a dream. A dream of blood and death.
The beeping that haunted even the most reserved of surgeons.
"BP's dropping," Lexie let the room know.
"Get me a crash cart," Arizona all but yelled.
And then they all moved, hands working the same area at the same time. Trying to stop his bleeding; trying to cover what was open.
Trying, attempting, to ready this small child for a shock he wouldn't even feel.
Dr. Calliope Torres stood at the edge of the waiting room, her scrub cap crushed between her hands.
She watched as Arizona walked across the room; to waiting parents. The couple immediately stood when they caught sight of the surgeon and she motioned for them to all sit.
Callie couldn't hear the words that Arizona spoke. But she knew what was being said. She knew the tone. The way the words would sound. She knew it all. Because she had said it all before. She had delivered the news Arizona was now delivering.
And it still never got easier.
Callie watched as Arizona slowly lowered her head and the boy's mother doubled over into her husband's lap as sobs shook her form.
Callie lowered her gaze as her girlfriend had; it was part respect—let those grieving grieve in private---and it was part that she simply couldn't bear to look.
She couldn't watch as a mother and father were told that their child hadn't made it. How he had coded on the table and they hadn't been successful in reviving him. How they had tried; tried so hard. How they had tried and yet still failed.
She could not look as a mother and father were told that the small child they had hardly known, yet known better than anyone else, would not be going home with them.
The bile rose again.
Suddenly there was movement next to her and Callie looked up.
Arizona was next to her again, gazing up at her with a hard, frozen stare. Empty tears brimming her eyes.
"Do you get it now?"
The words washed over Callie like a cold shower as Arizona walked away. Ringing through her ears, rooting her to the spot, as her eyes traveled back to the parents whose world had just been shattered.
And, Callie knew, from the knotting of her stomach that yes---she was beginning to understand.