That morning Callie woke before the sun. Arizona's head was tucked under her chin, her breath tickling the brunette's collarbone. It was like a dream. Callie would be convinced it was if not for the way the blonde's body burned every inch of hers as they lay tangled together. She heard a faint beeping from the living room and groaned when she realized it must be her pager. Leave it, she told herself. They'll get along fine without you. The surgeon made it another five minutes before she gently detangled herself from Arizona to turn off the offending device.
She padded into the kitchen where her pager lay silent on the counter. The beeping blared again and she moved to find the source of the noise. The beeping turned into a ringing as she moved to fish the phone out of Arizona's coat, which still lay draped over the couch.
"Hello," she answered sleepily. Who would be calling Arizona?
Callie's spine stiffened at the voice and was instantly alert. "Yes, Colonel, it's me. What's wrong?"
"You tell me. Arizona left us a vague message last night saying she was staying in Seattle. What's going on? Is she with you?"
Callie blushed and snuck a glance into the bedroom where Arizona lay sprawled across the bed, blue sheet failing to conceal her bare body.
"Yeah . . . I mean, yes, Sir. She came over last night after recalling some memories."
"Arizona got her memories back? Put her on the phone please, I'd like to speak with her."
Callie glanced at the clock. It was barely 6:00 AM, but she knew the Colonel did not care about the early hour. She debated waking Arizona up, but guessed a surprise attack from her father so early would not please the blonde.
"Daniel, give the poor girl a break," Barbara said, saving Callie from denying the Colonel. She figured Arizona's mom had been listening on the line the whole time, like she did when Callie called to give them status updates on their daughter. "Callie, dear, don't worry about waking Arizona up, but please have her call us after you two are done . . . getting reacquainted."
Callie blushed again, but assured the Robbins' she'd have their daughter call as soon as she woke up. She set the phone next to her pager on the counter and made her way back into the bedroom. Arizona had somehow managed to sprawl across the mattress, her tiny body taking up the entire space. The brunette smiled as she climbed back in, gently pushing Arizona to the side to make room. Arizona sighed as she molded back into Callie's body.
"It's too early. Why are you up?" she mumbled.
"Your parents called."
Callie chuckled as Arizona's head snapped up, her eyes wide in surprise. "Come on, Arizona. You had to know your father would call after that cryptic message you left him."
"What'd he say?"
"Well he wanted me to wake you up, but your mom saved me. You need to call them when we're up."
Arizona sighed in relief and smiled at the brunette. "I will, but right now I need more cuddle time." Callie smiled and held the blonde tighter as they drifted back to sleep.
/ / /
Callie's pager did go off a few hours later. She had just started breakfast when the beeping startled her. Arizona looked over from her spot on the couch, giving her a knowing nod before going back to her conversation with her parents.
She turned off the stove and headed to the bedroom to get changed. Arizona followed her in a few minutes later.
"How are your parents?"
"They're good. My dad grilled me about everything I remember, but it was nice talking to them. You have to go in?"
"Yeah," Callie nodded apologetically. "One of my patients is having complications. It shouldn't take too long."
"I'll go with you. I should see Shepherd anyway."
"Lunch after if I don't have to go into surgery?"
"Of course," Arizona said walking over to put her arms around Callie. They stayed there silently for a moment, foreheads pressed together, breathing each other in. "I know we have a lot to talk about and work through, but I'm really glad I'm here with you."
"I'm glad too," she said before placing a soft kiss on Arizona's lips. "We better go or else we'll never leave this room."
They dressed quickly and headed to the hospital hand in hand. Callie left to her patient's room and Arizona went off in search of Shepherd. It felt good to be back in the hospital, not as a patient because God knows she was over that, but this place was her second home and she missed the familiar faces she saw in the hallway. She caught the strange glances people gave her as she made her way to the surgical floor. By now they all knew that she should have been in Boston and in a few hours she guessed the hospital would be abuzz gossiping about why she was still in Seattle. Callie, she imagined they'd say, she stayed for Callie. They'd be right of course. Arizona promised herself on that cab ride the night before that she would never leave without Callie again. If she had to go somewhere, she was dragging the brunette with her. Though Arizona imagined Callie wouldn't put up much of a fight. Sometime last night between the crying and the kissing they had made an unspoken promise never to leave each other again.
She made it to the board and wasn't surprised that Shepherd was in surgery. He'd be done in a couple of hours so she figured she'd go watch Karev's surgery from the gallery. He was assisting Stark, who she figured must be her replacement. On the way she passed a frantic intern, James she thinks his name is, who gave her a puzzled look but kept running down the hallway. Damn, even interns she barely knew knew her drama.
The gallery was empty, which she was thankful for. Arizona needed time to sort through the past twenty four hours and her muddled memories. Her flashes came in spurts, a smell, sight, or word would trigger something. Sometimes her memories didn't even come in flashes, they were just there, recalled automatically like they should be. The one thing she still had no memories of was the accident. How did they find a plane ticket on her? And what was her ID doing in the cab that blew up? Who was the real Sarah?
There had been a woman at a coffee shop. At least she thinks there had been a coffee shop. She had been in a hurry . . . and Arizona offered her the cab? She had a faint picture in her brain of the woman, but that was it. After everything else was figured out, Arizona would work on that memory and try to find out what happened. For now, she was content to watch Karev in action. Well, Stark in action. Alex was a capable resident, but Stark was treating him like an intern. Five minutes of watching Stark yell at Karev for making a call he didn't agree with and Arizona couldn't take it anymore.
"Karev's right you know," she said pressing down the intercom button.
All eyes were on her in a second.
"Excuse me?"A wave of disdain for her replacement surged through her. She hated Stark's attitude.
"Karev and I performed a similar surgery last year using the Intersect Method. It drastically cuts down rejection rates and recovery time."
"Who are you to tell me what to do in my OR?"
"That's Dr. Robbins," Karev said, smiling through his scrub cap. She returned the smile and gave him a slight nod.
"Ah," Stark said, eyes returning to the patient in front of him. "You are the amnesiac doctor. Last I checked you weren't fit to practice medicine. Now leave the gallery before I have security escort you out."
Alex and Arizona both glared at him. She caved to his threat though, knowing she had no right to be offering medical advice. Before taking her finger off the intercom she heard Alex call Stark an ass and she offered the resident one last small smile.
/ / /
"I heard you made quite the commotion in Stark's surgery today."
"Yeah, not my best moment." She watched as Derek stifled a yawn across from her. They'd been talking for the past half hour about her memories and the path that led "Sarah" back to Seattle Grace. "I'm sorry to bother you after your surgery; I know you must be exhausted."
"It's no problem at all. I'm just glad that you're getting better, not that I can take much credit for it. I think your brain needed that emotional trigger that unlocked everything. Still, I'd like to run a few scans just to see where we're at. Unfortunately, the hospital is going to make you go through a lot of rigorous testing before you can get your license back."
"Oh, I know I'm nowhere near able to practice medicine," Arizona said with a wave of her hand. "My lecture to Stark, notwithstanding."
Derek chuckled. She guessed he wasn't a big fan on her replacement either. "I'll get out of your hair and let you get back to work."
"I'll have Meredith schedule some scans," he said standing and following her to the door.
"Thank you, Derek, for everything. I know it must have been hard keeping this a secret and dealing with the wrath I know Callie and Teddy rained down on you. You were looking out for my best interest and I really appreciate that. Without you I'd still be stuck in Canada."
"You're welcome, Arizona. I'm really glad everything worked out."
Arizona reached over to give him a hug then made her way to meet Callie. It'd only been a couple of hours, but she missed the brunette desperately.
"Hey," Callie said hurrying to catch up with her.
"Hey, I was just on my way to meet you."
Callie gave her a quick kiss and a smile when she reached her and led them to the nurses' station to drop off her chart. "Good news, my patient didn't need surgery so we have the rest of the day to ourselves."
"Awesome. Let's grab some takeout. I'm starving."
"I'm sure you are after the beat down you gave Stark."
"Not you too," Arizona sighed. "The chief is never going to hire me back after that."
Callie raised an eyebrow and gave her a skeptical look. "I know what you're thinking, Callie. And no, I'm not actually thinking about going back to work anytime soon."
"What are you planning on doing?"
It was a simple question, but Arizona knew it was so much more. Callie was asking if she was staying, if she was planning on running again, if they were going to be together. "You really want to do this here?"
The brunette shrugged. "Not if you don't want to."
Arizona could see the crumbling façade in front of her and knew delaying the conversation any longer could lead to disaster. She grabbed Callie's arm and lead her to the nearest on-call room, locking the door behind them.
"We really don't have to do this now, Arizona."
"I think we do," the blonde replied sitting Callie down on the bed. She paced in front of her looking for the right words. Normally she was so good at speeches, but right now they had so much to sort through that she couldn't find her words.
"Look, I . . . we should probably . . . I just want you to know-"
Callie reached out a hand to stop Arizona and gently pulled her down to sit next to her. "You're babbling and the pacing is making me dizzy."
Arizona smiled softly and paused to collect her thoughts. "I know we have a lot to talk about. Africa, the accident, what the hell we're going to do now, but I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you that I love you. I love you so much, Calliope. And I know I hurt you by leaving and that you don't understand why I did it. I don't even fully understand why I did it, but in that moment I knew Africa was not what you wanted. You would have hated it and we would have grown to resent and hate each other. There would have been no coming back from that. And I know that's ridiculous, me thinking that we could come back from me leaving you in an airport, but I panicked and I bailed and I have no words to adequately express how sorry I am for hurting you."
Callie looked away from her trying to mask her hurt and Arizona took a minute to compose herself. With a shaky breath she continued, "I was coming back for you, to be with you. The work I was doing was great and I was helping so many kids, but I was miserable. The kind of miserable that just leaves you hollow and I knew the only way to fill that void was to come back here and beg for your forgiveness. So that's what I planned to do. Then the accident happened and my God, Callie, I can't even imagine how horrible that was for you. I know there's not much I can do to fix the damage that's been done, but I need you to know that there is nothing I want more than to be with you. I love you."
She met Callie's watery eyes and could not stop the tears that fell from her own. The silence grew louder as her hands fidgeted in her lap. She desperately wanted to reach out to find comfort in the brunette's embrace, but chose instead to give the other woman space. Callie must have read her thoughts because she reached out to grab Arizona's hand.
"You were dead, Arizona," Callie said softly. "For months you were gone, then you were dead and I was so mad at you. I was mad that you left. I was even mad that you were going to come back because I thought it got you killed. But then I saw you again in that hospital room and had no more hate. In that moment I realized that I never really hated you. I just . . . you just really hurt me Arizona, but it didn't matter anymore because you were alive. Even though you didn't have your memories, you were breathing and laughing and close enough for me to touch. So believe me when I say that I love you too and all I want, all I've ever wanted is for us to be together."
Callie kissed her then, softly. She had forgiven Arizona long before today. All she wanted now was to focus on their future. She knew what it was like to live without the blonde and it was horrible. The feeling she had now was indescribable. The vows and the kids and the white picket fence were no longer just a dream of what could have been, but what will be.
She pulled Arizona closer and smiled into the kiss.
A/N: That's it! We've reached the end. I know I said there would be a few more chapters, but this seemed like a more natural ending than what I had originally planned. In the future I might do some kind of sequel, but for now this is it. I also want to apologize for the long delay in getting this chapter out. I've been without a computer for awhile and life got a bit hectic.
I really want to thank all of you who read and reviewed this story. I'm really glad you enjoyed it!