A/N: I haven't written anything here in quite a while, and I would like to apologize to all of you for that. I have, however, been writing a lot… just not fanfiction. Anyway, after the mid-season eight finale, I'm highly inspired. If you haven't seen it, and you don't want spoilers, don't read this, because it's probably going to be full of them. That said, I've always shipped Owen and Teddy together, but gave up on the idea when she married Henry. I adored Henry, which I'm sure anyone who has read my previous fiction knows, but… well… now that what's happened has happened, it appears as though Shonda has opened a door of friendship (or maybe more?) for my lost army couple. To fully understand where I'm going, I suppose you should read on. Enjoy! And… I would love to hear what you think!"Her husband just died in our OR; she'll never forgive any of us." As Owen Hunt stood in operating room three, skillfully avoiding the gaze of his long-time friend, Richard Webber's words rang repetitively through his subconscious. There was, of course, the part about him not being her friend at a time like this, but needing to be the Chief of Surgery. And the part about him not telling Teddy until the surgery was complete. But the bit of the conversation that stood out most prominently was the fact that the blonde standing before him would never forgive him for what he was doing. She wouldn't forgive any of them, of course, but she would hate him in a different sense – to a different degree. Despite the complications that their friendship had faced over the past year, he was her friend. He was supposed to be the one person she could trust to come to her with the truth. And here he was lying through his teeth.
He fakes a smile, releases a nervous laugh. Had Teddy not been in the middle of a surgery, she would have seen right through the act. Instead, she went on in that playful tone. "You're a coward. If you think you are off the hook, you are wrong. And this could ruin the next five, ten years of my life. You do understand that, right?" Owen nodded, the smile still plastered to his face behind his scrub mask. She continued to talk, but he couldn't hear her. His mind was on the all too vivid image of Henry Burton lying dead on Cristina's operating table. There was no way that the surgery could have gone differently. Another surgeon wouldn't have been able to save him. It wasn't Cristina's fault. Henry was a forty-two year old man who had lived through nearly ninety surgeries… and his time had simply come. It was unfortunate, just like any other death was, but it was heartbreaking, because he and Teddy had been so… blissful.
Teddy Altman was a surgeon. She, of all people, knew that even the simplest of procedures could end in fatality. She understood there was always a risk that, when a loved one was brought into an operating room, he or she may not ever come out. Owen knew that she knew this, but the fact that she was a surgeon didn't mean that she wasn't human. She wasn't prepared for her husband to die. When her last words had been I love you, she hadn't expected them to actually be her last.
She was still going on about medical school and something about her dead husband when her friend interrupted, "Look, I have to go… uhm… check on my other patient. I'll find you later, alright?" He couldn't stay in that room any longer, watching as she smiled and joked, completely unaware of the fact that the man she was in love with was dead. If Webber thought it was better not to tell her, then he simply couldn't be there. Owen waited for her nod of confirmation before turning to leave.
The trauma surgeon refrained from the action until he was in the locker room, at which point he tore off his scrub cap and let out a slew of curses. His running shoe met with a lower-level locker, denting it considerably when the force of his kick came. How the hell had this happened? Why was it that the world was so goddamn cruel to the best of the human race? Teddy Altman was a good person – she was the type of woman who tried to find something decent about even the worst of people, and who was willing to marry a complete stranger in order to save his life. She had always been an excellent friend to Owen, putting his needs before hers even when it meant tearing herself apart. She flashed that award winning smile at people whom she had never seen in her life, and she truly meant it. Yet it seemed as though some higher power hated her. The life that she led had only brought her heartache and sorrow time and time again. Even Owen himself had encouraged that pattern, and he wasn't about to pretend otherwise.
This, though? If it was even the slightest bit possible, the redhead would have taken Henry's place. Not because he was particularly attached to the man, but because his friend was. She would have been able to deal with Owen's death much better than what she would deal with this. Henry would have helped her deal with the situation had their roles been reversed, whereas the best thing that Owen could do was nod his understanding and offer a half-assed hug. In reality, neither of those things did any damn good.
"Dr. Hunt?" He recognized the voice before he saw Lexie Grey round the corner, concern written throughout her features. "Are you okay, Sir?" Why was she calling him Sir? Why was her question so hesitant and her voice so small? He watched her eyes widen at the sight of the damage he had done to the locker before him, and then drag her gaze to meet his own icy blue hues.
"No, Grey, I'm not alright." At first his words were soft as he tried to remain calm and detached, but the emotional strain within him was soon evident. "I'm not alright, because my friend's husband just died. He's dead, and she's in there operating on some woman that doesn't mean anything to any of us. She's talking about how her dead husband wants to go to medical school, and she's calling me a coward for not telling him it's a bad idea. But I can't tell him it's a bad idea; I can't tell him it's a good idea. Because he's dead. Teddy's husband is dead, and when I tell her that, after she waits another thirty minutes of being snowed over, she's going to be broken. She's going to be so completely broken, and the only person who could possibly fix her… is dead."
The young woman looks as though someone just hit her with a ton of bricks. What is she supposed to do with that? The man before her isn't even the one who's lost their spouse, and he's an emotional wreck. She can see that it wouldn't be a far cry to believe that the hospital would be completely disheveled in just a few minutes. It's not her job to try and keep things together, but she's sure as hell going to try. "I can tell her. I'm sure that would be easier," she offers.
It's not even something that Owen will even consider. As much as Teddy is going to hate him, she's going to need someone to break down on when she hears what they've all been keeping from her. He doesn't mind if she uses him as a shoulder to cry on and then slaps him across the face. He'd rather it be him that someone she wasn't comfortable doing both of those things to. "No. It's fine, Grey. Just make sure that nobody goes near the scrub room of OR three when that surgery is over."
The little brunette nodded her head, fearing what would be in store for both of her superiors. Owen watched as she made her exit, realizing for the first time that his hands were clammy. Checking his watch, he swallowed the lump in his throat. Twenty-five minutes until Teddy learned that her entire life had been shattered. Twenty-five minutes until everything that she knew fell apart with a single event. He left the locker room, making his way back to operating room three. Grabbing a chair from an empty patient's room on his way, he set it in front of the scrub room door and took a seat. If he went in again, she would suspect that something was up. He could only manage a convincing smile so many times before she discovered how much of an asshole he was.
Minutes ticked by but felt like hours. Some people passed with questioning glances, wondering why the man was sitting outside of a scrub room. Others passed knowing exactly why he was there. News spread quickly at Seattle Grace Mercy West, and Teddy would probably be the last person to know what was going on. They all expected that it would be him to tell her, because they all thought that they were the closest of friends, so they offered him looks of condolence. Clearly, they had missed out on some of the gossip. Sure, Teddy and Owen were close, but there had been a time when they were much closer. There had been a time when she thought that he would have given her a call, and he would have had he not been such a coward. Then he'd brought her here because he missed having a friend, and it was as though everything had gone to hell. Recently, though, with Henry being around, they had been laughing together. It was just like old times, except without the longing glances and everyone around them assuming that they were some sort of secret couple.
April Kepner was the first to come out, a confused look taking over her features when she noticed Owen sitting by the door. "Dr. Hunt… is everythi-"
He didn't give her the chance to finish, "Is Dr. Altman finished?"
The redhead nodded, "She's scrubbing out right now."
Hastily getting to his feet, Owen didn't offer any other sort of explanation before making his way through the door that April had come out of just seconds earlier. Six curious eyes flew up to see who had entered – four which belonged to nurses and two which belonged to the woman he had gone in for. Both nurses dried their hands and made their exit. Teddy's green eyes stayed glued to his. "Why are you here… again?" Now that she could see his full face, and she wasn't preoccupied with an open body, she could tell that something clearly wasn't right.
Three advancing steps forward and he had invaded her personal space, his hands falling on her upper arms. He had told dozens of people that their loved ones were dead, but never someone so close to him. Never had he had to tell the woman who had kept him fighting through a war that her husband was dead. "It wouldn't have mattered who was operating on him… there was nothing that could be done." His words were soft, his voice gentle, his eyes glossier than they should have been.
A single tear spilled over the rim of the blonde's eye as she tried to register what she was being told. "You told me that he was alive, Owen."
He nodded, sympathy and sorrow filling his eyes. "I know. I couldn't… you had a patient in the middle of a surgery, and there was no one tha-"
"You told me that he was fine and that his vitals were good!" Her last six words become progressively louder as she took a single step backward, disgust for the man before her becoming apparent. He had lied to her. He had led her to believe that her husband was alive and well and wanting to go to med school.
"I'm sorry, Teddy."
Hearing those words triggered the woman's knees to give out completely. As much as she wanted to hate him in that moment, she was grateful for Owen's swift movement of stepping forward and allowing her to fall to her knees gently. Not even a second had the chance to pass before he felt her warm tears against the bare skin of his neck, her shaking sobs muffled into his shoulder. One strong arm wrapped around her waist to keep her from melting further into the tiled floor, while his opposite hand found the back of her head and began a continuous stroking through her hair. The soft "Shh, shh, shh," that he offered did nothing to console her, as far as he could tell. Loud sobs turned into helpless whimpers, and her tears kept falling for more than twenty minutes. When the small room was completely silent, Owen went to pull away, but Teddy's grasp on his shirt kept him in place. If she needed him to, he would sit there with her all night long.
It was ten thirty when Dr. Bailey gave a light knock on the door and pushed through before either of the room's occupants gave confirmation that she could enter. "Hunt, this OR is needed for surgery. Do you think you could take this elsewhere?" He knew that she wasn't being rude or insensitive. No, she was doing her job, and she was being Miranda Bailey. Owen gave a curt nod and watched the short mother-like figure walk away before bringing the arm around Teddy's waist up to her back, and hooking his second arm in the back of her knees. He felt her arms tighten around his neck as he moved to his feet and out into the hospital hallway.
Owen didn't stop to talk to anyone, nor did he take his attention off of his immediate path as he made his way to the front doors of the hospital and straight out to his car. Unlocking the vehicle, he gently set his friend down on her feet. When he was sure that she wasn't about to crumple into a ball, he removed one hand from her body and opened the passenger door, helping her to get in. In all of the years that he had known Teddy Altman, he had never seen her so withdrawn. Her moist eyes stayed transfixed on the dash of his car as he reached across her and buckled in her seatbelt. After ensuring that she was safely out of the way, he closed the door and made his way over to the driver's side. The drive to his and Cristina's house was completely silent.
When they reached the old firehouse, Owen took the liberty of carrying the blonde from his car and through the front door. Up the stairs and into his own bedroom, where he placed her beneath the comforter and removed her shoes, tossing them onto the floor. She was fast asleep before he even turned out the lamp next to the bed. He placed a kiss to her forehead and did the only thing that he could do – left her to whatever nightmares the night would bring.
A/N: So, reviews would be adored. If you have any suggestions/ideas, I would love to hear them.