Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from Grey's Anatomy. I just manipulate them to my will. Also, any line or phrase or setting that seems remotely familiar from any other show, movie or book, also not mine. I borrow…
AN: Ok so this started out as a prompt for 'Hot and steamy with angst' but as I went… I couldn't get it to the 'hot and steamy' part. Any way I tried it, it felt forced. I just set the whole situation up wrong. So I'll try again, but in the mean time I have a whole fic written so I figured I'd post it anyways. Love it or hate it, up to you. Enjoy.
AN2: And I know I post this in my other one-shot collection but I wanted to make it it's own story so I deleted it from the other one.
Set in the future from the crash by about 7 to 8 months. However long it is between when the crash supposedly happened and Valentine's Day.
Valentine's day. A day where love is in the air. Men of all ages rush about trying to buy up the last decent bouquet of flowers, try to find the last card or box of chocolates. Restaurants are booked up months early just for this one night. Jewelry stores smile at the last ditch efforts of loved one's trying to buy the affection of the women in their lives. It's a holiday. One created by Hallmark and candy companies, but a holiday none the less. A day devoted to showing those closest in your life how much they mean to you. And it's Callie Torres's favorite holiday. …Or, it was.
Now she stands outside of her apartment door, trying to get up the courage to walk in. It's been months since that fatal crash. Eight months? That sounds about right. It seems like just yesterday that Owen called her and told her that her wife and best friend never landed in Boise. But the journey since has felt like an eternity. Is it possible for time to stand still and speed up all at the same time? It seems like a lot of impossible things are becoming possible. It was impossible that a plane full of doctors who save people daily would get struck down and land somewhere in the Great North West wilderness. It was impossible that Callie ever thought she'd lose her wife, but it seems to be creeping up on her.
The lock of the apartment across from hers clicks open, and Callie turns to see her new neighbor, a young dermatology resident from the hospital, walk out the door. It's still hard for Callie to think of that apartment as anyone else's besides Mark, but it's not his anymore. None of his things are there, his scent has been washed cleaned, and his image is already starting to fade from the Latina's mind.
The two neighbors share a weak smile before Callie slips the key into her door and enters her apartment. She prepares for the usual scene, one of Arizona sprawled out on the couch, her prosthetic leg dumped somewhere in the living room, or the blonde being curled up in bed. It's what she always comes home to, but not tonight. It's different, the atmosphere is lighter, and it smells different. …It's clean. Like, you can smell the bleach and Pine-Sol clean.
"Arizona?" Callie calls out, setting her bag down on the couch and heading into the bedroom. "Arizona, where are-" Her words are cut off when she finds a beautiful bouquet of long stemmed red roses on the night stand on her side of the bed. She pulls the small card from the arrangement and finds a note.
Put on a date outfit. We're going out tonight.
It's not signed but Callie immediately recognizes the scribbling as Arizona's penmanship. Normally the thought of being in the dark would frighten Callie, the Latina having spent the last eight months needing to handle and take care of every single thing in not one, or two, but three lives. But right now, she wants to trust her wife. So she does what Arizona says.
The bitter wind of Seattle's harsh February smacks Arizona in the face as she limps back across from the hospital. It probably wasn't the smartest idea for her to walk, but the need to do something for herself overweighed the thought that she could possibly trip and hurt herself. The blonde still hasn't gotten used to using her new leg, and more often than not she ends up pulling it off and throwing it out of frustration. But her therapist has told her that she needs to start putting her life back together, and that meant asking to get back in the OR.
Owen Hunt sat stone faced across from the blonde as Arizona nervously read through her prepared speech. Though Alex Karev had been handling all the top level peds surgeries wonderfully while Arizona got her feet, so to speak, back on the ground and moving. But even though she walked those same halls, she didn't feel back and Arizona knows that she would never feel like she had fully recovered if she didn't get back in the OR. After months and months of consulting and assisting, working long hours in the lab and testing her endurance, she feels that she is ready. …Or, at least able to operate again.
With that large item crossed off her to-do list, Arizona returns to her apartment she shares with her wife and daughter and prepares for phase two. Letting Callie back in. For eight months Arizona has shut the Latina out, only allowing the passing embrace or kiss happen before the blonde pulls away. It took so long to just be able to look at Callie without blaming her for what happened, and now she feels like her wife is a stranger to her.
Once within the shelter of their apartment complex Arizona limps over to the elevator and calls for a carriage. She's been insistent about taking the stairs every time, because she can, but tonight isn't about her. It's about her wife. And Arizona doesn't want to waste her precious energy trying to conquer four flights of stairs. …Nor does she want to sweat her makeup off.
Within the elevator, she uses the shiny, reflective metal doors to check her hair and face, as well as fix her dress. Continuing further down her body, her eyes land on the uneven reflection of her legs. One toned and fair leg contrasting the thin metal that now makes up her other leg. Today was the first time she walked through the hospital without long pants on, and it's only the first step of learning to accept that it is part of her now.
The elevator arrives at her floor and she takes a glance at her phone and finds that she is right on time. Before knocking on the door blue eyes quickly scan the text from Alex, telling her that Sofia is happy and content with her uncle of the night. Karev didn't even put up a fight when Arizona asked that he watch her daughter, tonight of all nights. In fact he jumped on it, needing some why of stemming the guilt he has for Arizona being on the plane when it should have been Alex.
Pulling a long stemmed red rose from her bag, one of the ones out of the dozen she bought for her wife earlier, Arizona takes a deep breath and enters the apartment. She immediately sees Callie's bag on the couch and sets her own down next to it while continuing to the bedroom.
At the threshold, Arizona spies Callie fixing her makeup in the mirror, her deliciously curvy body wrapped in a flowing dress that should be illegal.
"You look really pretty." Arizona whispers, making Callie whirl around in surprise.
A blush rises in the Latina's face and Callie nervously replies "Thank you." Brown eyes scan up and down her wife's body, immediately focusing on Arizona's left leg. She tries not to look shocked at seeing the prosthesis on show from under the dress, but doubts she covers it up very well. "You look…" Callie tries to find a word that can't be bent or taken the wrong way but all she comes up with is "…You look pretty too."
Arizona's initial reaction is to bite back, to ask Callie how she can look pretty when a hunk of metal makes up her left leg, but the blonde quickly squashes that thought and smiles. The two stand there facing each other, neither really comfortable being around the other anymore. So much time has passed since they've been 'them' that they've forgotten how to be.
"So…" Callie tries, fidgeting by running her fingers through her hair. "We're going somewhere?"
"If it's ok." Arizona replies.
"Of course." The Latina says, then walks towards the living room.
As she passes, Arizona holds up the twelfth rose and says "Happy Valentine's day."
Brown eyes meet blue, and Callie takes the flower. "Thank you." Swallowing the lump that has risen in her throat, the ortho surgeon leans in and places a chaste kiss against cool, pink lips. "Happy Valentine's Day." Walking past the blonde, Callie places the rose in with the rest of the bouquet that is now the focal point of the living room. "Who has Sofia?"
"Alex." Arizona answers shortly while checking the time again. "Ready? Our reservation is in twenty minutes."
A light of hope springs up in Callie, the idea of Arizona actually planning out a dinner date… on Valentine's Day… that requires a reservation? That's a big step. So with a smile, she nods and prepares herself for a night that could go one of two ways. Remarkable, or like a plane crash.
Person after person look up from their meal as the elegantly dressed hostess leads Callie and Arizona through the white table clothed tables, the silver glint of the blonde's leg catching every eye as they pass. The little voice in the back of the peds surgeon's mind says that they are all talking about her, judging her, making fun of her, but she keeps her head held high. She's done enough hiding, eight months of hiding. She'd tired of that. And tonight it's about enjoying a night out with her wife.
Once seated, her leg hidden under said table cloth, Arizona breathes a little easier. A waiter comes by and immediately fills their water glass while dropping off menu's and retreating back to the kitchen.
Alone again, Callie scans the packed restaurant and asks "How did you get reservations so late notice? This place is packed. Bailey said Ben tried to get reservations over two months ago but they were already booked."
"Umm…" Arizona takes a sip of water, silently chastising herself for feeling so nervous around her wife. "It wasn't my reservation."
"What do you mean?"
"Well… it was Mark's." The blonde answers and brown eyes instantly sadden at the mention of her late best friend. "He made them last year and… I figured he wouldn't mind us using it."
Despite the seriousness of the topic, Callie can't help but smile. All these little remnants of Mark keep popping up, whether it be a piece of dry cleaning that she picked up after a month of calls from his dry cleaners. Or his monthly issue of GQ, which he always swore he never read, somehow ending up in their mailbox instead of the new derm's residents.
"I think he had planned on being here with Lexie tonight." Arizona adds, watching her wife's memories flash before her eyes.
"Yeah, I bet he did." Callie replies, the two of them sharing a look before their gaze's dropping away from each other's.
"Calliope…" Arizona breathes out in an almost whisper. "I-" But just then the waiter comes to take their order. Neither of them really look at the menu, instead saying the first dish that their eyes catch when the quickly glance at the menu.
Once the man is gone again, Callie turns her rich brown eyes to the tired blue ones across from her. It's the first time in… well, for a long time, that she has heard Arizona use her full name. It's been Callie, or even Cal, and that's when Arizona was recognizing her existence.
"I'm listening." She says, trying to urge Arizona to continue.
The blonde takes a deep breath, her hands wringing the cloth napkin in her lap. "I'm sorry I wasn't there. …When Mark… you know." White teeth tug at her lip and Callie forces herself to push back the tears. "I'm sorry you had to do that alone. I… I should have been there with you. I should have been there for you. And I wasn't."
"It's ok, Ariz-"
"No, it's not." Arizona cuts the Latina off, her tone harsher than she meant. "It's not ok. I lost my best friend too once. When Timothy died… it felt like I died too. So I know what it feels like… maybe I didn't watch Tim go but I've felt that pain and… I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you through it."
Bringing her own napkin to dab at the corner of her eye, Callie says "Thank you."
The two settle into another silence, one that has grown more familiar than anything else lately. Conversation between them has been non-existent, only necessary when they were around Sofia together. If it wasn't for their daughter, Arizona is sure there would have been weeks at a time that neither of them would have said a word to one another. …And it's all her fault. It's her fault Callie was dancing on egg shells, always afraid of upsetting the blonde and incurring her wrath. Arizona would never hit Callie, of course, but more than one vase, or mirror, or glass, or plate has met an untimely demise because something set Arizona off and she just needed to throw something, hit something. …Make something else break like she was broken.
Their entrées arrive, both thankful for a reason to not be talking instead of just watching all the other happy couples sharing a romantic dinner around them while they sit at their table like two teenagers on an awkward first date.
"I uhhh… I went and saw Owen today." Arizona says out of nowhere while Callie is taking a bite of her fish. "I asked to get back into the OR."
"Yeah… Dr. Turner said that it was time. She signed off and everything." The blonde answers.
"And what do you say?" Callie counters, well aware of how Arizona will avoid issues by quoting her therapist instead of using her own words.
"I… I think it's time. I mean, I'm healed. I can stand for four hours at a time, and I'm getting stronger every day." Arizona says, addressing her meal more than her wife at this point. "I'm sure I'll just being doing stupid appys for a while but… I don't know. We'll see."
"You'll be great." Her wife replies, making blue eyes snap up to brown. "I know you, Arizona. And I know you'll be great."
Brown eyes watch from behind as Arizona limps down the hallway of their apartment complex, the two women just coming back from dinner. After months and months of, secretly, watching Arizona during her physical therapy sessions, Callie knows when her wife is tiring. Her stride becomes uneven and the left step becomes heavier and heavier the longer Arizona struggles to keep going. So she's relieved when the blonde slips her key into the door and pushes open into the their home.
Dinner was… considering their relationship lately?... it was a success. No yelling. No name calling. No fighting. Just… existing together. Callie can see her wife trying and that, above anything else, gives her hope.
"Thank you for dinner." Callie says, shutting the door behind them and locking it, then moving closer to her wife.
"Thank you for coming with me." Arizona replies, offering the Latina a weak smile in return. Her breathing has picked up the closer Callie gets to her, and a twinge of panic starts to make her stomach clench. Eight months of not sharing anything besides tense words and passing touches, and now those dating jitters have returned.
Callie leans in a bit, pausing to allow Arizona to pull away, but when the blonde stays perfectly still so she initiates a kiss. It's soft and quick. Not intimidating or demanding, just a kiss of thanks for a night out after a long eight months of torture.
When they part, brown eyes stare into blue and for the first time there is some sort of connection again. A tanned hand comes up and cups Arizona's cheek, the blonde never breaking eye contact as Callie takes a half step forward, bringing her body closer to her wife's and reinitiating their kiss. This time the contact is longer, deeper. Their lips mold together, somehow remember after all this time how to move against one another's.
But when Callie's tongue peeks out of her mouth and seeks access, Arizona pulls away and breaks the kiss.
"I… Sorry, I just… I…" She mumbles, thoroughly embarrassed now.
"It's ok, Arizona." Callie tries to console her, pushing down the pain of being rejected by her wife again. A finger hooks under a fair chin and the Latina pulls blue eyes back up to hers. "Arizona, it's ok. …Why don't you go get changed, I'm going to call Karev and check in on Sofia." Arizona nods, the red hot blush in her cheeks scorching her skin, and turns towards the bedroom.
Ten minutes later, asking Alex multiple times if Sofia really was ok and debating the fact that being a good peds surgeon and a good babysitter are not one in the same, Callie enters their bedroom to find Arizona sitting at the foot of the bed. The blonde is out of her dress, which is tossed in a pile in the corner of the room, and has on a pair of shorts. She still has her prosthesis on and her eyes are glued to it like it will magically grow back as a real leg. Callie knows that leg just as much, if not more, as Arizona. She designed it. She built it. Months of research and trial and error went into it. But no amount of research or fitting or practice will make it come close to that of Arizona's real leg. As much as Callie likes to say she is, she's not God.
From months of experience, Callie averts her eyes from the limb knowing that Arizona doesn't like her looking at it. Instead, she sits down next to her wife and waits. She's not sure what she is waiting for, but she knows that Arizona is trying to do something tonight and Callie is going to give her any and every opportunity to try and heal herself.
After five tense minutes of just staring at the closed door in front of them, Arizona blindly reaches over and takes Callie's hand, their fingers intertwining. The blonde's grip is fierce but the Latina knows it's not towards her, but Arizona just trying to push back her tears. So she brings their clasped hands up to her lips and places a soft kiss against the back of Arizona's hand before clutching it to her chest.
"I miss you, Arizona." Callie whispers, her chest tightening just thinking about it. "I've miss everything about you. The way you twirl your hair when you're deep in thought. The way you smell after just showering. I miss the way your body moves against mine while we sleep. I miss you so much it hurts."
By now blue eyes are slick with tears and Arizona doesn't fight it when Callie pulls the blonde into a tight embrace. Both cry and sob about all that they've lost, and yet all that they still have. Wet, salty lips kiss at the tear streaks on Arizona's face before moving further south, touching the corner of Arizona's mouth before taking her in a strong kiss.
Fair hands tangle in raven hair while the Latina's start to explore a body she hasn't felt for nearly three quarters of a year. Callie doesn't know what they're doing, or where this is going to go, but she just wants to go. She needs to feel her wife, to feel that connection again. Since the beginning of their relationship they always had that spark, anything and everything from a short yet intense bottle rocket to the slow rolling boil of a campfire. That heat has always been there. Until… the crash.
But now that flame has rekindled, and both are so engrossed in the feel of eachother's lips against theirs that Arizona doesn't feel her wife's hands moving down her leg until she reaches the naked flesh of her thigh.
"Stop." Arizona gasps, pulling away with such force that she nearly topples over the side of the bed.
"Arizona…" Callie pleads, her lips bruised and tingling, her fingertips on fire with the fresh taste of her wife's skin.
"I can't." The blonde whispers while wiping the tear tracks from her face. "I can't, I'm sorry."
Glistening chocolate eyes watch as her wife starts to recede back into the safety of her walls, and Callie makes a decision. She's allowed Arizona to push at her own pace, maybe she needs to be pulled.
Pushing off the bed Callie stands right in front of the blonde, waiting until blue eyes meet hers. When they finally do the ortho surgeon reaches behind her and tugs at the zipper, slowly pulling it down the length of her back until it falls off her shoulders. The silky material pools around her heels and she waits. She waits and lets Arizona look at her. Really look. She wants the blonde to see her, to see her scars and her imperfections. The faint line down the middle of her chest being something Callie has hated since the day she got it, but Arizona always said it was beautiful. …Because it allowed Callie to live. It was a part of her, and there wasn't anything a part of Callie that wasn't beautiful.
"What are you doing?" The blonde asks when her wife has been standing in front of her, unmoving and silent, for two whole minutes.
"Trusting you." Callie replies, her voice breaking in spite of her efforts. "I'm trusting you, Arizona." The Latina reaches behind her one more time and unfastens her bra, the black lace falling to the floor with her dress. With one last move to remove the matching panties, she finds herself standing in front of the blonde completely exposed.
"What do you see?" Callie asks. "When you look at me, what do you see?"
The ortho goddess knows what she, herself, sees every time she looks in the mirror. She sees breasts that aren't as firm or perky as they were before Sofia, she sees the scar running down her chest, she sees the few faint stretch marks around her hips, and she sees the scar from where their daughter was cut out of her. She sees all these things, and yet when Arizona looked at her, she saw Callie. Callie, the woman Arizona loved and worshipped. That's all the entire blonde saw, and Arizona thought it was beautiful.
"What do you see, Arizona?" The Latina asks again.
"You." She answers in a whisper.
A strangled breath falls from trembling lips and Callie falls to her knees infront of her wife, her hands resting on either thigh, her right hand just above where Arizona's prosthesis sits.
"I showed you everything I am, Arizona. Scars and stretch marks and freckles and moles… everything. Because I trust you." Callie says, so close to crying again but fighting the urge. "And when I see you, Arizona… I see you." Arizona breaks their eye contact, looking away and shutting her eyes tight to try and block Callie out. But those hands squeeze at her thighs, reminding the blonde that she is still there.
"Not your leg, or the scar. I see you." The woman keeps going, needing Arizona to hear her. "And I know you're not the same woman that got on that plane, I know that. …Something terrible happened to you and… and you changed. I'd be worried if you hadn't, but I'm scared I'm losing you, Arizona. I'm so scared that you survived the crash, and you survived the recovery and everything that with it, only to end up losing you because I broke my promise."
Now would be the time where Arizona would usually shove Callie away, pull off her prosthesis and toss it across the room. Then she'd grab anything glass or breakable and throw it against a wall, but Arizona works through her emotions. There's anger, and hurt… but she's able to place it accordingly. She knows Callie wasn't to blame for the airplane, and from reading her chart enough times she knows that her wife made the only possible choice. It was her leg, or her life. And Arizona would have made the same call if their positions had been reversed.
So Arizona takes her wife's hand, the same hand that is clawing at the muscle in her thigh, and guides it to the cool surface of her artificial limb. Their gazes remained locked as their hands rest ontop of the leg Callie built, Arizona waiting out the urge to run.
Minutes pass, all the while Callie waiting for the sign to either pull away or continue on. And when Arizona releases her wife's hand, the Latina takes that as a go ahead, and pulls the prosthesis from the rest of her body. Setting it gently aside, Callie's gaze travels down to the wrapped stump and gingerly pulls the cap away. Arizona's breathing has increased, her hands fisting the sheets beside her as she battles the war within her. She wants to let Callie in, but after eight months of shutting her wife out, it's hard.
"What do you see?" Arizona asks in a trembling voice.
The Latina takes another second to look at her wife's leg, then looks back up into ocean blue eyes. "I see your pain, and your anger. I see your strength, and your determination. …I see you, Arizona." She emphasis's her words by laying a gentle hand at the base of her battered leg. "And you're beautiful."
Arizona keeps their gaze locked for a few seconds, searching for some sign of hesitancy from her wife but finds nothing. The comforter is freed and her hands instead grip the bottom of her shirt and the blonde pulls it over her head, all the while brown eyes never trailing from Arizona's.
"Can you…" Arizona whispers, weakly tugging at the material of her bottoms. Callie doesn't need to be asked twice, and gently grips the waistband of her shorts and, placing a soft kiss on Arizona's left leg, she slowly pulls them down.
Arizona looks down at herself, her ribs poking out more than she would like because of the weight she lost from not eating all those months. But all she can see is her leg. How could anyone see anything else besides that? It makes her sick, just thinking about it. She can close her eyes and still feel it sometimes. Sometimes in the middle of the night, she'll wake up to a Charlie horse that isn't real. Or while sitting at her desk at work, pouring over the mounds of paperwork that now makes up her job, she'll feel a tickle on the bottom of her foot. But it's not real. None of it's real. It's just a sick joke her mind plays on her body, but not sick enough. …Because this isn't a dream. She can't wake up and find her leg there again. All she has is a memory, a fleeting thing similar to that of the tickle. Soon… it will just fade away.
But Callie doesn't let the blonde brood, instead she pulls her gaze up off her leg and places a soft kiss against pink lips. She takes her time, not pushing Arizona any further after the very large step she just took, and she allows her wife to set the pace.
"I can't." Arizona whispers, pulling away. "I'm not… I'm not ready."
"It's ok. Hey… it's ok, Arizona." Callie replies with a smile. "I'm not going anywhere. I just want to be here for you, I want to help you. …In any way you'll let me."
The blonde nods, then pulls back even further and scoots up enough to pull the cover's over her. Callie watches as Arizona cocoons herself in the blankets, fearing that she just set her wife back months in emotional recovery.
But then Arizona says "Can you just lay with me?"
A smile tugs at Callie's lips, and she readily slips into bed next to the peds surgeon. For months there has been a divide in their bed, and not just metaphorically. At first Callie kept to her side for fear of jostling Arizona's injury, but then the days and weeks passed and Arizona began pushing her away. First by just brushing off Callie's attempts at holding her, but then she soon went a step further and used pillows to create a barrier between them.
But when Callie scoots across that median, Arizona doesn't push her away. A strong arm wraps around the blonde's stomach, their naked bodies flush with one another's, and Callie pulls her close. She can feel the tension in her wife's muscles, and she can almost see the battle raging within her wife's mind, but she keeps hanging on. It's not what she had in mind for what would happen on her Valentine's Day, but it's enough because her Arizona is finally coming back to life. And that's all Callie has ever prayed for.