Posting a chapter from the airport in honor of Arizona's birthday! Apologies for any typos. I'm about to board.
(March 20, 2012)
"Careful." Arizona adjusted her grip on the small body in her arms. "Careful…" Her voice got louder. "Careful. Careful!" She watched as the small head slipped out of the anesthesiologist's hands and cracked onto the table with a dull thud. "And…you just dropped Bethany on her head." With a huff, Arizona pulled her arms away and let the rest of the mannequin drop onto the table. "You have to-" She started, her voice uncharacteristically harsh until she felt Callie's hand on her shoulder. She took a deep breath and looked at the assembled teams of over 20 attendings, residents, and nurses who were here to rehearse the groundbreaking separation of conjoined twins. "And this is why we practice." She let go of her grip on the edge of the table and paced from side to side in front of the assembled team like a general addressing their troops. "The 'flip' takes team work. We all have to move together. Completely in unison. It is the most important part of the operation. Our girls insides will be exposed, their nerves stretched to their limits. Nothing can go wrong here." She stopped pacing and returned to the table. "Let's try it again." Ignoring the murmurs from the assembled crowd as Alex and April repositioned the doll, she tilted her head towards Callie as the taller woman stepped up behind her.
"How bout a quick break?" Callie spoke softly into the blonde's ear.
Arizona shook her head. "I'm good…I'm good. Just got a little amped up." She turned her head to the side and shot her fiancée a quick smile before taking a deep breath, shaking her arms out and rolling her neck. The petite peds surgeon stepped back up to the table, "Everyone ready?" She waited for Alex and the two anesthesiologists at the head of the table to confirm before sliding her hands under the conjoined dolls. "On my count. 1. 2. 3. Flip." She eased the dolls up and over onto Alex's arms, making sure heads were still being supported and no ET tubes or other lines had slipped out of place. "Careful." She murmured, gently moving her arms away from Alex and watching with a focused eye as he gently set them down on the table. "Perfect."
The aspiring peds surgeon shot a smile towards his mentor before talking. "We should try it again though."
Smiling back, the blonde nodded her head. "I agree. Oh hush." She gently reprimanded the assembled crowed as they looked at the clock and groaned. "Come on people. These are two innocent little babies."
"Yeah guys." Alex echoed his boss's sentiment. "This is important. We screw this up and we're in trouble. This has to be perfect. So if we need to do practice it 50 more times then so be it."
With a smirk, Arizona gave him an appreciative nod as the mannequin was repositioned yet again. "Okay. On my count. 1. 2. 3. Flip."
"Alright everyone. Show time is 8 am tomorrow. I'll see you all here at 7. Thanks for all your hard work." Arizona waved to the assembled crowd before stepping out of the OR with Karev by her side. "Great job Alex." She squeezed his shoulder affectionately.
The junior surgeon smiled proudly. "Thanks. You headed home?" He followed her down the corridor to the OR lounge and watched as she grabbed her white coat off the hook.
"Yeah. Gonna try to get out of here before the rain hits." Arizona swung her long coat around her shoulders and pushed her pink scrub cap off her braids before shoving it in her pocket. "See you bright and early." She waved goodbye before walking through the sliding doors to meet her fiancée who had left the OR about an hour prior. "Hey."
"Hey yourself." Callie smiled and leaned in for a kiss before taking her hand and squeezing it. "All set?" She looked at the blonde's navy blue scrubs. "Just gotta change?" When Arizona nodded Callie jabbed the elevator button and entered the car when it arrived, leaning against the wall beside the shorter woman. "So I was thinking that some dinner, a hot bath, and then bed is in order for you."
"Mmm. I could go for that." Arizona walked into the physician's lounge and stripped her top off before the door had even swung shut behind her. She tossed her dirty scrubs in the bin and plopped down on the couch to wrangle her slacks over her prosthetic foot.
Without hesitation, Callie knelt down in front of her and guided the fabric around the stiff rubber. "You know." The brunette sat back on her heels and looked up at her fiancée. "You can really turn into a bit of a monster when you need to be. Hmm?" She pushed herself up and leaned over to kiss the blonde's nose, laughing at the offended noise that came from the other woman.
"A monster! I think they found me helpful." She looked up and had to concede at the sight of Callie's arched brow. "Okay okay." She gave a little good-natured chuckle before pushing herself up and pulling up her trousers. "Maybe a little bit." She toed on her flats, holding onto Callie's shoulder for support before quickly throwing on her button down and a jean jacket.
"Definitely a little bit." Callie grabbed their purses out of the closet and handed the blonde hers. "But you were right too. You were helpful. You got them all to work together and get done what needed to be done. Alex was a big help too." She held open the door and chuckled as Arizona easily ducked under her arm.
"He's been amazing Callie. He is really going to be a great peds surgeon.'
"He's surprised a lot of people." They stepped out of the sliding glass doors to the hospital. "Damn we didn't beat the rain." Almost mockingly a crack of thunder sounded as they started through the covered walkway to the parking garage.
"Eh." The blonde shrugged. "It's good for our lawn. Sometimes I miss walking to work…but not when it's raining like this." She climbed into Callie's SUV, cranking up the heat as soon as Callie started her behemoth of a vehicle.
"I feel the same." Callie reached over and rested her hand on Arizona's thigh where flesh met plastic and gave it an affectionate squeeze.
Rolling her neck from side to side before letting her chin drop to her chest, Arizona blew out a quick breath. "Tomorrow is gonna be a long day."
"It is." Callie agreed with a slight nod of her head. But I'm going to make sure you've got everything you need…And you'll go into tomorrow feeling good and ready."
The blonde stretched the back of her neck for a second more before looking out at the sheet of rain Callie's windshield wipers fought valiantly against. "The mature part of me is saying we should take advantage of a night without our beautiful…attention hogging, baby around and work on unpacking our house."
"Oh no." Callie chuckled. "No no. We'll have plenty of time to worry about unpacking. Those babies tomorrow need you. Which means we're going to do the even more mature thing and I'm gonna pamper you tonight."
With a sly grin and a sideways glance Arizona eyed her fiancée with teasing suspicion. "You just want to touch my butt."
Called out, Callie couldn't help but grin. "Absolutely. And I intend to."
Rolling her eyes, Arizona chuckled and squeezed the brunette's fingers that still rested on her leg. They rode in comfortable silence until Callie pulled up in their freshly paved driveway. Pushing open the door when they came to a stop, Arizona dashed out into the downpour, laughing as Callie ran after her, both of them soaked before they made it the 20 feet to the door.
The laughter started anew when they both took a look at each other, each one of them with their hair matted to their faces, clothes dripping water onto the hardwood floor. "I think it's straight into a hot bath." Callie guided the shorter woman to the bedroom, detouring to turn on the hot water while Arizona sat on the bed and peeled off her pants and prosthetic leg. "Catch."
Arizona looked up and easily snagged the towel that Callie threw her way, using it to wipe down the silver metal of her artificial limb before plugging it into the charger at the bedside. Grabbing her crutches, she quickly made her way into the bathroom before sitting on the edge of the tub to slip out of the rest of her soaked clothing. "It's cold."
"I can see that." Callie grinned, running her hand down Arizona's arm. "Goosebumps." She slipped into the tub before guiding Arizona back off the ledge and into her lap.
"Mmm." The blonde murmured contentedly as she settled back against her fiancée. They sat in silence for several minutes as Callie absentmindedly ran her hands up and down the pale arms in front of her.
"You were incredible today." Callie kissed her neck before murmuring in her ear. "The way you handled everyone. You commanded control and it was obvious that everyone respected you. Those babies are lucky you'll be in charge tomorrow."
A smile lit up her face at the compliment. "I have a good team." She paused thoughtfully. "I haven't done a big surgery like this in a long time. Especially not since losing my leg." She felt Callie's strong hands start to work out the knots in her shoulders as she continued to muse. "I'm a little concerned about the duration…what if I hit hour 15 and my leg is killing me?" She peeked over her shoulder.
"Arizona." Callie pressed the heel of her hand between the blonde's shoulder blades. "You're going to be amazing. We talked about this…And we planned for fatigue. I'm going to be there the whole time and we'll do whatever we have to get you through the entire surgery." She heard her fiancée sigh. "I know it's frustrating…and you have every right to feel the way you do." She leaned forward to press a kiss to the smaller woman's neck.
Cocking her head further to the side so that Callie had better access to neck, Arizona shut her eyes, relishing in the feel of plump lips against her skin. "I go for days at a time feeling so normal and then something like this reminds me like, 'oh, haha, joke's on you.'"
Callie nodded and nibbled at the pale skin in front of her. "I wish there was more I could do."
Arizona squirmed as Callie continued to pleasure her. "Mmm well that's certainly helping." She reached back and laced her fingers through Callie's silky hair. "No, no, I know it'll get easier. I mean considering where I was a year ago, things are world's easier." She released her hand from Callie's hair so that the other woman could take a breath and rest her chin on Arizona's shoulder. "I have way more good days than bad." She turned so that she was sitting sideways against Callie and curled up against her chest. "I have you to thank for that."
Callie smiled widely, tipping her head forward to smell the strawberry scent of the blonde curls. "That means a lot. Hearing you say that. Especially when a part of me still feels terribly responsible and guilty for everything that's happened." She felt Arizona start to lift her head but ran a soothing hand down her arm to keep her still. "I know. I shouldn't. I can't help it though. I just love you and care so much about you that it hurts knowing that you're hurting.
"I'm not hurting Callie. I'm happy. I have you and I have Sofia. And I'm happy."
Kissing her head, Callie wrapped her arms around her, content to soak in the tub with the woman in her arms until the water ran cold. "I'm happy too.
(March 21, 2012)
Alex Karev finished prepping the tiny patients and tied on their colored bands before shaking hands with the parents and stepping out of the pre-op area. Fishing his phone out of his pocket, he was about to shoot off a quick text to his boss to let her know things were on schedule when he was approached by the former Chief of Surgery.
"So Karev…" Richard Webber fell into step alongside the younger man. "I was thinking…maybe I should be the one to do the flip with Robbins. I've had practice." He stopped when Alex suddenly stopped walking. "More practice than you. And like you said yesterday, this has to be perfect."
Alex shifted his weight between his feet, a mix of frustration and anxiety flowing through him as he was put on the spot by the senior surgeon. "I practiced yesterday. With Robbins."
Richard cleared his throat, determined to take the critical step of the procedure from the resident. "Yes, but it took several times before you got it. What happens if you miss today?"
Alex subconsciously puffed out his chest, trying to compensate for feeling defensive. "I won't miss."
"I don't know…" Richard mused. He had all the confidence in the world in the younger surgeon but that wasn't going to stop him from making "the flip" his moment to shine in the OR and relive his glory days. "I still think I'm the better choice." He grinned when the dark haired man started to look nervous and fiddle with his ID badge. Determined to strike while Karev's defenses were down, he started to turn. "Great. I'll let Robbins know." He stepped away only come face to face with the pediatric surgeon.
"Let Robbins know what?" She placed her hands on her hips and looked up at her former boss.
"Ah yes." Richard was sure he could take advantage of the blonde's authority issues. "I was coming to let you know that I'll be taking over for Karev when we do the flip."
She arched a blonde eyebrow. "Says who?"
"And Dr. Karev agreed to this?" She turned her glance towards her protégé.
Looking uncomfortable, Alex continued to play with his ID badge. "Uh…we hadn't really finished the conversation."
Arizona clicked her tongue and looked back towards the former chief with a disapproving look on her face. "Sounds like Dr. Karev didn't agree to give up the flip to me Dr. Webber."
Letting out a huff, Richard shot another glance towards the resident. "I'm the senior doctor Dr. Robbins. You should see the logic there."
"What I see is an experienced surgeon trying to bully away a learning experience from someone he should be teaching and providing these opportunities for."
Shocked and not used to being reprimanded by the petite woman, Richard's gazed dropped to his shoes.
"So it's settled then." Arizona was satisfied that she'd made her point. "Karev will be doing the flip." She gave Richard another disapproving glance before turning on her heel and heading towards the coffee cart. She only got a few feet away before she felt Alex fall into step beside her.
They walked silently for a moment before he spoke. "Thank you." He looked down at the blonde as she exchanged money for a coffee cup.
"Of course." Arizona started to fill her cup from the airpot on the counter. "I picked you for a reason Alex."
"You did?" He watched as she added ample sugar and cream to her coffee.
Nodding, Arizona took a sip and smacked her lips in satisfaction. "Yeah. You're on your way to becoming an extraordinary peds surgeon. And these babies are as much yours as they are mine."
Not used to compliments, Alex felt his cheeks go a little red. "That means a lot, you saying that. Thank you.
"Mmhmm." Arizona started to walk off, aware of the effect of her words on the younger surgeon, but not wanting to make him uncomfortable. She took a few more steps before turning back to him. "Hey Alex?" She waited until he looked back at her. "I never want you to be left wondering what you could have done."
Again, sorry for any typos, getting ready to board a plane. Also I started a new story with dbell99 called "Battle Scars." Check it out! It's under our joint account dbellGetsACat.
I have the rest of the story planned out but it can take a few detours if there's anything you want to see (let me know if you have any ideas)
Let me know what you think!