Title: A Calzona Carol
Summary: After April's disaster of a wedding, and with Christmas fast approaching, Callie and Arizona learn the importance of communication via an unconventional means. AKA: Arizona uses words, Callie gets a clue.
Disclaimer: I got nothing. Everyone in this story belongs to Shondaland and ABC, not me.
Author's Note: ****NOT part of my Hospital-on-a-Hellmouth Series**** It's part of the LJ comm event- a Secret Santa gift for tiorangi.
After arriving home from April Kepner's disaster of a wedding, Callie saw the babysitter off, while Arizona checked in on their sleeping toddler. When the sitter was safely on her way, and Sofia's blanket pulled snug around her tiny body, the women retired to their bedroom.
Arizona was quiet and reserved and Callie tried to fill the silence as they changed into their sleepwear. "Can you believe this day?" She chuckled, sneaking a glimpse at her wife as she changed out of her dress.
"Hmm," Arizona replied.
"I can't believe Jackson… and then April," Callie said. "That was certainly an unexpected turn of events."
"Yep," Arizona shook her head. "It was certainly something." She moved about the room avoiding eye contact with Callie.
"It was the craziest end to a wedding I've ever seen, and I was a bridesmaid at Cristina and Preston Burkes' attempt. Plus… I never got to give my toast," Callie noticed her wife's avoidance, but tried to push through. "Uh, do you… think they'll make it?"
Arizona finally looked up at her wife, who appeared just as vulnerable as she felt. She tried to swallow down the knot that seemed to have taken up residence in her throat since her earlier breakdown to April, but with every glance at her wife it seemed to swell. "If they love each other they will," she said hoarsely.
"Do you believe that?" Callie asked. "That love is enough?"
They looked into each other's eyes for what seemed like an eternity, until Arizona was unable to hold it in any longer and her tears came with a deep sob that shook her body.
"Callie, I'm so sorry…" Arizona wept.
Callie eyes widened with fear and she moved to her wife's side and took her in her arms. "Arizona… I, I'm … forgiving you. I thought we moved past this…"
"No, not for that… I'm not sorry about the cheating…" Arizona answered. At Callie's horrified look, she corrected, "I mean, I am sorry for that, so sorry, but it's something else… I need to talk to you about it… I'm just afraid."
"Afraid of what, Arizona," Callie begged. "Please… I, I'm trying so hard to… to…"
"To fix me?" Arizona interrupted. She took a deep breath and said,"When you look at me, what do you see?"
"What?" Callie exclaimed. "I don't understand…"
"It's a simple question," Arizona licked her lips. "When you look at me what do you see?"
"I… uh, I don't know what you want me to say," Callie answered.
"I want you to tell me what you see,"
"I see my wife,"
Arizona's lip quivered, "That's it? That's all you see?"
"No…" Callie sighed. "I see lots of things… I just…"
"Tell me," Arizona pleaded.
They were interrupted by a squeal from Sofia's room. "Sofia," Arizona's eyes widened as they made their way to the toddler's room.
"Mama, Mami…" She cried. "Mama, Mami… I got sick."
They opened the door to her room and the smell of vomit was overwhelming. "Oh baby girl, what happened? Is your tummy upset?" Arizona asked.
"Sick, Mama," Sofia cried as Arizona scooped her up.
"Why don't you take her to the bathroom and clean her up, I'll clean up in here," Callie said. "Do you think Megan overfed her?"
Arizona put her hand on Sofia's forehead, "No, she's burning up, probably a virus. I'm going to run her a cool bath. Can you get something for her fever?"
"Yeah, let me know if you need any help with her in there…" Callie said, as she pulled up the dirty sheets and headed out to get the medicine.
"I'm fully capable of bathing my daughter," Arizona grumbled under her breath. She unzipped the toddler's Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer footy jammies and ran the bath water while Sofia patiently waited, the occasional tear and whimper notwithstanding.
"Mama…" Sofia pulled Arizona's attention away from the running bath, just in time to witness her daughter's next bout of vomiting. All over the floor, the bath, and Arizona.
"Oh, baby… I'm so sorry you are sick," Arizona soothed.
"Oh my god, again?" Callie asked from the doorway, bottle of Motrin in hand. "Let me help…"
"No!" Arizona blurted, a bit more forcefully than she intended. "I mean, I've got this, you go get her sheets taken care of," her tone softened.
"Are you sure, because she looks about to blow again…" Callie started, but Sofia's next spell of vomiting stopped her before she could finish. "Oh my, how much did Megan feed her? How can such a little body hold that much vomit?"
"Her name is pronounced MEEgan, Callie! You trust our child with her, but you can't learn her name? Or do you just never listen?" Arizona snapped. She was re-running the cool bath and trying to soothe the crying toddler at the same time.
"I'm sorry, Arizona," Callie snapped back. "I'm not sure what this is about, but I don't think MEEgan is the problem."
"You're right about that," Arizona replied. "She is not the problem."
Sofia's cries stopped Callie's retort and kept them from escalating their argument.
"Arizona… let me help you. There's puke in the tub, and she needs you hold her," Callie said. "You can't do it all. We're partners in this."
Arizona immediately relaxed, "Of course, you're right. I'm sorry," she said. "Let's do this together."
Two hours, three baths, and four vomits later, they finally had the sick child sleeping soundly in her bed and the tired women made their way to their own room, their argument long since forgotten.
An exhausted Callie flopped face first onto the bed, while Arizona took her time and performed her usual nightly ritual. She couldn't just flop anymore, she had to know where her prosthetic and crutches were at all times, so organization and maintaining a routine were her way of life now. She sighed and looked at her wife, the knot forming in her throat again.
"Callie… Callie wake up and get under the covers," Arizona nudged her already sleeping wife. "Please sweetie, I can't sleep with you like that."
Callie mumble her complaint, but moved her body enough so Arizona could maneuver the duvet out from under her and covered them both. Arizona stared at the ceiling for a long time, burying her tumultuous thoughts away. Now wasn't the time, this talk could wait until Sofia was better, and then Christmas is just- she looked over at the clock, it was well past midnight- Christmas was just ten short days away. They still need a tree and to shop… now wasn't the time to make waves in their newly formed and still unsteady reconciliation.
Sofia's case of the flu was brief, but it made for a miserable night and following day… by Monday, however, she was well on her way to complete a recovery. Arizona was home with Sofia, as daycare was off limits until she'd been a full 24 hours fever free.
Arizona volunteered to be the one to stay because today was the day Callie and Derek started phase two of their trial, and Derek texted that he had to talk to Callie about something important.
It was midmorning. Sofia played quietly with her blocks on the floor, while Arizona sat on the couch fuming. Callie called earlier and said she was having a Christmas tree delivered, and had paid the guys extra to set it up for them. The knot returned to her throat at the thought of Callie thinking her not capable of helping with the Christmas tree. She was furious and hurt and it manifested as tears. She took a deep breath and angrily wiped at the waterworks streaming down her face, when she felt a small hand on her right knee.
"You sad, Mama?" Sofia asked.
"Just a little bit baby," She answered honestly and pushed the hair out of Sofia's eyes. She was starting to object to barrettes in her hair, so they didn't force it at home.
"We lweavin' again?" Sofia asked as she bent down a picked up a block and put back in its box. Even at such a young age, she had learned the importance of not leaving her toys on the floor, Callie was adamant about teaching her, for Arizona's protection. "I go to Zola's?"
"No baby, no." Arizona pulled her onto her lap. "Listen to me, we're not going anywhere okay? We're a family."
"Ok," she simply replied, her attention already onto the next subject. "We watch cahtoons?"
"Yeah, we can watch cartoons," Arizona smiled, hugged her daughter close, and reached for the remote.
The tree arrived later that afternoon and the three of them decorated it as a family that night. The rest of the week went by in haze of work and shopping. Talking was last on the list of things to do before Christmas.
On Friday afternoon Arizona's parents arrived early for the holidays. Their plan was to take Sofia to a local resort for the weekend, so the moms could get her presents wrapped and the rest of their shopping done before Christmas the following Wednesday. The taking Sofia part worked, but by Friday night, Callie and Arizona were both down with the same stomach flu that Sofia had the previous week.
Miserable, tired, and feverish, they each laid on a couch, puke buckets by their sides, and tried to watch the various holiday specials that seemed to be the only thing on the television that weekend. Their eyes sagged as a new movie started to play, Callie turned the volume down to a minimum and they both dozed as the TV droned in the background. "Jacob Marley was ghost," was the last thing either remembered before sleep overtook them.
"Torres, wake up!"
"Go away, Mark," Callie said. "I'm sick."
"And I'm dead, we all have our issues," Mark replied.
Callie's brow furrowed, but she still didn't open her eyes, "Huh."
"That's all you've got? Your extremely dead best friend is trying to talk to you and your response is 'huh'? I'm disappointed in you Cal."
"Well, join the club," Callie replied still trying to sleep.
"Out of all responses I expected… indifference was last on the list. Joy, fear, moved beyond measure… all above indifference. My ghostly feelings are hurt."
Callie peeked one eye open and sure enough Mark was standing there looking hurt. "Don't be such a wuss, Mark…" She looked over at the other couch and Arizona was sleeping soundly. "I just assumed you were a fever induced hallucination and if I ignored you, you'd go away."
"When have you ever known me to go away just because someone was trying to ignore me?"
She rolled over on her back, "Well, you got me there." She sighed, "Hello, dead best friend, what can I do for you?"
"First of all, your attitude sucks," Mark said. "And second… I'm here to tell you that you are thick."
"What?" Callie asked. "You came back from the dead to tell me I'm fat?"
"No, not fat… you know, thick… like, obtuse," Mark corrected.
"You came back from the dead to tell me I'm stupid?"
"Ok this isn't going like I thought it would," Mark sighed. "Have you always been this pig-headed, Torres?"
"So now I'm a stupid fat person with a head shaped like a pig? Way to stroke my ego, Sloan"
"Well, I'm not here to stroke your ego," Mark said. "I'm here to help you."
"Ok, well your approach needs work," Callie replied. "What, exactly do I need help with?"
"Opening your eyes," Mark said.
"Yeah, well… don't wake me in the middle of the night and I won't have any trouble opening my eyes. You know I hate light in my eyes."
"I'm talking about a metaphorical eye-opening," Mark sighed.
"I don't understand."
"That's your problem in a nutshell," he replied. "You are about to get some visitors. They'll help you understand. They'll show you what's been, what's now, and what's to come…"
Callie made a face, "Mark, stop being cryptic and just tell me what's going on."
"Fine, you are having a fever induced dream," Mark explained. "You are about to get a visit from some ghosts of the past, present, and future. They'll help you open your eyes… see what you have been blind to. You need this, Cal. You need it," He looks to Arizona, "and she needs it. You don't want to end up like me… I was stubborn, and pushy, and I never took Lexie's feelings into consideration. I was oblivious. I missed out on so much. I don't want that to happen to you. Our girl needs her mommies strong and happy. You pay attention, I mean it. I don't want have to come back and haunt you again."
Mark started to fade and Callie's eyes once again drooped, an immense exhaustion taking over. "I really hate having the flu," was her last thought before drifting back into oblivion.
"Rise and shine, Phoenix!"
"I'm up! I'm up!" Arizona sat straight up on the couch and grabbed her head in pain, "Oh, ouch… too fast."
"Still damn cute, I see."
Arizona finally opened her eyes and looked around, "Nick?"
"Tucson," Nick said with a smile.
"Am I dead?" She asked and then touched her head again to make sure she was corporeal.
"Nope, just dreaming," Nick replied. "You have a bad case of the flu, and your brain is whirling with uncertainty."
"That's not true," Arizona insisted. "Well, the flu part is true, but I'm… not uncertain…" She sounded less than convinced of the latter.
"You can't lie to me Flagstaff, I'm you." Nick said. "We all are."
"All?" Arizona looked around. "Who else is here?"
"They aren't here yet, but they will be. The past, the present, and the future…"
"Why are you here?" Arizona asked. "I mean, you specifically? Why not Timothy?"
"Because, I had a problem and didn't seek help, I let it fester and grow until it killed me, and I don't want that to happen to Yuma."
"Oh my god." Arizona said. "That was terrible."
"I'm sorry," Nick said.
"No, don't be…" She sighed. "It was kind of funny."
"Not about that… about dying. I'm sorry I waited to see a real doctor," He said. "I'm sorry it hurt you, and I'm sorry you lost your leg."
"My leg's not all I lost, Nick," Arizona said. "I lost myself, for a long time. But I'm finally back and…"
"You don't think you are enough for Callie."
"Maybe?" Arizona answered. "I don't know what I think… I know I feel helpless and angry every time she does something for me, every time she holds the door, or carries more of the groceries, or hires someone to put up our tree, or tries to build me a new improved robot leg…" She sighs, "When I was alone those few months…"
"But you weren't," Nick interrupted.
Arizona shook her head and ignored him, "When I was alone, no one did that stuff for me, I had to do that all by myself. I took care of Sofia for days at time with no help, and now I… now… I felt accomplished."
"But lonely," Nick added.
"And now, I feel less… able."
"But you aren't," Nick again added.
"Don't you think I know that?" Arizona yelled. "Nothing has changed, but now I'm home and suddenly… I don't feel like enough."
"Because Callie holds the door?"
"But not my hand."
"Do you hold hers?"
Arizona didn't answer.
"I really have to go, Tempe," Nick finally said. "You need to go back to sleep, so you can work through this."
"Wait, Nick… are we going to be ok? Callie and I?" She asked.
"Do you believe that love is enough?" Nick asked as his body started to fade.
"I… I don't know," Arizona answered as her head fell back to the pillow. Suddenly sleepy again, she drifted off to sleep.
"Callie!" Meredith said. "Wake up!"
"Poke her with something," Cristina added. "She's a bear to wake up."
"I can't" Meredith said. "We're ghosts, remember."
"Being non-corporeal is ridiculous, Mer. We should try being poltergeists, they can move stuff right?"
"I think so, but technically we aren't either, we are her and… I'm pretty sure she's faking," Meredith said.
"Really, Callie?" Cristina admonished. "Pretending to sleep through your own dream? That's mature."
"Yeah Callie, we kind of can't do this without you," Meredith said.
"If she's not participating, I'm not participating," Cristina complained.
"Ok, seriously, will you two please shut up?"
"No," They said in unison.
Callie finally opened her eyes and sat up, "So this is really happening? Mark was telling the truth? You are the 'ghosts of Christmas past?'"
"Whoa, hold up now," Cristina said. "Nobody said anything about Christmas. That's not until Wednesday and I'm Jewish."
"We are you… your subconscious, and we are here to help you see," Meredith said.
"Why do people keep saying I can't see?" Callie asked. "Am I blind? What am I not seeing?"
"We can't just tell you," Cristina said. "That's cheating."
"You need to figure this out on your own, Callie," Meredith explained. "You need to learn to notice this stuff, there are clues everywhere. When you do, your life will be a lot simpler."
"Yeah, Cal, sometimes you need a clue-by-four," Cristina said. "What? I'm just sayin'," she added.
"Do I have to get off the couch to do this?" Callie asked. "Because I'm really tired."
"Well, yes and no," Meredith said. "Your body is still sleeping, it won't be going anywhere. Your subconscious, however, has conjured me as a ghost of the past, and you and I…"
"And me," Cristina interrupted. "I'm here too… but, let's be honest here, I will mostly be providing sarcastic commentary. Meredith will be handling all the insights." She waved her hand to indicate Meredith.
"You and I," Meredith started again. "And Cristina will be visiting a moment from the past when you perhaps should have noticed something was off, but…"
"You did that thing that you do," Cristina interrupted again. "That thing where you are oblivious."
"So why you two?" Callie asked. "How did you guys pull this duty?"
"We shared an experience with her that you never will," Meredith explained. "You weren't on the plane, Callie. No matter how hard you try, you'll never understand… and that's ok… you don't have to understand it to empathize with it."
"Some clubs you just can't join, Cal," Cristina said.
"Come on," Meredith looked over at the sleeping Arizona. "If you want things to work out for you guys this time, you need to start to see things from her point of view…"
The next thing Callie knew she was standing in her bedroom on the outside of her closed ensuite bathroom door.
"No," She said. "I don't want to see this again… I can't… I… I was grieving and frustrated. Don't make me…"
"This isn't that," Meredith insured. "This is…"
Another Callie walked up to the door and jiggled the knob, "Morning," She said, but the door was locked. "Oh. You all right in there?"
"Um, yeah," came Arizona's weak response. "No, I'm fine. I'm fine. I was just ... I'm about to take a shower."
"Oh, want some company?" Callie asked.
"Um, yeah, of course I do," Arizona stumbled. "It's just, I'm, um, I'm running late. So how about tonight?"
"Yeah," Callie answered. "How about a movie night?"
"Yeah. You read my mind."
"I don't understand?" Callie asked.
"That's why we are here," Meredith said. "To help you understand."
"What did is miss?" Callie asked. "Was she not ok?"
"Did she sound ok?" Cristina asked.
"What else do you remember from this timeframe?" Meredith asked.
"Um… she was suffering from some phantom limb pain, but it wasn't that bad. It only happened at night… Oh my god," Callie sighed. "She hid it from me?"
"What do you think?" Meredith asked.
"I think… I think she hid her pain from me," Callie admitted. "But why?"
"Let's go back a little further," Meredith said.
"You are exactly the same person you were before, just minus a leg." Callie said.
"You think it's nothing?" Arizona responded.
"No. Oh, no, no, no, no. I think it's everything," Callie shot back. "And-and you know what? It has been ... for months. And I have been supportive for months. But there comes a point where you have to suck it up and stop whining and start living. Okay, so you have one leg. It's a wedding. It's a wedding. And weddings are sweet and beautiful and n-no one's gonna notice the stupid leg because everybody's gonna be looking at Bailey, and maybe for one night, our lives can be about something other than that damn leg. My whole life is about that leg. I haven't had sex in five months because of the leg. Enough about the leg!"
"Ok, not one of my most supportive moments," Callie admitted.
"Do you think maybe she got the idea she couldn't talk to you about the leg?" Meredith asked.
"Did you make her feel like she had to live up to being the person she was before?" Cristina added. "Because we all changed, Callie… the plane crash changed us all."
"It wasn't my intention… I just… I was tired, and cranky," Callie said. "And… and we talked later, before the wedding… it was better."
"Maybe she just wanted you to think it was better?" Cristina asked.
"Or was she afraid you'd run?" Meredith added.
"Maybe… maybe. I guess, yeah. Things weren't right…" Callie sighed. "Considering she later cheated on me, but… how am I supposed to notice this stuff if she hides it from me?"
"You pay attention," Meredith said. "You know her, use your instincts."
"I'll try… I'll do better…" Callie agreed. "But, I'm still missing something, aren't I?"
"You are… But that's the next guy's job," Meredith said. "See ya later, Cal."
Meredith and Cristina started to fade out and the room filled with light
"Why was I even here?" Cristina complained as she dissipated into the light. "I was useless, and that is very rarely…"
Callie was back on her couch before the ghost Cristina could finish her sentence. She looked at her sleeping wife, and her face burned with shame, "Ok, I'm ready," she said. "Bring on the present."
"Hey Boss, wake up. It's time for your little trip through the past."
Arizona sat up abruptly, "Alex?" She looked around, she was still in her apartment on the couch. She glanced over at the other sofa and Callie was there drooling on the pillow, sound asleep. "What are you doing in my apartment?" She tried to shake off the cobwebs of sleep.
"I'm not really, you're dreaming," Alex said. "You were supposed to be given a heads up. Advance warning?"
"No… I mean, yeah, I was," Arizona smoothed her sickbed hair down. "I was under the impression you'd be a ghost..."
"I am a ghost, I'm just… not a spirit," Alex explained. "I'm a manifestation of your subconscious."
"Huh," Arizona mused. "I don't know how to respond to that."
"Look, I'm taking the form of someone you know, someone you are comfortable with." Alex said. "Someone not afraid kick your ass when you need it."
"My subconscious thinks I need my ass kicked?"
"You tell me."
"Ugh, really? Is this whole dream going to be like this? Some sort of exercise in introspection?" Arizona groaned. "Because if that's the case, conjure me up some alcohol. I need a drink."
"If you want to save your marriage, you need some introspection. You both do," Alex reached for her hand. "Come on, we have places to visit."
"Wait, my leg… and I'm in my pajamas." Arizona said.
"Not a problem. I see you in your pajamas all the time, but if you are more comfortable..." Alex grabbed her hand and they were transported to the hospital. She now wore scrubs and her prosthetic leg was on.
"Usually when I dream, I have my real leg back," She scrunched her face, "until it decides to fall off… or shatter… or I start hacking into it…" She trailed off at the look on Alex's face, "sorry."
"You're comfortable with who you are now," Alex said. "You don't default to before." He stopped them in front of a patient room.
"Who's…?" Arizona stopped when she heard Alex's and her own voice coming out of that room.
"I feel like crap. It should've been me on that plane. If I could trade places with you, I would…"
"I would let you. I had that thought a lot, too. And I didn't like myself for it, but I did. I kept thinking about my wife and baby and how you had no wife and no baby. You had no one. I only went on that plane because I was pissed at you. So I kept wondering ... I'm only here because he's so selfish and thoughtless. And no matter how hard I tried to make him better, he's still a horrible person. So now ... I keep wondering ... why this would happen to someone like me instead of someone like you. So I guess I'm still pretty pissed off."
"Alex, I'm so sorry… I wasn't in my right mind… I was so full of anger," Arizona apologized. "I said a lot of things I regret."
"Hey, the real Alex forgave you a long time ago," Alex replied.
"Do you think so?"
"I do, you and him are in a good place now. Don't worry about him. He understands."
"I thought Callie and I were in a good place too, but I fucked that up."
"You really did," Alex agreed.
"Oh wow, thanks for the support," Arizona said. "I thought you were supposed to be me… shouldn't you be on my side?"
"There are no sides," Alex replied. "Plus, you did kind of burn your house to the ground," he added. "But you know what happens after? You rebuild, starting with the foundation. Just… Make sure it's solid. And make sure it's the house you need. Don't just rebuild the same old house out of habit."
"You aren't getting it, are you?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sick and you're confusing," Arizona said.
"I'm saying, be sure Callie is who and what you want, because if you burn her down again, she may not recover. She won't give you another chance."
"If I break her again… I won't deserve another chance."
"Then you should probably choose some different building materials, ones that aren't fragile or flammable."
"I think… I get it?" Arizona replied. "We should do things differently this time? But what does this," Arizona pointed to the scene in front of her, "have to do with me and Callie?"
"Guilt is a powerful motivator."
"Guilt?" Arizona asked. "What do you mean… guilt? Do you think I'm only staying with her out of guilt? Or… Callie is only stayed with me out of guilt? Or did Alex only stay at Grey Sloan because of guilt?"
"Alex stayed because it was the right thing to do. You gave him absolution. He no longer feels responsible. But for some people, it's not as easy to let go. They hang on… try fix what they broke."
"This is all so confusing," Arizona complained.
"Dreams usually are," Alex agreed.
The scene in the room changed. Callie was on the other side of the bed now, while Arizona pleaded for Callie's help.
"Do something, Callie! You need to do something. Please. Please don't give up on-on me."
"Arizona, I'm not."
"Promise-promise me ... I-I ... You won't let them take my leg."
"I promise. I do. I promise, okay? I promise you."
Arizona closed her eyes, not wanting to see anymore.
"Where do you think she grieved?" Alex asked.
"What?" Arizona opened her eyes back up and looked at Alex.
"She never let you see it… do you think she didn't?"
"Neither of us had time to grieve for Mark," Arizona replied.
"That's not what I'm talking about and you know it," Alex said. "She made you a promise as wife that there was no way she could fulfill as a doctor, she tried… so hard, she tried. But in the end it didn't matter. Nothing she did mattered, because the result was the same."
"And I've forgiven her for that."
"Does she know that?"
"Do you think she cried in the shower, so you couldn't hear? Or… maybe at night after you were asleep? Did she wait until she got to work and then hide in store rooms and on call rooms to have her breakdowns?" Alex mused.
"I… I've never thought about it…"
"Clearly you have, or I wouldn't be talking about it… I'm you, remember?" Alex replied.
"Yeah… I know," Arizona sighed.
"Look, what you went through out there… it was hell on earth. No one should ever have to go through something like that," Alex said. "What Callie, and I… and Owen went through back here? There's no comparison to your trauma… not even close, but it wasn't a walk through the park either. For four days she was a widow… she begged and pleaded and promised. Anything to get you back. Anything for you… but she failed the one thing you asked her to do."
"Alex…" Arizona breathed. "I… I didn't…"
"Hey listen... my time's up. I gotta go, you need to go back to sleep now." Alex started to fade out. "You'll figure this all out."
When she opened her eyes again she was back on her couch. She looked over at Callie, who was mumbling something in her sleep.
She sighed and laid her head back on the pillow, "What the hell was that?"
"Dr. Torres? Wake…"
"No way." Callie opened her eyes and looked at her newest ghost guide. "Not gonna happen. I'm not getting relationship insights from you."
"You don't think I have any insight on Arizona to give?" Leah Murphy said.
"No," Callie said. "I really don't think you have any inside information on my wife…. You don't know her. The real her. Ten plus times doesn't mean you know her. You didn't get the real her."
"Maybe I'm the one that got the real her," Leah said. "Maybe you are the one that doesn't really know her anymore. I accepted Arizona for who she is now… maybe that's why she liked me. "
"Stop saying her name like that,"
"Like you are friends with her," Callie said. "This is my dream. I don't want you saying her name. You call her Dr. Robbins, not Arizona."
"Fine," Leah said. "If you need to be petty… Dr. Robbins it is."
"Petty?" Callie questioned. "You want petty? Because I'll give you petty…"
"Let's not. You are going to have to deal with me sooner or later," Leah responded. "I'm not going away. I didn't do anything wrong… and she didn't either."
"I know that, ok? You don't have to tell me. I kicked her out… told people she was dead. I know she didn't do anything wrong." Callie yelled. "I doesn't make it hurt any less."
"It wasn't her intention to hurt you," Leah said. "She was… alone. You left her alone, after you promised you wouldn't."
"Oh that's rich…I left her alone? I promised not to run? Well she promised not to fu…." Callie stopped. She didn't want to let her anger get the better of her. "My subconscious has a sick sense of humor," she shook her head. "Why couldn't it have sent Kepner? Or… Alex?"
"Because they knew her before," Leah said.
"And you've only been around post amputation," Callie inferred.
"I hate this," Callie admitted. "Talking to you about her… it's not right."
"Your brain chose me for a reason," Leah said. "Obviously there is something about me that you need to figure out."
"Well, if we are going to do this, why don't you start helping?" Callie said. "Lay it on me… give me your insights."
"What do Lauren Boswell and I have in common?"
"Hah, other than you both being skinny blondes?" Callie retorted.
"This isn't about that. You aren't that insecure," Leah said. "You know Arizona finds you breathtaking, so stop with that."
"Right, so breathtaking she sleeps with other people," Callie sighed.
"Callie, that line of thinking isn't productive," Leah said.
"Don't… you don't get to tell me what to think, ok? You may be me, but you look like you so just… shut up and let me wallow a minute." Callie blurted. She held up her hand, "Just… don't."
Leah just sat there waiting for Callie to calm herself down again.
"Ok, I'm ok… what was the question?" Callie asked after a few moments of silence.
"What do Lauren Boswell and I have in common?"
"Questionable morals?" Callie answered. "Fine… fine… I guess… It's just that you both didn't know her before? You had no expectations of her… she didn't have to hide…"
"Stop saying exactly. It's annoying." Callie said. "I don't need you agreeing with me."
"Ok…" Leah said. "But like you just said… I am you."
"Ugh," Callie rolled her eyes. "Whatever, let's just get this over with… So… what awful thing have I done lately that you need to show me?"
"Callie… Dr. Torres, you haven't done anything awful," Leah reassured. "That's not what this is all about. This is not to punish you. This is to enlighten you. So you change your pattern. You want it to work with Arizo… uh, Dr. Robbins this time, right?"
"Of course I do…" Callie sighed. "Of course I want it to work. I want it to work so much I'm talking to you. So…are we dream hoping or…?"
"No," Leah said. "All you need to know to figure this out is right here in front of you. We are going to talk this through," Leah said. "You know the answer, the clues are all here. What did you learn in the past?"
"That she… hid things from me. Things I should have seen."
"Exac… uh, sorry…." Leah said. "What sort of things did she hide from you?"
"Pain… and I don't know what else," Callie answered. "Maybe…?"
"What? Maybe what, Dr. Torres?"
"I don't know…" Callie sighed. "She didn't want me to see her pain, because she… didn't want me to be her caretaker? Does she think I only see her as different? As not the person I married? Or… as a patient? Is that why she's drawn to people who didn't know her before? I've tried to reassure her that's she's still the same person, still the same woman I married."
"She's not the person you married," Leah said.
"Of course she is," Callie retorted.
"She walks different, talks different, and she thinks differently. Everything about her has changed, Callie."
"Ok, so… she's different. Are you saying that this new person she's become doesn't love me? That she wants someone like you?"
"No… I'm not saying any such thing. I'm asking if you love the new her."
"Of course I do! I do! Despite the fact that this new person she has become has slept with two different people after promising to only love me." Callie started crying. "I love her. Of course I love her. If I didn't… we… I could never have forgiven her."
"Ok, now you just need to tell her," Leah said.
"How can she not know?" Callie asked.
"Because neither of you actually talk to each other," Leah replied. "And neither of you are mind readers."
"So… I just tell her I love the new her and we'll be ok? We'll get through this?"
"It's that simple? I just… talk to her?" Callie asked.
"And encourage her to talk to you," Leah said. "Be open to her feelings, even if you don't understand where they come from. Allow her to feel validated."
"Ok… I can do that… talk and listen," Callie said.
"My time is up, Dr. Torres." Leah said. "Remember… She loves you. The real me is no threat."
"Of course you aren't," Callie mumbled as sleep overtook her again.
"Arizona… Arizona… wakey-wakey."
Arizona's eyes opened and she smiled, "April!"
"Hi!" April said.
"Are you my ghost for the present?"
"It looks that way," April smiled. "It was very nice of your subconscious to think of me for this. I'm honored."
"Yeah, well… we're friends now." Arizona said. "So… where are we going?"
"Nowhere," April replied. "We don't need to. My job here is simple. I can do it verbally."
"Ok… let's hear it," Arizona prompted.
"Well… Remember all that stuff you told me before my wedding fiasco last week?"
"Go tell all that to Callie."
"Wait… that's it?" Arizona asked. "That's all you have to say to me? I don't need to figure anything out?"
"You already know," April replied. "You know why she's doing it. The fixing."
"I… I let it go on too long… The blame… I never told her I forgave her… that she did the right thing," Arizona answered. "I never told her that I'm ok now."
"So I just… tell her I'm ok? That she doesn't need to fix me? And we'll be all better? We'll make it?"
"It'll be a start, Arizona, you need to be honest with her and trust that she won't let you down. Trust that she won't hurt you. You are living in fear of losing her again. You can't build a bubble around you anymore. You've lost faith in the bubble. The last time you put so much pressure on the bubble that it exploded…"
"I get it… I need to pop the bubble," Arizona said.
"Trust her." April replied. "Talk to her and deflate the bubble together, don't wait for it to pop."
"Ok, enough about the damn bubble," Arizona smiled. "We can do this? Callie and I? We can survive this?"
"As long as you have the love," April said. "You can survive the work. Rebuild it properly this time."
"We will, I promise," Arizona smiled.
"Good luck, Arizona" April said as she faded. "I'm rooting for you!"
As Arizona's head hit the pillow her heart filled with hope and she found herself looking forward to the future.
"Alright moms… this is it. Final destination… but… not like those stupid movies… wait… disregard that. Let's start over. Wake up moms your darling daughter has arrived and she's all grown up with a few bones to pick."
"Sofia!?" Callie and Arizona both sat up on their respective couches to address their daughter.
"Arizona!?" Callie turned to look at her wife. "Are you in my dream?"
"I uh… think you are in mine," Arizona answered. "How…"
"Don't try to understand this part… just go with it. Trust me." A clearly teenaged Sofia responded.
"Look at you…" Arizona turned back to her daughter, tears in her eyes. "You're beautiful… just like your Mami."
Callie swallowed hard and looked at her wife, "You're beautiful too."
"Callie… I…" Arizona started.
"No, no, no… not yet… I'm here to talk about me." Sofia said "Like any self-absorbed teenager, I want to discuss with you how your actions affect me."
"Ok, go ahead," Callie said. "Tell us."
"Picture this… Seattle 2013. You guys don't talk… you try to pretend like everything is fine for a few years, but it doesn't work. You end up splitting for good, and not so amicably this time. Each of you live half a life, with other people, but always alone. And it sucks, because you love each other… and hate each other and my life is miserable because of it. So wake up and fix this… I don't want to have drop out of school, look up my half-sister Sloan, and go live with her because I hate you guys… but I will."
"Absolutely not… no… no… no Sloan," Arizona insisted. "Just no. You can't…"
"I will… I already have… this is the future remember. I feel well within my rights to emotionally blackmail you into doing things right in the past. You guys love each other, you just need to learn to talk to each other. You," Sofia pointed to Callie "You need to stop being so stubborn and pig-headed. Open your eyes, it's not always about you." She turns to Arizona, "And you…. Have you seen the way she looks at you? That is not the look of someone who thinks you aren't enough for them. Just tell her that you feel uncomfortable when she overprotects you. Words are good thing, Mama… don't just feel like crap all the time so as not to rock the boat. Sure Mami can be loud and defensive…"
"Loud and defensive," Sofia ignored Callie's outburst and repeated her comment. "But she's not a complete inconsiderate tool. If you tell her that her actions are hurting you, she'll stop. Just stop being afraid. You two are so fucking frustrating!"
"Sofia! Language," Arizona scolded.
Callie looked over at Arizona laughed, "Which one of us do you think she's channeling of right now? My money's on you… you're feisty."
Arizona's face soften to a smile, "I don't think so Calliope, that temper is all you."
"You called me Calliope, you don't do that anymore."
"Stop," Sofia interrupted. "Have this conversation when you're awake, ok? You guys have everything you need to make this work. You two are all you need to fix this. All our lives were changed by that stupid plane crash, but one thing didn't change, you two love each other… that's clear. Just talk and work this out moms, please? And not here… out there. In the real world."
"Ok, we will… I promise." Arizona said.
"Me too" Callie added. "I promise, we'll work this out."
"Ok… well I'm going to hug it out with each of you… then I'm outta here. You go back to sleep," Sofia said. "When you guys wake up… you know what to do. I love you guys."
The Saturday morning sun shined through the windows and its warm rays landed directly on Callie's face. She squinted and rubbed at her eyes as she sat up. Her mouth was dry, and lips cracked from dehydration. She looked over at the opposite couch to find her wife still sound asleep.
Callie threw her blanket off and stumbled to the kitchen where she refilled both her and Arizona's glasses with some Gatorade to help replenish their fluids. She returned to the family room and placed her and Arizona's drinks on the end table and went to bathroom.
While Callie was in the bathroom, Arizona slowly pulled herself out of her slumber. She blinked and stretched as she sat up and looked around. Callie's couch was empty and she saw the fresh glass of… something blue sitting on the stand waiting for her. She picked it up and drank it almost all down, trying to quench the thirst caused by a night of flu and sleep. She looked at the glass in her hand, which Callie had provided without asking… and didn't feel coddled, she felt loved. And that made her smile.
Which is how Callie found her when she returned from the bathroom. "You look happy. Did you sleep well?" Callie asked.
"Not really," Arizona laughed. "I had… the strangest dream"
"The strangest dream," Callie said at the same time. "Me too."
"This flu is nasty," Arizona said.
"I think we need to have a conversation Arizona," Callie said. "And it can't wait until we are better."
"I know," Arizona agreed. "There is never going to be the perfect time for this, we can't put it off."
"Remember last week… when you asked what I see when I look at you?"
"Yes, but you don't have to…"Arizona said. "That's not import…"
"Arizona, stop," Callie said. "It is important. You wouldn't have asked me if it wasn't important. I want you to look at this," she reached for her purse and pulled out a slightly worn piece of paper and brought it over and sat by her wife on the couch. "It's the toast I never got to give. April's wedding… remember? I was going to… but the craziness happened, and then when we got home you were distant and I wasn't sure you would… I was afraid, but now I'm not."
Arizona took the piece of paper from Callie and carefully unfolded it. The words we hastily written, some erased and written over… then the whole thing had a giant X through it… her eyes ran back and forth across the page, trying to make sense of what Callie had written. And then she saw it… there at the bottom- the only part not scratched-out… it said, "Will you marry me?" Tears sprung to her eyes. She looked up at Callie who looked vulnerable, yet hopeful. The knot in her throat had returned but this time it wasn't from fear or doubt, but overwhelming love and emotion.
"Callie, I… I thought you were going to toast about your project?"
"I… lied," Callie said. "I wanted to surprise you, but… now I'm glad I didn't get the chance to go through with it."
Arizona looked hurt, so Callie quickly continued, "We weren't ready last week. Now… you know I'm not good with words, not like you, I don't inspire…"
"But you do, Callie."
"Oh, ok… it's not true, but thanks for saying it." Callie smiled. "If you promise not to laugh too hard… I'm going to give it a shot… pretend we are at the wedding," She said. "Can you do that for me?"
"Of course," Arizona replied immediately.
Callie picked up her glass of Gatorade and held it aloft. "This past year has been hard one for me, both personally and professionally. I've had setbacks in my work and my marriage. I've not always handled myself with subtlety or civility. Sometimes, I lose sight of what is important, and I have to take a step back and assess my purpose. My reasons for doing what I do. I'd like to propose a toast, to Arizona. My inspiration. My reason and purpose. I thought I'd lost that. For a long time... I thought we were finished." Callie took a deep breath and continued, "But I know what it's like love you and be loved by you, and I know what it's like to lose you... To think you were gone forever. For four days I thought you were dead," she swallowed hard. "You experienced something I can't even fathom. But you were strong, and you fought. You fought to come back to me and to Sofia. And… and maybe you got lost for a little while when you got back, but it's my job to find you. It's my job to catch you, and I let you down. I pushed you out there too fast and when you fell I didn't catch you. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I gave up on you. You are strong and caring and beautiful. You are a wonderful mother. You are my best friend. That's what I see when I look at you, Arizona… I see everything. I see my past, my present, and my future. I'm falling in love with you all over again. And I know you don't need me to catch you anymore, and you don't need me to protect you, but I was wondering if maybe… you'd like to marry me? Again."
"Wait. Before you answer me, I want you to be sure. I want all our cards on the table. If we do this again… it has to be forever. I… I love you, and I want you, but most of all I want you to be happy. If I can't be the one who can do that… if I can't make you feel... you need to tell me… I'll be hurt and I'll be sad, but you need to do what's right for you. So I'm asking…. Am I enough for you, Arizona?"
Arizona moved closer to Callie on the couch and grabbed her hand. She traced her finger over Callie's wedding band. She looked Callie straight in the eyes, "If there's one thing I've learned, it's that love isn't always enough, because if it were? We would never be here… in this mess." Callie sagged at Arizona's answer. But Arizona just smiled and squeezed her hand tighter and continued, "Because I never once stopped loving you. I wasn't loving me, and I thought… how could you possibly still love me when I don't? And now when I finally do love me again… I can't stop thinking… do you love the me I've become or are you holding on to someone that is gone. I'm afraid... I'm afraid that I'm not enough for you."
"How could you think…?" Callie started to ask, but she noticed a shift in Arizona's eyes. It was slight, but it was there. Callie changed tactics. "Argh, I'm doing it again…" She takes deep breath, "I'm sorry if I ever gave you reason to believe you weren't enough for me Arizona. It was never my intention to make you feel that way."
"No, you didn't know… It's not your fault." Arizona sighed. "It's mine, I'm different now… I see things differently now." She swallowed, "Callie?"
Callie's brow furrowed, "What?"
"I… I'm so sorry," Arizona said. Callie looked shattered, she thought Arizona was turning her down. "I'm sorry I let this go on for so long. I let you feel responsible. I… I blamed you, but I want you to know that I forgive you. I forgave you a long time ago… I'm sorry I never told you. You don't have to keep trying so hard to fix me. It wasn't your fault, you didn't break me." She cups Callie's face in her hands. Wipes her tears with her thumbs, "you can stop now… I'm ok. This me right here," She gestured to herself. "I'm ok with this person. I like this person."
"Me too." Callie sniffled, she realized it wasn't a no to her proposal. "That's why I asked 'this person,'" She gently placed her hand on Arizona's residual limb, "to marry me. But she kind of left me hanging…"
"Calliope… of course I'll marry you again. Of course I will…" Her hands back to holding Callie's hands. "But this time… we do things differently. We will go to therapy so we can learn to communicate… and not have to rely on dreams and hallucinations to get us to talk. I love you, but the rest of it does matter. It's important and it matters. You matter, I matter, we matter, and Sofia matters… love, honor, commitment, honesty, empathy, and communication. It all matters. I… I know I didn't live up to those standards the last time and I am so sorry. I wasn't a good man in a storm."
"Arizona we've both made mistakes. We were both afraid… we let each other down. I'm sorry too. And I want you to know… I forgive you too. I'm going to be honest with you, it hurt like hell that you cheated, and the fact that you chose to sleep with two skinny blondes doesn't help… I can't think about it without feeling this pain," she put her hand over her heart, "right here."
"Callie… they weren't you… I didn't want to think about you… it was too much for me. It was too hard. It was all so hard," Arizona sighed. "I love you and I'm so, so, so incredibly sorry. Please don't ever doubt that."
"I forgive you," Callie wrapped her wife in her arms as Arizona sobbed her relief and regret onto her wife's shoulder. "I forgive you. I do. You're still a good man in a storm. You hear me? You're still good, Arizona. You're still good." She repeated as she ran her hand up and down her wife's back.
After her emotional release, Arizona took a deep breath and looked Callie in the eyes. She titled her head to the side. Callie raised an eyebrow in question. "I really want to kiss you, but we both have contagious puke breath," Arizona sighed.
"We'll survive it," Callie said and pulled Arizona in for a gentle peck on the lips, then rubbed their noses together. "See? Not too gross."
Arizona pulled back and smiled, "Not at all…" Her face dropped, she swallowed hard and her hand flew to her mouth, "Puke bucket!" she yelled.
Christmas morning had finally arrived. Callie and Arizona were snuggled together on the couch watching Sofia play with her new Christmas toys. They laughed at Sofia's antics and sipped on their coffee. The morning was perfect.
"We should probably get moving," Callie sighed. "Clean up all this wrapping paper before your parents get here."
"Yeah… oh look, she loves her baby…," Arizona pointed excitedly at Sofia who was squeezing her doll so tight, she feared for its stuffing. "Maybe a little bit too much."
Sofia took the doll and carried over to the toy stroller she had received from Santa and tried to put her baby in. "Mama, wook…" She pushed her doll over to her mothers. "We go to the park."
"Can I come too?" Arizona asked. She fixed the doll, which was upside down in the stroller.
"Yes, and Mami," Sofia smiled.
"Of course I'll come too, Sof," Callie said.
"Zola come too."
"Sure, Zola can come too." Arizona laughed.
"She bring her brudder?"
"Yes, she can bring her brother, mija." Callie said.
"Can I get a brudder?"
"Oh…" Callie said. "I don't know, Sofia that's…"
"Something we can talk about…" Arizona said.
"Yes… in a few months," Arizona smiled. "After we go to therapy for a while… I think we can discuss it again. We… I… moved to fast last time. It was all so overwhelming. I wasn't ready… and then..."
"I know," Callie rubbed Arizona's hands between hers. "We'll take our time, and if we decide to go for it? Good. But if we decide not to? That's ok too. As long as we do together."
"Right, but," Arizona said. "We need a house first." She looked around the room, now packed with new toys and gifts, "We are outgrowing this apartment either way."
"Yeah, we are," Callie agreed. "I'll call the realty company after the new year. Which reminds me… I did a thing… because I felt bad."
"Callie," Arizona cautioned. "What did you do?"
"I felt bad about MEEgan," Callie said. "For saying her name wrong and the fact that she came down with the flu too… So for Christmas… I paid her January rent, and gave her a gift card to Whole Foods. So if she says something…"
"That was very sweet of you…"
"Also, I'm not going to stop the brain mapping project… You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but Arizona this can help so many people. You inspired it… I started it for you…"
"Callie, no… please don't feel bad about that. I know you aren't try to fix me, I get that now. And I never said I didn't want it… I was afraid I wouldn't be enough for you if it didn't work…"
"You are always enough for me, Arizona." Callie sighed. "Always."
A knock sounded at the door, interrupting their conversation.
"Dat Santa?" Sofia asked, her eyes wide with wonder.
"No, mija," Callie laughed. Arizona got up from the warm couch cocoon and went to open the door. "That's your grandma and grandpa. They are coming to have breakfast with us."
"Yay," Sofia ran to the door, dragging her baby by the leg. "Ganma, wook what Santa got me!" She held her doll up for inspection.
"Oh, miss Sofia," Barbara said. "That is a very beautiful doll."
"Yes dear," The Colonel bent down and picked Sofia up. "That is a very fine looking baby you have there. Does she have name?"
"No… just baby."
Callie joined them at the door and they all exchanged Christmas greetings and warm hugs. Sofia took Barbara and the Colonel to show them all of her new toys, while Callie and Arizona went to the kitchen to start breakfast.
They worked together seamlessly and before Sofia was done her show and tell, breakfast was well on the way to being finished. Arizona looked over at her wife who had a spot of pancake dough on her cheek and smiled. "Hey," she said.
Callie looked up from the pancake that she was waiting to flip and her heart skipped a beat. The look on her wife's face took her breath.
"I love you, Calliope," Arizona said. Callie's face split into the most brilliant smile Arizona had ever seen.
"I love you too."