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The Fifty-Point Scrabble Bonus
Izzie kept the Scrabble set in her locker.
At first it was because Denny might want to play, but then she discovered that some nights she was on call, she could rope someone into a quick game. None of the other interns would play with her; some were holding lasting grudges against anyone who got the room in Meredith's house, some thought that all of Bailey's interns were self-centered and self-involved and freakishly incestuous, and most of the psych residents were still pissed about the pregnant man-stealing. There was usually someone around, though, who was willing to play.
The older patients who couldn't sleep were the most fun, because they wanted attention enough that they'd play a serious game, and sometimes they had freakishly large vocabularies, which meant there were a lot more seven-letter words on the board than Izzie had come to expect. She started keeping a Scrabble dictionary in her locker, so that she could contest some of the made-up words, and found that some patients were better to challenge than others. Sixty-year-old accountant with laugh lines all over his face in for an appendectomy: good. Forty-five-year-old college professor who sometimes threw tiles when he was angry: bad. Still, even they were better than a long night of sitting there, trying desperately not to fall asleep.
The nurses were the next group to cave to the board game's siren call. They were there anyway, and most of them didn't hate Izzie nearly as much as they hated her friends. Plus, they could throw around medical terminology as well as Izzie could, which meant that it was only a few weeks before a copy of Gray's Anatomy joined the Scrabble dictionary in there. Olivia was really good at the game, but Izzie wouldn't play with her without a neutral third party present.
That was where George came in.
"So what you're saying," he said, "is that if I come in, on my night off, you will play a board game with me and my ex-girlfriend, who slept with your boyfriend?"
"Alex isn't my boyfriend," Izzie said. "We just sleep together."
"You know, the morphine is supposed to be for the patients."
"Are you in, or not?"
George made the face that he totally would not have made if he was still living with Izzie and Meredith. Clearly, Cristina was a bad influence.
"Fine," Izzie said. "I'll come in on your night here. But you're playing at least three games."
After the first game, Izzie and Olivia stopped having to talk entirely through George, and after the fourth George was barely part of the conversation. They were in the middle of a heated discussion which bounced rapidly between who they should set George up with and whether or not there were enough blank tiles left for anyone to put appendectomy between pen and to. George wasn't actually sure which conversation was more disturbing.
"You are all insane," he said.
"We know," Izzie and Olivia said at once.
George had both blanks. He used both of them to spell dialect, even though he had all the letters for appendectomy. He told Izzie he considered it a protest loss, and she tossed her hair and said that he just didn't play Scrabble right.
"I didn't know anyone was actually competitive about Scrabble," he said the next night at dinner, hissing at Cristina while Burke finished preparing the salad. "She has, like, a dictionary. And she actually challenges words. She challenges them."
"Like there's a duel, and the word has to pick a second?"
"She finds it in the dictionary and then smiles really wide and says that she thinks you may have made a mistake and then you have to take all your tiles off the board and think of something new."
"Seriously?" Cristina asked around a mouthful of garlic bread.
"Seriously! She's like the Scrabble Nazi."
"What, the board is made out of people's skin or something?"
"You don't understand," George said. "You're not there. She has this dictionary-"
"Yeah, you mentioned the dictionary."
"Well, she uses it a lot!"
Cristina rolled her eyes. "So you're bad at Scrabble and this is making you question your manhood?"
"Just play a game with her. Play one game, and then tell me that again."
Izzie beat Cristina, 316 to 149. She followed it up with her victory dance, reserved for only the most special occasions.
Cristina declared war.
The next day, no one would play Scrabble with Izzie. It was okay, because they were busy that day, and the next day too. On the third day, though, everyone seemed to be just sitting around, and still no one wanted to play. Meredith assured her that all the patients were preoccupied. The other interns still wouldn't talk to anyone who worked with Bailey. The nurses had that mildly scarred look on their face, like they always did after they'd talked to Cristina but a little bit worse. Which, really, kind of sucked. Izzie knew she'd spent a year at the hospital before board games, but now she couldn't remember what she'd done without them.
At lunch three days later, Addison offered to play a quick game. Izzie was not, officially, over the quintuplets thing, but desperation knows no bounds, and she enthusiastically agreed to the game.
She wasn't disappointed. Addison was Izzie's best opponent yet; she played hard, played fast, and suggested that next time they play against a timer so that the game would go faster and they'd be more challenged.
Izzie was pretty sure she could fall in love with Addison for that alone.
But halfway through, McDreamy called, and Addison had to leave. Izzie didn't even get to use the triple-word score that she was sure was going to open up within the next two moves.
She left the board on the table for three days, hoping someone would come by to finish the game, but no one did.
"Don't you think you're taking it a little bit far?" Burke asked at dinner.
Cristina looked up from her plate. "Taking what too far?"
"Shunning Izzie," George said from her other side. He, like Burke, was eating a vegetarian taco.
Cristina was not. "You've got to be kidding me," she said. Her tongue darted out, captured some spare meat, returned to her mouth. She swallowed. "You're worried about that?"
"Izzie's your friend," Burke said. He sounded so matter-of-fact that Cristina could almost forget how judgmental he was being.
"Izzie is the Scrabble Nazi," Cristina explained.
"She is," George said.
"You're on my side now?"
"I think you're being mean, but you're not wrong."
Burke raised a meaningful eyebrow.
"Have you ever played her?" Cristina asked.
"It's a board game, Cristina, not a war."
"I think," George said, "you've never played Izzie."
Izzie only beat Burke by forty-six points, and she was nice about it.
At dinner that night, Cristina asked how it went, and when he didn't answer, she and George both smirked like they knew what that meant.
Burke didn't play Scrabble with Izzie again after that day.
"Don't look at me," Meredith said when Cristina confronted her at Joe's. "I played her the first week she moved in. I already learned my lesson."
"I never thought I'd say this," Cristina said, "but I liked Izzie better when she was just nice all the time."
"I miss when she just baked a lot."
Izzie talked to the nurses, and they started playing Scrabble with her again. She picked up a few of the weaker-willed other interns, too, especially once they heard Meredith didn't want to play with her. After a few games, she felt more clear-headed than she had in weeks.
Then she cornered George and smiled menacingly at him until he squealed.
The next day Cristina found a message in her locker. Two hours later a compromise was reached.
The day after that, George, Alex, and Cristina came over to Izzie's and Meredith's for what Izzie called Scrabble Fun Night.
Cristina brought the booze.
"What are the rules of strip scrabble again?" George asked.
"You play Scrabble," Izzie said. "And you strip." She frowned. "Elephant. That's thirteen, and it's on a double-word, so twenty-six points. Plus the four points for be, obviously. Thirty."
Cristina shot her a dirty look, but Izzie just smiled. She was pretty sure Cristina was just jealous that she was playing on George's team and still losing. It wasn't like she hadn't had first choice at partners. Alex was stuck with Meredith. And George's partner was falling-down drunk.
"But when do you strip?" he demanded. George sounded either concerned or drunk. Possibly both.
"When we decide you're wearing too many clothes," Cristina said. Her right hand had not left her bottle since she'd taken off her coat.
"What do you care, man?" Alex asked. "It's not like we haven't all seen your dick."
Everyone in the room did their best to not look at Meredith, who was putting her tiles down on the board and trying to avoid eye contact on her end as well.
"You have to strip when you get a word wrong," Izzie said patiently. "Or when you challenge but the word is real." She squinted. "Like when you try to get natter on the board by pretending colore is a word."
"It's British!" Alex insisted. Izzie just rolled her eyes.
"Or you strip when you're wearing too many clothes," Cristina said, and peeled off her shirt for emphasis, pulling her drink through the sleeve.
"Those are breasts," George said after a moment.
"I like your bra," Meredith said.
"I like your breasts," Alex said.
Izzie hit him.
"What," he said, "You don't?"
"I am very drunk and it does not matter what I think about her breasts," Izzie said primly, which she immediately ruined by breaking into hysterical giggles.
"My girlfriend's hot for your bod," he said to Cristina with a smirk.
"'m not your girlfriend," Izzie said. "And I'm still winning the game, because you do not know words, so challenge, and clothing please."
Alex didn't even demand she check the dictionary. He just pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it into the pile already containing nine shoes, eight socks, three shirts, and Meredith's jeans.
Izzie's left foot was getting a little cold. She tucked it under her leg.
Meredith was the first to pass out, lying naked under an afghan and occasionally mumbling words that sounded an awful lot like 'Derek' every so often. George fell next, and fell literally, face-down on the couch in nothing but his boxers.
The alcohol was starting to taste really, really good.
The pile of clothes was bigger. Izzie still wore her underwear and socks, Alex was holding a pillow over his naked lap, and Cristina was wearing nothing but a thong when she attempted to insist that prosthetic had a K in it.
"It is too cold to be naked," she said when Izzie thrust the dictionary in her face.
"You're practically naked already," Alex said. "It's just there for decoration at this point."
"It is important," Cristina said somberly, "to maintain my dignity."
"Well," Alex said, "I'll give up my pillow for you. Take one for the team. If you kiss my girlfriend."
"What?" Cristina said.
"You heard me."
"Not your girlfriend," Izzie maintained.
Cristina shrugged. "I'll do it."
Alex's smile looked like it might break his face. "Izzie?"
"You don't get to watch," Izzie said.
"Oh, come on," Alex said.
"Okay, you can watch, but you don't get to join in," she said.
Then she threw a leg over Cristina's, leaving her straddling her lap. "You're pretty," Izzie said, "and I am very, very drunk."
She kissed her. It would have been a very nice kiss too, Izzie thought, except that neither of them was quite sober enough to keep balance and somehow the chair moved, or the room moved, or something moved and they found themselves on the floor, legs tangled together, covered with Scrabble pieces.
Alex had managed to catch the board to hold over his lap.
"You ruined the game!" Izzie said sadly. "I had a really good word."
"I kissed you," Cristina said.
"I kissed you, and you're thinking of fucking Scrabble?"
"It's a good game," Izzie said. "I win a lot."
"I," Cristina said dramatically, "am far better than any Scrabble game."
"See," Izzie said, "but... look." She leaned over Cristina, nearly elbowing her in the breast, and picked up four tiles to spell out lick across the floor. "Ten points. Plus it's first word, so it's double score, so twenty." And then she leaned back, and licked a strip down Cristina's chest. "Lick."
She watched Cristina's throat contract as she swallowed hard. Good.
"Let's see," she added, kneeling up. "What are good words?" Her left hand skimmed across the carpet for more letters. Her right hand didn't leave Cristina's chest.
Cristina made a low sound, like a cat.
"Was that purr?" Izzie said. "Or growl?" She squinted. "I think that was a growl. Growl would get me more points." She carefully placed the letters G, R, O, and W over the L. And then she returned her focus to Cristina's chest, until the same sound came out again.
"This is kind of gay," Cristina said. "And you're not Burke."
"Ooh, bra." Izzie reached behind her, unlatched the clasp, and then placed the B and A on either side of the R. Then she turned back to Cristina. "Do you want me to stop?"
"No," Cristina said.
"Good." Izzie frowned. "But yours is already off." She added an S to the end of bras, and then built up. "Let's see. I, N, E- Hey!"
Cristina, holding the P, grinned at her. "Can't spell it now."
"Hey!" Alex complained.
"Your turn," Cristina said, "can be after I pass out."
"What," Izzie said, "I'm just the group bicycle?"
"More like the group Scrabble board," Cristina said, rolling over and pulling herself up to her elbows. "Here, that works."
Izzie looked. "Did you just move a tile?"
"I may have."
"But then I can't get a triple word score."
"But now I can get this," Cristina said, placing the S above the U and a C she'd already placed over the K. She pulled Izzie over, and sucked on her neck- surprisingly gently, given it was Cristina- and then moved lower, tongue swirling across each of Izzie's nipples in turn. Then she pulled back.
"What was that?" Izzie demanded.
"Sucking," Cristina said. "Duh."
"You don't stop!" she said. "You do not just start sucking and then stop."
"I decided to change the location," Cristina said, and reached over to start spelling out another word, around the U of suck.
Izzie caught her arm before she could put down the Y.
"What?" Cristina asked.
"I hate that word. It's degrading."
"Pussy?" Cristina said. "It's a sex word. It sounds like sex."
"It sounds like a cat."
"Would you prefer cunt?"
"I would," Alex offered.
"Hey," Cristina said, squinting at the floor. "It says amniotic here."
"You can barely stand up," Izzie said, "but you can spell amniotic?"
"It doesn't say amniotic," Alex said. "There's no C."
"Close enough," Cristina said, and she picked out the N and the T. She flipped another tile over, creating a blank and placing it before the U. "See? Perfect."
Izzie smiled a little. "So does that mean- Oh."
The oh was from when Cristina rolled over, pulled Izzie over her, peeled off her underwear, and went to town.
Alex was watching, and the board was farther away from his lap now, which was good, because if he got anything on her Scrabble board Izzie would kill him. But she couldn't really focus on that, not when Cristina was doing something with her tongue that she probably learned at her all-girls' college and- fuck that was nice.
Izzie came then, aware of Alex's eyes locked on her but focused only on Cristina, and the way that Cristina knew exactly what she was doing with her fingers and her tongue, drawing it out a lot longer than Izzie had thought was even possible.
"God," she gasped. "Just... god."
"Not yet," Cristina said. "Give me time." And she rolled over to one side. "Now can we put this game away? There's a Q digging into my ass."
"Not yet," Izzie said. She pluralized cunt, and followed it down, nine letters total. She could never do it in a regular game.
Which was why this wasn't a regular game.
"Satisfied?" Cristina asked, with a slight smirk.
"Yeah," Izzie said. "Let me show you."
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